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Charlie Crists’s quack problem

October 5th, 2010 · 2 Comments · Easy marks, Junk science

Two Village Voice reporters, writing in the Miami New Times, report that Florida Governor Charlie Crist has fallen under the Rasputin-like spell of a rogue chiropractor, Gary Kompothecras, the founder of 1-800-ASKGARY, a lawyer referral service that hooks up car crash victims with personal injury lawyers. Kompothecras, of Sarasota, is also a major Crist donor, and now he’s calling in some favors.

…it’s bound to turn heads when the man known to occasionally lend his private jet to the governor uses his political clout to try to bully Florida health officials into turning over scores of the state’s sealed immunization records. Especially when they’re for a father-son team, Dr. Mark and David Geier, infamous for injecting autistic children with Lupron, a drug used to chemically castrate prostate cancer patients and pedophiles.

“I will be speaking to the governor’s office next week,” Kompothecras, who has served on the Governor’s Task Force on Autism Spectrum Disorders since 2008, wrote in his email. “I will even fly up to Tallahassee to sit down with the governors’ chief of staff and explain in detail the railroad we have been on.” Then he signed off with a demand and a threat: “I want a clear, precise time line now!! Govern yourselves accordingly.”

Kompothecras knows his way around Tallahassee, and he knows how to buy access. In 2008, he reportedly donated about $40,000 to individual candidates, and more than $110,000 to the passage of Crist’s property tax cut plan, Amendment 1.

According VV reporters Penn Bullock and Brandon K. Thor, a source has told them Crist’s office has been pressuring health department officials to meet to the Geiers’ demands. “Turning over the sealed immunization records, the source says, would be ‘reckless, careless, shortsighted, and politically motivated.’”

In 2009, Kompothecras paid lawmakers to push SB 242, which would have given parents authority to delay vaccinating their children against dangerous diseases such measles, mumps and polio. Kompothecras has two children with autism, for which he blames vaccines.

Crist supported the bill.

“You see reports about mercury in fish and how that’s detrimental to our health,” Crist said. “To me it’s a fairly logical, not illogical, extension to feel that if mercury is bad for you when it comes in the form of fish, it’s probably not good for you if it comes in the form of a vaccine.”

Even more troubling is that Kompothecras’ largesse has landed him a seat on the Governor’s Task Force for Autism Spectrum Disorder. The 2009 report, which you can download here, contains several questionable, evidence-free assertions. On page 44 we see a misleading reference to the Hannah Poling case:

One recent case that received media attention suggests that there may be a genetic predisposition to autism that, when combined with environmental factors, triggers the onset of autism.

On the next page, we are told

Some studies suggest a correlation of oxidative stress14 with autism, and a higher level of oxidative stress correlated with exposure to heavy metals.

The report gives no citation for the “studies”, but does contain this footnote:

Oxidative stress is caused by an imbalance between the production of reactive oxygen and a biological system’s ability to readily detoxify the reactive intermediates or easily repair the resulting cell and tissue damage. Some recent studies have demonstrated greater oxidative stress in children with autism, and that anti-oxidant nutrients may improve autistic symptoms.

On page 47 we read

Task Force members believe there may be promise in studying the incidence of unvaccinated children who are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders, the impact of mercury-containing/thimerosal-containing immunizations, and the impact of environmental factors (e.g., exposure to formaldehyde, aluminum, and certain foods) for a relationship to autism spectrum disorders.

Most troubling yet is Recommendation 18 – Alternative Immunization Schedules

Rationale
Providing families with alternative vaccination schedules may increase parental confidence in immunization programs by addressing their concerns. The inclusion of expert bodies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will ensure that any proposed alternative schedule balances the interest of individual families with the protection of vulnerable members of the community.

Discussion
Proposed alternative vaccine schedules would be reviewed in collaboration with the scientific community. Any proposed alternative schedules would enable families to meet Florida state-mandated school immunization requirements. This will reduce any need that families may feel to obtain multiple vaccinations during a single medical visit in order to meet school requirements. Whichever governmental body (e.g., State Legislature or state agency) considers the specifics of an alternative vaccine schedule, that body should review examples of alternative schedule proposals (e.g., by Dr. William Sears or others). The Task Force further suggests that, at a minimum, Florida’s school entrance requirements permit families to vaccinate their children within the full range of ages currently recommended by the CDC and ACIP in the Recommended Immunization Schedules for Persons Aged 0 Through 18 Years21 to maximize parental options in the spacing of immunizations. For example, Florida requires a second MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine prior to kindergarten entry, at the usual age of five (5) years, while the Recommended Immunization Schedule recommends that the second dose be administered from four (4) to six (6) years of age.

Kompothecris’ fingerprints are unmistakable on Recommendation 19 — Mercury-Containing Vaccines, which cites “peer-reviewed, scientific literature” by the Geiers.

There is a strong difference of opinion with regard to potential correlations between mercury use and incidence of autism across scientific and parental communities. Some investigators have published new, peer-reviewed scientific literature* evaluated within the context of established epidemiological criteria that suggests a causal relationship between mercury exposure from thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism. These studies propose that exposure to mercury from thimerosal -containing vaccines occurs in utero and during infant years. Studies supporting an autism link further suggest that: 1) mercury poisoning causes symptoms consistent with autism, 2) mercury levels are higher in children with autism than in their unaffected peers, and 3) that animal modeling supports the correlation. These researchers conclude that a mercury–autism relationship is apparent. In light of the severity of autism spectrum disorders, its devastating lifelong impacts, and increasing prevalence rates of autism, medical researchers and families who support these studies strongly urge the precautionary removal of thimerosal from vaccines as soon as possible. They maintain that it is not in the best interest of children to expose pregnant and nursing mothers and infant children to any amount of avoidable mercury from thimerosal-containing vaccines.

The “peer reviewed, scientific study” is  A Case Series of Children with Apparent Mercury Toxic Encephalopathies Manifesting with Clinical Symptoms of Regressive Autistic Disorders, (2007), published in The Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health. The Geiers list the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for the study as the Institute for Chronic Illnesses. But the IRB was composed of Dr. Geier, his son, his wife, his business associate, a vaccine litigant lawyer, and two parents who are plaintiffs in vaccine injury cases.

With Crist locked in a three-way race for US Senate, news of his quack problem could tip control control of that chamber away from the Democrats. Then again, with a few exceptions, the news and entertainment media have been largely silent on the issue of chemically castrating disabled children.

_____

Sullivan at LBRB further connects the dots.

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2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Clay // Oct 6, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    “With Crist locked in a three-way race for US Senate, news of his quack problem could tip control control of that chamber away from the Democrats.”

    I’m not sure I understand that, because Crist is a former Republican, now running as an independent. He seems to be a better candidate than Rubio, but just by being in the race, he splits the Republican vote, giving Meeks a better chance. This news may decrease his vote tally, though.

  • 2 Sullivan // Oct 7, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    Thanks for linking to my piece.

    It was amazing to me to see that the vaccine bill was originally a bill to expand autism services to families.

    They just scrapped that entirely in order to create this vaccine bill.

    Yes, they killed services legislation in order to make a vaccine bill. Autism families looking for access to diagnoses can just sit for a few years.

    Keep in mind, Mr. Kompothecras stands to benefit from the research he wants performed. He has claims in the vaccine court for two children. Research supporting a vaccine/autism link would greatly benefit his case. The Geiers are known for their very biased and otherwise questionable approach to vaccine autism research and treatment.

    Kathleen Seidel at Neurodivisity.com also has some excellent points on this.

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