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More Fantasies and Falsehoods from Brian Deer

Deer Black and WhiteBy John Stone

A comment posted by Brian Deer earlier this month on the Orac blog about the 2012 appeal of Prof John Walker-Smith – Andrew Wakefield’s senior colleague - against the GMC findings two years earlier has been forwarded to me and can be read beneath my comments.

The most fundamental flaw in the General Medical Council  (GMC) case – thrown out in the instance of Prof Walker-Smith who unlike Wakefield received funding to appeal – originated with the incompetence or malice of Deer himself. It was the claim that the Wakefield Lancet 1998 paper rather than being an early report of cases seen and investigated of the basis of clinical need as it stated, was conducted under a protocol for a study to be funded by the United Kingdom Legal Aid Board (sometimes referred to as Project 172-96). Once the GMC accepted this false and absurd claim – which originated in Deer’s hidden complaints to the body - it was destined to unravel under any careful judicial scrutiny, and what was untrue for Walker-Smith was also untrue Wakefield, not to mention the Prof Simon Murch, the third doctor to fall under this GMC prosecution. The crux lies with Mr Justice Mitting’s observation:

Its conclusion that Professor Walker-Smith was guilty of serious professional misconduct in relation to the Lancet children was in part founded upon its conclusion that the investigations into them were carried out pursuant to Project 172-96. The only explanation given for that conclusion is that it was reached “in the light of all the available evidence”. On any view, that was an inadequate explanation of the finding.

At the Walker-Smith hearing the GMC counsel, Joanna Glynn QC, came under pressure from the judge to provide an explanation, and she was unable to do so. After two and half years of the hearing the GMC were unable to offer an explanation, and two years further on they were unable to do so again before a High Court judge. The GMC would have had ample warning of the substance of the Walker-Smith appeal and yet they could not, when the chips were down, provide arguments to counter it.

Continue reading "More Fantasies and Falsehoods from Brian Deer" »


Show-down in Ireland over Gardasil

Irish break your heartBy John Stone

A video from the VaXxed team highlights the controversy involving two of the Republic of Ireland’s most prominent citizens, the veteran philanthropist Jonathan Irwin  and the country’s most ambitious young politician, Simon Harris – who at the age of 30 is not only the youngest member of the Dáil (Ireland’s parliament) but also Minister of Health.

British in origin and an old-boy of Eton, Irwin built a fortune in the Republic trading in horses, and in the 1990s – following a succession of personal tragedies – set up a charity which presently supports two and half thousand families with sick children, whose needs the Irish state would otherwise disregard. He has finally become disaffected following injury to his teenage daughter from Gardasil vaccine. Formally an outstanding athlete and horsewoman, she presently suffers from all the side-effects listed in the products package insert, which he points out was not made available at the time of administration and routinely is not.

Horrified by the denial of the problem by the medical profession and government and the hate campaigns waged in the media against the several hundred families in Ireland blighted by Gardasil injury, Irwin decided to speak to Polly Tommey of the VaXxed team on their recent visit. A small country – population 4.6 million – in which most of the leading citizens are likely to know each other, Ireland is an interesting theatre to watch this drama played out. If Irwin is appalled by the treatment of himself and the families, he also evidently believes he will see the scandal exposed, just another in a succession of scandal that have engulfed Irish public life over the decades. Irwin understands the misbehaviour partly in the light of Irish public life, but he also sees the criminal behaviour underpinning compliance strategies in the vaccine program on a global footing.

This a riveting interview.

 

 


My Correspondence with the Committee

Stephen MetcalfeBy John Stone

Below is my correspondence with the United Kingdom House of Commons Science and Technology Committee from January, which I am publishing now partly in response to further malicious attacks on the reputation of Andrew Wakefield in the London Times.  The committee – presently dissolved due to the General Election – naturally failed to deal with the matter. The chairman of the committee, Stephen Metcalfe (in photo) –an elected politician – handed on my complaint to the clerk, Simon Fiander, who defended their claim that Wakefield had committed fraud by citing a British Medical Journal editorial of January in 2011 as if nothing had happened the interim. In essence they were claiming that because something had been said six years before it could be idly repeated. Although Fiander extended a specific invitation to submit evidence to the committee’s inquiry into research integrity three attempts were rejected. The reality is that when it comes to vaccination the British establishment cannot deal with the truth in any shape or form:

To the Hon Stephen Metcalfe MP, Chair of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee

14 January 2017

Dear Mr Metcalfe,

It is my intention to submit evidence to the committee about research integrity but after consideration I decided to write to you about statements made in the committee’s recent publication Integrity in Research (Postnote 544) [1], which singles out the Wakefield 1998 Lancet paper as an example of fraud citing the editorial in the British Medical Journal by Godlee et al from January 2011[2]. While the committee may have done this in good faith it should not be in the position of knowingly committing errors of its own and therefore I suggest that the pamphlet is urgently withdrawn. Subsequent, to the publication of the Godlee editorial (and the accompanying articles by journalist Brian Deer) the position of the BMJ began to crumble.

A fundamental error in the Deer/BMJ case to swiftly emerge was that Mr Deer (who had no competence to interpret medical records) was making use of GP notes which were not available to the authors of the paper, and could not be used as a guide to what they knew.

Early on Dr Godlee was forced into a covering statement [3]:

"The case we presented against Andrew Wakefield that the1998 Lancet paper was intended to mislead was not critically reliant on GP records. It is primarily based on Royal Free hospital records, including histories taken by clinicians, and letters and other documents received at the Royal Free from GPs and consultants."

This sidesteps rather than addresses the problem.

Another issue that Godlee was forced to respond to was that the BMJ had failed to acknowledge its own conflicts, with its commercial relationships with MMR manufacturers Merck and GSK.  In the end the BMJ put up a notice with a partial admission of the problem over the on-line editorial but not over the Mr Deer’s articles (which left readers none the wiser). Even so, the published notice only mentioned advertising revenue from the two companies and not the fact that the BMJ learning division received unlimited grants from Merck through its non-profit arm Univadis. And none of this, of course, received any of the publicity of the original publication [4, 5].

Continue reading "My Correspondence with the Committee" »


Paul Offit, Every Child By Two and the Black Hole Swallowing Our Children

BarnumBy John Stone

"Children have an enormous capacity to respond safely to challenges to the immune system from vaccines," says Dr. Offit. "A baby's body is bombarded with immunologic challenges - from bacteria in food to the dust they breathe. Compared to what they typically encounter and manage during the day, vaccines are literally a drop in the ocean." In fact, Dr. Offit's studies show that in theory, healthy infants could safely get up to 100,000 vaccines at once.

From a feature in Babytalk Magazine reproduced in a Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia pamphlet (2005).

"Of course, most vaccines contain far fewer than 100 antigens (for example, the hepatitis B, diphtheria, and tetanus vaccines each contain 1 antigen), so the estimated number of vaccines to which a child could respond is conservative. But using this estimate, we would predict that if 11 vaccines were given to infants at one time, then about 0.1% of the immune system would be “used up.”

Offit et alAddressing Parents’ Concerns: Do Multiple Vaccines Overwhelm or Weaken the Infant’s Immune System? (2002).

“I think conservatively, one could say that, based on their caveats, that one could probably respond to about 100,000 different vaccines at one time."... "I would say you probably could get 100,000 vaccines every day.”

Paul Offit, Lecture: Are vaccines safe? (2008). 

Here is an interesting question. As regular readers will be aware I have been berated on the Every Child By Two (ECBT) and Shot of Prevention websites by resident expert Dr Joel Harrison  for being naïve in my understanding of Paul Offit’s claim (Prof Offit is on the Executive Board  and Scientific Board of ECBT , a charitable foundation started by Rosalynn Carter and Betty Bumper ). Well, I am not sure who is being naïve (though I note that Dr Harrison’s article was warmly received by vaccine industry advocate Dorit Reiss ), or that I was giving anything else but a straight reading of what was being said. Meanwhile, Offit continues to hide behind pawns and surrogates who deny the obvious truth: his ideas were pseudo-scientific fantasy, although enthusiastically taken up by health officials in the United Kingdom, particularly. It is apparently not something he, or anyone else directly connected with him, wants to own up to now. If he wants to stand up as things are and say he did not mean it like that, there is quite a lot evidence that he meant it pretty much like that.

Continue reading "Paul Offit, Every Child By Two and the Black Hole Swallowing Our Children" »


Paul Offit’s 10,000 Vaccine Doctrine and Deception on Every Child By Two

Paul offit babyBy John Stone

The charity started by Rosalynn Carter and Betty Bumper and which has Dr Offit on both its Executive Board and Scientific Advisory Board continue to attack me for allegedly misrepresenting his views on vaccination overload. The explanation by resident “expert” Joel Harrison is that I am being naïve in my understanding of Dnr Offit’s claim about 10,000 vaccines. Unfortunately, it was not me who made the extravagant and wild claims claims and this is very easy to document. So, it is very interesting if ECBT are now ashamed of them. For instance in 2005 Dr Offit’s institution Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, alarmingly known as CHOP proudly reproduced a feature from the magazine Babytalk in which the following Q&A appears:

Myth1: Getting so many vaccines will overwhelm my child's immune system

No doubt about it, the immunization schedule recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) can seem daunting. Your child can receive up to 23 shots by the time she's 2 years old and as many as six shots at a singledoctor visit. So it's not surprising that many parents have concerns about how vaccines might affect a child's developing immunity and often cite these as a reason to refuse a vaccine.

But it should be the least of your worries. "Children have an enormous capacity to respond safely to challenges to the immune system from vaccines," says Dr. Offit. "A baby's body is bombarded with immunologic challenges - from bacteria in food to the dust they breathe. Compared to what they typically encounter and manage during the day, vaccines are literally a drop in the ocean." In fact, Dr. Offit's studies show that in theory, healthy infants could safely get up to 100,000 vaccines at once.

The bottom line: It's safe to give your child simultaneous vaccines or vaccine combinations, such as the five-in-one vaccine called Pediarix, which protects against hepatitis B, polio, tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (also known as whooping cough). Equally important, vaccines are as effective given in combination as they are given individually.

In a lecture from 2008 on youtube Dr Offit states:

I think conservatively, one could say that, based on their caveats, that one could probably respond to about 100,000 different vaccines at one time."... "I would say you probably could get 100,000 vaccines every day.

Dr Offit’s claims which originate in an article in PEDIATRICS in 2002 were immediately take up by the United Kingdom Department of Health and National Health Service. A leaflet from the MMR the Facts website from 2002 reads:

What about giving three live vaccines at once – it overloads the immune system? A baby’s immune system has an enormous capacity to fight the thousands of bacteria, viruses and other pathogens that it is bombarded with every day. A study from America shows quite clearly that even babies who are poorly can still produce protective immune responses to vaccines. This study also shows that a baby could, in theory, respond to around 10,000 vaccines at any one time. If, for example, 11 vaccines were given to a baby at one time, this might only use about a thousandth of the immune system. In providing protection vaccines prevent ‘weakening’ of the immune system.

In July 2004 I reported in a letter to BMJ Rapid Responses:

In an NHS leaflet …Sir Liam Donaldson, the Chief Medical Officer is asked: "Does MMR overload young bodies?" to which he replies: "Again, all the evidence refutes this. In fact, a child's immune system is designed to cope with many different viruses at the same time, so a combined vaccine is a natural choice.

Continue reading "Paul Offit’s 10,000 Vaccine Doctrine and Deception on Every Child By Two" »


Dr Offit and the Milgram Experiment on ECBT

What is milgramBy John Stone

This article first appeared in 2010, but has recently become the subject of a take-down by Joel A Harrison  on the Every Child by Two website , Dr Offit being on the board and advisory board of that organization. I commented  to Harrison on Monday  on Age of Autism regarding his article (amended):

"I note there appears to be nowhere to comment on your splendid new article on ECBT. A basic point - and this may not be the same in the US - but Dr Offit's 10,000 vaccines was frequently used by health officials in the UK as an almost a doctrinal point in support of an extended vaccine program, when addressing public concern about multiple vaccines. I made an analogy with the famous Milgram experiment - I acknowledge there were at least several - but there was one very famous one. And my point is that it was inappropriate to use this to persuade parents that their children could safely have several vaccines at one time, against the evidence that were hurting or had damage - and I was saying that Milgram rulesif you were worried about this you should not be reassured by such statements: just as the people administering the fantasy shocks (who were the people who were really being experimented on) should not have been reassured that what they were doing was beneficial. I think the idea of Dr Offit's article was to reassure parents, but what has happened to our children is not at all theoretical. In the paper reported this morning children who were given DPT vaccine in Guinea Bissau in 1981 had 5 times the mortality of those that did not, and I would suggest that was not very theoretical either...

 "The one thing I do get is that that you could not actually vaccinate an infant with 10,000 vaccines but who said I didn't? But we are talking lunacy. What is the point of saying it is theoretical. In human science nothing is theoretical: if it doesn't work the theory has been disproven. Each one of these products has significant risks but we are just banging more and more of them in regardless. The new one on the UK infant schedule, Bexsero Men B, was said in the package insert to have a serious adverse reaction in 10-25 year-olds in above 1 in 50 administrations, and that is being given Milgramto an 8 week old with DTaP-polio-HiB, rotavirus, 13 strain pneumococcal. But I don't know why we should not add in small pox, anthrax and bubonic plague, because it is all theoretically safe.

"I am not sure what your point is about the Milgram experiment and coercion. There is huge coercion with the vaccine program and it is getting worse."



The Milgram experiment has long passed into modern folklore. In 1961 a 28 year-old psychologist at Yale, Stanley Milgram, devised an experiment to test the preparedness of ordinary citizens to co-operate in performing inhuman acts.



In the experiment volunteers were induced (as they believed at the time) into subjecting another party to ever larger doses of electricity:

“The subjects believed they were part of an experiment supposedly dealing with the relationship between punishment and learning. An experimenter—who used no coercive powers beyond a stern aura of mechanical and vacant-eyed efficiency—instructed participants to shock a learner by pressing a lever on a machine each time the learner made a mistake on a word-matching task. Each subsequent error led to an increase in the intensity of the shock in 15-volt increments, from 15 to 450 volts.

Continue reading "Dr Offit and the Milgram Experiment on ECBT" »


Best of: Princess Pharma and the Pea

Princess PeaBy John Stone

Re-posted from July 2014

Two weeks to go before the publication of Robert F Kennedy jr’s book about vaccine mercury and we all know where we are headed: the same place as last year when Jenny McCarthy was given a job on ‘The View’  and Katie Couric scheduled a program in which the safety of HPV vaccines were questioned: the unspontaneous howls of pain are starting. It does not matter that the book is apparently couched in the most diplomatic language or that its claims have been diluted, it will be too much for the sensibilities of the vaccine lobby. I am sure we have often referred on these pages to Hans Christian Andersen’s tale ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’ but this time I have been thinking of an even more succinct and ironic tale ‘The Princess and the Pea’. A prince wants to marry a princess but the only way it can be confirmed that she is a real princess is because the candidate is so sensitive that a pea hidden under a pile of mattresses causes her to lose a night’s sleep. I think we can be sure that the vaccine lobby is according to this definition “a real princess”, and that there is no criticism so slight that we will not be told about the terrible pain it has caused.

There is no doubt either that the voice of the princess is about to be heard in the land. There is no criticism so gentle or diplomatically couched that the princess can withstand the pain: the outraged opinion pieces will appear in every newspaper, the sage doctors will emerge from every corner on the TV saying “Get the damn vaccines”, we will have wall to wall Dorit Reiss: the princess will tell us how painful it all is. Of course the moral of Anderson’s story is that it is not princesses who have to endure a lot, it is ordinary people: the princess is a great deal more trouble than she is worth. She has also arranged that ordinary people cannot be heard, or they are brusquely pushed to the side. Only the princess’s pain really matters in the great scheme.

Continue reading "Best of: Princess Pharma and the Pea" »


More Despicable Behaviour from Murdoch’s London Times

Times-blackBy John Stone

Update: The Times this morning are putting pressure on Amazon and Apple Itunes to withdraw VaXxed - but The Times is mightily conflicted: they have told falsehood after falsehood. It is to be hoped that they will be ignored but if anyone has not yet seen the film do not delay in downloading it, just in case.

I did not suspect when I posted my article about the London premiere of VaXxed yesterday morning that a hate report was also appearing on the front page of the London Times “Disgraced fraud doctor back in the UK” but let us be clear to start of there have never been any fraud findings against Wakefield. Why should Wakefield, who has not committed fraud, has never committed any crime, not set foot as a British citizen in his own country? So, why is this a news story for the front page of a once serious newspaper?

When the High Court reviewed the General Medical Council (GMC) case against the senior author of the Wakefield Lancet paper, Prof John Walker-Smith (Wakefield having been denied funding to appeal) he was completely exonerated. If any of the central charges against Walker-Smith had been upheld he could not have been cleared. If the paper – as alleged by Times newspapers – had been based on a protocol submitted by Wakefield to the Legal Aid Board Walker-Smith could not have been exonerated, if there had been misreporting, if there had been unauthorised or unethical procedures, Walker-Smith could not have been exonerated. The Times got it wrong and the GMC got it wrong (and between them they had arranged to hide the fact that the principle reporter, Brian Deer, was the only author of complaints against Wakefield   ).

The Times does not have a very credible expert, Dr David Robert Grimes, a physicist associated with the lobby agency Sense About Science . Grimes, the mouth, says “We should never forget that he (Wakefield) falsified data and engaged in unethical conduct and that this lie killed and maimed innocent people”. Well, it is interesting that Grimes has no expertise which would make him professionally accountable for his statements. As it happens approximately 10 million people have died in the UK since the publication of the controversial paper and only three of them from measles (in one case involving extreme medical negligence and all three involving otherwise very sick people ).

That Wakefield had not falsified data was shown once again in 2011 when the British Medical Journal alleged fraud based on re-cycling of material by Brian Deer first seen  in the Sunday Times in 2009, just after the Times’s proprietor James Murdoch had been made a director of GSK with a brief to protect the group’s reputation. The BMJ case crumbled: Deer had been working from and misinterpreting data Wakefield and the authors of the paper did not have. Print outs of the lost pathology slides came to light (produced by whistleblowing scientist Dr David Lewis) which supported the paper’s findings. Deer and the BMJ editor Fiona Godlee were forced to eat humble pie in a Nature news report. BMJ were embarrassed by their undisclosed commercial conflicts as partners of the manufacturers, and it turned out that their “external peer reviewer” was Harvey Marcovitch, an associate editor who had signed the editorial denouncing Wakefield and was also head of GMC panels.

Continue reading "More Despicable Behaviour from Murdoch’s London Times" »


London Premiere of VaXxed

LondonBy John Stone

VaxxedPlease also read the update on the article.

On Tuesday evening the London premiere of VaXxed took place under the auspices of the centre for Homeopathic Education at Regent’s University, after the Curzon Group of cinemas were intimidated into dropping the film – the new venue made room for an extra hundred people to attend. Nevertheless, it is tragic  reflection of a so-called “liberal democracy” that this highly successful film cannot be shown at a commercial venue in London - a victory for bullying and intellectual intolerance. The nature of our society is being radically changed, without any wide understanding.

Andrew Wakefield speaking at the occasion said if there had been any factual errors in the film (which  tells the story of Centers for Disease Control whistleblower William Thomson who admitted that they had altered data in an MMR/autism study) legal action could have been taken to stop it long ago. Wakefield also spoke powerfully in support of Polly Tommey’s Autism Trust, whose charitable status is currently being challenged through a scurrilous and vile campaign started by the Murdoch owned London Times, and he called for everyone connected with the charity to stand with it.

The occasion was also used to present Wakefield with the annual award of the European Forum for Vaccine Vigilance (EFVV).

Wakefield, director of the film, received a prolonged standing ovation.

Following the event the film VaXxed also became available on live stream in the UK, and can be downloaded from from UK Amazon and iTunes.

Please also read the update on this article.


Support for Trump’s Vaccine Scepticism in the British Medical Journal

P DoshiBy John Stone

An associate editor of British Medical Journal and member of the Cochrane Collaboration, Peter Doshi of the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, has written an article in the journal supporting Donald Trump’s sceptical attitude to vaccines. In the article Doshi challenges the mainstream media’s lazy agenda based reporting both of Trump generally and of the vaccine issue. Doshi, who has long been a critic of flu vaccination writes:

One topic the new president may test journalists on is vaccines. Candidate Trump expressed doubts about vaccine policy...there is reason to think a “vaccine safety commission” may be in the works…Good journalism on this topic will require abandoning current practices of avoiding interviewing, understanding, and presenting critical voices out of fear that expressing any criticism amounts to presenting a “false balance” that will result in health scares.

Doshi makes several interesting points. He criticises labelling vaccine critical parents who had vaccinated as “anti-vaccine”:

Many parents of children with developmental disorders who question the role of vaccines had their children vaccinated. Anti-vaccination is an ideology, and people who have their children vaccinated seem unlikely candidates for the title…Secondly, they [the  mainstream media] lump all vaccines together as if the decision about risks and benefits is the same irrespective of disease—

Doshi would like de-polarise the issue, though for many here it will be a little late. One problem that arises is that when you have such very successful repressive machinery any real assessment of risk-benefit is heavily prejudiced, and it makes it much easier to market and mandate faulty products. Given the place of publication it is not surprising that Doshi dismisses the MMR-autism connection  - perhaps at odds with his acknowledgement that developmental disorders are likely implicated - but the call for tolerant and open discussion is at the very least welcome.

John Stone is UK Editor for Age of Autism.


India Boots Out “Philanthropy” From Bill Gates

Bill-gates_reutBy John Stone

In a devastating blow to the reputation of Bill Gates  as a philanthropist India’s National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) has severed “all financial ties” with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation over the Foundation’s manifold conflicts, Anubhuti Vishnoi reports in India’s Economic Times (February 9). The action has been taken following the publication of a paper in December 2015 by Jens Marten and Karolin Seitz Philanthropic Power and Development – Who Shapes the Agenda published by the Global Policy Forum.

This is Forum’s press release from 2015:

Aachen/Berlin/Bonn/New York, 4 December 2015. For the last few decades, increasing globalization of the world economy and waves of deregulation and privatization have facilitated the emergence and increased the power of private actors, particularly of large transnational corporations. However, it is not only “big business” but also “big philanthropy” that has an increasing influence in global (development) policy, particularly large philanthropic foundations. They have become influential actors in international policy debates, including, most importantly, how to address poverty eradication, sustainable development, climate change and the protection of human rights. The scope of their influence in both past and present discourse and decision-making processes is fully equal to and in some cases goes beyond that of other private actors. Through the sheer size of their grant-making, personal networking and active advocacy, large global foundations, most notably the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, have played an increasingly active role in shaping the agenda-setting and funding priorities of international organizations and governments. So far, there has been a fairly willing belief among governments and international organizations in the positive role of philanthropy in global development.

Philanthropic Power and Development – Who shapes the agenda? released today, examines the role and impact of philanthropic foundations in development. It addresses the impacts and side effects of philanthropic engagement by taking a closer look at the priorities and operations of two of the most prominent foundations, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in two crucial sectors, health and agriculture. The findings of the study range from the foundations’ application of a business model to the measurement of results, their influence on policies and agenda-setting, the fragmentation and weakening of global governance, and the lack of transparency and accountability mechanisms. The key message it seeks to get across in the concluding chapter is that governments, international organizations and civil society organizations must carefully differentiate among foundations in the philanthropic sector, assess the growing influence of the large global philanthropic foundations, especially the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, on political discourse and agenda-setting in targeted fields, and fully analyze the risks and side effects—intended and unintended—of these activities on sustainable development.

Post Script A further explanation of the institutional setting of these events has been forwarded to me. While these events do not mark the exit of the Gates Foundation from India it does signify their exclusion from policy making. But it is clear from this report that politics and the battles for influence go on.


Lies and Misrepresentations from the New York Times and Seth Mnookin

JC Seth_MnookinBy John Stone

Elizabeth Hart has provided me with a transcript of newsreel footage by the New York Times full of lies and distortions, and using old footage Seth Mnookin and Andrew Wakefield (tinted to make him look scary). To be clear, despite the denials and  heavy talk the mainstream media - which is completely dependent on advertising revenue from the pharmaceutical industry - is disguising the fact that the United States government has already conceded that vaccines cause autism, and it does not remotely hinge upon the reputation of Andrew Wakefield. Here is Centers for Disease Control director, Julie Gerberding, on CNN explaining the Hannah Poling settlement, before she took the revolving door to become head of Merck’s vaccine division:

Now, we all know that vaccines can occasionally cause fevers in kids. So if a child was immunized, got a fever, had other complications from the vaccines. And if you’re predisposed with the mitochondrial disorder, it can certainly set off some damage. Some of the symptoms can be symptoms that have characteristics of autism.

And here is the statement given on separate occasions to journalists Sharyl Attkisson and David Kirby by government (HHS HRSA) officials:

The government has never compensated, nor has it ever been ordered to compensate, any case based on a determination that autism was actually caused by vaccines. We have compensated cases in which children exhibited an encephalopathy, or general brain disease. Encephalopathy may be accompanied by a medical progression of an array of symptoms including autistic behavior, autism, or seizures.

Beyond the weasel bureaucratic language the issue is clear: vaccines cause encephalopathies and some encephalopathies result in autism. If there were no long term effects from the encephalopathy there would be no compensation. Most significantly the United States government has avoided wider liability by coming to confidentiality agreements with the litigants. But they had conceded privately that vaccines cause autism.

Regarding the Wakefield episode the issue raised by a 12 case study is not one of statistical significance, it is one of causation. Of course, the paper never claimed to show causation - contrary to the deliberate misleading impression  given by the New York Times - but what we are talking about here are doctors quite properly listening to patient histories. Nor was there ever a claim that these were randomly selected children. That is a red herring dismissed by Mr Justice Mitting with much in the United Kingdom High Court in 2012 when he completely exonerated the senior author of the study, Prof John Walker-Smith (Wakefield having been denied funding to appeal).

Continue reading "Lies and Misrepresentations from the New York Times and Seth Mnookin" »


Google Leads the Charge with Fake News

Ministry of truthBy John Stone

Age of Autism is a sufficiently visited and prominent website to qualify for coverage by Google News but over the years I have come to view this stoically since my articles have a remarkable tendency to disappear, or to have been given a misleading caption of some kind. But it gets serious. In the past couple of weeks I attempted to highlight the tsunami of children entering the school system in Scotland with an autism spectrum diagnosis or other neurological problems such as ADHD. I did not make any of this up: the information was drawn from official Scottish data. You would think the data was generated for a purpose, and moreover this could not be in any sustainable democracy a more important matter, BUT NO ONE WANTS TO TALK ABOUT IT.

Scottish Mental Health Services in Collapse Because of Rise in Autism and ADHD

Time for Scotland's Politicians to Ask the Awkward Question What's Happening To Its Children

I sometimes wonder which agency or public relations outfit is liaising with Google about my articles, all of which are thoroughly researched.

Continue reading "Google Leads the Charge with Fake News" »


Time for Scotland’s Politicians to Ask the Awkward Questions: What’s Happening to its Children?

by John Stone

image from upload.wikimedia.orgScotland is one of the first nations that will have to confront the meltdown of its services because of the tsunami of neurological problems engulfing its children. No amount of public relations whimsy can cover up the scale of this calamity. And nothing must stop its representative politicians demanding from its health executive the real reasons why this has happened – they are in the dock of history. For two decades we have had the siren song that there is better recognition of autism, that there are as many unidentified cases hidden among the adult population: this is no longer tenable when the rate of ASD among younger children is now well above 1 in 30, and when there are a host of other impairments and health problems confronting Scotland’s children. By now, it could well be that 1 in 10 boys at the younger end of the cohort is autistic spectrum.

As of September 2016 based on Scottish Executive figures the rate of diagnosed autism in Scottish schools was 1 in 51 in a 15 year rolling cohort, but seven years before in 2009 it was just 1 in 129 (in 1998, the first year of data, it was 1 in 925). According to another set of figures the total number of pupils with “additional needs support” in Scottish schools rose 73% in just five years from 98,253 to 170, 239, or 25% of Scotland’s children (again the proportion is likely to be much worse among younger children). A report last July by Scottish Conservatives highlighted rising prescriptions for Ritalin, a drug used for the treatment of attention and hyperactivity deficit disorder (ADHD)  :

“The 123,222 items dispensed for the treatment of ADHD is a new record high, compared to 112,000 in 2014/15 and just 105,000 the year before that.”

Whatever their politically correct special needs rhetoric, every government in history (as any autism parent will tell you) has fought tooth and nail to keep the cost of special educational needs down. Diagnoses are not handed out easily. Moreover, most parents are not delighted to be told there is something amiss with their child, and most professionals will not enjoy telling them. This is not a chimaera, it is real and there is certainly worse to come. Something similar is also happening in Northern Ireland .

The statistics, released by the Health and Social Care Board, show that the number of youngsters on waiting lists is up from 607 in 2012, to 2,325 this year.

The figures were disclosed in response to an Assembly question from Upper Bann MLA Jo-Anne Dobson.

Ms Dobson said she was shocked at the dramatic rise and said the figures showed that the crisis engulfing our hospitals had now spread to autism services.

Assembly member Dobson is only half right because this is actually a story about sevices being engulfed by an epidemic, not because they are being run down. In English schools Autistic Spectrum cases continue to rise and are less than three year behind the levels now reported in Scotland.

At some point reality has to dawn. This is happening because our children are having to sustain an unprecedented toxic burden of which an endlessly and recklessly extended vaccine schedule is a major component.

Continue reading "Time for Scotland’s Politicians to Ask the Awkward Questions: What’s Happening to its Children?" »


Scottish Mental Health Services In Collapse Because Of Rise In Autism And ADHD

Scottish collapseBy John Stone

Scotland’s mental health services for young people are beyond breaking point from the flood of autistic and ADHD children. The Scottish daily newspaper, The Herald, reports that nearly 7,000 young people were denied help from mental health services in 2015. Correspondent, Helen McArdle, writes:

Neil Findlay, convener of the Scottish Parliament's Health and Sport Committee called for an investigation after 6,931 referrals to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) were rejected in 2015.

Evidence to the committee suggested that a surge in diagnoses for autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) was putting pressure on services…

This is a figure of extraordinary magnitude in a country with a population of just 5.3 million at the census in 2011 – the number of children in Scottish schools in 2015 was just 680,000. In a single  year above 1 in 100 children out of the entire school population had had an unsuccessful referrral to mental health services.  This would be equivalent to more than 400 thousand children mapped on to the US population. Those are only the ones who did not get treated.

McArdle’s article does not report just how much autism has risen in Scotland in the last two decades. In 1998, the first year in which the Scottish Executive published on the numbers of  autism cases in Scottish schools there were just 820 pupils (1 in 925) with a diagnosis and this had risen to 11,722 in 2015. By September 2016 the figure had risen yet again to 13,423  (1 in 51), a factor of more than 18 in just 18 years. The figures, however, will be incomplete because there are often delays in diagnosis, and indeed many children will presumably still be awaiting a diagnosis out of  the 6,931 who had been turned away by the service in 2015. Also, given that this is a rolling 15 year cohort the rate will likely be much higher than 1 in 51 among younger children as the overall rate was a mere 1 in 129 in 2009.

The reality is that since Andrew Wakefield reported on the possibility that autism could in some cases

Loch ness
Honorary member of the "hidden horde""

be caused by the MMR vaccine in 1998, and the scandal over other infant vaccines containing a mercury excipient (Thimerosal), which blew up in the USA the following year, government agencies across the world have been in denial about the rise in autism, fudging figures and inventing hidden hoards of adults. But it is no use citing missing adults when our children cannot now be diagnosed fast enough, and demands on the system are unprecedented. This report shows that the system in one small country - part of the United Kingdom - is now in complete and utter breakdown, and the masquerade cannot go on much longer.

Citizens in Scotland and across the globe have been betrayed by industry captured agencies, pusillanimous politicians together with the bought out, intimidated mainstream media. It is already too late but the nettle must be grasped.

*

Post Script: Baron-Cohen's Cambridgeshire survey published in 2009 provided a figure that for every three cases identified there were likely two which had not. If anything it looks now as if the speed of diagnosis has slowed down but if we followed that figure for 2016 the Scottish schools figure that would be 1 in 30.5. Also, if there are 4 boys to 1 girl  that would yield a rate of  about 1 in 31.5. That combined would yield a figure of 1 in 19 for boys. But, of course, the rate would be still higher among younger children.

John Stone is UK Editor for Age of Autism.


Andrew Pollard Named in Le Monde over HPV vaccine Cover up at the European Medicines Agency

By PollardJohn Stone

A report in the leading French newspaper Le Monde (followed by other news outlets) names Prof Andrew Pollard as a controversial figure in the activities of the European Medicines Agency (to the EMA). Echoing reports in AoA during the last year (and evidence presented by Angus Files and myself  to the Scottish Parliament) that Prof Pollard chaired a British government committee which recommended for infant use Bexsero Men B vaccine of which he himself was the lead developer, Le Monde cites a complaint from the Nordic Cochrane Centre which has now been brought forward for further consideration by the European Ombudsman. Stephane Foucart, writes:

The complainants also questioned why the agency dismissed some experts from deliberations due to conflicts of interest, while the chairman of one of the EMA panels, Andrew Pollard from Oxford) has been maintained. The latter has, in particular, conducted four studies financed by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) or Sanofi, between 2010 and 2014. Moreover, according to our information, its declaration of interests at the EMA omits to mention certain financial support from manufacturers of some welknown vaccines at his institution. There was no response to the enquiries of Le Monde over these interests.

The complaint  followed: “reports to the Danish health authorities [of] several dozen cases of girls who have been vaccinated against HPV and who, in the following months [developed] disorders, grouped under various names: "chronic fatigue syndrome", "complex regional pain syndrome", "postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome" ...”

A key issue is that EMA failed to conduct its own searches but and simply requested that pharmaceutical companies GSK and Sanofi Pasteur MSD (who market Gardasil in Europe) consult their own databases. Anne Chailleu, president of Formindep, which campaigns in France for the independent training doctors explained to Foucart:  "Pharmaceutical companies are obliged to record in their databases reports of side effects of their medicines…But the same disorder is sometimes indexed in several ways, so how to query a database is important: depending on the keywords searched, the results can be very different. "

Peter Gøtzsche, the lead author of the Nordic Cochrane Centre complaint had obtained a confidential EMA report which contrary to its public line that there was “unanimity among experts” admitted that some experts were “very critical of certain arguments”. Secrecy was also an issue.

Continue reading "Andrew Pollard Named in Le Monde over HPV vaccine Cover up at the European Medicines Agency" »


Dr. Heidi Larson - Who Lobbied the UN Claiming that "Not all Mercury is Toxic" - attacks AoA over Trump meeting

Heidi Larson

Two days ago Dr Heidi Larson published an article on vaccineconfidence.org  Dangerous Liaisons  citing Age of Autism's report by Jennifer Larson (no relation) of the meeting by members of our community with President-Elect Trump regarding the vaccine damage cover-up. Heidi Larson, who is a lynch-pin of the global vaccine complex, is not always open about the fact that she is employed by the great vaccine companies such as Merck and GSK.  She writes in her new article  "Faced with the Trump challenge we must make sure that our science is robust, transparent and accessible to all". A good place to begin would be by calling for Dr William Thompson to be subpoenaed to testify before Congress, which the vaccine lobby has steadfastly opposed for more than two years. And she could certainly be clearer about who is paying her.

Our John Stone wrote about Heidi Larson and her brazen claim in 2013 that the mercury in vaccines is not toxic, detailing some of her extraordinary affiliations.

By John Stone

The remarkable claim that thimerosal is not toxic is found in the headline and text of an article in the New Scientist in a last ditch stand to prevent a UN ban on mercury in paediatric vaccines . The author, Dr Heidi Larson of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine states:

“ In 2006, an expert panel convened by the WHO issued a statement on thiomersal in vaccines, concluding that there was "no evidence of toxicity". It highlighted the fact that while methyl mercury builds up in the body, ethyl mercury is excreted rapidly. The American Academy of Pediatrics has since endorsed the WHO's position.”

She does not mention that her colleague at LSHTM, Prof Stephen Evans was on the World Health Organization committee (Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety)  which issued the statement in July 2006 and he and another LSHTM employee, Dr Punam Mangtani, presently still sit on it . Evans  previously worked for the UK Medicines Control Agency (now the MHRA ) which is an agency of the Department of Health  funded by the pharmaceutical industry. The current chair of GACVS  is Dr Melinda Wharton of the US Centers for Disease Control, National Immunization Program.

Dr Larson fails to mention either the LSHTM conflicts :

“The School has expanded greatly in recent years. Its research funding now exceeds £M60 per annum, much of it from highly competitive national and international sources such as the UK Research Councils, the Wellcome Trust, the UK Department for International Development, the UK Department of Health, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the European Commission.”

Or her personal ones:

“Dr. Larson previously headed Global Communication for Immunization at UNICEF and Chaired the Advocacy Task Force for the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI).”

She also runs from LSHTM the Vaccine Confidence Project which has as its partners: Brighton Collaboration; CDC; Chatham House; Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; GAVI Alliance; Health Map; Imperial College, London; The Inclen Trust; Institute for Child Health, Nigeria; International Pediatric Association; International Vaccine Institute; National Centre for Immunisation, Research Surveillance; National Network for Immunization Information; ProMed Mail; Public Health Foundation of India; Sabin Vaccine Institute; UNICEF; Vaccines for Africa; WHO. It is funded by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Also at LSHTM is the chair of the UK Joint Committee on Vaacination and Immunisation (JCVI),Prof Andrew Hall, which was granted dictatorial powers over the vaccine program by the English Parliament in 2009, although they did remove mercury from the UK vaccine schedule in 2004.

The claim that ethyl mercury is “excreted rapidly” is based on a study published in the Lancet by Pichichero et al   which was disproved by Burbacher et al in 2004  . Pichichero’s article failed to note the following conflicts disclosed in an earlier publication :

"The author has received research grants and/or honoraria from the following pharmaceutical companies: Abbott Laboratories, Inc.; Bristol Myers Squibb Company; Eli Lilly and Company; Merck&Co.; Pasteur Merieux Connaught; Pfizer Labs; Roche Laboratories; Roussel-Uclaf; Schering Corporation; Smith Kline Beecham Pharmaceuticals; Upjohn Company; Wyeth- Lederle."

In an earlier episode the WHO Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety had endorsed the continued use of thimerosal following the presentation of British paper in which there were many apparent irregularities. On the committee at the time were Dr Elizabeth Miller who was a lead author of the paper, and Dr Robert Chen of the US Centers for Disease Control, Immunization Branch who was responsible for giving the paper the go ahead despite warnings from Thomas Verstraeten. Among the shortcomings of Dr Miller’s  paper was the failure to acknowledge her laboratory’s funding from Aventis Pasteur, Wyeth Vaccines, SmithKline Beecham, Baxter Health Care, North American Vaccine, Wyeth- Lederle Vaccine, and Chiron Biocine.

Yesterday I wrote by email to Dr Larson and have yet to receive a reply:

 “Dear Dr Larson,

“I read your article  in New Scientist with curiosity but I also note a peculiar research bias: not only a belief that there is some mercury which is non-toxic to humans for which I defy you to produce any evidence, but also the idea that people who are sceptical of what they are told by public bodies need researching. The issue here is as much why you should be believed, and what you are saying is frankly incredible. 

“These are the links to the abstracts of 90 pubmed listed peer review studies which condemn the use of thimerosal: here and here. It is a bit high handed to announce that your mercury is non-toxic when there is a lot of published evidence saying it is just as toxic as any other.

“I also draw your attention to highly questionable way in which the WHO policy came to be endorsed in 2002, a matter which I have carefully researched  .

“I would be interested in your comments.

“Yours sincerely,

John Stone

“UK Editor, Age of Autism”

Tell Washington USA Should Not Export Mercury to Global Children  

Addendum (November 21, 2016)

Dr Larson may like to examine this MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) from Spectrum Laboratories. This is what she considers to be safe to inject into newborn infants of the basis of Prof Pichichero's less thr half-baked study and his egregious undisclosed commercial conflicts. It is evident from this document that Thimerosal is known to cause immutable genetic harm: -

 Potential Acute Health Efects: Hazardous in case of skin contact (irritant), of eye contact (irritant), of ingestion, of inhalation (lung irritant).Slightly hazardous in case of skin contact (permeator). Severe over-exposure can result in death.

Slightly hazardous in case of skin contact (sensitizer).

CARCINOGENIC EFFECTS: Not available.

MUTAGENIC EFFECTS: Mutagenic for mammalian somatic cells.

TERATOGENIC EFFECTS: Not available.

DEVELOPMENTAL TOXICITY: Not available.The substance is toxic to kidneys, central nervoussystem (CNS).The substance may be toxic to liver, spleen.Repeated or prolonged exposure to the substance canproduce target organs damage. Repeated exposure to a highly toxic material may produce general deterioration of health by an accumulation in one or many human organs.

 


Not Allowed On Pubmed Commons: Reply To Prof Brugha On The UK Adult Autism Survey

Terry BrughaBy John Stone

Later this week the United Kingdom National Health Service is scheduled to publish a new set of adult psychiatric morbidity statistics, including autism, based on data collected in 2014. Below is the text of my response to Prof Traolach Brugha lead author of the 2009 UK adult autism survey and subsequent connected papers taken down from Pubmed Commons, after a complaint, three days ago. Clearly these are issues which deserve discussion and belong in the public domain. We would still be grateful to Prof Brugha if he would respond here if not on Pubmed. In an earlier reply to me on Pubmed Prof Brugha wrote:

Interested readers will find more information on the basis for the scoring of the diagnostic autism test ADOS-4 and evaluation of its use in a validation study published since (Brugha et al 2012). This additional research was required because the original scoring of the diagnostic autism test ADOS-4, at that time, had only been tested in teen age and young adult patients attending specialist US autism clinics; it had never been validated in the survey population, a random sample of adults and elderly people living in private households throughout England. The resulting validated scoring was different. We plan to publish more details of this.

This discloses the fundamental problem that Brugha and colleagues failed to use a standard method for diagnosing the “cases” in the survey (although they originally claimed they did) and have no real way of validating the method used a whole decade later. Here Brugha also introduces the red-herring that the diagnostic tool was developed in the US (though long in use in the UK as well), although it follows a letter in which they contest that their evidence has shown that autism is not only not rising in the UK but also not  rising in the US. The 2009 survey followed on a decade of inflated estimates by the UK National Autistic Society and the Department of Health of the numbers of adult autistic people in the population at large. The political agenda behind this was manifest in 2009 at the National Health Service launch of the survey when Sarah Boseley reported in the GuardianAutism just as common in adults, so MMR is off the hook'.

I am grateful to Prof Brugha for his response of 23 August.   The peer reviewers seem not to have noticed the missing the ADOS data?  Two of three of the ADOS Module 4 scores are missing from the from dataset provided to the NHS Information Centre for Health and Social Care by NATCEN [1].  
It seems inappropriate to claim a calibrated diagnostic instrument like the ADOS has been applied when it has not been.  


The authors reported [2] that they applied Module 4 of the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule [the ADOS].  It seems not to have been followed.

The ADOS Module 4 provides for and requires the use of all three Module 4 scores in classifying each case.  If the ADOS had been applied, the three Module 4 scores for each case would be in the dataset.  They are not there.  

The dataset contains only one of three of the ADOS scores required for each claimed  “case”.  Omitting two of the three inevitably includes as “cases” individuals whose scores were below the required thresholds of the ADOS.

I have not been able to find a statement by the authors that they abandoned two of the three Module 4 scores, nor have I been able to find an explanation.  If there is one, perhaps Professor Brugha might be kind enough please to provide a reference by document, page and paragraphs of a publication by the authors reporting that deviation from the ADOS and the reasons for it?

Module 4 does not apply to lower functioning non verbally fluent cases and is not applicable for use in their diagnoses [3].  Thus the study could not cover all adults across the autistic spectrum in any event.

Professor Brugha appears to proffer a reason for the change of the term “Asperger’s Syndrome” to “ASD” in 2009.  He suggests it was done in 2009 because in 2013, [four years after the statistics were published in the UK], the American Psychiatric Association did not include the term in their diagnostic manual for America.  The rest of the world however in 2016 appears to still to use “Asperger's Syndrome” which appears in ICD-10-CM Diagnosis Code F84.5.

And what of the 13 missing potential cases omitted without mention by the authors? The authors reported [after the event] that they relied solely upon the >=10 ADOS Module 4 cut-off [4].  Regardless of their reasons the ADOS Module 4 was not applied yet the authors claimed to have applied it.   

32 cases in the dataset are above the ADOS Module 4 combined score minimum cut-off. 13 omitted cases have a combined score meeting the cut-off of >=7 and <10.      [For a verbally fluent case on the autistic spectrum the minimum combined score cut-off is >=7.  For a verbally fluent case of autism the combined score cut-off is >=10.]  [5].

These were not diagnoses using the ADOS and no claim to that effect should have been made.
Additionally what the authors reported was:

“The recommended threshold of a score of 10 or more on the phase two ADOS assesment was used to indicate a case of ASD.” [6]

The ADOS recommended combined score to qualify as a potential case was and remains >=7 for autistic spectrum disorder.  The >=10 threshold is used to indicate a case of higher functioning autism.

From what Professor Brugha says here it is clear that the method of diagnosis he and his colleagues employed is unique and was unvalidated at the time [which is obviously the case].  He also thereby confirms it still has not been validated 10 years later.  Aside from obvious potential author bias, in science researchers do not validate their own work.  The lack of independent validation of the authors’ methods is not corrected by publication of a paper by the same authors claiming the method was valid.  

Scientific peer review occurs when many other teams of researchers attempt to repeat and reproduce the same work independently thereby either supporting or falsifying it.

Journal “peer review” is not scientific peer review. It does not validate authors’ claims.  It is a modern development of questioned value including amongst the ranks of leading journal editors: “the practice of peer review is based on faith in its effects, rather than on facts.” [7].  It is effectively a method of vetting papers for publication, whether valid or not.  

This also by implication confirms the results are not now and were not then comparable to the internationally accepted methods of diagnoses employing over two decades diagnostic instruments including the ADOS.  As the statistics are not comparable to any other diagnoses under the ADOS, they do not seem to be support for the proposition that “The proportion of true cases of autism is not changing”.  

It is unsurprising therefore that the UK Statistics Authority’s May 2016 Assessment Report of these statistics [8] stated [in a diplomatically British way]:

“…. HSCIC might have helpfully labelled these statistics as ‘experimental’. …. HSCIC might consider ….. whether it is appropriate to label the statistics as ‘experimental’ until the fitness for purpose and robustness of the outcomes can be determined ...”

Even if the ADOS had been followed, which it had not been, Module 4 cannot be used for diagnosis across the full autistic spectrum.  Module 4 is for verbally fluent adults and adolescents.  It is not for those not verbally fluent.  The study by design could not identify the full range of Autistic Spectrum Disorder [ASD] but only higher functioning cases which are primarily Asperger’s Syndrome.  

A later study was commissioned, paid for out of public funds and published in 2012 to include lower functioning cases [9].  The outcome was a different prevalence figure.  Accordingly, the proposition that “The proportion of true cases of autism is not changing” is confounded as the proportion changed just by carrying out a further study.

Continue reading "Not Allowed On Pubmed Commons: Reply To Prof Brugha On The UK Adult Autism Survey " »


Guardian Health Editor Sarah Boseley's Little Problem

Sarah Boseley“The almost unavoidable conclusion is that large sections of the British media have always known that the “Wakefield” prosecution was based on an imposture, and have been holding their silence in contempt of fair reporting and of the public at large, and that these people are much more concerned about their own backs than they are about our children.”

The Guardian’s health editor, Sarah Boseley has been writing again about Andrew Wakefield, measles and MMR   . Boseley’s problem, as Age of Autism’s, UK editor John Stone pointed out in this article back in 2012 is that Boseley knew very well that the case against Wakefield was fabricated. Shortly after the article was written Wakefield’s senior colleague, Prof John Walker-Smith, was exonerated in the English High Court. The central case against Wakefield (who was not funded to appeal) and the other General Medical Council defendant Prof Simon Murch had been utterly disproven. The scapegoating, however, continues and Wakefield is still held accountable for events which never happened. Boseley also authored the 2009 news report 'Autism just as common in adults, so MMR is off the hook' based on the NHS Brugha survey


The Walker-Smith Appeal, the British Media and the Boseley Problem

By John Stone

Sarah Boseley  is the senior Guardian newspaper journalist who wrote on the occasion of the UK General Medical Council’s findings against Dr Andrew Wakefield and his colleagues Prof  John Walker-Smith and Prof Simon Murch in January 2010:

"Opinion is divided in the medical establishment on the wisdom of pursuing Wakefield – and particularly his colleagues who played a lesser role in the drama – at the GMC. Some say there was a clear case to answer and that the GMC had no other option but others believe that no good can come of it."

What Boseley omitted to do as a decent journalist and a competent reporter was to tell her readership what the medical establishment was worried about. And what they were worried about may be by now coming back round to haunt both the medical establishment itself and the media, although no doubt damage limitation measures are already being put in a state of readiness.  The spectre came in the form of a UK Press Association report of Prof Walker-Smith’s High Court appeal misleadingly entitled ‘MMR row doctor decision was “fair”’  . However, underneath the headline the story begins to hint at the real matter:

“The decision to strike off an eminent doctor over the MMR jab controversy has been defended at the High Court as "just and fair - not wrong".

“The General Medical Council (GMC) admitted to a judge that "inadequate reasons" may have been given by a disciplinary panel that found Professor John Walker-Smith guilty of serious professional misconduct. Those reasons related to conflicts over expert evidence.

“But Joanna Glynn QC, appearing for the GMC, said: "In spite of inadequate reasons it is quite clear on overwhelming evidence that the charges are made out."

“Professor Walker-Smith is asking Mr Justice Mitting at London's High Court to rule that he was denied a fair hearing. On the fourth day of his challenge, the judge said that the case had been "complex and difficult from the start - it greatly troubles me".”

Continue reading "Guardian Health Editor Sarah Boseley's Little Problem" »


UK Statistics Authority Bins Controversial 2009 Adult Autism Survey

UK binBy John Stone

In a remarkable move the influential 2009 survey which purported to show similar rates of autism in adults to those is children, and has often been criticised in these columns, was officially downgraded to the status of “experimental  statistics” by the Statistics Authority in May according to British government documents (here and here). The British survey which was published as National Statistics and subsequent associated studies were frequently cited as evidence that autism was not on the rise by Thomas Insel, until last year director of the US National Institute of Mental Health.  The survey when published in 2009 was advertised by the UK National Health Service as showing that the MMR vaccine had not affected autism rates.

Among the criticisms of the survey was that the diagnostic assessment was incorrectly scored, was not a stand-alone tool for diagnosing autism anyway, that abstruse and arcane weighting methods were used to inflate the 19 identified “cases” to 72 in order apparently to obtain a 1% rate which matched the National Statistic for children as last recorded in 2004/5   . The ground work for the survey was carried out in 2007 as part of a national mental health morbidity survey which was to include Asperger Syndrome as one of the categories, but by 2009 Asperger Syndrome had been supplanted by Autistic Spectrum Disorder. One serious anomaly is whether genuine ASD cases would even have been capable of taking part in survey. There is also a question mark over whether the data was properly obtained: participants were not told that they were being assessed for morbid conditions.

The team responsible for the 2009 survey led by Traolach Brugha published at least five related papers listed on Pubmed, including one last month (which was widely circulated last month by the National Autistic Society) after the National Statistics Authority ruling.   A new survey is imminently expected from the same team based on data collected in 2014. It remains to be seen whether it fares any better.

According to data provided by the Scottish executive as of last September 1 in 58 children had a diagnosis of autism (11,722 ASD cases out  of 680,007pupils), however  the data will be incomplete since many children will not yet have received a diagnosis and the numbers will be much higher among younger children, since the figures have been rising steeply year on year.


John Stone is UK Editor for Age of Autism.


The American Revolution and Health Tyranny

British-american_flagNote: We first ran this post on 7/4/14. It's as relevant as ever, perhaps more, as SB277 has taken effect in California, removing almost all vaccine exemptions and punishing families.  Why is it a country founded on freedom has so freely relinquished medical rights from coast to coast?

By John Stone

This article is written for HealthChoice.org

I have always been drawn to United States history so I hope it will not be taken amiss if I offer an Independence Day  perspective of a British citizen: we are, of course, all heirs of that revolution one way or another across the globe: more so today than ever perhaps. Immediately speaking there are two striking facets (I just had to correct the typographic error “strifing”): the incredible historic dynamism of the nation created by this event but also the great amount of thought that the founding fathers went into trying to prevent the re-emergence of the tyranny which they had just escaped. Perhaps never has so much thought gone into avoiding “oppressive government” even if many of the leading participants in the new republic still regarded it as their right to own slaves.

Nearly two and a half centuries on it is possible to see that powerful interests can buy their way into every aspect of a nation’s life defying almost every measure that was ever laid out against oppressive government. Just over half a century ago, as he left office, President Eisenhower famously warned about the military industrial complex and the domination of intellectual enquiry by commercial interest:

Continue reading "The American Revolution and Health Tyranny" »


Man Made Epidemic (Film Review)

ManMade epidemic
By John Stone

It is reported that the UK’s East End film festival withdrew Man Made Epidemic after a petition from no more than six people who had not seen it. I do not know who the six signatories were but this sounds more like a surface event. I have no doubt that the powers that be (and “still are” even after Brexit) let it be known that festival organisers would have cause to regret their decision if it was shown – nor would it surprise me if some quasi government agency like Science Media Centre or Sense About Science was behind it. For one performance only, the film premiered at a cinema in London’s West End at 12.30 in the afternoon, so as not to get in anyone’s way.

It should be said that the most polemical bit of Natalie Beer’s film is the title, except that by now saying anything critical about vaccine products is enough  to bring down the wrath of the institutional heavens. Beer set out as a mother to investigate what the safest course for her children would be, and obtained interview footage from many quarters (it is said over a thousand hours edited down to an hour and a half). No one is caricatured or ridiculed, nor does she decide not to vaccinate, but rather to proceed with extreme caution. The impression is that even with a polite and deferential approach the reality that things were not quite as they should be was inescapable – the autism epidemic could not be explained away. Beer had found more than was comfortable.

Continue reading "Man Made Epidemic (Film Review)" »


Best of: UK Inquiry Cuts Deal With News International Not To Investigate Brian Deer

Lord-Justice-LevesonBest of from 2012.

UK's Leveson Inquiry plays cat and mouse with public interest over the Murdoch press investigation into MMR.

It has been said that vaccines are the greatest cause of coincidence known to man. What was extraordinary about the Leveson Inquiry was not only that all these people connected with the MMR affair re-emerged in connection with the Inquiry but also the way it kept returning to a defence of MMR as a safe product (which had nothing to do with its brief) and even with its first report which included an attack on Andrew Wakefield, while excluding concerns about the way the media had conducted themselves towards the MMR families and towards Wakefield and colleagues - a subject which easily did fall within its remit. (Note added May 2016).

By John Stone

When it comes to the MMR affair the UK’s inquiry into the conduct of the press and Rupert Murdoch’s News International media empire seems to have been biased, have hidden historical connections and to be anything but transparent. Four family members of vaccine damaged children who submitted evidence to the Inquiry have found themselves arbitrarily rebuffed at News International’s behest. Their concerns, based on publically available information, were:

-    The obtaining of confidential medical records by Sunday Times hired journalist Brian Deer  

-    Deer’s use of an alias when interviewing parents   and  Brian Deer's Use of an Alias Part 2,  

-    The circumstances in which Deer was hired by the Sunday Times to find something “big” on “MMR”  Open Letter to Sunday Times Editor 

-    That Deer and the Sunday Times did not make clear in the newspaper that he had personally initiated the prosecution against Wakefield and colleagues with a series of complaints whilst continuing to report the GMC hearing  

-    That Deer received advice from MedicoLegal Investigations, an agency with close connections to the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry 

-    That the Sunday Times/Times launched a new raft of articles  against Wakefield following the announcement of the appointment of News International boss, James Murdoch, to the board of MMR manufacturers and defendants GlaxoSmithKline in February 2009 

Faced with these important issues the Leveson Inquiry has simply chosen to draw a veil over the matter, while happily taking evidence that the press abused its role by reporting concerns about MMR safety in the first place. It is a remarkable and unhappy coincidence, therefore, that Lord Leveson and lead attorney for the Inquiry,  Robert Jay QC, were both involved in blocking litigant families’ interests in the MMR proceedings.

Below is the joint statement of the four co-authors of the submission (which cannot be reproduced for reasons of confidentiality):

A key question of the UK Leveson Inquiry into press ethics is how independent will the inquiry be in the face of powerful press corporations such as News International and their media outlets. Set up last summer after revelations of a decade of phone hacking by the press, the Inquiry into the Culture, Practice and Ethics of the Press, chaired by Lord Justice Leveson, has come to be seen as a potential solution to unbridled press powers to intrude into private life. Whether it succeeds in establishing a new system of press regulation and legal rights against intrusion must await the publication of Leveson's report later this year. But our experience as four parents of autistic children who submitted a detailed account of the Sunday Times’ 7-year investigation into the 1998 Lancet paper by Dr Andrew Wakefield et al, demonstrates NI’s continuing power to influence the evidence submitted to the Inquiry and its agenda.

Continue reading "Best of: UK Inquiry Cuts Deal With News International Not To Investigate Brian Deer" »


Best of: Watch-Dog Boss, Martin Moore, Sat on UK Government Panel with Editor who Hired Brian Deer

Martin moore NukiJohn Stone wrote this post in February of 2012. We are running it today to give readers some background on the unethical journalism practices vis a vis science and particularly the topic of pediatric vaccination.  

By John Stone

Martin Moore (left), the unresponsive boss of the organisation ostensibly set up to support members of the public who have fallen victim of the unethical journalistic practices of the Murdoch media empire in the UK (See Age of Autism "Write to Hacked Off.." HERE), sat on a panel set up by the UK’s Department for Business to plan the future of science journalism in Britain producing a report ‘Science and the Media: Securing a Future’. Moore has repeatedly refused to be drawn on a catalogue of apparent abuses in Deer’s MMR investigation, including Deer’s assertion that a Sunday Times news editor, Paul Nuki (right), had hired him to find “something big” on “MMR” (which sounds suspiciously like a fishing expedition). It now turns out that Nuki and Moore sat on the same government committee in 2009-10 to determine the future of British science journalism under the chairmanship of Fiona Fox. Fox, the head of Science Media Centre, has also recently given evidence regarding the MMR to Leveson Inquiry on ethics in British journalism.

FoxMeanwhile, Moore’s organisation Hacked Off effectively sits as unofficial guard dog to the government appointed Leveson Inquiry, which has now heard a succession of witnesses including Fox condemn as irresponsible earlier media concerns about the safety of MMR, but has so far failed to hear witness statements based any of the submissions about Deer’s investigation.

To date Moore and Hacked Off have ignored documented concerns that:-

Continue reading "Best of: Watch-Dog Boss, Martin Moore, Sat on UK Government Panel with Editor who Hired Brian Deer" »


Book Review: (Poul Thorsen) The Master Manipulator by James Grundvig from Skyhorse Publishing

Master ManipulatorPlease share this post on social media, on your blogs, in email to friends and family. Purchase this book this week to help the launch sales numbers, which leads to more shelves stocked!   Buy here.
By John Stone

A welcome for James Grundvig’s book about the Thorsen affair, The Master Manipulator , notwithstanding a certain irony in the title: Poul Thorsen, it must be said, was no Moriarty. In the end this is a tawdry saga of a man who went a little too far in defrauding an institution, the US Centers for Disease Control, which habitually rewarded dishonesty and mediocrity in the public service. We have been here before, for example with David Lewis’s exposé of the Environmental  Protection Agency in Science for Sale . This was certainly a place where Poul Thorsen fitted.

Many elements in this story are already familiar though Grundvig sheds a little light on the murky  corridors of power and influence. We learn how on secondment to the CDC Thorsen  steps into the breach to provide a data source of Denmark’s national disease registry, to which he had free access. The early part of this enterprise, as we know, was the autism vaccine cover-up: the CDC needed data and Thorsen had a fortuitous supply. It was against this background that Thorsen’s very grand sounding  research group North Atlantic Neuro-Epidemiology Alliance (NANEA) had been formed in 1999 (was he the Secretary General?): the basic idea seems to have been that the CDC paid the research group a lot of money while Thorsen had a free data source and could underpay and cheat his Danish employees.

It is not very clear how much of a role Thorsen actually played in the research: Kreesten Madsen, lead author of the two key autism studies used by the CDC and the Institute of Medicine in supposedly refuting a vaccine connection, denied to Grundvig that Thorsen had played any at all. This in itself – given the presence over Thorsen on the list of authors – suggests fraud. But in all probability the strategy for massaging the figures in the notorious MMR paper (which echoes that used at the CDC for the thimerosal paper by Vestraeten) came from the CDC’s veteran of the Agent Orange cover up, Coleen Boyle. Boyle wrote in a memo about  thimerosal and autism in April 2000:

“... "2. Since most of the dx's [diagnoses] are generally not picked up until the 2nd or 3rd year of life had you considered eligibility criteria of at least 18 months or 2 years?? What happens if you do this?" ....”

In other words: “Why don’t we dilute the autism data  for the vaccinated group using the cases that will not have been diagnosed yet to mask the effect that we all know about?”.

There is inevitably a lot of speculation about the role in all of this of Thorsen’s girlfriend and co-author, Diane Schendel. Schendel, an epidemiologist employed within the CDC, followed Thorsen out to Denmark. It seems plausible that she was actually sent out to keep an eye on him, which may have worked in the early years (which of course were the most critical for the autism/vaccine issue and the CDC). And as we learn from Grundvig it was only the retirement of Thorsen’s business partner in NANEA, Ib Terp, in 2005 that Thorsen started syphoning off huge sums of money for his own personal use. By that time the Institute of Medicine report was in and the autism/vaccine connection was supposed to be history. Schendel remained on in Denmark at Aarhus University - still closely (and perhaps anomalously) associated with the CDC but increasingly less associated with Thorsen.

Thorsen’s basic problem is that he does not seem to have been good at anything much: by all accounts he was a poor scientist, researcher and teacher, and he was not good with money – nor in the end was he a good fraudster. But unextradited by the US government, five years after his indictment, he remains (scandalously) a protected man.

James Grundvig’s book gives us many insights into thoroughly rotten culture which gave rise to this chilling, outrageous story.

John Stone is UK Editor for Age of Autism.


Best of: Sir Crispin Davis and James Murdoch Leave GSK Board

GskWe are running this "Best of" in light of the VaXed, The Movie controversy having been pulled from the Tribeca Film Festival and subsequently thrust into the limelight.  From January, 2012.

By John Stone

The Wall Street Journal reports that James Murdoch, son of beleaguered media mogul Rupert Murdoch, whose empire is embroiled in scandal, has stepped down  from the GlaxoSmithKline board. See WSJ online HERE.  In addition, Sir Crispin Davis, former Chief Executive of Reed Elsevier, which owns The Lancet, which published the paper that included Dr. Andrew Wakefield's MMR information,  is leaving the board after a nine year tenure.

The heir to Rupert Murdoch’s media empire has quit the board of Britain’s biggest drugs company in the wake of the phone hacking scandal.

James Murdoch joined  GlaxoSmithKline less than two years ago.

He has come under fire from MPs who have questioned him about signing off out-of-court settlements to hacking victims without a full picture of what had gone on at the News of the World.

He was forced to deny misleading Parliament over the extent of his knowledge.

Glaxo said Mr Murdoch’s decision to turn his back on the £98,000 role was entirely his own.

Chairman Chris Gent said: ‘James has taken this decision to focus on his current duties as non-executive chairman of BSkyB and following his decision to re-locate to the United States as chairman and chief executive, international, of News Corporation.’

John Stone has written about both Murdoch and Davis and their proximity to the Dr. Andrew Wakefield MMR Lancet Paper BMJ topic.

James Murdoch Still Supported by GlaxoSmithKline
ran last July:

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

Both posts run in full following the jump:

Continue reading "Best of: Sir Crispin Davis and James Murdoch Leave GSK Board" »


Incognito at Agincourt: Shakespeare Accuses the King - On the Occasion of the 400th Anniversary of Shakespeare’s Death

King_Henry_V_at_the_Battle_of_Agincourt,_1415By John Stone Shakespeare

‘…the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all 'We died at such a place’.

This article is intended as a piece of literary criticism, however it also poses questions about the legitimacy of the political order which resonate today. It is an interesting question how - in what is now called the early modern period - an ordinary subject could challenge a monarch (and by implication the order for which the monarch stood).  But supposing two men were in disguise, they might briefly exchange ideas on a level playing field. The confrontation between Henry V before Agincourt and the common soldier, Williams, in the play Henry V has occasionally been recognised as a crux, notably by leading Shakespeare scholar Frank Kermode in his brief discussion of the play in his late book The Age of Shakespeare (2004 p.81):

Here is one of the moments when Shakespeare can make us feel out of our depth: the part of surly the Williams is so strongly written, his arguments so persuasive compared with Henry’s, that we are left querying our assent to the royal cause, however warmly solicited.

It was unusual feature of Shakespeare’s career as a playwright of the Elizabethan and Jacobean age that he was also an actor within the company he was writing for. Scholars generally believed he took smaller roles, and it is against this background that the following suggestion is made.

The night before the battle of Agincourt, in the play, King Henry borrows the cloak of company commander Sir Thomas Erpingham indicating that he seeks anonymity and solitude, but perhaps with the real intention (as it follows in the action) of eavesdropping unrecognised on his men. He first runs into his former low-life acquaintance Pistol who fails to recognise the king even when Henry all but identifies himself as “Harry Le Roy”, and is presumably gratified that Pistol speaks well of him:

I love the lovely bully.*

They also exchange banter about the garrulous and absurd Welsh captain, Fluellen. Fluellen has been first encountered in the play at the siege of Harfleur driving the soldiers “into the breach” and trying to engage the infuriated and irascible  Irish captain MacMorris - who is busy digging tunnels to lay explosive – in a conversation on “the disciplines of war”. MacMorris gives him a piece of his mind:

It is not time to discourse, so Chrish save me. The day is hot and the weather and the wars and the king and the dukes: it is not time to discourse. The town is beseeched [besieged], and the trumpet call us to the breach, and we talk and, by Chrish, do nothing…

To make the point of Fluellen’s  fantasy world further as Pistol exits Henry overhears an exchange between Fluellen and Captain Gower, Fluellen insisting that Gower speak more softly despite the clamour coming from the enemy camp.

Henry’s next encounter is altogether more troubling for him. The second scene begins with three common soldiers – for the immediate purpose it might seem that they do not need to be allocated names, but perhaps it is part of the point that they have names as they appear in the character list even if no one knows them. Indeed, the name of only one of them, John Bates, is ever mentioned in the action. The first speaker, who has only a single line, is identified in the Folio as Alexander Court, which is very likely a play on the name of the company’s sixteen year-old apprentice Alexander Cook, the court of Alexander the Great being referenced in a succeeding scene by Fluellen.

The most significant and complex of the three characters, who is never named in the action, but present when the death toll from the battle is announced in the final scene of the act, bears the name Michael Williams. It is my suggestion that Shakespeare was marking the role to be played by himself:  barely encrypted it might be saying “My call – William S”. Why Michael Williams otherwise? There is no such historical character from the chronicles. It is - to re-inforce the point - Michael Williams who “calls out” to Henry in the night in his opening line:

We see yonder the beginning of the day, but I think we shall never see the end of it. Who goes there?

Henry is drawn into the justification of the military campaign by Williams and Bates, leading to the double-edged statement:

Methinks I could not die anywhere so contentedly as in the king’s company, his cause being just and his quarrel honourable.

To which Williams responds bluntly:

That’s more than we know.

Indeed, it is. The justification for war as we have seen in the first act of the play have hinged on the blessing of the Archbishop of Canterbury anxious to escape a parliamentary bill attacking the wealth of the church, and the provocative slight to Henry by the Dauphin (heir to the King of France) of the tennis ball gift. The chilling cynicism with which the archbishop instigates the invasion of France by looking for pretexts in ancient history and canon law could scarcely be more blatant (as it already is in Shakespeare’s main source, Hollinshed’s Chronicle). Following this Henry had responded to the French ambassador over the tennis balls insult with his famous “mock” speech:

…….For many a thousand widows

Shall this his mock mock out their dear husbands

Mock mother’s from their sons, mock castles down;

And some are yet ungotten and unborn

That shall have cause to curse the Dauphin’s scorn.

In this way Henry places responsibility for his proposed hideous actions on the Dauphin, for the Dauphin’s admittedly irresponsible taunt – a particularly narcissistic version of honour is being invoked.

Continue reading "Incognito at Agincourt: Shakespeare Accuses the King - On the Occasion of the 400th Anniversary of Shakespeare’s Death" »


Fighting with Your Hands Tied: How Low Can the Mainstream Media Sink in the Vaccine Debate?

MudBy John Stone

For a year or two now I have more or less given up trying to comment on mainstream blogs - what with the harassment and the censorship I felt I ought to devote more of my time to other projects. But I have been back in the past few days given the disgraceful debacle over "Vaxxed". Below is an example of unacceptable comment to the UK's Guardian newspaper in 2016, made after several comments disappeared.

One of the notable features of the three year long hearing against Wakefield and colleagues was that at no point did any of the mainstream media report any of the defence - no one unless they were prepared to search wider on the internet would have any idea of what it was. It goes on. Below I put up a link to my own blog and it was deleted as infringing community rules, but there is no possible way it did that. We are having a discussion where all the counter argument is being deftly removed. If an international terrorist was on trial they would stand a much better chance of having their defence reported by the mainstream media than someone voicing mild concern about the safety of the vaccine program. The problem is that with these voices of concern systematically removed the program is destined to become ever more harmful because basic checks and balances have been eliminated.

This is something which apparently falls outside reasonable comment now.

John Stone is UK Editor for Age of Autism.


PM Modi Must Rescue Vaccine Programme from Vested Interests

Logo_2Opinion piece ran March 26, 2016

By Jacob Puliyel

Dr Puliyel, paediatrician  at  Delhi’s St Stephen’s Hospital, describes in Sunday Guardian Live    how the direction of India’s National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI), the equivalent of US’s Advisory Committee on Immunization (ACIP)or the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has been handed over to the direction of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation with potentially disastrous consequences for Indian health. The situation has disturbing  parallels with what is now happening in the UK.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s (BMGF’s) prescription of foreign drugs for India’s poor and the way in which it has become a major influence within key ministries in Government of India was mentioned in this newspaper recently (The Sunday Guardian, 7 February 2016). The links with the Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunisation (GAVI) and Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) were described. The article also highlighted the investments of the foundation and the board members in US-EU Big Pharma stocks and the resulting possible conflict of interests.

The vaccine market in India is potentially one of the largest in the world. The government is advised on what vaccines to include in the national immunisation programme by a committee of experts called the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI).

This body is expected to evaluate the vaccines, their costs and benefits for the country. Vaccines whose cost far exceeds the benefits are not to be recommended. But the entire secretariat of the NTAGI has now been outsourced to the BMGF. Called the Immunisation Technical Support Unit (ITSU), the secretariat is funded by the Gates Foundation and has been moved out of the Nirman Bhawan, where the Ministry of Health is located, into the PHFI.

Continue reading "PM Modi Must Rescue Vaccine Programme from Vested Interests" »


The Lies About Andrew Wakefield

Pariser'If the vaccine program is so good, why the dirty tactics? Why the straw man? Vaccine safety and effectiveness is a messy business: making Wakefield the scapegoat won't work much longer.'

This morning Age of Autism re-posts a brief article published last year about the key allegations against Andrew Wakefield, which have been long disproven but go on being endlessly recycled by a  mainstream media in the pay of, and intimidated by, the pharmaceutical industry.

By John Stone

 Before yesterday morning I had not heard of ‘Upworthy’ which according to Wiki is a “website for viral content” founded by Eli Pariser (Chairman of AVAAZ, pictured) and Peter Koechley (former managing editor of 'The Onion'), for which Kim Kellerher of 'Wired' is also a board member. A presentation “curated” by  Adam Mordecai and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation states:

"After years of controversy and making parents mistrust vaccines, along with collecting $674,000 from lawyers who would benefit from suing vaccine makers, it was discovered he had made the whole thing up. The Lancet publicly apologized and reported that further investigation led to the discovery that he had fabricated everything."

What, of course, this does not tell you is that the senior author and clinician in the paper, Prof John Walker-Smith,  who also compiled eleven of the twelve case histories appealed to the English High Court over the GMC findings and was completely exonerated nearly three years ago – Walker-Smith, unlike  Wakefield, was funded to appeal. All that ‘Upworthy’ are doing is playing the same trick as CNN and Wiki – which I reported on last year - and peddling disproven stories without mentioning that they have been disproven.

CNN, having cited wiki, blocked the following comment:

But this is a flawed account. The findings were confirmed by both histopathologists in the paper subsequent to the hearing. [See also here]

Continue reading "The Lies About Andrew Wakefield" »


Prof Pollard Again: Oxford University Hosts British Government Vaccine Committee

Pollardandrew2.previewBy John Stone

By now Age of Autism readers will be familiar with the story of Prof Andrew Pollard who was appointed to the chairmanship of the British body which makes recommendations for the UK vaccine schedule (the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation) and soon afterwards chaired a discussion which recommended the infant use of the Meningitis B vaccine (Bexsero) for which he has been named lead developer in official documents as Director of Oxford Vaccine Group. It will be no surprise (since this has become routinely the case) that the minutes of the latest JCVI meeting are published without disclosures of interest. Rather more unusual is the fact that instead of being held at a Department of Health building in London the most recent meeting was held at the lavishly funded Oxford research institution Oxford Martin School, at which Prof Pollard is listed as Senior Fellow and lead researcher.

Equally noteworthy is mention of a substantially unminuted event the previous day referred to as a “retreat” in which the Mad tea partycommittee were entertained at Prof Pollard’s college St. Cross (which sounds like something out of one of the more fanciful episodes of Inspector Morse). While nothing in the JCVI Code of Practice would seem to preclude this departure – perhaps no one ever anticipated it - in practice it might seem cavalier and unwise. Among the roles of the chairman of JCVI is also his job of appraising other members and senior officials every year (Code of Practice clause 21) so presumably everyone was on their best behaviour.

John Stone is UK Editor of Age of Autism.


Urgent Questions: Men B Vaccine and the United Kingdom Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation

UK joint committee
By John Stone

Urgent Questions About Men B Vaccine and the United Kingdom Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation: Open Letter to Andrew Earnshaw, Secretary to the Committee

As a Downing Street petition to the British government about the general availability of the recently marketed Meningitis B vaccine Bexsero becomes the most signed in history Age of Autism’s UK editor poses some serious and awkward questions to the committee that recommended the vaccine for infant use.

Dear Mr Earnshaw,

I refer to your letter [1] on behalf the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation Secretariat to Michael McMahon, convener of the Petitions Committee of the Scottish Parliament, of 7 January 2016 regarding petition PE1584 presented by Mr Angus Files with myself in support. While noting your defence of the position of Prof Pollard as chair of the JCVI I am surprised that there is no reference to his role as the developer of Bexsero vaccine. Contemporaneous with his appointment to the JCVI chairmanship a document submitted by Oxford University to the Higher Education Funding Committees’ survey REF2014 describes the position thus:

Oxford University research has also led to the planned use of vaccines against serogroup B meningococcal disease, which have been licensed and recommended for the prevention of disease in high-risk individuals, and broader use is under consideration.

It seems likely that at the time of this submission Prof Pollard was already chair of the committee considering this matter, but no mention is made of this. The submission continues:

Meningococcal disease is the leading infectious cause of death in children in the UK, and its prevention is a major objective of the Oxford Vaccine Group, directed by Professor Andrew Pollard. During the period from 2001-2013 more than 10,000 volunteers were enrolled in clinical studies in Oxford, mainly children, and the research provided new insight into the design, development and evaluation of novel vaccines for meningitis and specifically meningococcal disease..

Mention is also made of patents:

The design and development of new vaccines for serogroup B meningococcus by Oxford University have led to a number of patents on the candidate vaccines (based on various surface proteins including Opa, PorA and FetA 17), which provide a licensing position for the University as these vaccines progress through early phase clinical trials.

Without getting into the technical issue of whether conflicts are “personal”, “pecuniary” or “special” I note that the JCVI code of conduct states (2013 Section 42(2) [3]:

If a member has in the last 12 months received, or plans to receive a financial payment or other benefit from a business or representative body relating to vaccines or any other product or service that could be under consideration by JCVI...including... holding a directorship or other paid position...the member must declare this interest... If this interest is specific to an agenda item and the payment or other benefit is connected specifically with the product under consideration, the member will be required to absent him/herself from the discussion and any subsequent vote.

But according to JCVI minutes of February 2014 [4] Prof Pollard led the discussion on Bexsero – numerous references are made to the “the chair” in the record. This could of course be a formal reference rather than a personal reference, but no record is provided of Prof Pollard absenting himself, nor have you suggested that he did in your letter. This also conflicts with the long established Nolan Standards in Public Life.  The JCVI needs to explain how this conflict was allowed to arise, and without being disclosed.

I also note that Prof Pollard and his deputy Dr Riordan took part in an industry sponsored presentation in September las year discussing the JCVI’s business [5]:

Evening of Evidence/Vaccination Science to Policy: Introduction of new vaccines to the UK vaccine schedule with limited evidence of efficacy: Meningococcal Group B and maternal pertussis vaccination

Continue reading "Urgent Questions: Men B Vaccine and the United Kingdom Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation" »


The True Data Revealed: Adult Autism Data Fabrication in the United Kingdom Part 3

Dept Health UKBy John Stone

In part 1 of this series I examined the desperate attempt of National Health Service  in the UK to locate a hidden horde of adults replicating the numbers in the child population in its survey of adult psychiatric morbidity in England 2007-9. In the end using non-standard and diluted psychiatric testing tools they managed to find only 19 cases, less than a third of the one per cent figure they were looking for and postulated that they had mislaid most of the cases (which notwithstanding were held to be there and accounted for). This is only to give a brief summary of this extraordinarily ramshackle project which was carried out to be incorporated in National Statistics (which in turn became a reference point for US National Institute of Mental Health director Thomas Insel).  (Part 2 is here.)

Where the autism problem was beginning to show was in the childhood surveys conducted for National Statistics (there seem to be two such documents, one for 1999 and one for 2004 but not subsequently). In the survey conducted in 1999 between January and May from approx. 10,500 interviews they discovered a rate of PDD of 0.2% (i.e. 1 in 500) among 11-15 year-olds and 0.4% (i.e. 1 in 250) among 5-10 year-olds (Table 4.1). It should be noted that with these children, who would have been monitored by the same services, you would expect if the rate was stable for the older group to have a higher rate of diagnosis (the older they were the more likely they would be to get one) but in fact it was lower.

The same pattern is evident in the survey carried out between March and June 2004 from approx. 8,000 children. In the older group now 11-16 year-olds and classified as ASD the rate is 0.8% (1 in 125), also Table 4.1 in this document. This would be roughly the same birth cohort as the younger group in the earlier survey and the fact that rate has now doubled may be partly explained by the fact that they are older and will therefore be more likely to have a diagnosis, but it also has to be allowed that the study group is different and that may be a variable. But again the younger group of 5 to 10 year-olds have a higher rate of 1% despite not having had as long to get a diagnosis (notable also that remarkably few girls in this cohort have a diagnosis). In both cases autism disorder whether PDD or ASD is listed as “a less common disorder”. However, we note a five-fold rise between those born between 1983-88 and those born between 1994-1999 despite the fact that former group had had longer to get a diagnosis - so the position was undoubtedly worse than immediately visible.

At this point we may turn to Baron-Cohen’s long suppressed study of 5-9 year-olds in Cambridgeshire studied in 2003-4, a very similar group perhaps to the younger cohort in 2004 study. This study, which provoked a vicious and unprincipled establishment backlash when a story was published about it in 2007  in The Observer (just before the corrupt General Medical Council proceedings against Wakefield and colleagues), showed that the figure of 1% in the National Statistic cohort was more or less replicated but there would be a further two cases for every three already identified. In 2007 The Observer reported a figure of 1 in 58: when the study was finally published two years later a figure was given of 157 in 10,000 or 1 in 64, still a lot higher than National Statistics figure for children (and suggesting a nearly eight-fold rise from the older group in the first set of National Statistics). Here it is from the abstract:

The prevalence estimates generated from the SEN register and diagnosis survey were 94 per 10 000 and 99 per 10 000 respectively. A total of 11 children received a research diagnosis of an autism-spectrum condition following screening and assessment. The ratio of known:unknown cases is about 3:2 (following statistical weighting procedures). Taken together, we estimate the prevalence to be 157 per 10 000, including previously undiagnosed cases.

Continue reading "The True Data Revealed: Adult Autism Data Fabrication in the United Kingdom Part 3" »


Adult Autism Data Fabrication in the United Kingdom Part 2

RabbitsRead Part 1 here.

By John Stone Missing adults

Amid continuing false claims regarding the historical incidence of autism by mainstream media plugged authors Steve Silberman, John Donvan and Caren Zucker AoA re-publishes a series of articles by John Stone, UK Editor, chronicling data abuse and fabricated adult autism numbers, which also impacted heavily on opinion in the United States. These articles document the official drive to paper over the catastrophe engulfing so many of our children. The second of these stories from June 2014 examines an Autism Speaks which purported to examine the costs of autism and its numbers in both the United Kingdom and the United States. One thing it does admit is that autism is a thing with immense financial costs – after that it goes seriously awry. If autism has always been with us, why the contortions.

Still Covering Up: the New Autism Speaks/JAMA Study of the Cost of Autism

"The present study seems to do two things: regard notional cases based on a half-baked theory of general prevalence as actual, but also underestimating costs of individual real cases by more than three times (on a breakdown of their own figures)."

There have been many news stories in the past days of a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association - funded by Autism Speaks - of the financial cost of autism in both the United States and the United Kingdom. The Daily Mail notably reported that the calculated annual cost of autism in the UK of £32 billion ($ 51billion) was greater than the cost of “heart disease, cancer and strokes combined”.  It might have seemed momentarily as if someone for once was dealing with the autism issue honestly. After all co-author Martin Knapp, London School of Economics professor, was co-author of a similar study in 2001 which estimated the cost to the UK as exceeding a mere £1 billion ($1.6 billion). That the scale of the problem might be 30 times worse now than thirteen years ago is something that many of us might have suspected. Unfortunately, what Prof Knapp seems to have discovered - rather incredibly - is that he just happened to have missed most of the cases back then. Already in 1998 (the year of the Wakefield Lancet paper) the UK's National Autistic Society had started to make out that there were in excess of half a million cases in the UK population but the 2001 paper properly ignored this assuming a prevalence of 5 in 10,000.

In the new study (table 2) we read that there are 196,489 autistic people in the UK of 18 or over with intellectual disability (ID) and 294,734 without ID.

The authors state:

“...Third, there is some controversy about current ASD prevalence. The prevalence estimates we used are lower than new figures from Peacock et al..or Kim et al…(1.5% and 2.6%, respectively). Although this does not affect our per-person costs, it can markedly affect the estimated total societal costs.We rejected the estimate of Peacock et al because it is based on healthcare claims data with no verification of the diagnosis. We rejected the estimate of Kim et al because it is based on data from South Korea and may not be applicable to the United Kingdom or the United States...”

Continue reading "Adult Autism Data Fabrication in the United Kingdom Part 2" »


Adult Autism Data Fabrication in the United Kingdom Part 1

RabbitsBy John Stone Missing adults

Amid continuing false claims regarding the historical incidence of autism by mainstream media plugged authors Steve Silberman, John Donvan and Caren Zucker AoA re-publishes a series of articles by John Stone, UK Editor, chronicling data abuse and fabricated adult autism numbers, which also impacted heavily on opinion in the United States. These articles document the official drive to paper over the catastrophe engulfing so many of our children. The first in the series dates from October 2009 (updated 2015) deconstructing the then recently published National Statistics survey of "Autism Spectrum Disorders in adults living in households throughout England”. Interesting to note that its publication in 2009 coincided with the US National Institutes of Mental Health unveiling a figure of 1 in 100 fur US children. Six years later the figure has been admitted as 1 in 45. But for Silberman, Donvan and Zucker they are out there dancing around pretending the Emperor has clothes.

1 in 100: How the UK Government Arrived at the Adult Autism Figures

By John Stone

UPDATE April 10, 2015 (corrected). Revisiting this article five and half years on there are a small number of additional points. For clarity the original survey of 2007 from which this data was derived was looking for instances of Asperger Syndrome only. No mention was made of "higher-functioning autism" until the Eurekalert Press Release in 2008 but by 2009 both the terms "Asperger" and "high-functioning autism" had disappeared to be replaced by "autism spectrum disorders" but it was the same data set re-labelled to give a false idea of what was being surveyed. It can also be pointed out that not only were the diagnostic tests non-standard, and diluted the criteria for diagnosis but also that the assessments were not carried out by people qualified to make a diagnosis of autism. In the end it is impossible to say that there were any real cases of Asperger Syndrome let alone autism in this survey. Finally, the survey, originally published as National Statistics, was re-published as peer review study which came to be cited by Thomas Insel, Director of the National Institutes of Mental Health, and Chair of the Interagency Autism Coordinating committee (herehere and at IACC meetings) as if it was a credible source.

[Original article] Sometimes events across the pond seem connected. Just a few days ago the UK National Health Service’s Information Centre announced its new survey, which purportedly showed adult incidence of Autistic Spectrum Disorders running at the rate of 1 in 100 – according to them exactly the same rate as for schoolchildren, thus clearing MMR vaccine (or any other vaccine exposure for that matter) from being implicated in autism. Never mind that the rate was projected from a base of just 19 unconfirmed cases, or that the survey included young adults born between 1986 and 1991 who may have had MMR, or that the study had only high functioning and Asperger cases in it, or that the autism rate amongst schoolchildren in the UK runs at more like 1 in 64 - what an excellent opportunity for the US National Institute of Mental Health to concede that the autism rate for US children was also now 1 in 100, up from 1 in 150. There is now an official statistic they can cite that a rate of 1 in 100 for autism in both children and adults is perfectly normal, and nothing whatever to worry about.

To set the very curious British adult autism survey in context it is enlightening to return to the Eurekalert media announcement of May 2008 ‘University of Leicester to lead adult autism audit’ (HERE) . We read:

“Professor Terry Brugha, Professor of Psychiatry in the Department of Health Sciences is spearheading the study in conjunction with a team of research experts including the the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen), Research Autism and Professor Simon Baron-Cohen of the Autism Research Centre. It will report in 2009.”

Interesting, first of all, to note that though it does not anticipate the result of the survey it does go on to cite a 1 in 100 autism rate figure for children in the UK:

“The number of children with autism is as high as 1 in 100 (according to studies by Prof Howard Meltzer of the University of Leicester and Prof. Baird's 2006 study). The new prevalence study now underway will give the first ever accurate picture of how many adults have the condition. “

This statement was highly misleading. Meltzer, who is a signatory to the new paper, seems to have been responsible for the 1 in 100 figure for children in UK National Statistics but this was not true of the Baird study which gave a rate of 1 in 86, while Baron-Cohen - who was not in the end a signatory - had already headed a study which when it was finally published furnished a childhood figure of 1 in 64 (HERE).

But perhaps the most astonishing statement from the 2008 press release in retrospect is this:

‘The prevalence study will make use of new data collected in 2007 by NatCen and Professor Brugha’s team to record the number of adults with Asperger's syndrome and high functioning autism. There will also be an additional part to the study on the number of people with autism who have more complex needs and learning disabilities. The aim of the combined research will provide good epidemiological information in terms of prevalence and the characteristics and problems of this group.’

The new report, therefore, is based not on the full range of ASDs but solely on the data collected for the “Asperger syndrome and high functioning autism” by Prof Brugha in 2007; the “additional part” on “more complex needs and learning disabilities” has not been included at all, if it was ever conducted. On the other hand the report has been incorrectly published under a title which suggests that it is in fact a survey of all Autistic Spectrum Disorders “Autistic Spectrum Disorders in adults living in household throughout England” (HERE) , and this was how it was announced to the media.

Other key questions arise:

Continue reading "Adult Autism Data Fabrication in the United Kingdom Part 1" »


Bill Welsh Presents Mycoplasma Vaccine/Autism Hypothesis to Scottish Parliament

AoA today re-publishes Bill Welsh’s hypothesis first presented here two years ago, which on Tuesday he spoke about before the Scottish Parliament Petitions Committee  (from 1.23.57) raising several important issues concerning the rise of autism, MMR and the possible contamination of vaccine products. A formal publication Bill’s hypothesis can be read here.

Regressive Autism---A New Hypothesis to End an Enigma?

By Bill Welsh.

It is difficult to imagine a worse scenario than the one experienced by the many parents I have met.

To witness a perfect child gradually lose all his or her skills, regress, and develop distressing behavioural difficulties, often including self injury, should never be visited on any family, but the sad reality is it has been occurring increasingly for over twenty or more years. And as if observing the deterioration of the child is not enough- even worse eventually follows, sometimes years later—an official diagnosis of autism (ASD)! Parents soon discover that ‘lifelong’, ‘incurable’ and ‘genetic’ are the three words most associated with the condition. ‘Regressive autism’ is a diagnosis wrapped in bleak negativity.

The latest figures for the UK inform us that over 100,000 schoolchildren have an autism diagnosis. Medical officialdom is quick to re-assure society that there are valid reasons for this significant increase in ASD, including for example ‘better recognition’ and ‘widening diagnostic criteria’.

They are mistaken.

Over 70 years ago autism was identified as a new condition, and was regarded as ‘rare’, that is until about 1990 when its diagnosis began to increase markedly. It is now common. No one in medical science has offered a plausible (one that has survived close scrutiny) explanation for the mystery known as the ‘autism enigma’. This is surprising as there are plenty of clues:

Most, but not all, parents have no hesitation in identifying a vaccination event as the forerunner to their child’s gradual withdrawal. With over 1,500 parents taking legal action, in the usually non-litigious UK, during the MMR vaccine episode one would have thought the role of vaccination would have received very close scientific examination. Inexplicably this did not happen. Official focus remained on the need to maintain public confidence in MMR in order to prevent communicable diseases rather than on a thorough examination of parental testimony. Vaccination as a precursor to a child’s descent into regressive autism became a neglected vital clue.

Continue reading "Bill Welsh Presents Mycoplasma Vaccine/Autism Hypothesis to Scottish Parliament" »


Bexsero: More Questions for the British and Scottish Governments Over Vaccine Committee Chair

Pollardandrew2.previewBy John Stone

Further evidence has come to light relating to the UK government vaccine committee chair, Prof Andrew Pollard, and the controversial Meningitis B vaccine, Bexsero, which the committee recommended for use in February 2014 . A document from the Higher Education Funding Council (HEFC) assessing the impact of scientific research projects stresses the key role of Prof Pollard in the development of meningitis vaccines and Bexsero in particular - and the product was founded on Prof Pollard's patents.The document states:

Underpinning research:

Meningococcal disease is the leading infectious cause of death in children in the UK, and its prevention is a major objective of the Oxford Vaccine Group, directed by Professor Andrew Pollard. During the period from 2001-2013 more than 10,000 volunteers were enrolled in clinical studies in Oxford, mainly children, and the research provided new insight into the design, development and evaluation of novel vaccines for meningitis and specifically meningococcal disease.

Clinical Trials of New Meningitis Vaccines

The University of Oxford has been at the forefront of the evaluation of novel meningitis candidates in infants and young children. The first global clinical trials in infants of a quadrivalent meningococcal vaccine (MenACYW, Menveo, Novartis vaccines)…, a combination Haemophilus influenza type -serogroup C meningococcal vaccine (Menitorix, GSK vaccines)…and the first trials of the leading serogroup B meningococcal candidate vaccine (MenB, Bexsero, Novartis vaccines)…were undertaken in Oxford and Professor Pollard was the chief investigator for the pan-European phase 3 study of theMenB vaccine (1,885 infants enrolled)... These studies showed that the vaccines were safe and highly immunogenic in infants and toddlers. Oxford researchers have alsoled the development of novel vaccine candidates for the prevention of serogroup B meningococcal disease.

Regarding the meningitis B research the document records:

Studies on serogroup B meningococcal vaccines have led to major media interest following conference presentations of trials conducted in Oxford including numerous newspaper reports, front page coverage by the Independent (2008), Daily Mail and extensive BBC News reporting. The first infant studies of a new serogroup B vaccine (Bexsero) were conducted in Oxford and have been extensively cited. Professor Pollard was asked to give evidence to the World Health Organization in April 2011 on serogroup B meningococcal vaccine... In addition, the first phase 3 infant study in Europe, led by Oxford University investigators, assembled with data from other global studies, led to licensure of the vaccine by the European Medicines Agency in early 2013. A recommendation in the UK for use of the vaccine among high risk groups and laboratory workers has been made.., and its routine use for children is being considered by the Department of Health…The design and development of new vaccines for serogroup B meningococcus by Oxford University have led to a number of patents on the candidate vaccines (based on various surface proteins including Opa, PorAm and FetA), which provide a licensing position for the University as these vaccines progress through early phase clinical trials.

Conduct of Trials:

Studies on plain polysaccharide meningococcal and pneumococcal vaccines provided the first direct demonstration that these vaccines do not induce memory B cells, explaining the phenomenon of hyporesponsiveness (where “booster” doses of vaccines do not induce an immune response). This led to a change in policy for vaccine trials, which had previously used plain polysaccharides to test immunological memory. This outcome was cited in a commentary from Novartis Vaccines in 2009.

A web-search brings up four relevant patents in which Prof Pollard is named with co-inventors Martin Maiden and Ian Feavers . In two cases the patents also mention Isis Innovations Ltd, in one case as applicant and in the other as assignee – Isis Innovations is a subsidiary of the University of Oxford  .

Prof Pollard was appointed to the chairmanship of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) in October 2013. The JCVI is the body that recommends vaccines inclusion in the schedule, and is equivalent to the US Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).

The Oxford Vaccine Group, of which Pollard is Director is sub-division of the Jenner Institute, another Oxford body and charitable trust founded in 2005. In the minutes of the very same meeting in which the JCVI under Prof Pollard’s chairmanship agreed to recommend Bexsero we can also read:

Continue reading "Bexsero: More Questions for the British and Scottish Governments Over Vaccine Committee Chair" »


GSK Document Appears to Show Vaccine Committee Chair Used Position to Favour Own Product

Pollard
Prof. Pollard

By John Stone

Riordan
Dr. Riordan

The chairman of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), the British equivalent of the ACIP (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices), Prof Andrew J Pollard spoke this September at an event sponsored by vaccine manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline "Evening of Evidence/Vaccination Science to Policy: Introduction of new vaccines to the UK vaccine schedule with limited evidence of efficacy (sic): Meningococcal Group B and maternal pertussis vaccination". Prof Pollard spoke on the subject of Meningitis B vaccine which he helped to develop and latterly seems to have superintended the process of having it added to the United Kingdom vaccine schedule as chairman of the JCVI – his talk was entitled: "JCVI decision-making process informing the recommendation for the introduction of Bexsero to the UK vaccination schedule". Bexsero vaccine was developed by Novartis but their vaccine division was acquired by GSK earlier this year, following the approval of Bexsero vaccine by the JCVI (negotiations began within days of the JCVI approval). A deputy chair of the JCVI, Dr Andrew Riordan, spoke at the same meeting on the subject: "Evidence considered by the JCVI to recommend antenatal pertussis vaccination in the UK". GSK also manufacture Boostrix – in fact a pertussis, tetanus and diphtheria vaccine – which is the product currently given to pregnant women in the UK, which also has an aluminium adjuvant.

Last week members of the Scottish Parliament heard how Prof Pollard apparently chaired a session of the JCVI in March 2014 which recommended Bexsero for British infants, though the committee under a different chairmanship had rejected it months earlier. It was not disclosed on the records of the committee that Prof Pollard was “named in patents in the field of meningococcal vaccines” and was contracted in continuing research relating to Bexsero. The JCVI revised Code Of Practice requires that the Chair “cannot have any interests that may conflict with his or her responsibilities to JCVI” and also that “the JCVI Chair and Sub committee chairs cannot have interests that could conflict with the issues under consideration by the JCVI or Sub Committee respectively”. Prof Pollard also heads the Oxford Vaccines Group, which though an agency of the National Health Service owes its existence to accepting contracts from pharmaceutical manufacturers and other bodies trying to promote vaccines.


GSK Programme

It is disturbing to note that every single one of the eight speakers at the GSK sponsored event, hosted by the Royal College of Child Health and Paediatrics were in some way employees of the British state including bodies such as Public Health England (which is supposed to provide independent scientific advice) and the MHRA (the UK licensing authority). The drinks interval was nudgingly billed on the flier as “Refreshments and Networking”.

That the Bexsero Meningitis B vaccine is at the very least controversial is underlined by its rejection by the Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee:

- The PBAC rejected the re-submission requesting listing of the 4CMenB vaccine on the NIP Schedule for the prevention of meningococcal B disease in infants and adolescents. The basis of the rejection was that the re-submission did not address multiple uncertainties in relation to the clinical effectiveness of the vaccine against the disease when delivered in a vaccination program, that the use of optimistic assumptions about the extent and duration of effect and herd immunity as raised by the PBAC in previous consideration of this vaccine were not addressed, and the unacceptably high and uncertain ICER, presented in the re-submission.

Continue reading "GSK Document Appears to Show Vaccine Committee Chair Used Position to Favour Own Product" »


Angus Files and John Stone Speak at Public Petitions Committee - Scottish Parliament

Stone files parliament
Age of Autism's John Stone and Angus Files (live video is below)



NOTE: Advocacy for vaccination rights is taking place on both sides of the pond.  Age of Autism's UK Editor John Stone and valued contributor Angus Files spoke at the Public Petitions Committee - Scottish Parliament: 8th December 2015.

From Scottish Parliament TV:




Continue reading "Angus Files and John Stone Speak at Public Petitions Committee - Scottish Parliament" »


Bexsero: Offit Article Still the Theoretical Basis of the Ever Expanding Vaccine Schedule

Prof liz millerBy John Stone

Paul Offit’s notorious article in which he claimed it would be “theoretically” safe to give 10,000 vaccines to an infant in one go remains the dogma underpinning the United Kingdom’s ever expanding vaccine schedule (EEVS), for which the latest edition is the Meningitis B vaccine, Bexsero. In a recent interview Prof Elizabeth Miller of Public Health England cites the 2002 article when referring  to "strong scientific arguments against the immune overload hypothesis": Offit’s article is listed in the footnotes. The language is notable: Miller can scarcely cite strong evidence so she cites “arguments” instead. It should be clear that the supposed safety of the expanding schedule is based on a mixture of conjecture and whimsy. For the industry to market new products for your baby they have to have a dogma that there can never be too many and Offit created the dogma.

I first tried to highlight the yawning scientific gap in BMJ Rapid Responses in June 2004 quoting the words of the then Chief Medical Officer for England, Sir Liam Donaldson in an National Health Service pamphlet in answer to the question: “Does MMR overload young bodies?” To which Sir Liam responds:

"Again, all the evidence refutes this. In fact, a child's immune system is designed to cope with many different viruses at the same time, so a combined vaccine is a natural choice."

I asked mmrthefacts NHS website:

"Is the CMO entitled to present this as a medically established fact rather than a theoretical proposition? What is the experimental evidence that all children are equally able to sustain multiple exposure? What does the CMO mean by "designed?"

To which I had a reply after some pause:

"The CMO is entitled to present his statement about the immune system as a medically established fact rather than theoretical proposition. From the moment of birth a child's immune system is able to cope with the constant barrage of pathogens. As the CMO stated, this is what the..."immune system is designed cope tih (sic)..."As for example, the digestive system is "designed" to digest food and liver is "designed" to detoxify the blood. Part of the licensing process of any combination vaccine, such as MMR, has to show that the combination is safe and effective when administered to the age group for which it is intended.

There is recent research from the US which supports this statement as it has specifically looked at the ability of children's immune systems, estimating that a child's immune system could cope with 10,000 vaccines any one time. Please see Offit PA et al (2002) Addressing parents' concerns: Do multiple vaccines overwhelm or weaken infant's immune system?Pediatics, 109 (1): 124-9

Thanks

Support Team"

Apart from anything else it is a deceit to call it research, since it is simply a projection based on certain assumptions.

Some week later the head of the UK vaccine programme, Prof David Salisbury, announced on BBC television that a baby’s immune system could “tolerate one thousand vaccines”. When I queried this in correspondence Salisbury wrote to me in clarification:

"Turning to my comments on Newsnight - I suggest you read Paul Offit's paper - as I have done. On page 126, he states: "Current data suggest that the theoretical capacity determined by diversity of antibody variable gene regions would allow for as many as 109 (1,000,000,000) to 1011(100,000,000,000) different antibody specificities". And "... then each infant would have the theoretical capacity to respond to about 10,000 vaccines at any one time" - not antigens. I was speaking very specifically about the infant immune system's ability to respond, in the context of the ridiculous suggestion that the new vaccine combination, containing far fewer antigens than the one it will replace, would overload the immune system. My words were "The immune system of a baby has got huge spare capacity to deal with challenge. If we didn't, the human race wouldn't survive. But let's look specifically at vaccine. This has been studied carefully. A baby's immune system could actually tolerate perfectly well 1,000 vaccines". At no point did I suggest that 1,000 vaccines would not increase the probability of adverse reactions - a quite different matter." (Email August 26, 2004 10.03 am)

One might have thought that if every infant’s immune system was that resourceful we would not have any need to fear diseases at all, let alone vaccinate against them – meanwhile Salisbury confesses that multiple vaccines heighten the risks.

Continue reading "Bexsero: Offit Article Still the Theoretical Basis of the Ever Expanding Vaccine Schedule" »


DeStefano Rides Again: GSK Rotavirus Vaccine Study Loses 80% Of Cases And 18 Deaths

DestefanoWe don't often bring back posts this soon, but in light of Robert Kennedy's calling Dr. Frank DeStefano to task, we thought we'd shed some light on his work. Like shining a flashlight in a very dirty kitchen at 2:00am. You know what happens....

Addendum (October 28, 2015)

I took this article down for 24 hours to consider the points made by "n davis" and "n davis is correct". I had overlooked the fact that the paper selects US cases only - that there are only a trickle of cases from the US against a relative flood from abroad - and this is basis of massive selection bias, particularly in relation to deaths. It also shows that the US reporting system while always vastly inadequate is wilting. Pharmaceutical companies are required by law to forward reports from abroad where they come to their attention: there is nothing in n davis's claim that these reports were unavailable to DeStefano - anyone interested in the safety of the vaccine to US children or any other would have considered all of the reports.

http://wonder.cdc.gov/wonder/help/vaers/VAERS%20Advisory%20Guide.htm

By John Stone

Frank DeStefano, the CDC's Director of Immunization Safety and the lead author at the centre of  CDC whistleblower William Thompson’s allegations about destroying  MMR/autism data, is involved in another  case of apparently hiding data, this time  involving intussusception and death, in a newly published paper concerning the safety of GSK’s rotavirus vaccine, Rotarix - a vaccine given according to schedule to infants at 2 and 4 months in the US, and 2 and 3 months in the UK.

Last month Representative Posey revealed Congress that Thompson told Dr Brian Hooker in a taped telephone conversation regarding the DeStefano MMR paper that:

Sometime soon after the meeting, we decided to exclude reporting any race effects, the co-authors scheduled a meeting to destroy documents related to the study.  The remaining four co-authors all met and brought a big garbage can into the meeting room and reviewed and went through all the hard copy documents that we had thought we should discard and put them in a huge garbage can.

The new CDC based study of GSK’s Rotarix vaccine by Haber et al, of which DeStefano is senior author and therefore responsible for research integrity, admits a small association with the serious condition of intussusception (an intestinal obstruction secondary to the inversion of one portion of the intestine within another). The paper states that from February 2008 to December 2014 the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) “received 108 confirmed insusceptible reports after RV1” (Rotarix). However, a careful review of the database reveals no less  than 565 cases for the period. The paper claims to have excluded only 4 reports as unconfirmed (making a total of only 112).

This is a gigantic discrepancy bearing in mind that intussusception is not a speculative diagnosis. DeStefano and the CDC team have apparently discarded more than 80% of the cases reported, which in their turn are likely to be only a tiny fraction of actual cases.  VAERS is a passive reporting system   which may report as few as 1 or 2% of cases. It is also astonishing that the CDC would seriously attempt to estimate the excess rate from this data, but not surprising that as a result it is very small. Other recent studies include a meta-analysis which calculated that risk of intussusception was in the region of five and half times for both products in the first week after the first dose, and a study of Rotarix in Japan conducted by GSK itself which showed that intussuception was nearly three times more likely to occur in the week after the first dose  (based only on spontaneous reports).

Continue reading "DeStefano Rides Again: GSK Rotavirus Vaccine Study Loses 80% Of Cases And 18 Deaths " »


US Government Owns Patent of Lethal Indian Rotavirus Vaccine

India VaccineBy John Stone

The patent of the rotavirus vaccine Rotavac  – the present subject of controversy  in India - is owned by the US Department of Health and Human Services. The Indian government have refused to either end trials of the vaccine or publish crucial data from the original trial which would shed light on the occurrence of an exceptional number of cases of the life threatening condition intussusception in which a section of the intestine collapses into itself. The vaccine is being created by a partnership between the US National Institutes of Health, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, India’s Department of Science and Technology, PATH  and the manufacturer Bharat Biotech. All versions of rotavirus vaccine to date have been associated with increased incidence of intussusception: the first version Rotashield, manufactured by Wyeth, was withdrawn in the US after a year in 1999. Two successor versions, Merck’s Rotateq (part developed by Paul Offit), and GSK’s Rotarix were recently taken off the schedule in France, following incidents.

Dr Jacob Puliyel of St Stephen’s Hospital Delhi - a leading critic of program – has argued that initial the Indian trials produced results three times as bad as the withdrawn Wyeth vaccine: he wrote on Pubmed Commons :

With the 116E vaccine trial there were 6 cases of intussusceptions in 2267 controls which works out to be 2.6 cases per 1000 placebo recipients. The ‘normal rate of intussusception’ in this study was at least 10 times higher than the RotaSheild trial (where it was 0.2 cases per 1000 placebo recipients). There were 17 cases of ultrasound confirmed intussusceptions among the 4532 given the 116E vaccine which is 3.75 cases per 1000 babies vaccinated. The comparative figure for the RotaShield study was 0.5 cases/1000. In the 116E trial there was an excess of 1 case of intussusceptions for every 1000 children vaccinated with the rotavirus vaccine (compared to the RotaSheild trial where there were 3 excess intussusceptions per 10,000 vaccinated). RotaSheild vaccine was withdrawn after licensing, on account of unacceptable risk of intussusception. The risk of intussusception in the 116E trial was three times higher than with the RotaSheild trial. We are told that in the 116E trial, 50% intussusceptions diagnosed by ultrasound, resolved spontaneously John J, 2014. In the remaining 50% there is need for urgent treatment by a radiologist or pediatric surgeon. In remote parts of India, without motorable roads, let alone radiologists and pediatric surgeons, mortality will be near 100% http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/930708-overview. Such specialized care (radiological or surgical reduction of intussusception) is not available in vast swathes of India and we can assume vaccinated babies would die at home passing blood and mucus in the stools and it will be presumed they had died of dysentery and sepsis rather than intussusception caused by the vaccine.

Proponents of the vaccine have argues spuriously that the trial was too small to deduce anything about adverse reaction,  instead – which is more to the point - of the problems being too gross to hide even in a small trial. Meanwhile, data is withheld and it is proposed to conduct a much larger trial on a hundred thousand infants regardless.

John Stone is UK Editor for Age of Autism.


British Government Denies Vaccine Damage Payment Against Own Rules

Broken-britain-finalBy John Stone

The British government has made a legal challenge to a boy awarded compensation for narcolepsy following vaccination against swine flu on the grounds that the condition is not serious enough, though the link between the vaccine Pandemrix manufactured by GSK and the condition is not disputed.  The award would have been the first vaccine damage payment in the United Kingdom since 2010,  even though (unlike the United States) awards are limited to a maximum of £120,000 ($190,000).  The grounds for appeal border appparently on the nonsensical but would also be against the government’s own long-standing guidelines.

According to the report in ‘World 24 Monitor’  the British government are attempting to argue to the Appeal Court that it should only have to compensate on the “immediate rather than future impact of the vaccine related injury”. This is despite the fact that it has repeatedly been stated that it is the purpose of the vaccine damage scheme “to ease the present and future burdens of those suffering from severe vaccine damage” (government statement 19 June 2007), “to ease the present and future burdens of the vaccine damaged person and their families" Department of Health “Green Book” 10 June 2014 (chapter 10, p.7 ), “to ease the present and future burdens of the person affected by the vaccinations, and their family” (National Health Service Pamphlet p. 30, September 2015)).

Lawyer Peter Todd of Hodge, Jones and Allen told ‘World 24 Monitor’:

It is causing tremendous delay in getting compensation to those in dire need of help and who are entirely innocent and blameless people…They were responsible enough to get vaccinated and unfortunately have suffered a severe brain injury due to a defect with the vaccine, which was not detected as it was not tested at all on children before it was given out.

The 2009 swine flu scare quickly descended into farce and fraud as the government hyped the dangers and spread of the disease while distributing dangerous and ill-tested medical products:

A Lethal Mix: Can We Trust Baxter GSK and WHO

Calling Big Pharma's Bluff: Swine Flu

Lack of Administrative Grip

Swine Flu Burial Plans

In one of the trials of Pandemrix there were seven deaths which were never explained.

Whether it is actually responsible to vaccinate your children when the government treats its citizens like this is an interesting question. The UK’s National Health Service issues tens of millions of vaccines a year: even on accepted rates of vaccine damage there would have to be hundreds of cases a year which are never compensated, and just fall into a bureaucratic hole. According to the report:

The boy, who remains anonymous, has become disruptive at school because he is so tired and finds it almost impossible to socialise. He needs to take several naps in the school day and cannot shower unattended or take a bus alone. He may never be able to drive as an adult.

However, the government may be even more worried in this instance that they indemnified the manufacturers against legal suit (as was secretly the case with GSK’s MMR vaccine Pluserix in 1988), as ‘World 24 Monitor’ reports:

Continue reading "British Government Denies Vaccine Damage Payment Against Own Rules" »


If the IACC had Met It would Have to Consider the CDC Whistleblower

Insel_thumbAs Thomas Insel leaves the National Institutes of Mental Health in a surreal move to join "Google Life Sciences" AoA recalls how Insel prevaricated a year ago over William Thompson's revelations about how the CDC altered data on autism and the MMR. Insel has had a year to find out the answers to his questions during which time the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee have not met.

###

Dangling by a Thread in Washington: Insel Prevaricates Over the CDC Whistleblower (25 September 2014)

By John Stone

"I wish I knew more about that particular instance."

The excuses are wearing thin. Here is a transcript of the remarks of Thomas Insel, National Institute of Mental Health director, regarding the whistleblowing activities of Centers for Disease Control employee William Thompson at the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee meeting two days ago  (view video here.):

“Again this is not for the IACC since that committee is not here in full. This is not a meeting to decide anything we are going to do in regard to policy and I wish I knew more about that particular instance. I don’t. I can tell you that the 2004 PEDIATRICS paper was one of about fourteen papers in the IOM [Institute of Medicine] review and there have been  another multiple papers since then that have weighed in on this all of which the IOM have said in 2011 are consistent with not finding a relationship between vaccination and autism. What the IOM doesn’t say and what nobody has said in a way that I find intelligible (?) is that there could still be the rare cases in which that could occur and what we need to think about is how one would investigate that if that were the case.”

What, of course, Insel does is respond as a bureaucrat, not a scientist. He tells you the IOM have rubber stamped 14 epidemiological studies, therefore the matter is decided. Apart from anything else even if the studies were not corrupt (and they all have a very similar line of patronage to the DeStefano study) it would not be enough to say that vaccines only rarely cause autism. It is not only because correlation does not equal causation - as they keep on reminding us - but because you could have tens of thousands of cases and they might not register as statistically significant. However, if you look at the way in which these studies were botched together it is apparent that the effects were so gross that they could only disguise them by fraud. DeStefano 2004 is only exceptional in that it has been admitted by Thompson and not denied by DeStefano (the latter in two interviews with Sharyl Attkisson ), but actually it is just typical of what they were doing in all of them as Lyn Redwood told Insel at the meeting.

Continue reading "If the IACC had Met It would Have to Consider the CDC Whistleblower" »


CDC Science/MMR Fraud: The Thompson/Hooker Conversations Published

Vaccine Whistleblower Skyhorse PublishingBy John Stone

A year on from the first revelations of the Thompson tapes we have the opportunity to get to grips with them at first hand, and perhaps understand their meaning better. A crucial aspect of this history is just what an angry man William Thompson is, a man frequently scathing about colleagues (and about the mainstream media) who had placed the incriminating documents in the hands of Congressman Posey before any of the recorded telephone calls had taken place, and had applied for whistleblower status to protect him from professional reprisal. Reading it you can only imagine how indifferent he probably was to his public  “outing” by Brian Hooker and Andrew Wakefield – it would come sooner or later. It might have waited more than a year with Bill Posey despairing of any help from his political colleagues making an end of term speech in Congress.  No timing is perfect: a year on we are potentially much better organized to support Thompson and Posey. Maybe we have lost some momentum but we will just have to gain it again.

One thing is clear, Thompson never expected any help from the mainstream media: he understood just how bought out and corrupt they were. Above all this is a tale of public negligence. The politicians sit there like the three wise monkeys with the lobbies on their backs, and leave it to the professionals. The agencies – in this case the Centers for Disease Control - gain no credit for telling it like it is, the incompetent and the deceitful get preferment: it would be the same with the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency. In the end the harms of the system just build up because no one wants to know about them: they have been marginalized so they are assumed to be marginal: this is what the bureaucratic machine is good at doing. The mantra goes out “vaccines are safe” or “the benefits greatly outweigh the risks” (two incompatible statements in themselves) but how can you ever corroborate it if you wage war on the dissenter victims.

You could no doubt draw a flow diagram: the lobby bears a carrot and stick to the politicians, the politicians defer to their advisors who would gain no benefit from telling the truth and anyhow have a revolving door relationship with the industry, not to mention direct professional relationship through such bodies as the CDC Foundation and Task Force for Global Health: the system is as completely dysfunctional as Eisenhower once warned: why should we be surprised?

The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded… in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific/ technological elite.

Continue reading "CDC Science/MMR Fraud: The Thompson/Hooker Conversations Published" »


Rotavirus Vaccine Update

IntussusceptionBy John Stone

The row over the Indian rotavirus vaccine Rotavac being developed by Bharat Biotech is continuing. Jacob Puliyel, paediatrician at Delhi’s Stephen’s Hospital, had been drawing attention to an excess of intussusception cases in the vaccinated group in a trial of the new vaccine and is calling publicly and in a petition  for the raw data to be published. Intussusception is a blockage of the intestine associated with all rotavirus vaccines but the early figures for the Indian product seemed to be dramatically worse than for earlier versions.

In June in the British Medical Journal reported:

Gagandeep Kang, professor of gastrointestinal sciences at Christian Medical College, Vellore, who worked on the trial, said that the trial data cannot be used to estimate the risk of intussusception from the vaccine as the campaigners have argued. “This was not a study powered to detect rare events. If you want to find the rate of intussusception, you need to evaluate the vaccine in hundreds of thousands of children,” she told The BMJ.

It is not, however, clear why the study would be useful to study efficacy and not safety, particularly as unfortunately the events do not seem to be rare. Meanwhile  Bharat Biotech, the Indian Government and World Health Organization are determined to plough on with a larger trial which could injure more children. Dr Puliyel has written in the electronic responses of the BMJ:

Dr Kang does not provide the data that will allow easy calculation of the risk in Vellore but she quotes the WHO reporting that “existing data on Rotavac do not point to an increased risk from intussusceptions”. The data, when provided, will speak for itself and we do not have to rely on the say-so of the WHO.

Continue reading "Rotavirus Vaccine Update" »


Age of Autism Makes an Appeal to Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon

NicolaSturgeonOnce again Age of Autism highlights the disgraceful predicament of Andrew MacVicar and his family. Andrew is an autistic adult of 53 who is incarcerated and being forced to undergo medication with risperdal (a treatment for psychosis) against his will. Following his mother Christine’s harrowing account which we published two weeks ago she writes under the column today:

Just to bring this up to date. Andrew has now collapsed two days running and the hospital says it can find nothing wrong with him.

My son is terrified that he will die and angry that this is being done to him. The UN clearly states that this is torture.

This is human abuse on a high scale and we call upon Nicola Sturgeon to intervene to make sure that Andrew ‘s torment ends. Under new National Health Service guidelines Andrew might very well be protected in England.  We suggest it scarcely makes any difference whether Scotland is governed by a faceless, indifferent bureaucracy in London or a faceless, indifferent bureaucracy in Edinburgh.  NICOLA, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO?


Letter to English Doctors Warns about Over-medicating Adults with Learning Disability

http://www.rescuepost.com/.a/6a00d8357f3f2969e2016767db0ee2970b-piBy John Stone

In a significant leap of progress a letter has gone out to doctors in England from the National Health Service warning of them about the inappropriate use of psychiatric medications . The letter co-authored by chief pharmacist Keith Ridge estimates that an excess of between 30-35,000 learning disabled adults are being medicated with anti-psychotic and anti-depressant medications as against the average in the general population. The letter is one of a number of official responses to the Winterbourne scandal, in which people with learning disabilities were horrifically maltreated in a private hospital near Bristol.

Age of Autism has frequently highlighted the tragic case of Harry Horne-Roberts (pictured) who died in London in 2009 after having been incompetently medicated with an anti-psychotic drug, without the knowledge of his family. While the letter does not challenge the use psychiatric medications in every case  it does acknowledge that they cause harm – particularly when prescribed on a prolonged basis - and that they have been used as a means of control, rather than because the patient had mental health problems.

The letter obviously stands as warning about the medical abuse of the learning disabled across the globe.

John Stone is UK Editor for Age of Autism.


Best of AofA Scottish Autism Increase

NicolaSturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon

We ran this post last Spring.

By John Stone

Autism in Scottish schools rose from 820 cases in 1998 to 9,946 in 2013. We have to consider what it means in a civilised nation when you have to look after an autism rate of 1 in 30…Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister, needs to stop being re-assured by the UK Department of Health in Westminster that they know what they are doing and everything is completely control. They don’t and it isn’t.

While the UK Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne contemplate how to trim billions from government spending they might like to bear in mind the projected cost to the British economy of autism, calculated a London School of Economics academic at an £34 billion ($54b) in 2013 and modestly downsized to £32b ($51b): this was up about 20 times from the greater than £1b figure calculated in 2001. But if as we shall see the basis of Prof Knapp’s calculations maybe erroneous we are hurtling to a situation where the costs will be even worse.  The problem is dramatically highlighted by the numbers of Autism Spectrum Disorder cases recorded in Scottish schools from 1998 to 2013 (it is worth concentrating on Scotland because the figures go back further and are more comprehensive than for England): in Scotland the figures rose from 820 cases in 1998 to 9,946 in 2013: allowing for the change in overall numbers this was 1 in 925 in 1998 and 1 in 68 in 2013. However, this in itself disguises the fact that the 2013 figure combines a lower rate in older students with a much higher rate in younger students: the present rate for children entering the system in the last five years will much higher than 1 in 68, and is perhaps conservatively in the region of 1 in 30 (data supplied by the Scottish Executive).

Year

Total number of pupils

Number of pupils with an ASD

1998

758,414

820

1999

755,081

959

2000

751,243

1,245

2001

745,063

1,515

2002

738,597

2,204

2003

732,122

2,663

2004

723,554

3,090

2005

713,240

3,484

2006

702,737

2,443

2007

692,215

3,919

2008

681,573

4,900

2009

676,740

5,254

2010

673,133

6,506

2011

670,511

7,801

2012

671,218

8,650

2013

673,530

9,946

 The Buescher study in JAMA  , co-authored by Prof Knapp last year, projected 604,824 ASD cases in the total UK population - of which 491,243 were said to be adults -  while the Department of Works and Pensions only knew of approximately 130,000 cases  (which includes children): they conjecture that a further 300,000 cases of learning difficulty may include ASD cases but presumably this is the ever elusive hidden hoard. The National Statistics survey which projected a 1% figure for adults in England - having used inappropriate means - had in reality failed to detect a single authentic case, and was further involved in fraudulent re-labelling . However, if the Buescher study greatly over-estimated the present number of adult cases in the UK it seems to have grossly under-calculated its per capita costs.  The study gives the lifetime cost of a person with autism and intellectual disability (ID) as £1.5m ($2.2). Not only is this absurdly low (even in 2001 Prof Knapp projected an average lifetime cost  -with or without ID - at £2.4m ($3.8)) a calculation based on its costs in Table 2 gives a figure for autism and ID of £4,864,911 (about $7.8m), or more than three times greater.

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Best of AofA: Offit and Milgram and Social Manipulation

Obedience We first ran this post in May of 2010.
By John Stone
 
Question: "How many vaccines is it safe for a pediatrician to give a two month old infant?" 

Answer: "It depends how much they are getting paid."
 An old joke.

The Milgram experiment has long passed into modern folklore. In 1961 a 28 year-old psychologist at Yale, Stanley Milgram, devised an experiment to test the preparedness of ordinary citizens to co-operate in performing inhuman acts.



In the experiment volunteers were induced (as they believed at the time) into subjecting another party to ever larger doses of electricity:

“The subjects believed they were part of an experiment supposedly dealing with the relationship between punishment and learning. An experimenter—who used no coercive powers beyond a stern aura of mechanical and vacant-eyed efficiency—instructed participants to shock a learner by pressing a lever on a machine each time the learner made a mistake on a word-matching task. Each subsequent error led to an increase in the intensity of the shock in 15-volt increments, from 15 to 450 volts.

“In actuality, the shock box was a well-crafted prop and the learner an actor who did not actually get shocked. The result: A majority of the subjects continued to obey to the end—believing they were delivering 450 volt shocks—simply because the experimenter commanded them to. Although subjects were told about the deception afterward, the experience was a very real and powerful one for them during the laboratory hour itself
.” (See Psychology Today HERE)

65% of participants complied with the experiment to the bitter end. Milgram subsequently explained the experiment:

“The legal and philosophic aspects of obedience are of enormous importance, but they say very little about how most people behave in concrete situations. I set up a simple experiment at Yale University to test how much pain an ordinary citizen would inflict on another person simply because he was ordered to by an experimental scientist. Stark authority was pitted against the subjects' [participants'] strongest moral imperatives against hurting others, and, with the subjects' [participants'] ears ringing with the screams of the victims, authority won more often than not.

Continue reading "Best of AofA: Offit and Milgram and Social Manipulation" »