Experts with an agenda and newcomers with an agenda

28 Jun

Everyone knows that a good meeting needs to have an agenda. Most people also knows that science being forced to fit a pre-conceived agenda is usually useless.

With that in mind, Gardiner Harris of the New York Times delivers an excellent report that discusses a meeting being held today that will…:

<blockquote>….call together some of the world’s leading experts on an obscure disease to discuss the controversial case of a 9-year-old girl from Athens, Ga. [Hannah Poling]…. [and]…a 6-year-old girl from Colorado [who] received FluMist, a flu vaccine, and about a week later “became weak with multiple episodes of falling to ground” and “difficulty walking,”….She was hospitalized and underwent surgery and was finally withdrawn from life support. She died on April 5, according to the report</blockquote>

(inserts mine)

You can expect the usual suspects to come out with horror show after horror show about this poor little girl who died and how The Evil Vaccines ™ are to blame. However, the truth is that – as with all previous convolutions of the autism/vaccine hypotheses, correlation does not equal causation.

<blockquote>”After caring for hundreds of children with mitochondrial disease, I can’t recall a single one that had a complication from vaccination,” said Dr. Darryl De Vivo, a professor of neurology and pediatrics at Columbia University who will present at the meeting on Sunday and is one of the premier experts in the field.</blockquote>

De Vivo also said:

<blockquote>as many as 700,000 people in the United States had flawed mitochondria, and in roughly 30,000 of them the genetic flaws were expansive enough to cause disease</blockquote>

In an email conversation with Sullivan (a regular commenter and author at this blog), Sullivan pointed out how this 700,000 – an opinion offered by an expert in the field – differed wildly from the <a href=”; rel=”nofollow”>1 in 50</a> estimation offered by David Kirby which would result in 6,000,000 cases. Thats a fairly wild discrepancy.

Harris also quoted a great aunt of Hannah Poling who simply parroted the ‘green our vaccines’ nothingness:

<blockquote>What’s the schedule and number of vaccines?” Ms. Dunkle asked. “What’s the content of those vaccines?</blockquote>

In the case of the little girl who died, she had already received one set of vaccines with no incident. In the case of Hannah Poling, it is far from clear that the vaccines administered resulted in her autism diagnosis.

The bottom line for me is:

<blockquote>Many experts said infections could be so devastating to those with mitochondrial disorders that the risks associated with vaccines were far outweighed by the benefits. Still, none dismissed the notion that a vaccine could cause a decline in such children.</blockquote>

Which is, of course, true. Nobody disputes that people sometimes have adverse reactions to vaccinations. This is true of kids with mitochondrial issues as well as autistic people as well as people with no other issues at all. Its sad to me that people want to castigate vaccines for being imperfect. Nothing in life is absolutely assured and it is quite obviously far better for children to be as healthy as possible with a very small chance that a side effect may occur. This is even more true for kids with mitochondrial issues. Consier this statement:

<blockquote>Most of these kids [with mitochondrial issues] get a common cold, and either during the cold or soon after, the parents notice a drastic deterioration,” said Dr. Bruce H. Cohen, a neurologist at the Cleveland Clinic.</blockquote>

(inserts mine)

Now, if you said to these parents – we have a vaccine for the common cold. The chances of it working are very, very good but not 100%. The chances of it causing an adverse reaction are very, very low but not 0%. The chances of it causing a _fatal_ adverse reaction is even lower but still not 0% (I’ve got a figure of 1.3%<sup>1</sup>). The chances of your child becoming seriously ill following the common cold is very high. Do you want your child to have this vaccine?

I would imagine most of these parents would break your arm in the rush of trying to sign the acceptance papers.

Now, lets lengthen that scenario. The common cold vaccine is announced to the rest of the world and adopted into vaccine schedules. The usual suspects say how silly it is and how the common cold is ‘nothing’. They refuse to vaccine against the common cold. Herd immunity drops. A child catches a cold and sits next to a child with a mitochondrial issue at a GP’s surgery (for example). The vaccine the mito child has received doesn’t work – because we all know vaccines don’t work 100% of the time.

What will this ‘nothing’ common cold do to this mito child?

Society has an obligation to protect the weaker members of its society.

On that same theme, I noticed a new paper in my Inbox today. It discussed death rates of autistic people compared to the general population:

<strong> Mortality and causes of death in autism spectrum disorders: An update.</strong>

<blockquote> This study compared mortality among Danish citizens with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) with that of the general population……In all, 26 persons with ASD had died, whereas the expected number of deaths was 13.5. Thus the mortality risk among those with ASD was nearly twice that of the general population</blockquote>

Nearly half of the 26 deaths of autistic people were due to Epilepsy rather than autism itself.

I would like to ask the kind permission of those who continue to try and make a story from nothing about autism and vaccines that we be allowed to move the debate onto areas that really, really need a big light shining on them. The heavy death rate of autistic people from comorbidities such as Epilepsy would be a great place to start.

[1] I got this using the <a href=””>VAERS DB</a> (yes, I know the limitations but I wanted to use a DB given credence by the autism/vaccine believers). Out of a total amount of entries of 227,795 there were 3009 reported deaths.

13 Responses to “Experts with an agenda and newcomers with an agenda”

  1. María Luján June 28, 2008 at 17:06 #

    Hi Kev
    There are other manuscripts on this topic- that are not easy to read for me,
    Comment in:
    J Autism Dev Disord. 2006 Feb;36(2):287-8.
    Causes of death in autism.Shavelle RM, Strauss DJ, Pickett J.
    Life Expectancy Project, San Francisco, California, USA.

    The objective of this study was to determine which causes of death are more frequent in persons with autism, and by how much, compared with the general population. Subjects were 13,111 ambulatory Californians with autism, followed between 1983 and 1997. The units of study were person-years, each linked to the subject’s age, sex, and cause of death (if any) for the specific year. Observed numbers of cause-specific deaths were compared with numbers expected according to general population mortality rates. Standardized mortality rates (SMRs) were computed for each mental retardation level. Elevated death rates were observed for several causes, including seizures and accidents such as suffocation and drowning; elevated mortality due to respiratory disease was observed among persons with severe mental retardation. Overall, excess mortality was especially marked for persons with severe mental retardation, but life expectancy is reduced even for persons who are fully ambulatory and who have only mild mental retardation.

    Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2002 Oct;16(4):375-82. Links
    Increased mortality in children and adolescents with developmental disabilities.Decouflé P, Autry A.
    Developmental Disabilities, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA.

    A population-based cohort of 10-year-old children with mental retardation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, hearing impairment or vision impairment, who were ascertained at 10 years of age in a previous study conducted in metro Atlanta during 1985-87, was followed up for mortality and cause of death information. We used the National Death Index to identify all deaths among cohort members during the follow-up period (1985-95). We estimated expected numbers of deaths on the basis of actual age-, race- and sex-specific death rates for the entire Georgia population for 1989-91. The objective was to quantify the magnitude of increased mortality and evaluate the contribution of specific disabilities to mortality among children and adolescents with one or more of five developmental disabilities. A total of 30 deaths were observed; 10.1 deaths were expected, yielding an observed-to-expected mortality ratio of almost three to one. The numbers of observed deaths exceeded those of expected deaths, regardless of the number of disabilities present, but the ratios were statistically significant (at the 95% confidence level) only in children with three or more co-existing disabilities. In general, the magnitude of the mortality ratios was directly related to various measures of the severity of the person’s disability. An exception to this pattern was the elevated mortality from cardiovascular disease among cohort members with isolated mental retardation (three observed deaths vs. 0.2 expected). The specific underlying causes of death among other deceased cohort members included some that were the putative cause of the developmental disability (e.g. a genetic syndrome) and others that could be considered intercurrent diseases or secondary health conditions (e.g. asthma). Prevention efforts to decrease mortality in adolescents and young adults with developmental disabilities may need to address serious conditions that are secondary to the underlying disability (i.e. infections, asthma, seizures) rather than towards injuries, accidents and poisonings, the primary causes of death for persons in this age group in the general population.

  2. Arananthi June 28, 2008 at 23:57 #

    I would like to ask the kind permission of those who continue to try and make a story from nothing about autism and vaccines that we be allowed to move the debate onto areas that really, really need a big light shining on them.

    Until last month, I would have been happy to let this comment slip — but new research came out last month, published independently by experts in two different fields, that establishes an entirely different hypothesis of autism-vaccine connection, so I have to sat that I think there’s a lot more light that needs to be shined at the so-called “nothing” you’re trying to dismiss.

  3. María Luján June 29, 2008 at 00:25 #

    Hi Arananthi
    There are recent manuscripts on Aluminium in vaccines

    J Child Neurol. 2008 Jun;23(6):614-9. Epub 2008 Feb 15. Links
    Macrophagic myofasciitis in children is a localized reaction to vaccination.Lach B, Cupler EJ.
    Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

    Macrophagic myofasciitis is a novel, “inflammatory myopathy” described after a variety of vaccinations, almost exclusively in adults. We examined the relevance of histological findings of this myopathy to the clinical presentation in pediatric patients. Muscle biopsies from 8 children (7 months to 6 years old) with histological features of macrophagic myofasciitis were reviewed and correlated with the clinical manifestations. Patients underwent quadriceps muscle biopsy for suspected mitochondrial disease (4 patients), spinal muscular atrophy (2 patients), myoglobinuria (1 patient), and hypotonia with motor delay (1 patient). All biopsies showed identical granulomas composed of periodic acid-Schiff-positive and CD68-positive macrophages. Characteristic aluminum hydroxide crystals were identified by electron microscopy in 2 cases. The biopsy established diagnoses other than macrophagic myofasciitis in 5 patients: spinal muscular atrophy (2), Duchenne muscular dystrophy (1), phospho-glycerate kinase deficiency (1), and cytochrome c oxidase deficiency (1). Three children with manifestations and/or a family history of mitochondrial disease had otherwise morphologically normal muscle. All children had routine vaccinations between 2 months and 1 year before the biopsy, with up to 11 intramuscular injections, including the biopsy sites. There was no correlation between histological findings of macrophagic myofasciitis in biopsies and the clinical symptoms. We believe that macrophagic myofasciitis represents a localized histological hallmark of previous immunization with the aluminum hydroxide adjuvants contained in vaccines, rather than a primary or distinct inflammatory muscle disease.

    This link shows at the left other links to other studies related.
    I agree that further clinical research is needed, but focused in what is happening clinically/metabolically/immune-biochemically and from the neurological/motor point of view- beyond any controversy.

  4. Matt June 29, 2008 at 01:20 #

    Could you warn be before I click your link that it is based on “naturalnews. com” and not actual research, as you would have us believe?

    Also, the blog that is the first stop on this journey has nice big bold letters stating that MMR is “off the market”. Why should anyone waste time with someone that ignorant?

    Sorry to be harsh, but others need to realize that your link leads to poorly researched speculation, so they can save their time.

  5. Joseph June 29, 2008 at 03:18 #

    The chances of it causing a fatal adverse reaction is even lower but still not 0% (I’ve got a figure of 1.3%1).

    It’s not clear to me what that refers to, Kev. If I search VAERS for entries reporting death submitted between any two consecutive years, I get less than 120 results.

    How many vaccines are administered every year? About 4 million children are born every year in the US. Let’s say in the first year they get 10 vaccines. That’s a total of 40 million vaccines. If in fact there are 120 deaths, that’s a risk of 3 deaths in 1 million vaccinations.

    Of course, it’s not clear to what extent those reported deaths are really attributable to vaccines, or to what extent deaths attributable to vaccines go unreported. (Databases are not in themselves problematic – but their interpretations can be).

  6. Arananthi June 29, 2008 at 04:44 #

    Matt: is only one of the sources for my above link. I don’t care to give away 100% of my sources, but here is one that you should find a bit more to your liking.

  7. HCN June 29, 2008 at 06:01 #

    Sorry, honey… we are picky. The sources need to be indexed at (where 100% of my sources are located!). And even then we will look at them with a critical eye (in other words: Medical Hypothesis does not count, if you need a reason go to a dictionary and look up the word “hypothesis”). Right now there is no definite evidence that any vaccine has an association with autism.

    If you have something, please share (but remember it has to be from peer-reviewed scientific literature).

    By the way, do you know what documentation shows that the DTaP is more dangerous than pertussis, tetanus or diphtheria? Or is the MMR vaccine (which has been used in the USA since 1971 and has never contained thimerosal) is riskier than measles, rubella or mumps (keeping in mind that mumps caused deafness in more that four people in the American Midwest in 2006)? If you do, please share it with us (newsletters don’t count).

  8. Ms. Clark June 29, 2008 at 07:36 #

    HCN, Don’t forget that magazine’s name is in the plural, “Medical Hypotheses.”

  9. Kev June 29, 2008 at 08:19 #

    Arananthi: No. Science please. Not opinion.

    Joseph – I literally just set the search criteria to select a recorded entry of death. 3009 was the result.

  10. Sullivan June 29, 2008 at 14:55 #


    I think Joseph is pointing out that as presented, it reads like there is a 1.3% chance of fatal reaction–per vaccine administration. The data you have is 1.3% of fatalities per reported adverse event. I think Joseph’s estimate of 3 in 1 million vaccinations is even an overestimate.

    Consider the range from 2001 to 2005 (5 years). There are 220 reported deaths, or 44 per year. On article I read stated that the vaccine stockpile (targeting a six month supply) should be about 40 million doses.

    44 reported deaths out of 80 million–less than 1 in a million.

    Of course some will argue that the VAERS underreports. Others will note that not every injury coincident with vaccination is vaccine caused.


  11. Sullivan June 29, 2008 at 14:57 #

    Characteristic aluminum hydroxide crystals were identified by electron microscopy in 2 cases.

    That’s very interesting. If the Aluminum hydroxide crystals don’t dissolve and don’t migrate, they can’t act ‘synergistically’ with mercury in neurotoxicity.

  12. María Luján June 29, 2008 at 23:04 #


    That’s very interesting. If the Aluminum hydroxide crystals don’t dissolve and don’t migrate, they can’t act ‘synergistically’ with mercury in neurotoxicity.

    Well to assure this you should quantify from the total received how much remained as crystals in muscle and how much was absorbed.
    Things are very much complicated.
    You may find several citations on studies done in animals

    Rimaniol, A.C., Gras, G., Verdier, F., Capel, F., Grigoriev, V.B., Porcheray, F.,
    Sauzeat, E., Fournier, J.G., Clayette, P., Siegrist, C.A., and Dormont, D.
    2004. Aluminum hydroxide adjuvant induces macrophage differentiation
    towards a specialized antigen-presenting cell type. Vaccine 22:3127-
    Verdier, F., Burnett, R., Michelet-Habchi, C., Moretto, P., Fievet-Groyne, F.,
    and Sauzeat, E. 2005. Aluminium assay and evaluation of the local
    reaction at several time points after intramuscular administration of
    aluminium containing vaccines in the Cynomolgus monkey. Vaccine

    Vaccine. 1997 Aug-Sep;15(12-13):1314-8.In vivo absorption of aluminium-containing vaccine adjuvants using 26Al.Flarend RE, Hem SL, White JL, Elmore D, Suckow MA, Rudy AC, Dandashli EA.
    Department of Physics, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA.Aluminium hydroxide (AH) and aluminium phosphate (AP) adjuvants, labelled with 26Al, were injected intramuscularly (i.m.) in New Zealand White rabbits. Blood and urine samples were collected for 28 days and analysed for 26Al using accelerator mass spectrometry to determine the absorption and elimination of AH and AP adjuvants. 26Al was present in the first blood sample (1 h) for both adjuvants . The area under the blood level curve for 28 days indicates that three times more aluminium was absorbed from AP adjuvant than AH adjuvant. The distribution profile of aluminium to tissues was the same for both adjuvants…

    Alum adjuvant boosts adaptive immunity by inducing uric acid and activating inflammatory dendritic cells. this is a recent manuscript that follows from previous rreports for example
    Mechanisms of stimulation of the immune response by aluminum adjuvants.

  13. Ms. Clark June 30, 2008 at 00:58 #

    So are we to expect all the mercury lawyers now will become aluminum lawyers? Will aluminum now become the second most toxic substance on earth after plutonium? My concern is, I have no doubt that people can easily come up with a hundred statements designed to terrorize people away from vaccines. And I am concerned because I have no doubt that those trying to frighten people away from vaccines will not balance their frightening descriptions of vaccine ingredients with discussions of the toxic exposures to kids from the toxin producing microbes that cause these vaccine preventable diseases, not to mention the toxic exposures that will happen to the victims of antivax propaganda as doctors rush to save these people’s lives with various and sundry “toxic” medications while using “toxic” plastic and metal hospital supplies. There will be “toxins” in the IV tubing for the “toxic” antibiotics and other drugs that doctors will use to try to save the lives of these people who will suffer from vaccine preventable diseases thanks to those who have frightened them away from vaccines… because they contain (gasp) aluminum!

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