Respectful Insolence

Believe it or not, even I, Orac, sometimes get tired of blogging about antivaccination idiocy. Indeed, this week was just such a time. I hope you can’t blame me. After all, the last few months have been so chock-full of some of the most bizarre and annoying antics of antivaccinationists at such a frequent clip that there was just no way I could even keep up with it, and trying was starting to burn me out. (I guess there’s only so much that the stupid can burn before even Orac’s nearly indestructible clear plastic case can handle before he needs a break.) Truth be told, not wanting Respectful Insolence to become an “all antivaccinationist all the time” blog, I had been planning on taking a break for a bit and keeping my powder dry for when Jenny McCarthy’s merry band of antivaccinationists descend on Washington, DC on June 4.

But then yesterday afternoon, my old irritant, J.B. Handley, that bull-in-a-china-shop mercury- and vaccine-obsessed founder of Generation Rescue, showed me some love in an e-mail:

From: “Generation Rescue” <info@generationrescue.org>
To: “‘Orac'”
Subject: FW: SICK MONKEYS: RESEARCH LINKS VACCINE LOAD, AUTISM SIGNS
Date: Fri, 16 May 2008 12:33:25 -0700

Orac:

You are a complete jack-ass.

– Generation Rescue

Appended to the message was the text from this link.

Having felt the love, I have to admit that J.B. sure does know how to charm a blogger. When he draws my attention to some abstracts so politely, how can I refuse to return to him manyfold what he obviously craves so badly, a dose of my characteristic and inimitable not-so-Respectful Insolence™, a dose that, given who he is, I am more than happy–nay, eager–to administer to him with loving care, the way a vaccine should be administered. (Too bad there’s no vaccine against bull-headedness.) Indeed, when an antivaccinationist asks me so nicely, I cannot refuse, prior vows to chill out for a while notwithstanding. I even view it as my moral duty to give J.B. what he wants, a task facilitated by the fact that my wife was working last night, that I didn’t feel like working more on a talk I have to give on Monday (making writing this little screed an excellent excuse for procrastination when it comes to finishing the slides for that talk), and that, other than watching Battlestar Galactica, I didn’t have anything better to do. I normally don’t do long, substantive, Orac-length posts on the weekend, but for J.B., I’ll make an exception. I like him just that much.

No need to thank me, J.B.; writing this was reward enough for me.

Besides, I was curious; after I had asked around about this e-mail, I found that other antivaccinationists had been sending this same link to other bloggers who frequently write about autism and vaccines and who share my conclusion that the science just doesn’t support the antivaccinationist myth that vaccines somehow cause autism. Also, the article linked to was written by Dan Olmsted, that credulous reporter who claims that the Amish don’t vaccinate and don’t get autism when they do both and who conveniently couldn’t find the special needs clinic in the heart of Amish country that treats Amish with some forms of autism (not to mention who takes the word of an antivaccination-leaning crunchy physician in Chicago as apparently scientific evidence that the unvaccinated don’t get autism), among other developmental conditions. So credulously eager to believe any bit of trash that supports his need to blame vaccines for autism, Olmsted’s articles are almost always good for a chuckle, if not an outright belly laugh. Although not quite as amusing as Kent Heckenlively‘s overblown and ignorant screeds on AoA, they’re usually still fairly entertaining in a “gawk at the stupid” sort of way. So onward, we go! Here’s Danny-boy:

The first research project to examine effects of the total vaccine load received by children in the 1990s has found autism-like signs and symptoms in infant monkeys vaccinated the same way. The study’s principal investigator, Laura Hewitson from the University of Pittsburgh, reports developmental delays, behavior problems and brain changes in macaque monkeys that mimic “certain neurological abnormalities of autism.”

The findings are being reported Friday and Saturday at a major international autism conference in London.

Although couched in scientific language, Hewitson’s findings are explosive. They suggest, for the first time, that our closest animal cousins develop characteristics of autism when subjected to the same immunizations – such as the MMR shot — and vaccine formulations – such as the mercury preservative thimerosal — that American children received when autism diagnoses exploded in the 1990s.

The first thing I notice here before even reading more is just how much the mercury militia has morphed its “hypothesis” (if you can dignify it with that term). No longer do they talk about “it’s the mercury, stupid” or how “autism and autism spectrum disorders are all all ‘misdiagnoses for mercury poisoning.'” They’ve now conveniently pivoted to blaming vaccines and the “vaccination schedule” for….well, it’s not entirely clear what. That brings us to the second thing that I noticed, which is that they are no longer claiming that vaccines “cause” autism. They are touting this study as showing that vaccines somehow cause behavioral and brain changes that mimic “certain neurological abnormalities of autism.” Truly, antivaccinationists are fluid in their use of language, as long as it can be somehow twisted into implying that vaccines cause autism.

I’m not going to discuss Olmsted’s commentary on these abstracts any more because Olmsted has proven time and time again that he doesn’t know what science is, how it works, or what he is talking about. Besides, in response to tweaking over at the Autism Blog, the merry band of antivaccinationists over at AoA kindly posted all three of the actual abstracts that were presented at the International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR). Why bother with Olmsted’s uninformed rants and mischaracterizations when I can cut through his obfuscation and go straight to the source?

But before I do that, one should understand that these abstracts were poster presentations. In the biomedical field, poster presentations are the lowest form of “publication” of one’s data. Indeed, several meetings that I go to fairly regularly accept nearly every abstract that is submitted as a poster. It is from this pool that reviewers decide which abstracts will be granted oral presentations. That’s not to say that some posters, especially at AACR, aren’t excellent. Many are. because the ratio of posters to presentations is quite high. In any case, the standards IMFAR appears to subject posters to do not seem to be anything resembling rigorous peer-review. Thus, given that these are only abstracts being submitted as posters, I consider them much less seriously. Posters are a dime a dozen. If these are published in a decent peer-reviewed journal, I’ll take more notice. Their publication in such a journal would also allow me to examine the methodology, which is only sketchily described in these abstracts. Remember, lots of work is presented at meetings as abstracts but either never makes the cut for publication in a peer-reviewed journal or, when it finally does appear in print, has a radically different form.

So, on to the studies themselves. The first thing that became apparent when I read the abstracts is that this is really only one study, the results of which have been split into three different abstracts. In the biz, this is known as divvying up one’s data into MPUs (minimal publishable units). It’s an unfortunately common practice, but not particularly savory. No justification is given why these shouldn’t just be one abstract or one paper. Oh, well. Let’s move on and look at what is common to the three abstracts and see what we can glean from what is there.

What first leaps to mind in looking at the study is that there are 13 monkeys in the “vaccine” group and only three in the control group. No explanation is given for why there are such unequal numbers. Similarly, there is no mention of how the monkeys were assigned to one group or the other (randomization, anyone?), whether the experimenters were blinded to experimental group and which shots were vaccine or placebo, whether the monkeys were weight- and age-matched, or any of a number of other controls that careful researchers would do. Right off the bat, from the small numbers (particularly with only three monkeys in the control group), I can say that the study almost certainly doesn’t have the statistical power to find much of anything with confidence. Let’s put it this way. I do experiments with mouse tumor models, and if I put such a large mismatch in terms of the number of controls relative to the experimental group, I would be highly unlikely to get results I could have any confidence in.

On the other hand, maybe it’s a good thing that there weren’t more monkeys in the study, given the questionable ethics of subjecting monkeys to so many repeated procedures, not even counting the number of injections given to the monkeys as vaccines or placebos. Let’s take a look to see what I mean:

  • From Pediatric Vaccines Influence Primate Behavior, and Amygdala Growth and Opioid Ligand Binding: “Amygdala growth and binding were measured serially by MRI and by the binding of the non-selective opioid antagonist [11C]diprenorphine, measured by PET, respectively, before (T1) and after (T2) the administration of the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (MMR).” In other words, these monkeys were subjected to repeated MRI studies. That means they almost certainly had to be restrained and anesthetized each time.
  • From Microarray Analysis of GI Tissue in a Macaque Model of the Effects of Infant Vaccination: “Infant male macaques were vaccinated (or given saline placebo) using the human vaccination schedule. Dosages and times of administration were adjusted for differences between macaques and humans.  Biopsy tissue was collected from the animals at three time points: (1) 10 weeks [pre-MMR1], (2) 14 weeks [post-MMR1] and, (3) 12-15 months [at necropsy].  Whole genome microarray analysis was performed on RNA extracted from the GI tissue from 7 vaccinated and 2 unvaccinated animals at each of these 3 time points (27 samples total).” So these same monkeys were also subjected to at least two colonoscopies. At least, I assume it was colonoscopies; they don’t say.

That’s a lot of procedures and injections for these poor infant monkeys to undergo for what appears to be a poorly-designed experiment. Where on earth was the University of Pittsburgh’s IACUC? Of course, antivaccinationists dismiss concerns about the treatment of the animals in this study thusly, as a commenter on AoA says in response to complaints about just such issues:

The compassion for the monkeys expressed here is pure irony. An entire generation of baby humans has already been abused by the mandatory but un-tested vaccine schedule. Nearly 20 years later, the full schedule is finally being tested animals?!? The irony, the absurdity, the horror of it all…

I love Animallover’s idea about getting PETA involved. Let them raise hell and generate public outrage for these poor monkeys. Only morally corrupt people like Offit would fail to appreciate the irony and ask, “yea, but what about the children?”

And:

Was this experiment cruel to these primates? Yes it was. But it was only as cruel as the larger version that has been forced upon their human cousins.

The present vaccination schedule is simply unsafe for any primate.

At least the second commenter admitted that this experiment was unnecessarily cruel. You know, if I had said something like this, I’d deserve having PETA demonize me in an ad campaign. No responsible researcher takes this sort of attitude towards animals. I realize that these commenters are almost certainly not researchers, but they are dumb. These same two clowns, I’m guessing, will probably be at Jenny’s rally in DC with sandwich boards bearing some slogan like “Vaccines are weapons of mass destruction” or variations thereof. Yes, we should all believe these dim bulbs when they piously assure us that they really, truly are “not antivaccine.”

Yeah, right.

But I digress; back to the studies. After all, you never know. They may actually be OK; we have to judge them on their methodology, data analysis and conclusions. True, this is hard to do from just abstracts (and not particularly informative or quantitative abstracts at that!), but fairness demands that we give the investigators the benefit of the doubt for the moment. Once again, perhaps the most critical variable that isn’t discussed is whether proper blinding was used. Someone named Kelli Ann Davis, who acts as though she has inside information, claims that it was. I have my doubts. Of course, proper blinding of investigators is particularly important for behavioral studies, but it’s also important for any sort of imaging study or examination of histopathology of biopsies. For behavioral studies, the investigators absolutely needed to be blinded to which monkeys had received placebo and which had received vaccine, both when administering the injections and especially when observing and measuring behavior. The radiologists who interpreted the MRI scans had to be blinded as to which scans came from which group, as did the pathologists who interpreted the biopsy results; otherwise subtle (and not-so-subtle) biases can affect the results. Moreover, it’s unclear whether a saline injection is an adequate placebo. Saline injections don’t hurt very much; some vaccines can. This alone could potentially account for differences in behavior. If the monkeys receiving vaccines hurt more, they might become more afraid and withdrawn.

Here’s another question: How long is the life expectancy and time to maturity of these monkeys? In other words, were the investigators scaling down the time between injections proportionally to the difference in time to maturity between humans and these monkeys? That could end up being a lot of shots in a short period of time. So I looked it up. Rhesus Macaque monkeys live around 25 years and males reach sexual maturity by around four years of age, approximately 1/4 of the time it takes humans males to reach sexual maturity. That means, if I interpret correctly the methodology claiming to “adjust for age” that these monkeys could have received a lot of shots in a really short period of time.

Another issue is that it is not clear how many different behaviors were examined in total. It’s possible that the investigators looked at a much wider variety of behaviors and then “cherry-picked” the ones that were positive, especially since many of the behaviors reported as being different between the vaccinated and unvaccinated monkeys are not particularly “autistic”-seeming. In any case, given the extremely small sample size, it is not at all surprising that there were some positive findings just by chance alone. Indeed, just for yucks, to look at a simplistic “yes-no” question of whether a monkey exhibited a particular trait or not, I ran a Fisher’s Exact Probability test for a control group of 3 in which zero exhibit the trait and the experimental group of 13, modeling varying numbers of monkeys exhibiting the trait. To achieve statistical significance at the p=0.05 level, 10/13 of the vaccinated monkeys, or 77%, would have to exhibit a given trait if it assumed that zero out of the three controls exhibit that trait. That’s a huge number, and that’s for a trait that is a noncontinuous variable with two possible values; i.e., a “yes-no” question, as in “yes, the monkey exhibits that behavior” or “no, the monkey does not exhibit that behavior.” If we start looking at traits that rely on measurements of a behavior over time, in other words a continuous variable, then a control group of three is totally inadequate; even a relatively small variance would make it virtually impossible to achieve statistical significance.

Finally, let’s look at the microarray. Sending this particular abstract to me was a big mistake, as I’ve actually done gene expression profiling before using microarrays and am experienced with PCR and quantitative real time PCR. I can’t say I’m an expert at cDNA microarrays, but I’ve picked up a few principles. Let’s look at what the investigators say in the last abstract:

Whole genome microarray analysis was performed on RNA extracted from the GI tissue from 7 vaccinated and 2 unvaccinated animals at each of these 3 time points (27 samples total).

Results: Histopathological examination revealed that vaccinated animals exhibited progressively severe chronic active inflammation, whereas unexposed animals did not. Gene expression comparisons between the groups (vaccinated versus unvaccinated) revealed only 120 genes differentially expressed (fc >1.5; log ratio p<0.001) at 10 weeks, whereas there were 450 genes differentially expressed at 14 weeks, and 324 differentially expressed genes between the 2 groups at necropsy.

One thing that leaps right out at me is the question of why on earth specimens from only slightly more than half of the vaccinated monkeys and only two out of the three unvaccinated monkeys were evaluated. What happened to the other specimens? No explanation is given for why specimens from all the monkeys weren’t studied. This alone makes me highly suspicious of the all the results.

The second thing that leaps right out is the cutoff they were using. They appear to have used a cutoff for “differential expression” of a 1.5 times increase or decrease in the level of a given gene’s transcript. In other words, a gene qualifies as being “differentially expressed” if its messenger RNA (mRNA) level in the vaccinated group is 1.5 times control or 1/1.5, or 0.67 times its level in the unvaccinated group. If I’m interpreting correctly how they did this, that’s a very loose standard for deciding on whether a gene is differentially expressed in the vaccinated group or not, especially in a first pass experiment with low numbers like this one. (Let’s put it this way: In one of the microarray experiments I did, all the genes of interest that I looked at had ratios of over 6, and one had a ratio of over 200, which, not surprisingly, really got our attention.) Although sometimes we will accept 1.5-fold differences, in general in doing a microarray experiment, on the first try we ignore any gene with less than a two-fold change, and we prefer to see three-fold or greater changes in expression levels of the messenger RNA. This is especially true when one uses a log ratio to calculate each gene expression level, given that the log ratio is prone to large changes due to error at low expression levels. This would be particularly true in a dataset that includes only two control samples, which is the absolute minimum number that statistics can be done on and totally inadequate for an experiment like this. The selection of this liberal cutoff strongly suggests to me that the investigators were trying to pad the number of differentially expressed genes. Even if they were referring to a true log ratio of 1.5 (i.e., a 21.5-fold change, or 2.8-fold change, which they may very well have been doing), this would still be fairly liberal for an experiment with only two samples in the control group. Remember, cDNA microarray expression profiling looks at thousands of genes at the same time; without truly rigorous statistics, there will be dozens, if not hundreds of false positives. That’s one reason why In microarray experiments it is absolutely critical to verify any “positive” findings for genes that are up- or downregulated by doing:

  • Reverse transcriptase quantitative real time PCR
  • Western blot or immunoprecipitation to verify that the difference observed in the mRNA level is also seen at the protein level (assuming, of course, a suitable antibody is available)

Did the authors validate any of the genes they found with differential expression levels using these techniques? I see no mention that they did. If they didn’t, their results mean very little, except perhaps for genes with differential expression with a ratio of greater than 10 (a very small number, I’d bet). Once again, cDNA microarray experiments are tricky and often prone to producing false positives in terms of finding genes that are differentially expressed between a control and a test group. Any findings must–and I can’t repeat this enough–must be validated, or at the very least a subset of the genes must be validated by other techniques, particularly when sample sizes are so small. Overall, the abstract suggests to me that the investigators are probably newbies doing expression profiling work or at least in reporting it. One thing that reinforces that impression in my mind is that they only report in the abstract raw numbers of transcripts that were up- or downregulated; usually investigators report a few of the specific genes that were differentially regulated and the ratio by which they were different. All they say is that they are genes consistent with “inflammation,” but that could mean a lot of things, and we don’t diagnose inflammation through the use of cDNA microarrays. Also, in a time course experiment like this, it would be of great interest to know if it was the same genes that were elevated, whether they were continuing to increase or whether they peaked and came back down. No mention is made of this. Raw numbers of genes going up or down mean little. The identities of the genes, how much they go up and down, and the pattern are what matter. That’s why there is software to look at expression profiling data and identify whether changes observed are consistent with the activation of various signaling pathways or intracellular programs. I speculate that the investigators probably just gave their samples to a cDNA microarray service at one of the investigators’ institutions without much consultation with anyone about how such experiments should be designed and carried out, and the service dutifully ran the samples.

Finally (and I saved this for last because I wanted to address what little substance thre was in these three abstracts first), who did this experiment? One name leaps stands out: Andrew Wakefield. Yes, it’s the same Andrew Wakefield whose incompetent science (particularly in the area of dealing with RNA and doing PCR!) done with huge conflicts of interest led to a scare that caused MMR vaccination rates to plummet in the U.K. ten years ago. Kev informs us a bit about some of the other authors:

The primary author seems to be Laura Hewiston of Pittsburgh University. She is registered on that page as a DAN! Doctor. She (I think its the same person) also appears here (see 953) and here.

Also listed as an author according to AoA is one AJ Wakefield. Enough said about that!

Lastly, is Steve Walker who did a poster presentation at an IMFAR in the past (can’t recall which one) which also appeared to offer support for the MMR hypothesis. Oddly, that poster presentation never made it into any kind of peer reviewed journal.

Oddly enough, Dr. Hewiston appears to have a background in primate research and has presented multiple times at the meeting of the American Society of Primatologists, an observation that makes me wonder how she got roped into these studies. Apparently she has an autistic son, and that may be coloring her decisions. Unfortunately, Dr. Hewitson wouldn’t be the first researcher whose personal brush with autism led her down the path of questionable science; I hope she doesn’t descent too far into antivaccination-related research to get out before doing permanent damage to her career.

Judging from the abstracts so helpfully provided by AoA, I am completely underwhelmed. This appears to be nothing more than Hornig v.2.0, except this time with monkeys. I suppose it’s possible, albeit unlikely, that the science in the actual study is better than what is represented in the abstracts. For that, we will have to wait for the actual papers to be published–if they ever are published, which is by no means certain, given what I can glean of the quality (or, more correctly, the lack thereof) of the science presented in these abstracts. (If anyone is actually attending IMFAR now and saw the posters, I’d love to hear your account of what was actually reported.) Of course, if all else fails, and Hewitt and Wakefield can’t get this published in a real journal, even a low impact, bottom-feeding journal, there’s always the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. I’m sure the editors there would eat it up and publish all three abstracts as full papers in a very special “monkeys and autism” edition of their revered journal.

Finally, the question comes up: Why now? Why are these abstracts being touted now by antivaccinationists? In other words: Cui bono? I think the answer is probably two-fold. First, the. the Autism Omnibus is cranking back into high gear again. The plaintiffs have been having their backsides handed to them lately and probably need more “ammunition,” however poor quality it is. Second, Jenny McCarthy’s little shindig with Generation Rescue and antivaccinationists everywhere in Washington, DC is coming up in less than three weeks. True, abstracts had to be submitted to IMFAR months ago, but Jenny had been talking about a protest at the CDC late last year. In any case, even if the original intent wasn’t to boost the efforts to blame “toxins” in vaccines for all sorts of evils, the way these abstracts are being distributed now, even to those of us most likely to be skeptical about it, suggests, besides an “in your face,” “see, I told you so” gloating attitude that really isn’t warranted, plans for a publicity campaign based on these “studies.” Look for them to be featured prominently on signs and in speeches and literature at Jenny’s little convention of know-nothings on June 4. Also look for a new post touting this study at that repository of everything antivaccine, The Huffington Post, by that useful idiot for the mercury militia David Kirby. Any bets that it’ll appear there on Monday?

You’re smart not to take that bet.

Oh, and before I forget, J.B: Right back at ya! I hope this little exercise shows you the truth of this song, adapted for my own nefarious purposes:

You don’t tug on Superman’s cape
You don’t spit into the wind
You don’t pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger
And you don’t mess around with Orac

At least, it’s not wise to mess with Orac when it comes to shoving in my face dubious scientific studies that haven’t even been published in a decent peer-reviewed journal as though they were some great refutation of everything I’ve written about vaccine pseudoscience, that is.

ADDENDUM: It appears that perhaps I was too easy on Dr. Hewitson. I really, truly wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt. However, it turns out that she appears to have a very serious and seemingly undisclosed conflict of interest, as a commenter has informed me. Not only is she married to Dan Hollenbeck, a regular contributor to the Age of Autism website, but she and her husband are listed as litigants in the Autism Omnibus proceedings. She did not, as far as I can tell, disclose that conflict of interest. At least, it is not appended to the abstract. See #437:

437. Laura Hewiston and Dan Hollenbeck on behalf of Joshua Hollenbeck, Dallas, Texas, Court of Federal Claims Number 03-1166V

Here’s what INSAR says about presenters at IMFAR and conflicts of interest:

INSAR requires authors to disclose their sources of contributed support (commercial, public, or private foundation grants, and off-label use of drugs, if any). INSAR also requires authors to signify whether there may be a real or perceived conflict of interest. Any potential for financial gain that may be derived from reported work may constitute a potential conflict of interest.

“Any” potential financial gain, and “…real or perceived conflict of interest”! The authors should have listed some. There are several. Dr. Hewitson has a child in the Omnibus, and Dr. Wakefield, a hearing about his medical license in process where the charges are based on his unethical behavior in doing the MMR study in 1998. These studies, if decent, are almost certainly going to be cited as exculpatory evidence that his research was correct after all. That’s on top of his medical practice at Thoughtful House, where his treatments of children are based on the idea that vaccines somehow cause autism and that the MMR vaccine causes “autistic enterocolitis.” Neither of these conflicts of interest are listed on the AoA posting of the abstracts, which means either that AoA left them out or neither Dr. Hewitson nor Dr. Wakefield reported them to INSAR when submitting or finalizing the abstract.

Funny, I wonder if J.B. knew that when he sent me this. In fact, this might not have come out so quickly were it not for J.B. e-mailing me and annoying me enough to write about these studies. Good going, J.B.! Keep it up!

ADDENDUM #2: Kev spells Dr. Hewitson’s conflicts of interest out in detail. It’s more than just being a litigant in the Autism Omnibus:

So, here we are with three poster presentations from a woman who has an autistic son, affiliated with DAN!, is married to the Thoughtful House IT guy (who also happens to be on the Board of Directors of SafeMinds) and these afore-mentioned poster presentations are also co-authored by Andrew Wakefield.

I wonder just how impartial this science can be?

Not very, I’m guessing.

Comments

  1. #1 Joseph
    May 17, 2008

    Somehow I don’t think this one is going to make it to the Lancet this time around.

    Another issue is that it is not clear how many different behaviors were examined in total.

    That’s a key challenge, I believe. It seems rather unlikely that the 3 behaviors listed are the only ones the researchers were interested in evaluating. Color discrimination? Come on. It will be pretty funny if it turns out that, say, 60 behavior were checked.

    Plus, why not N=8 vs. N=8? That would’ve made the results statistically more credible, wouldn’t it?

  2. #2 Orac
    May 17, 2008

    Indeed, and it would have used the same number of monkeys…

  3. #3 Matt
    May 17, 2008

    One comment on “why now”. INSAR embargoes information in abstracts:

    “Information submitted to IMFAR as an abstract for oral or poster presentation is embargoed until after the time of presentation. ”

    Is there any reason why, as long as they were doing colonoscopies, they didn’t check for measles RNA? Given Dr. Wakefield’s past, one would think that would be at the top of their list.

    Also, when it comes to which monkeys had these (non-autistic) behavior changes, did they control for which monkeys had the colonoscopies?

    Unfortunately, some researchers’ time and tax dollars will be spent to De-Hornig this one, I bet.

    Speaking of which–either they have a lot of data that’s not in the abstract, or they are completely wasting the time of the secretary of HHS. If the latter, that’s just what the autism community needs–high profile people thinking we are cranks.

  4. #4 kristina
    May 17, 2008

    With that last paragraph (and the ending jingle), all I can say is, Jonathan Swift rides again…..hell hath no fury like an antivaccinationist scorn’d.

  5. #5 Bartholomew Cubbins
    May 17, 2008

    Why even bother doing microarrays on such a limited sample set? There’s no way the data (holding my nose when calling it that) could never pass Bonferroni multiple testing correction.

    So that’s the reason why no validation was discussed – the people who did this know better than to ask if any of it is actually real.

    Does that make them dishonest?

    /I’ll take Other Obvious Questions for 300, Alex.

  6. #6 Eta C
    May 17, 2008

    Orac speaks of poster sessions being the bottom feeders of publication. A similar effect occurs in physics. Every meeting of the American Physical Society includes what most of us refer to as the “Crackpot Session.” This is where all of the abstracts that are so far out as to be (in Wolfgang Pauli’s words) “Not Even Wrong” get stashed. A dead giveaway to a physics crackpot is when all of their references are published in the “Bulletin of the American Physical Society.” All this Bulletin contains are the accumulated abstracts submiteed for each meeting. There is no peer review of these abstracts, so it’s easy to get published. Most of the time the authors in the crackpot session never bother to show up to give the 10 minute talk they’re entitled to. The BAPS, sadly, just gives them a cheap outlet that sounds authoritative to the uninformed. I’ve often said to folks who cited BAPS “Let me know when it gets into Physical Review”, the APS’ refereed journal. Then I’ll listen.

  7. #7 Give Orac a Banana
    May 17, 2008

    It was pretty much common knowledge that twits like you would feel pity for the poor monkeys despite the fact that our children have been treated as badly (if not worse) by the medical establishment. One of those vaccine damaged monkeys could do a better job at understanding the dangers of vaccines than you, Orac. Let’s not forget that you are stupid enough to believe that the Danish autism studies are worthy of more than wiping the floor of monkey cages.

    Monkeys 2008

  8. #8 Mary
    May 17, 2008

    The actual quality and status of research ‘findings’ matter to people who understand the field or have an interest in it. Oddly enough, for some people, it is enough for the research to exist because it allows them to report it as if it is high quality. Look at the recent performance by Jayney Goddard in a discussion with Simon Singh. She claimed that a paper had appeared in Immunology when it had actually been published in a sort of membership magazine called Homeopathy: she mis-reported the results in such as way as to make homeopathy seem tremendously successful.

    Goddard similarly mis-reported the results of another study on homeopathic remedies for diarrhoea in children and used it to plead for the use of such safe remedies in disaster areas like Myanmar.

    Programme viewers will have gone away with a series of ‘truths’ that it wouldn’t occur to them to verify (why would it?). Once these abstracts start getting out – it’s enough that they exist, not that they say anything meaningful. I’m expecting to hear more about this in the UK in conjunction with the GMC hearings.

  9. #9 Matt
    May 17, 2008

    By the way,

    being called ‘a jackass’ by Mr. Handley–does that rise to ‘provocation’? Somehow, I doubt it.

    But, it does demonstrate the caliber of that would-be leader of the autism community.

  10. #10 DrugMonkey
    May 17, 2008

    have you covered the paper?

    Martin LA, Ashwood P, Braunschweig D, Cabanlit M, Van de Water J, Amaral DG.
    Stereotypies and hyperactivity in rhesus monkeys exposed to IgG from mothers of children with autism.
    Brain Behav Immun. 2008 Feb 7.

  11. #11 Do'C
    May 17, 2008

    Dan O writes:

    “Poster presentations must go through a form of peer review before they are presented at the conference; the papers have not yet appeared in a scientific journal.”

    Inventive “form of peer review” on Dan’s part.

    Abstract submittal instructions include the following:

    “NOTE: ABSTRACTS WILL BE PRINTED EXACTLY AS THEY ARE SUBMITTED.”

    Source

    I found the actual “review” statement by INSAR:

    “Data presented at the annual International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR) is the sole responsibility of the authors. The sponsor of the annual Meeting, the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR), takes no responsibility for its accuracy. Submitted IMFAR abstracts are reviewed only to ensure that the authors will be presenting empirical data and that aims and conduct of the study, as far as can be ascertained, are consistent with international ethical guidelines for scientific research (Declaration of Helsinki). Acceptance of an abstract for presentation at the Meeting does not represent an endorsement by the Society of the quality or accuracy of the data and their interpretation, which judgment must await publication in a peer review journal. Consumers should recognize that study data presented at meetings is often preliminary and in some cases speculative, and that findings and conclusions have not undergone the rigors of a true peer review process.”

    And this:

    “Along with these changes in meeting structure, you will notice the dramatic expansion of the Program Book to include the title and location of every one of the greater than 800 submitted abstracts, and the creation of a separate Abstract Book.

    Emphasis mine.

    Source

    So apparently a “form of peer review” to Dan O:

    a. seeks to ensure that an experiment was done, ethically (as far as can be ascertained).
    b. is not peer reviewed at all

  12. #12 daedalus2u
    May 17, 2008

    If Wakefield is one of the authors it can’t be trusted. He committed scientific fraud in the past that he has not acknowledged and retracted. Scientific fraud that has caused illness and death. Why should anyone believe him now?

    In one of the earlier omnibus trials, there was testimony that the cytology results of biopsies taken by Wakefield from child guts looked very suspicious, as if biopsies were deliberately taken from regions of the gut known to be enriched or depleted in different kinds of immune cells. (see Hazlehurst day04 MacDonald direct page 653 ftp://autism.uscfc.uscourts.gov/autism/hazlehurst/transcripts/DAY04.pdf).

    The testimony was about this paper.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15031638

    Ashwood and Wakefield published on the same experimental cohort later:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16494951

    MacDonald makes that statement that:

    “Everything that Wakefield has done is actually considered to be — unreliable is the best way to say it.”

    When asked “Has Dr. Wakefield’s data ever been confirmed”

    MacDonald replies “No. In fact it is quite the reverse. Everything that Dr. Wakefield has done has always been not confirmed wherever it is possible to do so.”

    If the biopsies were taken non-blinded, then it would be trivial to skew the results by deliberately taking different specimens, lymph nodes to “show” inflammation” and mucosa to “show” non-inflammation.

    Wakefield did this in the past. Why would anyone think he didn’t do it again?

  13. #13 Mary
    May 17, 2008

    I’ve never worked with animals in a research setting nor performed behavioural analyses so I’m hoping that somebody here will be able to answer what is probably an embarrassingly ‘duh’ couple of questions.

    I’ve just watched a programme that had a segment in it about macaques and their social groups and interaction according to their places in the social network. Now, I have to assume that the vaccinated monkeys and the unvaccinated ones were kept separate from each other because don’t some of the researchers fret about the possibility of shedding viruses after vaccination with live stuff such as MMR?

    If they were separate, was there a social group of 7 versus a group of 3 and wouldn’t that alter some of the behavioural analyses?

    Or, would the animals be placed in a social group with some older monkeys who have an established social network – but would that run the risk of uneven exposures to various bacteria etc. from them?

    Sorry if these are dreadfully ‘duh’.

  14. #14 Ahistoricality
    May 17, 2008

    The question of time-scaling, i.e. the schedule of injections, is rather disturbing. I know people who used to do primate research, and the potential for this procedure to constitute abuse seems very high. The reference in the paper to “necropsy” suggests that some or all of the animals were killed at the end of this research, and I don’t believe that’s considered a valid or ethical practice except in very rare cases.

  15. #15 Catherina
    May 17, 2008

    Mary, your questions are spot on!

  16. #16 Mariah
    May 17, 2008

    Thanks for doing this, Orac. I know it is tedious, but I also know that I can come here for a complete takedown of the latest malarkey that I can use for ammunition on other sites.

    It is a public service.

  17. #17 A. Schaefer
    May 17, 2008

    offtopic:

    if you are ever running out of woo here is a nice page http://esowatch.com/index.php?title=Hauptseite
    wiki of the irrational belief-systems and their protagonists .

    In German unfortunately , but I bet keywords or names taken to google will turn up English language pages.
    Sadly there are such things as ‘Germanic New Medicine’ which combine two of your interests. ( see also ‘braun’[ as in brown shirts] esoterics http://esowatch.com/index.php?title=Braune_Esoterik )

  18. #18 Albert
    May 17, 2008

    No surprise that the abstract was posted by Age of Autism. The investigator, Hewitson, is married to Dan Hollenbeck, who writes for Age of Autism.

  19. #19 Albert
    May 17, 2008

    No surprise that the abstract was posted by Age of Autism. The investigator, Hewitson, is married to Dan Hollenbeck, who writes for Age of Autism about the conspiracy of the CDC to hide the autism epidemic.

  20. #20 brstpathdoc
    May 17, 2008

    This is poetry. JBH must be feeling the effects of a thousand cuts. Maybe a bleeding time is in order.

    And let me end my quoting Neville Chamberlain….nah, I won’t go there.

  21. #21 Ms. Clark
    May 17, 2008

    “despite the fact that our children have been treated as badly (if not worse) … ”

    Yeah, autistic children have been treated worse than these monkeys were treated (if you don’t count the fact that the research “establishment” allowed the monkeys to be killed). Autistic children are treated worse than these monkeys were treated every day by “biomuddled” parents who force them to swallow loads of pills (for some autistic children who have a sensitive gag reflex this is very difficult and stressful), or deal with having the pills or liquids put in their juice or other drink (the pills are usually bitter and horrible tasting), or applied in a suppository (that’s got to be humiliating for some of the kids, and even painful in the case of EDTA suppositories), or they have stuff rubbed on their skin (probably not so traumatic unless it stinks, like DMPS). Then they are not allowed to eat many common foods, some kids apparently don’t mind never eating wheat or dairy foods ever, but for some it’s very difficult. It puts a lot of stress and expense on some families, too.

    Then there are the vitamin injections and bizzarely off-label prescription drugs with scary side effects that can make the child uncomfortable, sick, or dead, even,

    Then there’s the problem of them encouraging their younger children to go unvaccinated, leaving them open to injury and death from viruses and bacteria that operate without a conscience… not unlike JB Handley, come to think of it.

  22. #22 NJ
    May 17, 2008

    Interesting that posters at biomed and physics conferences are considered lower-class publications. In all of the geology conferences I’ve been to (or are familiar with), they are at the same level as oral presentations, with the same level of review.

    Some authors prefer them as they allow for more interaction with people than a 10 minute talk.

  23. #23 Mariah
    May 17, 2008

    Interesting that posters at biomed and physics conferences are considered lower-class publications. In all of the geology conferences I’ve been to (or are familiar with), they are at the same level as oral presentations, with the same level of review.

    Some authors prefer them as they allow for more interaction with people than a 10 minute talk.

    Posted by: NJ

    Yeah, this is definitely true in my experience in biomedical research. There can be excellent posters with good quality information, for sure. But sometimes they are very light, or even just dreadful. Sometimes they are just not even shown–but at some institutions you can only get the money to go to a conference if you have a poster or talk submitted.

  24. #24 kristina
    May 17, 2008

    Completely OT, but there’s no poster presentations at the academic conferences on literature (the Modern Language Association) and Classics (the American Philological Association) and others that I go to. Maybe a picture is worth a thousand words, but we language and literary types like to make sure we get in every word we possibly can.

  25. #25 God bless the monkeys
    May 17, 2008

    Diva,

    The issue is with the experimentation of babies via vaccinations. Yet, Orac cries about the monkeys… He should give baby humans as much respect. Period.

    I feel for the monkeys however I am much more concerned about the human babies who have been sacrificed.

    Thank you monkeys for giving up your health and possibly your lives for the good of the baby humans. Bless you.

    Monkeys 2008

  26. #26 HCN
    May 17, 2008

    Common Sue said “The issue is with the experimentation of babies via vaccinations.”

    And yet you seem okay with going back to the days when babies and toddlers were regularly disabled and killed with Hib, pertussis, diphtheria, measles and mumps.

    Still, to warm the cockles of of your hard heart, about a dozen babies die each year from pertussis, and look… in Arizona the latest kid to get measles is an infant:
    http://www.tucsoncitizen.com/daily/local/85580.php

    Usually, in the USA the MMR vaccine is given after age one… but now that through the efforts of NVIC, SafeMinds, and Generation Rescue the herd immunity has eroded enough to warrant vaccination of older babies.

    Great going! How many other kids will BLaxill, Redwood, Fisher, Handley and their ilk cause to become disabled and even possibly buried in the next year?

  27. #27 Ms. Clark
    May 17, 2008

    The antivax commmetner at AoA have a combine IQ of about 43:

    I’m genuinely surprised that the idiocracy that is Orac and his mindless vaccine thugs haven’t perused this information so that they could try to pick it apart and discredit it. Mayhap it boggles their limited intellects and they are genuinely speechless. Thank God for small favors. For-Profit Offit, I think, is updating his passport and looking for a country where extradition to the US isn’t enforced. Well, we can pray for that, anyway, can’t we?

    BTW, while Gerberding carries a special space in the blackest and coldest depths of my heart as someone who should be despised, For-Profit Offit has recently been upgraded in my mind as someone the Human Race would be better off without. Let us all pray that the scumbag goes to jail for the rest of his natural life.

    I think the end is in sight everyone…I hope it is, anyway. Let’s all hope and pray that the powers that be quit focusing on ways to discredit us and start helping our children.

    Posted by: Craig Willoughby | 05/16/2008 at 09:18 PM

    Have tipped L.A. Times off to these articles.

    Posted by: Garbo | 05/16/2008 at 08:31 PM

    Another bittersweet nail in the coffin. Thanks Dan for posting this.

    Let’s see if “the media” does anything–

    Posted by: Teresa Conrick | 05/16/2008 at 07:56 PM

  28. #28 Kelli Ann Davis
    May 17, 2008

    “Speaking of which–either they have a lot of data that’s not in the abstract, or they are completely wasting the time of the secretary of HHS. If the latter, that’s just what the autism community needs–high profile people thinking we are cranks.”

    Matt,

    First, we didn’t meet with the Secretary of HHS….we met with his Science Advisor.

    Second, I can assure you he doesn’t think of us as *cranks* – if that were the case, he would not have continued to meet with us for the past 3 years and he certainly would not have convened an IOM Environmental Workshop on Autism last year as a direct result of those meeting, now would he?

    Third, you’re right. There’s a lot more data that’s not in the abstract.

    As such, common sense would dictate that an “in-depth” analysis of the study is premature at this point.

    You might want to pass that on to your buddy Orac.

    Kelli Ann Davis

  29. #29 Orac
    May 17, 2008

    Third, you’re right. There’s a lot more data that’s not in the abstract.

    As such, common sense would dictate that an “in-depth” analysis of the study is premature at this point.

    Oh, please.

    Of course, I notice that you didn’t refute any of my “in depth” analysis. I’m guessing that you can’t.

    The reason, of course, is that the biggest flaw in these “studies” is not something that more data will fix–at least if that data came from this same deeply flawed experimental design, with its hugely unequal distribution of subjects between the control group and the experimental group. That glaring defect alone is enough to make these studies highly suspect no matter how many measurements and how much more data can be reported, as there aren’t enough subjects in the control group to make any sort of statistically significant findings that would be in the least bit convincing. They can have all the data in the world on these 16 monkeys, but it’s unlikely to mean a thing because the design of the experiment almost certainly doesn’t have the statistical power to conclude anything.

    By the way, I’m aware that Dr. Hewiston is having trouble getting these studies published anywhere/ It doesn’t surprise me in the least. I’ve been made aware of conversations on certain discussion groups in which dark conspiracies or ideological blindness of the reviewers are postulated. My favorite is the claim that vaccine manufacturers are somehow “pressuring” journals not to accept these manuscripts.

    My guess is that, even with all the data there, the real reason the investigators are having so much trouble getting this work published in a halfway decent journal is because it’s just plain lousy science. The abstracts are enough to strongly suggest that this is the case. Also, having the scientific fraud Andrew Wakefield on the list of authors doesn’t help, either. Given his history of gross scientific incompetence, being in the pocket of trial lawyers who sue vaccine manufacturers, his massive conflicts of interest at the time of his MMR study due to his competing vaccine patent, and his general lack of any detectable medical ethics, if I were a peer reviewer it would take unbelievably sterling science to persuade me not to reject a manuscript with his name on it out of hand. Personally, I’d recommend to Dr. Hewiston that she think very carefully about her continued association with Wakefield. By trying to publish with him, she’s likely committing slow academic and professional suicide. If she doesn’t change course soon, she’ll end up doing pseudoscience in the basement of her house, just as the Geiers do. I’d hate to see that happen, as it looks as though she may at one time have been a decent investigator.

  30. #30 oystercatcher
    May 17, 2008

    In the early 80’s, I worked for a facility with several autistic children. It was a disheartening realization that little could be done to improve the situation of those whoe were afflicted. Regarding the other residents, there was a generalized program of providing medication for any type of behavior that was deemed disruptive.
    One thing I never see discussed regarding vaccines, is that it is inherently disruptive to ecological balance. Natural selection and biological population control wasn’t able to deal with science, medicine, and human overreaction to anomalies. But the reality of the mathematical models of exponential growth and crash are not easily dismissed.

  31. #31 Kelli Ann Davis
    May 17, 2008

    “My guess is…”

    Again, why don’t you leave the “guess work” alone until after you’re able to view the studies in detail?

    That way, you can base your opinions on *facts* rather than pie-in-the-sky-this-is-what-I-think-it-means-even-though-I-don’t-have-all-the-facts-mumble jumble?

    Seems like basic common sense to me.

    Kelli Ann Davis

  32. #32 Mariah
    May 17, 2008

    @Kelli Ann Davis:

    We’d much prefer to have the full data set and methods from a peer-reviewed journal, if you can point us to that. If the data is out at a meeting it must be close to publication, yes?

  33. #33 Fixed it for you
    May 17, 2008

    As such, common sense would dictate that an whoring this piece of crap poster to media outlets and pawning it off as being significant or even just science is “premature” at this point.

    You might want to pass that on to the antivax trash Handley and Kelley Davis.

  34. #34 oystercatcher
    May 17, 2008

    Sorry for the multiple posts, I kept getting an error while trying to post but it seems that the post is passed through as fine anyway.
    My apologies.

  35. #35 Joseph
    May 17, 2008

    The reason, of course, is that the biggest flaw in these “studies” is not something that more data will fix

    With Wakefield, you never know Orac. Maybe the final version of the paper will have N=8 in the exposed and N=8 in the unexposed group :)

  36. #36 Orac
    May 17, 2008

    As such, common sense would dictate that an whoring this piece of crap poster to media outlets and pawning it off as being significant or even just science is “premature” at this point.

    My thought exactly! Kelli Ann is causing me considerable amusement with her hypocrisy. After all, if it’s too soon for me to analyze this work, it’s definitely too soon for AoA to be trumpeting it to the world and for people like J.B. Handley to be e-mailing it out to his perceived foes. Will Kelli Ann condemn J.B. for sending me the story as if it were some sort of slam-dunk evidence? Will she condemn Olmsted for writing his credulous puff-piece about it?

    Yeah, right. The only reason she thinks it’s “premature” of me to be discussing the abstract is because I panned it. I have no doubt that if I had found the studies intriguing and said that they looked like good science, she’d be loving me to death. As I said, pure hypocrisy.

    In any case, Kelli Ann should remember: I didn’t seek this study out. J. B. Handley shoved it in my face while calling me a jackass and practically daring me to comment on it. Others have gotten a link to Olmsted’s article about this study e-mailed to them as if it were some sort of convincing repudiation of the science showing there to be no detectable link between vaccines and autism. I might never have become aware of it and very likely never would have blogged it were it not for the mercury militia’s fearless leader. So perhaps Kelli Ann ought to be aiming her sarcasm as J.B. After all, if it’s premature to be analyzing these abstracts, then, by her own standards, it’s premature to be publicizing it to argue the antivaccinationist case. It’s only fair. Kelli Ann should really be blaming J.B. for my ever having become aware of these abstracts in the first place.

  37. #37 Walleye
    May 17, 2008

    Small conflict of interest perhaps?

    437. Laura Hewiston and Dan Hollenbeck on behalf of Joshua Hollenbeck, Dallas, Texas, Court of Federal Claims Number 03-1166V

    Source

  38. #38 Kelli's sponsor
    May 18, 2008

    What? Dr. Hewiston and husband Hollenbeck are creating and disseminating “evidence” to be used in the AOP when they themselves have belly’d up to the federal trough? Unethical hardly begins to cover it. They tortured monkeys for this?

    Here’s our Kelli Ann.
    [IMG]http://img223.imageshack.us/img223/6758/kad1vj9.th.jpg[/IMG]
    Get well soon, Kelli Ann.

  39. #40 CanadianChick
    May 18, 2008

    jeez louise – I’m an ACCOUNTANT, for FSM’s sake, and I was able to spot several fatal flaws in this “research”. Is this what the anti-vaxers think is evidence of their deluded ideas??

  40. #41 DLC
    May 18, 2008

    Uh, right. Well, my education is more in the line of Engineering and Physics, and I can spot the holes in this thing. 16 test subjects and they assigned 81.25% of them to the test group and only 18.75% to the control ?
    Not only is it bad science, it absolutely reeks intellectual dishonesty.

  41. #42 TheOtherOne
    May 18, 2008

    It was pretty much common knowledge that twits like you would feel pity for the poor monkeys despite the fact that our children have been treated as badly (if not worse) by the medical establishment.

    So, your kids have been subjected to multiple MRIs (complete with anesthesia) in a short period of time, plus a couple of colonoscopies, for the purposes of a study so flawed (given the *tiny* control group) that it’s meaningless?

    Did this “study” account for the possibility of the repeated anesthesia causing some of these behaviors?

  42. #43 Ah, yes...
    May 18, 2008

    “So, your kids have been subjected to multiple MRIs (complete with anesthesia) in a short period of time, plus a couple of colonoscopies, for the purposes of a study so flawed (given the *tiny* control group) that it’s meaningless”?

    Well, my children have not had MRI’s… however, they have had to have colonscopies due to unsafe vaccination policies (well the two vaccinated kids did, largely non-vaccinated kid did not) … Never mind all the other crap that they had to deal with due to the insanity of the vaccination schedule. Again, thank you and God bless you monkeys for putting yourself through all this to help the human babies who have been injured.

    Monkeys 2008.

  43. #44 HCN twists words again
    May 18, 2008

    “And yet you seem okay with going back to the days when babies and toddlers were regularly disabled and killed with Hib, pertussis, diphtheria, measles and mumps”.

    Typical nonsense from you, HCN. First of all, have you noticed the recommended vaccination schedule as of late, HCN? Did you notice that it also suggests Hep B, chicken Pox, Hep A, Flu shots, Prevnar, etc… Perhaps you should work on weeding out the unnecessary vaccinations in order to make the case that some of these vaccinations are considered more “important” for the safety of the herd. It would go a long way in gaining SOME credibility back.

  44. #45 SC
    May 18, 2008

    Where on earth was the University of Pittsburgh’s IACUC?

    I’d like to know the answer to that. From Pitt’s web site on research ethics:

    http://www.pitt.edu/~provost/ethresearch.html#_Toc153961836

    It includes the IACUC’s phone number. Someone should call them and find out what went wrong here.

  45. #46 N.C.
    May 18, 2008

    What, you actually want your kids to be vulnerable to hep B?

    Just because there seems to be a lot of vaccinations doesn’t mean that some are unimportant. They’re all protection from crippling or lethal childhood diseases.

  46. #47 scicurious
    May 18, 2008

    Unfortunately, it is possible that the results of this “study” may end up in a respected peer-reviewed journal. Monkey studies in many fields are simply not subjected to the rigorous peer-review of studies using rodents, cells, or even humans. This is partially because monkeys are extraordinarily expensive, so ns tend to be low. Additionally, researchers often make efforts to use the same monkeys over for subsequent studies rather than sacrifice the animal at a young age. I have seen research in my department go in to perfectly good journals with n=3 in each group. And to those of us who work with rodents, monkey work often is unnecessarily cruel, but I’m fairly sure that study might have passed ACUC protocols in many institutions. Let’s just hope that its horrible design will still be enough to keep it out of the journals.

  47. #48 daedalus2u
    May 18, 2008

    Mary’s point on social isolation is very well taken. Monkeys that are socially isolated do develop behavioral symptoms that in humans would be diagnosed as autism, including anxiety, social isolation, rocking behaviors, self-clutching, self-injury, vulnerability to abuse by socialized monkeys (i.e. NT monkeys).

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/4955132

    If the vaccination status was not blinded, it would be trivial for those doing animal care to influence the development. Even if the monkeys were all housed together, removing some, subjecting them to painful shots (vaccines vs saline) and immediately reintroducing them could influence group dynamics.

  48. #49 joe
    May 18, 2008

    This down below was written in 1953 and they followed it to the letter. Just like a recipe, only they did not anticipate
    the coal fired plant emissions or the pregnant mom’s body burdon of mercury.

    And they knew of the following warnings from Dr.Engley and others when allowing this to happen to our children and still proceeded.

    From 1948 research paid for by a grant from
    American Medical Association

    It is clear from this research supported by a grant from the American
    Medical Association that Thimerosal is neither efficacious nor safe, and should be removed as a preservative in prescription biologics and
    pharmaceutical products, as well as from topical over-the-counter products
    such as Butt-Balm that have Thimerosal present in their formulations as an active ingredient.

    Also there was an interim plan in the 80’s to get rid of thimerosal this came out at Congressman Burtons hearing on thimerosal. Dr. Engley was reported as saying on an KOMU article that “if they had followed through on our 82 report the vaccines would have been freed of thimerosal and all this autism they tell me would not have occurred”
    SO THEY DESTROYED OUR CHILDREN FOR NO BENEFIT NOT TO MENTION BEING WARNED BY
    Dr. Engley and other Scientist with integrity, this is their findings of toxicity
    “We found thimerosal is toxic down to a level that is almost unbelievable. Down to 1.10, maybe 100 nanograms…a millionth of a gram and that is about as toxic as you can get,” he said.” But the FDA, and the CDC did not listen 200 PPB is liquid toxic waste the chidren from the 90’s some received 32,500 Parts Per Billion at one setting on one day. And you wonder what happened to the kids. When you read all of this you will understand,and I will even give you a hint the word stepford comes to mind.

    Orac this guy has more credentials and has accomplished more in his life time than all the hacks the CDC and pharma
    has bought and paid for put togather, but best of all he unlike them has integrity and apparently can’t be bought

    This is from his interveiw with KOMU who apparently also
    cannot be bought

    “Dr. Frank Engley is a retired chairman and professor of Microbiology at the University of Missouri. He served on various committees and panels and has consulted for the CDC, NASA, the FDA, and EPA. He did some of the first research on the toxicity of thimerosal.
    ** It should be noted that this article was published in the January
    1948 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association
    ## It should be noted that this article was published in 1950 in the
    Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences

    Five years after the warnings they devised this plan
    ” 1953 ”
    Russell being quoted as saying we would put mercury in vaccines, and other compounds to produce a partial lobotomized state this was done to controll the masses. my thought is they did not anticipate the mercury from other sources AKA as cole fired plants and mothers body burdon

    Russell
    who advocated the use of vaccines to induce partial chemical lobotomies and create a servile zombie population,
    “Diet, injections, and injunctions will combine, from a very early age, to produce the sort of character and the sort of beliefs that the authorities consider desirable, and any serious criticism of the powers that be will become psychologically impossible.” – Bertrand Russell, “The Impact of Science on Society”, 1953, pg 49-50

    1953. Bertrand Russell, The Impact of Science on Society: “…the subject which will be of most importance politically is Mass Psychology…. The populace will not be allowed to know how its convictions were generated. When the technique has been perfected, every government that has been in charge of education for a generation will be able to control its subjects securely without the need of armies or policemen. As yet there is only one country which has succeeded in creating this politician’s paradise.

  49. #50 DLC
    May 18, 2008

    Um… Wow. just . . . wow.
    I thought Phil Plait got it bad when he posted on the Anti-Vax
    people, but these guys take the cake.
    Bizarre quote-mixes pasted together as an argument ?
    I’m . . . flabbergasted.

  50. #51 SC
    May 18, 2008

    scicurious –

    Thanks. That’s interesting (and more than a little disturbing). My question: Do the boards approving animal research – especially on primates – take into account such factors as whether the premise/purpose of a study is supported by established science or whether it is designed solidly enough to have a likelihood of producing statistically significant results, or is it simply a question of meeting some general “cruelty standards”? Also, there at least appear to be some conflicts of interest involved here. Would those be factored in?

    The situation you describe with regard to monkey research – the great expense making it difficult to obtain enough quality test subjects to generate statistically-significant findings – seems to make the case for not doing monkey research at all. Given the apparent weaknesses of this particular study, the suffering and deaths of these monkeys appear entirely gratuitous.

  51. #52 SC
    May 18, 2008

    I probably should have said “statistically-significant and scientifically-meaningful” results. Shorter – Is the quality of the research design a factor in ethics-committee approval? (And do these committees include people in the relevant field(s) who are competent to evaluate this, and thus to judge the potential benefits from the research?)

  52. #53 Mariah
    May 18, 2008

    I went over to AoA to see how critically they look at science in general. So I searched for some discussion of the recent papers with the genetics links that are being reported (in high quality peer-reviewed publications).

    Oh. my. The pathology of their science denial is both wide and deep. Like religious fundamentalists, it is going to be impossible to reach them with any facts and reason.

    Wow. There’s no good outcome here. They will never be reached, and they are going to harm their kids and others. It is a tragedy.

  53. #54 Laura
    May 18, 2008

    good lord, I thought part of their raison d’etre was to root the conflicts (e.g. big pharma donations) out of the science. ha! I guess they decided transparency is over-rated.

  54. #55 joe
    May 18, 2008

    looks like most commenting here have a full lobotomie’s
    If the writtings of russell predicting how they would
    be no need for police or armies with large amounts of mercury in vaccines at an early age would produce the sort of character and the sort of beliefs that the authorities consider desirable, and any serious criticism of the powers that be will become psychologically impossible.” – Bertrand Russell, “The Impact of Science on Society”, 1953, pg 49-50
    You must be all be really Evil to not see this

  55. #56 HCN
    May 18, 2008

    Common Sue, you do know that the Generation Rescue revised schedule does not include protection from measles or mumps, right?

    You know, measles… that “mild” childhood disease that killed Roald Dahl’s oldest daughter within 24 hours of her first symptoms. Oh, and mumps… that other mild childhood disease that caused several people to become deaf and many young men to possibly become sterile in the American Midwest in 2006:
    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5520a4.htm

    Anyway, the whole thing with the monkeys is very bad science, and the fact the investigators have conflicting interests is also very very bad.

    Joe, could you try something a little less then half a century old? Perhaps some science from the 21st century. Or just show me what evidence in the last half century you have that shows the DTaP is more dangerous than pertussis, tetanus or diphtheria. Or that the MMR is more dangerous than measles, mumps or rubella. Show some actual papers from peer reviewed journals, not poster presentations nor ramblings from a philandering math/philosophy teacher.

  56. #57 Andrew
    May 18, 2008

    Joe,

    Thanks for the reference – I searched Russell’s book on Amazon and found the following “In the eighteenth century, people expected most of their children to die befor they were grown up. Improvement began in the 19th century (chiefly due to vaccination)”. There’s no reference to mercury at all. Congratulations, you’ve identified another one brilliant person who recognized that vaccines are life-savers. The quote you misattributed was really about injections of drugs (presumably mind-altering ones) – if he’d meant vaccines he would have said so (he knew the word, after all)

  57. #58 Ahistoricality
    May 18, 2008

    I went looking for the Russell quote in question (or here if you want the anti-Illuminati spin!) and Andrew is quite correct: Russell’s talking about the use of psychology, eugenics, pharmacology and propaganda as social control tools. It’s very Brave New World (which predates Russell’s quote by about 20 years) but I can’t really tell from the short excerpt here if Russell himself sees this as utopic, dystopic, or inevitable.

  58. #59 scicurious
    May 18, 2008

    SC: I probably should have said “statistically-significant and scientifically-meaningful” results. Shorter – Is the quality of the research design a factor in ethics-committee approval? (And do these committees include people in the relevant field(s) who are competent to evaluate this, and thus to judge the potential benefits from the research?)

    I can try and answer this as best I can, but I’m afraid that I don’t do monkey research myself, so I can only say what I know at present off the top of my head. Also, keep in mind that all I know is the perspective from the US, I know standards are very different in the UK (where the study was done). So if anyone else has better information or a better way of putting this…

    The ACUC (Animal Care and Use Committee) of each institution are made up of both vetrinary staff and researchers inside a given institution (outside researchers or vets may also be included). When you apply as a researcher for funding, you have to have an ACUC protocol approved before any funding can be considered for your research.

    The ACUC protocol includes how the animals will be housed and why, and whether stresses induced by the study will be compensated for. For example, in some studies that involve surgeries or invasive procedures, animals will pull out i.v.’s or stitches in other animals, and so the animals have to be housed separately. To help ameliorate the stresses of this, the animals will often be group housed until the day of surgery, and then placed in housing so they can see and communicate with other animals, even though they cannot touch them. The ACUC also requires all animals (when possible) to live in “enriched” invironments. This not only means food and water, but toys, treats, and social contact with investigators and other monkeys on a daily basis (with rodents it also includes running wheels).

    As for whether your research is based on background research and science, that’s not really the area of the ACUC, it’s the area of the group that you’ve applied to to give you funding. In the US, if you apply to the National Institute of Health, you are subjected to very rigorous peer review, and your grant itself is required to contain large amounts of preliminary data supporting the work you are proposing. That is in general the case with many institutions, but if they received their funding from a private institution, the grant reviews may well be subject to bias (think of someone applying for a grant from the Discovery Institute or something).

    Now, the ACUC people WILL look at your design as regards the care and the use of the animals. If you are obviously trying to use the animals in a way that is cruel, unnecessary, and unlikely to give you reasonable data, most ACUC people are going to recognize that and not pass your protocol. Judging from many of the monkey studies that I have read, multiple PET scans or MRIs are not considered cruel, and are considered as being far preferable to more invasive, stressful methods.

    So the ACUC may not do a lot about your experimental design (and its logic or lack thereof) unless it has an impact on the animals. That said, any respectable journal is going to look very carefully at where your funding comes from, and whether you have any conflicts of interest, as well as looking at things like unequal ns in the control and drug groups.

  59. #60 scicurious
    May 18, 2008

    Argh, sorry, the comments thingy is not happy with my computer. Does anyone know if I can delete the repeat?

    As to using monkeys in research, most people use them when no other animal or cell model will provide you with the information you need. For instance, in studies on the brain and advanced cognition, a rat is just not going to give you the kind of data a monkey will. Monkeys also live in far more complex social structures, and so are preferred for studies which have those kind of variables.

    However, monkey work is highly respected, because data from a mouse is still “just a mouse”. Many scientists prefer to see data in monkeys, especially in the biomedical sciences, because monkeys are closest to humans and can provide you with the most relevant data. So monkeys are often used in the stage before a clinical trial.

    I hope this helps! I hope some other people out there can give some good input as well.

  60. #61 SC
    May 18, 2008

    Wow! Thanks, scicurious! That was extremely informative. I thought the study was done at Pitt (at least that’s where the lead researcher is), in which case the US standards would apply. Thanks again.

  61. #62 Kelli Ann Davis
    May 18, 2008

    “My thought exactly! Kelli Ann is causing me considerable amusement with her hypocrisy. After all, if it’s too soon for me to analyze this work, it’s definitely too soon for AoA to be trumpeting it to the world and for people like J.B. Handley to be e-mailing it out to his perceived foes.”

    Orac:

    First, I suggest you go back and read Dan’s piece. You’ll notice most of it contains statements from the abstract.

    Second, did you ever consider that maybe JB and/or Dan might have information regarding this study that is not yet available to the public?

    If this is correct, than trying to make a comparison between their reporting/actions and your own is a false assumption and as such, there is no hypocrisy when I point out that maybe *you* should refrain from making an in-depth analysis until *you* have all the facts.

    Third, what JB chooses to do in terms of sending out e-mails has nothing to do with me. He is more than capable of making his own decisions and whether I agree with it or not does not diminish my respect for him as a parent, friend and a leader in our community.

    Kelli Ann Davis

  62. #63 Kelli Ann Davis
    May 18, 2008

    “My thought exactly! Kelli Ann is causing me considerable amusement with her hypocrisy. After all, if it’s too soon for me to analyze this work, it’s definitely too soon for AoA to be trumpeting it to the world and for people like J.B. Handley to be e-mailing it out to his perceived foes.”

    Orac:

    First, I suggest you go back and read Dan’s piece. You’ll notice most of it contains statements from the abstract.

    Second, did you ever consider that maybe JB and/or Dan might have information regarding this study that is not yet available to the public?

    If this is correct, than trying to make a comparison between their reporting/actions and your own is a false assumption and as such, there is no hypocrisy when I point out that maybe *you* should refrain from making an in-depth analysis until *you* have all the facts.

    Third, what JB chooses to do in terms of sending out e-mails has nothing to do with me. He is more than capable of making his own decision and whether I agree with it or not does not diminish my respect for him as a parent, friend and a leader in our community.

    Kelli Ann Davis

  63. #64 joe
    May 18, 2008

    Orac I think Dr. Engly knows science most likely better than you and all you need to do is go back to when they found their mess up someone from CDC saying this was not rocket science guys this was 9th grade math, how could this have happened. Evidently orac you can’t do 9th grade math neither. Seems to me toxic down to one one millionth of a gram by someone that is of this mans caliber is bad news except by the epidemiologist hired by the
    CDCcopharmaFDA company’s who made this mistake anyway. You can argue all
    you want, I will just point to the book and the plan they seem to have followed verbatim you cannot rewrite history,
    and that is the route they chose.

    I am not saying this was a plan by most DR.’s or scientist I am saying that certain
    very powerful people Duped the whole main stream medical
    community by using the shinning greatest achievement of the
    US. Which history will show if anything it turned out to be the worse disaster in history. And there will be trials, such as the German Holocaust. And murder of the Jews but it will be for the ones who justified their high crimes with protecting the vaccine program here is an example of their deceit. If you ever told the IOM looked at this
    and found no link. like Paul Harvey says now for the rest of the story.

    Down below is the very words from the minutes of the prestigious IOM liers club

    “We’ve got a dragon by the tail here,” states a committee member in the
    transcript. “At the end of the line, what we know is – and I agree –
    that
    the more negative that presentation [the report] is, the less likely
    people
    are to use vaccination, immunization, and we know what the results of
    that
    will be. We are kind of caught in a trap. How we work our way out of
    the
    trap, I think, is the charge.”
    Here is some more deceit this time by the CDC. When byronchild asked CDC spokesperson Curtis Allen for a copy of the
    contract that would detail the agreement between the IOM and the CDC,
    Allen
    stated that the contract would be available only in a heavily
    “redacted” or
    blacked-out format.
    The IOM stated “no comment” to byronchild about the leaked transcript
    or its
    use in the pending civil court case.

    Please point out the up to date science here. lying doe’s not qualify

    perhaps this statement by McCormick, is their kind of science

    Dr. McCormick, for example, in speaking of the CDC, noted that the
    agency
    “wants us to declare, well, these things are pretty safe on a
    population
    basis.” (See Exhibit 1 at page 33). later she stated what walt want’s walt generally gets

    Their time is coming, and the Evil tower is going to fall
    just like the walls of Jericho, and man is not going to do it the GOD of heaven is, avenging these children that were sacrificed.

    The light will shine and the cock roaches will run.

  64. #65 Ms. Clark
    May 18, 2008

    @ HCN in response to Common Sue: “Great going! How many other kids will BLaxill, Redwood, Fisher, Handley and their ilk cause to become disabled and even possibly buried in the next year?”

    Yeah, monkeys tortured and killed for no reason. There was never any reason to suspect that the vaccines would harm the monkeys because the vaccine schedule is not harming children. It is saving their lives and their health. In the psychotic reverso-world of the antivaxers they need to protect kids from vaccines that can save the kids’ lives. They watch as children are harmed because they haven’t been vaccinated and because their neighbors aren’t vaxed. Then they celebrate the torture and deaths of innocent macacques and pretend to feel bad about it.

    Where’s Kenneth Stoller’s animal rights extremism now????

    Paging Dr. Stoller? You gonna sue the Pittsburgh hospital for what was done to these monkeys? No? I guess if it makes you sad you’ll just hit the bottle of oxytocin now????

  65. #66 Kelli's sponsor
    May 18, 2008

    Kelli Ann, Did you miss the meeting where co-dependency was discussed? You don’t need to clean up JB Handley’s messes for him. JB can come and defend himself. Hugs to Jim Moody, ‘kay?

  66. #67 Alligator
    May 18, 2008

    Orac, thanks for yet another thorough, rational and scientifically supported post. I have to admit, though, it almost feels like thanking you for using full sentences — reasoned analysis should be the norm, not the exception. (That’s not a backhanded compliment, but merely a comment on the extremely low standards of other writers.)

    And could someone fill me in on what’s happening in DC on June 4th? Has any response or counter-protest been planned? I can’t allow any more credulous/lazy journalists to regurgitate the anti-vax propaganda campaign without putting up a fight.

  67. #68 joe
    May 18, 2008

    Russell had his own tragedies: his son John and his granddaughters Sarah and Lucy suffered from schizophrenia. Russell turned over the care of John to his mother Dora. Lucy killed herself five years after Russell’s death.

    Bertrand Russell, The Impact of Science on Society p50, 1953

    Orac this is your kind of scientist

    “Gradually, by selective breeding, the congenital differences between rulers
    and ruled will increase until they become almost different species. A revolt
    of the plebs would become as unthinkable as an organized insurrection of
    sheep against the practice of eating mutton.”
    *- Bertrand Russell, “The Impact of Science on Society”, 1953, pg 49-50*

    “In like manner, the scientific rulers will provide one kind of education
    for ordinary men and women, and another for those who are to become holders
    of scientific power. Ordinary men and women will be expected to be docile,
    industrious, punctual, thoughtless, and contented. Of these qualities,
    probably contentment will be considered the most important. In order to
    produce it, all the researches of psycho-analysis, behaviourism, and
    biochemistry will be brought into play…. All the boys and girls will learn
    from an early age to be what is called ‘co-operative,’ i.e., to do exactly
    what everybody is doing. Initiative will be discouraged in these children,
    and insubordination, without being punished, will be scientifically trained
    out of them.”

    “On those rare occasions, when a boy or girl who has passed the age at which
    it is usual to determine social status shows such marked ability as to seem
    the intellectual equal of the rulers, a difficult situation will arise,
    requiring serious consideration. If the youth is content to abandon his
    previous associates and to throw in his lot whole-heartedly with the rulers,
    he may, after suitable tests, be promoted, but if he shows any regrettable
    solidarity with his previous associates, the rulers will reluctantly
    conclude that there is nothing to be done with him except to send him to the
    lethal chamber before his ill-disciplined intelligence has had time to
    spread revolt. This will be a painful duty to the rulers, but I think they
    will not shrink from performing it.”
    *- Bertrand Russell, “The Scientific Outlook”, 1931*

  68. #69 HCN
    May 18, 2008

    joe said “blah, blah, blah, I think Dr. Engly knows science most likely better than you … blah, blah, blah…”

    Who is this “Dr. Engly”?

    joe continues:
    “Which history will show if anything it turned out to be the worse disaster in history. And there will be trials, such as the German Holocaust. And murder of the Jews but it will be for the ones who justified their high crimes with protecting the vaccine program here is an example of their deceit”

    Godwin’s Law! You automatically lose.

    joe continued incoherently: “….blah, blah, blah, Down below is the very words from the minutes of the prestigious IOM liers club… blah, blah, blah”

    You were asked to present facts, and real documentation. I’m sorry but your rant does not qualify. If you feel that the DTaP vaccine is more dangerous than pertussis, tetanus or diphtheria please present the paper indexed in http://www.pubmed.gov with the actual evidence(you can post up to two links here). If you claim the MMR is more dangerous than measles, mumps and rubella, then post the link to the paper.

    Please do not use random quotes, because as noted with your Russell stuff you were misrepresenting the content and intent of his quotes. Pretty much using the tactics described here:
    http://www.pathguy.com/antiimmu.htm

  69. #70 HCN
    May 18, 2008

    joe, you are repeating yourself. Read the link below that says “Having problems commenting? (UPDATED)”. The server error does not mean your comment did not fail.

    Though, your comment does fail in another way: It does not answer the question I asked of you, and did not include on topic pertinent information and did not point to real documentation. You are allowed two links per post to avoid the spam filter.

    Do try to explain clearly how the DTaP is more dangerous than pertussis, tetanus and diphtheria, or how the MMR (a vaccine that was approved for use in the USA in 1971 and has never contained thimerosal) is more dangerous than measles, mumps and rubella.

  70. #71 joe
    May 18, 2008

    So it is OK for the CDC to tell the american people we are having the IOM look at this and give you a non bias look at
    the research when all the time lying to us and you believe vaccines are safe because the CDC said or the pharma lyers
    that seem to be in the news all the time trying to poison us all the while charging $300.oo doing so

    you guys seem to be wacked or well paid by pharma or CDC

    Seems russell is as demented as you guy’s
    did you guy’s miss this quote from Russell

    the rulers will reluctantly
    conclude that there is nothing to be done with him except to send him to the
    lethal chamber before his ill-disciplined intelligence has had time to
    spread revolt. This will be a painful duty to the rulers, but I think they
    will not shrink from performing it.”

    *- Bertrand Russell, “The Scientific Outlook”, 1931*
    My thought

    Seems this kind of thinking is what killed millions of jews

  71. #72 HCN
    May 18, 2008

    Sorry, I meant to say:
    Read the link below that says “Having problems commenting? (UPDATED)”. The server error does not mean your comment failed to post.

    It actually means that the Scienceblogs server failed to refresh the page with the new comment.

    By the way, unfortunately schizophrenia is fairly common, as high as 1 in 100:
    http://www.cchs.net/health/health-info/docs/0000/0042.asp?index=4568

    The great tragedy is the lack of good mental health services available. It is expensive to provide those services, and it doesn’t help when people suing for damages for something that has shown no connection to their grievance take funds away from those badly needed services. Especially when they fail to note they are litigants on the paper they write to boost their claim:
    http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/?p=827

    What we really need now is for the autism focus to go towards reality based treatments. Not phantom vaccine causation and spurious (though profitable to DAN! doctor) treatments like chelation, vitamin injections and Lupron (which chemically castrates).

  72. #73 Autistic Macaques?
    May 19, 2008

    “Second, did you ever consider that maybe JB and/or Dan might have information regarding this study that is not yet available to the public? ”

    Absolutely.

    But, to say that I have not been impressed with either Dan Olmsted’s or Handley’s grasp of science would put it mildly.

    More to the point here, quite obviously Mr. Olmsted is being fed the information. Since he doesn’t mention actually attending the conference, one quickly assumes that this is reporting from the views of someone else.

    That’s before you take into account the glaringly obvious connection of the PI’s husband writing for AoA. So, yeah, I expect he has heard a lot more than what is publicly available–including a lot of speculation.

    However, the question still remains: they may be hearing more details than are publicly available, but do they understand them?

    The second question (even more important than the first): is what they are hearing actually good science? I guess they could have put all the weak information in the abstracts and held back the good information…doesn’t sound too likely, though. The abstract is supposed to reflect the actual work presented.

    Or, to put it more simply. Why would they say, “the monkeys showed these behaviors” and then list behaviors that are not autistic if they had better results?

    The information known so far does not show a link to autism. Presenting it as such is bad science and bad policy.

    Perhaps Dan could write a series on “There is no autism amongst the Macaques”. At least this time he will have spoken to some clinicians in Pennsylvania before he started writing.

  73. #74 HCN
    May 19, 2008

    joe ranted off topic:
    “Seems russell is as demented as you guy’s
    did you guy’s miss this quote from Russell”

    … um, no… you fail to understand that it has no relevance. And if you want to reject all the beneficial bits of science, then please back away from the keyboard. Turn off your computer and give it away. If you are using the computer in your local library, then log off, back away and do not touch it again. The same goes for anything else that science has touched. Leave the library now! It is in a building that has artificial lights. Oh, and stay off the bus, it is using an engine, one of the evil constructs of metallurgy, thermodynamics, mechanics and wars over oil. Oh, wait… you are wearing clothes! Stop that immediately! The cloth was either woven or knitted on machines using petroleum products, wool from helpless sheep, or from cotton (which uses lots of agricultural chemicals and machines for harvesting, spinning, etc)… and then sewn on machines. Are you hungry? Well forget eating anything… that apple is the product of centuries of genetic breeding. So is that wheat in your bread, and the other fruits and nuts that you consume. Much of those fruits cannot even reproduce without human intervention because they no longer have seeds (ever see a seed in a banana?).

    You seem to be saying “science is bad”, “people who use science are bad”, “people who understand science are bad”, well, in your Russell quotes of “The Scientific Outlook”, 1931 (which you may have taken out of context).

    joe repeats:
    “Seems this kind of thinking is what killed millions of jews”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin's_law

    By the way, you clueless idiot… no one here is doing anything because of what the CDC says, or what anyone else says. We have looked at the evidence. Much of it freely available at PubMed, and even your local library (though watch out, they have books printed in the 21st century), and from an grounded education in mathematics, chemistry, physics, and other such evil things (oh, and I’m supposed to be doing my physics homework now, well at least it is due on Tuesday).

    You have been repeatedly asked to produce evidence of the dangers from vaccines compared to the actual diseases. You have failed to do that. Please, go to your library. And check out the books, especially some of these:
    http://us.penguingroup.com/nf/Browse/BrowseStdPage/0,,265360,00.html

  74. #75 Macaque Speaks
    May 19, 2008

    “Second, did you ever consider that maybe JB and/or Dan might have information regarding this study that is not yet available to the public?”

    (a) the researchers are feeding information to a blog while (b) at the same time claiming to be waiting until the paper is published before they will speak publicly.

    Did you ever consider that this looks pretty unprofessional?

  75. #76 HCN
    May 19, 2008

    joe… click on the link below that says “Having problems commenting? (UPDATED)”

    Again, if you get a server error, it does NOT mean your comment was rejected. It is just a problem with the blog software.

    Wait, you changed the way you spell “liars”: “or the pharma lyers”

    Okay, that explains it a bit. Is English your second language?

  76. #77 joe
    May 19, 2008

    I believe if a man says something, usually they mean what they say

    injections or vaccines, either way they did what he said
    Rockafeller believed this way and he financed the sabine
    foundation and got what he and others paid for and if they had cut the thimerosal and knew about the coal emissions and mother body burdon like he said “When the technique has been perfected” he really did not mean what he said did he ? They may have gotten what they paid for
    but instead we got severly mercury poisoned children
    that they conveiently call Autism

    Those old bastards will die, and God will judge them and you to, and they will spend eternity in Hell hope it was worth it. The rich man that would not help lazarus is still there, and in agoney still begging for lazarus to dip his finger in water to cool his tongue. ah maybe not after thousands of years he may have already given up.

    The bible says the fool has said in his heart there is no God.

    it also says professing them selves to be wise they become fools.

    Russell being quoted as saying we would put mercury in vaccines, and other compounds to produce a partial lobotomized state this was done to controll the masses. my thought is they did not anticipate the mercury from other sources AKA as cole fired plants and mothers body burdon

    Russell
    who advocated the use of vaccines to induce partial chemical lobotomies and create a servile zombie population,
    “Diet, injections, and injunctions will combine, from a very early age, to produce the sort of character and the sort of beliefs that the authorities consider desirable, and any serious criticism of the powers that be will become psychologically impossible.” – Bertrand Russell, “The Impact of Science on Society”, 1953, pg 49-50

    This is for rockafellers, that is if you read this Blog

    If you gain the whole world but lose your own soul what doe’s it profit a man. wisdom from the Master his initials J.C. Wise men still seek him

  77. #78 HCN
    May 19, 2008

    joe,

    You are a cut and paste troll, and definitely a member of the Illerati.

  78. #79 HCN
    May 19, 2008

    joe, my sincerest apologies… I misspelled a word.

    You are part of the Illiterati.

    Do try to correct that.

  79. #80 Kev
    May 19, 2008

    Second, did you ever consider that maybe JB and/or Dan might have information regarding this study that is not yet available to the public?

    pssst, Kelli Ann. I don’t believe those individuals are peer reviewers. I also think that the AoA blog posting abstracts and then their apologists (thats you toots) crying foul when people comment on them to be pretty pathetic.

    PS – can anyone tell me – does Joe like or dislike Russell? I can’t make head or tail of his comments.

  80. #81 Pennsylvania Amish Macaques Vaccinate
    May 19, 2008

    I have it that Dan Olmsted’s next installment will explain to us how Dr. Hewiston will cure Amish Macaques with gold salt injections. He will have some breaking news from a macaque water purifer salesman and a macaque anti-vaccine loon or two. Who is supporting Dan these days anyway? I wouldn’t think blogging would pay that well. Who is paying Olmsted and Kirby’s bills? JB Hankley? Kelli Ann Davis and her boyfriend Jim Moody?

  81. #82 wackyvorlon
    May 19, 2008

    @joe: Please do buy a book on english grammar and style. Your writing is very difficult to read, and really doesn’t flatter.

  82. #83 Shygetz
    May 19, 2008

    Kelli said: Second, did you ever consider that maybe JB and/or Dan might have information regarding this study that is not yet available to the public?

    If this is correct, than trying to make a comparison between their reporting/actions and your own is a false assumption and as such, there is no hypocrisy when I point out that maybe *you* should refrain from making an in-depth analysis until *you* have all the facts.

    If your abstract cannot stand on its own, you do not publish the abstract. I have published preliminary results as an abstract before, but it’s always good science that does not yet lead to a substantial conclusion. I would never publish poor science and claims it leads to a substantial conclusion, and THEN bitch that people are reviewing my abstract without waiting for the super-secret unpublished data. Did the authors publish their data as an abstract? Did they claim that their data “raise important safety issues while providing a potential model for examining aspects of causation and disease pathogenesis in acquired disorders of behavior and development” when they are obviously not of a sufficient quality to raise any concerns other than those related to the investigators’ abilities to plan and carry out an experiment? Then they are culpable for the fact that their data do not back up their conclusion; not even close.

  83. #84 Shygetz
    May 19, 2008

    Stupid commenting system. The quote ends after “have all the facts.”

  84. #85 Liesl
    May 19, 2008

    Joe:

    Please stop quoting Russell out of context. You’re doing the equivalent of accusing people who are talking about racism and the evils of racism of racism itself. Not only have you twisted his words into something they did not mean or even approach, you have made it appear as if he was endorsing something that he was writing about. Talking or writing about a thing is very different from the thing itself. It’s basic metaphysics, dear.

  85. #86 Jesse
    May 19, 2008

    Orac I think Dr. Engly knows science most likely better than you

    [sarcasm]Yeah, it’s not like Orac has two doctorates or anything…. [/sarcasm]

    OT but I defended my PhD on Monday. Yay me.

  86. #87 Craptacular
    May 19, 2008

    One wonders if the study began as N=8 and N=8…but then some of the control group began to show disturbing signs…not that I would accuse anyone of such unscientific behavior.

    [sarcasm] I have no doubt that we will find the WMD when the full study details are published [/sarcasm].

    Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

  87. #88 joe
    May 19, 2008

    Orac can compete with this scientist

    This is the man and his credentials who we are supposed to ignore

    It was mentioned earlier that Dr. Frank Engley studied thimerosal as far back as 1942. Dr. Engley is responsible for the 4 year School of Medicine at the University of Missouri. He has consulted for the CDC, IOM, NASA, FDA, EPA, CIA, AAMI, USP, Armed Forces Epidemiological boards, Army, Navy, Air Force as well as Director of research grants and training grants for NIH. Engley Served on the Council of the NIH Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease and a consultant on many Epidemiological Boards too many to list.
    Dr. Engley has been a visiting Professor in over 40 foreign countries medical schools. He has produced films, written text books, Laboratory Manuals, over 100 publications, served on editorial boards for numerous scientific journals and periodicals, including four American, two British and one German. Engley is certified by the American Board of Micro Biology and served as the Chair of the Laboratory of American Public Health Association. He has been listed in American Men and Women of Science, Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Education, Who’s Who among Consultants and Who’s Who in the World.
    His toxicity studies of mercurials in human tissue culture revealed the mercurials were extremely toxic for human cells and the Thimerosal — the most active, toxic down to the nanogram. The amounts of mercury have gone down but vaccines still have 100 times that amount when they are in preservative free and reduced thimerosal vaccines.

    seems he has done more in his life time than all of the CDC
    FDA and you combined

    Orac are you Autistic or do you just have a heart of stone ??

  88. #89 Kelly
    May 19, 2008

    There is a study referenced on a pharma blog I frequentthat claims to have found statistical evidence of a link between thermasol and autism. Does anyone have access to the Journal of Neurological Science? It is to be published in that journal. Is it a reputable journal?
    http://www.pharmalot.com/2008/05/a-link-between-thimerosal-vaccines-and-autism/

    This will be another item you will be getting from the antivax crowd.

  89. #90 HCN
    May 19, 2008

    joe said “that Dr. Frank Engley”… oh, no wonder I couldn’t find him. It was your creative spelling. With the correct spelling, I see you are cut and pasting (or typing) from various websites (like Pharmalot). If the man was a doctor in 1942, has to be well over 80 years and possibly retired for almost 20 years.

    Some requests for you joe (many are being repeated):

    1) Stop cutting and pasting from various websites

    2) Please proofread, and try to clear up the spelling and grammar.

    3) Please present some real evidence, not random quotes that you crib off of various websites.

  90. #91 Dangerous Bacon
    May 19, 2008

    Physicians and researchers whom the antivax crowd hold up as icons typically rxhibit one or more of the following characteristics:

    1) Once-respected in their fields (which usually have little or nothing to do with vaccines)

    2) Now considered cranks with no credibility in the scientific community

    3) Have not published anything on the subject of vaccines and/or mercury in any respected, peer-reviewed journal

    4) Do “research” out of their basements, or the equivalent

    5) Make money by deluding parents of autistic children into spending their savings on worthless and potentially harmful treatments

    6) Are dead and cannot refute the false and out-of-context statements attributed to them (for instance, vaccine expert Dr. Maurice Hilleman).

    You can find a small parade of these types, quoted over and over on many antivax websites.

    I don’t know exactly where Dr. Engley might fit on this spectrum, but a search of the PubMed scientific literature database turns up 0 papers authored or co-authored on vaccines. And the last paper he wrote having to do with mercury seems to have been published in 1950, and concerned antiseptics, not vaccines.

    “Who’s Who Of The World”, indeed.

  91. #92 sophia8
    May 20, 2008

    Dr. Frank Engley is (or was) a microbiologist who starred in an anti-vaccination video last year. He apparently stated:

    You got to remember our work showed that thimerosal is toxic down to one-hundredth of a mill microgram or 1/10th to 1/millionth of a gram. So, taking it all out-they are not taking it all out. The company will say, well we still have to have some in our production. They don’t have to. This is just a cover. So they can say, Well there is just a little bit. There is absolutely no reason for having thimerosal there. Absolutely no reason,”

    Are microbiologists experts on vaccines?

  92. #93 FFFish
    May 21, 2008

    I’m not part of your regular community, so forgive me if this is old territory:

    Surely the mercury y’all absorb from emissions from your coal-fired plants are 100x worse than the mercury you get in thimerosal.

    Seems like the anti-vaccinationists are ignoring an environmental factor that simply dwarfs that of their primary concern.

  93. #94 Sharon Chambers
    May 22, 2008

    I’m not on the autistic spectrum(as far as I know), and at the age of 33, I’ve never had any innoculations. However, I have survived a bout of pertussis at 4 that took 5 months out of my life and left my health fragile for years; also, repeated childhood episodes of rubella and measles that cost me god-knows how much schooling, and a dose of chicken pox at 19 from which I still have visible scars. Do I wish my guardian had allowed me the vaccinations and taken their chances? Absolutely.

    My best friend IS on the autistic spectrum; autism speaks doesn’t speak for him, or for me either: frankly, after seeing what passes for debate and rational thinking amongst the anti-vacciners, I’d be about ready to renounce my NT status and throw my lot in with the ASDers. I have in the past tried to rationalise the behaviours of parents of ASD children; societal pressure, guilt, a prevalent blame culture…but increasingly I’m tending to say…fuck that; there is no excuse for stupidity and ignorance of the magnitude I’ve seen from anti-vacciners.

    And, ‘Joe’, pal? ‘burden’, okay? NOT ‘burdon': ‘burden’. A web search will provide you with a host of free online dictionaries; any one of whom you would surely find of the greatest assistance (while you’re there, you may want to look up some other entries: try ‘evidence’, ‘statistical correlation’, ‘reason’, and ‘experimenter bias'; start small, work up to the tricky stuff).

    My compliments on the blog, Orac; just reading something that’s well-reasoned, informative and spelt correctly is a cool drink of water after a long slog through the pages of 8-point Times New Roman that has never been within 10 feet of a proofreader, that seems norm for internet discourse of most kinds.

  94. #95 Mary
    May 27, 2008

    What a joke.

    “At least the second commenter admitted that this experiment was unnecessarily cruel.”

    But giving OUR babies 48 different vaccines before they are six years old isn’t cruel?

    This is the biggest bunch of talk around I’ve ever been exposed to. It’s a lot like Clinton, a blue dress and an intern: you can talk your way out of anything given enough time and air space.

  95. #96 jcmacc
    May 29, 2008

    “But giving OUR babies 48 different vaccines before they are six years old isn’t cruel?”

    Yes it’s cruel. I find it horrific that today’s children aren’t offered the fun and educational value of being in an iron lung after polio infection and that they are denied the chance of being sterile after measles.

    AFAIK the worst charge of cruelty that can be aimed at the mass vaccination programmes in the West is that more people end up exposed to risks of cancer and dementia. The reason for that is that both are diseases of the old and dying of an infectious disease as a child is a proven preventative measure.

  96. #97 HCN
    May 29, 2008

    Speaking of iron lungs, a woman recently died after spending most of her life in it after getting polio as a three-year old:
    http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5j0qZZbLRprUWJR3yk0xR2f96ZmrAD90V27F83

  97. #98 eldereft
    June 5, 2008

    More people need to link to this page, it barely makes the top ten for a Google search of Orac vaccine macaque.

  98. #99 crinkle
    June 6, 2008

    This conflict of interest doesnt quote wash, when its parents or friends of afflicted children. Remember lorenzo’s oil ? Medically competent parents are more likely to make connections, get things done and chase avenues which are directly related to solving the problem, than organizations whose agendas are more removed.

    Regarding the above study, it’s the right way to go. Normally medical science tends to isolate a whole load of believed factors and put each one into an isolation study. The problem is that this undermines the reality of physiology where things occur due to complex interactions between many factors, which are unknown or cannot yet be isolated.

    All you got from isolating each factor so far, was a fragmented view that costs far too much to put back together.

    Rather than go through decades more of that, an attempt is made here to simulate what actually happens to humans, by shoving in the whole vaccine load and seeing what happens. Of course as a downside, you cant tell what is doing what, but at least you can see the the effect of all the unknown factors and processes which have not, or cannot be isolated.

    I’m kind of surprised that considering whats been shown here, that there isnt a bit more eagerness to fund these people, who are by their flaws obviously stretched in trying to get their science through.

  99. #100 Orac
    June 6, 2008

    I’m kind of surprised that considering whats been shown here, that there isnt a bit more eagerness to fund these people, who are by their flaws obviously stretched in trying to get their science through.

    Why on earth would we throw good money after bad funding these researchers? The abstract alone demonstrates that they are either incompetent or so ideologically biased that the experiment seemed purposely designed to find something that they could spin as evidence of vaccine harm.

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