The pro-vaccine forces have now written a book, Autism’s False Prophets by Paul A. Offit, reviewed in a kindly manner Jan. 12 by Donald G. McNeil Jr. of the New York Times at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/13/health/13auti.html?_r=2&scp=2&sq=Autism&st=cse
One of the arguments advanced by Offit and others interviewed, is that the autism epidemic is caused by genetics. However, it appears only logical to me that no epidemic can have only genetic causes. There must be other causes as well.
Several people quoted in the article say that the research proves vaccines are not tied to autism. However, the book by Bryan Jepson, MD, which I have been studying goes over these studies in detail and shows the flaws. There are plenty of flaws. Jepson’s conclusion: nothing at all has been proven so far. Offit’s conclusion: vaccines are vindicated. Both these men are respected MD’s. I’m going with Jepson’s careful, step by step analysis of studies supporting both sides.
How about the argument that vaccines overwhelm babies’ immune systems? The New York Times says, “Dr. Offit notes that current shots against 14 diseases contain 153 proteins, while babies cope with thousands of new foreign proteins daily in food, dirt and animal hair, and that the smallpox vaccine that nearly every American over age 30 got as a child contained 200 proteins.”
This seems to me to be unrelated information. We are not talking about harmful proteins. We are talking about harmful viruses. Jepson describes a study by English researcher A.J. Wakefield. Wakefield’s theory is that the measles virus creates an abnormal immune response. The damaged immune system then allows the measles virus to linger in a subacute, chronic state, causing gut inflammation. The resulting holes in the intestinal wall allow various toxins to pass into the bloodstream, causing secondary brain injury and subsequent autism.
Jepson (p. 82) describes a study Wakefield did, published in 2002 in Molecular Psychiatry, looking at 91 autistic patients. He tested for measles virus RNA in the ileal lymph nodes next to the small intestine. Seventy-five of these 91 autistic children had the measles virus RNA in these lymph nodes. Of kids in the control group, only five of 70 had measles RNA in these lymph nodes. Now, that’s a significant difference.
Jepson (p. 82) quoted another researcher, P. Ashwood, who used a different method and confirmed measles-virus antigen in 87.5 percent of ilial biopsy specimens from 10 autistic children, compared to none found in the 18 controls. The researchers tested for other viruses (rubella, mumps, adenovirus, herpes simplex 1 and 2, and HIV) but did not find them. Ashwood’s study has not been published, according to Jepson’s notes.
The remaining question, wrote Jepson, was whether the measles RNA found was from a vaccine or from a “wild” strain. Japanese researchers isolated measles virus from blood samples from a small group of autistic children. In every case, the RNA sequence was consistent with the vaccine strain, wrote Jepson (p. 83) This study by Kawashima H. et al was published in the journal abbreviated Dig Dis Sci in April, 2000.
I hereby challenge the New York Times reporters to read Jepson’s book before they write any more. And also, stop the bias. I can see a bias just from the teaser at the end of the NYT article:
“Next week: In the Personal Health column, Jane E. Brody will write about efforts, so far fruitless, to find a cure for autism.”
There–the newspaper has already judged that the efforts to find a cure are fruitless. I challenge Jane Brody to watch the videos I posted a few days ago (http://technorati.com/videos/youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D-fouye8Y4bg), documenting the recovery of several children. She needs to demonstrate to me that she is following the expected journalism ethics of impartiality. I am not seeing it, currently.–Phyllis Wheeler
Jepson, Bryan, MD, and Jane Johnson, Changing the Course of Autism, Sentient Publications, 2007, 354 pages