Respectful Insolence

I realize that I’ve gotten into one of those runs where it seems that all I blog about is anti-vaccinationist loons, but, before trying once again to take a break from the madness, I had to go to the well one more time because this looks a bit frightening:

NBC News’ Matt Lauer will take an unprecedented look at the emotional debate surrounding vaccines and the suggested link to autism on Sunday, August 30 at 7 p.m. ET with “Dose of Controversy.” In the one-hour Dateline, Lauer speaks exclusively with Dr. Andrew Wakefield, whose 1998 medical study was the first in the world to suggest a possible link between the MMR vaccine and autism. The British doctor has since influenced the lives and stirred the passions of millions of parents worldwide looking to solve the mystery of what causes the complex developmental disorder.

But Dr. Wakefield’s theories have also raised serious questions from the media and the medical community. Lauer interviews investigative journalist Brian Deer who wrote a critical report for London’s Sunday Times in 2004 detailing what he said were potential conflicts of interest that Dr. Wakefield had never revealed. Lauer also talks with Dr. Paul Offit, a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and expert on vaccines who has spoken out on behalf of vaccine safety in the United States.

Now, Dr. Wakefield reacts to his harshest critics on the controversy he’s created over the past decade.

Lauer also reports on Dr. Wakefield’s most recent work in the United States and the medical community’s continuing search for the cause of autism, including new studies from researchers working to understand the disorder that affects 1 in 150 American children.

Apparently there’s also going to be an 8-10 minute segment featuring part of Matt Lauer’s interview with Andrew Wakefield on The Today Show on Friday. Oh, goody.

Andrew Wakefield’s Thoughtful House has released a letter that’s making the rounds on the anti-vaccine and autism quackery websites and sounds vaguely worried:

Dear Friends,
 
As some of you may have already heard, the NBC television network is producing a special on Thoughtful House and Dr. Andrew Wakefield.  We are sending along this note to make you aware of the extent of coverage on various programs and the scheduled broadcast date.  First, though, we thought it was important to help everyone understand our decision to cooperate with the reporter, Matt Lauer, and his producer, Ami Schmitz.
 
In our estimation, there has not yet been any fair coverage in the mainstream media of Dr. Wakefield or the work of Thoughtful House.  While we have a large community of supporters that know Dr. Wakefield’s credibility and the accomplishments of Thoughtful House and our excellent physicians and clinicians, including Dr. Bryan Jepson, Dr. Arthur Krigsman, and Kelly Barnhill, CN, CCN,  many of us in the Autism Advocacy Community spend most of our time communicating with people in similar situations.  Our challenge has always been to reach out to a greater population that might not know or understand what is happening with regard to the autism epidemic and the lack of government research into potential causes, which includes looking at vaccine safety.  We thought that if we ever were able to communicate with a fair-minded journalist working at a media outlet with both credibility and reach then it was likely to be worth the risk trying to tell our story.

We have taken that chance with NBC. While we initially declined their invitation for a story, we were persuaded to move forward when Matt Lauer was proposed as the correspondent. His reputation for being objective and thorough prompted us to reconsider and ultimately to open our doors. In March, TV crews from The Today Show, Dateline, and NBC Nightly News began gathering material at Thoughtful House in Austin. This involved taping long interviews with Drs. Wakefield, Jepson, and Krigsman, some of our therapists, administrators, and, more importantly, a few of our families. The crews traveled to London to report on the Lancet controversy and interviewed many of the central figures relevant to that part of our story. They also taped interviews, presentations, and families in attendance at the Atlanta DAN conference. Dr. Wakefield was flown to New York by the network and received what he described as a “tough but fair” interview in a one-on-one with Today Show host Matt Lauer. The person we have dealt with throughout the course of this project is Mr. Lauer’s producer, Ami Schmitz. Ami has a long resume as a medical journalist and was formerly Dr. Timothy Johnson’s producer at ABC News. In our assessment, she has been thorough and diligent in gathering information, documents, and asking the kind of detailed questions that have been glossed over or conflated in previous reporting. We believe, based upon hours and hours of working with Ami, she is writing an even-handed report, which will be narrated and hosted by Mr. Lauer.

Nothing is certain, of course, so we are taking a risk. However, we believe the potential reward is worth that risk; it’s entirely possible this will be the first time this subject matter (autism, Wakefield, Thoughtful House, vaccine safety research) has been considered objectively in mainstream media. If that is the case, we have the possibility of communicating with millions of people and that will be nothing but positive for those of us dealing with autism in our own families. We will find out this Friday, August 28. A portion of Mr. Lauer’s interview with Dr. Wakefield will be broadcast in an 8-10 minute segment on The Today Show. Either Saturday or Sunday, the NBC Nightly News Weekend will also broadcast a lengthy piece on Thoughtful House and vaccine safety. Coverage will culminate on Sunday night, August 30, at 7 pm EST, with an hour-long broadcast hosted by Mr. Lauer on Dateline NBC. This is scheduled to be adjacent to the Sunday night NFL football game on NBC, which means there is the potential for a large audience. In fact, the cumulative audience for all of these programs means there are likely to be no less than 5 million people who learn about autism and Thoughtful House and, quite possibly, as many as 20 million viewers will see the various broadcasts.

Consequently, you see the reason we decided to cooperate with NBC. The program might just be a game changer in the conversation we are all having in our communities with our governments, health care providers, insurance companies, and overall policies within our culture that marginalize families dealing with autism. We all started off several years ago on what many of us believe is the correct course for treatment and research and it has led us to this moment, and we believe we’ve made the right decision.

We would like to ask all of you that are active in the autism community to hold all judgment and wait to see the final broadcast. NBC has dedicated substantial time and resources to this story and the producer has made every effort to interview people from all points of view. Our hope is that a fair story will be told and you may submit feedback to the network after the shows have aired. Please do not attempt to contact them prior to the broadcast.

Please share this information with your friends, and if there are any last minutes changes, which we are told is always possible in the news business, you can rely on us to bring them to your attention.

Sincerely,
Anissa Ryland
Director of Operations
Thoughtful House Center for Children

My guess is that Thoughtful House and Andrew Wakefield have little to worry about from NBC. Matt Lauer is hardly known for his hard-hitting journalism these days, and we’re not likely to see a TV story in which NBC does for Andrew Wakefield what the Chicago Tribune did for Mark and David Geier and Mayer Eisenstein. This series of reports is likely to be the typical “tell both sides” nonsense. It may pay lip service to science through interviews with the token skeptics, such as Paul Offit and Brian Deer, but my guess is that overall Wakefield will be portrayed as a brave maverick doctor who may have made some mistakes about the science and may have crossed an ethical boundary or two but whose heart is in the right place and who did what he did because he cares so very, very much about autistic children and because he may be on to the “cause” of and “cure” for autism. The hearings of the General Medical Council about Wakefield’s massive conflicts of interest and falsification of data in his original report in the Lancet in 1998 will end up looking like arcane misunderstandings and conflicts. No doubt this impression will be reinforced by fawning interviews with parents (with autistic child nearby) who claim that Wakefield “recovered” and “saved” their children from autism. Against such testimonials, the science that says there is no link between vaccines and autism and that biomedical woo of the type that Thoughtful House is peddling will appear cold, uncaring, hopelessly hidebound, and dogmatic in rejecting the ideas of these “brave maverick doctors.” Meanwhile assumptions of the anti-vaccine movement about an “autism epidemic,” “biomedical” treatments, and recovery from autism will almost certainly go unchallenged.

In other words, NBC will likely look at Wakefield’s claims, weigh them against what scientists say about his pseudoscience, incompetence, and scientific fraud, and then split the difference. I would also guess that NBC will also play to parents fear of vaccines as a marketing tool to increase viewership. I hope I’m wrong, but I’m confident that I’m not. After all, unlike the case in the U.K., very few people outside of those who pay attention to the vaccine/autism manufactroversy have the slightest clue who Andrew Wakefield is. My prediction?

Crowing and celebration on Monday morning about how “fair” NBC was to Thoughtful House.

It’s one prediction that I’d like to be very, very mistaken about.

Comments

  1. #1 Bronze Dog
    August 27, 2009

    I’m sick of the “Brave Maverick Doctor/Scientist” trope. Not just with the world of pseudojournalism, but in fiction as well.

  2. #2 Pareidolius
    August 27, 2009

    This does not look promising. We can only hope Matt recovers that old Lauer glibness in time for the interview.

  3. #3 Alex
    August 27, 2009

    “and they’ll turn way from the doctor… in the name of ‘balance’ and turn to some crack, witch-doctor, homeopath horseshit-peddler…”

  4. #4 Harold L Doherty
    August 27, 2009

    The skeptic now predicts the future? Good stuff.

    There is nothing resembling science or skepticism in your pre-emptive strike against Lauer. If his presentation condemns Wakefield you will express your pleasant surprise. If it doesn’t you will strut and huff and puff and say you told us so. Paid political hacks do it on behalf of their clientele every day.

    Time to stop pretending you are a skeptic devoted to rigorous science.

  5. #5 Khoth
    August 27, 2009

    “it’s entirely possible this will be the first time this subject matter (autism, Wakefield, Thoughtful House, vaccine safety research) has been considered objectively in mainstream media”

    What’s he on about here? I can only assume that by “objectively” he really means “pro-Wakefield”, since he wouldn’t want actual objective coverage, but the mainstream media has been full of articles uncritically repeating his crap. Is that not enough for him?

  6. #6 The Hypocrisy! It Burns!!
    August 27, 2009

    “Time to stop pretending you are a skeptic devoted to rigorous science.”

    Well said, Harold….well said.

  7. #7 JMG
    August 27, 2009

    @Harold:

    Um, how exactly does Orac’s prediction here show he’s not devoted to rigorous science? Whether Orac’s predictions come true or not doesn’t really change the fact that Wakefield practiced some pretty low-quality science, and seems to have not come to terms with the fact that his hypotheses are complete bunk.

  8. #8 Paul Browne
    August 27, 2009

    Well said Khoth, this looks like a train wreck in the making. Media false balance strikes again:-(

  9. #9 Orac
    August 27, 2009

    What’s he on about here? I can only assume that by “objectively” he really means “pro-Wakefield”, since he wouldn’t want actual objective coverage, but the mainstream media has been full of articles uncritically repeating his crap. Is that not enough for him?

    Yeah, but that’s been mostly in the U.K.

    As I said before, in the U.S., Wakefield is pretty much an unknown quantity outside of our small circle of “anti-anti-vaxers.” Certainly the public at large doesn’t know much, if anything, about him. Consequently, he has a more or less blank slate to work with here across the pond. Even if there is criticism, my guess is that he’ll come off, as I said before, as the “brave maverick doctor” with a “new idea” who may have cut a few corners and crossed a couple of ethical lines, but who may actually be on to something and who did it because he cares so very, very much about autistic children.

    Again, I hope I’m wrong.

    Besides, the U.S. is where Wakefield lives now, and I’m sure Thoughtful House will drum up a ton of business from the broadcast, which is likely the real reason he acquiesced to doing the story.

  10. #10 Tim Farley
    August 27, 2009

    I wonder if Dr. Nancy Snyderman, who does the medical stories on Today show with Lauer, had any input into this special? The reason I ask is she really got into Lauer’s face on the air last October about whether there was any real controversy, right after a nice profile on Dr. Offit.

    I was so surprised and pleased by it, I wrote up a transcript here.

  11. #11 Sigmund
    August 27, 2009

    http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/261848…53507#27453507
    That interview with Paul Offit that Tim Farley mentioned is in the above link.
    I certainly hope Nancy Snyderman is involved in the next one.

  12. #12 Jen
    August 27, 2009

    “Besides, the U.S. is where Wakefield lives now, and I’m sure Thoughtful House will drum up a ton of business from the broadcast…”

    I hope you’re right, because these kids are very sick, and their medical problems are being ignored by “mainstream” medicine.

    We were one of the families that TH asked to be interviewed, but we declined. I didn’t want to risk airing our family’s dirty laundry for millions to see, only to have any unpleasantness edited out later. I was also worried that too much emphasis would be placed on the vaccine controversy, which is, from what I’m gathering so far, exactly what will happen, and I wanted no part of that. My son’s endoscopy ended up being rescheduled, so it became a non-issue anway.

    Apparently, the child of the parents that were interviewed put on quite a display in the waiting room at the surgery center for the camera crew, and I do hope none of it gets edited out, because America really, needs to see what autistic gut pain looks like.

  13. #13 Scott
    August 27, 2009

    Actually being fair to Wankerfield would involve locking him up for several million counts of reckless endangerment.

  14. #14 marcia
    August 27, 2009

    I highly doubt Zucker will let Lauer, who is a pretty darn good interviewer when given time, get away with inacurracies. Zucker’s history (father a cardiologist, personal bout with colon cancer and chemotherapy) and decision making at NBC should take care of any anti-vaccine lunacy.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Zucker

  15. #15 Leaford
    August 27, 2009

    Jen, as an autistic adult, I am both very offended, and very sad for your child or children, that you consider their condition a sickness. I only hope you read some of the many criticisms of Thoughtful House, and stop putting your child or children through so much unpleasantness for no result. Autism is a genetic condition. It is not a disease, and cannot be cured. Your child needs therapy to help learn the skills they will not learn naturally. They do not need endoscopy, colonoscopy, chemical or dietary torture, and it will not “cure” them, because autism is not a gastrointestinal problem. You have been tragically misinformed.

  16. #16 passionlessDrone
    August 27, 2009

    Hi Jen -

    Apparently, the child of the parents that were interviewed put on quite a display in the waiting room at the surgery center for the camera crew, and I do hope none of it gets edited out, because America really, needs to see what autistic gut pain looks like.

    I could not agree with you more.

    - pD

  17. #17 Ginger Yellow
    August 27, 2009

    “In the one-hour Dateline, Lauer speaks exclusively with Dr. Andrew Wakefield, whose 1998 medical study was the first in the world to suggest a possible link between the MMR vaccine and autism”

    Gee, you’d think it would be somewhat pertinent to mention that the data in the “study” was fabricated. I can’t say I have very high hopes for this programme, although if they let Deer present the evidence against Wakefield without editing it into oblivion, then maybe it won’t be too bad

  18. #18 MI Dawn
    August 27, 2009

    Jen and pD…no one denies a child with gastric problems needs to have them investigated and treated. However, THEY ARE NOT SPECIFIC TO AUTISM!!!!! If a child is ill with gastric problems, then they need treatment. They don’t have mythological “measles” in the gut. They have allergies, IBS (which my own child has), or some other illness. Treat the illness. No one says they shouldn’t. Any child who is in pain will act out. Make them feel better and they will behave better. This is NOT specific to autism. Then, once they are feeling better, work with the autistic child to learn and develope. For goodness’ sake, QUIT with the lying that only autistic children have gut problems, or that they are ANY different, except for developmentally, than other children.

  19. #19 Jen
    August 27, 2009

    “They do not need endoscopy, colonoscopy, chemical or dietary torture, and it will not “cure” them, because autism is not a gastrointestinal problem. You have been tragically misinformed.”

    Just out of curiosity, before I comment further, what sorts of conditions would warrant endoscopy in a child, in your opinion?

  20. #20 mad the swine
    August 27, 2009

    “I can only assume that by “objectively” he really means “pro-Wakefield”, since he wouldn’t want actual objective coverage[.]”

    The fact of the matter is, Wakefield is right, and the rest of the medical establishment is wrong. Any objective view of the ‘controversy’ will be firmly on Wakefield’s side. It’s kind of like how Fox News is the only objective (or, as they put it, fair and balanced) news channel on American television.

  21. #21 DLC
    August 27, 2009

    I guess we’ll have to keep out fingers crossed.
    Why is it that some 11 years after Wakefield published his dishonest packet of crud he called a paper that he is still being seen as “The” expert on Autism and Autism spectrum disorders, when his work has been shown to be scientifically questionable at best, and outright fraud at worst ? Do people just not get it ? but then, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. People still buy into Gary Null and that other huckster who was pushing coral calcium.

  22. #22 Don Parker
    August 27, 2009

    Apologies if this has already been mentioned, but Tuesday on the PRI/NPR midday news magazine ‘Here and Now’, Dr. Margaret Bauman (Mass. Gen’l Hosp., I think), in response to a neutral question from the interviewer, stated unequivically that there was no evidence linking either vaccines or mercury to autism. One for the good guys, because ‘Here and Now’ has a national audience, but my fear is that it’s to some extent ‘preaching to the choir’ with that particular audience.

  23. #23 Sigmund
    August 27, 2009

    DLC said:
    “Why is it that some 11 years after Wakefield published his dishonest packet of crud he called a paper that he is still being seen as “The” expert on Autism and Autism spectrum disorders”
    I don’t think he is.
    As Orac mentioned Wakefield is well known in the UK (thank you very much Daily Mail- NOT) but not so much in the US.
    I don’t live in the US so I will take Oracs word for that (the anti-vaccination stuff coming from the US very rarely mentions Wakefield, its usually the celeb crowd and that idiot Kennedy guy).
    One thing that confuses me about the US situation is why there seems to be no trusted medical expert there who is nationally known and turned to by the media for advice on issues like this – someone like Robert Winston in the UK?

  24. #24 NJ
    August 27, 2009

    It’s kind of like how Fox News is the only objective (or, as they put it, fair and balanced) news channel on American television.

    OK, I call Poe.

  25. #25 Todd W.
    August 27, 2009

    @Don Parker

    Dr. Margaret Bauman (Mass. Gen’l Hosp., I think)

    You are correct. She is the head of the LADDERS program at MGH.

  26. #26 DrWonderful
    August 27, 2009

    What you are seeing is the slow bending arc toward consumer empowerment in health care. With the advent of profiling services that “rate” doctors based solely on consumer comments, the shift of the tides away from large corporations and towards patient advocacy, and soon the ability to opt-out of vaccines. Macroscopically there is a paradigm shift and not all changes will be smart, good or healthy. Just changes.

  27. #27 MI Dawn
    August 27, 2009

    @NJ…I think they were being sarcastic.

  28. #28 Ginger Yellow
    August 27, 2009

    “As Orac mentioned Wakefield is well known in the UK (thank you very much Daily Mail- NOT)”

    I don’t think you can just blame the Daily Mail for this. The entire print media was responsible for perpetuating the MMR-autism story, long after it had been thoroughly refuted(hell, the Observer was still pushing it last year by distorting unpublished research to the horror of the researchers). Even Private Eye ran with it, in one of its occasional serious lapses of judgement.

  29. #29 Jay
    August 27, 2009

    Actually, I like this. Perhaps keeping the anti-vax people away from the general populace hasn’t been a very good idea. The doctors and the “researchers” that are profiting off of the fake autism/vax link will suddenly get inundated with new patients. When the state health departments get wind of it, there may be a whole whopping lot of indictments with various charges, such as willful harm to a child or worse.

    Or maybe they will continue to play Randian politics with childrens’ lives and let parents play doctor.

    Lets hope the risk is worth it and the backlash so massive that Wakefield and all his posers are washed away.

  30. #30 Jen
    August 27, 2009

    “For goodness’ sake, QUIT with the lying that only autistic children have gut problems…”

    MI Dawn, unless you can find even ONE post of mine in which I even SUGGEST that ONLY autistic children have gut problems, I’ll have to conclude that the only one lying here is YOU.

    Addressing your assertion that treating pain will result in improved behaviors, I’m glad we agree on that, but what makes you think that a non-verbal autistic child will be able to appropriately express how he is feeling physically? A neurotypical child would be able to say, “hey, mom, my tummy hurts!” The same can’t be said for a non-verbal autistic child, so he creates other ways of letting us know he is in pain, namely in the way of self-injury (can you say endorphin release?) and/or aggression. Even some higher functioning autistic children are unable to express how they feel physically.

    Unfortunately, what happens all too often when a self-injurious and aggressive non-verbal autistic child presents in a pediatrician’s office, is that the parent is given a psych referral. The idea that pain might be the cause of the behaviors is usually not even considered.

  31. #31 passionlessDrone
    August 27, 2009

    Hi MI Dawn –

    However, THEY ARE NOT SPECIFIC TO AUTISM!!!!! If a child is ill with gastric problems, then they need treatment. They don’t have mythological “measles” in the gut. They have allergies, IBS (which my own child has), or some other illness. Treat the illness.

    It is not a coincidence that families travel thousands of miles to Thoughtfull House for treatment; for whatever reason, their children aren’t being helped locally. People are seeing Krigsman and Jepson precisely because no one else is willing to treat these illnesses. Jen would seem to be an excellent example of this, she claims that the vaccine angle bothered her, and yet, they still felt the need to travel widely for help.

    No one says they shouldn’t. Any child who is in pain will act out. Make them feel better and they will behave better. This is NOT specific to autism. Then, once they are feeling better, work with the autistic child to learn and develope. For goodness’ sake, QUIT with the lying that only autistic children have gut problems, or that they are ANY different, except for developmentally, than other children.

    I think you would be hard pressed to provide an example where Jen, myself, or anyone has made the claim that only children with autism have gut problems.

    As towards your other claim, unfortunately, it is straightforward to provide evidence that children with autism are much, much different than other children in ways other than developmentally.

    For example, children with autism have been shown to have much higher levels of MIF than children without autism, an immune messenger known to be associated with increased risks of a variety of inflammatory conditions.

    Macrophage Migration Inhibitory Factor and Autism Spectrum Disorders

    The same chemical, MIF, has been found to be associated with a diagnosis and clinical presentation of IBD.

    Overview of the role of macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) in inflammatory bowel disease

    the past two decades, we have extensively studied MIF’s pathophysiological roles in human diseases, and have accumulated evidence elucidating its molecular mechanisms in the pathogenesis of immune disorders and inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). In a study of IBD, we demonstrated for the first time that anti-MIF antibody suppressed the degree of dextran-sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced colitis, indicating its potential therapeutic use for IBD patients. Following that report, a number of researchers, including us, clarified that MIF was profoundly involved in various gastrointestinal disorders, such as hepatitis and pancreatitis.

    We know that MIF promoter regions are associated with autism. Likewise, the Pediatrics paper showed increased MIF ciruclation, and correlations between MIF levels and autism severity across several measures. The evidence in favor of a relationship between MIF and inflammatory conditions, including gastrointestinal disorders is difficult to overcome. Unless we can conceive of some mechanism by which MIF does not exert this effect in the autism population only, why shouldn’t we be able to say that children with autism are different than other children in ways other than developmentally?

    - pD

  32. #32 Calli Arcale
    August 27, 2009

    It is true that it’s very hard to tell what’s causing a non-verbal child distress. That doesn’t mean you should shove an endoscope down all of them. I don’t doubt that you are having your child treated for genuine gut problems. But the phrase “autistic gut” is meaningless; I have seen no reason to assume a connection between gut problems and autism. That phrase, “autistic gut”, is why people think you’re following Andrew Wakefield into the premise that there is a connection between autism and gut problems, despite the fact that the only evidence is Wakefield’s own discredited study.

    If we’re going to talk anecdotes, my family has a relatively high rate of gastric problems *and* learning disorders (at least one member of each family unit suffering one or the other), and there does not seem to be a correlation between the two. For instance, the only person in my family with celiac sprue is probably the most “neurotypical” person among us. My mother has a whole host of gastrointestinal and hormonal complaints, but is “neurotypical”. I have ADD, and also GERD, so I’m an example of developmental and digestive issues going together. But it appears to be coincidental; two of my brothers have neurological problems (ADD in one, autism in the other) but no GERD, and the other brother is neurologically normal but has GERD.

    So it sucks that non-verbal autistic children have a hard time getting a proper diagnosis. That truly sucks, and I sympathize with you over that. What folks here are objecting to isn’t that. We agree; it’s awful that autistic children don’t always get the right care. What we’re objecting to is the idea that gut problems cause autism (or are comorbid in most cases), and therefore all autistic children need colonoscopies, endoscopies, and other uncomfortable, invasive procedures.

  33. #33 Jen
    August 27, 2009

    “That doesn’t mean you should shove an endoscope down all of them.”

    Calli, you lose credibility when you make overly dramatic statements such as this. I can assure you that endoscopes are not “shoved” down every child that walks into Thoughtful House. There are many other ways that gut issues can be treated non-invasively, and all of them are exhausted before a consult to Dr. Krigsman is made.

  34. #34 Ryan Biggs
    August 27, 2009

    The Snyderman exchange with Lauer should give us some hope. We have started to see some mainstream reporting “get it right” recently. Fingers crossed.

  35. #35 Aj
    August 27, 2009

    Sigmund@23

    I once encountered the US version of a documentary* that I’d previously seen on the BBC. The American channel (production company?) had felt it necessary to revise the narration and replace Robert Winston as narrator…

    …with Alec Baldwin.

    So, no, there probably isn’t anyone.

    * I think it was Walking with Cavemen – but whatever it was, neither version was stellar.

  36. #36 Rogue Epidemiologist
    August 27, 2009

    @Dr.Wonderful
    In a perfectly free market, the quality of care would have to be completely equal across the board. We already know this is not the case. Some doctors are just better at their craft than others. But we would also need to have consumers who were well-informed about the products and services they receive. Given the level of scientific-illiteracy in our current society, and the complex nature of understanding medicine in general, we will never have a consumer base that is sufficiently informed to truly shape all medical policy and delivery.

    We’re not just seeing changes. In my opinion, we’re seeing people destroying the system from the inside (starting with the erosion of herd immunity — who knows where it’ll go from there). Surveys repeatedly show that physicians are the most trusted professionals we have in society, but given the current social climate, I have a very hard time believing it.

  37. #37 Heather
    August 27, 2009

    I hope you are wrong; I like Matt Lauer, he is one of the only morning personalities on TV that I enjoy. He is sharp enough to play Wakefield and make him and the anti-vaccine movement look foolish. He also has a young child, and has a personal interest in being on the right side of the issue. If he stokes the ani-vaccine fires, however, I will sadly tune him out.

  38. #38 Todd W.
    August 27, 2009

    @Heather

    He also has a young child, and has a personal interest in being on the right side of the issue.

    If the program turns out going against Wakefield and Thoughtful House, you’ve just given the anti-vaxers a cause for crying “bias!” :P

  39. #39 trrll
    August 27, 2009

    Unless we can conceive of some mechanism by which MIF does not exert this effect in the autism population only, why shouldn’t we be able to say that children with autism are different than other children in ways other than developmentally?

    Because this is kind of a straw man. We know, for example, that many people with autism are different genetically. In some cases, these differences are large, with big chunks of DNA missing. So we expect that there will be lots of differences, many of which will probably have little to do with the symptoms that define autism. So correlation simply is not very informative. It can be very hard to distinguish causes from consequences.

    For example, the GI system is very sensitive to stress. And autistic individuals frequently experience a great deal of stress in dealing with the world. So do some autistic people experience digestive problems because they have something wrong with their GI systems? Or just because they are upset a lot of the time?

  40. #40 NBC in the know
    August 27, 2009

    The most worrying thing about NBC’s project is that Wakefield required that NBC remove it’s medical editor, Nancy Snyderman from the program, and substitute her with Lauer. NBC immediately agreed. They also agreed not to present most of Deer’s findings.

    Make no mistake, this is no investigative special.

  41. #41 Jennifer B. Phillips
    August 27, 2009

    @NBC in the know: can you provide a citation for that bit of info? It would be an alarming concession indeed, but I find it odd that the Thoughtful House letter doesn’t mention it, as it would seem to be a real victory for their side.

  42. #42 Pablo
    August 27, 2009

    Shouldn’t the fact that they don’t include the network’s medical editor (if that is indeed true) set off bells and alarms all over?

    If it is true that it was at Wakefield’s insistence, then shouldn’t those bells and alarms go off in the network itself?

    And how could Nancy Snyderman let this go unchallenged? The network is doing a special on a medical issue and not including the medical editor?

  43. #43 Sid Offit
    August 27, 2009

    Perhaps NBC’s resident ignoramous was excluded in favor of Lauer was because she’s both a vaccine zealot and a high functioning moron, who, when discussing vaccines becomes so excited she becomes unable to string together a coherent sentence, famously calling pertussis “an easily to die from disease.”

    In an archetypical revelation of her profoundly staggering ignorance she states in regards to pertussis,

    “We nearly wiped it out but we’ve become complacent and now so complacent such that in 1994 there were about 1000 cases of whooping cough in this country a decade later 26k cases”

    How Nancy did we become so complacent when rates are at record highs? And how Nancy can you be so unaware of the real reasons behind the so-called pertussis resurgence?

    Future Microbiol. 2008 Jun;3:329-39
    Factors contributing to pertussis resurgence.
    He Q, Mertsola J.
    Pertussis Reference Laboratory, National Public Health Institute, Kiinamyllynkatu 13, 20520 Turku, Finland. qiushui.he@ktl.fi
    A resurgence of pertussis is observed in highly immunized populations. Many studies have shown that the causes for the resurgence are multiple, such as increased awareness of disease, use of better diagnostic tools, improved surveillance methods and waning vaccine-induced immunity.

    Pertussis resurgence in Canada largely caused by a cohort effect.
    The sudden increase in pertussis incidence in Canada can be largely attributed to a cohort effect resulting from a poorly protective pertussis vaccine used between 1985 and 1998.

    The science and fiction of the “resurgence” of pertussis.
    Cherry JD.
    Pediatrics. 2003 Aug;112(2):405-6. No abstract available.

    Weak vaccine and awareness Nancy. Not Complacency.

  44. #44 Good Plan...
    August 27, 2009

    “The most worrying thing about NBC’s project is that Wakefield required that NBC remove it’s medical editor, Nancy Snyderman from the program, and substitute her with Lauer. NBC immediately agreed”.

    Good for Dr. Wakefield. Snyderman has shown her colors (agree or disagree with her). She certainly couldn’t be seen as impartial to the issue so how could she be involved in the segment? You have to agree with that, right?

    Snyderman is a huge Pharma Ho. To see her shill for the Swine Flu vaccine is funny (and sad…)

  45. #45 Pablo
    August 27, 2009

    Sid – irrelevant ranting

    Snyderman is NBC’s medical editor. If they don’t think she is appropriate for medical stories, then they should not have her as editor.

  46. #46 Michelle
    August 27, 2009

    So Nancy Snyderman is biased because she agrees with the vast majority of medical doctors and her views are consistent with the science to date? That’s rich.

    I agree with others who are worried that nothing good can come of this exposure for Wakefield. Just putting him on television elevates him. Uggh.

  47. #47 Pablo
    August 27, 2009

    She certainly couldn’t be seen as impartial to the issue so how could she be involved in the segment? You have to agree with that, right?

    No.

    “Impartial” does not mean “both sides are equally possible.”

    If you have a nut claiming that 2 + 2 = 5, do you have to find someone who doesn’t know math to interview them?

  48. #48 marcia
    August 27, 2009

    Ah! Ye ol’ “Snyderman is a pharma shill, aka Ho,” huh #44?

    Let me guess. You must be wearing one of these
    http://www.zazzle.co.uk/ubama_obama_nazi_tshirt-235983837919582943
    while you type away, eh?

    So, you think you’ve increased the level of skepticism about Snyderman? Actually, you haven’t. There is that little thing called the task of actually using evidence, logic, and sound arguments to refute what she says.

    Of course, that’s not what cranks do.

  49. #49 Mike Stanton
    August 27, 2009

    Whenever I read accounts of parents who have to take their children to Thoughtful House because nobody else will treat them I want to know which hospitals turned them away, which doctors refused treatment. Have any of these parents made complaints against these hospitals and doctors? Is there any documentary evidence to back up these disturbing allegations? Given that over 5000 families of autistic children were recruited to sue for vaccine injury, are any of them sueing these health professionals for malpractice?

  50. #50 ababa
    August 27, 2009

    They don’t “refuse” to treat them. They simply “refuse” to offer a magical cure in attempt to sell hope. They “refuse” to lie to parents and sell them at best ineffective and at worst dangerous treatments. Alot of people confuse “refusal” with “didn’t tell me what I wanted to hear”.

    Sadly, this interview is already making the rounds. Local anti-vaxers are already excited that they might get some “really good information” out there, aka “what they want to hear”. There is no way Wakefield would have agreed to this if the deck wasn’t heavily stacked in his favor. I would feel certain that a great deal of information about his research was deemed “off limits” for him to agree. It’s not like he has a track record of debating his “findings” in open forums.

  51. #51 MI Dawn
    August 27, 2009

    First, I’ll apologize for my over-the-top ranting. I shouldn’t comment when I am frustrated about other things. Jen, I acknowledge that you have reasons to be annoyed, if the doctors treated your child as you say they did. But, can I ask for one thing? Can you give 5 positive things about your child? In all your postings, I have never seen you post something positive, only the negative.

  52. #52 Jen
    August 27, 2009

    “Whenever I read accounts of parents who have to take their children to Thoughtful House because nobody else will treat them I want to know which hospitals turned them away, which doctors refused treatment. Have any of these parents made complaints against these hospitals and doctors?”

    Okay, I’ll give you an example of the non-treatment and outright hostility we received from our son’s pediatrician regarding his gut issues.

    Since we were under an HMO, we needed the approval of our primary care manager in order for insurance to cover the cost of the elemental formula that TH recommended for him. She wanted to wait until after he was scoped before she would approve it, even though there was already laboratory data, that our insurance company felt was sufficient enough to warrant use of an elemental formula, but a physician’s order was needed, so we were forced to pay out of pocket (at around 1,000 per month). I figured I’d worry about reimbursement later.

    However, when I brought her the photographic evidence from my son’s endoscopy, as well as the biopsy report, she took one glance at it, informed me that in her opinion, Dr. Krigsman is a “quack” and that she has “no faith” in him. She wanted him to be seen by a “real” gastroenterologist, and said, “I wonder if he would get the same results?” When I pointed out that the “real” gastroenterologist that we were referred to agreed with me that my son should be scoped by Dr. Krigsman, and even wrote a letter to our insurance company in order to gain authorization for the procedure (this was after we switched to non-HMO insurance), she had the gall to imply that I was LYING. Not even his immediate and sustained improvements in his behavior were enough to change her mind. She informed me that autistic kids show improvements in behavior sometimes, no matter what is tried. She even sarcastically remarked, “you could smear mayonnaise on an autistic kid’s face, and they’ll show improvement in behavior.” (eye roll)

    No, there was no changing her mind. She had read AFP, and is now a self-proclaimed expert on autism. She then very coldly informed me that if we were going to continue to see Dr. Krigsman, that we would need to find a new pediatrician, and showed us the door.

    There’s a lot more to that story, that I don’t want to get into, but I think you get the idea.

    So…not only do we have these difficulties with our autistic kids, we have to deal with condescending crap from the very people we should be counting on for HELP.

    And, yes, you can bet I filed a complaint.

  53. #53 Mike Stanton
    August 27, 2009

    Jen
    I asked for details of parents who were refused treatment before they went to Thoughtful House. Your account of your pediatrician’s behaviour is disturbing. I hope it is resolved. But I do not want to get into personal stories here. I am interested in cases that are a part of the public record.

  54. #54 DrWonderful
    August 27, 2009

    @Rogue- so true, so true.

  55. #55 passionlessDrone
    August 27, 2009

    Hi Trrl –

    Because this is kind of a straw man. We know, for example, that many people with autism are different genetically. In some cases, these differences are large, with big chunks of DNA missing. So we expect that there will be lots of differences, many of which will probably have little to do with the symptoms that define autism. So correlation simply is not very informative. It can be very hard to distinguish causes from consequences.

    I’m not sure we are talking about the same thing. In this instance, I wasn’t talking about causing autism, but rather, can we address the notion that there is no difference between children with autism and children without besides developmentally? In any case, it does strike me as funny how calmly this particular ‘genetic difference’ is glossed over. I wonder if this is because this particular difference is highly associated with autoinflammatory conditions.

    Have you read the Pediatrics MIF paper? Several measurements of behavioral severity correlated very strongly with circulating MIF levels. If the findings were random, it was a string of random findings that happened again and again by looking at values by a variety of measurements.

    We know that having a diagnosis of autism makes you more likely to have increased levels of MIF. Genetic analysis and clinical measurements both indicate this. Unless having autism is making you have promoter alleles, I don’t think we have to worry to much about correlation style problems. The fact that autism, and IBD are multifactorial does nothing to change this.

    Likewise, the relationship between MIF and inflammatory conditions like IBD seems very solid.

    Look at it this way, if we had chart values that only listed MIF values, but said nothing about autism diagnosis, we could still make predictions as towards if a patient was more or less likely to have IBD or other gastrointestinal problems. It just so happens, when we include autism diagnosis, people with more MIF also have autism more likely that people with less.

    For example, the GI system is very sensitive to stress. And autistic individuals frequently experience a great deal of stress in dealing with the world. So do some autistic people experience digestive problems because they have something wrong with their GI systems? Or just because they are upset a lot of the time?

    We are in complete agreement! However, this speaks towards my point in my opinion; one set of children (autistics) are known to experience a great deal of stress in dealing with the world; and we know that this physiological response causes problems with digestion. If causation is not our measurment of interest, but instead, rather, are there differences other than developmental between autism and non diagnosed, the answer again seems clear.

    - pD

  56. #56 Jen
    August 27, 2009

    “Can you give 5 positive things about your child?”

    1)He has the most stunning green eyes and long eyelashes. He is absolutely beautiful.

    2)His smile is sweet, and his laughter infectious.

    3)He is always nicely dressed, because he wears what I pick out for him. I do not need to worry about him going through a tattoo or nose-piercing phase.

    4)He loves cats.

    5)He is smarter than most people realize, and I am grateful to him for everything he has taught me.

    There is more, but you only asked for five, and my time is limited.

  57. #57 MI Dawn
    August 27, 2009

    @Jen: Thank you. I do love to read the positive things.

  58. #58 The Blind Watchmakerj
    August 27, 2009

    As a pediatrician, I am not optimistic that this will be helpful. I was interviewed by three different expectant mothers in the last few days (we often meet the new parents before the birth). Each one of them had questions about vaccines and were apprehensive about autism.

    I share Orac’s doubts that the facts and science behind this manufactured controversy will be presented as “the facts”. Often, the science is brought down to the level of the pseudoscience as if they represent two equal and competing positions. The science on this issue has been done to death. It has become akin to the Evolution vs. Creationism “debate”.

    I did my best to present the science to my the new parents. They seemed relieved and gracious for the information. I hope that this does not undermine their confidence.

  59. #59 a-non
    August 27, 2009

    Jen’s primary care doctor was right. Krigsman has a history of running afoul of medical boards, and his “research” is generally mediocre and unconvincing. Most of this pet theories are as discredited as Wakefield’s.

    Why a legitimate gastroenterologist would send a patient to him is beyond me.

  60. #60 Dr. P
    August 27, 2009

    Jen,

    Okay, I’ll give you an example …
    I’m sorry to hear about the difficulties with your pediatrician. I like to think that some of us are better than others perhaps in trying to help parents create a ‘game plan ‘specific to your chid .I’m sure that this isn’t your only negative association with doctors in general, but if you can remember that you didn’t have a problem because doctors are jerks, as much as perhaps you had a doctor who happened to be one. As society goes, so goes any subsegment of the population, including doctors; some great people, some idiots,I’ve met many for myself I wouldn’t give the time of day outside of a professional setting.It is upsetting to hear what could have been made easier for you wasn’t.The first unspoken rule is to listen to your subspecialists and object only with a damn good reason.

  61. #61 Dr. P
    August 27, 2009

    after seeing a-non’s post , no comment, don’t know enough of Krigsman to comment directly; I think the primary may have communicated more effectively in any case.

  62. #62 dugmaze
    August 27, 2009

    I feel your pain Jen.
    Unless your child has a specific condition that was taught in medical school, most doctors are clueless. Or they are scared to treat an area in which they have no expertise.
    We’ve jumped from doctor to doctor over the years. The only remedy that was offered for my autistic son’s gut issues were Miralax. For life.

    And people wonder why parents are losing trust in the medical community.

  63. #63 Navi
    August 28, 2009

    Yes, I just got told to wake up and stop being brainwashed by a friend who unfortunately has young children in public schools, re swine flu vaccines. Because you know, some random website that argues that the government owns pharmaceuticals and some random journalist in Austria are far more believable than peer reviewed medicine, because supposedly the US government owns most of the healthcare stock anyway (I’m afraid my friend is going a little bit insane, and taking his family right along with him…)

    (Oh, and my son does have ‘gut’ issues. they were diagnosed as disaccharidase deficiency – so a change in diet was in order for him, but it wasn’t caused by any vaccine, jut his genes)

  64. #64 Navi
    August 28, 2009

    Just read through the comments. Some autistic children do need endoscopies. Not because of the autism, but because of GI issues. My son has chronic diarrhea. After getting no where, an endoscopy with the purpose of obtaining a sample for biopsy was required. That’s when we learned he had the extremely rare condition of disaccharidase deficiency, and that he lacks all disaccharidases, rather than only one (lactose intolerance is a form of disaccharidase deficiency).

  65. #65 Heraclides
    August 28, 2009

    The program might just be a game changer

    In other words, they think that their “science” is best promoted via the media, presumably before they can’t succeed via scientific publications… If they can’t get the approval of scientific peers, then resorting to by-passing them and blowing a trumpet to the media is pretty low, basically a tactic admission of failure to my mind.

    Please do not attempt to contact them prior to the broadcast.

    Oh, come on. Scared of objective criticism spoiling your party?

    I agree that the MSM’s idea of “balanced” is tired, old, incorrect and badly in need of being replaced.

    @13 (Jen), these children are most definitely not being ignored by medicine (although that is probably a common “sales pitch” from some circles), what is being, and should be, ignored is unsound practice and unsound science.

  66. #66 Aj
    August 28, 2009

    Out of curiosity, can anyone provide an update on the BMA hearing?

    I understood it should be concluding about now.

  67. #67 Aj
    August 28, 2009

    or even better, the GMC hearing (doh).

  68. #68 cbe
    August 28, 2009

    Offit looks like he totally takes down wakefield in this full interview from what they showed in the preview on the today show. Offit destroyed every point Wakefield made, and all of the graphics used in the segment were pro-vaccine/science and headlines against Wakefield’s work. Offit also mentioned the disease outbreaks and deaths last year from VPDs, specifically mentioning the three hib deaths in southeastern Pa and the two in Minnesota.

  69. #69 Scott
    August 28, 2009

    Jen,

    From your account, it definitely sounds like that doctor’s manner was completely inappropriate, and I would definitely be inclined to file a formal complaint about it.

    In terms of the facts, though, she was entirely correct. Krigsman IS a quack who shouldn’t be trusted, she shouldn’t prescribe elemental formula until and unless SHE’S convinced it’s warranted (doing otherwise would be quite unethical), and autistic children DO improve over time regardless.

  70. #70 Luna_the_cat
    August 28, 2009

    Aj — coincidentally, I was just looking at that today. The “fitness to practice” hearings for Wakefield et al. continue through today (the 28th), but there don’t appear to be any days of testimony scheduled for September, so perhaps we will actually get a ruling soon.

    …If anyone knows anything else, please share…

  71. #71 Jen
    August 28, 2009

    “In terms of the facts, though, she was entirely correct.”

    No, she was not. Her decision was based solely on her *opinion* instead of the evidence that was presented, which makes her no better than Wakefield.

    Are streaking nodularity and circumferential rings in the esophagus normal findings? No they are not, and even a layperson could look at that evidence and conclude there was a problem, in addition to the laboratory evidence of occult blood in his stools and multiple food protein allergies. She does not have the knowledge or expertise to go over the head two highly qualified gastroenterologists and make decisions based on emotion. She was downright hateful, and it took every ounce of my self-control to keep from leaping across the room and clawing her eyes out.

    Fortunately, we are no longer with that HMO, so her “opinions” are no longer relevant.

  72. #72 Luna_the_cat
    August 28, 2009

    Incidentally, Jen: Krigsman has been the subject of disciplinary action in both Texas and Florida due to dodgy dealings (http://www.circare.org/pd/krigsman_20050916.pdf). He genuinely does NOT have a good medical reputation. I understand frustration and desperation driving you to anyone who promises to take you seriously, but there is a danger implicit in this.

    Doctors and scientists who are sure of their practice and data can be extremely brusque and dismissive, believing that “the data speaks for itself” and whoever doesn’t understand is simply not paying attention. On the other hand, people who are invested in unsupported treatments (or out-and-out fraud and snake oil) are generally aware that their data will not “speak for itself” — or if it does, it won’t say what they want — and so to ensure business they are sincere, sympathetic, helpful, concerned, friendly. And for most people, no, the data DOESN’T speak for itself, they lack the training and background that makes it intuitive for specialists; they are, in fact, looking for the human face of things and trusting it more.

    But it’s one of the oldest truths in the book: con men MUST get people to trust and cooperate with them, otherwise they starve.

    I think your ped could have handled it a lot better, but it is a frustration I’ve encountered in other doctors: seeing patients turn away from the harsh reality that modern medicine *can’t* fix everything or promise miracles, to follow quacks down the rabbit hole because quacks are sincere, appear helpful, promise help, “take people seriously.” This doesn’t mean that quacks are any less quackish or that the more science-based doctors are wrong about them, but yes, it has a huge feedback influence in the general public’s attitudes towards each, and the more mainstream docs get angry because they perceive actual harms resulting from it.

    Working within the mainstream medical community, yes, it can occasionally be very difficult to get someone to try different diagnosis and treatment options. There is something of a larger caution about trying unproven and unsupported treatments, perhaps. This is not *always* a bad thing.

  73. #73 Calli Arcale
    August 28, 2009

    “That doesn’t mean you should shove an endoscope down all of them.”

    Calli, you lose credibility when you make overly dramatic statements such as this. I can assure you that endoscopes are not “shoved” down every child that walks into Thoughtful House. There are many other ways that gut issues can be treated non-invasively, and all of them are exhausted before a consult to Dr. Krigsman is made.

    You’re right, my choice of words was poor. What I meant was speaking to was the fact that Andrew Wakefield et al allege that autism is largely caused by gut inflammation, ergo, they feel that all autistic children should be worked up for gut issues. Yet diagnosing gut issues in a non-verbal child is extremely difficult. Most of the time, it does come down to an invasive test of some kind, because there’s really only so much you can learn from stool samples. (Celiac sprue is diagnosed by biopsy, which is obtained from endoscopy or colonoscopy. GERD is diagnosed after dangling a sensor down the esophagus for several hours to figure out what that upper stomach valve is up to. Diverticulums have to be directly imaged. Etc.) I worry about unnecessarily subjecting too many kids to these tests. It’s expensive, for one thing, and raising an autistic child can get costly anyway. But more to the point, it’s unpleasant, and autistic kids don’t tend to tolerate discomfort as well as other kids. Potentially risky, too. One of the kids in Wakefield’s original study wound up with a perforated colon, a known risk of colonoscopy. So the kid needs to have a good chance of benefiting from the test before they get subjected to it, in my opinion, and I have concerns that Thoughtful House is too quick to recommend invasive tests. They also sell it as a treatment for autism, based on Wakefield’s premise that autism is caused by gut inflammation, and there’s no evidence to support that — but since they sell it, there is a profit motive for them, and that’s reason to pause and think about whether they’re being truly objective when they profit directly from the diagnosis. (You seem to be skeptical of the vaccine manufacturers — and rightly so — because they’re in it from profit. The same skepticism should apply to Thoughtful House as well, which is also in it for profit.)

    By all means, if a child has genuine gut issues, they should be treated. And certainly the child’s behavior will improve once they are treated, because they won’t be in pain anymore. And absolutely, digestive system issues tend to go undiagnosed for far too long, resulting in needless suffering. I’m not sure what the best solution for that is; I mean, gut issues go undiagnosed even in those who can speak for themselves. My aunt probably had GERD for decades (she certainly had symptoms) before she was finally diagnosed. Now she has Barrett’s Esophagus (an irreversible precancerous condition). I do think more research needs to be done into new ways of identifying these problems. It’s not going to be easy, and I don’t expect it to happen quickly. But heck, just thinking about how long it took to diagnose my cousin’s celiac sprue (originally misdiagnosed as meningitis) . . . she could’ve died, or had permanent intestinal damage. That’s scary to think about.

  74. #74 Science Mom
    August 28, 2009

    That Wakefield’s camp described the interview as “tough but fair” sets off alarm bells. To me, that is code for “Lauer lobbed softballs and perhaps, there were moments with minor discomfort”. I have no doubt that Wakefield would only be ‘persuaded’ to do the show if he had complete control over the questions. Something he couldn’t command for the OAP and coincidentally, didn’t appear at.

  75. #75 Jen
    August 28, 2009

    “There is something of a larger caution about trying unproven and unsupported treatments, perhaps.”

    Ordinarily, I’d agree with you. In fact, it was that lack of evidence that kept me from using the DAN! protocol in the years since his diagnosis. However, my son does not have the luxury of time. He is 15 years old, severely autistic, with testosterone surging through his growing body, and a tendency to become quite violent.

    I approach everything with caution, and I’m not in this for a “cure”. I expect no miracles. Chelation and HBOT do not interest me. The only thing that interests me is having him free from pain, and if he shows some cognitive improvements along the way, I’m happy. If he doesn’t, no worries. This is a quality of life issue for us.

  76. #76 Scott
    August 28, 2009

    She does not have the knowledge or expertise to go over the head two highly qualified gastroenterologists and make decisions based on emotion.

    Even your account doesn’t say she did anything of the sort. You haven’t indicated that the other GE even looked at the results, and calling Krigsman a highly qualified ANYTHING (other than liar, fraud, or fool) is laughable.

    Declining to come to conclusions without a usable endoscopy result (and nothing coming from Krigsman should be considered usable given his record) is entirely appropriate.

  77. #77 Interrobang
    August 28, 2009

    Navi — lactose intolerance isn’t a “deficiency” of anything; it’s the (historical) human norm. People who are lactase persistent have a particular mutation. I think statistically speaking, lactose intolerance is still more common than lactose persistance, although the gene for lactase persistence is apparently dominant and spreading rapidly.

  78. #78 cbe
    August 28, 2009

    @sciencemom:

    I wonder if Wakefield’s camp realized that Dr Offit would be spliced in to his (Wakefield’s) interview. If you watched the preview, every point that Wakefield made was countered by Offit, the interview switched over to Lauer with Offit to refute everything and to add evidence of growing concern for increases in VPDs as well as information on the studies out there against Wakefield.

  79. #79 Luna_the_cat
    August 28, 2009

    Jen: the severely autistic boy who I care for part-time is now 19. He did the testosterone surge and more violent period for 5-6 years (even as a kid we had too much hitting, this was merely exacerbated for a while), so believe me, I know what it’s like. Yes, quality of life and freedom from pain matters. A lot. And I applaud your decision NOT to go for things like DAN! and chelation, in the face of this.

    The good news is, our boy got nothing but time and consistency, and his behaviour has been really improving over the last couple of years. Better communication and engagement, MUCH less violence, much less inappropriately acting out sexually — he’s not incapable of learning, after all, and there are people he really cares about and depends on, and is sensitive to feedback from. But as has been repeated umpteen times before, autism is a disease of developmental *delay*, not developmental stasis; time alone helps. Personally, I think that the neural pruning which occurs towards the end of adolescence brings a lot of cognitive benefit to autistic kids.

    But to be honest, that only complicates things when it comes to evaluating treatments. People are very prone to placebo effect and confirmation bias under the best of circumstances. When it is a desperately emotional situation (as it is for many parents with ill and/or autistic kids), and when time itself can lend reality to perceived improvements, it becomes hard for people who really need medical practices which take them seriously to distinguish between real effect and hopeful snake oil. And this is where many real, mainstream doctors completely lose their rag with Wakefield, Krigsman et al., because they see them taking advantage of that fact for pure profit, and giving out false information in the process.

    If you got real help, please believe me, I’m really, really glad. But then I see the other side of Krigsman, and I can’t ignore things like:

    After studying the extensive evidence in this case for many months, I am convinced that the reports and advice given to the Cedillos by Dr. Krigsman and some other physicians, advising the Cedillos that there is a causal connection between Michelle’s MMR vaccination and her chronic conditions, have been very wrong. Unfortunately, the Cedillos have been misled by physicians who are guilty, in my view, of gross medical misjudgment. Nevertheless, I can understand why the Cedillos found such reports and advice to be believable under the circumstances. I conclude that the Cedillos filed this Program claim in good faith.

    (Office of Special Masters 98-916V pages 173-174)

    I prefer to see patient advocacy groups pushing for reform of practice within science-based and mainstream medicine, to deal with patient concerns at the level and with the time and seriousness that people need to see, rather than seeing people forced outside mainstream for help.

  80. #80 Scott
    August 28, 2009

    Oh, and just to keep things clear – the described *attitude* is entirely unacceptable; I don’t dispute that. My point is limited to the correctness of the conclusions, NOT to how they were conveyed.

  81. #81 Sid Offit
    August 28, 2009

    I just saw Offit embarrass himself once again on national television. He’s becoming quite a spectacle:

    We’ve seen outbreaks of whooping couch in the last ten years like we’ve never seen before

    He must be getting his information from Nancy Snyderman these days. 100,000 cases in the 50s and 26,000 during the resurgence. Outbreaks like we’ve never seen before??????

    Wakefield looked cool and calm while Offit appeared tense, agitated and on the verge of tears when speaking about all the “damage” Wakefield has caused

  82. #82 Sid Offit
    August 28, 2009

    You guys would do better with Al Roker as your go to guy on vaccines

  83. #83 T. Bruce McNeely
    August 28, 2009

    Sid:

    100,000 cases in the 50s and 26,000 during the resurgence. Outbreaks like we’ve never seen before??????

    Yes, if you were born after the 50′s. And over what time span in each case?

    Wakefield looked cool and calm
    while Offit appeared tense, agitated and on the verge of tears when speaking about all the “damage” Wakefield has caused

    Well, why not? When I consider what the anti-vax nuts are doing, I too get “tense, agitated and on the verge of tears”.
    BTW, one of the characteristics of psychopathy is appearing cool and calm under pressure – just sayin’…

  84. #84 Scott
    August 28, 2009

    On a related note, I just read the best short description of the vaccine manufactroversy I’ve ever seen in the mainstream media. From the Aug.22 issue of The Economist:

    “Vaccination against [measles] has become controversial in effete Western circles because of the malign effects of one or two hysterically reported scientific studies which reported (wrongly, it is now believed) that the vaccine might occasionally be hazardous.”

    At least some publications get it.

  85. #85 Science Mom
    August 28, 2009

    cbe #78

    @sciencemom:

    I wonder if Wakefield’s camp realized that Dr Offit would be spliced in to his (Wakefield’s) interview. If you watched the preview, every point that Wakefield made was countered by Offit, the interview switched over to Lauer with Offit to refute everything and to add evidence of growing concern for increases in VPDs as well as information on the studies out there against Wakefield.

    I can’t imagine that Wakers would do this without considerable control over the questions and content. The AoA crowd that worships Wakers and dismiss any refuting evidence have deluded themselves into believing that Dr. Offit is the Voldemort of vaccines and warrant him incredulous, perhaps they project that delusion onto the viewing audience. We shall see after Sunday evening won’t we?

  86. #86 Autism Mom
    August 28, 2009

    Sir, you are an idiot. I hope autism creeps into your family and devastates your world like it has all of ours.

  87. #87 Andrew
    August 28, 2009

    “Sir, you are an idiot. I hope autism creeps into your family and devastates your world like it has all of ours.”

    Ah the sweet reason and lovingkindness of the antivax liar. Truly a light shining in the darkness. If you grow up, you will be ashamed of your lies and your hatefulness. I’ll pray for you.

  88. #88 Jen
    August 28, 2009

    “Even your account doesn’t say she did anything of the sort. You haven’t indicated that the other GE even looked at the results, and calling Krigsman a highly qualified ANYTHING (other than liar, fraud, or fool) is laughable.”

    Scott, it appears as though your mind is made up already, but I should clarify…the other GE moved out of state to start a new practice prior to my son’s endoscopy, so no, he did not view Krigsman’s findings.

    However, do you really think that he would have risked his own credibility and written that letter requesting authorization for Dr. Krigsman to perform the procedure if he had had any doubts whatsoever about his abilities and expertise?

  89. #89 Scott
    August 28, 2009

    Scott, it appears as though your mind is made up already, but I should clarify…the other GE moved out of state to start a new practice prior to my son’s endoscopy, so no, he did not view Krigsman’s findings.

    You shouldn’t have implied that he agreed with Krigsman then.

    However, do you really think that he would have risked his own credibility and written that letter requesting authorization for Dr. Krigsman to perform the procedure if he had had any doubts whatsoever about his abilities and expertise?

    Given that you apparently specifically requested Krigsman, and I suspect rather forcefully, yes. As a matter of fact, I do.

  90. #90 Luna_the_cat
    August 28, 2009

    Jen, do you have a reason to believe that your GE knew who Krigsman was, or knew anything of Krigsman’s background? Or was his sole knowledge “someone who does endoscopic scans of the GI tract”?

    Many practitioner do not have time to keep track of all the “personalities” out there, even in their area. It is possible that he checked as far as “holds a valid medical license, practices in the relevant area” and left it at that.

  91. #91 Jen
    August 28, 2009

    “Jen, do you have a reason to believe that your GE knew who Krigsman was, or knew anything of Krigsman’s background?”

    Yes, I do. We discussed my son’s history and what we were doing at Thoughtful House in depth with him, and he also viewed some of the pertinent laboratory results ordered by Dr. Krigsman. He was thrilled and happy for us that my son was showing such remarkable improvement. Nothing was “forced.”

    The wording of the letter reads as follows: “(personal info omitted)…I am writing a letter regarding ________ who has a history of abdominal pain, most likely associated with autism. He has seen Dr. Krigsman who is a pediatric gastroenterologist at Thoughtful House in Austin. Dr. Krigsman is an expert in gastrointestinal manifestations of autism, and the patient’s mother would like endoscopy to be performed by Dr. Krigsman. I agree with this decision. Please provide authorization so that _______ can have endoscopy be performed by Dr. Krigsman who does specialized testing for autistic children. This type of testing is not done by ___________ Hospital.”

    Draw your own conclusions.

  92. #92 Luna_the_cat
    August 28, 2009

    Thank you, Jen; from seeing that, yes, I can draw my own conclusions. Sadly, it is that this individual also believes that there is some form of “abdominal pain, most likely associated with autism” which is specially associated with autism per se, or such a thing as “gastrointestinal manifestations of autism” like Wakefield’s purported “autistic gastroenteritis.”

    This isn’t actually a conclusion supported by the vast majority of decent modern studies, although the idea had credibility for a while. Well designed population studies haven’t turned up any genuine evidence that there are higher incidences of GI problems in autistic than in non-autistic kids (especially when other forms of developmental disorder are included in test populations), or that there are any special forms of GI problems associated with autism. Yes, many autistic kids have GI issues; generally, just as many non-autistic kids do too. See for example http://tinyurl.com/m28juq or http://tinyurl.com/l9ptvo (both those are links to paper abstracts on PubMed).

    Already being sympathetic to Wakefield, and/or holding an outdated or non-mainstream, poorly supported view himself would explain why your GE was willing to refer you to another non-mainstream doctor with poorly-supported theories, though.

    I’m sorry, it doesn’t actually increase Krigsman’s credibility that there are other GE specialists sympathetic; lousy data and wrong advice is still lousy data and wrong advice, even if and when there is a fan following. Just look at the NaturalNews “vitamins cure cancer” crowd for evidence of what I mean.

    Like I said, I’m glad you feel it helped, but in a wider sense, Krigsman pushes things which really don’t help people (see the judgement against the Cedillo case I link to above), and this is why mainstream medical professionals get snarky about it.

  93. #93 Jen
    August 28, 2009

    Luna, we’ll just have to agree to disagree. :)

  94. #94 trrll
    August 28, 2009

    I’m not sure we are talking about the same thing. In this instance, I wasn’t talking about causing autism, but rather, can we address the notion that there is no difference between children with autism and children without besides developmentally?

    Again, why would we want to address this? I’ve never encountered any autism researcher who believes this, so it strikes me as an utter straw man. If, as seems most likely, autism is due to a genetic defect that affects development, it is likely that it will have effects in multiple cell types and on multiple biochemical measures, even if all of the significant clinical manifestations are due to disruption of brain development.

    Have you read the Pediatrics MIF paper? Several measurements of behavioral severity correlated very strongly with circulating MIF levels. If the findings were random, it was a string of random findings that happened again and again by looking at values by a variety of measurements.

    Who suggested that the findings were random? There are many ways such a correlation could arise. To give just a few examples:
    1. Developmental processes affecting the brain and regulation of MIF are both affected by the same gene. (common cause but functionally unrelated)
    2. A gene that affects MIF is physically close to a gene that affects brain development, so that they tend to assort together (real but coincidental).
    3. MIF could have a role in brain development that is distinct from its role in inflammation. Its elevation in the plasma of some autistic individuals could be a factor in their autism, but have no relationship to IBD. No evidence is presented for bowel disease in the subjects with elevated plasma MIF. (real but functionally unrelated).
    4. Autism causes stress, and stress hormones influence MIF levels. There is evidence to support this. (indirect consequence)

    Look at it this way, if we had chart values that only listed MIF values, but said nothing about autism diagnosis, we could still make predictions as towards if a patient was more or less likely to have IBD or other gastrointestinal problems. It just so happens, when we include autism diagnosis, people with more MIF also have autism more likely that people with less.

    Here you are making an argument of the form
    A implies C
    B implies C
    Therefore A implies B
    (where A = autism, B = bowel disease, and C = elevated plasma MIF)

    This is a fallacy. It is quite possible, for example, that MIF could be elevated in both IBD and autism, but that autistic people are not at elevated risk of IBD.

  95. #95 pregunta
    August 28, 2009

    @86 –

    Autism is *genetic* – if the genes don’t run in his family, it’s not likely to “creep in”.
    Look into some kind of care for yourself (respite, psychological, etc.) to help you deal with your incredible anger. If you were able to use that force toward good, you could effect positive change, instead of discrediting your cause. .

    As for me, I’m hardly neurotypical (dx very high functioning Aspergers, bipolar disorder, and ADHD), but I don’t have time to be angry about it. It’s much easier to take positive action to better my situation.

  96. #96 Javier Cordoba
    August 29, 2009

    I believ that clamping babys cord early is cause of Autismo and I believ vaccine are the environmental insult that trigers Autismo later in a baby that did no get his own full cord stem cells because o early clamping.

    Before any yous shout at me, go to pubmed.gov and do many searches for cord clamping early and cord clamping late and see research for yourselfs.

    No bueno medical reason to clamp cord early and no gran studies to demostrar clamping right away provides gran medical benefitio so why come we do it? In Centro America we clamp sooner now than before but not as pronto as America and we have less Autismo but its gran more than before we clamp so early.

  97. #97 passionlessDrone
    August 29, 2009

    Hi Trrl –

    Again, why would we want to address this? I’ve never encountered any autism researcher who believes this, so it strikes me as an utter straw man.

    Aha! Please see response #18, where MI Dawn said:

    For goodness’ sake, QUIT with the lying that only autistic children have gut problems, or that they are ANY different, except for developmentally, than other children.

    I’m not sure if MI Dawn believes / believed it was a strawman. (?)

    Who suggested that the findings were random? There are many ways such a correlation could arise. To give just a few examples:
    1. Developmental processes affecting the brain and regulation of MIF are both affected by the same gene. (common cause but functionally unrelated)

    But we knew exactly which alleles they were looking at in this study; promoter genes for MIF. There is a possibility that this particular gene also affects the brain; but there seems to be precious little literature on this. Indeed, pubmed searches involving MIF and the brain are all about the immune response. Indeed, one would believe that our existing knowledge of MIF and immunity would have turned up something previously concerning developmental trajectories and MIF; yet for some reason, this evidence doesn’t seem to exist. Have you seen any studies that indicate there might be mechanisms the genes studied in Pediatrics, known to have strong associations to autoimmune conditions, also have impacts on brain development?

    2. A gene that affects MIF is physically close to a gene that affects brain development, so that they tend to assort together (real but coincidental).

    OK. But again, we observed changes to known promoter genes. And unless we have a reason to believe that this promoter acts differently in regards towards an exaggerated immune response and GI problems like IBD, in autism, and autism only, I don’t see how this helps much.

    3. MIF could have a role in brain development that is distinct from its role in inflammation.

    This is possible, but again, I’m struggling to see a reason why we’d know so much about MIF in regards to classically identified autoimmune disorders, and nothing about its impact on brain development. Maybe this is an artifact of my poor searching abilities; do you have any evidence that MIF is associated with brain development by means distinct from its role in inflammation?

    Its elevation in the plasma of some autistic individuals could be a factor in their autism, but have no relationship to IBD. No evidence is presented for bowel disease in the subjects with elevated plasma MIF. (real but functionally unrelated).

    What about this study?

    Amelioration of dextran sulfate sodium-induced colitis by anti-macrophage migration inhibitory factor antibody in mice

    Not only did chemically induced colitis amerliorate with introduction of anti-mif in animal models, but in fact, plasma levels between people with UC and IBD were found to be increased compared to people without:

    Plasma MIF was elevated in patients with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis compared with healthy controls.

    In any case, the argument here teeters on a particularly fragile precipice, that MIF is our only point of knowledge regarding inflammation and IBD. But that isn’t true; the literature regarding a role of inflammation in IBD is large, and difficult to assail. Likewise, our knowledge concerning the effect of MIF on inflammation, promotion, is also very large. You don’t need to just argue that MIF isn’t associated with IBD, but indeed, that a proinflammatory state isn’t associated with IBD; and this is a very problematic case to make.

    4. Autism causes stress, and stress hormones influence MIF levels. There is evidence to support this. (indirect consequence)

    This points towards my argument again; that kids with autism are different in ways other than developmentally, and this difference in fact, predisposes them towards a pro-inflammatory state. With that tendency towards inflammation comes risk with other diseases, among which, is IBD. Also, stress levels aren’t giving kids known promoter alleles at increased frequency.

    Here you are making an argument of the form
    A implies C
    B implies C
    Therefore A implies B
    (where A = autism, B = bowel disease, and C = elevated plasma MIF)

    Can I replace C with ‘tendency towards inflammation’? Because that’s what MIF does, increases inflammation; and what’s more, there are plenty of ways to get there besides MIF, and we’ve got loads of clinical evidence for that in autism as well.

    It is quite possible, for example, that MIF could be elevated in both IBD and autism, but that autistic people are not at elevated risk of IBD.

    For this to be true, we need a reason for all of our knowledge concerning either:

    1) The effects on MIF regarding tendency towards an inflammatory state to be wrong, or wrong in autism specifically.

    2) The effects of a tendency towards inflammatory state in regards to IBD to be wrong.

    I don’t see any of that in what you’ve provided. Both arguments need logical leaps; one argument mandates that a vast amount of existing knowledge regarding MIF, inflammation, and gut diseases are incorrect, the other argument asserts that there may be reasons the correlation is spurious, but no existing knowledge to rely on.

    I am enjoying this conversation.

    - pD

  98. #98 AlisonH
    August 29, 2009

    I have a niece who nearly died of a chiari malformation before it was diagnosed and operated on. She’s got some brain damage and is a bit different, but she’s a sweet kid (with the occasional meltdown) who will definitely look you in the eye and who knows who you are and that you’re a person and that you’re there.

    She needed special ed help and services at the school and was not getting them. Well. Her doctor labeled her autistic. Ah, now the school has a legal mechanism to meet her needs.

    Granted, I’m looking through our family’s particular lens, but I personally think the epidemic is more a legal one than a medical one.

  99. #99 trrll
    August 29, 2009

    Aha! Please see response #18, where MI Dawn said:

    For goodness’ sake, QUIT with the lying that only autistic children have gut problems, or that they are ANY different, except for developmentally, than other children.

    She’s talking about medical differences, not subtle biochemical shifts in levels of particular proteins. In fact there is not good evidence that autistic children are more prone to gut problems, although it is plausible that they might be. After all, the gut has a nervous system, too, so if there is a developmental issue related to nervous system development, it could plausibly effect the enteric nervous system as well as the CNS, with no need to invoke hypotheses about the immune system.

    But we knew exactly which alleles they were looking at in this study; promoter genes for MIF. There is a possibility that this particular gene also affects the brain; but there seems to be precious little literature on this. Indeed, pubmed searches involving MIF and the brain are all about the immune response.

    You haven’t looked very hard, then. There are multiple reports of MIF having effects on neurons that have nothing to do with the immune response. Biology is full of factors that were originally named for their effect on one system, but that turned out to have more important effects somewhere else. MIF is widely expressed all over the body, including in brain. When it comes to factors that affect things like cell migration, the safe assumption is that they will have multiple roles. Biology has a tendency to find multiple uses for things that work.

    OK. But again, we observed changes to known promoter genes. And unless we have a reason to believe that this promoter acts differently in regards towards an exaggerated immune response and GI problems like IBD, in autism, and autism only, I don’t see how this helps much.

    Association in genetic studies does not mean functional association. Two genes that are close together will tend to correlate simply on the basis of proximity. So the MIF promoter changes could merely be a marker for something else entirely.

    Not only did chemically induced colitis amerliorate with introduction of anti-mif in animal models, but in fact, plasma levels between people with UC and IBD were found to be increased compared to people without:

    However, one cannot from this conclude that elevation of MIF is sufficient to cause gut problems. That’s the problem with correlation.

    In any case, the argument here teeters on a particularly fragile precipice, that MIF is our only point of knowledge regarding inflammation and IBD. But that isn’t true; the literature regarding a role of inflammation in IBD is large, and difficult to assail.

    Who’s assailing it? MIF certainly affects macrophage migration. That doesn’t mean that is the only thing that it does.

    Can I replace C with ‘tendency towards inflammation’?

    No. This is another logical fallacy, known as “assuming the conclusion.” We have no evidence that autism implies a tendency towards inflammation.

    For this to be true, we need a reason for all of our knowledge concerning either:

    1) The effects on MIF regarding tendency towards an inflammatory state to be wrong, or wrong in autism specifically.

    2) The effects of a tendency towards inflammatory state in regards to IBD to be wrong.

    Not necessarily. In fact, while changes in MIF can alter the course of an existing inflammation, there is no evidence that high plasma MIF results in inflammation. So you are drawing conclusions based on multiple correlations. Once again, it is fallacious to argue that because
    A implies C, and because
    B implies C,
    that A implies B

    To make this conclusion, you need to show that C implies B–for example, that elevation of plasma MIF comparable to that observed in autistic patients is sufficient to cause IBD. It strikes me as very far-fetched.

  100. #100 a.t.
    August 30, 2009

    No one at this site, the author included, has definitive evidence either way. THAT cannot be refuted. All of the ‘studies showing no link’ have been ripped apart for methodology and limitations. The same can be said for the ‘studies on the other side’ as well. The biggest reason that this debate rages on is for one reason: many, many of these kids are getting better because of the treatment they are receiving not only from Thoughtful House, but other clinics all over the country employing the same treatment protocols. If no one got better then this debate would SURELY fizzle out.

  101. #101 rich
    August 30, 2009

    I approach this subject from a different angle. I have watched the pharmaceutical companies for a long time from an investment perspective. Anyone who thinks that they are purely honest, scientific people and everything they do is for the good of customers and patients is deceiving themselves.

  102. #102 anon
    August 30, 2009

    @Trrll,

    I’ve been watching your discussion with pD….you said:

    Biology is full of factors that were originally named for their effect on one system, but that turned out to have more important effects somewhere else.

    I agree. Seems foolish to accept such the concept that Autism, being multifactoral in nature, is purely genetic.

  103. #103 trrll
    August 30, 2009

    No one at this site, the author included, has definitive evidence either way. THAT cannot be refuted. All of the ‘studies showing no link’ have been ripped apart for methodology and limitations. The same can be said for the ‘studies on the other side’ as well.

    This is false equivalence. While it is certainly true that virtually every scientific study ever done has some kind of methodological flaws or limitations, that does not mean that one study is as good as another, or that evidence cannot be definitive. While almost every study has some flaws or limitations, much of the time they are irrelevant to the conclusions. It is rare indeed, however, for a study to be as flagrantly bad as those of Wakefield, for example, where

    1. The PCR methodology was shown not to include a basic “negative control,” which is essential for a study to have any validity at all.

    2. The conclusions were disavowed by other authors and laboratory members on the grounds that they did not accurately describe the results.

    3. Other studies, with improved methodology failed to replicate any of Wakefield’s conclusions

    4. Wakefield had multiple undeclared financial conflicts of interest.

    5. Multiple findings contrary to the study’s conclusions were not acknowledged.

  104. #104 trrll
    August 30, 2009

    Seems foolish to accept such the concept that Autism, being multifactoral in nature, is purely genetic.

    And indeed, autism researchers are open to the possibility of other factors. While the existing evidence overwhelmingly indicates that autism is primarily due to a genetic defect, the possibility that other factors could influence the severity of the disorder remains open. While the twin concordance for autism is extremely high, a very strong indicator of a disease that is primarily genetic, identical twins may vary in the severity of symptoms. This does not necessarily indicate an environmental influence, because some purely genetic disorders, such as Rett syndrome, can also show this kind of variance (even identical twins are not identical in every particular), but it remains a possibility. The fact is that we live in a sea of chemicals. Virtually every chemical substance ever made or used by man can be found in the human body at some level. Moreover, viral diseases evolve with time, and modern travel exposes people to a much greater range of pathogens than was true in the past. So there are literally tens of thousands of suspects, and not much reason to favor one over another. Very few have been excluded as definitively as, say, thimerosal. Perhaps when the genetic causes of autism are elucidated, we will be in a better position to evaluate possible environmental influences.

  105. #105 cbe
    August 30, 2009

    Anyone watch? what did you think?

  106. #106 Orac
    August 30, 2009

    I’ll have a post on the show tomorrow AM. I just watched it. Annoying, for the most part.

  107. #107 cbe
    August 30, 2009

    Lauer missed big opportunities to grill Wakefield. In the segment with Deer, he quotes the part of the patent that claims it would eliminate the need for MMR. When Wakefield claims that the patent was for a treatment for people already with measles who couldn’t clear the virus, Lauer doesn’t call him on it and quote the part of the patent to Wakefield.

    soft ball for sure.

  108. #108 Jay Gordon, MD, FAAP
    August 30, 2009

    Another point of curiosity on my part:

    I understand that there’s no proof that vaccines cause autism. But, how does a real scientist deny the possibility that there could be a connection? I really have never comprehended that lack of curiosity.

    Looking forward to watching the Lauer show.

    Best,

    Jay

  109. #109 cbe
    August 30, 2009

    lack of curiosity? how could you possibly classify a subject that has been studied so many times as suffering from ‘lack of curiosity’ on the part of scientists?

  110. #110 a-non
    August 30, 2009

    Anyone who thinks that they are purely honest, scientific people and everything they do is for the good of customers and patients is deceiving themselves.

    I don’t think any normal person believes drug companies are entirely benevolent and trustworthy.

    That does not mean that vaccines cause autism.

  111. #111 Laurie
    August 30, 2009

    Rob over at Science-Based Parenting just watched it and concluded that Dateline dropped the ball…

    Dateline’s Dose of Controversy is an Opportunity Missed

  112. #112 BA
    August 30, 2009

    Fox news could have done this “fair and balanced” take. Very poor job, equating the evidence on “two sides of the controversy” is, in fact, Bu!!sh!t.

  113. #113 Orac
    August 30, 2009

    But, how does a real scientist deny the possibility that there could be a connection? I really have never comprehended that lack of curiosity.

    Massive straw man argument. No one has denied the “possibility” that there could be a connection. What we have said is that the evidence is overwhelmingly against a connection, so much so that further study is not a wise use of our limited research dollars. Moreover, what we have said is that the evidence does not support the contention that vaccines (or mercury in vaccines or whatever) are responsible for an “autism epidemic.”

    Let’s put it this way. It’s possible that AIDS is not cause by HIV, but the evidence is so overwhelmingly against it that there’s no practical justification for spending much effort in that direction. As an extreme example, it’s also possible that there is a celestial teapot circling the sun between Earth and Mars. Does that mean we should spend money looking for it?

  114. #114 Kim AutismMom
    August 30, 2009

    I have tears in my eyes as I read these blogs. I have a 4 yr old son, Brandon. I watched him stop speaking and regress into autism right after having the MMR shot. At the same time, he became chronically constipated due to bowel dysbiosis. I waited 35 years to have a child and I watched this tragedy happen before my own eyes. None of you can possibly understand the PAIN of losing your child to this disease. And it IS A DISEASE!!! I can only thank Doctors like Andrew Wakefield everyday for thinking outside the box. He is right on and unless you live it, you dont know. We are multidosing our children and not all can handle the assault. And by the way…..Brandon has high toxic levels of alluminum in his body, an adjuvant used in vaccines. It just happened to replace the mercury in 2002. Nice way to shut up worried parents, dont you think?

  115. #115 Kim AutismMom
    August 30, 2009

    I have tears in my eyes as I read these blogs. I have a 4 yr old son, Brandon. I watched him stop speaking and regress into autism right after having the MMR shot. At the same time, he became chronically constipated due to bowel dysbiosis. I waited 35 years to have a child and I watched this tragedy happen before my own eyes. None of you can possibly understand the PAIN of losing your child to this disease. And it IS A DISEASE!!! I can only thank Doctors like Andrew Wakefield everyday for thinking outside the box. He is right on and unless you live it, you dont know. We are multidosing our children and not all can handle the assault. And by the way…..Brandon has high toxic levels of alluminum in his body, an adjuvant used in vaccines. It just happened to replace the mercury in 2002. Nice way to shut up worried parents, dont you think?

  116. #116 Kim AutismMom
    August 30, 2009

    I have tears in my eyes as I read these blogs. I have a 4 yr old son, Brandon. I watched him stop speaking and regress into autism right after having the MMR shot. At the same time, he became chronically constipated due to bowel dysbiosis. I waited 35 years to have a child and I watched this tragedy happen before my own eyes. None of you can possibly understand the PAIN of losing your child to this disease. And it IS A DISEASE!!! I can only thank Doctors like Andrew Wakefield everyday for thinking outside the box. He is right on and unless you live it, you dont know. We are multidosing our children and not all can handle the assault. And by the way…..Brandon has high toxic levels of alluminum in his body, an adjuvant used in vaccines. It just happened to replace the mercury in 2002. Nice way to shut up worried parents, dont you think?

  117. #117 Kim AutismMom
    August 30, 2009

    I have tears in my eyes as I read these blogs. I have a 4 yr old son, Brandon. I watched him stop speaking and regress into autism right after having the MMR shot. At the same time, he became chronically constipated due to bowel dysbiosis. I waited 35 years to have a child and I watched this tragedy happen before my own eyes. None of you can possibly understand the PAIN of losing your child to this disease. And it IS A DISEASE!!! I can only thank Doctors like Andrew Wakefield everyday for thinking outside the box. He is right on and unless you live it, you dont know. We are multidosing our children and not all can handle the assault. And by the way…..Brandon has high toxic levels of alluminum in his body, an adjuvant used in vaccines. It just happened to replace the mercury in 2002. Nice way to shut up worried parents, dont you think?

  118. #118 Kim AutismMom
    August 30, 2009

    I have tears in my eyes as I read these blogs. I have a 4 yr old son, Brandon. I watched him stop speaking and regress into autism right after having the MMR shot. At the same time, he became chronically constipated due to bowel dysbiosis. I waited 35 years to have a child and I watched this tragedy happen before my own eyes. None of you can possibly understand the PAIN of losing your child to this disease. And it IS A DISEASE!!! I can only thank Doctors like Andrew Wakefield everyday for thinking outside the box. He is right on and unless you live it, you dont know. We are multidosing our children and not all can handle the assault. And by the way…..Brandon has high toxic levels of alluminum in his body, an adjuvant used in vaccines. It just happened to replace the mercury in 2002. Nice way to shut up worried parents, dont you think?

  119. #119 Kim AutismMom
    August 30, 2009

    I have tears in my eyes as I read these blogs. I have a 4 yr old son, Brandon. I watched him stop speaking and regress into autism right after having the MMR shot. At the same time, he became chronically constipated due to bowel dysbiosis. I waited 35 years to have a child and I watched this tragedy happen before my own eyes. None of you can possibly understand the PAIN of losing your child to this disease. And it IS A DISEASE!!! I can only thank Doctors like Andrew Wakefield everyday for thinking outside the box. He is right on and unless you live it, you dont know. We are multidosing our children and not all can handle the assault. And by the way…..Brandon has high toxic levels of alluminum in his body, an adjuvant used in vaccines. It just happened to replace the mercury in 2002. Nice way to shut up worried parents, dont you think?

  120. #120 Kim AutismMom
    August 30, 2009

    I have tears in my eyes as I read these blogs. I have a 4 yr old son, Brandon. I watched him stop speaking and regress into autism right after having the MMR shot. At the same time, he became chronically constipated due to bowel dysbiosis. I waited 35 years to have a child and I watched this tragedy happen before my own eyes. None of you can possibly understand the PAIN of losing your child to this disease. And it IS A DISEASE!!! I can only thank Doctors like Andrew Wakefield everyday for thinking outside the box. He is right on and unless you live it, you dont know. We are multidosing our children and not all can handle the assault. And by the way…..Brandon has high toxic levels of alluminum in his body, an adjuvant used in vaccines. It just happened to replace the mercury in 2002. Nice way to shut up worried parents, dont you think?

  121. #121 Kim AutismMom
    August 30, 2009

    I have tears in my eyes as I read these blogs. I have a 4 yr old son, Brandon. I watched him stop speaking and regress into autism right after having the MMR shot. At the same time, he became chronically constipated due to bowel dysbiosis. I waited 35 years to have a child and I watched this tragedy happen before my own eyes. None of you can possibly understand the PAIN of losing your child to this disease. And it IS A DISEASE!!! I can only thank Doctors like Andrew Wakefield everyday for thinking outside the box. He is right on and unless you live it, you dont know. We are multidosing our children and not all can handle the assault. And by the way…..Brandon has high toxic levels of alluminum in his body, an adjuvant used in vaccines. It just happened to replace the mercury in 2002. Nice way to shut up worried parents, dont you think?

  122. #122 Kim AutismMom
    August 30, 2009

    I have tears in my eyes as I read these blogs. I have a 4 yr old son, Brandon. I watched him stop speaking and regress into autism right after having the MMR shot. At the same time, he became chronically constipated due to bowel dysbiosis. I waited 35 years to have a child and I watched this tragedy happen before my own eyes. None of you can possibly understand the PAIN of losing your child to this disease. And it IS A DISEASE!!! I can only thank Doctors like Andrew Wakefield everyday for thinking outside the box. He is right on and unless you live it, you dont know. We are multidosing our children and not all can handle the assault. And by the way…..Brandon has high toxic levels of alluminum in his body, an adjuvant used in vaccines. It just happened to replace the mercury in 2002. Nice way to shut up worried parents, dont you think?

  123. #123 Kim AutismMom
    August 30, 2009

    I have tears in my eyes as I read these blogs. I have a 4 yr old son, Brandon. I watched him stop speaking and regress into autism right after having the MMR shot. At the same time, he became chronically constipated due to bowel dysbiosis. I waited 35 years to have a child and I watched this tragedy happen before my own eyes. None of you can possibly understand the PAIN of losing your child to this disease. And it IS A DISEASE!!! I can only thank Doctors like Andrew Wakefield everyday for thinking outside the box. He is right on and unless you live it, you dont know. We are multidosing our children and not all can handle the assault. And by the way…..Brandon has high toxic levels of alluminum in his body, an adjuvant used in vaccines. It just happened to replace the mercury in 2002. Nice way to shut up worried parents, dont you think?

  124. #124 Kim AutismMom
    August 30, 2009

    I have tears in my eyes as I read these blogs. I have a 4 yr old son, Brandon. I watched him stop speaking and regress into autism right after having the MMR shot. At the same time, he became chronically constipated due to bowel dysbiosis. I waited 35 years to have a child and I watched this tragedy happen before my own eyes. None of you can possibly understand the PAIN of losing your child to this disease. And it IS A DISEASE!!! I can only thank Doctors like Andrew Wakefield everyday for thinking outside the box. He is right on and unless you live it, you dont know. We are multidosing our children and not all can handle the assault. And by the way…..Brandon has high toxic levels of alluminum in his body, an adjuvant used in vaccines. It just happened to replace the mercury in 2002. Nice way to shut up worried parents, dont you think?

  125. #125 Kim AutismMom
    August 30, 2009

    I have tears in my eyes as I read these blogs. I have a 4 yr old son, Brandon. I watched him stop speaking and regress into autism right after having the MMR shot. At the same time, he became chronically constipated due to bowel dysbiosis. I waited 35 years to have a child and I watched this tragedy happen before my own eyes. None of you can possibly understand the PAIN of losing your child to this disease. And it IS A DISEASE!!! I can only thank Doctors like Andrew Wakefield everyday for thinking outside the box. He is right on and unless you live it, you dont know. We are multidosing our children and not all can handle the assault. And by the way…..Brandon has high toxic levels of alluminum in his body, an adjuvant used in vaccines. It just happened to replace the mercury in 2002. Nice way to shut up worried parents, dont you think?

  126. #126 Kim AutismMom
    August 30, 2009

    I have tears in my eyes as I read these blogs. I have a 4 yr old son, Brandon. I watched him stop speaking and regress into autism right after having the MMR shot. At the same time, he became chronically constipated due to bowel dysbiosis. I waited 35 years to have a child and I watched this tragedy happen before my own eyes. None of you can possibly understand the PAIN of losing your child to this disease. And it IS A DISEASE!!! I can only thank Doctors like Andrew Wakefield everyday for thinking outside the box. He is right on and unless you live it, you dont know. We are multidosing our children and not all can handle the assault. And by the way…..Brandon has high toxic levels of alluminum in his body, an adjuvant used in vaccines. It just happened to replace the mercury in 2002. Nice way to shut up worried parents, dont you think?

  127. #127 Kim AutismMom
    August 30, 2009

    I have tears in my eyes as I read these blogs. I have a 4 yr old son, Brandon. I watched him stop speaking and regress into autism right after having the MMR shot. At the same time, he became chronically constipated due to bowel dysbiosis. I waited 35 years to have a child and I watched this tragedy happen before my own eyes. None of you can possibly understand the PAIN of losing your child to this disease. And it IS A DISEASE!!! I can only thank Doctors like Andrew Wakefield everyday for thinking outside the box. He is right on and unless you live it, you dont know. We are multidosing our children and not all can handle the assault. And by the way…..Brandon has high toxic levels of alluminum in his body, an adjuvant used in vaccines. It just happened to replace the mercury in 2002. Nice way to shut up worried parents, dont you think?

  128. #128 Kim AutismMom
    August 30, 2009

    I have tears in my eyes as I read these blogs. I have a 4 yr old son, Brandon. I watched him stop speaking and regress into autism right after having the MMR shot. At the same time, he became chronically constipated due to bowel dysbiosis. I waited 35 years to have a child and I watched this tragedy happen before my own eyes. None of you can possibly understand the PAIN of losing your child to this disease. And it IS A DISEASE!!! I can only thank Doctors like Andrew Wakefield everyday for thinking outside the box. He is right on and unless you live it, you dont know. We are multidosing our children and not all can handle the assault. And by the way…..Brandon has high toxic levels of alluminum in his body, an adjuvant used in vaccines. It just happened to replace the mercury in 2002. Nice way to shut up worried parents, dont you think?

  129. #129 cbe
    August 30, 2009

    Kim- you need to go educate yourself before you get on that soap box. Aluminum is an adjuvant whereas “mercury” (as you call it) was a preservative. They have nothing to do with each other and one has never affected the presence of the other.

    In addition, Wakefield’s work has nothing to do with either of these things, as neither are found in the MMR vaccine.

    You might want to think about where you are getting your information…

  130. #130 amphiox
    August 31, 2009

    Andrew Wakefield is a fraud who falsified his data. Nothing he says or writes or does has any credibility whatsoever.

    The anti-vaxxers have done a great disservice to all autism patients and their families by diverting precious and limited resources away from legitimate lines of research into the true causes and potential treatments for autism. The amount of time, effort and money already wasted in continuously having to debunk again and again the fictitious vaccine-autism link, which could otherwise have been spent more constructively boggles the mind.

  131. #131 trrll
    August 31, 2009

    I understand that there’s no proof that vaccines cause autism. But, how does a real scientist deny the possibility that there could be a connection? I really have never comprehended that lack of curiosity.

    It makes me embarrassed for the state of medical education that somebody with “MD” after his name would ask something so abysmally, mind-numbingly stupid.

    Scientists don’t deny the possibility that their could be a connection, any more than we deny the possibility that Russell’s Teapot is out there happily orbiting between Earth and Mars.

    You use the word, “curiosity. I don’t think it means what you think it means. Look it up. It is not a synonym for “credulity.” There are a huge number of things that are possible. Almost all of them are false. That’s why we study statistics–to learn how to distinguish between the many things that are possible, but very, very improbable, and the small handful that are likely to be true.

  132. #132 HCN
    August 31, 2009

    Kim AutismMom wrote ” Brandon. I watched him stop speaking and regress into autism right after having the MMR shot. … …Brandon has high toxic levels of alluminum in his body, an adjuvant used in vaccines. It just happened to replace the mercury in 2002.”

    The MMR has had neither thimerosal nor aluminum since its introdution in the USA in 1971. If you are under 38 years old you may have had been given the MMR as a child. Do you mind telling us how autism became a problem in the 1970s?

    You look like you have just discovered this issue and are only looking at unreliable websites. I suggest you go find more reliable sources of information (reading more of the posts on this blog might be a start, and then over to ScienceBasedMedicine, be sure to check out the information on Dr. Jay Gordon and Dr. Sears)… and here are some books for you to read:

    “Unstrange Minds” by Roy Grinker
    “Not Even Wrong” by Paul Collins
    “No Time for Jello” by Berneen Bratt
    “Vaccines!” by Arthur Allen
    “Autism’s False Prophets” by Paul Offit
    “Vaccinated” by Paul Offit

    Also check out the book selection here (plus much of the information on some of the people who seem to have gotten your information):
    http://neurodiversity.com/weblog/article/50/

    Of course, if you already think you know it all… just get me the real real actual factual documentation that I can find in my local medical school library that is indexed in PubMed (not in “Medical Hypothesis”… look up the last word in the title, or was lawyer paid like from the Geiers or Wakefield) that shows that:
    1) the DTaP is worse than diphtheria, tetanus or pertussis (remember over twenty American babies die from pertussis each year now)
    2) the MMR is worse than measles, mumps and rubella (both measles and mumps have a one in a thousand chance of something bad happening, from deafness, blindness, to death).

    (note I have asked for that information for several years, I have yet to get a satisfactory answer)

  133. #133 Todd W.
    August 31, 2009

    @Kim AutismMom

    None of you can possibly understand the PAIN of losing your child to this disease.

    While I understand the emotion and pain of dealing with autism, your child is not gone. He is still there. He still needs your love. He still needs you to watch out for him, just like any child needs their parents. He can still learn and grow and become more than he is now or was in the past. I’ve seen what effects autism has, from the very, very low-functioning to the high-functioning. And in every case, every kid is beautiful and full of potential. Your son needs you to see that.

    So, as others have suggested, go out and get the truth. Read more of Orac’s blog posts on vaccines. Go to Science-Based Medicine and click on the Topic-Based Reference tab at the top right of the page. You can find extensive info on vaccines there. http://antiantivax.flurf.net is also a good resource to see where the info put out by the likes of Wakefield, Generation Rescue, Age of Autism and so forth is, at best, wrong and at worst outright lies.

    All the best.

  134. #134 kim AutismMom
    August 31, 2009

    Perhaps I did not explain myself correctly. When my son was tested, high toxic levels of alluminum were found in his system. The alluminum is used as an adjuvant in vaccines to stimulate the immune system and to ensure that there would be antibodies made and the immune memory would be for many years. This alluminum in my son’s body has stopped the metabolism of essential fatty acids which helps with brain development.
    Although many of the vaccines he received contained this adjuvant, it seemed that that the MMR shot was the final assault before regressing into autism and here may be why.

    When given the MMR vaccine, the live measles virus can infect the gut of a child who’s immune system is not working properly or is already in trouble biochemically speaking, such as my son. This virus can cause a chronic inflammatory bowel disease. Anytime you have an inflammatory condition in the bowels, your gut lining can thin out to the point where toxins in the gut leak into the bloodstream and go to the brain.
    I know firsthand that clearing up my son’s gut issues has allowed him to start speaking. As far as educating myself, I will continue to read the research done by doctors such as Wakefield, Bryon Jebson and Jerry Kartinel, who actually devote their practices to treating and studying autism. The research is there my friends, you just have to know where to look. It is a fact in MY home that gut disease is related to autism and the MMR shot DID throw my son over the edge. Dr. Wakefield continues to research this despite the angry attacks of ignorant and scared people. God Bless Him!

  135. #135 Luna_the_cat
    August 31, 2009

    kim, you have evidently swallowed a lot of the anti-vax propaganda without realising that it is false information. I understand finding an “answer” and clinging to it with all your strength, but if this “answer” is built on misundertanding and wishful thinking, it is less than useful.

    The total quantity of aluminum salts used in all infant immunizations is about 4.4mg. The amount of aluminum in breastmilk from the same period of time is about 7mg. From formula rather than breast milk an infant would get about 38-117 mg of aluminum, depending on the formula. (figures from http://www.chop.edu/consumer/jsp/division/generic.jsp?id=88655)

    Not to mention the fact that aluminum has never been used as an adjuvant in MMR, nor, in all the years of the use of aluminum salts as adjuvants, has there EVER been any indication that it had ANY effect on the absorption or metabolism of fatty acids. In any context.

    …Here’s what I don’t think you understand: Wakefield appears sincere, kind, sympathetic and helpful. Con men MUST appear sincere and helpful, their living depends on it, since their data do not stand up to scrutiny. They depend on you liking and trusting them, and not being suspicious. If they can get you onside, you will do 3/4 of their work, by fooling yourself and rejecting all the information which is contrary to what they tell you.

    I think that’s pretty much where you are now.

  136. #136 LeslieRN72
    August 31, 2009

    If the “toxins” in the gut leaked into the bloodstream wouldn’t they cause sepsis before autism? You might want to try a little Ampicillin instead of behavioral therapy.

  137. #137 the bug guy
    August 31, 2009

    Kim, much of the testing for “toxins” from these kinds of clinics is highly suspect, at best. If anything, have testing done by an independent laboratory.

    Considering the small amount of aluminum in vaccines, and the small volume of vaccine administered, it is physically impossible for a child to have a highly toxic level of aluminum in his blood.

    Nobody here denies the difficulties parents feel. In fact, that is part of what motivates so many to stay active and fight those that take advantage of parents and their children for their own financial gain.

    One of the sad ironies of this controversy is the fact that so many in the anti-vaccination movement are after the money and not the ones supporting vaccination.

  138. #138 LeslieRN72
    August 31, 2009

    “Kim, much of the testing for “toxins” from these kinds of clinics is highly suspect, at best. If anything, have testing done by an independent laboratory”

    If I were to take a wild stab at the suspect labs I would think they have their own motivation for coming up with all these “scary” levels of toxins.

    Chelation therapy? There is BIG money to be made out there by preying on desperate people with inaccurate at best (criminal at worst) “lab findings”. Chelation therapy killed an autistic boy in 2005. It also killed 2 other nonautistic people in 03′ and 05′. They are dangerous charlatans who not only add (false) fuel to the autism toxin debate, but they endanger children as well.

  139. #139 Todd W.
    August 31, 2009

    @Kim AutismMom

    When my son was tested, high toxic levels of alluminum were found in his system.

    Tested by whom? Using what process? What form of aluminum was it? I ask because there are labs that survive simply to make money off of the “controversy”. The form of aluminum is also important, as it can potentially help to identify the source. Further, more aluminum is found in breast milk than in vaccines.

    When given the MMR vaccine, the live measles virus can infect the gut of a child who’s immune system is not working properly or is already in trouble biochemically speaking, such as my son. This virus can cause a chronic inflammatory bowel disease. Anytime you have an inflammatory condition in the bowels, your gut lining can thin out to the point where toxins in the gut leak into the bloodstream and go to the brain.

    You do realize, don’t you, that Wakefield’s research which supposedly found this was woefully flawed, that much of the data was made up by Wakefield himself, that he had numerous conflicts of interest which he did not disclose, that his sample size was insufficient to make any statistically meaningful conclusions, and that almost every other person involved in the study withdrew their names? That Wakefield violated medical ethics? These are not opinions of people that don’t like him. These are facts that can be verified. Much of it is in the public domain.

    As far as educating myself, I will continue to read the research done by doctors such as Wakefield, Bryon Jebson and Jerry Kartinel, who actually devote their practices to treating and studying autism.

    The reason to avoid their research is that it is flawed research by individuals with significant biases clouding their work, at least given their track record thus far. Better to look at the research done by individuals who use better methodology, adhere to medical ethics, and are looking for the real cause(s) of autism.

    As to your son speaking, I’m happy for you and for him. I doubt that Thoughtful House’s treatments had anything to do with it as language development tends to happy by leaps and hiccups, but an anecdote does not data make.

  140. #140 passionlessDrone
    August 31, 2009

    Hi Trrl –

    We have no evidence that autism implies a tendency towards inflammation.

    This might be why we seem so divergent. I seemed to have formed the opposite opinion based on my readings; I’m curious if you would be willing to describe what type of finding you would feel constitutes evidence for a tendency towards inflammation? With that information, I’d like to evaluate what I’ve read in a variety of papers before writing a more lengthy response.

    Thanks.

    - pD

  141. #141 trrll
    August 31, 2009

    This might be why we seem so divergent. I seemed to have formed the opposite opinion based on my readings. I seemed to have formed the opposite opinion based on my readings; I’m curious if you would be willing to describe what type of finding you would feel constitutes evidence for a tendency towards inflammation? With that information, I’d like to evaluate what I’ve read in a variety of papers before writing a more lengthy response.

    Yet all of the “evidence” you cite seems to fall back on the fallacy,

    A implies C
    B implies C
    Therefore A implies B

    Real evidence would be a randomized studies of autistic children vs. nonautistic children, evaluating actual symptoms of GI disorders or histology (with diagnostic tests read “blind”), that demonstrated a substantially higher frequency of GI disorders.

  142. #142 AutismMom
    August 31, 2009

    Unfortunately you all seem to rely on published evidence written in prestigious magazines. Once again I will tell you that I see whats going on with my son firsthand 24 hours a day and you all depend on others for your info.
    I did not use the Thoughtful House Clinic. I live in New York State and use an independent doctor who just happens to have a child on the Autism spectrum which is what drove him to look at the Biochemical makeup of his child and found things wrong. Dr. Bryon Jepson was driven to research due to his own son regressing to autism and same with Dr. Jerry Kartzinel. So the only hidden agenda they have is a passion for using their medical background to figure out what went wrong with their own children and use that knowledge to help others. Im afraid that many doctors dont think outside what they learned in school textbooks or read what testing others have done. Do testing and research yourself and then state your opinions!
    As far as small doses of heavy metal toxins being injected in our children goes, your crazy. Our chldren get more than 3 times the number of vaccinations now than they did 20 years ago. So now our doctors give our children up to 5 shots in one visit. A little bit of an assault on the immune system dont you think????

    And by the way, the 3 deaths you speak of due to chelation…the wrong type of chelator was injected intraveniously which drained the patient of calcium. Calcium EDTA should have been used. Disodium EDTA was used by error.
    Last I want to say not to think that parents like me are against vaccinating. We are concerned with the number of shots our kids receive as well as the toxins that are in these shots. You speak of hidden agendas, but are you serious???? Do you realize the billions of dollars made off of these vaccines?????They keep slapping on more to the mandatory list each year and make more money. Sometimes you need to use your godgiven commensense instead of relying on published studies that very well could have their own hidden agendas.

  143. #143 Luna_the_cat
    August 31, 2009

    AutismMom: The people who are closest to a situation are also most likely to have skewed perceptions of it, due to the absolutely inevitable human cognitive errors which afflict every human being on the planet, bar none: recall bias, confirmation bias, wishful thinking, and placebo. It is for THAT reason that we rely on large studies where people rely on dispassionate observers, hard numbers, and blinded treatments to try to tease out real effects from the errors of assessment which people with an emotional involvement are especially prone to.

    I would like to point out that babies have spent the vast majority of human evolutionary history crawling around in the dirt during the day, and coming into very close contact with hundreds of thousands more “toxins” and pathogens than we currently get in our very sanitized lives. To make some argument that we are “overwhelming undeveloped immune systems” with vaccinations totally ignores the facts that, first, vaccinations are made with a tiny fraction of the material that they would encounter in a disease situation, and often not even the entire disease pathogen, simply a component of it, and second, that humans survived centuries of living in the same room as their livestock and a few centuries more of living in rooms coloured with lead and arsenic, and being dosed with antimony and mercury for “health”. You would have thought that if these substances were the cause of autism, that medieval through Victorian times would have had the plague of autism!

    And, finally, if you are going to accuse anyone of profiteering off human misery, then you should take a hard look at the fact that Wakefield’s “Thoughtful House” has managed to declare itself a non-profit, but can afford to pay Dr. Wakefield well over $300,000/year, and itself holds assets worth over $5,000,000 and takes in over $2,000,000/year. And this is with a far smaller clientele than companies which manufacture vaccines.

    But, it is obvious from your postings here already, that “cold hard facts” don’t mean nearly as much to you as emotional appeal, and will be duly ignored as being much less important than what you want to believe.

  144. #144 Todd W.
    August 31, 2009

    @AutismMom

    We are concerned with the number of shots our kids receive as well as the toxins that are in these shots.

    Please provide citations to the well-controlled, randomized studies that show that a vaccine or combination of vaccines is a) toxic and b) causes autism.

    Do you realize the billions of dollars made off of these vaccines?

    Considerably less than what would be made if vaccination rates dropped off and vaccine preventable diseases surged. Antibacterials and antivirals, pain killers, sedatives, salaries for nurses and surgeons and infectious disease specialists, and so on.

    Do you realize the money made by those promoting chelation, homeopathy, endoscopies, and so on, as treatments for autism, despite a lack of scientific evidence that they are either safe or effective?

    They keep slapping on more to the mandatory list each year and make more money.

    Of course, there’s also the possibility that infectious disease researchers and the CDC might want to, y’know, prevent people from getting diseases where they can. And it’s hardly “slapping on more…each year”. If that were the case, we’d be way beyond the 14 diseases for which we routinely vaccinate kids.

  145. #145 Todd W.
    August 31, 2009

    @AutismMom

    Out of curiosity, what would it take to convince you that vaccines have no role in autism?

  146. #146 Scott
    August 31, 2009

    Also notable is the fact that most pharma companies no longer make vaccines, precisely because profit margins are so low that it’s not worth their while.

    Yep, great motivation to go to the trouble of creating the biggest conspiracy in human history and somehow managing to keep it completely air-tight.

  147. #147 Mark
    August 31, 2009

    When I see the garbage that parents buy at the grocery store I cringe. Grams and grams of garbage they are pouring into their children. Vaccine are about 98% sterile water. What’s left is micrograms of stuff. Watch the Jenny McCarthey thing on Larry King (youtube). In part three I think it is, a doctor explains that his son became autistic after the MMR vaccine and would then only eat cookies and french fries. Was his one year old son driving to the store and buying all of these cookies and french fries for himself? Things that make you go Hmmmm.

  148. #148 LeslieRN72
    August 31, 2009

    “Dr. Bryon Jepson was driven to research due to his own son regressing to autism and same with Dr. Jerry Kartzinel. So the only hidden agenda they have is a passion for using their medical background to figure out what went wrong with their own children and use that knowledge to help others.”

    It’s unfortunate that Dr. Bryan Jepson’s “passion” and use of his knowledge only extends to children who can afford it. I think that $350+ for a simple consultation is prohibitive for many people. But at least that will weed out the people he knows he can’t sell all kinds of therapies and treatments
    to.

    I am sure Dr. Jerry Kartzinel’s selflessness extends to free speaking engagemements, living in a ranch home, and driving a taurus. This is all because of his “passion” to help children, right?
    I am also suspect of anyone who would team up with Jenny McCarthy, the genius champion of autism.
    Let’s see Miss McCarthy’s resume:
    Playboy playmate of the year 1994. “Singled out” host. Reality show host named “Party at the Palms” where different celebrities partied with Jenny.
    Jenna Jameson (famous porn star) and Jenny had an “encounter” in a Vegas restroom.
    But this has to be my all time favorite Jenny McCarthy quote:
    She said: “I always wanted an orgy to see what it was like, but never got the opportunity. “I have good boobs and I know they’d get a lot of attention. Hey if someone’s tickling my body parts I’m happy.”
    If I were a renowned and knowledgeable physician this is JUST the person I would choose to team up with. If I had a child with an illness, Jenny is the person I would use as my resource. NOT!

  149. #149 Todd W.
    August 31, 2009

    @LeslieRN72

    I believe one of the more pertinent quotes by Ms. McCarthy is actually from her appearance on Larry King Live:

    I do believe sadly it’s going to take some diseases coming back to realize that we need to change and develop vaccines that are safe. If the vaccine companies are not listening to us, it’s their f___ing fault that the diseases are coming back. They’re making a product that’s s___. If you give us a safe vaccine, we’ll use it. It shouldn’t be polio versus autism.

    I find that somewhat telling.

  150. #150 MI Dawn
    August 31, 2009

    @Autism mom: I bet I can tell you the name of the lab your son’s tests were sent to, within 3 guesses. Because there are about 3 labs in the entire country that the DAN! doctors like to use, and they aren’t called Labcorp, Smith Kline, or Quest.

    I am sorry that you are having trouble coping with your son’s autism. NY has a lot of great programs for autistic children, and a lot of major medical centers with programs to help children with all kinds of health issues. I hope you are able to get all the help you need in order for your son to continue to grow and develop.

  151. #151 AutismMom
    August 31, 2009

    Quite the contrary, M Dawn. I have embraced my son’s autism, have never had trouble coping. I have also done wonders with him and have watched him soar past many of his classmates at his special needs school. I have brought him to Yale University to their autism clinic which is one of the to research centers out there. They dont even feel his diagnosis should remain straight Autism at this point because he has come so far in only 2 years. I am not a naive, grieving mother by any means. I am a strong, highly intelligent , loving mother trying to figure out this complex disease and I must be doing something right by the looks of things here in my home. In fact, I have a huge smile on my face as I write this because if I had listened to skeptics like yourselves, Brandon would not be where he is today. I am proud!!!!!

    Oh, and Leslie, I’d be willing to BET that you are an overweight, not so attractive woman. Don’t hate!

  152. #152 LeslieRN72
    August 31, 2009

    @Scott

    I believe one of the more pertinent quotes by Ms. McCarthy is actually from her appearance on Larry King Live:

    I do believe sadly it’s going to take some diseases coming back to realize that we need to change and develop vaccines that are safe. If the vaccine companies are not listening to us, it’s their f___ing fault that the diseases are coming back. They’re making a product that’s s___. If you give us a safe vaccine, we’ll use it. It shouldn’t be polio versus autism.

    I find that somewhat telling.

    I was just scanning that other “autism” related interviews with Miss McCarthy and there was far too much verbal-vomit coming from her to quote .

    My passion comes from the fact that as my husband and I go on to have another child I am angered by precisely what she is looking toward happening.

    I can’t imagine being in an MD’s office or elsewhere with my infant who still hasn’t had all their vaccinations. Then you have some jerk who has chosen (or been brainwashed) not to vaccinate because of all the fear-mongerers. These jerks will be endangering the well-being of my child.
    If they want to choose to do so, then they all need to go to their own private island and leave the rest of us who want our children to be free of their communicable diseases alone.

  153. #153 Todd W.
    August 31, 2009

    @AutismMom

    Oh, and Leslie, I’d be willing to BET that you are an overweight, not so attractive woman. Don’t hate!

    Why the insults? MI Dawn was respectful toward you and not insulting. That was uncalled for.

  154. #154 LeslieRN72
    August 31, 2009

    @AutismMom

    Oh, and Leslie, I’d be willing to BET that you are an overweight, not so attractive woman. Don’t hate!

    Quite the contrary, sorry to disappoint. Former cheerleader/athlete, homecoming queen, AND Honor Society. I think I’ve actually gotten prettier as I’ve gotten older. I don’t hate Jenny McCarthy’s appearance—just her pure ignorance.

    I have a coworker with 4 children. Two of her children are in the autism spectrum and are extremely high functioning. We have had long discussions about their struggles. We have also discussed vaccines and all the conspiracy theories. She doesn’t believe any of the conspiracy theories and vaccinated her subsequent 2 children. Of course she is an educated and extremely intelligent R.N. who uses critical/analytical thinking on a daily basis.

  155. #155 Rogue Medic
    August 31, 2009

    AutismMom,

    Oh, and Leslie, I’d be willing to BET that you are an overweight, not so attractive woman. Don’t hate!

    This is just an example of hypocrisy. You are criticizing the presumed appearance of someone you disagree with, rather than the substance of their statements.

    You appear to be suggesting that we should hate someone, for being an overweight, not so attractive woman.

    Perhaps you should take your own advice about hating.

    This ad hominem attack is just an example of your logically bankrupt approach to this. You seem to be happy to hurt children, as long as it pushes your corrupt agenda.

    Research shows us what works. Everything else is witchcraft. You are proposing that everyone make up their own rules and ignore science.

    You are a dangerous irresponsible person, encouraging child abuse.

  156. #156 dugmaze
    August 31, 2009

    Funny thing happened at work today. Seems everyone was convinced that NBC was covering for someone and there was more doubt than ever.

    Why is that funny? Because I was furious over GE’s, I mean NBC’s, propaganda vaccine story. My wife and I was so mad we vowed never to watch NBC again(except for Jeopardy). I was mad because I got to thinking about work and how I was going to convince everyone I was right and they was wrong. Because they’ve heard me for years now on my soapbox.

    Well when I went to work, EVERYONE agreed that the story was either made up or not telling the whole story. There was a couple a questions about Dr. Wakefield but I cleared them up in a hurry.

    Matt was weak. The story was weak. And weak-minded individuals think alike. I think their minds get in sync when their around each other like girls do with their periods.

    Have a nice day and God bless each and every one of you. You need it.

  157. #157 Bill C.
    September 1, 2009

    140 141 142, It is obvious that 135 was making a joke to the fact that Leslie 135 was making so many comments about Jenny M’s appearance that it made her ‘appear’ as a jealous, hateful person. I dont think autismmom was saying Leslie must look like that just because she disagreed.

    Anyway, I cant help but comment that everytime these vaccine discussions come up, some people seem to chime in like they know what the parent or autistic child is feeling. I feel compelled to share my perspective. One of my children has austism, and no, I do not believe it was caused by vaccines. My point is about living with autism. Even if you have a child with austism, you still cant know what life is like for another parent unless you live it. My daughter is 19 and completely non functional. So, when people make comments like “you didnt lose your child to austism” they are very wrong in some cases. She left when she was 21mos old and never came back. Of course, we all still communicate with her, but we dont ‘know’ if she listens, if she knows we love her, or if she even knows she is alive. She eats through a tube, wears a diaper and padded clothing, and lays curled in fetal position. Thankfully, she does not ‘appear’ to be in pain. So, please dont ever talk down to parents and tell them life is still rosy with their austitic child. Just love them and all will be fine. It may be love, but it is defintely not a rosy life and it is not fine. It is a lifetime of nursing care, constant fear for the child’s safety, and sadness for some parents.

  158. #158 The Hypocrisy!! It Burns!!!!
    September 1, 2009

    Bill C.

    I just wanted to take the time to thank you for your post. That is, without a doubt, the single most reasonable response I have ever read on this site from those that claim to be science-based. I mean that in all sincerity. Thank you.

    Autism is not rosy. And it is offensive to parents like you (and me) when someone says that we should just love our children for who they are. Of course we love them for who they are! That doesn’t mean we don’t feel their pain. That doesn’t mean that we don’t want them to be able to communicate with us and tell us how they are feeling. Autism is not a gift! Our children, however, are.

  159. #159 Todd W.
    September 1, 2009

    @Bill C.

    So, please dont ever talk down to parents and tell them life is still rosy with their austitic child.

    I think you misunderstood me. I was most definitely not saying that everything will be all happy and rosy. I am quite aware of how much hard work it is and how much vigilance is required, particularly for those who are on the low-functioning end of the spectrum. Apologies for not stating that explicitly. My intent was more to focus on the fact that the child needs love and support, not non-scientific treatments to “fix” them.

    As to the child being gone, they aren’t. What’s gone is the parent’s hopes or dreams of what they thought their child would become. The child’s still there. They may have changed. Their ability to interact with the world around them may be impaired, but they’re still there.

    Is it tough? Yes. Can it be heartbreaking? Yes. Does autism mean that they are no longer your child? Most definitely not! That’s the point I was trying to make. A fair number of the supporters of Wakefield, et al., seem to feel that their child has been taken away and replaced with some thing.

    I hope I clarified my meaning; words are surprisingly limiting at times. And regardless of whether Kim’s comment about Leslie was a joke or not, it was still inappropriate.

  160. #160 Bill C.
    September 1, 2009

    Todd “I hope I clarified my meaning; words are surprisingly limiting at times”

    Understood Todd. That wasnt necessarily to you. I too worry about some of the treatments forced on these children in the hopes of ‘fixing’ them, and the belief that they are just a ‘thing’ now. I heard my wife tell a friend with a severely disabled child this, “Sometimes there is no lifeforce in the body left behind (child or adult), but we just give them so much love…they must feel it, they must”.

    I want to see the tv show on the autism debate that doesnt waste all its time discussing vaccines.

  161. #161 Todd W.
    September 1, 2009

    @Bill C.

    I want to see the tv show on the autism debate that doesnt waste all its time discussing vaccines.

    Ditto. It would be so nice to put all this vaccine nonsense behind us and see some more useful research and reporting.

    I have faith, though, that, just as we moved past FC, we can move past vaccines, frustrating thought the interim may be.

  162. #162 Jacqueline Cavicchio
    September 2, 2009

    My son is Austic. He was this way and there is no way to change this fact.You either embrace it and do your best or walk around in a fog. He never was able to speak and had poor eye contact but we adjusted got evals. and moved forward. We all learned sign language and moved on with our team of therapists. Today, at the age of five he reads, speaks, attends a special program in Public School in NY.So the MMR is not blame. The environmental pollution, DNA, genetic defects in the family ( anxiety, neuro. issues, psycologial and drug issues of the parents.) Intervention as soon as possible is the best medicine. Bickering doesn’t push us forward only back. Genuine research and qualified personal will bring true answers to the questions how and why. I’ve just thank God every for his accomplishments.
    You have to have faith!
    Jacqueline

  163. #163 Denise
    September 2, 2009

    There have been questions for years about the link between the MMR vaccine and autism. Enough that it has not been able to be ruled out. Talk with a parent whose child was normal at 15 months, but then regressed and was diagnosed with autism after routine vaccinations. It is thought that the hydrocephalus that can be caused by the vaccine is able to cause irreversible brain cell damage that is then later described as autism. I have a cousin who was diagnosed with autism-no genetic history in ANY known generation of the family and another cousin who lost a 13 month old after he was vaccinated. You cannot deny the serious possibility of this link to the parents who have been affected by this. The CDC has a whole fund set aside for families of children who either are injured or die as a result of a vaccine; this is because they did not want the manufacturer of the vaccine to get sued. One of the ingredients in the vaccines up until recently was mercury. When “mercury” is looked up in my medical book, it states that ANY amount is toxic to the body. Yet, we injected them with every vaccination. All these physicians and parents are asking for is objective research and no false statements to cover up the possibility of the relation between the vaccine and their loved one’s condition.

  164. #164 Scientizzle
    September 2, 2009

    Denise, I get the feeling you may not be sufficiently familiar with the topic. If anything has been “ruled out,” it’s MMR and thiomersal.

    All these physicians and parents are asking for is objective research and no false statements to cover up the possibility of the relation between the vaccine and their loved one’s condition.

    So you reject the current research regarding MMR and thiomersal–research that has convinced the overwhelming majority of the medical/research community? If so, why?

  165. #165 Rogue Medic
    September 2, 2009

    Bill C.,

    If the comment by AutismMom (now comment 138) was obviously a joke, then nobody would have taken it seriously, because it would have been obvious.

    I have reread what AutismMom wrote. I appreciate sarcasm, but there is nothing about this that suggests anything other than an immature attack.

    Given that the basis for her comments is a lack of understanding of logic, baseless attacks are no surprise.

  166. #166 Rogue Medic
    September 2, 2009

    Denise,

    There have been questions for years about the link between the MMR vaccine and autism.

    No.

    Enough that it has not been able to be ruled out.

    Only the ignorant believe this lie.

    You cannot deny the serious possibility of this link to the parents who have been affected by this.

    Why not?

    This supposed link is no more real than the Easter Bunny, or do you still believe in that fairy tale, too?

    Your post is nothing but fantasy. Go read The Truth About The Evils Of Vaccination. Todd W. addresses the many fraudulent statements that you repeat.

  167. #167 Mother Warrior
    September 3, 2009

    It is so simple to sit up on your high horses with your healthy children by your sides and judge those who are seemingly so far below it is beyond your understanding. I feel so sorry for the ignorant.

  168. #168 snerd
    September 3, 2009

    It is so simple to sit up on your high horses with your healthy children by your sides and judge those who are seemingly so far below it is beyond your understanding. I feel so sorry for the ignorant.

    As a rubella-affected person who’s just gotten over eight weeks of pertussis, I’m really getting a kick out of your reply.

    Sometimes mother just doen’t know best, no matter how painful to the ego of a ‘mother warrior’ that may seem.

  169. #169 Jennifer B. Phillips
    September 3, 2009

    I feel so sorry for the ignorant.

    As to I, Mother Warrior. As do I.

    By the way, if you skim through the 150 odd comments that precede your own, or indeed the comments on most any autism/vaccine related post on this blog, you may notice that a fair number of the participants here are either on the autism spectrum themselves or have children who are. Might want to check that before you start trotting out the high horses.

  170. #170 Prometheus
    September 3, 2009

    “Mother Warrior” declaims:

    “It is so simple to sit up on your high horses with your healthy children by your sides and judge those who are seemingly so far below it is beyond your understanding. I feel so sorry for the ignorant.”

    Jeez, not another “mother warrior”! Before you get up on your “pity me” pedestal, you might want to check and see if other people are in the same situation.

    I, personally, have an autistic child and also went through a period of time when I thought that “biomedical intervention” would “cure” him – a time when I thought that people like Andy Wakefield were “Brave Maverick Doctors” who were fighting for me against “entrenched medical dogma”.

    I was all that and more, but I grew out of it. I discovered that the “cures” didn’t work any better than placebo and that the “Brave Maverick Doctors” were so good at listening to me because they didn’t know any more about autism than I did (and that was very little).

    Eventually, I came to realise that I had been fooling myself and that the “Brave Maverick Doctors” (I’ve met Drs. Wakefield, Bradstreet, Kartzinel and Jepson) are probably well-meaning but hopelessly confused by their own misguided beliefs. They think that they’re doing good for their patients, but they never bother to check.

    So, “mother warrior”, look around a bit next time before you wind up your “walk a mile in my shoes” diatribe. It might save you a bit of embarrassment.

    I’ve walked many miles in your shoes and I finally found my way back to reality. Good luck on your journey.

    Prometheus

  171. #171 Bill C.
    September 3, 2009

    “I’ve walked many miles in your shoes and I finally found my way back to reality.”

    Actually, you have not walked a mile in her shoes. Her child is different than yours. All our children and families have very different needs. Their child could be severely disabled or have multiple disabled children or even be disabled themselves, the mother could be single, poor, homeless or living with an abuser, or hundreds of other scenarios. Please give other parents the same respect to research and go through their ‘period of time’ as you put it, without accusing them of looking for pity. Other parents of autistic children tend to be the roughest on the new ones. I have seen this for 19yrs with my completely non-responsive daughter with autism.

    A note to all…there are many parents out there that happen by this site trying to make sense of all the information out there. I dont know if some of you realize the damage that you do to getting the correct info out there. I have been reading this blog for a long time, and I know many of you are very educated in this area. I use this info when I am talking to other parents with autistic children. I am a scientist, albeit not in the medical field, and I can handle the insults and misunderstandings that are spewed about here. However, other parents can not. Some are new to autism and are actively seeking information for the first time. Some of the anti vax site references look just as credible as yours to them. The difference is…when they ask a question here, or post something they may have just read….they get attacked, called loonies, what have you. They may not have actually believed what they posted at first, but when they are attacked, they run back to the site that is ‘very friendly’ to them. I am not saying it is your job to educate all of them, and I know some of you are very tired of explaining the same thing over and over, but maybe, think before you post a reply so quickly, leave out all the name calling, or maybe just dont post at all that time. Most every parent I talk to has no problem with vaccines once it is explained to them like they are an actual person. Just a suggestion.

  172. #172 Rogue Medic
    September 3, 2009

    Bill C.,

    On this site there is actual dialogue about the topic, unlike anti-vaccination sites that censor those comments that present information that they do not like.

    Or maybe, just maybe, we could go to doctors for medical information.

    If we want our children to have a much lower risk of illness, we need to fully vaccinate our children on time.

    If we are more concerned about what Jenny McCarthy says, then we are endangering our children and other children.

    Science shows what works and whether it is safe.

    Vaccines work and vaccines are safe.

    The ideas and ethics of Jenny McCarthy, Dr.Wakefield, . . . not so much.

  173. #173 Bill C.
    September 3, 2009

    Rogue Medic,
    Agreed, and yes, that is the same tone I would have used when discussing the need for vaccinations too. No need for nasty (reserve that for the few regulars here who go out of their way to promote false beliefs, like Sid). I am always for disease prevention. What I am not for, is chasing nervous parents over to the anti-vacc sites. Most of the parents have spoken to many doctors and are still looking for information on their own. I would prefer they dont get sucked in and made to feel ‘all comfy’ over at the anti-vacc sites. There is a tendency for them to believe the nice ‘experts’ when they are already distraught. I remember a time of desperately wanting someone to just listen and hopefully explain, why? Vaccines were not the issue back then, but I swear some parents have turned against vaccines just because it has been explained ‘so nicely’ to them as a probable cause. Unfortunately, then they propagate this mis-information. That is what I meant by how ranting and name calling can damage the message and facts that vaccines are necessary. The information here is great, it is the presentation and sensitivity that is lacking at times.

  174. #174 HCN
    September 8, 2009

    I just came back from over a week of vacation without internet service. I see Kim AutismMom has not answered any of my questions. I am still curious how the MMR which has been around since 1971 only started to cause problems almost two decades after of use in the USA.

    Also, to the “Warrior Mom”, my son had a seizure disorder starting just days after his birth, and has been taken to the hospital due to a now vaccine preventable disease (the actual disease, not the vaccine… which did not exist then). I have been online with this debate for well over a decade (starting with a listserv about my son’s disability in the late 1990s). I find your comments amusing.

  175. #175 Tiffany
    September 8, 2009

    I find this site to be extremely interesting, although I have to agree with Bill C. on one point- the tone in which others speak/write to one another is often brutal. Why? Many parents are looking for the answers to raising a “healthy child.” Both pro-vax and anti-vax parents all want the same thing, healthy children. Don’t you all agree?

    We need private, large scale, long-term studies done across many different areas to come up with more information. We need to look at the vaccinated population AND the unvaccinated. We need to take a long, hard look at our current vaccines, upcoming vaccines and possible cumulative effects vaccines could have on both children and adults alike. Is there a possibility that certain vaccines may interact poorly with one another or that certain triggers (environmental or otherwise) could exaggerate the adverse reactions some people have? We need people with money (lots of money) who do not stand to benefit from the vaccine program’s rise or fall to fund it.

    I think parents want to “trust their doctors,” but so many people don’t feel like they can anymore. They worry that no doctor will truly advocate for their child to the same extent that they will. There is an overwhelming amount of people doing their own research and (I think) it can be a very difficult and overwhelming task.

    You know Bill, you’re right about another thing… people do want to be treated “nice” and they want to be “respected.” For me, anyone who is spending the time to really look for the answers has earned, at the very least, my respect. So many others are just playing follow the leader. The only questions they are asking are, “What does my mom think? What is my friend doing? What is the trend now?”

    Demand answers, look for proof, keep educating yourself…

  176. #176 Orac
    September 8, 2009

    We need private, large scale, long-term studies done across many
    different areas to come up with more information. We need to look at
    the vaccinated population AND the unvaccinated. We need to take a long,
    hard look at our current vaccines, upcoming vaccines and possible
    cumulative effects vaccines could have on both children and adults
    alike.

    On what evidence to you base your assertion that these studies are needed? What is the science that suggests that there would even be a difference between vaccinated and unvaccinated populations in autism or anything else? Please be specific.

  177. #177 Tiffany
    September 8, 2009

    I find this site to be extremely interesting, although I have to agree with Bill C. on one point- the tone in which others speak/write to one another is often brutal. Why? Many parents are looking for the answers to raising a “healthy child.” Both pro-vax and anti-vax parents all want the same thing, healthy children. Don’t you all agree?

    We need private, large scale, long-term studies done across many different areas to come up with more information. We need to look at the vaccinated population AND the unvaccinated. We need to take a long, hard look at our current vaccines, upcoming vaccines and possible cumulative effects vaccines could have on both children and adults alike. Is there a possibility that certain vaccines may interact poorly with one another or that certain triggers (environmental or otherwise) could exaggerate the adverse reactions some people have? We need people with money (lots of money) who do not stand to benefit from the vaccine program’s rise or fall to fund it.

    I think parents want to “trust their doctors,” but so many people don’t feel like they can anymore. They worry that no doctor will truly advocate for their child to the same extent that they will. There is an overwhelming amount of people doing their own research and (I think) it can be a very difficult and overwhelming task.

    You know Bill, you’re right about another thing… people do want to be treated “nice” and they want to be “respected.” For me, anyone who is spending the time to really look for the answers has earned, at the very least, my respect. So many others are just playing follow the leader. The only questions they are asking are, “What does my mom think? What is my friend doing? What is the trend now?”

    Demand answers, look for proof, keep educating yourself…

  178. #178 Chris
    September 9, 2009

    Tiffany:

    the tone in which others speak/write to one another is often brutal.

    If the tone of this blog offends you, then stay away from the internet.

    She continues:

    For me, anyone who is spending the time to really look for the answers has earned, at the very least, my respect.

    Why would anyone need the respect of someone who did not read the error message and reposted the same comment after 90 minutes without checking that you comment was posted, and had a response? You could at least try to answer Orac’s question to the first time you posted the same message.

  179. #179 Edward Jamison
    September 9, 2009

    Chris: @165 Your reply was completely unnecessary and added nothing to the subject. However, you showcased your nasty attitude as usual. If people need information, they can not ‘stay away’ from the internet. But, they will probably stay away from YOU… It is unfortunate how your unhappiness can turn people away from this blog and the valuable discussions it contains.

  180. #180 ababa
    September 9, 2009

    Edward, some people need to stay away from the Internet, particularly if they consider looking at it is “educating yourself” as Tiffany said above. Do you really have any idea how much blatantly wrong and misleading information is out there on the Internet (even on sites like Wikipedia, for example)? How does one figure out what is wrong or right, education or mis-education?

    A lot of distrust for doctors comes from the nonsense on the Internet – anyone with a few dollars and a brain can put up a website promoting any quackery they feel like, and usually tell you to distrust doctors. It’s sad that people distrust trained professionals because anonymous people on the Internet with ulterior motives tell them so. But that’s what happens, and it is frustrating.

    And yes, people can be rude on the Internet – sometimes that happens when people (such as Tiffany) keep bringing up that same “brilliant” idea for dumping more money down the rabbit hole instead of focusing on more promising research. You eventually need some reason to believe research will provide insight, and you need to know when to try a different route.

  181. #181 Edward Jamison
    September 9, 2009

    Chris said stay away if you dont like the tone. Tone is her/his problem, not the internets’. Content is a completely different story.

  182. #182 ababa
    September 9, 2009

    This blog is so lightweight in tone compared the vast majority of the Internet. Some of the forums I’ve seen would make your toes curl, all one has to do is seek out John Best to get a fine example. So if Chris’ tone is offensive to you then yes, it would be wise to stay off the Internet.

    The tone of this blog in general is the way it is for a reason. People are tired of quacks and charlatans berating scientists and they come here to speak their mind, and call them like they see them. They are tired of attempting reasonable debate only to be shouted down by people that are “educating themselves” by reading Age of Autism.

    There are several sister sites to this one, including another one Orac writes that deals with the same issues in the manner in which you speak. They may be more to your liking.

    A word of warning though, the anti-vaxers like Handley usually avoid those blogs and come here instead. Mud-slinging is more their style.

  183. #183 Chris
    September 9, 2009

    Edward Jamison, grow a backbone… or log off. Your choice.

    By the way, in addition to what ababa said, here is an except from an email I received a bit over five years ago:

    … You can beleive what you want but please don’t stop people from researching vaccines and thimerisol before vaccinating their kids. People like you are dangerous. I just wish someone had educated me on the possible problems of vaccinations before i had my son vaccinated. He is now autistic.

    I have a backbone, and do continue to attempt to explain with real data and evidence, despite concern trolls like yourself.

  184. #184 Edward Jamison
    September 9, 2009

    170 “Edward Jamison, grow a backbone… or log off. Your choice”

    You dont bother me. My backbone is fine. Your dirty work just makes my job harder when discussing the safety of vaccines. Again, you resort to presumptions and name calling. The Public Health office is very concerned that people get their vaccines. That does not make me a troll.

    btw,That email you referenced is a great example of someone who needs education and not bullying. If you attack…they will attack back and never listen to reason. If you put them on the defensive, you will lose all communication. After working for the CDC and the Public Health dept for 24 yrs, I will repeat, YOU make our job harder. Please be quiet. Please.

  185. #185 Chris
    September 9, 2009

    So, you have decided to handle JB Handley with kid gloves then? You must have a nice calming informative reply to this person: A typical example. I am sure that you have replied with all sorts of good information to convince “Sid Offit” he is an upstanding parent that only needs good information (which I have provided, but he apparently doesn’t like studies covering millions of children in several countries showing no link between any vaccine and autism).

    Honestly I haven’t seen your replies to their posts on this blog. I look forward to you reasoning with “Sid Offit” and the one who constantly changes her ‘nym (and who has not posted anything but insults in over a year). Too bad Dawn Crim and John Best have bptj been banned, I would love to see how you reason with them.

    Did you find a way to communicate with the man who called Dr. Paul Offit with the names of his children and where they go to school? Did you go to the Green Our Vaccines rally in Washington, DC and talk calmly to the people. Perhaps you should ask for a private educational conversation with McCarthy and Carrey, maybe she might actually let you get a work in edgewise as she spews off a constant stream of insults and profanity. Have you tried going to an autism conference like Ken Reibel (he got expelled for asking one question) and spreading your information calmly?

    Good luck to you. I hope you succeed.

    In the mean time, I’m tired the folks who want to bring the diseases back that can directly harm my now adult disabled child. I will continue go with the attitude of this blog and post facts whether you like my attitude or not. Because as it says up on the top of this page “A statement of fact cannot be insolent.” (also if you find that I have posted something that is not a fact, please feel free to correct me… I was quite open to correction, especially when someone tried to get me banned from the listserv I was on for my son’s disability because I simply pointed out that the MMR has never contained thimerosal).

    Also if you don’t like my attitude, you should try this website that I have been following for over ten years (will mung URL since there is a limit of two): dub dub dub dot ratbags.com/rsoles/vaxliars1.htm .

  186. #186 grenouille
    September 9, 2009

    Bravo, Chris. Bravo!

  187. #187 Edward Jamison
    September 9, 2009

    Bravo nothing! Again, Non-helpful. Sid Offit loves being harrassed. Get it. He loves it! Because, then he gets to make you and your message look like the crazy one! You knew I was talking about parents looking for information. It is your attitude that pushes those people right into the arms of the likes of JB, Mc and Carrey to name a few. Would you like to guess how many people you might have inadvertently convinced to not vaccinate with your rantings. Just because you are ‘tired’ doesnt give you the right to harm the message. Someone gave a great example earlier. You do not seem capable of delivering fact without hostility. You do have the facts, but you completely ruin it with your attitude. The ones delivering the anti vaccine message are not going away any time soon, but you dont need to send any more people that way.

  188. #188 passionlessDrone
    September 9, 2009

    Hi Chris –

    which I have provided, but he apparently doesn’t like studies covering millions of children in several countries showing no link between any vaccine and autism

    also if you find that I have posted something that is not a fact, please feel free to correct me

    OK. We have no studies on a particular vaccine and autism excepting the MMR. We might have studies on the presence or absence of thimerosal in other vaccines, but none that compare administration of Hib, or Hep B, or DTP/DTAP, or influenza, or anything else on the schedule. And we most certainly have nothing remotely resembling a vaccinated / unvaccinated study.

    For whatever reason, this very subtle, but clearly inaccurate statement sneaks its way into Orac’s posts both here and at SBM with some frequency. Of course, perhaps I am wrong, and can be corrected. Can you show me a study, or indeed studies, that cover millions of children and involve a vaccine other than the MMR that measures autism as an endpoint?

    It is unfortunate that the tone often descends here and elsewhere on the Internet (and real world). I can understand your frustruation, but you might consider the possiblity that you lose the very people you are trying to reach, and indeed, create more of the problem you seek to avoid.

    - pD

  189. #189 Prometheus
    September 9, 2009

    pD is correct that the bulk of the studies looking at vaccines and autism have concentrated on either the MMR vaccine or thimerosal. There is a reason for this.

    If you look back in the dim mists of history – say, back to 1998 – there was a vocal group of people shouting that the MMR vaccine was causing the “autism epidemic”. This prompted a number of researchers to go looking through the available data to find such a connection. The data didn’t support the connection.

    A few years later, many of the same people were screaming that it was thimerosal that was causing the “autism epidemic”. The public health folks thought that this might have a chance of being true and so had thimerosal removed from childhood vaccines.

    Meanwhile (back at the lab), researchers looked through medical records looking for data to show a connection between thimerosal and autism. Years later, (research takes time), the data fail to show such a connection. Curiously, the removal of thimerosal from children’s vaccines failed to slow the rise in autism prevalence a bit.

    It has only been a couple of years since the ex-MMR-shouters and the ex-thimerosal-screamers got the news that neither the MMR nor thimerosal were associated with autism and started shouting about “too many, too soon”, “toxins” and “immune stress”. Doubtless, many of these concerns are being researched as I write this and we will have the data in a few years.

    However, I think it’s about time that we asked the question that hasn’t been asked:

    Where’s the evidence connecting vaccines and autism?

    The answer to that question is a bit embarrassing – for the “vaccines-cause-autism” groups. You see, all they ever had was a rise in autism diagnoses starting somewhere in the vicinity of 1985. This rise has continued – monotonically – to the present day.

    So, if we are to believe that the “autism epidemic” is real (something I question a good deal) and that vaccines are the cause, then we have to find a steady increase in something connected to vaccines that started in the early 1980′s and has continued – steadily – to the present day.

    You see the problem. Vaccines are introduced sporadically into the “recommended schedule” and should have produced some “shoulders” and “bumps” in the curve greater than what we see. Twenty years of smooth growth in autism prevalence is hard to explain with vaccines.

    So, if someone has a workable hypothesis about how “too many, too soon” or “toxins” can explain a smooth, steady rise in autism prevalence, I, for one, would be eager to hear it. However, it is now (and always was) up to those who claim “vaccines-cause-autism” to produce data supporting their claims before we – as a society – divert scarce research resources to chasing yet another “maybe-might-be-could-be”.

    They’ve had over fifteen years to do it.

    Prometheus

  190. #190 Chris
    September 9, 2009

    Prometheus:

    They’ve had over fifteen years to do it.

    And in that fifteen years the CDC, FDA, the Public Health service and other guardians of the vaccination program have had plenty of time to counteract the damage done by Generation Rescue, SafeMinds, NVIC and other so-called “advocate” groups. What have we seen?

    We have them bending over backwards trying to accommodate Sallie Bernard, and even Mark Blaxill by allowing these unqualified people to sit on committees that direct autism research. We have namby pamby statements from the CDC read on the Oprah show where Jenny McCarthy spews her nonsense… when they should have just sent Edward to calmly explain the errors in their information.

    Come on, Edward! Show us how it is done! Go and tell us how to explain all the good and wonderful information. Write out a reply to Tiffany that allays all her fears and answers all her questions. Stop telling me how bad I am, and show me by example!

    Also, pD, in all of the epidemiology studies the children have either been fully vaccinated, or often not vaccinated (these are the studies of millions of children in countries like the USA, UK, Denmark, Japan, Finland, Canada and elsewhere). Can you please point out a country, state, county or state that only gives children one, and only one vaccine? Where is the community that only gives the Hib, and nothing else? What town just gives the DTaP (which has been used in Japan longer than the USA)? What you all propose is not possible, and possibly not ethical (clusters of children not protected against a disease tend to get them, like the measles in a San Diego school and the Hib in Minnesota).

    Truly, if the large studies show that there is no real correlation between children who are fully vaccinated, why would you need additional studies for single vaccine?

  191. #191 passionlessDrone
    September 9, 2009

    Hi Chris –

    Also, pD, in all of the epidemiology studies the children have either been fully vaccinated, or often not vaccinated (these are the studies of millions of children in countries like the USA, UK, Denmark, Japan, Finland, Canada and elsewhere).

    I thought you were arguing that we have studies that involved any vaccination and autism. Did I misinterpret your statement? Can you show me a link to a study that evaluated partially vaccinated children where the partiality is comprised of anything different than the MMR? Why not just whip out the email you sent Sid Offit and post the links, and let Edward decide for himself?

    Can you please point out a country, state, county or state that only gives children one, and only one vaccine? Where is the community that only gives the Hib, and nothing else? What town just gives the DTaP (which has been used in Japan longer than the USA)? What you all propose is not possible, and possibly not ethical (clusters of children not protected against a disease tend to get them, like the measles in a San Diego school and the Hib in Minnesota).

    I’m sure that if there was a county, state, or community that did do such a thing and I offered them up, I’d be told that the other components to their lifestyle created such enormous confounders that studying them would provide data that would be impossible to analyze. Anyways, that’s what usually happens.

    Truly, if the large studies show that there is no real correlation between children who are fully vaccinated, why would you need additional studies for single vaccine?

    Fully vaccinated was one group, what comprised the other group(s)? Mostly vaccinated? Partially vaccinated? My apologies if I’m not getting your point here.

    In any case, I wouldn’t argue for studies on particular vaccines so much as analyzing the results of vaccination itself. Permenant immunomodulatory, stress resopnse, and behavioral outcomes of an immune insult during pregnancy are becoming much clearer in the past few years; we have precious little evidence one way or the other to suggest that there are not similar critical post natal periods during which other pertubations could not result in unpredictable results.

    In fact, in animal models we have a growing body of evidence that postnatal challenges to the immune system can have permenant effects on a variety of areas. For some examples, you might check out:

    Postnatal programming of the innate immune response

    or

    Postnatal Inflammation Increases Seizure Susceptibility in Adult Rats

    We are tinkering around with a very complicated, highly variable system that we don’t really understand all that well; especially in infants whose innate immune response has been shown to differ quite a bit from older infants. [see, for example, “Innate immunity of the human newborn is polarized toward a high ratio of IL-6/TNF-alpha production in vitro and in vivo.” or “Skewed pattern of Toll-like receptor 4-mediated cytokine production in human neonatal blood: Low LPS-induced IL-12p70 and high IL-10 persist throughout the first month of life.” (not linking due to filter concerns).

    Just because vaccination has tangible and very real benifits doesn’t mean it might not be causing problems we can’t detect because we weren’t clever enough, or brave enough, to look. This discussion is always about autism because of what some parents say they have observed and these particular individuals tend to be very vocal; but it shouldn’t be. It ought to be about everyone.

    - pD

  192. #192 Chris
    September 10, 2009

    pD:

    Can you show me a link to a study that evaluated partially vaccinated children where the partiality is comprised of anything different than the MMR?

    Look at the ones on the thimerosal. Or look at Generation Rescue’s silly phone poll.

    But what does it matter? Kids who are not vaccinated get autism also. Before you make a claim that any one vaccine causes autism, you have to show those who are vaccinated are more likely to have autism. Right now that data does not show that. There have been huge, gigantic epidemiological studies in several countries (do I need to list them all? In the USA, UK, Denmark, Finland and Canada… plus Japan — which was MMR only and their vaccine schedule which includes TB and Japanese Encephalitis).

    Even your animal studies are pointless when there is no real data to show that vaccines are associated with autism. It is pointless to continue on with this non-association especially since more and more kids are coming down with vaccine preventable diseases like pertussis and Hib (the latter is more accurately blamed on a vaccine shortage, but still it illustrates that there is a real danger to real kids ending up dead).

    Plus, anyone trying to pin it on the MMR is pandering to the ego of Wakefield. That vaccine had been around in the USA and other countries for almost two decades before Wakefield tried to cash in. Even if his study of twelve children was not so deeply flawed, the latest Hornig study pretty much buries it in the ground… along with all of the large epidemiological studies looking at millions of children in several separate countries!

    pD continues:

    In fact, in animal models we have a growing body of evidence that postnatal challenges to the immune system can have permenant effects on a variety of areas. For some examples, you might check out:

    So what are you going to do? Put anyone who wants to get pregnant into a sterile bubble until she gets pregnant and then gives birth? How do you keep immune challenges away from anyone. These can also include pollen in the air, dander on cats, tetanus spores on flowers, bacteria in food, along with all the other microbes on this planet? It is just about as easy to avoid aluminum or formaldehyde (which your body produces) or squalene (which your body needs to in order to actually function!).

    pD again says:

    This discussion is always about autism because of what some parents say they have observed and these particular individuals tend to be very vocal; but it shouldn’t be. It ought to be about everyone.

    And again I repeat the plural of anecdotes is anecdotes, not data. What do you mean “everyone”? Because my son actually was harmed by a real disease, does that mean my voice does not count? Because I saw now problems with any of my children after vaccines, does that mean my voice does not count?

    Give it a rest. The studies have been done, and they show now real correlation between vaccines and autism.

  193. #193 Marishka
    September 10, 2009

    “Just because vaccination has tangible and very real benifits doesn’t mean it might not be causing problems we can’t detect because we weren’t clever enough, or brave enough, to look. This discussion is always about autism because of what some parents say they have observed and these particular individuals tend to be very vocal; but it shouldn’t be. It ought to be about everyone.”

    - pD

    EXACTLY! to the entire post!

    btw Chris “Come on, Edward! Show us how it is done!”
    Ridiculous statement. I point this out because I agree with his sentiment on your attitude even if I might not agree with his vaccine recommendations. He said the blog had valuable information which made it unfortunate when you turn people off to reading it. He did not take credit for providing the info himself. In case you couldnt make the distinction, the CDC employs thousands of individuals to work with the people, but they dont get to run the CDC (have a friend there in human resources). I see a trend of how you misinterpret other’s responses. If you are truly worried for your family being ‘exposed’ to unvaccinated people..maybe you should change your ways. Social counseling could possibly help.

  194. #194 Edward Jamison
    September 10, 2009

    “the CDC employs thousands of individuals to work with the people, but they dont get to run the CDC”

    ‘run it’, lol, since I am in the reserves and currently on my 4th deployment in the middle east, I guess you could say, they own me.

  195. #195 Chris
    September 10, 2009

    Gotta love the concern trolls.

  196. I hope that you are mistaken with this prediction as well. I don’t think anyone would want you to be right on this one.

  197. I hope that you are mistaken with this prediction as well. I don’t think anyone would want you to be right on this one.

  198. I hope that you are mistaken with this prediction as well. I don’t think anyone would want you to be right on this one.

  199. I hope that you are mistaken with this prediction as well. I don’t think anyone would want you to be right on this one.

  200. I hope that you are mistaken with this prediction as well. I don’t think anyone would want you to be right on this one.

  201. I hope that you are mistaken with this prediction as well. I don’t think anyone would want you to be right on this one.

  202. I hope that you are mistaken with this prediction as well. I don’t think anyone would want you to be right on this one.

  203. I hope that you are mistaken with this prediction as well. I don’t think anyone would want you to be right on this one.

  204. #204 Mae
    January 6, 2011

    Holy cow. I am a big fan of Matt Lauer, and I am glad that he is going to explore deeper into the autism debate. I have studied the correlation between autism and the MMR vaccine, and as far as I can see, there is no correlation that shows that autism is caused by the MMR vaccine. It is probably caused by all of the crap that we eat. http://burgessbilt.com/

  205. #205 Chris
    January 6, 2011

    Mae, it took you a year to write that? Why aren’t you posting on the page from today? Apparently Matt Lauer whiffed the ball, and Nancy Snyderman had the last word.

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