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393 posts categorized "Science"

Age of Autism Science Summary lteration of plasma glutamate and glutamine levels in children with high-functioning autism.

Science post imagePLoS One. 2011;6(10):e25340. Epub 2011 Oct 5.

Alteration of plasma glutamate and glutamine levels in children with high-functioning autism.

Shimmura C, Suda S, Tsuchiya KJ, Hashimoto K, Ohno K, Matsuzaki H, Iwata K, Matsumoto K, Wakuda T, Kameno Y, Suzuki K, Tsujii M, Nakamura K, Takei N, Mori N.

Source

Department of Psychiatry and Neurology, Hamamatsu University School of Medicine, Hamamatsu, Japan.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

It has recently been hypothesized that hyperglutamatergia in the brain is involved in the pathophysiology of autism. However, there is no conclusive evidence of the validity of this hypothesis. As peripheral glutamate/glutamine levels have been reported to be correlated with those of the central nervous system, the authors examined whether the levels of 25 amino acids, including glutamate and glutamine, in the platelet-poor plasma of drug-naïve, male children with high-functioning autism (HFA) would be altered compared with those of normal controls.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:

Plasma levels of 25 amino acids in male children (N = 23) with HFA and normally developed healthy male controls (N = 22) were determined using high-performance liquid chromatography. Multiple testing was allowed for in the analyses. Compared with the normal control group, the HFA group had higher levels of plasma glutamate and lower levels of plasma glutamine. No significant group difference was found in the remaining 23 amino acids. The effect size (Cohen's d) for glutamate and glutamine was large: 1.13 and 1.36, respectively. Using discriminant analysis with logistic regression, the two values of plasma glutamate and glutamine were shown to well-differentiate the HFA group from the control group; the rate of correct classification was 91%.

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:

The present study suggests that plasma glutamate and glutamine levels can serve as a diagnostic tool for the early detection of autism, especially normal IQ autism. These findings indicate that glutamatergic abnormalities in the brain may be associated with the pathobiology of autism.

PMCID: PMC3187770

Free Article

PMID:

21998651

[PubMed - in process]

Study on Facial Structure and Autism

Black and white faceManaging Editor's Note: New study looks at facial features and autism. Read more at ThirdAge.com.

The origins of autism may be better understood by kids’ facial features, according to a new study published in the Oct. 14 issue of Molecular Autism.

One out of every 110 children has an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). People with an ASD may experience difficulties with communication, intelligence, behavior or social interaction, according to WebMD.

Children with autism have noticeable differences in facial characteristics than normally developing children, researchers noted.

"There is no clear answer about whether autism is caused by genetics or by environmental influences," study author Dr. Kristina Aldridge, assistant professor of anatomy at the University of Missouri School of Medicine, said in a written statement, CBS News reports."If we can identify when these facial changes occur, we could pinpoint when autism may begin to develop in a child."

Facial features in 64 boys with autism were compared with faces of 41 typically developing boys, all 8-12 years old, with a 3-D camera system. After mapping out 17 points on faces, the researchers discovered considerable differences between the two groups.

According to the study, the autistic children had wider eyes, and a "broader upper face," compared with typically developing children.

Age of Autism Science Source: Research proposes common link between autism, diabetes

Science post imageStudy implicates hyperinsulinemia in increased incidence of autism

HOUSTON -- (Oct. 19, 2011) -- A review of the genetic and biochemical abnormalities associated with autism reveals a possible link between the widely diagnosed neurological disorder and Type 2 diabetes, another medical disorder on the rise in recent decades.

"It appears that both Type 2 diabetes and autism have a common underlying mechanism -- impaired glucose tolerance and hyperinsulinemia," said Rice University biochemist Michael Stern, author of the opinion paper, which appears online in this month's issue of Frontiers in Cellular Endocrinology.

Hyperinsulinemia, often a precursor to insulin resistance, is a condition characterized by excess levels of insulin in the bloodstream. Insulin resistance is often associated with both obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

"It will be very easy for clinicians to test my hypothesis," said Stern, professor of biochemistry and cell biology at Rice. "They could do this by putting autistic children on low-carbohydrate diets that minimize insulin secretion and see if their symptoms improve."

Stern said the new finding also suggests that glucose tolerance in pregnant women may need to be addressed more seriously than it is now.

Stern said he first realized there could be a common link between Type 2 diabetes and autism a few years ago, but he assumed someone else had already thought of the idea.

Stern's lab, which is located at Rice's BioScience Research Collaborative, specializes in investigating the genetic interactions associated with genetic diseases like neurofibromatosis, a disorder in which patients are several times more likely to be afflicted with autism and autism spectrum disorders (ASD) like Asperger's syndrome.

Continue reading "Age of Autism Science Source: Research proposes common link between autism, diabetes" »

Dr. Bradstreet, Nagalase, and the Viral Issue in Autism

JeffBradstreetBy Kent Heckenlively, Esq.

Although my daughter is not a patient of Dr. Jeff Bradstreet I've always had an enormous amount of respect for the good doctor.  I'll usually go on his website once or twice a month to find out what has most recently attracted his interest.  Often it seems we're looking at similar questions; which either means great minds think alike, or we suffer from some of the same delusions. 

I was intrigued by his October 11, 2011 entry, "An Update on Viral Issue in Autism" since it dovetailed with some of my own recent investigations.

In the past months Dr. Bradstreet has become interested in nagalese, which he describes as an enzyme "produced by cancer cells and viruses."  He thinks it unlikely that children with autism have undiagnosed cancers, and thus suspicion falls on a viral etiology.  Dr. Bradstreet writes, "Viruses make the nagalese enzyme as part of their attachment proteins.  It serves to get the virus into the cell and also decreases the body's immune reaction to the virus-thereby increasing the odds of viral survival."

Further on Dr. Bradstreet writes, "It is reasonable and likely that the nature of the immune dysfunction and the frequently observed autoimmune problems in autism are mediated by persistent, unresolved viral infections."  He claims to have tested approximately 400 children with autism for the viral marker, nagalese, and found that nearly 80% have significantly elevated levels.  He hopes to publish soon on this study and believes this information "is one of the most important developments in the clinical treatment of children on the spectrum that I have experienced in the last 15 years."

Continue reading "Dr. Bradstreet, Nagalase, and the Viral Issue in Autism" »

Age of Autism Science Source: Are thyroid hormone concentrations at birth associated with subsequent autism diagnosis?

Science post imageAutism Res. 2011 Aug 31. doi: 10.1002/aur.219. [Epub ahead of print]

Are thyroid hormone concentrations at birth associated with subsequent autism diagnosis?

Hoshiko S, Grether JK, Windham GC, Smith D, Fessel K.

Source

Environmental Health Investigations Branch, California Department of Public Health, Richmond, California. [email protected].

Abstract

Thyroid hormones substantially influence central nervous system development during gestation. We hypothesized that perturbations of early thyroid profiles may contribute to the development of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Thyroid pathways could provide a mechanism by which environmental factors that affect the thyroid system may impact autism occurrence or phenotypic expression. We investigated whether thyroxine (T4) levels at birth are associated with subsequent ASD, using two existing California study groups in multivariate analysis. One study group included children born in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1994, with cases identified through the California Department of Developmental Services (DDS) and/or the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program of Northern California (244 cases, 266 controls); the other included children born in California in 1995, with cases identified through DDS (310 cases, 518 controls). Matched controls were selected from birth certificate records. This exploratory analysis suggested that infants with very low T4 (<3rd percentile) may have higher ASD risk, although results reached statistical significance only for the 1995 study group (1995: OR = 2.74 (95% CI 1.30-5.75; 1994: OR = 1.71 (95% CI 0.57-5.19). A variety of alternate analyses were conducted with available data, without further resolution of the difference between the two study groups. The results of our study indicate that further studies are warranted to investigate whether thyroid hormone perturbations play a role in the development of ASD by evaluating additional potential confounders and genotype or phenotype in larger studies. Autism Res 2011,4:xxx-xxx. © 2011 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Copyright © 2011, International Society for Autism Research, Wiley-Liss, Inc.

PMID:

21882364

[PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Age of Autism Science Summary: Perinatal and neonatal risk factors for autism: a comprehensive meta-analysis.

Science post imageManaging Editor's Note: We'll be posting science abstracts for your information.

Pediatrics. 2011 Aug;128(2):344-55. Epub 2011 Jul 11.

Perinatal and neonatal risk factors for autism: a comprehensive meta-analysis.

Gardener H, Spiegelman D, Buka SL.

Source

Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. [email protected]

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The etiology of autism is unknown, although perinatal and neonatal exposures have been the focus of epidemiologic research for over 40 years.

OBJECTIVE:

To provide the first review and meta-analysis of the association between perinatal and neonatal factors and autism risk.

METHODS:

PubMed, Embase, and PsycInfo databases were searched for studies that examined the association between perinatal and neonatal factors and autism through March 2007. Forty studies were eligible for the meta-analysis. For each exposure, a summary effect estimate was calculated using a random-effects model. Heterogeneity in effect estimates across studies was examined, and, if found, a meta-regression was conducted to identify measured methodological factors that could explain between-study variability.

RESULTS:

Over 60 perinatal and neonatal factors were examined. Factors associated with autism risk in the meta-analysis were abnormal presentation, umbilical-cord complications, fetal distress, birth injury or trauma, multiple birth, maternal hemorrhage, summer birth, low birth weight, small for gestational age, congenital malformation, low 5-minute Apgar score, feeding difficulties, meconium aspiration, neonatal anemia, ABO or Rh incompatibility, and hyperbilirubinemia. Factors not associated with autism risk included anesthesia, assisted vaginal delivery, postterm birth, high birth weight, and head circumference.

CONCLUSIONS:

There is insufficient evidence to implicate any 1 perinatal or neonatal factor in autism etiology, although there is some evidence to suggest that exposure to a broad class of conditions reflecting general compromises to perinatal and neonatal health may increase the risk. Methodological variations were likely sources of heterogeneity of risk factor effects across studies.

PMID:

21746727

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

The Wakefield Rehabilitation?

Lipkin3 By Kent Heckenlively, Esq.

No responsible historian quotes Unabomber Ted Kaczynski for a proper understanding of the Industrial Revolution and the struggles of a technological age.

So why is uber-scientist Dr. W. Ian Lipkin of Columbia University quoting with approval the work of Dr. Andrew Wakefield?  Isn't Wakefield supposed to the author of our common mass delusion that vaccines are linked to autism?

And wasn't it Dr. W. Ian Lipkin who wrote Lack of Association Between Measles Virus Vaccine and Enteropathy: A Case Control Study in September 2008 which was widely seen as the final "nail in the coffin" of the MMR vaccine/autism theory?  (Author's note - Lipkin's study also showed that the lab work of Dr. John O'Leary, relied upon by Dr. Wakefield, was accurate.  And little reported was the fact that the measles virus was detected in the gut tissue of 1 of the 25 children with autism and 1 control.  Perhaps the most serious critcism, and difference from the Wakefield study was that only 5 of the 25 children with autism had received their MMR shot prior to the start of gastrointestinal problems, according to parent reports.  The parents of all Wakefield's patients in the original Lancet study claimed that the development of GI symptoms came after the MMR shot.  That's why he was investigating the shots as a possible cause of the development of GI symptoms AND as a consequence, autism.)

Or to put it a little more clearly, even Dr. W. Ian Lipkin found 20% of the children whose parents claimed that the MMR shot preceeded the development of GI symptoms in their children with autism were positive for the measles virus in their gut.

Continue reading "The Wakefield Rehabilitation?" »

Time to Fix What's Broken at HHS: CAARC Calls for GAO Investigation into Autism Research

Gao TIME TO FIX WHAT’S BROKEN AT HHS; CAARC CALLS FOR GAO INVESTIGATION INTO AUTISM RESEARCH

Statement from the Working Group of the Combating Autism Act Reauthorization Coalition (CAARC) on the Three Year Extension of the Combating Autism Act; As Autism Epidemic Rages On, CAARC Calls for Government Accountability Office (GAO) Investigation of Autism Spending

On Friday September 30, 2011, President Obama signed the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act of 2011 (CARA 2011) into law. The passage of CARA 2011 maintains valuable momentum, but the developments of the last week are not a time for celebration for the autism community. Five years after Congress first passed the Combating Autism Act of 2006, autism families have yet to see meaningful benefits in terms of prevention, treatment and scientific understanding despite hundreds of millions in spending. Meanwhile, as the autism epidemic rages on, federal bureaucrats evade responsibility, delay critical activities, continue to invest in an obsolete scientific orthodoxy and have even begun promoting the acceptance of autism as a “new normal.”

The lengthy process (CAARC was formed in June 2010) that produced CARA 2011 has led to an outcome that is consistent in many ways with CAARC’s long held and principled positions on autism legislation.

  • Despite the opposition of some advocacy groups to the very notion of “combating autism” the focus of CARA 2011 remains on research into the causes and underlying biology of autism.
  • Unlike the overly broad early proposals, current drafts of bills designed to improve on CARA 2011 and CAA 2006 now separate research from services.
  • Extending CARA 2011 now retains the strategic planning discipline and accountability set in place by CAA 2006.
  • Importantly, CARA 2011 is a three year extension rather than a full five year renewal, recognition of the need to fix what’s broken in the original bill.

The signing of CARA 2011 is an occasion to reinforce the urgent need to combat autism, a relatively new, epidemic disorder that disables children for life, devastates families and is on track to cost America trillions of dollars. In the congressional debates of recent weeks, some Republican senators have called into question the advisability of disease specific legislation. Indeed, as one Senator told us in 2006, “there are thousands of worthy groups in here every day.” He has a good point making single disease bills only rarely a good idea and single disease bills should be the exception rather than the rule.

Continue reading "Time to Fix What's Broken at HHS: CAARC Calls for GAO Investigation into Autism Research" »

Invitation to Participate in Biomedical Autism Treatment Study

JillRibbonHand Managing Editor's Note: Jill has contacted me about this study and we are sharing it with you.

Hello,

I am a doctoral student under the direction of Professor Linda Reed in the Department of Psychology at Capella University.  I am conducting a research study, titled Autism Spectrum Disorder:  The Relationship Between Biomedical Treatment and Healthy Family Functioning, to determine whether or not biomedical treatment used in children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder can create a higher rate of healthy family living.  (See IRB here.) I invite you to participate in this study by placing a flyer advertising my study in your office.  You will in no way be endorsing my study or supporting my study.  I am inviting mothers with a child diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder to participate in this study, which will involve answering 8 background questions and 62 questions regarding the FACES IV survey about their family.  FACES IV is an assessment scale that measures family adaptability, cohesion, communication and satisfaction.  These questions are available through the website Autismdeal.comAnswering these questions should take no more than 20 minutes. 

Parent participation in this study is voluntary, they can choose not to participate.  The results of this research study will be published, but the mother and child’s name will not be known in the survey and will not be used for any part of the research.  By agreeing to place a flyer in your school you are not in any way endorsing my study, but simply advertising a link to the study.  If you chose to hang this flyer in your school I will need a permission letter to give to my school showing that I have your permission. http://www.autismdeal.com

This survey does not provide a direct benefit for you or the participants, but your participation will hopefully result in increased education of whether or not biomedical treatment affects the rate of healthy family functioning. 

If you have any questions concerning this research study or your participation in this study, please call me at 843-377-6837 or email me at [email protected] or Dr. Linda Reed at 937-550-4269, [email protected]

Sincerely,

Jill Tschikof

If you have any questions about your rights as a research participant or any concerns about the research process, or if you’d like to discuss an unanticipated problem related to the research, please contact the Capella Human Research Protections Office at: 1-888-227-3552, extension 4716.  Your identity, questions, and concerns will be kept confidential. 

How Vaccines Might Cause Autism and Other Diseases

XMRV By Kent Heckenlively, Esq.

When my daughter's test results showed she was positive for the XMRV (xenotropic murine leukemia virus related virus) retrovirus my next step was to find a doctor who could tell me how to treat it.  Since the only other two human retroviruses currently identified are HTLV, found mostly in Asian countries and responsible for causing T-cell leukemia, and HIV, which causes AIDS, I figured I had to find an AIDS doctor.

I called the University of California, San Francisco Pediatric AIDS unit and talked to their media representative.  I figured in our first conversation I'd avoid flying my freak flag and simply tell him my daughter had been diagnosed with this newly identified retrovirus and that she had autism and seizures and I was concerned that the retrovirus might be at least partially responsible for her problems.

"Well, that explains why a vaccination might cause autism," he said, barely missing a breath.  He went onto tell me this question was something he often discussed with his friends.   The idea of an underlying retrovirus was the first time it made sense as to how a vaccination might cause autism.

He explained that if XMRV was similar to HIV then it probably hid out in the cells of the immune system and any stimulation of the immune system was likely to cause XMRV to replicate out of control.  (This had previously been discussed by some of the researchers working on XMRV, but I was still surprised to hear the media representative go right to that point.)  Apparently it is common knowledge among retrovirologists that immunizations can stimulate a retrovirus.  Even the most pro-vaccine physician will admit that vaccinations work by stimulating the immune system.

The media representative was very kind and said he'd try to find a doctor to talk to me.  Predictably, none of them wanted to talk to me, and I can't say I'm unsatisfied with that result.  The currently existing HIV medications don't hold much appeal to me as I worry about some of their side-effects, particularly on the mitochondria.

Continue reading "How Vaccines Might Cause Autism and Other Diseases" »

New IOM Report on Vaccine Adverse Effects Shows Alarming Lack of Good Science SafeMinds Notes: Parents Should Still be Concerned

IOM questions Safeminds.org Washington DC.  The Institute of Medicine's Panel on Adverse Effects of Vaccines issued a report today on the evidence and causality of vaccine harms. Despite a glowing press release, the report does little to allay public concerns over adverse effects of vaccines and suggests that we urgently need more science on vaccine adverse effects.

The IOM report took two years to produce, mostly behind closed doors, and was paid for by the Department of Health and Human Services, the government agency which is also a defendant against the vaccine-injured in the government's vaccine court.

Due to a narrow set of objectives defined for the IOM by the government, the report only looked at a small set of published research studies linking just two vaccines to developmental disorders such as autism. Only four epidemiological studies were considered of sufficient quality to evaluate the MMR vaccine in relation to autism and no studies were deemed of sufficient quality for the DtaP vaccine and autism analysis. The committee did not attempt to evaluate six other vaccines for autism causation, the safety of the cumulative vaccine schedule and health outcomes like autism, or the safety of vaccine ingredients like mercury and aluminum in the context of chemical exposures from other sources like air pollution or consumer products.

The report considered 158 potential adverse outcomes from vaccines. Of these, 135 or 85% were found to have inadequate research to accept or reject a causal association. Of the 23 outcomes where the research was deemed adequate, 18 or 78% were found supportive of harm. Vaccines were cleared of safety concerns for just five of the outcomes considered. "These statistics are hardly reassuring to parents who are now asked to give their young children over 32 vaccinations," noted Sallie Bernard, President of SafeMinds.

The report found likely causality of immune dysfunction, seizures and encephalopathy from some vaccines. These conditions are often found in individuals with autism. "It is plausible that a subset of children became autistic because of these adverse events from their vaccines. There are many cases of autism compensated by the vaccine court after having one of these conditions," noted Lyn Redwood, RN, Director of SafeMinds. Details of a recent review are available HERE:    A SafeMinds review (HERE) of the epidemiological studies on MMR and thimerosal and autism is available:

That 85% of even a small subset of health outcomes has inadequate science speaks of the critical need for more research on vaccine safety. SafeMinds calls on Congress and the Administration to institute a rigorous science program on vaccine safety. This program would include the establishment of an independent Vaccine Safety Agency (similar to the National Transportation Safety Board), the launch of a study comparing health outcomes between vaccinated and unvaccinated children, the inclusion of vaccines as an exposure variable in the National Children's Study and mandatory reporting by physicians to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.

The Coalition for SafeMinds is a 501C-3 organization dedicated to restoring health and protecting future generations by eradicating the devastation of neurological disorders induced by mercury and man-made toxicants.

 

FDA to Investigate Vaccines for XMRV Retrovirus

Anti-virus By Kent Heckenlively, Esq.

As part of my continuing series of articles which I think should be subtitled, Official Documents which Scare the Living Daylights Out of Me! I offer this July 24, 2011 publication from the Food and Drug Adminstration.

The release is entitled Investigating Viruses in Cells Used to make Vaccines; and Evaluating the Potential Threat Posed by Transmission of Viruses to Humans.  XMRV is prominently featured as a virus about which they are concerned.  Please feel free to read the entire document at FDA.gov.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the question of XMRV and autism, please allow me to give a brief recap.  The xenotropic murine leukemia virus related virus (XMRV) was discovered in 2006 by scientists working for the University of California at San Francisco and the Cleveland Clinic.  It is a human gamma retrovirus and there are many who say we should be referring to this family as XMRVs or HGRVs. 

The retrovirus was originally found in the tumors of men with an aggressive form of prostate cancer, in 2009 the virus was found in high numbers in people with chronic fatigue syndrome/ME, and there has been some very preliminary findings of its presence in children with autism.  In the interest of full disclosure I must note that my daughter with autism/seizures, my wife who has had a number of mysterious health ailments, and my mother-in-law have all tested positive for the XMRV retrovirus.  I've tested negative, as has my father, who is my only surviving parent.

Chronic fatigue syndrome/ME and autism  share many common clinical features including immune dysregulation, increased expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines, mitochondrial abnormalities, and chronic active microbial infections.   In my own investigations I've been surprised how many of the mothers of children with autism say they have either been formally diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome/ME, or believe they have subclinical indications of the disorder. 

Onto the FDA release of July 24, 2011.  After first describing the need for new vaccines and that the virus-based vaccines require the use of living cells for a substrate, there's this paragraph. 

In some cases the cell lines that are used might be tumorigenic, that it, they form tumors when injected into rodents.  Some of these tumor-forming cell lines may contain cancer-causing (author's note - autism causing?) viruses that are not actively reproducing.  Such viruses are hard to detect using standard methods.  These latent or "quiet" viruses pose a potential threat, since they might become active under vaccine manufacturing conditions.  Therefore, to ensure the safety of vaccines, our laboratory is investigating ways to activate latent viruses in cell lines and to detect the activated viruses, as well as other unknown viruses, using new technologies.  We are also trying to identify specific biological processes that reflect virus activity.

Translation for the average reader - Hey, the cell lines in which we grow the viruses we want in vaccines, may contain some viruses we don't want!  Including those which may cause cancer!

Continue reading "FDA to Investigate Vaccines for XMRV Retrovirus" »

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? " »

Farewell to an Honest Scientist and a Good Friend

Lonsdale Managing Editor's Note: Last week, I spoke at a conference in Cleveland. To my great pleasure, Dr. Derrick Lonsdale of Preventive Medicine Group, who was our first Defeat Autism Now! doctor, was also speaking. Dr. Lonsdale is 87 years old, vigorous, (Hugh Hefner should be so good looking) and still devoted to helping people with autism when mainstream medicine turns its back. He has pioneered the use of Vitamin B1 Thiamine for autism. If you've read All I Can Handle I'm No Mother Teresa, you know that our daugher Mia had a life threatening seizure disorder, written off by the doctors at University Hospitals as, "part of her autism." I willl never forget how I called Dr. Lonsdale in tears, sitting next to Mia's hospital bed, begging for help. When she was released, he brought her into his office for an IV infusion of liquid and nutrition to help get her back to health. He cared. He cares. Dr. Lonsdale is an expert in oxidative stress and its chain of sickness. Please visit his blog called The Spark of Life and tell him a very grateful Kim sent you. Below, Kent describes a doctor who tried to help his own daughter. And who recently died.

Has there been a doctor who has reached out to help you when mainstream medicine had nothing to suggest? Let us know in the comments. KS

By Kent Heckenlively, Esq. Kent doc

Dr. David W. Gregg died on July 6, 2011 at the age of seventy-six.  He was my friend and an honest scientist.

There's a Bible passage from Matthew which reads, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them; for it is to those who are childlike that the Kingdom of the Heavens belongs."

If you knew David you know he faced the world with a child's innocence, curiousity, and sense of fair play.  I have rarely known a better man.

I met David sometime in 2003 when I ran across his web-site.  He was proposing a viral theory for autism and we spent a good deal of time trying to develop treatments for my daughter.  None of them worked.  But on a road filled with so many disappointments, it's also important to take the time to acknowledge the good people you meet on the journey.  Despite the failures, David never lost the optimism that one day an answer would be found.

Continue reading "Farewell to an Honest Scientist and a Good Friend" »

Holy Jumpin' Monkey Viruses!

Titi%20monkeys By Kent Heckenlively, Esq.

There's a story a fellow science teacher told me that I've always remembered.  This science teacher headed the Education Center at Lawrence-Livermore Labs and was present when Edward Teller, father of the hydrogen bomb, came to visit the National Ignition Facility, designed to create nuclear fusion, the energy of the Sun.

"What do you think you will learn?" the elderly scientist asked of the director in his thick Hungarian accent.

The chief scientist prattled on about all of the things they expected to discover on the road to nuclear fusion, but Teller was unimpressed.

The famous scientist shook his head and said, "No!  The answer is, you have no idea what you will learn!"

I like the story because it demonstrates a humility in the face of the things we don't understand.  It's not just that we know we don't know.  It's that we might not even know the right questions to ask.

I was reminded of Teller's story when I read an article, dated July 15, 2011 from Science Daily entitled, "First Adenovirus to Jump Between Monkeys and Humans Confirmed."  What?  Adenoviruses can jump from monkeys to humans?  We never knew that!  You can read the article  HERE.

Are you getting my point?

Continue reading "Holy Jumpin' Monkey Viruses!" »

Late Onset Autism and Anti-NMDA-Receptor Encephalitis: Part 1

Limbic By Teresa Conrick

My daughter, Megan, continues to be severely affected by both the medical and behavioral symptoms of autism. As a result, I continue to read studies and research that correlate with the symptoms that she has.  Some of the factors, if we were to list them like they do in a journal, would be -- seizures, autism, nmda/glutamate dysfunction, cancer signalling, encephalopathy, agitation.  Surprisingly, there was a current, case study just out that had many of these key words:

Late onset autism and anti-NMDA-receptor encephalitis    The Lancet, Vol 378. Issue 9785, Page 98, 2 July 2011

Caroline Creten, MD, Sanne van der Zwaan BSc, Roos J Blankenspoor BSc, Arien Maatkamp, PhD, Prof Jim van Os PhD, Dr Jan NM Schieveld PhD

In December, 2009, a 9-year-old boy was admitted to our hospital with an acute onset of secondary generalised seizures. He had no medical or psychiatric history and functioned very well socially and academically. He presented with speech and swallowing difficulties, which after 10 days developed into a severely agitated catatonic state with opisthotonic posturing, tonic posturing of limbs, insomnia, and dyskinesia. Initially the electroencephalogram showed a normal background pattern with epileptic discharges, and oligoclonal bands were present in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Brain MRI and extensive blood tests were normal. The neurological diagnosis was atypical childhood epilepsy with centrotemporal spikes, for which oral corticosteroids and anti-epileptic drugs were prescribed. His catatonia was treated with benzodiazepines. In January, 2010, our patient presented in a robotic state with complete mutism and negativism, and he did not respond to any form of contact. We provisionally diagnosed acute late onset autism with a differential diagnosis of childhood disintegrative disorder or early onset schizophrenia.

Childhood disintegrative disorder, early onset schizophrenia, and late onset autism often share a final common pathway: previous normal development, followed by sudden neuropsychiatric regression of social interaction and communication skills, and a decline in intelligence and daily activities. 1 The disorders are sometimes misrecognised and collectively called as autistic disorder. Although judged to be functional psychiatric diagnoses, the marked deterioration and poor prognosis suggest an organic cause, especially in children with catatonia, a normal development up to at least 5 years of age, or both1,2. In our patient, late onset autism was considered because: it is associated with neurological disorders; 2  it is a known end stage of acquired brain injury; progression of symptoms was fast and severe, unlike in early onset schizophrenia; the absence of positive symptoms made schizophrenia less plausible; the age of onset and rare prevalence made chronic disintegrative disorder unlikely; 1 and accompanying catatonic features were present. 3 After extensive diagnostic assessments, our patient was finally diagnosed with anti-NMDA-receptor encephalitis on the basis of slightly raised anti-NMDA-receptor antibody titres in serum and highly raised titres in CSF. 4 Clinical characteristics of this condition are acute major neuropsychiatric symptoms including anxiety, aggression, agitation, behavioural changes and catatonia, delusional thoughts, progressive speech deterioration, and hallucinations. Neurological symptoms such as dyskinesia, abnormal seizure-like movements, and diffuse and profound autonomic instability have also been reported.4.5 Anti-NMDA-receptor encephalitis can occur in the context of malignant disease; 4 however for our patient extensive oncological investigations were negative. Electroconvulsive therapy was given for the severe catatonic state, and monoclonal antibody treatment (rituximab) was started because of the unsatisfactory response to the initial treatment with benzodiazepines. The acquired autism gradually subsided, he spoke fluently and was able to draw a happy picture (figure). In June, 2011, he only had some mild cognitive dysfunction.

Continue reading "Late Onset Autism and Anti-NMDA-Receptor Encephalitis: Part 1 " »

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? " »

When Science Journals are Scarier than Science Fiction

XMRV

By Kent Heckenlively, Esq.

My choice for the scariest reading of the year was recently published  in the journal Cancer Biology and Therapy and has the unwieldly title of Frequent Detection of Infectious Xenotropic Leukemia Virus (XMLV) in Human Cultures Established from Mouse Xenografts.

For those of you who may be confused by the idea of a "xenograft" I'll provide you with the definition given by the U. S. Public Health Service.  "Any procedure that involves the transplantation, implantation, or infusion into a human recipient of either (a) live cells, tissues, or organs from a non-human animal source or (b) human body fluids, cells, tissues or organs that have had ex vivio contact with live non-human animal cells, tissues, or organs."  This covers vaccines as well as other surgical procedures in which human tissue is manipulated prior to transplantation.

In the scientific community mouse xenografting is often used to manipulate cancer cells for research purposes, among other things.  With research that has linked XMRV (which is a xenotropic murine leukemia virus) to prostate cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome/ME, and to a lesser extent autism, scientists from Johns Hopkins University and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center as well as a few other institutions thought it made sense to investigate the frequency of XMLVs in human cell lines "established from mouse xenografts and to search for the evidence of horizontal spread to other cell lines."

In layman's terms the question they were asking was, "when we do xenografting with mouse biological products how often do we get XMLVs popping up in our samples?" 

The answer they found is that six out of twenty three (26%) mouse DNA free xenografts "were strongly positive for MLV and their sequences had greater than 99% homology to known MLV strains."  These samples were obtained from seven independent laboratories. 

Further on the authors wrote, "Of the 78 non-xenograft derived cell lines maintained in the xenograft culture containing facilities, 13 (17%) were positive for MLV, including XMRV, a virus strain first identified in human tissues."  (My daughter with autism has tested positive for XMRV.)  In scientific terms this is an absolute train wreck.

This means that every surgical patient receiving any biological product which used mouse tissue in any way has a one in four chance of being exposed to an XMLV.  And that also means that any biological sample which is maintained in a facility containing xenograft cultures has a 17% chance of becoming infected.

On the question of vaccines, let's just say that only 10% of the nearly 40 vaccines children are expected to receive prior to the age of five contain mouse biological products.  This translates into roughly a 100% chance that our current generation of children will be exposed to an XMLV through a vaccination.

Are you scared yet?

It gets worse.

Continue reading "When Science Journals are Scarier than Science Fiction" »

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" »

Mercury Leaves Its Mark: Autism, Cancer & Neurodegenerative Disease Part 5

Linked

Managing Editor's Note: This is part 5 of 5. You can read Part 4, Part 3, Part 2, and Part 1.

By Teresa Conrick

In this series on xenobiotic chemicals, like mercury/thimerosal, and their connection to autism, cancer and neurodegeneration, there are indications that some companies and researchers are racing to the "cure" yet avoiding inconvenient truths. As a result, there is a continuation of denial about the environmental and pharmaceutical toxins -- both man made -- that have their fingerprints on many of these cases of regression into disease.  Some would say the fingerprints are on both poison and "cure', as mercury, and especially Thimerosal, are shown to be guilty of causing damage that, for example, Riluzole, via clinical trials, is supposed to fix:

Poison
"Within a eukaryotic cell there is careful regulation of the levels of phosphorylation which is controlled by the delicate balance between the activity of protein kinases and protein phosphatases......In this study we show that the thiol-reactive heavy metal HgCl2, known to contribute to the development of autoimmune disorders, induces a rapid and robust activation of tyrosine phosphorylation within human myelomonocytic cells."

 Poison "Focal adhesion kinase (FAK) is a signaling molecule associated with cell survival. Previously, we showed that thimerosal, a reactive oxygen species (ROS) generator, can acutely induce FAK tyrosine phosphorylation (within minutes) and chronically induce apoptosis (within days)

 "Cure" The Neuroprotective Agent Riluzole Inhibits NMDA-Induced FAK 125 Tyrosine Kinase Phosphorylation in the Rat Hippocampus


 Glutamate: a potential mediator of inorganic mercury neurotoxicity.  "Exposure to mercury vapor (Hg0) produces neurotoxic effects which are for the most part subsequent to its biotransformation in brain to the mercuric cation (Hg2 +), which has an exceptionally strong affinity towards the SH groups in proteins. However, neurologic symptoms are often encountered in subjects in which Hg+ concentration in the brain remains in the SUBMICROMOLAR range, markedly below the anticipated threshold for direct inhibition of cerebral metabolism and function. In this report we review biochemical and morphological evidence obtained in this and other laboratories in tissue culture studies suggesting that in such instances mercury neurotoxicity may be mediated by excitotoxic activity of GLUTAMATE (GLU)."

David H. Gorski
Drug Discovery and Development
"The research interests of the Gorski laboratory fall into two broad categories. First, we are interested in the transcriptional regulation of vascular endothelial cell phenotype.  Our second area of interest is the role of metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) in breast cancer. These receptors have traditionally been believed to be restricted to the central nervous system, but our collaborators at Rutgers University and Robert Wood Johnson University first serendipitously observed that mGluR-1 induces melanoma in transgenic mice....  we have noted that mGluR1 is expressed on vascular endothelial cells and have preliminary evidence that its inhibition is also antiangiogenic......"

Continue reading "Mercury Leaves Its Mark: Autism, Cancer & Neurodegenerative Disease Part 5" »

SmartVax: A Website to change the Discourse on Vaccines

SMARTVAX_LOGOv1
By Scott Laster, SafeMinds

SafeMinds was founded to raise awareness, support research, change policy and focus national attention on the growing evidence that environmental triggers contribute to neurological disorders such as autism, attention deficit disorder, language delay and learning difficulties. Our mission is to restore health and protect future generations by eradicating the devastation of autism and associated health disorders that are induced by environmental triggers. A portion of SafeMinds' focus is on the role that vaccines may play in environmentally-induced autism, and SafeMinds members have participated in various governmental vaccine-policy and autism research committees to encourage research in this area. During these efforts it has become increasingly frustrating that public health officials discourage the smart science necessary to determine the mechanisms of vaccine-injury, and often provide incomplete information on vaccine risks and benefits to the public. 

SafeMinds is launching a new website, SmartVax, to change the discourse on vaccines in a manner that will create a positive environment where consumers are informed and scientists are encouraged to pursue the necessary research to gain new scientific understanding of mechanisms of vaccine-injury and vaccine effectiveness.  The current media use of “anti-vax” and “pro-vax” labeling in vaccine discourse is unhelpful and misleading, since generally organizations do not advocate for no vaccines; this website proposes instead that the prevailing philosophies are more accurately described as “SmartVax” and “Max-Vax”, with both supporting vaccines but with SmartVax placing an emphasis on conservative scientific research to understand mechanisms of vaccine-injury and vaccine effectiveness.  On the contrary, the website submits that the “Max-Vax” philosophy prevalent amongst public health officials is suppressing scientific research, and providing incomplete information about risks vs benefits to parents, because of a belief system that maximizing vaccine utilization is the best way to improve children’s health.  But science is not about merely accepting beliefs; instead, it is about pursuing the science by rigorously questioning and testing the assumptions.  To change the discourse, the SmartVax website provides the following:

  • A Weigh The Risks quantitative analysis of vaccine risks versus benefits in 21st century America which indicates that vaccine-injury risk (1 in 13 children) is currently quantitatively higher than disease-risk, with and without a USA vaccination program.  The point of this analysis is not to argue against vaccination, since disease risk without a vaccination program would be unacceptably high, but rather to dispel the unproven assumption that vaccines’ benefits always exceed risks in the USA today and to issue a siren call to scientists for research to dramatically reduce vaccine-injuries.
  • An Overview describing how the Max-Vax philosophy gained power and how the SmartVax philosophy differs in a manner that is more likely to produce the best health benefits for children in the long-term.
  • A SmartVax Approach to Vaccines that empowers prospective parents with information so that they can make informed decisions on vaccination, including a downloadable spreadsheet tool for creating an individualized vaccine schedule, risks-vs-benefits information on each vaccine and associated disease, and questions for the pediatrician.
  • Guidance on how the public can Take Action for Children's Health to create an environment where the necessary checks-and-balances are created to ensure that the research is performed to understand mechanisms of vaccine-injury and vaccine effectiveness so that smart decisions are made regarding vaccination.

Follow SmartVax on Facebook and let us know what you think in the online conversation there.  Share the website information with the public, including prospective parents.  We plan future articles to explain aspects of the website in more detail. 

 

 

 

Mercury Leaves Its Mark: Autism, Cancer & Neurodegenerative Disease Part 4

Linked

By Teresa Conrick

If you have been following this series (Part 1 and  Part 2) on the connections of mercury, both environmental and pharmaceutical, I hope that it has become clear that many diseases appear to be sparked by exposure from both. Viruses, included as xenobiotics, may also be included, as mentioned in Part 3 here: " proteins in the intracellular signaling cascades that are activated by receptor tyrosines were initially isolated as oncogenes in cancer cells or tumor viruses." More specifically to measles, and for Megan and many of her autism peers, the additional regression, loss of language, fevers, rashes, GI disease, encephalopathy and seizures after the Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccine, changed lives forever: here Tyrosine phosphorylation of measles virus nucleocapsid protein in persistently infected neuroblastoma cells

"The mechanisms governing the establishment and maintenance of a persistent MV infection in brain cells are still largely unknown. To understand the mechanisms underlying MV persistence in neuronal cells, a tissue culture model was studied.... We present data to show augmented protein tyrosine kinase activity in the persistently infected cells."

Is it possible Xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus ,XMRV, a virus first found in prostate cancer and now being linked to chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) and autism, is also involved ? : "XMRV proteins are also homologous to proteins of the growth factor signalling networks (e.g. tyrosine kinases FLT3 and TYRO3) (Table 5) which are relevant to cancer-related growth (Fig 2)." Nature.com.

Since Meg's "estrogen behaviors" are such a drastic conversion of her usual self to a more "manic" state, I decided to look for a biological reason as to why it was happening: Protein Kinase C Inhibition in the Treatment of Mania A Double-blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Tamoxifen

Continue reading "Mercury Leaves Its Mark: Autism, Cancer & Neurodegenerative Disease Part 4" »

Mercury Leaves Its Mark: Autism, Cancer & Neurodegenerative Disease Part 3

Linked
By Teresa Conrick

This is a continuing look at a hypothesis, using pertinent pieces of evidence-based research, that connects autism and other neurodegenerative disorders to mercury and also to cancer. Read Part 2  and Part 1.  Here is such a study related to mercury and breast cancer:

"Methyl mercury influences growth-related signaling in MCF-7 breast cancer cells" (Pubmed)

"Environmental contaminants have been shown to alter growth-regulating signaling pathways through molecular mechanisms that are mainly unclear. Here we report that within a narrow concentration range (0.5-1 microM) methyl mercury (MeHg) significantly stimulated growth of MCF-7 cells, induced Ca(2+) mobilization, and activated extracellular signal-regulated kinase (1/2) (Erk1/2)."  

Here also was a report on research done in 2005 that linked Thimerosal to the glutamate issues of autism and the other diseases we are examining:
Study implicates thimerosal in glutamate dysfunction  (ARI Newsletter)

"New research links the mercury-laden vaccine preservative thimerosal to dysregulation of the glutamate system. Glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter, is crucial to learning and memory, but when present in excess it can cause widespread neuron damage or death. Glutamate abnormalities are increasingly being implicated as a factor in autism, Fragile X syndrome, and other neurodevelopmental disorders."

Please take a moment to read that entire page as it contain some very interesting information.  Note also the story of the boy with an autism diagnosis who improved on cough drops that contain dextromethorphan, a glutamate antagonist, which correlates to the past mention in Part 1 - (HERE)

Journal of Environmental Health, 2010 Antagonism of Dextromethorphan and Riluzole to Neurotoxicity Induced by Methylmercury in Rats.  I am not endorsing dextromethorphan or any of the medications mentioned here but pointing out the connection from mercury neurotoxin blockers to an increased pharmaceutical cornucopia of using them as medications directed at neurodegenerative diseases, autism and cancer.  There is an irony here that cannot be denied and needs to be examined more closely.

It appears that six years ago, when this ARI newsletter was published, there was a connection to glutamate dysfunction in autism but not yet its connection to ALS, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Schizophrenia or cancer.  Somewhere, it must have become more obvious, which makes it all the more curious as to why Dr. Gorski would not mention that in his blogs, instead of sarcastic hurls targeted towards so many parents looking for answers about their child's regression into an autism diagnosis.

Here is a good synopsis of where we are in Part 3: the pattern - the hypothesis : toxic exposure (mercury) > glutamate dysfunction > altered protein tyrosine kinase - phosphorylation > regression into disease. The following is research showing how each of the diseases has a common denominator of altered or aberrant protein tyrosine kinases and protein tyrosine phosphorylation:

Protein tyrosine kinases in human breast cancer: kinetic properties and evidence for the presence of two forms of native enzyme  (NIH PubMed)

Protein tyrosine kinases in malignant melanoma(NIH PubMed)

Altered protein tyrosine phosphorylation in Alzheimer's disease(NIH PubMed)

Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK) in schizophrenia   (NIH PubMed)  (need to add this study for good visual connection : "Role of reactive oxygen species, mitogen-activated protein kinases and signaling cascade in mercury immunotoxicity(UGA.edu) "This study indicates that mercury suppresses NO synthesis by inhibition of the nuclear factor .B pathway and modulates cytokine expression by p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activation"

Protein tyrosine kinase activity in T lymphocytes from patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. (NIH PubMed)

Aberrant protein kinases and phosphoproteins in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis  (HERE)  

Inhibition of protein tyrosine/mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphatase activity is associated with D2 dopamine receptor supersensitivity in a rat model of Parkinson's disease. (NIH PubMed)

"Brain Region-Specific Decrease In the Activity of Protein Kinase C, and Increase In Activated MAP ( mitogen-activated protein) Kinases In Regressive Autism" (IMFAR)

As these connections become more clear, one does not have to look far to see how medications shown to "attenuate MeHg-mediated cell death by blocking NMDARs" would then be coming to your local Walgreens for diseases on the rise:

PaidClinicalTrials.org

Riluzole Clinical Trials

"Review of the use of the glutamate antagonist riluzole in psychiatric disorders and a description of recent use in childhood obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Open-label riluzole in fragile X syndrome.

Continue reading "Mercury Leaves Its Mark: Autism, Cancer & Neurodegenerative Disease Part 3" »

An Open Letter to the National Institutes of Health: 54% of American Children Suffer from Chronic Health Problems .

Captain salutes By John Stone

An Open Letter to the National Institutes of Health (Dr Marina Volkov answering on behalf of Director Francis Collins): 54% of American Children Suffer from Chronic Health Problems .

Dear Dr Volkov,

I acknowledge receipt of your e-letter of June 20 in response to my letter to Dr Collins (‘An Open Letter to National Institutes of Health's Dr Francis Collins: 54% of American Children Suffer from Chronic Health Problems, 1 in 6 has a developmental disorder’ reproduced below). I have to admit that I am less disappointed that Dr Collins has not answered in person than that you have insultingly not bothered to address any of the issues I raised in my letter, contenting yourself with a recital of NIH expenditure on autism research, some of which may be directed to looking at environmental causes. 

On reflection, it strikes me that you may not be remotely competent to answer, but this does not reflect well on the NIH in any case. With the nation’s health in meltdown the refusal to address the fundamental problems that Dr Collins himself first raised to Congress 5 years ago is astonishing. Let me give a single example – nothing to do with autism  - from Dr Collins’s NIH budget request for 2012 which indicates the inadequacy of the position (HERE) .

Dr Collins writes:

"We face a similar economic threat from diabetes. If current trends continue, by 2050 as many as one in three U.S. adults will be diagnosed with diabetes. Total costs of diabetes, including medical care, disability, and premature death, reached an estimated $174 billion in the United States in 2007...According to analysis from the UnitedHealth Center for Health Reform & Modernization, more than 50 percent of Americans could have diabetes or pre-diabetes by 2020...Furthermore, the center’s analysis predicts diabetes and pre-diabetes will account for an estimated 10 percent of total health care spending by the end of this decade, at an annual cost of almost $500 billion.

"But I can offer some hope. NIH spearheaded a landmark clinical trial on type 2 diabetes prevention that showed that people at high-risk for diabetes can dramatically reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes through modest exercise and dietary changes that achieve modest weight loss. Called the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), the clinical trial included 3,234 adults at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes, including those with a family history of diabetes, as well as other risk factors. One-third of these individuals participated in a lifestyle program that included exercise training and dietary change implemented under the guidance of lifestyle coaches. The DPP research team found that this approach lowered risk of diabetes by 58%..."

The UnitedHealth Centre report (HERE) projects 15m US citizens with diabetes by 2020 (>5%) and 52% with diabetes or pre-diabetes, but Dr Collins tells us we can only perhaps avert 58% of this by identifiable life-style changes, leaving some unidentified underlying cause of the phenomenon and still more than 1 in 5 Americans with pre-diabetes or diabetes by 2020, according to these figures.

In this regard it is not so unreasonable to ask not what we can do to treat these problems, but a very much more fundamental question of what is causing them in the first place. In a recent study the cost of autism in the UK was calculated at £28b a year (with an undoubted over-projection in the adult population) but leaving a net cost of £50k ($80k) a head (including issues like loss of employment and productivity). If you have just 3m Americans with autism you have an annual cost of $240b on these figures. Frankly, this is unsustainable. 5 years ago Dr Collins stated that the rise of autism was real and could not be genetic, so we have to ask why the present indifference to our concerns?

With regard to the substance of your letter, it has been pointed out to me that (disgracefully) the CHARGE project which you described in your 3rd paragraph will shut next month, funding having been withdrawn by the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences and the Environmental Protection Agency, as will the Center for Child Environmental Health, University of California, Davis. Katie Wright has pointed out to me $13m spent on completely useless projects to do with MRI scans and face recognition (Autism Centers of Excellence). But all this money is chicken-feed beside the scope of the catastrophe facing us – and the pharmaceutical is not going to fix this.

Having said which, what I actually believe is that already there is almost enough science published to pinpoint the environmental triggers and processes of autism, it is just being arrogantly sidelined.

Please, what are you going to do? Presently, the ship is going down while the captain salutes the flag.

John Stone

 

 

An Open Letter to National Institutes of Health's Dr. Francis Collins: 54% of American Children Suffer from Chronic Health Problems

Dear Dr Collins,

I am writing to you about the health catastrophe currently engulfing US children, but not only US children. Just five years ago you gave testimony to Congress as director of the Human Genome Research Institute (HERE ):

‘But genes alone do not tell the whole story. Recent increases in chronic diseases like diabetes, childhood asthma, obesity or autism cannot be due to major shifts in the human gene pool as those changes take much more time to occur. They must be due to changes in the environment, including diet and physical activity, which may produce disease in genetically predisposed persons. Therefore, GEI [Genes and Environment Initiative] will also invest in innovative new technologies/sensors to measure environmental toxins, dietary intake and physical activity, and using new tools of genomics, proteomics, and understanding metabolism rates to determine an individual's biological response to those influences.’

The calamity that we face today is that in 5 years barely a single child has been saved from environmental harm by any government initiative, and new studies report that no less than 54% of US children suffer from the chronic diseases (HERE ) and from the CDC itself that 1 in 6 has a developmental disability (http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2011/05/19/peds.2010-2989.abstract ), all of which you indicated  all that time ago are due to environmental changes.  These new studies come in the same week as one which shows that in an investigation of pregnant Canadian women 93% tested positive for the presence a GM insecticide Cry1Ab (HERE ). It comes as the pharmaceutical industry and its scientists plot to further exploit vaccination mandates and their newly established prosecution immunity ever more widely (HERE ), with US children already expected to receive over one hundred vaccines in combination by the time they become adult (HERE ) – and without any studies which investigate their cumulative impact on a child’s immune system (HERE ), even if they were individually adequately tested (which they are not HERE ). I do not know when it was scientifically established that it was safe to modify a child’s immune system in this way, even before we consider all the adjuvants and excipients that are a concomitant exposure of the programme: substances which enter a child’s body through their muscles and blood stream, and not through their digestive tract. It comes with the Food and Drug Administration displaying ever greater pusillanimity over the toxic substances to which adults and children are daily exposed.

Bearing in mind that in 2006 you held a brief for gene research I cannot help thinking that your request to Congress for funding was nevertheless putting the cart before the horse. The real imperative can only be to stop the great industrial experiment on our children by reducing and eliminating toxic exposures whether through food or pharmaceuticals. Investigating which random gene combinations might indicate greater susceptibility to those toxic harms will be barely productive in the face of what is becoming a slow but inexorable genocide of children, many of whom will not outlive their parents, not have children of their own, and be further prey to the pharmaceutical industry (HERE), at the same time as placing an ever more impossible social, medical and financial burden on the shrinking pool of the fit and able.

In 2006 you at least spoke plain about the general causes of the chronic sickness phenomenon. The new reports are far more evasive, and years have been wasted. Immense resources and effort have been put by government agencies and industrial lobby groups into denouncing and abusing people who are simply stating the obvious: that it cannot go on any longer. It is long passed time that the public dance of lies, misinformation and evasion came to an end. I believe you know truth and it is time to speak out so that your nation and the world finally hears.

John Stone

UK Editor, Age of Autism

Response from Marina Volkov, Acting Director, Office of Science Policy, Planning and Communications, National Institute of Mental Health, June 20, 2011 (Subject: Your recent email to Dr Collins)

Dear Mr. Stone:

Thank you for your May 24 e-mail to Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  Dr. Collins’ office asked that the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) respond to your inquiry.  We would like to address your concerns regarding the role of genetics research in addressing autism, and the interplay between NIH’s genetics research programs and environmental research programs.  There has been considerable research and progress related to autism in the last several years, particularly in the last two years, thanks to funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).  In addition, your concerns are echoed and reflected in the 2011 strategic plan of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC), which identifies priorities for autism research across the Federal Government and provides a basis for partnerships between Federal agencies and private organizations to further biomedical and services research efforts.

Continue reading "An Open Letter to the National Institutes of Health: 54% of American Children Suffer from Chronic Health Problems ." »

Pediatrics: 8% US Children Have Food Allergy with 3% Severe or Life Threatening

Epi-pen American children see the pediatrician at 2 weeks, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, twelve months, eighteen months, twenty four months and thirty six months for well visits.   Why is food now life threatening to so many children? From Pediatrics

The Prevalence, Severity, and Distribution of Childhood Food Allergy in the United States

The goal of this study was to better estimate the prevalence and severity of childhood food allergy in the United States.

Abstract

Methods: A randomized, cross-sectional survey was administered electronically to a representative sample of US households with children from June 2009 to February 2010. Eligible participants included adults (aged 18 years or older) able to complete the survey in Spanish or English who resided in a household with at least 1 child younger than 18 years. Data were adjusted using both base and poststratification weights to account for potential biases from sampling design and nonresponse. Data were analyzed as weighted proportions to estimate prevalence and severity of food allergy. Multiple logistic regression models were constructed to identify characteristics significantly associated with outcomes.

Results: Data were collected for 40 104 children; incomplete responses for 1624 children were excluded, which yielded a final sample of 38 480. Food allergy prevalence was 8.0% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 7.6–8.3). Among children with food allergy, 38.7% had a history of severe reactions, and 30.4% had multiple food allergies. Prevalence according to allergen among food-allergic children was highest for peanut (25.2% [95% CI: 23.3–27.1]), followed by milk (21.1% [95% CI: 19.4–22.8]) and shellfish (17.2% [95% CI: 15.6–18.9]). Odds of food allergy were significantly associated with race, age, income, and geographic region. Disparities in food allergy diagnosis according to race and income were observed.

Conclusions: Findings suggest that the prevalence and severity of childhood food allergy is greater than previously reported. Data suggest that disparities exist in the clinical diagnosis of disease.

  • Ruchi S. Gupta, MD, MPHa,b,c,
  • Elizabeth E. Springston, BAa,b,
  • Manoj R. Warrier, MDd,e,
  • Bridget Smith, PhDf,g,
  • Rajesh Kumar, MDb,c,
  • Jacqueline Pongracic, MDc,h,
  • Jane L. Holl, MD, MPHa,c
  • + Author Affiliations

    1. aInstitute for Healthcare Studies and
    2. cDepartment of Pediatrics, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois;
    3. bSmith Child Health Research Program and
    4. hDivision of Allergy and Immunology, Children's Memorial Hospital, Chicago, Illinois;
    5. dDivision of Allergy and Immunology, St Louis University School of Medicine, St Louis, Missouri;
    6. eAllergy, Asthma and Sinus Care Center, St Louis, Missouri;
    7. fProgram in Health Services Research, Loyola Stritch School of Medicine, Maywood, Illinois; and
    8. gCenter for Management of Complex Chronic Care, Edward Hines Jr VA Hospital, Hines, Illinois

    Autism Abortion Test Now Available: Should Taxpayer Dollars Be Used To Develop Such Tests?

    Should selective abortion of children be considered part of an autism prevention strategy?

    Lineagen
    By Kevin Barry

    Advances in medical science and technology sometimes come with a heavy moral price. Traditional pre-natal genetic tests have involved invasive analysis of the mother's amniotic fluid.  Now, less invasive blood tests are available.  (See Science Daily HERE ).  A new simple blood test is now on the market which can be used for genetic counseling about potential risks for developing autism.  Information presented to expecting parents could easily lead to selective abortion of supposedly "at-risk" fetuses. 

    Universal Family Church is a multi-faith church which highly respects the individual's right to make health choices.  Most of our members do not support selective abortion of children.  As a society, we have legalized abortion, but drawn a line banning the use of taxpayer money to perform this procedure.  Universal Family Church believes that society should go a step further and ban the use of taxpayer money for new genetic research which could lead to selective abortions.  We believe that selective abortions - of babies otherwise wanted and hoped for - are especially tragic.  

    Presently, a very high percentage of fetuses which test positive prenatally for Down's Syndrome are aborted. ( See Nature HERE)  Is Government-funded research leading to a similar future for infants who may simply have a very slightly increased risk of developing autism?

    Should selective abortion of children be considered part of an autism prevention strategy? 

    Lineagen, a biotech company based in Utah, is now marketing a blood test which identifies "new genetic variants associated with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders)" . (See Lineagen HERE)  At this time, Lineagen positions its product as a post natal early intervention tool - not as a prenatal test.  However, with autism rates conservatively affecting one in every 70 boys born today, expecting couples are rightfully concerned about autism.  FirstStepDX is an easy, single draw blood test that could be added to routine prenatal OB/GYN appointments.  

    Lineagen's website explains this simple process of their FirstStepDx blood test:

    What does the testing process include?

    Lineagen’s FirstStepDx combines two state-of-the-art genetic tests: whole genome chromosome microarray analysis (CMA) and fragile X testing. 

    Two blood samples are taken from the person undergoing testing and are obtained during a single blood draw.  From these samples DNA is extracted, which is then used for genetic testing.

    The FirstStepDx test comprises a comprehensive service that includes pre- and post-test genetic counseling and a detailed report delivered in an easy-to-read format, suitable for both physicians and families. Lineagen Our Services HERE

    The Lineagen site also describes the test's use of new genetic variants:   

    Continue reading "Autism Abortion Test Now Available: Should Taxpayer Dollars Be Used To Develop Such Tests?" »

    Vaccines and Neonatal Immune Development

    Mitochondria Managing Editor's Note: Please visit Beyond Conformity to read the full post. Thank you to Hilary Butler for permission to link.

    Hilary Butler - Monday, May 23, 2011

    (Series, Part 1 of 3) The Scientist recently published an article (the revised link is http://the-scientist.com/2011/05/01/power-failure/) about Dr Douglas Wallace who is head of a new unit called the Center for Mitochondrial and Epigenomic Medicine, at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr Wallace believes that “Every one of the diseases we can’t solve is absolutely logical if we put energy at the center,” ... “I believed that in 1970 and I believe it now.” So what’s a mitochondria? If you don’t know, this book might be one of the most important books you read in your life. Use “Click to look inside” and the first two chapters which are available free, will show you why mitochondria are so important. Mitochondria, are intimately involved with your immune system, and if your immune system isn’t working properly, neither will your mitochondria. Dr Wallace has TWO problems in his new mitochondrial research Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, which I believe will be insurmountable:

    1) Dr Paul Offit (vaccines and autism).

    2) Dr Offit's echo, Arthur L Caplan, Ph. D. ( the Emmanuel and Robert Hart Professor of Bioethics and director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania). who says "The scientific case for the importance of vaccines is overwhelming and beyond any dispute (and most worries about safety rest on fear and lies )."

    It's my bet, that Dr Wallace has already been instructed to stay away from vaccines, or the impact of vaccines on the development of mitochondrial dysfunction. Mitochondrial dysfunction will always be consigned to the “cause” of vaccine reactions, never the result of a vaccine's administration, because so many medical people consider mitochondrial disorders to be genetic, not "epigenetic" (affected by lifestyle).

    If ... Dr Wallace believes autism has something to do with mitochondrial disorders, then he needs to ask “why and how?” - or "what causes the mitochondria to suddenly go wrong?" Read the full post: Vaccines and Neonatal Immune Development.

    New Study In Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health Links Autism Prevalence and Vaccination

    Positive By Gayle DeLong

    Positive Association found between Autism Prevalence and Childhood Vaccination
    A study just published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health finds a relationship between the proportion of children who received the recommended vaccines by age 2 years and the prevalence of autism (AUT) or speech or language impairment (SLI): The higher the proportion of children receiving recommended vaccinations, the higher was the prevalence of AUT or SLI.  The results suggest that although mercury has been removed from many vaccines, the remaining mercury as well as other culprits such as aluminum and live viruses may link vaccines to autism. Further study into the relationship between vaccines and autism is warranted.

    A Positive Association found between Autism Prevalence and Childhood Vaccination uptake across the U.S. Population
    Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A: Current Issues
    Volume 74, Issue 14, 2011, Pages 903 - 916
    Author: Gayle DeLonga
    DOI: 10.1080/15287394.2011.573736

    Abstract
    The reason for the rapid rise of autism in the United States that began in the 1990s is a mystery. Although individuals probably have a genetic predisposition to develop autism, researchers suspect that one or more environmental triggers are also needed. One of those triggers might be the battery of vaccinations that young children receive. Using regression analysis and controlling for family income and ethnicity, the relationship between the proportion of children who received the recommended vaccines by age 2 years and the prevalence of autism (AUT) or speech or language impairment (SLI) in each U.S. state from 2001 and 2007 was determined. A positive and statistically significant relationship was found: The higher the proportion of children receiving recommended vaccinations, the higher was the prevalence of AUT or SLI. A 1% increase in vaccination was associated with an additional 680 children having AUT or SLI. Neither parental behavior nor access to care affected the results, since vaccination proportions were not significantly related (statistically) to any other disability or to the number of pediatricians in a U.S. state. The results suggest that although mercury has been removed from many vaccines, other culprits may link vaccines to autism. Further study into the relationship between vaccines and autism is warranted.  To read the abstract click  HERE.


    New Study: Traditional & Non-Traditional Treatments for Seizures with Autism

    Eeg Countless families are rocked by the combination of autism and seizures.  More research is welcome indeed. What has been your experience with anti-epileptic drugs for your child's seizures? Click HERE to  read the full document.

    Traditional and non-traditional treatments for autism spectrum disorder with seizures: an on-line survey. Richard E Frye Swapna Sreenivasula< James B Adams BMC Pediatrics 2011,37doi:10.1186/1471-2431-11-37

    Abstract (provisional)

    Background

    Despite the high prevalence of seizure, epilepsy and abnormal electroencephalograms in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), there is little information regarding the relative effectiveness of treatments for seizures in the ASD population. In order to determine the effectiveness of traditional and non-traditional treatments for improving seizures and influencing other clinical factor relevant to ASD, we developed a comprehensive on-line seizure survey.

    Methods

    Announcements (by email and websites) by ASD support groups asked parents of children with ASD to complete the on-line surveys. Survey responders choose one of two surveys to complete: a survey about treatments for individuals with ASD and clinical or subclinical seizures or abnormal electroencephalograms, or a control survey for individuals with ASD without clinical or subclinical seizures or abnormal electroencephalograms. Survey responders rated the perceived effect of traditional antiepileptic drug (AED), non-AED seizure treatments and non-traditional ASD treatments on seizures and other clinical factors (sleep, communication, behavior, attention and mood), and listed up to three treatment side effects.

    Continue reading "New Study: Traditional & Non-Traditional Treatments for Seizures with Autism" »

    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?" »

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

    Ratajczak By J.B. Handley

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Three Part Series on Thimerosal and Vaccines by F. Edward Yazbak MD, FAAP

    Thimerosal Below are three articles by Dr. Edward Yazbak on Thimerosal and vaccinations:

    Thimerosal Containing Vaccines, Part I
    In the Dark
    by F. Edward Yazbak MD, FAAP
    Read Part I HERE

    This series on thimerosal-containing vaccines (TCV) is a critical review of the subject and what is known about it at this time. (Spring 2011)

    Thimerosal is not my primary area of interest. I therefore promise to be extra careful documenting the facts and even more careful commenting on them.

    Because the CDC only promotes vaccines and vaccination, the write-up about Thimerosal in vaccines on the CDC web site is relatively short:
    Thimerosal is a mercury-containing preservative used in some vaccines and other products since the 1930's. There is no convincing evidence of harm caused by the low doses of thimerosal in vaccines, except for minor reactions like redness and swelling at the injection site. However, in July 1999, the Public Health Service agencies, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and vaccine manufacturers agreed that thimerosal should be reduced or eliminated in vaccines as a precautionary measure. 

    Thimerosal Containing Vaccines, Part II
     Part II: WHO

    The featured article on the World Health Organization (WHO) web site on March 15, 2011 was, as expected, about the “Japanese government taking appropriate protective measures” by asking people living within 20 km of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to evacuate and those between 20 km and 30 km to stay indoors in unventilated rooms. The detailed information about the catastrophe was presented as several well written pages of questions and answers starting with the all-important: “What is the current risk of radiation-related health problems in Japan to those near the reactor at the time, and those in other parts of Japan?”

    WHO was doing what it was supposed to do!

    Continue reading "Three Part Series on Thimerosal and Vaccines by F. Edward Yazbak MD, FAAP" »

    Vote for SafeMinds Strategic Plan Ideas for Nat'l Institutes for Environmental Health Sciences

     

    Vote yes Please VOTE for SafeMinds’ Ideas for the NIEHS Strategic Plan

    The National Institutes for Environmental Health Sciences are conducting an online survey to direct their strategic plan for research.  SafeMinds has entered 12 ideas in the survey and would appreciate your votes.  You can do so at this link:

    http://strategicplan.niehs.nih.gov/

    There are a number of other worthwhile ideas already listed in the survey, so please feel free to vote for those as well.  You will need to quickly scroll through the list and look for our submissions because their placement on the pages will depend on how many votes they get. You can identify them by our name in the bottom right corner of each box.

    Please vote before the deadline of Saturday, April 30th

    Autism: Environmental Factors and Individual Susceptibility  CLICK HERE TO VOTE FOR THIS IDEA

    1)   It is estimated by the CDC that one in every 110 children and one in every 70 boys today is diagnosed with autism, creating an urgent health crisis.  Prior to the 1990's autism was a rare disorder affecting 2-4 per 10,000.  Acknowledgment of this alarming increase in the number of children diagnosed with autism demands a focus away from an exclusively genetic cause to one that acknowledges the role the environment.  Yet, to date, the role of environmental scientists and toxicologists in the investigation of autism has been modest. Environmental research has been identified as an area of need by the NIH-Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC). The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) has the expertise to provide critical research that can advance our understanding of the interactions between environmental factors and individual susceptibility in order to determine how these elements interrelate to cause illnesses, such as autism.  The broader category of Neurodevelopmental Disorders (NDD) of which autism is the most severe, is estimated to affect one in every six children today in the US.  Therefore, such critical knowledge derived from this research would also provide insights into NDDs in general and go a long way in improving the lives of our children in helping them to reach their full potential.

    Continue reading "Vote for SafeMinds Strategic Plan Ideas for Nat'l Institutes for Environmental Health Sciences" »

    Johns Hopkins Reports More Children Have Inflammatory Bowel Disease

    Bowel From Johns Hopkins University. We know a population that suffers from severe GI problems still mislabeled  "autistic behavior." And we know a few brave doctors trying to help.

    March 28, 2011
    -Delays in Diagnosis Common

    Once a medical rarity in children, inflammatory bowel disease today is increasingly common in kids, but many of them may not be diagnosed in a timely manner, according to experts from the Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center at Johns Hopkins Children’s.

    Gastroenterologists there say that many of the hundreds of children they see were referred to them only after months of repeated visits to their primary-care physicians for symptoms mistakenly attributed to common GI ailments like viral gastritis.

    “Inflammatory bowel disease is still considered an adult condition and is rarely on pediatricians’ radars,” says Maria Oliva-Hemker, M.D., chief of the Gastroenterology & Nutrition division at Hopkins Children’s and director of the comprehensive IBD center there. “Fifty years ago, IBD was almost exclusively diagnosed in adults. These days, treating children with IBD is business as usual in our clinics.”

    The two main forms of IBD are Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC). For unknown reasons, Crohn’s disease seems to be rising more rapidly in children than ulcerative colitis, Oliva-Hemker says. Children with CD also tend to be diagnosed later than those with ulcerative colitis because the most common symptom is vague abdominal pain rather than the more suggestive bloody stools seen in ulcerative colitis, she notes.

    Continue reading "Johns Hopkins Reports More Children Have Inflammatory Bowel Disease" »

    Win Dinner At Autism One Compliments of Dr. Amy Yasko & Autism Science Digest!

    Pathways_cover Thanks to the kindness of our colleagues at Holistic Health International, home of the Dr. Amy Yasko protocol, we have a new contest to share!  Holistic Health International is offering 10 additional AutismOne/Generation Rescue 2011 Dinner Gala & Awards Show tickets to new subscribers of Autism Science Digest who place a subscription order through April 30, 2011.  We will draw 10 names to receive a Gala ticket ($70 value) compliments of Dr. Amy.  This contest is retroactive to the first subscriber of Autism Science Digest.  Please read the wonderful article by Drs. Amy Yasko and Nancy Mullan in the April debut issue, "Methionine and Methylation: Chicken or the Egg."  Dr. Amy's seminar will be presented 1:45-6:00 on Saturday, May 28.  Please visit the HHI booth at the conference and Dr. Amy's website at www.holisticheal.com.  To subscribe, please visit Autism Science Digest.  One name will be drawn from among all Gala ticket winners for a $150 hotel credit toward the winner's hotel stay at the AutismOne/Generation Rescue 2011 Conference.  (Prizes are not transferrable for cash.)

     Subscribe and then dig in to the great articles and a delcious dinner! Good luck.

    The Potential Importance of the XMRV Retrovirus to Autism

    XMRV By Kent Heckenlively, Esq.

    Although I’ve been a science teacher for the past five years I find that when I’m confronted with new information I want to explain to people I fall back on the strategies I used during the fifteen years I was a lawyer. I hope you'll consider this article in that light, as essentially an opening statement.

    I think it’s important to note I don’t refer to this as a closing argument. I consider this to be the beginning of a discussion, not the end.

    In a typical opening statement a lawyer reviews the evidence, the theories which will be presented, but doesn’t go into exceptional detail to prove every single point. That’s what the trial is for. And so, while each one of the points I want to make could be abundantly expanded upon, my intention is to present a brief overview of the major issues regarding the potential importance of the XMRV retrovirus to autism.

    As a reader I think you'll be impressed by the number of observations which can be explained as a consequence of XMRV infection.  Similarly, disturbing questions are raised about the role of vaccines in the spread of this retrovirus.  When our understanding of how XMRV disregulates the immune system is as complete as our understanding of how various toxins can cause similar disruptions we may be able to better help those children for whom recovery remains a distant mirage.

    XMRV background - XMRV (xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus) was discovered in 2006 by scientists working at UCSF and the Cleveland Clinic in the tumors of men with aggressive prostate cancer.  It's important to understand the difference between a typical virus and a retrovirus like XMRV.  A typical virus enters a cell, hijacks the cellular machinery to make viral particles, then causes the cell to burst, spreading viral particles throughout the body.  A retrovirus enters a cell and inserts itself into the DNA of the host, often remaining dormant for years.  I've mentioned it before, but my daughter with autism/seizures, my wife with psoriasis, and my mother-in-law with celiac sprue have all tested positive for XMRV.  I have tested negative.

    In 2009 XMRV was linked with chronic fatigue syndrome/ME. An abstract presented at a meeting in 2010 from a small group of children with autism found that 82% of the children tested positive for the XMRV retrovirus.

    The scientists working on this research believe XMRV is stimulated by three things, and this is where it starts to become relevant to the autism community.

    Continue reading "The Potential Importance of the XMRV Retrovirus to Autism" »

    CBS News: Vaccines and Autism a New Scientific Review

    Sharyl Please add your comments at the full article on CBS HERE. The study link appears to be over-taxed at the moment.

    by CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson.

    For all those who've declared the autism-vaccine debate over - a new scientific review begs to differ. It considers a host of peer-reviewed, published theories that show possible connections between vaccines and autism.

    The article in the Journal of Immunotoxicology is entitled "Theoretical aspects of autism: Causes--A review." The author is Helen Ratajczak, surprisingly herself a former senior scientist at a pharmaceutical firm. Ratajczak did what nobody else apparently has bothered to do: she reviewed the body of published science since autism was first described in 1943. Not just one theory suggested by research such as the role of MMR shots, or the mercury preservative thimerosal; but all of them.

    Ratajczak's article states, in part, that "Documented causes of autism include genetic mutations and/or deletions, viral infections, and encephalitis [brain damage] following vaccination [emphasis added]. Therefore, autism is the result of genetic defects and/or inflammation of the brain."

    The article goes on to discuss many potential vaccine-related culprits, including the increasing number of vaccines given in a short period of time. "What I have published is highly concentrated on hypersensitivity, Ratajczak told us in an interview, "the body's immune system being thrown out of balance."

    University of Pennsylvania's Dr. Brian Strom, who has served on Institute of Medicine panels advising the government on vaccine safety says the prevailing medical opinion is that vaccines are scientifically linked to encephalopathy (brain damage), but not scientifically linked to autism. As for Ratajczak's review, he told us he doesn't find it remarkable. "This is a review of theories. Science is based on facts. To draw conclusions on effects of an exposure on people, you need data on people. The data on people do not support that there is a relationship. As such, any speculation about an explanation for a (non-existing) relationship is irrelevant..."

    Please add your comments at the full article on CBS HERE.

    List of US Government Support for Vaccine-Autism Studies

    Open-door-field Despite the hutesium et clamor from the media and industry, the autism vaccine scientific debate is not  closed.

    FEDERAL SUPPORT FOR VACCINE-AUTISM STUDIES

     Office of Immunization Safety (OSI)
    US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

    ● Will study autism as a possible clinical outcome of immunization.

    ● Will study mitochondrial dysfunction and the risk for “post-vaccine neurological deterioration.”

    ● Will convene an expert panel on the feasibility of studying health outcomes such as autism among vaccinated and unvaccinated children.

    National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC)
    US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

    ● Calls for the study of adverse events following immunization (e.g., fever and seizures) to see if they increase autism risk.

    ● Calls for an external expert committee to consider “strengths and weaknesses, ethical issues and feasibility of examining outcomes in unvaccinated, vaccine delayed and vaccinated children.”

    ● Calls for the inclusion of autism as an outcome in the vaccine study.

    ● Calls for more research on “the possible occurrence of ASD in a small number of children subsequent to MMR vaccination” especially given “recent research around the incidence of mitochondrial dysfunction in children with an ASD phenotype.”

    ● Calls for studying adverse vaccine reactions in subsets of the ASD spectrum, especially in light of “recent developments around mitochondrial dysfunction.”

    ● Reports that some subsets (ie, those with mitochondrial dysfunction) “may be at elevated risk of reduced neurological functioning, possibly including developing ASD, subsequent to vaccination.”

    ● Reports that, “in the context of vaccination research, the ASD clinical subset of particular interest is regressive autism.”

    ● Concludes that “public concern regarding vaccines and autism, coupled with the prevalence and severity of ASD, warrant additional study in well defined subpopulations.”

    Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC)
    Includes CDC, HHS, NIH and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)

    ● Will fund studies of environmental risk factors for ASD, such as toxic exposures and "adverse events following immunization (such as fever and seizures), and mitochondrial impairment."

    ● Will fund studies to determine if some subpopulations are “more susceptible to environmental exposures (e.g., immune challenges related to infections, vaccinations, or underlying autoimmune problems)."

    ● Will continue to coordinate with the National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC), ”To address public concerns regarding a possible vaccine/ASD link

    ● Will monitor scientific literature “regarding possible associations of vaccines and other environmental factors with ASD to identify emerging opportunities for research.”

    ● Concludes that existing population-based vaccine-autism studies were “limited in their ability to detect small susceptible subpopulations.”
     
    Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP)
    Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), HHS

    ● An Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee will consider adverse events from the  DtaP vaccine, including autism and autism spectrum disorders, on behalf of VICP.

    ● The IOM committee will also consider adverse events from the MMR vaccine, including autism and autism spectrum disorders, on behalf of VICP.

    ● The committee will consider vaccine-associated “secondary” autism or autistic features arising from chronic encephalopathy, mitochondrial disorders and/or other underlying disorders.

    ● VICP has asked the committee to consider “primary autism” in light of “recent theories of neuro-inflammation and hyper-arousal/over-excitation of the immune system via multiple simultaneous antigenic stimulation” (several vaccines at once).

    David Kirby on HuffPo: CDC to Study Vaccines and Autism

    Davidkirby Click HERE to read and comment on the full post.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wants to study autism as a possible clinical outcome of immunization, as part of its newly adopted 5-year research agenda for vaccine safety, the agency said on its website.

    The CDC will also study mitochondrial dysfunction and the potential risk for post-vaccine "neurological deterioration," and convene an expert panel on the feasibility of studying health outcomes such as autism among vaccinated and unvaccinated children.

    The CDC move comes one month after the federal government's leading autism body, the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) announced a shift in research priorities toward environmental triggers for autism, which the IACC said could include toxins, biological agents and "adverse events following immunization."

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Immunization Safety Office Scientific Agenda indentified the need to research "Neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD)" as a possible clinical outcome of vaccination.

    The plan also seeks to deternine if the mercury-based preservative thimerosal is associated with increased risk for "clinically important tics or Tourette syndrome." The CDC cited one study (Thompson, NEJM, 2007), which "found that increasing exposure to mercury from birth to age 7 months was associated with motor and phonic tics in boys," and added that "an association between exposure to thimerosal and tics was found in two earlier studies (Andrews, Pediatrics, 2004; Verstraeten, Pediatrics, 2003)."

    And, noting that the IACC federal autism panel "suggested several studies including vaccinated versus unvaccinated children to determine if there are differences in health outcomes," the CDC said it will convene an "external expert committee to offer guidance on the feasibility of conducting such studies and additional studies related to the immunization schedule, including studies that may indicate if multiple vaccinations increase risk for immune system disorders."

    Meanwhile, the IACC has signaled a major shift in research priorities into the causes of autism, moving away from purely genetic studies in favor of investigating the interaction between genes and environmental factors, which it said could include toxins, biological agents and vaccines.

    Click HERE to read and comment on the full post.

    A Theory of XMRV Creation

    Remove-resident-viruses-800X800 By Kent Heckenlively, Esq.

    It's been said that some of the greatest tragedies happen because those in charge fail to ask the most basic questions.

    Consider the fire which swept the Apollo 1 capsule in 1967, killing all three astronauts.  A spark ignited the pure oxygen atmosphere in the spacecraft.  Every high school chemistry student learns pure oxygen is highly flammable.  After an exhaustive investigation the conclusion was that no engineer had asked the simple question of whether it was safe to have a pure oxygen environment in the capsule.

    I was reminded of the Apollo disaster when I read a recent post by Dr. Jamie Deckoff-Jones entitled Cover-up and Contamination TheoriesHERE Dr. Deckoff-Jones is a former emergency room doctor, chronic fatigue syndrome/ME patient, and is currently the clinical director of the Whittemore-Peterson Institute of the University of Nevada/Reno. However, the blog explicitly states the opinions expressed are hers alone and do not necessarily represent those of the Whittemore-Peterson Institute.

    The simple question Dr. Deckoff-Jones asks in her post is whether the culturing of viruses for vaccines in certain animal tissues, such as mice, has resulted in the combination of endogenous human and mouse retroviruses and caused both the chronic fatigue syndrome/ME and autism epidemics.

    Dr. Deckoff-Jones begins by asking how those who claim XMRV (xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus) is a lab contaminant explain that the blood of chronic fatigue syndrome/ME patients contain antibodies to XMRV.  Anti-bodies can only be produced in the body, thus any later contamination of the blood in a lab would not provoke an immune response.  The Whittemore-Peterson Institute has also put out a statement on allegations of contamination.  HERE

    I've been interested in XMRV since my daughter and wife have both tested positive for the retrovirus and are part of an ongoing research program at the Whittemore-Peterson Institute.  I have tested negative for the retrovirus.  Children with autism share many common clinical symptoms with the chronic fatigue syndrome/ME population, including immune disregulation, increased oxidative stress, expression of proinflammatory cytokines, low natural killer cell functionality, and active microbial infections.

    Continue reading "A Theory of XMRV Creation" »

    Immunization Provokes XMRV Activation in Monkey Model

    Science By Kent Heckenlively, Esq.

    A new study from scientists at Emory University, the Cleveland Clinic, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, and Abbott Diagnositics and featuring such medical luminaries as Drs. Eric Klein and Robert Silverman is providing information on the path of XMRV infection in primates, and surprisingly the possible triggers for activation of the retrovirus.  The work was recently published in the Journal of Virology.

    I have a long-standing interest in XMRV (xenotropic murine leukemia-related virus) as my daughter with autism/seizures and my wife have both tested positive for the retrovirus. (My daughter has also recently tested positive for co-infection by HHV-6, type B.)  I have tested negative for XMRV.  While  most of the recent commentary on XMRV has focused on its possible connection to chronic fatigue syndrome/ME, children with autism share many common clinical symptoms with the CFS/ME population, including immune disregulation, increased oxidative stress, expression of proinflammatory cytokines, low natural killer cell functionality, and active microbial infections.

    A poster presentation entitled "Detection of Infectious XMRV in Peripheral Blood of Children" was made at the 1st International Workshop on XMRV in September of 2010 at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.  In a small sample it was found that 14 of 17 children (82%) of the children were positive for XMRV infection.

    Continue reading "Immunization Provokes XMRV Activation in Monkey Model" »

    Vaccinated vs. Unvaccinated Children: Some Data are In and They are Disturbing

    Safety first sign By Maria  D.  Majewska

    While  in western countries  government officials  and their corporate sponsors  aggressively  resist conducting the studies comparing health of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated children , such studies have been, in fact, conducted in Africa.   Below is the abstract of one such study from Guinea-Bissau, which  shows doubling of   mortality rate among infants vaccinated with a single  dose  of DTP vaccine, and more than quadrupling after the second and third dose.    VAERS data also show high infant mortality in the US  after DTP vaccination (much higher than from pertussis, diphteria and tetanus together,  hence  it  is clear that DTP vaccine is  harming more children than saving.  In the EU,  there is a relatively high incidence of pertussis (more than 20 000 per year), but  total mortality due to this disease was  4 in 2009.   At the same time, infant  mortality index in western EU  countries  is 2 or 3 times lower than in the US.  These data speak for themselves.

    Int J Epidemiol. 2004 Apr;33(2):374-80.

    The introduction of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine and child mortality in rural Guinea-Bissau: an observational study.

    Aaby PJensen HGomes JFernandes MLisse IM.

    Bandim Health Project, Apartado 861, Bissau, Guinea-Bissau. [email protected]

    Comment in:

    Int J Epidemiol. 2004 Apr;33(2):381.

    Abstract

    BACKGROUND: and objective Previous studies from areas with high mortality in West Africa have not found diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP) vaccine to be associated with the expected reduction in mortality, a few studies suggesting increased mortality. We therefore examined mortality when DTP was first introduced in rural areas of Guinea-Bissau in 1984-1987. Setting Twenty villages in four regions have been followed with bi-annual examinations since 1979.

    SUBJECTS: In all, 1657 children aged 2-8 months. Design Children were weighed when attending the bi-annual examinations and they were vaccinated whenever vaccines were available. DTP was introduced in the beginning of 1984, oral polio vaccine later that year. We examined mortality for children aged 2-8 months who had received DTP and compared them with children who had not been vaccinated because they were absent, vaccines were not available, or they were sick.

    MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Mortality over the next 6 months from the day of examination for vaccinated and unvaccinated children.

    RESULTS: Prior to the introduction of vaccines, children who were absent at a village examination had the same mortality as children who were present. During 1984-1987, children receiving DTP at 2-8 months of age had higher mortality over the next 6 months, the mortality rate ratio (MR) being 1.92 (95% CI: 1.04, 3.52) compared with DTP-unvaccinated children, adjusting for age, sex, season, period, BCG, and region. The MR was 1.81 (95% CI: 0.95, 3.45) for the first dose of DTP and 4.36 (95% CI: 1.28, 14.9) for the second and third dose. BCG was associated with slightly lower mortality (MR = 0.63, 95% CI: 0.30, 1.33), the MR for DTP and BCG being significantly inversed. Following subsequent visits and further vaccinations with DTP and measles vaccine, there was no difference in vaccination coverage and subsequent mortality between the DTP-vaccinated group and the initially DTP-unvaccinated group (MR = 1.06, 95% CI: 0.78, 1.44).

    CONCLUSIONS: In low-income countries with high mortality, DTP as the last vaccine received may be associated with slightly increased mortality. Since the pattern was inversed for BCG, the effect is unlikely to be due to higher-risk children having received vaccination. The role of DTP in high mortality areas needs to be clarified.

    PMID: 15082643 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]Free Article

     

     

    New Medical Journal Review: Vaccine Injury is a Documented Cause of Autism

    Breaking news There is a new review paper in the peer reviewed and fully indexed Journal of Immunotoxicology, 2011; 8(1): 68–79, that looks at much of the evidence for various environmental causes of autism, including vaccines and vaccine ingredients. It is pretty interesting: (See pdf HERE)

    Helen Ratajczak, the author, is a mainstream researcher, though there is no official affiliation05phry2  listed on this review. She has authored or co-authored 41 papers listed on PubMed (HERE): In previous papers she co-authored, she was listed as an employee of Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. She also coauthored an FDA paper in 2006: (HERE) and that same year was elected President of the Northeast Chapter of the Society of Toxicology (HERE). She is a serious and respected scientist. 

    In this review, Dr. Ratajczak discusses the presence of human fetal DNA in MMRII and Varivax vaccines. Here are some excerpts from the Immunotoxicology autism review:

    ABSTRACT

    Autism could result from more than one cause, with different manifestations in different individuals that share common symptoms. Documented causes of autism include genetic mutations and/or deletions, viral infections, and encephalitis following vaccination.

    ASD INCREASE IS REAL

    Continue reading "New Medical Journal Review: Vaccine Injury is a Documented Cause of Autism" »

    Vaccine Epidemic - The Most Important Book in the Autism Debate?

    Vaccine Epidemic - cover high res By Kent Heckenlively, Esq.

    The masterful new book, Vaccine Epidemic, edited by Louise Kuo Habakus, M.A., director of the Center for Personal Rights, and Mary Holland, J.D., research scholar at the New York University School of Law may be the most important book yet published on the autism-vaccine controversy.

    I say this as an attorney because of my conviction that the scientific misdeeds alleged by many in our community, and in which I strongly believe, could never have taken place without a legal framework which allowed them to happen, and subsequently, prevented them from being investigated.  To put it simply the whole game is rigged.  Do you play an unfair game or do you walk away?

    Consider the public debate on this issue.  Our community is referred to as "anti-science" because we assert that vaccines cause significant damage in some people.  The 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act itself defines vaccines as "unavoidably unsafe."  Even though I believe the court established by this Act to be fundamentally flawed in many ways, and should be abolished, the fact remains it has paid out more than $2 billion dollars since 1988.  How are we "anti-science"?  It seems to me we should be referred to as "pro-science" since we are asking the medical community to come up with some sort of screening system to identify those at risk for vaccine injury.

    Continue reading "Vaccine Epidemic - The Most Important Book in the Autism Debate?" »

    CDC Wants to Know What You Think About Autism Research

    Ginger Taylor ran this for our community at Adventures in Autism.

    Click http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/8KBXH7W to respond to the survey so that CDC hears from parents of children at all levels of functioning.

    February 2, 2011

    CDC has commissioned a survey for stakeholders in the autism community so that they can get a sense of what you think about autism research. I filled out the form and I am sharing my answers with my readers.


    (Does anyone find it interesting that the CDC web site has had to add the claim that their health information is "Credible"? Someone is getting sensitive about their information being challenged.)


    Evaluating Change Workshop Survey

    1. Please indicate your sex:

    Male Female


    2. Please select your age range:

    21 or younger

    22-30

    31-40

    41-50

    51 and older

    Continue reading "CDC Wants to Know What You Think About Autism Research" »

    NYT Reports on Study: Pneumonia Bacterium Dodges Vaccines

    Cartoon10 With Sleight of DNA, Pneumonia Bacterium Dodges Vaccines
    By SINDYA N. BHANOO
    NYT HERE

    Researchers from seven countries have collaborated to analyze how a single strain of Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria has morphed over 30 years and spread across the world, in an attempt to overcome the development of antibiotics and vaccines....

    In looking at more than 240 samples, they found that since 1984, when the strain was first identified in Spain, it has turned over about three-quarters of its genome.

    Over time, the bacteria mutated to better resist antibiotics and vaccines. The researchers found that it underwent both recombination, in which the DNA shuffles around, and base substitutions, in which individual nucleic acids in a DNA sequence change....

    From the study:

    Rapid Pneumococcal Evolution in Response to Clinical Interventions
    Nicholas J. Croucher et al.
    Science 28 January 2011:
    Vol. 331 no. 6016 pp. 430-434
      
    Abstract

    Continue reading "NYT Reports on Study: Pneumonia Bacterium Dodges Vaccines" »

    Molecular Psychiatry Medscape: Mitochondrial Dysfunction Linked to Autism

    Mitochondria Have your children been tested for mitochondrial disorder? My girls have had tens of thousands of dollars worth of genetics tests ordered by pediatricians and neurologists. I have a photocopy of Mia's chromosomes at age 3.  It wasn't until years later when a friend from Tufts told me about mitochondrial testing that we found a specialist to pursue this avenue. And sure enough, for all the "perfect" genetics tests, the mitochondrial test show a different picture in all three of my kids.  KS

    Megan Brooks Medscape HERE

    January 31, 2011 — Mitochondrial dysfunction (MD) is more common in children with autism and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) than the general population, a comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis of relevant research confirms.

    Mitochondrial dysfunction "may play a significant role in contributing to the symptoms of autism and is generally underrecognized in these children," Daniel A. Rossignol, MD, of the International Child Development Resource Center, Melbourne, Florida, told Medscape Medical News.

    Continue reading "Molecular Psychiatry Medscape: Mitochondrial Dysfunction Linked to Autism" »

    News @Northeastern Presents Dr. Richard Deth on Chilling Research into Vaccine-autism Link

    Deth From Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. See the original article HERE. For more information, please contact Jason Kornwitz at 617-373-5729 or at [email protected].

    The British medical journal, BMJ, has published a report by an investigative journalist on the first study to link a childhood vaccine to autism and inflammatory bowel disease. The article in the BMJ called the study an "elaborate fraud," and claimed that the "appearance of a link with autism was manufactured at a London medical school."
     
    Dr. Andrew Wakefield linked the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine to autism in a study published in the medical journal Lancet more than 10 years ago. Lancet retracted the study last year after the British General Medical Council found that Wakefield had acted "dishonestly and irresponsibly" in his research.

    Richard Deth is a professor of pharmacology in the Bouvé College of Health Sciences and the School of Pharmacy at Northeastern University. His research suggests that vaccines containing aluminum and/or the mercury-based preservative thimerosal could contribute to the development of autism in children who lack the genetic capability to excrete neurotoxic metals. The MMR vaccine does not contain aluminum or thimerosal.

    Deth, who is currently attending a vaccine safety conference with Wakefield and other scientists, clinicians and legal experts, offers his response to the controversy.

    What are your thoughts on the BMJ report?

    I think it’s very unusual, but at the same time revealing, that the BMJ chose to publish this story. Investigative journalist Brian Deer has been on a mission to discredit Wakefield for years. His report is not a scientific article, but rather an opinion piece that doesn’t focus on the scientific finding of whether or not autistic children have inflammation in their gastrointestinal tract, which I believe is the crux of the original paper. That paper never set out to prove an explicit link between autism and the MMR vaccine. Nobody studying 12 subjects could conceive of proving a link. Wakefield found that subjects had gastrointestinal inflammation and at least some of parents reported that they thought this occurred after their children received the MMR vaccine.

    Our recent research has identified an amino acid transporter that may be involved in gastrointestinal inflammation and might also contribute to the neuronal inflammation that others have found in the brains of autistic children. A connection between the gut and the brain in autism makes sense to me.

    What is the link between vaccines and autism?

    Vaccines provoke an immune response to an antigen derived from a virus or bacteria. They can also contain agents, called adjuvants, such as aluminum, which augment the antibody response and can provoke inflammation throughout the body, as well as preservatives such as mercury, in the form of thimerosal.

    Aluminum and mercury can enter the brain and remain for years, where they provoke neuroinflammation. Inflammation during childhood can interfere with the normal mechanisms by which gene expression is controlled, leading to neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism.

    While the MMR vaccine does not contain aluminum or mercury, simultaneous exposure to these three viruses induces inflammation, which contributes to the cumulative effect of vaccines on children.

    Continue reading "News @Northeastern Presents Dr. Richard Deth on Chilling Research into Vaccine-autism Link" »

    The British Medical Journal Shows Misjudgement, Bias in Further Attack on Andrew Wakefield

    Dr. wakefield Managing Editor's Note: We have covered the MMR/Wakefield/Lancet story in dozens of posts. Please click ageofautism.com/andrew-wakefield to read the history.

    By John Stone

    The publication of new/old allegations of fraud against Andrew Wakefield in BMJ (HERE) follows on a succession of events in 2010 in which manifest editorial bias was shown, and in which the journal seemed to be falling over backwards to aid journalist Brian Deer in his crusade against Wakefield. The journal removed correspondence from its website questioning Deer’s prolonged access to confidential medical and legal documents, blocked correspondence from both professionals and members of the public questioning Deer’s understanding and representation of the evidence at the GMC hearing, and refused to acknowledge Deer’s competing interest (documented and established in a High Court judgement) as the complainant in the GMC case against the three doctors.

    In the first episode Deer raised eyebrows when he posted a letter BMJ’s Rapid Responses questioning whether US paediatrician Ed Yazbak’s grandson was one of the 12 Lancet cases (which Yazbak had not claimed):

    “ I know the names and family backgrounds of all 12 of the children enrolled in the study, including the child enrolled from the United States. I don't believe that Dr Yazbak has a family relationship with any of them.”

    Yazbak had only claimed that his grandson was a patient in the department, but Deer had patently raised the issue of his access to medical and legal documents to which the authorities have persistently turned a blind eye. A number of posts followed which laid the issue on the line but which were eventually censored by BMJ. Without any further explanation letters editor Sharon Davies posted the statement (HERE):

    “Following a legal complaint several responses have been removed.”

    But remarkably BMJ not only removed claims they removed all questions about Deer’s access, even Yazbak’s mild remark:

    “I must say I am troubled that Mr Deer was able to obtain the names and family backgrounds of the original 12 study patients”

    A further eight posts were completely removed including one from eminent paediatric gastroenterologist Prof John Dodge (HERE). The final straw seems to have been the post of the present writer:

    “The question of confidentiality has often arisen in Brian Deer's reporting of the Wakefield/Lancet affair. It arose implicitly in the allegations he made about the referral of patients (which seem to me to be of no account) at the outset of this affair but which involved the complicity of responsible parties, if only by their silence on the matter. It arose when Deer published names of patients on his website (links supplied), it arose last year when he made claims in the Sunday Times about the medical status of the children in the Lancet study, whch were unverifiable from published documents…and it has also arisen from his apparent access to legal documents on which he reports, for instance as here (some might think the rancorous tone inappropriate for a professional journalist):

    “"Call me old fashioned, but I think JABS should know better than to invoke poor Mrs xxxxx saying - presumably out of ignorance - that "legal aid was mysteriously taken away". There was no mystery, as Jackie surely knows. It followed the exchange of reports. In fact, having read them, I defy anyone with an IQ greater than their waist measurement to study those documents and not come to the conclusion that the Wakefield case was a bust. Even I was shocked - and I thought I was past that - by the calibre of much of the work. For the huge sums paid - in amounts I revealed last Christmas - the material for the children was, well, shocking."

    Continue reading "The British Medical Journal Shows Misjudgement, Bias in Further Attack on Andrew Wakefield" »