Some of the presentations from the British Society of Ecological Medicine's conference on March 11th 2011
Routine vaccinations – the science – Dr Jayne Donegan.
Dr Donegan trained at St Mary’s Hospital Medical School and, after a series of specializations, became a GP. When during the 1994 measles/rubella campaign, over seven million school children were vaccinated against measles, some for the third time, she began to question the universal childhood vaccination programme and to study the science behind vaccination.
In 2002 she was engage as an expert witness in the High Court by two mothers who refused to vaccinate their children. Her opinion that it was a reasonable choice not to vaccinate led her ‘fitness to practice’ to be questioned two years later by the General Medical Council. After three years of investigation her opinions and her research were entirely vindicated. As a result she is now the only doctor in the UK whose opinion on vaccination has been tested in extensive legal proceedings and has been proved to be sound ‘beyond reasonable doubt’.
How well does your GP understand the science?
Dr Donegan first questioned how good the average medical professional actually was at evaluating the scientific evidence put before them. And by asking what proportion of the treatments that they use are actually supported by good evidence.
Recent research suggests that, even in mainstream medicine, only 36% of interventions actually prove to be beneficial while the effectiveness of a further 48% is unknown – which would suggest that there is a serious disconnect between what doctors understand science to say and what it actually says.
‘Results’ and ‘conclusions’ may differ – widely…
Based on her researches, Dr Donegan suggested that the research described in the ‘methods’ and ‘results’ in any scientific paper often differed significantly from what was described in the ‘abstract’, the ‘discussion’ and the ‘conclusion’ in that same study. Researchers who write papers often have an agenda unrecognised by the reader of that paper – they need funding, they need to get the paper published – and while there may be little they can do to influence the results of a trial, it is easy enough to ‘spin’ an abstract or a conclusion. Yet it is the abstract and the conclusion that are most often read and studied.Dr Donegan then took the conferees through a study on the MMR vaccine, published in the journal Pediatrics by a well respected and conscientious investigator, highlighting a number of flaws which should alert the vigilant reader to the fact that, despite the credentials of its authors, its conclusions might be questionable. For example:
• The study was partially funded by Merck, a pharmaceutical company making the MMR vaccine.
• The whole study only lasted for 21 days after the vaccination so could cover no more than immediate reactions.
• There were no genuine, unvaccinated controls.
• In the study the vaccinated children had already had measles.
• The study specifically excluded gastrointestinal and respiratory symptoms – why?
• No details were given of the placebo used yet, on investigation, it proved to contain neomycin, phenol red and MSG all of which could have caused reactions independently of any active MMR component.
Vaccination research – points to note
In respect of vaccination research in general Dr Donegan pointed out that:
• There have no well designed safety studies.
Vaccination policy, she concluded, is based not on the science (of which there is very little) but on opinion.
Public deceit, abuse of power and flawed science; vaccination policy of Joint Committee on Vaccination an Immunisation (JCVI)
Dr Lucija Tomljenovic of the University of British Columbia has made a study of the JCVI’s and the Department of Health’s policies and actions over the last 30 years in pursuit of their vaccination programmes. As she provided an excellent overview of her paper, it appears below with occasional further notes which emerged during her talk, in the course of which she displayed numerous images of JCVI and DOH transcripts verifying her contentions.
No pharmaceutical drug is devoid of risks from adverse reactions and vaccines are no exception. Vaccination is a medical intervention and as such, it should be carried out with full consent of those who are being subjected to it, in case of children and infants, full consent should be given by the parents. Deliberately concealing information from parents for sole purpose of getting them to comply with an ‘official’ vaccination schedule could thus be considered as a form of ethical violation or misconduct. Official documents obtained from the UK Department of Health (DH) and the joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) reveal that the British health authorities have been engaging in such practices for the last 30 years, and are currently planning on doing so again, in order to protect the vaccine program.
During the talk I will present evidence that shows that the JCVI engaged in continuous efforts to withhold critical data on severe adverse reactions and contraindications to vaccinations from both parents and health practitioners in order to reach overall vaccination rates that they deemed were necessary for ‘herd immunity’, a concept that, incidentally, does not rest on any solid scientific evidence. This information is critical for understanding the government’s and the JCVI position on vaccine damage: one of persistent denial.
As a result of this vaccine policy, many children have been vaccinated without the facts having been disclosed to their parents about demonstrated serious risks of adverse reactions, of which the JCVI have been fully aware. By withholding this information, the JCVI neglected the right of individuals to make an informed choice concerning vaccination.
The transcripts of the JCVI meetings also shows that some of its members had extensive ties to pharmaceutical companies, and the JCVI itself frequently co-operated with manufacturers on strategies aimed at boosting vaccine uptake. Some minutes of the meeting at which such controversial items were discussed have either been moved from official JCVI website and not made available to the public, or modified due to their ‘commercial in confidence’ nature (CSM/JCVI/ARVI Minutes of the meeting held on 7 Feb 1986; 6 Jun 1986; 3 Oct 1986; 6 Feb 1987; 6 Jul 1987; 8t Mar 1988). These particularl meeting (the transcripts of which have been obtained thorough the Freedom of Information Act) reveal a clear and disturbing lack of transparency (names of JCVI participants are frequently blanked out). The transcript of JCVI meetings from the period from 1983 to 2010 reveal that
If you wish to contact Lucija Tomljenovic you can email her here.
The ‘Curious Case of the Post Vioxx Statin Trials’
Professor Michel de Lorgeril of the Faculté de Medicine de la Merci at the University of Grenoble’s discussion of the ‘Curious Case of the Post Vioxx Statin Trials’ proved as entertaining as it was enlightening.
Professor Lorgeril started by reminding his audience of the known, but often overlooked, fact that pharmaceutical companies make their money through the patents that they hold on their drugs. Once a patent runs out, so do their fees. However, drug patents are now running out fast and it is not easy, or cheap, to discover new drugs. Drug companies are, therefore, forced to make ever more desperate attempts to capitalise on the drugs on which they do still hold patents by exaggerating the benefit that the drug delivers and/or minimising its side effects.
But who are we to trust? Certainly not journals such as the ‘prestigious’ New England Journal of Medicine who are all too often linked in some way or other with the companies whose drug trials they review.
Even when the review is relatively independent, standard pharmacovigilance is very limited as it will only search for problems which it expects to find. So, in the case of a statin, if no connection with depression or cancer is known, then no links will be sought and no connections made.
Massaging the evidence
The Vioxx affair (Vioxx was a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug - NSAID – made by Merck which Merck knew to be associated with a 35% increased risk of heart attack or stroke for four years before they finally withdrew it from the market) caused a tightening of the regulations governing drug trials, but has not prevented bias.
Pre Vioxx, a drug company could undertake as many trials of a drug as it liked, but it was not required to publish them. So trials which demonstrated harm or minimal success rates could be quietly binned, while only those which showed significant benefit were published. Post Vioxx drug companies were required to publish the results of all trials undertaken. As a result, far fewer trials are now done – but those that are designed in such a way that they really cannot fail.
So, for example, 2008 trials for the statin Simvastin, only included very high risk patents with very high cholesterol levels that the statin was guaranteed to reduce. But, as a result of reducing their cholesterol levels did the participants suffer from fewer heart attacks and strokes? The answer was, no. The statins may have reduced the cholesterol but there was no difference in the number of deaths between those taking the drugs and the placebo group.
None the less, these trials were hailed as a success, and even though a drug which had not improved the end-point outcome for high risk patents was even less likely to do so for low risk patients, the widespread prescription for ‘preventative’ statins was stepped up.
One other statin trial, the Jupiter trial, illustrated an alternative way to massage the outcome. The trial, which did not include end-point data on fatal heart attach or stroke either, was stopped after only 1.9 years because ‘the results they were getting were so good that they wanted the placebo patients to benefit from the drug’. But stopping the trial half way through cannot give an accurate picture of the effect of the drugs as it is not fulfilling the trials’ design.
Other brief points which came up in Professor Lorgeril’s talk:
• So called herd immunity is only relevant to infectious diseases such as measles, not to non-infectious conditions such as tetanus – and its effectiveness depends on how infectious is the disease.
Christina England, adoptive mother of two special needs boys, described the horrifying misdiagnoses of Munchausen’s Syndrome by proxy (a condition in which a parent is deemed to invent the illness of a child in order to draw attention or sympathy to themselves) which had been made in her own case and in those of many other parents whose children suffered from multiple allergies, autistic spectrum disorders, vaccine damage and what was thought to be shaken baby syndrome. Although, after years of struggle, she kept custody of her own children, in many cases the individual child, and sometimes all the children in the family have been taken into care, destroying a family already torn apart by the child’s illness of disabilities.
Christina has co-authored a book with Dr Harold Buttram, 'Shaken Baby Syndrome or Vaccine Induced Encephalitis - Are Parents Being Falsely Accused?' which you can buy at www.sbswebinfo.com or directly from Christina (send £6 which include P&P to Suite 106, 94 London Road, Headington, Oxford OX3 9FN).
Global concerns about HPV Vaccinations
The HPV (human papilloma virus) vaccine is claimed to protect teenagers (girls from cervical cancer, boys from genital warts) but a rising tide of adverse reactions are now causing serious concern.
Freda Birrell, of Sanevax Scotland, and Lesley Carol Botha of Sanevax USA presented some of this data on the ‘Adverse Vaccine Events which have been reported in the US and which are thought to represent less than 10% of the actual incidence, since there is so little awareness among both the public and physicians of the adverse effects that the vaccines can have and the availability of a reporting system for adverse events.
These reports now stand at well over 21,000 of which over 20,000 are girls and include 93 deaths, 8,617 emergency room visits, 4,346 cases who have not recovered, 689 who have been disabled and 372 who have subsequently had an abnormal pap smear.
Meanwhile, enormous pressure is being put on families with teenage children to get them vaccinated even though there is no support for the treatment and many families are putting themselves under severe financial pressure to enable their children to complete the course.
• Hormonal contraceptives are now being linked with an increased incidence of the HPV virus but there has been no research done on how the vaccine reacts with contraceptive pills.
After reading these presentations below you might wish to watch or read this interview with Bill Gates whose foundation has pledged $10 billion to provide vaccinations to children around the world within a decade...
You can find the full proceedings of the conference in our conference reports.
Click here for more information on the British Society for Ecological Medicine
First published in March 2011