Mainstream Conservative “American Thinker” Magazine Publishes Hard-Hitting Highly Critical Vaccine Sceptical Article

There is very little we can say about this article except – read it:

Where Conservative Skepticism Falls Short By Lawrence Solomon The American Thinker June 30, 2014

Lawrence Solomon is a columnist with the Financial Post, the author of The Deniers, and the research director of the Consumer Policy Institute.

Lawrence Solomon is hard-hitting, sceptical and has written the first sensible article in a mainstream US publication on the issue of vaccination we have seen in a very long time, unlike many other gutless cowards in health journalism who just do not do their jobs.  They are the ones responsible for 1 in 60 kids having autistic conditions from vaccines and all the rest: life-threatening and other allergies, narcolepsy, diabetes and a cast list of many more chronic life-time conditions caused in kids by vaccines.

But they do not just keep quiet.  They come out and write articles claiming people who show there is good cause to be concerned about the safety of children are “anti-vaccine” and that it is all baseless nonsense. 

Sharyl Attkisson is the only major network US journalist who stuck to the story and has never let go. Well now she has another mainstream voice in US journalism and in this case US political journalism to add to hers.

When companies like GlaxoSmithKline are repeatedly found guilty of fraud and criminality over their business practices; when men women and children are killed and injured by dangerous drugs knowingly marketed by companies like GlaxoSmithKline; when government health officials are found repeatedly to be lying about vaccine safety and exaggerating disease risks to sell you their vaccine programmes and pay their mortgages, there is every reason to be sceptical.

Just like other drugs, vaccines kill injure and maim but on a wide scale and children are the main victims.  The extent of this is covered up by medical professionals one too many of whom is too cowardly to speak up in case they get scapegoated like Andrew Wakefield.

As we write this Matt Carey has published yet another one of his polemical propaganda articles whilst he sits on the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) helping make sure no progress is made on exposing the role of vaccines in causing the most serious pandemic the world has ever seen of autistic conditions caused in millions of children worldwide.  And it is not like Matt Carey does not know.  He like many others can read what we on CHS reported here four years ago yesterday on 30 June 2010: Vaccination Causes Autism – Say US Government & Merck’s Director of Vaccines.

Matthew Carey was appointed by Kathleen Sebelius, the 21st United States Secretary of Health and Human Services from 2009 until 2014 holding post on Democrat US President Barak Obama’s watch. 

So Obamadon’tcare. His claims about autism during his first election campaign being cynical vote-grabbing to get the votes of all those families with children with autism whilst on his watch he has let it all go on.  Matt Carey’s continuing role on the IACC is a huge advertisement to that.

On top of that we have the armies of internet thugs trolls bullies and liars led by opinion formers in mainstream medicine.  Those internet thugs trolls bullies and liars cheat lie and attack anyone who is prepared to challenge the mayhem caused to children by vaccines.

There is only one thing to say to people like Matt Carey who work so hard to cover up this mayhem – people are wising up – so you better think about where you are going to hide.  And it is the ordinary people of America who are waking up.  They are not going to be pleased about people like you when they start to understand the full scale of what people like you have wrought on two generations of American children.  They Matt Carey are the ones you need to be frightened of. 

When Americans wake up, and Lawrence Solomon’s article shows they are starting to, they will find the nightmare caused in their children that people like Matt Carey have been helping unfold whilst they slept. 

Dr Ben Goldacre Forced By CHS to Answer Criticism Over Drug Safety – But Not Before Goldacre’s Usual Response – Bullying, Abuse & Harassment

Shortlink to this post: http://wp.me/pfSi7-2eu

[See also recent closely related post:

Congratulations Dr Ben Goldacre On Undermining Drug Safety Worldwide]

It is rare to see Dr Ben Goldacre embarrassed into answering serious criticisms.  This follows a blog post here on CHS.  This blog post in fact:  Making Medicine More Dangerous for You and Your Children – Drug Industry Wins System Which Hides Drug Hazards. 

Although rare, you will also see, this was only after Dr Goldacre’s usual much less than rare response of engaging in bullying, abuse and harassment failed.  CHS has reported previously on bullying abuse and harassment meted out from Dr Ben Goldacre’s BadScience Forum: Dr Ben Goldacre’s Grovelling Apology For Sexual Abuse, Bullying & Harassment of Female Doctor & Medical Journalist By His BadScience Forum Trolls and Bullies

People like Dr Ben Goldacre and another with a role in this, Simon Singh, seem to be hypocrites in claiming to espouse and endorse the role of science in taking knowledge forward, only when it suits them. Here you can see what happens when others subject people like them to scrutiny and call them to account. 

A chain of events leading to the current situation was triggered when The London Review of Books invited and then rejected Dr David Healy’s careful, thorough but critical review of Dr Ben Goldacre’s book “Bad Pharma“. The rejection of Dr Healy’s review is bizarre and especially from The London Review of Books.  Dr Healy writes about that here: Not So Bad Pharma March 28, 2013.

Do note in the context of Dr Ben Goldacre answering criticisms now, that was posted by Dr Healy over a year ago.

Dr David Healy is a serious academic and medical practitioner who is an expert in clinical trials in psychopharmacology, the history of psychopharmacology, and the impact of both trials and psychotropic drugs on our culture.  Dr Healy’s interests in and concerns for drug safety are far longer and deeper than Dr Ben Goldacre’s seemingly sudden, recent and superficial conversion to such a worthy cause.  It is also worth noting that Dr Healy’s book “Pharmageddon” is a better account than Goldacre’s populist pulp paperback.  “Pharmageddon” is about how pharmaceutical companies have hijacked healthcare with life-threatening results set out in a riveting story that affects us all: University of California Press (2012) – available on Amazon.com.

Dr Ben Goldacre cultivates an irresponsible unkempt slightly weird geeky image which seems intended to and it seems it also does appeal to “trendy” social media savvy young “turks” [and a number of the not so “trendy” who seem to like to think they are].  “Cool” may be a more common term but 1970s ageing hippy term “trendy” seems more appropriate in this context.  

Simon Singh is a physicist turned broadcaster turned “science” author who managed single-handedly with just one word “bogus” in a “science” article to end up being sued in a defamation law suit in the English courts which it seems was avoidable in quite a number of different ways.  The defamation case was followed by a high profile campaign supposedly about scientific freedom of speech depicting himself as a martyr to it. 

It cost him personally £50,000 [he claims].  He subjected his family to two years of avoidable stress, with a figure of around ten times that hanging over them had his appeal not saved him [and them]. 

Singh could have apologised over the complained about meaning of the term “bogus” – with its overtones of dishonesty – whilst still saying the same sort of thing in another way and still making his point.  That this is the case appears confirmed by video coverage supporting his legal fight which is posted on YouTube.

Singh’s claim to a “victorious” end result included a change to English defamation law which some defamation lawyers consider makes very little difference.  It appears a valid perspective that his efforts may have in the long term a chilling effect on science journalism which his martyrdom it was claimed would avoid.  To us on CHS Singh looks selfish and publicity hungry whilst wittingly or not serving commercial interests which remain faceless. 

The rejection of Dr Healy’s review of Dr Ben Goldacre’s book is so bizarre that Dr Healy then followed up his initial blog post with a series of articles again last year addressing the issues factually and in detail.  So the main criticisms go back starting over a year ago.

This chain of events led to Dr Healy’s 21st May blog post this year upon which CHS commented.

And there we see the outcome.  It was that post by CHS which in turn led to the bullying, abusive and harassing responses directly by Dr Ben Goldacre, Simon Singh and some of their camp followers.  This demonstrates it is not just a few of their followers who engage in this conduct.  It was also that post which, as will be seen below, drew direct attention to Dr Ben Goldacre’s role in bringing about a situation in which drug safety worldwide appears to be being undermined by the drug industry.  You will also see Dr Ben Goldacre admitting his hand was forced to answer the criticisms against his will.

Internet bullying, abuse and harassment is a modern scourge and people like Dr Ben Goldacre and Simon Singh are examples of those leading its spread.   Goldacre has over 325,000 “followers” just on Twitter and Singh has over 50,000.  And Twitter allows only a few words, so it is a perfect medium for one-line, soundbite abuse, bullying and harassment.

This is nothing short of ensuring if any individuals criticise the likes of Goldacre and Singh, instead of the criticisms being answered, they get their names blackened on the internet by the hordes of bullies and hangers-on who do it for Goldacre. 

This has a very damaging effect on science and public comment and free speech.  It is not responsible behaviour and people of such ilk should be shunned and rejected just in the same way those who espouse violence rather than persuasion and argument to get their own way are.  Violence is just another form of bullying, abuse and harassment.

You can see a rare example of Dr Ben Goldacre himself asking his hordes to stop bullying, harassing and abusing another journalist – of course well after the damage was done and no doubt because the example made clear to UK radio station LBC’s management just what Goldacre’s BadScience Forum engage in: Sigh. Do not abuse Jeni Barnett personally February 11th, 2009 by Ben Goldacre.  Ironically a point radio presenter Jeni Barnett was making was that she did not know much about issues of vaccines causing autistic conditions but that there seemed to be a lot of bullying going on about it.  

In short, it seems to us on CHS that Goldacre had to act in the Jeni Barnett case because he had to limit the damage to himself from the behaviour of his camp followers. If it was not so public we on CHS have little doubt Goldacre would do nothing.  And that is evidenced by the fact his BadScience Forum still exists doing what it does on a daily basis.  These examples show Dr Ben Goldacre knows what goes on.  He is not ignorant of it.

So here CHS focusses on what seems, on a critical analysis, the less than responsible behaviour of Dr Ben Goldacre, Simon Singh and others like them.  There are informal international networks of people like Dr Goldacre, Simon Singh and their camp followers.

Here is a specific recent example of a leading distinguished scientist being silenced by bullying because he had the temerity to question what appears to be an odd position that there has been no global warming so far this century: Climate change science has become ‘blind’ to green bias Sarah Knapton, Science Correspondent The Telegraph 16 May 2014.  It seems the bullying led Professor Bengtsson to cease engaging in the issue – and we link to a bullying blog on this to make the point about how widespread this kind of bullying, abuse and harassment is and how damaging and irresponsible it is.

CHS is fortunate in now being able to cite specific examples of Dr Goldacre, Simon Singh and others engaging directly in online bullying, harassment and abuse. Dr Ben Goldacre’s BadScience Forum is set up and run in a way which encourages online bullying, abuse and harassment.  It is routine for one too many of its members.

CHS’ post was published 21st May.  A week later at 2pm 27 May this is what Simon Singh “tweeted” to his 50,000+ Twitter followers:

Simon Singh@SLSingh

I seldom swear, but here’s fuckwittery of the highest order RT @lecanardnoir Quacks still have it in for @bengoldacre

Now firstly note this is a response to serious criticisms of Ben Goldacre made first by Dr David Healy on serious issues of drug safety.  So Singh is quite deliberately engaging in bullying, abuse and harassment and publishing it to his camp followers.

Within 15 minutes this is how Dr Ben Goldacre replied to Singh copied to Goldacre’s 325,000+ “followers” and Singh’s 50,000+:

ben goldacre@bengoldacre

@SLSingh @lecanardnoir yeah, channeled directly from the fevered imagination of @DrDavidHealy

So here we can see the bully Dr Ben Goldacre engaging directly himself in bullying, abuse and harassment of an internationally respected medical professional and academic and doing so in response to serious criticism made of Goldacre. It was the normal Goldacre response – bully.

There were in total over 40 replies and numerous “re-tweets” of the exchanges mostly involving more bullying, abusive and harassing comments from Goldacre and Singh camp followers. 

However, notably Goldacre later admits to having to reply grudgingly to Dr Healy’s criticisms – with the intervention no doubt of others behind the scenes like the industry lobby front organisation Sense About Science, pointing out how damaging it might be not to.  Rather than being pleased to have the opportunity to showcase his perspective to a critical academic Goldacre moaned on Twitter:

Sadly driven by @DrDavidHealy A real shame to have to stop productive work and reply to him

This was of course only after well over a year of Dr Healy’s criticisms, as a leading expert on these issues, being online.  And Goldacre did not post his responses on his own blog.

The exchanges between Goldacre and Healy can be read starting here with Dr Goldacre’s response in which Goldacre opens [surprise!] abusively with disparagement and [according to Dr Healy’s reply] misrepresenting the position:

This blog post by David Healy is absurd.”

And this is how Dr Healy started with his response to Goldacre [our emphasis]:

The first point to make is this post isn’t about AllTrials. AllTrials is a footnote.

It’s about the dismay that many felt at EMA backsliding. It’s about how it was obvious that something like this was on the cards. Against this background uncritical endorsement of industry looked like a bad idea. There was a desperate need to stay awake. It looks like too many of us have been asleep.

Ben offers an outline of the AllTrials strategy here. It’s helpful to have this.

His accusation that these posts misrepresent campaigns, smear people, shout abuse, and hector from the sidelines looks like a description of posts by others elsewhere. With very few exceptions any comments to the various posts on this blog that in any way fail to support Ben or AllTrials have been deleted.

The post repeated an alternate analysis – that the main thing industry wants to hide are adverse event data.

Now that CHS has provoked the dialogue, you can have the benefit of reading and making your own mind up about how absurd Dr Ben Goldacre might or might not now be looking.  That is a position you would not have been in before.

What we probably will never have an answer to which all will find satisfying are answers to these questions made in CHS’ prior post on this issue:

Dr Ben Goldacre founded the AllTrials campaign.  Why did he found the AllTrials campaign? What was in it for him?  Who suggested it?  Who funded it? Who supported it? And why have we ended up with what Dr Healy describes as a disaster for us all and a victory for the drug industry, all successfully fronted by Dr Ben Goldacre?

Other information regarding Dr Goldacre’s connections and interests directly and indirectly to drug maker GlaxoSmithKline can be read here What’s Behind Ben Goldacre?

And this appeared here:

Dr Goldacre’s ‘Bad Science’ column began in the Guardian in 2003 and he rapidly rose to prominence receiving the Association of British Science Writer’s award for that year for an article on the MMR issue ‘MMR: Never mind the facts’. It may be noted that the ABSW awards were at the time sponsored by MMR manufacturers and defendants GlaxoSmithKline [1]. It was also not disclosed at any time, though Dr Goldacre’s column dealt heavily in issues of epidemiology and public health policy that his father, Michael Goldacre, was a professor public health at Oxford and a leading government epidemiologist [2, 3, 4] whose work had included papers on MMR (notably GSK’s Pluserix vaccine after it was withdrawn by the manufacturers in 1992) [5].  In the case of Pluserix it should also be taken into consideration that the NHS had apparently indemnified the manufacturers for the use of what was known to be a faulty vaccine (already being removed from use in Canada in 1988 and its license revoked there in 1990) [6, 7]. Despite the growing public celebrity of the younger Goldacre, and the professional prominence of the older, no authoritative information for their familial relationship came to light before 2009, although it is the sort of matter that might normally be in the area of public comment.

It is evident that had this been generally known from the beginning Ben Goldacre’s column would have been seen in quite a different light. Also, if this had been known and Ben Goldacre had wished to assert that he was nevertheless an independent voice, the public would still have been better informed. Moreover, there must have been a huge circle of people “in the know” who never commented in the public domain until Ian Fairlie did in 2009 [2], which is in itself a remarkable circumstance.

Ben Goldacre repeatedly ducked answering questions about the shortcomings of the epidemiology of the safety of MMR both in his Guardian blog and in British Medical Journal over an extended period [1,8]. Typically he would engage in ad hominem attacks against his critics on the issue (never mentioned by name) but not answering their specific questions. For a long time his website carried the intimidatory message “…personal anecdotes about your MMR tragedy will be deleted for your own safety” [9] and he has an on-line shop which sells novelty merchandise declaring the safety of MMR, including at various times t-shirts, thongs, mugs and baby-bibs, as well as characteristically abusive items about nutritionists and homeopaths [10]. Another problem was that though Goldacre styled himself as a junior doctor he was coy about which institutions he was affiliated to, which at one point included the Institute of Psychiatry [11]. This not only disguised potential conflicts over MMR because of the Institute’s relations with pharmaceutical manufacturers, but also mobile phone radiation. At one point Goldacre was involved in making a personalised attack on a fellow journalist Julia Stephenson while not disclosing that his institution included the industry funded Mobile Phones Research Unit [11]. Of course, if you personally attack those people who may have suffered ill effects from the products you are defending this is taking the debate to somewhere else than science (and perhaps to somewhere not very pleasant).

Making Medicine More Dangerous for You and Your Children – Drug Industry Wins System Which Hides Drug Hazards

Shortlink to this post:  http://wp.me/pfSi7-2dp

Why You Should Not Trust Dr Ben Goldacre On Drug Safety – Is Goldacre Really GlaxoSmithKline’s Trojan?

[See also recent new posts: 1) Congratulations Dr Ben Goldacre On Undermining Drug Safety Worldwide and 2) Dr Ben Goldacre Forced By CHS to Answer Criticism Over Drug Safety – But Not Before Goldacre’s Usual Response – Bullying, Abuse & Harassment]

If you go out and buy a car which the dealer knows has serious undisclosed faults, a crime has been committed.

It is an accepted fact even in the drug industry that most drugs do not work in most people.  So if you go out and buy a drug which for most people does not work and which has serious undisclosed faults which could kill or injure [eg. VIOXX] no one in the drug industry goes to gaol.

This CHS post is about safety: your safety, your children’s safety and your family’s safety.

This is also in part about how drug companies withhold data on drug trials which show their drugs do not work and are dangerous.

This post is also about Dr Ben Goldacre’s role in giving the appearance of holding the drug industry to account over drug trial data whilst the end result seems to be Dr Ben Goldacre is helping the drug industry make it look like progress is made whilst in fact manipulating drug safety issues so that we have the same old same old.  In recent times Dr Goldacre along with Dr Fiona Godlee, British Medical Journal Editor, have been campaigning to get drug companies to sign up to the AllTrials campaign. 

Dr Ben Goldacre founded the AllTrials campaign.  Why did he found the AllTrials campaign? What was in it for him?  Who suggested it?  Who funded it? Who supported it? And why have we ended up with what Dr Healy describes as a disaster for us all and a victory for the drug industry, all successfully fronted by Dr Ben Goldacre:

Everyone is in a spin.  AllTrials are asking for more donations to continue their successful campaign.

As someone who has been working the GSK system, I can say with confidence that this is a disaster.

Dr David Healy has published HERE a remarkably astute analysis of how GlaxoSmithKline has succeeded in manipulating the AllTrials campaign and giving the appearance of transparency in making drug trial data available:

…….  soon after being fined $3 Billion, GSK trumpeted their endorsement of transparency by signing up to the AllTrials campaign and declaring their intention to put in place a method to allow researchers access to clinical trial data that would go beyond the wildest dreams of researchers.  See April Fool in Harlow, and GSK’s Journey.

Healy notes regarding Dr Ben Goldacre:

When GSK signed up to AllTrials Ben Goldacre rolled over and purred.  The BMJ featured Andrew Witty on their front cover as the candidate of hope.  ………….

In contrast, on this blog, 1boringoldman and on RxISK a small group have warned consistently that this was not good news.  That what would be put in place was a mechanism that gave the appearances of transparency but in fact would lock academics into agreeing with GSK and other companies as to what the outcomes of their trials have been.

No one wanted to rain on the AllTrials parade – it never seems like a good idea to fracture a coalition. RxISK put the AllTrials logo on its front page.

Not content with a few academic ghost authors, GSK’s maneuver has put industry well on the way to making Academia a ghost, a glove puppet manipulated by company marketing departments.

Meanwhile Iain Chalmers co-wrote an editorial with GSK endorsing the GSK approach (The Attitude of Chicks to Trojans and Horses) and the British Government produced a document on clinical trial data access that could have been written in GSK central.

Seasoned observers of Dr Goldacre’s progress and career may feel they have good reason to be sceptical of Dr Goldacre’s actions and motives.  Sun Tsu counselled that to know what the enemy thinks observe what they do, not what they say.

Dr Goldacre in his books and other writing gives the appearance of being critical of the drug industry.  But he only ever seems to write about issues and events that have been known about for a very long time.  Of course, if enough people start making the same observation then perhaps Dr Ben Goldacre may change his approach and write the occasional exposé. Until then, it is a fairly safe bet that Dr Ben Goldacre will carry on as he has always done and never write anything critical about the drug industry which has not already been well covered elsewhere.

In short, Goldacre has ensured he and his camp followers have the fig-leaf to claim he is critical of the drug industry whilst the reality is no damage is done as it has already been done by many others before.

The fact that Dr Goldacre, from absolutely nowhere, suddenly emerged to found the AllTrials campaign is frankly bizarre.  Why him and why then and now?

Dr Ben Goldacre also owns and operates an online “BadScience” forum.  Members of the forum are encouraged to attack practitioners of herbal and complementary and alternative medicine on blogs, in comment fora and to public authorities claiming their treatments are not scientifically proven.  Dr Goldacre wrote in his advice to his forum members: “The time for talking has passed. I draw the line at kidnapping, incidentally.

Now there are good reasons to conclude one too many of these people are bullies.  But there is one supervening reason.  Other reasons include that some members of the BadScience forum block discussion and that some for sport in their spare time disrupt other fora on the internet and attack, bully, abuse and harass ordinary people and parents of very sick children wanting to share information. Groups like Dr Ben Goldacre’s BadScience forum are organised for just such a purpose on the internet.

A bully picks on others who are weaker than them and Dr Ben Goldacre and one too many of his followers seem to be no exception to this. A bully makes sure, right or wrong, he is always on the stronger side.  Dr Ben Goldacre’s main approach is to attack what he claims is “Bad Science“.  He has for years written as a columnist in a UK national newspaper, The Guardian, a “Bad Science” column.  His website is called “BadScience” and his forum is called “BadScience“.

It is of course also a mystery how it could be that a medical doctor with no degree level scientific training and qualifications was appointed to write a column about science.  And at the time Dr Ben Goldacre was a psychiatrist at the Institute of Psychiatry.  Psychiatry is the least successful branch of medicine in history with treatments lacking any scientific foundations like cutting nerves in a patient’s brain and applying 400 volts to a patient’s brain with what is called electro-convulsive “therapy” [ECT].  Do that to your laptop and the results will not fail to disappoint.

So here is the problem and harm Dr Ben Goldacre poses to everyone by his actions.  The drug industry has had the same approach for over a century.  Medicines from herbs, vitamins and many other other natural products like cod liver oil are known for be safe and effective.  The modern pharmaceutical industry has its foundations and origin in supplying just such products.  But now they are inexpensive and not patented, but still effective and so are a threat to the drug industry’s profitability.

The main reason why Complementary and Alternative Medicine is not “scientifically proven” is because no one has been funding the research to prove remedies already known to be safe and effective for hundreds and even thousands of years.  Dr Ben Goldacre knows this.  So like all bullies he takes the stronger side to bully those in a weaker position.

Now let us put some numbers to this so you can see just exactly what kind of bully Dr Ben Goldacre is.  The U.S. National Institutes of Health [NIH] spends annually on medical research about US$27 billion, on pharmaceutically-oriented Western medicine.  The amount it spends on alternative medicine is a tiny tiny fraction of approximately US$130 million and it did not start supporting CAM research until 1992.

So how can Goldacre claim most of CAM has no scientific basis?  That is easy.  No one has paid to do the science on it whereas they spend billions of dollars on research the drug industry benefits from.  For CAM research to catch up would require the US NIH to devote its entire annual budget just to CAM research and do so for several decades.

Yet Dr Ben Goldacre is reported to have said:

one of the central themes of my book [Bad Science] is that there are no real differences between the $600 billion pharmaceutical industry and the $50 billion food supplement pill industry“.

Clearly that is not true when one looks at the amount just the US government spends via the NIH on pharmaceutically-oriented Western medical research.

One of the other problems with Dr Ben Goldacre is that he targets easy targets where criticism might be justified say where an individual makes claims about a product which are not supportable.  That kind of thing is easy.  But the impression given to the entire world by the actions of Dr Ben Goldacre is that all of these treatments are useless and peddled by charlatans when that is not true.

And you must also ask yourself, how can it be then that Dr Ben Goldacre is not campaigning for say half of the US NIH budget to be spent establishing the sound scientific credentials for CAM?  Surely, Dr Goldacre cannot be ignorant of the fact that herbal and CAM treatments and remedies have in many cases long histories of safe and effective use? 

And so why does Dr Ben Goldacre spend so much of his time bullying others when he would be doing a much greater service campaigning for research to prove CAM treatments as safe and effective.  Instead he spends his time trying to eradicate safe and effective CAM treatments and deny them to everyone to the benefit of the drug industry.

Why would he do that if we all can benefit from the wider availability of proven safe effective inexpensive natural treatments?  What is in it for him to harm everyone else’s interests in that way?

And why is he so hell-bent on pursuing the drug industry’s agenda of wiping out herbal medicine and CAM treatments instead of campaigning to establish they are safe and effective?

To know what the enemy thinks observe what they do, not what they say.

And we recommend to all CHS readers to go to Dr David Healy’s blog and read what Dr Healy has to say about Dr Ben Goldacre’s AllTrials campaign and how badly it has ended for all of the rest of us.

This is what Dr Healy has to say about what Dr Ben Goldacre’s AllTrials campaign has achieved:

The key thing that companies are trying to hide are the data on adverse events.  To get to grips with the adverse events in a clinical trial is a bit like playing the children’s game Memory – where you have a bunch of cards with faces turned face down and you get to pick up two and then have to remember where in the mixture those two were when you later turn up a possible match.

Patterns of Deception

In the same way, picking up adverse events is about recognizing patterns – patterns of events, and patterns of deception.

To do this you have to be able to spread maybe a hundred documents out over a big area and dip back into them if something in one document reminds you of something in another.  The new GSMA-ESK remote access system simply won’t allow this.

Not only will it not allow this but it is about to make things far far worse than they are at present.

At the moment when it comes to studies like Study 329, GSK have been stuck by a Court order with putting the Company’s Study Reports up on the web where they can be downloaded and pored over – all 5,500 pages of them for Study 329.  They have refused to do the same for the 77,000 pages of raw data from Study 329, making it available to a small group of us through a remote desktop system.

For all other trials – future and past – investigators won’t even be able to get the Company Study Reports in usable form.  They too will only be accessed remotely.

For anyone who wants to look at the efficacy of a drug this might just about work for outcomes that involve rating scale scores or lipid levels.   The efficacy of drugs is pretty well all that most Cochrane groups, Iain Chalmers and Ben Goldacre are interested in.  The Cochrane exceptions have been Tom Jefferson, Peter Doshi and the Tamiflu group.

But this system is a bust when it comes to adverse events and it won’t work if the efficacy outcomes are in any way complex.

New Paper – Autism caused by viral infection – First published report of enterovirus encephalitis leading to an autism spectrum disorder

It has been known since at least 1964 that a viral infection can lead to autism. This CHS article records 4 ways autism can be caused including by viral infection: Vaccination Causes Autism – Say US Government & Merck’s Director of Vaccines

Live virus vaccines like MMR vaccine cause viral infections. Most people do not realise that 5% of those receiving the MMR vaccine develop symptoms of measles from the live virus in the MMR vaccine:

About 5% of immunocompetent children receiving their first dose of MMR vaccine have mild measles with fever and rash. The vaccine strain can cause severe measles in immunocompromised people.”

BMJ CASE REPORT Rash in a 15 month old girl

Additionally, the possibility that a vaccine can cause autism was known 38 years ago: A Vaccine Causing Autism Was First Reported in 1976.

This following new paper records what the authors believe is the first recorded case caused by an enterovirus.

Autism spectrum disorder secondary to enterovirus encephalitis.

Authors  Marques F, et al.  J Child Neurol. 2014 May;29(5):708-14. doi: 10.1177/0883073813508314.

Abstract

Millions of children are infected by enteroviruses each year, usually exhibiting only mild symptoms. Nevertheless, these viruses are also associated with severe and life-threatening infections, such as meningitis and encephalitis. We describe a 32-month-old patient with enteroviral encephalitis confirmed by polymerase chain reaction in cerebrospinal fluid, with unfavorable clinical course with marked developmental regression, autistic features, persistent stereotypes and aphasia. She experienced slow clinical improvement, with mild residual neurologic and developmental deficits at follow-up. Viral central nervous system infections in early childhood have been associated with autism spectrum disorders but the underlying mechanisms are still poorly understood. This case report is significant in presenting a case of developmental regression with autistic features and loss of language improving on follow-up. To our knowledge, this is the first published report of enterovirus encephalitis leading to an autism spectrum disorder.

Centers for Disease Control Failure on Autism To Cost Americans US$3.84 Trillion & Using Your Tax Dollars To Do It

This is also what NBC, ABC, CNN, The Washington Post, The New York Times and mainstream journalism across the USA are costing Americans by failing to report the biggest health disaster in history and suppressing the news and evidence about the main known cause: vaccines.  This is what US Health Secretaries like the outgoing Kathleen Sebelius and the former Centers for Disease Control Director Julie Gerberding, [now Merck Vaccines Division President] and many more are costing Americans. This is what Thomas R. Insel, M.D.  Director, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and Chair of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC), The American Academy of Pediatrics and many more are costing Americans.

But worse, these people and people like them are costing 1 in 68 American children and children worldwide their health and stealing their future of normal healthy lives and blighting around 1 in 25 families in the USA and doing the same to many families around the world.

A Safeminds report CHS republishes below sets out the costs to Americans of US$3.84 trillion.

And US government health officials and agencies are using your tax dollars to achieve this epic fail.

Vote to fire them.  All of them.

If the parents of 1 in 25 families were not misled by a US media which is controlled by just 6 corporations and then used their votes come election time, they could determine the political future of the United States of America in every “swing state” in the USA and who the President of the USA is to be for maybe the next 60 years and at least for as long as the autism disaster continues.  When Obama was up for election the first time he, McCain and both Clintons were banging on the autism drum but once elected did worse than nothing, so they have got to learn that autism is not about one election.  Autism is about every election for the foreseeable future and they all need to know that election success is to depend not on future promises but past performance.

US Autism prevalence was put on the US presidential political agenda by all US presidential candidates in 2008:-

  • You do not want to bring your children into the world where we go on with the number of children who are born with autism tripling every 20 years, and nobody knows why, Bill Clinton said.  Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama returning to Oregon“  – Amy Easley and Tony Fuller, KTVZ.COM,
  • McCain steps into debate over cause of autism” – International Herald Tribune – Benedict Carey – March 4, 2008

The American President as Commander-In-Chief is failing to protect American children from the enemy within the USA.  And it is not Al Qaeda or any extremist group.  The creation of an image of muslims as a terror threat is distracting Americans from the true problems facing US internal security today.  Democracy in the USA is fading and will fade away if Americans continue to do nothing about problems like the international autism pandemic. 

Remarkable warnings were given to the American people by a President of the United States about a few corporations gaining disproportionate influence over the US Government and its agencies.  Back in 1961 from his televised valedictory address to the nation Dwight D Eisenhower warned of the rise of the military-industrial complex and the dangers it spelt for the USA and for every American.  Since that time Americans and the world have seen a parallel rise of the medical-industrial complex.  The same game – just a small number of different players, playing you, The US Congress, The US Senate and The President of The United States, all at the same time, whilst in one way or another owning or controlling the US media.   President Eisenhower in a speech he had wanted to give for two years and had to wait until the expiration of his presidential term in the middle of the 1956-1975 Vietnam War said:

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

The following is a Safeminds Report From 13 Apr 2014 Republished by CHS.

And remember, when you want the real news, you can only get it on the web and not from the likes of CNN, ABC, NBC, The Washington Post, The New York Times and mainstream journalism.

1 in 68 is Only Part of the Autism Story — What the CDC Didn’t Report

Ten Times the Prevalence of Severe Autism over Time, But No Increase vs. 2008

By Katie Weisman, for the SafeMinds’ Research Committee
Thanks to Mark Blaxill and Cynthia Nevison, PhD for the graphs.

Introduction

On March 28th, thousands of media outlets released the new US autism prevalence numbers of 1 in 68 in 8-year-olds born in 2002 and counted in 2010.  These children are 12 years old now.  What was glaringly lacking in the media coverage was any critical thought about that actual data, any sign that reporters had actually read the new report or any sign of urgency on behalf of our children.

The CDC’s take away messages were as follows:

  • We’re reporting a 30% increase in autism in 2 years, but you don’t need to worry because these kids have always been here.  We are just better at counting than we were before.
    Comment: There has been a 37-fold increase in reported autism spectrum disorders in the past 30 years – which would be about 1984, hardly the dark ages.  Do you really believe that there were this many kids with autism around when you were young?  The prevalence was 1 in 2500 in the early 80s or .4/1000; as of this month, it is 14.7/1000.  The CDC has yet to conduct a population-based count of people with autism of all ages and severities which would lay this issue to rest.  We should all be asking why they haven’t.  They continue to say that they still can’t be sure if the increase is real – over and over again – for the past decade.
  • It looks like the kids are getting milder – they have less intellectual disability (ID) – and it’s due to broader diagnosis.
    Comment: Up until the 2006 data, the ADDM reports only stated the percentage with IQ’s below 70, which were stable (on average) in the early reports (see chart 1) but the averages masked a wide spread in the actual percentages by state.  Breakdowns into three categories of ID started in the 2008 data.   The percentage of children diagnosed with autism in the newer reports (see chart 1) is consistent with the percentage with ID in the older reports, but the CDC did not supply data on diagnostic categories in the past.  What is unclear is what is driving the change in the ID of the children.   Are we seeing children who still have autism but are less language impaired?
  • There is no possibility that autism and vaccines are connected because the numbers are still going up.
    Comment: Assuming that there is, in fact, a smaller percentage of ASD children with Intellectual Disability, those shifts do correspond to the beginning of the phase out of thimerosal in vaccines, which is a plausible explanation as well – but one CDC doesn’t mention.  Thimerosal reduction in the recommended childhood vaccine schedule (HepB, Hib and DTaP) started in 1999 and it was phased out over several years.  However, shortly thereafter, in the 2002-2003 season, the CDC started encouraging flu shots (most of which contained thimerosal) for infants 6-23 months and in the 2004-2005 flu season flu shots were formally recommended for all infants starting at 6 months of age.  Meanwhile, the CDC and ACOG also added influenza vaccines (most of which still contained thimerosal) to the recommendations for pregnant women in all trimesters in 2004.  This FDA letter makes clear that thimerosal-containing infant vaccines would still have been administered throughout 2002 – the birth year of the current ADDM report but at amounts, on average, probably less than in the 2000 birth cohort.  The exposure to any particular child is an unknown without checking their history.
  • If you are a young parent, check out our website to learn the signs of autism and talk to your pediatrician if you have concerns. Early intervention is the answer.
    Comment: Where is the interest in prevention?  This approach is letting a child fall off a cliff and then trying to catch him.  Despite the CDC’s “Learn the Signs” program, the average age of diagnosis in this report is the same as it was a decade ago in the 2000 data – about 53 months or age 4.5.  There has been no measurable progress in this area.

Preface – Limitations of the ADDM numbers:

As outlined in the SafeMinds commentary on March, 28th, there are significant limitations to the quality of the data in the ADDM network overall, which I will not repeat here.   My purpose here is to point out important data that was missed, further weaknesses in the reports and to show that there are broad questions regarding what is included and excluded that should arise from looking at the ADDM reports.  The “spin”, deletion and addition of sections and overall characterization of the reports should be questioned by all those who care about someone with autism.

The chart below is a summary of some key information from the ADDM network over the years.  It includes the number of sites included in the ADDM, the average age of first diagnosis with an autism spectrum disorder, the percentages of IQ levels as reported in ASD cases in select states (typically the states in which they have IQ data for more than 70% of the cases), the percentage breakdown of the three primary ASD diagnoses and documentation of regression data.

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Summary of Population Characteristics in the ADDM Network

Discussion of Intellectual Disability Reporting:

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the-real-story

The CDC made a big point of promoting the idea that autism prevalence is still going up while the percentage of kids without intellectual disability is rising and the raw numbers on the chart support that trend.  However, here is a quote from the 2008 report that provides a different perspective:

In the four sites with IQ test data available on at least 70% of children with ASDs in both the 2006 and 2008 surveillance years, the estimated prevalence of ASD with intellectual disability increased 12% on average (4.2–4.7 per 1,000), while the prevalence of ASD with borderline intellectual ability increased 22% (2.3–2.8 per 1,000), and the prevalence of ASD with average or above-average intellectual ability increased 13% (3.9–4.4 per 1,000).

In other words, if you actually compare apples to apples in the same 4 states, ASD with and without ID increased about the same percentage – certainly not a compelling shift between the two ends of the range and showing the importance of comparing the same states.

No Prevalence Increase in the With Intellectual Disability Subgroup

Also, notice that the “with intellectual disability” prevalence number just reported for the 2002 birth cohort is 4.7 per 1000 children, which is exactly the same as the prevalence reported for the 2000 birth cohort in the quote above, 4.7 per 1000.  It is only 12% (5.8% annualized) more than the 1998 birth cohort prevalence of 4.2 per 1000. Unfortunately, the 1992 and 1994 birth cohort reports do not give prevalence statistic for just those with ID so we cannot compare farther back.  However, the data that we do have suggests that, after a long period of annualized 8.5% increases, to get from .4/1000 to 4.7/1000, the prevalence of the most severe autism may be flattening – though at a level too high for anyone’s comfort.  It is critically important that we look at actual prevalence comparisons in subpopulations and not just at the percentages of the whole population with ASD.

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addm trends in autism

Removal of South Carolina and Alabama

This year, after being included in all previous ADDM reports, South Carolina data was not reported due to “not providing suitable data in a timely manner”.  No further explanation is given.  It seems a little unusual that an experienced team would suddenly be unable to produce the work that they had been doing for a decade.  Given that SC had the highest percentage of ID in 2008 at 54% that would have decreased the percentage disparity in the ID categories.   Also, Alabama, which despite only 10% access to education records had recorded a high percentage of ASD children with ID in the past, is not part of the current reporting.   See Chart 1B below.

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States Included in ADDM Intellectual Disability Data

 Change in States Reported Over Time for Intellectual Disability Analysis

To further complicate comparisons of intellectual disability over time, consider the above chart of which states were reported in each birth cohort.  The percentages are for those with ID.  For each birth cohort, I have indicated the percentage of intellectual disability (IQ<70) in bold if it is mentioned in the report specifically.  For some reports, the only source of a percentage is a bar graph so I have put those percentages in regular font as they are taken from the graphs with an approximate adjustment for the ratio of boys to girls in the typical cohort.  N/A in the chart means that the state was included but due to the limited nature of the 2004 report (actually an addendum to the 2006 report and issued at the same time), there was no bar graphs to pull approximate percentages from.

Note the following:

The percentage of states included in the ID analysis has varied from 50-64% of the states included for that year.

There has never been a year when the same states were included so one needs to look at “apples to apples” comparisons.

There is huge variation state to state (13-63%) in the percentage of children with ID, which has yet to be explained or investigated.  Since we are looking only at cases with ID, there should be less effect of “broader diagnosis” and these variations may reflect actual differences in severe autism due to environmental exposures.  This area is ripe for more research.

Here is the direct quote from the 2010 report:

Over the last decade, the most notable change in characteristics of children identified with ASD through the ADDM Network is the growing number who have average or above average intellectual ability. This proportion has increased consistently over time from 32% in 2002, to 38% in 2006, to 46% in 2010, or almost half of children identified with ASD. Concurrently, the proportion of children with ASD and co-occurring intellectual disability has steadily decreased from 47% in 2002, to 41% in 2006, to 31% in 2010. This shift in distribution of intellectual ability among children identified with ASD during 2002–2010 indicates that a large proportion of the observed ASD prevalence increase can be attributed to children with average or above average intellectual ability (IQ >85).

Given the above, do you feel that the CDC has accurately reported the situation?  Or is this “spin” to say the numbers are still going up, but you don’t need to worry?

Elimination of Regression Reporting

In the early years of the ADDM network, regression was reported consistently in about 13-30% of the children counted.  They also reported a plateau in development in an additional 3-10% of the cases.  The relative consistency is noteworthy (compared with much of the data reported) in the 2000, 2002 and 2006 collection years (see Chart 1). Then in the past two reports for the 2008 and 2010 data, the entire section of the study reporting regression breakdown was eliminated.  These numbers were based on actual documentation in the case files and a quote in the 2002 report states, “Therefore, these results should be considered a minimal estimate of plateau and regression among ASD cases”.  In 2009, the ADDM team did a separate study looking at regression in the network and reported the following:

This study evaluated the phenomenon of autistic regression using population-based data. The sample comprised 285 children who met the autism spectrum disorder (ASD) case definition within an ongoing surveillance program. Results indicated that children with a previously documented ASD diagnosis had higher rates of autistic regression than children who met the ASD surveillance definition but did not have a clearly documented ASD diagnosis in their records (17-26 percent of surveillance cases). Most children regressed around 24 months of age and boys were more likely to have documented regression than girls. Half of the children with regression had developmental concerns noted prior to the loss of skills. Moreover, children with autistic regression were more likely to show certain associated features, including cognitive impairment. These data indicate that some children with ASD experience a loss of skills in the first few years of life and may have a unique symptom profile.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19535466?log$=activity  Why was the reporting of regression eliminated in the most recent reports, given the finding that these children might have a “unique symptom profile”?

Timeliness of Reporting the Surveillance

In a 2007 study (Braun et al.) of the 2002 data collection, CDC made the following statement:

Although the ADDM sites participating in the 2002 surveillance year represent multiple grant cycles, the estimated time required for this surveillance year, from start of funding to reporting of results, was approximately 3–4 years. Once the surveillance system has been instituted at a site, these limitations to timeliness are greatly reduced for future surveillance years. As ADDM Network surveillance methods have evolved, the time required to make data available has decreased. Multiple surveillance years can now be conducted concurrently, and clinician review has been restructured to increase efficiency.

So, if the time to actually make the data available has decreased, why are the 2010 data only being reported in the spring of 2014?  There has been no improvement in a decade of the timeliness of the reporting of the autism surveillance.   Our children deserve better.

Where is the Study of the 4 Year-Olds?  The 2010 surveillance funding included collection of cases in 4 year olds with ASD in 6 states.  The states included are Arizona, Missouri, New Jersey, Missouri, Utah and Wisconsin.  Missouri and Wisconsin are states that don’t access education records, but this should be less of an issue in a 4 year old population since they are not school age yet.   It will be interesting to see if the South Caroline data for the 4 year-olds is included or not.  The primary question is when that data will be published.   With fewer records to collect, shouldn’t it have been published ahead of the 8 year-old numbers?

Complete Elimination of the Within State Comparisons of Prevalence

In the 2008 ADDM report, there are 3 pages looking at within state comparisons of prevalence of ASDs by sex, race and IQ.  The comparisons are done for various combinations of the 2002, 2006 and 2008 reporting years.  This entire analysis is missing from the 2010 report with no explanation given.

I have created the chart below to try to get a bird’s eye view of the ADDM prevalences over time.  At first glance, the following thoughts come to mind:

Arizona’s growth curve spiked between 2004 and 2006 and has been slowing ever since.

Arkansas’s growth curve spiked between the 2000 and 2002 birth cohorts.  What happened?

Florida’s growth curve spiked between the 1998 and 2000 birth cohorts.  More below.

Georgia’s growth curve doubled between the 2000 and 2002 birth cohorts.  This is the longest running surveillance site and has had very steady growth over time.  What changed?

Missouri’s growth curve spiked between the 1996 and 1998 birth cohorts and has come down to almost flat since then.

New Jersey’s growth curve may be flattening.  However, the fact sheet on New Jersey reports a staggering 1 in 45 children with ASD; 1 in 28 boys and 1 in 133 girls who are now 12 years old.  This was lost in the news reports.

Pennsylvania’s growth curve doubled between the 1998 and 2000 birth cohorts.

South Carolina’s growth curve had a huge spike between the 1996 and 1998 birth cohorts.

Utah reported a decrease in autism of almost 13% over the 2000 to 2002 birth cohorts.  This is the biggest drop reported in ADDM in a state with good access to records.  Yet there was no mention of it in the CDC’s press coverage.  Interestingly, all the press out of Utah reported rates as “holding steady”; none mentioned the actual drop in prevalence.

West Virginia’s growth curve was dramatic from the 1992-1994 birth cohorts but there has been no follow up for 10 years.

All of these changes suggest the possibility of environmental factors, particularly the large spikes in certain 2 year periods.  Again, more research is needed.

Chart 2 – Summary of State Prevalence Reporting in the ADDM Network – 1992-2002 Birth Cohorts

In the chart below, the shaded states do not have access to most educational records and have consistently been shown to underreport autism prevalence compared to states with access to education records.

Bolded percentages are annual percentage changes in prevalence rates.  CDC typically reports two year changes at a time so these percentages are roughly half of what the media reports.  It was necessary to do this to compare 2 year changes to 4 or 6 year changes, though these numbers will not reflect variations within the periods of time.  We would have to have annual instead of biannual collection of data to know for sure what happened in a given state.  The percentage annualized growth rates in prevalence are useful to see how the growth curves are changing in various states over time.

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stategraph

 What is going On in Florida?

In the 2008 report, there was a glaring signal that the CDC neither reported, nor followed up.   They found 211 children with ASD of which 52.9% were Hispanic (Miami Dade County).  The Hispanic prevalence rate was 8.2 per 1000 compared to a white prevalence of 4.2 per 1000.  This is the only place in the 10 years of ADDM reporting that a Hispanic rate significantly (in this case almost doubled) exceeded the white rate.  Typically, minorities are diagnosed at lower rates than white children in the same areas.  The median earliest age of ASD diagnosis was 3 years, 6 months which suggests a more severe population and is lower than the median age of first diagnosis network-wide.  The chances that this represents an autism “cluster” are strong and it should be investigated.  Florida also reported an enormous prevalence change from 2006-2008 – a 71% increase in 2 years or 31% annually – the largest 2 year change ever in the ADDM reporting.  Yet Florida was not funded for the 2010 cycle so we don’t know what happened next.

Press Involvement at the CDC and the Impact of PDD-NOS Non-Inclusion

Lastly, there is the question I found on the case status of children in the ADDM network.  A January, 2014 study (Maenner et al.) investigating the potential impact of the DSM-5, based on ADDM data, included several interesting paragraphs:

To calculate the potential impact on prevalence, we applied DSM-5ASD criteria to 2 groups of 8-year-old children under surveillance for the years 2006 and 2008: (1) the 6577 children who met both ADDM Network ASD criteria based on the DSM-IV-TR and our operationalized DSM-5ASDcriteria and (2) the 1020 children who did not meet ADDM Network ASD criteria but could plausibly meetDSM-5 criteria. These 1020 children all technically met DSM-IV-TR criteria for PDD-NOS, but the clinician reviewers did not classify them as ASD cases for surveillance purposes; for most of these children, the clinician reviewers concluded that the behaviors were better accounted for by another disorder.

 Children with a history of developmental regression were more likely to meetDSM-5ASDcriteria than those without a history (89.4% vs. 79.0%, P < .001), and children with intellectual disability were more likely to meet DSM-5ASDcriteria than children with an IQ greater than 70 (86.6%vs 82.5%, P < .001). Children with a history of regression remained more likely to meet DSM-5ASD criteria than children without a history of regression after controlling for intellectual disability.

 Since excluding cases would have a significant impact on the prevalences reported in those two years, I wrote to Dr. Maenner with questions about those children.  After a delay, I received an incomplete answer back from Dr. Maenner through the CDC press office.  I do not normally put private e-mails online, but since this one has the press office’s blessing, that e-mail exchange is available here: http://www.safeminds.org/?p=6266

This chart shows the impact on what was reported in 2006 and 2008 of including those children who met DSM-IV-TR PDD-NOS criteria but were not included as cases.

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totals

This graph shows the potential effect of the culling of PDD-NOS cases (in chart above) on the annualized growth percentages for autism.  Whether or not that culling was present in the earlier and later cohorts is a key question.  The CDC case definition has not changed over time.  Per my e-mails with the CDC, this analysis has not been done for the earlier years. I have sent the question regarding the 2002 birth cohort and I am awaiting a response.  If the culling was not done for the 2002 birth cohort, this suggests two things – that the prevalence growth curve is dropping in the latest cohorts and that the “without ID” percentages may have been bumped up in the 2002 cohort if the same ratio of PDD-NOS kids were not excluded.

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impact of pddnos

The Bottom Line

The CDC ADDM network reports raise far more questions than they answer and the changes over time make it difficult to answer even the most basic questions about what is going on with autism in the United States.  The changes in the information reported, the states included and the way results are presented to the press should all raise red flags.   If the information is accurate, then there are many opportunities for follow-up research on environmental factors that have been overlooked or ignored.

Overall, there are patterns that suggest CDC is doing its best to maintain that rates are still going up rapidly but can be explained by the inclusion of children with less intellectual disability while at the same time, arguing that vaccines (thimerosal in particular) did not play a role in this change.  The real picture has a lot more shades of gray.  It will be important to see what is happening with the 4 year olds when that data is published and to watch what is reported in 2016 based on the 2004 birth cohort, keeping in mind that the CDC already had that data in 2013, before releasing the current report.

For those interested:  All CDC ADDM reports and community reports are available here:

http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/addm.html

http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/addm-articles.html

Addendum on CDC Autism Spending:

The Centers for Disease Control show no urgency in adding more funding for autism despite their over 11 billion dollar total budget.  I have gone through the CDC budgets as far back as they are available on their website: http://www.cdc.gov/fmo/topic/budget%20Information/index.html

A line item for autism was first created in the CDC budget in 2007.  This chart shows the total autism spending to maintain the ADDM network, some additional research and the Learn the Signs program.  Note that these expenditures are part of the annual appropriations provided to the CDC and are not appropriated under the CAA.  Note that these numbers vary slightly from the CDC’s report to IACC which reports the following:  FY 2010 – $24,710,050, FY 2011 – $23,942,225 and FY 2012 – $23,348,012.  The

IACC numbers show the amount spent on autism slowly declining.  The budget reports show funding basically flat for the most recent 4 years.

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cdcspending

Even given the 1 in 68 prevalence just reported, there is no urgency around finding out what is happening in the other 38 states.  See page 370 for the CDC’s current plan to maintain only 12 ADDM sites for fiscal 2015

See page 9 for the flat 2015 budget request for autism.

Considering the Costs:

  • The costs associated with a child with autism average $17,000 per year in excess of a typical child.  That increases to $21,000 excess for a child with severe autism. Overall, the estimated societal cost of caring for children with autism was over $9 billion dollars in 2011.  (Lavalle et al. Pediatrics, 2014)
  • The lifetime cost of care for an individual on the spectrum is 3.2 million dollars. Ganz, 2007.
  • In 2005, the average annual medical costs of a Medicaid -enrolled child with autism were $10,709 – about 6 times higher than a child without autism.  Peacock, et al.  J. of Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics, 2012.
  • In addition to medical costs, behavioral intervention for a child with autism can cost $40,000-$60,000 per year.  Amendah, et al., Autism Spectrum Disorders, Oxford University Press 2011.

To put this whole thing in perspective, the cost of monitoring the other 36 states that have never been monitored should be about quadruple the current CDC budget or $92 million dollars.  That would cost about $76 per individual under 21.  However, if you use the Ganz number multiplied by 1.2 million children (not counting adults) then the overall lifetime cost to society of those children is $3,840,000,000,000 – 3.84 trillion dollars.  It seems like a small price to pay to get a handle on the problem

“Vaccines Saved Us” – Intellectual Dishonesty At Its Most Naked

If there’s one thing about the drug industry backed vaccine movement CHS has learned over the last several years, it’s that it’s almost completely immune to evidence, science, and reason.

No matter how much evidence is arrayed against it, there are those among its spokespeople who always find a way to spin, distort, or misrepresent the evidence to combat it and not have to give up the concept that vaccines don’t cause autism. “Its a mystery” but bizarrely the one thing they are are sure of “its not vaccines“, even when this has been confirmed in the past by leading health officials and agencies through gritted teeth when publicly embarrassed by media attention: Vaccination Causes Autism – Say US Government & Merck’s Director of Vaccines.

Not that this is any news to readers of this blog, but it bears repeating often. It also bears repeating and emphasizing examples of just the sort of disingenuous and even outright deceptive techniques used by promoters of vaccine pseudoscience to sow fear and doubt among parents. These arguments may seem persuasive to those who have little knowledge about science or epidemiology. Sometimes they even seemed somewhat persuasive to us; that is, at least until we actually took the time to look into them.

One example of such a myth is the claim that “vaccines save millions of lives” also sometimes going under the claim that “vaccines are safe and effective.”  Now this is something health officials and health departments started, with their shroud-waving tactics threatening parents their children would die without vaccines.  But what has happened instead is children develop autistic conditions in their millions with the amazing figure of around 1 family in every 25 in the USA with an affected child.  That is vastly higher than pretty much anything else put together including the diseases the vaccines are alleged to protect against.

These people ignore completely and disparage evidence like that on sites which have large sets of graphs showing that the death rates of several vaccine-preventable diseases, including whooping cough, diptheria, measles, and polio were falling before the vaccines for each disease were introduced. Pretending to be scientific the vaccine movement disparage and criticise articles having quotes like the one from Andrew Weil in his book Health and Healing:

Scientific medicine has taken credit it does not deserve for some advances in health. Most people believe that victory over the infectious diseases of the last century came with the invention of immunisations. In fact, cholera, typhoid, tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough, etc, were in decline before vaccines for them became available – the result of better methods of sanitation, sewage disposal, and distribution of food and water.

A well-known US stand-up comedian, television host, political commentator, satirist, author, and actor, Bill Maher has said similar things about vaccines.  The vaccine movement complain that “vaccines didn’t save us” is a gambit and has become a staple of vaccine safety websites. They complain vehemently when for example, people they describe as “ignorant bloggers” write:

The mythology surrounding vaccines is still pervasive, the majority of the population still believes, in faith like fashion, that vaccines are the first line of defense against disease. The true story is that nutrition and psychological/emotional health are the first line of defense against disease.

Vaccines are a concoction of chemical adjuvants and preservatives coupled with virus fragments and have clearly been implicated in the astounding rise in neurological disorders around the world, yet the ‘popular’ media has embedded itself as a spokesperson for the pharmaceutical cartel and simply does not report in any responsible way the real situation.

Gorski and the vaccine movement call it the “toxins” gambit.  At risk of exposure for absolute intellectual dishonesty, they are forced to concede that of course, it is true that better sanitation is a good thing.  They concede it has decreased the rate of transmission of some diseases.  Sanitation can do this, with many infectious diseases being transmitted person-to-person through the air from aerosolized drops of saliva from coughs and sneezes or from being deposited on objects that people touch frequently, like doorknobs and suchlike.

They claim “vaccines didn’t save us” is a mere strategy and a distortion. They allege the best way to demonstrate this is to go on to the very first website that currently shows up on a Google search for “vaccines didn’t save us.” And guess what?  You will end up here on CHS.

And who is the main crank spreading the claim it is a lie?  None other than the internet’s crankiest of medical crank doctor bloggers, Dr David Gorski over at Science Blogs dot com and as ORAC on his “Respectful Insolence” blog.  He originally directed his comments to another site’s page entitled Proof That Vaccines Didn’t Save Us, claiming it’s “one of the most breathtakingly spectacularly intellectually dishonest bits of anti-vaccine propaganda” that he’s ever seen. 

Well of course for Dr David Gorski, he almost always seems to say that or something like it.  No matter what he previously commented on, the one he comments on next is the “most“, its “breathtakingly“, or “spectacularly” intellectually dishonest, pretty much no matter what he writes about. 

The formula Gorski uses in his inane prattling is lapped up by his devoted followers, who like small dogs around his ankles jump up and down yapping for attention in subservient comments on his posts.

We say this not because Gorski uses a common distortion, but rather because he ups the ante every time with his primeval urges to make generous use of hyperbole, adding them with abandon to his disparaging writings.

Gorski’s distortions are hidden in plain sight, too, which is why he should have props for sheer chutzpah.

Actually, we have to give Gorski some backhanded kudos for how he always manages to devise some disparagement to represent the classic vaccine movement lies.  This he combines with some very clever cherry picking. We won’t take them all on in this post. Maybe we’ll take some of them on in a future post. In the meantime, what we will do is to take on some main ones because they represent a common vaccine movement theme against sites with graphs very similar to the one found in posts like this.

In fact, let’s look at Gorski’s attack on the late Ian Sinclair’s website.  He tells you to notice that there are six graphs, four of which are for vaccine-preventable diseases for which widespread vaccination was undertaken, two for which it was not. He will then say all of them show decreasing death rates from various diseases. And he will exclaim “Wow! It seems like slam dunk evidence, doesn’t it? Vaccines didn’t save us! After all, death rates were declining years before the vaccine, and they were declining for the diseases that didn’t even need a vaccine!

So having taken the main proposition which any sensible person would, Gorski then goes about trying to show you how deceitful, and cunning and manipulative are your own eyes.  He writes to persuade you to conclude from what is plain from decades and often a century or two of vaccination statistics, that you are wrong.  You cannot, nay, you must not believe it. 

Crazily, these kinds of graphs have only been brought into play because Gorski and people like Gorski have been frightening parents for a good century or two that their children will die and vaccines will save them from that.  So he and others are engaged in trying to move the goalposts to clear up the mess they made with what in other circumstances Gorski might describe as their own “most breathtakingly spectacularly intellectually dishonest bits of vaccine propaganda that” Gorski “has ever seen“. [Don’t ya love it!]

Death rates.

This is how he follows on with a deceptively simple: “Here’s the problem.” Wow, David will say and he has in fact gone on to say: “It’s not surprising that death rates were declining before introduction of the vaccines. Medicine was improving.” Of course you will not realise that the data goes back two hundred years because David does not tell you, and that is way before socialised medicine ever came on the scene and way before the vast majority of working people could afford it [and believe us, a large proportion in the USA, long without socialised medicine, still cannot].  And yet the steady dramatic falls in disease mortality continued.

Now here is the real deceit.  Gorski never once mentions “attenuation“, which is well-known in medicine and it is the steady decline in severity of diseases over time, as shown by all these graphs.  His claim is to completely pretend natural attenuation of diseases does not exist and that it is all about “medicine improving“. 

Now would you agree that is or is not intellectual dishonesty?  Do you think it is right for a medical professional, a trained medical doctor, to abuse medical knowledge to make a claim a competent medical expert simply should not make?

David goes on:

More importantly, supportive care was improving. For example, take the case of polio. Before the introduction of the iron lung and its widespread use, for example, if a polio patient developed paralysis of the respiratory muscles, he would almost certainly die. The iron lung allowed such patients to live. Some even survived in an iron lung for decades.” 

Well, you will think, that is pretty convincing.  Everyone has heard of polio and iron lungs.  But what David fails to tell you is that was for a short period around the 1950s and that he has completely airbrushed out the prior 150 years.  He ignores the 1850s or the 1900s when large parts of western economies had working people living tightly packed in slums without adequate sanitation, nutrition or clean water, ripe for the spread of infectious diseases. 

Have you seen the film “Angela’s ashes“? If not, watch it and you will soon get some idea about how bad slums and living conditions were.  And that is not showing the worst either.  But you will realise what misleading garbage is written on blatant propaganda attack sites like Science Blogs dot com by Gorski and his buddies. 

Gorski fails to acknowledge or even accept [despite mountains of historical evidence outweighing his own cherry-picked bias] that as living conditions improved deaths from disease dropped dramatically before medicine even had much of a chance to play even a small role. 

In the UK the National Health Service only came into existence in 1948.  Before then ordinary working people got by without Gorski’s alleged “supportive care”.  His ridiculous claim it was “improving” is also pointless save to deceive.  When you haven’t got “it” in the first place, improvements in “it” are just as worthless.  But Gorski ploughs on having sucked the gullible into his scribbled rants.

But so as not to lose you and any credibility completely Gorski concedes “No doubt improved nutrition also played a role as well.” But with that tiny concession buried in thousands of Gorski’s inanities he rapidly moves on: “However, if you want to get an idea of the impact of vaccines on infectious disease, take a look at this graph  from the CDC of measles incidence, not death rates“:

CDC Measles Incidence Graph

Now here’s the problem” as Gorski would say.  [In fact he won’t and he did not for this part, so we need to]. First, he cherry picks starting in 1950.  That bizarrely leaves out the massive decline over the prior 150 years.  So no: 1) the vaccine was certainly not responsible for the massive decline in mortality and 2) that decline was still continuing after the vaccines were introduced and 3) it took place before “improved” medicine was commonly available to many [but still not all] in the West.

But Dr David Gorski leaves out even more.  So if you have not realised before, let’s help you now.    What else has Dr Gorski left out?  Notice the graph seems to show measles cases dramatically falling?  What you may not have noticed is that he has palmed the card and dealt you a crooked hand from the deck of cards he has hidden under the table.

Now here’s the problem“.  Without telling you, without batting an eyelid and likely without you noticing at all he flips to a graph of measles cases and not deaths to change the game completely.  So in one move, a “sleight of hand” just like a three-card trickster who cheats you of your money, he has changed the entire proposition from saving us all from death to saving us from getting what might often be a mild dose of measles, [with no risk of 1 in 25 families having a child with autism as a result of vaccination as US leading health officials have admitted].  And he has done this without telling you, without batting an eyelid and likely without you noticing at all.  He just flips to a graph of measles cases and not deaths.   It is not the same argument and is not comparable.  But you probably did not notice, but David certainly did.

Well “what’s wrong with that“, you might ask.  Plenty.  Want to know why?  Let’s explain it, straight  – with no Gorskiesque deceit in sight.

When Gorski’s graph shows a fall in cases, it is not showing a fall in cases.  It is showing a fall in the numbers of diagnoses of measles which have been reported.

When doctors say they are diagnosing what they really mean is they are guessing pretty much all the time.

The problem with statistics on cases and not deaths is they depend upon lots of doctors’ guesses.  Doctors’ guesses also follow fads, fashions and trends.  And Gorski also fails to point out that symptoms are not like those in textbooks.  Some diseases have symptoms which look a lot like other diseases.  Some patients will have some but not all symptoms.  Some symptoms are milder in some patients than others.  So a diagnosis a patient has one disease and not another is often a guess. And it is often wrong.

What Gorski does not tell you is the practice of medicine is not science.  In fact he will tell you he “follows the science“.  He seems such a zealot he would probably prefer to throw himself under a train before admitting medical practice is not a science.

When doctors believe there could be a measles epidemic they can diagnose 73 out of 74 patients as having measles when they don’t have measles.  That is a real figure obtained from official data. You can find details here [at the end of the “Introduction” and before the “Contents”].

This also works in reverse.  When doctors have information a child has been vaccinated they will tend to rule out the vaccinated disease as a possibility and guess [diagnose] a different disease.  That is what the educated guessing process doctors call “diagnosis” is all about.

So when there are real measles cases, and doctors think the symptoms they see are not likely to be measles, they don’t diagnose measles. 

Did Gorski tell you any of this?  Nope.  But we are.  In fact all doctors in the USA were told that in 1967 measles was to be eradicated in just that year alone with the measles vaccine.  This was in a formally published statement “EPIDEMIOLOGIC BASIS FOR ERADICATION OF MEASLES IN 1967 A Statement By the Public Health Service” by David J. Sencer, M.D., H. Bruce Dull, M.D., Alexander D. Langmuir, M.D. PHR Vol. 82, No. 3, March 1967 253

So you can be sure that in the USA from the moment the first vaccine was licensed in 1963, the hype would have already started.  Thus, on the one hand the graph Gorski presented you has figures for diagnoses [guesses] showing a dramatic decline of measles cases from the very moment the vaccine was first licensed in the USA.  And on the other hand the moment doctors think it cannot be measles, they stop diagnosing measles and guess something else instead. So when there are real measles cases they will not be diagnosed.

So Gorski’s graph is totally misleading.  But glossing over it all he goes on to argue by analogy claiming “Similar results were seen most recently from several other vaccines, including the Haemophilus influenza type B vaccine, as the CDC points out:

Hib vaccine is another good example, because Hib disease was prevalent until just a few years ago, when conjugate vaccines that can be used for infants were finally developed. (The polysaccharide vaccine previously available could not be used for infants, in whom most cases of the disease were occurring.) Since sanitation is not better now than it was in 1990, it is hard to attribute the virtual disappearance of Haemophilus influenzae disease in children in recent years (from an estimated 20,000 cases a year to 1,419 cases in 1993, and dropping) to anything other than the vaccine.”

And then you might ask, what is wrong with that?  Again, plenty.  The clue is in the word “estimated” in “the virtual disappearance of Haemophilus influenzae disease in children in recent years (from an estimated 20,000 cases a year to 1,419 cases in 1993“?

To put it bluntly, one too many a health official including one too many in the US CDC make up grossly exaggerated estimates to make it look like they are doing their job.  Paying their mortgage depends on it.  So on the one hand they want to make it look like disease is everywhere and on the other that they are controlling and fixing the problem. 

The CDC was officially castigated by the US Senate in an official report CDC Off Centeras an agency which “cannot demonstrate it is controlling disease“  but which was managing to spend US$11 billion in tax dollars every year not doing what even its name says it is supposed to – Center for Disease Control.

Flu death estimates are a classic example.  The US CDC claims there are an estimated 36,000 annual flu deaths so they can promote flu vaccines and prove later how successful they have been.  Their problem is the UK were doing the same thing, but got caught and the Chief Medical Officer had to “fess up”.  You can read the details here.  Flu deaths in the UK averaged no more than 33 annually despite Department of Health claims estimating 12,000 people die annually: 360 times higher than actual deaths.  If a plane fell out of the sky over the UK, the way the Department of Health calculated flu deaths, these would have been included in their flu deaths figure.  Read it for yourself and see here.

Now, do you think Dr David Gorski is being intellectually honest?

Gorski’s graph claims a fall in measles cases from the moment the first measles vaccine was licensed in 1963.  The widespread use of measles vaccine in the US in a mass public vaccination programme started in 1967 which was nearly 5 years later. And the early vaccines were withdrawn because they were ineffective or caused high rates of adverse reactions.  The 1963 licensed inactivated (“killed”) vaccine was withdrawn in  1967 because it did not protect against measles virus infection – it just did not work but it took nearly 5 years to find out. Additionally, it was not until 1968 that what was claimed a more effective safer vaccine was introduced.  This was the attenuated strain vaccine (Edmonston-Enders). These further attenuated vaccines caused fewer reactions than the original Edmonston B vaccine.  The 1963 licensed live attenuated vaccine (Edmonston B strain) was withdrawn in 1975 because of a high frequency of adverse reactions.  A further attenuated vaccine (Schwarz) was first introduced in 1965 but is also no longer used: Measles Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases The Pink Book: Course Textbook – 12th Edition Second Printing (May 2012)

As you can see, the US authorities kept a useless vaccine in use for 5 years seemingly without realising it.  They kept a harmful vaccine in use for at least 10 years before replacing it.  So this gives you an idea of how difficult it is for parents to prove a vaccine is useless or one harmed their child when the US CDC pretends for 10 years a vaccine they later withdrew as dangerous is OK to give US kids.  And it also tells you, you cannot trust government and you cannot trust health officials.

And you may also not realise it but these were dangerous, unethical and illegal mass experiments on children, US children, directed by health officials of what is now the US Centers for Disease Control.  And the CDC is still doing illegal and dangerous experiments on US children with vaccines, but telling the public and media the vaccines are safe and effective.  Nothing has changed.  Has the US CDC ever used any of its annual US$11 billion budget in developing an effective treatment for measles?  Nope.  There is no effective treatment.  The CDC is a one trick pony.  And if they did develop an effective treatment like a measles pill, and a pill for other diseases, they might be out of a job.

Does Dr David Gorski warn you?  Nope.  He instead does the opposite with misinformation put out in a distasteful manner on his blogs.  [And he is supposed to be a professional medical doctor with high ethical standards, just like the CDC’s health officials.]

So you can see how Gorski simply laps up information he gets off the internet from unreliable and dangerous websites like that operated by the US Centers for Disease Control without exercising any critical faculties over dangerous and false health information given out by US health officials which ends up with US kids getting harmed [and possibly killed].  It is typical of the genre.  But he will attack and disparage others from the relative safety of his own blogs and he does so routinely.  Go over to his blogs and read for yourself.  Make your own mind up whether Dr Gorski is fair and open minded or is he something else?  Ask yourself are his blog posts fair and balanced or bullying and harassing those whose legitimate views he wants to censor from common knowledge in favour of his drug industry supporting version of the “truth“.  Overall ask yourself is he and Science Blogs dot com a source to be trusted?

The answer to that has to be a Big Fat “NO”.

And for how many other “vaccinatable diseases” have the records of reported cases diminished not because the vaccine works but because medical professionals do not diagnose the cases?  Remember, in many cases symptoms can be mild and/or look like another disease.  In the UK claims were being made for whooping cough being practically eradicated when the reality was the cases were not being reported: Easily Missed? Whooping cough Harnden, A BMJ 2009;338:b1772. Research Whooping cough in school age children with persistent cough: prospective cohort study in primary care Harnden, A BMJ 2006;333:174

Polio is another because not only are cases unlikely to be reported but cases not involving any symptom of paralysis are hardly likely to be noticed let alone reported and the UK form for reporting is for cases involving temporary or permanent paralysis and not non paralytic polio.

One thing you can say for sure about a death, is the patient is dead.  And another is death is the most extreme consequence of a disease.  A measure of how less dangerous a disease has become is from the rate at which mortality falls over time, so you can be certain all other kinds of adverse consequences will similarly be far less serious.  But Gorski never tells you that nor that statistics on reported cases are wholly unreliable.  That is not what Gorski or the US CDC want you to know or even guess at.  The more tax dollars the CDC can spend on vaccines, the more certain they are of staying in a job.  But then, they do have mortgages to pay don’t they, so we guess it must be OK to pay for them with your child’s health or the next child’s autism or asthma or diabetes [and so on and so forth].

All of the foregoing is why people don’t believe allopathic doctors like Gorski or government health officials and experts.  Because one too many are deceiving you, misleading you and acting against your best health interests and those of your children.  And if you want a great example, go over to Dr David Gorski’s various blog sites and read the nasty cranky stuff he writes, full of deceptions and misleading information.

GSK to Pay Out US$ Millions As Hundreds of Children In EU Get Narcolepsy and Cataplexy From GSK Vaccine

Some 800 children across Europe are so far known to have become seriously ill from the swine flu vaccine.

Narcolepsy is a chronic condition that causes people to fall asleep suddenly and without warning, while cataplexy causes people to lose consciousness when they are experiencing heightened emotion, including when they are laughing.  The victims of this vaccine have an incurable and lifelong condition and will require extensive medication. The majority of the cases involve children, but in the UK 6 healthcare workers are also seeking compensation.

GSK will not lose a cent.  It is protected from the UK claims by an indemnity clause in its contract with the UK government.  CHS previous reports include this: Vaccine Maker GlaxoSmithKline To Gain US$480,000,000 From Causing Narcolepsy in 800 Children With Its Flu Vaccine

Other recent reports include this from Norway:

European children suffer narcolepsy after swine-flu vaccinations

Report from a vaccine industry newsletter:

Report: U.K. facing $100M compensation payout relating to GSK’s swine flu vaccine  March 4, 2014 | By Nick Paul Taylor, Fierce Vaccines

Other reports: