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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 04/22/2008

Dr. Obama and Dr. McCain

By Michael Dobbs
Montgomery County Community College, Pa., April 21, 2008.
"We've seen just a skyrocketing autism rate. Some people are suspicious that it's connected to the vaccines. This person included. The science right now is inconclusive, but we have to research it." --Barack Obama, Pennsylvania Rally, April 21, 2008.

"It's indisputable that (autism) is on the rise among children, the question is what's causing it. And we go back and forth and there's strong evidence that indicates it's got to do with a preservative in vaccines." --John McCain, Texas town hall meeting, February 29, 2008.

SEE UPDATE BELOW

Two leading presidential candidates have now wandered into an exceptionally emotional medical debate in which they have no known scientific expertise. Several advocacy groups and families of children with autism are embroiled in a long-running court case seeking billions of dollars in damages because of alleged links between autism and vaccines given to children at a young age. While some doctors have testified that there is a link, the medical establishment in the form of the World Health Organization, the Institute of Medicine and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has dismissed the allegations as scientifically unfounded.

The Facts

The U.S. Court of Federal Claims has set aside a trust fund of $2.5 billion to compensate children suffering from autism if it can be demonstrated that their condition is caused by vaccines for measles, mumps, and rubella, usually administered between the ages of one and two. The fund is financed through a 75 cent tax on vaccine doses. Last November, the court agreed to compensate a 9-year-old Georgia girl, Hannah Poling, after concluding her underlying illness may have been aggravated by the vaccines, predisposing her to autism-like symptoms.

Whatever the outcome of the court case, the overwhelming weight of scientific opinion is that there is no proven link between autism and the vaccines which include a mercury-containing preservative known as thimerosal. A senior official at the Centers for Disease Control, Dr Edwin Trevathan, told reporters in March that the Poling case did not demonstrate any link between vaccines and autism.

At least five major studies have found no link between autism and thimerosal. A study released by the California Department of Public Health in January found that the autism rate in children rose continued to rise even after vaccine manufacturers stopped using thimerosal in childhood vaccines after 2001.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, "there's no convincing scientific evidence of harm caused by the low doses of thimerosal in vaccines, except for minor reactions like redness and swelling at the injection site." Similar conclusions have been reached by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Food and Drug Administration.

Summaries of the scientific studies are available from the National Institutes of Health and the Institute of Medicine. Both Obama and Clinton have pledged to increase funding for autism research and possible links with vacines.

According to Dr. Paul Offit, chief of infectious diseases at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, the connection between vaccines and autism is nothing more than a sad coincidence. Offit told CNN in March that 20 per cent of children of autism "regress between their first and second birthday," at more or less the same time that they receive their vaccine shots.

"Statistically, it will have to happen where some children will get a vaccine. They will have been fine. They will get the vaccine, and they will not be fine any more. And I think parents can reasonably ask the question, 'is it the vaccine that did this?"

UPDATE TUESDAY 4:15 P.M.

Obama campaign spokesman Tommy Vietor has supplied video which suggests that Obama may not have been referring to himself when he said that "some people" were suspicious about a connection between autism and childhood vaccinations. The video shows the candidate pointing to someone in the audience when he adds the words, "This person included." Take a look the video below, and decide for yourself.

I agree that the video casts a somewhat different light on Obama's remarks. On the other hand, Obama went on to describe the science as "inconclusive," a statement at odds with several major studies looking at the alleged connection.

Vietor was unable to tell me who in the audience had attracted Obama's attention. To put the candidate's remarks into a larger context, Obama was responding to an audience member who mentioned the rising autism rate and then talked about the problems of educating children with special needs. According to Washington Post Staff Writer Paul Kane, who attended yesterday's event in Blue Bell, Pa., the voter then asked Obama how he was going to fund special education. Here are Kane's notes of the rest of the exchange:

"My goal is to fully fund special education," Obama replied, starting off on a dissertation about funding for such children. He noted some statistics about how much the fed government pays for such educational funding.
Then he started talking about "early screening" for children, more medical testing to identify children who will have these special needs. Then Obama turned to autism, saying, "That's s an area where our basic investment, our basic research has to increase. There are huge opportunities for us to figure out" how diseases occur, calling for more funding for research into the causes and potential cures for autism and other disease.
"We've seen just a skyrocketing autism rate. Some people are suspicious that it's connected to the vaccines. This person included. [Points to someone in the audience.] The science right now is inconclusive, but we have to research it. We can't afford to junk our vaccine system, we have to figure out what's happening. If we keep on seeing the increases in the rate we're seeing, we're never going to have enough money" to take care of these children.

The Pinocchio Test

The alleged link between thimerosal and autism has spawned numerous investigations, including a sensational Rolling Stone article by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. that claimed that the government was engaged in a medical cover-up. The scientific debate will always continue, but the body of evidence uncovered so far suggests no proven link. Both McCain and Obama are wrong to suggest that the scientific verdict is still hanging in the balance.

(About our rating scale.)

By Michael Dobbs  | April 22, 2008; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama, Candidate Watch  
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Comments

My God. What weak pinocchios. You must be hurting for finding something to bash Clinton about.

I'll give you a subject. How about all those lies Obama told leading up to his, cover my butt, speech, his, throw my grandmother under the bus, speech, and follow-ups to that, BS, speech. I would like to know how, when, and where he heard those remarks.

There are so many contradictions. I'm not smart enough to figure them out, How about it fact checker, help me out.

Posted by: Chief | April 22, 2008 7:45 AM | Report abuse

My God. What weak pinocchios. You must be hurting for finding something to bash Clinton about.

I'll give you a subject. How about all those lies Obama told leading up to his, cover my butt, speech, his, throw my grandmother under the bus, speech, and follow-ups to that, BS, speech. I would like to know how, when, and where he heard those remarks.

There are so many contradictions. I'm not smart enough to figure them out, How about it fact checker, help me out.

Posted by: Chief | April 22, 2008 7:47 AM | Report abuse

I think Obama's statement is accuate:

The CDC is still studying the issue:
http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/documents/vaccine_studies.pdf
The Autism and Biopsy Study
This study is investigating whether the MMR vaccine may cause autism by a mechanism involving persistent measles virus infection in the intestine. Researchers are examining the intestinal tissue of children with autism for the presence of measles virus.
Scheduled completion: September 2008

AND

Immunizations and
Possible
Developmental
CDC is working with the National Institutes of Health on a study to evaluate whether the MMR vaccine is
linked with developmental regression, which occurs in a subset of children with autism. Scheduled completion: To be determined

If the issue was truly closed, why would the CDC and others continue to study it? (Those are hardly the only studies going on)

Two pinnochios to WaPo

Posted by: CWatson | April 22, 2008 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Even the "fact-checkers" need fact checkers: the tax is $0.75 per dose, not a 75% tax. From HRSA:

Vaccine Injury Compensation Trust Fund

The Vaccine Injury Compensation Trust Fund (Trust Fund) provides funding for the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) to compensate vaccine-related injury or death claims for covered vaccines administered on or after October 1, 1988. The Trust Fund is funded by a $0.75 excise tax on each dose of vaccine purchased (i.e., each disease prevented in a dose of vaccine). For example, the excise tax imposed on a dose of trivalent influenza vaccine is $0.75 because it prevents one disease, whereas the excise tax imposed on a dose of the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine is $2.25 because prevents three diseases. The taxable vaccines have also been recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for routine administration to children.

Posted by: Bill | April 22, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

The CDC is still studying the issue because they are tyrying to find a cause, and, if you know anything about science, you know that nothing is ever found to be 100% certain, the data just suggest one answer over the other.

From the point of view of a scientist, this article is fair. I was startiung to think the author is highly biased toward Obama, but in light of past articles, this one makes me think he is only 75% baised toward Obama.

Posted by: Scott | April 22, 2008 8:55 AM | Report abuse

While there is a lack of evidence showing a link, there is also a lack of evidence of why the "sad coincidence" exists. In this case, science is still falling a little short for explaining why the sad coincidence continues to exist.

Weakest fact checker I've read to date. Sometimes I feel journalists write so much about legal issues that they fail to grasp the differences in how to use information from scientists. In law, the goal is to introduce and evaluate doubt. In science, it's to find truth.

Just because the research to date indicates a link is doubtful is not reason enough to stop asking why the "sad coincidence" exists. Research continues, and policy makers should remain open to future findings.

Posted by: shreds | April 22, 2008 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Than you Bill for explaining and correcting the "Fact Checker" on the 75% vs. .75 tax. Mr. Dobbs should amend his column to note this, and award himself some of the Pinocchios he freely uses on the candidates.

Posted by: rdkling | April 22, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Pardon me, but that's not the half of it. The Doctor who first postulated a link between MMR vaccine and autism, Dr Andrew Wakefield, is currently up before the General Medical Council in Britain, facing charges of fraud, research misconduct and general scientific dishonesty that are liable to get him struck off the medical register.

The Lancet, the journal that first published these claims, has repudiated them, saying the article is flawed by a fatal conflict of interest.

That conflict of interest is that ALL of the kids studied for such a link were in fact brought to Wakefield by lawyers representing claimants who sought to blame their kids' autism on vaccine manufacturers. Wakefield himself was getting huge amounts of money for doing all kinds of work on these lawyers' behalf, all funded by the taxpayer under the UK legal aid scheme, to the tune of about £16 million.

As Wakefield's connections and methods became known, his own co-authors repudiated him. Newspapers listed his sins, Wakefield threatened them with libel, but ended up having to pay them because he had no case, no leg to stand on.

It also emerged that Wakefield had secretly filed a patent for an alternative to MMR, called "Transfer factor", which is based on junk science, but could have sold well if MMR was discredited enough. He stood to make millions by undermining public confidence in the vaccine.

Take it from me, not only are Obama and McCain not doctors, but the guy who invented this MMR-autism rubbish isn't going to be a doctor either a few months from now. He's going to be struck off, and rightly so.

Wakefield, utterly discredited in Britain, moved to America, where any unethical quack can find easy victims in an unregulated free-for-all. He now runs a "charity" for kids with autism in Austin, where he is doubtless bleeding their parents dry.

Vaccination rates in Britain are only just now getting back to the pre-Wakefield rate. Measles is back, in greater numbers than seen for decades. Last year, Britain suffered its first paediatric measles death in over 30 years.

No aspect of Wakefield's work has ever been reproduced by independent investigators. This has been researched to death, there is no link.

Posted by: Kevrobb | April 22, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

shreds, the "sad coincidence" is not that kids who get MMR vaccine are more likely to become autistic - they aren't and that's been proven again and again.

The coincidence is merely that autism usually appears in the second year of life, which is also a time when kids get a lot of vaccines, including MMR.

You could with equal logic link autism to potty-training, Teletubbies, or anything else that kids tend to encounter in their second year.

Kids in their second year who don't get vaccinated are just as likely to become autistic as those who do get vaccinated.

Posted by: Kevrobb | April 22, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

I have found that the 100's of times I've read articles about this issue, one thing seems to be left out. The fact that the definition of autism changed. When this is controlled for, the rates remain the same, even after Thimerosal was removed from the vaccines. (Reference to someone much more competent on this topic than I:

http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=95

Posted by: tmoore | April 22, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

PS I support Obama, I'm not trying to score political points here.

Vote Obama, and VACCINATE YOUR KIDS.

Posted by: Kevrobb | April 22, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

It's sad to see that even after the departure of Bush, politicians will continue to try to override scientific evidence. Tony Blair's reluctance to vaccinate his own child against MMR set a bad example to a British public which has a long tradition of anti-vaccinationism. In Milwaukee we now have at least four cases of measles, which may be related to such reluctance. Is it better to risk the opportunisitic infections which come after a bout of measles?

Posted by: bruf | April 22, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Fact checker should check the facts feed it by the CDC and whoever provided that bogus California finding . It is obvious to me Fact checker did not do its own research , which has been excellent in the past . The conclusions are invalid for the simple fact thimerisol is still being used and injected .

Posted by: nat turner | April 22, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

This is all smoke by the status quo. The main cause of autism and so much more is wanton broadcast energy. Children should not be exposed to broadcast microwaves or other forms of broadcast energies, but because the behavior modification/law enforcement aspects are so valuable to israels plans for a police state America, they are restricting all information along those lines, and lying outright through their shills, ie. mccain and obama.

Dr. Mary's Monkey

How the unsolved murder of a doctor, a secret laboratory in New Orleans, and cancer causing monkey viruses are linked to Lee Harvey Oswald, the JFK assassination, and emerging global epidemics.

By: Edward T. Haslam
Foreword By Jim Marrs


Prior to 1955 the disease called Polio was a curse on the world, crippling and killing many people, mostly children. After 1955 a workable vaccine was developed, and children were vaccinated against this terrible disease at an early age.

Unfortunately, this polio vaccine was initially grown on the kidneys of monkeys, and it was not until a few years after the polio vaccine was invented that the first cancer-causing monkey virus was detected; to the horror of all involved it soon became evident that there were multiple cancer-causing monkey viruses tainting the new polio vaccines. This caused the medical establishment to begin looking for cancer cures right away, which were going to be needed once the recipients of the polio vaccines came of age. Richard Nixon declared war on cancer and huge funds were made available to combat what was expected to be a future cancer epidemic.

During this time several of the new polio vaccines were removed from the market because of tainting with cancer-causing monkey viruses, though very little mention was made of the problem in the media. Albert Sabin, developer of the first working polio vaccine, was quoted thus, concerning the tainted vaccines and the need to keep it mum:

"...Theres too much scaring the public unnecessarily. Oh your children were injected with a cancer virus and all that. Thats not very good!"

Regardless of what was said at the time though, the cancer epidemic that was perceived and expected way back when has now become a reality. The figures of cancer increases in the last 50+ years bear all this out, which means that 50 years after this virally tainted vaccine was used, soft tissue cancers are indeed epidemic, with over one million (And counting!) new cases reported each year. Consider the fact that prior to 1955, or earlier, many of these cancers were virtually UNKNOWN, and one begins to see some truth, however disconcerting.

Even more unfortunate than all that bad news is this: once the cancer causing monkey viruses were discovered via the polio vaccine, they then became objects of study by weapons makers, not least of who were involved in a vendetta against the Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Great efforts were made by many people in the government and the medical industry in New Orleans, Louisiana, to mutate these cancer causing monkey viruses with radiation, so that they could be used as a weapon against Castro. Their efforts paid off big and fast, with one subject, a federal prisoner who had volunteered for the experiment, being killed in 28 days! The prisoner of course had not been told the test was fatal.

Some of these weapons are now on the loose as well. According to the Center For Disease Control, ten of the top twelve bioterror agents used in modern warfare manifest as skin cancers, or other incurable and deadly soft tissue cancers! Cancer has been weaponised, and that fact has been hidden well. It is time to wake up. Time to smell the pork.

Among the players in this bio-charade and soap opera of disease were many high power medical names, including one of the worlds top specialists in cancer research, Dr. Mary Sherman, who died during this research in a very unnatural way. Also involved in this Get-Castro-Program were David Ferrie, Lee Harvey Oswald, Alton Ochsner, and many others whose names appear regularly in most investigations of the Kennedy assassination. Yes, this cancer weapon program has also been inextricably linked to the Kennedy assassination, and the ties that bind? Spell That C-I-A.

This book by Edward T. Haslam covers all of the above, and much much more, with documentation and great detail, from an insiders perspective. Mr. Haslams father was a doctor and a teacher at Tulane in New Orleans, and it was from this source that Mr. Haslam began his lifelong investigation. Dr. Marys Monkey is a distillation of information and evidence concerning what can only be called a long term attack on the American people. It is, by all means, a Must Read.

After reading this book, I began to see certain patterns of history, if you will, and it seemed to me that the War On Cancer was just the first of many wars declared, then lost, by these foreign clowns and criminals who have infiltrated American Government, Medicine, Media, and Education. These wars which have been declared ad nauseum by the treasonous politico freaks and liars, whose latest versions are the war on drugs and the war on terror, do nothing so much as nurture the very forces that war is supposedly being made on.

I have also detected other patterns by reading this work, and have wondered several times if this was not an engineered happening, this sowing of cancer; was it a created circumstance, along the lines of 911, or Colombian cocaine?

This creation of a cancer epidemic seems more than anything just a very good way to A) make Americans and their insurance moneys accessible to the medical industry forever and ever; and B) nurture a nazi-like program of culling/eugenics, which is a hallmark of certain administrations who have been passing the football back and forth amongst each other now for over 50 years; and C) It is a perfect way to cover up an expected and accelerated increase in cancer which would of course erupt in conjunction with increased wireless and broadcast technologies; and D) It is a way to obtain stem cells, because even though great noise had been made over the foetal stem cell issue, the real truth of the matter is that most stem cells are derived from cancer tumors. Some cancer tumors sell for many thousands of dollars per slice, and collection activities are well developed, cryogenic, mobile, and these tumors are kept in what is called Tumor BANKS. FYI.

So.

Was the creation of this cancer epidemic used to foster a malignant, galloping growth in technical medicine which would never have transpired without? Are we seeing the real value of Human Life, as equated to paper money by nazi doctors?

Hmmmmm?

Do get the book. See for yourself what kind of fetid and odorous intellectual dungeon you have been born into. One need only look around oneself in order to obtain a sense of the diabolical, to learn about the true devil, and all his preachers.

I suggest you start with the president, and then his closest advisors, if it is your wish to come face to face with diabolism. They are the true inheritors of this state of affairs, and it can actually be said that all this was prepared for them, to further their ends, and to further the ends of their families. The deceit, the cheating, the stealing: the seeming relish for pain and suffering and torture and hate. It is everywhere these days, and the media as well embraces this glamor of suffering and shame with gaiety and gnashing teeth. Do not believe any of them, they worship the father of lies, and America will be better off without them, when that great day comes.

You may not be able to change things much, but you will not be able to change anything at all, unless you know the facts behind the influences in your life, and the lives of your children. Read Dr. Mary's Monkey, by Edward T. Haslam.

Read it twice.


review by Bill Gallagher
www.luxefaire.com


Get the book:
TrineDay
Post Office Box 577
Walterville OR 97489
1-800-556-2012
www.TrineDay.com
publisher@TrineDay.com

Posted by: Israels Lucifer | April 22, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Has it occurred to anyone that one reason for the increase in the diagnosis of autism might be that the definition for autism is ever-broadening?

Posted by: Theresa | April 22, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the post, Bill. Almost too perfect to be satire.

BB

Posted by: Fairlington Blade | April 22, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Do any of you actually have children with autism? If you do, surely you know that autism often includes very serious physical illness, including seizures, gastrointestinal disorders, immune system dysregulation, sleep abnormalities, and many more. Have you taken the time to read the studies that the CDC touts as evidence refuting a link to vaccines? Have you read any of the cutting edge research by medical professionals at Columbia, Johns Hopkins, Harvard, UC Davis? Have you treated a child with autism? Do you realize that when you treat the underlying physical ailments (which could very plausibly be vaccine-induced), many children improve dramatically and begin speaking, interacting, and living a "normal" life? Some lose their diagnosis altogether. Before you decide, I challenge you to read all relevant research on both sides of the issue and spend a little time with a family affected by autism. Like me, a former disbeliever, you may gain some appreciation for the validity of the vaccine-autism argument.

Posted by: Moe | April 22, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

what next? is the law lecturer going to start calling himself "Professor"?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Bill. 75 percent was a typo. It is 75 cents as you say. I have corrected it.

Posted by: The Fact Checker | April 22, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Several years ago Japan stopped giving the MMR vaccine. Autism rates kept going up.

Sadly, both McCain and Obama just disqualified themselves from my vote. I guess I'll vote for Nader.

Posted by: Will | April 22, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse


Obama Climbs On The Vaccine Bandwagon

By David Kirby

The Huffington Post - April 22, 2008

No matter who wins in Pennsylvania today, the next President of the United States will support research into the growing evidence of some link between vaccines and autism.

Senator John McCain has already expressed his belief that vaccines and the mercury containing preservative thimerosal could be implicated in what he has rightly termed an "autism epidemic."

Senator Hillary Clinton, in response to a questionaire from the autism activist group A-CHAMP, wrote that she was "Committed to make investments to find the causes of autism, including possible environmental causes like vaccines." And when asked if she would support a study of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated children, she said: "Yes. We don't know what, if any, kind of link there is between vaccines and autism - but we should find out."

And now, yesterday, at a rally in Pennsylvania, Barack Obama had this rather surprising thing to say:
"We've seen just a skyrocketing autism rate. Some people are suspicious that it's connected to the vaccines. This person included. The science right now is inconclusive, but we have to research it."

So there you have it, our next President will share the views of such radical fringe crazies as, well, me, Democrat Robert Kennedy, Jr., Republican Joe Scarborough, former NIH and Red Cross chief Bernadine Healy, and several researchers at Harvard, Johns Hopkins, the Universities of California and Washington and elsewhere.

All of us agree: Current evidence suggests that vaccines could be a contributing factor in some cases of autism, and more research is immediately required.
And yes, now the comments to this piece will come flying in, repeating the tired mantra that "this case is closed," that vaccines and thimerosal have been "completely vindicated," and that people like me are just trying to scare the public and drive them away from vaccines, leaving their children vulnerable and sick.

Of course, none of the above is true. So stay tuned.

To begin with, government researchers are currently looking into a number of factors that may trigger autism, including vaccines, their ingredients and the crowded vaccine schedule itself.

Secondly, on April 11th, I attended a top-level meeting in Washington where vaccine safety officials discussed all of the above issues, and more. Included on the Federal Draft Research Agenda for vaccine safety are now questions such as:

Can vaccines cause neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism?
Can vaccines in children with mitochondrial dysfunction cause significant "neurological deterioration?"
Can the combination live-virus measles, mumps and rubella vaccine cause seizures and long term damage in children?
Can vaccines cause autoimmune disease?
Can thimerosal cause tics or Tourette syndrome?
Can attenuated viruses in vaccines cause asthma in children?

So, no matter who is President next year, top government researchers will be examining the role of vaccines in autism and other childhood illnesses. Thus, the declarations of McCain, Clinton and now Obama, make good scientific sense.
But there is more.

Dozens of autism cases (and perhaps more) currently filed in so-called Vaccine Court will almost certainly be compensated this year. Why? Because a little girl named Hannah Poling with a supposedly rare mitochondrial condition was recently compensated for her own vaccine injuries, including autism and epilepsy.

But I have personally identified at least a dozen (and there are reports of many more) children with cases in the court who meet the exact same medical criteria as Hannah, and whose cases will almost surely be compensated as well -- each time with the attendant media fanfare.

My prediction is that, by Election Day, few Americans will still believe there is absolutely no evidence to link vaccines to at least some cases of regressive autism.

So the remarks by all three candidates not only reflect good science, they reflect good politics as well.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-kirby/obama-climbs-on-the-vacci_b_97969.html

Posted by: David Kirby | April 22, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Its sad that Obama has gone this way.

And to the person who speaks of the curing of Autism. As a learning disability, it has always had a high chance of "fading" away as the child ages.

Just as it quite often would appear between 1 and 2yrs old, it also quite often is gone between 5-9yrs of age. If you also take your child to a learning specialist, you may speed up the development.

As mentioned previously, the biggest increase in Autism seems to come from more and more types of mental disabilities being labeled as Autism. That and a possible genetic link or the elderly father link (from a European study.)

But the Vaccine link was proven wrong many many years ago, and now we pay dearly for the lack of preservative as many vaccines shelf-life has faded drastically and then wasted.

Look into how it was the Germ Theory denialists who actually started this movement, see how they're using it to try and make billions at the cost of millions of lives.

I hope Obama will come to his senses and follow sound science.

Posted by: Evinfuilt | April 22, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

It saddens me that a newspaper that recently won six Pulitzers does not have a single journalist willing to apply true investigative skill to the issue of vaccinations and autism. The link between the two may not have been proven, but it certainly has not been disproven. Both candidates are right to indicate that further studies are needed.

Thimerosal, the preservative found in childhood vaccines that has been the topic of discussion, was introduced in the 1930s and was not subjected to the level of scrutiny that the FDA now applies to medications, vaccines, and other health care products. In 1982, however, the FDA concluded that thimerosal was toxic and caused cell death. Yet it remained in our vaccine supply. Vaccine schedules now call for infants to receive multiple shots at a single office visit, and the result is developing immune systems responding not only to the vaccines themselves, but to the toxic contents of the preservatives. It should not surprise anyone that some children's bodies simply cannot handle the onslaught.

Most parents of children with autism are not anti-vaccine; we simply believe that all children in the United States should be vaccinated using shots that are free of toxins and delivered on a schedule that is compatible with small children's abilities to tolerate them, as opposed to a schedule that is convenient for insurance companies. I wonder sometimes whether the consequences for these vulnerable children is viewed as acceptable collateral damage by the CDC and others who are determined to maintain the status quo with vaccines.

If one journalist among the many talented ones at the Post took the time to research the question, including visiting with a few families, like mine, who have vaccine records and lab results that strongly indicate mercury overexposure, they would find a story worth telling. One that conflicts with the party line mainstream journalists have been all too quick to repeat.

Posted by: Alison Hamilton | April 22, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

"Yet [thimerosal] remained in our vaccine supply."

Thimerosal has been almost completely removed from the childhood vaccination schedule, remaining only in some flu shots. This information is readily available, but you choose to ignore it to continue holding on to your paranoid beliefs. Why? What purpose does believing in this bunk serve? Would you like children to die of preventable diseases? What is wrong with you?

Posted by: bob | April 22, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Bob, Would you like to comment on this.

50,000 parts per billion (ppb) mercury = Concentration of mercury in multi-dose DTP and Haemophilus B vaccine vials, administered 4 times each in the 1990's to children at 2, 4, 6, 12 and 18 months of age. Current "preservative" level mercury in multi-dose flu (94% of supply), meningococcal and tetanus vaccines. This can be confirmed by simply analyzing the multi-dose vials.

200 ppb mercury = level in liquid the EPA classifies as hazardous waste. http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/hazwaste/mercury/regs.htm#hazwaste


Posted by: Joe | April 22, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

John McCain something is "indisputable" and Barack Obama says he is "suspicious" and you equate them as the same statement?

Huh?

Posted by: problemwithcaring | April 22, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Obama:
"The science right now is inconclusive"

McCain:
"[T]here's strong evidence that indicates it's got to do with a preservative in vaccines."

"Inconclusive" is a far cry from "strong evidence", so I don't know where you get off with equal opprobrium for both Obama and McCain here.

Posted by: Crust | April 22, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Fact-checker. You may want to read some real facts like these.

They're at it again. The campaign to make people believe that vaccines and their preservative, thimerosal, are safe is in full swing. The usual technique of a pseudo-scientific test is being used, with the medical system jumping on the bandwagon. The upshot of the reports is always the same: to belittle the legitimate fear of serious risks.

What's the hoopla? Susan Jeffrey, news editor of Medscape.com, has produced an article touting "Weight of Evidence Against Thimerosal Causing Neuropsychological Deficits". On reading the article, it sounds convincing. To top it off, Dr. Paul A. Offitt is quoted as calling the issue of thimerosal a "cautionary tale". He refers to a "cottage industry of charlatans offering false hope, partly in the form of mercury-chelating agents" to help children with autism. Pretty strong statement, isn't it?

The first point that should be made is that the study in question specifically does not include children with autism. The issue on which Offitt is making his point has absolutely nothing to do with the study.

Who is Dr. Offitt? He serves on the scientific advisory board of Merck and holds a patent on RotaTeq, a vaccine against rotavirus gastroenteritis. It's produced by Merck and has been noted for causing intussuseption, which is intestinal twisting, a life-threatening condition. Merck advocates giving this vaccine to babies aged 6 to 12 weeks, and it is now being routinely pushed by doctors. This new vaccine, with its life-threatening risk, is being given to prevent a disease that usually lasts from 3-8 days. Death from rotavirus gastroenteritis is almost unknown in the U.S. and common only where access to adequate nutrition or clean water is an issue.

So, the expert quoted has made a statement that has nothing to do with the study and he holds a patent on a dangerous vaccine being pushed on tiny babies for a disease that holds almost no risk if they're healthy. Is this the sort of person whose opinion on the issue - especially considering the fact that his statement has nothing to do with the study in question - is worthwhile?

What does the study actually say?

The bottom line, though, should be the quality of the study on which all the hoopla is based. So, let's take a look. The study was reported by The New England Journal of Medicine on September 27, 2007. First, let's take a look at conflicts of interest of some of its authors:

* Dr. Thompson - the lead investigator - is a former employee of Merck.

* Dr. Marcy has received consulting fees from Merck, Sanofi Pasteur, GlaxoSmithKline, and MedImmune.

* Dr. Jackson received grant money from Wyeth, Sanofi Pasteur, GlaxoSmithKline, and Novartis. He received lecture fees from Sanofi Pasteur and consulting fees from Wyeth and Abbott. Currently, he is a consultant to the FDA Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee.

* Dr. Lieu is a consultant to the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunication Practices.

* Dr. Black receives consulting fees from MedImmune, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, and Merck, and grant support from MedImmune, GlaxoSmithKline, Aventis, Merck, and Novartis.

* Dr. Davis receives consulting fees from Merck and grant support from Merck and GlaxoSmithKline.

The article then states, "No other potential conflict of interest relevant to this article was reported." One must wonder if it might have been easier to identify researchers who don't have a conflict of interest!

Then, we have the fact that the primary concern about thimerosal, that it might cause autism, is not even addressed by the study in question. In fact, it is specifically not included!

Looking at the report of the study itself reveals:

Any child with a preexisting neurological condition was eliminated from the test. However, is it not possible - in fact, probable - that these children are the most at risk from exposure to thimerosal? Any child who developed certain neurological conditions was excluded. These conditions included encephalitis and meningitis. The possibility that thimerosal might cause these conditions was eliminated from consideration.

Of the 3,648 originally selected for the study: 959 dropped out. Of these, 68% cited a lack of time. However, there is no consideration for why they couldn't spend the time. The possibility that some of these mothers were overburdened by having children with neurological problems, which is, of course, the focus of the study, simply isn't considered.

13% of these mothers are reported to have been distrustful or ambivalent about the research, but what their bias was is not indicated. Could they have decided not to take part because they noted a bias on the part of the researchers? 512 were eliminated because they "did not meet one or more of the eligibility requirements". (The aforementioned issue of conditions that might predispose to harm from thimerosal or be caused by thimerosal are not considered.) Thus, 1288, 35%, of the children, were eliminated from the study for reasons that, at best, are not adequately documented.

Other children were eliminated for various other reasons. One group excluded was children whose birth weight was under 2,500 grams, about 5.5 pounds. How many babies were eliminated for being underweight is not stated. Babies of this weight are hardly rare and they are not excluded from vaccinations. What legitimate reason could be given for this exclusion?

In the end, only 30% of the originally-selected children were included in the study. The study itself acknowledges that selection bias might have been a factor in the findings. It acknowledged that interventional treatments for neurological deficits were not considered and that parents had not been trained to assess tics, so reports of such abnormalities may not have been made. Finally, the study noted that autism itself - the condition most often connected with thimerosal - was not considered.

So what are the results on the 30% of children - the ones least likely to be affected by the toxin mercury - who were not excluded from the study? They appear to show sex-related changes in neuropsychological tests, both positive and negative.

According to the article, "An increase of 2 SD [second deviations] in mercury exposure was associated with an average of a 3-point increase in performance IQ among boys and a 3-point decrease in verbal IQ among girls." Even if this statement is accurate--and the means by which the study excluded children makes that doubtful--the consistency of a three point drop in verbal IQ among girls at the second standard deviation would likely be enough to give most parents second thoughts before subjecting their daughters to thimerosal.

The study also noted an increase in tics, a replication of a result from an HMO. The article suggests that "The replication of the findings regarding tics suggests the potential need for further studies."

So, even by excluding 70% of the children, the study itself concluded that there is an indication of risk that should be evaluated further. This is hardly the same as the screaming headline in Medscape claiming that there is no risk from thimerosal.

What does it all mean?

Here's the bottom line: Mercury, which is the dangerous element in thimerosal, is known to be extremely toxic, causing a wide range of neurological disorders and possibly others, including cancer. This is not even open to discussion; it's a statement of fact. It is also known that it accumulates in the body. Thus, each and every exposure to mercury increases the risk of harm. These inescapable facts make it quite clear that any study showing that thimerosal is not dangerous must be playing games. Even if it is not harmful at the doses used in vaccinations, the fact remains that the mercury stays in the body, adding to the toxic load that invariably exists in everyone in this modern age.

Clearly, it is disingenuous to suggest that there is no risk in thimerosal. It doesn't require studies to realize that fact. The study examined in this article shows clearly that those producing it are well paid by the pharmaceutical firms that profit by its use. The flaws in the study are huge. Over two-thirds of its original sample group were eliminated, and many of those eliminated have characteristics that would be more likely to document harm.

Yet, the news media and medical shills for the pharmaceutical industry are already hawking the claims. Worse, they're doing so by using the people in the medical industry who are already deep in the pockets of pharmaceutical firms. This is the reality of most of the medical studies being done and touted today: They are bought and paid for by those who profit from the results. Thus, whatever is necessary to show whatever the profiteers wish to see is done. Could there be any other valid reason for eliminating small babies from this study?

Posted by: Joe | April 22, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

"Failure to show any proven link" is a far cry from saying the evidence "conclusively shows there is no link."

So, you are wrong as far as your criticism of Obama's statement.

As a physician, I always recommend the vaccines that are generally recommended. However, I have reservations about some of them. I do believe many vaccines have been rushed onto market without any real urgency, and have been deemed to be "mandatory" without adequate long-term data to support such a rigid stance.

I also believe that anyone who does not think the economic interests of vaccine manufacturers influences such policy decisions has a vacuum where their understanding of human nature should be.

The sum total of all these developments, along with the time and expense involved in administration, is that lots of little children are getting very large quantities of vaccines simultaneously and over a compressed period of time.

I don't know whether or not this has anything to do with the Autism issue. But what the autism issue shows is that we've rushed into this brave new world of vaccinating for anything and everything possible without fully considering the implications. As a result, the practice itself becomes a target of suspicion.

When my daughter was born, I was fortunate enough to be able to administer her vaccines myself, and I did so by straddling them, rather than multi-dosing to minimize the number of visits. There is no proof that doing it this way is any safer - but logic suggests if there is a difference, this would be the safer choice. SO, lacking enough information to make a fully informed decision, this was the path I chose.

If I can't even be sure what all of this means, how could a citizen or candidate, or journalist? If any of the above are honest, they will say they can't. And that is the point.

Posted by: David H. Stern, M.D. | April 22, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I have a child with an autism-spectrum diagnosis. Yes, I have read the science, and I have read the anecdotal nonsense trumped up by antivaccinationists to attempt to keep alive a nonexistent debate and suggest that there is a causal relationship that has been, for all intents and purposes, disproven, or that the entire U.S. government is conspiring to cover up a connection because it's funded by alien pharma companies.

I've also read the science on the vaccination, perhaps the most successful
public health intervention in human history.

No, I absolutely do not believe that there is a causal connection between vaccines and autism. And I don't believe that not being the parent of a child with autism disqualifies a person from this discussion.

No, I do not believe that autism is a misdiagnosis for mercury poisoning. This nonsense has, in fact, been disproven, logical games aside.

As for David Kirby: for shame, sir. For shame. Please, just stop. I understand that you're still trying to sell your book, which has been discredited in more ways than can be counted. But please, for the sake of decency and truth and public health, just stop. Your exaggerations and outright lies about the nature and import of the Poling case are too much to bear. Please, just stop.

Posted by: Landru | April 22, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Setting aside the worthy debate on whether there is a link between vaccinations and autism or not (which, from citations on previous comments is far from over), how can you equate the statements from the two candidates? Did you even read the quotes before "fact checking" them? "Some people are suspicious...science is inconclusive, but we have to research it" is a fundamentally different position statement than "...there's strong evidence that indicates it's got to do with a preservative in vaccines." Given the lively debate evidenced here, I'd have given the Geppetto checkmark to Obama's statement, and maybe one Pinocchio (for exaggeration of the evidence) to the scientifically illiterate McCain. I've come to hope for more rigor from this column. Two Pinnochio's for you, Mr. Dobbs!

Posted by: DaveG | April 22, 2008 5:53 PM | Report abuse

How many of those liar and race cards are there in a deck these days ? Miss the good ol' days when we're just dealing with a couple of jokers ... oh wait, I guess that still applies :)

The Beefs
http://whatsmybeef.wordpress.com/

Posted by: Stevo | April 22, 2008 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Wait a minute. One candidate said there was "strong evidence" of a connection between vaccines & autism, while another said the evidence was "inconclusive." Isn't the first statement much farther from the truth than the second? How can you give both candidates the same number of pinocchios, implying that the two statements are equivalent?

Posted by: Matt | April 22, 2008 6:17 PM | Report abuse

As a scientist I have to say that I have seen no credible evidence whatever that vaccinations cause or contribute to autism or to "autism spectrum disorders," a far looser definition.

Given the whopping four pinocchios handed out to Sen. Clinton at other times, I figure that the good Doctor McCain rates at least three on this one. Two to Doctor Obama is a fair assessment given the differences between their claims.

Posted by: PZ | April 22, 2008 6:37 PM | Report abuse

I am not persuaded that these noses are warranted. There is a correlation; there is no methodology that would allow to truly explore a causal relationship given the number of vaccines and the variation in the frequency, mixtures, and variability in weight and constitutional vigor of the young subjects. No nose for Obama-one for McCain

Posted by: Geppetto's uncle | April 22, 2008 8:35 PM | Report abuse

I am not persuaded that these noses are warranted. There is a correlation; there is no methodology that would allow to truly explore a causal relationship given the number of vaccines and the variation in the frequency, mixtures, and variability in weight and constitutional vigor of the young subjects. No nose for Obama-one for McCain

Posted by: Geppetto's uncle | April 22, 2008 8:40 PM | Report abuse

My DDT would like to State: White Blood Cells are one tough blob, luMinaries at times, Sporin of most Cold & Gas, my god, that gas. Nothing survives innoculations, yet its reduction in quality of fleSh by long shot.

Most people have inoculations in scalp, arms, legs. Even by Mouth.

White Blood Cells Are O.K., Just Little Absent Minded.
Signed:PHYSICIAN THOMAS STEWART VON DRASHEK M.D.

Posted by: thomasxstewart | April 22, 2008 8:51 PM | Report abuse

My kid was autistic from the day he was born, before he ever got a vaccine.

He never got a vaccine with thimerosal.

He has no indication of unusual heavy-metal presence in his body.

He does not have "underlying medical issues". No "leaky gut" or gastro-intestinal issues. No immunity issues (he wasn't sick a day until we sent him to school at 2 1/2). No food allergies. No seizures. He sleeps just fine. No abnormal head growth.

He is still autistic.

I want to see some more research on educational strategies and adult support services. I want to see more interest in individualized programs and training of teachers, support personnel (such as OTs and SLPs), caregivers, and medical personnel. I want to see affordable respite care. This "vaccine link research" is, for us at least, absolutely useless.

Posted by: Joeymom | April 22, 2008 9:30 PM | Report abuse

According to the doctors paid by the tobacco companies there was no proven causal link between smoking and increased rates of lung cancer. We know today that this was a deliberate lie, that cost millions of lives. The same way, it is difficult to prove whether there is a causal link between mercury poisoning and increased autism rates. I am sure that in 10-20 years we will know and will probably find the expert doctors paid by Merck and the other vaccine manufacturers just as despicable human beings as most of us find the tobacco expert doctors of yesteryear. I for one agree with the libertarian view of vaccination: it should be optional, no way mandatory. I would not have vaccinated my children with the knowledge I have today, because in my opinion it is not worth the risk. Other people should be free to reach their own conclusion in a truly democratic and free society. I believe neither Obama not McCain deserve any Pinocchios on this issue.

Posted by: Simon | April 22, 2008 9:39 PM | Report abuse

the movie is totally clear and prove this article to be a lie about Obama. He obviously answers to someone who thinks there is a link and doesn't want to hurt her. That's why he has to say that the conclusions are open.

Posted by: spirine | April 22, 2008 11:42 PM | Report abuse

Very amusing, Fact Checker! I like the snarky title hugely! And an important fact to check out on the pinocchio-o-meter as well!

Posted by: farfalle | April 23, 2008 1:04 AM | Report abuse

"Have you read any of the cutting edge research by medical professionals at Columbia, Johns Hopkins, Harvard, UC Davis? Have you treated a child with autism? Do you realize that when you treat the underlying physical ailments (which could very plausibly be vaccine-induced), many children improve dramatically and begin speaking, interacting, and living a "normal" life?"

I have read the cutting edge research. None of it is showing anything like kids have "vaccine induced" anything, and UC Davis, if anything is producing research that debunks alternative therapies and shows that autism is NOT caused by vaccines. I know, I just graduated from UC Davis in 2006 and I follow the research they do.

Now it's true the MIND Inst. has some "research *ho**s" there who have tried to get big funding by riding the back of the faux (very faux) autism epidemic, but even with these people, they still are producing science that disproves the sham (scam) autism epidemic.

And Mr. Obama, guess what, this is one place to look to find massive abuses of minority people. If you have two kids with absolutely identical developmental delay symptoms, and one is white and one is black.... guess what diagnosis the white one is more likely to get and which one the black one is more likely to get?

Well, my dear, the white kid in most all areas of the US will tend to get the autism diagnosis and the black kid will be called mentally retarded.

Put that in your pipes and smoke it antivaxers.

AND the areas of California with hugely higher rates of autism are those where the most wealth is (and the more white people) while areas of the state where there are more Hispanics and other races you are going to find far fewer diagnosed autistic kids.

This is a huge problem and no one is paying any attention to it, because in part because non-white families look at developmental delay in a different way, and white families are more likely to pathologize anything that might mean that little Dexter or Sylvia might not make it into Harvard Law School, they pathologize it and demand that someone cure it and NOW! Then they start casting around looking for someone to sue.

That's a huge story that is getting shoved under the rug by mostly white autism "advocates" and most white antivaccine parents and their mostly white antivax organizations. Including the ones that love David Kirby to bits and pay him to speak at their conferences.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 23, 2008 1:51 AM | Report abuse

"Have you read any of the cutting edge research by medical professionals at Columbia, Johns Hopkins, Harvard, UC Davis? Have you treated a child with autism? Do you realize that when you treat the underlying physical ailments (which could very plausibly be vaccine-induced), many children improve dramatically and begin speaking, interacting, and living a "normal" life?"

I'm not sure what the first part refers to (maybe Hornig et al., the mouse study out of Columbia that the MIND Institute failed to replicate recently?) But the second part, which I'm guessing the commenter attempted to tie to the first part, is completely anecdotal. There is no evidence that any of the popular alt-med treatments of autism are beneficial. There is no evidence that they aren't harmful either. In fact, autism is notorious for attracting quackery with lots of impressive anecdotes, which upon more serious examination turns out to be simply a placebo. This is because placebo effects in autism are remarkably strong. I know of a guy who claims autistic kids improve after wearing a hat designed to block alien thought control. Seriously.

Posted by: Joseph | April 23, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

I think most of the readers' comments were on the mark in that, 1) McCain's and Obama's remarks were not equivalent, 2) The evidence thus far strongly suggests that there is no link, but that research into vaccines and all possible causes of autism needs to continue.

It seems that people either believe that vaccines do cause autism, or that vaccines don't cause autism, and the argument ends there. The correct answer is that something causes autism and we don't yet know what it is. It may be genetic, it may be infectious, it may be environmental, it may be all three. The fact that the evidence strongly suggests that vaccines are not related, makes me think that the focus of research should be on other possible causes.

Posted by: ScienceSpeaks | April 23, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

This link takes you to a detailed examination of the evidence and insights into the character of the people involved in the original MMR scare in England.

Posted by: Andy, England | April 23, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Go to Andy's link for propoganda. Then ask yourself, why can't they get one parent to testify against Dr. Wakefield. For the up to date truth on this matter go to;

[2062] Lies Exposed At The UK MMR Vaccine Trial Court

http://www.theoneclickgroup.co.uk/news.php?start=2060&end=2080&view=yes&id=2467#newspost

Posted by: Joe | April 23, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

There are studies from all over the world and EVERY scientific study to date has shown no evidence of a cause and effect here. Statistically you could show something absurb like an increase in monkey births at the city zoo occurred at the same time that democrats retook the mayoral office in that city. There is a correlation, but that doesn't mean there is a cause and effect. It's just a coincidence. The real tragedy here is that parental lobbying is funneling research grants toward continued studies of autism and vaccinations, which is taking funding away from studying other causes, thereby making real inroads to reducing the autism rate increases.

Posted by: Catherine | April 23, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry Mr Dobbs didn't check the facts on the California study before writing that it disproved a thimerosal link. The researchers specifically stated, in the full study, they did not, repeat did not make a determination on thimerosal because they did not control the study for thimerosal exposure with Rhogam and flu shots.

Ckecking facts means checking facts, not cutting and pasting previous articles by others who didn't read the studies, either.

Posted by: GrammaKnows | April 23, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

It is clear that many bloggers are scared of those who question the safety of vaccines. My advise to them is to keep on vaccinating themselves and their children at the recommended pace and see what happens! If they are right, nothing will happen to them. If they are wrong, they will stop criticizing the rest of us very soon.

Posted by: Nonyart | April 23, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

"Then ask yourself, why can't they get one parent to testify against Dr. Wakefield."

Because the parents were expecting compensation for vaccine injury and Wakefield provided the "evidence." That was a silly question.

Posted by: Joseph | April 23, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I was sitting next to the person who asked the question that prompted Senator Obama's reply on Monday at Montgomery County Community College and to whom he was referring when he said, "...including this person." The Senator was certainly not referring to himself but to my friend, Karin. She is practitioner of and believer in a number of alternative healing methodologies.

hughhyatt at bluehen.udel.edu

Posted by: Hugh Hyatt | April 23, 2008 7:01 PM | Report abuse

"The link between the two may not have been proven, but it certainly has not been disproven."

How do you propose to disprove a link? As one poster mentioned, the timing of autism also corresponds with watching daytime TV and potty training. Maybe it's the EMF from the TV, maybe the modern plastics in the potty? Both these things are touted as bad for us by many people.

While it might sound silly because no "doctor" has suggested it and no lobby group exists to demand investigation of these other links, it is also the case that neither link has been investigated and therefore, neither link has been disproved.

It is probably to possible to list literally millions of coincidental occurrences yet it would be impossible to disprove links between any of them.

It's very difficult to prove a negative because, by definition, there can be no evidence of something that doesn't exist therefore it is impossible to find such evidence. Research that finds a convincing lack of evidence is never enough for the true believers who will continue to insist the research failed to disprove the link.

What could occur is to find an actual cause for autism (plenty of people have already posited cause for the perceived "increase"). However, while your next leader will likely spend still more money focusing on one largely discredited cause of autism, they will also have to spend correspondingly less money looking for an actual cause.

Burning witches never did solve the problems attributed to them, no matter how popular the practice was.

Posted by: AndyD | April 24, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Let's get some things straight. Autism is nothing but a term from the DSM-IV psychiatric manual. It's a term that provides an alibi for the vaccine manufacturers who added mercury to vaccines at a level 250 times higher than what the EPA identifies as hazardous waste based on toxicity characteristics (1). It provides an alibi for the CDC, FDA, American Academy of Pediatrics and the other responsible parties that let this chemical lobotomy happen. It provides an alibi for the health insurance companies so they can refuse to pay for medical services for these sick kids. It provides an alibi for the pediatricians who administered this poison. And it provides a generous living for psychiatrists to distribute their chemical "straight jackets" they refer to as medication.

(1) 200 ppb mercury = level in liquid the EPA classifies as hazardous waste (http://www.epa. gov/epaoswer/ hazwaste/ mercury/ regs.htm#hazwaste)

25,000 ppb mercury = Concentration of mercury in multi-dose, Hepatitis B vaccine vials, administered at birth from 1991-2001 in the U.S.

50,000 ppb mercury = Concentration of mercury in multi-dose DTP and Haemophilus B vaccine vials, administered 8 times in the 1990's to children at 2, 4, 6, 12 and 18 months of age and currently "preservative" level mercury in multi-dose flu, meningococcal and tetanus (7 and older) vaccines. This can be confirmed by simply analyzing the vials.

Posted by: Joe | April 24, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

"It is clear that many bloggers are scared of those who question the safety of vaccines. My advise to them is to keep on vaccinating themselves and their children at the recommended pace and see what happens! If they are right, nothing will happen to them. If they are wrong, they will stop criticizing the rest of us very soon. "

It's nice to see that the anti-vaccine quacks are open about their hatred. Sadly, their fantasies about vaccine dangers will lead to the deaths and disability of innocents from diseases that are real, and their desire for yet another study debunking the idea that vaccines cause autism will only take money away from real services for those who have autism, like my son.

Posted by: Andrew | April 24, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

"It is clear that many bloggers are scared of those who question the safety of vaccines. My advise to them is to keep on vaccinating themselves and their children at the recommended pace and see what happens! If they are right, nothing will happen to them. If they are wrong, they will stop criticizing the rest of us very soon. "

It's nice to see that the anti-vaccine quacks are open about their hatred. Sadly, their fantasies about vaccine dangers will lead to the deaths and disability of innocents from diseases that are real, and their desire for yet another study debunking the idea that vaccines cause autism will only take money away from real services for those who have autism, like my son.

Posted by: Andrew | April 24, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Speaking as a liberal, and an Obama supporter, I was dismayed to see the Obama quote, and somewhat relieved to see that "this person" referred not to Obama himself, but someone in the crowd.

To me the vaccine debate shows that, despite having cornered the market, the Right in this country holds no monopoly on hostility to science.

On the other hand, whether or not there is a medical connection between autism and vaccines, there is a real social connection. What people believe has real public health consequences--witness outbreaks of measles in California this year, caused by parents who are too enlightened to protect their (and other people's) children.

Politicians must deal with real social realities, not just scientific ones. If the question of a supposed link between vaccines and autism is ever to be resolved, it must be taken seriously. Therefore it is appropriate for politicians and government agencies to spend time and funding on exploring the issue. But politicians owe it to themselves and to citizens to be well-informed about both the scientific and the social sides of the issue.

Posted by: Mark Johnson | April 25, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Speaking as a liberal, and an Obama supporter, I was dismayed to see the Obama quote, and somewhat relieved to see that "this person" referred not to Obama himself, but someone in the crowd.

To me the vaccine debate shows that, despite having cornered the market, the Right in this country holds no monopoly on hostility to science.

On the other hand, whether or not there is a medical connection between autism and vaccines, there is a real social connection. What people believe has real public health consequences--witness outbreaks of measles in California this year, caused by parents who are too enlightened to protect their (and other people's) children.

Politicians must deal with real social realities, not just scientific ones. If the question of a supposed link between vaccines and autism is ever to be resolved, it must be taken seriously. Therefore it is appropriate for politicians and government agencies to spend time and funding on exploring the issue. But politicians owe it to themselves and to citizens to be well-informed about both the scientific and the social sides of the issue.

Posted by: Mark Johnson | April 25, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Lies ? they all belong to Hillary Clinton,she's ahead in that count !!!

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