Friday, January 11, 2008


Wow! We wrapped up the series... I don't even know where to start this blog entry.

We continue to get feedback. I have my gmail account, blog, mizzou email, and Your View accounts... Each one has gotten so many comments...hundreds...I am simply in awe of the impact of this series. It is truly "The little series that could."

Each day it continues to spread. I have received emails from all around the world. Letters continue to pour in.

This series has been the last six months of my life. I have put in countless hours. From picking each word when writing scripts to picking each shot when editing. The sleepless nights... stressing out... Learning Who's Who in autism... and my friends putting up with me constantly talking about autism...this has been an experience I will never forget.

I have been touched by every family...every person. Starting with the Everhart's strength in raising two kids on the spectrum. Tim and Dee's drive to help their son. Andy's courage in being a single parent. Jeremy's determination to adapt and improve his social skills. Linda's activism and journey with Adam’s recovery. These families shaped the series.

A women stopped me in public last week amazed that these families were so open and honest...From using alternative treatments, to a single parent's tough times, the families we featured told us their struggles and triumphs. It was our pleasure to share their story.

I'm slowly trying to get back to a somewhat normal life. I started general assignment reporting again this past week. I have to tell you, it is odd to walk out of the building with a camera and not go talk to someone about autism. It has been a challenge to do day turn pieces. I have been “in the zone” for months, having time to prepare questions, write, and edit. Getting back to a normal reporting routine is taking some time...but I am getting there.

I print all the emails I get. I am putting them all in a special folder. So many are heart felt. I have cried several times while reading them. So many people have called us heroes...I am not a hero. I simply tell stories and had the honor of covering this.

Words can't express what each email/letter means. I wish I could find the words to express my gratitude for this wave of feedback. It is rare for a journalist to be at a loss for words...but I stand in awe of the power of this series and the people that told us their story.


BillinMidMO said...

Yes...nd crying fire in a crowded theater resulting in folks suffering injury and death, would also elicit a lot of responses. This is the most irresponsible and baseless series I have ever seen outside pieces in the Enquirer on space aliens at Rothwell or 9/11 Truth. you have numerous vaccine conspiracists combined with tragic scenes of autism affected individuals and gfamilies "balanced" by an interview with one Autism physician...Dr Miles. Dr Miles is way too kind and professional to take on the antivaccine fringe "researchers". In my opinion you have quite successfully pursued your own agenda about vaccines at the expense of the families you diplayed. It is called exploitation and I am ashamed of KOMU... and institution supported at least in part by my tax dollars.
Again...there is no connection between vaccination and autism. See my latest blog post here:

ANB said...

Bill, it might help to understand how this series came about. Last June, Ashley interviewed Dr. Miles about her research that failed to show a connection between thimerosal and autism. That report opened the floodgates to anti-vac extremists who wanted their point of view heard. KOMU is selling the controversy. No real science is necessary, as long as the reporters get to use big words and act like they understand.

Joseph said...

KOMU is saying that they simply presented the views of people writing here. Well, if you look at what people are writing here, I don't think KOMU did what they claimed they did. They cherrypicked only one side of the argument.

Fogarty said...

REAL SCIENCE that you three don't have enough smarts to understand or the guts to admit is quite problematic for those trying to defend vitamin "T":

Arch Toxicol. 2003 Jan;77(1):50-5. Epub 2002 Nov 6.
Related Articles, Links
Click here to read Click here to read Click here to read
Thimerosal induces micronuclei in the cytochalasin B block micronucleus test with human lymphocytes.

Westphal GA, Asgari S, Schulz TG, Bünger J, Müller M, Hallier E.

Department of Occupational Health, Georg-August-University Göttingen, Waldweg 37, 37073 Göttingen, Germany.

Thimerosal is a widely used preservative in health care products, especially in vaccines. Due to possible adverse health effects, investigations on its metabolism and toxicity are urgently needed. An in vivo study on chronic toxicity of thimerosal in rats was inconclusive and reports on genotoxic effects in various in vitro systems were contradictory. Therefore, we reinvestigated thimerosal in the cytochalasin B block micronucleus test. Glutathione S-transferases were proposed to be involved in the detoxification of thimerosal or its decomposition products. Since the outcome of genotoxicity studies can be dependent on the metabolic competence of the cells used, we were additionally interested whether polymorphisms of glutathione S-transferases (GSTM1, GSTT1, or GSTP1) may influence the results of the micronucleus test with primary human lymphocytes. Blood samples of six healthy donors of different glutathione S-transferase genotypes were included in the study. At least two independent experiments were performed for each blood donor. Significant induction of micronuclei was seen at concentrations between 0.05-0.5 micro g/ml in 14 out of 16 experiments. Thus, genotoxic effects were seen even at concentrations which can occur at the injection site. Toxicity and toxicity-related elevation of micronuclei was seen at and above 0.6 micro g/ml thimerosal. Marked individual and intraindividual variations in the in vitro response to thimerosal among the different blood donors occurred. However, there was no association observed with any of the glutathione S-transferase polymorphism investigated. In conclusion, thimerosal is genotoxic in the cytochalasin B block micronucleus test with human lymphocytes. These data raise some concern on the widespread use of thimerosal.

MeSH Terms:

* Cell Division/drug effects
* Cytochalasin B/toxicity*
* Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
* Drug Antagonism
* Genotype
* Glutathione Transferase/blood
* Glutathione Transferase/classification
* Glutathione Transferase/genetics
* Humans
* Lymphocytes/drug effects*
* Lymphocytes/enzymology
* Microfilaments/drug effects
* Micronucleus Tests/methods*
* Mutagens/toxicity*
* Polymorphism, Genetic
* Preservatives, Pharmaceutical/toxicity*
* Thimerosal/toxicity*


* Mutagens
* Preservatives, Pharmaceutical
* Cytochalasin B
* Thimerosal
* Glutathione Transferase

PMID: 12491041 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2001 Jul;203(5-6):479-81.

Inhibition of the human erythrocytic glutathione-S-transferase T1 (GST T1) by thimerosal.

Müller M, Westphal G, Vesper A, Bünger J, Hallier E.

Department of Occupational and Social Medicine, Georg-August-University Göttingen, D-37073 Göttingen, Germany.

We have investigated the interaction of thimerosal, a widely used antiseptic and preservative, with the human erythrocytic GST T1 (glutathione-S-transferase T1). This detoxifying enzyme is expressed in the erythrocytes of solely the human species and it displays a genetic polymorphism. Due to this polymorphism about 25% of the individuals of the caucasian population lack this activity ("non-conjugators"), while 75% show it ("conjugators") (Hallier, E., et al., 1993). Using our newly developed HPLC-fluorescence detection assay (Müller, M., et al., 2001) we have profiled the kinetics of enzyme inhibition in erythrocyte lysates of two individuals previously identified as "normal conjugator" (medium enzyme activity) and "super-conjugator" (very high activity). For the normal conjugator we have determined a 2.77 mM thimerosal concentration to inhibit 50% of the GST T1 activity. In the case of the super-conjugator a 2.3 mM thimerosal concentration causes a 50% inhibition of the enzyme activity. For both phenotypes a 14.8 mM thimerosal concentration results in residual enzyme activities equal to those typically detected in non-conjugator lysates. Thus, sufficiently high doses of thimerosal may be able to change the phenotypic status of an individual--at least in vitro--by inhibition of the GST T1 enzyme.

MeSH Terms:

* Anti-Infective Agents, Local/adverse effects*
* Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
* Erythrocytes/enzymology*
* European Continental Ancestry Group/genetics
* Fluorescence
* Glutathione Transferase/drug effects*
* Glutathione Transferase/metabolism*
* Humans
* Phenotype
* Polymorphism, Genetic
* Thimerosal/adverse effects*


* Anti-Infective Agents, Local
* Thimerosal
* glutathione S-transferase T1
* Glutathione Transferase

PMID: 11556154 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet. 2006 Dec 5;141(8):947-56.

Metabolic endophenotype and related genotypes are associated with oxidative stress in children with autism.

James SJ, Melnyk S, Jernigan S, Cleves MA, Halsted CH, Wong DH, Cutler P, Bock K, Boris M, Bradstreet JJ, Baker SM, Gaylor DW.

Department of Pediatrics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Arkansas Children's Hospital Research Institute, Little Rock, Arkansas 72202, USA.

Autism is a behaviorally defined neurodevelopmental disorder usually diagnosed in early childhood that is characterized by impairment in reciprocal communication and speech, repetitive behaviors, and social withdrawal. Although both genetic and environmental factors are thought to be involved, none have been reproducibly identified. The metabolic phenotype of an individual reflects the influence of endogenous and exogenous factors on genotype. As such, it provides a window through which the interactive impact of genes and environment may be viewed and relevant susceptibility factors identified. Although abnormal methionine metabolism has been associated with other neurologic disorders, these pathways and related polymorphisms have not been evaluated in autistic children. Plasma levels of metabolites in methionine transmethylation and transsulfuration pathways were measured in 80 autistic and 73 control children. In addition, common polymorphic variants known to modulate these metabolic pathways were evaluated in 360 autistic children and 205 controls. The metabolic results indicated that plasma methionine and the ratio of S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) to S-adenosylhomocysteine (SAH), an indicator of methylation capacity, were significantly decreased in the autistic children relative to age-matched controls. In addition, plasma levels of cysteine, glutathione, and the ratio of reduced to oxidized glutathione, an indication of antioxidant capacity and redox homeostasis, were significantly decreased. Differences in allele frequency and/or significant gene-gene interactions were found for relevant genes encoding the reduced folate carrier (RFC 80G > A), transcobalamin II (TCN2 776G > C), catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT 472G > A), methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR 677C > T and 1298A > C), and glutathione-S-transferase (GST M1). We propose that an increased vulnerability to oxidative stress (endogenous or environmental) may contribute to the development and clinical manifestations of autism. (c) 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Publication Types:

* Comparative Study
* Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
* Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH Terms:

* Adolescent
* Autistic Disorder/blood
* Autistic Disorder/genetics*
* Autistic Disorder/metabolism*
* Catechol O-Methyltransferase/genetics
* Child
* Child, Preschool
* DNA Primers
* Female
* Gene Frequency
* Glutathione Transferase/genetics
* Humans
* Male
* Membrane Transport Proteins/genetics
* Methionine/blood*
* Methionine/metabolism
* Methylation
* Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase (NADPH2)/genetics
* Oxidative Stress/genetics*
* S-Adenosylhomocysteine/blood
* S-Adenosylmethionine/blood
* Transcobalamins/genetics


* DNA Primers
* Membrane Transport Proteins
* Transcobalamins
* reduced folate carrier
* S-Adenosylmethionine
* Methionine
* S-Adenosylhomocysteine
* Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase (NADPH2)
* Catechol O-Methyltransferase
* Glutathione Transferase

Grant Support:

* 1C06 RR16517-01/RR/United States NCRR
* 3C06 RR16517-01S1/RR/United States NCRR
* 5R01 HD39054-05/HD/United States NICHD

PMID: 16917939 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Thimerosal should never be used in children with sulfation handling problems and also creates as much even in normals-hummm?

You guys gonna actually debate or just whine about how you can't debate because you don't know enough about science?

AutismNewsBeat said...

Exactly. There are sound reasons why serious researchers dismiss the alleged vaccine/autism, but KOMU didn't address any of them.

I used to think the anti-vaccine movement had the most in common with creation scientists, in that both groups deal in hypotheticals to rebut sound scientific evidence. But Bill has me thinking Haley, Ayoub, etc. are closer to the 911 Truth folks, in that both groups rely heavily on conspiracy to make their cases. The 911 Truthers also repeat demonstrable untruths as fact to make their case. We see that in the anti-vax people when they tell us the Amish don't have autism, that the symptoms of mercury poisoning are exactly the same as autism, that Jonas Salk denounced vaccines on his death bed, etc, etc.

FOGARTY said...

ANB-What you missed above:
First abstract:
"Thimerosal is a widely used preservative in health care products, especially in vaccines. Due to possible adverse health effects, investigations on its metabolism and toxicity are urgently needed."
. . . THEN . . .
"These data raise some concern on the widespread use of thimerosal."

Second Abstract:
For the normal conjugator we have determined a 2.77 mM thimerosal concentration to inhibit 50% of the GST T1 activity. In the case of the super-conjugator a 2.3 mM thimerosal concentration causes a 50% inhibition of the enzyme activity. For both phenotypes a 14.8 mM thimerosal concentration results in residual enzyme activities equal to those typically detected in non-conjugator lysates.

"Differences in allele frequency and/or significant gene-gene interactions were found for relevant genes encoding .... and glutathione-S-transferase (GST M1). We propose that an increased vulnerability to oxidative stress (endogenous or environmental) may contribute to the development and clinical manifestations of autism."


And all you got is that creationism and 911 crap?

Just wait until I get the LITANY OF BAD EPIDEMIOLOGY THROUGHOUT HISTORY UP ON THIS SITE. You will learn not to trust epidemiology from influenced sources. But likely you already know that its the weakest link of science which is why it needs such vehement defense.

So you think this is a good thing for kids:

1: Toxicol In Vitro. 2007 Oct;21(7):1258-61. Epub 2007 Apr 14.

Reduced tubulin tyrosination as an early marker of mercury toxicity in differentiating N2a cells.

Lawton M, Iqbal M, Kontovraki M, Lloyd Mills C, Hargreaves AJ.
Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Centre, School of Biomedical and Natural
Sciences, Nottingham Trent University, Clifton Lane, Nottingham NG11 8NS, United Kingdom.
The aims of this work were to compare the effects of methyl mercury chloride and thimerosal on neurite/process outgrowth and microtubule proteins idifferentiating mouse N2a neuroblastoma and rat C6 glioma cells. Exposure for 4h to sublethal concentrations of both compounds inhibited neurite outgrowth to a similar extent in both cells lines compared to controls. In the case of N2a cells, this inhibitory effect by both compounds was associated with a fall in the reactivity of western blots of cell extracts with monoclonal antibody T1A2, which recognises C-terminally tyrosinated alpha-tubulin. By contrast, reactivity with monoclonal antibody B512 (which recognises total alpha-tubulin) was unaffected at the same time point. These findings suggest that decreased tubulin tyrosination represents a neuron-specific early marker of mercury toxicity associated with impaired neurite outgrowth.
Publication Types:
Research Support, Non-U.S.Gov't
PMID: 17553660 [PubMed - in process]

So obvious now, I just find it fun making you drop into that marketing rhetoric. Simpsonwood says it all, every US MD needs a copy of that so that all the surgeons, raiaologists, pathologists, internists, FPs, OBs, Neurologists, etc. CAN MAKE AN INFORMED DECISION ABOUT THE REAL RISKS OF VACCINATION FOR THEIR FAMILIES. Many of the children who are autistic are in the upper socio-economic class and in hard sciences, hummm wonder if the totality of US Medicine would weigh in differently if they all saw this document.

Good luck in your endeavors, keep sending people this way so they can get a better understanding of science, debate and democracy.

You obviously can't deal with the idea that vaccines could be safer in material and temporal/distributive ways, and again it really says alot about who you are when all you seem to do is attack people on this issue.

ANB said...

The entire notion of an "autism epidemic" is based on bogus epidemiology, with a dash of
"temporal association". It goes like this:

The incidence of autism sure has gone up a bunch.

So has the number of vaccines kids get.

Say, don't vaccines have mercury?

Yes they do, and mercury is the most dangerous neurotoxin ever?

Well, that just about nails it - vaccines cause autism! Now all we need is a website and a soft porn star to write a book.

Fogarty said...

As more children of physicians become autistic more progress is made in helping this situation. The momentum has swung in the US for figuring this out. Keep trying ANB, I like your persistence even though you don't know much science-weak epidemiology seems to be your strength.

Is this the website to which you were referring?

ANB said...

It does seem that personal grief is clouding the judgment of too many physicians. They venture from their areas of expertise and soon cultivate a following of grieving parents who are themselves looking for answers and hope. Thus we have maverick radiologists and avenging chemistry professors and Good News doctors who counsel exorcism when nobody's looking.

Don't worry, doc, your secret is safe. Nobody else is reading this.

Fogarty said...

There you go again, talking about exorcism.

I have no secrets to hide here, you are the one hiding behind an anonymous profile. You are the one hiding the fact that you do not have enough scientific knowledge to rationally debate me-you're starting to look like the "believer" here. You have a belief system that causes you to place too much trust in epidemiology performed by industry insiders. Epidemiology is an ART based on science,
there is a huge interpretive component to it.

Funny how radiologists all over this country get sued for missing subtle signals in chaotic data while industry supported epidemiologists can be lauded by people like you for missing the big picture.

Please use your marketing skills to make sure everyone in and outside of medicine knows of the great KOMU debate.

AutismNewsBeat said...

With your permission, I'd like to start with Dr. H. David Wilson, MD.

Please use your marketing skills to make sure everyone in and outside of medicine knows of the great KOMU debate.

Fogarty said...

Not a problem-what you think there is no democracy of thought in medicine, like you can "threaten" to tattle on me to the Dean?

I will be meeting with Dean Wilson in the next several weeks to discuss patenting TITER METER or should we go with TITER CHECK?


Actually, he is exactly one of the key persons who has seen the diamond in the rough that my visionary line of thinking is in teaching anatomy, wound care-yea ask around about that one, breast imaging, informatics and this area is sure to put him on edge until we move together to improve things rather than debate each other and cover an industry that is already immune to lawsuits anyway. He is exactly the person that can with a few phones calls say "hey, I got this cowboy out west here who is on to something; its touchy but I think that x, y, z should happen so that this situation is better for US children." Best bet is that he will help drive the right players to research the metabolic screening idea for environmental sensitivities to find those who are at high risk for the deeper parts of the spectrum so we can put an envrionmental bubble around them-just like PKU. We can get this done and avoid these exposures in the metal sensitive, it will be a good event in pediatric medicine and its not directed solely at vaccine avoidance, it involves the avoidance of all heavy metals (gadolinium and tin exposures in imaging included). We are very careful with the immunocompromised child, why can't we be careful with the metals-sensitive child?

He would not reject a push to make children's lives better in this fashion so why are you?

It is the unwavering commitment to the status quo that is doing you in here ANB. I have been through this debate with some extremely bright MDs in public policy and pediatrics locally who are good friends, yes our friendship is still intact because in North Dakota, a democratic freedom of exchange occurs in the tight knit medical community that exists here. We can and will do this better with great resistance as the past implemented changes have shown, but your persistence in personal attacks and the last comment is a sign of your growing desperation. The last word may be a decade away, but it will be mine.

Maybe you should get after Congressman Burton of Indiana for his continued insistence on getting all the thimerosal out of vaccines (still hasn't happened).

Read this, once you are done with your assignment report back to me on the concept of stonewalling in politics:
You gonna defame him too? Writing is on the wall . . . you should close your blog now.

Chair of Metals Tracking Technology in Medicine at UND

ANB said...

Titer Check is too confusing. Sounds like a do-it-yourself mammogram.

I'll let you break the news to Dean Wormer.