Tag Archives: Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal: CDC Director Says She Is A “Strong Advocate for Vaccines”

New CDC Chief Lays Out Priorities as Agency Faces Cuts

 
Brenda Fitzgerald, the new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said she will prioritize a wide range of public health issues, from fighting infectious disease to strengthening early-childhood development.


By Betsy McKay

The new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said she will prioritize a wide range of public health issues, from fighting infectious disease to strengthening early-childhood development, as the federal agency faces potentially substantial budget cuts.

In an interview at the end of her first week on the job, Brenda Fitzgerald said she would make a strong case for public health spending should the agency fall on tough times.

“When there are austere times, the most important factor is that you have to know what your mission is,” Dr. Fitzgerald said. “You make sure what you’re doing is indeed fulfilling that role, because there are certain things that I believe only public health can do,” she said.

The Trump administration has proposed a $1.22 billion, or 17%, cut to the CDC’s budget for fiscal 2018, including reductions in chronic disease prevention and epidemic preparedness.

Many public health experts welcomed Dr. Fitzgerald’s July 7 appointment, because she is a public health advocate and leader. But she has been criticized for a Georgia childhood obesity program that accepted funds from Coca-Cola Co.’s foundation and for offering controversial anti-aging remedies as a practicing obstetrician-gynecologist.

Dr. Fitzgerald, 71 years old, grew up in Middlesboro, Ky., a town in coal-mining country. She “met this cute boy in medical school” at Emory University and has been in Georgia ever since, practicing as an OB-GYN for three decades, raising a daughter and son, and serving state Republican leaders. She was Georgia’s public health commissioner from 2011 until she was named to her CDC post.

Brenda Fitzgerald said she would make a strong case for public health spending should the agency fall on tough times.Photo: Melissa Golden for The Wall Street Journal

She said she is commuting to her new job from her home in Carrollton, Ga., nearly 60 miles west of Atlanta because “that cute boy I married—he grew up there. He’s not moving.”

She calls herself a “strong advocate for vaccines” and says she supports making reliable contraception available, two issues that have been scrutinized by the new administration.

Rates of premature births can be brought down by spacing births, saving on health-care costs, she said, an approach that generally requires contraception. Caring for a premature infant in the first year, of life costs about 10 times as much as caring for a healthy, full-term baby, making it one of the most expensive health-care needs, and that added costs extend well beyond the first year. “It’s huge,” she said.

She believes decisions about abortion should be made “between a woman and her doctor,” with limitations. “There’s absolutely no case once a child is viable,” she said. But, she added, “I did not do abortions in my practice.”

The CDC collects data on abortions but doesn’t fund them.

Dr. Fitzgerald said that preventing the spread of infectious disease will remain a priority for the agency. “Quite frankly, it’s our responsibility,” she said.

That includes doing more to prevent antibiotic resistance, tracking emerging infections overseas and helping other countries build their infectious-disease-fighting capacities, she said.

Battling the U.S.’s biggest killers will also be a focus for the CDC under her leadership, she said, though she didn’t cite specifics. Fighting opioid addiction—which killed more than 33,000 people in the U.S. in 2015—is a priority for the administration, her spokeswoman said.

She said she also wants to make advances in an area she championed as Georgia’s public health commissioner: children’s early brain development. “If we can change something at the very beginning that is a simple intervention like language development, that’s a phenomenal chance to influence that child’s entire life,” she said.

Dr. Fitzgerald has come under fire for the Georgia SHAPE childhood obesity program, which took $1 million from 2013 to 2015 from the Coca-Cola Foundation to promote physical activity.

She said that the state purposely sought partners from every sector, including large area employers such as Coca-Cola, to join its $57 million program. The program promotes eating fresh fruits and vegetables in addition to physical activity, she said.

“I think if you’re going to solve a big problem, you’ve got to have a public-private partnership,” she said. “What you have to do is start at that place on which there is agreement and work from there.”

As a practicing OB-GYN, Dr. Fitzgerald said she took continuing education courses to become a fellow in anti-aging medicine after getting many questions from menopausal patients. Such therapies include bioidentical hormones, which are identical in molecular structure to the hormones women make in their bodies.

They are often marketed as a safer alternative to traditional hormone replacement therapy, but have skeptics because they haven’t been well studied. The Food and Drug Administration says it doesn’t have evidence that bioidentical hormones are safer or more effective than other hormone products.

“One, I was curious, two, I wanted to see what the scientific data was there,” she said. “I wanted to be able to answer patients’ questions.”

She said she believes there is more research to be done on the therapies. She said she closed her OB-GYN practice when she became public health commissioner in Georgia, and “I will not be practicing private medicine here at CDC.”

Write to Betsy McKay at betsy.mckay@wsj.com

Originally published in The Wall Street Journalavailable without subscription here.

PERVERT ALERT: “Scientist” W. Ian Lipkin Sued for Degeneracy

No, this pervert alert is not for Anthony Weiner. The pervert alert is for vaccine apologist “scientist” extraordinaire Ian Lipkin who is now being sued by his colleague Dr. Mady Hornig. Among the charges are taking credit for her work, preventing her from speaking at public meetings and asking her to diagnose a lesion on his ass! (whut?)

Age of Autism has the goods:

Dachel Wake Up: Columbia Autism Scientists in Butt Ugly Lawsuit

Note: You can read the legal filing here.  Hornig v. Lipkin

May 20, 2017, New York Post: Columbia professor says boss made her inspect his butt

A Columbia University scientist claims her boss — and former lover — repeatedly dropped his drawers and demanded she diagnose a lesion on his butt.

Associate Professor Mady Hornig says her boss at the university’s Mailman School of Public Health also demanded co-credit for her work; kicked her under the table at meetings to keep her from speaking; presented her work as his own, and kept her from getting tenure, Hornig claims in a Manhattan federal court lawsuit.

In 2014, Professor Walter Ian Lipkin, head of the Center for Infection & Immunity, called Hornig into his office and “demanded that she look at lesions on his buttocks,” Hornig alleges. He did so again a year later, Hornig charges.

Lipkin is familiar to us at Age of Autism. I wrote about his Wall Street Journal piece, Anti-Vaccination Lunacy Won’t Stop, where he denounced ‘Vaxxed’ and said Robert De Niro did the right thing pulling it from Tribeca. https://www.wsj.com/articles/anti-vaccination-lunacy-wont-stop-1459721652

“The filmmakers claim they have not stated that autism is caused by the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, known as MMR. However, that is the inescapable message of ‘Vaxxed.’ And it is certainly the stance of Andrew Wakefield, the discredited British researcher who is the movie’s director and co-writer.

(Continue reading at Age of Autism)

Gardiner Harris Infects Forbes With Herper Virus

Matt Herper
Matt Herper, Senior Editor of Forbes

By Jake Crosby

Forbes Magazine has shamelessly given a platform to vaccine industry talking heads such as Emily Willingham and “Science”Blogger Peter Lispon. Its senior editor – Matt Herper – routinely writes articles pushing pharma talking points, while censoring the science CDC has tried to bury that utterly contradicts its party line. Ironically, when Herper first entered the debate, he seemed to hold promise as an inquisitive reporter. That, however, did not last long. So what influenced him? The probable answer: The New York Times’ ethically bankrupt reporter Gardiner Harris.

Matt Herper first came to this debate in 2007 when the CDC released a heavily biased study that sought to absolve thimerosal of causing neurological harm, using information from the CDC’s Vaccine Safety Datalink Project (VSD). Its lead author, William Thompson, is a former Merck employee and its senior author Frank DeStefano was already caught trying to bury proof that thimerosal was causing neurological damage. In spite of the fact that the 2007 study cut 70% of its participants, it replicated earlier research by DeStefano and colleagues associating thimerosal exposure with tic disorders and speech delays. Furthermore, the 2007 study never examined autism as an outcome. In fact, it never studied unvaccinated children.

As a result, Dan Olmsted, formerly of rescuepost.com, asked CDC why the lack of study of unvaccinated children. After receiving many long, circuitous answers, Olmsted tried to ask a follow-up question but was cut-off. Fortunately, there was another reporter who shared his concerns, and whom Olmsted quoted as asking:

“So I was just wondering in a follow up question about why not compare to unvaccinated kids. And you – if I understand right, you included all children from several managed care organizations in order to enroll?”

Olmsted thanked Matt Herper for asking the question, but did not follow up on how Herper actually covered the CDC’s study. That was a whole different matter.

The title of Herper’s article speaks for itself: “Fear Factor.” Herper coauthored the article with Forbes’ then-senior editor Robert Langreth. The third sentence speaks volumes:

The overwhelming consensus among scientists that vaccines don’t cause autism or learning problems is getting a boost today from a government study of 1,000 children that showed no evidence at all that receiving vaccines containing a mercury-containing preservative, thimerosal, caused any problems for children at all.”

Neglecting special populations such as unvaccinated Amish, Herper and Langreth simply cited CDC’s simplistic excuse as to why no unvaccinated children were studied:

Researchers couldn’t compare kids who got vaccines with those who didn’t, because almost all children are vaccinated. Only three kids out of every thousand in the United States don’t get at least some vaccinations.

Forbes was not the only mainstream publication that covered this study in such a deceptive way, however. Over at The New York Times, the conflicted “journalist” Gardiner Harris wrote an article that predictably began:

Yet another study has found that a controversial vaccine preservative appears to be harmless.”

However, if the preservative appeared to be “harmless,” then the CDC wouldn’t have replicated past research associating it with speech delays and tic disorders. The CDC study would have also included autism among its outcomes, but did not. Harris did not even address the fact that no unvaccinated children were studied, as Herper and Langreth did.

Why would different reporters from different publications report on this story from the same dishonest perspective? Perhaps because Robert Langreth and Gardiner Harris were old colleagues who cowrote articles for The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) – a newspaper whose editorial bias predates both Forbes Magazine and The New York Times. WSJ has published unsigned editorials supporting the rider in the Homeland Security Bill that sought to shield Eli Lilly from thimerosal litigation. After Langreth left Forbes for Bloomberg News, Herper became senior editor. In other words, Herper took over Langreth’s job, but still manages Forbes’ content on the vaccine-autism issue exactly like Gardiner Harris’ former colleague Langreth did – by backing the government’s cover-up of vaccine injury through censorship and propaganda.

We can almost certainly thank Gardiner Harris for infecting Forbes Magazine with the Herper Virus. Veteran public health reporter Harris is now in India where he came down with travelers’ diarrhea for not washing his own mango.

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 BA in both History and Health: Science, Society and Policy. He is completing his candidacy for an MPH in epidemiology from The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services.