Newsweek: Anti-Vaxxers Accidentally Fund a Study Showing No Link Between Autism and Vaccines

3 Oct

Newsweek has an article up at Newsweek about the recent vaccine study–the one discussed in the press release here. The title of the article pulls no punches: Anti-Vaxxers Accidentally Fund a Study Showing No Link Between Autism and Vaccines

Here’s how it starts:

Most experts today agree that the belief that childhood vaccines cause autism is based on bunk science. Even still, some advocacy groups claim immunizations are responsible for raising the risk for this neurodevelopmental condition, despite a growing body of research that shows there isn’t a link. (The study that most anti-vaccination groups point to was retracted after it was found to be based on falsified data.)

If the title didn’t tip you off that there would be no false balance here, this first paragraph is very clear.

Here’s the second paragraph, where they discuss how SafeMinds, called an organization in the anti-vaccine movement:

Despite the science, organizations involved in the anti-vaccine movement still hope to find some evidence that vaccines threaten children’s health. For example, the autism advocacy organization SafeMinds recently funded research it hoped would prove vaccines cause autism in children. But this effort appears to have backfired for the organization—whose mission is to raise awareness about how certain environmental exposures may be linked to autism—since the study SafeMinds supported showed a link between autism and vaccines does not exist.

SafeMinds, even though they funded the study and were kept aware of the progress, even though they knew the methods and approved of them, wants to do their own analysis.

But Sallie Bernard, president of SafeMinds, says she would at least like to see a re-analysis of the newest data. “We feel that embedded within these data sets there are animals that have potentially an adverse reaction to this vaccine schedule that would mirror what happens in human infants,” she says. “The majority who get vaccines are fine, but we believe there is a subset that have an adverse reaction to their vaccines. By looking at the raw data, not data in aggregate, we may be able to identify the subgroup that had that reaction.”

And who at SafeMinds would be better qualified than the authors to do this analysis? (who would even be remotely qualified?)

No one.

Has SafeMinds shown excellence in research methods and integrity in the past?

No.

Does anyone doubt that SafeMinds would torture the data to the point of getting the answer they want?

Integrity would be accepting the results of the study they sponsored. SafeMinds lacks that integrity.


Matt Carey

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81 Responses to “Newsweek: Anti-Vaxxers Accidentally Fund a Study Showing No Link Between Autism and Vaccines”

  1. wzrd1 October 3, 2015 at 08:17 #

    Somehow, I’m reminded of the Flat Earth society.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) October 3, 2015 at 15:42 #

      I checked The Age of Autism blog to see if they discuss the Newsweek article. Not yet.

      But Dan Olmsted has managed to put together more than his usual 20 word fortune cookie post. All about how conflicts of interest are bad.

      But conflicts of interest are for other people. When SafeMinds wants to massage data to change the conclusion to the one they want, that won’t be a COI to the good people at AoA.

      • Nemo verum October 3, 2015 at 16:05 #

        It’s rediculous,

        Autism is genetic. And it’s wonderful.

        Stop trying to find cures for us.
        Excuses for us.
        Just make room for us in the human world and watch us flu

        I feel we are the xmen. Next steps in evolution but feared and hated

        The only way to get rid of autistics is to irradicate procreation

        F*** that.

      • wzrd1 October 3, 2015 at 17:23 #

        Nemo, autism is a spectrum.
        Some end up being spoon fed in life.
        If that is cool, you had a double helping of stupid flakes, hydrated with moron milk.

        One helps those capable, one protects the incapable and one guides upon ability.
        Or are you preferentially ignoring those truly disabled for life?

      • brian October 4, 2015 at 00:40 #

        Dr. Laura Hewitson, an author on the current PNAS paper that emphatically refutes the failed SafeMinds/National Autism Association/Age of Autism position and the senior author on the companion paper published earlier this year, was a plaintiff in the Omnibus Autism Proceeding, is the Director of Research at the Johnson Center for Child Health and Development (formerly Thoughtful House when Andrew Wakefield served as Director) and is, I recall, married to Wakefield’s former IT expert at Thougthful House. I suppose all that might be tortuously construed to suggest that she has a pro-vaccine conflict of interest, but that didn’t seem to bother anti-vaxxers when her sketchy preliminary work suggested a possible effect of vaccines on development until it was thoroughly refuted by larger, careful studies.

  2. nemoverum October 3, 2015 at 16:29 #

    meant watch us fly… I was on a bus… give me a break. 😉

  3. Dave October 4, 2015 at 12:59 #

    The general problem with slanted studies is that they are designed backwards. In a way, I mostly prefer them that way. For example: In my immediate group of friends, I know two children who were developing normally, including some speech, and only showed signs of autism after an adverse reaction to vaccines.

    For both of these children, it does not do them or their families much good to publish yet another study absolving the vaccines. Instead, it seems like it would be much more helpful to structure the study backwards: Select children who “became” autistic after receiving vaccines and try to determine if there are other common events, common causes, or other correlations.

    If it was not the vaccines, then what was it? Was it the high fever? Inflammation? Is there a particular genetic structure that dictated the timing of the onset? All these questions have been swept aside in our headlong rush to tell these parents that their perceptions and observations are incorrect.

    I am not saying the science is wrong, just that it is not always very helpful.

    • usethebrainsgodgiveyou October 4, 2015 at 15:54 #

      I concur.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) October 4, 2015 at 16:12 #

      Or, do more research into the signs that were visible but didn’t register prior to the regression.

      Cathy Lord, who has been a clinician and researcher for decades, noted that in all that time she has seen only a few cases of actual sudden regression.

      Remember the Cedillo case? Parents adamantly believe their child underwent sudden regression. But home videos told a different story.

      This study wasn’t an attempt to tell parents their observations are incorrect. It was headed by someone who herself believed the vaccine causation idea. Did you miss that or did you just ignore it in your headlong rush to tell people that their observations of this study are wrong?

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) October 4, 2015 at 16:12 #

      I’m not saying your comment is wrong, just that it isn’t helpful

      • lowbudgetdave October 4, 2015 at 17:46 #

        Matt, as usual, I appreciate your use of sarcasm to insult me and belittle the point I was making. It is a good reminder of why I find this board to be too mean-spirited, slanted, and closed-minded to read on a regular basis.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) October 4, 2015 at 19:32 #

        No sarcasm. Just pointing out the fact that you are rather transparent.

        “The general problem with slanted studies is that they are designed backwards”

        Love that. Just start out with an unsupported attack and move on. And then complain when someone points out that you are doing passive aggressive attacks. I find that to be mean spirited. Or an example of a lack of actual substance for your positions. Take your pick.

        Is it better for you when I am just direct? Or am I not allowed to voice my opinions?

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) October 4, 2015 at 19:40 #

        Let me repeat my response to you:

        Or, do more research into the signs that were visible but didn’t register prior to the regression.

        Cathy Lord, who has been a clinician and researcher for decades, noted that in all that time she has seen only a few cases of actual sudden regression.

        Remember the Cedillo case? Parents adamantly believe their child underwent sudden regression. But home videos told a different story.

        This study wasn’t an attempt to tell parents their observations are incorrect. It was headed by someone who herself believed the vaccine causation idea. Did you miss that or did you just ignore it in your headlong rush to tell people that their observations of this study are wrong?

        How does that ” belittle the point I was making.”

        Answer: it doesn’t.

        You refuse to engage in the actual conversation and instead attack and claim that I am the bad guy.

        Now if you are referring to this statement “I’m not saying your comment is wrong, just that it isn’t helpful” it is just your own comment put back at you. So if that is belittling and mean spirited, look in a mirror.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) October 4, 2015 at 20:03 #

      So, let’s continue with your comment, shall we?

      You build a straw man argument. You complain that the experiment isn’t the one you want it to be. So what? It does allow you to avoid discussing the actual study and the points made by it.

      Or, tell me, what part of your comment actually addresses the study above?

      That’s right, none of it.

      Do you support your claim that the study is “slanted”? No. Do you explain that the study was designed “backwards”? No. You basically just use this as a spring board to try to talk about something else. Which I obliged you in. But instead of engaging in the conversation *you* started, you just complain that I am “mean”.

      As I stated above, this was all pretty transparent. As in, very predictable.

      I’m not saying that your comment is wrong–I responded to it. I am saying it was not very helpful.

      • lowbudgetdave October 4, 2015 at 21:36 #

        Matt,

        If you are going to repeat your statements, and part of mine, let’s put them in context. When I first talked about slanted studies, I was not making an unsupported attack, I was actually introducing the concept that there might be some advantages to pre-selecting your sample, as compared to purely random sampling.

        I think I was pretty honest about the relative disadvantages of starting with apparent correlations correlations and working back to try to determine if a different factor was the true cause. (I think I specifically referred to such studies as “backwards” and “slanted”.)

        I just feel that value can be mined from researching pre-conceived conclusions, and I was hoping that the study ended up doing that.

        You are free to disagree, and in fact, it is your platform. And you disagreed with sufficient clarity that I would have not responded at all, had you not added two sentences, first implying that I had ignored the entire thrust of your original article, and then mocking my sentences to suggest that unless I dealt with the exact same subject matter as your original article, then my statements were not useful.

        I take issue with both. I did read the original article, and felt that you laid the subject almost completely to rest. I was thinking aloud about a subject that is related, but not identical. (If I were to stay on the identical topic, then the best I could do would be to repeat your entire article verbatim.)

        Second, I object to the characterization that my entire comment was intended to advance the straw man argument (that some anti-vax studies are being used to condemn the parents who still believe in their own observations.) If that is not what you were saying, then please accept my apologies. But it certainly sounds to me like that is exact what you are saying.

        SafeMinds wanted to restructure some of the data and look specifically at the children who had an adverse reaction to vaccines. This is non-scientific (as we discussed), but it allows the study to address the group of parents who had their own concerns about the results of the study.

        Had my friends been included in the study, that is exactly what they would want the study authors to do. Instead of letting parents know that their children fell into such a small group that their experience did not justify further mention, the parents would like a separate study to answer the simple question: If it wasn’t the vaccine, then what was it?

        These are real people. Their children were smiling, laughing, and doing most (if not all) the things that kids do at their age. Some were talking well enough to have videos of their first words. Then, within a few days after a vaccine, their child develops a fever, stops smiling, stops laughing, and stops talking, in some cases for many, many years.

        The parents are devastated. When they ask what caused it, they are uniformly given only one answer: It wasn’t the vaccines. When they point out that their children used to talk and laugh, their videos are used against them. “Look, junior has 35% less eye contact than he should at that age.” These parents are not autism specialists. They have no idea what level of eye contact or repetitive behavior is normal. They have no idea what constitutes social laughter and what is considered non-social.

        All they know is that they asked the same question all parents ask, and they were given a non-answer. Science is what it is. If it turns out that, in fact, their child was autistic all along, then that is the answer. But you should forgive me for saying that that is not a particularly helpful answer.

        The thing they are saying is that the autism was tolerable and manageable. Their child was making progress and learning new words. Then, suddenly, the learning stopped. The progress regressed to a low level and stayed there.

        They understand the science. They are defensive about it because so many people have told them they don’t, but deep down, they understand that he was autistic all along. They just don’t want someone else coming to them with yet another study to tell them the same thing over again.

        In essence, what they are asking is not “Why the autism”, they are asking “why the regression?” Like me, they understand that it is a complicated issue. But when someone comes to them, and tries to answer their questions, they tend to give that person the benefit of a doubt.

        The funders of this particular study may or may not have earned that benefit of a doubt. I don’t know as much about them as you do. But I understand what they are saying, and I sympathize with the parents who watched a regression soon after an adverse reaction to vaccines, only to be told by friends, family, strangers, and countless “support groups” that it didn’t happen that way.

        And when you attack me for mentioning this, try to imagine which group you fall into.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) October 5, 2015 at 03:49 #

        I don’t attack you. I criticize you. Justly. It’s a common debate tactic to claim attacks rather than face criticism.

        “When I first talked about slanted studies, I was not making an unsupported attack, ”

        You call this study a slanted study (or imply it) without backing it up. Just “the

        “Second, I object to the characterization that my entire comment was intended to advance the straw man argument”

        I didn’t state that the *entire* comment was a straw man argument. I did point out that you had made a straw man argument: instead of discussing the study above, you complain that a different study wasn’t performed. You go from statement 1–the study is slanted to statement 2–it’s not the right study. You fail to actually support your initial assertion and then go completely off topic.

        “You are free to disagree, and in fact, it is your platform.”

        My “platform” is to try to help the autism communities. When people spread damaging misinformation, I speak out. I guess I could just sit back and pretend that supporting false balance somehow helps. But that is being part of the problem. Before you accuse me of indirectly calling you out for your actions–I’m doing it directly.

        ” Instead of letting parents know that their children fell into such a small group that their experience did not justify further mention, the parents would like a separate study to answer the simple question: If it wasn’t the vaccine, then what was it?”

        Which is–yes–what I responded to you. Because you didn’t say this until now.

        I take it you are unaware of the various baby sibling studies ongoing? Because that’s a big piece of what they are doing. Remember the study that found that children who regress show clear divergence from a typical development many months before the regression? As in head volume increases well before

        Isn’t that the first step? Find a clear biosign?

        “SafeMinds wanted to restructure some of the data and look specifically at the children who had an adverse reaction to vaccines”

        The study was on macaques, not children. SafeMinds wants to meddle in the study they funded. Which is completely antithetical to the idea of funding research. SafeMinds has zero expertise in the areas necessary. There are also no signs that there are “clear adverse reactions” in this study.

        “Had my friends been included in the study, that is exactly what they would want the study authors to do. ”

        Which means your friends would have entered the study without an open mind. They would have entered the study with a preconceived idea as to the conclusion and would have ignored the conclusions.

        And, again, unless your friends are Macaques, their children would not have been in the study. I know that sounds like I’m mocking you but I’m not. I am pointing out that you are not doing your basic homework.

        “They understand the science.”

        Are you saying that parents who believe in a vaccine-induced autism-epidemic understand the science? Are you saying that SafeMinds, who clings to the clearly false idea, multiply tested-multiply failed, idea that thimerosal from vaccines increase autism risk?

        “These are real people. ”

        And they deserve respect. Telling them to continue down a false belief is not respect. Telling them to live a life of guilt for participating in making their kids disabled is not respect. Helping to serve them up to the charlatans who sell all manner of fake “cures” isn’t respect.

        “They are defensive about it because so many people have told them they don’t, but deep down, they understand that he was autistic all along. ”

        Really? Because this isn’t the story that is told.

    • Hannah lundius October 8, 2015 at 04:16 #

      It was the vaccines. Damage to the nervous system after encephalopathy following vaccination. It is rare , but it happens. Read the vaccine insert.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) October 8, 2015 at 04:43 #

        I have read the vaccine insert.

        What does that have to do with the study discussed above or the fact that SafeMinds funded it…and is upset about it?

      • Chris October 8, 2015 at 05:35 #

        “It is rare , but it happens”

        Why is encephalopathy better after the actual disease?

      • wzrd1 October 8, 2015 at 08:47 #

        Which sounds better, Chris? Encephalopathy, which can be variable as the damage from a concussion to much more severe syndromes or dead?
        Between the two choices, I really don’t want to try that dead thing out.

      • Hannah lundius October 8, 2015 at 15:57 #

        How can this study compare neurodegeneration of vaxed vs unvaxed if zero of the 79 primates developed any neuro symptoms. Only 12 were vaxed with the 1990 schedule. And 12 with the 1980 sch. N=16 control. If you picked 12 boys randomly out of the population fully vaccinated what is the probability one would be autistic… My point is if one in 70 male children are autistic, how large would this study need to be in order to have some positive results to compare. Assuming machacs have the same stats as people.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) October 8, 2015 at 19:44 #

        “How can this study compare neurodegeneration of vaxed vs unvaxed if zero of the 79 primates developed any neuro symptoms”

        What this study does is refute the preliminary findings. So anyone–including SafeMinds–who touts the small group studies and ignores this one is being dishonest.

      • Hannah lundius October 8, 2015 at 16:03 #

        Encephalopathy causes neurologic regression in developing brains. Like in the hannah poling case. Head trauma, disease and vaccination can all cause encephalopathy. Encephalopathy>microglial activation>neuronal degeneration. This is scientific fact not a belief.

      • wzrd1 October 8, 2015 at 17:56 #

        Hannah, I’m calling bull crap right now on “mitochondrial activation”. Mitochondria are active 24/7/365 days of the year.
        Otherwise, we’d instantly do that dead thing.
        Mitochondria are necessary for life, period, end of story.
        A malfunction can cause major problems, significant degregation causes life threatening and eventually fatal results, just always.

        So, kindly learn what in the blazes you are speaking about.
        For, either this is willful ignorance or outright bovine defecation being laid on rye bread and called a Reuben Sandwich.
        I’ll await further illumination from your cloud of darkness.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) October 8, 2015 at 19:42 #

        If it is a “scientific fact” you could provide evidence for it.

        If it is a belief, all you have to do is type it out as an assertion.

        So far you have only shown that it is a belief.

      • Chris October 8, 2015 at 16:34 #

        Hannah, please provide the PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers that show any vaccine on the American pediatric schedule causes more encephalopathy than the disease.

        Because if you are going to claim “it’s the vaccine’s fault” you need to show the relative risk compared to the disease. Especially since the study discussed in this blog article shows vaccines are safer.

      • Hannah lundius October 8, 2015 at 18:06 #

        Chris, the vaccine insert for pediarix or proquad does not give a percentage for encephalopathy but says it is rare. Pediarix reports (p.8) o.2% seizures, 3% chronic illness, 1% serious adverse event and 0.2% percent SIDS. Cecil textbook of medicine,,19th edition p.1826, says measles SSPE .05% in immune comprimised. And .05%-0.1% encephalopathy after recurrent high fever following measles infection. These cases could be treated with immunoglobulins to prevent encephalopathy. I used measles as the example because it it affects myloid tissue resulting in 5-7 days of immune comprimise and is the most likly childhood infection to cause encephalopathy.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) October 8, 2015 at 19:58 #

        Death rates–before SSPE–is about 1 in 2000 in the modern world from measles.

        This based on the death rate in France over the past decade.

        Downplaying the dangers of measles by claiming a small rate of SSPE is irresponsible.

        Claiming that the possible adverse reactions listed in a vaccine insert are causal is just plain dishonest.

      • brian October 8, 2015 at 19:35 #

        “Encephalitis and encephalopathy have been reported approximately once for every 3 million doses of the combination of measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine contained in M-M-R II. In no case has it been shown conclusively that reactions were actually caused by the vaccine; however, the data suggest the possibility that some of these cases may have been caused by measles vaccines. The risk of such
        serious neurological disorders following live measles virus vaccine administration remains far less than that for encephalitis and encephalopathy with wild-type measles (1 per 2000 reported cases).” [Proquad package insert, page 12.]

        While you note that encephalopathy occurs in 1 to 1000 or 2000 cases of measles, you might also have noted that no cases of encephalopathy were reported among 8088 children given Pediarix in 14 clinical trials.

        Note that vaccination does not increase the risk of encephalopathy, which seems to be caused by a cluster of genetically-determined seizure disorders often associated with channelopathies:

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16940831
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17351489
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25477158
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25225143
        http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/128/3/e699.long

      • hannah lundius October 8, 2015 at 19:49 #

        wzrd1,
        I said microglial activation. not mitochondrial

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) October 8, 2015 at 19:57 #

        Either way–back it up.

        You seem to be just stringing together catch phrases from vaccine-antagonistic groups.

        Here’s the thing–there isn’t evidence yet that mitochondrial activation is harmful. It could be actually a protective process. However, since we have people promoting “cures” that involve shutting down microglia, promoting the “microglial activation is scary” message is bad. Why bad? Because shutting down microglia causes harm.

      • hannah lundius October 8, 2015 at 20:38 #

        Brian,
        if you think encephalopathy is temporal after vaccination. Why does the vaccine injury table list encephalopathy on nearly every vaccine? Also they have paid 82 claims for encephalopathy resulting in autism like sequela.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) October 8, 2015 at 23:03 #

        “Also they have paid 82 claims for encephalopathy resulting in autism like sequela.”

        Really? How many of those cases did you read? Because I read a lot. And the authors of that study were not honest with how they represented those cases.

        Do you recall the case where the only mention of autism was in relation to the government claiming the child was autistic? And the parents were saying, no, that’s not true? But that got counted as one of the 83.

        My guess is you don’t recall because you didn’t check the cases.

      • hannah lundius October 8, 2015 at 21:06 #

        Sullivan,
        I never suggested shutting down microglia. Microglia are an immune cell in our brain that phagocytize neurons during encephalopathy due to vaccination or natural infections. My point is that unless you are immunocomprimised diseases like chickenpox, measles or mumps are not going to kill people. There have been several thousand cases (outbreaks) of measles in the last 12 years with only 2 deaths. (both immunocomprimised) There have been 108 deaths that have been paid by HHS thru the vaccine court due to death from the MMR vaccine. YOU CAN ALWAYS TREAT MEASLES WITH IMMUNOGLOBULINS IF THE PERSON IS IMMUNE COMPRIMISED.
        I am not trying to change your position on vaccination, I think you should get every vaccine you want. I am only suggesting that until we know the exact cause of autism we can not rule out anything.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) October 8, 2015 at 22:59 #

        No, you didn’t. You just promote the nonsense that microglial activation i

        So, the immunocompromised are allowed to die? I mean, leaving aside the fact that people die who aren’t compromised and all.

        “YOU CAN ALWAYS TREAT MEASLES WITH IMMUNOGLOBULINS IF THE PERSON IS IMMUNE COMPRIMISED.”

        Putting it in ALL CAPS doesn’t make it true. Well, I guess you can always treat a person infected with measles with immunogloulins, but the trick is to treat successfully. And that isn’t true.

        “I am only suggesting that until we know the exact cause of autism we can not rule out anything.”

        Really? So you think we should still accept the idea that autism is caused by refrigerator parents?

      • Lawrence October 8, 2015 at 21:20 #

        So, only “sick” people die of these diseases? Try telling that to these parents:

        http://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/measles-carries-risk-of-rare-always-fatal-complication/

      • hannah lundius October 8, 2015 at 21:20 #

        Sullivan,
        your stat on 1 per 2000 death due to SSPE following measles is absolutely wrong. what is your source.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) October 8, 2015 at 22:56 #

        I didn’t say due to SSPE. We won’t know for a long time what the death rate from SSPE will be.

        1 in 2000 died during the infection. Of measles. In a developed country. With good medical access. And sanitation.

        Is that acceptable to you? That rate of death? Because that is what you are promoting.

        source
        http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/19/3/12-1360_article

        About 20,000 infections, 10 deaths.

        Say they missed a lot of cases. Say it’s more like 10 deaths for 40,000 infections. Is 1 in 4000 an acceptable loss rate for you?

        Question–how did you NOT know this? You put yourself up as some sort of expert and you don’t even know that people are dying from measles in France? Doesn’t speak well to your expertise. Heck, it takes about 20 seconds to look this up, so this doesn’t speak well for your online research ability.

      • brian October 8, 2015 at 21:40 #

        Hannah asked, “Why does the vaccine injury table list encephalopathy on nearly every vaccine? Also they have paid 82 claims for encephalopathy resulting in autism like sequela.”

        The vaccine injury table lists “encephalopathy” largely for historical reasons: The law clearly lags many years behind the scientific evidence, and the overwhelming evidence that alleged cases of vaccine-induced encephalopathy are actually caused by pre-existing mutations rather than by vaccination began to accumulate less than a decade ago.

        The “82 claims for encephalopathy” that you cited (and that are repetitively cited by anti-vaccine activists who are unfamiliar with the scientific literature) would likely not be compensated today, now that the scientific evidence is so clear. (Hint: these mutations cause such syndromes in unvaccinated laboratory animals.) Accordingly, the US Court of Federal Claims has begun to deny such claims and even to require genotyping–at least insofar as checking for mutations in one particular gene among many genes known to cause such syndromes.) See, for example:

        –Reyes IS, Hsieh DT, Laux LC, Wilfong AA. Alleged Cases of Vaccine Encephalopathy Rediagnosed Years Later as Dravet Syndrome. Pediatrics. 2011 Aug 15.

        –Berkovic SF et al. De-novo mutations of the sodium channel gene SCN1A in alleged vaccine encephalopathy: a retrospective study. Lancet Neurol. 2006 Jun;5(6):488-92.

        –Li BM et al. Autism in Dravet syndrome: prevalence, features, and relationship to the clinical characteristics of epilepsy and mental retardation. Epilepsy Behav. 2011 Jul;21(3):291-5

        –Catarino CB et al. Dravet syndrome as epileptic encephalopathy: evidence from long-term course and neuropathology. Brain. 2011 Oct;134(Pt 10):2982-3010.

        –Wiznitzer M. Dravet syndrome and vaccination: when science prevails over speculation. Lancet Neurol. 2010 Jun;9(6):559-61.

        –Okumura A, Uematsu M, Imataka G, Tanaka M, Okanishi T, Kubota T, Sudo A, Tohyama J, Tsuji M, Ohmori I, Naiki M, Hiraiwa-Sofue A, Sato H, Saitoh S, Shimizu T. Acute encephalopathy in children with Dravet syndrome. Epilepsia. 2011 Nov 16.

        –Wolff M, Cassé-Perrot C, Dravet C. Severe myoclonic epilepsy of infants (Dravet syndrome): natural history and neuropsychological findings. Epilepsia. 2006;47 Suppl 2:45-8.

      • Lawrence October 8, 2015 at 21:49 #

        You didn’t comprehend his statement, did you Hannah?

      • Chris October 8, 2015 at 22:40 #

        Hannah: “Chris, the vaccine insert for pediarix or proquad does not give a percentage for encephalopathy but says it is rare”

        Did I ask for a package insert? No. I asked for a PubMed indexed study. If you believe vaccines cause too much encephalopathy, then you need to prove it occurs in greater numbers than in a disease like measles, which is about one in a thousand cases:
        The Clinical Significance of Measles: A Review

        The SSPE rate from the 1990 measles epidemic in the USA was about one in a bit less than five thousand cases:
        http://jid.oxfordjournals.org/content/192/10/1686.long

        It was definitely lots higher than was thought of before, mostly they did not know that the degenerative brain function was caused by surviving measles. There may be better data from the recent French epidemic, but I had trouble finding them.

        Again, please provide the PubMed indexed study that shows any vaccine on the American pediatric schedule causes more encephalopathy than the disease. Something that disproves these studies:

        Vaccine. 2012 Jan 5;30(2):247-53.
        Lack of association between childhood immunizations and encephalitis in California, 1998-2008.

        Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2006 Sep;25(9):768-73.
        Encephalopathy after whole-cell pertussis or measles vaccination: lack of evidence for a causal association in a retrospective case-control study.

      • hannah lundius October 8, 2015 at 23:25 #

        Lawrence,
        That story you sent me was sad but is not backed up by science. The author left no references.
        Here are 2 articles on the incidence of SSPE after the salk vaccine and incidence overall which is 3.5 per 10 million cases of previous infection including measles

        http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(73)91040-4/abstract

        http://www.jpeds.com/article/S0022-3476(79)80829-X/abstract

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) October 9, 2015 at 00:06 #

        You have been making claim after claim without references.

        So, yeah, ironic that you complain now.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) October 9, 2015 at 00:22 #

        So, your second link doesn’t mention the Salk Vaccine. So it has no bearing on your assertion.

        The first link is rather old and limited in scope. I.e. based solely on one small geographic region. But it gives us a chance to see what papers have cited it. See what work has followed. Here’s one from 2007
        http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/content/36/6/1334.short

        Here’s the abstract:

        Background When measles vaccines were widely introduced in the 1970s, there were concerns that they might cause subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE): a very rare, late-onset, neurological complication of natural measles infection. Therefore, SSPE registries and routine measles immunization were established in many countries concurrently. We conducted a comprehensive review of the impact of measles immunization on the epidemiology of SSPE and examined epidemiological evidence on whether there was any vaccine-associated risk.

        Methods Published epidemiological data on SSPE, national SSPE incidence, measles incidence and vaccine coverage, reports of SSPE in pregnancy or shortly post partum were reviewed. Potential adverse relationships between measles vaccines and SSPE were examined using available data.

        Results Epidemiological data showed that successful measles immunization programmes protect against SSPE and, consistent with virological data, that measles vaccine virus does not cause SSPE. Measles vaccine does not: accelerate the course of SSPE; trigger SSPE or cause SSPE in those with an established benign persistent wild measles infection. Evidence points to wild virus causing SSPE in cases which have been immunized and have had no known natural measles infection. Perinatal measles infection may result in SSPE with a short onset latency and fulminant course. Such cases are very rare. SSPE during pregnancy appears to be fulminant. Infants born to mothers with SSPE have not been subsequently diagnosed with SSPE themselves.

        Conclusions Successful measles vaccination programmes directly and indirectly protect the population against SSPE and have the potential to eliminate SSPE through the elimination of measles. Epidemiological and virological data suggest that measles vaccine does not cause SSPE.

        Were you trying to imply that SSPE is caused by the vaccine? If so, I suspect you will appreciate more accurate information.

        Now, the question of SSPE incidence. You cite the incidence “overall”. What is the chance of developing SSPE after infection? It’s estimated at about 4 to 11 out of every 100,000. Somewhat rare. But high enough that it’s worth protecting against, don’t you think?

        http://www.cdc.gov/measles/about/complications.html

        Here is the story of Angelina. In Germany. Developed country with good medicine and good sanitation. Angelina caught measles from an adult when she was 7 months old. Years later, Angelina suffered the long and nasty decline from SSPE

        http://justthevax.blogspot.com/2011/11/another-sspe-case-angelina-is-dying.html

        Preventable if people around her vaccinated.

        You are within your rights to not vaccinate. But all rights come with responsibilities. Should you pass on measles to an infant like Angelina, are you going to compensate the family for medical expenses, pain, suffering and death?

        Or do you subscribe to the idea that you can do whatever you want and when it causes damage to others, they pay for your actions?

        Americans accept that any injuries resulting from the vaccine program are our responsibility and we have set up a program to manage that liability. But as an individual, it is up to you to step up to the plate and accept responsibility for your actions.

        So–do you? If your actions result in infection with or without permanent harm, do you accept your liability?

      • Lawrence October 9, 2015 at 00:20 #

        You might also want to use something more recent than the 1970s…for instance:

        http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/content/36/6/1334.full

        Or:

        http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00001185.htm

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) October 9, 2015 at 00:24 #

        Why do I think that she will continue to use the old citation in online discussions? Even though that would be dishonest now that she knows that more recent studies counter her position?

        Which is, wouldn’t you say, rather ironic given the story above about how SafeMinds clings to a preliminary study and challenges the more complete study that they funded.

      • hannah lundius October 10, 2015 at 21:00 #

        Brian, Matt, Lawrence and Sullivan,
        I have read all of your posted research and have a few comments.
        However, before I go there, I want to make my position clear.
        Since we mostly have discussed measles, Lets go with the MMR
        For the record, I don’t consider myself an expert on measles.
        Measles has been a disease in humans for hundreds of years.
        By 1963 the measles death rate dropped 98% or 0.3 per 100,000 population as reported in the New York Times.
        Infants are considered immunocomprimised but can receive maternal antibodies in utero as well as measles antibodies from breastfeeding.
        The effectiveness of the MMR vaccine varies among individuals and is less than the 95% rate claimed by the vaccine insert. The graph in this link shows how antibody titers diminish over time and explains why there have been recent outbreaks in 99% vaxed populations. for example Canada and China.

        There is a very high likelihood that you are in fact not protected by a high enough antibody titer against measles if you are over 20. I had measles as a kid and have lifelong immunity and, had guaranteed antibodies for my children unlike other women in my age group.

        My position is: Our immune system has been evolving over millions of years. A 0.3 death rate from any disease is minimal and not an epidemic. Natural selection, although cruel allows for improvement in our DNA over time by survival of the healthiest genome.
        Vaccination is artificial selection and conflicts with evolution. That is why our neurology, immunity and overall health is in decline.

        If there is any statement made that you need a reference, please ask before making rude statements.
        Kindest Regards,
        Hannah

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) October 11, 2015 at 07:56 #

        “By 1963 the measles death rate dropped 98% or 0.3 per 100,000 population as reported in the New York Times.”

        What is the death rate per person infected?

        It is currently at about 1 in 2000.

        Again–is that death rate acceptable to you? It is not to me.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) October 11, 2015 at 08:12 #

        “A 0.3 death rate from any disease is minimal and not an epidemic.”

        The death rate from measles infection is 1 in 2000.

        Obviously you are part of the group that downplays the dangers of diseases. The fact is that in the past, most were immune due to previous infection. Now most are immune due to vaccination. Since vaccination has very low risk and the risk of not vaccinating is that 1 in 2000 (in the developed world–worse in the developing world). The choice is clear.

        That is, unless one has abandoned reason for credulous sources of information.

        It is very interesting how the “hannah’s” of the world are pretty much identical. All the same arguments taken from all the same place. At least hannah is honest enough to admit that she’s willing to let some fraction of us die so that she can rid the world of vaccines.

      • hannah lundius October 10, 2015 at 21:53 #

        Sulivan,
        You said”So, your second link doesn’t mention the Salk Vaccine”.
        I mistakenly assumed that you knew SV40 was a contaminant of the of the Salk vaccine.
        The salk vaccine grew polio virus on monkey kidney substrate. When you grow a virus on animal tissue, it is impossible to separate virus’s that are in that tissue from the virus you are growing. They use formaldehyde to kill the contaminant virus’s. SV40 was the 40th virus they identified in the serum.
        SV40 is a virus that contaminated the salk vaccine and was not killed by the formaldehyde. SV40 causes cancer in humans like non hodghkins lymphoma, osteoscarcoma and glioma (brain cancer) in children.
        Please re read the link that I provided earlier.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) October 11, 2015 at 07:41 #

        I mistakenly thought you were trying to be on topic.

        Nice troll and thread hijack introducing the SV40 nonsense into this discussion.

      • brian October 10, 2015 at 22:09 #

        Hannah notes that (1) the course of human evolution has changed due to the survival in recent decades of children who formerly would have died of measles, but (2) waning antibody titers among vaccinees suggests that they will become susceptible to measles, and so some will die.

        Problem solved.

      • Lawrence October 10, 2015 at 22:55 #

        Hannah needs some new material:

        https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/another-antivaccine-zombie-meme-sv40-and-cancer-and-polio-oh-my/

      • Chris October 10, 2015 at 23:13 #

        Hannah, let me try again:

        Hannah, please provide the PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers that show any vaccine on the American pediatric schedule causes more encephalopathy than the disease.

        You can find the index at http://www.pubmed.gov . Also, please do not use any paper older then twenty years old.

      • hannah lundius October 10, 2015 at 23:17 #

        Sullivan
        Also,
        you criticize the research article I cited stating the prevalence of SSPE during the late 60’s and 70’s. This time was before the MMR (1971) when a high percentage of the population was unvaxed for measles. How else would you propose we compare the stats and epidemiology of a disease unless we know the prevalence prior to mass vaccination.? You and some of the medical community cite 11 cases of SSPE in the US in the last 20 years and disregard the previous stats. OH, and 5 of the 11 cases cited in your article were previously vaxed for measles
        Kind regards
        .

      • hannah lundius October 10, 2015 at 23:31 #

        Lawrence
        SV40 is an accepted accident by the medical community and is not refuted Sadly SV40 is contagious to humans and still causing cancer in humans today.

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15202523

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25377935

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25877010

      • hannah October 11, 2015 at 00:03 #

        Chris,
        How can we possibly research autism caused by microglial activation causing neuronal regression if we refuse to study it. All of the vaccine industry has already decided that there should not be further study. However, here is pubmed articles with the info you requested
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19043938

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25981208

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) October 11, 2015 at 07:28 #

        Really? Russell Blaylock? And a speculative paper at that? Here’s a thing, papers that are speculative–especially by non experts like Blaylock–are useless.

        The second paper is also speculative and a review paper.

        Microglial activation in autistic brains was discovered by a group at John’s Hopkins. Here’s their FAQ
        https://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2009/11/30/johns-hopkins-faqs-the-meaning-of-neuroinflammatory-findings-in-autism/

        Here’s a section you need to accept

        Are microglial and astroglial reactions always bad for the brain?

        NO. The microglia and astroglia in the CNS may have a two-sided role in the inflammatory responses of the brain: they can act both as direct effectors of injury and on the other hand as protectors of the brain.

        Spell out your point exactly. And I mean exactly. Not just “I’ve heard the term microgia and I want to use that to convince people that vaccines cause autism”

        First–show that microglial activation is causal in autism. Not present, but causal. Do so and you have a very nice paper, as it hasn’t been shown.

        Second–show that vaccines induce chronic microglial activation. Again, you’d be the first.

        Third–show that the at present hypothetical vaccine-induced-microglial activation causes the microglial activation in autism. Remember the first step above.

        Sorry to ask you to put together a cogent argument and back it up with facts, but not really

      • Chris October 11, 2015 at 00:34 #

        Hannah, that is a lame excuse. If you make a claim, you better be prepared to support it with relevant citations.

        First off, as a long retired surgeon, Blaylock is not qualified. Plus he has turned into a crank, so he is not reputable.

        The second article is about inflammation. Guess also causes inflammation: actual diseases. Measles is really good at causing inflammation in the brain, at about one in a thousand cases. So does Hib and mumps. Do try harder.

      • hannah October 11, 2015 at 01:05 #

        Chris,
        I am sure I could not provide a good enough source for you. How about we do a real study comparing vaxed and unvaxed? Since no double blind studies exist proving the safety of vaccines, how many subjects in each group would satisfy both sides of this argument. 5K in each group? We could test flood for autoantibodies, check school records for IEP’s and scratch test for allergies.
        People questioning vaccine safety have begged for these studies for years.
        In the mean time we could continue to spend stupid amounts of time cherry picking the existing data to suit or own ideology. That’s what happens when the real science isn’t there.

      • Lawrence October 11, 2015 at 02:00 #

        Hannah should familiarize herself with the FDA approval process – double-blind, placebo testing for safety is one of the key components…..plus, the research she is looking for exists, she just doesn’t like it, because it contradicts her position.

      • Chris October 11, 2015 at 06:11 #

        Hannah: “How about we do a real study comparing vaxed and unvaxed?”

        If you are requesting such a study, then you need to design it so that it conforms to the Belmont Report, have the design approved by an IRB, then write a grant to fund it, send the grand to SafeMinds, Generation Rescue, the Dwoskin Foundation (and the others who funded the study that this article is about), and then go do it! As my parents always told me, if you don’t like how something is done, then go do it yourself.

        Lawrence: “Hannah should familiarize herself with the FDA approval process – ”

        She should really familiarize herself with the Belmont Report and the history of human study ethics during the 20th century.

      • Chris October 11, 2015 at 06:37 #

        Hannah here is some reading for you, it has to do with what happens when vaccination goes down. The first one has comparisons between the vaccination between countries, pay close attention to what happened in Japan during the late 1970s. Then read the second one on happened there in around 2000 (make sure to take note of the body count that required very small caskets, it is over a hundred):

        Impact of anti-vaccine movements on pertussis control: the untold story

        Measles vaccine coverage and factors related to uncompleted vaccination among 18-month-old and 36-month-old children in Kyoto, Japan

        Then read these other papers, take note that lack of measles vaccine did not affect autism rates in Japan:

        J Autism Dev Disord 2007; 37(2):210-7
        MMR-Vaccine and Regression in Autism Spectrum Disorders: Negative Results Presented from Japan.

        J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2005 Jun;46(6):572-9.
        No effect of MMR withdrawal on the incidence of autism: a total population study.

        And some more on what happens when vaccination goes down:

        JAMA Pediatr. 2013 Nov;167(11):1060-4. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.2353.
        Association between undervaccination with diphtheria, tetanus toxoids, and acellular pertussis (DTaP) vaccine and risk of pertussis infection in children 3 to 36 months of age.

        Am J Epidemiol. 2008 Dec 15;168(12):1389-96. Epub 2008 Oct 15.
        Geographic clustering of nonmedical exemptions to school immunization requirements and associations with geographic clustering of pertussis.

        JAMA. 2000 Dec 27;284(24):3145-50.
        Individual and community risks of measles and pertussis associated with personal exemptions to immunization.

        West J Med. 1996 Jul-Aug;165(1-2):20-5.
        Pediatric hospital admissions for measles. Lessons from the 1990 epidemic.

        So when you design your study, you need to make sure that your unvaccinated group stays healthy and does not get diseases like pertussis and measles. Because that is part of getting your study approved by an IRB, they typically frown on studies that put children at risk of disease and injury.

  4. Roger Kulp October 4, 2015 at 15:38 #

    Too bad Newsweek failed to mention that Safe Minds had funded two previous studies in the past that showed the same results.

    Dave,science is very helpful,but you are not going to learn anything about the science from the mainstream media.There are three very good blogs,published by researchers,that you need to be reading to keep up on the research.

    We have already had two models mapped out of regressive autism where a child can regress after any febrile illness not just vaccines.Both are considered encephalopathies.which is what autism is.One type is due to inborn mitochondrial and metabolic disorders.This is why Hannah Poling regressed.This is what I have.The other is an inborn autoimmune encephalopathy found in children whose mothers have a systemic autoimmune disease,such as systemic lupus,MS,or type 1 diabetes.There are disorders like cerebral folate deficiency,that are common features of both of these types of disorders.

    One such blogger/researcher,Manuel Casanova,has put forth the theory that all the disorders that were thought might be causes of autism,including chromosomal disorders,are important,but they may only be stressors,that lead to an abnormal alignment of cells in the germinal layer,of the developing brain,that might be the true cause of autism.

    http://corticalchauvinism.com/2015/10/02/autism-or-autisms-what-should-be-our-default-position/

    There is a lot of very interesting and exciting research out there.

    • wzrd1 October 5, 2015 at 08:36 #

      Why, you’re absolutely right Roger Dodger!
      Why, outside of the MSM, I learned that we lost a war against Reptilian Overlords and we’re scheduled for extinction.
      Meanwhile, in the *real* world, we’re alive and well.
      Choose your fruit or poison, thus far, you’ve chosen poison.

      Although, I do admire your flexibility, for you’ve managed to put your foot inside of your mouth, while also having your head inside of your rectum.
      While that flexibility is admirable, it’s not worthy on your “evidence”.

  5. Science Mom October 4, 2015 at 20:22 #

    Sally Bernard also threw a hissy fit with the Thompson et al. or Price et al. study which also demonstrated no correlation between autism/neuro outcomes and thiomersal when that didn’t demonstrate her pre-conceived conclusion. She was a consultant on the research plan and gave her nod throughout the entire study up until the results were found. How do these anti-vaxxers keep explaining this level of dishonesty away?

    • hannah October 10, 2015 at 23:34 #

      Anti vaxxers are upset that the standard medical research on vaccine safety has not been done. Please provide double blind study of vaxxed vs unvaxxed when you refute this statement.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) October 11, 2015 at 07:31 #

        ” Please provide double blind study of vaxxed vs unvaxxed when you refute this statement.”

        Please provide the logic that justifies such a study.

        Here’s an analogy: one could hypothesize that autism is caused by bad parents. To prove this, one could do a double blind study where we place infants with good and bad parents randomly. Why don’t we do this?

        a) there is proven benefit from the current system
        b) there is no good evidence to support the hypothesis and, thus, justify the experiment
        c) the experiment would be unethical

        a, b and c all apply to a vaccinated/unvaccinated study.

  6. Aro October 5, 2015 at 23:50 #

    SafeMinds speaks

    http://fb.me/46ay2eL5o

    • brian October 6, 2015 at 01:11 #

      Lyn Redwood should read the following, which was written by one on the lead investigators in the series of studies that SafeMinds helped to support:

      “These data are in contrast to our previous pilot study…. This discrepancy is most likely due to the larger number of animals in the present study providing more accurate estimates.”

      [Curtis B, Liberato N, Rulien M, Morrisroe K, Kenney C, Yutuc V, Ferrier C, Marti CN, Mandell D, Burbacher TM, Sackett GP, Hewitson L. Examination of the safety of pediatric vaccine schedules in a non-human primate model: assessments of neurodevelopment, learning, and social behavior. Environ Health Perspect. 2015 Jun;123(6):579-89.]

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) October 6, 2015 at 01:53 #

        Yep.

        Perhaps I missed it, but it looks to me like Ms. Redwood did not discuss the difference in the size of the studies. Per her discussion, it appears as though the studies should be equally weighted. Just that this is a “phase 2” study.

        Again, maybe I missed it. But if I didn’t, this would be a good example of SafeMinds not informing their own readership.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) October 6, 2015 at 02:01 #

        But in reading the research published last week, the part of the study that SafeMinds specifically was asked to fund was never conducted. The scientists chose not to look at the brains of the primates from this arm of the study. They have not communicated to us why they chose not to—and they have informed us via email that they are not permitted to speak with us about the study findings or the discrepancies in what was reported to us and what was published, but we can submit our questions in writing. And that is what we are currently doing.

        They have not communicated why they chose not to?

        Didn’t they say

        The neuroanatomical analyses were first performed in brains from the 1990s Primate and 2008 groups, as animals in these groups received the highest amount of EtHg exposure (1990s Primate) or the most extensive vaccine exposure (2008). Because no neuronal differences were found in either of these vaccine groups compared with the control group, no additional vaccine groups were fully studied.

      • brian October 6, 2015 at 02:44 #

        Lyn Redwood asked, “Was all of this [previous SafeMinds-supported] research done incorrectly? Are all of the previous findings false?”

        The answer to Redwood’s first question is, “Um, maybe; at least that work seemed to be of rather poor quality.” (For example, aberrant findings in a control group of only two (!) animals that suggests findings that are at odds with the previously published findings of other groups–which are not mentioned in the paper–suggests some problems.) Nevertheless, the recent findings from much larger, carefully-controlled, multi-year studies that contradict the dodgy earlier studies stand, as a lead investigator for this SafeMinds-funded work noted.

        The answer to Redwood’s second question: Yes.

        When will Redwood, Blaxill, Olmsted, Handley, and their ilk admit that they were wrong, and apologize?

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) October 6, 2015 at 18:19 #

        “In 2008 SafeMinds was approached to help support a second phase of the ongoing study. The researchers felt so certain about the connection between vaccines and brain abnormalities at that time that they were also planning to include a Phase 3 of research, which was to test treatments to help the primates recover from neurological damage.”

        Recall that phase 1 was headed up by a team at Thoughtful House. Including Andrew Wakefield. 2008 was before he and Thoughtful House “mutually agreed” that he should leave.

        Looks to this observer like SafeMinds got Wakefielded.

        Assuming that is the case–really, they are surprised that Wakefield oversold the initial, preliminary results and made promises in order to secure more funding?

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) October 6, 2015 at 01:49 #

      Thanks for this!

      • Brian Deer October 11, 2015 at 10:09 #

        I guess he would have applied for a patent, set up a company and tried to make his fortune selling junk stock to mug punters. Unlike when he was in London, there would have been nobody to block the scam.

  7. strawman February 8, 2016 at 14:53 #

    Regarding regression, fever and mitochondria and this maybe off topic but this article was written by a highly respected physician researcher Robert K. Naviaux, MD, PhD. Dr. Naviaux is Professor of Medicine, Pediatrics, and Pathology at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). He is the founder and co-director of the Mitochondrial and Metabolic Disease Center (MMDC) at UCSD since 1996, and is the cofounder, and current President of the Mitochondrial Medicine Society (MMS). Dr. Naviaux is the discoverer of the genetic basis of the oldest Mendelian form of mitochondrial disease, Alpers Syndrome. Dr. Naviaux’s research spans 30 years and embraces the fields of genetics, virology, cancer immunology, mitochondrial medicine, neuroscience, development, metabolism, and marine metagenomics. : ” There are over 300 different kinds of mitochondrial diseases. Are there special types that are at risk for autistic regression, while others that are not? I believe the answer is, “Yes”. In the year 2000, we reported our experience with a mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations that caused a very severe form of classical mitochondrial disease in an older sister (Leigh syndrome) when it was present in high concentration (86% heteroplasmy), but caused autism in a younger brother when present at a lower concentration (61% heteroplasmy). Despite having precisely the same mtDNA mutation, the diseases we found in these two children were very different, and their development was very different. There was no simple “genotype-phenotype” correlation. The brain MRI in the sister with Leigh syndrome was very abnormal. The brain MRI in her brother with autism was completely normal. The sister had slowed development and the gradual onset of problems, with high blood lactic acid levels, seizures, heart abnormalities, ataxia and involuntary movements. Despite this, her language skills were nearly normal. She did not have an early history of significant regression, or loss of a milestone after it was achieved, although this did come later. In contrast, the brother was hyperactive, had gained a few words normally, then lost them all by age 2. He had a significant autistic regression without an identifiable trigger. His blood and spinal fluid lactates were normal. These facts should remind us that mitochondrial disease, autism, and ASD are each developmental neurologic disorders. The same trigger given at a different time to two children with the same DNA mutations will have a completely different outcome.

    Future Research
    We do not yet know how to predict which children are at risk, but current evidence suggests that children with the milder, rarer forms of mitochondrial disease might be at greater risk of autistic regression than those with more severe forms of mitochondrial disease that cause multi-system disorders. The Top 10 Shoffner paper provides a touchstone for many important new questions. Can certain kinds of mitochondrial defects actually cause the fever, and not the other way around? Which kinds of mitochondrial defects lead to rapid, high-grade fevers in response to infection or vaccination? Which defects lead to a failed fever response, or to a low-grade fever, or to a reduced immune response to vaccination? Further research, and careful observations by both parents and pediatricians will help reveal the next clues that will provide hope and better treatment for children touched by these challenging disorders.

    • wzrd1 February 8, 2016 at 20:55 #

      Save that with most mitochondrial diseases, death swiftly follows initial symptoms, with others, a couple to a few years and death occurs.
      With Leigh, it’s a couple to few years from symptom onset to death by muscle destruction and eventual respiratory collapse. Onset typically caused by stresses to the body, such as infection or surgery.
      Is there a link with mitochondrial dysfunction and autism? The evidence is mixed, with some cases appearing linked, but others not. There is ongoing research into the complex issues involved in autism spectrum causes and no one cause is likely to be found.

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