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News

New administration stirs angst, activism among autism scientists

by  /  1 February 2017
Scientists speak: Researchers are wary of the Trump administration’s 'anti-science’ positions.

Robinson Meyer / The Atlantic

Four months ago, if you had asked Jonathan Sebat about his political stance, he would have described it as “passive.” Sebat, who directs the Beyster Institute for Psychiatric Genomics at the University of California, San Diego, saw himself as much less politically engaged than many of his colleagues. He briefly digested the news before heading to work, where his primary focus is to understand the molecular basis of autism.

But since November, Sebat has found politics inescapable, and news reports pepper his waking hours. “I receive alerts throughout the day of major political upheaval,” he says. “I find myself dedicating hours a day trying to figure out what’s going on and corresponding with other scientists.”

U.S. President Donald Trump has made remarks that defy established science, including linking autism to vaccines. His ban on travel from seven Muslim nations, put in place by an executive order signed 27 January, may stem the flow of scientific talent into the United States.

These actions have caused many scientists to dub the new administration as ‘anti-science.’

Sebat says he fears that the administration’s hostility toward facts in autism, climate change and other fields will hinder research. “Politics seems to be eclipsing science,” he says.

Sebat is not alone. More than 800,000 people have reportedly joined a private Facebook group planning a March for Science in Washington, D.C. As momentum grows on social media, the organizers are helping volunteers set up multiple satellite marches across the country. The date is undecided. “A well-organized, peaceful protest is an excellent way to send a clear message,” says Sebat, who hopes to attend a satellite march in San Diego.

It would be the second march this year for Chris Gunter, director of communication operations at the Marcus Autism Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Gunter participated in the Atlanta March for Social Justice and Women on 21 January, the day after Trump’s inauguration. On inauguration day, she took to Twitter to spread facts about autism and genetics using the hashtag #USofScience.

“Scientists have a responsibility to defend facts, and not let ‘alternative facts’ stand,” she says.

Foggy future:

Predicting what the next four years under Trump will bring is challenging, in no small part because of the president’s distaste for traditional, or ‘establishment,’ politics.

Amid the uncertainty, there is one sign of stability. Francis Collins, who has been director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) since 2009, will remain in his position for now. But Trump has augured change with some of his picks to lead other healthcare agencies.

His nominee for secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, has proposed his own alternative to the Affordable Care Act and supports major changes to Medicaid and Medicare. Several of Trump’s purported candidates to head the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are vocal critics of the agency. They include investor Jim O’Neill and biotech executives Joseph Gulfo and Balaji Srinivasan.

Members of Trump’s transition team have also reported that he is considering forming a commission on autism research. But such a commission already exists. The Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) advises the Department of Health and Human Services — which oversees the FDA, the NIH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — and coordinates autism research and services across these agencies. So it is unclear what a new commission would accomplish.

“That worried me in that, like so many other things, this administration hadn’t done its homework,” says David Amaral, who directs research at the University of California, Davis MIND Institute and serves on the IACC.

The president has also disturbed many public health experts by endorsing the myth that vaccines can cause autism. Supporting this falsehood may increase the number of unvaccinated children, rendering them vulnerable to serious illnesses such as measles and whooping cough. Just 10 days before the inauguration, outspoken ‘anti-vaxxer’ Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. claimed that Trump had asked him to chair a vaccine safety committee. And Andrew Wakefield, the disgraced scientist who helped start the anti-vaccine movement with his fraudulent research, attended one of the president’s inaugural balls.

Poor protection:

Services for children with autism could be in danger under the Trump administration as well. Trump’s pick for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, wants to shift power toward states and away from federal oversight. The move concerns many people in the special education community. For one, it could weaken the federal protections for children with disabilities granted by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

At times, observers have questioned the president’s treatment of people with disabilities. While campaigning in November 2015, Trump appeared to mock reporter Serge Kovaleski, flapping his hands as though imitating the effects of Kovaleski’s joint condition, arthrogryposis. Trump later said his actions were misconstrued.

“It doesn’t sound like the administration is very supportive of people with disabilities, or people with autism, more specifically,” says Connie Kasari, professor of psychological studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Yet another worry comes from changes to the Affordable Care Act, which Trump has vowed to demolish. Without a suitable replacement, 18 million people could lose insurance, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

“There doesn’t seem to be much will to protect public health,” says Lisa Croen, director of the Autism Research Program at Kaiser Permanente. “There are so many families with members with autism who rely on some public funding.”

The president’s crackdown on immigration may signal a stormy climate for international collaborations, such as one in which researchers are tracking the development of infants who have an older brother or sister with autism. This so-called ‘baby sibs’ study involves researchers in the U.S., United Kingdom and Canada.

Kasari, who is not a part of this study, is concerned about the impact of new immigration policies on her colleagues and collaborators. “I have Muslim graduate students who are very concerned,” she says. The New York Times has reported that 17,000 students from the seven banned countries are enrolled in U.S. universities.

Bipartisan issue:

Some researchers see at least one silver lining: the possibility of a budget boost. The past four years have seen increasingly tight budgets. In 2010, public and private spending for autism research exceeded $400 million; as of 2015, it had dropped to about $315 million.

But the coffers may open under the new administration. Kevin Pelphrey, who directs the Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., is a member of the IACC and has reviewed government support for autism research. “I look at the funding trends and, if anything, it looks a little better with a Republican administration,” he says. Indeed, a 2015 political science review suggested the government tends to spend more on research when a Republican is in the White House.

Still, other scientists say it’s hard to predict how federal dollars will be spent. Although President Trump has emphasized his desire to secure borders, he has yet to identify a central scientific or public health goal akin to the Obama administration’s National Alzheimer’s Project Act.

Regardless of the outcomes, one thing is certain: Scientists want to have a say.

Some researchers are going so far as to run for office. Michael Eisen, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Berkeley, has announced his bid for the U.S. Senate. A new political action committee, 314 Action, is working to help experts in science, technology, engineering and mathematics get elected to office.

“We’re going to have to be more active,” Kasari says. “At the most minimal level, that means working within our state to work with senators and representatives to keep a strong voice.”

Autism researchers in particular should find ways to work with the new administration rather than against it, says Pelphrey, who has a daughter with autism. If Trump creates a new commission on autism, “we as scientists and parents should ask to be on it,” says Pelphrey. “If we just boycott it instead, we are saying our voice doesn’t matter.”

Pelphrey and other members of the IACC hope the government will call on them for a thorough analysis of autism’s toll on society and the money required to make a significant impact on research. “This is an incredibly bipartisan issue,” Pelphrey says. “If we jump in there, we could get [a] moonshot at autism.”


  • Anne Dachel

    David Amaral said that the Trump people haven’t done their homework. That is completely false. Maybe what Amaral is worried about is all the scandal surrounding the vaccine program and the agency that runs it, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Yuhas neglected to tell readers about when veteran journalist Robert MacNeil interviewed Amaral for the PBS series, Autism Now in 2011.

    ROBERT MACNEIL: What is your position today on vaccines and autism?

    DAVID AMARAL: So I think it’s pretty clear that, in general, vaccines are not the culprit. There has been enough epidemiological evidence showing that if you look at children that receive the standard childhood vaccines that, if anything, those children are at slightly less risk of having autism than children that aren’t immunized.

    And so, you know, I think it probably is a waste of effort at this time to try and understand vaccines as a major culprit for, or a major cause of, autism. It’s not to say, however, that there is a small subset of children who may be particularly vulnerable to vaccines.

    And in their case, having the vaccines, or particular vaccines, particularly in certain kinds of situations — if the child was ill, if the child had a precondition. Like a mitochondrial defect. Vaccinations for those children actually may be the environmental factor that tipped them over the edge of autism. And I think it is incredibly important, still, to try and figure out what, if any, vulnerabilities, in a small subset of children, might make them at risk for having certain vaccinations.

    So was Amaral serious when he said this on PBS? How much pressure was put on him to change his position?

    Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism

  • Anne Dachel

    There are serious charges that Robert Kennedy, Jr. has made about the science that officials use to disprove a link between vaccines and autism.

    Kennedy has often referred to the CDC as a “cesspool of corruption.” The CDC has been the subject of four congressional investigations for corrupt practices. This agency is, in Kennedy’s words, “a vaccine company” because they hold the patents on over 20 vaccines. They make $4.6 billion/year in vaccine sales.

    In Kennedy’s words, the CDC is “an absolute subsidiary of the pharmaceutical industry, …a sock puppet, a spokesperson, a shill for the industry.”

    In 2014 it was revealed that a top vaccine researcher at the CDC, Dr. William Thompson, charged that his agency ordered him to destroy study findings showing a link between the MMR and autism. Thompson has agreed to testify about the fraudulent science, but the House Oversight Committee refuses to call for a hearing.

    The CDC relies on the questionable science from a Danish researcher who is currently under indictment by the U.S. government for 22 counts of wire fraud and money laundering. He is alleged to have stolen more than $1 million from a CDC grant to Denmark. His study on thimerosal and autism was the science used by the 2004 Institute of Medicine panel to dismiss a connection between vaccines and autism

    In truth, the CDC is enmeshed in a web of money ties with the vaccine makers. Hundreds of scientists at the CDC have conflict of interest waivers because they’re also getting money from the companies they regulate.

    It seems to me that a vaccine safety commission has its work cut out for itself.

    Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism

  • Claire Cameron

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  • D Davis

    Page 13 of the Tripedia vaccine label lists autism and SIDS as reported post marketing adverse effects. The link of autism and vaccines has not been “debunked” at all. Parents will listen to other parents when doctors and “scientists” refuse to face the truth of what is happening to our children while they protect the interests of their $$$$$$. Show us the science of the entire vaccine schedule proving “safety” or shut up.

  • D Davis

    Scientists running for office so they can keep expanding vaccine mandates and increasing big pharma $$$$. Isn’t SB277 enough? I hope everyone in CA is listening …

  • Matt Carey

    I will be honest–I have been very concerned about the possibility of funding cuts for autism research since the election.

    To respond to Dr. Pelphry’s comment above: Funding levels aren’t the only measure of an administration’s support for Autism. Frankly we twice faced the real possibility of the Autism Cares/CAA being stopped entirely.

    The last version of CAA (CARA) was approved at the very last minute. 2 of the 4 original Senate sponsors were Republican, but only 10 of the 38 total Senate sponsors were. 26 of 100 sponsors in the House were Republican. While I am VERY grateful to the sponsors and those who voted for it (although it wasn’t voted as a stand alone bill in the end if memory serves), Democratic support was higher.

    Links for CARA:
    https://www.congress.gov/bill/112th-congress/senate-bill/1094/cosponsors
    https://www.congress.gov/bill/112th-congress/house-bill/2005/

    The Autism CARES Act (2014) was different. House sponsors were majority Republican, and the initial sponsor was Chris Smith, a Republican and strong supporter of autism causes.

    I haven’t had the time to read the study linked above, but it does state that Health research funding wasn’t affected by party affiliation. I wouldn’t doubt that republicans would spend more on research overall, especially considering defense related research.

    We on the previous IACC were told a few times that there was a general feeling that single-disease bills should not be funded, and especially that new ones should not be introduced. Again, the measure is that the autism bill stayed under Obama. I sincerely hope that this wasn’t a partisan issue, but I will admit that I am very concerned that under the new administration, an autism research bill may not make it.

    And Autism CARES is up for reconsideration in 2019, if I recall correctly.

  • Peter Peter

    The plain fact is that they do not know the cause and thus how can they say anything with so much certainty. First of all; you need the cause and then you can evaluate whether or not vaccines can contribute to the cause. That is a fact; and there are no alternative facts to the fact. That is what a fact is, 100- percent certain. So, I have the free Ibook on on APPLe plus a cheap ebook because I want to get my research out there as fast as I could so as we could start to prevent these ASD as everyday more and more children are getting these conditions and as far as I know, no-one is reading and or finding my books as if they were; I would hear about it as this would be considered important to everyone; and I even tell what cause these things in comments like this; but sometimes they are deleted and if they are nor, still no-one take them serious and or at least no-one is doing anything about it. I do not know how to get anyone to respond to my research. I am good at research even if I do not have a scientific degree etc; and so in the interest of preventing these ASD plus SIDS; stop children from hallucinating. Now in my research I explain a lot about the confusion about hallucinations in adults and in children; and of course we all know that mental illnesses are cause by traumatic events in children (and or chronic events with genes also suspected because it runs in families; but really psychological conditions run in families and genes only play a role in that they express neurotransmitter; and so the real cause of Autism etc. has to be a traumatic event in children however the usual traumatic events in children cause the usual mental illness; and thus it must be an atypical traumatic event; and there is only one atypical event and that even occur from within the child rather than from outside right there in the unconscious mind forcing mind development and causing all sort of neurological affects and forcing and modifying genetic expression. Hallucinations are detemental in infants as they greatly increase all those neurotransmitters that are not i=under the control of the ANS that was previous developed to rather normal level; and when the control mechanism quickly cut in to reduce the high levels, it also shock one in the ANS to zero. That is the trigger for SIDS; but hallucinations that occur later when the ANS is better established and when there is some conscious development cause Autism and or ASDs, but some people say that if the baby or toddler or young child was hallucinating, we would see it wouldn’t we? It is a fallacy that you see another person hallucination as all you see is their reaction; and what you see in infants, babies , toddlers and young children is what you get; and older children are hallucinating as they tell us and Doctors and other scientists do not know why but they think that it may be related to a mental illness asked by something else like maybe genes? Genes are not a cause of mind disorders. They simply express transmitters in mind development specifically in synapses development. So hallucination are definitely the cause and so now weigh vaccines against that; but also read my poorly written iBooks as I do suggest a cause for hallucinations; and incidentally all of it can be properly and quickly reviewed by the proper authorities; and it is all there in free Ibooks and one cheap eBook as that was the only way I knew off for getting my results out. everything else failed. Even commenting like this fails to do anything. I will check later to se if my comment is deleted or too long probably and will not post. (unedited)

    • ANB2015

      Not brief.
      Not on topic
      Not science based.
      Three out of four commenting guidelines ignored.

  • AndiCA

    Spectrum you are missing voices from families- just like the media missed all the Trump voters. The one sided reporting does your story no favors. Why not interview RFK jr. or a non governmental organization of parents concerned about vaccine safety?

  • ccdaddy

    IACC spent 1 Billion dollars and 10 yr’s, and gave the autistic children nothing. The 17 yr. Senior CDC scientist whistle blower said, “we have put the research 10yr’s behind, because the CDC is so paralyzed by anything related to autism” The IACC, is the biggest waste of tax dollars in the history of this Nation.
    The IACC and the CDC has used the Congress created CAA bill, to fund fraud multiple times. See Poul Thorsen from Denmark. Responsible for Thimerosal and MMR studies. He was Indicted by an Atlanta GA. Grand jury on 13 ct’s of wire-fraud and 9 ct’s of money laundering. That was in 2011, he has never been brought back to the US. to face the Fraud charges. Yet he’s listed in 2014 on an NIH paid study, lets evaluate that. Poul Thorsen is listed on the Health and Human Services top 10 most wanted list. Yet the NIH as of 2014 is listing him as a co author on an NIH study???Just how does that work, he is a Fraud! and he allegedly stole almost 2 million dollars of CAA autism research dollars.Could the NIH be in on the cover up, or are they just plain stupid? Still laundering money to Poul Thorsen? By the way, a well-known fact by the CDC WB’er is, that Poul Thorsen is having an affair with a CDC employee. That probably coaxed him, into doing the desired fraud that they asked him for. While our children suffer, they CDC contact a Denmark researcher Poul Thorsen and hand him an 11 million dollar contract. With the stipulation, that they CDC are only interested in what will exonerate the CDC and the vaccines. So what about truth? That’s what they do not want found, for they already know! It’s the vaccines ingredients, that cannot be legally be released into the city sewer system.That is without committing a federal crime. The children in the 90’s that got the hep-b at birth,
    they received 12.5 micro-grams of ethyl-mercury. That works out to be, over 1000 ppb of an injected ethyl-mercury. Lets put that into some CDC never used perspective, 00.2 ppb is the safe limit for drinking water concerning ingested mercury by FDA and EPA standards. 200 ppb is what the FDA and the EPA considers as their standard. For Liquid Hazardous Waste concerning an ingested mercury. Now lets add that up, 200 x 5 = 1000, using only the 1000 number. That means that a newborn child in the US. gets within hr’s of the first breath of life, 5 times what the EPA and the FDA
    considers as LHW. And to make matters worse, it’s injected not as the FDA EPA standard is based on ingested. The injected mercury, it by passing the body’s filtering organs and goes directly to the newborn child’s brain, and the lining around the brain. MSDS of Thimerosal states, that “thimerosal
    is accumulative in the body, it targets the organs of the body in-particular the brain and the lining around the brain. MSDS of Thimerosal ” if you are exposed to thimerosal, any future exposures may cause mercury poisoning ” In a few months, the newborn will be getting multiple vaccines all at once at one point in time. So, that birth dose sets the stage for the perfect storm with any future vaccines containing mercury. For multiple types, of neurological damage. Proof of their screw up it is found in their own FOIA emails. ” were afraid the public will perceive us asleep at the switch for decades, for allowing this dangerous compound to remain in the vaccines ” FOIA FDA ” and it’s no longer going to wash, that there’s no evidence of a risk ” FOIA CDC how could the FDA approve a preservative without knowing how much mercury it contained ” ” what else is lurking, we know nothing about ”
    This one proves, that they never calculated the mercury in the beginning. Until it was two late.
    CDC FOIA email nails them to the wall, ” this was not rocket science, it was ninth grade math ”

    This is fact, it’s an prime example of their total incompetence.

    The FDA removed Thimerosal in 1992 from pet vaccines, because it was causing neurological damage in dogs, yet they left it in children’s vaccines, till 2002 with an expiration date of 2004?

    If they had removed it at the same time as the pet vaccines, they knew or strongly suspected. That there might be a major drop, in ADD ADHD SPEECH_DELAY and AUTISM. A time line such as that would have destroyed the vaccine program. As it was, the Congress made the CDC remove it to trace levels. Within weeks of that move to cut Thimerosal greatly from the children’s vaccines, the CDC Dir. DR. Julie Gerberding held a news conference on the grounds of the CDC. She the Dir. said to the media, that pregnant women and children 6 mos. to 2 yr’s are at risk for flu complications and the must get their flu shot. She the Dir. of the CDC, had just knowingly committed the premeditated poisoning of the American children so the number would not drop! My proof is this, on the MSDS of Thimerosal is a warning for pregnant women. ” pregnant women are never supposed to be exposed to thimerosal, for it can cross the placenta and go into the baby and may cause mild to severe mental retardation ”

    The UK Cochran calibration found, that children 6 mos. to 2 yr’s of age get absolutely no benefit from the inactivated flu vaccine. In her emails is found this statement by the Dir. of the CDC. When talking about having to remove the mercury based preservative Thimerosal She stated this ” we have a plan in place” At the Simpson Wood meeting where they first met to discuss the fact that they way over burdened the American children with mercury. This was the consensus concerning the mercury based preservative Thimerosal and age of adverse events. ” you would never want to go any earlier with this, for if you did you would most certainly get more outcomes ” ” because mercury at 6 mos is not the same as mercury at 4 mos. and it most certainly is not prenatal mercury” She the Dir. of the CDC knew that Pregnant women were never supposed to be exposed to Thimerosal, yet she not only allowed it, she demanded they get their flu shot. At that time, 80 to 90 % of the flu vaccines had 25 micro-grams of ethyl mercury in each and every shot they gave to the pregnant women and the children 6 mos. to 2 yr’s. That’s over 2000 ppb of injected ethyl-mercury into a pregnant woman that the manufacturer states ” it can cross the placenta, and go into the baby and may cause mild to severe mental retardation” She the CDC Dir. that did this evil to our children, was hired for almost 2 million dollars a yr salary at Merck. She that once regulated the vaccine manufacturer, is now the President of Merck vaccine Div. 2000 ppb is over 10 times what the EPA and FDA standards are for Liquid Hazardous Waste of ingested mercury. Over 10 times, and it’s injected. Far worse.

  • ccdaddy

    IACC spent over 1 Billion dollars and 10 yr’s, and gave the Autistic family’s and their children nothing. The 17 yr. Senior CDC scientist whistle blower said, “we have put the research 10yr’s behind, because the CDC is so paralyzed by anything related to autism” The IACC, is the biggest waste of tax dollars in the history of this Nation. The IACC and the CDC has used the Congressional created CAA bill, to fund fraud multiple times. See Poul Thorsen from Denmark. He was responsible for the Thimerosal and MMR studies. He was Indicted by an Atlanta GA. Grand jury on 22ct’s of Fraud! 13 ct’s of wire-fraud and 9 ct’s of money laundering. That was in 2011, he has never been brought back to the US. to face the Fraud charges. Yet he’s listed in 2014 on an NIH paid study, lets evaluate that. Poul Thorsen is listed on the Health and Human Services top 10 most wanted list. Yet the NIH as of 2014 is listing him as a co author on an NIH study???Just how does that work, he is a Fraud! and he has allegedly stole almost 2 million dollars of CAA autism research dollars. Could the NIH be in on the cover up, or are they just plain stupid? Still laundering money to Poul Thorsen? HUSH MONEY! How do you defend this? this is not science. It is however Treasonous acts.

  • ccdaddy

    The only people allowed a comment, is CDC Pharma shills?

  • ccdaddy

    Mod. Cameron why won’t you allow the parents of severely damaged children their say. Mat is a pharma shill, that’s not being mean. That’s a fact!

  • ccdaddy

    Your not allowed the right to call out an agency that is on the take. How do you stick to the science when they have no science? Large populace based VSD studies done in the US. found to be riddled full of design flaws rendering them en-effect useless NIH NIEHS report to Congress. Denmark studies were looked at also and found by the NIEHS to be worse than the US VSD studies were. WORSE THAN USELESS! Not to mention the fact that POUL has been indicted by an Atlanta GA. grand jury on 22 ct’s of fraud. What science are you referring to? Verstreaten studies? He was worried about having to come back from the UK where he was hired by GSK, and defend the CDC manipulating of his findings of 62.5 micro-grams of ethyl-mercury before 6 mos. was producing a 2.48 times risk for ADD ADHD SPEECH DELAY and Autism. He lied and said “I did not find a negative, I did not find a positive, I found a neutral ” In other words he was saying, leave me the blank out of this.

    He did say to them, when he was present at the Simpson Wood meeting where they FDA CDC AAP WHO were discussing his study. ” I was literally stunned by my findings “

  • Peter Peter

    Why was my comment deleted?

  • Peter Peter

    I read the guidelines and i didn’t break any. All I did was give the facts of my research and the cause of Autism SIDS etc 7 or 8 years of research trying to be helpful; and then it is deleted. Well, i will not respond again.

  • Kim Allingham

    have almost all the comments been banned from this discussion? It says 17 comments above, but I only see two, not counting the authors comments and the comment asking about why his commment was deleted. On the face of it this seems somewhat authoritarian and unscience-like?

  • Twylaa

    I did not vote for Trump and I disagree with him about most things. I fear for the future of our country (and of the world) under his leadership. Climate change is very real. We need to do all we can to reverse the global warming trend and the pollution of earth, air, and water, especially the ocean. Diplomacy is an art which Trump does not know how to practice, and it is an art far preferable to nuclear warfare. I also share your concerns about education, health insurance, and social services.

    But there is one thing I do agree with Trump on: vaccines can and do cause autism. We are giving way more vaccines than we gave 30 years ago, with little understanding of the unintended consequences. Today’s younger generation has received way more vaccines than any in human history, and suffers from very high rates of serious chronic immune and nervous system conditions including asthma, diabetes, autism, bipolar, inflammatory bowel disease, food allergies, seizures, and more.

    A growing body of published science links autism and immune system dysfunction. This article is from a mom’s blog, but it contains links to a lot of this published science:
    http://thinkingmomsrevolution.com/autism-immune-system/

    James Lyons Weiler, Phd, has written a book called, “The Environmental and Genetic Causes of Autism” which is chock full of science. He lists some of the science here:
    https://jameslyonsweiler.com/human-studies-that-indicate-autismvaccine-link/

    • Proponent

      From the links that you put in your comment, Twyla.. it’s more than a lil’ unfair (and a dishonest discussion tactic) to expect a refutation/rebuttal of each and every paper/study listed.

      So.. why don’t you pick the best and most persuasive from each of the two.

      That said.. you wrote..

      Twyla: “We are giving way more vaccines than we gave 30 years ago, with little understanding of the unintended consequences.”

      Two points..

      1) “While children are receiving more immunizations by the age of two, they are actually receiving less antigens, or bits of the vaccine that would challenge the immune system. Overall numbers of antigens have fallen from about 3,041 in 1980 to approximately 153 today. Compare this number to the trillions of bacteria infants are exposed to, and form an immune response against, the moment they are born. Babies’ immune systems are well-equipped to handle not only those bacteria but many more additional, external threats.”

      (Source: Vaccinate Your Baby | “Too Many Vaccines?”

      See also: Pediatrics | “Addressing Parents’ Concerns: Do Multiple Vaccines Overwhelm or Weaken the Infant’s Immune System?” )

      Insofar as the part of your post attributing a laundry list of conditions, diseases, and and.. to that of vaccinations?

      Suffice to say..

      Argument by bare assertion.. is not compelling (and quite disingenuous of you as well, since this has been pointed out to you time and time again).

      At.. all.

      • Twylaa

        Nothing unfair nor dishonest about posting science. You’re not required to refute or rebut any of it.

        Nice that you had a chance to respond to my comment before half of it was deleted, the part with the links to science. I’m used to being censored – my comments always get deleted from some sites – but it’s very unusual for my comment to be edited. I reposted the science part but we’ll see how long it stays up.

        In response to your point #1, yeah that’s from the absurd article in which Dr. Paul Offit does a mathematical calculation which leads to the insane conclusion that a baby can tolerate 10,000 vaccines.

        And it’s not only about antigens. It may be other ingredients such as aluminum that causes autism in some susceptible babies.
        http://vaccinepapers.org/part-1-immune-activation-autism/
        http://vaccinepapers.org/al-adjuvant-causes-brain-inflammation-behavioral-disorders/

        And yes we are exposed to many germs every day, but have you ever known anyone to come down with measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, flu, and chicken pox all on the same day? Or any 4 or 5 or 6 of those diseases? These are disabled viruses, but the immune system is still mounting a defense.

        Regarding your point #2, nothing the least bit disingenuous. Just pointing out a significant correlation. You’re funny. First you complain of too much science then too little. Sorry my comments weren’t in the Goldilocks zone.

        • Twylaa

          Alas, my science comment is already gone again. No doubt my comment above will be gone soon too. What a shame that someone feels so threatened by published peer reviewed science.

          • Claire Cameron

            Hi there. Thanks for reading Spectrum. I’d like to take the opportunity to just reiterate our guidelines for commenting, and also to clarify a couple of points for other readers who may be unsure if their comments contravene our guidelines.
            Firstly, here is a brief run-down of our guidelines:
            – Stick to the science
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            To clarify further:
            We do not tolerate comments related to vaccines.
            When we say “Stick to the science,” we mean science that has been published in peer-reviewed research journals.

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          • Twylaa

            My comments linked to articles that link to published peer-reviewed science. My comments were on-topic, brief, and polite.

            But I see you added another rule: “We do not tolerate comments related to vaccines.” Well, guess I did violate that rule.

            It’s odd that you would write an article about vaccines and not allow comments about vaccines. I guess what you mean is that you don’t tolerate comments that are critical of vaccines, as positive comments about vaccines appear to be allowed. Apparently you don’t have much confidence in the arguments on your side, therefore the arguments on the other side need to be censored.

            Dr. Bernadine Healy (former head of the NIH and IOM member ) told CBS News that public health officials have intentionally avoided researching whether subsets of children are “susceptible” to vaccine side effects – afraid the answer will scare the public. She said: “There is a completely expressed concern that they don’t want to pursue a hypothesis because that hypothesis could be damaging to the public health community at large by scaring people. First of all, I think the public’s smarter than that. The public values vaccines. But more importantly, I don’t think you should ever turn your back on any scientific hypothesis because you’re afraid of what it might show.”
            http://www.cbsnews.com/news/leading-dr-vaccines-autism-worth-study/

          • On the contrary, Twylaa. You can post what you like about vaccines so long as the science supports it. Now, if you can’t find science to support your views, I’d. suggest you change your views.

          • Mike Stevens

            Thanks for the clarifications. I hope you also consider removing posts that have no discernible content but serve only to pimp antivaccine books and websites.

  • Twylaa

    There is one thing on which I do agree with Trump: vaccines can and do cause autism. We are giving way more vaccines than we gave 30 years ago, with little understanding of the unintended consequences. Today’s younger generation has received more vaccines than any in human history, and suffers from very high rates of serious chronic immune and nervous system conditions including asthma, diabetes, autism, bipolar, inflammatory bowel disease, food allergies, seizures, and more.

    A growing body of published science links autism and immune system dysfunction. This article is from a mom’s blog, but it contains links to a lot of this published science:

    http://thinkingmomsrevolution.com/autism-immune-system/

    James Lyons Weiler, Phd, has written a book called, “The Environmental and Genetic Causes of Autism” which is chock full of science. He lists some of the science here:

    https://jameslyonsweiler.com/human-studies-that-indicate-autismvaccine-link/

  • Twylaa

    Autism scientists should read this book by James Lyons-Weiler, PhD, which pulls together published science from many arenas.

    “The Environmental and Genetic Causes of Autism”: A Dazzling Scientific Achievement
    http://thinkingmomsrevolution.com/environmental-genetic-causes-autism-dazzling-scientific-achievement/

    • Mike Stevens

      This book is antivaccine to its core, and endorsed by a rogue’s gallery of antivax luminaries like Not a doctor Andrew Wakefield, Not a doctor Gary Null, not a doctor Brian Hooker, not a doctor Del Bigtree, not a doctor Anne Dachel et al.
      From scrutiny of its initial chapter, a “dazzling scientific achievement” it is most definitely not.
      Pimping this book is against the commenting guidelines, Twyla.

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