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Evidence of a Science Bending Group Within the CDC?
August 8, 2003

Commentary by Teresa Binstock

As summarized by Rosie Waterhouse's news item, a transcript of the CDC's secret meeting about thimerosal effects indicates that a small group within the CDC acknowledges major flaws within its initial study of the autism epidemic's link to vaccinal ethylmercury.

Despite this awareness, this small but influential group within the CDC (i.e. the group that enacted the fatally flawed "study") has touted and continues to use the study's "conclusions" -- e.g. on the webpages of the American Academy of Pediatrics (spring, 2000) and at the recent Institute of Medicine (IOM) hearing (July 16, 2001).

What the CDC's secret meeting transcript conveys is that the study's data about autism were insufficient. As a result, conclusions about rates of autism in the pediatric cohort from several HMOs in the study are fictional. Yet invalid findings do not stop this CDC group from continuing to disseminate misleading conclusions.

Importantly, as indicated by reporters' rhetoric in recent Boston Globe and Lancet articles about the IOM hearing, a tradition of respect for the CDC enables the phony conclusions to be presented as if valid.

Paragraphs that follow are an attempt to set forth a summary of what this "rogue group" within the CDC has achieved and continues to achieve. The seriously flawed CDC "study" -- initially distributed as RL Davis et al, spring 2000 -- had at least three major flaws:

a.. The HMO data had major under-reporting of autism;

b.. Data analysis by Davis et al did not include susceptible subgroups likely to be more affected by injected ethylmercury;

c.. Davis et al relied upon the EPA's "safe" limit for methylmercury, which had been derived in relation to gradually ingested mercury and which, therefore, minimized the fact that during the 1990s human infants and toddlers had been injected with bolus doses of ethylmercury, which persisted in their bodies during a post-vaccinal, extended pulse of cytokines, which alter permeability of intestinal tissue and of the blood-brain barrier.

These several factors -- and others identified by analysts, e.g., Thomas Kurt, MD -- indicate that the rate of autism "documented" by Davis et al was an extreme under-representation of the actual rates of autism among children within the HMOs whose data Davis et al utilized.

Despite these flaws the CDC's rogue team has continued to distribute and utilize the flawed data and the misleading conclusions derived.

The CDC's rogue team has stated and continues to state that an association with autism was not found. Note: this statement is inaccurate and is quite different from what the CDC ought be stating, namely, that the study design was inadequate for evaluating a link between thimerosal (TMS; 49.6% ethylmercury by weight) and the increased incidence of autism.

Yet despite the flawed study, the CDC's team continues to tout the study's "conclusions" as if valid, which they are not!

At the IOM hearing (7.16.01), the CDC presented summaries of its "Phase 1 and Phase 2" studies (i.e. several versions of what had been called RL Davis et al, spring of 2000) as if the Phase 1 and Phase 2 studies had had valid methodologies and had thereby derived valid conclusions about autism and thimerosal.

In fact, during the hearing, the CDC appeared content to convey the impression that conclusions from the Phase 1 and Phase 2 studies were legitimate. At the IOM hearing, the impression conveyed by the U Washington presenter was that there was no need to study what had already been found to be non-existent.

In my opinion, this requires a severe leap of faith.

Even Alice in Wonderland might pause incredulously. The CDC acknowledges (off the record and in secret meetings) that the Phase 1 and Phase 2 Davis et al studies were seriously flawed in regard to autism, yet the CDC is happy to proceed with a Phase 3 study that omits autism -- because, so we were told, there was no finding of an autism/thimerosal study in the Phase 1 and Phase 2 studies.

In other words, despite the fact that the CDC's Davis et al methodology was fatally flawed in regard to autism and thimerosal, the CDC's rogue team and their U of Washington allies seem quite willing to continue diverting attention away from the substantial likelihood that physician-injected ethylmercury has been an etiologic factor in many cases of autism and related disorders.

If ADHD, Tourette's, PDD, and PDD/NOS are added, then the number of children adversely affected by physician-injected thimerosal is potentially huge. At the IOM hearing, presenter Mark Blaxill summarized epidemiological similarities between autism's increase and the increased use of vaccines containing TMs

He also expressed dismay that the CDC group most responsible for developing and encouraging TMs-injections into neonates (via the HepB vaccine) is the group that also has been conducting and superintending studies intended to evaluate the relationship between autism and injected-ethylmercury.

Given the 1990s history of injecting thimerosal and the recent history of CDC-led "studies" about thimerosal, the CDC's conflict of interest is clear.

The actions by the CDC's rogue team appear to be masking and diverting attention away from thimerosal's adverse effects in hundreds of thousands of children.

Excerpts from the CDC's secret meeting -- obtain via the Freedom of Information act -- were presented to IOM by representatives of SafeMinds. As an official submission to the hearing, the SafeMinds letter to IOM is to be posted on the IOM website -- as will other materials that implicate thimerosal injections as having damaged many of America's children (and those in other countries too).

Having the CDC team that developed and encouraged early infant injections with TMs also be running studies about TMs is akin to having Al Capone investigate the liquor business in 1930s Chicago.

That the CDC's conflict of interest is having a real effect is seen in five factors:

a.. The CDC continues to trumpet the Phase 1 and Phase 2 conclusions as if valid, which they are not;

b.. The CDC continues to utilize the EPA's so-called "safe" limit for ingested organic mercury despite the fact that vaccinal ethylmercury was injected;

c.. The CDC continues to perform data analysis while ignoring the fact that some children are more susceptible to adverse sequelae from bolus exposures to toxic metals;

d.. The CDC is allowing a major "Phase 3" study to proceed without autism as a focus;

e.. The CDC's rogue team uses its organization's prestige as a lever whereby the flawed conclusions autism/thimerosal conclusions of Davis et al are presented as if acceptable and useful -- e.g. in allowing Phase 3 to omit autism.

At the IOM hearing, an autism-parent suggested that the HMO data utilized by the CDC ought be analyzed by professionals selected by trusted autism organizations. Not surprisingly, the CDC's Dr. Chen -- apparently a leading actor in the development and use of the HepB for neonates and infants -- took the microphone and offered reasons why independent analysis ought not occur.

After the meeting, Beth Clay -- assistant to Congressman Dan Burton -- commented that the CDC seems quite ready to allow new "outsiders" to view the HMO data so long as the CDC selects who those outside experts are. In my opinion, outside analysis of the CDC's primary data for Davis et al ought occur; and the analysts ought be persons not within and not hand-picked by the CDC.

Furthermore, the CDC's conflict of interest already has a track record of diverting attention away from the link between injected ethylmercury and autism. A solution is needed to the CDC's conflict of interest. By continuing to misuse Davis et al conclusions -- the CDC's rogue team continues to shape public opinion and near-future research regarding the link between thimerosal and autism.

Families for Early Autism Treatment (FEAT)

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