Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Joint Study from USC and Vanderbilt says "We Need To Learn Where Toxins Impact Gene Expression to Find the Cause of Autism."

By David Kirby – Full Article at Age of Autism here

A new study written up in Science Daily (Mar. 2, 2009) and elsewhere says that researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) and Vanderbilt University have “identified a specific gene variant that links increased genetic risk for autism with gastrointestinal (GI) conditions.”

So far, reporting on the study, to be published in Pediatrics, has suggested that a polymorphism in the Met gene has been identified which, by itself, may explain both brain abnormalities and GI disturbances in children with autism spectrum disorder.

Kirby quotes the study, “We need to learn where toxins impact gene expression in order to find the cause of autism. Finally, if we are going to understand functional etiology of ASD, if we are trying to identify the genes that underlie risk, and we are searching for environmental factors that cause changes in brain development, we need to know where these candidate genes are expressed in the developing human brain, and where these environmental factors have their impact.”

Sunday, March 1, 2009

David Kirby: US Health Officials Back Study Idea on Vaccinated vs. Unvaccinated Children – Will Media Take Note?

by David Kirby and published by Age of Autism - Here

It is not accurate for members of the media to report that the link between vaccines has been “disproven.” This is especially true in light of recent news from the National Vaccine Advisory Committee, and a series of news items from the Federal Court of Claims, Federal health agencies, leading universities and top autism researchers around the country. There are now many reasons why the media should continue its coverage of this serious and ongoing debate:


On Friday, February 27, a special group convened by The Keystone Center on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services’ National Vaccine Advisory Committee Vaccine Safety Working Group (NVAC VSWG) recommended appointing a panel of experts to explore the strengths and weaknesses of conducting studies on health outcomes in vaccinated vs. unvaccinated populations. The group, known as the “Salt Lake City Writing Group,” said it was “desirable” to include autism as one such health outcome.

As they stated in a draft “consensus statement”:

“(There is) a strong desire to study the health impact of the immunization schedule, potentially through a ‘vaccinated vs. unvaccinated study’. Outcomes to assess include biomarkers of immunity and metabolism, and outcomes including but not limited to neurodevelopmental outcomes, allergies, asthma, immune-mediated diseases, and learning disabilities. The inclusion of autism as an outcome is desired”

The Writing Group supported a recommendation to “charge an expert panel with evaluating study designs for research on the impact of the standard schedule of vaccination on an array of health outcomes of significant public interest. This draft charge is responsive to issues raised at community meetings in Alabama, Oregon, and Indiana as well as the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee request for collaboration with the National Vaccine Program Office.”

Writing Group members who drafted the statement included Federal and State health officials, Federal vaccine officials, CDC officials, and leaders of autism and vaccine safety advocacy groups. They included the following individuals:

Federal Health Agencies and Panels


Roger Bernier, Ph.D., MPH, Senior Advisor, CDC
Elizabeth Skillen, PhD, MS, Policy Analyst, Immunization Safety Office, CDC


Bruce Gellin, M.D., MPH, Director, HHS National Vaccine Program Office (NVPO) and Executive Secretary of NVAC

Dan Salmon, Ph.D., Vaccine Safety Specialist, HHS - NVPO

Ben Schwartz, M.D., former Associate Director for Science, HHS and Medical Director for CARE


Guthrie Birkhead, M.D., MPH Chair, HHS National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC) and member of NVAC Vaccine Safety Working Group, also Deputy Commissioner, Office of Public Health, NY State Dept. of Health

Andrew Pavia, M.D., NVAC Member & Chair, NVAC Vaccine Safety Working Group and with Dept. of Pediatrics, Utah School of Medicine

Chris Carlson, Ph.D., NVAC Vaccine Safety Working Group Member, and with Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center, Seattle

Lance Gordon, Ph.D., NVAC and member of NVAC Vaccine Safety Working Group

James Mason, M.D., DrPH, NVAC Member and member of NVAC Vaccine Safety Working Group, former CDC Director and former Assistant Secretary of Health

Tawny Buck, member of NVAC Vaccine Safety Working Group, parent of DPT brain injured daughter

State & Local Public Health Agencies and Organizations

Anna Buchannan, MPH, Senior Director, Immunization & Infectious Disease, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO)

Jim Shames, M.D., Medical Director, Jackson County Health Department, OR

David Sundwall, M.D., Executive Director, Utah Department of Health

Collette Young; Ph.D., MS, Surveillance & Training Manager, Oregon Public Health Division, Immunization Program, OR Public Health Division

Robert Bednarczyk, NVAC Research Analyst, NY Department of Health


Joseph A. Bocchini, Jr., M.D., Professor & Chairman, Department of Pediatrics, Louisiana State University

Margaret Dunkle, Senior Fellow, Center for Health Policy Research, George Washington University and Director, Early Identification and Intervention Collaborative, LA County

Alan Greene, M.D., Clinical Profession, Division of General Pediatrics, Packard Children's Hospital, Stanford University School of Medicine;

Heather Zwickey, Ph.D., Dean of Research and Associate Professor of Immunology, National College of Natural Medicine, Oregon

Autism or Vaccine Organizations

Peter Bell, Executive Vice President, Programs and Services, Autism Speaks

Sallie Bernard, Executive Director, Safe Minds

Vicky Debold, PhD, RN, Director of Patient Safety, National Vaccine Information Center;
Barbara Loe Fisher, Co-founder & President, National Vaccine Information Center

Members of Public or Other Child Health Groups

Tracy Cron, RN and mother who attended the Birmingham public engagement workshop
Dennis Johnson, MS, Executive VP, Policy & Advocacy, Children's Health Fund, NYC
Debbie McCune Davis, Program Director, Arizona Partnership for Immunization, Arizona State Senator