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Public Health Too Quick To Dismiss Autism Parents, NIH Director Says

Posted by Jane Akre
Tuesday, May 13, 2008 12:31 PM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: FDA and Prescription Drugs, CDC, NIH, Vaccinations, Thimerosal, Autism, Dangerous Drugs

Outspoken former NIH direcor Dr. Bernadine Healy says don't dismis parents and their concerns about autism and vaccines.



IMAGE SOURCE:  ©National Library of Medicine/ Dr. Bernadine Healy


Public health has been too quick to dismiss concerns of families…”

That stunning admission from the former director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Bernadine Healy, as the federal vaccine court listens to two more cases linking autism and vaccines.

Dr. Healy is the first well-known public health voice to break with her mainstream colleagues who dispel any link.  

In a major turnaround, Dr. Healy says that public health needs to do a better job of identifying children who may be particularly susceptible and vulnerable to vaccines and perhaps should not receive them or receive them on a different schedule.

She tells CBS’s Sharyl Attkisson in an exclusive online interview: 

“This is the time when we do have the opportunity to understand whether or not there are susceptible children, perhaps genetically, perhaps they have a metabolic issue, mitochondrial disorder, immunological issue that makes them more susceptible to vaccines plural or to one particular vaccine or to a component of vaccine like mercury.”

“So we, now in these times, have to take another look at that hypothesis, not deny it.”

Dr. Healy says we have the tools today that we didn’t have 10 or 20 years ago to find out if there is a susceptible group.  A susceptible group does not mean vaccines aren’t good, she says. Instead thee maybe a group of children who shouldn’t have a particular vaccine or shouldn’t have vaccine on the same schedule.  

In January, the vaccine court concluded that vaccines did cause the autism-like symptoms of Hannah Poling, the Georgia girl who became mentally disabled with autism-like symptoms after her vaccines. She was later found to have an underlying and undiagnosed rare genetic mitochondrial, or cellular disorder that was aggravated by the vaccines.

Tampa Bay, Florida mom and support group founder, Monica Bice, is also in line for vaccine court.  She says her daughter has been diagnosed with a condition they share, immunodeficiency.  That means the four-year-old should never have received a live vaccine as is contained in MMR and chicken pox, because the virus over replicates and infects the child. Monica’s daughter began showing signs of autism three weeks after being vaccinated.

Children like Poling and Bice would fall into the sub-set described by Dr. Healy who should either not receive vaccines, or receive them on an alternate schedule.

Dr. Bernadine Healy does not believe that knowing there is a sub-set of susceptible individuals, would discourage other parents from vaccinating.

“I do not believe the public will lose faith in vaccines.  I think people understand a polio epidemic, I think they understand a measles epidemic, I think they understand congenital rubella, I think they understand diphtheria.  Nobody’s going to turn their back on vaccines."  

Healy says it’s the job of the public health community and of physicians to be out there and find a way to make vaccines safer. That the public would respect, she says.  And what about the public health community that denies a cause and effect between vaccines and autism?

“I think you can’t say that.” Dr. Healy is quick to say.    

Has the government been too quick to dismiss out of hand that there was a possibility of a link between vaccines and autism?  Attkisson asks.

“I think the government or certain public health officials in the government have been too quick to dismiss the concerns of these families without studying the population that got sick.”

She said she hasn’t seen any major studies of 300 kids who got autism within few weeks of vaccine. And Dr. Healy believes public health has been too quick to dismiss in animal laboratory studies in mice that do show some concerns of vaccines and the mercury preservative, thimerosal  in vaccines. The only way to determine cause and effect is in the laboratory setting, not in the population where you can only determine associations.   

As a member of the Institute of Medicine, Dr. Healy says a 2004 report by the group concerned her.   

“A report in 2004 basically said do not pursue susceptibility groups. Don’t look for those patients.  Those children who may be vulnerable. I really take issue with that conclusion.”

The reason they didn’t want exploration further, Dr. Healy says is because afraid if they found them that would scare the public away.  

“You should ever turn your back on any scientific hypothesis because of your afraid of what it might show. I don’t  think the truth ever scares people.”

She still believes vaccines are safe for the bulk of the population. 

“If you know that there is a susceptible group you can save those children. If you turn your back on the notion there is a susceptible group that means you are….. (hands up) what can I say…”

“When I first heard there was a link between autism and vaccines I said that was silly. The more you delve into it, when you look at the basic science and research done on animals and also look at individual cases and the evidence  that there is no link, what I come away with is the question has not been answered!”   #


Anonymous User
Posted by Elizabeth
Wednesday, May 14, 2008 9:58 AM EST

Thank you Dr. Healy for standing up for us. It's hard having to take care of children with autism much less trying to understand and research why regression happened after vaccination. I'm not convinced that there is no connection, in fact I believe vaccinations set my child into cycles of immune activation and regression. WE are the susceptibility group and for OUR children the benefits do NOT outweigh the risks! Thanks again!!

Anonymous User
Posted by Catherine
Friday, May 16, 2008 3:43 PM EST

Dr. Healy will go down in history on the side of truth, while her esteemed colleagues will crash and burn(but of course will find someone else to blame).

...Puzzling and frustrating to say the least, to those of us who by virtue of our 12th grade reading level, fueled by our newly diagnosed autistic child, come to similar conclusions as those of Dr. Healy. Of course we are dismissed. Dr. Healy will be more difficult to dismiss and maybe she will be just the pill they need to bring them out of their illness and denial. We need to protect and Dr. Healy as she appears to be one of the un-diseased...

So many of our public health/scientific authorities have succumbed to the "dr. disease." We parents need to spread awareness of the symptoms and advocate for cures so that some day soon, our children will be free from the contamination and increasd risk of ASD.

What are the symptoms?

-History of inbreeding (with vaccine producing pharmaceutical companies)

-Competing demands with decreased availability of time (to refine independent and critical thinking skills around this topic)

- Psychological inflexibility, and linnear thinking patterns (autistic like cognitive style which favors linear thinking over fluid approaches to thinking about, conceptualizing, and research)

-bloating (of the ego) which manifests in tendencies toward dismissiveness and as above reproach

-deficient levels of humility a critical enyme needed to develop meaninful "listening" skills.

An interesting cousin to this particular strain can be found via review of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSP) research re: the high incidence of physician/pilot deaths due to pilot error aboard high performance aircraft ( Mooneys and Bonanzas). While contextually different, both subpopulations have in common, increased level of power, technology authority and public stature to ensure they get from point A to point B more efficiently and quicker than the average Joe. But if diseased, might just assume crash into the side of the mountain than listen to the heedings of some lowly air traffic controller or "outsider" who has suggested the obvious: There is no visability-fly by instruments.

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