Sharyl Attkisson – are you sure?

19 Aug

Searchingly diligent and totally impartial CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson has managed to uncover a third case of autism/vaccine related activity via the the Vaccine Courts. Never mind that Kathleen found it 5 months ago eh?

This case originates from a person born in 1974 who had a DTP shot that very same year, exactly 4 months later…..and thats about all we know.

Comparing autism in 1974 with autism in 2008 is not comparing apples to oranges. Its more like comparing apples to trains. In 1974, the DSM, didn’t even contain the _word_ autism. This is the existing DSM in use at the time:

DSM II (1968)
295.8 Schizophrenia, childhood type

This category is for cases in which schizophrenic symptoms appear before puberty. The condition may be manifested by autistic, atypical and withdrawn behavior; failure to develop identity separate from the mother’s; and general unevenness, gross immaturity and inadequacy of development. These developmental defects may result in mental retardation, which should also be diagnosed.

So, in 1974 autism was not even a defined disorder. It was a behaviour. A symptom of Schizophrenia. That’s worth remembering as we go forward.

Atkinson says:

In excerpts from the case below, the government agreed the child suffered “a residual seizure disorder” after his second Diphtheria, Tetanus & Pertussis (DPT) vaccine but attempted to argue that the child’s mental retardation and brain injury were unrelated to the seizure disorder and were, instead, caused by his autism. On the other hand, the court found that the autistic behavior, brain injury and mental retardation were all part of the vaccine injury.

Did they? Is this accurate? Did the court find that _the autistic behaviour_ was part of the vaccine injury?

Atkinson quotes at length from the transcript of the case.

CHILD was born on August 23, 1974, the 9 lb. 9 oz. product of an uncomplicated pregnancy and delivery. CHILD developed normally until the age of four months when he was administered his second DPT vaccination on December 23, 1974… That evening, he experienced a grand mal seizure. CHILD’s mother… took CHILD to the… emergency room where he was found to have a fever of 101.8 degrees at that time and a *bulging fontanelle* …CHILD had a *seizure* on March 25, 1975, with a temperature of 102 degrees. The next day, he had another *seizure* with a *fever* less than 102 degrees…On April 15, 1975, CHILD experienced a *petit mal seizure* without an associated fever… CHILD apparently did well until mid-July 1975, when he had four *seizures, with fever* around 100.7 degrees… CHILD had *additional seizure activity* in November 1975. Again in February 1976, CHILD had *seizures*. At that time, a repeat EEG was grossly abnormal…when CHILD was 21 months of age, (CHILD’s doctor) noted that CHILD had a vocabulary of only two to three words. At that time, (CHILD’s doctor) discussed… the *possibility that CHILD was mentally retarded and developmentally delayed*. CHILD currently is severely mentally retarded and has an intractable seizure disorder.

(The government) respondent has conceded that CHILD suffered a residual seizure disorder as set forth in the Vaccine Injury Table, but argues against a finding that CHILD also suffered an encephalopathy (brain injury). Moreover, (the government) contends that CHILD suffers from autism, which has produced his severe mental retardation and developmental delay. Consequently, (the government) urges that compensation in this case be limited to those expenses that reasonably might be incurred for CHILD’s residual seizure disorder, not for expenses he might accrue because of his mental retardation, developmental delay and autistic behaviors.

The question of encephalopathy.

*(Government physician) believes that CHILD currently suffers from autism and mental retardation that are the result of an independent underlying neurologic condition that pre-dated the vaccination*. However, all tests that were conducted to determine possible causes for CHILD’s condition have revealed none. Furthermore, (government physician) has posited no origin of any underlying neurologic condition. (Government physician) would have us believe that CHILD’s grand mal convulsion following his second DPT vaccination was simply a manifestation of benign febrile seizures and that CHILD had another concurrent underlying (but etiologically undetermined) neurological disorder which later produced his severe mental retardation and autism.

I reject this theory for several reasons. First, the Vaccine Act’s defines encephalopathy as “any significant acquired abnormality of, or injury to, or impairment of function of the brain.” Section 14(b)((3)(A). This definition is extremely broad. CHILD’s initial grand mal seizure indicated an impairment of function of the brain. The question becomes whether this was a benign event unrelated to any lasting neurological sequelae. In my view… (CHILD’s treating pediatric neurologist) is in a better position to accurately assess CHILD’s illness than (government physician). Beginning in 1980, when he first evaluated CHILD, (CHILD’s neurologist) diagnosed CHILD as having static encephalopathy probably related to the time of his first seizure at four months of age.

Based on the foregoing, *I find that there is a preponderance of the evidence that CHILD suffered an encephalopathy within 72 hours of the administration of a DPT vaccination on December 23, 1974, and that no alternative cause for such encephalopathy has been satisfactorily shown*.

Read all that carefully? Good. Now, where in that summation does the Special Master find ‘that the autistic behavior, brain injury and mental retardation were all part of the vaccine injury’

Brain injury – yes. mental retardation – yes. But where is ‘autistic behaviour’ mentioned by the court? In fact, the truth is that the only person who raised the issue of autism at all were the government. They tried to explain away CHILD’s injury by blaming it on autism (which bizarrely wasn’t an actual diagnosis in 1974).

Bottom line: the court did not, I repeat *did not* find that this child (a grown man now) had autism, autistic features or autistic behaviours as a result of vaccines. The closest we get is the phrase ‘static encephalopathy’ which basically means that a child doesn’t develop. This can _lead_ to autism (as well as a whole host of things such as cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, Schizophrenia) but it is not autism. When this diagnosis was given (1980) the child would’ve been 6 and thus well past the age at which autistic symptoms must appear.

An interesting sidenote. We can guesstimate the 1974 schedule. Well, maybe not the schedule but we can at least see which vaccines were in use.

In 1960, the US was using Smallpox, DTwP and Polio. By the mid-80’s, the schedule was made up of DTP, MMR and Polio.

Smallpox was dropped in 1971 and MMR stared in 1963. Therefore we can guesstimate that in 1974 the schedule was the same as the 1980 one. DTP, MMR and Polio. At some point however, the Polio switched from injection to Oral. I can’t find out when.

So – how is this ‘too many too soon’? How is a case from when there wasn’t even an autism category relevant? How is a case where the claim is that one single vaccine caused autism in any way similar to the idea of ‘too many too soon’?

11 Responses to “Sharyl Attkisson – are you sure?”

  1. Sullivan August 19, 2008 at 15:42 #

    I won’t speak for Ms. Seidel, but for some of us, we started looking for other cases after reading this:

    The case may not be a first, said Gary Golkiewicz, chief special master for the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. He oversees the special “vaccine court” which rules on requests for payments from the vaccine injury fund.

    “Years ago, actually, I had a case, before we understood or knew the implications of autism, that the vaccine injured the child’s brain caused an encephalopathy,” he said. And the symptoms that come with that “fall within the broad rubric of autism.”

    And there are other somewhat similar cases, Golkiewicz says, that were decided before autism and its symptoms were more clearly defined.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23519029/

    Let’s see, that was March 7th. Sharyl Attkisson is just getting around to following up on that? She appears to be rationing the cases out–one case per blog post. Is that the difference between someone paid to present the news (Attkisson) and a “mere mother” (Seidel)?

  2. Another Voice August 19, 2008 at 16:20 #

    Why doesn’t someone in management at CBS insist upon an internet search being done prior to running some of these stories as investigative reports?

  3. M August 19, 2008 at 18:15 #

    Dravet syndrome? It is a genetic disorder, de novo mutations of the sodium-channel gene SCN1A. Children with these mutations are seemingly normal until they have the first high fever episode (it could be post-vaccination fever as well) – then the syndrome manifests with epileptic syndrome and subsequent developmental delay (encephalopathy). The genetic diagnosis was not possible until recently – the mutation was first identified in 2001.

    See also: Berkovic et al. De-novo mutations of the sodium channel gene SCN1A in alleged vaccine encephalopathy: a retrospective study. Lancet Neurol 2006 Jun;5(6):488-92.

  4. Sullivan August 19, 2008 at 18:23 #

    Sorry for the bad blockquotes in the above comment. This whole section was quoted:

    The case may not be a first, said Gary Golkiewicz, chief special master for the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. He oversees the special “vaccine court” which rules on requests for payments from the vaccine injury fund.

    “Years ago, actually, I had a case, before we understood or knew the implications of autism, that the vaccine injured the child’s brain caused an encephalopathy,” he said. And the symptoms that come with that “fall within the broad rubric of autism.”

    And there are other somewhat similar cases, Golkiewicz says, that were decided before autism and its symptoms were more clearly defined.

  5. Kathleen Seidel August 19, 2008 at 19:08 #

    Sullivan, that comment from Special Master Golkiewicz is exactly what inspired me to spend a day at my local college library searching Lexis for published VICP decisions that referred to autism or similar conditions. Although the list of cases in my article consists entirely of public information, I am responsible for its existence; I did all the research, read through almost one hundred cases to find the ones that were relevant, compiled the list and prepared all of the summaries.

    After I published my article on March 11, Paul King and Gary Goldman incorporated the list verbatim into Key realities about autism, vaccines, vaccine-injury compensation, Thimerosal, and autism-related research. Neurodiversity Weblog is cited as the source, but King and Goldman didn’t bother to cite me as the author. I’m sure that the omission was deliberate; they didn’t fail to note the authors of any other references.

    Since then, the list has traveled to various antivaccinationist sites, including Whale and Clifford Miller’s site. And of course, Sharyl Attkisson would like the world to think that she dug up every one of these cases all by herself.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out that about 1:150 VICP payouts involved people on the autism spectrum.

  6. isles August 19, 2008 at 19:22 #

    (If you fix Atkinson to Attkisson, more people who are googling for her will find this post.)

    So Sharyl is once again reporting news that isn’t news and doesn’t mean what she thinks it means. CBS could probably save a bunch of money without any loss in quality by hiring a few elementary-schoolers to fill her news slot.

  7. Kev August 19, 2008 at 20:06 #

    Good spot Isles, thanks 🙂

  8. M August 19, 2008 at 20:32 #

    Vaccines, Encephalopathies, and Mutations
    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1867082

  9. Sullivan August 19, 2008 at 21:03 #

    Kathleen Seidel is so good. She manages to cite the whale without violating Scopies Law.

  10. Esther August 19, 2008 at 21:43 #

    Just a tiny quibble to your otherwise excellent post: MMR was first given in the USA in 1971. 1963 was when single measles shots were first given.

  11. Joseph August 19, 2008 at 21:50 #

    And of course, Sharyl Attkisson would like the world to think that she dug up every one of these cases all by herself.

    Maybe her bosses should be made aware of what’s going on. A little thing called journalistic integrity probably still means something.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out that about 1:150 VICP payouts involved people on the autism spectrum.

    That’s absolutely right. It would be odd if out of thousands of vaccine injured people, none are autistic.

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