No statistically-significant proof links MMR vaccine and autism

HEIGH HO. The GcMaf saga continues. In response to Mr Noakes (Open Lines, Guernsey Press, 31 July): Yes, there are lots of papers and medical opinions that have been put forward suggesting a link between the MMR and autism. However, all of this data has been reviewed and it has been established that there is no statistically significant evidence to make such a link.

Whatever an Italian court may have decided, there is no evidence that children ‘contract’ autism from the MMR or anything else. It is a developmental disorder for which there appears to be a strong genetic predisposition.

I am intrigued by the claim that 60% of children treated with GcMaf and ultrasonography recover sufficiently to go to ‘normal’ school. I don’t know the exact proportion but I would hazard that 60% of children with autism in Guernsey are already in mainstream education, including the Grammar School and colleges, so what exactly is meant by ‘recovery’? Who determines whether they have recovered? Are they assessed by independent paediatricians or clinical psychologists or only by the doctors prescribing the GcMaf?

GcMaf may well be a naturally occurring part of the immune system. However, there isn’t anything natural in extracting it from the blood of one body and injecting it into another. That, as one would expect the CEO of a biotechnology company and his medical advisors to be aware, makes it a medicinal product and subject to strict regulations.

It also seems reasonable to expect that the clinical director would be fully aware that no amount of peer-reviewed published papers on lab experiments and small scale open label studies provides adequate proof to meet the requirements of those regulations.

I am curious to know why 10 of those papers include Mr Noakes as an author. I was under the impression he had no scientific or medical training.

I have no idea why Immuno Biotec chose to market a treatment without complying with any of the regulations unless, as appears to be the case, the CEO simply does not understand what actually constitutes scientifically valid evidence. But there is nothing sinister about the fact that they have now been prevented from doing so. Would the conspiracy theorists please note, bona fide licensed clinical trials on GcMaf are continuing unmolested. (Interesting article in The Times, 31 July, Opinion – by Ben Goldacre, author of ‘Bad Pharma’ – ‘Britain will be the loser if we dumb down clinical trials.’)

In response to Matt Waterman’s question as to why all the various companies marketing GcMaf have been targeted now, I believe it is the result of an international campaign orchestrated by an autism rights group (not Big Pharma), who alerted the various regulatory bodies that these companies were marketing an untested, unlicensed experimental product directly to vulnerable individuals and their families; often without any medical supervision.

Once aware of this, the regulatory bodies acted appropriately and suspended the activities of these companies and the various clinics involved, pending further investigation.

CATHERINE HALL,

Branch Officer,

National Autistic Society Guernsey Branch.

Contact 246025

catherinehall1@me.com

www.nasguernsey.com

Comments for: "No statistically-significant proof links MMR vaccine and autism"

wordgenie

It doesn't take long to track down science-based confirmation of a link. I don't usually recommend the Daily Mail but this piece is quite a good summary....http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-388051/Scientists-fear-MMR-link-autism.html

Esprit

wordgenie, the following link clarifies the issue.

http://www.wakehealth.edu/News-Releases/2006/Wake_Forest_Researcher_Warns_Against_Making_Connection_Between_Presence_of_Measles_Virus_and_Autism.htm

CAT

Esprit

Thanks. Very interesting link. Not seen this before.

CAT

No it isn't difficult to track down studies linking autism and the MMR. There are a number of them. That doesn't alter the fact that extensive reviews of all the available data have concluded that there is no statisticaly significant evidence that the MMR causes autism.

I wouldn't reccomend the Daily Mail as a reliable source of scientific information either. Try www. researchautism.net if you want reliable information on current autism research.

russm

Catherine Hall, like the autism rights group she refers to, doesn't believe there is any "cure" for autism and so any treatment is attacked. I'm no fan of David Noakes but people have left Guernsey to carry on their Gcmaf treatment which can be accessed everywhere it seems except Guernsey. HSSD did exactly as I predicted originally when Hadley was re-appointed to the board and that was that Gcmaf would immediately come under attack and once a ban was achieved HSSD would remain silent refusing to reveal the result of any investigation and just wait until the furore died down. HSSD are now embroiled in more controversy in Alderney. Not a single member of HSSD will get my vote next time around, nor Environment or PSD which isn't going to leave me with many to vote for!

CAT

Russm.

I do not know if it is possible to cure autism however I am aware that the concept that they should need to be cured is just as offensive to some people with autism as it would be to sugest that someone who was homosexual or had different skin colour should need curing. My 20 year old autistic son is an intellectually able, highly creative undergraduate. He has difficulties with some aspects of life but in other ways he has superior abilities to his more typically developing peers. He regards his autism as simply part of who he is. He would like to be accepted by society for who he is, rather than be told that he is defective, diseased and in need of a cure to make him 'normal'.

However, I also know people who are severely disabled by aspects of their autism and they or their families would welcome effective treatment.

Both viewpoints are equally valid and I am supportive of both.

I would not therefore 'attack' any valid treatment for autism. I will however continue to challenge the targeting of vulnerable people and their families with unproven and potentialy unsafe treatments.

I will continue to challenge the attitudes that imply that all people with autism need to be 'fixed' or made normal.

I will continue to challenge unregulated and abusive experimentation on autistic children for profit.

Catherine Hall

CAT

Actually GcMaf cannot be legally accessesd in any country where medicines are regulated unless as part of a clinical trial. As it has yet to undergo full clinical trials it is not licensed to treat any condition anywhere. I don't think Deputy Hadley or HSSD have much direct influence on the Belgian, Swiss or USA regulatory authorities, all of whom are investigating the sale and distribution of GCMaf.

However it may still be available from countries where no regulation of medicines exist.

russm

So Hadley contacting the MHRA and then they contacting other authorities isn't Hadley having influence beyond these shores? The fact remains that no proof has been provided that the Gcmaf (or Goleic) confiscated was infected in anyway or that it is harmful to anyone. The confiscation of people's chosen treatment, especially when offered no alternative, remains a disgraceful decision brought about by Hadley's personal crusade. Islanders should not have had to leave to obtain treatment but they have.

CAT

Russm

We are never going to agree on this one. GcMaf should never have been distributed in the indiscriminate way in which it was, with no medical supervision or long term follow up of patients.

Deputy Hadley would not have been able to persue a personal agenda ( if indeed he has ) had the people involved been operating within the regulations for testing, licensing and distrusting medicinal products.

CAT

Sorry typo. Should say distributing not distrusting.

Also forgot to mention. I have actually spoken to people who directly contacted the FDA in the US about the use of gcmaf , so not necessarily part of a chain reaction set off by Deputy Hadley. He is by no means the only person who is uncomfortable with the idea that a company can set up shop in Guernsey and sell untested, unlicensed 'treatment' for a whole range of serious medical conditions without complying with any of the regulations govening the health care industry.