Respectful Insolence

There’s an old saying, so old that it’s devolved into cliché: Be careful what you wish for; you just might get it. I’m sure the vast majority of my readers, if not every last one of them, have heard this saying before. Certainly, it has a lot of truth to it. Sometimes it even applies to blogging. The most recent example that comes to mind occurred yesterday, when a commenter named David M. taunted me (or so he thought):

I know you all like to pick on actresses, college students and parents with sick kids, but how about taking a look at the column by Dr. Bernadine Healy on U.S. News. She used to run the NIH, the Red Cross and basically is smarter and has more credibility in medicine than anyone who has ever played with their widget on this website.

(Oh my goodness from a quick read, Dr. Healy thinks there needs to be more research on this issue, including vaccinated vs. unvaccinated. She must be a moron.)

Happy reading and gentlemen start the slime!

http://health.usnews.com/blogs/heart-to-heart/2009/04/14/the-vaccines-autism-war-dtente-needed.html

You know, I don’t read Dr. Healy’s blog for U.S. News & World Report. I probably wouldn’t have been aware of this article for at least a few more hours (by which time no doubt some of my readers would have eventually forwarded it to me). I might have been spared its nonsense for a while. But noooooo! You, David M., had to go and make me aware of it, and then my curiosity demanded that I go to it and actually read it.

Now there are a few minutes of my life I’ll never get back and probably a few thousand neurons I’ll never get back after reading her article.

I’ve said very little about it, but Bernadine Healy has been flirting with the antivaccine movement for quite some time. I never bothered much with her before because she was clearly trying to straddle both sides of the fence, making obligatory nods to the importance of vaccines while partially swallowing the antivaccine line laid down by Generation Rescue and other antivaccine groups and regurgitating. Partially. In doing so, she’s been known to call for a “vaccinated versus unvaccinated” study or argue that the Hannah Poling case is somehow evidence that vaccines cause autism, all the while waving her tenure as Director of the NIH as a talisman against criticism that she’s drifting into the antivaccine camp.

Unfortunately, Dr. Healy’s flirtation with the antivaccine movement has become more serious of late. Indeed, clearly J.B. Handley clearly views her as one of his own, given that Age of Autism named Healy its Person of the Year for 2008. If there’s one virtually completely reliable indication that a scientist or physician is well on the way to becoming an antivaccine crank (or has already become one), it’s being named Person of the Year by Age of Autism. It’s like the Nobel Prize, Oscars, Pulitzer Prizes, and Congressional Medal of Freedom for antivaccine crankery and autism quackery all rolled into one. Here’s a hint for Dr. Healy: Anyone whom J.B. Handley views as a hero has gone far, far down the antivaccine rabbit hole, whether she’s acknowledged it or not, whether she even realizes it or not. Whether Dr. Healy will ever manage to find her way out of it or if she even wants to find her way back to the surface and sunlight, I don’t know. What I do know is that her appearance with Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey was profoundly embarrassing. It’s hard to believe that a former Director of the NIH can be so clueless. Worse, she doesn’t even seem to be aware of the significance of this “award” or that she has become propaganda tool number two for the antivaccine movement. (Jenny McCarthy is propaganda tool number one.)

Of course, the antivaccine movement is thoroughly smitten with Dr. Healy, I first started to notice it last year as they invoked her name more and more frequently. Indeed, they do it so often that Kevin Leitch even coined a term for it: The Bernadine Healy Card. The most recent invocation of the Bernadine Healy card came yesterday in response to an article that Dr. Healy posted on her blog entitled The Vaccines-Autism War: Détente Needed. In it, we find Dr. Healy doing what she’s become known for lately, trying to sound like the voice of reason and remain above the fray, all the while laying down virtually all of the Generation Rescue antivaccine line while disingenuously proclaiming that she’s all for vaccines. In the meantime, she can’t even get the history of the organization that’s been praising her so much right:

When Larry King used the word debate to describe his April 3 program on vaccines and autism, he might just as well have said war; the airways smoked as activist Jenny McCarthy, mother of a child diagnosed with autism who blames vaccines, and her partner, Jim Carrey, faced off with two distinguished pediatricians representing the American Academy of Pediatrics. McCarthy and Carrey and two colleagues from the autism advocacy group she founded, Generation Rescue, took the AAP to task for its unwillingness to give at all in the controversy over vaccine safety and, while holding up a vaccine ad in its journal, accused the group of shilling for vaccine manufacturers.

I find it particularly amusing that Dr. Healy apparently doesn’t even know that J.B. Handley and his wife were the founders of Generation Rescue, not Jenny McCarthy. That’s got to burn J.B.. After all, these days, Generation Rescue has been reborn as “Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey’s Autism Organization,” with nary a hint that it was J.B. who built it from nothing to the colossus of antivaccine propaganda that it is today. I know I wouldn’t be too happy about being so totally forgotten if I were J.B., but perhaps he’s made of sterner stuff than I. He’s willing to swallow his massive ego in this one instance and by renaming his organisation let everyone seemingly forget that he created Generation Rescue, all in the name of hanging out with Jenny McCarthy and that lovely pile of money from celebrity fundraisers that she can bring in, the better to fund propaganda promoting the pseudoscience claiming that vaccines cause autism far and wide.

But I digress.

Note how, in a wonder of concern trolling, Dr. Healy blames the AAP and physicians, not the antivaccine movement, for the vitriolic tone of the vaccine-autism manufactroversy. Once again, there’s nary a word about the apocalyptic language about an “autism epidemic” and the “poisoning” of our children coming from the likes of J.B. Handley and Generation Rescue, or how the drug companies and the Dark Lord of Vaccination himself (to the antivaccine movement), Dr. Paul Offit, are plotting to pump your children full of mercury and other “toxins” all in the name of making obscene profits. But never mind. It’s all the fault of vaccine defenders, who are so, so mean to people like Jenny McCarthy, and poor Bernadine is just a level-headed reasonable doc caught in the crossfire:

The academy’s goal is to get every child in America–that’s 4 million born per year–vaccinated fully and on time in order to avoid perilous consequences such as a recent deadly outbreak of hemophilus influenza that could have been prevented with the Hib vaccine. The pediatricians took umbrage at the criticism and insisted that vaccine safety issues have been resolved to the fullest. I was there in the crossfire, arguing as I have many times that, yes, vaccines are eminently safe–and parents are raising legitimate concerns, yet unanswered. This controversy might be resolved if we can focus on a few big questions, with an open mind.

It depends on what you mean by “open mind.” To me, it sounds as though Dr. Healy’s calling for people to open their minds so much that their brains fall out, and I suggest that readers refer back to this video to review the fallacy of the appeal to be “open-minded.” The reason is that scientists have answered these questions before. Over and over and over and over again. Studies have been done. Over and over and over and over again. Yet, no matter how many times scientists try to answer the concerns of the antivaccine movement or do studies to test whether vaccines are associated with autism, it’s never, ever enough. The reason is that the antivaccine movement doesn’t like the answers, which invariably are that neither the mercury in the thimerosal preservative that used to be in vaccines nor the vaccines themselves have been shown to be associated or correlated with autism. They don’t like the answers because they do not confirm their fervid belief that vaccines cause autism. They do not want real science. They do not want to put the hypothesis that vaccines or mercury cause autism to scientifically rigorous tests. They want studies that confirm their beliefs. A better example of that I can’t think of than Sallie Bernard, whom the government foolishly asked to participate in a study of vaccines and neurodevelopmental disorders and who bolted from the study and started criticizing it after it did not show what she wanted it to show.

Most of the rest of Dr. Healy’s article is of the “Why can’t we all get along?” variety, parroting antivaccine talking points related to Hannah Poling, the “too many too soon” fallacy, and advocacy of a Dr. Sears-likedelayed vaccination schedule.” Here, however, is where Dr. Healy shows just how close her flirtation with the antivaccine movement has become:

First, are we overvaccinating our children? Vaccines are powerful stimulants of the immune system, which they must be to be effective. But as many of the autism activists have pointed out, American children are the most vaccinated on the planet. Generation Rescue and the World Health Organization both have compiled data that show the United States now gives more vaccines to all its children, and earlier in life, than the rest of the developed world: some 36 doses before our little ones hit kindergarten, with most crammed into the first 18 months of life. If you look at the best-performing countries in terms of infant and early-childhood mortality, the average number of doses is 18, with most of the Scandinavian countries, Japan, and Israel mandating just 11 to 12.

I had to reread that paragraph a couple of times to be sure it said what I thought it did, so surprised was I! That’s right. You read it right. Dr. Healy actually quoted the execrably incompetent and intellectually dishonest recent “study” by Generation Rescue purporting to show that nations with smaller numbers of mandated vaccines have lower autism prevalences. This study was utterly demolished by a “friend” of mine over at Science-Based Medicine and others. (Next she’ll be parroting the equally misinformation-laden new Generation Rescue website Fourteen Studies, which I hope to get to soon.) It’s at this point that I think I should formulate a new Internet law along the line of Godwin’s Law or Scopie’s Law. That’s why I hereby declare Orac’s Law:

In any discussion involving science or medicine–and especially vaccines–citing any material published by Generation Rescue or Age of Autism as a credible source loses you the argument immediatel …and gets you laughed right out of the room.

By Orac’s law, I hereby declare that Dr. Healy should be laughed out of the room.

It’s rather depressing to see a former Director of the NIH having allowed herself to become so closely allied with the antivaccine movement, for whatever reason. However, in retrospect, maybe I should have seen it coming. For example, the very first time I contemplated Dr. Healy and vaccines was around three or four years ago when she appeared on Bill Maher’s show. At the time, I observed that, rather than slapping Maher down for his nonsense about vaccines, germ theory denialism, and invoking “toxins” as the cause of all disease, Dr. Healy sat silently by other than an “Oh, dear” as Maher spouted the most ridiculous nonsense about vaccines. Then there were other indications. For instance, in 2005, Dr. Healy launched a broadside at Dr. Wallace Sampson for his criticism of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, bragging:

Instead, the Journal offers an adjacent opinion piece on the echinacea report by a former Stanford physician, Wallace Sampson, who has in the past called for abolishing NCCAM (yes, an enterprise I created in 1992 as director of NIH with pressure from Congress). Sampson uses the negative findings on echinacea to blast the alternative medicine movement as an errant social-medical trend. He dismisses herbal and nontraditional medical remedies as categorically implausible and unworthy of serious scientific support. Though alternative medicine does have a way of inspiring hot views among some of medicine’s finest, his commentary is less scientific analysis and more culture war. And it’s a war that, if won, would create a Catch-22, dooming the world of remedies that lack Establishment credentials to eternal ignorance and therefore discredit.

What a load of fetid dingo’s kidneys! It’s also a massive straw man argument over what skeptics like us who argue for the dismantling of NCCAM are actually arguing. Not only that, but she didn’t create NCCAM during her tenure, although the Office of Unconventional Medicine, which was renamed the Office of Alternative Medicine (OAM), was created during her time as NIH director. From that humble beginning, NCCAM grew to the $120+ million a year woo machine that it is now.

Dr. Healy followed up that article in 2006 with a snarky assault on evidence-based medicine as being an “attack on doctors” and “cookbook medicine.” Even more amazingly, in that article, she cited something even worse (if possible) than Generation Rescue “science.” That’s right. She cited the infamous Holmes et al commentary that likened evidence-based medicine to “microfascism,” an article upon which I had a grand old time heaping contempt when it first came out. In other words, Dr. Healy’s crank tendencies have been around a while, and they haven’t been secret, either. No doubt Generation Rescue likes Dr. Healy’s “brave maverick doctor” pose, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that, outside of cardiology, she doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

Generation Rescue is also as starstruck about Dr. Healy’s scientific credentials as it is over Jenny McCarthy’s D-list star power. J.B. Handley and the rest of the crew over at Age of Autism is always going on and on about her having been the Director of the NIH, and certainly on the surface it seems very impressive indeed. However, as EpiWonk points out, unlike virtually all of the other directors of the NIH, Dr. Healy is not and never was a scientific superstar. In fact, she has no scientific accomplishments of note and has been a career administrator. EpiWonk described her credentials quite well:

President George H. W. Bush set an unfortunate precedent in 1991 when he appointed Bernadine Healy as Director of the NIH. The appointment was purely political, based on Healy’s lifetime support of the Republican Party. Although many feminists were overjoyed at the time, Dr. Healy was hardly a scientist. She was a career administrator.

Let’s not forget that the National Institutes of Health have often been called the greatest scientific institution in the history of the world. Bernadine Healy was about as qualified for the job of NIH Director as Sarah Palin is to be President of the United States.

Ouch. That’s going to leave a mark.

I was living in Ohio in 1994, the year she challenged Mike DeWine for the Republican nomination to run for the Senate. Suffice it to say, I was not impressed. Neither were most Ohioans. She later went on to become President of the American Red Cross, but only lasted in the job a couple of years. In the aftermath of 9/11, she came under heavy criticism for using 9/11 to raise money for a “Liberty Fund,” with only a small fraction of the money actually going to the victims’ families and was forced to resign. She was also an advisor to The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (TASSC), an organization later shown to have been funded by the Philip Morris corporation in order to attack scientific research that went against the interests of tobacco companies and other corporations.

I mention all of the above not as the primary criticisms of Bernadine Healy. I only mention them because the antivaccine movement, happy to have what they perceive as a heavy hitter on their side, touts Dr. Healy’s credentials at every turn, citing them and her support of many of their positions as evidence that they are not cranks.

Unfortunately, no one, regardless of credentials, is immune to degenerating into supporting pseudoscience. Remember, even Nobel Prize winners are not immune. After all, Nobel Prize winner Dr. Louis J. Ignarro is now shilling for nutritional supplements, and in his later years Linus Pauling convinced himself that high dose vitamin C could cure cancer, founding the woo known as Orthomolecular Medicine in the process. Compared to these two great scientists, both of whom fell into woo after winning the Nobel Prize, Dr. Healy’s scientific credentials are akin to a grade school science projects. Invoking her name as a legitimate argument from authority impresses no one who is familiar with her reputation as a scientist, which is currently none.

Comments

  1. #1 Calli Arcale
    April 15, 2009

    She created NCCAM? That’s about as true as Al Gore taking credit for the creation of the Internet. *shakes head* If she really believes that, then she clearly had very little idea of what the agency she led was actually doing. Not very reassuring.

  2. #2 Michelle Dawson
    April 15, 2009

    The Nobel-winning ethologist Nikolaas Tinbergen widely promoted grossly anti-scientific views of autism, with harmful (to autistics) consequences, including the popularity of holding therapy. Autistics who were subject to holding therapy have identified it as abuse.

  3. #3 IcedLatte
    April 15, 2009

    I was flicking channels a few weeks ago and chanced upon Madame Healy’s (I’m revoking her MD) recent appearance on Larry King. My tongue swelled as I listened to her gibberish and I nearly died on the spot. She was the dean at my med school! Ick and double blech. As I choked on my tongue while I listened to her spew; as my blood pressure reached dangerous, furious heights; as my eyes lolled back in my head signaling an impending seizure brought on by her gross ignorance AND MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE, it crossed my mind that such nonsense might nullify my medical degree. That horror bag! How dare she?

    My husband rolled his eyes at me and sagely asked, “I wonder who’s paying her? She must be getting money from some crank group to spew this crap.” Interesting. I’ll just bet she is. A pox upon her. A vaccine-preventable pox.

  4. #4 Hap
    April 15, 2009

    I know there have to be lots of conservative scientists with actual achievements and abilities, but when the only scientists the Repubs can find to support their political viewpoint (and to work with them to achieve its ends) are those willing to sell their integrity (I think working for TASSC qualifies as at least a rental of integrity), perhaps you ought to take it as a sign that something is wrong with your party’s philosophy or leadership. Just a hunch.

  5. #5 PhilM
    April 15, 2009

    I have been reading your blog for a while now. My only association with the medical profession is as a patient. I have had the misfortune of suffering from cardiac, orthopedic and diabetic issues and have a serious interest in learning more about how I can improve my quality of life. I strongly believe in the value of scientific method and realize that even science, as practiced today, needs to pass the test of time. I am aghast at the number of scientific studies that are published and later found to be falsified in some way. Same thing goes for drugs introduced and later recalled.

    Now, this is not about the vaccine controversy. My belief system tells me that I am better off with vaccines and my child has been given all the vaccinations that were recommended. The issue is about the religious fervor with which issues are discussed here. Even the so called science blogs is not immune to hyperbole which seems to be not serving the interests of someone truly interested in understanding the issues.

    Over the eons, many of our beliefs have crumbled. Even in my life time, things have changed dramatically enough that I now expect significant changes to some commonly held ‘truths’. As an example, let’s start with the evolution of our understanding of cholesterol. LDL was bad, HDL was good and now HDL2 and HDL3 are in the picture not to mention VLDL and IDL. And, of course, there are studies which claim that cholesterol isn’t the cause but only an association with CHD. I still don’t know if there is a good theory behind many of current medical practices. I could go on and on about this from a patients perspective.

    I am frustrated at not being able to find a source of medical information that I can trust to be truly scientific and not put out by people with vested interests. I don’t know how much I can trust the articles in journals written by doctors with deep ties to phramas. I was hoping to find that truth in blogs such as yours but I am beginning to feel that this is the other forum for the believers and not the inquisitive. I find the tone not restrained but equally provocative as the people on Youtube proclaiming their beliefs.

    Sorry to be ranting this way. Just wanted to let you know how I felt and hope it matters a little bit.

  6. #6 passionlessDrone
    April 15, 2009

    Hi Orac –

    The reason is that the antivaccine movement doesn’t like the answers, which invariably are that neither the mercury in the thimerosal preservative that used to be in vaccines nor the vaccines themselves have been shown to be associated or correlated with autism.

    Fetid dingo kindey alert.

    We have studied mercury, and the MMR in relationship to autism. Nothing else. Nothing.

    For someone who will spend thousnads of words in great detail in the skewering someone on getting the facts wrong, this gross over simplification makes it into your posts time, and time again. It is either ignorance of the state of what has been published, which seems unlikely, the very difficult to defend belief that the MMR can be meaningfully extrapolated for understanding “vaccines themselves”, or intentional deception.

    It speaks poorly towards your ability to be a credible, unbiased source of information, whatever the faults in Ms. Healy’s article.

    - pD

  7. #7 Joseph
    April 15, 2009

    The part in the end about Paul Offit seemed a little weird; out of place, kind of like she had to get it in there. I’m thinking the balanced-sounding stuff that came before is disingenuous. She’s fully anti-vax.

  8. #8 The Hypocrisy, it burns!!
    April 15, 2009

    Absolutely brilliant, dumbass. Are you too damned stupid to realize that by belching out the following crap, you have proven her point?

    “Note how, in a wonder of concern trolling, Dr. Healy blames the AAP and physicians, not the antivaccine movement, for the vitriolic tone of the vaccine-autism manufactroversy”

    Or perhaps you are too wrapped up in your own imagined self-importance to realize how much of a fucking idiot you are.

    So tell me, Dork, if you are so very important and the voice of all of the doctors in the medical field, why are you not Surgeon General? Head of the IOM? CDC? NIH? Anything? Oh, that’s right, you are a fucking know-it-all wannabe who researches tumors in a basement. Excuse me while I shake and shudder in awe. Your fucking useless opinion is far more important than anyone else’s? Yeah, and you accuse the parents of vaccine injured children of being in a fantasy world? Pull your fucking head out of your ass.

    What a fucking moron.

    Dorkski,

  9. #9 Landru
    April 15, 2009

    Wow. They didn’t mention the high probability of concern trolling on today’s weather report. I gotta find a better radio station.

    Blaming science bloggers for the vitriol in the vaccine manufactroversy is a lot like…uhm…various unfunny things for which people are unfairly blamed.

    (Sorry, I plugged four different jokes into that space and self-resected each of them for taste violations).

  10. #10 Hap
    April 15, 2009

    Data, please. Oh, wait, you don’t have any. If you had evidence for vaccines injuring children, you wouldn’t be bitching about it on a blog. Perhaps your hypocrisy is getting in your eyes there.

    I think your title should “My stupidity, it burns.”

  11. #11 Landru
    April 15, 2009

    And really, it’s not often that the proof of the pudding is being typed even as I struggle to redact my own lame jokes before hitting the “post” button. Thanks, Hypocrisy person.

  12. #12 Hap
    April 15, 2009

    I guess I should limited my data request to autism and its spectrum – I don’t know if the issues with swine flu vaccinations were real, for example. Sorry.

  13. #13 Joseph C.
    April 15, 2009

    Absolutely brilliant, dumbass. Are you too damned stupid to realize that by belching out the following crap, you have proven her point?

    “Note how, in a wonder of concern trolling, Dr. Healy blames the AAP and physicians, not the antivaccine movement, for the vitriolic tone of the vaccine-autism manufactroversy”

    Or perhaps you are too wrapped up in your own imagined self-importance to realize how much of a fucking idiot you are.

    So tell me, Dork, if you are so very important and the voice of all of the doctors in the medical field, why are you not Surgeon General? Head of the IOM? CDC? NIH? Anything? Oh, that’s right, you are a fucking know-it-all wannabe who researches tumors in a basement. Excuse me while I shake and shudder in awe. Your fucking useless opinion is far more important than anyone else’s? Yeah, and you accuse the parents of vaccine injured children of being in a fantasy world? Pull your fucking head out of your ass.

    What a fucking moron.

    Dork,

    Does anyone still doubt that these people behave like crazed cultists?

  14. #14 Ranson
    April 15, 2009

    PhilM:

    I understand where you’re coming from on the idea that what we understand about issues of medicine are changing at a frantic pace. It’s hard to know who to trust, and vitriol is easy to come by on both sides (this is the internet, after all).

    That said, you’re in a good place here, if for no other reason than that list over on the left side of the page. Orac, and others like him, are devoted to finding the truth in medicine through the only tool that we know to work: Science. That’s why medicine is getting more complicated; we’re learning more all the time, and that helps us get to better answers.

    Quite often, this blog (and, in particular, the comment area) gets snarky, dismissive, and downright angry. A lot of this stems from the fact that people on the science side of things are always fighting the same bad arguments and bad reasoning; the hundredth person pulling out “toxins” as a problem in vaccines will not be dealt with as pleasantly (though often as comprehensively)as the first. The dedicated bloggers and posters who work with science-based medicine understand that ideas develop as new evidence is found, and they are willing to accept that evidence. Heck, they’ll even admit when they are wrong. You mention that we don’t seem to be inquisitive enough; on the contrary, this is one of the most curious bunches of people I’ve had the privelege to associate with. The issue that many of us have with heated subjects is that much of the relevant inquiry has been made in the past. The data exists. The knowledge exists. We’re always open to more, especially if it conflicts with what we already think we know. Rehashing a badly-designed study from two decades ago that has long since been refuted doesn’t meet the standard; however, that’s often the kind of point a proponent of science-based medicine is asked to consider. Again, this can make us a bit frustrated and appear closed-minded to a relative newcomer. The longer you stick around, the more apparent it becomes that this is the case. We look at new data all the time, and it’s a lot of fun to pick apart even the stuff we tend to agree with. A sympathetic scientist can still do bad or fraudulent work.

    These same curious, informed people fight a constant battle against people who neither understand real medicine, science, or sometimes just basic human decency. They have their beliefs, as you say. The difference, though, is that the science-based medical community understand that human beings are fallible, prejudiced creatures. The scientific method, when properly applied, strips away a lot of our ability to fool ourselves. It’s not always pleasant, but I’d rather live in a world treated with the kind of medicine that stands up to that kind of analysis. I don’t need beliefs, in that case. I have evidence.

    Stick around, PhilM. I recommend starting back in the archives, or trotting over to the Science Based Medicine blog linked near the top of the list over there. I learned more about medical science in a few months around here than I did in the rest of my multiple decades of life combined.

  15. #15 Abel Pharmboy
    April 15, 2009

    Although Dr Healy lost her credibility early on in the article, it was her final statement that illustrated to me the myopia of her viewpoint:

    More medicine is not always better medicine. As the move toward health reform recognizes, this can make for poor public health policy—and break the bank.

    Healy was making a point that too many vaccines are expensive. As a physician who I hope studied the major infectious diseases that debilitated and killed and killed millions of children (and adults) before vaccination, Dr Healy clearly does not appreciate the costs, direct and indirect, of allowing a resurgence of polio, smallpox, etc.

    Alleviation of human suffering aside (over 10 million cases of infectious diseases and 33,000 deaths), vaccines are among the most cost-effective modalities available to us in modern medicine. A 2003 report by the CDC revealed that every dollar spent on vaccination programs returns $6.30 in direct savings, $18.42 of indirect savings, for a national total of $42 billion.

    Economic argument against vaccines…FAIL.

  16. #16 Amy
    April 15, 2009

    Well, too bad your diatribe was getting too boring as i could not get through half of it. And too bad you do not have the COURAGE and decency to come clean with your own identity.

  17. #17 ababa
    April 15, 2009

    Amy,
    Orac’s identity is pretty readily available – he has never hidden it. I guess when you have no argument against his point you grasp at straws?

  18. #18 SLC
    April 15, 2009

    The sad part of this discussion is the fact that an incompetent nincompoop like Dr. Healy was appointed to the office once held by the distinguished physician and Nobel Prize winner in medicine, Dr. Harold Varmus, currently one of President Obamas’ top advisers on scientific matters. Heck of a job Bernardine!

  19. #19 DPSisler
    April 15, 2009

    Amy,

    You are a twit. Do a little researching, and you can easily find Orac’s true name. Heck, stay ignorant. You seem to like it.

  20. #20 DiscomBoob
    April 15, 2009

    You no like Jenny, me no like you! You bad bad man! Autism bad! Vaccines bad! You Bad!

    Me now as smart as Hypocrisy and Amy!

  21. #21 Jennifer B. Phillips (aka Danio)
    April 15, 2009

    Oops, I forgot to include the Trolls in the head count when I made the popcorn for this show. Sorry guys. Nice one, though, Orac.

    What I would most love to see in response to Healy’s latest blog entry–and to the GR/McCarthy press junket in general–is a blitz of letters/appearances by representatives of the APA, the CDC, and other pro-vaccine organizations. Regular old non-medico parents like me should step up, as well, but we need to have some organized rebuttals at the ready for shit like this, as it is definitely escalating.

  22. #22 SiMPel MYnd
    April 15, 2009

    Well, too bad your diatribe was getting too boring as i could not get through half of it. And too bad you do not have the COURAGE and decency to come clean with your own identity.

    ** head banging desk ** ** head banging desk **

    Shorter Amy: “Don’t get smart with me!”

    Shorter Everyone Else: “Yes, let’s not inject any intelligence into the conversation…”

  23. #23 Natalie
    April 15, 2009

    PhilM, considering your statement “I find the tone not restrained but equally provocative as the people on Youtube proclaiming their beliefs.”, may I respectfully suggest that you take a close look at the posts by “The Hypocrisy, It Burns” or Amy in this threat, or search the archives and read posts by Dawn (not MIDawn, she is sane), Undergraduate-gal, cooler, John Best/Baltimore Bert, or John Fryer.

    Compare these to posts by the regular anti-anti-vaccinationists here, and I think it’s clear who’s more hyperbolic, vitriolic, fervent, etc.

  24. #24 Dangerous Bacon
    April 15, 2009

    The antivaxers, like their conspiracy-mongering counterparts in alt med, just loooove the scattered apostates and cranks in medicine who can be their poster children for pseudoscience.

    Bernadine Healy’s remarks are no doubt being added to those lists of quotes that woo enthusiasts enjoy cutting and pasting into any handy discussion. She’ll join the naturopaths, license-suspended MDs and fringe members of various disciplines who find themselves shilling for all sorts of bizarre causes.

    How embarassing for her. Is the odd appearance on Larry King compensation enough? Or is a book about her struggles against the Evidence-Based Establishment in the works?

  25. #25 Michael Simpson
    April 15, 2009

    The Bush administration used the NIH, FDA and other regulatory agencies for political purposes, so hiring Healy might have been that her ideology matched Bush’s, rather than her scientific competence. I bet if someone looked into her political background, she may be an evolution denialist, anti-abortion, and who knows what else (OK, I’m getting cranky, so a quick google search isn’t of any help).

    Anyways, if this is the best the anti-vaccine crowd can find to support their point of view, I don’t think we need to worry.

  26. #26 Chris
    April 15, 2009

    A two by four hint for Amy: “This study was utterly demolished by a “friend” of mine over at Science-Based Medicine and others.”

  27. #27 Michael Simpson
    April 15, 2009

    JosephC wrote:

    Does anyone still doubt that these people behave like crazed cultists?

    The anti-vaccine arguments remind me of just about every scientific denialist position, whether it’s climate change, smoking and lung cancer, evolution, and so many to list. As was noted by others, different individuals continue to show up over time with the same hackneyed arguments. The conversation remains civil, although we can certainly be condescending and dismissive.

    Eventually, after 25 rounds (give or take 20) of discussing the science, the threads begin degenerating into name calling by the denialists.

    Personally, I’m tired of climate change, evolution, vaccine, and all other science denialists. (Yes, I’m calling them vaccine denialists.) The arguments are the same, and I just wish I was smart enough to write a denialist bot that automatically reads the posting, and replies with a series of articles that demolish their position.

  28. #28 Zeno
    April 15, 2009

    That’s about as true as Al Gore taking credit for the creation of the Internet.

    Could we please ditch this bogus talking point? Gore never claimed credit for creating the Internet, for all that his support for technology was crucial in ramping it up. He never said it, but right-wing pundits have succeeded in embedding it in political folklore.

  29. #29 Joseph C.
    April 15, 2009

    The conversation remains civil

    Civil? Is there some intended irony that I’m missing here?

  30. #30 Sullivan
    April 15, 2009

    “We have studied mercury, and the MMR in relationship to autism. Nothing else. Nothing.”

    Ah, you could re-read the section you quoted. The good Orac stated

    “The reason is that the antivaccine movement doesn’t like the answers, which invariably are that neither the mercury in the thimerosal preservative that used to be in vaccines nor the vaccines themselves have been shown to be associated or correlated with autism. ”

    Rather accurate, don’t you think? Unless, that is, you have a study which shows that vaccines are correlated with autism?

    You could go beyond stating that thimerosal and MMR “have been studied”. They have been studied and they have been shown to not be the cause in the rise in autism prevalence.

  31. #31 Liz Ditz
    April 15, 2009

    I forgot about this 2005 lapse by Healy, as reported by Media Matters

    Dr. Bernadine Healy, a senior writer for U.S. News & World Report and former director of the National Institutes of Health, falsely claimed that “several” neurologists who “evaluated” Terri Schiavo determined that she had “a functional mind” and was “minimally conscious.” In fact, discredited Dr. William Hammesfahr is the only neurologist who has examined Schiavo to argue that she is not in a persistent vegetative state (PVS).

  32. #32 D. C. Sessions
    April 15, 2009

    may I respectfully suggest that you take a close look at the posts by “The Hypocrisy, It Burns”

    That one is so over-the-top that I honestly suspect it of parody. If it is, it’s brilliant — the object of great parody is to get the mockery just so right that people can’t be sure.

    Meanwhile, Dr. Healy can now list the crowning accomplishment in her CV: she has achieved the ultimate honor of a favored position on John Scudamore’s site.

  33. #33 Hap
    April 15, 2009

    Flirting is probably not the correct term here – I think they would have been kicked out of a bar already for being a little too explicit in their “flirting”.

  34. #34 Prometheus
    April 15, 2009

    I was recently informed by one of my students that the term “prostitute” has been replaced (among the trendy, urban elite) by “ladies of negotiable affection”.

    Dr. Healy appears to be a “scientist of negotiable affection”. I wonder who is paying her? I hope she doesn’t see this linkage with GR and the rest as a “career booster”; it’s likely to be exactly the opposite.

    It was also nice to see a number of the regular “I can’t contribute anything useful so I’ll just call everybody bad names” crowd make their “contributions” and provide a stark example of the yawning intellectual and cultural (and sociological?) gulf between “us” and “them”.

    Prometheus

  35. #35 Strider
    April 15, 2009

    @LitzDitz
    Holy shit! If nothing else convinces David M. that Healy is grossly unqualified to be quoted as an expert on anything medical it should be this information!
    @Zeno
    Thanks for calling out this tired meme. It’s disturbing how often it’s repeated even on seemingly friendly posters on friendly fora.

  36. #36 Ranson
    April 15, 2009

    @Joseph C:

    This place is civil. If you want to see uncivil, head over to Pharyngula and spout off some frequently heard creationist talking points. Even the nice regulars will tear off a head or two for that. And then there’s Holbach… *shudder*

  37. #37 Joseph C.
    April 15, 2009

    This place is civil. If you want to see uncivil, head over to Pharyngula and spout off some frequently heard creationist talking points. Even the nice regulars will tear off a head or two for that. And then there’s Holbach… *shudder*

    I’m aware that there are corners of the Interweb that get much nastier, like most any Usenet thread. But “civil”, to me, seems like a stretch. I’ll meet you halfway and go with “less uncivilized”.

  38. #38 SLC
    April 15, 2009

    Re Ranson

    They can get pretty uncivil over at Ed Braytons’ blog, dispatches, also.

  39. #39 Ranson
    April 15, 2009

    @Joseph C.:

    I can meet you there. Given the standards of the internet-at-large I’ve experienced over the last fifteen years or so, this is a happy garden filled with fluffy (though occasionally heavily armed and/or rabid) bunnies. Mileage varies.

    @SLC:

    I’ve was over there when the birfers were in full force. I know what you mean.

  40. #40 anon
    April 15, 2009

    Sullivan,

    Ah, you could re-read the section you quoted. The good Orac stated

    “The reason is that the antivaccine movement doesn’t like the answers, which invariably are that neither the mercury in the thimerosal preservative that used to be in vaccines nor the vaccines themselves have been shown to be associated or correlated with autism. ”

    Rather accurate, don’t you think? Unless, that is, you have a study which shows that vaccines are correlated with autism?

    “The vaccines themselves”, is a bit wordsmithy, and misleading. pD is correct in his/her comment.

  41. #41 Militant Agnostic
    April 15, 2009

    I think we need to hammer on her affiliation with the Tobbaco industry funded Advancement of Sound Science Coalition. This is a good counter to the Pharma Shill accusations.

  42. #42 Kula
    April 15, 2009

    Well, too bad your diatribe was getting too boring as i could not get through half of it.
    Posted by: Amy | April 15, 2009 11:35 AM

    This is pretty much SOP for Amy and friends isn’t it?
    Read only half or part of something, cherry-pick quotes, and certainly NEVER go to the bother of getting ALL the information, much less try to apply some critical thinking. Too much work.

  43. #43 Phoenix Woman
    April 15, 2009

    LitzDitz posted something that I want to make sure everyone sees, as it’s key to judging whether or not Bernadine Healy is trustworthy:

    I forgot about this 2005 lapse by Healy, as reported by Media Matters

    Dr. Bernadine Healy, a senior writer for U.S. News & World Report and former director of the National Institutes of Health, falsely claimed that “several” neurologists who “evaluated” Terri Schiavo determined that she had “a functional mind” and was “minimally conscious.” In fact, discredited Dr. William Hammesfahr is the only neurologist who has examined Schiavo to argue that she is not in a persistent vegetative state (PVS).

    This, in addition to the Orac-cited EpiWonk comment about career administrator and non-scientist Healy’s being a Bush Senior appointee (with the qualifications — or near-complete lack thereof — one would expect), should be raising big ol’ red flags for everyone here. (GHW Bush, while not quite as bad as his son, only supported science when it backed up his own beliefs or political needs; he suppressed the Sandia Labs study comparing public and private schools when it failed to tell him that private schools were superior in all respects.)

  44. #44 Prudence
    April 15, 2009

    I’m aware that there are corners of the Interweb that get much nastier, like most any Usenet thread. But “civil”, to me, seems like a stretch. I’ll meet you halfway and go with “less uncivilized”.

    Joseph C, if we’re such heathen, why stick around?

  45. ‘some 36 doses before our little ones hit kindergarten’?!? OMG…

  46. #46 Scott
    April 15, 2009

    Measles or polio or pertussis before our little ones hit kindergarten?!? OMG…

  47. #47 RJ
    April 15, 2009

    “The vaccines themselves”, is a bit wordsmithy, and misleading. pD is correct in his/her comment.”

    I would disagree. The “vaccines themselves” must be tested for safety (and efficacy) to be approved for use by the FDA. Or, are you suggesting that safety studies for vaccines used have never been performed? And a “correlation” with autism? Can you please…PLEASE provide anything substantial or reliable that resembles a study that demonstrates there is a relationship?

    So, we have one side that has robust, monitored trials to test safety, then scrutiny and evaluation by experts in the field….

    …or, we have anecdotal evidence and kinda sorta maybe correlations.

    I think Orac’s perspective is accurately articulated.

  48. #48 RJ
    April 15, 2009

    “‘some 36 doses before our little ones hit kindergarten’?!? OMG…”

    And how many exposures to pathogenic and non-pathogenic strains of bacteria, viruses, and fungi in one day? How many can you count in one drop of water? On that surface you’re eating on at the McDs? On your hands when you touch them. And on and on and on…..36 doses of dead/attenuated/peptides is NOTHIN’! Thanks goodness (no, science) that most of the really bad ones have been reduced through public health policies, including vaccination programs.

  49. #49 passionlessDrone
    April 15, 2009

    Hi Sullivan –

    Rather accurate, don’t you think? Unless, that is, you have a study which shows that vaccines are correlated with autism?

    Amazing. Presumably you are aware that there are more vaccines than simply the MMR. The issue isn’t that thimerosal and the MMR haven’t been studied, the issue is the continuous attempt to subtly replace this set of analysis as a comprehensive analysis of vaccination and autism strikes of deception, ignorance, or a very simplistic interpretation of how you can learn things by making observations.

    Lets have an example, what if I were to say, that because we’ve studied the MMR for safety, therefore, there was no reason to test proquad for safety, and it should be mandated without any safety tests. After all, they’re both ‘vaccines’, and since I’ve tested one, why the need to test another? Or, because the MMR is safe at age eighteen months, it must also be safe at age eighteen days. After all, time makes no difference, and it’s the same vaccine.

    Would you support any such changes in policy based on these types of generalizations? Unless you can show me a study wherein ProQuad isn’t safe, or the MMR at eighteen days isn’t safe, my statements are, ‘rather accurate’, at least according to your metrics. Keep it up.

    - pD

  50. #50 passionlessDrone
    April 15, 2009

    Hi RJ –

    I would disagree. The “vaccines themselves” must be tested for safety (and efficacy) to be approved for use by the FDA. Or, are you suggesting that safety studies for vaccines used have never been performed? And a “correlation” with autism? Can you please…PLEASE provide anything substantial or reliable that resembles a study that demonstrates there is a relationship?

    Hehe. The semantic shuffle continues! This time, we’ve gone from “no vaccines themselves have been shown to be associated or correlated with autism” to “tested for safety (and efficacy)”; as if those are in any way, shape, or form equivalent. Talk about horizontal transmission!

    Please, please explain to me how a seriopositivity test involving antibodies gives us the smallest clue as to a relationship with a diagnosis made by psychologists several years later. If there is no mechanism by which this is possible, why try to incorporate efficacy tests into a discussion about a relationship to autism?

    The safety studies you refer to are designed to capture immediately obvious and acute problems; i.e., rashes, fevers, pain, severe fevers, seizures, actually getting polio, and deaths. They simply are not designed to track diagnosis of autism. I’ll go on the record as stating that I’d bet they do a pretty good job of doing that.

    But that’s different, much different than evaluating for non immediately obvious, non acute effects. It is almost certain that you understand this straightforward difference, but you still want to argue that they are the same. Why?

    As far as demonstrating something that resembles such a relationship, you are well aware that no such studies have been performed; that is the entire point. You are treating the absence of studies as the existence of quality studies. Why?

    The horrifying part is that this is as good as the argument gets. I don’t have to prove vaccines cause autism in order to show that we haven’t really done a very thorough investigation of it. In fact, your answers are doing a bang up job of making that point for me. Keep it up!

    - pD

  51. #51 Joseph
    April 15, 2009

    Lets have an example, what if I were to say, that because we’ve studied the MMR for safety, therefore, there was no reason to test proquad for safety, and it should be mandated without any safety tests.

    Poor analogy, primarily because all vaccines are tested for safety.

    Let me propose a better analogy.

    An organization of scientifically illiterate loud-mouths believes that something sold at McDonald’s, namely the french fries, could be linked to autism. After all, as consumption of french fries has increased, so has the “incidence” of autism.

    They lobby the government to study the matter. The CDC spends millions of dollars, and comes back with an answer: no link. Subsequently, anti-fries dudes say it’s not the french fries, it’s actually the Big Mac. More money is spent, and the answer is again ‘no link.’ Now the anti-fries dudes decide it’s actually visits to McDonald’s in general which cause autism. Too many visits, too soon, they call it. At this point, no one takes the anti-fries dudes seriously anymore, and for good reason.

  52. #52 RJ
    April 15, 2009

    “Please, please explain to me how a seropositivity test involving antibodies gives us the smallest clue as to a relationship with a diagnosis made by psychologists several years later. If there is no mechanism by which this is possible, why try to incorporate efficacy tests into a discussion about a relationship to autism?”

    It is not seropositivity that is the basis for any claims relating to safety (that would be one component in an efficacy assessment).

    I think you may want to review these. At this time, it appears you do not understand the breadth of requirements for clinical trials for vaccines. Their requirements go far beyond reporting acute conditions. To make such a claim is erroneous…and then to use it as the basis for your claim that vaccines are not fully evaluated for safety is renders your statements and position irrelevant.

    http://www.fda.gov/fdac/features/2007/207_trials.html

    http://www.fda.gov/cber/summaries/vaccdev103007vp.pdf

    http://www.fda.gov/oashi/clinicaltrials/clintrialdoc.html

    http://www.fda.gov/cber/gdlns/gidvacc.htm

    “You are treating the absence of studies as the existence of quality studies. ”

    Uh, absence of studies? No, I’m talking about the exitance of actual studies. Go ahead and review some from the last few years (for others, they are not available on-line and you will have to go to the FDA office, but all trial data is there and freely available). I don’t think you have a grasp of what has been done in this area.

    http://clinicaltrials.gov/

  53. #53 Michael Simpson
    April 15, 2009

    Hey pD,

    I’m moving from civil to snarky.

    Right here, click on this link. You’ll read one of 100′s if not 1000′s of scientific articles that conclude that there is not one single relationship between autism and vaccines. This is just one of a bunch of random articles that I choose, just so I don’t use the same Cochrane review over and over.

  54. #54 RJ
    April 15, 2009

    “Please, please explain to me how a seropositivity test involving antibodies gives us the smallest clue as to a relationship with a diagnosis made by psychologists several years later. If there is no mechanism by which this is possible, why try to incorporate efficacy tests into a discussion about a relationship to autism?”

    It is not seropositivity that is the basis for any claims relating to safety (that would be one component in an efficacy assessment).

    I think you may want to review these. At this time, it appears you do not understand the breadth of requirements for clinical trials for vaccines. Their requirements go far beyond reporting acute conditions. To make such a claim is erroneous…and then to use it as the basis for your claim that vaccines are not fully evaluated for safety is renders your statements and position irrelevant.

    http://www.fda.gov/fdac/features/2007/207_trials.html

    http://www.fda.gov/cber/summaries/vaccdev103007vp.pdf

    http://www.fda.gov/oashi/clinicaltrials/clintrialdoc.html

    http://www.fda.gov/cber/gdlns/gidvacc.htm

    “You are treating the absence of studies as the existence of quality studies. ”

    Uh, absence of studies? No, I’m talking about the exitance of actual studies. Go ahead and review some from the last few years (for others, they are not available on-line and you will have to go to the FDA office, but all trial data is there and freely available). I don’t think you have a grasp of what has been done in this area.

    http://clinicaltrials.gov/

  55. #55 Michael Simpson
    April 15, 2009

    I hate to be philosophical, and I’m probably just going to preach to the choir here, but the anti-vaccine crowd really doesn’t understand science, specifically falsifiability. Basically, I accept the premise that my hypothesis that autism is not linked to vaccinations can be tested and may provide me with an observation or result that will prove it false. Now, this is not really good science, because it’s a double negative (not in the semantic sense), and it’s difficult to prove a negative.

    Therefore, those that promote a hypothesis that autism is linked to vaccinations, need to provide observations, results and data that support that link. And if the observations are negative, then the only logical and scientific thing to do is reject the hypothesis.

    There appears to be an emotional bent amongst the vaccine denialists to reject falsifiability–they are sure the link is there, observations be damned. I know, it’s not quite falsifiability since the hypothesis can be tested, as opposed to say Creationism which presumes a hypothesis that’s impossible to test. It’s more the fact that vaccine denialists reject falsifiability because they reject the results.

    Therefore, any conversation with these people cannot succeed. Why do we bother?

  56. #56 D. C. Sessions
    April 15, 2009

    Why do we bother?

    Since you asked.

  57. #57 Stu
    April 15, 2009

    pD, you’d have a point if there were a correllation. There’s not. Why do the unvaccinated get autism at the same rates? Are they infected with vaccines?

  58. #58 Droning, with passion
    April 15, 2009

    I don’t have to prove vaccines cause autism in order to show that we haven’t really done a very thorough investigation of it.

    Hear hear! I demand investigations into whether plasma screen TVs have led to the epidemic of male pattern baldness! Don’t ask for it, because I don’t need to present any credible data that demonstrates any correlation between plasma televisions and baldness or a plausible mechanism that would suggest a relationship is reasonable to investigate.

    I can just demand of you to prove me wrong. And when you can’t, because you don’t have the exact data I will accept, I’ll gleefully fling around insinuations against others and righteously assert that a lack of information is the perfect support for my preferred hypotheses! Huzzah!

  59. #59 passionlessDrone
    April 15, 2009

    Hi Michael Simpson –

    You’ll read one of 100′s if not 1000′s of scientific articles that conclude that there is not one single relationship between autism and vaccines.

    For someone who comes out proclaiming that I don’t understand science, it isn’t clear you’ve read a single thing I have written.

    Here is the title of the review you provided me a link to:

    Thimerosal-containing vaccines and autistic spectrum disorder: a critical review of published original data.”

    You are making my point for me!

    Studying thimerosal does not teach you anything except the effect or lack of effect of thimerosal.

    The link you provided tells us precious little about vaccination, it teaches us about thimerosal. Do you understand the difference between the two? There is a big one.

    Imagine I constructed a study wherein one group of persons smoked low tar cigarettes, and another smoked cigarettes with tar in them. We detect no difference in cancer rates. Even when we repeat the test dozens of times, we reach the same conclusion.

    Then, when you suggests that these results should not be extrapolated beyond a finding involving the effect of tar, I accuse you of scientific illiteracy. To top it off, I do is snarkily. Keep it up.

    - pD

  60. #60 passionlessDrone
    April 15, 2009

    Hi RJ –

    It is not seropositivity that is the basis for any claims relating to safety (that would be one component in an efficacy assessment).

    What I wrote was:

    why try to incorporate efficacy tests into a discussion about a relationship to autism

    You brought up efficacy trials first, not me.

    I think you may want to review these. At this time, it appears you do not understand the breadth of requirements for clinical trials for vaccines.

    Lets apply the most primitive logical test. Let us assume that the clinical trials in place did give us valid information about autism rates, and no association was found. Great!

    Then, lets look at what actually happened. There was a paper. There were parental reports. Then, for some curious reason, a whole slew of retrospective studies were performed, analyzing the MMR and autism. Why? If our safety studies could tell us anything about autism, why perform a series of retrospective studies at all? Wasn’t this information already available without scanning through Denmarks vaccination registry?

    You are deliberately attempting to confuse a safety study, with one that evaluates for risk of autism diagnosis. Those are different beasts.

    - pD

  61. #61 passionlessDrone
    April 15, 2009

    Hi Stu -

    pD, you’d have a point if there were a correllation. There’s not. Why do the unvaccinated get autism at the same rates? Are they infected with vaccines?

    My point isn that we haven’t performed sufficient analysis to tell if there is a correlation or not. By way of example, you can’t show me a study that tells me unvaccinated populations have the same rate of autism. Such a study has yet to be performed! All you can show me are many studies on the MMR, and many on thimerosal.

    I appreciate your lack of snarkiness. Thank you.

    - pD

  62. #62 Michael Simpson
    April 15, 2009

    pD. Insults have no effect on me. Good luck with your logic.

  63. #63 Michael Simpson
    April 15, 2009

    DC Sessions, yeah I know why we bother. But it’s like a religious exercise. We’re trying to convert those who believe on faith, logic and science be damned.

    I just get the feeling that we haven’t “converted” anyone.

  64. #64 Joseph
    April 15, 2009

    By way of example, you can’t show me a study that tells me unvaccinated populations have the same rate of autism.

    OK, Generation Rescue phone survey: 3.7% ASD in completely unvaccinated vs. 3.0% in fully vaccinated. Take it for what it is, and it is a poorly done survey, but I don’t think doing more than this is warranted.

  65. #65 Mu
    April 15, 2009

    Now you invoced Orac’s law.

  66. #66 Joseph
    April 15, 2009

    oops

  67. #67 D. C. Sessions
    April 15, 2009

    We’re trying to convert those who believe on faith, logic and science be damned.

    No, we’re not that stupid.

    What we’re trying to do is prevent them from having the field uncontested. We’re trying to keep them from giving our Congressional Lords and Masters the impression that they speak for the American populace (or any others on Earth, for that matter.) We’re trying to keep them from owning the sources of information to parents.

    We’re trying to keep the wife of one of my co-workers from leaving his children unvaccinated — because all she sees in the popular press or on TV is hysteria regarding the dangers of vaccines.

  68. #68 MisterMarcus
    April 15, 2009

    Having ‘lurked’ through many of these threads I must ask: aren’t we getting this whole ‘debate’ the wrong way around?

    The anti-vaccers are the ones flying in the face of the scientific consensus, so surely the onus is on them to prove a link between autism and vaccines, not us to prove there’s not? We should be the ones demanding for them to produce peer-reviewed papers that prove a link beyond any shadow of a doubt.

  69. #69 cooler
    April 15, 2009

    “Hear hear! I demand investigations into whether plasma screen TVs have led to the epidemic of male pattern baldness! Don’t ask for it, because I don’t need to present any credible data that demonstrates any correlation between plasma televisions and baldness or a plausible mechanism that would suggest a relationship is reasonable to investigate.

    I can just demand of you to prove me wrong. And when you can’t, because you don’t have the exact data I will accept, I’ll gleefully fling around insinuations against others and righteously assert that a lack of information is the perfect support for my preferred hypotheses! Huzzah!”

    This is an incredibly stupid analogy. Mercury is known to be toxic to people and animals at low doses, and causes neurological problems when people are mercury posoined, where as there is no biological plausability of Plasma TV’s causing baldness. Nice fail.

  70. #70 D. C. Sessions
    April 15, 2009

    The anti-vaccers are the ones flying in the face of the scientific consensus, so surely the onus is on them to prove a link between autism and vaccines, not us to prove there’s not?

    That depends on the court. They’re playing the “precautionary principle:” until you can prove beyond any possible doubt that something is safe, you shouldn’t use it. Thus the burden is on us to prove that there is no possible risk, however remote, that vaccinating today might have adverse consequences for our kids’ great-grandchildren when those descendents are in their old age.

    It’s an irrational, emotion-based argument. It also sells.

    We should be the ones demanding for them to produce peer-reviewed papers that prove a link beyond any shadow of a doubt.

    By all means go ahead and try. I hope you’ll pardon me if I don’t hold either my breath or any hope.

  71. #71 Stu
    April 15, 2009

    cooler: what mercury? There’s no more mercury in vaccines (sure, multi-dose flu shots aside).

  72. #72 jj
    April 15, 2009

    Absolutely brilliant, dumbass. Are you too damned stupid to realize that by belching out the following crap, you have proven her point?

    And why would anyone want to have a real discussion with you when you can’t go 3 words without a useless insult?

  73. #73 anon
    April 15, 2009

    RJ,

    I’m familiar with the links you’ve posted and thanks for re-posting for those that may not be. Can you please address title 21, and particularly Subpart D, section 600.90.

    Is this information, first, publicly available and second, easily accessible? Is this information anywhere on a vaccine monograph? Is this information (per vaccine, per vaccine manufacturer) available even in the PDR? While vaccines may in fact be “tested”, title 21 has seen fit to enlist extremely loose words to define what is considered pure and safe and grants far too much power to the institution developing the product.

    @DC Sessions,

    They’re playing the “precautionary principle:” until you can prove beyond any possible doubt that something is safe, you shouldn’t use it. Thus the burden is on us to prove that there is no possible risk, however remote, that vaccinating today might have adverse consequences for our kids’ great-grandchildren when those descendents are in their old age.

    I’d have to respectfully disagree. Nothing occurs inside the human organism by accident. I’m not particularly interested in what “long-term” effects might be, as I already suspect that those that don’t screw around with Mother Nature don’t get her pissed off enough to go on a mutation spree. However, I am interested in the inflammatory component of vaccination and its effect on 1) the liver and certain pathways responsible for trash removal 2) the blood brain barrier and permeability 3) demyelination. As these biological mechanisms are quite real and plausible, they should be entirely addressed when we discuss “safety”. Adverse events, at the moment, are anecdotes. Anecdotes reported by the vaccinee in some cases… hardly scientific, I hope you’d agree.

  74. #74 ababa
    April 15, 2009

    cooler blurted: This is an incredibly stupid analogy. Mercury is known to be toxic to people and animals at low doses, and causes neurological problems when people are mercury posoined, where as there is no biological plausability of Plasma TV’s causing baldness. Nice fail.

    Thimerisol is no more mercury than salt is chlorine. Chlorine is deadly to humans. Salt (a compund containing chlorine) on the other hand is necessary for life. Try to not let your head explode when you think that one over.

  75. #75 Michael Simpson
    April 15, 2009

    I am interested in the inflammatory component of vaccination and its effect on 1) the liver and certain pathways responsible for trash removal 2) the blood brain barrier and permeability 3) demyelination. As these biological mechanisms are quite real and plausible, they should be entirely addressed when we discuss “safety”. Adverse events, at the moment, are anecdotes. Anecdotes reported by the vaccinee in some cases… hardly scientific, I hope you’d agree.

    Scientifically plausible? Really? Do tell. Please explain the biological mechanism whereby a vaccine either directly or through a physiological response demyelinates anything.

  76. #76 marty
    April 15, 2009

    This is an incredibly stupid analogy. Mercury is known to be toxic to people and animals at low doses, and causes neurological problems when people are mercury posoined, where as there is no biological plausability of Plasma TV’s causing baldness. Nice fail.

    Chlorine is known to be toxic to people and animals in low doses and can cause breathing difficulties leading to death.
    Don’t have any Salt, okay?

  77. #77 marty
    April 15, 2009

    aww ababa beat me to the same analogy. :(
    *damn you content submission rule, preventing my followup straight away! (shakes fist)

  78. #78 bsci
    April 15, 2009

    pD,
    You’re putting forward this idea that every vaccine we’ve tested in depth for autism links is ok, but that doesn’t mean we might find some link to some other vaccine or something we haven’t tested with vaccines. The serious trouble with this argument is that it doesn’t provide ANY rationale for why we should be focusing on vaccines at all. Based on the current knowledge, the chance that some unknown aspect of some particular vaccine is a factor in autism is less likely than many other factors that might be a link. What justifies ANY fear of vaccines over fear of any random chemical in the environment? It makes less sense to discourage vaccine use as it does to pull up every linoleum floor in the world (not that removing linoleum would do much either).

    Especially considering the very strong evidence of genetic factors, I think what others are trying to say here is what is the justification for spending significant research money on vaccine/autism links over other, less studied, factors and what is the the justification for discouraging vaccine usage?

  79. #79 anon
    April 15, 2009

    Michael Simpson,

    Vaccination induces inflammation. Inflammation compromises/disrupts/permeates the blood brain barrier (that isn’t fully developed at birth, nor up to 6 weeks). Inflammation affects a person’s drug handling capacity, and there’s a lot to over/under interpret as it relates to the p450.

    Are you really suggesting that a human infant has mature myelination at birth? If that were true, we’d be walking and talking the moment we were born. Or are you suggesting it is indestructible regardless of vaccine assault because the evidence suggests this to be true? Asking me to provide you proof that myelin is not attacked (when piercing the skin gives access) is a little strange… especially considering that injecting a virus (attenuated or not) that by nature attacks the nerves is… well, you tell me?

  80. #80 D. C. Sessions
    April 15, 2009

    I’d have to respectfully disagree. Nothing occurs inside the human organism by accident.

    Male bovine excrement. Everything that happens inside a human organism happens by “accident:” random processes. The average comes out to work pretty well, most of the time. However, the underlying processes are still random.

    Which leads to:

    I’m not particularly interested in what “long-term” effects might be, as I already suspect that those that don’t screw around with Mother Nature don’t get her pissed off enough to go on a mutation spree.

    Yup, you and Job’s neighbors who were so determined to “comfort” him by convincing themselves that what happened to him couldn’t happen to them because unlike him they were Doing the Right Things.

    You’re kidding yourself. Wishful thinking. DNA replication goes wrong — a lot, and without intervention of any artificial processes. If that weren’t the case, we’d all still be prokaryotes — at best. Cosmic radiation, radon from granite, free radicals resulting directly from basic metabolism, and just plain thermal noise.

    Eat only the purest organic raw foods, sleep aligned with the ley lines, knock on wood, throw salt over your shoulder, keep all the holy days — you’re still accumulating molecular junk in your cells and genetic damage as they multiply. In time, you’re headed for the recycling chute. Cancer, heart disease, infections, whatever — you’re wearing out. You’ve been dying since that first cell division.

    Deal with it.

  81. #81 bob
    April 15, 2009

    Wow, these clowns are worse than usual today. “Inflammation permeates the blood brain barrier”? What in the holy hell does that even mean? I had no idea how dangerous mosquito bites were …

    And cooler … my lord. I’ve seen your nonsense before, but that was bad even by your astonishingly-low standards. As others have said, element does not equal chemical AND even so there’s no more mercury (of any stripe) in vaccines!

    This is like arguing with tree stumps!

  82. #82 cooler
    April 15, 2009

    Yes, ethlymercury and salt are the same, please cite the study that shows they are equally toxic, damn you guys are stupid.

  83. #83 anon
    April 15, 2009

    DC,

    Male bovine excrement. Everything that happens inside a human organism happens by “accident:” random processes. The average comes out to work pretty well, most of the time. However, the underlying processes are still random.

    As if influence is insignificant.

    You’re kidding yourself. Wishful thinking. DNA replication goes wrong — a lot, and without intervention of any artificial processes.

    No. I’m not. I’ll concern myself with what matters… somatically speaking. How many functional lengths of heterologous DNA do they allow in a single vaccine dose these days anyway? Anyone know… or care?

    you’re still accumulating molecular junk in your cells and genetic damage as they multiply. In time, you’re headed for the recycling chute. Cancer, heart disease, infections, whatever — you’re wearing out. You’ve been dying since that first cell division….Deal with it.

    The dryness of your response is actually pretty funny, assuming you were trying to be? Are you are telling me to deal with the fact that [insert assault here] doesn’t matter because I’m dying anyway and that you’ve got evidence that it occurs at the same rate as those tinkering around with vaccine matter? Because I was talking about the artificial removal of a pathogen or virus and its ecological consequence… or otherwise. Surely we care about that? Right?

  84. #84 anon
    April 15, 2009

    Bob,

    Wow, these clowns are worse than usual today. “Inflammation permeates the blood brain barrier”? What in the holy hell does that even mean?

    I’m not sure how ad hominem adds heft to your position, but feel free to continue if you think it’s necessary. There are numerous animal models (not dealing with vaccination) that demonstrate how inflammation disrupts the blood brain barrier. Any cursory research on your part will satisfy your curiosity, assuming that is actually what it is… and not an attempt to discredit my comment with mere ridicule.

  85. #85 Calli Arcale
    April 15, 2009

    I am merely a software engineer but this comment by anon stuck out for me, as his/her explanation for the plausibility of vaccines causing demyelination:

    Are you really suggesting that a human infant has mature myelination at birth? If that were true, we’d be walking and talking the moment we were born.

    So, you’re saying that maybe vaccines prevent myelination? That’s quite a different beast than demyelination, which is the loss of existing myelin, not a failure to produce more. Also, it is incorrect that mature myelination would result in a child walking and talking at birth. You seem to be confusing myelination with learning, which continues throughout life, though at different paces, and involves more than just whether or not a particular neuron has its myelin sheath. It’s more about the connections between neurons.

    Oddly contradictory language aside, saying that infants have immature brains does not make it plausible that vaccines could damage myelin. Rather than hinting at a vulnerability of a young brain (without explaining why that vulnerability could relate to autism), you might want to include vaccines in your explanation of plausibility or it’s not going to be very convincing to anyone. How do you propose vaccines damage myelin?

  86. #86 Chris
    April 15, 2009

    Being only a mechanical engineer, I have a thought… how would vaccines prevent myelination, and why would they be worse than the actual full strength pathogen?

    So if the vaccine that is a weakened (or even dead) pathogen is so horrible, why would exposure to the actual disease be better? If an infant cannot tolerate the vaccine, why would it fare any better than with the actual disease?

    Don’t the actual diseases also cause inflammation? Aren’t encephalitis and meningitis forms of inflammation? Like say the inflammation caused by Haemophilus influenzae type b? Looking at a Science Based Medicine post, Where’s the Outrage, there is mention of the return of that particular bug in some places. With this quote:

    Then came the news, just released by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, of seven more cases of invasive Haemophilus influenzae disease since October. All were children under 5, and all were unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated. Three of these seven children have been confirmed to have died./blockquote>

    Sorry to ask a bunch of questions, but why is the deaths of three out of seven children acceptable?

  87. #87 DBR
    April 15, 2009

    Ahem — you are fighting the good fight Orac et al, and as a parent furious with the scare tactics and misinformation perpetrated by the thoroughly perplexing and misguided antivax movement THANK YOU for continuing to beat what should be a very, very dead horse. This blog and others like it are a light in the darkness for me and I am sure others. I believe it is important to encourage you all to continue to push back on the (perhaps irredeemable) antivax individuals with all your strength and knowledge — those of us sick and tired of hearing the foolish and dangerous antivax lies appreciate it more than you can imagine.

  88. #88 Chris
    April 16, 2009

    DBR, you should appreciate this:

    The science has been done, the link between vaccines and autism does not exist. It is a dead link… “It’s not pinin’! ‘It’s passed on! This link is no more! It has ceased to be! It’s expired and gone to meet its maker! It’s a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed it to the perch it’d be pushing up the daisies! Its metabolic processes are now ‘istory! It’s off the twig! It’s kicked the bucket, it’s shuffled off its mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible!! THIS IS AN EX-LINK!! ” (hat-tip to Monty Python and the dead parrot sketch)

  89. #89 Vindaloo
    April 16, 2009

    Cooler is on a bender – is he celebrating because he got upgraded to Rescue Angel by Handley?

    The GR/AOA pyramid scheme marches on. They use hope instead of dollars… unless you count the quacks who feed off their desperation.

  90. #90 marty
    April 16, 2009

    Yes, ethlymercury and salt are the same, please cite the study that shows they are equally toxic, damn you guys are stupid.

    We didn’t equate ethyl mercury and salt, it was salt and sodium ethylmercurithiosalicylate, first added as a preservative in diphtheria vaccines after 12 children died from a staph infection. In 1927.

    All things are toxic depending on the dosage.

    By the way, ever taken any Chinese medicine? Ayuvedic? There is a compound used in some called “Cinnabar”, an ore of mercury. Mercury chloride was used in medicine as a laxative, diuretic and topical disinfectant. Mercurochrome is another compound containing mercury, used as a disinfectant. In the 1800s a substance known as “Blue Mass” was used as a common remedy for constipation, depression, child-bearing and toothaches as well as other problems — the main ingredient was mercury.

    If mercury is such a cause of autism, how come there weren’t more cases in the past, when mercury wasn’t controlled as much as it is today?

  91. #91 bob
    April 16, 2009

    anon, my “ad hominems” are as necessary as your smugness. By the way, back at’cha in the smug department: what I said wasn’t an ad hominem argument, it was an insult. If I had said “you’re wrong because you’re an idiot,” then I would be using an ad hom. What I implied is that you’re a clown because you’re wrong. Subtle difference. But, I’m very impressed by your condescension and Latin! Nice work!

    You were asked for a plausible mechanism for the effect you seemed to have pulled out of your ass. You seem to have merely reached a little deeper, and pulled out a mechanism that makes no sense. If vaccines cause inflammation that disrupts the BBB and significantly causes autism, why isn’t the entire freaking planet autistic? Inflammation happens all the time … are children with allergies all autistic? That’d be interesting, since I wasn’t aware of my own inflammation-induced autism. You’d think someone would’ve noticed and clued me in. Moreover, as someone else asked, why would a vaccine cause an inflammation that the disease wouldn’t?

    Lastly, swing and a miss by cooler! Big surprise there.

  92. #92 cooler
    April 16, 2009

    “If vaccines cause inflammation that disrupts the BBB and significantly causes autism, why isn’t the entire freaking planet autistic?”

    This is another incredibly stupid statement. Why doesn’t everyone that smokes get lung Cancer?

  93. #93 marty
    April 16, 2009

    This is another incredibly stupid question: Why doesn’t everyone that smokes get lung Cancer?

    Fixed that for you.

  94. #94 Dr. P
    April 16, 2009

    anon-’Vaccination induces inflammation. Inflammation compromises/disrupts/permeates the blood brain barrier (that isn’t fully developed at birth, nor up to 6 weeks). Inflammation affects a person’s drug handling capacity, and there’s a lot to over/under interpret as it relates to the p450.

    Are you really suggesting that a human infant has mature myelination at birth? If that were true, we’d be walking and talking the moment we were born. Or are you suggesting it is indestructible regardless of vaccine assault because the evidence suggests this to be true? Asking me to provide you proof that myelin is not attacked (when piercing the skin gives access) is a little strange… especially considering that injecting a virus (attenuated or not) that by nature attacks the nerves is… well, you tell me?’ The first statement is a little vague–what do you mean ; local inflammation? if so how would that relate to the blood brain barrier? to be sure, an immune response is generated but these aren’t equivalent.The second point is that except Hep B, the first full set of immunizations are given at 8 weeks , and most of the rest long after that.The term ‘inflammation’ is so vague as to be useless in this discussion; enough inflammation to have been created from a paper cut , from a cold? and no one is suggesting a mature myelination pattern at birth,but no, this would not confer walking and talking from birth; Again a “vaccine assault” may feel like an emotionally satisfying term, but its not helpful and since I’ve seen no evidence of any general clinical symptoms that could be correlated to blood brain barrier inflammation, yes, the onus is on you to provide evidence—-and fever is likely not a sufficient clinical symptom in and of itself, unless you want to consider every other one of a thousand things out there that will cause a fever in an infant to be a separate risk factor for autism.

  95. #95 Dr. P
    April 16, 2009

    Damn, I need to learn to box things out! :)

  96. #96 anon
    April 16, 2009

    Calli Arcale,

    That’s quite a different beast than demyelination, which is the loss of existing myelin, not a failure to produce more. Also, it is incorrect that mature myelination would result in a child walking and talking at birth. You seem to be confusing myelination with learning, which continues throughout life, though at different paces, and involves more than just whether or not a particular neuron has its myelin sheath. It’s more about the connections between neurons.

    I’m sorry if I was unclear, and my example was a bit broad and was only meant to demonstrate that, unlike other animals, that take off running the moment they are born, humans do not. Myelin sheath is instrumental in proper CNS/PNS function. Gestational maturity has been said to be at 21 months (to accommodate for the gigantic human brain), and MRI has demonstrated that myelination continues well into the second year of life (and beyond). *To me*, it is more responsible to wait until this critical time period before vaccinating infants.

    How do you propose vaccines damage myelin?

    The discussion of demyelination and vaccines isn’t really a new one, and it is acknowledged on product inserts and in the PDR as a possible side effect of their use.

    Chris,

    how would vaccines prevent myelination, and why would they be worse than the actual full strength pathogen?…So if the vaccine that is a weakened (or even dead) pathogen is so horrible, why would exposure to the actual disease be better? If an infant cannot tolerate the vaccine, why would it fare any better than with the actual disease?

    The introduction of antigens via vaccines would never occur in nature. The host immune response is triggered by specific cell injury, which results in a cascade of events that simply are not the same as natural exposure. I believe this is a sorely misunderstood area of host defense, and not near studied enough. Isolating and constructing the proper question to identify the *exact* mechanism, well… have to realize and accept there are differences to begin with. Many are content to compare vaccination and natural exposure as if they were the same, this is simply untrue on a very basic level, IMHO.

    As for the post from SBM, I read it already. I haven’t checked the MMWR to see if it’s contained in a surveillance report, but the health department release is really vague (not that the MMWR would offer much more detail). The death of a child, under any circumstance, is horribly tragic. I think those that have had children injured or killed by vaccines should receive the same compassion, and they do not.

    Bob,

    I wasn’t being smug, but apologize that you were offended.

  97. #97 Michael Simpson
    April 16, 2009

    I kind of tuned out after my post requesting what scientific reasoning might be for all the pseudoscience pouring out of anon’s keyboard. Thankfully, a couple of you chose to respond, but I’ve got to say, it’s a lost cause.

  98. #98 Richard Eis
    April 16, 2009

    -yes, vaccines are eminently safe–and parents are raising legitimate concerns-

    I think that says it all. Vaccines are safe…but we should still listen to people whining about how they are not safe so they can make money.

  99. #99 Tracy W
    April 16, 2009

    The host immune response is triggered by specific cell injury, which results in a cascade of events that simply are not the same as natural exposure.

    Specific cell injury happens all the time in nature – in my own life I have gotten splinters, been stung by bees and poked and scratched by thorns (the most painfully when I slid in the dark and grabbed out for something to stop my fall, but what I grabbed was a stinging nettle and I forced the thorns deep into my hand). I assume that this triggers a host immune response in me to try to prevent any infection entering once the skin barrier has been breached, based on that occasionally I have seen redness and inflamation around the site of the injury. Why would the body respond any differently to a bacteria or virus introduced by a natural injury like a splinter or a thorn as opposed to one introduced by an injection?

    And if the issue is the injection itself, it’s not just vaccines we need to worry about – I’ve had blood samples taken from me, I’ve had antibiotics injected, I’ve had anesthetics injected. I don’t think I’m particularly unusual. But I’ve never seen inflammation or redness after one of those specific cell injuries, unlike what I’ve seen after natural injuries. I assume this is because the needles were sterilised.

    How therefore are the two different sorts of injuries different? Apart from that vaccinations mean that the patient is exposed to a limited range of antigens that have been checked for safety, unlike a natural puncture injury where the antigens injected by the splinter/thorn/sting/whatever are unknown, nor is their quantity.

  100. #100 sff
    April 16, 2009

    anon: you say “Because I was talking about the artificial removal of a pathogen or virus and its ecological consequence… or otherwise. Surely we care about that? Right?”

    I’m not sure I understand what this means. Are you implying that the presence of disease in the population is good for people? Not trying to be rude, I honestly don’t understand…

  101. #101 lemons
    April 16, 2009

    Yeah, I just picked up on the “artificial removal” line as well. Seems to add a whole new layer to the discussion. So anon, can you elaborate?

  102. #102 howzbayou
    April 16, 2009

    “Absolutely brilliant, dumbass… What a fucking moron. Dork”

    Sounds like JB on tax day.

  103. #103 SLC
    April 16, 2009

    Re cooler

    Just for the information of the folks who read this blog and may not be familiar with him, Mr. cooler is also a troll on Tara Smiths’ blog who denies the HIV/AIDS connection. As I have noted on other blogs, deniers like Mr. cooler often have many hobby horses to ride.

  104. #104 LAB
    April 16, 2009

    I was reading the new Skeptical Inquirer last night and thought of this whole Bernadine Healy/AoA thing when I came to an article called “Playing by the Rules” by Harriet Hall. Ms. Hall talks about those who refuse to “play by the rules” of science and reason, and how we’re “wasting [our] breath” on them when we try to get them to accept scientific evidence.

    “The claimants are happy to use science when it supports them, but when it doesn’t they are likely to unfairly critique the science or even to dismiss the entire scientific enterprise as a ‘materialistic worldview’ or ‘closed-minded.’ We are talking at cross purposes. How can we communicate if we say ‘this variety of apple is red,’ and they insist ‘it feels green to me’?”

    This pretty much sums it up. AoA et al joyously tout Bernadine Healy’s supposed scientific qualifications, but scientists with better qualifications, especially those whose experience and research is specific to vaccines, are completely dismissed.

  105. #105 Calli Arcale
    April 16, 2009

    I’m sorry if I was unclear, and my example was a bit broad and was only meant to demonstrate that, unlike other animals, that take off running the moment they are born, humans do not. Myelin sheath is instrumental in proper CNS/PNS function. Gestational maturity has been said to be at 21 months (to accommodate for the gigantic human brain), and MRI has demonstrated that myelination continues well into the second year of life (and beyond). *To me*, it is more responsible to wait until this critical time period before vaccinating infants.

    It is only responsible to wait until this time has passed if waiting will actually reduce injury to an extent greater than the number of vaccine-preventable illnesses that would occur as a result of delaying. And you have not given me any reason to think that it would be better to risk meningitis (for instance) than to vaccinate an infant against particular meningitis-causing pathogens. After all, these vaccine-preventable diseases can do tremendous damage to the immune system, far beyond what vaccines are alleged to do.

    Of course myelin sheaths are vital, but “demyelination” is still not the same thing as preventing myelin from forming — so your hinted-at mechanism (which you still have not elucidated) still doesn’t make demyelination plausible to me. Please remember that I am not a doctor or a biologist, so I will probably require more detailed explanations to understand what you’re getting at. As it is, it seems like you are using terminology in such a sloppy way that it makes me dubious as to the how well you’ve really examined your position.

    One thing that is often forgotten in these cries of “we can’t be sure it won’t hurt our babies, so let’s play it safe and not vaccinate until they’re older” is the fact that these diseases tend to be much worse on infants than on older children. So the risk-benefit analysis for infants favors vaccination even more, in my opinion, not because infants are hardier and can tolerate vaccines better but because they are more delicate and cannot tolerate the diseases as well.

    I cannot comprehend the notion that those with more fragile health should not be vaccinated. In general, they are the ones most likely to benefit!

  106. #106 MartinB
    April 16, 2009

    Generation Rescue and the World Health Organization both have compiled data that show the United States now gives more vaccines to all its children, and earlier in life, than the rest of the developed world: some 36 doses before our little ones hit kindergarten, with most crammed into the first 18 months of life. If you look at the best-performing countries in terms of infant and early-childhood mortality, the average number of doses is 18, with most of the Scandinavian countries, Japan, and Israel mandating just 11 to 12.

    I had to reread that paragraph a couple of times to be sure it said what I thought it did, so surprised was I! That’s right. You read it right. Dr. Healy actually quoted the execrably incompetent and intellectually dishonest recent “study” by Generation Rescue purporting to show that nations with smaller numbers of mandated vaccines have lower autism prevalences

    Hi Orac,
    I’m sorry to say this, cause I usually agree with your posts, but did you not misread what she stated? Nowhere did she mention autism in this quote (or I just had an epic reading failure), she talked about infant mortality. Doesn’t that make some sort of sense? (Although it has then nothing to do with autism, of course.) I mean, if some vaccination given to children is shown not to reduce mortality (and illness of course about which she says nothing) then it would be sensible to drop it from the scheme, would it not?

  107. #107 D. C. Sessions
    April 16, 2009

    Dr. P:

    Damn, I need to learn to box things out! :)

    What you need are “blockquote” tags:

    <blockquote>Quoted text</blockquote>

    This is an introductory lesson, so don’t ask how I made the tags appear and not actually format the text ;-)

  108. #108 DebinOz
    April 16, 2009

    Grrrrr – I get so angry that money, time and resources are spent flogging the same dead horse! I belong to a family with at least three generations of people with ASD (funnily enough, some of the people with ASD were not vaccinated, and some were born in different countries with different vaccine regimes). * I know anecdotes don’t equal data!

    How can you deny the clear inheritability of ASD?
    http://www.actionbioscience.org/genomic/dougherty.html

    Why, oh why can’t we spend more resources on genetic research as well as funding for better intervention and school support services?

  109. #109 D. C. Sessions
    April 16, 2009

    Gestational maturity has been said to be at 21 months (to accommodate for the gigantic human brain), and MRI has demonstrated that myelination continues well into the second year of life (and beyond). *To me*, it is more responsible to wait until this critical time period before vaccinating infants.

    I get it: the ones who die and are crippled for life by infectious disease before they are vaccinated are acceptable losses.

    Now if only all of the other pathogenic organisms and other antigens would just be kind enough to wait so that they don’t introduce inflammation that interferes with that delicate process of neural development. After all, our hunter-gatherer ancestors evolved in a totally sterile environment and we have come to be dependent on it.

    I’ll let someone else snark on the subject of the “hygiene hypothesis.”

  110. #110 Shiritai
    April 16, 2009

    MartinB,

    Although Healy didn’t mention it, the title of the Generation Rescue ‘study’ is “Autism and Vaccines Around the World.” Also, one reason behind the higher infant mortality in the US is, ironically, explained pretty well by Healy herself in an article from 2006 (hat tip to Orac):

    http://health.usnews.com/usnews/health/articles/060924/2healy.htm

  111. #111 ababa
    April 16, 2009

    SLC said: Re cooler

    Just for the information of the folks who read this blog and may not be familiar with him, Mr. cooler is also a troll on Tara Smiths’ blog who denies the HIV/AIDS connection. As I have noted on other blogs, deniers like Mr. cooler often have many hobby horses to ride.

    It’s fairly obvious that he is just a plain troll that gets off on antagonizing people that are smarter than him trying to have a discussion. It’s not too much different from a toddler trying to get a parent’s attention when they have company over.

    I would even doubt whether he believes all of that he says. His posts are usually nothing more than run of the mill copy/paste of the talking points with a few insults and name calling thrown in for good measure. True believers like Jake, JB and the rest of the AoA crew at least seem to be trying to reason their way (albeit in a very error prone way) through the information.

    Cooler just says things he knows will get a rise out of people. If we were talking about the benefits of planting trees, he would show up and argue that deforestation is the best thing evah!

  112. #112 D. C. Sessions
    April 16, 2009

    Because I was talking about the artificial removal of a pathogen or virus and its ecological consequence… or otherwise. Surely we care about that? Right?

    Gobsmacked.

    I swear. No matter how hard we try to parody these Yahoos, they always manage to live down to the mockery.

    Society for the Preservation of Infectious Diseases, anyone?

  113. #113 Joseph
    April 16, 2009

    I’m sorry to say this, cause I usually agree with your posts, but did you not misread what she stated? Nowhere did she mention autism in this quote (or I just had an epic reading failure), she talked about infant mortality. Doesn’t that make some sort of sense? (Although it has then nothing to do with autism, of course.) I mean, if some vaccination given to children is shown not to reduce mortality (and illness of course about which she says nothing) then it would be sensible to drop it from the scheme, would it not?

    Orac was correct in that Healy was clearly referring to the GR “study” ecologically linking vaccination to infant mortality and autism. The “study” did not contain statistical analysis, but it did contain a table.

    I’ve tried to figure out how they counted the number of vaccines for each country, but I could not reproduce the results they have there, such that you get 36 for the US and 11 for some of the countries listed.

    Their autism prevalence data is completely wrong, btw.

    Additionally, the reason countries like Sweden, Finland and Norway have low infant mortality, whereas the US has high infant mortality, is well known. It has to do with the prevalence of low birth weight.

  114. #114 bob
    April 16, 2009

    Cripes, cooler, your inability to grasp the point of what people are saying is unbelievable. I think I need to look into this “killfile” thing people at PZ’s blog are always mentioning …

    anon was asked for a specific biological mechanism to explain his ideas. His suggestion was [paraphrased] “inflammation crosses the BBB and affects the brain.” Inflammation is a constant and normal part of everyday life; scratch your arm too hard, and you’ll have a little patch of inflammation. So, it was perfectly normal and valid to extrapolate his hypothesis and ask, “if inflammation causes something, why doesn’t everybody experience that something?”

    In anticipation of his elaboration (and/or special pleading), I then asked what about vaccination was different than inflammation from the diseases themselves. His response was that “natural” diseases cause “injury” … boy, does he ever love those sneakily-ambiguous i-words! In his humble opinion, of course.

    cooler, try comprehending what you read before barfing a clueless objection onto your keyboard. Especially if you’re going to try and insult someone.

  115. #115 HolfordWatch
    April 16, 2009

    Joseph wrote:

    the reason countries like Sweden, Finland and Norway have low infant mortality, whereas the US has high infant mortality, is well known. It has to do with the prevalence of low birth weight.

    Epiwonk has some useful links on the issue of premature birth and, collaterally, low birth weight.

    reterm birth remains one of the most complicated and difficult to address research and public health issues in obstetrics and pediatrics. More than 12 percent of all babies born in the United States are born preterm, and this rate continues to rise.

  116. #116 anon
    April 16, 2009

    Calli Arcale,

    It is only responsible to wait until this time has passed if waiting will actually reduce injury to an extent greater than the number of vaccine-preventable illnesses that would occur as a result of delaying. And you have not given me any reason to think that it would be better to risk meningitis (for instance) than to vaccinate an infant against particular meningitis-causing pathogens. After all, these vaccine-preventable diseases can do tremendous damage to the immune system, far beyond what vaccines are alleged to do.

    This is a fair point. The problem, is that there is no data to determine this. It’s been assumed. Vaccine-available disease that engage the immune system on the cellular level, are quite different tha the vaccines themselves (antigen, PLUS, whatever) that pierce the skin gaining direct access. I’m sorry to disagree, it just seems more sensible NOT to inject diphtheria toxin (which is highly venomous) into a vulnerable, growing infant, with immature myelination. Diphtheria is far over-used in the production of bacterial vaccines, and yes Bob, IMHO.

    As it is, it seems like you are using terminology in such a sloppy way that it makes me dubious as to the how well you’ve really examined your position.

    I don’t know why you feel this to be necessary. I’ve already apologized for the broad construct and comparison and I think skepticism with any position is good… even if it’s an unpopular position. I’ve not suggested not vaccinating, only that waiting seems more responsible given the safety data available.

    One thing that is often forgotten in these cries of “we can’t be sure it won’t hurt our babies, so let’s play it safe and not vaccinate until they’re older” is the fact that these diseases tend to be much worse on infants than on older children. So the risk-benefit analysis for infants favors vaccination even more, in my opinion, not because infants are hardier and can tolerate vaccines better but because they are more delicate and cannot tolerate the diseases as well.

    I think that’s a fair observation, however, until there is at least a single epi study that supports the notion that vaccinated children are healthier due to this preventative measure… that’s all it is. I would think, that those that share your views would WANT this kind of data to convince those that are on the fence.

    DC,

    I swear. No matter how hard we try to parody these Yahoos, they always manage to live down to the mockery…Society for the Preservation of Infectious Diseases, anyone?

    Draw up a contract my friend, send it to your Congressman and disburse it among the masses which states that in order to live in your society we must form a line with our sleeves rolled up. First, I’m vaccinated. Second, I wasn’t vaccinated until I was well into my toddler years. And third, if this is your attempt at reasonable discussion with someone that disagrees with you, Appealing to Ridicule only goes so far… with your own kind.

    Bob,

    “inflammation crosses the BBB and affects the brain.” Inflammation is a constant and normal part of everyday life; scratch your arm too hard, and you’ll have a little patch of inflammation. So, it was perfectly normal and valid to extrapolate his hypothesis and ask, “if inflammation causes something, why doesn’t everybody experience that something?”

    Bad paraphrasing at that. Inflammation causes a disruption in the blood brain barrier in animal models. Which kind of natural exposure to [insert injury/disease of choice] involves Ag, Hg, etc.. etc.. etc.. Substances that would normally NOT have access to the brain, are granted access. The fact of the matter is, we don’t know when the BBB is matured. I’ve seen it published that it is in tact at 6 weeks, and matured at 4 months. Yet the US is content to vaccinate a newborn, and again at 2 months, and again at 4 months, with absolutely no safety data to suggest there is no harm (acute or residual) by these actions.

    In anticipation of his elaboration (and/or special pleading), I then asked what about vaccination was different than inflammation from the diseases themselves. His response was that “natural” diseases cause “injury” … boy, does he ever love those sneakily-ambiguous i-words! In his humble opinion, of course.

    I’ve already explained the difference. After all, we measure vaccine potency by its Lf (lethal factor), not its harming and disabling but you can’t really tell because we don’t know what to look for and if it’s not acute so there’s no problem, factor. As I said to DC, Appealing to Ridicule (among your peers of course… nobody else seems to matter) will only take you so far. This kind of belligerent attitude does nothing to support the watered down opinion of vaccinating gestationally immature human beings out the ass from the day they are born until they are 18 months old. There are no data that purport this to be safe whatsoever (or that vaccinated populations are healthier and *more protected* than unvaccinated), and for those paying attention, we know this. For those, like yourself, that feel a holier than though position is more noble and you’re doing society a favor by berating vaccine critics… you are, you continue to cause dissent with your blatant character assassination of anyone that disagrees with you. Time will tell I guess.

  117. #117 MartinB
    April 16, 2009

    Hi Joseph and HolfordWatch,

    thanks for the additional information. Good to understand this point now (and good to see that Orac was spot-on as usual…).

  118. #118 Ricahrd Eis
    April 16, 2009

    -I mean, if some vaccination given to children is shown not to reduce mortality (and illness of course about which she says nothing) then it would be sensible to drop it from the scheme, would it not?-

    Viruses return. Even if wiped out.

  119. #119 Richard Eis
    April 16, 2009

    Viruses return. Even if wiped out (in a particular country)

  120. #120 HCN
    April 16, 2009

    Just in the news this morning:
    http://www.kidk.com/news/local/43070922.html … Infant dies of whooping cough.

    Gee, anon… with all your expert knowledge on inflammation and such, you can tell us exactly how to prevent pertussis deaths in infants.

    Here you go saying “I think that’s a fair observation, however, until there is at least a single epi study that supports the notion that vaccinated children are healthier due to this preventative measure…”

    And yet there are several, and there is even this:
    http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/159/12/1136 … which is an economic study, but since vaccination has reduced hospital time, that does assume that they are healthier.

    There is even data in the CDC Pink Book’s Appendix G. I typed some of the table information into a text file. Here is the comparison of the pertussis in the last decade versus fifty years ago:

    Year___Cases__Deaths__Year___Cases__Deaths
    2000____7867____ 12___1950__120718__1118
    2001____7580____ 17___1951___68687___951
    2002____9771____ 18___1952___45030___402
    2003___11647____ 11___1953___37129___270
    2004___25827____ 27___1954___60886___373
    2005___25616____ 39___1955___62786___467
    2006___15632____ 16___1956___31732___266
    Total__03940____140_________426968__3847

    Now for tetanus:
    Year__Cases__Deaths__Year___Cases___Deaths
    2000_____35____ 5____1950____486____336
    2001_____37____ 5____1951____506____394
    2002_____25____ 5____1952____484____360
    2003_____20____ 4____1953____506____337
    2004_____34____ NA___1954____524____332
    2005_____27____ NA___1955____462____265
    2006_____41____ NA___1956____468____246
    Total___219____19 or more___3436___2270

    Also, here is a big hint: live kids are generally healthier than dead kids. (take note that the diseases don’t just kill, they permanently disable a larger number)

    Anyway, use your PubMed-fu and tell us exactly how the vaccines that are given in the first year of life are so terrible. Show us the actual factual evidence that I can find in my local medical school library that the DTaP is causing more harm than pertussis (see first article), diphtheria and tetanus. Or that the Hib is worse than haemophilus influenzae type b.

  121. #121 carykoh
    April 16, 2009

    I guess my biggest problem is that vaccines are the one slam dunk, grand slam, biggest ever win for medicine. Vaccines save lives, and this isn’t even a close call. They’re actually dirt cheap, easy to give and prevent the disease from ever occurring. Even in my relatively short career, about 10 yrs, I’ve seen it go from seeing kids with epiglottitis, periorbital cellulitis, and H.Flu meningitis, a particularly bad meningitis, to new docs not even knowing what these things look like. It’s been so long since I’ve seen chicken pox, not sure I would recognize it. Used to have to draw blood cultures on all febrile kids under 3, now with pneumovax, we don’t see occult bacteremia, or pneumococcus meningitis, good thing too given the increase in drug resistant strep pneumo. Now, I have to relearn all these diseases. We had a recent outbreak of measles, resulting in huge expense to isolate and eradicate it, not to mention several people hospitalized and many others on ‘house’ isolation for 2 wks. Also, not only does immunization help the infants/kids inoculated, but say a kid does get chicken pox, pretty benign most of the time, but say he comes into contact with a person with a kidney transplant, this could be a life threatening exposure to them. How about Rubella? Again, pretty benign for kids, but say you exposure a kid with Rubella to a mother to be, well, you have to look up TORCH to see what happens. As to the anon poster, not sure how you can say the ‘inflammation’ from a shot of Diptheria toxoid (it’s NOT the toxin) is worse than the toxin in the blood itself. Or how an injection of antigens is worse than the bacteria itself growing out of your CSF. The bacteria and viruses from these infections have ‘direct access’ to your blood and brain when you are infected, sorry. As to a study to show that vaccinations decrease mortality and morbidity, obvious couldn’t be done now, with herd immunity, even if you take, say 1,000 kids and didn’t inoculate them, there would probably be no difference. However, I think it would be quite easy to look at the difference in childhood death, just from infectious disease, from the pre-vaccination era to now and see a huge difference. We could also look at countries unable to provide vaccinations and compare their childhood mortality to ours. I feel pretty confident you’d see we’re better off with vaccinations.

  122. #122 HCN
    April 16, 2009

    Echoing Richard Eis: If you look at the tables from:
    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/appendices/G/cases&deaths.pdf , and the table I did from it of pertussis, you will notice that pertussis cases are INCREASING!

    This is due to the diligent efforts of the pro-disease faction like Barbara Loe Fisher, JB Handley, Jenny McCarthy and now Bernadine Healy. Herd immunity to pertussis has been compromised and infants are at risk.

  123. #123 Liz Ditz
    April 16, 2009

    On the anti-vaccine, anti-science cult: pro-science folk should call them by a name that captures their true nature. The catchphrases that B. Healy is implicitly promoting are suspiciously sanitary: “Green our Vaccines” and “Too Many, Too Soon”.

    D. C. Sessions proposes Society for the Preservation of Infectious Diseases

    I prefer Society to Promote Vaccine-Preventable Disease.

    Or perhaps Society for the Promotion of Needless Infant Death.

  124. #124 Jen
    April 16, 2009

    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/appendices/G/cases&deaths.pdf , and the table I did from it of pertussis, you will notice that pertussis cases are INCREASING!>>>>>>>>>>

    How do you know that “increase” is not largely due to increased awareness and better reporting? Pertussis often goes undiagnosed in adults and older children, and immunity wanes with time.

  125. #125 Mezzobuff
    April 16, 2009

    I don’t know if you have seen this yet, but the Stanford Medicine Spring 2009 issue is all about vaccines and the “Demonization of Immunization.” Good read for a layman like myself…

  126. #126 Calli Arcale
    April 16, 2009

    This is a fair point. The problem, is that there is no data to determine this. It’s been assumed. Vaccine-available disease that engage the immune system on the cellular level, are quite different tha the vaccines themselves (antigen, PLUS, whatever) that pierce the skin gaining direct access.

    I’ll get to the “no data to determine this” claim in a moment. Right now, I’m puzzled by the claim that vaccine-available disease engages the immune system in a different way than vaccine antigens.

    Now, it is true that vaccines have a different result than the disease itself. This is intentional, because the diseases can be lethal. The vaccine is administered in a way which limits the immune response to the immediate area of the injection (most of the time). Other than that, it’s the same, as far as I know. It’s not exactly the same antigen, of course, because the real deal tends to be virulent with high risks of death and disability. But the immune system doesn’t know that, or even care. It’s just a foreign entity which it determines ought to be attacked.

    You might mean that it’s because the antigens aren’t identical to the real disease, but you seem to contradict by subsequently saying that diptheria vaccines involve actual diptheria toxin. So I’m not entirely sure I’m understanding you correctly.

    I don’t know why you feel this to be necessary. I’ve already apologized for the broad construct and comparison and I think skepticism with any position is good…

    I wasn’t actually objecting to your comparison but to the way you seemed to use the word “demyelination” to mean “failing to myelinate properly” as if they were interchangeable, and never acknowledged that they’re not. Again, I’m no expert, but to me that seems like a rather significant error.

    I think that’s a fair observation, however, until there is at least a single epi study that supports the notion that vaccinated children are healthier due to this preventative measure… that’s all it is. I would think, that those that share your views would WANT this kind of data to convince those that are on the fence.

    There are plenty of studies supporting the notion that vaccinated children are, on average, healthier than their unvaccinated peers. These studies are required by law for the approval of any new vaccine. And the approvals are very specific. They include age ranges. Vaccines given to infants have to undergo approval for use in infants before that can happen on anything other than an experimental or otherwise exceptional basis. If a vaccine makes kids sicker, on average, then not only will it be stricken from the recommended schedule, it may even be banned entirely.

    I’ve looked at the infant mortality rates, and the disease prevalence rates. The vaccines work. Considering how widespread these diseases were, and how quickly they can gain a foothold in an unvaccinated population (as demonstrated by periodic outbreaks among unvaccinated groups), I can see no reason to doubt that vaccines are effective at protecting infants from certain forms of death and disability. Given that I’ve seen no evidence that vaccines cause disability in any but an extremely small subset of the population, I see no reason to delay vaccinating those most likely to benefit from vaccines.

    Both of my children received all of their recommended vaccinations, plus influenza. I’d dread to think of an infant with whooping cough. That one’s tricky, because it also infects adults but much less severely, and since adults don’t have any rules requiring them to get vaccinated for school admission, they usually don’t bother. Adults thus can form a significant disease reservoir. The gradual shift away from single tetanus shots may prove the salvation for that; nowdays, if an adult goes in for a tetanus shot, they’ll usually get Tdap, which also protects against pertussis and diptheria. If we could wipe out pertussis, that would be absolutely wonderful, in my opinion.

  127. #127 HCN
    April 16, 2009

    jen making an excuse for the infamous pro-disease bunch said “How do you know that “increase” is not largely due to increased awareness and better reporting?”

    Does that also account for the increase in infant deaths? Usually after an infant dies the cause of death due to pertussis is found through checking for pathogens.

    For more information check out the slide information:
    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/Slides/Pertussis10.ppt

    From the 9th slide:
    Pertussis Deaths in the United States, 2004-2006
    _______Age at onset
    _______<3 mos__>3 mos_Total
    2004____24_____3______27
    2005____32_____7______39
    2006____13_____3______16
    Total___69____13______82
    ______(84%)__(16%)

    Also, check out the graphs from page 12 through 15.

    Remember it is important get your older children (and yourself!) vaccinated with the Tdap!

  128. #128 sff
    April 16, 2009

    D. C. Sessions: “I’ll let someone else snark on the subject of the “hygiene hypothesis.”

    I don’t understand: are you saying the hygiene hypothesis is invalid, or that it shows why what anon is saying is invalid?

  129. #129 HCN
    April 16, 2009

    Argh… I am so HTML stupid, I forgot it does not like less than and greater signs…

    The columns in the table are “less than 3mo”, “greater than 3 mo.” and of course the last is the total.

  130. #130 HCN
    April 16, 2009

    sff said “hygiene hypothesis is invalid”… actually in a way, yes. While some diseases can be prevented through sanitation (cholera, typhus, typhoid), many really cannot. Polio became more of a problem because the infection was delayed due to safer water (before kids got it as infants, not school children or older).

    Measles, mumps and rubella are not affected by sanitation levels. A case in point is Japan, when they made measles vaccination voluntary in the early 1990s measles returned with several dozens dying. The same is happening in Europe.

  131. #131 cooler
    April 16, 2009

    Re ababa and SLC
    Keep in mind these two loony tunes firmly believe that HIV is a fatal disease but can not cite and describe any experiments that prove this, all they can do is spam a website, something that would get them laughed out of any courtroom and flunk any debate class. Using their incredibly low academic standards the next time someone writes a term paper all they will have to do is post a url, not write a referenced paper. What a bunch of clowns.

    Vaccines are overblown, there is no point in giving them to children so young. Look at the MMR, they don’t get that shot until they are 18 months old, yet for the first 18 months are they ravaged with these illnesses because they are not vaccinated? No. This proves in itself that the benefits are greatly exxagerated for certain vaccines. Some vaccines seem more beneficial to others like the smallpox vaccine.

    Polio is often cited as the most prominent success story of vaccines. Sadly, nobody can really describe the original expirements that prove Polio is caused by a virus. My understanding is that they took 2 monkeys and tried to inject their bloodstream with ground up spinal cord of a paralysis patient, they also tried feeding the monkeys this, when the monkeys didn’t get polio from these normal modes of transmission they directly drilled holes in the monkeys brain and put the ground up spinal cords in the monkeys brain. This was the only way they could get the monkeys sick and paralyzed, this poorly designed experiment with no control animals, that had no relevence to a mode of transmission in nature (who gets spinal slop injected in their brain) and that had no control animal is the experiment that proves Polio is caused by a virus. Polio doesnt behave like a true infectious disease, only like 1% infected get any symptoms, for all we know it could be toxins like pesticides, lead, mercury etc that were rampant back than that caused people to become paralyzed.

  132. #132 cooler
    April 16, 2009

    Here is David Crowe’s polio timeline.

    http://theinfectiousmyth.com/polio-timeline.html

  133. #133 Scott
    April 16, 2009

    Because gee, you know, there couldn’t possibly be more than one cause of paralysis. Crowe’s conflating of all paralysis into a discussion of polio pretty much proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that he has no clue what he’s talking about.

  134. #134 ababa
    April 16, 2009

    Nice trolling cooler! However, the person that is disputing the currently accepted knowledge is the one that has to offer proof. The burden of proof is on your side and your “understanding” is not proof.

    I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and believe you are just trying to stir up an argument and aren’t so dumb you actually believe any of that. That’s the problem with trolls, they are indistinguishable from nutjobs!

  135. #135 Vindaloo
    April 16, 2009

    Cooler bleated, “for all we know it could be toxins like pesticides, lead, mercury etc that were rampant back than that caused people to become paralyzed.

    Or maybe they were forced to read your science-free rantings.

  136. #136 cooler
    April 16, 2009

    No the burden of proof is on you, you claim parylasis is caused by the polio virus, prove it. Janine roberts has actually looked into it, unlike you and the rest of the sheeple.
    Polio: the virus and the vaccine
    Janine Roberts 01/05/2004

    http://www.theecologist.org/pages/archive_detail.asp?content_id=278

    “In 1878 the link between palsy and toxins was strengthened when Alfred Vulpian found that dogs dosed with lead suffered the same damage in their motor-neurone cells as found in the human victims of infantile paralysis.3 The Russian Popow discovered in 1883 that the same damage could be done with arsenic.4 This should have sent shockwaves through the medical establishment as the arsenic-based pesticide Paris Green had been widely used since 1870 to stop Codling moth caterpillars ruining apple crops. But strangely it didn’t.

    In 1892 Paris Green was replaced in Massachusetts by the more toxic pesticide lead arsenate. Two years later the first recorded epidemic of infantile paralysis struck in Massachusetts’ neighbouring state of Vermont. The outbreak was investigated by Dr Charles Caverly, who reported that it was probably caused by a toxin rather than a micro-organism. Caverly said: ‘It usually occurred in families of more than one child, and as no efforts were made at isolation it was very certain it was non-contagious.’ 5

    Lead arsenate rapidly became the principal pesticide used on fruit and berries throughout the industrial world. In 1907 calcium arsenate was introduced for use primarily on cotton crops and in cotton mills. A year later 69 healthy children suddenly fell paralytically ill in Massachusetts. They lived in a town with three cotton mills, and in settlements downstream from those mills. Nearby there were also orchards on which lead arsenates were almost certainly in use. They were also living only a short distance downstream from the location of the Vermont outbreak.

    A further epidemic in Massachusetts in 1908 caused enormous public concern, but, despite the evidence that exposure to toxins might have been responsible, the investigating health officials overlooked the newly introduced pesticides; they thought them essential to their war against viruses and bacteria – and to the financial health of the agricultural industry. Thus, the children paralysed in Massachusetts were not treated with toxin antidotes to see if these would benefit them. Instead, parents were advised to keep their children clean while the scientists, distracted by the then brand new theory that all epidemics had to be caused by infectious germs, looked for the virus ‘responsible’.

    In 1908 two scientists working in Austria, Karl Landsteiner and Erwin Popper, reported that they might have found an ‘invisible virus’ that had caused these epidemics. They had made their discovery, they claimed, after making a suspension in water of minced diseased spinal cord from a nine-year-old victim of infantile paralysis. They had tested this noxious suspension by injecting one or two cups of it directly into the brains of two monkeys. The monkeys fell severely ill (as might have been predicted). One died and the other had its legs paralysed. The scientists then dissected the monkeys and found damage in their central nervous tissues similar to that found in human cases of infantile paralysis.8

    Today the World Health Organisation (WHO) still credits Landsteiner and Popper as having found the poliovirus with this experiment. Why it does so is inexplicable. The fluid they injected must have contained much human cellular debris, any toxins involved in the child’s illness, and probably several kinds of viruses. So, it was no wonder the monkeys fell so desperately ill. Such a soup could in no way be considered an ‘isolate’ of the tiny organism we now call a virus. It was also strangely non-infectious for a so-called virus, for the monkeys were not paralysed when made to drink it or when one of their limbs was injected with it, nor did they pass it on to other monkeys. The experiment, in fact, shed no light on what had paralysed the monkeys, and for that matter, the children.”

  137. #137 D. C. Sessions
    April 16, 2009

    For the “does vaccination improve the general health of the population?” topic, I presented the question to some of my colleagues from India.

    They may, may I tell you, someday forgive me for the P|N>T consequences [1].

    [1] That’s the variant with highly-spiced South Indian cuisine and a table.

  138. #138 ababa
    April 16, 2009

    cooler, excellent use of the “Nuh-uh you are!” defense! Just like a toddler trying to get their parent’s attention when the adults are talking …

    Your response is a cut and paste? Like I said earlier, you are nothing more than a troll, and a lazy one at that.

  139. #139 D. C. Sessions
    April 16, 2009

    I forgot it does not like less than and greater signs.

    Oh, it likes them just fine. You just need to put in override codes:

    > is &gt;
    < is &lt;

  140. #140 Mu
    April 16, 2009

    ababa, the reason cooler is indistinguishable from a nutjob is – he’s a nutjob. He can go on for pages how virus X is harmless/not proven to exist/doesn’t what we think it does, until someone challenges him to have himself infected with “harmless non-existing agent of discussion”. Then he weasels off-topic for a while to pop on the next unsuspecting audience.
    If you want to read ahead on the next series of “arguments”, check
    http://scienceblogs.com/aetiology/2008/12/christine_maggiore_dies_from_p.php

  141. #141 D. C. Sessions
    April 16, 2009

    I don’t understand: are you saying the hygiene hypothesis is invalid, or that it shows why what anon is saying is invalid?

    The hygiene hypothesis is unproven, but if you contrast it with the “antigens are bad for the developing nervous system” hypothesis above you can have … interesting results.

  142. #142 D. C. Sessions
    April 16, 2009

    HCN: the “hygiene hypothesis” I refer to is not the general disease-transmission one but rather the very interesting speculation that early exposure to environmental bacteria plays a key role in the developing immune system, “switching” it from a primarily inflammatory to a primarily cell-mediated response.

    It’s part of the effort to figure out ectopic disease.

  143. #143 cooler
    April 16, 2009

    I love arguing with crackpots, they can’t describe a single experiment that proves anything, they can just make ad hominem attacks. I love it! Can’t cite and describe the experiments that proved HIV was fatal infection that justified AZT’s release in 1987, nor can rebut Janine Roberts take down of Popper et al’s pathetic expirement that “proved” polio was viral!

  144. #144 ababa
    April 16, 2009

    cooler said: I love arguing

    You got that part right. The rest is blah, blah, blah.

  145. #145 Mu
    April 16, 2009

    So, we’re only allowed to consider the 1908 paper for the existence of the polio vaccine, and pre-1987 work on HIV? Kind of limits the options. Oddly enough, science is often moved forward by visionaries. The difference between a visionary and a quack is that their initial ideas are proven right later by the rest of the scientific community. They might have gotten just lucky and guessed right, but what counts it that they were right. Attacking an established scientific fact by trying to invalidate the initial research is a non-sequitur.
    Scientifically, even if Wakefield’s initial research was sloppy and his conclusions overreaching, IF he’d been shown right, he’d be a Nobel candidate nevertheless. It’s the fact that his conclusions were proven wrong that broke his neck.

  146. #146 Stu
    April 16, 2009

    Wait, what? Polio is caused by toxins? Are you out of your goddamned mind?

  147. #147 cooler
    April 16, 2009

    Ok, cite the breifly describe expirements that proved Gallo was right when he found HIV in 26/72 patients, and confirmation of Popper et al expirement where couldn’t induce a disease in a animal through normal methods of inoculation, and had to inject directly in the brain of monkeys.

    When doing this please don’t spam a website, this would get you laughed out of a courtroom, and flunk you out of any debate class, or any normal class if you turned in a term paper that had only a URL on it. If these visionaries had the experiments to back them up, cite and describe them, if you can’t than there is your answer, everybody took the hypothesis on faith, without reading the scientific literature, because science is not democratic and is run by drug companies and crooked public health officials. Waiting for the citation and description of these experiments that proved Gallo and Popper were Visonaries……remember spamming a website isn’t evidence.

    Oh and sometimes timing of the experiments DOES matter since they involve potentially dangerous treatments and millions of taxpayers dollars, like when AZT was approved in 1987.

  148. #148 Coyote
    April 16, 2009

    cooler, it’s not “spamming a url” to repeatedly post evidence that you refuse to read because you’ve already made up your mind. Your casual dismissal of the scientific process and the evidence that has been provided for you shows your true colors, or perhaps “coolers:” A pathetic, whiny, dense crank who refuses to accept anything that doesn’t fit into your narrow and worthless worldview.

  149. #149 HCN
    April 16, 2009

    Thank you D.C. Sessions for clarifying the “hygiene hypothesis” (I only really got it from the quote, sorry), and for the override code. I will try to remember to use them!

    (oh, and folks a certain clueless temperature dependent spammer does not hang around long if you ignore him)

  150. #150 cooler
    April 16, 2009

    Coyote,
    Spamming a website is not evidence. In order to prove one understands a subject it is normal discourse in Academia and in law to articulate evidence that supports your position with references.

    A defense lawyer could not enter a courtroom and say his client is not guilty, and tell the judge evidence of this is at http://www.myclientisnotguilty.com, and refuse to articulate the evidence. He would get laughed out of the courtroom.

    A student in a freshman year class in college that was asked to right a report on whether the war In Iraq was justified would not be able to submit to the professor a paper that only said iraqwarwasjustified.com, he would get an F.

    In both these instances it is normal discourse to explain why you beleive what you do in your own words with references. Spamming aidstruth is laughable, especially for people who claim to be skeptical and rational.

  151. #151 Jen
    April 16, 2009

    Does that also account for the increase in infant deaths? Usually after an infant dies the cause of death due to pertussis is found through checking for pathogens.>>>>>

    I don’t know, and neither do you. Once pertussis is in the advanced stages, it becomes more difficult to detect, making accurate surveillance complicated. IOW, how do we know that previous deaths d/t pneumonia weren’t actually due to undiagnosed pertussis?

    I’m not at all convinced that pertussis hasn’t been with us all along, we’re just better at looking for it now. (This argument seems to work well enough for the “hidden horde” believers wrt autism).

    Jen, who finds the idea of a sudden “increase” in pertussis right around the time that an adolescent TDaP is licensed a wee bit suspicious.

  152. #152 A polio virus
    April 16, 2009

    I’m sure cooler wouldn’t mind an injection of me and some of my friends, right? I mean, it’s not like there’s any proof that, you know, I caused any of the illnesses out there…

  153. #153 ababa
    April 16, 2009

    cooler, so you are saying your cut/paste and website posts above are “laughable”? Hey look guys, cooler is so out of touch with reality that even he isn’t convinced by his own evidence!

  154. #154 HCN
    April 16, 2009

    jen said “Jen, who finds the idea of a sudden “increase” in pertussis right around the time that an adolescent TDaP is licensed a wee bit suspicious.”

    Did you notice the dates on the charts? Did you even read the slide set?

    Anyway, this should interest you:
    http://www.pediatricsupersite.com/view.aspx?rid=38607
    “There have been significant changes in pertussis disease rates among 11-to-18-year-olds following the introduction of the two booster tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis vaccines, but it is still too early to say whether those changes are the result of vaccine introduction, according to a speaker the 43rd National Immunization Conference, held in Dallas last week.”

    There is improvement, and the Tdap is helping. Again, remember that the Tdap is important.

  155. #155 D. C. Sessions
    April 16, 2009

    I don’t know, and neither do you. Once pertussis is in the advanced stages, it becomes more difficult to detect, making accurate surveillance complicated. IOW, how do we know that previous deaths d/t pneumonia weren’t actually due to undiagnosed pertussis?

    Oh, what the Hell — I’m feeling generous. Jen, you get one freebie.

    Deaths from pneumonia have totally different symptoms and postmortem indications. There are anatomical differences between pneumonia and pertussis, and the labwork is totally different. I’m not an MD, I’m not a microbiologist (even if I do live with one) and even I know enough about both pertussis and pneumonia to see half a dozen ways to tell them apart postmortem.

    Never mind the symptoms of the diseases themselves.

    In other words, you’re not only not in the right ballpark but you can’t see it with a telescope.

  156. #156 cooler
    April 16, 2009

    Ababa,
    You pathetic retard, I can summarize in my own words why Popper et al’s study is garbage, when monkeys were inoculated intravenously or orally they didn’t get sick, only when they were injected directly in the brain with spinal cord soup they did get sick, and they were no control animals. Your turn, cite some experiments that back up what you believe about Polio and HIV, waiting Loser.

  157. #157 Mu
    April 16, 2009

    You’re so cool cooler, you can invalidate a study from 1908, when people were still using a horse drawn buggy to get to the hospital, and when electric light was something new and fancy? You’re a genius.
    The fun part is, people are still obviously quoting Popper today, a hundred years later. How many Cooler & assorted nuts articles will make it into the general knowledge of the 22nd century?

  158. #158 ildi
    April 16, 2009

    Tara hasn’t posted recently, so cooler is jonesing for attention.

  159. #159 cooler
    April 16, 2009

    Mu,
    A mainstream medical site that defends animal research cites their study as does the WHO. Nice fail.

    “Although it had long been suspected that polio was an infectious disease, definitive proof only came in 1908, when Dr Karl Landsteiner and Dr Erwin Popper1 managed to induce polio in monkeys by injecting them with extracts of the spinal cord of a boy who had died from polio. The disease could then be transmitted from monkey to monkey, providing an invaluable model of the disease. Eventually, it was possible to transfer a strain of the virus to the rat and to the mouse, which could be used in sufficient numbers to establish the existence and virulence of the polio virus.”

    http://www.animalresearch.info/en/medical/timeline/polio

  160. #160 Vindaloo
    April 16, 2009

    Cooler, are you really that dumb? Read the first two sentences you quote. Then read them again.

    What those two sentences say is that before 1908 there was no conclusive evidence implicating polio as an infectious disease. THEN IN 1908 the experiment was conducted that established the evidence that mainstream scientists and rational people agree as proof.

    The fact that WHO and the animalresearch sites cite the study doesn’t mean that the site authors contend that single study to be the definitive piece of information and in doing so reject consequetive advances in the understanding of the science. You, on the other hand, ignore the current understanding of the disease and blather on about the limitations of a century-old study.

    You are a science-impaired scumbag and a serious troll.

  161. #161 cooler
    April 16, 2009

    Well than cite some studies that back up your claims on Polio and HIV. LOSER.

  162. #162 Mu
    April 16, 2009

    Odd, I had no problems with that study, for me it falls under the “visionary that got lucky” category; YOU are the one that didn’t like it and claimed it was thoroughly debunked in one of your many links.
    I think you need to read up on the definition of fail.

  163. #163 Prometheus
    April 16, 2009

    pD comments:

    “I don’t have to prove vaccines cause autism in order to show that we haven’t really done a very thorough investigation of it.”

    Even accepting your assumption that “a very thorough investigation” has not been made into the alleged “connection” between vaccines and autism, what is the data that indicate that this is the direction we should be looking?

    If we’re to look at “environmental exposures” as a cause or trigger of autism, why just look at vaccines? There are literally millions of man-made chemical products we could be looking into – any of which is at least as likely to cause/trigger autism as vaccines.

    And why should we limit ourselves to man-made chemicals? Plants, fungi and bacteria (and archaea) make a dizzying array of chemicals, most of which are poorly characterized. We could spend lifetimes just looking at the potential fungal compounds, let alone the rest of the biosphere.

    I know that a lot of the “do the study” folks have been swayed by the USDE and Cal DDS administrative autism “data” into thinking that there has been an “epidemic” of autism since the mid-1980′s, but there are thousands (if not millions) of new “environmental exposures” since that time.

    If pD or the rest could just point out one set of data that pointed to vaccines rather than just “something that has been increasing steadily since the mid-1980′s” (which, by the way, doesn’t include vaccines), I’d be most grateful.

    Seriously – why vaccines and not something else? Ask yourself, do the USDE or Cal DDS data point to vaccines more than the do to cell phones? More than to consumption of organic produce (which has also been steadily rising since the mid-1980′s)?

    Studies have shown that thimerosal (which is no longer in children’s vaccines – yes, I know it’s still in the influenza vaccine) and the MMR are not associated with autism. The MMR was studied – as was thimerosal – not because it was actually associated with autism but because parents had been told that it was.

    Do we really have to go through all the vaccines and all possible permutations and combinations of vaccines in the frank absence of data suggesting that vaccines cause autism? Why?

    Some people say we should do these studies to convince people that vaccines don’t cause autism. But wait – have the “vaccines cause autism” promoters come out and said, “OK, it looks like we were wrong about the MMR. It’s one of the other vaccines.”?

    No.

    So, after we – as a society – spend billions of dollars/pounds/euros proving that the other vaccines aren’t associated with autism, what do you think the “Too many, too soon” crowd will be screaming?

    “The studies are all corrupt because they didn’t find what we know is true!”

    This isn’t a good motivation to do research. Especially when there isn’t any good (or even half-good) data suggesting that vaccines are in any way related to autism.

    Prometheus

  164. #164 Dangerous Bacon
    April 16, 2009

    carykoh: “I guess my biggest problem is that vaccines are the one slam dunk, grand slam, biggest ever win for medicine.”

    This hits on a key reason why antivax sentiment is doggedly persistent across so many alt med groups and related interests.

    Once one concedes that vaccination has been a huge success, it’s much tougher to demonize medicine and science in general and to boost one’s pet modalities as superior.

    Denialism must be clung to at all costs. Children are acceptable collateral damage for the Cause.

  165. #165 ababa
    April 16, 2009

    cooler, what you have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt is that you are impossible to debate in any shape or form. Your constant contradictions (webpages are fine for you to use as proof, but FAIL for anyone against you…), tendency to simply make stuff up when convenient and complete ignorance when people try to correct you politely makes this abundantly clear. You also seem to be simply trolling without a real point, making inflammatory insults as you regurgitate the same dis-proven and misrepresented by you information over and over. You possess the outlying, minority theory and you demand to be the one others have to prove wrong? That’s not how it works.

    All that is left is to make fun of you as you proceed to show your lack of intelligence and maturity level with each new post. Anyone on the fence that might be sympathetic would have abandoned you long ago. You are making our point for us in a way we could never do.

    We are laughing AT you, not with you. Call it a guilty pleasure, but watching you come unhinged in plain view is quite entertaining.

  166. #166 anon
    April 16, 2009

    Calli,

    I wasn’t actually objecting to your comparison but to the way you seemed to use the word “demyelination” to mean “failing to myelinate properly” as if they were interchangeable, and never acknowledged that they’re not.

    That’s because I didn’t say that. I simply used the word myelination when I addressed some of my concerns. What I should have said, was “myelination, or lack thereof” – in no way did I mean to suggest that lack of mature myelin sheath was the same as demyelination. But I DID use a bad analogy, while comparing humans to other animals, for which I did apologize. I apologize again, for the confusion, it was not intentional.

    There are plenty of studies supporting the notion that vaccinated children are, on average, healthier than their unvaccinated peers. These studies are required by law for the approval of any new vaccine.

    No, there aren’t. Title 21 is the codification housing the law surrounding the production of biologics. The clinical trials do not involve unvaccinated people, and there has not been a single large scale epidemiological study that supports your statements. If there are, I’d be most appreciative if you were to direct me to them. I don’t disagree that some vaccines are effective at reducing circulating disease that is endemic. But within outbreaks of unvaccinated people, are also vaccinated people. Almost always, without fail.

    carykoh,

    As to the anon poster, not sure how you can say the ‘inflammation’ from a shot of Diptheria toxoid (it’s NOT the toxin) is worse than the toxin in the blood itself.

    Diphtheria, and Tetanus are highly toxic substances. How can we continue to compare the natural engagement of immune response, to that which pierces the skin and totally circumvents this first line of defense? It’s widely accepted in ecology that a single maneuver affects many thereafter, some refer to it as a biochemical cascade of events. Human beings are individual ecosystems – we are not exempt from this observation. And we are foolish if we believe that the removal of a [usually] benign bacterium will not result in a more virulent pathogen taking its place. And we’d also be unscientific if we claimed both exposure via vaccination and natural exposure to be the same.

  167. #167 The Perky Skeptic
    April 16, 2009

    anon wrote:

    “How can we continue to compare the natural engagement of immune response, to that which pierces the skin and totally circumvents this first line of defense?”

    I take it you never skinned your knee as a kid? I did, many times, and my immune system somehow pulled me through all those biological cascades of events.

  168. #168 cooler
    April 16, 2009

    Thanks guys for not citing a single paper that backs up your beliefs about polio and HIV……….LOSERS! I love it………now I know why you guys are scared to debate your scientific FATHER DUESBERG! You’ll are pretty sad when you can’t spam a website………something that would get you laughed out of a courtroom, or flunk you out of any class. LOSERS!

  169. #169 anon
    April 16, 2009

    Perky Skeptic,

    I’ve seen this kind of comparison several times. Skinning my knee is a bit different than the IM injection of a modified pathogen, and numerous other vaccine matter (this includes adventitious agents, and foreign DNA from other species). Surely you see the distinction?

  170. #170 Coyote
    April 16, 2009

    And that’s where you’re wrong, anon. Falling and skinning your knee is actually more dangerous in terms of infection than a vaccine injection.

    “Modified pathogens” and “adventitious agents?” What about the real pathogens on the floor where you skinned your knee, with none of their dangers attenuated? Significantly more dangerous than anything in the vaccines.

    “Foreign DNA?” Won’t do crap. DNA can’t do anything without a cell to build to its specifications, and the human body does a fairly smashing job of rejecting it on its own.

    In short, the distinction is that one can result in dangerous infections more often than not… and the other is a vaccination.

  171. #171 Joseph C.
    April 16, 2009

    Thanks guys for not citing a single paper that backs up your beliefs about polio and HIV……….LOSERS! I love it………now I know why you guys are scared to debate your scientific FATHER DUESBERG! You’ll are pretty sad when you can’t spam a website………something that would get you laughed out of a courtroom, or flunk you out of any class. LOSERS!

    I challenge you again: Get converted to poz. I’m sure Michael Geiger would be more than willing to bareback you. And it would likely be the only sex you’ll ever get.

    Heck, I might even be willing to put up the money for the flight since it’s obvious that neither of you have the money.

  172. #172 Dr Benway
    April 17, 2009

    I don’t know why we’re not studying autism rates and caribbean pirates. I see an inverse correlation there.

  173. #173 cooler
    April 17, 2009

    Joseph c
    You have the money you 100 year old unemployed old fart? What sex do you have, 100 year old hookers that dropped out of high school like you did? Science is advanced by citing and describing the experimental data, not by stupid demogogic soundbytes.

  174. #174 Dr. P
    April 17, 2009

    What you need are “blockquote” tags

    D.C. Sessions Thanks!

  175. #175 sff
    April 17, 2009

    carykoh: “I guess my biggest problem is that vaccines are the one slam dunk, grand slam, biggest ever win for medicine.”

    And I think, in a nasty irony, this is part of the reason they’re distrusted: to a certain sort of wacky mindset, anything that’s unanimously accepted by the ‘scientific establishment’/’Big Pharma’/industry/government is automatically suspicious.

  176. #176 Dr. P
    April 17, 2009

    anon–

    I’ve seen this kind of comparison several times. Skinning my knee is a bit different than the IM injection of a modified pathogen, and numerous other vaccine matter (this includes adventitious agents, and foreign DNA from other species). Surely you see the distinction?

    —Why ? I see many injuries that are functional injections, like puncture wounds and deep abrasions that are dirty wounds with debris and undoubtedly toxins; and the pathogens are modified to the extent that they’re less immunogenic than their wild counterpart;you have no such advantage when you skin your knee.

  177. #177 Richard Eis
    April 17, 2009

    -Skinning my knee is a bit different than the IM injection of a modified pathogen-

    Am i to believe that the immune system cares?

    Cooler can be safely ignored. He seems to think research into infectious diseases stopped in 1908.

  178. #178 Tracy W
    April 17, 2009

    Skinning my knee is a bit different than the IM injection of a modified pathogen, and numerous other vaccine matter (this includes adventitious agents, and foreign DNA from other species). Surely you see the distinction?

    Yes, the distinction is that in a vaccine if the needle is sterilised we know what is being injected. When you skin a knee, or get a puncture wound, such as caused by a splinter or a thorn or a sting from a bee, who knows what is being injected into the body?
    Well clearly sometimes an infection develops and then lab tests can identify what was injected that the body’s immune system failed to kill off at first contact. The point is that with a natural injury that breaks the skin the immune system could be dealing with a wide range of pathogens, foreign DNA (eg if a cat scratches you), etc. Our immune systems have had hundreds of millions of years of experience at dealing with intrusions past the skin. However viruses and bacteria have had hundreds of millions of years of experience at dealing with animals’ immune defences, which is why they can still sometimes make us very sick or even kill us. Still if mere intrusion of unknown foreign matter past the skin barrier triggered some dangerous immune system response then everyone would suffer from it regardless of whether they got vaccinations or not.

  179. #179 Joseph C.
    April 17, 2009

    Science is advanced by citing and describing the experimental data, not by stupid demogogic soundbytes.

    Right. So that rules you out.

    I notice that you avoid the question again. It’s all too safe for you to sit on here and copy/paste your pet conspiracy theories. To hell with the poor desperate HIV patient who might take you seriously, right? You’d never take a real chance on this crap. Like the 9/11 Truth assholes, human tragedy and suffering is all just a game to you.

    Fortunately, you’re so off-the-wall and incoherent that I doubt you do any real damage because nobody seems to take you seriously. Except for other HIV trolls.

    And as far as trolls go, you’re at about a D-.

  180. #180 SLC
    April 17, 2009

    Re Joseph C

    I seem to recall that moron cooler is also a troofer.

  181. #181 Mu
    April 17, 2009

    Cooler, more inventive insults please, you used the “Father
    Duesberg” line in the Aetiology thread already.

  182. #182 Militant Agnostic
    April 17, 2009

    A defense lawyer could not enter a courtroom and say his client is not guilty, and tell the judge evidence of this is at http://www.myclientisnotguilty.com, and refuse to articulate the evidence. He would get laughed out of the courtroom.

    Great – now he tells me – I was relying on ownership of that domain name to provide me with retirement income for life.

    @SLC – of course he’s a troofer

    We have to remember that Cooler can’t use Occam’s Razor because he is not allowed to have sharp objects.

  183. #183 passionlessDrone
    April 17, 2009

    Hi bsci –

    You’re putting forward this idea that every vaccine we’ve tested in depth for autism links is ok, but that doesn’t mean we might find some link to some other vaccine or something we haven’t tested with vaccines. The serious trouble with this argument is that it doesn’t provide ANY rationale for why we should be focusing on vaccines at all. Based on the current knowledge, the chance that some unknown aspect of some particular vaccine is a factor in autism is less likely than many other factors that might be a link. What justifies ANY fear of vaccines over fear of any random chemical in the environment? It makes less sense to discourage vaccine use as it does to pull up every linoleum floor in the world (not that removing linoleum would do much either).

    Especially considering the very strong evidence of genetic factors, I think what others are trying to say here is what is the justification for spending significant research money on vaccine/autism links over other, less studied, factors and what is the the justification for discouraging vaccine usage?

    I appreciate your civil tone.

    My concerns are not about a particular vaccine per se, but rather, the impact of artificially stimulating the immune system at earlier and earlier ages. Also, by no means am I suggesting that genetics are not a component. And I also would never presume to say that I believe that vaccines cause all autism, or even all autistic behaviors in a possibly affected child. I actually believe the bigger problem is that our fear of actually asking questions about the vaccine schedule causes us not to ask questions of any other environmental agents.

    Now, as towards biological plausibility. Did you know that now, in 2009 there are several groups that are currently investigating the impact of early life immune challenges in animal models? It’s true, and the mechanisms of action in many of these cases are things that, perhaps coincidentally, have striking similarities in the autistic population.

    Real href style links tend to get caught up in the filter, so I’m just gonna post the ugly links.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19089635?ordinalpos=6&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

    Here, researchers found that they were able to generate long term neurological dysfunction in rodents by administration of tnf alpha.

    http://www.jneurosci.org/cgi/content/full/28/27/6904

    Here is one where researchers found that a single mild inflammatory response during critical developmental timeframes was sufficient to cause permenant increases in seizure succeptibility. This effect was found to be tnf alpha mediated, and anti tnf alpha antibodies neutralized the effect. Of particular interest here is that the effect was time dependent. From the paper:

    The most exciting finding of the present study is that a mild inflammatory response evoked by LPS during a critical period of development causes a long-lasting increase in hippocampal excitability in vitro, and enhanced seizure susceptibility to the convulsants LI-PILO, KA, and PTZ in vivo. The latter effect was observed over a range of mildly inflammatory doses of LPS and was only evident if administered during the second postnatal week (P7 and P14), and not before (P1) or after (P20) this time. Importantly, inactivation of the proinflammatory cytokine TNF with an intracerebroventricular TNF antibody blocked the long-term changes to seizure susceptibility induced by LPS, whereas intracerebroventricular administration of rrTNF alone mimicked the effect of LPS on seizure susceptibility. These novel results indicate that a single transient inflammatory episode during development can modify the brain through a TNF-dependant mechanism, making it more susceptible to generate seizures in adulthood.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17521344?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DiscoveryPanel.Pubmed_Discovery_RA&linkpos=4&log$=relatedarticles&logdbfrom=pubmed

    Here we have an instance where we see that long term cns immunological imbalances as the result of early life seizures, and administration of inflammatory inhibitors.

    So what does this have to do with autism? Well, it just so happens that children with autism have been in several studies to respond to a vareity of immune stimulants with highly exaggerated pro inflammatory responses; in fact, characterized in large part by significant increases in tnf alpha!

    Here are a few links on this:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11694332?ordinalpos=11&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19211157?ordinalpos=4&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

    There are others.

    We also know that children with autism grow up into adults who have epilepsy at far, far greater rates than their undiagnosed peers. We also know that at least one study (the only one performed specifically looking), found chronically activated microglia in the brains of people with autism, but not in those without.

    So, take a series of children who are genetically predisposed to respond at highly exaggerated rates to immune challenges, and gradually begin exposing them to more and more robust immune challenges over a few decades. The most popular argument against this is that our immune systems are challenged all the time, which is true; but if our effect is dose dependent, no one will argue that the robustness of what we generate via vaccine is equivalent to everyday, normal exposure. All of the animals in the above experiments were exposed to plenty of bacteria, but it’s only the ones that got injections of LPS, or tnf alpha that developed conditions.

    If we go outside the range of effects of early life insults that have been precisely tied to the immune response as opposed to the challenging agent, we can see that early life immune challenges can have other, subtle to detect impacts which mimic what we see in autism.

    Here, researchers found that neonatal exposure to LPS resulted in long term changes to IgG1 and IgM than control animals.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19117614?ordinalpos=6&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

    Strangely, signficantly decreased levels of IgG1 and IgM have been observed in autism.

    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?tool=pubmed&pubmedid=19343198

    Here is one where the authors report that a single inflammatory response during development can alter NMDA receptor expression.

    http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=20120309

    Thus, a single bout of inflammation during development can programme specific and persistent differences in NR mRNA subunit expression in the hippocampus, which could be associated with behavioural and cognitive deficits in adulthood

    Again here, the resultant expression changes were highly variable in a time dependent manner.

    I’ll admit right off to bat that the jump from rodents to humans is large. But in the interest of intellectual honesty, we can all agree that researchers are not geneuinely all that concerned about rodent epilepsy risk, or NDMA expression; there are lessons to be learned about humans in these experiments.

    Here we are in 2009 and researchers are finding sublte differences in what happens when your immune system gets a big shock during development. We are still learning a lot about the immune system, vaccination is a very nifty trick, and one that has saved millions of lives; but that doesn’t mean we might not be having effects that are difficult to detect if we don’t ask the right kinds of questions. If these impacts are so well understood on a developing system, one wonders why so many folks are studying them now, and reporting that their observations are novel?

    Analyzing mercury levels doesn’t help us here; none of the studies above had anything to do with mercury. Likewise, analyzing a single event in a series of events that has grown wildly, exclusively during earlier developmental timeframes, gives us very little information on our actions. Trying to convert thimerosal and MMR into ‘vaccines themselves’ gives the impression that we fully understand what we are doing. I’m not that confident.

    Whew!

    - pD

  184. #184 ababa
    April 17, 2009

    No conspiracy theory is too good for our friend Cooler. How much fun he must have searching his house daily for listening devices and running for the panic room everytime he hears a helicopter going overhead.

    Paranoia is self-fulfilling in that a lack of evidence is only more proof that a cover up exists which evidence in itself.

  185. #185 skeptiquette
    April 17, 2009

    I think what anon is referring to is the route of administtration vs. the route of transmission, specifically related to the vaccines and their counterpart (actual organism.) For the most part the administration of a vaccine does not mimick the route of transmission of the pathogenic bacteria or virus, there are a couple exceptions. Take for example pertussis, measles or diphtheria, when would one contract one of these via puncture wound? Moreover, when would one contract these with an immune stimulating adjuvant that clearly has different properties than various antigens coating the pathogen. There are some exceptions, however, such as clostridium tetani, the causitive agent of tetanus. Since this bacteria is ubiquitous in soil and the environment, it quite easily could be introduced intramuscularly via a puncture wound. In fact, the only way clostridium will proliferate, is if exposure is in an anaerobic environment, i.e. deep puncture wound. Therefore, a IM injection of tetanus toxoid would more effectively mimick actual route of transmission for tetanus.

    Is the cascade of events different when, let’s say Measle’s is introduced intramuscularly vs. through respiratory droplets and thus mucosally? I am pretty sure I have come across this in my reading, but I can’t remember the specifics, I’ll try to dig up the relevant information.

    Bypassing the mucosal immune system by IM injection of vaccines when the natural pathogen normally interacts with this part of the immune system, may have some alterior consequences. The mucosal immune system, specifically the GI tract is where most of the immune system components of the body reside. The microbiota which predominantly resides in the GI tract contains more cells than the human body and therefore has a very robust metabolic capacity and role in immune regulation. Not only that but the microflora is absolutely essential to normal immune system ontogeny and research is slowly elucidating the critical role this ecosystem plays in immune system regulation, specifically related to the innate immune system.

    It could therefore be seen as a potential problem area, when this primary line of defense and regulation is effectively by passed by vaccine. This really does change the evolutionary relationships that humans have had with pathogens. Honestly, I don’t think the scientific community has more than a fraction of a percent figured out, when it comes to the immune system, microflora,and how both of these interact with eachother and the rest of the humany body.

  186. #186 Cynical Pediatrician
    April 17, 2009

    (munch, munch, munch…eating popcorn…)
    Good show, cooler!
    HIV doesn’t cause AIDS…
    polio doesn’t cause, um, paralytic polio…
    9/11 was a hoax…
    This is great entertainment. You can’t make this stuff up. Oh, wait a minute, I guess you can.

    Personally, I’m waiting for him to show us that black is white and get himself killed at the next zebra crossing.

  187. #187 anon
    April 17, 2009

    Coyote, Dr P, and Tracy W – (since you have all addressed the same issue, slight variations, but the same)

    “Modified pathogens” and “adventitious agents?” What about the real pathogens on the floor where you skinned your knee, with none of their dangers attenuated? Significantly more dangerous than anything in the vaccines….

    —Why ? I see many injuries that are functional injections, like puncture wounds and deep abrasions that are dirty wounds with debris and undoubtedly toxins; and the pathogens are modified to the extent that they’re less immunogenic than their wild…

    When you skin a knee, or get a puncture wound, such as caused by a splinter or a thorn or a sting from a bee, who knows what is being injected into the body?

    With the exception of puncture wounds, superficial injuries also involve bleeding. There are also biological mechanisms involved in acute injury that are certainly NOT involved in the administration of a vaccine. I remember a 60 pound boulder dropping on my foot crushing and fracturing several bones in the top of my foot, and also creating a very nasty laceration. The adrenaline was so strong that it took more than an hour for me to even feel the pain.

    Thank you skeptiquette for that elucidation.

  188. #188 e.d.
    April 17, 2009

    How do you know that “increase” is not largely due to increased awareness and better reporting? Pertussis often goes undiagnosed in adults and older children, and immunity wanes with time.

    Um, isn’t pertussis also known as whooping cough? Whooping cough is kind of hard to miss, isn’t it, between the sound and/or rib cracking coughing? Or was the question used in sarcasm re: the diagnostic criteria of autism being redefined and expanded?

  189. #189 passionlessDrone
    April 17, 2009

    Hi skeptiquette –

    This really does change the evolutionary relationships that humans have had with pathogens. Honestly, I don’t think the scientific community has more than a fraction of a percent figured out, when it comes to the immune system, microflora,and how both of these interact with each other and the rest of the humany body.

    What a refreshing display of intellectual honesty. Very nicely done.

    - pD

  190. #190 Jen
    April 17, 2009

    Um, isn’t pertussis also known as whooping cough? Whooping cough is kind of hard to miss, isn’t it, between the sound and/or rib cracking coughing? Or was the question used in sarcasm re: the diagnostic criteria of autism being redefined and expanded?

    Pertussis is difficult to detect in adults and older children, because the symptoms are milder, and accurate testing is tricky. I can cite dozens of articles wrt to pertussis misdiagnosis, if you like. Here’s just one:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20424764/

  191. #191 Dr Rocketscience
    April 17, 2009

    Skeptiquette,

    I appreciate what you’re trying to say, but I have to ask? Are you an immunologist? What you wrote indicates that, like me, you are simply an avid reader. so, allow me to respond from a similar base of knowledge and experience:

    You seem to be implying that delivery method of a vaccine is determined largely from someone shrugging and saying “Well, I guess we should inject it directly into the… [flips a IV/IM coin] …bloodstream.” I’m sure you’re right about the muccosal and gastrointestinal immine responses of the human body. Don’t you think immunologists have considered that? I suspect that if these systems are bypassed, it’s because studying them has resulted in the conclusion the vaccine would be intercepted and eradicated by these systems before it has the chance to induce the desired immune response, i.e. the production of antigens. Remember that the vast majority of vaccines use dead viruses, attenuated (weakened) viruses, or viral surface proteins. Very few live virus vaccines are still in use.

    As far as “a fraction of a percent figured out”, that’s an awfully cool number – where does it come from? Exageration to make a point is still exaggeration. And folks like pD (are you paying attention, pD?) jump on that like some kind of mea culpa, and are unperturbed – or perhaps elated – by the exageration. Give the now century old study of the human immune system more credit that “a fraction of a percent”, please.

  192. #192 anon
    April 17, 2009

    pD,

    Here we are in 2009 and researchers are finding sublte differences in what happens when your immune system gets a big shock during development. We are still learning a lot about the immune system, vaccination is a very nifty trick, and one that has saved millions of lives; but that doesn’t mean we might not be having effects that are difficult to detect if we don’t ask the right kinds of questions. If these impacts are so well understood on a developing system, one wonders why so many folks are studying them now, and reporting that their observations are novel?

    Well said.

  193. #193 cooler
    April 17, 2009

    Ok, losers (cynical pediatrician et al) time to start citing evidence.

    I would like the overwhelming evidence that proved HIV was a fatal disease that justified AZT’s release in 1987.

    Overwhelming evidence that Popper’s et al’s experiment where the could only induce disease in an animal by directly injecting spinal slop in the brain of a couple monkeys was replicated in a more realistic experiment with controls and normal methods of inoculation.

    Overwhelming evidence 19 hijackers were at the airports on 9/11. I would like the ticket stubs, sworn witness statements and of course the CCTV videos. (only 5 hijackers ever were shown on video and they were released 3 years later)

    I am waiting for this overwhelming evidence.

    As for Joseph C who’s so dumb he can’t cite a single paper and just keeps telling me to get injected, Why don’t YOU take 1200 mg of AZT everyday since you think its so good for you. Dr. David Rasnick has offered himself to be injected with HIV if the other person takes AZT at the 1990 dosage for life. Why don’t you take him up on the challenge, he is a much more influential denialist than me, he was on Mbeki’s panel. Yeah that’s what I thought. Loser.

  194. #194 Mu
    April 17, 2009

    Hey, we can play conspiracy cluedo, I take Popper, in the airport, with AZT

  195. #195 Joseph C.
    April 17, 2009

    As for Joseph C who’s so dumb he can’t cite a single paper and just keeps telling me to get injected,

    What’s the point of doing anything like that for an illiterate, copy/paste troll? You’re not even a good troll. I’d give you credit for that if you were.

  196. #196 passionlessDrone
    April 17, 2009

    Hi Dr. Rocketscience –

    Great name!

    I am not an immunologist, as has been pointed out to me on many occassions; an avid reader, yes! And, true, a fraction of a percent is likely an exaggeration.

    But what worries more me is the apparent exaggeration on the other end, the one that seems to be able to claim that even though we have a population of children with wildly dysregulated immune system functioning, abberations that have been shown by several measures to correlate to behavioral severity, that we still have no reason to study vaccination beyond mercury contents or a single vaccine in a suite of many.

    Did you know that the mechanisms by which those attenuated viruses or bacterial particles were able to generate an effective immunological response are just now being illuminated? Understanding the way which adjuvants actually work alongside those epitopes to initiate an immune response is still very much an work in progress; and that is no exaggeration.

    Try this paper out:

    Crucial role for the Nalp3 inflammasome in the immunostimulatory properties of aluminium adjuvants

    Aluminium adjuvants, typically referred to as ‘alum’, are the most commonly used adjuvants in human and animal vaccines worldwide, yet the mechanism underlying the stimulation of the immune system by alum remains unknown.

    Published in 2008.

    Would you ever have gotten that idea from the posters here? Finding this kind of thing out doesn’t make me elated, it makes me scared.

    - pD

  197. #197 ababa
    April 17, 2009

    cooler, while I am again entertained by your post that just enforces everyone’s opinion of you – please, shush, the adults are talking here. Go play with your toys without sharp edges for a while and we will tell you when it is time to eat your applesauce.

  198. #198 skeptiquette
    April 17, 2009

    Dr. Rocketscience,

    While I am not an immunologist, my college background (8 years ago) is in immunology and med microbiology with an emphasis on anaerobic GI microbiology(two specialized classes and a lot of individual research). Unfortunately, I haven’t pursued this as a career, due to multiple reasons which I would rather not discuss.(and have therefore lost a fair amount of the technical knowledge that I gained)

    I am sure immunologists have considered route of administration when developing vaccines. And tricking the immune system has been exceptionally successful at ameliorating mortality and morbidity associated with the many VPD’s. Whether they have fully considered the possibility of the immune sytem getting “tricked” in more ways than intended, I personally don’t think so. I don’t see this as any sort of conspiracy, just due to limits of in vitro immunological research and technology.

    As pD has pointed out the immune response to vaccines and their adjuvants is just now, being elucidated. And realistacally speaking, these elucidations are most likely one small piece of the puzzle. This is, however, progress, which in a healthy scientific environment is what one would like to see.

    As far as my quantification of one fraction of one percent, I was referring to the interaction between the immune system, microflora and rest of the body. While the adaptive immune response has been studied for the last century,the innate immune response research is rather new, i.e. last decade or two.

    Of course this quantification can’t really be qualified, because you nor I have any idea what complete knowledge entails. When are we going to know absolutely everything there is to know about the immune system? and how do we know when we have reached that point? Clearly, we aren’t even close. You may believe we know much more, but when I think about the complexities of the in vivo system and the fact that many commensal organisms haven’t even been identified, then couple this with individual genetics, particular environmental exposures(diet, toxins, infections), and the factor of age (and of course the inumerous other factors that could be considered)I get a much fuzzier picture of what is happening and equate that to a much smaller percentage of knowing, what’s going on in vivo on the scale of the whole body.

  199. #199 Dr Rocketscience
    April 17, 2009

    skeptiquette

    OK, my bad on your background. I apologize, you would probably know better than I. *shrug*

  200. #200 Scott
    April 17, 2009

    even though we have a population of children with wildly dysregulated immune system functioning, abberations that have been shown by several measures to correlate to behavioral severity

    Step #1 in making this argument is to demonstrate that such a population in fact exists.

  201. #201 skeptiquette
    April 17, 2009

    Dr. Rocketscience,

    No, worries. What I write is only my humble opinion. You may interperet any way you want, and feel free to add to the discussion and challenge anything I say(this only promotes critical thinking). I realize that I have a lot to learn and relearn for that matter, therefore I have an easy time remaining open to possibilities and discussion and admitting when I am wrong.

  202. #202 trrll
    April 17, 2009

    Vaccine-available disease that engage the immune system on the cellular level, are quite different tha the vaccines themselves (antigen, PLUS, whatever) that pierce the skin gaining direct access. I’m sorry to disagree, it just seems more sensible NOT to inject diphtheria toxin (which is highly venomous) into a vulnerable, growing infant, with immature myelination.

    Antivaccinationists say the darnedest things! Partly, this seems to be because they are only interested in the science to the extent that it feeds their obsessions, so they learn just enough to confuse themselves.

    Is there really something unique about “piercing the skin?” Antivaccinationists seem to imagine that the skin is an impregnable barrier, and the only way anything gets past it is through a needle. The forget that children start to accumulate scratches and scrapes as soon as they start to crawl, introducing all sorts of antigens and infectious agents into the bloodstream. But that’s nothing compared to teething, which provides a direct route from the mouth, teeming with bacteria of all sorts, into the blood.

    And where did this one get the idea that diphtheria toxin is injected into children? Diphtheria toxin is much too toxic (although it is not a “venom” as this one seems to think) to inject into anybody. What is injected is a toxoid, a completely inactivated toxin, that possesses the antigens of the toxin but none of its toxicity. It is possible to reliably inactivate the toxin because diphtheria toxin is actually a complex and highly tuned enzymatic machine, and requires precise coordination of multiple processes to harm a cell. There is one mechanism for sticking to the outside of a cell, another mechanism for getting into the inside of the cell, and another for damaging the cell once it gets there. All of these are quite delicate and easy to chemically inactivate, completely destroying the mechanism of toxicity.

    Of course, it is easy to see how an uniformed person might think that because diphtheria toxin is extraordinarily potent, it must be hard to make it safe. Superficially, it sounds plausible. The scientist understands that the very mechanism that confers its high potency is what makes it so vulnerable to inactivation. These ultrapotent toxins are as finely-tuned as race cars–if anything at all is damaged, they can’t make it to the finish line.

  203. #203 passionlessDrone
    April 17, 2009

    Hi Scott –

    Step #1 in making this argument is to demonstrate that such a population in fact exists

    But it is relatively simple to prove this. All emphasis below are mine. In the interest of space, abstracts are snipped if I decided to post them.

    Macrophage Migration Inhibitory Factor and Autism Spectrum Disorders

    Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) is an upstream regulator of innate immunity that promotes monocyte/macrophage-activation responses by increasing the expression of Toll-like receptors and inhibiting activation-induced apoptosis. On the basis of results of previous genetic linkage studies and reported altered innate immune response in autism spectrum disorder, we hypothesized that MIF could represent a candidate gene for autism spectrum disorder or its diagnostic components.

    RESULTS. There were genetic associations between known functional polymorphisms in the promoter for MIF and autism spectrum disorder–related behaviors. Also, probands with autism spectrum disorder exhibited higher circulating MIF levels than did their unaffected siblings, and plasma MIF concentrations correlated with the severity of multiple autism spectrum disorder symptoms.

    MIF is encoded in a functionally polymorphic locus on chromosome 22q11.2 (Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man No. 153620, GenBank accession No. NM_002415) that has been associated with the incidence or severity of different autoimmune inflammatory conditions.37 Given its location in a previously identified locus of interest and its upstream action in immunity, MIF may represent a candidate gene for ASD or its components. Thus, the central hypothesis underlying this research was that a genetic predisposition to a particular level of MIF production may lead to a proinflammatory profile of cell activation that, if present during a neurodevelopmentally sensitive period, might contribute to the etiopathogenesis of autism

    This entire paper is available from the link; but there are a few key things of note here, at least to me:

    1) Genetic promoter regions are implicated. This tends to cast doubt on a common (and many times valid) complaint, that it is difficult to detangle causation and correlation. Unless autism is somehow causing these children to have these alleles, we can be pretty sure that, at least in part, the increase in MIF is associated to genetic predisposition.

    2) Correlations between circulating values and behavioral severity.

    Decreased transforming growth factor beta1 in autism: a potential link between immune dysregulation and impairment in clinical behavioral outcomes

    Here, we see that the flip side of an inflammatory response; a critical element in regulating an immune response is found to be much lower in children with autism than in controls. And again, we see correlations to behavioral severity. There is another paper on tgf-beta1 and autism, with similar measurement values, but one that did not find a correlation to behavioral severity.

    Decreased serum levels of transforming growth factor-beta1 in patients with autism

    So, here we have several analysis indicating that measurements of factors known to affect the regulation of the immune response are significantly altered in autism, and in the same way, towards poorer regulation of an immune resopnse.

    There is much more. What happens when we measure immune system component levels in the blood, or cns of people with autism? Again and again, we see highly exaggerated values in people with autism when compared to controls.

    Elevated immune response in the brain of autistic patients An ongoing inflammatory process in the brains of ASD patients is observed when compared to controls.

    Elevated cytokine levels in children with autism spectrum disorder Skewed cytokine levels between our groups. Here, a decrease in IL-10 is observed; another key cytokine in regulating the immune response.

    Elevation of tumor necrosis factor-alpha in cerebrospinal fluid of autistic children. Very highly increased levels of tnf alpha are found in the CSF of children with autism.

    Neuroglial activation and neuroinflammation in the brain of patients with autism Again, signs of an ongoing inflammatory process in the brain of people with autism.

    Reduced levels of immunoglobulin in children with autism correlates with behavioral symptoms A marked decrease in IGG levels in children with autism, with correlation to behavioral symptoms.

    I could go on, there are many more. If anyone is interested, we also can find links to HLA alleles, disturbances in CD4+/CD8+ ratios, a vareity of autoantibody studies, several studies indicating famlial clusterings of auto immune disorders, at least one study showing decreased cytotoxic capabilities, gene expression studies regarding NK cell functions, and at least four studies showing us that if you stimulate blood in vitro, children with autism generate an exaggered immune response compared to controls, and others. I just don’t have time to link them all right now.

    It is possible that all of these studies are wrong in exactly the same way, and there are no immune system abnormalities in autism.

    Does this help?

    - pD

  204. #204 trrll
    April 17, 2009

    One thing you learn in scientific research is to make your hypotheses specific. It is very easy to handwave your way through, citing peripherally related research and ignoring inconvenient findings, and convince yourself that your hypothesis is plausible.

    So let’s try to be specific about this “too many, too soon” hypothesis of vaccines causing autism.

    1. Well, to begin with, we know that it would have to be a pretty small effect. Most autism clearly has nothing to do with vaccines. How do we know this? Generation Rescue carried out a phone survey, and they found that autistic disorders were just as common in unvaccinated as vaccinated children. Now this was a study carried out by a group with an antivaccine bias, and while the study design had some flaws, they were of a type that would tend to exaggerate vaccine risk, not underestimate it.

    2. The notion that early exposure to antigens per se is harmful clearly makes no sense. From a very early age, children are exposed to a huge number of antigens in the environment. The idea that there is something particularly harmful about introducing an antigen via a needle also is implausible because children are exposed to an enormous number of antigens from through accidental scratches and scrapes and from teething, all of which enable antigens to bypass the skin and mucous membranes. So there would have to be something particularly “special” about those particular antigens in vaccines.

    3. So if the hypothesized autism-inducing effect of a vaccine is due to immune activation, it must be qualitatively different from the immune activation produced by exposure to other antigens. The great majority of children show little evidence of immune activation following vaccination. At most, a minority exhibit a low-grade fever, but children typically experience low-grade fevers and worse several times a year that are unrelated to vaccination. So the immune consequences of vaccination must be simultaneously severe, and yet silent–without the severe physiological signs produced by agents known to strongly activate the immune system.

    4. The hypothesized autism-inducing effect of vaccines must somehow be qualitatively different from the effect of full-blown infection by the disease agents vaccinated against. None of the vaccine-predictable diseases produces anything resembling autism as a consequence (although some produce other forms of brain damage), even though these diseases are accompanied by severe symptoms of immune activation.

    These are very tight constraints, so tight that it is hard to think of any plausible mechanism that would satisfy them. Perhaps this will help some people to get an idea why scientists view the notion of vaccine-induced autism as an extraordinary claim–one that on the face of it is so implausible that extraordinarily convincing evidence would be required to support it. Evidence that is decidedly absent.

  205. #205 Scott
    April 17, 2009

    One might also add:

    5. It has to somehow masquerade as an extremely strongly genetic condition in twin studies.

    6. It must produce neurological structures which appear to have originated in the early prenatal period.

  206. #206 cooler
    April 17, 2009

    Hey guys, thanks for not citing a single study to back up your claims on HIV and Polio. Thanks for not providing any evidence 19 hijackers were even at the airports. I made my point, you guys take everything on faith, much like holocaust deniers, and can’t supply any evidence whatsoever. I love it, you guys are so ignorant!

  207. #207 gaiainc
    April 17, 2009

    Cooler, if I take the necessary time out of my day to find you the sources, do you honestly expect me to believe that you’re doing to believe my sources? Or will I have to deal with another series of posts about how the sources are wrong or poorly done or too influenced by Big Pharma or whatever? My sense is the latter and really, I have other things to do with my time.

    As to 9/11 events… you are asking for evidence that is accessible by few and quite frankly a lot like asking someone to produce the iceberg that sunk the Titanic.

    I keep reading about “too many, too soon” and how it’s terrible we’re exposing these poor babies to these vaccines because we’re overloading their immune systems by exposing them to these vaccines. Then I think on all the vaginal deliveries that I do and think more on how unsterile the vagina is and how there is often maternal stool involved in delivery which just increases the bacterial exposure, and yet, the babies do well. On the one hand a baby’s immune system is not perfect. However, it is no slouch either. To consider otherwise I think would be insulting to the immune system.

  208. #208 cooler
    April 17, 2009

    Gainic et al,
    I will gladly eat some crow if you provide me some simple evidence.

    Videos and sworn witness statements that place all 19 hijackers at the airports. If a 7-11 was robbed this stuff would be released the next day, with 9/11 they’ve only shown 5 of the hijackers on CCTV and those even were released 3 years later. Atta has only been shown on video only at the Portland, Me airport. Just show me the vids of the remaining 14 hijackers at the airports on 9/11.

    Please show me the expirements where monkeys that were not directly injected in the brain with polio/spinal mush (Popper) and inoculated through normal ways of disease transmission (injection in the blood, orally) get parylsis. A control animal would be nice as well. Remember, polio is supposed to be transmitted orally, so it is very strange that monkeys don’t get sick this way, or even when they are injected in any other place besides direct injections in the brain. (Janine Roberts)

    Cite and briefly describe the scientific papers that proved HIV was a fatal disease that justified AZT’s release in 1987. Since AZT was approved in 1987 and the DHHS said the probable cause of AIDS was HIV in 1984 it would be nice if these studies came from this time period. If you want you can admit AIDS science was sloppy in the early years and there wasnt overwhelming in the mid-eighties, and approving AZT was a lucky guess, then cite and describe the papers that proved HIV is a fatal disease from any period. Please don’t spam a website, this would get laughed out of a courtroom or flunk you out of any debate class. Waiting.

  209. #209 ababa
    April 17, 2009

    Jake Crosby, if you are still reading – take a long look at cooler’s posts in this thread. This is what happens when you ally yourself with conspiracy theory nuts. The rabbit hole goes on forever.

    You can still save yourself. Don’t be a cooler.

  210. #210 Joseph C.
    April 17, 2009

    Cooler,

    Show me the evidence that Peter Duesberg exists. How do you know he’s a real person and not a CIA operative? Don’t you know that the Illuminati control the Interweb because they run Cisco Systems, which makes 95% of the routers? So, therefore anything that you’ve read on the Interweb is likely staged. In fact, they’re monitoring this thread right now. Do you just take it on faith that he’s a real person and not part of the Zionist conspiracy?

    PROVE IT OR ADMIT THAT YOU’RE WRONG!

  211. #211 anon
    April 17, 2009

    trrll,

    Antivaccinationists say the darnedest things! Partly, this seems to be because they are only interested in the science to the extent that it feeds their obsessions, so they learn just enough to confuse themselves.

    Well, I’m not an “antivaccinationist”, and don’t really understand the use of that word as of late. I don’t feel confused, but I am clearly biased when viewing myself, so do appreciate your honest feedback. If in fact, it is meant for discussion and directing me correctly, instead of pointing out what you feel to be an inadequacy.

    Is there really something unique about “piercing the skin?” Antivaccinationists seem to imagine that the skin is an impregnable barrier, and the only way anything gets past it is through a needle.

    I don’t imagine the skin as some indestructible barrier. But I do see it as a living organ well capable of deciphering trauma versus… well, whatever you want to call vaccine administration. Physiologically, it does not compare. Vaccine administration, evolutionarily speaking, is in total infancy.

    And where did this one get the idea that diphtheria toxin is injected into children? Diphtheria toxin is much too toxic (although it is not a “venom” as this one seems to think) to inject into anybody. What is injected is a toxoid, a completely inactivated toxin, that possesses the antigens of the toxin but none of its toxicity.

    My apologies for misspeaking, yes it is a toxoid. Please tell me how much anti-toxin is required in each batch of diphtheria vaccine to offset deleterious effects?

  212. #212 Dawn
    April 17, 2009

    Orac, I thank you for calling all of the attention on the anti-vax movement. You have been such a big helper in getting the word out. I have so many of your bloggers now emailing me…I have “you” to thank for that. You are awesome. Keep doing what you are doing big guy!! Thanks for getting the word out.

  213. #213 anon
    April 17, 2009

    Cooler,

    Show me the evidence that Peter Duesberg exists.

    I warily tread into this area… were it not for his unorthodox views on HIV, he’d still be a widely respected scientist… no?

  214. #214 cooler
    April 17, 2009

    Anon,
    You have to hear what he has to say about HIV, then it all makes sense. Google the film “HIV fact or fraud” and you will see a great doc starring Peter Duesberg free. Oh and guys, thanks for not answering a single question, thanks for proving my point that everything you guys believe is based on faith, not by critically examining the evidence.

  215. #215 passionlessDrone
    April 17, 2009

    Hi trrl –

    1) Using a phone survey as any kind of valid evidence for anything is bogus and you know it. In this one instance, and this one instance only, you have presumed competence in Generation Rescue, and for the sole purpose that you believe it furthers your argument. If there was a single founder of the scientific method, he or she would be spinning in their coffin to see such blatant, transient doublethink offered the name of logical reasoning. For shame.

    2) The idea that there is something particularly harmful about introducing an antigen via a needle also is implausible because children are exposed to an enormous number of antigens from through accidental scratches and scrapes and from teething, all of which enable antigens to bypass the skin and mucous membranes.

    Most children do not start crawling until six months, and many not until eight or nine months. Likewise, with teething. By age four months, they will have received 2 hep bs, 2 rotavirus, 2 dtaps, 2 hibs, 2 pneumococcal, and 2 polio vaccines according to the schedule. If a child doesn’t start crawling (and scraping itself) by seven months, it has gotten an additional rotovirus, dtap, hib, pneuomococcal, polio, and influenza vaccine before any of this crawling and rampant knee scratching.

    Anyone out there with children, do you remember your children getting skinned knees at six months? If so, what the hell were you doing with your children? Pleaes don’t hang out with trrl, he/she obviously runs a very dangerous household.

    3) The great majority of children show little evidence of immune activation following vaccination.

    But children with autism have been shown many times to respond with inflammatory cytokines at highly exaggerated compared to their non diagnosed peers. Grouping them together in terms of immune activation is clearly a very poor analogy; either by choice or by intent to deceive. I have a large post currently in moderation detailing some of the many findings to this effect.

    This does raise an interesting question though; I wonder, do you have a study of children that have shown evidence of immune activation after vaccination you can share with us? One that shows no difference in autism diagnosis three years down the road? Please post a link! Oh, right; you have no such studies to post.

    Whats more, you can’t tell by looking at them, but the literature is rather compelling that children with autism have highly abnormal immunological profiles when compared to their normal peers; all day, every day. The basis of your argument seems to be that because parents are not reporting behavioral changes in their children after a round of vaccinations at two months of age, there must not be anything different happening.

    4) The hypothesized autism-inducing effect of vaccines must somehow be qualitatively different from the effect of full-blown infection by the disease agents vaccinated against.

    Two things are wrong with this statement:

    1) A two month old is extremely unlikely to be exposed to pneunococcal, diptheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis b, rotavirus, and polio simultaneously on their sixtieth day out of the womb. Therefore, we can safely say that attempting to draw equivalencies between vaccination and actual exposure is a false dichotomy based in lack of understanding at best, and an intentional smokescreen at worst.

    2) But we have several animal models that show that immune activation during critical timeframes regardless of the underlying bacterial, viral, or direct trigger (i.e., tnf alpha injections) can cause long term behavioral and physiological changes. In these instances, the type of challenge isn’t important, what is important is that we have invoked the immune system at all. In many instances, this effect is time dependent, and as such, we simply don’t know the difference between a kick start to the innate immune system at two months versus six, especially with a subgroup of infants who respond much differently than everyone else.

    Again, I have a large post in moderation with many links on this.

    These are very tight constraints, so tight that it is hard to think of any plausible mechanism that would satisfy them.

    Yawn.

    5) It has to somehow masquerade as an extremely strongly genetic condition in twin studies.

    Only if someone to insist that vaccination caused all autism, and all facets of autism, and that genetic conditions were not able affect how the immune system was regulated. A false dichotomy and a ridiculous assumption.

    6) It must produce neurological structures which appear to have originated in the early prenatal period.

    What I love about this argument is that somehow, suddenly, we have discovered the cause of autism, all autism, and all of its effects; neurological structures set in prenatal development. In one fell swoop we have taken this massively complicated condition that seemingly has everyone confused as hell and solved all of its nuances.

    But if you were to ask, for example, how such changes might result in a child having a chronically activated immune system in the CNS, or drastically decreased IgG levels, or highly increased levels of tnf alpha in the CSF, or decrased tgf-beta1 levels, or increased levels of MIF, or decreased p-selectin levels, or lower levels of I-10, or CD4/CD8 helper cell ratios, or why it might cause children to respond to immune challenges more robustly than their non diagnosed peers, no such sweeping answers are forthcoming.

    - pD

  216. #216 Joseph C.
    April 17, 2009

    You have to hear what he has to say about HIV, then it all makes sense. Google the film “HIV fact or fraud” and you will see a great doc starring Peter Duesberg free. Oh and guys, thanks for not answering a single question, thanks for proving my point that everything you guys believe is based on faith, not by critically examining the evidence.

    Nice fail. Idiot. You didn’t answer *my* question either.

    This is all tooth fairy science because you haven’t proven that Peter Duesberg is in fact a real person:

    1) There are no electron micrograph photos of Peter Duesberg. Or the 9/11 hijackers. The ones that you see in your Biology textbook are classic fakes. Like the moon landing.

    2) You only have weak correlation. First someone claims to be Peter Duesberg at UC Berkeley, but then 10 years later he’s claiming that HIV is a myth. How do you connect those two? Weak correlation is not causation.

    3) Even if there is a Peter Duesberg, he is certainly working for the government. He probably organized the secret meeting at Simpsonwood.

    4) You failed to cite any evidence that Peter Duesberg is a real person.

    PROVE IT OR ADMIT THAT YOU ARE WRONG!

  217. #217 HCN
    April 18, 2009

    (just an observation folks, but the low temp troll does go away if you ignore him)

  218. #218 SLC
    April 18, 2009

    Re cooler

    I’ll have some confidence in Dr. Duesberg when he accepts the challenge to inject himself with HIV positive blood. Thus far, all we hear is excuses from him. Until he accepts the challenge, Mr. cooler can go fuck himself.

  219. #219 SLC
    April 18, 2009

    Re cooler

    Thus far, Dr. Duesberg has refused the challenge to inject himself with HIV positive blood to put his money where his mouth is. All we hear from the good doctor are excuses and alibis. Until he accepts the challenge, Mr. cooler is cordially invited to perform an anatomical impossibility.

  220. #220 trrll
    April 18, 2009

    Using a phone survey as any kind of valid evidence for anything is bogus and you know it. In this one instance, and this one instance only, you have presumed competence in Generation Rescue, and for the sole purpose that you believe it furthers your argument. If there was a single founder of the scientific method, he or she would be spinning in their coffin to see such blatant, transient doublethink offered the name of logical reasoning. For shame.

    I’ll take this as another teaching opportunity for a lesson in scientific thinking. A cognitive error that is often observed, particularly in scientists-in-training, is a tendency to get attached to a “pet” hypothesis, and to dismiss contrary data based on cherry-picked “flaws”. Since almost any study contains flaws or weaknesses of some sort, you can rationalize just about anything this way. This is what you are doing here. Any kind of survey has potential for bias, but that does not mean that surveys are useless, or that you can dismiss them when the results are inconvenient.

    A scientist must consider potential bias and how it will impact the results. Like any kind of survey, telephone surveys have some weaknesses, but it is false to insist that no information can be obtained that way, and I suspect that you would not be doing so if the conclusions are more to your liking. What reveals your response as rationalization, as opposed to rational thinking, is that you have not managed to suggest any hypothesis as to how the study would have been biased to overestimate autism in unvaccinated children.

    This is another useful lesson in how to avoid self-deception: always make your null hypothesis explicit. “Phone studies are worthless so I can ignore it” is sloppy thinking. How, specifically, would the design of this study (which was actually carried out by an experienced and presumably competent survey company commissioned by Generation Rescue) cause it to underestimate the incidence of autism in vaccinated children as compared to unvaccinated children? One might reasonably suspect Generation Rescue of being biased, causing them to throw data that doesn’t fit their hypothesis. But the results go against GR’s hypothesis, so that doesn’t make sense.

    So once again: what’s your hypothesis? Why, specifically, did the Generation Rescue study find such a high incidence of autism in unvaccinated children? Is there something special about phone surveys, such that only families with kids who are immune to your hypothetical autism-inducing effect of vaccination are motivated to answer?

  221. #221 trrll
    April 19, 2009

    Most children do not start crawling until six months, and many not until eight or nine months. Likewise, with teething. By age four months, they will have received 2 hep bs, 2 rotavirus, 2 dtaps, 2 hibs, 2 pneumococcal, and 2 polio vaccines according to the schedule. If a child doesn’t start crawling (and scraping itself) by seven months, it has gotten an additional rotovirus, dtap, hib, pneuomococcal, polio, and influenza vaccine before any of this crawling and rampant knee scratching.

    Teething begins as early as 3 months. And even before that, they have diaper rashes, which are mostly infections, and which allow other bacteria and yeast to bypass the skin. Not to mention viral infection, which have evolved efficient mechanisms for crossing membranes and entering the circulation.

    But children with autism have been shown many times to respond with inflammatory cytokines at highly exaggerated compared to their non diagnosed peers.

    And of course, most immune reactions are not triggered by vaccination, but by infections and other exposures to environmental antigens. If they do indeed have more severe immune reactions, then one might reasonably conclude that it would be even more critical to vaccinate them and protect them from actual infections, which induce far more severe immune reactions than vaccination, as judged by the severity of fever and other immune-mediated responses. Interestingly, the Generation Rescue phone survey found that autistic disorders were significantly more common in unvaccinated than vaccinated girls.

    Whats more, you can’t tell by looking at them, but the literature is rather compelling that children with autism have highly abnormal immunological profiles when compared to their normal peers; all day, every day. The basis of your argument seems to be that because parents are not reporting behavioral changes in their children after a round of vaccinations at two months of age, there must not be anything different happening.

    I was asking about your hypothesis. So is it fair to say from this that your hypothesis is that vaccination somehow induces a severe immune response that paradoxically has fewer symptoms of immune activation than the many viruses and other infections that commonly produce fevers–sometimes severe–in infants?

    1) A two month old is extremely unlikely to be exposed to pneunococcal, diptheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis b, rotavirus, and polio simultaneously on their sixtieth day out of the womb. Therefore, we can safely say that attempting to draw equivalencies between vaccination and actual exposure is a false dichotomy based in lack of understanding at best, and an intentional smokescreen at worst.

    Yet from the frequency of childhood fevers, rashes, and other infections, we know that infants experience many exposures to actual infectious organisms, any one of this carries a very large number of antigens–and typically with greater symptoms of immune activation than with vaccination. So is it fair to say that your hypothesis is that there is something special about vaccination with antigens for these particular diseases, that somehow causes it to produce symptoms that are never observed with exposure to much greater amounts of the very same antigens in the course of an actual infection from one of these diseases?

    2) But we have several animal models that show that immune activation during critical timeframes regardless of the underlying bacterial, viral, or direct trigger (i.e., tnf alpha injections) can cause long term behavioral and physiological changes. In these instances, the type of challenge isn’t important, what is important is that we have invoked the immune system at all.

    Immunity is of course itself a long term change in the immune system. But it is a far cry from a long lasting change to autism. But I think you are probably correct that the type of challenge is unlikely to be important, and that we can therefore conclude that it is extremely unlikely that vaccination would produce consequences different from those of the routine infections that pretty much every child experiences.

    What I love about this argument is that somehow, suddenly, we have discovered the cause of autism, all autism, and all of its effects; neurological structures set in prenatal development. In one fell swoop we have taken this massively complicated condition that seemingly has everyone confused as hell and solved all of its nuances.

    But certainly your hypothesis should include some explanation for why, if autism is some sort of autoimmune disease, there is no evidence of the kind of tissue damage that is typical of other autoimmune diseases. The remarkable thing about autism is how normal the brain appears, even at the level of histology. Certainly there is no evidence of large-scale cell loss, such as might be expected from immune-mediated cytotoxicity. Indeed, as noted earlier in this discussion, there is some indication that there are more cells than normal. Do you know of any immune disorder that protects cells from dying?

  222. #222 Tracy W
    April 20, 2009

    Anon: With the exception of puncture wounds, superficial injuries also involve bleeding.

    Well this depends on the puncture wound. I’ve had puncture wounds that have bled.

    There are also biological mechanisms involved in acute injury that are certainly NOT involved in the administration of a vaccine.

    And the relevance of this statement is?

    But I do see it as a living organ well capable of deciphering trauma versus… well, whatever you want to call vaccine administration.

    Do you have any evidence to support your belief that skin is capable of deciphering trauma? Can you even define what you mean by the phrase “deciphering trauma”?

  223. #223 trrll
    April 20, 2009

    Well, I’m not an “antivaccinationist”, and don’t really understand the use of that word as of late. I don’t feel confused, but I am clearly biased when viewing myself, so do appreciate your honest feedback. If in fact, it is meant for discussion and directing me correctly, instead of pointing out what you feel to be an inadequacy.

    The inadequacy is that your knowledge of biology clearly ends with antivaccinationist talking points. You deny the label–and yet those are obviously the sources you go to for information. None of your arguments are new to us; they are old antivaccine talking points. Understand that to a scientist, the particular form of nonsense purveyed by the antivaccinationists is as characteristic as a fingerprint. So if you don’t want to be taken for a duck, you have to learn to stop quacking–and that means learn some real biology and immunology.

    My apologies for misspeaking, yes it is a toxoid. Please tell me how much anti-toxin is required in each batch of diphtheria vaccine to offset deleterious effects?

    There is no “anti-toxin” involved. The toxin is inactivated chemically or with heat. Think of it sort of like taking a pocket watch and pouring a bit of glue into its works. It is still recognizable as a pocket watch, but there is no chance that it will ever tick again. Even for those with irrational fears of “too much immune stimulation” it is probably the most benign immunization imaginable. Unlike exposure to intact bacteria or virus, which exposes the immune system to many different proteins, this is just a single protein.

    But if I know antivaccine thinking, you will probably end up deciding that there must be something uniquely harmful about exposing a child to just a single antigen….

  224. #224 Scott
    April 20, 2009

    there must be something uniquely harmful about exposing a child to just a single antigen….

    Of course! It’s homeopathy at work, obviously, so that a single antigen is far more potent than hundreds.

    Not to mention the fact that intact bacteria/viruses contain their own life energy, which is absorbed by the human body and strengthens it. They’re performing reiki on you!

    Now, if only I could figure out how to work chiropractic into the mix…

  225. #225 anon
    April 20, 2009

    trrll,

    You deny the label–and yet those are obviously the sources you go to for information. None of your arguments are new to us; they are old antivaccine talking points. Understand that to a scientist, the particular form of nonsense purveyed by the antivaccinationists is as characteristic as a fingerprint. So if you don’t want to be taken for a duck, you have to learn to stop quacking–and that means learn some real biology and immunology.

    If you say so? You are free to continue to berate me. Humans are born gestationally early, this is a “biological” fact that I have learned. There is no “real biology or immunology” that supports the vaccine schedule during this first two years of life (other than the “theoretical” capacity). I’ve been vaccinated trrll, and I have no ill effects… I also didn’t get jabbed until I was 3 and I only got 5 vaccines. There is no “science” to support the changes that occurred in the vaccine schedule. I’m sorry that you think that because I’m hesitant about the recommended schedule, (based almost singularly on gestational immaturity) that I’m somehow boasting antivaccination talking points – bla, bla, bla. You seem to continue to answer me with character ridicule and blind stabs at my education, as if this dismisses my concern. Tell me more about myself.

    “New to us”? I think it’s particularly disturbing (and a bit sad) that in order for you to elaborate, you must do so with insult while attempting to alienate others.

    Tracy W-

    There are also biological mechanisms involved in acute injury that are certainly NOT involved in the administration of a vaccine….
    And the relevance of this statement is?

    I stated it earlier, it was ridiculed pretty well, but never really addressed. Are we really arrogant enough to believe that the biological mechanisms involved in acute injury (various signaling mechanisms), also occur when an unsuspecting infant is held down and four vaccines shot into him/her before he can figure out what is happening.

    Guess so.

    Do you have any evidence to support your belief that skin is capable of deciphering trauma? Can you even define what you mean by the phrase “deciphering trauma”?

    My belief? I think it’s pretty interesting that you think the human organism is so primitive that it cannot decipher what is, and isn’t trauma. Have I constructed a question and tested it in an RCT to prove that human beings undergo 100s of 1000s of chemical reactions every day based on numerous factors that likely can’t be controlled for all that well… well, no. I didn’t think I needed to.

    If, in an effort to ease my concerns about the US vaccination schedule, THIS is how “we” do it, why are any of you surprised that others turn to what you consider to be antivaccinationist propaganda?

    If you cannot meaningfully address the concerns of others, without snark and ridicule, people will continue to stop listening to you so stop acting so surprised by it.

    The simple bottom line is, while vaccines can be effective, we have no idea if they are harming children in the first two years of life. Adverse events, even in clinical trials, are anecdotal – and any and all harm that arises from their use is collateral damage, if we even care to admit the harm in the first place. At least that’s what I’m gathering here, please correct me if I’m wrong… but in all the snark addressed at me above, that’s what I get. Life’s too short.

    Cheers

  226. #226 trrll
    April 20, 2009

    If you say so? You are free to continue to berate me. Humans are born gestationally early, this is a “biological” fact that I have learned.

    And if their immune system was not ready to almost immediately after birth, virtually everybody would die of infections. This is something that a basic knowledge of immunology, pathology, and evolution should tell you. But of course, antivaccinationists want to have it both ways: they want to believe that the immune system is not mature–but also that for some reason it is hyperactive, such that immunization against dangerous infectious diseases will produce long-term ill effects that are not observed with full-blown infections from those same diseases.

    There is no “real biology or immunology” that supports the vaccine schedule during this first two years of life (other than the “theoretical” capacity).

    There is nothing theoretical about the painstaking clinical testing for efficacy and side-effects that precedes marketing of a vaccine–and proceeds post-marketing, to pick up ill effects that are too rare to be observed in clinical trials. Which again, is something that you’d know about if you were getting your information from someplace other than lists of antivaccine talking points. Most of that stuff is not merely false, but glaringly false, in ways that marks you immediately as an antivaccinationist when you try to talk to somebody with genuine knowledge of biology and medicine.

    I stated it earlier, it was ridiculed pretty well, but never really addressed. Are we really arrogant enough to believe that the biological mechanisms involved in acute injury (various signaling mechanisms), also occur when an unsuspecting infant is held down and four vaccines shot into him/her before he can figure out what is happening.

    People laughed at it because it was silly. No, of course the same biological processes do not occur with vaccination–processes like pain, infection, gross tissue damage. That is, after all, the point of vaccination: to obtain the benefits of natural exposure to disease-causing organisms, without the hazards. Fortunately, the immune system works by molecular mechanism that do not require that you “know what is happening.”

    The simple bottom line is, while vaccines can be effective, we have no idea if they are harming children in the first two years of life. Adverse events, even in clinical trials, are anecdotal – and any and all harm that arises from their use is collateral damage, if we even care to admit the harm in the first place.

    You use that word “anecdotal,” but you clearly do not know what it means. If you’d actually read any clinical literature rather than antivaccination tracts, adverse events in clinical trials are not anecdotal because they are carefully catalogued, analyzed statistically and compared to placebo, to determine whether they are actually a consequence of vaccination, or purely coincidental. In other words, the opposite of “anecdotal.”

    If, in an effort to ease my concerns about the US vaccination schedule, THIS is how “we” do it, why are any of you surprised that others turn to what you consider to be antivaccinationist propaganda?

    There are web sites run by the FDA and the CDC that provide the basic facts to ease concerns about vaccine safety. Or you can go to Pubmed and read the clinical literature. But if you have clearly rejected that information, and show up here spouting antivaccine propaganda that even the most basic research should have shown you to be false, don’t be surprised if you get the same sort of response as if you were to show up at a community meeting and announce that you are looking for rational discussion to help you “ease your fears” about race relations, and then start quoting something that you read on a White Power website.

  227. #227 passionlessDrone
    April 20, 2009

    Hi trrl –

    Teething begins as early as 3 months. And even before that, they have diaper rashes, which are mostly infections, and which allow other bacteria and yeast to bypass the skin. Not to mention viral infection, which have evolved efficient mechanisms for crossing membranes and entering the circulation.

    The critical thing here is as early as 3 months. Some kids don’t start until they are a full year old. To show the average reader the lengths some folks will goto in order to insist that everyday two month old exposure is just like a vaccine ; I’d actually found something regarding diaper rash prevalance. Funny stuff.

    Diaper dermatitis-frequency and contributory factors in hospital attending children.

    A full 48% of children never had diaper rash. Ever.

    No such variations exist in vaccination; and thats where things are different. I’m not here to argue that kids don’t get sick. Or that they don’t sometimes get scraped, or have diaper rash, or even, as was once suggested to me, get splinters and bee stings at age two months. Anything is possible. But these things were and are relatively rare compared to the very high vaccine compliance rates; especially in the very early postnatal period.

    So is it fair to say from this that your hypothesis is that vaccination somehow induces a severe immune response that paradoxically has fewer symptoms of immune activation than the many viruses and other infections that commonly produce fevers–sometimes severe–in infants?

    No. I was responding to the rather amazing speculation that outwards manifestation of fever is all that is necessary to determine symptoms of immune activation; they are a symptom, but surely not our only one. For example, if any studies on production of tnf alpha, or IL-6, or IL1B were available for pre and post for vaccination for things like Hib, or DTAP, or Hep B, we could use those. Except those types of studies haven’t been performed. And for children known to react at exaggerated rates, we have even less data.

    My hypothesis is about the emerging findings regarding the time sensitive nature of immune activation, and how our existing suite of research fails to address this. This doesn’t mean that kids didn’t get sick early in life before vaccines, nor does it mean that children aren’t exposed to antigens as a result of teething before we increased the vaccination schedule.

    However, in the past, our children were experiencing significant immune activation randomly; many wouldn’t get a virus for their first six months, or even a year. Some would get sick very early in life, but it was a distribution. By aggressively decreasing the time at which we vaccinate, we have skewed this ratio drastically; now, virtually no children go past sixty days without a set of vaccinations; just because these stimulations are less robust than the diseases they prevent doesn’t mean they aren’t having an effect. When we consider the documented abnormalities in this population of children, a very small subset, we realize that in the past, the number of children harboring the immunological profiles we see in autism were very unlikely to be within the group that also got a series infection very early in life. Not that it didn’t happen, but rather, it didn’t happen to every single one. We have changed this pattern drastically, now every single child with genetic predispositions towards an exaggerated immune response gets a shock early in life; and we have failed to analyze if making this change is having an impact other than disease prevention.

    Immunity is of course itself a long term change in the immune system. But it is a far cry from a long lasting change to autism. But I think you are probably correct that the type of challenge is unlikely to be important, and that we can therefore conclude that it is extremely unlikely that vaccination would produce consequences different from those of the routine infections that pretty much every child experiences.

    I have posted several links above towards the differential effect of the time of an immune challenge are resultant impact in animal models. Here are a few, with some snipets that speak towards the time sensitive nature of immune challenges that lead to long term effects.

    Posnatal Inflammation Increases Seizure Susceptibility in Adult Rats

    The most exciting finding of the present study is that a mild inflammatory response evoked by LPS during a critical period of development causes a long-lasting increase in hippocampal excitability in vitro, and enhanced seizure susceptibility to the convulsants LI-PILO, KA, and PTZ in vivo. The latter effect was observed over a range of mildly inflammatory doses of LPS and was only evident if administered during the second postnatal week (P7 and P14), and not before (P1) or after (P20) this time. Importantly, inactivation of the proinflammatory cytokine TNF antibody blocked the long-erm changes to seizure susceptibility induced by LPS, whereas intracerebroventricular administration of rrTNF-dependant mechanism, making it more susceptible to generate seizures in adulthood

    A tnf alpha mediated result that only occurred if an immune response was generated during a specific timeframe. This is, in essence, a long term change very similar to what is seen in autism, who have rates of epilepsy at highly exaggerated rates; a far cry from immunological memory Instead, they managed to permenantly alter synaptic excitability. If the researchers above have only tested rats on postnatal day twenty, it would have been very similar for them to conclude that as you do, “it is extremely unlikely that vaccination would produce consequences different from those of the routine infections that pretty much every child experiences.” No doubt, had I suggested to you a tnf alpha driven action set that makes rodents more succeptible to seizures, but only if it was given at specific developmental timeframes, you would have thought it was similarly extremely unlikely. But this wouldn’t change anything as to if it was true.

    Neonatal immune challenge exacerbates experimental colitis in adult rats: potential role for TNF-alpha.

    We investigated the effects of a neonatal (postnatal day 14) or juvenile (postnatal day 28) immune challenge with LPS on 2,4,6-trinitrobenzenesulfonic acid (TNBS)-induced damage and weight loss, as well as on food intake and body temperature in adult rats. Neonatally (n)LPS-treated rats developed more severe colitis than control animals, reflected in a greater loss of weight and a significantly increased macroscopic tissue damage score. These findings were associated with a hypothermic response after TNBS treatment in nLPS rats, but not in neonatally saline-treated rats receiving TNBS. These differences were not seen after TNBS in rats that had received LPS on postnatal day 28. Plasma corticosterone was measured as an index of adult hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activation as was TNF-alpha, a proinflammatory cytokine associated with inflammatory bowel disease. Four days after TNBS treatment, plasma corticosterone was unaltered in all groups; however, TNF-alpha was significantly increased in adult TNBS-treated rats that had LPS as neonates compared with all other groups.

    Again, we see that rodents challenged at one time frame had drastically different outcomes than another. The persistence of an increased baseline level of tnf alpha is also found in children with autism.

    Early-life exposure to endotoxin alters hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal function and predisposition to inflammation

    We have investigated whether exposure to Gram-negative bacterial endotoxin in early neonatal life can alter neuroendocrine and immune regulation in adult animals. Exposure of neonatal rats to a low dose of endotoxin resulted in long-term changes in hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis activity, with elevated mean plasma corticosterone concentrations that resulted from increased corticosterone pulse frequency and pulse amplitude. In addition to this marked effect on the development of the HPA axis, neonatal endotoxin exposure had long-lasting effects on immune regulation, including increased sensitivity of lymphocytes to stress-induced suppression of proliferation and a remarkable protection from adjuvant-induced arthritis. These findings demonstrate a potent and long-term effect of neonatal exposure to inflammatory stimuli that can program major changes in the development of both neuroendocrine and immunological regulatory mechanisms.

    All of the animals in these experiments were exposed to a constant barrage of antigens in their cages, while weaning; they were, after all, rats. Maybe, had the researchers put little diapers on the animals, the effect of diaper rash and consequent immune activation would have rendered their findings irrelevant? What has given you such confidence that no such changes are not affecting our children? Mercury studies? Studies on a vaccine usually not given until eighteen months?

    is it fair to say that your hypothesis is that there is something special about vaccination with antigens for these particular diseases, that somehow causes it to produce symptoms that are never observed with exposure to much greater amounts of the very same antigens in the course of an actual infection from one of these diseases?

    Yes, but it is not the antigen specific, but rather, the time of immune response! You can’t seem to grasp the concept that the overwhelming majority of two month olds didn’t get exposed to any of these diseases. The ones that did, no doubt, were at great risk; but the relative increase is critical here. I am not arguing that two month olds never experienced these diseases in full form previously; instead, I am arguing that only a tiny, tiny minority of children did; and those with a particular set of genes that might trigger an exaggerated immune response was far, far less than even this minority. Do you disagree?

    But certainly your hypothesis should include some explanation for why, if autism is some sort of autoimmune disease, there is no evidence of the kind of tissue damage that is typical of other autoimmune diseases. The remarkable thing about autism is how normal the brain appears, even at the level of histology. Certainly there is no evidence of large-scale cell loss, such as might be expected from immune-mediated cytotoxicity

    Funny that you should ask this question. I wonder if you knew that the dendritic spines; tiny structures involved with memory and learning are abnormal in autism?

    Smaller dendritic spines, weaker synaptic transmission, but enhanced spatial learning in mice lacking Shank1

    It turns out, abnormal dendritic spines seem to be implicated in a variety of neurological disorders. There are several other papers specific to autism.

    Did you know that an immune response is capable of altering the shape and size of dendritic spines; even an immune response of insufficient robustness to generate obvious signs of neurodegeneration? It is true; I just finished reading this paper this morning based on some recommendations from other people.

    Neuronal oxidative damage and dendritic degeneration following activation of CD14-dependent innate immune response in vivo

    These data left us with an apparent conflict. We have clearly demonstrated neuronal oxidative damage to mouse cerebrum following ICV LPS that is of a magnitude comparable to diseased regions of AD brain. However, there is no apparent structural damage to brain in our study or in others’ following ICV or intraparenchymal LPS. We viewed this as a serious potential challenge to the significance of oxidative damage in neurodegeneration. There are differences, of course, between the acute stress of ICV LPS stress and the presumably chronic stress of AD; nevertheless, these data force at least consideration of the question: could oxidative damage to neurons occur in vivo to the extent that is observed in AD brain without any neurodegeneration? To address this question, we decided to examine directly the dendritic compartment of neurons, which is largely transparent to the standard histological techniques used so far to investigate ICV LPS-induced damage. Using Golgi impregnation and Neurolucida-assisted morphometry of hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons , we first determined the time course of dendritic structural changes following ICV LPS in wt mice. Our results show a time course similar to neuronal oxidative damage with maximal reduction in both dendrite length and dendritic spine density at approximately 24 hr post LPS and, remarkably, a return to near baseline levels by 72 hr.

    The effect was immune system mediated, as evidenced by TLR4 knockout mice being immune. A regiment of some anti inflammatories prior to insult was sufficient to keep animals from developing problems. The authors do acknowledge that they were studying acute, versus chronic exposure, but none the less, we can see that we do not necessarily have to observe large scale cell loss in order for the immune system to exert changes consistent with what is found in autism at a structural level.

    Instead of trying to make one up for you; what is your hypothesis as to our repeated observations of an active immune response in the brain and CSF of people with autism but the lack of neurodegenerative signs? Do you have reason to believe that the process is benign? Perhaps you have some epidemiology you would like to share with me regarding the timing of vaccinations, and how researchers have concluded there is no increased risk of long term, neurological outcomes?

    - pD

  228. #228 Tracy W
    April 21, 2009

    Are we really arrogant enough to believe that the biological mechanisms involved in acute injury (various signaling mechanisms), also occur when an unsuspecting infant is held down and four vaccines shot into him/her before he can figure out what is happening.

    I’m lost. Why do you think that the biological mechanisms involved in acute injury, as in your example of a 60 pound boulder dropping on your foot, are relevant to vaccines or other injections? I now don’t even know whether you believe that these mechanisms occur or not in response to a vaccination, let alone how relevant you think they are to vaccination. You are changing your story continually, firstly you were claiming that specific cell injuries only occurred with a vaccination, once we pointed out that they occur elsewhere, say with a puncture wound such as a splinter or a thorn, or with cat scratches, you have gone off on this tangent about acute injuries such as 60 pound boulders landing on your foot. And now I don’t even know if you are arguing that the body’s response to 60 pound boulders on feet is equivalent to the body’s response to an injection, or if you aren’t arguing that.

    And you are also bringing in this further additional line of arrogance. I don’t know whether you are arrogant or not, as you are merely someone I know briefly over the Internet, and I don’t think I am qualified to comment on whether I am arrogant or not, as in my experience people who appear arrogant often don’t recognise that in themselves. Nor do I see how your or my arrogance is relevant to the truth or falsity of whatever argument you are trying to make. Arrogant people can believe things that are right, humble people can believe things that are wrong. What matters is the evidence for the correctness of a belief.

    My belief? I think it’s pretty interesting that you think the human organism is so primitive that it cannot decipher what is, and isn’t trauma.

    Now you are changing your argument again. You’ve gone from talking about “skin” to human organism. To quote you:

    I don’t imagine the skin as some indestructible barrier. But I do see it as a living organ well capable of deciphering trauma …

    I think it’s pretty boring that rather than trying to defend your belief that skin is “well capable of deciphering trauma”, you instead redefine your argument in an attempt to make me look stupid. It’s a very old Internet tactic. It does however indicate that you can’t support your original statement.

    Have I constructed a question and tested it in an RCT to prove that human beings undergo 100s of 1000s of chemical reactions every day based on numerous factors that likely can’t be controlled for all that well… well, no. I didn’t think I needed to.

    Your claim was not that *human beings* undergo 100s of 1000s of chemcial reactions every day. Your claim was that skin can decipher traumas, a far more specific claim. You haven’t cited any evidence that your belief in this claim that skin can decipher traumas has anything to do with reality, and I presume this is an admission that you don’t have any such evidence.

    Out of curiousity, since you don’t have any evidence to support your belief that skin is well capable of deciphering traumas, how did you actually make yourself believe it? Did you spend a minute each day for three weeks staring in a mirror saying “I believe that skin is capable of deciphering traumas”? How did you still that little voice in your head that says things like “actually, I haven’t seen any evidence of this, so perhaps I should retain a figment of doubt?” Or did you use another method? And why did you select this statement, out of billions of possible ones, to believe?

    Nor have you even defined what you mean by “deciphering trauma”. Somehow I’m not surprised, from the start I suspected you just put together some cool-sounding words without knowing what you were trying to say.

    If you cannot meaningfully address the concerns of others, without snark and ridicule, people will continue to stop listening to you so stop acting so surprised by it.

    Anon, before you start worrying about your argument style and how well you can meaningfully address the concerns of others, I suggest you start working on your own attitude towards evidence and argument. For a start, I advise not making up beliefs about skin being able to decipher trauma, restrict yourself to believing things that you have at least some evidence for *and* that you can define in different words (which is some indication, albeit imperfect, that you have some understanding of what you are believing). Another idea – actually working out how a new line of argument is relevant to your original argument.

    This may not help you in meaningfully addressing the concerns of others, but at least it should improve the quality of your own thinking, which is good in and of itself.

  229. #229 Natalie
    April 21, 2009

    When we consider the documented abnormalities in this population of children, a very small subset, we realize that in the past, the number of children harboring the immunological profiles we see in autism were very unlikely to be within the group that also got a series infection very early in life.

    What evidence do you have to support your assertion that this is “unlikely”?

  230. #230 trrll
    April 21, 2009

    passionlessDrone–I find it revealing that you are seem to have spent a huge amount of time obsessing over effects of LPS–a bacterial substance that activates the immune system so strongly that animals injected with it sometimes die, and a substance that is not included in vaccines at all–but that is produced by a variety of bacterial infections. Indeed, infants usually develop anti-LPS antibodies within the first few weeks of life, presumably reflecting exposure to environmental bacteria.

    Yet I’m still awaiting an answer for a question that I believe that I’ve asked you three times:

    “This is another useful lesson in how to avoid self-deception: always make your null hypothesis explicit. “Phone studies are worthless so I can ignore it” is sloppy thinking. How, specifically, would the design of this study (which was actually carried out by an experienced and presumably competent survey company commissioned by Generation Rescue) cause it to underestimate the incidence of autism in vaccinated children as compared to unvaccinated children? One might reasonably suspect Generation Rescue of being biased, causing them to throw data that doesn’t fit their hypothesis. But the results go against GR’s hypothesis, so that doesn’t make sense.

    So once again: what’s your hypothesis? Why, specifically, did the Generation Rescue study find such a high incidence of autism in unvaccinated children? Is there something special about phone surveys, such that only families with kids who are immune to your hypothetical autism-inducing effect of vaccination are motivated to answer?”

  231. #231 Joseph
    April 21, 2009

    So once again: what’s your hypothesis? Why, specifically, did the Generation Rescue study find such a high incidence of autism in unvaccinated children?

    I’m sure pD knows the answer. It has to be because autism is largely genetic, and because anti-vax ideas are fairly prevalent among parents of autistic children.

    It’s interesting. Without this, the survey probably would’ve found a more normal rate of ASD among the unvaccinated, so GR would’ve been claiming that vaccinated children had a much higher rate of ASD (the nonsense rate of 3%.)

    Now, the reason they found 3% of fully vaccinated children had ASD was obviously the survey introduction, which read as follows.

    This is SurveyUSA calling Sonoma County parents with a private, confidential survey about vaccinations and children’s health. If you have a child age 4 to 17, press 1. Otherwise, press 2.

    Obvious self-selection.

  232. #232 sevişmek
    April 21, 2009

    Re cooler

    I’ll have some confidence in Dr. Duesberg when he accepts the challenge to inject himself with HIV positive blood. Thus far, all we hear is excuses from him. Until he accepts the challenge, Mr. cooler can go fuck himself.

  233. #233 anon
    April 21, 2009

    Tracy W

    Thank you for your constructive comments. I’ll do my best to answer what appear to be genuine questions.

    Why do you think that the biological mechanisms involved in acute injury, as in your example of a 60 pound boulder dropping on your foot, are relevant to vaccines or other injections?

    I did read an article some time ago (a few years) discussing the biological mechanisms behind acute injury, and this kind of inflammation etc… I honestly believe this kind of trauma to the “skin” to be different than vaccination.

    Now you are changing your argument again. You’ve gone from talking about “skin” to human organism. To quote you:

    “I don’t imagine the skin as some indestructible barrier. But I do see it as a living organ well capable of deciphering trauma …”

    I think it’s pretty boring that rather than trying to defend your belief that skin is “well capable of deciphering trauma”, you instead redefine your argument in an attempt to make me look stupid. It’s a very old Internet tactic. It does however indicate that you can’t support your original statement.

    I’m really confused. I’m sorry you are bored with my choice of words and feel I’m trying to make you look stupid, far from it. I simply don’t know why you don’t understand that I believe that when the skin experiences some sort of injury that there aren’t specific chemical reactions that occur that initiate the healing response. As I said several posts ago, it is widely accepted in ecology that a single maneuver may affect many thereafter. Why are humans (or their compartmentalized organs and their systems) exempt from this observation?

    Your claim was not that *human beings* undergo 100s of 1000s of chemcial reactions every day. Your claim was that skin can decipher traumas, a far more specific claim.

    It is patently clear by the snippet you’ve reposted that this is what *I* see, ie. my belief. I do, absolutely believe, that depending on specific cell injury, specific immune response is initiated by the host. Each human being will undergo specific chemical reactions daily, if one of those humans happens to incur an injury, clearly those reactions will be different. Why is this so difficult to understand and why is it such nonsense?

    Anon, before you start worrying about your argument style and how well you can meaningfully address the concerns of others, I suggest you start working on your own attitude towards evidence and argument. For a start, I advise not making up beliefs about skin being able to decipher trauma, restrict yourself to believing things that you have at least some evidence for *and* that you can define in different words (which is some indication, albeit imperfect, that you have some understanding of what you are believing). Another idea – actually working out how a new line of argument is relevant to your original argument.

    I’m not really worried about anything per se. And I’m quite confused about what exactly you are trying to convey. I appreciate the lack of snark, in what is an attempt to possibly understand my point of view… or is it? I’m not exactly sure what you continue to ask me to prove?

    1. Is it true that gestational maturity for neonates is 21 (or thereabout) months?

    2. Is it true that vaccine administration is the same as acute trauma?

    3. Is it true that human infants do not reach full myelination until roughly 24 months?

    4. Is it true that blood brain barrier is not in tact at birth?

    These were my initial observations, still are. I’m looking for specific information as it relates to the above, and the current vaccine schedule. I’m sorry that you take issue with my method of articulation, or would prefer I do something different. I’m simply trying to communicate the best way I know how.

    trrll,

    And if their immune system was not ready to almost immediately after birth, virtually everybody would die of infections. This is something that a basic knowledge of immunology, pathology, and evolution should tell you. But of course, antivaccinationists want to have it both ways: they want to believe that the immune system is not mature–but also that for some reason it is hyperactive, such that immunization against dangerous infectious diseases will produce long-term ill effects that are not observed with full-blown infections from those same diseases.

    You are kind of talking out of both sides of your mouth. You are telling me that human babies are fully capable of immune challenge, or they’d die… and that if I were schooled in the basics, I’d know that…about right? Evolutionarily speaking, how long have we been injecting vaccine matter into humans? On what basis can you compare cell-mediated immune response to the circumvention of mucous membranes, etc… It is quite clear that these two stimulations of immune response are different. If they are not, please explain how they are the same.

    People laughed at it because it was silly. No, of course the same biological processes do not occur with vaccination–processes like pain, infection, gross tissue damage. That is, after all, the point of vaccination: to obtain the benefits of natural exposure to disease-causing organisms, without the hazards. Fortunately, the immune system works by molecular mechanism that do not require that you “know what is happening.”

    Which molecular mechanism are you referring to and has it been compared to nonvaccinated people? A singular event can change many thereafter… is this in dispute?

    There are web sites run by the FDA and the CDC that provide the basic facts to ease concerns about vaccine safety.

    You clearly have no idea which regulatory body has outlined the definitions surrounding safety. Of the many vaccines on the market, where in the vaccine monograph is it contained who has applied for waivers and where within trials did such occur? 21 CFR, waivers are even granted in post marketing surveillance… yet I’m supposed to just cruise on over there to the nonspecific information contained on the CDC website and forget that tidbit.

    Or you can go to Pubmed and read the clinical literature. But if you have clearly rejected that information, and show up here spouting antivaccine propaganda that even the most basic research should have shown you to be false, don’t be surprised if you get the same sort of response as if you were to show up at a community meeting and announce that you are looking for rational discussion to help you “ease your fears” about race relations, and then start quoting something that you read on a White Power website.

    Exactly what, about Title 21 has *anything* to do with antivaccine propaganda? Surely you see the distinction between propaganda, and the Code of Federal Regulations. I surely hope so, and if this is your attempt at easing my fears about the loose language contained therein, you fail.

  234. #234 trrll
    April 21, 2009

    I did read an article some time ago (a few years) discussing the biological mechanisms behind acute injury, and this kind of inflammation etc… I honestly believe this kind of trauma to the “skin” to be different than vaccination.

    Yes, people honestly believe all sorts of things that don’t make much sense–particularly if they are careful to avoid learning things that might shake their beliefs. While vaccination obviously involves acute skin injury, it is designed to minimize some of the more unpleasant phenomena associated with other kinds of skin injury, such as pain, bleeding, and scarring. What people find bizarre is your obvious intense desire to embrace the unlikely hypothesis that these difference will somehow result in harm. Why on earth would an organism evolve in such a way that minor skin injuries are more dangerous than major ones? This is such an extraordinary and bizarre notion that extraordinarily convincing evidence would be required to get anybody with any biological knowledge to take it seriously for even a moment. Yet you offer no evidence at all, just your “honest belief.”

    You are kind of talking out of both sides of your mouth. You are telling me that human babies are fully capable of immune challenge, or they’d die… and that if I were schooled in the basics, I’d know that…about right? Evolutionarily speaking, how long have we been injecting vaccine matter into humans?

    Babies did not evolve to have a competent immune system at birth to deal with vaccines–they evolved to have a competent immune system to deal with the many, many pathological organisms in the environment. Indeed, if infants were not immunocompetent, vaccination of infants would not be effective–yet there is abundant evidence that it is. Vaccination just gets the immune system to develop antibodies to a few additional antigens in addition to the many that it is already dealing with.

    Which molecular mechanism are you referring to and has it been compared to nonvaccinated people? A singular event can change many thereafter… is this in dispute?

    Before each vaccine is added to the schedule, it is tested for safety in combination with the existing diseases. Other than rare acute adverse effects, there is no evidence that any illness whatsoever is more common in vaccinated than unvaccinated individuals–although there are plenty of illnesses that more common in unvaccinated individuals. So here is the singular event that changes many thereafter–the singular event of vaccination may protect a child from death, paralysis, brain damage from an infectious disease.

    Generation Rescue even carried out a phone survey, hoping to prove that autism was more common in vaccinated children and unvaccinated children. In fact, they found that it was not. Indeed, they found that autistic disorders were actually more common in unvaccinated girls.

    You clearly have no idea which regulatory body has outlined the definitions surrounding safety. Of the many vaccines on the market, where in the vaccine monograph is it contained who has applied for waivers and where within trials did such occur? 21 CFR, waivers are even granted in post marketing surveillance… yet I’m supposed to just cruise on over there to the nonspecific information contained on the CDC website and forget that tidbit.

    Yes, like any con artist, antivaccinationists purvey all sorts of guilt-by-association and character assassination tactics to try to discourage people from obtaining reliable information. Apparently, they have you actually believing that the CDC issues Title 21 waivers. But if they have managed to convince you that the public health authorities in the US are all conspiring to present you with false information, look up what the public health authorities in other countries advocate in terms of vaccination. Or all they part of a conspiracy to make babies sick?

  235. #235 Tracy W
    April 22, 2009

    Anon, firstly, thank you for clearly stating your view as to the relevance of acute injuries. But, since you believe the kind of trauma to the skin caused by things like a 60 pound boulder to be different than vaccination, why did you bring it up here?
    And why did you put the word “skin” in quote marks here?

    . I simply don’t know why you don’t understand that I believe that when the skin experiences some sort of injury that there aren’t specific chemical reactions that occur that initiate the healing response.

    That’s not what you said. You said, to quote you again:

    “I don’t imagine the skin as some indestructible barrier. But I do see it as a living organ well capable of deciphering trauma …”

    That statement there, that I quoted, is what I don’t understand you believing, not your new statement about intiating the healing response. I never did Telepathy 101, I can only read what you write. Do you now withdraw your statement that skin is “well capable of deciphering trauma”?

    I’m not exactly sure what you continue to ask me to prove?

    I don’t expect you to prove your statement that the skin is “well capable of deciphering trauma”. If you could prove it you would have done first off, instead of trying to change your argument to one about general healing processes being triggered by an injury.

    I’m sorry that you take issue with my method of articulation, or would prefer I do something different. I’m simply trying to communicate the best way I know how.

    My comments I made was about your line of argument, not your communication style. That could do with some work too, but let’s work on your critical thinking skills first.
    For a start, consider the differences between two of your statements:
    “I don’t imagine the skin as some indestructible barrier. But I do see it as a living organ well capable of deciphering trauma …”
    and
    “I do, absolutely believe, that depending on specific cell injury, specific immune response is initiated by the host.”

    Hint – one is a specific statement about what you believe what the skin can do, another is a statement about what you believe about the body as a whole.

  236. #236 passionlessDrone
    April 22, 2009

    Hi Trrl –

    passionlessDrone–I find it revealing that you are seem to have spent a huge amount of time obsessing over effects of LPS–a bacterial substance that activates the immune system so strongly that animals injected with it sometimes die, and a substance that is not included in vaccines at all–but that is produced by a variety of bacterial infections. Indeed, infants usually develop anti-LPS antibodies within the first few weeks of life, presumably reflecting exposure to environmental bacteria.

    You seem to have some particular confusion as to how researchers are actually performing research on immune activation; administration of LPS is extremely common. You also seem to have not noticed that several papers are available showing similar behavioral or physiological endpoints from straight tnf alpha. Can you please provide a reference for your claim that infants develop anti LPS antibodies within the first few weeks of life? In any case, if our question involves the innate immune response, the development of adaptive components is not important.

    As an illustration of how out of touch Trrl seems to be with how this type of research is actually being performed, below is a list of papers that have found long term, behavioral or physiological changes in animal models based on early life challenge with LPS. This set of research is tailored only towards early life immune activations.

    Long-term alterations in neuroimmune responses after neonatal exposure to lipopolysaccharide

    Sexually dimorphic effects of neonatal immune system activation with lipopolysaccharide on the behavioural response to a homotypic adult immune challenge

    Early life immune challenge–effects on behavioural indices of adult rat fear and anxiety

    Early-life immune challenge: defining a critical window for effects on adult responses to immune challenge

    A behavioural characterization of neonatal infection-facilitated memory impairment in adult rats.

    Neonatal infection induces memory impairments following an immune challenge in adulthood.

    Early-life infection leads to altered BDNF and IL-1beta mRNA expression in rat hippocampus following learning in adulthood.

    Early-life exposure to endotoxin alters hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal function and predisposition to inflammation

    Neonatal inflammation produces selective behavioural deficits and alters N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor subunit mRNA in the adult rat brain

    Neonatal immune challenge exacerbates experimental colitis in adult rats: potential role for TNF-alpha.

    Neonatal bacterial endotoxin challenge interacts with stress in the adult male rat to modify KLH specific antibody production but not KLH stimulated ex vivo cytokine release.

    Early life immune challenge alters innate immune responses to lipopolysaccharide: implications for host defense as adults

    Either all of these researchers are incompetent in the same exact way, and are incorrectly choosing an agent with which to simulate an immune response and/or killing some of their subjects, or Trrl’s fascination with the agent being used to initiate the immune response is nothing more than an increasingly pathetic smokescreen to hide the fact that he has no real counterpoints to the argument that our understanding of long term ramifications of early life immune challenges are in their infancy; and our existing suite of vaccination research has no meaningful information with which to guide us. Almost all of the studies above are from 2005 or later; long after we began aggressively increasing the number of vaccinations our infants got at their two and four month appointments.

    Yet I’m still awaiting an answer for a question that I believe that I’ve asked you three times:

    The notion that I’m here to answer your increasingly off topic questions says plenty, but not in the way you’d like it to. I will comply, but I’m betting you won’t return the favor.

    “This is another useful lesson in how to avoid self-deception: always make your null hypothesis explicit. “Phone studies are worthless so I can ignore it” is sloppy thinking. How, specifically, would the design of this study (which was actually carried out by an experienced and presumably competent survey company commissioned by Generation Rescue) cause it to underestimate the incidence of autism in vaccinated children as compared to unvaccinated children? One might reasonably suspect Generation Rescue of being biased, causing them to throw data that doesn’t fit their hypothesis. But the results go against GR’s hypothesis, so that doesn’t make sense.
    So once again: what’s your hypothesis? Why, specifically, did the Generation Rescue study find such a high incidence of autism in unvaccinated children? Is there something special about phone surveys, such that only families with kids who are immune to your hypothetical autism-inducing effect of vaccination are motivated to answer?”

    This actually reminds me a little bit about debating folks who believe in the bible. What you can usually find out is that they want you to believe in some parts of the bible literally, but other parts, and suddenly you are reminded that the bible sometimes speaks in metaphors.

    What we see here is no different; except in this case, the person demanding I defend a study claims to be doing so in the name of sound science.

    For example, according to Prometheus, the GR survey found that rates of autism are approaching ten times the values reported by the CDC:

    http://photoninthedarkness.blogspot.com/2007/06/survey-says-nothing.html

    The GR survey found that the prevalence of autistic spectrum disorders was 4.7% in their overall sample and ranged from 1.3% (female, fully vaccinated) to 8.4% (male, partially vaccinated). This is nearly ten times the CDC prevalence.

    To put the number into perspective, the CDC data say that somewhere between 1 in 222 to 1 in 154 children have an autistic spectrum disorder. The GR survey would suggest that 1 in 21 children have an autistic spectrum disorder.

    Ridiculous!

    So, if we are to accept that the survey did find more autism in a subset of people who were unvaccinated, as Trrl would like us to; why shouldn’t we also accept that 1 in 21 children have an ASD? After all, the numbers are so solid that Trrl has felt it necessary to demand a hypothesis of these findings no less than three times! Is it fair to say that your hypthesis is that there is really an autism epidemic based on the GR numbers?

    Joseph also tells us that the report found that a full six percent of children in America are completely unvaccinated!

    http://autismnaturalvariation.blogspot.com/2007/09/simple-selection-bias-model-explains.html

    This is a key point. In fact, Generation Rescue was somewhat surprised to find 6% of children were completely unvaccinated.

    This would tend to have some serious impact on whether or not we really need to worry about the effects of fewer vaccinations, wouldn’t it? All this time, 6% of children have been completely unvaccinated, and yet, we don’t seem to be seeing any epidemics of diseases! Considering this, how do you explain the apparent problems with what we’ve been told again and again in terms of losing our herd immunity? Is it safe to say that your hypothesis involves something special about these six percent of children that keeps them from transmitting diseases?

    More from Prometheus:

    The survey data is garbage.

    So, what does the GR survey show?

    Absolutely nothing.

    The times have been few and far between that Prometheus and I have seem precisely eye to eye on something, but this is one. If you think the values are so solid, why not take it up with him? He wrote an entire blog post about it, and how the values are totally bogus for a variety of methodological reasons, but for some reason you keep on insisting I generate a hypothesis as to why one facet of the data indicates unvaccinated girls are at far more risk of autism than others. Of course, if I were to accept this one slice of data as accurate, and see if you agreed with any single other finding from the study, no
    doubt you would refuse to do so due to the blindingly obvious methodological problems with the design and implementation of the study.

    Here is my question back to you, do you have any hypothesis as to why we should believe the observed neuroinflammation in autism is benign?

    Keep it up!

    - pD

  237. #237 anon
    April 22, 2009

    Tracy W,

    Regardless of any knee jerk reaction that might be felt among many, I sincerely appreciate your obvious attempt to bridge a misunderstanding gap.

    That statement there, that I quoted, is what I don’t understand you believing, not your new statement about intiating the healing response. I never did Telepathy 101, I can only read what you write. Do you now withdraw your statement that skin is “well capable of deciphering trauma”?

    What’s new? You have repeatedly asked for clarification, 4 times now, why are you appearing to be surprised at a “new definition”?

    I don’t expect you to prove your statement that the skin is “well capable of deciphering trauma”. If you could prove it you would have done first off, instead of trying to change your argument to one about general healing processes being triggered by an injury.

    How do you infer that this is a “change”? It is elaboration, at your request. Again, are you sincerely insinuating that the human organism, (and by extension in my mind, right now, this second) it’s largest organ, incapable, physiologically, able to determine what is considered trauma? And that cell injury, whether baseball bat or by needle, initiates the very same biochemical cascade of events? Is my insinuation that cell injury is specific such a stretch to the imagination, and if so, how/why?

    “I don’t imagine the skin as some indestructible barrier. But I do see it as a living organ well capable of deciphering trauma …”
    and
    “I do, absolutely believe, that depending on specific cell injury, specific immune response is initiated by the host.”

    Hint – one is a specific statement about what you believe what the skin can do, another is a statement about what you believe about the body as a whole

    No offense, but you are extremely fixated on my choice of words, and it’s muddying my thought process (is this intentional?) while totally avoiding my initial issues:

    Let me try again to explain, though no promise is made that you’ll understand or attempt to dissect every choice of words:

    I, anonymous person, do hereby believe that the human organism, and all of its regulatory systems, (including the skin) initiate immune response based upon specific assault. Ie.

    http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/557490

    Does this assist in elaborating my very basic observation?

    trrll,

    Why on earth would an organism evolve in such a way that minor skin injuries are more dangerous than major ones? This is such an extraordinary and bizarre notion that extraordinarily convincing evidence would be required to get anybody with any biological knowledge to take it seriously for even a moment. Yet you offer no evidence at all, just your “honest belief.”

    Why are you able to scientifically compare “minor skin injuries” with vaccination? On what basis are you able to do so? For persistently requesting evidence, I do the same… what have you?

    Before each vaccine is added to the schedule, it is tested for safety in combination with the existing diseases. Other than rare acute adverse effects, there is no evidence that any illness whatsoever is more common in vaccinated than unvaccinated individuals–although there are plenty of illnesses that more common in unvaccinated individuals. So here is the singular event that changes many thereafter–the singular event of vaccination may protect a child from death, paralysis, brain damage from an infectious disease

    Um, no, it’s not. You scolded me previously for my use of the word anecdote, forgetting that in some clinical trials, adverse events are tracked by the vaccinee (on a very scientific diary card), and only for two weeks. Is this really your definition of “carefully catalogued”? Not mine.

    Yes, like any con artist, antivaccinationists purvey all sorts of guilt-by-association and character assassination tactics to try to discourage people from obtaining reliable information. Apparently, they have you actually believing that the CDC issues Title 21 waivers. But if they have managed to convince you that the public health authorities in the US are all conspiring to present you with false information, look up what the public health authorities in other countries advocate in terms of vaccination. Or all they part of a conspiracy to make babies sick?

    WTF? This is almost facist. You have condemned me by the very same guilt by association tactics you admonish, and are naively trying to persuade me that… well, what are you saying anyway?

    The specific portion of the CFR that I’ve directed you to defines the word, pure, safety, and has an additional chapter regarding adverse events. You have totally bypassed my concern and played the “conspiracy theory” hand as if it adds heft to your argument. You’ve adequately demonstrated your inability to answer direct issues and/or questions. My previous posts were specific. Spe. Ci. Fic.

  238. #238 Joseph
    April 22, 2009

    The times have been few and far between that Prometheus and I have seem precisely eye to eye on something, but this is one. If you think the values are so solid, why not take it up with him? He wrote an entire blog post about it, and how the values are totally bogus for a variety of methodological reasons, but for some reason you keep on insisting I generate a hypothesis as to why one facet of the data indicates unvaccinated girls are at far more risk of autism than others.

    The way I see it, and others might disagree, data is data, and it has an explanation, even if the explanation is “the data is garbage” (as Prometheus put it.) My more diplomatic evaluation was that the data resulted from several biases acting simultaneously in different directions, and poor survey design.

    There are some aspects of the GR survey data that might be salvageable. For example, why was the male:female ratio in the group of completely unvaccinated autistic children closer to 1:1? Well, I’ve found some indications (not many) that the male:female ratio in familial autism might be closer to 1:1.

  239. #239 Joseph
    April 22, 2009

    Let me nitpick this bit pD quoted from Prometheus:

    The GR survey found that the prevalence of autistic spectrum disorders was 4.7% in their overall sample and ranged from 1.3% (female, fully vaccinated) to 8.4% (male, partially vaccinated). This is nearly ten times the CDC prevalence.

    Prometheus is counting the “partially vaccinated” children here. That part of the survey really is “garbage.” Of course you’ll find a huge over-representation of autistic children among those whom the parents decided to stop vaccinating after they got diagnosed with autism. (That’s specifically what I refer to as poor survey design.)

    So it’s best to simply look at the completely unvaccinated and the completely vaccinated. Here the corresponding rates are 3.6% and 3.0% respectively.

    Now, I did estimate that the prevalence of autism in completely unvaccinated girls was about 15 times what it was in the CDC phone survey. This has to do with the male:female ratio I mentioned previously.

  240. #240 Tracy W
    April 23, 2009

    Anon, your initial statement was about skin. Yes, I am fixated on your choice of words. Words are how we are communicating at the moment. As I have said, I can’t mind-read, I can only read what you actually say. To quote your initial statement again:

    “I don’t imagine the skin as some indestructible barrier. But I do see it as a living organ well capable of deciphering trauma …”

    A statement about “skin” is a statement about the subset of the human body. You are still trying to change your argument and trying to pretend that your statement was one about the entire human body, when your original statement was about skin. You still have not offered any evidence that human, or any other organism’s, skin is “well capable of deciphering trauma” nor have you defined what you mean by “deciphering trauma”. This is why I do not believe your statement about what skin is capable of.

    You have also failed to answer my question as to why you brought up actue injuries like a 60 pound boulder droppping on your foot, when you yourself have stated that “I honestly believe this kind of trauma to the “skin” to be different than vaccination. ”
    You also have failed to answer my question about why you put the word “skin” in quote-marks.

  241. #241 passionlessDrone
    April 23, 2009

    Hi Joseph -

    Well, I’ve found some indications (not many) that the male:female ratio in familial autism might be closer to 1:1.

    Now that seems geniunely interesting. Care to share a link?

    - pD

  242. #242 Joseph
    April 23, 2009

    @pD: This one is the most interesting one in terms of its findings. See also this one and this one.

    When I first encountered the discrepancy in the GR survey, I was intrigued and confused. The data above I found much later.

  243. #243 Joseph
    April 23, 2009

    @pD: I got a comment with 3 hyperlinks waiting in moderation, but the main paper is Sumi et al. (2006): “Sibling risk of pervasive developmental disorder estimated by means of an epidemiologic survey in Nagoya, Japan.”

  244. #244 Joseph
    April 23, 2009

    Ritvo et al. (1989) (“The UCLA-University of Utah epidemiologic survey of autism: recurrence risk estimates and genetic counseling”) appears to have some related information too.

  245. #245 passionlessDrone
    April 23, 2009

    Hi Joseph -

    Thank you! There is something that bothers me about the possibility of a differential sexual rate among siblings, but I’m having trouble putting my finger on exactly the problem. I have an idea, but it’s too speculative; even for me! If I can get it articulated more clearly, I’ll see if you agree.

    - pD

  246. #246 Joseph
    April 23, 2009

    Well, I think there can be cultural explanations for the discrepancy (i.e. families with one autistic kid know autistic kids when they see them, so females are not missed as much), and there can be environmental explanations for it. There might even be genetic explanations for it, but I don’t know enough to say.

    BTW, there are a few more papers I’ve found:

    This one with no abstract is probably relevant: Jones et al. (1996) “NONFAMILIALITY OF THE SEX RATIO IN AUTISM.”

    Ritvo et al. (1994): “Clinical Characteristics of Mild Autism in Adults.” This one is pretty fascinating. It says of the children of the adults studied: “Finally, the sex ratio of these 27 subjects (1.89) is lower than the ratio of 3.75 found in the entire Utah sample.”

    I’ve read a paper very similar to Ritvo et al. (1994) a while back, but I can’t remember the title or authors. That might have additional data along these lines.

    Finally, Ritvo et al. (1988): “Eleven Possibly Autistic Parents.” The ratio here is 2.3 to 1.

    Clearly, Dr. Ritvo must know all about this. Dr. Szatmari must too. I’m surprised I’ve never heard of it.

  247. #247 Laurel
    April 23, 2009

    The only positive aspect of David M. is the likelihood that his offspring (provided he figures out which hole to stick it in to make offspring) will likely die of measels without making it to breeding age, thereby preventing him from passing on monstrous stupidity.

  248. #248 anon
    September 29, 2009

    This essay is 99% ad hominem attack.

    Someone gave her an award, therefore it’s time to disregard everything she says.

    I probably hold the same views on vaccines as you, nevertheless, I really can’t recommend this essay to anyone interested in learning more about vaccines, about pseudoscience, or about how to construct an argument.

  249. #249 Chris
    September 29, 2009

    So you came after five months to tell us this? Did you actually read the post, and see who gave the award or take note of her weasel words?

  250. #250 Orac
    September 29, 2009

    Yeah, it’s times like these that I wish I could set up this blog to automatically close posts to comments after some reasonable period of time, say 60 days.

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