Search results for 'vaccinated unvaccinated'

Press Release: New Research Finds No Evidence That Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines Affect Behavior or Neuroanatomy in Infant Primates

30 Sep

Below is a press release from the Johnson Center for Child Health and Development (formerly Thoughtful House). The press release discusses a recent study which investigated the safety of vaccine schedules (present and past) using monkeys as test subjects.

The study is a follow on study to a previous series of pilot studies involving some of the same authors. The pilot studies were considered by many to be an indication of evidence that vaccines cause autism and other neurological conditions. This larger study shows no evidence of adverse effects from vaccines.

Here is the press release:

New Research Finds No Evidence That Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines Affect Behavior or Neuroanatomy in Infant Primates

(Austin, Texas) – September 28, 2015 – New research finds no evidence that thimerosal- containing vaccines cause negative behaviors or result in neuropathology in infant primates, according to a study that will be published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In this study, conducted by Dr. Dwight German of the University of Texas Southwestern School of Medicine, and colleagues, infant rhesus macaques received several pediatric vaccines containing thimerosal (a mercury-based preservative) in a schedule similar to that given to infants in the 1990s. Other animals received just the measles-mumps- rubella (MMR) vaccine, which does not contain thimerosal, or an expanded vaccine schedule similar to that recommended for US infants today. Control animals received a saline injection.

Regardless of vaccination status, all animals developed normal social behaviors. Cellular analysis of three brain regions, the cerebellum, amygdala and hippocampus (all known to be altered in autism), was similar in vaccinated and unvaccinated animals.

“This comprehensive analysis of social behavior and neuropathology in 12-18 month old rhesus macaques indicated that vaccinated primates were not negatively affected by thimerosal; the same was true for animals receiving an expanded 2008 vaccine schedule, which is similar to that recommended for US infants today” explained Dr. Laura Hewitson of The Johnson Center for Child Health and Development, one of the principle investigators working on the study. Hewitson was part of a team of researchers from The Johnson Center; the University of Texas Southwestern; the Center on Human Development and Disability Infant Primate Research Laboratory; the Washington National Primate Research Center (WaNPRC) at the University of Washington, Seattle WA; and Texas A&M Health Science Center & Central Texas Veterans Health Care System.

According to Hewitson, the study was designed to compare the safety of different vaccination schedules, including the schedule from the 1990s, when thimerosal was used as a preservative in multi-dose vaccine preparations. The data from this study indicate that administration of TCVs and/or the MMR vaccine to rhesus macaques did not result in neuropathological abnormalities,or aberrant behaviors, like those often observed in autism.


Citation
Administration of thimerosal-containing vaccines to infant rhesus macaques does not result in autism-like behavior or neuropathology. Bharathi S. Gadad, Wenhao Li, Umar Yazdani, Stephen Grady, Trevor Johnson, Jacob Hammond, Howard Gunn, Britni Curtis, Chris English, Vernon Yutuc, Clayton Ferrier, Gene P. Sackett, C. Nathan Marti, Keith Young, Laura Hewitson and Dwight C. German. PNAS

This article can be downloaded for free here.

This study was supported by The Ted Lindsay Foundation, SafeMinds, National Autism Association, and the Johnson and Vernick families. This work was also supported by WaNPRC Core Grant RR00166 and CHDD Core Grant HD02274.

About The Johnson Center
The mission of The Johnson Center for Child Health and Development is to advance the understanding of childhood development through clinical care, research, and education.

Previous Press Releases
For Immediate Release
Contact: media@johnson-center.org
512-732-8400


By Matt Carey

Jim Carrey, you are part of the problem for us in the Autism Community

15 Jul

Years back Jim Carrey was and autism were mentioned together regularly in the news.  This was at the height of the vaccine misinformation campaign of his then partner, Jenny McCarthy.  Mr. Carrey went so far as to be a speaker at the “Green Our Vaccines” rally in Washington.  That was 2008. Since then the Green Our Vaccines as a movement has died, Jenny McCarthy has tried to distance herself from her very vocal stance on vaccines, and given that Mr. Carrey and Ms. McCarthy split, it seemed like we had seen the last of Mr. Carrey.

Until recently.

You see Mr. Carrey took offense to new legislation in California.  A bill that will roll back vaccine exemptions to where personal belief exemptions will no longer be accepted in the schools here.  In other words, for the most part one will now need an actual medical reason to avoid vaccination in order to register for public school.

Mr. Carrey took to twitter with his complaints about the new law.  All well and good, free speech and all.  But Mr. Carrey went too far. He decided to take pictures of kids in distress and the implication that this is what happens when you vaccinate your kids. One tweet read ““A trillion dollars buys a lot of expert opinions. Will it buy you? TOXIN FREE VACCINES, A REASONABLE REQUEST!”” and included a picture of an autistic kid (the other pictures he used appear to have been stock images). The story is discussed by Emily Willingham as Jim Carrey Unwittingly Brings Attention To Something Actually Linked To Autism

And Time Magazine in Jim Carrey Apologizes for Using Photo of Autistic Boy in Anti-Vaccination Tweet.

Because, to give him credit, Mr. Carrey did apologize to that family. (Ironically, it turns out that the kid was unvaccinated when he was first diagnosed autistic).

I harken back to Mr. Carrey’s time with the autism community (remember when Generation Rescue was tagged as “Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey’s Autism Organization”?). At one speech, probably the Green Our Vaccines Rally, Mr. Carrey made the pseduo-profound statement, “We are not the problem. The problem is the problem.”

So while I do appreciate Mr. Carrey stepping up and apologizing to one family, I do want to point out: Mr. Carrey, you were one of the problems for the autism community. And you apparently still are.

Ms. McCarthy introduced you to a closed group of people, a small sampling of the autism community. You likely came away thinking that they *are* the autism community, because that’s how they think of themselves.

They aren’t.

Most of us autism parents don’t subscribe to the vaccine causation idea. I can provide the links to multiple studies if you like, but it’s just the way things are.

And autism parents are not the autism community. One thing that Generation Rescue and like organizations have done is act like autistics are some sort of second class citizens in the community. Who do you think the community primarily is, autistics or parents?

Here’s the thing: the vaccine-causation idea is probably the most damaging notion to have hit the autism community. Did you hear about the “refrigerator mother” theory during your time at Generation Rescue? It’s second to the vaccine causation theory. Telling generations of disabled kids that they are less than they are, that they should be someone else, is damaging. Mr. Carrey, did you attend any of those parent conventions, like AutismOne? Perhaps you look at alternative medicine favorably. Well, the vaccine causation idea is used to sell “therapies” that aren’t close to being “alternative”. They are just wrong. And, frankly, abusive. Chemical castration of disabled children? This was promoted multiple times at conventions where your former partner was a keynote speaker. Fake diagnoses of mercury poisoning, followed by chelation? Same. And even a major promoter of chelation has a new study showing it doesn’t work. Did anyone tell you why the NIH autism/chelation trial was stopped? Because if you chelate test animals who do not have mercury intoxication, they go down cognitively. If the same happens in humans, tens of thousands of autistic children lost some IQ due to chelation. Think that one over, since GR started out as primarily an org promoting chelation. Daily bleach drinks and bleach enemas? That one is probably new since you dropped out. But, yep, that gets sold as a cure for “vaccine injury”. Shall I go on? Because I can. The autism=vaccine injury idea sells junk medicine which is subjected upon disabled children.

And you added your voice to the vaccine-causation idea.

You’ve apologized to one family. That took guts. Now step up and start making amends to the rest of us. Parents and, especially, autistics.


By Matt Carey

Why won’t the government fund vaccine/autism research?

15 Jul

This question gets brought up a lot by some parent advocates. The are informed by groups promoting the idea of vaccine causation that the government is blocking this work. The evidence points strongly away from vaccines as a primary cause of autism, and investment in this area doesn’t seem wise. At least that’s the viewpoint of the majority of parents (including myself), autistics and researchers. But some remain unconvinced and want vaccine/autism research performed. And they are upset that none of this work is being performed.

Here’s a different question: why are the groups who promote the idea that vaccines cause autism failing to inform their members that, yes, indeed vaccine/autism research is being performed?

Or, to put it simply: vaccine/autism research is being performed and it’s being funded by the government. But you wouldn’t know that if you read, say, the Age of Autism blog, Generation Rescue’s website, SafeMinds’ website, or the other groups advocating for this research. If you are interested in vaccine/autism research and you are reading about these projects for the first time here, ask yourself “why have these orgs not informed me of this?”.

As noted here recently, Tom Insel discussed an upcoming vaccine/autism study. Already commissioned, performed and in the publication stage. That announcement was in April. What was the response from the community that has pleaded for vaccine/autism research? For the first few months: Silence. In July, SafeMinds finally put out an article showing that they were “worried” about this study. I don’t see much discussion of this announcement from other groups or outlets.

I’m not surprised by this. I’ve noted before that work on areas such as vaccines, mercury, environmental risk factor research and GI dysfunction don’t get discussed by the groups that are focused on these topics. I’ve covered the research in these areas more than they have.

So let’s get back to what other work is going on in vaccines and autism. Let’s start with the simple question: how would you find out? One place is the IACC/OARC Autism Spectrum Disorder Research Portfolio Analysis Web Tool. That could use updating, but it is an easily searchable database. Another place is NIH Reporter. It’s less easy to use than the Portfolio Analysis Tool and includes all of NIH. I.e. it covers non autism topics and doesn’t include projects being done outside of NIH (say, by Autism Speaks or other private funders). But, search Reporter for autism and vaccines or mercury and what do you get? Quite a number hits. Let’s consider a few.

How about:

There’s a study by Ian Lipkin’s group at Columbia titled: GENE-ENVIRONMENT INTERACTIONS IN AN AUTISM BIRTH COHORT.

There’s a study by Gene Sackett’s group, A PRIMATE MODEL OF GUT, IMMUNE, AND CNS RESPONSE TO CHILDHOOD VACCINES. This appears to be a follow on project to the Laura Hewitson studies that were discussed a great deal online a few years ago.

Isaac Pessah’s group at the UC Davis MIND Institute has a project NEURODEVELOPMENTAL TOXICOLOGY OF AUTISM. Prof. Pessah also had a multiyear project ENVIROMENTAL FACTORS IN THE ETIOLOGY OF AUTISM

Judy Van de Water’s group at UC Davis MIND Institute has a project IMMUNOLOGICAL SUSCEPTIBILITY OF AUTISM.

The Lewin Group study (which I believe is the one mentioned by Tom Insel) STUDY OF HEALTH OUTCOMES IN CHILDREN WITH AUTISM AND THEIR FAMILIES. (Just a note–see how this has been publicly available information for a year?)

There’s the CHARGE study, which is looking at a large array of potential environmental risk factors, including specifically mentioning mercury. THE CHARGE STUDY: CHILDHOOD AUTISM RISKS FROM GENETICS AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Here’s a 2014 grant to Ray Palmer, well known to the groups promoting mercury as a cause of autism, PRENATAL TIMING OF HEAVY METAL EXPOSURES FROM AUTISTIC AND NON-AUTISTIC CHILDREN.

The EPIDEMIOLOGICAL RESEARCH ON AUTISM IN JAMAICA – PHASE II project is continuing (hence the Phase II) and includes work on mercury.

There are more projects. Some I left out because they are older. But I think the point is made and is very clear: vaccine/autism and mercury/autism research are being funded.

And that is without even discussing how research on the biology of autism feeds into all etiological questions. Whether it’s vaccine, genetics or what have you, if you understand the biology, you have a better chance of understanding the cause. (when I searched NIH Reporter with the terms Autism and Immune, I got 25 pages of hits. Sure, not all are on-topic, but that’s 25 pages, 606 topics).

Here are the full abstracts–with emphasis added by me–for the NIH Reporter projects mentioned above.

GENE-ENVIRONMENT INTERACTIONS IN AN AUTISM BIRTH COHORT.

Abstract Text:
Reports of increasing prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), a set of highly genetic conditions, are intensifying interest in the role of environmental exposures, including infectious, immune, and toxic factors. Retrospective studies exploring associations between environmental factors and ASDs are compromised by selection bias, small sample sizes, possibly invalid diagnosis, and absence of biologic measures. This prospective study will employ an unselected birth cohort of 75,500 in which cases are ascertained through screening of the entire population, diagnoses established using uniform procedures, extensive histories and clinical data obtained, and biologic samples collected serially throughout pregnancy and early childhood. The application of high throughput laboratory assays to derive maximal information from developmentally-influenced, finite, and nonrenewable biologic samples, and inclusion of early screening and diagnostic assessments, will permit an unprecedented, rich view of the longitudinal trajectory and nascent signs and symptoms of ASDs, facilitate discovery of biomarkers, and afford unique insights into the role of gene:environment interactions in ASD pathogenesis. Specific aims are to: (1) establish the autism Birth Cohort (ABC) through ascertainment of cases of autism spectrum disorder (ASD, N=150-233) and selection of controls (N-1000) from the Norway Mothers and Child (MoBa) cohort; (2) examine biologic pathways that may predispose to ASD, through evaluation of immune, endocrine, and neuroregulatory factors in mothers during early gestation or at birth and in children, at birth or 30 months postnatal; (3) identify environmental factors that may be directly or indirectly associated with ASD, including pre- or postnatal infection, vaccination, very low birth weight or other obstetric risk factors in which infections are implicated, dietary and/or environmental exposure to methylmercury; (4) describe the natural history of clinical, anthropometric, and neurobehavioral features of ASD; and (5) explore genotypic influences that may be directly or indirectly associated with ASD by testing associations of ASD and/or its endophenotypes with family history of autoimmune disease or selected candidate genes, and investigating conditional gene-environment effects using antecedent factors found to influence ASD risk.

NIH Spending Category:
autism; Brain Disorders; Clinical Research; Genetics; Immunization; Mental Health; Mental Retardation (Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD)); Neurosciences; Pediatric; Prevention; vaccine Related

Project Terms:
autism spectrum disorder; Autistic Disorder; Autoimmune Diseases; base; Biological Assay; Biological Markers; Birth; Candidate Disease Gene; case control; Child; Clinical; Clinical Data; cohort; Cohort Studies; Collaborations; Collection; Confusion; Control Groups; design; Development; Diagnosis; Diagnostic; Discipline of obstetrics; Disease; disorder risk; Drops; early childhood; Endocrine; endophenotype; Environment; Environmental Exposure; Environmental Risk Factor; Epidemic; Epidemiologic Studies; Evaluation; Exposure to; Family history of; gene environment interaction; Genes; Genetic; Hereditary Disease; Immune; immune function; Infection; insight; interest; Investigation; Laboratories; Life; Measles; Measures; member; Mercury; Methylmercury Compounds; Mothers; Mumps; Natural History; Nested Case-Control Study; neurobehavioral; Neurodevelopmental Disorder; Norway; novel; Pathogenesis; Pathway interactions; Phase; Population; postnatal; Pregnancy; prenatal; Prevalence; Procedures; prospective; Prospective Studies; Recording of previous events; Relative (related person); Reporting; Research; Research Design; Retrospective Studies; Risk Factors; Role; Rubella; Sample Size; Sampling; Screening procedure; Selection Bias; Signs and Symptoms; Specimen; Testing; Vaccination; Vaccines; Vacuum; Very Low Birth Weight Infant

A PRIMATE MODEL OF GUT, IMMUNE, AND CNS RESPONSE TO CHILDHOOD VACCINES.

Abstract Text:
This subproject is one of many research subprojects utilizing the resources provided by a Center grant funded by NIH/NCRR. Primary support for the subproject and the subproject’s principal investigator may have been provided by other sources, including other NIH sources. The Total Cost listed for the subproject likely represents the estimated amount of Center infrastructure utilized by the subproject, not direct funding provided by the NCRR grant to the subproject or subproject staff. Diagnoses of childhood developmental disorders involving autism-spectrum symptoms are increasing, estimated to affect 1 in 100 children in the United States. Childhood Vaccines have been hypothesized to be contributory factors to this increase. The childhood vaccine regimen has an experimentally unstudied potential for cumulative and synergistic toxicities and possible immunologic interference to normal development. A prior study developed a primate model to assess neurodevelopmental consequences of the 1994-1999 pediatric thimerosal vaccine regimen (1994-1999). Significant neurodevelopmental deficits were evident for vaccinated animals in survival reflexes and standardized cognitive tests, and exposed animals developed gastrointestinal inflammation associated with focal transmural colitis, lymphoid hyperplasia, and syncytia.

NIH Spending Category:
autism; Brain Disorders; Cancer; Digestive Diseases; Immunization; Lymphoma; Mental Health; Mental Retardation (Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD)); Pediatric; Rare Diseases; vaccine Related

Project Terms:
Affect; Animals; Autistic Disorder; Child; Childhood; Cognitive; Colitis; cost; Development; developmental disease/disorder; Diagnosis; Funding; gastrointestinal; Giant Cells; Grant; Immune; Immunologics; Inflammation; lymphoid hyperplasia; Modeling; National Center for Research Resources; Neurodevelopmental Deficit; Primates; Principal Investigator; Reflex action; Regimen; Research; Research Infrastructure; Resources; response; Source; Symptoms; Testing; Thimerosal; Toxic effect; United States; United States National Institutes of Health; Vaccinated; Vaccines

NEURODEVELOPMENTAL TOXICOLOGY OF AUTISM

Abstract Text:
The long range goal is to determine if exposure to environmental toxicants early in development contributes to the etiology of neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism. A related goal is to determine whether susceptibility to autoimmune disease increases the neurotoxicity of environmental contaminants and increases the risk for developing disorders such as autism. Understanding how exposure to environmental toxicants may contribute to the etiology of neurodevelopmental disorders is important so that the exposure risks can be identified and minimized. If immune system dysfunction is found to increase the risk of exposure to environmental toxicants, then exposure limits to toxic substances can be lowered, and children with immune system dysfunction who may be at increase risk can be identified and protected. The specific aims are to expose mouse strains with low (C57BL/6J) or high (SJL mice) susceptibility to autoimmunity perinatally to either methylmercury (MeHg), polychlorinated biphenyl 95 (PCB 95) or polybrominated diphenyl ether 47 (BDE 47). We will then compare the effects of toxicant exposure between these mouse strains on brain development, complex social behaviors, and immune system function. The hypothesis is that perinatal exposure to each of these toxic substances will impair brain development and behavior, and that suscepbility to autoimmune disease will increase the neuro- and immunotoxicity of these agents. We will also explore a potentially new model of autism in mice injected prenatally with unique autoantibodies isolated from the serum of mothers who have given birth to two more more autistic children. Brain development will be examined histologically using stereological procedures and immunohistochemistry. Complex social behaviors will be studied using behavioral testing procedures established in our laboratory that measure social recognition, social interaction and social communication in mice. Immune system status will be established by measuring cytokines, chemokines, immunoglobulins, and quantifying immune system response to antigenic stimulation. In addition, seizure susceptibility will be measured in toxicant-exposed mice as well as measures of synaptic excitibility and plasticity in hippocampal brain slices. These studies will provide critical new information on the role of the immune system and its interaction with environmental contaminants in autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders.

NIH Spending Category:
autism; Autoimmune Disease; Behavioral and Social Science; Brain Disorders; Epilepsy; Mental Health; Mental Retardation (Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD)); Neurodegenerative; Neurosciences; Pediatric; Perinatal Period – Conditions Originating in Perinatal Period

Project Terms:
Age; Animal Testing; Antibodies; Anxiety; autistic Children; Autistic Disorder; Autoantibodies; Autoimmune Diseases; Autoimmune Process; Autoimmunity; Behavior; behavior test; Behavioral; Biological Assay; Birth; Brain; CCL2 gene; CCL3 gene; CCL4 gene; Cerebellum; chemokine; Chemokine (C-C Motif) Ligand 4; Child; Complex; cytokine; density; Development; developmental disease/disorder; developmental neurotoxicity; Disease; Environmental Pollution; Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay; Etiology; Exposure to; fetal; Fibroblast Growth Factor; Flurothyl; Fright; Glutamate Receptor; Goals; Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor; Hippocampus (Brain); Histologic; Homer 1; human TNF protein; IL8 gene; Immune response; Immune system; Immune System and Related Disorders; Immunoglobulin A; Immunoglobulin G; Immunoglobulin M; Immunoglobulins; Immunohistochemistry; Immunophilins; immunotoxicity; In Vitro; in vivo; Infection; Interferon Type II; Interleukin-10; Interleukin-17; Interleukin-4; Interleukin-5; Interleukin-6; Kindling (Neurology); Laboratories; Learning; Leptin; link protein; Long-Term Potentiation; Measures; Memory; Metabotropic Glutamate Receptors; Methods; Methylmercury Compounds; Mitogens; Modeling; Mothers; mouse model; Mouse Strains; Mus; N-Methylaspartate; neurobehavioral disorder; neurodevelopment; Neurodevelopmental Disorder; Neurologic; Neuronal Injury; Neurons; neurotoxicity; offspring; Pentylenetetrazole; Perinatal; Perinatal Exposure; phenyl ether; Plasma; Poisons; Polychlorinated Biphenyls; postnatal; Predisposition; pregnant; prenatal; prenatal exposure; Preparation; Principal Investigator; Procedures; programs; Proteins; RANTES; receptor; receptor function; repaired; Research Design; Research Personnel; research study; response; Risk; Role; Ryanodine Receptor Calcium Release Channel; Ryanodine Receptors; Seizures; sensory gating; Sensory Motor Performances; Serological; Serum; Signal Pathway; Signal Transduction; SJL Mouse; SJL/J Mouse; Slice; Small Inducible Cytokine A3; social; Social Behavior; social communication; Social Interaction; Source; Splenocyte; Structure; Synapses; synaptotagmin; System; T-Cell Proliferation; Testing; Tetanus; Tetanus Toxoid; Tetanus vaccine; Toxic Environmental Substances; toxicant; Toxicant exposure; Toxicology; Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha; Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors; Western Blotting; Work; Xenobiotics

IMMUNOLOGICAL SUSCEPTIBILITY OF AUTISM.
Abstract Text:
Recent studies indicate that immune function in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is profoundly altered compared to developmentally healthy controls. There is a strong interface between the immune system and the neurologic network, and successful neurodevelopment is contingent upon a successful interaction between these two systems. We have identified several aspects of immune dysfunction in patients with autism compared with typically developing controls. These include a reduced response to vaccine antigens of bacterial origin, altered cytokine levels in plasma and upon stimulation of PBMC, increased levels of leptin in patients with early onset autism, and autoantibodies to brain antigens. This wide and complex variety of immune anomalies noted in our first funding period is in keeping with the broad range of phenotypes encompassed by the autism spectrum. Thus, we will build upon our earlier findings of both serologic and cellular changes in immune function. While our studies in the previous project period were aimed at a broad analysis of immune function in patients with autism, the current proposal will address the mechanisms responsible for the numerous alterations in immune homeostasis uncovered in our earlier studies. Therefore, our primary focus will be on the mechanisms responsible for such anomalies in immune function through an in depth analysis of cellular immune function. Our overall hypothesis is that patients with autism have a fundamental defect at the cellular level that ultimately leads to abnormalities in immune function and heightened susceptibility to environmental triggers. To examine this, we propose to: (1) examine longitudinally the serologic profile of children with ASD to ascertain whether the various immune changes noted in our first studies are maintained and/or deteriorating further; (2) determine which immune cell population(s) plays a critical role in the immune dysfunction seen in patients with autism; and (3) fully characterize the autoantibody response in a subpopulation of children with ASD and some mothers of children with ASD. It must be noted that due to the highly heterogeneous nature of autism, there will potentially be immunologic differences that relate to sub-groups of patients with autism. Therefore, we will carefully define the study groups based on our current data to include children with early onset autism, children with delayed onset/regressive autism, general population controls, and children with developmental disorders without ASD. The studies will be performed on CHARGE subjects formerly analyzed by our laboratory (CHARGE-BACK study). This will allow us to extend our prior studies longitudinally to determine if the immune dysregulation, such as increased leptin levels in the early onset patients, remains over time. The following aims address both the serologic and cellular aspects of immune function in patients with autism.

NIH Spending Category:
autism; Brain Disorders; Mental Health; Mental Retardation (Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD)); Neurosciences; Pediatric

Project Terms:
Address; Age; anti-IgM; Antibodies; Antigens; autism spectrum disorder; autistic Children; Autistic Disorder; Autoantibodies; B-Lymphocytes; Back; base; Behavior; Blood Cells; Brain; calcium indicator; Calcium Signaling; Cell Culture Techniques; Cell physiology; Cell Proliferation; Cell surface; Cells; Child; Color; Complex; Cultured Cells; cytokine; Data; Defect; Development; developmental disease/disorder; Digestion; Disease; Dose; Dyes; early onset; Environmental Health; Etiology; fetal; Flow Cytometry; Flu virus; Frequencies (time pattern); Funding; Gel; General Population; HLA-DR Antigens; Homeostasis; Human; IgE; Immune; immune function; Immune system; Immune System Diseases; Immunoglobulin A; Immunoglobulin G; Immunoglobulin M; Immunologics; Label; Laboratories; Lasers; Leptin; Maps; Mercury; Microarray Analysis; Mitogens; Modeling; Mothers; Mus; Nature; neurodevelopment; Neurologic; Oligonucleotides; Pathogenesis; Pathology; Patients; Pattern; Peptides; Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cell; Phenotype; Plasma; Play; Poly I-C; Population; Population Control; Predisposition; Pregnancy; Principal Investigator; Production; programs; Reagent; research study; response; RNA; Role; Serological; Serum; Source; Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization; Staining method; Stains; System; T-Lymphocyte; Testing; Time; TNFSF5 gene; Tube; Up-Regulation (Physiology); Upper arm; vaccine Antigen; Xenobiotics

STUDY OF HEALTH OUTCOMES IN CHILDREN WITH AUTISM AND THEIR FAMILIES

Abstract Text:
This contract modification is to extend and supplement Contract HHSN271201000033C, consistent with the scope of work of “Study of Health Outcomes in Children with autism and Their Families¿ in order to access the currently validated database developed under the contract to provide for further analysis . Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a significant public health concern, with an estimated prevalence of 1 in 88 children in the United States. Much of the research to date has focused on the core social and communication deficits of ASD, but there are anecdotes and some survey data suggesting that the rate of comorbid health conditions may also be elevated in this population. Furthermore, despite several large-scale epidemiological studies that have assessed but not found any potential association between ASD and vaccinations, public concerns persist about such a causal link. At least partly as a consequence, health officials in the United States have reported an increased rate of vaccine refusal in the general population. The Study of Health Outcomes in Children with autism and their Families was begun two years ago. Under this contract, the Contractor analyzed a large dataset of retrospective commercial health plan claims of 46,236 children with ASD, their parents and siblings, and a comparison cohort of children and family members. They successfully completed the analyses requested in the original statement of work, which included a study of the validity of ASD diagnoses in the claims data, and descriptions of health outcomes and health care utilization of the ASD cohort, their family members, and the comparison cohorts.

NIH Spending Category:
autism; Brain Disorders; Immunization; Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD); Mental Health; Pediatric; Prevention; vaccine Related

Project Terms:
Anecdotes; autism spectrum disorder; Autistic Disorder; Child; cohort; Contractor; Contracts; Data; Data Set; Databases; Diagnosis; Epidemiologic Studies; Family; Family member; General Population; Health; health care service utilization; Health Planning; Link; Modification; Outcome; Parents; Population; Prevalence; public health medicine (field); Recording of previous events; Reporting; Research; Siblings; social communication; Surveys; United States; Vaccination; Vaccines; Work

CORE D: MOLECULAR GENOMICS CORE

Core 4 is the Molecular Core. It serves as the central resource for the projects that isolate and process RNA on Affymetrix microarrays, and for performing RT-PCR confirmation of the microarray data for those projects. The UCD Affymetrix Core Facility is run by Dr. Jeffrey Gregg and is equipped with fluidics stations, hybridization ovens, and the new scanner required to scan the human Affymetrix U133 2.0PLUS arrays. Preliminary data from the previous CHARGE study has shown that there are changes in gene expression in the blood of children with autism compared to control children in the general population (GP) and to control children with mental retardation and developmental delay (MR/DD). The blood genomic profile in children with autism without regression (A) was different from controls, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and different from children with autism with regression (A-R). In addition, there is a group of regulated genes in most children with A, A-R and with ASD that are expressed by natural killer (NK) cells in peripheral blood, suggesting an abnormality in this cell type that is common to all types of autism. These NK-cell related genes are expressed by all of the autism phenotypes including A, A-R and ASD, and hence may point to common pathways that underlie the common language and behavioral abnormalities in all three disorders. This core will be utilized by the projects as follows. Project #1: Aim #1: Perform genomic (RNA expression on microarrays) studies on blood from children with autism in the 4-9 year old range, and compare to the blood genomic profiles we have obtained in children with autism in the 2-5 year old age range. Aim #2. Compare gene expression as a function of blood metal levels in both age groups in A, A-R, ASD, MR/DD and GP groups. Aim #3. Examine genomic profiles in pregnant mothers who have previously given birth to an autistic child to determine if there is a specific genomic profile that correlates with whether the mother’s fetus is destined to develop autism. Project #2. Aim #1. Describe the gene expression profiles in the blood using specific white blood cell subsets including NK cells for children with autism without regression, autism with regression, and ASD children compared to GP and delayed children. Aim #2. Examine gene expression following stimulation or activation of specific white blood cell subsets of A, A-R, ASD, MR/DD and GP children with: low level mercury; immune cell stimulation/activation with vaccine antigens and cell-specific mitogens; and xenobiotics. Project #3. Compare gene expression profiles in the blood of children with autism to the blood of experimental animals exposed to toxicants including organic mercury, PCB 95, and PBDE 47 (Project #3).

NIH Spending Category:
autism; Biotechnology; Brain Disorders; Genetics; Mental Health; Mental Retardation (Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD)); Pediatric

Project Terms:
5 year old; 9 year old; Accounting; Age; age group; Animals; autism spectrum disorder; autistic Children; Autistic Disorder; Autoantibodies; base; Behavioral; Birth; Blood; Blood specimen; cell type; Cells; chemokine; Child; Core Facility; cytokine; Data; Developmental Delay Disorders; Disease; Environmental Health; Fetus; Gene Expression; General Population; Genes; Genetic; Genetic Transcription; Genome; Genomics; Human; Immune; immune function; Inherited; Language; Leukocytes; Mental Retardation; Mentally Disabled Persons; Mercury; Metals; Mitogens; Molecular; Molecular Profiling; Mothers; Natural Killer Cells; Pathway interactions; Patients; pentabromodiphenyl ether; peripheral blood; Phenotype; Polychlorinated Biphenyls; Population Group; pregnant; Principal Investigator; Process; programs; Resources; Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction; RNA Processing; Running; Scanning; Subgroup; Surveys; Toxic Environmental Substances; toxicant; vaccine Antigen; Xenobiotics

THE CHARGE STUDY: CHILDHOOD AUTISM RISKS FROM GENETICS AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Abstract Text:
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Few rigorous epidemiologic studies have addressed the environmental causes and biologic underpinnings of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The CHARGE (Childhood autism Risks from Genetics and Environment) Study is a large, population-based case-control investigation of environmental risk factors, broadly defined, in relation to ASD and developmental delay without ASD symptoms, with referents from the general population. Fieldwork began in 2003, and by now CHARGE has published widely on exposures such as air pollution, mercury, flame retardants, maternal nutritional status in the peri-conception, untreated fever during pregnancy, mitochondrial dysfunction, candidate genes, a wide array of functional immune markers in both the child and the mother, and maternal metabolic conditions including obesity and diabetes. This last finding is notable, given the epidemic of obesity and type 2 diabetes that has occurred in parallel with the steady rise in ASD over the last few decades. Moreover, an emerging literature implicates several endocrine disrupting chemicals as contributing to obesity and metabolic dysregulation, including hyperinsulinemia, and to neurodevelopmental disorders as well. This project therefore builds upon these observations in several ways. First, obesity and type 2 or gestational diabetes will be examined in a larger sample, and glucose challenge test (GCT) results for the first time, to determine associations not only with development of ASD and intellectual impairment in the children, but also with specific speech and language delays, behavioral phenotypes such as attention deficits or hyperactivity, and gene expression. Second, these maternal metabolic conditions will be evaluated for associations with markers of both metabolic and immune dysregulation to be measured in neonatal bloodspots. Third, the predictive value of neonatal bloodspot markers for a later diagnosis of ASD or other child developmental and behavioral outcomes will be assessed. Fourth, the maternal metabolic conditions will be analyzed for potential links with upstream exposures to phthalates and anti- bacterial compounds, ubiquitous chemicals in common household products. Finally, this project will examine how gene variants that play a role in biochemical pathways relevant to the processes under study may influence susceptibility of the mother, the neonate or the child. To ensure adequate power for this analysis of gene-environment interaction, the sample size will be increased to 2400 children. This project addresses several goals set by the NIH Interagency autism Coordinating Committee: 1) to discover environmental factors contributing to ASD, particularly in the prenatal period, 2) to understand biological mechanisms for ASD risk, including gene-by-environment interactions, and 3) to identify children at risk for ASD at earlier time points. Results of this detailed inquir into early exposures, maternal pathophysiology and prognostic markers in the newborn will set the stage for developing prevention strategies.

Public Health Relevance Statement:
PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: This project addresses several issues of direct public health relevance, and the science to be produced will lead to benefits in a wide cross-section of the U.S. population. Because obesity is reaching epidemic proportions and other metabolic conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes, and dyslipidemia are rising steeply, understanding environmental causes has tremendous public health potential for moving us closer to effective prevention strategies. If environmental chemicals used in common household products do prove to adversely affect body weight, measures can be taken to either reformulate those products, removing them from the market, or to educate consumers on how to avoid them. Similarly, steady increases in ASD might be curbed if the postulated causal pathway is supported by the evidence.

NIH Spending Category:
autism; Behavioral and Social Science; Brain Disorders; Clinical Research; Diabetes; Genetic Testing; Genetics; Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD); Mental Health; Neurosciences; Nutrition; Obesity; Pediatric; Perinatal Period – Conditions Originating in Perinatal Period; Prevention

Project Terms:
Address; Affect; Age; aged; Air Pollution; Anti-Bacterial Agents; Attention; autism spectrum disorder; Autistic Disorder; Behavior; Behavioral; Biochemical Pathway; Biological; Biological Markers; blood glucose regulation; Body Weights and Measures; C-Peptide; Candidate Disease Gene; case control; CCL2 gene; chemical association; Chemicals; Child; Childhood; Conceptions; cytokine; Data; Development; Developmental Delay Disorders; Diabetes Mellitus; Diagnosis; disorder risk; Dyslipidemias; Endocrine Disruptors; Ensure; Environment; environmental chemical; Environmental Risk Factor; Epidemic; Epidemiologic Studies; ESR1 gene; Exposure to; Fever; Flame Retardants; Functional disorder; gene environment interaction; Gene Expression; General Population; Genes; Genetic Risk; Gestational Diabetes; Glucose; glucose metabolism; Goals; high risk; Household; Household Products; human TNF protein; Hyperactive behavior; Hyperinsulinism; Hypertension induced by pregnancy; Immune; immune function; Immunologic Markers; Impairment; inattention; Inflammation; Inflammatory; Insulin Resistance; insulin sensitivity; interest; Interleukin-6; Investigation; Language Delays; Lead; Leptin; Link; Literature; Marketing; Maternal Exposure; Measures; mercury; Metabolic; Metabolic Marker; Metabolism; mitochondrial dysfunction; Mothers; Neonatal; neonate; neurodevelopment; Neurodevelopmental Disorder; Newborn Infant; Non-Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus; Nutritional status; Obesity; Outcome; Pathway interactions; Phenotype; phthalates; Play; Population; population based; PPARG gene; Predictive Value; Predisposition; Pregnancy; prenatal; Prevention strategy; Process; prognostic; Prognostic Marker; public health medicine (field); public health relevance; Publishing; Regulation; Risk; Role; RORA gene; RPL10 gene; Sample Size; Sampling; Science; Self Care; Speech Delay; Staging; Symptoms; Test Result; Time; Triclosan; Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha; United States National Institutes of Health; Variant; Variation (Genetics)

PRENATAL TIMING OF HEAVY METAL EXPOSURES FROM AUTISTIC AND NON-AUTISTIC CHILDREN

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Little is known about the etiology or risk factors for autism, a disease affecting 1 in 50 children in the U.S. While genetic and environmental factors are thought to act together, the specific mechanisms are not known and the measurement of environmental risk factors during critical periods of neurodevelopment has been lacking. This case-control study seeks to apply a novel dental biomarker of early life metal exposure, including in utero, to identify risk factors for ASD. Beyond looking at exposure intensity, we will be able to identify differences in exposure timing between cases and controls. This will allow us to identify critical windows when exposure, even at low levels, increases the risk of ASD. Using the proposed biomarker, we will directly assess fetal exposure, and will not rely on maternal biomarkers which may only provide an indirect measure of fetal exposure to metals. This work will have substantial impact on epidemiologic investigations of the relation of early life chemical exposures to ASD and other neurodevelopmental disorders as it can be used to objectively reconstruct both exposure intensity and timing.

Public Health Relevance Statement:
PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Little is known about the causes of autism. This proposal seeks to apply a novel dental biomarker of early life metal exposure, including in utero, to identify risk factors for ASD. Beyond looking at exposure intensity, our application is novel in that we will be able to identify differences in exposure timing between cases and controls. This will allow us to identify critical windows when exposure, even at low levels, increases the risk of ASD.

Project Terms:
Accounting; Address; Affect; Aluminum; analytical method; Animals; Apatites; Arsenic; autism spectrum disorder; autistic Children; Autistic Disorder; Binding (Molecular Function); Biological; Biological Markers; bone; Cadmium; Calcified; Calcium; case control; Case-Control Studies; Chemical Exposure; Chemicals; Child; Childhood; Chromium; critical period; Data; deciduous tooth; Dental; Dentin; Development; Disease; early life exposure; Elements; Environment; Environmental Exposure; Environmental Risk Factor; Epidemic; Epidemiologic Studies; Etiology; Exposure to; fetal; Fetus; Genes; Genetic; Health; Heavy Metals; Human; Immune system; in utero; Investigation; Lead; Life; Literature; longitudinal design; Manganese; Measurement; Measures; mercury; Metal exposure; Metals; Methodology; Methods; mineralization; Mothers; neurodevelopment; Neurodevelopmental Disorder; Nickel; novel; Perinatal; Perinatal Exposure; Play; postnatal; Predisposition; Pregnancy; prenatal; Property; prospective; public health relevance; Recording of previous events; repository; Risk; Risk Factors; Role; Sampling; skeletal; Staging; Time; Tissues; Tooth structure; Toxic Environmental Substances; toxicant; Toxicant exposure; Work

comment on: Childhood vaccine beliefs reported by somali and non-somali parents.

14 Jul

Autism in the U.S. Somali Community has gathered significant attention in recent years (as has autism in other Somali communities outside of Somalia, for example in Sweden). Most of the attention in the U.S. can be traced back to vigorous advocacy by people like my fellow IACC public member Idil Abdul. Not all attention is good. For example, Minnesota Somali parents received a lot of attention from groups promoting the failed vaccine/autism link. When news of the possibly high prevalence in the Minnesota Somali community arose, David Kirby used the story to promote the idea of vaccines causing autism. Generation Rescue brought in Andrew Wakefield to talk to Somali parents in closed door meetings.

With the discussion of vaccines and autism comes fear and with fear of vaccines comes a reduced uptake. One recent story reports that the MMR uptake in the Minnesota Somali community dropped from 90% to 54% in the past 10 years. Sadly, that same story discusses how the Minnesota Somali community is presently involved in one of the largest measles outbreaks in recent history.

The question is, what are the views of the Somali community on vaccines and autism? To answer that, a new study has just been released: Childhood vaccine beliefs reported by somali and non-somali parents. (note the lack of capitalization of Somali is in the original). The full paper is available online.

There are limitations to the study, such as the use of a “convenience sample” of parents attending one specific clinic. This could induce bias. Also, the response rate was about 50%. This is reasonable, but again some bias might be involved in who actually responded. People who distrust vaccines might distrust those performing the survey, for example.

To answer the question–yes, Somalis in Minnesota do think that the MMR causes autism more than their non-Somali counterparts. Nearly 5 times more likely. But, the majority do not believe–about 35% of Somali parents and 8% of non-Somali parents believe that autism is caused by vaccines.

At recent IACC meetings, Idil Abdul has related how she knows Minnesota Somali families who stopped vaccinating after having a first autistic child. These families went on to have more autistic children. Unvaccinated autistic children. In one family, she relates a family with 5 autistic children.

This stands as an example of where we in the autism parent community have failed. We scared the parents in the Minnesota Somali community, sending in Generation Rescue, Andrew Wakefield and David Kirby. Parents stopped vaccinating, offering zero protection from autism but leaving their children open to infectious diseases. To say nothing of the guilt that parents feel and the children who grow up under that falsely placed guilt.

Yes, I stand apart from the minority of parents spreading the message of a vaccine-epidemic. But, as a community, we have to accept our failures as a community. And this is an example of a big failure.

Here is the abstract.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

In 2011, an outbreak of measles in Minnesota was traced back to an unvaccinated Somali child. The purpose of this project was to (1) ascertain whether Somali parents are more likely than non-Somalis to refuse childhood vaccinations, particularly the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and (2) determine what factors influence the decision not to vaccinate.

METHODS:

We explored parental perceptions and utilization of vaccines through a survey distributed to a convenience sample of Somali and non-Somali parents of children ≤5 years old in a family medicine clinic in Minneapolis, MN.

RESULTS:

A total of 99 surveys were completed, 28% (n = 27) by Somali parents. Somali parents were more likely than non-Somali parents to have refused the MMR vaccine for their child (odds ratio, 4.6; 95% confidence interval, 1.2-18.0). Most of them refused vaccines because they had heard of adverse effects associated with the vaccine or personally knew someone who suffered an adverse effect. Somali parents were significantly more likely to believe that autism is caused by vaccines (35% vs. 8% of non-Somali parents). Somalis were also more likely to be uncomfortable with administering multiple vaccines at one visit (odds ratio, 4.0; 95% confidence interval, 1.4-11.9) and more likely to believe that children receive too many vaccines.

CONCLUSIONS:

Statistically significant differences in perceptions and use of vaccines were reported by Somali and non-Somali participants. Somali parents are more likely to believe that the MMR vaccine causes autism and more likely to refuse the MMR vaccine than non-Somali parents. These beliefs have contributed to an immunization gap between Somaliand non-Somali children


By Matt Carey

Comment on: Prevalence of overweight and obesity in a large clinical sample of children with autism

10 Jul

Medical comorbidities is a somewhat common topic of discussion in the autism communities. We don’t usually hear about neurological disorders other than epilepsy, or mental health conditions, even though these appear to be very prevalent in autistic youth.

Obesity is more common in autistic adults than non-autistics as is hypertension. And now a new study shows that the problems with overweight and obesity start in childhood. Autistic kids are twice as likely to be overweight and five times as likely to be obese as non autistic kids. The reason for this is not explored in this study. One obvious place to look is a lack of physical exercise and poor diet.

Prevalence of overweight and obesity in a large clinical sample of children with autism

BACKGROUND:
Overweight and obesity are major pediatric public health problems in the United States; however, limited data exist on the prevalence and correlates of overnutrition in children with autism.

METHODS:
Through a large integrated health care system’s patient database, we identified 6672 children ages 2 to 20 years with an assigned ICD-9 code of autism (299.0), Asperger syndrome (299.8), and control subjects from 2008 to 2011 who had at least 1 weight and height recorded in the same visit. We calculated age-adjusted, sex-adjusted body mass index and classified children as overweight (body mass index 85th to 95th percentile) or obese (≥95th percentile). We used multinomial logistic regression to compare the odds of overweight and obesity between groups. We then used logistic regression to evaluate factors associated with overweight and obesity in children with autism, including demographic and clinical characteristics.

RESULTS:
Compared to control subjects, children with autism and Asperger syndrome had significantly higher odds of overweight (odds ratio, 95% confidence interval: autism 2.24, 1.74-2.88; Asperger syndrome 1.49, 1.12-1.97) and obesity (autism 4.83, 3.85-6.06; Asperger syndrome 5.69, 4.50-7.21). Among children with autism, we found a higher odds of obesity in older children (aged 12-15 years 1.87, 1.33-2.63; aged 16-20 years 1.94, 1.39-2.71) compared to children aged 6 to 11 years. We also found higher odds of overweight and obesity in those with public insurance (overweight 1.54, 1.25-1.89; obese 1.16, 1.02-1.40) and with co-occurring sleep disorder (obese 1.23, 1.00-1.53).

CONCLUSIONS:
Children with autism and Asperger syndrome had significantly higher odds of overweight and obesity than control subjects. Older age, public insurance, and co-occurring sleep disorder were associated with overweight or obesity in this population.

Copyright © 2014 Academic Pediatric Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


By Matt Carey

Comment on: Immunization uptake in younger siblings of children with autism spectrum disorder.

10 Jul

While doing a bit of reading for a recent article: A study comparing vaccinated and unvaccinated kids is coming…and SafeMinds is concerned, I ran across this abstract: Immunization uptake in younger siblings of children with autism spectrum disorder.

What did they find? That parents often delayed vaccines for younger siblings of autistic kids. And that this made no difference on the autism rate in those younger siblings. In fact, most of the younger siblings with ASD diagnoses were not fully immunized.

This isn’t a study of just MMR or just thimerosal. It’s all vaccines. In online autism/vaccine discussions, you will often read something to the effect of “only one vaccine and one ingredient have been studied”. Wasn’t true before this new study. Isn’t true now. Will be even less true when the next study comes out.

Why do I suspect that “Dr. Bob” Sears, SafeMinds, Generation Rescue, the National Autism Society and TACA won’t include this study in the literature they bring to parents’ attention?

Background: Parental concerns persist that immunization increases the risk of autism spectrum disorder, resulting in the potential for reduced uptake by parents of younger siblings of children with autism spectrum disorder (“younger sibs”). Objective: To compare immunization uptake by parents for their younger child relative to their older child with autism spectrum disorder (“proband”) and controls.

Design: Immunization status was obtained for 98 “younger sibs,” 98 “probands,” and 65 controls.

Results: A significant group difference emerged for overall immunization status (Fisher’s exact test = 62.70, p < .001). One or more immunizations in 59/98 younger sibs were delayed (47/98; 48%) or declined (12/98; 12.2%); immunizations were delayed in 16/98 probands (16.3%) and declined in only one. All controls were fully immunized, with only 6 (9.2%) delayed. Within the "younger sibs" group, 25/98 received an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis; 7 of whom (28%) were fully immunized. The rates of autism spectrum disorder diagnosis did not differ between immunized and nonimmunized younger sib groups, although small sample size limits interpretability of this result.

Conclusion: Parents who already have one child with autism spectrum disorder may delay or decline immunization for their younger children, potentially placing them at increased risk of preventable infectious diseases.


By Matt Carey

More embarrassment from faux autism advocates

13 May

There are groups, some within the autism communities and some external, who are doing the autism communities harm. Ironically they think they are helping, leading, changing the world. Many of these groups and people adhere to the idea that the rise in autism diagnoses is due to vaccines. Yesterday I wrote about how individuals from these groups have stooped so low as to threaten high school student filmmakers (Faux advocates embarrass the autism communities by attacking high school students and their film project). Today I’m sadly writing about another embarrassing incident: making a statement by photoshopping an important statement by Michelle Obama

In case you haven’t seen it, the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, posted this picture to Twitter (click to enlarge):

MO_Nigeria_Tweet

Ms. Obama is referring to the mass abduction of girls from their school in Nigeria.

The Nigerian abduction story has been in the news for some time and Ms. Obama’s statement garnered a great deal of attention. And with good attention sometimes comes bad. Consider this effort by the faux autism advocate community: (click to enlarge)

AnotherBadPhotoshop

Yes, the faux autism advocates decided to try to get some attention for themselves using Ms. Obama’s picture. In case you are wondering, yes I mean attention for themselves. Consider the statement Ms. Obama publicized: “Bring Back Our Girls”. Simple. Direct. Calls for action. Now consider the statement by the faux autism advocates. Long and doesn’t actually call for real action. Read it again if you missed that. All the action they call for is to call autism an epidemic and a crisis. They are calling for someone to accept their views on autism. They didn’t take the opportunity to say, oh, “We need more support”. “We have 1.2M people with great needs”. No. They called for attention for themselves and their agenda. And they did it in a way that reflects very poorly (to be polite) on the autism communities.

I’m not the only one who finds this effort by the faux autism advocates offensive. Consider these comments from the Canary Party’s (one of the faux autism advocate groups) facebook page:

I work with children who have Autism. I don’t know what to get mad at first. The photoshopping? The callous comparison? The horrible idea that children with a genetic disability are “missing”? The inability to understand what the word epidemic means? Revolting.

How sick and sad! This to me appears that you HATE autistic people- seeing how you view them as “missing” or “damaged” or “soulless”
The very fact you think it needs to be cured is disgusting!

Of the three autistic children I know, two are unvaccinated and they are siblings…this makes me think that autism is genetic and absolutely NOT caused by vaccines.

This is a really gross way to push your agenda…photo shopping a pic of the First Lady?! Insulting those with autism…just ick.

What a shameful way to promote your agenda… The Canary Party’s decision to photo shop this image in particular trivializes the real danger and terror that these young Nigerian girls are going through right now.

You can go to the Canary Party Facebook page and see that, yes, there are some comments supporting the picture. And, in some strange irony, advertisements for faux autism cures. Somehow this is a business opportunity for someone to put his wares in front of autism parents. But most of the comments are very critical of this photoshopped picture.

Let’s go through the faux autism advocate message. Let’s call the 1.2M autistics an epidemic. A crisis. That’s what they want. Not help. Not support for autistics. Labels. Consider this: they’ve been calling autism an epidemic and a crisis for many years. When has it ever helped?

Consider that number: 1.2 million autistics. There’s heavy irony in them using that number. 1.2M is based on an estimate of the number of autistic children in the US based on the recent CDC autism prevalence report. Somehow adults just don’t count to whoever did that photoshop. Also, 1.2M is an estimate assuming that the prevalence is flat among all children. Think about that. 1.2M is a number that basically assumes no epidemic in the past roughly 20 years.

This is an example of why I don’t consider these group and these individuals to be autism advocates but faux autism advocates. They are not helping. They are in the way.

Right now the estimate is that there are 1.2 million autistic children in the U.S.. The real number is almost certainly higher. And there are many more adults. When have these supposed autism advocates called for a real count of autistic adults in this country? The answer is that they haven’t. Such a count would likely give more data to counter their message of a vaccine induced epidemic. Ironically it would move us closer to actually determining if there is a real rise in the fraction of our population who are autistic. It would be a big step forward in understanding the needs of autistic adults. It would be a step towards learning what helped some autistics gain independence or greater independence. And what may have held some back. There’s so much we could learn. So much that frankly could help my kid. But instead we have people crying out for acknowledgement of their failed opinions, not real steps forward.


By Matt Carey

On Andrew Wakefield and the use of the term “fraud” in the press

6 May

Andrew Wakefield has sent a threatening letter to Forbes and Emily Willingham claiming harm over their use of the word “fraud” in a recent article. I wrote about this recently but then thought, “I wonder how often the term ‘fraud’ shows up in the press. Here are some examples from a recent Google News search.

Vail Daily column: Vaccine: Not a 4-letter word

But before I continue, realize that a few years later Wakefield was found guilty of falsifying data in order to fit a desired conclusion and was stripped of his license to practice medicine. The hypothesis that MMR caused autism was declared fraudulent, and Wakefield is now living in Texas pushing homeopathic medicine (read: watered-down to the point it needs no FDA approval) to the gullible.

STONE: Vaccines save lives

First, let’s put to bed one of the more outlandish conspiracy theories brought on by the anti-vaccine movements that vaccines cause autism. Jenny McCarthy, fueled by a biased and fraudulent study in 1998 by Dr. Andrew Wakefield claiming autism was linked to the combined measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine, used her celebrity stature to “raise awareness” for parents to reconsider vaccines for their children.


LETHBRIDGE: The victory of reason over my vaccination fears

In retrospect, it was the correct decision. Wakefield’s work was later found to be fraudulent. His research practices were ethically dubious, he falsified data and failed to declare certain vested interests.

The vaccine and its controversy

The MMR vaccine became the centre of a controversy following claims (which were subsequently established as fraudulent) that the vaccine was responsible for causing Autism-spectrum disorders in children. The controversy was kicked off in 1998 by the publication of a paper by British surgeon Andrew Wakefield in the medical journal The Lancet. Investigations later revealed that Wakefield had multiple undeclared conflicts of interest, had manipulated evidence, and had broken other ethical codes. The Lancet paper was partially retracted in 2004 and fully retracted in 2010, and Wakefield was found guilty by the General Medical Council of serious professional misconduct in May 2010 and was struck off the Medical Register.

Collin Boots | Immune to reason
The Devil’s Advocate | The anti-vaccine movement, whether religious or secular, needs a dose of reality

Not only have countless follow-up studies directly contradicted this result, but The Lancet actually retracted the original article in 2010 when it was revealed to be fraudulent. Wakefield was also stripped of his medical license

Richard Feldman: Vaccines and autism: Numerous studies indicate no connection

British researcher Dr. Andrew Wakefield authored completely bogus research in 1998 that linked the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine to autism. His fraudulent research was finally exposed; he was completely discredited and lost his British medical license.

Don’t let parents opt out of ‘mandatory’ vaccinations

In 2011, the British Medical Journal published an investigative piece by Sunday Times reporter Brian Deer, debunking Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s vaccine/autism study as “an elaborate fraud.”

Only 12 children were studied. Doubts were raised about the manner in which they were recruited and the science with which the study was conducted.

As well, it was discovered Wakefield was on the payroll of a group that had launched a lawsuit against manufacturers of the MMR vaccine — and their claim would be based on his evidence.

What’s most shocking about this is that well-meaning, concerned parents around the world stopped vaccinating their children on the basis of this fraudulent study and Wakefield became the darling of the anti-vaccine activists movement.

Even though it’s been shown to be a giant fraud, there are those who still persist in parroting the untruths.

EDITORIAL: Vaccinate your children

Reasons vary. Some parents prefer a “natural immunity” to vaccine-acquired immunity; others believe vaccines overload a child’s immune system; others say we shouldn’t worry about diseases that have “disappeared.” Then there’s the Jenny McCarthy phenomenon. The former Playboy model has convinced some parents that vaccines cause autism. The one study that linked the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine to autism, by British doctor Andrew Wakefield in 1998, has been discredited as fraudulent, and the published paper was retracted. Autism rates are the same in vaccinated and unvaccinated children.

My position on immunization – Dr. Mark Fishaut

Editors of BMJ, the British medical journal, have even called the study “an elaborate fraud,” accusing author Andrew Wakefield of deliberately falsifying medical data.

Prevention is better than cure

It was also reported that his research methodology was questionable as patient data was manipulated to create the appearance of a link to autism. This conflict of interest plus the fraudulent research resulted in the withdrawal of Wakefield’s paper from The Lancet and revocation of his medical licence.

That’s, what, 10 examples in only the past few weeks?

None have any notation that Mr. Wakefield has contacted them. I have not heard of any such letters being sent other than the one to Forbes and the lawsuit instigated against Brian Deer and the BMJ.

Odd, isn’t it, that all of a sudden Mr. Wakefield decides to threaten one of the Age of Autism’s favorite targets and no one else?


By Matt Carey

Mayer Eisenstein files for bankruptcy…again

22 Jan

Mayer Eisenstein is a go-to person in the vaccines-cause-autism community. He heads a large practice in the Chicago area and claims that his unvaccinated children do not have autism. He also was or is a part of the “Lupron Franchise”—a group of practitioners who took on the Geier idea that shutting down sex hormone production in autistics could be a treatment. It was a profoundly bad idea.

Mayer Eisenstein was the subject of an article in the Chicago Tribune: Autism doctor: Troubling record trails doctor treating autism. From that article:

Yet his suburban Chicago practice, currently known as Homefirst, garnered an alarming record: It was on the losing side of one of the largest U.S. jury verdicts — $30 million — ever awarded to the family of a newborn in a wrongful-death suit.

In court records dating back three decades, the families of dead and brain-damaged children repeatedly alleged that doctors who work for Eisenstein made harmful mistakes — sometimes the same error more than once. His practice also has been dogged by accusations in court records that its offshore malpractice policy was phony.

After the $30M verdict, Mayer Eisenstein filed bankruptcy. Which was not permitted. Again from the article above:

With bankruptcy off the table, a Cook County judge acknowledged the practice’s claim of insolvency, consolidated the $30 million verdict, five remaining malpractice cases and two civil fraud cases and ordered mediation.

Last July, the judge approved a $1.275 million settlement that Homefirst must divide among six families over seven years. Eisenstein’s practice made the first $100,000 payment last September, four months before he opened the autism clinic.

It appears that the $1.275M settlement noted above is the topic of a battle ongoing in the current bankruptcy filing by Dr. Eisenstein. Per the complaint:

The aggregate Settlement Amount of $1,275,000 represents a small fraction of the total of claims by the Personal Injury Plaintiffs, some of which had reached verdict and judgment.

In other words, it appears Mayer Eisenstein wasn’t allowed to avoid payment by filing bankruptcy, but he did reduce the payments dramatically. The settlement also included a payment schedule. The families claim that four annual payments for a total of $430,000 were made, then the payments stopped after 2011. They claimed (as of August 2013):

Installments to Be Paid on or Before: Amount

September 22, 2012 (not paid when due). . . . . . . . . . . . $ 140,000.00

September 22, 2013 (not yet due). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 150,000.00

September 22, 2014 (not yet due). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 160,000.00

September 22, 2015 (not yet due). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 395,000.00

Total due and unpaid and to become due $ 845,000.00

Per the docket, the case was scheduled to go to hearing last month.

In short, it appears that a multiple families were injured by Mayer Eisenstein and/or member of his practice. They sought and were granted damages, only to have Dr. Eisenstein negotiate those down in a 2004 bankruptcy filing. Dr. Eisenstein made some payments, but then stopped. And he now appears to be trying to avoid further payments as part of his new bankruptcy filing, which the families are fighting. Again.

Why, one might ask, didn’t the families get some secutity pledged to cover the settlement should Dr. Eisenstien stop payments? Seems a reasonable thing to do. The answer is they did. It appears that the property he pledged as security was not under Mayer Eisenstien’s control. In other words, when the families sought to get the property in lieu of the payments, they found that Dr. Eisenstein (who holds a law degree in addition to his medical credentials) couldn’t directly hand it over.

The records of the Office of the Recorder of Deeds of Cook County, Illinois disclose the following transactions for the property at 1101 Dodge, Evanston, Illinois, PIN 10-24-

208-032-0000:

(a) Karen Eisenstein (Mayer Eisenstein, M.D.’s spouse) took title by a deed recorded on April 29, 2002 as document number 0020384408.

(b) Karen Eisenstein transferred title to North Star Trust Co. Tr. # 36189 by a deed in trust recorded on June 11, 2003 as document number 0316239026.

25. Paragraph 6 of the Circuit Court order of July 12, 2008 further provides:

“6. Plaintiffs are to have secured creditor status in the event of an applicable bankruptcy filing.”

So, it would appear that Mayer Eisenstein pledged a property as security for the settlement—a property which he had transferred to his wife in 2002 and which she had transferred to a trust company, in 2003. In other words, to this layman, it appears that at the time he put the property up, it was effectively shielded from actually being used as security.

Another question that one would reasonably ask is why weren’t these claims paid by malpractice insurance? That gets very convoluted, but the original settlement agreement included the statment

“I. Defendants in this matter affirm that they do not have any liability insurance coverage for any of the claims of the remaining plaintiffs.”


Defendants would be Mayer Eisenstein and his practice. And here is where it gets convoluted. The current complaint states

45. At one of the meetings pursuant to Section 341 of the Bankruptcy Code, Mayer Eisenstein, M.D. stated that from time to time he has malpractice insurance to allow him to be on staff at an area hospital.

46. At that same meeting, Mayer Eisenstein, M.D. stated that he did not submit any of the claims to that malpractice insurance carrier, because, as he claimed, if he had the insurance would have been cancelled, and he could no longer use the hospital

47. If Mayer Eisenstein, M.D. had medical malpractice insurance coverage in place at a time when the claims or one or more of the Personal Injury Plaintiffs cases arose, then the
statement was false.

Maybe he didn’t have insurance. Maybe he did and didn’t submit the claims.

Let’s take a look back at the Chicago Tribune article. In addition to discussing the Lupron clinic Dr. Eisenstein set up, it also discusses his history with insurance:

He also dabbled in group health plan sales to Illinois families but tangled with state insurance regulators in the mid- to late 1990s. Regulators warned consumers in a newsletter that Eisenstein “continued to illegally market” the Homefirst Health Plan, based in the British Virgin Islands, even after they told him the plan was ineligible. Despite this, he continued selling the plan, records show, and they ordered him to “cease and desist.”

In an interview, Eisenstein said he was offering a “fraternal health plan,” not traditional health insurance, so he said he didn’t have to listen to regulators. He no longer sells health plans.

And, later:

After Nathan Howey’s death, Weiss Hospital sued Homefirst, Rosi and Eisenstein for fraud, alleging they misrepresented their Caribbean-based malpractice policy. Eisenstein testified that he was in St. Kitts helping one of his daughters, a veterinary student there, buy a condo when the lawyer who helped arrange the sale told Eisenstein he also sold malpractice insurance.
“I was tickled pink to get insurance,” he said under oath.

A Cook County judge called it an “improperly underwritten insurance plan.” Eisenstein, who says the policy is legitimate, agreed to pay Weiss $50,000 after mediation.

Yes, “tickled pink” to get insurance. From a Caribbean island real estate/insurance salesman.

For those interested, here are some of the documents from the case discussed above.

Case 13-01050, lawsuit

Exhibit A

Exhibit B


By Matt Carey

Another attempt at legislating an autism-vaccine study

4 Aug

Last week someone forwarded to me an email from the SafeMinds lobbyist. SafeMinds promotes the idea that vaccines, and specifically thimerosal which was formerly in vaccines, caused the rise in autism diagnoses observed in the past decades. The email asked for support for proposed bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, HR 1757.

I am once again saddened that such a vocal minority of the autism communities are focusing their attention on vaccines. Consider that right now there are three bills before congress that come up on a search for “autism”:

Autism Understanding and Training in School Methodologies for Educators Act of 2013
(which is stalled in committee)

H.R. 1757, Vaccine Safety Study Act
(the one that prompted this article, also stalled in committee)

and a Bill introduced just this week (so recent that the text of the bill isn’t online yet)

To establish a health and education grant program related to autism spectrum disorders, and for other purposes.

Three proposed bills on autism, two attempting to improve the lives of autistics and one on vaccines. Surely as a Country, we can do better than this?

Are we hearing a call for support for the other bills from these parent advocate groups promoting autism as vaccine injury? Not that I’ve seen. Are the sponsors of the vaccine bill (Members of Congress Posey and Maloney) cosponsoring the other two bills? No.

As noted, the text of the last bill (health and education grant program) is not up, but the sponsors are Representatives Christopher Smith and Michael Doyle. These are people who were instrumental in getting the Combatting Autism Reauthorization Act passed. These are people with autism on their radar.

By contrast, the main sponsor of the vaccine related bill is not a member of the Congressional Autism Caucus. The cosponsor, Representative Maloney is.

The point I’m trying to make here is this: there are two autism related bills which are not strongly supported by the vaccine-focused parent groups, nor the Members of Congress who are sponsoring the vaccine bill.

Back to the vaccine bill. Bills like this are not new, the bill is similar to ones that have been proposed before:

Comprehensive Comparative Study of Vaccinated and Unvaccinated Populations Act of 2006
Comprehensive Comparative Study of Vaccinated and Unvaccinated Populations Act of 2007
Comprehensive Comparative Study of Vaccinated and Unvaccinated Populations Act of 2009

All were proposed by Member of Congress Maloney. In 2006, the bill had 15 cosponsors. In 2007, 21 cosponsors. In 2009, 9 cosponsors. The present proposed bill has one sponsor (Representative Posey) and 1 cosponsor (Representative Maloney). Support for this bill, while never strong, peaked 6 years ago.

To put this in historical perspective, Robert Kennedy Jr.’s “Deadly Immunity” article (now retracted by Salon.com but still on Rolling Stone) and David Kirby’s “Evidence of Harm” were published in 2005. So it isn’t surprising that the bill enjoyed some support in the early iterations.

Most proposed bills do not get out of committee. The previous incarnations of this bill did not. Fewer bills become law. For example, in her tenure in the House, Member of Congress Maloney appears to have one bill make it to a public law. That bill was a reauthorization of an existing law (changing “dollars and dates”) Some motions by Representative Maloney, such as honoring ex President Clinton have been agreed to by the House.

I already mentioned that Congressman Posey is not cosponsoring the other two autism bills presently before the House. Nor is he a member of the Congressional Autism Caucus. In fact, Representative Posey, the sponsor of the current bill, was not a cosponsor of the 2009 bill, the year he was first elected to Congress. I don’t see him as a cosponsor of CARA. For whatever it is worth, he has received donations from a wealthy Floridian who has worked in the past to get autism vaccine research legislated (Crist backer Gary Kompothecras bullies Florida health officials)

So, with all due respect to Congressman Posey (and a request that he consider a broader support for autism related issues) I’m not seeing H.R. 1757 as an autism focused bill, but a vaccine focused bill. The name says it: H.R. 1757: Vaccine Safety Study Act.

How about the text of the bill? It was rebranded as the “Vaccine Safety Study Act” rather than the previous “Comprehensive Comparative Study of Vaccinated and Unvaccinated Populations Act of 2009”. It starts with some simple findings:

(1) Securing the health of the Nation’s children is our most important concern as parents and stewards of the Nation’s future.
(2) The Nation’s vaccine program has greatly reduced human suffering from infectious disease by preventing and reducing the outbreak of vaccine-preventable diseases.

I wonder how few people currently calling for support of H.R. 1757 would support a House Resolution making only point 2. I suspect the number is small. Vanishingly small. That before we even add point 4 “(4) Childhood immunizations are an important tool in protecting children from infectious disease.”

Then we get to the proposed findings which are more to the core of the views of those promoting this bill:

(5) The number of immunizations administered to infants, pregnant women, children, teenagers, and adults has grown dramatically over recent years.

(6) The incidence of chronic, unexplained diseases such as autism, learning disabilities, and other neurological disorders appears to have increased dramatically in recent years.

You get both the “scary correlation” and the rather interesting use of the word “dramatically”. We saw a “greatly” reduced human suffering in point 2, not a “dramatically reduced” human suffering.

Here’s another interesting proposed “finding”

(9) Childhood immunizations are the only health interventions that are required by States of all citizens in order to participate in civic society.

Really? Vaccines are “required” for children and then up to the point that you can say “I don’t want to do that to my kid” in 19 states (philosophical exemption) or “it’s against my religion” in 48 states (religious exemption) or “my kid has a doctor’s note saying he/she can’t be vaccinated” (medical exemption) in all states. How much income tax would be collected if the “required” taxes had the same out as vaccines? Also, “childhood immunizations” are required by “all citizens in order to participate in civic society”? Really? So, since I didn’t get, for example, a chickenpox vaccine, the MMR (or, my guess, M, M or R vaccines), or, really most of the childhood vaccines, I am somehow barred from participating in civic society?

Let’s limit this just to kids. What is meant by “civic society”? Unvaccinated children are allowed in schools, they are allowed in public places, they can’t vote (neither can vaccinated kids…they are kids after all). That’s what exemptions mean. What restrictions are there on unvaccinated children that Representative Posey is talking about here?

Let’s go on:

(10) Public confidence in the management of public health can only be maintained if these State government-mandated, mass vaccination programs–

(A) are tested rigorously and in their entirety against all reasonable safety concerns; and

(B) are verified in their entirety to produce superior health outcomes.

Makes us accept a few unsupported assertions. Let me approach it like this: vaccine uptake has remained, on average, high for decades. This without the study proposed in this bill. Evidently, vaccines are tested rigorously and in their entirety against all reasonable safety concerns and are verified in their entirety to produce superior health outcomes. At least as far as the US public is concerned.

Then we get:

“(11) There are numerous United States populations in which a practice of no vaccination is followed and which therefore provide a natural comparison group for comparing total health outcomes.”

If you think one of the “numerous” populations considered are the Amish, you’d be correct. They are mentioned later in the bill. They’ve been mentioned in previous versions of the bill. Even though the Amish do, indeed, vaccinate. There was some very poor journalism promoting the idea that the Amish don’t vaccinate (and that their are no autistic Amish, another incorrect statement).

The bill then goes on the instruct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to initiate a study of health outcomes in vaccinated and unvaccinated populations. The bill proposes dictating how the study will be undertaken. For example, here are the proposed qualifications for the investigator (why only one?):

(c) Qualifications- With respect to each investigator carrying out the study under this section, the Secretary shall ensure that the investigator–

(1) is objective;

(2) is qualified to carry out such study, as evidenced by training experiences and demonstrated skill;

(3) is not currently employed by any Federal, State, or local public health agency;

(4) is not currently a member of a board, committee, or other entity responsible for formulating immunization policy on behalf of any Federal, State, or local public health agency or any component thereof;

(5) has no history of a strong position on the thimerosal or vaccine safety controversy; and

(6) is not currently an employee of, or otherwise directly or indirectly receiving funds from, a pharmaceutical company or the Centers for Disease Control.

OK. From now on when the vaccine/autism groups promote a study supposedly linking autism with vaccines, I’ll ask if said investigator “has no history of a strong position on the thimerosal or vaccine safety controversy”. Many such studies are by individuals or teams with clearly strong views favorable to the autism/vaccine hypothesis. I note that people funded by or members of vaccine/autism groups are not barred from the proposed study. No, just people receiving funds from pharmaceutical companies or the CDC, or public health employees, or people who are on any committee which is interested in vaccines…

Then there’s the “Amish” clause:

(d) Target Populations- The Secretary shall seek to include in the study under this section populations in the United States that have traditionally remained unvaccinated for religious or other reasons, which populations may include Old Order Amish, members of clinical practices (such as the Homefirst practice in Chicago) who choose alternative medical practices, practitioners of anthroposophic lifestyles, and others who have chosen not to be vaccinated.

Why would the named groups be any more valuable to researchers than “…others who have chosen not to be vaccinated”?

It’s a useless clause. It’s worse than useless. One would want to study populations as similar in all respects save vaccination as possible. In their press release SafeMinds stated, ” Every 7th grader knows you cannot do a proper experiment without a rigorous control group that can be compared with the exposed group.” Choosing a group which is specifically different from the study group in areas other than the variable of interest would be, by definition, non rigorous. I’ll leave it to the reader whether every 7th grader would understand that, as some well educated adults do not.

The bill ends with:

(f) Transparency- To facilitate further research by the Secretary or others, the Secretary shall ensure the preservation of all data, including all data sets, collected or used for purposes of the study under this section.

This is essentially the “We want an objective researcher to perform this study but if his/her results go against what we hope for, we want the chance for our own people to work with the same dataset” clause.

One site I saw put the chances of this bill becoming law at 1%. In the email that was forwarded to me one thing I don’t recall being stressed was this. “http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d113:h.r.01757:

Sponsor: Rep Posey, Bill [FL-8] (introduced 4/25/2013) Cosponsors (1)
Latest Major Action: 4/26/2013 Referred to House subcommittee. Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on Health.

Yes. The bill was introduced 3 months ago (4/25/2013) and was referred to a subcommittee (4/26) and has not moved, nor collected additional sponsors in that time. Sure, it’s summer and things move slowly in Washington in the summer. But this has the markings of another failed bill. A waste of efforts. Efforts that could go towards supporting some other legislation, or creating some new bill which has the chance to impact the well being of today’s autistic population. But we aren’t seeing a call to action for that. Nor, I suspect, will we.

edit to add:

What’s missing from HR 1757? In my view, any mention of appropriations. The bill does not mention setting aside any money for this study. Sure, HHS probably can move money around and fund another study. But it makes me wonder whether anyone is serious about this getting out of committee.

The bill is essentially the same as the previous incarnations. The “transparancy” clause is new. Also new is this:

(b) Rule of Construction- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize the conduct or support of any study in which an individual or population is encouraged or incentivized to remain unvaccinated.

Yes, they are making it clear that they are not asking for a prospective double-blind study where one group would be intentionally unvaccinated. I’d love to know how that new clause was inserted. It’s probably the simple reality that such a study is unethical and would make this bill dead on arrival.


By Matt Carey