Fomboning Autism Increases in California

by Barbara Loe Fisher


The Canadian child psychiatrist, who helps out drug companies and US vaccine policymakers by testifying in civil court and in the D.C. Court of Claims to deny vaccine injured autistic children compensation for their injuries, got it wrong again. Endorsing the conclusions of an ecologic analysis by California public health officials of California DDS data from 1995 to 2007 published Jan. 7 in the Archives of General Psychiatry which stated that “The DDS data do not support the hypothesis that exposure to thimerosal during childhood is a primary cause of autism,” Fombonne declares “Parents of autistic children should be reassured that autism in their child did not occur through immunizations. Their autistic children, and their siblings, should be normally vaccinated…” http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-autism8jan08,0,3935663.story?coll=la-home-local

Apparently unhappy that children with vaccine associated autism have been healed through use of alternative therapies that do not rely on expensive prescription drugs and visits to child psychiatrists, Fombonne goes on to add that “as there is no evidence of mercury poisoning in autism, they [parents of autistic children] should avoid ineffective and dangerous “treatments” such as chelation therapy for their children.” He points an accusing finger at “powerful advocacy groups” that have lobbied “decision makers to influence decisions about which autism research to fund and even how to conduct it.” He ridicules “best-selling writers, journalists and politicians” who are “unaware of scientific studies, or worse, doubtful of their results” and have been “drawn to embrace conspiracy theories that portrayed vaccine manufacturers and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as public enemies.”

Fombonne also attacks vaccine victim lawyers for trying to help parents of vaccine injured autistic children obtain compensation for their vaccine injuries under the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act created by Congress and condemns the constitutional right to a jury trial as “the viscous US legal process allowing for fermentation of misconceptions.” Finally, in a pathetic attempt to mimic an earlier attempt in 2004 by a misguided Institute of Medicine (IOM) Committee to shut down all scientific investigation into vaccine-associated regressive autism, the psychiatrist laments “How many more negative study results are required for the belief [in vaccine induced autism] to go away, and how much more spending of public funds on this issue could even be justified?”

Rick Rollens, co-founder of the M.I.N.D. Institute – UC Davis, and the man most responsible for putting the autism epidemic on the map in the late 1990’s, said it best: “Although this study by California's vaccine establishment clearly sustains the fact that California is in the midst of a growing autism epidemic and that California's system of reporting professionally diagnosed cases of full syndrome autism is the gold standard in the country, the conclusions in the study are flawed and premature, and does nothing to exonerate vaccines, particularly mercury containing vaccines, as a cause of California's autism epidemic….. If by 2009-2010 there has not been ANY change in the rate of increase of new cases of autism entering California's developmental services system, then we can scratch mercury in vaccines off our list of agents contained in vaccines as a cause, and; then begin concentrating on the numerous other poisons and toxic agents in vaccines such as aluminum, formaldehyde, MSG, live viruses, etc., and most importantly, the interaction of these and other toxic agents contained in the 34 doses of vaccines children receive from birth to two years old today.”

As usual, it is not the M.D. or Ph.D. “experts” but parents of vaccine injured children, who understand the bigger picture involving accumulating clinical evidence that many children are regressing and becoming chronically ill after receiving both mercury-containing and non-mercury containing vaccines. Parents know well that this one study cannot negate the fact that the medical establishment has refused to conduct the methodologically sound basic science research into the biological effects on immune and brain function of injecting infants and children with multiple vaccines containing many potentially toxic ingredients, including mercury.

Over the years, many parents of vaccine injured children have reminded public health authorities of their duty to protect the lives of all children, including those who are at high risk of becoming vaccine injured. The contentious debate about vaccine-associated autism and whether or not mercury has played a major role in the development of regressive autism in record numbers of children since 1991 will not be over until at least 2010. Even then, it will be complicated by the continued use of thimerosal containing vaccines, such as influenza vaccine, that may be affecting a smaller but significant subset of children. Whatever the truth turns out to be with regard to how big or small a role thimerosal has had in creating an autism epidemic, the more than doubling of the numbers of vaccines children are given during the past quarter century, is a questionable national public health policy that is definitely not off the hook.

Science is not a static enterprise but a dynamic one. Unlike Fombonne, the authors of this latest study at least acknowledged that “the hypothesis that a modifiable risk factor, such as thimerosal exposure, is a major cause of autism offers the hope for prevention through reduced exposure. Although our analysis of DDS data shows an increased in autism in California despite the removal of thimerosal from most vaccines, we support the continued quest for the timely discovery of modifiable risk factors for autism and related conditions. Continuing evaluation of the trends in the prevalence of autism for children born in recent years is warranted to confirm our findings.”

Those maintaining that autism is simply a matter of genetics rather than a matter of genetic diversity dependent upon potentially modifiable environmental triggers will not be happy with that statement. It is an acknowledgement, however small, by California public health officials that development of regressive autism may well be about more than DNA.

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“The estimated prevalence of autism for children at each year of age from 3 to 12 years increased throughout the study period. The estimated prevalence of DDS clients aged 3 to 5 years with autism increased for each quarter from January 1995 through March 2007. Since 2004, the absolute increase and the rate of increase in DDS clients aged 3 to 5 years with autism were higher than those in DDS clients of the same ages with any eligible condition including autism….The DDS data do not show any recent decrease in autism in California despite the exclusion of more than trace levels of thimerosal from nearly all childhood vaccines. The DDS data do not support the hypothesis that exposure to thimerosal during childhood is a primary cause of autism.” – Robert Schechter and Judith Grether, Archives of General Psychiatry (January 2008)

“Although the mercury burden in vaccines has been reduced over the years, we know that even very small amounts of mercury can cause serious, life altering neurological damage. California's ban on mercury containing vaccines for pregnant women and children under three did not take effect until December 2006. Today, those children born after the ban took effect are between 4 months old and one year of age. California's developmental services reporting system DOES NOT include children under the age of three years old.” – Rick Rollens


“Steve M. Edelson, an experimental psychologist who is director of the Autism Research Institute, a nonprofit organization in San Diego, said the study, along with evidence from previous research, argued against thimerosal as the major culprit in autism. But, he added, it still does not rule out all blame. Edelson said such large-scale analysis could overlook smaller groups of children, who for whatever reasons have a particular vulnerability to mercury. He said more solid evidence can only come from laboratory studies, such as postmortem analyses of the brains of autistic children.” - Jia-Rui Chong, Los Angeles Times (Jan. 7, 2008)



“Shih said the study methods are "robust," adding that the authors appeared to address limitations of earlier studies. However, he said, the research "doesn't address the possibility that there might be a subpopulation who might be particularly vulnerable to a vaccine with thimerosal." If just 1 percent to 2 percent of children were especially sensitive to the effect of thimerosal, the study wouldn't be able to pick it up, he said. Schechter agreed, saying it was true that the research didn't address whether thimerosal might cause problems in a small number of cases. As for a possible link between vaccines and autism, Shih said, "the jury is still out," especially considering that children are exposed to a large number of vaccines before age 2. And he added, "Some people in the community feel that they might lead to immune problems that could either exacerbate or lead to autism. All this is purely hypothetical, but this is an area where we need to continue to do more research." – Randy Dotinga, U.S. News & World Report (Jan. 7, 2008)


http://archpsyc.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/65/1/19

ABSTRACT

Continuing Increases in Autism Reported to California’s Developmental Services System

Mercury in Retrograde

Robert Schechter, M.D., Msc; Judith K. Grether, PhD

Arch Gen Psychiatry, 2008;65(1):19-24

Context Previous analyses of autism client data reported to the California Department of Developmental Services (DDS) have been interpreted as supporting the hypothesis that autism is caused by exposure to the preservative thimerosal, which contains ethylmercury. The exclusion of thimerosal from childhood vaccines in the United States was accelerated from 1999 to 2001. The Immunization Safety Review Committee of the Institute of Medicine has recommended surveillance of trends in autism as exposure to thimerosal during early childhood has decreased.

Objective To determine whether trends in DDS autism client data support the hypothesis that thimerosal exposure is a primary cause of autism.

Design, Setting, and Patients Study of time trends in the prevalence by age and birth cohort of children with autism who were active status clients of the DDS from January 1, 1995, through March 31, 2007.

Main Outcome Measure Prevalence of autism among children with active status in the DDS.

Results The estimated prevalence of autism for children at each year of age from 3 to 12 years increased throughout the study period. The estimated prevalence of DDS clients aged 3 to 5 years with autism increased for each quarter from January 1995 through March 2007. Since 2004, the absolute increase and the rate of increase in DDS clients aged 3 to 5 years with autism were higher than those in DDS clients of the same ages with any eligible condition including autism.

Conclusions The DDS data do not show any recent decrease in autism in California despite the exclusion of more than trace levels of thimerosal from nearly all childhood vaccines. The DDS data do not support the hypothesis that exposure to thimerosal during childhood is a primary cause of autism.


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STATEMENT BY RICK ROLLENS, Co-Founder, M.I.N.D. Institute – UC Davis

“Although this study by California's vaccine establishment clearly sustains the fact that California is in the midst of a growing autism epidemic and that California's system of reporting professionally diagnosed cases of full syndrome autism is the gold standard in the country, the conclusions in the study are flawed and premature, and does nothing to exonerate vaccines, particularly mercury containing vaccines, as a cause of California's autism epidemic.

Although the mercury burden in vaccines has been reduced over the years, we know that even very small amounts of mercury can cause serious, life altering neurological damage. California's ban on mercury containing vaccines for pregnant women and children under three did not take effect until December 2006.

Today, those children born after the ban took effect are between 4 months old and one year of age. California's developmental services reporting system DOES NOT include children under the age of three years old.

It will not be clear what impact California's law banning mercury in vaccines has had on the rate of new cases of autism until at least 2009-2010 and later. Historically, the majority of children with autism enter California's developmental services system between the ages of 3+ and 9 years old.

If by 2009-2010 there has not been ANY change in the rate of increase of new cases of autism entering California's developmental services system, then we can scratch mercury in vaccines off our list of agents contained in vaccines as a cause, and; then begin concentrating on the numerous other poisons and toxic agents in vaccines such as aluminum, formaldehyde, MSG, live viruses, etc., and most importantly, the interaction of these and other toxic agents contained in the 34 doses of vaccines children receive from birth to two years old today.”
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Study challenges drug's role in autism

by Jia-Rui Chong
Los Angeles Times
January 7, 2008

The prevalence of autism in California children continued to rise after many vaccine manufacturers started to remove the mercury-based preservative thimerosal in 1999, suggesting that the chemical was not a primary cause of the disorder, according to a study released Monday.

The analysis found that from 2004 to 2007, when exposure to thimerosal dropped significantly for 3- to 5-year-olds, the rate continued to increase in that group from 3.0 to 4.1 per 1,000 children.

"If mercury exposure in vaccines was a major cause of autism, then the number of ... affected kids should have diminished once they were no longer exposed to thimerosal," said Dr. Robert Schechter, lead author of the study and a medical officer at the state Department of Public Health. "That is not what we found."

The study, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, is the latest in a series that has investigated the connection between thimerosal and autism. The majority have found no association.

But the latest findings failed to convince some parents and advocacy groups that have long blamed mercury, a neurotoxin, for the disorder.

"This study presents a greatly over-simplified explanation of a very complex problem," said Claire Bothwell, chairwoman of the board at the National Autism Association, which works on behalf of families with autism. "Rising numbers do not confirm that thimerosal never had a role."

Autism is a severe developmental disorder in which children seem isolated from the world around them. There is a broad spectrum of symptoms, marked by poor language skills and an inability to handle social relations.

Over the past two decades, the number of cases has boomed for still-unexplained reasons. Psychiatrists estimated that 20 years ago there were 0.2 to 0.5 cases for every 1,000 children. In 2007, the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that there were 6.6 cases per 1,000 schoolchildren, based on a study of 8-year-olds.

The latest study was based on data from the California Department of Developmental Services, which provides services to about 36,000 people with autism and has one of the country's best reporting systems.

The researchers looked at all reported cases in the state starting with children born in 1989. They found the number of cases per 1,000 children has been steadily increasing from that point to March 2007, the end point of the study.

In a commentary accompanying the study in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry, Dr. Eric Fombonne called the data "a clear and unambiguous test."

"Parents of autistic children should be reassured that autism in their child did not occur through immunizations," wrote Fombonne, a psychiatrist at Montreal Children's Hospital who was not involved in this study.

Fombonne has provided advice to vaccine manufacturers in the past but has received no research funding from them, he said.

Steve M. Edelson, an experimental psychologist who is director of the Autism Research Institute, a nonprofit organization in San Diego, said the study, along with evidence from previous research, argued against thimerosal as the major culprit in autism.

But, he added, it still does not rule out all blame. Edelson said such large-scale analysis could overlook smaller groups of children, who for whatever reasons have a particular vulnerability to mercury. He said more solid evidence can only come from laboratory studies, such as postmortem analyses of the brains of autistic children.

The National Autism Association criticized the study, saying that some children still might be exposed to mercury through either flu shots or trace amounts in other vaccines. The group also said that some vaccines containing thimerosal had expiration dates as late as 2005 and might have been used up to that point.


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Study Casts Doubt on Vaccine-Autism Link

Research adds to growing body of evidence that finds no connection between the two

by Randy Dotinga

U.S. News & World Report

January 7, 2008



(HealthDay News) -- Adding to a growing body of evidence that rejects the idea that immunizations boost autism rates, a new study finds no proof that incidences of the disorder dropped after makers of most childhood vaccines stopped using a mercury-based preservative in their products.

Researchers found that autism rates in California continued to rise over the past several years, even though the preservative -- known as thimerosal -- had vanished from almost all vaccines by 2001.

The study makes clear that "thimerosal cannot be the major cause of autism in California," said its lead author, Dr. Robert Schechter, medical officer with the Immunization Branch of the California Department of Public Health.

Another expert called the study limited and said it did not prove that vaccines have no connection to autism.

Still, the new research "adds to the body of existing evidence in which there is no causal connection that demonstrates thimerosal is a primary cause" of autism, said Andy Shih, vice president of scientific affairs for Autism Speaks, an advocacy organization.

Thimerosal, a preservative once used in contact lens solutions, was frequently a component of childhood vaccines until around 2000. Today, it's still used in flu vaccines recommended for infants, but researchers think children are still exposed to much less thimerosal than in the past.

In recent years, some parents have blamed their children's autism on the preservative, which is derived from mercury; others have accused the parents of creating public panic and threatening the health of children by casting a bad light on routine immunizations.

One government study released in 2007 claimed that thimerosal exposure in the first seven months of life didn't appear to affect the brain function of children aged 7 to 10, although there was some evidence -- perhaps the result of chance -- that connected thimerosal to later development of physical tics. Even earlier, an Institute of Medicine report released in 2004 found no evidence supporting a link between thimerosal and autism.

In the new study, published in the January issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry, researchers from the California Department of Public Health examined statistics about children in the state from 1995 through March 2007.

The prevalence of autism among kids aged 3 to 12 grew each year, the researchers discovered after looking at numbers compiled by a state agency that provides services to children with the disorder.

For example, the prevalence among kids born in 1993 was three in 10,000 when they were checked in 1996, compared to 13 per 10,000 among those born in 2003 and checked in 2006.

The highest rate -- 4.5 cases per 1,000 births -- came among 6-year-olds in 2006 who were born in 2000.

The study authors pointed out that autism rates among kids aged 3 to 5 continued to grow for each birth year after 1999, even though thimerosal use dropped.

Shih said the study methods are "robust," adding that the authors appeared to address limitations of earlier studies. However, he said, the research "doesn't address the possibility that there might be a subpopulation who might be particularly vulnerable to a vaccine with thimerosal."

If just 1 percent to 2 percent of children were especially sensitive to the effect of thimerosal, the study wouldn't be able to pick it up, he said.

Schechter agreed, saying it was true that the research didn't address whether thimerosal might cause problems in a small number of cases.

As for a possible link between vaccines and autism, Shih said, "the jury is still out," especially considering that children are exposed to a large number of vaccines before age 2.

And he added, "Some people in the community feel that they might lead to immune problems that could either exacerbate or lead to autism. All this is purely hypothetical, but this is an area where we need to continue to do more research."

3 comments:

AutismNewsBeat said...

Thimerosal was gone from scheduled childhood vaccines by 2002, and not every kid gets a flu shot. If TCVs had anything to do with autism, then we should see a decline in CDDS numbers for 3-5yr olds. Can you explain why we haven't? Keep in mind, the quarterly increases when graphed out create a nearly straight line.

Surely said...

It doesn't look like a the whole picture has been painted here which is significant in completing it. It has been proven that once mercury was installed in the mouth of the monkey & the sheep that the mercury was into their organs within 30 days. So is true that a woman who is pregnant and has mercury filling in her mouth it gets into not only her organs but her fetus which is forming or some parts of the fetus NOT forming correctly because of the mercury! This has been proven and if you never saw a tooth and organ chart and how each tooth is connected to the meridians of so many body parts! EYE OPENER! just enter in a search engine (tooth and organ chart and you will see the 32 teeth in the middle of the chart 1-32 and just see how fearfully & wonderfully made we are!! God bless us as we endeaver to expose the truth!~~Joni Nicodemus

Anonymous said...

Does anyone believe that delaying vaccinations(until high school age) and spreading them out would help decrease the probability of Autism. My child deveoped mild issues after a hep vacc. but I'm scared that his upcoming pre kindergarten vacc. will push him over the edge
jbd