Saturday, October 31, 2009

Old Standby "Confusing Cause and Coincidence" Excuse Trotted Out in Advance of Adverse Events Following Swine Flu Vaccinations

"Confusing cause and coincidence" has been used by scientists for decades to explain away the onset of autism disorders in otherwise healthy children following vaccinations. The same people do not, however, bother to conduct credible studies to actually rule out a causal relationship in such cases.

Most notably, despite support for an observational study comparing autism rates amongst existing vaccinated and unvaccinated populations from credible sources such as Dr. Bernadine Healy, Dr. Julie Gerberding and Dr. Jon Poling, the IACC, under Dr. Thomas Insel, has engaged in procedural shenanigans and given questionable testimony to Senator Harkin's committee to prevent such a study from being done.

Now, the "confusing cause and coincidence" excuse is being trotted out to explain possible adverse events following H1N1 (Swine Flu) vaccinations BEFORE THEY EVEN OCCUR.

The Telegraph (UK) article People will die after swine flu vaccine - but it's just coincidence, Six people in Britain can be expected to die suddenly after having the swine flu vaccine but it will just be coincidence, researchers have said references a recently published article in the Lancet and contains prophetic gems of wisdom offered by super intelligent researchers to us, the lowly unwashed, who have such difficulty distinguishing between cause and coincidence.

Prof David Spiegelhalter, Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk, University of Cambridge and Co-Director of Straight Statistics, said: "What a fine paper. If millions of people are vaccinated then just by chance we can expect bad things to happen to some of them, whether it's a diagnosis of autism or a miscarriage.

"By being ready with the expected numbers of chance cases, perhaps we can avoid overreaction to sad, but coincidental, events. And why don't we ever see a headline 'Man wins lottery after flu jab'?"

Professor Robert Dingwall, University of Nottingham, said: "The difference between cause and coincidence is difficult enough for specialists to grasp, let alone the wider public.

"However, this paper is very important in spelling out the fact that just because two events happen at the same time, they are not necessarily related. There is a background rate of death, disease and accidents that happen all the time regardless of what medical interventions are going on."

Perhaps Professor Spiegelhalter can explain why we never see headlines like Vaccine Researchers Make Fortunes Successfully Predict Winning Lottery Numbers. And perhaps Professor Dingwall can someday come to believe that we, the great unwashed, drooling, ignorant public do in fact understand the difference between cause and coincidence and that we have heard that argument before in connection with vaccines and autism.

If the learned professor can get his head around that one perhaps he can convince the other members of his club that research confirming or refuting their prophecies would be appreciated by those of us in the Ignorance R Us Club.

Based on prior history of the IACC refusal to conduct credible studies of possible vaccine autism connections I have my own prediction to make: no credible follow up studies to determine actual causes of deaths and other adverse events following Swine Flu vaccinations, including autism onset, will be done by the members of the We Are Smarter Than The Dumb Public Club.

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Autism and Vaccine Safety in the Swine Flu Era: Does Calling Something A Myth Make It So?

According to many mainstream media sources here in Canada the H1N1 Swine Flu is perfectly safe and effective and .... oh yes ... any possible connection between vaccines and autism has been disproved. These sources usually provide little or nothing to back up their sweeping claims other than to rely on, and refer their readers to, the web sites of public health authorities. "Journalists" in the mainstream media routinely dismiss anything published by a blogger as lacking credibility. These alleged journalists also routinely describe any position on vaccines and autism, or any statement that questions the safety of efficacy of the H1N1 vaccine, as a myth. In most cases the alleged journalists provide no reference to any study to back up their characterization of serious issues as myths held by cranks and hysterical parents. Obviously calling something a myth does not make it so but, in the current Swine Flu Era, name calling is routinely substituted for serious commentary. All in the interest of promoting public safety of course.

One childish example of the simplistic, vaccine cheer leading that passes for public health journalism in the Swine Flu Era is the opinion piece Separating myth from fact in debate about flu vaccine by Craig McInnes. You will not find any information casting doubt on vacine safety or efficacy in Mr. McInnes opinion piece. There is no mention of the four people in Sweden who died after receiving the H1N1 vaccine. Promoting intelligent thought and discussion about vaccines is not the objective of the McInnes opinion piece. No, the sole objective is to convince people that they must get the H1N1 vaccine. To help achieve that end any questions or concerns surrounding the safety or efficacy of vaccines generally MUST, be described, as arising from myths generated by ... ugh ... bloggers.

Mr. McInnes begins his opining with a bit of mockery:

So did you hear? You can protect yourself from swine flu by putting bowls of cut-up onions in every room of your house.

No really, it's true, I read it on the Internet, on the same website that had the skinny on the giant albino alligators that live in New York city sewers, a scandal that the government has tried to suppress for years.

And there it is. With that McInnes opens by relegating anyone whose views do not conform to those of public health authorities to the whackjob heap. (Except, presumably, those German authorities concerned about adjuvants in the H1N1 vaccine who are not mentioned in the McInnes opinion). Since this is an autism blog here is what Mr. McInnes has to say about vaccines and autism:

Myth: Thimerosal, which is used as a preservative in flu vaccines, contains mercury, a dangerous poison, and causes autism.•

Fact: The amount of mercury in a dose of H1N1 vaccine is less than you would get from a can of tuna and the version with the adjuvant requires only one-tenth that much.

The relationship between thimerosal and autism has been widely studied and no causal link has been found.

Mr. McInnes is not the first to use the tuna fish argument without mentioning that in fact cautions have been expressed by health authorities about tuna fish consumption for that very reason. Nor does he seem aware that digesting a tuna fish does not involve the same bodily processes as injecting a mercury preservative directly into the body of a pregnant woman or young child, thus bypassing some of the defensive processes involved with food consumption.

Mr. McInnes also appears to be unaware that a non blogger named Dr. Bernadine Healy, a former NIH head, has several times stated the need for more research on vaccine autism issues using as one reason the fact that the mercury based preservative thimerosal crosses the placenta. It has been indicated that Thimerosal will be contained in vaccines given to pregnant women in some Canadian jurisdictions, including here in New Brunswick.

Mr. McInnes, to his credit, does not go so far as to say that a thimerosal link has been disproved. He simply declares that no causal link has been found. With that though he ignores the anecdotal evidence of thousands of parents who saw their children regress after receipt of vaccines. He also fails to mention that the few, not many, studies that did not find a causal link have been criticized for their methodological weaknesses. One, the Madsen, Danish study of 2003 did not purport to offer itself as anything other than a call for MORE research. That study found that autism rates continued to rise after removal of thimerosal. The authors of the study pointed out, however, that the period studied overlapped a significant event - diagnostic definition changes in the DSM and ICD which added substantially to the numbers of persons receiving autism diagnoses.

In opining that no causal link has been found between thimerosal and autism Mr. McInnes also appears to be unaware that serious attempts to investigate such a connection have been expressly thwarted by the IOM review of 2004 and by the IACC which used procedural shenanigans to quash its own proposal to conduct an observational study comparing autism rates in vaccinated and unvaccinated populations. Such as study has been called for by Dr. Healy and by Dr. Julie Gerberding until recently a head of the CDC. Dr. Jon Poling has also called for more vaccine autism research. Mr. McInnes may be unaware that Dr. Poling is not a blogger. He is a neurologist whose daughter was the plaintiff in a vaccine case settled in her favor by the US government which acknowledged that her "autism like symptoms" may have been caused when her existing mitochondrial disorder was aggravated by vaccination.

Craig McInnes alleges that what he calls myths being spread contribute to increased illness and deaths from Swine Flu by persuading people not to get vaccinated. He does not refer to any studies which show that Swine Flu vaccine has been shown to protect against the Swine Flu. A few months ago we were warned by public health authorities that Swine Flu mutates rapidly. Now we are asked to believe that vaccine has been developed which has been demonstrated to be effective in preventing the flu even though it may have mutated into a different form? In fact he provides no reference to any studies which indicate that seasonal flu vaccines are effective in preventing other flus which, apparently, are in a process of continual mutation.

Apart from the lack of proven efficacy for H1N1 vaccines Mr. McInnes provided no proof that Canadians choosing not to get vaccinated do so because of internet bloggers. The fact is that mainstream media outlets have published survey results indicating that many front line health care workers including nurses and some doctors did not intend to get vaccinated for H1N1. And there is no proof at all that Canadians generally are not going to get vaccinated. News reports in recent days have shown line-ups with thousands of people waiting for hours for vaccines often without getting them.

Hopefully the learned Mr. McInnes will not also blame the internet or bloggers for the failure to ensure adequate vaccine supplies for those who want them or for the failure to provide sufficient organization to deliver them.

We do not need any more myths, including those generated by mainstream journalists like Craig McInnes.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Autism and Education: CACL Promotes Discrimination Against Autistic Children

The Canadian Association for Community Living, and its provincial counterparts like the New Brunswick Association for Community Living, have done much to help persons with disabilities. Unfortunately despite their many good deeds they have also, for many years, been actively and intentionally promoting discrimination against some children with Autistic Disorders and other children for whom education in the mainstream classroom is not in their best interests because of their disabilities.

The message of the CACL is clear, consistent, and made without regard to the best interests of some children: No excuses for educating children outside the mainstream classroom, no accommodation of children whose disabilities require alternative learning environments, no concern for the best interests of children, like some children with Autistic Disorder, if their best interests require education in a setting outside the mainstream classroom. No excuses, no accommodation, no concern.

As a parent who has long ago requested that my son with Autistic Disorder and profound developmental delays be removed from the mainstream classroom I am offended by the message, relentlessly pushed by the CACL, and here in NB by NBACL, that portrays any request to educate children outside the classroom as an "excuse". My son began his education in the mainstream classroom where he was overstimulated by noise and other conditions in the classroom. He would come home each day with self inflicted bite marks on his hands and wrists. Those bite marks, were evidence. Those bite marks were Conor's way of telling us that education in the mainstream classroom was not in his best interests.

Conor was removed from the classroom and educated primarily in a separate room for academic purposes. He also visits some more social settings for appropriate purposes and for defined activities with an Autism trained, very competent Teacher Assistant. He goes to the school gym (see videos on sidebar of this blog), the kitchen, the pool, the library, the cafeteria and so on but his academic learning takes place in a separate room.

Conor has not suffered socially. Although he does not generally inititiate conversation, and in fact has limited verbal skills, he has been well liked by many children over the past several years. I drive Conor to school and on arrival I have seen several boys and girls approach Conor to greet him, say hi and show real joy at seeing him. More than one child has actually sought Conor out at our home.

The "education system" has accommodated Conor's disability, his special needs. The educators we deal with have sought our input and worked to help Conor; taking into account the realities of his Autistic Disorder including the fact that Conor was overstimulated in the mainstream classroom, was learning a different curriculum using different methods than other students. Conor has received this accommodation because of some conscientious educators and because we fought to get that accommodation. We did so despite the NBACL which is very well entrenched and influential. NBACL carries the CACL message that says that such accommodation is wrong, that the benefit Conor has received is not a sufficient excuse for education outside the mainstream classroom. The CACL message is discriminatory, harmful and offensive.

CACL has been told in the past that the full inclusion model for all is probably discriminatory. In Canada discrimination can be direct, intentional discrimination, or it can result from a failure by service providers to reasonably accommodate the needs of persons with disabilities. Yude Hentellef,Q.C. has been legal representative for many disability organizations and persons with disabilities. In 2004 he presented a paper The Fully Inclusive Classroom is Only One of the Right Ways to Meet the Best Interests of the Special Needs Child at the C.A.C.L. National Summit on Inclusive Education in Ottawa, Ontario. Mr. Hentellef reviewed studies, and case law, which indicate that full classroom inclusion is not appropriate for all special needs children and stated:

Page 7:

"The Supreme Court of Canada has categorically rejected the kind of contextual analysis that rests on group stereotypes of what is presumed to be in the best interest of a group of persons, regardless of their disability. The proposal that full inclusion will meet the needs of all special needs children is such a group stereotype. In other words, what may be good for one group is therefore good for all groups, no matter their disability. The Supreme Court of Canada has rejected this approach, which, because of its very nature, is discriminatory. "

Page 8:

"To suggest that even with everything in place in the inclusion classroom, it will be the best place for all children regardless of their need, is group stereotyping at its worst. It denies the absolute right of special needs children to be placed other than in the full inclusion classroom, when their parents and qualified professionals view a different placement as one that best meets their interests. In Eldridge, a 1997 decision, Mr. Justice LaForest who gave the unanimous decision of the Supreme Court of Canada, stated that persons with disabilities have too long been subjected to insidious stereotyping.

For anyone to insist the inclusion classroom can be the best place for all children regardless of their needs is by its very nature stereotyping and discriminatory.

The CACL philosophy summarized in its recent "No Excuses "campaign is stereotyping and discriminatory. With the emphasis on "no excuses" it implies that concerned caring parents, and competent professionals, who seek education settings outside the full inclusion classroom for a special needs child are in some way morally deficient, making excuses instead of doing what is best for the child.

In New Brunswick the NBACL and other full inclusion for all advocates like Gordon Porter, the current chair of the NB Human Rights Commission, have insisted that their way is the only way. They have dominated NB education for more than a quarter century and they are celebrated around the world. What the world may not know is that our full inclusion model has in fact itself been discriminatory and harmful. In the past 10 years changes have begun to be made on the ground by activists parents of some special needs children, including some autistic children, by conscientious educators and by the undeniable evidence that education in the full inclusion classroom is NOT in the best interests of ALL special needs children.

Hopefully some day CACL, NBACL, and other promoters of the Full Inclusion for All model will come to their senses and cease trying to impose their deeply held beliefs over the evidence and over the best interests of special needs children.

Hopefully someday the CACL and NBACL will cease promoting discriminatory practices in education.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ontario NDP: McGuinty Government Cutting Children with Autism off IBI (ABA)

Number of Children Awaiting Autism Treatment Balloonslocation: Queen's Parkdate:

October 26, 2009 - 1:00pm

Ontario’s NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is citing more troubling facts concerning the McGuinty government’s approach to treating Ontario children with autism.

“The government is cutting off more children from IBI when schools are not able to provide the therapy. Instead of funding treatment, the government is allowing waiting lists to balloon and children to languish,” Horwath said in the Ontario Legislature today after revealing the government’s latest quarterly numbers for April to June, 2009.Compared to the previous quarter, 1,649 children are now waiting for IBI therapy. That’s 136 more than previously reported (1, 513) and a 9 per cent increase in just three months.

“When will parents see adequate service levels and proper funding for children’s autism treatment?” Horwath demanded of Minister of Children and Youth Services Laurel Broten. “It has been six years. These children and these families cannot wait any longer for this government to get its act together when it comes to the autism file.”The government is cutting off more children from IBI even though schools are not able to provide the therapy, Horwath said. The latest quarterly statistics from the ministry show another 114 children were abruptly cut off.

“The regular quarterly numbers don’t lie. Why are more children with autism waiting for treatment, and why are more children having their autism suddenly cut off and terminated?” Horwath said. “The McGuinty government’s autism program is not living up to the Premier’s promise of ensuring children with autism receive treatment regardless of their age.”
Horwath, the MPP for Hamilton Centre, recently brought the autism file into her portfolio as Ontario’s NDP Critic for Children and Youth Service.


From House Hansard 10/26/09. The new Minister of Children and Youth Services has spoken:


Ms. Andrea Horwath: My question is to the Minister of Children and Youth Services. According to her ministry's most recent quarterly numbers, the McGuinty government's autism program is not living up to the Premier's promise of ensuring that children with autism receive treatment regardless of their age. The IBI/ABA numbers for April through June 2009 continue to be troubling. Compared to the previous quarter, 1,649 children are waiting for IBI, 136 more than previously reported, and another 114 children have been abruptly cut off.

Why are more children with autism waiting for treatment, and why are more children having their treatment suddenly cut off and terminated?

Hon. Laurel C. Broten: This is a file where I'm very pleased to be able to build on the work that's been done by our government and a variety of Ministers of Children and Youth Services since we took office in 2003. We've made a lot of progress. Kids are getting the help they need, we've expanded those services, and we're working to make sure that families also have the support they need. We're working to maintain that progress and push ahead, working with parents and experts. Over the last couple of years, we've been examining how we can do better for our kids in Ontario.

I had the opportunity last week to visit Surrey Place and speak directly with the experts and find out how they think we can best help kids in Ontario. There is more work to do-there is always more work to do. We continue to build on the efforts that we've put in place to make sure that Ontario kids get everything they need from our education system and that envelope of services around them.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Supplementary?

Ms. Andrea Horwath: It's been six years. These children and these families cannot wait any longer for this government to get its act together when it comes to the autism file.

The regular quarterly numbers don't lie. The government is cutting off more children from IBI when schools are not able to provide the therapy. Instead of funding treatment, the government is allowing waiting lists to balloon and children to languish. When will parents see adequate service levels and proper funding for children's autism treatment?

Hon. Laurel C. Broten: I want to put some key facts on the table. We removed the previous government's age 6 cut-off and more than tripled autism spending, from $44 million to $165 million. We've more than doubled the number of kids getting IBI treatment-more than 1,300 now, up from just over 500 four years ago. We've introduced respite programs that serve almost 7,000 kids. The growing waiting list is not acceptable. That's why we've put more resources into the system.

But I would say that the numbers being brought forward by the leader of the opposition are consistent with numbers that we've seen in the past: 114 kids have completed the services for IBI, and we now have 1,262 kids receiving that service.

We need to get service to more kids. We need to broaden that continuum of support. That's why we're working with world-renowned experts like Peter Szatmari and Nancy Freeman and why we've brought that group of expertise to the table to make sure that kids in our schools get the treatment.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Thank you. New question

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Is Autism an Adverse Event Following Vaccination?

An intense campaign has been waged to discredit parents of autistic children who report that their children regressed and developed autism disorders after vaccinations. The campaign has been led by Dr. Paul Offit and a mainstream media that follows faithfully and without questioning the Offit script ...... vaccines are the miracle medical tool of the past century, Dr. Offit is a modern day medical hero who has had his life and family threatened by anti-vaccine kooks, science has disproved for all time any connection between vaccines and autism disorders, parents who question the safety of vaccines are hysterical and desperate, anti-vaccine whackos, duped by celebrities. Professionals who question the Official Doctrine of the Vaccine Church are not mentioned or, if mentioned at all, are quacks ..... and of course .... the many parental reports of autism development in children after vaccination are merely coincidental.

Unlike fever, redness, or swelling on the arm following vaccination, the development of an autism disorder after vaccination is not considered an adverse event and is not tracked, followed or admitted by public health authorities.

A Government of Canada web page, Frequently Asked Questions - H1N1 Flu Virus, purports to provide answers to serious questions about the H1N1 virus and vaccines. It discusses, without mention of the development of autism symptoms, what constitutes an adverse event following vaccination:

Q1. What is an adverse event?

An adverse event is any unwanted medical reaction following immunization.

The majority of adverse events are minor reactions – like soreness at the injection site, or a slight fever – but sometimes, more serious events are reported. Serious adverse events are reactions that cause life-threatening illness, hospitalization, disability or death, like a severe allergic reaction, paralysis, or a seizure. These events are carefully investigated to determine if they are related to the vaccine directly, or if they were caused by an underlying health condition or some other reason.

Q1. Serious adverse events following immunization are rare. In any immunization campaign, from regular childhood vaccines to seasonal flu shots, the average reported rate of serious adverse events is about one case for every 100,000 doses distributed.

Careful monitoring and prompt reporting of any adverse event after immunization are an essential part of the Government of Canada's commitment to providing a safe and effective vaccine. Reporting an adverse event does not mean that the vaccine caused harm. Careful investigation is needed to determine if the events are linked or if they are coincidental.

If there is ever an indication that a vaccine, or a specific batch or lot of vaccine, is harmful to the general population, the Government of Canada has systems in place to quickly and effectively stop or alter immunization programs."

To the above information the Government of Canada should perhaps say that it does not consider evidence of autistic regression after vaccination to constitute adverse events, no matter how many times such non-adverse events are reported by parents. As to the assurance that the Government of Canada will act quickly in the event of an "indication that a vaccine is harmful to the general population" I don't expect to see any time soon publication of the Government of Canada's efforts to follow up on reports of autism disorder onset in children after vaccination. It would be helpful if the Canadian government actually did conduct a careful investigation to see if autism disorders are "are related to the vaccine directly, or if they were caused by an underlying health condition or some other reason."

Is autism in some children an adverse event following vaccination? I don't know and neither does the Government of Canada, the IACC or Dr. Paul Offit, none of which wish to admit that autism disorders might be post vaccination adverse events in some cases.

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Conor and Dad Watch the Patriots from Wembley

It was a bright,colorful fall day but Dad and Conor had to head indoors to watch the Patriots play (and win) in Wembley Stadium, London England. Conor relaxed and watched the game with Dad while demonstrating the right way to hold a Space Pop.

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Digital Journalist Offers Balanced Treatment of H1N1 Vaccine Safety

In H1N1 vaccine safety becomes an issue in Canada Stephanie Dearing, a digital journalist writing on the Digital Journal web site has, unlike most mainstream media vaccine cheerleaders, produced some balanced coverage of H1N1 vaccine safety issues in Canada. In particular, Ms Dearing points out that Canada, unlike many jurisdictions, including the US, is going bold with adjuvant boosted vaccines.

Amongst the interesting pieces of information found in the article is the State of California labelling requirement for thimerosal which will be contained in the Canadian purchased vaccines:

"The State of California has required products containing harmful metals, or chemicals be labelled with a warning
"This product contains the following ingredients for which the State of California has found to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm, which would require a warning under the statute: Thimerosal.""
The mainstream media has long ago abandoned any realistic pretence of objectivity on vaccine issues. It is no wonder that the aggressive public health campaign against those with questions about vaccine safety or efficacy has branded internet sources as inherently untrustworthy (unless they support vaccine programs). Ms Dearing's effort adds some much needed balance to a discussion that vaccine promoters are trying desperately to extinguish.

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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Autism Blog Disgrace: lbrb Continues Hypocritical Mudslinging

lbrb is a disgrace.

The blog site which defines mudslinging in the autism blogosphere is continuing its disgraceful hypocrisy by slinging more mud while howling about alleged mudslinging by what it calls the "vaccines cause autism consortium" ... SafeMinds, Generation Rescue, the National Autism Association, Talk About Curing Autism (TACA.)

In The war on Tom Insel and the IACC lbrb throws mud at these groups because they criticize Dr. Tom Insel and the IACC. This is the same Dr. Insel who has has, amongst other gems, informed Senator Harkin's committee that an observational study of autism rates amongst existing vaccinated and unvaccinated populations could not be done. Dr. Insel's testimony is contradicted by public statements by former NIH head Dr. Bernadine Healy and former CDC director Dr. Julie Gerberding, both of whom have stated that such an observational study could and should be done. Even Dr. Duane Alexander, a member of the IACC, has stated publicly that such a study could be done.

In the topsy turvy world of lbrb criticizing Dr. Insel for his dubious testimony before Senator Harkin's committee, for his flippant dismissal of increased estimates of autism diagnoses, his machinations on the IACC to shelve the proposed comparative study amounts to mudslinging. But all the name calling by lbrb is not?

Somewhere in the minds of the lbrb crew there is probably some logic, some consistency, some principle to be found but the world will need a very complex road map to find them.

lbrb is fully engaged in its own war .... a war on reality.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Neurodiversity Nonsense: lbrb Just Gets Weirder and Weirder

lbrb is one of the best known Neurodiversity sites in the blogosphere. The site fully embraces the social model nonsense of the ND ideology to which its authors subscribe. The lbrb authors, the "team", never fail to put their ideological spin on any autism issue, cause, treatment or cure that surfaces. And they can be counted on to attack any parent or professional that does not share their ND ideology. With their latest howls about intimidation by the Age of Autism and various pro-cure organizations though they have just gotten weirder and weirder.

The lbrb authors criticize any parent or organization that speaks truth about the harsher realities of autism disorders. They are all for organized protests and campaigns that demand that such free expression be stifled. And yet they get their knickers in a twisted bunch of knots because Age of Autism and some organizations protest the questionable actions of some IACC members. Most recently one IACC member left a note on the floor of a meeting which questioned the motives of a participant in IACC proceedings. That type of conduct deserves criticism which is what occurred. In the fevered imagination of the lbrb writers such criticism amounted to intimidation.

lbrb gave no examples in their article that constitute evidence of intimidation. As for lbrb's own comments, they were not intimidating. They were, however, ill founded, illogical and over the top. Yet again.

The writers at lbrb should take a deep breath, push themselves away from their computers and step out into the world. Take a badly needed reality check.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Swine Flu Vaccines with Adjuvants for Young Children? German Doctors Say Nein Danke

Here in New Brunswick we will be provided swine flu vaccines with thimerosal and adjuvants. Nothing to worry about according to our New Brunswick health officials but, as reported in the Irish Times, a German government vaccine advisory panel and German medical associations, including an association of pediatricians, disagrees:

Germany’s 16 federal states have spent a reported €600 million buying 50 million doses of the Pandemrix vaccine, produced by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

This new vaccine, one of two to be offered by Irish doctors, is the subject of controversy in Germany because it contains a “booster” substance known as an “adjuvant”. This allows less virus material to be used per dose and, according to GSK, boosts the immune system’s response to the jab.

Pandemrix was approved for use by the European Medicines Agency last month and has the approval of Germany’s Paul Ehrlich Institute, which advises the government on vaccination matters. However, another government body, the Federal Vaccination Agency, has contradicted the institute and has advised against the use of vaccines containing adjuvants.

Concerns about Pandemrix’s safety and efficacy have been raised by several German medical organisations, with warnings against using it to vaccinate high-risk groups such as pregnant women and children.

Dr Wolfram Hartmann, president of the German association of paediatricians, accused the federal government of “false testimony” for recommending Pandemrix for use on young children – six weeks after it issued advice to the contrary.

“The vaccine has not yet been tested on children under three, so the risk is simply too big to use on them without misgivings,” he said.

Apparently German health professionals believe public health and safety involves more than jabbing untested substances into the arms of young children.

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Malcolm Stanley on Autism Treatment: US (Pennsylvania) Trumps Canada (Ontario)

Malcolm Stanley is the father of an autistic child, and a Canadian autism advocate who moved from Ontario to Pennsylvania for economic and business reasons. In an article in the Toronto Star, U.S. can teach us how to care for autistic kids he has compared and contrasted the autism intervention services available for autistic children in Pennsylvania with those available in Ontario. And Ontario comes out on the short end of the stick. Malcolm is a parent autism advocate who is very well informed by family experience and by his involvement in autism advocacy. He knows what he is talking about.

The only criticism I have with his opinion piece is that he generalizes his experience in Pennsylvania to that of the United States as a whole and similarly generalizes from Ontario to all of Canada. From what I have read the situation he has described in Pennsylvania of full autism intervention service provision does not exist in most American states. Canada is in fact a patchwork of autism service provision varying greatly from province to province as Malcolm describes but Ontario, Canada's largest province, and a leader in many areas, has been anything but a leader in provision of autism services.

Despite the above mild criticism Malcolm's comments hit home, Canada which offers government provided medical services, sees fit to exclude autism treatment from the list of medical services provided. Our Supreme Court of Canada, in Auton, ruled that it was OK for government to exclude autism treatment from medical service coverage. The Court effectively ruled that there is no substantive right to medical treatment in Canada and that what medical treatments are provided is a matter for governments to decide.

Malcolm Stanley's comment should be read by all with a serious interest in treating and helping persons with autism disorders overcome their disorders or at least improve to the maximum extent possible. Hopefully someday the federal government, and provincial governments like Ontario, will listen to Malcolm Stanley and the other parents, family members and caregivers who actually care and start providing funded applied behavior analysis for autistic children and adults.

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Are Vaccines A Medical Community Cult? Read the Atlantic

The Atlantic has an excellent article on vaccines, including the medical establishment's cult-like (my description) belief in vaccine efficacy despite flimsy supporting evidence and the harsh treatment of medical community members who dissent or question the vaccine faith. The article is not focused on autism and is not diverted by the usual arguments about autism but it is definitely relevant and very thought provoking. Whatever your views on vaccine issues I recommend it for your consideration.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Autism Negotiations: Conor Holds Out For Treats

Conor wasn't as keen as Dad to get out for a trail walk on this beautiful afternoon so I used all my parenting skills to get Conor out for a walk with me. ... I negotiated ... actually I bribed him with the promise that our walk would include a sidewalk for treats at the Superstore. Conor meant business too picking out "lunchable" treats for his school lunch, chips and a Coffee Crisp. Yes I know I am a bad, bad parent. Actually Conor has no dietary issues and eats good vegetables, fruits and meats and drinks lots of juice and milk on his own initiative. And I just like spoiling him some times. So sue me.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Autism Research Quote of the Year .... 2003

The increase in the incidence of autism from 1990 on may be attributable to more attention being drawn to the syndrome of autism and to achange in the diagnostic criteria from the ICD-8 to the ICD-10 in 1994. Also, outpatient activities were included in the Danish Psychiatric Central Research Register in 1995 and because many patients with autism in former years have been treated as outpatients this may exaggerate the incidence rates, simply because a number of patients attending the child psychiatric treatment system before 1995 were recorded for the first time, and thereby counted as new cases in the incidence rates.

The Madsen study above is one of the studies referred to by those who assert that "science" has proven that thimerosal in vaccines does not cause or contribute to autism. The usual reference to this study is that after thimerosal was removed from Danish vaccines in 1992 incidence of autism continued to rise. As the authors themselves pointed out the continued rise in autism in Denmark after the removal of thimerosal coincided with changing diagnostic criteria, increased social awareness and different methods of outpatient recording. It is truly amazing that those who assert that vaccines do not cause autism based on such studies now claim that data showing autism diagnoses increases from 1 in 150 to 1 in 91 during the latter half of this decade, more than a decade after the DSM and ICD diagnostic changes. does not necessarily reflect a true rise in autism for the reasons set out in the Madsen quote above.

Should we not also discount the Madsen study, and the claims that thimerosal has been proven safe, because of diagnostic and social awareness changes? Or should we accept the recent data showing increased diagnoses of autism as reflecting a real increase in autism diagnoses>

Which is it Dr. Insel? And what do you think Dr. Offit?

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Autism Community?‎ ASAN Is Anti Autism Cure and Nothing More

ASAN does NOT represent the autism "community".

At best it represents some persons with High Functioning Autism and Aspergers who view autism disorders not as medical disorders but as a social club for persons at the high functioning end of the spectrum and those people without autism spectrum disorders who, for whatever reason, like to self identify as autistic. It is not even clear if ASAN is referring to autism spectrum diagnoses when it refers to "autism" since it expressly rejects the "medical" model of autism in its by-laws:


The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) seeks to improve the representation of the autistic community in public policy discussions and to advance the autistic culture movement. Based on neurodiversity and the social model of disability, ASAN seeks to promote social acceptance of neurological differences and to improve disability services and accommodations."

What the above statement indicates is that ASAN, presumably led by some persons with actual DSM diagnoses of Aspergers Disorder, and some higher functioning persons with PDD-NOS and Autistic Disorder, have started an organization which rejects the medical basis on which they have organized - their medical Autism Spectrum Diagnoses. Beyond that ASAN promotes the view that persons with autism are different but do not actually have a disorder. Accordingly no cure should be sought for persons with autism.

When Ari Ne'eman and company say WE don't want to be cured of our autism they are not talking about themselves as individuals or even about members of their organization. They object to parents seeking to treat and cure their own children and professionals who seek to help their efforts. While I acknowledge that it is Mr. Ne'eman's right to speak on behalf of himself in opposing treatment and cure for his àutism spectrum social condition, he and ASAN go further and oppose the right of parents to seek treatment for their own autistic children including those who are, unlike Mr. Ne'eman and the ASAN Board of Directors, severely autistic. They say so very expressly in the comment Autism Speaks in Columbus: Let Them Eat Cure by Meg Evans.

In the article above mentioned the author refers to several people who joined her at the ASAN protest of the Central Ohio/Ohio State University Autism Speaks walk which saw approximately 6,000 autistic persons, family members and friends turn walk to raise funds for autism research. The reality is that ASAN is a high profile extremist group which, thanks to the media talents of its very high functioning leadership, makes a big splash with autism ignorant organizations like the New Yorker and Canada`s CBC. It is too bad that these autism dilettante media organizations do not have their reporters get out of their comfortable chairs and go to events such as walks for autism research to see who actually speaks for autism ... it is the parents, family and friends of autistic children and severely autistic adults who are actually fighting to improve the lives of the truly autistic.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Autism Speaks in Ohio, ASAN Stays Home?

It looks like the Autism Speaks Walk for Autism was a huge success in Ohio yesterday. reports in Thousands walk to support autism research that as many as many as 6,000 people, according to organizers, turned out in support. The moneys raised will fund the work local autism researchers, s family outings and services, and to raise awareness. Although the largely Aspergers dominated ASAN branch in Ohio threatened to stage a protest there is no mention of it in the article. There is a quote from a person with Aspergers who was actually at the event and expressed her appreciation for those who came out in support:

Angel Russo of Sagamore Hills headed up the "Angel's Army" team, which included 30 relatives and friends from Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

"It means a lot to me that they're here," said Russo, 22, who has Asperger's syndrome.

In addition to persons with severe Autistic Disorder, it appears that claims by Ari and ASAN to represent even the High Functioning Autism and Aspergers "community" should be taken with a very large grain of salt.

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Double Standards Applied to Autism Prevalence Data

With the recent dramatic change in estimated autism rates from 1 in 150 to 1 in 91 over just a two year period public health authorities, and Neurodiversity ideologues and pseudo skeptics have pulled out a number of arguments to deny, once again, that autism is rising, that there is a real increase in autism. The arguments used in denying any real increase in autism disorders over the past 2 years, are reruns of arguments used to deny increases in autism for the past 15 years. Very, very curiously, however, the same authorities, the same allegedly skeptical, scientific voices, denying autism increases also point to studies, particularly the Danish studies, using prevalence data reflecting decades of diagnoses from the early 1970's to 2000, a period encompassing drastic changes in diagnostic definition of autism disorders, heightened autism awareness, growth in autism services and increasing ability to diagnose autism.

The change in autism diagnostic definitions in the DSM III-R and DSM IV are trotted out once again 15 years later to deny the reality of autism rising. Increased social awareness is a favorite. And of course there has to be a blame the parents excuse: the alleged availability of autism services has resulted in parents seeking autism diagnoses for their children. Dr. Thomas Insel urged the world to be cautious because, after all, authorities are now better at diagnosing autism. It is not clear how the ability to diagnose autism increased by more than 50% over a two year period or what studies the good Doctor Insel relied on but after all he is the Chair of the IACC ... isn't he? But what are the implications of the unreliability of autism rate information for the vaccine autism studies which relied on such data over a longer period of time?

If all these factors diminish the reliability of a reported increase in autism disorders over a two year period, so long after the DSM III-R and DSM IV revisions of the diagnostic definitions of autism disorders, what are the implications for the vaccine autism studies that relied on increases in autism diagnoses after the removal, or the alleged removal, of thimerosal from vaccines? These studies were conducted using data that actually spanned the period prior to and after the period for which data was obtained. Can the prominent Danish studies still be used to assert that there is no correlation between thimerosal and autism?

The Madsen study (Pediatrics, September 2003) found that there was an increase in reported autism diagnoses after the removal of thimerosal from vaccines in Denmark in 1992. The authors also noted though that:

The increase in the incidence of autism from 1990 on may be attributable to more attention being drawn to the syndrome of autism and to a change in the diagnostic criteria from the ICD-8 tothe ICD-10 in 1994. Also, outpatient activities were included in the Danish Psychiatric Central Research Register in 1995 and because many patients with autism in former years have been treated as outpatients this may exaggerate the incidence rates, simply because a number of patients attending the child psychiatric treatment system before 1995 were recorded for the first time, and thereby counted as new cases in the incidence rates.

The above caution is not mentioned by those who claim that this study disproves a thimerosal autism correlation. Dr. Insel for example did not mention this caution when he appeared before Senator Harkin's subcommittee although he now frequently mentions such factors to downplay the recent reports of a more than 50% increase over a period of just 2 years. Dr. Offit speaks so often in support of vaccine safety that it is difficult to say that he NEVER mentions the caution expressed by the authors of the Madsen Danish study but I have never encountered it in his many high profile media appearances on the subject.

There are many other critical flaws in the studies cited by Insel, Offit and others as proving that there is no autism thimerosal connection, no autism vaccine, connection. They have been addressed at length elsewhere by Generation Rescue and other true skeptics. At this time what is terribly striking to me is the ease with which Insel and Offit and their follower's embrace wholeheartedly the studies which they claim support their no vaccine autism connection even though they suffer from the same factors they cite in denying a real autism increase, perhaps even more so. Conspiracy perhaps but the evidence is not sufficient in my humble opinion. Conflict of interest? Probably. Bad faith? Definitely.

Double standards and hypocrisy take on a serious twist in this story. The failure by Insel and Offit to properly inform parents of the risks associated with injection of potentially damaging substances into their children is justified by reliance on studies flawed by the same factors they point to in denying the existence of real increases in autism disorders.

Autism IS rising OR many of the vaccine autism studies of are of no value whatsoever. Those whose careers and livelihoods depend on denying environmental, including possible vaccine, contributors to autism are growing increasingly desperate but even they can not have it both ways when it comes to assessing autism prevalence.

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

ASAN Autism Spectrum Takeover Continues with Suppression of Autism Truth

The ASAN, Autistic Spectrum Advocacy Network, is continuing its takeover of the autism spectrum of disorders and its unrelenting attempt to transform autism from a medical disorder to a social club for persons with High Functioning Autism, Aspergers, self diagnosed "auties" and persons with autism like symptoms.

At the same time that the university students, lawyers, researchers and other very capable members of ASAN are expanding the definition of autism at the high functioning end of the spectrum they are seeking to exclude those persons with severe autism, the low functioning severely autistic persons with Autistic Disorder.

Any mention of the severely autistic or the challenges that confront them and the families who actually care for them is strictly verboten in the new world order of the self professed "auties" and "aspies" who take offense at being associated with persons who can not communicate by any means and who live their lives in institutional care. Better that the severely autistic become, or remain, invisible autistics then the self esteem of the ASAN leaders be hurt by inclusion in the public mind with lower functioning persons with Autistic Disorder.

Autism Speaks made the mistake of kowtowing to the ASAN outrage over the I Am Autism video which, like Autism Every Day before it, spoke of the harsher realities of actual autism. Now ASAN, drunk with victory for having forced a guilty plea from Autism Speaks, is planning to harass parents and other members of Autism Speaks in a walk for autism.

ASAN declares "nothing about us without us" and then acts to do that very thing to the very vulnerable severely autistic persons and autistic children who they do not represent. ASAN now harasses very many persons with autism disorders who they do not represent. ASAN does not want the world to know the truth, that autistic disorder is a severely disabling medical disorder requiring substantial commitment and sacrifice from families and society. Autism truth is not fashionable at ASAN.

Hopefully Autism Speaks has learned its lesson and will make a greater effort to present the realities of autism to the world notwithstanding howling from the barely autistic members of ASAN.

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Thursday, October 08, 2009

New Brunswick's H1N1 (Swine Flu) Vaccine Autism Experiment

New Brunswick is about to conduct its own H1N1 Vaccine Autism experiment. The H1N1 vaccines used here will contain both thimerosal AND unspecified adjuvants. As with most public health authorities the NB government information is not balanced concerning the possible risks associated with the vaccines generally and specifically with respect to possible vaccine autism connections. There is frequent mention of authorities like the WHO which called this H1N1 flu virus a pandemic in the first place, and the CDC, in supporting the safety of the vaccines generally.

There is also the usual one sided information concerning possible vaccine autism connections, information which fails to mention credible health authorities like Dr. Bernadine Healy, Dr. Julie Gerberding and Dr. Jon Poling who have said that more research needs to be done on vaccine autism issues. Nor does the information release mention the critique offered by those like Dr. Healy who points out that the "science" to date on vaccine autism issues, the epidemiological studies, are not specific enough to determine the impact of vaccines on vulnerable population subsets, on individual children with conditions that might render them vulnerable. Dr. Healy also points out that flu vaccines have contained thimerosal and thimerosal crosses the placenta. (Dr. Poling, a neurologist, was involved with the issue with his daughter on whose behalf it was successfully claimed that her autism resulted from vaccination. The US government settled on the basis that her "autism like symptoms" were caused by the vaccine aggravation of her pre-existing mitochondrial disorder).

The NB government communication release does not mention that no observational study has been done comparing autism rates of vaccinated populations with autism rates of unvaccinated populations. With the use of vaccines containing thimerosal and adjuvants, most likely squalene, with pregnant women and young children targeted for early receipt of the H1N1 vaccines, the NB government is essentially conducting such a study. Hopefully they will remember these events in assessing NB autism rates 2 to 5 years from now as the young children vaccinated with the thimerosal and adjuvant (squalene) and the new born children of vaccinated pregnant women mature.

I don't know if vaccines cause or trigger autism. I am no longer assured by overstated health authority pronouncements that vaccines do not cause autism, that the science is closed on these issues, when people of such credibility as Dr. Healy, Dr. Gerberding and Dr. Poling say more research is needed.

I do hope that our NB health authorities turn out to be right whether it is from a lucky guess or not. I hope that they save every child and adult from H1N1 flu death with no resulting cases of autism. But I am far from convinced that such will be the case. I absolutely hope that they remember this H1N1 flu vaccine and assess future autism rates with an eye to its ingredients - thimerosal, squalene and whatever other ingredients it contains. And it is probably hoping for too much for them to actually record and compare the autism rates of children who are vaccinated with the H1N1 vaccine and those whose parents refuse the vaccination for them. Time will tell.

H1N1 flu virus update (09/10/08)

NB 1521

Oct. 8, 2009

FREDERICTON (CNB) - The following update on the H1N1 flu virus was issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health for New Brunswick on Thursday, Oct. 8:

  • We have moved forward with our seasonal vaccination program, according to plans. It started last week and will run for the month of October. The public awareness piece accompanying the campaign speaks to those most at risk of developing complications from seasonal influenza. They are: children six-to-23 months old, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions, and the elderly. We encourage these groups to get the publicly funded vaccine. A list of clinics by region may be found at
  • There has been a frequently referred to, but as-yet unpublished, Canadian study that suggests an association between seasonal flu vaccine and acquiring a mild case of the H1N1 virus. This study is inconsistent with other international studies, and has failed to show a relationship that one causes the other. Both the Public Health Agency of Canada and the World Health Organization have responded to the study, saying that preliminary data show that there is no link between having a severe bout of pandemic flu and having had a seasonal flu shot last year. New Brunswick's position on this study has never changed.
  • We know that seasonal flu is fatal to 100-150 New Brunswickers each year, and that children are hospitalized by influenza more than any other age group.
  • In making decisions for the province, we balanced this known significant risk and a vast body of published research against the results of one unpublished study, and determined that the best way to protect all New Brunswickers from both diseases was to move ahead with our plans to run a seasonal flu immunization campaign in October, and an H1N1 immunization campaign through November.
  • We are running both campaigns because it is the best decision for New Brunswick. We made operational decisions early on that will allow us to have the capacity to offer both vaccines.
  • There has never been a one-size-fits-all approach to seasonal vaccines in Canada, and this year is no different. Provinces and territories have not previously had to administer two separate flu immunization programs in a single season, and some of the decisions taken on seasonal and H1N1 vaccine timing reflect concerns over logistics, capacity and likely vaccine uptake.
  • The seasonal flu vaccine is safe, and those in the high-risk groups, in particular, should take the steps to receive it as soon as possible.
  • There have also been reports and public speculation about the safety of the H1N1 vaccine. The contents of the H1N1 vaccine will protect against contracting H1N1. The included additives and preservatives are there to help the vaccine work, and are not cause for alarm.
  • As a multi-dose vaccine, the H1N1 influenza vaccine will contain a mercury-based preservative called thimerosal to prevent contamination of the vaccine by serious infectious agents from the growth of bacteria. Thimerosal also has a stabilizing effect on the vaccine, ensuring its effectiveness.
  • The seasonal flu vaccine and most hepatitis B vaccines are also multi-dose vaccines, and thimerosal is added during the manufacturing process to maintain sterility of the vaccine.
  • There is no safety reason to avoid using vaccines containing thimerosal. The best available scientific evidence to date shows no link between vaccines containing thimerosal and any adverse health condition, including neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism.
  • The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) has reviewed the safety of thimerosal and concluded that, "There is no legitimate safety reason to avoid the use of thimerosal-containing products for children or older individuals, including pregnant women." International bodies, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, share this opinion.
  • Most of the H1N1 vaccine available in New Brunswick will also contain an adjuvant. An adjuvant is a substance that is added to a vaccine in order to boost an individual's immune response. It also means that less of the virus, or antigen, is needed to make a dose of the vaccine. Unadjuvanted vaccine has no booster element, and more antigen is needed to create this kind of vaccine.
  • By developing an adjuvanted vaccine, Canada has used less of the virus material (antigen), allowing us to immunize more people in a timely manner.
  • Adjuvants are not new. Many commonly used vaccines in Canada contain an adjuvant. Adjuvants have been used for several decades to boost immune response to vaccines. However, adjuvants have not previously been used with influenza vaccines in Canada.
  • The WHO has indicated that it has no special concerns about the safety of adjuvanted H1N1 vaccines in general.
  • New Brunswickers should continue to protect themselves and those around them by washing their hands thoroughly and often, coughing or sneezing into sleeves, staying home if sick, and keeping common surfaces clean.
  • Persons at high risk of complications from influenza-like illness should seek medical attention promptly. Those at risk include pregnant women, people with underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, or those with compromised immune systems.
  • Persons with influenza-like symptoms should stay home and minimize contact with family members as much as possible. If symptoms worsen, they should visit their physician or nurse-practitioner, a walk-in clinic or the nearest hospital emergency department.
  • It is recommended that persons with influenza-like symptoms limit contact with other people, including other household members until they are free of symptoms and are feeling well.
  • Those experiencing influenza-like illness should consider ending self-isolation when they are able to participate fully in all of their normal daily activities.
  • It is important for New Brunswickers to understand that if they do not have influenza-like symptoms it is safe to go to work and school, to participate in activities and to socialize.
  • More information on the H1N1 flu virus may be found online, or by calling the 24-hour H1N1 line, 1-800-580-0038.
  • 09/10/08

    MEDIA CONTACT: Danielle Phillips, media relations, H1N1 Pandemic, Department of Health, 506-444-3821,

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