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What some experts say

February 22nd, 2008 · 55 Comments · Careless sourcing, Easy marks

Citing “experts” is a double edge sword. On one hand, a knowledgeable expert is often necessary for a journalist to interpret complex science. On the other, journalists who don’t exercise discretion when deciding who deserves the “expert label” are easily played.

If one looks hard enough, it is possible to find an expert who supports virtually any idea, no matter how outrageous. Holocaust denial has long wrapped itself in the respectability of science to acquit the Nazis of mass murder.

Here’s an expert, PhD and all, who says the Earth is only 8,000 years old.

Professor J. Phillipe Rushton wrote a book which makes the case, with some irony, that white people are smarter than brown people.

Which brings us to KOKH-TV, the Fox affiliate station in Oklahoma City. General assignment reporter Phil Cross led off a piece on vaccines and autism by telling us “Some autism experts claim that an increase in childhood immunizations could be at least partially to blame for what the CDC calls an autism epidemic.” He never tells us who those experts are, or specifically what they’ve found. And I’m still looking for where the CDC called autism an epidemic. But in TV news land, a transparent appeal to nameless authority is the Swiss Army knife of rhetorical tools, handy for tackling dozens of reporting assignments.

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Cross interviews Robyne Rhode, mother of 10-year-old Nick Rhode, the namesake of the pending Nick’s Law, which would mandate private insurance coverage for autism treatment. Robyne blames vaccines for her son’s autism, and says after Nick’s second set of shots at age five she “lost him completely.” Later, she tells us “Mercury is so very toxic, that even a trace amount, in my opinion, is harmful to a child.”

Some appeals to authority are downright baffling.

Cross then introduces us to Dr. Delmar Gheen, an Edmond, OK , pediatrician who thinks an aggressive vaccination schedule may be responsible for autism.

Cross and Gheen parrot the latest anti-vaccine extremist talking point that the increase in the vaccination schedule since 1983 mirrors the increase in autism.

“When you give a child a vaccine that may have 5,6,7,9 immunization issues in one day, we may have overwhelmed that child’s immune system to the point where it could cause deleterious effects,” intones Gheen.

“That’s an interesting theory. One, it’s never been proven,” says Dr. Steven Crawford, the token skeptic hauled out for these kinds of stories. About the temporal relationship between vaccine scheduling and autism prevalence, he says “Just because they happen at the same time doesn’t mean one causes the other. They just happen at the same time.”

Cross tells AutismNewsBeat that he met the Rhode Family while covering Nick’s Law. “That’s when I learned there is much more to the topic of autism that hasn’t been covered, including the vaccination issue,” he says. “I was totally unaware of how much the vaccination schedule has changed since I was a kid.”

The Rhodes provided Cross with questionable studies, and pointed him to Dr. Gheen, rather than, say, an infectious disease expert at the University of Oklahoma’s College of Medicine.

“I did a lot of research into autism and vaccines,” says Cross. “The CDC reports say there is no link, but other studies point elsewhere. Every side has a point to make. I was trying to be fair in my coverage.”

There it is again – that reflexive urge to be fair. But fair to whom? To the viewers who need to know what legitimate scientists say? Or fair to the story’s source, who says she is working hard to “recover” her autistic son?

He says most of his research was internet-based. Were the studies peer reviewed?

“They all had their own citations, but to tell you the truth, I’ve read so many studies in the last month that I can’t name any specific authors,” he says. “I did not have access to scholarly journals or a medical library. That’s why I didn’t say vaccines cause autism.”

Cross says “Vaccines: Progress or Poison?”is not anti-vaccine. “No one in my story said ‘don’t vaccinate your children’. There are other issues,” he says. “When you have a trace amount of something in a vaccine, and you end up giving several vaccines at once, you end up giving a substantial amount. So why not just back off and spread out those vaccinations? In the first six years of life, you have a lot of time to give 36 vaccines.”

Cross says that if parents are concerned by reports like this, “they need to know that kids don’t need to get the vaccines all at once. Spreading out the schedule eliminates the concern parents have, even if that concern is not scientifically valid.”

Translation: If my story is misleading and causes unwarranted fear, it’s no big deal. Parents can just change the vaccination schedule to include more visits to the pediatrician’s office.

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55 responses so far ↓

  • 1 kristina // Feb 22, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how the word “research” is used and, too, thrown around. When the subject is autism, “research” is as over- and misused as “expert” (as well as words like “science”). People brag that they’ve “done their research”—this seems almost to have become a codeword for “I read a lot of websites,” with no mention or understanding of the validity of those websites.

    My fear is not at all from your story but from the continuining déluge of misinformation!

  • 2 Ms. Clark // Feb 22, 2008 at 11:28 pm

    It’s amazing to me how many self-appointed vaccinology, immunology and public health experts there are who know for a fact that they personally and any other person with a 6th grade education can make improvements on the current vaccine schedule. They are utterly clueless as to the harm that can happen to the child when they are unvaccinated. Things like death can happen while you are waiting for that next visit to the doctor for the next vaccine. And for what ?????
    They don’t know, they just think that it’s probably better.

  • 3 mike stanton // Feb 23, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    In my book “research” means examining all the evidence. before making your mind up. Too many people take it to mean googling for evidence to support your preconceptions. It is a shame that journalists seem to have an equally lackadaisical approach to researching their stories.

  • 4 isles // Feb 24, 2008 at 12:55 am

    It’s really troubling that even some reporters don’t have the good sense to distinguish what is and is not a reliable source. It doesn’t surprise me that some parents don’t have this sophistication, but one would have hoped that people who write the news would know the difference between a government agency or an academic institution and a tort-lawyer-funded advocacy group.

    And Ms. Clark, A-MEN! The vaccine schedule wasn’t made up at random – it is precisely BECAUSE infants are particularly vulnerable to the harm of most infectious diseases that it’s important to get them protected as early as possible. Some seem to see vaccines as a kind of homework that they just have to finish sometime before the first day of kindergarten.

  • 5 CVG // Apr 2, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    isles -
    its equally troubling that people are so ignorant …for you to think that VACCINES need to be given to healthy infants at a specific time…
    if you are born healthy why in the world would you need to inject a foreign synththic substance to protect a human being from something that will create a healthy natural immune response… Vaccines DON”T do that, haven’t been proven to provide that and are contributing to the ongoing health disaters that are taking place in the United States today…

  • 6 autblog // Apr 2, 2008 at 7:24 pm

    Isle’s comment is based on credible evidence. Can you say the same thing?

  • 7 Snydley // Apr 16, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    What credible evidence does Isle rely upon? For example, what evidence dictates that a newborn baby needs to be vaccinated against Hepatitis B (HBV)? Read the CDC website about HBV (http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/Hepatitis/b/fact.htm) and tell me where it indicates that babies born to HBV-free mothers are at risk of getting HBV?

    The vaccination schedule is simply a convenience for pediatricians–kids under 2 years old are less likely to squirm and make a fuss over the shots. The HBV schedule clearly indicates that it is not being done to protect infants from a disease they are likely to get at that young of an age.

    In addition to doing your research, I suggest you use a bit of your own brain, too.

  • 8 autblog // Apr 16, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    I didn’t think so.

  • 9 SBA // Apr 17, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    Autism isn’t an epidemic?? Really? One in 150 kids are born with it…and that’s not an epidemic? Vaccinations alone may not be the only cause, but there’s certainly cause for concern. Has anyone done any “research” on Robyn Rhode and Dr. Gheen? Dr. Gheen is a developmental pediatrician who is becoming a DAN! Doctor. It’s insulting to say that Ms. Rhode is only googling for sources; she’s DEDICATED

  • 10 SBA // Apr 17, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    …and has been DEDICATED for years to finding the truth. She’s consulted with BCBA’s; pediatricians and doctors of many fields in various states; she’s poured herself into books; yes, medical and technical books to find an answer for her son. She’s not only credible, but reliable. Next time, do your research and look more into the woman and mother who’s done her research. And don’t be so quick to discount Dr. Delmar Gheen who’s been seeing children with neurological disorders for decades!

  • 11 autblog // Apr 17, 2008 at 8:30 pm

    SBA, please familiarize yourself with the definition of “epidemic” before you tell me to do my research.

    I was unaware that Dr. Gheen plans to attend an eight-hour DAN! conference. He could also listen to a conference tape if he doesn’t feel like traveling. Because that’s all that’s needed to hang the DAN! shingle.

    At least that’s what my research tell me.

  • 12 Wayne Rohde // Apr 17, 2008 at 9:13 pm

    autblog – Can you prove that thimerosal is safe? Can you prove that the number of vaccines (36) is safe versus the # given 25 years ago. Explain why we have explosions of asthma, allergies, alzheimers, 1 out 6 with a learned disorder.
    Show me you proof to support your statements, then you might have some credibility. Otherwise, just keep bloging the BS.

    Slow down the vaccine schedule and get rid of the poision in the vaccines.

  • 13 autblog // Apr 18, 2008 at 6:18 am

    Mr. Rhode, thimerosal has been gone from scheduled pediatric vaccines since 2001. If your hypothesis was correct, then today’s 3 to 5 years olds would be experiencing less autism. Do you have any proof that is the case?

    Can you prove that 1 out of 6 children have a learning disorder? Or are you just referring to the normal distribution of data on a bell curve?

    It is not BS to question unsupported claims whose repercussions have such serious public health consequences. Hope this clarifies.

  • 14 HCN // Apr 18, 2008 at 9:01 am

    Mr. Rhode, what evidence shows that the DTaP is more dangerous than diphtheria, tetanus or pertussis?

    Answer after you read this:
    http://ernursey.blogspot.com/2008/04/whooping-cough.html

  • 15 Robyne Rohde // Apr 18, 2008 at 10:33 am

    Folks-all of you, with the exception of SBA. Thimerosal was never mandated to be removed from the vaccines. It is still used in the manufacturing process of most childhood vaccines. The pharmaceuticals did not destroy their stock of thimerosal-laden vaccines in 1999, after the Simpsonwood Retreat, the AAP (American Academy Pediatrics ‘recommended’ thimerosal be removed. Physicians and pharma still had thimerosal laden vaccines on their shelves and warehouses through 2003. The flu vaccine, which is recommended now to all individuals still contains thimerosal which is comprised of 49.9% ethyl-mercury. At the very same Simpsonwood Retreat (I have the transcripts of this retreat obtained through the freedom of information act), the AAP, pharma and CDC scientists all agreed thimerosal laden vaccines should not be given to premature babies, yet both of my babies who were 3 months early were vaccinated right on time. Do any of you have an autistic child that you are raising who was perfectly healthy and then for some reason after they were vaccinated, became violently ill and began losing speech and skills they had learned? All just a coincidence? Go ahead and blindly believe the CDC and Big Brother like good little robots…this is what they want you to believe. Thimerosal has NEVER been tested on children, the cumulative effects of 9-12 vaccines given on one day has never been studied. Vaccinated vs Unvaccinated (Amish) have never been studied. And the IOM (Institute of Medicine) report that the CDC likes to refer to was bought and paid for by the CDC. There are NO INDEPENDENT STUDIES that conclude no causal relationship between autism and vaccines/thimerosal. I have been researching this for years. I do not google something and call it research, I do not use wikapedia… I have three pages of references to validated, independent, peer reviewed studies I would be glad to pass on to the little robots posting on this site. If you really want the research you can email me at autismadvocate at cox dot net. Otherwise I suggest you keep your uninformed opinions to yourself. Oh and by the way, my research has been entered as evidence for a bill to reduce the amount of mercury (thimerosal) in vaccines in the state of Oklahoma. If thimerosal is not in these vaccines, wonder why we have to have a law to reduce their inclusion in childhood vaccines in states throughout the country? Hmmm. Go to the NIH and look at the vaccines that still contain thimerosal instead of blindly believing the government, CDC, FDA and the AAP is only looking out for your best interests. Are you aware the many of the researchers who advocated these thimerosal laden vaccines actually own patents in these drugs? Once this information broke, most quit the CDC, including the previous director and went to work for big pharma….but hey, let’s not muddy all of this with the facts…lets just keep believing in ‘big brother’ and how the goverment is only here to help….ya, right.

  • 16 Robyne Rohde // Apr 18, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    One more point I would like to make as a parent of a vaccine injured child. WE ARE NOT ADVOCATING NOT TO VACCINATE, we simply want the vaccines cleaned up. It is tragic to see children harmed by whooping cough, but equally tragic is to lose a perfectly healthy baby as a result of an aggressive vaccine schedule and toxic substances in the vaccines, such as: ethyl-mercury, aluminum, formaldahyde and others. As for our family if I had known then what I know now, I would look long and hard at the additives in the vaccines before I would allow my baby to be vaccinated. For all intents and purposes, our son died when he had his vaccinations however he is slowly coming back to us at a cost of $3000/month. Private pay insurance companies in Oklahoma do not pay for the therapies and medications our son needs to hopefully become a functioning adult. So, while I agree the vaccines have been helpful to society, I know of no one who died from measles, mumps, or whooping cough…I wonder what the statistics were before we had vaccines to combat these diseases. I can tell you this, that during the height of the polio epidemic (I’m sure you have heard this term before, autoblog), the numbers were 1 in 3000 struck with polio. The numbers in the US using children born in 1992 who turned 8 years old in 2000 is 1 out of every 150 children is diagnosed with autism….sure sounds like an epidemic to me. But if we call it an epidemic, then the CDC and ‘big brother’ would have to admit something happened to cause this and then they just might have to look at the 200 or so studies concluding a causal relationship between autism and vaccines, wouldn’t they?

  • 17 autblog // Apr 18, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    Quality of research trumps quantity.

    The Amish are not an unvaccinated population. And measles kills 500,000 people, mostly children, each year in Africa alone. Just because you don’t know somebody who died doesn’t mean they didn’t really die.

  • 18 Robyne Rohde // Apr 18, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    autoblog….You are right, I don’t know anyone from Africa who has died from the measles, got me on that one. And by all means, lets compare a third world country such as Africa to the US. In Africa, whose autism rate is skyrocketing, when a child begins to show signs of autism, they simply allow him/her to starve to death. Wonder why the autism rate is skyrocketing in the third world countries? Well, we can thank Bill Gates for sending all those mercury laden vaccines the pharmaceuticals pumped out who didn’t want to change their manufacturing process and that Bill was so generous to distribute to these countries. Gotta love the logic on this one.

  • 19 Robyne Rohde // Apr 18, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    I beg to differ..the majority of Amish do not vaccinate. Those who do, are those who have an incidence of autism. Email me and I’ll be happy to provide you with a population of Amish who have been treated by the same doctor for over 20 years. I can give you the physician’s name and…..oh sorry, there I go again interjecting facts into this topic…just google your next bit of ‘research’ and let me know where all those vaccinated Amish are located. Looking forward to hearing from you!

  • 20 autblog // Apr 18, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    Africa isn’t a country. It’s a continent. So your comment that “In Africa, whose autism rate is skyrocketing, when a child begins to show signs of autism, they simply allow him/her to starve to death,” I have to ask which African countries you are talking about, and where did you get this information?

    A pediatrician in Strasburg, PA, told me he sees lots of autistic behaviors in his patients. You can read about in on this blog.

    As for autism rates “skyrocketing” in the country of Africa, how do you know?

    Oh, there I go again inserting reasoned inquiry into this topic.

  • 21 Robyne Rohde // Apr 18, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    Oops, right again autblog ….Africa is a continent. Let’s see how’s that little song go? “South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Africa, North America, Anartica, Australia, Australia….isn’t that the way the little song goes that my first grader used to sing? Boy, …I’m really playing with an intellectual giant here… email me and I’ll be happy to send you all the information you would like on this topic, because you see, you can’t win. Each time you write something you show your ignorance of the subject matter. And you will have to forgive me if I don’t take this blog very seriously so if you want some info…just email me….my email address is listed above…..great talking to the master of google…. I’m outta here.. :)

  • 22 autblog // Apr 18, 2008 at 11:01 pm

    Sounds like projection.

  • 23 HCN // Apr 19, 2008 at 12:35 am

    Lots of writing, but absolutely no real documented evidence.

    Just post the evidence, something like a link to a PubMed indexed journal article would be sufficient.

  • 24 Robyne Rohde // Apr 19, 2008 at 9:01 am

    Boys/Girls….just email all your little questions and I’ll be happy to provide you with 6 years worth of data on this topic…
    autismadvocate at cox dot net…..or are you afraid of the truth? I have three pages alone of studies that you will be able to look up on pubmed,. You know, kids some of these studies aren’t free so you may have to fork up some money to look these or actually go to your local medical school library as I did and look these studies up…you know, real research…I guess if you had a child who had been injured, it would be that important to you….or if this is too much trouble keep on believing big brother is looking out for you like good little boys and girls. After all this is the government, they are always looking out for your best interests aren’t they? They would never allow pharma to put something in the vaccines that could actually harm someone just so they could keep those campaign contributions coming…..na….not the US government, or CDC….could never happen here….So what if these vaccines harm 1 out of every 150 children, it is that herd mentality ….if the vaccines help every 149 children, then that 1 child is considered colateral damage….right? This is the reality millions of families around the world face every day…..Think about it when you look at your healthy children and thank God that yours was one of the 149.

  • 25 Jackie // Apr 19, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    Unbelievable, do Autoblog and HCN have anything better to do than to put this garbage out there. I would like to know why the two of you have so much to say about autism are you working for the insurance companies, politicians WHAT? Once you answer these questions if you have the BALLS (which I doubt) I have a few things that ARE facts that I will love to share with you!

  • 26 autblog // Apr 19, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    I do not work for drug or insurance companies, or politicians. I am the father of a 12-year-old boy on the spectrum. I am a newspaper business editor, and have done corporate communications work in the past.

    And the last time I checked, I have both my testicles. Sounds like you do, too.

    Facts are always welcome. However urban myths and baseless speculation are not. What’s most important is an open mind.

  • 27 HCN // Apr 19, 2008 at 8:35 pm

    It’s the old “pharma shill” bit, used when they have no answers:
    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2006/09/the_pharma_shill_gambit_1.php

    The ever evasive Mr. Rohde said “I have three pages alone of studies that you will be able to look up on pubmed”

    Okay, just list the titles, journal, date and authors and we can go look them up ourselves.

  • 28 Robyne Rohde // Apr 20, 2008 at 10:33 am

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    Bernard S, Enayati A, Redwood L, Roger H, Binstock T. Autism: a novel form of mercury poisoning. Med Hypotheses. 2001 Apr;56(4):462-71.

    Black J. The puzzle of pink disease. J R Soc Med. 1999 Sep;92(9):478-81.

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    Blaxill M. Danish Thimerosal-Autism Study in Pediatrics: Misleading and Uninformative on Autism-Mercury Link. Sep 2, 2003. http://www.safeminds.org/research/docs/Blaxill-DenmarkAutismThimerosalPediatrics.pdf

    Bradstreet J, Geier DA, Kartzinel JJ, Adams JB, Geier MR. A case control study of mercury burden in children with autistic spectrum disorders. J Am Phys Surg. 2003;8(3):76.

    Burbacher TM, Shen DD, Liberato N, Grant KS, Cernichiari E, Clarkson T. Comparison of blood and brain mercury levels in infant monkeys exposed to methylmercury or vaccines containing thimerosal. Environ Health Perspect. 2005 Aug;113(8):1015-21.

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    Transcript, Scientific Review of Vaccine Safety Datalink Information, Simpsonwood Retreat Center, Norcross, Georgia, June 7-8, 2000, at 31. Accessed online June 15, 2005 at http://www.nomercury.org/science/documents/Simpsonwood_Transcript.pdf, p.40

    Ueha-Ishibashi T, Tatsuishi T, Iwase K, Nakao H, Umebayashi C, Nishizaki Y, Nishimura Y, Oyama Y, Hirama S, Okano Y. Property of thimerosal-induced decrease in cellular content of glutathione in rat thymocytes: a flow cytometric study with 5-chloromethylfluorescein diacetate. Toxicol In Vitro. 2004 Oct;18(5):563-9.

    Ueha-Ishibashi T, Oyama Y, Nakao H, Umebayashi C, Nishizaki Y, Tatsuishi T, Iwase K, Murao K, Seo H. Effect of thimerosal, a preservative in vaccines, on intracellular Ca2+ concentration of rat cerebellar neurons. Toxicology. 2004 Jan 15;195(1):77-84.

    Vargas DL, Nascimbene C, Krishnan C, Zimmerman AW, Pardo CA. Neuroglial activation and neuroinflammation in the brain of patients with autism. Ann Neurol. 2005 Jan;57(1):67-81.

    Verstraeten T, Davis RL, DeStefano F, Lieu TA, Rhodes PH, Black SB, Shinefield H, Chen RT; Vaccine Safety Datalink Team. Safety of thimerosal-containing vaccines: a two-phased study of computerized health maintenance organization databases. Pediatrics. 2003 Nov;112(5):1039-48.

    Verstraeten T. Thimerosal, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and GlaxoSmithKline. Pediatrics. 2004;113;932.

    Waly M, Olteanu H, Banerjee R, Choi SW, Mason JB, Parker BS, Sukumar S, Shim S, Sharma A, Benzecry JM, Power-Charnitsky VA, Deth RC. Activation of methionine synthase by insulin-like growth factor-1 and dopamine: a target for neurodevelopmental toxins and thimerosal. Mol Psychiatry. 2004 Apr;9(4):358-70.

    Westphal GA, Asgari S, Schulz TG, Bunger J, Muller M, Hallier E. Thimerosal induces micronuclei in the cytochalasin B block micronucleus test with human lymphocytes. Arch Toxicol. 2003 Jan;77(1):50-5. Epub 2002 Nov 6.

    Windham G, Zhang L, Gunier R, Croen L, Grether J. Autism Spectrum Disorders in Relation to Distribution of Hazardous Air Pollutants in the San Francisco Bay Area. Environ Health Perspect. 2006 Sep;114(9):1438-44.

  • 29 autblog // Apr 20, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    You could help your credibility if you edited out some of the non-peer reviewed references. This one, or instance, is quite easily refuted, and Med Hypothesis is a vanity journal:

    Bernard S, Enayati A, Redwood L, Roger H, Binstock T. Autism: a novel form of mercury poisoning. Med Hypotheses. 2001 Apr;56(4):462-71.

  • 30 HCN // Apr 20, 2008 at 8:17 pm

    Delete all the lawyer funded research (anything by the Geiers), the “research” done by unqualified persons (Blaxill is a financial guy who was fired, he has no training in medicine), the vanity journals, editorials (written by a lawyer!) and then throw out the stuff on methyl mercury… which includes all fish related stuff including the Faroe Islands (does not have anything to do with thimerosal, something you would know if you read the Burbacher paper), and then throw out the stuff on environmental mercury (like Davidson PW), then throw out the stuff on things that happen in petri dishes and mice (how can you tell if a mouse is autistic?), anything older than 20 years, and ignoring letters, meetings and sticking to real research… You are pretty much left with:

    Fombonne E, Zakarian R, Bennett A, Meng L, McLean-Heywood D. Pervasive developmental disorders in Montreal, Quebec, Canada: prevalence and links with immunizations. Pediatrics. 2006 Jul;118(1):e139-50.

    Pichichero ME, Cernichiari E, Lopreiato J, Treanor J. Mercury concentrations and metabolism in infants receiving vaccines containing thiomersal: a descriptive study. Lancet. 2002 Nov 30;360(9347):1737-41.

    Stajich GV, Lopez GP, Harry SW, Sexson WR. Iatrogenic exposure to mercury after hepatitis B vaccination in preterm infants. J Pediatr. 2000 May;136(5):679-81. (this one only compares newborns with premies, it makes no stance on thimerosal)

    Vargas DL, Nascimbene C, Krishnan C, Zimmerman AW, Pardo CA. Neuroglial activation and neuroinflammation in the brain of patients with autism. Ann Neurol. 2005 Jan;57(1):67-81. (this is about autopsies, nothing on thimerosal)

    Verstraeten T, Davis RL, DeStefano F, Lieu TA, Rhodes PH, Black SB, Shinefield H, Chen RT; Vaccine Safety Datalink Team. Safety of thimerosal-containing vaccines: a two-phased study of computerized health maintenance organization databases. Pediatrics. 2003 Nov;112(5):1039-48.

    Verstraeten T. Thimerosal, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and GlaxoSmithKline. Pediatrics. 2004;113;932.

    …. that is all that remains… and if you think Fombonne or Verstraeten papers are evidence that vaccines cause autism, then you have severe reading problems. You seem to think that methyl mercury and ethyl mercury are equivalent, but the Burbacher paper says the opposite. Though it has problems:

    http://bartholomewcubbins.blogspot.com/2007/01/bc-on-autism-revisiting-burbacher-2005.html

  • 31 Robyne Rohde // Apr 20, 2008 at 10:05 pm

    What a pathetic little person you are. One paper in the face of dozens of studies. It makes no difference to me whether you believe thimerosal is or is not a neurotoxin. You will not find one study concluding thimerosal is safe. You are simply ignorant of the topic and I feel so very sorry for you and your child on so many levels. I wish you the best in whatever it is you are doing to help your child, if anything.

  • 32 HCN // Apr 20, 2008 at 11:22 pm

    Okay, just tell me how much METHYLmercury is in thimerosal. Many of the papers you cited were about METHYLmercury. If you read and understood them, you would understand how much METHYLmercury would be in the vaccines.

    Oh, and also tell me how much mercury is in the MMR vaccine.

  • 33 HCN // Apr 20, 2008 at 11:32 pm

    Oh, and I “love” how you worry about my son. The child whose health was jeopardized by the reduction in herd immunity in our community (due to faulty lawyer paid research that you highlighted).

    Just answer these two questions: Where is it clearly written in a PubMed indexed journal of good quality (Medical Hypothesis does not qualify) that the DTaP vaccine in more dangerous than pertussis, tetanus and diphtheria?

    Where is it clearly written that the MMR vaccine is more dangerous than measles, mumps and rubella? Same quality of evidence required as before.

    While you are at it, read this:
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article1055533.ece

  • 34 Jackie // Apr 21, 2008 at 5:43 am

    Mrs Rohde, I was going to provide real facts to these idiots, but after realizing that Autbog doesn’t even know the difference between boys and girls its just to late. They don’t want answers all they want to do is discredit everything. If I am guessing he thinks Darfur is a pier at the ocean and the Tibetan Monks is a sort of fish… Just move on…all I see is that they have brought nothing to the table and keep asking YOU to provide them with information. HMMM…they love to google…let them keep googling..I am leaving this site since all I see is a bunch of close-minded people..

  • 35 autblog // Apr 21, 2008 at 6:13 am

    I don’t know the difference between boys and girls? Darfur? Tibetan Monks? Jackie, are you OK? Is there somebody we can call?

  • 36 HCN // Apr 21, 2008 at 9:03 am

    Actually, Jackie, you are now grasping at straws. Darfur? Tibetan Monk?

    Excuse me, but I was pointing out that there is a difference between ethylmercury and methylmercury. Something that the Rohdes would have known if they had actually bothered to read all of the list of papers they posted.

    Jackie, can YOU tell us what paper shows with real evidence that the DTaP is more dangerous than pertussis, tetanus and diphtheria? Something along the lines of:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16940831?

    Knowing how you all seem to be adverse to reading some of these papers, the conclusion says “In this study of more than 2 million children, DTP and MMR vaccines were not associated with an increased risk of encephalopathy after vaccination.”

  • 37 Robyne Rohde // Apr 21, 2008 at 11:10 am

    I’m so tired of all of this….of course, there has never been ETHYL-MERCURY in MMR. If you want to pump 36 vaccines in your children before the age of 6, power to you. You are helping to make more money for the pharmaceuticals and injecting known neurotoxins into babies. It is so very silly for you to think that we believe pertussis, tetanus and diphtheria are not dangerous diseases. We just need to clean up these vaccines and perhaps perform a titers test to determine if the child continues to have antibodies for these diseases which would prevent having to give this child another shot he doesn’t need. But this is where logic comes into to play. There is NO REASON to give a day old baby a HepB vaccination when both the mother and father test negative. Remove the thimersosal (MMR has never had thimerosal in this loaded shot), remove the aluminum and formaldahyde and other neuro-toxins, perform tests of the cumulative effects of 36 vaccines given to children with compromised immune systems, use titers tests to determine if the child needs a booster and perform INDEPENDENT STUDIES, that are not bought and paid for by pharmaceuticals or the CDC.

    By the way, have you read the Simpsonwood Transcripts? No, I didn’t think so. Have you read the INDEPENDENT REVIEW of the IOM report which identifies numerous flaws in the manner in which they conducted this study? Didn’t think so.

    Again, I really don’t care if you do or do not believe Thimerosal which is 49.9% ethyl-mercury is safe. I would like to see the study that indicates it is safe..you see, you keep bringing up items that you think try to prove your point. It is so very sad. I only came back to this site because someone wanted me to because your responses are so very pathetic. Again, I hope your child benefits from whatever it is you are doing. Or maybe you are one of those who believes this is as good as it gets….I hope you don’t, because these children can and do get better, I just hope you give your child the opportunity to do so.

  • 38 autblog // Apr 21, 2008 at 11:38 am

    There is strong evidence that Hep B can be spread by means other than blood to blood contact. That’s why the majority of researchers looking into the vaccine gave the go ahead to vaccinate infants. For now, the science is on their side.

    I find it curious that you name formaldehyde in your list of “non-green” vaccine additives. Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring substance found in most organisms. Do you have strong evidence that the amount of formaldehyde found in vaccines is harmful?

    I’m glad you didn’t list anti-freeze as an ingredient, as some other anti-vaccine activists do. ;-)

  • 39 HCN // Apr 21, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    Mrs. Rohde said “You are helping to make more money for the pharmaceuticals and injecting known neurotoxins into babies. ”

    Which is cheaper: vaccinating a child for measles or pertussis or paying for the hospitalization that occurs with a certain percentage that get the disease? Would preventing these hospitalizations:
    http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/pubs/pubd/hestats/pertussis/pertussis.htm … have been a way to keep money AWAY from the pharmaceutical companies? How does the cost of the vaccine compare to respiratory equipment, monitors, antibiotics, and all the other stuff that goes in being in the hospital? Since my son has been hospitalized four times with croup, I know one day in the hospital adds up to at least several hundreds times more than one DTaP vaccine (the bills for each time were several thousands of dollars… fortunately insurance covered most of it, though we did have to pay over $500 for Thanksgiving Day stay, because we decided to not call our doctor for pre-authorization while the kid struggled to breathe as we approached the hospital, this was over 17 years ago, I am sure prices have gone up).

    Here is a paper that evaluates some of those questions:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15876924?

    Also, is it cheaper to vaccinate with the MMR, or deal with outbreaks like this:
    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5520a4.htm … where several people were hospitalized and at least four became deaf? (by the way, pharmaceuticals also provide hearing aids and cochlear implants, the latter requires surgery).

    Okay, I asked you how much METHYLmercury is in vaccines. Did you miss that?

    You had lots of papers that were on METHYLmercury, obviously you must know now that they have absolutely nothing to do with thimerosal (which is no longer in pediatric vaccines, even the influenza vaccine is available without thimerosal).

    You did say: “Again, I really don’t care if you do or do not believe Thimerosal which is 49.9% ethyl-mercury is safe. ”

    I think you need to take a chemistry course. There is only one mercury atom in the molecule. Because it is so heavy, it counts for almost half the molecular weight of the molecule. It is NOT almost half mercury. This claim is close to saying that table salt is dangerous because over half is a dangerous gas (the chlorine atom is heavier than the sodium atom).

    Here is an explanation on the molecule:
    http://autismdiva.blogspot.com/2005/11/you-wanna-go-where.html

    Here is a case report of someone attempting to commit suicide by overdosing on thimerosal:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8699562? … he recovered completely.

    I am certainly glad that you are not promoting not vaccinating with the DTaP. Pertussis and tetanus are still around, and reducing herd immunity even further would kill more babies and put several more children in the hospital. You need to make it clear that babies need protection from pertussis, and you should encourage the young adults to get the Tdap (and yourself when it is time for your once a decade tetanus booster!).

    But you have yet to come up with any real good evidence that it is a dangerous vaccine. Also, I think you did not really understand some of the stuff you had on the list. I’ve shown you that the Burbacher paper is insufficient, and at most shows that METHYLmercury does not behave the same as ETHYLmercury. (sorry, adding that stuff in your list of papers seemed like you were trying to “baffle with bullshit”, it just made you look like you had very little understanding of the chemistry)

    Also, the Simpsonwood stuff you linked to has been quote mined, and really does not say what you think it does:
    http://skeptico.blogs.com/skeptico/2005/06/lies_damn_lies_.html

  • 40 HCN // Apr 21, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    Mrs. Rohde said “You are helping to make more money for the pharmaceuticals and injecting known neurotoxins into babies. ”

    To continue on that thought:

    I am baffled why preventing disease is considered a way to give profit to the pharmaceutical companies. Vaccines are not big money makers, and due to circumstances of very few manufacturers and little incentive to make vaccines there have been vaccine shortages in the recent past. Only in Bizzarro world is disease prevention a way to make pharmaceuticals more money!

    Anyway, here are some more papers on the economic impact of vaccines:

    http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/159/12/1136 … this one concludes that “Direct and societal costs for the vaccination program were an estimated $2.3 billion and $2.8 billion, respectively. Direct and societal benefit-cost ratios for routine childhood vaccination were 5.3 and 16.5, respectively. ” That means that $2.3 billion did NOT go to medicine, hospitals, doctors, nurses and other costs associated with disease. It seems that “big pharma” lost out on a big chunk of change!

    The other one is:
    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/115/6/1675 .. which was not as cost effective, but there were definite health benefits, “Routine pertussis vaccination of adolescents results in net health benefits and may be relatively cost-effective. “

  • 41 autblog // Apr 21, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    Ooops, there goes another talking point!

  • 42 Robyne Rohde // Apr 21, 2008 at 8:21 pm

    http://www.medicalveritas.com/vaccinemyth.pdf

  • 43 Robyne Rohde // Apr 21, 2008 at 8:40 pm

    Guys, for some reason you seem to be focusing on one or two vaccines….tell me why we need 36 vaccines pumped into a child before the age of 6, when potentially 1/2 of these could be avoided through the use of a titers test to determine if the child still had antibodies against said disease? Do you guys work for the health department or the pharmaceuticals? Or do you just blindly believe the misinformation bought and paid for by big pharma? Whatever the case, you are fast becoming the minority viewpoint….hmmm wonder why the CDC is reconsidering the aggressive vaccine schedule? You guys are dinosaurs and as I’ve said before, we are PRO VACCINES, we just believe they should be cleaned up, the schedule should be reevaluated, and INDEPENDENT STUDIES done on the cumulative effects of these vaccines given not only on the same day, but over a short period of time to children whose immune system has not matured…..

    But go ahead and pull out one or two items in this post and pound your single-mindedness on those one or two issues…you never address the titers tests, quite possibly because you haven’t a clue as to what they are (quick….start googling and get to that wikopdia so you can come back with a cut and past job).

    As far as pharma making money, hey that’s called capitalizm….but making it off the lives of 1 out of every 150 children is blood money….

    Again, I could care less what you guys think…..it is your children that will suffer if you make the wrong decision…..I know this first hand. I believed in the ‘system’. I believed getting my premature babies vaccinated was the right thing to do. And guess what? It wasn’t…….

  • 44 HCN // Apr 21, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    Mrs. Rohde, the journal Medical Veritas is not reliable, it is very biased.

    Also, premature infants are more susceptible to adverse neurological disorders, but not always. My sister was a 31 week preemie in the early 1960s, her survival was very unusual. One reason is that she has an iron-clad constitution, she very seldom gets sick. She was vaccinated with vaccines with much more mercury than in present vaccines, plus some things like smallpox and yellow fever. Her only health issue is that she is lactose intolerant.

    Now for your response when you say: “As far as pharma making money, hey that’s called capitalism….but making it off the lives of 1 out of every 150 children is blood money….”

    It is obvious you did not even link to the studies I posted. It shows that when the kids get sick that “Big Pharma” rakes in more money. The vaccines bring in LESS money!

    It seems that you are rooting for the team to let the kids get the diseases instead of the vaccines. This means that:

    1) You live on Bizarro World, where hot is cold, and spending money makes you rich (note: it is a term from the Superman comic books, something I used to read as a kid in the 1970s:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bizarro_World ).

    2) You actually work for a hospital or company that makes money supplying hospitals with supplies, and it works to your advantage to have more kids put into the hospital rather than prevent diseases.

    Then you continued: “Again, I could care less what you guys think…..it is your children that will suffer if you make the wrong decision…..”

    Unfortunately, you advocating for the reduction of herd immunity is a detriment to health impaired children like mine. That is not a good thing, actually it is quite evil.

  • 45 isles // Apr 21, 2008 at 9:33 pm

    Boy, what a frantic torrent of antivaccine froth!

    Mrs. Rohde, let me point out that the “too many vaccines” question has been asked and answered:

    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/concerns/archive/multiplevaccines.htm

    Oh, what’s that you say? Can’t trust anything that comes from the CDC? Look out, your conspiracist underbelly is showing!

    Besides, if they’ve been co-opted by evil Pharma, then so has the Institute of Medicine:

    http://www.iom.edu/CMS/3793/4705/4432.aspx

    As for “CDC is reconsidering the aggressive vaccine schedule”…

    And your evidence for this is what?

    “We are PRO VACCINES, we just believe they should be cleaned up”

    What ingredients do you suppose, in all your scientific wisdom, are vaccine pollutants? Are you thinking aluminum?
    http://www.chop.edu/consumer/jsp/division/generic.jsp?id=75808
    Formaldehyde?
    http://www.chop.edu/consumer/jsp/division/generic.jsp?id=75809
    Thimerosal?
    http://www.chop.edu/consumer/jsp/division/generic.jsp?id=75807
    Or do you have a new candidate for neurosis of the week?

    “INDEPENDENT STUDIES…”

    There you go again with that government conspiracy business! Sounds just as silly the second time through!

    “children whose immune system has not matured…”

    …which is much of the reason they NEED the protection of vaccines …

    Mrs. Rohde, I’m sure you’re very pleased with yourself for all your medical research, but I suggest to you that your confidence in your understanding of these issues is unjustified.

  • 46 HCN // Apr 22, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    Why are you spamming stuff from another blog here?

    It doesn’t even make any sense!

    What are you still promoting the idea that giving $10 to $30 vaccines is more profitable to pharmaceuticals than the costs of hospitalizations?

    Did you even look at the two papers I posted?

  • 47 Robyne Rohde // Apr 22, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    Pharmaceuticals Industry Contributions since 1997: $675 Million

    Oh, wait, the figure above isn’t exactly comparable… the amount above is for lobbying alone–it doesn’t include the drug companies’ political campaign contributions, in the United States.

    Here’s another figure that might give a small idea of the pharmaceutical industry’s global clout –the amount spent on marketing (and “administrative costs”) by the 11 biggest drug companies in 2004: $100 billion

    And here’s what they reported spending on research and development that year:
    $50 billion

    During the Second World War, when the Department of Defense used the preservative, THIMEROSAL in vaccines on soldiers, it required Lilly to label it “poison.”

    In 1967, a study in Applied Microbiology found that thimerosal killed mice when added to injected vaccines. Four years later, Lilly’s own studies discerned that thimerosal was “toxic to tissue cells” in concentrations as low as one part per million — 100 times weaker than the concentration in a typical vaccine. Even so, the company continued to promote thimerosal as “nontoxic” and also incorporated it into topical disinfectants. In 1977, ten babies at a Toronto hospital died when an antiseptic preserved with thimerosal was dabbed onto their umbilical cords.

    In 1982, the FDA proposed a ban on over-the-counter products that contained thimerosal, and in 1991 the agency considered banning it from animal vaccines. But tragically, that same year, the CDC recommended that infants be injected with a series of mercury-laced vaccines. Newborns would be vaccinated for hepatitis B within twenty-four hours of birth, and two-month-old infants would be immunized for haemophilus influenza B and diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis.

    The drug industry knew the additional vaccines posed a danger. The same year that the CDC approved the new vaccines, Dr. Maurice Hilleman, one of the fathers of Merck’s vaccine programs, warned the company that six-month-olds who were administered the shots would suffer dangerous exposure to mercury. He recommended that thimerosal be discontinued, “especially when used on infants and children,” noting that the industry knew of nontoxic alternatives. “The best way to go,” he added, “is to switch to dispensing the actual vaccines without adding preservatives.”…

  • 48 HCN // Apr 22, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    You are giving lots of baseless information, not a shred of real evidence. Cut and pasting from other sites is not good form.

    You have yet to tell me you know the difference between METHYLmercury and ethylmercury. Why should we believe anything you post?

    Though one advantage to you spamming with the AoA posting, is that I can respond without my comment being deleted.

    For instance, why should we commend Dan Olmsted? He wrote about the Amish, yet failed to go to the Clinic of Special Children. He has absolutely no clue on how to do journalistic research. Which is more than likely why he no longer works for UPI, and is now flogging at AoA. See the January 30th, 2008 posting of this blog about that.

    Now about David Kirby… He went from “Out” magazine which had the purpose of outing gay people who chose to remain in the closet, to being hired to write “Evidence of Harm”. He claimed that the level of autism would go down after thimerosal was removed. Well, thimerosal was removed almost 8 years ago, and yet autism diagnoses keep going up (while mental retardation goes down), and he just moves the goal posts (or blames fires in China):
    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2008/03/vaccines_and_autism_the_incredible_shrin.php

    Now about Barbara Loe Fisher; I personally blame her for the panic on the DPT vaccine (if you look above, I posted a paper that showed there was no increased levels of encephalopathy after either DTP or MMR). Her pandering has probably been the main reason that herd immunity to pertussis has gone down, and that several babies have died (over a dozen each year in USA alone). The blood is on her hands:
    http://www.geocities.com/issues_in_immunization/fearmongers/barbara_loe_fisher.htm

  • 49 isles // Apr 22, 2008 at 3:16 pm

    Mrs. Spamalot,

    The answer to getting called on having spewed a bunch of nonsense ISN’T to spew some more. If you aren’t able to back up your arguments, you should rethink them.

  • 50 HCN // Apr 22, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    Source of Mrs. Rohde’s additional spamming:

    Alex Jones “Infowars” and JB Handley’s “Putchildrenfirst” website.

    Great, a conspiracy theorist and a businessman, both who have absolutely no medical training nor a clear grasp of reality.

    What next? Are you going to spam stuff from David Icke about the vaccines being designed by lizard people?

  • 51 HCN // Apr 22, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    Okay, I asked you how much METHYLmercury is in vaccines. Did you miss that?

    You had lots of papers that were on METHYLmercury, obviously you must know now that they have absolutely nothing to do with thimerosal (which is no longer in pediatric vaccines, even the influenza vaccine is available without thimerosal).

    You did say: “Again, I really don’t care if you do or do not believe Thimerosal which is 49.9% ethyl-mercury is safe. ”

    I think you need to take a chemistry course. There is only one mercury atom in the molecule. Because it is so heavy, it counts for almost half the molecular weight of the molecule. It is NOT almost half mercury. This claim is close to saying that table salt is dangerous because over half is a dangerous gas (the chlorine atom is heavier than the sodium atom).

    Here is an explanation on the molecule:
    http://autismdiva.blogspot.com/2005/11/you-wanna-go-where.html

    Here is a case report of someone attempting to commit suicide by overdosing on thimerosal:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8699562? … he recovered completely.

  • 52 HCN // Apr 22, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    Mrs. Rohde turned into a clueless spammer after I posted this study that showed what actual medical cost savings are due to the vaccine program (in billions of dollars):
    http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/159/12/1136

    and then after I said this:

    2) You actually work for a hospital or company that makes money supplying hospitals with supplies, and it works to your advantage to have more kids put into the hospital rather than prevent diseases.

    With a little Googling of her uncommon last name, and unusual spelling of her first name, it turns out she DOES work for a hospital. She is the “Business Continuity Planner” for a hospital. Draw you own conclusions.

  • 53 autblog // Apr 22, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    If a drug company hired me to discredit anti-vaccine zealots, I would post irrelevant studies from junk journals appended with run-sentences, confusing syntax and lots of misspelled words. But why would a drug company pay me to do what so many people are already doing for free?

  • 54 Robyne Rohde // Apr 22, 2008 at 7:50 pm

    By golly guys, you found me… Whew! The Internet is a powerful tool, especially when someone uses their real name instead of an alias (right, HCN and autblog?). I do not work for a hospital of any kind. How very sad to think anyone would like to see more sick children in the hosptial, but this is the way sick minds think.

    Is there anything else you would like to know about me? Mom’s favorite color? I can’t tell you how impressed I am at your ability to google my name especially since the things we have been doing in Oklahoma have gone out on the AP wire. You will find numerous stories about my family and my precious son, Nicholas ….You see, my husband and I are known throughout Oklahoma and somewhat in the mainstream autism community throughout the US….because of the initiatives we, together with Oklahoma’s parent community and our legislature are doing to better the lives of these children and their families.

    Take care, I wish you only the best and hope you find peace in your world and I hope your children live long and happy lives. And we can leave on a upbeat note. We can agree to disagree.

    Robyne Rohde, Mommy to Nicholas, Nick’s Law-Oklahoma

  • 55 HCN // Apr 22, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    Okay, you are someone else… now please tell me how much METHYLmercury are in vaccines?

    Your list of papers included lots of stuff on METHYLmercury, so you obviously think that is a vaccine component. Back it up.

    Yes, we may agree to disagree… You are entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts.

    So far you have not presented anything that shows vaccines cause anything more than a sore arm, and some very rare adverse events (no, vaccines do not cause autism).

    Actually, vaccines have helped reduce the incidence of mental retardation:
    http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/160/3/302

    You end with ” I hope your children live long and happy lives”…

    How about you help us with that? I’ve seen my child as a sweet baby boy on a respirator. Even as a young adult his heart condition makes him more vulnerable to vaccine preventable diseases.

    Make sure that the next time it is time to update your tetanus vaccine that you get the Tdap. Plus make sure that measles, mumps and rubella do not return by ignoring the GenerationRescue “delayed vaccine” schedule that does not include vaccination for those diseases at all.

    It is all in your court. Please make sure no more babies die from pertussis and Hib. Please make sure that kids don’t suffer the severe neurological deficits, including deafness and blindness, from measles, mumps and Hib.

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