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Wed Mar 7, 2012, 12:54 PM

Professor John Walker Smith Exonerated in Autism MMR Case


MMR doctor wins High Court appeal

Press Association, Tuesday March 6 2012

Professor John Walker-Smith appealed against the General Medical Council's (GMC) determination that he was guilty of serious professional misconduct. His fight for his reputation was supported by the parents of many children with autism and bowel disease seen by him at the Royal Free Hospital, north London, up to his retirement in 2001.

Mr Justice Mitting, sitting at London's High Court, ruled the GMC decision "cannot stand". He quashed the finding of professional misconduct and the striking-off.

Calling for changes in the way GMC fitness to practise panel hearings are conducted in the future, the judge said of the flawed handling of Prof Walker-Smith's case: "It would be a misfortune if this were to happen again."


In a written ruling, the judge made it clear the judgment was the end of the case, and the GMC did not intend to appeal.

Link above and complete backstory available at http://www.ageofautism.com/ .

Read the Full UK Court Decision in John Walker Smith MMR Autism Appeal: http://www.ageofautism.com/2012/03/read-the-full-uk-court-decision-in-john-walker-smith-mmr-autism-appeal.html

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Arrow 19 replies Author Time Post
Reply Professor John Walker Smith Exonerated in Autism MMR Case (Original post)
proverbialwisdom Mar 2012 OP
SidDithers Mar 2012 #1
proverbialwisdom Mar 2012 #3
SidDithers Mar 2012 #4
proverbialwisdom Mar 2012 #6
Spider Jerusalem Mar 2012 #7
proverbialwisdom Mar 2012 #13
TheWraith Mar 2012 #14
proverbialwisdom Mar 2012 #16
proverbialwisdom Mar 2012 #2
hobbit709 Mar 2012 #5
proverbialwisdom Mar 2012 #8
hobbit709 Mar 2012 #9
SidDithers Mar 2012 #10
hobbit709 Mar 2012 #11
Odin2005 Mar 2012 #12
proverbialwisdom Mar 2012 #15
Odin2005 Mar 2012 #17
proverbialwisdom Mar 2012 #18
Odin2005 Mar 2012 #19

Response to proverbialwisdom (Original post)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 12:56 PM

1. Age Of Autism...

no thanks.


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Response to SidDithers (Reply #1)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 01:05 PM

3. The Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/feedarticle/10131156

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Response to proverbialwisdom (Reply #3)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 01:09 PM

4. Sorry, you showed your true colours by including Age of Autism in your OP...

can't put that toothpaste back in the tube.


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Response to SidDithers (Reply #4)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 01:55 PM

6. This thread would help you better assess AoA: http://www.democraticunderground.com/101617208

Scan it. You will not find a single factual error.

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Response to proverbialwisdom (Reply #6)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 02:11 PM

7. I find several factual errors.

JB Handley is a crank who is not qualified to offer an informed opinion on the subject. And on the rational side of the coin:

Autism-vaccine link disproved again
The latest research invalidates any connection between the ethylmercury-containing preservative thimerosal and ASD in vaccinated children.

By Carolyne Krupa, amednews staff. Posted Oct. 1, 2010.

There is no increased risk of autism spectrum disorder for infants exposed to ethylmercury from vaccines and immunoglobulin preparations containing the preservative thimerosal, according to a new study.

Researchers analyzed medical data on 1,008 children from three managed care organizations (256 with ASD and 752 without the disorder). They looked at prenatal and infant exposure to thimerosal.

"The study results indicated that exposure to thimerosal-containing vaccines, including during pregnancy, is not associated with developing ASD or specific ASD subtypes," said Frank DeStefano, MD, MPH, one of the study's authors and director of the Immunization Safety Office at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study in the October issue of Pediatrics is the latest to disprove the autism-thimerosal link (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20837594).

Vaccines do not cause autism. That was the ruling in each of three critical test cases handed down on February 12 by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C. After a decade of speculation, argument, and analysis—often filled with vitriol on both sides—the court specifically denied any link between the combination of the MMR vaccine and vaccines with thimerosal (a mercury-based preservative) and the spectrum of disorders associated with autism. But these rulings, though seemingly definitive, have done little to quell the angry debate, which has severe implications for American public health.

The idea that there is something wrong with our vaccines—that they have poisoned a generation of kids, driving an “epidemic” of autism—continues to be everywhere: on cable news, in celebrity magazines, on blogs, and in health news stories. It has had a particularly strong life on the Internet, including the heavily trafficked Huffington Post, and in pop culture, where it is supported by actors including Charlie Sheen and Jim Carrey, former Playboy playmate Jenny McCarthy, and numerous others. Despite repeated rejection by the scientific community, it has spawned a movement, led to thousands of legal claims, and even triggered occasional harassment and threats against scientists whose research appears to discredit it.

You can see where the emotion and sentiment come from. Autism can be a terrible condition, devastating to families. It can leave parents not only aggrieved but desperate to find any cure, any salvation. Medical services and behavioral therapy for severely autistic children can cost more than $100,000 a year, and these children often exhibit extremely difficult behavior. Moreover, the incidence of autism is apparently rising rapidly. Today one in every 150 children has been diagnosed on the autism spectrum; 20 years ago that statistic was one in 10,000. “Put yourself in the shoes of these parents,” says journalist David Kirby, whose best-selling 2005 book, Evidence of Harm, dramatized the vaccine-autism movement. “They have perfectly normal kids who are walking and happy and everything—and then they regress.” The irony is that vaccine skepticism—not the vaccines themselves—is now looking like the true public-health threat.


Autism and measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine: no epidemiological evidence for a causal association
Prof Brent Taylor FRCPCH a Corresponding Author, Elizabeth Miller FRCPath b, CPaddy Farrington PhD c, Maria-Christina Petropoulos MRCP a, Isabelle Favot-Mayaud MD a, Jun Li PhD a, Pauline A Waight BSc b
We undertook an epidemiological study to investigate whether measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine may be causally associated with autism.
Children with autism born since 1979 were identified from special needs/disability registers and special schools in eight North Thames health districts, UK. Information from clinical records was linked to immunisation data held on the child health computing system. We looked for evidence of a change in trend in incidence or age at diagnosis associated with the introduction of MMR vaccination to the UK in 1988. Clustering of onsets within defined postvaccination periods was investigated by the case-series method.
We identified 498 cases of autism (261 of core autism, 166 of atypical autism, and 71 of Asperger's syndrome). In 293 cases the diagnosis could be confirmed by the criteria of the International Classification of Diseases, tenth revision (ICD10: 214 [82%] core autism, 52 [31%] atypical autism, 27 [38%] Asperger's syndrome). There was a steady increase in cases by year of birth with no sudden “step-up” or change in the trend line after the introduction of MMR vaccination. There was no difference in age at diagnosis between the cases vaccinated before or after 18 months of age and those never vaccinated. There was no temporal association between onset of autism within 1 or 2 years after vaccination with MMR (relative incidence compared with control period 0·94 [95% Cl 0·60—1·47] and 1·09 [0·79—1·52]). Developmental regression was not clustered in the months after vaccination (relative incidence within 2 months and 4 months after MMR vaccination 0·92 [0·38—2·21] and 1·00 [0·52—1·95]). No significant temporal clustering for age at onset of parental concern was seen for cases of core autism or atypical autism with the exception of a single interval within 6 months of MMR vaccination. This appeared to be an artifact related to the difficulty of defining precisely the onset of symptoms in this disorder.
Our analyses do not support a causal association between MMR vaccine and autism. If such an association occurs, it is so rare that it could not be identified in this large regional sample.

And lots more where that came from. Quite simply, correlation is not causation; the onset of obvious signs of autism occurs at or near the age at which most children are vaccinated, thus leading parents to suspect a link where none exists or is supported. Well-intentioned but essentially ignorant people like Mr Handley seized on the MMR/autism link; since that has been debunked quite thoroughly, and in fact found to have been based on false and fraudulent research, they have now shifted to claiming it's not MMR but all the vaccines or some combination of them. The evidence unfortunately fails to support this either.

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Response to Spider Jerusalem (Reply #7)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 03:20 PM

13. OFF TOPIC but JB Handley scathingly shreds junk science. He's the person for you to debate, not me.

I respect his integrity and work. His contact information is all over the place. I suggest you communicate directly with him.

Here's a collection of his columns: http://www.ageofautism.com/jb_handley/

Have you read this one?


Dr. Brian Strom: An Honest Moron


Managing Editor's Note: Hey guys and gals! Print out and this nifty Connect The Dots art and if you can complete it (assuming you are not an honest moron) you'll have a new piece of art for Mom on Mother's Day! Grab a gray crayon and get busy! Nap time is at 1pm.

By J.B. Handley

How many times do I need to tell you people, “Correlation does not equal causation!”

You crazy parents are so pathetic. You just want something or someone to blame. So what, your little guy went to the doctor, got six vaccines in one minute, and then you watched him seize up, his eyes rolled into the back of his head, and he stopped talking. And you think anyone cares?

Oh, and now he has autism? So what! Starbucks Coffee locations have ALSO grown since the autism “epidemic” started – maybe it’s all that ground coffee in the air. Ha ha!

What’s that you say? Vaccines are KNOWN to cause brain damage? Well, so what, I, um, gotta go, my phone is ringing…Seth Mnookin is calling…

Here’s the detail, from a CBS News report:
“University of Pennsylvania's Dr. Brian Strom, who has served on Institute of Medicine panels advising the government on vaccine safety says the prevailing medical opinion is that vaccines are scientifically linked to encephalopathy (brain damage), but not scientifically linked to autism.”

Oh, thank God, vaccines won’t cause any autism. Brain damage I can live with. Thanks, Dr. Strom, for your service to the IOM--very helpful indeed.

Author’s note: Sorry, I’ve had a lot of coffee this morning (Peet’s, not Starbuck’s)

Posted by Age of Autism at May 05, 2011 at 5:45 AM in JB Handley

Handley on Thorsen: http://www.google.com/search?ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=thorsen+handley&domains=ageofautism.com&sitesearch=ageofautism.com&btnG=+Google+Search+


"Danish Study" CDC Doctor who "Debunked" Autism Vaccines Link Indicted on Fraud
April 14, 2011

Compilation of multiple articles.

Handley's no crank.

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Response to proverbialwisdom (Reply #13)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 03:24 PM

14. That's not "shredding junk science," it's lies and hyperbole.

It's playing to a hysterical and completely uninformed segment of the population, by bashing science, bashing real evidence-based medicine, and telling people that the imaginings of a few cranks are more valid than all scientific knowledge. Compounded with irrationality, appeals to emotion instead of reason, and simply making shit up out of thin air. Handley is the epitome of crank-hood.

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Response to TheWraith (Reply #14)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 03:42 PM

16. Plenty of great people engage in real evidence-based medicine, like Prof John Walker Smith.

Please see OP. QED.

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Response to proverbialwisdom (Original post)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 12:57 PM

2. Fantastic vindication!


Walker-Smith, with Allan Walker of Harvard Medical School, is widely regarded as the co-founder of paediatric gastroenterology as an independent field.

John Stone is UK Editor for Age of Autism.


Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition: November 1999 - Volume 29 - Issue 5 - p 14AArticles

A Tribute to Professor John Walker-Smith, ESPGHAN Editor 1995-2000

By Walker, W. Allan MD

With this issue of the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Professor John Walker-Smith retires as the ESPGHAN Editor, a position he has held with distinction since 1995. As the continuing NASPGN Editor, I wish to pay tribute to John for his many contributions to the journal over this period of time and his accomplishments in the field of pediatric gastroenterology in general. During his tenure as Editor, many successful innovations have started that (in my view) have raised the quality of the journal to a new level. In January of 1997, a photograph from an article in each issue was printed as part of a new cover design. Response from our readership was universally positive. During the next 2 years, a Clinical Quiz section was started and the abstract for original articles was changed in design to represent a complete summation of the article with key words and references enclosed. In a questionnaire to the NASPGN readership last year, these changes were approved by a large percentage of the respondents. John, with a strong interest in medical history, initiated a "Historic Notes" section that has informed our young readership of major events that have helped to shape our subspecialty. Recently, a "News and Views" section was started to inform our readership quickly of events worldwide that affect the care of children with gastrointestinal problems. John, it has been a genuine pleasure working with you and your Associate Editors, Alan Phillips, Simon Murch, Deirdre Kelly, and Ian Sanderson, although I have to claim some credit for Ian because he started as a NASPGN Associate Editor before moving back to the United Kingdom.

Recently, John informed me of his intent to retire from the Chair in Pediatric Gastroenterology at the Royal Free Hospital, University of London next September in order to spend more time with his beloved family and to pursue his passion for the history of medicine (he is already Society of Apothecaries Lecturer in Medical History at the University of London). With that news, I thought it would be an appropriate occasion to reflect on John Walker-Smith's contributions to the field of pediatric gastroenterology. John began his training in adult gastroenterology as a House Physician to Professor Chris Booth at Hammersmith Hospital in the United Kingdom after medical school and pediatric training in his native Australia in the early 1960s. With this clinical background, he continued his training as a Research Fellow in Gastroenterology at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney and with Professor Prader in Zurich, Switzerland. He then began his academic career in the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children in Sydney, attaining a position of Staff Physician before returning to the United Kingdom to establish one of the most prestigious training programs in pediatric gastroenterology history at the Medical College of St. Bartholomew's Hospital and the London Hospital Medical College at Queen Elizabeth Hospital for Children in 1973.

From that time until the present, John has established himself as one of the premier, if not the premier, pediatric gastroenterologist in the world with a personal Chair in Pediatric Gastroenterology at St. Bartholomew's and, since 1995, at the Royal Free Hospital. His abilities as a clinician, clinical investigator, and educator through lectures, review articles, and textbooks have resulted in a worldwide following by former fellows, colleagues, and general pediatricians. Having been with John at meetings on numerous occasions around the world, I never cease to wonder at former fellows in the host country of the meeting wishing to spend time with their former mentor. John, you have contributed a great deal to the development and continued excellence of our field. We owe you a sincere debt of gratitude. We wish you well in your adventure as the Society of Apothecaries Lecturer in History of Medicine. Maybe we can convince you to write the definitive history of pediatric gastroenterology as a future assignment. With deep respect-

W. Allan Walker, MD

... and YOU (post 1 locked thread) say what? No wonder a UK support group is called CRY SHAME ( http://www.cryshame.co.uk/ ).

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Response to proverbialwisdom (Original post)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 01:17 PM

5. Here we go again.

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Response to hobbit709 (Reply #5)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 02:46 PM

8. TX map sig? Following Wakefield's defamation lawsuit filed where he lives in TX (see pdf below)?


Senior Author of MMR Paper, John Walker-Smith, Wins Appeal

Written by The Canary Party
Wednesday, 07 March 2012 16:13

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s co-author on controversial Lancet “MMR paper” completely exonerated of all charges of professional misconduct

World renowned pediatric gastroenterologist Prof. John Walker-Smith won his appeal today against the United Kingdom’s General Medical Council regulatory board that had ruled against both him and Andrew Wakefield for their roles in the 1998 Lancet MMR paper, which raised questions about a link to autism. The complete victory means that Walker-Smith has been returned to the status of a fully licensed physician in the UK, although he had already retired in 2001 — six years before the GMC trial even began.

Justice John Mitting ruled on the appeal by Walker-Smith, saying that the GMC “panel’s determination cannot stand. I therefore quash it.” He said that its conclusions were based on “inadequate and superficial reasoning and, in a number of instances, a wrong conclusion.” The verdict restores Walker-Smith’s name to the medical register and his reputation to the medical community. This conclusion is not surprising, as the GMC trial had no actual complainants, no harm came to the children who were studied, and parents supported Walker-Smith and Wakefield through the trial, reporting that their children had medically benefited from the treatment they received at the Royal Free Hospital.

While John Walker-Smith received funding to appeal the GMC decision from his insurance carrier, his co-author Andrew Wakefield did not — and was therefore unable to mount an appeal in the high court. This year, however, Dr. Wakefield, who now conducts his research in the US, has filed a defamation lawsuit against Brian Deer, Fiona Godlee and the British Medical Journal for falsely accusing him of “fraud.” The suit is currently underway in Texas, where Wakefield now lives. The ruling today bodes well for Dr. Wakefield’s suit against Deer, on whose reporting the entire GMC hearing was based.


Today, almost 14 years after the paper was published, the high court determined that John Walker-Smith was innocent of the wrongdoing alleged by the GMC. Judge Mitting reported that the GMC, “on the basis of sensible instructions, does not invite me to remit it to a fresh Fitness to Practice panel for redetermination. The end result is that the finding of serious professional misconduct and the sanction of erasure are both quashed.”

More at link.


From the Editor: Joy

(I) received the following today from one of the Lancet families that has never been quoted before:
"As parents of one of the Lancet 12, we are overjoyed by the judgement. Professor Walker-Smith is totally and absolutely vindicated. There is no equivocation in the judgement. A truly honourable man receives justice. The activities of the GMC are more than criticised in the judgement. Who do they answer to?"


Andrew Wakefield sues BMJ for claiming MMR study was fraudulent

Ian Sample, science correspondent
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 5 January 2012 13.17 EST


Dr. Andrew Wakefield's Libel Writ Against The British Medical Journal

Last link from: http://www.ageofautism.com/2012/01/autism-parents-respond-to-dr-andrew-wakefields-libel-writ-against-the-british-medical-journal.html

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Response to proverbialwisdom (Reply #8)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 02:49 PM

9. So?

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Response to proverbialwisdom (Reply #8)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 02:51 PM

10. Please tell me you're not defending Andrew Wakefield...nt


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Response to SidDithers (Reply #10)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 02:53 PM

11. Well, he's certainly not criticizing him

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Response to proverbialwisdom (Original post)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 02:57 PM

12. Age of Autism = BIGOTS that think I am "damaged". FUCK THEM.

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Response to Odin2005 (Reply #12)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 03:33 PM

15. Autism is personal for most contributors at the site and I'd say love is what motivates them.

The comments are filtered, so ignorant bigots shouldn't be able to make posts. I've never seen evidence of what you describe.

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Response to proverbialwisdom (Reply #15)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 08:53 PM

17. And most of us on the spectrum think they can go to hell.

They don't think they are bigoted because they consider their disablist bigotry to be well-meaning.

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Response to Odin2005 (Reply #17)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 11:46 PM

18. OFF TOPIC: The neurodiversity argument? It looks very heated and personal, people are passionate.

Google: neurodiversity site:ageofautism.com

I'm sorry this angers you. Intellectually, though, isn't it apparent that differences in advocacy should exist dependent on the severity of autism?

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Response to proverbialwisdom (Reply #18)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 12:31 AM

19. Acceptance of Neurodiversity is something that is non-negotable to me.

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