Antivaccine nonsense Autism Complementary and alternative medicine Medicine Quackery

Don and Deirdre Imus deliver a hunk a hunk o’ burnin’ stupid about vaccines and autism (with apologies to Elvis)

Someone sent me a transcript of part of the appearance of Deirdre Imus on her husband’s radio show that’s been making the rounds in various discussion groups. I’m glad I don’t listen to the show, as this segment might have made me take a baseball bat to my radio, if I had enough neurological function to do so after being exposed to the toxic, intelligence-sucking effects of her black hole of ignorance. If you think her two Huffington Post articles that I deconstructed a while back were bad, just listen to her on Imus. Truly, it is hard to do so without losing some brain cells, but give it a try:

IMUS:  Speaking of donating money for good causes…(asking)..Who will you give money to?  You could give it to Autism Speaks so they could waste more money flying entertainers around on private jets, or not getting to the bottom of what the hell they’re supposed to be investigating in the first place.

DIEDRE:  No, you can’t give to that organization, because they are not addressing the real issues on autism.

IMUS:  Or overpaying a bunch of executives who do nothing.  Anyway, speaking of that…I saw Katie Couric and the robot on NBC the other night, reporting on finding this chromosome….they’re claiming that Autism is genetic…what’s that all about?

DIEDRE:  There’s two things.  There’s the California study that was released.  We put out a statement in my environmental center today and I’m also writing a piece on it.  It’s very flawed and it’s premature.  The study they put out…and it’s intellectually dishonest….what they do is hypothesize that all the thimerosal has been taken out of the vaccines, supposedly,,,and they buy into that.  

They say “Well, see, if thimerosal’s been taken out, and we’re still having a steady increase in autism, how come we’re not seeing drops in autism?”  What they fail to recognize, first of all, they don’t have access, they didn’t check to see and prove these children have not been exposed to thimerosal.  In fact, we do know the children continue to be exposed to thimerosal, because even when the American Academy of Pediatricians recommended in 2001 to remove it, it stayed on the shelves.  

I personally know parents that went to their pediatrician and they got thimerosal as late as 2003 – 2004.  Because it has a shelf life.  Also, coincidentally, when they said they wanted to take thimerosal out, in 2002 they added it to the flu vaccine.  They recommended it for all pregnant women and babies.  So, all of a sudden, they got this heavy dose, 24 micrograms, or 12 micrograms of mercury again.  

And, even the vaccines they say they removed thimerosal from, have trace amounts.  We found out the CDC and FDA can’t really verify what the trace amounts are.  So, the trace amounts could mean anything.  Bottom line, mercury is mercury, mercury is toxic, it’s a neuro-development toxicant and mutagen…and it’s going to cause harm.

IMUS:  I know you know a lot about medical stuff, what’s the quickest way to kill yourself?

DIEDRE:  Inject yourself with mercury.
IMUS:  To be serious, I have great admiration for you, but, I can’t listen to it.  That’s the problem….people don’t want to hear about it.
DIEDRE:  Why wouldn’t you want to hear about that, when the main-stream media need groups like mine to give the other side of the story?  Unfortunately, groups like Autism Speaks have scientists from the CDC and NIH that are covering this up.
KARA:  It’s like there is a medical mafia, controlling all the money, not letting the truth get out.
IMUS:  What’s this chromosome they found?
DIEDRE:  Well, that a separate study.  Chromosome sixteen.  Without getting into all that, they’re trying to claim autism is genetic.  This is where they contradict themselves and their studies actually validate that it’s environmental.  Yes, you can have a genetic pre-disposition, but, even this chromosome suffered mutagenic damage.  Which means, some kind of insult happened to damage the chromosome.  That’s what they never address.  A big culprit, as we know from studies, are heavy metals.  Of course this includes mercury….all sources of mercury.

Oh, goody. Deirdre Imus is going to write an article about the California study that I discussed earlier this week. I can hardly wait. Surely it’ll be more of the arrogance of ignorance. I don’t know if I’ll bother with it or not, given that I already know what it will say, but we’ll see. If it’s spectacularly idiotic enough, it might be an entertaining exercise to take a look.

As for the rest, it’s just more of the most idiotic conspiracy-mongering. Particularly ignorant is her last statement. First, the study that found a region of chromosome 16 linked to autism is but the most recent of a number of studies that strongly point to a genetic cause. Second, as the study itself states, this mutation is only associated with 1% of autism cases, and 90% of children carrying it inherit it from parents. Sorry, Deirdre, but that says nothing about an “environmental” factor. As for “prenatal” exposure to mercury, the amount of mercury in a single flu shot that pregnant women are encouraged to take, it would be hard to differentiate that from the exposure that most women get to mercury from the environment in the time before their pregnancy and before they know they’re pregnant, and you’d have to show that mercury in thimerosal at the doses given could cause this particular mutation. Deidre Imus just assumes that it must be the mercury.

When it comes to the recent California study, not to mention the numerous other well-designed studies that failed to find a link between thimerosal-containing vaccines or vaccines in general and autism, Deirdre Imus and the antivaccinationists that she encourages reminds me of Penelope Budisch. The bottom line is that the California study was just the latest high profile study that failed to find a link between thimerosal and autism. The mercury militia know it’s a huge blow to them, and that’s why they’re pulling out all the stops to attack or downplay it. Expect more of the same over the coming week or so.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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