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112 posts categorized "March 2010"

Harris Coulter Was a Brave Visionary

Barb loe fisher By Barbara Loe Fisher

Sometimes, when you least expect it, you get news that makes you stop and think about someone you care about, who taught you something important. Recently I learned of the death of my co-author of the ground breaking book he and I wrote together and published in 1985: DPT: A Shot in the Dark.

Harris was only 77 years old when he died on October 28, 2009. He had struggled for 12 years with the debilitating effects of a brain hemorrhage he suffered at age 65 while he was in Paris. It was a paralyzing stroke that would end his remarkable career.

When I last spoke with Harris two months before his death, I had called him to check out a rumor that he had passed away. With characteristic wit and clarity, he laughed and quoted Mark Twain, saying "The rumors of my death are greatly exaggerated."

Although the stroke had left him paralyzed, it did not rob him of his personality or ability to recall details from the past. And every single time we had spoken in the decade following his stroke, Harris wanted to talk about the journey of discovery we took together when we wrote what would become the first major, well documented book examining the scientific and clinical evidence that vaccination can and does cause brain inflammation, permanent brain damage and death for some. Among his many accomplishments, Harris considered our collaboration on that book - which was published exactly a quarter century ago - to be his greatest one.

I remember the first time I spoke with Harris. It was the fall of 1982. I had been researching the side effects of DPT vaccine and interviewing parents of vaccine injured children for eight months following the broadcast of the emmy award winning television documentary DPT: Vaccine Roulette earlier that year.... click here HERE to read the entire commentary and watch a video.


 

Autism and Gut Issues: But Dr. Nancy Said There's No Connection!

Wrong-Answer By Anne Dachel

In Aug. 2009, I wrote the story, Autism Experts Only Seem to Know "What Doesn't Work" .
That was about the news coming out at the time about a Mayo Clinic study on gastrointestinal problems in autistic children.  Contrary to what many parents were dealing with, experts couldn't find any significant gut issues in autistic children.
 
At the time, a lot of top news sources made up a chorus all saying the same thing:
KIDS WITH AUTISM HAVE NO MORE GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS THAN TYPICALLY DEVELOPING CHILDREN DO.  
 
It's hard to challenge sources like Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the New York Times, WebMD, and NBC's the Today Show.
 
I remember Dr. Nancy Snyderman on the Today Show telling us: 

"The findings are important because they really dismiss that link between the gut and these neurological problems that we see in autism.  And primarily they were looking for problems like mal-absorption and inflammation. These findings are very conclusive: There is no link between illness in the gut and the signs and symptoms we see in autism."
 
And in Oct. 2009, WIRED ran the story, An Epidemic of Fear: How Panicked Parents Skipping Shots Endangers Us All .  In an amazingly one-sided article, Amy Wallace raised Dr. Paul Offit to new heights of expertise and vilified anyone daring to challenge him, all the while blindly ignoring the disaster called autism:

"In August, for example, Pediatrics published an investigation of a popular hypothesis that children with autism have a higher incidence of gastrointestinal problems, which some allege are caused by injected viruses traveling to the intestines. Jenny McCarthy's foundation posits that autism stems from these bacteria, as well as heavy metals and live viruses present in some vaccines. Healing your child, therefore, is a matter of clearing out the 'environmental toxins' with, among other things, special diets. The Pediatrics paper found that while autistic kids suffered more from constipation, the cause was likely behavioral, not organic; there was no significant association between autism and GI symptoms. Moreover, gluten- and dairy-free diets did not appear to improve autism and sometimes caused nutritional deficiencies. "

Suddenly however, it seems the medical/scientific community hasn't closed the door on the possibility of a relationship between GI problems and autism

CALL DR NANCY!

Continue reading "Autism and Gut Issues: But Dr. Nancy Said There's No Connection!" »

Autism and the Gut: Houston Study

Digest3 By Teresa Conrick

There's a new autism study coming out and hold on ---- it's about the gut.  Now didn't we just have articles, studies, and news reports telling us that there is no connection to GI issues and autism?- ie - Pediatrics, MedPageToday, and WebMD Brain Autism News.

Here is a report of a different study  (ABC KTRK Houston) and it should make us all wonder how it's possible that our FDA is fast tracking a medication for autism and its related GI connection when there has been a constant denial of our kids having chronic, painful gastrointestinal issues:

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Doctors have suspected a link between autism and digestive problems for years. Now Houston researchers are testing a drug with such potential, that the Food and Drug Administration has fast-tracked it. Scientists believe it may improve autistic behaviors.

A month ago, her mother says five-year-old Zoe wouldn't look you in the eye. Zoe, who has autism, didn't talk much, and rarely interacted others. "Zoe is so different now. She actually comes up and talks to me, says look at this look at that, she never used to do that," said Meredith Langford.

Dr. Deborah Pearson also sees changes in Zoe too since she began taking an experimental medicine in a University of Texas-Houston study on autism. "We don't know if she's on placebo or the study medication, but it's a very interesting difference from the little one we saw just a month ago," said Dr. Pearson.

Zoe takes the study medication mixed in her food. It helps her digest protein. Doctors believe many children with autism can't digest protein, which would cause them to lack amino acids that are critical in producing neurotransmitters for the brain. They believe resolving the digestion problem may help the autism.

Continue reading "Autism and the Gut: Houston Study" »

Lancet Boss Failed to Disclose Own Conflicts to Parliament while Denouncing Wakefield

ReedElsevier460 By John Stone

Sir Crispin Davis, until recently chief executive of Reed Elsevier which owns the Lancet, failed to disclose his own conflicts while denouncing Andrew Wakefield to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee in March 2004. Sir Crispin failed to disclose either that he was a non-executive director of MMR defendants, GlaxoSmithKline, or that it was his own brother Sir Nigel Davis who had endorsed the Legal Services Commission’s decision to pull the plug on the funding of the case in the High Court 3 days before ((HERE).
This was barely more than a week after allegations had been levelled against Wakefield by Lancet editor Richard Horton, and Sunday Times journalist Brian Deer.  Nor do Davis’s conflicts ever seem to have been mentioned by Horton.
Remarkably, these relationships had been mentioned in Sunday Times article about Sir Crispin, just weeks earlier:

"Family get-togethers could become galling for Davis if he ever slips up, such is the incredible success he and his brothers have achieved. One of them, Ian, is managing director of McKinsey, the management consultancy, another, James, is a partner at the top law firm Freshfields, while a third, Nigel, is a High Court judge.

"Davis’s only other City job is as a non-executive board member at Glaxo Smith Kline, a position he secured last year."


This did not stop Sir Crispin accusing Wakefield as he was cross-examined before the committee by Dr Evan Harris MP who had accompanied Deer to the Lancet offices 12 days earlier.  He told Harris:

At the time of the submission of the article there was no admission of conflict of interest. Three months later there was a written letter. I think I have got it somewhere here.“

Continue reading "Lancet Boss Failed to Disclose Own Conflicts to Parliament while Denouncing Wakefield" »

When You Call Us Nazis, Remember This Boy.

To those who delight in comparing us to Nazis, taking the darkest chapter in modern history and contorting it to meet your bizarre quest, remember this boy. He is not in Dachau, he's in the United Kingdom battling autism and severe bowel disease. Read more about Josh at A mother's plea. 

Josh thin!

On Being Compared to Hitler and the Nazi Movement

No_pointless_jokes_bumper_sticker-p128607186943544216trl0_400 By Kent Heckenlively, Esq.

You know, I'm more often mistaken for being Jewish than I am for being a Nazi.  Even my wife (whose family is half-Jewish) thought for certain I was Jewish when she first met me.

But according to a YouTube video in which the movie Downfall has been given new subtitles so that Hitler becomes J.B. Handley ranting about vaccines and autism, I'm one of the few loyal Nazis that Hitler/Handley wants remaining with him in the bunker.  The others are Mark Blaxill, Dan Olmsted, and Kim Stagliano.  I just can't figure out, though, which Nazi officer the lovely Kim is supposed to be.  Jenny McCarthy is Eva Braun and Dr. Kartzinel is commanding a tank division threatening the bunker.  (Yeah, I don't understand that part, either.)  This gem posted on Heraldblog's YouTube account (aka Autism News Beat, aka Ken Reibel) is so awful that I couldn't stop laughing after watching it.  It's HERE.

After viewing it though I couldn't help but ask a simple question.  With more than a million children with autism, is that the best you've got?

No answers about what causes autism beyond looking for some gene that you haven't been able to identify yet, even though the human genome was mapped years ago?

Oh, and besides, if it is a genetic problem, why hasn't this always been with us?  You think it has?  Then why did Dr. Leo Kanner in his 1943 study claim it was unlike anything he or any of his colleagues had ever seen?  Why when the movie Rainman came out in 1988 were pediatricians in medical school told they might go through an entire career without ever seeing an autistic child?  How did something that was 1 in 10,000 twenty-five years ago become 100 in 10,000 today? 

Maybe the increase from 10 to 36 vaccines before the age of six, with the majority of those administered in the first six months of life?

Continue reading "On Being Compared to Hitler and the Nazi Movement " »

Ari Ne'eman Nomination to National Council on Disability on Hold

AriNeeman By Kim Stagliano

The New York Times reports HERE that Ari Ne'eman's nomination to the President's National Counctil on Disability is on hold. When the autism community learned that Ari Ne'eman, a 22 year old man diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome at age 12, had been nominated to represent the autism community, questions arose about his willingness and ability to speak for the broad spectrum of disability within the community. 

Mr. Ne'eman is vocal advocate for self-advocacy.  I know of no one opposed to self-advocacy for those who are able, despite the cries within the Neurodiversity community that we in the treatment community are "anti-autism."  The reality is that many of our loved one can not self-advocate due to the severity of their autism. We use treatments in order to elevate our children's functioning to a place where they too can self-advocate.  We bristle when we're told that our children do not deserve treatments and research that could move them "up" the spectrum. Mr. Ne'emans organization, ASAN states:
 
Research priorities should focus on areas that have the most potential to improve the daily lives of Autistic people, such as communication and assistive technology, best practices in providing services and supports, and educational methodologies. Health care disparities need to be remedied and beneficial therapies made more widely available; however, the use of scientifically unproven treatments and those that focus on normalization rather than teaching useful skills should be discouraged.

"Normalization" for many of our children means the ability to use the toilet, eat and digest food, remain safe in public and much more, all related to survival, quite frankly.

In fact, the organization that has helped put autism onto the "mainstream" map, thus giving Mr. Ne'eman his platform, was launched not because of a bright pre-teen who was able to communicate, but a severely affected toddler who was seriously ill and still needs treatment every day, young Christian, grandson of Bob and Suzanne Wright, and son of Age of Autism contributor Katie Wright.

Do the highest functioning with the community have a right to dictate the services and research that should be available for their less fortunate "peers?"  I don't think so. 

I can't imagine vocally advocating against corporate employment training or college social skills and living support programs for students with autism simply because my child may never attend college or hold an independent, paying job. I feel no threat from the high functioning autism and Asperger's community - in fact, I look to them as beacons of hope as to what my children might someday achieve.  When a self-appointed spokesperson speaks out against the care my children need, I worry about his ability to represent the community. And I'm not alone, as you can read in the New York Times article.

Meanwhile, a nationally known autism advocate with Asperger's, John Elder Robison, author of Look Me in The Eye , has said that while he does not need a cure, he understands how more severely affected people with ASD may indeed require a different degree of care and treatment.  His keen logic allows him to see that my children need far more than a high functioning adult with Asperger's Syndrome. In fact, Robison is now working with Autism Speaks  to advance a promising new treatment called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation  that has already proven to successfully ameliorate some of the less beneficial traits associated with his Asperger's, while retaining the strengths.

Is Mr. Ne'eman able, within the parameters of his Asperger's, to see the larger picture of disability within the commiunity and act on behalf of those who do not share his level of functioning? This is the concern throughout the community.

In January, we ran a posted a letter HERE from Autism Action Network to Mr. Ne'eman asking him to clarify his views on research and treatment for autism, and his response. In short, he declined to asnwer until after his appointment was complete.  

Continue reading "Ari Ne'eman Nomination to National Council on Disability on Hold " »

Hi, Anxiety.

Worry_wart By Cathy Jameson

Several nights a week I am a worry wart.  The nighttime worry ritual begins as I physically begin to feel exhausted.  My eyes get droopy and it takes me longer to finish a chore I should have done hours ago.  I always hope I can get through the remainder of the evening without letting anxiety take over.  It rarely happens though.

I head to bed with the final thoughts of my things-to-do list that I have mentally written for the new day. I slide into bed saying a bunch of prayers to guide me for tomorrow, close my eyes and wait to drift off to la-la land.

Sleep should be the next logical step. It probably is for the majority of people but it isn’t for me. I find myself tossing and turning, wondering and worrying instead of slowly fading into slumber.  My mind races toward a finish line that doesn’t exist.  All I “have” to do next is sleep but I can’t. 

What keeps me awake at night for hours on end? I’ve done as much as I could possibly do all day long.  I’ve transported multiple children to multiple outings in opposite directions.  I’ve made countless meals and snacks while filling sippy cups and SIGG bottles. I’ve measured medications and wiped boody bums throughout the day.  I don’t get to sit in one place too long and can barely eat my own meal before bits of it are being requested by my children.  Why am I suddenly in mental overdrive while my tired and overrun body is achy from taking thousands of steps over toys, around children and in between hugs and high fives?

I worry about what I could have done and what I can do about that. I worry about why this and why not that. I worry about who should have done that to prevent this while figuring out who I can ask for help to clean up the mistakes made in the first place. I worry about money and where it has to go and why it’s so quickly gone. I worry about the typical kids running around me and if they “get” why Mommy is such a freak as I read everything there is out there that includes anything to do with seizures, mito disease, special education, therapy and autism.  I worry that I sometimes don’t worry enough and then I worry that I worry too much.

Continue reading "Hi, Anxiety." »

What Can Be Done to Prevent Autism Now?

Scale By Maureen H. McDonnell, RN

Although the entire mystery of what has caused the autism epidemic has not yet been solved, based on emerging science and parents reporting what specific treatment have improved (or in some cases recovered) their children, we now have some strong clues regarding autism prevention and treatment. 
 
Causation theories range from: it must be due to better diagnosis, (rather than a real increase), to maternal age at the time of conception to the more likely scenario suggesting genetic predispositions plus environmental factors (including an explosive increase in the number of vaccines given before the age of 5) are to blame.  The problem is, while we wait as the experts debate these theories, more and more children are being negatively impacted by this condition.  In the meantime, moms of affected children who want to get pregnant with another child and women who have never conceived ask what can be done to increase the chances of having a healthy baby. Instead of waiting for new guidelines or official policy changes to be issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) or the American Academy of Pediatrics, savvy individuals are examining the published scientific research as well as listening to parents who have improved their children’s condition and coming up with new strategies for carrying, birthing, and raising healthier children.  

During the last decade, as the debate has raged regarding the causes of autism, one organization: the Autism Research Institute has been gathering experts from around the world to brainstorm and conduct research on the underlying metabolic dysfunctions associated with autism as well as safe and effective interventions to treat this condition. 

Dr. Bernie Rimland, the founder of the Autism Research Institute and cofounder of DAN!” instilled in this group a sense of urgency to focus on solutions that would improve the lives of children now (as opposed to research that would only have relevance for future generations.)   As a result of Dr. Rimland’s  vision, these meetings, subsequent research,  clinical  application and parents following through with what is now termed the “biomedical approach”, many children previously diagnosed on the spectrum have improved and in some instances recovered from autism.

Continue reading "What Can Be Done to Prevent Autism Now? " »

Counterfeit Law, Part Three: Houdini Horton

Houdini2 By Martin Walker 

In the first part of Counterfeit Law I looked at the verdict of the General Medical Council's Fitness to Practice Panel in the case of Dr Wakefield, Professor Murch and Professor Walker-Smith, and what followed it. In part two I looked at the evidence given by the expert witnesses in relation to what the prosecution claimed was research carried out on the twelve autistic children cited in the Lancet paper. There is no doubt that these claims were the centre of the case, however, this kernel was deceptively wrapped in a mass of lesser charges like a wood hidden by the trees.

All these subtle and apparently lesser strands of the case changed and metamorphosed during the hearing as the historical circumstances and present day evidence came together. These cocooning lesser charges were always very important because they added a taint of deceitfulness, dishonesty and in one instance apparent stupidity to the character of otherwise honourable professionals; they helped uphold the central charge of experimenting on autistic children.

The peripheral issues in the hearing were: 'the lack of declared conflict of interest in the Lancet paper' (1) , the 'blood samples taken from children', 'research ethics committee approval for the Lancet paper 'study' and 'the administration of Transfer Factor'. The charges around these issues might be termed 'padding', for if looked at individually we see that they could hardly exist as stand-alone charges, it is only when they satellite around more major charges that they gather weight and energy (2). None of the arguments in the whole 'Wakefield affair ' changed more organically or showed such dissonance as those around the suggested undeclared conflict of interest held by Dr Wakefield at the time of the publication of the Lancet paper and none it transpired could have been so easily refuted in a court of law or a genuine enquiry by the unfolding evidence. This last part of Counterfeit Law looks at the conflict of interest issue and the role of Dr Richard Horton, editor of the Lancet medical journal.

* * *

Continue reading "Counterfeit Law, Part Three: Houdini Horton" »

In Memory of one of the First Gardasil Girls: RIP Jessica Ericzon

Jessie_angel[1] From Jessica Ericzon's family: "Remember our Jessie Faye on March 27th, her 20th birthday. She passed two years ago from the Gardasil vaccine."

Pentimento: A New Magazine for the Disability Community, You're Invited!

JoinUs Managing Editor's Note: From our friends at NAA:

NAA is launching a new literary magazine for the disabilty community - Pentimento.
 
The magazine cover will feature artwork by a disabled child or young adult.  Each issue will include  a section devoted to writing by readers on various topics, an unedited first-person perspective piece, essays, poetry, art, photographs and disability-related quotes.
 
Submissions may be by a disabled individual or an individual who is part of the community such as a family member, educator, therapist, etc.  Submissions by an individual who is not disabled but part of the community must have a disability-related theme.
 
We are seeking artwork by a child or young adult for the cover and writing by a child or young adult for a section titled "Uncut".  The first two topics for writing by readers are "Taking A Chance" and "Hope".  Submissions can be mailed or emailed via links on the website. 
 
Please check out the website at
www.pentimentomagazine.org  and complete the form to receive the first issue free.
 
If you have any questions or comments, you can reach me directly at
lab1283@aol.com (Lori)

Age of Autism Comment of the Week: 3/27

T-shirt small front

Our commenter of the week is Gatagorra on Olmsted on Autism: Schrodinger's CatSteve is having trouble with absurdity. If Schrodinger's thought experiment is so well known as he says, then he must know it was meant to illustrate something ridiculous about quantum mechanics. Reductio ad absurdum. To the world outside the sealed cat box, the cat is both alive and dead. The special masters are in the world outside the sealed autism box. To them-- who cannot and will not look inside-- the children are both regressive and nonregressive and every state in between because something either did or did not happen inside the box according to the diabbolical experiment of vaccines. They could be anything... bladditty bla bla... type of worsening... woof woof tweet...either exist or do not exist...pizza!

Didn't win but still want a T-shirt? Taking a page from public television, we'll happily send you one as our thank you for making a donation to A of A via our PayPal donate button.  You choose the donation amount. OK? Please tell us on the PayPal form if you want an adult M, L, XL or 2XL and include your mailing  address in the comments box at PayPal. Click below to  to see the back of the shirt.

Continue reading "Age of Autism Comment of the Week: 3/27" »

Moving Heaven and Earth

Your-Voice-Counts-logo Managing Editor's Note: I received this email and asked Shannon for permission to run it. She kindly turned it into a post for your reading enjoyment. Thanks, Shannon.

By Shannon Berman

Hi Kim,

First I need to apologize for the length of this email. I just looked it over and I have no excuse other than I am an angry mother who has never really vented, certainly not in an open forum.

Today I was able to watch your appearance on CNN and I wanted to thank you for speaking so eloquently on behalf of the autism community.   I do visit the AoA website as often as possible but as the mother of an autistic toddler rarely do I have the time or energy to share my opinion or personal experiences.

However, there is something I find interesting regarding my son's story that again was brought to my attention by the physician that followed you on CNN with regard to the vaccination controversy.

As I've heard numerous times, the doctor again stated that it is merely coincidence the symptoms and onset for regressive autism occur at approximately 18 months and coincide with the MMR vaccination.  Most children receive a diagnosis at approximately 24 months of age, 5 to 6 months post vaccination.

We are American expats and my son was given the MMR vaccination at 9 months of age and was diagnosed with autism the day after he turned 14 months, one of the youngest diagnosed at Kennedy Krieger.

Continue reading "Moving Heaven and Earth" »

Ask Senator John McCain to Support a LawTo Protect Disabled Children

Sarah_palin7320 An Important Alert From our friends at the National Autism Association. Senator McCain, please help us to protect our children from harmful restraint and seclusion. The bill has bi-partisan support in the House. Your running mate's toddler faces this problem when he goes to school. We ask you to help protect him, and all of our children. Please. Thank you.

ACTION ALERT!

MANY REPUBLICAN LAWMAKERS ARE OPPOSED TO FEDERAL LAWS THAT PREVENT HARMFUL RESTRAINT AND SECLUSION IN SCHOOLS.

PLEASE TAKE TWO MINUTES TO HELP KEEP OUR KIDS SAFE! Responding is quick and easy! Go the the NAA Action Center!

Dear Parents,

Your help is needed with S.2860, the Preventing Harmful Restraint & Seclusion In Schools Act, introduced by Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT). The House version of the bill, which aims to prevent and end dangerous restraint and seclusion in schools, passed in early March thanks to sponsors Congressman George Miller (D-CA) and Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA). Now we need a co-sponsor on the Republican side to help the senate version pass. WILL YOU HELP? IT ONLY TAKES A FEW CLICKS.

WHAT WE NEED:    
Click HERE to write Senator John McCain and ask him to CO-SPONSOR S.2860, the Preventing Harmful Restraint & Seclusion In Schools Act

WHEN WE NEED IT:    
TODAY! FRIDAY 3/26

WHY WE NEED IT:
Currently NO FEDERAL LAWS EXIST TO PREVENT DANGEROUS RESTRAINT AND SECLUSION IN SCHOOLS. Nineteen States have NO REGULATIONS. Children in special-ed classrooms have been abused and killed due to improper and abusive restraint and seclusion methods. This is a CIVIL RIGHTS ISSUE and should not be left up to States alone.

Responding is quick and easy! Go the the NAA Action Center!

A Chance to Let Your Voice Be Heard Take the Autism Survey by March 30, 2010

Beth clay By Beth Clay

I am a woman of strong opinions, but it is not my opinion that I want to write about when talking about autism during Autism Awareness month.  It is yours – the individuals and families living with autism and the educators and health professionals working in the community.  This is why I have posted a short online survey where you can discuss how you feel about the current state of research for autism HERE.

It will remain open until March 30, 2010 at 11:00 pm.

A large response from the community will give the data more power.  So, please take the survey and get everyone you know to take it as well. 

What is My Connection to Autism? It has been a few years, so there may be some who do not know my connection to the autism community, since I am not a parent of a child with autism.  In fact, it is hard to believe that it has now been 11 years since I first became involved in the community through my service with Congressman Dan Burton leading the health care oversight investigations on the House Committee on Government Reform.  The four years that would follow were full of information gathering, hearings, reports, interviews, conferences and getting to know thousands of families living with autism. We were the first on Capitol Hill to say there was an epidemic rise in autism rates and helped increase the NIH research funding five-fold. At the time there was no Autism Speaks, or Autism One, National Autism Association or Age of Autism.  Unlocking Autism and SafeMinds had just been formed.  Since entering the private sector, I have continued to be involved with the community through various activities both as a paid consultant and a volunteer.  I am doing this survey as an independent activity and not as a representative or consultant to any organization. 

I have kept the survey short, but also included a comment section, so you will truly have a chance to have your voice heard.  I look forward to sharing the results with you.  Thank you.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/autism2010survey
 


 

Robert Kennedy Jr. Interviews David Kirby about Animal Factory on Ring of Fire Radio

Animal Factory From our friend David Kirby. (Purchase your copy HERE.) Now available on Kindle (Wendy...)

Hello, Bobby Kennedy Jr interviewed me for his Ring of Fire Radio program, which will air this weekend –

You can listen live on over 45 radio stations around the country: Ring of Fire Radio And live online at:

Green 960 Live 12-3 PT Saturdays click 
here
KPTK Seattle Live 12-3 PT on Saturdays click here
AM 769 Colorado’s progressive talk. 6:30 pm Saturday click here

Or it will also be podcast and archived here:
http://www.ringoffireradio.com/

cheers
DK

Commentary on Insel's JAMA Commentary Defending Psychiatrists Under Probe

Madhatter Tom Insel We've written several posts involving Dr. Insel, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health including:

Senator Harkin Takes On Tom Insel at Autism Appropriations Meeting Dr. Insel and the Trick Question About Vaccines
Olmsted on Autism: Why Insel Must Go -- Now!
But There's Mercury in the H1N1 Vaccine! Curiouser and Curiouser.

Below is a post from the HC Renewal blog about Dr. Tom Insel, who is well known to the autism community, regarding a letter he had published in JAMA. We thought you'd find it interesting.

DR. PANGLOSS AS NIH INSTITUTE DIRECTOR

JAMA is out today with a commentary by Dr. Thomas Insel, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health. Using indirection, Dr. Insel has risen to the defense of seven academic psychiatrists on whom an ethical searchlight has been trained for the past several years by Senator Grassley and others. With ludicrous optimism and a series of straw man discussions, Dr. Insel makes the case that things are not really as bad as they seemed to be or, if they were, then other specialty physicians were doing much the same things. Dr. Insel needs to recalibrate his ethical compass.

Why is an NIH Institute Director issuing this apologia for the corruption of academic psychiatry? Does he not have better things to do, such as ensuring that longstanding NIH regulations on conflict of interest are enforced? Why does an NIH Institute Director presume to speak for academic psychiatry? Where are the leaders of the major professional and scientific organizations like the American Psychiatric Association, the American College of Psychiatrists, the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, and the Society of Biological Psychiatry? Why are they not stepping up publicly to the plate? Perhaps they are confounded by the awkward fact that some of the seven individuals are current and past presidents of these very organizations. Even the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences has not sanctioned those of the seven who are Institute members.

Why is an NIH Institute Director downplaying the gravity of the ethical controversies surrounding these compromised individuals like Charles Nemeroff at Emory (now at Miami), and Alan Schatzberg at Stanford? To hear Dr. Insel tell it, all they did was fail to disclose income from pharmaceutical companies. That is not the half of it...

Read the full post at the HC Renewal blog.

Olmsted on Autism: Special Master Adopts Schrodinger's Cat

Quantum-suicide-7 By Dan Olmsted

Did you ever read about Schrodinger's cat? You know, the cat in the famous thought experiment about quantum physics that is both alive and dead to the universe outside a box until the box is opened? I don't get it either, but Schrodinger did cross my mind as I spent an inordinate amount of time recently reading every single word of the Special Master rulings in vaccine court.

One issue that obsesses the masters is whether there is such a thing as regressive autism. This is important for all kinds of reasons, including undercutting the epidemiological arguments of those who think vaccines could trigger autistic regression. Besides, autism is genetic, and there is no evidence that any event after birth has ever triggered a single case of autism (they say).

Here's the paragraph I love, from Special Master Denise Vowell. The references are to places in the transcript:

"Doctors Rutter and Lord explained that, in most cases, regression is simply one variable in the early development of those with autism. Tr. at 3579. There are children who experience a dramatic loss of skills, those in whom losses are minor and more difficult to spot, and those who fall somewhere in between. Tr. at 3284-85. Regression is not a condition that either exists or does not exist in a particular child; it is a matter of the degree and type of worsening that occurs. Tr. at 3284, 3579. Aside from the fact of regression itself, children with regression do not form a distinct group. Tr. at 3285."

This is what we're up against, friends -- Schrodinger's cat!
--
Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.

Alert the Media: More Genes that Don't Mean a Thing

Ladder to nowhere By Anne Dachel

We recently got to hear about a new discovery from researchers looking for the genetic cause for autism.  Most parents and probably a good part of the general population barely noticed.  Reports on the genes responsible for autism are often in the news and are so out of touch with reality that they seem worthless. 
 
As far as the average adult out there is concerned, the word “genetic” implies something kids are born with, something that runs in the family, something no one is really responsible for.  However, if you’re like my husband and me, you can’t think of any relative from the last couple generations who had anything like autism.  And it’s really hard to blame genes for something now afflicting one percent of children that no one ever heard about 25 years ago.
 
I think autism gene research is funded to make it look like someone is doing something.  Doctors can tell parents that there is cutting edge science coming out.  Be patient.  The medical/scientific communities are working so hard to find answers.  The most advanced medicine in the history of man is focused on autism.
 
The latest news is pretty typical.  The American Academy of Pediatrics journal, Pediatrics, published it so all their pediatricians will know just what to say to parents. 
 
There’s now a new test called chromosomal microarray analysis (CMA) which is designed to determine the genetic reason for autism.
 
It also helps fuel the myth that nothing’s really wrong and goes along with the absurd claim that all the autism everywhere is the result of better diagnosing and a shifting of labels. 

Continue reading "Alert the Media: More Genes that Don't Mean a Thing" »

Brian Deer and the BMJ: Letters Removed but Questions Remain

Disappearing ink By John Stone

A sequence of letters appearing over the last two and a half weeks in on-line British Medical Journal, questioning how journalist Brian Deer could have had access to children’s medical records, have been removed following threat of legal action (See here ). The story was first reported on Age of Autism nine days ago (HERE).  It is not clear what the basis of the legal action is, or from where it stems.

For the record, Deer states on his website in a notice regarding copyright and plagiary: "For reference, with regard to Brian Deer's MMR investigation, almost all of the key facts and documents are not public domain, and, such is the culture of plagiarism, he will act against authors who represent his writing, interviews, documents, or other research, as the fruit of their own inquiries, whether referenced or not."  (HERE)

But what certainly is not public domain is how – six and half years on from the beginning of his investigation – he gained access to the confidential material, and why nothing is ever done about it, despite many complaints from parents. It is not alright for people to turn a blind eye over patient confidentiality because it is politically expedient, because that is the whole reason for patient confidentiality. This is particularly sensitive in the UK at the moment as the government plan to place everyone's records on-line in the new National Health Service database within months.

John Stone is UK Editor for Age of Autism.

The Truth about Gardasil? It’s Destroying our Girls.

Gardasil cnn screen shot By J.B. Handley
 
Back in 1999, the only vaccine on the market for Rotavirus—trade name Rotashield—was recalled by the FDA due to the high risk of intussusception. This recall took place during a very different time in the history of the U.S. vaccine program, when parental confidence in vaccines, at 93%, was extremely high.
 
As I mentioned in my last post, the vaccine program today is a “tinderbox” with a 700% increase in parental concerns about vaccines in the last seven years alone. A full 56% of parents and 60% of moms are concerned about the adverse effects from vaccines.
 
Enter Gardasil, a vaccine that may well be injuring teenage girls at a rate far higher than anything Rotashield ever attained. And, more importantly, enter the moms of these “Gardasil Girls.”
 
If any of us were looking for kindred spirits in this fight, we will find them in the mothers of these Gardasil-injured teenagers. Like our own community, these moms are smart, organized, determined, and mad as hornets.
 
Recently, a new website was launched, www.TruthAboutGardasil.org, which lets the world know:
 
“But what they are not telling you is that thousands of girls are having adverse reactions, some have even died, at last count it was over thirty. We have got to do something about this. These girls need our help!  These girls are having reactions such as; seizures, strokes, dizziness, fatigue, weakness, headaches, stomach pains, muscle pain and weakness, joint pain, auto-immune problems, chest pains, hair loss, appetite loss, personality changes, insomnia, hand/leg tremors, arm/leg weakness, shortness of breath, heart problems, paralysis, itching, rashes, swelling, aching muscles, menstral cycle changes, fainting, swollen lymph nodes, night sweats, nausea, temporary vision/hearing loss just to name some of them!”
 
Sound familiar? I have had the pleasure of talking to some of these Gardasil moms and they feel a strong kinship to our community. Whatever they believed before, they now know, with certainty, the justness of our fight and they respect and understand how much we are all giving to share the truth. Many of them view their girls as being in a position to speak for our kids, because they can talk about and describe the before and after of the Gardasil vaccine.

Continue reading "The Truth about Gardasil? It’s Destroying our Girls." »

How to Fight Autism

Town crier By Kent Heckenlively, Esq.

What’s the best way to fight autism?

It’s a question our community has long struggled with.  And by “our community” I mean those who believe their child’s autism was caused by a vaccination.

I was reminded of this vexing question when I recently met with an autism advocate who’s been helping families implement various dietary programs.  For many children the changes have been dramatic.  I also want to point out that this advocate has no children of his own on the spectrum.  He’s one of those rare individuals who willingly entered this cause.  When I encounter such people I always express my admiration saying, “You volunteered for this fight.  I got drafted!”

But as we continued our conversation I noted that although our goal was the same our approach differed.

His approach was to speak about diet as a way to help children with autism and lead to the question of vaccines.  My approach was to state the cause, then explain why the various therapies may help some kids, and from this understanding of causation figure out why many other children have not yet been helped.

He was not against what I was saying, or even that vaccines seem to be the causative factor for most children.  Our discussion centered on the most effective way to bring about that change.

I argued that we needed to be LOUD!  We needed to say things like VACCINES CAUSE AUTISM! with the same vigor as other people once said SMOKING CAUSES CANCER! 

Now everybody knows smoking doesn’t cause ALL cancers, but it causes enough that you can put it down as a pretty good mechanism of causation.  Although the government says they don’t know what causes autism, they have so far admitted it caused the autism of Hannah Poling and to a lesser extent, Bailey Banks.

I could sense the autism advocate listening to me and struggling with my opinion.

Continue reading "How to Fight Autism" »

David Kirby Discusses Animal Factory on VoiceAmerica Radio

Animal Factory Listen to Teri Attanga interview David Kirby on VoiceAmericaRadio.

Weaving complex science, politics, business, and the lives of everyday people, ANIMAL FACTORY documents a crisis that has reached a critical juncture in the history of human health and our larger global environment. David Kirby, a contributor to The Huffington Post, is the author of the bestselling book Evidence of Harm, which was a finalist for the NYPL Helen Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism, and has appeared in media outlets such as Larry King, CNN, Don Imus and Air America. Tune in as David describes to Teri how recalls of dangerous meats, fruits, and vegetables caused by farm pathogens, and increasing public health crises, including asthma, MRSA infection, and possibly swine flu, leukemia and other cancers in communities adjacent to these farms are affecting your family. Read more about Animal Factory.

Vaccines and Absence of Evidence of Safety

Vaccine court By Jim Thompson

The legal claim by George and Victoria Meade, for their son William, was recently dismissed by federal Special Master Smith-Campbell.  See HERE .  The parents’ claim was that William received vaccines with thimerosal which in turn caused brain injury and resulted in autism.

The federal ruling concluded that the evidence presented for William’s case did not prove a cause of injury resulting in autism.  But it did not establish that the case evidence proved safety.  And this is what really speaks to the concern of all families concerned about mercury and brain injury.  

As background information--first, thimerosal contains mercury.  Although a few states ban thimerosal in vaccines, it is still used in the majority of flu vaccines as a preservative in this country.  The amount of mercury in a flu shot (one half milliliter dose), with thimerosal preservative, is about 25 micrograms.  Twenty five micrograms is the amount of mercury in a half cup (four US fluid ounces) of mercury hazardous waste.  See HERE

Second, scientific literature for high level mercury poisoning has provided tragic accounts of acute (short term) effects of organic mercury on the brain.  For a graphic comparison of a brain without neurological disease to a brain with up to 3,100 parts per billion total mercury, see Figure Number Three.  For high level mercury poisoning, scientific literature also offers evidence of delayed neurological effects 

Continue reading "Vaccines and Absence of Evidence of Safety " »

FDA Suspends Use of GlaxoSmithKline Rotavirus Vaccine Tainted with Pig Virus

Safety first The FDA has recomended the temporary suspension  of GlaxoSmithKline's rotavirus vaccine called Rotarix, which is a direct competitor of Dr. Paul Offit's RotaTeq vaccine from Merck.  AP medical news reported an "apparently benign pig virus" as the contaminant. Fortunately for patient safety, AP Medical News reported "A group of scientists testing a new way to detect viruses in a variety of products stumbled onto fragments of genetic material — broken pieces of DNA — from what's called porcine circovirus-1 in Rotarix and alerted Glaxo, which confirmed the findings and in turn alerted FDA, Hamburg said." The report stressed that the suspension of use has been recommended despite no evidence of harm.

From the FDA: On Monday, March 22, the Food and Drug Administration recommended that clinicians and public health professionals in the United States temporarily suspend the use of Rotarix, a rotavirus vaccine produced by GlaxoSmithKline.

FDA has learned that components of an extraneous virus are present in Rotarix.  There is no evidence at this time that this finding poses a safety risk. However, the FDA asks that clinicians temporarily suspend use of the vaccine while the agency learns more about the situation. More information is available at:
HERE.

From AP Medical News via Yahoo: WASHINGTON – U.S. health officials told pediatricians Monday to temporarily quit using one of two vaccines against a leading cause of diarrhea in babies, after discovering that doses of GlaxoSmithKline's Rotarix were contaminated with bits of an apparently benign pig virus.

Glaxo's vaccine has been used in millions of children worldwide, including 1 million in the U.S., with no signs of safety problems — and the pig virus isn't known to cause any kind of illness in people or animals, said Dr. Margaret Hamburg, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.

But vaccines are supposed to be sterile, and because there is a competing vaccine against diarrhea-causing rotavirus that has tested clean — Merck's RotaTeq — the FDA decided to err on the side of caution.

"We don't want to scare parents," Hamburg told reporters. "This was a difficult decision for us to make because there is no evidence at this time that there is a risk to patients who have received this vaccine, and we know there are real benefits for children to be vaccinated against rotavirus."

Continue reading "FDA Suspends Use of GlaxoSmithKline Rotavirus Vaccine Tainted with Pig Virus" »

Mark Blaxill on Industry Corruption of Scientific Journals: Is Something Rotten in Denmark?

Scientific integrity By Mark Blaxill

Several years ago, at the invitation of a journal editor interested in the issue of industry corruption of scientific journals, I drafted an article on the Denmark epidemiology studies. I had just published a couple of articles on autism in other journals and was interested in making additional contributions. I was outraged that the sponsorship of the Danish publications had been spearheaded by the company that manufactured the thimerosal-containing vaccines investigated for their connection to autism and astonished that this connection had received no attention whatsoever. I did a simple analysis of the social network of authorship to show that a single collaboration was behind the entire publication program, wrote up the results and sent a first draft back to the journal.

The peer reviews that came back were constructive and helpful, but also argued for some pretty extensive revisions. The changes had little to do with the conflict of interest argument and mostly involved relatively arcane issues of network analysis and asked me to explain some of the technical choices I had made and how the results of these technical choices should be interpreted. When I got the feedback, I was quite busy on other projects and had begun losing my enthusiasm for running the publication gauntlet at academic journals. As a result, I gave up on the effort and never responded to the suggestions.

As the scandal involving Poul Thorsen’s misrepresentation of his employment and possible misappropriation of funds, it seemed to me that this analysis took on new relevance. So we have decided to run my original draft here in its entirety. We hope that you’ll read it understanding its original intent and in a spirit of forgiveness for its shortcomings.

IS SOMETHING ROTTEN IN DENMARK? A SOCIAL NETWORK ANALYSIS OF CONFLICT OF INTEREST IN VACCINE SAFETY RESEARCH

Mark F. Blaxill, M.B.A.
Vice President, SafeMinds

Short title: Commercial conflicts in vaccine safety research
 
ABSTRACT

Three papers based on a Danish patient registry argued against a link between mercury-containing vaccines and autism. Following a related analysis of the autism-MMR vaccine link, these studies were published in close succession in prestigious journals, based on marginally differentiated analyses of the same events and prepared by author groups with numerous connections.

Analysis of these publications, their authors and sponsoring institutions reveals a social network with extensive personal and institutional ties. Analysis of the authors and their employers also reveals a pervasive conflict of interest that was not reported in the publishing journals.

All authors in the network have ties, direct or indirect, to a for-profit, state-owned, vaccine manufacturer: the Statens Serum Institut (SSI).  The mercury-containing vaccine investigated in the three studies was produced by SSI. Six SSI employees participated as co-authors in studies in which the safety of SSI products were evaluated. These six individuals also hold central positions in a broader network with ties to eleven additional authors and maintain formal alliances at the institutional level.

SSI has a commercial interest in vaccine products: the vaccine division contributed half of SSI’s revenues and over 80% of profits in 2002; vaccine exports were SSI’s fastest growing business; mercury-containing vaccine products support SSI’s vaccine exports; and SSI provides ingredients for mercury-containing vaccines currently used outside Denmark.

SSI has a conflict of interest in conducting assessments of vaccine safety. This conflict should be considered when evaluating the authors’ findings that mercury in Danish vaccines did not cause harm.

Key words: Vaccines, mercury, autism, thimerosal, social network analysis, conflict of interest.

Read the full paper in .pdf form Is Something Rotten in Denmark
See the figures in .pdf form HERE.

Fombonne, Lord, Leventhal vs. Children with Autism

Parasite children By Katie Wright

What kind of human being makes money by testifying against disabled children with autism?

Dr. Eric Fombonne
Dr. Catherine Lord
Dr. Bennet Leventhal

These parasites regularly take the stand in Vaccine Court in hopes of preventing sick autistic children from receiving financial compensation for their injuries. When I worked on forensic child abuse cases we had a word for these psychologists and doctors who were paid to testify against children.  I’ll leave that to your imagination.

It is a free country and these doctors are not breaking the law by making a few bucks on the backs of kids. However, I think their “work” as anti- child professional testifiers has been insufficiently discussed and deserves a good public airing, don’t you?

Dr. Catherine Lord appears in vaccine court with great regularity. Like Fombonne, Lord appears to relish the opportunity, as a psychologist, to diagnose children she has never met and draw (erroneous and unqualified) conclusions about the cause, onset and severity of their medical disorders. Remind me the next time my son’s GI disease worsens and he loses language to make an appointment with a good child psychologist. Dr. Bennet Leventhal not only professionally testifies against children but also is a paid speaker on the pharmaceutical speaking circuit. Leventhal’s org also accepts huge amounts of money from vaccine makers.
No one is forced to testify against children in vaccine court. Most doctors and researchers with even the most rudimentary of scruples will refuse such an invitation. But not Dr. Eric Fombonne! He probably leases out a condo near the courthouse as a business tax write off.  It is a wonder he has time for anything else!

Isn’t it interesting that after all these years of testifying against disabled children, that the tables have turned and Fombonne is now a defendant, charged with serious academic misconduct by his employer, McGill University. Fombonne is under investigation for:

1) unlawful access to confidential medical record and blood samples of children in his 2006 “Pediatrics” article

Continue reading "Fombonne, Lord, Leventhal vs. Children with Autism" »

The GMC and the MMR case: 162-95 is the key

Queen Victoria dining By John Stone

In order to convict all three doctors in the GMC  hearing the panel  had to dissemble in front of the press and public, maintaining that  the generic ethical permission granted to Andrew Wakefield’s colleague Prof John Walker-Smith to retain biopsy samples for scientific use (given the reference by the Royal Free ethics committee of 162-95) was a “project”. Their ruling read out to the assembled media on 28 January stated:

“The Panel has heard that ethical approval had been sought and granted for other trials and it has been specifically suggested that Project 172-96 was never undertaken and that in fact, the Lancet 12 children’s investigations were clinically indicated and the research parts of those clinically justified investigations were covered by Project 162- 95. In the light of all the available evidence, the Panel rejected this proposition.”

Calling 162-95 a “project”  enabled the panel to avoid explaining before the public that Walker-Smith was acting inside his ethical remit as the most senior clinician in the field, or to avoid having to give any reasoning behind their decision that this ethical permission did not pertain in this instance. The GMC panel were required to come to a view on the basis of the highest standard of proof in English law (“beyond reasonable doubt”) and yet their decision effectively changed the rules on the basis of which Prof Walker-Smith and his colleague Prof Simon Murch had made their clinical decisions  13 or 14 years after the event.

Continue reading "The GMC and the MMR case: 162-95 is the key" »

Do Over

Sun through clouds 2 By Cathy Jameson

With the recent rulings of more test cases in the vaccine injury claims  vaccine injury claims , my head is again spinning. It’s not like a perseverating spin that Ronan has started to do; it’s more like a spin followed up with some severe vomiting.  Why is this “justice” and how did a generation of kids become so neglected?

My son turned seven on the first day of winter. By that birthday I had either expected him to be recovered completely or to be dead. Yes, dead.  He has some super spectacular days of clear cognition and no physical health problem while completing tasks like a regular kid but then there are the ER-hospital runs and the high fevers that seem to bring him closer to death than to life.  How can his lack of good health, caused by several proven factors, be dismissed just like the recent test cases?  Couldn’t this all have been prevented? 

His life has consumed every part of me: my thoughts, my actions and my own well-being. At one point last fall, I actually muttered to myself that I was bored. How could I, mother of five, home schooling two of them, worrying about a late-to-walk toddler while squashing the behavior of a three-year old, not to mention attending to Ronan’s many medical, behavioral and educational issues…be bored?!  I hadn’t created a solid routine for our family and let one day slip into the next while hoping something or someone else would straighten us up.  I was bored with the events I tried to plan for the kids. I was lazy and didn’t keep myself organized with explanation of benefits (EOBs) and claims yet-to-be submitted. I turned into a sourpuss dealing with little things that I let turn into big things.  I was bored. I was frustrated. I was emotionally wrecked. I needed something better.

I tuned to my inner thinking and did some soul searching. We have a dynamic family, things constantly changing due to the sheer number of people living and breathing in my house.  When Ronan went through some terrible illnesses a few weeks ago, right around the time we were due to see several specialists for some follow-up medical visits, no one felt the same urgency I had toward the cyclical viral something that keeps occurring. No one thought anything wrong with the constipation that continues to wreak horrid and disgusting diapering disasters.  No one wanted to consider why there has been an increase in seizure activity.  No one offered any hope. No one extended a supportive hand.  No one thought to think outside the box for Ronan yet again. 

Continue reading "Do Over" »

Child with Asperger's Selected Student of the Year From Over 800 Competitors

Sally Kirk article By Sally Kirk, author of Hope for the Autism Spectrum

Teachers at a public high school in Virginia singled out Will Kirk as the 9th/10th  grade Student of the Year.  He was chosen from over 800 students, of which 200 attend a specialty center for exceptional math and science students.  This honor is awarded annually to the 9th or 10th grader who “most embodies the traits of responsibility, accountability, respect and honesty.”  But how could someone like Will who - in 4th grade – had an Aspergers diagnosis and required a full-time aide, 5-day-a-week tutor, and 1-on-1 math instruction ever become Student of the Year with no aide, no tutor, and no remedial classes?  His name even shines on the A/B honor roll.  His mother, Sally Kirk, author of “Hope for the Autism Spectrum,” points a grateful finger at the biomedical interventions of Defeat Autism Now!

At the close of Will’s 4th grade year - after a lifetime of extensive conventional treatments and therapies - Will was placed in the care of Defeat Autism Now! doctor Mary Megson MD of Richmond, Virginia.  Will improved dramatically owing to treatment with special diets, vitamin supplements, and chelation to remove high levels of heavy metals found in his body.  Later Will began seeing Defeat Autism Now! doctor Dan Rossignol MD of Melbourne, Florida in hopes of attaining even further gains.  Dr. Rossignol’s willingness to allow phone appointments in between annual in-person visits made it possible to overcome the obstacle of an 800-mile separation.  While in Dr. Rossignol’s care, Will has achieved even greater capabilities as evidenced by his recent award.

Dr. Rossignol, along with Anju Usman MD (another prominent Defeat Autism Now! doctor), is being sued by a patient’s father who is engaged in a bitter divorce and custody battle.  At issue is chelation, the removing of heavy metals from the body.  It is a treatment that has been used for decades in heavy-metal poisoning cases of single, high-dose exposure as well as repeated, low-dose exposures.  Over time thousands of autistic children who were found to carry high levels of heavy metals have been treated with chelation.  Reports from parents and treating physicians have been positive.  In fact the voices of over 26,000 parents tabulated by the Autism Research Institute since 1967 rate chelation as one of the most successful treatments for autism among both conventional and alternative choices.

Continue reading "Child with Asperger's Selected Student of the Year From Over 800 Competitors" »

Chris Mooney’s Pharmaceutical Influence

ChrisMooneyHeadshot_June_2008_000 By Jake Crosby
 
He is the drug industry’s newer, trendier go-to guy in the media, replacing the role of Arthur Allen, who took a break to write about tomatoes. An expatriate of “Science”Blogs who now blogs for Discover, and contributing editor to Science Progress, Chris Mooney is perhaps Pharma’s newest writer who has taken on the task of spoon-feeding its message to the public.

He has co-written a book with Sheril Kirshenbaum entitled “Unscientific America,” where he briefly writes about this controversy as an example of something that should be written off as…well…unscientific. In an interview for his book in The LA Times, he slams Age of Autism and praises his former domain, “Science”Blogs. The interview aroused a series of emails from Ginger Taylor of Adventures in Autism to Chris Mooney, Sheril Kirshenbaum, and Mooney’s interviewer Lori Kozlowski. Of the three, Chris Mooney was the only one who did not reply.

His involvement in this debate has since intensified. Most recently, he appeared on the MSNBC show, “Morning Joe,” with former Vice President of Consumer Education for Johnson and Johnson Nancy Snyderman, who said that no studies show a link between vaccines and autism, a bald-faced lie. To criticize studies is one thing, but to deny that they even exist is flat-out drug industry denialism, the kind Mooney apparently felt no discomfort in associating himself with. He certainly had no problem taking advice from Michael Specter, who started writing about this controversy in his book from the same biased perspective by plagiarizing Paul Offit’s talking points. Specter’s book “Denialism” was, if anything, written from denialism.

Yet despite the previously described mingling with obvious denialists and plagiarists, Chris Mooney is perhaps most notorious in the autism community,  for the May 2009 article he contributed to Discover Magazine, entitled, “Why does the Vaccine/Autism Controversy Live On?” Now, that doesn’t really say much, given that Mooney has never managed to get his articles regularly published in anything above D-level pop science magazines such as SEED, and the Skeptical Inquirer.

Continue reading "Chris Mooney’s Pharmaceutical Influence" »

Age of Autism Comment of the Week 3/20

T-shirt small front

Our commenter of the week is ANON on The Autism Vaccine Controversy Continues.

It is very simple.   If you are worrying about measles coming back and maiming or killing people, then go find out what exactly are the adverse effects of measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, live polio, etc.

While Offit likes to argue that there are fewer antigens then ever before, what he fails to tell you is that is because SOMETHING else is put in to rev up the immune system in order to make the attentuated live virus replicate itself.  What is that?  Aluminum, mercury (thimerosal--the reason the flu virus needs it so they need less "virus.")   IF measles disease can cause encephalopathy, then so can measles vaccine.  This is particularly true when you give three different live viruses (or 4 if you also add varivax) at the same time.  Why can you give less antigen?  Well, because you gave a whopping dose of aluminum and other things that the immune system says should not be present. 

IF you seroconvert, you have the virus...be it measles, mumps, rubellas, whatever.  So, if you have the virus, anything that you could have experienced from the live disease CAN be experienced from the vaccine.  No amount of BS or rhetoric can change that simple fact.

 Didn't win but still want a T-shirt? Taking a page from public television, we'll happily send you one as our thank you for making a donation to A of A via our PayPal donate button.  You choose the donation amount. OK? Please tell us on the PayPal form if you want an adult M, L, XL or 2XL and include your mailing  address in the comments box at PayPal. Click below to  to see the back of the shirt.

Continue reading "Age of Autism Comment of the Week 3/20" »

Congratulations to David Kirby as Animal Factory Garners High Praise from NPR

Animal Factory Join us in congratulating David Kirby whose new book, Animal Factory is earning high praise at NPR in Books We Like and elsewhere. It is now featured on NPR's main Arts and Life Page. Of course, we've known since 2005 that when David Kirby tackles a topic, he does it with honesty and integrity. Order your copy HERE.
 
"Kirby combines the narrative urgency of Sinclair's novel with the investigative reporting of Schlosser's book — Animal Factory is nonfiction, but reads like a thriller."
 
"Heartbreaking"
 
"There's no political pleading or ideological agitprop in this book; it's remarkably fair-minded, both sober and sobering. Like Sinclair's and Schlosser's work, it has the potential to change the collective American mind about contemporary food issues. It deserves a wide audience, despite — or because of — the fact that it might be the most frightening book of the year." 
 
 

Autism, Vaccines, Thimerosal: Further Study Needed

Puzzle_incomplete By Julie Obradovic
 
In light of the recent Vaccine Court ruling I thought I would again highlight for readers precisely what has and has not been studied with regard to Thimerosal.
 
The fact is, it is impossible, absolutely, positively impossible to exonerate vaccines and/or Thimerosal in Autism based on the current science. Honest, ethical, and responsible people have no choice but to concede that in good faith.
 
Remember, only 1 ingredient (thimerosal) and 1 injection (the MMR) have been studied for their relationship to Autism. No study exists on the combination of vaccines given to children in a real world setting, with or without additional environmental insults such as antibiotics, or with regard to genetic susceptibilities.
 
No study has looked at the possible effect of the synergistic toxicity of aluminum and thimerosal, which are never supposed to be used in combination (according to the Manufacturer Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for thimerosal ) and are indeed combined in many shots (according to the Vaccine Excipient Summary  from the CDC).
 
And no controlled study, not one, exists on the effect of low dose ethyl mercury toxicity in humans (a statement made by study author Anders Hviid himself below on p.1765).
 
Furthermore, the studies are overwhelmingly population based which is widely accepted as incapable of ruling out causation. The authors repeatedly fail to identify or seek out vulnerable populations.
 
And last but not least, there are the tremendous conflicts of interest presented by the authors, more often than not witnesses for the government in vaccine injury cases, vaccine patent holders, and/or employees of pharmaceutical companies that produce vaccines.

Continue reading "Autism, Vaccines, Thimerosal: Further Study Needed" »

Parent Testimonial to UK GMC Panel, Update

Josh thin! Below is a testimonial to the GMC panel from Heather Edwards, regarding her son and his current health. Heath just contacted me and sent this photo of Josh with permission to run it.:

16th March 2010
 
Dear Claire Henesy,  
 
I write to you again now I am aware of the findings of facts from the panel, with regards to the case of Dr Wakefield, Professor Murch and Professor Walker-Smith.

I stand by the contents of my previous testimonial and would like to add a statement following the findings on fact.
 
My own son’s health has deteriorated since I wrote my previous testimonial. It has now been 4 years since my son has been able to eat and still remains unable to tolerate ANY food. This is due to the bowel disease raging through his poor body.

My son is now 17 years old and weighs under 6 stone, he looks like a victim of a concentration camp.

Josh my son is living proof this bowel disease Dr Wakefield discovered does exist. As a Result of the severity of the disease, his whole colon had to be removed.

I cannot begin to explain the pain my son endures and how his own consultant is unable to treat the condition and move him forward.
 
I was very angered and upset on the days I attended the hearing, to hear Miss Smith say “there was nothing physically wrong with these children” perhaps she needs to see my son and live with what he has to live with.

Josh’s output in his ileostomy bag remains double the daily amount of stoma losses, due to untouchable bowel disease.

I have images of my son’s insides 3 years after trying to treat the disease with steroids and immuno-suppressants. These images show the bowel disease remains untouched in fact it was more prominent to see.

Continue reading "Parent Testimonial to UK GMC Panel, Update" »

Olmsted on Autism: Boys Failing Due to Short Recess, Feminism - Yeah, That's the Ticket!

Stupid factory By Dan Olmsted

New test scores show boys falling behind girls in reading, dropping out of school more often and getting fewer college degrees. It's true everywhere, across every state. "In some states, the boys are trailing girls by as much as 10 percentage points," ABC News reported HERE last night. What's going on? Well, ABC speculates, boys brains are different. Recess is shorter and boys need to move around. And feminism has created opportunities that might make girls want to try harder.

Puh-LEEZE! This is what happens when the national conversation is as warped as it is right now. The most likely, the simplest explanation for a change this big in this short a period of time is obviously some kind of environmental factor. We have a clue from autism, which affects boys 4 or 5 to 1 and is increasing dramatically. But since we can't get real about what's going on, we end up talking about recess and women's rights. If you want to watch the medical community and the media failing our kids in real time, just tune in.

The Autism-Vaccine Controversy Continues

To_be_continued_1 By Twyla Ramos

As J.B. said in the March 13, 2010 L.A. Times article “Court Rejects Vaccine Link to Autism”:

"Find me another industry where the U.S. government defends their product in court and funds the science that exonerates them," said J.B. Handley, a founder of Generation Rescue in Sherman Oaks and father of a child with autism. "The average citizen has no hope."
 
It’s important to keep in mind that the Autism Omnibus decisions are not scientific papers.  The "special masters" making these decisions are lawyers, not scientists.  Their undergraduate degrees are in subjects such as Political Science, Philosophy, and Electrical Engineering.  Their legal specialties include tax, patent, tort, and military law.  While some seem to think that these decisions should end the controversy, they do not.
 
These decisions are based on the overriding goal of maintaining the vaccine program without too much liability.  This is a travesty of justice.  The vaccine court was established in 1986 as an alternative to tort product liability, and it is supposed to be a "no-fault" system which provides benefits to injured children.  In the 11/20/2008 article “Vaccine Injury Compensation: A Failed Experiment in Tort Reform?” Barbara Loe Fisher described quite well how this program is failing. (HERE)

There is no doubt that vaccines do injure some babies. Encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) is a known effect of some vaccines for some children (even listed on some of the vaccine labels, and in the government's list of accepted adverse reactions HERE).  Studies have found inflammation in the brains of people with autism (HERE).  But the vaccine court routinely turns down cases where autism is alleged to be caused by vaccines.

Continue reading "The Autism-Vaccine Controversy Continues" »

Palm Beach Post: "Victorious at Doral, Ernie Els Out to conquer the Monster that is Autism"

Ernie els From ErnieEls.com: Liezl and I are private people, but we are also very much in the public eye and we recognise that this gives us a platform to help raise funds and awareness for the causes of Autism and its possible treatments. It is something that we both feel very passionate about. We wish the Els family the best in their fight to help their son. You can comment at The Palm Beach Post.

DORAL — The Big Easy may be Ernie Els' nickname, but Easy Street never has been his permanent address.

Half a dozen times the Jupiter resident has been runner-up at one of golf's major championships, and twice in 2004 alone. Ernie's long ago run atop the World Golf Rankings lasted just nine weeks, too, for Tiger Woods has come to own that title and every other in the golfing universe.

On Sunday afternoon, however, when the final putt of a four-stroke victory at the WGC-CA Championship vanished into the cup, Els wore the almost incomprehensible look of a 40-year-old athlete going on 25, all things possible again if not absolutely likely.

Today at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, yet another fresh wave of hope washes in.

A private pro-am tournament featuring Jack Nicklaus, Raymond Floyd and a long list of contemporary PGA Tour stars like Robert Allenby and Mark Calcavecchia is where Ernie will spend the day after his dominating Doral performance.

The event benefits the Els for Autism Foundation, which is as personal as it gets for the affable South African and his transplanted South Florida family.

Ernie and his wife Liezl moved to Palm Beach County, as a matter of fact, to take advantage of intensive therapy and specific educational opportunities for their 7-year-old son, Ben, who as a toddler was diagnosed with the complex neurobiological disorder of autism.

Continue reading "Palm Beach Post: "Victorious at Doral, Ernie Els Out to conquer the Monster that is Autism"" »

Restraint and Seclusion Prevention Symposium at Autism One Generation Rescue Conference

Westin Learn more and register for AUTISM ONE  in Chicago, Illinois  May 24-30.

150 STRONG & THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE ROSTER OF SPEAKERS EVER ASSEMBLED TO HELP WITH AUTISM, NEUROIMMUNE, AND RELATED ISSUES

FEATURING:
Wednesday, May 26: 8 am - noon
The National Autism Association Presents: The Restraint and Seclusion Prevention Symposium

The Restraint and Seclusion Prevention Symposium will cover all facets of the R&S issue. From introducing the basic understanding of restraint and seclusion to discussing how to address the issue in your child’s IEP, presenters will offer applicable and useful information to help you preserve your child’s rights, protect your child from harmful restraint and seclusion practices, and provide materials designed to increase your child’s protection in the school setting.  Presenters will also provide invaluable tips on how to spot signs of abuse in your child and students, how teachers and aides can prevent dangerous situations in the classroom, and how you can help with federal and state legislative efforts.  Take-home reference materials will be provided.  Visit our friends at NAA: www.nationalautism.org

Thursday, May 27: 9 am - 5 pm
The Elizabeth Birt Center for Autism Law and Advocacy presents a day of autism legal and advocacy training with Dr. Andrew Wakefield and Dr. Arthur Krigsman (EBCALA Keynotes); Mary Holland, JD; Jennifer Keefe, JD; Robert Krakow, JD; William Long, JD, PhD, MDiv; and more!

Friday, May 28:  8 am - 2:45 pm
Prediction and Prevention of ASD: Signs to watch out for and treatments that will help you avoid the diagnosis of autism

Dave Humphrey, JD, Kenneth Bock, MD, Martha Herbert, MD, PhD, Doreen Granpeesheh, PhD, BCBA-D, Kendal Stewart, MD, and Lisa Hunter Ryden, MT, MBA, will take attendees through a 5-part series emphasizing the importance of early detection of the symptoms of ASD as helping practitioners alter the course of diagnosis. With early detection, practitioners can identify treatment strategies and interventions that, when provided intensively, can prevent children from developing the full symptom criteria of autism. These red flags and treatment options will be reviewed. The speakers will include data from young siblings of children with autism illustrating that children who receive treatment at a very early age do, in fact, avoid receiving an ASD diagnosis as their symptoms are effectively reversed. Here's just a sample:

Continue reading "Restraint and Seclusion Prevention Symposium at Autism One Generation Rescue Conference" »

Polly Tommey's "Hello Boys" Campaign Hits the UK

Polly Tommey is in the midst of launching her new campaign. Next week billboards and posters will be displayed nationwide; and Polly’s personal letters will reach Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg. This bold move is aimed to persuade the party leaders to provide the help and support so desperately needed by the autism community. Polly’s message is simple: millions of people are affected by autism, most of these people will use their vote to support any party willing to help their loved one.

Polly Tommey Hello Boys


Polly’s new campaign follows the success of her “Dear Gordon Brown…” campaign which last year culminated in a number of meetings at 10 Downing Street. These meetings were instrumental in the government’s move towards helping those with autism. Following these meetings Polly joined the external reference group that helped to formulate the government’s ‘strategy for adults with autism in England (2010)’ which was released earlier this month.

Polly comments, ‘It is important that politicians do not underestimate the power of the autism community. With over 6 million votes and the current likelihood of a hung parliament, we really do have the power to tip the balance in favour of whichever party promises the strongest support.’


 

Copenhagen Police Investigating Autism Vaccine Researcher Dr. Poul Thorsen for Fraud

Mermaid_Colour_300x374_96dpi(2) This report is from CPHPost Online:

WEDNESDAY, 17 MARCH 2010 12:19 RC NEWS
 
Critics of MMR vaccines say Danish researcher’s alleged fraud casts doubt on studies refuting connection between shots and autism

A Danish autism researcher is being investigated by police for defrauding an estimated 10 million kroner from Aarhus University while he was employed there.

Dr. Poul Thorsen, one of the researchers involved in two well-known autism reports that appeared in the influential New England Journal of Medicine, was accused of fraud last month by the university and East Jutland Police have now got involved in the case.

Thorsen resigned on Tuesday from his position in the US as adjunct professor at Drexel University in Philadephia, Pennsylvania in the wake of the investigation.

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Tinderbox: U.S. Vaccine Fears up 700% in 7 years

Trust_meter By J.B. Handley
 
With less than a half-dozen full-time activists, annual budgets of six figures or less, and umpteen thousand courageous, undaunted, and selfless volunteer parents, our community, held together with duct tape and bailing wire, is in the early to middle stages of bringing the U.S. vaccine program to its knees.
 
A well-publicized report from Pediatrics, released earlier this month, Parental Vaccine Safety Concerns, discussed the following:
 
“Our study indicates that a disturbingly high proportion of parents [25%] continue to believe that some vaccines cause autism in otherwise healthy children.”
 
The same report went on to comment on the public health’s response to this “problem” so far:
 
“This finding indicates that current public health education campaigns on this issue have not been effective in allaying the concerns of many parents.”
 
Worse for pediatricians and public health officials than the 1 in 4 people who believe vaccines can cause “autism in healthy children” is the 54% of parents and 60% of moms who agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “I am concerned about serious adverse effects of vaccines.”
 
Community, prepare to take a bow, America is listening.
 
But, before you do, let me share some more data with you. When this study came out, the headlines were focused on the “1 in 4 believe vaccines cause autism” but nowhere in any of the press reports could I find any data on how attitudes have changed over time.
 
Taking a very different approach from the average journalist, I started doing some of my own research, and came across this study, Parental Vaccine Safety Concerns, Results from the National Immunization Survey, 2001-2002 .
 
I was floored.
 
I remember 2001-2002. My son was born in 2002. I’d barely heard of autism. I’d heard the faintest whispers about vaccines causing autism, but wrote it off as hippy-conspiracy stuff. Not surprisingly, the 2001-2002 report, unlike the 2009 report, does not even mention the word “autism.”
 
And, in 2001-2002, what percent of parents expressed any concerns about the safety of vaccines? Seven. 7%. Less than 10. Five plus two. A full 93% of parents said vaccines were “completely safe.” In fact, the 2001-2002 study was exceptionally proud of the “low prevalence of vaccine safety concerns.”
 
What a difference seven years has made. Folks, the U.S. vaccine program literally has its hair on fire. 56% of parents today are concerned about the serious adverse effects of vaccines, and 60% of moms. 56% of parents is an 8-fold, or 700% increase from 2001-2002.

Parents, you can now take a bow. It’s way worse than we thought.

Continue reading "Tinderbox: U.S. Vaccine Fears up 700% in 7 years" »

The Supreme Court takes on Vaccine Court: Turning the Tables with Bruesewitz v. Wyeth

Legal update By Kent Heckenlively, Esq.

In the movie Ransom Mel Gibson and Rene Russo play the wealthy parents of a boy who’s been kidnapped and is being held hostage for $2 million dollars.  The business man played by Mel Gibson is a smiling charmer, but also knows how to turn the table on his opponents.

Going on live television with the two million dollars piled high on a table in front of him he announces that he’s turning the ransom into a bounty on those who kidnapped his son.  It’s a bold, risky move, and like most Hollywood movies turns out well.  Gibson’s action causes the kidnappers to start looking over their shoulders, making mistakes, and eventually turning on each other.

That’s the best way to understand the potential implications of Bruesewitz v. Wyeth.  For nearly twenty-five years the pharmaceutical companies have been able to lock vaccine injuries out of the courthouse through the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act establishing the Vaccine Court.  Their potential losses for vaccine injuries as well as the discovery of possible dangers from vaccines have been minimized by this structure.

But like Mel Gibson turning the tables on the people who took his son, parents may soon be able to turn the tables on the pharmaceutical companies.  The money which was once used to influence legislators and medical associations could soon be coveted by legions of trial lawyers.  When I consider the more than one million children with autism, and the 1 in 4 children who have a chronic health condition I really don't care if the wolves of the legal profession gobble them up.  It's called justice and every other industry in America has had to live under the same set of rules.  If their product causes injury they need to pay for the damage.  Why shouldn't vaccines be subject to the same level of scrutiny as other products?

Let me tell you why I think the current legal legal status of the vaccination program in this country is so crazy.  If you got up this morning, put some bread (gluten-free, of course) in the toaster, turned your back, and the toaster was on fire, burning up your kitchen, you’d be able to sue the manufacturer.  In discovery you’d be able to subpoena all the records from the company on toaster fires, design and manufacture of the product, reports to consumer agencies on defective toasters, and eventually you’d be in possession of just about all the necessary information on toaster fires.  You could present this to a jury and twelve of your fellow citizens would determine if the company was negligent in the design or manufacture of their toaster, and if so, how much you should recover.

It’s a pretty simple system and for the most part it keeps everybody honest.  The safety of the majority of the products in our lives is fairly high.

Continue reading "The Supreme Court takes on Vaccine Court: Turning the Tables with Bruesewitz v. Wyeth" »

Vaccine Injury Story on American Idol? We Are the Mainstream. Public Health and Media is the Fringe.

American_idol_tv_show Last night on American Idol, viewers heard that a contestant had had a "bad reaction to pertussis vaccine and seizures." This the most mainstream program on television. Read JB Handley's post on "The Tinderbox"" and how Americans no longer trust the overloaded vaccine schedule. Please comment if you watched American Idol last night.

Casey James, we learn, had a bad reaction to the pertussis vaccine -- lots of seizures -- and his mother was worried about his delayed speech, until he started humming songs in his crib. He sings "It's All Over Now." He has a great time on stage, rocking out. Randy says he is back. Ellen says for most women, their hearts will race just looking at him, but "for people like me ... blondes ... I thought it was fantastic." Heh. Kara says he really was a rock star, unlike last week when he was just trying. Simon says he look great, sang well, played well, but it felt more like an audition than to him doing something incredible on this big stage. 
You can read more in The Baltimore Sun.

Can Improper Storage of Measles Vaccines Lead to Death? Four Babies Die in India.

Vaccine expiration date A tragedy from Telegraph India.

Babies dead after anti-measles shots in MP

Bhopal, March 14: Four babies have died after being given anti-measles shots at a government vaccination camp in Madhya Pradesh, prompting the arrest of a doctor and a nurse amid fears that expired drugs had been used.

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Many in Autism Community Opposed Ari Ne'eman On National Council on Disability

ThumbsDown Details on where/how to sign to follow once live.

Dear President Obama:
 
We the undersigned oppose the nomination of Ari Ne'eman to the National Council on Disability. Although we salute your effort to include a person with an autism spectrum disorder on the council, the choice of Mr. Ne'eman is wrong for the autism community and wrong for our country.
 
1) We are a nation in the throes of an autism epidemic, with 1 in 110 afflicted and hundreds of thousands of families struggling to confront the enormous financial and emotional hardships of this disorder. It is an insult to our community and to the people of this nation who will bear the enormous costs of millions of children and adults with autism that a 22-year-old student has been nominated to this position. Mr. President, how can you praise this nominee's "depth of experience" when he has not held a job, earned a degree or experienced life after college?
 
2) Mr. Ne'eman vehemently opposes curing autism, calling cure "offensive." However, many individuals who would benefit from a cure are incapable of disagreeing with him. Mr. President, will your appointees also recommend ending the search for cures for childhood cancer and diabetes? Or just autism? Mr. Ne'eman opposes the mission of the country's leading autism organization, Autism Speaks, which supports efforts to prevent and cure autism. He also opposes the depiction of autism as a crisis and does not address the very significant needs of the large population of individuals who are profoundly disabled by autism.
 
For a member of the National Council on Disability to not advocate for a cure on behalf of tens of thousands of people who suffer from disabling problems such as self injury, inability to speak, incontinence and dependence on others for their care - and who will cost society $3-5 million over a lifetime - is unconscionable. To fight against prevention and cure for such a serious disorder is inhumane and not representative of the majority in the autism community or the general population. Mr. Ne'eman's views are extremist.
 
3) Finite resources will not stretch far enough to support the large number of people now diagnosed with autism. Without making the goals of prevention and cure a top priority, there will not be sufficient funding to adequately provide for the growing population of people with autism, rendering Mr. Ne'eman's goal of providing better quality of life for those on the autism spectrum unachievable.

Continue reading "Many in Autism Community Opposed Ari Ne'eman On National Council on Disability" »

Sebelius Asks Media to Censor Autism Debate

Zip lips By Katie Wright

“There are groups out there that insist that vaccines are responsible for a variety of problems, despite all scientific evidence to the contrary. We (the office of Secretary of Health and Human Services) have reached out to media outlets to try to get them not to give the views of these people equal weight in their reporting.”
See Reader's Digest HERE.

That’s right. Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of HHS, has asked newspapers, magazines, television journalists, who knows who else- specifically NOT to listen to parents and scientists in the autism community, not to respect their concerns, not to take seriously the condition of chronically ill children with autism and to disregard a growing body of evidence questioning the safety of our infant and toddlers' immunization schedule. If I have got anything wrong I would love to hear a tape or see a transcripts of these media “outreaches.”

Pretty frightening stuff. Thank you to Jake Crosby who uncovered this frank and disturbing exchange between Arthur (autism is not so bad and there is no increase anyway) Allen and Ms. Sebelius.

I am taking Ms. Sebelius at her word. Ms. Sebelius has unilaterally said that she knows that every single American parent who saw their child regress post vaccination or experience a severe adverse reaction is wrong and she knows better. Ms. Sebelius has ordered, suggested, beseeched, implored (?) American journalists NOT to “give these people (anyone concerned with vaccine safety) equal weight in their reporting” because she has decided by informal governmental decree that the debate is closed?

Sounds like something that would happen in a communist dictatorship, right? Was there a similar decree when “citizen dissidents” questioned the safety of hormone replacement therapy for women? Was the media instructed to ignore those nuisances who were suspicious of a long denied link between hormone therapy and breast cancer? Did the HHS order a first amendment crackdown of those trouble-making women who had long complained that Fibromalgia was a real disease and not a psychosomatic condition. Menaces everywhere who dared to question medical authorities! They must be silenced! You have got to be kidding.

Continue reading "Sebelius Asks Media to Censor Autism Debate" »

Video and Paper on Rules of Using a Public Restroom for Autism Population

Restroom Managing Editor's Note: Our friend's Dennis Debbaudt and Stephen Shore granted us permission to run this video. I was just blown away by how important it is. We use video modeling for small children on the spectrum. This is a version for older kids and adults to learn lifeskills. The first available is on the use of a public restroom. A paper follows the video, please scroll down.

Using a Public Restroom by Dr. Liane Holliday Willey , Dr. Stephen Shore and, Dennis Debbaudt

This short video excerpt from Debbaudt Legacy Productions in progress video Autism & Safe Travel with Dr. Stephen Shore© 2010 illustrates what some of the public men’s room social rules and violations can be.

This video depicts some options and tips for persons on the spectrum, family and educators about social and safety considerations when using a public restroom.

Social Rules for Using a Public Men’s Room



While singing in the shower at home or in your hotel room’s washroom is perfectly acceptable social behavior, carrying a tune or talking in a public men’s room is not. Silence in the men’s room is expected and normal. Silence, in this case, is golden.  

Men who violate the rules of the men’s room risk consequences that include others becoming suspicious of the motives of the violator, confronting the violator or reporting the violator to authorities. Worse, perhaps, is that the violator is thought to be someone looking for an illegal sexual liaison. Difficult interactions with sexual adventurers could result. Police conduct undercover operations to root out this illegal activity. Those who get caught in the sting will be questioned, perhaps arrested.

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God, Greed and the Apostles. Bill Welsh on Fallacies of The Lancet, GMC and MMR Reporting.

Myths By Bill Welsh

I was reminded recently of the old joke, Question: What is the difference between God and a doctor?

Answer: God does not think he is a doctor!

This reverie occurred during a lull in a Radio Scotland broadcast where I had been invited to spar with a medical practitioner re (1) the recent GMC verdict in the ‘trial’ of Dr Wakefield, and (2) the MMR/bowel disease/autism controversy. My medical practitioner combatant was a particularly contrary and obstinate soul whom I suspect was a reluctant participant probably having been corralled into attending the live transmission at the last minute. He arrived at the studio with the usual bucketful of ill-informed assumptions plus half-truths gleaned lazily from pharma-backed medical journals and the tabloid press.

The broadcast followed the normal pattern with first the doctor’s reading of the situation countered by mine. None of this would I suspect make riveting listening to your casual mid-morning radio attendee but it fills space for the broadcaster and gives campaigners like me the opportunity to challenge the orthodox view. What did surprise me however was how my blustering antagonist continued to voice opinions and views that have been answered and countered repeatedly over time. It is as if there is a determination by the medical profession to re-position misinformation and downright lies into folk-lore. Was it Mark Twain who said “A lie can be half-way round the world before the truth has got its boots on”? Well current medical/pharma philosophy appears to be ‘If we keep saying the lie often enough, it will become truth’.
 
Here are just four examples from the radio programme:

1)“The Lancet study was too small, there were only 12 children”.
 
Not true. The report in the Lancet was on the FIRST 12 children. The addendum to the paper says:
''Up to Jan 28, a further 40 patients have been assessed; 39 with the syndrome'.
(Hundreds more followed of course.)
 
2) “The GMC concluded MMR was safe and unconnected to bowel disease and autism”
 
Not true. The GMC chairman stated: “The panel wish to make it clear that this case is not concerned with whether there is or might be any link between the MMR vaccination and autism”.

Continue reading "God, Greed and the Apostles. Bill Welsh on Fallacies of The Lancet, GMC and MMR Reporting." »