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 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.

  2. #2 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.

  3. #3 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

  4. #4 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.

  5. #5 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.

  6. #6 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!

  7. #7 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.

  8. #8 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.

  9. #9 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.

  10. #10 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!

  11. #11 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?

  12. #12 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.

  13. #13 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?

  14. #14 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.

  15. #15 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

  16. #16 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!

  17. #17 HCN
    April 18, 2009

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

  18. #18 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.

  19. #19 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.

  20. #20 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?

  21. #21 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?

  22. #22 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”?

  23. #23 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….

  24. #24 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…

  25. #25 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

  26. #26 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.

  27. #27 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

  28. #28 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.

  29. #29 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”?

  30. #30 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?”

  31. #31 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.

  32. #32 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.

  33. #33 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.

  34. #34 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?

  35. #35 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.

  36. #36 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

  37. #37 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.

  38. #38 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.

  39. #39 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.

  40. #40 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.

  41. #41 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

  42. #42 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.

  43. #43 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.”

  44. #44 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.

  45. #45 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

  46. #46 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.

  47. #47 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.

  48. #48 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.

  49. #49 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?

  50. #50 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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