On the woo-rag Huffington Post, the anti-vaxer David Kirby posted a very, very odd comment from the lead researcher on the paper, Judy Mikovits:
And then Dr. Mikovits dropped a bombshell that is sure to spark controversy.
“On that note, if I might speculate a little bit,” she said, “This might even explain why vaccines would lead to autism in some children, because these viruses live and divide and grow in lymphocytes — the immune response cells, the B and the T cells. So when you give a vaccine, you send your B and T cells in your immune system into overdrive. That’s its job. Well, if you are harboring one virus, and you replicate it a whole bunch, you’ve now broken the balance between the immune response and the virus. So you have had the underlying virus, and then amplified it with that vaccine, and then set off the disease, such that your immune system could no longer control other infections, and created an immune deficiency.”
So there you have it – a possible explanation of regressive autism in a significant number of cases associated with immune system deregulation triggered by vaccination.
There is nothing at all wrong with ‘speculating’. In fact, just having fun speculating is a necessary component of Science itself. But there is a difference between speculating about the causes/effects of your experimental data and fear mongering. Telling the general public ‘XMRV IN VACCINES CAUSES AUTISM!!!’ is not a thought experiment– Its seeding fear in the public based on zero experimental evidence. Basically, the kind of shockingly unethical behavior we now know to expect from Mikovits et ass.
But the story did not stop there. The XMRV–>CFS proponents quickly aligned themselves with the King and Queen of anti-vaxers, Andrew Wakefield and Jenny McCarthy. They partnered with snake-oil companies selling potions ‘for treating autism’. They spread whispers in patient communities about aaaaaall this research they had connecting XMRV to autism.
This ‘research’ has never surfaced within the scientific community.
“XMRV–>autism” is, for all intents and purposes, an internet meme started by Judy Mikovits October 12, 2009, nothing more. But it has evolved from a ‘not funny’ meme into a ‘could hurt/kill a child’ meme, thanks in part to
Daddy Mengele Age of Autism contributor, Kent Heckenlively:
XMRV (HGRV) is Not Dead – The Rituximab Story
The researchers I have spoken with about XMRV and autism have told me their suspicion…
As explained to me by advocates in the chronic fatigue syndrome/ME community…
… I’m not suggesting any solutions in this article. I’m just raising the possibility that this research with rituximab may have finally shown us the target.
“Im not saying parents should put their autistic children on Rituximab. Im just propagating a science-free internet meme and telling desperate parents that Rituximab will cure their autistic kid.”
Let me make something perfectly clear: There is currently zero evidence XMRV (HGRV is not a real phrase) could be a real human pathogen, much less that it is a human pathogen, much less that it is causing CFS, much less that it is causing autism, much less that it is causing any human disease.
To use a highly controversial ‘connection’ between XMRV and CFS and internet rumors of XMRV-Autism/CFS-Autism ‘connections’ to casually suggest that any child anywhere should be put on a life-threatening drug to ‘cure’ autism?
… There are no words.
There are just no words for how horrifying this is.
Thank goodness there are Autism advocates who see right through this sick ‘game’.
Don’t use GMO’s to Treat Autism!! (at least not this one)
Are some of you having trouble following this train of logic? Good, ‘cuz there isn’t any train of logic. A study showing that rituximab helps CFS patients who don’t have evidence of XMRV infection has nothing to do with autism, not even if you believe (in the absence of any data) that XMRV causes autism.
The Rituximab Story: not evidence for XMRV and NOT a potential autism therapy
Here’s the “logic” behind Mr. Heckinlively’s article: XMRV has been linked to autism (he ignores the more recent data against this idea). XMRV has been linked to chronic fatigue syndrome (once again, he ignores the data which goes against they hypothesis). Therefore, autism and chronic fatigue syndrome must share some sort of link. In this case, a small study has been published which claims that Rituximab helped a number of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.
One of the many glaring problems in this train of logic is the fact that the researchers in this particular study looked for XMRV in their subjects. And didn’t find it. So, the link between this group of CFS patients and autism, tenuous as it was from the start, is basically absent.
I swear to god, if one child, anywhere, is hurt or killed because of this internet meme…