Mrs Antivaxer goes to Atlanta!

Some of you may already know that for antivaxers the center of the vaccine universe is the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.  The mothership of the pro-vaccine movement is ACIP or the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Led by Dr Amanda Cohn, of the CDC, this committee makes the official recommendations on vaccine practices to the US Government.

This week, antivaxers descended on the ACIP meeting, as part of a coordinated effort called Inundate the CDC ACIP meetings. Apparently, they believe if they attend these meetings and wake up the ACIP “sheeple,” then all will be well in the world. A lot of very active antivax mums (and one guy) attended.

 

ETA: Here is one of the videos I watched of their testimony.

 

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In this picture, you can see Denise Marie, who thinks her daughter’s teenage depression is a side effect of HPV vaccine. You can see Hillary Simpson, the #crazymothers who thinks her son’s tummy troubles are a vaccine reaction. There is Jamie Juarez who thinks her son’s autism is a vaccine reaction. Susie Corgan who also thinks her son’s autism is a vaccine reaction. Jaclyn Gallion, who seemingly has no reason to be in attendance. And so on. This is a gallery of women and one man who is a chiropractor, who decided that they needed to tell the committee their vaccine injury stories. Only, none of their stories are actually vaccine injuries. So, it is highly likely the ACIP committee members half listened politely, knowing these are #crazymothers.

SIGH

So, what did they want? They wanted to tell their stories and ask questions, only ACIP members don’t answer questions during public comment periods. So, what did they say? Well, I watched the video on the Inundate Facebook page and here is what they said:

Susie Corgan, in the sleeveless black dress in back, who is on the board of Informed Choice Washington, spoke about how her son is autistic because of vaccines. Except vaccines don’t cause autism. She asked if the ACIP members are listening to their stories?  My question is why would they listen to something irrational?

Tia Severina also has a son with autism and a daughter on the autism spectrum. She does not believe the rise in autism is due to better diagnosis. She is the mom in the red jacket in front. She believes the bad science in books saying that vaccines cause autism.  She believes genetics cause 1% of autism and the rest is environmental. She believes the vaccine safety studies are missing. She believes the cherry picking.

Next up was Teresa Berg from Michigan. She claims that we, as a society, accept ADHD, autism, ASD, speech delays, cancer, and or as normal. I am not sure where she got this idea. She believes vaccines cause all these childhood issues and doctors ignore vaccine reactions. She believes because there are no safety studies on the entire schedule then vaccines cannot possibly be safe. But there are many safety studies.

LeeAnne Johnson has two “severely autistic little boys.”  One of her children has seizures and the other has GI spasms. Of course, these can be comorbid with autism but they are not symptoms of autism. However, she believes these symptoms  are all vaccine injuries and it is “very unfair.”  She believes her children’s case is exactly like Hanna Poling‘s case and should have been compensated by Vaccine Court.

Jaclyn Gallion, of Washington State, spoke about how suicides are related to unvaccinated children who are excluded from outbreaks due to being unvaccinated. She claims that when children are quarantined they become depressed and attempt suicide.  This is really a stretch.  When you turn in a vaccine exemption form, you read that your child will be excluded during an outbreak. So, it is your responsibility, as a parent, to make sure your excluded child is cared for during the quarantine at home.  Really, her point is completely irrational. She wants us to expose unvaccinated children to outbreaks because it might help their self-esteem to not have to stay home? Good lord.

Erin Marie RN (Erin Olszewski) came from Florida feels ACIP should protect our country as their number one priority.  She was very teary when explaining that she was speaking for vaccine injured who have parents who could not attend this meeting. Her son, at 12 months, regressed into autism after MMR.  She believes ACIP is not helping people, that vaccines are not helping people.

I wonder what we can do, as a society, to help these women understand regression can happen with genetic disorders. I believe these moms need support and we need to advocate for families who are suffering while trying to help a disabled child.  If we truly supported them, perhaps they would not be so angry and blaming vaccines?

Jamie Lynn Juarez testified that her son has severe autism which she believes is really viral encephalopathy and vaccine injury. She claims to have two unvaxed healthy children and another daughter she claims is vaccine injured and recovered. She believes vaccines do injure and she claims to have testified in thousands of legal cases for vaccine injured, as a counselor.  She believes there is fraud in CDC, as per JB Handley’s book. She thinks CDC should do more studies and should prescreen babies for potential vaccine injury.

Lori Ciminelli, a retired medical assistant, spoke about how, in her time, children only got 6 vaccines and now her grandchildren get 72. (Sidebar: I am forever unsure why antivaxers think protecting children from more serious diseases is a bad thing. Also, they are very bad at math as children do not get 72 shots.) She also made some appalling statements about adults with severe needs. She asked why were there no adults in diapers in the malls when she was a child?  Well, Lori, there were few malls when you were a child and the special needs adults were in institutions. Nobody took them on day trips. They were warehoused like cattle. She also asked why there was no special education in her childhood. Well, Lori, special education laws were first enacted in the USA in 1975, that is why.  Before then, no one with any special needs was afforded any rights. Your child who had reading trouble, was failing math, was fitchety and getting sent to the Principal’s office a lot?  None of them were treated with any consideration. Your child who could not keep up with the class?  He repeated the grade or was kicked out of school. Prior to 1975, the schools did not have to teach anyone who could not keep up with their peers.

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Elijah Bunch, who’s son Christopher Bunch died recently and he blames HPV vaccine, spoke about his son and Brandy Vaughn, of Learn the Risk, spoke for him. She claims that HPV vaccine is linked to ADEM and paralysis. She claims she has 50 studies that verify her claims. She claims there are serious issues following HPV vaccination, all over the world. She claims there are 432 deaths related to HPV vaccine. She believes that any other pharmaceutical drug would have been removed from the market by now if those many deaths were related to it. She claims that pharmaceutical companies are not studying reports of adverse events and are not studying vaccine safety. She claims that HPV vaccine has caused thousands of deaths. She is a master cherry picker who does not understand chemistry one iota, so I have no doubt there is not much to her “evidence.”

Hillary Simpson, the #crazymothers, believes vaccine injury can be healed without pharmaceuticals. Note that she believes her son was injured by rotavirus vaccine. She asked a few questions. 1. Who thinks it is okay to recommend 72 doses of vaccines without doing a single cumulative study? 2. Who thinks it is okay to not do a vaccinated versus unvaccinated study so they can assess risk? 3. Who thinks it is okay that 54% of our children are suffering from a chronic illness? And 1 in 36 is autistic. 4. What are you, ACIP, doing to protect the children and the vaccine-induced autism epidemic? (note:  Hillary is a former actress and remarkably dramatic) 5. When is ACIP going to start working towards resolution of this massive problem? (big sigh from her) 6. And when are they going to stop hiding behind “we don’t know why?”  Because the #crazymothers know and they are healing their babies.

LeeAnne Anita spoke last, in my viewing. She started off with a quote from Dr Paul Offit about how one cannot really say that MMR causes autism (my take: because that is not the way science speaks) but you should get used to saying that MMR does not cause autism because otherwise, people hear a door being left open when there should not be a door left open. What Dr Offit means by this is telling people the evidence does not support vaccines as causing evidence is confusing to the average person. So, instead of say vaccines do not cause autism.  It is more simple and gets to the point. But, she believes the door has been busted open because only thimerosal has been studied in relation to autism and only MMR has been studied. So, she believes vaccines could still cause autism. She does not understand why aluminum adjuvants are used as a placebo, why hep b is given to babies, why inserts say no safety studies have been done on pregnant women, and why recommendations for vaccines are only based on pharma studies. (of course, that is completely false). She wants an immediate change to the vaccine schedule and believes that Robert Kennedy Jr is correct, as quoted in the JB Handley book, that there is fraud at the CDC.

Another thing that happened this week, in conjunction with this meeting,  is this group approached Dr Paul Offit and somehow convinced him to have lunch with them, off the record. I am shocked he did this but proud of him for making an attempt to hear their concerns.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, they could not resist mocking him afterward and being nasty. They really don’t have any self-control.  During LeeAnn’s testimony, when she was quoting Dr Offit, he was caught on video a “shoot me now” gesture towards his head. #crazymother Hillary, and the others took offense.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was fascinating reading all their comments to each other, all over Facebook. They eventually recognized that it is likely their testimony did nothing at all to sway the committee but they hope parents will hear them and stop vaccinating. They believe the science is on their side and all provaxers are bought by pharma. It is really quite fascinating to observe them from afar. I am quite glad I was not there in person.

 

 

UPDATE: You can find all the videos to watch here.

 

Remember to think for yourself! Vaccines do not cause autism.

 

 

Kathy

 

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Provax autism mom reads JB Handley’s “Autism Epidemic” book

Yes, indeed, this pro-vaccine mom of one spectacular autistic teenage girl spent the last few days reading JB Handley’s new book, How to End the Autism Epidemic.  Please be aware this blog post is going to be very long because I want to cover everything.

 

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I hemmed and hawed about whether I should read it or not but, in the end, I decided it was worth the $10 for the Kindle version to have something to say when antivaxers post a link to it, which they are doing often lately.  The Kindle version did not have page numbers so please note that all quotes are referenced to book section but not to exact page.

Note: please excuse the wonky spacing. I originally wrote this as a Facebook file and the formatting did not copy and paste well to Word Press. I chose not to spend an excess of time figuring out how to space every paragraph identically.

Introduction

The book dives right into the story of JB’s son,  Jamison’s, 2-month well baby visit, after which his health apparently “deteriorated” and developed eczema and insomnia. He had frequent ear infections and digestive pain. By 18 months of age, Jamison apparently was more sick, not talking much, and had what they thought were odd behaviors. JB and his wife had an “excruciating” time getting him screened for autism. (apparently a long wait list is excruciating). The diagnosis of severe autism was a nightmare for JB and his wife. They “wallowed in misery” for a long time, according to the introduction to the book. Of course, thanks to my friend, The Real Truther, we know that JB’s story has actually changed a lot over the years and JB doesn’t actually have a firm timeline for Jamison’s health issues nor is JB sure what was the cause of these issues.
One thing I note about the introduction is it is mostly about JB’s personal experiences and less about anyone else’s. As we have seen with antivax autism warriors, they really do enjoy getting attention for their troubles. And, there is no comparison to what other parent’s who have disabled children feel nor to what the children feel. This is all about JB.
The introduction ends with JB and his wife taking Jamison to an integrative doctor named Lynne Mielke. At the time, she was a Defeat Autism Now! (DAN!) doctor. Dr Mielke convinced them vaccines definitely cause autism because she said she had seen hundreds of patients with the same story as Jamison and she had seen many of them improve with her DAN! protocol. They claim that starting Jamison on this protocol helped return some of his health, including eye contact. At this point, Jamison was two years old and JB and his wife had spent a lot of time on the internet “researching” and wondering why the doctors at Universities didn’t believe in DAN! protocols. JB describes how, at this time in their lives, he was very angry and spent most of his free time “researching.” This is the point, in May 2005, where he and his wife founded Generation Rescue.
It is good to note that JB at least is not completely antivaccine. He says, in the introduction, that “While I acknowledge that vaccines provide some benefit to society in reducing cases of certain acute illnesses, they also cause brain damage in some of the vulnerable kids who receive them.” Note that he is calling autism “brain damage.”

Part one: The lies about vaccines and autism

Chapter 1: there is no autism epidemic

This chapter begins by discussing Steve Silberman’s book,  Neurotribes, which JB found very annoying. I will say that I enjoyed reading this book and own it.  At the time it was published, we were just getting our oldest formally diagnosed with autism. She had always exhibited behaviors and social skills and deficits outside the norm but it was not until she was ten years old that her doctors started talking about autism. She has what we would have once called Aspergers, but today is diagnosed Autism Spectrum Diagnosis.  Thus, I am an autism mom but I will agree that my child’s path has not been easy  but I have been blessed to not have a severely disabled child.
JB counters Silberman’s arguments with data from a book called Mental Disorders and Disabilities Among Low-Income Children and he claims that since he never knew anyone with autism when he was a child and the rate has grown so much then Silberman must be completely wrong.
JB asks the question: “Where are all the adults with autism?”  I find this point of view annoying. I did know people who were “mentally retarded” when I was growing up. Why does JB deny they existed just because he did not personally know one?  People who ask this question are ignoring the changing diagnosis categories (read my “there is no autism epidemic” blog post here) Worse still, when autism rate was 1:45, Robert Kennedy Jr asked “Why isn’t one in forty-five older people you see walking around the mall, why isn’t one in forty-five wearing diapers and wearing a football helmet, and having seizures, head banging and stimming?” This is an offensive description since most all people with autism are not in diapers or having seizures and being in diapers and having seizures are both symptoms NOT of autism alone but a co-morbid condition.
In other words, JB and RFKjr are offensive and ignorant. It is also highly offensive that they assume that everyone with autism is severely disabled and requiring massive assistance to exist.
JB claims that there must be close to 5 million adults with autism, if the data is correct; however, he thinks they don’t exist. Apparently, Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill also published a book recently on this topic, called Denial, and JB believes that because he cannot find cases of autism like his son’s in history then they did not exist. Again, this point of view ignores the history of institutionalizing people with mental retardation, Down Syndrome, schizophrenia and other health issues, some of which we now diagnose as Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Basically, JB denies these people exist.
This quote really sums up JB’s feelings: “Unfortunately, the Good Doctor is like a guy with a small limp and a cane representing paraplegics to the world. His story is fascinating and compelling but bears little resemblance to the autism most parents, myself included, actually deal with every single day.” Because JB lives with an autistic person, he believes his son’s version of autism is the sole version. He believes Silberman fans are “romanticizing” autism while we Silberman fans understand that JB has an extremely limited view of autism. What is confusing is that his idea that autism includes seizures and diapers is not backed up by his own definition of autism: “Despite what you may have read, the definition of autism has remained remarkably consistent over time. Because autism can’t be diagnosed with a blood test, it’s diagnosed through observation, and anyone possessing enough qualities of autism has autism. The hallmarks of an autism diagnosis include early onset of symptoms (typically before thirty months), an inability to relate to others (called “social-emotional reciprocity”), “gross deficits” in language development, peculiar speech patterns, and unusual relationships with the environment.” My own child did not exhibit “gross deficits” but she definitely had peculiar speech patterns and unusual relationships with her environment and social-emotional reciprocity issues, from toddlerhood.
JB is correct that there is research showing autistics have greater incidence of epilepsy and anxiety. My own child suffers extreme anxiety.
JB concludes this chapter with some quotes from RFKjr wherein they believe that denial of an autism epidemic is the government’s way to not accepting responsibility. Strangely, he claims Brian Hooker as a source, calling him a “Simpson University epidemiologist” but Dr Hooker is, in fact, a chemical engineer who now works as a biology professor.  To remind you, Brian Hooker appeared in the film, Vaxxed, to claim his child’s autism was caused by vaccines but saw his vaccine court case dismissed because the evidence proved otherwise. 
In sum, JB and RFKjr believe that pharmaceutical company profits are at risk of collapsing if autism is proven to be caused by vaccines and the government is colluding with pharma companies to cover up this “epidemic.” “The dollar signs associated with the epidemic are so large that it’s worth billions for the prime suspects to evade accountability.” They claim Dr Paul Offit is at the top of the “denial food chain” and that repeat the oft-debunked trope that he makes millions off the rotavirus vaccine and that is why he promotes vaccine in general. (Dr Offit does not own currently any vaccine patents). Because Dr Offit is the Maurice R Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, which is a chair endowed by Merck, JB and RFKjr see conspiracies everywhere. These two also claim Dr Peter Hotez, Dr Eric Frombonne, and Dr Paul Shattuck are “industry mouthpieces with deep ties to the vaccine industry.”
So, they see conspiracies everywhere but provide no proof to back them up.
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JB makes another claim I find offensive: “Denying the autism epidemic is to deny the suffering of millions of children and their families and also to deny the exploration into the true cause so the epidemic might end.” This is so bad. Provaxers never deny anyone is experiencing health issues or suffering. We want to find the actual causes so we can treat people effectively.
JB defines his “three main arguments by deniers:
1. The diagnosis has improved. JB does not believe this is fact. He cites the 2012 Autism Congressional Hearing conversation between Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and CDC’s Dr Coleen Boyle as evidence, which is silly. That conversation has been taken out of context so many times by antivaxers I would be rich if I had ever bet on it. Dr Boyle tries to answer the questions about what the CDC studies and is interrupted by Congresswoman Maloney and then told to send her the studies. That conversation doesn’t prove anything.
2. Autism is mental retardation reclassified. JB believes the “autism epidemic” started in the 1980s.  I debunked this here, as did Emily Willingham here.
3. The definition of autism has expanded. This is scientific fact so I am unclear as to why JB has issue with it.
JB concludes this chapter with a look at James Lyons-Weiler’s opinions on the issue of whether autism is genetic or not. (Skeptical Raptor echoes my thoughts on this guy)
JB ends this chapter with the following: “Pouring cold water on the severity of the autism epidemic inhibits the call to action we all need to find causation. It gives scientists on the fence an “out” where they can describe the autism epidemic as “up for debate.” It denies the suffering of so many impacted children, and it’s prevented a redirection of research dollars to find environmental causes. In the end, saying the autism epidemic isn’t real is simply a lie, and it’s a lie that extends the suffering of so many children.”
I am sorry but I had to roll my eyes big time here. As far as I have seen, no one denies how some people on the autism spectrum have severe issues. There is a massive amount of research going on to find causes and supports. Just because biomedical ideas are discounted doesn’t mean autism is not taken seriously. Many of us want to support and love autistics, not refer to them as damaged and try to change them.

Chapter 2: Vaccines are safe and effective.

This chapter attempts to make the point that vaccines are not safe and effective. The argument is made that since mortality (death) rates dropped after clean water and refrigeration were introduced then vaccines did not save us. But, no mention is made of morbidity or disease incidence rates. Here is an example of measles mortality overlayed with morbidity, so you can see the difference. The study from which this graph originates clearly points out how the vaccine made a huge difference in USA.
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The Leicester example for smallpox is used to make the argument that vaccines did not stop smallpox. The Leicester example of quarantine is but one case but does not conclude the vaccines had no value nor that quarantine alone in all cases effectively works to eradicate the disease.   I am not sure why antivaxers persist in using this as an example. My friend at Vaxopedia explains.
A few more claims from JB:
JB then goes on to state how he is a herd immunity denier.  Herd immunity is fact, like gravity.
JB believes NCVIA indemnifies vaccine makers from responsibility. The reality is that vaccine court is easier to navigate than claims court.
Other countries give fewer vaccines, JB argues but he is not correct. I blogged about this point a while ago.
JB argues that there will always be outbreaks but the reduction in the rate of measles and other VPDs, post vaccination, counters this claim. The Pink Book is the best source on American disease rates pre and post vaccination.
JB claims that because the majority of mumps patients in a Harvard University outbreak, a few years ago, were vaccinated then vaccines must not work. But, there were 41 cases out of tens of thousands of students, nearly 100% of whom are vaccinated. So, that is a vaccine win. More students would have been sickened if not for vaccines.
JB believes vaccine safety testing is inadequate. He does not make a valid case here. Vaccines are tested much more strictly than other drugs. He further claims that adverse event rate is closer to 1:50 and bases that on a Harvard Pilgrim study but that is one health center and we know that nearly all adverse event reports are for mild reactions, none of which are a reason to avoid future vaccines. He then claims adverse events are not studied well and multiple doses of vaccines are not studies, neither of which are true. (link studies here). He goes on to cite a very old study of the DTP vaccine from Guinea-Bissau which was only published recently. This is classic cherry picking. There is absolutely no reason to consider this one study more valuable than the huge body of immunization science literature. He further cites a Dengue vaccine issue that is unique. Again, this is not a reason to avoid vaccines. And, he writes about a Canadian flu vaccine study that seemed to indicate more flu vaccines might lead to less efficacy.
Then, we have a section of this chapter devoted to Gardasil. JB pays no attention whatsoever to any studies which prove this vaccine safe and efficacious.
Finally, we have some links from JB to studies showing vaccines might be linked to autoimmune disease. He cites the oft-cited trope about the “textbook” that is actually used in not one medical school on earth, called Vaccines and Autoimmunity, as proof that vaccines cause autoimmune disease. This is not a valid source!
JB is a cherry picker. He posts only studies that make his point and does not care if they are valid or replicated. In my opinion, this is a form of lying. He is lying by omission in that he fails to report the vast plethora of studies which prove his points wrong.
At this point, I am getting very annoyed at JB’s cherry picking. He even has a section devoted to doctors who are questioning vaccines, as if that tiny group of shysters is a reason to avoid vaccines.
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Chapter three: the science is settled

JB claims that because only thimerosal has been studied, with regards to autism, that vaccines cannot be ruled out as causing autism.  He cites some opinion statements from antivax persons as proof the studies looking at thimerosal and vaccines are faulty. But, he does not prove we have any reason to validate these opinions. Again, he has cherry picked points that confirm his own biases. He then goes on to bring up the “whistleblower” Dr William Thompson, which is so ridiculous I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. (read the facts of this story here ). And the Thorson trope! Read more on that here. Goodness, JB is grasping at thin straws.
JB devotes the last part of this chapter to a study from Carolyn Gallagher and Melody Goodman at SUNY Stony Brook which looked at rates of Hepatitis B vaccine and special education rates.  This study correlated hep b vaccine rates with rates of special education in American boys. They did not, however, analyze how special education services expanded during the time period. Correlation does not equal causation.
JB then discusses the twice retracted Mawson study as if it is valid. (OMG!) This study has been retracted twice for shoddy methods and not validating data.
At this point, I am seriously wondering how JB looks himself in the mirror daily and takes himself seriously. But, I digress….

Chapter 4: The reward is never financial

This chapter begins by discussing the custody battle between Michigan mother Lori Matheson and her ex-husband, which centers on vaccination issues. JB claims that Dr Stanley Plotkin was supposed to be a witness but then recused himself and, in the meantime, the lawyer for the mother presented a great deal of proof that her son should not be vaccinated. Having followed this case, I think JB is living in LA LA land. I did not see the attorney expose “more truth about vaccines and the vaccine industry in one document than I’ve ever seen.” JB spends a great deal of this chapter on the Plotkin deposition, even claiming the mother’s attorney decimated Dr Plotkin. No proof is given for this point. The attorney, Mr Siri, asked Dr Plotkin about payments received from pharmaceutical conpanies over the years but he never proved this in any way makes vaccines ineffective or dangerous. It was a very strange line of questioning, based solely on conspiracy theories. Much ado is made of the clinical trials for vaccines not using a saline placebo in all trials, but no scientific explanation is offered as to why this is an issue. Dr Plotkin is asked many questions about clinical trials but none about post-licensure safety studies. A great deal is made about the limitations of the pertussis vaccine, but no explanation is given as to why this is a reason to avoid vaccines. Human diploid cells are discussed at great length but no comparison is made between child and infant death rates before vaccines as compared to the legal abortions of the fetuses which cells are now used to make vaccines and save billions of lives. Dr Plotkin is asked some questions about human experimentation as if vaccines are some nefarious plot to experiment illegally on humans.
The whole thing is disgusting. No wonder Plotkin pulled out. The questions have no bearing whatsoever on the father’s right, in this case, to have his child vaccinated.
Then, JB compares tobacco to vaccines. At this point, my eyes rolled so hard I got dizzy and needed to take a break.  Good grief.
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At this point, we get to his thesis: “If all parents believed they had a one in thirty-six chance of their child developing autism from vaccines, the vaccination rates would plummet. And if the pharmaceutical industry were proven to have created an epidemic of autism of several million children worldwide, the economic liability would be astronomical. Just doing some basic math, the average cost of lifetime care for a person with autism is estimated to be $2.4 million dollars.”
JB then spends some time trying to prove Andrew Wakefield is innocent and correct about MMR and again my eyes rolled so hard my BPPV was resurrected. Kidding/not kidding.

End part one

Part II – The truth about vaccines and autism

Chapter 5- Emerging Science and Vaccine-Induced Autism

Chapter 5 begins boldly: “Since 2004 there have been eleven groundbreaking discoveries in separate but related scientific fields that, taken together, reveal the cause of autism. Because of this science, we now know that autism is created by immune activation events in the brain during critical phases of brain development, typically by the time a child is thirty-six months old and that these immune activation events in the brain can be triggered by the aluminum adjuvant in vaccines.”

 

Let us go over the discoveries, but please note that I could probably write a post on each of these discoveries. I will endeavor to link you to information about each but there is no way I can produce a complete list for each.  I am but a humble special education teacher and mom. Please link in comments to more information, if you have it, and I will update this post. 
1. JB believes that Dr Carlos Pardo-Villamizar discovered “autism brains are permanently inflamed.” However, it appears that JB has cherry-picked parts of this study that suit his whims without regard to what it is really stating. The myth that this study supports the idea that vaccines cause autism reached the study author who issued a statement in 2008. “Another issue that is important to clarify is the notion that neuroinflammatory responses mediated by innate responses and neuroglial activation are directly associated with injury. At present, we are not able to conclude that these neuroglial reactions are deleterious for the central nervous system.” This study does not conclude vaccines cause autism, according to one of the main authors.
2. Dr Paul Patterson discovered that immune activation events lead to autism. They found that, in mice, immune activation led to mice with autism-like behaviors. However, they noted that mice models cannot be extrapolated to humans. And, they focused on the relationship between mothers who have infections during pregnancy being at higher risk for having an autistic child. He wrote several papers on how infections during pregnancy can lead to a higher risk of having an autistic child or a schizophrenic child. Note there is nothing about vaccines here. Again, this is not showing vaccines cause autism.
3. The cytokine interleuken-6 is the key biomarker for immune activation. This is again about Patterson but, again, Patterson was not studying vaccines. He was studying infections. Here is a good read about Patterson’s work.
4. Immune activation can take place after birth. This appears to be a theory by someone who hides behind the online moniker “Vaccines Papers” and nothing more. No data, no studies published, just a thought, which is not valid in and of itself.
5. Aluminum in vaccines can produce behavior and motor function deficits. Here, JB brings up the work of Christopher Shaw. Shaw is a Canadian scientist who’s work is funded by the Dwoskin Foundation. Dr Shaw primarily works with Dr Lucija Tomljevnovic at the University of British Columbia. Their interest in aluminum adjuvants coincides with getting grants from the Dwoskin Foundation, aka the Children’s Medical Safety Research Institute. These two have had a few studies retracted for being badly done. Also, the World Health Organization published a page about them, pointing out the flaws in their methods. In sum, their work does not lead us to conclude vaccines cause autism
6. Aluminum adjuvants can be carried to the brain by macrophages. This study is well explained by Scientist Abe over at the Blood Brain Barrier Scientist. Abe is an actual scientist in neurobiology who teaches at an American university. In his post, he also discusses several of the previous “discoveries.” It is a good read. In sum, Gherardi may have stumbled upon something genetic in the French that makes them more susceptible to immune issues after vaccines. It is only, thus far, something seen in France. Or, it could be a correlation. Not enough data to leap to the idea that vaccines cause autism.
7. Aluminum adjuvants stay in the brain longer than anyone realized. This is again about Gherardi and his ideas that aluminum adjuvants can travel to the brain. But, there are serious flaws and bias issues in his work. First of all, like Shaw, he has funding from CMSRI, a group clearly devoted to finding a link between aluminum and autism. That is their goal which makes any research they fund completely tainted by bias. This is also a very poorly done study. Read here to learn about the flaws and questions. Again, this is not a reason to think vaccines cause autism.
8. Small doses of aluminum adjuvants are dangerous. This is apparently about something Vaccine Papers noticed. I am really quite shocked that JB would think that citing the opinion of a person who hides behind a pretend name is valid. We have some ideas who might run Vaccine Papers website but we don’t have confirmation. All we know is he likes to read studies in his own wonky way and then argue a lot about it online. I cannot fathom why we should consider his opinion on this autism matter. But, this is again a mouse study from the Gherardi group in France and we have already discussed their limitations. There is no reason to give this study any validity. Here is an excellent explanation as to why antivaxers have turned their sights on aluminum as the cause of autism and why the theory is bogus.
Side note to the discovery list is the interest JB takes in the opinion of Vaccine Papers. Many times I have debated VP and noted that nobody cares if he does not like the Dr Rober J Mitkus, who wrote the paper “Updated Aluminum and Pharmacokinetics Following Infant Exposures Through Diet and Vaccination.” (link here). VP feels this paper is flawed and gets upset that Mitkus ignores the aluminum studies by Shaw, Exley, Gherardi, etc. In sum, JB and VP both are upset that the poorly done studies they like are not given attention by Mitkus.
9. Aluminum causes immune activation in the brain. This is a rat study where aluminum may have increased inflammation. Again, not related to vaccines, not about humans.
10. Hepatitis B vaccine causes immune activation in mice. This is a study from China. I remember when JB blogged about this study. This is yet another study on rodents that proves nothing. What is interesting is how the ideas in this study connected to misunderstandings about the work of Patterson and Pardo. And, this study overdosed rats, so it cannot compare to humans and vaccines.
11. High levels of aluminum found in autistic brains. This study is by Christopher Exley and it is twice affected by conflicts of interest. Exley is not only on the board of the journal which published it but he is also on the board of CMSRI, the group which funded it! And the study is terrible. Basically, Exley got some precious brain samples from deceased persons with autism. We don’t know how they were exposed to aluminum but he analyzed brain samples for it. His data was all over the map so he averaged it and came up with his idea that autistic brains are smothered in aluminum. Hardly! This study has been discussed here and here and here and does not show any link between vaccines and autism.
JB goes on to pronounce these eleven discoveries “light a clear path to autism.” I feel sad for JB. Or I might if he was not such an angry man who is incredibly rude to anyone who gets in his path. However, I do feel sad for people who will read this book and take him at his word and not read what the studies really say. They certainly do not indicate vaccines cause autism. And I am actually quite shocked JB used Vaccine Papers as a source throughout this book. Really bad, JB. That is not a valid source.

Chapter 6: The Clear and Legal Basis that Vaccine Cause Autism

Chapter 6 is about what JB thinks if the legal basis for vaccines as the cause of autism. He writes “In late 2016 two scientists, in legal depositions, affirmed everything I could have hoped for, and more. And not just any scientists, but Drs. Andrew Zimmerman and Richard Kelley, arguably the two leading mainstream autism scientists in the world. Their intimate relationship with the “vaccine court” almost ended the autism epidemic in 2009, and their ongoing willingness, to tell the truth, will likely contribute to the ending, I hope very soon.” This relates to the case of Yates Hazelhurst, an autistic young man whose parents have instigated three lawsuits to prove vaccines caused his autism. They have lost the first two. The first was in “vaccine court,” where Yates’ case was one of the Autism Omnibus cases. You can read his case here https://www.autism-watch.org/omnibus/hazlehurst.pdf and you can learn more about the Autism Omnibus here. http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p4029.pdf In a nutshell, in 2007, three special masters in the US Court of Federal Claims, heard three test cases selected by a group of petitioners who all believed their children were made autistic by vaccines. The Hazelhurst case was one of them. In each of these cases, the special masters rejected the causation theory. In other words, the evidence did not convince them vaccines cause autism.
In this chapter, JB outlines how he believes something Dr Andrew Zimmerman stated on record during another vaccine injury case, that of Hannah Poling, lends credibility to the argument that vaccines cause autism. It does not. The Poling case was unique. The special masters have written, “In Poling v. HHS, the presiding special master clarified that the family was compensated because the Respondent conceded that the Poling child had suffered a Table Injury–not because the Respondent or the special master had concluded that any vaccination had contributed to causing or aggravating the child’s ASD.”
An excellent explanation of the concerns about the Poling case and the facts can be found here.
JB also brings up, in this chapter, the idea that there are more cases where children with autism have won vaccine injury claims. This is partly false. There are children with autism who have had their vaccine injury claim approved but not because of autism. They have won a claim of vaccines causing something else, something on the vaccine injury table. It is obvious JB wants very badly for vaccines to be a cause of autism, but no vaccine causes autism claims have even been won in “vaccine court.” Here is a good explanation. Also, here.
The rest of chapter 6 is quotes from dialogues between attorneys and two doctors, Dr Andrew Zimmerman and Dr Richard Kelley. Thanks to my friend, Dorit, I was able to read the deposition of Dr Zimmerman myself.  Apparently, JB has copies of the depositions these doctors gave as part of the lawsuit the family of Yates Hazelhurst has filed against his then pediatrician for not being aware that vaccines could cause autism. According to JB’s account, these two doctors can confirm that Yates had a mitochondrial disorder and, thus, vaccines caused his autism. In fact, JB states that “these depositions confirm their opinions that Yates Hazlehurst—remember, one of the original test case children in the OAP—had the same mitochondrial deficit that Hannah Poling had, and that vaccines caused his autism.” JB believes that, had this evidence been presented during the Autism Omnibus hearings, “the current state of the autism epidemic would be very different.”
Who are Drs Zimmerman and Kelley? Dr Zimmerman is a pediatric neurologist practicing at UMass Memorial Medical Center and he is also a faculty member at University of Massachusetts Medical School. He is the scientific advisor at N of One. Dr Kelley is the Director of the Clinical Mass Spectrometry Laboratory and the Division of Metabolism at Kennedy Krieger Institute. I am not sure if they are “two of the most respected autism scientists in the world,” as JB believes, but they are definitely involved in autism research, albeit on the biomedical side. Both have had their research summarized by Dr Vincent Ianelli, here.
The dialogue at the end of chapter 6 summarizes the depositions of both doctors, wherein they lay out how they believe Yates Hazelhurst suffers from mitochondrial disorder and vaccines caused his autism. Key points, according to JB, are that Dr Kelley believes upwards of 40% of autistics have mitochondrial disorder and that Dr Zimmerman believes many physicians hold the opinion that vaccines cause inflammatory response that leads to autism. Zimmerman is quoted as stating “People who work in the field of autism see, commonly see a relationship between infection, inflammation, and onset of regression.” Further, he believes that vaccines cause an inflammatory response which then leads to regressive autism, particularly in children with mitochondrial disorders. Dr Zimmerman concludes that the research is still on-going but he foresees that, in the future, our understanding of metabolic disorders will enable us to prevent regressive autism. In Dr Kelley’s deposition, he agrees that there is research showing vaccines can cause autism but is not accepted by the “very authoritative groups who say there is no proven association in large cohort studies.” Dr Kelley goes on to add that he believes the “cdc whistleblower” is real because the CDC is “clever in how they publish data to avoid public attention that there is an association.” And, he believes that because vaccines cause inflammation, multiple vaccines at once can cause deterioration.
Having read the deposition of Dr Zimmerman, I am appalled at how JB cherry picks only the parts he likes.  Dr Zimmerman is pro vaccine and even vaccinates his patients.
JB does note that neither Dr Kelley nor Dr Zimmerman conclude that all vaccines cause autism. Furthermore, if you read the actual deposition, Dr Zimmerman explains how he continues to vaccinate, even in children with mitochondrial disorders, as he understands the benefits outweigh the risks. JB cherry-picked only the parts of the deposition that suit his argument.
Dr Zimmerman also believes autism is primarily a genetic disorder. He goes further and states he does not agree with the parents of his patients when those parents believe vaccines caused autistic regression. He further explains how he the Yates Hazelhurst medical records show no signs of regression, as he reads them, and encephalopathy is a separate condition from autism and “mitochondrial autism” is not a term recognized as valid. To me, these points Dr Zimmerman makes are important as they contradict JB’s cherry-picked deposition comments.
Continuing with the deposition, Dr Zimmerman is prompted to testify that Yates was never diagnosed with mitochondrial disorder until recently.

Chapter 7 The Critical Mass of Parents all saying the same thing

This chapter is primarily about JB’s frustration that parents are not taken at their word when they describe what they perceive as “vaccine injuries.” He cites a study called “Validation of the Phenomenon of Autistic Regression Using Home Videotapes,” as proof that early regression exists and parents should be taken at their word. But, the study actually made a very important conclusion which JB ignores: “While we cannot be certain from these data that children with autistic regression were developing entirely normally before the regression occurred, the results of the present study suggest that at least some children with autism do not display prototypical impairments in joint attention, such as a lack of declarative pointing, nor do they display obvious delays in their use of language at the end of their first year of life. Although these core autism symptoms were not observed at age 12 months in the present study, it is possible that the infants with regression did have other types of unusual behavior before the regression occurred.” No one disputes that children can regress. The issue is “do vaccines cause the regression?” This study does not lend to JB’s argument.

Part Three: A reckoning to end the epidemic

Chapter 8: They would have told us

In this chapter, JB tells us about how Robert F Kennedy, Jr got involved in vaccine politics and how immunization advocacy groups are basically all shills for big pharma. He compares vaccines to lead paint and cigarettes. JB’s point is that the truth, in his opinion, is being hidden by corporate interests.  JB believes the NCVIA indemnifies vaccine makers from liability and safety testing of vaccines is inadequate. Readers know, from reading my blog and others, that these points are false.  JB also believes that more and more parents begin to report regression after vaccine appointments in the mid- to late 1990s, the CDC responded by publishing studies to quash concern. This is an unproven conspiracy theory.  Further, he thinks that when British doctor Andrew Wakefield raised concerns about the MMR vaccine in 1998, a kangaroo court strips him of his medical license, and the ensuing media frenzy morphs into a defense of the entire vaccine schedule and an attack on anyone who reasonably questions it. This is false.

JB further goes over, again, the points he has made in the previous chapters.

Chapter 9: Next Steps: a twelve-point proposal

In chapter 9, JB outlines how he thinks vaccines cause all the problems in our children, from ADHD to learning disabilities, anxiety, allergies, and more. To JB, vaccines are the reason 13% of American children have special education plans. His plan, to solve this issue, is to follow the advice of his family’s pediatrician, Dr Paul Thomas. These two believe children should be vaccinated much less and, if we do that, we will see much less autism, better-behaved children, and fewer children with special education needs.
This is their plan:
  1. Immediately reduce the number of vaccines given to children. He believes children should get only DTaP, HIB, polio and MMR and they should get no vaccines until 12 months of age.
  2. Children should only be vaccinated if healthy.
  3. Separate MMR into three single shots
  4. Substitute titer tests for booster shots
  5. Screen vulnerable children for genetic vulnerabilities.
  6. Scrap the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, as they are too mainstream.
  7. Remove vaccine safety from the CDC.
  8. Scientists who know vaccines cause autism should speak as one.
  9. A congressional hearing should be held on the 83 autism cases supposedly linked to vaccines, as described in a paper by Mary Holland.
  10. Dr William Thompson should be compelled to testify.
  11. The drug suramin should be accelerated through the approval process.
  12. The AAP needs to pay more attention to the biomedical doctors.

At this point, I am tired of reading debunked antivax and autism warrior tropes.  None of these ideas are valid nor do JB’s ideas give us any reason to even consider them valid.

Chapter ten: Treatment and Recovery

 

In this chapter, JB outlines how biomedical treatments can recover children from autism and recommends various treatments and books, including the drug suramin, drinking silica mineral water to detox aluminum from the brain, eating a ketogenic diet, healing the microbiome, and taking nutritional supplements.
Sigh
Epilogue: wherein JB details how he feels guilty for depriving his son a normal life.
I am not tired. This book was exhausting to read if only because it is ableist and unscientific and repeats all the tropes JB has written about at Age of Autism and his own multiple blogs. I really feel sad for parents who take him seriously. There is no good science here. We know some children regress because of age, not vaccines. Autism is not the only developmental issue that causes regression. It is offensive and ignorant of JB to ignore the other developmental issues, like Prader-Willi and Krabbe and Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy, all of which cause children to change late in infancy to early childhood.
Sometimes, I feel sorry for parents who have children needier than my own.   Then, I get upset at them and think about M and D and C and D and K and Chris and my other friends who have autistic children far needier than my own but THESE LADIES DO NOT BLAME VACCINES AND THEY DO NOT WALLOW IN SELF PITY.   They don’t feel they got dealt a bum hand and act sorry for themselves. They raise their spirits, advocate for their children, use sound medicine and science to care for them, and pretty much metaphorically flip antivaxers the finger for being selfish drama queens and kings.
To you, C and M and D and D and K, I send you big fat internet hugs. And especially to Chris.  Screw JB.
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Remember to always think for yourself,

 

Hugs from Kathy!