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321 posts categorized "John Stone"

Autism Speaks, Business and the CDC

Quote-when-money-speaks-the-truth-is-silent-proverbs-336806
By John Stone

Many of us stared with Dan Olmsted in disbelief the other day when Dr Paul Wang, the recently appointed medical director declared to the fluffy Ronan Farrow that MMR prevents autism.

For the record, Wang is a pharmaceutical industry insider. The Autism Speaks press announcement of his appointment states  :

"Dr. Wang joins Autism Speaks from Seaside Therapeutics, where he served as vice president of clinical and medical affairs, and oversaw the company’s groundbreaking arbaclofen programs in autism and fragile X."

It does not actually mention that "the groundbreaking programs" failed.

Before that Wang was with Pfizer:

"Prior to joining Seaside Therapeutics, Dr. Wang was senior director, clinical development at Pfizer Global Research and Development from 2002-2008, where he helped lead medicines development programs for neurobehavioral disorders, including bipolar, ADHD and epilepsy. "

A fundamental problem for Autism Speaks (which was set up with $25m dollar endowment from CDC Foundation director emeritus Bernie Marcus) is that its partnerships with industry, over therapeutic treatments for autism, conflicts with locating the environmental causes.

Continue reading "Autism Speaks, Business and the CDC" »

Dangling by a Thread in Washington: Insel Prevaricates Over the CDC Whistleblower

Insel_thumbBy 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.

 

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Continue reading "Dangling by a Thread in Washington: Insel Prevaricates Over the CDC Whistleblower" »

The Texas Court: Business as Usual

Texas UKBy John Stone

Without commenting in detail on how Judge Scott Field sliced up Andy Wakefield’s petition against BMJ and Brian Deer it is interesting to note the line of patronage in the Texas court system. Field enjoys the endorsement of the Texas Civil Justice League Political Action Committee (TCJL)  . Represented on the committee (Board of Directors) are many of the great corporations of the world including MMR manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline in the person of Gaspar X Laca , who also enjoys the title of ‘Acct Director Govt Relations’ and has two addresses: one at GSK’s London Office  and the other in Scottsdale, Arizona  (which suggests he has less claim on the protection of the Texas court than Andy). If I understand Mr Laca’s profession correctly he is a corporate government lobbyist. Zoominfo quotes a now 16 year old report of Laca’s views (is this the most recent?):

“Glaxo-Wellcome's Senior Government Affairs Manager Gaspar Laca spoke about How to Become More Effective Advocates."If you want to become a true advocate, do it all year round."said Gaspar Laca, Senior Manger of Government Affairs at Glaxo.

“He said it is important to stay in constant communication with the elected officials.Laca suggests setting up appointments to meet with legislators or staying in touch through the mail.

“He said letters should be brief and to the point (three paragraphs will suffice).First, identify yourself as a constituent, and state whether you support or oppose a bill and then tell the lawmaker how you want them to vote.Second, state why the bill is important to you.And third, thank them.Short hand written notes are the best.

“Laca also suggests that advocates keep lawmakers informed by mailing them newspaper articles about pertinent issues.He said it is important to monitor a bill's progress and that it is easier to kill a bill than to pass one.He added that the best place to amend a bill is at the committee level.

As for public testimony, Laca recommends that it be short, direct, and factual.He said to distribute written copies of statements to committee members and if a committee member is absent, mail that person a copy of the testimony.After testifying, he said to be prepared for questions.”

TJCL PAC state as their mission:

“Texas businesses, health care providers, and trade and professional associations established the Texas Civil Justice League Political Action Committee (TCJL PAC) in 1986 for the purpose of supporting candidates for the Texas Supreme Court committed to the doctrine of judicial restraint and deference to the Legislature in matters involving new rights to sue. During that time the Court became the most plaintiff-friendly high court in the nation, earning the Wall Street Journal’s moniker, “the courthouse for the world.”

Continue reading "The Texas Court: Business as Usual" »

The Official Stamp of the CDC: IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

Thought crimeBy John Stone

“If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever.” 1984, George Orwell

This does not need a lengthy article. It is only to remark about the way science is conducted in the future of 2014. One study (DeStefano 2004) remains un-retracted, not subject to any significant review by the journal in which it appeared though results have been declared a fraud by one of its co-authors. Another study criticising it (Hooker 2014 ) is withdrawn by it journal without any coherent reasons being offered. Meanwhile, the pretence that countless thousands have not been brain injured by government mandated products goes on. The whole thing is controlled and manipulated by an unaccountable bureaucracy, as cold-blooded and ruthless as anything George Orwell imagined, ostensibly for the greater good, but far more likely for its own preservation and that of its pharmaceutical industry sponsors.

On page two of Orwell’s novel Winston Smith glimpses the slogans on the side of the Ministry of Truth

WAR IS PEACE

FREEDOM IS SLAVERY

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

In this saga we have had a lot of “IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH”: Orwell neglected to include “SICKNESS IS HEALTH” though he well understood the way bureaucracies distort data. Having lived through a decade in which diagnosing more cases of autism is always pronounced to be a triumph of contemporary enlightenment we can only draw our own conclusions.

The recent Hooker/Focus Autism Press Release can be viewed here  . Sharyl Attkisson has just written about the lamentable situation at PEDIATRICS in regard to the DeStefano study.

Added September 13, 2014. Dr Hooker and Focus Autism have provided this further analysis.

The CDC: the Detective Agency Which Could Never Find Anything

HumphreyBy John Stone

An interruption yester-evening from a troll styling themselves Sam Spade set me ruminating: no doubt the thoughts are not very original but some of them may benefit from re-stating.

And so to Mr Spade and his brief response to Kent Heckenlively’s ‘A Break in the Wall’:

Bullshit. You people will murder a lot of children with this false story.

Perhaps the first thing to point out is that our ranks are almost entirely comprised of citizens who uncomplainingly did what was supposed to be the right thing in vaccinating their children: their views were not formed by ideology but by experience. The experience comprises not only the awful reality of what happened to their children after vaccinating but the way institutions deal with the issue. To even raise the issue of vaccine damage is also to raise the hostility and anger in every quarter.

This anger –  Mr Spade’s anger – is not based on reason or knowledge. There is nothing inherently implausible in a pharmaceutical product injected into an infant or toddler causing damage:  we have just been educated not to think that. Actually, a lot of even official literature acknowledges the possibility of damage it is just supposed to be vanishingly rare – unfortunately, the only thing that is guaranteed to make it rare is not good science but the waves of officially inspired hatred that will be triggered against anyone daring to stand up and say "This went wrong". The point about Mr Spade is that his rage is not determined by science but by institutions: institutions which are not happy to have their errors reported back to them, not happy if they fear that they can be detected. They will never find anything that they don’t want to, as Ed Yazbak pointed out years ago. It is not a question of whether we like the diseases, it is question of whether the products are as safe and effective as they should be, whether there are far too many of them etc.

The very thing that determines that the vaccine program is unsafe as well as unjust is this whipped up anger: we are not allowed to discuss the science – scientists who speak out must be shunned and persecuted, citizens who speak out must be declared intellectually incompetent. This anger constitutes social control not reasoned debate.

Continue reading "The CDC: the Detective Agency Which Could Never Find Anything" »

CDC Frauds: Connections Between the DeStefano Paper and the Thorsen Affair.

Destefano
Frank Destefano

By John Stone

Last week a Centers for Disease Control employee, William Thompson, came forward as whistleblower to admit that a 2004 study led by Frank DeStefano, of which Thompson himself was co-author was fraudulent, disguising the fact that incidence of autism was three and a half times higher in African Americans vaccinated with MMR before 36 months. In this light it is interesting that another co-author of the study, Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp, also liaised with Poul Thorsen over commissioning the equally fraudulent Madsen MMR/autism study. Thorsen who coordinated a series of studies between the CDC and Aarhus University/Staaten Serum Institut, Denmark was indicted in 2011 in the US on 13 counts of wire fraud involving the CDC and 9 of money laundering , but no attempt has been made to extradite him from Denmark.

None of the studies coordinated and co-authored by Thorsen have ever been retracted. At a congressional hearing in 2012 Coleen Boyle, another CDC employee and another co-author of the fraudulent DeStefano paper, failed to give straight answers when questioned by congressman Posey about Thorsen. Boyle could only recall two studies co-authored by Thorsen when in fact there were at least 21. On that occasion Congressman Posey memorably referred to Thorsen as “a humongous scum bag and one of the most wanted men on earth” .

If Cochrane 2005 smelt a rat with DeStefano 2004:

The conclusion, however, implied bias in the enrollment of cases which may not be representative of the rest of the autistic population of the city of Atlanta, USA where the study was set.

it actually stated there was a rat in the case of Madsen:

The follow up of diagnostic records ends one year (31 Dec 1999) after the last day of admission to the cohort. Because of the length of time from birth to diagnosis, it becomes increasingly unlikely that those born later in the cohort could have a diagnosis.

To put it more bluntly Madsen had included in the vaccinated group children who were too young to be vaccinated and children who were too young to have been diagnosed. The data was subject to review in two articles published Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, one by Goldman and Yazbak, the other by Stott, Blaxill and Wakefield    with differing results but both detecting a hoard of missing autism cases among the vaccinated implicit in Cochrane (actually published afterwards). Notable was the suppressed 2002 letter to NEJM from Prof Suissa, an epidemiologist from McGill, published in the Stott article which recalculated the Madsen data to suggest that autism was 45% higher in the vaccinated group. Brian Hooker also contributed to the correspondence in the following issue.

We may never know exactly what was the surplus of autism cases in the vaccinated group, except that it was evidently going to be substantial.

Continue reading "CDC Frauds: Connections Between the DeStefano Paper and the Thorsen Affair." »

Hazards of Nasal Flu Vaccine as Program is Rolled Out in British Schools

UpdateBy John Stone

This is an update of my article ‘UK Department of Health Deliberately Exposes Vulnerable Population to Flu Infection’ of May last year as the British government rolls out the program to entire school population this autumn (a product called Fluenz identical with Flumist used in the US). Recent  draft minutes of the government advisory committee, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, show it to be in a double-bind over asthma cases and uncertain about egg allergy: “extrapolating findings on injectable vaccines to Fluenz® was problematic as nasal administration may be a more reactogenic route than intramuscular injection". (See HERE.) They will still be testing this with program in full gear.

The other problem they have is that the vaccine is “contraindicated for severe asthma” so they have to devise formal guidelines for which asthma sufferers should have the vaccine and which should not, but it begs the problem that the more severely affected asthma sufferers will be exposed to the viruses (which they might well not otherwise have come into contact with) by their schoolmates shedding them, turning on the head the proposition that they are protecting the vulnerable by vaccinating the fit. While the ethical problem is not stated it surely hovers silently above their deliberations and calls into question the very principles of the program (other than making lots of money for someone). The relevant portions of the text of the JCVI minutes follow that of my article as originally published.

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UK Department of Health Deliberately Exposes Vulnerable Population to Flu Infection

Dice no yes maybeBy John Stone, first published on 10 May, 2013

Is the vaccine program there to prevent harm or to foist commercial products on a captive market at the public expense? The parrot cry of health officials trying to bully citizens into vaccinating is that they are putting other people at risk, but it is very easy to call their bluff when they pursue a contradictory policy over nasal flu vaccine and children, a vaccine which sheds and will put in harm's way immune-compromised people and younger siblings. From September this year in the United Kingdom children above the age of two are to be offered a nasal influenza vaccine ‘Fluenz’ which is the same as  the ‘Flumist’ many American children already get, and this is to be rolled out for all schoolchildren next year.  Here is the text of my recent letter to the British Medical Journal, so far unpublished:

It is deeply disturbing that this senseless project ploughs forward regardless. While government seems to have seized the agenda over influenza vaccination by unwarranted claims of (influenza) mortality [1,2] there are definable risks to the use of nasal influenza vaccine. Manufacturer's product information states among other things [3]:

"FLUENZ should not be administered to children and adolescents with severe asthma or active wheezing because these individuals have not been adequately studied in clinical studies.
"Do not administer FLUENZ to infants and toddlers younger than 12 months. In a clinical study, an increase in hospitalisations was observed in infants and toddlers younger than 12 months after vaccination (see section 4.8).

"Vaccine recipients should be informed that FLUENZ is an attenuated live virus vaccine and has the potential for transmission to immunocompromised contacts. Vaccine recipients should attempt to avoid, whenever possible, close association with severely immunocompromised individuals (e.g. bone marrow transplant recipients requiring isolation) for 1-2 weeks following vaccination. Peak incidence of vaccine virus recovery occurred 2-3 days post-vaccination in clinical studies. In circumstances where contact with severely immunocompromised individuals is unavoidable, the potential risk of transmission of the influenza vaccine virus should be weighed against the risk of acquiring and transmitting wild-type influenza virus."

Children could therefore become a mass hazard to immunocompromised people, younger siblings etc.  Moreover, given the poor record of anticipating which influenza virus strains would otherwise proliferate [4], this could expose people unnecessarily to virus strains they would otherwise not encounter. The wisdom and ethics of this seem dubious, particularly with health officials for ever insisting that we need to vaccinate to protect other people this is manifestly a self-contradictory, not to say absurd, exercise.

  [1] John Stone, 'Re: Author's response' 26 December 2009,  http://www.bmj.com/rapid-response/2011/11/02/re-authors-response-2

Continue reading "Hazards of Nasal Flu Vaccine as Program is Rolled Out in British Schools" »

The Princess and the Pea: Only the Pain of the Pharmaceutical Industry Counts

Princess PeaBy John Stone

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.

Of course, the argument will be that all this sensibility is for the benefit of ordinary people, but if this was so the princess would listen to ordinary people when they tried to express their pain rather than trying to shout them down or shut them up, hiring a mob to help her. The princess is highly manipulative and knows how to get her own way.

Unfortunately, Robert Kennedy will not be able to appease the princess any more than Jenny McCarthy or Katie Couric. Instead we will just have another great tantrum and the usual hysterical, unhinged display of self-righteousness.

The Princess on the Pea

By Hans Christian Andersen translated by Jean Hersholt

Once there was a Prince who wanted to marry a Princess. Only a real one would do. So he traveled through all the world to find her, and everywhere things went wrong. There were Princesses aplenty, but how was he to know whether they were real Princesses? There was something not quite right about them all. So he came home again and was unhappy, because he did so want to have a real Princess.

One evening a terrible storm blew up. It lightened and thundered and rained. It was really frightful! In the midst of it all came a knocking at the town gate. The old King went to open it.

Continue reading "The Princess and the Pea: Only the Pain of the Pharmaceutical Industry Counts" »

Best of AofA: Steven Salzberg: the questions about vaccines he couldn't answer in 2012

SalzbergSteven Salzberg has attacked Robert F Kennedy, Jr. in Forbes for even raising the question of vaccine safety, but how can vaccine safety be credible if every critic is mechanically censured? Salzberg writes:  'Robert Kennedy is obsessed with the notion that vaccines cause autism. He's particularly Thimerosal RFKobsessed with the discredited idea that thimerosal, a preservative used in some vaccines, causes autism. Now Kennedy is about to publish a new book on this topic, and he's promoting it both in the press and, as described in today's Washington Post, in the halls of Congress. He's recently had personal meetings with U.S. Senators Barbara Mikulski and Bernie Sanders to try to convince them to take action based on his claims. Why is it that a scientifically unqualified anti-vaccine advocate can get a private audience with a U.S. Senator? Because he's famous, that's why." Meanwhile Salzberg himself showed himself to be woefully lacking in factual mastery when responding to the congressional autism hearing in November 2012. AoA  re-publishes UK editor John Stone's critque of Salzberg on that occasion.

By John Stone

One of the few public responses to the Congressional hearing into autism by a vaccine programme advocate was from Steven Salzberg, professor of medicine and biostatistics at Johns Hopkins University Medical School on Forbes.com. While Prof Salzberg’s blog was open to comment he has unfortunately not only ignored serious criticism but most disturbingly - for a senior scientist and academic - correction of basic facts.  Here are a few points, some taken or adapted from my comments.

(1)    Salzberg criticises Congressman Burton:

“Bang bang, two false claims in 10 seconds. First he claims that mercury from vaccines “accumulates in the brain”, a statement with no scientific support at all … Unfortunately, some quack doctors have experimented with chelation therapy on autistic children, despite that fact that it can cause deadly liver and kidney damage, and one of them caused the death of a 5-year-old boy in 2005.”

However, Burton had presumably read the Burbacher paper (NIH funded). Here is ad extract:

““There was a much higher proportion of inorganic Hg in the brain of thimerosal monkeys than in the brains of MeHg monkeys (up to 71% vs. 10%). Absolute inorganic Hg concentrations in the brains of the thimerosal-exposed monkeys were approximately twice that of the MeHg monkeys. Interestingly, the inorganic fraction in the kidneys of the same cohort of monkeys was also significantly higher after im thimerosal than after oral MeHg exposure (0.71 ± 0.04 vs. 0.40 ± 0.03). This suggests that the dealkylation of ethylmercury is much more extensive than that of MeHg.”

Continue reading "Best of AofA: Steven Salzberg: the questions about vaccines he couldn't answer in 2012" »

Best of AofA: The Naked CDC: the Hit and Run Truth about MMR in their Own Words

 


By John Stone

In a CDC study of the adverse effects of MMR:

Above 1 in 17 toddlers in the study developed a temperature of 39.5C (103F) or greater post vaccination, and 1 in 5.6 a raised temperature

Nearly one quarter of toddlers in the study (23%) were routinely vaccinated despite being unwell prior to vaccination with fever (7%), diarrhea (12%) and rash (7%)

It is all too revealing to look at this 2006 study by LeBaron et al ‘Evaluation of Potentially Common Adverse Events Associated With the First and Second Doses of Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine’ which was apparently designed to be reassuring that the effects of a second and third dose of MMR at pre-school and mid-school age are milder than the first in infancy or toddlerhood.

But if so, we might ask, what about the first?  We learn that it is quite routine for an infant to develop a raging fever with unknown long term consequences. Again LeBaron et al are frank about some of the limitations of their study:

‘Our study suffers from a number of limitations. Data on adverse events were based on unverified, family recorded symptom diaries. We had no unvaccinated control group. The baseline period for the study subjects lasted only 1 week and was relatively close to vaccination when the “healthy vaccinee effect”14 may well have been present. A 17% attrition rate occurred, mostly during the baseline diary period. The sample size was inadequate to examine rare adverse events or common adverse events with less than a twofold increase over baseline. The study population was atypical of the overall population of US children, in that they were almost all white, rural, healthy, and received vaccinations at the recommended ages. Other vaccines were administered simultaneously with MMR for >80% children in the 2 younger groups and <1% in the oldest group, making attribution of adverse events and comparison of groups more difficult.’

Continue reading "Best of AofA: The Naked CDC: the Hit and Run Truth about MMR in their Own Words" »

An Article for Independence Day: the American Revolution and Health Tyranny

British-american_flagBy 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:

Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades. In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

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.

Yet, 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.

As a commentary on this whistleblowing scientist David L Lewis recently bluntly wrote in  the “prologue” to his book Science for Sale: How the US govern uses powerful corporations and leading universities to support government policies, silence top scientists, jeopardize our health, and protect corporate profits:

During my thirty-plus years as a research microbiologist in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) and the University of Georgia, I experienced the far-reaching influence of corrupt special interests firsthand. As this book will describe, my dealings with civil servants, corporate manager, elected officials, and other scientists expose the ease – and disturbing regularity – with which a small group , motivated by profit or personal advancement can completely hijack important areas of research science at even our most trusted institutions. 

Continue reading "An Article for Independence Day: the American Revolution and Health Tyranny" »

UK Care Act Puts Autistic People in Harm’s Way: Write to the Consultation

Us-uk-flagManaging Editor's Note: While we are thinking about the Autism CARES bill, aka Combating Autism Act, the UK has its own concerns regarding legislation for people with autism.

By John Stone

Legislation by the British government will fail autistic people, the United Kingdom’s National Autistic Society has warned  :

Details on the rules determining who will get adult social care from April 2015 have been published today (6 June), as part of a Government consultation on the regulations and guidance accompanying the Care Act 2014.

The NAS does not believe the proposals for the new national eligibility criteria reflect the basic needs of adults with autism, on crucial issues such as staying safe, building relationships or being verbally prompted to carry out tasks. They also fail to ensure that adults with autism will be assessed by assessors who have sufficient autism training.

Unless the proposals are changed to cover the specific needs of people with autism, the new system risks leaving many outside of the care system and at risk of harm.

The measures can be read about here  and you can write to the consultation at this email address . I have written as follows:

Continue reading "UK Care Act Puts Autistic People in Harm’s Way: Write to the Consultation" »

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

British MoneyBy John Stone Money stack

"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 that 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...”

The Kim paper is, of course, Autism Speaks’ outrageous study from the city of Goyang where apart from anything else more than three quarters of the positively screened cases were withdrawn by their families from the study before it was completed, but in both instances they are citing studies calculating autism incidence in children as a basis for prevalence in entire populations, which is a huge and unwarranted scientific leap.  With surreal precision the study posits the existence of 491, 243 autistic adults in the UK divided exactly 40:60% with and without ID. Unfortunately, there is no concrete data bearing this out. It would be remarkable if they could recover one tenth of the alleged adult cases from government data and even then most of them would be under 25. The non-existence of real data and the requirement for projection is what surely gives the game away. This would be a hugely dependent population, so why do we still not know they are there in administrative terms?

The other matter I cannot reconcile is the lifetime costs. The paper determines that the lifetime cost in the UK of a person with autism and ID is £1.5 million ($2.2m) and $2.44m in the US [added 26 June 2014]. Even in 2001 Järbrink and Knapp stated: “The lifetime cost for a person with autism exceeded £2.4 million” ($3.8m). But the new paper also gives a yearly cost for an autistic adult with ID in the UK as £86,981 (table 2) and £86,099 ($126,430 - table 4)  and £1.5m only amounts to about 17 years’ worth. Using the figures provided for childhood costs in Table 2 and a projected average lifetime of 67 years we get a grand total of £4,864,911 (about $7.8m):  more like it, perhaps,  but still I fear rather optimistic. The US lifetime figure for an autistic person with ID similarly calculated from table 2 is about $6m [added 26 June 2014]. This is our new autistic workforce. We ain’t heard nothing yet: the real financial tsunami is on its way.

John Stone is UK Editor of Age of Autism.

Goldacre’s Munich Agreement - Publishing Data on the Pharma's Terms

Ben GoldacreBy John Stone

A campaign led by British “science” journalist  and academic  Dr Ben Goldacre to make pharmaceutical companies publish their research data is poised to lead to less effective transparency rather than more as a result of draft regulations by the European Medicines Agency  which are likely to have implications for global practice. The problem has been highlighted in Plos-Online guest blog by Trudo Lemmens, associate professor  and Scholl Chair in Health Law and Policy at the Faculties of Law and Medicine of the University of Toronto  as well as in the blog of whistleblowing psychiatrist Prof David Healy.

The terms of publication as things stand will likely lead to pharmaceutical companies having even more control over their data than before.  Goldacre has been raising funds for the campaign ‘All Trials’  with the politically suspect “science” lobby organization, Sense About Science, whose Managing Director is Tracey Brown  . He is also supported by the British Medical Journal who have long identified partnerships with GSK and Merck.

In his challenge Healy highlights to Goldacre the problem of a scheme which already seems to be meeting with warm endorsement from GSK citing a Lancet editorial jointly written by GSK executive Patrick Vaillance and leading academic patron of ‘All Trials’ Sir Iain Chalmers in which patient confidentiality could become a screen for not making available adverse data.

“On the first point, we have Iain Chalmers and Patrick Vaillance’s editorial making the case for restrictions on access to the data on the basis of patient confidentiality issues. This seems to be endorsed by Tracey Brown in her comments just above. Is there a difference here Ben between you and them?

“There may be distinctions between All Trials and Iain Chalmers and Sense about Science so that it may be possible to claim that AllTrials has said nothing of the sort because its mission statement says almost nothing. As a counter to criticism Tracey and Ben seem to fallback on an AllTrials minimalism. I’m with Mickey Nardo on this one. A strategy of just calling for trial registration and CSRs and not insisting on access to all trial data right now is morally wrong and likely to fail. [AoA emphasis]

Continue reading "Goldacre’s Munich Agreement - Publishing Data on the Pharma's Terms" »

The Question That Brian Deer and Dorit Reiss Cannot Answer

ReissBy John Stone

“Not a convincing job Prof Reiss. What you are ducking is that Deer crossed the central 172-96 allegation (made originally by Mr Deer) was a fabrication without a scrap of documentary evidence -if you really want to brandish it around as still valid please say so. I note, btw, many of the other findings against Wakefield hinge on this central one, not to mention the highly prejudicial nature of the hearing that could make such grotesque errors.”

The above paragraph at the time of writing – more than 24 hours after it was posted is the culmination of an exchange in the Forbes blog in which Andrew Wakefield’s principal accuser Brian Deer made a now rare appearance last week. It seems even prolific vaccine lobby polemicist and blogger Prof Dorit  Rubinstein Reiss was lost for words: Deer’s key allegation against Wakefield and his two Royal Free Hospital colleagues Profs John Walker-Smith and Simon Murch – the subject of his first hidden denunciation to the United Kingdom’s General Medical Council, three days after his first article in the Sunday Times in February 2004  - was proving indefensible. Pinned down – even with the perpetual game of innuendo that there was something in it despite Mr Justice Mittings High Court ruling two years ago – she disappeared into the ether.

The answer is that it is time for them to stop pretending: Deer can’t answer it (he disappeared when things got hot last week) and Reiss – the vaccine industry’s main apologist - can’t answer it. The GMC hearing against Wakefield, Walker-Smith and Murch was a fraud and a farrago. If anyone wants to defend those findings now they deserve to be laughing stocks. The investigation and hearing took more than six years and it is a heap of proven bureaucratic lies. That is the inescapable conclusion.

Below is the sequence of letters which began with an intervention from the excellent David Foster:

David Foster

Brian Deer I have to ask, did it ever occur to you that it might have been a good idea, indeed even ethically responsible, to announce the fact that it was in fact you that submitted the initial complaint about Wakefield to the GMC?

You submitted the complaint, and then proceeded to cover the story representing yourself as an objective, dispassionate journalist. None of those three words describe you sir. You propelled your own career while covering a story you helped to initiate, based on a series of lies and misrepresentations that you continue to pile on even today.

And while I am at it, how do you explain your unprecedented access to highly sensitive medical records? You have made several and various claims about this, and within these comments pages you claim that you worked with BMJ to obtain the records. Now why would it be ethical for either you OR another professional journal to have access to children’s medical records? And how do you explain the complaints from some of the parents of the children who were studied in Wakefield’s 1998 Lancet paper, who said that you misrepresented your identity when interviewing them?

You are very lucky for now, in that the medical establishment on both sides of the Pond have a vested interest in propping up your fantasies as fact, and supporting your conclusions. But history and truth both have a way of flushing out the rats, and you sir will be swimming soon enough.

 jgc56

One has to ask: what point are you trying to make here? If Brian Deer had announced that he had initally brought Wakefield’s unprofessional conduct to the attention of the GMC, would Wakefield be any less guilty of committing those offenses? Would the retracted 1998 Lancet paper somehow become something other than an instance of scientific fraud?

John Stone

jgc56: Simple answer is yes. The findings of the GMC were flawed and they were based on Deer’s allegations, reporting and conflicts (which were shared by the GMC). There are perfectly good reasons why certain basic journalistic ethics ought to be observed and the question why they were not is totally germane. To begin with was the allegation about the paper being the LAB project which was Deer’s first complaint (undisclosed), it was supported by the GMC prosecutors and panel but without citing any material evidence. The charge was against all three doctors and in 2012 it was dismissed by Mr Justice Mitting in the High Court. It should never have happened and the whole process was tainted and untrustworthy. Worth mentioning that the head of panels at the GMC, Dr Harvey Marcovitch, was also the alleged external peer reviewer of Deer’s 2011 BMJ articles against Wakefield although a BMJ editor as well. All roads lead to Rome, as it were.

Continue reading "The Question That Brian Deer and Dorit Reiss Cannot Answer" »

The Dismal Return of Brian Deer

Deer crossedBy John Stone

In the hubbub which followed Andrew Wakefield’s threat to sue Emily Willingham and Forbes Magazine Brian Deer thought he would take a bow in its on-line pages  . As ever what immediately strikes is the lack of integrity of a scientific establishment which rests its case on the allegations of this unfortunate figure. As usual confronted by criticism all Deer can do is duck and weave and call his critics “malignant cranks” (of course there a few other things he’s called us over the years, but this is not a gentleman with much finesse). This is the man who makes a meal of the fact that his vastly more qualified critic Dr David Lewis, as a leading scientist in the Environmental Protection Agency had worked on issues of the safety of sewage disposal. In David Lewiswhat should be a serious exchange of views in supposedly august scientific journals like Nature  and the British Medical Journal Deer is allowed to use this fact to disparage him: the Nature letter was removed last year after further complaints, the BMJ one stands with the title ‘MMR and human waste disposal’, but did it not used to read ‘MMR and Human Waste’ ? The man is protected by very powerful people. He is a pharmaceutical VIP .

Last week I called upon him – under his nose -  to justify certain things and as usual he just ran leaving the lesser surrogates of the government pharmaceutical complex to cover his back. People like Matt Carey, Dorit Reiss and Este Banes (the new version of fraudulent Prof Reuben Gaines). Hadn’t Deer, the editor of BMJ, Fiona Godlee, and their advisor Prof Ingvar Bjarnason already been forced to admit in Nature that there no basis in the claim of fraud over the biopsies for the children in the Lancet paper ?

“But he (Bjarnason) says that the forms don’t clearly support charges that Wakefield deliberately misinterpreted the records. “The data are subjective. It’s different to say it’s deliberate falsification,” he says.

“Deer notes that he never accused Wakefield of fraud over his interpretation of pathology records…

“Fiona Godlee, the editor of the BMJ, says that the journal’s conclusion of fraud was not based on the pathology but on a number of discrepancies between the children’s records and the claims in the Lancet paper…”

No answer.

Was not the claim (made by Deer in his first letter of complaint against Wakefield, Walker-Smith) that the Wakefield Lancet paper was commissioned by the Legal Aid Board and based on their protocol in itself fraudulent, and disproven the High Court appeal of Walker-Smith?

No answer.

Had he not made three formal complaints to the GMC against the three doctors and come to a mutually beneficial agreement that he not be named as complainant, thus enabling to continue reporting without the public knowing about his conflict?

No answer.

The Texas court have now been deliberating on Andrew Wakefield’s appeal over the court’s jurisdiction in his defamation case against Deer, Godlee and the BMJ for a year. Who knows what is holding the court which originally said it would report back within six months ? What is certain is that if this crew wriggle away it will not serve justice (we have seen their ridiculous pretexts that the BMJ do not do business in the US’s second largest state and they did not realise that Wakefield lived there ). To the best of my knowledge there is still no date named.

Continue reading "The Dismal Return of Brian Deer" »

ABC News Disposes of the Evidence Quickly in Tragic 2001 Chicken Pox Death Resurrected as Vaccination "Lesson"

Abc news nowBy John Stone

In the small hours US time I posted a comment on ABC News’s Duffy Peterson story  Home> Health Mom Whose Child Died After Catching Chicken Pox Advocates for Vaccines.. Tragically her daughter Abby, who was born without a spleen and was therefore immune compromised, died from chicken pox, and Duffy has become the latest weapon in the war of the vaccines (or perhaps against the reputation of Jenny McCarthy). I wrote:

It is always very troubling when one of set of parents is being manipulated against another set. But it is also intolerable if children are being loaded with a burden of unquantified risk on the basis that they are protecting other people, and very often they are not really - for instance, the nasal flu vaccine where the manufacturers insert warns that the recipient must not come into contact immune compromised persons for weeks after receiving the vaccine : in the UK this is set to be rolled out for all school children this autumn. The only consistency  from people who actually don't care about anybody's child is that it is siphoning off huge amounts from the public purse to benefit big business (note Fluenz is identical with Flumist in the US).

Another blatant example is chicken pox vaccine where it has been known for a very long time that the harm in mass vaccination is much greater than the benefit (even before we get to the side effects)

What, of course, is required is a return to the ethic of ‘Primum non nocere’ (first do no harm) and the greatest care to be taken with all children.

It is worth noting that these fully justified comments were supported by (1) the manufacturer’s own insert for Fluenz/Flumist and (2) a report from the British government’s Health Protection Agency (in the UK the chicken pox vaccine is still not on the schedule). Despite this the comment was removed within minutes.

Continue reading "ABC News Disposes of the Evidence Quickly in Tragic 2001 Chicken Pox Death Resurrected as Vaccination "Lesson"" »

Emily Willingham, Dorit Rubinstein Reiss and the Barmy Army

Unaccountable


By John Stone

This is something I wrote about in December – original article appended – occasioned by Emily Willingham’s attempt to respond in Forbes   to the Brian Hooker/Shot of Truth’s press release a few days ago . The question I pose is what would actually happen if government officials ever had to answer questions. I guess it might look something like Coleen Boyle of the Centers for Disease Control trying to fend off questions for five minutes from Congressman Posey in November 2012 . What, of course, we actually get in this instance is Emily Willingham, a person with no responsibility for the policy and no grasp of the scientific issues, trying to sow confusion. For Willingham the right answer is just the usual bureaucratic stitch-up masquerading as hard science. The last thing she wants is people rummaging around in the CDC’s cupboards. Re-challenged by Hooker  you get the same answer all over again. But, of course, the point is that it does not ultimately matter what Willingham says because she is not accountable and nor are the rag, tag and bobtail crew of characters that hang around on her website and elsewhere.

The system is about non-accountability. The pharmaceutical companies are unsuable, the bureaucrats unanswerable and make claims for the products that the companies themselves would never risk. People like Willingam and Dorit Reiss – the public vaccine compliance lady who cannot make up her mind whether she is simply a concerned mother or a nationally ambitious tort lawyer     –  are surrogates for the people who might have to answer.  As I remarked in  my original piece Reiss made her debut in the field when she was conveniently slipped in protecting bioethicist Art Caplan from having to answer awkward questions from Mary Holland in Harvard Law Journal. What this system deserves above all is our blistering contempt.

This post first ran on 12/20/13:

ReissBy John Stone

One of the problems that the phenomenon of Dorit Reiss points to is the fundamental lack of solidity of vaccine science: we are not talking about something like the laws of thermodynamics, the periodic table, the theory of relativity – instead it is something that has to be defended by a sequence of dodgy manoeuvres and obfuscations. The claims for the vaccine program which are being made are politically absolutist but there is no unchallengeable super-theory behind any of it, only a multitude of industrially manufactured products which may be neither as effective or as safe as their advocates claim, have usually not been as well tested as they should have been, and can only be defended by a bulwark unbalanced legislation backed up by endless institutional malfeasance. Pubmed, the index of peer review medical studies, is testament to this: even if there are many studies which are favourable to products it does not make anything about their findings immutable evidence, or proof of anything. They can only be provisional.

Continue reading "Emily Willingham, Dorit Rubinstein Reiss and the Barmy Army" »

WHO Officials Rig Inclusion Criteria for Vaccine Injury in Developing World

Rigged dice"Garbage in Garbage Out: World Health Organization officials rig inclusion criteria for adverse vaccine events in the developing world."

By John Stone

An unusual correspondence has been appearing beneath the abstract of an article in Pubmed led by redoubtable vaccine safety campaigner Jacob Puliyel  (possibly chosen as a venue by him so that the discussion could take place on the open web). The paper by Tozzi et al including veteran Johns Hopkins Institute of Vaccine Safety professor Neal Halsey assesses the World Health Organization Adverse Event Following Immunization criteria which further dilute the possibility of adverse vaccine events ever being acknowledged. Alberto Tozzi is lead the author of the notorious CDC funded Italian thimerosal study which received widespread media publicity in 2009 despite the fact that the data could have been specially selected not to discover anything. This being the case the new paper finds  Tozzi on fine form. Dr Puliyel’s letter headed  ‘DEATHS IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES WILL COUNT FOR LESS’ reviews how the system has worked in practice rather than whether health officials like it. It states in conclusion:

“Under the new scheme, fatal AEFI in developing countries will be falsely recorded as ‘Not an AEFI’, simply because some time or test criterion was not met. Death is the worst AEFI possible. Continued use of the CIOMS [Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences]/WHO scheme will result in missing an important opportunity to pick up signals that could save lives…”

There are further contributions from Paul G King,  Brandon Horn, Y Mahdavi, Lokesh Tiwari, Toni Bark and Akash Malik, an Indian government official, but no response so far from the authors. In the original paper - which is not available on the open web - Prof Tozzi acknowledges research grants from Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline  and Sanofi Pasteur MSD. Read further here.

John Stone is UK Editor for Age of Autism.

Internet Bullies: Wikipedia Admits it has a Problem

Wikipedia logoBy John Stone

In a recent Age of Autism article  called "CNN Runs Scared from the Truth About Andrew Wakefield"  I drew attention to the way CNN blog editors hid behind a Wikipedia article while re-circulating the customary lies and distortions about Andrew Wakefield noting:

The Wiki entry on Andrew Wakefield has a pharmaceutical Praetorian guard surrounding it preventing it from ever being corrected, and plainly CNN realised that they were on to a loser if this discussion continued.

It is interesting therefore to note that despite the nicely utopian theory of being a disinterested and publicly correctable knowledge source, Wikimedia the parent organization of Wikipedia now admits that is easily taken over by commercially sponsored bullies. As a result they are now consulting over a proposed system of disclosure. A Wiki webpage entitles Terms of use/Paid contribution ammendment  explains:

 The Wikimedia Foundation Legal Department plans to ask the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees to consider a proposed amendment in our Terms of Use to address further undisclosed paid editing. Contributing to the Wikimedia Projects to serve the interests of a paying client while concealing the paid affiliation has led to situations that the community considers problematic. Many believe that users with a potential conflict of interest should engage in transparent collaboration, requiring honest disclosure of paid contributions. Making contributions to the Wikimedia Projects without disclosing payment or employment may also lead to legal ramifications. Our Terms of Use already prohibit engaging in deceptive activities, including misrepresentation of affiliation, impersonation, and fraud. To ensure compliance with these provisions, this amendment provides specific minimum disclosure requirements for paid contributions on the Wikimedia projects.

The consultation goes up to the March 21 for any AoA readers interested in submitting their views, however beyond acknowledging the existence of the problem it is unlikely to change much. In the case of the Wakefield entry AoA correspondent ‘Aussie Dad’ reported :

I just posted the following after the first paragraph of the Andrew Wakefield Wikipedia page:

"The Wiki entry on Andrew Wakefield has a pharmaceutical Praetorian guard surrounding it preventing it from ever being corrected."

Pleased to say it lasted about 20 seconds.

The following was the response that came up:

Continue reading "Internet Bullies: Wikipedia Admits it has a Problem" »

CNN Runs Scared from the Truth about Andrew Wakefield

Tv pharmaBy John Stone

An incident on a CNN blog on Friday morning revealed how sensitive the news channel could be about arguing with the official dogma surrounding Andrew Wakefield. When the present writer – posting at breakfast UK time and the middle of the night Eastern  - contested the fraud allegations repeated in an op ed piece by Frank Y. Wong, an associate professor at the Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University   the news channel responded with blocking  tactics. Pointing to the exoneration of Wakefield’s senior colleague and author, Prof John Walker-Smith, in the British high court two years ago, I was immediately countered by a poster called “Tony” quoting paragraphs from the Wiki entry on Andrew Wakefield. I then found that my next response went straight into moderation never to see the light of day and a similar comment forwarded to me by an acquaintance was also blocked by the same method. All this happened within a very few minutes although it was the middle of the night in the US. The page now reveals that no less than nine responses to “Tony” were deleted  (presumably all before publication). When I subsequently commented elsewhere on the blog there was no block: it was specific to this comment.

The Wiki entry on Andrew Wakefield has a pharmaceutical Praetorian guard surrounding it preventing it from ever being corrected, and plainly CNN realised that they were on to a loser if this discussion continued. My deleted comment read:

 But this is a flawed account. The findings were confirmed by both histopathologists in the paper subsequent to the hearing (here and here)

When the Deer/BMJ findings came under the scrutiny of Dr David Lewis in November 2011 they were forced to re-trench (reported in Nature):

“But he (Bjarnason) says that the forms don't clearly support charges that Wakefield deliberately misinterpreted the records.

"The data are subjective. It's different to say it's deliberate falsification," he says.

“Deer notes that he never accused Wakefield of fraud over his interpretation of pathology records…

“Fiona Godlee, the editor of the BMJ, says that the journal's conclusion of fraud was not based on the pathology but on a number of discrepancies between the children's records and the claims in the Lancet paper…”

Although Godlee had previously stated in February 2011:

“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."

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Best of AoA: Voices for Vaccines and Jenny McCarthy

Karen ErnstBy John Stone

Originally published 5 August 2013 this article showed that the organization which had mounted a petition against Jenny McCarthy appearing on 'The View' had government and pharmaceutical industry ties. It may be helpful to re-visit it in relation revived and completely unfounded allegations against McCarthy that her son did not have autism diagnosis...

Despite Karen Ernst’s repeated insistence that Voices for Vaccines - who recently got up a petition against Jenny McCarthy on Change.com - is an independent parent-led organization speaking up for the vaccine program, the evidence that it was started by the Atlanta based non-profit partner of the Centers for Disease Control, Task Force for Global Health, to promote their joint policies is overwhelming. John Stone (UK editor of Age of Autism) reports:

A few days ago I wrote about vaccine program advocate Prof Dorit Reiss, her unconventional views about agency capture, and her links with Voices for Vaccines “an administrative project” of Task Force for Global Health a partner organization to the Centers for Disease Control and Emory University in Atlanta. The first response to my article was from Karen Ernst a Minnesota based officer of Voices for Vaccines : Reiss

“Voices for Vaccines has as its fiscal agent The Task Force for Global Health. They take in our donations and cut checks for us. Many non-profits who are too small to handle their own 501(c)3 status use fiscal agents in this way; it's quite common. We have absolutely no access to their money, nor do we benefit from their money. Voices for Vaccines is not tied to any pharmaceutical corporation or to any government organization. Thus far, all of our donations have been small and have come from individuals. Thus, the dots you have connected paint an incorrect picture.”

Ernst was again engaged the other day with Steve Schneider's article Big Pharma's faking a "grass-roots" campaign to keep Jenny McCarthy off "The View" in Mark Crispin Miller's News from the Underground blog noticed that a Change.com petition against McCarthy was being promoted by ‘Voices for Vaccines, St Paul, Minnesota’. Ernst was first to respond once more :

“I’m one of the two moms who runs VFV. Your blog post is curious to me, seeing that you are an academic. It seems you consulted Barbara Loe Fisher for her anti-vaccine conspiracy theories about who we are, but you never bothered to actually consult us.

 “I am the person who started the petition. I have been in contact with exactly zero people who work for pharmaceutical companies or who work in the government about the petition. At best, your headline is misleading. The rest of your blog post is inaccurate. You’ve misrepresented our relationship with our Scientific Advisory Board and our fiscal agent.”

For the record the current Voices for Vaccine website states: Troll doc

Voices for Vaccines was re-launched in early 2013 after two young parents, Karen Ernst and Ashley Shelby, volunteered to lead the organization in rallying parents of immunized children to combat vaccine misinformation and increase immunization rates. In 2010, Shelby and Ernst founded the blog Moms Who Vax, which offers resources on vaccine information, commentary, and first-person stories from parents who immunize. They are currently working to develop a new organization, the Minnesota Childhood Immunization Coalition.”

The name ‘Voices for Vaccines’ rang a bell but I could not immediately find any pre-2013 references on Google. The web archive was rather more helpful, however, with the earliest page holding any text dating from 13 May 2008 (passages in bold are my emphasis):

Continue reading "Best of AoA: Voices for Vaccines and Jenny McCarthy" »

Dorit Rubinstein Reiss and the Weakness of Vaccine Science

ReissBy John Stone

One of the problems that the phenomenon of Dorit Reiss points to is the fundamental lack of solidity of vaccine science: we are not talking about something like the laws of thermodynamics, the periodic table, the theory of relativity – instead it is something that has to be defended by a sequence of dodgy manoeuvres and obfuscations. The claims for the vaccine program which are being made are politically absolutist but there is no unchallengeable super-theory behind any of it, only a multitude of industrially manufactured products which may be neither as effective or as safe as their advocates claim, have usually not been as well tested as they should have been, and can only be defended by a bulwark unbalanced legislation backed up by endless institutional malfeasance. Pubmed, the index of peer review medical studies, is testament to this: even if there are many studies which are favourable to products it does not make anything about their findings immutable evidence, or proof of anything. They can only be provisional.

Nor is the quality of all that evidence necessarily high despite sentiment that vaccines are a good thing. The 2005 Cochrane Review of MMR vaccine safety, concluded after having sifted 5,000 studies  :

“The design and reporting of safety outcomes in MMR vaccine studies, both pre- and post-marketing, are largely inadequate. The evidence of adverse events following immunisation with MMR cannot be separated from its role in preventing the target diseases.”

Indeed, this body of evidence was so poor that it was not even clear how most of the final 31 studies admitted to the review met the inclusion criteria.

There is a fundamental problem with vaccines, that although great claims are made for their effectiveness their harms are apparently instantly deniable, and there is no logic to this imbalance. If something does go wrong you will not only be met with immediate professional indifference and denial, the only recourse in establishing it is to take legal action. But such is the institutional bias that this is a vain hope in most countries, and even in the US where awards are made in the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program with some frequency they usually end up by being “no-fault” concessions by the government.

And this is also the problem of Reiss: reality can be stage-managed in the mainstream media but the evidence of hundreds and thousands of wrecked lives are harder to suppress in the social media: there is no one – apart from usual medical spokespeople spouting the conventional wisdom  – who can be more authoritative. There are no underlying scientific principles, only a morass of flawed, limited studies and a host of bureaucratic decisions masking the legal reality that vaccines are “unavoidably unsafe”  . Despite her grand debut as a vaccine advocate in Harvard Law Review   (standing in for Art Caplan) barely six months ago Reiss has ended up scrambling from one blog to another trying to block out the ever peeping reality that these products cause unaccountable injury and death. Caplan, confronted by Mary Holland, disappeared – if Caplan played a false move while in open debate it could have serious consequences, but Reiss is expendable (though also apparently, in retrospect, inexhaustible). If she has a somewhat uncertain professional status as a lawyer, as has been suggested, this may be part of the story too.

As it is her defence of vaccines often rests on the rants of David Gorski or the blog of Liz Ditz, and if she tends to play her hand courteously (at least superficially) she is surrounded by a ragbag of supporters and associates who do anything but. This week found her in trouble defending flu mandates for young children in New York on the comment page of the John Gambling Show  and resorting to anonymous Facebook page “notes/chillin-out-vaxin-relaxin-all-cool/flu-shots-for-kids-two-year-yes they are effective”.

Continue reading "Dorit Rubinstein Reiss and the Weakness of Vaccine Science" »

Did Nurse Melody Butler Disclose Vaccine Industry Ties on Fox?

Nurse Butler

 Registered Nurse Melody Butler appeared on New York television last week with John Gilmore of the Autism Action Network.  She was speaking on behalf of New York City's new mandate that children under the age of six must receive a flu vaccine.  Gilmore was speaking out about safety and parental healthcare rights vis a vis the flu shot.  Nurse Butler is founder of "Nurses Who Vaccinate."  However, we did not seem to hear that she is is also affliated with Voices For Vaccines, an organization funded/connected to both CDC and the pharmaceutical industry. See her LinkedIn profile above. Perhaps the mercury in her latest flu vaccine (I'm sure she is willing to show proof that she is 100% fully up to date on all of her adult vaccines including Gardasil) has muddled her thinking and she forgot?

Our own John Stone ran this post about Voices For Vaccines in August.  

Karen ErnstBy John Stone

Despite Karen Ernst’s repeated insistence that Voices for Vaccines - who recently got up a petition against Jenny McCarthy on Change.com - is an independent parent-led organization speaking up for the vaccine program, the evidence that it was started by the Atlanta based non-profit partner of the Centers for Disease Control, Task Force for Global Health, to promote their joint policies is overwhelming. John Stone (UK editor of Age of Autism) reports:

A few days ago I wrote about vaccine program advocate Prof Dorit Reiss, her unconventional views about agency capture, and her links with Voices for Vaccines “an administrative project” of Task Force for Global Health a partner organization to the Centers for Disease Control and Emory University in Atlanta. The first response to my article was from Karen Ernst a Minnesota based officer of Voices for Vaccines : Reiss

“Voices for Vaccines has as its fiscal agent The Task Force for Global Health. They take in our donations and cut checks for us. Many non-profits who are too small to handle their own 501(c)3 status use fiscal agents in this way; it's quite common. We have absolutely no access to their money, nor do we benefit from their money. Voices for Vaccines is not tied to any pharmaceutical corporation or to any government organization. Thus far, all of our donations have been small and have come from individuals. Thus, the dots you have connected paint an incorrect picture.”

Ernst was again engaged the other day with Steve Schneider's article Big Pharma's faking a "grass-roots" campaign to keep Jenny McCarthy off "The View" in Mark Crispin Miller's News from the Underground blog noticed that a Change.com petition against McCarthy was being promoted by ‘Voices for Vaccines, St Paul, Minnesota’. Ernst was first to respond once more :

Continue reading "Did Nurse Melody Butler Disclose Vaccine Industry Ties on Fox?" »

Katie Couric on HPV Vax Damage Dorit Reiss' Further Threadbare Arguments

Katiebig

By John Stone

This morning on ABC television, 10am Eastern time, Katie Couric is looking into the subject of

Reiss
Dorit Reiss

injury from HPV vaccine  . Over the last eight days the KatieCouric.com blog has accumulated in excess of 5,000 comments   , many from very ill young women or members of their families. There has also a flood of sarcastic and dismissive comments from vaccination groupies, the most ubiquitous of which (although better behaved than most) has been San Francisco law professor, Dorit Reiss ("Dorit Reis and the Benefits of Agency Capture" and   Karen Ernst's Voices4Vaccines a CDC Front Group   and "Who Is Dorit Reiss?"). It has been difficult to follow the blog partly because of the sheer number of comments but also because exchanges get quickly relegated and shuffled amongst the heap, not to mention the fact that  any member of the public can delete anyone else’s comments by clicking on a box hiding in the top right corner (a facility which I have not used  myself). It is sometimes hard to know whether a conversation has actually be deleted or disappeared so far down the page that it could not be found (and beyond a certain depth my computer will not even open them).

I have copied down a few of these conversations in the past couple of days before they got lost. It was altogether evident that if anyone in the vaccine support mob was going to provide any interesting argument it would have to be Dorit.

1st Conversation (December 2 2013):

Thor Viðar Jónsson:

 The amount of horrible information being posted here is staggering. I weep for scientists today having to fight all this misinformation, dishonesty and outright lies being spread against one of the medical marvels of our age.

John Stone:

 If the "scientists" were real scientists they would be listening not sneering, and wondering whether they had really got it right. The only explanation of their current behaviour is that they know already that they've got it wrong and they are rushing for cover.

 Dorit Reiss (Works at UC Hastings College of the Law):

 The large scale studies and the constant monitoring of the vaccine safety suggest that scientists are taking this vaccine's safety extremely seriously, and examining it closely for any safety concerns. The fact that their findings are not what the parents what to hear does not make them any less true. No cover. Just facts. No serious problems have been clearly linked to this vaccine, with millions of doses administered. Teen age girls suffer medical problems regardless of the vaccine. The rates of the very different array of problem raised by the families are not higher in the vaccinated girls than in the general population or unvaccinated girls. The evidence is that the vaccine is extremely safe.

Foregoing this protection because of distressed parents' belief in its harms would be extremely problematic.

 Thor Viðar Jónsson:

 I worry when someone puts "scientists" in a quote, and perfect post Dorit thank you!

John Stone:

 Dorit Reiss

Well, that's what you say, but it is people being judge and jury in their own case. Confronted by a deluge of real human beings saying what they think of the experience a little humility would be in order. I certainly, don't see it here.

By the way can you shed any light on the existence or otherwise of Prof Reuben Gaines of Johns Hopkins University, who also claims to be employed in the Department of Health in Washington DC? In October he admitted trolling me in your Times of Israel blog, and when I mentioned this last night (UK time) I got another troll conversation (again admitted) from one Lance Penna. I don't actually think this sort of stuff really puts the vaccine lobby in a very good light.

Cynthia Denomme Maurer:

Then weep, because science has lost it's credibilty, not because of science, but because of those who claim it as their area of expertise, when in fact, much of it is monetarily fed, forged and fixed studies. I have been a scientist for 40 years. It doesn't take an expert to do the research, it only takes a parent with motivation and love for their children.

 Dorit Reiss:  

 John Stone people can err, and parents work on incomplete information that may help them believe in causation where it does not exist. As sociolegal scholars know, testimony by eyewitness is fraught with problems. People's perceptions can suffer from cognitive biases (see Kahnman, Thinking Fast and Slow), people's memories can be faulty and there can be credibility issue. People do err. Scientists err too, but the rigors of the scientific method help reduce these errors. Parents have no such controls.

 Even without the potential to err, parents lack two pieces of information: the rates of the harm in the population, and often the biological mechanisms. Without knowing how often this happen sans vaccine, you can't evaluate if the vaccine caused it. So sorry, but parental belief is not a substitute to causation evidence.

 me (signed in using yahoo):

 John Stone You mad bro?

Dorit Reiss:

Cynthia Denomme Maurer actually, training in research method is crucial to reduce bias, avoid errors, and do a good job. I have met many scientists who are conscientious, devoted, and selfless. They don't' deserve this blanket condemnation.

Jennifer Weesner Simpson (CSA at Lowe's Home Improvement):

Continue reading "Katie Couric on HPV Vax Damage Dorit Reiss' Further Threadbare Arguments" »

Petition to Halt New South Wales HCCC Powers of Censorship

AustraliaPlease help fight for freedom of health information in Australia by signing  THIS PETITION.

By John Stone

On Wednesday morning I signed an Avaaz petition Do not give the NSW HCCC powers of censorship over public and individuals opposing moves to silence criticism of the New South Wales health department. New South Wales is the most populace state of Australia. Within minutes my moderate and reasoned political statement which I had reposted to Facebook was being blocked, deemed “offensive or unsuitable”. It read:

“It is simply the end of liberal democracy when government bureaucrats decide what the truth is and enforce a policy based on it. If people think their health is (a) marginal issue - that there are other matters of more political substance - they are in error. You will find there are not only bigger and bigger areas on which you cannot decide for yourself there are bigger and bigger areas in which the state is no longer accountable and can do anything it wants.”

Meryl Dorey of the Australian Vaccination Network tells me that her Facebook posts are often disrupted in this way or with the enigmatic message "It looks like you were misusing this feature by going to fast. You've been blocked from using it."

It is quite obvious that if anyone was spreading false information about health matters in New South Wales there would already be legal sanction: the problem is saying things the government does not like.

The petition itself reads:

Why this is important

“The NSW Parliament has formed a committee to investigate giving the Health Care Complaints Commission wide sweeping powers that could effectively allow the HCCC to censor public and individuals, and to shut down debate with that questions medical common consensus.

“Science is never absolute. Debate in a free society allows for the common scientific consensus and dogma to be questioned. If the science is robust then it will stand up to any scrutiny, science does not need censorship to protect it from being questioned. The public of NSW do not need the HCCC to adjudicate over what science or other information is permissible to discus and promulgate.”

Please support freedom of speech and our friends in Australia  by signing the petition today and circulating.

John Stone is UK Editor for Age of Autism.


Best of AofA: Who Is Dorit Reiss?

ReissBy John Stone

Last week San Francisco based legal expert, Dorit Reiss, was in Washington to attend the briefing by Mary Holland and Rolf Hazlehurst on the Congressional hearing into NVICP next month, subsequently writing about the event for the pharma/government sponsored organization Every Child By Two.

Paid or not Dorit Rubinsten Reiss, associate professor of law at UC Hastings, has emerged in recent months as one of the most strident advocates of compliance with the US vaccine schedule, and is likely to be prominent in the debate over the fairness and integrity of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation in advance of the Congressional hearing in December. With this in mind Age of Autism re-publishes UK editor John Stone's account of extended exchanges with her on examiner.com last August, posing the question what exactly does she believe, and why is she doing it?  Below is a Best of from last August.

Following two articles on the organization Voices for Vaccine and its two leading advocates Dorit Reiss and Karen Ernst .  John Stone (UK Editor of Age of Autism) had the opportunity for a detailed exchange of views with Reiss on Examiner.com in its blog  ‘Anti Jenny McCarthy petition authored by pharmaceutical industry cronies’. The position, however, is much as before.

The legal and historical status of Voices for Vaccines

Dorit tried to make light of the association with ‘Task Force for Global’ a sizeable non-profit which claims to be a partner of the Centers for Disease control which takes money from the pharmaceutical industry. In fact, VFV were started by ‘Task Force’ in 2008 which stated its intention of recruiting members of the public to act as advocates for the vaccination program. When I originally wrote about Dorit on these Karen was on in minutes stating:

Voices for Vaccines has as its fiscal agent The Task Force for Global Health. They take in our donations and cut checks for us. Many non-profits who are too small to handle their own 501(c)3 status use fiscal agents in this way; it's quite common. We have absolutely no access to their money, nor do we benefit from their money. Voices for Vaccines is not tied to any pharmaceutical corporation or to any government organization. Thus far, all of our donations have been small and have come from individuals.

However, the Task Force website states that VFV is a project of Task Force (and it subdivision Vaccine Equity) and CDC veteran Alan Hinman is named as both director of Vaccine Equity (funded by Bill Melinda Gates Foundation,  Merck and Novartis) and VFV. When finally cornered on this we had the following exchange:

Dorit: The problem is that she [Karen]  cannot show you a negative: how is she supposed to show you that Hinman is not controlling? I point out that if you look at what VFV does, it is very clearly Karen and Ashley's voice you hear and no one else. If you want to demonstrate links to the Task Force, I'd appreciate some evidence of control.

Me: It would be a trifle unusual for the director of an organization not to have any say in its running. BTW does VFV have an independent report and accounts - I can't see anything displayed on the website?

Dorit: Note that Hinman is not listed as director on VFV. I don't know why he is on the Task Force. And I don't know about the accounts - you'd have to ask Karen Ernst.

Me: Karen can comment here if she wants.

I do not know whether Karen is grateful to Dorit but so far she has not shown up to clarify matters. Earlier on in the exchange Dorit had seemed to have more knowledge of VFV’s financial arrangements:

Many non-profits that are small make use of a financial agent. The global task force serves in that role for Voices for Vaccines. They pay the Global Task Force for it.

Agency or Regulator Capture

Continue reading "Best of AofA: Who Is Dorit Reiss?" »

Umpteenth Vaccines/Autism Study from Defective Database Launched Amid Maximum Publicity

Brent TaylorBy John Stone

The latest study to decry a connection between vaccines and autism was launched the week before last by the on-line journal BMJ Open, an off-shoot of British Medical Journal. The lead author of the study is none other than Brent Taylor, one of Andrew Wakefield’s principal antagonists at the Royal Free Hospital and former member of the United Kingdom’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). British Medical Journal is also conflicted by its partnerships with vaccine manufacturers Merck and GlaxoSmithKline as well as the legal suit they are currently defending against Wakefield.

While the database used - the United Kingdom’s General Practitioners’ Research Database - is beyond public scrutiny the evidence is that it contains highly inadequate data, and the study has glaring defects. For instance, the database has no systematic recording of autism cases (general practitioners do not diagnose it) and perhaps only a tenth of actual cases are included. The study examines the upward trend in autism only in relation to the introduction of MMR and ignores other increases to the vaccine schedule. The study claims that the trend in the UK in contrast to the US had levelled off by the 2001 birth cohort although it had risen by a further 60% on its own figures for 2008 with the final numbers for this late period not yet in (meanwhile the number of cases in Scottish schools – a part of the UK where cases are recorded - rose from 3919 in 2007 to 8650 in 2012, as reported in the Scottish Sunday Mail 23 December 2012). 

It is likely that data on vaccine status on the database is also inadequate as is recorded in an email of 2001 between two Centers for Disease Control Officers, Thomas Verstraeten and Bob Chen disclosed in an Freedom of Information Request. Verstaeten wrote:

I think two issues are important in assessing the potential strength of the GPRD study:

 1. Maximum exposure and 2. Unbiased controls.

 The maximum exposure is indeed relatively low if that was the only (Thimerosal) containing vaccine used. My estimate is that you need at least >50 by 3 months or >100 by 6 months to see an effect if there is one which you can barely make (50 at 2 [he means 3] mo and 75 at 4 mo in the UK).

The quality of the comparison group is maybe even more important if you consider all the criticism we have received of comparing high T ([thimerosal] exposure to no or low T exposure. I am not sure if the GPRD [General Practitioners' Research Database] is that reliable that you can be sure that low exposure is really low exposure and not underascertainment in the database.

 I hate to say this, but given these concerns, it may not be worth doing this after all. On the other hand, maybe the grant can be given to Harald in Sweden to do his follow-up of the DTaP trial kids….”

[My underlining.]

(Click photo to read clearer version.)

JS Chen 2
 

Despite which the study, of which Brent Taylor was also senior author, went ahead. This episode is recounted in my article The British Dimension - the WHO Mercury Cover-Up and the CDC.

It is remarkable given the apparent inadequacy of the database how many studies defending the reputation of vaccination in relation to autism have been based on it, and launched with maximal Jick-Hershelpublicity. Among previous authors have not only been Taylor and  Hershel Jick (co-authors here) but other vaccine programme proponents Elizabeth Miller  and Eric Fombonne (here and here). As once again demonstrated it seems as if the quality and integrity of the studies are superfluous providing they achieve the customary widespread uncritical media attention.

In their own way the GPRD autism/vaccine studies are quite as troubling as the group of studies coordinated for the CDC in Denmark by indicted financial fraudster, Poul Thorsen.

Continue reading "Umpteenth Vaccines/Autism Study from Defective Database Launched Amid Maximum Publicity" »

Uncertainty as High Court Judge Rules Two British Schoolgirls Should be Given MMR Vaccine

BritishBy John Stone

Last week a High Court judge in the United Kingdom, Mrs Justice Theis, ruled that two sisters aged 15 and 11 should be given MMR vaccine against their will and that of their mother, after an application by their father (now divorced). This replicates earlier ugly cases of this kind, however – as the girls’ lawyer pointed out – it is still hard to see how they can be vaccinated without their cooperation, as the law properly makes no provision for physical constraint.  She told the Mail on Sunday: “One of the interesting aspects of this case is the question of taking two healthy people and forcing them to submit to a medical procedure which they don’t want to submit to”. The decision may also go to the Court of Appeal.

The judge ruled that the girls were not competent to make a decision on their own behalf  but you wonder at the wisdom of the judge when successive Cochrane Reviews have concluded “The design and reporting of safety outcomes in MMR studies, both pre- and post-marketing, are largely inadequate”: while the rhetoric of these papers was pro the vaccine, they failed to disguise the underlying failure to ensure that the product is safe .  Likewise, the bureaucratic line that MMR does not cause autism has been contradicted by a number of decisions in the US Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) , and notably in an Italian court case last year, uncontested by the Italian government.

Presently, the US Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) lists 63,438 events for MMR and 322 deaths: the limitation of the system is that as a passive reporting system cases are unconfirmed but also likely to be under-reported by fifty or a hundred times .  Although the British state has largely rigged itself against the acknowledgment or compensation of vaccine damage the UK’s Vaccine Damage Payment Unit were forced in 2010 to acknowledge the grotesque damage to Robert Fletcher from MMR after a battle of 18 years. Most years (in contrast to the US’s VICP which has paid out $2.5b since 1989) there are no payments at all, and any payments that are made do not exceed £120k (less than $200k). In the UK vaccination takes place effectively entirely at the risk of citizen, which is another unreasonable feature of the present system given the moral pressure on citizens to comply.

In an earlier episode British medical doctor and homeopath, Jayne Donegan, was brought into the defence of two similar cases, and was subjected to rough treatment by the courts. The reviewing judge, Lord Justice Sedley, dismissed her evidence as “junk science” and she found herself before General Medical Council on a charge of serious professional misconduct. In a remarkable reversal, however, the GMC panel completely vindicated her stating:

The Panel were sure that at no stage did you allow any views that you held to overrule your duty to the court and to the litigants.

 You demonstrated to the Panel that your reports did not derive from your deeply held views and your evidence supported this.  You explained to the Panel that your approach in your report was to provide the court with an alternative view based on the material you produced in your references.  That material was largely drawn from publications that were in fact in favour of immunisation.

Continue reading "Uncertainty as High Court Judge Rules Two British Schoolgirls Should be Given MMR Vaccine" »

Emily Willingham and the CDC Criminal

WillinghamBy John Stone Poul thorsen

Recent remarks by Forbes science columnist Emily Willingham about the autism/vaccine question are historically ill-informed, scientifically incompetent and politically naïve. John Stone, UK Editor of Age of Autism, documents her failure with extended quotation from articles by Dr F Edward Yazbak.

One of the strangest twists in Emily Willingham’s now infamous 10 Weirdest Things Linked To Autism column was her comment to Age of Autism’s Anne Dachel about a vaccinated vs non-vaccinated study. Here it is - to be prominently read - on the first page of comments:

That study has been done, but your group dissmisses (sic) it because the sixth author on it is a criminal, even though the database registry information is available, none of the other half-dozen or so authors have removed their names from the work, and the journals that have published the papers have not retracted them. It was a study involving a huge number of people. It was pretty definitive. What I love–and it bears repeating–is how you’ll dismiss this study and the CDC, yet religiously cite the CDC’s 1 in 50 number, derived from some very fuzzy data collection.

Not quite so visible (indeed it took me two days to locate it after I submitted) is my response, which ought to have shaken the lady if she was in any way concerned for the truth and certainly suggests her knowledge of the issues on which she purports to have intellectual expertise is superficial:

Hi Emily,

I think perhaps you are referring to the Madsen MMR study (only) of which Cochrane reported:
“The follow up of diagnostic records ends one year (31 Dec 1999) after the last day of admission to the cohort. Because of the length of time from birth to diagnosis, it becomes increasingly unlikely that those born later in the cohort could have a diagnosis”

While NEJM refused to publish a letter from epidemiologist Prof Samy Suissa of McGill University in which he had re-calculated the raw data to show that autism was 45% higher in the MMR vaccinated group.

But that was not the only CDC Danish study co-ordinated by the heavily indicted Dr Poul Thorsen – there were as (of) November last year at the Congressional hearing 21, four of which had been published since his indictment.

In fact, there is another problem here. Why can’t the CDC shake this embarrassing person off? For a clue here are two articles (1 The CDC finances, writes and helps publish Danish research Another useless CDC-supported autism study  and  The CDC, Spinach and Autism  published years ago in Red Flag(s) by Dr F Edward Yazbak:

So, we have a series of points.   (1) The study Willingham cites was for MMR only and not for the extended schedule, which is what Anne Dachel was talking about.  (2) The flawed results of the study – pointing to a significantly higher incidence of autism amongst the vaccinated - were the subject of expert comment independently of our side.  (3) The problem of Poul Thorsen’s collaborators is that they continue to be historically tangled with him – this is not on any rational basis testimony to the integrity of the 21 studies he has helped to coordinate and co-authored between the CDC and Aarhus University in Denmark (Staten Serum Institut). It will be recalled that when quizzed about the matter by the unimpressed Congressman Posey (“this guy is a humongous scumbag and one of the worst wanted men on earth”) at the Congressional hearing last November CDC spokeswoman Coleen Boyle had a fit of amnesia and could only recall that there were two such studies. Furthermore, we might continue to wonder with proceedings against Thorsen perpetually stalled in two continents how he could have helped himself to two million dollars of CDC money without inside help. Against this background Emily Willingham’s comments seem insouciant and even silly: they simply will not do.

Continue reading "Emily Willingham and the CDC Criminal" »

Voices for Vaccines III: The Opinions and Silences of Dorit Reiss

ReissBy John Stone

Following two articles on the organization Voices for Vaccine and its two leading advocates Dorit Reiss and Karen Ernst .  John Stone (UK Editor of Age of Autism) had the opportunity for a detailed exchange of views with Reiss on Examiner.com in its blog  ‘Anti Jenny McCarthy petition authored by pharmaceutical industry cronies’. The position, however, is much as before.

The legal and historical status of Voices for Vaccines

Dorit tried to make light of the association with ‘Task Force for Global’ a sizeable non-profit which claims to be a partner of the Centers for Disease control which takes money from the pharmaceutical industry. In fact, VFV were started by ‘Task Force’ in 2008 which stated its intention of recruiting members of the public to act as advocates for the vaccination program. When I originally wrote about Dorit on these Karen was on in minutes stating:

Voices for Vaccines has as its fiscal agent The Task Force for Global Health. They take in our donations and cut checks for us. Many non-profits who are too small to handle their own 501(c)3 status use fiscal agents in this way; it's quite common. We have absolutely no access to their money, nor do we benefit from their money. Voices for Vaccines is not tied to any pharmaceutical corporation or to any government organization. Thus far, all of our donations have been small and have come from individuals.

However, the Task Force website states that VFV is a project of Task Force (and it subdivision Vaccine Equity) and CDC veteran Alan Hinman is named as both director of Vaccine Equity (funded by Bill Melinda Gates Foundation,  Merck and Novartis) and VFV. When finally cornered on this we had the following exchange:

Dorit: The problem is that she [Karen]  cannot show you a negative: how is she supposed to show you that Hinman is not controlling? I point out that if you look at what VFV does, it is very clearly Karen and Ashley's voice you hear and no one else. If you want to demonstrate links to the Task Force, I'd appreciate some evidence of control.

Me: It would be a trifle unusual for the director of an organization not to have any say in its running. BTW does VFV have an independent report and accounts - I can't see anything displayed on the website?

Dorit: Note that Hinman is not listed as director on VFV. I don't know why he is on the Task Force. And I don't know about the accounts - you'd have to ask Karen Ernst.

Me: Karen can comment here if she wants.

I do not know whether Karen is grateful to Dorit but so far she has not shown up to clarify matters. Earlier on in the exchange Dorit had seemed to have more knowledge of VFV’s financial arrangements:

Many non-profits that are small make use of a financial agent. The global task force serves in that role for Voices for Vaccines. They pay the Global Task Force for it.

Agency or Regulator Capture

Here Dorit maintains the level of obfuscation we might expect following her article on the benefits of agency capture, only surprise she does not recognise any instance of capture and all the points where the CDC and industry meet – either through Task Force or the CDC Foundation – are ineffably benign and beneficent.

Dorit: … Reading the Task Force's annual report, I see some ex-CDC among its people, and some projects in which the CDC is a funder. http://www.taskforce.org/sites.... The fact that the Task Force gets funding from CDC seems to suggest that if anything the CDC has input into their projects, not that pharma influences the CDC covertly through the Task Force. That's not good evidence of pharmaceutical control (or even influence) on the CDC. To remind you, the CDC's operations are funded by Congress

Me: Surely, it is a matter of culture. Julie Gerberding was appointed head of Merck vaccine division within a year of leaving the directorship of the CDC - that is scarcely reassuring. You may be comfortable with such things, but I am not.

It's a long time ago but Task Force according to Wiki was founded by three ex CDC execs who could thus form partnerships with both industry and the CDC.

Another commenter “Ember” intervenes:

Your article arguing the benefits of (regulatory) capture is not confusing. The term regulatory capture was originated by Woodrow Wilson to signify the phenomenon of state regulatory agencies which were created to act in the public interest but which instead advance the commercial or special interests that dominate the industries the agencies are charged with regulating. There's really nothing confusing about trying to rectify the term or the practice as a "good thing."

Dorit responds to neither point. This is a later exchange:

Me: Actually, when it comes to the issue of regulatory capture the CDC Foundation is a very interesting topic. Here is a list of the foundations corporate partners with the rubric:
"Our diverse partners understand that linking with CDC through the CDC Foundation can significantly advance public health in this country and worldwide. Often, partners become engaged early on in a project to clearly understand its objectives or participate in the program design. Several partners may jointly fund a program to ensure its successful completion.

"Corporations whose goals or philanthropic interests align with CDC’s work often partner with the CDC Foundation to advance CDC's work on a specific health threat, such as protecting patients from healthcare-associated infections, reducing tobacco use and increasing screening and treatment for chronic and infectious disease." (http://www.cdcfoundation.org/what/partners#category-299)

Of course, all the major pharmaceutical manufacturers are there (and none of them are really philanthropic organizations)

Dorit: The foundation is actually set up as a good example of the…kind of collaboration that we want to encourage and that does not really raise concerns about capture. The foundation operates outside the CDC, with a dedicated team; it does things that do not require direct regulation of companies - most of the projects are focused either on research or on activism abroad; it does not give funding partners direct access to decision making inside the CDC; it allows the CDC to do things that it would not be able to do on its regular budget to prevent health threat; and in case you noticed, funding partners include The Mayo Clinic, the World Health Organization, and others.

Continue reading "Voices for Vaccines III: The Opinions and Silences of Dorit Reiss" »

The Lady Doth Protest Too Much: Voices for Vaccine is a Top-down Front Operation Launched by a CDC Partner in 2008

Karen ErnstBy John Stone

Despite Karen Ernst’s repeated insistence that Voices for Vaccines - who recently got up a petition against Jenny McCarthy on Change.com - is an independent parent-led organization speaking up for the vaccine program, the evidence that it was started by the Atlanta based non-profit partner of the Centers for Disease Control, Task Force for Global Health, to promote their joint policies is overwhelming. John Stone (UK editor of Age of Autism) reports:

A few days ago I wrote about vaccine program advocate Prof Dorit Reiss, her unconventional views about agency capture, and her links with Voices for Vaccines “an administrative project” of Task Force for Global Health a partner organization to the Centers for Disease Control and Emory University in Atlanta. The first response to my article was from Karen Ernst a Minnesota based officer of Voices for Vaccines : Reiss

“Voices for Vaccines has as its fiscal agent The Task Force for Global Health. They take in our donations and cut checks for us. Many non-profits who are too small to handle their own 501(c)3 status use fiscal agents in this way; it's quite common. We have absolutely no access to their money, nor do we benefit from their money. Voices for Vaccines is not tied to any pharmaceutical corporation or to any government organization. Thus far, all of our donations have been small and have come from individuals. Thus, the dots you have connected paint an incorrect picture.”

Ernst was again engaged the other day with Steve Schneider's article Big Pharma's faking a "grass-roots" campaign to keep Jenny McCarthy off "The View" in Mark Crispin Miller's News from the Underground blog noticed that a Change.com petition against McCarthy was being promoted by ‘Voices for Vaccines, St Paul, Minnesota’. Ernst was first to respond once more :

“I’m one of the two moms who runs VFV. Your blog post is curious to me, seeing that you are an academic. It seems you consulted Barbara Loe Fisher for her anti-vaccine conspiracy theories about who we are, but you never bothered to actually consult us.

 “I am the person who started the petition. I have been in contact with exactly zero people who work for pharmaceutical companies or who work in the government about the petition. At best, your headline is misleading. The rest of your blog post is inaccurate. You’ve misrepresented our relationship with our Scientific Advisory Board and our fiscal agent.”

For the record the current Voices for Vaccine website states: Troll doc

Voices for Vaccines was re-launched in early 2013 after two young parents, Karen Ernst and Ashley Shelby, volunteered to lead the organization in rallying parents of immunized children to combat vaccine misinformation and increase immunization rates. In 2010, Shelby and Ernst founded the blog Moms Who Vax, which offers resources on vaccine information, commentary, and first-person stories from parents who immunize. They are currently working to develop a new organization, the Minnesota Childhood Immunization Coalition.”

The name ‘Voices for Vaccines’ rang a bell but I could not immediately find any pre-2013 references on Google. The web archive was rather more helpful, however, with the earliest page holding any text dating from 13 May 2008 (passages in bold are my emphasis):

Continue reading "The Lady Doth Protest Too Much: Voices for Vaccine is a Top-down Front Operation Launched by a CDC Partner in 2008" »

Dorit Rubinstein Reiss and the Benefits of Agency Capture: The Latest Vaccine Industry Advocate

ReissBy John Stone

I always supposed that the concept of agency capture, in which government agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control or the Food and Drug Administration are taken over by the culture industries from which they were meant to be independent, was a bad thing. I understood that the usual posture of such bodies was simply to pretend that it was not happening and that there were regulations in place that were actively protecting the public interest (despite appearances). That was until I encountered  the website of Dorit Rubenstein Reiss and her unpublished paper (most of her papers appear to be unpublished) ‘The Benefits of Capture’.  According to Reiss  :

Observers of the administrative state warn against “capture” of administrative agencies and lament its disastrous effects. This article suggests that the term “capture”, applied to a close relationship between industry and regulator, is not useful—by stigmatizing that relationship, judging it as problematic from the start, it hides its potential benefits. The literature on “capture” highlights its negative results—lax enforcement of regulation; weak regulations; illicit benefits going to industry. This picture, however, is incomplete and in substantial tension with another current strand of literature which encourages collaboration between industry and regulator. The collaboration literature draws on the fact that industry input into the regulatory process has important benefits for the regulatory state. Industry usually has information no one else has, and has more incentive to give that information to a friendly regulator. Furthermore, working with industry can substantially improve the impact of regulation; voluntary compliance is cheaper and can be more effective than enforced compliance, and industry can help regulators minimize negative unintended consequences. This paper suggests that instead of engaging in name-calling, we should focus on identifying when a close industry-regulator relationship will work in the public interest, and when it is likely to undermine it. That is an empirical question.

Dorit Reiss, associate law professor Hastings campus University of California, first came to my notice the other week commenting on Rabbi Handler’s article about vaccination in the Jewish Press. I was fascinated to see how all my comments (and those of other contributors to Age of Autism) seemed to be swiftly removed after I challenged her on certain points. Then I discovered that she had responded in Harvard Law Review to Mary Holland, advocating that parents of unvaccinated children should be made liable for infection.  Barely a month ago probably no one in the field of vaccine safety advocacy had ever heard of Dorit Reiss now she seems to be everywhere, and passionate proponent of the vaccine industrial machine in all its guises and rampant institutional ambition.

The bottom line to all this, of course, is where is she coming from, to which there is an answer. Reiss is on the Parent Advisory Board of ‘Voices for Vaccines’ , the Scientific Advisory Board of which includes Alan R Hinman, Paul A Offit, Stanley A Plotkin and Deborah L Wexler . The website states that Voices for Vaccines was re-launched in 2013 and is “an administrative project” of the Task Force for Global Health. The Wiki entry for Task Force reads :

The Task Force for Global Health, is a non profit organization affiliated with Emory University. The organization was co-founded by global health pioneer and former CDC Director, Dr. William Foege and two of his former CDC colleagues, Carol Walters and Bill Watson. It was founded in 1984 as the Task Force for Child Survival. The Task Force was initially tapped to serve as a Secretariat for a consortium of global health organizations: UNICEF, WHO, The Rockefeller Foundation, The United Nations Development Programme, and the World Bank. These organizations sought Task Force support for a collaborative effort to improve child wellness and survival strategies. With the Task Force as Secretariat for the network, they resolved to work together to develop and implement a plan for global immunization efforts and measures to promote and maintain healthy children and families.

“Over its 28 year history, The Task Force has expanded the role of neutral convener and collaborator to address a broader range of global health challenges. In doing so, the organization changed its name to The Task Force for Global Health in 2009. Today, The Task Force has programs in three critical sectors of global health: Health System Strengthening, Immunization and Vaccines (the Task Force Center for Vaccine Equity), and neglected tropical diseases. In each sector, The Task Force works with partners and communities around the world to provide resources to improve global health for those in need. The organization works in 91 countries, collaborating with organizations such as WHO, as well as partnerships with industry to provide much needed medicines and communities to educate about disease prevention.

“The Task Force for Global Health is a nonprofit, public health organization, recognized as a 501(c)(3) corporation. The organization is based in Decatur, Georgia, near our partners at CDC, The Carter Center, CARE, and Emory University Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health.”

Continue reading "Dorit Rubinstein Reiss and the Benefits of Agency Capture: The Latest Vaccine Industry Advocate" »

Italian Court Finds that Hexavalent Vaccine Killed Baby Girl

Vaccine-injury-shotsBy John Stone

An Italian court has found that the administration of a hexavalent vaccine was responsible for the death of a six month old baby girl in her cot in 2003. According to the Italian on-line journal Informasalus  a judge in the Civil Court of Pesaro has found the Italian Ministry of Health guilty and awarded compensation of 200 thousand Euros, plus a retrospectively dated pension of 700 Euros a month and further compensation yet to be decided.

The court accepted evidence of a causal connection between the vaccine and the child’s death from a number of medical experts retained by the family as well as the court’s own expert. The little girl had received at one time four mandated vaccines and two optional ones including polio, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B and haemophilus influenza B (HiB).

The family’s lawyer over several years, Luca Ventarolo – a specialist in the field and advisor to the Italian vaccine safety organisation  Comilva - told the journal : “The child very soon began to manifest a number of symptoms related to vaccination: continuous joint pain, complete loss of appetite, disruption  of sleep-wake rhythms, and so on.”

The report states that the little girl died in her sleep one evening in February 2003 and an autopsy determined that she died of terminal interstitial pneumonia. Winning the case against the Italian Ministry of Health opens the way for further action against the health authority of Pesaro.

Compensation is granted according to a 1992 statute (No. 210) “in favour those harmed by irreversible complications due to mandatory vaccinations and blood transfusions”, and the compensation provided by this Act is paid by the Italian Ministry of Health.

This case follows on Ventarolo’s successful prosecution last year of the case of Valentino Bocca who was left autistic after receiving MMR .

In the UK an Oxford based group within the NHS has been trying to pilot a hexavalent  vaccine with similar components to the one in the Italian case in conjunction with Sanofi Pasteur    – hitherto the Hep B vaccine has wisely not been given routinely to British infants. It is contemplated that it will be administered with Meningitis C and presumably the rotavirus vaccine just introduced.  A significant feature of multivalent vaccines is that they deny the opportunity of choice about individual components (as with MMR). It looks as if British parents will soon be being bullied into routinely allowing 8 vaccines to be given to infants in one go. 

Some refs:
 

Ottaviani  G, Lavezzi AM, Matturri L. Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) shortly after  hexavalent vaccination: another pathology in suspected SIDS? Virchows Arch 2006;  448(1): 100-4.  

Zinka B,  Rauch E, Buettner A, Rueff F, Penning R. Unexplained cases of sudden infant  death shortly after hexavalent vaccination. Vaccine 2006; 24(31-32):  5779-80. 

Zinka B,  Penning R. Unexplained cases of sudden infant death shortly after hexavalent  vaccination. Letter to Editor. Response to the comment by H.J. Schmitt et al.  Vaccine 2006; 24: 5785–6.

John Stone is UK (and European) Editor of Age of Autism

Arise, Sir Andrew Hall (For Services to Public Health!!!)

Andrew HallBy John Stone

The Chair of the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, Prof Andrew Hall of the Gates Foundation funded London School of Hygeine and Tropical Medicine received a knighthood today in the Queen’s Birthday Honours . Meanwhile, the scandalous history of the JCVI as recounted by Dr Lucija Tomljenovic of British Columbia University in her paper presented to the British Society for Environmental Medicine  continues to go unaddressed. Dr Tomljenovic's paper is already widely recognised as one the most damning indictments of science-government cronyism ever assembled.

Beneath are some quotes from Tomljenovic’s paper:

Deliberately concealing information from parents for the sole purpose of getting them to
comply with an “official” vaccination schedule could be considered as a form of ethical violation or misconduct. Official documents obtained from the UK Department of Health (DH) and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) reveal that the British health authorities have been engaging in such practice for the last 30 years, apparently for the sole
purpose of protecting the national vaccination program….

Here I present the documentation which appears to show that the JCVI made continuous efforts to withhold critical data on severe adverse reactions and contraindications to vaccinations to both parents and health practitioners in order to reach overall vaccination rates which they deemed were necessary for “herd immunity”, a concept which with regards to vaccination, and contrary to prevalent beliefs, does not rest on solid scientific evidence as will be explained. As a result of such vaccination policy promoted by the JCVI and the DH, many children have been vaccinated without their parents being disclosed the critical information about demonstrated risks of serious adverse reactions, one that the JCVI appeared to have been fully aware of. It would also appear that, by withholding this information, the JCVI/DH neglected the right of individuals to make an informed consent concerning vaccination. By doing so, the JCVI/DH may have violated not only International Guidelines for Medical Ethics (i.e., Helsinki Declaration and the International Code of Medical Ethics) [2] but also, their own Code of Practice…

Continue reading "Arise, Sir Andrew Hall (For Services to Public Health!!!)" »

Best of AoA: Sir Liam’s Skeleton: the UK Department of Health Fabricates Flu Deaths to Boost Vaccinations

Bring_out_your_deadBy John Stone

As the smoke and mirrors operation of the bogus Welsh measles epidemic continues members of the British medical establishment are lining up to attack the reputation of Andrew Wakefield, whose defamation case against British Medical Journal and Brian Deer is hanging fire in Texas. On Sunday the UK government’s former Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, took his turn in the Observer to accuse Wakefield of junk science. But when it comes to junk science Sir Liam is something a past master himself…..

Contribute to the Dr. Wakefield Justice Fund at www.drwakefieldjusticefund.org/

From January 2010: 

Annual flu deaths in the UK averaged no more than 33 over the last 4 years despite an earlier statement by the Department of Health that 12,000 people die in the country from flu every year. Recent disclosures by out-going Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson demonstrate that such figures are fabricated to boost vaccination uptake. Quizzed in on-line British Medical Journal by deputy editor Tony Delamothe, Sir Liam posted details late on Christmas Eve.

Sir Liam and colleagues state that an:

"Estimate of ‘flu deaths is found in the annual mortality statistics produced by the Office for National Statistics. These statistics record the underlying cause of death. They are based on all registered deaths, based on the information on death certificates. The number of deaths for England & Wales with an underlying cause of influenza (ICD-10 code J10-J11) for the four recent calendar years are: 39 (2008), 31 (2007), 17 (2006) and 44 (2005). Many more deaths are attributed to pneumonia, some of which will be secondary to influenza.

However, they also give another official method of estimating flu deaths which greatly inflates the numbers in some years: 

The official estimate of influenza mortality is produced by the Health Protection Agency. It is derived from excess all-cause death registrations in the winter. When the number of all-cause death registrations rises above an ‘expected’ level in a given week, this excess is counted. The estimates for the last five years in England & Wales are: 1965 (2004-05 winter season), 0 (2005-06), 0 (2006-07), 426 (2007- 08), and 10351 (2008-09). The highest estimate in recent years was for the 1999-2000 ‘flu season, at 21,497.

It is interesting to note that in two out of five quoted recent years there was a zero figure, which means that mortality was under the projected estimate, and therefore a negative sum. Since projected mortality can only be based on average, it is inevitable that in some years it will be above and others below. The Department of Health has also tried to associate flu death with entire excess mortality for the winter season. For instance, a BBC news report with Sir Liam - which was part of the annual flu vaccine drive in 2007 - declared:

Continue reading "Best of AoA: Sir Liam’s Skeleton: the UK Department of Health Fabricates Flu Deaths to Boost Vaccinations" »

Former UK Medical Research Council Chief: ‘There is more of the MMR scandal to come’

 
Colin Blakemore
Professor Colin Blakemore
By John Stone

Too right!

Prof. Colin Blakemore – head of the MRC from 2003 to 2007 - is just one more member of the British medical establishment to express agitation about Andrew Wakefield   in the wake of the phony Welsh measles epidemic, reporting of which by one of many strange coincidences took off in the US media in the week of Wakefield ‘s hearing to have his case re-instated against BMJ and journalist Brian Deer in Texas.

Blakemore it should be noted became head of the Medical Research Council on 1 October 2003. On that very same day the UK Legal Services Commission, in the process of attempting to dissolve the MMR litigation announced that “All the research paid for by the LSC will be sent to the Medical Research Council who are investigating the causes of autism”.

It is by no means clear that the research was for the LSC to dispose of (as opposed to belonging to the

Sally Smith
Sally Smith
devastated and by then unrepresented litigant families) or that the Medical Research Council ever intended to seriously research the causes of autism (with nothing of substance a decade later to show for it), but another curious twist is that in 2004 Queen’s Counsel Sally Smith, who was to become prosecuting attorney for the GMC against Wakefield and colleagues, was appointed to the Ethics Committee of the MRC, where she remained until 2009 (by which time the GMC prosecution was virtually complete).

 

Anyhow, if Blakemore had really wanted to find the causes of autism he might have liked to consider the statement issued by officials of the US Vaccine Injury Compensation Program:

 "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."

Or the remarks Merck’s vaccine chief, Julie Gerberding, when she was still head of the CDC in relation to the Poling case:

Continue reading "Former UK Medical Research Council Chief: ‘There is more of the MMR scandal to come’" »

UK Department of Health Deliberately Exposes Vulnerable Population to Flu Infection

Risk-Management-ProgramBy John Stone


Is the vaccine program there to prevent harm or to foist commercial products on a captive market at the public expense? The parrot cry of health officials trying to bully citizens into vaccinating is that they are putting other people at risk, but it is very easy to call their bluff when they pursue a contradictory policy over nasal flu vaccine and children, a vaccine which sheds and will put in harm's way immune-compromised people and younger siblings. From September this year in the United Kingdom children above the age of two are to be offered a nasal influenza vaccine ‘Fluenz’ which is the same as  the ‘Flumist’ many American children already get, and this is to be rolled out for all schoolchildren next year. Here is the text of my recent letter to the British Medical Journal, so far unpublished:



It is deeply disturbing that this senseless project ploughs forward regardless. While government seems to have seized the agenda over influenza vaccination by unwarranted claims of (influenza) mortality [1,2] there are definable risks to the use of nasal influenza vaccine. Manufacturer's product information states among other things [3]:

"FLUENZ should not be administered to children and adolescents with severe asthma or active wheezing because these individuals have not been adequately studied in clinical studies.
"Do not administer FLUENZ to infants and toddlers younger than 12 months. In a clinical study, an increase in hospitalisations was observed in infants and toddlers younger than 12 months after vaccination (see section 4.8).

"Vaccine recipients should be informed that FLUENZ is an attenuated live virus vaccine and has the potential for transmission to immunocompromised contacts. Vaccine recipients should attempt to avoid, whenever possible, close association with severely immunocompromised individuals (e.g. bone marrow transplant recipients requiring isolation) for 1-2 weeks following vaccination. Peak incidence of vaccine virus recovery occurred 2-3 days post-vaccination in clinical studies. In circumstances where contact with severely immunocompromised individuals is unavoidable, the potential risk of transmission of the influenza vaccine virus should be weighed against the risk of acquiring and transmitting wild-type influenza virus."

Continue reading "UK Department of Health Deliberately Exposes Vulnerable Population to Flu Infection" »

David Aaronovitch Loses Exchange About Wakefield & MMR: Then it is Deleted

AaronovitchNewly appointed Index-on-Censorship chairman David Aaronovitch loses on-line exchange about Wakefield and MMR in the London Times: then  it is deleted.

By John Stone

With British journalists running relays to resuscitate the dead story of the Swansea measles epidemic  the former Communist Party activist, David Aaronovitch – newly appointed chairman of the “human-rights” organisation Index-on-Censorship  -  has come off worse in an exchange with me about Andrew Wakefield and MMR in The Times of London, which was after some hours deleted.

I had written under his article:

It is very unclear that Wakefield cheated bearing in mind the complete exoneration in the High Court last [year] of the senior author and clinician in the Lancet paper Prof John Walker-Smith, who unlike Wakefield was funded to appeal. Walker-Smith was equally responsible for [the] paper and it’s reporting, and more responsible for any clinical decisions regarding the patients in it. The GMC findings, which were based on Brian Deer's allegations, cannot be considered reliable: indeed were highly flawed.

However, an over-riding problem with MMR is that irrespective of Wakefield it is used despite any scientific certainty as to safety. The conclusion in abstract of the Cochrane review of MMR in both 2005 and 2012 is:

"The design and reporting of safety outcomes in MMR vaccine studies, both pre- and post-marketing, are largely inadequate. The evidence of adverse events following immunisation with MMR cannot be separated from its role in preventing the target diseases."

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16235361
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22336803

Perhaps by some Orwellian sleight of hand "largely inadequate" for the professional has become "adequate" for the layman, but in my opinion being lulled to sleep by official truths is not being a good journalist.

To which Aaronovitch responded:

@John Stone You have a dog in this fight, John. Brian Deer's "allegations" as you call them concerned Wakefield's methods, his undeclared financial interest in single vaccinations and role as paid expert to anti-vaccination litigation, his doctoring of case histories and the ethics of his research on his subjects. And obscure the facts as much as you will, you cannot come up with credible evidence of an autism link to MMR, either correlative or causal. It would have been much better for those dealing with autism had this whole MMR farrago not distracted from the business of research into causes and help to parents.

For those who want it here is the link to Brian Deer's website…

Continue reading "David Aaronovitch Loses Exchange About Wakefield & MMR: Then it is Deleted" »

MMR and the Crumbling Façade of the British State

David salisbury
Dr David Salisbury - Head of UK Immunisation in Victoria Towers Garden by the Palace of Westminster
By John Stone

Truth is a hard game and when people start admitting it you scarcely know where it might end. Today, the BBC and the United Kingdom Department of Health tacitly admitted that a key finding of the GMC hearing against doctors Wakefield, Walker-Smith and Murch was false, to wit that the Wakefield Lancet paper of 1998 was identical to a study commissioned by the Legal Aid Board: with that finding out of the way – dismissed as it was Mr Justice Mitting in the High Court in the appeal of Prof John Walker-Smith – then many of the other accusations against all three doctors crumble to dust.

 

This is the wording of the BBC report:

 Dr Wakefield's study considered whether there was a link between the three-in-one MMR vaccine and autism and bowel disease.

It focused on tests carried out on 12 children who had been referred to hospital for gastrointestinal problems.

Dr Wakefield was also paid to carry out another study at the same time to find out if parents who claimed their children were damaged by the MMR vaccine had a case. Some children were involved in both studies.

However,  this  study was not the abandoned  one that the GMC panel insisted on in its findings:

The Panel has heard that ethical approval had been sought and granted for other trials and it has been specifically suggested that Project 172-96 was never undertaken and that in fact, the Lancet 12 children’s investigations were clinically indicated and the research parts of those clinically justified investigations were covered by Project 162- 95. In the light of all the available evidence, the Panel rejected this proposition.

Obscenely, the GMC panel deliberated for three years over this falsehood and yet such is justice that it has only been over-turned in the case of one of the doctors. However, it really is time that the manufacturers of these official deceits started answering questions. For instance, why - if MMR was safe - were such disgusting perversions necessary to protect its reputation?

 John Stone is UK Editor for Age of Autism.

Britain Becomes a Closed Society

Britian doorBy John Stone

On Monday the three main British political parties came to an agreement to create a Royal Charter  for press regulation based on the recommendations of Lord Leveson,  which also hints at draconian powers over the internet which may extend across national borders. Inevitably, at the table in the small an hours of Sunday night was the shadowy lobby organisation Hacked Off, which had pretended to act as public watchdog  at the Leveson Inquiry while representing powerful global interests , meanwhile including as an adviser  the pharmaceutically aligned former Member of Parliament Dr Evan Harris, who collaborated with Brian Deer on his "MMR investigation" .  The implication of the charter in its draft form is that it may even attempt to control what is said about British concerns by British citizens on foreign websites, with the threat of legal retribution. The key clause comes in Schedule 4 (1b) (Page 21) :

“relevant publisher” means a person (other than a broadcaster) who publishes in the United Kingdom:

  1. i.    a newspaper or magazine containing news-related material, or
  2. ii.   a website containing news-related material (whether or not related to a newspaper or magazine)”

If this happened powers could plausibly be used to limit informed comment on such things as the vaccine programme and the causes of the autism epidemic  according to bureaucratic consensus, as we have already seen effectively happens in the British media for the most part without statutory controls, and as is also now being threatened in Australia.

At the inquiry Lord Leveson refused to allow evidence about the conduct of the Sunday Times MMR investigation but took care to hear evidence from the pharma funded PR guru Fiona Fox of Science Media Centre, and he later denounced Andrew Wakefield in his report, none of which was apparently in his original remit. Fox had chaired a Department of Business committee to determine the future of British scientific journalism which included Paul Nuki, who had hired Brian Deer to find “something big” on “MMR”,  and Martin Moore the boss of Hacked Off. Leveson and lead counsel to the inquiry, Robert Jay, also failed to disclose that they themselves had had an historical role in denying British MMR litigants a hearing.

The Daily Mail reported on Tuesday:

“The Royal Charter also states that it will cover 'news-related material' including current affairs news and information, opinion and 'gossip about celebrities, other public figures and other persons in the news'.

“Kirsty Hughes, the chief executive of Index on Censorship said: 'This will undoubtedly have a chilling effect on everyday people's web use,' she said.

'Bloggers could find themselves subject to exemplary damages, due to the fact that they were not part of a regulator that was not intended for them in the first place.'

Continue reading "Britain Becomes a Closed Society" »

Alex Spourdalakis and The Future

FutureUpdate 3/13: Alex remains in the hospital with his mother.

Update 3/12. Alex's Mom Dorothy Spourdalakis has a care plan meeting scheduled at the hospital - which, if she does not agree fully to the terms, will mean the removal of her son from her care and his being placed in DCFS

Managing Editor's Note: This comment from our John Stone is well worth repeating here on the main site.

I don't think in the history of AoA any story has struck such a chord as this one. Here we see the catastrophic future of our children - created by modern medicine, and well beyond its capacity to deal with. If it hasn't happened to us or them yet it, it assuredly will. This is the future a greedy industry and sychophantic crony government officials have created for us and our children - the complete failure of human institutions. Hell on earth.

Or we can think of those children in Chad, blamed for their reaction to the WHO meningitis vaccine, and shipped off to die in the desert for the greater good...

HMS Brian Deer Holed Beneath the Waterline?

Ship sinks

Part II Deer’s hideous revenge

By John Stone

On Friday AoA reported that the journal Nature had been persuaded to remove from its on-line news service derogatory and misleading remarks by Brian Deer about whistleblowing scientist Dr David Lewis. The remarks had stood since 9 November 2011, posted under Eugenie Samuel Reich’s report  of Lewis’s rebuttal of Deer’s allegations against Andrew Wakefield in the British Medical Journal. While BMJ had refused to publish most of Lewis’s article in any form the Reich article contained serious admissions by Deer and BMJ editor Fiona Godlee.

Now Deer has republished the letter on his own website headed ‘Reprint Nature.com’ (with logo)  but fails to mention that the journal itself has removed it. Other title headings which accompany the letter, in the best academic style, are ‘Response to crank attack by David L Lewis’  and  ‘Dr David L Lewis: you couldn’t make it up’ to which , perhaps, the only answer is ‘But you did, Brian, didn’t you?’

This is obviously cutting edge stuff in the brave new world of Oxford and BMJ’s ‘Evidence Based Medicine’ 

Down, down, down…

John Stone is UK Editor for Age of Autism.

HMS Brian Deer holed beneath the waterline?

John Stone

On the ninth anniversary of the publication Brian Deer’s original allegations against Andrew Wakefield in the Sunday Times (22 February 2004) the journal Nature has been forced to remove derogatory and misleading comments from the web by Deer about whistleblowing scientist Dr David Lewis, which have stood since November 2011. Deer’s insinuations against Lewis were provoked by Lewis’s defence of the research integrity of Wakefield’s controversial paper ‘Ileal-lymphoid-nodular-hyperplasia, non-specific colitis and pervasive development disorder in children’  against the reformulated allegations of Brian Deer against Wakefield in BMJ in January 2011.  While the British MedicalJournal refused to publish Lewis’s report except in a highly censored format, it commenced the unravelling of Deer’s account, first of all with the report of Eugenie Samuel Reich in Nature, and then in 2012 with the High Court exoneration of  Wakefield's colleague Prof John Walker-Smith and the decision of University College London not to investigate the Wakefield affair further on the advice on the United Kingdom Research Integrity Office (UKRIO) . 

The removal follows on a letter – shortly to be published on-line  - from Dr Lewis’s attorney, F Edwin Hallman Jr, to British Medical Journal where a more elaborate version of Deer’s allegations appear. An earlier letter in a similar vein was written on behalf of Dr Lewis to by Stephen Kohn to La Crosse, University of Wisconsin, where Mr Deer was invited to give talks last October.

The question arises how much longer the British establishment can go on supporting Deer’s allegations? It is clear that they began to get cold feet before the General Medical Council hearing againstAndrew Wakefield and colleagues in 2005-6, taking their cue from an article Ben Goldacre in the Guardian newspaper, which was followed by editorials in the Independent, New Scientist, Spiked-online and BMJ calling for the prosecution to be called off , and that bad feeling has existed between Deer and Goldacre since . Now, what the present writer once dubbed “the Boseley problem” looms large:

“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”.

Brian Deer Fantasist: ‘Taking on the Establishment’

Brian Deer LaCrosse Oct 5 2012By John Stone

Brian Deer's forthcoming presentation at the BMJ/Oxford conference is entitled 'Taking on the establishment - investigative journalism'. In this regard it may be helpful in documenting just how fanciful this claim is to revisit my letter to BMJ published after a two week tussle with them in February 2010. And just to consider the great champion of the ordinary citizen against the over-powerful is still at top table in Oxford in 2013!

........................................

Trisha Greenhalgh's competing interests  

Prof Greenhalgh [1] does not disclose any competing interests. She has, however, contributed a controversial article [2,3] attacking the 1998 paper [4] to journalist Brian Deer's website. Although not disclosed here by Greenhalgh or in the accompanying article by Deer [5], Deer was named as a complainant against Andrew Wakefield in the High Court by Mr Justice Eady, who stated [6]:

"Well before the programme was broadcast [Mr Deer] had made a complaint to the GMC about the Claimant. His communications were made on 25 February, 12 March and 1 July 2004. In due course, on 27 August of the same year, the GMC sent the Claimant a letter notifying him of the information against him."

Since 2003 Greenhalgh has benefitted from more than £1.4m in research grants from the Department of Health [7]. When Deer's original allegations were published in the Sunday Times in February 2004 he was supported by the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, who told ITV [8]:

"There is absolutely no evidence to support this link between MMR and autism. If there was, I can assure you that any government would be looking at it and trying to act on it. I hope, now that people see that the situation is somewhat different to what they were led to believe, they will have the triple jab because it is important to do it."

and by Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, who told the BBC [8]:

"I don't think that spin and science mix. If they are mixed, it is a very unfavourable position for children's health. Now a darker side of this work has shown through, with the ethical conduct of the research and this is something that has to be looked at."

and Jeremy Laurance reported in the Independent [9]:

"At the Department of Health, which has striven for the past six years to bolster public confidence in the vaccine, joy is unconfined at the discrediting of Andrew Wakefield, as the researcher responsible for the scare."

Meanwhile, Health Secretary John Reid asked the GMC to investigate [10].

I express concern that conflicts that go up to the highest ranks of government are still conflicts, that the government itself is not a disinterested player, and has not behaved like one. At the same time Prof Greenhalgh's research has benefitted hansomely from its largesse. I believe there should be an inquiry.

[1] Trisha Greenhalgh, Why did the Lancet take so long? BMJ 2010; 340: c644

Continue reading "Brian Deer Fantasist: ‘Taking on the Establishment’" »

BBC Admits Dark Side to Bill Gates’s Polio Project Ahead of Dimbelby Lecture

Bill-gates_reutBBC forced to admit dark side to Bill Gates’s polio project ahead of lecture. (photo credit Reuters)

By John Stone

Ahead of tonight’s prestigious Dimbleby lecture by Bill Gates the BBC has been forced to acknowledge that there are serious concerns about the safety and usefulness of Gates’s polio  project. In an apparently upbeat article ‘The world can defeat polio’  the BBC’s Medical Correspondent, Fergus Walsh, slips in a reference to the work of Jacob Puliyel quote in AoA last week. The abstract to the paper by Vashisht and Puliyel in the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics states:

It was hoped that following polio eradication, immunisation could be stopped. However the synthesis of polio virus in 2002, made eradication impossible. It is argued that getting poor countries to expend their scarce resources on an impossible dream over the last 10 years was unethical. Furthermore, while India has been polio-free for a year, there has been a huge increase in non-polio acute flaccid paralysis (NPAFP). In 2011, there were an extra 47,500 new cases of NPAFP. Clinically indistinguishable from polio paralysis but twice as deadly, the incidence of NPAFP was directly proportional to doses of oral polio received. Though this data was collected within the polio surveillance system, it was not investigated. The principle of primum-non-nocere was violated. The authors suggest that the huge bill of US$ 8 billion spent on the programme, is a small sum to pay if the world learns to be wary of such vertical programmes in the future.

Clearly, what should occur is an open public debate about these issues rather than just taking the word of the world’s most successful salesperson. Last week Gates told the Daily Telegraph: “The golden rule that all lives have equal value and we should treat people as we would like to be treated.” But the reality is that the golden rule applies neither at the level of open debate (the opposition is shouted down) or the children horrifically injured in pursuit of alleged greater good. There is no indication that he is doing anything but continuing to act high handedly, and his words should be treated with as much suspicion as before.

See also: ‘Bill Gates Buying Immortality In History - By Beating An Already Beaten Disease - And Killing Kids

John Stone is UK Editor for Age of Autism.

Hi, Dr. Kalichman.


Doing "God's Work": is Bill Gates's Second Career Ethically Messier than his First?

God dnaBy John Stone

Next week Bill Gates is to deliver the BBC’s annual Dimbleby lecture. In advance of this event Gates was profiled by a Daily Telegraph feature writer, Neil Tweedie. Unfortunately – like so many modern mainstream journalists – Mr Tweedie seems to have abandoned the task of balanced and informed reporting. He certainly shows no sign of responding to the letter I sent him three days ago. Thus it is Gates seems to be able to rely on a defeated and abject mainstream media to ignore or cover over the tracks of disaster.

Gates’s second career is in many ways very like his first: a matter of global conquest without too much finesse (everyone simply has to have his products) but this time the price in human terms is very high when it goes wrong. Here is my letter to Tweedie:

Dear Mr Tweedie,

You may not have known but on the day your interview with Bill Gates was published he was successfully negotiating for the exclusion of mercury containing paediatic vaccines from a UN global mercury ban, a matter which he omitted to mention and in which he has kept a low profile. Despite what his underlings or the British government say, all mercury is toxic and it is being administered to infants in toxic quantites. The use of these vaccines in the UK was phased out in 2004, either because the British government thought it politically unacceptable or because they tacitly knew they were doing damage. I have also written about it here .

Meanwhile, in regard to polio eradication I draw you attention to a paper by Vashisht and Puliyel in the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics sarcastically titled: "Polio programme: let us declare victory and move on" for which this is the abstract:

It was hoped that following polio eradication, immunisation could be stopped. However the synthesis of polio virus in 2002, made eradication impossible. It is argued that getting poor countries to expend their scarce resources on an impossible dream over the last 10 years was unethical. Furthermore, while India has been polio-free for a year, there has been a huge increase in non-polio acute flaccid paralysis (NPAFP). In 2011, there were an extra 47,500 new cases of NPAFP. Clinically indistinguishable from polio paralysis but twice as deadly, the incidence of NPAFP was directly proportional to doses of oral polio received. Though this data was collected within the polio surveillance system, it was not investigated. The principle of primum-non-nocere was violated. The authors suggest that the huge bill of US$ 8 billion spent on the programme, is a small sum to pay if the world learns to be wary of such vertical programmes in the future.

Also, the schedule which Gates, GAVI, the WHO and governments are implementing takes no account of the adverse synergistic effects of the combined vaccines. I attach  a copy of the paper by Aaby et al 'Vaccine programmes must their effect on general resistance' (BMJ. 2012 Jun 14;344:e3769. doi: 10.1136/bmj.e3769).

Continue reading "Doing "God's Work": is Bill Gates's Second Career Ethically Messier than his First?" »

Daily Mail Publishes MMR Letter

MmrA slightly edited but not toned-down version of a letter by Bill Welsh, President  of Autism Treatment Trust, Scotland was published in the Daily Mail hard edition on Friday (18 January 2013).  Age of Autism here reproduces the original text for its readers.

Sir,

 A payment of $600,000 in the USA as compensation for MMR vaccine damage leading to autism in a child (Daily Mail 15/1/13) follows a $1 million payout a few days earlier for the same tragic scenario. It is my understanding that up to 100 families in America have now been compensated in recognition of the neurological harm MMR can do, although, as part of the recompense, each family had to sign a 'confidentiality agreement'! There are many more USA cases awaiting a decision.

 Last year a small boy in Rimini was similarly compensated for the autism he developed following MMR. The Italian government did not challenge the court decision. Hundreds more cases are in the pipeline in Italy.

In the UK over 1,500 families entered litigation claiming MMR had led to autism in their child. Legal aid was suspiciously withdrawn and the parents were abandoned with their seriously ill children who had, and still have, known, painful, treatable co-morbid underlying medical conditions.

 What does this tell us of the mindset and morals of the guardians of public health in the UK?

 It tells us that the ancient Carthaginian policy of child sacrifice is alive and well and has full approval in the shadier corridors of  Whitehall. The promotion and protection of a deeply flawed vaccination programme has over-ruled common sense and common decency. To damage perfectly healthy children in a crude experiment is undoubtedly a criminal offence and must be treated as such. It is high time that our politicians realised that they, along with the citizens of the UK, have been misled about the safety of MMR.

Bill Welsh

"Not All Mercury Is Toxic" Desperate Throw in New Scientist to Prevent UN Ban

Camel doctorsBy 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."

Continue reading ""Not All Mercury Is Toxic" Desperate Throw in New Scientist to Prevent UN Ban" »

Utter Froth: Autism Epidemic Caused by the Film Rain Man!

FrithBy John Stone

The remarkable claim that the autism epidemic is an artefact of the popularity of the film Rain Man is made by the developmental psychologist and autism expert Prof Uta Frith of University College, London in a recent BBC news item which purports to make fun of scientific myths created by the movies. Frith is known for coining the concept of "theory of mind" in relation to autism in 1985 in collaboration with Simon Baron-Cohen, and also holds a professorship at Aarhus University, home of Poul Thorsen. The film Rain Man, starring Dustin Hoffman, appeared in 1988. This is the relevant extract from the BBC news item:

Interviewer: “The film Rain Man was actually the turning point in the awareness of autism.”

Frith: “If you look at the kind of curves that you see about the prevalence of autism there was an apparent increase in prevalence but of course it is really an increase in awareness.”

1987-8 was indeed the period in which infants in the first wave of the autism epidemic in Britain and the United States were being born, but of course they would not have been diagnosed in 1988, and it seems preposterous that doctors and scientists (presumably including Prof Frith) would have been so influenced by a popular film (they certainly should not have been). In 1988, for instance, Prof Frith was 47 and had completed a PhD on autism twenty years before - where, then, are all the cases that she missed? The film is about a middle-aged man not about young children. I can find no papers on Pubmed discussing, let alone supporting, a Rain Man hypothesis. 

As it is this after dinner tittle-tattle will now be repeated as solemn gospel by people who “heard it on the BBC”. It looks more as if Prof Frith is trying to create myth here than destroy one.  Why would she do that? Perhaps she ought to consult her conscience about all the families desperately battling to obtain services for their children while professionals engage in whimsical and misleading fantasies about their historical predicament.


John Stone is UK Contributing Editor to Age of Autism.