Time to Fix What's Broken at HHS: CAARC Calls for GAO Investigation into Autism Research
The Lion King On Broadway King of the Autism Jungle!

Journalist Greg Dobbs on The "Sausage Making" of His WorldNet Autism Vaccine Story

Dobbs Head Shot August 2011

By Greg Dobbs

Dear Family and Friends,

Although the piece that just ran on our program World Report was my swan song on HDNet, it was satisfying, because while everyone surely won’t agree with the conclusions I reached, it’s on an important topic that is terribly complex and equally controversial: childhood vaccinations and autism, not only the long-running debate about cause-and-effect, but the federal government’s inconsistency dealing with it.

For starters, for the sake of those of you who don’t know much of anything about autism, I should define it.  The only trouble is, each definition is presented differently.  The first website that comes up when you Google “autism” is an agency within the National Institutes of Health and it describes autism this way: “A pervasive developmental disorder… that appears in the first 3 years of life, and affects the brain's normal development of social and communication skills.”  The site goes on to say, “Autism is a physical condition linked to abnormal biology and chemistry in the brain.  The exact causes of these abnormalities remain unknown, but this is a very active area of research.  There are probably a combination of factors that lead to autism.”

Wikipedia gives this description: “Autism is a disorder of neural development characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior.  These signs all begin before a child is three years old.  Autism affects information processing in the brain by altering how nerve cells and their synapses connect and organize; how this occurs is not well understood.”

Then there’s the website of the United States Surgeon General: “Autism, the most common of the pervasive developmental disorders (with a prevalence of 10 to 12 children per 10,000), is characterized by severely compromised ability to engage in, and by a lack of interest in, social interactions. It has roots in both structural brain abnormalities and genetic predispositions, according to family studies and studies of brain anatomy.”

Or you can just take it the way I described it in the program as I introduced two young women who I’ll tell you more about later in this letter.  What you need to know now is, both of them are autistic, but each was treated in a different way when it came to making a claim for lifetime care: “Both girls are brain-damaged, and both have limited language and socialization, lots of repetitive movement, no eye contact, no tolerance for change.”  One thing I left out, but a common trait according to parents of autistic children, is tantrums.  Severe tantrums, sometimes with no discernable catalyst.

In short, autism, no matter what words we use to describe it, is the result of some kind of disorder in the brain.  And that is a key word: it is a disorder, not a disease.  What this means is, it’s not something you can detect by testing someone’s blood.  Or mapping their genome; so far, although scientists have been searching for an “autism gene,” (which in fact the Surgeon General declares a high priority), they haven’t found one.  You wouldn’t even find autism in an autopsy.  It doesn’t have a physical component; it is a set of behaviors.  In other words, if someone exhibits the symptoms of autism, they are autistic.  Or, to use the medical lingo, they are on the “spectrum of autism.”

The story I did is about one of the several potential causes of autism: vaccines.  And if I had to summarize that part of the story in a single sentence, it would be this: some people believe childhood vaccinations trigger autism, and some don’t.  The other part of the story--- the new part, which even many Americans who are familiar with the debate don’t know--- is this: a few decades ago, Congress set up a trust called the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, to pay claims in special “vaccine courts” for what are called “vaccine injuries,” the purpose of which is twofold.  First, the program was created explicitly to protect pharmaceutical companies from massive and crippling lawsuits, since their production is in the national interest; in return for that protection, the act mandates that they fund the trust, (which apparently they finance through a levy on every dose they sell, which would actually mean, we’re funding it ourselves).  Second, the program was created to provide resources for the special, sometimes lifetime care some vaccine-injured people need.  In its early years, the vaccine courts did find in favor of families whose children regressed to autism after getting their vaccinations.  But once there appeared to be an epidemic of autism, coinciding with the spread of vaccination mandates to all 50 states, the government stopped paying, and fought the families that made newer claims every step of the way.

Maybe the most important point to convey is, all the science isn’t in yet.  Plenty of people who reject any link between vaccines and autism will tell you that all the science is in.  But I’ve come to believe, they’re wrong.  When they make the assertion, they’re talking about epidemiological studies that say, We cannot find a link to establish that vaccines cause autism.  But that’s not real convincing when you dig deeper and realize, a biological scientific study isn’t going to find a link because as I wrote above, autism is an observable behavior disorder, not a detectable disease.  It’s also not convincing when you dig down and learn, they’re willing to declare without qualification that vaccines are not a cause, but then, they still can’t say what the causes actually are.

Even the Department of Health and Human Services, which flatly rejects any direct cause-and-effect, concedes that point.  When I wrote to HHS asking if all the science is in, they wrote back to me, “No.  Scientific inquiries continue on autism, including causation.”  The Surgeon General’s office seems no more certain; its website contains this tentative language: “It seems likely (my italics) that the roots of most mental disorders lie in some combination of genetic and environmental factors… including… autism.”

The traditional view has been that in the majority of cases, genetics are the cause of children’s autism.  But to underline what I say about the science still being inconclusive, earlier this year, a study from Stanford and the University of California at San Francisco looked at twins where one or both has autism and concluded that long-held assumptions about autism being mainly genetic are wrong.  Yet two weeks ago, another credible study was published by the University of California at Davis, which says that children with autistic siblings are more likely to be autistic themselves… which suggests once again a stronger genetic link.  My point?  There is no consensus.

So, while I’ll explain in a moment why so many people are sure that there is a link between vaccinations and autism, let me first explain why--- or at least speculate why--- so many are sure there isn’t.  One of their arguments--- besides all the science being in--- is that autism naturally occurs around the same ages when kids start getting their vaccines; ipso facto, it is a coincidence.  But maybe more telling, many of the people I talked to, people opposed to the notion that there’s a link, began their arguments by telling me that if it were widely believed that vaccines can cause autism, then more parents would opt their children out of vaccination programs (for example, if you claim a “religious” exemption, it is granted without question because authorities aren’t necessarily permitted to challenge such a claim), and that would mean higher rates of the very diseases the vaccines are designed to prevent, which certainly would fly in the face of the national interest.

And there are statistics to back them up.  Just last week, a study in San Diego showed that an increasing number of parents are not allowing their kids to get their vaccinations for measles, mumps, rubella (the combo known as MMR), diphtheria, pertussis which is whooping cough, tetanus (DPT), hepatitis-B, flu, polio.  And sure enough, the incidence of some of these diseases, for which an increasing number of children have not been protected, is up.  This leads those who reject a cause-and-effect to say, skipping your children’s vaccinations is a more dangerous risk than the risk of autism.  Personally I agree, although if I had an autistic child and had reason to believe his vaccinations were the cause, quite understandably I might define “risk” differently.  One mother said to me as her severely autistic child sat on her lap, “If this were your child, if this was your grandchild, you couldn’t look at your child or grandchild and say, ‘It’s okay.  It may have happened to you but look at the people we’ve saved’.”

And I’ve heard one more argument from people conversant with the issue, an argument meant to prove that there’s no merit in the claims of vaccine-autism advocates.  It’s about a study that was published more than a decade ago by a British doctor named Andrew Wakefield.  Based, he wrote, on a survey of autistic children, there’s enough evidence of a link to their vaccinations to justify further research.  But after Wakefield’s report produced fear in a lot of parents in both Great Britain and the U.S., motivating the withdrawal of lots of kids from vaccination programs, a journalist wrote in the British Medical Journal that Wakefield’s data was fraudulent, and by and large his study has been discredited.  There is debate about the integrity of the journalist who denounced Wakefield, but that’s beside the point.  Even if Wakefield did fabricate his findings, it doesn’t change the preponderance of circumstantial evidence I see that a link exists.  What’s more, in the spirit of tit-for-tat, one of the most oft-cited studies denying a link was conducted by a Danish scientist named Poul Thorsen.  Well, now he’s discredited too, because only a few months ago he was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of wire fraud and money laundering, based on a scheme, the Justice Department says, to steal grant money that the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta had awarded to governmental agencies in Denmark for… guess what… autism research.  The bottom line?  There might be some bad eggs on both sides.   

In the course of covering the story and producing the program on autism, I made connections with about a dozen families with autistic kids.  They all tell the same story--- which is mirrored by about 5,000 families who have filed claims with the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.  The story is this: My child was developing normally--- language, socialization, coordination, and everything else--- until his or her vaccinations.  And then, everything changed.  First, a violent reaction to the shot itself.  When I’d point out that every tot cries during a shot, they’d say no, we’re not talking about the normal cry of a child when someone punches a needle into the arm.  One mother told me her little girl screamed like a wild animal; she described it as “feral” and said, “I pray to God I never hear it again.” 

And that’s not the end of it.  All the stories go on to describe severe diarrhea, fevers, rashes, infections, in many cases, seizures, all in the wake of the vaccinations.  Scary-sounding stuff.  As another mother said to me, there’s only one common denominator: “These babies are not all eating the same food, they’re not drinking the same water, they’re not breathing the same air, but we know from the CDC that over 90% of these children in America have received their vaccines.”

What’s the common denominator in the vaccines?  Well, one answer is a controversial preservative, used for decades in all kinds of vaccines, called Thimerosal.  Literally half of the weight of Thimerosal is mercury, one of the most toxic chemical elements on earth.  Do you remember learning as a child that if you broke a thermometer, you should never never never touch the mercury that spills out?  If you are female and have been pregnant, do you remember hearing that tuna fish is the devil, because of the mercury that has been found in fish?  But for decades, we injected it in our children. 

Again, I think I can plausibly argue that the government is absolutely inconsistent when it comes to the question of the safety of Thimerosal.  The Food and Drug Administration does say on its website, “Exposure to… mercury, has been shown to pose a variety of health risks to humans.”  Yet it also maintains, consistent with other government agencies, that there is “no evidence of harm from the use of Thimerosal as a vaccine preservative.”  Which is fine, until you see that as a “precautionary measure,” the FDA “urged” vaccine manufacturers to “reduce or eliminate Thimerosal… as soon as possible.”  In the last five years, happily, all but trace amounts of mercury have been eliminated from most vaccines.  But if there is “no evidence of harm,” I have to ask, why remove it at all?  Anyway, when the kids who’ve made claim in the “vaccine courts” were inoculated, mercury was part of the vaccines injected in their veins.

Of the families with whom I connected, two of them are centerpieces in my story.  The first family lives in Centerville, Tennessee, a couple of hours west of Nashville; the other is in Yuma, Arizona.  The parents in Tennessee, the Leteures, have a daughter named Kimberly Sue.  The Cedillos, in Arizona, have Michelle.  As I said in the beginning of the program, when you see both girls, you don’t need a medical expert to tell you that neither is normal.  Both families insist that the cause of their daughters’ autism is the vaccines they received as little girls; their evidence isn’t scientific, but anecdotal: each was developing normally--- as one mother put it, “perfect”--- until the vaccinations, then both girls abruptly severely regressed to the point where today, neither can do anything for herself; each needs round-the-clock care.  But there’s one big difference between them: although the government insists that vaccines don’t cause autism, Kimberly Sue was compensated for her condition by a federal vaccine court.  Michelle wasn’t.

Why the inconsistency?  It seems to be determined by both timing and semantics.  The part about timing is this: Kimberly Sue Leteure is nearly 30 years old; she got her childhood vaccinations back in the early 1990s, before the autism epidemic appeared.  Michelle will be just 17 next week; by the time she got her vaccinations, every state was mandating them and a lot more kids were getting them… and a lot more parents were reporting awful reactions, in most cases concurrent with a loss of language and diminished social development, part of the sometimes slow but certain onset of autism.  The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program didn’t award Michelle Cedillo a cent.

But the tragedy is amplified by the process.  By the time Michelle’s family was filing her claim, about 5,000 families were filing the same claim, telling the same story.  So, overwhelmed with the volume of claims, the “vaccine court” took six so-called “test cases” on which all the other claims would then be judged; they called it the “Omnibus Autism Proceeding.”  They allowed a committee of claimants to choose their strongest cases to serve as those test cases.  Michelle Cedillo’s turned out to be the very first.

The government used seventeen expert witnesses to argue against her claim--- none of them, by the way, ever having actually examined her.  And in the end, although Kimberly Sue Leteure had won a similar claim a few years earlier, the goal posts seemed to have moved.  Michelle, along with each of the other test cases, lost, which basically killed the claims of five-thousand autistic children.  So, if you happened to be born in the 1980s, you were compensated.  If you were born after that… you weren’t.

Now here’s the inconsistency about semantics.  A group of parents decided to look further into the performance of these “vaccine courts.”  They asked Health and Human Services, which administers the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, for all pertinent documents about judgments made in the courts.  The HHS response: a letter, saying it would take four to five years to assemble everything, and cost them three-quarters-of-a-million-dollars.

They could afford neither the money nor the time, so on their own, through hook and crook (because court documents don’t have phone numbers or addresses of claimants, which would have made it easy), they found about 150 families who had been awarded compensation for vaccine injuries by the program.  And here’s that inconsistency with semantics: these families had not filed for the vaccine injury of autism; they had filed for the injury of encephalopathy, which is damage to the brain.  As one advocate put it to me, they hadn’t used the “A” word.  But when the researchers who found these 150 families gave them a check list which basically contained the symptoms of autism, it turned out that in the majority of these compensated cases, the kids were autistic (which is, don’t forget, damage to the brain).  The differences were that autism was the key injury they claimed (rather than encephalopathy), and that in some of these cases although not all, its onset came slowly, not abruptly.

But even those distinctions were muddied in the case of an autistic girl in Athens, Georgia, named Hannah Poling.  Described as happy, even precocious until she was 19 months old, she had fallen behind on her vaccination schedule because of ear infections and so she got all her shots--- nine doses of vaccines--- in a single visit to the doctor.  After that, as her mother put it, “My daughter… was suddenly no longer there.”  After her parents, a neurologist and a nurse, filed an autism claim in the “vaccine court” and compensation was awarded, the arbitrator (they call them “special masters,” appointed by a federal judge) wrote that vaccines were to blame for the severe disorder in Hannah’s brain--- again “encephalopathy”--- but Health and Human Services insisted that they didn’t “cause” her autism but rather, “Encephalopathy may be accompanied by a medical progression of an array of symptoms including…autism..”  Which basically means, vaccines had only “resulted” in Hannah’s autism, not “caused” it.  I call that transparently tortured logic.

I’ve long been aware of the debate at the heart of this story: are vaccines one of the causes of autism?  But I’ll be honest: I never paid a lot of attention to it and to the degree that I remember my reactions whenever I heard about it, I kind of thought that the people behind the supposition of cause-and-effect probably spent their evenings looking for UFOs.  I don’t think so any more.  The very first people with whom I made contact on that side of the debate are a law professor at NYU, a county probation officer in suburban New York, and the wife of a lieutenant colonel in the United States Marine Corps (who only a few days ago left for his third deployment to Afghanistan).  In other words, not just a bunch of loonies.  We sat in on a parents’ autism support group one night in New York City, and just for the sake of it, I asked each of them to tell me something about themselves.  Two are lawyers in New York, one is the communications director for a non-profit, one is a college professor, one is vice president of client services for an investment advisory firm, and for good measure, the last is the daughter of the former Chairman of NBC.  Not exactly a fringe group.

They’re not calling for all parents to shun all vaccines.  But they are asking for a few things, mainly, what they call “safer” conditions for vaccinations: don’t do it if a child is already sick and the immune system is down, which is part of the story behind many of the autistic children’s vaccinations; don’t do more than one shot at a time; and don’t automatically get the shots if there’s any indication, like from a family history, of a predisposition to adverse reactions, which takes into account the possibility of a genetic link.  They also call for more research; as they’ll point out, it once was considered safe to use x-ray machines to measure your feet in shoe stores….and to prescribe Thalidomide to pregnant women.  Even a member of the government’s Advisory Commission on Childhood Vaccines told me, “Research on vaccine safety remains flawed and incomplete.”

But they’re calling for something else too.  They want Congress to reexamine the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Fund.  As I wrote earlier, originally it was created for the purpose of ensuring that “vaccine manufacturers… not be liable for injuries or deaths resulting from unavoidable side effects.”  They want a return to the claim-friendly spirit of the legislation which said, judgments on claims should be settled “quickly, easily, and with… generosity.”  A federal court also ruled that judgments should be based on probability and logic, not medical or scientific certainty.  While another court said, “close calls” should be “resolved in favor of injured claimants.”  With only one claim in five winning compensation for vaccine injuries--- which includes reactions like paralysis and blindness that have nothing to do with autism--- it hasn’t worked out that way.

You’ll notice that I have peppered this letter with only a paucity of governmental opinion.  I tried for it.  Repeatedly.  But if you happened to see my program on the air, you heard what I said: no one would talk.  Normally it’s not hard to get interviews in Washington DC; since starting with HDNet, I’ve probably made half-a-dozen trips to Washington a year.  But for this story, no soap.

For example I asked, repeatedly, to interview someone from the Department of Justice, which argued against the families making claims.  My requests were rejected with the response, “The court’s opinion speaks for itself.”  I tried to interview any of “special masters” from the vaccine courts, some of whom had mocked the parents as “victims of bad science” with “reconstructed memories” and the doctors who supported them as guilty of “gross medical misjudgment.”  One even wrote in a ruling rejecting a claim that she would have to emulate Lewis Carroll and “believe six impossible things before breakfast” before ruling in favor of the child.  None of the special masters could do an interview on-the-record.  I worked with the FDA to get an on-the-record interview; they “declined.”  Maybe it’s just me, but it all started to smell kind of fishy.

I tried, repeatedly, to interview someone--- anyone--- from the Department of Health and Human Services which administers the program., including Secretary Kathleen Sebilius.  She was quoted last year in Reader’s Digest, saying of those who argue there’s a link between vaccines and autism, “We have reached out to media outlets to try to get them not to give the views of these people equal weight in their reporting.”  When I asked her agency last week whether she’d really said that, they responded, “No one here can remember.”  I wonder how they felt when we showed her words, on the page from Reader’s Digest, on the air.  All they did offer, by way of an interview, was to accept written questions, which meant, no follow-ups.  But I did submit some, the gist of which I’ve related in this letter.  Except this one: I asked in an email how HHS explains the cases where compensation was made to autistic children?  Their answer: “Over the past 23 years, the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has compensated cases where a child showed sudden serious brain illness (called acute encephalopathy) at the time of vaccination.”  Which doesn’t fully answer the question at all.

The discovery that the government has compensated some children with autism, children like Kimberly Sue Leteure, doesn’t prove that the vaccines actually caused her condition.  The newest scientific research about autism doesn’t either.  But in the debate over what does cause the disorder, the fact that science still is inconclusive, and the government is inconsistent, gives the families who blame vaccinations for their children’s autism ammunition they haven’t had before.

As I said at the start of this letter, the subject is controversial, and I wouldn’t be surprised if many of you reading this still believe that the whole theory of a link between childhood vaccinations and autism is bunk.  So be it.  What I’ve loved about the program for which I’ve worked these past seven years is that it has given me a voice, when a voice seemed appropriate, to report things that have been underreported.  I think this story is a classic case.  And a nice way to finish my work at HDNet.

All the best to everyone in this beautiful summer of 2011,

Greg

Since 2004, Greg Dobbs has been a correspondent for HDNet television’s World Report. Besides domestic programs for World Report about everything from PTSD to sexual offender laws to advances with stem cell treatments to abuse of the Indian Trust, the countries around the world from which he has reported include: • Russia (Putin’s politics) • Egypt (terrorism) • South Africa (15 years after apartheid) • Vietnam (legacy of Agent Orange) • Lebanon (Hezbollah) • Venezuela (Hugo Chavez) • The Palestinian Territories and Israel (the inert peace process) • Indonesia (filthy water) • Switzerland (assisted suicide) • Dubai (income versus ideology) • Nicaragua (free trade with US) • Liberia (recovering from civil war) • Great Britain (politics) • Bolivia (coca crops) • Colombia (the drug war) • Mexico (deepwater oil drilling) He also provided live reports along with Dan Rather on primary and general election nights in 2008, and has covered the U.S. space program for HDNet, anchoring live from Florida for every space shuttle launch since the Columbia disaster. Before HDNet, Dobbs worked for 23 years for ABC News, reporting from nearly 80 countries around the world. His major stories overseas for ABC include: • The Iranian revolution • The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan • The Gulf War • The troubles in Northern Ireland • The Solidarity revolution in Poland • The leadership transition in the Soviet Union • The Iran-Iraq war • The conflicts with Libya • The civil war in Zimbabwe, née Rhodesia • The assassination of Anwar Sadat in Egypt His major domestic stories include: • The Watergate scandal • The Indian occupation of Wounded Knee • The Exxon Valdez oil spill Appearing on World News Tonight, Nightline, 20/20, and Good Morning America, Dobbs won two national Emmys and was nominated for more. He also won the Distinguished Service Award from the Society of Professional Journalists. After leaving ABC News, Dobbs was a talk show host on the 50,000-watt KOA Radio in Denver, then hosted on KNRC Radio, and simultaneously was a columnist for The Denver Post and the late Rocky Mountain News. Also, for six years he hosted the Emmy-award winning television program Colorado State of Mind on Rocky Mountain PBS. Besides his new book Life in the Wrong Lane, he is author of a university-level journalism textbook called Better Broadcast Writing, Better Broadcast News. Dobbs and his wife Carol have two grown sons. He is active on community non-profit boards. He is a native of San Francisco with degrees from the University of California at Berkeley and Northwestern University.

Comments

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Heather White

Thank you so much for lending your voice to this debate.

I would like to add that the mercury derivative thimerosal was only removed from 2 vaccines the Hib and HepB and during that time 6 new vaccines were added to the schedule 2 contained the mercury derivative thimerosal - Flu and Meningococcal. In 2002 the FDA approved pregnant women to be injected with the full load of thimerosal containing flu vaccines.

During the birth co-hort years of 1988.7 to 3 years of age was the changepoint year of autism. During that timeframe the full load of thimerosal containing vaccines hit the market and the vaccine schedule bloated. Also the autoimmune disease IDDM hit and our Infant Mortality Rates (IMR) dropped below third world countries. I created a timeline and hope you will find it useful.

Kind Regards,

http://interactivetimeline.com/653/causation-timeline/?w=320

by: http://www.autismrawdata.net/index.html

Natasa

A big Thank you to Greg Dobbs! It is sooooo refreshing, almost shocking, to read a well-informed and balanced 'mainstream' article, a real rarity these days.

In response to Hillary Butler (and as an additional info of interest to Greg Dobbs) there actually have been several post mortem studies showing significant immune/inflammatory pathology in brains of individuals with autism. The seminal Pardo/Vargas 2005 neuroinflammation study was the most important one, but there are several more recent ones – like that one by an Italian team showing (always pathological) neuronal calcium overload, then a brand new one by a UK team showing abnormal NF-kB activation (NF-kB is the master inflammatory/immune activation molecule) in post mortem brains. Several very important studies on serological immune markers have also been published this year, most interesting being that one from India showing again raised NF-kB in autism blood compared to controls. Lo and behold the levels corresponded with severity of autism. Same with levels of osteopontin in the blood. Few other studies showed massively increased blood levels of other major pro-inflammatory cytokines, like Il-6 and TNF-alpha, compared to controls.

So YES, you most certainly CAN measure autism by biological means. These current findings need only to be carried out on a bigger scale now, findings further refined a little, and tests developed to allow this kind of testing on clinical (non-research) scale, and voila! A biomarker!

If only a tiny fraction of the money spent on genetic research could go towards this goal, we could have a usable clinical biomarker in no time.

Jeannette Bishop

I particularly appreciated the quality of the HDNet report.

There is far more that could be investigated and reported regarding autism and the vaccine connection--I would like to see more reporting on the "quality" of research purported to exonerate vaccines for instance--but it is rare to have someone investigate to the point presented in the report and this letter. Thank you!

B Freshour

Thank you for this article. I myself am in the midst of a battle with the Vaccine Court for an injury for myself. While I am an adult, and the injury is not autism, I can assure you that I've been "diagnosed" by a doctor who has never seen me, and I'm not sure he ever sees any patients. The Special Masters seem to be on the side of the pharma companies, and the attorneys for the Department of Health and Human Services haven't been able to meet any of the deadlines in this case, yet we are expected to.
It's a flawed and unjust system, yet at the same time media bombards us with a constant barrage of immunization "reminders." It's all about the money for big pharma and the fact that they can get away with harming innocent people with NO liability.

CarolynC Kylesmom

Thank you for your heroism and courage writing this.
HOWEVER:

Just wanted to point out that mercury is STILL in many flu shots and that they upped the recommendation for flu shots to twice a year, and stress it for pregnant women, and push it from pharmacies and grocery stores. Therefore, the autism rate may not go down as much as we would otherwise expect.

ALso Wakefield did not fake his data and please don't compare him to Thorsen. Please read his book.

Thank you for speaking truth.

Benedetta

Thank you Mr. Dobbs this article pretty much sums up my life. A very complete and correct article.

There are medical test out there, they just don't want to know about them, for example high B cells in the blood of autistic kids.

And Kawasakis is involved in all of this.
There is such a thing as atypical or incomplete Kawasakis and plenty of parents are saying that incomplete seems to involve the brain more than the typical Kawasakis which involves the heart.


Here is a study that says that the vascular system has been damaged in certain parts of the brain of Kawasaki patients. Go to http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2431/5/14
for the complete study.
"40% of the Kawasaki disease group showed elevated internalising scores in the clinical or borderline-clinical range. This compared with 18% of hospital controls and 13% of sibling controls. Additionally, the Kawasaki disease (KD) group were shown to be experiencing greater overall total difficulties when compared with the controls (KD 13.7, HC 8.6, SC 8.9). The KD group attained higher behavioural scores within the internalising sub-categories of somatic problems (KD 61, HC 57, SC 54) and withdrawn traits (KD 56, HC 53, SC 51). The KD group were also shown to be suffering more thought problems (KD 57, HC 53, SC 50) compared with the controls. Further difficulties relating to conduct (KD 3.3, HC 1.4) and social interactions (KD 6.7, HC 8.3) are also highlighted for the KD group compared with hospital controls. Positron emission tomograms were performed on nine patients to investigate severe behavioural problems. Three showed minor changes, possibly a resolving cerebral vasculopathy."

 Michelle

If you want to see how serious other agencies (e.g. the EPA) consider mercury, just drop a florescent light bulb in a big box hardware store, and you'll see the employees swoop down quickly to "haz mat" the area, and dispose of the bulb (mercury) according to EPA standards using properly labeled, color coordinated buckets. This process is expensive and time consuming, involving telephone calls, and extensive paperwork.

So why is it "safe" to inject this same metal into our children, bypassing their immune systems right into the blood stream? There is no mystery as to what causes "autism" which is not a disorder OR a disease. It is heavy metal poisoning. Period. I should know. My son became autistic after several vaxxes. When I discovered mercury & aluminum (they did remove *some* of the thimerosol, and added Al instead) were the reason many felt the vaccines 'caused' autism, I went about removing it by chelating it out. After two years the autism is gone.

And to Anne Dachel (love your work!):

**No one has ever been able to should us an autism rate among adults even remotely close to what we see in our children. And I don't mean an eccentric uncle or an odd recluse. I want to see the 40, 60, and 80 year olds doing what so many of our children are doing. Where are the adults in diapers, flapping their hands, banging their heads? Where are they adults who don't talk but can rock for hours? Where are those autistic adults with chronic diarrhea, constipation, seizures, and sleep disorders?***

No, Anne, they have "Alzheimer's" instead. Long lives lived with mercury filled teeth, tuna, and flu shots, having used aluminum cans, anti-perspirants, etc. Same stuff, different name.

POISON, POISON, POISON.

It's just that simple.

Anne McElroy Dachel

Dear Mr. Dobbs.

Your work is invaluable to us in the autism community. The faces of Kimberly Sue and Michelle should frighten every parent. If it wasn't the vaccines, what happened to suddenly turn these healthy, normally developing toddlers into severely disabled children?

The trouble is we keep asking the people with everything at stake if their vaccines cause autism. We keep pretending that this is just about the science. We ignore the overwhelming influence the pharmaceutical industry has over our health officials. We allow the government to produce the endless population studies all showing no evidence of harm.

Personally, I'm still waiting for HHS Sec. Sebilius to have a real life toxicologist standing next to her declaring that it's perfectly safe to inject known neurotoxins into babies and pregnant women. That never happens. Instead, we constantly get an epidemiologist or a psychiatrist telling us there is no link and that they're hot on the trail of the gene/genes that cause autism.

Notice the big news that more than one in 10 parents are refusing certain vaccines or delaying the mandated schedule. That's sure to increase as autism becomes more and more a part of the childhood landscape. None of the parents who saw the damage first-hand are ever going away. We're more united than ever and our message is out there: My child was born healthy and was developing normally until the vaccines. No one knows what happened; they're just sure it wasn't the vaccines.

No one has ever been able to should us an autism rate among adults even remotely close to what we see in our children. And I don't mean an eccentric uncle or an odd recluse. I want to see the 40, 60, and 80 year olds doing what so many of our children are doing. Where are the adults in diapers, flapping their hands, banging their heads? Where are they adults who don't talk but can rock for hours? Where are those autistic adults with chronic diarrhea, constipation, seizures, and sleep disorders? Where are the adults who were normal until age two and who suddenly lost learned skills? Believe me, if they were out there somewhere, labeled as something else, CNN and ABC would be parading them in front of the camera to show them to us.

If officials really believed their claim of no causal link, they'd be falling themselves to do a vaccinated/unvaccinated study. They'd be on every network news show and in all the big papers showing us that among never vaccinated kids, one percent also have autism. It would end the controversy overnight. I'd shut up about vaccines and so would lots of others. The government adamantly refuses to do this research, saying it's unethical/immoral to withhold vaccines from one study group. The truth is the study group is out there waiting for them. With thousands of parents now too scared to have their kids vaccinated, unvaccinate kids are out there. Still we have no takers at HHS/CDC.

Finally, why has the government refused to study the kids who were healthy and suddenly regressed? The late Dr. Bernadine Healy, former head of the National Institutes of Health, called for this research in 2008 on CBS News. http://www.cbs.com/cbs_evening_news/video/?pid=1XF9NJ7NawCc_as494UTjWE69yLWT6w1

I know too many parents just like me who have nothing to do for the rest of our lives but to continue to tell the truth about what happened to our children. This is why we're going to win in the end. As more and more children age into adulthood with no place to go, autism is going to bury us in cost. When that happens, autism will be like another Pearl Harbor or 9-11. We will be desperate to stop autism from claiming more victims. I have taught history for years. Epidemics and plagues have always been around. But the victims either died or recovered. They didn't become dependent for the rest of their long lives like our children will. Autism threatens the future of our country. We have almost a million autistic children who will EACH cost the taxpayers millions for their support and care.

Thank you Mr. Dobbs. I only wish it wasn't your "swan song." You're rare in journalism today. You know how to investigate a story.

Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism

http://annedachel.com/

Frank

The letter was an excellent synopsis - concise, balanced and accurate.

My only unfavorable observation about the HDNet special was the failure to explain the fact that vaccine manufacturers are indemnified from liability for the effects their products. Otherwise, the televised program was equally brilliant.

Thank you!

Garbo

Many thanks to Greg Dobbs for daring to touch the third rail and report the story with honesty and decency. The government's misguided suppression of the science of vaccine injury is an abomination. If you think Sebelius's statement is bad, you should check the transcripts of the FDA/CBER meeting to "discuss" last year's finding of contamination of live virus vaccines with porcine circovirus and human endogenous retrovirus K among other things. Instead of demanding that vax makers clean up their products, Bruce Gellin of CDC lamented that because the price has been dropping on new technologies for detecting contamination, there would probably be more of these types of studies coming in the future, and that he would have to "talk to the journals" about it, the implication being he would discourage or spin future forays into the arena. In addition to discouraging research and possibly endangering the health of children, this ties directly to VICP, as under the Daubert standard studies must be published in a reputable journal to achieve standing in the legal setting.

Media Scholar

But if there is “no evidence of harm,” I have to ask, why remove it at all? Anyway, when the kids who’ve made claim in the “vaccine courts” were inoculated, mercury was part of the vaccines injected in their veins.
----------------------------
One thing is sure you either write the truth or you foil it.

Drug fiends inject poisonous stuff into their veins, babies don't. Dobbs was more than willing to place that nasty connotation on innocent victims.

Infants and toddlers don't attack viral intruders, mommy's antibodies inside the bodies of infants and toddlers do.

Dobbs laughingly fires a feeble BB across the bow expecting the good ship Autism injury to come about? Ha. Ha. Ha, and Ha. National interests my eye.

Vaccines are injected away from the blood stream with the hope that the intruding materials will provoke an immune system attack before the intruding materials enter the bloodstream. Apart from neuro-toxic ethylmercury, bits and pieces of vaccine residue including signature DNA material can remain in the body for years and the mercury never comes out except through chelation using Alpha Lipoic acid to penetrate into contaminated cells, bind the mercury molecule and carry it out.

This guy is obviously a Paul Offit mouthpiece. Why would Dobbs need to quote him when everything he has written is him?

Paul Offit also chided vaccine decision-makers when they called for the removal of Thimerosal.

''In some instances I think full disclosure can be harmful. Is it safe to say there is zero risk with Thimerosal, when it is remotely possible that one child would get sick? Well, since we say that mercury is a neuro-toxin, we have to do everything we can to get rid of it. But I would argue that removing thimerosal didn't make vaccines safer -- it only made them perceptibly safer.'' - Paul Offit, November 10, 2002

Dobbs knows that policy changes do little more than obfuscate the fact that the vaccine injured children all got shots with Thimerosal in them, but then again he is missing the slaughter currently taking place at the 'house that Merck built' as he ignores the fact that vaccine court is currently throwing cases out by the hundreds.

He lies directly as the fact is Thimerosal is still in shots, and each year Dobbs and his pals help hatch new scamdemics specifically designed to promote the several Autism-causing live virus vaccines and, of course, to proliferate Thimerosal exposures via at least two flu shots which is more than capable of producing Autism "Lite" cases.

Dobbs is completely mainstream in everything. He does little more than parrot mainstream information fully knowing that so called government experts know the association between vaccines and Autism isn't a particularly strong one due to the fact that this big mess is their fault to begin with, and contrary to the outright lie of Dobbs, US citizens are spending billions of tax dollars to defend the vaccine manufacturing drug companies. Dobbs somehow forgets to mention the US department of justice is lawfully required to defend multi-billion dollar drug companies.

In a feeble attempt to fire a shot across the bow, he dares to suggest he knows what's in the national interests.

I don't speak for John Stone or Jake Crosby, but I for one, take exception to the fact that Dobbs lowers a good man like Andrew Wakefield to the level of your typical CDC fraudster like Poul Thorsen.

Brian Deer (satan) planted one good on old Wakefield. The lynch mob of mad scientists is actually a bunch of stooges bought and paid for.

‘My husband has been persecuted by extremely powerful forces for asking questions that his research findings made it morally and ethically essential for him to ask,’.......... ‘I used to believe that this country was a bastion of academic integrity and intellectual freedom. So this whole sad process of attrition, isolation and vilification, on a very personal level, has sickened and disillusioned me. Mrs. Wakefield, 2006

Dobbs is remiss in the fact that it was a tax payer funded agency laundering money to Thorsen in exchange for the most favorable anti-litigation bloc research money can buy.

Dobbs has zero talent in the department of fraud investigation. How could possibly look into this issu and miss the combination cloaked in so called "national interests".

The Centers for Disease Control signed Thorsen up. They recuited him, told him what they wanted him to find, provided the government forms, approved payments, and most likely even diverted the funds directly to his private accounts. Vrooom. Vrooom.

A true investigative journalist never goes straight to the top for his or her answers.

Sorry, this guy is a shill.

Hilary Butler.

Nice to see an open-minded journalist.

However, some "assumptions" need to be challenged. This letter states:

***And that is a key word: it is a disorder, not a disease. What this means is, it’s not something you can detect by testing someone’s blood....... You wouldn’t even find autism in an autopsy..... But that’s not real convincing when you dig deeper and realize, a biological scientific study isn’t going to find a link because as I wrote above, autism is an observable behavior disorder, not a detectable disease.***

I believe that is incorrect.

How many autopsies have been done on people with autism?

I've looked an a ton of blood work from kids with autism, and they all have radical abnormalities in the immune system.

I believe that if autopsies were done on dead autistics, there would be massive inflammatory lesions throughout the body, indicating that far from being a behavioural disorder, the degree of autistic "diagnosis", whether aspergers or full-autism would be reflected in the degree in which the immune system of that person is activated. I also believe that if autopsies were done of the brains of autistic people, neural synapses would look radically different to that of the neurotypical.

But I've yet to see a study where anyone has done that.

Therefore, it's not possible to say that autopsies will not detect autism.

Where are the studies which have carefully compared immune parameters of live autistic children, with those of neurotypical children?

Where are all the autopsy studies showing that autism isn't a "recognisable" condition which can be picked up at autopsy?

Even SIDS autopsies show pathological changes, though for many, there is no "explanation".

What do I think autism is? I believe that autism occurs, when the immune system explodes out of control, after being systemically provoked, resulting in the immune system remaining abnormal, and part of that includes brain inflammation and serious inflammatory gut pathology.

When scientists start doing autopsies, and seriously looking at "the children", then maybe some of the myths currently being touted without end, might stop.

John Stone

But, to keep the record straight, Andrew Wakefield did not produce a survey of autistic children, he wrote an early report, or small case series study, of children with somewhat convergent clinical symptoms seen and treated on the basis of clinical need and in order of referral in Prof John Walker-Smith's, paediatric gastroenterological clinic - a clinic of tertiary referral. There are many things to be said about this matter but it is vital to understand that it never aspired to statistical or epidemiological significance. However, there emerged the possibility of a risk factor for autism and GI disease from MMR. Equally, it was essential to the ptb that any such talk should be ruthlessly stamped out.

It is, of course, part of the reality of this story that all concerns about the safety of the vaccine project have to be stamped into the dust (this very intolerance of criticism in itself ensures its institutionalised hazardedousness). I do hope that Greg Dobbs will take a closer look at some of the things we have been saying about the Wakefield affair, because the collusion and corruption lies entirely on the government side.

Andrea

Excellent investigative work Mr. Dobbs. Thank you for the piece on HDNet, and for putting pen to paper with this extensive summary of your findings.

Doodle

So did the story result in the termination of employment from HDNet? It would not be surprising, considering the reporter was basically shunned by every government official. I'm sure more than a bit of pressure was applied behind the scenes.

It should be clear by now that vaccines have been planned as a major income source for the US economy, since we don't seem to be producing much else these days. The wheels are grinding along with the plan, and if someone is not on board he becomes a stain on the road.

Bob Moffitt

It was very encouaging to read a summary of an "old-fashioned investigative journalist" who tried very hard to ask hard questions deserving truthful answers .. of high level public health officials .. only to have those public health officials more or less "plead the fifth" by refusing to answer his questions publicly.

Thank you Mr. Dobbs for having the professional courage to "ask the hard questions".

Unfortunately, there are so many "unanswered hard questions" .. it would require an entire book to do so.

Such as .. why do public health officials .. who insist all the science proves the "benefits of vaccines far outweigh the risks" .. stubbornly resist doing a common sense study of "vaccinated v. unvaccinated" .. to prove it?

It couldn't be that public health officials already know the general good health of UNVACCINATED children .. and .. they already know that vaccinated children suffer far more chronic autoimmune disorders than unvaccinated children do?

Nah .. that's just being cynical .. because .. public health officials surely wouldn't do that .. would they?

david burd

Greg, Your "calm" presentation seems to soothe over the disastrous calamity that is both family-tragic, and, is destroying our entire culture and future.

It is far past time to keep giving the Vaccine Industry including our Federal Agencies CDC, FDA, NIH, HHS, etc., a polite break.

Two details (of many) by you stand out: First, you mention a solitary Andrew Wakefield, but in fact he was only the lead author of 13 of UK's finest gastro-intestinal doctors who took 4-5 years compiling their judgements and analyses. BUT, the mass media (and you) have conveniently ignored this vital fact. It's preposterous that 13 of UK's finest doctors connived to fool Lancet and its readers.

Second, there are many ingredients in vaccines, not just thimerosal, ALL toxic to a baby fresh from the womb, not just the mercury ingredient. AND, there are certainly an abundance of different toxic contaminants in vaccine batches that are only admitted when recalled "hot" batches have resulted in too many stricken babies that cannot be ignored even by vaccine proponents.

Harry H.

Mr. Dobbs hits the nail on the head. The vaccine autism connection is not about science. It is about politics and specifically the politics protecting the vaccine program and the vaccine manufacturers. Our public health officials are fighting an endless unwinable war on natural diseases and using a single weapon in that war, vaccines. When we challenge the use, efficacy, science and morality of using that single weapon on everyone, we are labled as crazy, unscientific, unethical, unpatriotic, and a few more adjectives I can't think of right now. Mr. Dobbs makes it clear that the truly crazy, unscientific, unethical, and unpatriotic people are those doctors, businessmen, and politicians fighting a war with an unreliable, poorly tested, and dangerous weapon on our side.

Zed

How refreshing for someone to tell the whole story, without bias, without judgment and without shame to the families who report the decline of children following routine vaccination. Thank you, Sir. Next time I'm tempted to condense this information into a short story, I will now have a place to send the hungry listener.

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