Respectful Insolence

Has it really been two years?

Amazingly, it has indeed. On June 16, 2005, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. deposited the biggest, steamingest, drippiest (not to mention stinkiest) turd I had as yet seen in my then young blogging career, specifically an article published simultaneously by both Salon.com and Rolling Stone entitled Deadly Immunity. Along with David Kirby’s Evidence of Harm: Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic: A Medical Mystery, which had been published a couple of months earlier, RFK, Jr. arguably did more than almost anyone else besides the aforementioned David Kirby to popularize the scientifically unsupported idea that mercury in the thimerosal preservative in vaccines was somehow responsible for an “autism epidemic.” He did it using a combination of logical fallacies, distorted data, quote-mining. and conspiracy-mongering on a huge scale, as I documented a day later. About 9 months later, he continued to let his odiferous efflux pour onto the blogosphere with another rank bit of pseudoscientific ranting against the CDC, this time on that repository of antivaccination nuttiness, The Huffington Post. Then he disappeared for a while.

I certainly expected him to show up again, now that the Autism Omnibus is in full swing and the “experts” being presented by the plaintiffs have all had their posteriors handed back to them in a sling. After all, David Kirby is back in a big way, and has sunk to ever lower depths. Why not RFK, Jr., too? Then, on Tuesday, Sharyl Attkisson posted a pièce de résistance of antivaccination crankery to, of all places, the CBS News website. Both Attkisson and Kirby looked very hard to beat in the crankery department. Both showed a lot of talent and moxie twisting data, throwing out logical fallacies, claiming scientific data to support their positions where none exists, and attacking their detractors for “persecution. David Kirby appeared to be ahead by a nose, having invoked Osama bin Laden and claimed that “products derived from pigs” were in vaccines (a little more on that in a future post). Attkisson’s effort looked too little, too late, to beat Kirby’s skillful entry.

Then RFK, Jr. entered the the crank-off. (Get your mind out of the gutter; I’m talking about a crankery contest.) In characteristic fashion, he dove in with both feet with an entry so devastating that even Kirby’s bin Laden reference might not be enough to allow him to claim the title of Most Supreme Vaccine Crank of 2007.

RFK, Jr. tells me (and other critics of thimerosal pseudoscience) that we hate mothers.

The poisonous public attacks on Katie Wright this week–for revealing that her autistic son Christian (grandson of NBC Chair Bob Wright), has recovered significant function after chelation treatments to remove mercury — surprised many observers unfamiliar with the acrimonious debate over the mercury-based vaccine preservative Thimerosal. But the patronizing attacks on the mothers of autistic children who have organized to oppose this brain-killing poison is one of the most persistent tactics employed by those defending Thimerosal against the barrage of scientific evidence linking it to the epidemic of pediatric neurological disorders, including autism. Mothers of autistics are routinely dismissed as irrational, hysterical, or as a newspaper editor told me last week, “desperate to find the reason for their children’s illnesses,” and therefore, overwrought and disconnected.

Invoking motherhood and decrying attacks on the mothers of autistic children in order to distract attention from the lack of science supporting his conspiracy-mongering! Excellent! Truly, there is a reason why RFK, Jr. is a master crank, and we’re seeing it right here! When evidence fails you, it’s always a good idea to wrap yourself in either the flag, motherhood, or apple pie. I’m guessing the flag and apple pie will be next. Kevin‘s right; I’m having trouble coming up with suitably colorful adjectives to describe this latest

As for his invoking of Katie Wright and the attacks against her, I haven’t commented on this before, but she tried to hijack Autism Speaks with antivaccine pseudoscience and got slapped down. Moreover, like many claims of “recovery” in response to chelation therapy, Wright’s claim for her child apparently has no real evidence to suggest that it’s anything more than the improvement that most autistic children demonstrate over time. As Kev put it:

The chelationistas love to claim ‘thousands of cured kids’ but when pressed, cults like Generation Rescue can only display 76 and when one examines those 76 carefully only 6 report their kids as recovered/cured/whatever. The situation with Katie Wright’s mentors is so ridiculous that I got my own daughters details published on their website as a ‘recovered’ kid.

So, Kennedy will have to forgive me if I’m less than impressed with the (unfounded) claim of ‘significant recovery’.

Kennedy also seems unaware that there is no good scientific evidence from controlled trials that chelation therapy produces any improvement in autism. All we have are dubious claims from chelationist and “scientists” like Dr. Mark Geier, who runs an ethically challenged “clinical study” (and, believe me, I’m being very generous in calling it that) in which he treats autistic children with a powerful anti-androgen agent (Lupron) plus chelation therapy, a study that was rubberstamped by an IRB packed with his cronies.

Next, in classic crank fashion, RFK, Jr. takes on the role of the gallant defender of the honor of these women against the slanderous skepticism of people like me, who don’t buy his unsupported claims:

But my experience with these women is inconsistent with those patronizing assessments. Over the past two years I’ve met or communicated with several hundred of these women. Instead of a desperate mob of irrational hysterics, I’ve found the anti-Thimerosal activists for the most part to be calm, grounded and extraordinarily patient. As a group, they are highly educated. Many of them are doctors, nurses, schoolteachers, pharmacists, psychologists, Ph.D.s and other professionals. Many of them approached the link skeptically and only through dispassionate and diligent investigation became convinced that Thimerosal-laced vaccines destroyed their children’s brains. As a group they have sat through hundreds of meetings and scientific conferences, and studied research papers and medical tests. They have networked with each other at meetings and on the Web. Along the way they have stoically endured the abuse routinely heaped upon them by the vaccine industry and public health authorities and casual dismissal by reporters and editors too lazy to do their jobs.

Here’s the problem. As much as I might sympathize with how difficult it is for these parents to deal with their autistic children, as much as I might admire their fortitude, such sympathy does not, nor should it, translate into tolerance when they play on that sympathy to advocate pseudoscience. What’s being dismissed is not the experience of these mothers, but rather the extreme fallibility of human observation, specifically the tendency to confuse correlation with causation and relying on anecdotal evidence. Calmness or being dispassionate does not exempt them from coming to completely incorrect conclusions about the origins of their children’s autism. As Steve Novella put it:

The simple fact is, human memory is fallible, there are numerous observational biases that plague human perception, and anecdotal evidence has been proven countless times to be worse than worthless, it is in fact highly misleading. The parents of autistic children are not magically exempt from these factors because their goals are sincere and their burden great. What RFK Jr. misses is that it is possible for calm, educated, sincere parents to come to a completely wrong conclusion based upon their own experience. Only carefully controlled scientific observation can resolve the question.

On other words, it’s quite possible to be calm and rational–and completely wrong. Moreover, just because being “highly educated” does not mean that a person understands a specialized area of science or that she can self-educate about that science. A few can, but the vast majority can’t. The background knowledge is just too intricate. Also, as much as I hate to admit it, because some of them may be doctors does not guarantee that they understand the science, either. Most doctors are not scientists; when they wander outside of their specialty they frequently embarrass themselves with a combination of hubris and ignorance. I could point out examples of physicians who are creationists or who have fallen into quackery. Ditto PhD’s who wander outside of their fields. They may have more grounding in the scientific method, but they all too often end up embarrassing themselves when they wander outside of their area of expertise. Moreover, “skeptical and dispassionate” investigations (a claim I find difficult to swallow, given the obvious emotional investment parents have in their children), sitting at scientific conferences and meetings and reading research papers are no guarantees of understanding, either, particularly if you don’t have the background in science to put them in proper context. The mercury militia, as they have been called, tend to look for data to fit their idea that vaccines and mercury cause autism, dismissing well-designed studies that fail to find a link. The most important thing that graduate school in science teaches is not a body of knowledge. After all, scientific consensus sometimes changes dramatically. Rather, it’s the scientific method and how to evaluate the scientific literature. Also, it forces a student to become steeped in one area of knowledge, so that he or she knows the background and context behind the data.

Besides, many of these parents aren’t all that “dispassionate”–certainly not as much as RFK, Jr. describes. For example, there’s Christine Heeren, who chelates her son with a mixture containing garlic and vinegar and posts videos of it to YouTube. There’s John Best, who’s infested my blog before and whose own blog (Hating Autism) is so vile that the only reason I’m linking to it here is to show you what a piece of work he is. (Click on the link at your own peril. You have been warned.) There’s J. B. Handley, who so detests me that he did a little cybersquatting on the “oracknows” domain just to get even and who refers to autistic people as “trailor-dwelling coo-coos.” He’s also known for his bull-in-a-china-shop personality when it comes to pushing the “autism = mercury poisoning” fallacy.

Obviously, RFK, Jr. must have met with different people than the ones I’ve become familiar with online.

Most ludicrous of all is RFK, Jr.’s characterization of the science. He cites “hundreds” of research studies from “dozens” of countries showing “undeniable connection between mercury and Thimerosal and a wide range of neurological illnesses.” Notice how he doesn’t mention autism specifically. That’s because there aren’t anywhere near that many studies supporting a link between thimerosal and autism. Actually, if you look at high quality studies showing a link, there are none. As usual, Kennedy is being disingenuous. What he’s probably referring to are studies showing that mercury can be a neurotoxin. There are no studies showing that thimerosal at the doses given in vaccines causes autism or significant neurologic injury of other sorts. What’s left to support Kennedy’s conspiracy-mongering is the shoddiest of science, such as that done by Mark and David Geier. Remember, the very best that the plaintiffs at the Autism Omnibus could come up with were pseudoexperts like Vera Byers, H. Vasken Aposhian, Ronald Kennedy, and Arthur Krigsman, and Marcel Kinsbourne, all of whom put on a truly embarrassing spectacle. The plaintiffs’ attorneys didn’t even bother to put Mark or David Geier or Boyd Haley on the stand, presumably because they are, as hard as it is to believe, even less credible than the “experts” they did put on the stand.

Of course, to bring his crankery to a grand finale, RFK, Jr. plays the two cards that all cranks must play. First, he plays the conspiracy card:

In response to the overwhelming science, CDC and the pharmaceutical industry ginned up four European studies designed to disguise the link between autism and Thimerosal. Their purpose was to provide plausible deniability for the consequences of their awful decision to allow brain-killing mercury to be injected into our youngest children. Those deliberately deceptive and fatally flawed studies were authored by vaccine industry consultants and paid for by Thimerosal producers and published largely in compromised journals that neglected to disclose the myriad conflicts of their authors in violation of standard peer-review ethics. As I’ve shown elsewhere [see www.robertfkennedyjr.com], these studies were borderline fraud, using statistical deceptions to mislead the public and regulatory community.

The CDC and IOM base their defense of Thimerosal on these flimsy studies, their own formidable reputations, and their faith that journalists won’t take the time to critically read the science. The bureaucrats are simultaneously using their influence, energies and clout to derail, defund and suppress any scientific study that may verify the link between Thimerosal and brain disorders…The federal agencies have refused to release the massive public health information accumulated in their Vaccine Safety Database (VSD) apparently to keep independent scientists from reviewing evidence that could prove the link. They are also muzzling or blackballing scientists who want to conduct such studies.

Yep, as MarkH put it, the conspiracy has indeed landed, and it’s a doozy! It seems like everybody’s in on this one, just as the 9/11 Truthers would have you believe that everyone was in on the World Trade Center attacks. I wonder who’s orchestrating the conspiracy and how all those “bureaucrats” keep it together and keep anyone from talking. Of course, this does allow RFK to dismiss all those inconvenient epidemiological studies that have failed to show a link between thimerosal in vaccines and autism (or vaccines in general and autism) with a blanket claim of “fraud,” because, obviously, the investigators must all be part of the conspiracy. You know, if I were one of those investigators, I’d be tempted to sue RFK, Jr. for libel. If our legal system permitted it, I’d also sue him for stupidity, because in the same rant he mentions the long-debunked antivaccination canards of the Amish and HomeFirst populations as “evidence” for a vaccine-autism connection.

The stupid, it really does burn.

Finally, we have the Galileo card. True, Kennedy doesn’t actually mention Galileo, but the implication is clear:

Due to this campaign of obfuscation and public deception, Thimerosal-based vaccines continue to sicken millions of children around the world and potential treatments — like the chelation that benefited Christian Wright — are kept out of the hands of the mainstream doctors now treating autistic kids with less effective tools. Like thousands of other mothers of autistic children, Katie Wright knows what sickened her child. Her efforts to spare other families this catastrophe, deployed with a cool head and calm demeanor, are truly heroic. Maybe it’s time we all started listening. Maybe it’s time to start respecting and honoring the maternal instincts and hard work of Katie and her fellow mothers by aggressively funding the studies that might verify or dispute them.

That’s right. Katie Wright and chelationists are like Galileo, and they’re being persecuted just like Galileo, all presumably because big pharma, scientists, and the CDC are in cahoots to keep “effective” treatments away from these autistic children. For what reason they would possibly want to do that, I don’t know; it’s never explained. After all, at present there is no effective pharmacological treatment for autism that I’m aware of; it’s not as though big pharma is making much money selling drugs or other treatments for these kids. In RFK, Jr.’s world, maybe it’s just pure spite that would lead big pharma to keep these supposed cures away until the day that it can finally come up with a patentable drug for autism that it can make money off of.

After careful consideration of the performances of these three, David Kirby, Sharyl Attkisson, and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., I have to award the Crank Trophy to RFK, Jr. Yes, Sharyl may have thrown out the largest number of crank canards in rapid succession, and, yes, David Kirby may have gone to the nuclear option of invoking Osama bin Laden to scare us about the outcome of the Autism Omnibus trial, but only RFK, Jr. knew how to skillfully tar critics of thimerosal-autism pseudoscience as being mean and nasty to mothers, all the while painting critics as part of a grand conspiracy to suppress a cure for autism.

Truly, RFK, Jr. is working on becoming One Crank to rule them all, One Crank to find them, One Crank to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.

Comments

  1. #1 Vlad
    June 21, 2007

    Does anyone know what studies there are, reputable or not about the connection between mercury and Autism. I’d like to look at all (or most depending how many there are) and decide for my self. My wife works with Autistic children and adult and she’s constantly battling this crap in the trenches. I’d like to see what material the Anit-vacs zombies are being fed by those who stand to profit from this.
    I’d like the list to be initially unbiased then after I read the articles from both sides take a look at the reputation of each respective journal. Any help I could get with this would be appreciated.
    Again Orac thank you for the blog.

  2. #2 JamesG
    June 21, 2007

    The crank teaches “law” at (grinding teeth) my alma mater, Pace University.

  3. #3 JScarry
    June 21, 2007

    Vlad,
    For an excellent overview of autism and the vaccine connection, you might want to read the testimony of Drs. Fonbonne and Cook at the Omnibus Hearings.
    The cross-examination of the Petitioner’s witnesses is instructive as well and the cross of Byers is a hoot.

  4. #4 notmercury
    June 21, 2007

    Here you go Vlad: http://www.momsagainstmercury.org/research.htm

    A nice collection of the studies they hold dear.

  5. #5 Kristina
    June 21, 2007

    Vlad,

    I’m the mother of an autistic child who does not think that Orac hates mothers, and who would prefer that Robert Kennedy, Jr., step aside and let us just speak for ourselves.

    http://www.autismvox.com/on-being-an-involved-autism-mother/

  6. #6 Davidkevin
    June 21, 2007

    What a marvelous compendium of ad hominem attacks you have there. Not much evidence, but plenty of name-calling.

    This isn’t science, it’s just good, old-fashioned playground taunting. You don’t like it, so you yell and make faces at it.

    All the screaming you could do in a lifetime won’t change the physical fact that my elder son’s personality and behavior changed overnight after receiving his first dose of DPT vaccine, which came with a written notice from the pediatrician about the possibility of a neurological reaction from the pertussis component. We were prepared for dealing with a temporary reaction, but we weren’t warned against nor did we expect permanent damage — but he’s been laboring under the handicaps of severe ADHD and Asperger’s Syndrome ever since; we had his younger brother given DT vaccine instead of DPT, and he’s fine.

    Thimerosal? I don’t know if that’s what it was, and have no way of knowing with any certainty; maybe my elder son is genetically more susceptible to damage from that or some other component in the vaccine than his brother — but something in that vaccination permanently damaged my son, despite all your denial that it could ever happen.

  7. #7 Bob O'H
    June 21, 2007

    “…and in the darkness chelate them”, surely.

    Bob

  8. #8 HCN
    June 21, 2007

    Because my oldest son had seizures as an infant he only had the DT vaccine, he has never been vaccinated against pertussis. He has a severe communication disorder, learning disabilities and a very severe heart condition.

    My younger children received the DPT, with the youngest getting the DTaP when she was four years old. Also, last fall they were both given the Tdap vaccine for adolescents.

    They are both perfectly healthy and do very well in school.

    Obviously, if we went by the anecdote method: It was the LACK of pertussis vaccination that caused my oldest son’s disabilities.

    Do you see how that worked?

  9. #9 fusilier
    June 21, 2007

    RFK, Sr., is undoubtedly rolling over in his grave.

    fusilier
    James 2:24

  10. #10 Cain
    June 21, 2007

    I don’t know if that’s what it was, and have no way of knowing with any certainty; maybe my elder son is genetically more susceptible to damage from that or some other component in the vaccine than his brother — but something in that vaccination permanently damaged my son, despite all your denial that it could ever happen.

    You (falsely) claim Orac has no science behind his arguments, then you drop the above on us. How exactly is what you said scientific? You just know it’s the vaccine? Got any sort of proof other than your own observation?

  11. #11 George Smiley
    June 21, 2007

    Kelvin’s post demonstrates (yet again) that he does not understand the difference between correlation and causality, or the difference between evidence and anecdote. Perhaps he was exposed to thimerosal when he was young?

  12. #12 JScarry
    June 21, 2007

    The testimony in the Omnibus hearing pointed out that there were many signs of Autism (lack of words, response to her name, movement, etc.) that are evident in videotapes of the child who is the subject of the first hearing. These signs are all prior to the MMR vaccine at issue in this case. They also pointed out that parents often miss signs of autism in their first-born child because they don’t have direct experience with the normal developmental progression of children. I haven’t read much of Day 7’s testimony by Wizneter yet but he seems to be covering a lot of information on child development and the signs of autism. It looks to be a good primer of the clinical signs.
    Correction to my post above, it’s Dr. Eric Fombonne.

  13. #13 Bartholomew Cubbins
    June 21, 2007

    GS – you give him too much credit with the extra “L” in his name.

    Only a real jerk would say something like this: “Many of them approached the link skeptically and only through dispassionate and diligent investigation became convinced that Thimerosal-laced vaccines destroyed their children’s brains.

    Cue the sad violins.

  14. #14 Joe
    June 21, 2007

    The Institute of Medicine (2004) report on vaccine safety is available, now, as a free PDF:
    http://www.iom.edu/?ID=4705

  15. #15 Vlad
    June 21, 2007

    All of the actual scientific articles I have read at http://www.momsagainstmercury.org/research.htm (not including the crap written by biased members and passed off as a study) show that mercury (in huge doses about 4 times vaccination levels) over a long time (hours of constant exposure) will cause cell death. So if the cells in the brain are dead is chelating reanimating dead cell? The facts of what the anti-vacs people are pandering don’t add up. I tried to look at the opposing sides point of view (mercury=autism) with an open mind and they show no evidence what so ever that would lead someone to see a correlation let alone causality unless you already believe in it.
    I personally don’t think using mercury in an injectable pharmaceutical is a good idea but the link between autism and vaccinations is simply not there.

  16. #16 jtdub
    June 21, 2007

    Crank-fest continues-

    Kirby has a post up today on HuffPo.

    Fisk on!

  17. #17 daedalus2u
    June 21, 2007

    A good place to start in research on autism and mercury (actually anything medical) is PubMed. Some of the papers can be freely downloaded. I have written an analysis of the mercury causes autism idea, more from the standpoint of physiology, rather than epidemiology. Prometheus has written on this too, as has Orac, and a number of other bloggers. The autism hub has a lot of stuff on this too.

    As someone who has read (and understood) a lot of the relevant literature, the more you read, the more implausible and even impossible the idea becomes. There is zero evidence for mercury causing autism. There is much evidence that there is no correlation between mercury exposure, and autism symptoms. It is often said that in science you can’t prove a negative, which is correct (sort of, depends on how you phrase the hypothesis). But for the mercury causes autism idea to be correct, we would have to discard thousands of papers in the literature as being wrong. What would we have to discard? Just about everything about mercury metabolism. How amino acids are transported in the body, how mercury speciates in the body and is converted between different forms. All the data from the actual incidents of industrial mercury poisoning, where thousands of individuals were poisoned, many in utero, with well documented exposures (of toxic levels) via maternal hair growth during pregnancy (where no excess cases of autism were noticed). Much of the autism literature would have to be discarded, a lot of neurodevelopment, immunology. Scientists are willing to discard anything and everything in the scientific literature that can be shown to be wrong. But to discard thousands of independent papers would be extraordinary, and would require extraordinary evidence. There hasn’t even been ordinary evidence to support the mercury causes autism idea.

    It is not at all a close call. The likelihood that mercury causes autism is very low, essentially zero. The only ones pushing it are those who are making money off it. Kirby by selling books, RFK jr. by selling articles, Geiers, Bradstreet, etc. by selling chelation, lawyers by getting legal fees, DAN! by selling quack services and raising money.

    How come no one on the inside of the conspiracy has come over to the light? A conspiracy with thousands, even millions of co-conspirators and no one has turned?

  18. #18 _Arthur
    June 21, 2007

    As far I can understand the current Omnibus proceedings at the Vaccines Court, the “scientific” theory being presentred is that MEASLES is causing the brain damage that causes autism. They explain that an “immune dysfunction” provoked by Thimerosal allows the measles of the MMR vaccine to get a toehold in the gut, and shortly afterwards, in the brain.

    If that theory was correct, true and proven, (-), what would be the rationale for chelation under that theory ??
    How would removing the (crypto-) mercury cure the measles virus damage ??

  19. #19 qchan63
    June 21, 2007

    Orac,

    RE your reference to the Galileo Gambit, thought you might be amused that someone did drop the G-Bomb over at the A-CHAMP blog, in the comments below a synopsis of Dr. Fombonne’s Omnibus testimony. A sample …

    “It seems to me the Respondents’ lawyers and their witnesses were channeling the same closed-minded, arrogant inquisitors that once hounded Galileo in their attempts to discredit Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s studies that show there is inflammatory bowel disease in autistic children … ”

    (And I’m sure Galileo would LOVE the idea of being compared to Wakefield …)

  20. #20 daedalus2u
    June 21, 2007

    The reason Wakefield didn’t testify, is because he didn’t want to be put under oath. Look at Brian Deer’s site

    http://www.briandeer.com/

    He is the UK journalist who investigated Wakefield, said lots of nasty things about him, was sued for libel by Wakefield, and then Wakefield dropped the suit and PAID ALL OF BRIAN DEER’S LEGAL FEES.

  21. #21 wrg
    June 21, 2007

    What a marvelous compendium of ad hominem attacks you have there. Not much evidence, but plenty of name-calling.

    Quite right! Oh, you’re talking about Orac’s article rather than RFK’s? If you’d like to see more detail about the science, you might see some other articles at this blog, including recent ones about the Omnibus and those discussing Kirby’s moving goalposts.

    Meanwhile, RFK offers us nothing more than his word that the antivaccination faithful are wonderful people. Maybe when you’re like RFK, a noted celebrity using your influence to help their cause, you get that friendly face. As Orac has described, those who publicly oppose their pseudoscience are subjected to abuse, ridicule, silly stunts like Handley’s domain name squat, and for anonymous bloggers outing attempts.

    However, I can consider it pretty believable that Best and his ilk (at “Hating Autism”, the “hate” part is not careless naming) are merely a vocal minority, and that the majority of antivaccination believers and activists are civil. That’d be nice, but it doesn’t make them right.

    This isn’t science, it’s just good, old-fashioned playground taunting. You don’t like it, so you yell and make faces at it.

    Indeed. That describes much of what I’ve heard from antivaxers. What, you meant Orac again?

    Man, if you want to find something that isn’t science, go back and read your comment. I’m sorry for your trouble and can empathize with the difficulties of caring for those with neurological abnormalities, having a relative with Asperger’s Syndrome and bipolar disorder. (And am I ever glad he never fell into the hands of a chelation quack!) However, what you have is not evidence but faith that you know the cause.

    The fact that neurological difficulties often show up in early childhood after vaccination is something the mercury militia finds quite convenient, as their claims are then easily bolstered by confusing correlation with causation and a little confirmation bias. If I believed that Vitamin C would cure colds, and so took Vitamin C every time I had a cold and then observed that the colds eventually ended, that would not prove me right. Post hoc ergo propter hoc is a fallacy.

    Not that I mean to make fun, but one of the more amusingly instructive examples is the Pastafarian belief that pirates protected us from global warming.

  22. #22 Dangerous Bacon
    June 21, 2007

    I doubt that scientific research will be as convincing to some as parental instincts, but here’s evidence that pertussis vaccine is _not_ responsible for permanent neurologic problems:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?Db=pubmed&Cmd=ShowDetailView&TermToSearch=16940831&ordinalpos=2&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

    “CONCLUSIONS: In this study of more than 2 million children, DTP and MMR vaccines were not associated with an increased risk of encephalopathy after vaccination.”

    An earlier study published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggested a higher incidence of febrile seizures in children given the DPT vaccine, but reported no association with long-term neurologic complications.

    The evidence that any such vaccines cause autism adds up to zero.

    I’ve run into the “You’re insulting mothers!” argument before when debating this subject. Suggesting that parents convinced of an autism-vaccine link are mistaken is not an expression of contempt. RFK Jr.’s stooping to this smear makes me respect him even less than before, if such is possible.

  23. #23 tbell
    June 21, 2007

    Here’s a question to ask yourself, no matter which side of the debate you are on….

    What evidence would convince you to change your mind?

    If the answer is effectively ‘there is no such evidence’ or ‘there can be no such evidence’, then you are demonstrating a serious lack of committment to reason and science. And frankly, i wish you’d just stfu

  24. #24 HCN
    June 21, 2007

    tbell,

    The evidence that would convince be would have to be something better than a study of a dozen chilren, most of whom were provided by the lawyer who paid the “researcher”. And it would have to be easily replicated.

    Vlad posted a pretty accurate review of the studies he found on http://www.momsagainstmercury.org/research.htm . Go upthread and read it.

  25. #25 Orac
    June 21, 2007

    What evidence would convince you to change your mind?

    Oh, give me a break. At the very minimum it would require this to make me start to reconsider my position:

    1. Good clinical evidence that exposures to mercury have ever caused autism, rather than simply Pink disease.

    2. Large, well-designed epidemiological studies showing a clear, unambiguous, and large decrease in new cases of autism in the appropriate time frame after thimerosal was removed from vaccines, with no torturing the data, à la the Geiers.

    Got any data like that?

  26. #26 Lepht
    June 21, 2007

    What evidence would convince you to change your mind?

    a repeatable, gold-standard study showing a negative effect of Thimerosal on the vaccinated population. i agree with HCN – the existing studies are not adequate, and are in fact uniformly very poor quality research. it is simply not true that one can approach the claim that mercury causes autism with a skeptical mind and come to the conclusion that it does.

    also, i’d be interested to know why John Best feels it’s necessary to always put three exclamation marks at the end of his sentences, and even more interested to know why he always does them in bold… curious.

    Lepht

  27. #27 tbell
    June 21, 2007

    thanks hcn, i’ve read it. I posed my question as a philosophical one with a practical purpose, to get people to reflect on whether they are interested in more information, or whether they have effectively closed the doors. Personally,I remain UNconvinced that there is a connection between vaccination and autism.
    To answer my own question: I’d need to see large scale valid studies showing essentially the opposite of what has been observed so far. And frankly that’s the only thing that would convince me.

    If one believes that there is a thimerosol-autism connection because some children who are vaccinated also develop autism, it just shows a lack of understanding of the evidence required to make such a connection. Namely, the rates of autism for vaccinated kids, and the rates for unvaccinated (with thimerosol) kids, and the control of any confounding variables.

    I posed the question, because it saddens me that people are more convinced by anecdote than they are science. And also, that once people adopt an idea as true (or false), they rarely rexamine their position and move into belief preservation mode, discounting contrary evidence, and preferentially weighting confirmatory evidence.

    So, if a thousand studys show no link. I’d probably want to see a decent number of studies that DO show a link to change my mind, and preferably ones that give a valid explanation as to why the first thousand got it wrong…

  28. #28 tbell
    June 21, 2007

    perfect answer, orac you pass. I had no doubt that you would. ..However, I’m fishing for an answer from someone in the anti-vaccination crowd. Sorry if I caught anyone else on my rhetorical hook.

  29. #29 cooler
    June 21, 2007

    Mercury is the second most toxic substance ever. The daily dose that kids recieve is far greater by 50 times the EPA’s safe daily amount. The symptoms of mercury poisining and autism are very similar. Most every other developed nation has banned thimerosol. Many anecdotal cases of children displaying symptoms of autism right after injection. The studies that the IOM used to determine safety were totally rigged. See Dr ayuob’s lecture

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6890106663412840646

    What about common sense, there are no studies that prove a link between sarin nerve gas and autism, we know its toxic and can kill you, but because they are no studies linking it to autism just go ahead and take some for fun.

    Using your logic its ok to take any toxic substance as long as you cant specifically tie it to a specific disease. With the case of Autism big pharma has covered up any true investigation…..preventing the real evidence from coming to light.

    What about informed consent, why not tell people both sides of the mercury debate? Most people dont even know anything about the issue, some dont even know there is mercury present in vaccines.

    People get more informed consent when they order a hamburger at Burger King, they know what they are ingesting, and have a right to refuse certain ingredients no questions asked.

  30. #30 cooler
    June 21, 2007

    keep im mind there is much scientific evidence in the video on the vaccine autism link

  31. #31 Orac
    June 21, 2007

    Ayoub? You’ve got to be kidding.

    As for your other analogy, give me a break. Tylenol is a strong hepatotoxin (liver toxin). It can totally fry your liver and kill you–at a certain dose. At low doses, however, it’s a good analgesic. By your rationale, we ought to ban Tylenol.

    The dose makes the poison. There is no good evidence that thimerosal, at the doses given in childhood vaccines, causes autism or any other neurological damage.

  32. #32 cooler
    June 21, 2007

    You are comparing tylenol, which has a use at a low dose, to mercury, one of the most toxic substances ever, thats not even needed in vaccines, and is useless, to say the least, at any dose.

    Not only that but its given in amounts far greater than the epa daily limit calls for, so your idea that is harmless at that dose goes against the EPA’s reccomendation.

    You comparing tylenol to mercury is laughable.
    Try taking 500mg of tylenol vs 500mg of mercury and see the difference. Their toxicity ratios are like 10,000 to one. You are comparing 2 substances that have completely different toxicity levels, mercury’s being much lower , where the many micrograms given a day violate The EPA safe limit by 50-100 times.

    It’s not up to you to tell others that they should be given mercury at a toxic dose according to the EPA without even informing them of it. Its my body and I dont want any mercury in it, the only way you get people to ingest so much is by not even mentioning it when you docs administer vaccines. Respect an individuals right to know what is being ingested in their body. Its called informed consent.

  33. #33 Feelin' Minnesota
    June 21, 2007

    Cure us of Ayoub and you cure us of a healthy dose of anti-semetic and anti-government tinfoilhatism.

    This guy nods his head in agreement.

  34. #34 Dr. Dino
    June 21, 2007

    Well well… Another controversy pitting science against emotion. Much to my dismay, clear thinking always loses in the political and emotional arena of personal agendas. I can think of no more compelling agenda than trying to explain away a devastating disease affecting one’s own child.

    By the mercury is generally “the most toxic substance” when inhaled, not injected.

  35. #35 Feelin' Minnesota
    June 21, 2007

    Oh no, we have a Freeper in our midst.

    Genius, please provide the link that describes the EPA daily limit of thimerosal, kthanx.

    And how are accommodations at the compound, anyway?

  36. #36 Orac
    June 21, 2007

    Cooler,

    Regardless of the relative toxicities, the principle is the same. The does makes the poison. Pretty much every drug at high enough doses is a poison. Even water is. It is quite possible to overdose on water and die.As for “no use” for thimerosal, it was used as a preservative, which allowed the use of multiuse vials.

    I’ll repeat it for you again slowly: There is no good scientific evidence that thimerosal at the doses given in vaccines cause autism or any other neurologic problems–or any problems at all, other than the occasional local skin reaction. I actually agreed with removing thimerosal from vaccines several years ago, but not on scientific grounds. The reason it needed to be removed was not because it was injuring anyone. The reason it needed to be removed was because of the hysteria being whipped up by cranks like RFK, Jr. and David Kirby, which was decreasing confidence in vaccines. Its removal was the right thing to do politically but a neutral thing to do scientifically because doing so did not decrease rates of autism, as multiple large epidemiological studies have shown

    Which reminds me: Tell me, if thimerosal in vaccines causes autism, why are the number of new cases of autism not declining now that it’s been out of vaccines for five years now? If thimerosal was a major cause of autism, we should be seeing a dramatic decline in autism diagnoses among 3-5 year olds right now.

  37. #37 notmercury
    June 21, 2007

    cooder said: “Mercury is the second most toxic substance ever.”

    Really? so what’s #1, Sarin? Cuz I’d much rather be exposed to mercury than sarin at any concentration.

    And what’s with the ‘daily dose’ stuff? How many kids are being vaccinated daily?

  38. #38 Jeb, FCD
    June 21, 2007

    Quick, someone! Buy RKF Jr. some flight lessons!!

  39. #39 cooler
    June 21, 2007

    The Danish study actually showed that autism decreased because of the removal of thimerosol, the IOM just fudged the data. Watch his lecture.

    Its generally known that that level is much higher than the EPA’s limit, too bad the drug companies you work for dont mention that.

    http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=32988

    It will take a few years but according to Ayoub’s studies he cites in the video the rate is decreasing, even though children are still being given mercury at a young age.

    Feeling minnesota should watch and learn, and stop acting like an uneducated loser.
    Its no wonder European Doctors and scientists are laughing at idiots like minnesota, they were smart enough to remove mercury from vaccines a long time ago.

    Whats funny is that none of you people would debate this in front of jury of average Americans, why dont you have a public debate with Dr. Ayoub and conduct a poll to see who wins? Youll never do that because you know youll lose.

    You say that dose is very important, I agree, and very low doses of mercury, much lower than in vaccines doses cause problems in animals, and kills every cell in a petry dish, water or tylenol at very low doses does not do that.

  40. #40 cooler
    June 21, 2007

    http://www.news-medical.net/?id=2348

    Here is some smoking gun proof, an animal model of low dose mercury causing problems/autism in mice……………….

  41. #41 Feelin' Minnesota
    June 21, 2007

    The only thing anyone would lose in debating that bigot is their dignity. Watch out for the black helicopters, cooler. Ayoub can fit you with a custom foil hat to help deflect their energy beams.

    I’d suggest you put down the bottle prior to picking up the keyboard.

  42. #42 cooler
    June 22, 2007

    So scared to take this debate public in front of the american people who pay your salaries. That speaks volumes. If you dont want to debate Ayoub, debate David Kirby Who wrote “Evidence of Harm”

    Ordinary americans who are not bought and paid for usually come to the right conclusions in criminal trials, while experts are bought off by the defense/prosecution are usually wrong. Debate one of these guys in public and have the audience be a scientific jury, have fun losing.

  43. #43 Feelin' Minnesota
    June 22, 2007

    Ooh! Mady’s Rain Mice. Bad science vintage 2004. Welcome to autism, cooler. You have a lot of catching up to do in the reading dept.

  44. #44 Patrick
    June 22, 2007

    Cooler,
    In the danish study if you look at the raw numbers there was in fact a slightly lower incidence of autism in children who had a thiomersal-based vaccine than those without. Of course it wasn’t statistically signifigant.

  45. #45 HCN
    June 22, 2007

    Cooler is a “true believer”… he quoted Wing Nut Daily like it really meant something!

    Yet… while the level of mercury children are exposed to had declined (anyone play with the elemental mercury from a broken thermometer lately?)… the REPORTED incidence of autism continues to climb.

    Why?

  46. #46 Kev
    June 22, 2007

    Cooler – David Ayoub is an idiot. I’ve asked him to come debate on my blog. He declined to answer. I’ve also invited David Kirby. Same response. Why? They know I would insist on science. Why would I insist on science? Because the question: ‘does thiomersal cause autism’? is a scientific one.

    If you believe that vaccination is an Illuminati tool to control the global population then Ayoub is your man. He believes this. If you believe that Osama Bin Laden will use thiomersal as a recruiting agent to get young radicals to attack the West then David Kirby’s your man. He believes this.

    Meantime, the thiomersal hypothesis has been on the table for about seven or eight years. Still no science has even approached demonstrating a causative link between any vaccine and autism. Unless you know of any…?

  47. #47 Robster, FCD
    June 22, 2007

    Cooler infested Aetiology a couple days ago. He’s a multi woo believer. 911 denialism, HIV/AIDS denialism, mercury believer, grammer denialism {heh), and typically immune to logic.

  48. #48 Anne
    June 22, 2007

    Did RFK Jr. actually write “fellow mothers?” I wonder if he thinks that those members of the fellowship of mothers who are autistic have dead brains.

    Cooler, _Arthur is right – the claimants in the omnibus autism proceeding are trying to prove that autism is caused by measles in the brain. What do you think of that?

    Re the debate idea, I still think a tag team, RFK Jr. and David Kirby v. Michelle Dawson and Autism Diva would be the way to go. Laptops at a hundred paces.

  49. #49 Mag
    June 22, 2007

    Cooler,
    No, the European scientists and doctors are not laughing at people like Feeling Minnesota, they actually agree with them and Orac. see the following interview for an example, which also explains why some have (wrongly) spoken of an autism epidemic:
    http://www.inserm-actualites.com/index.php?id=513
    Actually, European scientists and doctors are starting to have to spend far too much time fighting conspiracy and thimerosal stories imported from the US.
    Oh. And science is not “won” by public debate. I recommend you look into what it is, and how it works, because it does not mean what you think it means, apparently.

  50. #50 Orac
    June 22, 2007

    I suspected that cooler was immune to reason, but I didn’t know that he had infested Tara’s blog earlier. It explains much.

    Bottom line: he/she/it does not know what he/she/it is talking about. Science does not support a thimerosal-autism link or even a vaccine-autism link. It just doesn’t. The best he/she/it can do is quote a wingnut like Ayoub and play the “pharma shill” gambit.

  51. #51 Vlad
    June 22, 2007

    I have tried this simple argument with other Anti-vacs nuts. Just curious if cooler can explain this.
    1) Not all drug companies make vaccines (Fact look it up)
    2) Drug companies are not a single unified body (Look it up)
    3) Drug companies have no problem slaming competititors (Again take a peak on google)

    So why hasn’t one of the smaller newer drug companies run a study confirming that themerisol causes autism. Proposed and tested a cure like chelation and made billions of dollars?

    Before you go into the chelation chemicals can’t be patented. Nope wrong. It’s called off-label use patents (no not legal jargon), you can extend your patent on a drug this way.

  52. #52 cooler
    June 22, 2007

    Fact. Mercury is the second most toxic substance ever.

    Fact. The dosage in vaccines far exceeds the epa’s daily allotment. Low doses kill cells in a petry dish, water and tylenol dont do this at low doses.

    Fact. There is an animal model of low dose mercury causing nuerological problems. ( I posted it earlier)

    Fact. Most people who take vaccines dont know there is mercury in them, why not inform them and let them make a choice no questions asked? Dont believe in informed consent I see.

    As far as the “smoking gun” study this will take years and decades to preform. There is so much money and special intersts involved its unrealistic that a sound study made by impartial scientists will be able to be completed in the near future. There is also evidence that the IOM fudged data because they had an agenda.

    Given the fact that we are in the preliminary stage of a debate, why not just eliminate mercury from vaccines? Even if there is 95% chance you are right, why take the risk when you can easily get the benefits of vaccines without mercury?

    You guys admitted that only a real sound study that controls for confounding factors would really convince you, I agree,…………by saying that you are admitting that the best science proving/dispelling the autism mercury link is yet to come.

    What about all the more subtle effects like ADHD? it will take decades if ever a study could be designed properly, if ever to measure the more subtle effects of this known nuerotoxin.

    Why take the risk in the meantime when the best studies on this issue have not been started or completed yet, given mercury’s known toxicity at very low doses, and that the benifits of vaccines can be easily attained without mercury?

  53. #53 Kev
    June 22, 2007

    You missed a fact crucial to this debate cooler:

    Fact. Thiomersal doesn’t cause autism.
    Fact. MMR doesn’t cause autism.

    Those are the only facts which are really relevant to this debate.

  54. #54 Kev
    June 22, 2007

    Sorry, “missed two facts”.

  55. #55 TomB
    June 22, 2007

    Fact. Mercury is the second most toxic substance ever.

    Could you perhaps give a link proving that assertion?

  56. #56 Orac
    June 22, 2007

    Given the fact that we are in the preliminary stage of a debate, why not just eliminate mercury from vaccines? Even if there is 95% chance you are right, why take the risk when you can easily get the benefits of vaccines without mercury?

    Dude, I hate to tell you this, but there hasn’t been any mercury in routine childhood vaccines since 2002. There is still thimerosal in some flu vaccines, but that isn’t a mandatory vaccine, and many children don’t get it. Moreover, since mercury has been removed from most vaccines, driving down the exposure babies get to thimerosal to a very low level, the lowest since the 1970’s and 1980’s, why haven’t autism rates fallen to the levels seen in the 1970’s and 1980’s or at least shown signs of doing so? The reasons are two-fold: (1) thimerosal in vaccines does not cause autism; and (2) the “autism epidemic” is a product primarily of better diagnosis and widening the diagnostic criteria.

    You guys admitted that only a real sound study that controls for confounding factors would really convince you, I agree,…………by saying that you are admitting that the best science proving/dispelling the autism mercury link is yet to come.

    Multiple such studies have been done. None of them are perfect (there’s no such thing as a perfect study), but they have large numbers and have done in general a good job for trying to control for confounding factors. The last of these studies was a large Canadian study published last summer. Like the others, it failed to find any correlation between autism or other neurodevelopmental disorders and vaccines or vaccines with thimerosal.

    When it comes to the thimerosal-mercury concept, that’s just a dog that won’t hunt.

  57. #57 TomB
    June 22, 2007

    Interestingly, as we await cooler’s proof, we see the epidimioligical truism stated “the dose makes the poison”. Of course, people like cooler ignore this, only shouting louder that “MERCURY IS TOXIC”.

    Well, while debatable, the most toxic substance is usually said to be the Botulinum toxin. The same “toxic” substance used daily by thousands of doctors to treat wrinkles.

    To further disprove (albeit by anectode) the contention of Mercury’s horrible toxicity, my father was a dentist, and when I was a kid I spent many days helping at the office. My favorite pasttime was squeezing a few drops of the silver liquid on my palm and playing with it. If cooler is indeed correct, give the toxicity, I am now dead, and have been for over 3 decades.

    “I feel haaaaappyyyyy…..”

  58. #58 Vlad
    June 22, 2007

    I’m just curious how cooler is defining mercury as the most toxic substance. I finaly found an LDLO (lowest reported lethal dose) for mercuric chloride which is 29mg/kg. I also found at http://www.scorecard.org/chemical-profiles/
    hazard-detail.tcl?
    edf_substance_id=EDF-033&short_list_name=utn_integ
    the total toxicity of mercury where they explan the rating system. It scored 60 of a possible 200 higher number menaing worse. Tetrodotoxin (puffer fish) has an LD50 0f 3-50mg/kg oral (a lot of it gets broken down during digestion) and a LD50 in rats,mice and frogs of 15,10 and 15 micrograms/kg respectivly (yes micrograms meaning order 3 orders of magnitude). http://depts.washington.edu/rubelab/protocols/ttxinelvax.html
    Cobra venom has an LD50 .105mg/kg (http://stinet.dtic.mil/oai/oai?&verb=getRecord&metadataPrefix=
    html&identifier=AD0648827). So it is clear that you are simply wrong about mercury being the 2nd most toxic substance as there are at least 2 substances that are far more (1-3 orders of magnitude ) more toxic.

  59. #59 tonyl
    June 22, 2007

    Fact. Mercury is the second most toxic substance ever.

    Really? I’d rather ingest a mg of mercury than a mg of ricin, sarin, or plutonium. I’d like to see what tortured definition of “most” and “toxic” you use to justify that “fact”.

    Fact. The dosage in vaccines far exceeds the epa’s daily allotment.

    Well, that’s an outright lie!

    Low doses kill cells in a petry dish, water and tylenol dont do this at low doses.

    define “low dose”.

    bah, why continue with your list when it’s clear that you have no interest in honest discussion.

  60. #60 cooler
    June 22, 2007

    Any evidence/study that I or Ayoub/kirby provide that shows a link will be dismissed as “tin foil hat nonsense” Any link I provide here will be dismissed as “tin foil hat kook link”

    Any study that you guys provide I will say has been sabatoged by the Drug companies, its an endless debate where the truth gets buried by the demagougery.

    I dont know what the truth is, all I know that mercury has been shown to be very toxic at low doses, and theres much evidence of conflict of interests on both sides concerning the studies. Thats enough for me, common sense prevails on this issue, its my body and I’ll do without the mercury.

  61. #61 cooler
    June 22, 2007

    Instead of scrutinizing what exactly is the safe/unsafe level of mercury, which is highly debatable, why not just save all the trouble and not take mercury in the first place? when they are are so many conflicts of interest concerning the studies on this issue?

  62. #62 Vlad
    June 22, 2007

    The question is not “Is mercury toxic?” No one is debating that. I’m not sure it’s safe or a good idea to use mercury compounds in injectables. However to say that there is a link between Autism and mercury is ridiculous. However I have to agree with cooler on the dosing. The single dose of vaccine actually does exceed the EPA recomeneded allotment of mercury. That said, the daily allotment by it’s very name means every day. There may be some point to the argument (though there is still absolutly no evidence) if children were vaccinated everyday. If the child has as much mercury in the body as the mercury=autism people claim then they need to have the EPA test their house, house water, air etc. There is just not even close to enough mercury in vaccines to explain this.

  63. #63 Kev
    June 22, 2007

    “Any link I provide here will be dismissed as “tin foil hat kook link””

    No it won’t. Scientific evidence of your assertions will be taken seriously. That’s the whole point.

  64. #64 cooler
    June 22, 2007

    testing

  65. #65 cooler
    June 22, 2007

    testing

  66. #66 Bronze Dog
    June 22, 2007

    Any link I provide here will be dismissed as “tin foil hat kook link”

    Wow, talk about prejudiced and cynical. We’ll dismiss it based on the very familiar logical fallacies and statistical legerdemain that’ll be inevitably involved, based on the fact that we’ve seen nothing except that sort of stuff from alties. The tinfoil hat stuff is the conclusion we form based on the nutter’s logical fallacies.

    Then again, all these autism=mercury nuts believe that everyone, everywhere except them are in a massive worldwide conspiracy for no reason, (not to mention involved in eating kittens and kicking puppies) so I guess the vast cynicism to be expected.

    And of course, he’s stalling. He has nothing, so he instead tries to manipulate readers via the propaganda tactic/logical fallacy of poisoning the well.

  67. #67 cooler
    June 22, 2007

    testing, this site is busted

  68. #68 cooler
    June 22, 2007

    this site wont let me make a long post

  69. #69 TomB
    June 22, 2007

    Any evidence/study that I or Ayoub/kirby provide that shows a link will be dismissed as “tin foil hat nonsense” Any link I provide here will be dismissed as “tin foil hat kook link”

    We aren’t discussing opinions or studies here, we are discussing cold, hard facts. You made the assertion repeatedly that mercury is the second most toxic substance on earth. It just so happens that that same assertion is common on many anti-vaccine websites, none with substantiation. Heck, Hg isn’t even the second most toxic element.

    So the issue here is, do you know what you are talking about and do you have enough intellectual curiosity so see a “fact” and question as to wether or not it is true. It is apparent the answers are “no” and “no”. You read something on an anti-vaccine website an uncritically treat it as the unvarnished truth.

    Let’s be honest, how could you even entertain the thought that Hg is second in toxicity when picograms of Botulism or Ricin can kill, and certain venoms can kill in seconds. Yet children have been getting vaccines for decades and no one has yet to drop dead from mercury toxicity.

  70. #70 HCN
    June 22, 2007

    cooler said “this site wont let me make a long post”

    Probably for good reason. Many times cranks will post long bits of verbage that have very little substance and fail to answer the questions that were posed to them.

    We already know that mercury is NOT the 2nd most toxic substance on the planet, so stop with that line of defence. Just show what real evidence you have that vaccines are more dangerous than the diseases.

  71. #71 TomB
    June 22, 2007

    this site wont let me make a long post

    Use your imagination. Make a series of smaller posts.

    You can start with a link to the website where you found the “mercury is the second most toxic substance” statement.

  72. #72 cooler
    June 22, 2007

    yo, establishment sycophants that cant think for yourself, Theres an animal model, the dose far intake exceeds the EPA by 50 times, and it will take a few years for the best science to come out…………i quit this blog, its busted

  73. #73 Orac
    June 22, 2007

    I have checked the spam filter. If cooler posted something it was not flagged as spam by the part of Movable Type to which I have access. People have posted rather long comments before; so I do not know why this may be happening. If too many links are in a post, it will sometimes get sucked into the spam black hole or, at the very least, be flagged for moderation by me. Certain patterns of words will sometimes do it too.

  74. #74 Kev
    June 22, 2007

    “and it will take a few years for the best science to come out…………i quit this blog, its busted”

    If I had a pound for everytime some idiot told me that the science was ‘nearly ready’ or would only take awhile longer then I’d be a rich man. Cooler – get in line behind JB Handley, Richard Deth and Erik Nanstiel – all of whom swore that their hypothesis would be proven ‘soon’.

    Or, of course, you could do what you are doing and run away pretending the site is busted.

  75. #75 Bronze Dog
    June 22, 2007

    Summary of a lot of mercury-autism quacks in recent years: “Autism’s going to go down since they removed thimerosal! It’s going to go down! It’s going to go down! If it doesn’t go down, it’ll be a death blow to our hypothesis… Crap, still going up. Start spinning and cover our ears whenever someone mentions what we said in the past and pretend that we were more ambiguous.”

    Anyway, Doggerel #53

  76. #76 tbell
    June 22, 2007

    Ok, i’ve heard from scientists and researchers on the type of evidence that might change their minds. Still waiting for a response from someone opposed to vaccination…

    What evidence (future or otherwise) would cause you to change your mind?

    If you realize that nothing could change your mind, you might stop to wonder if you are being a crank…

    Please note that i’m not saying it’s wrong to hold a minority opinion in science, but I am saying that if literally NOTHING can change your mind, you are not acting rationally, you are adding nothing to honest debate.

  77. #77 cooler
    June 22, 2007

    “One of the best examples of this is the landmark autism/vaccine study published in Pediatrics. Early in his study, the lead author, CDC’s Dr. Thomas Verstraeten, found statistically significant associations between the amount of mercury (thimerosal) exposure kids got from their childhood vaccines, and a wide range of brain disorders. However, the published version of the study (the one the authors say is accurate) found no evidence of a link to autism. Not disclosed was that Dr. Verstraeten had left CDC midstream during the study and had gone to work for Glaxo, a vaccine manufacturer. That failure to disclose was criticized in a later publication of Pediatrics, but it got little mainstream attention. Also getting little attention was a letter from well-respected scientists, also in Pediatrics, who echoed what parents of autistic children had been saying for months: they questioned the use and exclusion of certain data from Dr. Verstraeten’s study that eventually reduced the statistical ties between vaccines and neurodisorders.” cbs news website

    Oh yeah those studies can really be trusted, the guy started working for a drug company and fudged the data! lol

  78. #78 cooler
    June 22, 2007

    Neurotoxic Effects of Postnatal Thimerosal are Mouse Strain Dependant, Mady Hornig, MD, PhD, Columbia University

    The developing brain is uniquely susceptible to the neurotoxic hazard posed by mercurials. Host differences in maturation, metabolism, nutrition, sex, and autoimmunity influence outcomes. How population-based variability affects the safety of the ethylmercury-containing vaccine preservative, thimerosal, is unknown. Reported increases in the prevalence of autism, a highly heritable neuropsychiatric condition, are intensifying public focus on environmental exposures such as thimerosal. Immune profiles and family history in autism are frequently consistent with autoimmunity. We hypothesized that autoimmune propensity influences outcomes in mice following thimerosal challenges that mimic routine childhood immunizations. Autoimmune disease-sensitive SJL /J mice showed growth delay; reduced locomotion; exaggerated response to novelty; and densely packed, hyperchromic hippocampal neurons with altered glutamate receptors and transporters. Strains resistant to autoimmunity, C57BL /6J and BALB /cJ, were not susceptible. These findings implicate genetic influences and provide a model for investigating thimerosal-related neurotoxicity.

  79. #79 TomB
    June 22, 2007

    cooler, now that you seem to have figured out how to use Google, perhaps you can dig up that “mercury is the second most toxic substance” link.

    Because if you can’t find that, why should we believe you even understand the abstracts you are posting?

  80. #80 cooler
    June 22, 2007

    Yo, mercury is one of the most potent nuerotoxins ever, exactly where is ranks is up for debate, its like debating between whats worse a rapist or a murderer, its irrelevant, you shouldnt have anything to do with either.

    Might sarin be worse, I dont know……….I show you guys a fudged study and an animal model and you just want to focus on some statment I heard in Ayoub’s lecture. He had evidence Its the second most toxic substance and im sure he could make a good case, watch the video. Whether its number 2 or number 6 is moot, ITS REALLY TOXIC AND SHOULDNT BE TAKEN AT ANY DOSE.
    Focus on the fine details and ignore the larger argument, nice.

  81. #81 TomB
    June 22, 2007

    Yo, mercury is one of the most potent nuerotoxins ever, exactly where is ranks is up for debate,

    Yet you seemed more than happy to spout your tripe with no suppport whatsoever. And no, is isn’t “one of the most potent nuerotoxins ever”. As I pointed out, I’ve had balls of it in my hand and didn’t die. Not very potent, I’d say.

    He had evidence Its the second most toxic substance and im sure he could make a good case,

    What make you so “sure”? There’s no evidence anywhere I’ve looked as to that statement, and you’ve obviously haven’t had any luck, so why do you blindly believe him?

    Whether its number 2 or number 6 is moot, ITS REALLY TOXIC AND SHOULDNT BE TAKEN AT ANY DOSE.

    Why? As pointed out earlier, “the dose makes the poison”. THE MOST POTENT NEUROTOXIN on the planet is Botulism, yet it is used every day to remove wrinkles.

    How can that possibly be?

  82. #82 cooler
    June 22, 2007

    Then you should contact the EPA, give them the lecture you just gave me and im sure theyll increase thier the amount of safe mercury thats ok to have daily by 50 times.

    Tell them how you played with mercury balls when you were young……..thats the smoking gun! If they tell you that theres a big difference between touching something and injecting it just tell them that they are tin foil hat wearing morons.

    Make sure you speak of your experience with mercury balls, it was very touching, hopefully there will soon be touching documentary on PBS soon about you and your experience with balls.

  83. #83 Robster, FCD
    June 22, 2007

    Cooler,

    Verstraeten’s preliminary work showed a weak possible correlation that required further study. Because of the small possibility that there might have been a link between thiomersal and autism, it was decided that thiomersal should be removed preemptively. Removed because they knew the antivaxers would use it to try to convince people that vaccines weren’t safe.

    When Verstraeten examined the data in full (what was published), it became clear that thiomersal was probably not linked to the autistic spectra, but the decision to remove thiomersal from vaccines was kept. Now it isn’t in childhood vaccinations, except for some (but not all) formulations of the flu vaccine.

    Your breathless calls for the removal of thiomersal are a few years too late. As others have noted, it has already been done. And the nail in the coffin for the mercury = autism bunch is that there hasn’t been a decrease in the incidence of autistic spectra disorders. Moving the goalposts to include ADHD doesn’t boost their position, either. Just one more failed hypothesis that gathers credulous believers.

    BTW, I don’t know if you are aware of this, but there are different kinds of mercury, all with their own toxicities. Elemental mercury (those liquid, silvery balls) isn’t very toxic compared to some of the other forms. Dimethylmercury is probably one of the more toxic molecular configurations and is a powerful neurotoxin (but not even near the top 10 most toxic (I’m a toxicologist)). The breakdown product of thiomersal is ethylmercury. We don’t have good numbers on ethylmercury, but we do know it is less toxic than methylmercury. Methylmercury, structurally similar to ethylmercury, is well characterized and we have pretty solid numbers on its toxicity.

    Of organic mercury containing compounds, we have a short list of dimethylmercury being more toxic than methylmercury, which is more toxic than ethylmercury.

    To be safe, we estimate the toxicity of thiomersal as though it was 100% degraded to ethylmercury and using safe exposure levels for methylmercury. The safe levels themselves tend to be overestimates of toxicity, to keep sensitive people from accidentally reaching the toxic thresholds.

    Would I let someone inject me with a thiomersal containing vaccine? Yes, without a worry. And I have done so, getting my flu vaccine every year. I won’t be able to say that for much longer as it is being phased out of even the flu vaccines.

  84. #84 Sean
    June 22, 2007

    So why the obsession with mercury? Thiomersal also packs a sodium atom. Where is the hue and cry over the dangers this element poses? It is dangerous at any dose and is one of the most toxic substances in the world!

    Even worse, none of the compounds listed as metabolites of thiomersal contain a single sodium atom! It must be still be lurking in our bodies, just waiting for a chance to, umm, do something bad.

    Fact. Mercury is the second most toxic substance ever.

    …exactly where is ranks is up for debate

    Could you please explain how you went from line one to line two in a matter of hours? If the ranking is up for debate, why was “Fact.” the opening of your earlier post? Are any other of your “facts” also up for debate?

  85. #85 Sean
    June 22, 2007

    Dimethylmercury bioaccumulates. Ethylmercury heads for the toilet.

    Correct?

  86. #86 cooler
    June 22, 2007

    He just happened to change his tune when he started to work for Glaxo in the middle of the study……….Why should the adversary be the judge?

    As far as autism not decreasing we can not be sure of this, one, as we can see Glaxo interferes with the scientific studies, is it just a coincidence that they offer someone a job right when he could possibly nail them? Who knows what else they do to influence outcomes.

    The Geir study showed autism is decreasing, yet you will claim he fudged the stats. There is still alot of mercury in flu shots given to pregant women, and on the labels of many vaccines thimersol is still listed as stated in the world net daily article, Are they still pumping kids with mercury to cover up what would be a noticable decrease in Autism to save them from bankruptcy?

    All the Data now is preliminary and being meddled with, it will take years before the issue cools down politically and a group of honest scientists w/o ties can figure it out.

    Meanwhile, the fact that mercury is known to be toxic at very low doses, most Americans would probably not consent to taking it if they knew, that its exceeds by more than 50x the EPA safe amount and that there is animal model is more than sufficient to ban it.

    At least if you people insist on it being there give people a choice and informed consent.

  87. #87 Orac
    June 22, 2007

    The Geir study showed autism is decreasing, yet you will claim he fudged the stats

    No, it did not.

  88. #88 Kev
    June 23, 2007

    “He just happened to change his tune when he started to work for Glaxo in the middle of the study……….Why should the adversary be the judge?”

    Good grief. He did a pilot study, found a weak association, expanded this study (exactly as per all decent scientists should do) and the association went away. Where he worked is irrelevant.

    Mady Hornig’s mouse work is flawed. Badly. I wrote a Wiki page that expanded on these errors. Please read the links. She very seriously overdosed the mice. She reported symptoms that bear no relation to autism as significant. She used a strain of mouse known to be aggressive.

    “The Geir study showed autism is decreasing, yet you will claim he fudged the stats.”

    He did fudge the stats. Geier is another loon who think vaccines are a tool for controlling the global population. Geier used a number of datasources that should never be used in the way he used them. It even says this on the websites of each datasource. Using them in the way he used them gives inherently bad results.

    “give people a choice and informed consent.”

    You are not doing this. You are trumpeting badly flawed studies and then telling us the conversation should stop.

  89. #89 TomB
    June 23, 2007

    Then you should contact the EPA, give them the lecture you just gave me and im sure theyll increase thier the amount of safe mercury thats ok to have daily by 50 times.

    A non sequitur on a scale hardly ever seen on the tubes these days…

    Tell them how you played with mercury balls when you were young……..thats the smoking gun! If they tell you that theres a big difference between touching something and injecting it just tell them that they are tin foil hat wearing morons.

    BUT IT’S THE SECOND MOST TOXIC SUBSTANCE IN THE WORLD!!!11!one1!!!111!

    If it were the second most toxic substance in the world, I would be dead from all the fumes I was exposed to as a child, and then as a dentist.

    Make sure you speak of your experience with mercury balls, it was very touching, hopefully there will soon be touching documentary on PBS soon about you and your experience with balls.

    Ooooh, cooler made a funny! However, not quite as funny as this, though:

    Geir (sic) study

    That you were able to post those two words together is the funniest thing I’ve ever read.

    It’s interesting how you impugn the motives of “big Pharm” because of their financial interests, yet the Geier’s motives, whose sole purpose is to make money suing anybody and everybody, are pure.

    It’s also interesting to note that suddenly the EPA has become a trusted authority in your last post. My how those conspiracies change.

  90. #90 Bronze Dog
    June 23, 2007

    Not only do the reasons for vaccines allegedly causing autism change every week, so do the conspiracy theories for who’s involved in the cover up.

    Reminds me of one point I’d like to center a post around: Science converges, woo diverges. When scientists work on a problem, their answers tend to get closer and closer, and narrower as unsuccessful ones are eliminated. When woos work on a problem, they get radically different answers, and unsuccessful ones never go away.

  91. #91 cooler
    June 23, 2007

    I Said both sides have conflicts of interest, if Geier fudged the data, couldnt have the drug companies done the same thing? The best Data is yet to come, if A good study comes out proving a link in 10 years you guys will say “yep” we were wrong just like with Vioxx selenimite etc. Any suspicion is not worth the risk when you dont need mercury to make a vaccine effective. It will be too late by then.

    Tom b, please tell us more about you and your experience with balls, were they nice and hard? or were they soft and emmiting fumes? because as you know there is big difference in the texture of balls and the amount of damage they can do.

  92. #92 HCN
    June 23, 2007

    Cooler, which drug company funded this study:
    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/107/5/1147 ?

    and this study:
    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/112/5/1039 ?

    Come on, tell us, tell us!!!

  93. #93 HCN
    June 23, 2007

    Oh, yeah… cooler, just the fact you ask what mercury is like as a liquid shows you know absolutely nothing about the stuff.

    At room temperature elemental mercury is a thick liquid that rolls up into funky little balls. They are not hard, and not necessarily soft. There is a photo in an old National Geographic that shows a man sitting on top of a vat of liquid mercury at a mercury mining facility (yes, those workers did suffer from mercury poisoning).

    You see, there have been lots of us who played with the stuff when thermometers broke.

  94. #94 cooler
    June 23, 2007

    From the first study………..
    Additional data from low-dose exposure to methylmercury derived from studies of populations exposed in their diet are conflicting.37,38 Studies from the Faroe Islands reported that subtle cognitive deficits (eg, performance on attention, language, and memory tests), detectable by sophisticated neuropsychometric testing, were associated with methylmercury levels previously thought to be safe.38 Studies in the Seychelles, evaluating more global developmental outcomes, did not reveal any correlation between abnormalities and mercury levels.37

    From the second study…………….
    In the categorical analyses of cumulative exposure at 3 months of age at HMO B (Table 5), there was a significant association between the highest level of exposure (62.5 micrograms) and language delay. For the categorical analyses of cumulative exposure at 7 months of age (Table 5), there was a borderline statistically significant negative association of speech delay with medium and high levels of thimerosal exposure at HMO A. There were no significant associations between exposure and ADD.

    The first study you gave me proved my point the studies are conflicting, and more research is needed although they drew no conclusions on a link, which is what youd expect BECAUSE ITS NOT EVEN A NEW STUDY, THERE JUST LOOKING AT OLD DATA

    The second study had some intersting data as well about language problems

    NEITHER STUDY IS DESIGNED IDEALLY. ITS NOT THAT HARD YOU TAKE A GROUP WITH NO MERCURY EXPOSURE VS. A GROUP W THE 1990 LEVEL OF MERCURY , AND COMPARE THEM , THE N SHOULD BE 10,000 OR GREATER. LOOK AT THE AMISH , NO VACCINES NO MERCURY, NO AUTISM, EVEN THESE POORLY DESIGNED CONVOLUTED STUDIES SHOW SOME LINKAGE IN THE ACTUAL TEXT/DATA.

  95. #95 TomB
    June 23, 2007

    Tom b, please tell us more about you and your experience with balls, were they nice and hard? or were they soft and emmiting fumes? because as you know there is big difference in the texture of balls and the amount of damage they can do.

    As said above, thanks for proving conclusively that you have absolutely no clue of what you are talking about. The mercury used in thermometers and dentistry is a very dense liquid. If you don’t know that simple fact, you are not even remotely qualified to comment.

    But since that hasn’t stopped you how about telling us why the “SECOND MOST TOXIC SUBSTANCE EVAHH!!!” can’t be used safely at any dosage, yet the first most toxic substance, Botulinum toxin, is used regularly without incident.

    Which is is?

  96. #96 A
    June 23, 2007

    Maybe I’m way behind on this, but I’d like to know how the mercury levels in the vaccines compare to the tuna fish sandwiches a kid eats in a week.

  97. #97 Kev
    June 23, 2007

    “LOOK AT THE AMISH , NO VACCINES NO MERCURY, NO AUTISM”

    I love it when people think putting it all in caps makes them right.

    “Responses were received by 225 (60%) of the 374 Amish households in the community with children aged 15 years. An additional 120 responses were received by households without children. A total of 189 (84%) households with children reported that all of their children had received vaccinations; 28 (12%) reported that some of their children had received vaccinations; and 8 (4%) reported that none of their children had received vaccinations”

    Source.

    So – the Amish vaccinate but according to you have no autism….hmmmm….I await your reconciliation of these two facts with bated breath.

  98. #98 Bartholomew Cubbins
    June 23, 2007

    man, this thread is still going…

    A, the difference between the two is the form of Hg – one methymercury (fish) and one thimerosal (vaccines). It’s problematic to compare the biological significance of the two directly.

    Pubchem is a great way to visualize the different flavors:
    http://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/

  99. #99 cooler
    June 23, 2007

    http://www.infowars.com/articles/science/autism_none_for_unvaccinated_amish.htm

    heres a much larger group of amish people that took no vaccinations and their rates of autism were practically nil among 30k people…………..more smoking gun proof!

    That study you sent me didnt not even examine the rates of autism, so we don’t really know how many of that group of 200 got autism, the study had nothing to do with autism at all.

  100. #100 HCN
    June 23, 2007

    Do you have some kind of reading disability, Cooler?

    Look at this very blog entry where Orac references a look at that exact article:
    http://oracknows.blogspot.com/2005/12/more-antivaccination-nonsensebut-not.html

    (it is just before the statement “The stupid, it really does burn.”)

    Oh, and then look upthread just a couple of posts at what Kev wrote. Um… the Amish DO vaccinate. Because you could not be bothered to click on the link Kev provided, I will post the abstract for you: “The Old-Order Amish have low rates of vaccination and are at increased risk for vaccine-preventable diseases. A written survey was mailed to all Amish households in the largest Amish community in Illinois inquiring about their vaccination status and that of their children. In this survey, the Amish do not universally reject vaccines, adequate vaccination coverage in Amish communities can be achieved, and Amish objections to vaccines might not be for religious reasons.”

    Kev posted numbers from the actual paper.

  101. #101 kev
    June 23, 2007

    Just a bit more context for you cooler. Your woefully inadequate opinion that the Amish don’t vaccinate is based on the recollection of a water cooler salseman. The data I referenced came from a (gasp!) actual scientific study. The author of this study is a lapsed Mennonite. I think he knows a bit more than you or Dan Olmsted.

    “That study you sent me didnt not even examine the rates of autism, so we don’t really know how many of that group of 200 got autism, the study had nothing to do with autism at all.”

    I didn’t say it did genius. You brought up autism in the context of non-vaccinating Amish. I established that according to the best science (as opposed to the conjecture of a bad journalist), the Amish do vaccinate.

  102. #102 Gibbon1
    June 24, 2007

    “Dimethylmercury bioaccumulates. Ethylmercury heads for the toilet.

    Correct?”

    Just an aside when people talk about mercury in fish they’re referring to Methylmercury. Dimethylmercury is something altogether. It’s kinda like Methylmercury except that it’s about 10000 times more toxic.

    What is really important is that methylmercury bioaccumulates in the food chain, in particular in the marine food chain. That is really why we’re twitchy about mercury. It also takes a long time (months) for the body to clear methylmercury. Ethylmercury I think clears faster but is probably about as toxic. The big danger is that chronic exposure to small amounts can build up and cause serious problems. No picnic because long term mercury poisoning causes brain damage.

    What is notable is that the documented effects of mercury poisoning don’t look at all like Autism. Which leads the thought that if mercury caused autism it’s by some other mechanism than the rather well studied ones that we know cause other problems. Which leads to the question, why focus on mercury and not something else?

  103. #103 _Arthur
    June 24, 2007

    Gibbon: they are focusing on something else; In the current Omnibus hearings, they are advancing the “scientific theory” that autism is caused by a measles virus infection of the brains astroglial cells. They have speculation and conjecture aplenty, those are *kinds* of evidence.

    They also advance what caused the attenuated measles virus in the MMR vaccine (which doesn contain Thimerosal, by the way) to cause a persistant virus infection, instead of being quickly and succesfully fought back as in the general case, was because baby Michelle C was immuno-depressed. What cause this IM depression ? Why, the thimerosal-laden vaccines she received 15 and 7 months earlier, they say.

    So there you have it, they acknowledge that thimerosal disappear from the blood within 10 days, but the mercury freaks interpret it as a sign of bio-accumulation, accumulation so dire it causes immune dysfuntion 7 MONTHS later, although Michelle C. shows no clinical signs of immune dysfunction whatsoever, like susceptibility to opportunistic infection.

    They just know mercury is bad, bad, bad. They know it in their heart, they just have to make you see it their way.

  104. #104 notmercury
    June 24, 2007

    Now that Cooder has admitted to simply parroting antivaccine extremists without understanding the actual science, there’s really no need to take him or her seriously.

  105. #105 Lucas McCarty
    June 24, 2007

    He uses Infowars as a source of info.

    *Cries*

  106. #106 cooler
    June 24, 2007

    you provide sample of 200 people, whatever they did you have no proof that they represent the general Amish population , or that the ones that were vaccinated did not indeed have higher rates of autism. The sample size is so small its meaningless.

    You people discount the doctors who in the communities as liars when they say they are no vaccinations and autism…………these things need investigated with real scientific studies looking at the rate in large groups of people w/o any mercury, vs those w high mercury.

    There is plenty of labratory/ animal evidence and anecdotal evidence that mercury is not the greatest thing in the world, its not even needed in vaccines, whats the problem just get rid of it.

    Its like arguing whether or not to eat dirt, you could spend billions on studies on what amount of dirt is bad for you, or you could just not eat it. Use your brain.

    http://www.newmediaexplorer.org/chris/2005/04/22/only_vaccinated_amish_children_are_autistic.htm

  107. #107 notmercury
    June 24, 2007

    Cooder says: “…its not even needed in vaccines, whats the problem just get rid of it.

    OK. Let’s remove it as of 2001, sound good?

    “Its like arguing whether or not to eat dirt, you could spend billions on studies on what amount of dirt is bad for you, or you could just not eat it.”

    I thought bacteria from soil will cure autism?
    http://notmercury.blogspot.com/2006/03/primal-offense.html

    What’s wrong with eating dirt if you like to regurgitate garbage?

  108. #108 _Arthur
    June 24, 2007

    “There is plenty of labratory/ animal evidence and anecdotal evidence that mercury is not the greatest thing in the world, its not even needed in vaccines…”

    We went from THE MOST TOXIC SUBSTANCE IN THE WORLD to “not great” in a matter of hours. Mercury is un-great based on anecdotal evcidence, but plenty of if.

    Maybe Cooler is just constipated. A calomel purge should do the trick.

  109. #109 cooler
    June 24, 2007

    I said that to please airhead sycophants like you. Since you people like you think mercury is great and is good for you, I had to compromise, no offense but I can’t understand how some of you got through school.

    Mercury is known to be toxic at low doses, so what you should do to find out exactly what that dose is you should buy some thermometers and inject various amounts and get back to us.

    Ive already posted data from some studies that show cogntive defects/language delays with thimerosol, that enough to ban it right there.

  110. #110 cooler
    June 24, 2007

    thats

  111. #111 cooler
    June 24, 2007

    I said that to please airhead sycophants like you. Since you people think mercury is great and is good for you, I had to compromise, no offense but I can’t understand how some of you got through school.

    Mercury is known to be toxic at low doses, so what you should do to find out exactly what that dose is you should buy some thermometers and inject various amounts and get back to us.

    Ive already posted data from some studies that show cogntive defects/language delays with thimerosol, that enough to ban it right there.

    From the first study………..
    Additional data from low-dose exposure to methylmercury derived from studies of populations exposed in their diet are conflicting.37,38 Studies from the Faroe Islands reported that subtle cognitive deficits (eg, performance on attention, language, and memory tests), detectable by sophisticated neuropsychometric testing, were associated with methylmercury levels previously thought to be safe.38 Studies in the Seychelles, evaluating more global developmental outcomes, did not reveal any correlation between abnormalities and mercury levels.37

    From the second study…………….
    In the categorical analyses of cumulative exposure at 3 months of age at HMO B (Table 5), there was a significant association between the highest level of exposure (62.5 micrograms) and language delay. For the categorical analyses of cumulative exposure at 7 months of age (Table 5), there was a borderline statistically significant negative association of speech delay with medium and high levels of thimerosal exposure at HMO A. There were no significant associations between exposure and ADD.

  112. #112 Orac
    June 24, 2007

    Since you people think mercury is great and is good for you, I had to compromise, no offense but I can’t understand how some of you got through school.

    Strawman argument.

    No one is saying mercury is “great and good for you.” What we are saying is that there is no good evidence that thimerosal in vaccines at the doses given in vaccines causes autism or other neurodevelopmental problems.

    As for the studies, the first one was for methylmercury, not thimerosal. Regarding the second one, you conveniently forgot the statement right after your quote mining: “There were sufficient cases for analysis of autism only at HMO B. No significant associations were found with cumulative exposure at any age and risk for autism in either the continuous (Table 4) or the categorical analyses (Table 5).”

    In other words, a questionable weak association was reported in one of the two HMOs, which is why Verstraeten recommended more study–and those later studies failed to confirm even that weak link.

  113. #113 notmercury
    June 24, 2007

    Cooler: Studies from the Faroe Islands reported that subtle cognitive deficits (eg, performance on attention, language, and memory tests), detectable by sophisticated neuropsychometric testing, were associated with methylmercury levels previously thought to be safe.

    Subtle cognitive deficits. What about autism in the Faroes?

  114. #114 daedalus2u
    June 24, 2007

    Kev, Wrong soil bacteria to cure autism. You want the autotrophic ammonia oxidizing bacteria applied topically, not ingested.

    http://daedalus2u.blogspot.com/2007/04/background-and-summary-no-and-asds.html

  115. #115 daedalus2u
    June 24, 2007

    One of the very important results of the Faroe island studies was that there was not a single example of an individual with “mercury efflux disorder”. That is, for each of the 1,000 or so people that they measured, the correlation of cord blood to umbilical cord tissue and proximal hair mercury levels were very closely correlated (0.907, 0.837 respectively).

  116. #116 cooler
    June 24, 2007

    I’ll be waiting for the study where 10k or so kids with no thimerosol exposure are compared to the children who were recieving 1990 levels of mercury, and the difference in Autism etc.

    If that study comes and there is a link, you guys will have a lot of explaining to do, if there is no link, then I will say “better safe than sorry” and no one was hurt by aboloshing mercury, just like in Europe.

    As for now I don’t think any parent would want their child to have several times the EPA’s safe limit of mercury, and thats enough for me now, I dont think its right That most parents and adults are not made aware that mercury is present in vaccines, and at an amount that at least theoretically according to the EPA and other scientists could be toxic.

    Let people review the data themselves and be able to control what and what not they choose to put in their own bodies.

    I’ll repeat this again, we can spend millions on studies to see if eating dog poop is harmful for you, but it would be a lot easier just not to eat shit in the first place.

    I’m done with this discussion, it’s boring and pointless.

  117. #117 Orac
    June 24, 2007

    Is that a promise or a threat?

  118. #118 Kev
    June 25, 2007

    “you provide sample of 200 people, whatever they did you have no proof that they represent the general Amish population , or that the ones that were vaccinated did not indeed have higher rates of autism. The sample size is so small its meaningless.”

    A sample size of 200 is meaningless? Tell that to Andrew Wakefield who went to court (and the Lancet) with a sample size of 12.

    Once again, genius, no one is saying that these Amish represent all Amish. I’m simply refuting your anecdotal twaddle from Dan Olmsted with published science.

    As I understand it, more studies from other large Amish populations are going on right now. I suggest you get ready to rubbish all them too.

    “There is plenty of labratory/ animal evidence and anecdotal evidence that mercury is not the greatest thing in the world, its not even needed in vaccines, whats the problem just get rid of it.”

    Since Feb 2002, the amount of thiomersal containing vaccines in the US ran at 2%.

    Just to clarify seeing as you seem to lack some key comprehension skills in this regard:

    1) Nobody is saying mercury is good for you.
    2) Nobody is even saying it should (or shouldn’t) be in vaccinations

    The simple point that we are making to you is that there is no causative link between thiomersal and autism. Can you try and internalise that?

  119. #119 Robster, FCD
    June 25, 2007

    Cooler,

    The thiomersal is already gone. It isn’t in childhood vaccines in the US. It is being phased out of adult vaccines currently.

    Read that a few hundred times. Let it sink in.

    Next subject, the Amish study. Let’s accept for the moment that autism is all but unheard of in the Amish community. What are the possible reasons for this? Olmstead suggests that it is due to a lack of vaccinations, but are there other possible explanations?

    There are some great studies out there that demonstrate a strong genetic component to autistic spectra disorders, and the Amish community comes from a limited genetic pool. An alternate hypothesis would be that the Amish are do not carry any of the genes that make people susceptible to autism.

    Let’s compare the two. Olmstead relies on hearsay and an assumption that the Amish do not vaccinate (which isn’t accurate). Olmstead overlooks the strong possibility that genetics play an important role in autism, which is a major weakness for his study. The other hypothesis has supporting evidence, but has not been examined within the Amish community.

    A useful follow up study would be to interview Amish families, examine members for autistic spectra, and test them for the genes associated with the spectra along with genetic disorders previously documented, and compare to the larger population. You get multiple articles out of it, learn more about the spectra, and the Amish get useful information on their genetic profiles to add to their extensive genealogies. Wins all around (except for the antivaxers, who will claim the study is fudged).

  120. #120 stmarnock
    June 26, 2007

    Read this thread with interest (and a growing disbelief). What’s the etiquette for saying “We have answered your point x y number of times, kindly contribute something new to the discussion”? Or is cooler hoping that he’ll wear us out so he can crow to his woo buddies that he was shut out of the debate, so we must be part of the conspiracy?

  121. #121 Prometheus
    June 28, 2007

    “Cooler” is not interested in hearing your science, guys. And he/she is not looking for information – his/her head is already full of all the information he/she wants.

    What I find amazing is that people like “Cooler” believe that they can convince rational folks by parroting what they hear on mercury-causes-autism websites.

    I can tell from reading his/her posts that “Cooler” knows next to nothing about biology or chemistry – “…second most toxic substance…”, oh, that’s just too funny!

    I amused myself by tracking where each of the moldy “talking points” that “Cooler” was parroting had originally come from – not a thing he/she said was either original or (sad to say) correct.

    There are a lot of neurotoxins out there – many of them much more “toxic” (lower lethal dose) than mercury. None of them – NONE – have ever been shown to cause autism.

    BTW, I would argue that the most neurotoxic substance would have to be the rabies virus – it is lethal at femtogram doses (if you haven’t been vaccinated with the appropriate thimerosal-containing vaccine). Prions – such as the one that causes Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease – are probably the second most neurotoxic substance.

    Neither causes autism.

    Mercury isn’t even in the same league.

    Prometheus

  122. #122 BeFuddled
    July 14, 2007

    Over the last week or so this guy has pretty much nailed his coffin shut into place. Gadzooks!

  123. #123 John C. Welch
    November 15, 2007

    But you see, cooler and his ilk are unconvinceable, because even if they finally admit that thimerosal had nothing to do with it, they’ll point out all the *other* sources of mercury and say “SEE! IT’S TEH MURKURY!”.

    It’s pretty handy when your bullshit is based on a toxic substance with multiple entry points.

    The sad thing is, he sounds like most of the computer kooks who think OMGHAXX0RZ are gonna get them.

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