National Autism Association Says BMJ Article is Yet Another Attempt to Thwart Vaccine Safety Research

Jan 05, 2011, 18:26 ET from National Autism Association

WASHINGTON, Jan. 5, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The British Medical Journal published an article today attacking Dr. Andrew Wakefield and his work towards a better understanding of the medical issues involved in the development of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  Dr. Wakefield co-authored the case series reported in the British Journal, The Lancet, in 1998, which identified a novel inflammatory bowel disease in children diagnosed with autism.  The association between autism and bowel disease has been repeatedly confirmed by subsequent studies, (1) (2) (3) (4) including a consensus report published a year ago in Pediatrics.(5)


In recent years, US Federal Vaccine Court has conceded multiple times that immunizations have led to cases of autism, or "autistic-like" symptoms, and multiple sub-symptoms associated with the disorder. According to the US Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) in 2008, 1322 cases of vaccine injury compensation settled out of court by the US Government in unpublished settlements. According to a statement from HRSA: "We have compensated cases in which children exhibited an encephalopathy, or general brain disease. Encephalopathy may be accompanied by a medical progression of an array of symptoms including autistic behavior, autism, or seizures."

Yet medical professionals who question vaccine safety oftentimes come under harsh scrutiny and ongoing attacks. "It has been proven time and again that vaccines trigger adverse reactions in certain individuals," states NAA President and parent Wendy Fournier.  "While any adverse reaction may be an uncomfortable reality, turning a blind eye to negative outcomes – or attacking those who investigate them – causes the greater amount of harm to the hundreds of thousands of children injected with vaccines each day."

In late 2009, a report released by Centers for Disease Control revealed "an increase in identified ASD prevalence, ranging from 27 percent to 95 percent with an average increase of 57 percent."   The report showed that ASD now affects an average of about 1 in 110 individuals and that "…more children are identified with an ASD than in the past. These new numbers are concerning and indicate that even more individuals, families and communities are struggling to find answers." The report also noted, "…a true increase in risk cannot be ruled out. We know there are multiple and complex genetic and environmental factors which result in multiple forms of autism and we have much to learn about the causes."

"But what have we learned since that time?" asks Fournier. "Year after year, we're faced with little to no answers. Studying our children, investigating when and how they regressed, why so many of them have seizure disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, and other serious health complications may hold the answers we so desperately need.  A historical study comparing vaccinated versus unvaccinated populations for total health outcomes has the potential to help us learn and find critical answers, yet repeated requests for such studies have been denied by our federal health agencies. A character assassination initiative against those who look for answers only serves to stunt medical progress for our children and perpetuate unnecessary public health risks."

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(1) Clinical Presentation and Histologic Findings at Ileocolonoscopy in Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder and Chronic Gastrointestinal Symptoms, Arthur Krigsman, MD, et al, New York University School of Medicine, Autism Insights, 27 Jan 2010

(2) Endoscopic and Histological Characteristics of the Digestive Mucosa in Autistic Children with gastro-Intestinal Symptoms. Gonzalez L, et al. ArchVenez Pueric Pediatr, 2005;69:19-25.

(3) Panenteric IBD-like disease in a patient with regressive autism shown for the first time by wireless capsulenteroscopy: Another piece in the jig-saw of the gut-brain syndrome? Balzola F, et al. American Journal of Gastroenterology. 2005. 100(4):979-981.

(4) Childhood autism and eosinophilic colitis. Chen B, Girgis S, El-Matary W.. Digestion. 2010;81:127-9. Epub 2010 Jan 9].

(5) Evaluation, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Gastrointestinal Disorders in Individuals With ASDs: A Consensus Report, Timothy Buie, MD, et al, Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School Pediatrics, Vol. 125 Supplement January 2010

CONTACT: Wendy Fournier (Portsmouth, RI), +1-401-835-5828, or Rita Shreffler (Nixa, MO), +1-417-818-9030, both of the National Autism Association

SOURCE National Autism Association