35 Nobel Laureates are all in the pocket of Big Pharma?

27 Jun

Yes. A group of 35 Nobel Laureates has been accused of working with the “vaccine industry”. Those familiar with the online discussions of autism and vaccines will likely be unsurprised that this claim comes from the Age of Autism blog. Given the odd nature of this claim, most will likely be unsruprised that this will take some lenghthy introduction.

The article at the Age of Autism is Write the President of Cameroon to Defend Dr. Luc Montagnier, which opens so many questions. Why do they want to defend Luc Montagnier? Why would one write the president of Cameroon to do so?

Luc Montagnier received the Nobel Prize in medicine in 2008. His research has since moved into some rather questionable territory. For example, he claims that DNA from bacteria can, in highly diluted samples, induce low frequency electromagnetic radiation. This brings us to his connection to the autism communities. He claims that he can detect the electromagnetic radiation from the blood of autistic children, but not from non-autistic children. He claims that this radiation is a sign of pathogentic bacteria, and, further, claims that based on this one might treat autism with long term antibiotic therapy.

Here is part of his summary from when he presented these ideas at AutismOne this year:

There is in the blood of most autistic children — but not in healthy children — DNA sequences that emit, in certain conditions, electromagnetic waves. The analysis by molecular biology techniques allows us to identify these electromagnetic waves as coming from already known bacterial species. This correlation, which is based on more than one hundred children of European origin, naturally does not prove a causal relationship. However, a therapy first started by a group of independent clinicians and now performed in conjunction with laboratory observations reinforces the idea that systemic bacterial infections play a role in the genesis of symptoms of autism.



These are, to put it politely, extraordinary claims. They are without the extraordinary evidence which would support them.

Those with experience following the autism/vaccine discussion will not be surprised that even with these odd claims, the alternative-medical community has embraced Luc Montagnier eagerly. He has a Nobel Prize, after all. And these groups have shown a strong desire to establish some credibility. Most of their proponents are non-medical specialists (think Kerri Rivera whose presentation at AutismOne promoted using a bleach as an oral and enema-based “therapy”) and their medical specialists include people whose reputations are less than stellar (for example, Andrew Wakefield and Mark Geier).

Luc Montagnier ties his theory into the permeable-gut theory of autism.

Our working hypothesis is that immune dysfunction associated with inflammation of the intestinal mucosa leads to the introduction of bacterial components, including neurotoxins,
into the bloodstream, creating oxidative stress as well as microvascularities, especially affecting meningeal vessels and finally specific neuronal damage.




And questions whether risks are worth the benefit for vaccines in the modern world
:

My position on vaccines has not changed over the last 30 years: the principle has proved to be excellent in the past. Smallpox has been eradicated in the world thanks to the use of vaccination, with attenuated vaccinia virus. But some had to pay a horrific price: encephalitis in a certain number of children. Over the years, vaccinations against bacteria and viruses have multiplied, appearing as the most cost-effective way to prevent epidemics. However, side effects are becoming more important and a single death cannot be tolerated any longer. Many parents have observed a temporal association – which does not mean causation – between a vaccination by puncture and the appearance of autism symptoms. This should not be neglected by the medical community and public health decision makers. It is therefore of prime importance to study the risk factors, both environmental and genetic, which could be involved in order to prevent them. Presumably, vaccination, especially vaccination against multiple antigens, could be a trigger of a pre-existing pathological situation in some children. The vaccine denialists are not the courageous individuals who raise the problems of vaccination accidents, but are those people who deny the existence of these tragic accidents. The latter believe in the dogma “vaccines are good”, period. They are forgetting the Hippocratic oath: primum, non nocere. First, do no harm.

He has credentials. He claims to have a potential cause and potential treatment for autism. He supports the gut-brain theory and is openly skeptical about the way vaccines are used. Is there any surprise that the vaccines-cause-autism/alternative-medicine groups support him?

A news article on the Nature website discusses some recent controversy involving Luc Montagnier. In Nobel fight over African HIV centre Declan Butler writes

A fledgling AIDS research centre in Cameroon, already struggling to find a scientific leader, is now facing insurrection from an unlikely quarter: a group of 35 Nobel prizewinners.

The laureates are calling for the centre’s interim scientific director, fellow prizewinner Luc Montagnier, to be removed from the part-time post. Observers say that unless the leadership crisis is resolved quickly and decisively, it could harm the prospects of the Chantal Biya Inter­national Reference Centre (CIRCB) in Yaoundé.

Yes, 35 Nobel Laureates have signed a letter asking an AIDS center in Cameroon to reconsider hiring Luc Montagier in a part time post.

The laureates argue that his embrace of theories that are far from the scientific mainstream, as well as what they claim are anti-vaccination views, risk hurting the CIRCB’s research, health-care programme and reputation. Montagnier has suggested, for example, that water can retain a ‘memory’ of pathogens that are no longer present1; that the DNA sequences of pathogens emit electromagnetic waves that could be used to diagnose disease2, 3; and that stimulating the immune system with antioxidants and nutritional supplements may help people to fight off AIDS4.

1) Montagnier, L., Aïssa, J., Ferris, S., Montagnier, J.-L. & Lavalléee, C. Interdisciplin. Sci. 1, 81–90 (2009).

2) Montagnier, L. et al. Preprint at http://arxiv.org/abs/1012.5166 (2010).

3) Montagnier, L. et al. Interdisciplin. Sci. 1, 245–253 (2009).

4) Butler, D. Nature 468, 743 (2010).

One could argue that it is this last point which is the most important, and the likely strongest motivation for the group of Laureates to write their letter. From reference 4:

Since then, Montagnier has supported non-mainstream theories in AIDS research that have put him at odds with other scientists. Most recently, he has argued that strengthening the immune system with antioxidants and nutritional supplements needs to be considered along with antiretroviral drugs in fighting AIDS, in particular in Africa.

“Montagnier’s embrace of pseudoscientific and fringe agendas over the past few years has been seized on by AIDS denialists and other fringe groups, who make the case that Montagnier now supports their crazy views,” says John Moore, an AIDS virologist at Cornell University in New York. Montagnier says that AIDS denialist groups misrepresent his thinking.

My suspicion is that the group of 35 Nobel Laureates are very concerned that an AIDS treatment center in Africa might take a path towards non-scientifically based treatments.

The Nature news article does mention Luc Montagnier’s connection to the autism communities:

The last straw for Montagnier’s critics seems to have been his appearance in May alongside vaccine sceptics at a conference in Chicago, Illinois, organized by US patient-advocacy groups AutismOne and Generation Rescue. Montagnier’s talk, on his hypothesis that bacterial infections may be one of many causes of autism spectrum disorder, states: “There is in the blood of most autistic children — but not in healthy children — DNA sequences that emit, in certain conditions, electromagnetic waves.”

The same groups who greeted a single Nobel Laureate with such vigor have now 35 other Nobel Laureates who consider this move by Luc Montagnier to be “the last straw” in his actions. That is a rather stunning rebuke.

And, as already alluded to above, a rebuke which has not gone unanswered. The Age of Autism blog is calling for support for Luc Montagnier. Their article, Write the President of Cameroon to Defend Dr. Luc Montagnier, begins:

A recent article in Nature shows that the vaccine industry has been closing ranks against Dr. Luc Montagnier ever since his brilliant lecture at AutismOne last month. In particular, 35 Nobel Laureates, led by one who sells commercial products to the vaccine industry, sent a letter to the President of Cameroon protesting Dr. Montagnier’s leadership position on a national research organization dedicated to HIV research.

Immediately we read that it is the “vaccine industry” closing ranks against Luc Montagnier, and the Nobel Laureates are led by one with a link (however tenuous) to the vaccine industry.

What is more stunning in this article is the fact that they never address the simple question of whether it would be good for the AIDS community in Cameroon to have Luc Montagnier on board at the Center. The letter is entirely focused on arguments that vaccines cause autism.

In conclusion, the evidence to date shows that Dr. Luc Montagnier’s serious consideration to the vaccine-autism connection is as correct as his original discovery of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. Please do not cave to the coercive and corrupt powers of the vaccine industry, which includes an old rival who previously tried to take credit for Dr. Montagnier’s Nobel Prize-Winning discovery of HIV. We believe that through his work on autism, Dr. Montagnier has further demonstrated a level of scientific rigor and innovation of unparalleled accomplishment that could hold significant promise for patients suffering from AIDS, as it does for patients with autism.

What the autism/vaccine discussion has to do with Cameroon’s decision whether to keep Luc Montagnier on board for an AIDS center is not a part of the letter. This letter has frankly nothing to do with Cameroon’s decision whether to keep Luc Montagnier on board at an AIDS center. It is just a rundown of the rather weak arguments behind the vaccine-autism proposed link, with a liberal dose of “coercive and corrupt” powers language. This may come as a bit of a harsh surprise to the author of the letter, but, this letter will only serve to help convince the President of Cameroon to let Luc Montagnier go.

It is likely that the president of Cameroon will not do much fact checking, but should he chose to, here’s one section that takes no interpretation:

The latest CDC Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network report from one US state found a 20% decrease in autism spectrum disorder prevalence in children born in 2000, the first year after a joint statement was made in the United States by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the US Public Health Service calling for thimerosal to be removed as soon as possible. This is the first statistically significant decrease in autism reported in this surveillance system’s decade long-history.

The prevalence estimate went from 1 in 110 to 1 in 88. That’s an increase.

Here is Luc Montagnier’s own response to the letter submitted by the 35 Nobel Laureates: Luc Pr Luc Montagnier HIV – AUTISM – VACCINES: FACTS and HOPES

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18 Responses to “35 Nobel Laureates are all in the pocket of Big Pharma?”

  1. Peter Bowditch June 27, 2012 at 07:48 #

    What astounds me is that alternative medicine almost universally rejects the “germ theory of disease” and you don’t have to look too hard at lists of AIDS deniers to see familiar names of anti-vaccination liars, but they have adopted Montagnier who won his Nobel Prize for identifying HIV. So we have people who deny the existence of HIV fawning over someone who discovered it.

    But nobody ever said that vaccine deniers are consistent in their madness.

  2. Low Budget Dave June 27, 2012 at 11:42 #

    This seems like a case where further research will either confirm his findings or disprove them. Generally speaking, when someone talks about “electromagnetic radiation” being linked to autism in some way, I tune out. I am sure it has a lot of value as a diagnotic tool and whatever, but if any of this were even slightly true then it seems like there would be certain types of common cold (or garage door openers) that would cause you to engage in repetitive behavior.

    But I have been wrong before.

  3. Saraquill June 27, 2012 at 13:38 #

    So according to this man, autistic children are slightly radioactive. Has he nothing to say about adults with the condition?

  4. Yo-Yo June 27, 2012 at 14:19 #

    Autistic children are radioactive. Therefore… autistic adults live a half-life! Dur durrrrr… I justified curing all autistics :O

  5. Mimi June 28, 2012 at 23:06 #

    Not to cloudy the issues between autism and HIV research and AIDS but everyone should read “Science Fictions” by John Crewdson a journalist who states “This is not a book about AIDS. Nor is it really about science. It is a book about how scientist behave when the stakes are high, and the stakes were never higher than in the search for the CAUSE of AIDS.” Stakes are also very high when scientist make lots and lots of money off their “discovery”.

    It portrays Gallo as exhibiting very very troubling sickening lack of ethics and dishonest behavior- in his wanting to steal many many people’s work for his own financial and personal gain. Therefore, anything this guy says is to be ignored by civilized and honest people as the talk of someone looking for an opportunity for himself- NOTHING MORE.

    Additionally, look at August 2012 edition of Scientific American- article about a subset of people who are HIV+, who never took drugs and never progressed to AIDS(some for 30 yrs) and now they want to develop a vaccine based on their genes. Which is kind of interesting. Which brings us to the point that maybe just maybe- the real issue is a co-factor which works to synergistically (or alone) activate progression to AIDS. I also advise people to watch “House of Numbers” about how people get a diagnosis of HIV+- if true this is troubling.

    Additionally, I would also suggest that people understand the fact that both the Salk and Sabin polio vaccine in the 1950-60’s were found to have cancer causing monkey virus and the two scientist who established this – Bernice Eddy, PhD and Sarah Stewart, MD, PhD- were literally banned from sharing their findings and retailiated against by NIH/NCI.
    And the government and manufacturers continued to give out the tainted vaccine. INCREDIBLE.

    Publically, Luc Montagier has always behaved in an ethical and honest manner- to his benefit. Therefore, for whatever reason he has come to the conclusion that the link between vaccine and autism should be investigated, I think it is with honesty and scientific integrity. Up until now, the agruement that vaccines cause autism seemed plausible but not likely to me, however, now I will do more research on the topic(and look at Poul Thorsen and Verstraeten). Could it actually be that the actions of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the US Public Health Service were prompted by unpublished studies? Nothing would surprise- follow the money- always follow the money.

    Than you for opportunity to comment.

    • Mimi June 28, 2012 at 23:30 #

      Thank you very much for including his theory and statements- I have only increase in my respect for his very carefully worded position and his very cutting edge approach to brain disease.

      “Luc Montagnier ties his theory into the permeable-gut theory of autism.”
      This is not mumbo jumbo- Montagier is talking about the “brain-gut axis” – a theory that is being explored at many universities and not all that unusual or aberrant. He is not the first who has theorized that the changes in the brain, like Alzheimer’s and Dementia have their origin in the gut-

      http://bodyecology.com/articles/dementia.php

      Additionally, he states “The vaccine denialists are not the courageous individuals who raise the problems of vaccination accidents, but are those people who deny the existence of these tragic accidents. The latter believe in the dogma “vaccines are good”, period.”

      Regardless of what 35 nobel winners say- his scientific integrity cannot be denied by these statements.

      Thomas Kuhn wrote the “Structure of Scientific Revolutions” many years ago, it is worthwhile to re-read it and ponder whether his analysis
      of paradigm shifts and how they occur apply to these issues.

      • Sullivan June 29, 2012 at 00:17 #

        “Regardless of what 35 nobel winners say- his scientific integrity cannot be denied by these statements.’

        I don’t know if they are calling into question his scientific integrity. I suspect they are concerned about his scientific accuracy. Now, not in the past.

        The autism communities have had the ongoing question of the “permeable gut” theory going for 15 years (or more) now. People have looked carefully and not found evidence of it.

        “Publically, Luc Montagier has always behaved in an ethical and honest manner- to his benefit. Therefore, for whatever reason he has come to the conclusion that the link between vaccine and autism should be investigated, I think it is with honesty and scientific integrity. ‘

        I would say that honesty and integrity are not the questions. Accuracy is. Also, it would appear that the Luc Montagnier of years past may no longer be the question here.

    • Chris June 29, 2012 at 00:08 #

      Does House of Numbers ever mention the death of some of the folks they interview?

      • Mimi June 29, 2012 at 01:50 #

        Sullivan- In 2005, the Nobel went to Marshall and Warren who worked on H. Pylori and how it caused gastitis and gastic ulcers. There had been “Several small studies conducted in the early 20th century demonstrated the presence of curved rods in the stomach of many patients with peptic ulcers and stomach cancer. Interest in the bacteria waned, however, when an American study published in 1954 failed to observe the bacteria in 1180 stomach biopsies.” And which were wrong!
        Also, the two Australians stated that had they been in the USA, their results would have been laughed at and attacked by the established culture- so we would be stuck with that previous paradigm that stress causes ulcer and treating the disease wrongly.

        I do not deny that Montagier has unconventional theories-however, before jumping on the bandwagon denigrating someones theories- because they seem fantastic, we should acknowledge that it is the lack of understanding what his data shows that may persuade some to call it pseudoscience.

        Remember, the French were one year ahead Americans in identified the correct virus found in AIDS diagnosed patients. Gallo insisted it was “his HTLV virus” and when he figured out the French had it- he appropriated their virus and presented as his own- don’t take my word for this fact- it is well documented in unbiased journals.

        Additionally, to Chris- I saw the movie- House of Numbers- and have not verified all the facts in the movie. I do know that all medical tests have False Negatives and Positives. I have also read about Dr. Jonathan Fishbein who was retailiated against because he complained about data collection on some AIDS study and reporting adverse affects. I invite you to read the Scientific American article and contemplate whether these non-progressors have some genetic protection or lack a co-factor. Food for thought.

        Thank you for allowing me to respond.

      • Chris June 29, 2012 at 05:16 #

        Do they say what happened to Christine Maggione?

    • brian June 29, 2012 at 03:09 #

      Additionally, I would also suggest that people understand the fact that both the Salk and Sabin polio vaccine in the 1950-60′s were found to have cancer causing monkey virus and the two scientist who established this – Bernice Eddy, PhD and Sarah Stewart, MD, PhD- were literally banned from sharing their findings and retailiated against by NIH/NCI.

      It’s rather strange that you chose to include such statements–although, I suppose, they might be familiar to those who frequent whale.to.

      Anyone who has followed the SV40 issue understands that this issue has been rather thoroughly investigated; for example, you might read the discussion of “rumor viruses” from Dr. Weiss [http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7007/8/124], which cited Dr. Shaw’s investigations of SV40. [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez/17131333?dopt=Abstract&holding=f1000,f1000m,isrctn]

      now I will do more research on the topic

      Research is what I do, as someone with decades of experience in medicine and biomedical experimentation. What you do is more properly termed “surfing the web.” That’s rather pathetic–just so you know.

      • Mimi June 29, 2012 at 04:33 #

        Brian -Actually I don’t just surf the web-it just so happens that I also work in research- biomedical research. Therefore, you and I both know that sometimes, unfortunately, it might just take decades to work out very complex biomedical theories and sometimes what you think is a good theory is erroneous.
        I hope you have time to read and research Crewdson’s “Science Fictions”- very troubling story about nefarious activitiy at NCI and also Thomas Kuhn’s “Structure of Scientific Revolution”. I am sure that you will find them very interesting and eye opening.

        In regards to SV40- check out the literature of M Carbone- here is but one article regarding mesothelioma

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1886912/

        Thank you very much for the opportunity to respond.

      • Chris June 29, 2012 at 05:18 #

        Actually, SV40 was found in the vaccines early on, and processes were made to make sure they were not in them over fifty years ago. An issue was found, and it was solved.

        Yet, for some reason people think that finding a problem and then solving it is somehow suspicious. Go figure.

      • bill June 30, 2012 at 16:27 #

        Just read this devastatingly funny article about Robert Gallo in GQ-

        http://www.virusmyth.com/aids/hiv/bwobsessed.htm

        Take a look, you will laugh your head off. Is this who we rely on to find the cure to diseases, sound like its a circus in the world of research.

      • Sullivan June 30, 2012 at 16:47 #

        bill,

        Post another link to an AIDS denialist website or try to divert this discussion into AIDS denialsm and you will be banned.

  6. Leandro Gangler July 9, 2012 at 03:45 #

    Currently, there are no known cure for HIV. The bad news is that the cases of HIV/AIDS is growing and there is not much we can do about it. We can mainly hope that in the future there will be a cure for this problems. Right now, HIV/AIDS sufferers can only have some supplements to lengthen their lives and to avert other health problems.

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