An open letter to Congressman Posey

14 Jun

Congressman Bill Posey has an article on The Hill entitled: Fix the Combating Autism Act. I won’t copy the whole article here, but it begins:

Autism Spectrum Disorder has increased dramatically in the last 25 years. It is a crisis. What will legislators do with a federal program which, after eight years and $1.7 billion, has failed to truly address this crisis? Sadly, Washington is on a path to rush through a five-year reauthorization, raise spending 20 percent and hope for better results without addressing fundamental structural flaws in the current program.

I wrote a lengthy response to the article in the comments and I copy it below as an open letter to the Congressman.

As always, all comments and views are my own.

Congressman Posey,

I appreciate your attention to the autism communities, but I wish you would seek out and understand the positions of a greater number of viewpoints within the communities. So far, you appear to be listening primarily to the minority of parent-advocates who promote the failed idea of a vaccine-induced epidemic. The autism communities are much more broad than that. And our needs reflect that.

I notice that in this article you don’t mention vaccines, while elsehwere you have been vocal on this topic. I notice that the Coalition that you mention avoids discussion of vaccines as well, while their members are all very strong proponents of the failed notion of a vaccine-induced autism epidemic.

Are you aware that most autism parents do not believe that vaccines cause autism? About 40% recently answered that they felt this was a possible cause. Likely much fewer believe that vaccines were responsible for their own child’s autism.

And the science available says that minority is wrong. We have a limited amount of resources. While you may think of this in terms of money, I think of this in terms of quality researchers. There just aren’t that many to focus on all the questions of autism etiology. Should we keep going back to the question of autism and vaccines after over a decade of negative results?

If one wants to discuss failures, the failure of the vaccine-hypothesis is one of the greatest not within our communities, but within scientific research in general. Many millions of dollars, many researcher man-hours and again and again we see the same answer: no.

That was a lot of duplicative research. The studies approached the questions from various angles and replicated the answers. Questions have been posed and answered about thimerosal and the MMR–they do not increase autism risk. Those who lobby you for increased attention for vaccines deny the results of multiple studies, multiple groups.

You asked a question at a recent hearing. You asked about which studies have been performed on thimerosal without Poul Thorsen as an author. Why were you not aware of the many such studies? You or a staffer could easily use Pubmed and verify this. Much more to the point, why are you propagating this ad hominem attack on the autism-vaccine research? I decry the actions of Poul Thorsen. Not just as a taxpayer who doesn’t want to see money stolen. As an autism parent I decry his actions for feeding the groups who promote the idea of a vaccine-induced autism epidemic. In working on such important topics, Thorsen held a public trust and he betrayed that trust. The cost to Americans in general and to the autism communities in specific has been far greater than the value of the funds he took. Your statements are a part of the fallout of that damage.

Autism is a hugely important topic which deserves a great deal of attention. We don’t need to invoke epidemics or terms like “crisis” in order to take this seriously. We need accurate information. So far, we don’t really have accurate information on the prevalence and incidence of autism over time. A comment out this week in the scientific literature addresses exactly this issue: can we trust the autism prevalence estimates?

“I was recently made aware of some suggested changes proposed by a coalition of national autism organizations representing those children and adults most severely affected by autism, the Autism Reform Policy Coalition. These organizations represent those living with autism every day.”

With all due respect, these groups do not “represent those living with autism every day”. They are a coalition of small parent-advocate groups focused on the failed idea of a vaccine-induced epidemic of autism. There isn’t a group of autistics in the coalition. There isn’t a group with the majority view that vaccines are not involved in the etiology of autism. There isn’t a group that allows members to elect officers. They represent themselves, a small group of officers, many shared across the supposedly separate organizations listed in the coalition. They are vocal, but they do not represent the communities.

These groups also largely promote pseudo-medical “therapies” which include some which are useless and even harmful. Frankly, some are abusive. These “therapies” are often sold with the idea that they “heal vaccine injury”. This is why so many of us in the autism communities speak out against the vaccine-induced-autism-epidemic. The idea is not just wrong, it causes harm. A great deal of harm.

“At a recently called House Oversight Subcommittee meeting, Dr. Insel admitted that after eight years and spending $1.7 billion, the programs developed in the CAA have failed to determine the causes of the enormous increase of the prevalence of autism…”
I’ll let Dr. Insel respond to what he did or did not say in the hearing. I will say that he is very much aware of the research showing that at least a sizable fraction of the increase in the prevalence of identified autism is due to social influences. I know this because I’ve seen him interview one of the key researchers involved with this work.

We know that at least some of the increase is due to social influences. Note the phrase “at least”. Changes in the way we identify and classify autism have driven part of the increase. Changes in awareness also, some not quantified. And this is not limited to an expansion of autism to include more individuals without intellectual disability. A recent study looking at the UCLA/Utah data taken in the 1980’s showed that a large fraction of those with severe and profound intellectual disability were not recognized as autistic at the time.

The CDC estimates of the prevalence of identified autism always include large fractions of children who were not previously identified autistic.

Think about that–we have been misclassifying people for decades. There is a large population–adults and children–who are not getting the services and supports they need. If anything rises to the level of crisis, it is this. And yet the coalition you mention actively denies the existence of these unidentified autistics.

Think about that when you assert that they represent those affected by autism.

Is the actual fraction of the population with autism increasing? This is a very different question that the question of whether the fraction of the population identified with autism is increasing. We can answer the latter question–yes, we have many more identified with autism today than before. We can answer the “why” of that question at least in part–social influences have driven the rate of identified autism up. As to the former question–how much of the increase represents a “true” increase in autism prevalence, we don’t know. Two groups have estimated that between 4 and 11% of the increase is “real”. And likely genetic. Children of older parents have an increased risk of autism, and parents are having children later in life. Recall that Down Syndrome, a genetic condition, risk increases with maternal age.

Keep in mind, social influences are “real”. Understanding and quantifying those are important. For one, to help quantify a possible secular increase in autism incidence. For another, if we understand the social influences we can better identify those who remain under served and under supported.

Let’s look at the questions posed by the increase in identified autism. First, there are social influences and we should be responding to those data. Second, actual increases in autism incidence could include genetic etiologies. Will we ever know what the “true” prevalence of autism has been over history? Possibly (maybe even likely) not. But do we need an “epidemic” of autism to focus seriously on environmental risk factors? No. We do not. In fact, by focusing attention on the increased prevalence (which we know to be at least largely driven socially) we will not only be likely looking in the wrong place for drivers of increased prevalence, we will miss those risk factors which are not increasing with time.

Consider Congental Rubella Syndrome. Likely the first identified factor increasing autism risk. Is there a way to identify the impact of vaccination on the fraction of autism prevalence due to CRS? No. There’s just too much noise in the signal. But, researchers recently did quantify this–the number of autism cases *prevented* over the past decade by this simple public health measure.

To put things simply–there is no known environmental risk factor increasing autism prevalence. There are multiple social factors increasing the prevalence of identified autism. There are known genetic risk factors which increase the risk of autism. If we were to base our funding decisions on the data on hand, we would put little into environmental risk factors and more into social drivers and genetic research. I do not suggest this as a wise course of action. Instead I present this as an example of the failed and flawed logic of the Coalition. They would claim that genetic research has failed (it hasn’t) and that the basis for environmental risk factors is stronger than it is.

For the record, I sit on the IACC. My comments here and elsewhere are my own: they do not represent the views of the IACC. Having spent the past few years actively involved with the IACC, and years before that intently observing the IACC, I will say that the IACC does what Congress structured it to do. It does it well enough that other advocacy groups would like to emulate this effort. It does not–because it can not–direct which research actually gets performed.

But to suggest that the IACC strategic plan sits unread is false. You write:

“Instead, the IACC plan sits on a shelf while the NIH actually funds autism research through an entirely different set of processes and priorities, completely divorced from the strategic plan. ”

This poses many questions. First, have you read the Plan? You suggest that when you state that it sits on a shelf. If not, why not? Second, to state this ignores the process through which the Plan is drafted. The federal members of the IACC include representatives from most of the agencies which fund autism research. Directors of various Institutes of the NIH, CDC, representatives from DoD and FDA not only are present for the drafting of the Plan, they participate in the process. Decision makers in the Federal Government are well aware of the Strategic Plan.

With all due respect, the phrase “while the NIH actually funds autism research through an entirely different set of processes and priorities, completely divorced from the strategic plan ” is just plain incorrect. First, funders of autism research within the Federal government are not limited to the NIH. Second, the data speaks for itself: the vast majority of topics in the Plan are funded. Some underfunded, some overfunded. But funded. Are we to assume this is just a random coincidence?

Consider if you will just one of the outside funders of autism research: the Simons Foundation. Much of their focus has been on genetics. Their contribution has been very substantial. Rather than attack the focus on genetics research and claim (incorrectly as many in the Coalition have done) that genetics research has not been fruitful, I say thank you, very much, to private funders for the research they have funded in genetics and elsewhere.

While on the topic of genetics, there are two myths promoted by groups such as those in the Coalition. First, that there can be no genetic epidemic. This is not true, as genetically driven risk factors due to aging parents can drive a “true” increase in autism prevalence. The second myth is that genetic conditions are not treatable while environmental caused conditions are. As a person with an environmentally caused disability, I can say that with certainty that environmental does not equate with treatable. As to genetic conditions, one of the hot areas of autism treatment research has involved Fragile-X syndrome, a genetic condition. People with Down Syndrome, a genetic condition, are living longer and healthier lives due to a better understanding of the health conditions associated with DS. If we ignore genetic research, as those on the Coalition urge us to do, we close the doors to many potential avenues for treatment research.

We don’t need to label autism as a “crisis” or an “epidemic” to take it seriously. Likely, about 2.5% of the population is autistics. A sizable minority whose substantial needs deserve attention. Much more, what has become increasingly more obvious over the past decade: the needs of that 2.5% are very diverse. Research focused on, say, the important topic of supporting young adults in the mainstream workplace will not likely address the needs of the nonverbal adolescent with intellectual disability. For these reasons and more, more attention, more funding, should be focused on autism.

And we need to accept something that perhaps Congress doesn’t want to hear: we need to be in this for the long haul. We need a long term focus on autism. Since my child was first diagnosed I have heard simplistic answers from groups in and like those in the Coalition. If it was all so simple as “it’s vaccines and here is the cure of the day for vaccine injury” this discussion would not be ongoing. But it’s not. The simplistic approach offered by the Coaltion has been and continues to be a false path. We need to lay the groundwork to understand the biology behind autism. We need to understand the supports needed by this population–diverse in presentation and age. And this is no easy task. For decades people have recognized that autism is not a single condition.

Has the CAA succeeded? In very simplistic terms, the funding level for autism research has grown since the first CAA was enacted in 2006. When Federal stimulus funds became available, there was a Strategic Plan in place to justify allocating a large amount of those funds to autism research. As funding levels have declined, autism has been able to hold relatively steady. Can we say with certainty that the CAA is responsible for this? Possibly not, but it seems very likely. And for that I thank congress.

There’s an old saying in the science community: there’s more politics in science than science in politics. We need less politics in autism science, not more. There’s a line between advocacy and politics. One example where that line is being crossed has been the Oversight hearings focused on vaccines. They have been damaging to the communities. Another is the plan to make members of the IACC politically appointed by Congress. Another is the repeated efforts to keep the vaccine-epidemic idea alive through political action, while the idea has failed scientifically.

We need a mechanism whereby funding can be channeled to quality researchers who are working on topics which will improve the lives of all autistics. I hope we can keep the focus on that and not on how to increase the political presence of a few parent advocates with failed ideas. Don’t get me wrong: the current structure is far from ideal. But as we create a new structure, let’s keep ourselves focused on the real needs of the entire community.

Matthew J. Carey

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20 Responses to “An open letter to Congressman Posey”

  1. reissd June 15, 2014 at 01:02 #

    Powerful, thorough letter. Thank you.

  2. ASD Dad June 15, 2014 at 05:18 #

    Excellent. Thank you.

  3. Mary Kissane June 15, 2014 at 08:07 #

    Thank you for this. I have forwarded a link to this to my own Congressman, William Lacy Clay, Jr.,noting that this and your other articles on H.R. 4631 represent my own views, as an ASD parent.

  4. goldy June 15, 2014 at 14:08 #

    Sullivan – Bill Posey is an ethical man and won’t be swayed by your pro vaccine posturing.

    http://truebluetribune.com/cdcs-vaccine-safety-research-is-exposed-as-flawed-and-falsified-in-peer-reviewed-scientific-journal/5331

    Just months after U.S. Congressman Bill Posey compared the Center for Disease Control (CDC)’s vaccine safety studies to the SEC’s Bernie Madoff scandal, malfeasance in the CDC’s studies of thimerosal-containing vaccines has, for the first time, been documented in peer-reviewed scientific literature. While the CDC states on its website that “low doses of thimerosal in vaccines do not cause harm, and are only associated with minor local injection site reactions like redness and swelling at the injection site,” the journal BioMed Research International now provides direct evidence that the CDC’s safety assurances about the mercury-containing preservative are not fact-based, according to the article’s lead author,Brian Hooker, PhD.

    The paper opens by citing over 165 studies that have found Thimerosal to be harmful, including 16 studies that had reported outcomes in human infants and children of death, acrodynia, poisoning, allergic reaction, malformations, auto-immune reaction, Well’s syndrome, developmental delay and neurodevelopmental disorders including tics, speech delay, language delay, ADHD and autism. These findings by multiple independent research groups over the past 75+ years have consistently found thimerosal to be harmful. “Substantial scientific evidence exists and has existed for many years that the vaccine ingredient thimerosal is a developmental neurotoxin” says George Lucier, former Associate Director of the National Toxicology Program.

    Studies showing harm from thimerosal sharply contradict published outcomes of six CDC coauthored and sponsored papers – the very studies that CDC relies upon to declare that thimerosal is “safe” for use in infant and maternal vaccines.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) June 15, 2014 at 16:54 #

      “Bill Posey is an ethical man and won’t be swayed by your pro vaccine posturing.’

      There’s so much in that one sentence.

      I did not ever claim that he is not an ethical man.

      It’s interesting that you equate ethical with not being pro-vaccine. Incorrect, but interesting.

      And I know he won’t be swayed by me. Here’s an example. The honorable Mr. Posey obtained a large volume of documents from the CDC regarding thimerosal/autism research. He provided them to people based on some criteria which are not exactly clear. I contacted his office multiple times, by multiple means, requesting a copy of those documents. I can say that Mr. Posey’s office personnel are polite, they listened to me and transferred my call to someone’s voice mail and never responded. Other methods of contact likewise resulted in no response.

      That’s not what this taxpayer considers transparency.

      But all is for the best. I didn’t have to wade through thousands of documents for nothing. I’ve seen what are considered the “important” documents and they are, well, uninteresting.

      “Just months after U.S. Congressman Bill Posey compared the Center for Disease Control (CDC)’s vaccine safety studies to the SEC’s Bernie Madoff scandal, malfeasance in the CDC’s studies of thimerosal-containing vaccines has, for the first time, been documented in peer-reviewed scientific literature.”

      I disagree with the honorable Mr. Posey, clearly. I also would not lower myself to attacking good people by likening them to Bernie Maddoff.

      I used to read the papers that came out showing that there was a vaccine/autism link. A lot of time wasted. There are singularly junk science. That’s not a precise term, but as someone who has outpublished all the authors on this new paper, I make this statement as a researcher, not just as a parent who has seen his community harmed by these papers.

      “The paper opens by citing over 165 studies that have found Thimerosal to be harmful”

      Really? How many were by the same team of unethical authors? People who, like Lisa Sykes, used her attorney and her status as a litigant to harrass a journalist with a frivolous subpoena? People like the Geiers? How anyone with a science background can be taken by those charlatans is beyond me. They are purveyors of junk medicine (their “lupron protocol” would be a joke if it wasn’t so abusive). Their papers are so bad that it was they, not CDC papers, that made me question the vaccine-autism link.

      After weeding out the junk papers, how many are just misinterpreted as showing a link? Seriously, take a look at that list that keeps growing claiming that vaccines cause autism. So many of them are just filler. “Here’s something that says that autistics have immune systems. That shows that vaccines cause autism”.

      Sorry, but Brian Hooker does not impress me. Nor does his work. It’s sad that he has taken up the charge to continue to harm the autism community with junk science, making parents live in a world of guilt and subject their children to faux “therapies” which are sold with the tagline “heals vaccine injury”.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) June 15, 2014 at 19:40 #

      Now you made me actually take a short look at the paper. Luckily I had a test that I knew would be quick and I was fairly certain Hooker et al. would fail at.

      They “review” the evidence on mercury and autism. I postulated that these authors were so biased that they would include the DeSoto re-analysis but would ignore the Hertz-Picciotto study “Blood mercury concentrations in CHARGE Study children with and without autism.

      Why would I suspect this team would ignore Prof. H-P’s paper? Because it concludes:

      “After accounting for dietary and other differences in Hg exposures, total Hg in blood was neither elevated nor reduced in CHARGE Study preschoolers with AU/ASD compared with unaffected controls, and resembled those of nationally representative samples.”

      I’m not paid to do Brian Hooker’s homework. I’ll let the paper languish in the obscurity of his shrinking community.

      By the way, “All of the investigators on the present study have been involved in vaccine/biologic litigation.” Doesn’t really capture the fact that Mr. Hooker is still involved with litigation, with his coauthors Mark Geier, Boyd Haley and Janet Kern contributing to the case, in my opinion. There’s an interesting double standard in COI’s by those promoting autism as vaccine injury.

    • ASD Dad June 16, 2014 at 14:31 #

      “Bill Posey is an ethical man.” Are you also an Obama birther, as he is?

      http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0410/36162.html

  5. lilady June 15, 2014 at 16:25 #

    Good grief. Have Congressman Posey and that “Coalition” he touts, finally abandoned their anti-vaccine, anti-science agenda? Not according to the most recent Congressional Oversight Subcommittee hearing.

    http://autism-news-beat.com/archives/2411

    Thirty-Six organizations/advocacy groups are in support of the CARA:

    http://www.autismspeaks.org/advocacy/advocacy-news/major-disabilities-groups-sign-cara-2014

    Thank you for your continued advocacy and your participation on the IACC, Matt.

  6. goldy June 16, 2014 at 13:33 #

    “Really? How many were by the same team of unethical authors? People who, like Lisa Sykes, used her attorney and her status as a litigant to harrass a journalist with a frivolous subpoena? People like the Geiers? How anyone with a science background can be taken by those charlatans is beyond me” However Mr Carey – you are quite happy to accept the studies carried out by Paul Thorsen

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) June 16, 2014 at 16:36 #

      I’ve address Mr. Thorsen above and previously. No, I’m not happy with him. For exactly the reason that you just exemplified: he misused the public’s trust and is allowing people to attack public health with ad hominem attacks. Having published many papers as both lead author and middle author (and maybe as anchor author, I’d have to check), I understand the process. Thorsen was not doing the research. He was leading the group and getting funding–hence his ability to abscond with money. Others did the actual analysis.

      The Geiers, on the other hand, have directly conducted their work. And their work is shoddy at best, besides being biased and downright wrong. Heck, even vocal advocates of the thimerosal hypothesis (Mark Blaxill, the attorneys handling the Omnibus Autism Proceeding) considered the Geier’s work poor.

      I notice you avoided responding to substantive comments about the research you are promoting. Here’s some more facts to consider:

      The Hooker et al. article is part of a “special edition” of the journal: “The Biological Basis and Treatment of Autism and other Neurodevelopmental Disorder”

      http://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/si/504318/cfp/

      Who are the guest editors of this issue? Every single one of them is actively promoting the failed thimerosal hypothesis. Every one. Three of the guest editors, including the lead editor, are co-authors on Hooker et al..

      Not only that, but consider the timeline of the special issue–it’s not supposed to even be reviewed yet, much yet published. But they pushed their own paper out early.

      Here’s the timeline:

      Manuscript Due Friday, 11 April 2014
      First Round of Reviews Friday, 4 July 2014
      Publication Date Friday, 29 August 2014

      Here’s the timeline for Hooker, et al.:

      Received 15 February 2014; Accepted 12 May 2014; Published 4 June 2014

      It was accepted before the first round of reviews was supposed to happen. The “Academic Editor: Jyutika Mehta” was a co-author with the Geiers on previous papers.

      Let’s look at those guest editors, shall we?

      Lead Guest Editor: Janet Kern. She’s also an author on Hooker et al.. She also has worked with the Geiers previously on autism/mercury research

      Other guest editors

      Mark Geier–co author on the paper. Author of previous seriously flawed and biased work.
      David Geier–same as his father.
      Maria Dorota Majewska–has used her position as editor of a journal in Poland to promote vaccine/autism work. Has hosted a small conference on the topic.
      Jose G. Dórea–science adviser to SafeMinds, an organization focused on mercury and autism
      Jyutika Mehta–a previous co-author with the Geiers on mercury/autism.

      I recall Mr. Hooker using the fact that some papers he doesn’t like were rejected by high impact journals. I guess when you submit to a journal issue where ALL the editors are sympathetic to your cause, and most if not all are known to you (heck, even coauthors), you don’t have trouble getting your paper published.

      http://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/si/504318/cfp/

      This issue is one small step about above the faux journal issues published by pharmaceutical companies. I pity the researchers who get fooled into submitting legitimate research.

    • brian June 17, 2014 at 03:00 #

      “However Mr Carey – you are quite happy to accept the studies carried out by Paul [sic] Thorsen.”

      If Poul Thorsen had never been born, there would still be abundant and conclusive evidence that thimerosal-containing vaccines are not responsible for any ‘epidemic’ of autism.

      I suppose that Congressman Posey’s fixation on Thorsen is excusable: I doubt that Mr. Posey, or any other member of Congress, was selected based on his medical and scientific expertise, and Mr. Posey must instead attend to lobbying from those who he hopes will return him to office in the next brief election cycle. However, I question both the motives and the integrity of those who have lobbied Mr. Posey and attempted to convince him to focus on Thorsen while ignoring the large body of subsequent work that clearly shows that the work performed and published by Thorsen’s co-authors was correct. Time–and scientific research–did not stop at the moment that Thorsen and his co-authors published a paper that has since been supported by numerous other groups of independent investigators.

      The disproven idea that exposure to thimerosal-containing vaccines produced an “epidemic of autism” was popularized by anti-vaccine advocates like Age of Autism’s Mark Blaxill, who later acknowledged that epidemiological data refuted the failed “thimerosal-containing-vaccines-caused-an-epidemic-of-autism” hypothesis. Blaxill (who has been attacked by anti-vaccine activists because he considered the data rather than simply and blindly clinging to his mistaken beliefs) conceded that following the great reduction in exposure to thimerosal-containing vaccines in California, “the rates of autism in California . . . have gone steadily upward.” Recent data from California shows that, despite laws that prohibit thimerosal exposure (even in influenza vaccines) to young children or pregnant women, the prevalence of ASD has continued to increase there, as in Sweden, Denmark, Quebec, and Iceland, where the prevalence of ASD continued to increase years after exposure to thimerosal-containing vaccines was essentially eliminated.

      Congressman Posey should consider, for example, why the prevalence of ASD in Iceland is essentially the same as it is in the US, despite that thimerosal-containing vaccines were removed from the pediatric vaccine schedule in 1991, influenza vaccines (which might contain thimerosal) are not recommended for children or pregnant women, children are not vaccinated against Hepatitis B (at their day of birth, or ever) and children receive fewer vaccines, and on a somewhat delayed schedule, compared to children in the US. [Saemundsen E et al. Prevalence of autism spectrum disorders in an Icelandic birth cohort.
      BMJ Open. 2013; 3(6): e002748.]

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) June 17, 2014 at 05:49 #

        As I understand it, Mr. Hooker believes that the prevalence in Denmark went down after the removal of thimerosal. He based this on misinterpreting correspondence involving a paper from about 10 years ago.

        As I’ve discussed here, many studies show a prevalence about 1% in Denmark after the removal of thimerosal.

        I have not seen their excuse for why the administrative prevalence is still climbing in California, a state where thimerosal is prohibited from not only infant vaccines, but for pregnant women and for the influenza vaccine in infants.

        The UK reported a prevalence of about 1% before the US, and they had removed thimerosal long before.

        From so many angles, the thimerosal hypothesis is dead.

  7. Tracy Dailey June 17, 2014 at 17:17 #

    yes we need to know about the causes. No it is not vaccines. But we need to teach in schools in colleges ways to bring more therapies , treatments,ways to teach professionals how to help families without breaking the bank and make sure families know about them I have an autistic child and had to solely depend on the school system for care. I couldnt drive over an hour for therapies because I was a single parent

  8. Goldy September 25, 2014 at 01:04 #

    The elephant in the room is and will always be the fact that vaccines are compared with another vaccine – an unscientific and corrupt method of assessing vaccine safety. If a tobacco company in trying to assess if cigarettes cause cancer, compared one group with a different brand and if no difference between the brands, declared cigarettes safe, the world would be in an uproar. However the power of money to enable no proper double blind scientific studies into vaccines is still a thorn in the pro vaccine argument. There are no such studies on any of the current vaccine schedule.

    • reissd September 25, 2014 at 04:58 #

      Two points:
      A. Many clinical trials do not compare a vaccine to another vaccine.
      B. Vaccines are not cigarettes. Like the diseases they are for, vaccines differ dramatically. Comparing an already tested vaccine to a new one is not comparing similar things. Dr. Paul Offit explained that “The trend recently has been to offer another vaccine as the control group, so that the patient derives some benefit.” (which wouldn’t happen with an inert placebo). It’s not comparing like to like, and it does mean the placebo group also gets protected against a disease.

  9. Goldy September 25, 2014 at 03:20 #

    Do you really trust the CDC and Pharmaceutical companies – can a leopard change it’s spots. Only 10% of flu vaccines are mercury free and yet are still recommended for pregnant women. According to John F Kennedy Junior:

    .”a secret meeting back in 2000 with the CDC, every vaccine manufacturer, executives of the FDA, the WHO, 52 in all, at a remote location in Simpsonwood, GA., discussing the scientific data and medical records of 100,000 children, that vaccines are very much responsible for a dramatic increase in autism and many other neurological disorders (speech delays, ADD, ADHD, slow learning, seizures etc.). Between the years 1988-2004, the number of vaccines given to children went up 300-400%, and the autism rate increased 15 fold, from 1 in 2500 to 1 in 166. This data was “embargoed” so no-one could take any info with them. One consultant from the American Academy of Pediatrics decided his grandson would not be vaccinated, but yet, the group spent the next 2 days discussing how to cover up the data as they were concerned about the detrimental effects on the vaccine industry’s bottom-line.CDC’s Dr. Chen was relieved this information had been kept out of “less responsible hands”, and the WHO’s Dr. Clements declared “the study shouldn’t have been done”…” or the results should have been handled”. All this was later released with the Freedom of Information Act. A confidential report from GlaxoSmithKline leaked on Belgian website: Initiative Citoyeene, shows 1,742 “adverse” events from the Prevenar 13 (6-in-one) vaccine, and different report shows a 4,250% increase in VAERS reported fetal deaths from the 2009/10 flu season when pregnant women were injected with both the flu and the H1N1 flu vaccine. THE CDC hides this in their figures by cleverly excluding that year, by including up till 2009 and skipping to end of 2010.”

    • reissd September 25, 2014 at 05:02 #

      Is that this article? The one found to be grossly inaccurate?

      “In the days after running “Deadly Immunity,” we amended the story with five corrections (which can still be found logged here) that went far in undermining Kennedy’s exposé. At the time, we felt that correcting the piece — and keeping it on the site, in the spirit of transparency — was the best way to operate. But subsequent critics, including most recently, Seth Mnookin in his book “The Panic Virus,” further eroded any faith we had in the story’s value. We’ve grown to believe the best reader service is to delete the piece entirely.”http://www.salon.com/2011/01/16/dangerous_immunity/

      • Goldy September 25, 2014 at 08:18 #

        When you go to the site quoted above by you and opening the link – the corrections are nowhere to be found. This leaves no ability to critically understand what and why the corrections were made. Without a proper link to what the corrections are I am left thinking perhaps Salon has deleted the article because of pressure from Pharmaceutical interests. Perhaps you can point to the corrections.

      • Chris September 25, 2014 at 18:28 #

        Well, you can go back to when that idiotic article was first printed and read the several reactions on how Kennedy got almost everything wrong. We can start with these nine year old poss:
        http://oracknows.blogspot.com/2005/06/saloncom-flushes-its-credibility-down.html
        and
        http://skeptico.blogs.com/skeptico/2005/06/robert_f_kenned.html

        Kennedy is still spouting nonsense after all these years. Since you prefer taking medical advice from a lawyer, I suggest the next time you need medical care, perhaps for setting a bone, go to your local legal firm instead of a hospital. See how that works for you.

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