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Philly.com: Don’t worry about autism–YOU CAN’T PREVENT IT!

Apr 24

SOME THINGS NEVER WILL CHANGE. THERE IS NO REAL INCREASE, THERE IS NO KNOWN CAUSE, AND THERE IS NO LINK TO VACCINES.
So just quit worrying about it!
 Philly.com had two autism stories out in two days.  The first one denied a link to vaccines and the next day readers were told that the rate isn’t really increasing, and besides, there’s no way to prevent autism.
Although “autism” is scary, there are a few things about ASD that caregivers should keep in mind that can help ease their fears. To begin, we don’t know what causes ASD. It’s likely a combination of factors, including genetic and environmental, that caregivers, for the most part, don’t have control over. So worrying too much about ASD isn’t needed – if it’s there in your child, there’s no way you could have prevented it. . . .

Philly.com: The “go-to person” on vaccine safety is Paul Offit

Apr 24

For kids’ sakes, stick to the vax

Thanks to the efforts of McCarthy, actor Aidan Quinn and reality-TV star Kristin Cavallari, who last month said that not vaccinating was the “best decision for her kids,” USA Today ran a big story on April 6 detailing that things like whooping cough, measles and other diseases are making a big comeback and sometimes causing death in children. . . .
My go-to person on how dangerously misinformed the anti-vaxxers are is Dr. Paul Offit, of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Trusting Paul Offit on vaccines? It would have been legitimate coverage if we would have been told about Offit’s pharma ties. I brought it up in the comment section.

NYTimes Op-ed: Damn that Jenny McCarthy!

Apr 22

Frank Bruni wrote this.
Here’s his background: “Over his years at The Times he has worn a wide variety of hats, including chief restaurant critic (from June 2004 through August 2009) and Rome bureau chief (2002 to 2004).”
So how does this qualify him to pretend that the autism vaccine controversy is the fault of Jenny McCarthy, who “posed nude for Playboy”?
It’s bad enough when the medical community slams anyone linking vaccines to autism, but when the Times has to get a restaurant critic to attack McCarthy, they’re really scraping the bottom of the media barrel.
What would the mainstream media do if there weren’t McCarthy to blame?
This fraud will continue of course, until we finally understand what autism is going to cost this nation. Autism, the curious, mysterious disorder of childhood in America has no one really concerned at this moment. The eventual price tag will make us desperate for answers. That day is just about here.
Frank Bruni is the first one I’m going look to for answers.

What do you call someone who sows misinformation, stokes fear, abets behavior that endangers people’s health, extracts enormous visibility from doing so and then says the equivalent of “Who? Me?”

I’m not aware of any common noun for a bad actor of this sort. But there’s a proper noun: Jenny McCarthy.

For much of the past decade, McCarthy has been the panicked face and intemperate voice of a movement that posits a link between autism and childhood vaccinations and that badmouths vaccines in general, saying that they have toxins in them and that children get too many of them at once.

Because she posed nude for Playboy, dated Jim Carrey and is blond and bellicose, she has received platforms for this message that her fellow nonsense peddlers might not have. She has spread the twisted word more efficiently than the rest.

And then, earlier this month, she said the craziest thing of all, in a column for The Chicago Sun-Times.

“I am not ‘anti-vaccine,’ ” she wrote, going on to add, “For years, I have repeatedly stated that I am, in fact, ‘pro-vaccine’ and for years I have been wrongly branded.”

You can call this revisionism. Or you can call it “a complete and utter lie,” as the writer Michael Specter said to me. Specter’s 2009 book, “Denialism,” looks at irrational retorts to proven science like McCarthy’s long and undeniable campaign against vaccines.

McCarthy waded into the subject after her son, Evan, was given a diagnosis of autism in 2005. She was initially motivated, it seems, by heartache and genuine concern.

She proceeded to hysteria and wild hypothesis. She got traction, and pressed on and on.

In 2007, she was invited on “Oprah” and said that when she took Evan to the doctor for the combined measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, she had “a very bad feeling” about what she recklessly termed “the autism shot.” She added that after the vaccination, “Boom! Soul, gone from his eyes.”

In an online Q. and A. after the show, she wrote: “If I had another child, I would not vaccinate.”

She also appeared on CNN in 2007 and said that when concerned pregnant women asked her what to do, “I am surely not going to tell anyone to vaccinate.”

Two years later, in Time magazine, she said, “If you ask a parent of an autistic child if they want the measles or the autism, we will stand in line for the measles.” I’ve deleted the expletive she used before the second “measles.”

And on The Huffington Post a year after that, she responded to experts who insisted that vaccines didn’t cause autism and were crucial to public health with this declaration: “That’s a lie, and we’re sick of it.” Over the last few years, measles outbreaks linked to parents’ refusals to vaccinate children have been laid at McCarthy’s feet. The British study that opponents like her long cited has been revealed as fraudulent. And she and her tribe have gone from seeming like pitifully misguided dissidents to indefatigably senseless quacks, a changed climate and mood suggested by what happened last month when she asked her Twitter followers to name “the most important personality trait” in a mate. She got a bevy of blistering responses along the lines of “someone who vaccinates” and “critical thinking skills.”

Jacksonville Florida Times Union: Guest column: Vaccines still are crucial to health

Apr 22

Health officialsbelieve that one of the reasons we are seeing measles outbreaks again is because parents are increasingly choosing to not vaccinate their children based on unfounded fears.

FALSE BELIEFS THE CULPRIT

Based on their false beliefs that the vaccine is linked to autism in children, these parents are choosing to not vaccinate their children because they worry about the safety of the MMR vaccine, which typically provides lifelong immunity to measles, mumps and rubella.

There has been no credible research that has shown any link between the MMR vaccine and autism. Celebrities have used their fame to come out against the vaccine based on certain research.

Notably, these claims are based on faulty information as the doctor who has written about the supposed dangers of this vaccine has since been discredited.

His research has been retracted and in an attempt to support his claim about a link between the MMR vaccine and autism, he was found to have omitted important information from his studies.

I have so little respect for news outlets and this is a typical example. The guest columnist who wrote this is Rebecca Glassman who is  a graduate research assistant at the University of North Florida.

Autism is of no concern to her at all. Non-vaccinating parents believe an unnamed doctor who falsely linked vaccines to autism AND BOWEL DISEASE. Why is that never talked about?
HIS NAME IS DR. ANDREW WAKEFIELD.
Why is he not named?
Would ignorant, naïve parents research the issue and therefore he can’t be cited by name?
It’s a scary world when the next generation of educated denialists are already giving us the same old same old lies.
No comment section here.

BBC News: Study: “US is an oligarchy, not a democracy”

Apr 22

So concludes a recent study by Princeton University Prof Martin Gilens and Northwestern University Prof Benjamin I Page.

This is not news, you say.

Perhaps, but the two professors have conducted exhaustive research to try to present data-driven support for this conclusion. Here’s how they explain it:

Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organised groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. . . .

I actually think this is a lot of nerve on the part of the BBC considering that the British medical community, the government and the media have vilified Dr. Andrew Wakefield for years for daring to talk about an association between vaccines and bowel disease and autism, all the while closing their collective eyes to an epidemic of disabled children.

April 21, 2014 Sharyl Attkisson Defends Reports on Vaccine-Autism Link: ‘Many Peer-Reviewed Studies’ Show It

Apr 22

Here’s an incredible interview where the former CBS reporter stands by her coverage of the vaccine-autism controversy.
CNN anchor: “The loudest criticisms I’ve heard about your reporting have been about a series that you did years ago. It was about childhood vaccinations and whether those are linked to a rise in autism. You portrayed it at different times as a debate that was continuing to happen in the scientific community.
“Do you regret those stories now, years later.”
Sharyl Attkisson: “No, I think those were some of the most important stories I’ve done and I would like to continue along those lines, at some point. It continues to be a very important debate.”
CNN anchor: “You hear doctors say framing that as a debate has hurt people, has damaged people’s understanding of medical issues by encouraging them not to get vaccinated.”
Attkisson: “Well, you can believe that. I’m not here to fight doctors. I’m just saying that factually I’m not here to advocate for one side or the other. I’m just saying that factually, there are many peer-reviewed published studies that do make an association and the government itself has acknowledged a link. And again, people can do their own research. They certainly don’t have to believe me or one doctor over another. I think they have to dig deep and look for themselves.”
She ended the interview saying, “There are sophisticated efforts to manipulate the images and the information you see everyday in ways that you won’t recognize. I think we could all be more savvy about that.”

Paul Offit and Arthur Caplan are worried about non-vaxing parents

Apr 21

Dealing with “Vaccine Refusing Parents?” How About Listening?

Times are difficult for the vaccine defenders. They have to keep trying to convince us that vaccines don’t hurt kids because the damage is everywhere.

Here are two old hands at vaccine promotion, Dr. Arthur Caplan and Dr. Paul Offit, in a video interview called, How to Deal With Vaccine-Refusing Parents.” Caplan and Offit are shown discussing what to do about parents who don’t vaccinate. It’s time to get tough.

A lot of it is the same old, same old. We’re told that there is “a mountain of evidence” that shows vaccines don’t cause autism. Tens of millions of dollars have been spent on vaccine research, according to Offit. There are vague references to older parents and the environment, but no real concern over what the specific triggers might be. We’re told whatever causes autism, happens BEFORE BIRTH. Offit says, “When you have autism, you are born with autism. There is no changing that, and to some people, that is helpful to know.”

Asbury Park (NJ) Press: Autism on the rise: Why? What’s being done about it?

Apr 21

We asked Suzanne Buchanan, executive director at Autism New Jersey – the largest statewide network of parents and professionals dedicated to improving the lives of people with autism and their families – to help interpret some of these numbers and to answer a variety of questions relating to the causes of autism, areas of focus for research, gaps in funding and other autism-related issues. Her responses follow:

Did the latest numbers from the CDC on autism surprise you? Why or why not?
New Jersey has had the highest or one of the highest rates in the nation since the CDC began this work more than 10 years ago. While the new autism statistics did not surprise us, we are concerned about the high prevalence rate, especially here in New Jersey. Hopefully, we are now seeing the numbers beginning to level off at approximately 2 percent across the country.

A once rare disorder now strikes one in every 45 CHILDREN in NJ. WHERE’S THE ALARM……….I don’t see it.
The answers to the questions asked in the headline:
…WE STILL DON’T KNOW.
…NOTHING.
I didn’t see vaccines mentioned even once! The question in the headline is NEVER ANSWERED. New Jersey has a one in 45 autism rate and still there’s no DEMAND FOR ANSWERS. No one is asking, HOW CAN WE PREVENT AUTISM? I posted comments, especially disputing the claim that one percent of adults have autism.

OPEN LETTER TO MEGYN KELLY (FOX NEWS) AND DANA LOESCH (CONSERVATIVE RADIO TALK SHOW HOST)

Apr 21

My husband watches Fox News regularly. I really can’t watch anything myself because my free time is spent looking at autism stories on Google News. Anyway, on April 16, Richard told me that the Kelly Files had this scathing attack on Jenny McCarthy. I found the 5 minute video and listened in disbelief.

Kelly Files

Megyn Kelly: “Jenny McCarthy is known by many as ‘an autism activist.’ The model and actress getting a lot of attention over the years for her warnings about vaccines, after her own child was diagnosed with autism. As cases of mumps, measles and whooping cough continue to pop up in America, she has come under fire for her vocal positions. AND NOW SHE SAYS SHE WAS NEVER ANTI-VACCINE.”

(The emphasis is mine because of the way Kelly said those words.)

Next was a clip from Larry King Live where McCarthy called for safe vaccines. “Make a better product and then parents will vaccinate.”

Several more clips were shown where McCarthy stated that she believes in the link between vaccines and autism.

Kelly then had Dana Loesch, conservative radio/TV show host, join her.

Kelly: “It’s really shocking to hear her now talk about how she actually says she’s PRO-VACCINE.”

(Background now showed viewers McCarthy at the “Green Our Vaccines” rally 2009.)

Dana Loesch: “Yeah, that kind of shocks me as well, Megyn. I know Jenny. I’ve guest co-hosted on The View and I’ve sat by her. And that’s one of the things she’s told me, …’I’ve never said I was against vaccinations.’ But her quotes clearly say otherwise. If you’re not against vaccination, you don’t say things like, ‘Well, if we’re going to stand in line for either autism or measles, then we’re going to stand in line for measles,’ because you’ve presupposing that all vaccinations are triggering autism. You’re entitled to your own opinion, but you’re not entitled to your own set of facts. Science is disputing this. This is a really serious issue. Megyn, I know you have little ones. I have kids as well. I don’t like being looked as though I’m a bad mother if I don’t believe whatever junk science comes out one day to the next about vaccinations. All I know is that when I have a question about vaccination schedules, I’m going to go to my pediatrician, the person who has studied this.”

Kelly: (interjecting) “And not Jenny McCarthy. …She raised a lot of people’s fears about this. In her defense, Dana, she did also come out and say along the years, ‘It’s not the vaccines per se, it’s what’s in the vaccines.’ But the overall message was very anti. But in her defense, I want to play some of the context that she is now saying has been ‘left out.’ ….”

What followed were various clips of Jenny McCarthy saying things like,

“What I really am, is anti-toxins in the vaccines.”

“We’re not telling people not to vaccinate. . .We deserve safe shots and a safer schedule.”

Kelly: “So she’s basically saying, ‘We’re not anti-vaccine, we’re just anti-several of the ingredients in every single vaccination that you want to give your child.’ “

Loesch:And that’s not even supported by science. Megan, this is also the same woman who promoting E-cigarettes. You’re inhaling nicotine into your body. If you want to talk about toxins. She’s a big supporter of getting …Botox–that’s one of the deadliest things you can inject into your body. She’s for those toxins, so I’m not really quite sure where she draws the line on that. But, you’re right, she has a position of influence and it is wrong to sort of–”

Kelly: “I was told by a pediatrician I respect a lot that the pediatrician crowd has decided that they can’t fight her. What he said was, what are these pediatricians, these experts who do these studies, they’re old guys with beards and gray hair and they think, ‘I’m going to go out there. Who are people going to listen to? Me droning on about some study ‘or are they going to listen to this vivacious, beautiful well-known celebrity holding up her child who has autism, saying, I’m telling you, the vaccines did it.’

“What parent is going to walk away saying, ‘Oh, but she was only talking about a couple of ingredients, so I’ll go ahead and do it anyway.’”

Loesch: “Yeah, and that’s the other thing. I get a little angry at those parents who do that because if you care about the health of your child, go and investigate this further than just listening to what a celebrity says on it–”

Kelly: “Because a couple years later, she says something else.”

Loesch: “I’m not going to lecture people about heart surgery. I’m not a heart surgeon. . . . Go beyond and get a different medical opinion, not Jenny McCarthy’s opinion.”

MY LETTER:

Dear Megyn Kelly and Dana Loesch,

I had to listen to your conversation here quite carefully because I was transcribing it for this piece. I sincerely hope you go back and listen to yourselves.

Jenny McCarthy said she’s NOT ANTI-VACCINE. It seems you take issue with her daring to ask that doctors stop injecting toxins into babies and pregnant women.

Fox News showed a clip of McCarthy on Larry King Live with Dr. Jerry Kartzinel. That was in 2009. You don’t mention the fact that she had a physician with her. He is never named.

She co-authored the best-selling book, Healing and Preventing Autism, with Dr. Kartzinel.

Kartzinel is a well-known advocate for children’s health which includes his use of bio-medical treatments on hundreds of children with autism. He used these therapies to recover his own vaccine-injured son from autism.

In 2008 McCarthy appeared with Jay Gordon, MD on Larry King Live.

Dr. Gordon is a nationally known pediatrician, member of the American Academy of Pediatrics and an assistant professor of pediatrics at UCLA Medical School.

In McCarthy’s book, Louder Than Words, the foreword is by David Feinberg, MD.

Dr. Feinberg was the medical director of Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA.

It’s a little difficult to dismiss the experts who are right there with Jenny McCarthy. However you two chose not to acknowledge them.

It’s incredible to my way of thinking that this report was on the Fox network. Have you ever seen the interviews done by Alisyn Camerota at Fox?

On Fox News, May 10, 2011, Camerota talked with New York University law professor Mary Holland. They discussed the fact that a stunning report from Pace Law School revealed that for years, parents have won vaccine damage suits resulting in autism in federal court, all the while the government denied doing so.

Camerota also talked to Dr. Sarah Bridges about how her son developed autism following routine vaccinations. The government agreed and she was awarded a $7 to $8 million settlement for lifetime care.

Check out this Fox News report from 2010. It was about Hannah Poling.

Fox’s Alisyn Camerota: “Last week, we told you about the landmark case of the nine year old girl, Hannah Poling, who was just awarded more than one and a half million dollars after developing autism as a result of receiving vaccines for mumps, measles, and other childhood diseases.”

Many of us in the autism community are fed up with the way members of the media show no interest in why one in every 68 U.S. children has autism, yet at the same time, they challenge anyone who dares to link the condition to vaccinations. We’ve learned not to trust reports that cover up the case of Hannah Poling and the dozens of other vaccine damage cases recognized by the federal government.

Dana Loesch, you advise mothers to talk to their pediatricians, but you don’t mention that no doctor is liable for any injury from a vaccination. They’ve all been protected by federal law. Instead, parents have to appeal to a federal compensation program where they’re up against government lawyers defending the government’s vaccine schedule, using government money. Few parents are ever compensated. Those that are reported take between three and fourteen years.

Megyn, you infer that Jenny McCarthy is routinely changing her story on vaccines, but there is simply no proof of that. You also imply that parents are so gullible that just because she’s a “vivacious, beautiful, well-known celebrity,” we’d believe her, not the medical community. The truth is, thousands of parents in the U.S. tell the same story as McCarthy. They took perfectly healthy kids in for routine vaccinations and they were never the same again. And when a child suddenly stops making eye contact, stops talking, loses learned skills, doctors are helpless–totally helpless. When my son suddenly stopped looking at me and didn’t respond to his name, the only thing I was told by the doctor to have his hearing tested.

I noticed that you mentioned that McCarthy’s son has autism but nothing was said about how her healthy, typically developing son suddenly came down with febrile seizures and went into cardiac arrest following routine vaccinations.

She’s written about it in her books.

You might want to watch this video message about the media attacks on Jenny McCarthy by Barbara Loe Fisher of the National Vaccine Information Center.

There’s a lot you could learn.

You two should consider the genuine coverage Alisyn Camerota has given this issue. It wasn’t Jenny McCarthy saying these things, it was Fox News. Parents were listening.

Sincerely,

Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism

FresnoBee.com: “The former Playboy model has convinced some parents. . . “

Apr 21

EDITORIAL: Vaccinate your children
Refusing vaccines places our community at risk from diseases. As people have become distrusting or fearful of government, doctors and drug companies, a sizable fraction have started refusing to allow their children to be vaccinated. It’s easy to see why when those parents are presented the worst-case scenario documents to sign before a vaccination is given. Scary stuff….
Reasons vary. Some parents prefer a “natural immunity” to vaccine-acquired immunity; others believe vaccines overload a child’s immune system; others say we shouldn’t worry about diseases that have “disappeared.” Then there’s the Jenny McCarthy phenomenon. The former Playboy model has convinced some parents that vaccines cause autism. The one study that linked the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine to autism, by British doctor Andrew Wakefield in 1998, has been discredited as fraudulent, and the published paper was retracted. Autism rates are the same in vaccinated and unvaccinated children.
 

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