Paul Offit – “Doctor of Vaccine Profit” Caught Lying – Again – Orange County Register

It looks like this is the reason we now have Seth Mnookin to replace Paul Offit as liar-in-chief.  [And wasn’t one of the reasons for Wakefield losing his licence alleged dishonesty?  The CEO and Board of The Children’s Hospital of Philadephia seem to need to do some spring cleaning of their resident liars?].

The Orange County Register has published: April 18, 2011 the correction [text below in full] regarding lies told by Dr Paul Offit the “Doctor of Vaccine Profit” of the Childrens’ Hospital of Philadelphia.

Paul Offit is an inveterate liar, and will say just about anything to quell parents’ fears that vaccines are causing all this autism.  Aside from this new episode of lying Offit lied in one of his books about JB Handley the founder of Generation Rescue. Handley sued him, and Offit was forced to correct his book, write Handley a letter of apology and acknowledgement, and donate money to Jenny McCarthy’s second-favorite (behind GR!) charity at UCLA.

Here is the Orange County Register correction [emphasis added]:-

An OC Register article dated Aug. 4, 2008 entitled “Dr. Paul Offit Responds” contained several disparaging statements that Dr. Offit of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia made about CBS News Investigative Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson and her report.

Upon further review, it appears that a number of Dr. Offit’s statements, as quoted in the OC Register article, were unsubstantiated and/or false. Attkisson had previously reported on the vaccine industry ties of Dr. Offit and others in a CBS Evening News report “How Independent Are Vaccine Defenders?” July 25, 2008. 

Unsubstantiated statements include: Offit’s claim that Attkisson “lied”; and Offit’s claim that CBS News sent a “mean spirited and vituperative” email “over the signature of Sharyl Attkisson” stating “You’re clearly hiding something.”

In fact, the OC Register has no evidence to support those claims.

Further, Offit told the OC Register that he provided CBS News “the details of his relationship, and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s relationship, with pharmaceutical company Merck.”

However, documents provided by CBS News indicate Offit did not disclose his financial relationships with Merck, including a $1.5 million Hilleman chair he sits in that is co-sponsored by Merck.

According to the CBS News’ documentation recently reviewed by the OC Register, the network requested (but Offit did not disclose) the entire profile of his professional financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies including: The amount of compensation he’d received from which companies in speaking fees; and pharmaceutical consulting relationships and fees.

The CBS News documentation indicates Offit also did not disclose his share of past and future royalties for the Merck vaccine he co-invented. To the extent that unsubstantiated and/or false claims appeared in the OC Register and have been repeated by other organizations and individuals, the OC Register wishes to express this clarification for their reference and for the record.

The CBS News revelations about Offit

And his undeclared financial interests in promoting vaccines on behalf of the drug industry:

For years some parents and scientists have raised concerns about vaccine safety, including a possible link to autism and ADD. Many independent experts have sided with government officials and other scientists who say there’s no possible connection. But how “independent” are they? CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson shares here’s what she found.

They’re some of the most trusted voices in the defense of vaccine safety: the American Academy of Pediatrics, Every Child By Two, and pediatrician Dr. Paul Offit.

But CBS News has found these three have something more in common – strong financial ties to the industry whose products they promote and defend.

The vaccine industry gives millions to the Academy of Pediatrics for conferences, grants, medical education classes and even helped build their headquarters. The totals are kept secret, but public documents reveal bits and pieces.

A $342,000 payment from Wyeth, maker of the pneumococcal vaccine – which makes $2 billion a year in sales.

A $433,000 contribution from Merck, the same year the academy endorsed Merck’s HPV vaccine – which made $1.5 billion a year in sales.

Another top donor: Sanofi Aventis, maker of 17 vaccines and a new five-in-one combo shot just added to the childhood vaccine schedule last month.

Every Child By Two, a group that promotes early immunization for all children, admits the group takes money from the vaccine industry, too – but wouldn’t tell us how much.

A spokesman told CBS News: “There are simply no conflicts to be unearthed.” But guess who’s listed as the group’s treasurers? Officials from Wyeth and a paid advisor to big pharmaceutical clients.

Then there’s Paul Offit, perhaps the most widely-quoted defender of vaccine safety.

He’s gone so far as to say babies can tolerate “10,000 vaccines at once.”

This is how Offit described himself in a previous interview: “I’m the chief of infectious disease at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and a professor of pediatrics at Penn’s medical school,” he said.

Offit was not willing to be interviewed on this subject but like others in this CBS News investigation, he has strong industry ties. In fact, he’s a vaccine industry insider.

Offit holds in a $1.5 million dollar research chair at Children’s Hospital, funded by Merck. He holds the patent on an anti-diarrhea vaccine he developed with Merck, Rotateq, which has prevented thousands of hospitalizations.

And future royalties for the vaccine were just sold for $182 million cash. Dr. Offit’s share of vaccine profits? Unknown.

There’s nothing illegal about the financial relationships, but to critics, they pose a serious risk for conflicts of interest. As one member of Congress put it, money from the pharmaceutical industry can shape the practices of those who hold themselves out to be “independent.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics, Every Child By Two and Dr. Offit would not agree to interviews, but all told us they’re up front about the money they receive, and it doesn’t sway their opinions.

Today’s immunization schedule now calls for kids to get 55 doses of vaccines by age 6.

Ideally, it makes for a healthier society. But critics worry that industry ties could impact the advice given to the public about all those vaccines.

The Liars in Government Agencies – 60 YEARS OF DISASTER & THE ‘EXPERTS’ STILL SCRATCH THEIR HEADS

Vaccines are safe they kept telling us. We are the experts. You know nothing. The risks are negligible.

Well that is not what the following documents from the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Institute of Medicine (IoM), National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC) and the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) tell us.

First A Document The US CDC has deleted from their website

Here are extracts of a 2004 published document the US CDC removed from the web several years ago – it is a very embarrassing document for them.  It tells us they just did not know the extent of the harms they were doing by promoting universal vaccination programmes.  The author and chairman of the CDC committee concerned is Professor Louis Z Cooper, a man who insisted publicly at the time that vaccines are fine and promoted them and no doubt still does.  We are posting what remains publicly available of the full text at the end so you can see the extent of the US CDC’s ignorance of vaccine hazards in 2004 [CDC – OCSO – Blue Panel Meeting Summary Report]. Here are extracts [emphasis added]:

US Centers for Disease Control
Office of the Director, Office of the Chief Science Officer

Blue Ribbon Panel Meeting, Summary Report, June 3 and 4, 2004 – [missing weblink = http://www.cdc.gov/od/ads/brpr/brprsumm.htm%5D  But full document can still be seen here:-

http://replay.web.archive.org/20060620191520/http://www.cdc.gov/od/ads/brpr/brprsumm.htm

“Additional questions focused on the perceived increase in national morbidity from chronic diseases—and the role, if any, that vaccines may play regarding such conditions as asthma, neuro-developmental and learning disabilities, diabetes and autoimmune disorders. While CDC does conduct research on chronic diseases, it was not completely clear what the roles are for the agencies in conducting research on chronic diseases that could be linked to a vaccine and/or drug (i.e. product/drug-induced disease) and whether this type of research should fall only within the purview of FDA, since it is a regulatory agency. The challenge of determining whether a chronic disease is product-induced was recognized. There is great difficulty in determining whether a valid signal exists for a relationship between vaccines and chronic conditions. Some participants questioned the sensitivity of existing vaccine safety tools, such as VAERS and VSD in picking up signals around chronic diseases.

and

“However, concern was expressed that most monitoring/surveillance systems are not specific to a particular vaccine and there are not enough studies of possible adverse effects of new vaccines in combination with existing vaccines. Therefore, as the number of vaccines increases, the number of unresolved hypotheses which need new studies might also increase. Who will be responsible for prioritizing and doing these studies? Another point raised was that post-marketing research results may not necessarily be included in the vaccine package insert unless they are submitted for FDA review by the manufacturer.”

and

There was a clear sense that vaccine safety activities are under-funded within the federal government.

The Liars Just Did Not Know Before and They Still Do Not Know Now

And now in 2011 they still do not know as these documents show – and please download them and pass them around for comment.  These documents [links below] show there is only now in 2011 an effort being made to look into a wide range of adverse events [ie. kids getting very sick] associated with them being given vaccines.

Recently it was announced that the following agencies would be conducting research on vaccine side effects and susceptible groups of children:

National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC),

US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS),

Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC),

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA),

Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP),

Office of Immunization Safety (OSI),

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC is convening a panel to look at the feasibility of a study of vaccinated and unvaccinated children to compare autism rates.

In truth the science isn’t in and the question of a link is still open.  These are the links to upcoming federal studies on vaccine safety, including a link to autism in susceptible groups of children.

The 2011 Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee Strategic Plan for Autism Spectrum Disorder Research – January 18, 2011

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Immunization Safety Office Scientific Agenda Immunization Safety Office, Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases – February 2011

US Institutes of Medicine COMMITTEE TO REVIEW ADVERSE EFFECTS OF VACCINES WORKING LIST OF ADVERSE EVENTS TO BE CONSIDERED BY THE COMMITTEE

National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC) Recommendations on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Immunization Safety Office Draft 5-Year Scientific Agenda Approved by NVAC on June 2, 2009

Do Vaccines Cause Autistic Conditions – The Question Has Already Been Answered

If you read nothing else we strongly recommend you read this: PDF Download – Text of email from US HRSA to Sharyl Attkisson of CBS News].  In it the US Health Resources Services Administration [HRSA] state to CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson

We have compensated cases in which children exhibited an encephalopathy, or general brain disease. Encephalopathy may be accompanied by a medical progression of an array of symptoms including autistic behavior, autism, or seizures.

Despite all the lies and deceit by health official worldwide, the question “do vaccines cause autism” was answered when the Hannah  Poling story broke in the USA [see CHS article here].  Hannah developed an autistic condition after 9 vaccines administered the same day.  Under the media spotlight numerous US health officials and agencies conceded on broadcast US nationwide TV news from CBS and CNN. In the US Federal Court children have been compensated after findings they developed autism and other injuries. Full details with links to the original sources can be found in this CHS article: Vaccination Causes Autism – Say US Government & Merck’s Director of Vaccines.

Full Text of US CDC Blue Riband Panel Meeting Summary Report June 3 and 4, 2004

 CDC Home Search Health Topics A-Z

Office of the Director
Office of the Chief Science Officer

Blue Ribbon Panel Meeting
Summary Report
June 3 and 4, 2004

In March 2004, Dr. Julie Gerberding, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requested that a diverse group of individuals be convened to review the vaccine safety monitoring and research activities at CDC. At a two-day meeting in June 2004, the participants engaged in frank and wide-ranging discussion of current vaccine safety programs and perceptions about the safety of immunizations. The participants accepted Dr. Gerberding’s charge to report back on CDC’s longstanding commitments in vaccine safety monitoring, research and communication. The discussion highlighted that vaccine safety is a subject that requires much broader governmental and public involvement in keeping with the evolving epidemiology of disease and expanding clinical and laboratory science. In addition, community expectation for vaccine safety standards increases as the burden of disease decreases as a result of successful immunization programs.

Links on This Page:


CDC BACKGROUND

Rationale for convening this meeting:

Vaccines are cited as one of the greatest achievements of biomedical science and public health in the 20th century. This achievement is based on the remarkable success in controlling numerous infectious diseases which used to be widely prevalent in the United States. While there has been great progress in reducing the number of cases of vaccine-preventable diseases such as polio, measles, rubella and meningitis, the threats posed by these diseases remain because the organisms that cause them have not been eliminated.

The public health importance of immunizations cannot be disputed; however, an equally important aspect of the immunization program is ensuring the safety of all vaccines, particularly because they are sometimes administered to entire populations and are often mandatory. CDC recognizes its role in collaboration with FDA and other partners in ascertaining the risks involved in vaccinations as well as its responsibility to communicate these risks to the public. Public confidence in the immunization program is essential and must be based on understanding and communicating the benefits and risks of immunization. At the same time, it is critical that public health officials listen to and understand concerns that are expressed by the public around vaccine safety.

Although CDC is not solely responsible for the complex issue of vaccine safety, it has a unique role in surveillance, monitoring and engaging in and supporting research on immunization. Respect and confidence in the quality and integrity of these scientific efforts is an essential component of our national immunization program. CDC is actively involved in detecting and investigating vaccine safety concerns and supporting a wide range of vaccine safety research to address safety questions. Given this role, CDC is deeply committed to ensuring that vaccine safety monitoring and research is undertaken with the highest degree of integrity and scientific quality. CDC recognizes its dual roles in promoting immunization to prevent disease and ongoing assessment of vaccine safety. In addition, given the concerns some have expressed about potential conflicts of interest in fulfilling these roles, CDC appreciates that the assessment of immunization risk warrants both adequate resources and appropriate oversight.

Therefore, Dr. Gerberding made the important decision to convene a group of individuals who have been engaged in the area of vaccine safety and who could provide individual opinions on a variety of issues related to the vaccine safety program at CDC. By holding this meeting and encouraging an open and honest exchange of ideas on vaccine safety, CDC hoped to demonstrate its commitment to strengthen the collaboration between public health agencies, public interest, professional and advocacy groups, industry and the general public. Furthermore, CDC hoped the discussion among the participants will continue to provide a foundation upon which further trust and confidence can be established on these very important public health issues.

Meeting Participants:

The group consisted of 17 individuals (see , Meeting Participants) from a variety of professional organizations, public interest and advocacy groups, government advisory committees, and government agencies. In an effort to create balance among the participants, including complementary skill sets, diverse points of view, and general interest in safety issues (specifically in area of vaccine safety) while maintaining a size that would promote productive and manageable discussion, the following guidelines were utilized to choose participants:

  • Broad understanding and knowledge of risk assessment, risk management, and quality assurance and/or,
  • Interest and/or knowledge of vaccine safety issues and/or,
  • Partners with diverse perspectives who work with CDC on vaccine safety issues and its research agenda and/or,
  • Partners with diverse perspectives who work with CDC in an advocacy role for public health issues and/or have engaged CDC in discussions on this issue and/or,
  • Individuals who actively seek credible vaccine safety information which include healthcare providers, consumers, other federal agencies, industry, professional groups and others.

Unfortunately, many key stakeholders who have been deeply involved and dedicated to issues around vaccine safety were not invited to participate in the meeting. The primary reason for not inviting additional groups and/or individuals was not to exclude any particular points of view but simply to maintain a smaller group of individuals to allow for productive discussion. This summary report will be posted on the CDC website for public comment and we invite those who were not able or invited to participate in this meeting to provide their comments. The public comments along with the summary report will be provided to the Director of CDC.

OBJECTIVES FOR THE MEETING PARTICIPANTS:

The meeting participants were asked to review and discuss three objectives during their two-day meeting. The purpose of providing objectives for the participants was to assist them in discussing the vaccine safety program at CDC on a broader level; therefore, they were not convened to discuss specific vaccine safety studies such as the thimerosal issues, the recent IOM report or other more specific details of the vaccine safety program.

Individuals were asked to provide individual opinions on the following three objectives:

  1. Review the structure, function, credibility, effectiveness, efficiency and support of CDC’s vaccine safety program and assess how it can be maximized and sustained.
    • Assess the program’s ability to detect emerging or rare adverse events.
    • Assess the capacity of the program to provide comprehensive monitoring of the growing number of vaccines.
  2. Review the intramural and extramural collaborative activities of the vaccine safety program and determine their effectiveness and efficiency.
    • Assess additional steps CDC can institute to enhance coordination with other federal agencies and partners, including consumer and advocacy groups.
  3. Determine the optimal organizational location for vaccine safety activities within the CDC to ensure scientific objectivity, transparency and oversight while at the same time ensuring that program priorities are appropriately established and are relevant to the immunization program and other stakeholder needs.
SUMMARY OF MEETING:

The two-day meeting took place in Atlanta, Georgia on June 3 and 4, 2004. Prior to the meeting, the participants were provided with a notebook of informational materials and an agenda for the meeting. To ensure a productive meeting, the participants were asked to review the materials prior to the meeting. Specifically, the notebook consisted of supplemental materials and recommended sources for other information on vaccine safety. While the meeting was not open to the public, the discussions of the meeting were transcribed.

June 3, 2004:

On the first day of the meeting, the Chair, Dr. Louis Cooper as well as CDC’s Chief of Science, Dr. Dixie Snider, provided opening remarks to the participants. Then, each individual present, including CDC staff attendees, offered a personal introduction. Finally, the objectives for consideration by the participants were reviewed and the meeting continued with presentations given by CDC and other Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) staff.

The presentations by the staff ranged in topic, beginning with a broad overview of the vaccine safety activities in the DHHS coordinated through the National Vaccine Program Office (NVPO). There were presentations on CDC’s overall activities in vaccine safety and then the focus of the presentations narrowed to specific overviews of the National Immunization Program (NIP) and its activities in vaccine safety. The Immunization Safety staff presented on specific functions and activities within the immunization program which involve surveillance, monitoring and research in vaccine safety. Specifically, activities such as the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) and the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) Project were outlined and there was background given on other efforts such as the Clinical Immunization Safety Assessment (CISA) Network and the Brighton Collaboration. There was a presentation on CDC’s Data Sharing Program and finally, to stimulate thinking and further discussion, options were presented regarding the current and potential organizational location for vaccine safety activities within CDC.

The range of topics presented was intended to give the participants a sense of the depth and complexity of the issues that CDC and specifically, the Immunization Safety staff tackle on a daily basis. Throughout the day, while presentations were given, the participants were encouraged to ask questions of the staff. The questions and comments from the participants were direct and at times constructively critical of the vaccine safety monitoring and research activities at CDC. The immunization staff’s honest and direct answers stimulated additional substantive and productive discussion.

The discussion demonstrated the complexity of the issues and often revealed sources of tension between CDC and some members of the public as well as among CDC staff. At times, it was clear that some of the staff have experienced a great deal of stress and frustration, including personal harassment, while dealing with the vaccine safety issues and allegations by some of loss of public trust in CDC’s work. However, the pride and dedication that the immunization staff have regarding their effort in vaccine safety was equally clear and impressive to the participants.

Overall, the presentations given by the staff and questions asked by the participants generated frank dialogue on important and challenging aspects of vaccine safety by a unique, diverse group of individuals, including the CDC and NIP staff, representatives from parental and advocacy groups, vaccine manufacturers, professional organizations, advisory committees and government officials. Although disagreement was clear on some issues, the interaction underscored a common theme, a clear dedication to the safety of vaccines and the importance of broad public and professional understanding about the benefits and risks of immunization.

For additional details, the presentations and discussions can be reviewed in the official transcript.

June 4, 2004:

The second day of the meeting was reserved for discussion among the participants regarding the three objectives (mentioned earlier) as well as specific considerations dealing with vaccine safety activities at CDC. With the exception of senior staff who were asked to remain as resources, other CDC staff were excused from this session, allowing the participants the entire day to engage in thorough and open discussion regarding the objectives as well as the issues presented the previous day.

To begin the discussion, Dr. Cooper asked all participants to share their most important impressions and views following the June 3rd session. The participants each provided insightful and direct remarks concerning, but not limited to the presentations and the interactions with the immunization staff. An emphasis was placed on vaccine safety issues where improvement is feasible and critical.

Following the opening remarks, the participants continued the discussion on the three objectives but also considered some other specific questions/issues regarding vaccine safety. Again, the participants were encouraged to speak freely and openly regarding their views and as a result, the discussion was extremely thoughtful. The comments made during both the opening remarks and the remaining session seemed to revolve around very specific themes. As a result, even though the participants were not convened to come to a consensus and/or make recommendations as a group regarding what CDC should do to improve the vaccine safety activities at CDC, these themes seemed to resonate throughout the day. Individuals did not restrict their comments solely to the role of CDC, but directly mentioned other governmental entities, industry, the provider community and the public. Some of the themes are highlighted in this report as a framework for moving forward to make improvements in the area of vaccine safety. (These themes are not prioritized.)

There is a tremendous need for strategic planning for vaccine safety research and for greater coordination and collaboration among federal agencies and community leaders.

Vaccine safety research and monitoring is not just an activity at CDC. Therefore, collaboration is considered critical if the activities around vaccine safety are going to be improved and strengthened. The collaboration, however, must occur on many levels. It is important to harness the strengths of all stakeholders in the vaccine safety arena which translates into not only involving the federal government agencies such as FDA, CDC, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Health Resource and Services Administration (HRSA), Department of Defense (DOD), and others but allowing for public and community leaders and/or key advocates to be an integral part of the process. Additionally, the advisory committees, manufacturers, and other partners who have important stakes in vaccine safety need more clearly defined roles in this process.

There is a need for a more formalized process to coordinate activities and promote collaboration and priority setting among all federal agencies working in vaccines, specifically CDC, FDA, NIH, HRSA, DOD, and others. Some of the participants mentioned that NVPO could assist a great deal more in the coordination of vaccine safety activities, particularly among the federal government agencies; however, it was acknowledged that NVPO lacks the resources and the authority to drive such activity. Some participants expressed the need for creating an interagency coordinating group to review the vaccine safety activities and/or a scientific advisory board for research. Others suggested that a Task Force on vaccine safety to include NIH, CDC, FDA, HRSA, and others should be formalized. The participants were reminded that at one time, there was a Task Force on Childhood Vaccines that could be reactivated with clear definition of its role in vaccine safety. Currently, it should be noted that there is an Interagency Group on Vaccines (IAVG) comprised of senior staff from many of the agencies noted above; and it convenes via teleconference every two weeks. Overall, participants expressed the tremendous need to strengthen coordination on vaccine safety activities. More importantly, the discussion highlighted the need for defined roles of responsibility and accountability for resource allocation and plan implementation across the various federal government agencies. These activities must be accompanied by an ongoing review of results to ensure further responsibility and accountability.

The discussion around collaboration revealed that a strategy for setting the agenda on vaccine safety research is critical but that it must be done in a way that is coordinated and incorporates the strengths of each participating agency and/or partner. Again, NVPO, with additional resources and a clearer definition of authority was mentioned as an appropriate key player in the process of providing more formal collaboration on the development of a strategy for looking at vaccine safety issues.

When speaking to the strengths of the various agencies, CDC’s strengths in epidemiological studies and outbreak investigations were acknowledged. However, it was emphasized by many that epidemiology is not the only scientific research that should occur around vaccine safety. There was a discussion about NIH and its’ focus and strength in basic and clinical research. Additionally, there was acknowledgment that the genetic component of any chronic disease must be studied as well as the genetic predisposition to any serious adverse event (acute or chronic). Again, NIH has the potential to bring additional strength and expertise to conduct such research.

Regarding vaccine safety monitoring, there was a strong support for CDC’s role in surveillance and epidemiology; however, there was less clarity regarding differentiation of CDC’s role and FDA’s role in vaccine safety research matters such as post-licensure trials.

Once it was recognized that a need exists for a formalized collaboration across the agencies and beyond, another theme emerged which demonstrated that the specific roles of each agency within the federal government are not as clearly defined when it comes to vaccine safety research. It is certainly a cross-cutting issue with tremendous overlap and at the same time, some gaps.

FDA is responsible for the regulatory oversight and review of pre-licensure studies conducted by manufacturers and the question came up as to who is responsible for post-licensure studies? Currently, within the federal government, both CDC and FDA are involved in these types of studies. As part of a post-licensure commitment, FDA may request that a manufacturer conduct certain post-licensure studies, and FDA is also responsible for the regulatory oversight and review of these studies. Although this process seems to be working and must continue, it can also be improved. There was a sense among the participants that there is real need for improvement in post-licensure research. It was mentioned that some manufacturers have an active role in conducting post-marketing trials, both on their own initiative as well as in response to agreements with FDA.

CDC and FDA have important functions in surveillance and some participants emphasized that the performance has generally been strong in this area. However, concern was expressed that most monitoring/surveillance systems are not specific to a particular vaccine and there are not enough studies of possible adverse effects of new vaccines in combination with existing vaccines. Therefore, as the number of vaccines increases, the number of unresolved hypotheses which need new studies might also increase. Who will be responsible for prioritizing and doing these studies? Another point raised was that post-marketing research results may not necessarily be included in the vaccine package insert unless they are submitted for FDA review by the manufacturer.

Additional questions focused on the perceived increase in national morbidity from chronic diseases—and the role, if any, that vaccines may play regarding such conditions as asthma, neuro-developmental and learning disabilities, diabetes and autoimmune disorders. While CDC does conduct research on chronic diseases, it was not completely clear what the roles are for the agencies in conducting research on chronic diseases that could be linked to a vaccine and/or drug (i.e. product/drug-induced disease) and whether this type of research should fall only within the purview of FDA, since it is a regulatory agency. The challenge of determining whether a chronic disease is product-induced was recognized. There is great difficulty in determining whether a valid signal exists for a relationship between vaccines and chronic conditions. Some participants questioned the sensitivity of existing vaccine safety tools, such as VAERS and VSD in picking up signals around chronic diseases.

There is a need for external oversight and community/public involvement in setting the research agenda.

Another key theme that emerged is the underlying need to involve the public to a greater extent in the decision-making process on vaccine safety research. The public has a critical stake in the vaccine safety research agenda and therefore, could play a larger role in this process. Some participants stated that in the current environment, there is controversy about vaccine safety research and some of this may stem from the lack of trust that some members of the public have towards those setting and monitoring the research agenda. If coordination of vaccine safety activities could be improved and public participation could be enhanced in this process, the trust could be strengthened between the government and the public. Some individuals felt strongly that the process whereby the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) make recommendations for research priorities is working well and must continue, but might be strengthened with the addition of greater public participation. Others believed more substantive changes within and outside these existing relationships would be necessary to reduce what some perceive as inherent conflicts of interest.

A consistent message in the discussion supported the value of an integrated research effort to answer research questions. Some views were expressed that highlighted the desire by independent researchers to conduct research different from that research which the government is funding. For example, while there have been some changes implemented in the past several years (i.e. movement from whole cell pertussis to acellular pertussis as well as from oral polio to inactivated polio), there is a feeling among some participants that CDC can sometimes seem unaware of some concerns among the public and even at times dismissive of new ideas. This was another key reason why some participants believe that more public participation in setting research priorities will be a step towards additional collaboration and trust around these issues. The biases mentioned included:

  1. Extramural investigators whose hypotheses or initial findings raised questions about the safety of certain vaccines did not get a fair review of grant applications from any government agency.
  2. Vaccine safety research, in general, has no strong advocates involved in prioritization and allocation of resources and thus, does not seem to be a priority at NIH, the major source for biomedical research within the federal government.
  3. An exception has been made for funds related to vaccines considered to be useful for protection against bio-terrorism. Anthrax and Smallpox are examples, including National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease’s recent creation of centers to study atopic disease associated with smallpox vaccine.
  4. Funding for long-term studies of vaccine safety is very limited or not available.
  5. Clear mechanisms are too limited for rapid responses to new concerns around vaccine safety. The public’s role in evaluating the level of concern and prioritization for limited resources has been even more limited.

Additionally, the peer review process for government-funded research was questioned and there were suggestions that the research needs to be more results-oriented and customer-directed. An external prior peer review process is critical to evaluate the technical merit of proposed research protocols and also to assess the competence of the investigators to perform the research. Some participants believe that an additional external peer review process to assess research results should include people with different disciplines than the “usual suspects” with the technical expertise. Other members encouraged external peer review for both intramural and extramural research.

Some participants felt that the public should be involved throughout the process. Whereas, others felt that the technical review should be left to those scientists with the expertise and the public can contribute with the scientific community in recommending vaccine policy. Furthermore, it was mentioned that different patterns of review are needed. When new issues arise around vaccine safety, it should be possible to re-evaluate and do additional follow-up research as needed. Some suggested that while the CDC has demonstrated the ability to respond to signals, sometimes the response does not appear to be appropriate to the significance of the signal. Some believe that this demonstrates peer review of research results alone does not represent a final answer on a scientific issue. If there were more public participation in the process of setting research priorities, some felt that that this would reduce the risk of research being terminated “prematurely” in areas viewed as problematic.

Finally, once a research agenda has been set, there needs to be an external oversight process in place to monitor the research being conducted by the various agencies and others to ensure that ideas raised by members of the public are being addressed and the scientific integrity of the research is maintained. Additionally, and some believed most importantly, external oversight is needed to protect the science. While there are currently oversight mechanisms in place, some participants who noted that there is a need for improvement around the quality of the oversight. Others expressed concern that if an independent advisory board is set up to provide oversight to management, there is a risk that decision-making could effectively come to a halt. It was apparent that external oversight was essential if the results are to have the high credibility that the modern era of consumerism and evidence-based medicine demands.

There is a need for greater transparency in terms of how research priorities are set, how research designs are developed, how and what research is being conducted, how data are being analyzed, and how those data are used for policy making. This transparency could help the public understand what research is being done and why it is being done – this knowledge may help create a greater sense of participation in the process itself.

As the participants discussed the need for increased participation by the public in the process of setting the research agenda for vaccine safety, there seemed to be a sense that almost as important is the need for greater transparency into the research being done within the federal government. It was expressed by some that in the current environment, it is unclear who decides the priorities of vaccine safety research, how this research is funded and who ultimately does it. These are fundamental issues into which some members of the public would like to have more insight.

There were some concerns raised that it already seems as if some of the research being done in vaccine safety has been in response to political pressures, inaccurate public perception of the vaccine safety issues and other external factors. Given these issues, some of the participants believe that many of the research priorities are being set in a reactive versus proactive mode. There was concern expressed by some participants that research is being determined in response to external criticisms that are not based on science. These criticisms pose serious risks to priority-setting for use of limited resources. Responsiveness to public concern is important, but a mechanism must be implemented to balance these concerns with protection of science and the scientists. Some comments supported the importance of allowing science to drive the research agenda. While it was also expressed that the government research agenda should be driven by the health needs of the general public, the driving force for the research agenda should be based upon the “best science.” Oversight, regardless of where it is based, should utilize measurable objectives that are consonant with the needs of the general public. Otherwise, oversight alone tends to lead to micro-management and stifles creative outreach for solutions.

There were also comments regarding the need for the peer review process to have increased transparency. Overall, transparency in the governmental planning and implementation process in setting our nation’s vaccine safety agenda could potentially lead to increased public confidence.

Data access for external review and research is critical. Recommendations were varied as to how public access could be increased safely but there was agreement that data access needs to be increased. Additionally, this access would allow for increased extramural research.

Providing additional access to vaccine safety data to external researchers for the purpose of conducting vaccine safety research was another recurring theme. Some participants believe that the data must be publicly posted as this would increase public confidence in CDC’s credibility and accountability in these issues, while others place greater emphasis on audits. While a data sharing mechanism to allow access to the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) Project data has been in place at CDC since 2002, some expressed their continued interest in having broader access to the VSD database to allow outside researchers to replicate and validate the studies that have already been done by CDC. However, others emphasized that CDC should more fully assess the current mechanism before expanding access. Some participants felt that in providing transparency and public participation in the research process, access to data is a key aspect of strengthening the trust around these issues.

Adequate safeguards for data must be in place to ensure the health plans’ willingness to continue participating, and to protect the privacy of both patients and the participating health plans. It was recognized that the health plans involved in the VSD Project can choose at anytime to discontinue participation and this would be an irreplaceable loss to vaccine safety research. During the discussion, it was emphasized that CDC and HHS must define conditions that protect the health plans and their patients, maintain the integrity of the science and continue to allow public access to the data. The participants all recognized that achieving these objectives was technically, legally and logistically challenging.

The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) is not sufficient to detect signals due to underreporting and doesn’t have the granularity needed to identify who is affected. There is a need to bolster and improve VAERS.

In reviewing some of the specific processes in place dealing with vaccine safety, concerns were raised regarding VAERS, a system collaboratively managed by both CDC and FDA. It was not clear to all participants that VAERS was designed only to identify signals, not respond to them. Nevertheless, several participants expressed little confidence in VAERS. Even if CDC can respond rapidly to signals, some participants perceive that CDC cannot respond adequately. Others expressed that VAERS has been sensitive in detecting signals and that CDC has demonstrated the ability to respond rapidly and decisively to clear-cut signals of vaccine adverse events. There was considerable discussion around what constitutes a signal and what represents a reasonable response. Intussusception following vaccination with the rotavirus vaccine was reviewed as an illustrative example.

Concerns were expressed that there may be important signals missed due to under-reporting; and therefore some participants questioned whether VAERS has the breadth and depth of signal reporting to allow for an appropriate response. Some expressed the opinion that in order to have a system that is truly effective, there would need to be mandatory reporting of adverse effects to VAERS by those who administer vaccines. Others discussed the importance in determining who does not report to VAERS and why they are not reporting. This latter concern was related to special or under-represented populations that may be at differential risk, due to genetic and/or environmental factors. Examples mentioned were racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants and the poor. Some thought that there may be additional ways to encourage reporting to VAERS and that this is another area where external input can be beneficial. Programs to educate the public and professionals about the importance of VAERS were proposed as potential ways to improve the sensitivity of signal detection by VAERS.

There were recommendations for structural changes at CDC (i.e. where to locate vaccine safety activities), ranging from very specific to very diffuse.

One question which continued to be discussed throughout both days of the meeting had to do with the placement of vaccine safety programs– both within CDC as well as outside of CDC. Opinions varied on where vaccine safety activities should be placed within CDC and how vaccine safety activities should be organized. Although options were presented by Dr. Wharton as to where vaccine safety might be placed within CDC, including pros and cons provided for each option, there seemed to be a tacit understanding by the participants that the placement of vaccine safety activities is largely a management decision. It was hoped that the tone of discussion would be useful to management as it reviews options for placement of vaccine safety activities.

One overarching issue that was raised had to do with CDC’s expertise in outbreak investigation and the necessity to continue to have the best science. Opinions were expressed by some that the vaccine safety activities must remain within the purview of skilled scientists and not be distorted by passions of the moment, current public trends or perceived conflict of interest. It was acknowledged that all individuals have biases and that conflicts of interest are inherent. Oversight structures, which can include external participation, may offer helpful approaches for managing and balancing these conflicts.

Strong sentiment was expressed to “do no harm” to the good work currently being done in any decision regarding where vaccine safety will be placed organizationally. CDC has a different role than NIH or FDA in responding to emergencies and there was an expressed desire to not jeopardize this ability with any changes that are instituted. Recognition of the need for CDC to maintain a workforce both interested in and desirous of responding to emergencies as well as doing safety research was also discussed. It was also noted that currently little support exists for only a small cadre of scientists with particular skills in the pharmaco-epidemiology of vaccines and the nascent field of pharmaco-genetics.

CDC must be able to detect potential safety problems quickly and address them systematically and effectively. Some believe that CDC should maintain leadership of the vaccine safety program while others felt the vaccine safety program should be moved outside of CDC. It was also noted that criticism of some study results will still exist regardless of where vaccine safety programs are placed. Other participants believe that the vaccine safety activities are best located where they are within the NIP and that additionally, there must be a formal enhancement of coordination of activities.

Comments were expressed concerning strong, positive interactions between policy, surveillance and research, thus making a case for continuing to house these activities together. There were comments that moving the vaccine safety monitoring outside of NIP could create more problems and there was a question of how public health benefits by moving the vaccine safety activities. Specifically, there were several remarks on the placement of the risk management, risk assessment and risk communication activities at CDC. Some participants questioned whether risk management for vaccine safety belongs in FDA (or outside of CDC) but they felt that it should not remain in NIP. Some noted that public perception must be considered and that generally, maintaining the management of risk and assessment of risk in same location would continue to raise questions. Some believe that while these two areas dealing with the assessment of risk and the management of risk should be separated, there are other ways to achieve this separation other than reorganization. There were suggestions that risk communication should be moved outside the Immunization Safety Branch or the NIP.

Strong concern was expressed that the CDC scientists and their research work need to be protected from undue outside influences. From the presentations, it was clear that there are many personnel issues around vaccine safety. One issue includes high levels of stress due to increased public criticisms of CDC’s vaccine safety research and other vaccine safety activities. Another issue is the number of people with the expertise to do this type of work is limited and the incentives to keep people in the field are limited. Other personnel issues of concern included recruitment, training and retention and the career ladders for personnel with appropriate training and skill sets in vaccine safety. It was further noted that regardless of the placement of vaccine safety activities, the staff in the broader immunization program and in the Immunization Safety Branch must have the support of the Director of CDC.

Overall, there seemed to be a sense among some that the work CDC and the immunization safety staff have been doing in this area has been very good. Some participants were extremely impressed with the breadth and depth of accomplishments presented by the staff. It was noted that there is tremendous respect for the Immunization safety staff. On the other hand, some noted that while the staff presented accomplishments with great pride, this expression of pride can often be misinterpreted by some in the public as arrogance and/or a lack of openness to listening.

There was a clear sense that vaccine safety activities are under-funded within the federal government.

The lack of funding dedicated to vaccine safety may have been the most common th

Amazing US News Report – Part II – US Reporter Bob MacNeil – Autism more serious for US children than cancer, diabetes and AIDS combined

Measles is nowhere as serious as autism now is.

Here you can preview Part II of Bob MacNeil’s six part seriestonight’s full show – of this extraordinary series by US reporter Bob MacNeil on the links below to the broadcast, the transcript and a link to listen on mp3:-

See on tonight’s show:

ROBERT MACNEIL:  Autism now affects more American children than childhood cancer, diabetes and AIDS combined. In the last decade, the numbers of children diagnosed on the autism spectrum have risen rapidly. The Centers for Disease Control now puts the rate at one in 110. Tonight, we look at what these rising numbers mean.

CHS covered Part I here: Amazing US News Report – Autism Strikes US Reporter Bob MacNeil’s Grandson After MMR & Other Vaccines.

In the second report in his Autism Now series, Robert MacNeil investigates why the number of children with autism is increasing in the U.S. He meets children at different points on the autism spectrum and gets several views on the increase in prevalence — from better diagnosis to a variety of environmental factors.

But here is the answer to the question Bob MacNeil does not address in his show.  Do vaccines cause autistic conditions? If you read nothing else we strongly recommend you read this: PDF Download – Text of email from US HRSA to Sharyl Attkisson of CBS News].  In it the US Health Resources Services Administration [HRSA] state to CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson

We have compensated cases in which children exhibited an encephalopathy, or general brain disease. Encephalopathy may be accompanied by a medical progression of an array of symptoms including autistic behavior, autism, or seizures.

Despite all the lies and deceit by health official worldwide, the question “do vaccines cause autism” was answered when the Hannah  Poling story broke in the USA [see CHS article here].  Hannah developed an autistic condition after 9 vaccines administered the same day.  Under the media spotlight numerous US health officials and agencies conceded on broadcast US nationwide TV news from CBS and CNN. In the US Federal Court children have been compensated after findings they developed autism and other injuries. Full details with links to the original sources can be found in this CHS article: Vaccination Causes Autism – Say US Government & Merck’s Director of Vaccines.

Watch, Listen, Read Transcript Of Tonight’s Show

Listen on mp3:  Autism Now: Exploring the ‘Phenomenal’ Increase in U.S. Prevalence

Read the Transcript – full text after video of show below.

Watch the to-be-broadcast show:Autism Now: Exploring the ‘Phenomenal’ Increase in U.S. Prevalence

Full show transcript:-

ROBERT MACNEIL:  Autism now affects more American children than childhood cancer, diabetes and AIDS combined. In the last decade, the numbers of children diagnosed on the autism spectrum have risen rapidly. The Centers for Disease Control now puts the rate at one in 110. Tonight, we look at what these rising numbers mean.

This is the face of autism.

PERIN RAPP: I’m Perin. I’m 9 years old.

ROBERT MACNEIL: But so is this.

Would you tell me your name? Would you tell me your name? I think your name is Juliana, and I think you’re 8. Is that right? Is that right, Julie?

And so is this.

LOGAN HENDERSON: My name is Logan Henderson, and I’m 8 years old.

ROBERT MACNEIL: Each so different, yet it’s all called autism.

You can see the differences more dramatically when you visit their schools. They learn differently.

Juliana Hernandez doesn’t talk. Although her teacher’s says she is very smart, she’s in a special-needs class, and at 8, she’s still learning to count the days of the month.

Logan Henderson attends second grade at another elementary school. He’s in a mainstream class but needs an aide to manage any kind of change, although her support is almost invisible in class. But in the playground as Logan plays alone, his social disability is more obvious.

Like Logan, Perin Rapp can talk, but he’s profoundly different in other ways. Perin attends what is called a communication-handicap program for children who need to go at a slower pace, although he’s learning at grade level in other areas.

PERIN RAPP: Can I read quietly?

TEACHER: Do you need a break? Are you asking me for a break? Do you want to read this story quietly? Is that what you’re asking me?

PERIN RAPP: Mm-hmm.

TEACHER: OK, two minutes, and then you have to come back to…

PERIN RAPP: Wait, wait, I want to …

SALLY ROGERS, MIND Institute: Hi, feet. You like that, huh? OK. I’ll rub your feet.

ROBERT MACNEIL: Sally Rogers is a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the MIND Institute in Sacramento. MIND stands for Medical Investigation for Neurodevelopmental Disorders. It was established with state funds at the University of California, Davis in 1998. Sally spent some time playing with Juliana, Logan and Perin, who are among the thousands of children with autism who’ve been evaluated at the MIND Institute.

LOGAN HENDERSON: No. I do not autism.

SALLY ROGERS: No. You don’t want to talk about autism?

LOGAN HENDERSON: No.

SALLY ROGERS: OK. No autism. I got that. Would you rather have some Play-Doh?

LOGAN HENDERSON: No.

SALLY ROGERS: Or some bubbles or something?

LOGAN HENDERSON: No. Nothing.

SALLY ROGERS: No. Nothing. You don’t want anything today. OK. I know how that feels.

They all have common threads. None of those three children interact with me as a typical 8-year-old would. None of them converse with me as a typical 8-year-old would. And none of them really use the materials and the situation in the room like a typical 8-year-old would. But each of them showed their symptoms in a very different profile.

Do you know Shrek’s girlfriend’s name, Perin?

PERIN RAPP: (INAUDIBLE)

SALLY ROGERS: What is it?

PERIN RAPP: (INAUDIBLE)

SALLY ROGERS: Venera?

PERIN RAPP: Mm-hhm.

SALLY ROGERS: Oh, boy I didn’t know that.

Each of them wanted a different relationship with me. Logan didn’t want any interaction with me. Perin wanted a lot of interaction with me. And Julie wanted access to the materials and was happy to interact with me but doesn’t have a good way of starting or maintaining interaction because she doesn’t have language to use. But we used nonverbal communication.

ROBERT MACNEIL: Like?

SALLY ROGERS: Well, she followed my cues, my gestures. We figured out what each other wanted. We don’t need language for that.

ROBERT MACNEIL: Describe how differently you see each of those three children. Where do they – where do you put them on the spectrum?

SALLY ROGERS:  Well, autism has affected Julie particularly severely in her language and communication skills. She showed that she had some awareness of print. You know, when I was writing her name and she was copying it, I said some letters, and she could write them. So, it’s clear that she knows more than she can share through words.

Perin certainly has lots of skills. He can write. He could write names. He could figure out how to spell my name. He creates symbolic materials. He can carry on a conversation. But it’s kind of a one-sided conversation, you know?

ROBERT MACNEIL: And Logan?

SALLY ROGERS: And Logan, Logan was so uncomfortable in the whole situation. And fortunately Logan has language and knows how to use language to express his feelings. He didn’t have to have a tantrum or be destructive or aggressive. He could communicate with his speech, which is a great gift to be able to share your feelings.

LOGAN HENDERSON: All I would like is alone time, and I would like to get out of here.

SALLY ROGERS: You’d like some alone time? OK, you got it.

ROBERT MACNEIL: Logan has two older brothers, Jason, 10, and Matthew, 12. And, remarkably, they both have autism, too. In fact, although they share the same genetic inheritance, in their diversity, the three Henderson brothers almost represent the breadth of the autism spectrum. Each boy’s symptoms are quite different, as their dad, Rick Henderson, describes.

RICK HENDERSON: You know, Matthew, for an example, my 12-year-old is extremely shy, very passive in terms meeting people and being in different environments.

ROBERT MACNEIL: Matthew is high-functioning on the…

RICK HENDERSON: He is high-functioning on the spectrum. He is our highest-functioning child. And does very well. He is mainstreamed in school.

ROBERT MACNEIL: Good verbal skills?

RICK HENDERSON: Very good verbal skills. My 10-year-old, Jason, who is what they would call mid-moderate to severe in the spectrum. Very limited verbal communication, but at the same time very social.

JASON HENDERSON: What is your name?

CAMERAMAN: Hi, my name’s Jason.

JASON HENDERSON: What’s your name?

CAMERAMAN: Jason. We have the same name.

RICK HENDERSON: His name’s Jason. He’s Jason, and you’re Jason.

JASON HENDERSON: What’s your name?

CAMERAMAN: I’m Robert.

RICK HENDERSON: Jason especially has been a real challenge, where his mind will wake up at 3 in the morning, and he thinks it’s the middle of the day. And he’s up playing and doing his laughing and giggling and turning on TVs and, you know, just really thinking it’s the middle of the day. And you can’t shut that off. And so we’re up all night with him, ensuring to keep him safe and trying to prevent him from waking up the other two. And that happens at least once a week.

And then my youngest son, Logan, he’s what we call our politely defiant one. He is considered to be high-functioning but not quite as high as where Matthew is.

“I see it as progress. I really see it as an achievement to be able to identify these kids who previously were either misdiagnosed or maybe had no diagnosis at all.”

– Richard Grinker, George Washington University

ROBERT MACNEIL: How can the Henderson brothers and the other children all be so different yet diagnosed with the same condition? The answer to that question is where scientists disagree about what the rising numbers of autism diagnosis mean. Anthropologist Richard Grinker, a professor at George Washington University, says it’s because we have widened the definition of autism.

RICHARD GRINKER, George Washington University: It’s where somebody who previously had the identical symptoms now is conceptualized differently. And so, if you went back 30, 40 years, and you looked at people who were diagnosed with mental retardation or who were diagnosed with what was then called childhood schizophrenia, you would find that those people, 30 years ago, would qualify for the diagnosis of autism today. And I suspect that we may see the prevalence of autism continue to increase, not because there are more cases. They were there all along, perhaps, but because we’re getting better at locating them, finding them and delivering services to these children and adults who really need help.

ROBERT MACNEIL: But a majority of the researchers we talked to believe that wider diagnosis explains only part of the increase in autism numbers. The rest remains the object of much scientific speculation. Among others, Dr. Irva Hertz-Picciotto, who heads the Division of Environmental and Occupational Health at UC-Davis, sees many possible environmental factors.

IRVA HERTZ-PICCIOTTO, University of California, Davis: There is a group that did look at the diagnostic substitution explanation. They thought that maybe explained a quarter to a third. But in addition to that, there has probably been an environmental contribution for a long time.  We, in fact, know that some of the potential environmental causes do include, for example, infectious agents.

ROBERT MACNEIL: Do you have candidate factors for those factors that may be fresh in the environment?

IRVA HERTZ-PICCOTTO: I have a lot of candidate factors, actually. And they include nutritional factors, infectious agents, chemicals in our environment, including chemicals in the household products that we use every day. There are a variety of factors that could be influencing development, and they may play a role at different points in development. But I think multiple factors contribute not just across the population but within any one individual. So when I say that I think autism is multifactorial in its causation, I think that applies to even at the individual level so that it might take two or three susceptibility genes combined with two or three environmental factors at critical junctures.

ROBERT MACNEIL: Which might explain why individuals with autism are so different, even though they share some obvious symptoms.

IRVA HERTZ -PICCOTTO: Exactly. Exactly.

RICHARD GRINKER: And I say, “OK, there’s this big prevalence increase in autism. That’s undeniable. There’s a prevalence increase.” Whether it means that there’s an increase in the real number of people with autism or not, there’s a prevalence increase. But I see it as progress. I really see it as an achievement to be able to identify these kids who previously were either misdiagnosed or maybe had no diagnosis at all.

ROBERT MACNEIL: Sally Rogers has first-hand experience of the rising numbers as she works to identify and treat children with autism at the earliest possible age.

SALLY ROGERS: In my experience, the number of children who have autism has increased enormously. I remember 30 years ago when I started working with young children with autism in a real focused way. And I remember when I saw the first child in 1982, a 2-year-old with autism.  Two years later I saw another. Three years later I saw another. And now in the last two years, we’ve recruited 50, 70 2-year-olds with autism just here in this city. It’s a phenomenal change from a clinician’s experience in the prevalence of autism.

ROBERT MACNEIL: Whatever is happening to the numbers, there is a saying among those who know autism well: “When you’ve seen one child with autism, you’ve seen one child with autism.”

The prevalence of autism is intimately linked to what causes autism, and that’s our subject tomorrow night: the causes of autism.