Respectful Insolence

Autism quackery invades my hometown, part II

Not again.

I have no way of knowing if the media in my hometown happen to be more credulous when it comes to pseudoscience than average, but, given the number of stories referred to me emanating from Detroit and its surrounding suburbs, you’ll forgive me if I’m very depressed right now. For instance, we have “investigative reporter” Steve Wilson of WXYZ Channel 7 Action News, who, although claiming the title of “Chief Investigator” for that station, clearly couldn’t investigate his way out of a paper bag–at least when it comes to medical stories–given that he is known for routinely parroting pseudoscience and antivaccine misinformation about thimerosal-containing vaccines that even the mercury militia has abandoned as being too discredited. They’ve moved on to various other dubious hypotheses, such as other “toxins” in vaccines and the claim that children are getting “too many too soon,” both of which have the advantage for the antivaccine movement that they are much more difficult to falsify scientifically than the thimerosal hypothesis–if they are falsifiable at all. Indeed, Wilson’s “reporting” in this issue was so…2005. Then we have the same station (although not Steve Wilson this time) reporting misinformation about Gardasil. Sadly, it’s not just about autism and vaccines, either. About a year ago, there was an unbelievably, mind-numbingly credulously idiotic story on the local news about orbs. It was so bad that I did an installment of Your Friday Dose of Woo about it.

In addition, in some of the local newspapers, particularly the Observer-Eccentric group, whose combined newspapers cover a large swath of the Detroit suburbs, there are similar problems. For example, as I described in Part I of Autism quackery invades my hometown, the Plymouth Observer published a puff piece about a mother of an autistic child named Val McFarland, whose charity Celebrities Against Autism has partnered with Generation Rescue. Neither McFarlane nor the reporter who wrote that article, seem aware that Generation Rescue is not a benign “autism charity” nor is Jenny McCarthy doing good work as a celebrity supporter of autism research, but rather GR is virulently antivaccine and arguably the wealthiest and most famous propaganda organ for the antivaccine movement. Indeed, Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey have become its celebrity spokespeople, spreading the antivax gospel far and wide, with a resurgence of vaccine-preventable infectious diseases following in its wake.

And now I’ve discovered through my contacts that the Plymouth Observer has done it again. Actually, the entire Observer-Eccentric group of newspapers has done it again. That’s because all of its papers are in essence versions of one main newspaper with features that appear globally in every newspaper, but with each newspaper customized with local news and views specific to the community in which it is distributed. Apparently, the Health & Fitness section appears in all these papers, which gives it a wide distribution in the Detroit suburbs. Behold an example of truly bad journalism entitled Controversial treatments for autism. It’s so bad that it doesn’t even just “tell both sides” with the false “balance” that seemingly elevates pseudoscience to somewhere near the same order of magnitude in terms of measures of credibility as science and contributes to the impression that there is a scientific controversy when in reality it’s a manufactroversy. Unfortunately, the reporter, Linda Ann Chomin, couldn’t be bothered to provide any actual token quotes by scientists or skeptics. No, it’s all antivaccination propaganda all the time, with Chomin the credulous mouthpiece. Indeed, it’s everything I hate about bad science journalism concentrated into a single 1,000-word apologia for the antivaccine views. It begins:

Biomedical treatment for autism is controversial. For that reason Heidi Scheer is telling her story at the first international conference on the disorder which stole her son from their family at 15 months. It was then she says Gannon started to fade into his own world.

Scheer ran on the platform of defeating autism for Mrs. Michigan USA 2008. She continues to speak on the neurological disorder whenever the opportunity presents itself, as 1 in 150 children are affected.

Can you count how many canards are in just these two brief paragraphs? I can. First, there’s the description of “biomedical treatment” for autism as “controversial.” Left out is that it’s not scientifically controversial, because there’s no good evidence that any of the types of biomedical interventions (many of which border on being, if not being outright, quackery) do anything to alleviate the symptoms of autism. Next up is the description of autism as having “stolen” her son away from her, with the implicit belief that somehow, something must get him back. Then, we have the whole concept of “defeating” autism, as though it is always something that must be defeated. This is a broad generalization that lumps all the autistic spectrum disorders into one “evil,” child-stealing entity that must be defeated at all costs. While an argument can be made that the most severe forms of autism, in which the child is permanently nonverbal and unable to function without continuous care, is a condition for which it would be highly desirable to have treatments that allow such children to overcome it and not be totally dependent on others, many of the other forms of autism are perfectly compatible with a relatively normal life. Moreover, even children with the most severe forms of autism can develop to the point where they can function on their own. Yet, in the mind of the biomedical culture, it seems (at least to me) that all forms of autism are scourges.

And then there’s the depressing thought that Scheer is representing my home state.

Now here’s where the antivaccine quackery invades my state. Apparently Scheer has done more than just speak out about how various “biomedical” interventions “saved” her child. She’s gone and organized a quackery conference and brought it to within 10 miles of where I grew up. The conference is being held at the Crowne Plaza Detroit-Novi by the American Medical Autism Board. In fact, it’s the American Medical Autism Board’s (AMAB) First International Conference on Autism Spectrum Disorders.

A brief perusal of the conference brochure reveals the quackery within:

The Autism Spectrum Disorders (known as ASD’s) include autism, PDD/NOS, AD/HD, Asperger Syndrome, RAD, OCD, and many other developmental disorders. They affect at least 1 in 150 young children in North America, and also are present in many teens & adults. The number of individuals & families touched by them is on an alarming rise. Traditionally, ASD’s have been regarded as behavioral/psychiatric disorders with little hope for improvement. In reality, they are the result of an underlying set of medical problems such as nutritional, immunologic, and toxic issues. This leads to effective treatment, known as biomedical treatment, that offers hope to persons and families affected by ASD’s. The American Medical Autism Board and Phillip C. DeMio, MD, provide the first International Conference on biomedical and other techniques for parents and healthcare providers, presented Feb. 20-22, 2009, in Novi, MI/Metro Detroit, by world leaders in these treatments. Join us to learn the state-of-theart of biomedical and other techniques. You do not want to miss this exciting conference!

Here’s a rule of thumb: When you see the terms “nutritional,” “immunological,” and “toxic” applied to autism and ASDs all in the same sentence, you know you’re very likely dealing with pseudoscience. Add to that a mention of “biomedical” treatments, and the probability that you’re dealing with quackery approaches 100%. Then add to such a paragraph this description of the man running the course:

Phillip C. DeMio, MD: Parent of a child with autism, Biomedical Treatment Physician, Founder of the American Medical Autism Board, and Chief Medical Officer of the US Autism & Asperger Association.

And this list of the course “faculty”:

  • Steven Bockmann, parent advocate
  • Phillip DeMio, MD
  • Patrick Elliot, DO
  • Dr. Don Galovich, DC, Chriopractic Physician
  • Kristin Selby Gonzalez
  • Boyd Haley, PhD
  • Jerry Kartzinel, MD
  • Raun Kaufman, Autism Treatment Center of America
  • Bette Lamont, MA/DMT
  • Nicole Poirier Keenan, DC, Chiropractic Physician
  • Monica Mackenzie, Certified Family Nurse Practitioner
  • James Neubrander, MD
  • Mary Tocco, vaccine & natural health speaker
  • Angela Woodward, Physician to Parent Liaison and other exciting acclaimed speakers in ASD-related fields.

Boyd Haley? I have to wonder if Mark and David Geier or Dr. Jay Gordon were somehow unavailable. Remember, Boyd Haley is the discredited former Chairman of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Kentucky, who became convinced that mercury in vaccines causes autism and in essence destroyed his academic career pursuing that belief. He’s also known as the man behind the anti-amalgam organization known as Toxic Teeth. Also, as Kathleen Seidel pointed out, he’s also the man who characterized autism as “mad child disease.” Lately, Haley has been marketing a new product that he calls Oxidative Stress Relief that is very similar to a class of industrial chelators as a “nutritional supplement.” Indeed, his activities have led the University of Kentucky to distance itself from him even further, especially given that he is marketing it for cats but seemingly also selling it for kids. That’s the same game played by the people who sold dichloroacetate to desperate cancer patients. They claimed it was for pets, calling it Pet DCA, but it was clear that they were marketing it to human cancer patients. Indeed, Haley even gave a speech to Jenny McCarthy’s antivaccine “Green Our Vaccines” march on Washington last summer.

Next, check out the subject matter to be presented at this conference:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD’s): not psychiatric or “just behavioral”
  • What is Biomedical Treatment? Concepts and daily use for ASD’s.
  • Hyperbaric treatments: When & how to do it right
  • Complimentary and alternative treatments for ASD’s
  • Alternatives to the alternatives: controversies and division within the biomedical autism community
  • Methyl-B12 update: how to maximize the outcome
  • Parents’ recovery stories of their ASD children
  • Nutritional supplements in ASD’s: State of the art
  • Unique effective therapy techniques for improving your child/loved one’s outcome
  • Immunologic treatments for yeast, viruses, and other pathogens, with an update of the curcumin protocol
  • Principles and implementation of special diets for ASD’s & other developmental disorders
  • The technique of Neuroreorganization
  • Biomedical treatments for behavioral problems in adoptive children
  • Biofilm issues in ASD treatments
  • Update on vaccines: risks vs. effectiveness
  • Immediate strategies you can start today to help your Child/loved one with ASD
  • School/IEP rights and issues
  • Practitioner Clinical Overview Course

It’s all there: bogus “immunologic treatments” for pathogens that do not cause autism; dubious dietary ideas; “recovery” stories, supplements; “alternative” medical therapies (including a talk by Nicole Poirier Keenan and Don Galovich about chiropractic treatments for ASDs); and toxins, toxins, toxins (as epitomized by a talk by Angela Woodward called “Stop the Assault: Environmental Techniques for the Home”). In other words, we have a cornucopia of the latest and greatest autism and antivaccine quackery on display!

Chomin could have made herself aware of this were she to have actually–oh, I don’t know–interviewed a couple of autism experts while preparing her story. Whether she did or not, I don’t know. What I do know is that there isn’t one word of science-based discussion of these “biomedical treatments” in her story. There is, however, a whole lot of anecdote-based discussion:

Gannon stopped responding to his name and his speech came to a halt more than six years ago. Devastated, Scheer began researching treatments and found many children with autism have food sensitivities.

The Commerce Township mother removed gluten from his diet even though the speech therapist told her there was no scientific evidence it would work. In three weeks Gannon’s 3-year battle with diarrhea ended. He spoke his first sentence and behavioral problems such as biting other children began to subside.

With further research, Scheer discovered DAN (Defeat Autism Now), a project of the Autism Research Institute to educate parents and clinicians about biomedically-based research and safe and effective treatments.

Gannon underwent a variety of alternative therapies from supplements to chiropractic, chelation (removal of heavy metals from the body), and hyperbaric oxygen therapy to treat underlying causes of symptoms. Today Gannon, age 8, can speak fully. He is above grade level academically. Scheer’s advice to parents is never give up.

I can’t emphasize this strongly enough, as Prometheus so frequently does: Autism is a condition of developmental delay, not stasis. Children with autism can and do develop. Sometimes they even develop to the point where they “lose their diagnosis” of ASD–perhaps as much as 19% of the time. That is why carefully conducted randomized, double-blinded clinical trials are so essential. Without them, it is impossible to differentiate development and improvement of symptoms that would have occurred anyway with time from any potential improvement that could be attributed to any therapy. What parents see at the single-person level can be very deceiving; they can easily be fooled into confusing correlation with causation, while confirmation and recall bias, as well as a lack of the knowledge of what to look for in terms of early signs of autism, can lead them to misremember and believe that their children’s autism began right after their vaccination. This problem is especially exacerbated by the fact that the first symptoms of autism frequently appear between ages one and two, which is when children are getting most of their vaccines; so by chance alone there will be a lot of children whose first symptoms pop up in fairly close temporal proximity to vaccination. Again, that’s why epidemiological studies are needed and anecdotes can mislead. Finally, I also can’t emphasize strongly enough that Defeat Autism Now! (DAN!) is a group of practitioners dedicated to subjecting autistic children to all manner of “biomedical interventions,” with the belief that they can “cure” autism. It matters little that the evidence supporting their treatments is scant, nonexistent, or even completely unsupportive of their preferred interventions.

Worse, Scheer subjected her son to a variety of dubious treatments. Chelation for autism is quackery; not only that but it’s quackery that can kill. Chiropractic for autism is also quackery. Hyperbaric oxygen for autism is a dubious therapy at best and quackery at worst. The evidence for the efficacy of gluten-free diets in treating autism is at best conflicting and at worst negative. Although I can understand the unrelenting desire to “fix” or “cure” one’s child, Scheer’s subjecting her child to various forms of dubious, unproven, or even outright quack therapies reminds me uncomfortably of how Kent Heckenlively continues to subject his daughter to all manner of quackery, including taking her to Costa Rico for stem cell injections directly into her cerebrospinal fluid.

Not surprisingly, Scheer strongly suspects that vaccines had something to do with her son’s condition and spouts the worst antivaccination canards:

“I want parents to know there is help,” said Scheer who still is uncertain if vaccines caused Gannon’s problems. She believes some children have stronger immune systems, like her older son Carson, and are not affected by certain additives such as mercury. Daughter Ella though had 23-days of diarrhea after her 6 month vaccination.

“I’m not saying I’m totally against vaccines, but parents should be diligent about seeing what’s in the vaccine. I also have a problem with the schedule of how closely vaccines are given.”

In other words, Scheer is parroting the “toxins” gambit and the “too many too soon” mantra beloved of the “green our vaccines” movement. Moreover, the organizer of this conference, Dr. DeMio inadvertently reveals one uncomfortable truth about the whole “biomedical” movement:

DeMio says treatment for autism is parent driven. Each child is different so parents must search out and investigate appropriate therapies for their child.

This does describe it. From my perspective, the “biomedical” movement for treating autism yokes the natural desire of parents to “cure” their child to a never-ending search for ever more radical treatments, many, if not all, of which are based on the belief that something has “damaged” the autistic child, be it “toxins,” “live viruses,” heavy metals, or whatever. Moreover, the overall philosophy is that autistic children are somehow “contaminated” and must be “detoxified.”

Finally, if you doubt that this conference will likely be antivaccine through and through, take a look at the person chosen to discuss “vaccine safety.” Actually, given that there is no evidence that vaccines cause autism, the very presence of a talk on “vaccine safety” in a conference on autism therapies tips the organizers’ agenda, especially when its organizer says something like:

I’m not against vaccines. Some forms are safe, some are not for a certain person. The decision is between a parent and a doctor to vaccinate. Children are given up to 14 vaccines in one day. I’ve never had that many in my life and I’m 50 but we’re going to have as ethical and unbiased a conference as we can. We’ve gone out of our way but do believe certain scientific beliefs shouldn’t be put on everybody.

Be that as it may, however, the woman chosen to speak about “vaccine safety” is Mary Tocco. Look at what she proclaims on her website:

My Goal is to Provide Parents The Factual Pro’s and Con’s of Vaccines.

I want to save children From un-necessary toxic shots that do not protect them or encourage real health.

She then goes on:

  • My goal is to see the mandatory vaccine program stopped. Parents need full disclosure on all shots recommended and must have the right to make vaccine decisions without pressure. Those responsible for the injuries to our families must be held accountable.
  • My goal is to insure that the Institute of Medicine (IOM) who has failed miserably and benefits financially from vaccines, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), who approve vaccines and is riddled with conflict of interest, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) who supports and benefits financially from vaccines, the regulatory boards and licensure boards who mandate vaccines, are stripped of their authority and the program be scratched. 
  • My goal is to see that vaccines are no longer mandated but a choice to be made by parents without pressure, based on efficacy and safety by informed consumers.
  • My goal is to study the “unvaccinated children” to see how they compare with their vaccinated piers.  I currently have a few hundred names of unvaccinated children for the study and am looking for more.  (contact me if interested)
  • My goal is to help organize multi disciplinary health/treatment centers for those injured from vaccines, who suffer with autoimmune disorders like asthma, diabetes, learning problems, seizure disorders, and autism to name a few. The focus will be on rebuilding the immune system, cleanse the body of the neuro toxins and promote  health, using all of the natural health care options available.

Gee, what do you think the odds are of Tocco presenting “objective” and “unbiased” information to the participants? I’d say it’s slim and none, probably a lot closer to the latter, especially since she describes herself thusly:

  • Director of Vaccine Research and Education on the board of Michigan Opposing Mandatory Vaccines, since 1994
  • Spent 23 years managing and promoting a chiropractic clinic and studying natural health care.
  • I am an independent investigator of vaccines for last 27 years.

In other words, DeMio invited a die-hard antivaccine loon to discuss “vaccine safety” at his conference.

Unfortunately, newspapers and radio stations in smaller markets seem especially prone to being taken for a ride by antivaccinationists. They usually don’t have dedicated science or medical reporters, and, I strongly suspect, the antivaccinationists and autism quacks know this. They also often don’t have as easy access to experts as reporters at larger newspapers located in larger markets. Even so, despite its decline in manufacturing, its faltering economy, and its population loss, Detroit still boasts a larege research university with an excellent medical school (Wayne State University) within its borders, and there is a world-class research university (the University of Michigan) a mere 40 miles west in Ann Arbor. There’s no reason that Chomin couldn’t have interviewed faculty at one of these universities, which is yet another reason that the way Chomin handled this story is unforgivable. It was completely one-sided–slanted towards the wrong side of the issue, scientifically speaking. She didn’t provide even a token quote from a science-based practitioner. Even providing the token skeptical quote would have been totally inadequate and, unfortunately, par for the course with all too much media coverage of vaccines, but not even doing so borders on journalistic malpractice.

And it depresses the hell out of me that, not only is autism quackery invading my hometown in a big way, but the press is covering it with utter credulity. I shudder to think what sorts of articles will appear in the local newspapers and what sorts of stories will appear in the local media two weeks hence, when the conference itself actually occurs.

Comments

  1. #1 Alan Kellogg
    February 9, 2009

    When you consider the fact Detroit has devolved into a small town with surrounding villages, the fact journalism there is now small town gosh wow makes sense.

  2. #2 Natalie
    February 9, 2009

    Ah, so many misused apostrophes. What is up with woos and crappy grammar?

    Orac, I was suprised that you didn’t mention the clue in this statement:

    The Autism Spectrum Disorders (known as ASD’s) include autism, PDD/NOS, AD/HD, Asperger Syndrome, RAD, OCD, and many other developmental disorders.

    IME if someone is defining ADHD or OCD as an autism spectrum disorder, they are probably pretty ignorant of the actual fact of ASDs. And assuming “RAD” is reactive attachment disorder, that’s not an ASD either.

  3. #3 Interrobang
    February 9, 2009

    You know you’re into hard-core quackery when “hyperbaric treatment” comes up for just about anything other than various forms of altitude sickness. I’ve had occasion to run into a few of those types, most of whom were absolutely convinced that hyperbaric treatment can cure cerebral palsy. (So, uh, changing someone’s atmospheric pressure heals old brain lesions how exactly? I mean, I’d love not to have CP anymore, but, seriously, really…) But when you wind them up and get them going, they get much, much crazier than that in a big hurry. They truly put the “loon” in “whackaloon.”

  4. #4 Kathleen Seidel
    February 9, 2009

    Boyd Haley’s “Oxidative Stress Relief” or “OSR” is synthesized from cysteamine hydrochloride, which is used as an animal feed additive, and isophthalic acid, with some glutathione thrown in for good measure. Back in April 2006, when FDA was still considering Haley’s Premarket Notification for a New Dietary Ingredient (a “dietary ingredient” that is wholly synthetic, is not a vitamin, mineral, herb, or amino acid, and is not derived from food), Dr. Kenneth P. Stoller stated in a post to the Evidence of Harm list that “in just a few months, Dr. Haley’s OSR will be available for your cats.” However, that’s not how things turned out. Perhaps there was once a plan to market OSR as a veterinary product, perhaps not. (I’d sure like to know whether he ever tried to get it approved as a veterinary drug.) As it happened, Haley began to market his new chelation drug as an “antioxidant” as soon as the FDA issued its opinion on his application — an opinion which stated that, “it is unclear on what basis you assert that [OSR] is a ‘dietary ingredient’ that may be lawfully used in dietary supplements… [T]he information in your submission does not provide an adequate basis to conclude that [OSR] will reasonably be expected to be safe.” Now the stuff is being spooned into autistic kids.

  5. #5 _Arthur
    February 9, 2009

    “Gannon underwent a variety of alternative therapies from supplements to chiropractic, chelation (removal of heavy metals from the body), and hyperbaric oxygen therapy to treat underlying causes of symptoms.”

    He ran the full gauntlet, maybe he was spared the Lupron.

  6. #6 Kathleen Seidel
    February 9, 2009

    Correction: make that April 2008.

  7. #7 Angel
    February 9, 2009

    Sadly, I realized in the recent Wakefield post that the Lee Silsby Compounding Pharmacy, in my neighborhood no less, is not the fine upstanding business I thought it was. A quick perusal of their website was truly depressing. Chelate that autism! Chelate that cancer! The quackery is everywhere and closer than you think.

  8. #8 storkdok
    February 9, 2009

    I feel great outrage that these quacks have hijacked autism. My son (and others) deserve better. Thank you again for combating quackery, especially in autism.

    When I saw that there are CME Category 1 credits for attending the DAN! meetings, I nearly struck my computer screen. I sure wish I could stop that one. I have all the information about it. If you would like to have it, I can email it to you. With your wider audience, perhaps we could get enough people writing to the accrediting agency to at least stop the DAN! meetings from rewarding quackery with CME credits.

  9. #9 Noadi
    February 9, 2009

    I think what angers me the most when I read about autism quakery is the language used towards the kids. That they’ve been ‘taken’ or that they’re ‘damaged’ or ‘broken’. No they aren’t! They’re kids, they have difficulties but they aren’t broken. Kids and their parents are being hurt by this message, my own thoughts are it probably is making some of these kids progress even slower than they would otherwise.

    If you can’t tell I’m not objective in this. My uncle lives with us, he’s almost 40 but mentally is closer to an 8 or 9 year old. He doesn’t have autism but many of the challenges are the same. He has difficulties doing a lot of things, we do push him to try things that are hard for him and to give him as much independence as possible but he can’t be “fixed” and it would hurt all of us if we tried.

  10. #10 DLC
    February 9, 2009

    I would point and laugh, but I live in a state where a person with no medical training was doing plastic surgeries.

  11. #11 Paul Kemp
    February 9, 2009

    Bravo and well said! I live in Arizona and have had to put up with the same quackery as you have. Even the local chapter of the Autism Society of America is quick to embrace charlatans and other liars in order to make parents feel good about having an autistic child. I work hard with my son to teach him how to act and interact with others and it’s something that will never end. I recently wrote a book about some of these challenges, entitled “The Daddy Diaries”.

  12. #12 Donna B.
    February 9, 2009

    I see only one topic on the agenda that can help the parents of an autistic child:

    School/IEP rights and issues.

    Let’s hope there’s a knowledgeable giving that talk. And let’s hope it’s not about how to get the schools to pay for wacky treatments.

  13. #13 mrcreosote
    February 9, 2009

    ‘My goal is to study the “unvaccinated children” to see how they compare with their vaccinated piers.’

    That’s the problem – too many of our wharves and jettys are getting vaccinated.

  14. #14 Robert Smith
    February 10, 2009

    You have to see the entire mercury load in a human to know when its too much. For instance, most products containing high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)also contain mercury. Its a little consequence of HFCS manufacture and EPA and FDA have known about it for 4 years,, and done nothing despite the massive dietary intake of HFCS. Then there is the mercury load from the air , and the water, and these can be disabling in and of themselves. Then there is the load from fish, even ocean fish like tuna. Add to all that a higher load if you live in the plume of a coal burning facility. Add in your amalgam fillings in your teeth. Why in the **** would we do this to our children? Because polluters are more important than your childrens’s lives. Oh, and why do they use thimerisol in vaccines? So your doctor can buy the larger bottle of vaccine instead of the smaller size or pre-filled individual syringes. But you mercury load is in the air, water, teeth, and high fructose corn syrup, which is essentially a poison without the mercury.

    The only criticism that stands against the anti-vaccine people is that they don’t see or address all the souces of mercury that could be messing up their children. The U.S. EPA and the U.S. FDA are owned by the polluters and drug industry. The regulators are being regulated by the industry they are supposed to regulate. Purely political appointees at either agency should be forbidden by law, and only leaders who believe in human health should be appointed. For instance, decades ago Rummy was appointed to FDA to approve a particular sweetener that is a known carcinogen. It’s been going on a long time to our detriment, and these agencies have cheerleaders when they act against your right to even survive, like Orac.

  15. #15 Calli Arcale
    February 10, 2009

    I’ve had occasion to run into a few of those types, most of whom were absolutely convinced that hyperbaric treatment can cure cerebral palsy. (So, uh, changing someone’s atmospheric pressure heals old brain lesions how exactly? I mean, I’d love not to have CP anymore, but, seriously, really…)

    The theory I’ve heard is that by getting more oxygen to the brain, the brain’s own self-repair mechanisms are able to work better or more quickly. If this theory is sound, then it would only be useful for injuries which actually are in the process of healing. Realistically, your cells can only use so much oxygen at once, and the brain is normally pretty well supplied. I wouldn’t think it would do much for old brain damage (i.e. no longer healing), and I don’t think it could do anything for brains that just didn’t develop normally in the first place. And I don’t think it’s been very well studied for long-term use. Just for short-term stuff like people with severe circulatory problems who have some kind of horrible injury on an extremity, which will not heal properly because of inadequate blood flow. (Though note that HBOT will only furnish oxygen; it will not increase the supply of nutrients.)

    I know it has been studied for CP, but I’m not sure how good the study was or whether or not it was positive. I doubt it was really earth-shattering, or we’d all have heard about it. I know it has *not* been properly studied for autism, however.

  16. #16 Calli Arcale
    February 10, 2009

    Random factoid: one of the more interesting experimental uses of HBOT is for the treatment of wounds in patients with Hansen’s Disease. I would guess the main reason the research has been slow is because this disease is very rare in the Western world. Hansen’s Disease is better known as leprosy. I’m not clear on why it would help; the bacterium is aerobic, so it’s not like the oxygen poisons it.

  17. #17 JustaTech
    February 10, 2009

    So Mary Tocco wants “full disclosure” about vaccines to parents? Sure. How about when you bring your child in for their first pediatric appointment the doctor says “I’m very sorry, but it’s time to start vaccinating your child and I am required to show you the consequences of not vaccinating.” And then proceeds to photos of the consequences of all the diseases we vaccinate against. PalMD has a great video up of whooping cough; that should get anyone to roll up their sleeve.

    Or would that be the mean paternalistic doctors picking on the poor, righteous mothers?

  18. #18 Enkidu
    February 10, 2009

    “My goal is to study the ‘unvaccinated children’ to see how they compare with their vaccinated piers.”

    Response by mrcreosote: “That’s the problem – too many of our wharves and jettys are getting vaccinated.”

    HAHAHA! I don’t know why something so silly made me laugh, but it did. :o)

  19. #19 Mark
    February 12, 2009

    “Even the local chapter of the Autism Society of America is quick to embrace charlatans and other liars in order to make parents feel good about having an autistic child.”

    If they’re trying to make parents feel good about having an autistic child, why embrace the anti-vaxers who make autism sound like the end of the world for a family instead of embracing the self-diagnosers who make autism sound like the best thing for humanity since the discovery of fire?

  20. #20 Kelly
    February 14, 2009

    This is my first ever post of any kind online… I’m not much for socializing. However, I find myself compelled to share my point of view and welcome any feedback, however negative. I have a young daughter with IGE allergies to most every normal food you can pick up at the grocery store, as well as a few other non-food substances. Wheat, milk, eggs, nuts, beans, dog, cat, you name it. These things spread hives and red rashes over her on contact, and she is almost always broken out when we are in public due to the obvious difficulty in avoiding all those things. As a result of this problem, I have read several books and many articles and posts discussing the various theories of why my daughter might have this problem. In all my reading, autism comes up a lot due to the common notion that autistics have a high incidence of food related issues that some think may contribute to their conditions. In reading about the various ideas relating to heavy metals, vitamin deficiencies, etc., one theory stood out to me because of its relevance to my child. That was the theory that excess aluminum in the body could somehow disrupt the immune system and cause or exacerbate allergies. I don’t claim to know whether or not this theory is sound, I am only saying that it interested me to the point of wanting to read more about it. When I looked up aluminum toxicity on a run of the mill health website it listed several common sources of exposure to high levels of aluminum. Of this list of about 5 things, two jumped out. Vaccinations, and PICC lines. Of course my daughter had received plenty of vaccinations starting the day of her birth, but more startling to me was the fact that I had a PICC line in my arm 24/7 for a couple of months in the first trimester of my pregnancy due to hyperemesis. At the time, I was told this solution was “like a hamburger and a milkshake” that would make sure me and my baby would remain healthy despite my inability to tolerate much food. I dug out my hospital paperwork, and sure enough, there was a paper explaining that the drug administered to me was called Travasol, and it contained aluminum which could be toxic to patients with kidney problems. I also looked at the package inserts from my daughter’s vaccinations, and every one contained aluminum hydroxide as an adjuvant. The allergist we see at the Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago tell me the number of my daughter’s allergies is indeed something he rarely sees. Allergies run in our family, but no one comes close to what my daughter is dealing with. When I look at the dark circles under her eyes, and frail body with a bulging stomach, I want to help her feel better. I do believe that there is a lot of quackery out there, but I also cannot deny some of the things I have witnessed in my own life. After my daughter suffered through weeks of mucousy, undigested diarrhea and a full-body rash that began days after her MMR/DTAP vaccines, I decided to stop vaccinating my child. Not because of Jenny McCarthy or Andrew Wakefield, but because I love my daughter. I believe that things like vaccines, or drugs, or foods can affect each of us differently, and I feel my daughter is one of the unlucky few who was harmed by those things which were meant to help. I honestly belive that she would have still had allergies if she was not exposed to the PICC line and vaccinations, but I really feel these things have harmed her immune system and made her worse off. My point is, I do not feel that I should be obligated to vaccinate my child for the good of the country, if I fear the cost for my daughter is too great. I don’t have a medical degree, but that does not mean that I should not be allowed to make a health decision regarding the safety of my own child. It seems to me a lot of people are damning everyone who even considers that vaccinations might have their downfalls. If you do that you are being just as ignorant and short-sighted as you claim they are. There may be a lot of quackery and bad science out there, but there are also a lot of loving parents who are angry, confused, devastated, and frightened, doing what they can to find out who to trust and what to do to help their kids.

  21. #21 Jan
    May 20, 2009

    Maybe you should have more information and experience before you spout your ignorant idiocy. Maybe you should experience with parents what it is like raising an autistic child and then watch how it changes as mercury is chelated from the child. A child who didn’t make eye contact, suddenly doing this, and interacting with parents and sibllings; a child whose speech disappeared after their 2 yr vaccines, finally regaining language.
    Maybe you should interview parents of autistic children and find out how many of their children regressed and became autistic after their 2 yr vaccine.
    And your bullshit about GR! Do you reallly think they have more funding than the drug companies who have totally controlled legislation on law suits r/t vaccine injury.

  22. #22 Skemono
    May 20, 2009

    Maybe you should have more information and experience before you spout your ignorant idiocy.

    Maybe you should practice what you preach.

    Maybe you should experience with parents what it is like raising an autistic child and then watch how it changes as mercury is chelated from the child.

    You mean parents like Kent Heckenlively? It certainly doesn’t seem to be helping him. And small wonder.

    Maybe you should interview parents of autistic children and find out how many of their children regressed and became autistic after their 2 yr vaccine.

    Parents are people. People’s memories are fallible. Many times when they claim that their children “regressed and became autistic” after vaccines, if one checks the actual records, you can find this was not the case–there was concern expressed well before the vaccines were administered:

    In most of the 12 cases, the children’s ailments as described in The Lancet were different from their hospital and GP records. Although the research paper claimed that problems came on within days of the jab, in only one case did medical records suggest this was true, and in many of the cases medical concerns had been raised before the children were vaccinated.

    This is why we need science to examine these issues: because the anecdotes you adore are completely worthless.

  23. #23 Lisa
    August 1, 2009

    …..Parents are people. People’s memories are fallible. Many times when they claim that their children “regressed and became autistic” after vaccines, if one checks the actual records, you can find this was not the case–there was concern expressed well before the vaccines were administered:…..

    If so many of the cases had previously expressed concerns before the vaccination…Then WHY was the vaccine given in the first place??? WHY didn’t the doctors try other options?? You should NEVER vaccinate a sick or unhealthy person or animal! They actually do teach us that in medical school. But somehow, doctors stop thinking for themselves and stop thinking about each individual and just practice medicine by a chart…”oh your kid is 2, he gets this shot no matter what. That is what it says to do at 2.”

    Do you think diseases only start on that one day, or that immunity only disappears the day a booster is due. No! Postponing the shot 1 to 6 months, or spreading the vaccines out over 6 months will not threaten the health of anybody. Why is it such a hard concept for people to grasp. Getting all those vaccines at one time will NOT prevent you from getting sick. The human body will not mount the preferred immune response to so many different stimulants at once. Therefore you end up less protected. Have you ever gone back and looked at the decline of some of these diseases that you think vaccines have helped?? Several of them were already disappearing before the vaccines were even developed, and the vaccine took credit for it. Some of the diseases we do still see today, and they have only been caused by the vaccine. When more people get sick from the vaccine then the disease ever caused, then it would stand to reason that the vaccine is not needed. Some vaccines are needed, given spread out, and none until after the child is 2 yrs old, but most of the vaccines are worthless. Why would anybody think that putting several known toxic adjuvants directly into your body is somehow better for you than just fighting off the disease with a healthy immune system to start with? Stop allowing so many chemicals to be put into our food supply, air and water, stop eating processed foods, fast foods and so much sugar. That is what builds an immune system up and prevents disease. The toxic components in vaccines tear all parts of your body down, not just the obvious signs you see. I saw the research first hand, and I saw the devastation to the bodies it caused.

    You should all be ‘Anti-adding known-toxic-carcinogens’ to our food, water, air and yes, vaccines.

  24. #24 Orac
    August 1, 2009

    If so many of the cases had previously expressed concerns before the vaccination…Then WHY was the vaccine given in the first place??? WHY didn’t the doctors try other options??

    Because there is no evidence that vaccines induce autistic regression and lots of evidence that they don’t. That’s why. In other words, there is no medical indication not to vaccinate in the case you mention. Although an existing fever at the time of vaccination is a relative contraindication against vaccination, the problems noted by parents before vaccination were behavior differences suspicious for ASD and that, in retrospect, were indications that the child had an ASD.

    In any case, you’re spouting a large number of anti-vaccine canards. If you’re willing, try looking at the posts here:

    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?cat=36

    and here:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/medicine/antivaccination_lunacy/

    to browse a number of rebuttals. Good rebuttals of the “too many too soon” nonsense and to Dr. Sears’ book can be found here:

    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?cat=36 (refuting Dr. Sears)
    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=289 (refuting “too many too soon”)
    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=430 (refuting “too many too soon”)

    And:

    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=9 (refuting the “toxins in vaccines” myth)

  25. #25 Prometheus
    August 1, 2009

    Lisa comments (#23):

    “If so many of the cases had previously expressed concerns before the vaccination…Then WHY was the vaccine given in the first place???….You should NEVER vaccinate a sick or unhealthy person or animal!”

    The actual, relative contraindication to vaccinating a “sick” child is that the vaccination could worsen the fever and that any complications of the illness will be confused with/for complications of the vaccine.

    If Lisa actually had any medical training – as she seems to imply – she would know that chronically ill people are urged to get vaccinated.

    Lisa – to be charitable – didn’t understand that the fact that “…there was concern expressed…” meant that parents and/or pediatricians had been concerned that the child was developing abnormally prior to the vaccination – not that there was “concern” that the child shouldn’t receive a vaccination.

    At best, this is Lisa’s agenda interfering with her reading comprehension. At worst, it is a flagrant attempt to “spin” data showing that the signs of autism preceded vaccination into “evidence” that children were erroneously vaccinated.

    Of course, Lisa shows her true colors in the last paragraph, where she states (among other things):

    “Why would anybody think that putting several known toxic adjuvants directly into your body is somehow better for you than just fighting off the disease with a healthy immune system to start with? Stop allowing so many chemicals to be put into our food supply, air and water, stop eating processed foods, fast foods and so much sugar.”

    All I can add to that is:

    “God willing, we will prevail in peace and freedom from fear and in true health through the purity and essence of our natural fluids.”

    Prometheus

  26. #26 Jennifer B. Phillips
    August 1, 2009

    Wow, Lisa is really bringing the crazy this morning! I’m very keen to view the relevant publications of this ‘research’ she keeps touting.

  27. #27 Lisa
    August 1, 2009

    Yikes, You guys are so quick to think crazy, that it makes you all look like crazy people. It is isnt always one or the other. Each patient needs to be treated individually, and the ‘dated’ plan can be altered if needed.

    Yes, I did know that you meant concerns about the child and not concerns about the vaccine. The point is, as a doctor, why would you vaccinate any child that is already showing either sickness or delay without examining, monitoring etc the child further first? Since you all agree that SOME people do indeed react badly to vaccines, then why push that child with known concerns further? Why not determine food allergies, sensitivities, environmental toxin exposure, poor nutrition at home, or anything that might be overwhelming the child’s system first?

    and No, A person who is sick, fever, etc should not receive a vaccine. It is obvious the immune system is already ‘busy’ and doesnt need to try and mount a response to a vaccine at the same time.

    Why, may I ask, is it crazy to think that good nutrition and trying to lessen the chemicals put into the body through food or vaccine is good for the immune system? Are you saying that wouldnt be good?

    For the record, I have never been anti vaccine. All my children are vaccinated, my pets are vaccinated, and I even vaccinate my birds. I am however against putting known poisons into the body if there is a better way. Like for instance, the mercury in vaccines that you say was successfully disputed…. the point is, Mercury is toxic! there is No safe level by FDA, 0.00. So, time and money spent to try and fight it was ridiculous. It is cummulative, it didnt need to be in the vaccine, get it out. That was my simple point. Not such a big deal for you to cry crazy over.

    No wonder some parents get afraid….you cant be so one sided and not willing to listen to anything or you wont be trusted.

  28. #28 Jennifer B. Phillips
    August 1, 2009

    Lisa, we have listened. We’ve heard the concerns, we’ve done the research, we’ve come to the conclusion that the fears are unfounded. This is not dogma, this is an informed position. You, on the other hand, keep spouting this ‘too many too soon’ mantra without a shred of evidence to back it up, against overwhelming evidence to the contrary. What was that you said about not being willing to listen to anything?

    I don’t fault parents for being confused about this. I don’t blame them a bit for being scared by the idea that they might poison or damage their children by following a doctor’s recommendation to vaccinate. When parents ask me (as a fellow parent and a scientist) about vaccines, I talk to them sensitively and compassionately and attempt to explain the data for vaccine safety without criticizing their position or trivializing their worries. I reserve no compassion or understanding, however, for the crazy (yes, I said it), unsubstantiated creators of this manufactroversy, McCarthy, Gordon, Sears, the AoA, and others of that ilk. Sometimes ridicule is the only appropriate response.

    Re: your ‘toxins’ gambit, the dosage makes the poison. As with your point about ‘overwhelming’ the immune system with too many vaccines (see the Sears thread), you need to put any ‘toxins’ present in vaccines in context with the amount of those same ‘toxins’ that are encountered via other environmental sources.

    Orac has given you a comprehensive reading list. If you are serious about having this conversation–if you are, in fact, ‘willing to listen to anything’, I suggest you read up on what science has to say about this subject before posting another comment full of vague rhetoric.

  29. #29 Prometheus
    August 1, 2009

    Lisa retorts:

    “Why, may I ask, is it crazy to think that good nutrition and trying to lessen the chemicals put into the body through food or vaccine is good for the immune system? Are you saying that wouldnt be good?”

    Which “chemicals” is Lisa proposing that “lessen” in our diet? If she is truly concerned about unstudied, complex chemicals in her diet, then she should definitely avoid eating any vegetables. Plants have had millions of years of evolution to develop “toxins” to keep animals (like us!) from eating them (exceptions are fruits, which depend on animals eating them). In fact, “refined” sugar has fewer “chemicals” in it than “raw” sugar, let alone an apple or cherry.

    Lisa goes on to ask, “Are you saying that [reducing our intake of "chemicals"] wouldn’t be good?”

    I ask in reply, “Do you have any data showing that it would be good?”

    Prometheus

  30. #30 Chris
    August 1, 2009

    Lisa:

    Why, may I ask, is it crazy to think that good nutrition and trying to lessen the chemicals put into the body through food or vaccine is good for the immune system? Are you saying that wouldnt be good?

    Which chemicals should we eat less? Calcium? Potassium? Sodium chloride? (okay, yeah, less of that would be good for my blood pressure!) Please be specific.

    Also, to go what Prometheus said: some foods are treated from their natural grown state to reduce real toxins. You should not try to make tapioca from cassava root you just harvested, nor should you eat raw cashew nuts, and you should definitely be careful what part of the rhubarb and potato plants you eat!

    (by the way, in on of our local groceries you can buy a chunk of sugar cane, it really does not taste very yummy)

  31. #31 Lisa
    August 1, 2009

    Jenn and Prometheus,
    You guys are antagonists and can never hold a 2 sided conversation. Only your side, and then you make up points for the other person’s side that isn’t true. I never even had an argument to begin with. I agree with all the facts you have, you seem to have some problem with eating healthy.

    My stand:
    Vaccines-Yes

    Vaccinating kids with immune mediated diseases with 6 vaccines at one time-No (those are the only people I have said to delay)

    Purposely eating KNOWN toxins, carcinogens, excitotoxins, etc like MSG, High fructose corn syrup, hormones, antibiotics, aspartame, fertilizer, etc, etc-No

    Those were my only points, but you people seem to like to think up your own arguments. Of course things change in nature, but you dont go out of your way to purposely eat a toxin you already know about. Give me a break.

    ….. Which “chemicals” is Lisa proposing that “lessen” in our diet? If she is truly concerned about unstudied, complex chemicals in her diet, then she should definitely avoid eating any vegetables. Plants have had millions of years of evolution…..

    How ridiculous….I meant purposely putting known chemicals in your mouth. You know those patients that think 2 candy bars for dinner is sound nutrition. Evolution or not, getting them to eat fruits and vegetables over Big macs would be an improvement.

    ….Re: your ‘toxins’ gambit, the dosage makes the poison. As with your point about ‘overwhelming’ the immune system with too many vaccines (see the Sears thread), you need to put any ‘toxins’ present in vaccines in context with the amount of those same ‘toxins’ that are encountered via other environmental sources…..

    That is the whole point you idiot! That has been my only point to you, but you are too stupid to get it. Just how much do you think your body can take at one time? Let’s give you 6 vaccines with mercury, aluminum, squalene, formaldehyde, etc, drink some flouride, eat some pesticide, fertilizer, MSG, a pound of sugar, nitrates, aspartame, mercury, and wash it all down with 8 oz of chlorine. How do you feel? Things DO ACCUMULATE in your body. So, the only point I ever made was to be careful with each individual, but you seem to want to fight that. Stupid!

    Good bye.

  32. #32 Chris
    August 1, 2009

    Lisa:

    Let’s give you 6 vaccines with mercury, aluminum, squalene, formaldehyde, etc, drink some flouride, eat some pesticide, fertilizer, MSG, a pound of sugar, nitrates, aspartame, mercury, and wash it all down with 8 oz of chlorine.

    Mercury: avoid fish

    Aluminum: it is impossible to avoid if you live on this planet, it is the most abundant metal and is everywhere, especially since it oxidizes so easily… I can assume that there is no aluminum cookware or beverages in aluminum cans in your house, nor do you have any pickles (alum), and only use aluminum-free baking powder.

    Formaldehyde: you body produces more as a natural part of your metabolism, and it is in almost every piece of fruit and veg you eat (because it is part of the cell metabolism)

    Fluoride: it occurs naturally in well water in many communities (actually some municipalities in the Southwest remove fluoride in the water)

    Chlorine: you do know that it is in table salt, right?

    Pesticide: in my garden I use baking soda and soap as a spray for my roses — some pesticides in organic farms are even more deadly (like pyrethrum, and I love telling the smoking advocates that nicotine is an effective bug killer)

    Fertilizer: as a gardener I use the composted chicken manure, bone meal, fish meal and sometimes lime dolomite — unfortunately there have been some bacterial contamination of foods from improperly used organic fertilizers (the manure was composted enough, allowing growth of bad stuff)

    Sugar: comes in many forms, including the starch and cellulose in plants. If you eat any kind of fruit, you are getting sugars (some in the form that cause diarrhea), and sucrose is a combination of fructose and glucose. If one does not consume some form of sugar you will not live very long.

    Aspartame: That really is a problem if one has phenylketonuria (PKU)… and there is a warning on the packaging, so one can avoid that (and your child should have been tested for PKU at birth). If you try to show documentation of it being bad by quoting Betty Martini, don’t… she is not a credible source.

    Squalene: Actually I had no idea what that is, so I looked it up on Wikipedia, and look what I found:

    Squalene is a natural organic compound originally obtained for commercial purposes primarily from shark liver oil, though botanic sources are used as well, including amaranth seed, rice bran, wheat germ, and olives. All higher organisms produce squalene, including humans.

    Yeah, as scary as formaldehyde… and is used in moisturizers!

    I asked you to be specific on which chemials, and you mentioned some very common things that we cannot avoid unless we literally stop eating everything and stop all of our cells metabolism. Umm, not really a good idea.

  33. #33 Dedj
    August 1, 2009

    Lisa – the main problem here is that your arguements have been seen here many many times before coming from the mouths of people who later turned out to be very much in the vaccine skeptic camp.

    Not only are your points rather over-simplified to the point of indicating a rather worrying level of niavety and dimness (as has been successfully pointed out above), but even the content of your ‘only saying’ denials are straight out of the anti-vaxx handbook.

    If you are making all these mistakes out of pure innocence then that’s fine, but we’ve seen it all too many times to trust people who claim they’re ‘just saying’.

  34. #34 Lisa
    August 1, 2009

    Thanks Dedj.

    I am very good at explaining the risks of not vaccinating to worried parents. I dont personally know any child that is not being vaccinated unless their parent is hiding it. I have heard parents list the claims of Dr Bob against vaccines, and that is why I was interested in this post. It can help to answer some questions parents bring up about it. This is the first comment place I have ever seen, and it can come across like attackers. I am posing the kinds of concerns and questions I hear, but the response is more degrading than helpful.

    The healthier their kids are, the better nutrition they get, the less lead, mercury, etc they have accumulated in their body, the less likely they are to have a problem with a vaccine.
    So, I must admit, the whole issue some people have about watching what you eat is disturbing. Of course you can avoid or lessen every single thing on Chris’s list. Yes, chloride is in table salt, but would you purposely drink 8 oz of chorine? No. Yes, flouride is found in nature, but you dont need very much of it(and you wouldnt eat it). Do I have known aluminum products in my house, no, and I dont use products with formaldehyde or SLS or parabens etc in them. I cant. My skin peels off if I do. You do the best you can. You can avoid alot of things and still have plenty of food to eat.

  35. #35 Chris
    August 1, 2009

    Lisa:

    but would you purposely drink 8 oz of chorine? No.

    Excuse me, but where and how would you drink 8 oz. of chlorine? Do you mean swimming pool water? Or bleach? I really don’t get what you are referring to.

    Do you drink only bottled water? While I understand using low fluoride toothpaste for children who will eat the stuff, do you have your children avoid the fluoride treatments at the dentist? Does that not lead to more caries and require more chemicals in the form of composite fillings?

    And are you going to forbid your children from ever buying a drink in an aluminum can?

    Lisa:

    I dont use products with formaldehyde

    I love eating fresh fruit! I cannot imagine avoiding fruit because it naturally contains formaldehyde!

  36. #36 Lisa
    August 1, 2009

    As I said, formaldehyde products on my skin make my skin peel off. I am doing the best I can to avoid getting it on my skin. I did not say I couldnt eat what was in fruit.

    If you must know my home situation (seems off topic but you seem to harp on it), We live in an area that does not have excess fluoride in the water, and they do not add more. Bottled water is not good for the environment. Extra flouride is not necessary to prevent cavities and causes fluorsis of the teeth. I have never had a cavity in 44 years, and my 3 children havent had one yet. It is, however, very toxic and there are numerous references to this, but I do not know how to do links. sorry. Actually, excess fluoride is hard to avoid these days.

    No, my kids do not buy soda in an aluminum can or drink it. They are 10 and under, why would they need a soda?

    The idea of drinking the chlorine was mentioned back in a different post. It was to say you have the choice of what you put in your mouth. I was talking excess, you brought up table salt. You are smart enough to know that a little table salt or sugar or formaldehyde or aluminum found where it is supposed to be will not hurt you. But, you wouldn’t overeat it on purpose.

    Since this was supposed to be about autism, not your nutrition or mine, Please drop it.

  37. #37 Chris
    August 2, 2009

    Because the 8 oz. of chlorine makes absolutely no sense. I am trying to understand why you even mentioned it.

    Okay, I looked and looked and could not find where one would drink 8 oz. of chlorine, which is a gas and therefore not really drunk. It is used in making sure municipal water is safe, but to get 8 oz. of chlorine gas you would need to drink enough water to get water intoxication… and even that would be impossible since the stuff dissipates (in some cities chlorine has to be added again depending on the distance it travels from the reservoir to the customers).

    Of course the alternative to using chlorine in municipal water systems is not nice. I have lived where one does not drink the water, and knew at least two people who got amoebas dysentery. I, myself, got very ill drinking from a jug of water left in my room in a penseon in El Salvador.

    My kids are fifteen and older… yesterday my basement was full of young men between ages 16 and 19, they brought lots of soda with them. Yes, children grow up and actually start buying stuff themselves.

    Oh, and when one lives and travels where the water is not so good… drinking a beverage from an aluminum can is safer. Go to any good ethnic grocery store and you will find aluminum cans of guava, pineapple, and other juices.

  38. #38 Jennifer B. Phillips
    August 2, 2009

    Lisa, your continued tales of terror about TEH CHEMIKULZ aren’t making any more sense than they did earlier today. I think the world would be a far less scarier place for you if you’d just lighten the fuck up. Good luck with that.

  39. #39 Jennifer B. Phillips
    August 2, 2009

    My comment is held for approval? Really? Is it because I used the ‘F’ word? Ok, I’ll clean it up:

    Lisa, your continued tales of terror about TEH CHEMIKULZ aren’t making any more sense than they were earlier today. In general, I think the world would be a far less scary place for you if you’d lighten the heck up. Good luck with that.

  40. #40 Chris
    August 2, 2009

    Okay, so I am not alone in thinking the terror about chemicals was a bit overdone.

    I am amazed that Lisa does not allow pickles. No pickle relish? One of my kids loves pickles! He is now the official potato salad maker, which includes half a small jar of pickle relish.

    Also my favorite homemade play dough included alum to make sure the stuff didn’t go bad too soon. Wait, she would probably never make the stuff because it includes at least half a cup of sodium chloride, and the evil two cups of flour with gluten (plus the best way to color it was to use a packet of Kool-Aid which made it smell nice).

    I was the terrible parent in letting my kids use art materials. They had access not only to home made play dough (with alum!), but also tempura paints, marker pens, wax crayons, colored pencils and FIMO clay. Oh, I am so horrible. I did restrict one child who tended to eat the clay and paints, plus chew the nibs off of markers… but they seemed to turn out okay. The clay and paint eater actually teaches little kids how to swim… oh, the horror! It is in a pool kept clean with chlorine, who knows what kind of damage that young man is doing! (oh, wait, that is the same young man whose friends took over my basement with their evil cans of soda and bags of chips… we are doomed!)

    She probably won’t let her kids learn how to swim because that involves a swimming pool with evil chlorine! Though, the lake has plenty of goose poop, good luck with that.

    Well, of course my kids were doomed… I actually let them play outside (note about the troll Sid Offit in another thread who claims its children never ate dirt and threw food on the floor, I contend that troll has never had children in its house). My problem is that I mostly grew up in less developed countries, where the water was actually dangerous… and I got lessons on how to minimize injury if someone threw a hand grenade in the window in the house we lived… near where a kid I went to school was almost kidnapped (she kicked herself out of the car trunk). Yeah, right… my priorities are all screwed up.

  41. #41 Lisa
    August 2, 2009

    NODODY said terror. NOBODY said you needed to hide from the world. The only thing mentioned was doing the best you can with what you can actually control. ex. Like what you put in your own mouth or on your own skin. Why that simple comment makes you 2 act like savages is beyond me? Sugar is fine, but you wouldnt eat a pound of it in one sitting. Clorine is useful, but you wouldnt drink chlorox straight. yes, formaldehyde is found in nature, but you dont need to overdo it. Fairly simple point. You guys obviously have issues. You start making up all kinds of ridiculous ideas that noone mentioned just so you can ‘hear’ yourself rant.

    ……….I am amazed that Lisa does not allow pickles. No pickle relish? One of my kids loves pickles! He is now the official potato salad maker, which includes half a small jar of pickle relish…..She probably won’t let her kids learn how to swim because that involves a swimming pool with evil chlorine! Though, the lake has plenty of goose poop, good luck with ……….

    I love pickles, but they are too expensive. I am a widowed working mom with 3 kids trying to do the best I can… Actually, nobody has a pool around here, so they love swimming in the lake and playing in the dirt and playing stick ball and making their own clay out of mud, and yes, it probably does have dung in it sometimes. As I mentioned before, we have alot of animals, and the ‘dung’ comes with it. Again, that’s life, but you still have choices of what you eat and the quantity of which you eat it. I never disputed the obvious, kids do grow up, but I doubt you let them drink several cans of soda when they were 4.

    Dont bother replying. I love Orac’s ramblings, but you 2 are disgusting, unhappy, human beings. Maybe you actually did overdo TEH CHEMIKULZ in your own brain. Your spew is sickening. You are a ‘poison’ I choose to avoid, and I wont be back.

  42. #42 Chris
    August 2, 2009

    Lisa:

    I love pickles, but they are too expensive.

    You completely missed the point. Pickles have alum, it includes that deadly aluminum.

    I was making a point on how aluminum is everywhere.

    Now that you are doing the poverty line: remember to go buy some alum (you can find it in most pharmacies), and make some home made play dough. All the good recipes contain a tablespoon of alum.

    Perhaps you can do what a neighbor of mine used to do, grow your own cucumbers and make your own pickles using the leftover alum.

    Why would knowing basic science and chemistry make us disgusting? You posted some very silly stuff and were questioned about it, and you seem to reject that you may have been wrong.

    I am very happy when I learn new things, and growing food and cooking it up from scratch is a great way to learn about chemistry, and science in general. Have your children join you in the garden and kitchen. Teach them basic chemistry as you learn (because it sounds like you have lots to learn).

  43. #43 J. Shelton
    August 2, 2009

    @41 It appears you have missed the nuances in this whole thread Master Chris. I have come to the conclusion that you are an ass, and you do this on purpose. You appear to ascertain that the previous passage meant to never be near any of the items that were given as merely an example. You know full well @36 meant not to expose yourself orally, topically or inject the known substances directly into your body at an unhealthy dose. To keep insinuating that these people must not be able to eat anything or do anything is absurd. There was no inference to that in any post. @40 It was noted to mind overindulgence not abstinence from life.

    You have alot to learn about being a decent young man. It appears those children dont need to pay for anything to make play dough…they have mud. Good health to you young lady and your children.

  44. #44 Chris
    August 2, 2009

    What part of your reading comprehension made you think that as a parent who has teenagers and made lots of play dough that I am a young man? Is it because I actually know some chemistry that I must be a guy? Are women supposed to automatically be ignorant of science?

    Perhaps I am an ass, but I dislike bad science. Scaremongering on teeny tiny bits of useful chemicals like fluoride in toothpaste, chlorine for safe drinking water, aluminum in pickles, or on chemicals that one makes in their own body as part of metabolism, or chemicals required for actual life is what I would consider asinine behavior.

    Or you are being sarcastic. Or do you honestly think that one should be afraid of 95% of what is on the periodic table. Whatever.

  45. #45 Jennifer B. Phillips
    August 2, 2009

    Lisa@40

    The only thing mentioned was doing the best you can with what you can actually control. ex. Like what you put in your own mouth or on your own skin.

    Well let’s take a look, shall we?
    Lisa@23

    Postponing the shot 1 to 6 months, or spreading the vaccines out over 6 months will not threaten the health of anybody. Why is it such a hard concept for people to grasp. Getting all those vaccines at one time will NOT prevent you from getting sick. The human body will not mount the preferred immune response to so many different stimulants at once. Therefore you end up less protected. Have you ever gone back and looked at the decline of some of these diseases that you think vaccines have helped?? Several of them were already disappearing before the vaccines were even developed, and the vaccine took credit for it. Some of the diseases we do still see today, and they have only been caused by the vaccine. When more people get sick from the vaccine then the disease ever caused, then it would stand to reason that the vaccine is not needed. Some vaccines are needed, given spread out, and none until after the child is 2 yrs old, but most of the vaccines are worthless. Why would anybody think that putting several known toxic adjuvants directly into your body is somehow better for you than just fighting off the disease with a healthy immune system to start with? Stop allowing so many chemicals to be put into our food supply, air and water, stop eating processed foods, fast foods and so much sugar. That is what builds an immune system up and prevents disease. The toxic components in vaccines tear all parts of your body down, not just the obvious signs you see. I saw the research first hand, and I saw the devastation to the bodies it caused.

    Uh, that’s a whole lot of wrong, right there. It goes way beyond advocating better nutrition. From that point YOU were the one making the pretty straw-people about drinking ’8 oz of chlorine’, ‘a pound of sugar’, etc. etc., calling me stupid, accusing Chris and me of acting like ‘savages’ and declaring us ‘disgusting unhappy human beings’.

    And curiously, although all your comments in this thread have been far longer and more hyperbolic than anything Chris or I have contributed , you say:

    You start making up all kinds of ridiculous ideas that noone mentioned just so you can ‘hear’ yourself rant.

    Riiiiiiiiiiiight.

  46. #46 89
    August 2, 2009

    Take the time to talk to your parents every day

  47. #47 J. Shelton
    August 2, 2009

    Sorry dear, but you are all young to me. I am an old stickler when I see people bending other posts to suit their moods.

    Again, The only person who mentioned being afraid was you, and the only person who said to avoid chlorine in water was you. The references in the previous posts were not to ‘teeny tiny bits’. Of course, I believe you knew the post referred to excess, and yet you insisted on trying to make an argument from nothing. I would conclude that is what provoked the ‘disgusting’ comment. Nothing to do with science, all to do with your personality young lady.

    You also seem to have a fetish with “alum”. I am not sure if you are insinuating that just because it is on the periodic table that it is safe to eat or inject into your body in high doses? I assure you it is not. My late wife’s autopsy revealed a brain that was riddled with aluminum plaques. Just because your body makes a chemical does not mean your body will accept that chemical entering by another means. *Vaccines are necessary…if a parent wants to decrease (notice I did not say completely eliminate the periodic table) the load of ‘aluminum et al’ to their child so they are less likely to have a reaction to a vaccine, more power to em. Obviously, they want the vaccine.

    Food for thought…when my wife was lucid, she said you would wish to be hit by a car rather than this slow ‘non-existent’ death by a degenerative disease. Dont be so defensive young lady and stay healthy.
    James

  48. #48 Chris
    August 2, 2009

    “only person who said to avoid chlorine in water was you.”

    Show me exactly which post and quote that you got that from. All I wanted to know is how one drinks 8 oz of chlorine, because it made no sense to me.

    So I guess to you all aluminum is bad, even if it is alum in pickles. You obviously missed that aluminum is everywhere. If you wish to avoid it, I suggest you find another planet to live on. And no, I don’t believe your sob story.

    And from your patronizing tone, you are one of those guys who did not like it when women actually know science, and heaven forbid more than you. Yeah, I had to work with idiots like you.

  49. #49 Jennifer B. Phillips
    August 2, 2009

    if a parent wants to decrease (notice I did not say completely eliminate the periodic table) the load of ‘aluminum et al’ to their child so they are less likely to have a reaction to a vaccine, more power to em.

    The problem, though, is that there is not one tiny bit of evidence that ‘aluminum et al’ precipitates any kind of vaccine reaction. None at all. Those parents are making poorly informed and potentially dangerous medical decisions on behalf of children too young to choose for themselves. In seeking to protect their children from the fabricated boogeyman of ‘toxins’, they are increasing the chances that their children *and other innocent bystanders* will contract debilitating and sometimes fatal diseases. As such, I can’t really get behind that “More power to ‘em” sentiment you’re embracing.

  50. #50 J. Shelton
    August 2, 2009

    @48 ‘More power to em’ to eliminate exposure to other sources so they still GET the vaccine.

    Most definitely there is a chance for any child to be poisoned before or after receiving a vaccine by what they eat, breathe, touch, etc. If these things were monitored better, there couldnt be so much unfounded blame put on vaccines.

    @47 You tickle me. My wife and I were/are both scientists. She was the smartest woman I ever met. I concede, again, Aluminum is present everywhere, but you would not purposely eat or inject it into yourself for no reason. Agreed?

  51. #51 Jennifer B. Phillips
    August 2, 2009

    J.Shelton@49 said

    If these things were monitored better, there couldnt be so much unfounded blame put on vaccines.

    I’m pleased that you believe the blame on vaccines is unfounded, but what is your evidence that the environmental levels of these substances aren’t sufficiently monitored?

  52. #52 Chris
    August 2, 2009

    J. Shelton:

    My wife and I were/are both scientists. She was the smartest woman I ever met. I concede, again, Aluminum is present everywhere, but you would not purposely eat or inject it into yourself for no reason. Agreed?

    Then argue with science, not sob stories. Use actual reason, not patronizing critiques on personalities.

    Of course there is a reason to use aluminum salts in vaccines, it makes them work better. That is considered a valid reason. If you have valid scientific evidence that ingredient is flawed and there are better alternatives, please present them.

    I have every intention of making sure my disabled son gets his influenza vaccine, because he is at high risk of further injury with the disease. My other college bound son has been vaccinated for meningicoccal (sp?), because the risk of the disease far outweighs any risk of the vaccine. I will also get an influenza vaccine in the fall.

  53. #53 J. Shelton
    August 3, 2009

    Oh for the love of Pete child! Of course vaccines are necessary. see also @46 and 49. Why would you ever lump vaccines into the category of something that had ‘no reason’. Let the people get rid of the damn ‘pickles’ and buffered aspirin and antacids if they want to decrease alum exposure, but I said get the vaccines. That is what I meant by necessary and unnecessary. Do you understand now? However, I am not making light of the true respiratory and neurological problems that can occur from breathing high levels of alum dust, or a kid getting into a bottle of antacids.

    You got my hackles up by your disrespectful response to my late wife. You didn’t get a sob story missy, you got the simplified path report which was a surprise to me, and a comment. That is it. Shame on you. James

  54. #54 Chris
    August 3, 2009

    Then do not bring up the anecdote if you don’t want it challenged.

    You should be reminded, you patronizing fool, that the plural of anecdote is anecdotes, not data. You did not get on my good side by telling me I am a terrible “young man”, and calling me “child, or “missy” isn’t getting you any respect. You did not bring any science to the discussion, including anything with the subject of this blog posting.

    If you don’t like how you are treated on the internet, either grow a backbone or stay away.

  55. #55 Mike
    August 11, 2009

    Since this is under the subcategory of skepticism/critical thinking, I think some things need to be explained to this author and many of the other young aspiring scientists.

    Please remember, the medical (and scientific) community is often wrong in their theories, rememdies, and beliefs. Later on better science proves them wrong and we move on with the better information. This is science! Somtimes it’s not forever.

    Unfortunately, big money interests have corrupted science and medicine. Lobbists spend millions of dollars a day to keep their private drug companies from laws, potential litigation, and thus responsibility when something goes wrong with their products. This is why there is a revolving door with government (FDA, CDC, NIH, AMA, etc.) and private industry (big pharma, HMOs etc.).

    Prescription drugs are now the 3rd leading cause of death in America. The same pharmaceutical companies that bring us these wonderful drugs are also pushing their vaccines through the same corrupt and unsafe channels.

    Exhibit A:

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/NEWS/Health-Science/Science/Virus-mix-up-by-lab-could-have-resulted-in-pandemic/articleshow/4230882.cms

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wg-52mHIjhs

    Back on topic…now why then do scientists who have NO experience with ASD patients resist alternative thinking, much of which is scientifically based?

    I think many of the folks that follow the establishment thinking on the autism/vaccine connection fail to understand one important observation. Autism is an autoimmune disorder. When a host’s overactive immune system is already turning against itself, would it be a good idea to load the host up with a bunch of vaccines? How about add some dangerous adjuvant’s to the mix as well to get things really cooking?

    A skeptic, you better believe I am…

  56. #56 Chris
    August 12, 2009

    Mike, the news article is silly, and your youtube video referenced this website: http://www.whale.to/vaccines.html

    You are now subject to Scopie’s Law:

    In any discussion involving science or medicine, citing Whale.to as a credible source loses you the argument immediately …and gets you laughed out of the room.

  57. #57 Mike
    August 12, 2009

    Chris, how is the article silly? Bloomberg was the only mainstream press in this country that reported on this Baxter debacle.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601124&refer=science&sid=aTo3LbhcA75I

    http://www.thestar.com/Comment/article/593439

    Baxter’s lab is BSL3. I have worked in several biomedial and chem labs. How the hell did it happen? Even if it’s gross negligence, this is absolutely unacceptable.

    On the youtube video…the point is for folks to watch the video (source MSNBC) and to learn about something that actually happened and that they probably don’t know about. Who cares about who the poster of the clip is and what they typed in the comments on the margin? I don’t…this has nothing to do with the main stream media clip they posted.

    These are huge stories…why is our media not reporting on these topics? Could it be that the mainstream media is owned by 5-6 companies (down from 50 back in 1990) and they are heavily supported by big pharma? It’s BS and you know it. This should have been all over the news. It’s about money and control. You seem like a bright guy…think about about a bit. Cui bono? And these are the big players the people are just supposed to trust?

    And no comment about the obvious vaccine/auto-immune reaction I have provided…of course not. Please feel free to discuss the actual topics I have posted about instead of attacking the periphery.

  58. #58 Chris
    August 12, 2009

    Use science, not news stories on vaccines that are not normally used in the pediatric schedule (influenza is not universally used, plus because there may in an error in influenza does not automatically mean there is an error in DTaP or MMR). Especially since Michigan (where the subject of this blog post is located) is not in Europe (do I need to include a map for you?). Plus youtube is not a substitute for PubMed, and if any source you use includes the whale.to website, it is immediately dismissed.

    Also, you also lose credibility when you pull the “Big Pharma” gambit. Try to make a point without going into conspiracy theory.

  59. #59 Chris
    August 12, 2009

    Oh, and did you notice your news articles and youtube video have nothing to do with the blog posting? It had nothing to do with autism, nor with the quack treatments promoted to “cure” autism. You must have just found this blog posting from a Google search and posted your conspiracy bit (which turned out to be a six month old non-story) without reading it.

    You lose even more credibility by being out of date and completely off-topic.

  60. #60 Chris
    August 12, 2009

    Mike:

    I think many of the folks that follow the establishment thinking on the autism/vaccine connection fail to understand one important observation. Autism is an autoimmune disorder.

    Because you are wrong. You are very wrong. You lose even more credibility with stupid statements like that.

    The science has been done, the link between vaccines and autism does not exist. It is a dead link… “It’s not pinin’! ‘It’s passed on! This link is no more! It has ceased to be! It’s expired and gone to meet its maker! It’s a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed it to the perch it’d be pushing up the daisies! Its metabolic processes are now ‘istory! It’s off the twig! It’s kicked the bucket, it’s shuffled off its mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible!! THIS IS AN EX-LINK!! ” (hat-tip to Monty Python and the dead parrot sketch)

    Some of that science:
    Lack of Association between Measles Virus Vaccine and Autism with Enteropathy: A Case-Control Study.
    Hornig M et al.
    PLoS ONE 2008; 3(9): e3140 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003140
    *Subjects: 25 children with autism and GI disturbances and 13 children with GI disturbances alone (controls)

    Measles Vaccination and Antibody Response in Autism Spectrum Disorders.
    Baird G et al.
    Arch Dis Child 2008; 93(10):832-7.
    Subjects: 98 vaccinated children aged 10-12 years in the UK with autism spectrum disorder (ASD); two control groups of similar age: 52 children with special educational needs but no ASD and 90 children in the typically developing group

    MMR-Vaccine and Regression in Autism Spectrum Disorders: Negative Results Presented from Japan.
    Uchiyama T et al.
    J Autism Dev Disord 2007; 37(2):210-7
    *Subjects: 904 children with autism spectrum disorder
    (Note: MMR was used in Japan only between 1989 and 1993.)

    No Evidence of Persisting Measles Virus in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells from Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
    D’Souza Y et al.
    Pediatrics 2006; 118(4):1664-75
    *Subjects: 54 children with autism spectrum disorder and 34 developmentally normal children

    Immunizations and Autism: A Review of the Literature.
    Doja A, Roberts W.
    Can J Neurol Sci. 2006; 33(4):341-6
    *Literature review

    Pervasive Developmental Disorders in Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Prevalence and Links with Immunizations.
    Fombonne E et al.
    Pediatrics. 2006;118(1):e139-50
    *Subjects: 27,749 children born from 1987 to 1998 attending 55 schools

    Neuropsychological Performance 10 years after Immunization in Infancy with Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines
    Tozzi AE, Bisiacchi P, Tarantino V, De Mei B, D’Elia L, Chiarotti F, Salmaso S.
    Pediatrics, February 2009, Vol. 123(2):475-82

    Mercury Levels in Newborns and Infants after Receipt of Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines
    Pichichero ME, Gentile A, Giglio N, et al
    Pediatrics, February 2008; 121(2) e208-214

    Mercury, Vaccines, And Autism: One Controversy, Three Histories
    Baker JP
    American Journal of Public Health, February 2008;98(2): 244-253

    Continuing Increases in Autism Reported to California’s Developmental Services System: Mercury in Retrograde
    Schechter R, Grether JK
    Arch Gen Psychiatry, January 2008; 65(1):19-24

    Early Thimerosal Exposure and Neuropsychological Outcomes at 7 to 10 Years
    Thompson WW, Price C, Goodson B, et al; Vaccine Safety Datalink Team
    N Engl J Med, Sep 27, 2007; 357(13):1281-1292

    Pervasive Developmental Disorders in Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Prevalence and Links with Immunizations
    Fombonne E, Zakarian R, Bennett A, Meng L, McLean-Heywood D
    Pediatrics, July 2006, Vol. 118(1):e139-e150

  61. #61 Mike
    August 12, 2009

    Chris, you are missing my whole point. I am just saying that you need to be more skeptical of everthing you think that you know. I am not against vaccines per se. I am also not for silly treatments that are proven not to work. However, with the skyrocketing cases of autism and autoimmune diseases in general, someone has to go looking for the answer. If anything goes against the established viewpoint of western medicine, or challenges its money train, it receives a lot of resistance.

    Like I said, many times throughout history, the established viewpoint has been wrong. Be careful what you think you know. All I am saying is that hardliners like yourself need to have some skepticism…I don’t see any. You know what you know because they tell you what to know. All you do is repeat what the establishment tells you.

    You really need to use your left brain and right brain together once in awhile. Step back and look at the bigger picture. Take a look at history, take a look at how the world works, and who is profiting from from the way it works. It has been proven again and again that large corporations have a lot to do with what gets published in popular journals. Ever looked at the ads? Science is science, however, once big money gets tied up in it, it becomes corrupt just like anything else.

    I thought EXACTLY like you at one time not too long ago. I thought I knew it all because they told me what I knew and how to think. Then I started looking at the big picture and started questioning what I thought I knew. It’s a healthy process. All should try it.

  62. #62 Chris
    August 12, 2009

    Mike:

    Chris, you are missing my whole point. I am just saying that you need to be more skeptical of everthing you think that you know.

    Being skeptical does not mean believing in things that defy science and factus.

    Mike:

    However, with the skyrocketing cases of autism and autoimmune diseases in general, someone has to go looking for the answer.

    You have obviously not been reading this blog much. For one thing, that statement has been challenged often here. Let me just say I am skeptical of the “epidemic” of autism, and that it is an “autoimmune” disease.

    Mike:

    If anything goes against the established viewpoint of western medicine,

    What is “western” medicine? Does this mean that homeopathy, which was invented in Germany, “western” medicine… despite the fact that it is not medicine, or is Germany not in Europe nor is considered a “western” country? Or does this mean that the DTaP and chicken pox vaccines are not “western” medicine because they were both developed in Japan? Has Japan been magically transported to Europe or some other “western” part of the globe?

    Mike:

    or challenges its money train, it receives a lot of resistance.

    One of the most stupid arguments applied to vaccines is the Pharma Shill Gambit. One of the biggest problems is keeping up supplies of vaccines because they do not make money, and there are fewer and fewer reasons for a pharmaceutical company to invest in the development and manufacture of vaccines.

    Truly a bigger “money train” is to have more people become sick with polio, pertussis, tetanus, measles and mumps. There is more money to be made in treatments, not in prevention.

    Mike:

    Take a look at history, take a look at how the world works, and who is profiting from from the way it works.

    I think you have failed to do that. Take a look at the measles epidemic of about twenty years ago. Did the state of California save money by having kids hospitalized with measles or did they have to spend more through their Medi-Cal system?. When the Soviet Union collapsed the vaccine program was interrupted and diphtheria returned with a vengeance in many of their former states, causing the deaths of thousands. In the early 1960s there was a rubella epidemic in the USA, and elsewhere, with many children being born deaf, blind, mentally retarded or stillborn… causing a need for institutions for the deaf, blind, and severely disabled (and a need for little baby sized coffins). That is real history.

    Show us exactly how not vaccinating would cause the pharmaceutical companies from making money. Use real documentation, much like the list of papers I have included.

    I have not missed the “point”, because you do not have any point based on reality. You started out by posting a six month old non-story in an attempt to pose a conspiracy, where none exists.

    Mike:

    Then I started looking at the big picture and started questioning what I thought I knew. It’s a healthy process. All should try it.

    I have, you have not. You have been sucked into the whole “Big Pharma is bad” vacuum of science. If your research includes non-science conspiracy garbage, your “big picture” is big stinking trash heap of nonsense.

  63. #63 Mike
    August 12, 2009

    Chris,

    When I site main stream articles that show huge mistakes and even criminal activity by your beloved big pharma companies, somehow this history isn’t relevant to their credibility today? (and mine?!!) This is a non-story because the lobbyists stepped in and the media stopped doing thier job. Just like they don’t like to talk about it, I’m sure you won’t want to discuss it either.

    http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/chicagotribune/access/17149810.html?dids=17149810:17149810&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&type=current&date=Apr+19%2C+1996&author=Bloomberg+Business+News.&pub=Chicago+Tribune+(pre-1997+Fulltext)&desc=BAYER+AG+TO+PAY+40+OF+%24640+MILLION+OFFER+TO+U.S.+HIV+HEMOPHILIACS

    http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/22/business/2-paths-of-bayer-drug-in-80-s-riskier-one-steered-overseas.html

    Conspiracy theory? I think not!

    There is a ton of evidence that shows how out of control our medical establishment has become and big pharma is a huge part of this. When you see a doctor in his office today, how often do they check for proper nutrition unless you are admitted to the hospital or have a serious conditoin? If we really wanted to prevent disease, things would be done differently. Instead, when you leave the doctors office, you have a “quick fix” pharmaceutical in your hand that was likely being pushed by a rep just last week. It’s about money my friend, it’s not about safety or even efficacy any longer.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090311124028.htm

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2008-06-16-vitamin-d-side_N.htm

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080105140107.htm

    http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/279/15/1200

    Back to autism…even the CDC and NIH officials admitted in a congressional hearing that current studies on vaccine safety would not reveal if their was a subset of children that have a genetic susceptablity to autistic behavior. I personally agree that the vaccines might not cause it, but they can be responsible for triggering it. Some are still looking into the connection and I say let them do their science.

    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/107994.php

    BTW, you are preaching to the choir with your cited history (CA, Soviet Union, rubella epidemic etc). Again, I am not recommending that we don’t vaccinate. However, I would like to remind you that separating the water from the sewage and good nutrition is more responsible for preventing disease throughout history than are vaccines.

    http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1P2-960828.html

    Let’s get one thing straight. Are you saying that science and the medical community in particular never gets it wrong? This is the god complex that many of us are very concerned about…and I am afraid you are a perfect example of this.

  64. #64 Mike
    August 12, 2009

    Chris,

    My comment was blocked for some reason, let’s see if the mod allows it. Can’t see why they wouldn’t…it was civil.

  65. #65 HCN
    August 13, 2009

    You are not allowed more than two URL links.

  66. #66 the bug guy
    August 13, 2009

    Mike, your links show that “big pharma” acts like a lot of other large corporations, but that’s it and we already knew. If you want to be convincing, you need more than, “They’ve been bad before so I don’t trust them.”

    The reality is that possible links between vaccines and ASD have been examined many times and nothing was ever found. Nothing. It’s time to move on and quit wasting time and money looking at a failed hypothesis.

  67. #67 Scott
    August 13, 2009

    Back to autism…even the CDC and NIH officials admitted in a congressional hearing that current studies on vaccine safety would not reveal if their was a subset of children that have a genetic susceptablity to autistic behavior. I personally agree that the vaccines might not cause it, but they can be responsible for triggering it. Some are still looking into the connection and I say let them do their science.

    This paragraph reveals a very poor understanding of science. OF COURSE that’s what they said – no possible study could EVER rule out the possibility that there’s such a subset. No responsible scientist would claim otherwise.

    And given that there is no evidence whatsoever to even HINT at such a subset, I say that such a connection absolutely should not be funded. Resources for autism research are limited. It’s a moral obligation to spend them on studies which actually have a reasonable chance to produce valuable results.

    By advocating throwing money at any idea anybody happens to come up with, regardless of evidentiary support or plausibility, you are reducing the odds that we’ll actually learn the ultimate causes and develop more effective treatments.

  68. #68 Chris
    August 13, 2009

    I asked

    Show us exactly how not vaccinating would cause the pharmaceutical companies from making money. Use real documentation, much like the list of papers I have included.

    What were in the links in Mike’s reply:

    German chemical company Bayer AG said it would pay an estimated 40 percent of a $640 million settlement offer to end lawsuits from U.S. hemophiliacs infected with HIV from tainted blood.

    2 Paths of Bayer Drug in 80′s: Riskier One Steered Overseas…By WALT BOGDANICH and ERIC KOLI
    Published: Thursday, May 22, 2003…A division of the pharmaceutical company Bayer sold millions of dollars of blood-clotting medicine for hemophiliacs

    This has to do with vaccines in this century how?

    More:

    One in seven American adolescents is vitamin D deficient, according to a new study by researchers in the Department of Public Health at Weill Cornell Medical College

    Adults still risk vitamin D deficiency

    A new study by two York University researchers estimates the U.S. pharmaceutical industry spends almost twice as much on promotion as it does on research and development, contrary to the industry’s claim.

    Incidence of Adverse Drug Reactions in Hospitalized Patients…A Meta-analysis of Prospective Studies…Jason Lazarou, MSc; Bruce H. Pomeranz, MD, PhD; Paul N. Corey, PhD…JAMA. 1998;279:1200-1205

    None of these answer the posed the question. It is a form of “baffle with bovine excrement.”

    Then he tops it off with

    However, I would like to remind you that separating the water from the sewage and good nutrition is more responsible for preventing disease throughout history than are vaccines.

    No one has ever doubted to role of sanitation to many illnesses. Is that the case with diphtheria in the Russia, Ukraine and other former states of the Soviet Union? Is that the case for the rubella epidemic in the 1960s?

    Have you ever heard of polio? It was a disease made worse due to sanitation. (the history of polio book by David M. Oshinsky is worth a read)

    Measles returned to the USA with a vengeance between 1987 and 1991, and it has returned to Japan (causing several dozen deaths), the UK, Switzerland and other parts of Europe. Mumps has returned enough to Japan to show that it actually causes deafness at a rate of one out of a thousand (link removed to stay under the limit, easily found on PubMed). Has there been a sudden declination of sanitation in these countries?

    Still waiting for evidence that vaccines are actually more costly than the diseases. Though I doubt that Mike will come up with that, since most studies come to a different conclusion: Economic Evaluation of the 7-Vaccine Routine Childhood Immunization Schedule in the United States, 2001.

    Though the real question is why Mike chose this six month old blog post to comment his conspiracies on… when there are more relevant recent vaccine posts on this blog.

  69. #69 mike
    August 14, 2009

    Scott,

    OF COURSE that’s what they said – no possible study could EVER rule out the possibility that there’s such a subset. No responsible scientist would claim otherwise.

    Exactly. So how can many sit here and deny that there is absolutely not a connection and that we should just move on? Why ridicule those who want to see such funding to find a potential genetic connection, that if quantified, can then be merged with the theories many have about increasingly aggressive vaccination schedules (as well as what MANY parents have observed in their children after they are pumped up with many immunizations in one office visit).

    And given that there is no evidence whatsoever to even HINT at such a subset, I say that such a connection absolutely should not be funded.

    Huh? There is strong evidence that autism runs in families. Siblings of autistic people are more likely to be autistic, and twins are very likely to share autistic traits.

    In fact, this research is being done.
    http://www.agre.org/program/intro.cfm?do=program

    Chris,

    Still waiting for evidence that vaccines are actually more costly than the diseases.

    Though the real question is why Mike chose this six month old blog post to comment his conspiracies on… when there are more relevant recent vaccine posts on this blog.

    Not once did I say that this wasn’t the case. For some reason, you find it necessary to put words into my mouth that are coming from your own defensiveness. I am FOR vaccinations, but I am not for over vaccinating and requiring unproven and higher risk immunizations. The Gardasil vaccine is a perfect example of a vaccine that should not be mandatory, just like flu vaccines should not be. These prevention scenarios are much more complicated to something simple like polio which is caused by three known fairly stable enteroviruses.

    It’s sad, but you and I do agree on much of the science behind what you continue to preach about to supposedly demonstrate your superiority. Why do you think I am just some conspiracy yahoo who doesn’t get the big picture and thinks all science is just some overhyped black box? While I don’t claim to be an expert on anything, I am a degreed scientist (Bio major, Chem minor). I also have a son who was diagnosed with autism, hence my finding of this thread. I would share more of my experiences with you and even some of the theories behind them, but my experiences alone don’t prove or dispprove anything. They do however give me insight and understanding of things that many hardliner scientists simply want to brush aside due to ignorance and to obvious disinformation campaigns by big pharma via their lobbyists and thier revolving door with our government health agencies.

    Whether you want to admit it not, there are major conflicts of interest at play in the medical community that are not good for science or for public health. The other poster “big guy” wants to just say this is how it is with all big business and we shouldn’t worry about it. I say that we the people should be keeping them as honest as possible. The media should be protecting us by reporting on these stories so we can expose corruption in these industries just like they do with Brittney Spears, OJ, and MJ. Unfortunately the evening news is brought to you by Gardisil, Viagra, and Prilosec. They won’t bite the hand that feeds them.

    The only reason why I posted here was to give a simple reminder that what you think is 100% proven to be right today may be proven wrong tomorrow. For some reason, you just can’t find it in you to admit this. If you haven’t figured this out, then you have not been taught very well about how the scientific method works.

    I’m done posting here…I have said my peace.

  70. #70 Chris
    August 14, 2009

    Mike:

    The Gardasil vaccine is a perfect example of a vaccine that should not be mandatory, just like flu vaccines should not be.

    Neither are mandatory in any state in the United States.

    Mike finishes with:

    The only reason why I posted here was to give a simple reminder that what you think is 100% proven to be right today may be proven wrong tomorrow. For some reason, you just can’t find it in you to admit this.

    Except most of what you wrote was in error, and spurious. You claimed that pharmaceuticals are in it only for the money (hey, guess what! they have to pay employees and nothing is free!), which is silly when looking at preventative products like vaccines.

    ou have made errors that show that even if you do have the education you claim, you have not used it for some time (hint: autism is not an autoimmune disorder, there is recent research that there may be some connection to family genetics of autoimmune disorders, but in no way claims autism is an autoimmune disorder, it just points to a section of the genetic code). I have often admitted when I made an error, and know that I am a layperson (just an engineer).

    Then you pull “I have a kid with autism!” then claim you are done posting here. Actually, you should do more lurking. You will find that many of us have kids with various disabilities (my son is an adult, I have been dealing with your kind of thinking for almost two decades).

    Pot, meet kettle.

    Oh, and read Orac’s most recent postings.

  71. #71 Mike
    August 16, 2009

    Chris,

    Sorry, I couldn’t resist after I saw this. Very timely for our conversation about being skeptical and overtrusting of this industry.

    http://blogs.nature.com/news/thegreatbeyond/2009/08/continued_setbacks_for_polio_v_1.html

    Essentially, they admit that they knew the risk in deviating from the proven vaccine using the dead polio virus that can’t mutate. Instead they went ahead and used the oral vaccine anyhow using the live weakened virus. Now, instead of preventing polio like we have known how to do safely for decades, they gamble and bring it back in a mutated form that is now a threat to spread internationality.

    And, if you didn’t already know, many of the H1N1 vaccines to be used this fall are using a similar approach using live attenuated viruses. The CDC has told us that the H1N1 virus came from other viruses that were reassorted in pigs. Wow, it sounds like a swell idea to implement this type of live vaccination when other strains of the seasonal flu will obviously be freely mixing. This industry and thier corrupt handlers are absolutely out of control and the sheep, even the trained repeater sheep, just keep following right along.

    How much idiocy (and criminality as you saw in the other story I posted about) do you need to see before you realize that this industry is way out of control? If you gamble against nature, risking the safety of the population, you will usually lose. I guess you don’t have to think much about this as an engineer. For you, this will probably just be another non-story…so I am probably wasting my energy yet again. But, perhaps others will read and think for themselves.

  72. #72 Chris
    August 16, 2009

    Mike, here is a newsflash: Nigeria != United States or Europe.

    The main problem with polio in Nigeria is the interrupted polio vaccine program which has left many people vulnerable. That has nothing to do with industry.

    By the way, you will get a whole education on the fiasco if you listen to this podcast: http://www.twiv.tv/ (the main guy is an expert on polio, and has some interesting insights on polio in Nigeria, plus some thoughts on India where the polio vaccine just does not work).

  73. #73 Chris
    August 16, 2009

    Some hints as to why there are issues with polio in Nigeria, and they have to do with biology not industry… It has to do with the OPV being a live but attenuated virus that goes to the intestines. It then stays there, and can replicate and actually go back to a disease forming strength, and be shed into the sewer system. Some countries (like Japan) actually monitor the levels of polio virus in the sewer system. It is okay while most everyone is vaccinated, but when there are interruptions in the vaccine program you end up with vulnerable people (like when the folks in Nigeria decided the OPV was a conspiracy to infect their country with HIV!). In Nigeria it seems that #2 strain is still being shed by older people, and infecting children who have either not been vaccinated for polio, or vaccinated with an OPV that is missing that strain.

    Some more information from a Columbia University professor of virology who specializes in polio (emphasis added by me):

    From Dreaming of inactivated poliovirus vaccine:

    The outbreak in the Dominican Republic, and several others that were subsequently identified, made it clear that VDPV strains posed a threat to the plan to cease polio immunization. In the worst case scenario, VDPV strains would continue to circulate after vaccination had stopped, endangering the growing number of non-immune individuals. Alan Dove and I suggested, in a 1997 Science article, that it might be prudent for WHO to switch to using the inactivated poliovirus vaccine, IPV, which cannot replicate in the recipient. Once OPV usage ended, the levels of circulating VDPVs would decrease until they no longer could trigger an outbreak. Careful monitoring of VDPV in sewage would indicate when it would be safe to stop immunization with IPV.

    and Polio among the Amish:

    All previous outbreaks of poliomyelitis caused by VDVP were in undervaccinated communities in underdeveloped countries. The outbreak in Minnesota underscores the need to maintain high vaccination coverage: until OPV is replaced with IPV globally, circulating VDPVs pose a threat to unimmunized individuals. The outbreak is a harbinger of what could occur in countries where immunization with OPV is halted after the eradication of poliomyelitis. As the number of susceptible newborns increases, circulating VDVPs could spark an outbreak of poliomyelitis. Another reason for switching to IPV rather than stopping immunization altogether.

    I hope this helps you better understand the article in the Nature blog. I assume that if you really have the education you claim, you would know there is a difference between viruses that cause polio and influenza.

  74. #74 Mike
    August 16, 2009

    Chris,

    The WHO and CDC are behind the drive to eradicate polio in developed countries, so we are involved and were making great strides. What happens there can and will eventually affect us here. If we want to erradicate it, do it right, and finish it. Don’t cut costs or at least use a blend of OPV and IPV…IPV with every child that is born as they do here in America.

    It has to do with the OPV being a live but attenuated virus that goes to the intestines. It then stays there, and can replicate and actually go back to a disease forming strength, and be shed into the sewer system.

    I assume that if you really have the education you claim, you would know there is a difference between viruses that cause polio and influenza.

    This is exactly the reason why they shouldn’t use the weakened live version of the H1N1 vaccine around the world. It can also hide in the gut and then reassort with other seasonal human infuenza A viruses. But, they will probably knee jerk and screw things up just like we did in 1978 that had future consequences.

    “The one prominent exception to the general rule that these swine viruses are not transmitted among humans was the outbreak at Fort Dix. This virus was never transmitted beyond the military installation, probably because the intrinsic transmissibility of the virus was simply too low. Yet the global response to this outbreak was forceful, especially given that the outbreak self-quenched. The decision to mass-vaccinate the U.S. population resulted in the unfortunately large cluster of Guillain–Barré cases. Perhaps an even more serious consequence was the accidental release of human-adapted influenza A (H1N1) virus from a research study, with subsequent resurrection and global spread of this previously extinct virus, leading to what could be regarded as a “self-fulfilling prophecy” epidemic. The 1998 triple reassortant influenza A (H1N1) swine virus has shown what appears to be a proclivity to jump the species barrier and cause swine-to-human infections.”

    http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMra0904322

    This isn’t like engineering Chris, it’s complicated and we don’t yet understand it all to be able to control it at will. Their playpen laboratory is going to end up screwing us all.

  75. #75 Chris
    August 16, 2009

    So you don’t understand the difference between the polio and influenza viruses! Nor do you understand the difference between Nigeria, Europe and North America! Or that you do not know how to read the quotes I posted… when you respond with this comment: “Don’t cut costs or at least use a blend of OPV and IPV”

    Could you at least try to understand the concepts? How about spending more than an hour reading up on them? Or did you bother reading up on them at all? How did you like David M. Oshinsky’s book?

    Also what does this all have to do with the MMR vaccine (which has been around since 1971) or the DTaP vaccine (which was developed in Japan, so in your limited world view is not really “western medicine)? Show us with real evidence that the standard pediatric vaccine schedule in the United States of America (which does not mandate influenza, and only included the IPV) has a higher risk than the diseases. Those diseases being measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, haemophilus influenzae type B, polio, and chicken pox. This evidence must be in the form of acceptable medical literature (a PubMed reference, not a news article).

    Is there something in your brain that says “one vaccine bad equals all vaccines bad equals diseases are good for you”? Which is how you are coming across, and that is not good.

    And why do you insist on commenting on a six month old blog post?

  76. #76 Chris
    August 16, 2009

    Mike:

    If we want to erradicate it, do it right, and finish it. Don’t cut costs or at least use a blend of OPV and IPV…IPV with every child that is born as they do here in America.

    What part of the problem with vaccine refusal in Nigeria did you completely miss? It was not a question of cost, but a question of conspiracy lies propagated by religious and government officials. You are obviously completely clueless to the situation that has hampered the irradiation of polio.

  77. #77 the bug guy
    August 16, 2009

    Mike,

    First, try to read, it’s “bug guy” with a u. I’m an entomologist, not someone with an inferiority complex.

    Second, you didn’t get the post. Yes, we know these corporations use corrupt tactics. It’s nothing new and pointing that out to us does nothing to build your case. We’re not ignoring, but what you brought up is irrelevant to the discussion. I did not say not worry about them.

    You ignored the rest of my post. There have been numerous large and rigorous studies of autism and vaccines. Details have been posted on this blog numerous times previously so I didn’t feel a need to repeat them. In short, no relationship was found. None. Does this completely and utterly rule out a tiny link for a few cases? No, but effectively, we can rule it out as an important cause and move on to more promising research directions. Dwelling on them only wastes time and resources.

  78. #78 Steve Wilson
    October 1, 2009

    I think it’s just wonderful that anybody with a computer can be an expert in fields as diverse as medicine AND journalism.

    So much of what’s been written here is such trash I wouldn’t know where to begin to challenge it. Instead, maybe it’s best to leave the narrow/closed-minded here to just talk amongst yourselves.

    p.s. Are you the same crowd that help spread the lies about healthcare reform? Just askin’.

  79. #79 Chris
    October 1, 2009

    It is amusing that you waited so long to respond. This was originally posted in February. Did it take you almost eight months to compose that content free critique?

  80. #80 Orac
    October 1, 2009

    I think it’s just wonderful that anybody with a computer can be an expert in fields as diverse as medicine AND journalism.

    So much of what’s been written here is such trash I wouldn’t know where to begin to challenge it. Instead, maybe it’s best to leave the narrow/closed-minded here to just talk amongst yourselves.

    Brave Sir Robin, he ran away!

    Methinks you’re just annoyed that I called you out for your absolute nonsense about vaccines:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2008/07/investigative_reporter_steve_wilson_of_w.php

    And if you’re not, read the post I linked to above, and you probably will be.:-)

    In fact, I was particularly amused that you were, as of last year, still repeating the discredited thimerosal fear mongering. Come on! Even Generation Rescue’s soft-pedaling that these days because the studies have been so relentlessly negative that even they’ve had to have second thoughts. In any case, complaining about mercury is so 2004. Get hip to the new antivaccine scene, dude! It’s all about the aluminum, formaldehyde, and squalene, now, don’tcha know? Mercury is so….yesterday, man!

    p.s. Are you the same crowd that help spread the lies about healthcare reform? Just askin’.

    Uh, no, actually. Why on earth would you assume that?

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/08/the_latest_obama_hitler_shenanigans_too.php
    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/08/the_only_correct_response_to_obamahitler.php
    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/08/another_correct_response_to_obamahitler.php

  81. #82 Joseph
    October 1, 2009

    The last time Steve Wilson visited PalMD he said:

    I could spend all day refuting the claims and assertions here

    Do you think he did anything of the sort? He’d get schooled pretty quickly I think.

  82. #83 Fil Navarra
    October 30, 2009

    We have had great success with “biomedical treatment as in the DAN protocol.
    Dr. Haley is an inspiration.
    Should i believe the “experts” or my own eyes.
    Those of you out there that don’t believe, this is your right.
    I will not be any richer by telling you that the protocal works for some. It worked for us and too bad for those that don’t even want to check it out.
    The statistics are that 1 in 58 boys are now diagnosed with autism. I guess when it is one in two, we’ll still have those claiming it was always there.
    Am I crazy for not wanting the vaccines injected into me?
    Once you look at all the ingrediences in the vaccines you will say to yourself, ” I would have to be crazy to pump that stuff into my body!”

  83. #84 Dedj
    October 30, 2009

    I’ll never cease to be amused at the blithe offensiveness which DAN supporters use when trying to get people on their side.

    So, according to Fil above, we’re arrogant, willfully ignorant, uneducated and being led like sheep.

    Hardly a way to make friends and influence people.

  84. #85 Anonymous
    June 16, 2010

    how ironic that a self promoting person like Heidi wouldn’t she just love what you are doing……….. i truly wonder who is behind this Autism quakery invades my home town….. could it be you Heidi??? if so Kudos for the free preelol w.a.f j.

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