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Conspiracy? I Think Not!

By June 2, 2010

It's easy to get caught up in the idea that the rise in autism spectrum diagnoses is related to a conspiracy of some sort.  After all, the idea is touted in an awful lot of blogs and websites which suggest a causal connection between autism and a huge range of technological advances and changes.  They show a temporal coincidence (the rise/first occurence of autism happened at the same time as X), and then say something like "Coincidence?  I think not!"

Just today, a commenter wrote this response to one of my recent blog posts:

There was never a reported case of autism until the 1930's which was shortly after the use of mercury as a preservative in vaccines. No connection?

In fact, of course, there couldn't possibly be a connection.  No one was being diagnosed with what we call "autism spectrum disorders" in the 1930's because Dr. Kanner, who coined the term "autism" (Greek for "self"), didn't do so until 1943.

And the rapid rise of autism SPECTRUM diagnoses, which is what most conspiracists are reacting to, didn't occur until after the term "autism spectrum disorder" was added to the diagnostic literature.  That happened in 1994, when Asperger syndrome and PDD-NOS -- two very large categories of "sub clinical" autism were added to what is now considered a spectrum disorder.

Obviously, I can't tell you whether there is some conspiracy somewhere to injure our children - though I seriously doubt that such is the case.  I don't know what causes autism in the vast majority of cases (though I do know that about 20% of cases can be explained by specific issues ranging from Fragile X Syndrome to maternal use of certain drugs).

I can say, however, that the fast rise in autism spectrum diagnoses did occur at the same time that the diagnostic criteria expanded radically -- and at the same time that autism as a category was added to the record-keeping system for the Department of Education in the United States.

Coincidence?  I think not!

June 2, 2010 at 12:03 pm
(1) Sandy says:

“The central belief of every moron is that he is the victim of a mysterious conspiracy against his common rights and true deserts. He ascribes all his failure to get on in the world, all of his congenital incapacity and damfoolishness, to the machinations of werewolves assembled in Wall Street, or some other such den of infamy.” ~ H. L. Mencken ~

Did you know there’s actual studies about how people come to believe conspiracies? It’s pretty interesting stuff. A person who believes in one conspiracy theory tends to believe in others; a person who does not believe in one conspiracy theory tends not to believe another. There is of course psychological origins to this. It’s more consoling to think that complications and upheavals in human affairs are created by human beings rather than factors beyond human control. For many, it is human nature.
The thing with conspiracy is they are hardly ever proven correct.
How it applies to autism I guess really does have psychologic implications. Human nature is to have answers, and when life occurrences happen and there are no answers, people will create some, and other people who have the great need for answers will believe and follow mainly due to the ‘feel better’ after-effect.

I will never believe the country of which I live intentionally set out to harm people. It can be easy to believe some things, many weren’t even born or were just young children during the time of horrible outbreaks, nor can many relate to those parents begging this same government to stop their children from dying. I also had choices as a parent and regardless of what someone may have informed me of prior, I still had the responsibility for the choices. Human nature also is not accepting the results of choices.

There was too much going on in the 1990′s to attribute the rise in autism rates to just one event. I tend to have the opinion back in the 1970′s with the ADHD epidemic, those children were misdiagnosed. There’s also good evidence a generation of parents hid their children just has they his their pregnant unmarried daughters. At one time in society, families worked very hard at hiding things that didn’t fit societies norms. There is no way humanly possible to know what the rates ever were until they started to be counted, but that simple lack of how society was put a great big opening for conspiracy.
Coincidence, yes but proof no.

June 2, 2010 at 12:13 pm
(2) autism says:

Sandy – much though I hate to say this, there really have been many documented cases of researchers hiding findings, and of the American government intentionally placing citizens in harm’s way without their consent.

For example, the tobacco industry hid evidence that cigarettes cause cancer. And the military had soldiers run into the fallout from nuclear explosions to study the physical outcomes of exposure to radiation.

I guess my point isn’t “trust the US Government because it would never mislead or harm a citizen.” Rather, my point is “don’t assume a conspiracy exists just because there is a temporal coincidence and some blogger suggests a coincidence is proof of a conspiracy.”

My point is also “check your facts.” Obviously no one can cite incidence of a disorder that has not yet been given a name…

And the fact is that the world has changed in many ways since 1943… or even since 1994. IMO there is no good way to determine whether or if it’s the laptops, the cell phones, hip hop music, cable TV, air fresheners, anti-bacterial soaps or any other innovation that’s responsible for a rise in autism.

The fact of a coincidence is not proof of a conspiracy!


June 2, 2010 at 12:37 pm
(3) barbaraj says:

“coincidence,I think not”….funny how that happens isn’t it :)
There is a line between epidemiology and coincidence, at some point the weight of evidence pushes toward a logical conclusion or fails to show relevance, epidemiology is the foundation for logic in health studies. At this point, yes there is a temporal relationship between vaccines and regressive autism. Only regressive autism. Epidemiological evidence is strong for a causal relationship, scientific evidence has proven strong ,as well, only the questionable counting head studies that have been tweaked show otherwise. One only needs to talk to a few pediatricians, to get a better understanding of the real numbers, they see the kids, they know there is something very wrong going on outside of number counts or additional pathology being grouped under a heading. Conspiracy, no, no one wanted to hurt these children, comspiracy to cover up, yes, what would they do after causing such a disaster? The best way to fix this is to take steps and blame those steps on pressure from parents, steps like removing thimerosal. To protect the industry, they have taken more steps, promoting fraudulent studies, breaking up lots for spaced distribution ( preventing hot lot alarms), pushing media propaganda, (make them feel like conspiracists, or internet loons, or antivaccine liars). As of now, it’s not working, all we want is a safer program, one where independent labs don’t have to call the fda to report dangerous contamination, one where quality control is policed and our children are offered the best. One where we are told of the risks, where autism and other effects are put into perspective for us, so we can decide. Maybe that perspective will include a recognized common genetic link, as example, not all children with strep got rheumatic fever, the risk for autism probably will be low for some, and high for others.

June 2, 2010 at 12:58 pm
(4) Bill says:

There is a word for inventing causation for unrelated events; apophrenia, from the Greek for “out of mind” (commonly spelled apophenia because in the first cited work the typesetter misspelled it!)
A classic case of apophrenia was the witch burnings in Europe at the end of the Medieval warming period. Hailstorm? SOMEONE had to be responsible, and woe to the person who had done something remarkable just before the hailstorm. The politically correct masses were quite convinced that witches were causing global cooling, and the only thing that has changed in the intervening millennium is now we believe it’s warming caused by humans.

June 2, 2010 at 1:06 pm
(5) Sandy says:

Tobacco and the military are not good compatibles. One, those are adult things and choices. Hiding or revealing smoking causes cancer really didn’t stop the use of it. People like myself take the responsibility knowing the risks. I agree testing radiation is wrong however being in the military exposes that person to high risks of many things.

Conspiracy really is not to trust the Government and the idea is depending on who is paying you depends on if you loose your standards of ethics and morals. For some, this obviously is true. People who work for the Government are human beings, just like everyone else and human beings do make mistakes, it is in fact human nature. This not only can happen within the Government, it happens in the private sector as well but to assume every person employed by a certain entity turns into a rotten, untrustworthy person is conspiracy. Human being have to make a living as well, but many are targets of criticism for their choice of professions.

Along with the TV’s and hand soap, one has to look at industrial advancements like the microwave and plastics. Some smart person some where should had thought to test heating them, shouldn’t they have?. Drinking water as well, many cities have found traces of all sorts of RX’s in it and human beings should all have known not to throw old RX’s in the trash, shouldn’t they have? I don’t think autism has a single cause, but a combination in which the majority do not end up with autism, but why do some.

I’m not sure why the vaccine relation to autism only relates to regressive autism when for many, vaccines start at birth. It’s really hard to detect the symptom’s of autism in a new born. Not sure why talking to a pediatrician to get the better understanding of the autism numbers. Most pediatricians aren’t qualified to diagnose autism to begin with, and each individual practice of a doctor can vary to the amount of children they see. One doctor can have patients all with autism due to word of mouth while another peds doc doesn’t have one patient with autism. And we’ve all heard the storys where a child’s ped doc said there’s nothing wrong with the child.

June 2, 2010 at 2:52 pm
(6) barbaraj says:

Absoulutely Bill, and a wonderful analogy, the masses were frightened, they joined in the witch hunts, the governments assisted, and now… we have Wakefield. It was rarely the “lunatic” fringe as one would like to think, that caused such sad historic outcomes, it was the opinions suggested by leaders’ pronouncments of unfounded, yet powerful, circulating propaganda.

June 2, 2010 at 3:01 pm
(7) Sandy says:

Unfortunately for Mr. Wakefield, the 1900′s and 2000′s have much more science than they had in the 1600′s however what the two have in common is how mass hysteria is created and then believed to be true by others without science to back it up. Someone had to be responsible, and that’s what Mr. Wakefield provided. It’s a practice that’s been used for 100′s of years and still goes on in present day.

June 2, 2010 at 3:08 pm
(8) Sandy says:

Actually, the Witch Hunts of Salem very much was religious based, and the governor did step in and dissolved the local Court of inquiry and ended that hunt. If one researches the behavior of those 3 girls, they might have had autism.

June 2, 2010 at 4:40 pm
(9) Harold L Doherty says:

“the 1900’s and 2000’s have much more science than they had in the 1600’s however what the two have in common is how mass hysteria is created and then believed to be true by others without science to back it up”

Sandy you wouldn’t be referring to the Swine Flu Pandemic?Panic/Mass Hysteria would you?

See “The swine flu pandemic that never was” in the National Post.


Despite lower than expected H1N1 in many areas of North America the great Swine Flu Pandemic never swept NA or the World:

In Canada:

“Health Canada planned for 15% to 35% of Canadians to contract swine flu and 34,000 to 138,000 to be hospitalized. These latter figures would have overwhelmed our health care system. Thousands of those infected were expected to die.

But instead of 35% of us coming down with swine flu, or even 15%, in the end less the one-tenth of 1% of the population got the disease and just one in 60 of those infected died as a result.”

How is that for uninformed science creating mass hysteria?

June 2, 2010 at 4:46 pm
(10) Mary says:

A real chicken vs. egg argument nomatter how you may want to try to scramble it. Certainly, cases of autism existed before Kanner decided on how he would describe them… or else there would have been no need for him to create the description.

Same with the change dates to the DSM. Cases of PDD-NOS and Aspergers were certainly being observed before 1994. How many cases, we’ll never know because it is very likely that the doctors observing them wound up putting them in a variety of different other DSM slots that they had available to them. However, it seems likely that there were enough cases being observed and perceived as being “autism-like” enough to create the pressure for the medical community to come up with a specturm description of autism as part of the 1994 DSM revision. The intended result of the change was, no doubt, more consistent diagnoses of autism-like cases, so if the change did it’s job, then the numbers of cases in that category would have naturally increased. Presumeably, the rate of increase would have been matched by similar decreases in the variety of “other DSM categories” where these cases may have been put before the change, but things like dual diagnoses affect the rates and cloud the issue further…

So, how many cases were there and how long before the description was created and/or each time its been amended? Unless every case is reassessed each time, the answer is completely subjective and prone to a HUGE margin of error… a real chicken vs. egg argument nomatter how you may want to try to scramble it.

June 2, 2010 at 4:49 pm
(11) Sandy says:

Actually, no of course I wasn’t referring Swine Flu Pandemic and I personally didn’t see mass hysteria during that, did you? However the H1N1 was very real, some people died, some were pregnant women so there was real proof to be concerned but on the flip side, there was no true evidence of witches but people still believed they were witches or the mass hysteria which reached more than one country that Wakefield created about the MMR.

June 2, 2010 at 6:09 pm
(12) barbaraj says:

well ..for all of the real conspiracy theorists, it wasn’t Wakefield that attended Bilderberg, it was Sebilius..
I’m new to this “stuff” today..seems there really is a group who have made this Bilderberg/new world order conspiracy..come to life.

June 2, 2010 at 7:17 pm
(13) Sandy says:

I don’t think you’re as new as you claim to be. Since 1954, the Bilderberg group has convened government, business, academic and journalistic representatives from the U.S., Canada and Europe with the express purpose of exploring the future of the North Atlantic community. It’s probably a good thing Wakefield wasn’t invited to those meetings.

June 2, 2010 at 7:58 pm
(14) barbaraj says:

I had a friend send me a dvd on the Bilderberg conspiracy, and no, I don’t have more than an outlined idea of what this is about. Another friend briefed me, however, using autism as example of control of population. Personally, I felt a bit bad, I sorta’ blew her off, and thought she was nutty. I’m going into this completely uninformed, and will see. It seemed to me ,just in conversation with the second friend ,that this is taken seriously and beyond, almost religious in the scope of belief. No in my world I know far more about max/ruby, little bear/ and spongebob.

June 2, 2010 at 8:02 pm
(15) barbaraj says:

I will add, I’m guessing I have to watch that dvd now so I understand better why people are “flying” with this conspiracy theory.

June 2, 2010 at 9:18 pm
(16) Twyla says:

re: “Obviously, I can’t tell you whether there is some conspiracy somewhere to injure our children…” I don’t believe there is a conspiracy to intentionally injure our children, but I do believe that there are a bunch of conspiracies to obfuscate the injuries that some children are incurring due to vaccine reactions, and conspiracies to deny the fact that vaccines are an extremely significant causal factor in autism.

I don’t have time or energy to debate the increase in autism right now. But autism called by any name would exist in our folklore and history (even if there was not an official diagnosis) if it had existed in anywhere near the number and severity that it exists today.

I’ve cited and debated studies before, but gotta go now…

June 2, 2010 at 11:41 pm
(17) MJ says:

While I don’t think there is a “conspiracy” to cover up injury to our children, I don’t think it is rational to blame the still increasing number of children falling under the “spectrum” diagnosis on the diagnostic change in 1994. If our medical community is still catching up with a change from 16 years ago, I don’t have much hope that they could find their posterior portion with both hands and a flash light.

The same goes for the other common excuses such as awareness and the like – I am sure that they play some role but taken together or as a whole cannot account for the increase over the past 16 years. If you don’t think this is the case then I suggest you go back to the studies and look over the the numbers again until you see the pattern in the numbers.

The question shouldn’t be whether autism is increasing but why. And all of this talk about conspiracies and diagnostic changes and the like does nothing but distract from that question.

I don’t know about you, but I think it is more important to figure out why our children have autism and how to help them recover from it than to spend even more time debating whether autism is more common today than it was 16 years ago.

The point is moot. 1 out of ever 100 children in the US has a diagnosis of autism as of a few years ago. Today, that number is likely to be even higher.

Stop debating how we got to this point and start asking where do we go from here.

June 3, 2010 at 12:45 am
(18) barbaraj says:

It is what it is, it’s really as simple as that. Political and corporate pressure to provide quick studies ,indict brilliant men,flood all forms of media hailing vaccines as safe and effective is how things are done in 2010. I want to know how Murch kept his job.

June 3, 2010 at 1:08 am
(19) Sandy says:

Maybe when the majority stop using the autism rates to prove a theory, people can move onto where we go from here. It’s sort of hard to avoid the issue of the autism rates way back when to today when it’s a part of almost every conversation going on. It’ll take more than a web blogger for that to ever change but until that day ever comes, I think this web blogger addressed it well.

June 3, 2010 at 2:13 am
(20) Twyla says:

Regarding the expanded diagnosis theory, I think JB Handley did a good job of discussing that here:

And even Dr. Thomas Insel, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health and Chair of the federal government’s Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC), has said that the increase is real.

June 3, 2010 at 5:04 am
(21) Harold L Doherty says:


I respectfully disagree. I don’t doubt that some people died from H1N1 and every death is a real loss no argument on that. However the numbers of deaths, as indicated in the article, and the number of persons contracting H1N1 were a very small fraction of what was predicted by health authorities from the World Health Organization to the US and Canada. Far more people die each year from regular influenza.

The news was filled daily with dire predictions and warnings from health officials. I would consider that officially induced hysteria.

Millions of dollars that could have been spent on other health care issues was diverted to producing H1N1 vaccines. Undoubtedly some of that money could have been spent saving lives of those actually suffering from various deadly conditions.

The article I linked to does not suggest people should not listen to public health authorities but it does indicate we should do so with a grain of salt.

The Council of Europe, a parliamentary body of national European representatives, is investigating the ALLEGED H1N1 Swine Flu Pandemic.

June 3, 2010 at 7:34 am
(22) autism says:

As a rank outsider, I can’t comment on whether the H1N1 scare was intended to be a realistic reflection on the risks – or something else entirely. Of course, it’s always possible that there was an international plan to overstate the risk and thus rake in the cash… but I suspect it wasn’t that simple or that calculated.

As regards the rise of autism, IMO there are far too many confounding factors to draw a meaningful conclusion about whether and to what degree it’s “real” or “apparent.”

Certainly there are many people with an autism diagnosis today who would have received other diagnoses (or a dire punishments) years ago. By the same token, the California studies suggest a signficant “real” increase. But then the UK study suggests almost no “real” increase. But then…

I’m not expecting definitive knowledge about anything autism related anytime soon!

Meanwhile, though, I find it hard to believe that it’s possible to organize large multinational corporations and governments to do anything in a coordinated way… which makes me doubt the likelihood of anything along the lines of a large, planned, carefully managed staging of anything at all… I mean, look at the debacles we see every day even within single corporations or governments!


June 3, 2010 at 11:18 am
(23) Mary says:

There was some evidence of mass hysteria over h1n1 where I live with people duking it out in inordinately long lineups that formed in the first week the vaccines came out here in Alberta. The police were called in on one occasion as I recall. The vaccines were late in being released, so we were well into the flu season before they were available and people were becoming quite panicked. Also there were reports of people flipping out over people who coughed near them. Whether one classifies these types of behaviors as “mass hysteria” or not is somewhat a subject issue.

From the news, it seemed very clear to me that the government health agencies in several areas were having difficulty deciding how to manage the distribution of vaccines to: (a) abate public fears over both the disease and the vaccine at the same time, (b) manage somewhat limited supplies of the vaccine (at least in Canada), and (c) attempt to achieve a adequate percentage of vaccinated individuals to achieve a “herd immunity” before the flu season had come and gone (as it does naturally every year).

Conspiracy theories aside, I think all the hand washing propaganda was actually more effective in curtailing a possible pandemic outbreak than anything else… at least here where the vaccine was distributed too late into the flu season and the overall vaccination rates petered out long before the desired “herd” percentage of the population was ever vaccinated. Whether all the heavy use of hand sanitizers this year has just set us up for some more resistant varieties of bacteria next year remains to be seen.

June 3, 2010 at 5:50 pm
(24) hera says:

I’ve never believed in a conspiracy.I do believe that vaccines can injure some children though.But how it happens; just lots of people doing their jobs…
Vaccine manufacturers have always known that vaccines carry side effects for some people, hence thebvaccine injury compensation boarding and sucessfully getting some protection against being sued. And their thought process is probably something along the lines of ; “well, a few get sacrificed to save the many..”
Drug companies want their products to do well, so they avoid studying reactions in vulnerable populations and truncate the range a little bit..( after all no one else studied premature babies, those with immune deficiencies or mitochondrial disorders) and it would put their product at a disadvantage if they tested it and found problems with giving it to premature babies, for example) and then salve their consciences by listing contra indications on the package inserts that no one reads, and mentioning in fine print that they have not studied it in all kinds of vulnerable sub groups…
Harried doctors sometimes don’t read the fine print on the vaccine inserts (For example; ask the average doctor whether there is still thimerosal in adult flu shots and you may be surprised how many don’t know it is still in the shots they are giving to their adult patients), and after all one of the assessments of fitness of a pediatric doctors’ practice is the percentage of children immunized…Its good for the herd, too..
And if a child reacts ; well they console themselves that it must be very rare, sometimes send the parent away (we don’t deal with autism) and avoid ever finding out what happened to the child.(Either the parents were making it up and the child is fine, or the child probably turned into another Einstein and is doing great anyway…). The child may of course be non verbal and later institutionalized, but they don’t have to see that part of the outcome..
Newspapers know the pharma add companies like it when they run pro vaccine pieces and their job is to keep the newspaper afloat. Researchers need funding and they know that genetics is more likely to be funded than environmental research,and vaccine research, if you find the wrong answer, is a hot potato that is bad for the career..genetics research is much safer.
Lots of people just doing their jobs. No conspiracy, just a mess.

June 3, 2010 at 7:19 pm
(25) Sandy says:

Most people don’t know if they have immune deficiencies or mitochondrial disorders until they present themselves, and even then the triggers for each can be different. Doctors aren’t all that advanced either, it can take quite a well before it can be known what exact disorder a person might have. The Poling case, where the child was sick all the time, it took some years to figure out she had inherited mitochondrial. No one knows they’re allergic to something until their exposed. There is always a risk when it comes to any medical product and I don’t think even for vaccines it’s a “well, a few get sacrificed to save the many”. There’s always been risks to vaccines and wouldn’t science be great to detect which ones will have those known side effects? I agree, tests prior should be done genetically but even when that day comes, I think the human body will make it virtually impossible to know what triggers will effect each human being specifically. They’ll know some ethnic groups are higher risks for some things, but there’s no way to know of that ethnic group which ones it’ll effect. When science get’s that exact, other consequences will follow. People will again strive for a super race and eliminate any who carry faulty genes.

I’m not sure what doctor wouldn’t know Thimerosal was in adult doses of flu vaccine and I’m not sure why that matters. Adults choose or not choose that vaccine. I’m not sure why one would expect a peds doc to treat the autism a child has. Most treat colds and ear infections and I would had taken my child to that doctor for that, and taken him else where for autism related issues. I needed a different doctor to test for chromosomes, a different one to address GI issues, a different one to address precocious puberty, a different one to address the sleep disorder. I may never know what caused my child’s autism, I don’t believe some one is hiding those answers from me because the world goes around and around over who get’s paid what and what profit there is to be made.

June 4, 2010 at 8:54 pm
(26) hera says:

re adults choosing to take a vaccine or not; I suppose it goes to informed choice. If a pregnant woman chooses what they are told is a vaccine with no mercury in it, and they are given mercury containing vaccine against their wishes, they did not in fact make that choice at all.
Similarly if someone is told that vaccines are completely safe ( even a baby could take 100,000 and be fine) then they are in no way making an informed choice, if the truth is that vaccines can in fact produce side effects.
Are people choosing to hide things; I suspect it is more likely that they are putting themselves in a postion of not having to find out.For example, hypothetically, if a physicians’ practice is rated by the insurance company partly on how high the vaccination rate is, then the physician might have a nasty moral dilemma if he/she actually took the time to read studies and research the contents of vaccines and risks of side effects.
In some cases ignorance is indeed bliss.
I recently had a conversation with a pediatrician who had an interesting reaction when I told him how much mercury was in the multiple dose flu shots; his response; “No, they would not do that!” I offered to spend five minutes and show him ..he did not have the time…
Had another conversation with someone online at the height of H1N1 vaccinations.He said his nurse reassured him before she gave him the shot, that vaccines with mercury in them were an old wives tale, it was all taken out of all vaccines years ago…
(Cough.Apparently the CDC and the vaccine manufacturers inserts are incorrect…) I’m guessing she just assumed it must be true.Who would put mercury back in shots, right?

June 4, 2010 at 10:53 pm
(27) Lisa Jo says:

Hera – to be fair, if doctors warned patients against everything that could have side effects, they would prescribe nothing. In fact, even food, fresh air and sunshine can all have negative side effects.

I’m not quite sure what you’re recommending that doctors do or say. Yes, there are common sense rules we can follow (avoid sunburn, rinse your fruit before eating it, etc.).

But in the long run, unless we’re willing to forgo treatment for illness, we are absolutely going to be exposing ourselves to potential side effects. And if we’re allergic, say, to penecillin, we’re going to get sick. Does that mean doctors are to blame for giving us antibiotics to combat bacterial infections?

Let’s say that a doctor recommends you avoid vaccines because of the potential side effects – and your child is injured through a preventable disease. Who is to blame, and who was right/wrong?

June 4, 2010 at 11:47 pm
(28) barbaraj says:

We aren’t getting the correct information, and neither are our doctors, and some that do are callous cold idiots.
Examples..one doc told his patient, in 2005!!! that dpt did not have thimerosal, patient said “show me the vial”, she read aloud the label..he was upset and said he would no longer use it, and would order new
example..nurse was asked why does it say thimerosal on the label, same year 2005, nurse said to other nurse, “why did you bring that in here, it’s only for the medicaid patients”..
Some is ignorance, some is callous disregard…
We need to be informed of the true risks and make the assessments/choice ourselves as consumers..If we are told the truth of the morbidity/mortality associated with each individual shot, then it’s on us to either accept or reject..we DO NOT have that information..

examples are from an online discussion 2005

June 5, 2010 at 12:27 am
(29) barbaraj says:

In line with conspiracies, given the history of this country, is the very real possibility that there will be an epidemic of something preventable, and no matter that it will affect everyone, immunized included, it will bring about the fear needed to force us back in line, and we’ll get those shots. It will be equivalent to nuking the resistant parents, forcing us to follow the rules. For now they are being patient, offering us bogus study after bogus study ,trying to make believers of us. We were talking conspiracy right?

June 5, 2010 at 10:17 am
(30) Sandy says:

For one, there is no medication which is completely safe. A pregnant woman doesn’t need what ever vaccine that second, neither does a child for that matter, giving that consumer time to do their job with being proactive with their care, besides that they can read the insert than believe what comes out of someones mouth. Does everyone believe what their auto mechanic tells you, too? Cars are like people, often it’s hard to detect and you often get a misdiagnosis.
Hospitals conducts injection scans all the time. For a zillion people the dye is safe, for my mother it wasn’t and she’ll be effected by it the rest of her life however, she’s also effected by the childhood disease she had that effected her heart and probably her lungs too. Even though she knew her heart was effected, she chose to risk her kids and not vaccinate them. All 6. Could I sue her for the choices she made for me?
Doctors and nurses don’t all give vaccines on a regular bases, so if a few don’t know much about them, I wouldn’t expect them all to know.
Hypothetically doctors and insurance companies should also be in on pumping the non smoking RX’s, then too.I have to say no doc ever solicited those RX’s on me or my husband. We had to ask. And why do you think that is? Do you think it only costs them money? It cost me plenty when my son contracted RSV from another child sharing their germs to my baby. My baby didn’t crawl over to that kid, either. It cost my 20 percent of the hospital bill plus 6 full days of work of which I wasn’t paid for.
It is in fact a money issue all the way around right down to the parent.
Who is to blame? Could I sue that parent for sending their sick child to daycare for my lost income? Would it be morally right to sue them?

We don’t live in a perfect world. Doctors are no more perfect than a person off the street. For the vast majority vaccine are safe and so far there is no way to detect for which it wouldn’t be.

June 5, 2010 at 11:16 am
(31) barbaraj says:

For once I agree with much of which Sandy said, doctor’s are human, and this isn’t a perfect world.If it wasn’t for that added ingredient “greed”, I’d believe it all to be true. Greed has muddied the waters, lending the possibility of a conspiracy to “not right what is wrong”.
I have to wonder, as in the case of Sandy’s Mom, if she had been offered the correct statistics when choosing a scan, would she have gone through with it? When they tell 1/300,000, is that number correct, would they tell us if it was 1/30? I don’t believe we have the information that would enable us to make educated decisions. I ask my doctor now, have you “ever” seen this happen? When he says yes, I lower those statistics in my head to 1 or 2 among his patients, raising the risk incredibly. If there is a conspiracy it’s in hiding the truth.

June 5, 2010 at 12:52 pm
(32) Sandy says:

My mother had to have that scan with the dye, other scans simply would not show the tumor well enough before knowing if it was too close to an artery to make a good decision about surgery to remove it. She was offered those statistics, 1 in so many are allergic to it. My mom is, one of my sister’s isn’t. Either the tumor could kill her, the dye left side effects but she is alive non the same.

Greed is a matter of perception and opinion. It could be the perception that everyone who has employment is in it for greed. Even doctors have families, so do those who work at the horrible Pharms. The world goes around the big dollar sign for every single person. If people didn’t work for the drug companies, imagine all of the deaths there’d be.

Asking a doctor if they’ve seen this or that is a horrible way to make a decision. You’d need to ask a ton of doctors and still had they seen something doesn’t offer evidence he’s see it in you. A few months ago my son had an implant, did I assume that one doctor would had seen it all in order to answer all my questions? And besides that, there is no possible way for that one doctor to know My kid, who all by himself puts him in a whole risk factor all to his own.
The greed, if there’s any at all, is the need to put everyone else accountable for things a parent or individual could had easily looked into prior to medical care and treatment. The truth is, no one is willing to take their own share in their responsibility when things go bad. But when everything goes well, you never hear about that drug, that doctor. They’re all just greedy people.

Instead of promoting conspiracy, we should be promoting educating parents who rely on others for medical choices.

June 5, 2010 at 12:57 pm
(33) Lisa Jo says:

Barbara – I honestly think we have a very skewed view of risk overall.

The risks associated, for example, with driving a car or taking a shower are huge! Thousands of people die in cars or bathtubs every year. Does that stop us from hopping in the car or getting clean? Of course not. We’re simply accustomed to the risks and willing on balance to accept the possibility of a car crash or slip and fall injury.

I truly don’t believe that the risks we take by receiving vaccines appropriately (no, not nine in one day, but appropriately) are anything like as great as the risks we take when we, for example, take a roller coaster ride at a fair, allow our kids to participate in cheer leading, or any of a thousand “ordinary” yet risky activities.

Meanwhile, the potential upsides of vaccines, antibiotics and other preventive/curative pharmaceuticals are huge. Sure, you can decide not to vaccinate or not to take that antibiotic – but then you’re knowingly saying that you’re ready and willing to accept the potential consequences, which include death.


June 5, 2010 at 1:07 pm
(34) Lisa Jo says:

Sandy – I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect people to make medical decisions based on whatever bits of correct/incorrect info they’re able to glean from the web, friends, and a five minute chat with a doctor.

In theory, to make a “smart” decision, you’d need to know not only the risks and benefits of that treatment, but also the other options available… your own genetic history… and a whole lot more.

I have to say that if I were dealing with cancer and told by my doctor “this is the scan we do to determine whether and how to operate. you can choose not to do the scan, but then there’s a significant chance we’ll botch the surgery,” of course I’ll say “do the scan!” But I don’t really know how significant the risks are relative to the scan — or how likely a botched surgery is with OR without the scan. I don’t know about other types of scans. I don’t know anything except (1) I’m scared and (2) the doctor says it’s worth the risk.

In the case of vaccines, we have a case of Too Much Information. There are plenty of sites out there that will tell you there’s a worldwide conspiracy to grab your money and destroy your health… just received an email from a reader berating me for citing information from the CDC, because she feels they’re not trustworthy.

Are they? I assume, for the purposes of this site (and for making logical decisions about risks and benefits) that the CDC is telling the truth.

Of course, they and everyone else in the world could be lying. Maybe the autism spectrum was invented as a concept so that therapists could make a pile of money. Maybe HIV and H1N1 were invented so pharma firms could milk us for all we’ve got. Maybe aliens are sucking out our brains.

I can’t absolutely rule out conspiracy, because it is impossible to prove a negative. COULD someone be doing something I don’t know about??

Sorry,.. this comment seems to be going in three different directions. My basic point is that it is very tough to weigh risks and benefits when we don’t truly know the quality of information we have, or what info we’re missing.


June 5, 2010 at 1:37 pm
(35) Sandy says:

Lisa~ exactly. To make a “smart” decision, you’d need to know not only the risks and benefits of that treatment, but also the other options available, your own genetic history… and a whole lot more. A single doctor isn’t always going to know all that and neither might the individual themselves. I don’t remember to tell my doctor every single thing that may or may not put me or my child at a higher risk, and I may never know it to tell it. Just who’s fault is that when something goes bad? Is it conspiracy, that darn doctor should had had ESP.

Everyone could be lying but that still doesn’t take away making that choice for ones self. You know, I am doing a lot of things you don’t know about. I bet you are too. So what. This whole world is getting worse and worse with illnesses. Autism isn’t the only thing on the rise and one has to wonder if that’s a conspiracy, too. Or is it just the progression of humans, of carelessness or becoming super immune to huge viruses? Or are humans just becoming a great big mess of no immunities because they’re just that over worked over eons? You never heard of breast cancer years ago, but you probably know some one who’s had it or died from it.

There may be conspiracy and a bunch of people lying but it didn’t effect my own choices. I still have to live with my own choices. That was really the point of my mom. She made a choice.

June 5, 2010 at 2:46 pm
(36) autism says:

Sandy – while there are clearly new diseases out there, I suspect that we are also bring very old illnesses out into the open much more and “creating” new illnesses based on long-existing symptoms.

Back in my grandparents day, cancer was called the “big C” and it was never discussed. Not because it didn’t happen, but because it wasn’t “nice” to talk about it.

Pornography, pedophilia, rape, and so forth happened too, but it wasn’t announced on the news or discussed at the dinner table. There were no marches or major media events built around these issues because the culture was different.

IMO, we also had plenty of people with reading issues, behavior problems, anxiety, language disorders, social challenges and the like… but we didn’t give them the names we use today (ADHD, dyslexia, autism spectrum disorders, PTSD, social anxiety disorder, etc.). Sometimes they were called “misbehaving,” or “being stupid,” sometimes they were called “mental retardation,” sometimes they were called “schizophrenia,” or “nervous breakdown,” etc.

Perhaps we THOUGHT we were safer because we didn’t discuss the risks and realities of life quite so much or so frankly or so often.

Were there the SAME number of people with the SAME symptoms? Of course, I don’t know the answer to that question – but I do know that the symptoms didn’t suddenly appear in the world 20 years ago.

June 5, 2010 at 8:09 pm
(37) Sandy says:

Actually some medical things actually have statistics regardless if families talked about it or not. Some medical things of course had better recording of rates such as preventable diseases, way back when we know those stats. Autism on the other hand, I agree until it was given a name, it could had easily been not talked about and called something else and we sort of know from history even when autism had a name, doctors termed it something else.

I don’t agree on the whole of the conspiracy regarding autism and vaccines for a few reasons however I totally disagree that any parent didn’t play a role in their own choices. If they easily agreed with the medical care, in my opinion that was the easy way to go and then later blame when things go bad. You’re really suppose to be proactive and even with the best of history known, things still are going to happen beyond anyone’s control.
You know, when I was growing up, my mom never left the house, literally except to give birth and we never had a TV and of course no web. She got her info from some where. I disagree with her on her choices of vaccines as an adult and been dealing with her ‘fears’ for all of my life and how at age 15 her choices greatly effected me, a doctor and one of my sisters. Oddly, her fears didn’t come true that day, which started my thinking I guess all about her fears and vaccines. It’s funny how some one else’s fears can spark curiosity in another and end up making ones self not fall for every fear tactic around.

June 6, 2010 at 11:38 pm
(38) Bill says:

Note to with respect to (8) Sandy:

Where did you get Salem witch trials from?
I specifically said Europe and the Medieval warming period and the subsequent witch burnings; this was about sixty years before and a continent away from the Salem witch trials. More specifically, in Germany around 1630, during the worst of the “Little Ice Age”.

June 7, 2010 at 9:19 am
(39) Sandy says:

Bill~ It doesn’t really matter what witch hunt it was, any of them represents religious (not medical) beliefs and how mass hysteria and conspiracy forms. I specifically brought up Salem since it was in what ended up being the USA, it started with 3 girls with odd behaviors and the governor put an end to them.

June 7, 2010 at 4:36 pm
(40) AutismNewsBeat says:

No one was being diagnosed with what we call “autism spectrum disorders” in the 1930′s because Dr. Kanner, who coined the term “autism” (Greek for “self”), didn’t do so until 1943.

The adjective “autistic” first appeared in the medical literature in 1912. From Unstrange Minds:

Coming from the Greek autos, meaning “self,” the term was used as an adjective by Swiss physician Eugen Bleuler in 1912 to describe the behavior of some people, then diagnosed with schizophrenia, who were disengaged from everything except their internal world. Before Kanner, “autistic” referred to a symptom, not a syndrome. Sigmund Freud talked about the word “autistic,” too. He contrasted the “social” with what he called the “narcissistic,” but was quick to point out that by “narcissistic” he meant the same thing as “autistic,” “in which the satisfaction of the instincts is partially or totally withdrawn from the influence of other people.” Freud didn’t like the word “autistic” at all, but it’s not clear why. He may have objected to the fact that by the early 1920s some physicians had started to use the word “autistic” to refer to daydreams and fantasies; Freud thought the word, if it was used at all, should refer to an impairment in social functioning.

June 8, 2010 at 12:55 pm
(41) Bill says:

Sandy ~ I specifically and unambiguously picked an example where I knew with certainty (and I have double checked) that religion was NOT involved. Your bringing religion into the argument in “(8) Sandy” is tangential to the point I was making.
The point I had been making again, was that large groups of people can have profoundly incorrect beliefs based on unrelated but coincidental events. This was intended to be a reinforcing perspective generally agreeing with Lisa’s blog.
My very existence surrounded by four generations of males with Asperger’s and females with related disorders stubbornly refutes the concepts of a sudden increase in autism and of vaccines (or other new technology) being responsible, at least for inherited forms of Asperger’s, which medical science seems convinced is just high functioning autism.

June 8, 2010 at 11:21 pm
(42) barbaraj says:

Lisa “I truly don’t believe that the risks we take by receiving vaccines appropriately (no, not nine in one day, but appropriately) are anything like as great as the risks we take when we, for example, take a roller coaster ride at a fair, allow our kids to participate in cheer leading, or any of a thousand “ordinary” yet risky activities.”

It’s not unusual to have nine in one day, mmr with varicella…dtaphib..that’s eight..and usually a ninth is added in…either prevnar or polio..so no nine a visit is not unusual.
Your thoughts on risks and mine are very different. IF vaccines cause autism and one in fifty eight vaccinated boys have autism, this would be a huge risk with no comparison to all of the accidents and illnesses they could experience. We are not talking about participants or in the case of disease, patients. If a thousand children get the measles and two have neurological affects, that is terrible, yet this would represent a small percentage of the entire population of children, the risk is only to those who had the disease. In this case, about eighty five percent , or more, children are accepting a risk. There would be no disease , short of historic plagues that could injure this many children. Right now kawasaki is the leading cause of aquired heart disease in children..and autism is the leading cause of disability. One is kept terribly quiet with only a small mention on a vaccine label as possibly connected , the other no labeling because the connection is denied a hundred percent across the board. I have found other mothers who have a child with autism and one with kawasaki, another “huge” coincidence?

Kawasaki in conjuntion to roto has made the news, while Kawasaki has been known to occur after many vaccines dtap,varicella, especially hepb. Interestingly, vasculitis in adults following hepb vaccine is accepted as a side effect, Kawasaki vascular disease in children is temporally linked. I see something wrong with how we are refusing to protect the children when we “KNOW” of certain side effects. When we know they are lying about one disease how can we believe they are telling the truth about another?

June 9, 2010 at 10:48 am
(43) Sandy says:

Bill I am sorry you didn’t like my added comments but it also added to yours, if I am reading your point correctly. It also wasn’t an argument. They are both facts of history of mass hysteria of a suggestion.
Almost all witch hunts or witches in general is religious based and back in those days religion was a huge part of peoples lives, and Government ran together.
It makes no difference to what time period or area is chosen, any reflects mass hysteria. Large groups of people in history did have profoundly incorrect beliefs based on unrelated but coincidental events. The Salem example is even more interesting, 3 girls started acting oddly and it was deemed witches made this happen, and people believed this. It’s the same thing as Europe, ‘someone’ had to be responsible, not ‘something’ like an illness or a medical issue.
The interesting thing about autism or asperger’s rise is what was going on during that time period. The autism rates come from county agencies and public educations IEP’s. Take for instance my state, where county is separate from education, but a diagnosis of asperger’s doesn’t qualify for county services. If they count my son in county and then in educational IEP, he was counted twice. It’s a darn conspiracy of the state to jack up the autism rates! But then at the same time period, some vaccines were added and about the time the idea of vaccine and autism was born 4 years later to when the rates were even started to be counted, a suggestion was given and that provided mass hysteria. I personally don’t believe there needs to be a history of autism or asperger’s in a family for it to be a genetic occurrence. I believe other disorder’s can lead to autism and we all know autism happens when no vaccines were given.

June 9, 2010 at 10:56 am
(44) Sandy says:

One has to look at their own child’s vaccine records in comparison to others in order to make a connection to 8 or 9 vaccines at one doctors office visit. One could start by expressing their own child’s vaccine history to how many a parent allowed their child to have in a day to when autism presented.

Kawasaki have factors that suggests genetic susceptibility but regardless of where the children are living, Japanese children are more likely than other children to contract the disease which points away from vaccines.

June 9, 2010 at 12:29 pm
(45) barabaraj says:

The Japanese get a BCG shot, and often the Kawasaki rash develops first at the site of injection. True there is likely a genetic factor , predisposing all of us to “something”, red heads get sun burn. Very dark skinned children get rickets more often, yet the cause of vitamin d deficiency stands . Certain viruses, such as Epstein Barr, cause a cancer in one population yet do not in most. Japanese may have many other mercury exposures in their diets, the reason may not be genetic at all! The contaminating bacillus in the HIB shot, is a food spoilage microbe that is very prevalent in rice, giving the japanese perhaps more exposure. There are many variables that could come into play which could exclude genetics as being a factor. This “new variant” of autism, the regressive one, may be much different than most previously studied autism. However, in reading last night, about Kanner’s first cases, they all had rare exposures to mercury. If mercury is the culprit, it could come from many sources, starting with mom’s levels and on to infants intake.

June 9, 2010 at 1:58 pm
(46) Sandy says:

Again, regardless of where the children are living, Japanese children are more likely than other children to contract the disease.

June 9, 2010 at 3:56 pm
(47) barbaraj says:

at the two month visit the infant receives 8 antigens, rotovirus, diptheria, tetanus, pertussis, hemophilus, pneumoccal, polio,hepb

at the four month visit 7 of the above

at the six month visit hepb, roto, diptheria,tetanus,pertussis, pneumonia

at the fifteen month visit, hep b, diptheria,tetanus, pertussis, haemophilus, polio, influenza, measles, mumps, rubella, varicella, hepA

this is the schedule that is current, the only variations that exist is the fifteen month shots can be given in two visits one at 12 and one at 15 so you may divide the 12 antigens up if you like

at age four there are nine antigens available as boosters..
I doubt many parents are willing to break up 30+ shots, that would require having a doctor visit every two weeks for the first fifteen months.

June 10, 2010 at 2:03 am
(48) Twyla says:

Speaking of conspiracies, here is a brief excellent sensible article from the UK Telegraph “The Hidden Hand of Powerful Forces – Doctor’s Diary: Conspiracy theories and the GMC’s recent ruling to strike professors Andrew Wakefield and John Walker-Smith off the register” by Dr. James Le Fanu.

“It is not necessary to be a conspiracy theorist to recognise that the General Medical Council’s recent ruling to strike professors Andrew Wakefield and John Walker-Smith off the register had the fingerprints of the medical establishment all over it. They had, it was alleged, brought the profession into disrepute by showing a callous disregard to the children in the (in)famous study investigating the possible role of the MMR vaccine in inducing a regressive variant of autism associated with severe bowel symptoms.

“But this charge against them, as everyone knows, cannot possibly be true. Professor Walker-Smith, who supervised the investigation, is, from personal experience and by common consent, the epitome of the saintly doctor – ‘dedicated, honorable, held in the highest regard, a man of the highest calibre in his integrity, professionalism and clinical ability’, as just one of the hundreds of affidavits from colleagues around the world puts it.

“And so to the opinion of the parents of the vulnerable children whose best interests he had allegedly disregarded. ‘We were all treated with the utmost professionalism and respect… were kept fully informed about the investigations recommended… they were carried out without distress to our children, etc, etc.’

“It seems only sensible, given this moral confusion that would portray a decent and honest man as deceitful and exploitative, to reserve judgment about the GMC’s verdict and to speculate what lies behind it. Leaving aside the question of whether the MMR vaccine is implicated in this form of autism – as the parents’ accounts would certainly suggest – it is perhaps not unreasonable to detect the hidden hand of those powerful forces for whom the crushing of a professional reputation is a price worth paying for the continuation of the ever-expanding child immunisation programme.”


Dr. James Le Fanu graduated from Cambridge University and the Royal London Hospital in 1974. He subsequently worked in the Renal Transplant Unit and Cardiology Departments of the Royal Free and St Mary’s Hospital in London. For the past twenty years he has combined working as a doctor in general practice with contributing a weekly column to the Sunday and Daily Telegraph.

June 10, 2010 at 8:45 am
(49) Sandy says:

To each their own opinion. There’s no going back unless of course Wakefield actually appeals. There cant be much of a conspiracy when Wakefield himself admitted to a lot of what he was charged with, boldly assuming he was immune to being found guilty. Anyone who had seen any of the video’s Wakefield was in can make their own opinion, was he humble or arrogant? At those conferences he seemed to be more enjoying theatrics and comedy central than discussing his study maturely. Of course he behaves differently when he knows he’s on national TV.
The only questionable thing is whether he should have been stricken from being able to practice on people and he may have been used as the example for any future doctors thinking they might get away with the same wrong-doing.

June 10, 2010 at 11:28 am
(50) Twyla says:

I have seen Dr. Wakefield speak at conferences. He is an extremely articulate, intelligent, interesting, knowledgeable speaker.

Read his book Callous Disregard and you will see how much he contests the allegations against him.

Or go to any of the resources I have linked to previously such as the articles he wrote for Autism File magazine, available at http://www.wesupportandywakefield.com/ .

Or see Dr. Wakefield interviewed by Dr. Mercola at h t t p : / / articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/04/10/wakefield-interview.aspx

He was not engaged in wrong-doing. He was trying to help injured children.

June 10, 2010 at 11:55 am
(51) Sandy says:

I’ve already seen video’s of Wakefield. Seen for myself where he admitted things he probably shouldn’t had. I also don’t need to read his self-serving book, either or some other ‘doctors’ opinion. If Wakefield contests the charges against him, then we’ll all wait for that appeal which wont cost any money to read.

June 14, 2010 at 9:01 pm
(52) ANB says:

Read his book Callous Disregard and you will see how much he contests the allegations against him.

Too bad he didn’t contest the GMC’s charges of ethical misconduct with the same vigor. Why do you suppose that is?

June 14, 2010 at 9:21 pm
(53) Twyla says:
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