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Monday, July 27, 2009

Minister Misled Parliament Over MMR Autism Link

Dawn Primarolo as UK Government Health Minister misled Parliament in a written answer to Conservative MP Mark Pritchard that Bailey Banks’ successful damages claim in the US Federal Court for an autistic condition caused by the MMR vaccine was “non autistic”, stating Bailey had a “non-autistic development delay”.

Now, health minister Mike O’Brien has agreed in a letter to an MP that the ruling referred to a diagnosis of an Autistic Spectrum Disorder. “Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified” is a category of Autistic Spectrum Disorders which does not fall into any other autism category”. There is no misunderstanding amongst experts of what it means. The paediatrician advising the court, Dr Lopez, decided against a diagnosis of autism not because Bailey Banks did not have autistic symptoms but because his condition was vaccine induced.

The designation “Pervasive Developmental Disorder” is the US diagnostic term for “Autistic Spectrum Disorder” used in the rest of the world. “Pervasive Developmental Disorder” is also the term used by The Royal Free Hospital researchers in their 1998 Lancet study which first suggested a possible link between the MMR vaccine and autistic conditions. Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children Lancet 1998; 351: 637-41
Primarolo told Parliament in April when a health minister:

In 2007 the United States Court of Federal Claims made a ruling in favour of compensation to the father of Bailey Banks for his non-autistic developmental delay as a result of Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM) following receipt of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. ADEM is an extremely rare condition that has been reported after rabies, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, smallpox, MMR, Japanese B encephalitis, pertussis, influenza and hepatitis B vaccines. The Bailey Banks case has no implications for MMR vaccine policy.
Special Master Abell’s judgement in the Bailey Banks case states unequivocally (p.27):

Furthermore, Bailey’s ADEM was severe enough to cause lasting, residual damage, and retarded his developmental progress, which fits under the generalized heading of Pervasive Developmental Delay, or PDD. The Court found that Bailey would not have suffered this delay but for the administration of the MMR vaccine, and that this chain of causation was not too remote, but was rather a proximate sequence of cause and effect leading inexorably from vaccination to Pervasive Developmental Delay. .

Master Abell explained (p.7):
Moving on to the alternative hypothesis/diagnosis of autism, Dr. Lopez distinguishes autism as a more generalized condition without a known etiology, and contrasted it to Bailey’s condition, which he says is clearly attributable to demyelination based on neuroimaging evidence. Tr. at 41-42. Dr. Lopez also differentiated Bailey’s condition from autism, because Bailey has been affected in more than one developmental skill area; he clarified by stating that Bailey has “induced pervasive developmental delay…due to ADEM.” Tr. at 32. He noted that the conflation of designations resulted from a medical convention created for the sake of explanation to laymen, but that the two are not properly interchangeable, but actually quite distinct. Id. Speaking more directly, Dr. Lopez stated that “Bailey does not have autism because he has a reason for his deficits.” Tr. at 42.

Now in a letter to an MP, health minister Mike O’Brien agrees that the term ‘PDD’ or ‘PDD-NOS’ (Pervasive Development Delay-Not Otherwise Specified) was that used by the court:

I understand that Mr X… believes that the answer should have referred to pervasive development disorder rather than non-autistic development delay. Relevant information is given on page 2 of the Bailey Banks ruling available at by searching for ‘Bailey Banks’. This specifies the ruling refers to ‘Pervasive Development Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified’ in which full features of autism are not identified’.

O’Brien has, therefore, conceded that there were features of autism, which undermines Dawn Primarolo’s claim that Bailey Banks had a ‘non-autistic development delay’: Bailey would undoubtedly be classified as having an Autistic Spectrum Disorder in the UK, even if he did not have “the full features of autism”, or was “atypical” as in many cases, and/or had additional learning difficulties (not usually grounds for withholding an autism diagnosis). Governments, heath officials and vaccine manufacturers are evading responsibility by exploiting confused terminology for a range of developmental problems, nearly all of which are non-specific diagnoses.

When the Banks decision came to light earlier this year Robert F Kennedy Jr, writing in Huffington Post commented that vaccine court cases were more likely to be awarded if the word “autism” did not appear as consequential on brain-damage from encephalopathy:

Medical records associated with these proceedings clearly tell the tale. In perhaps hundreds of these cases, the children have all the classic symptoms of regressive autism; following vaccination a perfectly healthy child experiences high fever, seizures, and other illnesses, then gradually, over about three months, loses language, the ability to make eye contact, becomes “over-focused” and engages in stereotypical head banging and screaming and then suffers developmental delays characteristic of autism. Many of these children had received the autism diagnosis. Yet the radioactive word “autism” appears nowhere in the decision.

The problems are compounded in the UK by the policy of not monitoring, recording or investigating adverse reactions to vaccines, and then citing absence of data as evidence of safety. National Health Service advice is to ignore reactions to MMR vaccine, and to come back for repeat doses (against the fundamental medical ethics and even manufacturers’ instructions).
From an NHS website:

Q:My son had a sever [sic] reaction to the first MMR jab. Does this mean that he is well protected from these diseases, or is a second dose still necessary?
A: If a child has responded to all the components of the vaccine the first time, he will not have a problem being exposed to the viruses again. It’s like any one of us who is already immune meeting someone with the disease – the infection can’t get established. If he hasn’t made protection to all three diseases after the first time, then he would still be susceptible to those natural infections, and still needs the 2nd dose. Reactions after the 2nd dose are essentially the same as after the 1st dose, but if they do occur they are even rarer. There are no new side effects after the 2nd dose that do not occur after the 1st dose. The advice is therefore that it is safe for your child to have the 2nd dose in order that he is properly protected.

The casual dismissal of even “severe reactions” shows that Primarolo’s claim that cases of ADEM (Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis) which led to Bailey Banks’ pervasive development delay are “extremely rare” has no foundation. The most that the UK Department of Health could truthfully state about the incidence of ADEM is that they do not know how often it occurs, and that the failure to collect data is a matter of policy. Meanwhile, scientists and officials continue to ignore over-whelming statistical evidence from Japan of the correlation between the vaccine programme and incidence of autism, collated and presented by ChildHealthSafety and Age of Autism:

The failure of candour over these issues by government politicians and officials continues to obstruct public scrutiny of what is going on over MMR, other vaccines and autism. UK citizens should contact their members of parliament to complain about continuing government dissimulation over these matters.

If you are concerned write to your political representative. Don’t complain when politicians do nothing if you do not write and keep on writing. It is their job to represent you. All our kids deserve proper science to protect their safety.
Contacting Your UK or US Political Representative
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