Respectful Insolence

This should come as no surprise. Thanks to Brian Deer, the journalist who uncovered so much of Dr. Andew Wakefield’s shady research and dealings, we now know that Wakefield was paid by lawyers before his infamous MMR study and that he failed to disclose this clear conflict of interest:

ANDREW WAKEFIELD, the former surgeon whose campaign linking the MMR vaccine with autism caused a collapse in immunisation rates, was paid more than £400,000 by lawyers trying to prove that the vaccine was unsafe.

The payments, unearthed by The Sunday Times, were part of £3.4m distributed from the legal aid fund to doctors and scientists who had been recruited to support a now failed lawsuit against vaccine manufacturers.

Critics this weekend voiced amazement at the sums, which they said created a clear conflict of interest and were the “financial engine” behind a worldwide alarm over the triple measles, mumps and rubella shot.

“These figures are astonishing,” said Dr Evan Harris, Liberal Democrat MP for Oxford West and Abingdon.

“This lawsuit was an industry, and an industry peddling what turned out to be a myth.”

According to the figures, released under the Freedom of Information Act, Wakefield was paid £435,643 in fees, plus £3,910 expenses.

Wakefield’s work for the lawyers began two years before he published his now notorious report in The Lancet medical journal in February 1998, proposing a link between the vaccine and autism.

This suggestion, followed by a campaign led by Wakefield, caused immunisation rates to slump from 92% to 78.9%, although they have since partly recovered. In March this year the first British child in 14 years died from measles.

Later The Lancet retracted Wakefield’s claim and apologised after a Sunday Times investigation showed that his research had been backed with £55,000 from lawyers, and that the children in the study used as evidence against the vaccine were also claimants in the lawsuit.

At the time Wakefield denied any conflict of interest and said that the money went to his hospital, not to him personally. No disclosure was made, however, of the vastly greater sums that he was receiving directly from the lawyers.

As a result of Wakefield’s bad science claiming that the MMR was associated with autism and his self-promotion in pushing that message, vaccination rates fell across the U.K. Let’s review the timeline again, shall we? Here it is:

* FEBRUARY 1998: Andrew Wakefield’s paper is published in The Lancet, linking the MMR triple vaccine with autism

* 2000: Demand for single vaccines rises

* JANUARY 2001: The Government rejects calls for a single measles vaccine on the NHS

* 2001: MMR vaccinations fall to 84.2 per cent of children, down from 92 per cent in 1996

* EARLY 2003: Immunisation rates reach low of 78.9 per cent

* NOVEMBER 2003: Dr Simon Murch says there is “unequivocal evidence that MMR is not a risk factor for autism”

* 2004: It emerges that while preparing his Lancet paper, Dr Wakefield was being paid by lawyers for parents of children allegedly damaged by MMR

* 2004: Immunisation rates rise to 81 per cent

* 2004: Number of cases of mumps: 16,436, up from 4,204 the previous year. In 2005 the number is up to 56,390

* MID-2005: Immunisation rates rise to 85 per cent

* OCTOBER 2005: Cochrane Library says there is no credible evidence that MMR harms

* APRIL 2006: A boy, 13, who had not received the MMR vaccine, becomes the first person to die of measles in 14 years

Almost single-handedly, Dr. Wakefield promoted a decrease in vaccination rates due to a false autism scare that resulted in the return of large numbers of measles and mumps cases in the U.K.

And what, specifically, did the lawyers pay Dr. Wakefield and his colleagues for? This:

Five of his former colleagues at the Royal Free hospital, north London, under whose aegis The Lancet paper was written, received a total of £183,000 in fees, according to the LSC.

Wakefield now runs a business in Austin, Texas, two of whose employees are listed as receiving a total of £112,000 in fees, while a Florida physician, who appointed the former surgeon as his “director of research”, was paid £21,600, the figures show.

All have appeared in media reports as apparently confirming Wakefield’s claims.

It is understood that the payments — for writing reports, attending meetings and in some cases carrying out research — were made at hourly rates varying between £120 and £200, or £1,000 a day.

“There was a huge conflict of interest,” said Dr John March, an animal vaccine specialist who was among those recruited. “It bothered me quite a lot because I thought, well, if I’m getting paid for doing this, then surely it’s in my interest to keep it going as long as possible.”

March, who the LSC allowed almost £90,000 to research an aspect of Wakefield’s theories, broke ranks this weekend to denounce both the science of the attack and the amount that the case had cost in lawyers’ and experts’ fees.

“The ironic thing is they were always going on about how, you know, how we’ve hardly got any money compared with the other side, who are funded by large pharmaceutical companies. And I’m thinking, judging by the amounts of money you’re paying out, the other side must be living like millionaires,” he said.

Big pharma, meet big legal. The article even reveals that one of the referees on one of Wakefield’s scientific papers was paid £40,000! (This is particularly galling, given Wakefield’s pious pontificating on conflicts of interest between agencies that promote vaccination and investigate vaccine safety.) If there was ever any doubt that the whole MMR scare was based on no science and was motivated by lawyers who wanted to sue for “vaccine injury” in the case of autistic children, this should put it to rest. Indeed, more people than just Wakefield were riding the gravy train, but rather quite a few “luminaries” of the “vaccines cause autism” movement, as Kevin Leitch points out:

But is good old Wakers alone? Oh no, this money making machine had a few members, some familiar names to this blog:

Dr Ken Aitken, Scottish DAN! Doctor: £232,022. After resigning under a cloud from his role at Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Edinburgh, Aitken gladly signed up for this gravy train which seems to have netted him nearly a quarter of a million quid of tax payers money. In 2004, Aitken was severely reprimanded by the British Psychological Society concerning his handling of an autistic child’s case. The society’s conduct committee said that he “allowed his professional responsibilities or standards of practice to be diminished by considerations of extraneous factors”.

Peter Fletcher: £39,960. I wrote a blog entry about Peter Fletcher’s anti-MMR strawmen awhile ago.

[...]

Arthur Krigsman, Business partner of Andrew Wakefield: £16,986. His unpublished ‘papers’ have been cited numerous times by Wakefield and supporters as evidence Wakefield was right, conveniently forgetting they were a) unpublished and b) written for his boss. According to Brian (see link in Aitken paragraph), in December 2004, he left Lennox Hill hospital, New York,after a lawsuit, which was followed by an ethics inquiry. In August 2005, he was fined $5,000 by the Texas Medical Board for misconduct. Gotta try and recoup some of that money somewhere eh?

Jeff Bradstreet: £21,600. Bradstreet – who recommends exorcism for autism – snapped up Wakefield as Director of his business after Wakefield was booted out of the Royal Free.

Mark Geier: £7,052. We could write a whole book on the Geier’s and their dubious practices. Luckily, Kathleen has documented most of them already. Suffice it to say, Geier shouldn’t be offering legal expert advice to anyone.

On the one hand, my disgust at these people knows few bounds anymore. Clearly, they have little concern for ethics, as I have pointed out before. On the other hand, Brian Deer gets kudos from Orac for unearthing this disgusting underbelly of the antivaccination movement.

More on this issue:

Profiting from autism: Tempest in a teapot, or …?
Follow the money
Unethical is too mild a word

Comments

  1. #1 Liz
    January 1, 2007

    A bit of a subject hijack here, but I just wanted to say: Happy New Year to you and yours. I wish you all the best for 2007.

  2. #2 Monado
    January 1, 2007

    I wonder if the parents of the boy who died can sue the hind legs off Quack Wakefield.

  3. #3 Rhodes
    January 1, 2007

    The way the scientific establishment has closed ranks against Andrew Wakefield is both despicable and shortsighted. Maybe Wakefield was wrong, maybe his findings were affected by undisclosed conflicts of interest, maybe he is a terrible scientist.

    But the fact is he asked questions and challenged asusmptions that needed to be asked and challenged.

    The idea that you can pump three lots of foreign material all at once into a whole generation of babies and children without any negative consequences is ludicrous, not to mention insanely dangerous.

    Whatever short term benefits the MMR program might provide, we simply have no idea about the long term implications. Ultimately the whole MMR project has been a crazy experiment, imposed on us by an unholy alliance of pharmaceuticals, doctors and politicians.

    Challenging it is therefore an eminently reasonable thing to do.

    The fact that the person who makes the challenge can be so vilified, sends out a terrible message to the scientists of tomorrow.

    Science needs its maverick researchers, its awkward characters who are unintimidated by sacred cows, and hellbent on asking the unaskable.

    Thanks to the Wakefield witch hunt there will now be fewer scientists brave enough to take on prevailing scientific views. Basically, if you want to forge a career in science in 21st century Britain become a boring yes man.

  4. #4 Coin
    January 1, 2007

    Maybe Wakefield was wrong, maybe his findings were affected by undisclosed conflicts of interest, maybe he is a terrible scientist.

    Hm. Maybe that’s why the scientific establishment closed ranks against him?

  5. #5 Mike the Mad Biologist
    January 1, 2007

    It is understood that the payments — for writing reports, attending meetings and in some cases carrying out research — were made at hourly rates varying between £120 and £200, or £1,000 a day.

    It’s really tempting to use my scientific superpowers for evil…

  6. #6 Bartholomew Cubbins
    January 1, 2007

    The fact that the person who makes the challenge can be so vilified, sends out a terrible message to the scientists of tomorrow.

    Yeah, it’s so terrible to require future scientists to adhere to the scientific process, to value controls, and to actually know what the hell they’re doing before turning the crank.

    Science needs its maverick researchers, its awkward characters who are unintimidated by sacred cows, and hellbent on asking the unaskable.

    Yeah, for comedy purposes. Research is largely funded by public tax dollars. How about we solve cancer first and then worry about setting up a govt-sponsored organization to investigate the UFO coverup story. Here’s a scared cow: honesty. Another? Competence.

  7. #7 James
    January 1, 2007

    Besides which as this investigation clearly shows he was no maverick but rather a shill, and he was no researcher but rather a spin doctor.

    I’m all for speaking the unspeakable, but only when done with regard to evidence.

    There’s nothing wrong with being politically correct, so long as you are factually correct (or at least intellectually honest).

  8. #8 Orac
    January 1, 2007

    The way the scientific establishment has closed ranks against Andrew Wakefield is both despicable and shortsighted. Maybe Wakefield was wrong, maybe his findings were affected by undisclosed conflicts of interest, maybe he is a terrible scientist.

    There’s no “maybe” about it. Wakefield is a bad scientist; he’s biased; and now he’s been revealed as a shill for the trial lawyers looking to make money suing the government for “vaccine injuries” that aren’t.

    But the fact is he asked questions and challenged asusmptions that needed to be asked and challenged.

    No he didn’t. He proceeded from the assumption that there was something wrong and then designed a fallacious study to “prove” his assumption.

    The idea that you can pump three lots of foreign material all at once into a whole generation of babies and children without any negative consequences is ludicrous, not to mention insanely dangerous.

    Gee, did you get that off of an antivaccination website?

    Whatever short term benefits the MMR program might provide, we simply have no idea about the long term implications. Ultimately the whole MMR project has been a crazy experiment, imposed on us by an unholy alliance of pharmaceuticals, doctors and politicians.

    Yep, definitely standard antivax boilerplate.

    The fact that the person who makes the challenge can be so vilified, sends out a terrible message to the scientists of tomorrow.

    Apparently, it never occurred to you that the reason Wakefield is so vilified is because his science is exceedingly bad and his ethics dubious at best. Such people should be vilified in science.

  9. #9 epador
    January 2, 2007

    Sorry, but I couldn’t help but imagine that Road Apples would have been a more appropriate moniker than Rhodes.

  10. #10 Andrew Dodds
    January 2, 2007

    The idea that you can pump three lots of foreign material all at once into a whole generation of babies and children without any negative consequences is ludicrous, not to mention insanely dangerous.

    Yes – I mean, letting babies drink milk (which contains a whle host of assorted antigens) must be dangerous! And as for letting children play outside – how many hundred different types of bacteria come through a single grazed knee? Lethal! And obviously, if the vaccine causes damage, imagine how much damage the real disease (containing all of the antigens in the vaccine and many, many more) does.

    Now, where’s my cheque from Big Pharma? What’s the going rate for blog comments nowadays?

  11. #11 Dave
    January 2, 2007

    Orac,

    I am based in the UK and my 2-year-old son has been given the MMR vaccine. When he was born the MMR story was still very muddy in the popular press, so I read a lot of research myself and made up my own mind based on the credibility of the evidence provided by both sides. It is unfortunate that such a process is even necessary, and that such irresponsible hysteria can so easily damage our society. It was as part of this research process that I first found your blog, and I have been a regular reader ever since – in fact, I have found much of the information you have provided here to be invaluable, so thank you.

    There are no hard and fast certainties to cling to and science rarely offers any – only the weighing up of risks and going with the balance of probability. Unfortunately, reassurances from government spokespeople do nothing to allay our fears – we remember similar statements during the BSE crisis all too well, and in such a climate the instinctive, fearful reaction is hard to overcome.

    All that said, deciding to go with MMR, and taking my son to be vaccinated was still one of the most terrifying things I have ever done. I think there is little that is more horrifying to a parent than the idea that your own actions could directly and irreperably harm your child. I am a rational individual, and a strong proponent of the scientific method, and all that I had read on this subject could still not completely eradicate that fear.

  12. #12 Rhodes
    January 2, 2007

    The ignorance demonstrated in many of these responses is breathtaking.

    I despair for the future of humanity when attitudes like these are so deeply ingrained, even in apparently intelligent people.

    I thought science was about being open-minded, and receptive to new avenues of thought. Apparently not.

    Instead it’s some kind of narrow-minded religion where the unthinking have to follow the prevailing dogma of the era, and there’s no greater pleasure than the childish delight that’s obtained from gloating at someone else’s mistakes.

    Someone mentioned UFOs. Where did I ever talk about UFOs? It’s clear you’re not responding to my post, but to some stereotypical version of what you would have liked me to have said.

    A happy New Year to you all.

  13. #13 Rhodes
    January 2, 2007

    And just for the record I am not anti vaccination, am up to date with all my jabs and have never visited an anti vaccination site in my life.

    Some of you need to break free from the stereotypical view of the world that so enslaves your thought processes.

  14. #14 Orac
    January 2, 2007

    Some of you need to break free from the stereotypical view of the world that so enslaves your thought processes.

    By “stereotypical world view,” I presume that you must be referring to scientists’ and doctors’ extreme disapproval of Wakefield’s failure to support his scaremongering with sound science and his appalling lack of ethics in accepting large payments from lawyers without disclosing them as a potential conflict of interest. If that’s a “stereotypical world view,” then I’ll stick with it. I’m funny that way, and a bit old-fashioned. I value sound science, sound ethics, and transparency in disclosing potential conflicts of interest, all things that Wakefield (and, apparently, you, given your defense of Wakefield and painting him as some sort of martyr) do not share.

  15. #15 anonimouse
    January 2, 2007

    Rhodes,

    If you wish to defend an individual who was paid BY LAWYERS to fabricate evidence against the MMR vaccine, then go ahead. But do not insult my intelligence by trying to convince me or anyone else that you are not an anti-vaxer, since you parrot their arguments so flawlessly. I mean, to the letter.

    You’re not fooling anyone.

    Let me ask you this, my friend – while you may be up to date on your jabs, do you have children…and if so, do you intend to make sure they’re up to date on all of theirs?

    Yeah, I thought so.

  16. #16 TW
    January 2, 2007

    Rhodes wrote:
    But the fact is he asked questions and challenged asusmptions that needed to be asked and challenged.

    This is a strange argument which echoes the ID comments. What Wakefield did was not “ask questions and challenge assumptions” – he misrepresented his research to the extent it has caused untold distress and at least one loss of life.

    His research was flawed and his findings were incorrect. If he really wanted to challenge assumptions he should have used proper research methods, declared his vested interests and, most importantly, not revised his conclusions at press reviews to garner the maximum publicity.

    All over the world there are scientists who toil to “challenge assumptions” and improve our understanding of the world. They are not silenced by the “Witch hunt” around Wakefield because their methods are sound and if they come up with a “new conclusion” it will be valid and accepted.

    Rhodes wrote:
    Someone mentioned UFOs. Where did I ever talk about UFOs? It’s clear you’re not responding to my post, but to some stereotypical version of what you would have liked me to have said.

    As you can see the UFO post never implied that “you” had mentioned them, so I suggest you read the posts properly and not reply to a stereotypical version of what you would have liked people to have said.

    Other than that, thank you to Orac for posting this information and Happy New Year to you all.

  17. #17 Melissa G
    January 2, 2007

    Thanks, Orac, for discussing this story. I hope all the lawyers associated with this abomination will be prohibited from practicing law ever again. Ditto for Wakefield and medicine.

    Proud mom of a fully vaccinated child

  18. #18 Kristine
    January 2, 2007

    APRIL 2006: A boy, 13, who had not received the MMR vaccine, becomes the first person to die of measles in 14 years

    Yeah, poor Andrew Wakefield. He’s made $$$ and all that kid got was a grave.

    He still has his life. Come to the U.S. sometime Rhodes, the lowest of the developed nations in distribution of health care. Visit Mississippi sometime and see what you think about how “original” Wakefield’s “questioning” is. (It’s straight out of the revival tent–no wonder he’s raking it in.)

  19. #19 Dave
    January 2, 2007

    Rhodes, you really need to stop invoking the Galileo defence. Some people are simply wrong. In Wakefield’s case, he was not only wrong, but wilfully and dishonestly so. He was wrong for money. The amount of noise this study received was vast compared to the amount of substance it actually had. Pages upon pages of frenzied tabloid attacks on our vaccination programme, that turned out to be completely unwarranted. As a result, the FUD is out there, and the completely unjustified suspicion over the safety of MMR lingers. Has there been an equivalent amount of publicity of this turn of events? Has there been a new media feeding frenzy, backtracking and apologising, setting the record straight? That’s a big fat no right there.

    There is no pleasure in exposing Wakefields work as rubbish. Merely disappointment that this sorry affair happened in the first place, that his work received an unjust amount of attention given how shabby it was, and that the effect on our society was so profound. People have a tendency to try to be fair and balanced, so when a controversy such as this is presented, with two sides so diametrically opposed, we tend to believe the truth lies somewhere in the middle. In reality, the truth is very rarely in the middle (one side can be far more correct than the other), but it is human nature to overlook that. Creating an artificial controversy to weaken your oponnent’s position is a tried and true political technique, and it is exactly the strategy used by Intelligent Design proponents, fabricating a controversy where none exists. In this case a paper that turned out to be grade-A dishonest bullshit has forever left a stink over MMR. The attitude is now one of “no smoke without fire” – a bit like the one you’re representing. Even if this guy was wrong, there must be *something* dodgy about MMR, right?

    This kind of thing has to be fought, and fought vigorously, but no – you condemn the scientific community for doing even that! Should scientists ignore the tabloid hysteria and turn the other cheek? Silently work away as best as they can and hope it all turns out for the best? Assume that people will actually read and understand the academic works and make up their own minds, rather than getting their information from the mass media? Seriously, what are you actually suggesting?

  20. #20 Clare
    January 2, 2007

    Unfortunately, reassurances from government spokespeople do nothing to allay our fears – we remember similar statements during the BSE crisis all too well, and in such a climate the instinctive, fearful reaction is hard to overcome.

    Which makes Wakefield’s behavior all the worse; imagine knowingly putting misinformation about vaccines into a setting where the BSE debacle had already rattled confidence in the public health system.

  21. #21 General Zia
    January 2, 2007

    Lucky, lucky you, Orac! There’s a new thread at Smothering.com that links to this post, at http://www.mothering.com/discussions/showthread.php?t=586756. I just can’t wait to see the spin that the tinfoil hat brigade tries to put on it.

  22. #22 Stephen
    January 2, 2007

    You said in a previous post that you felt uncomfortable about Wakefield being prosecuted. I take it that discomfort has now been dispelled? On the basis of this information it seems to me that he deserves at least a substantial fine, if not a period of compulsory leisure in a large Victorian building of limited egress.

  23. #23 Rhodes
    January 2, 2007

    There you go again, making assumptions, trying to impose your stereotypes on me. I’m really sorry to disappoint but I don’t fit.

    These ideas are not copied from anywhere else. They are entirely my own. Judging by your comments thinking for oneself is unusual on this kind of forum. I find that sad.

    For the record, I have absolutely no links to and no interest in any anti vaccination campaign. I and my kids are fully up to date, except for the MMR which I opted them out of, because as far as I am concerned it is several steps too far.

    I sincerely hope I am wrong about this (because the consequences of being right could be horrendous). If I am proven to be wrong I will be the first to own up, but right now we simply do not know what the long term effects of this approach are.

    Furthermore I do not trust the vested interests who are so certain of the total safety of MMR. That certainty alone should be enough to make any thoughtful person see danger signals.

    Your unquestioning faith in modern pharmaceuticals is very touching. Excuse me, but I do not share it.

  24. #24 Bronze Dog
    January 2, 2007

    Furthermore I do not trust the vested interests who are so certain of the total safety of MMR. That certainty alone should be enough to make any thoughtful person see danger signals.

    And who are these fictional people of which you speak? Never met any here.

  25. #25 Common Sense
    January 2, 2007

    So interesting. I love to see you guys jumping up and down when every once in awhile you get a piece of good news on your side (very rare). Yes, so Wakefield is so horrible, right? Yeah, sure he is. He works with children with autism, sees similarities amongst them and studies the issue. Then asks for more research to be done? He is sooooo horrible. The nerve. Oh, yeah, he gets paid for his work. Hey, I’ll be honest, it would have been better had his “research” been funded by the government officials whose job it is to protect children and ensure the safety of vaccinations… of course, that’s too much to ask, isn’t it? So, ok, conflict of interst… ok, getting paid for research by sources who would be interested in seeing a certain outcome? Cool. Ok. Let’s talk all the bullcrap that goes on on your side? Can you say bogus epidemiological studies? Can you say CDC telling the IOM what to say in their reports? Can you say pharma companies paying other organizations to do their “safety studies”. Can you talk of the CDC being responsible for both the promotion of vaccines as well as the safety of vaccines?

    How about that? I never hear any talk of these things here. I wonder why?? Lame…

  26. #26 anonimouse
    January 2, 2007

    Common Moron,

    You’re missing the point again.

    Wakefield lied about taking money from lawyers.

    He lied about when he received that money.

    He tries to be Mr. Sanctimonious when he was getting paid off AND was complicit in paying off people that got his research published.

    The points you are making in your diatribe – most of which aren’t valid anyway – are irrelevant. This about the conduct of Andrew Wakefield. If you think what the drug companies are doing in your paranoid fantasy world are bad, shouldn’t you be condemning Wakefield in the same breath.

  27. #27 Common Sense
    January 2, 2007

    The points you are making in your diatribe – most of which aren’t valid anyway – are irrelevant. This about the conduct of Andrew Wakefield.

    You are a class act, Mouse. They need to recruit you for some mouse studies… thimerosal injected into mousey brains would be my choice. It is too bad that no matter how this conflict of interest, using money from other sources idea plays out… ultimately Wakefield is likely correct :)

    As for my diatribe, what isn’t valid?

  28. #28 Bronze Dog
    January 2, 2007

    The whole thing about Wakefield getting caught shilling is merely icing on the cake. It tastes good, but it’s irrelevant to the core subject.

    So far, we’ve still got the evidence in favor of vaccinations, and none for thimerosal-autism link.

    All I see from CS is a failed attempt at tu quoque.

  29. #29 clone3g
    January 2, 2007

    CS: ultimately Wakefield is likely correct :)

    Correct about what? That he found persistent vaccine strain measles in the guts of autistic children? Really? Do you think he’ll ever be proven correct on that one Sue?

    You really don’t care if it’s measles, thimerosal, or formaldehyde, Sue. You’ll side with anything that casts doubt on vaccine safety just because you don’t like vaccination. True or false?

  30. #30 Automatic Caveat Machine
    January 2, 2007

    Sue, it apparently doesn’t bother you what someone says or does as long as they tag on a “call for research” bit at the end.

    I’ve yet to see anyone criticizing Wakefield for the call itself. What is being criticized is the leadup to the call, which was formed in a way to focus attention to his call. Why couldn’t he have simply done the research the right way? The answer is because he couldn’t have published a link between the MMR and autism — you see, there has never been one proven.

    The people on this page who don’t consume the typical mothering.com insanity as unadulterated fact believe in logic: IF followed by THEN. When doing so, there is no luxury of pandering feelings and suppositions as fact.

    Sue, you’re an antivaxxer through and through. You have a feeling that vaccines injured your children and you’ve run with that feeling trying to grab at any little piece of evidence that supports your feeling. You fail miserably at seeing the big picture, because you’re hurt at what you see right in front of your face. I’m not laughing, there’s nothing funny about a mother’s angst. I hope you find peace in the end.

  31. #31 Snuppy
    January 2, 2007

    “But the fact is he asked questions and challenged asusmptions that needed to be asked and challenged.”

    Woo-Suk Hwang’s work would have been beneficial to mankind and might have helped all sorts of childhood disease. He’s probably a good guy and wanted to help humanity so we should just give him a pass on the whole stem cell cloning thing.

  32. #32 Calli Arcale
    January 2, 2007

    I was wondering how long it would take somebody to mention Woo-Suk Hwang. For those who don’t recognize the name, he’s the disgraced Korean cloning researcher who took a few, um, “short cuts” in his research. As a consequence, most of his research on the subject is now impossible to judge scientifically. It’s essentially junk now. We’ll probably never know if he was on to something. And it was all done because he was lured by the promise of grant money.

    It happens from time to time in science. The temptation to take the easy way can be all too alluring. This is something scientists and the public must always be on guard against. Science, contrary to an earlier assertion in this thread, isn’t about being open-minded. It’s about being honest — brutally honest, especially with oneself. That is the first line of defense against fatal conflicts of interest like this one. Wakefield most certainly should’ve known what he was doing was wrong, and that he didn’t have the evidence to back his statements. He’s not an idiot. So he either cast science aside in the pursuit of wealth, or he allowed himself to go into denial, lured by the promise of money. Either way, it’s not good news for his research.

    People are not right because they ask “the tough questions” or because they are controversial. Certainly some people who do so will turn out to be right, but definitely not all. This is why it is important to be open-minded enough to entertain their ideas — but critical enough to recognize when they’re full of it, or when their ideas simply don’t have enough to back them up just yet.

  33. #33 herdottiness
    January 2, 2007

    This is an important discussion because it DOES affect children into their futures. The conflict of interest among researchers must be brought out and reviled continuously, because if left unchecked it damages all the good that medical science has done. My daughter questioned the necessity of polio vaccine for her newborn because of this quack, despite the fact that her father (who had polio at 6 just before the vaccine was available) is now in a wheelchair and experiencing post-polio syndrome, and despite the fact that, living in Arizona, we are three hours away from from a border with desperately poor people who have NO access to medical care at all. Thank her good sense that she understood intelligent arguments.

    Wake up. We are hours away from any epidemic, anywhere.

    I am so furious when I read about researchers on the take! How dare they exchange the lives of children for cash!

    And now I really want an in-depth review of how the guys who pushed postmenopausal hormone therapy got away with that for so long? How many miles do we have to run for breast cancer research before we discover how many women died because of that pharmaceutical boondoggle?

  34. #34 Common Sense
    January 2, 2007

    You’ll side with anything that casts doubt on vaccine safety just because you don’t like vaccination. True or false?

    False

  35. #35 Common Sense
    January 2, 2007

    You have a feeling that vaccines injured your children and you’ve run with that feeling trying to grab at any little piece of evidence that supports your feeling.

    Really? I have injured children?

  36. #36 Common Sense
    January 2, 2007

    I am so furious when I read about researchers on the take! How dare they exchange the lives of children for cash!

    How ironic… I don’t think you have any idea about all the “behind the scenes” manipulation that has gone on in this debate. I wish you did, you may even be able to see the light. Until then, you guys are a waste of energy.

  37. #37 clone3g
    January 2, 2007

    Common Sue said: False

    So you do like vaccines? Name five things you like about them?

  38. #38 Common Sense
    January 2, 2007

    So you do like vaccines? Name five things you like about them?

    Hee hee… Am I in kindergarten again? No thanks, Clone.

  39. #39 Tyler DiPietro
    January 2, 2007

    How ironic… I don’t think you have any idea about all the “behind the scenes” manipulation that has gone on in this debate. I wish you did, you may even be able to see the light. Until then, you guys are a waste of energy.

    There you have it, guys. This dude knows far more about the medical industry than medical professionals like Orac and others who post here. He thinks your a waste of energy, I say he’s a waste of oxygen. Feeding trolls like this thing will get you nowhere.

  40. #40 Tyler DiPietro
    January 2, 2007

    Correction: “You’re” not “your”.

  41. #41 Common Sense
    January 2, 2007

    There you have it, guys. This dude knows far more about the medical industry than medical professionals like Orac and others who post here. He thinks your a waste of energy, I say he’s a waste of oxygen. Feeding trolls like this thing will get you nowhere.

    Another newbie. I can’t stand it here for this reason. Too many clueless newbies who THINK they know something. Yawn….

  42. #42 miz_geek
    January 2, 2007

    Although, to be fair, if the kid who died from measles was 13, then he was born in 1993, and would have had his MMR (if he’d had one, which he didn’t) several years before the Wakefield paper.

    I’m just saying.

  43. #43 Rhodes
    January 2, 2007

    There seems to be a lot of childish tribalism going on here which most sensible people will just sidestep.

    I’m neither pro vaccine nor anti vaccine. I don’t see this issue in those simplistic terms.

    I am merely concerned about the safety of children, and wish to err on the side of caution.

    Bear in mind that MMR is a significant and unprecedented intervention involving a threefold assault on the underdeveloped immune systems of an entire generation.

    Is that really such a sensible way to proceed?

    But hey. Maybe everything will turn out right – all benefits and no downside.

    And there again maybe if I walk blindfold across a major highway I’ll reach the other side unscathed.

    What we’re doing is playing dice with our children’s future. And what we’re seeing is scientific arrogance getting in the way of good decision making.

    No doubt Wakefield transgressed in this respect too. In that case he is little different from the pro MMR lobby who continue to display an unbelievable lack of humility in the face of so many unknowns.

    Whether Wakefield is a crook or made some honest mistakes, or indeed something more complicated than that happened, is a side issue compared to the uncertain long term effects of this program.

    I realize there is great satisfaction to be gained from rounding on a wounded member of the herd and clubbing it to the death, but I’d rather spend my time more productively.

  44. #44 HCN
    January 2, 2007

    miz-geek: The child who died is not the only victim. Some children with other medical issues cannot be vaccinated, so they must depend on herd immunity. Like these two young men who were disabled by measles:
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1061838,00.html

  45. #45 HCN
    January 2, 2007

    The details are now vague, and I am signing off for the evening so I am not going to search for them… The child who died of measles in the UK was either not vaccinated because of some family beliefs (something like they were “gypsies”) or because he also had some lung condition.

    Anyway, I kind of remember the response from Scudamore (the whale.to guy, a known usenet loon) was something along the line of “the kid was sick anyway”.

    I am kind of ignoring Rhodes… but the MMR used in the UK is pretty much the same one that has been used in the United States since 1971. The big change in the late 1980s was the switch from the Urabe strain of mumps to the Jeryl Lynn strain.

    What needs to be done is for anyone concerned about the “safety” issue is to produce some kind of study showing what the dangers are… Paper published in “Medical Hypothesis” and by the “Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons” would not be acceptical (for the former look up the what the word “hypothesis” means, and for the latter, it is a political group not a medical one!). For my part I present this paper:
    Encephalopathy after whole-cell pertussis or measles vaccination: lack of evidence for a causal association in a retrospective case-control study.
    from Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2006 Sep;25(9):768-73 … abstract at http://www.pubmed.gov at:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?db=pubmed&cmd=Retrieve&dopt=AbstractPlus&list_uids=16940831&query_hl=1&itool=pubmed_docsum

  46. #46 HCN
    January 2, 2007

    Clarification: The big change for the UK was the change in the mumps component. The American vaccine had been using the Jeryl Lynn mumps strain (spelling?) since 1968 (the year I got mumps!). It was in the first American MMR.

    By the way, one has to clarify which vaccine they are talking about. The MMR used in Japan is different than the one used in the UK… This is also true of the “DTP” vaccine.

  47. #47 HCN
    January 2, 2007

    Last one until tomorrow I promise! I just noticed this paper on the side of the one listed above. I include it here just for Common Sue:
    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/108/6/e112

  48. #48 Thirldworlder
    January 3, 2007

    Don’t feed the particularly stupid trolls – they lack basic literary skills and math is such a bore………anecdote is so much easier than those silly p value things and who can read those ghastly statistical clinical trial and WHO thingeys…The antivaxers are child abusers – they are not just dangerous idiots , their “worldview” kills children. The worst part of it is of course , that most of them had a full set of vaccinations , but deny their kids the same protection.
    Make no mistake you antivaxers – you are no better than any other kind of garden variety child molester.

  49. #49 anonimouse
    January 3, 2007

    This has been bothering me for a while now, and I can’t let Rhodes go unchecked on this one:

    (MMR)…is a threefold assault on the underdeveloped immune systems of an entire generation

    We’re talking about a handful of antigens – a tiny fraction of what any human being would encounter in a particular day. And these are attenuated viruses at that. This is not some kind of overwhelming assault on the immune system here. But of course, when you’re really hate vaccines and oppose them mightily, you’ll say things like “assault on the immune system” because it’s loaded with all sorts of negative connotations.

  50. #50 Bronze Dog
    January 3, 2007

    Remember on PZ’s thread, someone was commenting about the antigen exposure being “unnatural.”

    Well, of course it’s unnatural. Nature would have us get the disease and risk death and disfigurement, rather than just a mild fever.

  51. #51 wrg
    January 3, 2007

    Rhodes:
    I’m neither pro vaccine nor anti vaccine. I don’t see this issue in those simplistic terms.
    [...]
    Bear in mind that MMR is a significant and unprecedented intervention involving a threefold assault on the underdeveloped immune systems of an entire generation.

    Why do you even bother pretending to be reasonable with statements like that first one when you then follow up in this way? Could you possibly have found more biased language than the second sentence I quoted? I have no doubt that you’ll be looking for some for your next post.

    Bear in mind that “bear in mind” doesn’t in itself make the following statement true. Naturally, you don’t bother making yourself at all clear, preferring to launch alarmist rhetoric, but precisely what about MMR are you saying is unprecedented? As you’re well aware, it’s certainly not the first vaccine around, so I really don’t know what you mean.
    While we’re bearing things in mind, how about the problems in the UK mentioned in this very article?

    Rhodes:
    But hey. Maybe everything will turn out right – all benefits and no downside.

    [ridiculous highway analogy snipped]

    What we’re doing is playing dice with our children’s future.

    Yeah, more or less. Maybe you’ve got the gift of prophecy, but we mortals can’t predict exactly what the future holds, so we do the best we can with estimates. This reminds me of silliness from “Common Sense”, who claimed some time ago in all caps that she would never accept anything less than 100% safety from vaccines. I wonder how the two of you can manage not to be incapacitated by anxiety with such attitudes, since no activity is free of risk. Those who choose no or partial vaccination for their children are playing dice with them, but most likely playing poorly. Diseases have absolutely no respect for your wish to keep “foreign material” out and I tend not to see many kids who live in sterile environments. Like it or not, children may well be exposed to disease and the choice of vaccination is one way to help keep them safe from harm.

    But hey. Maybe everything will turn out right – “disease, disease, go away, come again some other day!” If only life were like that, doctors would no doubt be glad enough not to have to worry about diseases or vaccinating against them. Now, if actual evidence were presented that vaccines are worse than the diseases for which they are intended, we’d take notice. However, there’s not much convincing about frauds like Wakefield and low-content antivax rhetoric like this.

  52. #52 sharon
    January 3, 2007

    I think that describing Wakefield as ‘singlehandedly’ causing the dangerous decline in MMR vaccination rates is wrong. The completely irresponsible (not to say hysterical) reporting by the UK news media was the real problem. They’re now busy backtracking of course and chucking as much shit as they can at Wakefield as a way of obscuring this. Don’t get me wrong, his behaviour was inexcusably and certainly deserves punishment, but I regard them as far more to blame for frightening parents and putting thousands of children at risk.

  53. #53 Common Sense
    January 3, 2007

    miz-geek: The child who died is not the only victim. Some children with other medical issues cannot be vaccinated, so they must depend on herd immunity. Like these two young men who were disabled by measles:
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1061838,00.html

    Tragic. No doubt. Unfortunately, things like this also happen. Let’s not forget about them while we are discussing this topic.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=391163&in_page_id=1770

  54. #54 Common Sense
    January 3, 2007

    Anyway, I kind of remember the response from Scudamore (the whale.to guy, a known usenet loon) was something along the line of “the kid was sick anyway”.

    Can we get this quote in context please? Not that I don’t trust you or anything.

  55. #55 Common Sense
    January 3, 2007

    Last one until tomorrow I promise! I just noticed this paper on the side of the one listed above. I include it here just for Common Sue:
    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/108/6/e112

    Thanks for posting this again… as if I haven’t seen it 100 times. What I would like you to find for me is either a) A study like this done on children born PREVIOUS to 1988 (that’s the approximate time that children started to get more vaccinations and of course the added thimerosal) vs. children born in the mid-1990’s or b) a study comparing vaccinated vs. unvaccinated children.

    If you find either one of those, feel free to post.

    Otherwise, are you interested in looking at the numbers of children diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in Australia of late? It seems as if the number of young children (under age 5) who have been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes has doubled (yes doubled) over the past 5 years or so. Are you interested in discussing how the Australian vaccination policy changed in approx. 1997. Seems as if the emphasis on vaccinations was pretty obvious:

    http://www.immunise.health.gov.au/internet/immunise/publishing.nsf/Content/history#iaspp

    Must be a coincidence.

  56. #56 Evidence by Sex Therapist
    January 3, 2007

    Sue, you had me read that whole story and then looked at the comments only to see sex therapist Dr. J McCandless weigh in with her sexy opinion about vaccines. That’s indicative of the whole anti-vax propaganda. I feel so badly for the parents of those two children in the article, but then someone who is a key player in the anti-vax and autism treatment movement – someone with expertise like sex therapy – is interjected as evidence.

    You’ve built up your story on feelings and horror stories from individuals in order to fit your belief. Real scientists, unlike Wakers, have to go the other way: observation, formulate a hypothesis, and then test the hypothesis using the proper methodology. It’s a pain, but in the end, it works.

    And then I have to ask – what does the MMR have to do with your child’s diabetes? Do you honestly feel there’s a correlation? Did you find live virus in his/her gut? Or are you simply concentrating on the mercury story?

  57. #57 Common Sense
    January 3, 2007

    Sue, you had me read that whole story and then looked at the comments only to see sex therapist Dr. J McCandless weigh in with her sexy opinion about vaccines. That’s indicative of the whole anti-vax propaganda. I feel so badly for the parents of those two children in the article, but then someone who is a key player in the anti-vax and autism treatment movement – someone with expertise like sex therapy – is interjected as evidence.

    You are kidding, right? This was an article in a newspaper. Dr. McCandless must have read the article and commented on the article. How does this constitute being “injected as evidence”? You are twisted.

    And then I have to ask – what does the MMR have to do with your child’s diabetes? Do you honestly feel there’s a correlation? Did you find live virus in his/her gut? Or are you simply concentrating on the mercury story?

    Where did I say the mmr had anything to do with the diabetes? You obviously have no clue. The reason that I brought up the type 1 diabetes was in regards to the link that HCN posted (rather off topic, blame him/her). You guys need to wrap your head around what is being said and who is saying it… clearly you get confused easily.

  58. #58 Proving a negative
    January 3, 2007

    I’ll take the antivax/Sue M. stance and ask you to prove that you’re not an antivax extremist, that you do not feel that there is a government conspiracy to poison children in order to propagate the earned income of pharma execs and political advisors and that you don’t believe that vaccines (name your favorite) caused your child’s diabetes.

  59. #59 Christian
    January 4, 2007

    I’m a parent of an autistic kid, and someone recommended that I came over here, but after a quick browse, I see that there’s no solutions being discussed here. It’s also obvious that if my story doesn’t fit the agendas of some people that I’m going to get yelled at and insulted. Life is too hard; I’d rather not deal with more crap.

    I don’t know whether the MMR vaccine caused my son’s symptoms. What I do know is that the Wakefield ethic investigations related to the “consent” issue predated all of this information, and that it was a railroad. Maybe Wakefield did screw up, but that first investigation shows that there are also interested parties in power, and that the MMR issue is not going to get serious examination. Until it does, it’s the most likely suspect. My son got his MMR vaccine late in his 4th year, and that’s when the symptoms started. Normally they vaccinate earlier and the symptoms start earlier. I couldn’t understand it when our case report file kept on getting changed. The dates pushing the vaccine to earlier. Then someone started adding facts to suggest he’d shown autism symptoms earlier. So we brought back in the earlier doctor reports, and showed the vaccine dates again. Not saying it’s a conspiracy. What I’m seeing is closed minds, and people who would rather shut off inconvenient facts.

    All the sarcasm and insults in the world aren’t going to change that.

    I don’t trust the anti-vaccine folks; the stories they tell sound too far out. But I sure as hell am not going to trust people who use anger, sarcasm, venom, and gloating to reply the honest questions of desparate parents. My son’s last words before he lost ability to speak were “I need some medicine, Mom.” I go on these anti-anti vaccine sites and I see people blaming parents, saying that we’re trying to force our kids into moulds and should just adapt to their autism. We have adapted, and will continue to adapt. But I’m not going to forget my son’s last request before whatever this is buried him alive. I’m not trying to make him be “normal.” My son was never normal; he was brilliant. I just want to him to be able to tell me what’s on his mind. There’s nothing wrong with that.

  60. #60 Orac
    January 4, 2007

    What I do know is that the Wakefield ethic investigations related to the “consent” issue predated all of this information, and that it was a railroad. I don’t know whether the MMR vaccine caused my son’s symptoms. What I do know is that the Wakefield ethic investigations related to the “consent” issue predated all of this information, and that it was a railroad. Maybe Wakefield did screw up, but that first investigation shows that there are also interested parties in power, and that the MMR issue is not going to get serious examination. Until it does, it’s the most likely suspect.

    No, it wasn’t a “railroad.” To get the samples analyzed, colonoscopies were required, some of which were done based dubious indications.

    I’m curious why, after all this, you still think MMR is the “most likely suspect.” Science would say otherwise, and even if these minds were all as closed as you describe and the government really was trying to prevent an investigation (neither of which I accept), the science simply doesn’t support your statement, particularly in light of the large Canadian study published last summer. The MMR issue has gotten serious investigation; it has not panned out. No one has been able to replicate Wakefield’s results. All we have now are cronies of his who keep claiming that they’ve replicated his results but somehow can never quite get around to publishing them. They’ve been claiming it for a few years now, which should be plenty of time to get it published if they really had the results. I suppose it’s all part of the “conspiracy.”

    Once again, as I’ve said before, even though I can understand how some parents can mistakenly come to believe that it was the MMR that caused their children’s autism, the difficulties they have suffered and sympathy they may deserve should not inoculate them from criticism when they start spouting conspiracy theories and bad science. Wakefield is nothing but a cynical opportunist; you would do well not to hitch your wagon to his.

  61. #61 anonimouse
    January 4, 2007

    MMR is NOT the most likely trigger for autism, and to suggest as such is quite frankly ridiculous.

    However, the rubella disease itself, when contracted by a woman during the first term of her pregnancy, is considered a risk factor for a child becoming autistic. There’s more than a sliver of irony there.

  62. #62 Common Sense
    January 4, 2007

    However, the rubella disease itself, when contracted by a woman during the first term of her pregnancy, is considered a risk factor for a child becoming autistic. There’s more than a sliver of irony there.

    Oh, right. I see now. So the Rubella virus contracted by the mother CAN cause autism in her baby but there is NO WAY that a child (a baby) being exposed to the Rubella virus (via vaccination) could have the same issue? Glad to see you are keeping an open mind.

  63. #63 Common Sense
    January 4, 2007

    Oh, right. I see now. So the Rubella virus contracted by the mother CAN cause autism in her baby but there is NO WAY that a child (a baby) being exposed to the Rubella virus (via vaccination) could have the same issue? Glad to see you are keeping an open mind.

    I would like to retract this statement due to the fact that Mouse (in his/her/it’s) post did not suggest that her mind was closed on the issue. I made a mistake there. So, instead, let me ask. Anonimouse, do you think the possibility exists that since the Rubella virus contracted by the mother during pregnancy could be a trigger for her offspring to become autistic does the possibility exist that the Rubella virus as part of the mmr could have the same effect? If not, why not? Just curious…

  64. #64 Ruth
    January 4, 2007

    Past experience is that CS is immune to logic (must have been vaccinated early against it), but I will attempt to answer for others who are interested.

    Toxic effects are due to dose, timing and duration. The risk from rubella is highest in the 1st trimester, when the key steps of organogenesis occur, and drop to low levels near the end of the third trimester. The risk of any congenital problems from rubella is 61 % in the 1st 4 weeks, 26 % for weeks 5-8, and weeks 9-12, 8 %. (Sever, Rubella as a tetrogen, Adv. Teratology, 2:127-138, 1967).
    The amount of virus in the vaccine is smaller than you would have if actually ill with the disease.

  65. #65 Common Sense
    January 4, 2007

    The amount of virus in the vaccine is smaller than you would have if actually ill with the disease.

    Great. Can you now explain to me what the affects of 3 live viruses together (as in the mmr vaccine) do to the immune system? How do those viruses interact with each other? How do you know?

  66. #66 Christian
    January 4, 2007

    “I’m curious why, after all this, you still think MMR is the “most likely suspect.” Science would say otherwise”

    After all what? What’s the most likely suspect? Speak up. All I hear is authorities and me toos yelling that it’s not a vaccine. I’m not hearing any alternate suggestions. All I’m seeing is people trying to block and intimidate scientists from investigating the vaccine link, while Bill Frist passes legislation to save the vaccine companies in case someone does prove a vaccine link.

    The link has not been disproved, the persons who control the evidence (the CDC’s vaccine records) block any sort of independent investigation of the link, and as far as I see here, no one is suggesting other possible causes. Therefore vaccines appear to be the most likely suspect.

  67. #67 Christian
    January 4, 2007

    If Rubella during pregnancy causes some cases of autism, that would make it more likely, not less, that the live virus in the MMR vaccine may also cause some cases of autism.

  68. #69 Common Sense
    January 4, 2007

    If Rubella during pregnancy causes some cases of autism, that would make it more likely, not less, that the live virus in the MMR vaccine may also cause some cases of autism.

    Thank goodness there is another voice of reason here…

  69. #70 Common Sense
    January 4, 2007

    Brian Deer for the win

    What does he win? Seems to me this isn’t about winning. It’s about whether or not some children with autism suffer from bowel disease and whether or not that bowel disease has anything to do with the mmr. Congrats, Mr. Deer. I guess…

  70. #71 Twister
    January 4, 2007

    The public wins.

    Leave it to good old Sue M to try and rationalize lying to a nation and getting paid handsomely for it. Did your kid get diabetes from the MMR or not? Not? (Hmmm…this topic was Wakers and his MMR fantasy.) Then which shot? I’m really interested in what turned you completely anti-vax.

  71. #72 Justin Moretti
    January 4, 2007

    Even if Wakefield had been totally correct in his original finding, the simple fact remains: he accepted a large sum of money from people who wanted him to reach the conclusion he did; and he omitted to tell the scientific community that he was receiving the money, and from whom he was receiving it. That alone constitutes gross misconduct.

    The argument over whether his findings are correct or not is irrelevant. He has destroyed his own reputation, and no “pharma shill” is needed to do it for him.

  72. #73 Justin Moretti
    January 4, 2007

    Even if Wakefield had been totally correct in his original finding, the simple fact remains: he accepted a large sum of money from people who wanted him to reach the conclusion he did; and he omitted to tell the scientific community that he was receiving the money, and from whom he was receiving it. That alone constitutes gross misconduct.

    The argument over whether his findings are correct or not is irrelevant. He has destroyed his own reputation, and no “pharma shill” is needed to do it for him.

  73. #74 anonimouse
    January 4, 2007

    If Rubella during pregnancy causes some cases of autism, that would make it more likely, not less, that the live virus in the MMR vaccine may also cause some cases of autism.

    Uh, no. Rubella in the first trimester appears to have an effect on the developing brain of a fetus. Rubella in the second or third trimester, or rubella in a newborn infant, has never been linked to autism. Thus, it would be far LESS likely that MMR in a one-year old would cause autism.

    But thanks for playing.

  74. #75 anonimouse
    January 4, 2007

    What does he win? Seems to me this isn’t about winning. It’s about whether or not some children with autism suffer from bowel disease and whether or not that bowel disease has anything to do with the mmr. Congrats, Mr. Deer. I guess…

    Well, Brian keeps his reputation intact, for starters.

    It’s also indicative of the fact that Andrew Wakefield realizes that he’s not going to be able to claim conspiracy for much longer when there’s such an elaborate paper trail of his dealings with trial laywers.

    I guess it’s ok to claim persecution when your heroes get caught with their hands in the cookie jar. But I’m sure the second someone puts out a paper refuting a link between vaccines and (insert your favorite condition here) you’ll be one of the mice in line, scurrying to come up with reasons why the paper can’t be trusted due to the “conflicts of interest” of the author.

  75. #76 Common Sense
    January 4, 2007

    Uh, no. Rubella in the first trimester appears to have an effect on the developing brain of a fetus.

    Got it. So, at exactly the stroke of midnight going into the 2nd trimester of pregnancy… women can get rubella and their offspring will be all set. Good to know. Thanks for the medical wisdom. Survey says… doubt it. Oh yeah, you forgot to describe how the combination of the 3 live viruses (mmr) may play into this scenario.

  76. #77 Common Sense
    January 4, 2007

    The argument over whether his findings are correct or not is irrelevant. He has destroyed his own reputation, and no “pharma shill” is needed to do it for him.

    You have that wrong. It is irrelevant to YOU. The argument over whether he is correct or not is not irrelevant to many people. Remember, the children who suffer with bowel disease or the children who possibly could have died from adverse reactions to the mmr don’t instantaneously go *poof* into the air because Wakefield was paid for his work. It is good to know that you are taking such a firm stand on conflict of interest issues. Perhaps now you will have to look a bit closer at “your own”….

  77. #78 HCN
    January 4, 2007

    Christian said “After all what? What’s the most likely suspect? Speak up. All I hear is authorities and me toos yelling that it’s not a vaccine. I’m not hearing any alternate suggestions.”

    The most likely culprit is genetics. If you look at legit researchers that is what it seems to be popping up more and more. You can start with some of the leading autism research centers listed here: http://www.autismresearchnetwork.org/AN/

    I can truthfully tell you that NO respectable researcher has replicated the results that Wakefield was paid to get. His supporters keep telling us the Krigsman has done so, but all we have is them telling us that… but no papers and no evidence. That is because the MMR (which has been used in the USA since 1971) is not a cause for autism.

    Also, for a visual explanation of what has happened over the past twenty years I suggest you watch the video that is part of this blog comment: http://autismdiva.blogspot.com/2006/12/dear-deirdre-imus.html

  78. #79 Michael Ralston
    January 4, 2007

    Hmm. Interesting way to ignore what was said, Sue.

    We were given percentages for risk. 61% in the first month, 26% for the second month, and only 8% for the third month.

    Hmmm.

    Sounds to me like it’s already going away before the end of the first trimester, and yes, there’s probably some small risk during the second trimester.

    By the time the child is a year old, though, that risk is almost certainly 0.

    By the way, if it really is Thiomersal, why aren’t the rates dropping now?

    And that Diabetes one …
    So, wait. Children ages 0-5 have double the rate of diabetes now as before … what about ages 5-10? You said that change happened ten years ago! Do you really think it took five years to start affecting children?

    Christian: You won’t find solutions, because there aren’t any. Even aside from the neruodiverse position that says autism isn’t bad (one that I hold albeit to lesser extent than most, I think), there’s the simple issue that autism is very complicated, and while we have a decent idea what causes it (mostly by elimination; we know what doesn’t cause it), we’re still not totally sure, and we’ve only been reaching this understanding recently.
    We can’t “solve” autism. I’m sorry to hear about your son, but at this time, there’s not a lot that can be done, and don’t believe anyone who claims there is.

  79. #80 Christian
    January 4, 2007

    I can truthfully tell you that NO respectable researcher has replicated the results that Wakefield was paid to get.

    That would mean more to me, if I could see evidence that researchers that were not in big Pharma’s pocket or specifically recruited by health departments to put down inconvenient rumors had looked into the matter.

    One of the MDs that told us that he thought it was the MMR vaccine, told us there that he’d found the virus from the vaccine in the cerebro-spinal fluid, and that there was a treatment for that. He told us to get a spinal tap. Every time we try to set an appointment with a doctor that does spinal taps, they freak out and refuse to do the diagnostic when they find out what we’re looking into.

    I know this is not proof that MMR causes it. But it’s part of a growing body of evidence to me that people are afraid to look honestly at the question.

    I can live with a world where there is no solution. We fought off attempts to institutionalize our boy (who is very affectionate and hates to even be separated from us for a couple of hours). Without any guidance from the dozens of specialists that we’ve seen, we’ve worked trial and error to get him to look at people, and even finally to play a little with his brothers (who were crushed when he suddenly started to ignore them). I learned to communicate by using snippets of songs that communicate an idea. He can’t form sentences any more, but sometimes he parrots back a piece of song that I’ve tied to an idea. It’s the beginning of communication.

    Why the hell are we so alone in figuring how to do these things? Why do the institutions block our attempts to find stuff out, rather than helping us?

    I do not know whether the vaccine caused the problem, but it’s more than clear that there’s more “big legal” on the side of big pharma than on the plaintiff’s lobby. You can bet right now as we speak, that lawyers are leveraging the charges against Wakefield to get him to sign a statement (true or false, no one cares) that he fabricated the results of his tests.

    That’s what lawyers do. Negotiate truth. But is that how we want to handle matters of science?

  80. #81 Christian
    January 4, 2007

    The argument over whether his findings are correct or not is irrelevant. He has destroyed his own reputation, and no “pharma shill” is needed to do it for him.

    Do you realize what you just said? Isn’t that a problem when we substitute reputation for scientific truth? To punish Wakefield we’re going to let millions of children and their families suffer?

  81. #82 Common Sense
    January 4, 2007

    By the time the child is a year old, though, that risk is almost certainly 0.

    Really? Ok. So you say. How about that confounding issue of the 3 live viruses (via mmr vaccine). Sorry to sound like a broken record but I’m curious as to what you have on the interplay of the 3 viruses in a young child.

    And that Diabetes one …
    So, wait. Children ages 0-5 have double the rate of diabetes now as before … what about ages 5-10? You said that change happened ten years ago! Do you really think it took five years to start affecting children?

    Let’s start over. The information that I have from the JDRF in Australia is from 2005. Here’s the quote:

    “Incidence in children under 5 years of age has doubled over the last 5 years – we don’t know why”.

    That’s not all the stats… feel free to poke around at all of them but for the purpose that I was posting about that was the relevant quote. So, you take the Seven Point Plan of 1997… It looks as if the bulk of it kicks in in 1998. For the purpose of discussion, I will use a birthdate for the child who would be first fully indoctrinated into this “policy” at 1998. Now the post from the JDRF seems to be from 2005. So, a child under age 5 at the time of this posting would have been born in approximately 2000 (earliest). Please keep in mind that we don’t have much of an idea as to how long it would take for the “trigger” to set of the final stage before a type 1 diabetes diagnosis. So, let’s see kid born in 1998, kid vaccinated over the course of 2 years…. this, of course, brings us to approx. 2000. Which of course brings us to the year in which the children were born to be considered under age 5 …. of which they have seen a doubling of the children diagnosed with type 1 diabetes under the age of 5. Well, I suppose it could be a coincidence. Any of you doctors have any other thoughts as to why there is an increase such as that. We KNOW it isn’t “better diagnosis”.

  82. #83 HCN
    January 4, 2007

    Christian said “That would mean more to me, if I could see evidence that researchers that were not in big Pharma’s pocket or specifically recruited by health departments to put down inconvenient rumors had looked into the matter.”

    The resort to the “pharma shill” schtick is pretty much pure cop-out, it is a non-arguement. What comes across is that you approve of lawyer paid “research” over that of pharmaceuticals AND public health departments (uh, you DO know where your county’s public health office gets its funds, right?).

    And the doctors were good to freak out at the suggestion of a spinal tap. The one who suggested should probably be investigated.

  83. #84 Coin
    January 4, 2007

    researchers that were not in big Pharma’s pocket or specifically recruited by health departments

    So… in other words, researchers which are not affiliated either with commercial or public medicine?

    Who does that leave?

  84. #85 HCN
    January 4, 2007

    Coin said “So… in other words, researchers which are not affiliated either with commercial or public medicine?

    Who does that leave?”

    Lawyers, of course! Especially the ones that will include parents as part of their lawsuit.

  85. #86 Common Sense
    January 4, 2007
  86. #87 Robster
    January 5, 2007

    Sue, they may not know why there is an increase in diabetes, but they do know what isn’t the cause. MMR. Your “evidence” is conspiracy mongering and circumstantial.

    Christian,

    Do you realize what you just said? Isn’t that a problem when we substitute reputation for scientific truth? To punish Wakefield we’re going to let millions of children and their families suffer?

    Wakefield has neither. His own lab was in the process of disproving his claims while he was out pushing his scam. Punishing Wakefield will help children and their families not be taken in be charlatans.

  87. #88 Christian
    January 5, 2007

    “What comes across is that you approve of lawyer paid “research” over that of pharmaceuticals AND public health departments (uh, you DO know where your county’s public health office gets its funds, right?).”

    Then read more carefully. I said that the evidence is so far inconclusive. I’m not willing to complately dismiss the plainly biased studies on either side.

    You did not address the issue of the CDC refusing to let non-shills look at their vaccine data. That looks bad.

    Robster, I have absolutely no idea how your last comment connects to what I said. Please look at the context. I didn’t say don’t punish Wakefield. I said that dismissing a theory by association with the person isn’t a reasonable “punishment.” That’s an insult against the idea of logic and science. That’s like saying that volkswagen beetles are evil because Hitler commisioned them. Don’t substitute politics for scientific inquiry.

  88. #89 Christian
    January 5, 2007

    Again, I was responding to this ghastly statement:

    “The argument over whether his findings are correct or not is irrelevant.”

    *Correct* findings would be relevant to anyone who cares about science, truth, or about the welfare of these children or their families. I agree that the correctness of his findings is not be relevant to the question of whether Wakefield violated ethical standards.

    OTOH, if Wakefield knew that the powers that be would block his research (e.g. with that mockery of an ethics panel that raised the “consent” issue), concealing his funding almost looks understandable. Hell, Crick and Watson siphoned their fellowship funding from one project to work on the DNA structure issue, and still won a Nobel prize for their discovery. Shall we toss out everything we know about DNA just because they may have lied about their funding, or used others’ research improperly?

    Again (lest I be misrepresented), there’s no proof here that Wakefield is right. The question deserves a serious independent investigation, though, and the health departments need to stop stonewalling and give others access to vaccine data.

  89. #90 Coin
    January 5, 2007

    OTOH, if Wakefield knew that the powers that be would block his research (e.g. with that mockery of an ethics panel that raised the “consent” issue), concealing his funding almost looks understandable.

    Wakefield knew that ethics panels would attack him for his undisclosed financial conflicts of interest, therefore Wakefield was justified in not disclosing his financial conflicts of interest. QED

  90. #91 Andrew Dodds
    January 5, 2007

    Christian –

    I’m not sure why you think there is any scientific doubt over the whole issue. There are plenty of studies showing no link between MMR and autism. The fact that Dr. Wakefields findings have not been replicated (despite attempts) allied to the fact that he was taking large amounts of money from party interested in getting a specific result suggests very firmly that he is wrong.

    And my one year old daughter has just had the MMR jab; I’m putting my money where my mouth is on this. (Well, my daughter’s health ranks higher than money as far as I am concerned).

  91. #92 Common Sense
    January 5, 2007

    Sue, they may not know why there is an increase in diabetes, but they do know what isn’t the cause. MMR. Your “evidence” is conspiracy mongering and circumstantial.

    Really? They KNOW it isn’t the mmr? How do you figure?

  92. #93 Lucas McCarty
    January 5, 2007

    Reading some of the comments by CS and Christian, aren’t I as an Autistic person supposed to be the one that has difficulty with communication?

    It was said that wether or not Wakefield was right or wrong was irrelevent to the matter of him not revealing conflicts of interest. If he was right, the conflict of interest would still be there, thus his results even if correct would be near worthless because the effect of him as a not totally honest scientist on the results would taint them.

    This was made pretty clear. It is seperate and therefore irrelevent to the issue of wether the vaccine itself is a cause. How it is relevent is that if Wakefield was correct, then he still ended up obscuring the ‘truth’ about MMR because he would have made it difficult for anyone to reasonably accept that evidence because of the conflict of interest not being revealed. But they are two seperate issues that do not affect the objective outcome: if MMR does or does not cause Autism, it is not altered at all by Wakefield’s actions but it still alters wether the evidence for it can be trusted.

    It should also be noted that when the phrase ‘common sense’ is used, it is often used as a fig-leaf for presumption, to give it a superficial moral high-ground it doesn’t really have. Posting under that pseudonym doesn’t do you much credit Sue. I would also be interested in knowing how vaccine damage causes the documented and objectively tested Autistic strengths which are not in fact the brain compensating for injuries but a universal quality that is neccessary to be Autistic, irrelevent of assumed level of functioning.

  93. #94 anonimouse
    January 5, 2007

    Christian nonsensed,

    One of the MDs that told us that he thought it was the MMR vaccine, told us there that he’d found the virus from the vaccine in the cerebro-spinal fluid, and that there was a treatment for that. He told us to get a spinal tap. Every time we try to set an appointment with a doctor that does spinal taps, they freak out and refuse to do the diagnostic when they find out what we’re looking into.

    Of course – because doctors don’t want to subject children to an invasive and potentially dangerous test for no substantiative reason, that means they’re in on the conspiracy. THAT is the way people like you think, and it’s pathetic.

    OTOH, if Wakefield knew that the powers that be would block his research (e.g. with that mockery of an ethics panel that raised the “consent” issue), concealing his funding almost looks understandable.

    No, it isn’t. Tell me, genius, how do we know that many folks who research vaccines have ties to pharmaceutical companies?

    Because they tell us. That allows us to take that fact into account when reviewing the research. It doesn’t necessarily discredit it, but it does allow us to think critically about the results and the context in which they came about. (i.e., if a drug is being tested and the only people who think it could plausibly work is the drug company-funded study, then that could be a problem)

    And this gem…

    You did not address the issue of the CDC refusing to let non-shills look at their vaccine data. That looks bad.

    Anyone can look at the vaccine data. You just have to pay for it and assure people that you’re not a bunch of hacks who are going to merge files to make off with a plantiff list for a lawsuit.

    Sue,

    The incidence of Type 2 diabetes in the U.S. has been growing for upwards of forty years. The incidence of Type 1 diabetes has increased as well, but it has NOT increased as the same rate as MMR uptake or vaccine uptake in general. I don’t think MMR uptake is increasing at a rate of 3.2% per year.

    I know this because I can browse PubMed and read your links, and you obviously cannot. You’d rather listen to what the anti-vax wackos tell you.

  94. #95 Common Sense
    January 5, 2007

    Sue,

    The incidence of Type 2 diabetes in the U.S. has been growing for upwards of forty years. The incidence of Type 1 diabetes has increased as well, but it has NOT increased as the same rate as MMR uptake or vaccine uptake in general. I don’t think MMR uptake is increasing at a rate of 3.2% per year.

    I know this because I can browse PubMed and read your links, and you obviously cannot. You’d rather listen to what the anti-vax wackos tell you.

    Mouse, once again you are completely missing the point. I suppose discussions like this are worthless with the likes of you. You are so intent upon saving the sanctity of our vaccination policies that you could possibly be ignoring clues which are right in front of your mousey whiskers. Sad to see. Discussions with people here has also showed me that I am doing the right thing with my kids. There are so many that just can’t see … because they cannot see… they cannot be responsible for decision making when it comes to vaccinating my children.

  95. #96 Ice Man
    January 5, 2007

    Sue crashing and burning again. I know it’s tough putting your little feelings up against science, but I’m going to give you credit for tenacity. On the other hand, I think it was Freud who defined insanity as repeating the same action over again despite knowing the negative outcome.

  96. #97 Coin
    January 5, 2007

    I just feel sorry for her kids. I really hope they don’t get exposed to anything that she didn’t feel fit to vaccinate them for.

  97. #98 Christian
    January 5, 2007

    Reading some of the comments by CS and Christian, aren’t I as an Autistic person supposed to be the one that has difficulty with communication?

    Let’s get this straight — since you can speak, I’m supposed to ignore the suffering of my own son, who lost his ability to speak, and gets frustrated and hurts himself when he can’t get his meaning accross to us?

    I’m not allowed to get my son a spinal tap, to see if our doctor is right that there’s a virus in his spinal fluid, damaging his brain, because doing so would hurt your feelings as an Autistic person?

    I’m glad you can communicate. I’m not trying to change who you are. I’m trying to save my son from anguish. His last sentence to us was a plea to find him “medicine.” Why do you have a problem with that? It’s not about you.

  98. #99 Christian
    January 5, 2007

    “Sue crashing and burning again. I know it’s tough putting your little feelings up against science”

    Against WHAT science? Your arguments here are based on reputation and groupthink. Show me the science that rebutts the MMR link.

    “I just feel sorry for her kids. I really hope they don’t get exposed to anything that she didn’t feel fit to vaccinate them for.”

    Would you really? Or would you gloat? Because that whole “feel sorry for her kids” remark, on a public board, suggests you’re more of the gloating type.

    “means they’re in on the conspiracy”

    Stop putting your paranoid words into my mouth. I never said “conspiracy.” After those first ethics charges on Wakefield, no doctor wants to find evidence linking MMR to Autism. They’ve got reputations to maintain and families to feed. That’s how the world works when science becomes more about reputation than about the facts.

    Andrew said: “The fact that Dr. Wakefields findings have not been replicated (despite attempts)”

    Good! This is what I came here for. Sorry if I missed it between all the groupthink and intimidation arguments. Are there actual independent studies that disprove the link, and can you source me?

    “because doctors don’t want to subject children to an invasive and potentially dangerous test for no substantiative reason”

    Please stop assuming that all cases of autism are identical. My son goes through more pain and danger, regularly, than this test. My wife can’t have a job. When she falls asleep for a minute, he breaks a window and the cops find him in the middle of the street downtown in Las Vegas. He’s not stupid and it’s getting harder and harder to keep dangerous and sharp objects from him. I’m afraid that one day instead of pounding his fists on his belly when he has intestinal pains, that he’s going to use something sharp.

    The first doctor identified the doctors that found the virus in the cerebrospinal fluid of the other kids. The doctors did not deny that this had happened. They simply all said that they no longer do spinal taps on anyone anymore.

  99. #100 Christian
    January 5, 2007

    “I’m not sure why you think there is any scientific doubt over the whole issue.”

    Because other than you and HCN, no one here or elsewhere has given me any hope that actual credible studies have been done to disprove the link. Everything else I’ve seen is based in some combination of sophistry, groupthink, misrepresentation and sadistic intimidation.

    Now if you could link me to info on those studies you spoke of, I’d be very grateful. We always used to vaccinate, even got optional vaccines like flu shots in the winter and optional hepatitis shots when we traveled. Now my wife won’t vaccinate our kids at all. I don’t descend to the kind of low-brow strong arm arguments that folks like anonimouse and coin are tossing, and I sure as hell am not going to present those to my wife. There’s enough strain on our marriage as it is.

  100. #101 Christian
    January 5, 2007

    Forgot to say, thank you for the Autism Research Network link, HCN.

  101. #102 Robster
    January 5, 2007

    Christian,

    Robster, I have absolutely no idea how your last comment connects to what I said. Please look at the context. I didn’t say don’t punish Wakefield. I said that dismissing a theory by association with the person isn’t a reasonable “punishment.”

    Two seperate things happened. Wakefield’s hypothesis was examined and found to be incorrect. Later, Wakefield’s ethical issues were uncovered and he was punished.
    ———-
    Sue,

    Really? They KNOW it isn’t the mmr? How do you figure?

    Quick and easy pubmed/medline searches and reading some articles. Like anonimouse suggested. It really isn’t that hard.

  102. #103 Lucas McCarty
    January 5, 2007

    First of all Christian, you do not know if I can speak or not because you have never met me nor have I explicitly told you I can speak. I can speak sometimes, most Autistics can, but those that can’t still communicate and no one has ever proven there is a such thing as an Autistic that can’t communicate and all study accurately examining the nature of Autistic to non-Autistic communication find a failure in mutual reciprocity, not in any supposed deficit of the Autistic individual. You know I can type sometimes, I can’t always. Few Autistic adults are unable to speak, those that can’t can often type, sign or use PECS.

    When I can’t get my view across to others it is also extremely frustrating and I feel the need to find privacy and do whatever I can to cope with it. No one should be suprised when an Autistic does this nor suprised at what they do to cope: it’s behaviour that is replicated when any person believes whatever means of communication they use is disregarded until they use a ‘proper’ way to communicate like what non-Autistics.

    Please do not assume that any of this is irrelevent to me. Parents that publicly make claims about their children in the context of Autism alter perceptions and attitudes about all Autistic people. When people try to ‘explain’ to me condescendingly that ‘Autism is a spectrum’ when I start fighting my corner I then have to get it into their skulls that ‘it means Autism isn’t a hiarchy’ and that is what the science about Autism says.

    You have a thing for not wanting other people to put words in your mouth so I’d kindly ask you not to do the same, unless of course you can point out where I said in effect “ignore your son” or anything remotely like it. It’s the exact opposite of what I want. If anything I want parents to pay far greater attention to their Autistic children and to learn as much as they can about Autism from non-hysterical sources so that they have a broad knowledge of how Autistics themselves see things and why they do things. It simply isn’t enough to look at each specific issue and say “it’s because of Autism” because that is not how it looks from where we are standing. I still have mostly no clue what a lot of non-Autistic people I come in contact with reguarly think Autism actually is. Their whole take on it is based on what they see me doing, disrespectful and indifferent to what I actually try to tell them. That is a repeated occurence in the first-person stories told my Autistic adults regardless of what form of communication they were using as a child or as an adult.

    I can say nothing about you and your experience except for what you tell me because I have never met you, yet you can alter may very quality of life by what you say anywhere about Autism because most Autism organisations are parent-driven organisations with parent-oreintated and defined views. Those organisations spread information about Autism from almost entirely parental points of view and Autistics when allowed to speak are hand-picked based on their views so they support that of parents.

    The information most widely spread about Autism has an affect on me directly. So of course the vaccine issue affects me because those that promote the view that any vaccine causes Autism almost always does so by spreading fear, alarm, inaccurate and utterly prejudicial information about Autistic people.

    Could you also explain what you mean by ‘independant’ when asking for an independant study? A study has to be funded, so by default there is no chance of there ever being an independant study on anything. That’s why all conflicts of interest must be made open to scrutiny, which is what scientists do but Wakefield didn’t.

    Reputation is important because there is a such thing as cheats and liars, sometimes they worm their way into science and once their nature becomes transparent, they can never be trusted again unless they redeem themselves. Even when a scientist has their reputation trashed however, anything they publish after that will still be taken into equal consideration however because it needs to be for skeptics to accurately show if it’s trash; they can’t do it by ad hominem attack even if ad hominems are often made.

    But just as a bad reputation alone does not prove the published study of a discredited science is dubious, so to do the personal attacks made against that person not mean the skeptical criticism is wrong also. I’ve read every line of comment on this thread and no skeptical person has said anything that contradicts this. Bettelhiem had his reputation trashed after his bizzarre Refridgerator Mother theory was unsuprisingly discovered to be bonkers and he himself was a charlatan. To argue that the criticism against him was unfair, wrong or irrelevent wouldn’t make any of his claims less false or that there was no study proving the theory wrong,which there wasn’t, people just put their heads together and demanded Bettelhiem be scrutinised properly. Every charlatan involved with Autism should be viewed in the light of Bruno Bettelhiem, including Wakefield.

    I don’t know anything about you or your son that you don’t tell me. I do know about Autism, what it is like for me and what it is like for others that tell me. His last words to you were asking for medicine, why would you think I ‘have a problem with that’? What does worry me is how you may have interpreted that, because it’s the repeated story in every Autistic adult that tells it: people choose to not take what they say as it is, they have to read all kinds of things into it and never seem to understand what was actually attempted to get them to understand. There’s no mutual reciprocity in Autistic to non-Autistic communication until someone with a better way with words than I comes along and points it all out.

    All Autistics communicate, if they didn’t then they would have to be utterly comatose. When parents(let’s be honest, it isn’t all parents or even most) say their Autistic child doesn’t communicate, that is suddely where I cry “Bull”. I don’t know about their child, but I’m not Simple Simon when it comes to Autism. How the hell do they come up with the conclusion that Autism is a sinkplug on communication? It affects it but it doesn’t redefine it. Communication and speech are not the same thing, nor is communication and body langauge. There are many different ways of communicating but none of them have a monopoly.

  103. #104 Robster
    January 5, 2007

    Christian, here is a good review article on vaccines and autism. I cannot gaurantee that you will be able to access it, so I’ll keep looking for one that I can be sure that will be public access.

  104. #105 HCN
    January 5, 2007

    Christian said: “Forgot to say, thank you for the Autism Research Network link, HCN.”

    You are welcome. I live near one. When one of my children was a bit over two years old he spent an afternoon as part of a study to evaluate methods for diagnosing children for autism. He was part of a group of “neurotypical” kids to get an idea on how “normal” children reacted to certain situations. At one time the tester pretended to hurt herself… apparently his look of shock and concern brought about lots of “oh, he is so cute” (he is 16 years old now, and is still cute, and works well with younger children.

    Another thing about universities with centers for child development research is that they often have free or low cost therapy and schools. I paid $10/hour (many years ago) for speech/language therapy at their Speech and Hearing Clinic, and I know of kids who went to their Experimental Education Unit (my older speech disordered and learning disabled son got several volunteer hours serving food at their annual auction).

    One of my favorite books I read when I was just dealing with my oldest child’s issues was _Childhood Speech, Language and Listening Disorders_:
    http://www.amazon.com/Childhood-Speech-Language-Listening-Problems/dp/0471387533/ … one of the things that is mentioned is that universities are a good source of resources for parents of disabled kids.

  105. #106 Lucas McCarty
    January 5, 2007

    As Robster has pointed out with just a few simple words:

    Wakefield was not punished or discredited because his study was wrong.

    That is issue A: does MMR cause Autism. It is entirely seperate from issue B which concerns Wakefield’s discrediting as a scientist and his reputation rightly held in contempt.

    All that happened when it was revealed he’d lied and he started scare-mongering. Where as after his study he said the possible cause needs more research, after his ethical cupboard was thrown open he began full-scale claims about being persecuted for telling some kind of truth about MMR and Autism. Wakefield’s work is now used by many obvious quackery groups and Wakefield does nothing to distance himself from them as far as I can tell. That isn’t how an open and honest scientist behaves. If I got a group together claiming Autism researcher Simon Baron-Cohen’s work supports our theory that Autistics generally run faster on all fours or some other ridiculous claim, you can expect he will distance himself by saying he doesn’t endorse it and believes his research has been misinterpreted.

    What Wakefield did was confuse the two issues, drawing their association together to make them look as if they were linked: he was being called all these things because of the results of his study. He wasn’t. He was being called all those things because he it was revealed he was all those things, completely seperate from the criticism of the study itself.

  106. #107 HCN
    January 5, 2007

    Lucas McCarthy said “How the hell do they come up with the conclusion that Autism is a sinkplug on communication? It affects it but it doesn’t redefine it. Communication and speech are not the same thing, nor is communication and body langauge. There are many different ways of communicating but none of them have a monopoly. ”

    Exactly! My oldest son has a severe speech disorder, which also affects his expressive language (especially in writing). But he is not autistic. His first expressive language was sign language, but he is not deaf.

    He has had autistic classmates… but he also has had deaf/hard of hearing classmates (along with lots of kids with other issues, plus lots of “normal” kids). There are overlaps in communication disorders, but they are only a small part of the whole child (sorry, person… at 18 he is officially an adult, which for some reason has not magically made it possible for him to keep his room clean!).

  107. #108 notmercury
    January 5, 2007

    Lucas said: You know I can type sometimes, I can’t always.

    May I just say that when you do, it’s worth reading every word. Thanks for saying what you say Lucas.

  108. #109 Robster
    January 5, 2007

    Here is another good review. It looks like it requires that you purchase it. I would suggest that you visit the library of a local university and from there, it should be free, excepting a minor cost to use their printer. You may get lucky, and they could have a hard copy of the journal.

    The crap that gets heaped on Sue comes from experience of her tricks and games. She is a known quantity, always one you can rely on for constant misinformation, begging the question, ad hominems, ad nauseums, and other logical fallacies. When people point out that she is wrong, it is because she is, not because of groupthink.

    The best research points towards disruption of genes controlling development during the first trimester of pregnancy. This is further reinforced by observations that autism tends to run in families. There are some external risk factors that have been identified as well. Epidemiological studies have shown that MMR and thimeresol are not among them.

    Best wishes.

  109. #110 Christian
    January 6, 2007

    Lucas, thank you for your thoughtful response.

    In the language of the internet, what you are doing now is “speaking.” If my son could type or sign to communicate, I would be delighted, and he would not be hurting himself. The closes we’ve arrived to communication is by music. I’ve found that he repeats snatches of my songs, and so I’ve taken to singing songs for different activities, and sometimes he’ll sing a snatch of song that applies to something specific.

    We’ve also spent weeks trying to teach him sign, and he’s used maybe four words from the show, but does not use them regularly.

    “His last words to you were asking for medicine, why would you think I ‘have a problem with that'”
    I said what I did because your initial remarks seemed to assume certain things about me and my son. Seemed to assume that I’m trying to force him into my mould. That’s the #2 knee-jerk assumption by the anti-anti-vax folks. Blame the parent, shame him into silence. I’m sorry if I read too much of those previous responses into yours. I assure you that I’ve spent 20 times as much time paying attention to my son as to the internet; this week is the first time that I’ve gotten onto a blog like this, because whenever I look, I see people making cruel, even sadistic ramarks like the stuff Coin was saying above and even worse. Judging desparate people. The first blog I got on my son came up, and the person asked me if I thought that MMR caused it, and I said that I don’t know. He offered some of the “no evidence to prove it” arguments, and when that didn’t fully persuade me, he banned me from the blog, making the same sort of assumptions that I was trying to force my son into something he isn’t.

    “Could you also explain what you mean by ‘independant’ when asking for an independant study? A study has to be funded, so by default there is no chance of there ever being an independant study on anything. That’s why all conflicts of interest must be made open to scrutiny, which is what scientists do but Wakefield didn’t.”

    Seems to me that if Big Pharma can spend money to get Bill Frist to immunize them just in case they are guilty, and in the other hand pay for a study, that such a study is no less suspect than the study paid for by a plaintiff’s attorney. And if a plaintiffs’ attorney abused CDC Data to get a client list, that attorney could get disbarrered. If you can’t find disinterested parties to study the matter, then we should allow interested parties from both sides to study the matter. Whatever standards supposedly work to insulate the scientists from the interests of their funding, should work on plaintiff’s attorneys’ money just as well as it works on Pharma money, don’t you think?

    I’ve “spoken” to other autistic people on non-medical forums, before this happened to my son. There was one fellow that I really thought had a fascinating mind — didn’t know he was autistic at the time. Found out he was in town, and was hurt when he refused to come meet me or my family or even talk by phone, and I didn’t understand when he told me he was autistic. I understand better now, although I still wish I’d had the chance to meet him in person. I wouldn’t want to “cure” his mind — he was really interesting. Saw things in ways that startled me. I have ADD, and people say the same about me some times.

    Yes, my son communicates some things, using the strange incredibly limited song language that I made up for him, an occasional word, but usually by tugging on fingers and pulling hair. He used to draw pictures with crayon that my wife and I would argue about for hours, trying to analyze, but if I told you what he drew you guys would pull the plug on me. Honest, I’ve been working on this like a full time job for two years and my son still can’t communicate his basic needs on a regular basis, let alone let me know what’s on his mind. And none of the professionals have offered any useful advice here, except for “try sign language” which we’d already done, and continue to do. He enjoys watching the sign language videos, and laughs at them, immitates the signs while the video is going, but then doesn’t use them to communicate with us.

    Three years ago, 4 months before the MMR, he was running through the house chanting poetry that he’d made up himself. “I’m living, I’m living, in the time of the butterfly/ the wind’s not gonna change me any more.”

    What does worry me is how you may have interpreted that, because it’s the repeated story in every Autistic adult that tells it: people choose to not take what they say as it is, they have to read all kinds of things into it and never seem to understand what was actually attempted to get them to understand.

    How do I know what he wanted me to understand, if he can’t talk, can’t write, can’t type, and won’t sign? When he screams and punches his stomach, what am I to understand but that his stomach hurts and that he wants relief from the pain?

    “Communication and speech are not the same thing, nor is communication and body langauge”
    I know that just as you know that autism is a spectrum disorder :) But what am I missing here? Talking, writing, typing, signing, singing, drawing … put it all together and over two years of work he still can’t communicate basic needs. Since the latest meds for the last 3 months, he’s picked up about 5 new words, and isn’t hurting himself as much. I hope the meds aren’t harming him, but he does seem happier.

    “How the hell do they come up with the conclusion that Autism is a sinkplug on communication?”

    Ask them. I’m not talking about Autistic people in general. I’m talking about my son. And about what I and my wife can perceive. We’re putting in the time. If there’s some sort of training we can get, sites that talk about how to understand whatever strange method of communication that you’re saying exists but haven’t identified, please point it out. Don’t do like others and just cruelly sneer at me for not getting it. I’m trying. What do I do next?

  110. #111 Christian
    January 6, 2007

    One of the reasons my wife and I continued to read all the antivax stuff is that the other stuff never mentions or deals with the intestinal problems that my son and so many kids in this situation face. The source of his physical anguish. Why are all the supposedly credible medical sources dealing with this problem?

  111. #112 Christian
    January 6, 2007

    “Reputation is important because there is a such thing as cheats and liars, sometimes they worm their way into science and once their nature becomes transparent, they can never be trusted again unless they redeem themselves.”

    I understand that. But others were suggesting above that Wakefield’s disgrace makes his *theory* illigitimate by association. I’ve also had the impression from doctors that they are afraid of exploring certain avenues lest they discover facts that put them in the line of fire. Politics might discredit people but should not discredit ideas. That’s a business for science.

    Can I ask … you said sometimes you can type and sometimes you can’t. Why is that?

  112. #114 HCN
    January 6, 2007

    Christian asked “Can I ask … you said sometimes you can type and sometimes you can’t. Why is that?”

    Some of us who have dealt with speech/language disorders know the answer to this… but it seems that you have not encountered the full range of neurological ramifications in regards to communications that Lucas eludes to.

    One way to understand his statement is to understand there is a basic difference between “speech” and “language”… and that there are specific areas of the brain to deal with each (look up “Broca” and “Wernicke”). Also that there are subtle differences in emotional context that some people are clueless about (not all of them are considered “autistic”). Also, there are skills that compensate when neurology fails in others. Sometimes other parts of the brain are overloaded and the parts that let us communicate cannot function properly (have you ever had the occasion to be “speechless” when told some extraordinary news?).

    To fully appreciate this I suggest that you get and read the book by Patricia McAleer Hamaguchi I referenced earlier, PLUS…!!!… both books (or all if she wrote more) by Temple Grandin, AND any of your choice by Oliver Sacks (at a minimum his book _An Anthropologist on Mars_, though I think any would suffice… I have read all but one or two of his books, and only because my library did not have them). I would also highly recommend this book:
    http://www.amazon.com/Not-Even-Wrong-Fathers-Journey/dp/1582344787

  113. #115 Common Sense
    January 6, 2007

    On the other hand, I think it was Freud who defined insanity as repeating the same action over again despite knowing the negative outcome.

    I do agree with Freud here. Think about the insanity of our vaccination policies. He was right.

  114. #116 Common Sense
    January 6, 2007

    Quick and easy pubmed/medline searches and reading some articles. Like anonimouse suggested. It really isn’t that hard.

    Here’s the issue that I see. You stated that they KNOW that it isn’t the mmr. This is incorrect. They don’t KNOW anything. In fact, in terms of type 1 diabetes one of the primary “triggers” of which is often brought up is some sort of a “virus” trigger. This could be many childhood viruses… who knows? How can you state with certainly (as you tried to do) that it couldn’t be the 3 live viruses (via the mmr) that triggers type 1 diabetes in genetically susceptible children? Certainly, you can’t. Until you can, please refrain from using such definitive commentary such as they know it isn’t the mmr.

  115. #117 HCN
    January 6, 2007

    There is more:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/medicine/story/0,,1983942,00.html …
    Begin Quote
    The doctor who sparked the controversy over the safety of the MMR vaccine has dropped a two-year libel action against Channel 4, a fortnight after a high court judge ordered the disclosure of confidential documents to his opponents.
    Andrew Wakefield sued Channel 4, 20-20 Productions, and reporter Brian Deer over a November 2004 Dispatches programme MMR: What They Didn’t Tell You.

    Lawyers estimate that the Medical Protection Society, the doctors’ defence body which funded the libel claim, faces a legal bill of more than £500,000 for its own and the other side’s costs of the case, which was due to go to trial next October……
    End Quote

  116. #118 Pierce R. Butler
    January 6, 2007

    A couple of important questions seem to have been neglected here.

    If this “legal aid fund” sprayed out 3.4 million pounds to cultivate favorable reports from scientists (if not “science” per se), shouldn’t there be a lot of lawyers facing ethics charges alongside Wakefield et al?

    And where did this “fund” get its funding? Few attorneys I’ve known would drop even a measly million dollars on a speculative hunt for possible reports to be used in prospective litigation years later.

  117. #119 Robster
    January 6, 2007

    Until you can, please refrain from using such definitive commentary such as they know it isn’t the mmr.

    Pot to kettle time again. Previous reseach has demonstrated no link between MMR and type 1 diabetes. This was linked to earlier.

    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/108/6/e112

    Actually, I favor the neuronal overstimulation of islet cells leading to islet cell death, which then triggers the autoimmune portion of the disorder is quite interesting, but as of yet, no better than other hypothesis. There is no reason that this could not be one of many causes of diabetes. It does have a promising mouse model to support it, though.

  118. #120 Lucas McCarty
    January 6, 2007

    There are just two questions I have regarding the Homeland Defence Bill that had a clause preventing vaccine manufacturers from being sued,

    1. Is there any evidence that Mr Frist was paid by anyone specifically to encourage this legislation? Baring in mind that companies do indeed fund election campaigns to encourage favourable legislation, is there any evidence specifically concerning the passing of this bill?

    2. Does this evidence take into consideration the ‘ABC’ fallacy?

    A: Money is given
    B: Efforts are made to pass legislation
    C: Legislation passed

    It seems simple and logical enough; A causes B, B causes C, therefore A is the cause of C. But it’s wrong. It assumes that only A can cause C. C may also have other causes. One such cause is the realisation that the US has a potential national security issue with vaccines; should a class-action suit require vaccine companies to pay so much out that they become bankrupt, than the US has no other means for providing itself with vaccines. That scenario would be far more destructive than any other save for nuclear war. Hence, the clause was in the Homeland Defence Bill. It’s the explaination that has to be accepted because it’s the simplest(Occam’s Razor) unless another is proven to be more likely.

    Regarding my time/context/enviroment-sensitive varying levels of functioning and skill competence, HCN gave some good answers but I’d like to elaborate from my personal position. Most people in Britain speak one langauge and a little of a second, usually French. I don’t know anymore than them, but still I know about four langauges: Spoken English, Written English, Typed English and Read English. Other people percieve and process these as one langauge, I don’t. They’re all utterly different and I’m often baffled when others can’t see the differences that I do. Teaching me in school was impossible because I had to listen, read and write all at once when I have enough difficulty doing one after the other. It’s harder to speak after typing, type after writing, etc. Had they pushed me too hard or given up or even just made less of an effort all because they couldn’t see it from my point of view, I really doubt I would have advanced much but that would have not been something to blame on the disembodied entity called Autism(as if it were an invisible friend that followed me around getting me in trouble); the reason for it would have been more to do with the kind of assumptions made about me.

    I frowned a bit when you said “If my son could type or sign to communicate, I would be delighted, and he would not be hurting himself” because I can do these things yet I still find myself in despair during those periods and in those places where I am enabled to do so. I simply find more peace when I don’t have to. I learned early on that attempting to communicate can get me in a lot of trouble.

    My mother knows I can’t look and listen at the same time. She knows this because I told her, repeatedly and often. I can still see but I can’t look, I can still hear but I can’t listen, not one whilst doing the other. My mother still has this thing of talking to me when we are out shopping, I try not to listen but if she gets the impression that I’m ignoring her because I’m unresponsive she just redoubles her efforts and I bang into stuff because I have to listen, so can barely see where I’m going. I try to move slower to prevent this but she makes comments forcing me back to the same pace again, technically blind and unable to take in her speech, my vision and the textile information that would inform me I’m on a slope or have just bumped into someone. I know I can not tell my mom while this is happening because I will be unable to do so without screaming it because she’s already got me so angry I’m making an effort to not burst. I can only tell her beforehand, never during or after if I want to avoid embarrassing her or falling out with her. If she disregards what I’ve told her beforehand, there is nothing I can do. My mom is not a bad mom, she’s a great mom. But she’s not superhuman and even simple things like this can pass her by simply because she can’t understand the first-hand experience of it. There are many social-type things that her brain prioritises for her while my Autistic brain prioritises just the very most basic information the brain recieves from the body. That explains in a way why Autism is not considered an intellectual disability: everything is made up of smaller parts and if Autistic brains simply process small parts as fast as they do, they do in fact see the bigger whole but they see it in a very different way. Others see houses, we see the bricks but not just the bricks but state they are in meaning we know the difference between a pile of bricks and a house just as well as anyone else.

    Regarding self-injury though: A punch to the stomach doesn’t neccessarily mean he’s trying to communicate that something is wrong with his stomach, although there could be but that is something you are better placed to know about him specifically than I am. Nor would head-banging signal that there is something wrong with the head or any other self-injurious action on an area single that place out as a communication that something is wrong with it. Self-injury is mainly done because the individual in despair feels that have lost all control and one of the very few real things everybody can control is what they do to themselves. Though there are other reasons.

    But any stomach or gut problem should be treated of course purely as a stomach or gut problem. It shouldn’t be claimed that it has a factor in causing Autism though without evidence. But one theory suggests that stomach problems in Autistic people are common because of stress, which in general we experience more than non-Autistic people. So it ends up being that cause and effect are confused: people end up believing something in the problem area caused Autism when the relationship is more like strees leading to inflammation leading to more stress. That’s a cycle that should I think need a treatment to break.

  119. #121 Christian
    January 6, 2007

    “Regarding self-injury though: A punch to the stomach doesn’t neccessarily mean he’s trying to communicate that something is wrong with his stomach, although there could be but that is something you are better placed to know about him specifically than I am.”

    Starting shortly after the MMR, food has mostly passed through him undigested, he’s become alerging to more foods, and an endoscope shows horribly inflamed intestines. The kid suffers bouts of ghastly physical pain; no doctor has even suggested any other explanation. Until the meds he sometimes had bouts of rage where he’d reall harm his brothers, once broke my wife’s tooth. This was never his nature before, and isn’t now with the meds.

    He’s done a little head-banging, but we’ve never thought there were pains to the head.

    The gut pain started a few weeks before the personality fluctuations. Here — timeline:

    up to october: no symptoms.
    November — MMR right before Thanksgiving. He’s 4 years old, and late for his MMR vaccine. Fever 1-2 days later, some erratic behavior during the whole Thanksgiving weekend. People comment on how difficult he is, for the first time. He suffers an ear infection, which he hadn’t had for 2 years previously.
    December-January — digestive problems, he complains of pain in his gut. He also suffers terrible ear infections. My wife says she thinks it’s a reaction to the MMR. Although previously toilet trained, he loses it.
    February-April: behavior begins to cycle like a manic-depressive, multiple times each day. We seek treatment for what we think is manic-depression. Extreme giggling to screaming and self-harm. Digestive problems and pain continue. He refuses to eat wheat or milk, craves mangoes. One day we walk in the kitchen and he’s filling a spoon with mustard, saying “greens and mustard make us strong.” No one told him that, he made it up.
    April-May: Over 2 weeks he gradually stops speaking. In early May he says his last sentence: “Mom, I need some medicine.” Two days later he’s staring at the wall and won’t look at us or his brothers.
    Late May, a doctors suggests autism for the first time. We look stuff up online. The only sites talking about the gut disorder in conjunction with autism are the anti-vax sites. I also learn the delightful term “child disintegration disorder.” By singing and doing motions, contact games, I eventually get him to look at me and smile, and parrot snatches of song, but it’s not until 1 year later that he even begins to notice, let alone interact with his brothers (who had been very close to him before).

    Since no one else has offered any plausible explanation for what happened to him, my best theory is:

    *something, possibly a virus from the MMR vaccine, possibly something else, caused the fever. Fevers are common with vaccines, as I understand, right?

    *His body’s reaction to the fever or virus triggers some sort of autoimmune response.

    *The autoimmune response tears up his small intestines.

    *food leaks into his bloodstream through the intestines, causing him to develop alergies.

    *some combination of the autoimmune disorder and malnutrition (because of the malabsorption of the food, as evident by a look at his stools) causes … whatever damage leads to the mood swings and eventually to his loss of ability to speak.

    I know that he had no stress when he started to get the intestinal problems. He freaked out a bit while he had the fever, but the intestinal stuff came later when he was happy.

    I’m not trying to posit my son’s case as representative as anyone else. Actually, the doctors have been lately saying that this isn’t autism, but “autism-like,” because of the late onset, which they say is extremely unusual. Seems odd to say “autism-like,” given that they already say that it’s such a spectrum.

    I frowned a bit when you said “If my son could type or sign to communicate, I would be delighted, and he would not be hurting himself” because I can do these things yet I still find myself in despair during those periods and in those places where I am enabled to do so.

    Could you elaborate? You type and sign to communicate but still find yourself in dispair during what periods, and which places, when enabled to do what?

    Maybe I’m wrong about communication being so important. I just know that when he successfully communicates something, even little, that we’re all very happy. He seems to understand about 60% of the time … so there’s some common stuff with what you’re saying. Some of the time it feels like communication’s just shut off. But with the new meds, that’s less often.

    Thank you Lucas

  120. #122 anonimouse
    January 7, 2007

    Christian,

    Did you crib your timeline from the “MMR Causes Autism Handbook” put out by the good folks at SafeMinds?

    Figured as much.

  121. #123 anonimouse
    January 7, 2007

    Sue,

    The difference is that most people don’t believe it’s the MMR, because there’s no evidence that the MMR plays a role in diabetes.

    You, on the other hand, are pretty much convinced of that fact.

  122. #124 Christian
    January 7, 2007

    Is this how things work around here? Call people a liar when their children’s cases don’t fit your preconceptions? Or is Anonimouse the only one paranoid enough to imagine grand conspiracies whenever someone says something that doesn’t fit into his construction of the facts?

    No, Anonimouse. I haven’t ever heard of safe minds, but since you seem to think that their site is more relevant to my set of facts, I’ll look them up. Unless others here have something useful to say about this case.

    We have everything documented with pictures and doctor visits. My memory isn’t faulty. Do others here concur with Anonymouse that the studies that you’ve put your trust in leaves no room for my set of facts?

  123. #125 Christian
    January 7, 2007

    OK, I managed to contain myself and NOT tell my wife about what Anonimouse said, because if I had, she’d have insisted on pushing ahead with her plan A. I hope that others have something more helpful to say. Because the negative implication of Anonimouse’s accusation is that if he had a kid that had my son’s set of facts, that he’d be looking to the antivax side for answers because my facts don’t fit the science around here.

    Do the rest of you agree that I’ve got no where else to go for my son?

    I’ve seen folks try to change my story and make assumptions about it to fit what they wanted to believe, but I’ve never until now been told flat out what A-mouse just said.

  124. #126 Lucas McCarty
    January 7, 2007

    The problem with the sequences of events is the ABC fallacy coming into play, only this time with the letter sequence going beyond C, but the longer the letter sequences goes in accordance with this fallacy, the less likely it becomes that A is the cause of the last letter in the sequence. Which is why Occam’s Razor says it is in fact objective to be biased towards the simplest explaination possible. There is a study I know of that has shown gut, stomach and bowel disorders are no more common in Autistic populations than in non-Autistic or Neurotypical populations. It can be exaggerated because Autistic children especially are far more sensitive to sensory information than others, not only is certain stimuli painful and certain pain amplified, but the effect it has on their functioning can be severe. So it can give the impression that gut disorders are far more severe in Autistics than they really are or more common.

    It gets further compounded by the fact that behaviour tends towards becoming better on certain diets, which inadvertently leads to parents believing the child was maybe intolerant to something. This doesn’t take into account that such diets make anybody feel better or different, not just children or Autistics and both. Plus Autistics are generally more sensitive hence the results of the diet will have a greater margin of difference. But it does not mean they had any intolerances or gut troubles.

    Now I’ve just been through my annual bout of winter Flu, during which my smell and taste is gone, so my hearing becomes more sensitive which makes it more painful to listen. I do however talk more because I’m no longer spending my attention resources on senses which are no longer useful. I can also type and write more too. That is the effect the symptoms of Flu have on me. It could be said that because I am Autistic, Flu has different symptoms for an Autistic person than it does for a non-Autistic person, but it’s still the same Flu that everyone else gets.

    So my functioning can be affected by my ailments aswell as other circumstances. I have just explained an example of my own regressions.

    It’s why I’m not as convinced as you about MMR’s culpability for a regression in your son. My regressions are instant. I can not look when listening, when I am listening, my ability to use my vision has instantly regressed. When I hear examples of vaccine reactions causing Autistic regressions, I always find the weeks and months they take to be very odd. It utterly under-estimated Autistic sensitivity. As soon as there is but a single physical problem, the change is overwhelming and sudden. It’s why I first was not at all skeptical about vaccine links to the cause of Autism because parents were saying regression was happening instantly or almost instantly after the jab. I got the impression that it was something like minutes or hours, as was the case in the recent tragic ‘Elephant Man’ drug trials.

    I’m one of those who believe every Autistic is born Autistic and that it is very possible that an ailment in early childhood can cause a regression which will have a long-term effect on the individual outcome. So I was open to the idea of both MMR and Thimerosal being sources of regression but the more I hear about weeks/months timelines for regression the more implausible I find it.

    Regarding my comment about frowning when you said something that seemed to me like ‘Communication = Happiness’.

    Your son will of course be deleted when he has communicated something and you have understood, I am too when this happens on the rare occassion in my life. What I’m grasping at is that communication is supposed to be a two-way thing, but this rule is often cast aside and spat on when Autism is involved. All Autistics communicate, except where they have abandoned all attempts after repeatedly trying and realising that it’s pointless. That is a finding from a study where Autistic children made repeated attempts to communicate something to their parents, who could not understand so ignored it. The children even attempted to repair the broken-down communication but this was ignored, and the parents had no idea they were even doing it because they didn’t regard what their children were doing as communication. Much of the communication that Autistics use is not regarded as ‘proper’ communication until it gets broken down and explained to the other involved party. It’s why break-downs in communication are consistently blamed on the disembodied spectre of Autism(which is in fact the ‘uncommunicating’ Autistic themselves) when it should be known to everyone that it’s a two-way thing.

    People often say I have an excellent ability to communicate and I don’t know why. Only about a quarter of the things I try to communicate are understood, depending on the enviroment, other people and the person I’m communicating with. When the remaining 3/4 of failed communication occurs, I find I am nearly always to blame for it in some way. Attempting communication gets me into a lot of trouble and I’m simply not prepared to accept anymore that even most of it is anywhere near entirely my fault.

    Regarding ‘Autism-like’ behaviour. Yes this does exist. Blind people have Autism-like behaviour, but their Autism-like behaviour is accepted and tolerated because anyone can find out what it’s like to be blind simply by impairing their own vision. Then their behaviour becomes something Autistic-like. Rett’s Syndrome is not Autism, nor is Landau-Kleffner Syndrome, William’s Syndrome, Fragile-X or Childhood Degenerative Disorder, but they are all considered Autism-like. It’s one of the many reasons why Autism should not be diagnosed on behaviour alone, considering how often the behaviour of Autistics is misinterpreted anyway.

    Often, people who are actually Autistic get described as Autistic-like though.

  125. #127 Robster
    January 7, 2007

    Chistian,

    It sounds to me like your son is a “statistical outlier”, not that you are a liar. You have already stated that you have looked at several antivax sites, so including some of their claims isn’t surprising, although it can be frustrating. I have to run to work for a few hours, and will offer up some thoughts when I get back. Here are a couple more articles about the primary scientific thought on the likely causes autism.

  126. #128 Lucas McCarty
    January 7, 2007

    I disagree with most things I read regarding the cause of Autism. The disagreement stems from where the voluntary involvement of Autistics themselves to describe their experience are not included. The typical symptom of such articles are their focus on assumed deficits which can not be traced to any original source in evidence and much talk about supposed ‘Autistic behaviour’ where there is in fact no such thing. Autism is rarely diagnosed on behaviour alone, entire developmental histories are considered as are intelligence tests that consistently show large variances in scores, which is often mistakenly assumed to be most lower than average with only a few higher than average scores.

    I’m happy to say that I recently had some of the tests from when I was first diagnosed 11 years ago at the age of 11 repeated, as the scores from back then were no longer relevent for the Occupational Psychologist to include in her assessment which was required for a training college to understand my needs. The scores, in the controlled, stable, predictable and non-interfering enviroment in which I was allowed to do the tests, were mostly higher than average with just one score concerning flexible memory being very low near ‘Borderline’ which I assumed meant borderline retarded. It was pretty much what I was expecting it to be as when I am asked to perform a task given to me in a certain order but I have to perform it in a different order to the way it was given to me (she said random jumbled letters and numbers, which I had to arrange in my memory into letters first going alphebetically, then numbers going numberically) and it was extremely difficult. Compare that to my otherwise very high memory score, I don’t have a problem memerising but do have a problem manipulating that memory.

  127. #129 Common Sense
    January 7, 2007

    Pot to kettle time again. Previous reseach has demonstrated no link between MMR and type 1 diabetes. This was linked to earlier.

    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/108/6/e112

    Right. I saw that study which you link to AGAIN (let’s just say it is now about the 100th time someone has linked to the exact same study). Could that be because it is one of very few studies out there in regards to the issue? I already commented on it… see above.

    As for the comparison between myself and others here. I try very hard about making definitive statements in regards to these issues (although I am not perfect). Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of you (the majority of you). You seen to KNOW the truth … in fact, of course, you don’t…

  128. #130 Common Sense
    January 7, 2007

    Actually, I favor the neuronal overstimulation of islet cells leading to islet cell death, which then triggers the autoimmune portion of the disorder is quite interesting, but as of yet, no better than other hypothesis. There is no reason that this could not be one of many causes of diabetes. It does have a promising mouse model to support it, though.

    Sounds reasonable. What could be causing this “neuronal overstimulation of islet cells leading to islet cell death”? Just curious.

  129. #131 Common Sense
    January 7, 2007

    Sue,

    The difference is that most people don’t believe it’s the MMR, because there’s no evidence that the MMR plays a role in diabetes.

    You, on the other hand, are pretty much convinced of that fact.

    Ah, ha… Mouse brain. “Don’t believe it’s the mmr” is quite different from “it’s not the mmr” or “they KNOW it’s not the mmr”. That, in fact, is my point. You KNOW nothing. Got it?

  130. #132 Common Sense
    January 7, 2007

    Is this how things work around here? Call people a liar when their children’s cases don’t fit your preconceptions?

    Ah, in a nutshell, yes. Either a liar, or you are mistaken, or your memory is faulty or it is a coincidence. Take your pick.

    Christian, your story is not unlike many others that I have heard. Keep asking the questions. Like you, I wish that there was a place that we could go to get “real” answers. There is no in-between here. You either have to believe whole heartedly in the entire vaccination policy no exceptions or you have to go to the other extreme.

  131. #133 Christian
    January 7, 2007

    Robster: It sounds to me like your son is a “statistical outlier”

    Fine with me. I’ve never claimed that my son is typical of autistic kids and I’m not even 100% sure that what he has is autism; some of the M.D.s are saying that it’s something else. I don’t care how we label it; I just want ideas on solutions to the problems that torment my son. Regardless of whether my son “is autistic” or “has autism” or has “autistic-like symptoms,” some of the information that Lucas has provided resonates with me and may prove very useful. I’ve also found some info on the anti-vax sites that was helpful, like understanding why my son was going through phases where he craved mango, or mustard, etc. And regardless of whether they were correct about whether my son was actually alergic to wheat & milk, and of how he might have developed such an alergy, taking him off wheat and substituting soy milk really did make things better. And yes, I did get that part of my construct (though not the story) from an antivax site.

    Lucas, I believe that an alergy doctor verified my son’s alergy to milk and wheat, but that might be mistaken. I’ll check that.

    I’m intrigued by you say about amplifying “certain” stimuli and pain. While my son experienced horrible agony in his gut, he also seemed to be ignoring stuff that would have been agonizing: his inflamed eosophagus, and exposed nerves in his teeth. He broke a tooth and would not let us brush his teeth, and finally we forced the issue after a while and saw the horrid damage he’d done to the back teeth. It obviously bothered him but not to the same extent that his gut bothers him. And after the teeth were repaired, it made no difference in his behavior other than for the first 1/2 day where he seemed to have a strange reaction to the anaesthesia (more on this later).

    Clarification on “regression”: his behavior after the vaccine, during that whole thanksgiving weekend, was like he is now. He *did* actually go like that within hours of the vaccine, but only for a week, at the same time as the fever and ear infection. After that week, his behavior went back to normal and he started speaking again, went back to being a happy boy who played with his brothers and made up songs and poetry. Then he started getting intestinal pain, lost bowel control, started passing most of his meals right through, but his behavior and communication were still OK, and he was still playing happily with his brothers, until the other events that I told you about happened. I just assumed that he didn’t talk during that thanksgiving weekend because of the fever, and frankly the violent behavior was more shocking than the not speaking. I’m not sure what that means. I know other diseases sometimes go “into remission.” As far as I’m concerned, learning on how to do that with some of the problems would be almost as good as a cure.

    When we took my son to the dentist, to fix those teeth he’d ground down to the nerve, he hadn’t spoken for months and months, and there’s no way he’d sit still. We had to get total anaesthesia. It was an afternoon procedure. The next morning he woke up speaking. Not normally, but prolifically. He wasn’t speaking to anyone; he ran around excitedly naming objects like Adam in the garden of eden. “This is a chair. This is a table. I am Nathan. This is my house.”

    Then it went away and things were like they were before.

    It was a huge arm wrestle to get the dentist to tell us what was in that chemical coctail of Anaesthesia, and I’m not certain that he told us what he used, since we’ve gone down the list and haven’t figured out what did the trick for him. He was so happy. But we’ve never been able to replicate it.

    Lucas, you’ve talked about sensory overload and wanting to focus on one sense at a time. To me, that seems to connect with my son’s experience with the anaesthesia.

    “I’m one of those who believe every Autistic is born Autistic and that it is very possible that an ailment in early childhood can cause a regression which will have a long-term effect on the individual outcome.”

    If you separate being autistic from the individual outcome, then what does it mean to be autistic?

    “When the remaining 3/4 of failed communication occurs, I find I am nearly always to blame for it in some way.”

    Not with me you’re not. Tell you what — if we miscommunicate, let’s blame it on my ADD :)

  132. #134 Christian
    January 7, 2007

    CS: “your story is not unlike many others that I have heard. Keep asking the questions. Like you, I wish that there was a place that we could go to get “real” answers. There is no in-between here. You either have to believe whole heartedly in the entire vaccination policy no exceptions or you have to go to the other extreme.”

    Maybe that’s true — eventually. Right now I’ve suspended belief and disbelief, and listening intently to all sides, and getting what seems to be some useful practical information from both sides. Lucas’ insight may help me to understand my son — something I’ve worked on for 2.5 years with limited success. The anti-vax sites gave my wife the info about wheat and milk, which made things significantly easier. I care less about who is right and who is wrong than getting small ideas on how to help my son and heal my family.

    Maybe you are right that I’ll have to choose sides some time, but I resolve this: that I’ll never treat parents who disagree with me with the sort of sadistic abuse that I’ve seen from coin, mouse-man, and some of the monsters on other sites that I’ve seen calling each other “child abusers” for administering what they think are bad meds. If the meds I’m using are dangerous to my kid, I want to know that info! But calling a parent a child abuser for following a doctor’s advice and doing what they sincerely think will help their kid is not “child abuse.” We’re fumbling in the dark and doing as best we can; we don’t need people questioning our motives and getting their kicks trying to push us over the edge.

  133. #135 Lucas McCarty
    January 7, 2007

    There is a lot of evidence that being Autistic has absolutely no baring on the outcome of the person. Leo Kanner had patients described as high-functioning as children that had terrible outcomes like institution as adults, whilst many described as low-functioning had very good outcomes and went to university. The supposed level of functioning does not affect the outcome, it is seperate from Autism.

    Being Autistic means I have an uneven profile of skills, strengths and abilities. As my tests scores showed, I had excellent memory, but had very poor ability to manipulate that memory into a form other than what it came in. But for these kind of scores to show, there has to be measurable strengths to be compared with the deficits. Anyone claiming Autistics have no skills, can’t learn skills or are an utterly flat line-chart of deficits does not know about Autism. What makes it easy for such people to manipulate information about Autism is the fact that children are given an undue amount of attention as study subjects. Even when the researcher group does not assume Autism is a child-oreintated thing, adults are reluctant to take part because of very well-informed suspicions we have about research in case it is funded or affiliated with one of the many Autism organisations that do not include a wide variance of Autistics in their governence. Children have less skills than adults, different children also learn different skills at a different pace and in a different way, therefore children are not a very good representation of the abilities of the average Autistic, even when being compared with non-Autistic child control groups.

    Nor should adults that have been in institutions be used, as they were the most abundant source of adult Autism study in the past. Institutions destroy Autistics, no Autistic in an institution represents normal Autistic functioning because the institutional enviroment is designed to eliminate any pathological behaviour and what Autistics often do is mistakenly believed to be pathological(but there is as I said, not such thing as Autistic behaviour), hence normal Autistic functioning is continually intefered with.

    The influence of institutionalisation should never be underestimated. I know of an experiment years back where a Psychiatrist working in an institution chose to swap his uniform for that of a patient’s uniform. After just a few days he had difficulty sometimes with remembering that he was an employee and not a patient.

  134. #136 Robster
    January 7, 2007

    Christian,

    From what I have read, your son’s problems probably started before birth. Genes that determine how organs develop often include minor variations. Some of these don’t change function, some do. Sometimes these altered genes don’t show up without some stimuli. Sometimes they produce small changes, other times, large ones. Genetics isn’t always black and white.

    In cases where the gene (or genes) act to produce an atypical brain, a timer of sorts is set. Some kids are different from the start, others seem “normal” until the timer hits and their mental development diverges. Parts of the brain that had been communicating with each other adequately begin to run into bottlenecks, and the individual no longer responds or acts they way they had been as they try to adapt.

    The connection with fever occaisionally following vaccines is valid, but children often get sick and develop fevers, no vaccine involved. Neither of these events have been linked to the development of autism with a likelihood higher than chance.

    If the intestines had become leaky, allowing food particles into the bloodstream, blood would go in the other direction. That bloody stools aren’t a feature of autism, nor are they a highlighted symptom showing up in these discussions, we can dismiss this concept.

    It is wholly possible, from my point of view, that if autistic individuals are more likely to develop GI problems, the genes that caused the nervous system issues could also alter GI tract development. You would have to ask someone much more knowledgeable about these genes than me.

    From the epidemiology studies, the connection of vaccination and onset of noticed symptoms is coincidental. There isn’t anything wrong with noticing it. We evolved to make connections like that. It keeps us from eating the things that made us sick the last time we encountered them. It is part of the problem solving capacity that makes us human. But it doesn’t always produce the most accurate information. That is where science comes into its own, and we can figure out what is coincidence and what is significant.

    I wish I could offer suggestions regarding therapy and treatment, beyond avoiding snake oil and miracle cures, but I would be way out of my element.

  135. #137 Robster
    January 7, 2007

    Sue,

    Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of you (the majority of you). You seen to KNOW the truth … in fact, of course, you don’t…

    We know what is likely (genetics and external factors causing autism), what isn’t correct (MMR, vaccines, thimeresol causing diabetes or autism, also, that these aren’t the above mentioned external factors) and what is certain (vaccines save lives).

    Ah, in a nutshell, yes. Either a liar, or you are mistaken, or your memory is faulty or it is a coincidence. Take your pick.

    Well, that happens. There are some scam artists out there trying to sell some dangerous treatments to parents (chelation), and then there are the just plain useless ones (homeopathy, yeast RNAs (perhaps a woo piece there, don’t know if it has already been done)) People, including parents, can be mistaken and coincidences do happen.

    Here is a bit about the neuronal overstimulation and diabetes hypothesis. What causes the nerves to not produce enough substance P? We don’t know yet. Genetics is probably a big part, unintelligent design. If this ends up being a major cause of type 1 diabetes… Well, we can hope for a treatment for those in the early stages of type 1 diabetes.

  136. #138 Christian
    January 7, 2007

    That’s an interesting point about a GI-bloodstream “leak” going two ways. While there were a number of black stools (suggesting a possible blood leak) these were not a regular occurrence, yet the gut pain lasted a great deal of time.

    Wonder if the gut damage could have somehow trapped particles in a way that triggered an immune response, without leaking into the bloodstream. I can’t remember from human anatomy, ages ago, whether all those white globs around the small intenstines were just fat globs, or whether there was a lymph node cluster around there.

    I do wish the doctors were interested in this stuff, instead of having to fumble around with it myself.

    From the epidemiology studies, the connection of vaccination and onset of noticed symptoms is coincidental.

    If a-mouse was the first person to challenge or try to change my son’s case history, I’d be more comfortable calling what happened to my son (late MMR injection and correspondingly late onset of autism-like symptoms) a coincidence. As it is, I’m reminded not of X-files conspiracy nonsense, but something that I do remember from Anatomy class … that for centuries, surgeons would toss out the spleen when they opened people up, which killed most of them even faster than the sepsis. Reason? The Spleen wasn’t in the Galen’s anatomy text. Twice we’ve seen facts actually changed in our case history — they change the dates when things happened and also add “facts” of their own like previous diagnoses of autism, etc. We’ve always pulled in the previous doctor files and showed that the changes were incorrect. I don’t see this as deliberate; I think people just really don’t want to see what doesn’t fit their paradigm, just like in politics.

    (amusing anecdote: I had a friend come back from south america, complaining of parasites. Doctor runs all these tests, says nope. My friend says — I feel these things moving inside you. Doctor tells him to see a psychologist. “I’ve run every test and I’m telling you, there are no parasites in you.” Well, two weeks later my friends in the bathroom, and ends up wrestling this long clear thing out as it tries to crawl back in. He runs into the doctor’s office, slaps it down, and says, see, I just pulled it out. And you said there were no parasites. Ah, says the doctor, that’s a solitaire. Those don’t show up on the tests.)

    But I need to read up on those links that you guys have kindly provided. Wish the studies went past the stubs. :(

  137. #139 Christian
    January 7, 2007

    Well, Lucas, sounds like we did one thing right at least, by refusing the many doctors who wanted to institutionalize him.

    He just had his first severe mood cycle that I’ve seen all month, today. Screaming depression and banging on things, so I pulled out the heavy artillery: we watched the first 4 minutes of Hitchikers’ Guide to the Gallaxy 5 times in a row. So long and thanks for all the fish. He sure loves those dolphins. And we just found out that our city has a dolphin show. That brought him into giggling and jumping, and now he’s calmed down.

    I think we’re having semantic issues with communication. I understand that it’s a matter of throw and catch. He used to mutter under his breath a lot, almost constantly, but when I’d come close to hear what he was saying, he’d go quiet or start giggling. When I say he can’t communicate, I mean he can’t get his meaning through to us, except sometimes over fairly simple things. I’m pretty intuitive and can guess what he’s after better than my wife, even though she spends much more time with him — can’t hold a job or anything. And I’ve taken a huge hit in my career plans to make more time with him as well; we’re barely getting by. We may not be understanding as much as he’s trying to communicate, but it’s not through lack of trying. It may be through lack of information, though, which is one reason I’m seeking your advice here.

  138. #140 Christian
    January 7, 2007

    Wow, active day. He just said a little sentence: “Get the yams.” I take it he wants me to make some yam chips — one of his favorites.

  139. #141 Lucas McCarty
    January 7, 2007

    It is a very good idea to listen to other Autistics you talk to as they will often have certain traits that are similiar to your son’s, and by knowing all the varying reasons and explainations it can help put things in context.

    Sometimes I can’t ‘hear myself think’ because the ability to do so seems to be very much like any other sense like vision and smell. To be thinking and not knowing what I’m thinking makes me very tense and nervous because I may act on what I am thinking without knowing what it is I’m thinking of. It can be a matter of survival that I am able to hear myself thinking. A good way is to think with my mouth instead of my brain. Of course I’m not literally doing that, but I’m swapping my inner-voice for my outer-voice. But my thoughts are also private, so I try to do this privately and must try to stop thinking altogether if someone is there unless I can remove what ever obstacle has been placed on my senses to prevent me using my inner-voice.

    That’s my experience of it. Not every Autistic will have one. Those that do may be different while others are pretty much the same.

    I’m very glad you chose to fight attempts to institutionalise him. There is no evidence that institutions are ever good for an Autistic but plenty to say they are terrible for them, no matter how well-meaning. Most do not have an Autism specialist, yet Prof Lorna Wing discovered decades ago that about a third of the patients she encountered when visiting institutions were in her view Autistic and she is one of the most qualifed people in the world to say so. I don’t think any institution would allow anyone to play the same bit of a film over and over again, which is terrible as the intro to The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy is amazing. The last time I repeated a scene on a film was about 3 years ago and it was the opening battle of The Fellowship of the Ring with a huge armoured Sauron knocking back dozens of soldiers. I’ll proberly do it again privately when I see scene I really like in a film.

  140. #142 Common Sense
    January 8, 2007

    Here is a bit about the neuronal overstimulation and diabetes hypothesis. What causes the nerves to not produce enough substance P? We don’t know yet. Genetics is probably a big part, unintelligent design. If this ends up being a major cause of type 1 diabetes… Well, we can hope for a treatment for those in the early stages of type 1 diabetes.

    It seems as if you wanted to link to something but didn’t. Unless, I missed it. So, let me try. Are you referring to this? This has been talked about extensively in other groups that I am in…:

    http://tinyurl.com/yy3bmu

    Very interesting development. I agree. Important points from the link:

    “they have proof the body’s nervous system helps trigger diabetes”.

    “malfunctioning pain neurons in the pancreas”.

    “and that nerves likely play a role in other chronic inflammatory conditions, such as asthma and Crohn’s disease”.

    “The problems stem partly from inflammation — and eventual death — of insulin-producing islet cells in the pancreas”.

    “Dr. Dosch had concluded in a 1999 paper that there were surprising similarities between diabetes and multiple sclerosis, a central nervous system disease. His interest was also piqued by the presence around the insulin-producing islets of an “enormous” number of nerves, pain neurons primarily used to signal the brain that tissue has been damaged”.

    “found that the nerves in diabetic mice were releasing too little of the neuropeptides, resulting in a “vicious cycle” of stress on the islets”.

    “The researchers are now setting out to confirm that the connection between sensory nerves and diabetes holds true in humans”.

    What is this telling us? Any guesses? Don’t miss the clues. Type 1 diabetes (From most accounts) is both genetic with environmetal trigger. We have also seen a large increase in type 1 diabetes in children over the past 20 years or so (unless a doctor would like to debate that issue with me). It is not and cannot be “better diagnosis”.

  141. #143 Robster
    January 8, 2007

    The two links in that comment didn’t work, can’t say why. But yes, that is the research to which I was referring.

    Don’t miss the clues.

    Yeah, one of those clues being that vaccines cannot be linked to the rise in diabetes, as determined by the repeated epi studies.

  142. #144 Common Sense
    January 8, 2007

    Yeah, one of those clues being that vaccines cannot be linked to the rise in diabetes, as determined by the repeated epi studies.

    I can’t figure out if you are lying purposely or if you just believe your insanity. Tough call.

  143. #145 Robster
    January 8, 2007

    OK, Sue. That article that we have been linking to over and over? If you read it, you will find that it discusses several previous studies regarding the lack of a connection between vaccines and diabetes. In fact, one of the previous articles mentioned

    Classen and Classen(8,9) have hypothesized that certain vaccines (eg, hepatitis B, BCG), if given at birth, can decrease the risk of developing type 1 diabetes mellitus, whereas first vaccination at 2 months of life or later can increase the risk of type 1 diabetes. The few studies reported to date, however, have evaluated vaccine exposure without regard to timing. No controlled epidemiologic studies have been published concerning timing of vaccinations and diabetes risk.

    One of the Classen/Classen papers did suggest a possible connection with the Hib vaccination and an increase in diabetes, but this hypothesis failed in a later study.

  144. #146 Christian
    January 8, 2007

    CS, Please let’s just assume that people are honestly representing their experiences and point of view. Lots of good people get stuck in a rut and find it difficult to see evidence that conflicts with preconceptions. No one can question all of their assumptions all of the time. Questioning someone’s honesty or sanity doesn’t change anyone’s mind; when a-mouse pulled that on me it just made me want to dig in.

  145. #147 Common Sense
    January 8, 2007

    One of the Classen/Classen papers did suggest a possible connection with the Hib vaccination and an increase in diabetes, but this hypothesis failed in a later study.

    Classen has done a bunch of studies on type 1 diabetes and vaccinations. Here are some press releases based on his knowledge:

    http://www.vaccines.net/newpage2.htm

    On another subject, in 1999 (I believe), Classen testified in front of the FDA in regards to the Prevnar vaccine. He believed that it had the ability to cause 7x the amount of type 1 diabetes in children in comparison to the HIB vaccine (due to the similar stucture to the HIB only with 7 strains). He was basically disregarded and the Prevnar started being recommended shortly after that. Since we have some doctors (perhaps even some peds) who may visit this site. Can any of you tell me what has happened with the rate of type 1 diabetes in children since 2000?

    This is not a trick question. I don’t know the answer. I am hoping that the doctors do. Considering that most doctors recommend that the Prevnar be given, I would imagine that they would be/should be following the vaccine to see if the rates of type 1 have increased dramatically since 2000. Sounds reasonable. Doesn’t it? Please report back. Also, if the answer can’t be found due to really pathetic tracking of chronic diseases such as type 1 diabetes than ask yourself why? Is the CDC too busy promoting flu vaccines and/or stalking hospitals for possible flu related hospital visits that possible side effects of vaccines get lost in the shuffle. You CANNOT both promote vaccines and be responsible for tracking their safety. Your issues with Wakefield pale in comparison to that nightmare.

  146. #148 Common Sense
    January 8, 2007

    No one can question all of their assumptions all of the time. Questioning someone’s honesty or sanity doesn’t change anyone’s mind; when a-mouse pulled that on me it just made me want to dig in.

    Understood. Here’s the issue. Robster has made many previous references to me such as this lovely comment:

    “The crap that gets heaped on Sue comes from experience of her tricks and games. She is a known quantity, always one you can rely on for constant misinformation, begging the question, ad hominems, ad nauseums, and other logical fallacies. When people point out that she is wrong, it is because she is, not because of groupthink”.

    Fine. His opinion but perhaps it explains my issue with him. The name-calling doesn’t bug me (I’m used to that here) but the idea that whenever I give out information it is of course, misinformation and of course, always wrong. Sure it is. The biggest issue that I have, however, is the ease by which he will declare an issue dead. Example: Check PubMed, the mmr does not cause diabetes. Set in stone. End of story. Sad and gets you nowhere and is frankly the reason why we are in the situation we are in today. The sanctity of the vaccination policy can’t be questioned… or else, you are a baby murderer, a source of misinformation, a moron, etc. etc.

  147. #149 Christian
    January 8, 2007

    Refusing to question authority on a question of science, has never made someone a moron or a murderer. It has led to a lot of dead people, I grant you. But “murderer” does not mean someone who refuses to contemplate ideas, which in the right hands, might save lives. Maybe there should be a big ugly name for such a person, but “murderer” means something else.

    I can appreciate your frustration, I really can. I despise conclusory arguments, bootstrap or circular logic, and unwarranted appeals to trust and authority. But I doubt that many of those dead people would have lived if someone had just used the word “moron” or “murderer.” I don’t find those to be particularly mind-opening words.

    I know nothing about the whole diabetis argument and I’m simply too lazy to take on another project. I just know these are difficult subjects for parents to tackle, and I’d rather that wounded people who travel through the internet should not have to endure charges of liar, murderer, child abuser, fool, or other terrible accusations in their search for information.

  148. #150 Robster
    January 9, 2007

    Thank you, Christian.
    ——
    Sue,

    Classen has done a bunch of studies on type 1 diabetes and vaccinations. Here are some press releases based on his knowledge:

    The press releases were very interesting, and I think you would have been better off not offering them up. They are written in a very alarmist manner. Some claimed increases in risk, some decreases. Interestingly, one of the studies that he says supports his claims regarding Hib does the opposite.

    On another subject, in 1999 (I believe), Classen testified in front of the FDA in regards to the Prevnar vaccine. He believed that it had the ability to cause 7x the amount of type 1 diabetes in children in comparison to the HIB vaccine (due to the similar stucture to the HIB only with 7 strains). He was basically disregarded and the Prevnar started being recommended shortly after that.

    Maybe they didn’t consider his research credible. Considerring that he was comparing prevnar with Hib in relation to diabetes risk, and his Hib research has been contradicted by several other studies, I can see why. Conjecture that Prevnar was dangerous because it was similar to Hib, despite there being a lack of evidence that Hib was, itself, dangerous, does not make for solid proof.

    I previously had said “The crap that gets heaped on Sue comes from experience of her tricks and games. She is a known quantity, always one you can rely on for constant misinformation, begging the question, ad hominems, ad nauseums, and other logical fallacies. When people point out that she is wrong, it is because she is, not because of groupthink”.

    Well. Sue is a known quantity, and appears immune to logic (the above discussion regarding the pediatrics paper makes for good evidence). Her comments do tend to be full of antivax misinformation, and are often incorrect. She does tend to rely on logical fallacies, especially conflating correlation with causation.

    The biggest issue that I have, however, is the ease by which he will declare an issue dead. Example: Check PubMed, the mmr does not cause diabetes. Set in stone. End of story.

    When someone makes a claim that you can check out, you do so, with the best sources available. In this case, Pubmed was the best place to look, and the vast bulk of research in the area is against any link between MMR (or other vaccines) and diabetes. Unless better information is forthcoming, and it does not appear to be, there is no reason to push such claims. Trying to baselessly convince people into abandoning vaccinations only puts the population at risk of outbreaks of diseases that vaccines control.

    Sad and gets you nowhere and is frankly the reason why we are in the situation we are in today.

    Knowledge and verifiable information are not sad. They can lead to the next step of research, and improvement of the human condition. Considering that the situation we are in today is a vast improvement on where we were a century ago, in part due to vaccines, scientific inquiry and modern medicine, and that the claims of the antivaxers are highly suspect… Vaccination is still the best course.

    The sanctity of the vaccination policy can’t be questioned… or else, you are a baby murderer, a source of misinformation, a moron, etc. etc.

    Vaccination policies can be questioned, but if you choose to do so, it needs to be with good evidence. Without that, source of misinformation is a reasonable description. When such practices do put the lives of children at risk, some will put this in inflamatory terms. At the very least, you can be said to contribute to medical neglect.

    Appeals to pity are not a basis for overturning sound research. The evidence is against your position. That seems to be what bothers you most, but it doesn’t change the evidence.

  149. #151 Christian
    January 9, 2007

    Appeals to pity are not a basis for overturning sound research.

    Certainly, but one cannot make a valid scientific argument without looking at the facts. Emotion is a perfectly valid appeal to motivate someone to look at inconvenient facts. Appeal to emotion only becomes an ad misericordiam fallacy when the speaker presents the appeal to emotion in the place of a logical argument.

  150. #152 Common Sense
    January 9, 2007

    They are written in a very alarmist manner. Some claimed increases in risk, some decreases.

    Yes, alarmist. I suppose that you consider press releases from the likes of say, SafeMinds, to be “alarmist” as well. If Classen is correct, his releases recognize a very serious issue hence, many such as yourself would consider them alarmist. I would not. The interesting thing about Classen (and you should appreciate this) is that he cannot be considered anti-vaccine. In fact, he has even stated that one of his thoughts is that the HIB vaccine should be given “earlier” in an infants life (truthfully, that makes me gasp), however, I mention it to explain to you that while Classen is pro-vaccine he also fully realizes that certain vaccinations can trigger type 1 diabetes in children. Period. Read up on him.

    Maybe they didn’t consider his research credible

    I suppose he was a credible enough person to be able to testify in front of the FDA. However, ok, perhaps you are correct. The intelligent and correct thing to do would be to track the incidences of type 1 diabetes after the Prevnar vaccination became recommended. Since you have this doctor suggesting a link in front of the FDA you had better follow up on the off chance that he’s correct. I’m waiting for the numbers from the doctors here. I’m sure that they’ve been following the trends.

  151. #153 pv
    January 10, 2007

    “Thanks to the Wakefield witch hunt there will now be fewer scientists brave enough to take on prevailing scientific views. Basically, if you want to forge a career in science in 21st century Britain become a boring yes man.”

    Just arrived at this thread and want to say, in my best scientific language, that the above quote from Rhodes’ post on 1st Jan is utter bollocks, without merit or evidence (just like Wakefield’s own “study”.

  152. #154 anonimouse
    January 10, 2007

    Christian,

    I still think you’re not being entirely honest. Other people may be willing to give you the benefit of the doubt, but I’ve seen and heard too many similar stories over the years (that have often turned out to have gaping logical holes) to take anyone at face value anymore. Unfair? Yes, but you can blame all of the liars for that.

    Sue,

    Uh, ok. One guy says that Prevnar can play a role in Type 1 diabetes. Nobody else finds that opinion credible. Thus, we should listen to the one guy who says that Prevnar can cause diabetes because it fits your preconceptions.

    And by the by, the Geiers and anti-vax loon Barbara Loe Fisher have testified in front of the FDA. Doesn’t mean squat.

  153. #155 Common Sense
    January 10, 2007

    Uh, ok. One guy says that Prevnar can play a role in Type 1 diabetes. Nobody else finds that opinion credible. Thus, we should listen to the one guy who says that Prevnar can cause diabetes because it fits your preconceptions.

    Whiskers, please read what I wrote. I wrote that you can say what you want about Classen (again he’s not anti-vax) and perhaps they don’t believe the guy. However, who is following the trends? Whose looking to see if he is correct? You also comment on the one guy who says that blah, blah, blah… how many people do you actually think are looking into the connection, Whiskers? I wouldn’t be surprised if he was the only one. Seeing that you are such an expert check that out.

  154. #156 Robster
    January 10, 2007

    The interesting thing about Classen (and you should appreciate this) is that he cannot be considered anti-vaccine. In fact, he has even stated that one of his thoughts is that the HIB vaccine should be given “earlier” in an infants life (truthfully, that makes me gasp), however, I mention it to explain to you that while Classen is pro-vaccine he also fully realizes that certain vaccinations can trigger type 1 diabetes in children. Period.

    Actually, Classen does fall in with antivaxers. His alarmist press releases, even those that suggest changes in schedule as a means to decrease the incidence of diabetes are couched in language to scare, instead of advocating for change in scheduling. Maybe it has to do with his company selling adverse event detection software… Or his patents regarding timing of vaccination, which he likely hopes would net him some serious cash flow. At least his conflicts of interest are visible. Wakefield should take notice. His constant use of “proof” and “proves” in the press releases instead of more measured words, when he is on the outside of the scientific mainstream is bothersome as well.

    From the press release I linked to above,

    Classen Immunotherapies’ discovery raises strong doubts about the safety of vaccines and indicates that clinical trials are needed immediately to either confirm or disprove the effect of vaccines on diabetes.

    And this is from a press release regarding how timing could decrease incidences of type 1 diabetes.

    Whose (sic) looking to see if he is correct?

    Maybe all those other studies that refute/ contradict Classen’s claims? He’s pretty much alone in making his claims.

    Read up on him.

    Yes. Let’s read up on him…

    Would I call safeminds alarmist? Yes, and wrong, too.

  155. #157 Christian
    January 11, 2007

    It would not be reasonable for you guys to go changing your theories and beliefs based on one unsupported anecdote that you heard on the internet. I’m not trying to persuade anyone to change their minds about medical facts based on my say-so. I’m asking for help and sources that regard my specific set of medical facts. Without medical records, the only rational way to respond to a set of facts is to treat them like a hypothetical. That’s how Robster and Lukas has handled my son’s, and I thank them for it.

    You can *think* what you like of me, anonimouse, but do the whole world a favor before you give voice to your paranoid accusations. You can blame “all of the liars” for what goes on in your head, but do not blames other people for your public behavior here. When you make unsupported and hateful accusations in a situation like this, you only show yourself to be a useless mealy-mouthed bigot. Especially since you admit you haven’t seen any specific “holes” in my story. If you’ve got nothing useful to say, then please shut up and leave me alone.

  156. #158 Common Sense
    January 15, 2007

    You can *think* what you like of me, anonimouse, but do the whole world a favor before you give voice to your paranoid accusations.

    Christian, please keep in mind that anonimouse has absolutely zero “real life” experience in this matter. That is not to say he/she/it cannot have an opinion but he/she/it needs to remember that most of “us” were where he/she/it was (doubtful of any connection) until circumstances told us differently. Do you know what I mean?

  157. #159 Common Sense
    January 15, 2007

    Actually, Classen does fall in with antivaxers. His alarmist press releases, even those that suggest changes in schedule as a means to decrease the incidence of diabetes are couched in language to scare, instead of advocating for change in scheduling.

    It is not “alarmist” to express your finding re: vaccinations. Sorry. Have we gotten to the point, that whenever anyone even mentions a possible connection, we need to have the opposing side scamper off to find evidence of how to discredit them? It seems this is an ongoing theme with you all. Can’t oppose the science so we will throw stones at those who are bold enough to speak up. Good luck with that.

  158. #160 notmercury
    January 15, 2007

    Common Sense:…needs to remember that most of “us” were where he/she/it was (doubtful of any connection) until circumstances told us differently. Do you know what I mean?

    I sure do. I certainly understand how one can arrive at the idea that maybe vaccines played a role. I better understand circumstances that told me differently. Know what I mean?

    Can’t oppose the science so we will throw stones at those who are bold enough to speak up.

    Um, which science is that Sue? Sounds a little more like the tactics favored by the anti-vax/thimerosalites to me.

  159. #161 Common Sense
    January 15, 2007

    I better understand circumstances that told me differently. Know what I mean?

    As you know, you are an interesting case. We don’t need to get into why (but I’m sure you know why). People need to evaluate the whole controversy and family histories, etc. and make educated decisions based upon that knowledge.

    Um, which science is that Sue? Sounds a little more like the tactics favored by the anti-vax/thimerosalites to me.

    In this case, I was speaking of the Classen studies.

    I do have a question if anyone can answer it. The Robster brought up the idea of being an “alarmist”. Can anyone give me a word which would state the opposite of that. Let me explain. Take the Danish epidemiological studies in regards to autism. Now those are still touted as an example of how there is no connection between thimerosal and autism. We know those studies to be bogus. So, what would we call that … holding up “false science” as truth? I keep wanting to say lying but then I wonder if there is a more scientific word to use. Suggestions?

  160. #162 notmercury
    January 15, 2007

    Sue M.: As you know, you are an interesting case. We don’t need to get into why (but I’m sure you know why). People need to evaluate the whole controversy and family histories, etc. and make educated decisions based upon that knowledge.

    Sue, one of the reasons I’ve chosen not to provide detailed information about my family is the tendency for people, like yourself, to speculate over possible other contributing factors that may exempt my particular ‘case’ from your belief system.

    JB Handley is very good at interrogating other parents about Rhogam use, or dental amalgams, whatever, just so long as autism is always mercury poisoning.

    Review: I suspected that vaccines may have contributed in some way to my child’s autism. Second, unvaccinated child, cured me of those suspicions. Your suspicions can’t change those facts.

  161. #163 Common Sense
    January 15, 2007

    Review: I suspected that vaccines may have contributed in some way to my child’s autism. Second, unvaccinated child, cured me of those suspicions. Your suspicions can’t change those facts.

    I have no intention of going into your specific case. I have my own and it is opposite of your findings so perhaps we cancel each other out. I will assume that your second child is now fully vaccinated and up to date. I am happy for you.

  162. #164 notmercury
    January 15, 2007

    Common Sense:I have no intention of going into your specific case. I have my own and it is opposite of your findings so perhaps we cancel each other out.

    Sue, I realize that you think voting for Ross Perot cancels a vote for Bush but our experiences don’t cancel each other out. Not even close.

    Your experiences prove only that it’s possible for a vaccinated child to develop diabetes or celiac, a point that was never in dispute. Since you have children with similar genetic backgrounds who haven’t developed one or the other of these disorders following vaccination, perhaps that cancels your anecdotal case reports.

    If you had an unvaccinated child who didn’t suffer from diabetes or celiac it also would prove nothing. Now if you had an unvaccinated child with either of those disorders it would at least prove that vaccination isn’t a necessary part of the equation.

    Likewise, an unvaccinated autistic child doesn’t prove vaccines don’t cause autism but it’s a strong indication that vaccines aren’t a requirement for autism.

  163. #165 Common Sense
    January 15, 2007

    Jim L., Our experiences are different. It is important to do your own research and make up your own mind as it pertains to vaccinations. Simple. Are we in agreement?

  164. #166 notmercury
    January 15, 2007

    Nice try Sue but wrong again. I’m not with the KGB either.

  165. #167 Kev
    January 15, 2007

    Oh Sue….’Jim L’? You should get together with Kev Champagne who thought some bloke from Germany was Camille.

    Notmercury and Jim Laidler have both posted at my blog, I can assure you their IP’s are not even close. About the one thing they have in common is the country of origin.

  166. #168 Sue is hatingautism everyday
    January 15, 2007

    Sue, I saw your idiocy on hatingautism when you speculated about that earlier. Have some guts and stop posting anonymously there and come out as a bigot like your pal ForeSam. You really are a joke and I love the fixation you have with a couple of hub bloggers – do you dream about them? Really, who cares, get a life!

    Sue, when can we get some of your blog lovin’ back? It was great when you were giving out a little piece of Common Sense back then – you naughty girl. Why did you quit so soon? What about hatingvaxinduceddiabetes.blogspot or maybe just antivax.blogspot? Or how about lonelywithJBestinNH.blogspot?

  167. #169 Common Sense
    January 16, 2007

    Nice try Sue but wrong again. I’m not with the KGB either.

    Speaking of the KGB, do you guys think that plutonium is more or less dangerous that mercury? Do you think we should talk to the KGB in regards to perhaps using plutonium to inject into babies?

    Notmercury, now that your second child is fully up to date with his/her vaccines, when do you think that you are going to change your name to notvaccines, instead…

  168. #170 Common Sense
    January 16, 2007

    Notmercury and Jim Laidler have both posted at my blog, I can assure you their IP’s are not even close. About the one thing they have in common is the country of origin.

    This is the reason why people don’t post on your blog anymore Kev (other than your friends).

  169. #171 Common Sense
    January 16, 2007

    Sue, I saw your idiocy on hatingautism when you speculated about that earlier.

    Nice try. Not me. Try again.

    Sue, when can we get some of your blog lovin’ back? It was great when you were giving out a little piece of Common Sense back then – you naughty girl.

    You naughty girl… what the hell are you talking about? Get a grip.

  170. #172 Kev
    January 16, 2007

    “This is the reason why people don’t post on your blog anymore Kev (other than your friends).”

    If by ‘people’ you mean your loony-tune friends, then trust me – that suits me just fine :o)

    Look at this thread Sue. Its damn long, lots of comments. But, past a certain point, really its about 3 or 4 people and you. That’s what you used to bring to my blog. Your defining feature is an ability to bang on about that which you know nothing about and my God its dull. I mean, I’ll happily come here and have a laugh at you now and again but I feel like I’ve done my bit in the trenches.

  171. #173 Orac
    January 16, 2007

    Look at this thread Sue. Its damn long, lots of comments. But, past a certain point, really its about 3 or 4 people and you. That’s what you used to bring to my blog. Your defining feature is an ability to bang on about that which you know nothing about and my God its dull. I mean, I’ll happily come here and have a laugh at you now and again but I feel like I’ve done my bit in the trenches.

    Yeah, it’s true, Kev. I don’t know why I put up with it except due to a certain commitment to not suppressing even commenters that I dislike as long as they don’t get too abusive and because people like John Best and Sue demonstrate the intellectual bankruptcy of antivaxers and the pseudoscience that I rail against better than I can do it by discussing it. However, after a certain point, I agree with you: It does get mind-numbingly tedious, and annoying, to boot, when comments from old posts like this one dominate the sidebar of “Recent Comments.”

    That’s one reason basically I pretty much just sit back without inserting myself into the discussions after my posts very often. The other reason is that, as the blogger, I view my job as being to produce new articles, not to get too involved in the discussions. If I got that involved in the discussions, it’d be time away from writing new stuff and it would be too much like Usenet all over again. I did more than my time in the trenches of Usenet and started this blog to take my message to a different (and wider) audience.

  172. #174 Common Sense
    January 16, 2007

    That’s funny, Kev, that is why most of us still visit your blog now :) … for the laughs. I do wonder why Orac stays so involved, however…

  173. #175 Kev
    January 17, 2007

    “That’s funny, Kev, that is why most of us still visit your blog now :) … for the laughs.”

    Sure Sue ;o) – that’s why :o)

    “I do wonder why Orac stays so involved, however…”

    Big Pharma shill? Willing tool of the Illuminati? Secret lover of Paul Offit? Pick your whacky theory and hang on like grim death Sue. Its what you do best ;o)

  174. #176 Orac
    January 17, 2007

    I do wonder why Orac stays so involved, however…

    Heck, I wonder why David Kirby stays so involved in this stuff. After all, he doesn’t have an autistic child, either. Yet I never see the likes of Sue or John “wondering” about Kirby, do I?

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