August 7, 2008

Jon Poling Corrects Paul Offit Again, This Time in the NEJM

A few months ago, Paul Offit told some mistruths about the Poling case in the NYT, and they ran Jon Poling's correction a few days later.

Offit has not stopped lying mistruthing and now Poling is correcting him publicly for a second time, now in the New England Journal of Medicine.

One of the errors that Offit keeps repeating is that the Poling judgment was a court decision (Offit's disciple Amanda Peet repeated this untrue statement on GMA yesterday), which I have heard him state repeatedly since Poling corrected him last spring.  Offit's assertion is that these decisions don't belong in the courts, but that they should only be made by doctors, which is exactly how the Poling case was made.  So then why would Offit be complaining about something that actually worked the way that he said it should work?

At first I thought that he was just not listening, assumed that it was a court ruling and just shooting his mouth off with out thinking.  But then I realized that he is not claiming that the Poling decision was a court case and dismissing court decisions to insulate the vaccine program from the Poling decision, he was doing it to insulate Vaccine Inc. from all the forth coming decisions from the Omnibus hearings and any of the other 5,000 cases pending in vaccine court.

He knows that petitioners will be awarded judgments by the court and he is trying to use his interviews on the Poling case front load his talking points that delegitimatize the "unusual vaccine court".

This is all IMHO of course.
New England Journal of Medicine  Volume 359:655-656 August 7, 2008

Vaccines and Autism Revisited

"To the Editor: In his Perspective article on a possible connection between vaccines and autism, Offit (May 15 issue)1 speculates about my daughter, Hannah, and repeats inaccuracies from a March New York Times opinion piece that was officially corrected by the Times and our April 5 letter. By omitting critical information from my March 6, 2008, statement, Offit misrepresents my position. I said, "Many in the autism community and their champions believe that the result in this case may well signify a landmark decision as it pertains to children developing autism following vaccinations. This still remains to be seen, but currently there are almost 5,000 other cases pending."

Offit's remarks about Hannah's case are not evidence-based. He has no access to my daughter's personal medical records, legal documents, or affidavits. In contrast, physicians from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) who studied this information recommended that the government concede Hannah's case. The clinical history Offit presents contains significant inaccuracies, and the resulting conclusions are consequently flawed.

Offit confuses issues by comparing Hannah's case with unrelated decisions in "vaccine court." The Office of the Secretary of DHHS, through the Department of Justice, conceded Hannah's case. There was no courtroom hearing and no decision from the "unusual vaccine court."

Offit is frequently cited regarding the "biologically plausible" theory that simultaneous administration of multiple vaccines is safe. His opinion is unsupported by clinical trials, much less investigations in potentially susceptible subpopulations.

Despite the high frequency of mitochondrial dysfunction in autistic children,2 studies have not established primary or secondary roles. To explore this question, we need an immunization database for children with metabolic disorders to establish safety guidelines3 and improve vaccine safety for minority subgroups of children.

I agree with the statement of Bernadine Healy, former director of the National Institutes of Health, who said, "I don't think you should ever turn your back on any scientific hypothesis because you're afraid of what it might show. . . . If you know that susceptible group, you can save those children.

If you turn your back on the notion there is a susceptible group . . . what can I say?"4 Also commendable is the new 5-year research plan of the National Vaccine Advisory Committee, which will entail the study of minority subpopulations, including patients with mitochondrial disorders.5

A strong, safe vaccination program is a cornerstone of public health. Misrepresenting Hannah Poling v. HHS to the medical profession does not improve confidence in the immunization program or advance science toward an understanding of how and why regressive encephalopathy with autistic features follows vaccination in susceptible children.

Jon S. Poling, M.D., Ph.D.
Athens Neurological Associates
Athens, GA 30606

Dr. Poling is the father of Hannah Poling and reports receiving consulting or lecture fees from Pfizer, Eisai, Ortho-McNeil, Biogen, Teva, Immunex, and Allergan. No other potential conflict of interest relevant to this letter was reported."
So now Offit has been twice publicly corrected in two of the highest profile publications in the world, and from here on out if we hear Offit repeat the "court case" misinformation, there can be no doubt that the man knows exactly what he is doing and he is just a flat out liar.

Yesterday at the "Vaccinate Your Baby" press conference Offit said that Bernadine Haley, former head of NIH who believes that the vaccine/autism link may be real and it should be the focus of study, must not have done her research, since she disagreed with him.  He continues to lie about the Poling case despite the recurrent corrections of Jon Poling a respected Neurologist with Johns Hopkins credentials.

I think Offit is so used to just saying whatever he wants about anyone that disagreed with his vaccine stance for a long time, with few consequences, because when he started years ago it was only powerless parents that he was degrading.  He does not seem to have noticed that now that respected people in main stream medicine are waking up to the problem, his blanket smearing of people who take the theory seriously, and lying about the facts is now a slap in the face of people much more respected than he is.

But I guess he has that book coming out in a month so there is no turning back for him.  He is all in and will be going out with a bang.

UPDATE:  Don't miss Anne Dachel's post on the matter over at Age of Autism


DMV47 said...

Hi Ginger:) I totally agree - your boy is beautiful!

Alyric said...

And wasn't Offit's reply a beaut? Very nice to see.

Anonymous said...

For more on the autism and vaccines issue, people can listen to the free "Autism and Vaccines: Parts I & II" audio podcasts issued by Midnight In Chicago.

They can be found at

loveconquersall said...

"Despite the high frequency of mitochondrial dysfunction in autistic children,2 studies have not established primary or secondary roles. To explore this question, we need an immunization database for children with metabolic disorders to establish safety guidelines3 and improve vaccine safety for minority subgroups of children."

I especially like that quote, from Dr Poling.
Honestly...I get downright giddy when I think about what Dr Poling is doing. He is playing these monsters in their own game. He is not letting these individuals forget what the facts are NOW. They are trying to spin the truth and muddy the waters. He is saying NO....this is what has been established and we are starting here, to establish even more facts.
Is Offit that arrogant to see what is happening? NO....the man is spewing nonsense.
He is nervous.

Thanks Ginger, for this great post.