Thursday, February 7, 2008

Rumor Has It

Word has been buzzing and got to me... A few people have told me they have heard the series is tainted because someone in my family has autism.
This is not the case at all. There is no one in my family that has autism.
In my nine years of working in journalism... I knew very little about the disorder until I started working on the first story last June.
No one in my family has autism.
If anyone has any further questions, you can email me at

In the meantime, I hope to post a video promo of the show in a week or so.


ANB said...

Do any of the KOMU staff have family members with autism?

KOMUAReynolds said...

Well... there are hundreds of people affiliated with KOMU and the Journalism school. I have been working there for 5 years and have not run into anyone with someone in their family with autism. I'm very close to the station staff... and no one there has anyone in their immediate family with autism... No one that worked on this series directly has a family member with autism.

ANB said...

Has anyone on the staff that you know also taken an interest in autism, specifically with regards to unproven alternative "treatments" for the disorder? If so, did that person's interest develop prior to June, 2007?

I'm not spinning conspiracy theories here. Just following up on your request for viewer feedback.

Joseph said...

Aren't we supposed to be overwhelmed with autistic chilren everywhere? A once rare condition is now more common that blah, blah and blah combined.

KOMUAReynolds said...

My point is, I didn't go through the hundreds of people linked to KOMU and the JSchool...but what I can tell you for sure--anyone that worked directly with the series doesn't have an immediate family member with autism.

AutismNewsBeat said...

So why the need to legitimize unproven, alt med treatments?

Here's what I see. Tell me if I'm wrong:

You were introduced to autism last June when you interviewed Dr. Miles. After the story ran, you were deluged with messages from anti-vaccine activists, such as Anne Dachel at Age of Autism. The activists convinced you there was another side to the story that needed to be told, and that's what precipitated the Combating Autism series.

Is that accurate?

FOGARTY said...

There is another side to the story and its the one ANB can't debate me on all over this blog-everyone pay close attention to the suppressive coercive speech of this guy and others. He is a marketer. I would wonder how he does all this with no financial conflict of interest. What does his marketing firm do? Who are his major clients, are they PHaRMA connected? Are there family fortunes tied to certain companies that might face litigation if a guy like me decided to go to law school? Seems ANB has a proud stance on a recent win for Wyeth on other posts, telling . . . or to use ANB-speak "that's rich" see his older derogatory posts towards me.

As a journalism major in college ANB you really ought to stand for free speech and support the work of your colleagues who are still in the trenches of journalism, or are you a sell out?

Joseph said...

I don't know what could be more annoying that conspiracy theories. I know, actually; when you're accused of being part of the conspiracy. I guess that's one drawback of being anonymous on the internet. While generally a smart thing to do, people can concoct all sorts of fantasies about you.

What about someone like Kevin Leitch or Kathleen Seidel?

Don't you see how silly it is? Seriously, don't you? Do you think pharmaceutical companies are paying people to blog about autism? That's preposterous. How much do they pay for blog post? The very action could be easily construed against them.

Where are the whistleblowers of the huge conspiracy?

I'll tell you a little secret. In my experience, when people write passionately about autism on the internet, it's almost always because they are either the parent of autistic person or are autistic themselves, or both. (That's the rational explanation; if you want to continue believing that black helicopters are out to get you, that's up to you.)

ANB said...

I've answered your questions. But what good does it do? Conspiracy enthusiasts believe what they want, and always have a new dodge when presented with another inconvenient truth. "Of course ANB won't come clean! He's paid not to!"

Honestly, Ted, who are you to talk to anyone about ethics? What happened to "First, do no harm"? Your spittle-soaked on-line courses are undermining 50 years of peer reviewed science, not to mention public health. Your breathless, run-on sentences detract from the sum of human knowledge.

EFFIIIMD said...

First do no harm means no one gets in a CT scanner. I have no trouble with pushing people to vaccinate more safely, its you guys and a bunch of big headed academics in pediatrics that don't want to do it. Soft science like epidemiology will be overturned on this debate as is clear in the Simpsonwood documents that required a freedom of information act filing to obtain. If the CDC had any ethics they would post it on there website.

Sam's MAMA said...

AutismNewsBeat said...
"So why the need to legitimize unproven, alt med treatments?

Here's what I see. Tell me if I'm wrong:"


ANB said...

I was asking Ashley.

Sam's MAMA said...

AutismNewsBeat said...

"After the story ran, you were deluged with messages from anti-vaccine activists, such as Anne Dachel at Age of Autism."

WHY do assume Anne is anti-vaccine??? Do you not understand the difference between anti-vaccine and PRO SAFE VACCINE?!? wHY WOULD ANYONE NOT BE FOR SAFER VACCINES? And, when you ASSUME anything, you make an AXX out of U and ME. Think about it~

AutismNewsBeat said...

Ashley, why the new pseudonym? It's kind of confusing - Nerdymom, KOMUAReynolds, now Sam's Mama.

Anyway, I think my question is important. You opened the door when you introduced the possibility of a conflict of interest. You say no member of your family has autism, and I accept that. But conflicts can also arise if a member of the KOMU staff - one you work closely with - has her own anti-vaccine agenda that may have influenced your coverage.

My question regarding the genesis of the series of also germane. It's my understanding that your coverage of Dr. Miles last June prompted some letter writing from anti-vaccine activists, and that may have prompted the series. You indicated above (as Sam's Mama) that I was wrong.

EFFIIIMD said...

What about the conflicts of interest in the peer-reviewed literature ANB?

Seems a bigger deal when the national gross domestic neurobehavioral functioning might go up by vaccinating better than the current CDC schedule, ideas of which are posted all over this blog, by some small town radiologist.

Thanks again for the personal attacks you are martyrizing me and the University of Missouri School of Journalism in the fight for free speech in science and medicine as well as transparency in federal governance.

ANB said...


Joseph said...

Oh, I see, there are not only villains paid by Big Pharma in this soap opera. There are also martyrs and heroes. What a fantasy. Who will play the Geiers in the movie?

Hodo Lounge said...

Somebody's going to be awfully busy when he gets to step eight.

Millions of Apologies said...

Joseph said...

Here, some real analysis of the Simpsonwood quotes, with context, and explained in detail:


No rebuttals of note for that AFAIK.

EFFIIIMD said...

Both sides of most of this debate are generally not really looking at the situation correctly. Vaccine-autism connection is not causal as it is simply a weak association of epigenetic interactions. Uninhibited thinking, pre-publication is going on with top flight people in medicine during the Simpsonwood meeting. They all saw a signal, which was of various strengths depending on the human interpreting the data (again, epidemiology is an art not a science).

The signal is there, part of it is a signal denoting for the first time in medicine that there is a small set humans that have very slow heavy metal detoxification kinetics on genetic polymorphisms rather than organ dysfunction (recall the heavy-metal impaired patients we radiologists have harmed because of organ dysfunction; gadolinium being the most recent example).
This population of children was and still is at risk for cognitive decline when exposed to much smaller amounts of heavy metals than those within to 2.5 to 3 standard deviations of the mean for metal detoxification kinetics. This is not the whole population of autistic children either as their are other pathways into autism refer to heuristic slide:

As this metals part of the autism puzzle is a linear effect in a large population with gray scale changes in kinetics of metal detoxification acorss the population, increasing adjuvant exposure on the schedule increases that have occurred while thimerosal reduction has continued still doesn't allow one to conclude that there is no association between vaccines and autism in this patient population.

The autoimmune induction of autism is also quite likely to be related to the unethical use of Hep B vaccine on day one of life; the field of immunogenetics could help ferret out the families that might have HLA genes at risk for adverse events to this, most dangerous vaccine as determined in France (but strangely not by US conflicted researchers). As a point of logic we have a hard time in medicine even conceptualizing which of the vaccines is the most dangerous. Nothing is 100% safe and we have a list here to rank so which is the most dangerous?

The skeptico analysis even quotes from within the Simpsonwood document the potential for confounders. Hep B is the most likely confounder on an autoimmune induction pathway of autism. Clearly, this vaccine has been inappropriately scheduled, even if it is just the first dose that has been placed into service at the worst of all times immunologically speaking-no vaccines should be given on day one of life. The IRB I sit on would not approve such an experiment.

We are over-vaccinating individuals because of a population paradigm, time we got more scientific about this with titer checks. Abstract below shows that MMR has 95% coverage on first dose so in that population, 95% of the second doses are a waste of money and a potential for chronic uncleared non-cytopathic weakened viral infection.

1: Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2007 Jul;26(7):632-8.

Increasing coverage and efficiency of measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and
introducing universal varicella vaccination in Europe: a role for the combined

Vesikari T, Sadzot-Delvaux C, Rentier B, Gershon A.

University of Tampere Medical School, Tampere, Finland.

Universal mass vaccination according to a 2-dose measles-mumps-rubella (MMR)
vaccine schedule is recommended by the World Health Organization and is
fundamental to the control of these important diseases. Very high coverage (first
dose, > or =95%; second dose, > or =80%) is necessary to achieve and sustain high
population immunity, and eventually interrupt indigenous transmission of these
diseases. In 2006, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices issued a
recommendation for 2 doses of varicella vaccine to be given universally to
children. Coadministration of MMR and varicella vaccines, though efficacious and
well tolerated, can be difficult because of the 2 separate injections and
associated compliance issues. In addition to the general advantages of a combined
vaccine, recently registered measles-mumps-rubella-varicella (MMRV) vaccines
could facilitate introduction of varicella universal mass vaccination by
simplifying administration and providing the potential to achieve high coverage
rates for these 4 diseases.

Publication Types:
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Mesh Terms:
Chickenpox Vaccine/administration & dosage
Chickenpox Vaccine/immunology*
Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine/administration & dosage
Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine/immunology*

Chickenpox Vaccine
Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine

PMID: 17596807 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Chronic viral infections are inducers of autoimmunity and non-cytopathic viruses from vaccines can infect fetuses-rubella for instance. None of this ever gets worked up in pediatric medicine as it is so far off the radar screen of a conditioned culture not wanting to admit that vaccines are not perfect. So we really don't know how often fetal rubella infections from live vaccine strains are occurring in the lab of life.

1: Scand J Infect Dis. 1985;17(4):337-41.

Subclinical rubella reinfection in vaccinated women with rubella-specific IgM
response during pregnancy and transmission of virus to the fetus.

Forsgren M, Sörén L.

This report concerns 2 cases of documented rubella reinfection during pregnancy
in previously vaccinated women. The antibody response at reinfection comprised
not only anti-rubella IgG but also IgM. In the first case the reinfection
occurred between the 13th and 19th week of pregnancy and was followed by
transmission of virus to the fetus (anti-rubella IgM in cord blood and persisting
antibody activity). The child had no clinical signs of congenital rubella and is
normally developed without hearing impairment at 41/2 years of age. In the second
case the reinfection resulted from exposure in the 15th week of pregnancy; there
were neither serological nor clinical signs of congenital rubella in the child.
The reported case of fetal infection in spite of previous rubella vaccination of
the mother does not discourage the use of rubella vaccine. Rubella vaccine
induces long lasting immunity and protection from viremia in the vast majority of

Publication Types:
Case Reports

Mesh Terms:
Immunoglobulin G/immunology
Immunoglobulin M/immunology*
Maternal-Fetal Exchange
Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/blood
Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/immunology*
Rubella Vaccine/immunology*
Time Factors

Immunoglobulin G
Immunoglobulin M
Rubella Vaccine

PMID: 4089542 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Again, we just don't know how often this is happening. Even in this remote case report we don't know what the cognitive status of one of the two cases is downline. This isn't to say avoid this vaccine but rather to be careful with whom a recently vaccinated child is around. A pregnant woman handling the soiled diapers of a recent vaccinated older child might be at risk here. This might also be reason for good clinicians doing all they can for these kids to try an anti-viral on empirical grounds or to actually "torture" a child with laboratory investigations to see if this is an issue.

Persistent fetal rubella vaccine virus infection following inadvertent vaccination during early pregnancy
J. Hofmann 1, M. Kortung 1, B. Pustowoit 1, R. Faber 2, U. Piskazeck 3, U.G. Liebert 1 *
1Institut für Virologie, Universität Leipzig, Germany
2Universitätsfrauenklinik, Universität Leipzig, Germany
3Abteilung für Gynäkologie und Geburtshilfe, Krankenhaus Grimma, Germany
email: U.G. Liebert (

*Correspondence to U.G. Liebert, Institut für Virologie, Liebigstrasse 24, 04103 Leipzig

Rubella virus; vaccination; pregnancy; sequence analysis

Inadvertent immunisation of seronegative women with RA27/3 rubella virus live-attenuated vaccine several weeks before and after conception is described. Whereas in 5 cases the vaccine virus was not transmitted vertically, in 1 case vaccination led to the development of persistent fetal infection with prolonged virus shedding for more than 8 months. Sequence analysis carried out on isolates from amniotic fluid, from cord blood leukocytes as well as from infantile urine confirmed an infection by the vaccine strain. At birth, the newborn infant exhibited none of the symptoms compatible with the congenital rubella syndrome and signs indicative for development of late onset disease are not apparent. This observation constitutes the first unequivocal documented case of rubella vaccine virus related to persistent fetal infection. J. Med. Virol. 61:155-158, 2000. © 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Accepted: 3 November 1999

Again, this may be just one other case but so much never gets worked up in these kids on metabolic or immunologic grounds for lame reasons in pediatric medicine - no one wants to prove that the vaccines are to blame for even one bad outcome in a child (especially in private practice, academics are more likely to publish and therefore search for what would be considered esoteric right now-but maybe not in the future as the clinical utility of molecular genetics continues to improve).

Again, nothing scientific really gets done on these kids in the establishment except a few pharmceuticals and none of the underlying metabolic or immunologic issues are even broached in conversation in pediatrics clinics all over this country. So people run to alternative medicine. If the establishment would wake up to what a growing cadre of MDs and PhDs are trying to tell them, the alternativists will lose their market back to the establishment for real treatment of this kids. Of course at this rate of increase and lack of insight, the population will be there for treatment for a good long time outside of the establishment.

Here a really great study on autoimmune issues in autism from UC Davis:

Neurotoxicology. 2007 Nov 6 [Epub ahead of print]

Autism: Maternally derived antibodies specific for fetal brain proteins.

Braunschweig D, Ashwood P, Krakowiak P, Hertz-Picciotto I, Hansen R, Croen LA,
Pessah IN, Van de Water J.

Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Clinical Immunology, University of
California at Davis, CA, USA; The M.I.N.D. Institute, University of California at
Davis, CA, USA; NIEHS Center for Children's Environmental Health, University of
California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.

Autism is a profound disorder of neurodevelopment with poorly understood
biological origins. A potential role for maternal autoantibodies in the etiology
of some cases of autism has been proposed in previous studies. To investigate
this hypothesis, maternal plasma antibodies against human fetal and adult brain
proteins were analyzed by western blot in 61 mothers of children with autistic
disorder and 102 controls matched for maternal age and birth year (62 mothers of
typically developing children (TD) and 40 mothers of children with non-ASD
developmental delays (DD)). We observed reactivity to two protein bands at
approximately 73 and 37kDa in plasma from 7 of 61 (11.5%) mothers of children
with autism (AU) against fetal but not adult brain, which was not noted in either
control group (TD; 0/62 p=0.0061 and DD; 0/40 p=0.0401). Further, the presence of
reactivity to these two bands was associated with parent report of behavioral
regression in AU children when compared to the TD (p=0.0019) and DD (0.0089)
groups. Individual reactivity to the 37kDa band was observed significantly more
often in the AU population compared with TD (p=0.0086) and DD (p=0.002) mothers,
yielding a 5.69-fold odds ratio (95% confidence interval 2.09-15.51) associated
with this band. The presence of these antibodies in the plasma of some mothers of
children with autism, as well as the differential findings between mothers of
children with early onset and regressive autism may suggest an association
between the transfer of IgG autoantibodies during early neurodevelopment and the
risk of developing of autism in some children.

PMID: 18078998 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Just wondering how a gal gets sensitized to fetal brain proteins? A couple of immunological pathways into this sensitization are quite intriguing, but why elaborate more-the science will move this autoimmune issue in autism forward in due time.

Oh, I can't resist, could the WI38 cell line used for rubella replication be expressing fetal brain proteins that are thrown into the adjuvant mix? Probably not.

Still raises some points of discussion. The cell line was harvest from an aborted fetus in the 1960's when abortion was illegal in this country. With the implications of this issue, people of strong faith in God should be informed of this fact. There have been debates on this issue favoring either side for various interpretations of the ethical issues here. Seriously doubt most pediatricians even know the purpose of WI38 cell lines. So how does an informed consent to this vaccine work in the religious sphere of influence when such persons are not educated as to these ethical dilemmas?

One more thing on those crazy diets from this piece:
ADHD and Food Additives Revisited
Commentary by: Alison Schonwald
AAP Grand Rounds 2008 19(2): 17.

"Thus, the overall findings of the study are
clear and require that even we skeptics, who
have long doubted parental claims of the effects
of various foods on the behavior of their children,
admit we might have been wrong. "

Scientific ideas plastered all over this blog will analyze that "we might have been wrong".