By J.B. Handley
When Thomas Burbacher released a study in 2005 showing that Thimerosal, when injected into chimps, not only ended up in their brains but at levels much higher than other forms of mercury, it should have been a crippling blow to the medical establishment's claim that Thimerosal was "safe" to be injected into babies.
However, the mainstream press was able to turn Burbacher's findings upside-down and articles were written about the study that provided millions of parents with false reassurances.
Consider this quote from a 2005 article written by a Reuters reporter:
"The mercury contained in some vaccines is processed differently in the body and is possibly less toxic to children than mercury found in pollution and fish, U.S. researchers reported on Thursday. Tests in monkeys showed that the ethyl mercury contained in the vaccine preservative thimerosal is cleared quickly by the body, while methyl mercury persists much longer."
If you read Burbacher's entire study (as I just did), you'd realize that the press reports weren't remotely accurate. Yes, thimerosal cleared the blood faster than methylmercury, but that's because it appeared to race more quickly to the brain and kidneys! Consider this comment from the study itself:
"Data from the current study predicts that while little accumulation of Hg in the blood occurs over time with repeated vaccinations, accumulation of Hg in the brain of infants will occur. Thus, conclusion regarding the safety of thimerosal drawn from blood Hg clearance data in human infants receiving vaccines may not be valid…"
To belabor the point, Burbacher and the study authors even took it a step further and openly attacked the 2004 IOM study's conclusions regarding thimerosal and autism:
"Results from an initial Institute of Medicine (IOM) review of the safety of vaccines found that there was not sufficient evidence to render an opinion on the relationship between ethylmercury exposure and developmental disorders in children (IOM 2001). The IOM review did, however, note the possibility of such a relationship and recommended further studies be conducted. A recently published second IOM review (IOM 2004) appears to have abandoned the earlier recommendation as well as back away from the American Academy of Pediatrics goal. This approach is difficult to understand, given our current limited knowledge of the toxicokinetics and developmental neurotoxicity of thimerosal, a compound that has been (and will continue to be) injected in millions of newborns and infants."
I provide this as background to review what went on last week with the findings being published in the Public Library of Science (is that a medical journal?) regarding the measles virus RNA in bowel tissue of ASD and control kids that was funded by the AAP, CDC, and NIH.
If you have taken the time to read this recent study and compared it to Andrew Wakefield's original study, then you already know what I know: saying with a straight face that this study exonerates the role of MMR in triggering autism is impossible. I'm not doubting that the researchers didn't get accurate results. I'm not doubting that the researchers answered whatever question they asked to conduct this study in the first place. I'm simply stating that no scientist who actually reads this study could ever say that it in any way, shape or form exonerates the MMR's potential role in triggering autism. Here's an explanation from a Dad in the UK that provides a nice summary of why:
A number of important points arise from your article on a new study into an MMR/autism connection (News, September 5). It should be noted that only five children involved in this research met the criteria of the original hypothesis (normal development, MMR vaccination, bowel disease, leading to autism). Too small a sample, one would have thought, particularly in view of the criticism levelled at Dr Andrew Wakefield's team for publishing research in 1998 based on only 12 children. (In fact, an addendum to that original study revealed the assessment of a further 40 patients, 39 of whom had the novel form of bowel disease as described.) Your article also failed to reveal that one of the five children was found to have measles virus in the gut, thereby inadvertently validating the O'Leary findings of 2002 which looked at bowel biopsies of 91 children whose autism and bowel disease followed MMR vaccination.
The fact is, this study does not really address whether MMR causes autism, let alone rule it out, as the authors erroneously claim. It does, however, confirm the presence of distressing and painful bowel disease in many autistic children. One author has specifically pleaded that autistic children be urgently given treatment for the intolerable pain of their bowel disease. A plea that has been made repeatedly by parents over many years only to fall on the deaf ears of a compassionless medical hierarchy. - Bill Welsh, President, Autism Treatment Trust, Edinburgh.
So, it begs the simple question: Why does the press get these studies so wrong? How do you explain a headline like this one that ran last week?
STUDY FINDS NO LINK BETWEEN AUTISM, MMR VACCINE
How does this happen? It happens because the CDC, AAP, and NIH do a hell of a job at PR management and producing experts who will say anything to make vaccines appear safe, even if they have to lie to do so. In fact, it's situations like this one that convince me we are dealing with an extremely corrupt mainstream health establishment who will break every scientific rule to maintain the appearance of a safe vaccination program.
Which leads me to Geri Dawson.
Geri Dawson is the Chief Science Officer of Autism Speaks. A relatively new hire, Ms. Dawson's arrival was heralded in January 2008. Ms. Dawson was previously a professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Washington where she "led a multi-disciplinary autism research program focusing on genetics, neuroimaging, diagnosis, and treatment." Autism Speaks' website goes on to explain that "Geri's own research has been in the areas of early detection and treatment of autism, early patterns of brain dysfunction (electrophysiology), and more recently, development of endophenotypes for autism genetic studies."
That's an interesting background.
Of course, if you think anything like I do, it's also a background that makes focusing on the environmental causes of autism a near impossibility. In fact, it's the kind of background that makes many of us nuts. We meet these researchers who think autism is a genetic, psychological disorder and they don't want to hear our stories about regression, recovery, or cause.
Now, this isn't really fair to Geri Dawson. I don't know what she thinks about the causes of autism. I don't know if she sees the world more like I do than I think she does as I sit here speculating. But, what I do know is that Geri Dawson is responsible for a headline on Autism Speaks' homepage this very minute for every parent to read that states:
STUDY SHOWS NO CONNECTION BETWEEN AUTISM AND MMR VIRUS RNA
I also know that when you read the statement from Autism Speaks it goes on to say:
A study published today found that measles virus RNA was no more likely to be present in the bowel tissue of children with autism than that of typically developing children. Furthermore, GI symptom and autism onset were found to be unrelated to MMR vaccine timing. These findings refute an earlier report published in 1998 that indicated autism is associated with the measles virus vaccine…"This was a well-designed study that clearly refutes a connection between autism and the presence of the measles virus RNA," noted Geri Dawson, Chief Science Officer at Autism Speaks.
Yup, I'm certain that I know how Ms. Dawson publicly commented on the MMR-autism study released last week, the one that doesn't remotely address the issue of whether or not MMR may trigger autism.
I'm also certain of something else. I'm certain that I have personally talked to over a thousand parents of children with autism. And, I'm certain that several hundred of them explicitly blame the MMR vaccine for turning their child upside-down. Not all the parents I've talked to, just many of them.
While I'm not certain, I think it's fair to guess that Autism Speaks has also heard from many of these parents who think MMR caused their child's autism. So, they too know that a portion of parents of children with autism blame the MMR vaccine.
I also know that when the parent of a young child who may be developmentally delayed asks me if I think they should get the MMR vaccine for their child I always give them the same one word answer: No.
So, Geri Dawson, the Chief Science Officer for Autism Speaks, signs off on a headline and a statement for the Autism Speaks' website that provides false reassurance to parents about the MMR vaccine and autism.
Because I know, without any shred of doubt, that this new study does not remotely exonerate the MMR vaccine and its possible role in autism. And, because I also know that tens of thousands of parents worldwide including several hundred who I have personally talked to blame MMR for their child's autism, I just have to wonder about Geri Dawson. I have to wonder how she could approve and make the statements that she did about this stupid little study that we will all soon forget about and I can only come up with two possible reasons for why Geri Dawson would do this:
Geri Dawson is either a blithering idiot, or she is a corrupt, partisan hack who so desperately wants the autism-vaccine thing to just die so she can get back to work chasing her genetic-psychological theories on autism that she will happily go along with the mainstream spin on a stupid little study and do her part to exonerate the MMR, even if hundreds if not thousands of parents have called her organization which is supposed to help our kids and told them that the MMR turned their child upside-down including the daughter of the very people who founded the place she now calls home.
Or something like that.
I'm really not sure who Geri Dawson is. I just know that last week she chose to do something the parents I know would never do.
JB Handley is co-founder of Generation Rescue and Editor at Large for Age of Autism.