Another hit job from AoA

21 Jan

Vaccine rejectionists have long resorted to insulting and intimidating investigative reporters they can’t fool or charm, but the latest example kicks things up a notch. The fringe anti-science website AgeOfAutism has identified the sister of the Chicago Tribune reporter, in apparent retaliation for a scathing article about diet supplement entrepreneur Prof. Boyd Haley.

The AoA post reports that the sister of Tribune reporter Trine Tsouderos “worked for a company that did multi-center NIH-funded health studies.” An unholy alliance, according to the writer, between the newspaper, the NIH, and other sinister organizations, helps explain “the current Chicago Tribune obsession with autism treatments.” Still not getting the picture? Maybe this will help:

For those who do not know, there are many groups who have been fighting hard to suppress the fact that vaccines can cause autism.  They are people in the media, in public health, in medical organizations, in vaccine development and patents, in universities with autism gene chasing grants, in the public sector (NIH, CDC, AAP, et al) in the private sector, (pharmaceutical companies) and many in between.

Triple bank shot conspiracies are nothing new to the anti-vaccine crowd, and rejectionists have never been shy about naming names. What’s relatively new, and of no small concern to journalists, is the targeting of non-public inviduals – science writers and news reporters – and the unfounded allegations of corruption and professional malfeasance.

Alienating editors and reporters is an odd tactic for a special interest group that is paranoid about how it is portrayed in the nation’s media. Odder still when the group’s mission includes exposing children to dangerous infectious diseases – doesn’t it seem these people would want allies in the media? But here is AoA attacking veteran New York Times science writer Don McNeil in December, 2008, over a book review that was published a month later. The title of the post was Some New York Times Reporters are Just Ignorant:

He’s simply ignorant of this topic, and his preconceived notion that he understands what’s going on leads him down a certain path of who to trust and what to write. Did I succeed in changing his understanding? I doubt it. Expect a glowing review on False Prophets soon.

The same post refers to another science writer at the Grey Lady, Gardiner Harris, as “unquestionably the biggest jackass I have ever encountered.”

Vaccine rejectionists have dished out similar abuse to freelance writer Amy Wallace, and MSNBC medical editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman.

Why do anti-vaccine activists resort to attacking reporters?  Stephen Barrett, M.D., a retired psychiatrist who operates, says, “I can’t speculate about motivation, but I can tell you that critics of  health misinformation and quackery are typically accused of being biased, close-minded, and/or having an economic motive.”

Time is running out for vaccine rejectionism, as the evidence, already plentiful, further mounts against a link between vaccines and autism. As more and more reporters get the story right, rejectionists are sure to step up their campaign of intimidation and innuendo.

62 Responses to “Another hit job from AoA”

  1. Science Mom January 21, 2010 at 21:56 #

    Let’s see, Ms. Tsouderos’ sister has performed work for the NIH, the NIH funds autism genetics research. There you go, she’s a shill and Ms. Tsouderos is a shill-by-proxy. Honestly, this is nothing more than AoA’s last gasp attempt to discredit journalists that aren’t sympathetic to their cause. Particularly telling is the author of that blogpost, Teresa Conrick’s continual whining about how they aren’t considered expert enough to consult but the ND advocates are. Well duh Ms. Conrick, might be a really good reason for that. I think what is actually disturbing about that blogpost and naming Ms. Tsouderos’ sister is the subtle message that, “we are watching you, we know who you are and we know who your family is”. They are really a vile and despicable lot there at AoA.

  2. KWombles January 21, 2010 at 22:14 #

    And if revealing Tsouderos’s sister isn’t enough, Tre Benson reveals her husband and provides his email address.

    And the conspiracy hits keep coming. Nancy writes:

    “We each must continue to expose these conflicts of interest and not-so-hidden agendas that damage children’s health and harm the reputations of the good people trying to help heal them.”

    Look, if the agendas are “not-so-hidden,” what exactly is there to expose?

    And yet, all flustered, hot and bothered as they are by the exposure of OSR, they cannot see the irony in tweeting that OSR has “undergone extensive safety testing” while still insisting that vaccines are dangerous and contain all sorts of junk, ala Benson’s post elsewhere:

    “What’s all this about? Did someone get hurt or sick from this supplement? Anyone know what’s dangerous about it? Best I can tell it must be working if people are using it. I mean my gosh, is this stuff more dangerous than say, Pepsi or how about something like what they put in vaccines? You know aborted fetus tissue, monkey kidneys, formaldehyde stuff like that?”

    But back to AoA and Stagliano rallying for OSR: just see CTI’s website for the proof. Of course, we’ve already examined the website and its “safety testing.” One lump or two? One single pure compound or two natural ones found in human bodily fluids?

  3. David N. Brown January 21, 2010 at 23:10 #

    On the discussion of the latest Chicago Tribune article, the crank commenters are raising the Incredibly Lazy Pharma Shill gambit. Also noteworthy is Walker’s attack a week or so ago on those involved with the Andrew wakefield case, including a judge whose brother was on the board of a pharmaceutical company.

  4. Joseph January 21, 2010 at 23:46 #

    It must have taken a lot of work to come up with this nonsense. So her sister used to work for a company that did NIH-funded research. Whoopty-doo. Kathleen Seidel needs to be careful. They are becoming almost as good as her with their investigative blogging skills (NOT).

  5. Anne January 22, 2010 at 02:34 #

    The New McCarthyism, that’s what I call it.

  6. Tony Bateson January 22, 2010 at 10:31 #

    For heavens sake where do they all come from? Look it is simple – there are no autistic people in populations where there has been no vaccination! Over three million kids have not been vaccinated in the UK where vaccination is optional and parents have chosen not to vaccinate. More than ten years of aggressive searching in this group has failed to find autistic people! Like the Amish, like Homefirst there are no autistic people in this group.

    Let the vaccine lobby explain what the prevalence of autism is in unvaccinated groups. That is the only evidence worth having. Wake up America.

    Tony Bateson, Oxford, UK.

  7. lilandtedsmum January 22, 2010 at 11:23 #


    Perhaps whilst you are looking at that, you would care to look at the evidence of the devastation caused by the very illnesses these vaccinations protect against.

    My GP refused to give me the Whooping cough vaccine as a child, I contracted whooping cough and had to be revived on 3 separate occasions and was close to death on one. Let’s look at numbers of children who suffered brain damage as result of contracting whooping cough and lack of oxygen to the brain. Let’s look at the devastation caused by measles, diptheria, polio, do I really need to go on?

    My daughter had no reactions to any of her vaccinations and she was certainly showing signs of autism LONG before she received her MMR vaccination.

    Never mind though eh? If you have children they live in the same county as mine, so you can foolishly hope that the majority of other parents have been responsible and vaccinated their children like I have. Good old herd immunity eh? Where would the likes of you and your children be without it? I shudder to think.

  8. Oriel January 22, 2010 at 12:37 #

    “Also noteworthy is Walker’s attack a week or so ago on those involved with the Andrew wakefield case, including a judge whose brother was on the board of a pharmaceutical company”. David N. Brown.

    This notion that the Judge’s family connections in some way contributed to the litigant families being robbed of funding to pursue their claims that the MMR caused autism/IBD being peddled by Walker et al, is threadbare. What kind of people go on and on churning out the same old tosh with the soul intention of leading litigant families into believing that they have been wronged via some totally irelevant set of circumstances pertaining to the appeal judge?. Funding was lost purely because there was no case to answer making it totally irrelevant what connections the judge’s family members had.

    The funding for the ASD/IBD claims in the UK court was withdrawn by the LSC after they were advised by the claimants OWN legal team, after being advised by the claimants OWN experts,(which included Andrew Wakefield) that as things stood, they could not make a case to support the MMR/ASD claims. The LSC are charged with the responsibility to only fund cases from the public purse with reasonable prospects of success. As the claimants own medical and legal experts were advising that they could not bring a case, how were the LSC expected to continue hurling money at the litigant families? How could the Appeal Judge irrespective of who his brother was, find the legal means to make the LSC reinstate funding for a case with no prospects?

    Those who continue to distribute material on the loss of funding for the ASD vs MMR claims, attaching huge relevance to the fact that the Appeal Judge had a brother on the board of a pharmaceutical company are doing litigant parents a great disservice. By encouraging parents to apportion blame for their loss in the wrong direction they are robbing them of an opportunity to address the real villains of the piece.
    They would be far better employed and more truthful if they provided the facts and supported families to address the real reasons as to why they lost their funding for the childrens claims. Parents would be entirely justified to question why after years of medical research by experts appointed by their lawyers and funded by the LSC, hour upon hour of court time and years of legal work by the lawyers they ended up with no viable case to bring on behalf of their children. Blame for that cannot be laid at the door of the LSC, the Appeal judge or his brother.

  9. Tony Bateson January 22, 2010 at 13:11 #

    lilandtedsmum has not read my note. I do not refer to MMR I refer to vaccination, all vaccination. Measles, diptheria and mumps had all largely peaked prior to mass public vaccination programmes. Furthermore half of all measles sufferers had previously been vaccinated. As far as numbers go it is of course desperately sad that any child is damaged by any communicable disease but you have to reckon this damage compared to over half a million autistic people in the UK.

    However, I am still waiting for a comment or response to my assertion that not a single autistic person in the UK can be found from the unvaccinated 3 millions whose parents chose not to vaccinate.

    Herd Immunity is nonsense there is no scientific argument for it at all. My four grandchildren are all unvaccinated and are the healthiest kids in their classes by far. Herd Immunity is simply a high figure that ensures there are not enough comparables to measure the impact of a condition upon those who are not vaccinated.

    Tony Bateson, Oxford, UK.

    • Kev January 22, 2010 at 13:21 #

      Firstly Tony, the Amish do vaccinate.

      Secondly, where are you getting your data from – specifically that not one child from the unvaccinated population of the UK has autism? Until you can provide back up for this I’m going to assume you’re talking rubbish.

  10. lilandtedsmum January 22, 2010 at 13:31 #


    Take a look:

    I would be interested to know which studies you are basing your claims on regarding there being no cases of ASD amongst non-vaccinated children in the UK.

    Also, I’m so glad that you have obviously taken such an interest in the health of every other child in the classes of each of your four grandchildren in order to establish that they are the healthiest by far – commendable I’m sure.

  11. Passing Thru January 22, 2010 at 14:30 #

    You missed the really big conspiracy. All that’s missing is the green helicopters. From Age of Autism in a posting last July called “How is Brian Deer connected to Freud?”:

    “Brian Deer’s boss is James Murdoch. You know… Rupert’s son. Rupert is the global media mogul who owns FOX and other TV, radio, and newspapers round the world. Rupert’s daughter (James Murdoch’s Sister) is married to Matthew Freud, a grandson to Sigmund. Matthew is head of Freud Communications, an international public relations firm in the UK. Matthew is also the nephew to Ed Bernays who is the “father of public relations”.. the first guy to attempt to manipulate public opinion using the subconscious. He did this by combining crowd control ideas from LeBon and Trotter and the psychoanalitical ideas of his Uncle Sigmund… He was also into Pavlov’s dog theories. Bernays and friends make for very interesting reading in all their “public relations work” that include a wide spectrum from helping the tobacco companies to overthrowing governments to help corporations control natural resources and pollute native lands…

    “It is easy to see that Brian Deer is happy to “play his part” to arouse “the crowd” and thus “control” them and do his best to make them look silly and desperate in the public eye.”


  12. Tony Bateson January 22, 2010 at 16:55 #

    Well lilandteds mum and Kev you asked for it, here it is. I have written 250 letters to researchers, medics, special schools and residential communities and I have had data supplied by a university researcher who supplied me with feedback from a 700 strong enquiry. I have spoken at over 20 conferences including one in the USA where I have asked the question, I have had more than forty letters and articles published in the UK media asking the same question, I have broadcast three times asking the question. I have been a Vice Chairman and Trustee of the National Autistic Society for more than twelve years and a Trustee of a residential community since I led its development as founder chairman in 1983. None of the hundreds of autistic children I know is unvaccinated nor seenibgly any of the thousands or even millions who have had my message.
    What have you done that leads you to what you believe?

    As for formal studies may I refer you to Pulse (Nov 2002 a MDs journal in the UK). It reported at that time that a clinical study of 29,000 school age children found that immune conditions were up to fourteen times more prevalent in vaccinated children than in unvaccinated. Not surprisingly the medical establishment denied that this could lead to any conclusions of any kind and then they quickly suppressed it. It didn’t consider autism but then we wouldn’t expect it to would we? I have incidentally obtained and read every study I could get hold of. I read three weekly and monthly scientific journals and always follow up. I am bereft of information about unvaccinated autistic kids. Someone said the Amish vaccinate, do they? What about Nevada County, California I warrant they have negligible autism since they are amongst the lowest vaccine take up in the States.

    Tony Bateson, Oxford, UK

    • Sullivan January 22, 2010 at 17:26 #

      Tony Bateson,

      Could you be more specific about your credentials. When you say you spoke at 20 conferences, are these academic conferences or are they parent conventions? AutismOne, for example, is not a conference but a convention of parents and those who

      Do you have any papers in a reputable peer reviewed journal? Do you present at conferences that publish proceedings?

      Sorry to challenge you, but I have little patience for people who make grandiose claims that can be shot down with readily available, public access information.

      Nevada County, California has 87 students with autism as their primary disability category, as of December 2008-09. Compare this with 82 with “mental retardation”. Statewide, there are about 53,000 under the autism label, and 43,000 under the mental retardation label. So, Nevada County is pretty close to being in line with statewide averages.

      So, will you now accept that your logic doesn’t hold?

      The Amish accept vaccination. There is a paper that is cited often on the blogs discussing this. More specifically, the Amish of Lancaster County accept vaccination. I know this from communications directly with a doctor who runs vaccine clinics in the county.

      You are bereft of information. I will leave your statement at that.

  13. Science Mom January 22, 2010 at 17:16 #

    Tony runs about the internet posting that little gem wherever possible. But won’t provide any evidence to support it. Perhaps he and Kim Stagliano could correspond; she has an unvaccinated, autistic daughter.

  14. lilandtedsmum January 22, 2010 at 17:27 #


    That’s all very nice I’m sure.

    Once again I’ll repeat my question:

    On which studies do you base your claim of there being no Autistic children amongst unvaccinated children in the UK?

    It’s just that amongst your CV and your references to not so relevant reports, I can’t actually find an answer.

    As for where I get my conclusions from? Science Tony. From the many published, peer reviewed studies that have failed repeatedly to establish any link between vaccinations and autism.

  15. Science Mom January 22, 2010 at 18:02 #

    This is Tony’s Pulse magazine article: which he completely misinterprets.

    As for the rest, he has peddled it before: and Tony? The plural of anecdotes is not data.

  16. Kev January 22, 2010 at 18:04 #

    Truly a fascinating amount of irrelevant crap you cite there Tony. Now can you answer the question?

  17. Passing Thru January 22, 2010 at 18:10 #

    I can’t find any Tony Bateson’s among the office-holders or trustees of the National Austic Society.

    Maybe he was in the past, but got thrown off for stupidity or something.

  18. Tony Bateson January 22, 2010 at 18:25 #

    I have answered the question, I have done over ten years of asking hundreds of parents of autistic children directly and thousands of parents indirectly none of them have told me that their child was not wholly unvaccinated (some have said they didn’t have the MMR). These are not anecdotes, I have led very successful large enterprises helping autistic kids I do not need to be patronised nor do I think much of people who disparage information or resort to offensive comments such as ‘rubbish’. Nor do I peddle anything, why don’t I hear definitive responses about known autistic kids who were never vaccinated (even anonymously given).

    The Pulse Report is the one posted,I cannot imagine how that is either irrelevant or gives rise to erroneous conclusions. Perhaps someone will supply me with the details of an objective study that has compared vaccinated to unvaccinated outcomes in autistic children. Please don’t mention the Danish study conducted by the Danish Serum Institute (producers of vaccines 80% for export), or Brent Taylor’s (North Thames Study) report where he won’t release the papers!

    Tony Bateson, Oxford, UK.

    • Kev January 22, 2010 at 18:29 #

      You claimed that there are NO cases of autism amongst unvaccinated autistic kids in the UK. You have not even come close to proving it. Debunking your ridiculous claim that the Amish don;t vaccinate was the work of a few years ago. If you make a claim Tony you need to back it up – so do so or admit you don;t really know one way or the other.

    • Sullivan January 22, 2010 at 18:52 #

      Tony Bateson,

      you are not being Patronised. You are being asked to defend what you say. So far you have failed.

      You seem to have a very different definition of “anecdotal” than the rest of the world, by the way. You have described exactly anecdotal evidence.

      I don’t think much of people who make dangerous claims and can’t back them up. Don’t hide behind someone calling your work “rubbish”. Back up what you say. Claiming to have emailed a number of researchers isn’t evidence. It may sound nice to someone who doesn’t spend much time really thinking about what you say, but it doesn’t say anything except that your evidence is so weak that you have to rely on chaff. “asking a question” is not “speaking at a conference”.

      I see you have decided to ignore the fact that the Nevada County educational data point in the opposite direction of your claim. Can you support your claim that Nevada County has low vaccine uptake? They have a couple of schools listed with low vaccine uptake, but that is a different thing.

      Or, to put it simply–what is the vaccine uptake rate in Nevada County?

  19. autismnostrum January 22, 2010 at 18:42 #

    I know someone living in the UK with not one but two unvaccinated autistic children. Hmm, maybe the Illuminati snuck in and vaccinated them while they weren’t looking.

  20. Nicky M January 22, 2010 at 18:54 #

    Tony, for 5 years neither of my sons were vaccinated with ANYTHING. My second is severely autistic with sld, ocd, pda and other co-morbidities. I subsequently did a Kev and changed my mind; at age 7 he had all his vaccinations, 5 years AFTER his dx. So there’s one for a kick off. (And he did not regress further after his vaccinations, in case you think of that little gem).

    Please stop, you are talking RUBBISH. Or provide clear evidence to the contrary.

  21. Oriel January 22, 2010 at 19:02 #

    Passing Thru, Don’t know if this is of any help…. there’s a Tony Bateson associated with “The Autism Research trust” (2003) but it’s unlikey to be one and the same because that Tony Bateson has been made aware of kids with ASD and no vaccinations via an email exchange he had with with a Dr E Danczak who confirms that he has “kids with ASD and no vaccination”.

  22. David N. Brown January 22, 2010 at 19:33 #

    Walker also complained that funding was cut in 2004, even though the decisions were mostly made in 2003, as a way to insinuate a conspiracy theory of Wakefield’s well-deserved misfortunes. I have written an essay about Walker. Something I discussed, but couldn’t offer an answer on, is what would actually have happened if the justice HAD ruled in the litigants’ favor. Several possibilities came to mind: The case may have been sent to be heard by the High Court, where it could still have been lost. The LASC may have been required to give a new hearing, which almost certainly would have ended in funding being denied again. Or, assuming there was any basis for the Justice to order more funding directly, the LASC could still have resorted to any number of shenanigans to keep the litigation from receiving a useful amount of funding.
    Any thoughts from those in the UK?

  23. Passing Thru January 22, 2010 at 19:47 #

    So this guy Tony Bateson has been creeping round the internet, placing these posts saying how he’s never heard of an unvaccinated child developing autism, and right here we have the main operator of Age of Autism, visitors to LB/RB a Manchester doctor previously in correspondence with Bateson. And this thread has only been going a day.

    Okay, Tony Bateson, what do you say to this?

  24. lilandtedsmum January 22, 2010 at 20:02 #


    You corrected me and said that you were referring to ALL vaccinations and not just the MMR. I was just wondering if you could enlighten me as to the ingredient that ALL the vaccines share that you feel is responsible for ASD.

    Thank you.

  25. Oriel January 22, 2010 at 20:47 #

    Apologies, my previous post should have said I’d picked up a Tony Bateson with a connection to The MMR Research Trust and not the Autism Trust.

    Sorry for any confusion.

  26. Chris January 22, 2010 at 21:11 #

    Worse, Tony Bateson blathered his nonsense a couple of weeks ago on Respectful Insolence, and was reminded yet again it was complete rubbish.

  27. Tony Bateson January 22, 2010 at 21:13 #

    Well this is fantastic after failing to stir a single response about my conclusions that there were no unvaccinated autistic kids in Britain I have a load of americans telling me this is nonsense. I hope it is not the same kind of nonsense that Ed Danczac gave to me. He responded to my letter in the Daily Telegraph, a respected UK broadsheet, which said there were vanishingly few unvaccinated autistic people in Britain. His was the only response and he said that he knew of many. But when I insisted upon visiting him in his Harley Street consulting rooms he said he had lost his files and couldn’t say who they were (anonymously or not) later he said the files were in his Dubai consulting rooms. They never turned up!

    In short if you know of any unvaccinated autistic individual who has not otherwise been exposed to vaccine materials (RhoGam or amalgams in early pregnancy (there is one of those in the UK)) please put them in touch with me.

    As to the person who looked up national Autistic Society records I was Vice-Chairman in the eighties but left in 1991 after failing to persuade the Society to take the lead in research. Had they done so we might have been a long way down the track by now. I wont correspond with people who spout nonsense about ‘perhaps he was thrown off for stupidity’ so Sullivan get back to wherever you came from.

    Tony Bateson, Oxford, UK.

  28. lilandtedsmum January 22, 2010 at 21:31 #

    I am from the UK. I responded to your conclusion that there are no vaccinated children in Britain.

    Perhaps now you would care to respond to the questions I put to you.

    Thank you.

  29. Kev January 22, 2010 at 21:33 #

    I’m British Tony. I’m still waiting for less personal anecdote and more EVIDENCE that there are NO unvaccinated autistic people in the UK.

  30. sophia8 January 22, 2010 at 21:36 #

    Tony, why should we have to do your homework for you? You’re the one making the claim that there are no autistics amongst the unvaccinated. It’s up to you to provide the proof.
    Should be a simple enough job – if no-vaccination always equals no-autism, researchers would have noticed by now and done a study – you know, stuff with figures and graphs and everything – and published in a peer-reviewed journal.

    And one more thing – I’m British too.

  31. Prometheus January 22, 2010 at 22:07 #

    Tony Bateson asserts:

    “…there are no autistic people in populations where there has been no vaccination!”

    Unfortunately, that statement is demonstrably FALSE. One of the most strident “vaccines-cause-autism” parents in the US (as mentioned above) has at least one child who is both completely unvaccinated and autistic. I have no doubt that the same can be found in Britain.

    Mr. Bateson appears to be unaware that the existence of a single unvaccinated autistic child (evidence of which has already been provided) invalidates his claim, no matter how many researchers and parents he has annoyed with his inquiries.

    And, if Mr. Bateson tries to recover some measure of false dignity by claiming that he is only speaking of unvaccinated “populations”, that is a distinction without a difference. We could define a “population” as the set of all people who have never been vaccinated, in which case the known and documented cases of autistic people in that population disprove Mr. Bateson’s claim.

    He would have a stronger argument if he claimed that unvaccinated children have a lower prevelance of autism, but that was not (and is not) his claim. He wanted the “grand slam” and ended up striking out (American baseball jargon).

    No matter how much “research” Mr. Bateson has done, no matter how many conferences he has spoken to or how many parents he has interviewed, his conclusion – that unvaccinated people do not get autism – has been definitively proven FALSE.

    Move on, Mr. Bateson.


  32. Mike Stanton January 22, 2010 at 22:15 #

    Tony Bateson was a member of the Board of the NAS between 1979 and 1991 and during that time held the post of Vice Chairman for a time. He was also founder chairman of the Linden Bridge School Parents Group at Epsom and of the Mid Counties Autistic Society which developed Stroud Court at Minchinhampton in 1982 leading on to other residential communities, near Caversham, Reading and at Nailsworth in Gloucestershire. Tony Bateson continues to be a trustee of Stroud Court.

    That was the case in 2005. Tony has a long and honourable record of service in relation to autism. That does not mean he is right about vaccines. He offers two statements as fact: that there are 3 million unvaccinated children in the UK and that none of them are autistic.

    There are between 12 and 13 million children under 16 in the UK. Therefore, according to Tony, vaccination rates in the UK ought to be no higher than 75 to 77 per cent to produce a figure of 3 million unvaccinated children. The statistics tell a different story.

    After falling to 80% in 2003-04, uptake of the MMR vaccine for children reaching their second birthday increased steadily to 85% in 2006-07, where it has remained through to 2008-09. (1)
    For children reaching their second birthday in 2008-09, uptake of vaccines against Diphtheria, Tetanus, Polio, Pertussis, Haemophilus influenzae type b and Meningitis C was between 92% and 94% and has been stable for the last five years. (1)
    In the second year of reporting, uptake of the Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) has increased from 84% for children immunised by their first birthday to 91%.

    So there may be 1 million unvaccinated children in the UK, not 3 million. But there is no evidence to support the hypothesis that none of them are autistic. There has been a lot of research on MMR and autism in the UK. Brent Taylor (2002) investigated the connection between MMR and regressive autism and bowel disorders. They found no connection with MMR. but they did identify 57 out of 443 cases of autism who had never received the MMR vaccine. 9 of these 57 had bowel problems and 17 had suffered regression.

    I have no idea about other childhood vaccines. I am not aware of any research into other vaccines and autism in the UK apart from a couple of studies into thiomersal which found no connection. This is hardly surprising as thiomersal levels in the UK were always much lower than in the USA and the anti-vaccine campaigners here focused almost entirely on MMR to the exlusion of all other childhood vaccines.

  33. David N. Brown January 22, 2010 at 22:16 #

    Even Olmsted’s “Amish anomaly” articles readily acknowledged multiple cases of autism in unvaccinated Amish children.
    I would also like to repeat a question for those in UK: What would have happened if Justice Davis had accepted the appeal by MMR litigants?

  34. Mike Stanton January 22, 2010 at 23:02 #

    the British taxpayer would have continued to fund “research” designed to prove that MMR caused autism. That “research” would never have delivered evidence of a standard sufficient to present to a court in the UK. Eventually someone would have called a halt to the whole charade.

    But all existing evidence would have remained confidential pending the case coming to trial. So Bustin and Chadwick’s testimony might never have been heard at the autism omnibus in the USA. There might never have been a GMC hearing against Wakefield while an outstanding class action lawsuit remained unheard. Brian Deer would have continued to write his exposes. But the anti vaccine lobby would be in a stronger position than they are today.

  35. Laurentius Rex January 22, 2010 at 23:33 #

    With all due respect Mike, the NAS of the eighties and early nineties is not the NAS of today thank goodness.

    1980’s solutions may have seemed the best and most appropriate of the time, but they were of there time and indeed everything has moved on including research which shows that Mr Bateson is stuck in a time warp somewhere of severe ignorance and worse than that opinionation.

    Good practice is based on sound evidence, not emotions and anecdotes.

    There is not a shred of evidence for Mr Bateson’s conclusions, he has no more authority to speak authoritatively about Autism than any other ill informed member of the public.

    Being on the board of an Autistic society whose concern is not, and never has been concerned with medical research, is not a qualification in research that I am aware of.

    Even the trustees of Research Autism do not all have appropriate qualifications to speak authoritatively about the science, that is not a trustees work at all, governance is.

  36. David N. Brown January 22, 2010 at 23:50 #

    Thanks for info. It seems that the UK High Court exercises more power than US counterparts. Still, I would stand by one alternate scenario, which is that the Board could have continued to challenge or obstruct (particularly over the amount of funding) until the litigators gave up or went broke.
    On the confidentiality issue, I have wondered whether part of the reason the lawsuit (or rather attemped lawsuit) was protracted was to delay disclosures about Wakefield.

  37. Joseph January 22, 2010 at 23:58 #

    Can Mr. Bateson even tell us how common diagnoses of autism are in the UK? I know what UK prevalence studies say, but this doesn’t answer my question. For all we know, only a small percentage of autistic children are diagnosed there.

    I also think Mike’s figures are conservative. Even with low MMR uptake, that doesn’t say much about complete lack of vaccination. For all we know, maybe 0.3% of children are completely unvaccinated, like in the US.

    That would mean that perhaps 40,000 children are completely unvaccinated. Out of them, 400 should be expected to be autistic. Who knows how many would be diagnosed. That would depend on the sort of demographic that rejects vaccination altogether. It might be in the order of 0.0005% of the child population. So no, I’m not surprised that unvaccinated autistic children aren’t coming out in droves. (If more parents from the UK blogged, we might know of some.)

  38. Laurentius Rex January 23, 2010 at 00:15 #

    Whoops I need to correct a statement of multiple iteration.

    I meant that being on a board, even having considerable contact with autistic people, does not make one an authority on causation and does not give any validity to hunches about vaccines, that is only achieved by proper research, not tittle tattle and supposition.

  39. Mike Stanton January 23, 2010 at 01:18 #

    I agree with you. But Tony was trying to use his record in governance of autism societies and the development of services for autistic people to bolster his position. It is possible to acknowledge his contribution while pointing out that his position on vaccines is wrong. A bit like our old friend Paul Shattock who has done a good job developing services in the north east but spoils it all with his continuing adherence to the gluten and casein theory.

  40. Dedj January 23, 2010 at 01:33 #

    Most interestingly, Tony mentions ‘250 letters’ but fails to mention the response rate, Tony mentions ’40’ letters to papers but mentions only one response. Of course, that didn’t stop him from name-dropping (not referencing you will note) the paper, not realising that makes touting the single reply around even sadder.

    He ‘insisted’ on turning up to someones clinic, but fails to mention just how strongly he ‘insisted’ or even why he needed to go at all. No surprise that he was not allowed access to the identities of the people concerned!

  41. Laurentius Rex January 23, 2010 at 01:54 #

    The point I am trying to make, though not very well is that experience of governance and development of services will qualify one to talk about that, experience with autistic people (so long as it is the right kind) will qualify you to talk about the need for services and give you some insight into the good and the bad, neither will qualify you to be a judge of scientific controversies.

    What is really absurd on top of it all is that US anti vaxer’s and UK anti vaxer’s even when they agree that Vaccines cause autism (which they don’t) seem still to be talking at cross purposes to each other with a different set of beliefs and suppositions as to the causative pathways.

    As you are aware I believe the NAS is still infected with diehards who will never give up there irrational beliefs in the face of all the evidence against vaccine causation, and that unfortunately is as much a product of there psyche and the way there particular minds work as an autistic mindset is a product of autism. There is a gross failure in the die hard’s logic circuits somewhere. That and a strong tendencey towards obsessive thought patterns and phobias.

    It’s elephant traps, I have surrounded your home by a discrete set of elephant traps, you won’t be aware of them because they are well hidden and effective only for elephants. Why do you need to believe me? what is my evidence? Well have you been bothered by elephants lately?

    I thought not. See my traps are working.

  42. Oriel January 23, 2010 at 13:43 #

    “That “research” would never have delivered evidence of a standard sufficient to present to a court in the UK”…Mike Stanton

    That is precisely why the case flopped in 2003. The lawyers were placed in the unenviable position of having to admit that they did not have the material from the experts to support the claim that MMR caused ASD, with disaterous consequences for the families of children with autism.

    Understandably, the LSC then withdrew funding for all these claimants but in an added twist, also removed funding for the other claimants who did not have claims in respect of ASD!! Claims in respect of approximately 12 other conditions were included in the MMR litigation from the outset but never yet saw the light of day because somewhere along the line the MMR litigation, originally intended to address ALL claims following an MR/MMR vaccine, was converted into a litigation to only consider whether or not the MMR vaccine caused ASD/IBD.

    After an appeal before the Funding Review Committee (at the LSC), funding was reinstated for the group who came to be known as the “other conditions” ie. claimants who did not have ASD. Parents had to give assurances at that time, that their child had never been diagnosed with ASD and if in the event that did happen, they had to inform the LSC immediately.

    By the time the Court and the LSC got round to acknowledging the presence of these children, £18m of public money had been squandered on research to support the ASD/IBD claimants none of which could be used to support a possible causal link between the MMR vaccine and non ASD/IBD conditions. With mounting criticism and embarrassment over the amount of resources ploughed into the ASD/IBD case, only for the lawyers to admit they had no case, the “other conditons” were from the outset, denied investigative research to support their claims. Without that, the claims could go no where. Finally, they were subjected to a “cost benefit analysis” to determine the viability of the claims.(noticeably, it was not because a case could not be brought on behalf of these litigants that funding was withdrawn)

    Because the group was small,( by comparison), and costs from the ASD/IBD litigation were included in the maths (despite the fact these claims were excluded from that litigation)the funding was then removed in June 2006. Further appeals against the withdrawal meant that the final hearings in the MMR litigation didn’t take place until 2007.

    Because these claims were ongoing, there would have been an argument, if not a legal issue, preventing disclosure of any material from the litigation whilst some cases (albeit in a separate action)were live.

  43. Tony Bateson January 23, 2010 at 17:23 #

    Well it does get interesting, now people complain because I haven’t given full chapter and verse on replies to 250 letters to government depts, medics, researchers, parents and so on. Here it is approximately; very few replies from government depts., none ever answered the question (a perfectly reasonable question) what is the prevalence of autism in unvaccinated groups?, medics hardly any at all, never any answer to the question and much the same with researchers, parents probably 75% response, no unvaccinated autistic people. The conferences I attended in ten or so UK towns and cities and Washington USA were attended by around 2,000+ parents and professionals and the subject was almost always vaccination, treatment and care of autistic people.
    Only two or three people came forward to say they had an unvaccinated autistic child or knew of any, one’s mother had dental amalgam treatment in the early stages of pregnancy, one had not had the MMR and the other didn’t follow up when I asked the further questions.

    Someone kindly said I had an honourable career leading groups in the autism field, I only mentioned that because someone earlier asked to be told. I certainly do not consider that background gives me any standing in the vaccine issue except that it has enabled me to know and enquire of many parents face to face and indirectly whether their child was vaccinated.

    Mike Stanton should note that what is now the Health Protection Agency records all vaccine take up figures and has done so in an earlier incarnation since 1966. An estimation based upon these figures suggests 10%/12% of children born since 1966 have not had childhood vaccinations. That’s 3,000,000 plus give or take. Please explain why it is so hard to find any unvaccinated? And lastly I might remind people that a leading cardio-thoracic physician asked the question in the sixties as to why nine out of ten patients in his wards and diagnosed with lung cancer were former smokers when only three in ten of the general public smoked. It demolished all the illiterate science that was being thrown at people like Dr David Owen UK Minister of Health by the tobacco industry and resulted in David Owen threatening to place tobacco sales under the Medicines Act. The Industry soon found ways of voluntarily agreeing to restrictions before the roof fell in. It is observations not science that tell us something serious is amiss in failing to find the cause of autism sixty seven years after it was first identified. The failure is very likely to be a contrived deafness bought and sustained at enormous expense by those with a direct stake in the outcome.

    I am satisfied that my observations are reliable and representative of the autism community as a whole.

    Tony Bateson, Oxford, UK

  44. Tony Bateson January 23, 2010 at 17:41 #

    LaurentiusRex says I am in a time warp, I don’t think so! It was I who went out on a narrow limb to encourage the NAS in the eighties to get up to date and to appoint a senior level Director to lead the charity. I was villified for it and openly criticised by the established leadership group, but a growing group of others asked me to become Vice-Chairman and then to stand for Chairman. I did not stand but strongly recommended someone else for the post who subsequently became Chairman. When the second appointment as Director, Geraldine Peacock, became a significant player in the charity’s future success my position was completely vindicated. Nevertheless I resigned in 1991 because the National Autistic Society would not take the high moral ground and accept responsibility for research. They did of course later with the Cambridge initiative, but not quickly enough for my liking. Of course the issue is not a medical matter anyway, it is a social and economic issue.

    Tony Bateson, Oxford, UK.

  45. lilandtedsmum January 23, 2010 at 18:00 #


    Do you have information on numbers of children in UK that are non-vaccinated? If so, over what period of time and what is the source?

    I would be really interested to see those figures at least.

    Thank you.

  46. Laurentius Rex January 23, 2010 at 18:36 #

    I concur with Mr Bateson that the appointment of a director was a wise move for the NAS, indeed for any charity which has outgrown the ability of the trustees to directly administer, mind you, not every choice of Director has been a wise one, I joined the NAS during the interim when Tony Kay stepped to rescue the NAS from the financial mire that the outgoing director had left it in.

    However I believe that the NAS has taken the right approach in avoiding the research controversies, although that has involved a little too much equivocation in the direction of the untenable at times.

    As I am fond of saying not all research is medical, and the severe defecit of research which is impacting every autistic person alive today, is the deficit of research into interventions and education. Let us face it, even if Mr Bateson were correct the damage has been done, there is no chemical solution to repair “brain damage”

    I am not a scientist, however I am well read in neurology as I need to be, I was not, when I first met Mike BTW but that was a long time ago now. However I am sufficiently aquainted with the philosophy of science and psychology in general to understand that Mr Bateson is lamentably ill informed and opinionated as the possible cause of autism, and to what end? I don’t know, in a just society, we would see the same level of expenditure directed towards every autistic man, woman and child irrespective of how they became autistic. Money should never come through the courts and compensation, that is patchy and favours the priveleged, yes those who can afford to be ripped off by lawyers.

    I think it wrong of Mr Bateson to claim the role in the NAS he does, that smacks of hubris, of pomposity and self agrandisement.

    The NAS is a vast organisation and there have been many significant players, some of whom I have been priveleged to meet, and of course disagree with over a variety of issues, that is the nature of progress and the nature of organisations, I have been involved in a lot of them well before I joined the NAS, and that I hope is my USP.

    As for science and observation, science is about accurate observation, tested observation. The individual is about bias error and presupposition. Mr Bateson would fail the grade as a scientist I am sure, that is unfortunate, I would hope that nobody is ineducable, and Mr Bateson needs to learn.

    I go for a walk in a high wind and a tree falls. I might suppose that it fell because the wind blew it down, but am I right? No I am not, the wind does not blow every tree down, only those that have rotted from within. I cannot see the rot. Science is about what lies behind the apparantly obvious.

    I wish I could teach Mr Bateson and his colleagues, I really do.

  47. Dedj January 23, 2010 at 19:11 #

    “Well it does get interesting, now people complain because I haven’t given full chapter and verse on replies to 250 letters to government depts, medics, researchers, parents and so on.”

    That wasn’t the observation, and as the person who made that observation, I must take issue with your attempt to depict it as being more extreme than it was. You will not be asked to apologise, as it is doubtful that you are capable of perceiving your error.

    However, I do thank you for confirming that very few people took you seriously, despite your best efforts.

    By your own admission, you know of several unvaccinated people with autism. Somehow, you dismiss them on the grounds of irrelevant data. I think we all know now, thanks to your own words, exactly how you’d react if you were given data on unvaccinated people with autism.

    ‘Insisting’ on turning up at peoples clinics, implying fraud or outright lying in others on the basis of not being provided with data you have no right to, and looking for reasons – any at all – to disqualify the ones you have met. If you behave towards everyone like you do here, it’s no wonder even a significatn minority of parents refuse to respond.

    You certainly haven’t painted a very good picture of yourself. You’ve been ignored and brushed aside despite your best efforts, YET you still attempt to gain some cachet through having undergone this process, even though you’ve had little academic feedback and are self-admittedly basing your conclusion on a very limited data collection method.

    This is not the Tony Bateson Show, and it’s time for you to stop treating it like it is. Provide your evidence or kindly leave.

  48. Tony Bateson January 23, 2010 at 20:18 #

    I am open to being taught anything useful LaurentiusRex but I think I know a tiny bit about scientific observation and statistics. I went to Oxford University at the age of 68 and undertook a computer science course to learn more about those subjects. I have completed the half way stage of a MSc and learnt much but I am sure there is plenty of room for more. Why don’t they offer a degree in immunity science?

    About my time with the NAS I did not volunteer such information and I make no claims other than what was known to all involved. However if you had witnessed the hostility of that time when I and a small group including Tony Kay (whom I knew for over thirty years, we brought about the Linden Bridge School project at Worcester Park) dragged the NAS into a modern role you would know that it was no bun-fight.

    Lastly you know to your satisfaction, no doubt, that is not possible to prove that something doesn’t exist but on my wholly inadequate but nevertheless substantial observations I am satisfied that autism does not exist amongst unvaccinated individuals. Responses to these postings have suggested there are three! Three! There are I believe thrre millions unvaccinated! But the commonality of responses leads me to conclusions, researchers never reply at all to these questions I mean by the hundreds they don’t reply. They are terrified that their name might appear on the same sheet as ‘unvaccinated’ and they would lose their 80% funders the pharmaceutical industry.
    Also the tendency of vaccine advocates to describe me and other people like me who question the staus quo as being ‘anti-vackers’. Preposterous, I have never advocated ceasing to vaccinate, I just believe parents should be offered informed consent and that the Yellow Card system should be properly implemented. It would be reassuring too if medical research was not subject to gross abuse. Starting with ‘lab rats’ and their completely unreliable activities and running right through to the m isrepresentation of research findings (EU and US authorities have threatened the industry with severe sanctions if this is not improved. Finally why do doctors have to be bribed to vaccinate their patients’ children. The whole system is rotten and a massive contradiction to the pristine white coat image and high standing of the medical profession.

    Tony Bateson, Oxford, UK.

  49. Tony Bateson January 23, 2010 at 20:33 #

    This is my final post on this subject because it is obvious that since nine out of ten of you (would someone check that) hide behind absurd names I can see no value at all in continuing. Furthermore my friend who is a senior neurologist (no name dropping) says that right brain/left brain is nonsense and that the brain is more like a jumble of wires squeezed into a sponge bag than anything else.

    Tony Bateson, Oxford, UK.


  1. Tweets that mention Autism Blog - Another hit job from AoA « Left Brain/Right Brain -- - January 21, 2010

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