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Don't miss the issues that affect all of us

Autism in a Needle?

The toxic tale of vaccinations and mercury poisoning

By Annette Fuentes


Study: Autism strikes 1 in 150
By Allison M. Heinrichs
Friday, February 9, 2007

Isaac and Jacob Smelser are active, blond 8-year-old twins who are perfect spellers, great at baseball and video game whizzes.

But they don't make eye contact and can't carry a conversation.

"They never really said 'Mom' and 'Dad' and didn't associate with other kids, but the doctors said it was a twin thing," said their mother, Kim Smelser, of Richland. "By the time they were 2 1/2, we knew it wasn't a twin thing, and when they were 4, they were finally diagnosed with autism."

The boys are among more than half a million children -- or one in every 150 -- nationwide who have some form of autism, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday. It is the highest number to date that the CDC has used to quantify the prevalence of the neurological disorder.

The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, which provides assistance to individuals with autism, does not know how many people in Pennsylvania have the disorder. The Autism Society of Pennsylvania estimates there are about 75,000 people statewide with a form of autism and about 4,000 in the Pittsburgh region.

The national numbers are based on two CDC surveys encompassing 22 states, including Pennsylvania. The studies represent the largest and most comprehensive reviews of how many children have autism, previously estimated at one in every 166 children...

C-Span's Brian Lamb interviewing journatlists at the New York Times, Friday, December 12, 2003.  Very interesting.

The most eye-opening comment to me was during the interview was when one of the reporters, the woman, said in passing that Dan Burton's relative suffered from autism and Burton was interested in finding out if there was a connection between vaccinnations and autism.

Now people, anybody else on this planet who learned this little item would immediately ask if there was more in-depth coverage of that issue, especially since the country is undergoing an epidemic of the flu, and there are no more vaccines available!  But not Brian Lamb.  He's just interested in their everyday workings there at the Times, the background bio of these journalists that we can obtain ourselves, and do they have pizza delivered!  Very very disappointing.

so I searched the net for more interesting things to learn about the media, etc.


Debate Flares Over Vaccines, Autism Link
Monday, April 10, 2006
By Todd Zwillich

Debate over a possible tie between mercury-containing vaccines and autism flared up this week as activist groups launched a campaign accusing federal health agencies and prominent researchers of manipulating scientific findings on the link.

Some parents of autistic children have long blamed vaccines containing the preservative thimerosal for an alarming rise in the disorder. Thimerosal contains a type of mercury. A series of reports by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) ending in 2004 concluded no evidence could be found linking the vaccines to neurological diseases, including autism.

But groups this week mounted a campaign to publicize previously undisclosed transcripts and emails that they say point to efforts by the CDC to manipulate the IOM’s scientific conclusions on the safety of vaccines containing thimerosal. The groups accuse the CDC of trying to defend a long-held policy promoting childhood vaccinations.

“In the interest of protecting the immunization program, they forgot about child safety. They are continuing that pattern of behavior and denial that thimerosal causes harm,” Bobbie Manning, vice president of Advocates for Children’s Health Affected by Mercury, tells WebMD.

According to the CDC, all vaccines recommended for children are available in thimerosal-free versions. But some parents say millions of previous exposures helped caused a spike in autism cases since the 1980s.

The CDC contracted with the IOM in 2001 to generate a series of reports on possible links between vaccines and a variety of health problems. An IOM committee of outside experts, led by Harvard researcher Marie McCormick, MD, found no evidence of a link and concluded that proposed biological explanations for a mercury-autism relationship were “theoretical.”

Allegations of Bias

Activist groups released transcripts of closed-door conversations in 2001 between McCormick and Kathleen Stratton, the study director. Groups say the conversation suggests that the committee would fashion its findings to meet the CDC’s desires to play down a link between thimerosal and autism.

“[The CDC] wants us to declare, well, these things are pretty safe on a population basis,” McCormick said to Stratton, according to the transcript, posted on a web site called

Thirty-four pages later in the transcript, McCormick states, “...we are not ever going to come down that [autism] is a true side effect.”

Manning said the transcript shows that the CDC “directed that committee to find what they wanted to find, which was no causation” between vaccines and autism.

In an interview, McCormick confirmed that the statements in the transcript are “accurate and true.” But she said there was “no truth” to allegations that CDC officials influenced the IOM or that the committee reached conclusions before its scientific review.

McCormick said her comments reflected a debate over whether the committee would look at vaccine effects in individuals or across populations, and not what any specific findings would be.

The conversation also took place in late 2001, before the committee’s final 2004 report on vaccines and autism was planned, McCormick said.

“In 2001 we did not know we were going to look at autism again. To use those as evidence for what we did in 2004 is really inappropriate,” she said.

McCormick added that the committee’s experts were chosen specifically for their scientific independence and for a lack of ties to both pharmaceutical manufacturers and the CDC.

CDC Perspective

Parents groups alleged that CDC officials had worked to dissuade agency scientists from looking more deeply into links between thimerosal and autism.

The groups also alleged that CDC officials narrowed the scope of the IOM’s report to include a handful of studies, most of which the agency had a role in funding or planning. Those studies generally showed little evidence of a link between vaccination and autism.

Tom Skinner, a CDC spokesman, said the agency has been “very transparent” about its ongoing studies of autism and vaccines and that the emails have been taken “out of context.” He said the agency closely guards its scientific credibility and “in no way” tried to influence IOM experts.

“We stand behind our science that’s been done to this date and we will certainly do more in the future,” he said.

Louis Z. Cooper, MD, an emeritus professor of pediatrics at Columbia University and a founder of the National Network for Immunization Information, said in an interview that some of the emails and transcripts “cause some anxiety” because they may help fuel fear among parents about the safety of vaccines and the motivations of health officials.

Still, Cooper, who noted he’s known McCormick professionally for at least 20 years, called accusations of bias against her or other members of IOM’s committee “rubbish, scurrilous, and awful.”

"If I wanted a group who were committed to objectivity and were committed to science, I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people,” said Cooper, a former president of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Manning said her group and others would continue to push for congressional investigations into how the IOM conducted the studies and whether they were influenced by the CDC. “We believe that this is a serious issue that needs to be examined,” she said.,2933,191167,00.html

Testimony of Bruce Wiseman.



Thimerisol And Autism—Is There A Link?
The substance at the center of this vaccine safety controversy is a mercury containing preservative called thimerisol that was commonly used in vaccines and has been around since the 1930s. But due to FDA requests, by 2002 thimerisol was removed from all vaccines for children (except some influenza flu vaccines).

This is a complicated issue, with seemingly reliable authorities on one side loudly claiming that thimerisol containing vaccines cause(d) problems like autism, while other authorities claim the opposite—and state that in respected, well designed medical studies, there is no proven link found between autism and the MMR vaccine or thimerisol exposure. Both sides have data that supports their claims. Whose data should you believe?

I side with the "no link found" group.

Fall 2004
Growing incidence of childhood autism can challenge primary care providers and families

Autism is a childhood onset disorder affecting the development of communication and social skills. As originally described in 1943 by Leo Kanner, a child psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins University, "children with autism have great difficulty relating in an ordinary way to people and situations from the beginning of life." Kanner stated that these children often exhibit "an anxiously obsessive desire for the maintenance of sameness and a limitation in the variety of spontaneous activity."

In recent years, public awareness of childhood autism has grown dramatically. In addition, there is evidence that the incidence of this condition is increasing but no clear explanations have been identified.

Symptoms of autism often are recognized between 15 and 24 months of age, and approximately one-third of children with autism experience a significant regression of language and social skills development in the second year of life.

Since this time period coincides with administration of Mumps, Measles and Rubella (MMR) vaccine (recommended at 15 months), childhood vaccines and thimerisol, a preservative used in multidose vials of MMR vaccine, were suspected of causing autism. However, very thorough research by a variety of scientific organizations and governmental agencies has found no causal link between MMR vaccine or thimerisol and autism (see the Institute of Medicine's report at Other avenues of research have identified a variety of differences in brain development and function, increased incidence of "autistic-like" features in relatives and immunological dysfunctions in autistic individuals, but no "unifying theory" has been identified. Research is further hampered because diagnosis of autism relies exclusively on observation and interpretation of developmental and behavioral patterns in children. There are no objective genetic or physiologic "markers" of this disorder...


For nearly 10 years, the ABC (Autism, Behavior and Communication disorders) Team at the Child Development Center of Children's Hospital of Wisconsin has been performing multidisciplinary diagnostic evaluations of children with learning, communication and socialization disorders. Children receive complete medical, developmental, non-verbal cognitive and speech-language evaluations scheduled over several days. The program's goal is to identify the child's strengths and abilities, as well as to characterize the nature of his or her difficulties before arriving at a diagnosis. Specialists use state-of-the-art genetic diagnostic studies, MRI brain scans and EEG evaluation as needed. Counseling and specific recommendations are provided to the parents for therapeutic and educational interventions to assist the child's development. Most importantly, specialists continue to follow the child's development over time to track progress and to refine the diagnostic impressions. In some instances, medications have been found to be very helpful in alleviating troubling symptoms of autism such as obsessive and perseverative behaviors, overwhelming anxiety, extreme mood instability, and self-abusive or aggressive behaviors.

The future
Children's Hospital of Wisconsin and the Department of Pediatrics at the Medical College of Wisconsin are considering developing a Center for the Study of Autism and Savant Syndrome to expand the scope of clinical and research activities in this field, using the newest diagnostic technologies available.

Source: Mark Simms, MD, MPH, is medical director of Child Development at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. He is a professor and chief of Pediatrics (Child Development) at the Medical College of Wisconsin and a member of Children's Specialty Group.

For more information
Child Development Center
(414) 266-2928

To make an appointment
Central Scheduling
(414) 607-5280 or (877) 607-5280

New study links mercury to autism
A new study shows a direct relationship between mercury in children's vaccines and autism, contradicting government claims there is no proven relationship between the two.

Published in the March 10 issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, the data show since mercury was removed from childhood vaccines, the increase in reported rates of autism and other neurological disorders in children not only stopped, but actually dropped sharply – by as much as 35 percent.

Using the government's own databases, independent researchers analyzed reports of childhood neurological disorders, including autism, before and after removal of mercury-based preservatives.

According to a statement from the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons, or AAPS, the numbers from California show that reported autism rates hit a high of 800 in May 2003. If that trend had continued, the reports would have risen to more than 1,000 by the beginning of 2006. But the number actually went down to 620, a real decrease of 22 percent, and a decrease from the projection of 35 percent.

Stated the AAPS: "This analysis directly contradicts 2004 recommendations of the Institute of Medicine, which examined vaccine safety data from the National Immunization Program of the CDC. While not willing to either rule out or to corroborate a relationship between mercury and autism, the IOM soft-pedaled its findings and decided no more studies were needed."

As more and more vaccines were added to the mandatory schedule of vaccines for children, the dose of the mercury-based preservative thimerosal rose, so that the cumulative dose injected into babies exceeded the toxic threshold set by many government agencies, the physicians' group explained.

Up until about 1989, pre-school children got only three vaccines – polio, DPT and MMR. By 1999, the CDC recommended a total of 22 vaccines to be given before children reach the first grade, including Hepatitis B, which is given to newborns within the first 24 hours of birth. Many of these vaccines contained mercury. In the 1990s, approximately 40 million children were injected with mercury-containing vaccines.

The rate of autism skyrocketed between 1989 and 2003. Currently, there are more than a half million children in the U.S. who have autism.

In 1999, on the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics and U.S. Public Health Service, thimerosal was removed from most childhood vaccines as a "precautionary" measure. There was no admission of any causal link between thimerosal and autism.

The authors of the new report, David A. Geier, B.A. and Mark R. Geier, M.D., Ph.D., believe consumers should still be concerned about mercury, as it is still added to some of the most commonly used vaccines, such as those for flu...

Early Downward Trends in Neurodevelopmental
Disorders Following Removal of Thimerosal-
Containing Vaccines
   David A. Geier, B.A.
   Mark R. Geier, M.D., Ph.D.
Download article in PDF format
Vol 2 No 1 Spring 2006
also see
Influenza Vaccine: Review of Effectiveness of the
U.S. Immunization Program,
and Policy Considerations
   David A. Geier, B.A.
   Paul G. King, Ph.D.
   Mark R. Geier, M.D., Ph.D.
Download article in PDF format
Vol 2 No 3 Fall 2006

Of course the manufacturers don't want a link between a drug and autism to be found, then they would have to cease its production.
Citizen Mom responded to the material posted on this site
and followed the links throughout...
Thimerosal: correlation, causation, and conspiracy
June 19, 2005
Followed provided links
Friday, June 17, 2005

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Swimming through the thimerosal


Sunday, June 19, 2005

The right and the left (for the moment, anyway)


Sunday, June 19, 2005


20th June 2005
Study Fails to Show a Connection Between Thimerosal and Autism

The American Academy of Pediatrics provides the following information for clinicians who may be aware of recent press surrounding an article that claims to show a correlation between thimerosal and autism.1 This paper uses data from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) inappropriately and contains numerous conceptual and scientific flaws, omissions of fact, inaccuracies, and misstatements. ..

Comparison of blood and brain mercury levels...monkeys... exposed... thimerisol
Vaccine manufacturers using thimerasol would be a juicy target for lawyers if a conncection to autism could be proven...

Via post from comment Posted by: dwight Meredith | June 20, 2005 at 12:30 PM
...You seemed to have missed the latest research on the differences betwen ethyl and methyl mercury.

The new study (pdf abstract here),

was conducted at the University of Washington and funded by the NIH. It involved exposing infant monkeys to the different forms of mercury in qualtities that mimic those that were found in infant vaccines in the 1990s. The study concludes that ethyl mercury passes the blood brain barrier more easily and therefore remains in the brain longer. If you want the link to the full study please give me a hollar.

I was also suprised that you did not discuss the research of Dr. Richard Deth of Northeastern University. Dr. Deth's study found "there is an apparent link between exposure to certain neurodevelopmental toxins and an increased possibility of developing neurological disorders including autism." Dr. Deth's study also shows the mechanism by which mercury exposure may effect the development of the brain and shows that that effect may result in autism.

The press release of that work is here

and the full study, in pdf is here...


Exposure to certain neurotoxins may be linked to development of dreaded developmental disorders in children

Christine Phelan: 617-373-5455

DOWNLOAD PAPER IN FULL >> (need latest version of Adobe Acrobat)

(2-5-04) BOSTON, Mass. – According to new research from Northeastern University pharmacy professor Richard Deth and colleagues from the University of Nebraska, Tufts, and Johns Hopkins University, there is an apparent link between exposure to certain neurodevelopmental toxins and an increased possibility of developing neurological disorders including autism and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. The research – the first to offer an explanation for possible causes of two increasingly common childhood neurological disorders – is published today in the April 2004 issue of the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

Though some speculation exists regarding this link, Deth and his colleagues found that exposure to toxins, such as ethanol and heavy metals (including lead, aluminum and the ethylmercury-containing preservative thimerosal) potently interrupt growth factor signaling, causing adverse effects on methylation reactions (i.e. the transfer of carbon atoms). Methylation, in turn, plays a significant role in regulating normal DNA function and gene expression, and is critical to proper neurological development in infants and children. Scientists and practitioners have identified an increase in diagnoses of autism and ADHD in particular, though the reasons why are largely unknown...


Mercury Poisoning and Thimerosal

Legislative Updates

John Schneider promotes Asperger's Syndrome awareness

On Smallville, John Schneider plays the father of teenager Clark Kent. In real life, Schneider is dad to his 11-year-old son, Chasen, who also has incredible abilities.

...The cause of autism and Asperger's remains a mystery.

"We think there's a genetic basis that is exacerbated by something in the environment," Shore says. "The question is – is the catalyst a vaccination, a virus, or something else?"

'But what we do know there is definitely something in the environment that is causing it," Shore states. "Thimerisol is being strongly scrutinized, perhaps in part due to the overlap in symptomology between mercury poisoning and autism being about 80-90%. But we're not sure."

Autism expert Bernard Rimland says he is sure.

"I've been studying this for over 40 years," says Rimland, who founded the Autism Society of America and now serves as its director. "In my opinion there is very little doubt that the increased rate of vaccinations is responsible for the increase in autism. Not only the number of vaccines but also the amount of mercury has increased. Mercury is extraordinarily toxic in small amounts, but some people are amazingly susceptible to minute amounts of mercury."

"There is a huge epidemic of autism," says Rimland, who consulted on the movie Rain Man. "A recent report examined the hypotheses as to why there is such a large increase. Migration to California does not explain the increase. The report rejected the hypothesis that there was a change in diagnostic standards. Another theory was kids were reclassified from mentally retarded to autistic. But this was not the case either. It is the vaccinations."

To support his case, Rimland says that the symptoms of mercury poisoning are "amazingly like the symptoms of autism." Boys are four times more susceptible to mercury toxicity than girls. Autism is four times as common in boys as girls.

Mercury rising

When interviewed by the ASA, Rick Rollens, who has helped with the California studies, acknowledged the possibility exists that vaccinations could be responsible. "…Since mercury containing vaccines are still in use today, including the most recent recommended addition to the childhood immunization schedule ... (of) two shots of flu vaccine for babies, it will take a few years to start seeing the effect of the phasing out of the mercury containing preservative thimerisol from childhood vaccines on the autism epidemic."

"The experts have been wrong before and the experts are wrong this time too," Rimland states. "When we were children we had three vaccinations before the age of 6. Now the kids get 22 before the age of 2. It's a little like saying if a kid can safely carry three books in his backpack, then 22 is also safe."

"The good thing from all this is they've taken the mercury out of the vaccines," adds Shore, who authored Beyond the Wall: Personal Experiences with Autism and Asperger's Syndrome. "Because you shouldn't be injecting mercury into anyone."

But Rimland urges extra caution because many old vaccinations are still being used that still contain mercury...