Butter, Eggs, Blood Sausage, Carrots, Health

OK, sometimes I “go places” via a chain of “What does THAT really mean?” and end up at something I already knew, but where I had no theoretical basis for it.

(This particular chain started from a general investigation of trans fat metabolism. Something I need to get back to after this posting).

One of the things I knew was that eggs, butter, and beef are all “good for you”. I was raised with this knowing. The Amish eat eggs, butter, heck even lard, by the ton. My Granddad lived to “90 something” and was active to the end on just such a diet. He lived on a farm in Iowa and had an Amish wife. (She lived longer than he did, I think). The Amish often have recipes that are about 1/2 lard and eggs, the rest similarly “forbidden foods” by the dictates of the modern world. “The English” in Amish-speak.

So I grew up with a typical breakfast being: Bacon (4 or more slices, thick and cooked as in England with a greasy finish not a crispy finish – that is, the fat left in), eggs (often fried in Bacon Grease in a fashion called “laced eggs”), toast soaked in butter (real butter, not that plastic crap called “margarine”. I’m with the French on that one, I’d rather die early and have butter than life long eating margarine, though it looks like, in fact, if you eat butter you life long…), and hash browned potatoes soaked in lard in the cooking. Dinner would often be things like fried chicken, mashed potatoes smothered in either butter or gravy (made with pan drippings – that is, a load of fat), and corn bread loaded with, yes, butter. My favorite dessert is either Flan / Custard or Custard Pie (that we always had in the restaurant and I often ate 2 slices a day. Basically it’s eggs and milk (with full fat level) on a pastry crust. My dad was fond of a local milk sold as “Guernsey” as it was advertised for its high butterfat level ( IIRC, about 7% though these folks say 5% http://guernseymilk.com/ )

You’d think I’d be dead by now. Yet I’m not. (Several of my friends have not fared so well…)

OK, is there a REASON for this? Is there some other thing going on here (other than the “farm country” life style in general) that might explain things?

Some Metabolic Chemistry

You need Vitamin A. Everyone knows that. What isn’t so well know is that it comes in many forms. There are a lot of things that you can turn into Vitamin A products that your body needs, but not all of them have the same effects, nor are they equally well metabolized at different stages of life.

We’re going to see several things with names of the form “Retin”-xxx so watch the endings. They matter. First up is Retinoic Acid. (Lots of things in food and life are acids, even things like lactic acid that makes yogurt yummy and sauerkraut tart, so it’s not a big deal to see “acid” in biochemistry). It gets made from “retinol” that is a common form of Vitamin A.


Retinoic acid is a metabolite of vitamin A (retinol) that mediates the functions of vitamin A required for growth and development. Retinoic acid is required in chordate animals which includes all higher animals from fishes to humans. During early embryonic development, retinoic acid generated in a specific region of the embryo helps determine position along the embryonic anterior/posterior axis by serving as an intercellular signaling molecule that guides development of the posterior portion of the embryo. It acts through Hox genes, which ultimately control anterior/posterior patterning in early developmental stages.

The key role of retinoic acid in embryonic development mediates the high teratogenicity of retinoid pharmaceuticals, such as isotretinoin used for treatment of cancer and acne. Oral megadoses of pre-formed vitamin A (retinyl palmitate), and retinoic acid itself, also have teratogenic potential by this same mechanism.

“Teratogenic” means it screws up the development of a fetus. So a load of retinoic acid can help mitigate the damage from drugs like Acutane. But don’t take ‘megadoses’ of it. OK, I’m “good with that”.

Retinoic acid acts by binding to the retinoic acid receptor (RAR) which is bound to DNA as a heterodimer with the retinoid X receptor (RXR) in regions called retinoic acid response elements (RAREs). Binding of the retinoic acid ligand to RAR alters the conformation of the RAR which affects the binding of other proteins that either induce or repress transcription of a nearby gene (including Hox genes and several other target genes). Retinoic acid receptors mediate transcription of different sets of genes controlling differentiation of a variety of cell types, thus the target genes regulated depend upon the target cells. In some cells, one of the target genes is the gene for the retinoic acid receptor itself (RAR-beta in mammals), which amplifies the response. Control of retinoic acid levels is maintained by a suite of proteins that control synthesis and degradation of retinoic acid.

“Hox genes” are the genes that control other genes in things like development. They make sure all your parts end up forming where they are supposed to be. This matters. Rather a lot. It also gets into the act on other cellular differentiation and controlling the expression of other genes. This, too, matters a lot. This stuff is down in the basic most important layer of control chemistry in your cells.

That means that if you don’t have enough of it, all sorts of things may go very wrong.

Retinoic acid can be produced in the body by two sequential oxidation steps which convert retinol to retinaldehyde to retinoic acid, but once produced it cannot be reduced again to retinol. The enzymes that generate retinoic acid for control of gene expression include retinol dehydrogenases (i.e. Rdh10) that metabolize retinol to retinaldehyde, and retinaldehyde dehydrogenases (Raldh1, Raldh2, and Raldh3) that metabolize retinaldehyde to retinoic acid. Enzymes that metabolize excess retinol to prevent toxicity include alcohol dehydrogenase and cytochrome P450.

OK, so we need “retinol” and / or “retinaldehyde” to get this stuff made.

Interesting that alcohol dehydrogenase is used to limit the upper bound. Those of us with high levels of that enzyme; redheads in particular, but white males in general; may need to have some extra Vit-A in our diets to deal with a tendency to deplete. Yes, that is speculative. It may also be that using up that alcohol dehydrogenase with a glass of wine or two daily could be part of the life extending properties of those beverages. Again, speculative, and as life processes often have feedback loops, you would need to test this first to be sure. These folks have a great list of the health benefits of various types of Vit-A, but also reference a study that found alcohol levels lowered Vit-A levels (though the ‘dose’ was not well described):


The relationships between alcohol consumption and carotenoid metabolism are not well understood. There is some evidence that regular alcohol consumption inhibits the conversion of beta-carotene to retinol. Increases in lung cancer risk associated with high-dose beta-carotene supplementation in two randomized controlled trials were enhanced in those with higher alcohol intakes

So it may be that “a little is good, a lot of alcohol is bad” via this mechanism.

FWIW, the same article has some interesting observations on Macular Degeneration and Cataracts:

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

In Western countries, degeneration of the macula, the center of the eye’s retina, is the leading cause of blindness in older adults. Unlike cataracts, in which the diseased lens can be replaced, there is no cure for age-related degeneration (AMD). Therefore, efforts are aimed at disease prevention or delaying the progression of AMD.

Dietary Lutein and Zeaxanthin

The only carotenoids found in the retina are lutein and zeaxanthin. Lutein and zeaxanthin are present in high concentrations in the macula, where they are efficient absorbers of blue light. By preventing a substantial amount of the blue light entering the eye from reaching the underlying structures involved in vision, lutein and zeaxanthin may protect against light-induced oxidative damage, which is thought to play a role in the pathology of age-related macular degeneration. It is also possible, though not proven, that lutein and zeaxanthin act directly to neutralize oxidants formed in the retina. Epidemiological studies provide some evidence that higher intakes of lutein and zeaxanthin are associated with lower risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
Lutein Supplements

A randomized controlled trial in patients with atrophic AMD found that supplementation with 10 mg/day of lutein slightly improved visual acuity after one year compared to a placebo.
Beta-Carotene Supplements

The first randomized controlled trial (AREDS1) designed to examine the effect of a carotenoid supplement on AMD used beta-carotene in combination with vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc because lutein and zeaxanthin were not commercially available as supplements at the time the trial began. Although the combination of antioxidants and zinc lowered the risk of developing advanced macular degeneration in individuals with signs of moderate to severe macular degeneration in at least one eye, it is unlikely that the benefit was related to beta-carotene since it is not present in the retina.

Which is then followed by various other combination studies that purported to not find a benefit. So some stuff “works” and some doesn’t. OK.

Dietary Lutein and Zeaxanthin

The observation that lutein and zeaxanthin are the only carotenoids in the human lens has stimulated interest in the potential for increased intakes of lutein and zeaxanthin to prevent or slow the progression of cataracts. Four large prospective studies found that men and women with the highest intakes of foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, particularly spinach, kale, and broccoli, were 18-50% less likely to require cataract extraction or develop cataracts. Additional research is required to determine whether these findings are related specifically to lutein and zeaxanthin intake or to other factors associated with diets high in carotenoid-rich foods.

Beta-Carotene Supplements

Evidence from epidemiological studies that cataracts were less prevalent in people with high dietary intakes and blood levels of carotenoids led to the inclusion of beta-carotene supplements in several large randomized controlled trials of antioxidants. The results of those trials have been somewhat conflicting. Beta-carotene supplementation (20 mg/day) for more than six years did not affect the prevalence of cataracts or the frequency of cataract surgery in male smokers living in Finland. In contrast, a 12-year study of male physicians in the U.S. found that beta-carotene supplementation (50 mg every other day) decreased the risk of cataracts in smokers but not in nonsmokers. Note that use of beta-carotene supplements have been shown to increase the risk of lung cancer in smokers (see above). Three randomized controlled trials examined the effect of an antioxidant combination that included beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E on the progression of cataracts. Two trials found no benefit after supplementation for five years or more than six years, but one trial found a small decrease in the progression of cataracts after three years of supplementation. Overall, the results of randomized controlled trials suggest that the benefit of beta-carotene supplementation in slowing the progression of age-related cataracts does not outweigh the potential risks.


Ultraviolet light and oxidants can damage proteins in the eye’s lens, causing structural changes that result in the formation of opacities known as cataracts. As people age, cumulative damage to lens proteins often results in cataracts that are large enough to interfere with vision

OK, to me it’s pretty clear, though the researchers have the usual blinders on. Eat natural sources of Vit-A and you get something good that helps prevent AMD and Cataracts. Whatever it is gets removed in the process of making a synthetic extract that they used in the testing. Basically, they over simplified the test, then found “nothing happened” then concluded “nothing there” rather than “we screwed the pooch on what to test”.

So eat your cruciferous vegetables and carrots…

And avoid “plastic fats”:


In a controlled feeding study, consumption of 18 g/day of the fat substitute Olestra™ (sucrose polyester) resulted in a 27% decrease in serum carotenoid concentrations after three weeks. Studies in people before and after the introduction of Olestra-containing snacks to the marketplace found that total serum carotenoid concentrations decreased by 15% in those who reported consuming at least 2 g/day of Olestra. One study in adults found that those who consumed more than 4.4 g or Olestra weekly experienced a 9.7% decline in total serum carotenoids compared to those not consuming Olestra.

As it just sucks you dry of your carotenoids…

Back to the original wiki article:

Retinoic acid is responsible for most of the activity of vitamin A, save visual pigment effects which require retinal (retinaldehyde), and cell metabolism effects that may require retinol itself. Also, some biochemical functions necessary for fertility in vitamin A deficient male and female mammals originally appeared to require retinol for rescue, but this is due to a requirement for local conversion of retinol to retinoic acid, as administered retinoic acid does not reach some critical tissues unless given in high amounts. Thus, if animals are fed only retinoic acid but no vitamin A (retinol or retinal), they suffer none of the growth-stunting or epithelial-damaging effects of lack of vitamin A (including no xerophthalmia– dryness of the cornea). They do suffer retina degeneration and blindness, due to retinal (retinaldehyde) deficiency. They also suffer defects in reproducton: vitamin A-deprived but retinoic acid-supplemented male rats exhibit hypogonadism and infertility due to lack of local retinoic acid synthesis in the testis; similar treatment of female rats causes infertility due to fetal resorption caused by a lack of local retinoic acid synthesis in the embryo.

OK, a lot going on there. Basically, retinoic acid is needed for most of the “good stuff” that Vit-A does, but for a couple of key things, you simply MUST have the other forms of Vit-A. Retinal for your eyes and vision. And retinol directly for fertility.

We’ll come back to those two (retinol and retinal) in a bit. But first a digression into fat burning.

Burn Fat via Vit-A

But not just any Vit-A.


All-Trans Retinoic Acid Increases Oxidative Metabolism in Mature Adipocytes
J. Mercader; L. Madsen; F. Felipe; A. Palou; K. Kristiansen; L. Bonet

aLaboratory of Molecular Biology, Nutrition and Biotechnology, Universitat de les Illes Balears, Palma de Mallorca and CIBER Fisiopatología de la Obesidad y Nutrición (CB06/03), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, bDepartment of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Southern Denmark, Odense

Cell Physiol Biochem 2007;20:1061–1072
(DOI: 10.1159/000110717)

Background/Aims: In rodents, retinoic acid (RA) treatment favors loss of body fat mass and the acquisition of brown fat features in white fat depots. In this work, we sought to examine to what extent these RA effects are cell autonomous or dependent on systemic factors. […] Results: Treatment with RA resulted in decreased cellular triacylglycerol content and increased basal lipolysis and fatty acid oxidation rate. At the mRNA level, RA treatment led to a reduced expression of adipogenic/lipogenic transcription factors (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma, CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein alpha, rexinoid receptor alpha) and two purported suppressors of lipolysis and oxidative metabolism (CIDEA and receptor-interacting protein 140), and to an increased expression of proteins favoring fat oxidation (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator-1alpha, uncoupling protein 2, fasting-induced adipose factor, enzymes of mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation). […] Conclusion: The results indicate that RA directly favors remodeling of mature 3T3-L1 adipocytes in culture toward increased oxidative metabolism.

Copyright © 2007 S. Karger GmbH, Freiburg

As an “Educational non-profit” uses I believe that quoting with parts left out is “fair use” under US law.

So what does this say? It says that rats fed extra retinoic acid burn a load more fat for fuel than rats that don’t get the RA. As human and rat metabolism are rather similar, one would expect similar results in people (but it would need testing to assure it).

OK, so if we eat Retinol (or retinal) it will be metabolized into retinoic acid. Where do we get them?



Retinal, also called retinaldehyde or vitamin A aldehyde, is one of the many forms of vitamin A (the number of which varies from species to species). Retinal is a polyene chromophore, and bound to proteins called opsins, is the chemical basis of animal vision. Bound to proteins called type 1 rhodopsins, retinal allows certain microorganisms to convert light into metabolic energy.

Vertebrate animals ingest retinal directly from meat, or produce retinal from one of four carotenoids (beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, gamma-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin), which they must obtain from plants or other photosynthetic organisms (no other carotenoids can be converted by animals to retinal, and some carnivores cannot convert any carotenoids at all). The other main forms of vitamin A, retinol, and a partially active form retinoic acid, may both be produced from retinal.

OK, we get it from meat products and from carotenoids. (I’ve not been able to find the reference, but I’ve seen a reference that infants were not able to convert carotenoids and so needed animal forms of Vit-A as in mother’s milk, basically, Mom needs to make it, or the kids need animal products. Butter provides it, but margarine uses a beta-caroteninoid so doesnt’ work for infants. Another reason not to eat margarine…)

In a pinch, we can back form Vit-A retinol from retinal, but clearly the preference if to go the other way.



Retinol is one of the animal forms of vitamin A. It is a diterpenoid and an alcohol. It is convertible to other forms of vitamin A, and the retinyl ester derivative of the alcohol serves as the storage form of the vitamin in animals.

When converted to the retinal (retinaldehyde) form, vitamin A is essential for vision, and when converted to retinoic acid, is essential for skin health and bone growth. These chemical compounds are collectively known as retinoids, and possess the structural motif of all-trans retinol as a common feature in their structure. […]

Retinol is produced in the body from the hydrolysis of retinyl esters, and from the reduction of retinal. Retinol in turn is ingested in a precursor form; animal sources (liver and eggs) contain retinyl esters, whereas plants (carrots, spinach) contain pro-vitamin A carotenoids (these may also be considered simply vitamin A). Hydrolysis of retinyl esters results in retinol, while pro-vitamin A carotenoids can be cleaved to produce retinal. Retinal, also known as retinaldehyde, can be reversibly reduced to produce retinol or it can be irreversibly oxidized to produce retinoic acid, which then cannot function as the vitamin in the eye.

So animal source Vit-A can be turned into any of the particular bits you need, and some limited back formation happens.

All sources of vitamin A can provide retinol, but retinoids are found naturally in some foods of animal origin. Each of the following contains at least 0.15 mg of retinoids per 1.75–7 oz (50–200 g):
Cod liver oil
Butter, Margarine
Liver (beef, pork, chicken, turkey, fish)
Cheese, Milk

OK, just the stuff I was raised on. (Mom loved liver and onions, as do it. She fed me cod liver oil when I was ill, or sometimes not… but she thought I might need some. We had butter galore. (I note that the wiki includes margarine and that is in error as it is typically made not with Vit-A but with a beta-carotene precursor). Eggs, cheese, milk. Yup. all that stuff.

As many in my family have headed down the vegetarian path, I need to be particularly aware of this. So far they have stopped at “ovo-lacto” so milk, cheese and eggs are still in the mix.

Turns out that to absorb it, you need some fats in your diet too:


Newer research has shown that the absorption of provitamin-A carotenoids is only half as much as previously thought. As a result, in 2001 the US Institute of Medicine recommended a new unit, the retinol activity equivalent (RAE). Each μg RAE corresponds to 1 μg retinol, 2 μg of β-carotene in oil, 12 μg of “dietary” beta-carotene, or 24 μg of the three other dietary provitamin-A carotenoids.

Though they don’t say why. Perhaps our recent fad of very low fat diets?

Because the conversion of retinol from provitamin carotenoids by the human body is actively regulated by the amount of retinol available to the body, the conversions apply strictly only for vitamin A-deficient humans. The absorption of provitamins depends greatly on the amount of lipids ingested with the provitamin; lipids increase the uptake of the provitamin.

The conclusion that can be drawn from the newer research is that fruits and vegetables are not as useful for obtaining vitamin A as was thought; in other words, the IUs that these foods were reported to contain were worth much less than the same number of IUs of fat-dissolved oils and (to some extent) supplements. This is important for vegetarians, as Night blindness is prevalent in countries where little meat or vitamin A-fortified foods are available.

Or maybe, just maybe, one could put a pat of butter on their carrots and “eat without guilt”!

So first they tell us to leave out the butter, then they tell us the carrots are not as good for us, then they say we need a pill with, yes, oil in it. Just crazy! Butter your veggies and enjoy.

Secondary vitamin A deficiency is associated with chronic malabsorption of lipids, impaired bile production and release, and chronic exposure to oxidants, such as cigarette smoke, and chronic alcoholism. Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin and depends on micellar solubilization for dispersion into the small intestine, which results in poor use of vitamin A from low-fat diets. Zinc deficiency can also impair absorption, transport, and metabolism of vitamin A because it is essential for the synthesis of the vitamin A transport proteins and as the cofactor in conversion of retinol to retinal. In malnourished populations, common low intakes of vitamin A and zinc increase the severity of vitamin A deficiency and lead physiological signs and symptoms of deficiency. A study in Burkina Faso showed major reduction of malaria morbidity with combined vitamin A and zinc supplementation in young children.

So get your zinc, and don’t overdo the cigarettes and avoid being an alcoholic.


So, when making all their extracts and doing their failed tests, did they maybe leave out anything?


Cryptoxanthin is a natural carotenoid pigment. It has been isolated from a variety of sources including the petals and flowers of plants in the genus Physalis, orange rind, papaya, egg yolk, butter, apples, and bovine blood serum.
In the human body, cryptoxanthin is converted to vitamin A (retinol) and is, therefore, considered a provitamin A. As with other carotenoids, cryptoxanthin is an antioxidant and may help prevent free radical damage to cells and DNA, as well as stimulate the repair of oxidative damage to DNA.

Recent findings of an inverse association between β-cryptoxanthin and lung cancer risk in several observational epidemiological studies suggest that β-cryptoxanthin could potentially act as a chemopreventive agent against lung cancer.

Oh, a form that we can easily convert to retinol (and on to all the other forms we need), that we can store, that acts as an oxidative stress “fix” and stimulates repair of damage to DNA (important to longevity, normal kids, preventing cancer, and radiation exposure repair). Oh, and it holds down lung cancer…

And what foods is it in?

Orange Marmalade (that English tradition I’ve eaten my whole life), eggs, butter, apple pie, and blood sausage.

My God Man, that sounds like the traditional diet we’ve all been told to avoid…

My take on it all?

The folks who think they know what we ought to eat are clueless. Take the plastic foods out of your mouth (and your diet). Put in the traditional foods people of eaten (and thrived eating) for generations. Make your pie crusts with chilled butter, not trans fat vegetable shortening, and have your eggs and toast (with butter and marmalade).

And that liverwurst or blood sausage sandwich for lunch? The Pâté de Foie Gras and the sardines? Go for it.

IMHO, of course.

Remember that the retinoic acid you gain will cause the fat metabolism to pick up the pace, leaving you feeling full, and energized, all day as you “burn with pride”…

So now I know why I don’t gain weight eating that traditional high fat (AND high Vit-A) diet.

End Note on Autism

There is a researcher who believes she has found the causal link to the “Autism Epidemic”. In her opinion, it turns on the fact that infants can not convert beta-carotene into the right form of retinol. When deficient in animal source Vit-A and simultaneously exposed to MMR vaccine, there is a bad interaction that leads to the Autism outcome.

My kids had an MMR type vaccine, and had no problems. Then again, we eat eggs and real butter every single day.

Here is a bit on her work:

Dr. Mary Megson


Vitamin A & Urocholine for Autism
Megson’s Research on Supplements for Autistic Spectrum Disorders

Jun 9, 2008
Jennifer Copley

Studies undertaken by Dr. Mary Megson suggest that supplements of vitamin A and Urocholine may provide benefits for some autistic children.

Doctor Megson has put forward the theory that autism may result from “disruption of the G-alpha protein,” which affects the brain’s retinoid receptors. Retinoid receptors are critical for sensory perception, attention and language processing, all areas that are often deficient in those with autistic spectrum disorders. Autistic individuals are also more inclined to have relatives who suffer from night blindness (poor night vision) and other retinoid-based disorders.

Nutritional Basis for the Theory

There has been a dramatic increase in the autism rate in recent years combined with a decrease in the consumption of foods rich in natural cis forms vitamin A such as kidney, milk fat, liver, salmon and codfish. There are essentially two forms of vitamin A, which have molecular shapes that are cis-trans isomers of each other. The synthesis of rhodopsin, which promotes healthy eye functioning, requires a particular cis isomer of vitamin A. The commercial version of vitamin A – vitamin A palmitate – contains only the trans form, which is not as effective.

Most children now consume more of the trans form than the cis form of vitamin A. Vitamin A palmitate, derived from palm oil, can be found in many baby formulas and low-fat milk. Beta-carotene, found in dark orange and yellow vegetables and fruits such as carrots, cantaloupes and sweet potatoes, as well as dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale, can be converted to vitamin A by the body. However, although they offer many important health benefits, fruit and vegetable sources provide the trans form rather than the more potent cis form of vitamin A. Additionally, absorption of this form of vitamin A can be compromised by damage in mucosal gut surfaces as a result of a wheat allergy or intolerance that is often undiagnosed, as well as a number of other health conditions. Overall, the cis form is far more effective.

As I remember it, one of the “other health conditions” was found to be MMR vaccine, but only for children already significantly low in the cis form of Vit-A.

To the extent that thesis has validity, one would expect to see various studies finding MMR is fine, or not fine, depending entirely on the individuals in whom it was tested. If the testing plan particularly screens out folks in poor nutritional status, it would fail to find this diet dependent for of failure.

(Please note: I am not saying MMR is causal. I am saying it needs a new kind of test to find out.)

Providing natural cis vitamin A supplements in the form of cod liver oil along with the alpha muscarinic receptor agonist Urocholine has generated dramatic, immediate benefits for some autistic children, including enhanced social interaction, improved attention and language usage, better vision and improved sleep.

Vitamin A supplements may be beneficial for children who engage in “sideways glancing,” as this may indicate improper function of the rods in the eye, a symptom of defective G-alpha protein. Case studies have indicated improved eye contact with supplementation.

Code liver oil resulted in 53% of the parents saying they saw improvement.

The testimony of Dr. Mary Megson to congress is reproduced on this page:


I’m going to reproduce all of it here. I have other, much more techincal, presentation of hers on video tape somewhere. It is very moving and you rapidly realize this lady knows what is going on down to the level of the individual molecules, then devised a test that confirmed it.

House Government Reform Committee on Autism and Vaccines

Representative Dan Burton, Chairman April 6, 2000

Mary N. Megson, MD

Mr. Chairman, Honorable Dan Burton and members of the committee; My name is Mary Norfleet Megson. I am a board-certified pediatrician, Fellowship trained in Child Development, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Medical College of Virginia.

I have practiced pediatrics for twenty-two years, the last fifteen years seeing only children with Developmental Disabilities, which include learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, cerebral palsy, mental retardation and autism.

In 1978, I learned as a resident at Boston Floating Hospital that the incidence of autism was one in 10,000 children. Over the last ten years I have watched the incidence of autism skyrocket to 1/300-1/600 children.

Over the last nine months, I have treated over 1,200 children in my office. Ninety percent of these children are autistic and from the Richmond area alone. The State Department of Education reports that there are only 1522 autistic students in the state of Virginia.

MHMR agencies have created local infant intervention programs, and have had a hard time keeping up with the numbers of delayed infants and toddlers. I have served as advisor to the City of Richmond and the surrounding counties as they have established entire programs for autistic children that fill multiple classes in several schools in each district.

The segment of children with “regressive autism,” the form where children develop normally for a period of time then lose skills and sink into autism most commonly at 18-24 months of age, is increasing at a phenomenal rate. I am seeing multiple children in the same family affected, including in the last week four cases of “autistic regression” developing in four-year-old children after their MMR and DPT vaccination. In the past, this was unheard of.

In the vast majority of these cases, one parent reports night blindness or other rarer disorders which are caused by a genetic defect in a G protein, where they join cell membrane receptors, which are activated by retinoids, neurotransmitters, hormones, secretin and other protein messengers. G proteins are cellular proteins that upgrade or downgrade signals in sensory organs that regulate touch, taste, smell, hearing and vision.

They are found all over the body, in high concentration in the gut and the brain: and turn on or off multiple metabolic pathways including those for glucose, lipid, protein metabolism and cell growth and survival. Close to the age of “autistic regression,” we add pertussis toxin, which completely disrupts G Alpha signals. The opposite G proteins are on without inhibition leading to:

1. Glycogen breakdown or gluconeogenesis. Many of these children have elevated blood sugars. There is sixty-eight percent incidence of diabetes in parents and grandparents of these children.

2. Lipid breakdown which increases blood fats that lead to hyperlipidemia. One-third of families has either a parent or grandparent who died from myocardial infarction at less than 55 years of age and was diagnosed with hyperlipidemia.

3. Cell growth differentiation and survival which leads to uncontrolled cell growth. There are 62 cases of malignancies associated with ras-oncogene in 60 families of these autistic children. The measles antibody cross reacts with intermediate filaments which are the glue that hold cells together in the gut wall. The loss of cell to cell connection interrupts apoptosis or the ability of neighboring cells to kill off abnormal cells. The MMR vaccine at 15 months precedes the DPT at 18 months, which turns on uncontrolled cell growth differentiation and survival.

Most families report cancer in the parents or grandparents, the most common being colon cancer. The genetic defect, found in 30-50% of adult cancers, is a cancer gene (ras-oncogene). It is the same defect as that for congenital stationary night blindness. G protein defects cause severe loss of rod function in most autistic children. They lose night vision, and light to dark shading on objects in the daylight. They sink into a “magic eye puzzle,” seeing only color and shape in all of their visual field, except for a “box” in the middle, the only place they get the impression of the three dimensional nature of objects.

Only when they look at television or a computer do they predictably hear the right language for what they see. They try to make sense of the world around them by lining up toys, sorting by color. They have to “see”objects by adding boxes together, thus “thinking in pictures.” Their avoidance of eye contact is an attempt to get light to land off center in the retina where they have some rod function.

Suddenly mothers touch feels like sandpaper on their skin. Common sounds become like nails scraped on a blackboard. We think they cannot abstract, but we are sinking these children into an abstract painting at 18 months of age and they are left trying to figure out if the language they are hearing is connected to what they are looking at, at the same time.

The defect for congenital stationary night blindness on the short arm of the X chromosome affects cell membrane calcium channels which, if not functioning, block NMDA/glutamate receptors in the hippocampus, where pathways connect the left and right brain with the frontal lobe.

Margaret Bauman has described a lack of cell growth and differentiation in the hippocampus seen on autopsy in autistic children. The frontal lobe is the seat of attention, inhibition of impulse, social judgement and all executive function.

When stimulated, these NMDA receptors, through G proteins stimulate nuclear Vitamin A receptors discovered by Ron Evans, et al Dec 1998. When blocked, in the animal model, mice are unable to learn and remember changes in their environment. They act as if they have significant visual perceptual problems and have spatial learning deficits.

Of concern the Hepatitis B virus protein sequence was originally isolated in the gene for a similar retinoid receptor (RAR beta), which is the critical receptor important for brain plasticity and retinoid signaling in the hippocampus. After the mercury is removed, I understand we will restart Hepatitis B vaccine at day one of life. Studies need to be done to determine if this plays an additive roll in the marked increase in autism.

I am using natural lipid soluble concentrated cis form of Vitamin A in cod liver oil to bypass blocked G protein pathways and turn on these central retinoid receptors. In a few days, most of these children regain eye contact and some say their “box” of clear vision grows. After two months on Vitamin A treatment some of these children, when given a single dose of bethanechol to stimulate pathways in the parasympathetic system in the gut, focus, laugh, concentrate, show a sense of humor, and talk after 30 minutes as if reconnected.

This improves cognition, but they are still physically ill. When these children get the MMR vaccine, their Vitamin A stores are depleted; they can not compensate for blocked pathways. Lack of Vitamin A which has been called “the anti-infective agent,” leaves them immuno-suppressed. They lack cell-mediated immunity. T cell activation, important for long term immune memory, requires 14-hydroxy retro-retinol.

On cod liver oil, the only natural source of this natural substance, the children get well. The parasympathetic nervous system is blocked by the second G protein defect. These children are unable to relax, focus and digest their food. Instead, they are in sympathetic overdrive with a constant outpouring of adrenaline and stress hormones.

They are anxious, pace, have dilated pupils, high blood pressure and heart rate. These and other symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are part of this constant “fright or flight” response. These symptoms improve on bethanechol.

I live in a small middle class neighborhood with twenty-three houses. I recently counted thirty children who live in this community who are on medication for ADHD. One week ago, my oldest son who is gifted but dyslexic had twelve neighborhood friends over for dinner. As I looked around the table, all of these children, but one had dilated pupils.

After two and one half months of taking vitamin A and D in cod liver oil, my son announced, “I can read now. The letters don’t jump around on the page anymore.” He is able to focus and his handwriting has improved dramatically. In his high school for college bound dyslexic students, 68 of 70 teenagers report seeing headlights with starbursts, a symptom of congenital stationary night blindness.

I think we are staring a disaster in the face that has affected thousands of Americans. The children with autism or dyslexia/ADHD are lucky. There are many other children not identified, just disconnected.

We must direct all of our resources and efforts to establish multidisciplinary centers to treat these children. Insurance companies should pay for evaluations, both medical and psychiatric, and treatment.

These children are physically ill, immuno-suppressed with a chronic autoimmune disorder affecting multiple organ systems. Funding to look at etiology of autism, to identify children at risk prior to “autistic regression,” and to prevent this disorder is imperative. Implementing vaccine policies that are safe for all children should become our first priority.

Mothers from all over the country have brought pictures of their autistic children to Washington this weekend. Most of these children were born normal and lost to “autistic regression.” Look into their eyes and you will hear their silence.

Thank you

Mary N. Megson, MD

About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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46 Responses to Butter, Eggs, Blood Sausage, Carrots, Health

  1. kuhnkat says:

    “…My God Man, that sounds like the traditional diet we’ve all been told to avoid…

    My take on it all?

    The folks who think they know what we ought to eat are clueless….”


  2. George says:

    The link to MMR vaccine and autism was debunked. The director of the study finally admitted to having manufactured data that produced his desired result.

  3. George says:

    Here’s the Time magazine link, but there were several other stories on the issue earlier this year:


  4. H.R. says:

    I’ll tell you a butter story, E.M.

    I was old enough to remember the incident but too young to remember the details. Mom took me to our family doctor (fascinating Jewish fellow who had fled Naxi Germany and had some harrowing tales about that).

    I can’t remember the complaint, but he asked mom, “Do you serve butter or margarine?” Mom said margarine, and I know it was because it was cheaper than butter; no other reason. He told her to switch to butter and that was the end of the problem.

    I’ve always remembered that and use butter regularly. I use margarine for some things such as cookies but I try to avoid hydrogenated oils as much as I can.

    OH! And… I eat bacon fairly regularly as it is certainly one of the four basic food groups ;o)

    Nice, informative post there, E.M.

  5. Catherine Clark, Illinois says:

    Actually, someone from the CDC is now being prosecuted in connection with this, the autism link. For your information, the author was NOT debunked, except through erroneous and malicious works. He has rallied and did NOT admit that he manufactured data. Get your facts straight.

  6. Level_Head says:

    Interesting. I’ve been eating lots of eggs, but not for retinol reasons. When the studies came out in the 1970s indicating that “cholesterol was bad,” I noted that only about 15% of serum cholesterol came directly from food absorption (per those papers). Most was manufactured from precursors, and lecithin (common in eggs) was a used by the body to control cholesterol. So, the (unstated) implication was, eat eggs to manage cholesterol.

    Prior to this, I rarely ate breakfast and consumed eggs only on occasion. I tried an experiment; it’s still ongoing. At the time (about 1973), I had my cholesterol measured, and it was 242. I upped my daily consumption of eggs to an average of six per day—more than a dozen, some days, and almost never less than four.

    My cholesterol dropped, and finally stabilized in the 70-90 range, where it remains. My egg consumption is now probably at an all-time high, as I tend to scramble 5 eggs and cheese in butter as a snack in the middle of working nights, as well as having similar breakfasts.

    Of course, I’m careful to eat healthy in other areas; lots of steak and hamburger.

    I do use some artificial butters; Squeeze Parkay is the only brand I’ve found that does not get strange or easily burnt when heated on a griddle, useful for some cooking. But for the most part, real butter is the way to go.

    I’ve been on my “special diet” of lots of eggs, butter, and meats for close to four decades. So far, so good. Of course, my stamina suffers a bit — these days I have trouble working 72 hours straight without sleeping, though it was necessary twice this year so far. Two-day sessions are common enough; perhaps my clients can be encouraged to avoid last-minute projects, but such is the nature of the business.

    To your long and robust health, sir, and thanks for the work that you do!

    ===|==============/ Level Head

  7. E.M.Smith says:


    I’d dodge the margarine even for cookies. (Unless you read the package and it is the ‘no trans fat’ kind. Regular margarine is up to 30% trans fat and even a 1 gm serving of trans fat has measurable bad impacts… If you look hard, you can find non-trans fat margarine, but at that point, what’s the point?)


    There is “debunking” and then there is debunking. There are a very significant number of cases of dramatic and immediate onset of autism shortly after MMR administration.

    In a complex causality condition where there is a muliti-factor background, it is very easy to get a ‘false negative’ simply by not having all the causal factors present.

    In the case of MMR in particular, we have the Vit-A deficiency problem that leads to heightened sensitivity (in particular, to a tendency to ‘leaky gut’ and providing a nice place for one of the Ms to form a persistant infection) and we have a particularly poor mercury dumping metabolism as an adjunct cause:


    Typically young children with autism have virtually no mercury detected in their hair samples, while neurotypical children have significant amounts of mercury. This is theorized to be the case because the neurotypical children are able to excrete the mercury they receive in their vaccinations from their bodies, while the children with autism cannot get rid of the mercury and instead retain it in their tissues. Mercury has an affinity for binding to fat and the area of an infant’s body containing the most fat is the brain.

    According to Dr. Mady Hornig, there do seem to be several genetic markers that when present singly or in combination put children at considerably greater risk for mercury toxicity. These markers effect how efficiently the children produce the raw materials they need to detoxify and how vulnerable their metabolic processes are to disruption by mercury. Those children who are not as efficient at detoxifying or preventing mercury from binding to tissues are predominantly the group of children who become autistic. These genetic markers run in families with conditions including a history of night blindness, color blindness, arthritis, colitis, chronic fatigue, lupus, celiac disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and Alzheimer’s.

    So simply having a questionair to select your study participants that excluded those with a family history of Alzheimer’s or night blindness could easily exclude the folks sensitive to the mercury that might well have been part of the MMR issue.

    Because of that kind of incredibly complex multifactor probable causality, I’m not willing to accept anyone saying “we have debunked” anything until it’s been looked at eight ways from sunday.

    That someone might have borked their research does not prove the alternative is the truth…

    So, you might well be able to show that in many selected groups of kids “mercury doesn’t cause it” and in another group that “MMR doesn’t cause it” and that in another “Vit-A defficiency doesn’t cause it” and in the end have shown nothing more than that it’s hard to find a multi-factor result looking at one factor at a time.

    What I’ve observed from seeing the kids I’ve seen is that the families are often prone to the “margarine and not animal fats” diet, have given MMR (often with mercury in it as in the early years), and have family histories indicative of the genetic issues noted above.

    So was MMR just “one insult among many”? Probably. But it’s one we have zero need to add to the pile. Spread the vaccinations out. Make sure it is mercury free ( I think we’ve already done that). Give the kids a Vit-A dose the week before. Screen the parents for the genetic history markers. etc. etc.

  8. E.M.Smith says:

    Another perspective on the MMR issue:


    No she is not advocating the abandonment of vaccination, but a reexamination and easing off of the overly aggressive/untested CDC vaccine schedule, and stricter safety standards of individual vaccines. Currently the vaccine schedule has more than tripled since I was a child, as it has gone from 10 vaccines to 66 vaccines, and 36 alone in the first 18 months of life. There is no safety testing of the vaccine schedule as a whole, and public health agencies have refused to do any, despite parent protests. Safety standards are very poor and Pharma is asking for even regulatory standards to even be lowered for them.]

    She is also advocating medical treatment for children with autism. No these are not HER treatments, they are emerging treatments that began to be put into use at least 15 years ago, and now are in use by most parents of young children with autism. (She is just the most well known and vociferous advocate of these medical interventions) For example, CDC now recommends that children with autism be screened for gastrointestinal damage. Treating this damage often improves the cognition and functioning of people with autism.

    In short, in case after case that is properly medically investigated, doctors are finding that children with the behavioral diagnosis of “autism” have neuro immune disease. These kids have an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system has attacked the central nervous system. Onset is often directly following vaccination (or other environmental insults), and we know that vaccination causes autoimmune disorders (check the VCIP “vaccine encepalopathy” and individual vaccine package inserts for details). At issue is whether many cases of “autism” are in fact neuroimmune disease in a genetically vulnerable subset of the population, triggered by an over reaction of the immune system to the ingredients in the vaccine.

    The testing that would prove or disprove this theory have never been done.

    Further, most of these children have serious GI damage that causes malabsorption of nutrients, resulting in further damage to the brain and related systems.

    Now I’m one of those folks who has a ‘hyperimmune function”. I tend to allergies and I tend to kill just about anything that tries to live in me. I’ve got 2 different foods now that cause me to have an arthritic response.

    So what would have have happened to ME as a genetic “off type” if given an insult of 66 bugs in the first year (or two) of life? I know my immune system would have gone to ‘red alert high’ as that’s what it does from even one small bug…

    For our kids, we accepted the vaccine regime, but ‘spread it out a bit’. AND had very good nutritional status prior to them doing anything. (i.e. high Vit-A levels of animal source). Result? No problems. While all around me we’ve got folks diagnosed as autistic at rates that make your head spin…

    My wife deals with these kids. And sees the families. High on her list of observations:

    1) Familial incidence
    2) Lousy nutritional status
    3) Heavy vaccination schedule in infancy.

    Rarely do they have a tendency to eat a lot of vegetables, use butter, and avoid junk foods.

    Those folks we know with “no problem and great kids”?

    Tend to eat natural foods, do not eat “plastic fats”, happy to consume eggs, milk, butter, etc. Often had a lower vaccine load or delayed the vaccination schedule.

    All anecdotal, to be sure. YMMV.

    Then again, from 3 kids of the “2 twins” with similar food histories we’ve got 2 with high “cum laude” on their degrees and one working on it…

    Now you take a cohort that has some of the genetic markers and expose it to the insult load that looks to be directly corrolated and they do just fine, you have to look at what was different.

    And what was different was the animal source Vit-A levels and a bit slower on the vaccination rates.

    At least, that’s what I see.

  9. Gene Nemetz says:

    Julia Childs’ favorite food was french fries made in lard. :-)

    The anti-lard sentiment in America likely came from Upton Sinclair and his book, “The Jungle”. The Jungle was required reading in school when I was a kid. It was promoted as a work of fine literature in America. But actually Sinclair couldn’t find a publisher. Six turned it away. One said,

    “I advise without hesitation and unreservedly against the publication of this book which is gloom and horror unrelieved. One feels that what is at the bottom of his fierceness is not nearly so much desire to help the poor as hatred of the rich.”


    As it turns out Sinclair was commissioned by a radical socialist named Fred Warren to write the book. It’s billing as fine work is, likely, propaganda from the political left whose grip on the American educational system is nothing new. For example, how many times were we told FDR was the greatest President of the 20th century on our way through the K-12 system?

    Anyway, lard has gotten a bum wrap. We’ve been missing out for years on the pleasure it could have provided.

    p.s., I know how weird this comment will appear to many. But you need to look into things for yourself.

  10. Ian W says:

    You might find this interesting:

    and the simpler version

    Seems to support some of what you were saying.

    You should read “Infectious moods: A depressing side effect”
    10:15 21 January 2011 by Linda Geddes at
    and the associated articles. To quote: “Research shows that the immune system ‘can have a devastating impact on the brain’.”

    Last I heard the idea of MMR was to give a really hard tripartite kick to the immune system.

    So your child happens to have a genotype that is affected by this, perhaps is low in Vitamin A give the immune system a hard kick and there you are with an autistic child. Unfortunately, primitive statistics cannot cope with genotypes just percentages of population based on a sample that may not include that genotype.

  11. George says:

    “There is “debunking” and then there is debunking. There are a very significant number of cases of dramatic and immediate onset of autism shortly after MMR administration. ”

    That is believed to be coincidental because first diagnosis often comes at about the same age when MMR is given, correlation isn’t causation.

  12. Do you know that Vitamin A in high doses it is anti spermatogenic (i.e:stops the production of spermatozoids)?
    Many years ago it was thought this property could be applied as a contraceptive for males….the trouble is that it would provoke lipopoenia (elimination of grease through the stool)..and vomiting by liver intoxication.
    In our “developed world” it usually happens the lack of vitamin A by wrong habits of eating, which sometimes ends in blindness, which is not treated as such, but “mechanically”with lasers,etc.(A la “pebbles´universe science). Sight returns, if vit A is given, in three months (however that´s not a “good business”and MD´s don´t use to give vitamin treatments as these are not expected from so “intelligent” people, or not enough “sophisticated” for so decent, clever and so distinguished individuals).

  13. E.M.Smith says:


    Re-read your own link. All it says is that the guy who did the research showing the link commited some ethical errors. Paid kids for a blood sample. Did colonscopies without the proper consent forms. That’s hardly proof that his findings were “wrong”. But even at that, I’m not saying they were right only that they are unknown. If the “found connection” research is “flawed” (to use the term in the article) that does not prove the opposite is true it simply reverts it to the unknown status.

    I also don’t buy that whole ‘onset timing’ thing. The proximity to the insult is way too close. Often days to weeks. Never days to weeks the other side of the dosing… I’d love to see a histogram of “time of vaccine” vis “time of symptoms” along with another of “age at vaccine” vs “age at symptoms”. If it only flows one way on the time line…

    Now, the other bit: 1:10,000 vs 1:600

    That is NOT just from “better diagnosis”. In my home town of about 3000 folks we had exactly ZERO autism. I knew everyone in town. (That happens in a small town when you own one of the only 3 retaurants in town – and one of them is the Chineese place. If folks wanted breakfast, they came to our place.) There was one kid in my class that was stongly learning impared, but not in that way. There were some others who were just flat out dumb, but normal. So it is absolutely a case of “something changed” that does damage kids.

    My wife gets autistics from every race, every nationality. It’s not just a genetic disease (though it may have a widespread genetic component).

    It’s not just a “poverty” disease, either. Look at the number of very high profile folks who are wealthy and have the best food and environment you could want. Yet they have an autistic kid. No, it’s something “rich folks can afford” too.

    So what is pervasive in our society, has gradually increased over the last 20 years, can zap brain development, and has catatrophic impacts with rapid onset?

    A strong metabolic insult.

    Add in normal development that turns into REGRESSION, and you get a point in time where “the bad thing” happens.

    What stong metabolic insults could possibly be experienced by the bulk of the population all at about the same age?

    1) Food fads (including our present fad for non-fat foods)
    2) Medical fads (indluding our vaccine fetish)
    3) Environmental toxins.

    At this point I’m running out of ideas…

    Now for #3 you have the issue of how a toxin could be very evenly wide spread, yet not impact a large cohort, and not inpact those over age 4 or so. Possible, but very hard to dream up. (Though it could be contributory in a complex set, so for example total heavy metals load with a metabolism that is compromised on heavy metal disposal).

    With all of that, and the time asymetry of “onset” never coming before the vaccination, I’m unwilling to simply set it aside as a “possible” that needs a strong validation / vindication study.

    To some extent an uncontroled “study” is being done in Japan:


    The problem is the uncontroled nature of it. Yes, MMR was withdrawn, but what is the total vaccine load on the infant and how early?

    And an interesting example from the other side (though with the Hep B vaccine in the spotlight):


    BACKGROUND: Increases in the incidence and prevalence of autistic spectrum disorders have been reported recently in the United States and Europe, but there are only a few reports on the trend of this problem in Thailand. OBJECTIVES: To study trend in autistic spectrum disorder patients and to find the factors that correlate with the incidence of this disorder at Queen Sirikit National Institute of Child Health. MATERIAL AND METHOD: A hospital-based prospective trend study was conducted in patients aged less than 12 years old, who attended the Child and Adolescent Department, Queen Sirikit National Institute of Child Health, Bangkok, from January 1998 to December 2002. Autistic spectrum disorders were defined as autistic disorder pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and Asperger’s disorder Related factors were recorded and analyzed Aged-adjusted incidence rate in both sexes and proportion rates of related factors were calculated by using the direct method Standard t-test and correlation coefficient were performed to test for statistically significant difference in the prevalence rate in each group. RESULTS: There were 610 new patients aged less than 12 years who displayed behavior consistent with autistic spectrum disorders. The increasing trend in the incidence of autistic spectrum disorder is observed (r = 0. 935, p = 0. 02). The incidence rate of autistic spectrum disorders among out patients less than 12 years has increased from 1.43 per 10, 000 in 1998 to 6.94 per 10, 000 in 2002. The correlation factors “an only one child in the family” is observed (r = 0.9, p = 0.038). CONCLUSION: During the 5 years of the study, a significant increase in the incidence of autistic spectrum disorders was observed at Queen Sirikit National Institute of Child Health. Increase in the incidence of ASD in this center cannot explain by any solid evidence from the present study.

    PMID: 16241015 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

    In 1992, Thailand began a universal hepatitis B vaccination program under WHO’s EPI, or Extended Program of Immunization. I doubt they were injecting neonates with thimerosal-free hep B shots.

    Note that the Thailand study has a ‘rise’ to a level that is about 20 times less than the Japanese level. 6/10000 instead of 97/10000 to 161/10000 ( and estimates as high as 1/150 for the USA… http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17047721/ )

    SO it’s not just race or quirky genetics (though some genotypes may be more resistent to what ever is causing it) and it DOES have a direct corrolation with the “western lifestyle” and it DOES drop off as you move to more “primitive” economies. That corrolates with both “plastic / junk foods” and “more vaccinations”. Hard to tease them out from each other.

    (With MMR being but one example of the ‘more vaccinations’ so you need to control for total vaccination load / year / person)

    So just what are the pervasive envornmental things to which infants are exposed around the world in diverse cultures with widely divergent food habits and dramatically different prosperity levels?

    It’s a fairly small set.

    Even things like pesticides are highly variable by region. Mercury from coal burning is highly variable as well. Tuna is not on the menu for some populations, but the prevelance holds. Etc.

    Yet vaccines are everywhere encourged, made by very few providers, and with highly standardized “approved” ingredients.

    No, not proof. Not even strong inference. But more than strong enough for a hearty “Dig Here!”.

    (I suspect you could simply look at onset of public health programs with mandatory vaccination and the onset of a rise of autism statistics as a ‘first cut’ country by country.)

    Then there are the “sort of an accidental study” based on medically “quirky” populations. Like the Amish, Seventh Day Adventists, Christian Scientists, et. al. like this report:


    Dan Olmsted, author of the “Age of Autism” column at UPI, wrote last year about a large medical group in the Chicago suburbs called Homefirst Health Services, which is largely geared toward parents who home birth their kids, and who tend not to vaccinate.

    Dr. Mayer Eisenstien, who founded the practice in 1973, told Olmsted that, of the 35,000 children given care at Homefirst, very few have autism, and those who do were all vaccinated. “I don’t think we have a single case of autism in children delivered by us who never received vaccines,” he said. (Cases of childhood diabetes and asthma were also reportedly very low.)

    So for a “US Typical” there ought to be between 1000 – 2000 cases, instead they have “very few”. And only from the vaccinated sub population.

    So no, I’m not willing to just “roll over and play dead” on the issue of vaccines. Not with that kind of evidence.

    (I’m also not jumping to “it is caused by vaccines” either, as I do think it is multifactorial and it could be that any of several environmental insults in infants could be one of the triggers.)

    I also quite certainly won’t let the doctor paying for blood samples convince me of anything one way or the other…

  14. Can´t help being every time more astonished by the variety, deepness and detail E.M. treats so different issues.
    Once again, congratulations!

  15. BDAABAT says:

    You really jumped the shark with this one, Chief.

    The ONLY reason people have investigated any relationship to MMR and autism is coincidence: the time folks realize their kids aren’t progressing as they would be expected to is around the time of the administration of the MMR vaccine. That’s it. There’s no science involved. Just temporal correlation.

    Some knucklehead comes along and “proves” that the reason for developing autism is indeed because of the vaccine… but not just the vaccine, something that’s added TO the vaccine: MERCURY. Since everyone knows mercury is toxic, this was an easy sell.

    And, please don’t try to minimize what Wakefield did. He did NOT do “research” on these kids. He performed unnecessary procedures on disadvantaged kids without their or their parents consent… all of which were designed to find toxic effects from the vaccine… so that he could set up shop to treat them and to belefit from the resulting litigation against vaccine producers. THAT’S why the article was withdrawn. That’s why he was stripped of his ability to practice in the UK (although he now “practices” in the US). Wakefield applied for patents for “MMR alternatives”:

    He was actually performing unnecessary procedures on children to create a market for himself.

    Others fed the fear and continue to do so.

    Along the way, you’ve completely ignored some important issues.

    There’s been a decrease in the use of thimerisol in vaccines over the past 10+ years. The amount of thimerisol that kids are exposed to has decreased drammatically over the past 10 years…no vaccines still use it as a preservative anymore. Yet, there’s no decrease in the rate of development of autism. If anything, rates are actually increasing. So, whatever is going on isn’t due to thimerisol. It’s likely multifactorial, including increasing awareness.

    What about the other studies comparing rates of autism in those exposed to MMR vs. those that have not? There’s been decrease in rates of autism in those not exposed to MMR. In fact, this study found an inverse relationship between rate of autism and vaccine use:

    There’s also the issue of prevalence by sex. Boys and girls are dosed with the same vaccine, but boys are more likely to develop autism than are girls. If this really and truly were a toxic effect from exposure to a metal, a metal that has not otherwise been demonstrated to show gender-related toxicity, one would expect that both sexes would react similarly.

    All of this is interesting from a social-psychological perspective, but it has nothing to do with helping kids. It has nothing to do with science. It’s really about extracting dollars from concerned parents who want to believe that their kid is the way they are because they’ve been poisoned. That’s the reason those “researchers” are developing links to vaccines… they demonstrate that they know the cause of autism, concerned parents want to do whatever they can to help treat their kids (who wouldn’t???), so they pay cash for “treatments”.

    Want to get your child treated? Just go online to find the “clinics” to get them treated.

    Not only do the families pay big bucks for the evaluations, but they also need to pay big bucks for the special testing that’s done as part of the evaluation… special blood work that only their “lab” can do (all of which shows that yes, obviously your child is very ill from exposure to these toxins and could really benefit from our treatments), and then you get to the the special treatments. All of which is based on a fraudulent idea and an actual fraudulent “study” that has since been retracted and the individual involved stripped of his ability to practice medicine (in the UK).

    Your article condones these practices and helps to encourage people to ascribe blame to thimerisol/vaccines.

    The reality is that those practices can do more than extract funds from gullible parents: It can kill:

    Those are deaths directly related to chelation. That doesn’t include the injuries and deaths caused by people choosing to NOT vaccinate their kids in the mistaken belief that vaccines can lead to development of autism.

    Rates of measles increased dramatically after Wakefield’s findings were published in the Lancet and people feared for their children’s safety.

    So, if you really want to investigate the evidence of vaccine induced injury, PLEASE do so. But don’t JUST look at part of the picture before taking a stand. Take a look at all of the evidence (and look at more than what I’ve noted above).

    Bruce (who also happens to be a father of a twice gifted child)

  16. E.M.Smith says:


    You really jumped the shark with this one, Chief.

    The ONLY reason people have investigated any relationship to MMR and autism is coincidence: the time folks realize their kids aren’t progressing as they would be expected to is around the time of the administration of the MMR vaccine. That’s it. There’s no science involved. Just temporal correlation.

    Why do people have such a hard time accepting “Ask the question” and way too often turn it into “You made an affirmative statement”?

    Please BDAABAT, go look again at what I said. Also look closely at what I did not say.

    I said: There is enough circumstantial evidence to make it worth asking the question; and ask it in a very careful way.

    I did NOT say: “It is the MMR Vaccine that did it”.

    I said: The guy had ethical issues. That does not prove the opposeite of his thesis to be true.

    I did NOT say: “What he did was fine”.

    etc. etc.

    So you’ve accused me of endorsing the “MMR did it” thesis for wanting to ask the question “How can we prove vaccines innocent, or perhaps find them partially culpable?”

    Given that there are groups that do not vaccinate and are not having the “Autism epidemic” it is far more than just temporal coincidence. Given that onset has ramped up in direct proportion to the quanitity of vaccination it is not just a “gee they are 3” time thing, but also a broad population dynamic epidemic over decades of time thing too. (See the above comment with citation of the article with the non-vaccinated group).

    AGAIN: I am not saying MMR Did It. I AM saying “That’s enough to warrent several very close looks with very careful means”.

    Time correlation IS Science.

    It’s just the very first step of science.

    “Ask the data what they are saying.”

    What they are saying is “these two things come together”.

    OK, that gives you a VERY easy experiment to run. Pick a population that is agreeable. For them, shift the vaccination schedule by ONE YEAR (early or late doesn’t matter, but I’d likely go for later as we are already vaccinating “way early”). If there is anything to this thesis, in about 4 years you will have an answer as their kids will have onset of autism shifted by about one year. That will show up statistically.

    No, it’s not like this is some grand Risky Business with kids lives. I got my first round of vaccinations at about 5 or 6 years old when a public vaccination program came to town.

    Life was OK when we were not vaccinating babies still in their mother’s arms. Now that most of the population IS already vaccinated, the odds of expusure are “way low” anyway.

    It’s also not like measles is an automatic death sentence. (And yes, I know all the complications, even the horrific ones and that some folks DO die from it.). For most folks it’s just a very uncomfortable disease. I know, I’ve had it. (The vaccine didn’t come around until the 1960’s).

    But with measles basically eliminated in the USA, a “one year delay” test would be very low risk. (NOTE: that is not “NO risk”, there is risk, just not a whole lot. Look up the whooping cough, measles, mumps etc. rates in the USA and compute the probability of exposure. BTW, I’ve had mumps too. Or, rather, “one mump” ;-) It didn’t get a chance to get over to the other side before my immune system jumped on it. Oddly, the upper right quadrant of the body has it’s own lymphatic system, so things are isolated somewhat from the other 3/4 of the body.)

    At any rate:

    All the talk about the horrors of what Herr Dr. did without who’s concent are just not relevant. They do not answer the question of “what is causal” and they do not prove his assertions wrong nor do they prove the alternatives right. They only prove him an idiot. That also means all the sequale of his acts are not relevant. They do NOT attribute to the “MMR did it” thesis, only to Herr Dr.

    Per mercury as causal:

    It’s a thesis, nothing more. That heavy metal excretion is compromised in some autisitic sample was shown above.

    That leaves open the question of: Is that a CAUSE or a SYMPTOM? Noticing the correlation is the first step of science. The “Dig Here!” moment. But it is not the end point.

    FWIW it looks like a symptom to me, so my bias would be toward looking for what causes that symptom. That is a compromised metabolism that could be tied back to Vit-A defficiency, especially of the CIS animal form. That, too, is a THESIS not a CONCLUSION; so please don’t go accusing me of concluding anything on that point either.


    Yes, I’m shouting, as a large number of folks seem incredibly tone deaf on that point. Advocating to ask the question IS NOT PROMOTING AN ANSWER.

    No shark jumping involved.

    Got it?

    Mercury IS toxic and adding more to kids just born is not a good idea in any case. Combined heavy metals toxicity also exists and it can factor into a ‘multifactorial causality’ where part of the answer is a partly broken metabolism from interferance with some little understood genetic pathway.

    For example (NOTE: THIS IS NOT ASSERTING A CONCLUSION only A HYPOTHETICAL.) the Hox genes are poorly understood. Could there be a particular enzyme system involved in them that is particularly sensitive to mercury? That would then “screw up” the subsequent unfolding of development of things like, oh, the brain, that is still developing then; yet not show in any of the usual toxicity tests that are not typically done on infants. Lab Rats here we come… Now add in a possible need for a cis-Vit-A defficient state for it to work and it’s not a simple lab test to do (as few folks will have thought to test for both concurrently) mix in a genetic linked weakness and it’s a complete non-starter unless you have some very special rats…

    Per the sex linked rates:

    This implies that the X chromosome is somehow involved. It does NOT imply environmental factors are exonerated. It just tells you what chromosome may carry the “genetic predisposition”.

    Girls get 2 X boys get 1. In girls, each cell semi-randomly has one X crumpled up and stuck to the wall. So girls are a chimera of 2 cell types. Boys have only one type. For an X linked trait, you would expect a lower rate in girls.

    So say your ‘sensitivity’ to mercury (a broken heavy metal excretion gene?) is carried on the X chromosome? Then you would get what we find in sex ratios.

    In other words, being sex linked does not prove the mechanism, only the location of any genetic factor that may be part of a multi factor system. (We know it is multi factor as it increased dramatically in different countries at different times and their populations are not massively interbreeding cross borders all in the same year…)

    BTW, there is a related syndrom seen ONLY in girls.


    which gives some clues about which genes might be of interest. In this case, the gene is flat out broken. Boys typically die, so it’s a disease of girls where some of their cells work OK…

    Now, could a metal, especially in the context of a metabolic depression caused by a lack of a critical cis-Vit-A level compromise those genes in their expression? Would a sudden metabolic challenge that required the body to provide significanly ramped up metabolic activity push such an individual into a “metabolic catastrophy” where resources were consumed “fighting a disease that wasn’t there” and in the process compromise the ability of the HOX genes to unfold development in normal ways?

    That’s the kind of thing I’d look for. In that case it would not be “just” mercury or “just” MMR or even “just” total vaccination load. It would include all environmental toxin exposures that compromose that particular metabolic path AND a genetic predisposition or sensitiivity to that path being disrupted AND a ‘trigger state” of excess demand on that that metabolic path.

    So as folks addopted the “recommended diet” full of trans fats and plastic oils and difficient in cis-Vit-A they compromise their metabolism. As that happens to be far more imporant in infants, as they are growing very fast with high nutrient demands and still have an unfolding genetic development, they are the population at risk from anything that cocks it up. Especially so in folks with some forms of the genes (and their associated enzymes) than in others. Now add a pretty strong metabolic challenge and you “pull the trigger” into a metabolic collapse in a critical system at a critical developmental step.

    BTW, this is seen all the time. Some drugs screw up fetus and pediatric patients but do nothing to adults. Some specifically screw up the hox gene expression. Some screw up the formation of tissues (thalidomide anyone?… and the plague of “flipper kids” it brought us…) But only in a subset of the population, not all.

    I’ve a posting I’m thinking about on Fava Beans and Favism. It’s genetic. The gene helps you survive malaria, but means that a tylenol can kill you… what, you say? Tylenol is “safe”? Only for folks with poor resistance to malaria from their “genetic defect” of not having Favism… You see, it’s all a matter of point of view about who, and what, is “normal” genetics… So if a BEAN and an over the counter pain pill can kill some folks due to their ‘speicial’ genetics; you don’t think maybe some folks might have differential response to vaccinations? We are ALL very unique genetic baskets. Medicine likes to forget that…

    So it’s no “leap” at all to postulate a key vitamin that is directly involved in HOX gene expression and cellular metabolism at all levels might have slightly different action in different genetic groups, that some of them would be particularly sensitive to “environmental insults” that could then cause their development to be broken, and that some of the genes might reside on the X chromsome.

    And that vaccination is an “environmental insult” is beyond doubt.

    I’ve a friend who lives in a wheelchair as a direct result of a polio vaccination. “It happens”… And look up the rate at which some kids have all sorts of fevers, rashes, shock, all sorts of things. For some significant percentage of the population we are metabolicly beating them with a very big stick. “So that others may live”…

    But don’t worry, in about 200 years we will have eliminated such genetic “off types” from the gene pool via killing them with vaccination or rendering them “non reproducing” and then vaccines will be much safer… (yes, ironic…) just like forcing everyone to eat Fava beans would rapidly eliminate that disease. Unfortunately, while we know that Favism grants malaria resistance, we don’t know what special gifts of genetics we are eliminating by screwing up the kids that get autism.

    So, if you really want to investigate the evidence of vaccine induced injury, PLEASE do so. But don’t JUST look at part of the picture before taking a stand.

    And don’t accuse me of “taking a stand” for wanting to ask a question…

    1) We know there is a genetic component (as part of it is X linked, twins are more likely to match, it ‘runs in families’ – that isn’t strictly genetic but points that way to investigate).

    2) We know there is an environmental component ( as the “epidemic” has onset in different countries at different times and their broad genetic content didn’t change, it ‘runs in families’ – so environment and genes are both in the same family together).

    3) We know the environmental component increased over time (as the rates have gone up over a multi-decades scale at the same time that we are removing any genetic predisposition from the gene pool via the autistics not having kids.)

    4) It is NOT just “better diagnosis”. You don’t go from ‘almost unheard of’ 1:10,000 and folks spend their whole career in Special Ed never seeing one, to 1:150 and every school has a dozen in the “special” classes just from “better diagnosis”. Yes, there is some of this as folks on the margin are now counted in, but they are classed in different subsets, and even the most “hard core” subset is rising dramatically.

    And we better start getting some clue about this very fast or we will be a horridly screwed up society in no time.


    No, not a “conclusion”, just where I would dig:

    I’d look at Amish vs Seventh Day Adventist vs Mormon vs Christian Scientist vs “Homeopathic” families vs Vegans vs The Norm.


    Amish avoid technology. All those sprays, pesitcides, deodorants, shampoos, etc. They are stuck in the technology of the 1800s. It eliminates a VERY large chunk of ‘metabolic insults’.

    Seventh Day Adventists have a high rate of vegetarians. This will tend to exacerbate any cis-Vit-A issues (though if ‘ovo lacto’ it doesn’t). Often there are vegetarian and carnivors in the same home, so “all other environmentals” are held equal as are genetics.

    Vegans. Similar vegetarian angle, but without “ovo lacto” so even more likely to be cis-Vit-A deprived.

    Christian Scientists. Don’t do medical intervention. I’m not sure their attitude toward vaccination, but they likely would have been late adopters in any case, so “onset” time (if they do vaccinate) would be indicative of onset of insult, which would tend to point at ‘what changed’.

    Mormons. A fairly isolated genetic group. They do tend to follow the main line diet recommendations, but have some subsets that live out in the boonies and eat primarily ‘natural’ foods. High consumption of meat products. Any difference to the other groups would give clue. Large populations have lived in the same places for generations (much as have the Amish) so ‘environmental changes’ are easy to track.

    “Homeopathic” groups. This is a marker for those folks who refuse modern medicine. Like the group cited above with near zero vaccination. They are scattered all over, and live in may different types of environments with all sorts of genetic types. About as idea a ‘control’ group for vaccination as you could want. (I have some neighbors in this group). They have already self-selected to be the non-vaccinated control. All you need to do is let them, then count the rate of which diseases they get, including Autism

    I’d also add in a study of when various country Public Health services started massive vaccination programs and when their autism rates started to rise. A similar study of when their diets shifted from traditional to western would be useful as well. (Okinawa in Japan would be good for this one as it’s already well studied for heart disease vs western food). China would likely work well here as Central Planning tends to mean you all get whacked at once and in the same way. Oh, and England. They “whack ’em all” at the same time, too. So when did England get off the bacon and eggs and start shooting up vaccines? Was that about the time the “autism epidemic” started?

    That is what is called a clue…

  17. H.R. says:


    “I got my first round of vaccinations at about 5 or 6 years old when a public vaccination program came to town.”

    I can only recall two vaccinations; polio, as soon as the vaccine was available, and smallpox. Everything else I caught and fought. (Born in 1953 in a poor, mostly rural area.)

  18. BDAABAT says:

    Chief wrote: The guy had ethical issues. That does not prove the opposeite of his thesis to be true.

    That’s more than “ethical issues”… that’s not a bit of a lack of judgement. That’s criminal behavior where the individual abused children in his care. The evidence demonstrates that this individual was solely interested in creating a market for his products and services, and did so by using and abusing children (and, yes, doing colonoscopies and lumbar punctures in kids when not medically necessary IS child abuse). If you choose to believe what he wrote, well, so be it. From a credibility perspective, there isn’t any.

    You noted that that it’s reasonable to look into temporal associations. It’s been done. There IS evidence that autism rates are increasing despite removal of thimerisol from vaccines (see my link above). The evidence suggests that there isn’t a direct causal effect from thimerisol.

    There IS evidence of autism rates increasing in populations that, because of the actions of a medical fraud, have chosen to not vaccinate their kids (see my link above). The evidence suggests that there isn’t a direct causal from vaccines.

    There IS evidence of increased rates of communicable diseases (diseases that vaccines prevent) because of fears of developing autism.

    You noted a friend in a wheelchair as a result of polio. That really sucks. The reality is that, yes, there are people that can be harmed by vaccine use. Question: How does that compare to the harm that can result from NOT vaccinating?

    Look at rates of polio and the effect that had on people before development of the vaccines. How many people died as a result of polio? How many people ended up in wheelchairs as a result of polio??? In the US in 1952, 3,300 people died and more than 57,000 cases were reported. That’s just one year. How many people have developed polio in the US over the past 10 years? 0.

    Regarding vaccines in general (since you seem to have a problem with vaccines… and “whacking” everyone with them) please think about smallpox. I’ve seen estimates that smallpox killed more people in human history than any other disease. The available evidence shows estimates that in 18th century Europe, 400,000 people died ANNUALLY from smallpox and a third of the survivors became blind. Now? 0.

    Vaccination programs were instrumental in eliminating smallpox.

    What about measles? Killed ~ 450 people PER YEAR in the US before vaccination programs. Now? 0.

    If you want to mention the possible teratogenic effects of toxins, you need to look at rubellla. For pregnant women infected with rubella in their first trimester of pregnancy, there is a reported 50% risk of fetal birth defects.

    So, please, look at the available information. When you review the data, all of the data, you see that vaccines aren’t the big scary buggaboo that many have claimed them to be. You see the benefits of vaccination on entire populations of people.


  19. E.M.Smith says:

    Ok, what was intended as a minor “foot note” side light has become the dominant topic in the comments. Oh Well.

    Back on the main point of the thread, that “animal products” may have some significant benefits especially when it comes to Vit-A and that maybe it’s OK to have that bacon and eggs breakfast with butter and toast…

    I have a book I cherish:

    “The Amish Cook” subtitle “Recollections and recipes from an Old Order Amish Family”. By Elizabeth Coblentz with Kevin Williams.

    It has some wonderful pictures in it of the life my Grandmother left. It also has some recipies that remind be of things my Dad would cook at home.

    So what caused my Dad to say “No Way” and us to continue to eat bacon, eggs, butter, et. al.? Having ancestors living into their 90s is great health while eating things like this.

    Breakfast (page 29):

    Breakfast Casserole

    8 slices white or wheat bread, crumbled

    6 eggs

    2 cups milk

    1 onion, diced

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

    1 pound, crumbled buld sausage, fried and drained

    1 pound grated Colby Cheese

    1/4 cup margarine or butter

    Preheat the oven to 325 F. Put the bread in the bottom of a greased 9 by 13 baking dish. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs then add the milk, onion, salt and mustard. Sprinkle the sausage and cheese over the bread. Dot the margarine / butter over the cheese and pour the egg mixture over all. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until golden brown.

    BTW, we would use the sausage drippings to make sausage gravy to pour over the biscuits (made with lard) that were served as a side dish…

    So look at that ingredients list. 2 cups of WHOLE milk. 2 lbs of combined sausage and cheese. A half dozen eggs. Some flavorings and a bit of bread to give a lifting surface and binding. 1/4 lb of sausage and cheese per slice of bread. WITH butter…

    At the noon meal, called “dinner” and not “lunch”, one might have a salad:

    Page 66:

    Simple Seven Layer Salad

    1 head iceburg or 2 heads Bibb lettuce

    2 cups fresh or frozne peas or cauliflower pieces

    1 onion, thinly sliced

    1/2 cup chopped cellery

    So far so good. I can just hear folks thinking “Sounds like a nice healthy salad to me”. A decent familily sized serving bowl of greens. What’s the deal? Well, there is more in this salad:

    4 hard boiled eggs, chopped

    1 pound bacon, fried and coarsely chopped

    2 cups Homemade Mayonaise (see pate 167) or store-bought mayonaise

    1/3 cup sugar

    2 cups grated Cheddar cheese

    Crumbled cooked bacon for garnish (optional)

    Chop or tear the lettuce into 1-inch pieces. Spread the lettuce over the bottom of a 2-quart casserole dish. Then layer the peas, onion, egg, celery, and bacon. In a separate bowl, combine the mayonaise and sugar and thin until smooth. Spread on top of the salad to make a seventh layer. Do not stir. Chill for 12 hours. Before serving, spinkle with cheese and bacon.

    IMHO, there is something "protective" in that load of eggs and cheese that is preventing the horrors we are lead to expect. Given the above discussion of Vit-A, I think that's the most likely place to start.

    Furthermore, the early studies of "unsaturated vs saturated fat" tended to lump the artificial shortenings of the day in with the "saturated fats" as they were both solids at room temperature. Basically, the "saturated" side was loaded with trans fats. i.e. a broken test method.

    Only later was a test run with pure unsaturated vs pure saturated fats. "Tri-stearate" was made and used in feeding studies. THE most common saturated fatty acid and nothing else. What did they find? Saturated fat was neutral. It neither raised, nor lowered, cholesterol levels. It’s a “no-op”.

    Now, to me, this points a very boney finger at the trans fat contaminaion of the early studies. Yes, mono-unsaturated fats lower cholesterol. BUT…

    We’ve looked at trans fat and it is horridly evil.

    We’ve looked at saturated fat and it does nothing.

    Logical conclusion to me is that “It was the trans fat”….

    BTW, polyunsaturated fats can be converted into trans fat by heating. When soybean or canonla is processed to make your “low saturated fat” cooking oil, it is heated. This can result in up to 6% trans fat in the oil. But as the serving size is 1 tablespoon ( 14 gm fat) and it’s below 1/2 gram and no ‘hydrogenation” was done, you will see NOTHING on the lable saying “here there be trans fat”…

    Now back to that Amish meal.

    Not a speck of trans fat in sight (other than the very special conjugated trans fats naturally found in dairy – which have been tested and found not evil like un-conjugated trans fats. Assuming you use butter and not the margarine). A whole lot of cis-Vit-A sources (eggs, butter, etc.)

    So to me it’s looking pretty clear.

    Eat natural animal products and you don’t have issues.

    Eat processed fats (plant or animal) and you have issues.
    (Eat trans fats you are doomed.)

    Drop your Vit-A level and you have big issues.

    I think this matters.

  20. E.M.Smith says:


    Please settle down. READ what I SAID. Not some warped vision of it.

    I have no issue with your calling what he did any kind of name you like. That’s just not RELEVANT to the QUESTION.

    Furthermore, the multicausality that is most likely at the core of this will not be answered with minor shifts of rates (in either direction) from use or non-use of one or two vaccines. It takes a very carefully controlled study to sort this stuff out cleanly. Which vaccines IN TOTAL were given to each cohort when? We don’t know. We need to find out.

    Now, per your latest round of jumping off a cliff of conclusion:


    All my kids have had them. I’ve had them. I’d have them again. I was fully aware of the potential “issues” when my spouse and I choose to vaccinate. We did not go into it blindly with our eyes shut or ignorant of the risks.


    To point out that there are REAL and TERRIBLE risks is an important thing to do. To make an INFORMED decision is critical. (Oddly, for exactly the same “ethical” reasons you are so fired up about on Herr Dr… yet you don’t want to see it here as near as I can tell…)


    For the simple reason that if you shut your eyes and say “NANANANNANANA” as you walk past the graveyard you MAY (not will, not are, not must) but MAY (as in might, maybe, possibly) be condemning millions of kids to a horrible fate that could be avoided.

    So if we shift the shedule (perhaps for just some of the items) until after key behaviour / developmental steps, does that help, or hurt? We don’t know. We ought to find out.

    If we give the vaccines as “one a week” instead of a “dozen at once”; does that hurt, or help? We don’t know. We ought to find out.

    Is there a total toxic metals load (perhaps some from mercury from coal and some from lead paint and some from…) and reducing the bit in ALL THE VACCINES used on kids; might that drop them under a trigger dose? We don’t know. (We have indications that maybe it’s not a problem, but for each vaccine where mercury was removed, we’ve added others with it still in…) We ought to find out.

    Is there a cis-Vit-A protective feature? Could simply feeding infants real butter protect them? (There is NO reason to calorie restrict infants). We don’t know. We ought to find out.

    Do you see the pattern?


    It’s NOT ABOUT ME.

    It’s not about my views. How I feel. What I want. NOTHING.

    It’s about the QUESTIONS and how to answer them.

    It’s clear that YOU do have blinders on. You want desperately for a particular point of view to be validated. I could speculate as to why, but I don’t see that as productive.

    The bottom line is that vaccines are STRONG and DANGEROUS medicines. Every single one. (Look at the potential side effects. IT’S NOT ABOUT ME, it’s about what the PDR says about the drugs, and that’s what they are.)

    That those benefits may outweigh the risks is why we use them. HOWEVER, if we have mis-weighed those risks, we are making a terrible mistake. And mistakes are evil. IN EITHER DIRECTION

    I was alive during the era of Polio. I knew kids in school with me who walked in braces from polio. I had BOTH forms of the vaccine as they started us on one, then the sugar cube form came along. I remember “The March Of Dimes” to cure polio and rows of kids in “iron lungs”. I watched a close friend learn to walk again over about 8 years, and her joy at eventually ditching the braces about the middle of high school.

    That kind of thing leaves you very “pro vaccination”.

    But at the same time I know that the injected killed virus vaccine did NOT put whole populations at risk. It had lower rates of crippled folks from the vaccine. I know that the “live attenuated” vaccine caused some folks to actually get polio (thus the other friend in a chair…) So why the swap to live virus in sugar cubes?

    1) Cheaper.
    2) Easier.
    3) Secondary population.

    What is that 3rd one?

    Well, seems you will “crap out” some of that live virus into the environment. It will come to be in the stagnant warm water where folks would pick it up. It will tend to get “dumped” all over and other folks get exposed to it. And some of them will be protected by it.

    Unfortunately, some folks (especially the elderly) may die or be crippled in the process, but what the heck. It’s worth it on a population wide basis.

    (NO that is not a hypothetical. That is part of the actual reasoning behind the live virus. To get the maximal population exposure as fast and cheaply as posible. And it worked. Kills a bunch of folks in the process and crippled some others, but “those are the breaks”. What? You didn’t get individual choice? Tough.)

    Now if we forget that. If we don’t know it to begin with. Then we dont’ realize that what was a valid trade off in 1960 is maybe not so valid now. Maybe it’s time to go back to dead virus and avoid putting more people in wheel chairs due to it being cheap and easy.

    It’s THAT kind of question that the “does so / does not” style fails to see.

    AGAIN (since you DO have a problem with this):

    It’s not about ME.

    It’s not about what I want.

    It’s not about what I think.

    It’s not about what I feel.

    Do not make it about me. Ever.

    (For reasons I just can’t ken, folks always want to make it about the person, not the problem. I even suck up some of that ‘style’ when exposed to it long enough. It’s just wrong. It’s about solving the problem, not the “feelings” stuff.)

    I don’t need to look up ANY of the stuff you posted. I already know it. (I’ve had “German Measles” too… I tend to learn about things I’ve had rather in too much depth).

    So you’ve sunk a lot of time into making arguements against a position I do not hold. A waste of your time, and a waste of mine.

    Would you rather we just did nothing and let autism rates rise to 1:50? Maybe 1:10? Where it the acceptable limit?

    Would you rather never do a very careful look in a multifactor causality way at ALL the things that might go into the problem?

    Would you rather let the entire population have 1:100 rates via forced vaccination when there is a ready and willing group that wants to opt out of vaccination and can give us a real answer in under 5 years?

    What is your solution? I’m not hearing one.

    My “advocacy” is only for “find the answer in a fast way”.

    If that means exposing some small population to added risk from NOT vaccinating and it is their desire to do so and they do so fully informed how is that any less ethical than exposing the entire population to LIVE Polio virus as the fastest way to vaccinate (even though it would and did kill and cirpple many)? AND without their knowledge nor consent? That IS what was done.

    (BTW, since I can almost hear you thinking “he is against that decision to use live virus”… and probably attributing it to emtional involvement with the friend: Were I making the same decision then, I’d have likely made the same decision. It IS a numbers game. Then the number that were helped exceeded the number hurt, net gain. Now? Time to not do that any more. There is no need. The population at large is already “exposed”. Shift back to dead virus and eliminate the live virus risks. Again: This isn’t about ME. It’s about how to make that decision and being aware of the risks. You simply MUST retain awareness of the risks to make the decision properly.)

    So, IMHO, to properly make the decision on which factors are causal in Autism we must “run the forbidden experiment” and have different populations with different histories. That means some folks not vaccinated (and with the attendent risks) and some folks vaccinated (and with the attendent risks) and all of it well monitored so we can eliminate the distractors: things like taking mercury out of MMR then adding in Hep-B with mercury and confounding the issue.

    FWIW, this morning I ran into a couple of interesting Amish studies. One in Pennsylvania that found autism rates near the non-amish levels (in a population that did vaccinate at near normal levels and where more of the folks have adopted habits like eating margarine) and another in an Ohio population with lower vaccination rates and a more “old order” lifestyle. 1:5000 autism rate. I won’t go into it fully here, but it looks like the “lots of cis-Vit-A diet” is partially protective AND like something in the vaccines is a trigger. The “confounder” is that they only have “this group vaccinates” but don’t have anything on “which vaccines, how often, how early” so you can’t disambiguate which particular aspect might be involved. Or, for that matter, if it is just that those who have adopted vaccination are the younger ones who also are more prone to taking city jobs and eating city foods…

    It’s that kind of population study, but done “right and complete” Richtig. That’s what is missing.

    Saying “It can’t be there, don’t look at vaccines” is a sure path to never getting the full answer. It is “fast nicht richtig”.

    (Just since you seem to not read me carefully, to be clear:

    To question vaccines is not to condemn vaccines it is to search for the answer in all corners.

    When I’ve lost something, and I’ve looked everywhere and can’t find it. I always go back and look everywere that I’ve already looked even though it can’t be there. And you know, 9 times out of 10 I find it somewhere I’ve already looked and dismissed. Because I was looking “fast nicht richtig” “almost not rightly”.

    As we havn’t found the answer yet, it is too soon so say “Never there”.

  21. Interesting Connections says:

    Did you feel the earthquake?

    Was it a 5?

    OK, it was a 3.8

  22. BDAABAT says:

    Actually, no, not a case of blinders for me… I’ve actually reviewed a lot of the literature. I have a personal interest in the findings. If new evidence becomes available, I’m interested and eager to learn.

    When I see some “analysis” that hasn’t addressed all of the the issues in an area that I’m familiar with, and dutifully ignores BIG problems, I take note.

    The information you presented implied that vaccines could contribute to autism. You noted (among other things) that there COULD be a link between the two. This despite many studies showing that there’s no cause-effect relationship.

    And, I included information on the impact of vaccines after you used the term “whacked” to describe the process of kids getting vaccinations.

    I pointed to a brief history of that theory of vaccine induced autism, provided information on the individual who popularized the theory, and also provided links to information that show that the cause and effect relationship isn’t apparent.

    If there were an effect large enough to lead to epidemic levels of ASD, then it would have been evident in one of the many studies that have been done looking at populations that haven’t been vaccinated or that have been vaccinated with the thimerisol free vaccines (as almost all are now).

    BTW: You included information from Mary Megson, a pediatrician who believes that autism is not only related to vaccines, but also to deficiencies in vitamin A (Vit A issues being the premise of the post).

    Dr. Megson hasn’t actually done any research… at least, nothing that’s published. She proposed an idea, back in 2000, that got published in a journal called, Medical Hypothesis.

    Her prominence is SOLELY due to her outspoken beliefs which have not been scientifically assessed. There are web sites that talk about her “research findings”, but remarkably, none have been published… in a medical journal or elsewhere that I can find. There are just discussions of her research findings..which primarily stem from her 2000 testimony to Congress of the dangers of lack of vitamin A in kids with ASD and the dangers of vaccinations. Remarkably, 11 years after this testimony and after 11 years of clinical practice specializing in ASD patients… of specializing in treating patients with ASD, of ordering expensive tests for those patients that aren’t covered by medical insurance, and there are still no published data and nothing presented at her website. Curious, don’t you think?

    BTW: Lack of vitamin A (and/or other nutritional deficiencies) is NOT unexpected in older autistic kids. Kids with ASD are notoriously picky eaters. I can heartily attest to this!

    NOTE: A finding of lack of vitamin A has been reported in case reports (meaning, it’s RARE!) in the medical literature… but all have occurred in older children. It hasn’t been documented (aside from in Dr. Megson’s testimony) in infants/toddlers who are first diagnosed with ASD.

    Two issues: One is a claim that hasn’t been published and cannot be verified (e.g., that even little kids with Autism have low levels of vitamin A). Two: Cause and effect seem to have been flipped… kids with Autism are frequently tremendously picky eaters. That behavior can sometimes lead to vitamin deficiencies (from a variety of nutrients… not just Vitamin A).


  23. E.M.Smith says:


    Well then, since your vastly greater knowledge has solved it all, then what is the cause?

    No, go ahead, tell us what is causing it.


    Still waiting….

    What’s that? You don’t know? Well, ….

    You can not use ignorance to “prove a negative”. That is why the “could” stays in.

    In multifactor problems that have time dependent onset you will have great difficulting showing any causality and a whole lot of easy showing “that factor did not cause it in isolation”. That is what a lot of the “negative findings” mean. IN ISOLATION. Worthless for multi-causal discovery.

    Furthermore, just about every Vit-A assay done will be for ALL types of Vit-A in aggregate, not for a specific subtype. I would expect substantially any and all generic “Vit-A” assays to find lots of carotenoids, for example. And that would give a false negative. Repeatedly and reliably.

    That’s my whole point about “fast nicht richtig”. One simply MUST look in painful detail at each and every bit below the present level of dis-aggregation and then do it for each set of factors in combination.

    That has not been done.

    Until it has been done statements of the form:

    “We looked at factor A and it didn’t show causality” are simply and completely null statements if the casuality is multi-factor.

    It’s even worse than that, as often they are not even looking at the potential co-factors at all and have no idea what their status is. Then run causality backward or run the timeline backwards.

    What was the cis-Vit-A level of a child diagnosed with Autism today, 6 months ago when they were vaccinated?


    No answer?

    They ate their margarine with beta-carotene in it and had creamed spinach so the total Vit-A was fine? That doesn’t cut it as you are not tracking each form in isolation and that data simply does not exist.

    Your approach is painfully simplistic and will fail to find a multi-causal problem.

    So maybe the “issue” is that the ‘back forming” enzyme for conversion of retinal into retinol is broken. In almost everyone that will not even be noticed as it is a very rarely used pathway. Even in kids with the problem it would not be noticed unless they were under retinol deficit. And unless you test individually for each vit-A type and report them distinctly you will never see it.

    So maybe the kid is running just fine, barely, but fine, on what retinol they DO get in the diet, then we whack them (and yes, it is a profound whack to the immune system. That is what it is INTENDED to be. To tell it ‘you are infected and need to send out the fire trucks’) with a large vaccine dose. The body prioritized immunity first, growth second, so that immune demand gets first call on the resources. If your development gets starved, that’s better than being dead and “developed”. If that happens at the wrong time, some brain centers can be permanently broken.

    You wish to just toss that possible in the trash can and go search for your car keys under the street light. I don’t.

    There is enough anecdotal evidence to justify taking a close and properly done multifactorial sensitive look. Dr. Megson has been open with the metabolic pathways that she thinks are involved. She has treated kids and gotten decent results. That makes it “worth a look”. Their is also evidence disjoint from Dr. Megson (i.e. the folks with no vaccination history and low levels of autism and as a distinct second line, the Amish that DO have vaccinations in Ohio but a 1:5000 autism rate. High cis-Vit-A, meet vaccination. High cis-Vit-A seems to win.

    Yes, it is anecdotal at this point (in that the specific pieces have not been tested). No, it isn’t proof. But it is a big “Dig Here”.

    BTW, you will find that “arguments to the person” carry zero weight with me. I don’t care what Dr. Megson has published, not published, treated for payment, given away for free. They don’t tell us anything about what IS. To use that type of argument to simply to have an “appeal to authority” via a ‘reputation measure’ as a way to do science. That will never work. At the end of the day for every charlatan selling snake oil for profit there is a “private saint” working on a real miracle cure for something but tired of having folks tossing rocks at them so they stay quiet and do their work. The information content from looking at “propensity to do what you expect” is zero.

    That the questions can be easily answered (but, sadly, only with government permission to do the test) and is NOT approved to discover speaks to me even more than any reputational slime you might toss at Dr. Megson.

    Take a population. Give them genetic screening (so you know that the genotypes are not biased). Have them eat lots of cis-Vit-A before pregnancy and through year 3. Divide the children into 3 groups. One gets the present vaccination regime. The other gets “one vaccine at a time and delayed by one year”. The other gets “no vaccine” until age 5 (ought to be enough to see if there is any pattern). The control is the general population (though you could have a 4th control group if desired).

    You now have a multifactor test to screen for cis-Vit-A AND vaccination impacts.

    Look at average age of onset of autism and average population count of autism (and degree).

    You now have your answer.

    That no one has approved such a test nor funded it speaks large volumes about bias and preconcieved notions.

    “We already know what the answer must be even though we don’t have the answer” doesn’t work for me.

  24. Ian W says:


    “have that bacon and eggs breakfast with butter and toast…”

    You should really have ‘have that bacon and eggs breakfast with butter and fried bread…’

    You put the slice of bread in the skillet into what is left of the fat from the bacon and fry it. It soaks up some and gets fried crisp on that side. Try it :-)

  25. Bdaabat says:

    Chief, look at the information. Look at when kids are generally first diagnosed with autism. Kids are generally diagnosed between around 8 months to 16 months…the kids in this age group generally haven’t had the “benefit” of their parents giving them margarine as opposed to butter. Many of those kids are breast fed with supplemental baby food.

    I understand you’re throwing out a theory and providing some information to support the thought. I get it. None of this has anything to do with vaccines.

    And, as of right now, the one piece of clinical info you posted to help support the association of vitamin a with autism is from a clinician who hasn’t presented any scientific information to support her pet theory and who actively extracts large sums of money from parents for testing and treating kids with ASD.

    do I have THE answer for what causes ASD? No. But, that doesn’t mean I can’t point out the problems with the non scientific beliefs that folks propose.

    As of now, the best available data shows that vaccines don’t cause autism. The reality is that there isn’t information on vitamin a and autism… No clinical data that’s been published. That hasn’t stopped Dr. Megson from opining about the effects. But, she’s stating that her theory IS based on her research. That DOES matter. What i am saying is not an appeal to authority. It’s simply an issue of backing up your claims. she’s the one who made the claims. It’s her job to put up or shut up.

    She hasn’t.

    I’m really surprised to hear that you are defending her. You’re the guy who goes into the weeds…investigates the claims, and provides results for others. You DO the work. Folks like Megson are the anti-Chiefio. They tell folks that they have THE answer, that they can fix kids problems. And they are successful… They extract big bucks from concerned and gullible parents based on a story that has no basis in fact. They don’t need to do the work.. They already have the answer.


  26. E.M.Smith says:

    @Ian W:

    I have, and I like it…. Just didn’t want to be too ‘over the top’ with the comment.

    Nothing like soaking up some bacon grease in a bit of toasting bread…. Unless it’s sausage gravey over biscuits ;-)


    I’ve seen what’s out there.

    There is no answer yet.

    In that context to say “investigate the possibles” is fine.

    For some reason you want to truncate the investigation.

    I’m not interested.

    That’s as simple as I can make it.

    It does not depend at all on who did what when.

    It does not depend at all on what you think of them.

    It does not depend on Dr. Megson.

    I point you again at the folks with no vaccine usage and nearly no autism. You again choose not to see it. I say it justfies a closer look (and not much more). You say “No need to look, your mind is made up.”.

    I point you again at the Ohio Amish. Anomaly in the autism rate of 1:5000 WITH vaccination (though at about 1/2 the U.S. norm and of unknown type / complexity) and anomaly in the cis-Vit-A consumption. You again choose not to see it. I say it justifies a closer look (and not much more). You say “No need to look, your mind is made up.” .

    I see no reason ploughing this field any more. I’d rather look more at the amazing things that Vitamin A (in it’s several forms) is involved in at the metabolic level (some of which have bearing on the very metabolic issues of autism, some on other diseases). I’d rather be looking at how a traditional diet confers protection to heart attack consequences (found an article showing that WHEN a person gets a heart attack, the result is worse for polyunsaturated eaters than for saturated fat eaters. Folks don’t know why, but it is well attested.)

    FWIW, I saw Dr. Megson presenting her clinical data to congress. I believe (though can not cite evidence) that she has tried to publish and ran into the same kind of “not of the church” thing that confronts Global Warming deniers. To then bash her for not publishing is just too cheeky for my tastes. I have a very good “people reader” and from what I’ve seen of her, she is an honest person doing the best she can for the kids. She may be mistaken, but I don’t see “charletan” on her face or in her words.

    Please stop tossing mud at people. It really is slimey.

  27. BDAABAT says:

    Actually, that’s not what I said. I never said don’t look at something. I never said I don’t think it’s worthwhile to study the Amish or any other group that doesn’t have the same exposure to vaccines that others in the developed world do.

    I said that there are multiple studies that have demonstrated no link between either thimerisol or vaccines and autism. That is factually correct. That doesn’t mean stop looking for causes.

    Those are two separate things, are they not?

    And, no, Dr. Megson is not doing what you or Anthony Watts or Steve McIntyre are doing. She is engaging in the ultimate in argument from authority. She can’t even be bothered to publish her findings…not even on her website. Instead, she proposes an idea, and asks that people believe her. Come to her. Be treated by her. Pay her. Why? Because she KNOWS. That is faith, not science.

    You choose to believe her face and her words. Personally, I’m going to stick with science.


  28. E.M.Smith says:


    Science is never found in the closed mind.

    Ever try to get a few million dollars to fund a major study of a disease from an out of favor point of view? It’s not as easy as you imply to “just publish”.

    I am choosing to judge “tendency to deception” as a person who has made a living doing exactly that and correctly picking the perps out of the group. (On a couple of contracts where I’ve figured out who to bust).

    Medical practice is exactly what she is doing. She is a medical doctor, doing what all medical doctors do. Find a treatment that works, even if off lable, and applying it. It’s why it is called a medical practice.

    You’ve been told to drop the ad hom and personal attack on folks. Please do so now.

    Per making her findings public:

    I have a video tape that is buried somewhere around her of her presenting her findings in detail to the metabolic level. Specific drugs. Specific metabolic pathways. The works. No, I don’t remember the exact place it was filmed. (It was on satelite TV some many years ago). She is not hiding anything about her theory or how it works.

    IIRC it was taken at a conference where she presented her findings. Such things are common in medicine. Not everything gets published in the AMA Journal.

    Per being paid to deliver a service:

    Contrary to your notion, Doctors do not work for free. Medical care in the USA is “fee for service” (at least until Obama gets done with it). Show me the flood of doctors treating patients for no cost to anyone.

    Your arguments are hollow, your mind is closed, you argue to the person, not to the process. I’m sorry, but this discussion is now closed.

  29. Another Ian says:

    On a different track!

    “Years ago it was suggested that, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
    But since all the doctors are now Muslim, I’ve found that a bacon sandwich works a treat!”

    From http://www.thebackshed.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=2804&PN=0&TPN=19

  30. Bdaabat says:

    Chief: understood. Research is hard. It’s expensive. It’s difficult to get published. Being a practicing physician is hard. Doing both practice AND research is even harder. I get it. However, she’s said that she’s already done the research. She testified about her findings to Congress. Don’t you think it’s odd that there’s nothing, aside from her statements, to show that something was actually done?

    There’s no way to evaluate her findings… Because there aren’t any. There’s no way to assess her methods… There aren’t any. It’s not science because there’s nothing to TEST. This isn’t an ad hom. This is simply me pointing out the fact that this individual has made claims and has yet to provide anything to support her claims.

    When you have made claims about climate, you provided extensive detail on the project…graphs out the wazoo, the data, the code, and the methods to show everyone what you did. that’s what I love about this site! It’s open, testable, demonstrable. You provided folks who don’t have the background to go digging into the code to get GISS running and showed, in all the gory details, the steps that the code goes through as it mashed and tortures temperature data.

    Don’t you think the same standard ought to be applied here?


  31. E.M.Smith says:

    FWIW, I found a description of the event I had video taped. It was a 6 hour presentation to congress on CSPAN.

    This site describes it well, but is a bit more “ra ra” than I’d care for. Then again, many of the “alternative medicine” folks can be that way. (It comes from being regularly attacked by the “concensus medicine” folks, IMHO).

    So this guy is a Chiropractor. MD’s have tossed rocks at them for years. Some of the things they advocate are a bit “out there” for me. OTOH, they are the only guys who have been able to put my spine and my spouses spine back in the right place and make things stop hurting. (They are also on the acceptable referral list at Kaiser, so someone has caught some clue in the last few decades…)

    At any rate, it gives a pointer to where folks can get the rather detailed presented information. I’d look for an online transcript, but at 6 hours of testimony that would likely be a large PDF… and unlikely to be “up”.

    Click to access Autism%20and%20Vaccines%20TIm%20O’Shea%20DC.pdf

    The intro:

    Autism and Vaccine
    by Tim O’Shea,DC

    Perhaps one of the most shocking pieces ever to appear on television this past April: a six- hour taping of a
    Congressional investigation into the relationship between vaccines and autism among American children.
    This footage appeared on C-SPAN and was then archived on their website for a entire month.
    On April 6, Rep. Dan Burton convened the Congressional hearing in which parents repeatedly told similar
    stories – how their normally developing babies, after MMR or DPT vaccinations, began displaying autistic
    behaviors, conditions that are often permanent. Happy, bright children were suddenly losing their abilities to
    learn, communicate or even recognize their parents.

    The most valuable part, IMHO, is this pointer in references:

    1. http://www.c-span.org . Government Reform Committee hearing on vaccines and autism, 6
    Apr 2000, Chairman: Representative Dan Burton.
    2. Testimony before U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform, 6 Apr
    • Hirtz D, National Institutes of Health • Megson M, MD, American Academy of Pediatrics •
    Wakefield A, MD, Royal Free University College Medical School. • O’Leary J, PhD, Coomb’s
    Women’s Hospital, Dublin. • Singh V, PhD, Utah State University • Boyle C, MD, National Institutes
    of Health • Offit P, MD, University of Pennsylvania • Taylor B, MD, Royal Free University College
    Medical • Rimland B, PhD, Autism Research Institute, San Diego • Goldberg M, MD, NIDS
    Research Institute
    Reprints of testimony are available from the Office of Government Reform, Washington, DC (202) 225-
    2276 Videotape available from http://www.c-span.org

    With that you can find more using bits as search terms or just sending for the video.

    Nearer the top:

    Mary Megson,MD, explained how autism has gone from being rare (about one incident per 10,000 children
    in 1978), to epidemic proportions in 2000 AD: one case in every 300-500 children in many areas! Megson’s
    research has shown total deficiency of vitamin A in almost all autistic children. What depletes the body of
    vitamin A at 15 months? The MMR vaccine. In addition, Megson found that pertussis toxin from the DPT
    shot disrupted a certain protein that is necessary for retinal formation. This would account for the prevalence
    of night-blindness and loss of 3D vision so common among autistics.

    John O’Leary,PhD, a world-class researcher and molecular biologist from Ireland, using state-of-the-art
    sequencing technology, showed how he had found the measles virus in the gut of 96% of autistic children,
    compared to 6.6% in normal children. This virus did not come from the natural disease, but from the measles
    vaccine. Dr. O’Leary found measles virus present in 75% of children with Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s has
    traditionally been an intestinal disease of adults, following years of dietary abuse. Its appearance in children
    is a new event, and Dr. O’Leary’s work points to the measles virus from vaccines as the likely cause.

    V. Singh,MDM, a specialist from Utah State who has studied over 400 cases of autism, found that these
    children had experienced an autoimmune episode, in which their own bodies had been made to attack the
    linings of their nervous systems. Dr. Singh characterized the epidemic as a “hyperimmune response to the
    measles virus.” He stated that 55% of the families said that autism appeared soon after an MMR shot, and
    that 33% of families said it appeared soon after a DPT shot. Such neurologic damage is a well-established
    side-effect of the mercury, aluminum, and formaldehyde used in these vaccines.

    and a bit further down

    Michael Goldberg,MD, a California pediatrician and researcher, explained how it was impossible to have
    an epidemic based solely on genetics. That’s the standard excuse the CDC and the NIH have been using to
    explain how autism has grown from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 300 in just 22 years.

    And for those tossing rocks at Dr. Megson for actually charging a fee to deliver medical care, and asserting that somehow makes her tainted: Please note that the “vaccines can’t be a problem” researchers are lavishly funded by the vaccine industry that makes huge profits off their product.

    As that will likely cause some folks to have a cow over being “anti-vaccine”, a minor preemptive note: One can be FOR a safe version of a product while being AGAINST one that causes damage. See the entire field of consumer product safety.

    From Dr. Megson’s web site:


    Vaccines save millions of lives …

    No one wants the return to the epidemics of polio, pertussis, and measles. However, we need to expand our knowledge through formal scientific studies to assure that we first do no harm and minimize possible side effects of vaccines. Please lobby your public health and political officials. Ask them to review the timing, amounts, and quality control of vaccines as well as identify and adapt current schedules for those children who may be at risk for an adverse reaction.

    As a board certified pediatrician, a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and a parent of four children, I have cared deeply about these children for twenty five years. Please spread the word. Let’s work together to get these children back! These are some of our best and brightest, many with normal brains and a blocked pathway. Together we can raise awareness and restore our children to health. The most important thing I can pass on to you is a new word to add to your vocabulary about your child: HOPE.

    Hardly someone raving against the use of vaccines. Just asking that they be adapted so as to be proven safe.

    For anyone wishing to see just how “hidden” Dr. Megson’s hypothesis might be, you can read it here, on her web site:

    Click to access MedicalHypothesis.pdf


    Autism may be a disorder linked to the disruption of the G-alpha protein, affecting retinoid receptors in
    the brain. A study of sixty autistic children suggests that autism may be caused by inserting a G-alpha
    protein defect, the pertussis toxin found in the D.P.T. vaccine, into genetically at-risk children. This
    toxin separates the G-alpha protein from retinoid receptors. Those most at risk report a family history of
    at least one parent with a pre-existing G-alpha protein defect, including night blindness,
    pseudohypoparathyroidism or adenoma of the thyroid or pituitary gland.

    Natural Vitamin A may reconnect the retinoid receptors critical for vision, sensory perception, language
    processing and attention. Autism spectrum disorders have increased from 1 in 10,000 in 1978 to 1 in 300
    in some US communities in 1999. Recent evidence indicates that autism is a disorder of the nervous
    system and the immune system, affecting multiple metabolic pathways.

    Autism has been defined by DSM-IV criteria as a childhood behavioral and neurological disorder with
    onset prior to three years of age. Autistic children and adults have qualitative impairments in social
    interaction and communication, including either a delay in or complete lack of language development.
    Furthermore, many people with autism engage in restrictive patterns of behavior including rigid
    adherence to routines and/or repetitive motor mannerisms such as hand flapping (1).

    Autistic spectrum disorders have increased from 1 in 10,000 in 1978 to 1 in 300 is some US
    communities in 1999 (2). Recent evidence indicates that autism is a disorder of the nervous system and
    the immune system, and it affects multiple metabolic pathways.

    This study of 60 autistic children and their families suggests that inserting a G-alpha protein defect,
    namely the pertussis toxin in the D.P.T. vaccine, (3) into genetically at-risk children causes autism. This
    toxin separates the G-alpha protein from retinoid receptors. Those most at risk report a family history of
    at least one parent with a pre-existing G-alpha protein defect, exhibited in disorders such as night
    blindness, pseudohypoparathyroidism or adenoma of the thyroid or pituitary gland (4).

    This hypothesis asserts that treating these children with natural cis forms of Vitamin A may have the
    effect of reconnecting the hippocampal retinoid receptor pathways that are critical for vision, sensory
    perception, language processing and attention (5).
    Many of these especially vulnerable children have tissue types of HREs DR 3, DR4, and DR5 (6). These
    particular tissue types form the tightest bonds with blocked RAR and RXR retinoid receptors (7).

    Autism is a true developmental disorder. Many of these children are exposed to wheat at nine months,
    followed by exposure to the measles antigen at 12 to 15 months (8). The human measles antibody that is
    produced cross-reacts with intermediate filaments, which are known to be important for maintaining
    tight junctions and gap junctions between cells, gut mucosal integrity and cell to cell communication

    Many of these children, who need natural, unsaturated cis forms of Vitamin A found in sources such as
    cold water fish like salmon, or cod, liver, kidney, and milk fat, are not getting this in the modern diet.

    Instead, they are dependent on Vitamin A Palmitate, found in commercial infant formula and low fat
    milk. Unfortunately, absorption of Vitamin A Palmitate requires an intact gut mucosal microvilli surface
    at the right PH, in the presence of bile for metabolism (12). However, many of these children already
    have damaged mucosal surfaces due to unrecognized wheat allergy or intolerances.

    That’s the “how it happens” hypothesis. But is she hiding how she treats it, you know, keeping it a secret to be paid for or you don’t get the cookie?

    Vitamin A and Urocholine

    Autism may be a disorder linked to the disruption of the G-alpha protein and the resulting effects on the
    retinoid receptors. These cell membrane proteins are coils that modulate sensory input. Cis forms of
    retinoids may act by replacing these receptors and by easily penetrating the cell membrane for more
    direct effects on nuclear retinoid pathways.

    Many children treated with Vitamin A in CLO for two months followed by Urocholine show an
    immediate improvement in their autistic behaviors including improved eye contact, ability to socialize,
    and increased language use. Many have been able to toilet train easily and have begun to sleep through
    the night. Postganglionic parasympathetic muscarinic receptors innervate the bowel and bladder through
    sacral roots, and the pineal gland where melatonin is produced, through fibers from the upper cervical
    ganglia. This may be why the children are able to improve their sleep cycles and to toilet train on
    Urocholine and natural Vitamin A.

    One of the first improvements noted on Vitamin A in CLO in children is the dis-appearance of the
    “sideways” glance at people and objects. By doing this, these children with poor rod function are getting
    their best three dimensional view of the object by directing light through the pupil onto the fovea (32),
    which is off-center in the retina, the area of the greatest intensity of red and green cones and greatest
    acuity. Improved eye contact is noted almost immediately in the autistic children on Vitamin A.

    Yeah, that sure is holding the old intellectual property rights close to the vest and hiding it to make money… /sarcoff>

    So, is that all there is? Is she just doing things to promote her practice at this point?

    The current clinical trial using Vitamin A in CLO vs. placebo in a double blind, cross-over study is
    necessary prior to a trial using Vitamin A and Urocholine. Data from this trial is important and will have
    very broad ramifications, including rethinking infant formula composition and timing of immunizations.
    If this hypothesis is correct, we are one step closer to treatment and prevention of autism.

    Oh. Following double blind protocols and doing clinincal trials and all that “sciency stuff”… well…

    There is a lot more in the PDF, if folks want to read it, it’s there.

    The bottom line looks like a bunch of folks slandering Dr. Megson for having the audacity to perhaps actually question authority.

    Why would she possibly be motivated to do such a dastardly thing?

    My earliest evidence came from a ten-year-old boy diagnosed with autism by DSM-IV criteria (20). The
    patient’s parents suspect he has been reading since age four but his inability to communicate made this
    unverifiable. Over an eight-year period of regular visits I had never heard him speak. Standardized IQ
    tests revealed moderate mental retardation. His mother developed night blindness and hypothyroidism in
    college and had responded well to Vitamin A and thyroid hormone replacement. The patient’s mother’s
    sister was diagnosed in infancy with gluten enteropathy that had improved on a gluten free diet. She has
    had lifelong dry eyes and is night blind (treated with amber glasses.)

    For these and other reasons I started the boy on cod liver oil (5,000 IU of Vitamin A, given in 2500
    IU/b.i.d.) and a gluten free diet. After one week, he began to sit farther from the television and to notice
    paintings on the walls at home. He had always gone out of his way to follow the sidewalk and driveway
    to meet the school bus. On Vitamin A, he began to run across the grass directly from the front door to
    the school bus. After three weeks, he was given a single dose of Urocholine, an alpha muscarinic
    receptor agonist, to increase bile and pancreatic secretions and indirectly stimulate hippocampal retinoid
    receptors. It has minimal cardiac effect, is FDA approved, has been used safely in children since the
    1970’s for reflux, and does not cross the blood-brain barrier, unlike secretin (21). It stimulates postsynaptic
    cell membranes via receptors for acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter in the parasympathetic

    Thirty minutes after administration of the Urocholine, the patient, who was sitting in a chair, swung his
    feet over the side, pointed to a glass candy jar on my shelf and said, “May I have the red Jolly Rancher®
    please?” He had read the label on the candy in the clear jar. These were the first words he had spoken in
    eight years, and the first proof that he could read. We took him outside and he said, “The leaves, the
    leaves on the trees are green! I see! I see!” When I asked to take his picture he looked at the camera,
    smiled and waved. When he left the office I said, “See you later.” He asked, “What time?”

    In this child’s case, after several weeks of treatment with Vitamin A in CLO 3500 IU/day, the
    Urocholine acted like a switch. When absorbed, he immediately became socially engaged, made
    excellent eye contact, hugged his mother tightly and said, “I love you so much,” looking at her face. At
    that point we both realized that this child had a blocked pathway. The change in language and social
    interaction was dramatic and immediate. Yet he reverted to the pre-treatment state of silence when the
    dose wore off. On lower daily doses of Urocholine (12.5 mg bid) along with the Vitamin A, his
    language and social interactions have continued to progress, albeit slowly.

    Maybe that had something to do with it…

  32. E.M.Smith says:

    @Another Ian:

    Loved the jokes… but, didn’t ‘get’ this one:

    Got a right beating last night by a 6ft 7in black bloke
    All I said was, “golly you’re tall.”.

    Is there some slang to the words I’m not catching?

  33. Another Ian says:


    I haven’t got that one yet either

  34. P.G. Sharrow says:

    Hmmm. guess he didn’t like being reminded about his stature. pg

  35. E.M.Smith says:

    OH, Wait! How tall is OBL?… “Black” in the UK includes folks from Pakistan!!!

    BING! reports 6′ 4″ to 6′ 6″. Close enough with heels on.

    I think I’ve got it now ;-)

  36. BDAABAT says:

    I’m truly sorry that we’ve gotten off on the wrong foot on this issue. We’ve been talking past each other for a while.

    Perhaps we can start by looking at something really basic… really objective. Something that ought not be terribly difficult to resolve.

    Let’s start with the first part of what Dr. Megson testified to… clipped from your summary above:

    “Megson’s research has shown total deficiency of vitamin A in almost all autistic children. What depletes the body of
    vitamin A at 15 months? The MMR vaccine. ”

    OK, step one. Are these statements correct and verifiable?

    In order to objectively start evaluating these statements, it’s important to review the information that’s available. So, where is this data?

    There is no listing for any research published by Dr. Megson in Medline. Nothing at all. There is one hypothesis published by her in 2000. But that is it.

    OK, so maybe it wasn’t her research… maybe it was something that was published by someone else.

    Is there ANY research that shows vitamin A deficiency in Autistic children?


    There are a couple case reports of various nutritional deficiencies (including Vitamin A) in older ASD kids listed in Medline. Those rare cases were all reported in kids with extremely self-limited diets.

    OK, what about the other part of her statement… Is there ANY research that shows MMR causes vitamin A depletion in kids with ASD?

    There is NO data. No published studies of any kind documenting this effect.

    In summary, there is no evidence supporting the testimony that Dr. Megson provided.

    What does this mean? Does it disprove anything about vitamin A and ASD?


    The testimony Dr. Megson provided is not supported by any published literature.


  37. Jason Calley says:

    Got a right beating last night by a 6ft 7in black bloke
    All I said was, “golly you’re tall.”.

    I believe “golly” is short for the derogatory “golliwog.”

  38. Jason Calley says:

    Here is a site which argues that Dr. Wakefield was following the ethical and procedural guidelines normal for the study done, but was later found to be unethical and negligent by using standards set for a different type of study.

    My verdict? Still out, both on the cause(s) of autism and the competence of the people involved in researching it.

  39. E.M.Smith says:

    @Jason Calley:

    My God Man, that reads like a classical “Rail Roading”.

    The doctors have one “approval” that lets them take samples as they are treating the kids for their illnesses, then, after the fact, some review board decides a completely different and later “approval” applies, and because they didn’t follow the later approval but follwed the rules for the first approval, the panel then finds them in the wrong? For doing what was approved?

    Just amazing.

    Someone went to great lengths to engineer that kind of “finding”… I wonder why, and who paid them.

    I’m just flabbergasted that the Dr. who was treating the kids had the approval to take the tissue samples for the purposes used, and under the “approval” form issued, and was doing procedures that were needed for their medical care in any case; and yet gets “whacked” for doing what was approved by the paper in hand. Amazing…

    BTW, I think your joke explanation is a better fit than mine…

  40. Bdaabat says:

    More info on Wakefield:


    But, no matter what the motivation for the “research”, that’s not the real issue with the science. The real scientific issue: is this finding reproducible?

    Several studies have been done; none of his research findings were able to be independently replicated.


    [ This is what we would call a “hit piece” on this side of the pond. In the context of the article showing that their was, in fact, a “permissive ruling”, but that ruling was discarded after the fact by a ruling body, the assertions of doing unautorized procedures and all the hype about the children’s state of mind is just that. Hype. In all research there are things that result in confirmations and things that result in negative confirmations. To attack someone for having some tests that come back a negative is simply sliming them. But you have a drum to beat, and this beats it for you. However, you do also note that the real answer is in doing independent verification / refutation. On that, we can agree. But please do try to tone down the “attack the person” part of your messages. There is NOTHING to be gained by personal attacks. Even if by proxy via a link. -mod. ]

  41. Jason Calley says:

    @E.M. “My God Man, that reads like a classical “Rail Roading”.

    Yes, it does — but is it true? Post modern science being what it is, I find that sort of thing very believable. Lysenko is alive and well! But as you pointed out, what we know for sure is that the facts are not clear and we desperately need some serious REAL science, not politics dressed as science. Maybe Wakefield was railroaded, maybe not. We need more evidence. What we do know is that it is a possibility that he was railroaded, and so a blanket, “He’s guilty!” won’t do. Neither will a blanket “It’s the vaccines!” suffice.

    The discussion between yourself and BDAABAT on causes for autism and related discorders sounded so familiar… “Hey! I’ve had this same discussion with my warmists friends!” How many times have you had someone say “E.M.! What you say can’t be true! So-and-so study disproved it!” I know I am preaching to the choir here, but the fact is, a single study that shows mercury (or vitamin A difficiency or something else) causes autism is just as worthless as a study that shows no correlation. Even peer review proves nothing. Science is not math, (heck, even math is not math, but that is another subject) not when it comes to proofs. Science, properly done, is more like a really fair jury trial. We examine evidence for this, for that, letting everything be impartially evaluated, and finally, based on the weight of evidence we make a reasonable conclusion. A single study won’t do it. Multiple studies MAY do it, but only (and here is where the arguments begin!) only — repeat “ONLY” — if the studies are demonstrated to be fair, rigorous and impartial. Any grade school student can collect data. Any high school student can correlate it. Any college student can form a conclusion. The hard part — the part that seperates the scientists from the mere mortals — is the last part, the part where it is demonstrated that all those steps were done in a way that minimizes human distortion of the results.

    Unless that hard part is done, we just end up arguing, because we cannot agree what the facts are. Without the assurance that our facts are impartial, warmists and sceptics will never agree, and folks pro and con on the use or abuse of vaccines will never agree.

    We desperately need more facts. As you have so clearly pointed out, “Dig here!”

  42. BDAABAT says:

    Jason: Absolutely correct. That process, the rigorous application of the scientific method, is what is required.

    Unfortunately, there are many who work to undermine that process…. both in the warmist group and elsewhere.

    If there is evidence, present it. Document it. Show how you collected it, processed it, analyzed it. Let the world see your data. Let the world see how your financial interests might influence the research.

    It is not science to just talk about findings and state them as fact without letting anyone else review the information.


  43. E.M.Smith says:

    @Jason Calley:

    “and folks pro and con on the use or abuse of vaccines will never agree.”

    I would only add to your statement that “and folks who are PRO vaccine but want them proved safe before massive use” is a category as well.

    In large part, the attempt to shove the discussion into “pro” and “anti” vaccine is part of the problem. Dr. Megson is slimed by folks asserting that she wants to leave kids unvaccinated. (I’ve had folks assert that I am anti-vaccine as well). Yet both of us are very pro-vaccine. We just want it done a bit more intelligently.

    As Dr. Megson’s treatment regime in published (even if only in the Congressional Record and not a medical journal) it would be very easy to test it.

    I’ve presented 2 trivial ways to get a clear indication of vaccination impacts. (Delay a group by a year, the autism rate onset peak ought to delay with it, if causal. Or take the folks who self identify for non-vaccination and track them vs the general population.) It’s not hard at all to do that kind of thing. To some extent, my “minor suspicion” of our vaccination regime stems from just such a ‘time shift”. As we moved vaccinations from “a few” to over 60, and from “about 5 years old” to “infant in arms or at birth”, the autism rates have risen dramatically and apace. But it wasn’t controlled for other factors, so it is only a “Dig Here” observation, not a conclusion. (A fact also lost on some folks…) So it’s simple to “do the inverse” by picking folks who don’t want vaccinations and/ or shifting the time schedule by a near trivial amount.

    That we have a 1:150 autism rate, while some populations are still at 1:5000 (Amish in Ohio) and even lower (other countries) and it is not treated as a National Disaster just appalls me.

  44. BDAABAT says:

    Chief wrote:
    “To attack someone for having some tests that come back a negative is simply sliming them.”

    That’s not the issue AT ALL. Wakefield isn’t being slimed. He is being held to account for his actions.

    Science is a process. He didn’t follow the process. He didn’t disclosed his financial relationships… relationships that undermine his credibility as an objective clinician and researcher.

    This isn’t an issue of having negative findings as part of his research: He reported findings that turned out NOT to actually be present. He LIED. He falsified data. He corrupted the scientific process.

    Clipped from the story in the Sunday Times:

    “In most of the 12 cases, the children’s ailments as described in The Lancet were different from their hospital and GP records.

    Although the research paper claimed that problems came on within days of the jab, in only one case did medical records suggest this was true, and in many of the cases medical concerns had been raised before the children were vaccinated.

    Hospital pathologists, looking for inflammatory bowel disease, reported in the majority of cases that the gut was normal. This was then reviewed and the Lancet paper showed them as abnormal.”

    This isn’t me beating a particular drum about autism and vaccines. It’s about holding to account those who abuse the scientific process.

    What’s the impact of Wakefield’s “research”?
    Again, from the Sunday Times above:
    “Last week official figures showed that 1,348 confirmed cases of measles in England and Wales were reported last year, compared with 56 in 1998. Two children have died of the disease. ”

    The ONLY way to know if there really is a relationship between vaccines and autism (or any other purported cause) is to use rigorous scientific methods. Wakefield did not.


  45. BDAABAT says:

    BTW: My interest in Wakefield is the same as my interest in Hansen and Mann and Briffa and Jones et al in the climate world.

    It is simply not acceptable to pervert and distort the scientific process. Period.


  46. E.M.Smith says:

    Ken McMurtrie makes a comment germane to this thread here:


    And my reply to it is here:


    (It is about Amish vaccination rates and iillnesses)

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