When Brian Deer was introduced at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse earlier this month to give his version of events in the Wakefield/MMR controversy, the audience was told, "There is no debate.” That statement was swiftly refuted by WKTV news whose top story was: "Vaccine-Autism Debate Reaches La Crosse," (See video here.) Among the many vaccine safety advocates who had contacted university officials was Jennifer VanDerHorst-Larson, President of the Canary Party and mother to a child with regressive autism, triggered by vaccines. Her e-mail, critical of Deer, was also sent to Canary Party's 5,000 members. Deer posted a response to her on his personal website, and VanDerHorst-Larson has now answered him in an e-mail to the more than 30 sponsors of Deer's lectures at La Crosse. Her hope is to enlighten the La Crosse community and others about the side of the controversy the media does not report. In the latest installment of the debate, it looks like Deer is caught the headlights. Her response, running on the Canary Party website is below:
OPEN LETTER to the Sponsors of Brian Deer’s Lectures at The University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, October 2012
Associates of La Crosse (Drs. Vijay Sabnis, James Thompson, Ted Habel, David
Morris, George Kroker, Mary Morris)
Marshfield Clinic and Labs (Brian H. Ewert, MD, C. Todd Stewart, MD,
Gene R. Shaw, MD)
Gundersen Lutheran Clinic (Jeffrey E. Thompson, MD, Julio J. Bird, MD,
Mary Kuffel, MD)
U of W La Crosse Foundation, Allen
Trapp, President, Greg Reichert, Asst. Chancellor
College of Science and Health, Dean
of Biology, Microbiology, Chemistry, English, Health Education and Promotions,
Communication Studies, Exercise and Sports:
David Howard, Chair, Biology Dept., Dr. S. N. Rajagopal, Chair, Microbiology
Dept., Dr. Aaron Monte, Chair, Chemistry Dept. Dr. Susan Crutchfield, Chair,
English Dept. Dr. Dan Duquette, Chair, Health Education and Promotions Dr.
Linda Dickmeyer, Chair, Communication Studies, Dr. Mark Gibson, Chair, Exercise
and Sports Science
Faculty of the Dept. of Microbiology:
Marisa Barbknecht, Bonnie Jo Bratina, Michael Hoffman, Michael A. Lazzari, Marc
A. Rott, William Schwan, Diane Sewell, Bernadette C. Taylor, Peter
Susan Betts, Dept. of Microbiology
Club, Jordan L. Ludwigson, President
Microbiology Club, William Close,
Institute for Biomolecular Sciences
Members of Distinguished Speakers
Editor, Racquet Student Newspaper,
name is Jennifer VanDerHorst-Larson, and my open letter to university officials
was singled out by Brian Deer for response. As you know, Mr. Deer recently
lectured at the university about the Wakefield/MMR vaccine controversy. On his
website, Mr. Deer referred to my letter as a form of “abuse.” (Please judge for yourself if it’s abusive.)
My letter. Mr. Deer’s response.
am the mother of a boy with autism who developed normally – exceeding his
milestones - until he received his Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR) and other
vaccinations at 15 months. He reacted immediately and showed clear evidence of
regression the day after his 15-month shots. By 18 months, he had lost all of
his skills. By 19 months, all he did was
cry, bang his head and say “go” – his only remaining word. I was told to
consider an institution for him, and he wasn’t even two.
age 12, he is now diagnosed as severely autistic and in need of 24-hour
supervision. He will never
be independent. My son is also diagnosed with colitis – the bowel disease that
was diagnosed in the Lancet 12 children with autism – denied by Brian Deer who
spoke at La Crosse University. The gut-autism hypothesis has been placed under
prolonged attack by those defending the vaccine program, including Brian Deer
whose unsupported statements about the Lancet 12 children’s health (“They don’t have bowel disease!”) have
resulted in UK parents being unable to find medical help for their autistic
children with bowel disease, the effects of which are profound and tragic.
Court Judge Mitting has since rejected Mr. Deer’s claim that the 12 children
were not seriously ill and did not require the medical attention they received
from Professor Walker-Smith’s team at the Royal Free Hospital where Dr. Wakefield
co-authored the controversial Lancet paper.
I am one of thousands of parents who have
reported that their child (or children) regressed following vaccination. I was
given the official medical explanation by Minneapolis doctors that my son’s
regression was coincidental, even though no other pediatric medicine or
procedure is associated with large numbers of “coincidental” reports of
regression into autism. To my knowledge,
there is no case of a completely unvaccinated
child developing normally and then spontaneously, dramatically regressing into
autism. I think that’s significant. A retrospective, vaccinated vs.
unvaccinated study would tell us more, but the government refuses to undertake
such a study.
Mr. Deer’s claim that the vaccine/autism link is a “fringe” theory put forth by
“small groups of ill-informed, misguided” and “malicious people,” “desperate
for attention,” I can only respond by asking you to watch this brief CBS
interview of former NIH Director Dr. Bernadine Healy describing how medical
authorities have refused to consider the possibility of an autism/vaccine link
in susceptible children, for fear of scaring the general public.
is also the case of Hannah Poling, a child who developed normally until she
received 9 vaccine doses at one doctor’s visit. Her family will be compensated
in the amount of $20 million over her lifetime by the U.S. government for her
autism resulting from MMR and thimerosal-containing vaccines.
Cochrane Review is not reassuring of MMR safety either, concluding: “The design
and reporting in MMR safety studies both pre- and post marketing are largely
inadequate.” Please see the last page of
my letter for links to independent studies that support Dr. Wakefield’s work, including
peer-reviewed papers that
duplicate his original findings in five additional countries.