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Tuesday, April 27, 2021 Reader Supported
Correlations Point To Environmental,
Vaccine Link To Autism
In U.S., more vaccines, more autism
Richard Moore, lakelandtimes.com
Third in a series is.gd/bKxn1
For much of the past decade, as autism diagnoses have surged, there has been a broad effort by the mainstream media, the government and the scientific community to dispel any notion that autism might have some environmental connection or that childhood vaccines might trigger the disorder.
Along with an escalation of autism occurrences has come an escalation of studies and articles and pronouncements designed to disprove any environmental component, or to rationalize away any real increase. No fewer than 19 studies have brushed aside any vaccine link, for example, while the federal government, through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has expended great time and money to reassure the public that vaccines are safe.
The same for the national media. In 2008, for instance, Time Magazine ran a glowing piece on the "miracle marvel" of vaccinations and their benefits.
"CDC officials estimate that fully vaccinating all U.S. children born in a given year from birth to adolescence saves 33,000 lives, prevents 14 million infections and saves $10 billion in medical costs," the article by Alice Park stated. "Part of the reason is that the vaccinations protect not only the kids who receive the shots but also those who can't receive them-such as newborns and cancer patients with suppressed immune systems."
The New York Times, too, has acted as a vocal instrument of the pharmaceutical industry, as Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., pointed out last year on The Huffington Post, saying The Times acted as a "blind mouthpiece" for the government and a leading defender of vaccine safety.
Today, well into 2010, there's no question the academic, pharmaceutical and mainstream media bias toward vaccine safety still exists, but new studies are forcing at least some professionals to look again at toxicity as a real cause of autism.
For example, a 2009 University of California study contends the rise in autism diagnoses cannot be attributed to diagnostic substitution, and that a real epidemic is underway.
UC-Davis researchers found that the seven- to eight-fold increase in the number of children born in California with autism since 1990 could not be explained by either changes in how the condition is diagnosed or counted - and the trend shows no sign of abating, the university stated in announcing the study.
Published in the January 2009 issue of the journal Epidemiology, the study suggested shifting research resources from genetics to environmental chemicals and infectious microbes that could be the root cause of the problem.
even in the New York Times, to begin to
"Suspicions of toxins arise partly because studies have found that disproportionate shares of children develop autism after they are exposed in the womb to medications such as thalidomide (a sedative), misoprostol (ulcer medicine) and valproic acid (anticonvulsant)," wrote New York Times op-ed columnist Nicholas Kristof in February. "Of children
Still, Kristof could only bring himself so far; he continued to rule out the toxins contained in vaccines as a possible agent of autism, and did so with scientific assurance, as if the debate was settled.
"Publicity about fears that vaccinations cause autism - a theory that has now been discredited - perhaps had the catastrophic consequence of lowering vaccination rates in America," Kristof wrote.
Who is discredited?
In fact, the debate is far from over, and giving environmental causes, in particular various compounds and chemicals, new credence should stoke it even more.
To be sure, by any objective analysis, the existing research points directly to a vaccine link, particularly when correlating data with other countries. Any objective review, had any major media conducted one, also would have exposed widespread conflicts of interest in pro-vaccine studies.
It's not as if the research is hiding. All of the research in this particular article is in the public domain and widely circulated, but, unlike reports of vaccine safety, little of it has made the front pages of major newspapers.
A 2002 study in the New England Journal of Medicine found no link between the MMR vaccine and autism in a review of more than a half-million children born in Denmark from 1991 through 1998. A 2003 study in Pediatrics examined Danish children diagnosed with autism from 1971 to 2000 and concluded the incidence of autism increased in Denmark after thimerosal was removed from vaccines.
In a statement in January, Aarhus University said it had uncovered a "considerable shortfall" in grant money from the CDC and for a research program that Thorsen headed.
"Unfortunately, a considerable shortfall in funding at Aarhus University associated with the CDC grant was discovered," the university said in a statement. "In investigating the shortfalls associated with the grant, DASTI and Aarhus University became aware of two alleged CDC funding documents as well as a letter regarding funding commitments allegedly written by Randolph B. Williams of CDC's Procurement Grants Office which was used to secure advances from Aarhus University. Upon investigation by CDC, a suspicion arose that the documents are forgeries."
The investigation has rallied the troops of those who believe in a vaccine connection. Someone who would forge documents to steal money, if that turns out to be true, can certainly phony up data in a study, his critics say.
The CDC stands by the earlier research.
+ Read more: is.gd/bKxn1
AstraZeneca Reaches $520 Million Settlement
By Sharyl Attkisson CBS News is.gd/bKobT
The drug is Seroquel, and is intended for patients with certain forms of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
However, the government accused AstraZeneca of widely promoting Seroquel for off-label uses such as other psychiatric conditions and insomnia. It was in part due to this widespread off-label use that Seroquel became AstraZeneca's second best-selling drug last year, bringing in $4.9 billion.
Philadelphia attorney Stephen A. Sheller tells CBS News the AstraZeneca case is the largest civil penalty ever imposed by the Department of Justice involving a single drug.
While doctors are legally allowed to prescribe drugs for off-label use, drug companies are only supposed to market their medicine for FDA-approved uses.
A key aspect of the settlement is that the company has not admitted to wrongdoing. "While we deny the allegations, AstraZeneca takes its obligations very seriously under its agreements with the government" said Glenn Engelmann, AstraZeneca's U.S. General Counsel in a statement today. "It is in the best interest of AstraZeneca to resolve these matters and to move forward with our business of discovering and developing important, life-changing medicines - while avoiding the delay, uncertainty, and expense of protracted litigation."
The claims in the Seroquel case are similar to those outlined in an exclusive CBS News Investigation last year regarding another drug: Risperdal. Like Seroquel, Risperdal is only approved for certain patients: primarily adult patients who are psychotic, and for very limited pediatric use. However, it is in practice widely prescribed to children for less severe psychoses and disorders such as Attention Deficit Disorder and autism.
Critics say one of the problems with prescribing drugs for off-label use is that less may be known about their effects and side-effects. Problems may go misdiagnosed or unrecognized. In the case of Risperdal, there have been documented cases of boys developing women's breasts while taking the drug. Some of those boys have also reported a change in their sexual identification from male to female.
+ Read more: is.gd/bKobT
Leveling the Playing Field
for Autistic Students
Hernando, Miss. AP — If there is a single phrase Hernando Middle School teacher Cherie Fowler could pick to describe the differences in the education her students face as opposed to the rest of the student body it would be, "fair is not always equal."
Fowler is the Asperger/autism inclusion teacher at Hernando Middle. The students in the program she began two years ago attend the same academic classes as general education students. However, others may see the assistance given these students — who are often academically gifted but suffer from social deficits — as making school easier for them.
Fowler's students are allowed to type assignments others would have to write by hand. They are allowed the use of other assistance devices and some assignments can be shortened.
Each student is still required to have passing grades and meet all the state of Mississippi benchmarks for their grade level. It's their job to stay on par academically and it is her job to do everything possible to help them get through the day.
What the extra assistance does, Fowler said, is level the playing field.
"For a student with Asperger syndrome, making it through an eight-hour school day is like working 48 hours straight for the average adult," Fowler said.
"For a general student having a substitute teacher would just be part of their day but for an Asperger's student a substitute or anything else outside of their routine can make getting through the day very difficult. If I have to go into the classrooms with them or follow them around all day to make sure the day is a success for them, that's what I do."
Each of Fowler's students' day is just like every other student including participation in activities like band or physical education with the exception of one class period designed just for them.
The goal of Fowler's program is to teach her students to express themselves better so they are successful in their academic careers. She works toward not only helping them be successful at the middle school level but to prepare them for general education high school classes.
The students Fowler works with are from schools across the county and were identified as students who would personally benefit from her program. The program can hold between eight and 18 students. This year Fowler has 13 students.
+ Read more: is.gd/bKkJ7
• • •
Singapore's First School For 500 Autistic Children Opens
Singapore's first school for autistic children, Pathlight School was officially opened yesterday.
Its new campus is in Ang Mo Kio and was built at a cost of $34 million, of which $26 million was from the Ministry of Education. The school has more than 500 autistic students aged between six and 18. It has 45 classrooms with observation rooms, and a retail mall selling products designed by students.
The school uses different teaching methods to prepare students for vocational jobs and the Primary School Leaving Examination and General Certificate of Education examinations.
• • •
New Autism Clinic Opens in Dubuque
By Becky Ogann is.gd/bKvIS
A new center in Dubuque aims to improve the lives of people living with Autism.
Mercy Medical Center will soon add an Autism Clinic inside the Professional Arts Building. Administrators say this is the first of its kind in the Dubuque area.
Treatment will focus on speech and occupational therapy. Patients will also work on sensory and behavioral development.
"They will be able to walk away from that first session. The first conference knowing they are going to take the first step. I am going to call this person and set this up. I am going to come back and start some therapy and treatment," said Laura Keehner, Mercy Medical Center.
The center is now accepting patients. Contact Mercy Medical Center in Dubuque is.gd/bKvLW for more information.
• • •
Pet Talk: Temple Grandin Straddles The Worlds Of Animal Welfare And Autism
By Jacques Von Lunen, oregonlive.com is.gd/bKltC
Although it's common for movie stars to turn into animal-welfare advocates, the link between the fields is not reciprocal. After all, how many animal-science professors with celebrity status are there?
Probably just one -- Temple Grandin.
Her two fields of expertise are linked inextricably, Grandin has said. She didn't talk until she was almost 4 and considers words to be her second language, ranking touch, vision and smell above verbal communication. This has helped her to see stockyards as a cow would and to create facilities that are both more humane and more cost-efficient. Half the cattle in the country pass through chutes designed by Grandin.
Grandin writes about subjects ranging from autism to animal behavior to swine genetics.
The 62-year-old was recently portrayed by Claire Danes in an HBO movie about her life and work that premiered in February. (It will be shown again Wednesday at 2 p.m. on HBO. The DVD will be released in August.)
You have a chance to see and hear Grandin in person this weekend, when she will speak at the Northwest Regional Animal Assisted Therapy conference (9:15 a.m. Saturday). The conference also features Marie McCabe of the American Humane Association, who will share recent research on human-animal interactions.
We reached Grandin by phone, on the road to one of her many speaking engagements.
Q: You've described your memory as functioning like a movie that you can replay. What was it like to work with the makers of an actual movie?
A: It was very interesting. I had a lot of input in the cattle sequences to make sure they were right. The movie shows very nicely how my mind thinks in pictures. Basically, my mind works like Google for images. A whole bunch of images can just flash right up.
Q: Has that helped in your work with animals?
A: I think it has. The animal has got to think in sensory-based images: sounds, pictures, smells. It doesn't think verbally. So I think it has helped me understand learning behavior problems. (For example,) if a dog's biting little kids, the thing is, the little kid is a different picture in a dog's mind than a big person would be. And puppies need to learn that toddlers are people, too. You want dogs to learn that when they're young, so they treat toddlers as people, not as something to chase.
Q: What are some common mistakes you think people make in training dogs?
A: When I was a kid, all the dogs ran loose and they socialized themselves. Animals need to get out and be socialized to different people; puppies need to be gotten out and exposed to a lot of different dogs. Dogs that are often alone often can be really bad about fighting other dogs. They never learn that once they become dominant they don't have to keep fighting.
Q: When did you choose to study animal science?
A: That all started when I visited my aunt's ranch; that's where my interest got started. That (shows the) importance of getting kids out and having them see interesting stuff. One of the things I always tell parents about autism is the importance of early intervention. If you've got a child that's 2 or 3 years old, he's nonverbal and not very social, you don't let him sit off in the corner -- you need to start working with the kid, teaching him typing, teaching him language. Don't wait; it's really important.
Q: You've described yourself as being hypersensitive to sound -- has that helped you understand animals?
A: I'm better about that now, but some dogs are hypersensitive to sound. I think some of that might be due to (their) spending less time outside so that they don't get used to sounds the same way.
Q: What are you going to be speaking about at the conference?
A: I'm going to be talking about when a therapy dog is appropriate for a child with autism. For some kids it would be the best thing you could ever have, but obviously if you have a child that is sound-sensitive, it may not like the dog because it'd be scared of the barking. Some autistic kids, they're best buddies with the dog instantly. So, one child might be afraid of the dog because he gets sensory overload, and the other child, the dog will be the best thing that you could possibly do. I'll be talking about training the dogs, too. About the dog as visual thinker.
Q: What are some of the most common misperceptions about autism?
A: Autism is (on) a very big spectrum. It goes all the way from somebody who's going to remain nonverbal all the way up to people who work in Silicon Valley, that make computers. It's a very, very big spectrum. You may have a brilliant musician or scientist or someone who's nonverbal and has epilepsy on top of it.
Q: What's Temple Grandin's life like right now?
A: I'm teaching at Colorado State (University), and I've been doing a lot of speaking engagements. I'm really busy.
• • •
Nadia Bloom Found Alive: Nadia And Parents Interviewed On Good Morning America
• • •
Leeza Gibbons to Host Fund Raiser For Autism And Care-Givers
By Cheryl Pruett, OCLNN is.gd/bKoHY
Jackson will host Fearless Women: Mothers & Daughters Moveing Mountains,a joint fundraiser that benefits ACT Today! (Autism Care and Treat) and Leeza’s Place, a signature program of the Leeza Gibbons Memory Foundation.
Leeza’s Place was founded by Gibbons and Dr. James Huysman in 2001 to provide support for caregivers and those recently diagnosed with any chronic disease or disorder. The center was born after Gibbons’ mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Alspaugh-Jackson, a former television producer and mother of an autistic son, is the executive director of ACT Today. The organization provides grants to families with autistic children.
+ Read more: is.gd/bKoHY
• • •
Jury Hears of Alenson’s Courage In Dying Moment At Odgren Trial
By Laurel J. Sweet is.gd/bKpKF
The will to live even as he was being slashed to death was James Alenson’s last courageous act, a prosecutor said in emotional closing remarks today in the murder trial of John Odgren.
Middlesex Assistant District Attorney Daniel Bennett said the only reason Odgren, 19, is on trial is because Alenson fought his way out of a bathroom so others could witness his death.
“There’s something inside a human being that doesn’t want to give up life and that was James Alenson,” Bennett said, his voice breaking at times inside Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn.
“James Alenson wasn’t a football player, or a boxer or a U.S. Marine. But he was a person tough enough to keep on fighting,” Bennett said of the slain 15-year-old. "The reason John Odgren sits over there today is because James Alenson had so much courage."
Defense attorney Jonathan Shapiro said his client’s world was “shaped by fear ... everything he did was dominated by his fear, his anxiety, his paranoia."
The jury will now begin deliberations.
Shapiro’s stance is that Odgren, an obsessed fan of horror novelist Stephen King with a genius IQ of 140, is crazy and not legally responsible for the Jan. 19, 2007, stabbing death of Alenson in a boy’s bathroom at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School.
Middlesex Superior Court Judge S. Jane Haggerty announced this morning she will allow jurors to consider verdicts of not guilty, guilty of murder in the first degree, guilty of murder in the second degree and not guilty by reason of insanity, but not involuntary manslaughter, as Shapiro had requested.
Joe Dwinell contributed.
• • •
Assert Your Right To Say No To Vaccination
Rally in Chicago on May 26th
* We affirm the sanctity of personal space, the right to be left alone, and the freedom to make personal health care decisions guided by the professionals of our choosing.
All persons, families and organizations committed to protecting these fundamental rights are invited to stand with us in downtown Chicago on May 26, 2010. After the rally, work with us to support grassroots advocacy, education, and leadership in defense of our personal - individual, legal, moral, religious, civil, and human - rights. And while you are in Chicago, attend the Autism One conference. is.gd/bKg5x
Learn more about the rally and how to get involved here. is.gd/bKg23
• • •
Research for Education
Each year the Wing Institute offers funding for graduate students who are interested in doing research in the area of evidence-based education. The window for applications is very narrow this year and we would appreciate your assistance sharing this information with interested parties. The grant application can be found on our web site at www.winginstitute.org.
- Randy Keyworth
• • •
Whether we are comfortable admitting it or not, you would expect an overall DECREASE in the count of mental retardation due to selective abortion from amniocentesis and similar screening results, which was not something that happened often if ever in the 80's. Therefore we should see LESS total learning disabled children, and in fact, some autistic children are probably mislabeled mentally retarded.
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