Tag Archives: Autism

InfoWars Press Conference Coverage Round-Up

RFK JR: TRUMP SAYS HE WILL NOT BACK DOWN FROM PHARMA ON VACCINE SAFETY
Highlights from the Kennedy, DeNiro press conference on vaccine safety
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Autism Investigated Note: Alex Jones’ InfoWars has done excellent coverage of the vaccine safety issue, the election and President Trump, unlike fake news media. Below are some recent videos from their report on Robert De Niro and Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s press conference in Washington D.C. Autism Investigated plans to publicize future reports from InfoWars and Alex Jones as they are released.

From the Q & A of the Kennedy, DeNiro press conference, Robert F Kennedy Jr. relays the meetings and phone calls he has had with president Donald Trump over creating a vaccine safety commission.

 

Full Press Conference: Robert De Niro & Robert F Kennedy Jr. Offer $100k Vaccine Challenge

Robert De Niro and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. held a press conference in Washington D.C. to offer $100k to anyone who can prove that mercury in vaccines is safe to administer to children.

Is Vaccine-Linked Autism About To Be Exposed?

 

Trump’s Position On Vaccination Is Spot On: Roger Stone

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Originally posted on InfoWars

Robert De Niro: “Anti-Vax” Attack is “Baloney”

Autism Investigated Note: Without the anti-vaccination movements of the 19th and early 20th centuries introducing such novelties as federal safety standards and recognition of basic human rights that health boards must respect, the later successes attributed to vaccination would have been impossible.

Sharyl: Environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. briefed members of Congress on Capitol Hill. Pushing them to investigate an untouchable subject: the safety of vaccines. Kennedy is going against the grain of the government and medical establishment, which have long insisted there’s no scientific reason to be concerned about vaccine side effects. Earlier, he held a news conference alongside a diverse group of vaccine safety advocates. He says the Trump transition team contacted him with the idea of forming an independent scientific commission on vaccine safety.

Sharyl: Kennedy personally met with Trump last month. But after Kennedy talked to the press about it he says the Trump administration walked back the plan.

Kennedy: I’ve been contacted three times by the administration since then. And they tell me that they’re still going forward with a commission. But all I can say is to tell you what the president told me. He specifically told me that he knew that the pharmaceutical industry was going to cause an uproar about this and was gonna try to make him back down and he said “I’m not gonna back down.” They tried during the campaign and I didn’t back down then, and I’m not gonna back down. But I can’t tell you what will happen.

Sharyl: After the news conference I spoke with Robert De Niro who has a teenage son with a neurodevelopmental disorder.

Sharyl: Can you review what got you interested in this issue?

Robert De Niro: Well, I mean I never was really that aware though other than my own son was in the spectrum and didn’t even really think much about even why he was that way. But as time went on I realized in talking to my wife she said “no, he was like this” and there was a period I wasn’t there when he was just born and she said he was very alert, and if I know anything I know her knowing our son. I know him so well myself but she knows certain other things that I felt she might be right.

Sharyl: Can you give me just a short paragraph or two on your son?

De Niro: He’s almost 19 and he’s a wonderful kid, got a great sense of humor. In many ways I feel very lucky that he is so articulate in certain ways but definitely he’s within the spectrum. And that’s just what it is. And so the only people who really understand are people who have children in that situation.

Sharyl: The position of the government and many scientists is that this is a settled issue it’s a disproved myth and there’s nothing to it. What would you say to that?

De Niro: Well I would say okay but then who settled it? How was it settled? Where is the science as Bobby Kennedy says? Where’s the science? Here’s what we have from all these studies and here’s what they have. So it seems that something is not right.

Sharyl: Are you behind the idea of forming some sort of scientific commission that would independently take a look at this?

De Niro: Sure, absolutely, an independent commission. There has to be.

Sharyl: And for clarity, a lot of people whether they are scientists or parents who question the safety of vaccines and what’s happened to their children, they’re called anti vaccine.

De Niro: Yes.

Sharyl: Are you anti vaccine?

De Niro: No I’m not anti vaccine, and as Bobby Kennedy said very eloquently, that’s that’s like a witch, you know You’re a witch! It’s like the Salem witch trials, all of a sudden you’re anti-vax. That’s a lot of baloney, a lot of malarkey. That’s ridiculous. I’m not anti-vax. I take vaccines all the time and my kids have gotten vaccinated. But there’s something wrong and it’s gotta be fixed.

Addendum: Originally posted on Full Measure.

PRESIDENT TRUMP ON VACCINE SAFETY COMMISSION: “I’M NOT GONNA BACK DOWN!”

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President Trump at his latest press conference calling CNN “very fake news”

From Robert F. Kennedy Jr. at his press conference:

I got called by the transition team on December 4th, and they asked me. They said that the administration wanted to reach out to me, the president wanted to reach out to me to see if I wanted to chair and populate a commission. And they wanted to make sure that before they made me an official offer that I was willing to accept it. 

I ended up talking with members of the transition team many times over the next month and trading documents about what the commission would look like. I was told the president-elect would call me over Christmas, he ended up calling me on January 4th. We talked for 20 minutes on the phone; he asked me to come in on January 10th to talk to him and I spent an hour talking to him that day. He said he knew many people who had been, he thought, and who believed their children had been injured by vaccines. And he wanted to make sure we had the safest vaccines and we had a regulatory process with integrity. They instructed me at that time – members of the staff – to talk to members of the press about what we had said. Since then, an hour later, it had been walked back.

I’ve been contacted three times by the administration since then, and they tell me that they’re still going forward with a commission. I don’t know what’s going to happen, and I think what happens in the administration sounds very obscure to anybody. But all I can say is to tell you what the president told me.

He specifically told me that he knew that the pharmaceutical industry was going to cause uproar about this and was going to try to make him back down, and he said, “I’m not gonna back down. They tried during the campaign, and I didn’t back down then. And I’m not gonna back down.” (boldface mine)

But I can’t tell you what’s gonna happen. All I can tell you is I will be here fighting this issue whatever happens.

Related:

BREAKING: ROBERT F. KENNEDY JR. TO ADDRESS PRESIDENT’S VACCINE SAFETY COMMISSION IN DC 

BREAKING: RFK JR. ASKED TO HEAD VACCINE SAFETY COMMITTEE

AI ENDORSES DONALD TRUMP TO MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN

Jason Chaffetz Triggers Liberal Snowflakes on Vaccine Dangers

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Congressman Chaffetz reacts to snowflake audience getting triggered after he tried explaining to them the concerns raised about vaccine injuries. Other triggers for this audience include but are not limited to: being told the president will be held to the standard of the law and being reminded about where their electricity comes from.

You gotta hand it to Jason Chaffetz. Being a congressman is hard work, but not many things demonstrate that like the town hall full of whiny cry-babies he had to deal with on Thursday night. Among the things the audience gave him crap for: investigating the government cover-up of vaccine dangers.

But it was the entire hour-and-a-half town hall that was difficult to watch, not just the audience’s ignorance on vaccination harms. Chaffetz was shouted down throughout the entire event simply for stating his opinion on a number of issues when asked by the audience. They even shouted him down right after he told an emotional story about losing both parents to cancer. That’s how insufferable these people were.

One so-called teacher asked how she is supposed to “teach” her students about “safe spaces” when the nation isn’t a safe space. Lady, you shouldn’t “teach” students about safe spaces precisely because this nation is not a safe space. Your job is not to give students an earload of make-believe, your job is to teach them.

I was already itching to stop playing the YouTube when at the end, some overweight, neurodiverse autist who clearly couldn’t control his own hand-movements asked a question about the president’s “BS” opinion regarding vaccines. As soon as Chaffetz discussed how concerns were brought to his office, the audience got triggered once again: “Noooooooooooooo!!!! Science! Science! Science!!!!”

Although there is virtually nothing else that the audience full of dirty hippies, feminist harpies and neurodiverse nitwits said in response that is audible, one of those snowflakes alleged the following was asked:

Why yes, as a matter of fact – his name is William Thompson, and he still works as a senior scientist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What better way to shut these infantilized protesters down than to subpoena him and have him tell the truth under oath? Okay – maybe not shut down, just expose as being even thicker than they come across.

After all, they may never stop crying over this…

So pleased she is not the President. I thanked her for her service and wished her luck. The investigation continues.

A photo posted by Jason Chaffetz (@jasoninthehouse) on

#MAGA

Related:

My Final Exchange with Dan Olmsted: Leaving Progressivism

Vaccines – Tantrum-Based Medicine

Neurodiversity is Social Justice Cancer

Remembering Dan Olmsted: The Journalist Who Taught Me That We Live in The Age of Autism

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It is with great sadness that Autism Investigated relays the announcement that Dan Olmsted – Age of Autism’s founding editor – has passed away. While I have had my differences with him and the Age of Autism site, I will be forever grateful to him for his friendship, advice and platform for my views. I’ve always respected him as a journalist and have never forgotten the excellent work he has done over the years, and I just had a very friendly exchange with him on the day of the inauguration. I will never stop missing him and offer my sincere condolences to the entire Age of Autism team. Autism Investigated devoted the entire week to posts honoring Dan Olmsted, and is now ending with a proper obituary. May we all honor Dan Olmsted’s life by ending the autism epidemic to make America great again! – Jake Crosby, MPH

How many journalists leave mainstream media to devote the rest of their lives to get to the bottom of the fastest growing neurological disorder among children in the United States? Because I can think of only one, and his name was Dan Olmsted.

“His loss leaves a huge vacuum for people who care about public health and children’s health in this country,” said Robert F. Kennedy Jr. “He’s had as much integrity as any reporter I’ve ever met and more courage than any I’ve ever met. He was willing to walk away from his job for the sake of truth.”

Dan Olmsted passed away unexpectedly on January 23rd, 2016 at the age of 64, and is survived by his spouse Mark Milett and sister Rosamund McDonel Augsburger. The news came as a shock to many who knew him, myself included. That shock was compounded by Dan’s unceasing endurance, writing articles non-stop until two days before his death. He left behind an incredible library of articles and books going back over a decade – most about the autism epidemic, and all related to it in some way. Second only to coping with his loss, the biggest challenge for me was selecting which articles of his to re-post for Autism Investigated’s 7-day tribute to his life. There are just so many!

“Here was a true journalist, not a doctor or a scientist, who did what the medical and scientific communities didn’t do but should have done: investigate the cause of autism,” said exonerated British doctor Andrew Wakefield.

Finding some new insight or lead about the age of autism was never a problem for Dan. When I first met him in 2009, he told me about the time he decided to start writing his Age of Autism column for United Press International. His editor was reportedly concerned that he wouldn’t find enough material to keep the column going.

“Are you kidding me? I can write one every week,” he relayed back to me.

That was all the way back in 2005, but he kept the column going for two years straight until leaving the news agency. His commitment to the cause would only escalate in 2007 when he founded his own news website dedicated to the topic he loved writing about so much: AgeofAutism.com.

It was there that I got my start in 2008 when I first began contributing. While I was a contributing editor, I learned so much from him. It is hard to know where to begin. His ability to investigate, uncover and write was unique and unparalleled, and I always benefited from his advice.

But eventually, a rift grew within our friendship. And one day, that rift grew big enough that it forced me to leave and start my own site – thus marking the beginning of Autism Investigated. We had ceased speaking for awhile, with very little communication in recent years. And despite sometimes citing Age of Autism, Autism Investigated had also been critical of Age of Autism’s coverage at times – particularly during the election cycle.

But despite the mixed signals Age of Autism may have sent about our now-president before the election, Dan Olmsted eventually came around to fully embracing President Trump. On the day of the inauguration just three days before Dan’s death, I was fortunate to have had an extremely friendly email exchange with him where he expressed the same optimism about the new president as he would do the next day in his final “Weekly Wrap” post.

But most encouraging of all was his colorful plea at the very end, one that Autism Investigated hopes will soon become a reality again:

…there is much more common in our cause than anything we might occasionally fight over – that the autism epidemic is real, and excessive vaccinations are the cause.

Rebel Alliance, unite!

Dan Olmsted: The Amish anomaly

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It is with great sadness that Autism Investigated relays the announcement that Dan Olmsted – Age of Autism’s founding editor – has passed away. While I have had my differences with him and the Age of Autism site, I will be forever grateful to him for his friendship, advice and platform for my views. I’ve always respected him as a journalist and have never forgotten the excellent work he has done over the years, and I just had a very friendly exchange with him on the day of the inauguration. I will never stop missing him and offer my sincere condolences to the entire Age of Autism team. Autism Investigated will devote the entire week to posts honoring Dan Olmsted, including a proper obituary. May we all honor Dan Olmsted’s life by ending the autism epidemic to make America great again! – Jake Crosby, MPH

The Age of Autism: The Amish anomaly

By Dan Olmsted

UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL

Lancaster, PA, Apr. 18 (UPI) — Part 1 of 2.

Where are the autistic Amish? Here in Lancaster County, heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, there should be well over 100 with some form of the disorder.

I have come here to find them, but so far my mission has failed, and the very few I have identified raise some very interesting questions about some widely held views on autism.

The mainstream scientific consensus says autism is a complex genetic disorder, one that has been around for millennia at roughly the same prevalence. That prevalence is now considered to be 1 in every 166 children born in the United States.

Applying that model to Lancaster County, there ought to be 130 Amish men, women and children here with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Well over 100, in rough terms.

Typically, half would harbor milder variants such as Asperger’s Disorder or the catch-all Pervasive Development Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified — PDD-NOS for short.

So let’s drop those from our calculation, even though “mild” is a relative term when it comes to autism.

That means upwards of 50 Amish people of all ages should be living in Lancaster County with full-syndrome autism, the “classic autism” first described in 1943 by child psychiatrist Leo Kanner at Johns Hopkins University. The full-syndrome disorder is hard to miss, characterized by “markedly abnormal or impaired development in social interaction and communication and a markedly restricted repertoire of activities and interests,” according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Why bother looking for them among the Amish? Because they could hold clues to the cause of autism.

The first half-dozen articles in this ongoing series on the roots and rise of autism examined the initial studies and early accounts of the disorder, first identified by Kanner among 11 U.S. children born starting in 1931.

Kanner wrote that his 1938 encounter with a child from Mississippi, identified as Donald T., “made me aware of a behavior pattern not known to me or anyone else theretofore.” Kanner literally wrote the book on “Child Psychiatry,” published in 1934.

If Kanner was correct — if autism was new and increasingly prevalent — something must have happened in the 1930s to trigger those first autistic cases. Genetic disorders do not begin suddenly or increase dramatically in prevalence in a short period of time.

That is why it is worth looking for autistic Amish — to test reasoning against reality. Largely cut off for hundreds of years from American culture and scientific progress, the Amish might have had less exposure to some new factor triggering autism in the rest of population.

Surprising, but no one seems to have looked.

Of course, the Amish world is insular by nature; finding a small subset of Amish is a challenge by definition. Many Amish, particularly Old Order, ride horse-and-buggies, eschew electricity, do not attend public school, will not pose for pictures and do not chat casually with the “English,” as they warily call the non-Amish.

Still, some Amish today interact with the outside world in many ways. Some drive, use phones, see doctors and send out Christmas cards with family photos. They all still refer to themselves as “Plain,” but the definition of that word varies quite a bit.

So far, from sources inside and outside the Amish community, I have identified three Amish residents of Lancaster County who apparently have full-syndrome autism, all of them children.

A local woman told me there is one classroom with about 30 “special-needs” Amish children. In that classroom, there is one autistic Amish child.

Another autistic Amish child does not go to school.

The third is that woman’s pre-school-age daughter.

If there were more, she said, she would know it.

What I learned about those children is the subject of the next column.

PART 2: The Age of Autism: Julia

UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL

Leola, PA, Apr. 19 (UPI) — Part 2 of 2.

Three-year old Julia is napping when I arrive at the spare, neat, cheerful house on Musser School Road near the town of Leola in Lancaster County.

She is the reason I have driven through the budding countryside on this perfect spring day, but I really do not need to meet her.

In the last column, I wrote about trying to find autistic Amish people here in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, and noted there should be dozens of them — if autism occurs at the same prevalence as the rest of the United States.

So far, there is evidence of only three, all of them children, the oldest age 9 or 10. Julia is one of them. I found out about her through a pediatrician in Richmond, Va., Dr. Mary Megson. I had been asking around for quite some time about autism and the Amish, and she provided the first direct link.

Megson said she would give my name to this child’s mother, who could call if she chose. A few days later the phone rang. It was Stacey-jean Inion, an Amish-Mennonite woman. She, her husband Brent and their four children live simply, but they do drive a vehicle and have a telephone. After a few pleasantries, I told her about my trying to find autistic Amish.

Here is what she said, verbatim:

“Unfortunately our autistic daughter — who’s doing very well, she’s been diagnosed with very, very severe autism — is adopted from China, and so she would have had all her vaccines in China before we got her, and then she had most of her vaccines given to her in the United States before we got her.

“So we’re probably not the pure case you’re looking for.”

Maybe not, but it was stunning that Julia Inion, the first autistic Amish person I could find, turned out to be adopted — from another country, no less. It also was surprising that Stacey-jean launched unbidden into vaccines, because the Amish have a religious exemption from vaccination and presumably would not have given it much thought.

She said a minority of Amish families do, in fact, vaccinate their children these days, partly at the urging of public health officials.

“Almost every Amish family I know has had somebody from the health department knock on our door and try to convince us to get vaccines for our children,” she said. “The younger Amish more and more are getting vaccines. It’s a minority of children who vaccinate, but that is changing now.”

Did she know of any other autistic Amish? Two more children, she said.

“One of them, we’re very certain it was a vaccine reaction, even though the government would not agree with that.”

Federal health officials have said there is no association between vaccinations and autism or learning disabilities.

“The other one I’m not sure if this child was vaccinated or not,” she added.

During my visit to their home, I asked Stacey-jean to explain why she attributed the first case to vaccines.

“There’s one family that we know, their daughter had a vaccine reaction and is now autistic. She was walking and functioning and a happy bright child, and 24 hours after she had her vaccine, her legs went limp and she had a typical high-pitched scream. They called the doctor and the doctor said it was fine — a lot of high-pitched screaming goes along with it.

“She completely quit speaking,” Stacey-jean said. “She completely quit making eye contact with people. She went in her own world.”

This happened, Stacey-jean said, at “something like 15 months.” The child is now about 8.

For similar reasons, Julia Inion’s Chinese background is intriguing. China, India and Indonesia are among countries moving quickly to mass-vaccination programs. In some vaccines, they use a mercury-based preservative called thimerosal that keeps multiple-dose vials from becoming contaminated by repeated needle sticks.

Thimerosal was phased out of U.S. vaccines starting in 1999, after health officials became concerned about the amount of mercury infants and children were receiving. The officials said they simply were erring on the side of caution, and that all evidence favors rejection of any link between Autism Spectrum Disorders and thimerosal, or vaccines themselves.

Julia’s vaccinations in China — all given in one day at about age 15 months — may well have contained thimerosal; the United States had stopped using it by the time she was born, but other countries with millions to vaccinate had not.

Stacey-jean said photographs of Julia taken in China before she was vaccinated showed a smiling alert child looking squarely at the camera. Her original adoptive family in the United States, overwhelmed trying to cope with an autistic child, gave Julia up for re-adoption. The Inions took her in knowing her diagnosis of severe autism.

I tried hard — and am still trying — to find people who know about other autistic Amish. Of the local health and social service agency personnel in Lancaster, some said they dealt with Amish people with disabilities, such as mental retardation, but none recalled seeing an autistic Amish.

Still, I could be trapped in a feedback loop: The Amish I am likeliest to know about — because they have the most contact with the outside world — also are likeliest to adopt a special-needs child such as Julia from outside the community, and likeliest to have their children vaccinated.

Another qualifier: The Inions are converts to the Amish-Mennonite religion (Brent is an Asian-American). They simply might not know about any number of autistic Amish sheltered quietly with their families for decades.

It also is possible the isolated Amish gene pool might confer some kind of immunity to autism — which might be a useful topic for research.

Whatever the case, Stacey-jean thinks the autistic Amish are nowhere to be found.

“It is so much more rare among our people,” she said. “My husband just said last week that so far we’ve never met a family that lives a healthy lifestyle and does not vaccinate their children that has an autistic child. We haven’t come across one yet.”

“Everywhere I go (outside the Amish community) I find children who are autistic, just because I have an autistic daughter — in the grocery store, in the park, wherever I go. In the Amish community, I simply don’t find that.”

UPI researcher Kyle Pearson contributed to this article.

This ongoing series on the roots and rise of autism aims to be interactive with readers and welcomes comment, criticism and suggestions

Originally posted on UPI

Dan Olmsted Exposes Evil “Journalist” for What He Is

It is with great sadness that Autism Investigated relays the announcement that Dan Olmsted – Age of Autism’s founding editor – has passed away. While I have had my differences with him and the Age of Autism site, I will be forever grateful to him for his friendship, advice and platform for my views. I’ve always respected him as a journalist and have never forgotten the excellent work he has done over the years, and I just had a very friendly exchange with him on the day of the inauguration. I will never stop missing him and offer my sincere condolences to the entire Age of Autism team. Autism Investigated will devote the entire week to posts honoring Dan Olmsted, including a proper obituary. May we all honor Dan Olmsted’s life by ending the autism epidemic to make America great again! – Jake Crosby, MPH

“Who Can Say?” — Journalist Who Alleged Wakefield Committed Fraud Backs Off Key Claim

By Dan Olmsted

Brian Deer, the British journalist who claimed researcher Andrew Wakefield committed fraud by linking the MMR vaccine to autism, now admits one of his key allegations against Wakefield may be flat-out wrong. Yet he insists it’s no big deal — that it does nothing to undercut his claim that Wakefield is “an elaborate fraud.”

“Not one of the children were reported on truthfully. Wakefield lied again and again,” journalist Brian Deer said in his post on Saturday, referring to Wakefield 12-child case series published in the Lancet in 1998.  But in the same post, Deer acknowledged that, contrary to his previous reporting, he is now unsure whether Wakefield falsely changed the timing of the MMR shot to put it before the autism symptoms began in a key case.

“Who can say?” Deer wrote Saturday.

The allegation that Wakefield reversed the timing of the shot — clear evidence of fraud, if true — was  featured in detail as the shocking opening to Deer’s 2012 series in the British Medical Journal titled “How the Case Against the MMR Was Fixed.”

Child 11’s autism symptoms developed “two months earlier than reported in the Lancet, and a month before the boy had MMR,” Deer reported, “too soon” to be the cause. That “must have been a disappointment” to Wakefield, who proceeded to switch the sequence to suit his bias, Deer wrote. The father angrily “spotted the anomaly” after Deer identified and interviewed him, but  “needn’t have worried” that Wakefield would get away with it: “My investigation of the MMR issue exposed the frauds behind Wakefield’s research.”

But on Saturday, after I showed that Deer is the one who got the sequence wrong – that the shot indisputably did come first, followed by the development of regressive autism — Deer wrote: “Who can say, years later?” In fact, I can say: The father, whom I also identified and interviewed, wrote Wakefield as early as 1997, and contemporaneous medical records establish, that the child got the MMR at 15 months, became sick for several months, developed autism symptoms by 18 months, and was given a formal autism diagnosis at age 3. The father has always said he believes the shot caused all those consequences — none of which Deer managed to reflect in his own investigation despite interviewing and e-mailing with Father 11 over an extended period of time.

The fact that a core element of his claim of research fraud is now a matter of uncertainty to Deer, the only man who made it, is a remarkable development under any circumstance, but considering the impact the claim has had on the autism debate in subsequent years, it is extraordinary. The claim has been used by officials around the world to say concerns about autism and vaccines have been “debunked” because they originated from a fraudulent research report. A typical example: Senator Dianne Feinstein of California wrote a constituent last week: “I understand that many parents are also concerned that vaccines may cause autism. This claim was published in 1998, in an article in the Lancet, a British medical journal. The researcher who authored the article was later found to have deliberately falsified data to produce a fraudulent link …”

Equally striking is how little its accuracy seems to matter to Deer, convinced as he is that Wakefield’s status as a charlatan is beyond dispute, even if such a central “fact” no longer supports it.

Deer, a veteran newspaper correspondent who, as he frequently points out, has won numerous prestigious journalism awards including the British equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize for his Wakefield investigation, on Saturday offered no convincing reason for how he could have gotten something so central to his fraud claim against Wakefield so wrong. Instead he portrayed the father’s account as a “competing” explanation to the one Deer had independently settled on, based on a couple of unrelated court documents that led him to falsely infer that the autism symptoms preceded the shot in Child 11. Standard journalistic practice would be to check that assumption against the other, far more dispositive evidence that refuted it, and with the child’s father, who subsequently told me: “Mr. Deer’s article makes me appear irrational for continuing to believe that the MMR caused difficulties which predated its administration.”

Instead, on Saturday Deer sneered at the messenger – me – as he staged a full-scale retreat from the facts, using Father 11’s acknowledged but irrelevant antipathy toward Wakefield as cover. He called me “an undistinguished former journalist” who now runs a website “largely funded by anti-vaccine profiteers,” claiming that I had been “dumped some years ago from his post as a copy editor for a news agency owned by the Rev Sun Myung Moon – himself convicted of fraud … Olmsted has since sought a livelihood from his website, misleading vulnerable parents of children with autism. …  He sought to profit with his website by lying to parents whom he disgustingly purports to champion” and followed “British research cheat” Wakefield “into the toilet.”

Whatever. On Saturday Deer also tried to elevate a secondary issue – how long after the shot the autism symptoms occurred in Child 11 – into a replacement for his now-discredited claim that the entire sequence was reversed, an incomparably more serious and black-and-white issue. 

Ultimately, Deer suggested, the truth is unknowable.

“The father says one thing, the medical records another,” as Deer put it on Saturday. In fact, the father says one thing, and the medical records back him. (That does not mean the vaccine caused the autism, of course, but it does mean the father believed it did, and that Wakefield got the sequence right.) Only Deer’s idiosyncratic and journalistically unjustified misuse of a couple of stray medical records, unchecked by the reality described by everyone else, says another.

As I’ve shown in a 10-part series,  this tendentious approach applies to the entirety of Deer’s reporting on Wakefield, including Deer’s accusation that in five of the 12 children – Child 11 included – autism symptoms occurred before the shots were given. In fact, those cases are no more illustrative of Deer’s allegation of the shot-symptoms sequence than Child 11. Nonetheless, when one “fact” starts to wobble, Deer refers to all the other facts that have not been as closely scrutinized as if they offer some sort of collective support – “Of course, my reports did not hinge on child 11, or on any individual case,” he said Saturday. “As explained in the most detailed account of Wakefield’s grotesque misconduct, it rested on the findings (as the BMJ noted) that not one of the children were reported upon truthfully. Wakefield lied and lied again.”And if that’s not enough, well, Wakefield’s license to practice medicine was revoked and the Lancet paper was retracted (largely based on the “facts” Deer alleged).At some point, though, Deer’s claims – or anyone else’s – must hinge on the facts of individual cases if they are to add up to widely accepted evidence of “Wakefield’s grotesque misconduct.” Just saying so doesn’t make it so; referring to “lie after lie” doesn’t constitute “an elaborate fraud” unless each “lie” can be shown to be exactly that. (Deer’s piece on my own reporting was titled, “Dan Olmsted lies for research doctor.” One is tempted to rewrite the headline as “Lying Undistinguished Former Journalist Lies for Lying Research Fraud Wakefield.”)The timing of shots and symptoms in just 12 children more than a decade ago may seem trivial, but the issue is anything but arcane. Millions of cases of autism have occurred since 1998, when Wakefield sounded what he believed was an “early warning” of a possible link between vaccination and autism that required further research and led to his suggestion that until that was complete, the M, M, and R in the MMR should be given separately. Thousands of parents have subsequently described such an outcome, but because Wakefield has supposedly been “discredited” and his work “debunked” — by Brian Deer — that and other evidence have been dismissed.

I first wrote about Deer’s investigation in 2012. Let me again spell out what I learned from Father 11 and how it differed from Deer’s account.

I met Father 11, who like Deer I identified from my own independent reporting, at a Peet’s Coffee shop in an affluent, picture-perfect Southern California enclave, and we sat outside in the mid-60s sunshine he jokingly called “a little frosty.” A wealthy businessman who lives in a gated community nearby, he wore a light jacket emblazoned with “Cal,” for the University of California at Berkeley where he got an engineering degree. He carried a thin file folder and a spiral notebook.

In this laid-back setting, it was hard to grasp the role he and his family have played in one of the major medical controversies of our time, one that unfolded in a foggy city 6,000 miles to the east.

This father is Deer’s best witness among the parents of the 12 children described in the Lancet paper – in fact, his only one, the lone parent who is hostile to Wakefield, not just a little frosty, but coldly angry. His anonymous comments to Deer in the BMJ seemed to fully support the January 5, 2011, cover story: “Secrets of the MMR Scare: How the Case Against the MMR Was Fixed.”

“My investigation of the MMR issue exposed the frauds behind Wakefield’s research,” wrote the ludicrously self-aggrandizing correspondent.

Child 11, in fact, was Deer’s opening into fraud. He was among those “whose parents apparently blamed MMR,” but Deer commented acidly that “Child 11’s case must have been a disappointment. Records show his behavioural symptoms began too soon.” [Italics in original] Deer quoted from a Royal Free Hospital discharge summary: “His developmental milestones were normal until 13 months of age. In the period 13-18 months he developed slow speech patterns and repetitive hand movements. Over this period his parents remarked on his slow gradual deterioration.”

Deer summarized: “That put the symptom two months earlier than reported in the Lancet, and a month before the boy had MMR. And this was not the only anomaly to catch the father’s eye. …” (Note that it is Deer, not the discharge paper, saying the symptoms came “a month before the boy had MMR.”)

Well yes, if you’ve got a parent saying that a child developed autism before he got the MMR shot, and you’ve got a research paper saying the opposite and suggesting a link between the shot and the disorder, and pulling the same stunt with several other children, you’ve got your fraud right there.

The BMJ report was the coup de grace for serious consideration of a link between vaccines and autism. Wakefield was “convicted of fraud,” wrote Time magazine in an article titled “The Dangers of the Antivaccine Movement.” An editorial in The New York Times, titled Autism Fraud,noted Britain’s General Medical Council had already stripped Wakefield of his medical license, and the Lancet retracted the paper: “Now the British Medical Journal has taken the extraordinary step of publishing a lengthy report by Brian Deer, the British investigative journalist who first brought the paper’s flaws to light — and has put its own reputation on the line by endorsing his findings.”

Indeed it did.

“Clear evidence of falsification of data should now close the door on this damaging vaccine scare,” Editor in Chief Fiona Godlee wrote. She said “there is no doubt it was Wakefield” who was responsible for the “elaborate fraud,” despite having 12 co-authors.H

old the door, please. I was about to learn that Deer’s explosive claim about Child 11 – Exhibit A in this alleged hoax — was false. And that was just the first step of my journey into a world where things were not at all as they seemed.

The father opened the file folder – guarding the papers against a fickle coastal breeze — and showed me a letter he had written on January 1, 1997, to “Dr. Andrew Wakefield, Royal Free Hospital, London, England.”“My son [name deleted] at age 15 months, was immunized with the Merck MMR vaccine and became ill for the next several months,” the letter began.“As his pediatric records indicate he came down with a viral infection, and shortly thereafter viral pneumonia. His condition slowly deteriorated over time, and was diagnosed as being autistic on his birthday at age 3. The onset of his autistic behavior began around 18 months. … He was diagnosed as moderate to severe, with no speech, no eye contact, and cognitive function at 6 months overall.”

Multiple specialists in the United States confirmed the autism diagnosis, the letter added, as well as their suspicions of the MMR vaccine as the cause. Further workups in California also revealed “indeterminant inflammatory bowel disease” — the dual syndrome Wakefield was then investigating at the Royal Free. That was why the father wanted the hospital’s pediatric gastroenterologists to evaluate his child.

So – first came the shot, then the symptoms. The father’s account, and medical records created before he got anywhere near Wakefield, could not be clearer. But didn’t he tell Brian Deer exactly the opposite, as recounted in the opening of the BMJ cover story? And didn’t a hospital record confirm that?

No. And no.

Though you’d never know it, the father was actually disputing how long after the shot specific symptoms occurred. In fact, the father did directly blame the MMR for causing his son’s illnesses and autistic regression – a fact that appears to have escaped Deer’s notice, or at least acknowledgement.

Yes, the father was angry at Wakefield. Yes, he disagreed with other points, some of them unrelated to the content of the Lancet article. But no – he did not say that the symptoms came before the shot. That was not an “anomaly” in the Lancet paper that caught his eye, as Deer wrote.

And the discharge document itself? It was simply wrong, one of thousands of pieces of paper generated by many medical personnel in a complicated medical case stretching over many years; perhaps the “13-18 months” was a typo for “15-18,” since that is what the father had reported all along. Regardless, the father says he never told Deer that the symptoms came first, and there is no evidence to the contrary. Deer apparently did not bother to check that one piece of paper against the large volume of other evidence, or to confirm it with the father, or to make sure that his own claim that symptoms began “a month before the boy had MMR” coincided with any actual chronology.

As far as I can tell, no one on the planet — no doctor, no parent, no document – has ever said Child 11 was anything but healthy and developing normally before the MMR. No one, that is, but Brian Deer in the BMJ. And here we see Deer at work: Because Wakefield was by definition a fraud – because Deer said so – any discrepancies between data in the Lancet paper and any other source was proof against Wakefield. One document says 13-18 months for the period of regression? That was evidence enough that Wakefield “used bogus data … to manufacture a link” between the MMR and autism.

To my surprise as we sat outside in Southern California, the father told me he hadn’t read the BMJ article, and he declined my offer to quote from it or have him read it during our visit. He would rather lay out the sequence in his own words, he told me.

That turned out to be a useful approach.

His son had been completely healthy and developing normally, he said, until the MMR shot at 15 months triggered a downhill progression.

“I very much believe it,” he said about the relationship of the shot to the symptoms: The measles component of the vaccine triggered an immune deficiency that produced the cascade of devastating physical and mental problems. This, in fact, was Wakefield’s provisional hypothesis.

How did Brian Deer miss all this? How did he misrepresent the core of the alleged fraud and claim the symptoms came before the shot? How did he rely on the father to rage against Wakefield but completely omit the fact he believed his child’s autism did not just come after the vaccine but was caused by it?

Who can say?

Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.

Originally posted on Age of Autism

Dan Olmsted Rips Crooked Hillary Clinton

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It is with great sadness that Autism Investigated relays the announcement that Dan Olmsted – Age of Autism’s founding editor – has passed away. While I have had my differences with him and the Age of Autism site, I will be forever grateful to him for his friendship, advice and platform for my views. I’ve always respected him as a journalist and have never forgotten the excellent work he has done over the years, and I just had a very friendly exchange with him on the day of the inauguration. I will never stop missing him and offer my sincere condolences to the entire Age of Autism team. Autism Investigated will devote the entire week to posts honoring Dan Olmsted, including a proper obituary. May we all honor Dan Olmsted’s life by ending the autism epidemic to make America great again! – Jake Crosby, MPH

Weekly Wrap: Bait and Switch

By Dan Olmsted

‘Bout spit up my ginger ale Monday night when I saw an ad from Hillary Clinton taking on Donald Trump for his arm-flapping imitation of a disabled reporter — Trump claims he didn’t remember the reporter and was just lampooning his excitedness, not his illness.

The Hillary ad’s mom said, “It’s not uncommon for autistic kids to flap their hands,” showing a teenage boy doing just that. “When I saw that [Trump], that was completely disqualifying. I’m a Republican, but this election is so much more than party. My son Max can’t live in Trump world, so I’m crossing Party Lines and voting for Hillary. I don’t always agree with her, but she’s reasonable, she’s smart, people can work with her to solve problems. I want to be able to tell kids that I did the right thing when it really mattered.”

Oh gosh, well, where to start. Many AOA readers will regard the idea that Hillary is looking out for autistic kids as a canard, to use one of my favorite words for a lie, a fable, a hoary bit of nonsense. Without her resolute “sky is blue” defense of vaccines and her government-heavy intervention in children’s health in the 1990s — progressives always know what’s best, and especially love hepping de chewdwen — we might not have an epidemic to begin with, or at least we might have stopped it earlier, which would have really helped kids. Right now about a trillion dollars would be a nice round figure for the kind of help that’s needed.

So yes, galling. But somehow I find even more annoying the elision of the reporter’s disability, a joint abnormality, with autism. I mean, the mom didn’t exactly say it was the same thing, and the point was kind of the same, but the idea was clearly left that Trump was mocking a child with autism. Which, again, is kind of maddening as his view that vaccines cause autism is exactly correct, and Hillary’s claim that they don’t is exactly wrong.

Is it any wonder we’re going half mad this election season, or half of us are going mad and the other half are just mad, or whatever? Don’t take advantage of autism, OK?

Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.

Originally posted on Age of Autism

Dan Olmsted’s Final “Weekly Wrap”: Bernie, Bobby, Andy, and Donald

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It is with great sadness that Autism Investigated relays the announcement that Dan Olmsted – Age of Autism’s founding editor – has passed away. While I have had my differences with him and the Age of Autism site, I will be forever grateful to him for his friendship, advice and platform for my views. I’ve always respected him as a journalist and have never forgotten the excellent work he has done over the years, and I just had a very friendly exchange with him on the day of the inauguration. I will never stop missing him and offer my sincere condolences to the entire Age of Autism team. Autism Investigated will devote the entire week to posts honoring Dan Olmsted, including a proper obituary. May we all honor Dan Olmsted’s life by ending the autism epidemic to make America great again! – Jake Crosby, MPH

Age of Autism Weekly Wrap: Bernie, Bobby, Andy and Donald

By Dan Olmsted

Bernard Rimland, Bobby Kennedy Jr., Andy Wakefield and now Donald Trump — yes he does!  — represent a kind of mainstream thread of vaccine safety advocacy. The first three put themselves forward and paid a price – Rimland went from the father of “autism isn’t caused by parenting” to being considered a fringe quack kook multivitamins cure autism kind of guy. Bobby went from respected environmental Riverkeeper Kennedy scion who beat GE and got the Hudson cleaned up to mercury-thimerosal-obsessed. 

Donald Trump was inaugurated as president Friday, saying what Bernie said. And if ever a paragraph break was called for (pick your reason) this is it.

Dr. Bernie Rimland conspiracy theorist fringe quack kook. And Andy, well, Andy didn’t even pass go – he was considered a fraudulent finge quack kook from just about Day 1.

Covering autism through the prism of an environmental illness, with vaccine safety a paramount issue, I do have more familiarity with these four folks than I might otherwise. Bernie was an indifferent dresser with a messy beard (me too) who, at least in my memory, thundered with the truth. My single favorite quote in my decade on this beat is his statement that “The autism epidemic is real, and excessive vaccinations are the cause.” This is brilliantly simple, stark and bold. First you have to stipulate that autism has increased exponentially (it has – that’s the subject of Mark Blaxill and my book out later this year). Then you have to be both narrow enough – pointing not just to some vague chemical or environmental exposure – and broad enough – pointing not just to one vaccine, or one ingredient – to survive the onslaught of denial and rebuke and phony science you can expect the minute you say such a thing. (“Excessive vaccinations” even leaves room for mercury as the prime cause, because if they hadn’t added all those vaccines with mercury, kids wouldn’t have gotten enough of it to cause an epidemic – bad as it is at any dose The MMR also fits — three live viruses in one, and now a fourth in the MMRV; talk about excessive!)

Lately I’ve been thinking of Bernie, as a new president who says much the same thing takes the oath of office; protecting our kids might be described as Job One. Now that he is one day in office I certainly hope that he will take on the issue and bring Bernie’s claim front and center. I think our collective minds were pretty much blown when he summoned Bobby to the Tower and sent him down with some sort of message, garbled or tentative as it may have been, that he intends to tackle vaccines and autism and that people like Bobby are going to play a major role.

What’s more, before the election Trump met with Andy and some kindred spirits who are editors and sponsors of this blog and listened attentively.

These are huge developments that have been a bit overwhelmed – perhaps by presidential-elect design – by the whole shakeup going on in the transfer of power. More than trial balloons, less that full-fledged policy initiatives, they have made the CDC quake in its cesspool, if that’s possible, and the usual talking heads like Offit and Schaffner turn purple with rage (makes me think of Dylan: “The man standing next to me, his head was exploding. Well, I was praying the pieces wouldn’t fall on me.”) The mainstream media is both outraged and, one senses, outgunned at the moment. Who cares about the mainstream media anyway? The best story we got out of the Kennedy meeting was from BuzzFeed, which interviewed both me (I?) and J.B. Handley and, except for repeating the antivax canard (which I told them not to in writing) treated the event as news, not as a crime scene. While I was on the phone with them going through security at National Airport, Nature magazine was on the other line. Quite a moment for a humble blogger.

Everyone comes to this issue from a different perspective, although of course for most it’s witnessing or understanding the fact that vaccine damage is much more frequent and much more serious than the “experts” will admit. For Bobby it was understanding the damage of environmental mercury and hearing from enough autism moms to intuit the connection. For Andy it was a call from the mother of two autistic children in England. He tried to interrupt and refer her on to the neurodevelopmental department, but then she started talking about strange GI issues they had, and, thank God, he stopped to listen.

For Bernie it was the recognition that he and his wife were not bad enough parents to have caused their son Mark’s nonstop screaming as an infant and his subsequent odd behaviors. That opened into an insight that autism was not genetic but environmental, and that led into vaccines.

We’ve had committees and commissions before – Mark Blaxill served on one and, with Barbara Loe Fisher, valiantly dissented from its blue ribbon inanity. (See the excellent “From Safety Last to Children First.”)

So however they – and we – got here, the moment is ripe, and Bernie’s dictum ought to be our guiding principle, one we can unite behind. I hope that before long the president will be sitting at a table with Bobby and Andy and many more people, including Mark and Barbara, who have fought long and hard to bring this issue to the fore. And I hope they leave an empty chair for Bernie and that, at least occasionally, everyone looks in its direction and remembers that there is much more common in our cause than anything we might occasionally fight over – that the autism epidemic is real, and excessive vaccinations are the cause.

Rebel Alliance, unite!

Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.

Originally posted on Age of Autism

RIP Dan Olmsted, Editor of Age of Autism

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From Age of Autism:

We are heartbroken to announce that our dear friend, our brilliant colleague, journalist par excellence, dedicated book co-author, the heart, soul and leader of our “rebel alliance,” Dan Olmsted,  passed away this weekend. 

Age of Autism has been a family for many years, and to all of you, we send our condolences, as we are grateful for yours. 

We will share more information as it becomes available. And the rebel alliance will carry on in his name, we assure you.

Mark Blaxill, Kim Stagliano and the entire Age of Autism Team

While I have had my differences with Dan Olmsted and the Age of Autism site, I will be forever grateful to him for his friendship, advice and platform for my views. I’ve always respected him as a journalist and have never forgotten the excellent work he has done over the years, and I just had a very friendly exchange with him on the day of the inauguration. I will never stop missing him and offer my sincere condolences to the entire Age of Autism team. Autism Investigated will devote the entire week to posts honoring Dan Olmsted, including a proper obituary. May we all honor Dan Olmsted’s life by ending the autism epidemic to make America great again!

Jake Crosby, MPH

Addendum: From Age of Autism to Autism Investigated