We now welcome our second panel to the witness table. This panel consists of: Dr. Andrew Wakefield, who came all the way from merry old England, and we appreciate him being here; Professor John O'Leary, whom I am sure you will notice after he starts talking is from Ireland; Dr. Vijendra Singh, I appreciate you being here; Dr. Coleen Boyle, Dr. Paul Offit, and Dr. Brent Taylor. Would you all please rise and be sworn? [Witnesses sworn.] Mr. Burton. Please have a seat. Dr. Wakefield, would you like to start this panel? STATEMENTS OF DR. ANDREW WAKEFIELD, ROYAL FREE AND UNIVERSITY COLLEGE MEDICAL SCHOOL, LONDON, ENGLAND; DR. JOHN O'LEARY, COOMBE WOMEN'S HOSPITAL, DUBLIN, IRELAND; VIJENDRA K. SINGH, UTAH STATE UNIVERSITY; COLEEN A. BOYLE, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, ACCOMPANIED BY DR. BEN SCHWARTZ, ACTING DIRECTOR, EPIDEMIOLOGY AND SURVEILLANCE DIVISION, CDC; DR. PAUL A. OFFIT, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA SCHOOL OF MEDICINE; AND DR. BRENT TAYLOR, ROYAL FREE AND UNIVERSITY COLLEGE MEDICAL SCHOOL, LONDON, ENGLAND Dr. Wakefield. Yes, thank you, Mr. Chairman, members of the committee. It is a great privilege to be here. The purpose of my testimony is to report the results of the clinical and scientific investigation of a series of children with autism. Nothing in this testimony should be construed as anti-vaccine; rather, I advocate the safest vaccination strategies for the protection of children and the control of communicable disease. I am also here on my behalf representing the children who have come to me for investigation. I would like you to look at the screen if you would, please, and I will take you through the presentation. Next slide, please. Just as a little bit of background, this represents 12 years of intensive clinical and scientific research, collaborative research, into the causes and mechanisms of bowel inflammation. I am a gastroenterologist. The principal authors of this work have contributed to over 1,500 peer-reviewed and published scientific papers and abstracts. Again, these represent my views. Next slide, please. I want to report the results today from the first 60 children that we have investigated. We have now investigated over 150 children, and the results that I am going to describe are pertinent to all those children bar about four. As far as the range of psychiatric assessments, the great majority had autism, but there was a spectrum of neuropsychiatric problems including Asperger's Syndrome and Attention Deficit Disorder. By far and away the most important investigation has been direct visualization of the bowel and taking biopsies by the procedure of ileocolonoscopy. This is a flexible instrument introduced into the bottom end to take a biopsy. Next slide, please. What you have heard this morning is a classical description of two different types of autism from the parents. You have heard about the children that we have seen, those who have gone off after a period of normal development, many of them in the face of multiple vaccine exposures with severe gastrointestinal symptoms. The other type, described very articulately, was of an insidious failure to acquire skills at an extremely important point. The essence of what I am going to present today is based upon conventional clinical medicine. It is listening to the patient. Here is a child who was entirely normal for the first year of life and went off a week after receiving his MMR vaccine. He is exactly as the four children were described earlier. Next slide, please. The classical features in these children are pain--there is a radiograph here of the abdomen, and there is fecal impaction. When these children came to us, the feature was of diarrhea, but in fact this turned out to be what we call spurious or overflow diarrhea. There was soiling, loss of contents, fastidious eating habits, reflux and nighttime wakening. They get heartburn, and they wake up very distressed. These symptoms are the same wherever you go. If I listen to parents from Canada, from the States, from Europe, and from Australia, the story is the same. Next slide, please. The associated features that we have in these children are of atopy--asthma, eczema, and hay fever. There are refractory upper respiratory tract infections. They do not deal well with common childhood infections, colds, and there is a very high level of autoimmune disease in the family--thyroid disease, diabetes, for example. Next slide, please. This is the insider's view of the small intestine. The panel on the top left is of what it should look like in a child. The bottom left of is lymphoid nodular hyperplasia. There is a swelling of the lymph glands in the bowel. These are rather like tonsils, and when they swell, they cause pain and symptoms. Mr. Waxman asked about the reproducibility. He is absolutely right. Up on the top right-hand panel, you see a child who was scoped in the United States with exactly the same symptoms. So this is reproducible in two different continents. We have compared it with controls, and the graph on the bottom right shows that even children who come to us with gastrointestinal symptoms who are scoped, the finding of lymphoid nodular hyperplasia is relatively uncommon. In the bar on the left, 85 percent of them show no evidence of it, but virtually all of our autistic children show evidence of lymphoid hyperplasia, either mild, moderate, or severe. Next slide, please. There are histological changes under microscopy which show there is a definite disease. The top left-hand panel is normal; the bottom right-hand panel, for example, shows what is called a crypt abscess, that is, puss in the bowel wall, and this is a feature that we see in children and adults with ulcerative colitis. There is a clear and demonstrable, albeit subtle, pathology. Next slide, please. A further paper that is due to be published soon has taken this to one further level and asked is this disease distinct from classical inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn's and colitis, or is it something new. And the data, at least, so far, suggest that it is something new. Next slide, please. We have described this feature in the gut, lymphoid hyperplasia, and colitis in children with autism. From this same city, from Georgetown University, Professor Joe Bellanti has described it in children with attention deficit disorder, coming back to the question, is this a spectrum of disorders which have at their heart some gastrointestinal abnormality. Next slide, please. Lymphoid nodular hyperplasia classically occurs in the presence of immunodeficiency. We do see it during acute infection, but it is classically associated with immunodeficiency. Are our children immunodeficient? As a group, the answer is yes, they are. This graph just shows you a particular count of a certain type of immune cell in the blood. The green line is the upper limit for normal, the red line is the lower limit for normal, and each blue dot represents a child. You can see that the great majority sit at or below the lower limit of normal. Not only are they numerically deficient, their immune system does not respond appropriately to common recall antigens when compared with normal age-matched children. In other words, if you give them a skin-prick test for pertussis or diphtheria, they mount no response. Next slide, please. So the key features of the syndrome are developmental regression, ileocolonic lymphoid hyperplasia, swelling of these tonsil tissues, enterocolitis--that means inflammation of the small and large intestines--and immunodeficiency. Next slide, please. So it is a real syndrome, there is a remarkably consistent pattern of bowel inflammation, and it provides us with vital clues. What are those clues? Next slide, please. The story as told to us and which we have an obligation to report is that the majority of children regressed following a period of normal development in the face of MMR vaccination. That does not mean it is the cause of the disease. We also had two children who regressed after classical measles infection--one after the monovalent measles vaccine and one after a rare vasculitic rash. Thirty-six percent of parents could contemporaneously identify no particular environmental hit. Next slide, please. Have measles and common childhood infections been linked to autism before? Is there a reason to go into this and look at it? The answer is yes, there is. There is a paper that came from the Harvard School of Public Health, and it showed that atypical patterns of exposure to common childhood infections-- measles, mumps, chicken pox, rubella--were a risk for autism in the child. By ``atypical,'' I mean maternal exposure when pregnant or neonatal exposure. What was intriguing about this, which we may come to later, is that if you were a pregnant mother who was exposed to more than one of these common infections at the same time, or indeed, an infant child, then your risk of autism was both greater, and the severity of the autism was greater. Question: Was there a compound effect of more than one infection? It has also been shown that children born in and around epidemics of measles and rubella have higher rates of this disease. Next slide, please. What about vaccines? There is a paper from the Vaccine Damage Compensation Board in the United States--acute encephalopathy followed by permanent brain injury or death associated with further attenuated measles vaccine. What was intriguing in this cohort of children who fulfilled rather strict criteria was that 43 out of 48 underwent developmental regression as part of their syndrome. So we have this other pattern of exposure to measles as the further attenuated vaccine children undergoing developmental regression. Next slide, please. To summarize, unusual patterns of exposure to common childhood infections are associated with autism and developmental regression. Next slide, please. Here is the clue. This is the important image, and here, you see the insider's view again--these swollen tonsilar tissues. If you are looking for an infection, this is where you should be looking. Next slide, please. When you look down the microscope, this is what that swollen tonsil tissue looks like, and you are looking in the center of that for the infection. This is a response to a foreign agent, a foreign antigen, usually an infection. So if you are looking for the cause of that, that is where you are looking. Next slide, please. This is a very high-powered micrograph of a single cell called a follicular dendritic cell, and this is crucial, because if you are looking for the source of that infection, not only are you looking in that lymphoid follicle, not only in the center of the lymphoid follicle, but in this specific cell. Next slide, please. When we look in that specific cell using an antibody which picks up measles protein and only measles protein, we find it in that cell. We do not find it in other cells or other tissue, we find it in that cell. Next slide, please. You look for other viruses. You ask the question: Is this just a nonspecific response? Do we find other viruses in there? So you look for adenovirus, herpes simplex I and II, rubella, mumps, HIV, and other crucial controls that Mr. Waxman referred to early, and you do not find them. They are not there. So at least within the context of this study, this appears to be specific for measles virus. Next slide, please. The next question: Is there an antibody; is there an immune response to the virus in these children? The mere presence does not make it the cause. Is there an immune response? We take the autistic children, and we compare them with age-matched controls, and we look at measles antibody titers. We also look at controls of mumps, rubella, and cytomegalur virus, or other common childhood infections. The only one for which there is a statistically significant difference between the cases and the controls is for the measles virus. Next slide, please. We had failed completely to identify this virus by molecular amplification technology. In my laboratory, we had a reaction that was sensitive to about 10,000 copies. Anything less, we could not find it. The Japanese had succeeded, so we sent nine blood samples from our children to the Japanese laboratory, and we also sent 21 other patients. We mixed them up. We did not tell them what they were getting. They just had a control label. And they identified measles virus in three of those nine children in the peripheral blood. That is an intriguing finding. This is consistent with; but not definitely, vaccine strain. One can only say that this is consistent with, but there it is, and this was a blinded control study. Next slide, please. Very briefly, to finish up, what is the link between the gut and the brain? This is one of the most difficult things for people to understand. How can the gut influence the brain? I come from a liver unit where we see patients with chronic liver failure, acute liver failure, all the time, and one of the classical manifestations of that--next slide, please--is hepatic encephalopathy. This is where the liver is damaged, is diseased, and fails to degrade the chemical constituents of the bowel that come through. It fails to mop them up and clear them out; they impact upon the brain. This is largely reversible. If you are hit with these for long enough, it becomes irreversible. The question is, therefore--at least we have biologically a plausible hypothesis, a testable hypothesis that elements from the gut, undegraded chemicals from the gut, including the opiods that were referred to by Shelley Reynolds, may be getting through, may not be metabolized, may be impacting upon the rapidly developing brain during the first few years of life and producing residual cognitive deficit, which we recognize as autism. Next slide, please. So finally, in summary, we have an environmental insult in perhaps a genetically susceptible child. The problem is that if you go to Sweden now, autism affects over 1.2 percent of the pediatric population. So if there is a genetic background, it is clearly widely distributed within the population. We believe that in many children, clearly, the subset of autistics, it leads to gut infection and damage; that leads to an ingress, an impaired metabolism, degradation of these chemicals from the gut which then get through and impact upon the brain. And the disregulated immune system which measles classically can produce also encourages immune diseases, atopic diseases, and immuno disregulation. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Burton. Thank you, Doctor.
Autistic people have fought the inclusion of ABA in therapy for us since before Autism Speaks, and other non-Autistic-led autism organizations, started lobbying legislation to get it covered by insurances and Medicaid.
ABA is a myth originally sold to parents that it would keep their Autistic child out of an institution. Today, parents are told that with early intervention therapy their child will either be less Autistic or no longer Autistic by elementary school, and can be mainstreamed in typical education classes. ABA is very expensive to pay out of pocket. Essentially, Autism Speaks has justified the big price tag up front will offset the overall burden on resources for an Autistic’s lifetime. The recommendation for this therapy is 40 hours a week for children and toddlers.
The original study that showed the success rate of ABA to be at 50% has never been replicated. In fact, the study of ABA by United States Department of Defense was denounced as a failure. Not just once, but multiple times. Simply stated: ABA doesn’t work. In study after repeated study: ABA (conversion therapy) doesn’t work.
What more recent studies do show: Autistics who experienced ABA therapy are at high risk to develop PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions. Historically, the autism organizations promoting ABA as a cure or solution have silenced Autistic advocates’ opposition. ABA is also known as gay conversion therapy.
The ‘cure’ for Autistics not born yet is the prevention of birth.
The ‘cure’ is a choice to terminate a pregnancy based on ‘autism risk.’ The cure is abortion. This is the same ‘cure’ society has for Down Syndrome.
This is eugenics 2021. Instead of killing Autistics and disabled children in gas chambers or ‘mercy killings’ like in Aktion T4, it’ll happen at the doctor’s office, quietly, one Autistic baby at a time. Different approaches yes, but still eugenics and the extinction of an entire minority group of people.
Fact: You can’t cure Autistics from being Autistic.
Fact: You can’t recover an Autistic from being Autistic.
Fact: You can groom an Autistic to mask and hide their traits. Somewhat. … however, this comes at the expense of the Autistic child, promotes Autistic Burnout (this should not be confused with typical burnout, Autistic Burnout can kill Autistics), and places the Autistic child at high risk for PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions.
[Note: Autism is NOT a disease, but a neurodevelopmental difference and disability.]
Fact: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism.