Tag Archives: Press Release

Forbes’ Emily Willingham Pretends CDC Study Results Don’t Exist

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Editor’s Note: Click the above image to enlarge.

By Jake Crosby

Forbes’ writers seem to have trouble reading scientific abstracts. In December, its senior editor Matthew Herper cited a press release that contradicted the research he discussed to endorse the vaccine efficacy of Gardasil. That, however, pales in comparison to the type of misrepresentation contributor Emily Willingham made when she conflated an earlier, suppressed CDC analysis (left abstract in image) showing thimerosal is associated with autism with a later, watered-down analysis CDC distributed at a public meeting that showed no association (right abstract in image). All the more remarkable is that she is an autism parent herself and has a PhD in biology.

Following the press release by Focus Autism, AutismOne and A Shot of Truth about the earlier abstract uncovered by A Shot of Truth scientific advisor Dr. Brian Hooker, Willingham responded with a long and verbose article titled, “Is The CDC Hiding Data About Mercury, Vaccines, and Autism?” She then answered her own title with: “You know the rule. The answer is, ‘No.'”

One paragraph in, she was already getting basic facts of the abstract disastrously wrong: “In 1999, four authors affiliated with the CDC presented an abstract at a conference … a CDC conference for fellows of its Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS).” The conference takes place annually in April, but the research project of thimerosal did not even begin until August of that year as pointed out by chemist and Coalition for Mercury-Free Drugs‘ secretary Dr. Paul King in a comment to me. That error of Willingham’s, however, could hardly have predicted what was to come.

Although she never linked to the abstract from her article, she did read it and quoted directly from it – noting that it compared a “highest exposure group” to an “unexposed group”. Though she acknowledged the study authors “reported an increased risk for nondegenerative neurological disorders,” she never acknowledged they included autism.

Then five paragraphs into her article she suddenly switched from talking about the long-suppressed abstract to talking about a later analysis  where no comparison of autism across highest-and-unexposed groups was included. The manuscript describing that analysis, dated June 1st, 2000, was presented at the closed Simpsonwood meeting of federal officials and pharmaceutical industry representatives the following week and then distributed by CDC at a public meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices later that same month. That document Willingham cited was not concealed from the public for over a decade and did not show that thimerosal is associated with autism, unlike the abstract of the earlier analysis. Yet she spent the rest of her article discussing the later study as if it was the same CDC study cited in the press release circulated by Focus Autism, AutismOne and A Shot of Truth and later picked up by Health Impact News Daily whose headline she drew attention to.

She even quoted the lead investigator Dr. Thomas Verstraeten presenting the lack of association with autism in the later manuscript:

“This is the result for autism, in which we don’t see much of a trend except for a slight, but not significant, increase for the highest exposure. The overall test for trend is statistically not significant.”

Dr. Verstraeten was under considerable pressure to reanalyze the data to  make the association between thimerosal and neurological disorders disappear, as evidenced in an email he titled “It just won’t go away.”  He wrote “…some of the RRs [relative risks] increase over the categories and I haven’t yet found an alternative explanation… Please let me know if you can think of one.” He and his colleagues issued successive studies  watering down the original results and ultimately, as  Willingham conceded, he was hired by vaccine maker GlaxoSmithKline.

What Willingham never quoted, however, was the reported result for autism in the abstract of the earlier analysis that the press release was actually about:

“The relative risk (RR) of developing a neurologic development disorders was 1.8 (95% confidence intervals [CI] = 1.1-2.8) when comparing the highest exposure group at 1 month of age (cumulative dose  > 25 ug) to the unexposed group. Within this group we also found an elevated risk for the following disorders: autism (RR 7.6, 95% CI = 1.8-31.5), nonorganic sleep disorders (RR 5.0, 95% CI = 1.6-15.9), and speech disorders (RR 2.1, 95% CI=1.1-4.0).”

Apparently, Willingham is imitating CDC, as all the way back in 2004 one of the coauthors of both CDC analyses Dr. Frank DeStefano said in a presentation to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) that:

“In no analyses were significant increased risks found for ADD or autism”

In that same presentation, DeStefano also claimed the “Initial” analysis was a study dated February, 29th, 2000, where the association with autism originally reported in the suppressed abstract was apparently diluted away by combining the highest exposure category with a lower exposure category. The very existence of the positive research results from the long-suppressed study abstract was denied.

One decade later and Emily Willingham and Forbes Magazine are now following CDC’s lead, as are other vaccine industry talking heads.

Jake Crosby is editor of Autism Investigated. He is a 2011 graduate of Brandeis University with a Bachelor of Arts in both History and Health: Science, Society and Policy and a 2013 graduate of The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services with a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology. He currently attends the University of Texas School of Public Health where he is studying for a Ph.D. in Epidemiology.

Vaccine Industry Watchdog Obtains CDC Documents That Show Statistically Significant Risks of Autism Associated with Vaccine Preservative Thimerosal

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Biochemist Brian Hooker, scientific advisor to A Shot of Truth, reveals CDC knew of risks for over decade.

Charlotte, NC (PRWEB) February 19, 2014

For nearly ten years, Brian Hooker has been requesting documents that are kept under tight wraps by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). His more than 100 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests have resulted in copious evidence that the vaccine preservative Thimerosal, which is still used in the flu shot that is administered to pregnant women and infants, can cause autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders.

Dr. Hooker, a PhD scientist, worked with two members of Congress to craft the letter to the CDC that recently resulted in his obtaining long-awaited data from the CDC, the significance of which is historic. According to Hooker, the data on over 400,000 infants born between 1991 and 1997, which was analyzed by CDC epidemiologist Thomas Verstraeten, MD, “proves unequivocally that in 2000, CDC officials were informed internally of the very high risk of autism, non-organic sleep disorder and speech disorder associated with Thimerosal exposure.”

When the results of the Verstraeten study were first reported outside the CDC in 2005, there was no evidence that anyone but Dr. Verstraeten within the CDC had known of the very high 7.6-fold elevated relative risk of autism from exposure to Thimerosal during infancy. But now, clear evidence exists. A newly-acquired abstract from 1999 titled, “Increased risk of developmental neurologic impairment after high exposure to Thimerosal containing vaccine in first month of life” required the approval of top CDC officials prior to its presentation at the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) conference. Thimerosal, which is 50% mercury by weight, was used in most childhood vaccines and in the RhoGAM® shot for pregnant women prior to the early 2000s.

The CDC maintains there is “no relationship between Thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism rates in children,” even though the data from the CDC’s own Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) database shows a very high risk. There are a number of public records to back this up, including this Congressional Record from May 1, 2003. The CDC’s refusal to acknowledge thimerosal’s risks is exemplified by a leaked statement from Dr. Marie McCormick, chair of the CDC/NIH-sponsored Immunization Safety Review at IOM. Regarding vaccination, she said in 2001, “…we are not ever going to come down that it [autism] is a true side effect….” Also of note, the former director of the CDC, which purchases $4 billion worth of vaccines annually, is now president of Merck’s vaccine division.

Dr. Hooker’s fervent hope for the future: “We must ensure that this and other evidence of CDC malfeasance are presented to Congress and the public as quickly as possible. Time is of the essence. Children’s futures are at stake.” A divide within the autism community has led to some activists demanding that compensation to those with vaccine-injury claims be the top priority before Congress. Dr. Hooker maintains that prevention, “protecting our most precious resource – children’s minds,” must come first. “Our elected officials must be informed about government corruption that keeps doctors and patients in the dark about vaccine risks.”

Referring to an organization that has seen its share of controversy this past year, Dr. Hooker remarked, “It is unfortunate that SafeMinds issued a press release on my information, is accepting credit for my work and has not supported a worldwide ban on Thimerosal.”

Brian Hooker, PhD, PE, has 15 years experience in the field of bioengineering and is an associate professor at Simpson University where he specializes in biology and chemistry. His over 50 science and engineering papers have been published in internationally recognized, peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Hooker has a son, aged 16, who developed normally but then regressed into autism after receiving Thimerosal-containing vaccines.

Dr. Brian Hooker’s investigative research is sponsored by the Focus Autism Foundation.

The Focus Autism Foundation is dedicated to providing information to the public that exposes the cause or causes of the autism epidemic and the rise of chronic illnesses – focusing specifically on the role of vaccinations. To learn more, visit focusautisminc.org.

A Shot of Truth is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization and educational website sponsored by Focus Autism.

AutismOne is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that provides education and supports advocacy efforts for children and families touched by an autism diagnosis. To learn more, visit autismone.org.

Originally posted on PRWeb.

Correction: As Coalition for Mercury-Free Drugs‘ Dr. Paul King pointed out, the year 1999 on the abstract specifies the year its lead investigator Thomas Verstraeten joined the EIS, but not the year of the abstract itself. The EIS conference the study authors planned to submit their abstract to took place during the year 2000.

Forbes’ Matt Herper Cites Misleading Gardasil Press Release

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Editor’s Note: Above is the abstract of a study which was misrepresented by the drug company press release that Herper cited to endorse the cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil; click to enlarge.

By Jake Crosby

Mainstream media’s coverage of the disputed safety and effectiveness of human pappilloma virus (HPV) vaccination is a shameful repeat of its coverage of the vaccine-autism cover-up.

Following Katie Couric’s recent investigative report on the safety and efficacy of vaccination against HPV, many familiar media mouthpieces of the vaccine industry came out of the woodwork to chastise Couric for her journalism. Included among those was Matt Herper, senior editor of Forbes Magazine. Using Twitter to cite a press release from Gardasil’s manufacturer, Herper challenged HPV expert Dr. Diane Harper’s contention to Katie Couric that HPV vaccine Gardasil only provides protection for five years. His tweet:

It appears that the claim on @katiecouric that vaccine efficacy wanes at 5 years is incorrect. http://www.prnewswire.co.uk/news-releases/studies-demonstrate-gardasil-has-long-duration-of-protection-from-hpv-disease-182323031.html …

Herper’s tweet was retweeted dozens of times, including by vaccine industry media go-to guy Seth Mnookin. Herper also cited and linked to the drug company press release from his Forbes article attacking Couric for her program on Gardasil. According to the press release:

“The interim data, presented at the 28th International Papillomavirus Conference (IPV) in Puerto Rico, showed that young women[1] and adolescent girls and boys[2] vaccinated with Gardasil were protected from HPV-related diseases for up to eight years following vaccination.”

The press release also included quotes from Professor Susanne Krüger Kjær, lead investigator of one of the studies:

“These latest data show an encouraging trend of continued protection with Gardasil against HPV-related cervical, vaginal and vulvar disease in women through eight years,” said Professor Susanne Krüger Kjær, Danish Cancer Society. “These studies provide further evidence for the ongoing efficacy, immunogenicity, and safety of Gardasil.”

Absent from Sanofi Pasteur MSD’s press release, however, is the conclusion from Professor Kjær’s own study which reads:

“The qHPV vaccine shows a trend of continued protection in women, although there is as yet insufficient data to confirm that protection is maintained.”

If Matt Herper can go to the trouble of digging up a drug company press release from a year ago on research presented at a conference, then why couldn’t he go to the extra trouble to dig up the abstract of the actual research the press release was about? Why did he instead settle for the misleading press release written by a PR person employed by Gardasil’s manufacturer to second-guess the statements of Dr. Diane Harper – an international authority on HPV who was involved in clinical trials of Gardasil? Perhaps because the abstract would prove that the press release Herper cited is a misleading representation of research.

Herper’s use of a misleading drug company press release over actual research to push Gardasil is minor in comparison to his record of reporting on the vaccine-autism cover-up. He has endorsed Salon’s removal of “Deadly Immunity” by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (which exposed CDC’s cover-up of the dangers of mercury in vaccines) prompted by a bogus rumor spread by Seth Mnookin that Rolling Stone Magazine secretly retracted Kennedy’s article. Salon is run by the brother-in-law of Arthur Allen, Mnookin’s predecessor as vaccine industry media go-to guy who vetted and ultimately approved of Mnookin’s since-dispelled rumor. So Matt Herper has a history of promoting scientific fraud to protect the vaccine industry. Even worse, such apologists now appear to dominate mainstream media’s coverage of vaccine safety issues, Katie Couric notwithstanding. Not surprisingly, Herper has not responded when informed on Twitter of what the actual research said.

Jake Crosby is editor of Autism Investigated and is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. He is a 2011 graduate of Brandeis University with a Bachelor of Arts in both History and Health: Science, Society and Policy and a 2013 graduate of The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services with a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology. He currently attends the University of Texas School of Public Health where he is studying for a Ph.D. in Epidemiology.