John Rumbold and Japan. 5 March 2005
Hilary Butler,
freelance journalist
home 1892, New Zealand.

Dear Sir,

John Rumbold says:

>>>>OK Mr Stone let's talk about the latest study from Japan. I would guess you do not find this study convincing evidence that there is no link between MMR and autism? <<<<

I would like to point out to Mr Rumbold three things.

1) Last year, when I wrote and asked the Japanese Department of Health for the figures on Autism in Japan for the last thirty years, I was told they did not keep them.

2) Many, many years ago, when Japan stopped using the pertussis whole cell vaccine, they did so on the basis that it was causing unacceptably serious side effects.

Two things happened. Firstly, UK and America denied it could happen anywhere else, inferring that it must be something "peculiar" about Japanese babies.

Secondly, when Japan brought out a successful acellular vaccine, in order to prevent these side effects that America and UK said, didn't exist, that vaccine wasn't accepted by the rest of the world. Apparently it wasn't good enough and didn't "work" for the rest of the world's children. It wasn't until AMERICAN companies made a "good" acellular vaccine that suddenly a vaccine came available that was "suitable" for the rest of the world's children.

3) Years ago, when Japan abandonned the MMR because it was causing unacceptable side effects, the rest of the world medical profession, again considered this to be an anomaly. There must be something "different" in Japan. Nothing that came out of Japan about the inadvisability of using MMR was either supported by the rest of the world, or even, to my knowledge, reported in the media.

This brings up another glaring error in this paper. Hideo Honda says that MMR was discontinued after the Urabe strain caused aseptic meningitis. This is not true. Japan then trialled all the other MMRs and got the same result with that, as they did with Pluserix.

Which is why, to this day, they do not use "any" MMR vaccines. I wonder why he did not say that? Perhaps because he is a psychiatrist and not an immunologist?

When two Japanese psychiatrists, and Michael Rutter, one London 'psychiatrist' suddenly jump on a bandwaggon acceptable to the aims and agendas of the rest of the pro-vaccine world, the John Rumbold's of this world come out of their closet?

Why is it that we aren't hearing the old hoaries about how Japan is "different"? That their vaccination schedule bears no resemblance to the rest of the world? When, for instance, was the Japanese Encephalitis vaccine introduced into the baby schedule? Why is there not, as part of this article a chart showing the years that key vaccines were put in or removed to their national schedule, and also the mercury components of the vaccines used in Japan?

Why is it, these psychiatrist don't even provide the "actual" data from these children's immunisation records? They should since all Japanese parents carry that data in a special book, which they must take to all health visits. Might that data argue against their epidemiology?

Seven years based solely on observational ASD data only, in Yokohama analysed by psychiatrists only, does not a summer make.

Take into account also, that enquiries in Japan, today, show that though M, M and R, are indeed administered in separate syringes, and that while it is stipulated that they "should" be given four weeks apart, in practice they are often given at the same time, for the very same reason as is "stated" in our countries.

It saves time and visits, and most importantly... money. Going to a doctor in Japan is very expensive, and for those who have lived there, traffic is a total nightmare.  

There are too many assumptions made in this article; assumption which should not be left unchallenged.

They should ALSO have checked whether or not other vaccines, such as Japanese encephalitis, were ALSO administered at the same time. The Japanese encephalitis vaccine is not without its problems.

Here is another glaring omission in this study. The Japanese Health Ministry does not aggressively promote vaccine in Japan. They would be stupid to do so, given its history in that country. There is quite a strong movement in Japan particularly amongst the breastfeeders, and homebirthers not to vaccinate There is, therefore a reasonable cohort of totally unvaccinated children in Japan. I cannot help but wonder then, why this study didn't actively seek out a totally unvaccinated control group with which to compare the "subjects". These doctors mention two studies where supposedly, vaccinated children were compared to unvaccinated children.(Marsden 2002, Smeeth 2004) In fact, neither of those studies had TOTALLY unvaccinated children as controls. To use, as controls, otherwise up-to-date, vaccinated children, who hadn't got the MMR isn't a valid comparison to totally unvaccinated children. You might say that its all about MMR only, but is it? Are there other cumulative factors imposed by the use of all the other vaccines that walk some babies towards the edge of a cliff, but some only fall over after MMR? How can you tell, without a truly valid "control" group?

I notice the remark about studies using supposedly unvaccinated children: >>>> "The strategy is constrained by uncertainties over the factors that led parents not to have their children vaccinated." <<<<

That in itself begs explanation.

Interesting too, that in the Japanese study the upward blip in 1992 in figure 1, is a downward blip in Table one. Or is that yet another unexplained "anomaly"?

There are a lot of unanswered questions that come out of this paper. Such as "Why there were no immunological tests performed on these children to see exactly what was going on in their systems?" Or is that outside the brief of psychiatrists? I have yet to see one child who with regressive autism following ANY vaccination, to present with a properly working immune system.

I do not find that this study presents resoundingly negative data arguing against a hypothesis that MMR causes autism. I find that this study raises far more questions than it attempts to answer. It also raises questions about what constitutes good accurate scientific analysis, when the actual records of the vaccinations of these children were never presented or discussed. Just "assumed".

Finally, it would indeed be interested to know not only the competing interests of developmental psychiatrists, Michael Rutter, Hideo Honda and Yasuo Shimizu, but also their "expertise" in the area of vaccines, and the immune system, for it seems to me, this is, yet again, another pro-vaccine study lacking critique and solid data in critical areas.


Hilary Butler.

Competing interests: Long standing interest in Japan, as I have a lot of friends in Japan, having completed my training as a traditional Japanese embroiderer, many years ago, from the prefecture of Chiba, south of Yokohama.