Goodbye April, HELLO HOPE!
Have plans Friday, May 9th? Want to have a great time and help raise money for Generation Rescue?
Then come to the 7th Annual Rescue Our Angels event in Chicago! My husband and I are so honored to have been asked to co-host this incredible event founded by parents Michele and Peter Doyle, and we would love for you to join us! After their little girl was diagnosed with autism in 2006, the Doyle's started the Rescue Our Angels benefit to help raise money for autism families in need. Over the last six years, the event has gone from a small, intimate gathering to a star-studded extravaganza that has raised almost one half of a million dollars! Tickets are still on sale, but are going fast. Get yours today! We hope to see you there!
The rumor mill goes round and round - autism is just being diagnosed more; recovery isn't real; nothing but quack treatments; Jenny McCarthy's son never had autism. It's exhausting. Autism is an epidemic. Recovery IS real. There's nothing quack about the treatments for it, other than the people spreading the rumor. And Jenny McCarthy's son WAS diagnosed with autism. She herself has even come out and shot down the rumor with an official statement through Generation Rescue.
I don't understand why there has to be constant negative media about the REAL HOPE that dedicated activists and organizations are trying to provide for people with autism? It's simply ignorance. If you want to be miserable in your life, go be miserable, but don't take hope away from a family in need. Sometimes, hope is all we got!
As a sibling of a boy with autism, I know what it's like to have hope and I know what it's like to not have hope. And guess what? I'm choosing to go with the hope. And despite what anybody says, autism is treatable. I have seen my brother on biomed improve. And I have seen my brother regress when it was taken away.
I, myself, have received a lot of shit from trolls online about my brother and about myself. I don't care. I stand by what I say and I support the people that continue to get the message across. I will also do everything in my power to make sure my brother gets to live the best life he possibly can. And no greasy, mid-aged man with a keyboard that has nothing better to do than trash a message of hope is going to stop me.
Don't get caught up in the senseless nonsense that floats around the internet. Educate yourself and make informed decisions. Does that mean listen to me and everything I say? No. It means READ and pay attention to what you're reading. Get the facts, not the troll Facebook comments. And from there, listen to your gut. And don't lose hope. Without it, what do you have?
Tweet me @JustPlainZack - let's keep each other motivated. Let's keep the media bullies down.
By John Stone
Originally published 5 August 2013 this article showed that the organization which had mounted a petition against Jenny McCarthy appearing on 'The View' had government and pharmaceutical industry ties. It may be helpful to re-visit it in relation revived and completely unfounded allegations against McCarthy that her son did not have autism diagnosis...
Despite Karen Ernst’s repeated insistence that Voices for Vaccines - who recently got up a petition against Jenny McCarthy on Change.com - is an independent parent-led organization speaking up for the vaccine program, the evidence that it was started by the Atlanta based non-profit partner of the Centers for Disease Control, Task Force for Global Health, to promote their joint policies is overwhelming. John Stone (UK editor of Age of Autism) reports:
A few days ago I wrote about vaccine program advocate Prof Dorit Reiss, her unconventional views about agency capture, and her links with Voices for Vaccines “an administrative project” of Task Force for Global Health a partner organization to the Centers for Disease Control and Emory University in Atlanta. The first response to my article was from Karen Ernst a Minnesota based officer of Voices for Vaccines :
“Voices for Vaccines has as its fiscal agent The Task Force for Global Health. They take in our donations and cut checks for us. Many non-profits who are too small to handle their own 501(c)3 status use fiscal agents in this way; it's quite common. We have absolutely no access to their money, nor do we benefit from their money. Voices for Vaccines is not tied to any pharmaceutical corporation or to any government organization. Thus far, all of our donations have been small and have come from individuals. Thus, the dots you have connected paint an incorrect picture.”
Ernst was again engaged the other day with Steve Schneider's article Big Pharma's faking a "grass-roots" campaign to keep Jenny McCarthy off "The View" in Mark Crispin Miller's News from the Underground blog noticed that a Change.com petition against McCarthy was being promoted by ‘Voices for Vaccines, St Paul, Minnesota’. Ernst was first to respond once more :
“I’m one of the two moms who runs VFV. Your blog post is curious to me, seeing that you are an academic. It seems you consulted Barbara Loe Fisher for her anti-vaccine conspiracy theories about who we are, but you never bothered to actually consult us.
“I am the person who started the petition. I have been in contact with exactly zero people who work for pharmaceutical companies or who work in the government about the petition. At best, your headline is misleading. The rest of your blog post is inaccurate. You’ve misrepresented our relationship with our Scientific Advisory Board and our fiscal agent.”
For the record the current Voices for Vaccine website states:
“Voices for Vaccines was re-launched in early 2013 after two young parents, Karen Ernst and Ashley Shelby, volunteered to lead the organization in rallying parents of immunized children to combat vaccine misinformation and increase immunization rates. In 2010, Shelby and Ernst founded the blog Moms Who Vax, which offers resources on vaccine information, commentary, and first-person stories from parents who immunize. They are currently working to develop a new organization, the Minnesota Childhood Immunization Coalition.”
The name ‘Voices for Vaccines’ rang a bell but I could not immediately find any pre-2013 references on Google. The web archive was rather more helpful, however, with the earliest page holding any text dating from 13 May 2008 (passages in bold are my emphasis):
A News from Underground exclusive
Warning shots: Who’s behind the campaign to keep vaccine talk off “The View”?
By Steve Schneider
When it was announced that Jenny McCarthy would be joining TV’s “The View,” America’s op-ed pages were filled with the protests of pundits worried that she would use her position on the show to further her crusade against childhood vaccinations. (McCarthy claims that her son was afflicted with autism and blames vaccines for his condition; she has urged other parents to question and/or reject the vaccinations many pediatricians recommend.) For some of McCarthy’s detractors, whether or not she would actually get to discuss vaccines on the program, and to what degree, was almost immaterial: **Slate**’s Phil Plait argued that just by having her on the show, its producers were lending tacit credibility to a cause that he (like many other advocates of the pharmaceutical status quo, both official and self-appointed) considers reprehensibly dangerous.
Plait had already orchestrated a reader write-in campaign to prevent the hiring from going through. Though it failed, the tactic is now being revisited in a petition circulated by Change.org, which seeks to have McCarthy replaced on “The View” before she can even shoot an episode as a series regular. That petition, curiously, is bylined “by Voices for Vaccines; St. Paul, Minnesota.”
So what is Voices for Vaccines, and why is it authoring Change.org’s content? On its own website, Voices for Vaccines describes itself as “a parent-driven organization supported by scientists, doctors, and public health officials that provides parents clear, science-based information about vaccines and vaccine-preventable disease…” But one look at the specific names involved makes it clear why the organization might be very interested in preventing any anti-vaccination talk from coming to “The View.” The Scientific Advisory Board of VFV includes one Paul A. Offit, identified in a CBS News report as holding a $1.5 million dollar Merck-funded research chair at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. According to CBS, Offit “holds the patent on an anti-diarrhea vaccine he developed with Merck”; in 2008, future royalties for that vaccine, Rotateq, were sold for $182 million, CBS reported.
The money trail doesn’t stop there. According to Barbara Loe Fisher, president of the non-profit National Vaccine Information Center, the Voices for Vaccines board is rounded out by another advisor (Stanley A. Plotkin) who is a vaccine developer, and two others (Alan R. Hinman and Deborah L. Wexler) with significant ties to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That last connection isn’t as innocuous as it might sound: As Maine-based M.D. and public-health blogger Meryl Nass explains, the pharmaceutical industry “funds CDC through the conduit CDC Foundation”; in turn, CDC funds the Immunization Action Coalition, another pro-vaccination advocacy group. (Voices for Vaccines advisor Wexler also heads the IAC.)
By Nancy Hokkanen
Online comments by vaccine injury denialists often seem plucked from George Orwell’s novel Animal Farm, a dystopian allegory in which “some animals are more equal than others.” At the websites of magazines struggling to regain lost market share, the human counterparts of porcine characters Napoleon and Squealer can be found denying medical facts and urging others to discriminate against the vaccine-injured population.
As soon as TV’s “The View” announced that celebrity author Jenny McCarthy might be hired as a co-host (now official), corporate media and internet trolls attempted anew to devalue her in the public eye. Years ago McCarthy stated that her son reacted adversely to the MMR vaccine; after a bout of seizures the boy was revived by medics, and treated by physicians over the years with positive results.
McCarthy is president of Generation Rescue, an advocacy group started by parent volunteers to educate families about safe and effective biomedical autism treatments. Oddly, if you Google “Generation Rescue,” the first title to pop up is a sponsored link from the faux research group Autism Science Foundation. On July 9 ASF reported the groundbreaking news that “Mothers Who Have Children with ASD Show Significantly Higher Levels of Fatigue.”
At the U.S. News & World Report site, assistant opinion editor Pat Garofalo minced no words in his article “Keep Jenny McCarthy’s Vaccine and Autism Pseudoscience Off ‘The View.’” Staff at that publication have backpedaled hard from articles by former health editor Bernadine Healy, M.D., who advocated vaccine program transparency. A former director at the Red Cross and National Institutes of Health, Dr. Healy stated before her 2011 passing, “There are unanswered questions about vaccine safety. We need studies on vaccinated populations based on various schedules and doses as well as individual patient susceptibilities that we are continuing to learn about.”
At the pop-up-laden website of The Atlantic is a piece of work by associate history professor David M. Perry: “Destabilizing the Jenny McCarthy Public-Health Industrial Complex: Giving the anti-vaccine advocate a platform is dangerous.” The article is a cut-and-paste rehash of misinformed generalizations, delivered in loaded semantics. Though Perry’s child has Down syndrome, he attempts to speak for the entire illness-ravaged autism community by saying “they do not need McCarthy’s organization to ‘rescue’ them.”
Most commenters at The Atlantic critical of McCarthy display a lack of scientific rigor, offering emotional opinion as if it were axiomatic instead of providing valid independent evidence. Amongst the clichés, fearmongering, baiting and hating was the predictable call for censorship – ironically from a book author. Stacy Mintzer Herlihy, who with multimillionaire vaccine industrialist Dr. Paul Offit co-wrote Your Baby’s Best Shot: Why Vaccines Are Safe and Save Lives, declared that “[a] small subset of people are utterly immune to reason. Booing them off the stage is a perfectly reasonable tactic.”
Another commenter, “Kfredrick72,” wrote with chilling detachment, “And let’s face it, a tiny percentage of the population IS adversely affected by vaccinations, not so much autism but other complications. That in no way means we shouldn’t be using them. The benefits clearly outweigh the risks.”
There it is – that utilitarian public health meme designed to shut down vaccine safety discussion. But if one pauses to think, one realizes that the stark assertion carries unpleasant ethical implications.
Do vaccines’ benefits outweigh risks? For people who create vaccine policy or do not question it, the answer is yes. For those seemingly unharmed by vaccines or statistics wonks, maybe. For the uncounted victims of vaccine adverse reactions, no.
Such inconsistency is also the hobgoblin of vaccine policy messaging and decisionmaking:
Unless you know someone with autism, it’s difficult to accurately explain what life is like behind closed doors. The mom I want to highlight is Kim Stagliano, because she has three daughters with autism. If God only gives you what you can handle, then this woman is a gladiator. Please read our interview so the next time you see a tantrum by an autistic child in the grocery store, hopefully your frustration will turn to compassion.
JENNY: Tell me about your girls.
KIM: My oldest daughter, Mia, is 18. She is the most affected by her autism. She is a gorgeous, petite girl with blue eyes and a great smile. She can speak but usually only uses one or two words at a time when she needs something. You have to interact with her (a polite way of saying “get right in her face”) in order to get her to say “Hello” or “Goodbye.” She is affectionate and unlike the autism stereotype, she likes being around family and classmates. Mia was a typically developing infant. She met her physical milestones on time and could recite the alphabet and count to twenty before age 2. She regressed into autism, becoming more remote and the main red flag that we saw was that her large vocabulary did not turn into usable communication. She attends the local public high school in a self-contained classroom.
Gianna is the classic middle child: She has a good sense of humor and is a ball of energy. Gianna is always looking out for her sisters; she is kind and caring. She is 16 years old in 10th grade in a combination of the autism classroom and the general special ed classroom. Three years ago our town added a separate autism class because the teaching and behavioral requirements are so different from traditional special ed, which includes intellectual disability, physical challenges and Down syndrome. To our delight, she is also enrolled in mainstream biology with support. She uses sentences and will answer a question with a word or two if you give her plenty of time to process the question.
The parent autism community is buzzing with excitement over a ruling by a British judge clearing Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s colleague and co-author of all charges against him that arose from a study of the relationship between gut disease, autism, and the MMR vaccine.
Judge John Mitting’s conclusion, from an appeal by the highly respected pediatric gastroenterologist Prof. John Walker-Smith, stated:
“…both on general issues and the Lancet paper and in relation to individual children, the panel’s overall conclusion that Professor Walker-Smith was guilty of serious professional misconduct was flawed…The panel’s determination cannot stand. I therefore quash it.”
Professor Walker-Smith was Andrew Wakefield’s co-author on a highly controversial study published in the medical journal The Lancet in 1998. Most of the controversy stemmed from the reporting by the co-authors that many of the parents in the study claimed that their children regressed into autism after receiving the MMR vaccine.
For parents of children with autism, this whole mess has always been a bit of a head-scratcher. The Lancet study’s conclusion that children with autism suffer from bowel disease is something any autism parent could easily confirm, and MMR, by far, has been the vaccine most commonly cited by parents as a trigger for a regression into autism. In my travels, I have heard the same story from parents about MMR leading to regression thousands of times.
In Britain, The General Medical Council is in charge of licensing and regulating doctors. Their 2010 “trial” of Andrew Wakefield and his colleagues was the longest in GMC history, lasting 217 days, and concluded by revoking the medical licenses of Dr. Andrew Wakefield and Prof Walker-Smith. At the time, Dr. Wakefield spoke of the injustice that Judge Mitting has now confirmed:
"It seemed to me that they had come to this decision a long time ago, long before the evidence was fairly heard. This is the way the system deals with dissent. You isolate, discredit and provide an example to other doctors and scientists not to get involved in this kind of thing. That is examining questions of vaccine safety."
Now what? If the foundation of the proof that the MMR does not trigger autism is crumbling, what in the world are parents supposed to believe? If Professor Walker-Smith is not guilty on all charges, will Dr. Wakefield be next? The Canary Party’s press release explains:
“While John Walker-Smith received funding to appeal the GMC decision from his insurance carrier, his co-author Andrew Wakefield did not — and was therefore unable to mount an appeal in the high court. This year, however, Dr. Wakefield, who now conducts his research in the US, has filed a defamation lawsuit against Brian Deer, Fiona Godlee and the British Medical Journal for falsely accusing him of ‘fraud.’ The suit is currently underway in Texas, where Wakefield now lives.”
Managing Editor's Note: Please click over to Celebrity Scoop to comment directly on this article. As you can imagine, the haters stopped playing wizards of solitaire long enough to add a lot of comments. I ordered my Rescue Blue Magic Bullet on HSN this week. Healthy smoothies for my girls and happy SOOTHIES for Mark and me coming up! KS
Activist mama Jenny McCarthy is partnering with the world's top-selling kitchen appliance, the Magic Bullet® blender, to launch the Blue Limited Edition Magic Bullet® specifically designed for her charitable organization Generation Rescue.
An outspoken advocate for children with autism, Jenny tells Celebrity Baby Scoop that her unofficial role as the celebrity spokesperson on the topic is nothing short of a blessing.
Anytime you can do something that serves the greater good and make a difference, you should act," the mom-of-one says. "So, what I thought was a hardship in my life, I now see as a blessing because I can reach so many people."
The best-selling author says a portion of the proceeds from the Blue Limited Edition Magic Bullet® will go directly to families with autism.
"Our partnership with Magic Bullet® allows us to leverage its worldwide popularity to generate funding for Generation Rescue’s programs that provide education, support and access to medical services for families with autism," she says.
Jenny's son Evan, 11, was diagnosed with autism when he was at 2 ½-years-old. The single mom has publicly spoken about the possible link between childhood vaccinations and autism. She is also well-known for saying that children can "recover" from autism.
Has the community embraced her since Evan's recovery -- and her controversial statement?
My story of Evan’s recovery is not unique, there are thousands of parents before me whose shoulders I stand on today," Jenny says. "I’m just as active today as when Evan recovered from autism. I still travel the country lecturing on autism, am the president and board member of Generation Rescue and actively fundraise throughout the country for the foundation. My journey now is for the other parents whose voice hasn’t been heard.
What's up next for the blonde beauty? "I’m currently developing my own talk show and writing my next book titled Sinner," she says.
You'll have two chances to talk to Jenny LIVE tomorrow on HSN at 9am EDT and again at 10pm EDT when you order a Magic Bullet and help support GR.
Check your cable or satellite listing for the HSN channel on your system. Here's the HSN guide. And here are the HSN details for The Generation Rescue BLUE Magic Bullet.
Think of the smoothies you can make with this beautifully blue Magic Bullet. Supplements for the kids and maybe a little something on a Friday night for Mom and Dad? (Share your recipes in the comments.)
Introducing the Rescue Bullet, the limited-edition blue Magic Bullet, where a portion of the proceeds benefit Generation Rescue. Catch Jenny McCarthy on HSN July 18 and visit the Facebook page July 19 to get your own Rescue Bullet before they run out!
Visit Generation Rescue to learn more, find that last credit card with a few bucks on it (ha ha!) and order yours! KS
Jenny McCarthy is the keynote speaker with Byron Katie today at the Autism One Generation Rescue conference in Chicago. Last night Jenny met Rescue Angels at a party in the GR lounge. Jenny has new line of affordable, non-toxic baby products called Too Good by Jenny. Keith Schneider of manufacturer Pem-America presented GR with a check for $5,000.And Jenny kindly allowed everyone to take a photo with her. We'll have more photos to run later. KIM
Jenny and Jade Joseph (left)
Jenny and Abby McKinney
Jenny and Kim Stagliano
Today! Noon EDT, 9:00am Pacific.
Autism One: A Conversation of Hope airs live on Tuesdays at 9 AM Pacific / 11 AM Central / 12 Noon Eastern on the VoiceAmerica Health & Wellness Channel. To access the show, log on at www.voiceamericahealth.com. All shows will be available in Autism One's Content Library on the VoiceAmerica Health & Wellness Channel for on-demand and podcast download.
Nutrition expert and mother of a child with autism, Kristin Selby Gonzalez, interviews inspirational warrior-women on April 5th, 9 AM PT on the VoiceAmerica Health & Wellness Channel to empower parents & caregivers
Phoenix, AZ (PR-Inside) April 4, 2011 -- Autism will be in the news in the weeks to come as America recognizes “Autism Awareness Month.” Throughout the month of April, people will remember the toll which this disorder takes on the lives of children and adults throughout the world. They will also remember the work which doctors, scientists, parents and specialists around the globe are doing to combat the disorder and the millions of dollars which are being raised to provide further research, treatment and therapies.
Managing Editor's Note: It's a sad irony that Gary Trudeau's wife Jane Pauley worked for NBC for many years. Would Trudeau have taken such a cheap misogynistic shot at Katie? And Jenny was in the hospital tending to Evan during a bout of seizures when the barftoon ran. A low, callous and highly "un-progressive" gesture on the part of Trudeau.
By Katie Wright
Gary Trudeau recently took a cheap shot at a single Mom who cares for her recovered, yet chronically ill, son. When this Mom is not with her son she can be found donating almost all her time and energy towards helping other ASD families in need. When is the last time Gary Trudeau fielded phone calls from broke ASD families and offered them tangible assistance? When the last time Gary Trudeau went to an autism conference and was mobbed for 5 hours by crying moms sharing stories of their sick autistic children? When was the last time Gary Trudeau spend Valentine’s Day in the hospital with his small son after he suffered a series of seizures? When was the last time Gary Trudeau heard his child spontaneously speak- today- yesterday? For me it was 2004, just prior to a series of adverse vaccine reactions that took away his voice.
Jenny McCarthy’s “crime” is advocating for objective vaccine safety research. Guess what Gary? Millions of American parents want objective vaccine safety research too. Safe vaccines are their number one health care priority. Gary, get ready to write a million more dumb cartoons. But I guess that is your specialty anyway?
When Trudeau is ridiculing Moms of sick kids with autism is he also making fun of our children’s chronic illnesses or does he doubt their existence? What are Trudeau’s credentials on the subject? Is he a parent of an ASD child-no, is he a doctor-no, is he a special Ed teacher-no, is he a medical researcher- and no to that too. Trudeau special autism expertise is the result of his long history as a… cartoonist? Gary Trudeau is a grown man who sits all day behind a table drawing stick figures with pencils and magic markers. From this lofty perch Trudeau has chosen to sit in judgment of millions of families he does not know and pain he cannot understand.
Guess what Gary? Your cartoon was inaccurate, offensive and unfunny. But that isn’t even the real issue, “Doonesbury” never was funny, the problem was that you mocked a Mom and her autistic son because you believe you “know” better why her child is autistic. When you took on Jenny McCarthy you took on all of us. We all have similar stories and we all have children who suffered horrific reactions to multiple vaccinations. Apparently Gary Trudeau finds that amusing. Gary I challenge you meet with us. Step away from the magic marker table, Gary. Come out of hiding and tell us why you know our children better than their parents and how you became such an autism causation expert.
Katie Wright is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism
Please read and comment on Jenny McCarthy's full post at HuffPo HERE. Don't get trampled by the trolls.
Last week, parents were told a British researcher's 1998 report linking the MMR shot to autism was fraudulent -- that this debate about vaccines and autism is now over, and parents should no longer worry about giving their children six vaccines at a single pediatric appointment or 36 by the time they are five years old.
Is that the whole story? Dr. Andrew Wakefield's study of 12 children with autism actually looked at bowel disease, not vaccines. The study's conclusion stated, "We did not prove an association between measles, mumps and rubella vaccine and the syndrome described [autism]."
Dr. Wakefield did something I wish all doctors would do: he listened to parents and reported what they said. His paper also said that, "Onset of behavioral symptoms was associated, by the parents, with measles, mumps and rubella vaccination in 8 of the 12 children," and that, "further investigations are needed to examine this syndrome [autism with gut disease] and its possible relation to this vaccine."
Since when is repeating the words of parents and recommending further investigation a crime? As I've learned, the answer is whenever someone questions the safety of any vaccines.... Read and comment on the full post HERE.
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 ...
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.
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," Mark 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
Thank you to Leigh Attaway Wilcox, from the MomBlogs of the Dallas Morning News for letting us share this terrific post with our readers. Please visit the DMN blogs regularly. Dan Burns has a regular blog there and Nancy Churnin, who runs the blogs, has graciously allowed me to contribute as well. KIM
Jenny McCarthy connects with warrior moms in Dallas
3:00 PM Thu, Oct 07, 2010 | Permalink | Yahoo! Buzz
Leigh Attaway Wilcox
Connections make life rich. Each of us seeks to surround ourselves with people who have similar priorities and goals. Sometimes it is thanks to rather dire situations that we truly connect with others who change our lives forever.
Jenny McCarthy, while on tour for her new book, Love, Lust and Faking It, took time out of her schedule Wednesday night to have a drink with a local group of moms (and a few dads, grandmothers and sisters) following a book signing at the Lincoln Park Barnes & Noble in Dallas. Why? She graciously honored a connection that many local "Warrior Moms," like me, have with her.
Let me be honest: Autism can be a very lonely place for families to journey. Especially in the beginning, after first receiving a diagnosis, many of us are so overwhelmed by responsibility ("I caused this" thoughts), shame ("I can't control my own child" thoughts) and grief ("my child may never...make friends...have a meaningful, fulfilling job...get married..." and on and on kinds of thoughts) we don't realize, (some of us for weeks, months or years) that we're far, far from alone...
Read the full post and share your comments HERE.
Here's a snip from CNN of Jenny McCarthy on Larry King Live Friday night. Her new book Live, Lust & Faking It continues to do well at Amazon, and we're happy for her success.
Guys, I'm sure Jenny would never fake it with you.... Congratulations to our friend Jenny McCarthy. Today is release day for her new book, Love, Lust & Faking It: The Naked Truth About Sex, Lies, and True Romance . Available in hardcover (no giggling) and on Kindle. Give yourself a break from autism and buy a copy. Place your launch day order today! Kim
New York Times bestselling author Jenny McCarthy returns to her comic roots in this candid, wise, and witty look at women, men, sex, romance, heartbreak, love, and how (not) to fake it.
In Belly Laughs, Jenny McCarthy told you what you could really expect when you're expecting. In Baby Laughs and Life Laughs, she gave you the unfiltered ups and downs of motherhood and marriage. Now, in Love, Lust & Faking It, the inveterate truth teller turns the lights on for a funny, often poignant, and no-holds-barred look at the essence of relationships: love and sex.
Jenny explores the intensity of first love, introducing us to Tony, the boy of her teenage dreams, and Tubby, her dirty, sexy stuffed teddy bear. She takes us on a whirlwind tour of the world of aphrodisiacs and fetishes, explains the importance of playing doctor and other nice and naughty fantasies, and gives thanks for the pleasures of chocolate. And she sets the story straight on STDs, man junk and lady bits, why we really cheat, why women are master manipulators, the virtues of sex with the lights off, the power of a "loving no," the satisfaction of the perfect booty call, and so much more.
Filled with humorous stories about her own out-rageous exploits—from becoming a Playboy Miss October to the pain of getting a discount boob job to meeting Brad Pitt—as well as the lessons she's learned from family, friends, and fans, Love, Lust & Faking It takes on a subject the sex symbol, mother, television star, comedian, and divorcÉe can be trusted to examine with nothing but unvarnished honesty and earthy humor. Throughout, Jenny reminds us to aim higher, believe in true love, and, most of all, be kind to ourselves. And to have lots of fun and sex—without faking it.
Signing Events & Media Air Dates
Tuesday, September 28
Wednesday, September 29
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.
... 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
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Enjoy an Evening of Comedy All-Stars, Award-Winning
Bay Area Cuisine and Acclaimed Art
Click HERE for full details.
Starring JENNY McCARTHY AND HER FUNNY FRIENDS
The Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco
7:00PM - GENERAL ADMISSION
8:00PM - COMEDY SHOW
Our generous friends at Generation Rescue invite local autism families who may need assistance purchasing tickets to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Featuring Whitney Cummings, Heather McDonald, Josh Wolf and Gary Valentine (L-R)
Managing Editor’s Note: Jenny McCarthy is hosting a stand-up comedy party in San Francisco on September 11th to benefit autism charities The Ryder Foundation, and Generation Rescue. The event features comedians Gary Valentine, Heather McDonald, Whitney Cummings and Josh Wolf. Tickets adn details, including sponsorship opportunities available online: Comedy For Kids SF HERE. Thank you to Alix, of the MedNauseam blog for the post.
By Alix, editor of MedNauseam Blog
Two moms in Northern California are on a roll. Jenny DeMaria and Maureen Block, co-directors of the Ryder Foundation , once had children diagnosed with autism. The boys are now socially indistinguishable from their peers.
Block says both school-aged boys still have “educational challenges, but they have been recovered.” The rapid changes both mothers saw in their boys after trying a gluten-free diet motivated them to try different diet and biomedical interventions. And, the myriad interventions all add up. Block says, “Treating autism is like trying to get a train back on its tracks. It’s gone off-track and you need to get each train car, one at a time, back on the track.”
DeMaria’s son was diagnosed as moderately autistic. Now he would be classified as having mild Asperger’s. “Ryder's challenges are now barely noticeable to an outsider,” De Maria said. "There were days I thought my child would never be able to dress himself or brush his teeth or sing a song or make a friend. Now he is the happiest, friendliest, most vociferous child I know. He keeps astounding us with his progress."
After their rapid, and continuing success with their own sons, DeMaria and Block quickly got involved with Generation Rescue , Jenny McCarthy’s autism organization, volunteering as Rescue Angels to mentor other parents who were beginning the journey toward recovery. But that wasn’t enough ‘giving back’ for them. They wanted to do more. In 2005, they joined forces with two other women to found the Ryder Foundation in recognition of DeMaria’s son’s recovery.
“We have helped raise over $800,000 for autism charities,” said Block, “and we are hoping to move that number to $1 million with our next event, this September 11th, to benefit the Ryder Foundation and Generation Rescue."
Dr. Andrew Wakefield's book, Callous Disregard published by Skyhorse Publishing debuts at Autism One. Meet Dr. Wakefield at his book signing in the Generation Rescue Lounge (Lakeshore A&B) at the Westin O'Hare Hotel on Saturday, May 29 from 12:30-1:30pm.
Be among the first in the world to read about the deception, inconsistencies, and intrigue behind the General Medical Council proceedings in the United Kingdom. Who wanted to see Andy Wakefield silenced – and why?
Features a special foreword by Jenny McCarthy.
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
Jenny, in your book Louder than Words, you describe Evan's first and subsequent seizures. Summarize that episode, when he began having seizures.
One of the first signs when I knew something was wrong was one morning he slept in late. So I opened the door and just saw Evan struggling to breathe, and pasty white, blue lips, and shaking. I picked him up and just started screaming at the top of my lungs, ran down the hallway, called 911, and it took them about 20 minutes to stop what they were calling a seizure.
We went to the hospital. They blew it off as a febrile seizure -- seizures that you can get if you have a fever. And considering Evan did not have a fever, I was a little concerned.
Three weeks later we went down to Palm Springs to visit Grandma, and when I pulled Evan out of the car, he had this stoned look on his face. And shortly thereafter, his eyes rolled back, and I laid him down, and he was hardly taking in air, just turning blue. I called the paramedics. By the time they got there, he had gone into cardiac arrest. Halfway to the hospital, they gave me the thumbs up that they got him back.
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.
Please read Jenny McCarthy's post and comment at Huffington Post.
When the producers of PBS's Frontline approached me to be interviewed for their new documentary "The Vaccine War," I accepted with a simple condition: doctors and scientists on our side of the vaccine-autism debate needed to have a voice, too.
Prior to agreeing to the interview, Frontline sent us this email:
"Frontline will carry out a detailed and even-handed investigation including voices from all sides of the controversy including parents, activists, physicians, scientists, lawyers, politicians and vaccine manufacturers."
Mark Blaxill was on AOL Health this week talking about the TIME magazine article on Jenny McCarthy. Click HERE to see the full post with links.
By Mark Blaxill Mar 8th 2010 12:58PM
Categories: Family Health, News
Following a story in Time magazine about Jenny McCarthy's role as an autism activist, AOL Health contributor Mark Blaxill responds, saying that "Time" magazine is feeding what he calls "the hungry lie."
More than most other media outlets, you can count on "Time" magazine for the worst in autism coverage. In the pages of Time, rising autism rates are always due to better diagnosing; causes are always genetic, orthodox scientists are always heroic and parent advocates always sadly misguided. What's more, any and all vaccines in any combination are always safe and certainly have nothing to do with autism. A friend of mine calls this the big hungry lie. Why hungry? Because it's so wrong, it requires frequent feeding and thanks to a largely compliant media, feedings take place with regularity. Always at the front of the pack, "Time," in a February 25 article, fed the hungry lie again in a fascinatingly passive-aggressive essay titled, "Who's Afraid of Jenny McCarthy."
In case, you missed it (who reads "Time" anymore?), the Time piece focused on celebrity mom Jenny McCarthy, who has become one of the most prominent and formidable autism parent advocates. In a successful entertainment career, she has shown the world that she is beautiful, sexy, earthy, smart, articulate and determined (and in roughly that order). She also happens to have a son who received an autism diagnosis in 2005 when he was not quite three. To her lasting credit, McCarthy didn't meekly follow the advice of incompetent experts, most of them in thrall to the hungry lie, but has instead given voice to a large community of autism parents, channeling the mojo of a generation of "warrior moms" in a series of books, taking her audience's cause to a new level in the process...
Please read the full post and comment over at Huffington Post HERE. Jenny will welcome your support and you know the "machine" has gone into overdrive to beat her up - and our kids. Don't let them. Go comment at HuffPo. KS
Parents of recovered children, and I've met hundreds, all share the same experience of doubters and deniers telling us our child must have never even had autism or that the recovery was simply nature's course. We all know better, and frankly we're too busy helping other parents to really care.
Corner one of the hundreds of doctors who specialize in autism recovery, and they'll tell you stories of dozens of kids in their practice who no longer have autism. Ask them to speak to the press and they'll run for the door. They know better.
Most doctors in our community share a common trait: their own child regressed into autism. They fixed their kid first and knew they'd have to spend their lives helping parents do the same, accepting the loss of "mainstream" status in their field.
Who's afraid of autism recovery? Perhaps it's the diagnosticians and pediatricians who have made a career out of telling parents autism is a hopeless condition.
When I first went public with my son Evan's story, I just planned to talk about the "R" word -- Recovery. But soon I was spending most my time talking about the "V" word -- vaccines.
It's hard to address one without the other because so many of the parents of recovered children I know, myself included, blame vaccines for their child's regression into autism and use vaccine injury as the roadmap to treat their child.
The idea that vaccines are a primary cause of autism is not as crackpot as some might wish. Autism's 60-fold rise in 30 years matches a tripling of the US vaccine schedule.
With so many kids with autism, the environment has to be to blame, and vaccines are an obvious culprit. Almost all kids get vaccines -- injected toxins -- very early in life, and our own government clearly acknowledges vaccines cause brain damage in certain vulnerable kids.
Take those simple facts, along with tens of thousands of parental reports of regression after vaccination, not to mention a growing list of court cases where our government paid claims to children with autism acknowledging vaccines as the trigger, and the case we Moms are making makes sense...
Head over to TIME HERE to leave a comment telling story of how Jenny has helped you, and how your autism journey mirrored hers in terms of lack of medical guidance and frustration of trying to find the right treatments for your child. The author of the article is Karl Taro Greenfeld, who wrote 2009's Boy Alone about growing up with a profoundly autistic brother in the 1970s. Pay attention to the last line of the Time article. It's imporant. Click over to TIME HERE and leave a comment, please. Thanks. KIM
The Autism Debate: Who's Afraid of Jenny McCarthy? (Photograph by Jeff Minton for Time.)
...In 2005, McCarthy's son Evan, then 2, began having seizures so severe he required repeated emergency hospitalization. McCarthy had noticed that Evan had some developmental delays, compared with his peers in a playgroup they attended, and he exhibited some atypical behaviors: arm flapping, repetitive actions and fixation on strange objects. She describes her panic at Evan's diagnosis in her memoir Louder than Words: "I wished to God the doctor had handed me a pamphlet that said, 'Hey, sorry about the autism, but here's a step-by-step list on what to do next.' But doctors don't do that. They say 'sorry' and move you along." McCarthy began to try almost every treatment that turned up on Google. Evan went through conventional, intensive Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy as well as a host of alternative approaches, including a gluten-free and casein-free (GFCF) diet, hyperbaric oxygen chambers, chelation, aromatherapies, electromagnetics, spoons rubbed on his body, multivitamin therapy, B-12 shots and a range of prescription drugs. McCarthy says she made a deal with God. "Help me fix my boy," she prayed, "and I'll teach the world how I did it."
She believes she did fix her boy. A psychological evaluation from UCLA's neuropsychiatric hospital, dated May 10, 2005, was "conclusive for a diagnosis of Autistic Disorder," and yet here, running toward us on a warm California afternoon, is Evan, shouting out, "Are you here to play with me? When are we going to play?" McCarthy's boy is a vivacious, articulate and communicative child who seems to have beaten the condition. He is an inspiration, the fact of him as incontrovertible as any study done in any laboratory in the world...
Read more: HERE.
Temple Grandin gave an interview to the Wall Street Journal this weekend (HERE) in which she amplified comments she's been making about controversial aspects of autism. The interviewer mentions Andy Wakefield's 1998 Lancet paper -- now retracted by the journal -- and "the antivaccine movement perhaps best associated with the actress Jenny McCarthy ..."
"Scientifically, there's still some things to be done,' Ms. Grandin says. Scientists need to study 'the kids where they seem to have language and then they lose it at 18 months to two years of age.' She adds: 'I've talked to too many parents that have talked to me about regressions that I can't just pooh-pooh that off.'"
So what to do? "We can't stop vaccinating because we're going to end up with all these childhood diseases. i grew up with iron lungs. ... That was horrible, dreadful ... We can't go back to that."
She recommends: "'If you have autism in the family history,' or other auto-immune problems, 'you still vaccinate. Delay it a bit, space them out.'" She again cites "very big improvements" with wheat-free and dairy-free diets. And she insists that while better recognition may have increased the number of people diagnosed with Asperger's, "some of the severe autism has increased." And that suggests, the interviewer wrote, "the possibility of environmental toxins interacting with 'susceptible genetics.'"-- Dan Olmsted
Dr. Andrew Wakefield is being discredited to prevent an historic study from being published that for the first time looks at vaccinated versus unvaccinated primates and compares health outcomes, with potentially devastating consequences for vaccine makers and public health officials.
It is our most sincere belief that Dr. Wakefield and parents of children with autism around the world are being subjected to a remarkable media campaign engineered by vaccine manufacturers reporting on the retraction of a paper published in The Lancet in 1998 by Dr. Wakefield and his colleagues.
The retraction from The Lancet was a response to a ruling from England’s General Medical Council, a kangaroo court where public health officials in the pocket of vaccine makers served as judge and jury. Dr. Wakefield strenuously denies all the findings of the GMC and plans a vigorous appeal.
Despite rampant misreporting, Dr. Wakefield’s original paper regarding 12 children with severe bowel disease and autism never rendered any judgment whatsoever on whether or not vaccines cause autism, and The Lancet’s retraction gets us no closer to understanding this complex issue.
Dr. Wakefield is one of the world’s most respected and well-published gastroenterologists. He has published dozens of papers since 1998 in well-regarded peer-reviewed journals all over the world. His work documenting the bowel disease of children with autism and his exploration of novel ways to treat bowel disease has helped relieve the pain and suffering of thousands of children with autism.
Yesterday, Lisa Belkin, a freelance NYT writer gave her column space to a very angry and defeated sounding autism Mom, Lisa Kupferberg Carter.
Ms. Carter is not furious with the dismal state of autism research, the foot dragging at the NIH to invest in treatment research, the scarcity of schools or the lack of insurance re-imbursement for basic therapies.
No, Ms. Carter aims a decade of anger at Jenny McCarthy. Jenny McCarthy?
Bizarre, I know. Did Jenny give her son autism? Did Jenny stop Ms. Carter from obtaining a diagnosis, therapy or an education? Did Jenny tell Ms. Carter to give up all hope? No. Then why this crazy rage at another autism Mom who as blameless as the rest of us?
What Jenny IS guilty of is listening to thousands of parents across the country and taking their concerns seriously. Jenny is guilty of shining a light on the ever growing population of chronically ill ASD kids, whom the medical establishment has ignored. Jenny is also guilty of writing a book about different Moms’ struggles to help heal their seriously ill children. Jenny also wrote a book with a doctor who is an ASD parent himself. And you know what Ms. Carter, that book helped me and thousands of other parents a great deal. I recommend that you actually read it.
I would never presume to tell other parents what to do or what not to do for their ASD child. Jenny McCarthy doesn’t either. No one can “make” an adult “feel guilty” for not trying this intervention or that intervention. We are all grown-ups here and responsible for ourselves. Projecting blame onto another parent who has no control over your child or the cause of anyone’s autism is ridiculous.
Do you think pharmaceutical companies have too much influence in the laws, policies, and regulations of our government? We do.
Do you think pharmaceutical companies do things that most Americans would view as unethical to protect their profits? We do.
In a court case in Australia involving the use of the drug Vioxx, it was proven that Merck (the manufacturer of Vioxx) “made a hit list of doctors who had to be "neutralised" or discredited because they criticised the anti-arthritis drug the pharmaceutical giant produced."
In fact, a Merck employee wrote in an email concerning these doctors: "We may need to seek them out and destroy them where they live."
This isn’t the stuff of conspiracy theories, this isn’t the stuff of cynics or crazy parents, this is court-documented behavior of Merck, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world who happens to also be the manufacturer of one of the world’s most profitable vaccines, the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella).
The recent decision by the General Medical Council of the United Kingdom against Andy Wakefield shouldn’t surprise anyone who understands the stakes, profits, and reputations at risk in the debate over vaccines and autism.
The sole purpose of the GMC’s ruling this week is to try and quell the growing concern of parents that the expanding vaccine schedule and the remarkable rise in autism are correlated. The GMC will no doubt be helped by a press that barely understands the debate and has never read any of the dozens of studies published by Dr. Wakefield in many different respected medical journals.
By Kim Stagliano
You might have missed the December 23rd USA TODAY article on the effect of celebrities on healthcare knowledge and decisions. It appears that when Katie Couric tells viewers to get a colonoscopy she's doing the right thing, according the the medical powers that be. Sally Fields can tell you to take a pill that has side effects longer than your arm - and she's as pure as The Flying Nun. J. Lo can tell you to get the pertussis vaccine for your child, with zero disclaimers on side effects required, (preferably NOT while wearing that hideous catsuit from New Year's Eve.) But when Jenny McCarthy asks questions about vaccine safety, she's "wrong."
Americans are back to eating spinach and hamburger because they belief the risk of e.coli is gone. Not so with vaccines. Many parents have lost trust in the AAP and the vaccine manufacturers. They are afraid of the side effects. The Gardasil marketing push followed by the H1N1 pandemic overkill did not help allay fears. Jim Carrey said it best, "We are not the problem. The problem is the problem." (See here.)
Check out the quote from the article by the Wyeth funded pro-vaccine group Every Child by Two (See our post about ECBT last year HERE.) Someone send Amy Pisani a tissue, will you? And tell Africa they dodged a big bullet for the time being.
...Doctors and public health groups say they struggle over the best way to respond to celebrity claims.
At Every Child By Two, an immunization campaign co-founded by former first lady Rosalynn Carter, board members were initially inclined to ignore celebrities who question vaccine safety, says executive director Amy Pisani. Now, the group spends 80% of its time explaining why vaccines are still critical.
"We were poised to start working in Africa," Pisani says. "But we were forced to pull back just to re-educate people here in the United States."
For good or bad, research shows that stars exert powerful influence not just on popular opinion, but on public health.
•Vaccines. A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll of 1,017 adults found that more than half were aware of McCarthy's warnings about childhood shots. More than 40% of adults familiar with her message — 23% of all adults surveyed — say McCarthy's claims have made them more likely to question vaccine safety. The Nov. 20-22 poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points... Read the full article in USA TODAY.
Kim Stagliano is Managing Editor of Age of Autism.
We award the 2009 Quote of the Year to Jim Carrey, who appeared on Larry King Live on April 4th, with Jenny McCarthy, J.B. Handley, Dr. Jerry Kartzinel and a group of autism epidemic and treatment deniers who appear to be against vaccine safety for all children.
Thank you, Jim.
KING: Isn't the problem here, Jenny, that people sometimes listen with one ear are going to panic. And not vaccine at all?
MCCARTHY: Probably. But guess what? It's not my fault. The reason why they're not vaccinating is because the vaccines are not safe. Make a better product and then parents will vaccinate.
CARREY: We're not the problem. The problem is the problem.
HANDLEY: The AAP has failed our kids.
Conference details will be posted soon at www.autismone.org.
Registration opens this week.
The Autism One & Generation Rescue - Autism Redefined 2010 Conference
Monday, May 24 – Sunday, May 30
Westin O’Hare Hotel, Chicago, Illinois
We could not be more pleased to bring you Autism Redefined 2010 and share with you the tremendous excitement we feel. The most comprehensive autism conference internationally is getting bigger and better.
For 7 days in May, everything you thought you knew and could do will be challenged and changed. You will be informed, educated, and join the legion of parents who are embracing prevention and recovery.
Conference Speakers - Partial List for 2010:
Keynote Address - Jenny McCarthy
James Adams, PhD
Timothy Adams, Esq.
Lynne Arnold, MA
Mary Lynch Barbera, RN, MSN, BCBA
Daniel Barth, PhD
Jeffrey Becker, OD
Michael Biamonte, CCN
Mark Blaxill, MBA
Kenneth Bock, MD
Jeff Bradstreet, MD