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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

This Year’s People Who Suck

I know the year isn’t over yet, so there’s still time for someone to do or say something really stupid (with regards to autism). However, I thought I’d take a few moments to highlight some of this year’s People Who Suck. I thought about labeling them a**holes, but I thought that wasn’t really accurate…

Amanda Peet- I’ve already mentioned her, but I can’t have my list complete without mentioning her again. Here’s her insight on not vaccinating your children: "Frankly, I feel that parents who don't vaccinate their children are parasites." Yep, we’re mooching off of your immunity. Never mind that I am fully vaccinated. Never mind that my children had most of their vaccines (which, incidentally, sparked yeast growth over their torsos, private areas, and face; gave them diarrhea-like bowel movements for about three months; and coincidence or not, coincided with their regression in language and behavior).

Thanks for passing your judgment. Oh, but she did “do her homework”. More from her Cookie interview, where she tells us about how speaking to Dr. Paul Offit cleared up her concerns: "Once we had spoken, I was shocked at the amount of misinformation floating around, particularly in Hollywood," says Peet, who quickly boned up on the hot-button controversies surrounding the topic, including the unproven link between certain vaccines and autism; the safety of preservatives like mercury-based thimerosal; and the fear that the relatively high number of shots kids receive today can overwhelm young immune systems. Her conclusion? Well, not only is Frankie up-to-date on her vaccines (with no staggering), but her mom will soon appear in public-service announcements for Every Child by Two. "I buy 99 percent organic food for Frankie, and I don't like to give her medicine or put sunscreen on her," says Peet. "But now that I've done my research, vaccines do not concern me."

I put unproven in italics because the link is just that, “unproven”. Meaning it hasn’t definitively been proven to be or to not be a cause of some cases of autism. Then again, it’s more convenient to see only the side that proves your point…

Dennis Leary- In his book, Why We Suck, he has a chapter titled autism schmautism (not sure of his spelling on the second word). He tried to defend his paragraph that was “taken out of context” by media on the Daily Show, but he still comes across as a misinformed jackass. He contends that there is a big problem of incompetent parents getting their children labeled with “low level” diagnoses of autism and Asperger’s Syndrome so that they can have an excuse for having bratty, misbehaving children. He said that he has known a person with autism for a long time and that he understands that it is a serious condition, but that it’s the families who did a crappy job raising their kids and are looking for excuses, like unwarranted autismdiagnoses, that he is trying to bring attention to.

If he really wanted to do any kind of service for parents or people with autismhe could’ve left this chapter out of his book or written about how autismis a prevalent condition that is poorly understood and underfunded in research. No, he’d rather tackle an issue that he says is very prevalent: bad parents who shop for diagnoses that make them feel better about the poor job they do raising their children.

Where he got this information about fake diagnoses he didn’t really elaborate on. Maybe it’s one of those things you just learn when you are wealthy and famous.
Michael Weiner (aka Michael Savage)- In July Michael Savage spoke about autismas if he had some clue as to what it is. Here is his definition of autism, “You know what autismis? I'll tell you what autismis… In 99 percent of the cases, it's a brat who hasn't been told to cut the act out. That's what autismis."

He also said that if we just told our kids to suck it up and act like a man that they’d be fine. I’ve been keeping up on “cures” for autismfor some time now, so I decided to give his theory a try. One night when Lotus was lying in bed trying to pull her hair out by the roots (which she does to fight off sleepiness), I told her to quit being a putz and act like a man. It didn’t work. I guess I must have one of the 1% of children with “real” autism.

Dr. Paul Offit- You’d think that he got paid to reassure the public that vaccinations are safe, very, very safe. Oh, wait a minute. He sort of does! Let’s look at Dr. Offit’s credentials (underlining mine):

Paul A. Offit, MD is the Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and the Director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. Offit is also the Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology, and a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He is a recipient of many awards including the J. Edmund Bradley Prize for Excellence in Pediatrics bestowed by the University of Maryland Medical School, the Young Investigator Award in Vaccine Development from the Infectious Disease Society of America, and a Research Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health.Dr. Paul A. Offit has published more than 130 papers in medical and scientific journals in the areas of rotavirus-specific immune responses and vaccine safety. He is also the co-inventor of the rotavirus vaccine, RotaTeq, recently recommended for universal use in infants by the CDC; for this achievement Dr. Offit received the Gold Medal from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Jonas Salk Medal from the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.

Dr Paul Offit was also a member of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is the author of four books titled Vaccines: What You Should Know (Wiley, 2003, 3rd Edition), Breaking the Antibiotic Habit (Wiley, 1999), The Cutter Incident: How America’s First Polio Vaccine Led to Today’s Growing Vaccine Crisis (Yale University Press, 2005), and, most recently, Vaccinated: One Man’s Quest to Defeat the World’s Deadliest Diseases (HarperCollins, 2007). A fifth book titled Autism’s False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure will be published by Columbia University Press in the fall of 2008.

Hmm, do you see any sort of connection? Like, maybe why he is such a fierce defender of vaccines is because his whole career and livelihood depend on the sale of vaccines? And do you sense just a hint of animosity towards those who disagree with him? I mean, “Autism’s False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure”. That title is more than a little offensive to me. How about : Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for Prophets: An Industry More Concerned with Money than the Well Being of Children? I think that would be a good title for an investigative journalism piece that delves into the world of vaccine creation and pharmaceutical companies.

Take for instance, just this one example of the due diligence of pharamaceutical companies. This pertains to the “safe” preservative thimerosal, you remember, the one Offit convinced Amanda Peet is perfectly safe. Thimerosal’s safety was tested on adults with meningitis. The following information is from a lawyer’s investigation into thimerosal for a case:

In 1928, Dr. G.H.A. Clowes, Director of Research of the Eli Lilly Co., assigned Lilly scientists H.M. Powell and W.A. Jamieson the task of completing animal toxicity studies in anticipation of plans to sell the product for human use as an antiseptic and/or antibacterial agent. Exhibit 4 (Exhibit ELI-392FF). Powell and Jamieson performed a series of short-term experiments on animals to ascertain what acute and immediate toxicity might be observed. They made no effort to determine what injuries would results from longer term or lower level exposures.
On July 24, 1930, Powell and Jamieson submitted their results for publication to The American Journal of Hygiene, and their article was published in January 1931. Id. In one section of the published paper, Powell and Jamieson noted:

Toxicity in man. Merthiolate has been injected intravenously into 22 persons in doses up to 50 cubic centimeters of 1% solution. . . The toleration of such intravenous doses indicates a very low order of toxicity of merthiolate for man. This information has been supplied through the kindness of Dr. K.C. Smithburn of Indianapolis who has had occasion to use merthiolate in a clinical way. Dr. Smithburn stated in these cases ‘beneficial effect of the drug was not definitely proven. It did not appear, however, to have any deleterious action when used in rather large doses intravenously when all the drug entered the vein.
Nevermind the fact that these patients would all later die from meningitis; whoops, no source of information on long term effects!

After this “study” was completed Eli Lilly went on to tout thimerosal, or merthiolate as it was then called, as being a safe, non-toxic substance. However, ten years later, the military decided it didn’t agree:

v. The 1940’s: Additional Recognition of Potential Hazards, Especially for Sensitive Persons
In 1941, the Lilly staff received an article entitled "Chemotherapy of Bacterial Endocarditis." The article advised Lilly scientists that merthiolate should never be given more frequently than once in 10 days due to its toxicity and potential hazards. Exhibit 12 (Exhibit ELI-392P(2)). Lilly also sold large amounts of merthiolate to the United States government for use in the war effort from 1941-1945. "Merthiolate was an army standard issue and 22 tank cars of the popular antiseptic were dispatched from (the) McCarty Street (plant) during the war." Due to military regulations, and as a result of the toxicity of the ethylmercury preservative, Lilly was required to label the product "POISON." The "POISON" language was only added to cartons of products in certain instances, as when required by the government, and Lilly continued to fail to warn about known hazards of the product for its non-military sales and for sales related to vaccines. Exhibit 13 (Exhibit ELI-228).

So the military warranted merthiolate a “poison” while Eli Lilly kept selling it to the public as “non-toxic”. Hmm, that seems a bit unethical, at the very least…
How about this information:

The 1970’s: Lilly Lies to the FDA in a Bid to Avoid Regulation
In 1972, Lilly received an article that confirmed that its product, used as a preservative in vaccines, caused 6 deaths from mercury poisoning. Exhibit 29 (Exhibit ELI-392K(1)). "The symptoms and clinical course of the 6 patients suggests subacute mercury poisoning."

Shortly thereafter, the FDA required Lilly to provide all the information at its disposal concerning the potential toxicity of thimerosal. Lilly reported to the FDA, in a February 14, 1973 letter, that "as with other chemicals of its generation, information relating to safety and efficacy of thimerosal in animal models is sparse." Exhibit 30 (Exhibit ELI-392). But Lilly went further, advising the FDA that the product was non-toxic and cited the fraudulent Jamieson and Powell study of 1930 as its supporting scientific evidence. Exhibit 31 (Exhibit ELI-392QQ). Despite its knowledge to the contrary, Lilly continued to use the incomplete Powell and Jamieson version of the Lilly/Smithburn experiment to support its conclusions that the product was safe and "non-toxic."

ix. 1976: One Example of Lilly’s Efforts to Convince the Public that Thimerosal is Safe.
On April 27, 1976, Lilly’s Manager of Industrial Sales, W. Orbaugh, responded to a letter from Rexall Drug Company in St. Louis, Missouri. Rexall Drug had been concerned about the potential hazards of merthiolate/thimerosal and had requested, pursuant to the trademark/marketing agreement maintained with Lilly, permission to place the following warning on the product:

Frequent or prolonged use or application to large areas may cause mercury poisoning.
Okay, so it’s “non-toxic” but it can, and has, caused mercury poisoning and death. Oops! That’s just a minor “fact” that we can sweep under the rug.
That’s all of my people who suck, for now anyway. If Bill Frist hadn’t crawled under a rock, he’d be on my list too.


*mary* said...

Good list, for starters anyway. I'm sure there are many more jerks who need added. Man, that Amanda Peet quote just kills me. You know, she did SO much research on the subject! Um, that is tantamount to doing "research" on the effects of secondhand smoke and only reading the studies put out by the RJ Reynolds company. And she is so bloody smug about it, too. Could she really not see his obvious bias, or even think hard enough to consider getting another opinion on it? "Well, he IS a doctor!" Geez, and there are tons of people just like her. I know- I have argued with them on message boards! Hahaha.

Autism Mom said...

Yeah, I love that she only buys organic foods for her daughter and doesn't even like to put sunscreen on her for fear of harmful side effects! Hmm, nope, injecting something filled with aluminum, methyl mercury, multiple diseases, and numerous other additives is healthy! But don't let your baby eat a banana that might have had some chemicals on its peel! That'll cause cancer!
Argh! Oh well...

controlled chaos said...

WoW. Those are some of the biggest jerks in the world. My cousin has autism, and these guys have a combination of Idiotism and Jerkism.

Autism Mom said...

Hmm, "jerkism". I like that. I know quite a bit of people who have that. Like Captain Murphy (Sealab 2021), I just call them "jerkface". :)