Respectful Insolence

ResearchBlogging.orgThis is getting to be monotonous, but it’s a monotony that I like, as should anyone who supports scientific medicine and hates the resurgence of infectious diseases that antivaccinationists have been causing of late with their fearmongering about vaccines that frightens parents into refusing to vaccinate their children. It’s the drumbeat of studies, seemingly coming out every few months, that fail to find even a whiff of a link or correlation between vaccines, thimerosal-containing or otherwise, and autism. You’d think that the pseudoscientists who are so utterly convinced that it absolutely, positively has to be the vaccines causing autism and that if it isn’t vaccines must be causing some horrible chronic health problem or other would have gotten the message by now. It doesn’t matter that the pace of these studies has been accelerating, with one last fall that showed no link between vaccines and non-autism neurodevelopmental disorders, followed by another study that showed no link between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism, followed in even more rapid succession by yet another study that failed to find a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. That list doesn’t even take into account studies from the year before that that trashed the concept of the “autism epidemic” and failed to find any correlation between vaccines and autism.

Yesterday evening, yet another study failing to find a link between MMR and autism, this time out of Columbia University, was released. Even better, the first author on the study is Mady Hornig, who became a hero of the mercury militia a three years ago with her infamous “rain mouse” study, in which she performed experiments of dubious ethics on some very unlucky lab mice and claimed it was “evidence” that thimerosal caused autism. She was even a common speaker at mercury militia–excuse me, I mean National Autism Association (NAA) –events, along with hard core members Boyd Haley, Richard Deth, Mark Blaxill, Jeff Bradstreet, and others, as well a speaker for FAIR Autism Media, along with Mark and David Geier, Thomas Burbacher, Boyd Haley (again), Andrew Wakefield himself, and many others. The paper reporting her study is even hosted on the NAA website, as well as that of SAFEMINDS.Unfortunately, her experiments were anything but evidence supporting a link between thimerosal and autism, just as these endorsements imply.

This latest study makes me think that perhaps Dr. Hornig, contemplating her descent into antivaccine pseudoscience, may have had a “come to Jesus” moment and is trying to regain her scientific mojo (although I’ll only really believe that when I see her give up trying to show that thimerosal causes autism using her mouse model). Either that, or she figured out that flirting with the band of pseudoscientists and ideologues making up the antivaccine movement is the surest way to kill her scientific career deader than dead and thereby end up working in the basement of her house like Geier, père et fils. In other words, perhaps she decided that tenure and a continued scientific career meant more to her than the momentary notoriety and adulation that come from being the darling of the mercury militia.

Whatever the case, Dr. Hornig has done a study with W. Ian Lipkin as the senior author published in PLoS ONE entitled, Lack of Association Between Measles Virus Vaccine and Autism with Enteropathy: A Case-Control Study. Before I get to the study itself, let’s look at the news report:

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Scientists who tried to replicate a study that once tied a measles vaccine with autism said Wednesday they could not find any link and hope their study will encourage parents to vaccinate their children to combat a rash of measles outbreaks.

Parents’ refusals to have their children vaccinated against measles have contributed to the highest numbers of cases seen in in the United States and parts of Europe in many years.

Measles kills about 250,000 people a year globally, mostly children in poor nations.

Yes! I love it when a mainstream news article lays out the price of antivaccination idiocy right there near the beginning. The beauty of this study is that it tried to replicate the original study done by Andrew Wakefield (you know, the one that was bought and paid for by trial lawyers). As you may recall, ten years ago, Wakefield published a paper in The Lancet describing a series of children with regressive autism and gastrointestinal complaints. He described intestinal abnormalities, including reactive lymphoid hyperplasia in the ileum, and the parents of several of these children reported the onset of symptoms temporally related to the MMR. This led to the hypothesis that the MMR was associated with autism and GI complaints, and what later followed were additional papers that purported to find measles RNA in the gut of autistic children.

Thus was born the MMR scare in the U.K., a scare that, a decade later, has resulted in the resurgence of the measles in there to the point that it has become endemic again a mere 14 years after having been declared under control. Sadly, he had lots of help from the press, which published credulous inanities about this link, regardless of how shoddy the science was (and shoddy it was indeed).

Basically, the design of the study was pretty simple, and, better yet, it was an intentional attempt to replicate the research of Andrew Wakefield using rigorous methodology. The design was a case control study in which children with autism and GI problems were compared to children with GI problems and no autism for a number of parameters, including MMR vaccination and the presence of measles virus RNA in the gut of children who underwent endoscopy. The overall approach was to determine whether children with autism and GI symptoms were more likely to have detectable measles virus RNA in the gut. The result?

Zero correlation. Nada. Zip. One out of the 25 autistic children in the study had detectable measles virus RNA present in their biopsies, while one out of the 13 children without autism also had detectable measles virus RNA present. There was not even a hint of a statistically significant difference between the groups, nor was there a correlation between the timing of the MMR vaccination and the onset of autism or GI symptoms. Basically, this study was negative, and very strong evidence against the contention that MMR causes autism or chronic GI problems. So strong was the evidence that even Rick Rollens grudgingly admitted it in a back-handed way:

“No longer can mainstream medicine ignore parents’ claims of clinically significant GI distress,” said Rick Rollens, a parent and autism research advocate.

He commended the researchers for their work but said, “This study by itself does not exonerate the role of all vaccines.”

Sound familiar? It’s just like the thimerosal shuffle. As studies come out exonerating thimerosal as a cause of autism, antivaccinationists invoke other “toxins,” sometimes going to ridiculous contortions to do it. Because, you know, it’s absolutely, postively, got to be something in the vaccines. It’s the same thing here. The MMR has been exonerated as a cause of autism, but Rollens knows that it’s just absolutely, positively got to be some vaccine that causes autism.

One observation that came out of this study is that there is indeed a correlation between GI complaints and regressive autism. Neither are associated with the MMR, but they are associated with each other. This is certainly an observation that should be followed up with further study; what this study contributes is that it frees researchers to stop wasting precious research dollars studying the hypothesis that MMR causes autism. It doesn’t. Between a previous study by Baird et al and the current one, among others, the science is quite clear that there is no link between MMR and autism.

The reaction to this study by the antivaccine contingent is instructive. There are two main reactions, the ridiculous and the even more ridiculous. To understand just the ridiculous, you first need to know that this study had a very interesting design aspect. All the samples were sent to three different laboratories for analysis, completely blinded so that the labs didn’t know which experimental group each patient was in, and tests of concordance were done, to verify that the three labs agreed. Prior to the beginning of the study, the three labs were tested with positive and negative controls. So what? You ask. Let’s go back to a discussion of the Autism Omnibus last year, where polymerase chain reaction (PCR) expert Stephen Bustin examined John O’Leary’s laboratory, where the the reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR) was performed to detect measles RNA. Bustin demolished the methodology of that laboratory demonstrating conclusively that the “postives” detected were all false positives made possible by plasmid contamination, as I discussed here and Kev has also discussed.

The O’Leary laboratory was one of the three labs used in this study.

Let’s put it this way. A little birdie told me that David Kirby himself was in on a teleconference for reporters about this study held yesterday and that he asked a lot of questions about the O’Leary lab. I’ve also heard rumblings from the antivaccination underground that the talking point will be that this study is a “two-edged sword” in that it supposedly the fact that the O’Leary lab performed competently now somehow exonerates its horrible performance several years ago. It doesn’t. Bustin’s deconstruction of the methodology in use at the O’Leary lab at the time was devastating, demonstrating a level of incompetence beyond belief. What is far more likely is that O’Leary was forced to clean up his act and tighten up lab discipline in order to be included as one of the labs in this study. Still, don’t be surprised if David Kirby posts (or has in the interim between when I wrote this and it posted to this blog posted) yet another one of his Huffington Post obfuscations claiming that this new study, because the O’Leary lab did OK this time, somehow rehabilitates Andrew Wakefield and that we should take another look at his original results.. Don’t fall for that line. The same little birdie also told me that Kirby asked questions about the Michelle Cedillo case, which is in essence a non sequitur. However, apparently Cedillo’s biopsy samples were also processed by Dr. O’Leary’s lab, and Kirby seems to think that maybe this study could therefore be used to support her test case in the Autism Omnibus. Again, don’t fall for that line; it’s virtually certain that Dr. O’Leary must have cleaned up his act. Remember, his lab was tested before it was allowed to process real patient samples from this study.

Finally, predictably, the Wendy Fournier of the National Autism Society was first off the mark with her criticism, and a truly laughable bunch of nonsense it is. Amusingly, she starts out by calling this a “CDC study.” Actually, it’s a study out of Columbia University, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University, Trinity College in Dublin, and the Measles, Mumps, Rubella, and Herpesvirus Laboratory and the Branch National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control., and its funding came from CDC grant U50 CCU522351 to AAP and by National Institutes of Health awards AI57158 (Northeast Biodefense Center-Lipkin), HL083850, and NS47537. Predictably, Fournier wants to make this sound like a conspiracy of some sort or imply conflict of interest. Of course, she neglects the fact that investigators Mady Hornig and John O’Leary, among others, were until this study heroes of the antivaccine movement. Some conspiracy.

Fournier’s “complaints” are lame in the extreme:

The CDC study was designed to detect persistent measles virus in autistic children with GI problems. The assumption being if there is no measles virus at the long delayed time of biopsy, there is no link between autism and MMR. But NAA says this underlying assumption is wrong. The questions should have been: Do normally developing children meeting all milestones have an MMR shot, develop GI problems and then regress into autism? Do they have evidence of measles and disease in their colons compared to non-vaccinated age and sex matched controls

Point one: The study didn’t just look at the presence of measles virus in the gut. It also looked at the timing of MMR vaccination compared to a number of health parameters. Indeed, the authors analyzed not just whether MMR preceded symptoms but did statistical modeling of how long the interval between vaccination and symptoms was. The answer was that there was no correlation. Of course, Fournier’s whine is nothing more than an example of the old crank adage: “If you don’t like the answer, change the question.”

Point two: Does Fournier know how stupid her demand for checking non-vaccinated age- and sex-matched controls is? She clearly knows nothing about clinical research or medical ethics. Colonoscopy is an invasive procedure. Not only does it require general anaesthesia in small children, but there is a small but real risk of serious complications. It’s not a procedure to be done without a firm indication, which is what the investigators did. They selected children for whom colonoscopy was indicated based on their clinical presentation and symptoms. Doctors can’t just go around doing colonoscopies and gut biopsies on “control” children. In addition, even if she meant that the controls with GI problems should have been free of exposure to the MMR, that is a methodological obstacle that would be very difficult to overcome, given how few children of that age have not received the MMR, and if ths hypothesis being studied is that MMR is causative for autism, autistic enterocolitis, or enterocolitis itself, looking for correlation between receiving MMR before the onset of symptoms is a valid methodology to pursue to test that hypothesis. Of course, an understanding of medical ethics was never the strong suit of antivaccinationists.

Neither are statistics, as Fournier demonstrates:

In the current CDC study, only a small subgroup of children was the correct phenotype to study. From page 7, “Only 5 of 25 subjects (20%) had received MMR before the onset of GI complaints and had also had onset of GI episodes before the onset of AUT (P=0.03).” The other 20 autistic children in the study had GI problems but the pathology developed before the MMR vaccine. Additionally, the controls all received the MMR vaccine and had gastrointestinal symptoms. The controls should have been free of exposure to vaccine measles in order to make a comparison relevant for purposes of causation.

This analysis was the one of the major points of the study, the point being that there was no difference, statistically speaking, between the number of children in the autism + GI complaints and the GI complaints alone group, indicating that there was no association between having the MMR vaccination before the onset of symptoms and the development of symptoms. As for her complaint that all the controls received MMR and had GI symptoms, see my previous response. It applies here, too. The only grain of truth is that, yes, this study wasn’t all that large. It did, however, study four times the number of patients that Wakefield’s original study did, and it was far, far more rigorous in design and execution, including excellent blinding. Also, for reasons mentioned before, no study of this type is ever likely to achieve high numbers because it requires an invasive procedure. In any case, the study had more than adequate power for the questions answered and accrued enough patients to have highly statistically significant results.

The lamest of all, however, is this:

Inflammatory bowel disease in the absence of MMR RNA does not mean that MMR shot didn’t precipitate the GI disease and didn’t precipitate autism. A similar example would be rheumatic fever where the infection is cleared quickly but damage to the heart and/or brain last a lifetime.

Talk about moving the goalposts! Remember, the hypothesis being tested was Andrew Wakefield’s hypothesis, which was that somehow the persistence of the measles virus in the guts of children vaccinated with the MMR live virus vaccine contributed somehow to autism and “autistic enterocolitis,” not that the MMR contributed to autism or autistic enterocolitis via some sort of rheumatic fever-like mechanism. Now that this study has provided strong evidence falsifying that hypothesis, antivaccinationists like Fournier are moving the goalposts yet again. If it’s not the persistence of the measles virus from vaccines in the gut that causes autism, then it must be some other mechanism, because to the antivaccinationist it absolutely, positively has to be the vaccines. They just know it, and no amount of evidence will ever sway them to think otherwise.

If you don’t believe me, just read the comments after Age of Autism’s reprint of Wendy Fournier’s press release, for example:

How many sites in the intestine were biopsied? One?

If someone doesn’t want to find the vaccine-strain measles lurking in the gastrointestinal tract, it won’t be found.

The stupid, it burns. From the study itself:

Biopsy material was obtained from terminal ileum and cecum under direct supervision of the team gastroenterologist. For analyses of MV RNA, four random samples were taken from superficial mucosae of ileum and cecum. Additional specimens were acquired at sites indicative of inflammatory GI lesions, if present. All samples intended for RNA analysis were frozen immediately in coded tubes in liquid nitrogen and stored at −70°C until shipment to CU on dry ice. Frozen biopsy specimens were stored in a dedicated −70°C freezer until RNA extraction to avoid inadvertent contamination. A portion of each clinical pathology sample also was retained under blind for histopathologic analysis.

Complaint answered. Next:

OMG, this study is an f-ing joke! Do ya think that they didn’t find measles in the intestines because they didn’t really look?

Unfortunately, it looks like th joke is on us.

No, actually the joke is on Andrew Wakefield. On second thought, maybe the joke is on you too, but it wasn’t the CDC, the AAP, or vaccine scientists that played it on you.

It was Andrew Wakefield, and the same despicable joke of claiming that vaccines cause autismis being played on you by Jenny McCarthy, J.B. Handley, Wendy Fournier, Mark and David Geier, and all the other antivaccinationists are playing on autistic children and their parents. It’s a sick joke that needs to end now because it spreadss misinformation that endangers public health by frightening parents out of vaccinating their children. Unfortunately, only the parents who feed into it can end it. Certainly the pseudoscientists and autism cure industry that depend on the myth that vaccines cause autism never will.

REFERENCE:

1. Mady Hornig, Thomas Briese, Timothy Buie, Margaret L. Bauman, Gregory Lauwers, Ulrike Siemetzki, Kimberly Hummel, Paul A. Rota, William J. Bellini, John J. O’Leary, Orla Sheils, Errol Alden, Larry Pickering, W. Ian Lipkin, Mark R. Cookson (2008). Lack of Association between Measles Virus Vaccine and Autism with Enteropathy: A Case-Control Study PLoS ONE, 3 (9), 1-8 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0003140

ADDITIONAL COMMENTARY:

  1. MMR still doesn’t cause autism
  2. New MMR study makes the NAA angry
  3. The final nail in the coffin of the MMR vaccine-autism hypothesis
  4. MMR and Autism – No connection
  5. U.S. study clears measles vaccine of autism link
  6. Vaccination doesn’t cause autism volume what-are-we-up-to-now?
  7. NOW is it over?
  8. MMR Vaccine Does Not Cause Autism (not that you didn’t know that already)
  9. Antivax: new evidence shows (again) no link to autism
  10. New study finds no vaccine-autism link
  11. Study Says No MMR-Autism Link; NAA Says “Flawed”

Comments

  1. #1 Sullivan
    September 4, 2008

    One of the complaints is that the study didn’t find what they “should” because they were looking at the wrong group.

    They were attempting to recreate these results:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11950955

    Which showed something like 77% positives for measles RNA. It wasn’t replicated.

  2. #2 DLC
    September 4, 2008

    Sooner or later the antivax crowd will have moved the goalposts clear out of the stadium.

  3. #3 DT
    September 4, 2008

    Like you say, they will do and say absolutely anything to blame those nasty vaccines, no matter what. They are just pure eevil. Hence the rationalisation from Fournier: (now why do I think of gangrenous genitals each time I read her name?)

    “The controls all received the MMR vaccine, so it is possible that the GI pathology in controls, but not the autism, was caused by vaccine measles.”

    Yup, MMR doesn’t cause autism, so it just causes gut problems, OK?

  4. #4 mike stanton
    September 4, 2008

    While it is reasonable to take pleasure in the discomfiture of the anti-vaccinationists there are important consequences to this study.

    Firstly, new parents should be assured that MMR is safe and has no connection to autism.
    Secondly, if the MMR causation theory fails in the Omnibus proceedings before the special masters it will make it difficult totake it to open court. Imagine a decent attorney interviewig O’Leary about the disparity between his lab’s old results and his new results.
    Finally and probably most importantly for the autism community, there is a subset of autistic children with apparently intractable GI disorders that cause them immense distress. While it is not clear whether or not GI disorders are more prevalent with regard to regressive autism than they are in the mainstream, there sems to be a disproportionate amount of suffering involved. Now mainstream researchers can investigate this without risking the taint of association with the anti-vaxers, it may provide relief for these sufferers and their families.

  5. #5 llewelly
    September 4, 2008

    Doctors can’t just go around doing colonoscopies and gut biopsies on “control” children.

    Surely the CDC can afford a short jaunt to Area 51 where they can compare notes with UFOs that fly around doing thousands of colonoscopies each day?

  6. #6 I am so wise
    September 4, 2008

    I like this blog, but statements like this
    “either that, or she figured out that flirting with the band of pseudoscientists and ideologues making up the antivaccine movement was the surest way to kill her scientific career deader than dead”

    just provides fodder for the conspiracy mill. Expelled: The Vaccine edition will be built quotes like this.

  7. #7 Orac
    September 4, 2008

    You’re not going to get me to apologize for pointing out that becoming a pseudoscientist is one of the surest ways to kill a scientific career. It is and should be.

  8. #8 D. C. Sessions
    September 4, 2008

    Because, you know, it’s absolutely, postively, got to be something in the vaccines.

    It’s the dihydrogen monoxide.

  9. #9 Dangerous Bacon
    September 4, 2008

    “…bcoming a pseudoscientist is one of the surest ways to kill a scientific career.”

    Hey, it hasn’t bothered Boyd Haley (University of Kentucky chemistry professor and hero to the antifluoridation and antivax movements).

    Maybe the key is to maintain a base of respectability (preferably tenure) in one’s field while embracing looniness as a sideline.
    That way one can garner lots of attention (and potentially, outside speaking fees) while protecting one’s regular paycheck.

  10. #10 BGT
    September 4, 2008

    Cue Dawn and Undergraduate Girl in 3…2…1…

  11. #11 chris
    September 4, 2008

    I love this blog. I was at our pediatrician’s office last week, getting the 15 month check up for our daughter. Included were an MMR booster, varicella, and something else I can’t recall right now. I asked him if there had been any increase in parents questioning or objecting to the vaccines recently. He rolled his eyes and said, “well, there his been a litle bit of an upspike.”

    He asked if I knew the origins of the problem, assuming I wasn’t an objector. I replied, “Yes, the Wakefield study 10 years ago in Lancet that was since withdrawn and discredited.” He looked at me, realizing that I knew what I was talking about. Next time I’ll mention this study and ask him if other parents are aware of it.

    I know that’s not really a comment, I just wanted to say thanks. I appreciate having access to the information and analysis you provide.

  12. #12 Joseph
    September 4, 2008

    Well, one counter might be that Hornig et al. (2004) was a study with numerous and significant problems, which it clearly was, so why should we think a new study by Hornig is reliable? One thing’s for sure, though. The “conflicts of interest” canard does not apply to this study.

  13. #13 ozzy
    September 4, 2008

    The link between GI issues and autism makes a lot of sense scientifically. As the number of genetic mutations linked to autism grows it is more than likely than some of these mutations may also result in GI conditions. Gene products can have different functions in different cell types. Therefore, a dysfunctional protein that alters neuronal synapse functions or neuronal cell growth may result in overactivity of, let’s say, macrophages. I saw a presentation at a conference a few years back that showed just that. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find my notes to give you the specifics. I think that this is a much more plausible explanation than non-existent viruses and toxins.

  14. #14 Orodriguez
    September 4, 2008

    It’s posts like these that make me love this blog!!!

  15. #15 Craig Willoughby
    September 4, 2008

    I’m interested in your opinions about something. My son, who is severly autistic, has numerous GI issues. We just recently received his allergy tests back and found out that he is allergic to Wheat, Milk and sesame seeds. Does anyone know if this is common among autistic children? Additionally, if it is common, wouldn’t a GFCF diet benefit these children? Just curious, and for the sake of debate.

  16. #16 Rev Matt
    September 4, 2008

    Similar to what Chris noted, our pediatrician was very happy when we went in for shots and made clear that we understood the safety and efficacy of vaccines. And I turned her on to scienceblogs as well.

  17. #17 Mary Parsons
    September 4, 2008

    We just recently received his allergy tests back and found out that he is allergic to Wheat, Milk and sesame seeds. Does anyone know if this is common among autistic children? Additionally, if it is common, wouldn’t a GFCF diet benefit these children?

    Were these skin-prick tests or blood tests? If blood tests, did they test for IgE or IgG levels (some people refer to the latter as delayed allergy or intolerance)?

    There is a double-blind trial planned for the GFCF diet for children with behaviour on the autistic spectrum.

  18. #18 D. C. Sessions
    September 4, 2008

    The link between GI issues and autism makes a lot of sense scientifically. As the number of genetic mutations linked to autism grows it is more than likely than some of these mutations may also result in GI conditions.

    Especially considering the other close relationships between the GI and CNS. Polio certainly isn’t the only pathology that jumps that particular crack in the pavement.

  19. #19 Patrick
    September 4, 2008

    Glad to hear that Hornig et al attempted replication of the discredited study, and have learned from past critique(s) how to get their act together to produce a higher quality report/study product.

    Not glad to hear the usual suspects keep trying to put their ‘it wasn’t done right’ spin on it.

    DB,
    Boyd is making his current attempt at an end run around FDA regulations with his OSR ‘not a chelator, its a nutritional supplement’ product. He may yet end up on the less respectable list, or at least his duck and weave through the rules might get him there. (Already has in the opinion of a few, Kathleen/Neurodiversity.com has blogged a bit about this.)

    Craig,
    Some people claim it is common, others state it is totally unrelated. Didn’t you get the impression from this article that they studied kids with some pretty nasty GI issues that weren’t autistic? I assume you read the main post?

  20. #20 HCN
    September 4, 2008

    Lots of kids have GI issues, it is not limited to autistic kids. I’ve known of kids in my son’s special ed. preschool that had GI issues related to the motor control disabilities that landed them in that class (speech disorder caused by neurological motor control problems: often oral motor dyspraxia, some dysarthria and a fraction were autistic).

    For my two sons, the disabled kid had very few GI problems, most of my issues were with the younger “normal” child. Which is why I find it amusing that so much stress is put on this issue. Okay, that was anecdote, but most of the “my kid with autism has GI problems” are also anecdotes.

    Sometimes I think it is related to stress… the poor kids are stressed out over the parents hovering over them, taking them to multiple doctors, therapies and whatever.

    By the way, the above is a wild guess. Though the fact remains that the MMR has been around since 1971, and has never contained thimerosal, and has been proven AGAIN to not be associated with autism.

  21. #21 Craig Willoughby
    September 4, 2008

    Mary, it was an IgG. We’ve since put him on a GFCF diet, and his behaviour has improved remarkably. Makes a lot of sense that it would since his tummy was hurting and he couldn’t tell us what was wrong. And thank you very very much for the link….good info there :)

    Patrick, I did read the main post, but it didn’t really go into great detail as to if these type of GI problems that are associated with food allergies are common in ASD kids. My point of curiousity is if anyone knows if Wheat and Milk allergies are a commonality among children on the spectrum.

  22. #22 SC
    September 4, 2008

    Even better, the first author on the study is Mady Hornig, who became a hero of the mercury militia a three years ago with her infamous “rain mouse” study, in which she performed experiments of dubious ethics on some very unlucky lab mice and claimed it was “evidence” that thimerosal caused autism.

    I haven’t yet read this entire post, and this is only tangentially related (if that, even) to the topic, but I have a question/observation. Whenever the issue of violent animal rights activists has been raised recently, people (including you, Orac) have gone out of their way to point out how difficult it has become and how many bureaucratic hoops they have to jump through to get approval for research with animals. But almost every week here I read of another instance of animal research of “dubious ethics” being done at a university – the monkey research funded by Phillip-Morris, the horrible autism research with monkeys at the U. of Pittsburgh, and now this study. This doesn’t exactly lead me to believe that solid safeguards are in place to protect animal welfare. I really don’t know what to think at this point.

  23. #23 Paper Hand
    September 4, 2008

    There is some anecdotal evidence that GFCF diets do help some autistics. It certainly makes sense that it would in the case of an autistic who has those allergies – as it would for anyone, autistic or not, who does.

    As for the possible GI-Autism connection, it seems plausible to me that there could be a feedback cycle. GI issues can be caused by chronic stress, which is common for autistics, after all. In addition, those GI issues would certainly make it that much harder to deal with other issues, such as sensory sensitivities and the like. As for which comes first in those individuals, I can’t say. I can say, though, that I think that “autism” will turn out to be a group of conditions, rather than a single condition. Indeed, genetic studies finding different genes associated with autism seems to confirm this notion.

  24. #24 HCN
    September 4, 2008

    Craid said “My point of curiousity is if anyone knows if Wheat and Milk allergies are a commonality among children on the spectrum.”

    Again, I have to take issue with milk and gluten intolerance being common with just autistic kids. It is fairly common with other kids. My sister is lactose intolerant, so she had issues with milk from birth (she was two months premature, and has no disabilities other than being an annoying little sister, :p ). The same goes for celiac disease… of which I know a few people (none are disabled, including the young lady who has both celiac and is lactose intolerant, which was discovered through medical testing, oh, and her mom has has celiac, as does her grandfather).

    While most have problems in their digestive system, I knew one fellow who got bumps all over his skin when he had gluten. A couple of years ago I went to lecture on Diana Wynne Jones (Howl’s Moving Castle), and was told that at one time she became very ill and disabled. It turned out to be either a milk or wheat allergy, and once she stopped using on or the other it she was okay (I looked but I can’t easily find an online reference).

    This does not mean that I believe everyone has problems with gluten and milk. I am fine with both, as are my children (I just have to restrict fats due to a genetic tendency to high cholesterol).

    Both have a strong genetic component, especially since there are who bunches of people on this planet who just cannot digest milk, and the same goes for wheat (specifically gluten, which is in lots of other grains). I did a check on PubMed for “gluten disability” and found very few papers. It does not seem to be a big issue.

  25. #25 HCN
    September 4, 2008

    Oops, I am sorry but I mistyped Craig’s name.

  26. #26 RJ
    September 4, 2008

    ” My point of curiosity is if anyone knows if Wheat and Milk allergies are a commonality among children on the spectrum.”

    Craig,

    Ozzy was right on in his 9:59 post. Copy number variations (genes) that lead to autism (synaptic growth/functions in neurons) could have marked effects in other tissue-types as well (such as the intestinal epithelia and/or any number of those involved in the immune system). You can see these types of tissue-specific effects in individuals with other diseases, such as Downs syndrome or myelodysplastic syndromes, schizophrenia, as well as several others.

  27. #27 synapse
    September 4, 2008

    @Joseph: If you read both papers without knowing the author list, you would still conclude that Hornig et al. 2008 is a better study that is much more methodologically sound than Hornig et al. 2004.

  28. #28 IBY
    September 4, 2008

    Nice analysis on the study and antivax idiocy. Anyways, that correlation with GI problem and autism seems interesting, though kids do have GI problems once in a while, so… I also agree that being a pseudoscientist should endanger the scientific career.

  29. #29 Craig Willoughby
    September 4, 2008

    Well, thanks to everyone that answered my posts. I do, however, have a final thought. Now, this is not to argue or anything, but doesn’t this study only discredit the Autistic GI/MMR connection? It doesn’t even discuss the MMR/Encepalopathy connection, which is a common anecdote among parents pointing to vaccines and autism.

  30. #30 Craig Willoughby
    September 4, 2008

    HCN,
    I took no offense at the Typo. I knew who you meant :)

  31. #31 isles
    September 4, 2008

    Orac, you don’t get enough props for your writing. You take what could be boring or confusing and make it downright punchy. Good content and good style! I love it!

  32. #32 D. C. Sessions
    September 4, 2008

    Now, this is not to argue or anything, but doesn’t this study only discredit the Autistic GI/MMR connection? It doesn’t even discuss the MMR/Encepalopathy connection, which is a common anecdote among parents pointing to vaccines and autism.

    The problem is that speculations are easy — I could come up with a dozen before my soup gets cold. Every time an antivaccinationist comes up with some screwball idea (histidine, anyone?) it can take years of hard work to bleach its bones.

    Meanwhile, the University of Google is cranking out more cranks with more notions, each of which requires still more effort to specifically nail down.

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to simply compare rates among vaccinated and unvaccinated populations? That’s a test that has enough power to put a pretty hard upper limit on any risk.

  33. #33 Craig Willoughby
    September 4, 2008

    “Wouldn’t it make more sense to simply compare rates among vaccinated and unvaccinated populations? That’s a test that has enough power to put a pretty hard upper limit on any risk.”

    Absolutely! I agree with you 100%. And honestly, it would put much of this debate to rest.

  34. #34 RJ
    September 4, 2008

    “It doesn’t even discuss the MMR/Encepalopathy connection, which is a common anecdote among parents pointing to vaccines and autism.”

    No, it doesn’t. Studies are very specific as to what they examine, and the subsequent conclusions need to be directly related to the research conducted. No, encephalopathy was not examined, therefore, it would be merely speculation to comment on it (this is a fundamental error your friends at AoA do all the time…derive conclusions that were not based in the actual results of the research, rather try to relate x, y, and z with study variables a, b, and c). The Burbacher study is my favorite. Somehow, it was determined that vaccine-based mercury was in the primate brain…the study was never designed to make that conclusion, nor did the authors make the claim. In this study, the authors tell you exactly what was examined…and that’s what you take from it…that it! No more. The discussion may involve conjecture, but that is to 1) help the scientific community to put the results in context and 2) to help create new hypothesis for more studies. They are not conclusions.

  35. #35 Prometheus
    September 4, 2008

    I think that one of the factors that made this study better than the Hornig (2004) study was the presence of more “adult supervision”. I sincerely hope that Dr. Hornig will seize this opportunity to rehabilitate her scientific career.

    Dr. Hornig’s video of the mouse “grooming” through its cagemate’s scalp (which was screened at several DAN! and DAN!-esque “conferences”) should have been the end of her scientific career – not for pseudoscience but for neglect/abuse of experimental animals! That breed of mice is known for agressive behavior between adult males; they should never have been in the same cage together.

    The fact that she or her lab staff filmed one mouse injuring another rather than immediately intervening is proof positive that there was a serious problem in her lab. She was extremely lucky that she managed to dodge and weave (and perhaps lie?) her way out of that without the investigators coming across the videotape she was showing to parents across the country.

    I’d also like to draw a distinction between experiments that are abusive, cruel or neglectful (by design or by carelessness) – which are a violation of university, state and federal regulations – and experiments where the animals are treated properly, but their sacrifice is wasted by poor study design and/or poor interpretation of the data.

    While it may not be a violation of regulations to experiment on animals in a way that produces no useful data (the Pittsburgh monkey experiment comes to mind – as does Dr. Hornig’s original “Rain Mouse” experiment), it is an ethical lapse.

    Experimental animals should be used in a way that minimizes their suffering and maximizes the information obtained. Repeatedly trying to “prove” that thimerosal causes autism is an unethical use of experimental animals, especially since there is no animal model of autism and no way to unambiguously determine that an animal is “autistic”.

    Finally, the idea that the acceptable performance of the O’Leary lab on this study somehow expunges their excremental performance in the past is laughable. If I have a student who fails nine examinations but scores a “C” on the tenth, should I go back and change the nine “F”‘s to “C”‘s?

    I think that it’s nice that the O’Leary lab has regained a satisfactory level of competence, but that does not change the fact that their previous work is known to be extremely substandard. David Kirby should give up hoping for a better past and concentrate on the present.

  36. #36 Ms. Clark
    September 4, 2008

    First of all, as for autism and gut problems. The famous “gut problems” of autism are mainly constipation, not diarrhea (that ruins the lives and the oriental carpets of rich, spoiled parents according to David Kirby). This same problem of constipation is found in other developmentally disabled kids. From what I understand, part of the problem is simple and doesn’t require an exotic explanation of a genetic disorder involving the construction or chemistry of the guts of autistic kids. It’s that it takes a certain amount of awareness, intelligence and communication skill to know when to go to the bathroom. If the kid isn’t communicating or understanding normally he may end up constipated. Then there’s the issue of the odd diets of autistic kids (including possible pica).

    But on top of that the gut is very sensitive to stress and autistic kids have been shown to have more stress induced cortisol in their saliva, and they stay stressed longer than typical kids having had the same stressor.

    People aren’t researching the effect of stress on the guts of autistic children even though this is the obvious place to start (could explain constipation AND diarrhea, AND other health problems). They seem to want to go after the exotic stuff first, “Oh it’s probably the 6GZP2 gene and the RCMP1 allele….” and “Oh, it’s probably some heinous xenobiotic!!! I bet we can sue someone!!!”

    As for Mady Hornig, if you knew what she and Ian Lipkin and whoever else was involved from their lab did. It would curl your hair. She was investigated by the NIH OLAW (office of laboratory animal welfare) because the abuse she and Lipkin carried out on the mice was something she shared at the IOM, to the director of the CDC and to many attendees at various mercury mom conferences. Then when they pinned her on what she did, she denied that what she had been saying to the IOM, CDC, etc was true.

    So she either lied to the IOM, and the rest or she lied to the NIH OLAW investigators. When this fact was taken to the folks who oversee academic research misconduct, the question was first taken up with interest, then suddenly dropped.

    It appeared (to me) that what had happened was that the national security folks with whom Ian Lipkin works didn’t want anyone picking on dear Ian Lipkin so they told the academic misconduct people to drop it.

    Ian Lipkin might have faced a paddling by the national security folks for working to undermine public trust in vaccines, when he, Lipkin, may be working on stuff like vaccines to fight against bioterrorism…. catch the irony there? I think Lipkin and Hornig’s strong statements on behalf of vaccines are related to all of that.

    What remains is that Lipkin and Hornig were tightly involved with some very gross animal abuse that was used to undermine public confidence in vaccines. And they have NOT owned up to this and they are still guilty of lying to the IOM (Lipkin, too because he didn’t correct Hornig’s public statements, AND he’s her main-squeeze or love interest, they live together) OR they are guilty of lying to the NIH OLAW investigators.

    Burns me up. And Columbia U had just been involved in a big ugly public stink over very blatant the abuse of primates right before Mady Hornig and Ian Lipkin were doing their violent, bloody mousey abuse.

  37. #37 Dr Aust
    September 4, 2008

    “…becoming a pseudoscientist is one of the surest ways to kill a scientific career.”

    Hey, it hasn’t bothered Boyd Haley (University of Kentucky chemistry professor and hero to the antifluoridation and antivax movements).

    Note to self: make sure I have full Professorship and full tenure before coming out as a certified wingnut. That way I will be secure in my job, though utterly unfundable (see Peter Duesberg).

    Of course, they can still can me for “gross moral turpitude”, so have to be careful with those undergrads…

  38. #38 Rogue Epidemiologist
    September 4, 2008

    Hi Craig, a vax vs. unvax study would be helpful if and only if you could get two populations that were comparable — ceteris paribus — only differing in vaccination status.

    The problem is that people who do not vaccinate are often not comparable to vaccinating populations, therefore you can’t generalize the outcomes very well. For example, if you have a religious colony who refuses to vaccinate, there is a strong chance that they do not match up with the general US population in other ways such as nutrition (might be vegan). Some non-vaccinators are self-selecting, and their demographics may skew upward in socioeconomic status (as was the case of the families involved in the San Diego/La Jolla measles outbreak), so they again cannot be generalized to the rest of the US population. And others who don’t vaccinate may also bias their autism diagnoses because their cultures stigmatize mental/neurological disorders like autism, leading to underreporting of autism.

  39. #39 Prometheus
    September 4, 2008

    “Wouldn’t it make more sense to simply compare rates among vaccinated and unvaccinated populations? That’s a test that has enough power to put a pretty hard upper limit on any risk.”

    Absolutely! Except….the most recent study of vaccination uptake in the US indicates that only 0.3% of children are “completely unvaccinated”. Even though there are about 82 million “children” (age 19 and under – you folks who are 19 and don’t see yourselves as “children” can blame the Census Bureau) in the US, that works out to only 247,000 unvaccinated “children”.

    If you want to look specifically at the younger children – 9 and under – then you only have a total population of about 41 million and only 122,000 “unvaccinated”.

    If there is no difference between the prevalence of autism in the unvaccinated children, we could expect about 1 in 150 of them to have autism, which works out to 811.

    To make a statistically meaningful study, we would have to have a large enough group of “unvaccinated” kids to ensure that any difference between them and the vaccinated kids would be real and not due to random chance. This means that we’d need to have at least 2,000 – 5,000 kids in each group (vaccinated and unvaccinated) to really settle the issue.

    [Note: 2,000 subjects in each group works out to only about 15 - 16 "expected" autistic children in each group. This is about the lower end of getting any reliable data out of the study]

    And to really settle the issue, each of these kids would have to be evaluated by someone trained in evaluating for autism and using the same tests and criteria.

    At the least, this would mean finding 2,000 unvaccinated kids and matching them (sex, age, socio-economic group, race and location) with 2,000 vaccinated kids and doing full-blown autism workups on all 4,000. I’d be willing to do the study – I’ll even run it through a real (non-Geier) IRB – but it’s going to be very expensive. PayPal accepted.

    Prometheus

  40. #40 Ms. Clark
    September 4, 2008

    There’s a clip of Mady Hornig showing the famous killer mouse video at the UC Davis MIND Institute (after she had shown it to the IOM, Dr. Gerberding and to various conferences). I was there in the audience when she showed it. I saw the video of one mouse with a bloody spot on the top of it’s head and another one seeming to bite at the other’s head. She refers to them as if they are males and they were adult mice. Male SJL/J mice will attack and kill each other if kept together past a certain age. These mice were past that age and kept together probably because Dr. Hornig realized that the study had not shown any sort of severe problems at all in the mice given thimerosal (since then Berman at UC Davis replicated her study using 10 times as much thimerosal and found no effect). They punted. They cooked up this video of mice killing each other and and “over grooming themselves” and used it to show to the IOM saying that it proved that autism is caused by thimerosal because autistics are mindlessly violent and self-destructive.

    The MIND Institute was a co-funder of the abusive research and if you go to the MIND institute website you can see a video of Mady Hornig at the conference I attended and see her introduce her “gory” mouse video. Gory was her word. The woman brought research ethnics to a low I had not seen before. Perhaps others have done worse, but she used this to label autistic people as mindlessly violent AND to undermine the confidence in vaccines that save lives! And so far, she’s mostly gotten away with it!

  41. #41 Ms. Clark
    September 4, 2008

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyQ8X4BrgDc
    I forgot to include the youtube video that shows the clip of Dr. Hornig at the MIND Institute.

  42. #42 notmercury
    September 4, 2008

    Mady has been trying to develop and market an autistic mouse model for years. First with Borna Virus then with her thimeroSJL Mice. I wonder if there is any money to be made selling autistic mice.

  43. #43 Orodriguez
    September 4, 2008

    Concerning GF/CF diets for autistic children; there’s already been a study.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16555138

    As expected, parents exhibited confirmation bias and thought that their children were getting better however the study itself showed there was no difference between those on diets and not on diets.

  44. #44 Craig Willoughby
    September 4, 2008

    LOL. Prometheus, my money is on it’s way! It’s only a few dollars (all I can afford right now), but hey, if you’re willing to do it, I’m gonna help ya out any way I can! ;)

    Orodriguez, in the case of my son, a GFCF diet was the logical choice considering his food allergies. And yes, there was a considerable improvement in his behaviour. Again, I’m 100% certain that it was because he was no longer either constantly constipated or constantly with diarrhea. Additionally, before the diet, he had a serious problem with eating rocks (pica). Since the change in his diet, he no longer has that issue.

    My post about the GFCF diet and Milk/Wheat allergies was mainly a curiousity on my part. And all of you have been wonderfully accomodating on that issue. Thanks again!

  45. #45 Dawn
    September 5, 2008

    What I don’t understand is why don’t they conduct a study on the brain before/after vaccination by way of MRI scans? Yes, a study between the vaccinated and unvaccinated would help also, but only if they were to consider the complete family history. Were the parents vaccinated? Chemical exposure during the pregancy? Too simple and very conclusive – which is why it has not yet been done. The do not want answers to these questions.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060826171847.htm

  46. #46 Gisella
    September 5, 2008

    Orac,
    What exactly is your field??? In my family we have a “history” of autism. My niece,nephew and two little brothers are all autistic.(or to be PC,they are children with autism)Now I can say with 100% certainty,that all 4 of them were “normal” prior to being vaccinated.Now did a vaccine or even a series of vaccines cause their autism,I don’t know.But I can tell you this,all of these 4 children,recieved their vaccinations at different ages,one of my brothers seemed to be a typical child,b/c he was born almost 3 months early,he was not vaccinated with the MMR until he was 2.5 years old,and then bye-bye Michael,hello autistic drone.Here is the thing,mercury was taken out of thermometers b/c it is a poisen,so why would anyone turn around and inject their babies with it.(Thermosil is 49% mercury by weight–that is science and can not be denied). And if there is not a link, Why are thermosil-free vaccines available upon request?? As per your attack on Dr. Buttar,he is doing something pro active. Giving ppl something to believe in.And I have met a few kids that work with a DAN! Doctor and the results are amazing. As far as autistic adults go,show me 1 in 153 adults that are autistic,or that even display PDD-NOS like symptoms? You can’t b/c this is an epidemic.Frankly,I don’t care how much money these doctors are making,no body bitches that their cardiologist is driving a Jag,or that their OB/GYN is driving a Mercedes.No one goes to medical school so they can drive a Hundai.

  47. #47 Gisella has drunk the kool aid
    September 5, 2008

    Stand back and make sure she doesn’t bit her tongue.

    Btw, little psycho girl, this is what thimersil is:

    http://www.hitechpolymersindia.com/HT%20Sales/millboards.htm

  48. #48 Joseph
    September 5, 2008

    Now I can say with 100% certainty,that all 4 of them were “normal” prior to being vaccinated.

    Isn’t that what the Cedillos said?

    Regarding the other comment about vaccinated vs. unvaccinated, there are numerous confounds that would make such a study not very informative. It’s quite likely unvaccinated children are inequivalent to vaccinated children in their genetics and lifestyle. Additionally, many siblings of autistic children are often unvaccinated, which is probably one of the reasons why Generation Rescue’s survey found autism to be more common among unvaccinated children. If the confounds can be properly controlled for, I’m all for such a study. What I wouldn’t like to see is conclusions being trumpeted based on a study that didn’t have proper controls.

  49. #49 Joseph
    September 5, 2008

    As far as autistic adults go,show me 1 in 153 adults that are autistic,or that even display PDD-NOS like symptoms? You can’t b/c this is an epidemic.

    Canned response.

  50. #50 Dangerous Bacon
    September 5, 2008

    “No one goes to medical school so they can drive a Hundai.”

    Well, I drove a Dodge Colt for 9 years. It would have been longer, except that the interior flooded after a bad storm inundated the lot where I’d parked it and it started smelling moldy all the time.

    I blame the vaccines.

  51. #51 HCN
    September 5, 2008

    Gisela ranted “.Here is the thing,mercury was taken out of thermometers b/c it is a poisen,so why would anyone turn around and inject their babies with it.(Thermosil is 49% mercury by weight–that is science and can not be denied). And if there is not a link, Why are thermosil-free vaccines available upon request??”

    This study was on the MMR. So why are you going off on thimerosal? The MMR has been around since 1971 and has never contained thimerosal. Not ever.

    So make up your mind, is it the MMR or the thimerosal? Because those are two different things.

    Oh, and please tell us what real sciences shows that the MMR is worse than rubella, mumps and measles (there is a 1 in 1000 chance of encephalitis with measles, with several of those actually dying).

  52. #52 Ranson
    September 5, 2008

    Hmmm. Gisella says that there are several members of the family with ASD. To me the first thing that indicates might be a, oh, I don’t know, genetic issue, rather than a vaccine issue. Y’know, like how they established a strong heredity link with Aspergers?

    As to the mecury/poisons, well it hurts to repeat this yet again. ELEMENTAL MERCURY IS NOT THE SAME THING AS A MERCURY COMPOUND. Sodium explodes on contact with water. Chlorine gas can be used as a chemical weapon. Put them together, and you have a necessary component of our nutrition (table salt). And, just to head it off, your own body produces formaldehyde in greater quantites than you would receive in a vaccine. Heck, you actually need a little bit.

    Just because you have “something to believe in” doesn’t mean that what you believe is true.

  53. #53 Dawn
    September 5, 2008

    Joseph stated: “Additionally, many siblings of autistic children are often unvaccinated, which is probably one of the reasons why Generation Rescue’s survey found autism to be more common among unvaccinated children”.

    Oh really Joseph? Is that how your illiterate mind understood it or are you just lying about even reading it in the first place? That is simply not true. Show me WHERE this survey found autism to be more common among unvaccinated. Proof please.

  54. #54 Dawn
    September 5, 2008

    Gisella, don’t even “bother” wasting your breath with these employees of Big Pharma. Yup, they are bought and paid for by the “gods” themselves.

  55. #55 Prometheus
    September 5, 2008

    “What I don’t understand is why don’t they conduct a study on the brain before/after vaccination by way of MRI scans?”

    It’s simple. The reason they don’t is that there are no known MRI changes that are consistently found in autism. Another reason is a matter of sensitivity. MRI is a great way at looking at brain structure, but it can’t resolve the small changes that happen in normal development, let alone any changes that might signal autism.

    Even examination of the entire brain at autopsy has failed to reveal “the” difference between autistic and non-autistic brains.

    But, just for amusement, let’s “run the numbers”:

    If vaccination caused autism and if MRI could pick up the changes, you would have to do an MRI on about 150 children to pick up (statistically speaking) one who develops autism. And since we’re talking about doing MRI’s on young children (less than 2 years old), that means either heavy IV sedation or general anesthesia to get a decent image.

    So, to pick up two or three kids who eventually develop autism, we’d need to anesthetise/heavily sedate about 300 to 500 kids. Do you think that parents are going to be excited about volunteering their (putatively) normal, healthy children to have anesthesia and MRI?

    In addition, I’m pretty sure that my university IRB would bounce this study proposal back to me with a big “REJECTED WITH EXTREME PREJUDICE” stamp on it. It puts a lot of kids at risk from anesthesia to get a very few data points. It also lacks plausibility – why expose anybody to any risk it there isn’t a significant liklihood of finding any difference?

    What people need to remember is that there never was any data associating vaccines with autism (and there still isn’t any). All anyone ever had was the fact that the usual age of onset for autism coincides with the time that a standard childhood vaccine (the MMR) is given. That’s all. Everything else was conjecture, hypothesis and “Just So Stories”.

    The mercury connection is even more tenuous, since you’d have to pretend that the amount of mercury a child is exposed to has been going steadily up since 1985 to “explain” the autism prevalence numbers. And since there have been lots of studies showing that environmental mercury has been declining since the 1970′s, whining about “environmental” mercury won’t wash.

    Prometheus

  56. #56 Dawn
    September 5, 2008

    Actually, you are wrong Prometheus, but thank you for the long winded post though. Autism has been clearly shown as brain inflammation in MRI scans (after the fact of the diagnosis though, not before). So please spare us all because it has been mentioned in numerous scientific blogs and in peer-reviewed medical journals. ADHD, same thing.

    By the way, I do have to keep reminding you that it is not solely about the mercury either. It is about viruses and neurotoxins. Please do keep up and look at the bigger picture.

  57. #57 Joseph
    September 5, 2008

    Oh really Joseph? Is that how your illiterate mind understood it or are you just lying about even reading it in the first place? That is simply not true. Show me WHERE this survey found autism to be more common among unvaccinated. Proof please.

    Right, because I’m known for making things up. It’s in their data. The fact that GR never mentioned this in their press release says something about them, actually. (They spun it as increased risk of neurological disorders like autism and ADHD). My analysis is here and the data is here.

    I do expect an apology, Dawn.

  58. #58 HCN
    September 5, 2008

    Ranson said “As to the mecury/poisons, well it hurts to repeat this yet again. ELEMENTAL MERCURY IS NOT THE SAME THING AS A MERCURY COMPOUND.”

    And was never ever, not once, even been in the MMR vaccine. So why do people bring it up?

    Dawn, using her sharpest rejoinder said “Gisella, don’t even “bother” wasting your breath with these employees of Big Pharma. Yup, they are bought and paid for by the “gods” themselves.”

    Yep, the old tired “pharma shill gambit”:
    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2006/09/the_pharma_shill_gambit_1.php

    Would someone please tell me where I sign up to get paid for this? Starting next year we will paying tuition for three of us (especially since I plan to start grad school then).

    While you are at it, show us the real scientific evidence that the MMR vaccine (you know, the one that has been used in the USA since 1971 and never contained thimerosal) is worse than measles, mumps and rubella. No personal anecdotes (also known as sob stories), no news reports, and no links to random websites: real science only.

  59. #59 DT
    September 5, 2008

    Yes Dawn, always think of the bigger picture – although I think you forgot to include the following in the ever-expanding list of things you blame for causing autism: Listening to blues music, belief in Santa Claus and wearing diapers for longer than 30 minutes at a time.

    Oh, and a scientific reference for your claim that autism shows up as “brain inflammation” on MRI scans would be nice, too.

  60. #60 Dawn
    September 5, 2008

    Prometheus stated: “So, to pick up two or three kids who eventually develop autism, we’d need to anesthetise/heavily sedate about 300 to 500 kids. Do you think that parents are going to be excited about volunteering their (putatively) normal, healthy children to have anesthesia and MRI”?

    Actually, your Big Pharma “gods” have no problem whatsoever sacrificing plenty of children in this country and abroad for the sake of clinical trials providing their parents “consent” to it. So, please don’t even go there with that one.

  61. #61 HCN
    September 5, 2008

    Dawn blathered “Actually, your Big Pharma “gods” have no problem whatsoever sacrificing plenty of children in this country and abroad for the sake of clinical trials providing their parents “consent” to it. So, please don’t even go there with that one.”

    Evidence? Oh are you just going on “argument through blatant assertion”? Who cares if it is true or not, it is if you say so!

  62. #62 Bronze Dog
    September 5, 2008

    Something I should try paying more attention to is how those so eager to bring up the Pharma Shill Gambit respond to the conflicts of interests involved in their heroes.

    Of course, none of that would or could magically poof away what the data says. Big Pharma doesn’t have enough money, resources, or manpower to do the cover up they suggest they’re capable of. I don’t think any organization on Earth does. Must be aliens.

  63. #63 RJ
    September 5, 2008

    Why do you all even bother with Dawn. He/she is obviously a plant by one of the antivaccine groups to help spread their propaganda in an effort to confuse parents and convince them to engage in alternative therapies for her and her cronies profits. It’s so obvious! The more confused and scared parents become, the better for their bottom line. Not to mention, she probably has some investments in medical technology companies, or perhaps casket companies, that would benefit from more diseased and dying children.

    Dawn is clearly counter-culture…clearly a malevolent profiteer. Stop engaging him/her.

  64. #64 Joseph
    September 5, 2008

    Why do you all even bother with Dawn. He/she is obviously a plant by one of the antivaccine groups to help spread their propaganda in an effort to confuse parents and convince them to engage in alternative therapies for her and her cronies profits.

    Highly unlikely. I doubt a plant would go around saying that they believe the Illuminati is trying to control the world’s population through vaccines.

    Regardless, Dawn owes me an apology, and I’m pretty upset. She even said I’m illiterate, when she’s obviously the one here who does not understand science or statistics. She then accuses me of making things up.

  65. #65 Dianne
    September 5, 2008

    She even said I’m illiterate,

    Actually, she wrote that you were illiterate. Which suggests that either she didn’t mean it or she doesn’t know what the word “illiterate” means. Because writing to someone who is illiterate makes as much sense as shouting at a deaf person or waving to a blind person: the message just isn’t going to get through.

  66. #66 Ranson
    September 5, 2008

    Very true, Bronze Dog. None of the antivaxers seem to be able to own up to conflicts of interest on their side.

    Of course, some would say the same of us, so here goes.

    I am not a big pharma shill. I am a small pharma shill, i.e. I work in Quality Assurance of a contract pharma manufacturer, directing raw materials, physical testing, on-line quality, and document review. We manufacture no injectibles/ingestibles — all topical items. These are all proven safe and effective through clinical trial or by being generic versions of innovator products on which trials were performed. I know what goes into making our drugs, and it is nothing compared to the level of controls required for stuff that actually gets put into the body — I can guarantee you that a vast conspiracy to cover up harm would crap out in about fifteen minutes. Someone would misfile a form, accidentally forward an email, or might simply blow the whistle. It’s not hard to make things safely — the hard part is to prove that you did to an objective observer. Every drug company has to, whether it’s a prospective customer or a the government of a country where you want to market product (yes, the FDA is not the be-all, end-all of regulatory agencies; shocking, I know). Being in this business is the best evidence I could have of there not being a vast conspiracy. These outfits couldn’t sustain a conspiracy from one side of the office to another, much less across a nation or the world.

  67. #67 Dangerous Bacon
    September 5, 2008

    Dawn: “By the way, I do have to keep reminding you that it is not solely about the mercury either. It is about viruses and neurotoxins. Please do keep up and look at the bigger picture.”

    Yup, the deeper it gets for antivaxers, the more furiously they have to shovel it.

    Let’s see…in recent days I’ve been accused in an online forum of being a paid disinformation specialist for General Electric (don’t ask) and now an “employee of Big Pharma”. Where the hell are my checks? Don’t I even get a free ballpoint pen? If the only “benefit” is the chance to debunk antivax nuttery, the heck with being an official shill. Even multilevel marketing pays off better than this.

  68. #68 RJ
    September 5, 2008

    Joseph,

    You may want to turn your “sarcastic or ironic comments” filter off. I was trying to make as silly of an assertion as he/she does.

    You’re right though. An apology to you is in order. I wouldn’t hold your breath expecting one. Being honest with one’s self is not one of ‘Dawns’ traits.

  69. #69 Natalie
    September 5, 2008

    RJ,

    Being honest period is not one of Dawn’s traits.

  70. #70 Bronze Dog
    September 5, 2008

    In my days on the skeptical blogosphere, I’ve been called a wingnut, a Communist, a godless liberal (a little more accurate, but I don’t commit completely to the latter half), a pharma shill, a government shill, a BushCo crony, a NASA crony, a tree-hugging anti-government alarmist hippie, unpatriotic, a jingoist, and all sorts of other things.

    And they all tended to avoid discussing anything other than me when I pointed out my irrelevancy. It’s all about the evidence.

  71. #71 RJ
    September 5, 2008

    “And they all tended to avoid discussing anything other than me when I pointed out my irrelevancy. It’s all about the evidence.”

    Perfectly stated! So true!

  72. #72 Joseph
    September 5, 2008

    You may want to turn your “sarcastic or ironic comments” filter off.

    I guess what they say is true. What’s more interesting is that I’ve made that same sarcastic remark myself a couple times. When I see the Pharma Shill gambit, I turn right back and state they are shills for vaccine injury lawyers, pointing out that while I have absolutely no evidence to make that assertion, they can’t prove me wrong.

  73. #73 notmercury
    September 5, 2008

    Dawn Said:

    “Autism has been clearly shown as brain inflammation in MRI scans (after the fact of the diagnosis though, not before).”

    If only it was that simple. You are probably referring to the Vargas et al. study which looked at microglial activation in post mortem brain tissue. It would probably be difficult to perform these tests prior to diagnosis.

  74. #74 Tsu Dho Nimh
    September 5, 2008

    Ranson said:

    Being in this business is the best evidence I could have of there not being a vast conspiracy. These outfits couldn’t sustain a conspiracy from one side of the office to another, much less across a nation or the world.

    But that’s because they are in a conspiracy to look like they can’t keep a secret.

  75. #75 Orodriguez
    September 5, 2008

    Yo Orac, it seems you were right. This is from Thoughtful house.

    “In that this new study affirms the reliability of Professor O’Leary’s laboratory and therefore of his previous findings, a major impact upon the current hearings in vaccine court is likely, wherein the government’s defense relies largely on the claim that Professor O’Leary’s finding of measles in the intestinal biopsy of Michelle Cedillo (a child with severe autism and epilepsy) was unreliable. The historical reliability of the measles assay used in Professor O’Leary’s laboratory is now confirmed.”

    Yup, they’re using this study to ‘prove’ that the last study was correct, just like you predicted.

  76. #76 Dawn
    September 6, 2008

    Actually Dangerous Bacon – “I” never said it was about the “mercury” solely. Did you ever hear that from me? Now, DO keep in mind that I have 5 vaccine-injured in my family.

    Liz Ditz has encouraged me to join the PTA along with her birth control, AIDS testing, communistic friends. Thanks Liz for reminding me about community service. I will remind others too. Yeah, Obama! Another wacko. “Let’s just have a woman give birth at 9 months and in the middle of it suck the child’s brains out and let ‘em die!” Yeah, we will call it “legal too”. What a deranged lunatic that wants to be president. Or better yet, let’s just give these children in our era “unlimited freedom” – freedom to have sex and get free birth control, abortion, aids testing, whatever because your parents do NOT have a say. You sickos. I think it is called “liberated”.

  77. #77 Gray Falcon
    September 6, 2008

    Dawn’s last comment is an impressive demonstration. The very worst any physical poison can do is damage the body and mind. She’s become addicted to hate, and now her own spirit is poisoned.

  78. #78 Dawn
    September 6, 2008

    Actually Gray Falcon, did you even know that the U.S. is the ONLY country in the entire world that will allow flouridated water? Start researching previous concentration camps that allowed this. Duh, I think it is a BAD thing?? Hello? Earth to the scientific community? Anyone Home??

    Sickos is not so far off I gather.

  79. #79 Dawn
    September 6, 2008

    By the way Gray Falcon, if you did your homework on “your” candidate Obama, you would know that he is all for partial birth abortion – which does call for the woman giving birth and sucking the baby’s brains out in the process. Pretty sick candidate that you are opting for, don’t you think? It must be a racial thing because I honestly do not know what you see in the wacko. He is all about crazy “ideas” – to include your kids ideas are not the parents so “back off” or we will call Social Services if your child is “uncomfortable”. Like I said, WACKO.

  80. #80 Gray Falcon
    September 6, 2008

    Dawn may want to check this website:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluoridation_by_country
    Also, there’s no such thing as partial-birth abortion, that’s been known for years. Intact D&E is very risky, and only done if the fetus is already dead.

    She’s the wrong kind of paranoid. A proper paranoid only trusts people one has good reason to trust. Dawn’s paranoia allows her to believe anyone who tells her what she wants to hear. That allows her to be fleeced in some very interesting ways.

  81. #81 ozzy
    September 6, 2008

    “Actually Gray Falcon, did you even know that the U.S. is the ONLY country in the entire world that will allow flouridated water?”

    Survey says: XXX

    Sorry Dawn, but you are blatantly wrong. Let’s see, the UK, Australia, Republic of Ireland, Canada, and Chile all supplement their water with fluoride. Once again, your “research” is erroneous.

  82. #82 HCN
    September 6, 2008

    Where is the science that shows MMR is worse than measles, mumps and rubella? Has anyone posted the study that shows that? Did I miss it?

    Some clueless loon called Dawn (who is actually Dark) said “Actually Gray Falcon, did you even know that the U.S. is the ONLY country in the entire world that will allow flouridated water?”

    http://www.ada.org.au/oralHealth/FLN/flinaust.aspx
    http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/environ/fluor-eng.php … “Fluoride is used in many communities across Canada, spanning most provinces and territories. About 40 percent of Canadians receive fluoridated water.”

    (you really need to double check your “facts”… countries for a google search of “fluoride xxx” only chosen for being English speaking — by the way, flouride is REMOVED from the water in certain areas with high natural content, like in Texas)

  83. #83 Dawn
    September 6, 2008

    Gray Falcon, I’m sorry but many on this board have advised against Wikipedia?? You are telling me to use it?

    Yes, there is such a thing as partial birth abortion and your beloved Obama voted “PRO”.

    Paranoid, me? No. You, on the other hand are delusional for defending this quack. Honestly, do you even have children? Do you even know what this type of guy could do to this country? Or, are you only concerned about the fact that he answered 14 scientific questions correctly? FYI – his wife has a medical background and she probably answered them for him, if not for his advisor.

  84. #84 HCN
    September 6, 2008

    So where is the information on how the MMR is worse than measles, mumps and rubella? Was it posted? Did I miss it?

  85. #85 Joseph
    September 6, 2008

    Or better yet, let’s just give these children in our era “unlimited freedom” – freedom to have sex and get free birth control, abortion, aids testing, whatever because your parents do NOT have a say. You sickos. I think it is called “liberated”.

    What the heck are you rambling about, Dawn? I’m still expecting that apology, BTW.

  86. #86 Gray Falcon
    September 6, 2008

    Take note, Dawn only noticed the post mentioning Wikipedia. There were several other sources mentioned as well.

    Also, I didn’t say Dawn was paranoid, more like selectively paranoid. The rest of the time, she’d believe just about anything.

    Finally, the debate here is about MMR and autism. We really don’t need to discuss Obama, and I doubt everyone who supports vaccinations would vote for him anyway.

  87. #87 trrll
    September 6, 2008

    Gray Falcon, I’m sorry but many on this board have advised against Wikipedia??

    Wikipedia is a decent starting point, so long as you follow up the references and check them personally for accuracy and completeness.

    And you are a fine one to complain about the quality of somebody else’s references, Before pointing out the speck in your neighbor’s eye, you might want to get the beam out of your own, considering that you cited no references at all for your claim that no other country but the US allows fluoridated water, or for your claim that autism can be detected by MRI. What are your references for these claims.

    (and why am I not surprised that Dawn is also a fluoridation nut? Next she’ll be telling us that fluorine is a deadly poision)

  88. #88 Joseph C.
    September 6, 2008

    Dumber-than-dogshit Dawn,

    You really need to stop embarrassing yourself and get back to flippin’ burgers or whatever menial task you do. The fact that you quickly veer off into some completely incoherent political rant illustrates how little you know about the original topic. You just want to ramble like a schizophrenic off her Seroquel. Leave the science to your betters.

  89. #89 Gary Bohn
    September 6, 2008

    I must say Orac, great topic. I’ve read your blog occasionally, generally when PZ or Wilkins links to it but have never taken the time to read through the comments nor to make a comment. The first thing that pops out at me here is the existence of loons such a Dawn and his/her similarity to the Creationists and AGW deniers I’ve debated.

    This next comment is aimed at Dawn – Do you normally have such an anger problem or is it just when the evidence is so dramatically against you? Have you noted in yourself the tendency to lose rational thought when you get angry?

    Evidence comes from those willing to learn, experiment, consult with peers willing to critique their work, and even to fail, not from those with good imaginations but poor to no ability to do the work necessary to (in)validate their ideas. The fact that you are more willing to trust the imaginative but untrained than you are those who spend their lives learning techniques that have proven themselves for >400 years, and to base that trust simply on degree of agreement, suggests your knowledge is terribly shallow.

    Why should anyone believe your arrogance is deserved?

  90. #90 HCN
    September 6, 2008

    Gray Falcon said “Take note, Dawn only noticed the post mentioning Wikipedia. There were several other sources mentioned as well.”

    To be fair, my post showing that Australia and Canada fluoridate their water was held up in moderation. Dawn did not see it when she posted her wiki comment to you.

    (would have mentioned it earlier, but I was dealing with a Dana on the Sciencebasedmedicine blog … who is like a whiny version of Dawn)

  91. #91 Gray Falcon
    September 6, 2008

    To be fair, my post showing that Australia and Canada fluoridate their water was held up in moderation. Dawn did not see it when she posted her wiki comment to you.

    Thanks for letting me know. Still, it appears Dawn’s mind has finally entered an alternate reality. Really, it only takes about thirty seconds of research to prove her water fluoridation statements wrong.

  92. #92 Dawn
    September 6, 2008

    Gary Bohn stated: “This next comment is aimed at Dawn – Do you normally have such an anger problem or is it just when the evidence is so dramatically against you? Have you noted in yourself the tendency to lose rational thought when you get angry”?

    Actually Gary, wasn’t it the MEDICAL community that once called Autism a creation by “refrigerator moms”? So, I’m sorry, but I no longer have faith in these types of scientific “gods” despite their bogus “proof”. Great cover-ups by the way (applause). Big Pharma must pay well. If I didn’t have a conscience, I would work for them too.

    It must be the “mother hen” in me that is stirred. My family has been harmed by vaccines and lied to – then you expect me to trust their answers?? Sorry, not buying it. You are damn right I am angry. I want justice and I will get it.

  93. #93 Gray Falcon
    September 6, 2008

    Dawn, the “refrigerator mother” hypothesis was disproved a long time ago. Science gathers evidence, it moves on. You cannot hold scientists responsible for the crimes of a previous generation.

    Also, I don’t consider the chelationists any better. After all, it’s all “Your child will be nothing but an empty, soulless shell because you won’t chelate him!”

    Don’t think you’re the only one with a right to be angry, either. I’m also autistic, and do not appreciate being told that I’m “damaged goods”.

  94. #94 Gray Falcon
    September 6, 2008

    Something else I thought of. Bettleheim’s methodology wasn’t so much one of research and evidence-gathering, so much as speculation and demonization. Think about it.

    Also, if you truly wanted justice, you would work to make sure only the guilty were punished, while the innocents are spared. Dawn, you only want something to hate.

  95. #95 Dawn
    September 7, 2008

    Gray Falcon stated: “Don’t think you’re the only one with a right to be angry, either. I’m also autistic, and do not appreciate being told that I’m “damaged goods”.

    I NEVER said that Gray Falcon. I am so sorry if you got that impression. We each have our own gifts in life which we must focus on. Unfortunately, the Vaccine Program has limited one’s options in life. Either way, YOU and everyone else that has suffered from injuries still offer your own unique gifts. My son’s is music. He has an ear and can recognize a note without seeing it, he can recall it and play it. Amazing. I am just extremely angry because of the limits imposed. Brain damage is caused by toxic chemical exposure. The same chemicals found in vaccines. I don’t care what study you have showed me – I’m not ignorant of this very alarming fact. I am also not ingnorant of the fact that our future generations are a huge scientific experiment. Do we know what the projected outcome is for generations of vaccinated individuals? No. It has NEVER been studied. So, we are just a scientific experiment. I REFUSE to subject myself and family to this type of insane behavior. Honestly, I will fight to the death for my beliefs too and so should you. Don’t get upset with others who are trying to seek justice. We are on YOUR side, not Big Pharma’s.

  96. #96 Gray Falcon
    September 7, 2008

    You’re only on your own side, Dawn. I’m not injured, I’m not gifted, I’m just me. To suggest otherwise is an insult. Learn to accept what life has given you, don’t become mired in your personal Hell of hatred.

    You keep talking about cover-ups. How do I know you’re not part of a conspiracy? There may be someone out there that wants this planet, and spreading propaganda against our medicine may be an effective way to reduce our population. I don’t need assertions, I need evidence.

  97. #97 Joseph
    September 7, 2008

    Bettleheim’s methodology wasn’t so much one of research and evidence-gathering, so much as speculation and demonization. Think about it.

    @Grey Falcon: Yes, in fact, I’d say most or all of the Freudian-type notions of the time were woo and not actually science. That’s not to say that all psychogenic factors have been scientifically disproven, but they were never looked at scientifically in the first place.

    Either way, YOU and everyone else that has suffered from injuries still offer your own unique gifts.

    @Dawn: Why assume that if someone is autistic, this automatically means their way of being, their very core, is the result of an injury? I’m not saying that this is never the case, but why would you make that presumption arbitrarily about an autistic person you encounter? I feel you owe me a second apology now, and I think you owe Grey Falcon one too.

  98. #98 Dawn
    September 7, 2008

    Joseph, I have nothing to apologize for. Autism and ADHD are one in the same. The medical community is now working on having ADHD put on the Autism spectrum. My son suffers from the latter of the two. How is this caused? Well, there are many different factors, the biggest being toxic chemical exposure, blunt force trauma to the head, or traumatic birth. It is damage to the brain no matter how you want to redefine it – it is what it is. I hate that term by the way…just typing quickly…

    With that said, everyone on this board has the power to make a difference. You may research all of it and honestly contemplate the money and hours you have invested in your degree – it doesn’t matter. Use this knowledge for the greater good. You have the power to reach many. Whether it be a casual remark to a patient or a remark to a stranger in a store – use it!! The people on this board that argue with me have one of two issues going on in their lives – they are either in huge denial or they know exactly what is going on and don’t care because money is the “cure”.

    The actions recently in the news speak volumes about the people in this world. There was an elderly man hit by a car in Connecticut. Everyone left him. Would you be that same person?? I wouldn’t. I would have been there holding his hand and reassuring him that everything would be o.k. Isn’t that what is supposed to happen with people who care? What has happened to our society that they could be that cold?? Why then are people keeping their mouths shut about vaccine damage? It is pretty obvious to me – it is all about money, power, and politics. You people SHOULD be afraid though because forced vaccination is right around the corner. If what our anti-vax community is saying is true, then you need to wake the heck up fast in order to fight this with us. Forced vaccination would apply to every citizen – immune compromised and all. NY just recently went up in arms about this and enough parents showed up to defeat it. You need to ask yourself two things – is there such a thing as herd immunity? What exactly does herd immunity apply to? According to this recent bill proposed in the state of NY which was defeated, it would call for ALL to be VACCINATED. Do you really want to support these kinds of people behind this? They are willing to sacrifice your children and you (if you are immune-compromised)?

    It has just become apparent that the “emergency health” workers are being mandated to take the flu shot this fall. The only problem is that it contains the bird flu. Well, I guess Big Pharma wants to start an outbreak and start scaring people into future vaccines. My advice is – refuse it. After the Spanish Flu – it was mainly the vaccinated military persons who died from the disease or immune compromised.

    I started on this thread very angry because of what many posters had to say. Quite honestly though, I really feel sorry for the many that truly believe that you are helping people. If you really care about your community and your nation, you would seek a new profession. The medical industry is not about keeping people healthy, but about keeping people dependant upon drugs and sick.

  99. #99 HCN
    September 7, 2008

    Bettelheim:
    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2843/is_6_24/ai_66496160

    So where is the information on how the MMR is worse than measles, mumps and rubella? Was it posted? Did I miss it?

  100. #100 speedwell
    September 7, 2008

    Dawn, you’re very sweet to want to help people, but lies hurt people. Don’t lie. Do your homework and tell the truth. If you’re a genuinely good and decent person, you’ll want the real truth that follows the real evidence, not just the defiant, offbeat “truth” that someone invented to support their own made-up beliefs.

  101. #101 Joseph
    September 7, 2008

    Joseph, I have nothing to apologize for

    Dawn, you won’t apologize simply because you have no integrity. You stated I was making things up, and my demonstration that I wasn’t was met with silence from you.

    Well, there are many different factors, the biggest being toxic chemical exposure, blunt force trauma to the head, or traumatic birth. It is damage to the brain no matter how you want to redefine it

    Not even top autism researchers truly know what autism is. What you’re doing is called the arrogance of ignorance.

  102. #102 Tsu Dho Nimh
    September 7, 2008

    Dawn … what you call “partial birth abortion” is only performed when the fetus is DEAD and too well-developed for a normal D&C as is done with early fetal death. The alternative is do nothing and let the mother die as the dead fetus decays inside her. A c-section to remove the dead fetus is riskier for the mother and by the time you are discussing one of these, her life is the only one left to save.

    It is rarely done, it’s depressing as hell for the surgical team as well as the mother, and no obstetrician anywhere rubs their hands together in fiendish glee and says “Oh goody, I have an intact D&C on the schedule today.”

  103. #103 Tsu Dho Nimh
    September 7, 2008

    Dawn says, “After the Spanish Flu – it was mainly the vaccinated military persons who died from the disease or immune compromised.”

    You are still claiming that, despite numerous links to medical records and news accounts of the 1918 flu epidemic! The group that was hardest hit were the HEALTHY ADULTS … and naturally that included a lot of the military because they were in large groupsand were healthy adults, but it also included many healthy women, farmers and others.

    When will you learn to read?

  104. #104 HCN
    September 7, 2008

    Tsu Dho Nimh said “When will you learn to read?”

    She won’t. She will still keep repeating the falsehoods she learns from Sheri Nakken and the others on her anti-vax Yahoo groups, because she thinks they are true. She has no interest fixing her errors, because the truth goes against her beliefs.

  105. #105 Dangerous Bacon
    September 8, 2008

    Dawn: “The medical industry is not about keeping people healthy, but about keeping people dependant upon drugs and sick.”

    Dawn, do you have any idea about how much drug therapy would be need if vaccine-preventable childhood diseases were still rampant? Never mind the antibiotics needed to treat secondary pneumonias and the huge intensive care bills for those paralyzed or suffering encephalitis or other serious complications of these diseases – think just in terms of supportive care for kids sick in bed for days to weeks at a time. The cost alone would be huge.

    I am sorry that you have lost so much perspective and empathy for the suffering of others through your dogged pursuit of antivax dogma.

    Why are antivaxers so cold and unfeeling? Is it because they’re already immune to these diseases (largely through vaccination in their youth) and feel they can afford to play games with the lives of children?

  106. #106 Scott
    September 8, 2008

    Prediction: Dawn will claim that vaccines don’t prevent anything and instead cause illness, thereby ensuring massive profits.

    When you’re willing to completely ignore anything vaguely resembling a fact, there’s no limit to what you can explain away.

  107. #107 Prometheus
    September 8, 2008

    More impassioned data-free assertions from Dawn:

    Autism and ADHD are one in [sic] the same. The medical community is now working on having ADHD put on the Autism spectrum.

    This will come as a great surprise to those in “the medical community” who research autism and ADHD. Granted, there are a few doctors and “scientists” who claim that ADHD/ADD and autism are “on the same spectrum”, but I haven’t heard that they are being taken seriously.

    The people on this board that argue with me have one of two issues going on in their lives – they are either in huge denial or they know exactly what is going on and don’t care because money is the “cure”.

    There is a third option: the people who argue with Dawn are not convinced by unsupported claims. References to whale.to pages and other conspiracy-theorists are not the same as data. Dawn, on the other hand, is not convinced by data, but is more easily swayed by emotional appeals to her own fears.

    Why then are people keeping their mouths shut about vaccine damage? It is pretty obvious to me – it is all about money, power, and politics.

    Let’s look at this claim critically, shall we? One alternative is that thousands – if not tens of thousands – of people are being kept in perfect silence, refusing to open their mouths about “vaccine damage”. The other alternative is that a handful of people – a few hundred at most – are endlessly repeating the same nonsense while sticking their fingers in their ears and singing “Lalalala, I can’t HEAR you!” at the top of their lungs.

    One alternative requires a perfectly hermetic conspiracy of thousands of people, the other requires a small group of delusional conspiracy-theorists. You choose.

    Forced vaccination would apply to every citizen – immune compromised and all.

    While it is possible that a state legislature might write a bill with that sort of language, I doubt that it would get very far – even if it passed.

    It has just become apparent that the “emergency health” workers are being mandated to take the flu shot this fall. The only problem is that it contains the bird flu. Well, I guess Big Pharma wants to start an outbreak and start scaring people into future vaccines.

    Here we go with “mandates” again. Who (or which) is “mandating” that “emergency health” workers be vaccinated…against anything? My university’s hospital requires that workers be vaccinated (or show immunity) against measles, chicken pox and hepatitis B. The state has no such regulation.

    While there is a vaccine against the H5N1 “Bird Flu”, it isn’t going to be a part of next fall’s influenza vaccine. Of course, Dawn might mean that next fall’s influenza vaccine will contain the wild-type H5N1 virus. That would require truly amazing levels of conspiracy, begging the question of why the leaders of this “conspiracy” haven’t “silenced” people – like Dawn – who threaten to expose their nefarious plans.

    After the Spanish Flu – it was mainly the vaccinated military persons who died from the disease or immune compromised.

    It seems like Dawn is claiming that the folks in the Army, Navy and Marines had received an influenza vaccine before the 1918-1919 Spanish Influenza. Since the very first influenza vaccine was used in the 1940′s – the influenza virus wasn’t even cultured until 1936 – that claim seems unlikely, at best. About the only vaccine that the boys who went “over there” got was the smallpox vaccine. Perhaps Dawn is claiming that this was the vaccine that was implicated.

    One of the strange things about the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic was that it killed more of the young and healthy than pervious (or subsequent) influenza epidemics. Epidemiologists talk about the “U-shaped” distribution of fatalities, with the old and very young – who are the usual victims of influenza – faring better than the teens to forties. Lately, this has been attributed to “cytokine storm”, meaning that those people with “healthy immune systems” were more likely to die.

    Quite honestly though, I really feel sorry for the many that truly believe that you are helping people. If you really care about your community and your nation, you would seek a new profession. The medical industry is not about keeping people healthy, but about keeping people dependant upon drugs and sick.

    I feel sorry for people who are unable to put aside their fears and delusions and accept the facts that have been carefully and patiently placed before them.

    Prometheus

  108. #108 Regan
    September 8, 2008

    Dawn said,
    Forced vaccination would apply to every citizen – immune compromised and all.

    Prometheus said,
    While it is possible that a state legislature might write a bill with that sort of language, I doubt that it would get very far – even if it passed.
    ————————
    I cobbled the below together the other day, but held off posting because it seemed that the thread might be winding down. This particular…whopper…told by Dawn pissed me off because it misrepresented the NY bill that was forwarded, and I have some personal feelings because locally we have had three, and to all appearances–healthy–young people go from going about their business being students, to dead in the space of mere hours of agonizing and fruitless hours in the ICU in attempts to save their lives from meningococcal meningitis.

    The recent NY bill which was the subject of scaremongering and just plain falsehoods circulating the internet about forced immunizations with no exclusions or exemptions, flu vaccines (which if you note, are not mentioned within the bill text), etc. was A 10942, which proposed to add the meningococcal meningitis vaccination to the required schedule for entering 7th graders, and repeal current PHL Section 2167, relating to distribution of information and current record-keeping practice on meningococcal disease/meningococcal meningitis and vaccination/vaccination refusal for this disease.

    The preface to the bill,
    “AN ACT to amend the public health law, in relation to requiring that certain children be immunized against meningococcal disease; and to repeal section 2167* of such law relating to immunization against meningococcal meningitis.”

    (*New York State Public Health Law (PHL) Section 2167 requires post-secondary institutions to distribute information about meningococcal disease and vaccination to the students, or parents or guardians of students under the age of 18. The institution is required to maintain a record of the following for each student:
    –Certificate of Immunization for meningococcal meningitis disease; or
    -A response to receipt of meningococcal meningitis disease and vaccine information signed by the student or the student’s parent or guardian; AND, EITHER
    -Self reported or parent recall of meningococcal meningitis immunization within the past 10 years; or
    -An acknowledgement of meningococcal disease risks and refusal of meningococcal meningitis immunization signed by the student or student’s parent or guardian.)

    Nothing in the bill that I read as it was written requests repeal of current NY State statute PHL § 2164 sections,

    “PHL §2164[8] If any physician licensed to practice medicine in this state certifies that such immunization may be detrimental to a child’s health, the requirements of this section shall be inapplicable until such immunization is found no longer to be detrimental to the child’s health.”
    and
    “PHL §2164[9] This section shall not apply to children whose parent, parents, or guardian hold genuine and sincere religious beliefs which are contrary to the practices herein required, and no certificate shall be required as a prerequisite to such children being admitted or received into school or attending school.”

    If one feels that there is weakness in legislation, fair enough, but I object to people just making sh*t up to make their case.

  109. #109 Dawn
    September 8, 2008

    Wrong Regan. The recent attempt in forced vaccination in NY called for all vaccines and there were no exemptions – for anyone. I think you may want to re-read the entire text of the link you gave. I just did and none of what you state is in there.

  110. #110 Joseph
    September 8, 2008

    One alternative is that thousands – if not tens of thousands – of people are being kept in perfect silence, refusing to open their mouths about “vaccine damage”.

    Just to emphasize how ludicrous Dawn’s ideas are, the NIH has 18,442 employees as of 2007. The Bayer group has over 100,000 employees worldwide, close to 17,000 in the US. Merck has 60,000 employees. Eli Lilly has 41,500 employees.

    Dawn would have us believe that none of these people have children, grandchildren or autistic kids; or don’t care.

    Where the heck are the whistle-blowers, Dawn?

  111. #111 snerd
    September 8, 2008

    Joseph, their will is sapped by introducing impurities into their precious vital bodily fluids. Thus they lack the ability to cast off the cruel yoke of suppression.

  112. #112 Militant Agnostic
    September 9, 2008

    I think I am seeing the birth of a corrolary to Godwin’s law
    In any running argument with an Anti-Vax troll, General Jack T. Ripper’s “precious vital bodily fluids” will be quoted.

    By the way Dawn, do you still believe that the United States is the only country that allows the flouridation of municipal water supplies? For your sake, I am hoping you are beginning to realize that your fellow anti-vaxers have been lying to you.

  113. #113 snerd
    September 9, 2008

    Oh dear, how gauche! I’d had to think I was a part of that. But the quote is just so pithy and chewy and right for the job.

  114. #114 snerd
    September 9, 2008

    Bah, “hate to think”.

  115. #115 Lilly de Lure
    September 9, 2008

    Dawn said:

    Wrong Regan. The recent attempt in forced vaccination in NY called for all vaccines and there were no exemptions – for anyone. I think you may want to re-read the entire text of the link you gave. I just did and none of what you state is in there.

    Dawn you are either making things up or you have severe reading comprehension issues, given the below text from the act Regan linked to and which you claim to have read:

    In the event that such person does not wish to select a health practitioner to administer the immunization, he or she shall be provided with a form which shall give notice that as a prerequisite to processing the application for admission to, or for continued attendance at, the school such person shall state a valid reason for withholding consent or consent shall be given for immunization to be administered by a health officer in the public employ, or by a school physician or nurse.(emphasis mine)

    The bill clearly states here that it does recognise that there are genuine reasons for withholding consent for vaccination (Regan actually quoted what they were at the end of her post) and states what parents who have valid reasons not to vaccinate their children need to do to make sure their kids are accepted into schools despite the fact that such children will not have a vaccination certificate.

    Please Dawn, in future try to respond to the information that is actually provided for you, rather than to the voices in your own head – you’ll find it much easier to have a meaningful conversation.

  116. #116 Militant Agnostic
    September 9, 2008

    There is another similarity bewteen General Jack T. Ripper from Doctor Strangelove and the Anti-Vaxers besides paranoia.

    Both want to unleash massive death and destruction.

  117. #117 Scott
    September 9, 2008

    That’s not really fair. The antivaxers don’t *want* to unleash massive death and destruction – they’ll just do so out of ignorance.

    While the end result is the same, it’s still relevant to distinguish between maliciousness and stupidity.

  118. #118 Dawn
    September 9, 2008

    Liars. Nowhere on the bill proposed below does it call for any exemptions for anyone. In fact, the exemption section has been AMENDED, meaning no longer applies!! This bill was almost passed in NY! Are you people really that ignorant?? Hint – begin with line 13 for clarification on this.

    Introduced by COMMITTEE ON RULES — (at request of the Department of
    Health) — read once and referred to the Committee on Health –
    committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and
    recommitted to said committee

    AN ACT to amend the public health law, in relation to requiring that
    certain children be immunized against meningococcal disease; and to
    repeal section 2167 of such law relating to immunization against
    meningococcal meningitis

    THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
    BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

    1 Section 1. Subdivision 2 of section 2164 of the public health law is
    2 amended by adding a new paragraph c to read as follows:
    3 C. EVERY PERSON IN PARENTAL RELATION TO A CHILD IN THIS STATE BORN ON
    4 OR AFTER JANUARY FIRST, NINETEEN HUNDRED NINETY-FIVE, AND ENTERING OR
    5 HAVING ENTERED SEVENTH GRADE OR A COMPARABLE AGE LEVEL SPECIAL EDUCATION
    6 PROGRAM WITH AN UNASSIGNED GRADE ON OR AFTER SEPTEMBER FIRST, TWO THOU-
    7 SAND NINE, SHALL HAVE ADMINISTERED TO SUCH CHILD AN ADEQUATE DOSE OR
    8 DOSES OF AN IMMUNIZING AGENT AGAINST MENINGOCOCCAL DISEASE, WHICH MEETS
    9 THE STANDARDS APPROVED BY THE UNITED STATES PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE FOR
    10 SUCH BIOLOGICAL PRODUCTS, AND WHICH IS APPROVED BY THE DEPARTMENT UNDER
    11 SUCH CONDITIONS AS MAY BE SPECIFIED BY THE PUBLIC HEALTH COUNCIL.
    12 S 2. Subdivisions 3, 5 and 6, paragraph (a) of subdivision 7 and the
    13 opening paragraph of subdivision 8-a of section 2164 of the public
    14 health law, as amended by chapter 189 of the laws of 2006, are amended
    15 to read as follows:
    16 3. The person in parental relation to any such child who has not
    17 previously received such immunization shall present the child to a
    18 health practitioner and request such health practitioner to administer
    19 the necessary immunization against poliomyelitis, mumps, measles,
    20 diphtheria, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), rubella, varicella,
    21 pertussis, tetanus, pneumococcal disease, MENINGOCOCCAL DISEASE, and
    22 hepatitis B as provided in subdivision two of this section.
    23 5. The health practitioner who administers such immunizing agent
    24 against poliomyelitis, mumps, measles, diphtheria, Haemophilus influen-
    25 zae type b (Hib), rubella, varicella, pertussis, tetanus, pneumococcal
    26 disease, MENINGOCOCCAL DISEASE, and hepatitis B to any such child shall

    EXPLANATION–Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
    { } is old law to be omitted.
    LBD15445-05-8

    A. 10942–A 2

    1 give a certificate of such immunization to the person in parental
    2 relation to such child.
    3 6. In the event that a person in parental relation to a child makes
    4 application for admission of such child to a school or has a child
    5 attending school and there exists no certificate or other acceptable
    6 evidence of the child`s immunization against poliomyelitis, mumps,
    7 measles, diphtheria, rubella, varicella, hepatitis B, pertussis, teta-
    8 nus, and, where applicable, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), MENIN-
    9 GOCOCCAL DISEASE and pneumococcal disease, the principal, teacher, owner
    10 or person in charge of the school shall inform such person of the neces-
    11 sity to have the child immunized, that such immunization may be adminis-
    12 tered by any health practitioner, or that the child may be immunized
    13 without charge by the health officer in the county where the child
    14 resides, if such person executes a consent therefor. In the event that
    15 such person does not wish to select a health practitioner to administer
    16 the immunization, he or she shall be provided with a form which shall
    17 give notice that as a prerequisite to processing the application for
    18 admission to, or for continued attendance at, the school such person
    19 shall state a valid reason for withholding consent or consent shall be
    20 given for immunization to be administered by a health officer in the
    21 public employ, or by a school physician or nurse. The form shall provide
    22 for the execution of a consent by such person and it shall also state
    23 that such person need not execute such consent if subdivision eight or
    24 nine of this section {apply} APPLIES to such child.
    25 (a) No principal, teacher, owner or person in charge of a school shall
    26 permit any child to be admitted to such school, or to attend such
    27 school, in excess of fourteen days, without the certificate provided for
    28 in subdivision five of this section or some other acceptable evidence of
    29 the child`s immunization against poliomyelitis, mumps, measles, diphthe-
    30 ria, rubella, varicella, hepatitis B, pertussis, tetanus, and, where
    31 applicable, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), MENINGOCOCCAL DISEASE
    32 and pneumococcal disease; provided, however, such fourteen day period
    33 may be extended to not more than thirty days for an individual student
    34 by the appropriate principal, teacher, owner or other person in charge
    35 where such student is transferring from out-of-state or from another
    36 country and can show a good faith effort to get the necessary certif-
    37 ication or other evidence of immunization.
    38 Whenever a child has been refused admission to, or continued attend-
    39 ance at, a school as provided for in subdivision seven of this section
    40 because there exists no certificate provided for in subdivision five of
    41 this section or other acceptable evidence of the child`s immunization
    42 against poliomyelitis, mumps, measles, diphtheria, rubella, varicella,
    43 hepatitis B, pertussis, tetanus, and, where applicable, Haemophilus
    44 influenzae type b (Hib), MENINGOCOCCAL DISEASE and pneumococcal disease,
    45 the principal, teacher, owner or person in charge of the school shall:
    46 S 3. Paragraph d of subdivision 1 of section 2165 of the public health
    47 law, as added by chapter 405 of the laws of 1989, is amended to read as
    48 follows:
    49 d. The term “immunization” means an adequate dose or doses of an
    50 immunizing agent against measles, mumps {and}, rubella, AND MENINGOCOC-
    51 CAL DISEASE, which meets the standards approved by the United States
    52 public health service for such biological products, and which is
    53 approved by the state department of health under such conditions as may
    54 be specified by the public health council.
    55 S 4. Section 2167 of the public health law is REPEALED.
    56 S 5. This act shall take effect August 1, 2009.

  119. #119 Gray Falcon
    September 9, 2008

    Dawn, the act you just posted does contain the text referenced. Lines fourteen through twenty of the second part mention exemptions. This was already told to you beforehand, you simply refuse to believe anyone who tells you what you don’t want to believe.

    Please learn that listening to only the people who say what you want to hear is an incredibly dangerous policy. For example, what if someone told you they had successfully sued “Big Pharma”, and anyone who qualified (just about everyone) could receive the large amounts of money they are entitled to, in exchange for a fifty dollar processing fee?

    Don’t think similar things haven’t happened. The words “affinity fraud” exist for a reason.

  120. #120 Paul
    September 9, 2008

    Dawn, amending a law means that the law is changed, not that the law no longer applies. In this specific case the amendment refers to “Subdivisions 3, 5 and 6, paragraph (a) of subdivision 7 and the 13 opening paragraph of subdivision 8-a of section 2164 of the public health law”

    Public health law 2164 can be viewed at:

    http://www.nysteachs.org/media/INF_LP_PubHealthLaw_Sect2164.pdf

    Of these only subdivision 8 refers to exemptions due to health concerns. The opening paragraph of subdivision 8-a, the section being ammended, reads “Whenever a child has been refused admission to, or continued
    attendance at, a school as provided for in subdivision seven of
    this section because there exists no certificate provided for in
    subdivision five of this section or other acceptable evidence of
    the child’s immunization against poliomyelitis, mumps,
    measles, diphtheria, rubella, hepatitis B, varicella and, where
    applicable, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), the principal,
    teacher, owner or person in charge of the school shall:”

    It is NOT referring to the exemption given if there is evidence that a vaccine might be detrimental to the child’s health, this is dealt with in Subdivision 8 proper which reads “If any physician licensed to practice medicine in this state
    certifies that such immunization may be detrimental to a
    child’s health, the requirements of this section shall be
    inapplicable until such immunization is found no longer to be
    detrimental to the child’s health”

    This part is not ammended so the exemption on health grounds still applies! We’re not the ones doing the lying!

  121. #121 Gray Falcon
    September 9, 2008

    PS. My earlier comment about “I’m not injured, I’m not gifted, I’m just me,” sounded good when I wrote it, but now it just looks pretentious. What I meant is that my personality isn’t an injury or malady to be removed, it’s part of who I am.

  122. #122 Prometheus
    September 9, 2008

    Dawn claims:

    “…did you even know that the U.S. is the ONLY country in the entire world that will allow flouridated water?”

    Others have already pointed out that several countries in the EU fluoridate their water (which she pointedly ignored). I’d like to point out that several Latin American countries (e.g. Costa Rica) also fluoridate their water.

    In addition, fluoridation of salt is the more common way that European countries have increased fluoride intake. Switzerland started fluoridation of salt in a few cantons in 1955 and extended it to the entire country in 1983.

    Of course, Dawn won’t believe a thing I say (or write), since she has access to “special information”.

    Sigh.

    Prometheus

  123. #123 snerd
    September 9, 2008

    Wow, so amend has the same meaning as deprecate? Who knew? What a muggins I am for thinking it meant ‘change’ or ‘alter’, where can I put my face.

  124. #124 snerd
    September 9, 2008

    Also, as a point of fact, water supplies in NSW, Australia have been fluoridated since at least 1957:

    http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/fopwsa1957400/

    So once again, manifestly wrong on a point of fact. I’ll just sit here and watch the tumbleweeds and listen to the crickets.

  125. #125 Tsu Dho Nimh
    September 9, 2008

    Promatheus said: About the only vaccine that the boys who went “over there” got was the smallpox vaccine.

    They also got typhoid vaccine, which did the expected and decreased the morbidity and mortality of the troops. As expected, case mortality rose a bit, but the overall mortality dropped. I don’t have the figures readily available … oddly, although I risk being scoffed, whale.to had a quote of the original report with the stats. It didn’tquite prove what he thought it wa sproving.

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