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June 29, 2005

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A standing ovation for you, Skeptico: You have performed a great public service. I commend you on your thorough and excellent assessment and thank-you for the time it took for you to do this ... it means a lot to some of us. The quotes IN CONTEXT make all the difference. I am now even more impressed by the work of the IOM. Again, many thanks.

The real joke is that the people who are supporting and reveling in RFK, Jr's hatchet job (excuse me, "article") are precisely the ones who have already made up their minds ("Don't bother me with the data, I already know the Truth!"). That is why they are going through such political and journalistic machinations to "prove" their point. They know that the scientific data is pointing the other way and they are too caught up in their egos and lawsuits to admit that they were wrong.

What we are seeing is an attempt by the autism-mercury crowd to apply political pressure in order to achieve for their side what they claim the other side (the "good guys" - the ones who stick to the data) is doing. Namely, to "fix" the game and have the politicians declare by proclamation that autism is caused by thimerosal in contradiction to all the best scientific data. This is exactly what was done with Agent Orange and Gulf War Syndrome, so they know it can be done.

So when they claim that the IOM and CDC are in a conspiracy to conceal the truth, they are actually describing themselves. In psychology, this is known as "projection."

Prometheus

Beautiful job! I've linked to it to apply the "power" (such as it is) of my blog to get you more readers... ;-)

Great job, again.

Your work is like the efforts of the CDC/IOM, writ small. Its unfortunate that you have to take time to address hysterical conspiracy mongering, and the waste of resources and time by good scientists on this subject concerns me.

Can't wait for the Senate hearings?

By the way, in any Grisham book I have read, the conspirators usually take care not to leave transcripts of their meetings available to the public.

Prometheus:

You're right, but you forgot one example: Silicone breast implants. The latest studies show that silicone-containing breast implants have no epidemiological link to fibromyalgia, cancer, autoimmune diseases, or any of the other systemic illnesses attributed to them. (Note: In my opinion, they do have an unacceptably high local complication rate, including leakage, capsular contracture due to scarring, and the like.) Whenever I have pointed out on misc.health.alternative the studies in the past failing to find a link or deconstructed the shoddy studies purporting to demonstrate a link, I've been attacked in similar terms

Nonetheless, science never stopped the flood of lawsuits that bankrupted Dow-Corning.

Skeptico,

Thank you.

Skeptical Thinker ranted on all this stuff on the healthfraud listserv and Autism Diva is pretty sure he got kicked off/banned, though he claims (on the EoHarm group) that he got tired of us over there.

Autism Diva thinks that Prometheus has it right when he says the autism=mercury bunch is projecting their own sneakiness on to the IOM and CDC, etc.

They are so quick to accuse any and everyone of being "in the pocket" of someone. However, rarely are they accused of being shills for the trial lawyers who are trying to keep this lie in the air.

OK, Autism Diva has made some vague references to "them" being shills for the trial lawyers. She would love to have evidence of which ones really are.

on the Autism Diva blog I have a link to an article called, "Diagnosis HYPE" which is good, and to an "eurekalert" on new peer reviewed journal article, "Three Reasons not to believe in an autism epidemic", one of the author's of which is MIchelle Dawson. There is also a link to an article about Eric Fombonne's work showing no rapid expansion in the numbers of autistic kids.

Not trying to promote the AD blog so much as being too lazy to go fetch the links and put them here.

Autism Diva

Skeptico, Autism Diva just awarded you 4 tiaras
http://autismdiva.blogspot.com/2005/06/send-flowers-to-skeptico.html

Autism Diva thinks that her highest award - 4 tiaras - is pretty impressive, though she realized that others might not be that impressed. :-)

AD

Skeptico,

It's ironic for a parent of an autistic child to hear someone like you (who I assume is not a parent of an autistic child) talk about being "pissed" when it comes to this topic. I am also pissed, really pissed, and my reply to you will come. This is a busy time for me but it will get done.

In the meantime, a happy July 4th weekend to all.

"Thinker", I'm pissed by YOU, and so is my mother.

And I have more of a right to care about autism than you ever will.

I've got Asperger's. My sister has full-blown autism *combined* with mental retardation.

It's been a hard road for my family, that's for certain.


And here you and your sort come, lying your way across the internet and into the media, selling dangerous and potentially lethal "treatments", claiming scientists are lying, and claiming autism is worse than the combination of the diseases we vaccinate for.

The only thing that surprises me is that you haven't advocated what sometimes seems to be the actual remedy you want; everyone like me or worse to have a shotgun placed to the back of their heads, and then the trigger pulled.

Since you don't care about honesty, and you don't care about reality, and you seem to think autism is worse than any actual health-threatening disease, it's a very tiny leap to think you just want us all dead.

Sotek,

I'm sorry to hear about the trouble you and your family have had. But to suggest I want all autistic's dead is just a terrible, untruthful thing to say. I love my son more than ANYTHING in this whole world. This whole experience has served to make me more aware and more sensitive to the needs of all people with any type of handicap or disability. I'm not your enemy.

I have no desire to get into a personal quarrel with you. I respect your right to live your life any way you choose. You should respect my right to help my son in any way that I see fit as a father.

If you felt the best way to help your son was to flay his skin until the autism left, I wouldn't respect that.

If you felt the best way to help your son was to ignore facts and poison him...

... well, you apparently do, and I don't respect that.

Chelation therapy is dangerous, and won't help autism anyway.


Why should I respect your errors, when they are factual errors?

It's not even an issue of judgement. I could question what you consider "Helping", but I'm not.

I'm questioning your claim that mercury in vaccines has anything to do with autism.

I'm also questioning your claim there's an actual rise in autism that NEEDS a cause.

Hi Sotek
I am also the mom of an ASD boy, that demonstrated to have high Hg/Al in blood after a GFCF diet.
Have you a bit of time to read some information?
Do you have an e-mail where I cand send this information?Please let me know. thank you.
María Luján

thsgrn at nospam yahoo dot com.

Should be obvious enough how to translate that into an email, although I hope it stumps spambots.

But it already sounds like you're confusing correlation and causation; just because YOUR kid had high mercury levels doesn't mean ALL autistic kids do, or that the mercury caused his autism.

And what's a "GFCF" diet? glutein-free casien-free?
'cause from personal experience, I know how "effective" those are; not at all.

And I don't know what the correlation between that and mercury and aluminum in blood would be.

Also; "demonstrated" ... by who? If they had something to gain (such as more business) from showing your son had mercury in his blood, can you really trust them?

Nice link, HN.

I notice it leaves out a few things that would make it even clearer.

1) It leaves out that diagnostic criteria changed right before the "increase" started.
2) It leaves out that there have been other studies that showed numbers higher than the numbers from the Department of Education have gotten to.

I believe I've read another study that concluded that numbers the dept. of education is going to find are going to keep going up until they match the results of the studies, and the only reason they haven't gotten there yet is because it takes time for everyone in every school to be able to diagnose autism.

I am sorry Sotek by I posted my e-mail correctly
[email protected]
Here is my answer. If you want to read Dr Bradstreet presentation, Dr Jepson presentation and another information I can send you them by e-mail, but they are big (2 Megabytes). Also I can send to you some information from DAN!conferences.
Sorry yes,GFCf is gluten free casein free diet. And for my son it was wonderful.Hg and Al in blood is correlated with thimerosal and Al compounds in vaccines, in my interpretation.Do you know the full list of preservants in vaccines?
How did you do the GFCF diet? Do you know the SCD (Specific Carbohydrate diet? Did you use nutritional supplementation?
Again, please send me an email therefore I can support my ideas with .pdf files.
And yes, I trust my local lab. They repeated three times the test in blood. And my son case is not the only one.
Sincerely María Lujan

Hi Sotek
Your email is with or without a blank, an hyphen?
thsgrn at nospam yahoo dot com.
is thsgrn@nospam yahoo.com
or [email protected]
It returned, therefore I ask. Sorry the disturbance

My email is without "nospam" in it; apologies, I thought that obvious.

And if you can compress them in a .zip file, that should help with the size.


And I myself did not do the GFCF diet. My sister did, and I do not know all the details, merely that she regressed slightly while on it, and has improved significantly in times since, when recieving no special diet.


I do not know the full list of preservatives in vaccines, but I do know they are not necessary to explain the correlation between the increases in autism and the changes in the diagnostic criteria.

Also, you claim the levels were elevated AFTER the GFCF diet; if so, why are you defending GFCF as well as the anti-vax claims?

Also, was it elemental Hg, methylmercury, or ethylmercury?

And do you know the groundwater concentrations of those elements in your area?

Hi Sotek
I sent to you an email about further information. My mention to preservatives is related to the condition of multifactorial disease that some doctors propose for ASD, when other preservatives (Al, formaldehyde, neomycin) and compounds have a role, besides thimerosal AND in combination with genetic susceptibility in form of polymorphisms (MTHFR, COMT, ADA, CBS, NOS,etc-Dr Yasko proposal ). Combination of Al plus Hg plus testosterone demonstrated by dr Boyd Haley to be especially neurotoxic.
About regression on GFCF diet. Several children have to the CFGF diet AWFUL reactions ( some to GF other to Cf).I know several cases. If you accept that leaky gut is part of the problem, and gluteomorhpin and caseomorphin reaches blood through leaky gut, caseomorphin and gluteoomorphin have the effect of a drug, because of the chemical structure similar to morphin. Therefore, there are "crisis" after casein/gluten avoidance that lasts from 3-4 days to 3 weeks and and after this you have improvements. You can read about this in web pages on GFCF diet experiences and also in books like Dr JAcquelyn Mc Candless.I will send to you the abstract of her book
What I can tell you.My son was totally potty trained after GFCF diet in 3 days. Before the diet he was totally lost and he couldnt realized even what was happening about the issue. However, besides the diet, nutritional supplementation -and specific medication- to treat his gastrointestinal, immune and detox problems were extremely important. GFCF diet is the basement where all the other things could be constructed in the case of my son.
Please let me know if you want the web page of the personal experiences with the diet.
Dr Jill James presentation in the DAN conferences presented an explanation about altered biochemistry in the methylation, transulfuration and pyrimidine/purine synthesis in autism. If you accept that adenosine is related to the problems, therefore the link is clear with the avoidance of the G and C you can get back with the methionine synthesis and therefore methionine levels up. Methionine has S. Sulfur compounds can bind Hg and Al and release of Hg and Al in blood can take place-my personal explanation of the finding in my son. Therefore I think that GFCF diet was Wonderful to show that my son had Hg sequestered in tissues.Again I will send to you a further explanation about the methylation/transulfuration sequence ( I am only explaining the DrJames presentation in DAN! conference and I am not a doctor). The Dr Pangborn explanation of the DAN! approach is also very clear about this point.
I am not confounding correlation with causality. You are right. I will never know what was first. What I agree. A combination of individual genetic susceptibility plus environmental toxic overload ( including but not limited to Hg from thimerosal in vaccines) produces a lot of biochemical, detox ,. immune-including autoimmune- and gastrointestinal problems in our ASD children. This is not my idea. Is the idea from the DAN! doctors and others who helped me to detect a lot of health issues in my son. The Hg was detected without information of the chemical original form.
My son only consumed bottled water (always) therefore groundwater was not a problem. Obviously the only non-bottled water he was in contact was from baths. Hg is checked in the water I received from the system city.
Please let me know if I can send to you further information about all the issues I mentioned. I do not want to bother you.
Thank you for your answer and your questions
Sincerely
MAría Luján

In looking at Dr. Stratton’s comments on page 73:

Dr. Stratton:

"We said this before you got here, and I think we said this yesterday. The point of no return, the line we will not cross in public policy is pull the vaccine, change the schedule.

We could say it is time to revisit this, but we would never recommend that level. Even recommending research is recommendations for policy.

We wouldn't say compensate, we wouldn't say pull the vaccine, we wouldn't say stop the program."

The point you seem to be making in a nut shell is that she was not saying, 'no matter what we find, we won't implicate thimerosal' but rather, 'no matter what we find, we will only make a causality finding and not recommend a direction for research or public policy'.

Let me know if that is an accurate nutshell.

The possible problem that I see with that interpretation is that if that is indeed what they meant, then they didn't follow it in their final report. They did make recommendations for a course of research. Not to pursue further thimerosal research. From the IOM report:

"Key Conclusions

The IOM Immunization Safety Review Committee’s most notable conclusions were:

* neither thimerosal-containing vaccines or MMR vaccine are associated with autism.
* the hypotheses regarding a link between autism and MMR vaccine and thimerosal-containing vaccines lack supporting evidence and are only theoretical.
* future research to find the cause of autism should be directed toward other promising lines of inquiry that are supported by current knowledge and evidence and offer more promise for providing an answer.

Key Recommendations

The committee made a number of recommendations in the areas of policy, surveillance, and epidemiologic research, clinical studies, and communication, including:

* The committee does not recommend a policy review of the licensure of MMR vaccine or of the current schedule and recommendations for giving the MMR vaccine to children.
* The committee does not recommend a policy review of the current schedule and recommendations for the administration of routine childhood vaccines based on hypotheses regarding thimerosal and autism.
* The committee recommends that cost-benefit assessments regarding the use of thimerosal-containing versus thimerosal-free vaccines and other biological or pharmaceutical products, whether in the United States or other countries, should not include autism as a potential risk.
* The committee recommends developing programs to increase public participation in vaccine safety research and policy decisions and to enhance the skills and willingness of scientists and government officials to engage in constructive dialogue with the public about research findings and their implications for policy development."

A possible interpretation of this (if you are going to attribute a moderate amount of bias to the committee) is that at the outset, they thought they would find that there was a relationship and wanted to limit what they had to say about it. 'We will only state findings and CDC will deal with the consequences'. But, the committee ended up thinking that the evidence was just enough to declare no causal link and then decided to go beyond their original intent and make policy and research recommendations.

The recommendation to stop looking into the possible link between thimerosal and autism, and search elsewhere is as about as big a policy and research recommendation that they could have made.

And, in my view, completely unjustifiable given the research they were presented that went so far as to explain the basics of the mechanism that is likely involved, and upon which is based a treatment that has been successful in mitigating the autistic symptoms of thousands of children. Mine son being one of those children.

Ginger:

Stratton said that if there was evidence to support a causal link, they would not say “pull the vaccine”, they would just “suggest the evidence is sufficient that (the CDC) take a look at it". Are you seriously suggesting that is not what she meant? If so, I think you’ll have to do more than pull out a few lines from the actual conclusions the way you do.

It's quite simple really. They don’t have the authority to “pull the vaccine”. But when they found no evidence of a link they said they did “not recommend a policy review of the current schedule”. Of course they wouldn’t recommend that when they found no evidence of a link.

I think you are trying to read too much into this.

And you are also ignoring these quotes:

Page 15 Dr. McCormick …we could potentially come up with , there isn’t evidence for this one way or another, keep going full court press, or there is so much evidence to support this adverse reaction, pull the vaccine.

Page 73 Dr. Stratton
I think there are two things that we absolutely have to do and there is no doubt about it. We have to give them your best judgment of the causality assessment.

Page 83 Dr. Shaywitz
I wonder if we are just over-complicating the question that CDC is asking us. They really want to know – it is a complicated enough question for us scientifically.
They really want to know the causality of – they want to know about adverse effects.

Page 84 Dr. Kaback
…the real goal of this thing is to provide the public – not the CDC and not the congress, but the public – with a reasonable basis upon which to make decisions about immunization.

What about them?

As for your other points, I presume you're talking about chelation. Did you see this article today?

Skeptico,

I am not dismissing those comments. I am not even taking issue with your interpretation of those comments.

For the sake of this discussion, let's just stipulate that all those comments represent that they wanted to make a causality statement and nothing more nefarious.

The question that I am asking is that if Dr. Stratton's comments meant that they would not recommend policy and that "Even recommending research is recommendations for policy", then why did they end up recommending both research and policy?

"The committee made a number of recommendations in the areas of policy, surveillance, and epidemiologic research, clinical studies, and communication, including: ...

* future research to find the cause of autism should be directed toward other promising lines of inquiry that are supported by current knowledge and evidence and offer more promise for providing an answer."

The reason that I ask this specific question is that as I am looking into the entire thimerosal question, the history, politics, who knew what and when and all that, the bit picture I beginning to see in the public health policy is not a Watergat type conspiracy (which Mr. Kennedy's hyperbole leans toward) but a situation where as the information on prevalence and risk is bounced from department to committee, it seems that each group moves the ball a yard or two down the field toward "no relationship". This seems to be punctuated with a few incidents of evident shennagans like the Verstraten Study and the IOM final report.

The first time the information in the VSD was studied there was a HUGE relative risk found between the amount of Hg administered during the 6 month visit and the relative risk for autism. The team spent 6 months 'improving' the study and got it down to just a big relative risk, then spent more time 'improving' and took it to Simpsonwood. They had lots more ideas for improvement, and when it was presented to the IOM a year after it was supposed to be completed in the first place, it found a little bit of risk. By the time it was published it found no 'consistant' risk.

The information moved through the ACIP, the IOM, the AAP and the CDC and at each step seems to be characterized farther and farther from what the origional interpretation of the data showed and by the time the information reaches the parent in the news paper or the doctors office, it has been watered down to "there is trace amounts, but we don't think it causes any problems".

So the context of my question is really, was the IOM really looking for a relationship or where they leaning as hard as they could to gain another yard.

... and thanks for pointing out that article. I think that I am going write a response to that on my blog.

ok... so that last link didn't work so well.

Here is a tiny one so you can get to my comments on his article.

http://tinyurl.com/b9qh3

Ginger if you a good drama free discussion you may with to try the Healthfraud listserv. Dr. Laidler is fairly active there:
http://www.quackwatch.org/00AboutQuackwatch/discuss.html (there is a link to its archive on the bottom of the page if you wish to preview the type of discussions)

You would have a better chance of engaging in a discussion with Dr. Laidler than through a blog.

Good luck.

My how time flies.

It’s now five weeks since a poster calling himself “Critical thinker” posted this comment with his list of quotes that he wanted explaining and this comment that he ended rather arrogantly instructing me:

Would you care to tell the class if you read the report with an open mind? And please make sure you address ALL of the quotes I have included.

It is also over a month since he posted this final comment where he wrote “my reply to you will come. This is a busy time for me but it will get done”.

With all the time this so-called critical thinker has had to read my article, I think it’s safe to conclude he can find no fault in it, and that he agrees with me that Kennedy is a shameful quote-miner and liar. Thanks for confirming that for us.

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