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Monday, May 24, 2010

Andrew Wakefield

The most recent update on the Andrew Wakefield "controversy".

I have met Wakefield a couple of times, once at a biomedical conference and once at a rally in DC. In person he is nice and takes time to talk to all the parents who besiege him with questions and requests for autographs.

I find it hard to believe that because he paid five pounds (less than $8) to some kids for blood samples and failed to disclose a potential conflict of interest before a study was published that ipso facto his research is garbage.

Before you pull out the line that "new studies have proven there is no link between autism and vaccinations", show me the exact study. The ones from the CDC? Oh, the ones that said a link could neither be confirmed or denied and that further studies needed done. Or the ones partially researched by a psychiatrist who ran off with millions in research money? (more on that below) And the further studies just happened to say "vaccines are safe". Or the genetic studies that prove autism is strictly a genetic problem? Maybe, say, like being more susceptible to have autism, even if an environmental trigger needs to set the autism gene in motion?

Why do people who are not adversely affected by vaccines assume they are 100% risk free? "It didn't happen to me or my kids!" Ah, that proves it.

It reminds me of a conversation I had in high school with a friend. I said Jimi Hendrix was one of the most famous musicians and guitarists of all time. My friend's response: He must not be very famous. I never heard of him.

And what about this guy, Dr. Paul Thorsen? Now, he didn't pay kids pocket change for blood samples, so I can see why we would believe him. He just absconded with millions of dollars, said he'd "kill" to make his way, and, his research helped "prove" the CDC's statement that they couldn't find a connection between autism and vaccines. I wonder if he's been publicly harrassed, had his house burned down and lost his medical license? His specialty is psychiatry, so why he would be picked to head up this research is odd. Here's another story about him.
Wakefield was a pediatric gastroenterologist. He became interested in autism after treating numerous patients with autism who had odd yeast overgrowth in their intestines, symptoms of leaky gut syndrome, and live measles virus in their intestines (although the children had never had measles- only the MMR vaccine exposure to measles).
Also, if the other doctors originally involved with Wakefield were doing their due dilligence they should have found any conflicts of interest before the report was ever published in a prestigious, peer reviewed journal like The Lancet. Why did it take The Lancet so long to retract the report? Did they drop the ball on vetting the study and report or did they get flack for publishing something that might dare mess with the "herd immunity" (and annual profits for vaccine manufacturers and patent holders).
And Dr. Paul Offit, the biggest vaccine proponent around, certainly has a conflict of interest as he is a patent hold for a rotavirus vaccine. If he honestly isn't in it for the money, maybe he can donate all the profits from his book, Autism's False Prophets, to the vaccine injury compensation fund or to the CDC to study vaccine safety and efficacy. Or maybe he can join up with Amanda Peet and start up a fund to send all of us non-vaccinated or under-vaccinate "parasites" to a big island where we'll die off not only from lack of vaccination, but also because of our "faulty" genetics that cause us to be weak and susceptible to neurotoxins. Give natural selection a little nudge, if you will.

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