Respectful Insolence

Last Wednesday, I took note of an “old friend” and (thankfully) soon-to-be ex-Representative from Indiana’s 5th Congressional District, organized quackery’s best friend in the U.S. House of Representatives, Dan Burton. Specifically, I noted that Rep. Burton appeared to be having his one last antivaccine hurrah in the form of a hearing about the “autism epidemic” in which it was clear that vaccines were going to feature prominently. Fortunately, this quackfest took place a mere five weeks before his long and dismal tenure in Congress. I also noted how antivaccine groups, in particular the merry band of antivaccine propagandists over at Age of Autism, were going nuts over this hearing. I had considered writing a bit about it the day after it happened, but then I thought I’d let things germinate a bit a few days. Boy, am I glad I did, because the antivaccine crowd over at AoA has been in a fine lather the last three or four days. Between trying to convince people that just because an antivaccine crank who happens to be a Congressman managed to persuade the current chair of a committee that he used to chair to hold a hearing right before he leaves office for good it must mean that Burton’s views are something other than pure pseudoscience and conspiracy mongering. In reality, the hearing was more than likely simply a last gesture from a good ol’ boys’ club humoring one of its retiring members.

Be that as it may, there are some fun reactions to read. Before you do that, however, I highly recommend that you first read some highly reasonable live blogging of the event to get an idea of what really happened. If you’re really a glutton for punishment, you can even go here and see video clips of the actual testimony. As usual, what AoA says happened at the hearing resembles what actually happened at the hearing by coincidence only. For example, perhaps the most amusing spittle-flecked “commentary” comes from—who else?—the founder of the antivaccine crank group Generation Rescue, who apparently thinks he’s being clever entitling his post The Unbearable Wimpiness of Being Autism Speaks’ Bob Wright.

Bob Wright’s testimony before Congress was painful to watch. It wasn’t his bald mullet hairdo or the reading glasses he seemingly borrowed from Prince, it was the fact that he opened his conversation by acknowledging that his own daughter thought vaccines caused his grandson’s autism…

His own daughter! The mother of his grandson!

If my parents started an autism organization in my son’s honor and they then spent seven years without remotely pursuing the science or theory that I was sure befell my son…I would disown my parents. I really mean that. I would literally never speak to my parents again and they would have no access to my life or family. How Katie does it…I will never know.

So let’s see. Handley apparently thinks so little of his parents that he would disown them if they disagreed with him about his crank idea that vaccines cause autism. I mean, whatever happened to love for one’s parent’s? For “honor thy mother and they father”? I mean, I can’t think of anything that would lead me to completely disown my parents. J.B. must have been such a good son. Perhaps he’s just being his usual lovable self. On the other hand, even Katie Wright thinks J.B. is a jerk, as she showed up in the comments to basically tell him he was off-base. Of course, J.B.’s always off base.

From an antivaccine standpoint, perhaps the “highlight” (if you can call it that) was Mark Blaxill’s testimony. You remember Mark Blaxill, don’t you? He’s a businessman who thinks he can do epidemiology and science and ends up doing about as well as you would expect; i.e., not very well at all. He’s also a member of the board of SafeMinds, one of the more vocal antivaccine groups out there. There’s a very good reason why I like to refer to him as Mark “Not a Doctor, Not a Scientist” Blaxill. If you want to get an idea just how bad he is when it comes to attempts to do science, you have need look no further to last year, when the not-so-dynamic duo of Mark Blaxill and Dan Olmsted merrily confused correlation with causation for polio, trying to demonstrate the polio vaccine doesn’t work. (It does.) There are, of course, many other examples, but that one stands out as a particularly hilarious one.

Not surprisingly, his testimony (complete with slides!) in front of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform chaired by Darrell Issa (R-CA) was…underwhelming. Actually, from a scientific standpoint it’s even worse than usual, beginning with the tired and long debunked claim that autism didn’t exist before 1930. Apparently someone needs to remind Blaxill yet again that just because there wasn’t a name for a condition before 1943 and apparently Leo Kanner didn’t find any cases before 1930 does not mean that the condition didn’t exist before 1930. Let’s put it this way. If you don’t have diagnostic criteria and name for a condition, you won’t find it. Actually, you might find it, but you won’t call it the same thing that it is called after there is a name. Look at it this way. Before the 1920s, physicians didn’t routinely measure systolic and diastolic blood pressures. Does that mean that hypertension didn’t exist before 1920? Yet that is exactly the sort of argument that Blaxill is making.

Blaxill also trots out the “autism epidemic” canard, claiming that because the prevalence has risen to more than 1 in 100 it must mean that there is a real epidemic, airily attacking a straw man argument that it’s due to “better diagnosing.” That’s not the argument, but this particular straw man allows Blaxill to pour contempt on the idea that the increase in autism is due to “better diagnosing.” A better way of looking at it is that the rise in autism is likely due to a combination of diagnostic substitution (wherein conditions that used to be called something else now fall under the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders), more intense screening, and better awareness. As I’ve pointed out time and time again, it is a truism in medicine that if you look for a condition, you will find more of it, sometimes a lot more of it. It happened with hypertension. It happened with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), a premalignant condition that was seldom diagnosed before mammography but is quite common now that mammographic screening programs have become so common. Lots of people don’t understand this concept, including, unfortunately, some doctors. Add to that Blaxill’s astounding tendency to confuse correlation with causation and, failing to find a correlation, to make one up that can be used to claim causation, and you have a perfect recipe for antivaccine wingnuttery blaming vaccines and thimerosal in vaccines for autism:

In the face of a national emergency, government agencies, especially CDC and NIH, have performed poorly and behaved badly. We need accountable, new leadership on autism at the NIH and the CDC. We need an advisory committee that believes in combating autism, not one newly stocked with appointees who oppose the mission, who want us to surrender to autism and oppose prevention and treatment research. We need a Combating Autism Act that truly combats autism. We need to stop investing in the autism gene hunt and identify what has changed in the environment that could have possibly injured so many children.

We need to conduct independent research into the great unmentionables, mercury and vaccines, connections that we’ve documented in the earliest cases. (I have provided to the Committee copies of my book, The Age of Autism which provides this history). These are the only environmental factors identified so far that are plausible causes for the magnitude and timing of this crisis.

And there we have it. No matter how much science has shown that vaccines and thimerosal-containing vaccines are not correlated with autism risk, antivaccinationists can’t accept the data and the science. They believe, against the vast preponderance of evidence, that vaccines cause autism because, well, they just know it. It’s a matter of faith, which explains J.B.’s reaction to Bob Wright. Bob, although by J.B.’s own account, thinks that vaccines might have caused his grandson’s autism, but he doesn’t believe strongly enough, conceding that it could be a “hell of a coincidence.” Moreover, he’s willing to diversify his portfolio, so to speak, by supporting research other than research looking for a link between vaccines and autism or into “biomedical” treatments. Autism Speaks might be a highly dubious autism charity because of its excessive credulity towards the vaccine-autism link, but it tends to straddle both sides of the issue which infuriates someone like Handley.

Fortunately, in the end, Dan Burton’s little mummer’s farce is just that—a mummer’s farce. It’s a kabuki play, stylized, with each actor playing his or her role. There were the requisite cranks complaining about how Congress isn’t funding the crank research that they want funded, in particular their favorite, the “vaxed versus untaxed” study. There were CDC and NIH officials, who were, unfortunately, poorly prepared to deal with antivaccine misinformation, distortions, and tropes, for antivaccine Congressmen to beat up on publicly in classic (and dishonest) political theater that dates back to the Joseph McCarthy era and before. (Hint: If you’re going to testify at a hearing like this, take the time to learn the attacks that will be lobbed your way and how to respond to them.) There was nothing unexpected, and this whole show was put on to entertain antivaccine audiences and to try to sway the undecided. I suspect that even Dan Burton’s fans know that once he leaves Congress there is, fortunately, no one else to take up the vaccine-autism pseudoscience cause in Congress, and that is a good thing indeed. May it be a long time before anyone who is as big of a crank and supporter of quackery finds a seat in the Congress.

Comments

  1. #1 Grant
    http://sciblogs.co.nz/code-for-life/2012/12/04/help-ted-com-editor/
    December 4, 2012

    Excellent take as usual.

    For those that want even more reading on this (!), you could try Steven Salzberg’s blog at Forbes:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevensalzberg/2012/12/03/congress-holds-an-anti-vaccination-hearing/

    (Thanks to Liz Ditz for pointing this out in comments in an earlier RI thread.)

  2. #2 David N. Brown
    December 4, 2012

    I saw a mention of this by Tim Bolen on usenet, and even the Bolenator made it sound like something significant. I suppose, if nothing else, it will be cause for everyone who wants REAL research to go into damage control mode.

    Incidentally, you have understated how off-base Blaxill is. Even if you’re just looking at superficial terminology, the study of “autism” does NOT begin with Kanner. Hans Asperger probably did a good chunk of his research first, and is even credited with using the term “autistic” before Kanner. But the first use of the term “autism” in psychiatry was by Eugen Bleuler before World War 1. The usual, basically correct appraisal appraisal is that Bleuler simply meant to describe schizophrenia (on which he made the foundational publications). However, there is evidence that he was a significant influence on Kanner and/or Asperger (which I think could be a solution to why the two seemed to replicate so much of each other’s work). I believe it’s even possible that Bleuler really did run into patients with what WE would call autism.

    David N. Brown
    Mesa, Arizona

  3. #3 palindrom
    December 4, 2012

    I would like to repeat a suggestion I made about a year ago, that our Eeeevil Pharma Overlords name a new drug “Blaxill”.

  4. #4 JKW
    Danville, Tri-state area
    December 4, 2012

    Did Mr. Handley really think he was being helpful? The anger… it is strong with this one. http://miltownkid.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/internettoughguy.jpg

  5. #5 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    December 4, 2012

    There were CDC and NIH officials, who were, unfortunately, poorly prepared to deal with antivaccine misinformation, distortions, and tropes, for antivaccine Congressmen to beat up on publicly in classic (and dishonest) political theater that dates back to the Joseph McCarthy era and before. (Hint: If you’re going to testify at a hearing like this, take the time to learn the attacks that will be lobbed your way and how to respond to them.)

    There is simply no excuse for this and if this was the best the CDC could send, no wonder they are failing miserably with risk communication and public perception. Sadly, I believe that they (the CDC) believes they could just march in there with the facts and all would be well. They really do need to be more tuned in to what parental fears are and the drivers of vaccine pseudoscience FUD.

  6. #6 Bronze Dog
    December 4, 2012

    Apparently someone needs to remind Blaxill yet again that just because there wasn’t a name for a condition before 1943 and apparently Leo Kanner didn’t find any cases before 1930 does not mean that the condition didn’t exist before 1930. Let’s put it this way. If you don’t have diagnostic criteria and name for a condition, you won’t find it.

    I’m having a flashback to an old troll who used this argument and refused to believe that autism could be mistaken for mental retardation or other conditions when people didn’t know nearly as much. I bruised my forehead quite a bit.

  7. #7 Denice Walter
    December 4, 2012

    @ David N. Brown:
    @ Bronze Dog:

    While I can’t quite recall where, I remember that Freud described people with conditions that resemble autism when he wrote about disturbances of early development .

  8. #8 Denice Walter
    December 4, 2012

    While reading the reactions to the meeting @ AoA and TMR over the past several days, I errantly thought that perhaps I’m reading news from an alternate universe.

    Today (TMR) Ms Poppy explains her ire: she describes her “PTSD”- having flashbacks of allowing her children to be vaccinated and of them later sufffering horrifying ‘consequences’. She says that she is fighting to make up for her ‘wrongdoing’- i.e. allowing vaccination- for which she apologises to them as she blames the establishment for their- and her- woes.

    She’s on an emotional roller-coaster she says. Oddly, she and others in these groups appear ( to me, at least) to be creating much of the havoc the write about. At times, it seems as though they’re having a contest to determine who has the worst life and who is the most devoted, fighting martyr to the cause. LIke others, she expands her list of those devastated by medicine ( vaccines?) to include ADHD, asthma, allergies and seizures- I guess they want to also preach to parents of those far more numerous kids ( see the Canary Party).

    So our anti-vax parents share a trait with web woo-meisters and alt media ( see Natural News today, Mikey shares his sources of news and his role models): they continuously ramp up emotions while giving ( so-called) information: this is not a very good way to educate people because it encourages decisions based on emotion not careful consideration over time.

    Those who frequent AoA and TMR seem to model themselves upon their thought leaders, as anyone who reads the comments can tell. Ingrained ideas are strengthened by the re-telling and rebellion against the “Official Position” is rewarded. Articles present their cohorts as heroic- which is especially apparent this week.

    If you blame vaccines for autism, you have to admit your own part in the ‘crime”: you brought the child to the doctor for the vaccine. In order to wash yourself clean of your sin, you need to blame others, who in addition to destroying children, cavalierly mislead their innocent, trusting parents into criminal partnership. Casting blame on others as well as making up for feelings of inferiority ( for not having a so-called perfect child) fuel much of the activity and writing we
    witness.

  9. #9 Lenoxus
    December 4, 2012

    A “vaxed vs untaxed” study wouldn’t have major ethical problems, but it wouldn’t be very useful either. (Typo alert :)

    Anyway, how far can they take their line that the Powers That Be are suppressing them if an actual congressperson is seemingly on their side? Shouldn’t this make them paranoid that their conspiracy theories are actually concocted by the government in a grand meta-conspiracy to distract them from the reptilians?

  10. #10 Militant Agnostic
    Hiding from the black helicopters
    December 4, 2012

    @Lenoxus

    Shouldn’t this make them paranoid that their conspiracy theories are actually concocted by the government in a grand meta-conspiracy to distract them from the reptilians?

    In my more paranoid moments, I have often wondered if ant-government conspiracy theories have been launched by governments to distract public attention from malfeasance or more likely just plain incompetence (ie 911 troofers for the latter).

  11. #11 lilady
    December 4, 2012

    I’ve been all over the Forbe’s blogs and I posted about Bob and Suzanne Wright’s conflicted feelings about their daughter Katie at LB/RB:

    http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2012/11/30/mr-wright-is-autism-an-epidemic-or-not-why-not-give-real-examples-of-how-to-make-a-financial-impact/#comment-63574

    Reuben Gaines at the Poxes blog also blogged about the hearing:

    http://thepoxesblog.blogspot.com/2012/12/who-is-your-autism-advocate.html

    And, J.B. is still an angry nasty POS bullsh!tter…not everyone at AoA is enamored with his vicious attack on Bob Wright.

  12. #12 brian
    December 4, 2012

    Phil Plait of Bad Astonomy (now at Slate.com) addresses the congressional nonsense: “Let me be clear right off the bat: Vaccines don’t cause autism.”

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2012/12/04/congress_hearing_on_vaccines_is_a_farce_of_dangerous_antivax_nonsense.html

  13. #13 AllieP
    December 4, 2012

    I wish I could have made it but it probably wouldn’t have been good for my blood pressure. Are people who make these claims about “no autism before X date” being genuine in their ignorance or are they obfuscating? The book “Unstrange Minds” written by a GW anthopology professor (who happens to have an autistic adolescent daughter) does a pretty good job tracking the way what we would categorize as autistim was treated in the past in this country as well as in other countries (juvenile schizophrenia, juvenile dementia, mental retardation, etc.). There’s an excellent anecdote in that book about a young couple in rural S. Africa who were pressured by their parents to take their autistic boy to a local shaman, where, the parents believed, his demons would be exorcised. Luckily, the shaman told the parents that their child was not possessed, he was autistic, and gave them some info on autism he’d printed off the internet. In Korea, the “refrigerator mom” trope is still going strong, according to the book, though health officials are fighting to change that.

  14. #14 Liz Ditz
    in the kitchen with a lead pipe.
    December 4, 2012

    I’m keeping a list. Thanks lilady, I missed some of the TMR screeds.

    I’ve also started posting clips of the congresscritters’ response to panel one, and intend to keep going for panel two.

    http://lizditz.typepad.com/i_speak_of_dreams/2012/11/historic-congressional-autism-hearings-november-29-2012-1.html

  15. #15 Dan J. Andrews
    December 4, 2012

    ” “vaxed versus untaxed” ”

    Wait…you mean i have an option not to be taxed if not vaxed? On second thought, I’ll take taxes over polio. :)

    I hope Orac is right in the framing of this as one last hurrah before Burton goes away. I saw it as yet another extension of the type of bullying and attacking from Congress that we’ve seen on the climate scientists and others (e.g. Dr. Brinkley’s sharp exchange with Rep Young, who came across as an arrogant cranky old bully–kudos to Dr. Brinkley for standing up to him).

    We’ve long been worried about antiscience politicians pushing their flat-earth agendas. We’ve seen the trend from just promoting their agendas (evolution-YEC) to using the power of political office and various laws to attack scientists themselves (climatologists, environmental scientists, scientists from regulatory agencies, biologists and ecologists, limnologists) to intimidate them into silence through lawsuits, loss of employment, and red-taping them into suffocation.

    So this attack on the CDC and NIH people seemed to just one more step backwards into a world where the gut rules. Incidentally, why they weren’t prepared for this is curious–it is like they’ve not been paying attention to what has been happening when Congress calls scientists forward to present the views of their discipline.

    The most generous interpretation is that it was extreme naiveness on their part. Less generous is they had their head in their nether regions, and even less generous is the old “first they came for the X but I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t an X”.

    A unified front is needed, and every time one science is attacked, the other sciences should rally around and inform bullies in Congress that “Science is not a taxi-cab that we can get in and out of whenever we like”.

  16. #16 lilady
    December 4, 2012

    @ Allie P & Liz Ditz: Liz commented about the facetious argument about “no autistic kids in my school/neighborhood, when I was growing up”. I replied to Liz about the older DSM diagnostic criteria and the old school diagnoses. (IIRC), school diagnoses were limited to ADD. ADHD, Learning Disabled, Mentally Retarded, PDD-NOS, Multiply Handicapped…and, Other Health Impaired.

    Liz made the argument that before the passage of PL 94-142 (Education for All Handicapped Children Act) in 1975, seriously impaired children were not provided a “free appropriate education”…many of these kids were “exempt” from attending any education program. Some were educated in private schools.

    I expanded on Liz’ comment and provided YouTube links to the conditions that were found at Willowbrook State School (a human inhumane warehouse). Thanks to the intervention of the Federal Courts and parent advocates, deinstitutionalization was began (and continues to this day).

    I served on my school district’s Committee that decided placement for children who were referred for special services. Back then (mid 1970s-1985 inclusive), parents were reluctant to have their kids “classified” and even more reluctant to have their kids “classified” as Mentally Retarded or classified as PDD-NOS (autistic), because of the “stigma” that came with those diagnoses.

    For the very “reluctant” parents who wanted no “classification”, we provided services only 4 days/week and didn’t have to “classify” their kids for services that were provided less than 5 X/weekly. It was far better to do this, so that parents could see the progress made when their children received services.

    We also “played games” with the diagnoses, classifying mildly intellectually impaired kid as “Learning Disabled” and mildly autistic kids as ADD or ADHD to avoid what parents felt were stigmatizing “labels”. This is called “diagnostic substitution” which is accountable for some of the increase in ASD diagnoses.

    Reuben at The Poxes blog wrote about “prevalence” recently as it pertains to ASDS:

    http://thepoxesblog.blogspot.com/2012/11/prevalence-prevalence-prevalence.html

    BTW, if you choose to post there, please avoid “mentioning” names and the anti-vaccine organizations; Reuben does not want to deal with troll infestations.

  17. #17 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    December 4, 2012

    I take perverse pleasure observing the petty attacks launched on each other over at AoA. Even more amusing are the comments about what Autism Speaks should be doing with their money. Isn’t Generation Rescue giving them what they want? Why don’t they ever attack the Simons Foundation?

  18. #18 Denice Walter
    December 4, 2012

    @ Science Mom:

    I also take perverse pleasure in reading some of the screeds @ AoA and TMR. I know, I know, I am in one of the proverbial ‘helping professions’ and really should be nicer but seriously, one would have to be a saint. And I don’t think that saints exist. If they do, I certainly not one of them.

    About foundations, occasionally a commenter named Barry appears @ AoA, whom I assume to be Barry Siegal – of the Siegal Foundation/ Focus Autism- I am wondering if he is putting any money where his mouth is and funding any woo-centric studies or projects.

  19. #19 David N. Brown
    December 4, 2012

    @Bronze Dog, Denise,
    Possibly the biggest source of historical confusion was between autism and schizophrenia. In addition to a lot of outright error, most conspicuously a theory that autistic children became schizophrenic adults, there is substantial evidence for real inter-relationship between the conditions. I just posted a document on the issue that I have been sitting on for some time here:
    http://autismandreligion.weebly.com/additional-resources.html

  20. #20 Edith Prickly
    December 4, 2012

    @DW

    Today (TMR) Ms Poppy explains her ire: she describes her “PTSD”- having flashbacks of allowing her children to be vaccinated and of them later sufffering horrifying ‘consequences’. She says that she is fighting to make up for her ‘wrongdoing’- i.e. allowing vaccination- for which she apologises to them as she blames the establishment for their- and her- woes.

    I’d be inclined to rearrange the letters in that acronym to SPDT, or Self-Pitying Diva Tantrum. The simplest way for her to “make it right” for her sons would be to stop posting histrionic drivel on the Internet and start interacting with them in a realistic manner.

  21. #21 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    December 4, 2012

    About foundations, occasionally a commenter named Barry appears @ AoA, whom I assume to be Barry Siegal – of the Siegal Foundation/ Focus Autism- I am wondering if he is putting any money where his mouth is and funding any woo-centric studies or projects.

    That’s a new wooster for me. Why wouldn’t JB get Barry Segal or the Dwoskins to pony up for his anti-vaxx wet dream study? I don’t see any research that Segal is funding, just funneling money into dodgy “organisations”. His “citations” for autism causes includes only one actual publication and the rest are websites or drivellings of the likes of Vera Scheibner.

  22. #22 lilady
    December 4, 2012

    @ Edith Prickly: Brilliant…and a “keeper”.

    Too bad the DSM 5 changes are complete and set for publication, Spring 2013; SPDT should be coded for the DSM!

  23. #23 lilady
    December 4, 2012

    @ Science Mom: Segal and his wife were at the Congressional Hearing. Several of Segal’s sons are on the Board of Directors at the Segal Foundation and one of his sons has a daughter with epilepsy.

    http://focusautisminc.org/archives/december-3-2012/

    Under “What We Fund” at that site, see the list of the Segal Foundation’s “Partners”.

  24. #24 Thomas
    December 4, 2012

    Liz

    http://lizditz.typepad.com/i_speak_of_dreams/2012/11/historic-congressional-autism-hearings-november-29-2012-1.html

    That link doesn’t work and the post appears to have disappeared from the main page of your blog.

  25. #25 Columbina
    UK
    December 4, 2012

    @lilady
    Speaking of DSM 5 changes, amusingly, as of yesterday, the incidence for a certain subset of ASD, Asperger’s, should drop to zero. Sadly for myself and my fellow Aspies, it is not because some quack has managed to ‘cure’ it, but because our diagnosis are being consumed by the wider label of ASD.
    Imagine how those poor deluded AoA members will deal with those graphs… Maybe it’s finally the result of all that ‘nasty toxins’ being removed from those scary vaccines ;-)

  26. #26 lilady
    December 4, 2012

    John D. Stone came back to the Forbes blog to post again (page 17).

    Two posters replied to him; Matt Carey was not combative…and the *second* poster wasn’t as pleasant. :-)

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevensalzberg/2012/12/03/congress-holds-an-anti-vaccination-hearing/

  27. #27 Narad
    December 4, 2012

    Re the confluence of Forbes and TMR, the commenter flogger the latter seems to have had some colorful antics.

  28. #28 Denice Walter
    December 4, 2012

    You’ll notice that the Focus Autism board includes- besides family members- Katie Wright and Brian Hooker ( CoMeD). A while back, Segal also employed Louise Kuo Habakus (for PR, I believe) but I haven’t seen her name mentioned lately.
    Lots of cross-hybriding and multi-tasking in anti-vax world.

  29. #29 Narad
    December 4, 2012

    ^ “flogging”

  30. #30 Denice Walter
    December 4, 2012

    @ David N. Brown:

    That’s very good. I have speculated a little about the similarities and differences between schizophrenia and autism by way of interpersonal skills and social cognition . Interesting about the genes, too.

  31. #31 David N. Brown
    December 4, 2012

    @Columbina,
    I have just been getting up to speed on the DSM5, and still need to learn more. There has been talk about merging AS with the broader “spectrum” for some time, and I have been in favor of it, but I think outright removal of AS takes it too far. (I also feel that if there is anything that deserves to be removed, it’s PDD-NOS.) The upside is, if the docs are going to stop recognizing AS as distinct from (other) autism, the one thing they CANNOT do is turn around and decide we aren’t “really” autistic.

    @Denice Walter,
    I’m glad to finally get that piece out there. It’s been long enough since I wrote it that I had to review what I had written. I’m sure I have actually written more, particularly on the history and possible interrelationship of Bleuler, Kanner and Asperger. I will do some file-fishing and see what I can dig up.

    David N. Brown
    Mesa, Arizona

  32. #32 Todd W.
    http://harpocratesspeaks.com
    December 4, 2012

    @David N. Brown and Denice Walter

    You might be interested in some musings I had a while back. What we call autism today was observed several years before Bleuler came up with the concept of “autism”.

  33. #33 herr doktor bimler
    December 4, 2012

    Are people who make these claims about “no autism before X date” being genuine in their ignorance or are they obfuscating?

    Perhaps they should contact the autism / AS support groups who come up with those morale-boosting lists of “Famous Autists of History”.

  34. #34 herr doktor bimler
    December 4, 2012

    On the other hand, people these days no longer take to their beds with a debilitating attack of “brain fever” after an emotional shock. Perhaps vaccination should get the credit.

  35. #35 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    December 4, 2012

    Re the confluence of Forbes and TMR, the commenter flogger the latter seems to have had some colorful antics.

    I’m not following. I read your link and have only perused a couple pages of the Forbes comments (Jake Crosby attempting epi makes me twitchy) but I’m not seeing the connection.

    Lots of cross-hybriding and multi-tasking in anti-vax world.

    But Denise, it’s a rather shallow pool they have to draw from and everyone there wants to be a playah. As for multi-tasking well, for a limited value of multi-tasking I suppose.

  36. #36 Narad
    December 4, 2012

    I’m not following. I read your link and have only perused a couple pages of the Forbes comments (Jake Crosby attempting epi makes me twitchy) but I’m not seeing the connection.

    The appearance is, at present, on page 15. The disjointed construction of the comment suggests to me that the drop is basically an attempt to drive some traffic. TMR seems to be proving to be something of a dud.

  37. #37 Denice Walter
    December 4, 2012

    @ Narad:

    I believe that you are correct: they seem to re-hash the same old rants and have a limited audience of commenters.
    However, they’re still trying to sell stuff- most visibly, printed shirts and their new book.

  38. #38 Narad
    December 4, 2012

    I believe that you are correct: they seem to re-hash the same old rants and have a limited audience of commenters.

    Their comment moderation policy is also even more draconian than AoA’s. And they’ve already been into reruns. I no longer even bother looking.

  39. #39 qwerty
    December 4, 2012

    After seeing the kerfuffle over at AoA regarding the massive ‘success’ of the congressional hearing, I simply couldn’t help but watch the proceedings on youtube. Four hours of my life that I’ll never get back. A few thoughts:

    1. Dan Burton’s brain is to science what lead is to gamma radiation — impenetrable. Despite spearheading nearly a decade of congressional discussions with panels of autism experts, he still manages to completely confuse ethyl and methylmercury, thinking that both bioaccumulate (not true), that both are equally toxic (not true), that the same stuff in fish and thermometers is the very same nastiness that we inject into babies during vaccination. Oh, and that it (the mercury) hangs out in the brain unless properly chelated. Oy Vey.

    2. I get it Katie Wright, you disagree with *everything* everyone from the CDC/NIH says. The gratuitous amount of eye rolling and head shaking is just annoying.

    3. This hearing should serve as a stark reminder for scientists that the *way* in which you communicate your work in the public arena is as important as the work itself. Boyle did a terrible job in this respect and came off looking unprepared, uninformed and wholly unenthused.

    4. How fantastic that the best testimonies were given by individuals on the spectrum! Ari Ne’eman and Michael John Carley were the most passionate, reasonable and articulate speakers (Boyle should take notes!).

  40. #40 lilady
    December 4, 2012

    Emily Willingham, who blogs on Forbes was part of panel that discussed the DSM 5 ASD changes on KQED Northern California Public Radio. I found the broadcast to be very interesting and informative:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/emilywillingham/2012/12/04/just-in-aspergers-prevalence-predicted-to-fall-to-zero/#comments

  41. #41 Rebecca
    December 5, 2012

    Yes, “brain fever” – often a crucial plot device in Sherlock Holmes stories. What *was* it?

  42. #42 Rebecca Fisher
    December 5, 2012

    I was wondering – am I the only one outraged by JB Handley’s vile racism?

    None of us give a flying F%$# about the prevalence of autism in South Korea

  43. #43 Francis
    Toronto
    December 5, 2012

    Keep plodding along with the well-worn and tedious pro-vaccine stance guys: 1. Thousands and thousands of parents who witnessed their children regression after vaccinations are idiots and there is no autism epidemic. 2. The autism cases that we are seeing are simply result of better diagnosis. 3. All of Big Phamas studies have debunked the whole vaccine causes autism myth. 4. The anti-vaccine crowd are all idiots, quacks, entirely lacking a sane leg to stand on.

  44. #44 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    December 5, 2012

    The appearance is, at present, on page 15. The disjointed construction of the comment suggests to me that the drop is basically an attempt to drive some traffic. TMR seems to be proving to be something of a dud.

    Thanks Narad. So is this criminal ex-cop one of the TMR Divas? Funny she should dwell on Thorsen’s criminal activity given her own lapses with regards to the law and as a police officer no less.

    I was wondering – am I the only one outraged by JB Handley’s vile racism?
    “None of us give a flying F%$# about the prevalence of autism in South Korea”

    I don’t know if it’s racism or simply that the S. Korean data is very inconvenient to JB’s belief system. Although he is a blatant misogynist so it wouldn’t surprise me in the least.

  45. #45 Julian Frost
    NOYDB
    December 5, 2012

    @Francis:

    Thousands and thousands of parents who witnessed their children regression after vaccinations are idiots wrong and there is no autism epidemic.

    There is no autism epidemic.

    The autism cases that we are seeing are simply result of better diagnosis.

    Along with diagnostic substitution and broadened diagnostic criteria, coupled with previous underdiagnosis.

    All of Big Phamas the independent studies have debunked the whole vaccine causes autism myth.

    FTFY. Don’t forget that Andrew Wakefield cooked his data when it pointed away from the MMR-causes-autism hypothesis.

    4. The anti-vaccine crowd leaders are all idiots, quacks, entirely lacking a sane leg to stand on.

    Yep.
    Keep the comments coming, I’m loving the target practise.

  46. #46 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    December 5, 2012

    Keep plodding along with the well-worn and tedious pro-vaccine stance guys:

    Oh Hai Francis. I guess if you dunderheads would take your heads out of your arses then we wouldn’t repeat ourselves.

    1. Thousands and thousands of parents who witnessed their children regression after vaccinations are idiots and there is no autism epidemic.

    Is that like the thousands and thousands of equally foolish people thinking the Earth is flat and 6K years old in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary? Yes Francis, it’s precisely the same delusion.

    2. The autism cases that we are seeing are simply result of better diagnosis.

    Then Francis, you’ll have no trouble presenting evidence that diagnostic substitution and expansion have not explained for the majority of diagnostic increase.

    3. All of Big Phamas studies have debunked the whole vaccine causes autism myth.

    What “Big Phamas” studies would those be? I don’t think I have come across any pharma-funded vaccine/autism studies but I’m sure you’ll be along to correct me.

    4. The anti-vaccine crowd are all idiots, quacks, entirely lacking a sane leg to stand on.

    Well yea. If the vast majority of the scientific, medical and even autistic communities think your daft then yes there is something very wrong with your beliefs.

  47. #47 Denice Walter
    December 5, 2012

    @ Science Mom:

    What always gets to me is that many of those who cry ‘Epidemic!’ are either too young and/ or too under-educated to understand that years ago, autism was often subsumed under the label “mental retardation” and that many of the more seriously affected people were in institutions. These people were- like the SMI- not the focus of societal interest or effort.

    Thus, a 35 year old might talk about the great epidemics of mental illness, autism and learning disabilities looming that threaten continuous increase. This is usually explained by the ever-increasing pollution of the environment and toxins in the food supply. Isn’t the opposite case more likely: since the 1970s, environmental “clean-up” has been really the better description.
    .
    -btw- I think that TMR had an article praising the incredible ex-cop.

  48. #48 dingo199
    December 5, 2012

    Francis

    Keep plodding along with the well-worn and tedious pro-vaccine stance guys: 1. Thousands and thousands of parents who witnessed their children regression after vaccinations are idiots and there is no autism epidemic. 2. The autism cases that we are seeing are simply result of better diagnosis. 3. All of Big Phamas studies have debunked the whole vaccine causes autism myth. 4. The anti-vaccine crowd are all idiots, quacks, entirely lacking a sane leg to stand on.

    1. I don’t doubt thousands of parents had kids who became autistic within some relatively short time frame after vaccination – the prime time for autism diagnosis has always fallen around a time when kids get several vaccines (1-2yrs). In fact I’d be surprised if there wasn’t any coincidence, taliking probability-wise. The difficulty is that parents have made a post-hoc rationalization and have blamed a vaccine, rather than blaming, say, the holiday trip parents took, or the new cell phone big sister bought.

    2. You haven’t been listening, and none of us is saying this is “simple”. The increased numbers are not only the result of better awareness and better diagnosis but the result of expanded diagnostic criteria, however I personally have no doubt that some of the rise does represent a true underlying increase in the incidence of ASD (but there is no credible evidence this is due to vaccination).

    3. The myth has been debunked by studies quite independent of BigPharma. Either way you look at it, when many different roads take you to the same place, there is no point whining that this is the result of some cartological conspiracy.

    4. I am afraid that this characterization holds true for a small proportion of the “antivax” crowd. However, many are perfectly intelligent people who have reached an erroneous conclusion because they have only been made aware of highly cherry-picked information and data which has been dressed up to promote the vaccine-autism myth. I don’t blame people for falling for the propaganda con. It works, so it will keep on happening. We just want people to look at all the facts and all the data and reach an independent, reasoned conclusion.

  49. #49 Karl Mamer
    Toronto
    December 5, 2012

    If I were going to go in front of a congressional committee, I might spend a bit of time research the members who will ask me questions and figure out what axes they have to grind and then prepare. I’m rather shocked Boyle, who must be amazingly well acquainted with anti-vaxx nuttery in all its forms, can’t cite the scientific response chapter and verse.

  50. #50 Denice Walter
    December 5, 2012

    To follow up on dingo199:

    the age when vaccines are given is also the time that it comes apparent that the child is not developing in an average manner, failing to meet milestones: autism involves deficits in social and communicative development. Children below the age of one year really don’t use much language or engage in much interpersonal communication.

    However there are earlier pre-verbal indicators of autism that occur before that time- like patterns of gaze – AND physiognomic differences ( head size, facial proprotions) as well as brain wave differences.

    Similarly genetic and brain differences ( post mortem) have also been demonstrated. I imagine that the current focus on genetics will yield results that will convince fence-sitters.

  51. #51 Ren
    State of Confusion
    December 5, 2012

    I’ve said it before. Other epidemiologists have said it before. You cannot say that something is an epidemic through prevalence. For example, the prevalence of people with HIV is increasing, even while incidence is decreasing. Why? Because they are living longer. Prevalence only tells you that there are more existing cases… That the bucket is being filled and has been being filled from a spout. You can’t tell if the spout is delivering cases faster (an epidemic) or slower based on how filled the bucket is (prevalence). There is no good way to measure how fast the bucket is being filled (incidence) for a myriad of reasons.

    *This has been your epidemiology lesson for the day.*

  52. #52 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    December 5, 2012

    What always gets to me is that many of those who cry ‘Epidemic!’ are either too young and/ or too under-educated to understand that years ago, autism was often subsumed under the label “mental retardation” and that many of the more seriously affected people were in institutions. These people were- like the SMI- not the focus of societal interest or effort.

    Indeed DW. De-institutionalisation has made special needs people more visible. Another factor “they” can’t seem to grok is that many cases are “higher” functioning i.e. those who would have slipped through the cracks years ago. Not “head-banging, diaper-wearing” disabled (as the revolting Dachelbot likes to put it) who are driving a substantial part of the increased prevalence.

    @ Ren, very nice analogy although will fall on the deaf ears of the true believers.

  53. #53 Alain
    December 5, 2012

    Not “head-banging, diaper-wearing” disabled

    I get to wonder (not about myself), such head-banging, diaper-wearing disabled does eventually outgrow out of it? autism isn’t developmental stasis.

    Alain

  54. #54 Denice Walter
    December 5, 2012

    @ Science Mom:

    How I understand it, the new category system may indeed eliminate many of those (higher functioning) who “slipped through the cracks” prior to the DSM-IV changes.**

    Now the AoA congregants are not at all happy about this situation and believe that it is merely a *political operation* being utilised to mask the great epidemic we are currently in the midst of, perpetrated by- who else?- the goverment and the medical establishment in order to protect Pharma.

    Everytime I hear the 1/6th or 16% figure ( of learning disabilities etc), I have to stifle a laugh because they don’t comprehend that the definition itself appears to be statistical ( lowest sds) and therefore entails those particular numbers not say 5% or 11%.

    About the UK study that illustrated stability of autism across age groups:
    don’t ALL of us over about age 30 or so know people- mostly men- who fit the descriptions BUT were never labelled. Or if you look at Baron-Cohen’s ideas based on occupational choices: naive observation can sometimes lead to fruitful discovery that can be later studied in detailed research.

    ** Be alert, Jake, change is in the air.

  55. #55 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    December 5, 2012

    How I understand it, the new category system may indeed eliminate many of those (higher functioning) who “slipped through the cracks” prior to the DSM-IV changes.**

    The DSM-V will no longer have a seperate Asperger’s category and instead will fall under an ASD diagnosis instead. So this will not reduce the number diagnosed but rather inflate ASD diagnoses (diagnostic substitution via elimination).

    Now the AoA congregants are not at all happy about this situation and believe that it is merely a *political operation* being utilised to mask the great epidemic we are currently in the midst of, perpetrated by- who else?- the goverment and the medical establishment in order to protect Pharma.

    Pretty neat trick and amazing forethought given the DSM-V proposal began back in 1999. But what’s a little detail like that when you are bent on fashioning yet another global conspiracy.

  56. #56 lilady
    December 5, 2012

    Thank you Denice and Science Mom for your informed observations about “autistic-like” behaviors that are observed in people (like my son), who had/have a clinical diagnosis of mental retardation.

    I only wish that people who “claim” that the “prevalence” (thanks, Ren), of autism is increasing dramatically, could have accompanied me when I “toured” developmental centers that are similar to Willowbrook State School:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbiYJkiX-Dg&list=LP_nln5QoJUHI&index=2&feature=plcp

    I only “wish” that those same people could have accompanied me to the State Psychiatric Centers, where I saw children with “Kanner’s autism” placed in a DMRU (Discrete Mental Retardation Unit), where their needs for active treatment were not met.

    Perhaps a visit to the Intermediate Care Facility where my son resided and where my “other son” still lives, would convince people that those who have a diagnosis of Mental Retardation, do exhibit “autistic-like” behaviors. My “other son” had a severe brain which left him with a huge porencephalic cyst that covers the left hemisphere of his brain. He has Lennox Gasteux seizures, spastic R. hemiplegia, a diagnosis of profound mental retardation and self stimming/self abusive behaviors (autistic-like behaviors).

    The expansion of the DSM ASD diagnostic criteria from the time these two children were diagnosed using the DSM II criteria, does not mean that they meet the criteria of ASDs. Nor does the fact that “diagnostic substitution” from ADD/ADHD to an ASD diagnosis for younger children indicate that the “prevalence” of ASDs is associated with vaccines.

  57. #57 herr doktor bimler
    December 5, 2012

    1. Thousands and thousands of parents who witnessed their children regression after vaccinations are idiots

    I prefer to reserve that label for people who pull numbers out of thin air.

  58. #58 Krebiozen
    December 5, 2012

    Denice,

    Everytime I hear the 1/6th or 16% figure ( of learning disabilities etc), I have to stifle a laugh because they don’t comprehend that the definition itself appears to be statistical ( lowest sds) and therefore entails those particular numbers not say 5% or 11%.

    Well, consider that however dumb the average AoA congregant is, half of them are even dumber than that.

  59. #59 herr doktor bimler
    December 5, 2012

    “however dumb the average median AoA congregant is”

    Fixed for greater pedantry.

  60. #60 Ren
    December 5, 2012

    Or if you look at Baron-Cohen’s ideas based on occupational choices

    Sacha Baron Cohen?

  61. #61 Liz Ditz
    in the greenhouse, with the Flit
    December 5, 2012

    OK I found another post pointing at the hearing and laughing…in Commentary magazine of all places

    http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2012/12/05/conspiracy-theorists-rule-congressional-autism-hearing/

    Who is better equipped to solve a major medical mystery, a handful American lawmakers or thousands of highly trained scientists worldwide? Unfortunately for Americans, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform decided that it was the former. The committee held a hearing billed as a conversation with experts on the growing rates of autism, but it was rife with anti-vaccination diatribes and conspiracy theories from members of Congress and their carefully chosen anti-vaccination witnesses. One congressman, Indiana Republican Dan Burton, let loose a rant filled with misinformation and conjecture about the safety of vaccines and their ability to harm children and adults. He told those at the hearing,

    And my round-up post is back — Typepad burped or something

    http://lizditz.typepad.com/i_speak_of_dreams/2012/11/historic-congressional-autism-hearings-november-29-2012-1.html

  62. #62 Krebiozen
    December 5, 2012

    HDB,

    “however dumb the average median AoA congregant is”
    Fixed for greater pedantry.

    I did consider that, but I was assuming a Gaussian distribution, and that half of them won’t understand the word “median”.

  63. #63 Liz Ditz
    In the kitchen with a noose
    December 5, 2012

    Denice wrote

    Everytime I hear the 1/6th or 16% figure ( of learning disabilities etc), I have to stifle a laugh because they don’t comprehend that the definition itself appears to be statistical ( lowest sds) and therefore entails those particular numbers not say 5% or 11%.

    I am not sure the definition is statistical for all types of learning disability/neurological disorders. It certainly is for intellectual disability, but cerebral palsy, stuttering, dyslexia, hearing loss and so forth?

    Here’s my post on the figure which goes into more detail, and has a link to the original study.

    http://lizditz.typepad.com/i_speak_of_dreams/2011/11/one-in-six-children-with-a-developmental-disability.html

  64. #64 Denice Walter
    December 5, 2012

    @ Ren:

    Simon not Sacha.

    @ Liz:

    Obviously I was speaking shorthand. The general gist is that the alt med crowd is complaining about problems that can’t have changed because the definition is based on results of tests or definitions.

  65. #65 Denice Walter
    December 5, 2012

    @ Krebiozen:

    Right, I probably wouldn’t say “median” either- since they tend to be alt med-ish, they’d just think that you meant “meridians” in acupuncture and wouldn’t get the point at all.

  66. #66 Narad
    December 5, 2012

    OK I found another post pointing at the hearing and laughing…in Commentary magazine of all places

    I had previously heard the thermometer mention, but I hadn’t seen it quoted before:

    When I was a boy, we used to have mercury in thermometers. They said if you break that thermometer and the mercury gets on your hands, that’s toxic.

    I don’t actually recall “them” saying any such thing. Don’t volatilize it, and it’s not really a big deal.

  67. #67 herr doktor bimler
    December 5, 2012

    I don’t actually recall “them” saying any such thing.

    I have here in my hand a GENUINE CITATION to prove you wrong:
    http://ruthlessrhymes.com/category/little_willies/history-of-little-willies

  68. #68 lilady
    December 5, 2012

    Bob Wright has a blog on the Ho-Po about the Congressional Hearing.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bob-wright/autism-awareness_b_2213121.html

    The Dachel bot, John Stoned and the usual suspects have posted and my comment is just out of moderation.

  69. #69 Denice Walter
    December 6, 2012

    @ AoA today, Brian Hooker ( CoMeD) discusses his relationships within the antivax community** and his testimony to the commitee.

    ** it’s a small world.

  70. #70 Kristen
    Ohio
    December 6, 2012

    Explain to me why my then 2 year-old was sent into regressive autism the DAY AFTER he received a cocktail of shots.

  71. #71 Denice Walter
    December 6, 2012

    @ Kristen:

    I’m sorry but I think that you’ve been misled by people who have ulterior motives and often, vested interests in the vaccines-cause-autism belief system.

    Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition that is set-up pre/ peri-natally and is perhaps NOTICED around the time of series of vaccines ( age 1-2 years). That’s the time when social/ communication deficits and failures to meet milestones are noticed.

    Research has been revealing early markers of autism like differences in patterns of gaze- a precursor to social interaction- and physiognomic differences ( head size, facial proportions) as well as genetic and brain differences- all of which occur much earlier than the vaccines.

    In order for avaccine to ’cause’ autism virtually overnight, it would have to move directly from the injection site, cross the BBB and somehow damage or re-arrange – perhaps even cause greater cell multiplication- in the cortex- I don’t think that this happens. When you get a vaccine, it doesn’t go directly into your bloodstream but disperses slowly.

    I have an appointment. Perhaps someone else here can continue.

  72. #72 JGC
    December 6, 2012

    Explain to me why my then 2 year-old was sent into regressive autism the DAY AFTER he received a cocktail of shots.

    The best supported explanation is simple coincidence:.

    Arguing that vaccines cause autism based on a perceived temporal association is like seeing increased traffic during the morning and evening rush hours, observing that the sun also rises and sets at those times, and concluding “Sunrises/Sunsets tirgger traffic jams!”

    We could, of course, test that sunrise/sunset theory, by looking collecting a larger data set looking at traffic patterns at sunrise and sunset–on week-ends, on holidays, in rural areas, before and after clocks are set backwards and forwards for daylight savings time, etc.–and of course we’d find that no causal relationship exists. On week-ends traffic is reduced, on some holidays traffic is jammed regardless of time of day, when clocks are set forward and backward peak traffic congestion changes forward and back as well.. We’d realize that sunrises and sunsets don’t cause traffic jams, there were simply more people are on the roads for a completely different reason (commuting to and from work) at those times.

    The same broader analysis has been done with respect to autism and immunization: large epidemiologic studies have looked for and failed to find a causal association between immunization and autism. Just as with traffic and sunsets, though they are coincident in time autism is occurring for a completely different reason: because autism exhibits itself as deficitis/delays in behaviors only become present and sufficiently well-formed for deficits to be detectable at about 1 year of age, which coincidentally is also the time some routine immunzations are scheduled.

  73. #73 Chris
    Neither here nor there...
    December 6, 2012

    Kristen, we cannot tell you about your child unless we have access to all of his medical records. But there is one thing that might be happening: confirmation bias.

    You may have missed the some signs earlier, and then noticed them after a series of vaccines. Looking at the pediatric schedule the only vaccine I see at age two is HepA and influenza. Not exactly a “cocktail of shots.” So, yeah, we are going to need more details.

    By the way, it was only after my son turned two that his severe speech delay became a concern. Back then it was unusual to get that attended to, but given his history of seizures (one while suffering from a now vaccine preventable disease) we were referred to a specialist early on. He received over ten years of speech therapy, special ed. services and on and on. He does have some autistic behaviors, but he was seen by the child neurologist in 1991. The neurologist assured us that he did not have autism because he was a happy interactive kid, and it was before the adoption of DSM IV.

  74. #74 flip
    December 6, 2012

    @Ren

    Thank you for the lesson on prevalence. A very useful analogy and one I have bookmarked.

  75. #75 Chris
    Waiting for a wine shipment...
    December 6, 2012

    Liz Ditz:

    And my round-up post is back — Typepad burped or something

    I see Ross Coe has returned. Perhaps someday he will answer how Olivia Dahl’s reaction to measles is the same as autism. I keep asking, but he just runs away.

  76. #76 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    December 6, 2012

    Explain to me why my then 2 year-old was sent into regressive autism the DAY AFTER he received a cocktail of shots.

    What “cocktail of shots” does a two year-old get? But more to the point, your account is too vague however noticing something the day after an event is not the same thing as the event causing the observation. What would you even propose happenened that would cause an overnight regression?

  77. #77 herr doktor bimler
    December 6, 2012

    Explain to me why my then 2 year-old was sent into regressive autism the DAY AFTER he received a cocktail of shots.

    In a SINGLE DAY? Yeah right.

  78. #78 herr doktor bimler
    December 6, 2012

    What “cocktail of shots” does a two year-old get?

    I admit, I am opposed to injecting toddlers with a Manhattan or a Black Russian.
    A Monkey Brain would just be wrong.

  79. #79 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    December 6, 2012

    Cocktails are best taken orally, rather than via intramuscular injection or intravenously.

  80. #80 Narad
    December 6, 2012

    Cocktails are best taken orally, rather than via intramuscular injection or intravenously.

    Plus, Sitz baths are horribly wasteful.

  81. #81 lilady
    December 6, 2012

    Kristen could provide us the number assigned to the VAERS report and be reassured that all identifying information has been redacted.

    How many shots and which vaccine-preventable diseases was your child immunized against, the day before your child became autistic?

    Kristen: Did your child’s doctor make a referral to a pediatric neurologist? Did the diagnosing doctor publish your child’s remarkable transition from a nuero-typical child to an autistic within 24 hours of receiving vaccines?

  82. #82 Calli Arcale
    December 6, 2012

    Ren:

    Or if you look at Baron-Cohen’s ideas based on occupational choices

    Sacha Baron Cohen?

    Presumably his cousin, Dr Simon Baron-Cohen, who is actually a reknowned expert on autism. (It’s a funny old world, isn’t it? Lots of people in the performing arts in his family; Simon is one of two scientists among all the actors and producers and musicians and such.) I have a copy of the video his research team produced (“The Transporters”) to help autistic children learn to recognize facial expressions and understand social cues. My daughter loved it when she was younger. (She’s 9 now, and has progressed beyond requiring assistance with that.) I disagree with his concept of autism as “extreme male brain” (which, to his chagrin, was used as a roundabout argument for chelation to treat autism), but he’s done a lot of very good work all the same. I don’t have to agree with all of his work to respect him in general. ;-)

  83. #83 Alain
    Montreal again :)
    December 6, 2012

    @ Calli Arcale,

    What do you think of the Montreal group (Laurent Mottron MD/PhD) and its enhanced perceptual functioning? their latest review paper being out:

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0149763412002060

    Alain

  84. #84 lilady
    December 6, 2012

    Where’s Kristen?

    I posted a comment directly at her, hours ago and she hasn’t responded.

  85. #85 herr doktor bimler
    December 7, 2012

    Cocktails are best taken orally, rather than via intramuscular injection or intravenously.

    On the other websites I frequent, someone would have said something tasteless about a Slippery Nipple by now.

  86. #86 Pareidolius
    In the safe room with a cocktail
    December 7, 2012

    My Akita’s tail never curled very tightly. I think it was the cocktail of vaccines she recieved as a puppy that made it unwind when she was tired. Can you prove it’s not?

  87. #87 David N. Brown
    December 7, 2012

    Regarding “regressive autism”, this is a rather imprecise term. A sudden and complete loss of skills is “disintegrative” autism or “childhood disintegrative disorder”. It is quite rare even within the autism spectrum, and suspicions have openly been raised that it is really a grouping of phenomena that might or might not be related. Other forms of autism may offer similar symptoms, particularly lack of speech.

    I have entertained my own pet theory that “disintegration” might have something to do with the reasonably well-documented “overgrowth” phenomenon in autism, where brain cells can be more numerous than normal but too tightly packed to develop or function fully. By this scenario, it makes sense that an affected individual might follow a “burn bright, burn out” path, by manifesting better than usual functioning in the early stages, but then crashing once the overgrowth sets in.

    David N. Brown
    Mesa, Arizona

  88. #88 Miss Mayinga
    December 7, 2012

    When Burton finally leaves, you’d better title a post “Bye Bye Burtie” in his honor.

  89. #89 lilady
    December 9, 2012

    Look what I located on Age of Autism…Ann Dachel writes about an interview she had with a parent (Brian J. Hooker, Ph.D), who claims his child is “vaccine-injured” and who submitted testimony to the Congressional hearing chaired by Darell Issa.

    Take special note how Mr. Hooker used his *connections* to the Geiers to be introduced to Andrew Wakefield. See how Wakefield and Hooker personally met with Issa and Burton several times and wined and dined them, months ago, to discuss the “MMR Vaccine-Autism Link” and the “Thimerosal-Vaccine Link”…

    http://www.ageofautism.com/2012/12/brian-hookers-testimony-autism.html

    “…..Brian explained how he became involved in the hearing.

    My initial thanks go to Dr. Mark Geier and David Geier, who strategically linked me up with a friend of theirs, who in turn has become my good friend as well. Through the work of this individual, Dr. Andrew Wakefield and I were invited to meet with Rep. Darrell Issa, Rep. Vern Buchanan and their wives in early May, 2012 to discuss malfeasance in the CDC regarding autism and vaccines. Andy discussed the MMR vaccine and the vaccine schedule. I talked specifically about thimerosal and the cover-up of CDC data that affirm a causal relationship between thimerosal and neurodevelopmental disorders including autism. Rep. Issa was concerned regarding the CDC information and stated that this was the type of government misconduct that his committee (Oversight and Government Reform) specifically addressed.

    I was in DC for a National Science Foundation function later the same month and had the opportunity to meet with Reps. Issa and Buchanan again, this time with Rep. Dan Burton. Rep. Issa affirmed his commitment to hold a hearing at that time. Rep. Burton detailed his valiant efforts to get the CDC and large pharma to remove mercury from vaccines and indicated that they wouldn’t listen to him.

    I’ve worked very diligently since May with the Oversight committee staff to convey what I had found via the FOIA and to get additional information from CDC relevant to thimerosal. Along the way, I gained the support of Barry and Dolly Segal, through Focus Autism and they have become pivotal to this entire effort. In addition, I received a very significant amount of assistance from Dawn Loughborough, Bob Krakow, Bobbie Manning and Louise Habakus. They are all amazing sources of insight and have advised me throughout the process. I also need to acknowledge my friends at EBCALA, especially Louis Conte, Rolf Hazlehurst, Becky Estepp and Kevin Barry, who have been working with the committee staff very effectively regarding NVICP reform.

    I was able to meet with the Oversight committee staff several times between May and November, up to the day before the hearing, to discuss the pertinent details. I also was corresponding with Beth Clay from SafeMinds who was working very diligently on the issue as well. When the committee staff finally indicated the participants in the panel, I was disappointed because there was only one participating organization (Safeminds) that included the relationship of vaccines (specifically thimerosal) to autism causation within their mission. The rest of the panel would either avoid the issue or deny any causal relationship. Given the importance of autism causation, this was just not a balanced panel.”

    Rep. Issa and Rep. Burton…both bought and paid for…and both ethically challenged. They should both be brought up on charges of ethics breaches, by their colleagues in Congress.

  90. #90 Denice Walter
    December 9, 2012

    @ lilady:

    Right. I pointed his post out earlier ( above and elsewhere).
    I know about him from CoMeD ( Geiers) and PRN last year.

    What do you think about those meetings with AJW and the congressmen?

    AJW notes recently( I forget where) that he is taking actions with the government… I guess it’s more than ONE government now- we all know how well it’s progressing for him in the UK.
    Uh-huh.

  91. #91 lilady
    December 9, 2012

    @ Denice Walter: I’ve just emailed the White House about this undue influence of Reps Issa and Burton, by Wakefield and an anti-vaccine parent…and I linked to this blog and to the AoA blog written by Dachel who “brags” about their “involvement” with these unethical, bought and paid for, Congressmen. I am also requesting a reply from the White House. (I’ve gotten replies before from David Plouffe, the President’s Senior Advisor).

    In case anyone wants to join me to register a complaint…here’s the link:

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact

  92. #92 Denice Walter
    December 9, 2012

    @ lilady:

    A question: is AJW a citizen of the US, UK or both?
    One of the AoA faithful remarked a while back that he was a US citizen. Or does he have some special status**? Is this information public or not?

    ** ex-pat fraud or naturalised fraud?

  93. #93 lilady
    December 9, 2012

    @ Denice Walters:

    What do I think about Wakefield and Mr. Hooker meeting with Reps. Issa and Burton?

    I posted back at Hooker on Steven Salzberg’s blog (Page 28, expand all comments):

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevensalzberg/2012/12/03/congress-holds-an-anti-vaccination-hearing/

  94. #94 Narad
    December 9, 2012

    A question: is AJW a citizen of the US, UK or both?

    He has C1 permanent resident status in the U.S.

  95. #95 lilady
    December 9, 2012

    C1 Permanent Resident Status, eh?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permanent_residence_%28United_States%29

    Maybe we’ll get lucky and someone in the White House will look into Andy’s “buying” influence in Congress. I’d love to see Andy and his clan shipped back to the U.K. for his “influence peddling”.

  96. #96 Narad
    December 9, 2012

    C1 Permanent Resident Status, eh?

    It’s in the exhibits filed in the BMJ suit. It will be a little over a year before he can qualify for naturalization, should he so choose.

  97. #97 Krebiozen
    December 9, 2012

    lilady,

    I’d love to see Andy and his clan shipped back to the U.K. for his “influence peddling”.

    Oh please, we really don’t want him back. Hasn’t he been making lots of Somali friends lately? Somalia’s pleasant this time of year, or so I hear, as long as you don’t forget your flak jacket, they desperately need doctors and probably aren’t too fussy about their GMC status, so he could save some children’s lives, and administer some much-needed vaccines.

  98. #98 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    December 9, 2012

    Look what I located on Age of Autism…Ann Dachel writes about an interview she had with a parent (Brian J. Hooker, Ph.D), who claims his child is “vaccine-injured” and who submitted testimony to the Congressional hearing chaired by Darell Issa.

    Screen cap; that’s undoubtedly one that they will try to poof away. Sheesh they’re arrogant.

  99. #99 lilady
    December 9, 2012

    @ Krebiozen: We don’t want your trash from the U.K….we already have too many home-grown quacks that we are dealing with. :-)

  100. #100 lilady
    December 9, 2012

    @ Science Mom:

    “Screen cap; that’s undoubtedly one that they will try to poof away. Sheesh they’re arrogant.”

    You will, of course, do that “screen shot” for me….pretty please…you know I am a naif when it comes to the intricacies of computer technology. :-)

  101. #101 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    December 9, 2012

    You will, of course, do that “screen shot” for me….pretty please…you know I am a naif when it comes to the intricacies of computer technology. :-)

    Already been done my dear.

  102. #102 Narad
    December 11, 2012

    Oh, man, Stone and Bolen are in an allogrooming love-lock over in the AoA comments on the notion that Steven Salzberg isn’t really a full professor (Timmy really does not understand faculty ranks) and is pretending to be an M.D.

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