A doctor at the prestigious Cleveland Clinic sparked an online uproar when he published an article Friday filled with anti-vaccine rhetoric, including the widely debunked claim that vaccines are linked to autism. Physicians took to Twitter to call the article “vile” and “Post-truth medicine” and demand whether the clinic endorsed its doctor’s views.

Dr. Daniel Neides, a family doctor and the director and chief operating officer of the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, wrote on a blog on the news site cleveland.com that preservatives and other ingredients in vaccines are dangerous and are likely behind the increase in diagnosed cases of neurological diseases such as autism — a claim that has long been discredited by researchers.

“Does the vaccine burden — as has been debated for years — cause autism? I don’t know and will not debate that here. What I will stand up and scream is that newborns without intact immune systems and detoxification systems are being over-burdened with PRESERVATIVES AND ADJUVANTS IN THE VACCINES,” he wrote. Adjuvants are added to vaccines to prompt a stronger immune response.

advertisement

“Some of the vaccines have helped reduce the incidence of childhood communicable diseases, like meningitis and pneumonia,” he continued. “That is great news. But not at the expense of neurologic diseases like autism and ADHD increasing at alarming rates.”

Neides’s wellness institute provides “world-class medical care and quality wellness programs to change unhealthy behaviors and to make healthy life choices,” according to its website. But to the wider medical community, the claims that Neides espoused did not promote “healthy life choices.” Instead, they said these statements were downright dangerous.

advertisement

Dr. Vinay Prasad, a hematologist-oncologist at the Oregon Health and Sciences University, expressed disbelief on Twitter:

In an email to STAT, Prasad added, “That article … contains many of the tired, unsupported, irrational concerns about pediatric vaccines, as well as generally unsupported thoughts on ‘toxin’ exposure. Frankly, it is a little surprising it is written by a doctor, and not someone on the fringe, who lacks basic science and medical training.”

Dr. Jeffrey Matthews, chair of the University of Chicago’s Department of Surgery, tweeted:

Scientists and doctors were horrified about the misinformation contained in the article, especially given that the source is affiliated with a such a prestigious medical institution. A spokesperson for Cleveland Clinic told STAT on Saturday that Neides “will not be doing an interview.”

“He wrote this opinion piece on his own and it does not reflect the position of the Cleveland Clinic whatsoever, and we strongly support vaccinations and the protection of patients and employees,” said Eileen Sheil, executive director of corporate communications for the medical center.

Many doctors saw the post as an embarrassment for the Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Benjamin Mazer, a resident physician in pathology at Yale New Haven Hospital who tweeted that the article was “one of the most vile, false things I have ever read by a doctor,” said in an interview that it wasn’t an isolated event.

“This is really part of a larger movement that distrusts mainstream medicine, distrusts mainstream public health, and really trades in conspiracy theories,” he told STAT. “This article is a really prime example of that. It’s just a shame that it’s a physician spreading these conspiracy theories because people naturally trust physicians.”

He was especially appalled at the misinformation that Neides was spreading about hepatitis B vaccines, which, Mazer said, “have prevented thousands of deaths.”

Non-clinicians were just as worried.

“When I see opinion pieces that stoke fears about the truly minuscule amounts of formaldehyde (a naturally occurring metabolite in every one of us) in vaccines or suggest that there is still some ‘debate’ as to whether or not vaccines and autism are linked, it sets off alarm bells and huge red flags in my head,” Michael Wosnick, the former scientific director of the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute, told STAT by email.

  • Indeed, it is not surprising at all considering that most doctors lack a sound knowledge of basic science, in particular biology.
    Still, I am guessing that only a doctor and/or chemist thought that using thimerosal (or other heavy metal based compound) as preservative was indeed a good idea

    • Quite. It’s not as if ethyl mercury and methyl mercury are entirely different compounds with dramatically different toxicity profiles or anything.

      Oh, wait…

    • Guy — when you live with a vaccine-injured child, this is not a topic to be tossed about for fun, and I refuse to get ugly. Children’s lives are at stake here. Families lives. I spend hours every single day reading published studies, books on immunity, genetics, neurology. I confer with geneticists, research scientists, immunologists. I know the history and politics of vaccines, and I know the science of mercury. Thimerosal is toxic. I will post once more the most recent study done by cancer researchers, who in their search for a substance that would stop cells from reproducing to halt tumor growth discovered that thimerosal does just that. It interrupts a protein critical to cell growth and immune function, ERPA1. Yet they concluded that THIMEROSAL IS TOO TOXIC TO USE IN CANCER TREATMENT. ( http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acsmedchemlett.6b00084?journalCode=amclct) And while it is true that not everyone injected with thimerosal in the past, or currently, experiences an injury, those with genetic susceptibility, impaired mitochondrial function, gut dysbiosis, leaky brain-barrier, or other issues do — and many children, and adults, can be in those categories at various times of their life, such as during illness, when on antibiotics, when taking acetaminophen, and much more. Thimerosal needs to be removed from vaccines in the US (flu shots) and worldwide (most all vaccines in poor nations). A product injected into healthy children should not come with the risk of brain injury. Aluminum must be removed as well — and yes, I know that without it inactivated vaccines don’t work well, but that means researchers must find safe adjuvants. Not “safer” adjuvants, but “safe” adjuvants. And whenever there is risk, there must absolutely be freedom of medical choice without denial of rights, such as access to school.

  • the medical mafia will silence anyone who dares to reveal the truth. kudos to this good man for speaking out. he is a true doctor. the others are just order takers from pharma. First do pHARM.

    • Right, whatever. I spent 14 years studying biology and human medicine and dedicated my life to serving the medical needs of my fellow man. Never saw the “medical mafia.” Now I am in a previously un-served rural community treating cancer patients. I don’t see any mafia here. Didn’t see any at the Mayo Clinic, Wayne County (Detroit) sexually transmitted infections clinic, USAF medical center San Antonio, VA Medical centers in Ann Arbor or Iowa City.
      So get oriented to reality, please.
      Doctors are doing their best to help their fellow human beings have the healthiest life they can. The evidence is clear: society is much healthier and living longer with the help of vaccines.

  • I am VERY supportive of looking into ANY reason for the huge increase in Autism…(I have a 17 year old nephew with Autism with no chance of a normal life–he was fine until he was 2 1/2 then boom)..no stone should be left unturned including this one. Shame on the Clinic (and my husband and I have gone to the Clinic for years…I sure hope they allow for any research that would help my husband who has a form of cancer…and not “persecute” any ideas) for not supporting any medical research….Everything should be looked into as the medical community currently has no idea what is causing this epidemic. Why are they so afraid of this being researched and looked in to?

    • Are you kidding? Study after study has been conducted and always the same conclusion- there is no link between vaccination and autism. Dissatisfied with the results of every single study done that showed no vaccine-autism link, anti-vaxxers bankrolled their own study. Even the study financed by the av movement couldn’t find a link. More than enough time, money, and resources have been wasted disproving the link between Autism and childhood vaccinations. There’s big studies, long studies, even studies conducted in other countries and out of the reach of big pharma. Take your pick, but the results are all the same and if you can’t find one that suits your fancy? Maybe you should fund the next one.

  • The “many, many Drs and other scientists” who agree with your antivax ideas don’t exist. The overwhelming majority of doctors and scientists around the world agree that vaccines save lives. The teeny number you’re left with doesn’t even equate to 1 “many.” The few in your corner have, like Wakefield, turned their backs on their patients in favor of riches. You can keep the chiropractor’s practicing outside of their purview, the Drs who sold their souls to push vitamins, supplements, and fad diets are all yours. Of course, the lying, money hungry, fraud- guilty of abusing the 12 mentally challenged children from his retracted study… The champion of the anti-vax movement, Andy Wakefield. Don’t list him as a Dr though, he has been erased from the UK medical register. Erased! Take Sears and Tenpenny and the most vile of them all: Dr. Kelly Brogan. Take her, take her far, far away. Her woo is so strong there wasn’t even a name for it. She had to create a new title for herself- Holistic Women’s Health Psychiatrist? I’m sure Drs practicing real Psychiatry appreciate the distinction. They wouldn’t want the entire profession sullied with all of Brogan’s junk science. Congratulations! A real winning team of Drs you antivaxxers have!

    • He definitely should have written ” many many forward thinking doctors who actually read the industry paid studies and arent afraid to question the concludions, and know that the CDC hides results”. He should have said a lot more but didnt….. and still the industry trolls pounce.

    • This isn’t about “science”. That is the cover story. It is about your civil rights…. and the power of consent. You also conveniently ignore a large portion of this PSYOPS — plausible deniability. The best way to deny the existence of something is simply to not study it. There is no financial incentive for Western medicine to fairly study the efficacy and safety of vaccines because of the obvious conflict of interest. Regardless, force-vaccination against ones consent is not only illegal, unconstitutional, but also clearly against international law. This is not about the suspension of a Constitutional Right under some compelling casas belli. It is about the total and irreversible abolition of a Right under public health cover. Any American who fails to understand this concept does not also understand their Constitutional Rights. And, as any good lawyer will tell you ..the only Rights you ever have …are the Rights you assert. Assert them or lose them. Its that simple. People are not property. We fought that war 2 times. Must we fight is a third time now?

    • While many who support vaccines unequivocally (without regard for individual genetic, health, or environmental exposure factors, and without regard for the biological and mechanistic evidence showing how vaccines and their ingredients can harm) like to claim there is a mountain of evidence showing that vaccines don’t cause autism, the mountain is a myth.

      Several major reviews of all the literature to date over the years by the IOM and independent researchers all netted just a handful of autism studies done for just a couple vaccines and one vaccine ingredient (thimerosal) worthy of considering, and all of them were epidemiological. All vaccines have not been studied, the full pediatric schedule has not been studied in regards to autism or all the other now epidemic numbers of ADD, ADHD, learning disorders, allergies, etc. I must make it very clear that I do not believe vaccines are the only cause of these health issues. There are MANY environmental toxins, as Dr. Neides so wisely said, our children our exposed to daily and they all play their role. For every autism diagnosis, there is a different journey. For many, vaccines are the major cause.

      Now that mechanistic evidence has been found by cancer researchers as to how thimerosal can cause neurological disorders, autism, and autoimmune disorders, it is time to move away from that debate and simply get it removed from all vaccines, everywhere in the world. In short, thimerosal was found to downregulate ERAP1, which is critical to the immune system and to peptide trimming. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acsmedchemlett.6b00084?journalCode=amclct

      As for those meta-reviews, let’s examine one of the most recent: “Vaccines are not associated with autism: an evidence-based meta-analysis of case-control and cohort studies” (Vaccine. 2014 Jun 17;32(29):3623-9. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2014.04.085. Epub 2014 May 9.) which sorted through the entire body of published work on the relationship between vaccines and autism, just as the IOM did in 2012, and found just 10 studies that met their parameters.

      Five of these studies (Andrews, Hviid, Madsen, Verstraeten, Price) were analyzed in another review published the same year and found, as the review title states, “Methodological Issues and Evidence of Malfeasance in Research Purporting to Show Thimerosal in Vaccines Is Safe.”

      Hooker, et al https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24995277

      In regards to the Hviid study, in 2004, the IOM Adverse Event report, “The committee identified a few limitations of the study, including its time-series design and the generalizability of the study’s findings to the U.S. situation, especially with regard to the different dosing schedule used in Denmark and the relative genetic homogeneity of the Danish population.”

      Per the Verstraeten study, IOM found, “Limitations include the study’s ability to answer whether thimerosal in vaccines causes autism because the study tests a dose-response gradient, not exposure versus non-exposure.”

      Per the Madsen study, IOM found, “However, despite the reanalysis the authors stated that autism incidence after 1995 may have been exaggerated due to the change in including outpatient cases into the Danish Psychiatric Central Register. This limits the study’s contribution to causality.” And in their 2012 Report, IOM noted, “One of the authors of this article, P. Thorsen, was indicted for embezzlement on April 13, 2011. The implications for the integrity of the study are unknown at this time.”

      Also in IOMs 2012 report, “DeStefano et al., 2004; Richler et al., 2006; Schultz et al., 2008; Taylor et al., 2002; Uchiyama et al., 2007) had very serious methodological limitations that precluded their inclusion in this assessment [IOMs 2012 report]. Taylor et al. (2002) inadequately described the data analysis used to compare autism compounded by serious bowel problems or regression (cases) with autism free of such problems (controls). DeStefano et al. (2004) and Uchiyama et al. (2007) did not provide sufficient data on whether autism onset or diagnosis preceded or followed MMR vaccination.”

      Dr. William Thompson, one of the researchers on the DeStefano et al study, as mentioned above, came forward in 2014 as a whistleblower on this study, stating results did show a causal link between the timing of the administration of the MMR and autism.

      IOM in 2012 determined per the Mrozek-Budzyn et al., “This study was rated as having serious limitations because it did not provide information on medical conditions among the controls and relied on medical record abstraction for immunization dates and autism diagnosis dates.”

      The Uno et al study was far too under-powered (Cases (n=189) were diagnosed with ASD, controls (n=224) and lacked genetic population diversity.
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22521285

      Smeeth et al. is also too under-powered to provide a useful conclusion, and we refer you to this published criticism: http://www.bmj.com/rapid-response/2011/10/30/criticisms-confounding-smeeth-et-al.

      In summary, there is no mountain of evidence showing that vaccines don’t cause autism. The IOM and others consider only a handful of epidemiological studies even worth looking at, and those even they admit are flawed. It’s time to examine the very real mountain of biological and mechanistic evidence as is easily found by a search of PubMed for aluminum adjuvant toxicity and other vaccines/vaccine ingredients, and the words neurological, central nervous system, immune system. Or you can simply read James Lyons-Weiler’s book since he has read more than 2,000 studies and compiled his findings into THE ENVIRONMENTAL AND GENETIC CAUSES OF AUTISM. His citations can be found here: https://envgencauses.com/

    • BPajer, I am getting tired of pointing this out. Thompson’s claim was that the CDC refused to further investigate an association between vaccination and autism in African-American boys vaccinated before 36 months. The evidence shows that actually they did look into this, and it was an artifact in the data – noise – which is absolutely routine in post-hoc subgroup analysis. But that’s beside the point.

      Assume for a moment that Thompson’s data does show an association. Assume further that it is causal (something even Thompson does not claim). Assume for a moment that the incompetent statistics of Hooker, motivated as they were by his own in-process lawsuit, were something other than junk.

      What you get is a categorical refutation of Wakefield.

      If the Thompson subgroup is proof of a causal link, it is also proof of no causal link in any group other than African-American boys vaccinated before 36 months.

      That is a tiny subset of those claiming vaccine-triggered autism. It excludes Hooker’s own child (and let’s not forget he lost his case).

      Overall there are hundreds of studies from dozens of countries covering millions of children over a period of decades, and they universally fail to support a link between vaccines and autism. Wakefield’s own work fails to show a link.

      But if you pin your colours to Thompson’s mast – or really Hooker’s, as Thompson did not actually say most of this stuff – then you implicitly accept that white, Asian or Hispanic children, and of course all girls , do not get autism from vaccines.

      That is the reality of it. Accept the Hooker-Wakefield “Vaxxed” narrative, and you have to accept that only a subset of African-American boys get autism from vaccines.

  • Dr. Neides, you are my hero. So very sorry that Cleveland Clinic pressured you to retract your blog. You spoke the truth. You spoke for all the vaccine-injured adults and children in this country. What was so terrible in your truth telling that Cleveland Clinic felt they had to shut. you. up.

  • What the doctor was basically saying is that science is argumentative. And in Western medicine, there is no tolerance for debate. It is dictatorial, authoritative…it speaks with one voice. But science clearly isn’t like this. Today’s standard of care is often tomorrow’s malpractice lawsuit. Every drug every withdrawn by the FDA as harmful, was first approved by the FDA as safe. Moreover, these scientific articles must control the narrative by ignoring the obligatory component of vaccines. Individuals and parents no longer have their civil rights to refuse vaccines. Today, people are property and the state forces its authoritarian rule over them under public health cover.

    • Wow, he didn’t link vaccines to autism, stated there were benefits to vaccines, but had concerns with overburdening the immune system (a not unfounded concern and one which hasn’t been well explored due to multiple confounds) and he gets tarred and feathered by the medical community.
      I always thought science was supposed to be open to discussion – this is the furthest thing from it.
      I’m not an “anti-vaxxer” but the level of reaction to his statements makes one wonder if there really is some agenda being played out here.
      I also note that those health care professionals quoted in the article are probably the least qualified to weigh in on the matter.

    • “(a not unfounded concern and one which hasn’t been well explored due to multiple confounds) ”

      Completely unfounded and not backed up by any research in the world.

      Spout some more nonsense.

  • What have the ‘medical professionals’ to say with regard to the ‘safe and effective’ Thalidamide? Was that a lie too? What about the testing on the Tuskeegee airmen? What about Congressman Bill Posey demanding William Thompson be subpoenaed? What about the VAERS court paying 3.5 billion dollars in vaccine damages? All of those opposing those of us knowing vaccines are not safe and effective are giving zero credibility to their side, just calling us ‘crazy anti-vaxxers’. Where’s your informed defense? I see no real data, just insults. That’s a result of fear – fear that you see our movement of truth unfolding. We are awake. Good luck with your vaccines.

  • There are textbooks written on vaccines and autoimmunity. In fact, that’s what it’s called, Vaccines and Autoimmunity. Published by Wiley Press, a western medical science publisher, by the doctor who runs the largest autoimmunity clinic in the world.

    It’s 400+ pages of over 2000 nih.gov Pubmed-cited studies.

  • I applaud this doctor for having the courage to speak out against the raging medical industrial complex which is nothing but a money making machine. Many of the treatments we give patients are toxic and causing more disease. Furthermore, the autism debate is NOT over because we now know from Dr. William Thompson, one of the head researchers at the CDC now turned whistleblower, his team committed fraud and covered up the connection between the MMR vaccine and autism. Furthermore, Dr. Smith and Dr. Wakefield have been exonerated over the MMR vaccine paper which main stream media continues to falsely state as fraudulent.

    Until people wake up and use common sense vs. bowing to the power of Big Pharma which has bought off our government agencies like the CDC and FDA, the AMA, ANA and congress, we will never achieve good health in this country.

    As a nurse, I was taught vaccines are good and save lives. Period. No real training on their ingredients, how to spot adverse vaccine reactions or report reactions to VAERS. Vaccines were a sacred cow you didn’t question.

    When my own son had a vaccine reaction, I started researching vaccines. I actually learned more than I ever wanted to about vaccines because it made me realize I’m part of a medical mafia of sorts – where I’m simply part of a profit generating operation and not a healthcare organization. Vaccines are neither safe nor effective – if they were, why do we have to keep giving them over and over again to the same kids? Kids now get 69 doses of vaccines. I got 5 shots as a kid and grew up perfectly healthy. Why do kids now need to keep getting them over and over? How is that effective? Furthermore, we now see a much higher incidence of auto immune disease in kids due to the onslaught of vaccines on their immune system from all the adjuvants. (Google ASIA Autoimmune (Auto-inflammatory) Syndrome induced by Adjuvants.) Why are there now 1 in 68 kids with autism?

    As a nurse, I’m glad I don’t blindly promote vaccines like I used to before I researched them. It’s amazing how many pro vaccine individuals – especially healthcare workers, blindly tout the wonders of vaccines without ever knowing much about them or researching them! These are the ignorant and dangerous healthcare providers because they unknowingly promote fraud and unhealthy patient care.

    • There’s a lot of false information and anti-vaccine propaganda in this post.

      1. No, William Thompson didn’t say his team committed fraud or cover up any causal association between vaccines and autism.
      2. No, Mr. Wakefield was never exonerated. His medical license is still revoked.
      3. Yes, Wakefield’s paper is still retracted as fraudulent.
      4. Yes, vaccines are effective, and their effectiveness has been independently verified.
      5. No, the common recommended vaccines are not more dangerous than the alternative of not getting vaccinated, unless you have a legitimate medical exemption.
      6. No, vaccines don’t cause common autoimmune disease and ASIA isn’t accepted as valid by the experts in the field.

      If anyone thinks I have misrepresented any of the points above, feel free to ask me to clarify. I do agree with the last part, that there “are the ignorant and dangerous healthcare providers because they unknowingly promote fraud and unhealthy patient care” -like the author of this post.

    • Brian,
      Just because you say it, doesn’t make it true. Provaxxers always parrot Big Pharma propaganda, ‘safe and effective’ ‘no link between vaccines and autims – proven.’
      Show me the research that proves vaccines are safe and effective. Show me the research that shows the current vaccine schedule has been tested and found safe.
      What do you do for a living that makes you such an expert? You aren’t very brave to put out just a first name. Obviously a paid Pharma troll.

Comments are closed.

A roundup of STAT’s top stories of the day in science and medicine

Privacy Policy