Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Book Every American Should Read

This is the book I should have read when I first started trying to figure out what was going on with this whole autism/vaccines thing.

It hasn't been clear to me thus far, but this excellently written book, Evidence of Harm, by David Kirby is telling me the history of this whole ordeal. The issue is newer than I thought (according to this book, concerned parents didn't even know that thimerosal was mercury until 1999), yet still entirely too long-lived. A lot of hard-working, passionate parents have done a lot of good and faced a mountain of opposition. Mr. Kirby, I think this book will go down in history as the one that told the story when so many still couldn't hear.

The book reads like a novel yet is solidly documented. I have been devouring it and have learned a ton, yet I'm only 1/4th of the way through. I can't wait to read it again tomorrow (had to stop today when my eyes couldn't take it anymore!).

I don't know if this will bring me much closer to deciding what is best for my baby, since thimerosal is almost all phased out of vaccines, but it certainly gives me a greater understanding of the public health machine we're dealing with. All I can say is, you are not crazy to do your homework on your child's vaccinations. And you should read this book! Get on Amazon or Ebay or what-have-you and spend a few bucks on a cheap copy. I personally think this is one of the most important stories to be told.

Will Dr. Healy's words change things?

All right, I'm waaaay behind on putting this landmark interview up. But I need this for a reference for my own research and perhaps anyone reading this blog would want it also.

Here is the link to the CBS Web site, where you can watch video of Dr. Bernadine Healy, former head of the National Institutes of Health and a current member of the Institute of Medicine, say that her colleagues in the public health field have been "too quick to dismiss the (vaccine-autism) hypothesis as irrational." (If the main video is too long for your liking, click on the smaller "screens" down below - the middle video that is 3:05 long is the one that aired on CBS Evening News on Monday, 5/12/08)

"What we’re seeing in the bulk of the population: vaccines are safe," said Healy. "But there may be this susceptible group. The fact that there is concern, that you don’t want to know that susceptible group is a real disappointment to me. If you know that susceptible group, you can save those children. If you turn your back on the notion that there is a susceptible group… what can I say?"

By the way, for what may be the first time, I read a mainstream article today that didn't automatically dismiss the "autism from vaccines" theory. It was here, on U.S. News and World Report, in an article authored by Nancy Schute. Could this attitude be a sign of things to come?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Hepatitis A Vaccine

Helpful links:

National Vaccine Information Center Hepatitis A vaccine page

Both of these pages are quick to read and the information is straighforward on both. I don't even feel like I need to say anything further. (Hooray!)

If I think of anything to add later, I will.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

New Scientific Paper Finds Correlation between Thimerosal, Autism

From the Journal of the Neurological Sciences. Abstract here.

"Consistent significantly increased rate ratios were observed for autism, autism spectrum disorders, tics, attention deficit disorder, and emotional disturbances with Hg (mercury) exposure from TCVs (thimerosal-containing vaccines). By contrast, none of the control outcomes had significantly increased rate ratios with Hg exposure from TCVs. Routine childhood vaccination should be continued to help reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with infectious diseases, but efforts should be undertaken to remove Hg from vaccines. Additional studies should be conducted to further evaluate the relationship between Hg exposure and NDs (neurodevelopmental disorders)."

Service Dogs for Autistic Children

Interesting article in the New York Daily News (click here). Excerpts:

As it is for many kids with autism, life has been isolating for 12-year-old John Haugh, whose lack of verbal and play skills has kept the Floral Park, L.I., boy from making any friends. But the recent arrival of his special golden retriever, Buddy, has opened a new window to John's world. ...
For a mother, autism can be very lonely and consuming, she said. But puppies need to be walked, and Buddy gets her back out into the neighborhood - a connection to the outside world that she had lost.
"Buddy is a breath of fresh air," she said.
The North Star Foundation is supported by donations. For information, go to
NorthStarDogs.com or call (860) 423-0664.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

What does the CDC say about not vaccinating?

Taken from a PDF document found on this page under "What if you don't immunize your child?":

We strongly encourage you to immunize your child, but ultimately the decision is yours. Please discuss any concerns you have with a trusted healthcare provider or call the immunization coordinator at your local or state health department. Your final decision affects not only the health of your child, but also the rest of your family, the health of your child’s friends and their families, classmates, neighbors, and community.

Without immunizations, your child can infect others.
  • Children who are not immunized can transmit vaccine-preventable diseases throughout the community. Unvaccinated people can pass diseases on to babies who are too young to be fully immunized.
  • Unvaccinated people pose a threat to children and adults who can’t be immunized for medical reasons. This includes people with leukemia and other cancers, HIV/AIDS and other immune system problems, and persons receiving chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or large doses of corticosteroids.
  • Unvaccinated people can infect the small percentage of children whose immunizations did not “take.”

Reading this brochure puzzles me and even insults my intelligence in a few ways. First of all, they use the label "unvaccinated people," when what they really mean is "sick people." Being "unvaccinated" does not make a person the carrier of a disease! Being sick does. An unvaccinated person is not the same as a sick person! And vaccinated people can get sick too, because vaccines do not necessarily confer immunity.

In fact, many times it is the vaccine itself that makes that person sick. While our society believes that smallpox and polio were eradicated by vaccines, if you look at the actual numbers, people got sick from these inoculations, with disease rates increasing after mass vaccination programs started. Many sources (doctors and historical records) say that these diseases declined naturally, having been on their way out before vaccination even began.

Which brings me to the second thing, and that is that when we are vaccinated, it is possible to "shed" the germs from the vaccine (I've read about this in vaccine package inserts and various articles). So really, those dangerous "unvaccinated" people are sometimes the ones at risk of catching disease from the vaccinated ones, not the other way around.

Third, this brochure uses the word "immunize" to mean "vaccinate." Technically, the terms are not interchangeable, even though the vast majority of medical texts use them like this. The word "immunize" literally means to make immune. Vaccines are an attempt at making us immune, but they do not guarantee immunity. Even this brochure hints at that when it says, "Unvaccinated people can infect the small percentage of children whose immunizations did not 'take.'"

I am sure there are truths in this brochure as well, but I am somewhat distracted by the way it misleads. Here, the reader is led to believe that unvaccinated people are dirty and can't be around the rest of society because of the risk they pose. It's things like this that make me now question almost everything the CDC says. It shouldn't be like this! I'm just a layperson, and I shouldn't have to question public health expertise like this. I just want the truth. I just want to know what real health problems have resulted from vaccination, and I want real numbers. I'm tired of feeling like I have to figure this out for myself.

Oh, so you'll see I added the CDC Vaccination home page to my sidebar. This is for research purposes for anyone who wants to see what they have to say. But personally, I can't help it if I read their site with the proverbial grain of salt.

Oh yea, and I still haven't heard back from them regarding my phone message about Prevnar (I called about a month ago to ask why Prevnar vaccine is not tested for carcinogenicity, mutagenic effects or impairment of fertility). Since then, I've found a few other vaccine inserts that state the same thing - they aren't tested for these things before they're mandated for our kids. And the CDC has yet to tell me why not. If you want to call them, I'll tell you that number again: 404-639-8256. Have at it, and let me know if you get any answers.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Shingles Booster Recommended by CDC

The CDC is recommending shingles booster shots for anyone over 60. Shingles is the more serious form of the chickenpox virus and can be dangerous in adults.

The more I read about epidemiology as it relates to increased vaccination, it seems that diseases just find new ways to work their ways into the population. Vaccines do not confer lifetime immunity the way getting the disease does, so we are told we need booster shots, and we can never be 100% sure we are immune. For example, mumps, one of the classic old childhood diseases, now occurs at higher rates in the older populations as the vaccines wear off. So, what you have are teens and adults getting it instead of school-age kids, and these older populations are the ones who are actually more susceptible to long-term damage (such as sterility in males). (This phenomenon was cited in Neil Z. Miller's Vaccine Safety Manual and Dr. Robert Mendelsohn's How to Raise a Healthy Child ... in Spite of Your Doctor.)

Natural chickenpox immunity, which (in my understanding) would have remained steady in the adult population because most adults had it as kids, is now collectively wearing off. Dr. Sherri Tenpenny explains in her DVD, Vaccines: The Risks, the Benefits, the Choices, that our adult immune systems sort of need our kids to get chickenpox so that we can get exposed to it again --- this re-exposure actually helps our immune systems "remember" the virus and bulk up again. But instead of allowing this natural course to go on, we've just vaccinated against chickenpox and now, as a population, we are becoming weaker at fending it off. Dr. Tenpenny cites a CDC publication (the July 12, 1996, MMWR) that says the incidence of developing shingles within 10 years after vaccination is occurring at a rate of about 1 in 5,000. And so, instead of adults getting natural "immune boosters" from their kids being left alone to get this normal childhood disease, kids are getting shingles from the vaccine (!), and adults are getting shingles from their kids.

Thus, the advent of a shingles booster for adults, and more cash for the pharmaceutical industry yet again.

According to the journal Vaccine, there is a real threat of a shingles epidemic due to mass vaccination against chickenpox (as cited by Dr. Tenpenny).

I'm just a layman, but to me this seems illogical. It seems healthier for our population just to get the chickenpox and let natural immunity occur, rather than going around inventing ways to circumvent nature. I know I didn't mind the little itchy bumps, and as my husband said, remembering his long excuse for days full of video-gaming, "Those were the best two weeks of my school career!"

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Why I Didn't Give a Dollar to Autism the Other Day

Last Friday, my husband and I took our little man to Toys R Us to spend some of his birthday money (I was surprised by how many people give a one-year-old money on his b-day!) I'd (ahem, I mean he'd)been wanting one of those cute "push-around" buggies made by Step 2, so we can cruise around the 'hood.

At the register, there are signs hanging with puzzle pieces and children's faces on them -- the organization represented is Autism Speaks. When you pay the nice cashier, they ask you if you want to give a dollar to autism. A few months ago, I am sure I would have said yes, but after learning some things about this particular organization, I had to be "that person" who couldn't even spare a buck. Here's why:


Polio Survivor Writes on the Runaway Truck of Vaccine Policy

There's so much good stuff over at Age of Autism. Hope it's OK I just grabbed this story from there.

"Polio Survivor on Immunization"


Mother Nature cleverly designs any gene pool to include pioneers, renegades, warriors and stay-at-homes, whether she's working on animal forms, germs, or algae. So in any pool of a species, there are certain individuals best suited to meet particular challenges.When we started immunizing against smallpox, we set loose a grand and persistent fantasy that we could eradicate diseases, but germs and Mother Nature are busy doing push-ups in the parking lot while we're sitting in the doctor's waiting room with our babies, waiting to be Nature-proofed.

Have you noticed how often you've read about a newly-discovered strain of measles or mumps or anything else? How many of these are produced inadvertently by laboratory buccaneers? We can't keep up our defense fast enough, and our efforts only drive the pathogens' adaptive changes on; we're forcing the production of "designer genes" in germs that used to be innocuous, by making designer drugs, designer germicides. Are any of our scientists cynical enough to think that triggering a pathogen mutation is "no biggie,"since they can come up with a new antibiotic or vaccine in response, so the cash cow never dies?
Ma Nature keeps letting us know she will not be bested in this game, but like the classic sucker, we keep signing on for a new round.
When I had polio during the epidemic of 1952-3, only 1 in 4,000 kids in America got sick with it; a tiny percentage of us were paralyzed (only 1%, according to some), but mass hysteria ruled. Did humanity jump too hard, too fast, on the vaccine bandwagon? And as we hopped on board that bandwagon to "save" one in 4,000 from one illness, did that commit us to later blindly shove one in 150 of our babies over the side, to fall by the wayside with autism disorders?
So when conservative medical opinion fondles its beard and mumbles about "Herd Immunity," I find myself muttering, "Yeah, right. Big Pharma stands in line at the patent office, while Ma Nature whistles as she tinkers in her Laboratory." At best, we can accomplish an apparent herd immunity, a momentary herd immunity, but there is no such stasis.
So, as you watch the glorious bandwagon of western medical progress come trundling by, step back a few paces and take a longer, larger view, and see if you can't see a trail of little bodies, blighted lives, broken, exhausted families, behind the great vehicle as it rumbles on. If you're quick, you might even be able to catch some as they fall, mid-air, and take them to a safe place.
I wrote some of that a few days ago, and posted it as a comment on a friend's blog. My son commented in his typically dry way, "My friend Alex just recovered from MRSA which stands for Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus. I find it difficult to believe that there was MRSA before the advent of Methicillin."
And my daughter sent me an email reporting an article in The Independent (April 14) in the UK: "INCREASE IN SEVERE PNEUMONIA IN CHILDREN MAY BE CAUSED BY VACCINE"
http://tinyurl.com/69skyx Written by the paper's health editor, it describes how Prevnar, a vaccine against seven of the ninety or so streptococcal germs known to cause pneumonia, is suspected of creating new problems: "When one (germ) is eliminated, it creates an opportunity for another to take its place.
In the US, where Prevnar was introduced in 2000, researchers have reported an emergence of "sero-replacement" disease—types of pneumonia not covered by the vaccine." Serotype 1 pneumonia, the strain of greatest concern, develops rapidly, ending in surgery to clean out pus and septic fluid gathered in the pleural cavity between the chest wall and lungs."Linda Glennie, head of research at the Meningitis Research Foundation, which is funding the surveillance programme with the HPA (Health Protection Agency, UK), said the challenge was to keep one step ahead of Nature." You said a mouthful, Linda Glennie. We can't even keep up with Nature's artful dodging, so how are we going to keep one step ahead, is what I want to know?
P.S. If someone knows how to let Bill and Melinda Gates in on this little insight about who's in charge (them or Nature), the future might be a better place for children everywhere.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Autism and Vaccine Studies

I got myself in hot water sending the email I posted in my previous post (should have seen that coming). I offended somebody and, among other things, they wanted to know to which studies I was referring in order to support a link between autism and mercury poisoning. Well, here are some to start with. And if the CDC isn't talking about it, does that mean I'm foolish, or that the government really is whitewashing this? At some point, it begins to feels like only one of those things can be true. Thanks to TACA and Generation Rescue for compiling this list, and Ginger Taylor (adventuresinautism.com) who I know had a hand in this too (Her list is here).

[EDITED 5/14/08 to add]: This is a short list. The TACA Web site has a 346-page document containing all sorts of studies on autism. To view it, go to http://www.talkaboutcuringautism.org/index.htm and scroll down until you see "Vaccines" in the left-hand column. Mouse over it and click on the PDF link to autism studies. You can even download the whole thing to your computer. The book Evidence of Harm by David Kirby is also (I've been told) a well-documented resource on this topic. (I still need to read it.)

Blood Levels of Mercury Are Related to Diagnosis of Autism: A Reanalysis of an Important Data Set
Journal of Child Neurology, Vol. 22, No. 11, 1308-1311 (2007)
M. Catherine DeSoto, PhD, Robert T. Hitlan, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, Iowa
Excerpt: ”We have reanalyzed the data set originally reported by Ip et al. in 2004 and have found that the original p value was in error and that a significant relation does exist between the blood levels of mercury and diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder. Moreover, the hair sample analysis results offer some support for the idea that persons with autism may be less efficient and more variable at eliminating mercury from the blood.”

Developmental Regression and Mitochondrial Dysfunction in a Child With Autism
Journal of Child Neurology / Volume 21, Number 2, February 2006
Jon S. Poling, MD, PhD, Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery
Johns Hopkins Hospital
This article showed that 38% of Kennedy Krieger Institute autism patients studied had one marker for impaired oxidative phosphorylation (mitochondrial dysfunction), and 47% had a second marker.
Excerpt: "Children who have (mitochondrial-related) dysfunctional cellular energy metabolism might be more prone to undergo autistic regression between 18 and 30 months of age if they also have infections or immunizations at the same time."

Oxidative Stress in Autism: Elevated Cerebellar 3-nitrotyrosine Levels
American Journal of Biochemistry and Biotechnology 4 (2): 73-84, 2008
Elizabeth M. Sajdel-Sulkowska, - Dept of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
Shows a potential link between mercury and the autopsied brains of young people with autism. A marker for oxidative stress was 68.9% higher in autistic brain issue than controls (a statistically significant result), while mercury levels were 68.2% higher.
Excerpt: The preliminary data suggest a need for more extensive studies of oxidative stress, its relationship to the environmental factors and its possible attenuation by antioxidants in autism.”

Large Brains in Autism: The Challenge of Pervasive Abnormality
The Neuroscientist, Volume 11, Number 5, 2005.Martha Herbert, MD, PhD [Harvard University].
This study helps refute the notion that the brains of autistic children are simply wired differently and notes, "neuroinflammation appears to be present in autistic brain tissue from childhood through adulthood." Dr. Herbert suggests that chronic disease or an external environmental source (like heavy metals) may be causing the inflammation.
"Oxidative stress, brain inflammation, and microgliosis have been much documented in association with toxic exposures including various heavy metals...the awareness that the brain as well as medical conditions of children with autism may be conditioned by chronic biomedical abnormalities such as inflammation opens the possibility that meaningful biomedical interventions may be possible well past the window of maximal neuroplasticity in early childhood because the basis for assuming that all deficits can be attributed to fixed early developmental alterations in neural architecture has now been undermined."

Neuroglial Activation and Neuroinflammation in the Brain of Patients with Autism
Annals of Neurology, Feb 2005.Diana L. Vargas, MD [Johns Hopkins University].
This study, performed independently and using a different methodology than Dr. Herbert (see above) reached the same conclusion: the brains of autistic children are suffering from inflammation. Excerpt:
"Because this neuroinflammatory process appears to be associated with an ongoing and chronic mechanism of CNS dysfunction, potential therapeutic interventions should focus on the control of its detrimental effects and thereby eventually modify the clinical course of autism."

Evidence of Toxicity, Oxidative Stress, and Neuronal Insult in Autism

Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Nov-Dec 2006.Janet Kern, Anne Jones
"This article discusses the evidence for the case that some children with autism may become autistic from neuronal cell death or brain damage sometime after birth as result of insult; and addresses the hypotheses that toxicity and oxidative stress may be a cause of neuronal insult in autism..the article discusses what may be happening over the course of development and the multiple factors that may interplay and make these children more vulnerable to toxicity, oxidative stress, and neuronal insult."

Oxidative Stress in Autism

Pathophysiology, 2006.Abha Chauhan, Ved Chauhan
This study provides a helpful overview of the growing evidence supporting the link between oxidative stress and autism. Excerpt:
1"Upon completion of this article, participants should be able to: 1. Be aware of laboratory and clinical evidence of greater oxidative stress in autism. 2. Understand how gut, brain, nutritional, and toxic status in autism are consistent with greater oxidative stress. 3. Describe how anti-oxidant nutrients are used in the contemporary treatment of autism."

Porphyrinuria in Childhood Autistic Disorder: Implications for Environmental Toxicity

Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, 2006.Robert Nataf, Corinne Skorupka, Lorene Amet
This new study from France utilizes a new and sophisticated measurement for environmental toxicity by assessing porphyrin levels in autistic children. It provides clear and unequivocal evidence that children with autism spectrum disorders are more toxic than their neurotypical peers. Excerpt:
"Coproporphyrin levels were elevated in children with autistic disorder relative to control groups...the elevation was significant. These data implicate environmental toxicity in childhood autistic disorder."

Thimerosal Neurotoxicity is Associated with Glutathione Depletion: Protection with Glutathione Precursors.

Neurotoxicology, Jan 2005.S. Jill James, PhD [University of Arkansas].
This recent study demonstrates that Thimerosal lowers or inhibits the body's ability to produce Glutathione, an antioxidant and the body's primary cellular-level defense against mercury. Excerpt:
1"Thimerosal-induced cytotoxicity was associated with depletion of intracellular Glutathione in both cell lines...The potential effect of Glutathione or N-acetylcysteine against mercury toxicity warrants further research as possible adjunct therapy to individuals still receiving Thimerosal-containing vaccines."

Uncoupling of ATP-mediated Calcium Signaling and Dysregulated IL-6 Secretion in Dendritic Cells by Nanomolar Thimerosal

Environmental Health Perspectives, July 2006.Samuel R. Goth, Ruth A. Chu Jeffrey P. Gregg
This study demonstrates that very low-levels of Thimerosal can contribute to immune system disregulation. Excerpt:
1"Our findings that DCs primarily express the RyR1 channel complex and that this complex is uncoupled by very low levels of THI with dysregulated IL-6 secretion raise intriguing questions about a molecular basis for immune dyregulation and the possible role of the RyR1 complex in genetic susceptibility of the immune system to mercury."

Aluminum adjuvant linked to gulf war illness induces motor neuron death in mice Neuromolecular Medicine, 2007Christopher Shaw, Ph.D. [Department of Ophthalmology and Program in Neuroscience, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada]
This study demonstrates the extreme toxicity of the aluminum adjuvant used as a preservative in vaccines. Excerpt:
"testing showed motor deficits in the aluminum treatment group that expressed as a progressive decrease in strength measured...Significant cognitive deficits in water-maze learning were observed in the combined aluminum and squalene group...Apoptotic neurons were identified in aluminum-injected animals that showed significantly increased activated caspase-3 labeling in lumbar spinal cord (255%) and primary motor cortex (192%) compared with the controls. Aluminum-treated groups also showed significant motor neuron loss (35%) and increased numbers of astrocytes (350%) in the lumbar spinal cord.

Activation of Methionine Synthase by Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 and Dopamine: a Target for Neurodevelopmental Toxins and Thimerasol.

Molecular Psychiatry, July 2004.Richard C. Deth, PhD [Northeastern University].
This study demonstrates how Thimerosal inhibits methylation, a central driver of cellular communication and development. Excerpt:
"The potent inhibition of this pathway [methylation] by ethanol, lead, mercury, aluminum, and thimerosal suggests it may be an important target of neurodevelopmental toxins."

Environmental mercury release, special education rates, and autism disorder: an ecological study of Texas.
Health & Place, 2006Raymond F. Palmer, University of Texas Health Science Center
This study demonstrated the correlation between environmental mercury and autism rates in Texas. Excerpt:
"On average, for each 1,000 lb of environmentally released mercury, there was a 43% increase in the rate of special education services and a 61% increase in the rate of autism. The association between environmentally released mercury and special education rates were fully mediated by increased autism rates. This ecological study suggests the need for further research regarding the association between environmentally released mercury and developmental disorders such as autism."

Autism Spectrum Disorders in Relation to Distribution of Hazardous Air Pollutants in the SF Bay Area
Environmental Health Perspectives – Vol. 114 No. 9, September, 2006
Gayle Windham, Div. of Environmental and Occupational Disease Control, California Department of Health Services
284 ASD children & 657 controls, born in 1994 in Bay Area, were assigned exposure levels by birth tract for 19 chemicals. Risks for autism were elevated by 50% in tracts with the highest chlorinated solvents and heavy metals. The highest risk compounds were mercury, cadmium, nickel, trichloroethylene, and vinyl chloride, and the risk from heavy metals was almost twice as high as solvents.
Excerpt: “Our results suggest a potential association between autism and estimated metal concentrations, and possibly solvents, in ambient air around the birth residence.”

Comparison of Blood and Brain Mercury Levels in Infant Monkeys Exposed to Methylmercury or Vaccines Containing Thimerosal
Environmental Health Perspectives, Aug 2005.Thomas Burbacher, PhD [University of Washington].
This study demonstrates clearly and unequivocally that ethyl mercury, the kind of mercury found in vaccines, not only ends up in the brain, but leaves double the amount of inorganic mercury as methyl mercury, the kind of mercury found in fish. This work is groundbreaking because little is known about ethyl mercury, and many health authorities have asserted that the mercury found in vaccines is the "safe kind." This study also delivers a strong rebuke of the Institute of Medicine's recommendation in 2004 to no longer pursue the mercury-autism connection. Excerpt:
"A recently published IOM review (IOM 2004) appears to have abandoned the earlier recommendation [of studying mercury and autism] as well as back away from the American Academy of Pediatrics goal [of removing mercury from vaccines]. This approach is difficult to understand, given our current limited knowledge of the toxicokinetics and developmental neurotoxicity of thimerosal, a compound that has been (and will continue to be) injected in millions of newborns and infants."

A Case Series of Children with Apparent Mercury Toxic Encephalopathies Manifesting with Clinical Symptoms of Regressive Autistic Disorder

Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, 2007David A. Geier, Mark R. Geier
This study reviewed the case histories and medical profiles of nine autistic children and concluded that eight of the nine children were mercury toxic and this toxicity manifested itself in a manner consistent with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Excerpt:
"...these previously normally developing children suffered mercury toxic encephalopathies that manifested with clinical symptoms consistent with regressive ASDs. Evidence for mercury intoxication should be considered in the differential diagnosis as contributing to some regressive ASDs."

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and blood mercury level: a case-control study in chinese children

Neuropediatrics, August 2006 - P.R. Kong [Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, The University of Hong Kong].
This study demonstrates that blood mercury levels are higher for children with ADHD. Excerpt:
"There was significant difference in blood mercury levels between cases and controls, which persists after adjustment for age, gender and parental occupational status. The geometric mean blood mercury level was also significantly higher in children with inattentive and combined subtypes of ADHD. High blood mercury level was associated with ADHD. Whether the relationship is causal requires further studies."

The Changing Prevalence of Autism In California

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, April 2003Mark Blaxill, MBA
This study helps to refute the supposition made by some researchers that autism's epidemic may only be due to "diagnostic substitution". Excerpt:
"They have suggested that 'diagnostic substitution' accounts for an apparent increase in the incidence of autism in California that is not real. This hypothesized substitution is not supported by proper and detailed analyses of the California data."

Monday, May 12, 2008

CBS Evening News TONIGHT

My email to friends today... (if only I could tell them all I really know!):

Dear Friends,

I thought you might be interested to know that tonight, CBS Evening News is supposed to air a segment on some more of the families whose autistic children they believe were harmed by thimerasol (mercury) in vaccines. It *should* air at 6:30 or 7:00. Hopefully, the programming won't change, but I heard this first-hand from one of the families interviewed for the show.

Here is an article on yahoo about the new "test cases" coming down the pike in vaccine court -- there are about 5000 families like the one in the news back in March (Hannah Poling), and the government needs to decide how to judge them all, so they have hand-selected certain ones to be sort of like "examples." (Just so you know, Paul Offit, who makes a patronizing comment about so-called "anti-vaccine" families in the article, has a financial conflict of interest as he owns part of the patent on Rotateq, a vaccine which has actually killed and harmed babies):
Documentation on Rotateq deaths here: http://www.ageofautism.com/2008/04/rotateq-causes.html

And I have a conflct of interest as I have a child I want to remain healthy.

This is a very controversial subject in the news and there is lots of misconception. What is most important to recognize here is that thimerasol is actually a mercury derivative and mercury is actually a poison. Earning my degree in public health I learned that loud and clear - and back in World War II, they actually had to label vaccines containing thimerasol as "toxic." The term "mad hatter" even came into being because hatters literally went mad -- mercury was used in the hat-curing process and they breathed it and touched it. It's very serious stuff, yet it's been injected into babies' bloodstreams for years.

Thimerasol has been removed from most vaccines, but there are still a few that contain it. (Hello!) You can see them here:
http://www.vaccinesafety.edu/thi-table.htm What's strange is that instead of dumping the supply of thimerasol-containing vaccines back when the government said to phase it out, vaccine manufacturers and public health decision-makers decided to use it up here and also send it abroad to developing nations. (Again, hello!) If anyone wants documentation for this, let me know, I'll direct you to the right place.

My position is probably very clear now that you've read this far. All I meant to do was tell you about the program tonight, but couldn't help discussing a little more - sorry. Anyway, just thought you might be interested... lots of information out there and it may actually be a little worse than the mainstream media reports.


P.S. Feel free to forward this if you like.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Whoa. Like, whoa.

Have you ever read something that kinda makes your head feel like it's gonna explode because the stuff you found out was so unbelievable? But even though it was unbelievable, you knew it was true and you finally were putting pieces together that had kind of been floating around without direction inside your head? Well, that happened to me today.

When I started researching vaccines two months ago, I had no idea what I would encounter, nor that this blog would come into being, nor that I would become so passionate about it. I even thought, if vaccines truly have legitimate dangers, then our government is not being honest with us ... and if I believe that, then I would have to be some sort of conspiracy theorist. If I discover information that makes me reconsider vaccinating, then people are going to think I am crazy. I'm going to be on the "outside." My family is going to talk about me behind my back, my doctor is going to tell me I don't know what I'm talking about, that I'm endangering my child, and my friends are going to wonder what kind of nutty I'd have to be to say, "I don't believe my government, and I don't believe my doctor." I mean, that's nuts, right? That's out there.

Well, if you want to find out how those stray pieces came together for me today, read this:

1) Medical Mistakes Through the Ages, by Kim Stagliano (blogger),

and/or this:

2) Deadly Immunity, by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. in Rolling Stone (2005)
[EDITED 5/14/08 to add]: I have the documents to back this story up if anyone wants them. Just email me at cadillacmtn2000@gmail.com.

and this:

3) Kennedy Report Sparks Controversy, by Rolling Stone editors (less than a month after the story above) They say, "Rolling Stone and Salon fact-checked the article thoroughly before publication, insisting on primary documentation for every statement in the story, and posted links to the most significant materials online to enable readers to judge for themselves."
And, "'Science,' as one doctor in our story insisted, 'is best left to scientists.' But when the scientists fail to do their job, resorting to closed-door meetings and rigged studies, others in society have not only a right but a moral obligation to question their work."

Epiphany. Either these things happened, or they didn't. Either I can trust the government and medical community to be honest with me about vaccines, or I can't. And though it is grave, it's still not just about the mercury -- it's still not just about the autism. There is so much more. So much.

With all this, I can only turn to the One who is sovereign over all. The One who holds my child's life in His hands. The One who watches over us when we lay down our heads and sleep. When I look at my son asleep in his bed, I am amazed that he is well, that he wakes every morning and gets to play all day. I am amazed at Christ's mercy in the midst of a suffering world.

"Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up Your hand; forget not the afflicted.
Why does the wicked renounce God and say in his heart, 'You will not call to account'?
But You do see, for You note mischief and vexation, that You may take it into Your hands;
to You the helpless commits himself;
You have been the helper of the fatherless."
-- Psalm 10:14

Watch CBS Evening News this Monday!

Thank you, Fred, for leaving the following comment on Thursday's post! It is a pleasure to "meet" you and I hope CBS does a fair job telling your story. ... Here is Fred's comment:

Best of luck to both of us!

Two weeks ago my wife MyLinda and I were interviewed by CBS Evening News for a story about the upcoming trial in Vaccine Court, Our son, Jordan is the first named plaintiff in a class action lawsuit as a result of his reaction to thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative that is still used in vaccines. There are about 4,900 children in the class who believe that their children developed autism as a result of exposure to mercury in vaccines.

I am writing to let you know that CBS Evening News will be broadcasting the story on Monday, May 12 at 6:30. Our family and other Oregon families were interviewed for this story and we think that part of that interview will be included.

There is more information about it at these links:


Apologies for any unwanted junk mail and double postings!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The document you should read

David Kirby, the journalist/author who writes regularly about the vaccine-autism story and wrote Evidence of Harm, posted the court document I assume is Hannah Poling's concession from the government (David removed the names of the family). As he suggests, perhaps every American should just read this for themselves and interpret it with their own thinking skills.

The government wants you to forget about Hannah Poling, and the nearly 5,000 other families waiting their turn in "vaccine court" with autism cases. They are hoping this will all blow over. Let's not let that happen again. This has been going on far too long.

Albeit, not every child getting vaccinated becomes autistic, but that's no reason not to make concentrated efforts to protect all children. As David says, "When a kid with peanut allergy eats a peanut and dies, we don't say 'his underlying metabolic condition was significantly aggravated to the extent of manifesting as an anaphylactic shock with features of death.' No, we say the peanut killed the poor boy. Remove the peanut from the equation, and he would still be with us today."

My question is, what are the CDC, the FDA and the AAP going to do about this? The answer is, nothing, unless the grass roots get organized and call (repeatedly and loudly) for real change. I am still not sure how we do that, but I hope to learn more and post it here. For now, there is a
big rally being organized for June 4th in D.C., led by Jenny McCarthy, Jim Carrey and autism parents. From there, I hope this movement picks up steam and does not go away.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Working on the political side of things....

I've added some things to the sidebar over there ... if you hadn't noticed. These items are for those who are interested in knowing what's going on in Congress and other branches of the government, and how we grass roots folks can voice our concerns.

Let me be clear and honest about a few things here. After only two months of researching vaccines for myself, I have grave, grave concerns about the hazards that we, as parents, are subjecting our children to unwittingly. I am FOR informed consent on vaccination. This means I believe the public deserves FULL DISCLOSURE on ALL vaccine risks, the true numbers of people affected by those complications, and the true likelihood of our children having serious problems from the very diseases we are vaccinating against -- before we vaccinate. (I believe many or most diseases are blown out of proportion, now that I've spent some time looking at them.)

I am FOR full studies on the health problems of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated populations. I believe many vaccines have created health problems in our nation's children. We deserve to know. Now.

I am not against vaccination, as long as it is safe. I'm just concerned that it's not. And people are making money off drugs that are hurting our babies. It's just wrong.

Again, every parent needs to decide for him/herself what is best for their children. I still have not decided which vaccines I will allow my children and which I will not (except for Hepatitis B, as I wrote earlier. And though I haven't "officially" decided, the MMR is one heck of a scary vaccine to me). Even if everyone found the same information as me, they may not make the same decisions as me. I respect that completely!

More later. Gotta race to get ready for the day before the baby wakes.

One more thing - I found out that the child whose case jump-started my vaccine research (a local family) was injured by the MMR. Her father makes a point of gently telling new parents her story, because he hopes some will listen and do their homework. I did. I hope my blog encourages others to do theirs as well.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Examining the CDC's "spin" on measles

Thanks to Barbara Loe Fisher of the National Vaccine Information Center for a helpful article on recent news about measles. Read it here.

When I wrote about measles the other day, I didn't even think until afterwards, "How can the CDC and media say that all those measles cases were because of people not vaccinating?" I had not had a chance to look into it, but Barbara's article is insightful:

Only one fifth (14) of the cases were American children whose parents claimed a religious or personal belief exemption. This fact didn't stop CDC officials from trying to blame the measles "outbreaks" on the exemption-takers by stating "These cases and outbreaks resulted primarily from failure to vaccinate, many because of religious or personal belief exemption."

So what motives does the CDC have? Are they gearing up for putting an additional MMR shot on the pediatric schedule, as Barbara suggests? Are they stirring up fear of disease to encourage society to look down on those who don't vaccinate? Are they trying to prove (by lying about the facts) the validity of vaccine programs and hush all questions about vaccine safety, especially in light of Hannah Poling's case? Your guess is as good as mine. But the CDC's jab at non-vaccinators seems to me a calculated PR tactic in making excuses for an unproven vaccination program that is under increasing public scrutiny.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Fainting spells in adolescents

At least 463 people fainted after getting vaccinated during an 18-month period from 2005 to 2007, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

... some of the patients hit their heads on the floor and at least one had a car accident, the CDC said in its weekly report on death and disease.

One 15-year-old boy died after hitting his head.

Full story on Reuters. May 2, 2008 MMWR here (the CDC document that reports this - Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.) Fainting is known clinically as "syncope."

Excerpt from MMWR: "During 2005--2007, ACIP decided to add several newly licensed adolescent vaccines to the routine immunization schedule and the Vaccines for Children Program. After these vaccines were licensed and recommended for use, the number of postvaccination syncope reports to VAERS increased, primarily among females aged 11--18 years."

Thanks to one of my
commentors for this story.

[This entry edited on 5/6/08]

Saturday, May 3, 2008

"No reason not to; it's a crime not to."

"And it does not cause autism."

This is today's FOX video report on the measles outbreak. The words of Dr. Steven Garner of New York Methodist Hospital and Shepard Smith of FOX News. It's a "crime" not to get your child vaccinated against measles. We can only guess this doctor means a "moral crime." And we can guess that Shepard is very busy and doesn't have time to read about regressive autism.

I understand that health officials want to eliminate the spread of disease - I really do. I don't think it's a small matter that people are getting sick. Please hear me; I just think that every parent needs to be able to make an informed decision about what is best for their child. It's not just religious beliefs that keep people from vaccinating, and it's not just autism scares.

Here are some of the complications that have been shown to be associated with measles vaccine, taken from the 55th edition of the Physician's Desk Reference, a standard in medical reference:

  • encephalitis
  • subacute sclerosing panencephalitis
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • febrile and afebrile convulsions
  • seizures
  • ataxia
  • ocular palsies
  • anaphylaxis
  • angioneurotic edema
  • bronchial spasms
  • panniculitis
  • vasculitis
  • atypical measles
  • thrombocytopenia
  • lymphadenopathy
  • leukocytosis
  • pneumonitis
  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome
  • erythema multiforme
  • uticaria
  • deafness
  • otitis media
  • retinitis
  • optic neuritis
  • rash
  • fever
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • death

The vaccine manufacturer has not evaluated the vaccine for carcinogenic or mutagenic potential nor is it known whether it can harm a fetus when administered to a pregnant woman.

How often do these adverse events happen? Well, the CDC doesn't really know. But you're just supposed to trust them. Believe them, it's rare.

Just out of curiosity, I went to the VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System) site to see how many adverse events have been reported so far this year. These are for all vaccines, not just MMR vaccine. Now remember, the FDA and CDC don't put much stock in these numbers. (Until it comes to telling you reactions are rare.)

There have been 70 cases of measles as of today.

As of today, there have been 3,787 adverse events associated with vaccination reported to VAERS.

Let's just give the CDC some slack and say that perhaps some events were reported more than once, or weren't really associated with the vaccine, and let's cut that number by a third. That still leaves 1,262 adverse events ranging from fever, dizziness, going limp and staring, joint pain, aseptic meningitis, to babies stopping breathing, to "sudden death." I don't really have the time to read 3,787 lines in detail, but that's just a sample. Most of what I read happened right after or within a few hours of vaccination.

What's more likely is that 3,787 is just the tip of the iceberg. CDC and FDA officials have both said that there is underreporting to VAERS, not overreporting.

As parents find out more about the true risks of vaccination and hesitate to do it, the CDC and the drug companies are going to be pushing harder and harder for tougher mandates. I can see it coming. I plan on urging my lawmakers to protect my medical rights. To force parents to inoculate their children with substances proven to be harmful in some cases -- that is the true crime. I pray it doesn't come to that.

"Many seek the face of a ruler, but it is from the LORD that a man gets justice."
- Proverbs 29:26

Measles outbreaks in U.S.

A friend sent me an article from FOX News.com about measles outbreaks occurring in several states. So far, CDC reports 64 cases in nine states. An additional eight occurred in WA last week. They say 63 of those folks were either not vaccinated or it was unknown if they were. Fourteen people have been hospitalized, but no deaths have occurred.

I found this document which explains measles at length. Certainly some information to consider. (Click here to read an earlier post I wrote on measles.)

When I read about the complications of measles, for me, I always want to compare it to the risks of the vaccine. Again, the CDC says the risks are minimal. But the CDC has NO RELIABLE SYSTEM for monitoring risks. They say right up front that their adverse reaction data is unable to prove causality or provide accurate numbers (click here to read their full-page disclosure on the unreliability of VAERS). So do we really know if risks are rare?

And why isn't the CDC as vigilant with their vaccine adverse reaction data collection as they are with their disease outbreak data collection? They're our experts, yet they can't figure this out? Or they just won't?

So we have about 70 cases of measles in 2008 all over the U.S. Seventy out of 300 million U.S. citizens, in four months. Every time you read an article about disease/vaccines these days, the author points out that people must be scared to vaccinate because they think vaccines cause autism. (Understandably, parents are concerned for their children.) They then always have to point out that "no studies" have proven vaccines to be linked to autism. But let's recall that Julie Gerberding (head of CDC) herself said on CNN that vaccines CAN trigger autism in the presence of mitochondrial disorders.

Either they do, or they don't. The CDC needs to figure it out. (If they don't know already - many in the autism circles believe they've known for over a decade. Do a little reading and you learn about SV-40, a cancer-causing virus that government officials knew was in polio vaccines back in the 60s, yet they kept using them. That virus is still showing up in tumors and human tissues today. Is this a system we can trust?)

But vaccines are a sacred cow in this country. Question them and you will see. Want to see a doctor commit career suicide? Google "Andrew Wakefield" and you'll see what happened to the man who listened to parents when they said their child's MMR caused them to regress. What you find people are saying about him won't be pretty. Check out also the Autism Research Institute to see what research is still happening today.

By the way, it's not just about the autism. There are many other things to consider before vaccinating. Many, many ugly health problems have arisen from injecting little pieces of bacteria, viruses, animal and human tissues and preservatives into our bloodstreams. How could they not? Get yourself a good book on vaccine risks and benefits. I personally am reading Neil Miller's Vaccine Safety Manual right now and it is incredibly helpful and well-documented.

We need to educate ourselves, by being willing to consider what the medical journals and researchers not particularly "respected" by the CDC are finding. The CDC, in my opinion, has a vested interest in controlling the information we are allowed to hear in the media, because they need our trust more than anything. If we don't trust them, they can't do their jobs. They need us to believe them to continue waging their war on infectious disease. They need injured people to be swept under the rug. They need to cover up what is really going on.

Some may think people like me are making a mountain out of a mole hill. What is more likely is that the CDC is making a mole hill out of a mountain of evidence that vaccines are not as safe as they say.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Liz Birt and her advocacy for her child, autism

I am doing some back-reading on some of the autism blogs, and found this on Adventures in Autism (thanks again, Ginger). Liz Birt did some amazing work for the cause of autistic, vaccine-injured children while she was alive. She died tragically in 2005, and it is clear that the autism community was devastated. Her story of the regression of her son and her journey into making a difference deserves a thorough read. ... This is what I am talking about when I say vaccines need a harder look. These are the families. Hear them.

November 17, 2005
Illinois General Assembly
KidCare, Human Services Subcommittee 94th General Assembly
Testimony of Elizabeth Birt

Thank you for convening this hearing today regarding the issues facing Illinois families with autistic children. Because of the need for full disclosure and transparency regarding all issues before the Illinois General Assembly and the grave importance of this matter and its implications for public policy I would like to start off my stating that I have no financial conflicts of issue regarding autism, other than as the parent of a severely affected child, and that I receive no benefit directly or indirectly from pharmaceutical companies. I strongly urge that you require all individuals providing testimony to your subcommittee including those present today and those who have testified in the past to fully disclose all conflicts of interest.

I am the parent of an 11 year old child who was developmentally normal until he received two vaccinations, a thimerosal containing Hib and an MMR at approximately 15 months of age. Prior to his receipt of these vaccinations, my son could count to ten and said many words such as “mamma”, “daddy”, “ball”, “go”, Sasaa for his sister’s name; he pointed at objects of interests and played games like peek a boo and hide and seek. He loved to be held and had excellent eye contact. He had a history of ear infections but no serious medical problems. After the receipt of these immunizations, he ran a high fever. I gave him Tylenol as directed by his pediatrician.

After the vaccination, he developed a rash on the trunk of his body. I didn’t think that anything was seriously wrong and believed that all was normal with my adorable little boy. Within a few weeks of these immunizations my son developed chronic diarrhea; at first I believed it was the babysitter’s fault for giving him too much juice. As the weeks and months went by his gastrointestinal problems worsened. He also stopped acquiring language and insidiously he slipped away from me. We initially thought that he had hearing problems and had tubes inserted into his ears. We waited and watched and hoped. My son’s condition only worsened. Hestarted screaming uncontrollably and rubbing his stomach. It was like watching a fire die out ember by ember and there was no professional who could tell me how my child who had been so full of life and interactive was now in a world of his own.

Eventually my son received a diagnosis of PDD/NOS from a physician at Rush. The physician assured me that because my son still had skills left like stacking blocks that he would be “fine” and recommended speech therapy. This therapy was not covered by his father’s insurance company so we picked up the cost personally. My son then stopped sleeping through the night. He would awaken every night at around 3:00 A.M. screaming, smearing feces over himself, the carpet and walls. It was in one simple word “hell”. My husband and I took him to see a physician, Dr. Bennett Leventhal atUniversity of Chicago who diagnosed him as autistic. I will never forget that day. I had my son’s medical records with me from Dr. Michael Chez a neurologist, and asked him why his IGA was so low. IGA is the first line of defense in a person’s gastrointestinal and mucosal tract. I was told point blank that it wasn’t important. I asked him about my son’s behavioral issues such as rubbing his stomach, lying on the floor with his hands pressed against his stomach, and night time screaming. He didn’t say anything except it was perhaps a part of his autism-in other words his behavior was a psychotic result of his autism. I left the appointment feeling a sense of doom and that there was nothing that could be done for my son except to put him into an institution. It was one of the worst days of my life.

My son’s condition began to deteriorate further; he developed shingles, was chronically sick, had “shiners” under his eyes. Exasperated by the lack of medical care I set out on a journey to find out what exactly was wrong with my child. This journey led Matthew to the only treatment available for his chronic diarrhea. The care and compassion of a physician at the Royal Free Hospital in London, England by the name of Dr. Andrew Wakefield. His group had identified in a small study published in The Lancet in 1998 a group of 12 children who had been referred to the Royal Free Hospital by their local pediatricians. Much has been made of this study and of Dr. Wakefield’s work. You should know that Leo Kanner, the individual who first identified autism relied only on 11 case reports. I have included Dr. Wakefield’s CV with your handouts; he has published 133 peer reviewed studies. This is not the work of a “mad scientist”; this is the work of a dedicated researcher who trusted parents when they told him the story of their child’s illness.

To my astonishment, the children in Dr. Wakefield’s original study had a history of normal development and then lost language, social skills and had chronic intestinal problems following the receipt of an MMR vaccination. For me, it was the only path I could follow to find relief for my child. I took him to London and there he was actually worked up clinically for his gastrointestinal disease. He was seen by seven doctors including Dr. John Walker-Smith who is regarded as the foremost pediatric gastroenterologist at that time in the world. Using a simple xray which could have been ordered at any hospital in this country, the doctors found that my son was completely constipated. The mass in his colon was the size of a small cantaloupe. He was scoped and found to have inflammatory bowel disease and put on appropriate medication for his physical condition. Immediately he started sleeping through the night. His non stop diarrhea abated and he was a much happier child.

Unfortunately, for Matthew his gastrointestinal disease has worsened and he is now on immunosuppressive treatment because he developed lesions in his esophagus. He has had several grand mal seizures. He has documented measles virus infection in his intestine and cerebral spinal fluid that matches the vaccine strain. In addition, his body is unable to detoxify. He has antibodies to myelin basic protein which acts as a conductor for nerves in his brain. His immune system is dysregulated; he has high levels of inflammatory cytokines. He is currently being evaluated for kidney stones. In short, his body is a train wreck.

Matthew, given all of these physical problems is a sweet little boy; he is affectionate and likes to be with other children. He is mischevious; he knows the rules in the house likes to push them. He is not mentally retarded; he understands everything that is said to him; he can not however, communicate verbally and relies on his caregivers, sign language and guttural sounds to get by. He has learned how to snow ski through a program offered by Challenge Aspen and has participated in a camp for autistic children founded by myself and another parent in Colorado called Extreme Sports Camp. At this camp Matthew has learned to rock climb, ice skate, and loves white water rafting. To see his smile at camp is worth a million dollars.

What children and parents of autistic children need is enormous. There is no respite care; no medical care; and the insurance companies pay nothing for services unless you are clever in coding the claims. Our children have behavioral issues that must be managed but they are also chronically ill. We don’t even know how many children and their families desperately need services not just for today but for the future. The cost of lifetime care for an autistic child in unknown but some estimates peg the national cost to be 7 TRILLION DOLLARS. There are no group homes to put these children in when their parents can not care for them at home. My fear as parents age they will take the life of their child and their own. This has already happened in England.

I am here today not just for my son but for every family in Illinois who has been affected by the devastating disorder. I worked for over two years investigating the relationship between autism and neurodevelopmental disorders as an attorney for the House Committee on Government Reform. My job was to review thousands of pages of subpoenaed documents from our federal health agencies and pharmaceutical companies. The sad story is laid out in a book called “Evidence of Harm” by David Kirby; I urge everyone to read this book.

In 2004 the Institute of Medicine issued a report stating that there was no credible evidence of a link between neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism, and vaccines AND THAT NO FURTHER RESEARCH SHOULD BE CONDUCTED. This study has been highly criticized because it relied solely upon epidemiological studies that were questionable. The committee did not include the studies of researchers including Dr. Mady Hornig at Columbia University whose work on mice with autoimmune problems found that these mice exhibited obsessive compulsive disorders and had brain abnormalities similar to autistic individuals after the administration of thimerosal containing vaccines. It did not examine the presence of measles virus in the cerebral spinal fluid and not in healthy controls by Dr. Wakefield. It did not consider the work of Dr. Richard Deth of Northeastern University and Dr. Jill James of University of Arkansas demonstrating the ability of thimerosal at low levels to disrupt important metabolic pathways in cells nor the observation of these abnormalities in autistic children. In fact, none of these researchers were invited to present their findings.

One study in Denmark the IOM relied on reported an increase in the number of individuals diagnosed with autism following the removal of thimerosal containing vaccines from the vaccination schedule. What was not stated in the press and report is that the reason for the increase is that the Danish switched methods of counting autistic individuals to include both outpatient and inpatient cases. The famous CDC study authored by Thomas Verstraeten went through at least 5 “generations” of data manipulation. The author himself wrote in Pediatrics in April of 2004 that his study “does not state that we found evidence of an association, as a negative study would. It does state, on the contrary, that additional study is recommended, which the conclusion to which a neutral study must come.” The raw data from this study has apparently been destroyed and the CDC has denied access to the VSD database to independent researchers. I have personally as counsel to SAFEMINDS and for the Committee on Government Reform sought access with appropriate patient confidentiality safeguards to the database since 2001. The debate recently reached the floor of the United States Senate where Senators Lieberman and Harkin called for access to the data. In addition, this year an independent panel convened by the Institute of Medicine issued a report entitled “Vaccine Safety Research Data Access and Public Trust”. This report criticizes the CDC’s handling of this data which was bought by the taxpayers and questions why the data was moved to an independent non governmental entity in 2001 which would not only coincide with the removal of thimerosal containing vaccines from routine immunization schedules but remove it from FOIA. Many in Congress as well as respected scientists from all parts of this nation are urging that further research in this area continue; those scientists include two former heads of the National Institute of Enviornmental Health.

The “good” news is that despite this pronouncement by the IOM research is ongoing. Dr. Thomas Burbacker’s research demostrating that thimerosal in the brains of primates converted to inorganic mercury at a much greater rate than methylmercury (fish mercury) is in Phase II of funding despite the efforts of the federal government to stop this research. Phase I of this study concluded that “Knowledge of the toxicokinetics and developmental toxicity of thimerosal is needed to afford a meaningful assessment of the developmental effects of thimerosal-containing vaccines.” This study was published in Enviornmental Health Perspectives, an NIH peer reviewed publication in August of 2005. The IOM had full access to Dr. Burbaker’s research during the time they wrote their report. They never asked him to present his research.

Studies have been recently published demonstrating a breakdown of myelin in children with developmental disorders and just how toxic thimerosal is at minute quantities. I have included them in your handouts. As these studies are released the CDC is recommending that every pregnant woman and every child at 6 and 23 months receive a flu vaccine knowing that there is not enough manufacturing capacity to provide this vulnerable population with a thimerosal free vaccine. This action is at best negligent; to me it is immoral.

So how does my statement impact your committee? You have a lot of work to do to understand the scope of this problem and be assured that if vaccines are implicated that no one will help you pay for it. Today, there are ten bills before the Congress which would give blanket immunity to drug companies for vaccine injuries if the Secretary of HHS declares that the drug is necessary for a pandemic or epidemic. Further, if a citizen is injured they may not be able to access the Vaccine Compensation Act, as broken as it is, unless the Secretary of HHS allows them to do so. All meetings on vaccine matters will not be subject to FACA or FOIA; in other words all of this will be in complete secrecy.

One of the reasons that this legislation is being urged is the spin that liability issues have forced the manufacturers out of business. This is simply not the case and has been refuted in published reports. In fact, last year during the presidential election, Dr. Tony Faucci of the NIAID was quoted by the AP as stating “But that is only a very small part of the problem (liability for manufacturers)…More significant, are the low-profit margin vaccines provide, unpredictable demand and the complexity of the manufacturing process… The fragility of the vaccine enterprise is an issue that has been present for decades”. So now why is it all of a sudden a problem for the manufacturers? The answer is money and the more that the manufacturers can close off the liability exposure for products then the better. The only remaining hope for families of children who were lucky enough to know of the Vaccine Compensation Act’s three year statute of limitations from date of first symptoms limitation is to opt out. There are thousands of cases pending in Vaccine Court that will probably not be heard in my lifetime. The only chance they have is our trial system and a state court.

I believe in the concept of herd immunity; I support a vaccine program that is grounded in credible science; I believed in that system when I vaccinated my children; after 8 years I do not believe that this is the case. There are too many unanswered questions and so many injured children.

I urge this subcommittee to recommend that autism is a public health emergency in Illinois and to ask the Governor to declare it so. I urge Attorney General Lisa Madigan to utilize the talents of her staff to gain full access to the VSD. I urge this subcommittee to develop a comprehensive plan to identify affected children, provide meaningful support to their families; and to sit down with parents at the table and strategize on the best possible living arrangements for the children who are severely affected.

There is hope; I have included in your handouts an article recently published in the San Francisco Chronicle about a child who received appropriate medical and educational intervention for his “autism”; he has recovered and no longer has this diagnosis. Researchers at UC Davis Mind Institute, Mass General and other prestigious institutions are taking note and starting clinical studies to determine whether these treatments are effective. It may be that we have a constellation of “autisms” caused by not one gene but complex gene and environmental influences, including but not limited to vaccines.

We as a civilized society have an obligation to care for these children. If a portion of them were injured due to negligence on the part of federal health officials and pharmaceutical companies then so be it; what I have personally witnessed over the past eight years has been horrifying. I believe in our country and in the strength of its determination to overcome adversity. We must work together to solve this problem; I stand ready to help in any manner with the work of this committee.

Elizabeth Birt
Founder, Medical Interventions for Autism Founder, SAFEMINDS Board Member
A-CHAMP Board Member NAA