Posted By Dr. Mercola | February 07 2011
New research reveals that there could indeed be a link between the controversial MMR vaccine and autism, as well as bowel disease in children. The study appears to confirm the findings of doctor Andrew Wakefield, who suggested a possible link in 1998 and has since been accused of fraud.
A research team is in the process of examining 275 children with regressive autism and bowel disease. Of the 82 looked at so far, 70 tested positive for the measles virus. In all cases, the virus came from a vaccine strain rather than wild measles.
The Daily Mail reports:
"The 1998 study by Dr. Wakefield ... and 12 other doctors claimed to have found a new bowel disease, autism enterocolitis ... This is the second independent study to back up Dr. Wakefield."
The controversy over Dr. Andrew Wakefield's 1998 MMR study continues—now with not one but two interesting twists.
New Study Confirms Dr. Wakefield's Controversial Findings
First, as reported by The Daily Mail on January 25, a new study appears to confirm Wakefield's hotly contested findings, linking the MMR triple vaccine with bowel disease and autism. (A previous study published in 2001 also replicated Wakefield's findings, although conventional media conveniently ignore this fact.)
"Now a team from the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in North Carolina are examining 275 children with regressive autism and bowel disease - and of the 82 tested so far, 70 prove positive for the measles virus. Last night the team's leader, Dr Stephen Walker, said: 'Of the handful of results we have in so far, all are vaccine strain and none are wild measles.
'This research proves that in the gastrointestinal tract of a number of children who have been diagnosed with regressive autism, there is evidence of measles virus. What it means is that the study done earlier by Dr Wakefield and published in 1998 is correct.
That study didn't draw any conclusions about specifically what it means to find measles virus in the gut, but the implication is it may be coming from the MMR vaccine. If that's the case, and this live virus is residing in the gastrointestinal tract of some children, and then they have GI inflammation and other problems, it may be related to the MMR.' "
The lead researcher, Stephen J. Walker, Ph.D., was also quick to state however, that this does not necessarily mean the MMR vaccine causes autism. Still, his research notes the same connection that Wakefield’s team did, which is that many autistic children have chronic bowel inflammation, and have the vaccine strain of the measles virus in their intestines.
I interviewed Dr. Wakefield on this issue last year. In that interview he told his side of the story, setting the record straight on the harsh criticism he's endured as a result of his findings. If you missed it, I highly recommend you watch it now.
Video description: Dr. Andrew Wakefield sets the record straight on the harsh criticism he's endured as the author of one of the most controversial vaccine-causing-autism studies ever done, April 2010.
Is it really so unlikely that bowel inflammation from a measles virus could lead to autistic behavior?
After all, your bowels are often referred to as your second brain, containing some 100 million neurons—more than in either your spinal cord or your peripheral nervous system. An excellent article by Adam Hadhazy, published in Scientific American last year, explains the intrinsic connection between your gut and your psychological well-being.
"The system is way too complicated to have evolved only to make sure things move out of your colon," says Emeran Mayer, professor of physiology, psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (U.C.L.A.). For example, scientists were shocked to learn that about 90 percent of the fibers in the primary visceral nerve, the vagus, carry information from the gut to the brain and not the other way around…
The second brain informs our state of mind in other more obscure ways, as well. "A big part of our emotions are probably influenced by the nerves in our gut," Mayer says…
Given the two brains' commonalities, depression treatments that target the mind can unintentionally impact the gut. The enteric nervous system uses more than 30 neurotransmitters, just like the brain, and in fact 95 percent of the body's serotonin is found in the bowels. Because antidepressant medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) increase serotonin levels, it's little wonder that meds meant to cause chemical changes in the mind often provoke GI issues as a side effect.
… Serotonin seeping from the second brain might even play some part in autism, the developmental disorder often first noticed in early childhood.
Gershon has discovered that the same genes involved in synapse formation between neurons in the brain are involved in the alimentary synapse formation. "If these genes are affected in autism," he says, "it could explain why so many kids with autism have GI motor abnormalities in addition to elevated levels of gut-produced serotonin in their blood.”
This makes sense, since your gut and your brain develops from the same embryonic tissue. During early fetal development, part of the tissue grows into your central nervous system (your brain), and the other part develops into your enteric nervous system (your gut, or “second brain”). These two brains are directly connected via the vagus nerve, which explains why your gut health can have such a profound influence on your psychological well-being.
Who is Brian Deer, Wakefield’s Most Vocal Opponent?
The second twist in this ongoing saga is that it appears one of the primary voices behind the witch hunt for Wakefield, a journalist named Brian Deer, may in fact be the real fraud here. Deer was recently interviewed by Anderson Cooper about the fraud allegations against Wakefield.
However, an interesting article by J.B. Handley in The Age of Autism brings up some very enlightening problems regarding Deer's credentials and funding. Not only has the Legal Manager for the Sunday Times—Deer's supposed employer—denied this fact, stating that "Mr. Deer should not represent himself as a Sunday Times journalist," but Handley also points out a dozen additional inconsistencies and lies that, in the end, raise the question: Is Brian Deer the fraud?
I urge you to read through Handley's article to get a wider perspective.
The remainder of this comment is a guest editorial by Dr. Russell Blaylock, in which he presents his objections to The British Medical Journal's unjustified and vicious attacks against Dr. Wakefield.
Guest Editorial by Dr. Russell L. Blaylock, MD
By Russell L. Blaylock, MD
Theoretical Neurosciences Research, LLC
Visiting Professor Biology
At the outset I want to make clear, this is not a personal defense of Dr. Andrew Wakefield. I know Dr. Wakefield and have spoken to him on several occasions. He is a very nice, soft-spoken gentleman.
What is important is that the recent attack on the credibility of Dr. Andrew Wakefield is a study in political-corporate manipulation of societal perceptions of truth.
If this case was not so serious, I would find it incredibly humorous that such corrupt entities as academia, the media and the British and American regulatory agencies dare to speak of "fraud".
Too often, these agencies and entities engage in conduct which raises ethical concerns that exceed any charges leveled against Dr. Wakefield.
British Medical Journal's Unjustified Vicious Attacks
Take for instance the statement by the editors of the British Medical Journal in their releases on the issue, where, for example, they state that Dr. Wakefield and co-authors in their article claimed to have identified a "new syndrome" of "regressive autism and bowel disease". In fact, as the Lancet article clearly shows, this syndrome had been described in a number of published articles prior to the Wakefield article. Asperger, who described a form of autism, made the connection as early as 1961.
Certainly, these critics would not suggest that regressive autism had never before been described or that intestinal inflammation was associated with autism was a creation of Dr. Wakefield -- because if that is what they are saying, it demonstrates ignorance of medical literature on the part of his attackers.
Unjustified Allegations Against Dr. Wakefield
As far as Brian Deer's charges, that Dr. Wakefield accepted "consultancy fees from lawyers building a lawsuit against vaccine manufacturers" and that "many of the children used in the study were referred by an antivaccine organization" the charges deserve some closer examination.
I am told that the lawyers approached Dr. Wakefield after his research was well under way.
As far as the un-named antivaccine group referring the children -- so what. The only question would be, did these children meet the criteria of the study, which they certainly seemed to. Sadly, it is a too common practice for those wanting to test new pharmaceutical drugs, even dangerous drugs, to offer money to poor families and students desperate for money.
Is that ethical?
Objected Practices are Not Explicitly Defined
In my opinion, the statement by BMJ Editor-in-Chief, Fiona Godlee that the paper in question was deliberately designed to give the result Wakefield and his twelve co-authors wished is never adequately explained. Again, "massaging" of data to imply a favorable result in research papers is not uncommon, especially with money-making drugs like statins, the number one class of drug sold in the world.
Many favorable statin papers are written by authors having multiple connections to pharmaceutical makers of the drug.1
I find it ironic that none of his accusers have explicitly defined their objections to the study or even stated that his findings were not accurate, in terms of the primary goal of the research -- that is, the presence of a well defined colitis linked with the MMR vaccine and the possibility of a link to "developmental disorders" and not "autism alone".
Here is the exact sentence that begins the conclusion of their paper -- "We describe a pattern of colitis and ileal-lymphoid nodular hyperplasia in children with developmental disorders." (Italics mine)
In the abstract of the paper, they describe the behavioral disorders of the children -- "Behavioral disorders included autism (nine), disintegrative psychosis (one), and possible postviral or vaccinal encephalitis (two)". So, despite the image that these vicious attacks imply, they described more than just autism.
Pre-Existing Neurological Conditions Charge Incorrect
As to the charge that several of these children had pre-existing neurological problems, the paper in fact, discusses that -- "Five had had early adverse reactions to immunization (rash, fever, delirium; and three cases, convulsions". They then note "Parents were less clear about the timing of onset of abdominal symptoms because children were not toilet trained at the time or because behavioral features made children unable to communicate symptoms".
He also clearly states that one child developed behavioral symptoms after a natural infection.
No Claim to MMR Vaccine Association and Autism Ever Made
As far as the paper claiming to prove a link between the MMR vaccine and behavioral regression in autism, they clearly state that the association may have occurred purely by chance. They then go on to explain why they think there is a link and, as all papers do, resort to referenced articles to support their view. This is perfectly acceptable in published studies, but apparently is not allowed in politically protected areas of policy.
One of the most telling sentences in the article in question and one that dispels any such charge of "blatant fraud" is this one -- "We did not prove an association between measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and the syndrome described".
His attackers are also unjustified in stating that no one has confirmed Dr. Wakefield's finding of a measles colitis of vaccine origin in neurodevelopmentally damaged children. In fact, in a 2006 study, conducted at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, researchers found that a high percentage of the children tested with regressive autism and bowel disease tested positive for the measles virus.
Of great importance, just as in the Wakefield study, they found that in every case the measles virus came from the MMR vaccine.
Why Was Dr. Wakefield Singled Out?
Several questions must be asked at this juncture. Why was Dr. Wakefield singled out and why has the media completely avoided any investigation into who his accusers are and what connections they have to those who have the most to gain should Dr. Wakefield be silenced and disgraced -- that is, the pharmaceutical makers of vaccines?
In my view, he was singled out because they wanted to convince the public that the entire case for a link between vaccines and neurodevelopmental disorders in children was based on this single study.
A number of papers had been published before the 1998 Wakefield and co-authors' paper appeared and many scientists and clinicians suspected a link between the excessive number of vaccines added to the vaccine schedule in the 1980s and the dramatic rise in neurodevelopmental disorders.2
I have written seven papers on the subject, four of which describe a detailed mechanism that explains the effects of excessive immune stimulation on brain development and behavioral problems.
U.S. Vaccine Court Settlements Implicitly Acknowledge Vaccine Autism Connection
In fact, as Dr. Wakefield himself points out in his new book, Callous Disregard, the U.S. Vaccine Court and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services had been settling cases of vaccine-caused autism and neurodevelopmental disorders since 1991. Of course they kept, with the help of the media, this quiet from the public.
And as CBS News reported at the time, they were settling these cases in court; while at the same time telling the public there was no connection between vaccines and autism.
So, who is really the fraud?
Real Purpose Behind Dr. Wakefield Vilification
Yet, if they can convince the public that the entire case for a link hinges on a single study, destroying the lead author of that study gives the appearance of settling the question once and for all. They know they can depend on the media to ignore all of the hundreds of studies indicating harm or even suggesting the possibility of harm; we no longer have investigative journalists, we have a corporate controlled media.
It is no secret that most media outlets are desperate for money, especially in this economy. The lifeblood of all media is advertising. An independent analysis appearing in a peer reviewed open access journal published by the Public Library of Science estimated that pharmaceutical companies in the U.S. spent $57.5 billion on promotion in 2004, almost twice as much as they spend on research and development.
Virtually every TV news network, magazine and newspaper is filled with very expensive pharmaceutical ads. These media outlets cannot afford to lose this money and this allows the pharmaceutical companies to set editorial policy. Stories criticizing vaccines are as rare as hen's teeth.
With billions to use for influence, one witnesses resulting bias in academia and government regulatory agencies as well.
The UK has one of the most aggressive vaccine policies in the world and British citizens do not like it -- not because of Dr. Wakefield's findings, but because of their own experiences.
The Real Root of Fraud in Science and Medicine
If we are really interested in rooting out fraud in science and medicine why don't we start by investigating the financial links between the Fitness to Practice Panel of the General Medical Council, the BMJ editors, attack dogs in academia and other critics of those who want safe vaccines? Lets, for example, take a look at the fraud in the pharmaceutical industry, the real force behind this Star Chamber attack.
Recently, Life Extension Magazine editor, William Faloon wrote an article chronicling fraud by several major pharmaceutical companies.
For example, Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, after admitting to a felony charge of intent to defraud, was required to pay 2.3 billion dollars in fines. This was the fourth such charge since 2002. And it was a subsidiary of Pfizer who pled guilty to criminal charges of fraudulently selling the arthritis drug Bextra in doses not approved as safe. The 1.195 billion dollar fine was the largest criminal fine for any case in the United States.
Merck, also a vaccine manufacturer, paid out billions in lawsuit claims to tens of thousands harmed by the drug Vioxx. The estimated total number of Vioxx-induced deaths vary wildly, from more than 20,000 to 80,000 or even higher. The point is that, and Merck knew beforehand that their drug was associated with an excess of heart attacks.
Court documents from the 2.3 billion dollar Pfizer case, found that the pharmaceutical giant was paying doctors kickbacks to prescribe their drugs -- such as Lipitor, Viagra, Zyrtec and Norvasc as well as speaker's fees, mentorships, preceptorships and other goodies. Another common practice by these companies was to sponsor medical meetings and worse, supplying actual speakers for the meetings. These methods greatly influence unsuspecting physicians' prescribing practices.
Ghost Writing in Medical Journals
One of the worse offenses by the Pharmaceutical vaccine makers and of the elite of the medical profession is the practice of "ghostwriting" medical articles. The process works like this. The Pharmaceutical manufacturer hire a medical education and communications company to ghostwrite an article that supports its drug or vaccine. These companies may be substantial amounts to write these articles.
Then they go to an academic physician or physicians that are well known in the field and encourage them to put their name on the article. From there, they "massage" the article past peer review in one of the more prestigious medical journals, preferably one that strongly influences practicing doctors.
Once published, they purchase tens of thousands of copies of reprints to be distributed to doctor's offices by their pharmaceutical detail representatives. The unsuspecting doctor thinks the study is reliable since it "appears" to be written by a leading name in the field and appears in one of the most prestigious medical journals in print.
The medical journal likes the arrangement because they can sell lucrative reprints. As a result, it has been said that medical journals revenues have increased significantly. One physician told the story of his being approached by a pharmaceutical giant wanting him to put his name on one of these ghostwritten articles. He refused, but was surprised to see the very same article appear in a prestigious medical journal a short time later with another physician's name on it.
An August 4, 2009 New York Times article reports how Wyeth Pharmaceutical Company used this ghostwriting practice to sell hormone replacement therapy in women. Physicians prescribed these drugs based on some 26 ghostwritten papers. The articles did not disclose Wyeth's role in initiating and paying for the work.
Drug Companies Committed to Seek and Destroy Physicians Who Disagree
In 2009, the media reported that internal memos from Merck Pharmaceutical Company were released during a lawsuit involving Vioxx injuries in Australia. In these memos company executives stated that "Merck had to 'neutralize' dissent from doctors who questioned the safety of the drug". One released email read -- "We may need to seek them out and destroy them where they live."
Are we to trust such people with our health and the health of our children? Vaccine safety should be a top priority, yet it is never even considered and anyone questioning vaccine safety is labeled "antivaccine" and an enemy of the public good.
The federal government has consistently refused to do well-designed studies looking at vaccine safety. The very real issue of vaccine contamination is never addressed. For instance, it is known that vaccines can be contaminated with a number of foreign viruses, viral fragments, DNA fragments and toxic chemicals.
Are we to just take their word that these contaminants will not result in cancer or degenerative brain diseases decades from now?
If You Don't Believe Me Read these Additional References
There are two books I would encourage people to read -- Dr. Andrew Wakefield's recently released book -- Callous Disregard and Dr. Shiv Chopra's book -- Corrupt to the Core: Memoirs of a Health Canada Whistleblower. I know Dr. Chopra as man of enormous integrity and courage. For many years he worked for the Drug Advisory Bureau of Health Canada.
His book will take you into the heart of the beast. Each country has its own beast. We must understand how this system works or pay the ultimate price -- loss of our health.
Russell L. Blaylock, MD
Theoretical Neurosciences Research, LLC
Visiting Professor Biology
You can also read Dr. Andrew Wakefield's own eye-opening statement about the study, the British Medical Journal's eventual response to it, and the circumstances surrounding the controversy here.
· 1Too many articles to cite here; see the references of any of my articles on the subject
· 2 See reference 3, Chapter 1 -- Callous Disregard