How on earth does anyone know who or what to believe. The misinformation, corruption, pandering and spinning does nothing to help the kids and adults who just need to find out what, why, how and where to go from here. Isn’t it time for the finger-pointing, blaming and ridicule to just stop, lets put that all to bed and get on with the more important work of figuring out WHY, 1 in 6 of our kids has a developmental difficulty! I am not saying it is not important to vindicate Dr. Andrew Wakefield, if he truly did not commit fraud. It just perplexes me to think about how far we haven’t come! 13 years, and this is still a main focus of discussion, not just about the hypothesis per se, but the arguments, the rhetoric, the vindictiveness of those who try to discredit and those who try to verify… one long, long argument on who is right and who is wrong. In the meantime, more and more of the nation’s kids are being diagnosed and/or medicated! Let’s keep moving forward with the business of figuring out the puzzle, not adding smoke screens to an already cloudy discussion.
PR Newswire has this article this morning: ” … Well-known Whistleblower Calls for Withdrawal of British Medical Journal Article Alleging Fraud
AUSTIN, Texas, Nov. 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — The Strategic Autism Initiative (SAI), an autism research foundation, reported today that an ongoing investigation into the allegations of fraud against Dr. Andrew Wakefield concerning a paper published in The Lancet in February, 1998 is being conducted by an internationally respected scientist, Dr. David Lewis. Early results of his investigation, which were published on November 9, in The British Medical Journal (BMJ) and The Journal Nature, reveal that The Lancet paper in question accurately reported the results provided to Dr. Wakefield by the collaborating specialists at the Royal Free Hospital in London, contrary to the findings of a series of articles published by the BMJ in January 2011.
According to Dr. Lewis, “There was no fraud committed by Dr. Wakefield. The crux of the matter in Wakefield’s case, so far as research fraud is concerned, is whether Wakefield fabricated the diagnosis of non-specific colitis for 11 of the 12 Lancet children as claimed in Table 1. Drs. Paul Dhillon’s and Andrew Anthony’s grading sheets clearly show that Wakefield did not fabricate the diagnoses of non-specific colitis reported in the Lancet article.” In addition to his work as a scientist, Dr. Lewis directs the Research Misconduct Project of the National Whistleblower Center in Washington, D.C. …”
James T. Randall says
I don’t have the answers. (Well D’uh). To me, recognising that is important. I am constantly looking for information that I can apply to dealing with the place we are at TODAY. The exact mechanism of the causes isn’t nearly as important as doing everything we can to remediate the specific functional problems of those affected.
My biological daughter was diagnosed with fairly severe FAS(multiple drug exposed), so I guess I have the knowledge of the basic cause – for what that’s worth. She has also displayed very ‘autistic-like’ symptoms. Figuring out where the line is exactly drawn between diagnoses isn’t going to help anyone on a daily basis. If there IS a discovery of some of the things that may precipitate autistic brain changes then every single bit of effort needs to be made to explore that mechanism.
I have fewer problems with Dr. Wakefiled’s research methods or possible errors/manipulations, than I do with the sweeping conclusions he and others have made from them. From all accounts he/they try to imply that ALL autism is caused by the single source he researched, and can therefore be translated into actions that will defintely mitigate all future problems. BALDERDASH! It reminds me of the old Bhuddist saying,”Follow those who seek the truth – Beware those who find it”.
Autism is quite clearly a gene expression influenced biomolecular brain difference that has MANY causes. Due to the loosely defined diagnostic symptomology, autism appears to encompass an incredibly wide array of overlapping variations in neurodevelopmental difficulties. The simple fact that people who have never received a single vaccination in their entire lives are regularly diagnosed as ‘being on the spectrum’ points to multiple routes of causality.
Sensationalising his claims through popular media and exploiting the autistic community to ‘Buy the Next Best-selling Book’ that was written on the subject by less than qualified authors(sic) makes him look like a carnival huckster. This is a real shame as he may actually have something important to add to the process of scientific discovery. The application of too quickly adopted treatments based on erroneous methodology has historically led to detrimental outcomes in many medical conditions. That’s why I have always taken the position that I will wait and see what comes of further research in the field.
Speaking of further research: I recently discovered a briliant young autistic woman’s Blog. She was originally diagnosed with PDD-NOS, but believes if she were diagnosed today that she would be described as having Asperger’s Syndrome. She is a recent Kansas University graduate with degrees in biochemistry and English lit. In her post from Nov. 11, 2011 she delves into the difficult task of reviewing and explaining (simplifying) a recent research publication about brain tissue differences in deceased subjects who had regressive autism. I found it highly useful in understanding the mechanisms involved. Though I must admit it is still highly technical and a somewhat difficult read, she has managed to include adequate cross-references and links to background information that aids in explaining the topic. I took the better part of an entire day to follow my way through all the text, illustrations, and references – AND still be ‘there’ to homeschool my daughter. You may find it interesting.
BTW – I was delighted to recently discover your Blog and have shared links to it in a few places. Great work!
James T. Randall says
Sorry, the way I wrote the link reference messed up. I’m new to this Blog platform and wrote it as if I would in a webpage’s code. Here is the raw text version that you may need to copy/paste into a browser.