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162 posts categorized "JB Handley"

Pharma's McCarthy-ism in Full View

Dollar-sign-of-pills"McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence. It also means "the practice of making unfair allegations or using unfair investigative techniques, especially in order to restrict dissent or political criticism."[1] The term has its origins in the period in the United States known as the Second Red Scare, lasting roughly from 1950 to 1956 and characterized by heightened fears of communist influence on American institutions and espionage by Soviet agents."

By JB Handley

What do Dr. Bernadine Healy, Don Imus, Donald Trump, Doug Flutie, Gary Cole, Ed Asner, Charlie Sheen, Holly Robinson Peet, Deirdre Imus, Bob Wright, Aidan Quinn,  Andrew Wakefield, and Jenny McCarthy all have in common?

Of course, we all know the answer: they have publicly expressed concerns about the relationship between vaccines and autism.

If you just started reading newspapers this week, you may not realize all the company Jenny has in a controversy that's far from over. Wasn't it just a few short months ago that a congressional panel was hammering CDC employees in a hearing about this very same link? Where are all the articles calling for all these powerful elected officials to step down?

Pharma's PR play book is an impressive piece of work, and it was rolled out for all of us to see this week. Here's how it works:

- Every Child By Two, a Pharma front group, leads the charge. ECBT's funding comes from 2 sources: Wyeth and Sanofi (any reporter could easily confirm this by reading their 990, but they don't.) They appear to be a responsible advocate for vaccinating because they were founded by Rosalyn Carter thirty years ago, so the group is a great way for Pharma to hide behind something credible-sounding. ECBT takes charge of press briefings, etc.

ECBT 990


- Behind the scenes, ECBT and Paul Offit--who has had his career funded and his millions made by Merck--call every reporter on the planet to arrange a well-coordinated barrage of negative articles.  See:

- The writers and quote-makers are called in on all fronts:

1. Pharma-whore writers who are literally on Pharma's payroll

2. Pharma-benefitting writers (think Seth Mnookin) who have benefitted greatly from Pharma's largesse (speaking fees, etc)

3. Orac-types who work in medical facilities that rely on Pharma's funding

4. And, finally, publications that receive a majority of their ad dollars from Pharma

- Then, Pharma's army of paid trolls start dominating the comment boards to make it appear like the public is equally outraged

Continue reading "Pharma's McCarthy-ism in Full View" »

The Unbearable Wimpiness of Being Autism Speaks' Bob Wright

Bob wrightBy J.B. Handley Blue sand timer

Bob Wright is the founder of Autism Speaks. We all know the story: his grandson, Christian, has regressive autism. Christian’s mom, a hero to us all, believes vaccines caused Christian’s regression.

Bob Wright ran NBC for years and worked for General Electric (the parent of NBC) forever. He is a well-connected, very powerful person.

Seven years ago, with much fanfare, Autism Speaks was born. Seven years later, Autism Speaks is a tragic farce. Yes, you can nibble around the edges and tell me all the great things Autism Speaks has done to reform insurance coverage, etc. and I wont argue with you. Those are good things.

They are also very proud of their “awareness campaign.” Sorry, not too impressed. As Mark Blaxill said, it’s pretty hard to miss autism!!

Bob Wright’s testimony before Congress was painful to watch. It wasn’t his bald mullet hairdo or the reading glasses he seemingly borrowed from Prince, it was the fact that he opened his conversation by acknowledging that his own daughter thought vaccines caused his grandson’s autism…

His own daughter! The mother of his grandson!

If my parents started an autism organization in my son’s honor and they then spent seven years without remotely pursuing the science or theory that I was sure befell my son…I would disown my parents. I really mean that. I would literally never speak to my parents again and they would have no access to my life or family. How Katie does it…I will never know.

Bob Wright gave a disorganized, jumbled testimony, which is appropriate, because that’s the impact Autism Speaks has had on our community. He spent a disproportionate amount of time talking about the prevalence study they had done in South Korea…

Bob Wright, on the off chance you are listening, and with all due respect to South Korea (a lovely country where I lived for three years of my childhood):

None of us give a flying F%$# about the prevalence of autism in South Korea when the answer to ending all of this tragic regressive autism is not only staring you right in the face but literally sitting in your own family. To spend seven years disrespecting your daughter’s experience and actually adding to her stress and suffering is incomprehensibly horrible and you are on track right now to leave a very rotten legacy. If you were less concerned with the humanitarian awards and social life that your role as an “autism activist” has given you and Suzanne, perhaps you would be actually be doing things to end this madness.

Continue reading "The Unbearable Wimpiness of Being Autism Speaks' Bob Wright" »

Unvaccinated Children and Autism: Study Funding Needed Right Now

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By J.B. Handley

“In a complex system, however, mistakes are not measured in degrees but in whole orders of magnitude.”

-                Nate Silver, The Signal and the Noise

In the above quote, author Nate Silver is discussing the fact that Moody’s and S&P--the pre-eminent financial ratings agencies in the world-- underestimated the default risk of CDO funds by a factor of over 200, facilitating the implosion of the housing bubble and a worldwide recession.

Put another way, the financial experts at S&P and Moody’s predicted that certain financial instruments would have a default rate of just 0.12 percent (just over one tenth of one percent), when the actual default rate turned out to be 28%.

How could so many smart people be so stupid?

This question lies at the heart of a battle and debate that so many of us are currently fighting—is it possible that our health authorities, in an attempt to prevent every infectious disease they could through the use of vaccines, ended up creating a whole different set of problematic health outcomes in our children?

Here are the facts we know to be true:

-  Vaccines can cause immune system, brain, gut, and other neurological damage. There is simply no dispute about the ability of vaccine’s to injure some portion of the children who receive them.

-  The number of vaccines given has risen dramatically since the mid-1980s, from 10 or less to nearly 40, and the majority of vaccines are given during the first 2 years of a child’s life.

-  There has been an explosion in autism, ADHD, food allergies, and so many other auto-immune disorders during this same period of time

-  There has never been any testing for the cross-reactivity of vaccines or any monitoring of the potential damage that layering on so many new vaccines to the US immunization schedule might be doing to our children—it has been an experiment of unprecedented scale.

Dr. Donald Miller, University of Washington, corroborates many of these points:

The [vaccine] schedule states, "Your child can safely receive all vaccines recommended for a particular age during one visit." Public health officials, however, have not proven that it is indeed safe to inject this many vaccines into infants. What's more, they cannot explain why, concurrent with an increasing number of vaccinations, there has been an explosion of neurologic and immune system disorders in our nation's children. 

Fifty years ago, when the immunization schedule contained only four vaccines (for diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, and smallpox), autism was virtually unknown. First discovered in 1943, this most devastating malady in what is now a spectrum of pervasive developmental disorders afflicted less than 1 in 10,000 children. Today, one in every 68 American families has an autistic child. Other, less severe developmental disorders, rarely seen before the vaccine era, have also reached epidemic proportions. Four million American children have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. One in six American children are now classified as "Learning Disabled."

Our children are also experiencing an epidemic of autoimmune disorders — Type I diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and bowel disorders. There has been a 17-fold increase in Type I diabetes, from 1 in 7,100 children in the 1950s to 1 in 400 now. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis afflicts 300,000 American children. Twenty-five years ago this disease was so rare that public health officials did not keep any statistics on it. There has been a 4-fold increase in asthma, and bowel disorders in children are much more common now than they were 50 years ago.

*       *       *

In a system with this much complexity, as Nate Silver has explained, the chance to make a huge predictive error grows exponentially, and I personally believe that’s what has happened with our kids. In trying to do the right thing, our health officials may have created a world far worse than they ever knew possible, and 1 in 84 children (and so many more with other conditions like ADHD, deadly food allergies, etc.) are perhaps paying a huge price for their mistakes.

Continue reading "Unvaccinated Children and Autism: Study Funding Needed Right Now" »

“If I Ran the CDC…I’d Be a Hell of a Lot More Careful”

JBBy J.B. Handley

In the activism world, there are times when I have really felt like I’ve said everything I can possibly say on the topic of autism. When those feelings arise, I usually take a break and shut my mouth for a while. Thinking about AoA’s recent 5th Birthday, and coming up on 8 years since my wife and I founded Generation Rescue, the same thoughts keep running through my head:

“Are we still really arguing about this? Are we still really ruining all these kids’ lives? When, dear God, is this nightmare going to end?”

In honor of 8 years of activism, I wanted to share the complete transcript of an interview I gave to PBS, a snippet of which they aired in a documentary called The Vaccine Wars. In many ways, this interview sapped my activism energy, at least for a period of time, because I really got the chance to say everything I wanted to say!

I hope you enjoy:

A businessman whose son was diagnosed with autism, Handley co-founded with his wife the Web site Generation Rescue. It's an autism advocacy site and has been highly effective in organizing a community of parents concerned about an autism-vaccine link. This is the edited transcript of an interview conducted on Jan. 29, 2010.

How did your life change when you discovered your son had autism?

Everything changed from the day it happened. It was an immediate nightmare. It was 30 days of six, seven, eight hours of nonstop crying by both me and my wife. It was the painful realization that my son may not have the kind of life that I expected for him. And once the grief had passed just enough to get up off the floor, it was a mandate to do whatever I could do with the rest of my life to give him the best possible life.

How old was he when this happened?

He was just under 2 years old.

How did you discover this?

People sometimes talk about how these kids are diagnosed today at much higher rates, that we just have a more narrow filter, that parents are more paranoid.

You don't miss this. This wasn't something that was hard to figure out. The child stopped talking. He stopped socializing. He started doing extremely unusual behaviors that no other kid was doing -- running on walls, turning his eyes to the side, spinning around in circles, laughing for no reason. I mean, we watched our son decline into something we'd never seen before, and it didn't take us long, especially with the Internet, to go quickly look up some of these behaviors.

Did you know anything about autism at that time?

I didn't know the first thing about autism. I'd seen Rain Man like a lot of other people had, but when my wife first brought up the word, I knew that was something we didn't want for our son. But no, I didn't know the first thing about it.

How did you educate yourself?

My wife and I both, from the day we had concerns about Jamison, we were on the Web trying to understand what is wrong with our son. We got absolutely no help from the local pediatrician who told us everything would be fine and he would come around. But literally spending 20 minutes doing an evaluation, we knew we had a serious, serious problem on our hands. He was hitting every single metric for autism.

What was the medical dogma about autism in terms of the cause?

It was very simple, and it was very straightforward. He was diagnosed at two of the premier institutions on the West Coast: UC San Francisco and Oregon Health Sciences University. It was genetic. There's nothing we can do about it. It was lifelong. Institutionalization was likely, and we'd be lucky if he ever talked. It was a prognosis of doom that no parent could bear.

Why didn't you accept that?

Continue reading "“If I Ran the CDC…I’d Be a Hell of a Lot More Careful”" »

Every Child By Two: Frozen Caveman Pharma Front Group

Dirty typewriterBy J.B. Handley

Can a website actually accumulate dust? If one could, I’d nominate VaccinateYourBaby.org as perhaps the web’s dustiest. Remember them? Waaay on back in 2008, actress Amanda Peet called non-vaccinating parents “parasites” and--in full retreat immediately after that PR disaster--did just enough interviews to not look like she was sprinting for the hills…and then sprinted for the hills! Nowadays, she does her work advocating with the United Nations for third world vaccination awareness, perhaps reasoning that Masai tribesman are less likely to send her nasty emails.

Peet’s aging pro-vaccine website links you to the VaccinateYourBaby YouTube Channel, where the last video was posted in 2011…and, as I’m writing this, has the following views for their 5 most recently posted videos: 67 (posted in 2011), 168 (2011), 216 (2011), and 38 (2011). Back in 2008, when the Amanda Peet campaign was rolled-out, the flagship video of Peet being interviewed has, today, 4 years later, a total of 11,965 views--not particularly robust when you consider that Jenny McCarthy, arguing the other side of the vaccine-autism debate, routinely garners hundreds of thousands of views for any number of interviews she gives (or, heck, 80,000 views for me here yelling at The Doctors.)

Before moving on to talk about the real topic of this post, I’d like to point out a few delicious ironies about all of this:

-                The Amanda Peet campaign was engineered by none other than the lord-vader-in-chief himself, Paul “Pharma Pimp” Offit. Peet’s brother-in-law worked at CHOP where Merck sponsors Offit’s activities, and Offit used his connection to Peet and his medical degree to hatch a brilliantly disastrous marketing campaign that nearly ruined Amanda Peet’s career. Good stuff!

-                Recently, Amanda Peet has told the story in interviews that her daughter, in 2010 (2 years after the VYB campaign), contracted whooping cough AFTER being vaccinated, and this series of events somehow made her even more pro-vaccine. Now, I’m certainly not going to celebrate a 2 year-old child contracting a very painful bacterial illness--I don’t wish that on anyone--but I will celebrate the lunacy of becoming more pro-vaccine after the vaccine doesn’t work for your own daughter!

Which brings us to Every Child By Two, the pharma front group that bankrolled the Vaccinate Your Baby campaign. If the VYB website looks dusty, Every Child By Two’s website looks like it was designed by a 10 year-old in 1994. If you click to the “news” section of the website, their last newsletter was issued in August, 2008, more than four years ago.

By the way, I wrote about Every Child By Two, waay back in August of 2008, the very same month of the last newsletter they ever wrote. As I clearly demonstrated back then, ECBT is really just a Wyeth vaccine division marketing organization:

“First, a little background. By nonprofit standards, ECBT is a rat-shit organization. With a grand total of 3 employees, a tiny office suite in a crummy Washington D.C. neighborhood, and an annual budget under $1 million, they are a blip on the radar screen. As usual, the devil is in the details… And, how much did Wyeth [the vaccine maker] give ECBT? 
Wyeth gave $350,769. That's 68% of their non-contract revenue and 48% of their total revenue. From one company. A vaccine manufacturer named Wyeth. And Craig Engesser, a Wyeth spokesperson, has been on the board of ECBT for as long as I can track it. He even served as the organization's treasurer!”

*       *       *

What’s different about ECBT in 2012 versus 2008 is that four years ago ECBT actually appeared to be doing something. They had Amanda Peet, they had a new marketing campaign, they had timely newsletters, and they had Pharma funding. Today, nearly everything looks like it’s stopped, like the money dried up, and everyone went home.

Unfortunately, 990 forms for non-profit organizations have a time delay. At present, I can only find financial information on ECBT through 2010, but I find their 990 forms for 2009 and 2010 raise all sorts of interesting and delicious questions. Consider:

-                The organization appears frozen in time after about August of 2008, yet Amy Pisani, the Executive Director, was still making $136,000 a year in 2010, two years later.

-                As of today, Amy Pisani no longer works out of Washington DC where ECBT still maintains a small office next door to the Vietnamese consulate office, but rather out of her house in Connecticut (which ECBT’s voicemail calls the “Connecticut Office”)

-                Their sources of funding have become even more clear and blatant. In 2010, they were: Wyeth vaccines ($307,000), Sanofi Vaccines ($245,171), and Public Health Solutions, aka The NY Dept of Health ($182,136).

Continue reading "Every Child By Two: Frozen Caveman Pharma Front Group" »

Scientists with Starving Brains

FALSE-CLAIMSBy J.B. Handley

Like clockwork, a few times a year, a profoundly asinine study will appear in a scientific journal somewhere ostensibly “further refuting” the hypothesis that vaccines are causing all this autism.

Recently, our minds were subjected to ad nauseum reporting on a study out of the UK-- A Comparison of Urinary Mercury between Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Control Children—professing to do just that.

The study, written by a child psychologist, specifically offered up the following:

Background

Urinary mercury concentrations are used in research exploring mercury exposure. Some theorists have proposed that autism is caused by mercury toxicity. We set out to test whether mercury concentrations in the urine of children with autism were significantly increased or decreased compared to controls or siblings.

Methods

Blinded cohort analyses were carried out on the urine of 56 children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) compared to their siblings (n = 42) and a control sample of children without ASD in mainstream (n = 121) and special schools (n = 34).

Results

There were no statistically significant differences in creatinine levels, in uncorrected urinary mercury levels or in levels of mercury corrected for creatinine, whether or not the analysis is controlled for age, gender and amalgam fillings.

Conclusions

This study lends no support for the hypothesis of differences in urinary mercury excretion in children with autism compared to other groups. Some of the results, however, do suggest further research in the area may be warranted to replicate this in a larger group and with clear measurement of potential confounding factors. 

For those of you interested in the laypersons version of this, here it is:

A bunch of kids peed in a cup for 24 hours. Some had autism. Some were siblings of kids with autism. Some were neither. And, they all had their mercury and creatinine levels measured in their urine. The levels were compared, they found no difference, so, obviously, VACCINES DO NOT CAUSE AUTISM SO PLEASE GET VACCINATED.

Continue reading "Scientists with Starving Brains" »

Best of Age of Autism: Paul Offit and the Original Sin

Snow fieldManaging Editor's Note: JB wrote this post last January. We're running it as a follow up to Dr. Offit having been appointed to the IOM. 

By J.B. Handley

OK, let me be clear: I think Paul Offit is a blowhard liar, a vaccine profiteer and apologist, and every time he opens his mouth he disrespects my son. When the final chapter is finally written on this man-made autism epidemic, I will do everything within my power to ensure that Offit is remembered by history as one of the most sinister, dishonest, well-funded talking heads pharma ever produced, and that his efforts served to afflict so many children with autism who may otherwise have avoided it.

In one of the most absurd snowjobs ever put on the media, Offit, a doctor who has never seen a patient with autism, never treated autism, and never published a study about autism, is somehow considered to be an expert on autism. Given his status as a multi-millionaire vaccine patent holder who has had much of his career supported by Merck, this isn’t just absurd, it’s highway robbery, and yet the media persists, and rarely even mentions Offit’s Mount Everest-sized pile of conflicts.

In the latest example of Offit’s dishonesty, AOL recently published a two-person interview HERE with Offit and Geri Dawson, chief Science Officer at Autism Speaks.

In this interview, Offit commits what I consider to be the “Original Sin” of Autism, and something that should be condemned by every autism organization in the country, including Autism Speaks. To quote Paul Offit:

“It's not an actual epidemic. In the mid-1990s, the definition of autism was broadened to what is now called autism spectrum disorder. Much milder parts of the spectrum -- problems with speech, social interaction -- were brought into the spectrum. We also have more awareness, so we see it more often. And there is a financial impetus to include children in the wider definition so that their treatment will be covered by insurance. People say if you took the current criteria and went back 50 years, you'd see about as many children with autism then.”

Continue reading "Best of Age of Autism: Paul Offit and the Original Sin" »

Michele Bachmann, Meet Dr. Diane Harper, Lead Researcher for Gardasil Vaccine

Jessica's Gravestone

(Photo is the gravestone of Miss Jessica Erickson who died following Gardasil vaccination. Her story "Guinea Pig" is one of the media articles mentioned below. We've been in contact with her family in the past, her Mom is a warrior in the name of her child.   And we show her gravestone not be macabre, but as a stark reminder that HPV vaccination is not without risk.)

By J.B. Handley

We all know that AoA is no place to discuss our politics. The parents reading this blog are unified in their commitment to one issue, and that’s autism.

At this point, I’m nearly a single-issue voter, and Michelle Bachmann has certainly done our community a huge favor by publicly discussing the well-known risks from receiving the Gardasil vaccine. Taken from a post back in December 2009, here are just a few of the hundreds of headlines out there about Gardasil:

October 29, 2007, UK Telegraph:
Cervical cancer drug Gardasil linked to deaths  
Fears have been raised over the safety of a cervical cancer vaccine which health officials plan to give all 12-year-old girls, after it was revealed that the drug has been linked to several deaths. Three young women are reported to have died days after the drug Gardasil was administered, while the jab is also suspected of triggering "adverse reactions" in 1,700 patients. The figures were uncovered by campaigners who made a freedom of information request in the US, where the vaccine was approved for use a year ago…
 

January 25, 2008, UK Daily Mail: 

Alert over jab for girls as two die following cervical cancer vaccination

A jab that could be given to hundreds of thousands of schoolgirls this autumn was at the centre at a safety scare last night following the deaths of two young women…

February 6, 2008, East Bay Express:

One Less

In early 2007, as the pharmaceutical giant Merck began promoting its new vaccine Gardasil as protection against cervical cancer, Brooke Petkevicius was a nineteen-year-old freshman at UC Berkeley. She had seen the ads for the vaccine, and discussed getting it with her mother, whose gynecologist also had recommended it. On March 12, Brooke received the first of three doses. Two weeks later, she dressed to go running with a friend. As they reached the elevator, Brooke suddenly collapsed against the wall and had a seizure.

June 30, 2008, WorldNet Daily

Death toll linked to Gardasil vaccine rises Complications include shock, 'foaming at mouth,' convulsions, coma  

"Given all the questions about Gardasil, the best public health policy would be to re-evaluate its safety and to prohibit its distribution to minors. In the least, governments should rethink any efforts to mandate or promote this vaccine for children,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. The organization's work uncovered reports of about one death each month since last fall, bringing the total death toll from the drug to at least 18 and as many as 20. There also were 140 "serious" reports of complications including about three dozen classified as life-threatening, 10 spontaneous abortions and half a dozen cases of Guillain-Barre Syndrome.

Continue reading "Michele Bachmann, Meet Dr. Diane Harper, Lead Researcher for Gardasil Vaccine" »

When Does a “Conspiracy Theory” Become a “Conspiracy Fact”?

Truth-is-out

By J.B. Handley

As many AoA readers know, publicly challenging conventional wisdom and stating that you believe vaccines cause autism is a great way to be attacked. One of the more common and surprisingly effective techniques of the other side is to label our community as “conspiracy theorists”, implication being that we are all crazies who also believe no one landed on the moon, that the CIA shot JFK, and that Area 51 is crawling with extraterrestrial life.

What happens when one of our conspiracy “theories” turns out to be true? What, exactly, is the label for that? My personal favorite? How about, “Parents speaking the truth"?

As we are all learning, certain British newspapers are willing to do very bad things to people they don’t like, particularly people who impede profits. If Dr. Wakefield wasn’t your biggest hero before, perhaps he will be now, for having endured an onslaught from some very powerful people and institutions.

Brian Deer’s role--and who was guiding him--in the destruction of Andrew Wakefield’s career will likely become more clear in the coming months. In the meantime, this post from earlier this year will help provide some clues and background for those interested in tracking this unfolding story.

Also, kudos to  Natural News for addressing the Sunday Times/Wakefield relationship yesterday.

Anderson Cooper, I’m looking forward to your mea culpa down the road!

Age of Autism: Keeping Anderson Cooper Honest: Brian Deer is the Fraud

 

JB Handley is co-founder of Generation Rescue.

Dr. David Gorski's Unique Brand of Moronism

FAIL-BUZZER-350x233 By J.B. Handley

“Dr. Gorski’s village called, they want their idiot back.”

- Anonymous

There I go again, another inflammatory, ad hominem headline, serving no useful purpose except alienating doctors and scientists who might otherwise be helping our kids. And, I follow it up with a senseless quote, degrading the debate further.

Whatever.

For those of you who don’t know, Dr. David Gorski is a Doctor and a blogger who posts under the pseudonym “Orac.” In only 23 years as a doctor, he’s already made it to the heights of “Assistant” Professor at Wayne State University, a school that no one has ever heard of and that I had to Google to make sure actually existed (it’s in “the heart of Detroit’s cultural center”—I think there’s an oxy-moron in there somewhere…). Yet, in the blogosphere, perhaps with the added courage that only a keyboard can provide, Dr. Gorski seems to think he’s omniscient, as his writing about me (and many others) reflects--here’s one of many examples:

“Before I dive in, let me just point out right here and right now that J.B. Handley wouldn't be able to recognize good science if it bit him on the posterior. The same is true of bad science, because Mr. Handley simply does not have an understanding of the scientific method or the methodology involved that would allow him to distinguish good from bad science, anymore than I have an understanding of investment banking that would allow me to differentiate between various financial instruments. No, on second thought, strike that. I'm quite sure that I know more about investment banking than J.B. Handley knows about science…In any case, thanks to its arrogance of ignorance, Generation Rescue thinks it can judge the quality of complicated epidemiology and basic science, but such pronouncements are about as valid as Joe the Plumber holding forth on quantum physics. That's why Mr. Handley's claim that he recognized these studies to be bad science by reading them led me to chuckle heartily. After all, Mr. Handley's proven time and time again that he doesn't understand science, the scientific method, or epidemiology…To him, it's not about the science, but winning the P.R. war.”

Man, that really hurts. A childless (more on that later) Assistant Professor from Detroit’s “cultural center”, who used to blog as a girl (“SoCalGal”), says I don’t understand science. (By the way, Dr. Gorski, I have never been nor am I currently an “investment banker”, so you may well know more about investment banking than I do, nice try…)

Continue reading "Dr. David Gorski's Unique Brand of Moronism" »

Autism’s Causes and Biomarkers: An Interview with Helen Ratajczak, Ph.D.

Ratajczak By J.B. Handley

In the most recent issue of the Journal of Immunotoxicology, Helen V. Ratajczak, PhD  , had two separate reviews published. The first review, Theoretical Aspects of-Autism Causes a Review tackles a seemingly taboo topic in mainstream health: the many potential environmental causes of autism. Dr. Ratajczak writes:

“Autism could result from more than  one cause, with different manifestations in different individuals that share common symptoms. Documented causes of autism include genetic mutations and/or deletions, viral infections, and encephalitis following vaccination. Therefore, autism is the result of genetic defects and/or inflammation of the brain. The inflammation could be caused by a defective placenta, immature blood-brain barrier, the immune response of the mother to infection while pregnant, a premature birth, encephalitis in the child after birth, or a toxic environment.”

Perhaps more controversially, Dr. Ratajczak also proposes a novel theory regarding the mechanism of action for a vaccine to cause autism:

“The MMR II vaccine is contaminated with human DNA from the cell line in which the rubella virus is grown. This human DNA could be the cause of the spikes in incidence. An additional increased spike in incidence of autism occurred in 1995 when the chicken pox vaccine was grown in human fetal tissue (Merck and Co., Inc., 2001; Breuer, 2003). The current incidence of autism in the United States, noted above, is approximately 1/100.

The human DNA from the vaccine can be randomly inserted into the recipient’s genes by homologous recom- bination, a process that occurs spontaneously only within a species. Hot spots for DNA insertion are found on the X chromosome in eight autism-associated genes involved in nerve cell synapse formation, central nervous system devel- opment, and mitochondrial function (Deisher, 2010). This could provide some explanation of why autism is predomi- nantly a disease of boys. Taken together, these data support the hypothesis that residual human DNA in some vaccines might cause autism.”

Her conclusion is something I’m sure many parents wish more researchers were willing to embrace:

“It is possible that autism results from more than one cause, with different manifestations in different individuals that share common symptoms. Integrating the data presented here, a hypothesis is that autism is the result of genetic defects, with the contributory effect of advancing age of the parents, and/or inflammation of the brain. The inflammation could be caused by a defective placenta, an immature blood- brain barrier, the immune response of the mother to a viral or bacterial infection, a premature birth, encephalitis in the child after birth, or a toxic environment. Also, intracellular pathogens could induce an immune response, resulting in neuro-inflammation, autoimmune reactions, brain injury, and autism.”

Continue reading "Autism’s Causes and Biomarkers: An Interview with Helen Ratajczak, Ph.D." »

Dr. Brian Strom: An Honest Moron

Connect_dots
Managing Editor's Note: Hey guys and gals! Print out and this nifty Connect The Dots art and if you can complete it (assuming you are not an honest moron) you'll have a new piece of art for Mom on Mother's Day!  Grab a gray crayon and get busy!  Nap time is at 1pm.

By J.B. Handley
 
How many times do I need to tell you people, “Correlation does not equal causation!”
 
You crazy parents are so pathetic. You just want something or someone to blame. So what, your little guy went to the doctor, got six vaccines in one minute, and then you watched him seize up, his eyes rolled into the back of his head, and he stopped talking. And you think anyone cares?
 
Oh, and now he has autism? So what! Starbucks Coffee locations have ALSO grown since the autism “epidemic” started – maybe it’s all that ground coffee in the air. Ha ha!
 
What’s that you say? Vaccines are KNOWN to cause brain damage? Well, so what, I, um, gotta go, my phone is ringing…Seth Mnookin is calling…
 
Here’s the detail, from a CBS News report:
 
“University of Pennsylvania's Dr. Brian Strom, who has served on Institute of Medicine panels advising the government on vaccine safety says the prevailing medical opinion is that vaccines are scientifically linked to encephalopathy (brain damage), but not scientifically linked to autism.”
 
Oh, thank God, vaccines won’t cause any autism. Brain damage I can live with. Thanks, Dr. Strom, for your service to the IOM--very helpful indeed.
 
Author’s note: Sorry, I’ve had a lot of coffee this morning (Peet’s, not Starbuck’s)

Natural News Takes on the Growing Poul Thorsen Autism Vaccine Research Scandal

Where's Poul 3 A Gamondes By J.B. Handley

“Understand what is being alleged here: That Thorsen stole taxpayer dollars intended for medical research, then pocketed them in his own private bank accounts and used the money to buy luxury items for his personal use. This is a man with a history of strong ties to the CDC, research universities and medical journals. This is a person whose research has been widely quoted by the vaccine apologists who say vaccines are safe. And now, in the midst of all this, how many mainstream newspapers do you see covering Thorsen's indictment and his ties to the CDC? Virtually none.”

-                Natural News, April 28, 2011

It’s great to see another media outlet cover the Poul Thorsen scandal, and provide both original research and opinion, so I highly recommend you jump over and read the article at Natural News and check out the awesome web of influence chart HERE.

Most journalists have no historical perspective on the importance of Denmark’s data in exonerating the role of vaccines in the autism epidemic, nor do they understand the desperation with which the CDC pursued data from other countries during a time when the Institute of Medicine was starting to explore the link between thimerosal and autism. Perhaps if they did, they, too, would wonder if a “pay to play” deal was hatched to save the CDC.

For the benefit of AoA readers, and hopefully an honest journalist or two, herewith is a pretty thorough history, replete with emails from many of the key players in what we can only hope will be a growing scandal.

It all started with Diane Simpson, circa 2001

Without Dr. Diane Simpson, a CDC employee, Dr. Poul Thorsen would likely be a person none of us would have ever heard of.

CDC's effort, beginning in the summer of 2001, was in anticipation of the IOM's report coming out in the October 2001. They knew what it was going to say and they knew it was going to be trouble.

The CDC's subsequent worldwide effort was an attempt to find corroborative data showing no link between autism and thimerosal and get it to the IOM or release it at the same time as the IOM report was released. As Dr. Diane Simpson says in this August 7, 2001 email :

"I don't have any new data at the moment and am frantically trying to see what is available and how best to get it in time for the expected IOM report release (we have given up trying to submit it in time for the report as they are in the process of writing it)."

Dr. Simpson's actions beginning in June of 2001, require some context. The Deputy Director of the NIP, Dr. Simpson, was given the task of finding data on autism and thimerosal in other countries. And not just any data, she was looking for data that would support the idea that there was no relationship between mercury and autism, despite the fact that she had seen the Generation Zero data and attended Simpsonwood.

Further, you have the division of the CDC that is responsible for keeping vaccination rates high, the division that would be held most responsible for creating the autism epidemic, and one of the leaders of that division, Dr. Robert Chen, who had the most to lose, directly involved in a process to find data about the relationship between thimerosal and autism.

Would CDC be "frantic" to find data that would corroborate the conclusion coming from IOM, that the thimerosal-autism relationship was "biologically plausible"? No, she was frantic to find data to disprove it. 

In the same month, she tells a Swedish researcher in this email that they could fly to Sweden immediately to look at data, "because our IOM committee's work is in process and we expect them to issue their report in the next several weeks, we expect increased public concern and questions in the near future."

In an email an email with another CDC employee, referring to data she may have unearthed in Denmark, she writes, "it is also possible that the data won't help us at all, but we won't know until we see it."

How won't it help? It won't help  unless it can be used to exonerate Thimerosal and the CDC.

As an example, Dr. Simpson's communication with the State of California (where autism data is the best in the country) produced a stunning data set, and one quickly buried. In this email , we see data provided by Dr. Loring Dales from the California Dept of Health showing the relationship between the vaccination rates of DTP by second birthdays, and the number of autism cases in California. One of Dr. Simpson's colleagues mentions "this looks like material for a graph." The graph is created, page 3 of the email, and there is a clear, linear relationship between the increase in vaccination rates (from 50.9% to 75.7%) and the number of autism cases per year (from 176 to 1182, a 6.7x increase) between 1980-1994. Needless to say, California was not the source of additional follow-up.

Continue reading "Natural News Takes on the Growing Poul Thorsen Autism Vaccine Research Scandal" »

Matt Carey, Ph.D. says he’s Bonnie Offit (Just Kidding)

Handshake By J.B. Handley
 
5 months late, Matt Carey, a research staff member at Hitachi GST, with a PhD in physics from UCSD, has revealed himself to be the notorious blogger “Sullivan.”
 
In a previous post, I speculated that Sullivan was actually Bonnie Offit, wife of a not-to-be-mentioned vaccine millionaire. Mr. Carey’s personal outing of himself renders my speculation incorrect.
 
As many ravenous members of the dark side I’m sure have mentioned, I also made a simple promise that if Sullivan was NOT Bonnie Offit, I would not utter said name of said leader of the Dark Side.
 
I also offered to give up the website www.pauloffit.com
 
Apparently, Mr. Carey is a parent of a child with autism. Matt, if you’re reading this, note that I really have no interest in writing about or attacking other parents, and you can expect similar treatment. My enemies are the AAP, CDC, and the vaccine makers themselves, as well as their well-paid minions. Since you don’t appear to be in any of those camps and have a kid just like me, I don’t have the heart.
 
If I live 5 lifetimes, I will never understand where your reverence for not to be named profiteer of vaccines comes from, or why you choose to use your precious time to defend him.
 
I’m also pleased to see you now blogging in your own name, as all AoA writers and parents do. I think it’s a simple way to demonstrate courage, conviction, and integrity in the things you write.
 
‘Nuff said, in the world I live in, a deal’s a deal, even if you took five months to get here. Just email me, plenty on the dark side know how to find me, and we can work out the details.

On Autism's Cause It's Journalist MacNeil v. journalist Mnookin

Theb-teamt-shirt_1_108760_grey-red-print_l By J.B. Handley

During CNN’s lynching of Andy Wakefield, I was talking to one of Anderson Cooper’s producers, and she mentioned Seth Mnookin and his recent book The Panic Virus, and how it seemed to support the worldview that Andy was a bad guy and all of us parents are crazy and looking for someone or something to blame for our child’s autism. The conversation went something like this:

Me: What the hell does Seth Mnookin know? He’s a former garden-variety junkie turned writer with a book that simply repeats all of Paul Offit’s talking points?

Her: Seth has credibility with the New York media because he is really one of us, he’s an insider--so his words carry some weight.

*        *        *

Thinking back to that day and those comments, I have a simple game for you, I’m calling it, “Find the Trustworthy Journalist.” By the end of this game, we’ll have a winner and a loser. Unfortunately for you, I’ve stacked the decks in my favor: You get Seth Mnookin. I’ll take Robert MacNeil. On autism’s cause, we’re going journalist vs. journalist.

Let’s start with Robert MacNeil. Mr. MacNeil, age 80, has been a journalist for more than 50 years, having worked for ITV, Reuters, NBC, the BBC, and, most famously, PBS, where he won an Emmy for his coverage of Watergate. In 1975, he began hosting the Robert MacNeil Report, later renamed the world-famous MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, perhaps the most respected news broaccast in the history of television.

Mr. MacNeil is the author of 11 books. He is also Canadian and in 1997 he received Canada’s highest civilian honor when he became an Officer of the Order of Canada for being, “one of the most respected journalists of our time.”

Seth Mnookin, age 38, has been writing professionally since the age of 26, or roughly 12 years, in which time he has written three books, including one about the Boston Red Sox, one about the Jason Blair scandal at the New York Times, and the aforementioned book about vaccines and autism.

Before becoming a writer, Mr. Mnookin was fired from a “gopher gig” at Office Depot, worked as a day laborer digging ditches, and also worked at a coffee shop, a liquor store, and several bookstores “never lasting at any job for more than a couple of weeks,” according to Mr. Mnookin.

Soon after graduating from Harvard, Mr. Mnookin became a heroin addict, as he recounts:

“It had been three years since I first tried heroin, snorting a bag by myself on a brisk Sunday morning the fall after I graduated from college. I was living in New York City, and within weeks I was using every day. It had been two years since I had moved back to Boston, ran out of money, and began shooting up…Now, after about a dozen hospitalizations, a handful of overdoses, more than $10,000 in credit card cash advances, and thousands of dollars stolen from my friends and lovers and family, I was cashing in my last remaining chip. My parents agreed to front the money for the Renaissance Institute, a hard-core treatment center in Boca Raton that specialized in intractable addicts. I knew it was the last chance I'd get to try to start over and that if I didn't take it, I'd die.”

As Mr. Mnookin explains about his early career, “I was 25 and had spent the years since I graduated from college focusing all of my desperate energy on my career as an intravenous drug addict…At one point, I gave confused, occasionally incoherent English lessons to Japanese academics visiting Harvard…I hadn't done any real writing in years.”

His stay at the Renaissance Institute? It ended poorly:

Continue reading "On Autism's Cause It's Journalist MacNeil v. journalist Mnookin" »

Best of AofA: Preventing Autism An Emerging Hypothesis

Vaccine Bear Here's a "best of" post for Autism ACTION month. Prevention, don't leave the delivery room without it!

By J.B. Handley

My second child’s autism diagnosis put the plans my wife and I had for at least three kids on potentially permanent hold. Three years later, we are the proud parents of a beautiful baby girl, and we feel well-armed with the wisdom of other parents and many doctors to prevent her from the same fate her brother experienced.

What? We’re planning to prevent her from developing autism? The notion of being able to prevent autism is a highly controversial idea, and one sure to make many sentences in this entry blogger-fodder. So be it.

It’s probably worth taking a quick step back. The Generation Rescue  website spells out pretty accurately how we feel about the cause of autism:

We believe these neurological disorders ("NDs") are environmental illnesses caused by an overload of heavy metals, live viruses, and bacteria. Proper treatment of our children, known as "biomedical intervention", is leading to recovery for thousands.

The cause of this epidemic of NDs is extremely controversial. We believe the primary causes include the tripling of vaccines given to children in the last 15 years (mercury, aluminum and live viruses); maternal toxic load and prenatal vaccines; heavy metals like mercury in our air, water, and food; and the overuse of antibiotics.

As we began to think about child number three, and armed with this general point of view above, my wife and I began to network with other parents who were in similar situations. Specifically, parents with an autistic child who had decided to have an additional child after becoming biomedical experts.

Continue reading "Best of AofA: Preventing Autism An Emerging Hypothesis" »

OC Register Corrects Autism Science Foundation Founder Dr. Paul Offit’s Lies (Finally)

Vaccines By J.B. Handley

It remains remarkable that Paul Offit, a multimillionaire due to a patent he cashed in on for a vaccine (HERE), remains the primary media spokesperson for disputing the vaccine-autism link. As AoA readers know, Paul Offit is also an inveterate liar, and will say just about anything to quell parent’s fears that vaccines are causing all this autism. As you may recall, Offit lied in one of his books about me. I sued him, and Offit was forced to correct his book, write me a letter of apology and acknowledgement, and donate money to Jenny McCarthy’s second-favorite (behind GR!) charity at UCLA.

As a side note, Offit is also a charter member of the dwindling number of doctors and scientists willing to contend that the rise in autism prevalence is “false”, simply the sign of changing and better diagnosis, and that autism has always been here. I think history will reserve a special dungeon for these “epidemic deniers” who are impeding the ability of parents to save the next generation of kids from the same fate as their children.

As many of you know, Sharyl Attkisson is one of the more remarkable mainstream journalists in that she seems perfectly willing, time and again, to tell the truth about what is going on with our kids. That Pharma has not been able to get her fired is a testimony to Sharyl’s courage, and the spine of someone else at CBS who must care more about the kids than the ad dollars Viagra provides them with.

Several years ago (2008), Sharyl did a great piece about Paul Offit, the AAP, and their sources of funding, providing an accurate picture of how tied in all these vaccine defenders were to vaccine makers and their profit machine. The OC Register, in their irresponsible haste, produced a letter from Paul Offit responding to Sharyl Attkisson with what was vintage Offit in that it was filled with ad hominem attacks, innuendo, and, of course, plain old lies.

Wasting no time in sharing the truth, the OC Register has bewilderingly issued a retraction and correction to Offit’s letter, nearly three years late. Below, please find the correction in its entirety, and a link to it HERE.

Correction for April 18

2011-04-18 15:49:24

An OC Register article dated Aug. 4, 2008 entitled “Dr. Paul Offit Responds” contained several disparaging statements that Dr. Offit of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia made about CBS News Investigative Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson and her report. Upon further review, it appears that a number of Dr. Offit’s statements, as quoted in the OC Register article, were unsubstantiated and/or false. Attkisson had previously reported on the vaccine industry ties of Dr. Offit and others in a CBS Evening News report “How Independent Are Vaccine Defenders?” July 25, 2008. 

Continue reading "OC Register Corrects Autism Science Foundation Founder Dr. Paul Offit’s Lies (Finally)" »

Dr. Paul Offit Speaks: Japanese “Foolish” to take Precaution after Vaccine Deaths

Mr. t doctor Breaking news this morning: Japanese vaccine recalled for contamination: Sanofi Pasteur and partner Daiichi Sankyo have decided to voluntarily recall 13 lots of a paediatric vaccine in Japan, where its use is currently suspended. The affected lots of ActHIB, which are manufactured and marketed by Sanofi and distributed by Daiichi Sankyo in Japan for haemophilus influenza type b, are being recalled due to an investigation which confirmed two cases of contamination inside syringes of diluent used to reconstitute the vaccine...

By J.B. Handley

Is this Paul Offit’s Pharma-Shill moment? It’s nice to have the world see the audacity the Merck-funded Paul Offit often shows when discussing anything to do with vaccines.

First, a quick chronological recap of the Japanese vaccine tragedy:

March 5th:

News services around the world report that Japan has suspended the use of 2 vaccines after four children died subsequent to receiving one or both vaccines. From the Wall Street Journal:

“The deaths of four children in Japan prompted the government there to halt use of the vaccines Prevnar and ActHIB and caused some international health authorities to examine whether the widely used shots cause serious side effects.”

March 7th:

Forbes writer Matthew Herper publishes a blog post with the reassuring title, “Don’t Be Frightened By Japan’s Vaccine Scare” and quotes our favorite Darth Vader-in-Chief, Paulie Profit, with some all-time gems:

“I think the Japanese Ministry of Health was foolish to suspend the HIB and pneumococcal programs,” says Paul Offit, a researcher at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia who co-invented a Merck vaccine used to combat rotavirus. “It was the wrong thing to do.”

In all likelihood, Offit says, the four deaths are likely to be sudden infant death syndrome or another cause; he says two of the children had serious underlying health conditions. Any time a large number of people are given a vaccine, some of them will get sick and die just by chance…

Offit profited from the creation of the rotavirus vaccine, but does not get ongoing money from vaccine manufacturers for speaking, consulting, research, or as royalties. 

March 8th:

A Japanese panel clears the vaccines of causation, while upping the number of dead children to five. From Dow Jones news wire:

“A panel of Japanese medical experts expressed the opinion Tuesday that the deaths of five children over the past two months weren't connected to pediatric vaccines administered just before they died.”

Forbes Added:

“The panel said the deaths were not connected to the vaccines, and that there was nothing wrong with the lots of vaccines.”

Phew, we can all start vaccinatin’ again, that was a close one.

Continue reading "Dr. Paul Offit Speaks: Japanese “Foolish” to take Precaution after Vaccine Deaths" »

Best of AofA: "Henry Waxman Father of the Autism Epidemic"

Waxman_2

We ran this post in 2008. In light of the Bruesewitz v. Wyeth decision, we thought it a good time to review how the vaccine court came about.

By J.B. Handley

Almost 22 years ago, on October 20, 1986, the Los Angeles Times ran a story regarding a controversial bill making its way through Congress, the headline shouted:

REAGAN LIKELY TO VETO VACCINE COMPENSATION BILL

The story went on to explain the highly divisive nature of the bill, intended to shield vaccine makers from liability, and the Reagan administration was speaking out to express their opposition:

In a strongly worded letter to House Speaker Tip O'Neil, the then secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Otis R. Bowen said, "The bill is likely to do little to assure the vaccine supply or to improve our childhood immunization efforts."

Assistant Attorney General John R. Bolton, writing to the Head of the House Judiciary Committee on behalf of the Department of Justice, said the White House opposed the legislation because it was creating, "a major new entitlement program for which no legitimate need has been demonstrated."

Ronald Reagan himself was troubled by the vaccine compensation bill and was quoted as saying, "Although the goal of compensating those persons is a worthy one, the program has…serious deficiencies."

The Reagan administration seemed to be particularly concerned with two issues: who was going to pay for the compensation required for vaccine injury, and the precedent of the federal government indemnifying private companies from liability.

Continue reading "Best of AofA: "Henry Waxman Father of the Autism Epidemic"" »

Best of Age of Autism: Dr. Ari Brown Plays Liars Poker

Ari brown This post ran last spring. Dr. Brown was the "AAP autism expert" on Dr. Oz yesterday.

By J.B. Handley
 
Maybe doctors shouldn’t blog?
 
Along with many other bloggers with apparently no interest in actually reading Karl Greenfeld’s article in Time Magazine last week on Jenny McCarthy and the autism debate, Austin-based pediatrician Dr. Ari Brown wrote about it instead, and may have set a blogosphere record in the “lies per words typed” ratio.
 
Friday, Dr. Brown wrote a post titled “Jenny McCarthy changes her mind on autism” for the blog Basil & Spice.
 
Herewith, the incredible lies and ignorance of another doctor trying to defend the indefensible, in this case by just making stuff up:
 
#1: “Those of you who follow this blog and read my books know that I have never supported Jenny McCarthy's claims that her son developed autism from vaccines.”
 
You never have supported Jenny’s “claims” that her son regressed into autism? I am certain that a hallmark of good doctoring is to listen to the parents, particularly true when you’re a pediatrician. A second hallmark of good doctoring is to refrain from opining on the medical cases of patients to whom you have no direct access, like Jenny’s son. 
 
Jenny McCarthy has written about many things she observed in her son after his MMR shot. Interestingly, a small sample of the side-effects from the insert label of the actual MMR vaccine appear to describe many of the things Jenny has talked about: “fever, syncope, headache, dizziness, malaise, irritability, diarrhea, vomiting, parotitis, nausea, myalgia, encephalitis, encephalopathy, febrile convulsions, afebrile convulsions or seizures.”
 
#2: “Despite the overwhelming lack of scientific evidence, her "mission" to improve public awareness and draw attention to herself has been a pretty successful campaign.”
 
“Overwhelming lack of scientific evidence” is, of course, nothing more than the “Hungry Lie” I have written about many times where research regarding a single vaccine, MMR, has been generalized by pharma sympathizers to represent “all vaccines”, including the 10 other licensed vaccines given to our kids that have never been studied for their relationship to autism. Anybody want to bet that Dr. Brown tells the parents in her practice the same thing, falsely reassuring them that “the science has been done”?
 
Of course, Dr. Brown is right about one thing, and I’m sure she’s hearing it from parents every day: Jenny’s campaign has been successful. But, it’s been successful for reasons most doctors don’t want to admit: parents on every neighborhood corner in the country are telling the same story Jenny is telling. Without this chorus of confirmation, Jenny’s story wouldn’t resonate.
 
#3: “More parents are freaked about vaccines (and have decided to risk leaving their child unprotected) and Jenny has just taped a pilot for a new talk show with Oprah. Congratulations, Jenny.”
 
At the very least, this is some snarky stuff for a pediatrician to write. Insidiously, Dr. Brown helps perpetuate a myth about our side that serves pharma supporters interests that we are 100% opposed to any and all vaccines.

Continue reading "Best of Age of Autism: Dr. Ari Brown Plays Liars Poker" »

Paul Offit and the “Original Sin” of Autism

Snow fieldBy J.B. Handley

OK, let me be clear: I think Paul Offit is a blowhard liar, a vaccine profiteer and apologist, and every time he opens his mouth he disrespects my son. When the final chapter is finally written on this man-made autism epidemic, I will do everything within my power to ensure that Offit is remembered by history as one of the most sinister, dishonest, well-funded talking heads pharma ever produced, and that his efforts served to afflict so many children with autism who may otherwise have avoided it.

In one of the most absurd snowjobs ever put on the media, Offit, a doctor who has never seen a patient with autism, never treated autism, and never published a study about autism, is somehow considered to be an expert on autism. Given his status as a multi-millionaire vaccine patent holder who has had much of his career supported by Merck, this isn’t just absurd, it’s highway robbery, and yet the media persists, and rarely even mentions Offit’s Mount Everest-sized pile of conflicts.

In the latest example of Offit’s dishonesty, AOL recently published a two-person interview HERE with Offit and Geri Dawson, chief Science Officer at Autism Speaks.

In this interview, Offit commits what I consider to be the “Original Sin” of Autism, and something that should be condemned by every autism organization in the country, including Autism Speaks. To quote Paul Offit:

“It's not an actual epidemic. In the mid-1990s, the definition of autism was broadened to what is now called autism spectrum disorder. Much milder parts of the spectrum -- problems with speech, social interaction -- were brought into the spectrum. We also have more awareness, so we see it more often. And there is a financial impetus to include children in the wider definition so that their treatment will be covered by insurance. People say if you took the current criteria and went back 50 years, you'd see about as many children with autism then.”

Continue reading "Paul Offit and the “Original Sin” of Autism" »

Dissecting the Autism Science Foundation’s Use of the “Hungry Lie"

Science helps you prove By J.B. Handley

Control Group (kən′trōl ′grüp) A sample in which a factor whose effect is being estimated is absent or is held constant, in order to provide a comparison.

Look, I’m sorry, O.K.? I know it’s early and I’m already getting all Science 101 on you, but this is terribly important stuff, and I’d feel terrible if I didn’t share all this with you. Right now.

For those of you who regularly read AoA, you know that this isn’t the first time I’ve written about the “Hungry Lie” about autism, this lie so many are saying recently that goes like this:

“It’s been asked and answered, vaccines don’t cause autism.”

This lie, it really drives me nuts. More, and I can say this and mean it, anyone who repeats this lie is immediately my enemy. I mean that, I really do, because there are just too many kids in the mix and this is just too important and if you are either intellectually too lazy or too dishonest to understand the science around vaccines and autism, then, well, you are my enemy. Sorry, it’s a hard knock life.

That said, this may be my last piece on the topic. Why, you ask? Well, three reasons, probably. First, I’m tired of writing about this. Someone, other than me, needs to pick up the slack. Perhaps a doctor? (Bernadine Healey already did, but the press seems to have lost her phone number.) Second, I’m going to give you all the information here, so I don’t need to say anything else.

And, finally, I’m going to use the Autism Science Foundation to make my point, so this is a great way to end. Why does this matter? Well, the ASF is Alison Singer’s basement-dwelling autism organization, the one she founded with Paul Offit, the one she founded after she got fired from Autism Speaks, and between the 2 of them, they are the most prolific spouters of the “Hungry Lie,” which makes them both, to put it politely, absolutely 100% full of hooey.

More Science 101: Do control groups matter?

We all get the basic concept: a double-blind placebo-controlled study is a gold standard for figuring out if something helps or harms someone. Give one group something, give another group nothing even though they think it’s something, don’t tell the researchers who is getting what, and see if there is a difference in outcomes. Simple enough.

Continue reading "Dissecting the Autism Science Foundation’s Use of the “Hungry Lie"" »

Did Change.org's Brie Cadman Promote Censorship of Science?

Change.org Managing Editor's Note: Looks like Brie Cadman is following Secretary of Health and Human Services Director Kathleen Sebelius's directive to censor/suppress/choose not to run science that questions vaccine safety. Where's the 1st amendment outcry from left or right?

By J.B. Handley

Brie Cadman is the Health Editor for Change.org. According to her bio:

“Prior to Change.org, Brie was an editor at DivineCaroline.com, a Web 2.0 site for women. As a freelancer, she has covered health, science and sustainability for print and online publications. Brie's previous professions include biochemist, clinical trial coordinator, indoor air pollution researcher, wine bottler and farm hand. She has a degree in biochemistry and a Master of Public Health, both from U.C. Berkeley.”

Today, Brie has posted an article begging people to denounce the “anti-vaccine agenda” of Professor John W. Oller Jr., a professor at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. As some of you may know, Professor Oller is the author of a terrific book, The Autism Epidemic and Related Issues.

Here’s what Ms. Cadman writes:

“The scientific community has overwhelming concluded that vaccines do not cause autism, but Oller, who does not have a background in immunology, epidemiology or toxicology, continues to push an agenda  based on false premises and conspiracy theories. Perhaps most troubling is that Oller uses his University of Louisiana-Lafayette website to promote his books, praise Wakefield and link to his anti-science blog.

Continue reading "Did Change.org's Brie Cadman Promote Censorship of Science?" »

2004 and the Birth of the Hungry Lie, “Vaccines Don’t Cause Autism"

Man behind curtain By J.B. Handley

Parents, I really need you, I need you right now. There are so many liars, they’re all working overtime, desperately trying to convince the public that we’re all crazy, the studies have been done, and everyone, for the nth freakin’ time, just needs to move on, and, for God’s sake, pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!

Or, if you’re Paul Offit, you just declare “the war is over.” Mission accomplished, baby, yowzer!

In case you’re wondering, I’m doing fine. I have actually had friends, good friends and “believers”, call me to offer their condolences to the rout they think we’re taking in the media right now. I really don’t care. This doesn’t impact my kids at all, I know what I know. It’s not like I make money doing this. My only goal in getting involved with autism activism was to warn other parents, and that’s what I’ll keep on doing. The amount of attention Deer and the BMJ have brought to this issue is unprecedented.

Parents aren’t stupid, they do their own research. For every one parent who just became  falsely reassured that vaccines are totally safe, five just got worried and did more homework. We win, as usual, because we have truth on our side, and that’s just damn hard to beat!

That said, I want your help, fighting the haters. In particular, please, at every turn, challenge the idiots feeding the hungry lie, I hope a short history lesson will help. First, consider these many luminaries noursishing the hungry lie:
 


Dr. Paul Offit: "It's been asked and answered: Vaccines don't cause autism."
 


Continue reading "2004 and the Birth of the Hungry Lie, “Vaccines Don’t Cause Autism"" »

Lisa Jo Rudy Feeds the Hungry Lie

Flaw By J.B. Handley
 
Has the hungry lie ever been hungrier, or better fed, than last week? For those of you who’ve read my previous work on this, you know the hungry lie, the thing they all say, that goes something like this:
 
“It’s been asked and answered, vaccines don’t cause autism.”
 
It’s infuriating to read and hear this, if you happen to be someone who has actually read all the studies the other side cites, the studies that actually ask completely different questions:
 
Q: Do children receiving more thimerosal in their vaccines have different neurological outcomes from children receiving less thimerosal in their vaccines?
 
Q: Are autism rates different for children who received 62.5 mcg or 137.5 mcg of mercury?
 
Q: Did children who all received DTP vaccine with thimerosal have higher or lower rates of developmental disorders based on when they got the shots?
 
Q: Do Thimerosal containing vaccines administered to children raise mercury blood levels above safe standards?
 
Q: Does the use of RhoGam shots during pregnancy have a correlation with autism?
 
These 5 examples above come from 5 of the most commonly listed studies cited as "proof" that "vaccines do not cause autism." Yet, not one of them comes close to addressing the real issue or answering the question we all really care about that goes something like this:
 
Our children receive 36 vaccines by the time they are five, including 20 by their first birthday. Is the administration of so many vaccines causing autism in certain children?
 
That question, so important to the health of our children and our nation, has never been asked, so how could it possibly be answered?
 
For Lisa Jo Rudy’s benefit, and many of the other ignorant haters out there, I’m going to try and spell this out a bit more for you:
 
In 1983, the maximum number of separate vaccines a child would receive by the age of 5 was 10. Today, that number is 36. By the time a child is 5 years old, if their parents follow the CDC’s recommended schedule, they will have received the following vaccines, many in multiple doses (the doses is what gets you from 11 to 36: you get DTP 4 times, for example):
 
1. Hepatitis B
2. Rotavirus
3. DTP
4. Hib
5. Pneumococcal
6. Polio
7. Flu
8. MMR
9. Varicella
10. Hepatitis A
11. Meningococcal (only for certain groups)

Continue reading "Lisa Jo Rudy Feeds the Hungry Lie" »

The ‘ol Worldwide Vaccine panic of ‘98

Wowradio By J.B. Handley
 
1998, I remember it like it was yesterday. Just preparing to get married and have kids myself, the headlines were suddenly filled with the news of a British researcher who thought vaccines may be causing all this autism. My wife and I were riveted, we’d read the stories on our iphones every day, searched Google on our broadband internet connection, and shared the news with all our Facebook friends. It was a panic alright, and we parents now knew to learn everything we could before vaccinating our babies. I still thank God for Andy Wakefield alerting me, way back in 1998, to the potential harm vaccines could cause my children…which is why I never gave my boys ANY vaccines.
 
Yup, the mainstream media is happy to give us all a history lesson about the way this all went down. Of course, the truth is a wee bit different:
 
I got my first cell phone in 1998, it was the size of my right foot. At home, we were on a waiting list to get a DSL connection so we could peer at the web though our AOL account, and I was still 3 years from getting my first blackberry. My secretary still took my phone messages on a pink notepad and left them in my inbox. Have a work question on the weekend? It’d have to wait until Monday, because I left the office for the weekend and was completely off the grid. Iphone? Hardly, I’d be one of the first on my block to buy my first ipod, in early 2002. And, Google was still an idea being hatched in a Stanford dorm room.
 
Fast forward, six years later, to 2004. My ASD son is almost 2, and still getting his vaccines. I live in California, read the paper every day, and have only heard the tiniest whisper about autism and vaccines. Andy Wakefield? I couldn’t pick that name out of a 2 man lineup. What are moms talking about on the playground? It’s sure not vaccines, because everything is just fine, and most of the shots still contain mercury.
 
Folks, the media is having a fine time revising history right now. Someone send me a headline from 1998 in an American newspaper that discusses Wakefield and the MMR. Show me any evidence of a worldwide panic. None of it existed, and this is terribly important, as I will explain in a moment.
 
Here’s what’s really true, and I encourage all of you to fill in or amend my living history:
 
Barbara Loe Fisher and others at NVIC carried the first flame of truth about the downside to vaccines. Lyn, Sallie, Liz (rest in peace), and Mark, many years later, began to carry the same torch as SafeMinds. Lujene and her late husband Alan were also spreading the word, through their site NoMercury, and engineered many early sate laws banning Hg. And NAA was beginning to organize. Of course, Bernie was there chiming in, as he had been doing for decades, and was always a light for recovery. (Like many of you, I called ARI and Bernie picked up, and gave me all the time I needed to learn more about how I could help my son.) By 2004, these were the people that I know were carrying the torch, but their medium of communication was just getting started as Boadband, Google, and easy to develop websites were in early development, and I’d still never heard of a blog.
 
When my son was diagnosed, in the middle of 2004, the web was filled with message boards. Ann Brasher and chelatingkids2 were my introduction to the truth, and SafeMinds, ARI, and NoMercury were sites I used to do my research.
 
In 2005, the news picked up when RFK Jr. wrote his piece for Rolling Stone, Deadly Immunity. Soon after, David Kirby published Evidence of Harm, and I think the modern autism-vaccine movement was really born.
 
Still, the media was largely silent on the topic. I remember Katie Wright finally mentioning the word “thimerosal” on Oprah, Don Imus being our only public supporter, and then Jenny blew the doors off.
 
A worldwide panic since 1998? Not a chance. Things have only picked up since 2006 at the earliest, and Jenny’s first book came out in late 2007 (her first, and most famous appearance on Oprah was September 2007).
 
A week from now, all this Andy Wakefield news will be ancient history, part of the web of information parents are presented with. Meanwhile, every new parent has the remarkable power of the web at their disposal to do their own research. This crazy news has triple Generation Rescue’s web traffic, and our community grows after every single declaration by the other side of “Mission Accomplished.”
 
If anything, this particular media frenzy is more ridiculous than most. At least in 2004, after the IOM study was released, it was something fairly official sounding. This time, it’s the words of a single reporter. The story will die, as they always do.
 
I take comfort in knowing that more news to help our side will fall out of the sky, as it often does. Whether it’s a billionaire who just watched their child regress after vaccination, or another famous celebrity, or a researcher doing honest science to figure out what’s going on, truth prevails with time. Let the denialists dance on Andy’s grave today, and then wake up tomorrow to keep telling the truth.
 
They can party like it’s 1998 all they want, the parents know better.

Keeping Anderson Cooper Honest: Is Brian Deer The Fraud?

Whats-my-line21 By J.B. Handley

"It is quite clear that you do not understand English. Brian Deer is not a member of the Sunday Times staff. He is a freelance journalist who runs his own website and blog and is not under the control or direction of the Sunday Times. Mr. Deer should not represent himself as a Sunday Times journalist. He is not a member of staff, does NOT have a regular salary from us, is not on our pension scheme and pays his own tax as a freelance. If he says that he writes for the Sunday Times that would be correct. He is a contributor to The Sunday Times on an occasional basis but again we have no control over him ..."

- Alaistair Brett, Legal Manager, Sunday Times

I watched Brian Deer’s appearance on Anderson Cooper 360, the one where he closed his eyes for extended periods of time when Anderson asked him certain tough questions, and kept wondering to myself, “Who IS this guy?”

The answers are coming in fast and hard as to who Brian Deer really is, and I must say I am thoroughly astonished at how badly many major news outlets, particularly CNN and Anderson Cooper, failed the US viewing audience by giving this one journalist, without doing background on him or talking to the Lancet 12 parents, such a platform to falsely reassure American parents. The more I learn about this guy, the weirder it gets. This is a long one, so apologies in advance.

Here’s what we’ve learned about Brian Deer:

1. He’s not a  Sunday Times reporter, and never has been, so who the heck is paying his bills?

That’s certainly true from the email above from the Sunday Times, but what does Brian Deer say? He says this:

CHETRY: BRIAN DEER, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST, SUNDAY TIMES OF LONDON: Good morning.

DEER: I’ve been an investigative journalist working for “The Sunday Times of London” since the early 1980s.

DEER: I was commissioned by the “British Medical Journal” to write the piece, yes. That’s what the journalists do.

CHETRY: What about “The Sunday Times of London” and Channel 4 in Britain?

DEER: I work for them. Right. Yes, of course, they pay, I’m a journalist. I was hired to do a job, like you are.

CHETRY: Right.

DEER: You are being paid to your job and I’m being paid to do my job.

Mr. Deer attended Andy Wakefield’s GMC hearings for 160 days between 2007 and 2010. Who paid for all that time? He has published very little since 2004, despite being a freelance journalist. Jane Bryant of the OneClick Group asked Mr. Deer about this during the GMC hearings, here is their conversation:

Jane Bryant: “Brian, who is paying you for your attendance at the Hearing day after day?”

Brian Deer: “The Sunday Times and Channel 4.”

Jane Bryant: “They are all paying you every day?”

Brian Deer: “Well, my finances, you know, it's not necessary....”

Jane Bryant: “I am asking a legitimate question. How much are you being paid?”

Brian Deer: “Who's paying YOU?”

Jane Bryant: “Nobody.”

Deer: “No?”

Jane Bryant: “I provide my services completely free of charge.”

Brian Deer spluttering: “That's... that’s..”

Jane Bryant: “How much are you being paid by the Sunday Times?”

Brian Deer: “I'm not prepared to discuss my personal finances.”

Jane Bryant: “You are not prepared to discuss your finances?”

Brian Deer: “I've told you who’s paying me! I've told you I've never been paid by the drugs companies! I'm not in any way connected with drugs companies!”

Jane Bryant: “I'm not asking you about drugs companies, I'm asking how much you're being paid.”

Brian Deer, shouting: “Some CLOWN, some CLOWN put on his website that he.....”

Both Channel 4 and the Sunday Times have confirmed that they did not pay Mr. Deer to attend the 160 days of GMC hearings. So who did?

When Brian Deer was introduced by Anderson Cooper, it was like this:

BRIAN DEER, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST, "THE SUNDAY TIMES OF LONDON"

Nice job, CNN and Anderson, you have no idea who this guy really is.

2. When Brian Deer began his investigation of Andy Wakefield, he was supported by a pharmaceutical front group

On Anderson Cooper, the following conversation took place:

Continue reading "Keeping Anderson Cooper Honest: Is Brian Deer The Fraud?" »

Is the Whooping Cough “Epidemic” in California Caused by our Community? Hardly.

Whooping-cough By J.B. Handley

It’s the #1 talking point from the other side right now: there is a terrible Pertussis (whooping cough) epidemic in California, kids are dying, and it’s the whole thing has been caused by celebrities and the “anti-vaccine” community.

How rare and wonderful to see two investigative reporters in San Diego (of course, public television) who actually took the time to understand the truth, as you can see from this great clip HERE.. What did these two investigative reporters learn?

- 40-80% of the kids who came down with Pertussis had been immunized

- The state and county data used to trump up the story that there is a Pertussis epidemic was highly unreliable

Here’s some of the transcript from the reporters, sorry about the All caps, that’s how it appeared on their website (edited by me to correct transcription errors):

“WELL, WHEN WE GOT THE SET OF DATA FROM THE SAN DIEGO COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH IT WAS DETAILED. TOLD US HOW MANY CASES OF PEOPLE WERE IMMUNIZED, HOW MANY WEREN'T. THEY SUBMIT THE DATA TO THE CALIFORNIA PUBLIC OF HEALTH. WE WANTED TO FIND OUT STATE- WIDE AND ON A COUNTY LEVEL WHAT COUNTIES WE ARE SEEING AS FAR AS THE EPIDEMIC GOES. WHEN WE GOT THE STATE DATA WE FOUND IT WAS LACKING. THE HISTORY WAS UNKNOWN FOR A MAJORITY OF THE CASES THAT HAD BEEN REPORTED IN CALIFORNIA THUS FAR.”

“WE GOT DETAILED DATA FROM COUNTIESS AND AGGREGATE INFORMATION FROM OTHERS WHO WERE NOT GOING TO RELEASE THE INFORMATION OR DIDN'T HAVE THE INFORMATION. ON A COUNTY-BY-COUNTY BASIS 40-80% OF THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE GOTTEN PERTUSSIS HAS BEEN IMMUNIZED.”

I’d like to finish with an excellent piece written by Dr. Jay Gordon:

Continue reading "Is the Whooping Cough “Epidemic” in California Caused by our Community? Hardly." »

Age of Autism Awards 2010: Dr. Paul Offit, Denialist of the Decade

Denial_hole_in_ground By Dan Olmsted 

Why bother to call attention to Dr. Paul Offit, the vaccine patent-holder who has led the attack on the idea that vaccines have anything to do with autism or any of the myriad of other ailments afflicting this generation of American children? Well, because other people are paying attention -- including the nation's pediatricians and the mainstream journalists who need to start calling him to account. Offit has a new book out -- "Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All." Here's the question doctors who recommend him to nervous parents, and parents unsure what to think, and journalists who interview him, need to ask: Why is Offit transparently opposed to ever studying the health outcomes of vaccinated versus unvaccinated Americans, even as he acknowledges that vaccines have a long history of causing serious side effects?

While his last book, "Autism's False Prophets," focused squarely on the disability now afflicting 1 in 100 children, Offit branches out here to deride those who have any concerns whatsoever about the safety of the current vaccine schedule. There is plenty of sympathy for parents of children who have died of infectious diseases, but perfunctory dismissal in cases where parents blame vaccines. 

Thus Michael Belkin, whose daughter Lyla died after her hepatitis B shot, is treated as a gullible gadfly, goaded by Barbara Loe Fisher into heading "the Hepatitis B Vaccine Project at her National Vaccine information Center. Soon Belkin, a Wall Street financial adviser, was everywhere" -- everywhere being the CDC and Congress, which is exactly where he should have been as a citizen and parent who believes that Hep B is a dangerous and unnecessary childhood vaccine that killed his daughter. Sniffs Offit: "Despite Belkin's certainty that hepatitis B vaccine had caused his daughter's SIDS, study after study failed to support him."

Parents of girls who died after Gardasil vaccination get similar treatment. The idea that Gardasil is dangerous is "a contention refuted by careful study" and "established science." 

And chickenpox vaccines are critically important because chickenpox can lead to shingles, "one of medicine's most debilitating diseases. Shingles is so painful that it has at times led to suicide. And shingles doesn't only affect the skin; sometimes when the virus reawakens it causes strokes, resulting in permanent paralysis. Chickenpox is a disease worth preventing." Absent is any acknowledgement of the evidence that the vaccine itself, by reducing cases of simple childhood chickenpox, has led to a big increase in shingles by removing the protective immunological "bump" those who already harbor the virus receive when they are re-exposed.

Hannah Poling and the government's $20 million concession that vaccines resulted in her autistic regression? Not mentioned. Billions paid out by vaccine court for all sorts of injuries over the past 20 years? Well, vaccine court is a strange place ...

 

Offit and baby no $ Anyone concerned about any of these things fits Offit's definition of anti-vaccine, because vaccines don't cause any of them, because Paul Offit says so, a solipsism that is really quite breathtaking: "[B]ecause anti-vaccine activists today define safe as free from side effects such as autism, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, strokes, heart attacks, and blood clots -- conditions that aren't caused by vaccines -- safer vaccines, using their definition, can never be made."

Yet Offit himself yields an amazing amount of ground by describing unsafe vaccines -- including early polio shots and a rotavirus vaccine that was the immediate predecessor of his own. His technique is to situate all this as historical, part of the triumphant march of progress into the bright sunshine of vaccine safety. Here's a description I find especially astonishing: "When Barbara Loe Fisher burst onto the scene, several vaccines had serious side effects, every year causing allergic reactions, paralysis, or death. Public health officials and doctors didn't hide these problems. But they didn't do anything to correct them, either. And most parents had no idea they existed."

Public health officials did nothing to fix vaccine problems that led to paralysis and death? And parents didn't know about it? Is this not an indictment of the medical industry, and an unintentional endorsement advocates who have worked to remedy it?  Does it not argue that at least some of the time parental observations may well be correct, an early warning system of the first order? Well, no, because apparently those things no longer happen -- to say otherwise, in Offit's parallel universe, would be anti-vaccine conspiratorial quackery. 

Jenny and evan Much of the book is a score-settling screed against anyone who's ever criticized him or vaccine safety surveillance, including Fisher, Jenny McCarthy and J.B. Handley. So it's no surprise that his "can't be done" argument against studying unvaccinated populations for any untoward outcomes arrives in the middle of an attack on Handley. Offit quotes J.B.'s comments on a Larry King segment in April 2009: "Larry, we have no idea what the combination risk of our vaccine schedule looks like. At the two-month visit, a child gets six vaccines in under fifteen minutes. The only way to test that properly would be to have a group of kids who get all six and a group of kids who got none and see what happens. They don't do that testing. They have no idea."

Offit's comment: "Handley was asking for a study of vaccinated and unvaccinated children. One result is certain: given recent outbreaks of Hib, measles, mumps, and pertussis, no vaccinated children would suffer and possibly die from preventable infections. It would be, of course, an entirely unethical experiment. No investigator could prospectively study children who are denied a potentially lifesaving medical product. And no university's or hospital's institutional review board worth its salt would ever approve such a study." 

Offit goes on, outrageously, to compare Handley's proposal to the infamous Tuskegee experiment in which doctors withheld treatment from black males suffering from syphilis in order to study the natural course of the disease. 

P-LEEZE. No one I know of is suggesting that a study of unvaccinated children deliberately withhold vaccination. Rather, there are growing numbers of never-vaccinated children in America -- a fact Offit acknowledges with dismay -- and plenty of families willing to participate in such a study. State governments have vaccine waivers on file for public school attendance that are another obvious source of non-life-threatening data.

The real problem for Offit is not an ethical one; the real problem is that any such study would trump all the self-interested industry and CDC studies that never manage to include never-vaccinated chldren as a control group. Informal efforts to do that -- by myself, J.B.'s Generation Rescue and others -- have pointed toward less autism and asthma, and been met by the medical establishment and its sycophantic sock puppets with an absolute frenzy of denial and misdirection.

In our book, "The Age of Autism -- Mercury, Medicine, and a Man-made Epidemic," MarkAge of Autism_cover quote (3)  Blaxill and I discuss this aversion to doing the obvious. "A very simple test goes right to the heart of the vaccine controversy: What is the difference in total health outcomes, including autism, between vaccinated and unvaccinated populations? We would argue that we've uncovered a number of natural experiments in human populations that suggest we should be seriously concerned over the ever-increasing load of childhood vaccinations, especially in the United States. ... Oddly, when it comes to doing such studies in human populations, and studying the autism levels in the Amish, the homeschooled, or philosophical objectors, vaccine industry proponents resist mightily. Conducting human vax/unvax studies in existing unvaccinated groups would be so fraught with methodological problems that they are 'retrospectively impossible.' As for controlled studies, they would be so burdened with permission problems that they would be 'prospectively unethical.' In short, the resistance to the proposal to do vax/unvax work has not only taken the attitude that 'we already know the answers,' but 'we should not seek to know.' It's pretty hard to make scientific progress in the face of this kind of epistemological nihilism."  

I am begging, on bended knee, that pediatricians quit putting Offit on a pedestal, and that mainstream journalists do their job and ask him why he is so averse to any study that involves the health of never-vaccinated children. Don't let him call you "anti-vaccine," and don't let him change the subject to the quite thoroughly separate issue of preventing deadly disease. That's an important topic, but there is room at the table for both effective public health policies against disease AND a fearless examination of whether today's vaccine schedule contributes to chronic health problems -- whether Paul Offit denies it or not.

--

Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism

 

 

 

J.B. Handley: Hungry Lie 2.0? “Autism is Genetic”

Lie By J.B. Handley

Has there been a statement made with less proof than this one?

“Autism is genetic”?

I don’t think so. Consider the hopeless Wired Magazine journalist, Amy Wallace, making the following statement:

 “In fact, the growing body of science indicates that the autistic spectrum — which may well turn out to encompass several discrete conditions — may largely be genetic in origin. In April, the journal Nature published two studies that analyzed the genes of almost 10,000 people and identified a common genetic variant present in approximately 65 percent of autistic children.”

Ms. Wallace, like many other reporters, offers two separate misstatements here that must be addressed:

First, she suggests that the “the growing body of science indicates that the autistic spectrum may largely be genetic in origin.” This comment is absurd, particularly given what a crisis the world of genetic researchers are actually going through, as described in an excellent article published in the New York Times in April of this year called, “Genes Show Limited Value in Predicting Diseases”:

“The genetic analysis of common disease is turning out to be a lot more complex than expected. Since the human genome was decoded in 2003, researchers have been developing a powerful method for comparing the genomes of patients and healthy people, with the hope of pinpointing the DNA changes responsible for common diseases. This method, called a genomewide association study, has proved technically successful despite many skeptics’ initial doubts. But it has been disappointing in that the kind of genetic variation it detects has turned out to explain surprisingly little of the genetic links to most diseases…Unlike the rare diseases caused by a change affecting only one gene, common diseases like cancer and diabetes are caused by a set of several genetic variations in each person. Since these common diseases generally strike later in life, after people have had children, the theory has been that natural selection is powerless to weed them out. The problem addressed in the commentaries is that these diseases were expected to be promoted by genetic variations that are common in the population. More than 100 genomewide association studies, often involving thousands of patients in several countries, have now been completed for many diseases, and some common variants have been found. But in almost all cases they carry only a modest risk for the disease. Most of the genetic link to disease remains unexplained.”



Autism is perhaps the most prevalent of many diseases where the search for common variants has been a bust. Like clockwork, a new finding of a variant in autism is announced in one study, only to be unreproducible in the next (due to random chance common in genome-wide analysis) and explained perfectly by Mark Blaxill (HERE).

If autism were genetic, children would need to have specific genes in order to have thedisorder, and none, and I mean NONE, have been found.

As one example, a genome-wide study on autism (more on the study in a moment) appeared in the journal Nature in October 2009. The researchers, from Harvard and MIT, were surprisingly forthright in characterizing the current state of genetic autism research:

“Modern approaches that harness genome-scale technologies have begun to yield some insights into autism and its genetic underpinnings. However, the relative importance of common genetic variants, which are generally present in the human population at a frequency of about 5%, as well as other forms of genetic variation, remains an unresolved question…Although the Nature paper identifies a handful of new genes and genomic regions, the researchers emphasize that the findings are just one piece of a very large — and mostly unfinished — puzzle.”

Unresolved? Mostly unfinished puzzle? Unlike many journalists, these researchers don’t sound very definitive. In fact, in the study itself, the researchers spell it out even more clearly, saying “attempts to identify specific susceptibility genes [to autism] have thus far met with limited success.”

Looking at the website of Autism Speaks, an organization that has had frequent run-ins with our community but certainly stands alone as the largest organization dedicated to autism science states:

“The best scientific evidence available to us today points toward a potential for various combinations of factors causing autism – multiple genetic components that may cause autism on their own or possibly when combined with exposure to as yet undetermined environmental factors.”

Continue reading "J.B. Handley: Hungry Lie 2.0? “Autism is Genetic”" »

Is Paul Offit's Wife Internet Troll/Autism Father "Sullivan"?

Troll_medical_handpuppet Is Dr. Bonnie Offit masquerading on the web as an autism parent and prolific blogger named “Sullivan”?

By J.B. Handley

Bonnie Offit, a pediatrician, tours the autism Web sites late at night after her husband goes to sleep. "He's not the man they've created an enemy out of," she says. She wishes his critics knew him the way she does—a gentle, sweet, salt-of-the-earth guy. "What I've learned in all this is to stick to the truth, talk about the science," says Paul Offit. "It's not about me, it's about the data." Above all else, it's about doing right by the children.

* Newsweek Magazine October 25, 2008

When it comes to her husband’s welfare, Bonnie Offit is fiercely protective. A pediatrician with a thriving group practice, she still makes time to monitor the blogosphere. (Her husband refuses to read the attacks.) She wants to believe that if you “keep your finger on the pulse,” as she puts it, you can keep your loved ones safe.

* Wired Magazine, November 2009

The press has been very clear because Bonnie Offit has told them: she takes the time to watch the blogosphere, monitoring the pulse of those against her husband. Yet, for all the time Ms. Offit reportedly spends on the web, I can’t find a single comment or post in her name. Unless of course she calls herself “Sullivan,” and then everything makes perfect sense.



Background: Bonnie Offit

Dr. Bonnie Offit is a pediatrician at Pediatric & Adolescent Care, Haverford  Pediatric and Adolescent Care Haverford , a division of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Her practice has one of the most draconian pro-vaccination policies I have ever seen, and includes the following statements:

“We firmly believe in both the effectiveness and safety of the currently recommended vaccines for children and adolescents…We firmly believe that vaccinating children may be the single most important intervention we perform as health care providers…Again there is plenty of research to reassure us that giving multiple vaccines at once, though stressful, is not overwhelming to the immune system of any aged child…Finally, if you should refuse a recommended vaccine or delay vaccinations despite our efforts we will ask you to find another health care provider who shares your views.”

Of course, Dr. Bonnie Offit is also the wife of Dr. Paul Offit, a person who many in our community, myself included, consider to be a self-interested, wildly-conflicted, one-sided blowhard who will do or say anything to protect a vaccine schedule that has generated millions for him (and his wife). He is the de facto spokesperson for the other side, be it CDC, AAP, or Big Pharma, and AoA has demonstrated that he has both voted himself rich by adding his own vaccine to our kid’s schedule and never never treated treated a child with autism, despite inserting himself into our debate as some sort of expert.

Background: “Sullivan”

“Sullivan” is a prolific, anonymous blogger. In the last few years, Sullivan has essentially hijacked a website, LeftBrainRightBrain --a site that used to be dedicated to the concept of “Neurodiversity.” Sullivan’s subject matter, in dozens of blog posts, is the vaccine-autism controversy, and really nothing else. Sullivan is also a prolific commenter, both in the blog posts written by Sullivan and in other forums.

I first came across the name Sullivan after I appeared on the TV show “The Doctors” because this Sullivan character was absolutely dominating the discussion boards about the show, as you can see for yourself HERE. In fact, Sullivan has posted comments at The Doctors website an amazing 223 times, as I learned from reading Sullivan’s profile on The Doctors website HERE.

Sullivan’s profile from The Doctors:

“I am the parent of a child with autism. I follow autism science and politics closely, and have spent many long hours looking into claims about what causes autism and what can treat autism. As a parent, I have to look at these claims very seriously and with an open mind--my kid depends on it.

Unfortunately, the autism world is filled with people with false claims of causes and treatments.

While much of my blogging time is taken up combatting false claims about causes and treatments, my main concern is to create a better world for all people, but especially for people with disabilities. Autism is a great challenge. People with autism deserve respect and support.” 



From the profile and post above we gather three things: Sullivan is a man, a layperson (rather than a doctor or scientist) who has spent long hours looking into the vaccine-autism connection, and is also a parent of a child with autism. A perfect cast if you will: a parent just like you and me, with their own autistic child and their own opinions, borne of long hours of research.

Sullivan: Not a man, probably not a layperson, probably not a parent of an autistic child

Continue reading "Is Paul Offit's Wife Internet Troll/Autism Father "Sullivan"?" »

Dr. Errol Alden, CEO of the AAP, has a Nephew with Autism

Justone Dr. Errol Alden, CEO of the AAP, has a nephew with autism

By J.B. Handley

Yes, I knew, prior to writing yesterday’s post about the CEO of the AAP--Dr. Errol Alden--that he had a nephew on the spectrum. Since the information wasn’t public, I didn’t mention it. Then, the father of Dr. Alden’s nephew chose to post at AoA and here is what he said:

“Errol Alden is my brother-in-law and there could not be a more caring, selfless, knowledgeable person in that Chair.
My son is on the spectrum. 
I saw Jenny McCarthy ripping at the AAP on Larry King several years ago and sent an email to her via TACA saying that her caustic posturing wasn't helping relations between the biomed MD's and traditional pediatricians. 
To my surprise, TACA contacted me right back at which point I was able to put DAN's main spokesperson at the time, Stan Kurtz, and Errol in concert over including the biomed world in the AAP's recommendations as well as pooling research, etc.
Things were proceeding quite well when suddenly Stan had to leave DAN and then he joined G.R. Jenny's continual national attacks brought so much heat on Errol from the AAP's constituency that he had to back away from the whole process. G.R.'s belligerence ruined a very likely alliance and who suffers? the kids! Nice work G.R.! We were very close to having an acknowledged presence of the Biomed community with the AAP - I guess anger and publicity are more important.
P.S. - your money facts are all skewed.”

- Paul Robinson

My first reaction to his post? I said to myself, “I’m sorry, is the AAP f-ing North Korea? If we get the Dear Leader’s nose bent out of joint he runs for the hills?”

Find your spine or get out of the way.

Paul Robinson, the only victims in this fight are the children. If you don’t understand why we’re so mad, you’re no help to us anyway. Your misdirection of blame is absurd. As Jim Carrey so perfectly said, and I will repeat it in all caps so you don’t miss it:

“THE PROBLEM IS THE PROBLEM.”

And, if biomed is part of the solution, let’s all get moving. Today.

By the way, in trying to be moderately civil, I didn’t mention something else about your brother-in-law, something that drives me nuts, and that’s his choice to be a published author of this study right HERE:

Lack of Association between Measles Virus Vaccine and Autism with Enteropathy: A Case-Control Study

The CEO of the AAP co-authors a study saying Wakefield was wrong? This is a guy we can work with?

Unfortunately, I believe Dr. Alden’s constituency—pediatricians—are the primary problem and cause of our autism epidemic. In my opinion, our community has been giving your brother-in-law and other AAP pediatricians a hall pass for far too long.

Continue reading "Dr. Errol Alden, CEO of the AAP, has a Nephew with Autism" »

AAP’s Errol R. Alden, MD: The Worst CEO in America, Looking to Target “Vaccine Opponents” and “Celebrities”

Head up ass Managing Editor's Note: AAP response to the overwhelming parental concerns about the current pediatric vaccine schedule? Better science? NAH... Pay parents in focus groups to create more ads to dispel fears! "...We're currently working on a new ad to ease parental concerns over vaccines - concerns caused by misinformation spread by a small but vocal group of vaccine opponents which includes celebrities.We're looking for a cross-section of parents from many different backgrounds and communities.  Please ask those you think fit this description if they'd like to participate.  If so, have them contact Jill Halco directly no later than Friday, November 5.  (If they do not have e-mail access, please ask them to call Jill at 847-398-4920, but e-mail is preferred.)  Each parent will receive $50 as a thank-you for participating in the research."

By JB Handley

Don’t be confused by names like Judith Palfrey, David Tayloe, or Renee Jenkins, there’s only one boss at the AAP: Errol R. Alden, M.D.

While folks like Tayloe show up on Larry King Live and get their ass kicked, Dr. Alden has been running the show since 2004. Not sure who’s boss? When Tayloe was the AAP’s President for a year, they paid him $150,000 for a job poorly done. Dr. Alden? He brought home $525,000, over a half-million “non-profit” bucks.

Dr. Alden does a great job of hiding in the shadows and letting others speak for his organization, the American Academy of Pediatrics. Meanwhile, he appears to be biding his time paying his employees huge salaries and, as the most recent Form 990 HERE from the AAP reveals, losing lots of money.

In 2008, the most recent year for which we have AAP data, the organization pulled in $78 million in revenue (down from $85 million the year prior) and spent more than $82 million, for a net loss on the year of $4 million.

Meanwhile, the AAP has twelve employees in their executive suite who make more than $200k a year, 5 making more than $300k a year, and Dr. Alden north of $500k. And, in 2008, when the AAP lost $4 million, Dr. Alden made a bonus of $47k “based in part on the financial results of the organization” – give me a piece of that incentive plan!

Autism may well be the AAP’s swan song, and I think they know it. You simply can’t have 1% of your pediatric population being damaged for life and survive for very long, and I hope pediatricians start to desert the AAP in order to save our kids. In the meantime, I’m guessing Dr. Alden will hasten the ship he is charting right into the ground.

Dr. Alden’s list of unimpressive accomplishments since taking the helm could fill an Annual Report, the most obvious of which is the AAP’s response to the autism epidemic. In no particular order, Dr. Alden’s organization has:

-      Done nothing to alert their membership to biomedical protocols that may improve the symptoms of autism, and shown no interest in understanding the DAN! Movement of physicians, and never acknowledged that biomedical recovery from autism is possible

Continue reading "AAP’s Errol R. Alden, MD: The Worst CEO in America, Looking to Target “Vaccine Opponents” and “Celebrities” " »

Henry Waxman: Father of the Autism Epidemic as Supreme Court Reviews Vaccine Court

Waxman_2Managing Editor's Note: We ran this post in October of 2008. We're running it today as background about the 1986 law that is being challenged in the Supreme Court (see HERE.)
 
By J.B. Handley

Almost 22 years ago, on October 20, 1986, the Los Angeles Times ran a story regarding a controversial bill making its way through Congress, the headline shouted:

REAGAN LIKELY TO VETO VACCINE COMPENSATION BILL

The story went on to explain the highly divisive nature of the bill, intended to shield vaccine makers from liability, and the Reagan administration was speaking out to express their opposition:

In a strongly worded letter to House Speaker Tip O'Neil, the then secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Otis R. Bowen said, "The bill is likely to do little to assure the vaccine supply or to improve our childhood immunization efforts."

Assistant Attorney General John R. Bolton, writing to the Head of the House Judiciary Committee on behalf of the Department of Justice, said the White House opposed the legislation because it was creating, "a major new entitlement program for which no legitimate need has been demonstrated."

Ronald Reagan himself was troubled by the vaccine compensation bill and was quoted as saying, "Although the goal of compensating those persons is a worthy one, the program has…serious deficiencies."

The Reagan administration seemed to be particularly concerned with two issues: who was going to pay for the compensation required for vaccine injury, and the precedent of the federal government indemnifying private companies from liability.

The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act was actually part of a larger bill, the Omnibus Health Bill (S. 1744), that was introduced in the waning days of the 99th Congress in late 1986. Leading a four-year effort to pass the controversial legislation on vaccine liability was a Congressman from the 30th District of California, Henry Waxman. Waxman's bill was supported by vaccine manufacturers, who were lobbying very hard on its behalf, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

To be fair, like many pieces of legislation, the bill had some reasonable intentions. The old DPT shot's rate of damage to children was skyrocketing, lawsuits were mounting, and vaccine makers were headed for the exits. And, the bill proposed the establishment of VAERS -- today's Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System -- which beat the hell out of the non-existent system in place at the time.

Continue reading "Henry Waxman: Father of the Autism Epidemic as Supreme Court Reviews Vaccine Court" »

Autism Speaks Mangles the Poling Decision: NYT Blog Adds Insult

Children mangle By J.B. Handley
 
On the one hand, I get it. Autism Speaks treads a very delicate balance in how they address the idea that vaccines might be causing all this autism. If they are too strongly supportive of the hypothesis—poof!—away goes so much of the money that allows all the employees and researchers affiliated with Autism Speaks to put food on the table for their families.
 
On the other hand, Autism Speaks may well be enabling the autism epidemic to continue by parsing their words so carefully (and at times just plain lying). If our community is right, and of course I believe we are, Autism Speaks and all its researchers and employees will have to account for their complacency in a time of crisis to future generations.
 
Personally, I believe most of the roads of causation research end at the vaccine schedule. At some point, with hundreds of millions of dollars spent, Autism Speaks is going to need to show something for their labor. So far, they haven’t produced one shred of information that has either reduced the number of autism cases or increased the number of recovered children. It’s a track record of nothingness. Congratulations.
 
To their credit, Autism Speaks actually addressed the Hannah Poling court case decision through their official blog (and they also highlighted it on their home page) HERE .
 
The blog post provides the following background:
 
“Hannah was developing typically until a regressive episode at 18 months that closely followed the 9 vaccinations she received at a well-baby visit.  Further testing revealed that Hannah 1) developed autism and 2) had the metabolic signature of a mitochondrial disorder which may have made her vulnerable to injury from the vaccines themselves or the fever that commonly accompanies vaccines and many childhood illnesses.”
 
Then, using a Q&A approach, Autism Speaks tries to mangle and confuse the Poling decision into nothingness. My criticisms follow:
 
1. Nowhere is the size of the judgment, roughly $20 million, even mentioned.
 
It’s a form of bias to exclude information that may cause the case to seem larger than Autism Speaks would like it to be by not being comprehensive in mentioning the size of the award to the Poling family. $20 million is a lot of donuts, and someone at AS actually chose to edit that out or not mention it.
 
2. As with every other vaccine apologist, Autism Speaks uses Hannah’s reported “mitochondrial disorder” to try to explain away her reaction to so many vaccines.
 
When you hear people like Paul Offit discuss the Hannah Poling decision, they try to make it sound like she was “suffering” from some extremely rare form of genetic disorder that no other kid in America has. They have to. If Hannah’s disorder could have actually been induced by a vaccine or if it’s more common than Offit represents, the world as we know it would end, so Offit and others happily spread wild misinformation. (Yes, Amy Wallace, Paul Offit lies. He lies. He lies.)

Continue reading "Autism Speaks Mangles the Poling Decision: NYT Blog Adds Insult" »

A Night of Comedy to Benefit Autism

2010_Logo_med By Kent Heckenlively, Esq.

Okay, so I haven't been out much in the past ten years.

I've gone to two autism events during that time, one in San Francisco and one in Chicago.  But when I heard that Generation Rescue and the Ryder Foundation were putting on a night of comedy at the Palace of Fine Arts Theater, near where I used to live in the Marina district of San Francisco I knew I had to go.  This would be my third event.

For those of you unfamiliar with San Francisco, the Palace of Fine Arts Theater is a beautiful relic of the 1916 Pan Pacific Exposition designed to celebrate the opening of the Panama Canal.  The theater probably seats somewhere under a thousand people and it shares the space with the Exploratorium, one of the country's most unique science musuems.  I take my science students there every year on a field trip.  It's a hands-on museum at which students can make their hair stand up straight by putting their hand on a Van de Graaf generator, or watch in fascinated horror as one of the volunteers dissect a cow's eye or sheep brain every half hour. It's the highlight of my school year.

I bought one of the expensive tickets which got me into the gourmet food and wine reception before the event and the dessert reception afterwards.  As I walked from the car to the theater I saw a big, black stretch limousine (Jenny's?) and at the entrance there were a few photographers, men entering in suits, and tall, leggy women in six inch heels towering over me.  I have to admit I felt a little out of place, almost like Frodo amongst a gathering of Men and Elves. (Yes, some of the women were so tall, slender, and endowed with such unearthly beautiful I'm convinced they represent a slightly more evolved race than our own!)  But then again, San Francisco always has been a little different than the rest of the world.

Hanging around the entrance to the reception was a regular reader of Age of Autism who describes himself as my number one fan.  I've now run into him at all three events I've attended.  We greeted each other warmly and he told me I need to stop stalking him.  He's a brilliant, unconventional thinker and I always look forward to our discussions.  He's usually ahead of the curve in his areas of scientific interest and is one of the many people who make me appear smarter than I actually am.

I also met up with my brother-from-another-mother, J.B. Handley, only the second time we've seen each other in person.  However, we e-mail a few times a week and talk regularly on the phone.  Usually the conversation goes something like this, "Yes, Kent, that's a good idea but it would cost a lot of money and I'm not sure how much it will advance the cause."  Then he reminds me how Generation Rescue is funding a vaccinated/unvaccinated study, paying for kids whose parents can't afford treatment, all while Jenny is trying to put together a television show to try to become the next Oprah Winfrey.  We then swap stories about intriguing rumors of a retroviral connection to autism which might also explain some of the health problems of the mothers of many of the children.

Continue reading "A Night of Comedy to Benefit Autism" »

Government Awards Hannah Poling $1.5 Million in Vaccine Injury Case

House of cards ... vaccines didn't cause Hannah's autism -- the condition just "resulted" from the vaccines.

The totally twisted and unsustainable United States government approach to vaccines and autism was on full display today. A few months after the federal vaccine court laughed at the idea that one has anything to do with the other, tossing out more than 5,000 cases at once, CBS reports HERE "Family to Receive $1.5M in First-Ever Vaccine-Autism Court Award" that the government awarded Hannah Poling $1.5 million for regressive autism that followed vaccination. She will also receive $500K per year for life.

The government lawyers mumbled something Orwellian and incoherent about a pre-existing mitochondrial disorder and how vaccines didn't cause Hannah's autism -- the condition just "resulted" from the vaccines. Translation: The medical industry's wall of doublespeak, delay and denial is crumbling and today, at least, one child got justice. More, many more, to come. -- Dan Olmsted

Autism and Heavy Metals: An Interview With Mary Catherine DeSoto, Ph.D.

Beatings By J.B. Handley
 
“I am sure that only an open debate, searching for new mechanisms and many more experiments may solve the problem of what caused the rise of the incidence of autism that is becoming more and more real the more we investigate the problem.”
 
- Kris Turlejski, Acta Neurobiologiae Experimentalis, Editor-in-Chief
 
Despite no mainstream reporting about the recent edition ( Vol. 70, No 2 ) of the medical journal Acta Neurobiologiae Experimentalis, it represents a watershed moment for the autism community: multiple scientists coming together and challenging many of the autism epidemic’s most pernicious myths.
 
AoA, appropriately, has focused on one study from the journal by Hewitson and colleagues comparing vaccinated and unvaccinated primates, which ANE’s editor notes “support[s] the possibility that there is a link between early immunization and the etiology of autism.”
 
Another excellent paper in ANE’s current edition was written by Mary Catherine DeSoto, Ph.D. and Robert Hitlan, Ph.D., titled "Sorting Out the Spinning of Autism: Heavy Metals and the Question of Incidence.”    Dr. DeSoto is a welcome voice in a debate about autism that has grown ugly, partisan, and close-minded, particularly amongst the mainstream scientific community. An Associate Professor from the University of Northern Iowa and a published scientist with nearly two dozen works to her name, Dr. DeSoto makes a powerful case regarding two of the more heated arguments in the autism debate: is the rise in autism cases real and do heavy metals play a role in autism?
 
There’s no fact or data set more important than reaching a consensus amongst every stakeholder in the autism debate that the incidence of autism is truly on the rise. If it is, than our money should be focused on finding the environmental trigger for all these new cases. If it isn’t, perhaps the money should be best spent on improving education and services. How do we find a cause for something if we can’t even agree that it’s indeed growing or that there might be a trigger for it? She writes:
 
“But we believe that recent studies and recently available data sets are providing convergent evidence for a secular increase [in cases of autism] across numerous countries.”

Continue reading "Autism and Heavy Metals: An Interview With Mary Catherine DeSoto, Ph.D." »

Is Autism Science Foundation's Alison Singer “A More Ruthless Eddie Haskell”?

 
Eddie-haskell By J.B. Handley
 
Is Alison Singer a ruthless sycophant who played Suzanne Wright “like a fiddle”? She is if you ask any number of current or former Autism Speaks employees who I recently spoke with, all of whom asked to remain anonymous.
 
This is my third consecutive post on Alison Singer (See Part 2 Alison Singer Mispeaks at Yale: Flaming Moron or a Flaming Liar?  and  Part 1 Alison Singer in Her Own Worlds.) Having watched her recent speech before the Yale Child Study Center audience, I was plagued with many of the same thoughts all of you had, including: what in the hell is wrong with this woman?
 
Why would the mother of a child with autism:
 
1. Deride biomedical treatment for autism and assume all DAN! Doctors are in it for the money, but block any sort of funding for research that may prove otherwise?
 
From an Autism Speaks employee:
 
“She really believes that DAN! docs are 100% focused on bilking parents, with treatments based on zero science. The problem here is that over the last decade, Alison HERSELF has been actively blocking potential funding which could have made some Biomed treatments more "evidence based". DAN practitioners and companies also share the blame in not putting more effort into having their treatments studied, but Alison has been a huge obstacle. Without studies to support treatments, how can insurance cover them?”
 
From a different employee:
 
“She only tried Dan! stuff herself for maybe a few months, it apparently didn’t help, she really knows very little about what parents do, and seems very uncurious to meet any recovered kids.”
 
2. Take up with so many of the people we hate, like Darth Vader himself, Dr. Paul Offit, and actually speaking at immunization conferences?
 
From a former employee:
 
“CAA is up for reauthorization. It's billions of dollars. Alison, through Autism Science Foundation, has an organization set up to harvest those federal dollars. Alison is doing what the Biomed orgs should have done years ago.  She is setting up the structure so federal dollars can flow. Which biomed organization is going to be able to apply for this pool of money?”
 
And:
 
“Working with Offit and the others on her ASF board tells NIH loud and clear that ASF will not use federal dollars to possibly damage the vaccine program.”
 
3. Continually bang the drum of autism being genetic despite an enormous lack of research to prove this point and the growing acknowledgement that the environment is playing a major role?

Continue reading "Is Autism Science Foundation's Alison Singer “A More Ruthless Eddie Haskell”?" »

Alison Singer Mispeaks at Yale: Flaming Moron or a Flaming Liar?

 
Science mistakes By J.B. Handley
 
In my last post, I shared a partial transcript and video clip of a speech that Alison Singer of the “Autism Science Foundation” gave at the Yale Child Study Center.
 
Aside from chiding our entire community for being crazy and delusional, asserting that vaccines are green because “the only ingredients in vaccines are those that need to be there”, and that the “big guy”—public health—is good while the “little guy” is bad because he’s “trying to make a buck off unsuspecting parents”, Ms. Singer even took it a step worse which I have yet to comment upon.
 
In a different part of her talk, Ms. Singer explained how many of us delusional parents have no training in the scientific method. With our tiny minds, we just don’t understand the science that’s being done around us to help our kids by the big guy, the benevolent public health system. With her snide tone and rolling eyes, we’re all supposed to understand that Ms. Singer is on the other side of this contrast: she gets it. The science. It’s the Autism SCIENCE Foundation, after all. Poor desperate parents with their teeny little minds, they are so gullible. And stupid.
 
Then, to prove what idiots we all are, Ms. Singer recounts the tale of Dr. Andy Wakefield, and offers up the following nugget:
 
“The work was done by Andrew Wakefield [1998 Lancent study] where he reported that children with autism had measles virus in their gut and that these measles molecules were leaking out of their gut and attacking their brain and causing autism. This has never been replicated and the study was retracted and all of his co-authors retracted.”
 
Yup. She gets it. You don’t. The science, that is.
 
It’s amazing, really, to watch and see someone say something this remarkably stupid, ignorant, and categorically untrue in every way shape and form, which leads me to the question I used to title this piece: Is Alison Singer a flaming moron or a flaming liar?
 
Wakefield’s 1998 study in the Lancet is not very hard to read, even for a peanut-brained dad like me. Heck, the danged-thing is only 5 pages long, as you can see right HERE.  Ms. Singer’s characterization of what this study actually concluded literally does not have a single shred of fact, as you can see by taking a closer look:
 
Ms. Singer said:
 
“he reported that children with autism had measles virus in their gut”
 
Wheras the truth is:
 
Wakefield et. al. reported absolutely no such thing whatsoever. They reported that of the 12 children in the study, the parents of 8 of the children reported a regression after MMR.

Continue reading "Alison Singer Mispeaks at Yale: Flaming Moron or a Flaming Liar?" »

Autism Science Foundation's Alison Singer: In Her Own Worlds

Cyprus hill By J.B. Handley
 
“Who you tryin’ to get crazy with ese? Don't you know I'm loco?”
-   Cypress Hill (See bottom of post.)
 
Alison Singer, President of a foundation based in her basement, recently spoke at the Yale Child Study Center. At about the 34-minute mark, her talk focused on our community, and why parents believe the things they believe.
 
I thought about writing a blistering piece commenting on all the things Ms. Singer said in her talk, but I think it’s far more compelling to simply quote Ms. Singer directly. So, the rest of this piece is Alison Singer, in her own words and in her own world, AoA readers can be the judge:
 
*     *     *
 
Alison Singer, speech at Yale Child Study Center, March 2010:
 
Given that so much of the science is clear and so much is unknown about autism, why is it that in society today parents in general are reluctant to believe the science and there continues to be this discord in the autism community regarding what we need to study, how we should study it, and how we should treat our children?
 
…I think there are the two key causative factors for why families have become distrustful [of health authorities]. One is the internet. On the internet all opinions are created equal. Anyone can post a blog, anyone can start a scientific journal online, anyone can now say, “Well this study was published in a scientific peer-reviewed journal.” You really have to look at who are the peers and where is the journal published. So, there’s definitely a lot of issues with the internet.
 
Then, there’s influence of the media and the cult of celebrity where in our society we have become more willing to trust celebrities than doctors.

Continue reading "Autism Science Foundation's Alison Singer: In Her Own Worlds" »

Paul Offit, Rotateq, Pig Viruses, and the Rest of the World

 
Trojan pink By J.B. Handley
 
As the facts surrounding Friday’s decision by the FDA to keep Paul Offit’s Rotateq vaccine on the market despite being contaminated with two pig viruses known to cause fatal wasting disease, the fragility of the current vaccine schedule and the control that profits appear to have on our regulator’s decisions are clearly emerging for the world to see.
 
A glaring fact never discussed by the FDA advisory panel that met Friday was why so few other first world countries even require a rotavirus vaccine for their children. Of 30 first world countries  analyzed by Generation Rescue, only three—USA, Canada, and Austria—recommend some sort of Rotavirus vaccine.  If the FDA is so sure the “benefits outweigh the risks” of keeping Offit’s vaccine in circulation, why have 27 first world countries like the UK, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway never even bothered to add a rotavirus shot to their immunization schedules in the first place?
 
Discussing Offit’s vaccine on Friday, Reuters reported that “in 2009, sales of Merck's vaccine [Rotateq] totaled $522 million, including $468 million from the United States.”
 
Let me help you all do the math here, because it’s so egregious. Of all the sales of Paul Offit’s Rotateq vaccine, 90% come from the United States, because so few other first world countries even buy the shot. 90%!! If the FDA bans Rotateq, Offit’s shot is out of business. Have you ever heard Offit talk about how proud he is of his vaccine? How proud he is to be helping the third world? With 90% of his shot being sold right here in the USA, it’s all a bit of a stretch, no?
 
Looking at the FDA’s actions more closely, it’s darkly comical to see what a tough spot they’re now in. In March, the FDA advised doctors to stop using Rotarix, a competitor to Rotateq, because it contained a virus known as PCV-1.
 
Now, the same testing has revealed PCV-1 and, additionally, PCV-2 in Offit’s shot. By all accounts, PCV-2 is a far more dangerous virus with far less known about it. Yet, somehow, the existence of PCV-2 is causing the FDA panel to recommend keeping both of the brands of the shot on the market, including reversing the original Rotarix decision! (Of course, the other shoe to drop, and this one is an enormous shoe, is what happens when all the other vaccines in the schedule are tested?)
 
Here’s a quick background of PCV-2:
 
“Postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome ("PMWS") is a porcine disease. This disease causes illness in piglets, with clinical signs including progressive loss of body condition, visibly enlarged lymph nodes, difficulty in breathing, and sometimes diarrhea, pale skin, and jaundice. PMWS has been reported from most pig-producing countries of the world at huge cost to agriculture. PMWS is caused by porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2).”
 
What parent on the planet would want that virus put into their child?

Continue reading "Paul Offit, Rotateq, Pig Viruses, and the Rest of the World" »

Frontline’s Producer Feeds the “Hungry Lie”

 
Frontline backward By J.B. Handley
 
The “hungry lie” on autism is both maddeningly simple and simply maddening and goes something like this: “It’s been asked and answered, vaccines don’t cause autism.”
 
As I’ve written about repeatedly, this is a huge lie, a critical lie, and a very “hungry” lie, because it constantly needs to be fed. Thanks to Frontline’s recent show, “the Vaccine War,” many more people will be confronted with this lie and have to sort through the rhetoric to figure out what is actually true.
 
Jon Palferman, who produced Frontline’s “The Vaccine War,” is different from many of the other feeders of the hungry lie in one important way: he spent nearly 2 hours sitting in my office debating and learning more about this very topic. I am certain that he fully and completely understands that only a single vaccine on the US vaccine schedule has actually been studied for its relationship to autism. I’m also certain he realizes many public health officials make bold and untrue statements all the time to reassure the public that “vaccines” have been studied and rendered “safe.”
 
To me, this makes Mr. Palferman’s recent public comment all the more unconscionable. On Frontline’s website, as a response to Dr. Jay Gordon’s searing critique of Frontline’s decision to not air any of Dr. Gordon’s taped interview, Mr. Palferman issued the following statement:
 
“Many thanks for your feedback on the program. FRONTLINE went to considerable lengths to include a wide range of viewpoints, even in the face of very strong scientific evidence against the hypothesized autism link to MMR and thimerosal. Despite the consistent negative epidemiology and the definitive verdict of the federal vaccine court, we included views from people who wanted more and different studies. The program also gave a great deal of time to the arguments of vaccine hesitant parents who think the CDC schedule is bloated. The companion FRONTLINE website contains full interviews with different stakeholders, including Dr Robert Sears, who promotes an alternative spread out vaccine schedule. The website also hosts a robust public conversation where a full range of viewpoints are being aired and engaged.”
 
Let me repeat for you the part of Mr. Palferman’s statement that shows he did spend 2 hours with me, but wanted to defend his position anyway:
 
“the hypothesized autism link to MMR and thimerosal”
 
You see, Mr. Palferman fully gets that no one has shown “vaccines don’t cause autism,” because I personally hammered home the point to him until he finally got it. So, he’s smart enough not to fully repeat the simple hungry lie that “vaccines” have been studied and at least tells the truth that ONLY thimerosal and the MMR have been looked at.

Continue reading "Frontline’s Producer Feeds the “Hungry Lie”" »

Generation Rescue Announces the Rescue Family Grant Program for Autism Treatment

Generation Rescue Logo 2010 Generation Rescue’s Rescue Family Grant Program  provides resources to individuals and families that are affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders. This 90-day program is focused on helping families transition to adopting a gluten-free/casein-free (GFCF) diet and designed to introduce the benefits of biomedical treatment by supplying the appointed family with information, supplements, specialized doctor visits, and mentorship.

Click HERE to download and print an application.

The following is included in the grant package:

1. Two visits with a New Generation Medical Doctor – a physician specifically trained to treat the symptoms of autism
2. 90 days worth of supplements
3. A Rescue Mentor to help guide the family through the process of starting the GFCF diet and biomedical intervention
4. Healing & Preventing Autism: A Complete Guide by Jenny McCarthy & Dr. Kartzinel
5. Generation Rescue Flip camera for documentation of child’s progress before and after program implementation (camera must be returned to Generation Rescue along with footage)
6. Daily log for documentation of child
7. GF/CF dietary training and recipe support
8. Dietary/Nutritional information DVD
9. Significantly reduced lab testing fee
10. Supplement starter guide

This grant program is made possible by the generous contributions made by these participating organizations

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Gr revitapop Gr enzymedica  

Frontline's Complete Interview with Generation Rescue's J.B. Handley

JB Frontline The Vaccine Wars interview with J.B. Handley

How did your life change when you discovered your son had autism?

Everything changed from the day it happened. It was an immediate nightmare. It was 30 days of six, seven, eight hours of nonstop crying by both me and my wife. It was the painful realization that my son may not have the kind of life that I expected for him. And once the grief had passed just enough to get up off the floor, it was a mandate to do whatever I could do with the rest of my life to give him the best possible life.

How old was he when this happened?

He was just under 2 years old.

How did you discover this?

People sometimes talk about how these kids are diagnosed today at much higher rates, that we just have a more narrow filter, that parents are more paranoid.

You don't miss this. This wasn't something that was hard to figure out. The child stopped talking. He stopped socializing. He started doing extremely unusual behaviors that no other kid was doing -- running on walls, turning his eyes to the side, spinning around in circles, laughing for no reason. I mean, we watched our son decline into something we'd never seen before, and it didn't take us long, especially with the Internet, to go quickly look up some of these behaviors.

Continue reading "Frontline's Complete Interview with Generation Rescue's J.B. Handley" »

The State of Vaccine-Autism Research: The Bloomington Alternative

Camel doctors Please click HERE to read and comment at the full post and to read part 1 at The Bloomington Alternative blog.

J.B. Handley: Tobacco science in its early phase
Part 2: The state of vaccine-autism research

By Steven Higgs
April 18, 2010

J.B. Handley and his wife Lisa co-founded Generation Rescue after their son was diagnosed with autism. He says mainstream science has failed to adequately study the connection between autism and vaccines, and by insisting it has, public health officials have misled the public and unnecessarily endangered children.

J.B. Handley concluded long ago that mercury is but one component in childhood vaccines that could be contributing to the epidemics of autism and developmental disabilities in American children. And after following two decades of ferocious debate and misdirected, inadequate study, he finds the topic a bit outmoded, the question a non sequitur. He answers it with a series of questions.

"Do I know that it and it alone is why we have all these kids with autism?" the co-founder of Generation Rescue said of mercury, a neurotoxin used for decades in childhood vaccines. "... How am I supposed to know whether it was the (mercury-laden) thimerosal, the aluminum, the antigen, the timing of the shot, the combination of the shots or all of the above? How in the world could I divine that?"

Continue reading "The State of Vaccine-Autism Research: The Bloomington Alternative" »

Best of AoA: RotaTeq, The Vaccine No One Wants

UNWANTED Managing Editor's Note: We ran this post last Fall about the RotaTeq vaccine, developed by Dr. Paul Offit and produced by Merck. Yesterday, the Chicago Tribune ran an advertisement, press release, article about the urgent need for RotaTeq, and chastising Dr. Mehmet Oz for stating that RotaTeq is optional. JB had proven that it is indeed optional in most of the first world. Here's an excerpt from JB's post: “For Rotavirus, a vaccine commercially available now for 11 years, the numbers are laughable: Of 29 other first world countries that GR evaluated, only 2 also mandate Rotavirus. Said differently, 27 of 29 other first world countries besides the United States DO NOT think Rotavirus is an important enough disease that the children of their country should receive a vaccine for it, even though a vaccine has been available for over a decade.”

By J.B. Handley
 
It started innocently enough, I just wanted to know which vaccines the State of Oregon “requires” children to get before entering kindergarten in a public school. (As we all know, but few other Americans seem to, “require” is a relative term because parents can opt out of any and all vaccine requirements if they so choose through exemptions.)
 
A quick trip to the Oregon Department of Health website and I found what I was looking for, some of which surprised me:
 
Kindergartners in Oregon must demonstrate they have received the following vaccines: DTaP, Polio, Varicella, MMR, Hep B, and Hep A.
 
This means that kindergartners in Oregon do not need to demonstrate that they have received the following vaccines listed for children on the 2009 CDC Immunization schedule, and vaccines that many parents believe they need to get in order for their children to enter school: Hib, PCV (pneumococcal), Rotavirus, Influenza, and Meningitis (meningococcal).
 
So, of the 11 types of vaccines approved for pediatric use (and given in 36 doses because many are given multiple times), Oregon says you need to prove your child received 6 of them to enter kindergarten, or just over half of the vaccines recommended by CDC.
 
I called the Oregon Department of Health to try and understand why there appears to be a gap between the CDC’s overall recommendations and what the state of Oregon needs from its public school students and here’s what I learned:

Continue reading "Best of AoA: RotaTeq, The Vaccine No One Wants" »

Steven Higgs Interviews Generation Rescue Co-Founder J.B. Handley

090223-Banks Nothing makes J.B. Handley laugh more quickly than the suggestion that he and other parents who question the safety of the American vaccine schedule are "radicals." The Portland, Ore., businessman is a managing partner in a leverage buyout fund. And when it came to vaccinating their first two children, he and wife Lisa religiously followed the vaccination schedule set by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

"We were as mainstream as they come," the father of three said during a telephone interview. "We were the ones who followed the letter of the law."

Questioning their doctor about the risks of vaccination never occurred to them, Handley continued. The same goes for hundreds of parents he has spoken with who watched their children's health steadily decline following their vaccinations, eventually regressing into autism, like 7-year-old Jamie Handley did as an infant.

"Almost to a person, we were the ones who fully vaccinated," he said. "You know?"

Read the full post by Steven Higgs at The Bloomington Alternative.

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." »

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.

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