CDC Senior Scientist William Thompson has alleged that a 2004 study he co-authored omitted key data that would have revealed a link between autism and a commonly-required childhood vaccine, MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella).
“I regret that my coauthors and I omitted statistically significant information in our 2004 article published in the journal Pediatrics. The omitted data suggested that African American males who received the MMR vaccine before age 36 months were at increased risk for autism,” said Thompson in a statement issued through his attorney Wednesday.
The CDC and Thompson's co-author Dr. Frank DeStefano, CDC Director of Immunization Safety, defend the study as originally published.
At issue are steps the researchers allegedly took when they discovered a statistically significant link between MMR vaccine and autism among African American boys. They "refined" the analysis by excluding study children for which a Georgia birth certificate could not be produced, and used birth certificate data to "adjust" the results. When they did so, the strong statistical association diminished.
In a statement, Thompson implies his CDC employer and colleagues have not always been forthright with the public about vaccine safety issues. But DeStefano argues their final analysis produced more valid results.
Below is the audio from a telephone interview I conducted with the CDC's Dr. DeStefano this week, so you can hear his reasoning in his own words. For his part, Thompson says he is not speaking to reporters. "I am providing information to Congressman William Posey, and of course will continue to cooperate with Congress," Thompson said.
Read: "CDC Responds to Allegation it Omitted Vaccine-Autism Study Link"
Above: click to hear audio of Sharyl Attkisson telephone interview with CDC's Dr. Frank DeStefano about his questioned MMR-autism study, Aug. 26, 2014
Dr. Frank DeStefano: I think what [Thompson's] saying there was a larger, um, uh, odds ratio or association among the--the larger group and that there was not, uh, as strong an association among the birth certificate sample. And I mean, what I say to that, I think we discussed that, uh, as I recall, this was like, you know, over ten years ago, and, uh, I think at the time we had consensus among all co-authors that the birth certificate sample provided the more valid results because it could uh, it had more complete information on, uh, on race for one, and secondly, more importantly, it had information on important factors that, uh, had to be you know controlled for particularly in studies of autism, in particular, it would be things like birth weight, the mother’s age, the mother’s education. So I think for those reasons we were able to adjust for these factors and we thought, you know, we uh, our opinion was that that the results of the birth certificate sample provided the more reliable results. And I think, you know, as I recall, we all came to consensus and, uh, signed off on that, uh, in the paper.
Attkisson: Were you aware of any of his concerns of, you know, have you been aware before today of any of his concerns about this?
DeStefano: Uh, uh, yeah, I mean I’ve continued to see, uh, uh, see him for over the past ten years and we’ve interacted fairly frequently, and, uh, uh, no I wasn’t aware of this.
Attkisson: So whoever he raised his concerns to, he didn’t, he didn’t raise it to you or anybody you knew of?
DeStefano: No, I mean the last time I saw him was probably about two months ago, and he didn’t mention anything about this.
Attkisson: And at the time he didn’t seem concerned when you said there was a consensus?
DeStefano: No, yeah, I mean at the time he did these analyses he did, you know, he did point out that in one group, you know in that larger group the the the measures of association [between MMR vaccine and autism] were higher than in the, uh, birth certificate group and, you know, we discussed that and for the reasons I mentioned, uh, we came to consensus that the, uh, birth certificate uh results were more valid.
Attkisson: Um, I was looking at one of the birth certificates and it doesn’t have – maybe you could find one that has birth weight, mother’s education, the one I’m looking at doesn’t have any of that on there.
DeStefano: Ah, I mean I don’t know what, which one you’re looking at, I mean we get to these data were, uh, you know, right from the birth, birth, uh, the Georgia birth certificate files that contained those data.
Attkisson: Ok. Does is it a valid way of you know, you guys, scientists decide things before papers are published, of course, you use your own judgment on things, but isn’t there a way, is there a valid way to look at it the way Thompson is, where he thinks, apparently, that the larger group without the birth certificates was reason for concern and something that should have been reported? To me, as just as a layperson, I would like to know that-- even if, even if it culled out when you, when you got the group down through the birth certificates, I would, I still think it would be pretty important to know…
DeStefano: No, I mean, I think, you know, the other, the other important consideration here is looking at what, what time period we’re talking about. We’re, you know, autism, as you probably are aware, is a condition that really probably has its start while the child is still in the womb. And, you now, it doesn’t, some of the behaviors and such don’t come apparent, become apparent until maybe the child is one, two, three years old. But, uh, uh what we know about autism that, uh, the, uh, characteristics or behavioral signs do become ava--, you know, apparent by 24 months of age, so. So we had different cut-offs, before 18 months of age, there was no difference in, in any group in terms of, uh, vaccination levels, between the cases and controls. At 24 months of age, when, uh, au—you know—behaviors of autism or some features of autism become apparent, there was no difference between the, uh, cases and controls in any group, it was at 36 months where there was a slight differen—and the difference was we’re talking about a difference between 93% versus 91%, not a, a big difference. But, so that’s at 36 months. And at 36 months, an exposure around that time period is just not biologically plausible to have a uh, uh, a causal association with autism. I mean autism would’ve already started by then. [I me?] I reiterate it probably starts in the womb, but even if you’re saying, you wanna call it starting by the time some behavioral features become apparent, it had started before 36 months. And then, you know, we, from, so I think from a biological argument, it’s implausible this was a causal association. And then I think we have, uh--pretty convince--
Attkisson: Let me just, let me just interrupt what, before I lose that thought. So you already made up your mind regardless of what the stats show that if it, certain things show that it didn’t make sense, you wouldn’t, you would try to find out a way to…
DeStefano: No, that’s not we said, I’m just saying, you know, you interpret, you interpret findings, also, you know, there’s the statistics, then you have to also interpret, bring in things like biological plausibility, how do you interpret these results? So I think we had pretty strong evidence that these results at 36 months were primarily a reflection of requirements to attend early intervention special education programs for the for the children with autism. And why do we say that? We say that because the effect was almost all seen in children 3-5 years of age and those were the ones that early education programs and 98%, you know, 98% of that of that age group was in special education programs for which vaccination was of a requirement.
Attkisson: Is there any possibility that it is biologically plausible and you just haven’t, you know, that that’s, the consensus is that it’s not, among you guys, but that it is and you’re overlooking that?
DeStefano: I’m, I’m not aware of any data would, that would s--, you know, that would say that, uh, you would have, um, onset of autism after 36 months.
Jim Payette says
He is saying that because he believes (not proven at all) autism starts in the womb he didn't think evidence that it started later was significant as it didn't show up until they included children aged 3- 5 in early education programs but if they took out the children without Georgia birth certificates then the statistical evidence disappeared so that is what they did. It sure sounds like a science study with a preconceived outcome and fudging to get it. Many vaccines, MMRII, Hep A, chicken pox, among others use cell cultures from aborted fetuses to make the antigen that the recipient makes antibodies for - they are called human diploid cells in the "list of ingredients" - sounds a lot better doesn't it. How many people might think twice if they that Guardasil uses the ovarian cells of a cabbage looper to make the antigens? So the problem might not be the mercury in thimersol (although to me it sounds like a bad idea to put any mercury into babies and children just on the face of it - veterinarians in the 30s looked into using Thimersol in vaccines for animals and decided it would be a bad idea) - The problem is those vaccines using human diploid cells are contaminated with human DNA and sometimes Human Endogenous Retroviruses (something most people don't even know exist) Research done by scientists trying to cure genetic problems says that small fragments of DNA are readily taken up by the host. the problem is where they are inserted and whether or not they cause breaks in the host DNA where they have been inserted. A genetic type new medicine caused cancer in 4 out of 9 boys that were the recipients. Not much research has been done to find out exactly how much harm could come from using human diploid cells to culture antigens used in many vaccines - cancer, autoimmune diseases, autism. There is correlation with the rise in autism and the introduction of vaccines using human diploid cells. Mennonites do vaccinate their children but do not use those derived using fetal cells. They do not have the autism epidemic that is seen in the rest of the US. A researcher at MIT finds the use of Roundup also correlates with the rise in autism. of course, correlation is not causation but no correlation can be used to falsify a hypothesis. Why isn't there a crash research program to find out definitively why there is now 1 in 66 children born in the US becoming autistic?
Robin P Clarke says
>"A researcher at MIT finds the use of Roundup also correlates with the rise in autism. "
Actually that graph looks very impressive but is founded on the wrong autism data, cumulative total prevalence rather than birth cohort incidence. When you substitute the correct autism data it becomes obvious that glyphosate was rapidly increasing when new autism cases had become constant. And the autism increase was well under way long before the start of the glyphosate (roundup). The correct analysis thus shows that the roundup-autism theory is a complete dud.
>"but [lack of] correlation can be used to falsify a hypothesis."
Exactly, though the correct word there is theory rather than hypothesis. Hypothesis is a proposition of fact (roundup goes up and down with autism), theory is A causes B.
>"Why isn’t there a crash research program to find out definitively why there is now 1 in 66 children born in the US becoming autistic?"
Because it wouldn't be profitable enough. I have produced more than decisive evidence that the autism increase was caused by mercury from the change to non-gamma-2 dental amalgams from 1976 onwards. Furthermore a huge increase of mercury-type (non-autistic) adult disabilities exactly coincided with the autism increase. Eighteen "scientific" journals have blocked publication of this information with a huge pack of cheap lies. (Do a websearch for peer review criticisms.) I am now preparing a book to document it all anyway and crooked "experts" can't stop its publication.
Dr. Levey produced a video showing the vapor from mercury filling escaping as one chews. He also wrote a book, but since it's been several years since, I don't recall the name of it. Are you on FB? When you publish your book, I'd be interested in sharing on FB. Thanks, let me know. I still taste metal in my mouth from all my old mercury fillings.
Joyce Bowen says
Nope--sorry--they took out my babies in the 1970s--no fillings--no teeth! No glyphosate
Joyce Bowen says
plenty of mercury and Al in their baby shots though...
UnInformed Consent says
There is no nice way to say this, Destefano is a liar. He knows about the hallmark Thomas Verstraten study and actively acted to destroy it. He led the team that made sure Verstraten was pulled out of the CDC as a Fellow and shipped to Belgium away from the remaining news reporters who were still ethical. The 250 page transcript where 50 of Verstraten's colleagues tried to destroy him at that meeting at Simpsonwood is historic.
There is video footage of him defending these allegations at the NIH Vaccine Safety Hearing where the CDC et al were trying to deep six the studies of Wakefield and many many others.
While at that NIH hearing, Destefano "forgot" to include in his press package that he was the director of Vaccine Safety at the CDC. We were there at the time.
This was all circa 2002-2004 during the US Congressional hearings into Vaccine Safety and Dental amalgams while Rep (Chair) Dan Burton of the Committee for Gov Reform was having their 5 year investigations. Burton was aided by Rep Diane Watson. They were routinely sabotaged by the powerful Rep Henry Waxman who rarely - if ever- attended these hearings- Waxman also had everyone believing he was "green" when he was a pharma shill.
The corruption in the CDC, FDA, NIH, HHS regarding this cover-up is/was immense.
Will Bull says
Great work Sharyl. One of the most comprehensive covers I have read. You are a Patriot.