“I regret that my coauthors and I omitted statistically significant information in our 2004 article published in the journal Pediatrics. The omitted data suggested that African American males who received the MMR vaccine before age 36 months were at increased risk for autism. Decisions were made regarding which findings to report after the data were collected, and I believe that the final study protocol was not followed.”
William W. Thompson, CDC Scientist
The revelations of CDC scientist William Thompson are stunning. Thompson has admitted that he and the other co-authors of a 2004 study removed data that showed a 340% increase in African-American children who received the MMR vaccine. This conduct violated the study’s original design and was clearly done to bury the link between the MMR vaccine and autism.
If the staff at the CDC’s Division of Vaccine Safety altered data in this study to conceal connections between autism and vaccine injury, one must question the integrity of all the research that the CDC has produced and sponsored. A pattern of altering data in vaccine safety studies to maintain the government’s policy that “vaccines don’t cause autism” is now becoming obvious to anyone who objectively looks past the press releases describing government sponsored research. Many have pointed to a similar pattern of data manipulation in the Verstraaten study. Papers submitted by Price et al feature flawed designs that renders them virtually useless.
The research of Poul Thorsen’s Denmark team also featured questionable use of data. Poul Thorsen (see below) continues to be a wanted man - a fugitive from justice – indicted in 2011 for stealing over 1 million dollars from the CDC.
OIG Fugitive: Poul Thorsen
I work as an administrator in a criminal justice agency and I’ve managed federal grants. I find it remarkable that Thorsen could have spent federal money the way he did – purchasing a home, a motor cycle and expensive cars. The federal employees I’ve worked with have always been responsible professionals, active partners who stayed involved in the way the grant money was utilized. I couldn’t image deceiving federal grant administrators the way Thorsen did. No one at the CDC noticed what was going on?
What went on with the CDC’s supervision of Thorsen doesn’t add up. Could he really have committed so much grant fraud without someone inside CDC noticing?
Where did Poul Thorsen come from? Who brought him into the CDC?
From: Yeargin-Alisopp, Marshalyn -
Sent: Tuesday, May 30, 2000 2:36 PM
To: Cordero, Jose
Cc: Schende~, Diana; Murphy, Catherine; Boyle, Coleen; Decoufle, Pierre; Thorsen, Poul; Yeargin-Allsopp, Marshalyn; Sinks, Tom
Subject: Proposal for study of MMR vaccine and autism in Denmark
Jose, As we discussed on Friday, we have become aware through Poul Thorsen of an exciting opportunity to study the role of MMR vaccine and autism using several registries/existing studies and the repository of biologic specimens and laboratory capabilities in Denmark. Attached below is a proposal for such a study. Poul will be leaving on Thursday to travel to Denmark where he will be meeting with the PIs for the proposed study on June 6th. We would like to be able to have Poul say whether it is likely that CDC(NIP) can fund the study, if NIP is interested. The proposed budget is included; there may be additional sources of funding (in addition to NIP) but we are not certain at this time. Unfortunately, the DD Branch does not have much (if any) $$ to fund the study, but we do have the expertise that we have developed due to the autism surveillance in Atlanta and the MMR/autism case-control study. I will be out of the office tomorrow, but you may contact Diana or Poul if you have questions. Thank you so much for considering this proposal.
It was Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp, copying Coleen Boyle – two of the authors on the fraudulent MMR paper. Allsopp refers to the “expertise that we have developed due to the autism surveillance in Atlanta and the MMR/autism case-control study.”
Thanks to Thompson’s admissions, we now have a different perspective on the nature of the “expertise” these researchers possessed. And it’s an “expertise” that has been rolled out in other studies influenced by this group. The foundation of the statement “it is the consensus of science that vaccines don’t cause autism” has collapsed and the science put forth by this group must be openly questioned.
On 9/11/14, Focus Autism revealed that Thompson was scheduled to present the relationship between the MMR and autism at the 2004 Institute of Medicine (IOM) meeting on autism and vaccines. Thompson was prevented from presenting. Who stopped him? According to Focus Autism, it was Julie Gerbeding, the CDC Director who took a job at MERCK one year after leaving government service. MERCK is the manufacturer of the MMR vaccine.
The 2004 ruling by the IOM that vaccines do not cause autism has often been cited as the final word in the controversy. We now know that the science that the IOM relied on was fraudulent. Gerbeding’s action to prevent Thompson from presenting the real findings to the IOM devastated thousands of families who filed good faith petitions alleging that their children suffered vaccine injuries that caused autism in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP). In the Omnibus Autism Proceedings (OAP), thousands of families saw their cases dismissed by Special Masters who ruled on a handful of test cases that vaccines don’t cause autism.
The respondent – the person being sued - in the all NVICP cases is the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), which runs the CDC and the Division of Vaccine Injury Compensation (DVIC). The DVIC is the government agency responsible for assessing vaccine injury in cases that come before the NVICP. The decisions rendered by the Special Masters relied heavily on the research of Boyle, DeStefano, Yeargin-Alsopp and their friend, Poul Thorsen. The Special Masters cite the IOM to this day.
With the Thompson revelations and the on-going investigation of Thorsen, the foundation of the decisions of the Special Masters in the OAP has now also collapsed.
The recent comments of Dr. DeStefano to investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson shed further light. DeStefano admitted removing a subset of African American cases because they didn’t have a birth certificate - altering the outcome of the research. He then admitted that vaccines could – albeit “rarely” - cause autism. DeStefano stated further “It’s hard to predict who those children might be, but certainly, individual cases can be studied to look at those possibilities.”
Studying those who regressed into autism is what Dr. Bernadine Healy called for in an interview with Sharyl Attkisson in 2008. It is what Holland, Krakow, Colin and I recommended in Unanswered Questions From the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program: A Review of Compensated Cases of Vaccine-Induced Brain Injury (28 Pace Envtl. L. Rev. 480 (2011). Available at: Digital Commons.).
In Unanswered Questions, we found that many cases compensated by the NVICP for vaccine induced brain injury (encephalopathy) also featured autism. We recommended Congressional Hearings and an independent assessment of the health outcomes of the cases compensated by the NVICP.
As the government agency responsible for assessing vaccine injury in cases before the NVICP, the DVIC knows what vaccine injury looks like. However, the DVIC has never revealed detailed information about vaccine injuries. And the men who led the DVIC during this time period – Drs. Geoffrey Evans and Vito Caserta - worked regularly with the DeStefano team in the CDC Division of Vaccine Safety. DeStefano, Geoffrey Evans and Vito Caserta worked together on the Vaccine Safety Datalink Project in 2001 (see below). Members of these groups have published articles together (see below), contributed on books (Vaccines – Sixth Edition by Stanley Plotkin, Walter Orenstein and Paul Offit, Foreword by Bill Gates) and participated in professional organizations and their conferences such as the Clinical Vaccinology Course offered by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.
Is it possible that DeStefano knew that vaccines “rarely” triggered autism through his relationship with DVIC leadership?
If information about actual cases of vaccine injury held by the Division of Vaccine Injury Compensation had been made public, we might all have a better understanding of how and why vaccine injury triggers autism and how rare it really is. The federal government officials under the Secretary of Health and Human Services involved in the Omnibus Autism Proceedings never disclosed that autism had been a common result of so many compensated vaccine injury cases.
Thousands of families are the victims of manifest injustice by the federal government in Omnibus Autism Proceedings. The papers published by the CDC Vaccine Safety group – now all under question – were instruments of that injustice.
Why should America care about the Thompson revelations of scientific fraud at the CDC? Because the impact goes far beyond the Omnibus Autism Proceedings.
Consider Dr. Thompson’s statement to Dr. Brian Hooker:
“We’ve missed ten years of research because the CDC is so paralyzed right now by anything related to autism. They’re not doing what they should be doing because they’re afraid to look for things that might be associated.”
People afflicted with autism might have benefited from therapies, medications and treatments that could have been developed had the truth been known. New cases of autism could have been prevented. The cost to people with autism is incalculable.
But the damage of the fraud is not limited to families with loved ones afflicted by autism. Consider the costs of the autism epidemic to schools, communities, local and state governments. Hundreds of thousands of human beings with autism need to be cared for. Their parents will not live forever. Ultimately, the bill for the autism epidemic will be paid by the rest of the country.
An incredible injustice has been perpetrated by a small group of people who are protected by a powerful industry. It is time for the Congress to investigate and the President to act. Vaccine safety research must be taken from the CDC and the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program must be removed from the control of those who value the vaccine program more than those injured by it.
Louis Conte is the father of two children with autism and serves on the boards of the Elizabeth Birt Center For Autism Law and Advocacy and Health Choice. He is the author of The Autism War and the soon to be released Vaccine Injuries 2013
Wayne Rohde is the father of twin boys, one with autism. Wayne is the author of The Vaccine Court – The Dark Truth of America’s Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.
We wish to thank Kevin Barry and Mark Blaxill for information provided for this article as well as Dr. Brian Hooker and Focus Autism.
1) OIG Press Release regarding Poul Thorsen
- From approximately February 2004 until February 2010, Poul Thorsen executed a scheme to steal grant money awarded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CDC had awarded grant money to Denmark for research involving infant disabilities, autism, genetic disorders, and fetal alcohol syndrome. CDC awarded the grant to fund studies of the relationship between autism and the exposure to vaccines, the relationship between cerebral palsy and infection during pregnancy, and the relationship between developmental outcomes and fetal alcohol exposure.
- Thorsen worked as a visiting scientist at CDC, Division of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, before the grant was awarded.
- The initial grant was awarded to the Danish Medical Research Council. In approximately 2007, a second grant was awarded to the Danish Agency for Science, Technology, and Innovation. Both agencies are governmental agencies in Denmark. The research was done by the Aarhaus University and Odense University Hospital in Denmark.
- Thorsen allegedly diverted over $1 million of the CDC grant money to his own personal bank account. Thorsen submitted fraudulent invoices on CDC letterhead to medical facilities assisting in the research for reimbursement of work allegedly covered by the grants. The invoices were addressed to Aarhaus University and Sahlgrenska University Hospital. The fact that the invoices were on CDC letterhead made it appear that CDC was requesting the money from Aarhaus University and Sahlgrenska University Hospital although the bank account listed on the invoices belonged to Thorsen.
- In April 2011, Thorsen was indicted on 22 counts of Wire Fraud and Money Laundering.
- According to bank account records, Thorsen purchased a home in Atlanta, a Harley Davidson motorcycle, an Audi automobile, and a Honda SUV with funds that he received from the CDC grants.
- Thorsen is currently in Denmark and is awaiting extradition to the United States.
2) Childhood Vaccinations, Vaccination Timing, and Risk of Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus
- 1. Frank DeStefano, MD*,
- 2. John P. Mullooly, PhD‡,
- 3. Catherine A. Okoro, MS*,
- 4. Robert T. Chen, MD*,
- 5. S. Michael Marcy, MD§,
- 6. Joel I. Ward, MD‖,
- 7. Constance M. Vadheim, PhD‖,
- 8. Steve B. Black, MD¶,
- 9. Henry R. Shinefield, MD¶,
- 10. Robert L. Davis, MD#,
- 11. Kari Bohlke, ScD#,
- 12. the Vaccine Safety Datalink Team
Members of the Vaccine Safety Datalink project include (by site): Frank DeStefano, MD, MPH, Robert T. Chen, MD, MA, John Glasser, PhD, MPH, Philip H. Rhodes, PhD, Piotr Kramarz, MD, Thomas Verstraeten, MD, David Walker, MPH, and Catherine Okoro (National Immunization Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia); Robert S. Thompson, MD, Lisa A. Jackson, MD, MPH, Robert L. Davis, MD, MPH, William E. Barlow, PhD, Kari Bohlke, ScD, Patti Benson, MPH, Barbara Carste, MPH, Jo Ann Habakangas, BA, Christi Hanson, BA, Minqi Jiang, MS, Paula Lee Poy, BA, Darren Malais, BS, Viviana Rebolledo, BS, Wendy Rogers, BA, David Rubanowice, BS, Dennis Sheeran, MS, Onchee Yu, MS, and Ann Zavitkovsky, MPH, MPA (Group Health Cooperative, Seattle, Washington); John P. Mullooly, PhD, Julie E. Maher, PhD, MS, Sheila Weinman, PhD, Lois Drew, BA, Jill Mesa, Kim Olson, Heather Houston, RN, Colleen Chun, MD, Steven Gancher, MD, John A. Pearson, MD, Jerry Slepak, MD, Alan Bauck, BS, Teresa Kimes, MS, Joseph Murphy, BA, Nadia Redmond, MSPH, Karen Riedlinger, BS, Roberleigh Schuler, MS, Carol Sullivan, and Gayle Thomas-Monk (Kaiser Permanente Northwest Region, Portland, Oregon); Steve B. Black, MD, Henry R. Shinefield, MD, Paula Ray, MPH, Edwin Lewis, MPH, Bruce H. Fireman, MA, Joan Schwalbe, Ajit De Silva, and Patti Hallam (Kaiser Permanente of Northern California, Oakland, California); Joel I. Ward, MD, Connie M. Vadheim, PhD, Hang Lee, PhD, Ken Zangwill, MD, Eileen Eriksen, MPH, Tracy Zhang, MS, Jennifer Lee, MS, Jennie Jing, MA, Nancy Goff, and Jeffrey Perlman, MD (Center for Vaccine Research Harbor-University of California Los Angeles Medical Center, Torrance, California); S. Michael Marcy, MD, and Marlene Lugg, DrPH (Southern California Kaiser Permanente, Los Angeles, California); M. Miles Braun, MD, MPH, Robert P. Wise, MD, MPH, and Robert Ball, MD, MPH (Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, Rockville, Maryland); Vito Caserta, MD, MPH, and Geoffrey Evans, MD (Division of Vaccine Injury Compensation, Health Resources and Services Administration, Rockville, Maryland).