Respectful Insolence

What is it with the local news media in my hometown?

You might (or might not) remember when I noted back in February that there was one Detroit station that did an unbelievably, hilariously dumb and credulous story about “orbs” in photos and whether they are ghosts or spirits manifesting themselves to their friends and family. That story came courtesy of “reporter” Ama Daetz of the local NBC affiliate WDIV-TV (and I do use the term “reporter” loosely). It was so over-the-top, credulously stupid, so hard to distinguish from an Onion parody, that I even “honored” it with a spot on Your Friday Dose of Woo. Now, courtesy of fellow ScienceBlogger, skeptical physician, and all around upstanding dude PalMD, I’ve discovered that another TV station in my hometown, the local ABC affiliate WXYZ-TV, has aired a “report” by an “investigative reporter” named Steve Wilson that mindlessly regurgitates all the antivaccinationist myths and misinformation you could ever fear to find packed into a single four minute news report. It’s so bad that it was easy for me to visualize it as having been written and reported by Jenny McCarthy, if Jenny McCarthy were a pudgy, middle-aged reporter. Indeed, it’s so bad that I can only do one thing and blatantly copy the format of one of the more amusing blogs out there:

“Investigative reporter” Steve Wilson of WXYZ-TV in Detroit: YOU ARE DUMB!

Sorry, I couldn’t help it. But if anyone deserves a bit of YAD treatment right now, it’s Steve Wilson. I don’t know if really is dumb or not (probably not), but he did get the story horribly, horribly wrong.

Given that he’s local, PalMD has subjected the transcript of the report to a very thorough fisking; so I don’t feel the need to do a line-by-line deconstruction of the misinformation and antivaccinationist talking points in this report. However, I must confess that I’m astounded by the amount and breadth of antivaccinationist pseudoscientific misinformation contained in this report. Having heard rumblings from the antivaccinationist underground, where Wilson is idolized for similarly one-sided reporting on this issue back in 20031, 2, 3, 4, 5 (reporting that somehow garnered an Emmy Award, showing that an award, even a normally prestigious one, is no guarantee of accuracy in reporting), that Wilson was working on a story about Michigan parents traveling to the “Green Our Vaccines” rally, I had expected the worst. I got that, and far more. Normally, when I see credulous reporting about the claimed link between vaccines and autism in a local market, my first inclination is not usually to shoot first (rhetorically speaking) and ask questions later (although I do do that from time to time). However, Wilson is clearly a serial offender on this score. This is not the first time he’s done this.

That’s why the not-so-Respectful Insolence™ that Wilson so clearly deserves and craves will be his, as I am a benevolent skeptical blogger. I rarely deny such heartfelt and plaintive requests for my loving blogospheric attention.

Bookending the report with excerpts from an interview with the hapless President of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Renee Jenkins, and then in essence accusing her without justification of lying without giving her the chance to respond to the charge, Wilson uses every muck-raking journalism technique in the book to cherry pick information that (he thinks) supports the notion that vaccines might–just might (nudge, nudge, wink, wink)–cause autism and that there is a conspiracy in the government to cover it up. At the same time, he gives antivaccinationist parents and mercury militia members free rein to spout their pseudoscience and conspiracy-mongering without so much as even a mild expression of skepticism or a single penetrating question. When it comes to supporters of the mercury/vaccines/autism pseudoscience, suddenly this pit bull of an investigative reporter becomes a tiny puppy wagging his tail as he’s stroked by GOV marchers, begging them for more petting and more treats.

I also happen to know that at least a couple of medical bloggers e-mailed Wilson to politely express concerns about the story he was working on and the direction he planned to go, offering a skeptical viewpoint and some resources to counter the lies of antivaccinationist, before the GOV rally. He never responded, and now I know why. The only thing he got right is that this is a “controversy that won’t go away. What he doesn’t seem to understand is that this is because the whole vaccines/autism issue is in reality a manufactroversy, not a real scientific controversy. You can draw your own conclusions, but I conclude from Wilson’s unbelievably one-sided report and his failure even to acknowledge the other side beforehand that Wilson’s either a true believer himself (in which case he’s let his bias irrevocably taint his journalism) or he doesn’t care whether his story is accurate or not (in which case he’s an opportunist looking only for ratings). Watch the video and then judge for yourself. Feel free to provide an alternate explanation if you think my two choices are unfair or otherwise represent a false dichotomy.

In the meantime, I will deconstruct some real howlers of antivaccinationist talking points in Wilson’s report that demand–nay, cry out for!–an application of the aforementioned not-so-Respectful Insolence™. The bar has been set high, however, by PalMD, who amusingly and accurately characterized the “expert” that Wilson chose to interview, Boyd Haley, thusly:

Actually, Haley is an “expert” in the issue in the same way that my daughter is an expert in poop—she is terribly interested, has some interesting ideas based on fantasy and immaturity, is illiterate, and completely wrong. But at least she’s cute.

Unfortunately, Boyd Haley doesn’t have cuteness going for him. Indeed, Dr. Haley apparently fed Wilson an unending stream of pseudoscience and misinformation, which Wilson duly regurgitated, misinformation such as:

  1. Presidential candidate John McCain says now there’s “strong evidence” of a link between skyrocketing Autism and the mercury in vaccines. Boyd Haley is a scientist and pioneer in the study of this issue. Hah, so maybe it’s Boyd Haley himself who told Wilson that he’s an expert! In any case, John McCain is clueless about this issue and has received copious quantities of much-deserved criticism for his remark. Wilson also neglects to mention that Boyd Haley is the same man who once referred to autism as “mad child disease.” With “experts” on their side like that, the mercury militia hardly needs enemies.
  2. A study of monkeys that showed vaccinated primates showed increased neurological disorders and non-social behavior similar to Autism. I’ve deconstructed this unbelievably bad study extensively. Not only did it not include even close to equal numbers of animals in the control and experimental groups, but it was published by Andrew Wakefield, whose litigation- and money-driven “research” ten years ago sparked a scare over the MMR vaccine that led to a decrease in vaccination and a resurgence of the measles and mumps in the U.K. Moreover, its lead investigator Laura Hewiston not only is married to the IT director for Dr. Wakefield’s clinic but has an autistic son and is a plaintiff in the Autism Omnibus case, in which thousands of parents are trying to obtain compensation for alleged vaccine injury from the now being heard. If that’s not a major conflict of interest, I don’t know what is.
  3. A study of vaccination records which seems to match increased Autism with increased vaccinations containing mercury. I presume that the study being referred to is the latest Geier and Geier crapfest claiming to relate vaccines to autism. EpiWonk slapped this one down in a three part demolition.
  4. An animal study that shows the kind of mercury used in vaccines ends up in the brain and stays twice as long as the mercury in fish. This is the infamous Burbacher monkey study, which was deconstructed amusingly by Bartholemew Cubbins. It’s also worth pointing out that there is real and very recent data from real human babies that show that thimerosal is rapidly secreted after intramuscular injection.
  5. A “study” that is not a study in which the UPI found only 4 cases of Autism among a community of 22,000 Amish people who generally shun vaccines. Statistically there should be about 130. This is nothing more than a standard antivaccinationist canard that the Amish in Pennsylvania don’t vaccinate and they don’t get autism. It is also quite false. The Amish do vaccinate, and they do get autism. This myth originated with Dan Olmsted, a former UPI reporter who is no longer with UPI but is now Editor of the Age of Autism, a website dedicated to promoting the belief that vaccines cause autism. Indeed, it is rather amazing that Mr. Olmsted neglected even to interview Dr. Strauss, a physician who treats special needs Amish children at the cryptically-named Clinic for Special Children in Strasburg, PA. Isn’t it also odd that Mr. Wilson did not see fit to cite the source or dig a little deeper? (Yes, that’s a rhetorical question. It’s not odd at all, given that Wilson has clearly drunk the Kool Aid.)

Then there’s his most deceptive claim of all, the claim that he made when he accused Dr. Jenkins of, in essence, lying:

A loving grandmother and president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Renėe Jenkins is among those in medicine, in government, in the media, pretty much telling parents this problem’s been solved…there is no mercury in the routine schedule of childhood vaccines anymore, except maybe just “trace” amounts. She’s talking about a mercury-based vaccine preservative called Thimerosal…and the truth is there’s still as much as ever in 11 vaccines including most flu vaccines injected into pregnant women and kids, and some of them younger than 9 get two doses in a season.

Why is this claim deceptive? Easy. For one thing, even if vaccines did cause autism, they wouldn’t do so in a nine year old child. It’s actually irrelevant even based on the ideas (I refuse to dignify them with the term “hypotheses”) of the mercury militia to mention vaccines that are given to nine year olds. Autism is usually diagnosed before age 3-5 these days, and often earlier. (Indeed, it can sometimes be diagnosed as early as at one year of age.) Moreover the “hypothesis” behind vaccine causation is that the mercury somehow damages a developing brain; even within the context of the thimerosal myth earlier exposures matter, later exposures, not so much. So let’s look at the vaccination schedule and see what a typical child under six would get. Here’s the recommended childhood vaccination schedule. I crosschecked the list with the list of vaccines and their thimerosal content. This is what I came up with:

  1. Hepatitis B: No thimerosal.
  2. Rotavirus: No thimerosal.
  3. DTaP: No thimerosal.
  4. Hib: No thimerosal.
  5. Pneumococcal: No thimerosal.
  6. Polio: No thimerosal.
  7. Influenza: Quoth the CDC: “For the 2007-08 season, there is one product licensed for 6-23 month old children (the product is thimerosal-free).  Given the uptake of influenza vaccine among children < 2 years of age to date and the anticipated increase in vaccine coverage this season, CDC projects that the vaccine supply for this agegroup will be adequate to meet demand." Also, most children do not even get this particular vaccine.
  8. MMR: No thimerosal. (Actually, the MMR never had thimerosal because it’s a live attenuated virus vaccine, and thimerosal can kill the virus, rendering the vaccine useless.)
  9. Varicella: No thimerosal.
  10. Hepatitis A: No thimerosal except for the multidose vial.

The bottom line is that thimerosal exposure in children is lower than it has been any time since the 1980s. So I ask Wilson: Why haven’t autism rates fallen, now that thimerosal has been out of nearly all childhood vaccines for over six years now? Every time this question is asked, supporters of the thimerosal myth handwave and shift the goalposts. David Kirby is particularly good at this. Maybe Wilson and Kirby ought to get together sometime. They could compare propaganda techniques.

You know, I now realize that I got carried away. So dense was the concentration of antivaccinationist misinformation in Wilson’s report that I let myself get sucked in to refuting more of it than I had planned. Oh, well, such is life. However, I would be completely remiss if I didn’t mention that there was a certain man that Wilson quoted multiple times in this article, a man whose opinion on the matter Wilson seems consider very important. If you haven’t watched the video or read the transcript yet, can you guess who it is?

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Yes, that true believer Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and in particular his utterly execrable article in Salon.com and Rolling Stone from–get this–three years ago. No wonder the merry band of antivaccinationists at Age of Autism are lapping it up and proposing Wilson for canonization.

Say goodnight, Mr. Wilson. No need to thank me. I’d do the same for anyone spouting antivaccinationist misinformation to a large (or even not-so-large) audience. Finally, Mr. Wilson should know that, through this awful bit of “journalism,” he’s succeeded in stealing the “crown” for the most execrable news item of the year from Ama Daetz and her ghostly orb story. I didn’t think anyone could do it, but damn if Wilson didn’t manage to pull it off and prove me wrong. There’s a big difference, though. The orb story amused me, mainly because I couldn’t believe that anyone would take such easily debunked nonsense seriously. Heck, even ghost hunters don’t take orbs seriously anymore. In contrast, Wilson’s report made me mad. It mad me mad because his cynical misinformation and fearmongering could have real and negative consequences for the health of children in Michigan.

ADDENDUM:

  1. Steve Wilson has made an appearance in the comments of the blog of fellow skeptical physician PalMD. Good going, dude! You really ticked him off.
  2. Autism News Beat has weighed in, refuting more of the misinformation in Wilson’s propaganda piece. (More here.)
  3. So has Left Brain/Right Brain.
  4. This is the sort of thing that Wilson’s fear-mongering contributes to.
  5. Prometheus is here to help Mr. Wilson with The Lay Person’s Guide to the Scientific Literature, Part 1 and Part 2.

Comments

  1. #1 PalMD
    July 10, 2008

    But the children! Who will save the children??!!

    My pediatrician friends are already getting blowback from this dreck.

  2. #2 Orac
    July 10, 2008

    Give ‘em the link to your post yesterday and a link to this post. :-)

  3. #3 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 10, 2008

    oh. the comments at that article. ouch. ouch. ouch.

    DrJohnDo: Are you even aware of the fact that EVERY vaccine carries the following disclaimer: Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, and Impairment of Fertility: No studies have been done? They don’t know if they cause cancer, alter our DNA, or impair our fertility??? YET, THEY ARE QUITE SAFE??!! I’m sorry, but I will take any disease any day over the risks associated with vaccinating (my baby and I were vaccine injured last year). You should go see a “real professional” for help. http://vaers.hhs.gov/pdf/PackageInserts.pdf For an example of WARNING: http://us.gsk.com/products/assets/us_infanrix.pdf (page 7)

  4. #4 Yoo
    July 10, 2008

    Is the news media confused between “investigative reporter” and “propagandist reporter”? Or do they consider them synonyms?

  5. #5 Liz Ditz
    July 10, 2008

    Steve Wilson is a serial offender in talking trash and science-free allegations:

    The Strange Case of Steve Wilson How a fraudulent crusader snookered the left-and is threatening the First Amendment by John Sugg in Reason Magazine, May 2006 (also contains details of the suit outlined below)

    Florida Reporters Win Trial Over Fox TV and Monsanto Suppression of rBGH Story Steve Wilson’s slant on the trial. (warning–reality distortion field)

    Fox News reporter found scary evidence linking a Monsanto product, commonly found in milk, to cancer. So why did her boss threaten to fire her? Jayne Ackre’s slant on the story. (warning–reality distortion field)

    Akres and Wilson’s website on the suit (warning–reality distortion field) http://www.foxbghsuit.com/

    Sugg ends the Reason piece with this:

    And the soundness of Wilson’s news gathering? The questions continue to pile up. The “progressive” press, alas, isn’t asking them.

    Summary: Wilson made his fame and fortune over another trumped-up, biased, fear-mongering story. Why would he suddenly become a fan of science this late in his career?

  6. #6 Sullivan
    July 10, 2008

    The tone of this reporter was amazing to hear. Of course, some have complained about that from Respectful Insolence. But, the good reporter doesn’t have the defense of making statements of fact.

    Of all of this, the claim that thimerosal is still in many vaccines–by including vaccines given past age 3–was a demonstration of either (a) totally misunderstanding the subject or (b) a blatant attempt to give a false impression.

  7. #7 Nick
    July 10, 2008

    I believe tonight (7/10) there is a special on autism on ABC World News w/ Gibson. Hopefully, the bigger networks are more earnest.

  8. #8 Smarter than you
    July 10, 2008

    can’t handle the truth, huh?

  9. #9 Craig Willoughby
    July 10, 2008

    Orac, not to argue with you, but I wanted to clarify your statement about the TCV’s in your article. Now, I agree that a majority of the vaccines no longer contain Thimerasol, the DTaP, Fluzone (a flue vaccine) and the HepB vaccine contained Thimerosal until 2007. The DTwP, DT, Tetanus, and Afluria (a flu shot) still contain Thimerosal. Again, I’m not arguing, just clarifying.

  10. #10 RJ
    July 10, 2008

    Terrible. Just terrible. And this guy has no clue whatsoever about the damage he’s doing. The sad, sad irony. Mr. media boy thinking he’s doing the world a favor (with a high-school level report) while he really is serving to set back the advances we’ve made in public health over the decades.

    It just goes to show how some in the media can do so much damage because of their ignorance, misconceptions, and/or deceit.

  11. #11 Orac
    July 10, 2008

    You mean trace thimerosal. Indeed, there was trace thimerosal in some vaccines after 2001, but at concentrations far lower than what they were before. After all, that’s what “trace” means. Mercury mavens have been trying to use that “trace” argument for years to salvage the claim that mercury causes autism. It doesn’t fly.

    Indeed, trace amounts before 2007 would not invalidate my argument, because (1) thimerosal exposure would still have fallen to levels lower than anything seen since the 1980s while autism rates continue to climb unabated (indeed, chemically and biologically there is little real difference at the molecular level between “trace” and “no” thimerosal; either way it’s far, far lower than what was in vaccines in the late 1990s) and (2) I used Mr. Wilson’s own source, to which he linked in his story to come up with my numbers.

    Indeed, if your point is valid, then it would appear Mr. Wilson didn’t bother to read his own source and see that it contradicted what he said, thus necessitating a clarification.

  12. #12 Craig Willoughby
    July 10, 2008

    Good point. I got my numbers from the FDA’s site, btw. DTwP, DT, Tetanus, and a few of the flu shots still contain around 25 micrograms of Thimerosal. Just FYI.

  13. #13 A Canadian
    July 10, 2008

    Can we just pull back a little from Labeling people as this or that ? We all recognize the error in Polarizing groups until the truth is completely obliterated. I am not an “anti” vaccine illiterate, I just don’t trust the big Pharmas. That’s it.

  14. #14 Orac
    July 10, 2008

    Craig,

    Do you mean this table, which is from 2005? None of the vaccines there except a couple of the flu vaccines contain thimerosal.

  15. #15 Craig Willoughby
    July 10, 2008

    Yes, but scroll down on the page. They have a more updated list (from March of this year).

  16. #16 RJ
    July 10, 2008

    “I just don’t trust the big Pharmas.”

    OK, that’s fair. But what about doctors? Scientists? Public health specialists? Do you not trust them either?

    Are people working for regulatory agencies that monitor pharmas also in on the conspiracy? How about those in all other countries around the world, western, socialist, communist, because they all have similar if not exactly the same policies?

    How many people are we talking about here? Tens of thousands? Hundreds of thousands? How about millions world-wide? Are they all in on it too?

    I wonder if all of these people secretly do not give their children immunizations. Or maybe they have special immunizations all the other guinea pigs don’t know about…all part of the conspiracy.

    I wonder why pharma would be consciously choosing to harm people through some ingeniously insidious means…immunizations have clearly wiped out many diseases and beat down the rest. Every single one has been effective in reducing the incidence of its targeted disease. It seems to me if they were really about making money off of this, they wouldn’t make them work so well. or better yet, have it not work at all. There’s far, far more money to be made by selling high-margin drug treatments for these diseases rather make relatively nothing selling cheap vaccinations that one needs very rarely over their lifetime. The measles outbreak in the 90′s cost American’s over $9,000 per child (unvaccinated children) for treatments. Seems to me there’s quite a bit more to be made letting kids get these diseases.

    The big conspiracy. Pharma. Scientists. Doctors. The government. Heck, all governments. All to make relatively nothing, riding the world of diseases they should be making more money off of to begin with.

    Did I miss anything?

  17. #17 RJ
    July 10, 2008

    Orac, Craig…

    Craig is correct when pointing out there are alternative formulations for vaccines that do have thimerosal in them. The point though is Craig, that children are vaccinated according to the schedule and do not receive those vaccinations. That is, once they receive one type of DPT, they are not subsequently re-inoculated with another, thimerosal-containing DT or tetanus-only vaccine.

    Furthermore, doctors typically do not give thimerosal-containing vaccines anymore. That does not mean that alternative vaccines with thimerosal are not available. You can look at the sales figures for each of the variants and see that the ones without are predominantly used.

    The total number of vaccines the typical child is exposed to with thimerosal as a component can be considered, on any and all relevant quantitative levels, zero.

  18. #18 Craig Willoughby
    July 10, 2008

    RJ, I don’t disagree with you in the least. I was just pointing out that there are still a few TCV’s out there that are still being used. Not as much as there were 5 years ago, but there are still some out there.

  19. #19 RJ
    July 10, 2008

    Craig,

    Gotcha! Just trying to be of help.

    Hey folks! Anybody look at tomorrow’s issue of Science yet?

    If you have a subscription/access, you might want to take a look!

  20. #20 Yoo
    July 10, 2008

    The current outbreak of measles is just depressing, considering that we probably wouldn’t be having this problem if it weren’t for the anti-vaccination movement. Especially since studies have shown that their claims about the harm of vaccines are way overblown, if they exist at all, whereas people are demonstrably getting the measles.

  21. #21 Ms. Clark
    July 10, 2008

    http://www.kirotv.com/health/16844318/detail.html

    Pertussis outbreak in Washington state.

  22. #22 Chris Noble
    July 10, 2008

    You mean trace thimerosal. Indeed, there was trace thimerosal in some vaccines after 2001, but at concentrations far lower than what they were before.

    But doesn’t diluting something make it stronger?

  23. #23 stillz
    July 11, 2008

    As for all of this talk how there is no proof that vaccines cause autims – I say: There is no proof that vaccines prevent any sickness. Therefore, the only intelligent thing to do is to not take vaccines or administer them to your kids.

    A recent study by the University of Calgary unveiled concrete evidence that mercury ions alter the cell-membrane of deveoping neurons in babies and young children, directly contributing to autism:

    http://commons.ucalgary.ca/mercury/
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5WNLOjmAiw

    Also, consider the case of Bayer Pharmaceuticals, who deliberately dumped a vaccine that was known to be contaminated with AIDS virus on the European and Latin American market after it killed people in America. Thousands died from an action that the U.S. government allowed to happen through the FDA:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XS3mhjt7TrY

    By administering vaccines, you are putting your kids “at risk” for increasing the likelyhood of them having autism – just look at the statisics over the past twenty-thirty years. I would much rather be sick with the flu for a few days then have autism.

    To those who believe that vaccines are all good and necessary, I say: Why did the vaccine manufacturers lie about taking out the Mercury when “Therimisol” is clearly printed on the inserts, moron?

    For those on the fence, a friendly reminder:
    There is no law in America, aside from those applying to medical workers, that says you or your child has to take any vaccine whatsoever, no matter what any executive order, requirement, mandate or policy dictates, there is no situation where you can go to prison for refusing a government vaccine under the U.S. constitution and the law of the land.

    The mass media drumbeat constantly conditions people to believe that if they don’t take their shots they will be kicked out of school, arrested and thrown in jail. This trick will continue to hoodwink Americans into taking all manner of dangerous and untested vaccines, the number of which rises every year, until they realize that there is no law that forces them to take any vaccine.

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

    Enjoy your vaccines, and the propaganda the multibillion dollar pharm industry is pumping out, because it is obviously you they care about, and not their bottom lines!!!

  24. #24 ebohlman
    July 12, 2008

    I would much rather be sick with the flu for a few days then have autism.

    If it makes you sick for “a few days” it ain’t the flu. Flu makes you sick for a few weeks. Lots of people don’t take the flu seriously because they confuse it with far less serious respiratory infections (or with GI infections).

  25. #25 HCN
    July 12, 2008

    stillz, videos and random websites are not evidence enough. Try some actual science.

  26. #26 HCN
    July 12, 2008

    Oh, I see stillz has also played the pharma-shill gambit:
    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2006/09/the_pharma_shill_gambit_1.php

    Oh, these are scienitific papers:
    Mercury Levels in Newborns and Infants after Receipt of Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines
    Authors: Pichichero ME, Gentile A, Giglio N, et al
    Source: Pediatrics, February 2008; 121(2) e208-214

    Mercury, Vaccines, And Autism: One Controversy, Three Histories
    Author: Baker JP
    Source: American Journal of Public Health, February 2008;98(2): 244-253

    Continuing Increases in Autism Reported to California’s Developmental Services System: Mercury in Retrograde
    Authors: Schechter R, Grether JK
    Source: Arch Gen Psychiatry, January 2008; 65(1):19-24

    Early Thimerosal Exposure and Neuropsychological Outcomes at 7 to 10 Years
    Authors: Thompson WW, Price C, Goodson B, et al; Vaccine Safety Datalink Team
    Source: N Engl J Med, Sep 27, 2007; 357(13):1281-1292

    Lack of Association between Rh Status, Rh Immune Globulin in Pregnancy and Autism
    Authors: Miles JH, Takahashi TN
    Source: Am J Med Genet, May 16, 2007

    Thimerosal in Vaccines: Balancing the Risk of Adverse Effects with the Risk of Vaccine-Preventable Disease
    Authors: Bigham M, Copes R
    Source: Drug Safety, 2005, Vol. 28(2):89-101

    Thimerosal Exposure in Infants and Developmental Disorders: A Prospective Cohort Study in the United Kingdom Does Not Support a Causal Association
    Authors: Heron J, Golding J, ALSPAC Study Team
    Source: Pediatrics, September 2004, Vol. 114(3):577-583

    Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines and Autistic Spectrum Disorder: A Critical Review of Published Original Data
    Authors: Parker SK, Schwartz B, Todd J, Pickering LK
    Source: Pediatrics, September 2004, Vol. 114(3):793-804

    Thimerosal in Vaccines: A Regulatory Prespective WHO Consultation, Geneva, 15-16 April 2002
    Authors: Knezevic I, Griffiths E, Reigel F, Dobbelaer R
    Source: Vaccine, May 7, 2004, Vol. 22(15-16):1836-41

    The Evidence for the Safety of Thimerosal in Newborn and Infant Vaccines
    Author: Clements CJ
    Source: Vaccine, May 7, 2004, Vol. 22(15-16):1854-1861

    Safety of Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines: A Two-Phased Study of Computerized Health Maintenance Organization Databases
    Authors: Verstraeten T, Davis RL, DeStefano F, et al
    Source: Pediatrics, November 2003, Vol. 112(5):1039-1048

    Association Between Thimerosal-Containing Vaccine and Autism
    Authors: Hviid A, Stellfeld M, Wohlfahrt J, Melbye M
    Source: Journal of the American Medical Association, October 1, 2003, Vol. 290(13):1763-6

    Thimerosal and the Occurrence of Autism: Negative Ecological Evidence from Danish Population-Based Data
    Authors: Madsen KM, Lauritsen MB, Pedersen CB, et al
    Source: Pediatrics, Sept. 2003, Vol. 112(3 Pt 1):604-606

    Autism and Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines. Lack of Consistent Evidence for an Association
    Authors: Stehr-Green P, Tull P, Stellfeld M, Mortenson PB, Simpson D
    Source: American Journal of Preventive Medicine, August 2003, Vol. 25(2):101-6

    Vaccine Safety Policy Analysis in Three European Countries: The Case of Thimerosal
    Authors: Freed GL, Andreae MC, Cowan AE, et al
    Source: Health Policy, December 2002, Vol. 62(3):291-307

  27. #27 trrll
    July 12, 2008

    As for all of this talk how there is no proof that vaccines cause autims – I say: There is no proof that vaccines prevent any sickness.

    Comments like this are useful, because they reveal just how extreme the lunacy of antivaccine fanatics really is.

    So do you think that it is pure coincidence that polio disappeared in the US only after a vaccine was developed, and that it persists only in those parts of the world where the populace is not well vaccinated?

    And how about measles, an extraordinarily virulent disease that can damage the brain and heart, causing death, disability, and mental retardation? Is it just coincidence that it disappeared from the US only after a vaccine was developed, and that the only US outbreaks today occur when a visitor from a country where the populace is not vaccinated against measles comes into contact (and with a disease as virulent as measles, “contact” can mean a hundred feet away) with unvaccinated US citizens?

    And how about smallpox? Why did it disappear? Coincidence again?

    Can you name any major illness that has been eradicated in a country without vaccination being involved?

  28. #28 Ken
    July 12, 2008

    Can you name any major illness that has been eradicated in a country without vaccination being involved?

    No, Stillz cannot provide that example. He can only repeat the talking points fed to him by AgeOfAutism, Whale.to, GenRescue, and Jenny McCarthy.

  29. #29 trrll
    July 13, 2008

    If it makes you sick for “a few days” it ain’t the flu. Flu makes you sick for a few weeks.

    That’s if you survive. Your run-of-the-mill flu season kills maybe half a million people worldwide, mostly children and elderly. Once in a while, you get a nasty strain that is good at killing healthy adults–the death toll from the Spanish Flu is estimated at 50-100 million.

  30. #30 Lucas McCarty
    July 13, 2008

    Please excuse my langauge.

    What the flying fuck of a shit-stick is a ‘mercury ion’ when it’s at home banging your mum?

  31. #31 stillz
    July 14, 2008

    If you read the articles and still think vaccines are safe, then godspeed….

    Mercury in Flu Vaccinations five times the CDC’s safe level reccomendation
    http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/october2004/201004fivetimes.htm

    Bush To Veto Ban On Mercury In Vaccines
    http://infowars.net/articles/july2007/200707Mercury.htm

    Critics ask why flu shot doesn’t match strain:
    Mercury in vaccine found to be 250 times higher than recommended
    WorldNetDailyl | January 20, 2004
    http://www.prisonplanet.com/Pages/090604_mercury_vaccine.html

    Mercury in Childhood Vaccines: What Did the Government Know?
    WFAA-TV Dallas
    http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/october2004/201004mercuryinchildhood.htm

    New York bans mercury in vaccines / In Pharma | June 29 2005
    http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/june2005/290605bansmercury.htm

    Study Shows Decline in Neurodevelopmental Disorders After Removal of Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines / A Champ | March 2 2006
    http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/march2006/020306Neurodevelopmental.htm

    New study links mercury to autism
    Level of disorder dropped dramatically after element removed from vaccines / World Net Daily | March 3 2006
    http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/march2006/030306_b_mercury.htm

    New England families sue over mercury in childhood vaccines
    AP
    Monday, November 20, 2006
    http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/november2006/201106_b_vaccines.htm

    How Mercury Kills the Brain
    http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/september2007/280907Mercury.htm

    Michael Wagnitz: Research supports mercury-autism link
    Michael Wagnitz
    Capital Times
    Wednesday, February 28, 2007
    http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/february2007/280207Wagnitz.htm

    Nationwide Revolt Against Dangerous Vaccines Accelerates
    http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/october2007/181007_dangerous_vaccines.htm

    Dr Daniel Dantini, a renowned researcher on delayed food allergies, decided to elaborate on his own theories.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7op0m8BtmY

    Dr. Mary Megson Speaks on Autism Epidemic and Vaccines
    Dr. Mary Megson, a developmental pediatrician, speaks on the Autism Epidemic and its relation to the US Vaccination program and her treatments to help reverse autism at Press Conference after Mercury-free Vaccine Rally outside the CDC in Atlanta, Ga on 6/8/2007.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6yIncJnx4U

    Polio cases jump in Pakistan as clerics declare vaccination an American plot
    Declan Walsh
    London Guardian
    Wednesday, February 14, 2007
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/feb/15/pakistan.topstories3

    No Law To Mandate Dangerous, Untested HPV Vaccine
    Media hoax fools parents into thinking Merck shots are mandatory, big pharma laughs as obscene profits roll in
    http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/february2007/060207nolaw.htm

    Newborn vaccinated over parents’ objections
    Orwellian nightmare for ‘persecuted’ couple
    as armed guards ensure infant’s vaccination
    By Diana Lynne
    © 2008 WorldNetDaily.com
    http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?pageId=19338

    Absurd Vaccine Marketing — Cervical Cancer Vaccinations for Boys
    Mercola.com
    Saturday September 29, 2007
    http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/september2007/290907Vaccine.htm

    Merck to Halt Lobbying for Vaccine for Girls
    Sign In to E-Mail or Save This
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    By ANDREW POLLACK and STEPHANIE SAUL
    Published: February 21, 2007
    Reacting to a furor from some parents, advocacy groups and public health experts, Merck said yesterday that it would stop lobbying state legislatures to require the use of its new cervical cancer vaccine.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/21/business/21merck.html?_r=3&hp=&adxnnl=1&oref=slogin&adxnnlx=1172015658-ZnY/5A3YiREYGi26iRi1Tw&oref=slogin

    An AIDS vaccine in your cereal? It could really happen
    KATU News | December 14 2004
    http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/december2004/141204aidsvaccine.htm

    Vaccine officials knew about MMR risks
    Mark Watts and Christopher Hope
    London Telegraph
    Monday, March 5, 2007
    Government officials were made aware of some problems with a version of the MMR vaccine in other countries but still introduced it in Britain in the late 1980s, newly released documents show.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1544592/Vaccine-officials-knew-about-MMR-risks.html

    SV40, Polio Vaccine, and Cancer: Now Beyond Coincidence?
    http://www.vaccinationnews.com | 27 April 2002
    http://www.vaccinationnews.com/DailyNews/May2002/SV40PolioVax&CancerBeyondCoincidence.htm

    Polio Vaccines Are Causing Cancer
    http://www.mercola.com | June 21 2003
    Many studies have reported the presence of simian virus 40 (SV40) or protein in human brain tumors and bone cancers, malignant mesothelioma, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, however many of the studies were small or lacking control groups, which made it difficult to determine whether they were reliable.
    http://www.prisonplanet.com/Pages/100604_polio_vaccine_cancer2.html

    Officials say drug caused Nigeria polio
    MARIA CHENG
    AP
    Sunday October 07, 2007
    http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/october2007/071007polio.htm

    Contaminated vaccine may cause cancer
    http://suewidemark.com/vaccine_contam.htm

    Why You Should Avoid Taking Vaccines
    Dr. James Howenstine, MD.
    Dr. James R. Shannon, former director of the National institute of health declared, “the only safe vaccine is one that is never used.”
    http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/october2004/201004shouldavoid.htm

    Japan’s Great Lesson: Compulsary flu vaccines reveal no benefit and actually cause more Flu and Vaccine related deaths
    http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/october2004/201004greatlesson.htm

    More articles found here:
    http://www.prisonplanet.com/archives/vaccines/index.htm

    Row over autism link to vaccines

    Polio Vaccine Contaminated With Cancer Given to Millions of Americans

    The AIDS virus: Made in the USA?

    Russian Prosecutors Launch Probe Into Vaccine Tests on Children

    Three people die after receiving flu vaccinations

    Flu shot left executive paralyzed

    $75000 Offered For MD to Publicly Drink Vaccine Additives

    Pentagon restarting mass vaccinations despite health fears

    UK Government In Secret Payments For Childhood Vaccine Damage

    The needle and the damage done

    External links to articles about vaccine dangers

    Meningitis vaccinations ‘blamed’ for rise in deaths

    US Military Finds That Anthrax Shots May Cause Birth Defects

    Kenyan Nobel peace laureate claims AIDS virus deliberately created

  32. #32 HCN
    July 14, 2008

    Thanks to stillz, we now know where to NOT get reliable information!

    Exactly where it the real science in any of the mess? Where are the peer reviewed articles?

    Why should we care what stillz has to say?

  33. #33 stillz
    July 15, 2008

    HCN, you don’t have to care what I say.

    I don’t care if you drink fluoride and take vaccines.

    I care if people who have kids who don’t know the dangers of vaccines unknowingly give their kids vaccines without having done the research and seen the studies that show it has devistating developmental effects. If you have done that research and are still determined to vaccinate your children, then it’s on you.

    Thanks for at least looking at the articles HCN….

  34. #34 HCN
    July 15, 2008

    Actually, you are not giving reliable information, but just a bunch of silly articles from biased sources (and youtube videos also do not count as good sources). It looks like you have not read much of this blog. I would suggest you take a gander at a few of the articles that Orac has written.

    Some are actually on the type of sources you have mentioned. For instance, the World Net Daily is sometimes called the “Wing Nut Daily”, one of the editors has a son who goes by the name “Vox Day”. Search for articles on this blog on “Vox Day” for some amusing stuff. The same goes for the “Mike Adams”.

    What kind of loony tunes website is “prisonplanet”? It looks more like a political conspiracy site rather than scientific. If you do a search on this website for “Alex Jones” you’ll get an idea of how well that nut is regarded in the commetns.

    Now for real information, you are better off checking out stuff that comes out of university medical research and epidemiologists. Some of that is available at medlineplus.gov. Also there is the CDC Pink Book, http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/pink-chapters.htm and the NHS Green Book, http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_079917 .

  35. #35 stillz
    July 15, 2008

    HCN, I had made it clear I don’t care about you taking vaccines, in fact I encourage you to sterilize yourself and kill off millions of your neuro-pathways with mercury.

    Since we are exchanging friendly criticisms, you are likening yourself to that of Bill Kristol, and Sean Hannity, when you start calling names like “loony” or “wing nut”. It demonstrates that you are not objective in the info you examine but are attempting a sophomoric tactic of pigeonholing respectable news sources and scientists, who have the general welfare of the American people at heart, into the category of “conspiracy theory”, one of the most lazy and obvious tactics shills use, rather than using your “vast” knowledge to discredit the articles I have listed scientifically. Thanks for your links to the CDC site – A reputable source I might add (laughing).

    The CDC are the ones constantly pushing for Fluoridated water, fluoride being the chemical Nazi scientist added to the Concentration camps water supplies to keep prisoners docile, and less likely to escape the camps, and less likely to organize an uprising. I suppose you think fluoride is good because the CDC says so, disregarding all “modern” science that says it has no medical benefit, and has been categorized as a carcinogen that causes birth defects, weakening of bone mass, neurotoxicity, lowering of IQ, impairs the immune system, causes “skeletal Fluorosis” . It has been concluded to cause “Fluorosis” and a systematic retardation and debilitation in its users. This is a substance your “non-loony” and loving but blatantly wrong CDC is trying to feed our children and us through municipal water supplies! Not to change the topic to Fluoride, but if the CDC was interested in my health, I think they would take a second look at fluoride, and reconsider forcing it down my childrens throat; since they are as pro-fluoride as you can get, I HAVE TO WONDER WHO’S INTEREST THEY REALLY HAVE AT HEART.

    In my mind the CDC is like the Catholic Church back in the 1500′s which threatened to burn Galileo and other scientists at the stake for their insightful proponence to heliocentric Copernicanism – a concept that is so obviously reality, well, you are just an idiot if you believe the universe revolves around the earth. HCN, it would seem that you would just as soon burn all data that had not originated with paid off shills at the CDC, or rather, just dismiss it as loony, when the data in the articles I provided is produced by the scientists who have children, and don’t want them becoming autistic or mentally retarded. It’s as if, sir, you are the King, who expects me to take the word of the Vatican as the truth and to not question it! Sorry man, I am not that stupid, and Americans who think for themselves are starting to wake up to this eugenics program.

    HCN, clearly you are cut from the cloth of these organizations (CDC), possibly even paid by them or other corporate pharmaceutical companies, with black pentagon budgets. Even if you don’t collect a check, you are still a peon shill, so for that congratulations.

  36. #36 stillz
    July 15, 2008

    I will say this as well: I am sure that somewhere along the way the vaccine program was genuine, and had good intentions. At what point did it get taken over by people who want to make our children retarded, I don’t know, but what the program is now is dispicable.

    Maybe at some point when all of the real science prevails, we can get back to helping people not suffer and die from disease, until then, we need to pay careful attention to the forces that control the marionettes, for they are not truly your brothers keeper.

  37. #37 HCN
    July 15, 2008

    stillz said “At what point did it get taken over by people who want to make our children retarded, I don’t know, but what the program is now is dispicable.”

    R.i.g.h.t …
    http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/160/3/302

  38. #38 HCN
    July 15, 2008

    stillz said “Maybe at some point when all of the real science prevails,”

    What science have you posted? All you have done is post stuff from political and conspiracy sites.

    Which of the following are not “real science”?…

    Mercury Levels in Newborns and Infants after Receipt of Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines
    Authors: Pichichero ME, Gentile A, Giglio N, et al
    Source: Pediatrics, February 2008; 121(2) e208-214

    Mercury, Vaccines, And Autism: One Controversy, Three Histories
    Author: Baker JP
    Source: American Journal of Public Health, February 2008;98(2): 244-253

    Continuing Increases in Autism Reported to California’s Developmental Services System: Mercury in Retrograde
    Authors: Schechter R, Grether JK
    Source: Arch Gen Psychiatry, January 2008; 65(1):19-24

    Early Thimerosal Exposure and Neuropsychological Outcomes at 7 to 10 Years
    Authors: Thompson WW, Price C, Goodson B, et al; Vaccine Safety Datalink Team
    Source: N Engl J Med, Sep 27, 2007; 357(13):1281-1292

    Lack of Association between Rh Status, Rh Immune Globulin in Pregnancy and Autism
    Authors: Miles JH, Takahashi TN
    Source: Am J Med Genet, May 16, 2007

    Thimerosal in Vaccines: Balancing the Risk of Adverse Effects with the Risk of Vaccine-Preventable Disease
    Authors: Bigham M, Copes R
    Source: Drug Safety, 2005, Vol. 28(2):89-101

    Thimerosal Exposure in Infants and Developmental Disorders: A Prospective Cohort Study in the United Kingdom Does Not Support a Causal Association
    Authors: Heron J, Golding J, ALSPAC Study Team
    Source: Pediatrics, September 2004, Vol. 114(3):577-583

    Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines and Autistic Spectrum Disorder: A Critical Review of Published Original Data
    Authors: Parker SK, Schwartz B, Todd J, Pickering LK
    Source: Pediatrics, September 2004, Vol. 114(3):793-804

    Thimerosal in Vaccines: A Regulatory Prespective WHO Consultation, Geneva, 15-16 April 2002
    Authors: Knezevic I, Griffiths E, Reigel F, Dobbelaer R
    Source: Vaccine, May 7, 2004, Vol. 22(15-16):1836-41

    The Evidence for the Safety of Thimerosal in Newborn and Infant Vaccines
    Author: Clements CJ
    Source: Vaccine, May 7, 2004, Vol. 22(15-16):1854-1861

    Safety of Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines: A Two-Phased Study of Computerized Health Maintenance Organization Databases
    Authors: Verstraeten T, Davis RL, DeStefano F, et al
    Source: Pediatrics, November 2003, Vol. 112(5):1039-1048

    Association Between Thimerosal-Containing Vaccine and Autism
    Authors: Hviid A, Stellfeld M, Wohlfahrt J, Melbye M
    Source: Journal of the American Medical Association, October 1, 2003, Vol. 290(13):1763-6

    Thimerosal and the Occurrence of Autism: Negative Ecological Evidence from Danish Population-Based Data
    Authors: Madsen KM, Lauritsen MB, Pedersen CB, et al
    Source: Pediatrics, Sept. 2003, Vol. 112(3 Pt 1):604-606

    Autism and Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines. Lack of Consistent Evidence for an Association
    Authors: Stehr-Green P, Tull P, Stellfeld M, Mortenson PB, Simpson D
    Source: American Journal of Preventive Medicine, August 2003, Vol. 25(2):101-6

    Vaccine Safety Policy Analysis in Three European Countries: The Case of Thimerosal
    Authors: Freed GL, Andreae MC, Cowan AE, et al
    Source: Health Policy, December 2002, Vol. 62(3):291-307

  39. #39 stillz
    July 15, 2008

    HCN, Thanks for your link. I know that the bulk of scientists out there signed up with intentions of helping mankind and have good in their souls but like I said, it is not the marionettes, but the puppet masters that we should educate ourselves about.

    The fathers of eugenics want to maime and kill our children – the Vaccine program is an excellent example of that.

    Anyways, for those who have some doubt, take 2 hours and watch Endgame. It might be the best two hours you have spent.

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1070329053600562261

  40. #40 HCN
    July 15, 2008

    stillz: “The fathers of eugenics want to maime and kill our children – the Vaccine program is an excellent example of that.”

    Godwin, you lose.

  41. #41 stillz
    July 15, 2008

    pardon?

  42. #42 HCN
    July 15, 2008

    Actually you lost earlier with this “The CDC are the ones constantly pushing for Fluoridated water, fluoride being the chemical Nazi scientist added to the Concentration camps water supplies to keep prisoners docile, and less likely to escape the camps, and less likely to organize an uprising.”

    See:
    http://rationalwiki.com/wiki/Godwin%27s_Law

  43. #43 stillz
    July 15, 2008

    Nice, you are a dipshit. enjoy your mercury.

  44. #44 HCN
    July 15, 2008

    Oh my ed…
    http://forums.randi.org/tags.php?tag=alex+jones

    Okay, so this guy is from Austin, TX. Little does he know that the well water in Central Texas contains many mineral, including naturally occurring fluoride (it was kids drinking well water who had very few caries that anyone realized what the effect was) When my dad was stationed in Ft. Hood, TX our well water had lots of sulfur in it, my skin cleared up very well from that stuff.

    Anyway, you do seem to be trying to be sincere, but seriously you are having trouble separating fact from fantasy. While you are still in high school try to sign up for the harder classes like Pre-Calc, biology, chemistry and physics, and then try to take some science and math classes at your local community college. It might help you figure out how to read the science, and actually understand it.

    You also need to work on expanding your reading material. I would suggest you start with “Them” by Jon Ronson (it has a bit on it with Alex Jones, I am re-reading that chapter from where he posted it on the JREF forum). Then read “Vaccine” by Arthur Allen and “Vaccinated” by Paul Offit. Some general history books won’t hurt either… I recently read a couple of books by Dave Neiwert (his blog is on the roll to the left of this page, Orcinius). One was “Strawberry Days” and the other was “In God’s Country”. You can usually find these books in your local library (ed forbid me from being accused of being a bookstore shill, just like you called me a pharma-shill — which is a classic “I don’t have a real argument” tactic).

    Now go to the library and get a clue.

    By the way, my interest in this subject has to do with having a health impaired child who relied on herd immunity for pertussis. Except at that time our county was having a pertussis epidemic. It was at about the same time over 120 Americans died from measles due to under vaccination.

  45. #45 HCN
    July 15, 2008

    stillz “Nice, you are a dipshit. enjoy your mercury.”

    You are the one that brought up the Nazis.

    Also, it does not seem to have sunk in your head that the pediatric vaccines have not thimerosal. I have asked you multiple times to show me what real evidence shows that the DTaP is more dangerous than pertussis, diphtheria and tetanus.

    Also, most of the mercury one ingests is from fish. And yes, I do enjoy eating fish. Most of the mercury I get is from the tuna in sushi at a local restaurant.

  46. #46 HCN
    July 15, 2008

    stillz, here is a graphical explanation of Godwin’s Law, and other useful information that you might try:
    http://www.videojug.com/film/how-to-behave-on-an-internet-forum

    (it was posted on another Scienceblog blog)

  47. #47 barbie123
    July 16, 2008

    um, Stillz, who are these people? the ones who “took over” and want to “make our children retarded”?

    and what is their Grand Plan, exactly?

    Just curious.