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Katie Wright on CNN's Dr. Gupta Autism MMR Story

Posted Jan 07 2011 12:00am

Off-target By Katie Wright

I remember when the Poling verdict was released Dr. Sanjay Gupta was on CNN discussing the ruling. He appeared completely shocked. More importantly Gupta had actually read the judgment and seemed astonished by the content. Like most doctors he had not believed that over vaccination could ever result in a regression into autism. The Polings case put the reality of vaccine-induced autism into stark relief. Gupta could not find fault with the ruling and acknowledged that Hannah’s father was a neurologist, obviously someone who grasped the complexities of the situation.

I have seen that look so many times. It is a plaintive and sad expression. It happens when someone actually reads the studies and says to themselves, “What? The Danish Serum Institut only counted the out patient ASD population in the prevalence pre test but then counted the out and in patient population (which is significant in DK) in the post test yet did not acknowledge that in there discussion and summary.

The Serum Institut really wanted to bump up those numbers as if to say, “look autism is rising as fast in DK as in the US - and after we made our vaccines safer so that cannot be a factor!” They also wanted to provide fertile ground for the massive American funded ASD epidemiology studies of Danish autism. The American autism epidemic has been a tremendous financial boon for the Danish Serum Institut, the University of Aarhus and assorted thieves within the scientific community (I am not merely casting aspersions here, Dr. Poul Thorsen really did steal our research money for personal spending sprees, check it out online). The rate of ASD in DK is nowhere near as high as in the US. And most interestingly the vast majority of ASD Danes are relatively HF/ Asperger’s. They have a minimal problem with regression and/or medically affected/ induced autism. When my mother in law talks to fellow Danish parents and grandparents about her grandson’s autism they look at her in disbelief. They have no idea what she is talking about. Most Danish autistic kids were “different” from birth, nearly all verbal and no ASD child she knows has these weird GI symptoms.

My mother in law, a proud Dane, was horrified at the malfeasance within University of Aarhus, where she was once a student. It was impossible for her to make sense of the situation and the only conclusion she could make shocked and saddened her: they cooked the books and stole money.

Dr. Gupta appeared to have the same reckoning after the Polings decision. He was so obviously uncomfortable on camera and said that the medical community needed to start listening more to parents like the Polings rather than demonize them.

Last night CNN’s AC 360 featured Dr. Gupta, Andrew Wakefield, the author of a Paul Offit style book and an uncharacteristically rude Anderson Cooper. Anderson’s snappish and angry demeanor brought to mind Bill O’Reilly or that crazy “Mad Dog” guy on CNBC. Do yourself a favor Anderson, take it down a notch a notch. Try allowing your guests to respond to your question and then actually listen to the response while maintaining your composure. Cooper was highly agitated. Meanwhile I was at home, awake at 10:30 PM with my exhausted but unable to sleep severely autistic 9 yr. Christian had had an all day ivig procedure to help repair his destroyed immune system. Yet there is Anderson Cooper colossally worked up, taking this autism discussion ultra personally. Totally bizarre.

I barely understood the interview because Cooper’s interruptions were so constant. It is a shame because that is the only interview Wakefield is doing; it would have been nice to hear him complete a sentence.  Anderson Cooper is generally a great journalist, I enjoy his shows, but the producers really dropped the ball last night.

Cooper’s behavior was boorish, his questions crazy: “You have been given so many opportunities to replicate your work but you have refused!” Who, what, when, how? Did I miss something? Has Andy Wakefield been inundated with grant money to continue his research? Ha, very funny! Secondly the regressive autism/ GI findings HAVE been replicated by Krigsman and Gonzalez. Why didn’t these producers talk to any of those scientists or any of Wakefield’s patients? Isn’t what this is all about?

More embarrassing questions followed, “why and how did you diagnose these children with autism?” Wakefield responded that he did not diagnose any of the children; they were all referred to his practice by other doctors. Cooper: “you said that you found evidence of the MMR virus when you looked at the autistic children’s biopsies!” Again, Wakefield responded that expert pathologists had been brought into make the diagnoses, not him. The study had also been blinded. None of the doctors even knew they were examining biopsies from autistic children. Then the mea culpa question “are you responsible for the deaths of dozens of children from vaccine preventable illnesses!!!!” Anderson Cooper, that’s really sad, you are better than that.

Wakefield has never, ever, ever urged parents not to vaccinate. If you don’t believe me find the quote.  Cooper went on and on about Wakefield’s clearly evil plan to respond to huge parental demand for safer and separate MMR shots and how that would cause certain catastrophe…How dare parents have that choice! Such a choice obviously endangers the United States of America and everything we stand for….Really the average viewer would come away from that AC 360 show believing autism was no big deal at all, possibly a hoax foisted on the medical community by parents “latching on something to blame” for their kids’ problems. The REAL problem is the measles and woefully misinformed, crazy parents who want a safer vaccine schedule- not autism.

Anderson Cooper did not ask one question about the fact  70% of ASD children have GI problems. Cooper did not ask why so many ASD parents want their autistic child scoped. In short or children had no voice on the panel.

While Cooper came across as smug and over confident, Sanjay Gupta looked he would rather be anywhere else than on that show. When Wakefield answered his questions, Gupta clearly was stumped; Wakefield’s answers appeared to make sense to Gupta- no follow up questions at all. While Cooper got increasingly worked up over the course of the interview Gupta grew quieter. He appeared loathe to make any pronouncements, repeating old talking points like autism is really rising and until we know why parents do not feel they can trust health officials. While Cooper went on and on about some weird conspiracy that we are supposedly engaged in Gupta looked like he wanted to press an eject button on his seat. Discomfort and unease were all over his face and in his body language. I would guess he was afraid of saying something that would come back to haunt him. Cooper isn’t a doctor, he makes a mistake, so what- but Gupka would look very foolish. I think Gupta knows more than he wishes he did.

By the next evening Gupta had been schooled by the CDC/ Paul Offit p.r. machine, or better yet his peers. Never, ever, under-estimate the desire of those in the media to be loved and accepted. Gupta appeared to swallow his ethical and scientific concerns and allowed Paul Offit to insinuate on his evening news story that Andy Wakefield killed/ is responsible for killing/ caused the deaths of a number of children. Sanjay Gupta should be ashamed of himself, he knows better.

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