Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Final Reflection

When I started work on this series back in September, I never could have imagined just how large it would become and how much I would get out of the experience. I started just helping out with researching background information regarding vaccines mercury, laws and the vaccine debate. This allowed me to travel to Lexington, Kentucky for the interview with Dr. Boyd Haley, to Springfield, Missouri to gather more information on Missouri’s mercury law from Senator Champion and to meet Dr. Frank Engley here in Columbia. In covering the vaccine debate as part of our series, I realized how passionate people involved are on both sides of the debate and how important it is to cover the sides fairly.

For the series I was also able to go on the shoots for Jeremy, an adult with autism, as well as Will and the Miles family. Seeing what autism was like through the families was an eye opening experience. Before meeting these families, I was not quite sure of what living with autism and having a family affected by autism were like. I was impressed to see how much Jeremy could tell his mother about different cable companies and it was great when he wanted to help me and Mark change the tape in our web video camera during our interview. Meeting the Miles family was another great experience for me. Right when we pulled into the driveway Will was fascinated with the car and some of the camera equipment that we brought along. Seeing family members become emotional during interviews showed me just how real this disorder is and how it not only affects the person with autism but also everyone around them.

I hope that the blog posts along with our First Veiw videos, picture slideshows and Behind the Scenes web packages allowed viewers to see even more of what went in to putting this series together as well as even more of the stories that we may not have had the ability to put directly into the on air series. I am grateful for all of the comments that we have received on the blog the feedback has been phenomenal. It is so great to be able to share this series online with people outside of our viewing area not only because of the work that has gone into this series but also because the topic of autism is so large and discussion on it should be encouraged in communities everywhere.

Coming up we will be putting together an hour-long show for the series and I anticipate that we will be able to share even more with our audience and keep the topic of autism in the spotlight. I am thankful for everyone involved in this series, I hope that we were able to inform the public on issues relating to autism and I am appreciative of this entire experience.


ANB said...

A couple questions, and a comment.

Is there anything you might have done differently? Someone who might have added an important piece to the puzzle that you didn't interview? Do you believe that your investigative team made every effort to understand the science of autism, in order to avoid misleading your viewers?

What is the intended takeaway for your audience?

What is the difference between a journalist and a stenographer?

My comment is this:

How is it that, after six months of supposedly studying the science of autism, you still can't spell chelation or chelating? And why capitalize "therapy", but not Wakefield, Dr. Rudolph, or Amish?

Check the list of post labels on the left. Not trying to nitpick, I just think it says something about how seriously you took the series.

KOMUAReynolds said...

We didn't post those misspellings.

ANB said...

Are they important enough to correct?

KOMUAReynolds said...

I don't go into other accounts and tweak their posts.

Fogarty said...

ANB you are ntipicking and the shill that you are is more apparent with every post.


ANB said...

And by "shill" do you mean that you've finally bought into Linda Weinmaster's conspiracy theory?

It's not nitpicking to hold journalists accountable for their "investigation", especially when the station is soliciting comments. Ashley's a grown up.

EFFIIIMD said...

No haven't bought into any conspiracy theory, just obvious that you can not really debate the approaches to improving the situation that I keep posting all over this blog that straddles the needs of both sides of the debate.

If you were really into a good scientific study of vaccine risk reduction you would simply agree that a well done randomized controlled comparison of current CDC vaccination schedule to a titer-evidence based approach to judicious vaccination would be the best evidence to end this debate. Come on, its the science to end all science.

So anyway, I think you are just nitpicky free lancer in communications who enjoys debate like I do and really can't change your tact even if you believed that the future of this debate is going to show that an epigenetic developmental disorder should be a chip shot to screen for with all the brain trust in medicine in this country and pulling that 1% at-risk population off the controllable microenvironmental vaccine exposure risk while educating the parents of such children on other exposure issues might actually vindicate some of the irate mothers in this world who saw a child fall apart after a vaccination (or are they just bad mothers?).

How many kids are not even getting appropriate MRIs of the brain after suspected vaccine reaction to document the need for Vaccine Court compensation because of the conditioning that vaccines are 100% safe, rather than ??? safe for long term adverse events. Interestingly time after time in papers published by "bona-fide" researchers there is this admission that "in the absence of well controlled prospective . . ." all we really have is this weak epidemiology that does not show the association we weren't looking to carefully for in chaotic data with multiple confounders-there's your science. Communicate mine for a change.

On another point, standard of care to investigate an abrupt neurological decline in a child would be to obtain an MRI of the brain with diffusion weighted imaging (and some newer sequences are going to show even more subtle injury). But, when the ordering physician for that study is also conflicted by recent potential of harm from a vaccine he/she administered then it gets a little stick now doesn't it? Hey, maybe thats the type of study I should do so I can get a little paper out of it "Incidence of cytotoxic edema illustrated by MRI in infant brains after Hep B vaccination on day 1 of life." Not gonna be too frequent, but again we don't have any science on the established rate of this marker of injury. Also, that may be the study that gets the child protected from further adverse exposures of similar nature. You may not care that that is even a 1 in 10,000 scenario and if it is my study is going to take decades to complete unless I screen for those more likely to be at risk.

Pediatr Neurol. 2000 Aug;23(2):177-9.Related Articles, Links

Comment in:
Pediatr Neurol. 2001 Apr;24(4):325.

Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis associated with poliomyelitis vaccine.

Ozawa H, Noma S, Yoshida Y, Sekine H, Hashimoto T.

Department of Pediatrics, Tokyo Metropolitan Hachioji Children's Hospital, Hachioji, Tokyo, Japan.

A 6-year-old female patient with acute disseminated encephalomyelitis associated with poliomyelitis vaccine virus is reported. She had a history of high fever, headache, and gait disturbance. Neurologic examination confirmed spastic triparesis, urinary incontinence, diminution of tactile sensation, and vision deterioration. Hemography, serum laboratory findings, and urinalysis were normal. The cerebrospinal fluid was clear, with normal pressure, 9 leukocytes/mm(3), and 27 mg/dL protein, but the myelin basic protein was elevated to 10.7 ng/mL. T(2)-weighted magnetic resonance imaging disclosed multifocal high-intensity lesions of the spinal cord. The serum polio virus type 2 antibody titer was raised in the acute phase, and polio vaccine virus type 2 was detected in viral cultures of the cerebrospinal fluid and pharynx swab and had undergone an A-G neurovirulence mutation at nucleotide 481. Finally, she had human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-Cw3 and HLA-DR2, to which multiple sclerosis is related in Japan. Thus the cause of ADEM may have been related to her HLA type.

Oh, there's that HLA association with is the smaller arm of the multi-fingered pathway into regression. Gene chip screening will help identify the autoimmune side of this, so again just a matter of time that the prying eyes of science will understand that certain HLA types probably shouldn't get over immunostimulated by unnecessary boosters.

For those who understand that epidemiology is the weak leg of science that people keep standing on in this issue, the continued lack of quantification of long term effects of unnecessary boosters in children who have evidence of adequate immunity anyway is the easy science that me and some of my pals are going to start working on, titer decay rate studies in children after one vaccine haven't been done in a clinical setting across all these series so, hey its great science waiting to be done (darn, another great paper for a pediatrician to pick up on that will beat me to the punch in that publish or perish world of academia!).

As for nitpicking, come on, spelling issues on a blog? Happens all the time and as media evolution goes it will probably continue to be quite accepted.

You keep making me look good here, really starting to enjoy this debate as much as you do.

ANB said...

I would take your efforts to "straddle the needs of both sides of the debate" more seriously if you stuck to the points I keep raising.

One is the need for acceptance and accommodation for persons with autism. I am appalled at the video of a mother telling her son that he is mercury poisoned, and of needless blood draws so that Mark Geier can publish another phony IRB-approved Lupron study. If you, as a physician, can't take a stand against child abuse and medical fraud, then you've let your personal agenda obfuscate whatever professional ethics you purport to have. Or am I reading too much into your silence?

Second, I've yet to see you challenge any of the junk science claims made in other comments. Is there any reason to believe that autism is rare among the Amish? That the symptoms of mercury poisoning are identical to autism? That nobody was autistic before thimerosal was introduced?

The answers, it is safe to say, are no, no, and no. Yet you have avoided taking such a stand. Why? Do you disagree? Or are you so addled by your own grief and anger, that you would trade your academic soul for the unspoken approval of your fellow travelers?

But you are right on one point - I do enjoy the debate.

lindaweino said...

Ken Reibel,

Are you suggesting I abuse my child? These are defamatory and libel statements. I tell my on the truth, he is mercury poisoned. His pediatrician agrees.

ANB said...

In my opinion, subjecting children to unproven and unnecessary invasive medical procedures is abusive. There is also no real evidence that autism has anything to do with "mercury poisoning".

Fogarty said...

Just read Simpsonwood. Its all in there, increasing vaccination is associated with increasing neurobehavioral dysfunction. Roughly 1/200 kids can't handle most of the components of vaccines and would do better neurobehvorially with a lighter schedule or as the children who are left out of the war on disease. We don't send infirmed soldiers to the front lines and then ask why they don't come back-same deal.

Simpsonwood-smart guys observing the trend, this isn't about challenging junk science it is about tranparency in public health governance.

Fully 50% of medical practice is not based on sound science, but often tradition or gumption-I see the shotgun approach to diagnosis everyday in radiology with people not really praticing medicine with care and justifying a CT on clinical grounds, they just do it for medicolegal reasons-again the crisis in this discussion is that the polarization of doing what is right for kids becomes a medico-legal football and instead of following the work of sound scientists like Jill James, PhD at Arkansas and moving this forward toward better care there are people like you bent on deflecting the weak association with vaccines.

Acceptance of people with autism is coming around quite well with news coverage like this so I am not sure why you have such a drive to cajole the young journalists involved in this debate.

I am not here to defend junk science, I am here to show how the science needs to proceed to make this situation better for this country from a policy debate on how to find and prevent excessive metal exposures in those who have little toleratance for such on the basis of genetic polymorphisms. This is soon to become an avoidable situation and needs urgent research into metals handling issues from the best and brightest in this country. Many such researchers are now clearly inhibited and suppressed from approaching that academic endeavor because of the political contentiousness of the situation that leads people like you to claim I have sold my academic soul and then insinuate that Boyd Haley and Dr. Edgley or not smart enough and experienced enough with the players in science to say what is really going on here.

People of thoughtful understanding who are now starting to follow this blog from all over the world are really getting a nice taste of your desire to not improve the situation for children on the basis of complex and evolving but good science.

Good luck with your marketing career. My "soulless" writing is getting people in the right places to have great brainstorms on what needs to be done through this blog.

AutismNewsBeat said...

And what about the pernicious effects of "Big Autism" - the self-styled interest groups that promote junk science in the name of finding a cure? Many qualified researchers are now clearly inhibited and suppressed from conducting useful research because of the political contentiousness of the situation and run-on sentences that people like you have helped create.

Fogarty said...

You have a point, but the institutionalized denial of helping these kids that goes all the way back to before Bernard Rimland, PhD figured out this wasn't about bad mothering has led to this counter culture of self-stylized problem solving outside of establishment and academia. Run-on sentences aside, the improved functioning and elevation within the spectrum of the deepest autistic children should be a goal of all-including you. This requires a multimodality approach, the clinical science behind such approaches are evolving for each subset of biochemically impaired group of autistic kids (SEE JEPSON'S BOOK).

Some children are primarily impaired in methylation, so they need approaches to improve mathylation biochemistry. Some are impaired in sulfation biochemistry. Some are impaired in phenolic handling and those with the worst phenolic handling are classic PKU kids. Some are impaired in PON-1 function and therefore can't breakdown organophosphate so these kids are likely the subset completely unaffected by vaccines but highly affected by agricultural run-off and home-based pesticide use. So really, if a superstar clinician who knows all of this underlying biochemistry and can seek out evolving endonuclease restriction mapping and eventually direct sequencing of genes can then direct protocols for the small subsets of the various impairments leading to this endophenotype then we will all see that what was a failed approach for some is markedly helpful for others. Unfortunately every version of this syndrome has its "BIG CORPORATE DETRACTORS" clusters of PON related ASD in close proximity to an ag-chemical plant become a new Erin Brockovich story waiting to happen. Just as those who are metal excretion impaired are the ones in whom repeated vaccinations helped precipitate a neurological downfall. If a person has abnormally long heavy metal half-lives from these genetic polymorphisms what are you going to do about it as a clinician ANB? Well most like you don't really understand the science here as well as I do-so I will answer for you and 99.5% of the pediatricians in this country that have no idea what is going on either; chelation or enhancement of endogenous methylation and sulfation pathways (which cannot be done pharmaceutically-except for that "drug" that is a simple amino acid-mucomyst or N-acetylcysteine a rate limiting component of the formation of glutathione). Sadly if you ask 100 MDs what glutathione is about 90 will say "huh?" and 5 will say "some biochemistry crap I forgot about years ago" and if 2 are radiologists they might come up with the answer on the basis of clinical use and if there are three nephrologists in there they might all pin it down to a "T".

Seems you may want to hit the books again, study harder and maybe someday you will actually come up with a productive point here. In the meantime, if you hit a "thinkers" block you could also diagram some of my sentences to help me with that grammatical stuff.