UPDATE: Arthur Caplan was kind enough to respond to Anne's email requesting clarifications. Here it is
First, as you know as a polio survivor i am strongly pro vaccine. i watched too many children die around me as a kid to doubt the importance of vaccines.
Second, I have plenty of personal knowledge of autism. But, vaccines are not implicated-- http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2010/09/27/prse1001.htm
Third, there is reason to believe that genetics plays a key role in autism as does parental age--
As diagnosis of autism moves ahead of the time when
vaccines are given, and even becomes likely to be offered as a prenatal test, the reason for concern about vaccines not only fades but is misdirected toward where research and ethical debate ought to go.
I know many people in the autism community, talk to them regularly and see that no one position dominates their thinking about cause, treatments or vaccine safety. But, I know that many are deeply concerned that finding a genetic cause will lead to a campaign to eliminate autistic and Asperger's children which i think is a key emerging issue and have written about already.
Thank you for writing to me.
By Anne Dachel
Past horrific human experiments stir concerns of today by Arthur Caplan HERE
In this article from MSNBC, Arthur Caplan, director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, is outraged at the actions sanctioned by U.S. government officials in Guatemala and at the Tuskegee Institute in AL.
Caplan is right, we should be alarmed over such inhumane experimentation.
I struck by the words "Nonetheless, officials knew it was wrong."
As a member of the autism community and a writer for the daily online blog, Age of Autism, I recall Caplan telling readers in the Philadelphia Inquirer in 2007 that the government approved and mandated vaccine program couldn't be related to the explosion in autism now affecting one percent of U.S. children.
He cited numerous studies all clearing the mercury-based vaccine preservative thimerosal from any link to the current autism epidemic.
He slammed author David Kirby and activist attorney Robert Kennedy Jr for daring to question the practice of injecting the second deadliest element on Earth into pregnant women and small children.
He called the belief that a deadly neurotoxin was causing children to become autistic "an urban legend."
According to Caplan, the science is in on vaccines and autism. He wrote, "Science and medicine have not bought the thimerosal/mercury-autism link. For years the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's Vaccine Education Center, the National Academy of Sciences, the Food and Drug Administration, and countless other prestigious organizations and scientists have said the data do not support mercury in vaccines as the cause of autism."
Caplan was satisfied that the officials who are in charge of the vaccine program have nothing to hide when all their studies show no connection between their dramatically increased vaccination schedule and the explosion in autism.
Caplan allowed CDC officials to have oversight over themselves when it comes to vaccine safety. He was seemingly unconcerned that hundreds of people at the CDC have conflict waivers because of direct financial ties to the vaccine makers.
For thousands of parents who believe that an unchecked, unsafe vaccine schedule is behind the devastating plague of autism, the experiments at Tuskegee and in Guatemala come as no surprise.
For years, officials have refused to do the one study that would stop the controversy over vaccines and autism. Despite repeated requests from the autism community, no government official has ever called for a study to compare the autism rate in vaccinated and unvaccinated children. If one percent of unvaccinated children were autistic, then the proof would be there for everyone to see. We seriously need to ask why no one wants to see such a study done.
Caplan isn't concerned about the revolving door between the vaccine industry and the CDC. A stunning example is the fact that the recent past director of the CDC, Julie Gerberding, a long time denier that vaccines cause autism, is now head of the vaccine division at Merck Pharma.
Caplan claimed in 2007 that mercury was no longer used in vaccines. This is not true. It's in horrendous levels in almost all of the flu vaccines available.
This vaccine is recommended for pregnant women at all stages of pregnancy by CDC officials, even though the manufacturers state in their package insert that it's never been tested on pregnant women and they don't advise it for them. HERE
Caplan's harsh words over the syphilis experiments should extend to the government's actions covering up the evidence linking vaccines to autism. His words, "Nonetheless, officials knew it was wrong," also apply to the issue of using mercury in vaccines. The mercury-based vaccine preservative thimerosal has a history that should call any safety claims into question.
Thimerorsal was invented and tested Eli Lilly Pharmaceutical Company in 1930. The one study done on thimerosal was done by Eli Lilly on 22 adult patients suffering from meningitis. There was no chance for follow-up to observe long-term effects, as all of the patients died. Even if follow-up had been possible, damage to the developing brains of very young children would have remained an unknown. Eli Lilly said it was safe and the medical community just accepted it. After the creation of the FDA, its use was simply continued. This unconscionable oversight failure should call any safety claim into question. In other words, thimerosal was never tested or approved by the FDA for use in our children's vaccines, but health officials are convinced it's done no harm.
In his book, Evidence of Harm, journalist David Kirby pointed out that "...many researchers had sent the company [Eli Lilly] documents dating back to the 1930's, each raising a red flag about thimerosal." (EOH 207-209). Mr. Kirby chronologically lists over 70 years of scientific research on the damaging and deadly effects of thimerosal that was willfully ignored by Eli Lilly and the CDC.Our CDC and FDA should be utterly embarrassed to make safety claims based on such a pathetic history of oversight.
In addition, back in 1991, Dr. Maurice Hilleman, one of the top vaccinologists in the world, wrote a memo to the president of Merck Pharmaceutical Co. warning about the high mercury levels children were receiving in their vaccines. That warning was ignored and mercury exposure was only increased with additional vaccines. Myron Levin wrote about this for the LA Times.
If Caplan had read Evidence of Harm, he'd have learned about the closed meeting at a place called Simpsonwood Retreat Center in Norcross GA in 2000. There, 52 representatives from the pharmaceutical industry, along with people from the CDC, and the FDA gathered for two days to discuss the findings that implicated the increase in mercury exposure in vaccines to the explosion in the number of children with autism.
(See Flu insert here)and (See Simpsonwood FOIA here)
"Nonetheless, officials knew it was wrong" resounds in the autism issue. The people with everything at stake in this debate are allowed to deny, deny, deny. Mercury is safe when injected into children, autism hasn't really increased--doctors simply are recognizing it better, and when officials finally admitted that autism is now at an epidemic levels, they're ready to blame any environmental toxin except the known toxins in vaccines.
The recent book, The Age of Autism, by Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill reveals that ever since the 16th Century, doctors have proclaimed the medical benefits of mercury and ignored the deadly side effects. They're still doing it today.
Increasing exposure to mercury is having a dramatic impact on our lives. "Nonetheless, officials knew it was wrong" also means that there's a great incentive to cover up the damage at all costs. There is a real lesson from the Guatemala and Tuskegee experiments. Let's hope it doesn't take 60 years before officials admit what mercury exposure in vaccine has done to our children.
Anne Dachel is Media Editor for Age of Autism.