David Kirby shows he’s been out of the loop

19 Mar

David Kirby is back on the Huffington Post blogging about vaccines and autism in a piece titled CDC to Study Vaccines and Autism.

The CDC move comes one month after the federal government’s leading autism body, the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) announced a shift in research priorities toward environmental triggers for autism, which the IACC said could include toxins, biological agents and “adverse events following immunization.”

In case we didn’t read that paragraph, he repeats himself later:

Meanwhile, the IACC has signaled a major shift in research priorities into the causes of autism, moving away from purely genetic studies in favor of investigating the interaction between genes and environmental factors, which it said could include toxins, biological agents and vaccines.

What shift? Funding levels for environmental causation and gene-environment interactions have outpaced funding for purely genetic research for the past few years.

Mr. Kirby, I’d like to say you’d know that if you read LeftBrainRightBrain instead of the blogs and websites which claim to be asking for more research into environmental research. But I have to ask, are you really out of the loop, or does it just make a better story to claim these fake “shifts”?

Here are a few posts you might want to read, Mr. Kirby:

US proposes $154M in new autism research projects

US plan for autism research: focus on environmental causation re-emphasized

Here’s one from over a year ago:

IACC calls for $175 million in autism and the environment research

Is his post a misconception because he’s been out of the loop on another book project? No. Here’s Mr. Kirby’s introductory paragraph:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wants to study autism as a possible clinical outcome of immunization, as part of its newly adopted 5-year research agenda for vaccine safety, the agency said on its website.

Take a look at the CDC research agenda that Mr. Kirby links to. It includes:

In 2004, the IOM concluded that the evidence “favors rejection of a causal relationship” between MMR vaccine and autism and thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism (IOM, 2004).
• VSD has completed a thimerosal and autism case-control study. The chief goal was to determine if exposure to thimerosal in infancy (through 7 months of age) or in-utero is related to development of autism. A secondary objective was to evaluate whether exposure to thimerosal in infancy is related to a subclass of autism predominately associated with regression. The manuscript Prenatal and Infant Exposure to Thimerosal From Vaccines and Immunoglobulins and Risk of Autism (Pediatrics) by Price CS et al. showed that prenatal and early-life exposure to ethylmercury from thimerosal-containing vaccines and immunoglobulin preparations was not related to increased risk for Autistic Spectrum Disorders (Price CS et al, Pediatrics 2010).
• CDC funded a study in Italy comparing children who previously received thimerosal-containing or non-thimerosal-containing DTaP vaccines (Tozzi AE, 2009).
• A VSD study was completed on early thimerosal exposure and neuropsychological outcomes at 7 to 10 years (Thompson WW et al, 2007). Another study using the public dataset was published (Smith MJ, WoodsCR. Pediatrics 2010).

So, the CDC has already been studying autism as a possible outcome of vaccines. In fact, they’ve already completed it and published it: “VSD has completed a thimerosal and autism case-control study.”

And let’s not forget all the other studies of the past 10 years on MMR, and those on thimerosal. We won’t. Apparently David Kirby has. It’s “new” that the CDC would consider vaccines and autism.

And, noting that the IACC federal autism panel “suggested several studies including vaccinated versus unvaccinated children to determine if there are differences in health outcomes,” the CDC said it will convene an “external expert committee to offer guidance on the feasibility of conducting such studies and additional studies related to the immunization schedule, including studies that may indicate if multiple vaccinations increase risk for immune system disorders.”

Germany has already done one of those studies. Kev discussed it here on LeftBrainRightBrain just recently as Vaccinated Children Not at Higher Risk of Infections or Allergic Diseases, Study Suggests. The results were that people are better off vaccinated. Fewer infectious disease. No increased risk of asthma or other problems (the study size, with about 18,000 people, was too small to study autism).

Sorry if I appear to have little patience for David Kirby. It’s true. I don’t have much patience for him. He’s framed his piece in a manner which misleads. And he has no excuse.

11 Responses to “David Kirby shows he’s been out of the loop”

  1. Sullivan March 19, 2011 at 01:14 #

    Another bit of his piece:

    As for vaccines, the IACC noted that “Numerous epidemiological studies have found no relationship between ASD and vaccines containing the mercury based preservative thimerosal,” the document said. “These data, as well as subsequent research, indicate that the link between autism and vaccines is unsupported by the epidemiological research literature. However, the Institute of Medicine report acknowledged that the existing population-based studies were limited in their ability to detect small susceptible subpopulations that could be more genetically vulnerable to environmental exposures.”

    Let me remind you of David Kirby’s book title:
    “Evidence of Harm, Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic: A Medical Controversy.”

    Not “evidence of harm. While there hasn’t been an autism epidemic caused by mercury, the data can’t completely rule out a very small susceptibility group, which may not be susceptible to mercury at all, but to some other environmental exposure”

  2. sharon March 19, 2011 at 12:56 #

    I know how committed you guys at lbrb are to the admirable ideal of offence free language, so I therefore respectfully withold my opinion of the character in this post.

    • Sullivan March 19, 2011 at 16:03 #


      I don’t have a problem with all expressions of outrage. I just don’t like names that were derived from disabilities. In this case, how about the term: “publicist” for Mr. Kirby?

      As an aside-
      Below is my comment, posted to the Huffington Post yesterday. They chose not to approve it.

      Mr. Kirby, you are predicting the past. And you know it. The CDC has been funding vaccine-au­tism research for, what, a decade? The IACC has reported that funding levels for environmen­tal causation outstrip genetic research for a year or more. You need to do more research for yourself.

      Perhaps they took issue with the “you need to do more research for yourself” comment. Given that “Evidence of Harm” was written from Lyn Redwood’s research, I feel the comment is justified.

  3. passionlessDrone March 19, 2011 at 16:52 #

    Below is my comment, posted to the Huffington Post yesterday.

    Yeah, they’re pretty bad about that kind of thing; it’s a crap shoot and with the 250 character limit, it isn’t a place that encourages discussion so much as bullet points. Especially considering the amount of traffic they get, I’m struggling to see how they manually pay attention to every single comment.

  4. sharon March 20, 2011 at 04:21 #

    “publicist” seems awfully kind.

  5. Harold L Doherty March 20, 2011 at 16:43 #

    Does lbrb receive ad revenue for the Mnookin & Offit books on the sidebar of this site?

    • Kev March 20, 2011 at 20:35 #

      Yes and No. Yes in the sense that we would if anyone bought them via a link in this page from Amazon.co.uk and no in the sense that nobody has yet.

  6. Dedj March 20, 2011 at 22:24 #

    “Does lbrb receive ad revenue for the Mnookin & Offit books on the sidebar of this site?”

    What relevance does this question have to the discussion, and what is your motive for asking it?

  7. David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E. March 20, 2011 at 22:45 #

    “What relevance does this question have to the discussion, and what is your motive for asking it?”

    You can’t guess that, Dedj? He’s a lawyer… he’s looking to poison a well!

  8. stanley seigler March 20, 2011 at 23:58 #

    [DNA say] He’s a lawyer…he’s looking to poison a well!

    not following thread…but share (believe) DNA distaste of lawyers…they have done more to minimize true science; justice for all; and quality programs…than any other group of a-holes…of course doesn’t apply to all…but to all too many.

    stanley seigler

  9. David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E. March 21, 2011 at 11:05 #

    “share (believe) DNA distaste of lawyers”

    Pretty much. It was a law graduate and former barrister that led the UK into an illegal strike on a sovereign nation without the backing of the Security Council – ha can’t not known that to be a war crime, and yet the bastard walks free.

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