Sunday, September 04, 2005

Locked-In Syndrome

Locked-in Syndrome, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS):

"Locked-in syndrome is a rare neurological disorder characterized by complete paralysis of voluntary muscles in all parts of the body except for those that control eye movement."


However, there appears to be another type of "locked-in syndrome", one caused by overdosing on autism-mercury rhetoric. In this form of locked-in syndrome, there is paralysis of the faculties of reason, rather than the voluntary muscles.

My source of clinical material for this new syndrome has come from the "Evidence of Harm" (EoH) group on Yahoo. This group has attracted the leaders of this movement and is a sort of "nerve-center" for dissemination of autism-mercury material.

A good example of the EoH "group-think" is this poll they have on their site (spacing edited for clarity, emphasis added):


This poll has two parts. Assuming that mercury in vaccines is responsible for a large fraction of autism spectrum disorders, and that mercury began to be removed from vaccines in 1999 in the USA: When do you expect autism rates to substantially decrease?

The second part of the question is: If autism rates have not begun to substantially fall at the date you choose in the first part, please explain why that would not have happened. You may choose more than one reason.

[] Autism rates should already have fallen substantially in the first half of 2005
[] Autism rates should fall substantially in the last half of 2005
[] Autism rates should fall substantially in the first half of 2006
[] Autism rates should fall substantially in the second half of 2006
[] Autism rates should fall substantially in 2007
[] Autism rates should fall substantially in 2008
[] Autism rates should begin to fall, but I don't think they will fall substantially until 2009 or later


[] If rates don't fall, it would mean that mercury from other sources, e.g. atmospheric, is responsible
[] If rates don't fall, it would mean that trace amounts of mercury in vaccines continue to be responsible
[] If rates don't fall, it would mean that big pharma is lying about the mercury content of vaccines
[] If rates don't fall, it would mean that children are becoming more sensitve to mercury poisoning
[] If rates don't fall, it would mean that the autism-mercury hypothesis is incorrect
[] If rates don't fall, it would mean that some other reason, other than mentioned above is responsible


Your vote is shown above. You can change your vote until the poll is closed.


Anyone want to guess what the results were when my informant checked it? Any guesses what the "big winners" were? The use of the term "big pharma" is a big red flag here - and I don't mean that it's May Day.


[] Autism rates should already have fallen substantially in the first half of 2005 [4 votes, 3 %]
[] Autism rates should fall substantially in the last half of 2005 [5 votes, 4%]
[] Autism rates should fall substantially in the first half of 2006 [8 votes, 6%]
[] Autism rates should fall substantially in the second half of 2006 [10 votes, 8%]
[] Autism rates should fall substantially in 2007 [10 votes, 8%]
[] Autism rates should fall substantially in 2008 [4 votes, 3%]
[] Autism rates should begin to fall, but I don't think they will fall substantially until 2009 or later [9 votes, 7%]

[] If rates don't fall, it would mean that mercury from other sources, e.g. atmospheric, is responsible [6 votes, 5%]
[] If rates don't fall, it would mean that trace amounts of mercury in vaccines continue to be responsible [12 votes, 10%]
[] If rates don't fall, it would mean that big pharma is lying about the mercury content of vaccines [26 votes, 22%]
[] If rates don't fall, it would mean that children are becoming more sensitve to mercury poisoning [6 votes, 5%]
[] If rates don't fall, it would mean that the autism-mercury hypothesis is incorrect [6 votes, 5%]
[] If rates don't fall, it would mean that some other reason, other than mentioned above is responsible [12 votes, 10%]

Unfortunately, 85% of survey takers felt that, even if the autism rates don't fall, autism is still caused by mercury - either environmental, "trace" amounts or deception by "big pharma". In other words, 85% were "locked-in" to the idea that mercury is the cause of autism - forever and always, world without end, Amen.

I don't see any reason to try to convince the autism-mercury believers of the error of their ways - I don't go in for pointless effort or hopeless causes. Even if we had incontrovertible proof, they would pass it off as "biased", "flawed" or "corrupt". Yet they continually bleat that they want "more studies". Why? They haven't believed the ones so far.

Yet, we cannot give up the struggle against ignorance because there are still people out there who are looking for answers (the autism-mercury movement has found their answer) and they need a rational counterbalance against the autism-mercury dogma.


Prometheus.

8 Comments:

Blogger afp763389 said...

... :)

03 September, 2005 20:15  
Blogger Autism Diva said...

Autism Diva is working on a paper called, "Parental Locked In Syndrome a Novel Form of Mercury Poisoning by Proxy."

Or something like that. :-)

Thanks for reporting on that poll.

05 September, 2005 14:29  
Anonymous schwartz said...

Prometheus,

I just came across your site, and despite your rants, I remained, and continued to read your posts as I think I detected a lurking fairness behind the antogonistic posts. I fully understand this as I am guilty of the same on occasion.

You really shouldn't be too surprised on the outcome of the survey because there is plenty of reason to be suspicious of the pharmaceutical industry (irrestpective of the Autism/Mercury debate). I would be curious if you really do think that the current system is trustworthy or not.

"Even if we had incontrovertible proof, they would pass it off as "biased", "flawed" or "corrupt"."

Here again, no surprise. The scientific community has been plagued by this same symptom that when evidence contradicts ones own hypothesis or believe, everything is done to discredit the new evidence. You have even pointed out many instances in science yourself. So don't be too hard on these people. They are suffering from the same human flaw of the people who you side with in this debate.

As for my opinion and bias. I believe that not all Autism is the same, so I doubt there is a single silver bullet cause. I am convinced by the data available to me at this time, that there is a good chance that some component in vaccines may very well trigger the occurence of Autism in a subset of children (small but big enough). I also believe that inclusion of so many toxins in so many vaccines in the recent past was irresponsible and generally unhealthy. But I agree that the evidence does not allow the general conclusion that Mercury causes Autism.

I am a problem solver by profession, and I found your discussion on the string of evidence amusing. It is certainly valid to use a chain of evidence to form a convincing hypothesis and use that to target further investigation. You also forgot to add one more convincing piece of evidence (still not conclusive, but adding to the hypothesis). Mercury poisoning symptoms are extremely similar to Autism symptoms.

27 September, 2005 19:53  
Blogger Prometheus said...

Note to Schwartz:

The signs and symptoms of autism and mercury poisoning are only similar to people who have not seen both. In reality, mercury poisoning looks very little like autism, and vice versa.

Prometheus

27 September, 2005 21:15  
Blogger Ed in Colorado said...

In the classic mercury poisoning, chemicals in the body latch onto mercury and carry it out of the body through the kidneys. There are other avenues of egress, but the kidneys are the primary exit. Because of the tight junctions between the kidney cells, nothing leaves the blood stream without passing through the kidney cells. This includes mercury. Kidney cells suffer the insult when mercury passes through and they are usually the first organ damaged when there is mercury poisoning.
In contrast to autism where the chemicals that are used to carry mercury out are depleted, there is no comparison. Without the body chemicals that carry mercury out, mercury is free to attack the brain.
With this difference,

......The signs and symptoms of autism and mercury poisoning are only similar to people who have not seen both. In reality, mercury poisoning looks very little like autism, and vice versa......

is not relevant.

07 October, 2005 16:17  
Blogger Ed in Colorado said...

As for the issue of when I would believe that mercury and autism are not linked, you should note the following:

1. The shelf life of thimerosal vaccines is years. This is one of its main attractions.
2. There was never any recall for thimerosal vaccines.
3. There are still traces of thimerosal in vaccines. That means that it is still used in the manufacturing process and filtered later.
4. Thimerosal can attach itself to vaccine proteins making filtering (a physical process) ineffective.

So, to answer the poll, I will believe that there is no mercury autism connection when thimerosal is banned entirely from vaccines and there is no change in the autism rate after five years.

07 October, 2005 16:24  
Blogger Ed in Colorado said...

Never ascribe to malice that which can be attributed to ignorance and stupidity.

07 October, 2005 16:26  
Blogger Natalia said...

hey, i think if it's not right for politicians to criticize each other for being "autistic", ie using it as an insult for ppl with bad social skills or something, then we should not use a very real other syndrome to criticize curebies.

have you read "le Scaphandre et le Papillon" (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly)?

if people with locked-in-syndrome seem like just a metaphor to you, you should meet one, at least through a book. the guy in that book learned a lot through becoming locked-in. which i guess happens to a lot of ppl who suddenly become disabled and probably even to ppl who have been disabled as long as they can remember.

i think it is safe to say that it can be more of a reality check than anything. which is why a disability should not be a metaphor for a person lacking reality check.

just thought i ought to mention this.
otherwise seems like a useful blog. now i'm gonna go read some of your articles.

16 October, 2006 12:54  

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