Good morning and thanks very much for inviting me to contribute to the meeting. I have been here three times before, always on the same general subject of autism and the relationship of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine to autism.
From 1998 to around 2005, thousands of parents marched, protested and campaigned in the UK and other countries regarding their child’s gradual withdrawal into autistic spectrum disorder following vaccination, and particularly MMR vaccination. As honorary president of a Scottish autism charity, I was involved in five marches in Edinburgh, one in Glasgow and a very big event in London that was attended by more than 10,000 parents. At the end of that march, six of us—five mothers of autistic children and I—were invited into 11 Downing Street, and Alistair Darling asked us whether we thought that the MMR vaccine is implicated in autism. He received the answer “Yes” six times.
No action followed that meeting in London, but public health bodies and the pharmaceutical industry went into a publicity overdrive. The public were assaulted in the media with more than 35 epidemiological studies from every which where—Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Japan—but the public health bodies omitted to tell the media or politicians that epidemiology is not appropriate for establishing causation. The Lancet said:
“causal association cannot be established by data from observational research alone ... If the mechanism of a disease is poorly understood ... Data from”
“research just cannot be used as the sole evidence to ... deny a causal link.”
The highly respected Cochrane organisation pitched in with a comment. It said:
“The design and reporting of safety outcomes in MMR vaccine studies ... are ... inadequate.”
I would like to illustrate that trickery using epidemiology with an example from the Scottish Parliament. In 2001, a debate was called on single vaccines as a choice for MMR, and Malcolm Chisholm, the then Deputy Minister for Health and Community Care, informed the Parliament that MMR safety was confirmed by a Finnish study that had followed up to 1.8 million children. Its conclusion was:
“no cases of autism were associated with MMR during this 14 year follow-up”.
The Finnish study is rightly infamous as an example of how epidemiology can be used—or misused—for deceptive purposes. In fact, only 187 children were tracked, not 1.8 million. When the author of the Finnish study, Heikki Peltola, was asked on the BBC whether his study was designed to identify cases of autism, he replied, “No.” The study was irrelevant. The British Medical Association and five royal colleges used that irrelevant study to mislead the Scottish public and the Parliament.
In short, the health bodies did not look—and they have still not looked—at the issue of a vaccine-autism link. The medical hierarchy has deemed that autistic spectrum disorder is solely a genetic condition. I have provided you with a graph, gentlemen. Please look at it, as it reveals the growing number of schoolchildren with an autism diagnosis over the past 25 years. In a few years, the number will reach a quarter of a million schoolchildren. That is not genetics at work.
The issue then entered a new phase—denial. The phrase “better recognition” was regularly wheeled out. Many of the children we are talking about cannot talk or have severe communication problems, so we are being told that, prior to 1990, doctors, parents and teachers did not recognise it when a child could not talk. Since the very beginning, public health bodies have demonstrated an entrenched reluctance to even contemplate that vaccination might be implicated in what we are witnessing.
Another favourite phrase is “changing diagnostic criteria”, even though the changes in diagnostic criteria were designed to reduce the numbers of children being diagnosed. Again, please look at the graph. Do you think that tinkering with diagnosis would create the massive rise in autism that we are witnessing?
In the meantime, in 2011, a robust and rigorous study was published in the USA. The California autism twin study concluded that at least 65 per cent of autism is caused by an environmental factor, but that revelation received no publicity.
I decided to do my own research. I started with my grandson’s MMR vaccine batch number. I then accessed the records from the MMR court case in London and I discovered that another 17 child litigants had the same vaccine batch number as my grandson and all were diagnosed autistic. I contacted a friend in Warrington and asked him to access his son’s batch number. It was a different number, but the story was the same—27 children who had received that batch number were all diagnosed autistic.
I investigated the history of vaccine batch contamination and I found important evidence in veterinary vaccines, where concerns have been raised for many years about contamination with Mycoplasma fermentans, which is a contamination associated with cell culture technology. Mycoplasma fermentans is a bacterial pathogen that is invisible to the naked eye. It lives within the host and has an affinity to the cilia and stereocilia, which are small hairs that exist in all mammals. If Mycoplasma fermentans enters the body, it will lodge in an area of cilia such as the auditory tract, the brainstem or the gut, and from there it will invade other cells to scavenge, causing a gradual deterioration in the host. Please—I ask you—read my scientific paper, which has been peer reviewed and published.
I then re-read Dr Leo Kanner’s original research paper from 1943 in the USA, in which he first identified 11 children with what he called a “new” and “very rare” condition that he named autism. Interestingly, seven of the children were thought to have been deaf, which is a common feature in the children whom we see today. More interestingly, cell culture technology was introduced to vaccine manufacture in the USA in 1930, shortly before those children were born. Kanner’s “very rare” autism is now more common than all other serious childhood conditions combined, following the introduction of a vaccine using cell culture technology multiplied by three—the MMR. Think synergy.
Mycoplasma fermentans is difficult to detect as it does not remain in the blood. It is intracellular and has no side walls, which makes it resistant to many antibiotics. That is where the problem of quality control in vaccine manufacture probably began.
My early hypothesis on the cause of regressive autism was placed on the internet by a parent and it was quickly accessed by parents in more than 45 countries worldwide. There is an awful lot of “better recognition” going on. I also contacted a number of universities by email but, so far, only one has responded. The response states:
“I am afraid the College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences at the University of Glasgow has a strict set of research priorities. Your area of interest is not one of these. I wish you every success in your work.”
What set of research priorities in a civilised country ignores the cries of a quarter of a million sick children?
In view of the attitude of public health authorities to this tragedy that is affecting our children, I am requesting that the Scottish Government directly commissions a research project and informs universities that funds will be made available. I estimate that my hypothesis can be tested—using polymerase chain reaction and mannitol salt agar tests on a sample of, say, 100 children—at a total cost of under £100,000, with potential future savings to the Government of billions of pounds. The vaccination programme could then be made safe at long last. Thank you.