A growing trend for health-related groups and institutions to distort or disregard the truth is causing the public to absorb dangerously misleading information. Let’s look at some events that occurred over just a 2-month period.
First, there’s the vaccine mess. Two topics have been receiving major attention. One is the use of thimerosal, containing the neurotoxin methylmercury as a preservative. Another is the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (MMR) and a possible link to intestinal dysfunction in children that affects the brain. Both issues are suspected of causing autism in genetically susceptible subsets of kids.
In May 2004, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a highly anticipated report on the potential roles of thimerosal and the MMR in developmental and other childhood disorders. The IOM claimed to have reviewed testimony from leading international researchers, including Dr. Andrew Wakefield, who found the measles virus in the gut of some vaccinated autistic children. As for thimerosal, there has been professional and public outcry to totally remove it from vaccine vials after parents reported seeing their children regress into autism following vaccine injections that contained the substance. Yet, the IOM report vindicated vaccine manufacturers, basically assured people there are no grounds for concern, and urged that future research on autism look in other directions.
Stop the research? That’s odd. In 2001 this same group called for studies that they said were needed before final decisions on vaccine safety could be made. Most of that research has not yet been completed. The IOM rushed to release their report. Just weeks after the report received major media exposure, a study showing the toxic damage thimerosal can cause was published (Hornig), as was research that supports Wakefield’s work (Bradstreet). Furthermore, the Office of Special Counsel in Washington, D.C. subsequently forwarded to Congress hundreds of disclosures alleging public health and safety concerns about the use of the preservative in vaccines.
By implying in their report that the needed research had been completed, the IOM lied. They knowingly misrepresented facts about something as incredibly important as a government-mandated vaccine policy for the most helpless among us.
Meanwhile, WebMD, an Internet site that boasts 20 million visitors a month, just featured a highly skewed article on whether or not food impacts behavior. The article quoted a professor of psychiatry as saying, “The biggest myth of all is that food has any connection to behavior. ” Their report, suggesting that parents simply imagine a connection exists, quickly made headlines. It overshadowed a new study released at the same time that confirmed a diet and behavior link. See here.
How could WebMD release such a misleading article, I wondered. Question answered: A reference in the article took me to a catchy quiz, which led to ads for Strattera, a drug for attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity. WebMD states: “Our mission is to be the most objective, credible, and trusted source of consumer healthcare information.” Objective? Trusted? Not with drug companies lining their pockets.
The New York State attorney general is presently suing GlaxoSmithKline, makers of the anti-depressant Paxil, for hiding studies that show the drug is ineffective in children and may actually increase their risk of suicide. GlaxoSmithKline conspired to lie to doctors and the public at the risk of children dying.
With powerful voices like these distorting the truth and showing no regard for the consequences, the roles of ACN Latitudes and similar projects are increasingly crucial.