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Dachel Media Update: 10/29

Canary Party Responds To Brian Deer's Rebuttal


When Brian Deer was introduced at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse earlier this month to give his version of events in the Wakefield/MMR controversy,  the audience was told, "There is no debate.”   That statement was swiftly refuted by WKTV news whose top story was: "Vaccine-Autism Debate Reaches La Crosse," (See video here.)    Among the many vaccine safety advocates who had contacted university officials was Jennifer VanDerHorst-Larson, President of the Canary Party and mother to a child with regressive autism, triggered by vaccines.  Her e-mail, critical of Deer,  was also sent to Canary Party's 5,000 members. Deer posted a response to her on his personal website, and VanDerHorst-Larson has now answered him in an e-mail to the more than 30 sponsors of  Deer's lectures at La Crosse. Her hope is to enlighten the La Crosse community and others about the side of the controversy the media does not report. In the latest installment of the debate, it looks like Deer is caught the headlights. Her response, running on the Canary Party website is below:

OPEN LETTER to the Sponsors of Brian Deer’s Lectures at The University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, October 2012

Allergy Associates of La Crosse (Drs. Vijay Sabnis, James Thompson, Ted Habel, David Morris, George Kroker, Mary Morris)

Marshfield Clinic and Labs  (Brian H. Ewert, MD, C. Todd Stewart, MD, Gene R. Shaw, MD)

Gundersen Lutheran Clinic  (Jeffrey E. Thompson, MD, Julio J. Bird, MD, Mary Kuffel, MD)

U of W La Crosse Foundation, Allen Trapp, President, Greg Reichert, Asst. Chancellor

College of Science and Health, Dean Bruce Riley

Departments of Biology, Microbiology, Chemistry, English, Health Education and Promotions, Communication Studies, Exercise and Sports:

Dr. David Howard, Chair, Biology Dept., Dr. S. N. Rajagopal, Chair, Microbiology Dept., Dr. Aaron Monte, Chair, Chemistry Dept. Dr. Susan Crutchfield, Chair, English Dept. Dr. Dan Duquette, Chair, Health Education and Promotions Dr. Linda Dickmeyer, Chair, Communication Studies, Dr. Mark Gibson, Chair, Exercise and Sports Science

Faculty of the Dept. of Microbiology: Sue Anglehart, Marisa Barbknecht, Bonnie Jo Bratina, Michael Hoffman, Michael A. Lazzari, Marc A. Rott, William Schwan, Diane Sewell, Bernadette C. Taylor, Peter Wilker, Mike Winfrey

Susan Betts, Dept. of Microbiology

Premed Club,  Jordan L. Ludwigson, President

Biology Club 

Microbiology Club, William Close, President

Institute for Biomolecular Sciences

Members of Distinguished Speakers Committee

cc:        Editor, Racquet Student Newspaper, Chancellor Gow

My name is Jennifer VanDerHorst-Larson, and my open letter to university officials was singled out by Brian Deer for response. As you know, Mr. Deer recently lectured at the university about the Wakefield/MMR vaccine controversy. On his website, Mr. Deer referred to my letter as a form of “abuse.”  (Please judge for yourself if it’s abusive.) My letter.  Mr. Deer’s response.

I am the mother of a boy with autism who developed normally – exceeding his milestones - until he received his Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR) and other vaccinations at 15 months. He reacted immediately and showed clear evidence of regression the day after his 15-month shots. By 18 months, he had lost all of his skills.  By 19 months, all he did was cry, bang his head and say “go” – his only remaining word. I was told to consider an institution for him, and he wasn’t even two.

At age 12, he is now diagnosed as severely autistic and in need of 24-hour supervision. He will never be independent. My son is also diagnosed with colitis – the bowel disease that was diagnosed in the Lancet 12 children with autism – denied by Brian Deer who spoke at La Crosse University. The gut-autism hypothesis has been placed under prolonged attack by those defending the vaccine program, including Brian Deer whose unsupported statements about the Lancet 12 children’s health  (“They don’t have bowel disease!”) have resulted in UK parents being unable to find medical help for their autistic children with bowel disease, the effects of which are profound and tragic.

High Court Judge Mitting has since rejected Mr. Deer’s claim that the 12 children were not seriously ill and did not require the medical attention they received from Professor Walker-Smith’s team at the Royal Free Hospital where Dr. Wakefield co-authored the controversial Lancet paper. 

 I am one of thousands of parents who have reported that their child (or children) regressed following vaccination. I was given the official medical explanation by Minneapolis doctors that my son’s regression was coincidental, even though no other pediatric medicine or procedure is associated with large numbers of “coincidental” reports of regression into autism.  To my knowledge, there is no case of a completely unvaccinated child developing normally and then spontaneously, dramatically regressing into autism. I think that’s significant. A retrospective, vaccinated vs. unvaccinated study would tell us more, but the government refuses to undertake such a study.

To Mr. Deer’s claim that the vaccine/autism link is a “fringe” theory put forth by “small groups of ill-informed, misguided” and “malicious people,” “desperate for attention,” I can only respond by asking you to watch this brief CBS interview of former NIH Director Dr. Bernadine Healy describing how medical authorities have refused to consider the possibility of an autism/vaccine link in susceptible children, for fear of scaring the general public.

There is also the case of Hannah Poling, a child who developed normally until she received 9 vaccine doses at one doctor’s visit. Her family will be compensated in the amount of $20 million over her lifetime by the U.S. government for her autism resulting from MMR and thimerosal-containing vaccines.  The Cochrane Review is not reassuring of MMR safety either, concluding: “The design and reporting in MMR safety studies both pre- and post marketing are largely inadequate.”  Please see the last page of my letter for links to independent studies that support Dr. Wakefield’s work, including peer-reviewed papers that duplicate his original findings in five additional countries.

People who criticize vaccine safety are not “cranks, flat-earthers, conspiracy theorists, cult members, anti-vaccinationists” or “desperate-parents-looking-for-something-to-blame,” as people like Mr. Deer describe us. We are doctors, lawyers, teachers, nurses, police officers, scientists, business owners, students, professors…people from all walks of life who consider the current, one-size-fits-all vaccine program insufficiently tested and demonstrably unsafe. The number of vaccines has exploded in a generation –  as has autism. Little wonder the vaccine makers and doctors sought and received total indemnification from lawsuits for vaccine injury, an exemption from typical liability that has been in effect since 1988.

As I write this, Mr. Deer’s personal website is advertising “Flumist” – a flu vaccination.  As regards the $34 billion global vaccine industry, Brian Deer is far from an impartial observer. Neutral journalists are not asked to be keynote speakers at pharmaceutical conventions in luxury accommodations in the French Alps hosted by a foundation with financial links to three MMR manufacturers, as Mr. Deer was in November, 2011.

I made 12 points in my letter about Mr. Deer, and I wish to reply to his responses here. I am beginning with the final point because I believe Mr. Deer’s response to it is the simplest, most clear-cut example of how he misleads the public.

I wrote:

12. Among the more egregious of his many false statements at La Crosse was Mr. Deer's claim that Dr. Wakefield "called on parents to boycott the MMR vaccine." He in fact recommended parents request the single measles, mumps and rubella shots that were available at that time in the UK, rather than the combination shot.

Mr. Deer replied: “Ms VanDerHorst-Larson's posited distinction is devoid of difference.”

Deer’s claim that Wakefield called on parents to boycott the MMR would lead the great majority of people to conclude that Wakefield advised parents against vaccinating their children for measles, mumps and rubella. Very few members of the audience at his La Crosse lecture would be aware that in the UK in 1998, single measles, mumps and rubella vaccines were available as well as the combination shot, making the claim that “Wakefield called on parents to boycott the MMR vaccine” a lie by omission, misleading listeners to believe Wakefield was opposed to vaccinating children against these diseases.

At a press briefing, Andrew Wakefield was asked by the dean of the Royal Free medical school (Arie Zuckerman) to endorse the vaccine program which at the time included the option of single vaccines. At the briefing, Wakefield was asked what his personal opinion was, and his response, which endorsed single vaccines, was politicized by the government and the pharmaceutical industry by the removal of the single vaccine option in the following months. The removal of this option was certain to have led to a reduction in vaccination rates – for which Wakefield has received full blame.

Now back to question #1.    

1. Regarding Mr. Deer's credibility, even those unfamiliar with the details of the controversy would have to question his claim: “Neither I nor BMJ knew Wakefield was in Texas." (Dr. Wakefield has resided in Texas for 11 years and Mr. Deer has "investigated" and reported on him while he has lived in Texas.)

Mr. Deer adds a new unsupported claim – that Dr. Wakefield “looks to people such as Jennifer VanDerHorst Larson for his livelihood.” This statement is false. As for Deer’s denial of his knowledge of Wakefield’s residency, Deer’s 2009 BMJ article reveals that he had full knowledge of Wakefield living in Austin: “Wakefield has left Britain to live in Austin, Texas, where he runs a clinic…”  

See 8th paragraph from the end.

Multiple references show Deer knew for certain that Wakefield was living in Texas from 2005-2010. Deer now implies that Wakefield may have moved to Minnesota in 2010 simply because he gave a talk there. Following that logic, one could infer that Mr Deer now resides in La Crosse rather than in London! The suggestion that Wakefield moved (with no evidence to back it up) appears to be an attempt to evade Dr. Wakefield’s defamation lawsuit.

As for Deer’s claim that his co-defendant, BMJ, also did not know Wakefield was in Texas, evidence that BMJ knew is contained in multiple links below. Yet, BMJ Editor Fiona Godlee testified under penalty of perjury that she did not believe anyone at BMJ ever knew Wakefield was a Texas resident. This is clearly false. http://tinyurl.com/95eujhn

My second point:

2. In his letter to the BMJ, National Whistleblower Center board member David Lewis, who examined the "Lancet 12" children's histopathological grading sheets, makes it clear that Wakefield's co-author, pathologist Amar Dhillon, did indeed diagnose colitis "in a number of children" contrary to Mr. Deer's statement at your university that none of the children had bowel disease.

Mr. Deer’s response does not disprove Dr. Lewis’ claim, but only attempts to smear him – stating that Lewis “has no qualifications in medicine or pathology.” However, editors at Annals of Internal Medicine rated Dr. Lewis in the top 10% of reviewers in 2010. Lewis was considered sufficiently qualified by Nature to have had his analysis of the Wakefield matter reported on by the prestigious international science journal.  The National Whistleblower’s Center, which Deer inaccurately portrays as a “front” for an employment firm, is called “an advocacy group” by Nature.

Lewis’ accomplishments in medical and environmental research have been covered by Nature, Science, Lancet, JAMA, National Geographic, Time, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The London Times, NPR, PBS, CBS, ABC, and BBC.

(Speaking of credentials, Deer testified under oath that part one of his BMJ series was externally peer-reviewed when in fact it was not. Dr. Harvey Marcovitch, listed as the external reviewer, was an Associate Editor of BMJ and was listed as such in an accompanying editorial in BMJ.)

In that same response, Deer thoroughly misleads the reader about the evidence of the two histopathologists writing to BMJ. Contrary to what Deer implies, both histopathologists supported the Lancet case series findings. What they actually said can be read in the BMJ

Dr. Wakefield’s detailed explanation of how Deer misrepresented the pathology – referencing the actual documents -  can be seen in this video at the 5:30 mark (recorded at a university where Dr. Wakefield was allowed to speak): 

Regarding Deer’s claim that “five experts in the appropriate gastroenterological specialties, consulted by us, confirmed a lack of enterocolitis in the data,” it is noteworthy that when challenged by Eugenie Samuel Reich in Nature News, the most vociferous of BMJ's experts Professor Bjarnason said the forms don’t clearly support Deer/BMJ’s charges. Furthermore, not a single one of those experts responded after Dr. Dhillon defended his role in the study.

My third point:

3. Brian Deer stated at your university that Dr. Peter Fletcher was never Chief Scientific Officer of the UK Department of Health. This statement is easily proven false. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-376203/Former-science-chief-MMR-fears-coming-true.html Deer misrepresented the UK's former Chief Scientific Officer, no doubt due to Dr. Fletcher's criticisms of the MMR: "There are very powerful people in positions of great authority in Britain and elsewhere who have staked their reputations and careers on the safety of MMR and they are willing to do almost anything to protect themselves."

As Deer now concedes in his response to me, Dr. Fletcher’s correct title was Chief Scientific Officer to the Department of Health in the UK. The questioner at Deer’s lecture had omitted “Department of Health” from Fletcher’s title.  Deer could have corrected the questioner’s oversight, but he instead chose to answer in such a way as to imply that Dr. Fletcher was never a Chief Scientific Officer of any kind in the UK. The fact is, the Department of Health’s Chief Scientific Officer would have been the one concerned with issues of vaccine safety, making Fletcher’s comments on MMR extremely relevant.

Regarding  Deer’s criticism of Dr. Fletcher’s expert witness work, please see my response in #11 below.

My next point:

4. Wakefield's co-author in the Lancet Paper, Dr. John Walker Smith, was recently exonerated and had his license to practice medicine restored, showing that Deer's allegations against Wakefield and Walker Smith, which were rubber stamped by the General Medical Council, had no foundation.

The reasons Mr. Deer provides for the High Court quashing the GMC findings against Dr. John Walker-Smith are false. High Court Judge Mitting gave the GMC’s attorney Joanna Glynn every opportunity to provide the missing arguments and she did not do so. Mitting also reviewed the case to see whether there were any arguments. He did not dismiss the findings on a technical point: the GMC failed to provide the reasons in the High Court just as they had at the hearing, and Mitting was unable to find any himself. He made clear rulings about what the evidence did and did not show. The GMCs evidence simply did not support the charges which they were determined to uphold.

Virtually all of the accusations against Walker-Smith related to alleged misconduct in the Wakefield 'Lancet paper' of which Walker-Smith was senior author and clinician. Justice Mitting reviewed all the evidence relating to the charges (which were based on Deer's allegations) and could not find a basis for them. It is simply impossible to see how, if Walker-Smith did not mis-report in a paper which he signed, Wakefield could have been guilty of the same quashed accusations (with the exception of the disputed disclosure on ethical approval - where there is certainly no motive for fraud).

Deer is well aware that Walker-Smith, as the leading clinician in his field (widely known as the father of pediatric gastroenterology), had generic approval from the ethics committee of the Royal Free Hospital to retain biopsies for scientific investigation that had been taken for primarily clinical purposes, and this is what Justice Mitting said occurred. The clinical procedures required ethical approval, which was obtained, and the paper needed no ethical approval because it was simply an early report on children investigated for clinical reasons and did not require it. Deer can say that truthfully there was no approval but there was no breach of ethical guidelines, so he is quoting the judge’s findings in a deliberately misleading way. Furthermore, the judge determined that children were genuinely sick and properly investigated contrary to Deer's allegations. 

Deer is also fully aware of, but does not disclose, the reason Wakefield did not appeal: he was not covered by insurance that funded the pursuit of an appeal as Walker-Smith had been.  In fact he began an appeal but had to withdraw for lack of funding, and it currently lies in abeyance. The charges against all three were entirely based on accusations by Brian Deer.

Following the exoneration of Dr. Walker-Smith, the University College London (the parent institution to the Royal Free where Dr. Wakefield was employed) stopped its own inquiry into “the Wakefield affair” on advice of the UK Research and Integrity Office. This was despite the BMJ’s plea for the inquiry to continue. The UCL stated that such an inquiry would cost a substantial sum of money and would yield nothing conclusive. So much for Mr. Deer’s mountains of evidence against Andrew Wakefield.

Mr. Deer’s citations from popular media vilifying Dr. Wakefield prove nothing more than the workings of the news cycle – medical journals establish “facts” that are picked up and republished, unquestioned by general media which rely heavily on ad revenues from pharmaceutical companies.

Next, I wrote: 

5. Brian Deer's attacks against Wakefield began when his Sunday Times Editor, Paul Nuki, told him "Find something big" on the "MMR" as Deer himself revealed here   Nuki had a DIRECT FAMILY TIE to a government employee responsible for MMR safety. Paul Nuki is the son of Professor George Nuki who sat on the Committee on Safety in Medicines when it passed Pluserix MMR vaccine as safe for use in 1987.

Deer accused me of altering his words even though I provided the link to the quote. I can only refer readers to the link and ask you to draw your own conclusions. I consider it noteworthy that Deer’s sentence denying the cited quote also contains a personal attack against me: an “embittered anti-vaccine campaigner.”

Deer responds that Nuki senior was a rheumatologist, which is irrelevant; he was on the Committee on Safety in Medicines when GSK’s Pluserix MMR vaccine was approved for use. It is also irrelevant that Pluserix was licensed throughout the world, as it and similar products using the Urabe strain of the mumps virus have been withdrawn in many places including Canada, Japan, Brazil and Italy.  Point of fact: the British licensing authority was warned of the dangerous adverse effects of Pluserix (which subsequently had to be withdrawn) in November 1987, nearly a year before the vaccine was introduced in the UK.  Pluserix caused meningitis in children in the UK just as it had in children in Canada. This medical scandal is passed over by Deer who merely states that Pluserix was licensed worldwide.

Nuki junior subsequently moved from the Sunday Times to head the main National Health Service website 'NHS Choices'. He was also co-opted to a Department of Business committee advising on how to control science journalism.

 My sixth point:

6. In February 2009, Sunday Times proprietor James Murdoch was appointed to the board of MMR manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline with a brief to “help to review external issues that might have the potential for serious impact upon the group's business and reputation.”  This was swiftly followed by new attacks on Andrew Wakefield’s reputation by Deer and other Times Newspaper journalists.

Deer replies that the Murdoch family could not have instigated the original investigation. However, I never made any such claim. I clearly stated that it was the new torrent of allegations in 2009, closely following on the heels of Murdoch's appointment to the GSK board – with a brief to help protect the group's reputation, for which he was paid substantial sums of money – that’s in question.

Mr. Deer claims James Murdoch was not the proprietor of The Sunday Times and had no editorial responsibility. The fact is, Murdoch took “direct responsibility for the strategic and operational development of News Corporation’s television, newspaper, and related digital assets in Europe…” according to his Wikipedia entry. He was direct boss of the Eastern Empire including Times Newspapers. He’s described in The Telegraph as having “control of British daily newspapers The Times and The Sun, weekly papers The Sunday Times…” This would clearly include influence over editorial content.  The fact that Deer has “never heard of any Murdoch family member expressing any view about vaccines” is completely irrelevant.

My next point:

7. Mr. Deer failed to disclose that he was privately the author of at least three complaints to the General Medical Council that later took away Wakefield's license. Violating journalistic ethics, Deer had created the very news that he later covered. (GMC created a letter a year later stating Deer was not listed as the complainant.)

Deer usually defends this accusation in this manner: “Malicious liars and cranks fabricated the suggestion that I was reporting my own allegations.” (Last comment)

But this time, Deer states that he was not the complainant because the GMC itself was the complainant. However, the letter showing GMC as the complainant was produced a full year after Deer made at least three formal complaints against the three doctors, and it was also stated that he had done so in a High Court ruling of Mr Justice Eady, who stated:

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

Deer’s argues, “It would have been irresponsible and perverse for me to decline to produce evidence when requested by a statutory body inquiring into matters impacting on the safety of children.” However, his position was very different from a an objective, disinterested journalist being interviewed by an investigating authority: he was clearly requesting that the doctors be prosecuted by the GMC, making him a hidden key player in the very news story that he was covering. Moreover, it was a mutually beneficial arrangement with the GMC and its lawyers, ensuring that they would continue to get beneficial coverage.

My eighth point:

8. Mr. Deer also failed to disclose that there were no complaints against Wakefield by the children's families, most of whom very strongly support him, and many of whom credit his team with a diagnosis that led to effective treatment of their children's bowel disease.

Deer was unable to challenge my statement that no Lancet 12 parent complained about Wakefield to the GMC, and he instead provided the false allegation of just one parent who misinterpreted how his son’s case was represented in the Lancet paper. The parent of Child 11 falsely accuses the Lancet paper of saying his son’s autistic regression began within two weeks of his MMR vaccine, when the paper only said his son developed viral pneumonia within that time frame – a fact this parent does not dispute. Indeed, this parent blamed the MMR vaccine for his child's illness and regression that followed his child’s MMR shot, just as Wakefield reported.

Furthermore, Brian Deer misrepresented this child's developmental history, writing in the BMJ that the child's regression began two months prior to his MMR vaccine, based on an incorrect hospital discharge summary that Deer failed to fact-check (as the child's father referenced in a letter he addressed to Brian Deer). Therefore, this father's allegations against Dr. Wakefield are not correct and stand in stark contrast to the majority of the parents of the Lancet children who fully support him.

Multiple records by independent medical experts establish the facts.  Aside from the error in the discharge summary, no one – no doctor, no parent, no document – has ever said Child 11 was anything but healthy and developing normally before receiving the MMR. Only Brian Deer has stated otherwise, in the BMJ. Deer has similarly manipulated facts to make symptoms of autism appear to have existed prior to the MMR shots of the other children in the study – contrary to parent reports and medical evidence.

In his response, Deer cites Statement 4 of a consensus report of leading U.S. experts in gastroenterology as evidence that “Wakefield’s claims of having discovered a bowel disease distinctive to autism have been rejected.” However, he has misrepresented this report which does not dispute that “NLH of the ileum and colon are an abnormal finding in most children with ASDs.” Rather, it states that similar findings are known to be present in children with typical development, as well as children with food allergies and immunodeficiencies. It concludes, “The significance of these findings is unclear.” The same report laments the absence of “high-quality clinical research data.” (Who would seek or provide funding for such a study after the experiences of three of UK’s leading doctors – Walker-Smith, Murch and Wakefield?)

I then wrote:

9. The Lancet withdrew the Wakefield paper seven months after the Lancet's owner, Sir Crispin Davis, became a non-executive director of MMR manufacturer Glaxo SmithKline. His brother, Nigel Davis, was the high court judge who presided over the secret hearing to remove funding from MMR litigation. Nigel Davis then issued a statement (referring to himself in the third person): "the possibility of any conflict of interest arising from his brother's position did not occur to him."

My letter contained one error – confusing the timing of the Lancet’s withdrawal of the Wakefield paper with the timing of the following action taken by the Lancet’s editor, Richard Horton: Dr. Horton made the false allegation on the BBC that the Lancet was unaware of Wakefield’s involvement in the MMR litigation at the time of the 1998 paper’s publication. (Horton’s correspondence with Wakefield’s law firm prior to the Lancet article being published is proof of his knowledge.) Horton took this action of distancing himself from the paper in 2004; however the paper was not retracted by the journal until the GMC findings in 2010. Horton was silent while his boss, Crispin Davis, CEO of Reed Elsevier (Lancet’s owner) made allegations about Wakefield to the House of Common Science and Technology Committee on March 1, 2004, without either disclosing his own recent appointment as director of MMR maker Glaxo SmithKline or that it was his brother, Sir Nigel (now Lord Justice) Davis, who had ruled on the MMR litigation just three days before.

Not only did Lord Justice Davis later tell an official investigation that “the possibility of any conflict of interest arising from his brother’s position [with GSK] did not occur to him” (as he had originally briefed the press when the matter came to light) but that he did not actually know his brother held the position, which might have sounded more credible if he had stated so in the first place. He had also somehow been unaware of the Lancet editor distancing the journal from Wakefield before the hearing despite the news storm of the preceding weekend. In short, Judge Davis presided over a closed hearing appealing the Legal Service Commission’s decision to withhold funding for MMR litigation, and his reasons were not published (contrary to Deer’s claim that the hearing was not secret). Later, Judge Davis’ decision was upheld by Lord Leveson (who is now engaged in a public inquiry into media abuse in the UK), and his reasons were likewise not published. It should be noted that Leveson has in the current inquiry refused to consider concerns from parents over Brian Deer and his Sunday Times MMR investigation, and by “coincidence,” Leveson has been assisted by Queen’s Counsel Robert Jay who represented the Legal Services Commission at the Davis hearing.

Regarding the 2007 case Deer cited that was  “materially identical case to the one that failed in England in 2003,” it was not a case heard in U.S. civil court, but in “vaccine court” which is part of HHS – the government agency responsible for the safety of the vaccines they approve. That case, as well as the complete history of how thousands of autistic children in the U.S. were denied compensation for their vaccine injuries due to actions from US and UK courts, are described here.

My tenth point:

10. The chairman of the GMC panel that struck Wakefield off the medical register, Surendra Kumar, failed to disclose that he owned shares in MMR manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline.

Mr. Deer responded that on November 3, 2008, Wakefield and his two co-defendants in the GMC case formally submitted to the panel that its chairman had no conflicts of interest. However, Kumar went into the GMC hearing not having disclosed 1) that he owned shares in GSK, 2) that he had sat on the Committee of Safety in Medicines (CSM) 1996-1999, and 3) that he currently sat on two of the licensing authority committees (created after CSM was broken up c.2002). If the doctors and their attorneys protested, the entire proceeding would have to re-start from scratch which was entirely impractical. Therefore, Kumar’s conflicts were not contested. Kumar should have disqualified himself. Perhaps he knew that if all of these conflicts emerged far enough into the hearing, no action would be taken to remove him.

As for Deer’s reference to “cranks” making the conflict of interest allegation, and his link to his own article, please see #13 below about ad hominem attacks.

My 11th point:

11. Mr. Deer's opening slide at the La Crosse talk, clearly intended to refer to Wakefield, speaks volumes about Deer’s lack of neutrality: “If he wasn’t so fucking greedy, he’d a been tougher to spot.” (The only money Wakefield earned as an expert witness was donated, by him, to the Royal Free Hospital. This is well documented.)

As Mr. Deer’s response exemplifies, it’s a continuing theme of his to demonize expert witnesses who give testimony that is critical of MMR safety – Fletcher, Wakefield and others are characterized as “greedy” and worse. Deer attempts to discredit 13 of them (including world-renowned pediatric gastroenterologist Dr. John Walker-Smith) on his personal website.  And yet, expert witnesses testifying on behalf of vaccine manufacturers are left alone by Mr. Deer.  Dr. Stephen Bustin, for example, amassed £225,000 ($360,000) even before he gave evidence at the Cedillo hearing in the U.S. (in a similar case of MMR vaccine injury). That’s the equivalent of 1500 hours of work in a relatively short time period, but no challenges from Brian Deer. It’s noteworthy that in the link Deer provides to the list of experts involved in the MMR litigation, he describes their duties as “the attack on the vaccine,” belying his loyalty not to objectivity in science journalism, but to relentless promotion of the fastest growing segment of the pharmaceutical industry: vaccines.

The professional fees paid to Dr Wakefield as a medical expert over the course of his nine years involved in the MMR litigation were substantially less than that claimed by Deer. They were also substantially less than fees paid to witnesses for the MMR manufacturers.  The money was donated by Dr Wakefield to an initiative to build a new Gastroenterology Center at the Royal Free through the exploitation of proprietary technology. As the GMC lawyers wrote in an attendance note with Mr. Chengiz Tarhan, the Finance Director of the Medical School, “However, CT (Chengiz Tarhan) pointed to a letter from him to Dr. Wakefield dated June 26, 1998 where CT confirmed Dr Wakefield’s wishes that all the inventor profit from the Transfer Factor patent was to go to a charity and that the inventors would make no money for themselves whatsoever.” This is in Wakefield’s affadavit, and is therefore a public document.

Mr. Deer has also falsely reported that Dr. Wakefield failed to disclose his work as a medical expert in MMR litigation, even though he disclosed it in multiple published papers – as Wakefield cites at the 1:24:12 mark on this video  (Deer’s claim that the 12 children were brought to the Royal Free by lawyers and were not clinically referred is proven false by the chronology given by Dr. Wakefield at the  1:22:05 mark on the same video.)


In summation, I believe I’ve provided more than enough evidence to demonstrate that there are two sides to this story – only one of which has been covered by the mainstream media  – the one that’s favorable to one of its top advertisers: the pharmaceutical industry.

If I could rewrite my original letter today, aside from correcting the error in #9, I would add one more point:

#13.  If Brian Deer has such a strong case, why does he rely on ad hominem attacks against autism parents such as myself as well as his many other critics?  If he speaks the truth about Andrew Wakefield, why the need for constant name-calling and outrageous smear attacks?  

Autism father and online journalist John Stone, who writes about the Wakefield case here  is a frequent recipient of Deer’s libelous attacks. In one instance – Deer wrote:

“… Mr Stone is stalking me… I think Mr Stone is best understood as a living example of how autistic disorders, and allied conditions, such as pathological demand avoidance syndrome, psychopathy and whathaveyou, are genetic. Certainly, if you are aware of his behaviour, you can see how hard he would run from the idea that it was the expression of his own genetic makeup that lies behind his son’s disorder.”  His comment here.

Deer frequently targets parents who criticize his work, and blames them for their children’s autism:

"And they wonder why their children have problems with their brains….” Comment 19:39.

“I genuinely think that the three individuals I was criticising – and I know who all three of them are – do need to question whether their personal behavioural issues are indicative of a better explanation for their children's issues. Certainly a lot better explanation than MMR… The festering nastiness, the creepy repetitiveness, the weasly, deceitful, obsessiveness, all signal pathology to me." Final comment.

Of one of his most persistent critics, Deer writes:

 “The most startling array of particularly nauseating falsehoods were authored by a … buffoon with mental or characterological issues… [who is] published at a particularly deranged cranksite.”

Deer somehow accessed private medical records of the Lancet 12 children, posted their names on his website and distorted their medical facts to suit his agenda (for example, calling symptoms of a common ear infection an early sign of autism, thereby making the child’s autism symptoms appear to predate the child’s MMR shot). He justifies his unethical behavior by invoking “the public interest”:

The cranks and malicious liars need to beware. Medical confidentiality is not absolute. There is a balancing that needs to be performed. Confidentiality needs to be balanced against the public interest. If the overriding public interest requires that confidentiality be broken, it will be broken.”  

None of these examples is the writing of an objective journalist. But then, Brian Deer is not an objective journalist. Deer appears to be no longer employed by any news organization, has not published an article in six months and has no visible means of support aside from advertising revenues from his website. He has never reported on the funding source(s) for his attacks on Wakefield. More to the point, he has played a major role in the corruption of the scientific process that should have led to greater knowledge about autism. But just the opposite has occurred. The “elaborate fraud” was in fact initiated by individuals with an interest in vaccine industry profits – an interest that has been aided by Brian Deer.

Thank you for taking the time to read my response and for considering the other side of this controversy.   If you’d like to read the scientific studies that support a link between regressive autism and bowel disease, a link between bowel disease and measles virus, a link between measles virus and vaccination with MMR, and wider safety concerns over MMR, you won’t find them listed in TIME magazine, USA Today, Pediatrics or BMJ – all of which rely on pharmaceutical advertising. An autism father whose child regressed following his MMR has compiled many of those studies at this UK website.

To see a list of peer-reviewed papers that duplicate Dr. Wakefield’s original findings in five additional countries, including the US, Italy, Venezuela, Canada and Poland click here.  A critique of the 16 epidemiological studies frequently cited to defend vaccine safety, including the MMR can be found here.  For reference, Wakefield’s now retracted “Lancet paper” is here.

Some local parents speak about their affected children on YouTube (I am not identified in the video, but am wearing a red scarf):  Andrew Wakefield’s La Crosse press conference and Brian Deer’s lecture are also on this YouTube.

I’ve included a brief bio to give you a sense of what I do in addition to parenting a 12-year-old boy with regressive autism. I think you’ll agree, it’s not the bio of a “crank.” I’m particularly proud of the Holland Autism Center which I founded so that my son and other children with autism can maximize their potential while spending their childhoods with their parents - not in institutions.


Jennifer VanDerHorst Larson, Co-founder, President, The Canary Party

Owner/CEO Vibrant Technologies; Owner, Founder, CEO Holland Autism Center and Clinic; Founding Board Chair of Children with Autism Deserve Education (CADE); Board member of Autism Recovery Foundation; Co-Founder of the Vaccine Safety Council of Minnesota; 2012 National Republican delegate for Minnesota

The Holland Center is a pediatric rehabilitation treatment center. Opened in 2004, it was created to provide an integrated treatment approach to children with autism.  Holland integrates ABA, speech, occupational therapy alongside biomedical treatments for children in a chemical-free, gluten/casein/peanut-free environment.

Honors: "25 Women to Watch" Minneapolis/St.Paul Business Journal 2008, "40 Under Forty" Minneapolis/St.Paul Business Journal 2007, "Best Places to Work- 2007, 2008” and "Fast 50 Private Companies"- 2006.

The Canary Party is a movement created to stand up for the victims of medical injury, environmental toxins, and industrial foods by restoring the balance to our free and civil society and empowering consumers to make health and nutrition decisions that promote wellness.

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Bill Chaffee

In the baby boom generation cerebral palsy is more common than autism. In younger generations it is the other way around. Part of the reason for that is a major drop in the incidence of CP in full term babies. Cephalopelvic disproportion is common if the mother is short and the father is tall. CP in full term babies has apparently gone down from about 1 in 200 to 1 in 1000. The rise in cesarean deliveries from less than 5% to a huge multiple of that probably contributed to a drop in CP, although the number of cesarean deliveries is now probably excessive. Another factor is that using a combination of scopolamine and morphine during childbirth was discontinued. That combination caused amnesia without causing loss of consciousness. After my mother mentioned that she had no recollection of me being born I asked her if her if she remembered she remembered my siblings being born and she said that she did (I’m the third of five).
My CP went undiagnosed for 3/8ths of a century. As for my symptoms when I was 7 or 8 my father made an issue out of me not feeding myself. I asked him how old most people are when they start feeding themselves. In schools I did poorly on essay tests because I can’t write more than two or three words a minute for more than a few minutes (I preferred multiple choice tests). In physical education I was always the last person when teams were chosen. I was also a social outcast. There were an odd number of students in my high school chemistry class and I was the only one that didn’t have a lab partner.
My motor handicap was probably made worse by an attempt to switch me from left handedness to right handedness. Both autism and CP as well as a number of other conditions are correlated with left handedness as well as certain types of giftedness.


This is an amazing document. Thank you AoA, Canary Party, and Ms VanDerHorst-Larsen.

Hunter Hays

I have a couple of questions regarding links between autism and vaccinations.

Is anyone aware of current debates between medical doctors about the link that I can watch?

I have read that medical doctors are conditioned in medical school to not consider vaccinations as a cause of disease, is this true?

Jennifer Horne-Roberts

Thanks for this excellent piece.

Jennifer and Keith, parents of MMR-injured Harry Horne-Roberts, our darling gifted boy, whom we lost age 20 as the result of anti-psychotic drugs prescribed without our knowledge or consent, AofA has covered his most tragic story.

Mark Struthers

Deer and his puppet master are obviously despicable creatures ...


... and "the festering nastiness, the creepy repetitiveness, the weasley, deceitful, obsessiveness, all signal the 'dark pathologies' to me ..."

Eugene Nicks

"oops basic error"
Franklin D Roosevelt, 32nd President 1933-45


Did Teddy have Polio , does anyone know ? :-)

For Eugene Nicks

Franklin D Roosevelt, 32nd President 1933-45, a distant cousin of Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt 26th President 1901-9.


Deer is actually doing us a service. The more he opens his mouth, the more he will continue to draw the spotlight. What goes around, comes around. He continues to keep this "conversation" alive and as his vicious attacks escalate, it will become even more obvious to even the casual onlooker that something is just not right. There is a special place in hell for Brian Deer, but in the meantine, good job Brian. Keep stoking the very fires that are burning beneath your own feet. Thank you Jennifer for an absolutely amazing well-thought out easy to follow rebuttal.

Eugene Nicks

Tim Murray : totally agree . But it isnt just against the US kids, and the word assault doesnt quite cover it for me .

Why did Sabin and Salk never get the call to Stockholm for their medals ? Because everybody in the know , knew.

They all knew about the contaminations of vaccines with foreign species viruses back in the 50's and 60's , did that halt anything ? nope
The people who could have spoke out , didnt bother .

They know vaccines caused cancers , leukemia's and Aids and all sorts ....and all this carnage because Teddy Roosevelt had Polio ? come on

Maurice Hilleman knew the truth , and so did all the others from at least the early 60's until his death in 2005 ....45 years , and they even found it amusing .

The game , as I understand it ,is to abuse the trusting ones , the ones who dont bother to read , the ones who dont bother to educate , its the same today as then , but now its the adjuvants , and make no mistake - they know .

So if the scientific authorities know what is happening and know what is causing what reaction , as I contend they do ,
then this makes this holocaust .....

the dreaded D word .....deliberate

Andre Marr on the BBC just last night raving on about Edward Jenner in heroic terms (Wotton under Edge and all that) , and the millions of lives vaccines have saved .
Never a word here in this country about the vaccine injury riots as mentioned by Chas Higgins .

Protect vaccine reputation at all costs ....always

Carter's Daddy

"Unfortunately, no one gets paid seven figures for telling the truth anymore. If you want the money you have to do something else. Those guys knew perfectly well when they interviewed Andrew Wakefield that it was more than their job was worth to let him say anything. Only lots of hectoring righteous indignation would do."
Thanks for the reply. Those were not interviews. Having someone on by remote just to yell at him and not let him speak is not interviewing, and is not balanced, and is the opposite of what those networks tell us they do in their commercials. One lady began the "interview" with "How can you continue to defend yourself when increasing numbers of scientists cannot replicate your results?" or something like that. That is most certainly not an interview. But it is a very easy job. I guess it is true these days the easier job is the one that also pays the most. The worst part is because of Deer and the forces behind him no one is checking any kids' GI tracts!

Tim Murray

I call it The Assault on America's Children. To me it is more vicious than the attack of 9/11. I am so very grateful for a woman who has obviously spent countless hours gathering the facts and is willing to stand against what I consider to be evil. Those in power claim there is no proof linking vaccines to autism. They also claim they do not know what causes SIDS, but are again quick to state there is no proof that it is vaccine related. Japan had one of the worst infant mortality rates on the planet until they curtailed vaccinations until a child turned two. Stop the assault; stop the evil.

Laura Hayes

Thank you, Jennifer, for making and taking the time to set the record straight. Thorough and excellent job. I'm sure you still have steam coming out your ears! Thank you for all you do, for your son, for the autism community, and for children and parents everywhere. Keep up the great work!

Trevor de Koekkoek

Thank you for this thorough dismantling of the liar that is Brian Deer. It seem that when one is so used to lying as he is , that he actually believes himself. The pathology is acute.


Dr. Andrew Wakefield Speaks to the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons


The Chinese director of pediatrics has an Autistic son, following a MMR vaccine....

Son of Rupert... James Murdoch is on the board of directors of GlaxoSmithKline, who produce the MMR vaccine in the UK..... "MMR - More Money for Rupert's son"

However, vaccine safety in the United States is based on the wisdom of UK journalist Brian Deer. / Hired by James Murdoch to investigate Dr. Wakefield

Brian Deer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AX2Rq1jM0mU

.....Brian Deer has spent 7 years trying to discredit a 5 page 1998 Andrew Wakefield paper on 12 children. 200 children with similar symptoms followed......

Dr. Andrew Wakefield has written....over 140.....other scientific papers.

Dr. Nancy thinks Brian Deer is a medical genus....

The Today show, January 2011
Dr. Nancy Snyderman, Matt Lauer & Brian Deer on the MMR vaccine


For Carter's Daddy

Unfortunately, no one gets paid seven figures for telling the truth anymore. If you want the money you have to do something else. Those guys knew perfectly well when they interviewed Andrew Wakefield that it was more than their job was worth to let him say anything. Only lots of hectoring righteous indignation would do.

Carter's Daddy

That the big media outlets just repeat Deer's accusations as though established fact(and while they're at it heap scorn on Wakefield and others like him), knowing all the falsehoods he's uttered can be easily exposed by checking public record, is a damning indictment of our media.

Anderson Cooper, Matt Lauer, et al, here's a novel idea: maybe just for once do the job they pay you those 7 figures to do, and try some actual journalism?


Deer and Godlee illustrate very clearly what is wrong with the Law in many countries .. nobody can afford to pursue justice.

The advocacy that has been supplied by A of A and the Canaries is outstanding. This current article is sure to bring the moral outrage to a boil .. just what is needed to turn sympathetic onlookers into Activists.

Thank you for all you do.



How will Deer reply?
If he does reply it will be in the only way he knows how, in the only way he feels comfortable, with even more abuse. Brian Deer is driven by rage whenever he is proved wrong, which is more often than he would care to remember.

If he doesn't reply it will be because he is simply unable to.

Either way John does it really matter? His enraged diatribes are irrelevent. What is important is that the truth gets out there. See my last post here.



To quote from The Canary Party's own website...

"It does not take a majority to prevail....but rather an irate, tireless minority keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men". Samuel Adams.

John Stone


If they care about integrity or history they will bother, and the fact is that it is a response to Deer's own pathetically inadequate reply, and it will also serve as timely warning to anyone else considering hosting his nonsense. A much more important question is how will Deer answer?


This will give any reader plenty to think about, but I wonder how many of the target audience will bother.

That is a great photo.

Mark Struthers

In the first comment, John Stone mentioned the BMJ editor's 'surreal comedy' act before the NIH of last year. The lady made her speech on the 'Lessons from the MMR scare' on 6 September 2011.

WARNING: this is truly cringe making stuff,


This is the speech where, among other howlers, Godlee revealed that she had never been aware that GSK and Merck made the MMR. Awful!


Wow, just speechless. Corrupt from top to bottom. First do no harm indeed! First fill my own pocketses!! Thank you for putting this information out there. It will never see the light of day in "the media", but people will find it.

First do no harm

Just when I thought Brian Deer couldn't stoop any lower, I read this comment from Isabella Thomas, posted over on the Canary Party website (he actually went to her member of parliament!)

And, here’s an email from Brian Deer to my member of parliament in the district where I lived:

One of many attacks on me and others in the Lancet study

“My experience of [Lancet 12 parent] is that she is a spiteful, vexatious lady, who apparently continues to conspire on behalf of Dr Andrew Wakefield in false allegations that evidence exists to suggest that the MMR vaccine causes autism. Her motives appear to me to be both emotional comfort and substantial financial gain…In my view, Mrs Thomas needs to confront her own conscience with regard to her conduct of recent years of promoting baseless fears of MMR.”

Angus Files

Sad to say my 6 year old son tells more believable tales than that of part time(if that ) journo to pharma Deer the shill tells..

Only difference is my kid harms nobody with his tale`s Deer is destroying the population for years to come..

Shame on hi..or is it he


victor pavlovic

Great letter Jennifer countering the current vaccine program better known to many as "vaccine quackery science program" where they do what it takes to accomplish what they want.With all the lies and misinformation about vaccines and the so called science to back it up, it won't be long before science will have to be redefined


Oh for heaven sakes - I meant - Brian Deer was more part of the story than just a reporter on the side - reporting just what he observed.

Jennifer it is an excellent letter.
It will some day be in a museum and parts quoted when men are making a point about freedoms being crushed, and will be an example of societies that made appalling offerings of sacrifices to pagan gods.


----And once again, I have to wonder at the science magazines, medical magazine, Brian Deer was more of part of the reporting than the story. I have to wonder at the medical courts, higher institutions of learning that they had to depend on not a science educated man to get them straight on it all but a journalist????!!!!

La Crosse asked Brian Deer to speak because he is a a a well a third rate reporter?

How often do reporters for just one half done story asked to speak at -- a -- was it the science department for microbiology?

Well I guess Brian Deer was self taught --- then. That says alot to students going to a University and spending big bucks to be taught the sciences. Don't bother -- students-- you can learn just as much if you major in journalism, instead - so skip those organic chemistry classes..


John Stone;
The way it worked out is that the vaccine programs must be trying to get us immune to heavy metals.

Erik Nanstiel

I really don't understand why we haven't been referring to Brian Deer as a criminal. That's how I think of him. "And how long have YOU been a criminal?"

"4 foot 1!"

"4 foot 1?? That, that, that IS a long time!"

John Stone


He told a story they all needed to believe, just as they needed to believe the vaccine programme was clean and effective. But now the tale is becoming unsustainable, just wrong in every conceivable detail and they are completely stuck. With Deer public "official" science embarked on a project of confusion and disinformation. And in a sense it is a delusion to even talk about science: this is about rotten institutions that long ago forgot the real public interest. For them all to hide behind this unfortunate individual is not very dignified.

They - and many others - got it wrong: everything in vaccine science could be manipulated. It was a gruesome fairy story, in which subjecting vulnerable people to microscopic quantities of toxic substances always resulted in general benefit, and you could alway ignore and discount any unfortunate consequences as coincidental, statistically insignificant. Andrew Wakefield was, of course, intolerable precisely because he was about the one person doing what Bernardine Healy said, which was to examine a sub-group. Other doctors spoke up but almost no one took it to that stage.

Deer once posed as the question in letter to BMJ of "was it too good to be true" but it is hard to see what is good about it: too horrific to countenanced perhaps, but it is exactly the work that needs to be done all the time if we take an interventionist approach to health.

With Deer's project, I believe, we see all the anger and all the irrationality but this manifestly is the dirty way to settle scientific issues, and they should be ashamed of themselves.


Anne McElroy Dachel

It is incredible to read the names of so many physicians and scientists who were sponsors of Brian Deer’s appearance at UW-L. The medical doctors involved are saying that while they can’t tell us what causes autism, they’re sure it’s not vaccines. They’re sure that increasing amounts of known neurotoxins along with live viruses can be injected into babies and small children with no serious side effects. They’re not alarmed about all the sick children they’re seeing who never used to be here. They’re comfortable with an increasing autism rate that continues to be dismissed as “better diagnosing—broader definition.” It seems that defending the vaccine program is all that matters and the scientific/medical community is willing to do it at all costs.

Anne Dachel, Media


Good letter. One bad edit I noticed, "Deer's argues...."

Glax Britannicus

Hi Cia

What Deer needs to do is retire as quickly as possible to some remote part of the empire. I am sure the industry can take care of him.


cia parker

You should ask Deer what he thinks of the study published by Micah Mazurek in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, in which he finds that autistic children often have gastrointestinal disorders, which make them nervous and anxious. It was said to have been the first of its kind study, but in reality just supports Dr. Wakefield et al's study of many children reacting with bowel disease and/or autism to the MMR vaccine. I looked up Wakefield's term autistic enterocolitis on Wikipedia, and sure enough, it still says that Wakefield first posited this syndrome, which is denied by the vast majority of scientists and doctors. Deer needs to update his spiel, if he is able: the experience of children reacting to vaccines (not just the MMR) by developing bowel disease has become so common and intractable, and is so often linked with autism, that even "they" are trying to figure out how to admit the truth without admitting that Wakefield and vaccine critics have been right all along.

Mark Struthers

This is a first class rebuttal of a rebuttal. Deer is a disgrace, pure and simple ... and that goes for his puppet-master too.


...."the festering nastiness, the creepy repetitiveness, the weasley, deceitful, obsessiveness, all signal pathology to me....." Deer is talking from the heart here is he not, the perfect description of himself. Very typical behaviour of a narcissist.
Jenifer's response is magnificent.

John Stone

What a commentary on the integrity of the vaccine programme that such means should be needed to defend it. The smokescreen goes on year after year from the moment British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, endorsed Deer's journalism in February 2004 to the surreal comedy enacted last year by British Medical Journal editor Fiona Godlee before the fawning US National Institutes Health in Bethesda. As Peter Fletcher said, they were prepared to do anything, including it seems hire Deer.

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