Friday, September 17, 2010

Once More Into the Fray

Ok, this is my last post concerning the Hannah Poling concession, but there are a few more things I’d like to point out concerning this.

Over on Lisa Jo Rudy’s site,, there is a very heated discussion on the decision and what it actually compensated Hannah for. Several people showed up, including Kev from LB/RB, Twyla from AoA (who was kind enough to give me a link…appreciate that, Twyla), Paul Offit’s puppet Allison Singer from the Autism Science Foundation, and the witless wonder.

Kev, of course, again says that Hannah does not have autism. This was taken apart not once, but twice.
Someone named Sandy-2000 pipes in with this comment:

“Hannah Poling did have symptom’s prior to those vaccines, but most parents or doctors don’t always do genetic testing unless those symptom’s present as very severe. And like the show Mystery Diagnosis, diagnosis sometimes takes a while to get.
Encephalopathy causes can be a few things, one of them mitochondrial dysfunction.”

Where is her evidence for this? There is none. According to the Polings, she had no symptoms prior to vaccination.

Then we have the ever arrogant and condescending White and Nerdy blather with his usual idiocy and hypocrisy:

“The situation has become completely surreal.

We have this long history of completely bogus character assassination of legitimate scientists.

On the other hand, we have a long list of the most egregious moral failings on the part of the vaccine critics which we are suppose to ignore.

So Dr. Poling acted unethically and flagrantly dishonestly to his co-works and his editor.
His apology ( is a remarkable read.

1. his excuse is the forgot he was suing.

2. He complains about third-parties divulging his child’s identity. Wouldn’t that be Mr. Kirby acting completely unethically by publishing without permission a minor’s confidential medical information?

3. Just to set the record 100% straight, Dr. Poling tells us exactly what the concession was: encephalopathy. Not autism.”

He complains about bogus character assassinations against legitimate scientists, then he proceeds to character assassinate Dr. Poling. Oh, the hypocrisy! Or, is this a No-True-Scotsman fallacy? Hard to tell. I’ll talk more about the medical information comment a little later, but let’s talk about what Dr. Poling ACTUALLY said.

Dr. Poling has gone on the record saying that Hannah has Autism, and that her autism was the result of a vaccine-induced encepalopathy.

At one point, Terri Poling shows up and soundly smacks down Ms. Singer for trying to present speculation about Hannah’s condition as fact. Then, we get to some interesting comments.

The Witless Wonder chimes in and demands Hannah’s medical records to end the speculation. Then, several other people echo this notion, as well as asking why Dr. Zimmerman has not been released to speak about the case.

These people are such morons! Why should she release her daughter’s records? She has the right to privacy, just like everyone else. She doesn’t have to release or reveal anything to intrepid pseudo-reporters and Science Poseurs if she doesn’t want to. But of course, Moron Supreme takes that and twists it, insinuating that she is lying and has something to hide (his usual tactic). He somehow feels he’s entitled to her personal medical history!

Several times, it’s mentioned that if David Kirby has access to these documents, then everyone should. David had access to the concession documents, not the medical records. Concession documents != Medical Records. Can we all hear the resounding “Duh?”

Even if she wanted to release her daughter’s medical records, she can’t. Why?

Because it was the Government who sealed the case, not the Polings. This is also why they can’t let Dr. Zimmerman speak about this case.

Now, I will take the time to mention a much-deserved kudos to a former friend. She also mentions this article and is rightfully appalled and some of the things said there:

“The Poling case is irrelevant to the larger population; it is a specific case that applies to one person. And it isn't any of our business what the details are; it really isn't, and if you think you have a right to it, you don't. It's a court case that was settled as a table injury and it's NONE OF OUR BUSINESS.

The Polings were diligent, they followed through, and their case was settled. It is not okay that it took them so many years to reach a resolution. For something that was set up to be a quick and fairly painless process to provide parents whose children have been damaged by vaccines, it failed here, especially since it was a table injury.”

Well done, Kim! It is absolutely none of our business. You may want to tell your buddy, Moron Supreme (aka the Witless Wonder).

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Guest Blogger: Schwartz Chimes in on the Poling Decision

My friend Schwartz decided to chime in on my post yesterday. As always, Schwartz, your input is welcome and appreciated.

After reading Craig's post yesterday, I thought I might summarize what I see as the top few myths and mis-information floating around:

1) This decision wasn't about vaccines and Autism

Craig posted this comment from LBRB: "No. Hannah had a mitochondrial disorder, not autism."

In reality, Hannah had (she no longer has it) a mitochondrial disorder and after the vaccine damage she had Autism. So, Hannah Poling had and has Autism. Now, some people continually argue (LBRB included) that the ruling did not determine that the vaccines caused Autism. What did the government actually rule? That she suffered "regressive encephalopathy and features of Autism Spectrum Disorder" as a result of vaccine reaction. Another section of the concession reads: "features consistent with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder".

Let's first review the meaning of the term consistent: "Being in agreement with itself; coherent and uniform"

So she suffered features uniform with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder? Given that Autism is defined as a person meeting a specific set of criteria or "features", "uniform with the features of Autism" pretty obviously means that someone has Autism. The government conceeded the vaccines caused her to suffer brain damage resulting in features of Autism. Any way you slice it, the decision certainly was about the vaccine damage she suffered and her ensuing Autism among other issues. Those who continue to deny this have questionable credibility.

2) Hannah poling was rewarded for a standard table injury encephalopathy

This unsupported claim appears to be centered around the crowd at LBRB as well. It seems to be an attempt to blame the Polings for the length of time that the case took to resolve. The argument seems to be that had they just applied for a table injury as the special masters advised in a general statement, a similar outcome would have occurred much earlier. Unfortunately, the evidence available does not support that argument at all. In fact, the only weak evidence used to support this is the fact that the concession notes that Hannah suffered a "regressive encephalopathy" and the claim is that encephalopathy occurring between 5-15 days is a table injury. Now, let's review the evidence against this poor argument:

a) Hannah Poling did not suffer from Acute encephalopathy according to the advice of the special masters.

Autism cases involving Table Injuries have been compensated under the Program. If in a particular case there exist medical records demonstrating that such a qualifying "acute encephalopathy" occurred within the appropriate time frame, the petitioner or counsel should bring that to the assigned special master’s attention so that, if appropriate, the case can be processed without delay as a Table Injury.

Note that the special master is talking about acute encephalopathy, not the regressive encephalopathy that Hannah was diagnosed with. If we review the vaccine injury table it also talks about "chronic encephalopathy" as well. However, there is a catch in the fine print: "If a preponderance of the evidence indicates that a child's chronic encephalopathy is secondary to genetic, prenatal or perinatal factors, that chronic encephalopathy shall not be considered to be a condition set forth in the Table."

I now refer to the concession where the government states about Hannah: "... significantly aggravated an underlying mitochondrial disorder, which predisposed her to deficits in cellular energy metabolism,..."

It seems that there is a lot of evidence that Hannah's injury were NOT a standard table injury as they involved a secondary factor and they didn't meet the diagnosis of either acute or chronic encephalopathy.

I am truly surprised that the much heralded research skills of Kathleen Seidel they reference at LBRB didn't point out these problems for them.

b) Hannah Poling's case was not determined by a special master

If Hannah Poling had applied for a table injury, it would have been a special master who would have performed the evaluation and made the decision. In the Hannah Poling case, the government actually had their own science team evaluate the case who decided to conceed it. That is a fundamentally different process. It is pretty disingenious to assume that the outcomes would have been even close to the same.

c) Hannah Poling's legal position likely benefited significantly from the Omnibus hearings

The possibility of a strong Omnibus case setting a precident for a vaccine damage/Autism connection would have been very damaging for the government. Given the circumstances, it is very clear that it was in their interests to conceed the case rather than have it become a public standard for future decisions. In these circumstances, they not only conceeded the case, but they were forced to recognize the outcomes of Autism and the outcome of seizure disorder which undoubtedly led to the large financial compensation package awarded. I highly doubt they would have done this in the case of a table injury. Even with Hannah Poling, they tried to avoid the outcome of seizures, but later conceeded that point as well. Does anyone really think a special master would have done the same? HINT: read the omnibus transcripts

In summary, the only evidence being used to support the claim that she suffered from a standard table injury is centered on one word: encephalopathy. Unfortunately, they seem to be missing the adjective and fine print.

3) The government didn't hide the details of the case, the Polings did

This is a myth that originated at LBRB way back when the initial concession was leaked to the press. The reality is that after the original concession, the Polings motioned to make the decision public. Since it is standard to seal the records of the cases, the government objected to the Poling motion. The Polings subsequently motioned for full disclosure. The government offered full disclosure only from the point of time AFTER the concession (in other words it would not have included the concession). The Special Master adjudicating the motion defered the ruling, but published an opinion supporting the government position. The Polings later withdrew the motion in the face of almost certain defeat.

Somehow in the minds of those at LBRB, this translated into the Polings trying to hide the details of the case because they couldn't get access to her medical records.

The latest rendition of this myth has manifested itself in the article quoted by Craig where Sullivan states: "The government did not "seal" the case—it is standard procedure to keep this information confidential until the settlement is completed."

Let's review this for a moment. The standard procedure dictated by the government is to seal the cases. In this case, the government specifically rejected an offer for full disclosure by the Polings. So it wasn't the government who sealed it, it was the procedure that did it.


Friday, September 10, 2010

The Hannah Poling Decision, and Hilarity Ensues.

There’s been quite a bit of buzz around the interwebz about a certain decision concerning a beautiful little redhead and the money she’s been paid by the government for her vaccine injury.

Now, many of the autism sites are talking about it. Most of them agree that the payout was substantial and just. $1.5 million dollars, and, according to some sources, about $500,000 a year (I’m not saying they are incorrect, but I would like to see where it says so). This is a good thing! It’s about time the government got their thumbs out of their asses and helped an autistic child. I am truly happy for Hannah and her family, and I fervently hope that they can use that money to get Hannah the help she needs. Bravo, Poling family!

But, I’m not here to talk just about that. I’m actually here to talk about what some of the people are saying about this decision.

It’s interesting to see some of the reactions. Take this comment left by the utterly clueless Mark Probert on Sharyl Attkinson's CBS Blog for example:

“What is weird about the award, though, is the "pain and suffering". I know a lot of autistic kids and none of them are in pain, and none of them are suffering.”

Then he obviously has never met a child like my son. He probably knows lots of higher functioning autistic children, so he has no clue that the lower spectrum children tend to have gastro-intestinal problems, very painful ones! And then, he obviously is unaware that many children like my son and Hannah are unable to speak and lack the ability to convey their wants and needs in a way that people can understand. This tends to frustrate them, and they suffer from a lack of communication. And, on top of that, he's using an anecdote as data. Ah...such hypocrisy from someone who claims to be "science and evidence based."

Here’s another comment from the same idiot in response to a person posting the vaccination schedule today compared to 20 years ago:

“It is not the number of vaccines, but the number of antigens, which is way down to a small fraction. Check it out.
Note the AoA mouthpiece does not mention this. They never do. If they did, they would have a lot of explaining to do.”

No, idiot. It’s not the number of antigens, but the number of adjuvants, which is up a considerable fraction. Adjuvants, I might add, that the manufacturers have admitted knowing little about. Check it out. Note that the Scientist poseur does not mention this. They never do. If they did, they would have a lot of explaining to do.

And a third:

“No, both sides are not right and wrong. One side is right. Vaccines do not cause autism. There is no evidence what-so-ever that shows that "combining" vaccines causes any problems. Not all of us know that vaccines can cause an allergic reaction since there is no proof of that. As for the imagined increase in autism, it is just that: imagined. The change in vaccine schedule over the years also parallels the widespread use of Wi-Fi, flourescent bulbs and more frequent space shuttle fights. Correation is not proof of causation.”

Let’s pick this apart.

“Vaccines do not cause autism.”

Such a definitive statement is unscientific when all of the evidence is not present. He cannot so definitively make this claim without knowing what CAUSES autism. Such extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof. Besides, Probert, aka DuhProbe, aka FreeSqueaker, is not a scientist, not a doctor.

“There is no evidence what-so-ever that shows that "combining" vaccines causes any problems.”

That’s the point, you frikkin’ moron! There is not science proving otherwise! And if you’re going to continue increasing the vaccination schedule, then clinical follow-ups on this would be necessary. Are there any? No!

“Not all of us know that vaccines can cause an allergic reaction since there is no proof of that.”

Ah, so using this logic, that means that everyone can eat peanuts and not have an allergic reaction. Good thing we have Mark “Not a Doctor, Not a Scientist” Probert easing our fears. At least he pointed out to another commenter that the "idiot parents" of Hannah Poling are Doctors (well, one of them is; the other is a Nurse and Lawyer). Maybe he hasn't been completely assimilated into the Oraccolyte collective.

Now onto other sites. Here’s an interesting comment left over on LeftBrain/RightBrain:

“No. Hannah had a mitochondrial disorder, not autism.”

This was actually said several times in the comments. She doesn’t have autism, according to these clowns. Just “features” of autism.

And this is the meat of what I wanted to talk about.

To understand what autism is, we must first define it. This includes how it is diagnosed, and what behaviors, or features, it entails.

Let us start with the DSM-IV Diagnostic Criteria:

(I) A total of six (or more) items from (A), (B), and (C), with at least two from (A), and one each from (B) and (C)
    (A) qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of the following:
      1. marked impairments in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body posture, and gestures to regulate social interaction 2. failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level 3. a lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people, (e.g., by a lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest to other people) 4. lack of social or emotional reciprocity ( note: in the description, it gives the following as examples: not actively participating in simple social play or games, preferring solitary activities, or involving others in activities only as tools or "mechanical" aids )
    (B) qualitative impairments in communication as manifested by at least one of the following:
      1. delay in, or total lack of, the development of spoken language (not accompanied by an attempt to compensate through alternative modes of communication such as gesture or mime) 2. in individuals with adequate speech, marked impairment in the ability to initiate or sustain a conversation with others 3. stereotyped and repetitive use of language or idiosyncratic language 4. lack of varied, spontaneous make-believe play or social imitative play appropriate to developmental level
    (C) restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests and activities, as manifested by at least two of the following:
      1. encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus 2. apparently inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines or rituals 3. stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms (e.g hand or finger flapping or twisting, or complex whole-body movements) 4. persistent preoccupation with parts of objects
(II) Delays or abnormal functioning in at least one of the following areas, with onset prior to age 3 years:
    (A) social interaction (B) language as used in social communication (C) symbolic or imaginative play
(III) The disturbance is not better accounted for by Rett's Disorder or Childhood Disintegrative Disorder

The key item here is the first sentence. To be diagnosed with Autism, a person must meet a minimum of 6 criteria from all 3 groupings, with at least 2 criteria from the first group and at least 1 each from group 2 and group 3. If they meet those criteria, they are given a diagnosis of Autism.

According to Hannah Poling’s father, a Doctor, Neurologist, and Scientist, she meets those criteria. Therefore, SHE’S AUTISTIC!

So, if an encephalitis causes brain damage, and the brain damage causes behaviors that fit into the above criteria, then the person with the brain damage IS AUTISTIC!

Autism is ONLY defined by behaviors, or features. If a person has those behaviors or features, then they are autistic.

Let me repeat that for clarity. If a person has those behaviors or features, then they are AUTISTIC!

Dr. Poling made an excellent analogy on the Huffington Post last year in response to moron supreme.

“Let me give you an example we commonly encounter. Let's say, hypothetically, that a year ago you recovered from a gunshot wound (GSW) to the head that only damaged your right frontal lobe. You made a full recovery except for some unusual behavior, like going to conferences and secretly recording others’ conversations, and maybe some weird perseverating commentary on blogs.
However, tonight you have a grand mal epileptic seizure and go the ER. At the same time a 20 year old student also goes to the ER with her first epileptic seizure, likely from genetically inherited epilepsy. I get called and treat you both with Dilantin. Both of you do fine and your seizures stop if you remember to take your medicine.
So Ken, do you have epilepsy? Both of you exhibited the same type of seizure behavior. No, in actuality you have a seizure disorder secondary to your frontal lobe GSW. Hold on, since epilepsy is genetic, GSWs to the head don’t cause epilepsy. This is the same type of circular reasoning you espouse on the autism issue and its pure nonsense.”

Well said, Dr. Poling. Well said.

So, since autism is only defined by behaviors, we can now understand why children with Down’s Syndrome are also diagnosed with autism. And, honestly, I can see why the increase in autism diagnoses are confusing the scientific poseurs so much. I think that the first thing we need to do is investigate how many cases of idiopathic autism there are. We do know that the increase is real and not explainable by the tired old, “It’s better diagnosis” screed.

This Orwellian double-speak from the Scientific Poseurs got old a long, LONG time ago. Is it any wonder why so many people are distrustful of them and their dogmatic adherence to a false religion?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Musings on the Farcical Compensation Program.

Hello, my friends. It’s me again, and I know it’s been a while since I’ve written. I was once told by a very famous author that writing is a daily chore, just like cleaning the house or washing dishes. Well, I’ve been slack of late, and there is really no excuse other than I’ve been horrifically busy.
What do I have to write about today, you ask? Well, lately there have been a few rumblings around the interwebz about the Cedillo vs. HHS case. This was one of the NVICP “test” cases that would measure whether or not the MMR vaccine had anything to do with Michelle Cedillo’s autism. This got me to thinking about why so few parents are filing claims with the NVICP.
Let me use myself as an example.
In 2004, when we learned of my son’s diagnosis, I was living in Mississippi. Now, if you aren’t familiar with the Mississippi school system, specifically their special education department, let me just say that this is probably one of the worst places in the world to have a child with autism. Their “solution” to my son’s problem was to institutionalize him.
Anyway, the whole process of learning about the diagnosis, researching things like physical therapy, ABA, etc., and then having to fight with the insurance companies to get these therapies, then having to fight with the government to get these same therapies; all of this was a time consuming and exhausting situation. I began to do research on the various internet sites and newsgroups to find answers and get advice from parents who were going through what my wife and I were. We were doing this, you see, because the doctor who gave us his diagnosis said that he had no advice, that he had very little experience with Autism, and that parents of autistic children probably knew more about the treatments and the condition than he did. At least he was honest. Before I knew it, 3 years had passed.
My son was sick, and he needed help. That simple. At the time, I was going through my second go around in college and working a part time and full time job to pay for my son’s therapies. It was 2007, and I had gotten involved with the people at Age of Autism and had also had numerous encounters with a certain egomaniacal douche-bag that we have all learned to loathe and despise. It was during this time that I was asked by a certain nameless moron why I hadn’t pursued my son’s vaccine injury with the NVICP.
Here’s the deal. First off, the statute of limitations to file a claim with the NVICP is 3 years. Secondly, my goal during this time was to make sure my son was receiving the care and support he needed. A lengthy and prolonged court battle would not have achieved that goal. It would have taken too much time away from my job and my family.
So, what’s the deal here. Cases that go to the NVICP can take years to resolve. And if there is a reward for injury, it is a pittance in comparison to the lifelong debilitations that children like my son suffer. They have to face a dog-and-pony-show of a “trial” that is not actually a trial, is not presided over by a real judge, and have to face off against the best attorneys that Pharma can buy. On top of that, if they lose the case (which is likely if autism and vaccines appear in the same case), then the pain and tragedy these families have faced throughout the lives of their children is broadcast all over the world so that it can be ridiculed by the likes of Orac and his Mob of Mindless Minions, the Oraccolytes, and wannabe scientist poseurs like AutismDeadBeat, Josephius and White&Nerdy.
Is it any wonder why parents don’t file with the NVICP? It’s a farce!
You have a 3rd party that is the sole decision process as to whether or not the vaccine caused the injury. That’s it! It’s supposed to be an unbiased 3rd party, but there are no checks and balances to prove this. The Science-ologists (those that worship science) say that Science should be the sole arbiter of this process, that science is the only answer to this. Well, guess what? Scientists are humans, not Gods. They make mistakes. They are prone to bias and misinterpretation. Science is NOT a religion, and the minute these hypocrites vomit forth the whole “Science has spoken” screed, then it ceases to become science and becomes a religion. This is a lesson that so many of these “science and evidence-based” cretins and pseudo-skeptics need to learn, and learn quickly.