Quantcast
Health

A Letter From Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Robert De Niro to American Journalists

On the occasion of our announcement of the World Mercury Project's $100K challenge, we want to address America's reporters, journalists, columnists, editors, network anchors, on-air doctors and news division producers.

We especially want to reach out to those of you who have made a point of assuring the public about the safety of the mercury-based preservative, thimerosal. It's our hope that this challenge will elevate this important debate beyond name calling and prompt a genuine examination of the relevant science. The American public is entitled to an honest, probing and vigorous discussion about this critical public health issue—a debate based on facts, not rooted in fear, or on blind faith in regulators and the pharmaceutical industry.

We are both pro-vaccine. We need to say this at the outset to contravene the reflexive public relations ploy of labeling every vaccine safety advocate "anti-vaccine." As the British Medical Journal pointed out last week, that epithet is a derogatory attack designed to marginalize vaccine safety advocates and derail reasoned debate:

"It stigmatizes the mere act of even asking an open question about what is known and unknown about the safety of vaccines."

Both of us had all of our children vaccinated and we support policies that promote vaccine coverage. We want vaccines that are as safe as possible, robust transparent science and vigorous oversight by independent regulators who are free from corrupting conflicts-of-interest.

Despite the cascade of recent science confirming that thimerosal is a potent neurotoxin that damages children's brains, the American media has fiercely defended the orthodoxy that mercury-based vaccines are safe. We believe that even a meager effort at homework will expose that contention as unsupported by science. In just the past month, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) review confirmed thimerosal's profound neurotoxicity and a Yale University study connected vaccines to neurological illnesses including OCD, anorexia and tics.

Journalists, we have discovered—even science and health journalists—don't always read the science! On the vaccine issues, many of them have let government and industry officials tell them what the science supposedly says. Instead of questioning, digging and investigating, journalists, too often, have taken the easy course of repeating the safety assurances of the pharmaceutical industry and the regulators at CDC's Immunization Safety Office, which they have good reason to doubt.

For example, in recent years, two federal reports by Congress and the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have criticized the CDC for politicization of science and for corrupting conflicts of interest with the pharmaceutical industry (see also: UPI article on CDC corruption). In August 2014, CDC's senior vaccine scientist, Dr. William Thompson, confessed that the CDC routinely manipulates data to conceal the links between vaccines and a host of neurological disorders. Some dozen other CDC scientists have since come forward to protest pervasive scientific fraud and research corruption at the CDC. Nevertheless, among American journalists, cult-like parroting of the CDC's safety assurances has become a kind of lazy man's science.

Health

Yale University Study Shows Association Between Vaccines and Brain Disorders

A team of researchers from the Yale School of Medicine and Penn State College of Medicine have found a disturbing association between the timing of vaccines and the onset of certain brain disorders in a subset of children.

Analyzing five years' worth of private health insurance data on children ages 6-15, these scientists found that young people vaccinated in the previous three to 12 months were significantly more likely to be diagnosed with certain neuropsychiatric disorders than their non-vaccinated counterparts.

This new study, which raises important questions about whether over-vaccination may be triggering immune and neurological damage in a subset of vulnerable children (something parents of children with autism have been saying for years), was published in the peer-reviewed journal Frontiers in Psychiatry, Jan. 19.

More than 95,000 children in the database that were analyzed had one of seven neuropsychiatric disorders: anorexia nervosa, anxiety disorder, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, major depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and tic disorder.

Children with these disorders were compared to children without neuropsychiatric disorders, as well as to children with two other conditions that could not possibly be related to vaccination: open wounds and broken bones.

This was a well-designed, tightly controlled study. Control subjects without brain disorders were matched with the subjects by age, geographic location and gender.

As expected, broken bones and open wounds showed no significant association with vaccinations.

New cases of major depression, bipolar disorder or ADHD also showed no significant association with vaccinations.

However, children who had been vaccinated were 80 percent more likely to be diagnosed with anorexia and 25 percent more likely to be diagnosed with OCD than their non-vaccinated counterparts. Vaccinated children were also more likely to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and with tics compared to the controls.

In a carefully worded conclusion, the researchers caution making too much of these results while also urging further investigation. "This pilot epidemiologic analysis implies that the onset of some neuropsychiatric disorders may be temporally related to prior vaccinations in a subset of individuals," they write. "These findings warrant further investigation, but do not prove a causal role of antecedent infections or vaccinations in the pathoetiology of these conditions."

We all know that correlation (in this case, vaccine administration in the previous 12 months and new diagnoses of brain disorders) does not necessarily mean causation.

But if certain vaccines or a combination of vaccines are actually triggering brain disorders, it is imperative that we figure out which vaccines, or combination of vaccines, are the culprits and what risk factors may make some children more susceptible than others.

Of particular concern is the influenza vaccine. In this study, influenza vaccination was strongly correlated with both anorexia and OCD. At the same time, new research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention scientists has shown the mercury-containing preservative thimerosal to be as toxic and as brain damaging as other forms of mercury. Yet multi-dose flu vaccines still contain thimerosal, and flu vaccines are recommended for pregnant women and infants in America despite questions about efficacy and the scientifically documented risks.

Why look for a correlation between vaccination administration and brain disorders?

As the researchers point out, two major studies, one from researchers in Norway and one from an international team of researchers from Finland, Italy and Denmark, have shown an increased risk of narcolepsy following administration of the H1N1 flu vaccine.

Another study from China found an increased risk of narcolepsy after the H1N1 flu itself, which was unlikely to be linked to vaccinations.

If we look at this data from the H1N1 flu outbreaks, we see that immune responses—whether to the disease itself or to vaccination against the disease—can damage the brain.

While new discoveries about the human immune system are being made all the time, it is well understood that the immune system plays a role in brain development and in certain psychiatric conditions, including attention disorders, eating disorders, obsessive disorders and depression.

It is also well understood that the body's immune response involves inflammation, which is when tissue swells in response to harmful stimulation. Harmful stimulation includes infectious diseases (that is, illnesses themselves), environmental toxins like mercury, and allergens like pollen or dust mites (which are actually benign, though an over-stimulated immune system perceives them as threats).

We further know that vaccination can cause inflammation, which is part of the body's natural response to foreign substances.

Previous scientific studies have shown that when an immune reaction causes inflammation, it can negatively affect the brain.

So it is scientifically plausible and more than reasonable to investigate whether vaccination itself, which provokes inflammation, may also negatively affect the brain.

I agree with these researchers that the correlation between anorexia, OCD, tic disorder, anxiety disorder and vaccinations warrants further scrutiny. This study suggests that the seemingly inexplicable increase we have seen in brain disorders among young children may not be so mysterious after all.

To sign up for updates from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., go to the World Mercury Project.

Sponsored
Health

CDC Knew Its Vaccine Program Was Exposing Children to Dangerous Mercury Levels Since 1999

Uncovered documents show that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) knew that infant vaccines were exposing American children to mercury far in excess of all federal safety guidelines since 1999. The documents, created by a FDA consulting toxicologist, show how federal regulators concealed the dangerous impacts and lied to the public.

In 1997, Congress passed the FDA Modernization Act. A provision of that statute required the FDA to "compile a list of drugs that contain intentionally introduced mercury compounds, and provide a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the mercury compounds on the list." In response, manufacturers reported the use of the mercury-based preservative, thimerosal, in more than 30 licensed vaccines.

FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) was responsible for adding up the cumulative exposure to mercury from infant vaccines, a simple calculation that, astonishingly, had never been performed by either the FDA or the CDC. When the agency finally performed that basic calculation, the regulators realized that a six month-old infant who received thimerosal-preserved vaccines following the recommended CDC vaccine schedule would have received a jaw dropping 187.5 micrograms of mercury.

Instead of immediately ordering the removal of thimerosal, FDA officials circled the wagons treating the public health emergency as a public relations problem. Peter Patriarca, then director of the FDA Division of Viral Products, warned his fellow bureaucrats that hasty removal of thimerosal from vaccines would:

" … raise questions about FDA being 'asleep at the switch' for decades by allowing a potentially hazardous compound to remain in many childhood vaccines, and not forcing manufacturers to exclude it from new products. It will also raise questions about various advisory bodies regarding aggressive recommendations for use. We must keep in mind that the dose of ethylmercury was not generated by "rocket science." Conversion of the percentage thimerosal to actual micrograms of mercury involves ninth grade algebra. What took the FDA so long to do the calculations? Why didn't CDC and the advisory bodies do these calculations when they rapidly expanded the childhood immunization schedule?"

The agency consulted with experts in the field of toxicology to better understand the potential impact of these exposure levels. One consultant was Barry Rumack, MD. Dr. Rumack, at the time, had a private consulting practice, Rumack Consulting, where he offered "toxicologic and pharmacologic evaluation of drugs, biological and potentially toxic or hazardous agents for government and industry." After creating several scenarios based on infants' ages and weights, Dr. Rumack modeled blood and body burden levels in 1999.

The models predicted sharp peaks of mercury concentrations in both blood and tissue, in a stair-step sequence following each of the new thimerosal-containing vaccines given during the first six months of life. Based on these models, Rumack predicted exposure to thimerosal-containing vaccines was dosing American children with mercury levels far exceeding all three federal safety guidelines established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), FDA, and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). There was no point in time from birth to approximately 16-18 months of age that infants were below the EPA guidelines for allowable mercury exposure. In fact, according to the models, blood and body burden levels of mercury peaked at six months of age at a shockingly high level of 120ng/liter. To put this in perspective, the CDC classifies mercury poisoning as blood levels of mercury greater than 10 ng/L.

After receiving this alarming news from its toxicological consultant, the FDA chose to conceal these acute exposures using a deceptive statistical trick. Instead of honestly reporting the dangerous spikes in pediatric blood levels, FDA's public documents averaged the exposures over a six month period despite the fact that the exposures only occurred on four days during that six month period: at birth, and at two, four and six months of age.

An analogy would be to compare taking two Tylenol tablets a day for a month to taking 60 Tylenol tablets in one day; the first exposure is acceptable, while the other is lethal. Using this misleading gimmick, regulators were able to report that mercury exposure levels were below FDA and ATSDR guidelines. Even after employing this deception, the levels were still above EPA guidelines which were the most stringent of the three. Numerous toxicologists have reported that the FDA's calculation, averaging these high bolus dose exposures, was not appropriate.

Additionally disturbing, the FDA assigned a pediatrician with little knowledge of toxicology to oversee its public reporting. When Dr. Leslie Ball was asked why she reported the mercury exposure levels in this deceptive fashion, she responded, "That is what I was told to do."

In an e-mail to her superiors at the FDA on July 6, 1999, marked as being highly important and confidential and obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, Dr. Ball asked Norman Baylor, PhD, director of the Office of Vaccines Research Review, "Has the application of these calculations as exposure guidelines received the sign off by toxicologists? In prior discussions, the toxicologists seemed reluctant to state any Hg (mercury) level was 'safe.'"

In further email discussion between the CDC and FDA regarding the development of a consensus statement on the use of thimerosal in influenza vaccination of pregnant women, William Egan, acting office director of the Office of Vaccine Research and Review, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research at the FDA, commented:

"I'm not sure that I would want to argue, for example, that one could take the allowed amount of mercury for a year and administer it as a bolus injection with the same outcomes as having it spaced out evenly over a year; the issue then becomes how much of a bolus can one give at one time without harmful effect, and this data does not exist (or at least I'm not aware of them)."

Despite Egan's well-reasoned revelations, FDA and CDC regulators went ahead with their dangerously misleading announcement.

With this deceitful calculation in hand, the Public Health Service and the American Academy of Pediatrics reported to the American public on July 9, 1999:

"There is a significant safety margin incorporated into all the acceptable mercury exposure limits. Furthermore, there are no data or evidence of any harm caused by the level of exposure that some children may have encountered in following the existing immunization schedule. Infants and children who have received thimerosal-containing vaccines do not need to be tested for mercury exposure."

Seventeen years later, thanks to the FDA's 1999 sleight of hand, neurotoxic thimerosal, an unnecessary and dangerous vaccine preservative, continues to be injected into pregnant women, infants and children in the U.S. pursuant to the CDC's recommendations and, in much larger doses, into hundreds of millions of children across the developing world.

Sophocles wrote, "All men make mistakes, but a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong, and repairs the evil. The only crime is pride." The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Ruth Etzel, MD, gave similar advice to her fellow regulators immediately after the FDA toxicologist repeated the monumental error by vaccine safety officials:

"The AAP should be dedicated to promptly providing truthful information about this situation to pediatricians. We must follow three basic rules:

  1. Act quickly to inform pediatricians that the products have more mercury than we realized.
  2. Be open with consumers about why we didn't catch this earlier.
  3. Show contrition.

"As you know, the Public Health Service informed us yesterday that they were planning to conduct business as usual and would probably express no preference for either product. While the Public Health Service may think that their 'product' is immunizations, I think their "product" is their recommendations. If the public loses faith in the PHS recommendations, then the immunization battle will falter. To keep faith, we must be open and honest now and move forward quickly to replace these products."

Ignoring Etzel's wise advice, the CDC elected to paper over their catastrophic mistake and double down on vaccine mercury. By continuing to allow thimerosal to be used in vaccines, the CDC is causing harm to American pregnant women, their growing babies and to 100 million children all over the planet. And now we have proof that our regulators know exactly what they are doing.

Visit the World Mercury Project to learn more and sign up for updates from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Health

Mounting Evidence Links Lead, Mercury and Arsenic to Autism

In November 2016, I reported on six studies that found strong relationships between biomarkers for mercury toxicity in children with autism including a direct correlation between the levels of mercury toxicity and the severity of autism symptoms. Those findings are supported by recent research that links industrial exposures of lead, mercury and arsenic to the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

The study, led by a team of 13 scientists from leading American universities and hospitals, was published in the July 2016 issue of Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. Investigators studied the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data on 4,486 children with ASD residing in 2,489 census tracts across the country. They used an overlay of the Environmental Protection Agency regional air pollution data to determine if air concentrations of various metals could be connected with autism prevalence and found strong correlations between ambient concentrations of lead, mercury and arsenic and the occurrence of ASD. Tracts with air concentrations of lead in the highest quartile had significantly higher ASD prevalence than tracts with lead concentrations in the lowest quartile. In addition, tracts with mercury concentrations above the 75th percentile and arsenic concentrations below the 75th percentile had a significantly higher ASD prevalence compared to tracts with arsenic, lead and mercury concentrations below the 75th percentile.

An earlier study published in 2015 by an even larger research team found an association between urban residential proximity to industrial facilities emitting air pollutants (arsenic, lead or mercury) and higher autism prevalence.

Other recent studies have found significant associations between environmental sources of mercury exposure and ASD. A study, led by the Division of Environmental and Occupational Disease Control, California Department of Health Services published in Environmental Health Perspectives in 2006, implicated mercury, among other metals, as the air pollutant that is most associated with higher risks of ASD diagnoses among a sample of children born in the San Francisco Bay area in 1994. Meanwhile, a master's thesis completed at Louisiana State University in 2006 noted an association between mercury in fish and air emissions and developmental disorders, including autism.

Also in 2006 and then in 2009, researchers demonstrated that increases in environmental mercury emitted from power plants and distance from point sources of mercury exposure in Texas were significantly related to the risk of an individual being diagnosed with ASD. The 2006 study found that "on average, for each 1,000 lb of environmentally released mercury, there was a 43% increase in the rate of special education services and a 61% increase in the rate of autism." The 2009 study reported that "for every additional 10 miles of distance from industrial or power plant sources there was an associated decreased Incident Risk of 2.0% and 1.4%, respectively."

A 2013 study, primarily from Harvard researchers, found that women who lived in the areas with the highest levels of diesel particulates or airborne mercury were twice as likely to have a child with autism, compared with those who lived in the areas with the lowest levels of air pollution. Of the contaminants, "multi-pollutant models suggested mercury and methylene chloride to be the most robustly associated with autism," the study reported.

Clearly we are in desperate need to reduce exposures to these highly toxic metals that act synergistically in the body to cause harm. We are also in need of effective ways help restore health to those who have been injured.

Please visit World Mercury Project to learn more and sign up for updates from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Sponsored
Health

Early Pregnancy Flu Shots: New Research Hints of Autism Link

A Nov. 19 study, of 45,231 women, published in JAMA Pediatrics, identified a heightened risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis in the children of mothers who received a flu shot during their first trimester of pregnancy. The study, Association Between Influenza Infection and Vaccination During Pregnancy and Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder, was authored by Ousseny Zerbo and his colleagues affiliated with the Division of Research at Kaiser Permanente.

While the researchers found no increased risk when the mother received flu shots in the second or third trimester, the data demonstrated a 20 percent higher risk of an autism spectrum disorder among children of mothers receiving the flu vaccine during the first trimester. That risk was statistically significant. (The P value, .01, indicates a 99 percent likelihood that the result isn't due to chance.)

However, after completing this analysis, the authors made a series of adjustments that have drawn criticism from other scientists. Most controversial was their questionable decision to apply a statistical device called the "Bonferroni Correction" to their data. Statisticians use the Bonferroni Correction in very specific circumstances—where they seek to reduce the chance for false positives in calculations involving multiple comparisons. The impact of the Bonferroni Correction is nearly always conservative; it dampens signals in data sets. In doing so it creates the risk of missing true associations. When applied to the first trimester flu vaccine dataset, the Bonferroni Correction reduced the significance of the association from 99 percent to 90 percent. Despite the fact that the adjusted result was still considered marginally statistically significant, the authors then made a second dodgy judgment, by declaring that, "this association could be due to chance."

These sweeping decisions allowed the authors to arrive at the questionable conclusion that, "There was a suggestion of increased ASD risk among children whose mothers received influenza vaccinations early in pregnancy (first trimester), although the association was insignificant after statistical correction for multiple comparisons." The researchers summed up with an acknowledgement of the uncertainty of their conclusion: "We believe that additional studies are warranted to further evaluate any potential associations between first-trimester maternal influenza vaccination and autism."

National media outlets universally missed that nuance. Journalists widely reported the study as a decisive exoneration of flu shots. NPR declared: Flu Shots Don't Increase Autism Risk In Pregnancy. Fox News‎ celebrated: Flu—or flu vaccine—in pregnancy not tied to autism in kids. The Scientist‎ headlined: Autism Not Linked to Flu or Flu Shot During Pregnancy, while the New York Daily News assured: No link between flu or flu vaccine in pregnancy and autism: study.

As the mainstream media celebrated, public health advocates and scholars cried "foul." Dr. James Lyons-Weiler, PhD, the CEO and director of the Institute for Pure and Applied Knowledge, and data manager of more than 100 biomedical research studies, told me that the author's "incorrect" and "unorthodox" application of the Bonferroni Correction in this circumstance risked the appearance that they were using improper methodologies to, "make an unwanted but statistically significant finding vanish in a sea of statistical wizardry."

Sander Greenland, professor of Statistics and Epidemiology at UCLA's School of Public Health and College of Letters and Science, agreed that the use of the Bonferroni Adjustment was inappropriate in this context. Greenland is among America's preeminent statisticians with more than 300 peer reviewed publications—two of which have been cited more than 500 times. He is editor of the Dictionary of Epidemiology.

Greenland said the research team's use of Bonferroni makes no sense "where there are finely correlated outcomes" and where the cost of a false negative is high—the possibly erroneous conclusion that first trimester flu shots are safe. (See at the end of the post Dr. Greenland's detailed explanation of the Bonferroni and why it was inappropriate.)

Greenland observes that "in a context like this, it's something that's usually called up, after the fact, when they get some significance like this, where they don't like it and they want to see if they can get rid of it that way. It's obvious why they used it. It makes the so-called significance go away and, of course, that's the goal. They're trying to make things go away…that's sort of a standard strategy now—by a large segment of the pharmaceutical experts that try to get rid of things. They didn't like the results and they jumped on it with the Bonferroni. It's not appropriate here." Greenland added, sympathetically, that the deception was probably not deliberate, "I don't think they think this out loud in their minds, it's just completely Freudian unconscious."

Health

New Study Confirms That Mercury Is Linked to Autism

Two new studies by international teams, including Egyptian scientists, have validated the link between autism and mercury.

In an article published in the journal Metabolic Brain Disease, a team of nine scientists from leading Egyptian universities and medical schools confirmed the causal role of mercury in the onset of autism.

At least six American studies have linked autism presence or severity to mercury exposure as determined by measuring urinary porphyrins.

The scientists determined the extent of mercury poisoning in children by measuring urinary excretion of organic compounds called porphyrins, which act as biomarkers for mercury toxicity. The researchers also measured blood levels of mercury and lead. The researchers found a strong relationship between mercury toxicity and the presence of autism and a direct correlation between levels of mercury toxicity and the severity of autism symptoms.

The scientists studied 100 children; 40 with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), 40 healthy individuals and 20 healthy siblings of ASD children. The results showed that the children with ASD had significantly higher mercury levels than healthy children and healthy siblings. Children with the highest mercury levels had the most severe autism symptoms.

At least six American studies have linked autism presence or severity to mercury exposure as determined by measuring urinary porphyrins. The first study, completed by Heyer et al. in 2012 (Autism Res 5:84) showed a correlation between the presence of autism and specific urinary porphyrins associated with mercury toxicity. This affirmed an earlier study by Kern et al. (2011, Pediatr Int 53:147) where specific porphyrins associated with mercury toxicity were significantly higher in ASD children as compared to non-autistic controls. Woods et al. (2010, Environ Health Perspect 118:1450) also saw disordered porphyrin metabolism in autistic kids which was not observed in non-autistic control children. This again suggested increased mercury toxicity associated with autism and autism spectrum disorder.

Autism severity has also been correlated to levels of specific porphyrins associated with mercury toxicity. Kern et al. in 2010 (Biometals 23:1043) showed a strong relationship between the level of autism severity as measured by the Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist (ATEC) instrument and the amount of urinary porphyrins observed in ASD children. Geier et al. (2009, J Toxicol Environ Health A 72:1585) also correlated urinary porphyrins to autism severity in a blind study using the childhood autism rating scale (CARS). This study was further elucidated by Geier et al. (2009, J Neurol Sci 15:280) where children with severe autism showed significantly higher urinary porphyrins associated with mercury toxicity as compared to those children with mild autism and non-autistic controls. Other biomarkers measured in this study correlating mercury toxicity with autism severity include the presence of glutathione, cysteine and sulfate metabolites in plasma.

In a second study, by Mostafa et al., published in Metabolic Brain Disease in June 2016, an international team of Egyptian, Norwegian, Saudi Arabian and Chilean physicians and scientists used a different set of measurement protocols to find a direct correlation between mercury levels and autism diagnosis. The reasearchers measured levels of neurokinin A and B - pro-inflammatory neuro peptides that indicate the presence of mercury in the blood – in 84 children with ASD and 84 controls. The results showed a positive linear relationship between mercury levels and the severity of autism symptoms.

Many of the mothers of children in the first 2016 Egyptian study (Khaled et al.) had multiple dental amalgams which may have contributed to the children's body levels of mercury. The study does not examine the potential link between autism and the vaccine preservative, thimerosal, which is 50 percent ethyl mercury by weight. However, other studies indicate that the ethyl mercury in thimerosal is 50 times as toxic to human tissue as the methylmercury in amalgams and fish (Guzzi et al. 2012, Interdiscipl Toxicol 5:159) and at least twice as persistent in the brain (Burbacher et al. 2005, Environ Health Perspect 113:1015).

The 2016 Metabolic Brain Disease studies are only the latest in a series of important studies by leading Egyptian doctors and scientists linking mercury exposure to autism. A September 2015 paper published in Behavioral Neurology (Mohamed et al. 2015, PMID 26508811) by a group of researchers from the faculty of Cairo's Ain Shams University and the National Institute of Standards studied 100 autistic children and 100 healthy children. The researchers found significantly high levels of mercury, lead and aluminum in the autistic children (probably from maternal fish consumptions, living near gas stations and usage of aluminum paints) and concluded that "environmental exposure to these toxic metals at key times in development may play a causal role in autism."

A November 2014 study published in Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology (38:1016) by Heba Yassa of the Assuit University Medical School's Department of Forensic Medicine and Clinical Toxicology, looked at 45 children with autism and 45 controls. Using blood and hair samples, Dr. Yassa also found high levels of lead and mercury among the children with autism and not the controls. Using dimercaptosuccinic acid or DMSA as a chelating agent, Dr. Yassa was able to reduce blood mercury and lead levels in the autistic children. His study documents significant declines in autism symptoms with the decrease of metals in the children's blood. The study's concluded: "Lead and mercury are considered as one of the main causes of autism. Environmental exposure as well as genetic inability of certain individuals to excrete metals is responsible for the high levels of heavy metals. Detoxification by chelating agents had a great role in improving those kids."

Dr. Yassa's study duplicated the results of numerous previous peer-reviewed papers and case studies. For example, Blaucok-Busch et al. 2012 Maedica 7:214 and Adams et al. 2009 BMC Clinical Pharmacol 9:17 documents improvements in autism symptoms and even loss of the autism diagnosis following mercury chelation.

Dr. Yassa's 2014 study supported earlier findings by a team of German and Egyptian government and university medical school scientists, which reported in a 2012 study published in Maedica, a Journal of Clinical Medicine (Blaucok-Busch et al. 7:214). The scientists studied the efficacy of DMSA chelation therapy in a sample of Arab children with autism spectrum disorder. That study found that oral DMSA chelation in 44 children with autism ages 3 to 9 reduced body burden of three metals—cadmium, mercury and lead—and that detoxification reduced their behavioral effects and neurological symptoms of autism.

These 2014 and 2012 Egyptian studies supported the findings of several other publications and case studies, suggesting that heavy metal chelation has a measurable therapeutic effect on autism. Other studies have reported significant improvement in the symptoms of autistic children following treatment with chelating drugs that remove metals from the body. In a 2002 study, 10 patients with autism were treated with a chelating agent. All but two of the patients showed improvement in their ATEC scores (Lonsdale et al., Neuro Endocrinol Lett 2002, 23:303). A study in 2003 by Jeff Bradstreet compared mercury excretion after three day treatment using the chelating agent, DMSA, and found that children with autism excreted three times the amount of mercury in their urine as the non-autistic control group (Bradstreet, et al., J Am Phys Surg 2003, 8:76).

These are only a sampling of the groundbreaking studies by Egyptian scientists, doctors and researchers on the etiology of autism. Impressive Egyptian studies beg a host of questions for public health officials and American citizens. Most prominently: why can a chaotic society in a war torn and relatively impoverished nation produce high quality science on the etiology and successful treatments of autism while the science on the environmental triggers of autism in the U.S. is stagnant despite the National Institutes of Health spending more than $1 billion on autism research since 2010?

Sponsored
Politics

CDC Scientists Expose Agency Corruption

Last month, The Hill published a letter sent by "more than a dozen" senior Center for Disease Control (CDC) scientists charging the agency with nursing an atmosphere of pervasive research fraud.

The group, which claimed to represent scientists across the CDC's diverse branches, calls itself SPIDER (Scientists Preserving Integrity, Diligence and Ethics in Research). The letter to CDC Chief of Staff, Carmen Villar, expressed alarm "about the current state of ethics at our agency." The scientists complained that "our mission is being influenced and shaped by outside parties and rogue interests" and "circumvented by some of our leaders."

The scientists told Villar that, "questionable and unethical practices, occurring at all levels and in all of our respective units, threaten to undermine our credibility and reputation as a trusted leader in public health." The letter charged that staff level scientists "are intimidated and pressed to do things they know are not right," and that, "Senior management officials at CDC are clearly aware and even condone these behaviors."

The scientists cited several recent scandals involving scientific corruption at CDC.

  • They describe a "cover up," by officials, of mismanagement in CDC's Wise Woman Program, which provides screening in low income neighborhoods for heart disease, diabetes and other chronic health disorders. According to the letter, CDC officials purposefully misrepresented screening numbers in documents they sent to Congress to conceal failures in the multimillion dollar project. "... definitions were changed and data 'cooked' to make the results look better than they were." The scientists accused high level CDC bosses of suppressing the results of an internal review, involving staff across the CDC, "so media and/or Congressional staff would not become aware of the problems." As part of the systematic cover up, CDC then engaged in a coordinated effort to "bury" these deceptions. "CDC staff has gone out of its way to delay FOIAs and obstruct any inquiry."
  • The scientists also complain about the "troubling" adventures of Dr. Barbara Bowman, director of CDC's Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, and Dr. Michael Pratt, Senior Advisor for Global Health at the NCCDPHP. Bowman recently left the CDC following shocking media disclosures that the pair had manipulated scientific studies on soft drink safety in collusion with Coca Cola. The CDC flimflam was part of Coke's campaign to pressure the World Health Organization to relax guidelines for sugar consumption by children in developing nations where the soda industry is aggressively expanding its markets.

The scientists complain that the "climate of disregard" at CDC puts "many" agency scientists in difficult positions. "We are often directed to do things we know are not right." The public record supports SPIDER's allegations that scientists who insist on research integrity suffer persecution by CDC supervisors.

  • On Sept. 27, the Office of Special Counsel, an independent federal investigative and prosecutorial agency, announced further investigation of corruption in the agency's Zika testing program. That investigation arose from disclosures by laboratory chief Dr. Robert Lanciotti, supervisor of the CDC's prestigious Fort Collins, Colorado lab, that his CDC supervisors were deliberately using a Zika test that agency officials knew would underestimate the number of Zika cases nationwide by some 40 percent. Dr. Lanciotti initially raised the issues internally at CDC and in an email to state public health officials in April 2016. In May, his CDC supervisor responded to this boat rocking by demoting Lanciotti to a non-supervisory position within his lab. Dr. Lanciotti filed a whistleblower claim alleging that his punishment was retaliation for his disclosures. After its initial investigation, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel forced the CDC to reinstate Dr. Lanciotti as lab chief.
  • In a 2010 scandal that predated the Flint, Michigan tragedy, Congress found that the CDC had deliberately manipulated scientific documents and purposefully made inaccurate claims about the safety of Washington, DC drinking water in order to mislead DC residents into believing that their water was safe. The congressional committee found that the CDC's deceit had caused thousands of DC residents to drink water highly contaminated with lead for years to the detriment of their health. As with the Coca Cola and Wise Woman Program scandals, the immediate victims of CDC scientific fraud and mismanagement were disproportionately poor and minority.
  • In August 2014, CDC senior vaccine safety scientist, Dr. William Thompson, invoked federal whistleblower status and testified to Congressman William Posey that his CDC supervisors had ordered him to destroy data and manipulate studies to conceal injuries to black children from certain vaccines. According to Thompson's testimony to Congressman Posey, data analyzed by Thompson and a team of scientists for a key study showed that black boys who received the MMR vaccine on schedule, had a 250% increase in autism diagnoses. The data also pointed to the vaccine as a culprit in the epidemic of regressive autism in both white and black children. A high level CDC official, Dr. Frank DeStefano, ordered Thompson and his fellow scientists to destroy that data in a large garbage can and omit the damning findings from the published study. That study has been cited more than 110 times in published studies on PubMed, and forms the cornerstone of the CDC's orthodoxy that vaccines don't cause autism.
  • One of the key figures in the cover up described by Dr. Thompson is the Director of the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Dr. Colleen Boyle. Boyle's seminal career coup at the CDC was orchestrating the cover up of Agent Orange and dioxin toxicity in the 1970s. Boyle's handiwork deprived thousands of Vietnam veterans of health benefits until her fraud was uncovered and exposed in comprehensive investigations by Congress and the Institute of Medicine (IOM). Instead of punishing Boyle for corruption and scientific fraud, the CDC rewarded her with a powerful directorship. From that platform, Boyle has managed the CDC's cover up of the vaccine-autism connection.

The recent SPIDER letter highlights the culture of deep-rooted scientific corruption that has metastasized across CDC and become the subject of a decade- long parade of investigations.

  • On Aug. 23, 2000, following a three year investigation, a House Government Reform Committee staff report criticized the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the CDC for routinely allowing scientists with conflicts of interest to serve on two influential advisory committees that make recommendations on vaccine policy. The report concluded that, "the majority of members of both committees have financial ties to vaccine manufacturers or hold patents on vaccines under development."
  • Three years later, a 2003 investigation by UPI's Mark Benjamin found that CDC had ignored Congress's recommendations for reform, which stated: "Members of the CDC's Vaccine Advisory Committee get money from vaccine manufacturers. Relationships have included: sharing a vaccine patent; owning stock in a vaccine company; payments for research; getting money to monitor manufacturer vaccine tests; and funding academic departments."
  • A year later, in May of 2004, Special Counsel Scott Bloch, of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, sent a letter to Congress urging congressional action on evidence of scientific fraud in the CDC's vaccine division. Bloch described possible collusion between CDC officials and pharmaceutical companies to manipulate and destroy data in order to conceal the links between mercury-preserved vaccines and the exploding incidence of pediatric neurological disorders including autism.
  • A month later, on June 18, 2004, Congressman Dave Weldon, MD took to the House floor to accuse CDC of failing to reform: "A public relations campaign, rather than sound science, seems to be the modus operandi of officials at the CDC's National Immunization Program." Congressman Weldon concluded that, "The CDC is too conflicted to oversee this vaccine safety function."
  • In January 2006, amidst the corruption scandals, the prestigious journal Nature editorialized in reference to vaccine safety that, "there is a strong case for a well-resourced independent agency that commands the trust of both the government and the public."
  • A year later, in 2007, Weldon and Democratic Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney introduced the Vaccine Safety and Public Confidence Assurance Act of 2007, a bill to create a new agency to supervise vaccine safety that reported directly to the Secretary of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and to mandate independent vaccine safety research. Weldon declared that, despite all the scandals and investigations, there were no signs of reform at CDC. "Federal agencies charged with overseeing vaccine safety research have failed," he said. "They have failed to provide sufficient resources for vaccine safety research. They have failed to adequately fund extramural research. And, they have failed to free themselves from conflicts of interest that serve to undermine public confidence in the safety of vaccines."
  • In June of that year, U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, of the Senate Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, published "CDC Off Center," yet another lengthy exposé of corruption and mismanagement at CDC. The report detailed "how an agency tasked with fighting disease has spent hundreds of millions of tax dollars for failed prevention efforts, international junkets, and lavish facilities, but cannot demonstrate it is controlling disease."
  • In December 2009, the HHS Inspector General published the results of a lengthy investigation of corruption in the CDC's vaccine division. That shocking report painted the CDC as a hopelessly corrupted arm of the pharmaceutical industry. It described, in detail, mismanagement, dysfunction and the alarming conflicts of interest that suborn the CDC's research, regulatory and policymaking functions. The report discloses how CDC allows vaccine industry profiteers to make millions of dollars by serving on advisory boards that add new vaccines to the schedule. In a typical example, Dr. Paul Offit, in 1999, sat on the CDC's vaccine advisory committee and voted to add the rotavirus vaccine to CDC's schedule, paving the way for him to make a fortune on his own rotavirus vaccine patent. Offit and his business partners sold the royalties to his rotavirus vaccine patent to Merck in 2006 for $182 million. Offit told Newsweek, "It was like winning the lottery!" HHS investigation revealed that 97% of CDC's scientific committee members failed to complete the mandatory conflict of interest disclosures and that as many as 64% of committee members disclosed conflicts of interest that were not acted upon by the CDC.
  • In 2014, the chief of the HHS Office of Research Integrity (ORI), David Wright, announced his resignation in a scathing letter that characterized HHS as a remarkably dysfunctional agency. ORI's function is to monitor research misconduct including, "falsification" and "fabrication" of science at the CDC, FDA and other public health agencies. Calling the post, "The very worst job I've ever had," Wright decried an "intensely political environment" where his supervisors told him that his job was to be a "team player" and "to make my bosses look good" and where he spent "exorbitant amounts of time in meetings and in generating repetitive and often meaningless data and reports to make our precinct of the bureaucracy look productive," rather than pursuing its mission of detecting and punishing scientific fraud.

Given this long history of deeply entrenched scientific chicanery at the CDC, it's no surprise that scientists are now complaining. If Donald Trump is sincere about his promise to "Drain the Swamp" in the federal bureaucracy, he should begin by appointing an honest and able CDC director who can restore transparency, credibility, robust science and regulatory independence at the agency and who will turn around the culture of corruption that has been so damaging to children's health.

Health

CDC Blocks Testimony by Vaccine Whistleblower in Medical Malpractice Case

Thomas Frieden, the director of the Center for Disease Control (CDC), has blocked CDC whistleblower, Dr. William Thompson, from testifying on scientific fraud and destruction of evidence by senior CDC officials in critical vaccine safety studies regarding the causative relationship between childhood vaccines and autism.

The medical malpractice case seeking Dr. Thompson's testimony is on behalf of 16-year-old Yates Hazlehurst. The lawsuit alleges that Yates is autistic as a result of vaccine injuries.

Attorneys Bryan Smith and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., of Morgan & Morgan, have been seeking to have Dr. Thompson testify in a medical malpractice case to explain how the CDC committed scientific fraud in a series of studies, which found no link between vaccines and autism.

In denying the request, Dr. Frieden said, "Dr. William Thompson's deposition testimony would not substantially promote the objectives of CDC or HHS [Health and Human Services]."

Dr. Thompson, a 19-year veteran at the CDC and former senior vaccine safety scientist at the agency's Immunology Safety Office, is the co-author of four key studies that the CDC widely touts to exonerate the MMR vaccine and vaccines containing the mercury-based preservative thimerosal, from being linked to autism. Thompson is currently employed at the CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention.

In August 2014, Dr. Thompson revealed that the data underlying CDC's principle vaccine safety studies demonstrated a causal link between vaccines and autism or autism symptoms, despite CDC's claims to the contrary. According to Thompson, based upon interpretation of the data, "There is biologic plausibility right now to say that thimerosal causes autism-like features." Dr. Thompson invoked federal whistleblower protection in August 2014.

Dr. William Thompson is listed as author or co-author on the principal studies—Thompson, et al. 2007, Price, et al. 2010, Destefano, et al. 2004—most widely cited to "debunk" the link between autism and vaccines. Thompson said that his bosses, including the CDC's Immunization Safety Office Branch Chief Frank Destefano, specifically ordered him and three other CDC scientists to destroy data demonstrating vaccine induced autism in CDC's seminal 2004 study—Destefano, et al. 2004. The data unexpectedly showed a 250 percent increase in autism among young black males who received the vaccine on time—before their third birthday—compared to those who waited until after their third birthday. The data also showed a significant link between the vaccine and isolated autism (autism in normally developing children with no other medical problems), the kind suffered by Yates Hazlehurst, who is mentioned below. According to Thompson, Destefano called his four co-authors into a room and ordered them to dump the damning datasets into a giant garbage can. The published study omitted those data sets. That study, now cited in 91 subsequent papers on PubMed as proof of vaccine safety, is the principle foundation stone of the theology that vaccines don't cause autism.

In a series of taped statements, a deposition to Congressman William Posey of Florida and in statements issued through his personal attorney, Thompson confirmed that the data underlying the seminal 2004 Atlanta study, Destefano, et al. 2004, showed a causal association between MMR and autism for both African-American boys and for children suffering isolated autism. Thompson also asserted that CDC's leading thimerosal studies, rather than demonstrating thimerosal's safety, have consistently showed a causal relationship between thimerosal and tics, a family of grave neurological injuries that are a well-established feature of autism.

The medical malpractice case seeking Dr. Thompson's testimony is on behalf of 16-year-old Yates Hazlehurst. The lawsuit alleges that Yates is autistic as a result of vaccine injuries, which occurred when the vaccines were improperly administered in 2001. Because of the Vaccine Injury Compensation Act of 1986 (VICA), Hazlehurst v. The Jackson Clinic is the only vaccine injury case that has gone to any U.S. court in 30 years.

Under the VICA and the 2009 Supreme Court decision Bruesewitz v. Wyeth, almost all vaccine injured children are barred from filing lawsuits in state or federal courts. Instead, their only legal remedy is to seek compensation under VICA in the so called "vaccine court," the popular term which refers to the Office of Special Masters of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, which administers a no-fault system for litigating vaccine injury claims. There is no judge, no jury and the most basic rules of law do not apply.

However, the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services subsequently admitted that during the Omnibus Autism Proceeding it secretly settled and sealed what potentially would have been one of the six test cases, Poling v. HHS after HHS conceded that the vaccines did indeed cause her autism. By conceding the Poling case and opposing the parents motion for complete transparency, HHS concealed critical evidence of how vaccines can cause autism.

Dr. Thompson wants to reveal the scientific fraud and destruction of evidence that took place in the studies that he co-authored. However, in accordance with the Whistle Blower Protection Act and other federal regulations, Dr. Thompson can not testify under oath without the permission of the director of the CDC, Dr. Thomas Frieden.

Hazlehurst's attorneys, Smith and Kennedy, sought the permission of the CDC to allow Dr. Thompson to testify. The request on behalf of Hazlehurst specifically relates to the issue of causation, i.e. the issue of whether vaccines can cause autism, which the State of Tennessee Circuit Court Judge found to be both relevant and a proper basis for seeking the deposition of Dr. Thompson.

According to Kennedy, who argued before Tennessee Senior Circuit Court Judge William Acree that Dr. Thompson's testimony was necessary, "Yates, and almost 5,000 other vaccine injured autistic children, lost their cases in vaccine court because CDC and the Justice Department submitted fraudulent science wrongly denying the vaccine-autism link."

Kennedy explained that Dr. Thompson's testimony was necessary to explain details of the fraud. "Dr. Thompson will also rebut defense experts' testimony that Yates was not damaged because vaccines do not cause autism," Kennedy said.

Accepting the logic of Kennedy's argument, Judge Acree ordered on Feb. 5 that Dr. Thompson should be deposed. Following Judge's Acree's ruling, Smith filed a formal request to CDC to make Thompson available for deposition and trial testimony.

On Sept. 22, in a letter from CDC Director Thomas Freiden, CDC denied Smith's request. Smith explained that "this denial was a disappointment but not a surprise, since the inescapable implication of Dr. Thompson's testimony is that the agency fraudulently altered the science to undermine autism cases worth potentially $1 trillion in compensation ordered by Congress."

Smith and Kennedy plan to immediately appeal the CDC's denial to federal court.

"Since that original study data is only available from Dr. Thompson," Smith explained, "We are very confident that a federal judge will order CDC to make Thompson available."

mail-copy

Get EcoWatch in your inbox