Emotional, disparaging comments from those who believe they know the science that appears to show that there is no causal link between thimerosal in vaccines and the increased rates of autism include name-calling “Anti-vaxxers”, charges of “over-emotionalizing” the issue, and, “distracting” the families who should be focused on caring for their autistic child or children.
During my research for my second book, “Cures vs. Profits: Success Stories in Translational Research”, I have found wonderful advances in the care of cancer, in brain surgery, in robotic surgery, and forthcoming advances in early Alzheimer’s diagnosis. My approach was unbiased: I wanted to find bona fide advances in medical care made possible via biomedical and clinical research.
I also uncovered a number of accounts of unsavory and illegal activities undertaken by researchers and by medical doctors. This led to four chapters covering such acts, two of which I wrote intentionally to provide a framework of contract of clear evil-doers (Abuses in Medicine, and Outrageous Acts of Pseudoscience). The third and fourth chapters surprised me: They involve Overdiagnosis in ADHD and Vaccinations.
I will blog on the the problem of ADHD Overdiagnosis at a later date: for now, the story of how Pharma reached into academic clinical research center activity is not pretty. I went into the Vaccine chapter to advocate for Vaccines, to review some of this history of this most clear of all translational successes. How could vaccines be bad? They stop the spread of disease, after all. No one gets polio anymore. Practically no one dies from measles in the US anymore. Most of my colleagues clearly stand on the side of protecting the population from diseases with vaccines.
In taking the time to really look at the published data on the possible links between Autism and Vaccines, I have become convinced not only that there is a likely direct cause of Autism, but that the US CDC has repeatedly acted in a manner that is as egregious, if not more, than those actors in the Abuses in Medicine and Outrageous Acts of Pseudoscience chapters.
So, to help others who, like me, had extolled the virtues of vaccines over the possible, but apparently unlikely risk of adverse events such as brain damage leading to autism, understand the reality that our society is experiencing, and will experience for some time, I decided to share the Top 10 Things You Must Know about the Autism/Vaccination Question.
(1) The science behind the causal link between thiomerosal and neurological damage is both strong, and vast. We know precisely how ethyl mercury harms neurological development. In brief, nerve cells grow at the tips of their axons via extension of tubulin proteins. Ethyl mercury robs the energy molecule for that extension, thus the growth does not occur.
(2) Ethyl mercury is more, not less toxic than methyl mercury. Studies in monkeys have shown that ethyl mercury is deposited in the brain at a greater rate, and remains in the brain, far longer than methyl mercury. Forget everything you thought you knew about the relevance of EPA guidelines for methyl mercury exposure: they are irrelevant as the mechanisms of damage of the two forms, and the metabolism of the two forms, are significantly different.
(3) Wholescale changes to the vaccination schedule are not subject to testing by the FDA. Between 2003 and 2013, the dosage of ethyl mercury to children via the national vaccination program increased from 75 ug to 575 ug due to additions of new vaccines to the schedule, and to accelerations of the rate of vaccination to fit new vaccines into the schedule. This increase in dosage should be a cause for concern by the FDA even if the question of autism did not exist.
(4) The rates of autism have increased from 1 in 2500 in 1970 to 1 in 68 in 2010. The CDC reports 1 in 50. That’s 2% of the population diagnosed with frank autism. The CDC has argued that the rates reflect an expansion of autism into a spectrum that include Aspberger’s. However, those factors do not account for the exponential increase in the rates of autism.
(5) People in charge of the vaccination schedules have had serious conflicts of interest and have personally profited from the decisions they helped make in terms of which vaccines to add to the schedule. The committee that makes the decisions about the health of our entire country has serious financial conflicts of interest. Watch Robert F. Kennedy Jr’s testimony on this in Vermont earlier this year, arguing why parents should still have say over what goes into their children’s bodies:
(6) The press has a conflict of interest as well. As Kennedy points out, Pharmaceutical industry now represents the number one source of advertising revenue for major media outlets. Direct to consumer market is legal in two countries in the world: the US and New Zealand. Thus, the things you may read or hear about Robert F. Kennedy Jr’s presence of mind are ruthless, irresponsible pandering, and are likely a direct consequence of this influence.
(7) Parents can easily request thimerosal-free vaccines. The CDC is quick to say that thimerosal has been removed from all vaccines except one (the flu vaccine, for pregnant women, of all people!). This is not true. Thimerosal is included at doses of at least 24.5 ug of mercury in the following:
Influenza (Affluria, Fluvirin)
these brands about be avoided by anyone concerned about exposing their children the mercury. There are thiomerosal-free alternatives for each of these vaccines listed by Vaccine Safety.
Nevertheless, the FDA reports that many vaccines still use thiomerosal early in the production process, leaving behind “trace amounts”. They also report that vaccines now include aluminum (another known neurotoxin, which can act synergistically with thimerosal), and, of all things, MSG. Some people (like myself) are highly sensitive to MSG (it, like nitrates, can cause migraines).
(8) Most so-called “Anti-Vaxxers” are not against vaccines. Rather, they for vaccines, they just want safe ones. They are castigated, ridiculed, called crazy, all for wanting to protect their own, and others’ children, from being poisoned by mercury and other neurotoxins. They should be referred to as “Pro-Safe Vaccineers”, or “Anti-Toxins”.
(9) Certain state governments want to take the Parent’s right to say “No” out of the equation.
California just passed a law that only allows religious exemption for refusal of vaccines. (CORRECTION BY READER: California just passed a law that dispensed with the “Personal Beliefs Exemption. Now only Medical Exemptions are allowed with the recent passage of SB 277. This law did away with the Personal Beliefs Exemption if you want your children to be able to attend both public and private schools. Home-schooled children will not have to comply with the new law.” The measles outbreak of 2014 has helped bouy the sense that parents who refuse vaccines are irresponsible hacks who need a paternalistic government intervention in their lives. As I wrote my chapter on vaccines, I advocated for the CDC, and medical doctors, to outline the risk that parents place others at by choosing to not vaccinate their child. I stand by that recommendation. There are young (6 mos), the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems whose lives could be devastated by an outbreak of childhood diseases. However, I also emphasize that the vaccines should be safe.
(10) Which side your choose as a scientist, a doctor, a parent, a lawyer, and a citizen matters. The Autism movement does not trust the government. This mistrust is well-earned. Until there is an other hearing on the CDC cover-ups, including their manipulation of the data via repeated analyses, and their hiding results that showed potential significant association, it is up to the public to communicate our concerns to our law makers, and our doctors.
Listen to (part) of Dr. William Thompson’s admission. If you find it distateful, you may choose to ignore Dr. Wakefield’s dramatic linking of this issue to Tuskegee. The issue, for me, stands on its own. if you cannot understand that Wakefield was trying to study to problem of whether the age of vaccination increased the risk of autism – the very question of whether the accelerated vaccine schedule – the CDC’s schedule – increased the risk of autism.
I am appealing to my colleagues in science, and in medicine. If you are so moved by Dr. Thompson’s admissions of fraud by the CDC, contact your Congressional representative, and demand that Congress subpoena Dr. Thompson for a new hearing (as of July 14, thousands of pages have been sent to the Congressional Science Committee). Dr. Thompson has released a statement via his lawyer [UPDATED LINK] (one of the best Whistle-Blower lawyers in the country) in which he further admits wrong-doing by the CDC.
To learn more, I strongly recommend Robert F. Kennedy’s Jr.’s book, “Thimerosal: Let the Science Speak for Itself” (173 pp, Skyhorse Publishing) on Amazon.