7/15/2010

Age of Autism: Reporting Like its 2008 UPDATED

Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill are right on top of the science in their reporting of a brand new monkey study showing that monkey brains on vaccines look like autism brains! Except it's not a brand new study. And Wakefield's name may have been taken off of it, but when it was first presented in May 2008, his name was on it. Oh yeah, and it's a sample of 13 monkeys with a control of 3.

What is it exactly with the AoAers that samples of 12 and 13 are absolutely the hard hitting science they'll buy, but huge studies with thousands and hundreds of thousands of PEOPLE are bad science? Okay, I know confirmation and disconfirmation biases are a large part of it, but still? It's really amazing how they all don't even read the studies, they go off of what people say at AoA and it's good enough for them.

The presentation of this Wakefield study is provided by a Heather over at Science-Based Medicine. I'm copying and pasting it here (I figure she copied and pasted, so why not?):

Pediatric Vaccines Influence Primate Behavior, and Amygdala Growth and Opioid Ligand Binding
Friday, May 16, 2008: 5:30 PM
Avize-Morangis (Novotel London West)
L. Hewitson , Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
B. Lopresti , Radiology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
C. Stott , Thoughtful House Center for Children, Austin, TX
J. Tomko , Pittsburgh Development Center, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
L. Houser , Pittsburgh Development Center, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
E. Klein , Division of Laboratory Animal Resources, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
C. Castro , Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
G. Sackett , Psychology, Washington National Primate Research Center, Seattle, WA
S. Gupta , Medicine, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, University of California – Irvine, Irvine, CA
D. Atwood , Chemistry, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
L. Blue , Chemistry, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
E. R. White , Chemistry, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
A. Wakefield , Thoughtful House Center for Children, Austin, TX
Background: Macaques are commonly used in pre-clinical vaccine safety testing, but the combined childhood vaccine regimen, rather than individual vaccines, has not been studied. Childhood vaccines are a possible causal factor in autism, and abnormal behaviors and anomalous amygdala growth are potentially inter-related features of this condition.
Objectives: The objective of this study was to compare early infant cognition and behavior with amygdala size and opioid binding in rhesus macaques receiving the recommended childhood vaccines (1994-1999), the majority of which contained the bactericidal preservative ethylmercurithiosalicylic acid (thimerosal).
Methods: Macaques were administered the recommended infant vaccines, adjusted for age and thimerosal dose (exposed; N=13), or saline (unexposed; N=3). Primate development, cognition and social behavior were assessed for both vaccinated and unvaccinated infants using standardized tests developed at the Washington National Primate Research Center. Amygdala growth and binding were measured serially by MRI and by the binding of the non-selective opioid antagonist [11C]diprenorphine, measured by PET, respectively, before (T1) and after (T2) the administration of the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (MMR).
Results: Compared with unexposed animals, significant neurodevelopmental deficits were evident for exposed animals in survival reflexes, tests of color discrimination and reversal, and learning sets. Differences in behaviors were observed between exposed and unexposed animals and within the exposed group before and after MMR vaccination. Compared with unexposed animals, exposed animals showed attenuation of amygdala growth and differences in the amygdala binding of [11C]diprenorphine. Interaction models identified significant associations between specific aberrant social and non-social behaviors, isotope binding, and vaccine exposure.
Conclusions: This animal model, which examines for the first time, behavioral, functional, and neuromorphometric consequences of the childhood vaccine regimen, mimics certain neurological abnormalities of autism. The findings raise important safety issues while providing a potential model for examining aspects of causation and disease pathogenesis in acquired disorders of behavior and development.
Pediatric Vaccines Influence Primate Behavior, and Brain Stem Volume and Opioid Ligand Binding
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Champagne Terrace/Bordeaux (Novotel London West)
A. Wakefield , Thoughtful House Center for Children, Austin, TX
C. Stott , Thoughtful House Center for Children, Austin, TX
B. Lopresti , Radiology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
J. Tomko , Pittsburgh Development Center, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
L. Houser , Pittsburgh Development Center, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
G. Sackett , Psychology, Washington National Primate Research Center, Seattle, WA
L. Hewitson , Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
Background:
Abnormal brainstem structure and function have been reported in children with autism. Opioid receptors play key roles in neuro-ontogeny, are present in brainstem nuclei, and may influence aspects of autism. Childhood vaccines are a possible causal factor in autism and while primates are used in pre-clinical vaccine safety testing, the recommended infant regimen (1994-1999) has not been tested.
Objectives:
The objective of this study was to compare brain stem volume and opioid binding in rhesus infants receiving the recommended infant vaccine regimen.
Methods:
Rhesus macaques were administered vaccines adjusted for age and thimerosal dose (exposed; N=13), or placebo (unexposed; N=3) from birth onwards. Brainstem volume was measured by quantitative MRI, and binding of the non-selective opioid antagonist [11C]diprenorphine (DPN) was measured by PET, at 2 (T1) and 4 (T2) months of age. Neonatal reflexes and sensorimotor responses were measured in standardized tests for 30 days.
Results:
Kaplan-Meier survival analyses revealed significant differences between exposed and unexposed animals, with delayed acquisition of root, suck, clasp hand, and clasp foot reflexes. Interaction models examined possible relationships between time-to-acquisition of reflexes, exposure, [3C]DPN binding, and volume. Statistically significant interactions between exposure and time-to–acquisition of reflex on overall levels of binding at T1 and T2 were observed for all 18 reflexes. For all but one (snout), this involved a mean increase in time-to-acquisition of the reflex for exposed animals. In each model there was also a significant interaction between exposure and MRI volume on overall binding.
Conclusions:
This animal model examines the neurological consequences of the childhood vaccine regimen. Functional and neuromorphometric brainstem anomalies were evident in vaccinated animals that may be relevant to some aspects of autism. The findings raise important safety issues while providing a potential animal model for examining aspects of causation and disease pathogenesis in acquired neurodevelopmental disorders.
Microarray Analysis of GI Tissue in a Macaque Model of the Effects of Infant Vaccination
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Champagne Terrace/Bordeaux (Novotel London West)
S. J. Walker , Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Wake Forest University Health Sciences, Winston-Salem, NC
E. K. Lobenhofer , Cogenics, a Division of Clinical Data
E. Klein , Division of Laboratory Animal Resources, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
A. Wakefield , Thoughtful House Center for Children, Austin, TX
L. Hewitson , Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
Background: There has been considerable debate regarding the question of an interaction between childhood vaccinations and adverse sequelae in the gastrointestinal tract, immune system, and central nervous system of some recipients. These systems, either singly or in combination, appear to be adversely affected in many ASD children. Although pre-clinical tests of individual vaccines routinely find the risk/benefit ratio to be low, previously there has not been a study to examine the effects of the comprehensive vaccination regime currently in use for infants.
Objectives: This study was designed to evaluate potential alterations in normal growth and development resulting from the vaccine regimen that was in use from 1994-1999. Specifically, this portion of the study was to compare the gene expression profiles obtained from gastrointestinal tissue from vaccinated and unvaccinated infants.
Methods: Infant male macaques were vaccinated (or given saline placebo) using the human vaccination schedule. Dosages and times of administration were adjusted for differences between macaques and humans. Biopsy tissue was collected from the animals at three time points: (1) 10 weeks [pre-MMR1], (2) 14 weeks [post-MMR1] and, (3) 12-15 months [at necropsy]. Whole genome microarray analysis was performed on RNA extracted from the GI tissue from 7 vaccinated and 2 unvaccinated animals at each of these 3 time points (27 samples total).
Results: Histopathological examination revealed that vaccinated animals exhibited progressively severe chronic active inflammation, whereas unexposed animals did not. Gene expression comparisons between the groups (vaccinated versus unvaccinated) revealed only 120 genes differentially expressed (fc >1.5; log ratio p<0.001) at 10 weeks, whereas there were 450 genes differentially expressed at 14 weeks, and 324 differentially expressed genes between the 2 groups at necropsy.
Conclusions: We have found many significant differences in the GI tissue gene expression profiles between vaccinated and unvaccinated animals. These differences will be presented and discussed.

David Gorski already dissected this stuff, way back in May 2008.  It's not new. What's interesting is that Wakefield's name was ditched. What's interesting is that Olmsted and Blaxill undoubtedly knew it wasn't new but packaged it that way.

Addendum:

And as Emily points out in the comments, she wrote about it nearly two years ago, as well.  Hmmm. I wonder what could be causing collective amnesia on the part of the AoAers? Did they cover it? It was in a newsletter from Thoughtful House around that time, too.

Full published article is here. (thanks Sullivan)

Safeminds 2008 abstract is here. (thanks Emily)

And lookie lookie: Age of Autism covered this NEW study back in 2008!

And the comments are about the same. I guess there's collective amnesia going on over there:


Absolutely extraordinary and stunning research - great job Andy and colleagues!!!
Posted by: Theresa Cedillo | May 17, 2008 at 09:15 AM

7 comments:

kathleen said...

The song remains the same...I guess that by taking the discredited Wakefield off-it now makes it credible? Whats in a name? A study by any other name still smells like..well-I'll let you fill in the rest.

Emily said...

Why, I guess they oughta hire me b/c I blogged this one on July 16, 2008. Almost exactly two years ago.

http://daisymayfattypants.blogspot.com/2008/07/autism-no-rats-will-be-harmed-but-keep.html

Sullivan said...

Thanks for this.

It is a "new" study in a way.

First, there's been a major exodus of authors since 2008.

Second, there's been some data misplaced. There were 3 control monkeys in the abstract, there are 2 now. There were 13 vaccinated in 2008, there are 9 now.

But, here's where it gets really strange--

In 2008 they claimed that the amygdala growth was "attenuated" in the vaccinated monkeys.

Now the amygdalas are growing faster in the vaccinated monkeys.

kathleen said...

Do you think Cedillo will take "Andy and" out of her original comment and repost it? :)

Mom26children said...

Desperate measures call for Desperate actions....
These guys are sinking ships...

David said...

I’m wrapping up a response to this study. My major conclusion: Hewitson was only willing to claim “statistically significant” shrinking in the LEFT amygdala, which could be explained by NORMAL asymmetry in the brain. As for the horror show MRI images, I think a sufficient explanation is that they simply cross-sectioned a lower part of the unexposed brain where development was particularly lopsided.

spectrum times said...

Hi Kim,keep up the great work on this blog,I support you! :D you expose the darkness to the light!