Alison Singer: autism hero

By Phil Plait | January 17, 2009 1:42 pm

As I have pointed out time and again, vaccines do not cause autism. The evidence is overwhelming that vaccines have no connection with autism. But the antivaxxers are loud, well-funded, and get a lot of media sympathy.

That’s why Alison Singer is such a brave woman: she was the executive vice president of communications and awareness at Autism Speaks, a group that seeks to raise awareness of autism and look into its causes. From looking over their website, they seem to try to appear to be supportive of science, but over and over again they point toward investigating vaccines as a cause or trigger of autism.

And that’s why I said Ms. Singer was their VP: she just resigned from the group because they won’t stop investigating vaccines, long after the science is in. In a Newsweek interview with her, she said:

In general, I disagree with a policy that says, “Despite what this study shows, more studies should be done.” At some point, you have to say, “This question has been asked and answered and it’s time to move on.” We need to be able to say, “Yes, we are now satisfied that the earth is round.”

Cut! Print! That is precisely right. Antivaxxers are not basing their conclusions on reason; it is a religious belief with them. Anything showing they’re wrong — and they are wrong — is ignored, or downplayed, or distorted.

I will take reservation with one of Ms. Singer statements, however: if there were unlimited funding, she said, then we should study vaccines more. Since the funding is limited, it should be spent on other things.

I disagree strongly with that. It’s equivocating; it doesn’t matter how much funding there is. If the science is conclusive, it’s conclusive. Throwing more money at a problem that doesn’t exist cannot solve it.

So I’m happy with Ms. Singer’s brave decision to resign, and very happy she states so strongly that the scientific research shows no causal link between vaccines and autism. I wish she hadn’t backed down from that somewhat, but her other statements and her actions show what needs to be done to fight antiscience, and to expose the people and groups that are so vehemently putting our children at risk of deadly diseases.

Tip o’ the needle to BABloggee Danny Chamberlin.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Antiscience, Cool stuff, Science

Comments (118)

  1. It could be argued that by her resigning, now Autism Speaks is even MORE anti-vac-focused, and her leaving is a bad thing. Someone lower down in the organization leaving over something they can’t change, fine, but she’s their VP – surely she’d have more sway over statements of policy and the like?

  2. Jeff

    I completely agree with you, Phil. What it is that makes anti-vaccination people think that autism is caused by vaccinations, is not some sort of link or anything scientific, it’s something else (what this ‘thing’ is, I have no idea, but it irks me and, by the way, it’s a phenomenon that can be seen in other areas). When people (in this case, the people of Autism Awareness) look at all this noise and concern of vaccination potentially causing autism, they think that there must be something behind it, something that can be proven/disproven with science. But science has already shown that there is no link and autism isn’t caused by vaccines. Autism’s cause is unknown (well, it has to do with genetics and stuff I guess).

    But anyway. It’s a cycle that is really annoying. You get this research thing and it says that there is no link or whatever and vaccinations are no cause. But the thing is, the anti-vaccination people DO NOT LOOK at this science. Why this is, why these people ignore it like this, is way beyond me (and this is that phenomenon thing again). So anyway. The people again see that there is still concern that autism may be caused by vaccines, and again people think that there must be some sort of link that can be proven/disproven, otherwise the anti-vaccination people would not be saying the things they would be saying. In other words—and this is the problem—the people of Autism Awareness ASSUME that the anti-vaccination people are reasonable, sane people who look at science and can be convinced with science. These crazy people can very easily ignore any research and say that it’s all part of a conspiracy. It’s awful!

    (By the way I hope I was being lucid enough)

  3. Louise

    I’m generally a sceptic especially where the big drug companies are involved. But these parents are, by many accounts around the net, intensely zealous in their pursuit of vaccine manufacturers and of naysayers within the autism community. I can imagine that Ms Singer was facing an impossible and irrational force.

    Some people always have to find someone to blame. Others just can’t accept having a ‘different’ child and project their negativity. Which is a huge pity. Autistic children are very often delightful – hard work, yet fascinating and rewarding children. Wouldn’t it be more productive for them to use the energy they expend in fighting in finding ways to make their child’s and their own lives more enjoyable?

  4. David M

    More vaccine happy talk from Discover Magazine. You guys are so in the tank it isn’t even funny. Your coverage borders on high comedy. Everything is great – mercury is fine for developing children’s brains. Why doesn’t your editorial board order up some mercury and get a few spoons. Yummy stuff. And all those thousands of parents who saw their children immediately develop autism symptoms right after they got their vaccines are crazy. They think the moon landing was faked and they believe the earth is flat. Yep, they are all like that. How about this for a science experiment, give every child the full slate of recommended vaccines from the CDC. I bet 1 in 150 would develop autism. Wait that is already happening. My bad. As for Alison Singer, goodbye. Go work for Merck or some other vaccine maker and tell yourself you are a hero and if you need support just turn to Discover Magazine. If you guys at Discover would get out of the office or the basement that you blog from and talked to parents of autistic children and ask them about vaccines you might get a whole different view than reading press releases from the CDC or listening to doctors on the payrolls of vaccine’s makers.

  5. IVAN3MAN

    Jeff:

    What it is that makes anti-vaccination people think that autism is caused by vaccinations…[?]

    Post hoc, ergo propter hoc (after this, so because of this):

    In the past 200 years, the average global temperature has been growing at the same rate the number of pirates has been falling. Therefore, we must stop persecuting pirates!

  6. David M: perhaps you can tell me how much mercury is in vaccines?

    And I don’t speak for Discover Magazine. What I write here is my own, not anyone else’s.

  7. David M

    http://www.ageofautism.com/2008/11/the-only-thimer.html#more

    “By 6 months of age it is still possible for a baby to receive 71 mcg of thimerosal versus the previous 187.5 mcg! Here’s how it could easily happen:

    Prenatal: Flu shot [Fluzone, Flulaval, or Fluvirin (25mcg)]
    Birth: HepB [Engergix (3mcg)]
    1month: HepB [Energix (3mcg)]
    2 months: DTaP [Tripedia (3mcg)] or DTaP/Hib [TriHIBit (3mcg)]
    4 months: HepB [Energix (3mcg)] and DTaP [Tripedia (3mcg)] or DTaP/Hib [TriHIBit (3mcg)]
    6 months: same as 4 months, plus a flu shot

    Back to me:
    What is a good level of mercury.? Any vaccine cheerleaders want to volunteer their children for that study. Don’t all raise your hands at once. And never mind aluminum and the multiple shots like the MMR which was the one that impacted my child.
    And by the way, my child had its blood checked for metals. High levels of mercury, aluminum, lead and a bunch of other things were found.
    REALITY, Discover blog fans.

  8. justcorbly

    I suspectwhat drives many parents of autistic children to to adopt an anti-vaccine stance is sheer overwhelming panic and desperation. Something terrible happens to your child and you are powerless.

    Factor in the widespread notion that science is a course for middle school, not the way we know reality, then toss in a leavening agent of religious and political manipulators, and you have the recipe for what is happening today. There is no answer or evidence that legitimate science offer people who believe more than one way exists to find that answer.

  9. Jeff

    “If you guys at Discover would get out of the office or the basement that you blog from and talked to parents of autistic children and ask them about vaccines you might get a whole different view than reading press releases from the CDC or listening to doctors on the payrolls of vaccine’s makers.”

    That is ironic. Maybe you people didn’t realize, but there’s a whole world outside of America. And if you bothered to look at other countries/continents, you would see that this ‘vaccination causes autism’ thing is almost completely exclusive to the US. Do you really think that the drug companies or whatever have this huge iron grip over the entire world and hush everyone and halt all research? Maybe if you people bothered to look at other countries, you would see that America isn’t the only country in the world that does research on autism. Heck, autism was best documented by an Austrian, Hans Asperger.

    It’s also very ironic that people who have autism themselves, are very logical in almost every way in their thinking, I know I certainly am. These anti-vaccination people are hardly acquainted with logic. These people are damaging society, hurting the chances for autistic people to have a good life and they quite simply must be stopped.

    I mean, Holy Christ, the biggest talking head for this nonsense is a former Playboy model. I ask you rhetorically, what does she know of scientific research?

  10. Sundance

    I have to take issue with something Phil said, and something David M said, both on the same basic theme…

    Phil: I agree with almost everything you say, but I do think “conclusive” is too strong a word to use. The beauty of science is that there’s room for doubt. If there’s no room for new models of reality to be constructed, it ceases to be science. Conclusions that seemed rock-solid can be overturned if enough evidence is presented, and a better model of reality can be constructed. What the anti-vaxxers should acknowledge is that there’s currently no reliable evidence that vaccines cause autism, and act accordingly. It’s foolish to act as if such evidence will definitely be found. It’s _possible_ that it might, but waiting for it to appear is about as sensible as waiting for proof that energy drinks turn you into a trout-craving zombie. All the data we currently have say that the health consequences of not vaccinating are worse than the consequences of vaccinating. And that brings me to…

    David M: The anti-vaxxers are failing to present two vital parts of a scientific model of reality – data to support their claims, and a _mechanism_ by which vaccines cause autism.
    The mechanism thing is REALLY, REALLY important. It allows you to make predictions that can be tested by experiment. Without mechanism-based predictions you can draw any conclusions you like from data (e.g. “I _didn’t_ guess the numbers my friend was thinking of, I must be _negatively_ telepathic!”). If you can back up what you say with a mechanism and properly conducted (i.e. controlled, double-blind) experimental data, collected and analysed by people with no vested interest in the conclusions drawn from that data, good for you. Talking to the parents of autistic children doesn’t cut it. The plural of “anecdote” is not “data”.

  11. Jeff

    justcorbly:

    “I suspectwhat drives many parents of autistic children to to adopt an anti-vaccine stance is sheer overwhelming panic and desperation. Something terrible happens to your child and you are powerless.”

    Well, that’s just stupid. I assume these people panic when they hear their child is autistic, and they heard this when their child is at a young age. But when you KNOW your child is autistic at a young age, it’s a GOOD THING. I know for a fact that if the child is diagnosed with autism at an early age, and gets all the attention and help that child can get, the chances of the person with autism to get a good life are increases immensely. There is this idea that autistic people are handicapped for life. They are only handicapped if they don’t get HELP. (In some cases, some people with autism who never know they are autistic overcome their difficulties without any help at all. Any of these achievements are, however, obtained with great difficulty and time, and the autistic person is likely very intelligent and good at self-analysis, something autistic people are usually not good at, although ability in self-analysis and self-awareness is usually slowly ‘learned’ over time.)

    Immediately when their parents hear their child is autistic, their dreams of their son doing something really good are destroyed. But this is ridiculous. There’s nothing someone with autism can’t do. Of course, the person with autism will have more (in some cases much more) difficulty doing things. Autism should not be downplayed, but it should also not be seen so much more worse than it actually is. Early diagnosis and proper, professional help and a great deal of attention can make a huge, huge difference. Especially for me, it’s painful to learn that these parents behave like this when they KNOW their child is autistic at such a young age… I didn’t know I was autistic until the age of 19. And let me tell you, it would have made a heck of a difference in my life if I or my parents knew earlier.

  12. ” But the antivaxxers are loud, well-funded, and get a lot of media sympathy.”

    Oh my how the story gets turned upside down and inside out. Jeff you must not have been following this thing for long if you wonder why parents get upset and connect things to vaccines. Children are brought in healthy and they die in the crib (sids) or they come in later as my son. Able to speak, chew his food, ride his bike, shoot a basketball, and play… get vaccines and lose all those abilities and more. The key here is nobody has the answers to anything. So at this point until you have the answer nothing can be ruled out.

    Is everyone ok with trading a model for vaccination of one that trades acute for chronic conditions? We understand deadly diseases need to be prevented. The model now is to prevent economic losses from losing days at work. Nobody has even looked at the advances in medicine. Are you telling me a disease that killed people 40, 50 years ago could not be treated in isolation and modern medicines?

    Alison has done us a favor. Now she has woke up the sleeping giant. Autism speaks was trying to walk the neutral tight rope. Now it must take sides. The parents want specific unbiased research done. To say you refuse to do the research because it is a conflict to parents cases is saying let the case go on because we might prove that there is a connection. Then what would we do? Actually help the families?

    Phil you are right we are loud. To say we are well funded compared to the government and pharma is laughable. I think it is high time that we get not only sympathy from media but also action

    http://www.causecast.org/member/tanners-dad

  13. abc

    >In the past 200 years, the average global temperature has been growing at
    >the same rate the number of pirates has been falling. Therefore, we must stop persecuting pirates!

    sources?
    (I’m pretty sure the number of pirates has been increased)

  14. justcorbly

    Well, of course, you’re right, Jeff. But, people don’t always behave rationally. Too, it’s part of our nature to look for someone or something to blame.

    Also, if you are inclined to reject evidence that vaccines are not related to autism, you might also be inclined to reject the evidence that you and others embody.

  15. Joe

    What’s with these anti-vaccers. Just because the concentration of mercury in multi-dose vaccine vials is 250 times higher that EPA hazardous waste levels, that does not make the amount of mercury high. Just because ethylmercury is a short chain alkyl mercury comound that has been banned in every other product does not mean it is dangerous. Just because they are injecting it into preemies, hell they have a better a better defence system than adults. What a bunch of wackjobs those autism parents.

  16. quasidog

    @ Jeff .. you said.. “Maybe you people didn’t realize, but there’s a whole world outside of America. And if you bothered to look at other countries/continents, you would see that this ‘vaccination causes autism’ thing is almost completely exclusive to the US. Do you really think that the drug companies or whatever have this huge iron grip over the entire world and hush everyone and halt all research? Maybe if you people bothered to look at other countries, you would see that America isn’t the only country in the world that does research on autism. Heck, autism was best documented by an Austrian, Hans Asperger.”

    Hear, hear ! :) .. hardly gets a mention in Australia. (not to be confused with Austria hehe.)

    @ Sundance .. you said.. ” ..I do think “conclusive” is too strong a word to use…”

    I also agree with that point. There can never be enough investigation on a matter .. especially with biology. Comparison to a a ‘flat earth’ as a reason for discontinuing scientific investigation is a bit of a leap… and a bad analogy.

  17. David M: My daughter had her vaccines right on schedule.

    I note that thimerosal was never in MMR vaccines, which has been highly touted by antivaxxers as a cause of autism. It was also removed from vaccines in 2002.

  18. Tomas

    Phil: this just proves that guys has no idea what he’s talking about … so you can’t really ask him to understand what you try to say.

    Jeff: “What it is that makes anti-vaccination people think that autism is caused by vaccinations”?

    The answer is simple:

    “Faith” – Rather than thinking for themselves, these people will just listen to whatever “higher” authorities tell them (sound familiar, doesn’t it), without ever questioning any of their bs.

    David: After seeing the great moments in presidential speeches video featuring yours truly G.W.Bush I thought nothing else could make me laugh and feel sick to my stomach at the same time today, but hell … you managed. How about you get off of your ignorant red neck ass and actually do some research before you mouth off next time.

  19. Robin Aceves

    Hey People-

    They stop putting thimerosal in the vaccines but left the old one’s on the shelf.Unless you have lived through this with your child you have no room to judge us parents who witnessed the whole thing happen to our children.
    Get a clue,read the ingredients,and have some empathy.

  20. quasidog

    OK .. so ..

    @ David M said .. “Everything is great – mercury is fine for developing children’s brains. Why doesn’t your editorial board order up some mercury and get a few spoons.”

    Then….

    @ Phil Plait said .. “David M: perhaps you can tell me how much mercury is in vaccines?”

    Then..

    @Joe sarcastically added .. “Just because the concentration of mercury in multi-dose vaccine vials is 250 times higher that EPA hazardous waste levels, that does not make the amount of mercury high.”

    *scratches head* …..so what is the deal here. Are any of you blokes going to point to where the reader can conclusively identify just how much … if any … mercury goes into a standard vaccination? Do all vaccinations contain mercury ? I always believed mercury stays in the body for a very long time so this has me worried. I am a layman to this subject. I could wiki it but seeing as you all seem to know what you are talking about … want to fill me in on the exact details?

    Lots of sniping but no actual facts. Joe came close but I can’t gauge his stats. C’arn guys … gimme some actual details … and don’t just tell me to do my own research. You all seem to know what you are talking about, although I gather you would all argue that.

    How much mercury is ACTUALLY in this stuff … and how dangerous is it ? Factual scientific references would be awesome too.

  21. quasidog

    Lol … timing .. just as I posted that I saw Phil post a link regarding it.. (which I will read now) ..

  22. quasidog

    OK after reading that link Phil … the main point stands out to me ..

    quote from link .. “As the MMR claim was in decline (although by no means abandoned), attention shifted to thimerosal – a mercury-based preservative in some vaccines. There are many flaws with the thimerosal hypothesis, and numerous studies have shown no link between thimerosal and autism or any neurological disorder. But the fatal blow to the thimerosal hypothesis was struck when thimerosal was removed from the routine childhood vaccine schedule (thimerosal, incidentally, was never in the MMR vaccine) in the US by 2002. In the subsequent 6 years the rate of autism diagnoses kept increasing at their previous rate, without even a blip. Only the most rabid (or scientifically illiterate) anti-vaccine fanatics still cling to the thimerosal claim.”

    .. that pretty much answers my query there. Even though I asked how much of this stuff was in it … thats explains a bit more. Nice link Phil. :)

  23. Mogrammy

    You joketh! Resigned? She was FIRED!

  24. Louise

    Although I agree with David M that ALL voices should be heard and ALL evidence fairly and openly weighed in the balance, I find myself thoroughly supporting Jeff’s logic and sentiments.

    Most disturbing is that this belligerence actually does damage people on the autistic spectrum personally as well as the cause (for far better understanding and support) as far as the autistic community is concerned.

    Speaking as a parent of a child on the spectrum and with many, many family members (extant and no longer living) who would qualify at least as having spectrum traits and strengths, I can see no anecdotal evidence for this vaccine claim. I’d be willing to bet that research in 20yrs time will highlight ‘autistic phenotype’ families conclusively. Let’s face it, many parents (usually fathers) only get their own autistic/Aspergers club membership cards once their child is assessed! Perhaps this general greater awareness is producing statistical increase.

    And, re international expertise – Australia seems to be leaping ahead in terms of research and accommodations, whilst the UK and Scandinavian countries are also more fruitful in research terms. I believe Finland (?) showed conclusively that autism is ‘increasing’ there despite removal of mercury-based preservatives for years prior to survey.

    If we’re talking about creating an autistic child, I actually saw a chronically desperate and panic-stricken (about anything and everything) parent massively impact their child who may or may not have been marginally autistic to begin with. But that’s another very contentious story. Of course environment matters, and living with chronically angry, battling and tense parents is the worst environment an autistic child could possibly have.

  25. David M

    Just picking this up but I have to move on with my life. A lot of you guys and gals are great with quoting CDC studies and whipping data and links (which may or not be dubious with their actual truthiness) and telling people who are living this that they are full of it.
    But tell me how many parents of autistic children have you talked to directly about vaccines in your life. How many – one, two, five… be honest. It’s likely not that many.
    I say get off your computers and your fat arses – this means you Phil-meister – and do some legwork and some research of your own before you start calling people heroes. Talk to some people who are living this. Face to face. Talk to 25, 30, 35 parents who have kids with autism and ask them about vaccines and then you may have some credibility on this issue. Right now, you are all just a lot of blogger noise.
    Seacrest out…

  26. @David M: What, exactly, is wrong with quoting or linking to a CDC study? Because it’s a government institution, it must be corrupt and in the pockets of “big pharma”? Researchers at the CDC are well known as being the tops in their field, but oh, because they work fot the government they can’t possibly give a damn about the work they do, eh?

    Here is where the anti-vax people really tip their hands…it’s called moving the goalposts. You start complaining about thimerasol and mercury in vaccines, Phil posts a link showing that thimerasol was NEVER in the MMR and hasn’t been in ANY vaccines since 2002, then you jump to the “bad studies, corrupt CDC argument. Completely ignoring the thimerasol facts.

    You want to talk about bad studies? How about Andrew Wakefield? Which, for some reason, still has a hand in the anti-vax movement despite his studies being discredited by the general medial populace.

    What bugs me most about these people, is that they spend more time trying to blame someone for their child’s disease than they do trying to help the child.

  27. I think her comment about “if there were unlimited funding…” is more in the sense that, since science never makes a conclusion 100%, if there were infinite resources you would want to investigate everything possible because you lose nothing and have some chance, even very small, of gaining. If it costs nothing at all to investigate a .0001% chance, you might as well investigate it just in case.

  28. Chris

    David M. said “life. A lot of you guys and gals are great with quoting CDC studies ”

    Actually, many of the studies are not by the CDC. There are studies in Japan, UK, Canada, Finland, Denmark and other countries that show no relationship between autism and vaccines.

    There has been a spate of international vaccine hysteria that has let measles return to Europe, polio to take hold in Africa and India, and increased numbers of deaths from pertussis in the USA. This is not tolerable.

    He continued with “Talk to 25, 30, 35 parents who have kids with autism and ask them about vaccines and then you may have some credibility on this issue.”

    Actually there is an old saying: “The plural of anecdote is not data.”

    As noted by Ms. Singer, the science has been done. Vaccines have no causal relationship with autism, it is time to concentrate on more important avenues. Things like education, therapy (real therapy, like the private speech therapy we paid for several years), and employment support (something that we are s.l.o.w.l.y getting for our now adult son).

  29. I am a Discover magazine subscriber, father of a 12 year old son with autistic disorder, assessed with profound developmental delays, and I do not pretend to know whether vaccines trigger autism in some cases or not. I am certain that the science is not as conclusive as Ms Singer presents and you present it. I see precious few hard facts in this article or the comments that echo Ms Singer’s beliefs.

    1a. Thimerosal is NOT removed from all vaccines at least not according to:

    a) Bernadine Healy, former head of the American Red Cross and the NIH, attended Vassar College and graduated summa cum laude with a major in chemistry and a minor in philosophy in 1965, was one of only ten women out of 120 students in her Harvard Medical School class, graduating in 1970 with her MD cum laude, completed her internship and residency training in cardiology at Johns Hopkins, spent two years at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at NIH before starting her professional career back at Johns Hopkins.

    See her comments in Fighting the Vaccine-Autism War -US News and World Report April 10, 2008 and Leading Dr.: Vaccines-Autism Worth Study – CBS, May 12, 2008.

    Dr. Healy stated that flu shots, often recommended to pregnant women contains thimoseral and thimoseral crosses the placenta.

    1b. The FDA web site references vaccines that have had the thimerosal removed. ” A preservative-free version of the inactivated influenza vaccine (contains trace amounts of thimerosal) is available in limited supply at this time for use in infants, children and pregnant women.” A trace amount of thimerosal is still an amount of thimerosal. If the trace amount has no effect then why is it included in the vaccine at all?

    2a. The studies have not all been done, particularly with respect to vulnerable population subsets. See the Healy references above: “vaccine experts tend to look at the population as a whole, not at individual patients. And population studies are not granular enough to detect individual metabolic, genetic, or immunological variation that might make some children under certain circumstances susceptible to neurological complications after vaccination.”
    ……considerably more research is still needed on some provocative findings. After all, thimerosal crosses the placenta, and pregnant women are advised to get flu shots, which often contain it. Studies in mice suggest that genetic variation influences brain sensitivity to the toxic effects of mercury. And a primate study designed to mimic vaccination in infants reported in 2005 that thimerosal may clear from the blood in a matter of days but leaves inorganic mercury behind in the brain.”….”

    2b The IOM Immunization Safety Review: Vaccines and Autism (2004) noted that there was an ” absence of experimental or human evidence that vaccination (either the MMR vaccine or the preservative thimerosal) affects metabolic, developmental, immune, or other physiological or molecular mechanisms that are causally related to the development of autism, the committee concludes that the hypotheses generated to date are theoretical only.”

    Having noted the ABSENCE of experimental or human evidence to support a vaccine-autism hypothesis the IOM instead of calling for studies to provide evidence to support or refute a vaccine hypothesis instead called for the suspension of further study at page 152:

    “Given the lack of direct evidence for a biological mechanism and the fact that all well-designed epidemiological studies provide evidence of no association between 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.”

    3. Louise, as someone who is also the parent of an autistic child, one who is undecided on the vaccine-autism issues, I am disappointed with your comments about other parents. “Of course environment matters, and living with chronically angry, battling and tense parents is the worst environment an autistic child could possibly have.”

    Your comments would have earned you high marks with Bruno Bettleheim.

    They sound as though

  30. ALISON SINGER IS NOT AN AUTISM HERO.

    See the video linked from my name. She considered KILLING HER DAUGHTER and only didn’t do it because of her other, ‘normal’ kid. If you watch the entire film, it’s even worse – she didn’t want to kill her daughter because every day was a struggle for her. She wanted to kill her daughter because she thought that’d “be preferable to putting her in to one of those [special education] schools”. Word. For. Word.

    Let me rephrase – she wanted to murder her autistic daughter because she didn’t like the schooling options available to her, and only didn’t because of her ‘normal’ daughter. She showed NO remorse on the video. She talks about it in the same tone of voice as she would for any other thing.

    She might not buy in to the whole vaccination nonsense, but she still considered killing her own flesh and blood over SCHOOLS. She will NEVER be an Autism Hero!

    (Edited about four times to remove the copious amounts of swearing. I do NOT like this woman, and no other autistic that I know does, either.)

  31. I should also add: in the video in question, the girl was in the room, had just tried to give her mother a hug, and had been shrugged off.

  32. @Naomi: You’ve been had by the internet. Did you bother to look for the full version of the video you linked to, which was blatantly edited for a warped sense of context. The whole segment was about her being scared enough that it would be preferable to do that if she had to put her daughter into a school which was not equipped to handle it. I don’t know where the second section of your video came from, but it obviously came from another video and pasted together with that one.

    So why don’t you go watch the WHOLE video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDMMwG7RrFQ&NR=1, instead of condemning this woman for something that she clearly never said in the context you think she did.

  33. Ken

    David M:

    First of all:

    “Prenatal: Flu shot [Fluzone, Flulaval, or Fluvirin (25mcg)]”

    You are kidding right? You actually think that when the mother is given a flu shot the entire 25mcg went straight to the baby, that not one bit of it stayed with the mother? … therefore you’ve exaggerated the amount of exposure from this particular source.

    Next:

    You have no proof that the metals supposedly measured in your baby’s blood came just from vaccine shots. Any and all of them could have come from other sources. Has your baby ever touched a toy or clothing item manufactured in China? … There’s been hundreds of such items shown to contain dangerous levels of heavy metals recently, and you know that anything a baby touches goes into baby’s mouth.

    So you can’t say for sure that it was the shots and not another source that led to the disease.

    Next:

    We all have some level of heavy metal contamination from many sources. Did you test your wife for contamination before you chose to have a child? For all you know, she was highly contaminated and her own body gave your child the heavy metals before birth or during breastfeeding. Vaccines may have been an incidental exposure by comparison.

    You may have ignorantly chosen to have a child with the worst possible person. Hey! Why not get your wife tested now! … then you can chose to kick her out if you want another child!

    Next:

    Correlation does not imply causation. Just because autism is often first noticed at an age when the child receives vaccinations, does not mean that vaccinations are the cause. Autism may simply not be diagnosable until the child reaches that coincidental age. The child may have had it from before birth, from before the child is even exposed to many sources (again unless your wife was a walking bag of metals).

    Next:

    Why is it that 6 years after big reductions or eliminations of thimerisol from several vaccines, the rate of Autism in California is still steadily increasing? If Thimerosol is the cause, than a reduction of thimerosol should cause at least some reduction in new autism cases.

    Next:

    You are saying that dozens of studies that studied and tested thousands of autistic kids and their families are wrong and should be ignored … that instead we should talk to the families ourselves and take the anecdotal word of those families that they ‘believe’ thimerosal is the cause.

    Wow. To think something so bizzare! It must be YOU Dave M who has mercury poisoning … because you’re mad as a hatter.

    Thimerosal has become nothing more than a whack job religion to people like Dave M and he doesn’t even see it. Belief with no proof. No wonder L. Ron Hubbard found it so easy to create Scientology.

  34. Radwaste

    It must be devastating to consider that one is genetically incapable of producing a normal child, but outrage and the manufacture of false claims will not change that.

  35. Radwaste

    Oh, yes – to add to Ken’s point about other sources: are you near a coal-fired power plant?

  36. When and only when AUTISM happens to you, will you understand. It has nothing to do with feeling powerless or looking for blame. Afterall, we all believed in vaccines ourselves, otherwise, our children would have never been vaccinated to begin with! If I was looking for blame, then I would start a lawsuit or a claim. It has everything to do with what you see happening right before your eyes within 24 hours of shots. In our situation, we ended up in the hospital 3 times(6 month shots, 12 month shots and his flu shot at 18 months) within 24 hours of shots.

    When and only when AUTISM happens to you twice, you will understand even more! With my second child, We also ended up in the hosptial within 24 hours of his 6 month shots.

    My third child does not have autism, and she is also not vaccinated. By this point, I had gotten a clue of what was happening.

    If vaccines don’t play a role in autism, then why is it that when we start repairing the medical damage of vaccines to our children’s body, that autism symptoms start to fade. WHy is it that our children have the blood work and labs that show they carry dormant viruses in their bodies introduced from vaccines? The rest of the world doesn’t understand that children with autism are very sick. Autism isn’t just some “lost, rainman, genetic brain disorder.” Autism is a biologically induced medical disease.

    I dont’ blame vaccines. My children were born with predispositions. Compromised immune systems & metabolic disorders.Their bodies were attacked when vaccines were introduced. We aren’t ANTIVAX, screaming to the world not to vaccinate! We only ask that doctors start testing children and screening to make sure that these babies can handle vaccines. Some children may not have strong immune systems. SO why would you give a sick child a vaccine or better yet, why would you give a developmentally delayed child, or even a vaccine? We also only ask that vaccines be cleaned up. A large portion of chidlren cannot handle the toxins in these shots. Toxins that save the pharma companies only a few pennies are injected in our babies everyday! All for the sake of saving big companies money. I believe autism is a cycle that starts in the mother’s womb. Genetics(based on mom’s exposore to medications, chemicals and toxins) load the gun, and environmental toxins/chemicals pull the trigger! BANG, AUTISM!

  37. Please also understand, I am not a mother on here complaining about autism! I threw my pity party years ago. Now we strive everyday, having high expectations for my autistic children. I understand and take into account when they don’t feel well, causing autism behaviors. But I expect my children to behave, and to adjust. It might of happened to us but it will not be the excuse for my children not to succeed in life.It is hard, it is very hard! Therapy around the clock, medical treatmetns around the clock, diet and supplements around the clock! I compare trying to recover an autistic child to cancer because it is that intense. But there is hope in autism, it is possible to recover and I am working my ass off to make sure these boys of mine make it in life one day without me! And I would say to go from severe, to high functioning is a dang good start. Our possibilities are endless, if you only believe, quit complaining about it & do the work that God chose you to do!

  38. HCN

    Ken said “You have no proof that the metals supposedly measured in your baby’s blood came just from vaccine shots.”

    Well, that is especially true if the samples are taken by the parents and then sent to a couple of specific “labs” that are used by quacks. These particular labs are favored because they tend to find heavy metals in the most amusing ways, and work with the quacks to get more money out of the parents.

    If the parent went to a local hospital clinic and had the sample taken from qualified technician and analyzed at a local toxicology lab, the results would be very very different.

    For an example for some of the mania going around this see this:
    http://www.autismstreet.org/weblog/?p=258

  39. Jack Mitcham

    @DavidM

    “Talk to 25, 30, 35 parents who have kids with autism and ask them about vaccines and then you may have some credibility on this issue.”

    How the eff is this considered data? You’re a joke, only more dangerous.

  40. Phil Schwarz

    @DavidM: you wrote: “And by the way, my child had its blood checked for metals. High levels of mercury, aluminum, lead and a bunch of other things were found.”

    And exactly *which* lab produced those findings?

    So many of these parents got their results from outfits like Doctors Data Inc and Great Plains Labs. These outfits are dishonest. They take *provoked* samples and then scale them against expected *unprovoked* levels.

    They, coupled with the quack doctors who use them, are the semantic equivalent of the dishonest auto mechanic who dips a part from your car in his waste oil, then somberly shows it to you as evidence of an oil leak indicating a serious problem that is repairable… for lots of money.

    But that’s only one of *two* noteworthy things about what you said.

    The other is your choice of pronoun to refer to your child.

    *Its*???

    That speaks volumes. Your child is not an inanimate object. Do you consider him or her less than a “him” or a “her”? Damaged goods?

    This nonsensical 65-years-and-counting chase of causation theories and “cures”, that forms the bulk of the history of societal response to autism, will only stop when the media — and the major autism organizations, including Autism Speaks — stop mischaracterizing autism as universal horror and tragedy. Playing the pity-and-fear cards, in publicity campaigns, has a high price: it drives needlessly terrified parents into the arms of the proliferating autism quackery industry.

    The message we need to get out about autism is that it does not *have* to be horror and tragedy. More and more autistic kids — given learning and growing environments that work *with* them rather than against them — are achieving better and better outcomes. *With the right supports*, they will achieve better and better quality of life as adults.

    But in order to get them there, we need to refocus away from the endless wars over causation and the endless search for miracle “cures”, and *onto* laying the groundwork for supporting them in housing, education, employment, healthcare, and living in the community as consumer and citizen. Those 1 in 150 kids are going to be the adults of the next two decades. The time to shift gears and act on this bigger imperative is *now*.

    And that shifting of gears requires us to recognize autistic people not as “its”, as “damaged goods”, but as *real people* who must be given equity and parity *as full and equal stakeholders* in the public discourse and policymaking concerning autism.

    — Phil Schwarz
    Autism National Committee
    Asperger’s Association of New England
    Massachusetts Chapter, Autism Society of America

  41. Angela

    Wow, look at all those comments. I don’t know where to begin. I am a mother of a vaccine injured child. Autism was just a small part of it. My daughter was hospitalized within 6 hours of the 4 vaccinations shots. They contained 9 vaccines. 9!
    One point that I would like to address is that they “removed” the thimerosal. They are referring to the legal term removal. In pharmactucal world this means that they can use thimerosal in the production of your child’s vaccine but then have to filter it out. For a preservative that is 49.6 % mercury -it cannot be filtered out. I am still trying to get ahold of my friend that used to work at Merck to see if it was possible to filter out the mercury component.

    So my daughter had a vaccine reaction- she had blood in her diaper due to bleeding in her intestines. She has lesions in the lower intestines, poor muscle tone, Auditory perception disorder, poor body awareness, seizure oh lord the seizures. She had one in the bathtub when she was just 3 yr old. Bu she had a battery of seizures the day she was vaccinated.

    I have mixed feeling about Alsison Singer. She is a mother trying to do the best for her child. She and I have spoke through emails. She didn’t have to -there was no need as I have nooo money to donate. But I found her kind and she seemed at the time to question vaccine safety. This was at the time of the horrible video she was featured in.

    My child is my evidence. I think all children before they are vaccinated should be tested for latex. My daughter has a severe allergy to it -and it compounded the reaction. I could go on further-I just had to throw my two cents in the pool of meaningless voices. I am not into slinging.

  42. Chris

    Kasey said “When and only when AUTISM happens to you, will you understand. It has nothing to do with feeling powerless or looking for blame.”

    Who are you to determine which of those who have commented have children who are autistic?

    As it turns out my disabled child is the one with the fewest vaccines. One of the reasons is that he is the oldest (note that I said he is now an adult). He also had some birth issues that prevented some vaccines (much like the very erroneously touted Hannah Poling).

    If I looked at my kids, I could say that the youngest who was born after the HepB vaccine was introduced, that the vaccines had a positive effect! But, that is just anecdotal, and has nothing to do with the fact that I finally got a little girl. And it is common knowledge that little girls are much brighter than their bigger brothers. She crawled earlier, she walked earlier, she talked much earlier (heck, she even smiled when she was only a month old!), and she even learned how to get on my good side earlier as a teenager (by the way, I just spent a few days at a theme resort with her and a brother, trust me… she is brighter than her either of her brothers!). That is my story and I am sticking with it!

    Kasey said “I compare trying to recover an autistic child to cancer because it is that intense.”

    Oh, my word, are you an idiot. The barber that my hubby and sons go to would shred you to bits if he knew you existed. He has three sons, one who has survived leukemia and another with a severe developmental issues (too old to be diagnosed with autism, and trust me that DSM change is very important). Please, for the possibility that you might actually encounter a parent who has had to watch a child go through multiple hospitalizations, surgeries and administered lots of freaky drugs during chemotherapy… think about what you compare a developmental disorder to.

  43. @ drksky:

    I have watched the video. It is NOT the whole video. If you have a look at the information in the link you provided, you’d see that this video is only an edited version of the full version, which is twice the length. The second part of the clip I posted is from that.

    If the second part came from another video, then how is it that Singer and her daughter are in the exact same position with the exact same background and the exact same lighting as in the first part? Yes, it’s edited – “and that that would be preferable to putting her in to one of those schools” has been cut from my version – but it’s still clearly the same video.

    Ahh, got to love your special variation of ‘logic’. “That part doesn’t appear in the edited-to-half-its-length version I have! Your version MUST be faked!” Try looking up the FULL version of the video – it’s on the Autism Speaks website, which you can get to by clicking my name. Watch from just past six minutes. It has both parts in the previous video.

    Alison Singer contemplated murdering her daughter over school choices, and only didn’t because of her neurotypical daughter. She is NOT an Autism Hero.

    How about you try having all of the information before saying that the information I’m showing “obviously [comes] from another video”?

  44. ClownWatch

    @ David M
    Let’s look at the real numbers.

    Prenatal: Flu shot [Fluzone, Flulaval, or Fluvirin (not likely)*]
    Birth: HepB [Engerix (0mcg)]
    1 month: HepB [Engerix (0mcg)]
    2 months: DTaP [Tripedia (.3mcg)] or DTaP/Hib [TriHIBit (.3mcg)] – Decimal points count!
    4 months: HepB [Engerix (0mcg)] and DTaP [Tripedia (.3mcg)] or DTaP/Hib [TriHIBit (.3mcg)] – Decimal points count!
    6 months: HepB [Engerix (0mcg)] and DTaP [Tripedia (.3mcg)] or DTaP/Hib [TriHIBit (.3mcg) and Fluzone (0mcg)**] – Decimal points count!

    http://www.fda.gov/CBER/vaccine/thimerosal.htm#t3

    * Flu shot uptake among pregnant women has been fairly flat at about 13% for years.

    None of the shots listed are likely to be given to pregnant women. As noted on the package inserts themeselves:

    Flulaval
    Pregnancy Category C. Animal reproduction studies have not been conducted with FLULAVAL. It is also not known whether FLULAVAL can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman or can affect reproduction capacity. FLULAVAL should be given to a pregnant woman only if clearly needed.

    Fluzone
    Pregnancy Category C: Animal reproduction studies have not been conducted with Fluzone vaccine. It is also not known whether Fluzone vaccine can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman or can affect reproduction capacity. Fluzone vaccine should be given to a pregnant woman only if clearly needed.

    Fluvirin
    Pregnancy Category C: Animal reproduction studies have not been conducted with FLUVIRIN®. It is also not known whether FLUVIRIN® can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman or can affect reproduction capacity. FLUVIRIN® should be given to a pregnant woman only if clearly needed.

    Fluzone is available in a thimerosal-free version.
    Fluvirin is available in a preservative-free version (less than 1mcg mercury).

    http://www.fda.gov/CBER/vaccine/thimerosal.htm#t3

    ** Fluzone® is the only FDA-licensed flu vaccine for pediatric patients 6-35 months in the 2008-09 flu season.
    The pre-filled syringes of the pediatric dose are preservative-free.

  45. Todd W.

    Some quick comments on MMR and thimerosal. Before I get going, let me preface this by saying that I have been around a number of autistic children, ranging from very low-functioning to high-functioning.

    As other have noted already, a lot of the anti-vaccine brouhaha started with Andrew Wakefield and his MMR findings. The problem with basing anything on his studies, though, are that his samples were contaminated, he had a very small sample population, his funding came from a lawyer representing parents who claimed that the MMR caused their children’s autism, IIRC the children from whom he took the samples were the children of those parents in the lawsuit, and Wakefield himself had a applied for a couple patents for alternatives to the MMR combination vaccine. He stood to gain a great deal financially if his studies turned out to show some connection. At the time, his research sounded valid, MMR vaccination rates in the UK dropped, and the rate of measles infections skyrocketed. For more information, search Google for Brian Deer, an investigative journalist who covered the Wakefield matter pretty extensively. Since then, Wakefield has lost his license to practice medicine in the UK, based in large part on his research into the purported MMR-autism connection. Also as noted, the MMR vaccine has never contained thimerosal.

    Around the time that the MMR-autism link began to be questioned, the supposed cause shifted from MMR to thimerosal because it contains a mercury compound. For the average person, it is generally understood that mercury stays in the body for quite a long period of time. The EPA also has guidelines for exposure to mercury in the form of methylmercury. Where the anti-vax crowd errs, however, is that thimerosal contains ethylmercury, which is rather different from methylmercury. One study (Comparison of blood and brain mercury levels in infant monkeys exposed to methylmercury or vaccines containing thimerosal. Burbacher TM, Shen DD, Liberato N, Grant KS, Cernichiari E, Clarkson T. Environmental Health Perspective 2005; ehponline.org.) found that ethylmercury (the type in thimerosal) is eliminated from the body in about 8.6 days, compared to 21.5 days for methylmercury. Because of the shorter half-life of ethylmercury, it is far less likely to build up in the body, even of an infant.

    Thimerosal was removed from the majority of vaccines in 2001 (according to the FDA, not 2002 as noted above) in the U.S. Thimerosal can still be used in the production of the vaccine, but the final product must contain no more than trace amounts. Some vaccines (e.g., influenza vaccine) do contain thimerosal, but the overall exposure to thimerosal from vaccines is negligible. Some results of this are shorter shelf-life of vaccines, higher costs of manufacture (and thus higher price for the patient), and increased risk of bacterial contamination of the vaccines. The removal of thimerosal was mandated by the FDA. At the time, the research into thimerosal as a cause of autism was inconclusive, and the FDA bowed to public pressure, taking a “better safe than sorry” approach. Since then, research has shown that thimerosal is not linked to autism.

    With the removal of thimerosal, there were still some vaccines on the market that contained the preservative. However, these would have expired by 2002 and should have been removed from use if they were still around. Assuming that the absolute last thimerosal-containing vaccines were used in 2002, we should see a decrease in autism cases in the U.S. starting roughly in 2005 or 2006, but autism diagnoses are still on the rise. The logical conclusion? Thimerosal is not the cause.

    Now that thimerosal is removed as a culprit, the goalposts shift again to the frequency of vaccines. I can potentially understand how children may suffer injury from receiving vaccinations too close together. My belief, however, is that this is due to error on the part of the healthcare provider, particularly after hearing on a previous thread of someone whose child received a doubled-up dose of a vaccine because the child had missed the first scheduled shot. This was done despite clear directions in the labeling of the vaccine regarding a minimum amount of time between administrations of the vaccine. At any rate, parents are able to request an adjusted schedule of vaccinations, if that is their concern.

    Another thing popping up as a supposed cause of vaccine-induced autism is aluminum. Aluminum salts are added to vaccines because they help to stimulate the immune response. Without aluminum salts, vaccines would probably be a good deal less effective, leading to outbreaks of the diseases. (www (dot) webmd (dot) com/parenting/news/20040129/aluminum-in-vaccines-poses-no-harm)

    Sorry for the ramble, but there’s a lot of information to jam into one little post. For more information, visit the FDA, CDC and NIH web sites, and take a look at Brian Deer’s articles on Andrew Wakefield.

  46. Mick

    @ Kasey

    On what basis do you assume that nobody here who disagrees with you has been effected by autism? As an aspie (and I highly doubt that I’m the only autistic person or parent/sibling/spouse/child of an autistic person commenting) I find that incredibly offensive.

  47. JenB

    One of the proposed studies on vaccination was to compare all health outcomes of a truly non-vaccinated population with a vaccinated population. This has never been done!

    Sure, we believe we know the benefits of vaccinating, but how can we move ahead adding vaccine after vaccine to the schedule for our children without being guilty of experimentation if we haven’t looked at what else they might be doing to the health and immune systems in the long term.

    How can anyone state the mantra “the benefits of vaccinating FAR outweigh any harm they might do” when we have never looked at both sides (some argue we’ve never really proven any benefit from them either)? Is that why we are not looking? Those in charge of vaccine safety and promotion simultaneously are afraid of what honest research will show?

  48. Muzz

    Hey gang. I don’t think vaccines cause autism or anything (for all the reasons usually mentioned. Particularly the one where the agency or explanation for what causes autism varies so wildly from one country to the next. That’s a huge hole in their argument). And the constant demands for more research when there’s clearly rather a lot smacks of “we’ll keep on until we get the results we want”.
    But if I may throw a partial tangent here; that anecdote about “my kid was a genius until his/her shots and then *snap* it was like a light went off” is really common. Common amongst a relatively small segment of the community, but common none the less.
    Is there some explanation for it, other than hysteria or groupthink or confirmation bias or some such? Could there be *something* going on there even if it has nothing to do with vaccinations?
    I’m just curious if anyone knows if it’s being looked at, if there are reasons that it’s not worth it or problematic to look at (other than parental anecdotes being inherently problematic anyway), explanations drawn from the way kinds of autism present etc. That kind of thing.
    cheers

  49. José

    When and only when AUTISM happens to you, will you understand.

    This is like saying, “Until you have a relative who’s died in a car accident, you can’t understand the merits of seat belts.” I’m not going to pretend to know what it’s like to raise an autistic child, but I do know the experience has no bearing on whether or not vaccines cause autism.

  50. Reading some of the “fundamentalist” type replies from the anti-vaxxer crowd here, I can’t help but be struck by how their irrational adherence to something parallels fundamentalist religious thought. As a matter of fact, the current US “fundamentalist” movement reminds me a lot of another swing towards fundamentalism…

    Remember how the Islamic world was the height of math and science way back during the dark ages? Look at the state of most “fundamentalist” muslim countries now… Is that the way you want the US to go? The parallels are frightening!

  51. A lot of name calling in the comments here but very few facts.

    Other than the epidemiological studies which do not address vulnerable population subsets which of the commentators here can refer to any lab or biological studies to support their opinions that a lot of studies have been done on the vaccine-autism issue?

    And which of you have the credentials to disagree with Dr. Bernardine Healy former head of the NIH and American Red Cross who has in the last 9 months twice called for more studies, lab and biological studies, to be done?

  52. Isabella Thomas

    I am from the UK.

    Let me know what you think?

    British Government’s Reckless Disregard for Child Health Safety

    The UK’s Department of Health and others appear to have been reckless as to the safety of British children over the manner in which Glaxo company, Smith Kline & French Laboratories Ltd’s Pluserix MMR was introduced and used on British Children in 1988

    * the problems with Pluserix MMR were known to the supplier, Glaxo company Smith Kline & French Laboratories Ltd from the experience of its introduction to Canada, in 1986, where Pluserix was marketed under the name “Trivirix”

    * Trivirix (Pluserix) was withdrawn from use in Canada in 1988 because it was dangerous, causing high levels of adverse reactions in children

    * the high levels of British adverse reactions to the vaccine were apparent and known about at British Ministerial level in 1990, as shown by ministerial correspondence

    * Pluserix/Trivirx are the identical vaccine manufactured in the identical Smith Kline factory in Belgium and with the exact same component parts and constituents

    * despite the Canadian position and contemporaneously with the final withdrawal of Pluserix/Trivirix in Canada the UK signed the contract to purchase Pluserix MMR from Glaxo company, Smith Kline & French Laboratories Limited in July 1988, even though it was known by then to be too dangerous for use on our children

    * SK&F was provided with a blanket indemnity in that contract by the NHS Procurement Directorate

    * the contract was signed up by the backdoor through the North East Thames Regional Health Authority as agent for the NHS Procurement Directorate rather than being a contract directly entered into with the NHS Procurement Directorate which negotiated the contract or the NHS Executive of the time

    * there was no Parliamentary scrutiny of this and it seems to have been effected in a manner Ministerially deniable

    * similar problems were experienced in Japan with the Japanese MMR vaccine which, in common with Pluserxi/Trivirix, contained the Urabe strain of mumps virus

    * the Japanese MMR was also withdrawn by 1992 on safety grounds having caused high levels of adverse reactions

    * the British government continued the licence for Pluserix MMR after 1992, which enabled it to be supplied overseas

    * even today, because it is cheaper than safer alternatives, organisations like UNICEF continue supplying urabe strain containing MMR vaccine to the more adverse reaction vulnerable and less well nourished third world children

    * since 1998, statistical paper after paper has been published in a blaze of publicity, claiming no evidence of an association between the MMR vaccine and autism, but when all the noise has died down, on subsequent careful examination, each one has been found to be flawed

    * other than the Royal Free’s paper, no clinical studies of the MMR child litigants were undertaken or published

    * after being put under financial pressure by the British Government, in 2005 the Oxford based Cochrane Collaboration published a systematic review of all prior papers and its authors claimed to conclude the MMR vaccine was safe:-
    o it was shown the authors had violated the standards of evidence-based medicine and
    o their conclusions were not supported by the body of the review
    o and it later was discovered that the British Department of Health had increased the funding for Cochrane’s Oxford administration by £1 million per annum and extended the contracts of its British groups

    Autism – A serious problem being ignored

    19 Children A Day – 4 in 5 is a Boy

    Autism in Britian outstrips all other major disorders affecting British children combined and is substantially more serious than measles. Every day 19 British children develop autism spectrum disorders:

    * this will be 600,000 British children and adults in the future (birth rate approx 600,000 p.a.)
    * and horrific prospects for expectant parents
    o 1 in every 54 boys will be on the Autistic Spectrum
    o autism affects 4 times as many boys
    o so 1 in 215 girls are affected as well

    [* 19 a day and 1 in 54 come from: Baird et Al Prevalence of disorders of the autism spectrum in a population cohort of children in South Thames: the Special Needs and Autism Project (SNAP); Lancet 2006;368:210 –15. This research revealed 1 in 86 British children are being diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorders (116.1 in 10,000).

    4/5 x 116.1/5000 = 1 in 54 (4/5ths of the 116.1 are boys and approx 5000 of the 10,000 children affected will be boys)]
    Measles Comparison

    See here for details of how measles has declined substantially in severity Measles – The Official UK Statistics. For the USA see US Measles Data and generally see Risk to Children & Government Scaremongering.

    British Government & Establishment’s Efforts to Deny Compensation to MMR Vaccine Child Victims

    Legal Aid funded claims by children started as early as 1991 and well before Dr Andrew Wakefield warned the British public about the vaccine. His efforts were met with the full force of the British establishment to discredit him and proceedings before the General Medical Council resumed only yesterday, which have been going on for three years.

    The main false accusation levied in February 2004 was that Wakefield made his disclosures in a medical paper published in The Lancet medical journal because he wanted to make money being an expert witness in Court. But few people know the following [and there is naturally full documentation on this].

    The Chief Executive of the owners of “The Lancet”, Crispin Davis, had a few months earlier been brought onto the Board of Directors of MMR litigation Defendants’ parent company GlaxoSmithKline in the prior July [2003].

    Brian Deer, a freelance journalist was commissioned by The Sunday Times two months later in September 2003 to write the stories attacking Wakefield.

    This was about two weeks before the Legal Services Commission final decision was due on withdrawal of Legal Aid from the MMR children’s UK litigation and which did withdraw legal aid.

    The person who commissioned Deer was Paul Nuki, Sunday Times’ sometime Head of Newsroom investigations and “Focus” editor. Paul Nuki is son of Professor George Nuki. Professor George Nuki in 1987 sat on the Committee on Safety of Medicines when the CSM was considering Glaxo company Smith Kline & French Laboratories’ Pluserix MMR vaccine for safety approval. The CSM approved Pluserix MMR but it caused very high levels of adverse reactions and was withdrawn by the manufacturers on very little notice in late 1992 leaving the Department of Health in an embarrassing position.

    Large numbers of British children were injured and legal aid claims had already started from as early as 1990, six years before Wakefield became involved and contrary to The Sunday Times’ false claims that this was all a scam set up by Wakefield and solicitor Richard Barr.

    Sitting on the CSM with Professor George Nuki was Professor Sir Roy Meadow and Professor Sir David Hull. Professor Sir Roy Meadow is now notorious for his evidence falsely condemning mothers around the world for killing their children. This includes the Sally Clark case where vaccines are directly implicated in the cause of death, as revealed by Neville Hodgkinson in The Spectator, (What killed Sally Clark’s child? | The Spectator 16 May 2007 ) but which were specifically discounted by Professor Meadow in his evidence, despite sitting on the joint CSM/JCVI vaccine safety sub-committee with Professor David Salisbury and others to approve the MMR vaccine.

    It was Professor Sir David Hull in 1998 who, as chairman of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, started the attacks on Wakefield’s work. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation advises the Department of Health on vaccination issues and the childhood vaccination programme. As Chairman of the JCVI, Professor Sir David Hull could have taken action to deal with the issues over the MMR and protect British children. Despite his attacks on Wakefield’s work, allleging unethical research on children for no clinical benefit, two years later in 2000, it was Professor Sir David Hull who rewrote the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health ethical guidelines to permit research on children where there was no clinical benefit (albeit in The Royal Free’s case all the investigations were clinically justified).

    The Sunday Times’ freelancer was assisted in his efforts with free advice and assistance from the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry funded and controlled company Medico Legal Investigations Limited. Medico Legal Investigations Limited speciality was in getting medical doctors on charges before the General Medical Council. So we know that before a single word was published by The Sunday Times, it was already being planned with the involvement of interested parties that Wakefield and colleagues were to be taken before the GMC.

    Another free of charge helper to Sunday Times’ journalist Deer was Glaxo Wellcome funded Fellow and active British Medical Association member, Dr Evan Harris MP. Harris has advised and assisted Deer up to the present, including attending the Wakefield GMC hearings with Deer.

    The Sunday Times’ journalist, Deer, was also assisted by The Royal Free’s Strategic Health Authority which passed Deer confidential documents ‘in the spirit of openness’ and including documents relating to the confidential medical treatment of the MMR child litigants. The SHA at first denied providing documents until it was pointed out the fact was disclosed by Dr Evan Harris MP, in Parliament on 15th March 2004.

    On Saturday 21 February 2004, Lancet Editor Richard Horton pre-empted the Sunday Times’ stories. Horton was reported in The Times claiming he would not have published the MMR part of The Royal Free’s Lancet paper had Wakefield’s paid involvement in the MMR litigation been disclosed. The Sunday Times had waited until Sunday 22 February 2004, 5 days before judgment in the MMR child litigants’ High Court challenge to the withdrawal of legal aid, to publish its stories attacking Wakefield. Prime Minister Blair was reported in the press on the issue as was Health Secretary Reid.

    That MMR is solely a political and money issue was given away by journalist Jeremy Laurance’s The Independent’s story of 24th February 2004. Laurance reported there was “delight” in Whitehall as “Ministers temper their triumphalism” and that “joy” was “unconfined at the discrediting of Andrew Wakefield“. [“Ministers temper their triumphalism but delight spreads at Whitehall” The Independent – Jeremy Laurance, Health Editor Tuesday, 24 February 2004 ].

    This was bizarre if the issue was just which measles vaccine might be given to children. There was an acceptable, cheaper and more effective measles vaccine. This was hardly stuff for Prime Minister Blair to involve himself in but even he jumped in with both feet.

    However, in the light of the British government’s financial indemnity to Glaxo, the potential damage to billion pound sterling Glaxo’s financial interests from a scandal over the vaccine and the British government’s liability in negligence to large numbers of children, it starts to make sense. This also puts into clearer perspective why the choice of which measles vaccine children received became a major political issue. It had and has nothing to do with protecting your children from disease or child health safety. [blue text 15/Jan/09]

    Legal aid was withdrawn on 27th February 2004 in a secret judgment by High Court Judge Nigel Davis. The reasons remain unpublished today. Evidence given in open court at a different hearing included the allegation from a parent that an official admitted to her that legal aid was withdrawn after government pressure.

    It was discovered in 2007 that Judge Sir Nigel Davis is the brother of Lancet owner’s CEO and main Glaxo board member Sir Crispin Davis. When challenged a statement was issued on Judge Davis’ behalf to The Telegraph newspaper’s legal correspondent Joshua Rosenberg and stated “The possibility of any conflict of interest arising from his brother’s position did not occur to him.“

    On 15th March 2004 Dr Evan Harris launched an unprecedented and defamatory Parliamentary attack on Wakefield and his Royal Free colleagues and to which not one of Harris’ Liberal Democrat colleagues contributed. This was based on material in documents Sunday Times’ freelancer Deer had obtained and passed to Harris. Harris used the opportunity to raise allegations The Sunday Times chose not to publish.

    Crispin Davis was awarded a knighthood June 2004.

    Sunday Times’ freelance journalist Brian Deer confirmed it was he who had made the submissions to the GMC which led to the present GMC proceedings against Wakefield. Wakefield’s lawyers had reported in November 2004 that Deer had made a statutory complaint to the GMC and freelancer Deer reported in the Sunday Times in December 2004 that the General Medical Council was investigating the complaints against Wakefield.

    Professor Denis McDevitt was due in July 2007 to chair the unprecedented British General Medical Council hearing of the case of Doctors Wakefield, Murch and Professor Walker-Smith. McDevitt and the GMC failed to declare McDevitt’s personal involvement in approving the dangerous Pluserix MMR vaccine in 1988. He only stood down after Jamie Doward of the Observer, Martin Halle, freelance journalist for the Sunday Express, Andy Wilks of the Mail on Sunday, Jenny Hope of the Daily Mail and Heather Mills of Private Eye challenged the GMC over the matter. [“MMR Conflict of Interest Zone” Private Eye – June 2007]

    A British Medical Journal post suggests more troubling conflicts of interest of the current panel Chairman Dr Surendra Kumar. Kumar sits on two committees of the authority which licences the MMR vaccine (MHRA), the Independent Review Panel for Advertising and the Independent Review Panel for Borderline Products. Dr Kumar is also a shareholder in MMR defendents GlaxoSmithKline. “Re: Financial conflicts – shock horror” John Stone – British Medical Journal – 2 October 2008″ [Blue text 15/Jan/09]

    Contrary to Lancet Editor Dr Richard Horton’s evidence to the GMC that he did not know of Wakefield’s paid involvement in the MMR litigation, Horton had detailed correspondence in 1997 disclosing that involvement The correspondence was with Richard Barr, the solicitor who was working on the MMR litigation with Wakefield to help all those seriously injured British children. This correspondence was considerably in advance of Horton’s February 1998 publication in The Lancet of the Royal Free’s paper containing the interpretation that MMR vaccine is associated with autism cases involving inflammatory bowel disease.

    Notwithstanding this, the alleged non disclosure of the legal aid funding to Lancet Editor, Dr Richard Horton and the publication of the 1998 Royal Free paper was the nub of Deer’s The Sunday Times’ February 2004 attacks on Wakefield where it was claimed:-

    “The investigation has found that when [Wakefield] warned parents to avoid MMR, and published research claiming a link with autism, he did not disclose he was being funded through solicitors seeking evidence to use against vaccine manufacturers. “

    Now we know from this that Horton’s claims do not stand up and with them, those of The Sunday Times fall as well. But of course, not a word in the UK media.

    Horton has not returned to the GMC Wakefield hearing this week to clarify his evidence and face cross-examination. It seems only his statement will be read out.

    As for the Legal Aid money, for months in 1996 the Royal Free Medical School prevaricated accepting it because “Clearly, this could lead to a case against the Government for damages.” wrote Dean Zuckerman privately to the British Medical Association Secretary on 11th October 1996.

    What no one knows and disclosed here publicly exclusively worldwide for the first time is that when The Sunday Times published its allegations against Wakefield in 2004 their journalist already had the documents showing Wakefield – a man accused of doing what he did for the money – was fed up with this and had arranged in May 1997 for all the legal aid monies to be sent back and that he had intended to raise the money himself for the injured children [see copy Freedom of Information memo below – added 17/Jan/09].

    970520-tarhan-to-zuckerman-blatch-re-giving-the-money-back_11

    It was the Royal Free which instead then reversed its position, decided to accept the money and arranged in July 1997 for it to be paid to special trustees. Wakefield was never going to and never did receive a cent.

    AUTISM – US Court Decisions and Other Recent Developments – It’s Not Just MMR

    [Blue added 15/Jan/09]

    In February 2008, award winning best selling author David Kirby broke the story of the case of Hannah Poling and how the US Department of Health and Human Services secretly conceded [ie. there was no need for a hearing] in a US Federal Court case that Hannah’s symptoms of autism were caused by the nine vaccines [ie. not just MMR] which she received in one day [The Vaccine-Autism Court Document Every American Should Read – David Kirby – Huffington Post – February 26, 2008].

    The official HHS position is that they conceded [whether frankly or spin] that vaccines caused Hannah’s autistic symptoms by exacerbating an underlying mitochondrial disorder. The case put the issue high up the US political agenda and continues to receive coast-to-coast media coverage in the USA [but almost total silence in the UK]. CNN lists the autism issue in its top ten US health stories of 2008:-

    #2 – Autism – “Debate over the causes of autism continued to rage after a court decided to compensate a family whose daughter developed the disorder after receiving childhood vaccinations” – Autism in CNN’s 2008 top ten US health stories

    But Hannah’s case is not isolated and her “underlying” mitochondrial dysfunction appears not to be as rare as the US HHS would like us to think [Explaining Vaccines Autism & Mitochondrial Disorder]. And other cases have been made public [but we do not know how many cases have been settled quietly, as Hannah’s case was before it became coast-to-coast news in the USA throughout 2008].

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

    “Obama Climbs On The Vaccine Bandwagon” – April 22, 2008 – David Kirby, Huffington Post]

    “You do not want to bring your children into the world where we go on with the number of children who are born with autism tripling every 20 years, and nobody knows why,” Bill Clinton said.

    * “Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama returning to Oregon“ – Amy Easley and Tony Fuller, KTVZ.COM,

    * “McCain steps into debate over cause of autism” – International Herald Tribune – Benedict Carey – March 4, 2008

    In addition to the Hannah Poling case, the US Court also ruled last year in favour of a little boy Benjamin Zeller, deciding that as a result of the MMR vaccination received on 17 November 2004, Benjamin, suffered persistent, intractable seizures, encephalopathy, and developmental delay [US Court Rules In Favour Of Family In MMR Vaccine Case Ben Zeller J].

    * the judgement states the US Department of Health and Human Services had no alternative explanation beyond “Unconfirmed speculation by a few treating doctors, as with Dr. Wiznitzer’s hypothesization“
    * the standard of proof being applied in this US Court is identical to that in the English Court.
    * just like the English Court, these cases are decided by judge alone sitting without a jury [and that means better decisions on fact and evidence – no decisions from jury sympathy for the claimant]

    In Banks v. HHS (Case 02-0738V, 2007 U.S. Claims LEXIS 254, July 20, 2007) MMR vaccine administered in March 2000 and the child was diagnosed with Pervasive Development Disorder [ie. Autistic Spectrum Disorder] secondary to acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM). There have also been other reported cases.

    The high and rising prevalence of autism brings into stark question the risk-vs-risk ratio of disease-vs-vaccines. In a recent authoritative peer refereed study [January 7, 2009] researchers at the UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute has found that the seven-to-eight-fold increase in the number children born with autism in California since 1990 cannot be explained by either changes in how the condition is diagnosed or counted — and the trend shows no sign of abating: [Press release “UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute study shows California’s autism increase not due to better counting, diagnosis” – full text of study found here – “The Rise in Autism and the Role of Age at Diagnosis” Epidemiology 20:1 January 2009]. This authoritative new US study shows:-

    * the substantial increase in autism is real and
    * must be caused by environmental factors and cannot be genetic
    * cannot be explained away as better diagnosis and greater awareness

    New figures from the US show a doubling of autism in 5 years [ie. 2002-6 – see Table 1]. This represents US government tax dollars paid out.

    TABLE 1 – USA SOCIAL SECURITY AUTISM FIGURES 2002-6
    SSI RECIPIENTS
    COUNTS FOR ADULTS AND CHILDREN
    RECEIVING BENEFITS
    FOR AUTISTIC & OTHER PERVASIVE DEVELOPMENT DISORDERS
    AS OF DECEMBER IN 2002 – 2006

    As Of December In Year Children 21 and under Adults 1/ All Recipients

    2002 38,324 7,360 45,684
    2003 44,076 9,282 53,358
    2004 51,581 11,450 63,031
    2005 59,479 13,647 73,126
    2006 68,050 16,190 84,240

    1/ INCLUDES PERSONS AGE 65 AND OVER WITH CLAIM TYPE = DISABILITY.

    The US Inter-Agency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) has voted to recommend earmarking millions of dollars in research funds from the Combating Autism Act of 2006 to study the possible role of vaccines in the causation of autism – [“Top Federal Autism Panel Votes For Millions in Vaccine Research” – David Kirby – The Huffington Post – January 5, 2009].

    Further recent news from the USA indicates US President Barak Obama is serious on the vaccines-to-autism issue [“TV’s Gupta Chosen for US Surgeon General” – By Ceci Connolly and Howard Kurtz – Washington Post Staff Writers – Wednesday, January 7, 2009]. This CNN interview by Dr Gupta openly discusses vaccines causing autism – if this was BBC Panorama everyone would be shocked – CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta interviews Dr. Jon Poling. And in another interview, Gupta interviews the Director of the US Centers for Diseases Control on the same issues: CDC Chief Admits that Vaccines Trigger Autism

    And what is the British Department of Health doing about this? It seems nothing whatsoever, even though at the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee 17th June 2008 MPs and Peers heard Cambridge autism expert Professor Simon Baron-Cohen concede to a questioner that more research into the vaccine/autism connection is needed and that a recent study indicates autism costs the UK £28 Billion pa. The £28 billion figure includes hidden costs, like costs of people taken out of the economy, whether those affected or their carers. [LSE “Economic Consequences of Autism in the UK” – Study by team led by Professor Martin Knapp [Executive Summary] [NB. The main defect in the research is the assumption there are 433,000 are adults (aged 18 and over) who have autistic spectrum disorders. We have the research to show there are approximately 107,000 children but there is not such a number of adults, the 433,000 being a projection based on the numbers of children.]

    Here are some of the politics and cronyism of Labour’s approach to burying the autism problem. Surprisingly, we do not have any official “body count” of autistic children and adults. All we have is the “first ever” prevalence study commissioned by the DoH in 2008 [announced by Ivan Lewis] but seemingly involving “Tony’s Cronies”. “Department of Health announces adult autism strategy” – Thursday, 8-May-2008.

    The study is to find all the adult autistics who should exist [to prove autism has always been this high] and is not due to report until this year. Minister Tessa Jowell’s first husband and New Labour stalwart, Roger Jowell’s old company, NatCen is involved. NatCen (The National Centre for Social Research) is billed as a “not-for-profit” company and works almost exclusively for government and governmental organisations. : [“University of Leicester to lead audit of adults with autism” Eurekalert – 9-May-2008].

    To prove autism has always been this high the authors must find approximately 400,000 adult autistics in the UK and their assumed approx 400,000 carers. But there cannot be that many. Office for National Statistics figures show the total number of adults caring for a dependent adult or relative in September 2001 for any reason was 326,000 [source 2001 Census figures – Table 1 – “The economically inactive who look after the family or home”].

    _____________________________________________

    Notes on terminology:-

    In the US the official diagnostic definition of what we call “Autism Spectrum Disorders” or ASD are instead called “Pervasive Development Disorders” or PDD for short. That is under the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th edn)” or “DSM IV” for short.

    “Autistic Spectrum Disorder” is the term applied internationally under the “ICD” or “International Classification of Disease”

    Many refer to ASD and PDD as “autism” but “autism” is a subset of the spectrum and is often referred to also as “childhood autism”, “typical autism” and “Kanner autism”. [The common behaviours like hand flapping, loss of eye contact and suchlike in young children are unmistakable, whereas other spectrum disorders like mild Aspergers Syndrome can be more difficult to diagnose.]

  53. John Fryer

    Lets assume everyone here wants to KNOW the cause of autism?

    But everyone is ARGUING amongst themselves?

    Is this good?

    Mercury present in one vaccine EVENLY diluted throughout the body of an infant will be at the level at which it CATALYTICALLY destroys BRAIN CELLS.

    Go and see Fritz Lorscheider video which is now TEN YEARS OLD.

    Since then we have learned much more about the HARM of mercury.

    With nearly 20 years of work behind me it is impossible to answer all the points here.

    But if you sign a contract with a vaccine company to investigate mercury do you not thing the vaccine company will have some say in the results?

    All the few papers that say mercury is a good substitute for lemon juice are FRAUD.

    If you can’t see the money is power you are lost.

    My pay for my work for 20 years ZERO.

    Funding for Verstraeten CDC was millions of dollars.

    He now works for the vaccine company GSK as a top executive.

    He says mercury improves your IQ.

    Sheer FRAUD and CRIMINAL too.

    Autism isnt a SINGLE COMPARTMENT MODEL for cause but mercury STILL in 2009 vaccines is not helping.

    Danish studies show no mercury equals no autism (autism here is insignificant to the 10 times higher in USA)

    Old mercury vaccines shipped to CHINA

    There levels of autism have risen 1000 fold in TEN YEARS

    No evidence for genetic change in ONE TENTH of ONE GENERATION.

    Measles has caused one ENglish death in ten years.

    Go to a USA hospital and you have a one in three chance of picking up an infectious drug resistant illness.

    Thats 11 million infections each year many causing DEATH.

    Why not target vaccines for these people?

    There is a problem.

    Vaccines dont just cause autism they KILL.

    Death to infants between birth and one year is 7 per 1000

    Death to infants in Japan over this period is 2 per 1000

    Japan doesn’t force vaccination before age 1 year.

    2008 vaccine trial for adults had 6 per cent mortality rate.

    RISKS and REWARD

    1 measles death = everyone vaccinated or else

    11 million hospital infections and no VACCINE in sight?

    And they tell you they can make a new vaccine for flu every year ready for you and full of mercury

    THANKS BUT NO THANKS

  54. To those of you discounting the autism/vaccine link and hailing Ms. Allison Tepper Singer as a hero:

    May I remind you that someone with a scientific mind, Dr. Bernardine Healy, who was the PREVIOUS Director of the CDC has publicly stated that the studies done to date on the causation of vaccines and autism are not conclusive and that MORE RESEARCH should be done.

    So if you think some public relations mouthpiece knows more than the former Director of the CDC……so be it.

  55. Dan

    Question: How long has mercury been in children’s vaccines? I’ll wager its a crap longer than the “autism” spike.

    Secondly, one reason for the autism spike is the recognition of autism as a ‘spectrum’ disorder. It used to be that things like Asperger’s Syndrome were one disorder, autism another. That is no longer true. Autism is not a large umbrella under which various “disorders” are grouped. So that, right there, increases the amount of cases of “autism.”

    Third, before David M. or anyone else asks. My brother is on the autism spectrum, I’ve talked to probably…oh, 100-200 parents of autistic children. Want to know how many of them think vaccines caused it? Come on, take a guess. No? Alright, the answer is ZERO.

    Do you know why, because there is NO evidence. We can’t consider the evidence because there is NONE.

    post hoc, ergo propter hoc is NOT evidence. Why is autism diagnosed right after vaccination? Because that’s the age when autism disorders have ALWAYS manifested, even before the vaccinations were commomplace. That age is when autism like disorders become apparent. Before that, you’re dealing with babies and you really can see an autism like disorder.

    John Fyer,

    Vaccines kill? You are correct that vaccines do, occasionally, case serious problems in some people.

    Do you know what else kills…POLIO.

    You know what else kills…SMALLPOX

    Why don’t you read up on exactly how many people DIED from the diseases we now vaccinate against before you come here screaming about how vaccines kill.

    Vaccinate against Polio and a dozen people MAY die. Don’t vaccinate against it and thousands (if not millions) WILL die. Get the needle doc, I’ll take my chances.

  56. Todd W.

    @John Fryer

    Wow. What to address. I guess the biggest thing that jumped out is your lemon juice statement. I’m assuming you mean that lemon juice can act as a preservative in vaccines? Could you please provide a citation to several papers showing the efficacy of lemon juice in keeping bacterial contamination of vaccines lower than thimerosal for the same length of time?

    Implying that companies pay researchers to say that thimerosal is safe, and that profit is the motivating factor for that, consider this: not using thimerosal results in vaccines that have a shorter shelf life, necessitating doctors to buy the product more frequently, leading to more money for the pharmaceutical company. Furthermore, taking out thimerosal means that the vaccines are produced in single-dose vials, meaning, again, that physicians must buy more vials, leading to, you guessed it, more profit for the pharmaceutical company. Do you see the flaw in your argument yet?

    Can you provide a little more info about Fritz Lorscheider? Perhaps some links? What type of mercury was involved: methylmercury or ethylmercury? Or some other type of mercury compound?

    You make quite a number of claims and assertions. Can you please provide links to where you got the information? Published, peer-reviewed papers. Reputable research. In particular, I’m looking for where you got your statistics.

    I’m not sure whether any research is going on into some sort of staph vaccine, or whether it is even possible. I assume that’s what you mean about the infections in hospitals but no vaccine in sight. Perhaps you have extensive experience in the vaccine discovery process? If so, please share your wisdom.

    Ultimately, your arguments against thimerosal sound mostly like irrational ranting based on shoddy science and a lack of understanding. A couple points in addition to the ones I made in a previous post about thimerosal. The preservative has been in use since the 1930s. The level of total cumulative exposure during that period is higher than the cumulative exposure to thimerosal from vaccines since around 2002. If thimerosal is the culprit, then we should see the level of autism diagnoses drop to below any level in the past, right?

  57. Todd W.

    John Fryer and JenB have prompted me to comment, yet again, about the whole risk-benefit thing with vaccines. This breaks down into a couple parts: risk-benefit ratio between the vaccine and the disease and risk-benefit ratio between the individual receiving the vaccine and the public at large.

    First, the vaccine-disease comparison. In comparing the overall risk of serious injury, vaccines have a much lower risk than the disease that they prevent. The CDC has a fact sheet showing the risk of serious injury or death from diseases and the risk of serious injury or death from the vaccine preventing that disease. It can be found at www (dot) cdc (dot) gov/vaccines/vac-gen/6mishome.htm. Please read it.

    Now, the risks of disease vs. vaccination for the individual vs. the public. In the U.S., an individual is pretty safe, currently, from contracting a disease due to herd immunity. In other words, because a certain percentage of the population (typically around 90%-95%) is vaccinated, even those who do not get vaccinated are protected as if they were vaccinated. However, if the vaccination rate drops too much, then we get outbreaks of disease. Take a look at the measles problems in the U.K. due to lowered MMR vaccination for an example.

    Someone opposed to vaccination may see only the impact on their child and not consider the impact on others. They might think, “I don’t want my child injured by a vaccine, and my child will most likely get through any childhood disease without any problem.” And you know what, I’m fine with people making their own choices for their own health. The problem, though, is that their decision is also a decision for everyone they and their child come in contact with. If your child has a communicable disease and you take him or her to the pediatrician, you are exposing other children to that disease, some of whom will not have received any vaccination yet due either to age or medical contraindication. So, newborn infants can be exposed to something that can very likely lead to deafness, blindness, other permanent injuries, and possibly even death. You take your unvaccinated, sick child on the bus, train, to the store, to work, and you expose to possible infection others who either have not been vaccinated because of medical problems or whose immunity has lapsed; people who are at high risk for serious complications from infection, such as the elderly, AIDS patients, and those who are on immunosuppressants after receiving a transplant.

    When you choose not to vaccinate your child, you are not only putting your child at risk for infection, but you are also putting everyone that child comes in contact with at risk for contracting a disease. You are essentially choosing for other people, as well.

    Keep in mind, death from these diseases, particularly in advanced nations, is pretty rare, but far more likely than death from vaccines. Other non-fatal but serious injury, such as deafness, blindness, seizures, etc., are far more likely to occur. The best way to prevent these injuries? Vaccination.

    And a final note. Some have argued, questioning how we know that vaccines are safe. Every medical product in the U.S., as well as most developed nations, must prove through well-controlled studies and research lasting many, many years, that their product is safe and effective, and that the relative risks of injury from the product are outweighed by the benefits received. Without these studies, the products do not get approved.

  58. Erin

    Investigating vaccines IS the scientific thing to do; investigating ANYTHING is more scientific than not investigating it. For example, I can say, “Aliens do not exist. Let’s not investigate them.” Or I can set up a scientific experiment to test for the presence of aliens.

    Furthermore, it cannot be proven that something does not exist; hence, we cannot prove that vaccines DON’T cause autism. It can be inferred that they don’t cause autism, but not proven.

    Shouldn’t research cover ALL possible angles? I do not think it is a good idea to quit one’s job because the organization they work for is doing scientific research they don’t agree with provided, this was only a small fraction of their total money being spent ($16,000 compared to a billion, so I’ve heard).

    Lastly, my mother is anti-vaccine and she does her own research into the conspiracy. She has found some very interesting mistruths in what officials are saying regarding the claim that vaccines are safe. If these studies are full of mistruths and errors, then they are not good studies at all and need to be reinvestigated.

    “Scientific organizations say this” is not the same thing as “Science says this.”

  59. Erin

    $16,000,000 compared to a billion. Sorry!

  60. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    Unless you have lived through this with your child you have no room to judge us parents who witnessed the whole thing happen to our children.

    Actually we can, as empirical methods consists in making authoritative decisions based on testing against hard facts. Singular anecdotal evidence are not, can not, be part of observational methods for easy to understand reasons – they can’t be repeated or tested.

    Outside of empirical methods, outside of science, you are correct, since there may be no telling what is right or wrong. A famous anecdote is Feynman’s description of cargo cult science. Cargo cults occurred at times when airplanes delivered goods to tribes in isolated places, mostly during WWII. Long after the deliveries disappeared those tribes used the paraphernalia of the ground crews in the hope that the planes would return – they waved spatulas in the air, tried to contact pilots through mock up microphones, et cetera.

    In this case, parents ask for a change of hard facts, for the deliverance of the support an established reason behind an individual sickness can give. But modern medicine, with its main basis in observational statistics, can seldom deliver such certainty, as opposed to the untested claims of earlier voodoo practices. And in any case is using anecdotal evidence against tested medicine in an organized fashion, knowingly or not, to be member of a cargo cult. And a dangerous one that causes observed harm, at that.

  61. Philp D you said: “David M: perhaps you can tell me how much mercury is in vaccines?” Here is a link for you to check out: http://www.vaccinesafety.edu/thi-table.htm. Note the source is John Hopkins. The data is recent (August 2008) and the DTwP and DT shots have 25mg of thimerasol. Now for adverse listing on the DTaP vaccine go to: http://www.drugs.com/ppa/diphtheria-tetanus-toxoids-acellular-pertussis-vaccine-dtap-tdap.html. Scroll down to the section labeled as “Adverse Reactions” Sub-category is: “Tripedia” and the listed side effects are: “Drowsiness (29%); irritability (25%); anorexia (10%); fussiness (6%); autism, convulsion, encephalopathy, grand mal convulsion, hypotonia, neuropathy, somnolence (postmarketing).”

    Jeff you said: “And if you bothered to look at other countries/continents, you would see that this ‘vaccination causes autism’ thing is almost completely exclusive to the US.” And again a pro-poisoner of children is wrong. Check this site out for autism rates in some (though not all) other countries: http://www.autism-society.org/site/PageServer?pagename=community_world_incidence. The statistics are fairly recent (2005 to 2007) and as you can see by the chart China and India are actually surpassing the US.

    Jeff you further said: “Do you really think that the drug companies or whatever have this huge iron grip over the entire world and hush everyone and halt all research?” And my answer is a resounding yes and they do it through WHO (WORLD health organization).

    You pro-poisoners make me sick and I pray you don’t ever have to live our lives before you get the wake up call. I would love for you PERSONALLY to live this life but I would never wish this issue on innocent children.

  62. So as a mother of two autistic children who simply shared her story & also explains what I meant here, Chris still refers to me as an “IDIOT!” I am not sure how being called an “idiot” is going to help the situation at hand. But maybe another comment directed to me from Chris will, “If my pal knew you existed, he would shred you to bits.” And I don’t change my theory Chris. It is a can or worm I choose not to open right now because I know I will only be called even worse names for it. I am a biomedical mother who is healing my children using medical treatments that are as intense as cancer treatment. Is my son on the verge of dying? No. But whether or not my sons speaks or learns to manage his bowels, or functions in society depends on these treatments around the clock.God forbid I try to avoid him having seizures when I am not there to protec thim. My son is now verbal, potty trained and is on the verge of loosing his diagnosis one day because I chose not to sit on my a**. I chose to treat his medical conditions, and for that… biomedical mothers should be thanked. Because you see we know that our chidlren are going to grow up one day and be so called possible “burdens” on the world. Instead, we want our kids to survive without us, we want them to survive without governemnt assistance. Yet, we are constantly being hounded for our beliefs.

    Chris, are you sure you weren’t vaccine injured yourself? My kids have an excuse, what’s yours? Parents of children with autism, no matter the trigger, we are suppose to unite to heal our children. All we ask for is support! We aren’t trying to start fights. If we can’t even do that, we have no business raising these children. Because I believe God is using our children to wake us the heck up! So when, America, are we going to wake up? Are we just going to continue to watch our children suffer from severe food allergies, add, adhd, ocd, aspergers, depression, bipolar disorder, rhetts, celiac, autism… Every where you turn, children have these diagnosis. I mean, seriously, there is a connection. Our God and our Mother Earth is trying to tell us something.

    It appears that all the “assuming” got this comment thread no where. My mom use to tell me that assuming makes an a%^ out of you and me. I didn’t direct my comment in a hateful manner strictly towards anyone. I certainly did not assume that there were no other autism parents on this treat, and I always take into account adults living with autism. For God’s sake, I have a passion for autism, why would I exclude you? Parents of autistic children are affected differently. I simply stated that the parents of vaccine injured children, see first hand, over night, the role that vaccines played in our children’s autism. And some children were not as harmed as others. Sometimes, the evidence isn’t so black and white. But when you have a perfectly healthy, developing child….. and it stops OVER FREAKING NIGHT! What the hell else is it? Is there some “autism fairy” that just comes int he middle of the night and drops “autism dust” and steals our chidlren from us OVER FREAKING NIGHT?

    I was there when my son nearly died from a fever induced seizure within 24 hours after his MMR. I was there when I called his name over and over and he didn’t respond. Were you there when I was begging for God to save my child? Were you there when his eyes started to glaze just hours after his shot? Where you there when there was blood in his diapers? Where you there when I lost count of the fluid bags it took in his IV to attempt to get some movement out of him? Were you there when he stopped eating, and started throwing up all day, every day for the next year? Were you there when he couldn’t poop for weeks on end? Were you there when he stopped calling me mom or stopped letting me hold him? TELL ME , WERE YOU THERE WHEN I LOST MY CHILD? If not, you have no freaking right to comment on my experience. I mean, are you going to tell me that all these things were just laying dormnat and appeared at 1 year? What is so magical in a child’s developemnt at 1 year that these new medical burdens would just appear?

    I could go on and on, unraveling the medical chaos that happened to my children. But instead, I choose to take that negative energy and make it positive, as I already have with my children’s diagnosis. I will fight for my children and NO ONE gets in between a mother and her child. All this scientific mumbo jumbo means s#$% to us! All we want is for our children to get better, to feel better, yet we are constantly being called idiots because we want to save other children and their parents from going through this. And I will get my sons back. You see, I don’t seek revenge, even though I have every god given right too. I didn’t go file some claim on vaccine injury. Instead, I seek for my children to get better, so I work my ass off in hopes that he will survive in this “normal” world. No one can change what has happened to my sons but I can try to heal the damage. We’re just a band of mothers who want our babies back. Our babies are sick and they are hurting. What are we suppose to do? Let all these medical issues alone and just try to help our kids with some ABA or speech therapy and hope that things change as our children become more and more lost. Tell me, If your child was sick over and over and over and you watched the agony and pure pain, yet he coudln’t tell you what was wrong? What would you do? You woudln’t just lay there helpless waiting for goverment money. You would try to get your baby better. You would try to find out what is causing this? Right? If you don’t want to march in our parade, no one is making you. But try to find it in your heart to support the mothers and fathers of autism, who want more for their children and only want to protect yours.

  63. @Erin:
    “Scientific organizations say this” is not the same thing as “Science says this.”

    Where, exactly, do you think the science comes from? FDA, CDC, NIH are all scientific organizations who are doing the science.

    Shouldn’t research cover ALL possible angles?

    How many studies is enough to, and this is important, reasonably conclude that there is no connection? 10? 100? 1000? Where do we stop? The point that Alison made was that she believed that enough studies have been done to show that there is no link. Is that, definitive? Absolutely not. But as it has been said many times in this argument, at this point the time, effort and money would be better spent looking for other causes.

    She has found some very interesting mistruths in what officials are saying regarding the claim that vaccines are safe.

    Citation?

  64. Drat. My blockquote tags didn’t work. Let’s try that again:

    @Erin:

    “Scientific organizations say this” is not the same thing as “Science says this.”

    Where, exactly, do you think the science comes from? FDA, CDC, NIH are all scientific organizations who are doing the science.

    “Shouldn’t research cover ALL possible angles?”

    How many studies is enough to, and this is important, reasonably conclude that there is no connection? 10? 100? 1000? Where do we stop? The point that Alison made was that she believed that enough studies have been done to show that there is no link. Is that, definitive? Absolutely not. But as it has been said many times in this argument, at this point the time, effort and money would be better spent looking for other causes.

    “She has found some very interesting mistruths in what officials are saying regarding the claim that vaccines are safe.”

  65. Rob

    Brave? Hero? Really.
    The real Allison Singer wanted to kill her autistic child:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7NTfZzS9b8

  66. Dan

    If you want to study vaccines as a cause of autism…fine.

    PROVIDED you come up with SOMETHING NEW. Many studies have shown that there is no link with Mercury. Thermisol is no longer used (hence its a dead issue).

    So if you can come with SOMETHING else we’ll look into it.

    Post hoc ergo propter hoc provides a good STARTING point. Sure you can say “hmmm, what caused B. Well B started after A, maybe A caused B.”

    That’s fine, but when you do the work and you fine NO LINK between A and B you’re just wasting your time continuing to investigate if A caused B.

    Look, its like this. Barack Obama was elected after I was born. Therefore, MY BIRTH caused Barack Obama to be elected President.

    That’s post hoc ergo propter hoc. Sure it’s an absurdity but so is continuing to beat the “Vaccines Cause Autism” drug when there is NOTHING BUT post hoc ergo propter hoc to base that claim on.

    All the Anti-Vaxxers are doing is sucking time and money from REAL autism research. If anything the Anti-Vaxxers are FURTHER DAMAGING research into autism by continuing to insist on research of dead subject.

  67. Rob: That video is without any context whatsoever, and looks like a hit piece. You’ll need to do a lot better than that.

  68. HCN

    John Fryer lied again with “Japan doesn’t force vaccination before age 1 year.”

    Just this week he was caught with this lie, and has tried to push it again:
    http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/?p=1781&cpage=1#comment-55613

    Ignore John Fryer, he is a very sick man and cannot argue his way out of a paper sack.

  69. HCN

    Kasey ranted “I was there when my son nearly died from a fever induced seizure within 24 hours after his MMR. I was there when I called his name over and over and he didn’t respond.”

    Big deal. My son suffered a serious seizure when he had an actual disease. He also had seizures shortly after birth. At one time I was all to familiar with the layout of our local Children’s Hospital.

    Seizures happen, and they are not all caused by vaccines.

    We do not know if the seizures caused his disabilities or not. But he is not dead, and I think you are being very evil comparing it to cancer:
    http://www.autismvox.com/autism-and-cancer/

    Considering the experience this week with the lies of John Fryer, I am not inclined to believe any of the rants of the likes of you or any of the others who rant and rave without any real evidence. Especially when measles, mumps and other diseases are returning due to the “vaccines cause autism” myth (note, the kill count is seven in Europe from just measles, http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2009/01/12/EU_study_Measles_persists_in_Europe/UPI-45341231793782/, and pertussis still kills over a dozen American babies each year, and that number is growing).

    While I did not agree with Ms. Singer’s video, I do agree with her notion that the “vaccine causes autism” myth is dead, and should be put to rest. There are other things to spend money on, like education, therapy, support, etc. But you guys will continue to rant and rave, trying to substitute sob stories for real evidence. Much like the shop owner in Monty Python’s Dead Parrot sketch:
    http://www.mtholyoke.edu/~ebarnes/python/dead-parrot.htm

  70. HCN

    I was listening to the 13th Skeptic Zone podcast, http://www.skepticzone.tv/ … and was reminded of this wonderful and very well titled webpage:
    http://www.ratbags.com/rsoles/vaxliars/vaccines.htm

  71. ANB

    “So at this point until you have the answer nothing can be ruled out.”

    What a ridiculous statement. There’s plenty we can rule out as the cause of autism – evil spirits, sun spots, the decline of piracy, boy bands, the fall of Communism, Diet Dr. Pepper.

    Oh, and vaccines.

  72. I don’t recall saying that vaccines CAUSED autism, only that they triggered an overwhleming immune response & attack in our children, resulting in autism. And for those of you who don’t believe autism is a medical disease? Be prepared. It is coming to a neighborhood near you and I hope to God you never have to go through what we go through. I wouldnt’ wish it on my worst enemy. How dare you try to say that what my son has gone through and continue to go through isn’t an actual disease. Shame on you for belittling his pain and his overwhelming medical diagnosis. Big Deal? Yes it is a big deal where the health of our children are involved. Everyone should try to determine what triggers seizures in your child and work your a#$ to make sure they don’t keep reoccuring. Medication isnt always the answer. And they can be a big deal, do they cause death? No…. but look at what happened to Jett Travolta.

    Instead of ranting about what doesn’t cause autism(in your mind) you really should volunteer some time in therapy with families who have recently diagnosed children.

  73. @Kasey: Who here ever said that autism is not a medical disease?? Nobody here is denying the existence of autism, just that vaccines are the cause of it.

    Funny you should bring up Jett Travolta. Do a little looking into what their scientology-based parents think of medical treatments…

  74. drksky….

    Some people that I have encountered, don’t consider autism a medical issue. They consider it a disorder or a delay….. or whatever,

    I know what scientology-based parents think of autism, and we wont go there, lol :) I think I have had enough for today, lol.

  75. ANd someone above, I am too tired to look… mentioned that my son’s vaccine/fever induced seizure or his autism seizures in general weren’t a big deal because their son also had seizures but they actually had a real disease.

  76. TheBlackCat

    What is the difference between a disease and a disorder? I usually see disorder in reference to diseases that are caused by the body (although they can have an external trigger, like some autoimmune disorders). That doesn’t mean they are not major diseases with real effects on a person.

  77. A4B

    Studying vaccines is either a waste of time, or the previous studies have been a waste of time because they looked at the wrong groups of people. Obviously vaccinations are safe for the vast majority of people. At this point we don’t know who, if anyone, is susceptible to an unusual brain damaging inflammation or other reaction from any of these shots, but the group is very small, and there is good reason to keep looking. Regressive autism is not imaginary, and it is not the result of a failure to notice early symptoms. Many of you just don’t listen because it just doesn’t match your experience with autism. The mercury angle may be a lark, but that is not the only conceivable way vaccines could cause injury. You are not wrong, you just got there another way. Kids are developing vocabularies of hundreds of words and meeting all milestones before sudden regression. Whether it is seizure related or due to some other cause, you simply can not dismiss all anecdotal accounts of regression into autism within days of vaccination. The 16million that was diverted away from vaccine and susceptible population research equals the lifetime care cost of 3 to 5 individuals with autism. You folks that want to put the breaks on research in favor of services, education and housing maybe just shooting yourself in the foot in a big way if you are wrong. We can’t afford to take care of the people with autism living today. If rates keep rising, and we don’t keep looking for environmental links and try and stop this, how are we going to take care of the autism population in 20 years? From an economic standpoint alone, it would be incredibly foolish to stop looking.

    Louis – “Wouldn’t it be more productive for them to use the energy they expend in fighting in finding ways to make their child’s and their own lives more enjoyable? “ I don’t think many calling for research into vaccines are doing it to help their own kids. Some of us are in this to make sure the epidemic portion of autism ends in our lifetime without practicing eugenics. Its a calling, because of our kids, not instead of our kids.

    I have to agree with others who have a problem with calling Singer a hero.

  78. See, I don’t buy the whole “autism epidemic as a recent event” thing. I don’t think autism is a recent disease, nor do I think the rise in cases in the past few years is due to an environmental factor. I’m one of those who thinks that the rise in cases is due to a better understanding of the condition, not due to an actual rise in occurrence.

    Before the mid-90’s I had never heard of ADHD, then all of a sudden it was everywhere. I think this is the same thing.

  79. Radwaste

    I sure wish some of you talking about mercury knew something about chemistry, or would start showing what you know.

    The first thing you could try is to link Hg to autism. Elemental Hg is, as you would guess, a heavy metal. Please carry on from there in your own words. I want to be sure you understand chemistry.

  80. Julian

    “I sure wish some of you talking about mercury knew something about chemistry, or would start showing what you know.”

    I wish they knew something about statistics.

  81. isles

    “I wish they knew something about statistics.”

    Indeed. And if I may add to the wish list, that they would take an honest assessment of the differences between mercury poisoning and autism.

  82. José

    @Kacey
    All this scientific mumbo jumbo means s#$% to us!

    That’s the problem right there. Instead of trying to understand it, your letting your terrible personal experience be your guide in a situation where you need to step back and look at the big picture.

    Take a town that has childhood leukemia rates that are 800% higher than would be expected. People will correctly look for a cause. They might suspect high voltage power lines, runoff from a pig farm, that old chemical factory… whatever. But it could just as well be horrible luck. If we could removed absolutely every possible cancer causing agent from everywhere in the world, we’d still have cancer clusters. It’s a statistical fact.

    The chances of having an autism experience like yours are far greater than someone winning the lottery, yet people win the lottery. A few people have even won twice. So we have to look at autism experiences as a whole. When we do, the autism/vaccine connection goes away.

  83. José

    @Kacey
    Now, if I had the same experience you had with your first two children, would I opt out of the MMR vaccination for my third? You bet I would. That’s how we’re hardwired to think. It’s usually good evolutionary strategy. If you see one guy eat some berries and drop dead you might think its chance, but you probably shouldn’t eat them. If you see another guy eat them with the same result, the berries are probably poison, and you’d be an idiot to try them. Rats can figure this one out.

    But some people are bound to witness this exact scenario play out with perfectly good non-poisonous berries. If that’s the case they might just end up depriving themselves of a valuable food source, and the only way to tell if it’s a fluke or not is by looking at many more cases where people ate the berries. This is what’s been done with vaccines and autism, and there’s no link.

    Do I think we should stop looking for a vaccine link? Yes. I think we’ve come to a point where that money and effort would do more good looking for other causes and better treatments. That’s why scientists are fed up with the Antivaxxer movement. It’s not because they’re cold and uncaring, or getting rich off vaccines. It’s because the Antivaxxer movement is hurting autism.

  84. Rob

    No time Phil. You see, I have a child with autism. I don’t have the luxury of writing my opinions on internet blogs, without consequence. I don’t even have time to read blogs, but many people are speaking unwell of you at this time, which caused me to want to understand why. I hope you will focus more on bringing good facts to the world, and less time opining.
    I love good journalism. Thanks.

  85. Phil and Jeff,

    Yesterday I left the following comments:

    ============================================================================
    January 18th, 2009 at 12:07 pm
    Philp D you said: “David M: perhaps you can tell me how much mercury is in vaccines?” Here is a link for you to check out: http://www.vaccinesafety.edu/thi-table.htm. Note the source is John Hopkins. The data is recent (August 2008) and the DTwP and DT shots have 25mg of thimerasol. Now for adverse listing on the DTaP vaccine go to: http://www.drugs.com/ppa/diphtheria-tetanus-toxoids-acellular-pertussis-vaccine-dtap-tdap.html. Scroll down to the section labeled as “Adverse Reactions” Sub-category is: “Tripedia” and the listed side effects are: “Drowsiness (29%); irritability (25%); anorexia (10%); fussiness (6%); autism, convulsion, encephalopathy, grand mal convulsion, hypotonia, neuropathy, somnolence (postmarketing).”

    Jeff you said: “And if you bothered to look at other countries/continents, you would see that this ‘vaccination causes autism’ thing is almost completely exclusive to the US.” And again a pro-poisoner of children is wrong. Check this site out for autism rates in some (though not all) other countries: http://www.autism-society.org/site/PageServer?pagename=community_world_incidence. The statistics are fairly recent (2005 to 2007) and as you can see by the chart China and India are actually surpassing the US.
    Jeff you further said: “Do you really think that the drug companies or whatever have this huge iron grip over the entire world and hush everyone and halt all research?” And my answer is a resounding yes and they do it through WHO (WORLD health organization).

    You pro-poisoners make me sick and I pray you don’t ever have to live our lives before you get the wake up call. I would love for you PERSONALLY to live this life but I would never wish this issue on innocent children.

    ===========================================================================
    It appears to me when pro-poisoners are face with facts they would rather ignore them. It happens all the time. Something we “anti-vaccinators” are used to. And oh, BTW I am VERY anti-vaccinations, especially when they are forced on people with no consequences for the damage they do. So boys, I am still waiting….take your time, you need it to distort the facts to suite your views.

  86. When did parents of autism start being called “Antivaxxers?” All we ask for is to clean up the shots, take out the craip that doesn’t have to be in there to save money(not talking about thermisol either) and that our children are screened for possible immune attacts induced from vaccines? Just make sure our kids can handle the shots before they get em. Make sure their little bodies are healthy enough to have vaccines! If we were antivaxxers, our kids never would have been vaccinated to begin with.

  87. Radwaste, would I be right in that you are implying that ethyl or methyl mecury is a compound molecule that doesn’t have the same properties of mercury on its lonesome? A bit like those other two dastardly elements, sodium and chloride. Shockers by themselves but put them together you have… NaCl, scary table salt.

  88. Daffy

    Kasey, while I am genuinely sympathetic to your plight, I gotta tell you, that trying to make the case that your particular hell is worse than someone else’s is not going to convince anyone of anything.

    I’ll spare you my life story; comparing scabs is pointless. Let’s stick to facts, shall we?

  89. Kasey, I don’t know that parents of austistic kids are being called antivaxxers. People who are against vaccinations are antivaxxers. They may or may not also be parents of autistic kids. Actually the way you phrased “parents of autism” is actually a good point. More research may indicate that is the problem – autism may be a genetic defect. Autism is a disorder with such a wide spectrum that some parents may not even know they’re on the spectrum. Who knows?

    I’ve just read of some people who claim that ultrasounds may be the cause of autism.

  90. @Kasey

    Parents of children with autism are not “antivaxers”. People who claim that vaccines caused the autism and who either directly call for vaccines to be stopped or by their words and actions cause people, through fear, to avoid vaccinations, despite the science, are “antivaxers”.

    take out the craip that doesn’t have to be in there to save money

    What “crap” is in the vaccines that does not need to be in there and which is only included to save money? Please provide a link to your source for the information.

    that our children are screened for possible immune attacts induced from vaccines

    Screening prior to vaccination would not be a bad thing. There are some disorders that do not react well to some vaccines. However, I’m not sure I would screen every single child, since the majority of these disorders tend to be genetic and inherited. Screening would be appropriate where there is, perhaps, a family history of a contraindicated condition. Further, most vaccine labeling includes in the contraindication information that if any previous serious adverse reactions had occurred from vaccines, that the vaccine should not be administered.

    Kasey, click on my name for some information from the CDC that may address some of your concerns. It’s just one page among many of quite a bit of vaccine-related information.

    Autism is a very serious disease that affects everyone around the person with autism, and every effort should be made into finding what the cause is. Well-controlled epidemiological studies have examined various of the vaccine-related claims and have found no correlation. It’s time to turn our efforts to other areas of investigation. Genetic connections are looking probable, as is a recent report that suggests high levels of testosterone in the amniotic fluid may be an indication. I haven’t read that study, yet, so I can’t comment on the quality.

  91. Radwaste

    Shane, that’s a start. Now, about a thousand other people have to make that start — and then continue, possibly even noting the physical differences in infants and toddlers with and without autism and determining cause and effect. For instance, if fetal brain size is abnormal, this is not an effect that can be caused by vaccination months after birth.

    Now, if you want to jump to a conclusion and/or start crying, that’s not enough. You still have to figure out what to do next.

  92. @Deborah

    A minor correction to your post. The DTwP and DT shots do not have 25mg (milligrams) of thimerosal, but rather 25 mcg (that’s micrograms). 1 microgram is 1 one-millionth of a gram, whereas 1 milligram is 1 one-thousandth. So, that’s quite a big difference. In fact, the amount of thimerosal exposure from vaccines now is considerably less than exposure from 20 years ago and earlier.

    Also, regarding the listing of adverse reactions, by law, manufacturers are required to list all reported adverse reactions, whether there is a real causal connection or not. The majority of side-effects that are listed, particularly those with percentages, are the result of careful studies and research, accounting for placebo-effect. The ones without percentages were either so rare that they did not occur with any reliability in the studies or only turned up in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), which makes no distinction between adverse events causally related to a product and adverse events that by chance coincide with administration of a product. In the end, the adverse reactions listed in the labeling of vaccines (and any other medical product) is basically a way for the manufacturer to be able to say, “We told you what the potential effects were so that you could make an informed decision about whether or not to use our product. You have been warned.”

    If you feel that vaccines do not go through proper testing for safety, file a Freedom of Informaction Act request to get the studies submitted by the manufacturer in order to gain FDA approval. Find out where they made their mistakes and how their product is unsafe. Then, report your findings to the FDA. If there is any validity in what you say, then the unsafe products will be removed from the market.

  93. mom4truth

    I’m in shock. I actually thought Discover was a legitimate science magazine. And they’re touting a VP of Communication and Awareness like she has some kind of science credentials? Amazing!

    No quotes from Bernadine Healy here! No, better not ask a real life doctor and former NIH Director about the autism/vaccine link. She may say something you don’t really want to hear.

    Hey Discover! Discover this:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/05/12/cbsnews_investigates/main4086809.shtml

  94. Please note that I am a parent, not a medical doctor or an expert. I have no intentions of comparing who has the worst plight in life. Everyone’s life is difficult. Everyone’s life story sucks, it is what made us who we are. However…

    FACT: I have two children with autism.

    No amount of arguing is going to help that in anyway. I know I am far outnumbered on this post, and don’t expect anyone to care really. I know I woudln’t have cared myself in previous years nor would I have agreed with the beliefs I hold today. It is what it is and I can’t change it.

    The autism community believes that there is a genetic predisposition. We do believe that for some of the more severe kids, something did happen in the womb or a chemical was intrduced through the mother. In my case, I dealt heavily with candida yeast issues while pregnant and was constantly on antibiotics, therfore stripping my gut of any good gut flora. In fact, most moms of autistic kids, if you look further, were dealt the same yeast/antibiotic card.

    I was also on large amounts of medications to prevent pre term labor with both my boys. Such as terbutaline and magnesium sulfate. I haven’t met many who disagreed with terbutaline playing a nuerotoxin role in fetal brains developement. And,most mothers of severe children, also share the brethine link!!!!!!!!!! ANd I am also in full agreement that most parents of autistic children also share symptoms such as depression, food allergies, sensory processing disorders, stimming, etc…

    We believe, that a combination of envirnmental agents and drugs play a role in autism. The ticking time bomb is already there. Autism parents dont’ dispute that. In our minds, we witnessed first hard, the effects that vaccines played on our already unhealthy children. We only ask that you prevent vaccines from pulling the plug on the autism bomb.

    I beleive there are steps mothers can take to prevent autism. I have done it with my third child who shows no symptoms of autism. What is so wrong with taking precautions with vaccines. No one is saying NOT to vaccinate, just be careful, and who says that “one size fits all” is the best approach for every child.

    I expect to be bashed for posting this link, but autism parents are already used to being bashed. We know that every door we try to walk through with our children is locked. We know that we have to try to unlock that door on our own, without the help of our doctors. But it is also that passion we share that is recovering our chidren form autism!

    http://www.generationrescue.org/vaccines.html

    What is so wrong

  95. jj

    Some of the posters here think that the anecdotes of the parents of autistic children are a good source for data linking vaccines to autism. I just want to point out the massive literature from many different fields (criminology, psychology, computer sciences) that demonstrates completely that our stupid human brains will associate two completely unrelated events as linked.

    This ability to link two events such as eating fruit from that tree and diarrhea was very important for our ancestors. There was and still is huge reward in correctly linking two events but very little cost of incorrectly linking two events…eg seeing a blue bird then a red bird and then having diarrhea.

    Thus the fact that parents see a causative link between a shot and symptoms is very poor evidence indeed. This initially poor evidence has been completely corrupted but the massive noise that states that shots cause autism. So now when a child has a shot a parent is looking for signs of autism or when a child shows signs the parent immediately thinks of the most recent shot.

    On the other hand evidence that cannot be poisoned by perception, such as the continued increase in autism despite the reduction of mercury in childhood vaccines or the high incidence of autism in certain families, is completely ignored by the anti-vaxers.

    If it weren’t for the fact that your unvaccinated kids might kill me or one of my loved ones and that your stupid agenda is pulling money away from decent research, I’d say fine “Don’t vaccinate your kids”, if you are are right you and your superstitious genes will survive because your non-vaccinated autism free kids will have tons of kids while people like me will have kids with autism and our genes will wane from the human population.

  96. Kasey, that article lost me here:

    Many vaccines contain other toxic substances including ethylene glycol (antifreeze), phenol (a disinfectant dye), benzethonium chloride (a disinfectant), formaldehyde (a preservative and disinfectant), and aluminum (another known neuro-toxin).

    A lot of what’s in that link has been refuted again and again.

  97. HCN

    Deborah said “It appears to me when pro-poisoners are face with facts they would rather ignore them. ”

    Actually there is nothing to be gained by engaging in discussion with a person like yourself, note how you call people names who would prefer children not get poisoned with the very real toxins in the diseases (like , tetanospasmin, tetanolysin, pertussis toxin, diphtheria toxin), or get ill with a disease that tends to kill and disable 1 out of 1000, like measles. You cherry pick the facts, and actually change them around to suit yourself. I have yet to see any of you post any real science, just a bunch of sob stories, news articles and links to questionable organizations like Safe Minds and Generation Rescue.

    Generation Rescue and its blog Age of Autism will never be taken seriously until they remove the lies, anti-science and stop moderating comments with an iron clown fist. They are very closed minded, and like I said before this website accurately describes their methods:
    http://www.ratbags.com/rsoles/vaxliars1.htm

  98. Todd W.

    @Kasey

    Thanks for sharing a bit more about yourself. Now you have provided something that could be the basis for further research, i.e., what specific role these prenatal conditions and influences have, whether they alone are enough to cause autism or if an additional, postnatal trigger is required, and, if so, what that trigger is.

    One of the confounding aspects of autism research is that symptoms tend to manifest around the same age that children begin receiving certain vaccinations. Because of this, it is very easy for a parent to see this and suspect the vaccine, as it is an event that draws more attention than some other potential trigger. Then, when they look online or talk to other parents, they find out that some others have the same story, which reinforces the idea that the vaccine is to blame. Unfortunately, such observations, while valuable for pointing to possible research, are not conclusive proof by themselves.

    There is nothing wrong with taking precautions with vaccines. The main issue that some of us have, though, is that when people resort to emotional pleas and are very vocal, crying out that “Vaccines caused my child’s autism,” without any valid scientific evidence, it sends the message to the public that not only do vaccines cause autism, but that it is common and much more likely to happen than anything bad from the disease being prevented. The end result is that, due to fear, parents that give credence to these claims end up not vaccinating their kids. It has the same effect as saying “Vaccines are poison. Don’t vaccinate your children.” I know it’s a very emotional issue, but try to examine it objectively.

    I would encourage parents to get informed. Read the labeling information. Talk to the doctor. Find out what the real risks are. How likely is it that my child will suffer serious injury from the disease? How likely is it that they’ll suffer serious injury from the vaccine? What effect will my decision have for my child and for everyone my child comes in contact with?

    Talk to your (general “you”, not Kasey specifically) doctor, particularly about your medical history and other information about your pregnancy that could play a role. If there are any flags raised, ask for the doctor’s recommendation about whether it is safe to vaccinate your child. Take some courses in science, particularly trying to understand how research is performed and how to evaluate a study. Then, when the science comes in, give it a fair hearing and evaluation, even if it goes against what you want to hear.

  99. Joseph

    @Harold: Dr. Healy is also a crank, and this has been documented. I know you like using arguments from authority, but that one is getting old.

    A trace amount of thimerosal is still an amount of thimerosal. If the trace amount has no effect then why is it included in the vaccine at all?

    A trace amount is less than 1 microgram, by definition. Basically anything you put in your body will have “trace amounts” of mercury. A tuna sandwich has about 20 micrograms of mercury.

    The reason some vaccines have trace amounts of thimerosal is that it’s a leftover of the manufacturing process. It’s evidently irrelevant that trace amounts remain considering that after removal of about 180 micrograms of thimerosal from the vaccine schedule, nothing happened.

  100. Todd W.

    @Kasey

    I took a look at the link you provided. Addressing the “toxic substances” they list, they made a mistake in stating that “ethylene glycol” is used, when the list that they linked to had a different substance “polyethylene glycol”. Though the names sound similar, they are, in fact, different substances.

    Benzethonium chloride is an antimicrobial agent also found in first aid antiseptics, cosmetics and other products. As far as vaccines go, it’s only used in the Anthrax vaccine, which children are unlikely to get unless they’re bitten by a stray or wild animal.

    Aluminum is not used in its pure form, but rather is used as various salts. It’s like the elements sodium and chlorine someone mentioned earlier: in their pure forms, they are quite dangerous, but when you put them together to form a salt (normal table salt), they are quite safe. The same can be said for aluminum salts in vaccines. Their function is to stimulate the immune response so that less of the vaccine is needed.

    Some of the precautions they listed are good advice, such as stopping the vaccine schedule and learning more if your child has a serious adverse reaction. The vitamin advice I would be wary of. There isn’t much research that provides a sound basis for their use in the ways described on the Gen. Rescue site, and giving too high a dose of a vitamin (even vitamin C) can result in toxicity. The advice about reading the inserts is good, as well, and can help parents know if the doctor is using the vaccine on-label or not. The MMR as separate shots is unnecessary, but if it makes you feel better, go ahead. Likewise, an alternate schedule of shots, while unnecessary, is something that could be discussed with your doctor.

    The information that they have about VAERS, while possibly accurate, is misleading. Keep in mind that adverse events reported to VAERS are simply reports of adverse events. If I got a shot and shortly thereafter, a bruise appeared on my shin, I could report that and it would appear there when someone went looking for adverse events, nevermind the fact that the bruise was really cause by my banging my shin against a chair. So, some of the information on there may reflect a causal link between the vaccine and the adverse event, but without structured research, you can’t be sure.

    Regarding efficacy, it is known, and the CDC states this, that vaccines are typically around 85%-95% effective. The efficacy largely depends on the individual, but generally speaking, vaccines are an effective defense against disease. I noticed that they focused on the flu vaccine in this section, and that’s really a pretty easy target. Each year, scientists examine data and basically make an informed guess about the 3-4 strains of influenza that are likely to be prevalent in the following year. The manufacturers use this to develop the vaccines. Sometimes the scientists are spot-on. Sometimes, a different strain takes them by surprise, as happened a year or two ago. Ultimately, however, the flu vaccine protects against the strains most likely to be common in the population, so getting it should reduce the incidence of flu. Some people may still get a rarer strain that is not included in the vaccine, though.

    I hope this information helps.

  101. For those of you who were kind in your disagreement, thank you.

    As for anything else, I have said my peace and I am done. I stand strong on what I said and care not to argue points any longer. Science or not, I just want my son to be better. And my time is best spent helping my children, obviously. I know where I am not wanted. And I also know that anything I say will never be taken seriously. Science wants to help, but they have to listen to the parents too. I am not saying that I am always “right,” but we just want to be heard but it seams too often we are excluded. It didnt’ appear that there was a voice of autism in this thread, so that is why I spoke up. My sons can’t tell mommy what happened, but I can be a voice.

    Enough said. God willing before I die, someone somewhere will have it all figured out. And may God heal my children and the next child who is diagnosed in the next 20 minutes.

  102. Todd W.

    @Kasey

    Quick question that I hope you will read before you leave for good. You mentioned ABA earlier. Are you currently making use of ABA services in your area?

  103. HCN

    Todd W, in pointing out the deficiencies in the Generation Rescue website wrote:
    “I took a look at the link you provided. Addressing the “toxic substances” they list, they made a mistake in stating that “ethylene glycol” is used, when the list that they linked to had a different substance “polyethylene glycol”. Though the names sound similar, they are, in fact, different substances.”

    A comic you might enjoy about persistent mistake:
    http://cectic.com/160.html

  104. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    You pro-poisoners make me sick and I pray you don’t ever have to live our lives before you get the wake up call.

    Anti-vax sentiments has stopped the eradication of measles – so children die needlessly. As I said, a dangerous cult that causes observed harm.

    I mean, are you going to tell me that all these things were just laying dormnat and appeared at 1 year?

    Anecdotal “evidence” is humans at work with what we do best, pattern matching. Isolated cases or untested hypothesis is not part of tested science and reliable medicine, unfortunately, how much we would wish differently.

    And however much I sympathize with individual loss, we are dealing with many more families losses from easily preventable sicknesses. We have a moral responsibility to act for what we can tell, from hard facts, is the best course of action.

    Science is hard-gotten gains, so when we can really tell that vaccines work and thimoseral is innocent of causing autism, we should enjoy the fruit of our efforts, and not try to harm other children and adults!

  105. José

    @Kasey

    No amount of arguing is going to help that in anyway. I know I am far outnumbered on this post, and don’t expect anyone to care really. I know I woudln’t have cared myself in previous years nor would I have agreed with the beliefs I hold today.

    Of course we care. It’s just that stories like yours are not much help in determining whether of not there’s an actual link between vaccines an autism.

    Science or not, I just want my son to be better. And my time is best spent helping my children, obviously.

    Spreading misinformation, intentionally or unintentionally, hurts autism research.

    And I also know that anything I say will never be taken seriously. Science wants to help, but they have to listen to the parents too.

    It was stories like yours that prompted science to try and find a link in the first place. And science has helped. It has already ruled out several possible causes autism. Now we can focus more energy on finding real causes and better treatments.

  106. Todd…

    There are no ABA services in our area. The closest agency is 4 hours away. We hired someone from PA to come in and work with our child about 20 ABA hours a week, along with occupational therapy, water therapy, sensory therapy, speech therapy and physical therapy. Carson was also going to preschool at the time and had special ed services there as well. We were and still are in the midst of biomedical treatment, which is very costly.
    ABA was was private pay by the hour, no insurance coverage and we just about lost our home due to therapy cost. We had the option of hiring a company out of FLorida but costs were $1000 a day just for training in our home. With all of Carson’s medical treatmetns which are also not covered by insurance, we coudln’t afford it. So…. for now, we have play therapy (which we have hired a college student to come in follow my lesson plans), I am still working through ABBLS right now at home on my own, he also goes to preschool & has a wrap around program at school(which is helping a great deal socially). He also has therapy at school. We have been praying for the right person to enter our lives, one that can do the job and one that we can afford. In the future, we are looking into hippo therapy, RDI & listening therapy.

    Living in a rural area, our local birth to three and home health agencies are very lacking in autism awareness and how our children learn.

    Todd, it is something that demands utmost attention. Children deserve help and unless your Jenny McCarthy, the financial strain is umbearable. We lost our first home in hopes of healing our son. Not to mention, 8 out 10 marriages fail who have autistic children in the home.
    My husband & I are not part of the 80%. Counseling for families of autism would be so beneficial but as it stands, we have to beg for services anyways. And I wont even get started on the school systems and our pediatricians. Pediatricians with open ears and heart for autism are far and few.

  107. Todd W.

    @Kasey

    I know how expensive therapy can be and how hard it is. Great to hear that you are making use of ABA techniques, even if you can’t afford an analyst to work directly with you and your son. And, since he goes to school, it sounds like he is a bit higher functioning, which helps.

    I know a BCBA in NJ who is one of the best I’ve seen. She’s very thorough, detail oriented, and knowledgeable about ABA, if you wanted any further advice there. I have also heard about the LADDERS program run through the Massachusetts General Hospital. I’m not too familiar with it, though, so I can’t say anything about how the operate.

    There are a lot of options out there, and unfortunately a lot of quack stuff. My best advice is to only go with those things that have a solid scientific basis, with research published in quality, peer-reviewed journals, like JABA, JAMA, etc. My best wishes to you, and I hope you won’t shun those of us who argue for decisions to be made based on science and sound reasoning, rather than emotional appeals, like Jenny McCarthy uses.

  108. @ Todd..

    I can’t tell you how many quacks there are out there. Left & Right, parents are being schemed out of money, even from therapist. Autism treatment and recovery is a profitable industry. You are correct in that there are a lot of quacks out there. One in particular that almost got us was participating in Dr Martin’s Ace PathWays Autism as Stealth Adapted Virus studies. Let me tell you, I will be thrown under the bus for this but this man needs to be exposed for preying on mothers who want to heal their children. I know many children who have been seriously injured by this treatment, and they continue to prey on mothers and the hopes they have to recover their children. In fact, you may never hear from again after this post because these people often find creative ways to get back at those who speak against their study. I forewarn you, that this website has been redone recently. This is NOT the original website!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This website does not represent the truth as to what these studies have really done to children. He is a fraud, and must be exposed. I know I will probably regret sharing this link, as we never particpated in the study. I just couldn’t figure out why we had to pay money to participate if it was a real study, my mommy gut said NO! A lot of mothers have come together and discussed the different ways the study lied to them and I probably shoudln’t share where that venue is. I am just so glad I followed my gut. Children are seriously regressing & loosing learned skills in this study & some who have never had seizures, currently now have siezures, headaches and new skin conditions.

    http://www.acepathway.ca/

    I do feel confident in my mother’s intuition and I feel that I hold a happy medium in what is real and what isn’t real. I work with our local pediatrician heavily as we treat. We will continue to stick with what is working, and what is giving our son great great results. Treating him medically has saved him. I believe so much in some of these autism doctors, maybe only a handful but the proof is in the pudding and my son has changed! He wasn’t always so high functioning, he was diagnosed with severe autism at age 2. We acted fast and intense. We chose to treat autism from every angle, and the rewards for doing so are endless. Todd, I know that the outcome of my sons autism, partially lies in my outlook & attitude. I just hope other mothers learn to act fast, because time is as big of an enemy as the affliction itself. ANd although I have never been a big Jenny fan in the past, I stand tall with her in her efforts to change how the world views autism. Vaccines or no, we’re a band of mothers with firm beliefs and we are healing our children!

  109. HCN,

    We parents who are anti-vaccination because of damage caused to our children because of vaccines are called anti-vaccine, so why shouldn’t we call those who think vaccines are the medical equivalent of the holy grail be called what they are? Pro-poisoners. Get use to the name, you will be seeing allot more of it. I didn’t “cherry pick” any facts and I didn’t change them around to suit my position. My facts come from John Hopkins, (the amount of thimerasol still contained in vaccines) and from drugs.com (the side effects of the DTaP. That is often the argument of pro-poisoners. I’m use to it. I have been investigating this vaccine induced autism for 8 years now. I know EXACTLY what happened to my son and EXACTLY when it happened.

    Todd,
    As to your corrections on the amount of thimerasol; I stand corrected. As to the side effects of the DTaP and there being no percentages; you just proved my point in my earlier comment: “you need it to distort the facts to suite your views.” I don’t expect people who don’t have a personal stake in this to understand. I also don’t expect those who think the drug cartels and the medical establishment are above question to be unbiased.

    For me and mine we will never vaccinate again. And if vaccines are so great then those who do shouldn’t be afraid to be around my children as they are perfectly protected from the diseases anyway. And BTW, my children have NEVER been healthier than they are now. We stopped vaccinating over 6 years ago. My vaccine-injured 11 year old son, is better now than he’s ever been. He NEVER gets sick anymore.

  110. Todd W.

    @Kasey

    I’ve never heard of the Ace Pathway thing. I may take a look at it.

    Regarding Jenny McCarthy, I think that she has good intentions as far as drawing attention to autism and hoping to find a cure, or at least the cause, but the way that she is going about it simply is not good. Her persistence with the whole “Vaccines Cause Autism” bit not only draws resources away from valuable paths of research into the actual cause(s) of autism, but has the added impact of scaring people into foregoing vaccination for their children. She needs to stop, listen to what the science really says, and go from there.

    As far as things that are known to not cure autism: the DAN!-promoted gluten-free, casein-free thing that helps with GI/food allergy issues (helps behavior outbursts, but doesn’t address autism itself and should really be used after proper diagnosis), chelation (which, in addition to not being any help can cause significant harm), crystals, etc.

    ABA works pretty well to address the behavioral aspects of autism and is a good teaching methodology to ensure the kids attain basic living skills. It can be hard to maintain the consistency required by ABA, but the rewards of proper execution are big. Also, it has been shown that the earlier the intervention, the better the outcome, so congratulations on starting early.

  111. Mike

    Autism Speaks is an organization offensive to autistics. Those wishing to sign a position against them may go here to do so:

    http://www.autism-hub.co.uk/autism-speaks-dont-speak-for-me/index.php

  112. Carmine

    All you pro-vaccine people are so right. After all the drug companies don’t lie to us. The government doesn’t lie to us. And my son didn’t become autistic after his MMR when he spiked a fever, and stopped speaking the next day. And all these other parents whose children became autistic the day after their childs vaccination, are all lunatics for thinking that this is anything more than a coincidence. And why is it that only the studies that show no link are not flawed. You are all living in a world with rose colored glasses.

  113. A Friend

    Wow. This comment board is so sad to see. Scientific study has concluded vaccines to NOT be the cause of Autism or ASDs. Shouldn’t we be focusing on conducting other research to elucidate the real cause?!

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