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August 02, 2005

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It develops into the usual apocolypse of stupidity in the comments section of that article. So much so that I couldn't even get annoyed as much as I usually do. Maybe I've become desensitized.

Eh, considering some of the vitriol that comes from the anti-vax (excuse me, anti-thimerosal) crowd, it's relatively tame. It's certainly no EOH board...

Maybe the more prominent activists don't read Slate.

Good link. Although I'm curious about the MMR reference.

I posted about a Japanese MMR study that refutes a mercury/autism connection, and then was told (by an anti-vax person) that MMR never contained thimerosal. This is also noted in the comments to the piece, which seems to be an interesting mistake if it is true.

Anyone have the answer?

Also, I think the concluding comments that increased funding for autism research due to this controversy is interesting. Getting something good out of a pointless debate, I guess. But it seems that the man-hours of fighting that good scientists have already put into this discussion has been a bad investment in itself. And, I would think that the research money "pried loose" by SafeMinds would probably have some strings attached.

MMR was a live virus and consequently never could contain thimerosal. That was a rather basic error in the article, i'm afraid.

Thanks for clearing that up!

Paul

I'm a little confused about the argument against the Geier's findings. Even if many parents began reporting their children's autism as an adverse reaction to vaccines why would that have an impact on their study? I thought they just looked at rates of autism reported through the VAERS and found that in most of those cases the vaccines contained thimerosal. For the parents to have effected that study you would have to assume that the parents knew enough to check their kids vaccines and only report their autism if they had thimerosal.

Am I missing something?

"For the parents to have effected that study you would have to assume that the parents knew enough to check their kids vaccines and only report their autism if they had thimerosal."

That's exactly what happened, IMO. Trust me, many of these reports came from parents who were "coached" by activist groups. All of the activist/anti-vax websites tell you how to file a VAERS report.

"Trust me, many of these reports came from parents who were "coached" by activist groups. All of the activist/anti-vax websites tell you how to file a VAERS report."

I agree with you regarding the filing of a VAERS report. But there would have had to be even more effort to make sure only the thimerosal subset was entered. I have a friend with an autistic child who uses biomedical interventions and participates on those online groups. If those parents were coached to only report if their kids had thimerosal it would be easy to have proof of that because they use public groups.

I'm not defending the Geier's. I don't know enough about the topic to form an opinion. But I don't believe you can discount it just because parents of autistic children were encouraged to report their child's autism as an adverse reaction. After all, isn't that what VAERS is there for?

I've also read a lot of the arguments against a link and many people say there couldn't possibly be a coverup because there are too many people involved. So it's ironic that these same people now believe thousands of parents in different parts of the country were savvy enough to manipulate the VAERS database through coaching they received in public discussion groups.

"I agree with you regarding the filing of a VAERS report. But there would have had to be even more effort to make sure only the thimerosal subset was entered. I have a friend with an autistic child who uses biomedical interventions and participates on those online groups. If those parents were coached to only report if their kids had thimerosal it would be easy to have proof of that because they use public groups."

It wouldn't be that hard. In the U.S., before 2000, an infant was quite likely to get at least one thimerosal-containing vaccine in their first year of life. Likely more than one. All you'd have to do is file a report saying your child regressed after a particular round of vaccines. In most cases those vaccines would contain at least some thimerosal.

"But I don't believe you can discount it just because parents of autistic children were encouraged to report their child's autism as an adverse reaction. After all, isn't that what VAERS is there for?"

Not at all. But you can't necessarily rely on VAERS to prove incidence of these conditions either. All VAERS is designed to do is give researchers some hypotheses to test from, nothing more.

"Not at all. But you can't necessarily rely on VAERS to prove incidence of these conditions either. All VAERS is designed to do is give researchers some hypotheses to test from, nothing more."

Maybe my confusion is that I'm not clear on what the Geier's reported. I thought they looked at the incidence of autism as reported in VAERS and then compared the amounts of thimerosal present in the (HIB?) vaccine given to those children. I thought they chose HIB (or maybe it was actually another one) because there were versions of that vaccine that was thimerosal free.

Maybe someone who knows all of the details can fill in some of the blanks. I find that both sides tend to make claims based on a given research when they don't really know the whole story. The author of this article may know the whole story but there is not nearly enough detail in the article to back up the statements about the Geier's work.

VAERS is not well designed for use in these kids of studies. The CDC created the Vaccine Safety Datalink for just this purpose.

So why are they not allowing independent researchers proper access to the VSD? The CDC claims that they are accepting applications to study the database, but they have not accepted any since the Geier's found a high relative risk between thimerosal and autism a few years ago.

Critics can always say that all studies drawn from VAERS are questionable because of the reporting systemm, but VAERS is best that is available.

Allowing access to the VSD would give much more meaningful studies. Why does HHS continue to block those meaningful studies?

Anonymous, you might want to read this:

"The chief problem with the VAERS data is that reports can be entered by anyone and are not routinely verified. To demonstrate this, a few years ago I entered a report that an influenza vaccine had turned me into The Hulk. The report was accepted and entered into the database.

Because the reported adverse event was so… unusual, a representative of VAERS contacted me. After a discussion of the VAERS database and its limitations, they asked for my permission to delete the record, which I granted. If I had not agreed, the record would be there still, showing that any claim can become part of the database, no matter how outrageous or improbable.

Since at least 1998 (and possibly earlier), a number of autism advocacy groups have, with all the best intentions, encouraged people to report their autistic children—or autistic children of relatives and friends—to VAERS as injuries from thimerosal-containing vaccines. This has irrevocably tainted the VAERS database with duplicate and spurious reports."

Source: http://neurodiversity.com/weblog/article/14/chelation-autism

Ginger - the only reason the Geiers found a high relative risk is that they used such questionable methods that their results were considered 'uninterpretable' by the IOM principaly because of shoddy methodology. They also abused the data so badly they drew a rebuke from the FDA, they also tried to merge data in a way that would breach patient confidentiality which led to the revocation of Geiers protocol by the Institutional Review Board. Basically, the 'study' is meaningless.

http://www.casewatch.org/civil/geier.shtml
http://www.casewatch.org/fdawarning/rsch/geier.shtml
http://www.casewatch.org/fdawarning/rsch/geierk.shtml
http://www.aap.org/profed/thimaut-may03.htm

I make no claim as to the value of the Geiers' study. Only that the found a risk and that should be either confirmed or discounted. But no one is allowed in to do that.

Two studies have come out of the VSD, Verstraten and the Geiers. The stories behind how both of these were done are like something out of a movie with all the shenanigans going on.

If the CDC were truly interested in finding the answer to this question, we would have an answer. We would have lots and lots of answers to sift through, and data tables to check and re-check and peer review to our hearts content, for all the people who want to get into this thing and see what it really says.

I know that Skeptico and most of the readers on this blog don't believe that there is a link between Thimerosal and Autism.

But... and I ask this in all earnesty... With all of the outright bizarre behavior and reasoning that the CDC is exhibiting, do folks here really buy that they are acting honestly in this? That they really want to know the answers to the questions that these parents are asking?

Their basic position is that a powerful neurotoxin, injected directly into the veins of a newborn baby at dozens of times what is allowable for an adult, does not cause neurotoxicity.

That mercury injected into babies does not cause mercury poisoning.

How is this not self-evident?

Why is that not the statement that is being explored by Skeptico, Orac and all those who consider themselves "critical thinkers" and "skeptics". To me that is one hell of a proposition to be skeptical of.

I cannot emphasize this enough: The label on the bottle says POISON on it.

The Safty Data Sheet on thimerosal reads:

"Mercury poisoning may occur."

"Exposure in children may cause mild to severe mentalretardation... ."

Why then is this discussion about if RFK's hyperbole was appropriate or to severe? Why is this discussion not about people asking the question, "hey... turns out they were injecting mercury into babies at 125 times what the government thinks is safe for healthy adults. We should be testing kids with any symptoms of mercury poisoning to see if they have it".

With all the variants of Mercury poisoning, the constants are withdrawal, loss of speech, damage to the central nervous system that causes problems with sight, hearing and painful touch.

Considering all this, how can the theory of a link between thimerosal and autism be treated with such contempt?

Why is it not completely fascinating, and why are the health authorities not tearing through this research like they may have found the holy grail?

No one claims that Mercury is not toxic - so is Warfarin, something commonly used in medicine.

The question is not 'is too much mercury dangerous?' becuase we know it is. The question is: 'does thimerosal in vaccines cause autism'?

So far, the science says no.

As to access to the VSD and the lack of approved applications, I ask only one simple question:

Who's applying, what does their application say they want to do with the data, and why has their application been rejected? Other than the Geiers, who have their own problems obviously.

Kev,

I think that stating the question that way is a bit intellectually dishonest. It ignores what we already know about autism.

I have discussed this a bit more completely on this post on my own blog, http://tinyurl.com/b9qh3

It does not seem that autism is just one disorder. There are at least two major types of physical symptom clusters that apparently display the same behavioral symptoms. http://tinyurl.com/8839m

In looking at the brains of autistic patients, biologists are finding three different types of brain structure anomalies. (Don’t know where I put the link to that article, I will look for it)

It seems to me a more appropriate question would be, "Does thimerosal cause some cases or autism". But the most informed question is really to ask, "Are cases of mercury poisoning being misdiagnosed as Autism."

To pose the question in the manner you suggest is to set up a straw man argument that can be knocked down by showing that just one case of autism does not involve mercury toxicity.

In light of the new ways that autism can be classified according to phenotype, it just may be that your daughter and my son actually have two different "illnesses" that present with the same behavior.

In my mind this is the analogy. If you are simply going to classify neurological disorders by behavioral symptoms, then people with Downs Syndrome and head injury victims can both be classified as having "mental retardation". If anyone tried that, there would be one hell of a fight between proponents of environmental v. genetic causes.

JP,

That is the question, isn't it.

I am not even sure how to go about getting specific on that, as I would think that the CDC might not make that public and it would depend on researchers letting the public know they were applying.

I will see what I can find.

Last thing I heard about the Geiers was that the HMO that they wanted to study and that had disallowed access, has reinstated their permission for access, but I have no idea what they based that decision on. I don't think that the the CDC has reinstated their permission.

The Geier's story gets touched on here and there, but that whole thing needs a proper aring as well.

Thinking more about how to answer JPs question.

I have written and called the CDC and IOM with questions, but no one has responded except for one woman at the CDC. She didn't have an answer for the question I was asking at the time, as she had been on vacation and out of the loop, but she was the first person I talked to that didn't seem like she was shoveling shinola.

I will call her back and see if she can help me with this question and a few others.

Ginger,

I think you're reaching just a tad there.

You're *assuming* that these differences mean that the root cause is different. I saw no mention of that in the article you linked to. I also saw no mention of anything other than genetics. How do you know this theory doesn't eradicate thimerosal as a theory completely?

As far as the science stands now, the question still stands - 'does thimerosal in vaccines cause autism?'

re: your point about autism being a misdiagnosis for autism. I suppose it may well be but you have to wonder at the competency of any Doctor who'd confuse the two.

You're *assuming* that these differences mean that the root cause is different.

For the sake of that argument, yes. But even if you don't go that far, you have to at least consider that since there are at least two different phenotypes, that it is likely that there may be two different causes (or that at minimum the balance between the genetic and environmental causes may lean more to one side than the other in each case)

I saw no mention of that in the article you linked to. I also saw no mention of anything other than genetics.

Well that is the next question we need to look at. The researchers comment:

“…Studies haven’t found anything because they’re looking at a big heterogeneous group — a mishmash of people with different etiologies,”

... could just as easily be applied to the environmental triggers of autism as it could the genetic wiring.

It certainly should apply to the huge epidemiological studies that are being relied so heavily upon. Again, I get into that more on the link I sent you to in my last post.

This could end up leading us into a scenario where it turns out both sets of parents, one who see a direct correlation to their children's autism and their vaccines, and parents who see no correlation, are both right.

Just because the researchers didn't directly ask that question in the article, does not mean that we should not ask that question.

How do you know this theory doesn't eradicate thimerosal as a theory completely?

I don't.

We don't know if this will end up supporting genetics more, mercury more or splitting the difference. It may be that it takes us down the road to something that no one knows about or is focusing on right now.

But it does weaken the straw man question that you pose, and teach us to ask better questions. Ones that will lead to real answers.

If we are to advance in our understanding of autism and the role that vaccines/mercury/thimerosal may play in them, we have to get out of the rut of that one dimentional, black and white question. We already know that it cannot be answered yes or no.

It bothers me that there seems to be an assumption that if the other side does not definitively prove their case, then they are wrong. This process needs to be about exploring all the variables. This is a huge new variable.

re: your point about autism being a misdiagnosis for autism. I suppose it may well be but you have to wonder at the competency of any Doctor who'd confuse the two.

More specifically I wonder about the objectivity of the American Association of Pediatricians.

In Jan 2004 three months before my son was screened for Autism by his pediatrician, HHS, CDC, AAP and two other disability groups put out an 'Autism A.L.A.R.M.' to reach local pediatricians.

Copy Here: http://tinyurl.com/b99to

It urges doctors to screen for Autism, and how to proceed if autism is suspected. No where does it advise doctors to rule out mercury poisoning (which can have similar symptoms) before referring the child for a formal autism evaluation.

I have a really good, really experience pediatrician. When I told him that Chandler had Hg poisoning, he seemed a little thrown. The more questions I asked, the more I realized that he was not even familiar with how the theories of how Hg could be at play in autism.

I thought the same thing as you. "I thought he was a good doctor, why do I know this and he doesn't?" So I went to the AAP web site and looked up Autism. Out of 146 articles, only one mentioned mercury and it was under a list of "alternative therapies" that were unproven.

So it turns out that my doctor was right on track with what his own professional association was advising him.

So my question is why is the AAP not telling Peds to see if mercury toxicity is comorbid to Autism? Especially given the high levels that children in the US have gotten in their shots?

That would certainly be the most prudent course.

I am going to guess that if I asked them, their answer might be because the CDC doesn't see cause for it. But I guess I should actually ask them and give them a chance to answer before I accuse them of passing the buck to the CDC.

Kevin, Skeptico, et al.,

The question is not 'is too much mercury dangerous?' because we know it is. The question is: 'does thimerosal in vaccines cause autism'?

So far, the science says no.

I was reading this post again and some more questions stuck me. (I know, I got a lot of questions)

What does thimerosal poisoning look like?

With all the thimerosal out there, at least one kid has to have had his shot records lost or something and been over vaccinated. Is there a case study on this out there? If so it would tell us a lot. Does it look just like autism or something completely different?

Or… just as interesting… if there isn’t a case study out there, then why the hell not? Some child somewhere had to have thimerosal poisoning from vaccines. If no case of vaccine induced thimerosal poisoning have ever been identified, could it be that it is so similar to autism that it always gets diagnosed as autism?

I don’t have even the remotest information on this. If any one can point me toward anything I would be really interested.

Sorry Ginger but I totally disagre with you re: autism being able to be confused with mercury poisoning. They share no diagnostic symptoms at all.

The clinical symptoms of Mercury poisoning are here: http://www.mercurysafety.co.uk/hlthinfo.htm#clinsymp

The diagnostic criteria for ASD is here:
http://medicines.mhra.gov.uk/inforesources/publications/mmranx1.htm#Diagnostic%20criteria

What aspect of these two criteria are even vaguely alike?

The reason your Doctor was 'a little thrown' is probably because it never occured to him/her that anyone could possibly mix the two up.

More on the rest later.

Ginger:

Kev wrote that mercury poisoning and autism "share no diagnostic symptoms at all." He then provides two links.

Why is he not seeing the correspondance between the listing of "speech disorders" on the list of clincial symptoms and "abnormal or impaired development in receptive or expressive language" in the list of behavioral symptoms?

Why is he not seeing the correspondance between the listing of "personality change" on the clinical side and "abnormal or impaired development in selective social attachments or reciprocal social interaction" on the behavioral list?

Why does he erroneously compare a list of "clinical" symptoms with a list of "behavioral" symptoms”? There are lists of clinical symptoms of autism, and they correspond strongly with the clinical symptoms of low-dose, chronic mercury poisoning—immune dysfunction, brain swelling and inflammation, and so on.

The answer: Because he isn't interested in the truth or reason or rationality. He and his pals are in an ideological war, in which there is only one predetermined truth and one outcome--victory at all cost.

Ginger, it's your life, but you're IMHO wasting it by engaging with these folks. As has been pointed out in other places, they're probably not even folks. They're mouthpieces (some paid, some volunteer) who will distort, cherry pick, and obfuscate in order to win. They spout the material being fed to them.

You’re making the same mistake that so many sensible people make when they go on Bill O'Reilly's show. They assume they are in a discussion, not a war. A war is fought, not discussed--except when one side wants to negotiate a surrender.

Kevin Leitch and pals don't amount to half of a rat’s turd in this medical controversy.
They are background noise, full of farts and squeaks. Now get out of here and go do some good. This guy is a lost cause.

"Ginger, it's your life, but you're IMHO wasting it by engaging with these folks. As has been pointed out in other places, they're probably not even folks. They're mouthpieces (some paid, some volunteer) who will distort, cherry pick, and obfuscate in order to win. They spout the material being fed to them."

Because clearly, if you believe that vaccines are safe and effective, you either have to be a moron or a shill for the government or pharmaceutical industry.

When that's the best you can do, you know YOUR "cause" is rather hopeless.

Ahhhh, do I hear the rattling of 'big pharma shill'?? I think I do. Thats me - the big ol' web designing big pharma shill from the West Midlands UK.

What people like Eugene fail to grasp is the concept of comorbidity. Autism has no clinical symptoms because its a developmental disorder. The clinical symptoms of mercury poisoning are used to diagnose (gasp!) mercury poisoning. The diagnostic criteria of autism is used to diagnose (double gasp!!) ASD's.

Comorbidity is the condition of having other diagnosis alongside autism but which isn't directly related to autism and can exist in others without autism e.g. ADHD, ADD and the whole range of 'clinical symptoms' that Eugene lists.

Unlike Eugene, I think its both admirable and right that you are here standing your ground and speaking your mind. Again, unlike Eugene, I wouldn't presume to tell you where to post or who to engage. People like Eugene don't want you to speak to the likes of me. I think they might be worried that you're not capable of making up your own mind and so don't want you to hear anything 'off message'.

Why do I not agree with Eugene (or you)? Because as the parent of an autistic definitely not poisoned by thimerosal in vaccines I feel its vital that autism research doesn't descend into a biomedical dead end. I also feel as an autism advocate that I'd like my daughter to feel proud of who she is as she grows up and not feel that she's part of a plague or epidemic or a parents worst nightmare - all of which things parents have called their own kids on the lists that I think Eugene probably inhabits.

Its a shame that Eugene and his ilk have to stoop to personal abuse to make their point but really, when one has so little facts on ones sides, I suppose its understandable.

Still haven't answered the question:

Why is he not seeing the correspondance between the listing of "speech disorders" on the list of clincial symptoms and "abnormal or impaired development in receptive or expressive language" in the list of behavioral symptoms?

Why is he not seeing the correspondance between the listing of "personality change" on the clinical side and "abnormal or impaired development in selective social attachments or reciprocal social interaction" on the behavioral list?

And, Kevin, don't play dumb about the distribution list.

Eugene - if you want to debate adults can I suggest you don't start off with personal insults? As it is I see no purpose to you debating with 'mouthpieces'. Now toddle off, grown ups are talking.

[ignoring hostilities]

Kev,

My comorbid point was that since a hallmark of both Hg poisoning and autism is loss of speech, even docs who don't see a link between Hg and Autism should look for both. My DAN Doc sees them as the same thing, my Ped sees them as comorbid. Sorry. I didn't explain myself very well.

I would rather refer to a source of more authority than the one you used for Hg toxicity. This is the first place I went to look for symptoms of Hg poisoning in children. It is the US government’s toxicology department. Here is their public statement on it:

http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/tfacts46.pdf

Note the section on effects on children:

"Mercury's harmful effects… include brain damage, mental retardation, incoordination, blindness, seizures, and inability to speak. Children poisoned by mercury may develop problems of their nervous and digestive systems, and kidney damage.”

Very similar to autism.

But it seems as if the definitive discussion on the similarities and differences between them is this one. I am currently in the process of really getting to know these three papers:

Autism: A Novel Form of Mercury Poisoning, by the Safe Minds people before they were Safe Minds http://tinyurl.com/bjtj4

Thimerosal and Autism?, by two neurologists, one from Harvard, one from NIH, answering the first paper. http://tinyurl.com/d3trc

Thimerosal and Autism? A Plausible Hypothesis That Should Not Be Dismissed. The first groups answer to the second group.http://tinyurl.com/8kjgj

I don't remember what the difference is between a purkinje cell and a granule cell is, so I am having to go back and review a bunch of information in order to grasp all of what is being discussed. A good case is made that Autism is in the same ball park with all the other variations of mercury poisoning that have been researched.

I sent these to Skeptico a few weeks ago to get his criticism on them, and he said he would take a look, but I have not heard back yet.

Feel free to dig in and let me know what you think.

Kev,

Two more questions:

as the parent of an autistic definitely not poisoned by thimerosal in vaccines I feel its vital that autism research doesn't descend into a biomedical dead end.

Can you please explain this further?


I also feel as an autism advocate that I'd like my daughter to feel proud of who she is as she grows up and not feel that she's part of a plague or epidemic or a parents worst nightmare

I have no arguement with this, I think it is really admirable. This is why I made the point earlier about parents like me having much to learn from the neurodiversity community. Unfortunately, because of the hostility that that community seems to have for my, already really upset, community, that message is REALLY not getting accross.

I don't think that seeing biomed treatments and teaching our children that they are of surpassing value are mutually exclusive things. Recognizing that my son has a disability in some areas but treating him like he is whole is wholely doable.

Each family has to find their own balance in how they handle that. For us it is based in faith. Chandler, just like the rest of the family, is exactly as God made him, flaws and all. Each of us has our own baggage, and everyones looks different. This is just Chandler's reality.

My job as his mom is to love him completly and prepare him the best I can for the life ahead of him. That means getting him as healthy as possible and teaching him as much as possible. The same as I would for any child of mine. What ever 'autism' is left over is who he is.

I guess the way I see this is that it is not that autistic children are damaged and the rest of the world is normal, but that everyone is pretty fucked up in their own special way. Which is what makes grace such a beautiful thing.

More on where I am in grasping this whole autism thing here: http://tinyurl.com/8ccms

I just feel like if you really want to make the world a nice place for autistic people, then you (the neurodiv collective you) need to be reaching out to biomed parents, not poking the bear like you are doing with Eugene.

Where is the grace?

I'll tackle the last point first if I may.

'poking the bear' (apart from making me laugh) is a very good description. I'm as human as anyone else and I get utterly fed up with having to defend myself solely *because* I have an opinion that differs to people such as Eugene. I'm also not the type to ignore personal abuse. If Eugene wants to have a debate then all well and good. If Eugene merely wants to sit and fling pooh around then he needs to learn that in the adult world this is neither helpful or desirable.

re: my statement about 'biomedical dead end' that you wanted clarifying: There are groups out there such as Generation Rescue that are rich, well-connected and believe that autism is *solely* mercury poisoning - nothing else. If they get their way then autism research gets plunged into a dead end. One of the reasons many scientists oppose further studies into the thimerosal link is not because its a vast conspiracy but because they know better than most that getting funding for things like researching valid interventions for autism is incredibly difficult. Anything that attracts funding away from that means less money for this research as a result.

re: your comparison of mercury and ASD 'symptoms'. I'm sorry Ginger but none of those symptoms could be used to diagnose ASD. Take your highlighted point about lack of speech as an example. The ASD diagnostic criteria refers to a lack of communication, not a lack of speech and further to that, the idea that muteness equates to autism is simply wrong - 90% of all autistic kids go on to speak before the age of nine (C. Lord, S. Risi, A. Pickles, “Trajectory of language development in autistic spectrum disorders,” in Developmental Language Disorders: From Phenotypes to Etiologies) and yet they are still autistic.

coming into this late, but...

Kev, why would you use a commercial webpage that sells mercury protective equipment as a source of medical info, as opposed to a medical or toxicological source. Here, look at this one, a mainstream medical source: http://www.emedicine.com/EMERG/topic813.htm

Here is an excerpt:


"Organic mercury poisoning usually results from ingestion of contaminated food. The long chain and aryl forms of organic mercury have similar characteristics of inorganic mercury toxicity.

*The onset of symptoms usually is delayed (days to weeks) after exposure.
*Organic mercury targets enzymes, and the depletion of these enzymes must occur before the onset of symptoms.
*Symptoms related to toxicity are typically neurological, such as visual disturbance (eg, scotomata, visual field constriction), ataxia, paresthesias (early signs), hearing loss, dysarthria, mental deterioration, muscle tremor, movement disorders, and, with severe exposure, paralysis, and death.
*Organic mercury targets specific sites in the brain, including the cerebral cortex (especially visual cortex), motor and sensory centers (precentral and postcentral cortex), auditory center (temporal cortex), and cerebellum.

All forms of mercury are toxic to the fetus, but methylmercury most readily passes through the placenta. Even with an asymptomatic patient, maternal exposure can lead to spontaneous abortion or retardation."


The page further distinguishes the different toxicities between elemental, organic and the salt forms of mercury. Different types of mercury poisoning have different effects.

There's much more on this page, but the point is, mercury toxicity is complicated, and affected by the type of mercury, route of exposure, and timing. You can't look at a short list on a webpage that sells mercury monitors and make sweeping generalizations. My question is, do you really not understand this, or are you such a mercury promotor that you'll come up with any justification for your position?

Kev, you wrote that mercury poisoning and autism "share no diagnostic symptoms at all." You then provide two links.

On the list of clincial symptoms of mercury poisoning is "speech disorders." On the list of behavioral symptoms of autism is "abnormal or impaired development in receptive or expressive language."

On the clinical list of symptoms of mercury poisoning is "personality change." On the behavioral list of autism symptoms is "abnormal or impaired development in selective social attachments."

I am a lurker who would really like for you to answer this question put to you, even though you didn't like how it was put.

Jane Harris


Kev,

I have to disagree with your statements about the symptoms of mercury poisoning being completely different than the sypmtoms of autism. How can you say definitively that your son is not thimerosal poisoned? I think we should also consider other sources of mercury in the environment in addition to those in vaccines.

There are certainly other factors that need to be considered. Giving vaccines (whether or not they contain thimerosal) at such a young age could also be a part of the problem. My son has had a history of GI issues that have gotten better over time with the GFCF diet, SCD diet & anti-fungals. Unfortunately, he is still bloated and not gaining weight so we will be getting him scoped. I am certain the MMR vaccine contributed to his GI issues which would affect his behavior. I was frustrated to learn that although the scope will include a biopsy that will look for the measles virus (the one from vaccines) there is some rule that prevents us from seeing the results of that test. It is strictly used for research at this point.

Kevin:

I'm from the Aut/Advo Yahoo! Group and I want you to put these curebies in there place. If you say mercury poisoning and autism do not share features, I say I beleive you and I want you to show them and show them good.

Don't need no cure.

Mandy

(I just deleted some duplicate posts. Sometimes it’s really slow to post and if you click “post” again it posts again. Anyway - apologies for the slow comments posting.)

Ginger:

Sorry I haven’t read those documents yet – I’ve been really busy lately (you may notice I haven’t posted much in the last week or so). I’ll get round to it eventually.

I'll ignore Jim if I may because he has nothing to really add unless he's claiming the symptoms as listed are wrong?

"On the list of clincial symptoms of mercury poisoning is "speech disorders." On the list of behavioral symptoms of autism is "abnormal or impaired development in receptive or expressive language."

Look carefully. ASD has impaired *development* it doesn't say it doesn't develop, it says its impaired. You're comparing apples and oranges.

"On the clinical list of symptoms of mercury poisoning is "personality change." On the behavioral list of autism symptoms is "abnormal or impaired development in selective social attachments.""

I don't understand how you think these two are similar.

Anyway, lets assume you're absolutely right about both. ASD requires developmental delay in 3 areas - communication, imaginative development and social interaction. Just cherry picking two subitems doesn't mean a thing.

"I have to disagree with your statements about the symptoms of mercury poisoning being completely different than the sypmtoms of autism. How can you say definitively that your son is not thimerosal poisoned? I think we should also consider other sources of mercury in the environment in addition to those in vaccines."

Well firstly its my daughter, not my son :o) and I'm sure. I don't discuss details of my daughters medical history online so you'll have to take my word for it that I know. Sorry, I know thats not very helpful but I'm really not keen to discuss details of medical testing for my kids.

"There are certainly other factors that need to be considered. Giving vaccines (whether or not they contain thimerosal) at such a young age could also be a part of the problem. "

Are you asking me if its *possible*? Of course it is. Its also possible The Rock could be the next President of America. Are you asking me if its *likely*? Then its not. There's no credible science demonstrating a causative link between either thimerosal in vaccines nor MMR. In fact, there's a study being done right now that apparently kills the MMR argument stone dead: http://www.kevinleitch.co.uk/wp/?p=217

So, let me get this straight: You don't believe that "abnormal or impaired development in receptive or expressive language" is a form of "speech disorder"?

OK, I think everything's clear about you now.

Jane

*sigh*

Really Jane - keep it civil. Good manners cost nothing do they?

You misunderstood what I wrote Jane, but lets pretend you didn't. As I say, lets say you're right in both cases (and I note you made no attempt to defend your second example) - are you saying that everyone with a speech impediment and personality change is potentially autistic? The ideas absurd.

Kev,

The sypmtoms of mercury poisoning and autism do not have to be exactly the same. In fact, the known cases of mercury poisoning (Mad Hatter's, Pink Disease, Japan, Iraq) do not have identical sypmtoms. This is precisely why SafeMinds titled their paper "Autism: A novel form of mercury poisoning".

Regarding your definitive medical testing that confirms your daughter is not mercury poisoned - I unfortunately have to steal a page from Skeptico and declare my skepticism. If there was a definitive test one could take to prove a lack of mercury poisoning I think it would be extremely popular. The only way to test is to do a challenge test and that is far from perfect. Some people talk about a hair test that Andy Cutler uses but I don't know too much about that one.

Regarding the study to completely disprove the MMR link, please tell me it actually includes GI's scoping autistic children. I'm not saying MMR causes autism in all children but the GI problems that are common to autistic children today needs clinical studies. It doesn't need any more epidemiological studies.

"The sypmtoms of mercury poisoning and autism do not have to be exactly the same."

I agree, but you'd think vaguely similar wouldn't be too much of a stretch. ASD requires impairment in three *developmental* areas.

"Regarding your definitive medical testing that confirms your daughter is not mercury poisoned"

I said it satisfied me. I didn't say it was definitive. I understand though - its just not something I feel comfortable discussing with (no offence) total strangers.

"Regarding the study to completely disprove the MMR link, please tell me it actually includes GI's scoping autistic children."

Read the link mate - its all there. Its not epidemiology.

"I agree, but you'd think vaguely similar wouldn't be too much of a stretch."

Kev, I won't argue this point with you. We'll just have to agree to disagree. Have you read Dr. Richard Deth's work on how mercury impacts methylation in the body? Methyl B12 has been beneficial for numerous children. Take a look at the research of Dr. Neubrander at www.drneubrander.com. There is a study on this subject at the MIND institute that has been ongoing for about a year.

I read your link about the MMR. Are you seroius? Do you really think a blood test is the best way to see what is going on in the guts of autistic children? It just amazes me how these pathetic studies are paraded about and then declared as proof. Here is a much better study on the topic of bowel disease in autistic children. And by the way, hasn't Wakefield been "cleared" on the matter of his payments in the original study?

Date: 8/5/05 Author: Sheri Nakken, R.N., MA, Source: TAAP.info

New STUDY SHOWS COMPELLING EVIDENCE OF major intestinal immune disease in children with autism

Thoughtful House scientists and collaborators confirm link between autism and new inflammatory bowel disease

Austin, Texas - In a study that provides further clues to understanding the origins of autism, scientists and physicians from Thoughtful House Center for Children in Austin, Texas, supply considerable evidence of a new inflammatory bowel disease in children with autism. The study will be published this month in the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. (this is posted at http://thoughtfulhouse.org/pub_06.htm)

The team studied 178 children undergoing intestinal investigation for gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea and abdominal pain. More than 140 of these children also had autism, most having regressed after normal early development. The children with autism had an increased rate of swelling of the intestinal lymph glands (lymphoid nodular hyperplasia) - a feature of viral infections and immunodeficiency diseases such as AIDS.

Additionally, the children with autism experienced associated inflammation of the intestinal lining, while the children examined in the study without autism did not. The degree of swelling of the intestinal lymph glands was also more severe in children with autism compared with developmentally normal children.

"The results of this study give us additional clues on understanding what is going on in the gut and how it may lead to the brain disorder," says Dr. Andrew Wakefield, Executive Director of Thoughtful House and the lead author on the paper. "We are working on the idea that what starts in the intestine can be severely disruptive to normal brain development."

The paper dispels the common misconception that the presence of swollen lymph glands is a normal finding in children.

"When we compare the intestinal findings in children with and without autism in a systematic way, the differences become obvious," says Dr. Wakefield, "Colonoscopies are not performed on normal children, but on children with gastrointestinal symptoms, so it is not possible to state that this is a normal finding. The findings of this new study add to the clear evidence of a novel and treatable disease of the intestinal immune system in children with developmental disorders. These are medical diseases which should be treated as such. Children are suffering needlessly and this has got to change."

The presence and severity of the swollen lymph glands was not influenced by exclusion diets that some children were on, suggesting that food allergy or intolerance was not the cause. The fact that these children also have abnormal immune systems and the resemblance of the disease to the intestinal findings in some patients with HIV infection suggests the disease may be associated with a smoldering viral infection.

"This study, in combination with previous work, raises the possibility that treating bowel disease may alleviate some of the symptoms of autism itself," says Dr. Wakefield. "This is something Thoughtful House will be putting to test in the near future."

Kyle seems to quote Wakefield lots... but Wakefield was paid to discredit the MMR vaccine, which had NEVER had thimerosal (the subject of this blog comment).

The relevent webgsites:
http://www.cdc.gov/nip/vacsafe/concerns/thimerosal/faqs-thimerosal.htm#11

and:
http://briandeer.com/mmr-lancet.htm

Also... Is it "lack of speech" being batted about as a sure sign of autism? If that is true... then please inform this place: http://www.gallaudet.edu/

HCN,

I brought up Wakefield b/c Kev highlighted a poor study as proof that the MMR has no role in autism. And for the record, it was recently reported that Wakefield was NOT paid for the work he did on that original study. In fact, a British news agency issued a formal apology to him on that matter. I can't find that article now but perhaps someone else can locate it for now.

Regarding the dumb article that got this whole thread started... Where is everyone's common sense? What would you say if someone published an article "Sticking up for cyanide?"

I challenge you to show me a single study proving thimerosal to be safe. Not a government funded epidemiological study showing thimerosal doesn't cause autism. Show me a study proving why thimerosal is safe to be used in vaccines.

Do hurry with the link to the "apology". It should be easy to find with news.google.com . Here is what I found using the search terms "Wakefield mmr":

"Study: Vaccines don't weaken kids' immunity, 800,000 children studied in Denmark",
http://www.concordmonitor.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050810/REPOSITORY/508100372/1013/NEWS03
and
http://www.latimes.com/features/health/medicine/la-sci-vaccines10aug10,1,7101187.story?coll=la-health-medicine

... and .. "Autism: the mercury trail" at
http://www.newstatesman.com/Ideas/200508080011 (an opinion piece, but still no reference to an apology)

... and .. http://news.independent.co.uk/people/profiles/article304371.ece ... which I do not wish to pay to see.

Let's try "Wakefield Lancet"... sorry, it did not match any document. The try for "Wakefield apologies" gave several unrelated articles (including Wakefield as a town, and a reference to a baseball player).


Here is one article that points out why an agency may not want to be so quick to remove thimerosal:
http://www.who.int/biologicals/publications/trs/areas/vaccines/thiomersal/thiomersal.pdf

I DO say things about people who write in defense of cyanide --- those are the crooks who try to convince desperate cancer patients to try "laetrile". The main incredient in Laetrile is cyanide. See:
http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/laetrile

Kyle wrote: "And for the record, it was recently reported that Wakefield was NOT paid for the work he did on that original study. In fact, a British news agency issued a formal apology to him on that matter. I can't find that article now but perhaps someone else can locate it for now. "

Please explain how these documents have changed:
http://briandeer.com/wakefield/wakefield-deal.htm

Remember to listen to the mp3's at the end.

Here is the link to the apology to Wakefield: http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/news/region_wide/2005/07/16/9508081d-0052-4f6d-8679-28f63e6ac5c3.lpf

I won't even bother reading why thimerosal should stay in medicine. There is no good reason why a known neurotoxin should be given to any person under any circumstance. It just makes no sense. There are other preservatives and the use of single dose vials makes it unnecessary. If you don't want your kid to have cyanide I can't figure out why you would give your kid mercury.

Back to Wakefield, did anyone ever question his results? Seems pretty cut & dry. The measles virus from the vaccine was found in the guts of autistic children. Why isn't the focus on helping those children? Why is the protection of the drug companies and the vaccine program more important than those kids?

Thank you! That works... it seems a bit spotty in details though. It does explain this addition to http://briandeer.com/mmr/lancet-summary.htm :
"In August 2005, lawyers acting for Wakefield, and apparently paid for by the UK's Medical Protection Society, supplied Brian Deer with a 25-page analysis of content at this website. It denied nothing published here, and identified no error whatsoever."

It should be interesting to see what happens next summer.

I seem to have come late to this party. Can I still join in?

I hate to pour cold water on the autism-is-mercury-poisoning argument, but I have had the dubious privilege of seeing both mercury poisoning (in children and adults) as well as autism. There is no similarity between the dysarthria of severe mercury poisoning (or the pressured and tangential speech of chronic mercury poisoning) and the speech delays seen in autism.

These same mistakes were made in the "landmark" paper by Sallie Bernard et al, "Autism: a novel form of mercury poisoning".

(http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=11339848&query_hl=6)


As it turns out, none of the authors had ever seen a case of mercury poisoning - of any age or any degree - and so were comparing the words describing the signs and symptoms of autism to the signs and symptoms of mercury poisoning. It just points out the slipperiness of language.

There are a lot of studies - new and old - that show that mercury is a neurotoxic substance. This is not news. This also does not show that mercury causes autism.

Jim Laidler

YES!! Please join and comment!

That paper is a perfect example of this:
http://photoninthedarkness.blogspot.com/2005/07/if-you-want-to-drive-bus.html ... with the author's qualifications being discussed earlier in:
http://photoninthedarkness.blogspot.com/2005/07/mercury-nostalgia.html

By the way... this is all good stuff for www.autism-watch.org , which needs a bit more stuff. The "Non-recommended books" link does not work. Just a minor nag. But a note on the "qualifications" of the list of regular anti-mercury/anti-vax bunch would be welcome.

Thanks

Looks like Wakefield is finished. His latest so-called paper is missing the names of all the clinicians who did the work. Like his one that claimed to find MV in kids, didn't have the molecular biologists names. Pretty sad when you think he could have been using his surgeon's skills on dogs or pet rabbits.

Jim,

Maybe you can help me understand something. Do you have a ballpark figure of the number of mercury poisoning cases diagnosed each year in the US? I have no idea and I don't know where to look to get the answer to that question. My gut feeling tells me that the numbers would be extremely low since I don't hear anything about that on the news.

Sammy, Has there been a study showing that autistic children do NOT have MV virus in their guts? Apparently, it's damn near impossible to have a doctor look for the MV in autistic kids. The reason for this seems to be a fear of lawsuits.

Jim,

You say you have seen mercury poisoning and it does not look like autism. Have you seen mercury poisoned victims from different exposures? For example, would someone in Minamata look like some who suffered from Mad Hatter's and someone who had Pink Disease? Also, many autistic children suffer from bowel disease (www.autism.com/krigsman). Do you know how bowel disease affects autistic children in terms of the symptoms that they present? Wouldn't you need to take something like this into account when comparing symptoms?

HCN: I'm not a doctor or anything, but I don't think those "Pink disease" pictures look anything like Autism.

Skeptico,

Do those "Pink Disease" pictures look like Mad Hatter's disease? They should be identical since they are both the result of mercury poisoning.

Craig,

Don't waste your time with these guys. They won't even admit that autism is on the rise. Apparently, 30 years ago parents had a hard time noticing that their kids were autistic. They must have thought it was normal for their kids to spin around in circles, not speak and bang their heads. And then these autistic kids must have suddenly "lost" their autism as they became adults because there is no sign of them now.

Kyle, actually 10 to 13 years ago we parents of kids who did not do something as "simple" as talking had trouble getting pediatricians to take it seriously. Often the when a parent has a 2 to 3 year old who did not speak (as in my son's case a vocabulary of a dozen poorly enunciated monosyllabic approximations) they were often told to "wait and see".

So during that "wait and see" period lots of good early intervention was lost. It did not help matters when people would bring up the false notion that Einstein did not speak until he was 3, 4, 5 or 6 years old (actually he could speak a full sentence at age 2 1/2 years when his sister was born, noted in a couple of RECENT Einstein biographies)... AND then some economist (note: neither a medical professoinal nor a speech language pathologist) wrote a book about "Late Talking Chilren"... which seemed to bolster lots of folks idea that "wait and see" was okay.

Parents sometimes did have a hard time noticing... but less than a decade ago it was trouble getting the medical professionals to NOTICE!

HCN,

So you're essentially saying that a decade ago it was harder to get a diagnosis at a young age compared to where we are at today. I don't think anyone would disagree with that.

But there are people claiming there is NO increase in autism. For that to be true, 30 years ago autistic kids were not being diagnosed at all. Can you imagine that? Think about your kid. It's one thing to be told to be patient when the kid is 2 or maybe even 3. But would you be patient when your kid was 5, 6 or 7 years old and NOT talking? This is what people like Skeptico want you to believe.

Actually Kyle, I don't think I ever said anything even close to that.

Kyle:

Why are you talking to yourself in the comments of my blog? We both know you and "Craig" are the same person. Or at least, two people using the same computer. Tell me, do you wear hand-puppets when you're typing these points to yourself to make it more interesting? Just wondering.

Skeptico,

So do you believe the rate of autism is increasing? If yes, what do you believe is causing it?

I don't know and I don't know.

Wow! All this heat and so little light!

Craig/Kyle - you seem to forget that it is the job of the people proposing a hypothesis to provide the data to support it. A hypothesis is not asumed to be true until it is refuted - quite the opposite! A hypothesis is assumed to be false until it is supported by data. If you can provide data that is convincing, it will be accepted. Until then, thanks for playing!

Oh, and before you go off on a tangent about "convincing", that means data that is unabiguous and not just "one possible interpretation of this could be..."

BTW - "Pink's Disease", also known as acrodynia, is identical to one of the cardinal symptoms of mercury poisoning: peripheral neuropathy. That it happens at dosages that do not affect most people is why it is called an "idiosyncratic reaction". As far as I have been able to find, nobody has identified the reason that acrodynia occurs - they just stopped using mercury-containing teething powders.

There are a number of signs and symptoms seen consistently in mercury poisoning - peripheral neuropathy is one of them. Autism, unfortunately, is not. If you can provide data showing that mercury causes autism in the absence of neuropathy, you can support your hypothesis and get a headline story as a bonus.

Until and unless mercury is shown to cause autism - not just mice chewing on their tails (a sign of rodent neuropathy) - then the autism-mercury hypothesis remains unsupported by data. You've already lost on the epidemiological front, so the only way to revive the hypothesis is to find a real causal link. Until then, the grand majority of the scientific and medical communities will consider the autism-mercury hypothesis to be dead.


Prometheus.

Prometheus,

I'm admittedly not an expert in the symptoms of autism. I have experience mostly with my son and some other children of parents I have since become friendly with. I searched for peripheral neuropathy and found a good description of it here: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/peripheralneuropathy/detail_peripheralneuropathy.htm

There are several symptoms in there description that would fit with my autistic son. These are the traits I'm referring to:
muscle weakness, unable to digest food easily, changes in the skin (my son has a "rash" that somewhat resembles fifth disease although he tested negative for that), unable to coordinate complex movements like walking or fastening buttons, or to maintain their balance when their eyes are shut, diarrhea, constipation, or incontinence.

Additionally, although they are not common symptoms for my son I frequently hear other parents describe their children with these symptoms of peripheral neuropathy:
Damage to large sensory fibers lessens the ability to feel vibrations and touch, Neuropathic pain is often worse at night, seriously disrupting sleep, interfere with the ability to feel pain, inability to sweat normally & problems eating or swallowing

Here is a direct quote describing peripheral neuropathy that sounds to me like a great way to describe autism:
"Like static on a telephone line, peripheral neuropathy distorts and sometimes interrupts messages between the brain and the rest of the body."

You make an interesting point about the mercury teething powders. They stopped using it and the disease went away. Did the makers of that teething powder ever admit that they caused pink disease? I don't think they did. Denial seems to be an effective strategy in mercury poisoning.

I've lost on the epidemiological front? Please don't tell me that the rates of autism increased in Denmark once they removed thimerosal. Why is it that no one dares question the studies performed by the CDC, IOM and vaccine makers in other countries? Is it too far-fetched for you to believe our government would cover up the fact that they were responsible for poisoning a generation of children? Just look at our stance on global warming. Every scientist in every country is in agreement that we are causing climate change. Yet President Bush manages to find scientists who disagree with that assessment. Is it possible that our government cares more about the oil industry than it does about the good of the people? Is it also possible that the people responsible for our mandatory vaccine policy would not want to find themselves guilty of poisoning a generation of children? Is the conflict of interest not completely obvious? If we relied upon the tobacco industry to study the safety of cigarettes do you think we would know that they caused lung cancer?


Kyle:

Re: Just look at our stance on global warming. Every scientist in every country is in agreement that we are causing climate change.

Most scientists, anyway.

So to continue with the analogy, is every scientist (or even most scientists) in every country in agreement that thimerosal causes autism? Because if not, it seems to me you are on the side of the global warming deniers in this analogy – going against the mass of peer-reviewed scientific papers on the subject. Wouldn’t you say?

Prometheus:

...you seem to forget that it is the job of the people proposing a hypothesis to provide the data to support it. A hypothesis is not asumed to be true until it is refuted - quite the opposite! A hypothesis is assumed to be false until it is supported by data. If you can provide data that is convincing, it will be accepted. Until then, thanks for playing!

Well said, friend.

Skeptico,

The point of my analogy was simply to point out that the government does not always act with the best interests of the people in mind.

You're correct that I am part of the minority in the thimerosal debate. But that is because the medical and scientific community has largely accepted the IOM ruling without examining the studies the IOM used as input and without examining the more recent studies the IOM did not have an opportunity to use as input. I can't say I blame anyone for simply accepting what the IOM says. They should be considered a trusted source and it's unfortunate that they aren't - at least in cases where their findings could implicate sister agencies.

You mention peer-reviewed scientific papers and you would expect those papers to be of high quality. If this is the case, how do we explain the peer reviewed Danish study? How could the CDC, IOM & a team of peer reviewers possibly think it was scientifically valid to change the test criteria halfway through the test? This fact is even noted in the IOM report on thimerosal but is somehow not even listed in the section where they call out potential flaws.

Does anyone know why the initial IOM report in 2001 that ruled a link was biologically plausible was looking at all of the autistic spectrum disorders and why their view narrowed in 2004 to only look at full blown autism? Is it possible that they couldn't rule out a link to the other autistic spectrum disorders so they dropped them from consideration?

Like the "Intelligent Design" supporters, promoters of the autism-mercury hypothesis spend a lot of time and effort attacking data that doesn't suport their "side" and very little time and effort evaluating the "data" on their "side".

The Madsen et al study (often referred to as "the Danish study") had limitations, all of which were frankly discussed in the article. As an interesting contrast, the Geier & Geier studies (widely cited to suport the autism-mercury hypothesis) have all been based on the VAERS database - the same database that the "Defeat Autism Now!" movement has been "stuffing" with autism-mercury claims since at least 1998. Yet Geier & Geier make no mention of the limitations (grave limitations!) of their source of data. Curious.


Prometheus

Yes Prometheus, that was my thinking too.

Here's a quiz. Which position does this describe?

• Little (or no) current peer reviewed data supporting position
• Most supporting data is on activists’ websites
• Or in popular books (many by renegade “scientists”)
• And is criticized by leading scientists in the area
• Support is mainly from leading political celebrities and journalists, rather than scientists
• Newer peer-reviewed data does not support position

Answer:

A – Global warming deniers
B - Intelligent Design supporters
C – Vaccine–autism causal connection believers

(Note: options A to C are not necessarily mutually exclusive.)

Prometheus,

The IOM made their ruling of no link based exclusively on 5 epidemiological studies - the Danish one being a primary one. The IOM does not frankly discuss the limitations of this study in their 2004 report. Prior to 1995 they counted inpatient diagnoses and post 1995 they included outpatient cases - making it look like the rates of autism increased after the removal of thimerosal. This fact is mentioned in the IOM report but not as a limitation of the study. Somehow they don't seem to think it's an issue, even though it completely distorted the results. There are other limitations as well that are not mentioned anywhere in the report.

How can you fault the Geier's for having poor data when the CDC are the one's preventing the Geier's from analyzing the VSD? You are not being fair at all. You criticize the Geier's who have no data to work with but seem to have no problem with the obvious issues in the Danish studies. What about the fact that the CDC has "lost" their datasets on the US study making it impossible for anyone to replicate what they did?

There are also many biological studies that support a potential link. Researchers like Jill James, Mady Hornig, Thomas Burbacher, Richard Deth and others have produced quality work that mostly goes ignored by people who do not believe in a link. And oddly enough, these people have uncanny bad luck in that they seem to lose their research grants once their studies start to support a link.

The other area of research that is researched by people who believe in a link but is ignored by those who don't believe in a link is the clinical data. There are hundreds of DAN doctors that have treated thousands of autistic children. They have medical histories, lab tests, observations and expert opinions. It amazes me that the IOM virtually ignored these people. You can hear some of them speak at this site:
http://www.autismmedia.org/

I wish you all would be more even handed in your assessment of this issue. You can admit that the Danish study is flawed or that the CDC is wrong for hiding data and still not believe in a link.

Kyle said: "There are also many biological studies that support a potential link. Researchers like Jill James, Mady Hornig, Thomas Burbacher, Richard Deth and others have produced quality work that mostly goes ignored by people who do not believe in a link. "

Okay, it is Mary Hornig and her mice... and THAT has been discussed extensively... even by Prometheus. The primary question is: How can you tell if a mouse is autistic?

The Burbacher paper was on on METHYLmercury... come on! Figure out the difference between that at ETHYLmercury, for crying out loud! (oh wait, one particular paper shows that there is a BIG difference, and they are NOT comparable!) I could not find the "Deth R" paper of relevence on www.pubmed.gov, perhaps you would be so kind as to cite them, please.

As far as the Danish studies go... check out http://oracknows.blogspot.com/2005/08/dispatches-from-road-part-ii-danish.html (also note that Kristjan has posted the agency to complain about wrongdoing with Danish research in the latest Kennedy Huffington Blog comment... quote: "If you have any evidence of Danish scientists participating in fraudulent studies, please bring it to the attention of "Udvalgene vedr. Videnskabelig Uredelighed" (the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty), which will take proper action.").

HCN,

I believe the mouse study by Hornig is simply the first of more to come. Obviously mice are not the best subject but I suppose you have to start somewhere.

The Burbacher paper compared ethyl to methyl mercury. Burbacher's study found that ethyl mercury results in more than twice as much inorganic mercury being trapped in the brain as compared to methyl mercury. You are correct in stating that they are different. Ethyl may be even more dangerous than methyl.

Here is a link to Richard Deth's report:
http://www.generationrescue.org/pdf/deth.pdf

If mercury can't cause autism, how do you explain the correlation of mercury emissions and autism that was studied in Texas? Here's the article: http://www.generationrescue.org/pdf/news/upi.pdf

Regarding the defense of the Danish at Orack's blog... The defender of the Danish openly claims to know nothing about the methodology of that study. Some defense. See my anonymous comments posted there.

I'm sorry... but I cannot take a study seriously if it is only listed on gernerationrescue website... Please give the actual journal indexing.

The other generationrescue listing is a NEWSPAPER article... still not acceptable.

For a critique of the Hornig paper, plus some others (and it answers your question "What about these studies that showed my side?") go to:
http://photoninthedarkness.blogspot.com/

And your comments about Kristjan's article shows you are regurgitating the close-minded opinion of the anti-vaccine cartel (especially those like Bradstreet, Buttar and others who are cashing in on the "We have a cure" regimen that includes "chelation" (quotes because the Buttar cream does not chelate, it literally only stinks) and supplements.

I'm sorry... but I cannot take a critique of the Hornig paper seriously if it's only listed on a blogspot site... Please give the actual journal indexing.

If you have something meaningful to say about my thoughts on the Danish study please go ahead and share them. Your rant about me Bradstreet & Buttar is just plain silly.

Then next time try using www.pubmed.gov for references.

Sure it was silly... but it felt good.

After being called a "Pharma shill" for so long... and then encountering a member on a NON-austim listerv that was actually an employee of Bradstreet hawking his wares --- I think it is perfectly appropriate to feel that the ENTIRE anti-vaccine (so called anti-mercury, but then they drag in Wakefield and his measles bit... when it was just a business deal to him) is just a way to bring desperate parents to the doors of certain healers. These healers being DAN types, chelation providers, homeopaths, cranialsacral folks, and the whole bunch of lawyers who are chasing this ambulence (mainly the one called "Waters").

Basically Kyle/Craig I'm calling all of you either opportunists or the victims of opportunists... and you are ALL definitely close-minded.

End of rant.

HCN,

Did your parents ever teach you that two wrongs don't make a right? I don't disagree that some people are taking advantage of the autism hysteria. But that doesn't mean that there aren't effective treatments out there. Like I said earlier, you should listen to some of the DAN doctors speak at the link I provided above. They're not quacks. Listen to Dr. Elizabeth Mumper or listen to Dr. Krigsman (www.autism.com/krigsman).

And you are wrong about Wakefield. I already posted a link to the British news agency stating that he did nothing wrong.

And if you have an autistic child, take a look at the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy like I did above and let me know if anything there looks familiar.

The newspaper you linked to about Wakefield was a small newspaper that did not have the funds to fight Wakefield's lawyers. Wakefield is still very much in trouble with the British medical authorities, and will bill spending next summer defending himself.

His lawyers have not yet bamboozled the London Sunday Times. The story by Brian Deer still stands:
http://briandeer.com/mmr/lancet-summary.htm

If you have something more substantial, say a link to a London Times article refuting the Brian Deer, or a retraction of his story by the BBC's Channel 4 --- please present it.

"Two wrongs don't make a right", eh? Well, it seems that Wakefield and MMR vaccine still have no place in a discussion about thimerosal. But every week I see a news story about some parent claiming that the "thimerosal in the MMR caused my child's autism". I often send a note to the news article's author that they have a basic fact wrong. I've only had three out of about a dozen (lost track since I started to do that last year) write back saying they will correct the error.

Also, much of the anti-vaccine rhetoric centers around the same 20 or so people. Usually they are in many cases related to someone who sells a cure or a lawyer eying a big lawsuit dividend. JB Handley is a venture capitalist backing Buttar's cream. Andy Waters is a lawyer who is closely associated with several of the SafeMinds folks (the ones who financed the mouse study). The Geiers have not only been shown not be qualified to do the "research" they claim to do... but one of them is very closeely associated with a company to provide testimony for lawyers. Then there are those who still feel that a doctor who seems to have had mental breakdown is still an "expert" in curing autism with his own bone marrow in his kitchen... he is still accepting patients even though he lost his license to practice medicine (Huge Fudenburg, an associate of Wakefield).

It seems a bit close-minded for Kyle/Craig to ignore these financial interests.

HCN,

Please provide the documents showing JB Handley is funding Buttar's TD DMPS. You make it sound like JB Handley is profiting from this in some way and that is a terrible thing to say unless you have a valid reason to make that claim. From what I can see, JB is a concerned dad whose son is improving through chelation. He wants to share this information with others and thus founded a Not for profit organization called Generation Rescue.

What are you getting at with Waters & SafeMinds? Are you saying SafeMinds is being guided by a lawyer so that they have the best chance of winning a lawsuit? Is it so hard for you to believe that parents want their autistic kids to get better? Do you know why SafeMinds had to fund the mouse study? My understanding is that the NIH cancelled the grant in the midst of the study. NIH funds for more primate studies by Burbacher seem to have dried up as well so it will likely be up to SafeMinds to provide funding. Do you see a pattern when it comes to NIH funding?

Actually, I am in error about Handley. But I am sure that Buttar does not want to put his cream under scientific scrutiny because it would cut into his profits.

Another article of interest:
http://newhavenadvocate.com/gbase/News/content?oid=oid:122769

Wakefield is facing a whole list of charges:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1774388,00.html

Also on a bright note, GenerationRescue has been added to the list of sites here:
http://www.ratbags.com/rsoles/

(note: Skeptico you are getting starting to get comment spam)

Up to your old tricks you English pussywillow? Take a look at James Meubrander's website with before-and-after videos of kids treated with Methyl B12 injections...these shots reignite the methylation process, which mercury (as well as other metals and neurotoxins) impedes. Since you cannot put 2 and 2 together, I'll do it for you. Maybe someone can lend you an
abacus.

Perhaps you'd like to give us a link to those videos. And maybe some evidence that the kids had excess mercury in their system in the first place. And maybe a description of the experimental protocols so that we know it was the shots and not say, known treatments responsible for any change.

www.drneubrander.com

"As it turns out, thimerasol is a potent inhibitor of the same methylation pathways that are involved in autism. In April 2004, an article in Molecular Psychiatry described how thimerasol, along with other well-accepted neurodevelopmental toxins (e.g. lead, mercury, alcohol) blocked folic acid-dependent methylation in human
neuronal cells...Subsequent studies revealed that thimerasol inhibits methylation by blocking conversion of dietary or vitamin-derived forms of B12 to methyl B12. Thus, the beneficial effects of methyl B12 in autism reflect its ability to bypass the TOXIC ACTION OF THIMERASOL."
from "Waiting For the Autism Fat Lady to Sing" Richard Deth 12/30/2004.
Keep this in mind when you watch the miraculous videos Neubrander has posted documenting his success with subcutaneous methyl B 12 injections...the wired world awaits your categorical admission of posting misinformation as well as your heartfelt apology for defending the greatest iatrogenic disaster of our time.

Don't see a link. Is Molecular Psychiatry peer-reviewed, btw? Taking a look...

the wired world awaits your categorical admission of posting misinformation as well as your heartfelt apology for defending the greatest iatrogenic disaster of our time.

Fallacy/Propaganda technique: Ad homenim: We aren't defending the disaster (if it exists). We've been asking for reliable evidence of the danger. Most of what I've seen is laziness on the part of the advocates: They've used propaganda, not data every time I argued with them. Since you've got a reference to an article, you might just be different.

http://www.nature.com/mp/journal/v9/n7/full/4001522a.html

Is this it?

QUOTE: The authors' reference a study that evaluated the causal association between thimerosal and vaccines using the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (a passive surveillance system) but fail to mention two retrospective studies performed in the United States and Denmark that were more comprehensive, better controlled, and better analyzed.3, 4 Both of these studies found no evidence for an association between thimerosal in vaccines and autism.

Read the article, watch Neubrander's videos.

What controls did they apply to the children they filmed? Until you give me some reason to believe it's more than an attempt to invite a post hoc fallacy (as well as others), I have little incentive to watch the video.

As for reading the article, I don't think I found it: What I may have found was a critique. Do you have any rebuttals for that critique?

Additional clarification of the video comment:

It seems to me that watching the video without knowing the protocols for treatment is equivalent to looking at the results of a psychic performance without knowing the test protocols: The psychic could be guessing correctly because of transparent cards or a reflective surface. As far as I know, the kids in the video could have improved because of an evidence-based treatment give alongside the injection.

The quote is from an April 2004 article in a journal entitled Molecular Psychiatry. Read my above quote carefully...what it says is that thimerasol is now conclusively known to interfere with the methylation process. (see Richard Deth)...the treatment protocol is explained in great depth on Dr. Neubrander's site. The videos should be viewed by any fair-minded person trying to help someone with autism. To not even investigate the videos and to dismiss the treatment protocol out-of-hand reveals a disturbing close-mindedness.

Can you link me to the article? I wasn't able to find it.

What treatment protocol? You haven't presented any for me to dismiss. Read what I posted.

A person with some cups and balls claims to perform quantum teleportation, and some guy has a video of him demonstrating it. Is it closeminded to ask, "How do we know he's not palming the balls?" before watching the video?

This last entry is indicative of laziness and Sophistry. I gave you the website with the videos and the protocol you requested; I gave you the citation for the article that describes how methylation is impeded by thimerasol. Do some work before making another inane attempt at being clever. Richard Deth's scientific validation is provided (along with numerous videos of children improving) on Dr. Neubrander's website...Anyone with a passing interest in helping chidren get better would, I assume, rush to see these videos out of mere curiousity and compassion.

This last entry is indicative of laziness and Sophistry. I gave you the website with the videos and the protocol you requested; I gave you the citation for the article that describes how methylation is impeded by thimerasol.

I wasn't able to find it at that website. That's why I'm asking for a link. How many times do I have to repeat myself?

Do some work before making another inane attempt at being clever. Richard Deth's scientific validation is provided (along with numerous videos of children improving) on Dr. Neubrander's website...Anyone with a passing interest in helping chidren get better would, I assume, rush to see these videos out of mere curiousity and compassion.

Sorry: The burden of proof is on you. You're the one making the claim, so you have to do the work. I'm interested in the welfare of children, but I'm not about to listen to what may amount to some useless and probably deceptive anecdotes. Why should I watch something that you aren't even going to try to claim has a scientific methodology?

Now you've moved into circular argumentation...go to www.drneubrander.com and a.) read the scientific evidence upon which his treatment is based and b.) watch the videos which contain numerous parent testimonials...Deth's work is discussed at length on this website...any further comment before you do this work becomes meaningless...Are you afraid of what you might find there?

Now you've moved into circular argumentation...

Perhaps you'd like to point it out.

go to www.drneubrander.com and a.) read the scientific evidence upon which his treatment is based and b.) watch the videos which contain numerous parent testimonials...Deth's work is discussed at length on this website...any further comment before you do this work becomes meaningless...Are you afraid of what you might find there?

Answer this simple questions: Where the studies involved controlled and double-blinded?

It should have been blatantly obvious that's what I've been asking all along. I'm not going to waste my time with anything less that than minimum standard.

All this time, you've been complaining about my alleged close-mindedness. I'm not close-minded. You're tight-lipped. You won't even give me a simple, "Yes, it's double-blind and controlled." If it's not DBT, it's not worth reading.

And news flash: Testimonials are worthless in science!

Put in even simpler terms: I need some guarantee that it's worth my time. Unless you can tell me the study is a DBT, it has no more scientific merit than a testimonial from an ufologist about the necessity of tinfoil hats.

The proof is in the videos...How many times can a man turn his head and pretend that he just doesn't see? Your refusal to read Deth's and Neubrander's work is all anyone needs to know...Is a study from a journal entitled Molecular Psychiatry worthless? The videos on Neubrander's site are timeline videos with parents and children discussing and demonstrating a new treatment and its effectiveness...It involves methyl B12 injections, and is much safer than chelation. These parents cannot wait 10 years for FDA studies, they need to help their children now.

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