Sharyl Attkisson's 3rd autism/vaccine concession

26 Aug

A few days ago, I posted an entry about Sharyl Attkisson’s breathless parroting of ‘facts’ regarding a case from 1991 based on a child born in 1974. This case was settled in favour of the child. It transpired (of course) that the Special Master had in fact said nothing about autism whatsoever.

However, an interesting comment was left by ‘M’ who said:

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.

An intriguing possibility that I read and then with my usual stunning foresight, totally forgot about.

However, I got an email yesterday that raised the issue once more. I cannot share with you who its from, a fact that is rather annoying (but understandable, this person doesn’t want to expose themselves to the loving care of the mercury militia) but I assure you, you would recognise this name.

The writer assumes that this is a vaccine injury because the special master determined that this was a compensable case. However, this event occurred in 1974 and the hearing in 1990-91. Now, in 2008, it is obvious that the epilepsy and resultant developmental impairment and “autism” are not caused by DTP but, rather, are due to Dravet syndrome (or severe myoclonic epilepsy of infancy), which is a genetic epilepsy with a mutation or change in the SCN1A gene. The evolution is typical of this disorder. It is a very temperature sensitive epilepsy (a 1 degree Celcius elevation is sufficient to trigger a seizure) and is not caused or aggravated by any immunization. Berkovic et al described this entity as a cause of vaccine encephalopathy in their Lancet Neurology 2006 paper.

I am concerned about the superficial investigatory actions of this writer (actually no real investigation was done – she assumes everything to be true). I thought I would share this information with you and let you use the information as you wish.

I can’t find a copy of the entire transcript, but from the parts Attkisson transcribed and quoted and comparing the evolution to the Dravert Syndrome home page, it certainly does look like a good match.

So what does that imply? Well, if its _not_ Dravert Syndrome then, nothings changed – still not autism though. If it _is_ Dravert Syndrome then it goes to show how little we know about genetic disorders and how careful we should be about rushing to judgements.

4 Responses to “Sharyl Attkisson's 3rd autism/vaccine concession”

  1. Albert August 26, 2008 at 13:03 #

    Good post, but couldn’t the symptoms of Dravert syndrome qualify a person for a DSM-IV diagnosis of autism? Autism is just a group of symptoms, and the DSM-IV makes no mention whatsoever of causation.

    Theoretically, a child under three could, say, have brain trauma from an automobile accident, develop language problems and repetitive behaviors and issue with sociality and then be diagnosed with “autism.” A good researcher wouldn’t go with that diagnosis for the purposes of his or her research, but a good clinician would say, “autism fits here, and autism is the diagnosis that will help guide the interventions that are helpful in this particular case.” And the child’s school system will do the same.

    So my point is that it is not necessarily helpful to say that something is “not autism” just because there is an identifiable etiology, genetic or otherwise. But it is helpful to say that not all autisms are the same.

  2. Kev August 26, 2008 at 13:48 #

    Albert, I take your point but we have to remember that back in 1974, the DSM (version II back then) didn’t _have_ a category for autism.

    I can’t see based on the symptoms described by Attkisson that this lad did meet the DSM IV either. Maybe there’s more in the transcript.

  3. Catherina August 26, 2008 at 14:04 #

    The irritating thing about epilepsies that behave like Dravet Syndrome is that the typical mutation is only found in 80% of the little patients. We can assume that there is at least one other mutation contributing to it.
    While Dravet Syndrome is neither caused nor aggravated by vaccination, over 50% of first seizures in children with Dravet Syndrome occur after a DTP shot in this case study (PMID: 10859739), probably because the elevated temperature after the vaccination. In German mothering boards, Kimy’s case was discussed quite extensively ( for those of you who speak German). Kimberly’s first seizure came after the first vaccination, the second after the second shot, then the “full blown” Dravet became apparent with seizures after a warm bath, an doctor’s visit and every little excitement.

    Children like Kimberly, who cannot afford running a temperature after a vaccine, let alone getting full blown measles, would depend on herd immunity, but since measles came within 100 km or so of Kimy’s home town earlier this year, Kimberly now has her own MMR immunity at the (comparatively minimal) expense of 3 seizures.

  4. isles August 26, 2008 at 14:07 #

    “(actually no real investigation was done – she assumes everything to be true)”

    Bingo. THIS is the core of the problem with Sharyl Attkisson.

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