Thursday, February 26, 2009

An Open Letter to the Globe and Mail: The Vaccine Autism Debate Is Far From Over, The Research Is Not Complete

The following email was sent earlier today to Andre Picard of the Globe and Mail:

I am the father of a 13 year old boy diagnosed with Autistic Disorder assessed with profound developmental delays. I have never attributed his autistic disorder to vaccines or vaccine ingredients although I currently have an open mind on the subject. I was very disappointed with your opinion piece declaring that the vaccine autism debate should end now and that the science is clear. I submitted a comment on that piece listing some of the many pieces of information and evidence that you simply ignored in articulating your opinion. That comment was not accepted for publication by your moderators.

As a "neutral" in the vaccine autism war I would like to see the proper research done to resolve the issues that are very much alive in respect of these issues. Several prominent health authorities have now declared that the epidemiological studies to which you referred and which are used to support claims that vaccines do not cause autism are not in fact specific enough to explore the possible impact of vaccines in causing autism in vulnerable population subsets. These authorities include former NIH and American Red Cross head Dr. Bernadine Healy, recent CDC director Dr. Julie Gerberding and Dr. Duane Alexander, Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), an NIH agency. As of February 24, 2009, as reported at the Huffington Post Dr. Alexander has acknowledged in connection with autism spectrum disorders and vaccines that:

"scientists must investigate susceptible subpopulations of children, including kids with mitochondrial disorders and those who have trouble metabolizing mercury."

Dr. Alexander himself stated in the interview with Autism Speaks' Chief Science Officer, Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D:

"One question (is) whether there is a subgroup in the population that, on a genetic basis, is more susceptible to some vaccine characteristic or component than most of the population, and may develop an ASD in response to something about vaccination. We know that genetic variations exist that cause adverse reactions to specific foods, medications, or anesthetic agents. It is legitimate to ask whether a similar situation may exist for vaccines,"

As you probably know a decision of the US Vaccine Court was released since your opinion was expressed decreeing an end to vaccine autism debates. In Banks v HHS the Special Master accepted the plaintiff's claim that as a result of the MMR vaccination received on 14 March 2000, his child suffered a seizure and Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (“ADEM”) which led to Pervasive Developmental Delay (one of the autism spectrum disorders), a condition from which he continues to suffer. I am sure you are aware of the Poling case in which the government acknowledged that vaccine caused the child's 'autism like symptoms". Autism as you may know is defined entirely by symptoms. CBS has reported that more than 1320 vaccine cases alleging brain injury, some including autism disorders, have resulted in government settlements.

I ask that the Globe and Mail, and you personally, exercise some journalistic balance, and inform the Canadian public, that the Vaccine Autism debate is, contrary to your previous opinion, far from over. Nor does the science make clear your claim that there is no vaccine autism connection. Three senior members of the American public health authority establishment have lent there voices to those of thousands of parents and many health care professionals who want to see the necessary research done to explore these issues.

Research, not the opinion of Andre Picard or the Globe and Mail, will provide the information that will help children, whatever the results of the research.


Harold L Doherty
Fredericton New Brunswick

cc Facing Autism in New Brunswick

NOTE: As subsequently pointed out by jypsy, the Banks decision itself was made public some time ago and commented on by some involved in autism discussions. The compensation awarded to the injured child was announced last week for that decision.

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1 comment:

shakingsystem said...

The key issue,as you stated Harold is to have independent studies and research done. Who might be brave enough to undertake this task? If not the big Pharma then who? Perhaps, an independent study done by a private foundation with many generous sponsors.

The main idea behind our upcoming foundation is to help centres that treat children with autism, help in hiring extra therapists for the centres and lastly,to help with studies and research.

Perhaps,Canadians and people worldwide will take a pro-active stance in donating to our upcoming foundation.

The time has come to start doing the research, with the parents of children with autism ,finally placed "in the driver's seat."