Gryffin's Tail has moved!

Gryffin's Tail has a new home. It got too hard to mirror to this site. I don't maintain this site anymore.

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Saturday, September 4, 2010

Stephen Barrie, ND: Child Autism Epidemic Firmly Linked to Environment

Stephen Barrie, ND: Child Autism Epidemic Firmly Linked to Environment

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Neonatal Administration of Thimerosal Causes Persistent Changes in Mu Opioid Receptors in the Rat Brain

Full study.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Family win 18 year fight over MMR damage to son: �90,000 payout is first since concerns over vaccine surfaced | Mail Online

Family win 18 year fight over MMR damage to son: �90,000 payout is first since concerns over vaccine surfaced | Mail Online

Flu vaccination ban goes national after fever, convulsions in children

Flu vaccination ban goes national after fever, convulsions in children

Monday, August 9, 2010

Autism: Military's Tricare balks at covering autism therapy -

Autism: Military's Tricare balks at covering autism therapy -

Saturday, July 17, 2010

'New Scientific Evidence Links Autism to Vaccines and Mercury'

'New Scientific Evidence Links Autism to Vaccines and Mercury'

Two new papers published this week in the peer-reviewed neuroscience journal Acta Neurobiologiae Experimentalis point to vaccines and heavy metal toxins including mercury as causes of the alarming rise in autism. The Centers for Disease Control now estimate autism to affect one in 110 children, up 40% from just a few years ago.
"The rapid increase in autism cannot be explained solely by changes in diagnostic practices and awareness," said Sallie Bernard, president of SafeMinds. "We must look at what babies and pregnant women are being exposed to that has created this epidemic and take immediate steps to protect our children from these hazardous substances."
In the first study, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and Thoughtful House in Austin, Texas compared two sets of macaque infant monkeys. One set of monkeys was unvaccinated while the second set received vaccines identical to the 1990s pediatric vaccine schedule, most of which contained mercury. Infant macaques were used due to their similarity to human infants. Macaques share 93.5% of the DNA found in the human genome.
The contrasting results were remarkable. The vaccinated monkeys showed increased brain growth, which the authors theorize may arise from the inability to prune neurons. Larger head size is a hallmark of human infants who later develop autism. The vaccinated primates also showed a different rate of maturation of the amygdala section of the brain than the non-vaccinated monkeys. Amygdala dysfunction has been long implicated in autism. The amygdala region is responsible for emotions, memory and learning. Individuals with autism often struggle in these areas.
In the second paper, two scientists from the University of Northern Iowa made a critical appraisal of research that has been used to disprove a link between autism and heavy metals, and mercury in particular. They found statistical errors in several studies so that a re-analysis of the data demonstrated a greater presence of metals in autistic children than controls. The authors calculated that 43 out of 58 scientific reports suggest some link between heavy metals and autism may be present, while 13 reports suggest no link. They concluded that while questions remain, "the weight of evidence favor[s] a connection."
SafeMinds is calling for the United States government to pass legislation banning mercury in vaccines as has been done already by many states, based upon these two new significant articles and the growing scientific literature casting doubt on the safety of the infant vaccine schedule and of exposures to heavy metals including mercury. Most influenza vaccines contain mercury. SafeMinds also asks Congress to pass the Safe Chemicals Act of 2010 so that harmful chemical substances like mercury in medical products will be discontinued when proof of safety is absent.
"While we wait for the government to act, the public can take steps to limit their exposures to toxicants which can alter fetal and infant development leading to developmental disabilities like autism," said Ms. Bernard. "The public can refuse vaccines made with mercury, can make choices for their child's vaccine schedule, and can create homes that are largely mercury-free."

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Let's say it again: Genes Don't Cause Autism

July 07, 2010

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Autism on the Seas

If you were wondering what kind of family vacation you could possibly take with a child on the spectrum, look no further!  Autism on the Seas has packages that cater specifically to autism families.

Monday, June 21, 2010

How to talk to a child with autism

Thimerasol Causing Brain Problems in Rats

Vaccine Adjuvant Alters Neurological Function in Rat Experiment, Symptoms Identical to Autism -- Lourdes Salvador

November 30, 2009

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disability characterized by social withdrawal, communication deficits, and repetitive behaviors. Both genetic and environmental factors have been implicated as causes of autism, moreover a high body burden of mercury and other toxic metals from vaccinations and environmental exposures has been increasingly given more attention.
Thimerosal is mercury containing vaccine preservative added to many childhood vaccines. It is widely suspected as a cause of an increasing widespread epidemic of childhood neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism.
Now, a new study shows that administration of thimerosal leads to long lasting neurological impairment in rats, specifically by altering the neural process of handling noxious stimuli.
Analysis also shows that significant amounts of mercury from thimerosal accumulates in the rat brain and remains long term. The mercury is not readily cleared, as was previously believed. Though mercury readily leaves the blood stream, it does not leave the body. It is now recognized to accumulate in brain tissue.
Additionally, this research is supported by various prior studies which show that children with autism suffer from a weak ability to excrete mercury and that the weaker the ability, the more severe the symptoms of autism.
Now, two new research studies investigating the effects of chelation therapy on the health and behavior of children with autism spectrum disorders have discovered that children receiving chelation to reduce mercury levels had significant improvements.

It appears that mercury may produce the symptom set recognized in the autism spectrum disorders as a form of autism.
Adams JB, Baral M, Geis E, Mitchell J, Ingram J, Hensley A, Zappia I, Newmark S, Gehn E, Rubin RA, Mitchell K, Bradstreet J, El-Dahr J. Safety and efficacy of oral DMSA therapy for children with autism spectrum disorders: part A--medical results. BMC Clin Pharmacol. 2009 Oct 23;9:16.
Adams JB, Baral M, Geis E, Mitchell J, Ingram J, Hensley A, Zappia I, Newmark S, Gehn E, Rubin RA, Mitchell K, Bradstreet J, El-Dahr J. Safety and efficacy of oral DMSA therapy for children with autism spectrum disorders: part B - behavioral results. BMC Clin Pharmacol. 2009 Oct 23;9:17.
Olczak M, Duszczyk M, Mierzejewski P, Majewska MD. Neonatal administration of a vaccine preservative, thimerosal, produces lasting impairment of nociception and apparent activation of opioid system in rats. Brain Res. 2009 Dec 8;1301:143-51. Epub 2009 Sep 9.
This article originally appeared in the MCS America News, December 2009 Issue . For more articles on this topic, see: MCSA News.
Copyrighted 2009 Lourdes Salvador & MCS America

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Utah scientist makes breakthrough in mental illness research <<< CLICK HERE to Watch Video Intreview!!!
Utah scientist makes breakthrough in mental illness research
By Jennifer Stagg

SALT LAKE CITY -- It is heartbreaking to see someone you love suffer from mental illness. Now a famous Utah scientist says he's made a big breakthrough in the research to find a cure.

Doctors have traditionally treated mental illness with drugs to alter the brain's chemistry, but the University of Utah's Nobel Prize-winning geneticist Dr. Mario Capecchi tried a new approach on a lab mouse. He treated the animal for the illness the same way you would many other illnesses -- by treating its immune system.

Capecchi says compulsive behavior doesn't just affect people. In fact, he had a lab mouse who was suffering from the condition trichotillomania, where one pulls their own hair out. Scientists say it was the mouse that led to the ground-breaking discovery as they found a way to cure him.

"There's a direct correlation, in essence, between the immune system and behavior," Capecchi says.
He says scientists have known for years that there is a connection between behavior and the immune system, but they didn't quite understand it. Now he and his team have discovered it all has to do with a tiny cell called microglia.
Microglia were believed to be "scavenger cells" that would clean up damage in the brain, but Capecchi says the cells are much more powerful than they were letting on.
"What we're saying is microglia are much more sophisticated and are actually controlling behavior, and they have to do it by interacting the nerve cells in your brain," Capecchi says.

They found people and animals afflicted with behavior disorders have deformed microglia cells. So, instead of treating mental illness the way doctors traditionally have -- with medication to alter brain chemistry -- they tried a new approach by treating the immune system.

The researchers used a procedure on the mouse that's commonly practiced on cancer patients -- a bone marrow transplant.
"That cured the disease permanently," Capecchi says. "All the hair grew back, all the lesions were healed, and the mouse no longer removes the body hair."
Capecchi says this new discovery could lead to cures for mental disorders from autism to schizophrenia.
"The book is just opened, and so there are many, many possibilities; and hopefully not only will we pursue it, but also hopefully it will interest other researchers, other investigators, to pursue similar experiments," Capecchi says.
What are... microglia?
Microglia are immune system cells that originate in bone marrow and migrate from blood to the brain acting as the first and main form of active immune defense in the central nervous system (CNS) defending the brain and spinal cord, constantly excavating the CNS and attacking and engulfing infectious agents.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Dr. Wakefield Removed from the United Kingdom’s Medical Register

Statement prepared by: Rebecca Estepp
Contact # (949) 640-4401 ext. 106

May 24, 2010

The General Medical Council (GMC) erased Dr. Andrew Wakefield from Britain’s Medical Register earlier today. TACA is deeply saddened by these unnecessary and vindictive actions. We will continue to support Dr. Wakefield.

Repealing Dr. Wakefield’s license does not erase the last 12 years of his work for children and their families. The GMC cannot revise history with this action. There are thousands of families that witnessed their children regress into autism after childhood vaccinations. Dr. Wakefield is a hero to these families.

TACA is very grateful that Dr. Wakefield will continue his much needed research into vaccine safety, autism and bowel disease.  Dr. Wakefield’s research is not a threat to vaccine programs world wide. The real threat comes from the cozy relationships between vaccine regulators and industry.

One in four parents already believes that vaccines can cause autism in children. The autism community has been asking for independent research and transparency in the vaccine program for more than ten years. Until this happens, parents will continue to lose confidence in this program. Revoking Dr. Wakefield’s medical license will only cause parents to become more leery of the medical establishment and the vaccine program as a whole.

The following studies replicated Dr. Wakefield's original findings:

Gonzalez, L. et al., "Endoscopic and Histological Characteristics of the Digestive Mucosa in Autistic Children with gastro-Intestinal Symptoms." Arch Venez Pueric Pediatr, 2005;69:19-25.

Balzola, F., et al., "Panenteric IBD-like disease in a patient with regressive autism shown for the first time by wireless capsule enteroscopy: Another piece in the jig-saw of the gut-brain syndrome?" American Journal of Gastroenterology, 2005. 100(4): p. 979- 981.

S. Walker, K. Hepner, J. Segal, A. Krigsman "Persistent Ileal Measles Virus in a Large Cohort of Regressive Autistic Children with Ileocolitis and Lymphonodular Hyperplasia: Revisitation of an Earlier Study" [IMFAR May 2007]

Balzola F et al. "Autistic enterocolitis: confirmation of a new inflammatory bowel disease in an Italian cohort of patients." Gastroenterology 2005;128(Suppl. 2);A-303.

Madsen KM et al. A Population-Based Study of Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccination and Autism (2002). N Engl J Med 347 (19): 1477–82

More Information

Watch Today show featuring Dr. Andrew Wakefield

Dr. Wakefield’s GMC Findings (January 28, 2010)

About TACA

Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) provides information, resources, and support to families affected by autism. For families who have just received the autism diagnosis, TACA aims to speed up the cycle time from the autism diagnosis to effective treatments. TACA helps to strengthen the autism community by connecting families and the professionals who can help them, allowing them to share stories and information to help people with autism be the best they can be.

DISCLAIMER: TACA provides general information regarding medical research, treatment options, therapies and nutrition to the autism community. The information comes from a variety of sources, and TACA does not independently verify any of it. Nothing presented at meetings, emails or in print should be construed as medical or legal advice. Always consult your child's doctor regarding his or her individual needs.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Dr. Bob Sears' Response to Hyman Diet Study

Allergen free Diet Can, and Does, Help Many Children with Autism

I've seen over 500 children with autism in my pediatric practice over the past 10 years, and in my experience the majority have benefited from the diet. Children with chronic GI symptoms, such as loose stools or constipation, seem to benefit the most, which would make sense. But I've seen some children without any GI symptoms improve on the diet.

So when I see a study come out that conflicts with my extensive clinical experience, I take a very close look at the study before I decide whether or not it should influence my medical decision-making. This new study, published by Dr Susan Hyman on May 19, 2010 from the University of Rochester definitely does not change my opinion of the possible effectiveness of the diet for children with autism. First, this was a tiny study of 14 children. The medical community rarely considers such a small study clinically useful. A much larger study would have more weight. Second, the study didn't allow for enough time to pass for the diet to create enough improvement to be clinically significant. In my experience, parents often see results from casein elimination within a few weeks. But gluten often takes longer, up to several months before benefits can be seen. Third, gluten and casein aren't the only allergens that children have to eliminate. In my practice, I eliminate all allergic foods at the same time to allow for maximum healing. A very common allergen on the diet is soy. It is possible that some children in this study had other foods that needed to be eliminated and weren't. Finally, two children in the study were excluded because they tested extremely allergic to gluten (positive TTG test). Such kids would be virtually guaranteed to benefit from the diet. It is likely the researchers wanted to determine if the diet would help the general population of kids with autism and not just those with severe gluten allergy. But including those two children in the study could have resulted in an outcome more in favor of the diet.

The mainstream medical community looks for treatments with a very high success rate. For example, if an antibiotic only improves half of kids with an ear infection, such an antibiotic wouldn't be approved. A drug or treatment needs to work very well in most patients in order for it to be adopted. Autism is unique, however, in that many treatments work extremely well, but not always in a high percentage of children. Does that mean we shouldn't offer such treatments? Not at all. If I have a particular treatment that would help even 20% of children with autism, I would offer it to all children. Those that do benefit can be blessed by improvement they wouldn't otherwise have. When it comes to the diet, my success rates are much higher than 20%. I would say that at least 75% of parents report positive results, and many of those report amazing results.

I'm not going to let a very small study such as this one prevent me from offering the hope of healing to parents, and I hope that parents everywhere consider trying the GFCF diet for their child.

Additional studies that are positive for Autism and dietary invention can be found at

Dr Bob Sears - Sears Pediatrics
And TACA Physician Advisory Board

Popular Autism Diet Does Not Demonstrate Behavioral Improvement

You decide:  What do you think of this study?  Let me know what you think.

ScienceDaily (May 20, 2010) — A popular belief that specific dietary changes can improve the symptoms of children with autism was not supported by a tightly controlled University of Rochester study, which found that eliminating gluten and casein from the diets of children with autism had no impact on their behavior, sleep or bowel patterns.

The study is the most controlled diet research in autism to date. The researchers took on the difficult yet crucial task of ensuring participants received needed nutrients, as children on gluten-free, casein-free diets may eat inadequate amounts of vitamin D, calcium, iron and high quality protein. Unlike previous studies, they also controlled for other interventions, such as what type of behavioral treatments children received, to ensure all observed changes were due to dietary alterations. Past studies did not control for such factors. And although no improvements were demonstrated, the researchers acknowledged that some subgroups of children, particularly those with significant gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, might receive some benefit from dietary changes.

"It would have been wonderful for children with autism and their families if we found that the GFCF diet could really help, but this small study didn't show significant benefits," said Susan Hyman, M.D., associate professor of Pediatrics at Golisano Children's Hospital at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) and principal investigator of the study which will be presented on May 22 at the International Meeting for Autism Research in Philadelphia. "However, the study didn't include children with significant gastrointestinal disease. It's possible those children and other specific groups might see a benefit."

In response to widespread parent-reported benefits, URMC initiated the trial in 2003 to scientifically evaluate the effects of the gluten-free and casein-free diet, which eliminates wheat, rye, barley and milk proteins. Parent observation has played an important role in earlier treatment discoveries in children with autism, such as melatonin's benefits for sleep.

Hyman's study enrolled 22 children between 2 ½- and 5 ½-years-old. Fourteen children completed the intervention, which was planned for 18 weeks for each family. The families had to strictly adhere to a gluten-free and casein-free diet and participate in early intensive behavioral intervention throughout the study. Children were screened for iron and vitamin D deficiency, milk and wheat allergies and celiac disease. One child was excluded because of a positive test for celiac disease and one was excluded for iron deficiency. Other volunteers who were excluded were unable to adhere to the study requirements. The children's diets were carefully monitored throughout the study to make sure they were getting enough vitamin D, iron, calcium, protein and other nutrients.

After at least four weeks on the strict diet, the children were challenged with either gluten, casein, both or placebo in randomized order. They were given a snack once weekly with either 20 grams of wheat flour, 23 grams of non fat dried milk, both, or neither until every child received each snack three times. The type of snack was given in randomized order and presented so that no one observing -- including the family, child, research staff and therapy team -- knew what it contained. The snacks were carefully engineered to look, taste and feel the same, which was an exercise in innovative cooking. In addition, the nutrition staff worked closely with the families to make a snack that met their child's preferences. Casein was disguised in pudding, yogurt or smoothies and gluten in banana bread, brownies, or cookies depending on the child's food preferences.

Parents, teachers and a research assistant filled out standardized surveys about the child's behavior the day before they received the snack, at two and 24 hours after the snack. (If the child's behavior wasn't usual at the scheduled snack time, the snack would be postponed until the child was back to baseline.) In addition, the parents kept a standard diary of food intake, sleep and bowel habits. Social interaction and language were evaluated through videotaped scoring of a standardized play session with a research assistant.

Following the gluten and casein snacks, study participants had no change in attention, activity, sleep or frequency or quality of bowel habits. Children demonstrated a small increase in social language and interest in interaction after the challenges with gluten or casein on the Ritvo Freeman Real Life Rating Scale; however, it did not reach statistical significance. That means because of the small difference and the small number of participants in the study, the finding may be due to chance alone.

The investigators note that this study was not designed to look at more restrictive diets or the effect of nutritional supplements on behavior. This study was designed to look at the effects of the removal of gluten and casein from the diet of children with autism (without celiac disease) and subsequent effect of challenges with these substances in a group of children getting early intensive behavioral intervention.
Hyman said, "This is really just the tip of the iceberg. There are many possible effects of diet including over- and under-nutrition, on behavior in children with ASD that need to be scientifically investigated so families can make informed decisions about the therapies they choose for their children."

This study was funded by the NIH's National Institutes of Mental Health Studies to Advance Autism Treatment Research and National Center for Research Resources (NCRR).

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

More successes!

Never again!

Second, no more diapers!  He has been day trained for years but we have never been able to get rid of the night diapers.  He hated that he wore them, often telling me he's not a baby, but they were necessary.  We tried several times to just let him go without and every time it was a wet, urine filled disaster. Not so anymore!  He has been diaper free for about three weeks now and has only had 4 accidents.  They seem to be coming on faster as I haven't chelated since spring break where I chelated the entire week and brought about these wondrous changes.  I intend to return to our regularly scheduled chelation program this weekend and hopefully, we'll be able to banish the accidents to the fiery inferno of hell to which they belong.

I'll keep you posted on what happens!
We started AC chelation several months ago and couldn't be more pleased with the results.

Since chelating, we have had two very beautiful successes happen.

My son now eats what we give him.  Yes, sometimes I have to make him and feed him myself but he does it with very little complaint.  This is huge!  I'm sure you can all relate to the dilemma of picky eaters.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Peer Review "Fig Leaf": Vera Hassner Sharav

The Peer Review "Fig Leaf": Vera Hassner Sharav


Vera Hassner Sharav
While the chief of the US National Institute of Mental Health this week stopped short of saying scientists are corrupt because of their ties to industry, as AP reported -- Vera Hassner Sharav does not give scientists a similar pass, partly because the testimonies she organized on unethical research on the mentally ill before the National Bioethics Advisory Committee in 1997 led to the shut down of 29 clinical trials at NIMH. Hassner Sharav is founder and president of the Alliance for Human Research Protection, a public interest watch dog group based in New York that aims to "unlock the walls of secrecy in biomedical research and to bring accountability to that endeavor". As a human rights champion, she has opposed experiments on children such as the EPA's CHEERS pesticide tests and pushed for a federal investigation into foster care children being used in AIDS drug experiments. She has appeared before various national advisory panels addressing her concerns about experiments on prisoners, about the use of antidepressants and the risk of suicide, among other issues. Hassner Sharav is also a former law librarian and has developed a database that tracks unethical research practices and the failure to disclose information on drug hazards.
I spoke with Vera Hassner Sharav earlier this week by phone about peer-reviewed science journals.
Suzan Mazur: Science peer review is regarded as censorship. That's the issue David Noble and I explored in my recent interview with him . . .
Vera Hassner Sharav: That's clearly not how peer review was originally supposed to work. Once reviewers are selected based on what's good for industry, they are not independent peers. But the process is so much more corrupt than even censorship. For example, Elsevier published propaganda favoring Vioxx as "peer-reviewed" inarticles in a phony journal paid for by Merck.
When reviewers are under contract and financially tied to industry, articles that get approved for publication, say in medical journals, are those that promote newly patented drugs or medical devices.
Suzan Mazur: What is the concern with peer review at the Alliance for Human Research Protection.
Vera Hassner Sharav: The concern is that this corruption of the peer review process leads to the promotion of defective drugs that cause harm and even kill people, whether it's Vioxx, Avandia, Zyprexa or the like -- toxic, dangerous drugs that were promoted within peer review. Independent scientists do not have access to the complete data on these newly patented drugs being promoted in scientific journals and elsewhere in the media. We should be able to ask authors for the actual data about which they are reporting.
Industry controls the process and the data, it controls the clinical trials, the selection and design of the trials. It controls what is disclosed and what is concealed. What gets published and what gets put in the so-called "drawer". Peer review has become a fig leaf covering up make-believe peer review. It's not rigorous, not independent and not honest. It's rubberstamp, paid for and controlled by the pharmaceutical industry.
The integrity of the scientific literature has been compromised. The clinical practice of medical doctors is jeopardized because physicians think these articles in influential journals have been vetted (i.e., peer reviewed). They then unwittingly prescribe to patients dangerous drugs that are being marketed widely. And people are harmed.
Suzan Mazur: With the passage of the Obama health care bill, do you see the beginning of a clean up of the peer review process?
Vera Hassner Sharav: No it doesn't touch corrupt practices at all. Obama health care is totally silent on this. The assumption is that science professions are policing themselves. But if science is under the influence of industry, receiving huge money from industry, then there is a disincentive to police.
Suzan Mazur: Can you tell me about the controversy surrounding the public being kept out of sessions at the upcoming American Psychiatric Association conference in New Orleans?
Vera Hassner Sharav: The American Psychiatric Association is having its annual meeting in New Orleans in May. Science journal publishers -- Wiley, Elsevier, etc. -- and pharmaceutical companies will be attending as well as psychiatrists.
Dr. Charles Schulz, chairman of psychiatry at the University of Minnesota Medical School, who has received hundreds of thousands of dollars as a paid consultant to AstraZeneca and Eli Lilly, whose favorable report about the antipsychotic Seroquel -- presented at an APA conference in 2000 -- was contradicted by an analysis of the drug's manufacturer AstraZeneca, is holding a session at the APA 2010 conference: "How to help parents of a first psychotic episode patient". A parent whose son committed suicide in a clinical trial conducted by Schulz wants to attend but was told the meeting is closed to all but APA members.
[NOTE Schulz office 3/29/2010 email to me: "He [Dr. Schulz] has been thinking about her [the parent Hassner Sharav refers to above is Mary Weiss, whose child died in a Schulz clinical trial] and is glad she wants to obtain more information. If you wanted to provide her name and address, Dr. Schulz would like to send her his book on the Early Stages of Schizophrenia, which is published by the APA and has chapters about psychotherapy and family therapy.]
So the question arises -- if this meeting is geared toward helping parents, what is it Schulz is going to say that he doesn't want parents to know? This is serious. This is peer review at its maximum corruption. These meetings are a commercial circus.
Suzan Mazur: Is the public completely barred?
Vera Hassner Sharav: Some meetings are open, but it costs a lot of money that individuals can't afford. [NOTE: APA advises admission is $860 - $950 for non-APA members.] But the Schulz session is closed.
Robert Whittaker, author of the forthcoming book Anatomy of an Epidemic, wanted to attend last year's APA meeting. The APA didn't want to let him in. His publisher, Crown, intervened to get him in. Whittaker attended and recorded quite a few of the sessions. They were humdingers. What's discussed at these APA meetings is information that does not reach the public.
[NOTE: -- APA has emailed me stating the following:
"Charles Schulz's Case Conference is only open to residents. Case conferences are closed to nonmembers because of the clinical nature of the discussions and the patient confidentiality restrictions inherent in presenting cases. Members are bound by ethics confidentiality and nonmembers are not, which is why nonmembers are restricted.
A few sessions are only open to residents to allow residents to have a more hands-on experience with less people, but all other sessions are open to members and nonmembers."]
Suzan Mazur: Regarding Wiley, one of the major science journal publishers attending the APA meeting -- it's been around for over 200 years but apparently just became profitable in the 1990s. Do you have any insight into that?
Vera Hassner Sharav: What this shows is that when industry began to influence the content of journals by paying Wiley hefty fees, Wiley became profitable.
Suzan Mazur: Advertising?
Vera Hassner Sharav: There are many ways to influence publishers, but two things especially. Advertising is one but at least with advertising you know an ad when you see one. And doctors are perhaps less influenced by ads than the public. Maybe.
What is even more insidious is the articles that are published as peer-reviewed scientific articles facing those ads. The reports are promotional pieces, not independently and rigorously reviewed. They are masquerading as scientific articles. That's deception of the worst kind.
Suzan Mazur: You have a Masters degree in Library Science.
Vera Hassner Sharav: Yes.
Suzan Mazur: Is there a movement on the part of libraries to challenge this corruption?
Vera Hassner Sharav: No they have no power, no say.
Suzan Mazur: Do they have any interest in dealing with it?
Vera Hassner Sharav: I don't know if they've even been asked about it. The librarians have been pretty much bypassed in the information explosion age. It was their own fault.
Suzan Mazur: They have to know about the bogus information.
Vera Hassner Sharav: They simply transmit it. You ask for an article, they'll fetch it for you. And now with the Internet, librarians are used less and less.
Suzan Mazur: One recent open-access journal called Philosophy and Theory in Biology, "a product of the Scholarly Publishing Office of the University of Michigan Library and DLXS" has come under criticism as a reflection of the gaming of the system. Here's a complaint from an independent investigator whose article was rejected by the journal after 36 hours. The journal editors include a half dozen Altenberg 16 cronies (esteemed cell biologist Stuart Newman is not among them):
"But the most insulting rejection came from Philosophy and Theory in Biology, a relatively new publication (started in August) whose senior editor is none other than Massimo Pigliucci. It took his team of editors only 36 hours to reject the paper on the grounds that it was not appropriate. The science and math in the paper, unless examined by specialists in the field, could not possibly have been understood by the editors in that amount of time. . . . I don't think Massimo ever saw the paper, trusting instead to his editorial scriveners to do their duty. In an embarrassing rant, presented in two emails, I raged that not only was his journal the most appropriate one, given its stated objectives, but also his editorial linemen were stultifying in their ignorance not just of current trends in the biosciences, but of the philosophy of science and the physical sciences. . . . [D]espite his posturing as a man of science and a skeptic, [he] is an obstacle to scientific progress although chief editor of a journal alleged to advance that very thing." -- Gregory O'Kelly
Any idea how that library affiliation works?
Vera Hassner Sharav: I'm not familiar with that particular arrangement. But many of the journals have university affiliation. Little journals. . . . What would make a huge difference would be if academia started to penalize faculty members who sell their name and append it to ghost-written articles. Simply fire them because it's unprofessional conduct.
Suzan Mazur: Here are five questions I submitted to Wiley that they refused to answer. I emailed the questions to Eric Swanson, who is the Wiley point person there in Hoboken in charge of science journals I was told by Susan Spilka in their press office that Swanson was "pondering" responding. I assume he found the questions too challenging. He emailed the Wiley template on ethics via his press office.
"1. As one of the top publishers of science journals and a public corporation, is Wiley aware that the public knows the science peer-reviewed journal system is a major factor corrupting science?
2. Is Wiley concerned that science peer review is increasingly viewed by the public as censorship -- a way of keeping out the public, who actually fund science?
3. Why does Wiley approve of anonymous peer review of journal articles? There are complaints that too often when a paper is submitted that exposes the errors of science journal editors, the paper is simply rejected and there is no avenue of appeal regarding such unethical publication practices. A psychologist complained this happened in submitting to a Blackwell, now- Wiley psychology journal. In the case of your anatomy journals, there are complaints about a possible conflict of interest regarding what is acceptable content because many of the journal editors [and the journals themselves] are based on the University of Utah campus where the LDS church has a significant presence and a gene-centered approach to science is favored.
4. Is Wiley at all concerned by lack of operational financial transparency on the part of its science journals? For example, Wiley Evolution and Development journal editor-in-chief Rudy Raff told me each of his editors gets an allowance FOR an editorial assistant (he wouldn't say how much) but that the editors do not get paid nor do the anonymous referees. Raff says it's "traditional community service" -- but the public increasingly sees the practice as a gaming of the system. What is your response?
5. Does Wiley see a serious disconnect between its corporate board of directors who endorse the Wiley journal product and pass it on to the public -- but may not understand the science -- and the scientists who actually write the anonymously-reviewed journal articles for publication?"
Vera Hassner Sharav: The arrogance of Wiley is overwhelming. No Swanson wouldn't respond because to answer would put him and Wiley in jeopardy. Yet they have a public responsibility.
Suzan Mazur: Wiley's got on its board of directors the current CEO of Moody's and the former CFO of Dow Jones.
Vera Hassner Sharav: Elsevier is intertwined with pharmaceutical companies such as Merck and GlaxoSmithKline -- whose board includes James Murdoch and Elsevier's former CEO Sir Crispin Davis. The challenge is, the way the corruption can be halted is if under Obama health care reform, if the publicly-financed reimbursement uses its muscle to not reimburse for drugs where it has been shown in court that they were illegally marketed, that the hazards were concealed and the benefits were made up. Medicare -- Medicaid should not reimburse for them. If that would happen, things would change very fast. The whole system would be shaken. Cutting off the money is the only way to get out of it.
Suzan Mazur: What about the drugs being produced now that may be detrimental to our health? How do you stop that process? Are you in favor of revoking the Bayh-Dole Act.
Vera Hassner Sharav: Bayh-Dole is what started it by encouraging corporate-academic collaboration. By removing the firewall between academia and industry, academic ethics and the integrity of science gave way to corporate ethics -- which above all, seeks to maximize profit. Since academia is far too dependent on industry money, they won't police corrupt practices. Stopping reimbursement in health care for harmful drugs illegally marketed is the way to go. As government gets more involved, they'll have more leverage. When government Medicare - Medicaid stops paying for these drugs and it involves tens of millions of prescriptions, you will see change. Once you cut the profit margin, industry will have no interest. The cycle can't continue without government subsidy.

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