Poul Thorsen/Diane Simpson Story
Poul Thorsen MD Phd
See: Eric Fombonne
[2010 March] First Fraud: Dr. Poul Thorsen and the original “Danish Study” By J.B. Handley It’s hard to put into words how dishonest and outrageous a study this is, and I knew after reading it that we were in for a long fight: if scientists will lie this explicitly and call it a study and if Pediatrics will publish something this dishonest, they are playing to win at all costs. .....Danish children receive 75% less Thimerosal than American children, they receive immunizations when they are older, and the U.S. autism rate is TEN TIMES the rate of Denmark (Denmark is 1 in 1,600, U.S. is 1 in 166). .....Of the seven co-authors of the study, three had received direct funding from the CDC on vaccine-safety related projects. Two of the authors were employees of Statens Serum Institute, a Danish vaccine manufacturer. ..The public health establishment seems to have a simple strategy: get anything published, and then spin the hell out of it and confuse the public, and they perhaps never did it better than with this original “Danish study” which is still cited as proof by many that “vaccines don’t cause autism.”
Frantic: CDC’s Dr. Diane Simpson Travels the World to Find Dr. Poul Thorsen
By J.B. Handley
Without Dr. Diane Simpson, a CDC employee, Dr. Poul Thorsen would likely be a person none of us would have ever heard of. I’m looking forward to following the case of Dr. Thorsen and the implications it may have for the withdrawl of some of the most important documents used to shut the door on the possible link between thimerosal and autism. For AoA readers, I provide some background on Dr. Simpson’s critical and “frantic” role in locating data.
This story below is an excerpt from the website, PutChildrenFirst a Generation Rescue initiative, an excellent resource to see this dark tale spelled out in detail:
CDC's effort, beginning in the summer of 2001, was in anticipation of the IOM's report coming out in the October 2001. They knew what it was going to say and they knew it was going to be trouble.
The CDC's subsequent worldwide effort was an attempt to find corroborative data showing no link between autism and thimerosal and get it to the IOM or release it at the same time as the IOM report was released. As Dr. Diane Simpson says in this August 7, 2001 email :
"I don't have any new data at the moment and am frantically trying to see what is available and how best to get it in time for the expected IOM report release (we have given up trying to submit it in time for the report as they are in the process of writing it)."
Dr. Simpson's actions beginning in June of 2001, require some context. The Deputy Director of the NIP, Dr. Simpson, was given the task of finding data on autism and thimerosal in other countries. And not just any data, she was looking for data that would support the idea that there was no relationship between mercury and autism, despite the fact that she had seen the Generation Zero data and attended Simpsonwood.
Further, you have the division of the CDC that is responsible for keeping vaccination rates high, the division that would be held most responsible for creating the autism epidemic, and one of the leaders of that division, Dr. Robert Chen, who had the most to lose, directly involved in a process to find data about the relationship between thimerosal and autism.
Would CDC be "frantic" to find data that would corroborate the conclusion coming from IOM, that the thimerosal-autism relationship was "biologically plausible"? No, she was frantic to find data to disprove it.
In the same month, she tells a Swedish researcher in this email that they could fly to Sweden immediately to look at data, "because our IOM committee's work is in process and we expect them to issue their report in the next several weeks, we expect increased public concern and questions in the near future."
In an email an email with another CDC employee, referring to data she may have unearthed in Denmark, she writes, "it is also possible that the data won't help us at all, but we won't know until we see it."
How won't it help? It won't help unless it can be used to exonerate Thimerosal and the CDC.
As an example, Dr. Simpson's communication with the State of California (where autism data is the best in the country) produced a stunning data set, and one quickly buried. In this email , we see data provided by Dr. Loring Dales from the California Dept of Health showing the relationship between the vaccination rates of DTP by second birthdays, and the number of autism cases in California. One of Dr. Simpson's colleagues mentions "this looks like material for a graph." The graph is created, page 3 of the email, and there is a clear, linear relationship between the increase in vaccination rates (from 50.9% to 75.7%) and the number of autism cases per year (from 176 to 1182, a 6.7x increase) between 1980-1994. Needless to say, California was not the source of additional follow-up.
Dr. Simpson was an interesting choice to lead this initiative. She was oblivious to the full-blown epidemic of autism, as this email , on June 8, 2001 shows:
"I have seen statements claiming huge increases in the incidence rate of autism in the US over the past 10-15 years. The only data I have seen from California. Are there national estimates for autism in the US or is everything extrapolated from the California data?"
Not all of Dr. Simpson's correspondence was well received, and in fact some of it was quite comical. A Swedish Doctor, Dr. Marta Granstrom, responded in this email this email to Dr. Simpson with a clear point of view on thimerosal:
"I am very well aware of the recent concerns in the US over thiomersal (an alternative name for thimerosal). On the expert committee of the European Pharmacopoeae I represent Sweden and had in vain tried to get Europe to ban its use in single dose vials until the US interest in the issue...I thanked Neal Halsey [AAP member who spearheaded the joint statement in 1999] in the name of European infants for the help when I met him again last year."
By August, Dr. Simpson was getting desperate as she lamented in an email that, "events have slightly accelerated with Walt's return [Walter Orenstein, Director of the NIP] and anxiety over trying to get these data. Consequently, we are TENTATIVELY planning for you and I to go to Denmark and Sweden on August 22...if a trip is to occur in time for the IOM it has to be in this time frame."
In many ways, the trip to Sweden and Denmark was Dr. Simpson's last shot at finding data, as herAugust 6 email shows:
"Should we find that any other country has good data on both autism and vaccines, we will work to get that data on a case by case basis. i.e., I don't know what we are going to do and don't want to think about it right now- but we will do something."
The "something" Dr. Simpson did was find a Danish vaccine company, Statens Serum Institute, willing to work with CDC. A company who sold thimerosal-containing vaccines and a company who would soon see an enormous rise in the number of vaccines sold to the United States. Along with her colleague, Dr. Paul Stehr-Green, Dr. Simpson was heading to Denmark. Two years later, Dr. Simpson and Dr. Stehr-Green would be published authors, along with employees of SSI, letting the world know that the Danish data proved that thimerosal does not cause autism. These Danish studies would then form the basis for a NEW IOM, initiated by CDC, that in 2004 would declare that the thimerosal-autism hypothesis was without merit, and has since been referenced as "proof" that thimerosal is safe.
It all started with Dr. Diane Simpson's trip to Denmark. We even found a copy of her travel voucher.
J.B. Handley is Co-founder of Generation Rescue.
Copenhagen Police Investigating Autism Vaccine Researcher Dr. Poul Thorsen for Fraud
This report is from CPHPost Online:
WEDNESDAY, 17 MARCH 2010 12:19 RC NEWS Critics of MMR vaccines say Danish researcher’s alleged fraud casts doubt on studies refuting connection between shots and autism
A Danish autism researcher is being investigated by police for defrauding an estimated 10 million kroner from Aarhus University while he was employed there.
Dr. Poul Thorsen, one of the researchers involved in two well-known autism reports that appeared in the influential New England Journal of Medicine, was accused of fraud last month by the university and East Jutland Police have now got involved in the case.
Thorsen resigned on Tuesday from his position in the US as adjunct professor at Drexel University in Philadephia, Pennsylvania in the wake of the investigation.
Thorsen’s fraud charges stem from the time of the reports, when he was employed at Aarhus University. Police are currently investigating the disappearance of around 10 million kroner from grants given to it by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, used to help fund the autism project.
According to Aarhus University, Thorsen was in charge of appropriating the funds from the CDC. In addition to the fraud charges, Thorsen was allegedly working for Emory University in the US since 2003 in violation of his contract at Aarhus University.
The timing of the investigation and Thorsen’s resignation from Drexel coincide with a US Court of Federal Claims last Friday, which ruled against parents asserting that the MMR vaccines were responsible for their children’s health problems.
Two Danish studies from 2002 and 2003 are at the heart of that issue because they are widely referred to by groups refuting the vaccine connection and are considered to be among the most comprehensive studies ever done on the subject. A spokesman for the US Surgeon General’s Office called the reports’ conclusions that no connection exists ‘irrefutable’.
The issue has been one of heated controversy in the US between two opposing sides – the more powerful one that supports the research and the one that believes many more studies need to be done in the area.
The first report was based on studies of over 500,000 children born in Denmark from 1991 through 1998. The study indicated conclusively that there was no connection between measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccines and autism.
The other report used a much smaller group in its study but came to the same conclusion.
US Senator Robert Kennedy Jr. has been the most high-profile person to question the acceptance of the studies’ results, ruffling feathers within the pharmaceutical industry, the medical profession and with other politicians. Kennedy came out this week to say that if Thorsen is found guilty of fraud then it would cast serious doubt on the validity of both studies.
Numerous internet-based autism groups have also indicated that Thorsen’s research should be considered compromised if he is convicted.
Two other scientists behind the Danish reports, Mads Melbye of Statens Serum Institut and Kreesten Meldgaard Madsen of Aarhus University Hospital, told the Philadelphia Enquirer newspaper that Thorsen was only one researcher in the groups behind the studies and had little or no influence on the ultimate conclusions.
Denmark ceased to use mercury-based substances in its vaccines in 1992. However, autism cases continue to rise here as well, although the percentage continues to be far under that of children in the US.
Many experts also say that the increase can be partly explained by the fact that more doctors are now recognising the disorder.
Article above, link here
Quotes from Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s research paper (FOIA's were obtained). You could fill in the word "Lyme" instead of autism and have almost the same situation going on. Note the IOM, NIH and CDC is mentioned throughout the quotes, and "four" CDC studies were relied on to try to prove their point, while all other studies proving otherwise were ignored. Scientific misconduct, to say the least.
In June 2000, a group of top government scientists and health officials gathered for a meeting at the isolated Simpsonwood conference center in Norcross, Ga. Convened by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the meeting was held at this Methodist retreat center, nestled in wooded farmland next to the Chattahoochee River, to ensure complete secrecy. The agency had issued no public announcement of the session -- only private invitations to 52 attendees.
There were high-level officials from the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration, the top vaccine specialist from the World Health Organization in Geneva, and representatives of every major vaccine manufacturer, including GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Wyeth and Aventis Pasteur. All of the scientific data under discussion, CDC officials repeatedly reminded the participants, was strictly "embargoed." There would be no making photocopies of documents, no taking papers with them when they left.
"We are in a bad position from the standpoint of defending any lawsuits," said Dr. Robert Brent, a pediatrician at the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Delaware. "This will be a resource to our very busy plaintiff attorneys in this country." Dr. Bob Chen, head of vaccine safety for the CDC, expressed relief that "given the sensitivity of the information, we have been able to keep it out of the hands of, let's say, less responsible hands."
Dr. John Clements, vaccines advisor at the World Health Organization, declared that "perhaps this study should not have been done at all." He added that "the research results have to be handled," warning that the study "will be taken by others and will be used in other ways beyond the control of this group."
But while public-health officials may have been well-intentioned, many of those on the CDC advisory committee who backed the additional vaccines had close ties to the industry.
The House Government Reform Committee discovered that four of the eight CDC advisors who approved guidelines for a rotavirus vaccine "had financial ties to the pharmaceutical companies that were developing different versions of the vaccine."
Offit, who shares a patent on one of the vaccines, acknowledged to me that he "would make money" if his vote eventually leads to a marketable product. But he dismissed my suggestion that a scientist's direct financial stake in CDC approval might bias his judgment. "It provides no conflict for me," he insists. "I have simply been informed by the process, not corrupted by it. When I sat around that table, my sole intent was trying to make recommendations that best benefited the children in this country.
Other vaccine scientists and regulators gave me similar assurances. Like Offit, they view themselves as enlightened guardians of children's health, proud of their "partnerships" with pharmaceutical companies, immune to the seductions of personal profit, besieged by irrational activists whose anti-vaccine campaigns are endangering children's health. They are often resentful of questioning. "Science," says Offit, "is best left to scientists."
If federal regulators and government scientists failed to grasp the potential risks of thimerosal over the years, no one could claim ignorance after the secret meeting at Simpsonwood. But rather than conduct more studies to test the link to autism and other forms of brain damage, the CDC placed politics over science. The agency turned its database on childhood vaccines -- which had been developed largely at taxpayer expense -- over to a private agency, America's Health Insurance Plans, ensuring that it could not be used for additional research.
It also instructed the Institute of Medicine, an advisory organization that is part of the National Academy of Sciences, to produce a study debunking the link between thimerosal and brain disorders. The CDC "wants us to declare, well, that these things are pretty safe," Dr. Marie McCormick, who chaired the IOM's Immunization Safety Review Committee, told her fellow researchers when they first met in January 2001.
"We are not ever going to come down that [autism] is a true side effect" of thimerosal exposure. According to transcripts of the meeting, the committee's chief staffer, Kathleen Stratton, predicted that the IOM would conclude that the evidence was "inadequate to accept or reject a causal relation" between thimerosal and autism. That, she added, was the result "Walt wants" -- a reference to Dr. Walter Orenstein, director of the National Immunization Program for the CDC.
Even in public, federal officials made it clear that their primary goal in studying thimerosal was to dispel doubts about vaccines. "Four current studies are taking place to rule out the proposed link between autism and thimerosal," Dr. Gordon Douglas, then-director of strategic planning for vaccine research at the National Institutes of Health, assured a Princeton University gathering in May 2001. "In order to undo the harmful effects of research claiming to link the [measles] vaccine to an elevated risk of autism, we need to conduct and publicize additional studies to assure parents of safety." Douglas formerly served as president of vaccinations for Merck, where he ignored warnings about thimerosal's risks.
In May of last year, the Institute of Medicine issued its final report. Its conclusion: There is no proven link between autism and thimerosal in vaccines. Rather than reviewing the large body of literature describing the toxicity of thimerosal, the report relied on four disastrously flawed epidemiological studies examining European countries, where children received much smaller doses of thimerosal than American kids. It also cited a new version of the Verstraeten study, published in the journal Pediatrics, that had been reworked to reduce the link between thimerosal and autism. The new study included children too young to have been diagnosed with autism and overlooked others who showed signs of the disease. The IOM declared the case closed and -- in a startling position for a scientific body -- recommended that no further research be conducted.
The report may have satisfied the CDC, but it convinced no one. Rep. David Weldon, a Republican physician from Florida who serves on the House Government Reform Committee, attacked the Institute of Medicine, saying it relied on a handful of studies that were "fatally flawed" by "poor design" and failed to represent "all the available scientific and medical research." CDC officials are not interested in an honest search for the truth, Weldon told me, because "an association between vaccines and autism would force them to admit that their policies irreparably damaged thousands of children. Who would want to make that conclusion about themselves?"
Under pressure from Congress and parents, the Institute of Medicine convened another panel to address continuing concerns about the Vaccine Safety Datalink data-sharing program. In February, the new panel, composed of different scientists, criticized the way the VSD had been used to study vaccine safety, and urged the CDC to make its vaccine database available to the public.
So far, though, only two scientists have managed to gain access. Dr. Mark Geier, president of the Genetics Center of America, and his son, David, spent a year battling to obtain the medical records from the CDC. Since August 2002, when members of Congress pressured the agency to turn over the data, the Geiers have completed six studies that demonstrate a powerful correlation between thimerosal and neurological damage in children. One study, which compares the cumulative dose of mercury received by children born between 1981 and 1985 with those born between 1990 and 1996, found a "very significant relationship" between autism and vaccines. Another study of educational performance found that kids who received higher doses of thimerosal in vaccines were nearly three times as likely to be diagnosed with autism and more than three times as likely to suffer from speech disorders and mental retardation. Another soon-to-be-published study shows that autism rates are in decline following the recent elimination of thimerosal from most vaccines.
But instead of following suit, the FDA continues to allow manufacturers to include thimerosal in scores of over-the-counter medications as well as steroids and injected collagen. Even more alarming, the government continues to ship vaccines preserved with thimerosal to developing countries -- some of which are now experiencing a sudden explosion in autism rates. In China, where the disease was virtually unknown prior to the introduction of thimerosal by U.S. drug manufacturers in 1999, news reports indicate that there are now more than 1.8 million autistics. Although reliable numbers are hard to come by, autistic disorders also appear to be soaring in India, Argentina, Nicaragua and other developing countries that are now using thimerosal-laced vaccines. The World Health Organization continues to insist thimerosal is safe, but it promises to keep the possibility that it is linked to neurological disorders "under review."
I devoted time to study this issue because I believe that this is a moral crisis that must be addressed. If, as the evidence suggests, our public-health authorities knowingly allowed the pharmaceutical industry to poison an entire generation of American children, their actions arguably constitute one of the biggest scandals in the annals of American medicine. "The CDC is guilty of incompetence and gross negligence," says Mark Blaxill, vice president of Safe Minds, a nonprofit organization concerned about the role of mercury in medicines. "The damage caused by vaccine exposure is massive. It's bigger than asbestos, bigger than tobacco, bigger than anything you've ever seen." It's hard to calculate the damage to our country -- and to the international efforts to eradicate epidemic diseases -- if Third World nations come to believe that America's most heralded foreign-aid initiative is poisoning their children.
originally published on Salon.com
June 16, 2005