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178 posts categorized "Mark Blaxill"

Mark Blaxill on Fox & Friends RE: Gardasil Mandates

Mark Blaxill appeared on Fox & Friends yesterday. Please read his series, "License to Kill" about Merck, the Federal Government and how Gardasil was brought to market HERE. You may recall that the former head of the CDC (Dr. Julie Gerberding) became head of Merck's Vaccine Division upon leaving her government job.

“The Age of Autism” Debuts in Paperback as the Battle for the Truth Escalates

Age of Autism_cover quote (3) By Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill
 
Eighty years ago today – on Sept. 13, 1931 – a girl known only as Virginia S. was born. She became the oldest child in a landmark medical paper by Leo Kanner titled, “Autistic Disturbances of Affective Contact,” describing Virginia and 10 other children with a new syndrome that became known as autism.
 
By happenstance – our publisher picked the date, not us – today is the launch of the paperback edition of our book first published a year ago, “The Age of Autism – Mercury, Medicine, and a Man-made Epidemic.”
 
The convergence serves to make the main point in our book – that autism is a new disorder, that it arose within the span of a human lifetime, that it is therefore fundamentally an environmental illness, and that in order to prevent and treat it, medicine needs to understand that and act with urgency.
 
The past year has taken us around the country – from Minneapolis and Dallas to Visalia and Atlanta – and we have met many people who share our vision of The Age of Autism. One direct result has been the creation of the Canary Party that seeks to end medical corruption and force a reckoning with the root causes of so much chronic illness and developmental disability.
 
A number of other events this year have helped underline the theme of our book and undercut the paradigm of autism as an untreatable genetic illness– but not without the resistance of a rearguard whose livelihood and reputations depend on clinging to the old model.
 
Most astonishing, the basis for the claim that autism is mostly genetic crumbled like the Berlin Wall. As one of us wrote in July,

“For over two decades now, so-called 'autism experts' have been claiming that autism is more than 90% caused by genes. The influence of these claims on autism policy and research funding is hard to overstate. But few realize that the basis of these claims hangs on a fragile evidence base: two small twin studies--one from Great Britain, the other from Scandinavia--that reported high rates of concordance for autism among identical twins and no concordance at all among fraternal twins. Last week, the largest and most rigorous twin study ever conducted, the California Autism Twin Study (CATS) reported contradictory new evidence that struck a devastating blow to these claims. The CATS identical twins had lower and the fraternal twins higher concordance rates than past studies, a striking finding that suggests that instead of being highly heritable, the vast majority of autism cases stem from environmental causes.

Continue reading "“The Age of Autism” Debuts in Paperback as the Battle for the Truth Escalates" »

Rick Perry and The Conflicts of Government Licensed Corporate Profit: Merck & Gardasil

Rick perry Last Spring, Mark Blaxill authored three posts about Merck's Gardasil HPV vaccine and the symbiosis of government and commerce. Texas Governor Rick Perry is in the news not only for his Presidential bid, but his close relationship with Merck, including  an attempt to mandate Gardasil for Texas girls in 2007. An attempt that fell flatter than a Longhorn steer's cow patty. An attempt that he now says was a big mistake.  According to The Washington Post, Perry's conflicts of interest were myriad:

"Merck could generate billions in sales if Gardasil _ at $360 for the three-shot regimen _ were made mandatory across the country. Most insurance companies now cover the vaccine, which has been shown to have no serious side effects.

The New Jersey-based drug company is bankrolling efforts to pass state laws across the country mandating Gardasil for girls as young as 11 or 12. It doubled its lobbying budget in Texas and has funneled money through Women in Government, an advocacy group made up of female state legislators around the country.

Perry has ties to Merck and Women in Government. One of the drug company's three lobbyists in Texas is Mike Toomey, Perry's former chief of staff. His current chief of staff's mother-in-law, Texas Republican state Rep. Dianne White Delisi, is a state director for Women in Government.

The governor also received $6,000 from Merck's political action committee during his re-election campaign.

A top official from Merck's vaccine division sits on Women in Government's business council, and many of the bills around the country have been introduced by members of Women in Government.

Merck spokeswoman Janet Skidmore would not say how much the company is spending on lobbyists or how much it has donated to Women in Government. Susan Crosby, the group's president, also declined to specify how much the drug company gave."

Some folks are calling Gardasil mandates into question because HPV is a sexually transmitted disease, thus a social issue, especially for Conservatives. Blaxill dissects the argument from a more logical point of view. In short, the Perry/Gardasil issue isn't about teen promiscuity, it's about:

  • A vaccine that hasn’t yet saved a life and won’t have a chance to test the theory that it does for years
  • A vaccine that’s already killed and disabled children
  • A vaccine that generated billions in revenue and profit for Merck within months.
  • A vaccine the FDA gave a free pass on safety without testing against a true placebo
  • A vaccine the CDC couldn’t wait to recommend without testing or questioning any of the assumptions above
  • A CDC leader named Julie Gerberding who was responsible for recommending Gardasil as safe and effective and then waited the minimum number of days before passing through the revolving door to taking responsibility for managing the sales and profit of the same vaccine.  Read the three part series in full below.

By Mark Blaxill

Part 1 A License to Kill? How A Public-Private Partnership Made the Government Merck’s Gardasil Partner
 
“Perhaps no other recent product on the market demonstrates successful health care technology transfer better than the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, Gardasil, produced by Merck & Co. and approved by the FDA in June 2006,” proclaimed a recent National Institutes of Health (NIH) newsletter. In a February 23, 2007 article entitled “From Lab to Market: The HPV Vaccine”, the NIH Record celebrated the pivotal role of government researchers in developing Merck’s Gardasil product. “Based largely on technology developed at NIH,” the newsletter reported, “the vaccine works to prevent four types of the sexually transmitted HPV that together cause 70 percent of all cervical cancer and 90 percent of genital warts (HERE).
 
The occasion motivating this celebratory article was the “Philip S. Chen, Jr. Distinguished Lecture Gardasil on Innovation and Technology Transfer” given by Douglas T. Lowy, one of the NIH scientists involved in developing the HPV vaccine. In the ceremony pictured above, Lowy is receiving an honorary poster from the head of NIH at the time, Elias Zerhouni, who took advantage of the occasion to shower praise on his team’s work, one he viewed as a model for future efforts. “It’s a ‘heroic’ story about the effort to fight cervical cancer, the second most deadly cancer for women worldwide, said NIH director Dr. Elias Zerhouni,” in the NIH Record’s account. “He noted that he has talked about the vaccine’s creation to Congress and with the President on his recent visit to NIH. How researchers took the technology ‘from the lab to the marketplace is a journey we can learn from,’ Zerhouni said.”
 
While Zerhouni was bragging to anyone in Washington D.C. who would listen about the NIH team’s role in this historic accomplishment, the vaccine's developers were actively spreading the news of their achievement in scientific circles. It’s hard to blame them, because at the time Lowy and his colleague John T. Schiller, leaders of the team that had invented the technology for the “virus-like particles” (or VLPs) that made Gardasil possible, were in some pretty heady company. In 2008, Harald zur Hausen, the scientist who discovered the role of human papillomavirus (HPV) in cervical cancer during the 1980s, received one half of the Nobel Prize in Medicine; the two researchers at the Pasteur Institute who had discovered the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) had to share the other half.

Continue reading "Rick Perry and The Conflicts of Government Licensed Corporate Profit: Merck & Gardasil" »

An Elaborate Fraud, Part 4: News Analysis -- The British Medical Association Is “Standing Up for Doctors” Even If It Means Attacking Patients

Blanket Lancet

By Mark Blaxill

If you go to the web-site of the British Medical Association you will find the BMA’s tag line prominently displayed: “Standing up for doctors.” It’s a position most notable for what they do not stand up for: not patients, not science, not health, just the doctors who join the association. The home page elaborates what this means more directly, “We are … an independent trade union dedicated to protecting individual members and the collective interests of doctors.”

In other words, The BMA is an unabashed economic entity: a trade union. And its primary purpose is to defend the money and power of its members. It’s that simple. Who does the BMA stand against? The adversary of the day might vary a bit. But on a day to day basis, the biggest conflicts British doctors face are with patients. When patients comply with what doctors tell them to do and generate income for them, they are useful to the BMA. When they want to take control of their own families’ health, or worse, suggest that member doctors may have caused harm, well that’s a different matter. When patients' interests conflict with “standing up for doctors,” It’s pretty clear what the BMA’s job is.

The BMA attacks critical patients as if they were their enemy.

One of its instruments for defending doctors’ interests is “science,” or more accurately, propaganda masquerading as science. Notably, the BMA publishes the British Medical Journal, the journal that earlier this year disseminated Brian Deer’s accusations of fraud against Andrew Wakefield. Despite Wakefield’s lengthy and Byzantine trial on allegations surrounding his medical ethics and research design in front of the General Medical Council (GMC), allegations of scientific fraud were not part of the GMC proceedings. Until January 2011, freelance reporter Brian Deer, and Deer alone, had accused Wakefield of lying about data and falsifying evidence. That is, until the BMJ entered the mix, effectively certifying the validity of Deer’s 2009 accusations in The Sunday Times with a dramatic flourish that proved even more devastating to Wakefield’s reputation than the GMC trial. How devastating were these accusations? In a press release, BMJ editor Fiona Godlee claimed to be “struck by a comparison between researcher Andrew Wakefield’s fraud and Piltdown man, that great paleontological hoax that led people to believe for 40 years that the missing link between man and ape had been found.” Sadly, these extravagant allegations were picked up by the global media, spread like wildfire, and, despite their manifest implausibility, the charges stuck.

For any doctor or scientist who might ever have been inclined to support a critical patient the message was clear: when the BMA and its flagship journal the BMJ go after you, they will be ruthless.

Lost in the frenzy over Wakefield’s alleged scientific fraud, however, is the fact that the origin of the evidence in the 1998 Lancet article never came from Wakefield.  Rather, the Royal Free Hospital's investigation (which included many others beyond Wakefield) was launched based on the collection and reporting of observations originally made by parents. These parental observations included varying forms of regressive autism or encephalitis, inflammatory bowel disease and a temporal association between exposure to the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (MMR) and the onset of symptoms. As time has passed (and in every one of the cases reported in The Lancet paper), the parents’ continuing reports support Wakefield’s original account. In addition, many thousands of parents have subsequently reported an identical sequence of events. At kitchen tables all over the world, the MMR has become known as “the autism shot.” The heart of the matter, therefore, is the tension between the British medical establishment on one hand and the Lancet parents on the other.

So in accusing Wakefield, the BMJ is really doing something else; they are accusing the Lancet parents of committing an elaborate fraud.

Why would the BMJ condone such an aggressive attack? Sadly again, in publishing Deer’s accusations, the house organ of the BMA was advancing the interest neither of science nor the truth. Instead, they were “standing up for doctors”: for the income doctors gain from frequent visits to the doctor to receive vaccination; for doctors’ freedom to avoid costly minutes with skeptical parents during their well-child visits; and for the power of doctors to force parents to comply with the recommended vaccination schedule.

As for Deer’s reporting, while Wakefield provided the proximate target, not far under the surface lurked an aggressive attack on parents who have the temerity to question the mandates of the BMA and public health officials. It’s quite a ruthless attack: Parents who question vaccine safety are a danger to the public health; Parents who allege vaccine injury are liars; Parents who take offense to intimidation and coercion are anti-vaccine campaigners; Parents who seek resources to support a vaccine-injured child are cheating the system to get rich.

This kind of attack is not delicate work. But in making the decision to tie its reputation to Deer’s, the BMA made a risky choice.

One need not look very far to find evidence of Deer’s boorishness. It’s most plainly exemplified by his unvarnished contempt for noncompliant parents. One widely circulated example was provoked following on-line challenges to Deer’s reporting by three autism parents: Lancet 12 mother Isabella Thomas, Age of Autism Contributing Editor John Stone and a third unnamed blogger. Jumping into the fray in a Pharma-friendly blog, Deer had this to say about the critical parents (see HERE)

And they wonder why their children have problems with their brains.

Apparently not content with just this brief insult, Deer elaborated further (see HERE )

Continue reading "An Elaborate Fraud, Part 4: News Analysis -- The British Medical Association Is “Standing Up for Doctors” Even If It Means Attacking Patients" »

Part 3: Vaccines and Autism - What Do Epidemiological Studies Really Tell Us?

Special_Report

(Managing Editor's Note: Read Part 1and  Part 2. Also, this report is available in in full .pdf (Vaccines and Autism Epidemiology HERE)

“We have 16 studies already that clearly state that vaccines do not cause autism.”

-- Amy Pisani, Executive Director, Every Child By Two

“16 studies have shown no causal association between vaccines and autism, and these studies carry weight in the scientific industry.”

-- Dr. Nancy Snyderman, NBC Today Show Medical Editor


“The science is largely complete. Ten epidemiological studies have shown MMR vaccine doesn’t cause autism; six have shown thimerosal doesn’t cause autism.”

-- Dr. Paul Offit, “Autism’s False Prophets”

----------------------------

A NOTE FROM SAFEMINDS:

There are 16 epidemiological studies here on MMR vaccines, thimerosal and autism. These studies represent the most often cited papers by scientists, public health officials and members of the media when trying to refute any evidence of an association between vaccinations and autism.

There are serious methodological limitations, design flaws, conflicts of interest or other problems related to each of these 16 studies. These flaws have been pointed out by government officials, other researchers, medical review panels and even the authors of the studies themselves. Taken together, the limitations of these studies make it impossible to conclude that thimerosal and MMR vaccines are not associated with autism.

SafeMinds would like to acknowledge the previous work in this regard gathered by the “Fourteen Studies” project at Generation Rescue: http://www.14studies.org/about.html

One additional study on autism and thimerosal was published in September 2010 while this paper was in completed draft form. This study’s methods produced a result that demonstrated that thimerosal exposure was protective against autism. Further analysis of this study is forthcoming but not included here.

PART 3

FLAWS AND LIMITATIONS OF THIMEROSAL-AUTISM EPIDEMIOLOGY STUDIES

There has only been one major scientific review of the main epidemiological studies to examine a potential association between thimerosal containing vaccines (TCVs) and autism spectrum disorders: The Institute of Medicine Immunization Safety Committee Report, issued in May, 2004.[37]

The IOM report focused almost exclusively on large, population-based epidemiological studies based on health records. The committee chose to minimize the importance of several biomedical thimerosal studies conducted in laboratories and animal models. Today, a much larger body of medical literature has been amassed which clearly demonstrates the powerful neurotoxic effects of thimerosal. These are joined by other studies demonstrating the increased risks of simultaneous administration of certain vaccines on the current childhood schedule.

WHAT THE IOM CONSIDERED:

The IOM committee reviewed epidemiological studies examining TCVs and autism, including three controlled observational studies (Hviid et al., 2003; Miller, 2004; Verstraeten et al., 2003) and two uncontrolled observational studies (Madsen et al., 2003; Stehr-Green et al., 2003). The published papers “consistently provided evidence of no association between TCVs and autism, despite the fact that these studies utilized different methods and examined different populations (in Sweden, Denmark, the United States, and the United Kingdom),” the committee wrote.

IOM MAIN CONCLUSIONS:

■ “Based on this body of evidence, the committee concludes that the evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism.”

■ “In the absence of experimental or human evidence that vaccination (either the MMR vaccine or the preservative thimerosal) affects metabolic, developmental, immune, or other physiological or molecular mechanisms that are causally related to the development of autism, the committee concludes that the hypotheses generated to date are theoretical only.”

LIMITATIONS OF THE IOM REVIEW:

■ Because the “vast majority” of ASD cases cannot be accurately sub-classified, “if there is a subset of individuals with autism syndrome triggered by exposure to vaccines, our ability to find it is very limited in the absence of a biological marker.”

■ In fact, the committee admitted, trying to find a cause of autism using population-based epidemiological analyses “requires either a well-defined at-risk population or a large effect in the general population.”

■ But without any known biomarkers, well-defined risk factors, or large effect sizes, “the committee cannot rule out, based on the epidemiological evidence, the possibility that vaccines contribute to autism in some small subset or very unusual circumstances.”

NOTE: Knowledge of biomarkers and risk factors in ASD has increased considerably since the release of the 2004 IOM report.

CRITIQUES OF THE IOM REVIEW

Mark D. Noble, PhD - Professor of Genetics and of Neurobiology and Anatomy, University of Rochester Medical Center [38]

It is easy to understand why people are not believing the scientific community. It reduces confidence in the scientific enterprise when it turns out that the CDC had information on early versions of the studies of Verstraeten et al. that demonstrated a linkage between thimerosal exposure and autism, that these studies were never published, and that no one has ever explained satisfactorily why different analyses were conducted and why they were changed. But all of these studies have equally debilitating flaws that invalidate any conclusions drawn from them on thimerosal safety. And if it turns out that that there is a subset of children for whom additives in vaccines are a problem, then this is important to know. For then we can focus on how to identify these children in advance. The conclusions I have drawn are that we are not going to solve this problem by ignoring it. So let’s embrace it. Let’s get the data.

Irva Hertz-Picciotto, PhD, MPH, Chief of the Division of Environmental and Occupational Health, University of California, Davis School of Medicine –[39]

Several large studies finding no association are far from robust, as they suffer from numerous biases that seriously limit their definitiveness. These include: noncomparable sources for ascertainment of cases, uncontrolled confounding, unrepresentative sample due to selective exclusions, and an as-yet unexplained pattern whereby children with earliest vaccines are the least likely to have developmental deficits. Thus, the body of evidence at this point is inadequate to draw conclusions… Several investigations have been ecologic studies, widely known to be the weakest possible epidemiologic design. Even restricting discussion to the individual-level designs, published studies conducted in Denmark, the UK, and the US are characterized by serious, even fatal, flaws. To regain the confidence that we in the medical/public health/scientific community need in order to fulfill our mandate to protect health, we cannot avoid facing these tough scientific questions head-on. This means funding solid scientific research into vaccines, thimerosal, and the related issues of susceptibility at the population level.

Richard Deth, PhD, Professor of Pharmacology, Northeastern University – [40]

Continue reading "Part 3: Vaccines and Autism - What Do Epidemiological Studies Really Tell Us? " »

Part 2: Vaccines and Autism - What Do Epidemiological Studies Really Tell Us?

Special_Report
(Managing Editor's Note: We ran Part 1 earlier this week. this report is available in in full .pdf (Vaccines and Autism Epidemiology HERE)

“We have 16 studies already that clearly state that vaccines do not cause autism.”

-- Amy Pisani, Executive Director, Every Child By Two

“16 studies have shown no causal association between vaccines and autism, and these studies carry weight in the scientific industry.”

-- Dr. Nancy Snyderman, NBC Today Show Medical Editor


“The science is largely complete. Ten epidemiological studies have shown MMR vaccine doesn’t cause autism; six have shown thimerosal doesn’t cause autism.”

-- Dr. Paul Offit, “Autism’s False Prophets”

----------------------------

A NOTE FROM SAFEMINDS:

There are 16 epidemiological studies here on MMR vaccines, thimerosal and autism. These studies represent the most often cited papers by scientists, public health officials and members of the media when trying to refute any evidence of an association between vaccinations and autism.

There are serious methodological limitations, design flaws, conflicts of interest or other problems related to each of these 16 studies. These flaws have been pointed out by government officials, other researchers, medical review panels and even the authors of the studies themselves. Taken together, the limitations of these studies make it impossible to conclude that thimerosal and MMR vaccines are not associated with autism.

SafeMinds would like to acknowledge the previous work in this regard gathered by the “Fourteen Studies” project at Generation Rescue: http://www.14studies.org/about.html

One additional study on autism and thimerosal was published in September 2010 while this paper was in completed draft form. This study’s methods produced a result that demonstrated that thimerosal exposure was protective against autism. Further analysis of this study is forthcoming but not included here.

PART 2

FLAWS AND LIMITATIONS OF MMR STUDIES

Major Reviews – There have been at least two major reviews of the main studies claiming to examine a potential association between MMR vaccine and autism spectrum disorders. They are the 2005 Cochrane Review and the 2004 Institute of Medicine Immunization Safety Committee Report.

1) The Cochrane Review: “Vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella in children.” October 2005.[1]

According to their sponsors, the Cochrane Reviews report on published (and sometimes unpublished) studies which investigate the effects of interventions for prevention, treatment and rehabilitation in a healthcare setting. Most Cochrane Reviews focus on randomized controlled trials, but other types of evidence may also be taken into account.  The reviews are considered by most experts to provide the gold standard of evidence-based medical science.

In 2005, Cochrane published a review of published studies on the safety and efficacy of MMR vaccine. Their search revealed more than 5,000 papers on the subject, though only 139 of them “possibly satisfied” the reviewers’ inclusion criteria. In the end, they reported on and summarized about 31 studies, only a few of which pertained to autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

Main results - MMR was “likely to be associated” with febrile convulsions within two weeks of vaccination, but “unlikely to be associated” with Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, mumps or autism.

General Limitations: the authors concluded that: 

■ There was a moderate-to-high probability of bias in all but one of the cohort studies.

■ The internal validity of some studies was problematic, and the presence of selection, performance, attrition, detection and reporting biases influenced the reviewers’ confidence in these findings. The most common type of bias was selection bias.  

■ There was only limited evidence of MMR’s safety compared to single component vaccines from studies with a low risk of bias. The few studies least likely to be affected by systematic error pointed to a likely association with increased febrile convulsions in the first two weeks post-vaccination.  

■ The cohort studies’ conclusions “that MMR is ‘safe,’ ‘equally safe,’ ‘well-tolerated,’ or has ‘low-reactogenicity,’ need to be interpreted with caution given the potential for confounding.

■ In the cohort studies, the validity of the conclusions was affected by selective reporting in the comparative analysis, with just over half the responses from participants in some cases.

■ There was a lack of clarity in reporting and systematic bias which made it “impossible” to compare the various studies through quantitative synthesis of data.

■ There were general difficulties in ascertaining adequate numbers of unexposed children due to the high uptake of vaccines and the extent of vaccination programs. This is a methodological problem likely to be encountered in all comparative studies of established childhood vaccines.   

■ There was a “lack of adequate description of exposures (vaccine content and schedules)” in all cohort studies.    

■ The failure of any study to provide descriptions of all outcomes was a recurring problem.  

■ Some reports offered inadequate explanations for missing data, accepting as ‘adequate’ explanations such as ‘nonresponse to questionnaire’ and ‘medical records unavailable’.

■ The external validity of the studies was low. Descriptions of the study populations, response rates, vaccine content and exposure - all important indicators of generalizability - “were poorly and inconsistently reported.”  

■ There were inadequate and inconsistent descriptions of reported outcomes, limited observation periods (maximum 42 days) and selective reporting of results. All of these problems contributed to the reviewers’ decision not to attempt pooling data by study design

SUMMARY – Although the reviewers determined that MMR vaccine was “unlikely to be associated” with autism, they concluded that “meaningful inferences from individual studies lacking a non-exposed control group are difficult to make.” They added that there were disappointed by their inability to identify effectiveness studies with population or clinical outcomes.

Many critics question how the authors of Cochrane’s MMR Review could find an “unlikely” association with autism when - in the very same paper - they also concluded that:

(a)   the design and reporting of safety outcomes in MMR vaccine studies, are largely inadequate and

(b)  that critical design and reporting flaws need to be improved and standardized definitions of adverse events adopted.

Sallie Bernard, of SafeMinds, wrote that the Cochrane Review “gives MMR a free pass.” She said the review “Assumes that this version of vaccine is as safe as can be, and so beneficial there is no need to worry about the fact that the safety studies are inadequate. Would this happen for any other drug?  Isn’t it possible, even probable, that the vaccine is effective but still has safety lapses and could be improved?”

In a review presented at the International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR) Carol Stott, a UK epidemiologist and Chartered Psychologist, wrote that, given the Cochrane Review’s conclusions, it is important to examine the extent to which the various clinical and population studies have been designed appropriately and with specific reference to the original hypothesis and, thus, to examine the extent to which claims of the hypothesis being refuted or supported are valid.

2) Institute of Medicine, “Immunization Safety Review: Vaccines and Autism.” May, 2004[2]

In February 2004, the IOM’s Immunization Safety Committee held a hearing on the possible association between MMR, thimerosal and autism. The committee reviewed all published and unpublished epidemiological studies on causality as well as potential biologic mechanisms to explain a possible vaccine-autism causal association. Its findings were released in a May, 2004 report. The committee’s conclusions hold wide sway over many scientists, physicians and much of the media to this day.

Main Results: The committee concluded that the body of epidemiological evidence “favor” rejection of a causal relationship between the MMR vaccine and autism,” further stating that studies examining the association between MMR and autism consistently showed evidence of no association between the MMR vaccine and autism.

Limitations:

■ Because the “vast majority” of ASD cases cannot be accurately sub-classified, if there is a subset of individuals with autism syndrome triggered by exposure to vaccines, our ability to find it is very limited in the absence of a biological marker.

■ Although there is no convincing evidence to date that a clearly defined subgroup with susceptibility to MMR-induced autism has been identified, genomics and proteomics could reveal in the future whether or not any genetic susceptibility to vaccine-induced autism exists.

■ A lack of unexposed children is another limitation. The committee noted that they had previously called for studies to enroll children whose families opted against the MMR vaccine, but so far, this type of study has been difficult to do with sufficiently large numbers.

■ The committee also noted that its 2001 report did not exclude the possibility that MMR “could contribute to autism in a small number of children because the epidemiological studies lacked sufficient precision to assess rare occurrences.”

■ They also noted that it was possible that epidemiological studies would not detect a relationship between autism and MMR vaccination in a subset of the population with a genetic predisposition to autism.

The latter two points are covered in the introduction to this document. While the points are well received, it is important to note that ‘epidemiological’ studies lack neither precision nor accuracy simply by virtue of them being ‘epidemiological’. It is entirely possible to design population based studies to maximize the likelihood of identifying small effect sizes; the fact that this hasn’t yet been achieved in the vaccine-autism debate is the fault of the workmen, not the tools. 

SUMMARY: The IOM Committee gave far more emphasis to epidemiological (population based) studies than biological studies, such as clinical studies in children, laboratory studies, and animal model studies. Since the IOM report was released in May, 2004, a large amount of biological data have been generated from several published studies to support an association between vaccines – including MMR - and ASD. A new IOM review that includes these studies is needed.

INDIVIDUAL MMR STUDIES

Continue reading "Part 2: Vaccines and Autism - What Do Epidemiological Studies Really Tell Us? " »

Part 1: Vaccines and Autism - What Do Epidemiological Studies Really Tell Us?

Special_Report
(Managing Editor's Note: We are running the report in three installments this week. The report is available in in full .pdf (Vaccines and Autism Epidemiology HERE)

“We have 16 studies already that clearly state that vaccines do not cause autism.”

-- Amy Pisani, Executive Director, Every Child By Two

“16 studies have shown no causal association between vaccines and autism, and these studies carry weight in the scientific industry.”

-- Dr. Nancy Snyderman, NBC Today Show Medical Editor


“The science is largely complete. Ten epidemiological studies have shown MMR vaccine doesn’t cause autism; six have shown thimerosal doesn’t cause autism.”

-- Dr. Paul Offit, “Autism’s False Prophets”

----------------------------

A NOTE FROM SAFEMINDS:

There are 16 epidemiological studies here on MMR vaccines, thimerosal and autism. These studies represent the most often cited papers by scientists, public health officials and members of the media when trying to refute any evidence of an association between vaccinations and autism.

There are serious methodological limitations, design flaws, conflicts of interest or other problems related to each of these 16 studies. These flaws have been pointed out by government officials, other researchers, medical review panels and even the authors of the studies themselves. Taken together, the limitations of these studies make it impossible to conclude that thimerosal and MMR vaccines are not associated with autism.

SafeMinds would like to acknowledge the previous work in this regard gathered by the "Fourteen Studies project at Generation Rescue.

One additional study on autism and thimerosal was published in September 2010 while this paper was in completed draft form. This study’s methods produced a result that demonstrated that thimerosal exposure was protective against autism. Further analysis of this study is forthcoming but not included here.

PART 1

MAJOR GAPS IN KNOWLEDGE

Conventional wisdom holds that the autism-vaccine question has been “asked and answered,” and that at least 16 large, epidemiological studies have thoroughly addressed and debunked any hypothesis that childhood vaccination is associated with an increased risk of autism spectrum disorder.

But there are numerous critical flaws in such an oversimplified generalization, and they are rarely given close examination by public health experts or members of the media.

It is particularly discouraging that members of the scientific community are so willing to dismiss a hypothesis that has yet to be fully tested. Overconfident pronouncements such as those found in the quotes above do nothing to advance either the cause of science or our understanding of the complex issues involved. They are, instead, the product of misunderstanding and wishful thinking, brought about by the overzealous drive to ‘disprove’ an unpopular and possibly disquieting theory.

Continue reading "Part 1: Vaccines and Autism - What Do Epidemiological Studies Really Tell Us? " »

New Autism Twin Study Demolishes Decades-Long Belief in Genetic Causation

Money down drain dollar sign water By Mark Blaxill

For over two decades now, so-called “autism experts” have been claiming that autism is more than 90% caused by genes. The influence of these claims on autism policy and research funding is hard to overstate. But few realize that the basis of these claims hangs on a fragile evidence base: two small twin studies--one from Great Britain, the other from Scandinavia--that reported high rates of concordance for autism among identical twins and no concordance at all among fraternal twins. Last week, the largest and most rigorous twin study ever conducted, the California Autism Twin Study (CATS) reported contradictory new evidence that struck a devastating blow to these claims. The CATS identical twins had lower and the fraternal twins higher concordance rates than past studies, a striking finding that suggests that instead of being highly heritable, the vast majority of autism cases stem from environmental causes.

It’s hard to overstate the importance of the CATS findings. They mean that everything leading “autism experts” have been saying for decades is wrong. And everything leading autism parent advocates have been saying for years is right.

The foundations of autism orthodoxy

As the reality of the autism epidemic began settling in over the last decade, an odd drumbeat in the writing of autism geneticists became more insistent. The more obvious it had become that something new and terrible was happening to a generation of children, the more extreme the statements of the genetics researchers became. It’s as if repeating the orthodox statements as frequently as possible would give them more weight. And the more their extreme claims went unchallenged, the more a spurious “scientific consensus” could be claimed. Here’s a small sample: (1) “Autism is clearly among the most heritable of all psychiatric disorders“(2003); (2) “Autism is one of the most heritable complex disorders, with compelling evidence for genetic factors and little or no support for environmental influence” (2004); (3) “Autism spectrum disorders are considered to be among the most heritable of all mental disorders…. recent reviews estimate the heritability of autistic disorder to be more than 90%.” (2010); (4) “ASDs are known to be highly heritable (~90%)” (2010).

Despite the fact that an explosion in autism rates rendered illogical any ongoing belief in the genetic inheritance of autism, the influence of this orthodox position on autism’s research funding remained profound. Hundreds of millions of research dollars were spent over the last decade in a vain hunt for autism genes; a spending binge that has continued unabated, with over $100 million spent at NIH on genetics-only research during the latest two years of the Combating Autism Act alone.

In the meantime, a mini-industry of epidemic denial has emerged among academics willing to posit a newfound popularity among physicians and parents for the autism label, one that has produced increasingly bizarre claims of diagnostic excess in many forms: substitution, oversight, expansion and accretion among them. These claims have been retracted, disavowed and falsified multiple times, yet because of the overriding need to feed “the hungry lie” these claims keep cropping up in novel forms. Meanwhile, the research funding to support them continues, including active support from NIH. And sadly, anyone in the scientific community with the courage to stick their necks out and suggest that autism rates might be going up because, well, there were more cases of autism, found themselves facing reactions ranging from polite ostracism to ruthless censorship.

The basis for this orthodox belief in autism’s heritability rests on a very specific body of autism research: the investigation of concordance rates within twin pairs. These studies take advantage of a seemingly simple test--the presence or absence of similar outcomes in twins--to estimate the relative contribution of nature (i.e., genes) and nurture (i.e., the environment) to a given disease. To the extent that identical twins have the identical outcomes and fraternal twins have different ones, the cause can reasonably be assigned to genes. To the extent that identical twins have different outcomes and fraternal twins have the same outcome, the cause lies in the environment.

In the case of autism, this test has been applied to twins with increasing frequency, but the orthodox belief in heritability hangs on a slender thread of evidence: the first, a British study of twin pairs first recruited in 1977 (5) and then expanded in 1995 (6); the second, a Scandinavian study from 1989 (7). The 1977 British study reported on just 21 twin pairs, 11 identical and 10 fraternal. Of these, only 4 of the identical twin pairs were concordant for autism (a remarkably low rate that is frequently forgotten). The 1989 Scandinavian study with the same small sample size, 11 identical pairs and 10 fraternal pairs, found autism in both identical twins in 10 of 11 pairs and again no concordance in any of the fraternal pairs. Subsequently, nearly two decades after their first study, the British team recruited 28 new pairs in 1995 and pooled them together with some of the previous group. These new pairs showed a similar profile: only one twin in each of new fraternal pairs had autism (i.e., a zero concordance rate); and of the new identical pairs, 11 of 16 were concordant, giving a 69% concordance rate that fell between their original calculation and the Scandinavian group.

The British team then added an important new element: a heritability calculation. Using a complex approach (with formulae that defy clear explanation), they took all these concordance rates banged them against two different background rates of autism, ran them through a model and declared, “The estimates of broad heritability were 93% and 91% for the base rates of 1.75 and 10 in 10,000.”

And thus was born the belief that autism was more than 90% genetic.

The orthodoxy in quiet crisis: discordant evidence on twin concordance

Continue reading "New Autism Twin Study Demolishes Decades-Long Belief in Genetic Causation" »

Vaccines and Autism - What Do Epidemiological Studies Really Tell Us?

Special_Report
(Managing Editor's Note: this report is available in .pdf (Vaccines and Autism Epidemiology HERE)

“We have 16 studies already that clearly state that vaccines do not cause autism.”

-- Amy Pisani, Executive Director, Every Child By Two

“16 studies have shown no causal association between vaccines and autism, and these studies carry weight in the scientific industry.”

-- Dr. Nancy Snyderman, NBC Today Show Medical Editor


“The science is largely complete. Ten epidemiological studies have shown MMR vaccine doesn’t cause autism; six have shown thimerosal doesn’t cause autism.”

-- Dr. Paul Offit, “Autism’s False Prophets”

----------------------------

A NOTE FROM SAFEMINDS:

There are 16 epidemiological studies here on MMR vaccines, thimerosal and autism. These studies represent the most often cited papers by scientists, public health officials and members of the media when trying to refute any evidence of an association between vaccinations and autism.

There are serious methodological limitations, design flaws, conflicts of interest or other problems related to each of these 16 studies. These flaws have been pointed out by government officials, other researchers, medical review panels and even the authors of the studies themselves. Taken together, the limitations of these studies make it impossible to conclude that thimerosal and MMR vaccines are not associated with autism.

SafeMinds would like to acknowledge the previous work in this regard gathered by the “Fourteen Studies” project at Generation Rescue: http://www.14studies.org/about.html

One additional study on autism and thimerosal was published in September 2010 while this paper was in completed draft form. This study’s methods produced a result that demonstrated that thimerosal exposure was protective against autism. Further analysis of this study is forthcoming but not included here.

PART 1

MAJOR GAPS IN KNOWLEDGE

Conventional wisdom holds that the autism-vaccine question has been “asked and answered,” and that at least 16 large, epidemiological studies have thoroughly addressed and debunked any hypothesis that childhood vaccination is associated with an increased risk of autism spectrum disorder.

But there are numerous critical flaws in such an oversimplified generalization, and they are rarely given close examination by public health experts or members of the media.

It is particularly discouraging that members of the scientific community are so willing to dismiss a hypothesis that has yet to be fully tested. Overconfident pronouncements such as those found in the quotes above do nothing to advance either the cause of science or our understanding of the complex issues involved. They are, instead, the product of misunderstanding and wishful thinking, brought about by the overzealous drive to ‘disprove’ an unpopular and possibly disquieting theory.

Continue reading "Vaccines and Autism - What Do Epidemiological Studies Really Tell Us?" »

Mark Blaxill Public Comment to IACC: "A Time to Lead"

Mark blaxill A Time to Lead

My name is Mark Blaxill. I am the father of a 15 year old daughter diagnosed with autism, a Director of SafeMinds and editor-at-large of Age of Autism. I am also a co-author of The Age of Autism: Mercury, Medicine and a Manmade Epidemic. Since our book was published last September I have had the privilege of traveling across the country to meet with dozens of groups and thousands of families affected by autism. I was deeply impressed by the affected individuals, mothers, fathers and family members I met on our tour. Above all else, I was impressed by how so many families have the same story to tell and by how many of us are asking for the same things. We are asking for bold leadership that unfortunately we have not yet seen.

Most directly, in the midst of the greatest childhood epidemic of all of our lives, we are trapped in an historic failure of the scientific process. Thomas Kuhn taught us how communities of “normal scientists” can prevent progress and trap important field of inquiry in scientific orthodoxy. We have seen this pattern play itself out in autism, first in the idea that parents and especially mothers caused autism because they hated, indeed even wanted to murder their children. More recently we have been trapped in the equally failed search for inherited autism genes. In the meantime, we are investing next to nothing in environmental causation. This is a fundamentally irrational approach, yet the orthodox researchers who benefit from this irrationality have defended their territory while they invoke science in the name of their own interests. Not a single dollar spent in the process has prevented a single case of autism. Worse than that, we are spending millions of dollars to promote denial.

In an environment of increasing budget scarcity, this is more than just a scientific failure; it’s an economic one as well. We are wasting taxpayer resources and approaching the governance process with a lack of urgency that seeps into all aspects of autism science. As a near monopsonistic buyer, NIH has a unique power in setting scientific agendas. The IACC should serve the consumers of autism science. Instead you appear to most of us to serve the medical industry, aiding and abetting the fiction that the controversies over autism research pit “parents vs. science.” In reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The real controversy is one between critical consumers of autism science and the orthodox producers whose work has failed us.  In the debate between the autism community and the medical industry, your responsibility here should be clear.

This is not an abstract problem. Before 1930, the rate of autism was effectively zero. Before 1990, autism in the United States was exceedingly rare, as low as 1 in 10,000. Today, with roughly 1% of children born in the 1990s, it should be breathtakingly clear that autism is manmade. And that makes the autism epidemic not merely a public health crisis but a crisis of public ethics and morality as well. Hundreds of thousands of children, now growing to adulthood, are victims of preventable injury, a form of invisible violence. It is a form of violence that requires witnesses. Yet because of the nature of the injuries involved those witnesses must typically have scientific, medical or technical training. In large part, this witness pool also has career and economic interest in the medical industry, one of the main suspects. Tragically, but perhaps not surprisingly, we are seeing a moral failure of enormous proportions, as potential witnesses are sanctioned, censored and intimidated while the entrenched power of the orthodoxy has successfully sustained its prerogatives. This is not right. More to the point, it is not good. And it is long past time for a change.

More than any other single group of individuals, you members of the IACC are in a position to lead that change. That requires many things of you. It requires you to pay attention. It requires you to think independently and rationally. It requires you to take personal risk. It requires you to challenge close friends and colleagues who are part of the orthodoxy that perpetuates the problem. Above all, it requires moral courage. The only thing it does not require is that you wade through the complex machinations of denial because the problem is simple and staring you in the face. We are staring you in the face. And because autism is what it is, we will be standing in front of you until we are gone, or until you have done the right thing, whichever comes first.

 

The Age of Autism: Featured Advocacy Reception at Autism One/Generation Rescue Conference

Age of Autism_cover quote (3) Featured Advocacy Reception in the Presidential Suite Thursday evening at the AutismOne/Generation Rescue 2011 Conference!

From our dear colleagues who brought you the magnificently well-reasoned book The Age of Autism: Mercury, Medicine, and a Man-Made Epidemic, authors Mark Blaxill and Dan Olmsted will be on hand for a reception highlighting autism advocacy in action:  "Press the Flesh – Learn Big Truths."

Among other crucial goals, the advocacy track at the conference strives to capture, focus, and foster positive change based on the emerging science that vaccine components have played a role in the autism epidemic. Almost 50 percent of Americans now believe there is a connection, but those in positions of authority deny any possible link and refuse to undertake any investigation that could prove embarrassing to the status quo.

This regrettable position prevents the medical community from treating autism as a biomedical, environmentally-induced condition, underfunds research efforts, marginalizes vaccine safety, and jeopardizes the vaccine program.     

Please join us as we meet in the Presidential Suite beginning at 7 pm for great conversation and refreshments.

And follow-up with us for these notable presentations:

  • Friday, May 27, 1:30 pm:  Kim Stagliano, Dan Olmsted, Mark Blaxill and contributors to the Age of Autism daily Web newspaper.
  • Saturday, May 28, 4 pm: Mark Blaxill and Dan Olmsted's inspirational advocacy presentation in the Grand Ballroom.

We're looking forward to meeting you there!

TACA Events Feature The Age of Autism!

Age of Autism_cover quote (3) Foothill Autism Alliance Features Age of Autism Authors

Wed, Mar 9th, 2011, @7:00pm-9:30pm
The Age of Autism - Mercury, Medicine, and a Man-Made Epidemic

Address:
Pasadena Child Development Associates
620 North Lake Avenue, 2nd Floor
Pasadena, CA 91101
(Just north of the 210 Freeway, click here for directions)

For more info & To RSVP (required)

http://foothillautism.org/index.php?option=com_events&task=view_detail&Itemid=101&agid=94&year=2011&month=03&day=09

TACA Costa Mesa Features Age of Autism Authors

Saturday, March 12th, 1:00 – 3:00pm

The Age of Autism – Mercury, Medicine and a Man-made Epidemic

Address:

TACA Foundation office
3070 Bristol Street, Suite 340
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

(Near South Coast Plaza off the 405 Freeway exit)

 For more information & to RSVP (required)

http://www.tacanow.org/local-chapters/california/orange-county/

Book purchase and signing will be available at both meetings

Offit Cashes In: Closing the Books on the Vaccine Profits of a Merck-Made Millionaire

Rotateq $ By Mark Blaxill

“Cash in: To withdraw from a venture by or as if by settling one’s account.”

Paul Offit would like the world to see him as a champion of children’s health and a disinterested observer of controversial issues in autism and vaccine safety. In the view of many in the autism community, he is the worst kind of partisan: a Merck-made millionaire, a determined propagandist for expanding the medical industry’s vaccine profit pool and an active opponent of the need to stop the autism epidemic in its tracks. I will confess my own bias up front: like many autism parents, I hope and trust that history will bestow the fullest possible measure of shame on Offit, a man who so richly deserves it.

But lest we ever risk losing the central point here, it’s worth stating clearly: Paul Offit has made millions of dollars in the vaccine industry he so zealously promotes, in books, in articles and in media appearances. His conflicts of interest are not only obvious, they are florid.

Continue reading "Offit Cashes In: Closing the Books on the Vaccine Profits of a Merck-Made Millionaire" »

Counting Offit’s Millions: More on How Merck’s Rotateq Vaccine Made Paul Offit Wealthy

Doc under mag glass Note: This post first ran in December of 2009.

By Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill

Paul Offit, vaccine entrepreneur and public health spokesperson, has earned approximately $10 million in income from Rotateq® royalties through 2009 and stands to earn a total of between $13-35 million over the life of his rotavirus vaccine patents, according to a new analysis by Age of Autism. Our analysis also shows that Offit’s future royalty income is strongly tied to Rotateq®’s future sales in domestic and international markets, giving him a strong financial stake in both the specific success of the rotavirus vaccine category and the global reputation of vaccines in general.

This new analysis by Age of Autism updates an earlier report in which we detailed Offit’s financial conflicts. Our original report, derived through independent reporting on which Offit and his employer would not comment, was based on information that we have since learned did not reflect recent changes in practices on sharing patent revenues with inventors and a private agreement on revenue sharing between Offit and his co-inventors. Our new estimate of Offit's total profit of $13-35 million through 2019, overlaps the range of our original estimate of $29-55 million. Both those estimates exceed Offit's recent -- and apparently partial -- disclosure that he made "about 6 million.”

Continue reading "Counting Offit’s Millions: More on How Merck’s Rotateq Vaccine Made Paul Offit Wealthy" »

Mark Blaxill on WITF PA "Smart Talk" Vaccines and Autism

Smart Talk, on WITF in PA ran a show on autism and vaccines featuring Mark Blaxill, Cynthia Demuth, AAP representative and Dr. Jeannette Ramer.  Here's the direct link: WATCH HERE

Watch the full episode. See more Smart Talk.

The Offit Index: Tracking a Patent Owner’s Ongoing Financial Interest in One Vaccine’s Sales

Baby bottom ME's Note: We ran this post ten days ago. Seemed valuable to share it again.

By Mark Blaxill

Vaccine developer Paul Offit has just published a new book, Deadly Choices, in which he turns up the volume and the rhetoric against what he likes to call “the anti-vaccine movement.” His target, he argues, has launched a dangerous assault on the public health, and its misguided disciples are everywhere, including people like you and me. Based on the advance description, I don’t plan on boosting his sales.

But my friend and colleague Dan Olmsted has read it and wrote about it HERE. Dan found the tone mean-spirited and describes Offit’s work as “a score-settling screed against anyone who's ever criticized him or vaccine safety surveillance.” Offit isn’t alone in his name calling, it seems the public relations mavens of the medical industry have been working overtime to pin the “anti-vaccine” label to anyone they can find. The reality, however, is that the movement Offit and his industry cronies criticize so ruthlessly is really a grass-roots consumer movement, concerned about the health of children, distrustful of the “public-private partnership” that has emerged with the vaccine industry and its regulators, and is speaking out with increasing force for long-overdue improvements in vaccine safety management.

Continue reading "The Offit Index: Tracking a Patent Owner’s Ongoing Financial Interest in One Vaccine’s Sales" »

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

Denial_hole_in_ground By Dan Olmsted 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

--

Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism

 

 

 

Cold, Snow and a Warm Welcome in Minneapolis

Age of Autism_cover quote (3) From Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill: The Age of Autism Book Tour beat the snow (barely) into Minnesota this past weekend. We were hosted by a vibrant autism community -- many thanks to Patti Carroll and everyone else who worked so hard to make it happen. In addition to a talk Saturday at the University of Minnesota's St. Paul Campus, we did a video interview with Craig Evans of autismhangout.com, a terrific Web site. It may be the only interview we've ever done in a bowling alley (in the student union -- no bowling was happening). HERE
 
On Thursday, 12/9 Dan will speak and sign books at a TACA event in Richmond, Va. See our book website for details. We've been tremendously energized and encouraged by the enthusiasm and shared commitment we've found all along the way. Our book tour picks up after the first of the year. First stop: Houston on January 15. Stay tuned, and see you on the road.

 

Autism From a Flu Shot? The Ominous Clue From Kanner's Autism Case #7

Mercury-vaccine By Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill
 
Seventy-three years ago, Elizabeth Peabody Trevett, a pediatrician and pioneer in promoting mass vaccination for infants, gave birth to a boy named John who became the seventh child ever diagnosed with autism. She presumably vaccinated her baby, and perhaps herself while pregnant, with the same shots she administered to her own patients. One of those shots, the newly developed diphtheria toxoid, was the first to contain the ethyl mercury preservative, thimerosal.
 
Today, pediatricians and public health officials scoff at concerns that thimerosal, still used today in most flu shots recommended for all pregnant women and infants older than 6 months, could cause autism. But after researching our new book, "The Age of Autism: Mercury, Medicine, and a Man-Made Epidemic," we are much less sanguine about such an outcome.
 
Our conclusion: The facts of Case 7 fit with a common familial background exposure in the first cases to newly commercialized ethyl mercury compounds in agriculture and vaccines. They suggest children, then as now, are at risk from the dangerous and indefensible practice of injecting them with mercury for the stated purpose of protecting their health.
--
 
Elizabeth Peabody Trevett graduated from Johns Hopkins Medical School and won a fellowship to Harvard where she was one of seven pediatricians who pioneered the well-baby visit – at which vaccines are routinely administered. Her son John was born in November 1937. She subsequently divorced her husband, psychiatrist Laurence Trevett, and resumed using her maiden name, Peabody.
 
A few years later, back in Maryland, she was quoted about the importance of vaccination in an Annapolis newspaper article: “Too many parents, said Dr. Peabody, have the proper shots given and then relax, forgetting that booster shots are needed and that immunization does wear off. Speaking specifically of some of the most prevalent ailments, she stated that a child cannot be vaccinated against smallpox too often and it should be done for the first time when a baby is between three months and one year of age. In the case of diphtheria, booster shots are extremely important.”
 
Diphtheria was the first mass vaccine to contain thimerosal, starting in the 1930s just as the first autism cases were identified. It would have been widely available at a teaching hospital like Harvard at the time John was born.

Following her passion for public health, Elizabeth Peabody later set up a well-baby clinic in Iraq, again emphasizing the importance of vaccinating thousands of babies, and then joined the Public Health Service in Atlanta as a regional administrator for children’s health programs.
 
 As flu season kicks into high gear this year in the United States, infants, pregnant women and nursing mothers are among the millions of Americans whom public health officials are urging with unprecedented fervor to get a flu shot. Because most flu shots contain mercury, and because the CDC has declined to express a preference for giving these groups a mercury-free version, this means millions of the most vulnerable among us are getting a significant dose of the dangerous neurotoxin – some at grocery stores and airports and retailers, some without even having to get out of their car. Tracking short-term, localized and mild adverse reactions would seem difficult, and following up on any associations with the onset of chronic or delayed outcomes like autism all but impossible.

Continue reading "Autism From a Flu Shot? The Ominous Clue From Kanner's Autism Case #7" »

Interviews and Tour Plans for Blaxill and Olmsted's The Age of Autism Book

Dan Mark Wendy From Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill: Our efforts to spread the evidence about "The Age of Autism" are continuing. Dan Olmsted recently spoke with Dan Burns from The Dallas Morning News blog here HERE and with KNEWS 94.3 in California here (HERE). We'll be in Minneapolis-St. Paul next Saturday (See HERE), and plans are shaping up for visits to Dallas just after the New Year, Missouri in February, Los Angeles in March, Illinois and Indiana in May, and other points in between. Stay tuned, and see you on the road!

Dan Burns Interviews Dan Olmsted on New Book on Mercury in Medicine

Age of Autism_cover quote (3) Dan Burns, author of Saving Ben, interviewed Dan Olmsted about the new book he co-authored with Mark Blaxill, The Age of Autism Mercury Medicine and a Manmade Epidemic at the Dallas New blog. Here's the beginning of the interview, please pop over to Dan's blog to read and comment on the full post. Dallas News Blog Full Interview

Dan Olmsted, an investigative reporter, left his job as a senior editor for United Press International (UPI) to pursue what he called "the story of the century." After a five-year journey with co-author Mark Blaxill (statistician, business consultant, and father of a child with autism), Olmsted and Blaxill recently released The Age of Autism: Mercury, Medicine, and a Man-Made Epidemic, a devastating account, in Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.'s words, "that shows how medical and manufacturing interests have mounted an assault on human health for decades and covered their tracks along the way."

I talked to Dan Olmsted about their journey.

Burns: What makes autism the story of the 21st century?

Olmsted: Children are the future. Autism is epidemic among this generation: one child in one hundred, up 50% in less than ten years. While treatable, and sometimes reversible, most kids with autism will grow up to be adults on the autism spectrum. This epidemic is eating away at our society from the inside. It's a national security issue. Outside of a nuclear weapon detonated in a major city, what could be more important?

Burns: How has this been a journey of discovery for you?

Olmsted: The deeper we dug, the bigger the issues. We went to the source material, the eleven sentinel cases in Leo Kanner's 1943 Nervous Child journal article, "Autistic Disturbances of Affective Contact," and looked at them with fresh eyes. Out jumped several eye poppers, never recognized as relevant that ended up shaping the book: familial exposure to the same toxic substance.

Burns: And those are the clusters you write about in the book. What are they?

First, forestry and plant pathology. Case one is from a small lumber town called Forest. Case two is the son of a plant pathologist. Case three is the son of a forestry professor. Forest, plants, forest. Interesting.

I put that pattern to Mark, who asked, "Could these cases could be driven by exposure to the new organic mercury fungicides used in forestry and agriculture?" Yes, they could. And ethyl mercury, the kind of mercury used in fungicides, is the same kind that was used in vaccinations. That was an unexpected, jaw dropping discovery.

Burns: Any other surprises?

Olmsted: Syphilis. As we poured over the source material, it looked like the worst form of syphilis - neurosyphilis, which results in paralysis, insanity, and death - was caused by the medicine that was used to treat it: mercury.

We went back into those early studies, including the infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Study from the 1930s, when the U.S. Public Health Service deliberately withheld treatment from black Americans so they could study them as they went insane and died. Those who were not treated with mercury stayed healthier longer and did not go insane. Interesting.

That led us to a third surprise. Sigmund Freud observed that most of the young adults that he treated for hysteria were women whose fathers had syphilis. He didn't know what to make of it. He also observed that nursing was among the most common occupation of hysteria patients.

Today we can make the connection that Freud missed. After treating their syphilitic fathers with mercury rubs, these young adults developed paralysis, seizures, and hallucinations - symptoms now shockingly obvious as signs of mercury poisoning.

 Dallas News Blog Full Interview

Chantal Sicile-Kira on Thanksgiving at Huffington Post

Pink turkey From our friend  Chantal Sicile-Kira. Check out the fun slide show there. Please leave a comment at Huffington Post. 

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. -- John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Ten days ago, I attended the National Autism Association's (NAA) annual conference in Florida and was thrilled to be able to spend a little time with so many autism parents, advocates and other authors. I have been trying to find the time to sit down and write proper reviews for two important and recently published books. However, I have been more time-challenged than usual as I am 'negotiating' with the powers that be here in San Diego for the supports needed as my 21-year-old son with autism transitions into adult services. (Parents of younger children, if you feel you have it tough right now dealing with the school district or systems in place: you haven't a clue. It only gets worse unless you own two homes -- one for you, and one for your child when he turns 18. Helpful coping strategies for parents of teens may include the three V's: Vodka, Valium and Vacation, but I digress).

Age of Autism: Mercury, Medicine and a Man-Made Epidemic (HERE) by Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill is a critical book for all humans to read -- not just those interested in autism. Most would agree that environmental health is a concern to all of us and impacts everyone's daily life. You'd have to have your head stuck in the sand (hopefully not on the Texas Gulf Coast) to believe otherwise. This book explains how, as Robert K. Kennedy Jr. puts it, "medical and manufacturing interests have mounted an assault on human health."

All I Can Handle -- I'm No Mother Teresa: A Life Raising Three Daughters With Autism (HERE) by Kim Stagliano is also a relevant read. Stagliano's personal account of raising children on the spectrum will make you alternately laugh and weep, and more importantly gives the reader an insight as to how profoundly autism changes families. All community members should read this book -- because Kim's daughters have the same needs that many of our children do in the autism community, and this is another environmental and monetary impact you won't be able to escape. Gianna, Bella, Mia are here, and they are not going away, Neither are the Jeremys, the Ians, the Sams, and the Blazes.

The autism community is often divided on what it believes autism is or is not, what does or does not cause autism, whether autism is a form of neurodiversity or not, and so on. As for me, I believe that autism is best described with the Parable of the Blind Men and the Elephant. Six blind men feel a different part of the elephant, and thus each have their own opinion about what the elephant is, based on their examination and interpretation of the part of the elephant they are exploring. The autism community has it's differing opinions, because all of our perceptions and experiences are a part of the mystery that is autism: we share a similar label but our personal stories, perceptions, beliefs, and truths are different. And this needs to be respected. However, I believe that there cannot be any arguments to the fact that we are polluting our environment, our health, our elderly relatives' health, and our children's health in many different ways, and the world has got to start paying attention to this very real fact.

As Thanksgiving looms, I am grateful for all the people I have met on this autism journey -- regardless of which part of the elephant they are feeling and interpreting. We each have our own truths. Our beliefs may be different, but our goals are the same: a happy, healthy, love-filled and productive life -- as independent and self-determined as possible.

Happy Thanksgiving, and may your blessings be many.

 

Winner: Signed Copy The Age of Autism Mercury Medicine and a Manmade Epidemic

Age of Autism_cover quote (3) Congrats to Susan in TX who has won a signed copy of Mark Blaxill and Dan Olmsted's The Age of Autism Mercury Medicine and a Manmade Epidemic.

Also, Google Books has posted the Foreward, Introduction and part of Chapter One of "The Age of Autism: Mercury, Medicine, and a Man-Made Epidemic." Read what David Kirby says about it, how we came developed our ideas and discoveries, and why The Age of Syphilis is where it all began. Then buy the book and share the evidence with people who can help us bring The Age of Autism to an end. Click HERE to begin reading. Good luck in the contest!

Read an Excerpt and Win A Signed Copy of The Age of Autism Mercury Medicine and a Manmade Epidemic

Age of Autism_cover quote (3) Win a signed copy of Mark Blaxill and Dan Olmsted's The Age of Autism Mercury Medicine and a Manmade Epidemic by leaving a comment on this post. Make sure you fill in the email field with your proper email address.

Also, Google Books has posted the Foreward, Introduction and part of Chapter One of "The Age of Autism: Mercury, Medicine, and a Man-Made Epidemic." Read what David Kirby says about it, how we came developed our ideas and discoveries, and why The Age of Syphilis is where it all began. Then buy the book and share the evidence with people who can help us bring The Age of Autism to an end. Click HERE to begin reading. Good luck in the contest!

Meet The Age of Autism's Mark Blaxill & Dan Olmsted At the NAA Conference

Age of Autism_cover quote (3) Managing Editor's Note: Mark your calendars for The NAA Conference in St. Pete  this weekend to meet Dan and Mark. They'll be in Minnesota in December. See below for details. From their website:

A groundbreaking book, THE AGE OF AUTISM explores how mankind has unwittingly poisoned itself for half a millennium.

For centuries, medicine has made reckless use of one of earth's most toxic substances: mercury—and the consequences, often invisible or ignored, continue to be tragic. Today, background pollution levels, including global emissions of mercury as well as other toxicants, make us all more vulnerable to its effects. From the worst cases of syphilis to Sigmund Freud's first cases of hysteria, from baffling new disorders in 19th century Britain to the modern scourge of autism, THE AGE OF AUTISM traces the long overlooked history of mercury poisoning.

Now, for the first time, authors Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill uncover that history. Within this context, they present startling findings: investigating the first cases of autism diagnosed in the 1940s revealed an unsuspected link to a new form of mercury in seed disinfectants, lumber fungicides and vaccines. In the tradition of Silent Spring and An Inconvenient Truth, Olmsted and Blaxill demonstrate with clarity how chemical and environmental clues may have been missed as medical "experts," many of them blinded by decades of systemic bias, instead placed blamed on parental behavior or children's biology. By exposing the roots and rise of The Age of Autism, this book attempts to point the way out – to a safer future for our children and the planet.

November 13
Tampa, FL
National Autism Association (NAA) Conference
All day event
Trade Winds Island Gulf Resort
5600 Gulf Blvd.
St. Pete Beach, FL 33706

December 4th
St. Paul, MN
Parents United Against Autism
1:00 pmUniversity of Minnesota--St. Paul Student Center Theater2017 Buford Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55108
 
 

Two Great Interviews for The Age of Autism with Dr. Andrew Wakefield and Wade Rankin

Radio mic Here's a video interview with Mark conducted by Andy Wakefield that delves deeply into the issues the book raises for the medical community: Autism File Interview HERE .

In addition, Wade Rankin interviewed Dan and Mark on Autism One Radio, listen HERE.

Please share with colleagues, friends and family alike. Learn more nad purchase the book HERE.

The Age of Autism Book Tour Heads SouthEast

Chicago dan mark rosie From Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill: We're back from two terrific weeks in California, a jam-packed weekend in Chicago, and Dan's visits to Durham, N.C., and Lynchburg, Va. We'll be in Atlanta this weekend, pleased to share the stage with Andy Wakefield. This past Saturday, we were in Naperville, Ill., courtesy of True Health Medical Center; thanks to Teresa Conrick, Julie Obradovic, and Anju Usman. Sunday we spoke at the Book Stall in Winnetka, Ill.; thanks to Dan's sister Rosie and brother-in-law Dick Augspurger (pictured with Dan and Mark) for making that happen. Stay tuned, and see you on the road!

October 30th
Peachtree City, GA
Maggie's Hope
Books A Million
The Avenue at Peachtree City
6:00-8:00 pm
 
October 31st
North Atlanta, GA
Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) Chapter
Hilton Garden Inn/Alpharetta
4025 Windward Plaza Dr.
Alpharetta, GA 30005
12:30 – 3:00 pm

James Ottar Grundvig Reviews The Age of Autism Mercury Medicine and a Man made Epidemic

Age of Autism tour Mind We invite you to leave a comment on this review at The Epoch Times. The photo is from The Age of Autism Book Tour in California at the Families for Early Autism Treatment (FEAT) event at the Mind Institute. To learn more about the book click HERE.

Mercury in Vaccines and Autism: The Surprising LinkBook review: ‘The Age of Autism: Mercury, Medicine, and a Manmade Epidemic’


By James Ottar Grundvig Created: Oct 21, 2010 Last Updated: Oct 21, 2010

In autumn 2008, I visited an old friend and business associate at his cabin outside Oslo, Norway. He was recovering from a yearlong trial in which he lost his ability to speak, use his fingers, and think clearly. His vibrant, busy life slowed to a crawl. What caused a healthy, middle-aged man to suffer harm so rapidly?

Taking up Henry David Thoreau’s advice of going back to nature, he had outfitted the cabin for year-round living and drilled a new well. As he drank water from the well, he unwittingly poisoned his brain. An investigation into the cause of his sudden fall in mental health and leaden fatigue found that the boring machine had drilled through a thin band of mercury. The dust from the heavy metal contaminated the water and almost killed him.

In reading the seminal and terrific new book, The Age of Autism: Mercury, Medicine, and a Man-Made Epidemic, the story of my friend and my son, Fridrik, who was diagnosed with autism in 2003, resonated with me—in part, because too many vaccines given too early had injured my son. Many of those vaccines contained the mercury-based preservative thimerosal. So the explosive idea at the core of this revelatory tome is that as a modern society, we have been poisoning our children’s brains and bodies through the over-reliance and misapplication of medicine—specifically mercury. It wedges a stone in my heart.

The four-hundred-year rise of the modern world and its great population expansion through advances of the Industrial Age has come back to haunt us in unsuspecting ways too real and too widespread to ignore. And the book, at 364 pages, is too good to put down.

The Misuse of Mercury in Medicine

What the authors Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill initially set out to do was research the origins of mercury and how it related to autism. But they found that the source was impossible to pin down.


The six they spent investigating the overlapping histories of mercury use in medicine took them down myriad paths and turned up some amazing facts. The search of how mercury impacted human health guided them back centuries before the 1943 discovery of autism by Leo Kanner, who initially diagnosed 11 children with the disorder.

It was research into seven of those families’ histories that got the authors’ blood pumping and became the foundation of the book. They seeded the book with so many fascinating details—such as the mercury content found in beluga whale teeth, which skyrocketed in the past half century, indicating the spike in its presence in the water. There’s also information about mercury as medicine, from teething powders and body creams, to calomel lotion and the toxic “Van Swieten’s liquor,” which was supposed to treat Mozart’s syphilis, but ended up killing within months.

Although the book has some declarative statements like the one above, the authors resisted the tendency to speculate; on occasion they presented scenarios. After reading the book, there’s no denying that the American government cannot explain why there’s been a spike in the autism rates since the late 1970s. It’s easier to claim that there’s no epidemic and hold the line against the status quo by injecting babies with more vaccines than any on nation on earth...

Read the full review and comment  at The Epoch Times.

James Ottar Grundvig is the father of an autistic child. He lives and works in New York City.

AoA Book Tour Takes Us Back to the Source

Dan Mark From Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill: The "Age of Autism Book Tour" hit Southern California this past week, with Dan signing books at the Defeat Autism Now! conference in Long Beach, then speaking at the TACA group in Poway just north of San Diego. In between, he visited Steve Edelson at the Autism Research Institute's office in San Diego. Mark Rimland -- autism pioneer Bernie Rimland's son -- dropped by the nearby coffee shop for a visit. Mark -- whose autism sparked Bernie's brilliant lifelong quest to understand and treat the disorder --  is a vibrant, good-looking, cheerful 54-year-old who swims regularly and is devoted to his passion -- painting. His highly regarded works feature animals and people portrayed in a uniquely vivid style, and include the book "The Secret Night World of Cats," which he illustrated and his sister Helen Landalf wrote. Mark Blaxill and Dan will join up for the second leg of the California tour starting Sunday, then fly to Chicago for events next weekend. Stay tuned, and see you soon!

October 17th
Woodland Hills, CA (Los Angeles)
Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) Chapter
6:30 - 8:30 pm
6800 Owensmouth Avenue, Suite 180
Woodland Hills, CA
(Corner of Vanowen and Owensmouth)

October 18th
Visalia, CA (San Joaquin Valley)
Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) Chapter
5:30 - 7:30 pm
Fuggazzi's Italian Restaurant
127 W. Main Street
Visalia, CA 93291
 
October 20th
Sacramento, CA
Families for Early Autism Treatment (FEAT)
7-9:00 pm
MIND Institute Auditorium
2825 50th St.
Sacramento, CA 95822

Continue reading "AoA Book Tour Takes Us Back to the Source" »

The Real Lessons from Medicine’s Long History of Human Experiments in Syphilis

Tuskegee By Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill

Yesterday, the heads of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) joined the chorus of senior administration officials apologizing for human medical experiments on Guatemalan men in the 1940s. Writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Drs Thomas Frieden and Francis Collins excoriated their predecessors who approved experiments in which Guatemalan prisoners and mental patients were infected with syphilis without their knowledge or consent in order to test new syphilis treatments, most of which involved penicillin. The Guatemalan experiments were funded with a grant from NIH and conducted by investigators from a laboratory in the Public Health Service (PHS) that later became a part of the CDC. According to Frieden and Collins,

While effective protections against unethical research continue to evolve across the world, the past exploitations of vulnerable populations, including the subjects of the study in Guatemala in the 1940s, are regrettable and deeply saddening. For them, the basic ethical principle of respect for persons was flagrantly violated [emphasis added]. The NIH and CDC are committed to ensuring that lessons drawn from the past help shape actions to protect all future research participants, no matter where studies are conducted.The 1946-1948 inoculation study should never have happened, and nothing like it should ever happen again.

Following more heavily publicized apologies last week from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Frieden and Collins’ editorial seems like an afterthought. Perhaps that is why the main message of their essay strikes such a discordant note. “Could such unethical studies happen today?” ask the two men. “For research funded or conducted by the US government, the answer is no.”

Viewed in context, their confident answer seems oddly defiant. To be sure, they cite an impressive array of safeguards put in place over the last sixty years—from the Nuremburg Code to the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights—as evidence for their reassurances to JAMA’s core audience--current members of the American Medical Association, the largest collection of providers of American health services--that all is well.

But should the rest of us, consumers of health services from members of the AMA (and consumers too of scientific research from NIH and CDC), trust them?

Continue reading "The Real Lessons from Medicine’s Long History of Human Experiments in Syphilis" »

Meet Mark Blaxill and Dan Olmsted on The Age of Autism Book Tour

Dan Mark Wendy From Mark Blaxill and Dan Olmsted: We're heading to New York this weekend for stops including Mount Kisco on Friday and Yonkers on Saturday -- click on our book at left to see details, and if you can join us, please do. Last Friday, we had a good crowd at the Brown University Bookstore in Providence, sponsored by the National Autism Association (that's us with NAA President Wendy Fournier). We've already started making waves -- David Sheffield, a columnist for the Brown student paper, says HERE we should never have been allowed to speak! Banned at Brown -- has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? Click on over and let the author know your feelings if you're so inclined. Next week we're back in New York to do the Leonard Lopate radio show, then to California at the end of the week for multiple events. Stay tuned and see you on the road.

Go to The Age of Autism for more details and info on where to order.

October 1st 
Mt. Kisco, NY
SafeMinds & Bedford Autism Spectrum Support (BASS)
7:00-9:00 pm
Mt. Kisco Public Library—Community Room
100 East Main St. Mt. Kisco, NY 10549
 
October 2nd
Yonkers, NY
Navigating the Spectrum/SafeMinds
10-noon
35 E. Grassy Sprain Rd. (Hudson Valley Bank Building)
Yonkers, NY 10710

October 8-10
Long Beach, CA
ARI/Defeat Autism Now Conference
All day event Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
Long Beach Westin
333 East Ocean Blvd.
Long Beach, CA 90802

October 12th
San Diego, CA
Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) Chapter
6:30 - 8:30 pm
Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church
17010 Pomerado Road
San Diego, CA 92128

Continue reading "Meet Mark Blaxill and Dan Olmsted on The Age of Autism Book Tour" »

The Age of Autism Mercury Medicine and a Manmade Epidemic Interviews

Radio mic Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill discuss their book Mercury Medicine and a ManMade Epidemic in two radio interviews with: Coy Barefoot and Gary Null.

 

 

Video: Don Imus Interviews Mark Blaxill and Dan Olmsted on Autism's Toxic Origins

Watch Mark Blaxill and Dan Olmsted on Imus on Fox Business channel as they discuss their new book, The Age of Autism Mercury Medicine and a Manmade Epidemic. Thank you to Don and Deirdre Imus (check out the HuffPo post HERE she wrote that now has over 1100 comments) - for their unwavering support for the autism community. (Thanks to Ginger Taylor for the links.)


Part 2

Unofficial Transcript: Imus with Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill

Imus Managing Editor's Note: Mark and Dan were on Imus in the Morning to promote their new book, The Age of Autism Mercury Medicine and a Manmade Epidemic. Aof A reader and contributor Bob Moffit was kind enough to create an excellent unofficial transcript for us. Thank you, Bob. KS

By Bob Moffit

IMUS outlines the guests to appear on today's show:
 
0610 AM .. IMUS:  "Congressman Peter King, Chris Wallace, Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill .. who are they?  Well, these two guys wrote the book "Age of Autism:  Mercury, medicine and a man-made epidemic".  I think what they're saying is, that there is a direct link between thimerosal and autism.  Which makes everybody .. on both sides .. hysterical.  Here's the problem .. there's no evidence that thimerosal "causes" autism .. there's no evidence it does not.
 
Charles McCord:  "Conclusive evidence.
 
IMUS:  Yes, there's plenty of studies
 
MCCORD:  Anecdotal evidence.
 
IMUS:  And, there's billions of dollars spent by the pharmaceutical industry ... and ... people who suggest there is a link are characterized as being insane.  Whatever.  As I said for years .. and .. we talked about it and we're not going to talk about it a lot.  It never made any common sense to me that you could inject a neuro toxin, ethylmercury, more toxic than what's in fish, into the bloodstream of an infant or a child, or anyone ... in the multiple amounts or doses  .. and .. not have it do something.  It may not "cause" autism .. but .. you would think .. well .. of course it does.  So, it's a raging argument.  I don't want to get in the middle of it, but, I'm certainly happy to air their views.
 
MCCORD:  That's reasonable.
 
IMUS:  I probably agree with them, although I can't .. I do agree with them ... but ..I have no evidence.  I have no evidence...it's just one of my common sense (inaudible).
 
--------------------------------------------------------
IMUS usually asks guest appearing on his show to name their "top five" list of favorite songs ..
 
Mark Blaxill's favorite "top five"                                Dan Olmsted's
"Feeling Alright" Joe Crocker                                  "Doctor My Eyes" Jackson Browne
"I Feel Good" James Brown                                     "Like a Rolling Stone"  Bob Dylan
"Shining Star" Earth, Wind and Fire                        "Kodachrome"  Paul Simon
"Steamroller" James Taylor                                      "Suite:  Judy Blue Eyes" Crosby, Sills
"I Shot the Sheriff" Eric Clapton                                "Jeanson" Graham Blvd
 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
IMUS:  Not a bad selection from these two guys who wrote this book "Age of Autism".  Gives you a chance to review people who think mercury causes autism.  Although in the packaging of one of these vaccines, it warns a possible side-effect is autism.  I hate to bring all this up .. but .. once you've met a parent who has an autistic child, a child with autism rather .. maybe you'd change your tune on that.  But, you have to be reasonable, sensible and I think these two guys are .. and .. we'll find out.
 
-------------------------------------------------------------
0830 IMUS:  "The Age of Autism" written by Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill.  It's just been released with  forward by our old friend David Kirby, who wrote "Evidence of Harm", one of the better books ever written about the link between thimerosal and autism.  Please welcome Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill.  Alright .. guys, how are you?
 
MARK:  We're doing good.
 
DAN:  Good morning.
 
IMUS:  So, Dan, who are you and what do you do now?
 
DAN:  I run a blog called "Age of Autism" and I've done reporting on autism for about five years now.  I started at UPI writing a column of the same name .. got interested in whether the history of the disorder could give us more clues than we already possessed about what might be going on here.  That's how I got started.
 
IMUS:  Mark, what do you do?
 
MARK:  Well, I have a day job, I'm a business guy, but, I'm also the father of a daughter who is diagnosed with autism.   She's fourteen years old now.
 
IMUS:  One thing you have is a great voice.  So, when was she diagnosed?
 
MARK:  When she was about 2 1/2 years old, she had developed normally for the first year of life, she was beautiful, social, interactive, developing language .. and then .. sometime after she was one year old, she began slipping away from us .. which is an experience a lot of families have.
 
IMUS:  Where is she on the spectrum?

Continue reading "Unofficial Transcript: Imus with Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill" »

Imus Interviews Blaxill & Olmsted Authors of The Age of Autism

Imus Tune into Imus in the morning Thursday, 9/23 on Fox Business Channel around 8:30am to hear Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill discuss their new book, The Age of Autism Mercury Medicine and a Manmade Epidemic.  Visit the Imus site   HERE.

The Age of Autism Book Tour Kicks Off: Wrentham, Imus, Gary Null & Providence

Mark Dan Cheryl The Age of Autism Book The Age of Autism book tour Tour kicked off Monday in Wrentham, Mass., where we were hosted by the TACA Chapter led by Cheryl Gaudino (left). We signed books, premiered our presentation, and really enjoyed the lively discussion afterward. Thanks for getting us off to a great start. We were especially pleased to meet Kim's parents, Richard and Elena Rossi, who live nearby (below). They've gotten an early read of Kim's upcoming book  and are still talking to her -- and laughing! Tomorrow, Thursday, Sept. 22, we'll be on Imus at 8:30 a.m., simulcast on radio and the Fox Business Channel. Friday from 12:30 to 1 p.m., we'll be on Gary Null's radio show. On Friday at 6 p.m., we'll be at the Brown University Book Store courtesy of the NAA. Click HERE or on the book image at left for details.  Meanwhile, speaking of the book, check out a post by Ginger Taylor over at Mark Dan Rossis Adventures in Autism -- the artwork is priceless. Hope to see you soon. -- Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill

Deirdre Imus Interviews Mark Blaxill and Dan Olmsted on Huffington Post

Deirdre logo Deirdre Imus, a powerful advocate for children's health in America, interviewed Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill about their new book, The Age of Autism Mercury Medicine and a Manmade Epidemic on Huffington Post. Thank you to Deirdre (and Don) for always looking out for our children.  Dan and Mark will be on Imus in the Morning this Thursday at 8:30am (simulcast on on Fox Business Fox Business Channel.)

Click HERE to read and comment on the full post at HuffPo.

The new book "The Age of Autism: Mercury, Medicine, and a Man-made Epidemic" is shaking up the autism world. Orthodox scientists and medical groups have dismissed and even ridiculed the idea that incredibly toxic ethyl mercury -- still in flu shots given to infants and pregnant women -- could be linked to the explosion in autism rates beginning in the 1990s, when the vaccine schedule was rapidly expanded. Just the day before the book came out this week, the CDC issued yet another flawed study that found not only was mercury safe -- it actually had a protective effect against the risk of autism. This is obviously absurd, as is the fact that almost all the children in the study had received mercury-containing shots, rather than including a control group without any mercury exposure. Authors Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill -- two names well-known in the autism community and editors of the blog Age of Autism (ageofautism.com), have for the first time traced the roots of autism beginning in the 1930s. What they found is electrifying and suggests the debate is about to heat up again, whether the government and medical industry like it or not.

Deirdre: What is the major point you want people to take away from your book?

Dan: That the concern about mercury and autism is far from over. We found that the medical industry and manufacturing have had a long history of the reckless use of mercury that goes back centuries, and that does include, based on our research, the rise of autism in the 1930s when ethyl mercury was first commercialized in agricultural products and in vaccines. That's the short answer.

Mark: The other thing that we want people to embrace is contained in the title -- this really is The Age of Autism. Autism is the single most devastating childhood disorder any of us have faced in our lifetime -- and it has become a national health emergency. The rates of autism have gone from effectively zero before the 1930s to 1 in 100 children today, and that's happened in the lifetime of a single individual -- in just seven decades. In our book, we've gone back to first principles and identified the roots of the disease itself, and we place mercury exposure and new environmentally toxic products at the source of the explosion.

Click HERE to read and comment on the full post at HuffPo. 
 

Mike Frandsen Interviews Olmsted and Blaxill Authors of The Age of Autism Mercury Medicine and a Manmade Epidemic

Age of Autism_cover quote (3) Below is an excerpt from Mike Frandsen's interview with Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill. Please click over to The Examiner HERE to read the full interview and to comment.

In their new book, The Age of Autism: Mercury, Medicine, and a Manmade Epidemic, Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill make a convincing case that the autism epidemic is largely environmental rather than genetic. They argue that mercury from pollution, commercial products, and vaccines has contributed greatly to the rise in autism over the last 70 years.

In doing research for the book, Olmsted and Blaxill investigated the backgrounds of the parents of some of the first children identified with autism by Leo Kanner in the 1930s. Olmsted, a reporter who has devoted his career to writing about autism, and Blaxill, a parent of a girl with autism, found links to mercury in the backgrounds of some of the parents of the children who were the original cases of autism.

Olmsted and Blaxill also state their belief that the rise in autism is related to the use of mercury in childhood vaccines. They point out that they are not anti-vaccine, but are pro-vaccine safety.

The co-authors also write about the damage that was done to patients who were given mercury as treatment for various medical ailments throughout the last few centuries.

They call for more research by the medical establishment into the environmental causes of autism.

Olmsted and Blaxill also edit and write for the web newspaper Age of Autism. An interview with the authors of the book, which goes on sale September 14, is below.

Mike Frandsen: In writing this book, you researched the backgrounds of the parents of the original children Leo Kanner identified with autism. What did you find?

Dan Olmsted: Just to set the stage a bit, Leo Kanner was a child psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins University and in 1943 he wrote a paper called Autistic Disturbances of Affective Contact. It was a case series describing 11 children and all of them had what he described as a uniquely and markedly different disorder, which became known as autism. We decided to go back and look at those cases very carefully and when we did, we found enough clues that we were able to identify seven of those 11 children.

As we looked more closely at their family background and where they lived, we saw what we thought was a pretty remarkable pattern of background exposure to a new commercial mercury compound called ethylmercury, which was used first in the 1930s in fungicides, agriculture and in vaccines as a preservative. So what we believe we see is a strong pattern, not proof, but a strong pattern that the age of autism really began when this kind of mercury reached commercial use and affected children.

Can you give an example?

Dan Olmsted: Case 2 was a child named Frederick W. We identified his family. His father had the same name, Frederick Wellman, who was a plant pathologist at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center near Washington working for the Agriculture Department. We found his archive, which is quite extensive, and the very first paper in the very first folder, in the very first box is about experimenting with mercury, which I think is quite significant.

Not only that but when we looked more deeply we were able to track the fact that he was working with the new ethylmercury seed disinfectants at the same time his son was born and we know that the dust from those can get onto clothes and carried into houses and that sort of thing. The child was born early because his mother had kidney problems, which is often a sign of mercury toxicity and then it’s very stark, very vivid. There’s even a pamphlet in his archive on the exact mercury fungicide that contains ethylmercury, so we think this is more than chance and that it is something that needs to be looked at seriously. If people want to disagree with it and dismiss it, I think they’re going to have to engage with what we’ve found here.

You trace the medical establishment’s use of mercury to treat illnesses in the last several centuries. Why did doctors continue to use mercury even after they discovered it was toxic?

Dan Olmsted: I think one answer to that is that it seemed to work when nothing else really did. Mercury is a biologically active compound. If you have sores on your body, which you would get from syphilis, and you rub a mercury salve on it, the sores would clear up and seemingly that was a good thing. Unfortunately, the side effects were longer to show up and more obscure.

And what we see is a pattern where because it seemed to be useful to doctors in treating desperate patients, they would do it for a while and then when a better treatment came along they would quit using it and never look back and realize or acknowledge that they might have been killing people by the thousands even as they were treating them. It just kind of kept going, where we are still at a point where although we wouldn’t use arsenic or plutonium or lead or any toxic compound in medicine or as medicine, we still use mercury. And it has gotten a free pass for several hundred years and that we think really needs to stop.

Mercury was used to treat syphilis for hundreds of years. What happened to those patients?

Mark Blaxill: Mercury was used from the beginning of the syphilis epidemic in Europe from the late 15th century. Mercury was used as an ointment, a skin treatment, but over time, the idea was to try to get mercury closer to the infection or the site of the infection and not just on the skin. In the 1700s and 1800s people first started the practice of internal administration of mercury, specifically mercuric chloride, and doctors first began encouraging patients to drink it, and then not longer after, they started injecting mercuric chloride into syphilis patients.

Interestingly enough, when they started this internal administration approach to treating syphilis, a new, invariably fatal form of neurosyphilis, brain syphilis, began to emerge as well, something called general paralysis of the insane (GPI). These patients would go stock raving mad, wild and crazy with delusions and they would generally die quite quickly. These cases of GPI occurred in places where mercury treatments were common, and where the practice of treating patients with mercury chloride and mercury in general was not used, you would never see these cases of GPI.

If mercury is one of the causes of autism, and syphilis patients and children given teething powders were exposed to mercury, why didn’t they get autism?

Please click over to The Examiner HERE to read the full interview and to comment.

Deirdre Imus Reviews The Age of Autism on Fox News Health Blog

Fox news blog Read the full post and leave a comment at the Fox News Health Blog. Read an excerpt (and order) The Age of Autism: Mercury Medicine and a Manmade Epidemic HERE.

By Deirdre Imus

Over the past 25 years, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has emerged from virtual obscurity to becoming the fastest growing developmental disorder today. Once described by experts as “extremely rare,” the number of U.S. children diagnosed with ASD has increased from 1 in 10,000 in the late 1980s to 1 in 110. The rate for boys is 1 in 70, which is four to five times higher than for girls. Today, this has become a major health concern impacting millions of children and their families.

Much has been written about autism over the past decade. Each day numerous news articles report on new research, new treatments and the many challenges faced in caring for and educating individuals with autism. Much of the coverage however, has been focused on the controversial debate surrounding the possible role vaccinations may play in triggering the onset of what is often called the “mysterious disorder.”

This week, in a first of its kind piece of investigative journalism, The Age of Autism: Mercury, Medicine and A Manmade Epidemic, takes us back to the roots of the disorder and attempts to unravel the mystery surrounding the exploding statistics that has generated so much controversy.

“The Age of Autism” delivers a compelling examination of how mercury in medicine and in the environment may be contributing to the escalation of neurological and autoimmune diseases we are witnessing today, particularly autism... Read the full post and comment at the Fox News Health Blog.

Primates’ Progress: Disturbing Findings from a Study of Vaccinated and Unvaccinated Primates

Brain on drugs By Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill

We reported earlier this summer (see HERE ) on an important new study from Thoughtful House and the University of Pittsburgh describing neuroimaging results that compared a small group of vaccinated monkeys to unvaccinated monkeys during infancy. One interesting footnote in this paper from Acta Neurobiologiae Experimentalis (ANE) made reference to a new publication from the same research group on the delayed development of neonatal reflexes after a birth dose of thimerosal containing hepatitis B vaccine. This published reference to the Canadian journal The Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health (JTEH) was followed a few weeks later by the publication of the full article. Careful reading of this new article revealed that the August article reported on the same research findings that were first peer-reviewed and published on-line in another journal last year… then abruptly withdrawn after intervention by the publisher, Elsevier, the corporate owner of the journal Neurotoxicology. See HERE for an account of this episode.

Together, the results reported in these two papers represent an important landmark in vaccine safety research. The first published findings from a novel and unprecedented study design, they raise important questions about how United States government regulators have managed the safety profiles of childhood immunizations: not just individual infant vaccines and their ingredients, but, more importantly, the cumulative effect of the intensified program of childhood vaccination that started in 1991. This escalation of intervention (see HERE for an comparison of the U.S. childhood immunization program to those of other countries) in infant immune development—an escalation that included new vaccines administered earlier in life, cumulative exposure to ethyl mercury that exceeded federal guidelines for mercury exposure, and stepped up efforts to ensure on-time compliance with existing mandated vaccines—coincided in time with the dramatic increases in autism rates.

Despite widespread concern over vaccine safety issues, the medical industry has developed an effective public relations campaign over the last decade to defend their products. They have in the process reinforced the federal protection for what has now become the world’s most privileged product line; infant vaccines have received specific exemptions from regulatory standards and liability laws in ways that are truly without precedent. Autism may be a mystery, goes the medical industry line, but the one thing we know for certain is that vaccines have nothing to do with it. Supporting this claim is a cluster of epidemiology studies conducted by public health authorities and vaccine manufacturers and examining populations in Denmark, California and the U.K., all of which claim to find no evidence between autism risk and either thimerosal or the MMR vaccine.  Despite the fact that researchers with no affiliation with government authorities and vaccine manufacturers have found the opposite, repeatedly reporting epidemiological support for vaccine safety concerns, the public relations messengers of what some have called “the medical industrial complex” have effectively spread their message: “no credible evidence supports a link between vaccines and autism”; all relevant safety questions have been “asked and answered.”

In evaluating the state of the science that supports these sweeping conclusions, skeptical observers have consistently posed a very simple question. Have any of these supposedly credible studies compared total health outcomes in vaccinated vs. unvaccinated children? The answer to the question, of course, is no. According to the official line, it would be too hard to collect a reliable sample of previously unvaccinated children (making such study designs retrospectively impossible) and medically improper to deprive children of the benefits of vaccination in a properly controlled study (making such designs prospectively unethical). Elsewhere (see HERE ), one of us has called that position “an epistemological obscenity.” 

But aside from the controversial aspects of such studies, there are other problems with what most call “vax/unvax” studies in human populations. In a nutshell, if there are subtle forms of developmental injury in human infants from intensive vaccination, there’s no way to carry out the controlled biological investigations to figure out what might be going wrong in the developing human brain.

But if researchers face constraints, both real and perceived, in performing rigorous vax/unvax studies in human children, there’s another alternative: studying the effects of intensive vaccination in infant animals. Starting with the work done at Columbia University nearly ten years ago, a growing number of scientists have reported findings relevant to vaccine safety (and especially on thimerosal exposure) in several animal models, including mice, hamsters (see HERE ) and rats (see HERE and HERE ). The evidence from these rodent studies has been nearly uniform and their conclusions overwhelmingly similar: Thimerosal at the doses involved in the childhood immunization program of the 1990s clearly causes developmental damage in infant rodents.

Continue reading "Primates’ Progress: Disturbing Findings from a Study of Vaccinated and Unvaccinated Primates" »

As Our Book Launches, A Note of Thanks to All of You

Age of Autism_cover quote (3) Today marks the publication of "The Age of Autism -- Mercury, Medicine, and a Man-made Epidemic." If you click HERE or on the book cover at the left top, you'll see a new page about the book: Tour dates, an excerpt, and a button to purchase the book through the SafeMinds store. We'll be updating the page (and keeping you posted here as well) as we add cities to our tour, feedback, etc. Thanks to Ginger Taylor for setting this up, and thanks to a publicity team that has been hard at work for months: Laura Bono, Lyn Redwood, Becky Estepp and Katie Wiesman. We also want to thank each of you for making this book a reality by reading, commenting and supporting this blog. As we say in the Acknowledgements: "Many of the ideas in this book were introduced on the blog, and our readers' responses have helped refine them. The community that has grown up around Age of Autism has carried us forward on a wave of shared energy and commitment and we are privileged to serve such a generous and engaged group." Thank you. Please buy the book and help share the evidence. We hope to see you soon. -- Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill.

Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill Discuss The Age Of Autism Mercury Medicine and a Man-Made Epidemic

Age of Autism_cover quote (3) Teri Arranga interviews Mark Blaxill and Dan Olmsted on Voice America Radio "A Conversation of Hope" today at 9am PACIFIC (Noon Eastern). The show will be in the archives shortly after it airs. Congratulations to Dan and Mark on their launch day.

Flu vaccines are already in the news with the latest public health announcements urging adults and children to line up for shots. But did you know that the shots still contain mercury, a potent neurotoxin? Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill, the authors of an explosive new book on the autism epidemic, reveal that there is a long dark side to mercury in the origins of autism and urge caution to anyone considering getting the mercury-laced injections. Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill's groundbreaking book, The Age of Autism: Mercury, Medicine, and a Manmade Epidemic, traces the autism epidemic by examining the first diagnosed cases of autism. Dan and Mark's detailed research is impeccable and their conclusions are stunning. The Age of Autism will revolutionize the way people think about autism and children's health. This is a must-have book and a must-hear interview. Click Voice America Radio.

Government Awards Hannah Poling $1.5 Million in Vaccine Injury Case

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

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

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

My Dog Ate Our Book!

Dog aofa By Dan Olmsted

I know many of you are awaiting next Tuesday's release of "The Age of Autism" but I have to tell you ... the dog ate it.

Yes, our 10-pound Havenese, Rida, managed to get ahold of the PDF and start biting. I feel terrible -- almost as bad as the loss of one of my favorite episodes of Columbo: The Complete Season 2 that met the same fate. Why is it the only things I really care about are somehow irresistible to the dog?

Fortunately, the book itself is already waiting to go on display at bookstores nationwide. It's too late for man or beast to stop it. And thank the Lord, that's the last time an attack dog will tear into our book without having read or understood it.

Or am I being naive?

 

The Nightmare and the Dream: A Review of "The Age of Autism"

Age of Autism_cover quote (3) By Anne Dachel
 
I am amazed at this book.  How can there be all this information out there and no ones does anything? 
 
"The Age of Autism -- Mercury, Medicine and a Man-made Epidemic," to be published next Tuesday, has a haunting sense to it.  In some ways it’s like a macabre sci fi novel.  Imagine a book where the authors create a mysterious element that has marketable uses but also has concomitant lethal effects.  No matter how much evidence piles up, the population of the world continues to use it.  Finally, after centuries of exposure, the damaging effects become overwhelming.  Children are falling victim to mysterious developmental disorders.  Adults and especially the elderly come down with neurological problems in never-before-seen numbers.  This deadly element even shows up in human blood in exponentially increasing amounts. 
 
Despite this, the public is told that nothing is wrong.  They’re assured that scientists see no problem with exposure to this element; it can even safely be injected into pregnant women and babies.  The media, the medical establishment, and the government all deny that this element is harmful. 
 
That would be the plot of a very scary novel.  Those in the population who recognize what’s going on, the parents who’ve witnessed the damage in their own children, the courageous doctors and scientists trying to speak out would hopefully save the day before it’s too late. 
 
If there’s a happy ending to the book, the world wakes up in time and the human race makes a massive effort to eliminate exposure to this toxin and recover people already affected.
 
In "The Age of Autism," the real life scenario is the same.  The mysterious toxin is the deadly element mercury.  At the end of the story, we’re also left hanging, not knowing how much time we have left if we continue the pretense that a known neurotoxin can somehow be harmless when humans eat it, have it in their teeth, breathe it, and have it injected into themselves.  The most obvious proof is the generation of children with autism.  They’re the poster kids for mercury’s damaging power.

Continue reading "The Nightmare and the Dream: A Review of "The Age of Autism"" »

There’s a Funny Thing About Evidence: More Support for Autism-Mercury Link

Science_jpg_w300h345 " ...thimerosal at the same concentrations received in human infants had clearly measurable effects on opioid receptor development in the infant rats. They also found that these effects were stronger at higher doses. The effect was found to be persistent, lasting well beyond the initial period of administration. According to the authors, “very likely, it is permanent.”"

By Mark Blaxill

Despite the relentless drumbeat of propaganda from the CDC, public health authorities and the thuggish on-line goons of the medical industry, there’s a funny thing going on. The evidence of a connection between mercury exposure and autism keeps growing.

Last month, two scientists at the University of Northern Iowa, Catherine DeSoto and Robert Hitlan, published a fascinating review paper (see HERE for an interview with DeSoto; also see HERE and HERE for earlier reviews of DeSoto’s successful debunking of an error-filled paper on autism and mercury). They asked a simple question: what does the published evidence linking autism and mercury really say? To answer that question, they did a simple Pub Med search. They searched for the terms “(Autism AND Mercury) OR (Autism AND Heavy Metals)”. They found 163 articles (a number that has since risen to 174) and reviewed them. According to the authors, “Of these 163 articles, 58 were research articles with empirical data relevant to the question of a link between autism and one or more toxic heavy metals. Fifteen were offered as evidence against a link between exposure to these metals and autism. In contrast, a sum of 43 papers were supporting a link between autism and exposure to those metals.” In short, 74% of the published studies supported the theory.

Evidence is a funny thing.

Last week, yet another important study was published with no fanfare in the mainstream media. A research team in Warsaw led by Dr. Dorota Majewska published the latest findings from their ongoing investigation of the effect of thimerosal administration on newborn rats. I wrote about the first published findings from this project HERE. In their latest paper, the authors extended their investigation of the potential relationship between thimerosal and the development of opioid receptors in the infant brain. They found that thimerosal at the same concentrations received in human infants had clearly measurable effects on opioid receptor development in the infant rats. They also found that these effects were stronger at higher doses. The effect was found to be persistent, lasting well beyond the initial period of administration. According to the authors, “very likely, it is permanent.”

Should it surprise anyone that thimerosal administration in low doses is dangerous to infant brain development? So far, we’ve seen this result repeated reliably in rats, hamsters, mice and monkeys (the single animal study that has not reproduced this finding was NIH-funded).  It’s obvious to these researchers what many of us have argued for years, that giving mercury to infants on purpose is stupid. In a similar spirit, the Warsaw team closed their paper with the following observation.

In conclusion, this study documents that parenteral administration of [thimerosal] to suckling rats at doses equivalent to those used in pediatric vaccines or higher produces lasting alterations of [mu-opioid receptors ] in several brain regions and damage to neurons. If analogous changes occur in the brains of some children, they are likely to have profound neurological, physiological and behavioral consequences, which may be relevant for certain neurodevelopmental disorders. These data argue for removal of [thimerosal] from all infant vaccines.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Mark Blaxill is Editor-at-Large for Age of Autism and a director of SafeMinds. His new book, co-authored with Age of Autism Editor Dan Olmsted, The Age of Autism: Mercury, Medicine and a Man-Made Epidemic will be published next week.

The abstract of the Warsaw team’s article is below. The full article is available free HERE.

Continue reading "There’s a Funny Thing About Evidence: More Support for Autism-Mercury Link" »

New Study Shows Vaccines Cause Brain Changes Found in Autism

PET-1 By Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill

Abnormal brain growth and function are features of autism, an increasingly common developmental disorder that now affects 1 in 60 boys in the US. Now researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and Thoughtful House Center for Children in Austin, Texas, have found remarkably similar brain changes to those seen in autism in infant monkeys receiving the vaccine schedule used in the 1990’s that contained the mercury-based preservative thimerosal.

The group’s findings were published yesterday in the journal Acta Neurobiologiae Experimentalis. They used scanning techniques that assessed both brain growth and brain function in the same animals over time. The research team was able to see differences in the way the brains of vaccinated and unvaccinated animals developed. Scans were performed before and after the administration of primary MMR and DTaP/Hib boosters that were given at the human equivalent of 12 months of age.

Continue reading "New Study Shows Vaccines Cause Brain Changes Found in Autism" »

New Autism Consortium Study Proves (Again) that Inherited Genes Don’t Cause Autism

False tunnel By Mark Blaxill

The Autism Genome Project Consortium (AGPC) deserves credit for at least one thing. They know how to make a public relations mountain out of a scientific molehill.

The AGPC was all over the news last month, leading a celebration that went global. “Genes breakthrough in autism study” proclaimed a UK headline. “Genetic link to autism found”, announced the Sydney Morning Herald, while the Los Angeles Times told us with only bit more circumspection that a “Big study identifies new genes that may be involved in autism.” The publicity blitz included the suggestion of practical applications, with a report from the Daily Mirror in London promising that an “Autism find could lead to a new test” while Business Week picked up more directly on the commercial opportunity, “Autism’s genetic ties may lead to early detection, treatment.”

We’ve seen this movie before. No really, not just the metaphorical repetition of the autism genetics script, but a real movie. It’s called Groundhog Day. Like Bill Murray’s character waking up every morning on the same day, the autism gene hunters relive this same public relations routine over and over again with full awareness of their past failures. Meanwhile the media, like Murray’s fellow travelers in the movie, remain blessedly free of any long term memory and go willingly along for every ride.

Genetic analysis once again finds…not very much

So what, you might ask, was all the excitement about? In brief, the AGPC reported evidence that a particular type of rare, inherited mutation (called a CNV, or copy number variant) was more frequent in the DNA of autistic cases than controls. Unlike past autism-CNV studies, the authors did not report that the total number of mutations per individual was more frequent in autism. Instead, according to the AGPC, the specific mutations found in autism cases were more frequently located on active genes. In the eyes of the study authors, this “higher global burden of rare, genic CNVs” suggests that the location rather than the frequency of CNVs on the autistic genome made them likely to be disruptive in their biological effect.

One thing to know about CNVs is that they come in two flavors. They can include either missing DNA—deletions, or extra stretches of a DNA sequence—duplications. The AGPC study attempted to tie both flavors to autism. In the AGPC account, however, the coherence of the argument around these two CNV flavors mattered far less than their ability to report encouraging progress in the decades-long hunt for autism genes.

Not surprisingly, there was little encouraging news for families affected by autism in the fine print, nor was there much clarity over the CNV specifics. Notably, the AGPC authors couldn’t quite pinpoint which flavor of CNV--deletions or duplications-- was at the root of the problem in autism. Across all genes, they calculated that the DNA of autistic cases harbored more deletions but not duplications; in terms of the subset of so-called “ASD-implicated” genes (more on these below), the deletions weren’t the problem it was the duplications; yet when it came down to extracting causal insight from all these CNVs, duplications were out and deletions were in.

So here’s a simple question for the AGPC. Which is it, are deletions or duplications associated with autism?

Well, and again not surprisingly, the answer depends on what argument they’re trying to make. And the flip from deletions to duplications and back again reveals the AGPC’s progressive retreat, a retreat away from objective findings and towards questionable and therefore manipulable constructs.

The most compelling part of their evidence, the finding that is featured most actively, points to the deletion evidence. This finding emerges from the AGPC’s exhaustive analysis examining how frequently CNVs show up on the autism genome relative to unaffected controls. They report their single positive finding with great fanfare, but if one reads the study carefully (including the 74 pages of supplemental materials), one learns quickly that the vast majority of the results are actually negative. Most astonishing is that there was essentially no difference at all in the mutation rate between autistic subjects and controls, a finding that goes against several prior studies. In fact, along just about every dimensions, the AGPC team found no difference in CNVs between cases and controls: no excess of CNVs in terms of the number of CNVs per sample, the percentage of samples with CNVs, the total amount of affected DNA, or the average size of CNVs. This was true for deletions and duplications and for small and large CNVs. Nor were there any differences between families with a single child (simplex) or multiple affected (multiplex) children.

The single finding of significance relied on specifying the location of the CNVs in autism cases, i.e. that they were on active genes, the small fraction of the genome that actually encodes for proteins. And here, the AGPC found that the autistic genome more frequently demonstrated stretches of lost DNA—deletions--on such genes.  This is an interesting, if hardly revolutionary, finding but one that goes essentially nowhere in explaining causation. Even though the suggestion of a different mutation rate of just the genic regions of the autism genome narrows the range of biology under inspection, we’re still talking about the entire set of protein-coding human genes, roughly 21,000 of them according to recent estimates.

So, although the suggestion of an elevated rate of missing genic DNA in autism is interesting, the AGPC obviously needed to look for something more specific. And here, their deletion evidence failed them, because although there appeared to be more deletions in all genic regions, there weren’t really any differences in deletion rates on the genes of highest interest. Over 170 orthodox autism researchers were listed as co-authors on the study. For years, these researchers have been working overtime to specify “autism genes.” And over that period they’ve accumulated long lists of faint signals (rarely replicated with any consistency and often abandoned): genes they believe they’ve connected to autism. But when it came time to zoom in on their putative “global burden of rare, genic” deletions, the AGPC wasn’t able to connect that burden of deletions to the long list of genes they’ve been trying to implicate in autism for so long.

In fact, upon closer inspection, the deletion findings were downright embarrassing for the authors. Deletion rates in cases and controls were virtually identical on all kinds of genes that have been connected to autism. So despite a purportedly “breakthrough” finding on of an increased rate of missing genic DNA in autism, the authors had to turn to the other flavor of CNVs—duplications--to salvage some kind of biological case from their data.

For this purpose, they turned to a second analysis based on three different short lists of genes:

1) Markers of genetic syndromes like Fragile X, neurofibromatosis, Smith-Lemli-Opitz and tuberous sclerosis that are known to increase susceptibility to autism (“ASD-implicated”);

2) Genes that have been suggested in previous autism research (“ASD candidates”); and

3) Genes that have never been connected to autism but are involved in other intellectual disabilities (“ID”).

In this second analysis, they reported a small, but significant increase in the duplication rate in “ASD implicated” genes. That’s about it. (Neither deletions nor duplications showed up significant on the ID gene list, but when added together a small ID effect was just barely significant).

But in a shocking setback for decades of autism research, the findings on over 100 “ASD candidate” genes were completely negative. Anyone with fond Groundhog Day memories of earlier publicity blitzes for the HOXA1 gene, Cadherin 10, the serotonin transporter gene?  There’s not even a hint of a positive in this long list of previously ballyhooed genes that made up the AGPC’s “ASD candidate list.”

Continue reading "New Autism Consortium Study Proves (Again) that Inherited Genes Don’t Cause Autism" »

Start The Revolution: Order "The Age of Autism" Today!

Age of Autism_cover quote (3) From Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill: Our book "The Age of Autism: Mercury, Medicine, and a Man-made Epidemic" goes on sale Sept. 14, and starting today we're asking you to buy copies and urge friends and family to do the same. Click HERE to order. We started on the journey to write this book determined to seek the truth, and now we need you to help spread the word about what we found: early sales increase press runs, expand bookstore orders and launch best sellers that command national attention. For the sake of our children, our country and our future, attention MUST be paid.

Says Robert F. Kennedy Jr.: "Olmsted and Blaxill’s devastating account shows how medical and manufacturing interests have mounted an assault on human health for decades and covered their tracks along the way. The Age of Autism is only the latest episode in centuries of crimes against nature but is in many ways the most troubling. Autistic children are the canaries in the coal mine; shame on all of us if we don’t heed their distress call."

Age of Autism Does Lunch at Autism One

Here's some of the AofA team at Autism One. From Left, Kent Heckenlively, Adriana Gamondes, Julie Obradovic, Steve Jameson, Cathy Jameson, Teresa Conrick, Mark Blaxill and Dan Olmsted.

Age of Autism lunch