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Age of Autism Weekly Wrap: Autism Speaks Says To Get the MMR and Prevent Autism!

AofA Red Logo Ayumi YamadaBy Dan Olmsted Autism speaks backward

For sheer spectacle, it’s hard to top – and maybe a little hard to watch – Autism Speaks flip, flop and flounder in the perilous sea of autism causation.

But now they’ve really cast their lot with the vaccine injury deniers. I don’t see much more wiggle room. On Thursday, Ronan Farrow on MSNBC did an interview that managed to mangle just about every fact surround the William Thompson whistleblower controversy. He began by announcing that some are calling this Vaccine Injury Awareness Month.

Farrow attributed this to the “anti-vaccine” movement and said one of the most common alleged vaccine injuries on this group’s list was autism. “The problem,” he said, “is there’s zero evidence of such a link. The Centers for Disease Control, reviewing existing literature, concluding there’s not a causal relationship between certain vaccine types and autism.” No mention of the inherent conflict that the CDC promotes vaccination.

“Where does the autism conspiracy theory come from?” Farrow asks. “Well, a study published in 2004 found a potential link between vaccines and autism in African-American boys. But this past August, two of the authors did a re-analysis of the data and concluded that their earlier analysis was faulty, apologizing for omitting key information.”

Say what now? This is pretty close to gibberish.

“The report has since been removed from the public domain. So what is fact and what is fiction?”

Enter AS. “So joining me now is Paul Wang,” senior vice president and director of medical research for Autism Speaks. “Clarity is the most important thing here,” Farrow says, having already muddled things irretrievably. “So first of all walk me through what happens with this mysterious study. It seems to have proven back in 2004 that there was a link, but there are problems.”

What now, again?

Wang says: “It’s a very interesting study. If you look back at the original study from 2004, it did say -- there was no cover-up – it did say there seemed to be a higher risk for autism among children who got the MMR vaccine before three years of age. The part that nobody’s talking about if you looked in that study, children who got the MMR on time, which is before 18 months, there is no increased risk. So it actually looked like the increased risk was in people who were getting it late. There’s no cover-up there, that’s in the original study.

“Even this new analysis, which has since been retracted, doesn’t challenge that. People who got it on time have no increased risk for autism.”

Farrow tells Wang he is helpfully addressing the next question, which is that there is “nothing to another persistent theory that the CDC covered up evidence?” That’s not another theory, that’s the same theory, but since Ronan doesn’t know what he’s talking about, he doesn’t know that, either.

“Absolutely not,” says Wang. “I think another really important point is that the safety of the MMR vaccine doesn’t hang on one study. There’ve been many studies looking at literally millions of children who received these vaccines and there is no increased risk of autism. In fact, a recent meta-analysis that looked across all these studies suggests that the MMR vaccine seems to protect people against autism. Indeed the autism rate is lower among people who got the vaccine than those who didn’t.”

Then it’s Ronan’s turn. “Indeed a supposed whistleblower that tends to be mentioned in this cover-up theory at the CDC has come out and said,  ‘I support vaccines, I don’t want my comments to be taken in that context.’” He tends to be "mentioned in this cover-up theory at the CDC" because he is the source of this coverup theory at the CDC, where he is a senior scientist!

“That’s exactly right,” Wang says. Well, except that Thompson said he’d never let his wife get a mercury-containing influenza vaccine during pregnancy because that causes tics, tics are more common in autism, and there is biological plausibility right now to the theory that vaccines cause autism. And that’s exactly what the CDC recommends. And he’s “ashamed” when he sees autism families because he helped cover up the increased risk in black males who got the MMR before 36 months.

By this point Wang is really using a shovel to help the CDC cover it all up. But let’s soldier on, shall we?

Ronan: “’So Autism Speaks, quote, strongly encourages parents to have their children vaccinated.’ Has there been pushback from anti-vaccine activists on your organization?”

Wang: “Absolutely. We listen to the entire community. We do hear those voices. And of course it’s tragic whenever a child is diagnosed.  And too often parents do see this coincidence. They see the symptoms of autism appearing around the time that the vaccine is given.

“What research has shown in the last couple of years especially is that even though parents don’t see it before then, there are subtle signs of autism well before the MMR vaccine, before a child turns one year of age. So there are signs in the behavior. If you do very careful subtle videotape analyses, there are signs on brain wave tracing as well, there’s also research showing some of the brain changes start before birth.”

“Look I have autism in my own family,” Ronan says. “Our thoughts are always with parents who are wrestling with this in their children. But this kind of medical clarity is the most important thing to have in this conversation.”

Help me, Lord. Two besetting sins of the age of autism are on display here – Wong’s ridiculous assertions, and the complete unclarity and incomprehension exhibited by Farrow.

What a mess.

(Update: Ronan had our own Contributing Editor and Thinking Mom Lisa Goes on his show Friday -- titled "Debunking the Anti-Vaccine Movement -- Ronan Farrow Talks To One Mom With a Strong Stance Against Vaccinating Children." Again he was so confused about the basic facts of the whistleblower saga that Lisa politely spent a good deal of time trying to get him back on track. He kept interrupting her to say the science has spoken, regardless of what she and so many parents have seen with their own eyes. "Parents, do the work," she said at the end. Yes!)



Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.


Ray Gallup

How about all those people that work at Autism Speaks take the MMR and stick where the sun doesn't shine?

Confused ad finitum

Dr Wang says - “In fact, a recent meta-analysis that looked across all these studies suggests that the MMR vaccine seems to protect people against autism. Indeed the autism rate is lower among people who got the vaccine than those who didn’t.”

... but Dr Wang also says

"“What research has shown in the last couple of years especially is that even though parents don’t see it before then, there are subtle signs of autism well before the MMR vaccine, before a child turns one year of age. So there are signs in the behavior. If you do very careful subtle videotape analyses, there are signs on brain wave tracing as well, there’s also research showing some of the brain changes start before birth.”

I am confused ...autism starts before birth ...but if you get the MMR at 12 months or later you won't get Autism or is it ... MMR cures people with Autism ... now there's a breakthrough.

* Anyone else notice skeptics can't make their differing arguments into a coherent argument.

Birgit Calhoun

Benedetta! They would not have to go to jail because the judges are on the with those who are in power. After all they sided with GSK. But here is a Slate article that gives an idea about the history of justice in the Supreme Court: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2014/09/the_case_against_the_supreme_court_erwin_chemerinsky_says_justices_side.html

Birgit Calhoun

Maybe the people covering autism news in the major media are now impaired themselves. It is known that certain toxins impair the mind. Maybe they have not imbibed the cool-aid but instead had too much mercury from too many flu-shots in their system. Mercury causes peculiar thought outcomes. I know about this because I have years of experience watching faulty logic bloom due to vaccine toxicity. I could elaborate on that but it would take too long. I am not against the idea of vaccination. I am against the idea of someone injecting something into the human or animal body that poisons and deranges a living being.


The other day i was wondering does anyone think that any car would be safe to drive if automakers had no liability? just that question alone stuck in my mind. Would you buy a car if the company hadn't a dime of liability if the wheels fell off on the Major Deegan Expressway? I am very disappointed in these journalists. Where is their basic curiosity? Why are they allowing themselves to be used? Just the very recent history involving thimerosal should give them reason to be suspicious of this whole mess.


Jeanette, I think, once again, people will just become more wary when they see headlines like that. It may simply make people wonder about vaccine safety even more and research even more. They obviously are not following recent research advice, which I believe mentioned not treating people like they are stupid. I think it's just sad that pharmaceutical companies got so greedy that we're at this point. Some vaccines may have been worthwhile for some people but this shoving down the throat of so many unnecessary ones and the absence of truth where risk/benefit is concerned and the horrible treatment of vaccine injured has brought us here.

Jeannette Bishop

Thank you, Lisa Goes, for a really great job despite interruptions.

I kind of got the feeling Mr. Farrow and Dr. Wang both wanted to avoid giving meaningful details, researchers names, the actual substance of what was omitted, etc. Nothing much that uninformed viewers could search the net with. And never mind this one study and vague mention of apologies for "omitting relevant data," we have more "studies" you can depend on?

The comment sections don't provide much evidence that unaware viewers were watching though. How well might bringing in advertising dollars continue to work, if the readers/viewers of such "news" are mainly "anti-vaccine" and possibly inclined to want to avoid products of advertisers tied to such "reporting" or otherwise industry funded detractors who, when they represent actual living breathing people, might not be reading/viewing anything much beyond the myopic purpose of selling the propaganda?


This is untrue. IF you look at the study it says 340% INCREASE IF YOU GET THE mmr before 18 MONTHS... Then it decreases from there.. under 2 it drops to 240% and so on.

Why is autism speaks lying?


Because they serve the pharmaceutical industry.

And lying is EXACTLY what they're being paid to do.


I'm so confused, I had just read this yesterday which validates thompson's story http://www.autismspeaks.org/science/science-news/regressive-autism-reported-twice-often-among-african-american-children


This is untrue. IF you look at the study it says 340% INCREASE IF YOU GET THE mmr before 18 MONTHS... Then it decreases from there.. under 2 it drops to 240% and so on.

Why is autism speaks lying?

Heather Houston

There isn't one study there are dozens... here are 28 from around the world the suggest there is a link between MMR and Autism


Birgit Calhoun

I guess some people shape what they read or hear to fit their preconceived ideas. No matter where the truth lies it becomes what they want to believe. There is not only a great deal of arrogance in that stance, it also shows ignorance. People who are that ignorant will make their mind move toward the end that already has that belief system. Convincing those types of people is extremely difficult especially since the majority of people including people from the media who are not willing nor able to actually follow the whole history behind the autism/vaccine connection.

To them it is completely inconceivable that a toxin might lurk in the vaccine. They know it happens with other drugs, but vaccines are exempt from any kind of scrutiny.They cannot fathom that pharmaceutical companies are actually producing a vaccine that contains poison. They cannot see the possibility that the process of making vaccines may not be scientifically sound.


To keep from going to jail all they have to do is deflect, since they have all the power, the money, the fear, and the glory.

As seen by this bunch of ------- Wang, Lisa, and Farrow crazy stuff.

If you are crazy with power and holding on to it how far would you go to protect it?

As insane as this sounds I am telling you they have decided to import Ebola over here.

Why else are they sending what 4,000 troops over to the area.

Experts tells us that Ebola is a disease that burns itself out and is self limiting that is unless we all flock there and carry it away. Not only that but it is endemic -- it is out there has always been out there and will always be out there, as long as people eat bush meat, or mangoes with bat spit on them -- but how best to deflect - All of the bad science and out right fraud - than to import a deadly disease upon the people that dare question them.

Anne McElroy Dachel

They must be failing apart at Autism Speaks. (Tell Alison Singer she can rejoin AS. They're totally onboard about vaccines now.)

The comment by Wang said it all, 'Clarity is the most important things here.' WHAT CLARITY?

This discussion made no sense and they could only hope that viewers didn't know what this was really all about. Maybe having a doctor on TV saying there is no link was meant to convince us. Nothing else made any sense. Once again Autism Speaks can't tell us anything for sure about autism, but they are convinced it's not the vaccines. Plan to have your child diagnosed as early as possible. Learn the signs. There is no end to the epidemic in sight.

Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism


MSNBC wouldn't have had either Wang or Lisa on if they didn't believe that the CDC and vaccines are having a big PR problem. I wonder if they chose Farrow for this mission because they think he can reach the age group who is making decisions about vaccinating or if they are having trouble finding a more seasoned journalist who would so blatantly lie, knowing that the truth is not only already out, but will become more evident and damning as time goes on.

Louis Conte

Cases in the VICP tell us what vaccine injuries look like, often in great detail. However, people like Dr. Wang refuse to study what happened to these children.

His comments on MSNBC were offensive to anybody who has seen this happen to their children.

They're even more offensive to the children who suffered these injuries.


Another thing, as autismom said, it's obvious they (media and pharma - which seems to be one & the same) realized that they actually had to come up with a story instead of trying to just pretend what happened with Dr. Bill Thompson never happened.


Vaccines have been poisoning children for decades, and the evidence of that poisoning is literally surrounding us now.

Academic prostitutes like this Wang character can make as many ridiculous claims as he wants. "debunking" the anti-vaccine movement simply can't be done, because it aint a movement.

What it really is, is an awakening . And what that awakening has at it's very core, is a burgeoning awareness that our babies (…. I repeat, our babies!!) were poisoned by vaccines, right under our noses. And it was done by people who parents put their complete and utter faith in.

This brand of academic dishonesty, which is getting dumber by the day, will do NOTHING to slow the awakening that's under way. Even if it's being presented by organizations like AS, who have pretended to be on our side from Day 1.

There's no such thing as undoing awareness. And they harder they try, the more trust the erode. And the faster the awakening will progress.


Unbelievable the twisting. You would think Dr. Bill Thompson (aka the whistleblower) would be offended.


I have taken plenty of vaccines and get a flu shot every year and I never had a reaction.

Well do you know what a reaction looks like?

Silence - for some strange reason -- and never a question back from ordinary folk of - well - what does one look like? Never - have I had that returned question.

IT is not just our government and heads of Autism Speaks that try to muddle the water with a few quick phrases of the English --or any human language -- it appears to me that the masses wants to be lied to. I guess that included me - I have to be fair, but my excuse was - I was very isolated at the time.

cia parker

Everyone has GOT to watch this video, watch the CDC pencil-pushers crossing out figures over and over after trying several ways to manipulate the evidence to hide the fact that the MMR causes autism!



Ronan read from the script and mindlessly repeated the talking points like a good little boy. I never saw him before this clip and expected more from him. It was a very sad, pathetic display that was hard to watch.


Mrozek-Budzyn et al. appears to have been first published in Przegl Epidemiol in 2009: http://www.pzh.gov.pl/oldpage/przeglad_epimed/63-1/631_20.pdf

In the original Polish version of Mrozek-Budzyn et al., the authors explain the supposed protective effect of M or MMR vaccination as below. Translation is provided by Google and me so be kind:

"Our results would seem to provide a basis to believe that [M or MMR] vaccination is highly protective against autism, but of course the results cannot be interpreted in this way. This [supposed protective] effect is no doubt due to the fact that children with prior health conditions were not vaccinated for measles. In our study, autism was the earliest appearing (?) serious disease. Disorders and developmental delays caused by perinatal problems and problems in infancy may have exempted children from measles vaccination."

I can't read the English language 2010 version in Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal because it's not free, but it seems likely that that paragraph, if I have correctly translated it, is not there.

"Uzyskane wyniki, dawałyby podstawę, aby sądzić iż szczepienia są wręcz czynnikiem ochronnym dla wystąpienia autyzmu, lecz oczywiście nie można tego w ten sposób interpretować. Wynika to niewątpliwie z faktu niepodejmowania szczepień u dzieci z niepokojącymi objawami zdrowotnymi, występującymi przed przypadającym terminem obowiązkowych szczepień przeciw odrze. W grupie przypadków nie było dzieci z istniejącymi wcześniej (przed pojawieniem się autyzmu), poważnymi chorobami, które mogłyby stanowić istotne uwarunkowanie wystąpienia choroby. Jednak część dzieci charakteryzowała się pewnymi obciążeniami z okresu okołoporodowego oraz wieku niemowlęcego, które mogły być odpowiedzialne za pojawienie się zaburzeń i opóźnień rozwojowych już w pierwszym roku życia, co mogło być powodem zwolnienia dzieci z grupy przypadków ze szczepienia przeciw odrze."


Seems to be some flu shot supply shortages. I would assume plenty of the Thimerosal version on hand which is taken to the schools. About 1 to 2% of the US population may catch the flu each year.

Thank goodness for proper labeling. The mercury free shots are called FLU shots, the L is for some extra love. Thimerosal shots are labeled simple F U without the L.


Public health experts struggle every year to get the flu vaccine supply right. Vaccine makers only want to make as much as they can sell and in 2012 the U.S. threw away 30 million doses. ( I assume the doctors had to pay for all these anyways...)

In 2008-2009 companies shipped 162 million doses of vaccine, but only 90 million were used. Looks like no HERD immunity EVER.

The CDC says everyone 6 months and older should get vaccinated against flu, or about 300 million people. But last year, less than half the population did. People are not afraid of the flu, even though it kills as many as 40,000 people in a bad year, including 100 children every year.

....let’s see 40,000 deaths in a few months, this would be like having ALL the car accident deaths for the entire year in only a few months, one SHOULD BE hearing about a “flu death” nearly every single day until about March.

Maurine Meleck

Lisa did a great job overriding Farrow's stupidity, not a simple task. Kudos to Lisa. As far as farrow is concerned, I was lost at "hello."


I think the provax propaganda machine is ramping up because we are kicking their asses on social media. I think the #Hearthiswell campaign is very powerful and making a huge impact. The media and Wang can ramble on but the fact is new parents see our kids, they may have an injured child in their own family or neighborhood and it scares them. Parent to parent conversation make a huge impact. Mothers are very intuitive and I think they are hearing well the message from parents of vaccine injured to other parents that vaccines can and do cause autism is getting through. Our kids are living proof.

John Stone

Here we are. This appeared just as sentence was being pronounced on Andrew Wakefield and colleagues at the GMC and has never been retracted: MMR prevents autism in 5 out of 6 cases! Instead of concluding the data was nonsense researchers and journal went straight ahead and published (the protection in the famous Madsen/Thorsen paper was only a modest 8%). This evidently is the sort of science that Dr Wang likes:

Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2010 May;29(5):397-400. doi: 10.1097/INF.0b013e3181c40a8a.

Lack of association between measles-mumps-rubella vaccination and autism in children: a case-control study.
Mrozek-Budzyn D, Kiełtyka A, Majewska R.


OBJECTIVE: The first objective of the study was to determine whether there is a relationship between the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccination and autism in children. The second objective was to examine whether the risk of autism differs between use of MMR and the single measles vaccine.

DESIGN: Case-control study.

STUDY POPULATION: The 96 cases with childhood or atypical autism, aged 2 to 15, were included into the study group. Controls consisted of 192 children individually matched to cases by year of birth, sex, and general practitioners.

METHODS: Data on autism diagnosis and vaccination history were from physicians. Data on the other probable autism risk factors were collected from mothers. Logistic conditional regression was used to assess the risk of autism resulting from vaccination. Assessment was made for children vaccinated (1) Before diagnosis of autism, and (2) Before first symptoms of autism onset. Odds ratios were adjusted to mother's age, medication during pregnancy, gestation time, perinatal injury and Apgar score.

RESULTS: For children vaccinated before diagnosis, autism risk was lower in children vaccinated with MMR than in the nonvaccinated (OR: 0.17, 95% CI: 0.06-0.52) as well as to vaccinated with single measles vaccine (OR: 0.44, 95% CI: 0.22-0.91). The risk for vaccinated versus nonvaccinated (independent of vaccine type) was 0.28 (95% CI: 0.10-0.76). The risk connected with being vaccinated before onset of first symptoms was significantly lower only for MMR versus single vaccine (OR: 0.47, 95% CI: 0.22-0.99).

CONCLUSIONS: The study provides evidence against the association of autism with either MMR or a single measles vaccine.

John Gilmore

The vaccine industry is powerfully ramping up its propaganda effort. Just in the last week we have seen this piece on MSNBC (MS as in Microsoft), Eula Bliss' new "shut up and vaccinate" book, articles in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Slate, and those are just the ones I have caught through casual observation. The New York Times cuts to the chase, they are terrified that they are rapidly losing wealthy, educated people, the kind of people who read the NYT, send their kids to the same private pre-schools and rub elbows at Zabar's. And the kind of people who have the education, confidence and time to cut through the hype and make reasoned decisions for themselves and their families. The Times knows that if they lose this class the game is over. And they also know they are rapidly losing. One thing that I find quite interesting is that in a country that is poll-happy you almost never see polls, at least published polls, about people's opinions about vaccines. And despite the goose-stepping to the vaccine industry's tune their is no such thing as bad publicity for us. Every time the corporate media cranks out one of these pieces they are confirming that a very large number of people are rejecting the vaccine industry's message.

BoB Moffitt

Wang: “Absolutely. We listen to the entire community. We do hear those voices. And of course it’s tragic whenever a child is diagnosed. And too often parents do see this coincidence. They see the symptoms of autism appearing around the time that the vaccine is given."

It is one thing to suggest a couple of hundred .. even a few thousand parents .. reporting the very same phenomena .. within a very short period of time after receiving vaccines .. their perfectly healthy child suddenly experiences extraordinarily high temperatures, chronic diarrhea, chronic ear infections, sleepless nights on end, inconsolable crying tantrums, inexplicable .. bizarre behaviors .. such as .. the child banging his/her head against a hard object, stemming, spontaneous spinning in place, fixations on certain objects, such as, a ceilling fan that suddenly mesmerizes the child's attention, loss of early developed communication skills, on and on .. eventually being diagnosed autistic.

However, when tens of thousands of parents experience the very same phenomena .. common sense dictates more than mere "coincidence" is not only possible .. it is PROBABLE.

I suspect Dr. Wang also believes the inexplicable rising rate of autism that .. at one time was 1 in 10,000 .. now affects 1 in 68 .. 1 in 49 boys .. is merely "coincidental" to the rise in vaccinations .. most of which at one time contained thimerosal .. because historically .. parents and the medical profession he proudly represents .. were too ignorant or indifferent to recognize the "early warning signs" of autism in children that he NOW claims are clearly observable in infants born today.

Where is Dr. Wang's evidence that hundreds of thousands of undiagnosed autistic individuals existed in previous generations? Indeed, how is it even possible that tens upon tens of thousands of parents of those "previous" undiagnosed autistic children were not screaming .. for DECADES .. demanding an explanation of what happened to their perfectly healthy child around the age of two?

In my humble opinion .. the word charlatan is too kind to describe Dr. Wang

John Stone

Wang is a pharmaceutical industry insider. The Autism Speaks press announcement of his appointment states:

"Dr. Wang joins Autism Speaks from Seaside Therapeutics, where he served as vice president of clinical and medical affairs, and oversaw the company’s groundbreaking arbaclofen programs in autism and fragile X."


It does not actually mention that "the groundbreaking programs" failed.


Before that Wang was with Pfizer:

"Prior to joining Seaside Therapeutics, Dr. Wang was senior director, clinical development at Pfizer Global Research and Development from 2002-2008, where he helped lead medicines development programs for neurobehavioral disorders, including bipolar, ADHD and epilepsy. "

A fundamental problem for Autism Speaks (which was set up with $25m dollar endowment from CDC Foundation emeritus board member Bernie Marcus)


is that its partnerships with industry, over therapeutic treatments for autism, conflicts with locating the environmental causes. They have been unable to decide whether autism is an environmental health disaster or just a stupendous business opportunity.


It is incidentally pitiful watching the Marcus video once again. He seems genuinely upset and disturbed by the growing lines of children, but does he really think it was like this in his youth (only no one noticed)? Marcus is a very successful businessman (as well as being a pharmacist by academic training) so he is going to like business solutions. But to make an analogy with the building trade (where he made his fortune) what happens if we relax building standards? We would soon know if the buildings were falling down.

Our children are falling down and government just shrugs and prevaricates (and frankly lies). The blather we see here from Ronan Farrow and Paul Wang is the result. There is no coherent story that they can present.

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