Selling you a package of lies about autism

As if I wasn’t angry enough at Andrew Wakefield, now comes news that he is trying to sell an autism reality television show to producers in America. This isn’t exactly news. Sullivan at LB/RB had written about it before, but now there are more details of the quack’s plans:

“(Wakefield’s) pitch was a reality TV series about autism, and he hada short trailer on his laptop: an autistic child screams; another bites his mother’s hand; another repeatedly and violently slams a book against his head. Then a narrator tells us that “every day across the world, medical symptoms of hundreds of thousands of people with autism are being ignored”. Cue piano music and the titles, The Autism Team: Changing Lives.

The premise is that the autism symptoms suffered by the children in the promo (Jon, 14, who is “wasting away”; six-year-old twins “still not potty trained”; and 15-year-old Jack, who is “non-verbal and very self-injurious”) have left their parents feeling helpless and alone — until, that is, the Autism Team steps in to save the day.”

Oh, give me a [expletive] break! Saves the day? Saves the..? I… I can’t. I just can’t. I need to stop reading now because my head — and these details — is killing me. But let’s keep going:

“The man in the white shirt and jeans punting the prospective TV series that day was Andrew Wakefield, coauthor of a now notorious 1998 study, published in the Lancet, that suggested a possible link between autism, gastrointestinal disease (it was Wakefield who coined the term “autistic enterocolitis”, which Krigsman diagnoses in the Autism Team trailer), and the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. Afterwards, Wakefield called for the suspension of the triple jab, which caused widespread panic and is said by his critics to have resulted in a drop in the number of parents choosing to vaccinate their children. Cases of measles rose from 56 in 1998 to nearly 1,400 in 2008. In 2006, a 13-year-old boy became the first person in more than a decade to die of the disease in Britain.”

That’s right. Like I wrote yesterday, Wakefield and the Wakefieldites are bringing measles back, baby! And here is something I don’t get about their claims of MMR vaccine and autism:

1. If the MMR vaccine measles virus causes enterocolitis that leads to autism, then why…

2. Have we not seen any increase in autism as a result of measles infection?

I mean, after seeing what is happening in Wales and Nigeria, we should have a pretty good increase in measles-caused “autistic enterocolitis,” right? WRONG. It’s wrong because it’s bogus. It’s like saying that it was a unicorn in my muffler that made my car stall and die in the middle of a busy intersection the other day. I can blame it on unicorns all day long, but it wasn’t a unicorn. It was the oxygen sensor.

And then this:

“In his book Callous Disregard, Wakefield claims his findings of autistic enterocolitis have been “independently confirmed in five different countries”. He cites five studies, two of which were authored by his friend, collaborator and Autism Team star Arthur Krigsman. One of those studies appeared in Autism Insights, a medical journal on whose board Krigsman sat in 2010. Two other studies were by Italian doctor Federico Balzola. According to the justthevax blog, the first of these was a case report of a single adult autistic patient with an inflamed bowel, and the second a “meeting abstract” that “never saw the light of day as a peer-reviewed study”. The last one, a study by Dr Lenny Gonzalez, while not reporting finding a distinct “autistic enterocolitis”, concludes that “autistic children have a high incidence of gastrointestinal disease”.”

Ladies and gentlemen of the United States of America, and surrounding nations far and wide, this quack is trying to sell you a package of lies. If you are unable to see this after all the evidence has been laid out against him and in very simple terms for all to understand, then we might as well just throw away the whole [expletive] vaccine program and let the diseases run wild again. (I have major stock in the iron lung industry, so it really doesn’t hit my bottom line if polio comes back.*) And then I’ll consult His Lordship Andy of Wakefield on how to cure Congenital Rubella Syndrome or encephalitis or MRSA infections of skin lesions from chickenpox… Or maybe he’ll know a good orthopedist to fit kids with artificial limbs after they lose said limbs from meningococcal infections.

I’d like to see a TV show then.

Check that. I’d like to see a TV show now where Andy is placed on trial and every single thing he has ever said or done is laid out for the world to see. I’d like to see him explain his patent application for a single measles shot. (I thought measles vaccines caused autism, Andy?) I’d also like to see him explain why only his friends and close allies have been able to replicate his work, but the rest of the known universe has not. And I’d like for him to sit and listen attentively while mother after mother of children who die from vaccine-preventable diseases tell him what they think of his anti-vaccine ways.

That I would pay to see. Until then, any channel or production company that picks up Andy’s snake oil will likely face a strong response. And respond we will.

*I don’t really have any stock in the iron lung industry.

2 thoughts on “Selling you a package of lies about autism

  1. I’m a staunch constitutionalist. I’m overall, quite non-violent. Both, due to a long military career. A career protecting a nation and the notions documented in our history and guiding a nation via our constitution. A career that has left me with an extreme distaste for any form of violence, I had my fill of it during that career in spades.

    But, to be honest, I have two words come into my mind whenever these damned quacks names are mentioned.
    Summary execution.
    A notion that is abhorrent to me in the extreme, but I find the notion of the morbidity and mortality of our children from vaccine preventable diseases even more abhorrent.

    How on Earth do these jokers retain a license to practice medicine?

  2. I’m just not that *surprised* that Wakefield is trying to hawk a TV show…to expand his media empire. His business partner relocated her entire family from the U.K. to Austin Texas, months ago.

    I too have dreams that Andy will stand trial for his misdeeds and his quackery…he’s a public health menace.

    BTW, Alex Hannaford wrote another excellent blog about the epicenter of autism quackery/autism treatment, for the “Texas Observer”, several months ago. When Orac linked to the blog, it brought out the usual cranks from that notorious anti-vaccine blog, to defend Wakefield and his crew:

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