Respectful Insolence

I’ve mentioned before that it irritates me that Don Imus is back on the air. It’s not that I give a rodent’s posterior that he made an offensive comment about the Rutgers women’s basketball team that lead to his being fired from his previous gig. It’s actually more because he somehow managed to displace the radio show that I usually listened to on my way to work in the morning (and in my office on mornings when I didn’t have any clinical responsibilites), Curtis & Kuby, which may have been getting a little bit long in the tooth but was still usually far more entertaining on its worst day than most radio shows are on their best. It’s because Don Imus is a washed-up has-been hack who, the few times I listened to him, was so relentlessly inane and boring that he inspired an irresistible twitch in the finger controlling the radio tuner that forced me to flip to another station, any station, to escape that droning voice. Above all, though, it’s because Don Imus has been a supporter of the mercury militia and its discredited notion that mercury in vaccines somehow causes autism, meaning that we again have to put up with not only his support of the mercury militia, but also with the prominent idiocy of his wife Deirdre, who is even more of a rabid antivaccinationist than Don is.

Deirdre apparently decided to prove just what an antivaccination loon she is once again with a little pre-Christmas turd-bomb that she dropped on the Huffington Post on Friday entitled Missing the Mercury Threat: An appeal to New Jersey’s Governor. Imus starts out with a quote from Einstein, that “only two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity.” She’s absolutely right, just not in the way she thinks. It turns out that her post demonstrates unequivocally that infinite stupidity is hers.

It’s not surprising that the recent mandate in New Jersey to add four new vaccines to the list of vaccines required for children to attend school, the influenza vaccine, pneumococcal, meningococcal, tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertusis (Tdap) vaccine. Antivaccinationists are simply beside themselves over this decision. One of them even went so far as to contrast how New Jersey recently abolished the death penalty with this new vaccine mandate in breathless, hysterical terms in a piece entitled Newest New Jersey Joke: Spare the Criminals, Sacrifice the Kids, a truly amazing blast of idiocy that stunned even me, someone who’s been following these issues for nearly three years.

Imus, not wanting to be left out, can’t resist trying to top this:

Unless Governor Corzine, the state legislature, or perhaps a judge intervenes, New Jersey will go down in history as the first state in the nation, for that matter the world, to order parents to vaccinate their preschoolers with a known developmental neurotoxin, which many parents, physicians and scientific research suggest is linked to the epidemic of developmental disorders, including autism.

The PHC recommendation came just days before another “first in the nation” law was passed by Minnesota lawmakers who voted to ban the use of mercury in mascara and other cosmetics. “Mercury does cause neurological damage to people even in tiny quantities…can retard brain development in children and fetuses who are most vulnerable to the metal’s toxic effects” stated the Minnesota officials.

That’s right, you can’t put mercury on your mommy’s lashes in Minnesota but New Jersey health officials just can’t wait to inject it into your young children.

The stupid, it burns.

The Minnesota law appears to be directed at thimerosal that was sometimes used in topically applied products like makeup for the same reason it was used in vaccines, as a preservative. I could point out that one difference between makeup and vaccines is that women use makeup every day. I could also point out that, for most people, thimerosal is safe when topically applied. Indeed, it used to be used in eyedrops and contact lens solutions. The reason it was removed was because of the incidence of contact dermatitis and allergies. As far as thimerosal in vaccines, the concept that mercury in vaccines has anything to do with autism, which was never really that convincing in the first place but just barely credible enough to have been worth investigating 8 years ago, has failed to pan out. Multiple large studies have failed to find any link whatsoever between thimerosal in vaccines and autism or indeed vaccines in general and autism. Moreover, there is no sign at all that autism incidence has started to decrease in the cohort of children 3-5 years old, even though the last thimerosal-containing vaccines expired in 2002, a result that replicates the experience in Canada, Denmark, and other countries after thimerosal was removed from childhood vaccines. Moreover, even with flu vaccines, some of which contain trace amounts of thimerosal, the exposure of a typical child to mercury from vaccines today is far lower than it was in the 1990s. Indeed, it’s lower than it’s been since the 1970s. Yet autism rates still do not fall. Whatever problems thimerosal in vaccines may cause, this is about as slam-dunk as epidemiological evidence goes that it does not cause autism.

Not that that deters deluded mercury militia idiots like Deirdre Imus, who confidently spouts the same talking points that antivaccinationists have been using for years now without any scientific support:

While some NJ public health officials arrogantly dismiss the link between vaccines and autism as “scientifically unfounded,” and tell reporters concerns about thimerosal is “a moot issue,” since most vaccines are either free of the compound or contain only trace amounts, like the preschool flu vaccine.”, a growing body of published scientific research shows this opinion cannot be factually supported.

To the contrary, approximately 90% of the influenza vaccine supply still contains thimerosal. According to the FDA, the 25 micrograms of mercury in one influenza vaccine is NOT a “trace amount”. According to EPA guidelines, this amount can only be considered safe if a person weighs 550 pounds. You would think a health official would know this.

The FDA guidelines are for daily exposure to mercury, not episodic exposure, as is seen in vaccines. This is a very common antivaccinationist canard favored of the mercury militia. So are attacks on big pharma:

Look, everyone knows what these new recommendations are all about. MONEY, MONEY AND MORE MONEY!

Vaccines have become the lifeblood of the pharmaceutical industry…

I note this particular year’s report because it was in 2003 that industry, along with health officials, aggressively forged ahead with a masterful marketing plan. Create fear that terrible diseases are going spread through schools like wildfires if every kid isn’t vaccinated through a very well financed lobbying and advertising campaign. Then get a handful of health officials; to “rubber stamp” exactly what the industry wants. What corporation wouldn’t covet a program sanctioned by the government that forces the public to use their products? ['Dire' CDC warning hiked flu shot demand: UPI, 10/15/04]

The profits from mandated vaccines has resulted in billions of profits for the drug companies and if enacted, the new vaccine recommendations will deliver billions more.

An easy and guaranteed flow of revenue for industry and physicians alike.

Yeah, because pediatricians make so much administering vaccines. (Hint: It’s just another office visit or frequently bundled in with well baby visits.)

I particularly like where she references the quackery- and antivaccination-friendly Mothering.com forums as one of her sources for deciding that there’s a big pharma marketing conspiracy, as well as a New York Times that cited claims of antivaccinationists as “a growing body of published scientific research” that supposedly shows that the link between vaccines and autism is scientifically founded. She even credulously cites the DeSoto and Hitlan study as though it actually were slam dunk evidence that mercury causes autism.

It’s not, but that’s just what Deirdre Imus would call an “arrogant dismissal.” Personally, I think it’s arrogant for a know-nothing like Imus to pontificate about science that she clearly doesn’t understand, but that’s just the elitist in me speaking.

Of course, like all antivaccinationist mercury militia members, Deirdre Imus is quick to reassure us that she really, really isn’t antivaccination:

For the record, I have repeatedly acknowledged the importance of vaccinations. There is no question that vaccines have saved many lives but they are not without risks. Over the last decade, however, serious and legitimate questions have arisen regarding the number of vaccines we are giving our children today and whether the ingredients in those vaccines are as safe as we, the public, have been led to believe.

Sure, Deirdre. We believe you when you say you’re not antivaccine. You’re about as convincing as your husband’s apology for the behavior that got him fired.

I suppose that I should be grateful that Imus refrained from using one of the most easily debunked mercury militia lies, namely that the symptoms of autism are “exactly the same” as those of mercury poisoning.

Not surprisingly, Imus doesn’t appear too enamored of critical comments directed her way. If you look at the comments after her post, you’ll see that most are sycophantic, with almost nary a negative word about her credulity and endorsement of pseudoscience. You might wonder why. There have been reports to me from people who’ve tried to post comments critical of Imus’s misinformation that were not by any stretch of the imagination “abusive,” who’ve told me that their comments were not approved or that they showed up and were later deleted. I propose that we test this. Let’s tell Imus what the real evidence shows and see if she and the moderators at the Huffington Post will let them be posted.

Any bets as to the outcome?

Comments

  1. #1 DLC
    December 23, 2007

    Whatever the cause of Autism is, mercury isn’t it.
    Vaccines aren’t it. I’m being arrogantly dismissive because the weight of evidence is so firmly on my side that I can afford to be arrogant in my dismissal.

  2. #2 petri
    December 23, 2007

    The comments on that page are disgustingly ignorant, almost more so than the article. I’ve made an account to try and comment but I can’t even get that part accomplished let alone post my opinion. Anyone having better luck?

  3. #3 Robster, FCD
    December 23, 2007

    Curtis and Kuby also had higher ratings than Imus had had in a long time. Bad move for the broadcasters. I don’t remember who said it, but I’ll repeat it. You could replace Don Imus with a pile of blankets, put a cowboy hat on it, and nothing of value would be lost.

    As for Dee-er-dur-uh, what can you expect from someone who is famous for being a trophy wife. Oh was that arrogant and dismissive? Too bad.

  4. #4 Bruce
    December 23, 2007

    You Curtis and Kuby listeners still don’t get it. They were only local. Not National. They were not on Television, even if it is RFD-TV. So you folks are dismissed.

    The comments regarding Deirdre Imus are even more ignorant. Do you all know what themiserol is? It is a preservative that contains the heavy metal mercury. Mercury causes brain damage. And in the early stages of an infants life this is dangerous. This additive has been prohibited by the FDA back in 2002 though vaccines are still available with it.

    New Jersey has the highest incidences of autism. Corzine is nuts.

    And Robster if you cannot use the correct name of Imus’ wife Deirdre don’t say it. And she is not a trophy wife stupid. She is a caring person who does more in a year then you will do in a lifetime.

    This blog is truly a waste of time. And ignorance is what it should be called.

    Go away and take a dose of Mercury. It’s good for you. Then die.

    BVB

  5. #5 Orac
    December 23, 2007


    You Curtis and Kuby listeners still don’t get it. They were only local. Not National. They were not on Television, even if it is RFD-TV. So you folks are dismissed.

    I never said anything about ratings. What I did say is that WABC replaced an excellent show with strong ratings with a show by a washed-up, boring, has-been, which is what Don Imus is.


    This blog is truly a waste of time. And ignorance is what it should be called.

    Go away and take a dose of Mercury. It’s good for you. Then die.

    Ah, nothing warms the cockles of my heart like the love of my fans!

    I agree that ignorance (particularly hateful and nasty igorance) should be called, which is why I’m going to point out that it is your ignorance that is truly breathtaking. The amount of exposure to thimerosal in vaccines is lower than it has been since the 1970s and, yet, as you point out, autism incidence rates are still high, although it is not, as you mercury militia-types like to claim, an “epidemic.” Moreover, multiple studies (like this one, for instance) have failed to demonstrate a decrease in the incidence of autism (or other neurodevelopmental problems) after thimerosal was removed from vaccines in multiple countries. That’s about as slam-dunk evidence as epidemiology provides against any sort of link between thimerosal and autism.

    Deidre Imus is a clueless twit, even more so than her husband. Period. She doesn’t know what she is talking about when it comes to the alleged link between vaccines and autism. As long as I see her continuing to post ignorant antivaccination screeds like the one I discussed here, I’ll from time to time call her the idiot that she clearly demonstrates herself to be with every post she makes about vaccines and autism in which she spouts pseudoscience and misinformation. She could be the most “caring” person in the world otherwise, and she would still be a scientific ignoramus when it comes to the issue of the cause of autism. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, which is why I don’t really buy the whole “but she cares so much” line as a defense against criticism.

  6. #6 D.W.
    December 23, 2007

    Great Job! Unlike most of the dolts out there who don’t like IMUS, (Mr. or Mrs.) you go to the head of the line my friend-you learned to change the dial! Now if you would stop wearing clothes you don’t like, eating food that you don’t like and dating people you don’t like maybe we could take you seriously.

    Happy Holidays, lets all raise a tall glass of Mercury to the haters!

  7. #7 Orac
    December 23, 2007

    Oh, goody. It looks as though I’ve been blessed with a couple of particularly brain-dead Imus trolls. Lucky me.

    Dude, if Don and Deirdre Imus didn’t spread misinformation and lies about vaccines causing autism, I wouldn’t really give a rodent’s posterior about him, his crappy show, or his brain dead wife. True, I would have been annoyed that his dreck replaced a show that I like, but I doubt that my annoyance would have reached the level to inspire me to mention it on my blog. However, now that he’s back on the airwaves, he represents a voice for pseudoscience and lies about vaccines, and that has to be countered. It’s not being a “hater” to call someone like Deirdre Imus, who makes ignorant and idiotic statements as she spreads misinformation, an idiot.

    It’s being a truth teller.

  8. #8 Bruce
    December 23, 2007

    Why are you talking about Imus if you think he is washed up ORAC? If you don’t listen you wouldn’t know anyway.

    Forget the vaccine discussion. Curtis and Kuby only had good ratings in the tri-state area. The facts on the last three weeks are not out yet. Remember Orbitron went to a different way of measuring the ratings.

    C and K were in the 3rd position. Personally they were not bad. Well at least Curtis wasn’t. He is still on with Weber between 5AM and 6AM.

    But calling Imus’ wife dumb is really not called for. You don’t know who she is. You don’t know how much she has done for Cancer Victims and Children at Hackensack Hospital.

    Your just bitter about C and K. Well they can’t hold a stick to Imus. He attracts excellent people to interview. And he plays music. Something the C and K show didn’t do. Now with Warner back doing Sports with Imus more people are interested.

    I pray that you just write about things you really know about.

    Merry Christmas.

    BVB

  9. #9 Alex, FCD
    December 23, 2007

    Forget the vaccine discussion.

    Forget the topic of this post?

  10. #10 student_b
    December 23, 2007

    Oh the irony.

    Oracs speaks about the fallacy “but she cares” and the troll just uses this defense. 8|

    Why are you talking about Imus if you think he is washed up ORAC? If you don’t listen you wouldn’t know anyway.

    Oh the ignorant’s argument. Just ignore it if it bothers you. The solution to all problems, ignorance. That’s just rich. :D

    I pray that you just write about things you really know about.

    I agree. If Orac would just only blog about stuff he knows about. You know, stuff like medical issues, stuff he studied. But sadly, no, he has the insolence to continue to talk about things he’s obviously not qualified as a scientist!
    ;)

  11. #11 Bruce
    December 23, 2007

    Imus Trolls???? Good one…. Is that the best you can do?
    We have connections and know who the ignorant ones are.

    Now if this is a Medical Blog you have it over me. But please do not describe Mrs. Imus as an idiot. She is far from that. Passionate she is. The jury is still out on Mercury. But still using proper descriptions of a person are more important.

    Enough of my time has been wasted on you. So I will go and troll somewhere else. Ha! Ha!.

    Good luck. Hope none of your children have autism. Or you will find more Imus trolls attacking you.

    BVB

  12. #12 Orac
    December 23, 2007

    But calling Imus’ wife dumb is really not called for. You don’t know who she is. You don’t know how much she has done for Cancer Victims and Children at Hackensack Hospital.

    So you’re saying that her good works at Hackensack Hospital should give her a pass when she spouts antivaccination nonsense that could endanger the health of children by persuading their parents not to vaccinate? I wouldn’t care of she were Mother Theresa herself. If she abuses her fame to promote antivaccination misinformation, I’m going to call her an idiot when it comes to that misinformation.

    And she’ll deserve it.

  13. #13 Orac
    December 23, 2007

    The jury is still out on Mercury.

    That’s almost like saying that the jury is still out on evolution. True, there’s at least one more big study coming down the pike, but every well-designed study thus far to look at the question of whether mercury in vaccines has anything to do with autism has failed to find a link. In other words, although it’s theoretically possible that mercury might have something to do with autism, overwhelming scientific evidence argues against it, so much so that even the most rabid proponents of the “mercury causes autism” concept are backpedaling.

  14. #14 Bruce
    December 23, 2007

    Student B,

    Get with the game. I now recognize Orac’s knowledge on Medical issues. I only asked that he be more respectful of Deirdre Imus. And you too.

    There are two points of view here. A persons character and a Medical position. To disagree is the way things work in America. I too am ignorant on many issues. But use the logic of the heavy metal poisoning. If Mrs. Imus is proven totally wrong she will admit it. If she is right we will all be thankful that a possible cause is mercury in vaccines and that it is banned totally.

    So don’t preach to me about anything Imus. If you are a student, read some more and learn the facts too.

    We as Imus supporters have won the battle for Imus. Now the war is for the I-Nation to win. And Mrs. Imus is not a big part of that war.

    Big changes coming January 2nd, 2008. You will see.

    Now say goodnight Gracie.

    BVB

  15. #15 donaldinks
    December 23, 2007

    It seems to me…and this being said without any clinical studies….injecting anyone with a mercury based solution (let alone infants at 6 months) is a stupid thing to do. The real reason that thimerosal is even used, at this stage in modern medicine, is corporate greed. Thimerosal is not needed as a preservative when vaccines are produced in individual doses. Instead…using mass production’s of huge multiple-dosage vials..it costs less to produce. The studies you have produced do not exonerate any link between thimerosal and autism. What these studies do is claim they cannot find any (or, explain any) link. That, in itself does not make them safe, by any means.

    The Autistic rates jumped sharply after mandated multiple-inclusive vaccines were made available. These vaccines were manufactured, not in single “safe mercury free” dosages. They were made as cheap as possible in large multiple dosage vials.

    As a Grandfather of three autistic children, I am no rocket scientist…but injecting mercury IN ANY AMOUNT into babies, children, OR adults…is tantamount to being treasonous to the honor of the Physicians oath.

    Mercury, in ANY amount is not conductive to good and honorable medicine.

    Next, will you be telling all of your readers that the lead content in toxic toys being imported into this country are “OK in small doses”?

    After YEARS of trying to get LEAD out of paint in
    homes…MANY in the poorer ethnic areas…are we in this country going to ignore this issue too? If Deirdre Imus raised this issue, would you trash her for that too?

    Forgive me if this is presumptuous on my part…but we stewards of our children in this country have bigger fish to fry…other than your obvious biased opinion about Deidre Imus (or Don).

  16. #16 ChannelXRFR
    December 23, 2007

    Let me guess? It’s not one of your children Corzine is injecting with mercury. Am I right?

  17. #17 HCN
    December 23, 2007

    Bruce said “You Curtis and Kuby listeners still don’t get it. ”

    I thought this blog comment was primarily on the Mrs. Imus wrote on HuffPo. That is a blog that is read by anyone with a computer and an internet connection. What does it have to do with listening?

    What are your specific objections to Orac’s critique of what she wrote? Do you have any real substantial evidence that thimerosal is a cause of autism? Do you have an real substantial evidence that the vaccines cause more harm than the actual diseases? Try to make sure it is not something that has already been fisked by this blog (use the search box on the upper left of the page under the words “search this blog” to find that information).

    Bruce continued “Now if this is a Medical Blog you have it over me.”

    Well, it is mostly. Did you not read the URL? It starts out as “scienceblogs.” The subject of this particular posting is about false information on vaccines. Those words written in blue are links to other webpages, if you click on them you can read further information.

    I personally do not understand the objection to the Tdap vaccine. It is given to adolescents and adults, people who are way past the point of being diagnosed with autism. All three of my teenagers have received protection from tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (also known as whooping cough or the “100 day cough”, which thanks to the efforts of Barbara Loe Fisher and others like her is coming back!) It does not even have thimerosal! See Table 3 of this page:
    http://www.fda.gov/cber/vaccine/thimerosal.htm

    (reminder that is a web link, you have to click on it to read it… Table 3 is almost at the bottom of the page, right above the references).

  18. #18 Sir Laughsalot
    December 23, 2007

    The ignorant mercury trolls are out in force. I guess the swing shift doesn’t start for a few hours.

    You want to know why your kid is autistic? The answer is staring at your screen right now.

    Your tired attempt to paint all of mainstream medicine as evil has got more holes in it than a leaky gut (hi to Wakers, you vile beeotch).

    BTW, can someone offer proof that Mrs. Don Imus is not Ann Coulter (as her Huffpo pic suggests)?

  19. #19 Phil
    December 23, 2007

    groan……did you even read the study? There was no connection between thimerosol and autism. You can have any opionion you want, where is your evidence? Seeing as how autism rates continued to grow after thimerosol was removed, is this “magic” thimerosol? Has it been hiding in the bottles? Perhaps it is homeopathic thimerosol where the more you remove it the stronger it becomes?

  20. #20 ChannelXRFR
    December 23, 2007

    Here’s a simple guideline, dont inject children with heavy metals… Why is that so difficult to comprehend?

  21. #21 Kathy
    December 23, 2007

    Sounds to me like you’re just ticked off at Imus and you’re taking it out on his wife. Deirdre Imus does so much good and makes the world a little bit better as does her husband. Don Imus is a radio icon and it doesn’t phase him that you dislike him. He has plenty of fans and listeners.

    Kudos to the Imus family and in light of your recent comments, I am going to make a small donation in your name “Orac” to the Imus Ranch. I’m taking something very negative here and making something positive out of it. THANKS for helping the ranch … :)

  22. #22 Kathy
    December 23, 2007

    Sounds to me like you’re just ticked off at Imus and you’re taking it out on his wife. Deirdre Imus does so much good and makes the world a little bit better as does her husband. Don Imus is a radio icon and it doesn’t phase him that you dislike him. He has plenty of fans and listeners.

    Kudos to the Imus family and in light of your recent comments, I am going to make a small donation in your name “Orac” to the Imus Ranch. I’m taking something very negative here and making something positive out of it. THANKS for helping the ranch … :)

  23. #23 Anti-Antivax
    December 23, 2007

    So is it metals 5x heavier than water or is it vaccines in general? Don’s wife won’t answer that. The mercury bit, even though there’s no evidence to support it, is used as legs to get an antivax message out.

  24. #24 HCN
    December 23, 2007

    ChannelXRFR wrote “Here’s a simple guideline, dont inject children with heavy metals… Why is that so difficult to comprehend?”

    Please list the amounts of heavy metal in the list of recommended vaccines, this list being ” influenza vaccine, pneumococcal, meningococcal, tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertusis (Tdap) vaccine”. Remember they are all available with thimerosal. Then come back with us to tell us how dangerous each of those vaccines are.

    Kathy wrote: “Sounds to me like you’re just ticked off at Imus and you’re taking it out on his wife.”

    And this has what to do with the HuffPo piece on vaccines and New Jersey? Did you even read past the first paragraph?

  25. #25 petri
    December 23, 2007

    The studies you have produced do not exonerate any link between thimerosal and autism. What these studies do is claim they cannot find any (or, explain any) link. That, in itself does not make them safe, by any means.

    Perhaps, but a lack of direct evidence doesn’t prove your alternate theory. There is plenty of epidemiological evidence, and though this kind of evidence does not prove anything it is very suggestive. Studies like this one (new window)
    or this one (new window)
    or this one (new window),

    which have been discussed by Orac before, have attempted to find a link and have found nothing. A brief search on PubMed yields hundreds more studies, opinions, etc. by experts who all agree that no link can be found. This more than satiates my concern. So how about you who disagree? Are all these researchers on the take? Where are your studies proving your opinion? Why doesn’t Imus cite more than news articles and editorial? I think these are fair and reasonable questions which you must address to be taken seriously by any scientific skeptic. Otherwise all your “facts” amount to post hoc ergo propter hoc reasoning.

  26. #26 channelXRFR
    December 23, 2007

    Eat Fish

  27. #27 Orac
    December 23, 2007

    The studies you have produced do not exonerate any link between thimerosal and autism. What these studies do is claim they cannot find any (or, explain any) link. That, in itself does not make them safe, by any means.

    Geez, you really don’t know anything about how medical studies work, do you? Science can never completely prove a negative beyond all doubt. What science can (and has) done in studying the claim that the mercury thimerosal in vaccines somehow causes autism or ASD is to do studies with the statistical power to find a link, if it existed. What we can say from the existing large studies done in Denmark, Canada, and other countries is that it is exceedingly unlikely that mercury causes autism. Indeed, the continued failure of large, well-designed studies to find even a hint of a link between thimerosal-containing vaccines has led even the previously most die-hard antivaccinationists to start handwaving and invoking other causes.

    In any case, other than flu vaccines (which can be obtained in a thimerosal-free version), there is no thimerosal in childhood vaccines above trace amounts and hasn’t been since 2002. Unless mercury is some sort of magical compound without a dose-response effect that still somehow causes an “epidemic” of autism, even though the amount of mercury babies are exposed to is much lower than it’s been in decades.

    You know, judging from the quality (or mainly lack thereof) of the comments from the Imus fans who’ve invaded here, the level of scientific understanding is really low and the “arguments” that mercury in vaccines cause autism are clearly some of the lamer ones cribbed from some of the less sophisticated antivaccination websites and painfully easy to refute. If the Imus fans/trolls who’ve invaded here are any indication of the intellectual firepower of Imus’ fanbase, I have to say that I’m not impressed.

  28. #28 channelXRFR
    December 23, 2007

    Simple resolution. Mandate vaccinces “thimerosal-free” and move on.

  29. #29 donaldinks
    December 23, 2007

    Injecting human beings with KNOWN toxic material is an affront to modern medicine. Period. To all you smarmy medical associates, nurses AND Physicians…the pharmaceutical industry greases your little palms quite well. Catered lunches, free gifts… pimp the latest “new” drug equals a free cruise or a weekend at some luxurious getaway for the weekend…

    …………and don’t EVEN try to deny any of the above.

    Once…while working at an airline (was there for 21 years) I happened upon one of those little pharm pimps notebooks…and to my surprise…in it…all the “luncheons” and “catered” events to be arranged…by date and by Doctor. I dutifully returned it via mail. But I found a different REPUTABLE physician who wasn’t a Pharm-Whore. You see, one of the names of the Doctors I saw in that book was MINE. But no longer.

  30. #30 Orac
    December 23, 2007

    Sounds to me like you’re just ticked off at Imus and you’re taking it out on his wife. Deirdre Imus does so much good and makes the world a little bit better as does her husband. Don Imus is a radio icon and it doesn’t phase him that you dislike him. He has plenty of fans and listeners.

    You’re right that I’m ticked off at Imus, but it’s not because he’s on the air again. That’s just a relatively minor irritant. The reason I’m ticked off at Imus is because he peddles pseudoscientific fearmongering about vaccine safety. I’m not “taking out” anything on his wife Deirdre, either. She published two really bad antivaccination screeds (deconstructed here and here) on the Huffington Post. Her antivaccination nonsense brings my wrath down on her entirely apart from her husband, whose antivaccination tendencies (which have been discussed by me and some others).

  31. #31 channelXRFR
    December 23, 2007

    ORCA, Do you allow your children to be injected with vaccines which have a mercury thimerosal formulation?

  32. #32 HCN
    December 23, 2007

    channelXRFR wrote “Simple resolution. Mandate vaccinces “thimerosal-free” and move on.”

    So how much thimerosal are in the selected vaccines? Did you even attempt to look up the answer?

    donaldinks can you please tell us what horrible things are in the vaccines, and which ones are more dangerous than the diseases? Please include references… which we should not expect to see since he jumped from showing evidence to the ever popular “pharma shill” gambit:
    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2006/09/the_pharma_shill_gambit_1.php#more

  33. #33 donaldinks
    December 23, 2007

    …and to Orac:

    people are not as stupid as you have suggested.
    When I read a “medical study”…the FIRST thing I look for is WHO funded the study. THAT, in itself makes a big difference…as you WELL know.

    Arguments aside, the ISSUE is: is it ok to inject known poisons into a human being…at any age.

    Go ahead…show everyone who really IS ill informed..

    You never addressed the REAL question. Vaccines can be produced safely WITHOUT mercury based stabilizers. Why aren’t they?

    YOU know the answer, and slowly but surely, all Americans will come to the same answer:

    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    THAT has always been the bottom line. Weather it is mercury in vaccines or lead tainted painted toys from abroad….the bottom line is:

    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

  34. #34 Orac
    December 23, 2007

    donaldinks can you please tell us what horrible things are in the vaccines, and which ones are more dangerous than the diseases?

    My guess is that donaldlinks means these horrible things. ;-)

  35. #35 Orac
    December 23, 2007

    Arguments aside, the ISSUE is: is it ok to inject known poisons into a human being…at any age.

    Then I suppose you’d like to ban Botox. After all, Botulinum toxin is considerably more toxic than mercury, but aging stars line up to have it injected into them and pay lots of money for it.

    The dose makes the poison. Even water is toxic if enough is ingested. If you can’t understand even that very basic concept of pharmacology, I suggest that you learn it before making even more of a fool of yourself here.

  36. #36 Adrian
    December 23, 2007

    Correct me if I’m wrong (I haven’t taken chemistry since my freshman year), but isn’t mercury simply one atom in the thimerosal compound?

    Last I checked, hydrogen was highly flammable and, Jesus Christ, there are two hydrogen atoms in the water molecule! Where are the studies that show how dangerous dihydrogen monoxide is in medical applications?? All of these so-called “scientists” must be deep in Big Pharma’s pocket!

    Hold the phone, Wikipedia tells me there are nine hydrogen atoms in the thimerosal molecule! And one sodium atom! Everyone knows sodium reacts exothermically with water! Are they trying to kill us all??

    It’s hard to be this snarky so close to Christmas…

  37. #37 channelXRFR
    December 23, 2007

    Guess that is the answer to my question…

    On a personal note I don’t know a single doctor who will allow their children to be injected with vaccines having a mercury thimerosal formulation.

    Why would you defend the inclusion of mercury, or any other heavy metal for that matter, as a perservative in a vaccine?

  38. #38 notmercury
    December 23, 2007

    donaldinks: “Arguments aside, the ISSUE is: is it ok to inject known poisons into a human being…at any age.”

    It isn’t a poison at the concentration found in vaccines. Yes, mercury in vaccines sounds like a bad idea, which is probably the main reason it is being phased out, but it doesn’t cause autism and it doesn’t appear to cause any other health problems either.

    So what’s the ISSUE again? Oh yeah, money. How much has been wasted on the stupid thimerosal ISSUE that could have been applied to real research or used to actually help autistic people?

    Wasted $$$$$$$$$$$$$

  39. #39 petri
    December 23, 2007

    YOU know the answer, and slowly but surely, all Americans will come to the same answer:

    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    Of course some money is involved here. Corporations make decisions based on cost so that they can stay in business. Just like you make decisions based on cost everyday.

    That doesn’t implicate them however in letting people die to save a buck. It means that for them to use an alternate chemical that may be more expensive they must have a reason. It can’t just be any reason because it may cost millions of dollars to make that change. It has to be a good reason, and your personal crusade is not necessarily a good reason. A good reason would be if there actually was a link to autism. But since there isn’t the driving force isn’t there.

    They’ve done it anyway with most vaccines because you’ve all made it so unpopular it has become a different issue, not safety but image.

  40. #40 HCN
    December 23, 2007

    channelXRFR: “Why would you defend the inclusion of mercury, or any other heavy metal for that matter, as a perservative in a vaccine?”

    How much thimerosal are in the recommened vaccines? Are they or are they not available without? Where has it been shown that there is any relationship between thimerosal in vaccines and other health issues?

    donaldinks wrote “You never addressed the REAL question. Vaccines can be produced safely WITHOUT mercury based stabilizers. Why aren’t they?”

    Ummm… which of the listed vaccines are not available without thimerosal? In other words, which ones are only available with thimerosal?

  41. #41 donaldinks
    December 23, 2007

    ChannelXRFR has asked (repeatedly) a good question of you people that support Thimerosal based vaccines.

    How many of you willingly and knowingly allowed your children to be injected with above mentioned vaccines?

    How many of you HAVE children?

    Grandchildren?

  42. #42 CanadianChick
    December 23, 2007

    hmm…3 grandchildren with autism, and it doesn’t occur to you that it might be genetic??

    I, and hundreds of my fellow 30-somethings, were injected with vaccines that may have contained thimerisol. Hell, some of us may have used contact lens solution containing thimerisol.

    Whatdyouknow…none of us are autistic. Not to say that there aren’t some thirty-somethings who are, but I know personally ONE person who is probably undiagnosed Aspergers out of thousands of people my age…

    But there’s THREE people with autism in your immediate gene pool.

    Funny how it does seem to run in families, isn’t it?

  43. #43 HCN
    December 23, 2007

    donalinks wrote “ChannelXRFR has asked (repeatedly) a good question of you people that support Thimerosal based vaccines.

    How many of you willingly and knowingly allowed your children to be injected with above mentioned vaccines?”

    And we have asked you repeatedly which of the recommended vaccines are ONLY available with thimerosal?

    Why do you refuse to answer? Do you have trouble finding that information, even when a source of it was provided?

  44. #44 Phil
    December 23, 2007

    I had vaccines. We all did . My kid had them.
    so what?

    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/117/4/1028

    CONCLUSIONS. Prevalence findings from special education data do not support the claim of an autism epidemic because the administrative prevalence figures for most states are well below epidemiological estimates. The growing administrative prevalence of autism from 1994 to 2003 was associated with corresponding declines in the usage of other diagnostic categories.

    In other words, children diagnosed as autistic were siphoning numbers from other diagnoses.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?itool=abstractplus&db=pubmed&cmd=Retrieve&dopt=abstractplus&list_uids=12880876

    CONCLUSIONS: The body of existing data, including the ecologic data presented herein, is not consistent with the hypothesis that increased exposure to Thimerosal-containing vaccines is responsible for the apparent increase in the rates of autism in young children being observed worldwide.

  45. #45 donaldinks
    December 23, 2007

    HCN:….

    You missed my point entirely. It is not WHICH vaccines HAVE Thimerosal…it is why do any HAVE to have them?

    From a medical point of view, adding something (that MAY not be safe) to do a greater good …when it doesn’t HAVE to be…WHY DO IT?

    Petri answered the question perfectly. It has to do with COST…NOT safety. This discussion could be endless…and probably will be.

    Until the Pharmaceuticals get their “hooks” out of the dedicated medical field…and Physicians and the medical community insist on HONEST research…(unlike the research done by the Tobacco industry AND the pharmaceutical industry for example) the people in this country will be subjected like guinea pigs and no one will accept responsibility.

    Finding that “Pharm-Pimps” personal book on that plane, long ago…(above in this thread) woke me up to what pumps the life into Americas medical fields.

    You can be the most dedicated person in the medical field…but: if you allow big corporate Pharm money into your office, or pockets…you are part of the problem.

    Too MANY new drugs that are being pimped, non-stop, on every channel on television, in magazines, into doctors pockets….makes me wonder…

    ….ALL THAT MONEY….and what it could do in HONEST RESEARCH.

    You, in the medical community can be a solution to the problem…or a part of the problem.

    Make all the excuses you want…it’s true.

    Either it is safe…or not safe. If there is ANY question that a drug is NOT safe…try it on your selves. Try it on YOUR children and Grandchildren.

    Then pontificate on the morals of the Pharm/Medical field.

  46. #46 channelXRFR
    December 23, 2007

    Repeat – I do not personally know a single physician who will allow there children to be vaccinated with a thermilsal based formulation…

  47. #47 channelXRFR
    December 23, 2007

    their

  48. #48 Adrian
    December 23, 2007

    channelXRFR, please provide the names and contact information for every physician you personally know.

  49. #49 Men in Chartreuse
    December 23, 2007

    donald – careful, the black van outside your window just started its engine.

  50. #50 Beowulff
    December 23, 2007

    I have a question. I don’t live in the US, but don’t the patients in the US benefit from cheaper vaccines too? Then what’s wrong with the pharmaceutical industry trying to produce cheaper vaccines, as long as research shows this can be done safely?

  51. #51 channelXRFR
    December 23, 2007

    Adrian, Why don’t you name a single physician you know that allows their children to be vaccinated with a thermisal based formulation.

  52. #52 Adrian
    December 23, 2007

    Hey now, it’s your argument, not mine; it behooves you to support it. Appeals to unnamed authority do not impress.

    For the record, it’s “thimerosal” or “thiomersal”.

  53. #53 Pieter B
    December 23, 2007

    Donaldducks wrote:

    You never addressed the REAL question. Vaccines can be produced safely WITHOUT mercury based stabilizers. Why aren’t they?

    They are. What part of “the last thimerosal-containing vaccines expired in 2002″ is unclear to you?

  54. #54 Bruce
    December 23, 2007

    This is a waste of time. These so called scholars and no it all only can answer with slams and no real facts.

    OK silly ones. No one including Mrs. Deirdre Imus said the Mercury was the sole cause, nor the only cause of autism. It is a combination of factors. I am not autistic. None of the 30 something year old children are. You must have a bad gene that the mercury triggers. But why they do they ban fish that are exposed to Mercury?

    I know you can’t answer these questions because you are listening to leading medical authorities who are subsidized by Big Pharma. Why did Merck recall millions of vaccines? Were their rat dropping in them? Or something else.

    Pound it in folks. The people on this blog are just listening to themselves preach to the choir. They are jokes. And like the leaves of a tree in the fall they will blow away.

    You probably believe in Global Warming too don’t you?

    Enough.

    BVB

  55. #55 ChannelXRFR
    December 23, 2007

    For the record Eat Fish.

  56. #56 channelXRFR
    December 23, 2007

    The point is ORCA lost C&K and so now argues children should be vaccinated with mercury… Sorry for your loss – but should children lives be put at risk?

  57. #57 Adrian
    December 23, 2007

    Evasion noted. Don’t hate me because I called your bluff.

  58. #58 Schwartz
    December 23, 2007

    Orac,

    I personally don’t agree with the New Jersey action, but I am not a fan of the Imus’ at all. Your comments about the radio show being cancelled had me laughing. It reminded me of a time long ago when a former colleague of mine used to listen (and watch) Howard Stern’s drivel.

    As for censoring comments, you are linking to some sites that moderate out information they don’t like (the non-offensive reference type). That is not an activity limited to the anti-mercury crowd.

  59. #59 ChannelXRFR
    December 23, 2007

    Here’s the bluff – you can’t name one physician who will vaccinate their children with mercury including ORCA…

  60. #60 Acleron
    December 23, 2007

    ChannelXRFR asks “Sorry for your loss – but should children lives be put at risk?”

    The question was probably rhetorical but needs to be answered. “No”

    Getting cheap vaccines to at risk populations saves lives. Scaremongering about innocuous preservatives present in tiny amounts does kill children by preventing their vaccination. The evidence supports vaccination, the evidence shows no link between autism and thimerosal. In the UK we suffered the stupidity of Andrew Wakefield and his supposed link between MMR vaccine and autism. Measles rates are now increasing because of just the same publicised inanity that you and the Imus’s are promulgating. The money wasted on this false controversy could well have been used to increase vaccination rates and prevent deaths.
    I hope your campaign does not lead to a similar result in your country.

  61. #61 channelXRFR
    December 23, 2007

    Mercury is not necessary in the U.S.

  62. #62 Schwartz
    December 23, 2007

    Orac,

    I don’t agree with the extra mandated vaccines in New Jersey, but I’m not a fan of Don Imus either. Your story about the radio show reminded me of a colleague who insisted on listening (and watching, sigh) to Howard Stern, whose drivel drove me up the wall.

    As for censoring comments, you are linking to some sites, that remove comments and cherry pick from others if it doesn’t match their opinion (nothing offensive, just references). This practise is hardly limited to the anti-mercury crowd.

    I apologize if this gets posted twice, but it gave me a different response than I normally get.

  63. #63 Adrian
    December 23, 2007

    I’m hesitant to call up my physician on a Sunday night just to humor some ignorant troll on teh interwebs, so I am disinclined to acquiesce to your request. This is irrelevant anyway, as are your infantile insults.

    There are a couple of possibilities here:
    1) You don’t personally know any physicians, hence your inability to name them.
    2) You do know one or more physicians, but you have no idea where they stand on thiomersal, hence your hesitancy to allow us to contact them for verification.
    3) The physicians you know are quacks, and are also your primary sources of information, hence your thoroughly skewed views on the subject.

    This is all a red herring. The number of physicians you may or may not know who may or may not advocate the use of thimerosal in vaccines has absolutely no bearing on whether or not thimerosal (not mercury) is dangerous.

    All of which again just distracts from Orac’s point that the last thimerosal-containing vaccines expired in 2002, so this is a non-issue anyway.

  64. #64 Abel Pharmboy
    December 23, 2007

    At the risk of providing cherry-picking fodder for the trolls, may I point folks to this document from the US FDA – if you look at the table at the bottom, you’d actually be surprised how many vaccines never, ever contained thimerosal at all.

  65. #65 tim gueguen
    December 23, 2007

    How odd that Orac’s previous posts against antivax nonsense didn’t attract the attention of the latest band of sillies, but the mention of Imus and wife did.

  66. #66 ChannelXRFR
    December 23, 2007

    Adrian, Phramas continue to produce vaccines containing mercury. You are certainly free to vaccinate your children with mercury. As for me, i choose not to, Peace Out – ChanX

  67. #67 Orac
    December 23, 2007

    Why did Merck recall millions of vaccines? Were their rat dropping in them? r
    something else.

    This is why.

    Interestingly enough, it’s possible that not using thimerosal as an antibacterial agent during the manufacturing process might have contributed to the contamination problem. There’s not enough information in the news accounts to make an educated guess.

  68. #68 Orac
    December 23, 2007

    The point is ORCA lost C&K and so now argues children should be vaccinated
    with mercury… Sorry for your loss – but should children lives be put at risk?

    Congratulations. I think you deserve the prize for dumbest comment of the month, if not the year. You’re apparently so fixated on Imus that you can’t seem to realize that the whole C&K thing was simply a minor irritant. My irritation with Imus over his antivaccination stupidity disguised as autism advocacy predates his return by nearly two and a half years and now has more to do with his once again having a national platform for him and his wife to spew misinformation about vaccines.

  69. #69 Orac
    December 23, 2007

    How odd that Orac’s previous posts against antivax nonsense didn’t attract
    the attention of the latest band of sillies, but the mention of Imus and wife did.

    I wondered about that myself.

  70. #70 Russell Seitz
    December 23, 2007

    How un-natural that the natural history of mecury does not figure in any of the above.

    It has a geochemical ,and a biogeochemical cycle the same as the other hundred elements , with tens of tons oozing ,bubbling or roaring out of the ground monthly.

    Most places,it poses a risk on a par with homeopathic remdedy contamination of the Atlantic Ocean, but there are a few places, mostly in areas with hot springs, were all the children , not to mention the adults ,probably ingestseveral orders of magnitude more each year than a lifetime of vaccinations could provide.

    There is of course another cohort of mad as hatter mercurophobes– the NYTimes has been raling about Hg in coal for decades, but recommends chinese restaurants whose kitchens are adorned with exposed cinnabar paint to improve the feng shui.

  71. #71 HCN
    December 23, 2007

    It seems there a few Imus sycophant sites with folks who search out any mention of Imus. They don’t seem to deal much with evidence and facts when they post such underwhelming arguments like “eat fish”.

  72. #72 Ktesibios
    December 23, 2007

    How odd that Orac’s previous posts against antivax nonsense didn’t attract the attention of the latest band of sillies, but the mention of Imus and wife did.

    It’s rather reminiscent of what’s happened over at Pharyngula on the occasions that PZ has called out Scott Adams’ occasional dumbass statements about evolution.

    Call it, perhaps, “The Otaku Syndrome”.

  73. #73 Schwartz
    December 23, 2007

    Orac,

    “Interestingly enough, it’s possible that not using thimerosal as an antibacterial agent during the manufacturing process might have contributed to the contamination problem. There’s not enough information in the news accounts to make an educated guess.”

    I thought we dispelled that myth in the comments of your last article. If you look up in the FDA site, one of the two vaccines never contained Thimerosal and the other one has not had it since 1999. Clearly this issue was not the result of having recently removed Thimerosal.

    Please stop promoting myths.

  74. #74 HCN
    December 23, 2007

    Ktesibios wrote: Call it, perhaps, “The Otaku Syndrome”.

    Not at all related to this discussion, but the first time I heard that term was yesterday. My sons were watching a Gameplay program about a young man in Japan who was obsessed with video games.

    The term fits.

  75. #75 Bruce
    December 23, 2007

    Now Orac,

    We are hired attack dogs that jump on anyone that mentions in a derogatory way the last name of IMUS. Though we do have a passion for the Truth about thimiserol. No one more then Deirdre Imus herself would love to find out that thimiserol has no effect on children regarding autism, or anything else. But you do know heavy metals are really not a good garnish for anything you eat.

    With all aside. Have a Merry Christmas.

    BVB

  76. #76 Calli Arcale
    December 23, 2007

    For what it’s worth, I can name a dozen doctors who have vaccinated their children with thimerosal-containing vaccines: my father and all of his partners at a local family practice clinic. Their children have all had the recommended course of vaccines. I have little doubt that this will satisfy the Imus fans, however, as they will most likely simply ignore evidence satisfying their irrelevant challenge, just as they ignore the reams of evidence refuting any link between autism and vaccines (thimersal-containing or otherwise).

    I do suspect a few low-level conspiracies are at play in the “vaccine controversy” — but none of them are Big Pharma. They’re the doctors and lawyers who profit off of the claim that vaccines cause autism. Lawyers who sue for damages, doctors who get their egos stroked by adoring fans who hang on their every word (even when those words are notably contradictory), and quacks who sell “mercury test kits” or perform unnecessary (and sometimes dangerous) therapies to parents unwilling to accept their children as they are. of course, that’s the other group that profits. The unwitting, unintended contributor to the conspiracy: the parents who swallow all the baloney they are fed because they find the idea of a blame and a cure so appealing that they will not accept that their children are autistic. Pride may also be a factor. It’s a powerful motivator.

  77. #77 Passerby
    December 24, 2007

    I love channelXRFR’s arguments. Let’s use them.

    Repeat – I do not personally know a single antivac shrill who has an IQ above 45…

    Any claims to the contrary are lies, damn lies and should be ignored. So there.

  78. #78 Michele Hargett
    December 24, 2007

    Let’s see, my granddaughter had her flu vaccine this year. Her father is an MD. I don’t know if she received the single or multi-dose version. It was at UCLA. I had my flu shot this year. The multi-dose vial, since I have a latex allergy. I would much rather take a chance on the trace amount of mercury than risk what the latex exposure to the stopper could have done. And since I am an RN I have to wonder how I got into the wrong end of the Pharma-shill gambit. I can’t even get pen from those guy’s these days.

  79. #79 Rjaye
    December 24, 2007

    Oh, heck yeah. Most doctors of a certain age vaccinated their children with thimerosol containing vaccines. In fact, two acquaintances of mine wouldn’t hesitate to vaccinate with thimerosol containing vaccines now. One just harrumphed when I asked him about the risk, but he worked in third world countries where vaccines were rare.

    Can someone tell me why the thimerosol was taken out of vaccines? I can’t help but think it was political, and not really for medical reason.

  80. #80 Thalience
    December 24, 2007

    ChannelXRFR,

    I am not a physician, but I do consider myself to be scientifically literate and have followed the issue with some interest for several years. Based on what is currently known about thimerosal, I see no reason to worry about it. When the time comes to vaccinate any children that I might eventually have, they will get whatever the paediatrician recommends. This includes thimerosal-containing flu vaccines (remember, the school mandated ones do not contain thimerosal any more).

  81. #81 HCN
    December 24, 2007

    Bruce said “Though we do have a passion for the Truth about thimiserol.”

    That would be a much more forceful statement if it included one of the three accepted spellings of thimerosal/thiomersal/thimerasol (the last one not being used so much). This is not part of being the “spelling police”, but if one wants to find out “truth” it helps when using Google and PubMed to use at one of the three common spellings of the word.

    Information here: http://www.fda.gov/cber/vaccine/thimerosal.htm

    More information with illustrations here:
    http://autismdiva.blogspot.com/2005/11/you-wanna-go-where.html

  82. #82 HCN
    December 24, 2007

    Oh, crud… I mucked up one of the three common spellings of the molecule. From the last link I used:
    “thimerosal, or thiomersal or thimerosol” … the last least common spelling has two “o”s.

  83. #83 Acleron
    December 24, 2007

    “There have been reports to me from people who’ve tried to post comments critical of Imus’s misinformation that were not by any stretch of the imagination “abusive,” who’ve told me that their comments were not approved or that they showed up and were later deleted. I propose that we test this. Let’s tell Imus what the real evidence shows and see if she and the moderators at the Huffington Post will let them be posted.”

    Here’s my effort:-
    “As thimerosal has been dropped from most vaccines the autism rates in children have not dropped. Large trials have found no association of thimerosal and autism. In the UK large amounts of money were wasted disproving the unfounded claim that MMR vaccine and autism are linked.
    Autism is a distressing disease but no evidence is available to show that vaccines are the culprit.
    Mrs Imus would do better for children in general by refraining from cause anxiety in parents about vaccines which have been proven to benefit children. She would also do better for the autistic by diverting the large amounts of money wasted on anti-vaccination campaigns to finding the real causes of autism and perhaps its cure.”
    It’s up for moderation at the moment, I’ll check it later tonight.

  84. #84 petri
    December 24, 2007

    My comment made it right to the top and seems to be holding there. It did take about 24 hours though to make an account, have it activated, post a comment, and have it appear.

  85. #85 TheProbe
    December 24, 2007

    “Science can never completely prove a negative beyond all doubt.”

    I did a scientific study of anti-vax liars and conclusively proved that they do not have a clue, even a shared clue, amongst themselves. I have absolutely NO doubt.

  86. #86 TheProbe
    December 24, 2007

    Rjaye asked:

    Can someone tell me why the thimerosol was taken out of vaccines? I can’t help but think it was political, and not really for medical reason.

    Good call. It was political, with a public health benefit. At the time, the MMR scaremongering in England was causing a decrease in the uptake of the vaccine, thus widespread outbreaks were happening.

    Thimerosal was removed here, to remove some of the ammunition of the anti-vax lying sociopaths to prevent the same thing.

    However, anti-vac liar sociopaths turned it around, as they always do, to claim it was proof of the mythical dangers.

  87. #87 TheProbe
    December 24, 2007

    Acleron your post made it!

    Congratulations!

    I left a very supportive comment.

  88. #88 Prometheus
    December 24, 2007

    I was just scrolling through the comments and saw that Bruce was repeating (parroting?) the claim that New Jersey had the highest prevalence of autism in the country.

    I don’t know where that particular canard got started, but it isn’t supported by the IDEA annual report to congress.

    In the report from fall 2006 (the most recent available), the top three states for autism prevalence are:

    [1] Minnesota
    [2] Oregon
    [3] Indiana

    New Jersey isn’t even in the top 10. It’s number 12.

    If this is how accurate his “facts” are, I think we can ignore pretty much anything else he has to say (parrot?).

    Prometheus

  89. #89 Dangerous Bacon
    December 24, 2007

    I can think of lots of physicians who immunized their children with thimerosal-containing vaccines. Starting with my father.

    At my hospital most MDs have been immunized with thimerosal-containing flu vaccine, to protect their patients and themselves. So have I.

    I used to listen to Imus’ show many years ago and had respect for him up until fairly recently. That ended not so much because of his idiotic comments about female basketball players, but because he’s allowed his show to become a forum for antivaccination ignorance and fear-mongering.

    Deirdre Imus’ doltish comments on vaccination are endangering children.

    It’s a tossup who sounds more moronic, the hard-core antivaxers or the rabid Imus fans who’ve posted here.

  90. #90 Acleron
    December 24, 2007

    The probe:-Acleron your post made it!

    Congratulations!

    I left a very supportive comment.

    Thanks very much and Merry Christmas to you and everyone.

  91. #91 Robster, FCD
    December 25, 2007

    Bruce,

    No one including Mrs. Deirdre Imus said the Mercury was the sole cause, nor the only cause of autism.

    Actually, lots of quacks have said it, but if you are at all interested in truth, you would know that there is no good evidence that thiomersal or mercury was a cause of autism. However, there is very good evidence that they are not connected.

    Perhaps the best evidence of all has already been pointed out already. Since thiomersal has been removed from childhood vaccines, autism rates have not decreased.

    You must have a bad gene that the mercury triggers.

    Well, there are some genes linked to autism, but there is no evidence that mercury activates any of those genes. The interesting thing is that the suspect genes are involved with fetal brain development. Since this happens before childhood vaccinations, the possibility of a link fails the temporal test.

    From your earlier comment, And Robster if you cannot use the correct name of Imus’ wife Deirdre don’t say it.

    Just writing it the way that old racist schmuck pronounces it. Dee-er-dur-uh.

    If Mrs. Imus is proven totally wrong she will admit it.

    Riiiight. She’s already been proven wrong, but she prefers passionate ignorance to scientific knowledge.

    ——————–

    Merry Squidmas, all.

  92. #92 HCN
    December 25, 2007

    Robster, FCD wrote “From your earlier comment, And Robster if you cannot use the correct name of Imus’ wife Deirdre don’t say it. ”

    This is in reply to Bruce, who did not use one of the three (or four) accepted spellings of thiomersal (this being the one closest to the scientific chemical description according to Rolfe:
    http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?p=1525553&highlight=thiomersal#post1525553 ).

  93. #93 Grodge
    December 25, 2007

    Where is the evidence that Influenza vaccine is efficacious in kids?

    I am not a troll and I fully agree with Orac on nearly every issue, but my problem with the compulsory vaccine legislation in NJ is that Influenza vaccine has not been shown to be effective in kids.

    I think that if a state is going to make parents vaccinate their kids, studies should clearly show benefit. Science is science after all.

  94. #94 HCN
    December 25, 2007

    Have you looked for it? Have you gone into http://www.pubmed.gov and plugged in “influenza vaccine children” into the search engine?

    Have you checked the almost 2000 papers, that include over 280 reviews, that popped up?

    Did you check the Pediatrics website for papers on influenza? I found over 1000 papers, check them out:
    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/search?andorexactfulltext=and&resourcetype=1&disp_type=&sortspec=relevance&fulltext=influenza&submit.x=9&submit.y=13

  95. #95 Grodge
    December 25, 2007

    HCN,
    Thanks for the references, they were helpful.

    Imus’ BMJ link is refuted here: http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/333/7576/1020

    I’m still a little skeptical of state mandated compulsory vaccines for influenza since the morbidity is not as severe as other infectious diseases.

    BTW, I agree that the mercury fear is overstated.

    Thanks again.

  96. #96 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 26, 2007

    I don’t know whether it’s more funny or more disturbing that there are actually people who spend their time searching the internet for any mention of Imus or his moron wife and that they make the same utterly idiotic arguments that Bruce and ChannelXRFR continue to repeat.

    This easily goes up as one of the single stupidest things I’ve read on the internet this year.

    The point is ORCA lost C&K and so now argues children should be vaccinated with mercury… Sorry for your loss – but should children lives be put at risk?

  97. #97 ChannelXRFR
    December 26, 2007

    For the record, I am not anti-vac nor do I have a autistic child. Opinion, when it is unnecessary for vaccines to include toxins such as mercury inclusion of those toxins is irresponsible. – ChanX

  98. #98 Misanthrope
    December 26, 2007

    I’m a few days late to the discussion, but here’s an answer to ChannelXRFR’s challenge — I’m an MD and my kids get whatever vaccinations their pediatrician thinks is best. Thimerosal doesn’t enter into the equation. A guiding principle of toxicology is that there are no toxic substances, only toxic doses. The amount of mercury in a dose of vaccine doesn’t even come close to coming close.

    If you’re really worried about mercury you’re better off directing your anger and energy toward coal-burning power plants, which emit mercury literally by the ton (lots of data out there, here’s a representative link: http://www.hgtech.com/Data/Coal/Coal.htm).

  99. #99 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 26, 2007

    Congrats ChanX!! In case you missed it your comment has been given the designation of the dumbest comment of the year.

  100. #100 John C. Welch
    December 26, 2007

    Hell, I have a kid, who was born in 1993, and he was vaccinated like a fucking dart board, as was I. In fact, thanks to his mother working for an HMO, he got one of the earliest versions of the chicken pox vaccine.

    No autism. Not me, not my son. As far as I know, none in our family.

    Thimerosal flowing into our bodies, and O NOES, TEH AWTIZM DIDN’T HAPPEN!

    Oh, and we eat fish on a regular basis. My father-in-law is an avid fisherman, damned good at it too. Had fish on Saturday night, probably have a fish fry later on. OMGWTFKHAAAN!!!111 I GOT DA AUTISM ON ME!!111

    Morons.

    You know, it’s sad when the stupid gets airtime.

  101. #101 clone3g
    December 26, 2007

    Reminds me of the Lewis Black routine:

    When from behind me, a woman of 25 uttered the dumbest thing I’d ever heard in my life … She said, ‘If it weren’t for my horse, I wouldn’t have spent that year in college.’ I’ll repeat that. I’ll repeat that because that’s the kind of sentence that when you hear it, your brain comes to a screeching halt. And the left hand side of the brain looks at the right hand side and goes, ‘It’s dark in here, and we may die.’ She said, ‘If it weren’t for my horse…’ as in, giddy up, giddy up, let’s go – ‘I wouldn’t have spent that year in college,’ a degree-granting institution. Don’t! Don’t think about that sentence for more than three minutes, or blood’ll shoot out your nose. The American medical profession doesn’t know why we get an aneurysm. It’s when a blood vessel bursts in our head for no apparent reason. There’s a reason. You’re at the mall one day, and somebody over there says the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard and it goes in your ear. So you turn around to see if your friends heard it, cause if your friends heard it, and you can talk about what the jackass said, then it’ll be gone. But your friends are over here, pretending they’re gonna buy a cellular phone, and they’re not gonna buy a cellular phone, because they don’t even understand how the rate structure works. So you turn back, to find the person who said it, because if you can ask ‘em a question like, ‘WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKIN’ ABOUT?!’ then it’ll go away. But they’re gone. And now those words are in your head. And those words don’t go away. Cause the way I see it, 7% of our brains functions all the time, because 99% of everything that happens is the same old stuff. We get it. All right. Move on. Get it. Right. But every so often, somethin’ like that happens: ‘If it weren’t for my horse, I wouldn’t have spent that year in college.’ So your brain goes, ‘LET’S FIGURE IT OUT! Son of a bitch! I wonder what that’s about!’ I wonder, was she riding the horse to school? No, she wouldn’t be riding the horse to school. Maybe it was a polo pony; she had a polo pony scholarship. Maybe she sold the horse and that’s how she – she was betting on the horse! WHAT THE FUCK?!! And then you realize that anybody who went to college would never say anything that stupid in public. And as soon as you have that thought, your eyes close and the next morning they find you dead in your bathroom.

  102. #102 Alan Kellogg
    December 27, 2007

    Clone3g,

    Not knowing the context does not make a statement stupid, only incomprehensible. At least Black has a valid reason for not getting it.

    Whereto mercury and toxic effects, I get the impression that some people are of the belief that mercury is always toxic, regardless of the amount. Supposedly even a single atom of mercury causes harm. There’s a big problem with that, mercury has always been around.

    Life arose on a world with mercury. Life as we know it appeared and evolved on a world with mercury. Life as a whole takes in, processes, and excretes mercury all the time. Just as it does lead, arsenic, even plutonium. You can’t avoid it, and life has evolved ways of dealing with it. Even if it’s just a tolerance for the stuff. Even if Earth life used arsenic instead of phosphorus for energy, we’d have a certain level of tolerance for phosphorus instead. Were we so incredibly vulnerable to mercury we wouldn’t be here.

    Mercury was not introduced to this planet all of a sudden just a few decades ago. Mercury has been here since the Earth took shape 4.5 billion years ago, and life has been continually exposed to mercury in very small amounts all that time. Very often at levels higher than in thimerosal. And in forms more dangerous than thimerosal could ever to be. We are the product of God only knows how many generations of exposure to tiny amounts of mercury, we aint all that fucken delicate.

    BTW, how do we know that autism is a condition one develops and not something most children grow out of. What if all infants are born autistic, with the great majority developing away from the autistic condition as they grow older? Any work along that direction.

    And sort of related is this query. Have you ever noticed how autistic cats are?

  103. #103 Ex-drone
    December 28, 2007

    Alan Kellogg writes:

    I get the impression that some people are of the belief that mercury is always toxic, regardless of the amount. Supposedly even a single atom of mercury causes harm.

    Be careful, Alan. You’re going to spin up the homeopathy nuts. For them, one atom is when things just start getting powerful. Add an ocean of water and get rid of the atom, then you’ve got something potent … maybe even a cure for autism.

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