April 2013 – The latest of the CDC’s attempts to quell parental suspicions about a possible link between vaccines and autism is highly questionable at best. The March 2013 study is boldly titled, “Increasing exposure to Antibody-Stimulating Proteins and Polysaccharides [antigens] in Vaccines Is Not Associated with Risk of Autism.’ This conclusion is based on a re-hash of data used in a 2010 study by Cristofer Price et al who claimed to have found that thimerosal “was not related to increased risk of ASDs [Autism Spectrum Disorders].” Although three authors of that study declared conflicts of interest, no such declarations are made in the current study. However, lead author, Frank DeStefano MD, MPH works for the CDC and vaccine crusader, Dr Paul Offit, assisted in a most crucial aspect – determining the antigen content of specific vaccines.
Comments posted below the thimerosal study are interesting. Alberto Tommasini MD and Aldo Scabar were supportive, saying, “Environmental factors such as vaccines or some foods, which are produced by human activity, are often perceived as non-natural [oh, really?!]…Large epidemiological studies are very important to demonstrate the safety of these human interventions”. But pharmacologist, Richard Deth and Edward Calabrese of the U of Massachusetts addressed the finding that “an increase in ethylmercury exposure…was associated with decreased risk of each of the 3 ASD outcomes [ASD, autistic disorder, and ASD with regression].” They advised, “the findings of this study strongly suggest a hormetic response to thimerosal…Hormesis is a dose-response phenomenon characterized by low-dose stimulation and high-dose inhibition…exposure to a toxin such as ethylmercury might lead to a protective hormetic response in most individuals, but this response would be less robust or absent in other individuals, increasing their risk.” Moreover, Raymond Palmer of U of Texas Health Science Center was “disappointed that the conclusions put forth by the authors did not mention the important caveat that the case-control design they used, would not be sufficient to investigate the prevailing consensus of GxE [gene/environment interaction] in the development of ASD.” John Stone, father of an autistic boy, groaned, “It is as if Sir Richard Doll had tried to lay the smoking controversy to rest by concluding that, as not all smokers get lung cancer, smoking does not cause lung cancer…it is surprising that a study itself many years in the pipeline should be open to such basic criticisms.”
The Price et al thimerosal study is discussed by Desoto and Hitlan in the textbook, Recent Advances in Autism Spectrum Disorder, informing readers: “we suggest that a recent widely cited study was flawed, and urge statisticians to carefully and critically review outcomes research on high stakes topics…When researchers match [cases and controls] on a variable closely associated with the risk factor exposure, then actual effects will not be – and cannot be – detected…Price et al do not mention overmatching as a potential concern. The risk factor of interest is thimerosal exposure via its inclusion in vaccine ingredients. There are two things that have a systematic and predictable effect on how much thimerosal exposure a child would receive: 1) The vaccine schedule a child is born into/national recommendations, and 2) which manufacturer a given provider is using for the vaccines…Price et al matched out both of these variations in exposure.”
Brian Hooker has even more to say. Health Impact News Daily informs: “There are probably very few people in the world who have spent as much time looking at CDC studies related to vaccines and autism as Dr. Hooker. Dr. Brian Hooker, a PhD scientist, has been fighting the CDC since 2004 in trying to get them to comply with Freedom of Information Acts to see the CDC research that supposedly shows there is no link between mercury in vaccines and autism.” Hooker has written an analysis which discusses the Price et al study, revealing, “Not only was this original study fatally flawed due to a statistical error called ‘overmatching’…but also the study authors hid data regarding the only valid part of the study (i.e., prenatal thimerosal exposure) which showed that children exposed to just 16 microgram mercury in thimerosal in utero were up to 8 times more likely to receive a diagnosis of regressive autism…The study authors instead falsely reported no risk of autism associated with prenatal thimerosal exposure.” Dr Hooker also notes a 2013 study by Glanz et al in the Journal of the American Medical Association which states that “children who were undervaccinated because of parental choice had lower rates of outpatient visits and emergency department encounters than age-appropriately vaccinated children.”
That the thimerosal study was allowed to proceed is testimony to the entrenched dogma of institutionalized health authorities. According to SafeMinds,“Prior to approving Price et al research, an appointed panel reviewed the study methodology raising design concerns…the CDC National Immunization Program dismissed them.” SafeMinds quotes Dr DeSoto re the Price et al study and the new one by DeStefano et al: “Both researchers tested whether any increased risk of autism was associated with increased exposures via vaccination. To do so, they must compare different levels of exposure. They failed to do so when they matched cases to controls on birth-year and HMO [Health Maintenance Organization]. Birth-year, by itself, defines exposure level and HMOs further ensures similarity guaranteeing cases and controls were nearly identical on the exposure. This is a design flaw called ‘overmatching’, it forces cases and controls to be artificially similar and renders the results invalid.” Note that, according to Mark Blaxill of the Canary Party, “recommendations for DTP, Rotavirus and Varicella all changed during the years of the study, depending on the year the child was born.”
Another person who has commented about the DeStefano et al study is analytical chemist, Dr Paul King. He notes: “though the controls did not have an ‘autism’ diagnosis, they apparently did have some of the symptoms used to diagnose ‘autism’ – thus, the cases and controls both included children with symptoms indicative of significant neurodevelopmental, developmental and/or behavioral deficits…if the CDC researchers had truly wanted to see the effect, if any, between the incidence of ‘autism’ in fully vaccinated children and the incidence of ‘autism’ in children who received a significant, lesser number of vaccines, then they would, at multiple age ranges, have compared a group of initially healthy, never-vaccinated, randomly chosen children (the ‘controls’) in, for example, Dr. Eisenstein’s Chicago practice with a matched group of vaccinated children in the MCOs’ VSD [managed care organization’s Vaccine Safety Datalink] data files who have an ‘autism’ diagnosis (the ‘cases).” (Dr King’s comments were emailed to VRAN after they were refused by healio.com where a photo of Paul Offit smiles out below a rosy description of the DeStefano et al study.)
In another email to VRAN, researcher and author, Teresa Binstock recalls the results of a 2011 study by Delong, published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health. The abstract states: “A 1% increase in vaccination was associated with an additional 680 children having AUT [autism] or SLI [speech or language impairment].” Binstock also recalls that, “Along with Verstraeten, DeStefano was one of the CDC personnel associated with the CDC’s tweakful sanitizing of its own thimerosl/autism link, whitewashed and published as Verstraeten et al 2003.” She remarks, “I can’t help but wonder if DeStefano et al have used a methodology intended to avoid replication of Delong 2011.”
Other comments should be made. Why have only thimerosal and antigens been considered as potentials for increased risk of ASD? Adjuvants (other than mercury) and live viruses are also important in this regard. So are the numerous other toxic vaccine ingredients. In ‘Theoretical aspects of autism: Causes – A review’, author Helen Ratajczak PhD, notes that the rubella portion of MMR II vaccine is “propagated in a human cell line derived from embryonic lung tissue…The MMR II is contaminated with DNA from the cell line. This human DNA could be the cause of the spikes in incidence.” And, given the right conditions, the live viruses in MMR II and chickenpox vaccines can migrate to the brain and cause inflammation which, according to Ratajczak, is one of the possible causes of autism.
In their ‘Discussion’, DeStefano et al argue: “The possibility that immunological stimulation from vaccines during the first 1-2 years of life could be related to the development of ASD is not well supported by the known neurobiology of ASD, which tends to be genetically determined with origins in prenatal development.” Ratajczak’s review shows this to be a myth. She states: “The fact that the combination of known genes or genetic diseases associated with autism accounts for only about 1-2% of the cases points to defining autism as a neurodevelopmental syndrome for which there is no single major genetic cause but rather many relatively rare mutations (DeFrancesco, 2001).”
Returning to Paul Offit’s assistance in calculating antigen content, DeStefano et al admit that, “some proteins actually may be more likely than others to stimulate an immune response. Moreover, the calculations do not take into account the number of epitopes [sites which elicit and hold antibodies] per antigen or the immunological strength of each epitope. Nonetheless,” they say, “we believe that our estimates provide a valid relative ranking of the antigen content of vaccines.”! (Recall that Paul Offit has stated that, based upon his calculations of antigen content of past and current vaccines, healthy infants could safely receive 100,000 vaccines at once. No doubt he believes himself too.)
The authors state that their methodologically flawed and incompletely documented study “found no association between exposure to antigens from vaccines during infancy and the development of ASD with regression.” Yet they admit that, “possible effects in early infancy cannot be ruled out completely. It can be argued that ASD with regression, in which children usually lose developmental skills during the second year of life, could be related to exposures in infancy, including vaccines”. Were they having misgivings about their study, or is there another flawed study waiting in the wings to show the world that vaccines don’t cause regressive autism?