The Australian Spinal Research Foundation – the infection of anti-vaccinationism

The Australian Spinal Research Foundation is an associated organisation of the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia. The ASRF’s raison d’être is research. The main area of research would seem to be to prove that the chiropractic subluxation is a thing, which is a real thing, as opposed to the thing which currently exists only in the minds of fundamentalist chiropractors and their brainwashed customers. To do this research the ASRF holds charitable status. With great power comes great responsibility. I hope they are spending their earnings in the right places:

Our Bona Fides

Australian Spinal Research Foundation is a company limited by guarantee under Australian Corporations Law. The Foundation is an approved Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) under the Australian Income Tax Assessment Act (Section 30-15, Research Institute) and an Income Tax Exempt Charity (Section 50-5). The Foundation is registered as Charity No. 1193 under the Queensland Collections Act and is exempt from Stamp Duty under the Stamp Act.

Only two days ago a blockbuster of a post was published by The Rogue Chiropractor:  Australian Spinal Research Foundation: it’s time to drop the pretence. It has been revealed that the research output of the ASRF is abysmal; and, their research funding is even worse [my bold]:

The ASRF started in 1976 and is considered a well-established not-for-profit organisation. Over the past 13 years the ASRF has grossed an impressive $12.9M largely through spizzed-up promotion of subluxation theories. Only 6.9% of all revenue ends up eventuating in the ASRF’s primary function which is research grant activity. Of interest, 33.7% of income is spent on wages and salaries…

It is now 2013 and we must ask ourselves the question – are we any closer to being able to prove the existence of the vertebral subluxation complex and the effects they have on health? Twelve years on and we are still no closer to being able to accurately define a valid and reliable method of identifying one. Should the spizzed-up CAA board throw millions of dollars of their membership’s money at subluxation research based upon the advice of this floundering research foundation?

So, this appears to be highly questionable. But, that’s only a small part of why we’re here today.

I’ve covered the ASRF before in this post:  Some vitally flawed Australian chiropracticIn it I presented a small glimpse of the anti-vaccinationism of the ASRF: the deranged Californian chiropractor, Billy DeMoss, and the callous anti-vaccination zealot, Meryl Dorey, have both been welcome guests at the ASRF’s premier event, the Dynamic Growth Congress. And, just as we’ve seen in the past with the CAA’s compulsion of anti-vaccinationism, and the proliferation of anti-vaccine board members on the various CAA national and state boards; today we will have a look at the Board of the ASRF, and the anti-vaccine infection therein.

Martin Harvey runs a business called Align Chiropractic, in Melbourne. He is the ASRF president.  Harvey is/was a member of the anti-vaccination pressure group, the Australian Vaccination Network. Harvey appears to spend much time overseas liaising with like-minded chiropractors, such as Billy DeMoss, and Angus Pyke:

Harvey 2 picture with DeMossHe is generally pretty careful on social media, but a perusal of his website turns up some of his true feelings.

Harvey cites the crank anti-vaccination organisation, the International Medical Council on Vaccination, in a comparison which infers autism is caused by vaccination, and which also includes the lie about the Amish:

Harvey 3 vaccines autism vaccinationcouncil AmishHarvey wrongly compares the 2010 influenza vaccine paediatric adverse events – remember, they were febrile – with the likelihood that the same will happen in adults. His reason? He doesn’t have one. He just thinks people should avoid vaccines:

Harvey 4 kids flu AE adults don't get it eitherHere Harvey argues against the use of the H1N1 vaccine on the basis that the 1976 vaccine caused adverse events. We already know that it wasn’t just the immunocompromised who suffered the most from H1N1 infection. The young and healthy, when hit, were hit hard; as were pregnant women:

Harvey 5 swine flu 1976 comparisonHarvey argues against a vaccine trial run by the Telethon Institute for Child Health. Really. I think we can see that this aversion to research is ingrained. “Are you willing to donate your child to science?” Well, are you punk?

Harvey 6 donate your child to science vaccie trialAnd finally Harvey tells customers to ensure they report their vaccine adverse events to…the AVN. Really, here it is in his own words:

Harvey 7 report AE to AVNRay Hayek, the ASRF deputy president, has no information to include here.

Mark Uren runs a business called Lane Cove Chiropractic. He is the ASRF treasurer. Uren is/was a member of the anti-vaccination lobby group, the Australian Vaccination Network. Like Harvey, he is pretty careful about what he puts online. Unfortunately, he should have been more careful about what he keeps in his business, so as not to turn his customers into anti-vaccinationists:

T’was a flyer in a chiropractors draw that got me poking around in the first case (Lane Cove Chiro Clinic – run by Mark Uren – great guy). Chiro’s have always been great sceptics (dare I say haters) of vaccines. That’s their position – it didn’t automatically become mine.

You just can't trust the customers from keeping their damn mouths shut, right?

You just can’t trust the customers from keeping their damn mouths shut, right?

Tony Rose is one of our favourite anti-vaccine chiropractors. He now has his own business in Hawthorn, Victoria. Rose is the ASRF secretary. He is/was a member of the anti-vaccination pressure group, the Australian Vaccination Network.

Carmen Atkinson works with Martin Harvey at Align Chiropractic. She runs her own blog under the Align name. In this post she delves into anti-vaccine advocacy, warning her customers off the H1N1 vaccine, like a boss:

In other words, what we really have with the swine flu vaccine is an untested, potentially dangerous cocktail of chemicals and viral fragments that could plausibly be linked to a devastating neurological condition.

These doctors and scientists are warning about the possibility of dangerous neurological side effects precisely because the government is failing to do so. Governments and pharmaceutical companies don’t want the People to know about any of the risks associated with the vaccine, so they don’t talk about them. Nor do they reveal the rather startling fact that the vaccine has never been tested on children or expectant mothers even though those are the two primary groups being targeted for the vaccine.

Rather than taking the risk, and subjecting yourself to this potentially toxic cocktail, you may wish consider how else you could protect yourself.

It makes sense to me to focus on strengthening your own immune system – good nutrition, regular exercise and ensuring you have a healthy nerve system are key to your body’s ability to fight infection.

Make an informed choice….please do your research!

Atkinson 2 H1N1 vaccine potentially toxic cocktailAtkinson also appeared on the Facebook page of the anti-vaccine AVN, to tell her Facebook friend Meryl Dorey that she had done a good job in a radio interview:

Atkinson 3 Dorey interviewGood interview? Dorey lied throughout the interview, including these gems:

And the AVN bases its information on medical science. Now Ian Fraser is renowned for having created the Gardasil vaccine which has been linked with a huge number of deaths and adverse reactions around the world. Ian Fraser also owns the worldwide patent in … on what’s called virus-like particles which is the technology used to create the Gardasil vaccine. He owns the patent on that and that is the patent that’s used in many new vaccines.

And:

We have over twelve hundred families registered on our database whose children have either been seriously affected or died because of vaccination and not one of these reactions was ever reported by the doctor involved.

And, on Wakefield:

 It has not been debunked and as a matter of fact there was just a high court case about 6 months ago, one of the authors of that study, I forget his name, I’m sorry, Simon Walker-Jones or something, I can’t remember his name. He actually won a high court case in the United Kingdom and the other … one of the other co-authors, there were 13 authors of this case series, it was not even a study. One of the other authors, Doctor Andrew Wakefield2is also taking legal action and we expect that he will win. And since that time, there have been dozens of articles, the most recent one was just published in the Journal of Toxicology I think, and that said that the aluminium adjuvants in vaccines can, most definitely, be linked with vaccinations and autism. So there have been many other studies since that first study in 1998, but they are all ignored by the medical community and they are all ignored by the media, unfortunately. And the one study that the media and the medical community keeps referring back to is a Danish study, one of the researchers there was Poul Thorsen and he is on the run right now, having embezzled more than two million dollars from the CDC on that study and he is one of the 10 most wanted men in the United States, and yet this study is still referred to as the authoritative study to prove that vaccines don’t cause autism. There’s a huge double standard.

Yes. Good interview Meryl Dorey! Said no one ever.

Nimrod Weiner. Nimrod. Weiner. This is the same guy who was recently booted off the CAA NSW board for his incessant anti-vaccinationism, in the face of demands to stop. And yet, here he is. Weiner runs a business called Newtown Community Chiropractic. Dr Rachael Dunlop covered one of Weiner’s anti-vaccine seminars, here. Look, Weiner seems like a really nice guy. But, his presence on any chiropractic body speaks volumes of that body. From Rachael’s piece:

For a pediatric chiropractor I couldn’t be more disappointed in Nimrod Weiner. He’s a smart man who has studied extensively, but he sat in a room filled almost exclusively with pregnant women and parents with babies and scared them into not vaccinating. He told them never to get vaccinated if they are pregnant “no matter what they tell you”. He cited studies that have been struck from the literature because they were found to be fraudulent and he defended them when questioned. In the middle of a pertussis epidemic in which at least three babies have died, he told parents that childhood diseases are self limiting and not very harmful.

But worst of all, as we were gathering our stuff and about to leave, someone asked him a question about homeopathic vaccination. He said although he wasn’t a homeopath, he understood it worked like vaccines, in that it had contained small amount of the infectious material, but was safer because it didn’t have the toxic chemicals that vaccines have.

Ironic really, when he had just stood in front of us for two hours, spouting misinformation about vaccines and never once did he say he was not an immunologist or a medical doctor. He gave medical advice to pregnant women and parents for two hours and much of it was wrong.

Elizabeth Deane has no information to include here.

James Carter has no information to include here.

Gary Smith runs a business called Hunter Healthy Spines, in NSW. Smith has a quiet online presence. However, he is/was a member of the rabid anti-vaccination pressure group, the Australian Vaccination Network.

Craig Foote runs a business called Nervana Chiropractic. A few of his employees/associates have featured in my anti-vaccine chiropractors series, as well as in my post regarding chiropractors sneaking into hospitals without permission. Foote is/was a member of the callous anti-vaccination pressure group, the Australian Vaccination Network.

Ali Postles runs a business called Simply Chiropractic, in New Zealand. Postles featured in my recent series about anti-vaccine chiropractors.

So, that is all eleven of the board of governors of the Australian Spinal Research Foundation. Only three of them have no anti-vaccine affiliation or online presence of anti-vaccine misinformation. Eight of these eleven people can be regarded as anti-vaccinationists. And five of those eight anti-vaccinationists are or were members of Australia’s most prominently, consistently wrong conglomerate of nutbag conspiracy theorists one could hesitantly regard as akin to health information providers. Five out of eleven of the board members of this charity, are or were members of the AVN.

Holy crap, you guys.

73% of the ASRF board is anti-vaccine. That’s almost a distinction.

And I didn’t even include the former ASRF board members who featured in my anti-vaccine series: David Cahill and Taylor Vagg. Nor did I include others, like Angus Pyke, and Billy Chow, who are not on the board; but, appear to be heavily involved in steering the organisation, as seen in this public image uploaded by Craig Foote:

ASRF 4 Weiner still on board

And who can forget the anti-vaccine wellness evangelical, Laurence Tham; a big contributor to the ASRF cause of practice building and back-slapping: two of the mainstays of the straight chiropractic movement worldwide.

One can only hope that the members of the Australian chiropractic community will now rise up and start asking hard questions of the ASRF, and most of its board members’ anti-science beliefs, and whether or not the two can meld into any ethical research framework. Hard questions also need to be asked of those allocating the cash; and maybe they should be presenting that for which the organisation was established: research, and subluxations. Stories of Elvis sightings are no longer acceptable. It’s time to cough up with the evidence.

But, one can hope that when hard questions are asked, and appropriate criticisms are raised – such as those by The Rogue Chiropractor – that the fundamentalist defenders of the ASRF will not react like National Board Member of the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia, Phillip Ebrall:

Ebrall 8 tweet to Rogue ChiroYeah, you don’t want to do that. Especially given that you are the Head of School for Central Queensland University’s chiropractic department. That would look terrible.

___________________________________________

A want to give a huge thank you to my Research Director at Glaxxon Corp7.2XxXQ without whom this post would not have eventuated. You know who you are. 

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About reasonable hank

I'm reasonable, mostly.
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12 Responses to The Australian Spinal Research Foundation – the infection of anti-vaccinationism

  1. wzrd1 says:

    One ponders the regulatory bodies involved in Australian tax exemption.
    Of course, this US citizen wonders at his own government’s glaring ineptitude’s….
    The last being a list quite well known of late.

    But, one ponders: ““Are you willing to donate your child to science?” Well, are you punk?”
    I can honestly answer, “Yes! Absolutely! *Both* of our daughters were tested in a double blind evaluation for the varicella vaccine.” We also learned which daughter got the NS or whatever placebo injection was used, as our youngest did contract Chickenpox. Her sister, who shared a bedroom with her did not.

    Interesting side note, by wife never contracted Chickenpox, despite her brother and sister having it and our youngest. But then, with our children, she was educated in the grand method of infection avoidance: Wash your bloody hands, dammit!
    Don’t know about her childhood, unless she had a subclinical exposure or she managed to keep antibodies alive for a decade and a half from her blood exchange transfusion as an infant.
    I find the latter hardly credible. The former, possible.
    Avoidance of facial exposure by minimal, passive methods, incessant hand washing are what I suspect kept her varicella free, later in life.
    But then, that worked quite well for all, save one influenza epidemic, one where we didn’t observe a vigorous hand washing regimen. As it was an H1N1 variant we contracted, we were educated the hard way quite well.
    We’d not recommend that infection to anyone, not even one’s worst enemy.

    • Andy says:

      To be fair, “well, are you punk?” was added by Hank.

      But the original question is weird. Does this chiropractor not think any research should be carried out into childhood treatments? Or does he think it should be carried out without involving actual child subjects?

      If child-health research is a bad thing, how did paediatric chiropractic ever come to be? Did they just assume it must work then make it a thing? No need to answer, that was rhetorical.

      • wzrd1 says:

        @Andy, that’s why I had the double quotes, to fully capitalize upon Hank’s poetic license addition.
        But, it’s true. Both of our daughters were part of the pilot varicella vaccine program, with our full and happy consent.

        @Darkly Venus, you wouldn’t believe how many organizations in the US get tax exempt status, but are truly either for profit or political groups that exist purely to purchase candida-errr, give campaign contributions to politicians.
        Meanwhile, I am non-profit by matter of pure fact, but am not tax exempt. :/
        Though, I *am* an ordained mail order minister*… 😉

        * I kid you not. The Universal Life Church ordains via internet application and mails one’s ordination documents. I did it as a “just in case” matter, as I recall friends wanting to marry in a GCC nation and had trouble finding a minister to perform the service until one of our mutual friends stepped up with her ULC documentation and was permitted by the host nation to officiate.
        Wouldn’t use such documentation to cheat my government out of taxes, that is a way fraught with peril, but I would use it to perform such a service for friends in the future.
        For, in a crazy world, there are times it is better to go with the crazy flow.

  2. Maddy says:

    You give rabid animals a bad name with your comparisons to various antivaxxers. Those poor animals have been infected by a very virulent virus and are in the process of dying.

    What is the excuse the anti-vaxxers are going to rely on for their anti-social, irrational, attempts to harm others?

  3. Darkly Venus says:

    I can’t say I understand the workings of the Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission, however the Charities Bill 2013 introduced a public benefit test – as exists in the UK. However, unless a concern is raised about a charity, by the public or beneficiaries, the test is probably something like: ‘is your charitable mission benefiting the public?’

    ASRF: ‘yup’

    ACNC: ‘kthanxbai’

    (A bit like the HCCC.)

    I think what is required, if you want to bring the ASRF into line, is that concerned parties organise a complaint to the ACNC and make a case for ‘harm to beneficiaries’.

    And yes wzrd1, you wouldn’t believe who the ATO has passed for tax exemptions.

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