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Go Danish!

15 Aug

If you search around the web, you can find people suggesting other vaccine schedules than that used in the “overly aggressive” United States.

One you will find, promoted by the autism/vaccine advocacy group Generation Rescue doesn’t include any coverage whatsoever for Measles Mumps or Rubella. That is scary. Just plain scary.

They have others, though. One is “Go Danish”, with this little blurb:

Comment: Denmark is a first world country based in Western Europe. Their schedule appears far more reasonable than ours. They have also been reported to have a much lower rate of autism than the U.S. Do they know something we don’t?

They give the vaccine schedule as of December 2006. Hmmm, makes you wonder what it looks like now, doesn’t it? We’ll get to that.

Well, let’s look at the “recommended” “alternate” schedule based on the 2006 Danish schedule:

DTaP at 3, 5 and 12 months
Hib at 3, 5 and 12 months
IPV at 3, 5 and 12 months, plus 5 years
MMR at 15 months and 12 years

And, this supposedly leads to a lower autism prevalence. Take a look again–that means that giving 5 vaccines at once, three times in the first year of life doesn’t cause a high autism rate. It also means that MMR at 15 months does not cause a high autism rate.

With this on their website as a something to “consider”, shouldn’t they consider what this tells us? Again, assuming that the autism prevalence in Denmark is low, doesn’t this tell us that vaccinations given in combination, early in life, don’t cause autism “epidemics”? Isn’t it pretty clear that the MMR doesn’t cause “autism epidemics”?

The current Danish schedule is now somewhat modified from the 2006 one noted at the Generation Rescue website. They’ve added the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) at 3, 5 and 12 months. That’s 6 vaccines at once 3 times in the first year of life.

That sounds like a lot of jabs for those little Danish kids…except that they use combination vaccines. Not just DTaP, but DTaPHibIPV. Wow, a five part combination vaccine. I don’t think this is what Generation Rescue had in mind when they suggested “Go Danish”.

They have also added the HPV (Gardasil) vaccine at age 12, but I really think the discussions of that vaccine have nothing to do with autism and just paint factions of the autism community as anti-vaccine, so I prefer to stay out of that discussion.

The combination vaccine (which I assume is fairly new) and the addition of the PCV vaccine will give groups like Generation Rescue a talking point if/when the autism counts in Denmark increase to something similar to the rest of the world.

But, let’s leave where we started, with the words of Generation Rescue, speaking about Denmark:

They have also been reported to have a much lower rate of autism than the U.S. Do they know something we don’t?

Apparently, the Danish know that multiple vaccines don’t cause autism. If we believe Generation Rescue, it looks like Denmark has the data to show it.

Katie Couric, Sharyl Attkisson, Larry King, and Dr. Jay Gordon

12 Aug

As you may recall, I faxed Katie Couric a while back making some comments and asking for some information.  I find that the CBS coverage of autism is, well, a bit odd.  Sharyl Attkisson seems to be promoting an idea, not following a story where it leads.  The main example I give for that is the total lack of a followup to the assertion made by Bernadine Healy that “[t]here is a completely expressed concern that they don’t want to pursue a hypothesis because that hypothesis could be damaging to the public health community at large by scaring people.”  Who, precisely, aside from Dr. Healy expressing this concern?

The Voices For Vaccines fax which preceded mine was posted an autism/vaccine advocacy website within hours of being sent, begging the question of who within CBS news sent it, and why there is such a close tie between the two.

Anyway, I shouldn’t rewrite the entire previous blog post–the short version is: I had questions.  I still do.  That’s right, I still do.

I’m not complaining, just pointing out a simple fact: CBS didn’t take the time to respond to simple questions about their reporting.

Now, take a newer event in the autism world.  In preparation for the Every Child By Two press conference last week, some comments were made on the Yahoo group dedicated to the “Green our Vaccines” rally.  One comment in particular by Dr. Jay Gordon struck me as rather bothersome.   The comment was directed at a person named Avrielle Gallagher, who works for Larry King Live.

Being in the mode of wondering about how the media works, especially those apparantly sympathetic to the vaccine/autism causality question, I decided to contact Ms. Gallagher.  I sent the following email to the same address Dr. Gordon used.  For good measure, I used the Larry King Live website to send the same message:

Hello,

I saw an email from Dr. Jay Gordon to you.  It was posted on the JennDCRally autism list.  The email is listed below.

Could you explain what is meant by the term, “[redacted]?  I see that you work for Larry King Live.  Is he asking you to do a show on the conflicts of interest of these groups?

If so, perhaps you would like to read a few analyses of Dr. Offit’s conflicts of interest.  I looked into the public data and posted my views here:

https://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/?p=1022

I rewrote this and faxed it to Katie Couric of CBS, as noted here:

https://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/?p=1057

As you will see, I am not in agreement with Dr. Gordon.  You will also see that I am the parent of a young child with autism, one who does not subscribe to the autism/vaccine concept.

Rather than “[redacted comment]”, I would like you to consider going after a good, reasoned story.  I would especially like to see a good, reasoned story on the subject of Dr. Offit’s new book, “Autism’s False Prophets”.   This is causing quite a stir amongst the alt-med subset of the autism community.  They have publicly stated that they have targeted Dr. Offit and those are also promoting vaccination (like Amanda Peet).

As you will see from my posts, Dr. Offit appears to have no more financial conflicts of interest regarding vaccines.  He is actually in a position of high independence.  And, yet, he still promotes the same message as before.  That should tell us all something.  In addition, his book is going to be a big story.

So, I ask a simple question: will you go after the story or the person?

I look forward to a response.

I’m still looking forward to a response.  I’m an optimist that way, I guess. 

Oh, you are no doubt wondering why I redacted Dr. Jay’s exact words.  You see, after a bit I decided to email him.  I admit, I should have emailed him from the start, but I did wait a few days.

Dr. Gordron, I saw the below message from the JennyDCRally autism group.

If I may, could I ask what you mean by “[redacted].”?

Given that Avrielle Gallagher works for Larry King Live, this sounds like you are asking for Larry King to do a show about these people in a poor light.

I am the parent of a child with autism.  Surely you can see that the image of the autism community (or segments of the autism community) as a group that would use the media to “[redacted]” is something that I would like to avoid.  While we as a community may be divided on some issues, I would bet that the majority would agree that we rely heavily on the support of the majority of the public.

I look forward to your response.

Sullivan

Even though I misspelled his name, he responded within a couple of hours:

Thanks.

You’re correct, that was very poorly phrased.

What I meant was that there should be more light shined on the financial conflicts of interest which exist.

Jay

(emphasis his)

When I notified him that I intended to include his comments in this piece, he replied:

Dear Sullivan,

The first statement I made reflected my anger. I really do think there is far too much conflict of interest in the lives of many of the vaccine researchers, the CDC and the AAP.

The brief email answer I sent you reflects my true feelings about this.

Please feel free to quote me and, if you do, please also mention that I certainly don’t think that my being immoderate in my comments helps anybody.

Best,

Jay

Dr. Gordon did what Katie Couric, Sharyl Attkisson, Avrielle Gallagher, and the staffs for CBS News and Larry King Live failed to do: answer simple and (I hope) respectfully posed questions.

I could give a long list of the people who have answered simple, sometimes even complicated, questions, respectfully posed. I’ve been very fortunate in that regard. I would have loved to add CBS News and Larry King Live to the list.

It all just makes me wonder. CBS News and Larry King have spent decades reporting on how this person or that company or some group in the government ignored questions. Invariably, those reports cast a bad light on the groups investigated. And, yet, when presented the opportunity to clarify their own actions, they chose to be silent.

Maybe I’ll send a respectful question to Voices For Vaccines and ask if CBS News responded to their concerns. I know that CBS took the time to respond to the Orange County Register’s blog on Autism.

In their reply to the Inside Autism blog, CBS News noted:

…We believe our report was in no way defamatory of any institution or individual, and that no retraction is warranted…

As I’ve noted before, I like the irony of CBS News deciding for itself whether it was defamatory. Strikes me odd given the complaints alleged against, well, basically everyone the vaccine/autism groups have ever complained about.

But, I digress. I’d like to point out that I didn’t claim CBS was “defamatory”. I only bring this up to point out that even though CBS communicated with the Register blog, they haven’t addressed my questions.

A commenter on the Register’s blog said it best in her response to Lisa Randall of Voices For Vaccines. The Register’s blogger decided to highlight the comment, and I pull out the segment that caught my eye here:

…We expect the press to tell us the truth…

The first step is to tell us anything.

Jenny needs my help!!

5 Aug

I just got this email. I never thought I’d have the chance to help Jenny McCarthy, but here it is:

subject:

URGENT! – From Jenny McCarthy

Big old banner:

We need your help right now!

Salutation:

Greetings! (Contact First Name)

I love how close we’ve become over time! Not everyone calls me “Contact First Name”.

You won’t believe this! AAP is kicking off a “Vaccinate Your Baby” campaign.

Uh, the American Academy of Pediatrics is kicking off a “Vaccinate Your Baby” campaign, this is unbelievable? Next week: nutritionists urge, “Eat Food”. Personal trainers say, “Exercise”.

I mean, seriously, the AAP recomending vaccinating babies.  This is a stunner to someone?  How far removed from the mainstream do you have to be to think that “you can’t believe this” can be tied to “AAP is kicking of a vaccinate your baby” campaign?

Speaking to the press tomorrow is Amanda Peet, Rosalynn Carter, Betty Bumpers, the President of AAP, Paul Offit (holder of several vaccine patents), and a mom of a child with autism!  They say, “This initiative will address misinformation about vaccines that causes confusion among parents and puts children at risk.”

So, we have

1) Amanda Peet. Uh, is it bad to have an actress talking about vaccines?

2) Rosalynn Carter. Don’t even take your nasty smear campaign there. I think even Generation Rescue is smarter than that. I think.

3) Betty Bumpers. She’s the “Former First Lady of Arkansas and Cofounder of Every Child by Two”. I guess GR haven’t created any smear on her either. Smart move GR, keep it up.

4) The president of AAP. Is there a reason why they edited Renee Jenkins’ name?

5) Paul Offit, holder of several vaccine patents. Uh, perhaps Jenny McCarthy would like to read up on the difference between an “inventor” and the “assignee”. Dr. Offit “holds” no patents. Ah well, that doesn’t make good smear copy, does it?

6) And a mom of a child with autism!

Again, with the editing out of the name. This could be a blessing, as the mother might not get harassed. But the name is public: Ann Hotez.

I don’t know for certain, but “Hotez” is not that common of a name. This sounds like no ordinary “autism mom”, but the wife of the noted vaccinologist Peter Hotez.

First–thanks Mrs. Hotez. Thanks for taking the heat. Thanks for stepping forward. Thanks for helping kids.

Second–assuming I have the right person, I’d say that Ann Hotez probably knows a bit more about vaccines than, say, Jenny McCarthy. I’ll take any bet anyone wants to make that her husband knows more about vaccines than Jenny McCarthy’s partner, Jim Carrey.

“This initiative will address misinformation about vaccines that causes confusion among parents and puts children at risk.”

Not if Jenny has anything to say about it. As we can see, she’s already working hard on keeping the misinformation alive.

The press conference is tomorrow (Tuesday, August 5th, 2008) at the Peninsula Hotel, 3rd Floor Gramercy Room from 10:30 to 11:30. We need every family we can to go and tell the press the truth about this idiocy.

I’d love to tell the press there about the idiocy. Why do I suspect Jenny doesn’t want me talking to the press about the idiocy?

Thanks Jenny. Thanks for making the autism community look like an anti-vaccine crowd.

On the reality side of this–there is a website that is launching on this subject

http://www.vaccinateyourbaby.org/

After the launch of Voices for Vaccines, Generation Rescue made some sort of claim that they (VFV) were copying GR by creating a website. Look, here’s another group with the gall to create a website and not give credit to GR. I am shocked and amazed!

Back to the real world– here is the press release for the actual event tomorrow.

Thank you everyone working on this “vaccinate your baby” campaign. Thank you Amanda Peet. Thank you Ann Hotez. I apologize in advance for the reception my fellow autism parents are about to give you.

edit–one note: my email client has flagged the Jenny McCarthy email as a possible “scam”. I haven’t been able to make myself click the “not a scam” button.

When is Jenny McCarthy Honest?

9 Jul

Is she honest in April 2008?

There are some who wonder what we mean when we say “recovering” from autism.

……

….we think there are treatments that often bring about such healing, so that the observable symptoms of the condition no longer exist.

……

We believe what helped Evan recover was starting a gluten-free, casein-free diet, vitamin supplementation, detox of metals, and anti-fungals for yeast overgrowth that plagued his intestines.

Or is she honest in June 2008?

A lot of people are scared to chelate, which is the process of pulling metals out of the body, but it has triggered many recoveries. … Everyone has their own recipe to recovery, but your child might need chelation to get there. With a DAN doctor, I mean these guys are so good, they will help, you know, make sure your child is safe, your child has the minerals it needs to do it. … I’m, of course, scared to do it with Evan, but I plan on doing it this summer because Evan still suffers from seizures……

(Contributor from Autism One Conference wishes to remain anonymous).

So, in April 2008, Evan McCarthy is recovered (‘we believe what helped Evan recover…’). Not recovering but recovered. We can also see that among the treatments the helped Evan ‘recover’ is ‘detox of metals’.

Fast forward two months later and apparently Even needs chelation. Why? Back in April he’s recovered. Now he’s not? Now he needs chelation? And what for? Back in April, one of the ‘treatments’ that ‘recovered’ Evan was ‘detox of metals’. So why does he need to be chelated?

Can we add this to the other things that McCarthy has been slightly, ummm, vague about? Such as the fate of her indigomoms.com website? It existed in May 2007 as I blogged about it. But by July 2007 it had disappeared. Jenny’s explanation (from June 2008)?

SS: “You mention the word Indigo. What happened to your Indigo Moms website?”

JM: “You know I had to take that down and I was so sad to take it down, for a while anyways, it’ll be coming back up. People got really confused because I was coming out with Evan’s autism at the same time. And, they thought that I was healing Evan through Tarot cards instead of biomedical treatments.

So I realized I had to separate my messages and I had to take down one message which is the indigo and crystals, for now. I said, ‘oh the world is getting confused with these two different paths,’ you know. I consider them to be one. But people aren’t quite there yet and I kinda had to, not lower my vibration, change my vibration to focusing on the world hearing that message. Hearing that biomedical treatment does help these kids.

Right, right – oh the world is getting confused….so Jen just lowered her vibration and took her indigomoms site down.

Jenny McCarthy - Indigo Mom

Is it just me, or is anyone else starting to have a really bad feeling about this person’s involvement in autism advocacy?

AAP and Paul Offit under attack (again)

7 Jul

Over on the Age of Autism, a new post has appeared which goes after the AAP (I thought everyone over there was big friends with the AAP these days?), its representative Dr Renee Jenkins and the AAP in general.

They (AoA) appear concerned about the newly formed Immunization Alliance which is an alliance of groups interested in children’s health and threaten that the formation of this group will put the AAP

<blockquote>…..in the middle of the line of fire for parent activism.</blockquote>

We have to question, first and foremost, what this has to do with autism. The answer is of course nothing. But that fast becoming the way with AoA. They posted over 100 posts throughout June and about a third of them were explicitly about autism or touched on autism. There were a lot about the speaking engagements of David Kirby, a lot of posts about the green our vaccines rally, a lot of posts about Gardasil and a lot of anti-AAP etc posts.

You have taken your eyes off the ball guys. You’ve forgotten what this is supposed to be about.

Anyway, the post goes on to say that the AAP announcement is;

<blockquote>Breathtaking in its dismissiveness of parent concerns…</blockquote>

Here’s the article in full:

<blockquote>

Immunization Alliance to develop compelling messages for parents
Anne Hegland
Editor in Chief

With pediatricians facing an increasing number of parents who question the safety of vaccines, representatives from organizations with a shared interest in advancing children’s health met May 30 to compare notes and develop strategies to help recapture public trust in childhood immunizations.

The newly formed Immunization Alliance, representing 15 groups, agreed that together they must work on short-and long-term solutions before falling immunization rates lead to further outbreaks of once-common and sometimes deadly vaccine-preventable childhood diseases.

Fresh in everyone’s mind were the measles outbreaks in nine states earlier this year.

Framing the challenges

Paul Offit, M.D., FAAP, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, identified some of the factors contributing to the increase in vaccine refusal and the need for quick action:

• parents who have never experienced or seen vaccine-preventable diseases;
• media and Internet reports that are unbalanced;
• decreased trust in the government and health care providers;
• an increasing number of states allowing philosophical exemptions; and
• parent-to-parent spread of misinformation.

Dr. Offit pointed out that the majority of vaccine refusals stem from parents’ fears, with only 10% of refusals associated with parents who strongly oppose vaccines.

“We need to work on public messaging around vaccines — the benefit of vaccines — and to have the right messenger delivering those messages,” said AAP President and meeting co-facilitator Renée R. Jenkins, M.D., FAAP.

Underscoring the need for compelling vaccine messages is the No. 1 ranked resolution from the 2008 Annual Leadership Forum, calling for the Academy to lead a coalition that will develop a media campaign on the value of immunizations that can be marketed to parents, added Dr. Jenkins.

The group agreed that communication strategies must appeal to parents who are Internet and media savvy, and go beyond presentation of the science by engaging consumers on an emotional level. There was acknowledgement among attendees that messages from anti-vaccine groups’ helped erode public confidence in immunizations through their use of celebrities to deliver heartrending first-hand accounts.

“The greatest challenge is getting these messages out in a timely fashion. We’ve got August coming up, which is a big month for kids going to the pediatrician for back-to-school visits and for immunizations,” said Dr. Jenkins.

At press time, Alliance members were prioritizing strategies to be shared with communication experts who will help craft messages promoting the value of immunizations.

Messages for pediatricians

Meeting co-facilitator Margaret Fisher, M.D., FAAP, chair of the AAP Section on Infectious Diseases, said the Alliance’s efforts also are an effort to help pediatricians in practice, whose messages have not always been understood by parents.

“We’re all about what’s best for children, and what we’re trying to do is find a way to re-establish our trust with the public. We want to help provide our members with the messages and the method that can regain that trust and make it easier for them on a day-to-day basis.

“The public has lost trust in medicine in general — not in their individual pediatricians,” Dr. Fisher added.

The Immunization Alliance meeting was supported by the Tomorrows Children Endowment of the AAP.

Immunization Alliance

The following groups are represented on the Immunization Alliance:
• American Academy of Family Physicians
• American Academy of Pediatrics
• American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
• American Medical Association
• American Public Health Association
• Association of State and Territorial Health Officials
• Easter Seals
• Every Child By Two
• Immunization Action Coalition
• March of Dimes Foundation
• National Foundation for Infectious Diseases
• National Vaccine Program
• Parents of Kids with Infectious Diseases (PKIDS)
• Rotary International
• Voices for Vaccines

</blockquote>

Now maybe its just me but I didn’t see anything there that could be described as ‘breathtaking in its dismissiveness of parent concerns’. In fact, I think the AoA need a little lesson on numbers. You are not the majority, you are not even close. You are however extremely effective at marketing needless fear. But _this_ parents concerns revolve more around the effects of _not_ vaccinating rather than actually vaccinating.

The post goes on to describe how:

<blockquote>The AAP believes the decline in immunization rates is due to “anti-vaccine groups” and “celebrities” as if Jenny and a few websites are the only problem. What they fail to realize is that the message of groups like Generation Rescue would fall flat if there weren’t tens of thousands of parents who agreed with it. 8,000 people don’t march on Washington because of Jenny McCarthy and a few websites, they march on Washington because they know what happened to their child. If parents weren’t hearing our message corroborated in their own communities, there wouldn’t be an impact.</blockquote>

The decline in immunization rates _is_ partly down to ‘anti vaccine groups’ and ‘celebrities’. You pretty much _are_ the only problem. As I said, you are extremely effective at spreading your message. You have the marketing know-how and you have the money to do it. The _way_ parents are hearing your message corroborated is down to your adverts in NYT, down to appearances on Oprah, down to your blogging etc. But what you are doing is winching autism on top of hardcore anti-vaccinationism. People believe you because you have a patina of respectability. They don’t look past the first line appearance and see the multitude of times <a href=”https://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/?p=428″>your predictions have been wrong</a>, that your <a href=”https://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/?p=820″>hypotheses have failed</a> and the <a href=”https://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/?p=602″>threats of violence</a> that you make to those who oppose you.

And lets be honest, even if there were 8,000 people at the ‘green our vaccines’ rally (a figure that is <a href=”https://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/?p=856″>very doubtful</a>) then you don’t even come close to representing teh autism community.

According to the latest figures, autism is at a rate of about 1 in 150 (0.6%) of the population. For the US that’s about 1,827,219 autistic people. That’s 3,645,438 parents. As you are believers in autism epidemic (and thus don’t believe autism exists in adults in significant numbers) lets be kind and half that number to take us back down to 1,827,219 parents.

That means that your 8,000 parents totals about 0.4% of the US autism parent community. But lets double the attendees (and oh hell, lets add on 100,000 of people we’ll think of as followers but non-attenders) to make 116,000. That means you now account for 6.4% of autism parent community.

To put it another way, 93.6% of US parents of autistic people either don’t know about you (doubtful in this internet and celeb obsessed age) or simply don’t offer you any credence. And that’s being very, very kind to your numerical position indeed.

AoA go on to claim that:

<blockquote>…there are five major problems with the AAP’s new approach:

1. You can’t defend the assertions

The “fewer antigens” argument has been a Paul Offit special for years. Not only is this argument confusing for parents to understand, it also means nothing. Offit’s claim is based exclusively on the removal of an older Pertussis vaccine (which was causing many problems) decades ago.

What parents see clearly is how many more vaccines they are getting.</blockquote>

This reveals the anti-science beating heart of AoA. A vaccine is just a vehicle for its contents. The antigens argument _is_ the point:

<blockquote>”Of course, most vaccines contain far fewer than 100 antigens (for example, the hepatitis B, diphtheria, and tetanus vaccines each contain 1 antigen), so the estimated number of vaccines to which a child could respond is conservative. But using this estimate, we would predict that if 11 vaccines were given to infants at one time, then about 0.1% of the immune system would be “used up.””</blockquote>

<a href=”http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/109/1/124”>Pediatrics</a&gt;

<blockquote>

2. The news is making them look very stupid

With the Hannah Poling case, Dr. Bernadine Healy’s recent comments, the potential for an Omnibus decision going our way, Julie Gerberding retreating, the IOM revisiting the “environment’s” role in autism, and the case reports of children falling into autism after vaccines continuing to roll in</blockquote>

The Hannah Poling case? Please demonstrate where that showed that vaccines cause or contribute to autism. Bernadine Healy was at one time (and maybe still is, I don’t know) <a href=”https://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/?p=846″>a tobacco company shill</a>. Gerderding and the IOM are indeed revisiting the ‘environmental’ roles in autism. What’s that got to do with vaccines? And what case reports of children falling into autism are we talking about?

This is what I meant about a patina of respectability. On the surface, it sounds, _great_ – plausible – to the untrained eye. However, a quick peek beneath the surface and it starts to shake apart.

<blockquote>

4. They are not dealing honestly with parent concerns

If you have no safety studies verifying the issue of combination risk of so many vaccines, defending the schedule in its current form will backfire on you. If your best defense is to cite the 600 deaths a year from HIB now being prevented, parents will compare this to the 1 in 150 risk or higher of autism and make their own conclusions. By not acknowledging that the risk-reward of vaccines is potentially wildly out of balance, parents will not listen to you.</blockquote>

Are you seriously suggesting that people will be more worried about autism than _death_ ???

And, as I’ve demonstrated, I don’t think that organisations that speak to less than one percent of autism parents can really claim to have their pulse on what autism parents really care about.

The last one is ‘Offit is a time bomb’. I’m not really sure what the point there is.

Paul Offit gets more threats of violence

6 Jul

Over on the EoH Yahoo Group, Paul Offit (hated because he co-produced a piece of science that suggested that theoretically, infants could cope with thousands of vaccinations and there’s no science to refute it) is a figure of hate. True, burning liquid hate. He’s received:

<blockquote>…hundreds of malicious and threatening emails, letters and phone calls accusing him of poisoning children and “selling out” to pharmaceutical companies. One phone caller listed the names of Offit’s two young children and the name of their school. One email contained a death threat—”I will hang you by your neck until you’re dead”—that Offit reported to federal investigators.</blockquote>

And here we are again, on that font of all things Offit-hatred related, EoH, with yet another threat from yet another member. This time made on the Group itself:

<blockquote>From: Sophia Lauren <sophya_lauren@***>
Date: Thu, Jul 3, 2008 at 6:44 PM
Subject: Re: Paul Offit’s Panel Not Canceled!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
To: EOHarm@yahoogroups.com

I see him often. Almost daily in fact. You have no idea how difficult it is for me not to slug him. Or worse.

Sophia

http://justamom2three.blogspot.com/

</blockquote>

Here’s a lady who sees Dr Offit ‘almost daily’ and wants to slug him or worse. What can we find out about this lady? She has a blog so lets start there. Of course, she’s an anti-vaccine believer (except…y’know, nobody over there is really anti-vaccine, they just want to greeeeen them, right? Right. And if you believe that…)

Sophia Lauren (which I’m assuming is a pseudonym) who sees Dr Offit almost everyday is revealing in some of her blog posts. Leaving aside the usual anti-vax canards;

<blockquote>A mom with an adorable 15 month old little boy comes to our neurology center sent by referral from her pediatrician. Needs an EEG. *I’m learning EEG*. So we’re hooking him up and I start to take the history. Mom says he takes multi vitamins, and then dad says “yes he was fine until Monday when he had his vaccinations. He had a seizure Monday night and then again yesterday.” My mouth must have hit the floor. The mother knew immediately that I sensed something. *I wear a white lab coat, says “Neurology” on the sleeve*. I guess I look like a doctor.</blockquote>

and

<blockquote>*I’m in a “teaching hospital”* that thinks the vaccination schedule is just dandy. And they don’t believe there is a link between vaccines, seizures and Autism. But I do.</blockquote>

So, here’s a lady who’s currently learning EEG in the Neurology Dept of a teaching hospital and who sees Dr Offit nearly every day which I take to mean she works in the same hospital.

She closes that particular post with this little nugget:

<blockquote>The people who make Gardasil……Someone should euthanize (sic) them. One at a time. So they can all take a number and take turns and watch.</blockquote>

Yikes.

I was intrigued (and more than a little taken aback) by the venom in this person. So I went back to her earliest blog post to have a look. Here’s what I found at the end of the first entry (dated Aug 2007):

<blockquote>He (her son) is an Indigo Child….a Crystalline Child. One of the phenomenon that we are hearing more and more about. He is, in every way, an “Angel on Earth.</blockquote>

So there you go. Sophia Lauren who wants to euthanize (sic) people is an Indigo bleever. She mentions it again here:

<blockquote>I have three children. Brilliantly intelligent and gifted children. My oldest has the gift of high intelligence and an amazing interpersonal sense…they call him an “Indigo.” (www.indigochild.com). My daughter has her mother’s fire….and a gift for art and drawing that is unmistakable. My youngest has been blessed with a love and joy of life and the true gift of the “crystal child’s” disposition….he embraces every moment, every day, with a zest and unbelievable enthusiasm that should be bottled. (http://www.starchildglobal.com/) They all have “something”…some sort of a diagnosis that makes them, let us say “neurogically different.”</blockquote>

Hot damn Sophia! You’re saying that all your kids are neurologically different and yet its the vaccines???

Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt I guess.

For a truly disturbing post, check out <a href=”http://justamom2three.blogspot.com/2007/11/happy-birthday-dad.html&#8221; rel=”nofollow”>Happy Birthday Dad</a> in which ‘Sophia’ details how her Crystal Child son is actually the divine reincarnation of her dead father. I kid you not.

I’ll close this with a hope that this person can be identified and her threat of violence reported to the relevant authorities.

Plaatsvervangende schaamte

2 Jul

<blockquote>McCarthy gave a popular voice to a viewpoint that had largely been rejected by mainstream institutions – that the sharp increase in autism in recent years has an environmental cause, such as toxins in childhood vaccines.</blockquote>

<blockquote>”Jenny McCarthy is the biggest thing to happen since the word autism was coined,” says Dan Olmsted, editor of the blog Age of Autism, which attracts thousands of readers a day</blockquote>

<blockquote>Because Ackerman got McCarthy involved, Olmsted says, that view is “not out on the loony fringes any longer.”</blockquote>

Source

“Plaatsvervangende schaamte” is a Dutch phrase. In his 2003 novel ‘Helloland’, Nick Walker defines it as:

<blockquote>This means a shame in humanity. A shame in being human. You see someone acting  foolishly or stupidly and you do not laugh at him, you do not feel Schadenfreude, instead you feel a sense of humiliation  that this is how your species can behave.</blockquote>

There’s nothing else I can really add to this post, sorry.

Experts with an agenda and newcomers with an agenda

28 Jun

Everyone knows that a good meeting needs to have an agenda. Most people also knows that science being forced to fit a pre-conceived agenda is usually useless.

With that in mind, Gardiner Harris of the New York Times delivers an excellent report that discusses a meeting being held today that will…:

<blockquote>….call together some of the world’s leading experts on an obscure disease to discuss the controversial case of a 9-year-old girl from Athens, Ga. [Hannah Poling]…. [and]…a 6-year-old girl from Colorado [who] received FluMist, a flu vaccine, and about a week later “became weak with multiple episodes of falling to ground” and “difficulty walking,”….She was hospitalized and underwent surgery and was finally withdrawn from life support. She died on April 5, according to the report</blockquote>

(inserts mine)

You can expect the usual suspects to come out with horror show after horror show about this poor little girl who died and how The Evil Vaccines ™ are to blame. However, the truth is that – as with all previous convolutions of the autism/vaccine hypotheses, correlation does not equal causation.

<blockquote>”After caring for hundreds of children with mitochondrial disease, I can’t recall a single one that had a complication from vaccination,” said Dr. Darryl De Vivo, a professor of neurology and pediatrics at Columbia University who will present at the meeting on Sunday and is one of the premier experts in the field.</blockquote>

De Vivo also said:

<blockquote>as many as 700,000 people in the United States had flawed mitochondria, and in roughly 30,000 of them the genetic flaws were expansive enough to cause disease</blockquote>

In an email conversation with Sullivan (a regular commenter and author at this blog), Sullivan pointed out how this 700,000 – an opinion offered by an expert in the field – differed wildly from the <a href=”http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-kirby/the-next-big-autism-bomb_b_93627.html&#8221; rel=”nofollow”>1 in 50</a> estimation offered by David Kirby which would result in 6,000,000 cases. Thats a fairly wild discrepancy.

Harris also quoted a great aunt of Hannah Poling who simply parroted the ‘green our vaccines’ nothingness:

<blockquote>What’s the schedule and number of vaccines?” Ms. Dunkle asked. “What’s the content of those vaccines?</blockquote>

In the case of the little girl who died, she had already received one set of vaccines with no incident. In the case of Hannah Poling, it is far from clear that the vaccines administered resulted in her autism diagnosis.

The bottom line for me is:

<blockquote>Many experts said infections could be so devastating to those with mitochondrial disorders that the risks associated with vaccines were far outweighed by the benefits. Still, none dismissed the notion that a vaccine could cause a decline in such children.</blockquote>

Which is, of course, true. Nobody disputes that people sometimes have adverse reactions to vaccinations. This is true of kids with mitochondrial issues as well as autistic people as well as people with no other issues at all. Its sad to me that people want to castigate vaccines for being imperfect. Nothing in life is absolutely assured and it is quite obviously far better for children to be as healthy as possible with a very small chance that a side effect may occur. This is even more true for kids with mitochondrial issues. Consier this statement:

<blockquote>Most of these kids [with mitochondrial issues] get a common cold, and either during the cold or soon after, the parents notice a drastic deterioration,” said Dr. Bruce H. Cohen, a neurologist at the Cleveland Clinic.</blockquote>

(inserts mine)

Now, if you said to these parents – we have a vaccine for the common cold. The chances of it working are very, very good but not 100%. The chances of it causing an adverse reaction are very, very low but not 0%. The chances of it causing a _fatal_ adverse reaction is even lower but still not 0% (I’ve got a figure of 1.3%<sup>1</sup>). The chances of your child becoming seriously ill following the common cold is very high. Do you want your child to have this vaccine?

I would imagine most of these parents would break your arm in the rush of trying to sign the acceptance papers.

Now, lets lengthen that scenario. The common cold vaccine is announced to the rest of the world and adopted into vaccine schedules. The usual suspects say how silly it is and how the common cold is ‘nothing’. They refuse to vaccine against the common cold. Herd immunity drops. A child catches a cold and sits next to a child with a mitochondrial issue at a GP’s surgery (for example). The vaccine the mito child has received doesn’t work – because we all know vaccines don’t work 100% of the time.

What will this ‘nothing’ common cold do to this mito child?

Society has an obligation to protect the weaker members of its society.

On that same theme, I noticed a new paper in my Inbox today. It discussed death rates of autistic people compared to the general population:

<strong> Mortality and causes of death in autism spectrum disorders: An update.</strong>

<blockquote> This study compared mortality among Danish citizens with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) with that of the general population……In all, 26 persons with ASD had died, whereas the expected number of deaths was 13.5. Thus the mortality risk among those with ASD was nearly twice that of the general population</blockquote>

Nearly half of the 26 deaths of autistic people were due to Epilepsy rather than autism itself.

I would like to ask the kind permission of those who continue to try and make a story from nothing about autism and vaccines that we be allowed to move the debate onto areas that really, really need a big light shining on them. The heavy death rate of autistic people from comorbidities such as Epilepsy would be a great place to start.

[1] I got this using the <a href=”http://www.medalerts.org/vaersdb/index.html”>VAERS DB</a> (yes, I know the limitations but I wanted to use a DB given credence by the autism/vaccine believers). Out of a total amount of entries of 227,795 there were 3009 reported deaths.

Dear Mercury and MMR Militia

21 Jun

I want to write you all an open letter to offer you my opinion as to where you are going wrong. Before I do, I fully realise that this is a massive generalisation and that some of you won’t hold all the opinions I’m about to go through. I think though, that many of you do.

Three things prompted this open letter. First of all was David Kirby’s trip to the UK. Second was a comment from Kelli Ann Davies where she expressed surprise that some of us might know/guess/whatever the intentions of the science and medical community. Third was Ginger Taylor’s recent sulk about the AAP. I’ll touch on these things as I go through this.

You have a truly massive credibility issue which grows with every passing year. Once upon a time it was an issue with the science/medical community but now it is an issue with the general public. There are a number of reasons why this is so.

1) You cannot keep your story straight. You have (as I said to Kelli Anne) some first class marketing and PR people. As I recall, Lynn Redwood, Mark Blaxill and Sallie Bernard all have marketing qualifications. You also have numerous leading lights who are very, very rich. This means you have ample opportunity to lever your message into the heart of the US media system.

But that means nothing without a coherent story to sell. You don’t have one. I understand that you have recently talked about how the ‘story of vaccines’ has _evolved_ . That is stretching things more than a little. Its mercury, no its MMR, no its both, no its Aluminium, no its all three, no its all ingredients, no its the very vaccines themselves, no its the schedule they’re given. No – its ALL the above. And don’t forget the mitochondria!

The more ingredients you add to the pot, the more you have to explain why they are causative of autism. You didn’t even manage to do this when you were concentrating on just _one_ thing (thiomersal). The above is not an example of an evolving hypothesis. Its an example of an ever widening hypothesis as one after another, your original ideas have been taken down.

Nowhere is this better illustrated than David Kirby’s stumbling backwards and backwards:

In 2005, David said in a FAIR Autism Media interview:

It’s now 2005…..[W]e should see fewer cases entering the system [cdds] this year than we did last year.

When that didn’t happen he then said:

if the total number of 3-5 year olds in the California DDS system has not declined by 2007, that would deal a severe blow to the autism-thimerosal hypothesis…..total cases among 3-5 year olds, not changes in the rate of increase is the right measure.

That didn’t happen either.

You started off by pointing an air pistol at a target 20 feet away and missing. You worked your way through Magnums, Shotguns and Miniguns and kept missing. You currently have a canon wheeled right up to within a foot of the target and you’re _still_ missing.

2) Your science is weak and getting weaker. Sadly for you, the onus was (and still is) on you to provide evidence that vaccines in any of the myriad of hypotheses cause autism. Lets hypothetically agree with you that vaccines are in fact, fashioned by Satan and are in fact, tools of population control. That is not the point. The point is: _do they cause autism?_

There is not one paper that passes muster as valid science that offers corroborating evidence that any vaccine, any ingredient of vaccines or any schedule they are administered in causes autism. This is after over 10 years of trying to find one. What you are increasingly left with is a double conspiracy theory. In one barrel of the conspiracy theory, brave maverick doctors are having their research suppressed. In the other barrel of the conspiracy theory, Big Pharma shills are publishing science to refute the various vaccine hypotheses.

Of course, neither barrel is true. The brave maverick docs are not having their science suppressed. It is simply not good enough to pass peer review.

A good example of this is the science experts being presented at the Omnibus Autism proceedings. No Geier’s. No Jim Adams. No Boyd Haley. No Andrew Wakefield. At least, not so far anyway. And this is in the Vaccine Court, where standards of evidence are way lower than in a civil court, where – by the way – not a few of these same researchers science was not good enough to even be entered as evidence.

And you have this nasty habit of shooting yourselves in the foot. Only today David Kirby posted on the Huffington Post about how rubbish the VSD database was. The very same database the Geier’s recently used to allege a link between vaccines and neurodevelopmental disorders.

And the list goes on. The Hornig study? Refuted by Rick Rollens MIND Institute. The Nataf paper on Porphyrins? Liz Mumper, head of DAN! medical admits that even ‘normal’ children have raised Porphyrin levels. The Bernard et al paper? Refuted. Richard Deth’s work? Exposed and questioned.

3) Your choice of media people to represent you is doing you harm. I am not sure how the idea of latching onto Jenny McCarthy as a spokesperson for the anti-vaccine/autism connection came up. There are a few other celebs I can think of with more gravitas than McCarthy. In truth, you couldn’t have chosen worse. Already, she has made a public fool of herself (and you). As has her partner, Jim Carrey, with his ‘lazy ass’ FUBAR and calls to notice ‘warnings from the universe‘.

I understand that these events feel terribly cathartic to you but I would urge you to take off your rose tinted glasses and see how the real world perceives these kind of things. Its not good. Don’t take my word for it, go to a _mainstream_ news source, discount the people you know as friends/associates who are leaving comments and then see what people think.

You have also latched onto the words of Bernadine Healy. I can see why but she (is/was) a member of a paid lobby group that advances the ‘science’ of Philip Morris to put forward the idea passive smoking isn’t dangerous. How desperate do you have to be to turn to _this_ ‘authority’ for backup?

4) You cannot see that you are being humoured. I know that some of you have been very proud of your success in getting involved with things like the IACC and y’know, thats great – well done to you. And then there’s the ‘coup’ of getting the AAP to attend a DAN! conference and ‘work with’ them. But there’s one thing you seem to have forgotten. AAP members are medical scientists. They will go with the decent science.

I read a blog post from Ginger Taylor today which seemed to be telling the AAP their ‘window of opportunity’ to work with DAN! et al had closed due to the fact they endorsed a letter that a paediatrician had written on how to tackle parents who were nervous about vaccination.

Amusingly, Taylor also chided the AAP for not turning up to the ‘green our vaccines’ rally:

I warned that the window would only be open for a short time unless we saw real action, and would probably close around the time of the Green our Vaccines Rally if they didn’t show up for us in some respect.

Well the AAP didn’t show up for the rally and well… this certainly signals that the window is closed. They want it closed. And it looks like they may be locking it.

Can you not understand that to expect the AAP will turn up for a rally which touts such anti-science as Aluminium and Formaldehyde being at singularly dangerous levels in vaccines and Anti-Freeze being in them at all is the height of arrogant stupidity? Surely you cannot be that naive?

The truth is – and I get this from speaking to AAP, NIH, FDA and NHS members – that you had, and always will have, an opportunity to impress them with decent, peer reviewed science. That’s all you’ve ever needed. And that’s what you’ve never had.

5) The future. The person you’ve decided will be your public face is writing another book. <a href="http://stopthinkautism.blogspot.com/2008/06/today-autism-recovery-tomorrow-crystals.html"She says that:

It’s really an Indigo book…….We’re definitely the Indigos, you know, breaking down these walls so this, you know, New Earth behind us can happen.

And what’s your role in this?

…But people aren’t quite there yet and I kinda had to, not lower my vibration, change my vibration to focusing on the world hearing that message. Hearing that biomedical treatment does help these kids.

And then, slowly, you know I can put it in my speeches. and then in my last book I talked about the indigos and crystals. And I’m just like, I’m really following source, kind of I felt the need to do that, I’m just kind of dribbling it here and there until people, you know, have that spiritual awakening of spirituality.”

That’s where you’re going. You’re close to abandoning any kind of rational basis for your beliefs and just becoming Jenny’s followers in an Indigo Spiritual Awakening to herald in the New Earth..

Nigerian Neurodiversity

17 Jun

Its refreshing to realise sometimes that there is a world ‘out there’ beyond the West and that they are living with autism too. And whats more, they aren’t considering it soulless, or sucking the marrow out of families, or organising pointless marches for people to exercise their right to blame others, or forming organisations that concentrate on blaming vaccines, or claiming that denying autism was anything except mercury poisoning in the past and now claiming its the vaccine schedule is just the evolution of a hypothesis, or making a tidy profit of the ignorance of parents.

No, what they’re doing is ‘serving humanity’:

Mr. Babatunde Willouhby,a masters degree holder, left his lucrative job to serve humanity by taking care of autistic and children with Down syndrome, amongst others. He is an administrator in an autistic school, named Hope House School, here in Abuja. While chatting with him recently in his office, I saw in him a man with passion for dealing and caring for a special group of children with slightly different behavioral pattern from those who the society will tag ‘normal children’.

and

Mr Ayiem……said the value he attach to the welfare of his son does not make him see the money spent as expensive, but an investment which is worth giving any individual with confidence that, though it will take time, his son will be independent some day.

and most of all

….socially people see it as a stigma, but I don’t. I have had occasions where I go out with her to supermarket, church and social gathering and you notice people looking at you in a particular way, but I don’t care because she is my daughter. I give her all my love and I display it publicly. I want her to know that she is one of the must loved children in the world.

………..

autistic children and children with Down syndrome can contribute significantly to the society ,if only they are accepted. When we are at home for instance, we help her with her school work by showing her what to do and what behaviour is proper. Of course, like any other child she may go off the track but we help her to do the right things.

……….

If you play any song on radio or on CD and ask who sang it, whether American or Nigerian, she will tell you the name of the artiste. How she knows the name of the artiste and their songs, I don’t know. So if she wants to take that line, I will encourage her all the way. Wendy to me, is one in a million and for me she is a normal child.” From this discussion with Mr Ojugbuna I saw the picture of a father who believes in his child and that was reflected in the behavior of Wendy.

Nigeria is classed as a developing nation (what used to be called ‘third world’). I’d say that in my opinion it has developed a whole hell of a lot further and faster than some people I can think of over in this supposedly enlightened culture.