Respectful Insolence

About a week and a half ago, something happened that makes me realize that the Jenny and Jim antivaccine propaganda tour that I mentioned a couple of weeks ago was clearly only phase I of Generation Rescue’s April public relations offensive. About ten days ago, courtesy of J.B. Handley, the founder of Generation Rescue, who in order to have a couple of famous faces fronting his organization has allowed himself to be displaced, so that Generation Rescue has now been “reborn” as Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey’s Autism Organization (the better to capitalize on her D-list celebrity yoked to Jim Carrey’s formerly A-list (but rapidly plunging) celebrity), announced Generation Rescue’s latest initiative in a post on its antivaccine blog Age of Autism entitled Fourteen Studies? Only if you never read them.:

For me, it all started when Amanda Peet said the following in her “apology” to calling parents parasites:

“Fourteen studies have been conducted (both here in the US and abroad), and these tests are reproducible; no matter where they are administered, or who is funding them, the conclusion is the same: there is no association between autism and vaccines.”

And, don’t think Amanda Peet is alone, the mantra comes fast and furious from all sides…

These comments were driving me nuts. I’d read a majority of the studies they were referring to, I knew how bad they were, and I also knew that most journalists couldn’t even find the studies being referred to, because most weren’t even on the web!!

Several hundred hours of work later, Generation Rescue is pleased to introduce a website with a very simple purpose: to tell the truth. You will find every study in its entirety and a whole lot more right here:

www.fourteenstudies.org

Before I dive in, let me just point out right here and right now that J.B. Handley wouldn’t be able to recognize good science if it bit him on the posterior. The same is true of bad science, because Mr. Handley simply does not have an understanding of the scientific method or the methodology involved that would allow him to distinguish good from bad science, anymore than I have an understanding of investment banking that would allow me to differentiate between various financial instruments. No, on second thought, strike that. I’m quite sure that I know more about investment banking than J.B. Handley knows about science.

Indeed, Mr. Handley’s well-known arrogance of ignorance (shared with his new spokesmodel Jenny McCarthy) leads him to be supremely confident that he knows as much or more than us pointy-headed scientists, whom he clearly despises and and regards with contempt. Well, actually, he only regards scientists who disagree with his fervent belief that mercury in vaccines cause autism with contempt. Wait, strike that, since all the studies rolling in over the last five years that have failed to find a link between mercury in vaccines and autism, coupled with the fact that the amount of mercury exposure American children receive through vaccines is lower than it’s been in at least 25 years, with no signs of the “autism epidemic” abating, Mr. Handley has turned on a dime and shifted the goalposts to change his belief to claiming that it’s the big, bad vaccines themselves, that it’s “too many too soon,” and that the U.S. is the most “overvaccinated” countrie in the world. So now Mr. Handley only views with contempt scientists who look at all the studies in their totality and don’t see even a whiff of a correlation between vaaccines and autism. Any “scientist,” even utterly discredited incompetent “scientists” like Andrew Wakefield, are “heroes” to him.

In any case, thanks to its arrogance of ignorance, Generation Rescue thinks it can judge the quality of complicated epidemiology and basic science, but such pronouncements are about as valid as Joe the Plumber holding forth on quantum physics. That’s why Mr. Handley’s claim that he recognized these studies to be bad science by reading them led me to chuckle heartily. After all, Mr. Handley’s proven time and time again that he doesn’t understand science, the scientific method, or epidemiology, and I find the picture that pops into my mind of Mr. Handley poring over epidemiological and scientific studies, carefully making note of the methodology and picking out the flaws almost as outlandish as Jenny McCarthy’s transformation from an “Indigo Mom” to a “warrior mom” for autistic children. That’s because J.B. also understands nothing about clinical trials and especially the ethics of clinical trials, one particularly egregious example of which I should someday post about. Be that as it may, right off the bat, I knew that this “Fourteen Studies” initiative was likely to be more of the same. The claim that it took “several hundred hours of work” is probably true, but, given the results, but it clearly wasn’t time and money well spent, at least on an intellectual level. Whether it was time and money well spent in terms of producing effective propaganda remains to be seen.

Taking a general view of the Fourteen Studies, I note that it’s divided broadly into what I can’t help but refer to “studies antivaccinationists hate” (because they are for the most part large, well-designed epidemiological studies that found no association between thimerosal and autism or vaccines and autism) and “studies antivaccinationists like.” Of this latter category, the studies listed that I recognize include some small preliminary studies (which are more prone to false positives), more than a fair amount of cluelessness (the Generation Rescue “vaxed versus antivaxed” phone survey, which I’ll discuss more later), the incompetent (pretty much anything by Andrew Wakefield or Mark and David Geier), or execrable (anything published in the vanity Medical Hypotheses, which discourages the publication of data and will publish virtually article as long as it presents a provocative and speculative hypothesis, making it a “what if?” speculative journal and not a serious research journal , or the crank journal, the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons (JPANDS), whose penchant for antivaccine pseudoscience I’ve discussed in depth before). Heavy hitters in the world of vaccine or autism science, these are not. (Hint: If you want to be taken seriously in the world of medical science, don’t cite JPANDS. Really. Don’t. Doing so is a deal breaker. Also, citing articles from Medical Hypotheses as though they were evidence of anything other than the author’s speculative flights of fancy or wishful thinking shows more cluelessness than anything else.)

I also recognize that a lot of these criticisms are the same old dubious, exaggerated, and/or fallacious criticisms of these studies that have been floating around in antivaccine circles for a long time. I recognize them because I have read nearly all of these articles myself, both the ones Generation Rescue likes and the ones it doesn’t like, over the years, and I have seen these “criticism” True, I’m more familiar with some of these studies than others, but in fact I have even blogged about some of them, here and elsewhere. (I will link to such posts where appropriate.) In essence, what I plan to do is to set the stage by discussing the overall intellectual dishonesty that underpins Fourteen Studies and then take a few (I hope) well-chosen examples to illustrate this intellectual dishonesty. Over the coming days, it is my hope that some of my fellow SBM bloggers will take on other examples, explaining the fallacies behind the “critiques” and why the “studies antivaccinationists like” are, by and large, not very good and/or do not show what antivaccinationists think they show.

I do this because I realize that the Fourteen Studies website is going to metastasize all over the web. That is clearly Mr. Handley’s intent; he saw what he feared to be an effective public relations gambit from scientists and physicians, and he couldn’t let that go unanswered. To him, it’s not about the science, but winning the P.R. war. That’s why I know that antivaccinists will be referring journalists to it, if they have not already begun to do so. I also predict that antivaccine parents will be planting printouts of it in front of their pediatricians in order to try to persuade them that the evidence base supporting the consensus that vaccines do not cause autism is hopelessly corrupt and weak. This is exactly the purpose of Generation Rescue’s new website, which is why I believe that there should be as many rebuttals on the web to which people can be referred as possible. In fact, it is my hope that my readers will help us out by deconstructing some of the studies in the comments, and that readers who happen to be bloggers will join in this effort by applying some evidence-based criticism to the site.

First, let’s take a look at how Generation Rescue “ranks” these 14 studies. This alone should show you more than anything else why this site is propaganda, not science. Whoever put it together first ranked the studies on a scale of 40 points, made up of four 10-point subscales. The first of these subscales is described thusly:

Asked the Right Question (0-10 points):
Did the study actually contemplate the real world example of a parent vaccinating their child with 5 or more vaccines and then seeing a regression into autism afterward? Did it contemplate something close to that which could be helpful and generalized? A perfect question received a 10, a study that didn’t even contemplate the question at hand received a zero.

See what I mean? This is, of course, not the “right question” at all, other than in the minds of antivaccinationists who have already made up their minds about the answer. This is, at its heart antiscientific, an appeal to anecdotal evidence (“contemplate the real world example”) framed in the most “dramatic” way possible, full of inflammatory language about “five or more vaccines.” In other words, it’s typical antivaccinationist appeal to emotion, rather than science. Unfortunately, such appeals to emotion are often more effective than any appeal based on science. In any case, the right question is whether or not there is an association or correlation between autism and vaccination.

Also, note how vague and subjective this scale is. What determines how close to the “right” question a hypothesis will be ranked, apparently, is whether it sounds good to the Generation Rescue antivaccinationist who ranked it. Certainly there do not appear to be anything resembling even semi-objective criteria for determining the score, which are essential for any sort of scale like this. I also note with some amusement that one of the studies included as “Our Studies” on this website, namely a 2006 study by Raymond Palmer looking at whether proximity to coal-fueled power plants is associated with increased prevalence of autism, would get a zero on this scale, as it didn’t even look at vaccines at all! It was also a really crappy study, as I discussed extensively a few months ago during a deconstruction of Palmer’s followup study. At least Generation Rescue could have cited Palmer’s 2008 followup study instead, which, while still not very good at all (an understatement), was at least not as spectacularly awful as his 2006 study, which didn’t even bother to try to control for some very obvious confounders. Apparently asking the “right” question doesn’t really matter to Generation Rescue if J.B. Handley likes the answer. Nor does crappy science. As long as the answer, no matter how unrelated or tangential to a study and no matter how bad the study, is one that Mr. Handley likes, then it’s not “crappy science.”

Next, Generation Rescue lists:

Conflict of Interest (0-10 points):
We considered a scientist employed by a vaccine maker or a study sponsored by a vaccine maker to have the highest degree of conflict, with a public health organization (like the CDC) to be the second-worst. A conflict free study would receive a 10, a study rife with conflicts as low as zero.

This one really annoyed me, because I’ve discussed on multiple occasions how rife with conflicts of interest are many of the “studies” used by antivaccine advocates to support their point of view. For example, the grossly incompetent “study” by Generation Rescue that I discussed last week and that is featured on Fourteen Studies was commissioned and performed by an organization whose raison d’être is to convince lawmakers and the public that vaccines cause autism and that “biomedical treatments” targeted at “vaccine injury” can cure autism. If that’s not a conflict of interest, I don’t know what is. The same is true of an awful study of vaccination in monkeys by Laura Hewitson (which I blogged about several months ago and that Generation Rescue widely promoted, but apparently decided to leave off of its latest propaganda initiative even though it would get a 10 out of 10 on “asking the right question” by Generation Rescue’s definition. (Maybe the criticisms stung.) After all, Laura Hewitson is not only married to antivaccine hero Andrew Wakefield’s IT director but she and her husband are complainants in the Autism Omnibus proceedings, which led me and others to wonder at the time if their “monkey study” was in fact done explicitly to provide more ammunition for the test cases under consideration by the Vaccine Court at the time.

Finally, let’s not forget Mark and David Geier, both of whom have much invested in the concept that mercury in vaccines causes autism and advocate, in essence, chemical castration with Lupron as a “treatment” for autism to help “free” the mercury from testosterone and allow it to be chelated more effectively. In fact, they took conflicts of interest to whole new levels undreamt of by even the most cynical, greedy, and amoral big pharma executive when they specially created an IRB and stacked it with their cronies in order to approve “studies” of their Lupron therapy. Any of their studies would get a zero on this the conflict of interest scale. Heck, they’d get negative scores! And all of this doesn’t even count Andrew Wakefield, who was shown by Brian Deer not only to have been an incompetent scientist, but in the pocket of trial lawyers suing vaccine manufacturers for “vaccine injury.” Worse, these are undisclosed conflicts of interest, whereas any conflict of interest listed in the “fourteen studies” was disclosed right there on the manuscript. In marked contrast, it took Brian Deer years to dig up Andrew Wakefield’s blatant conflicts of interest; Kathleen Seidel’s digging to unearth the Geiers’ abuse of the IRB process; and the digging of several bloggers to figure out Laura Hewitson’s undisclosed conflict of interest in being a plaintiff in the Autism Omnibus. If there’s one rule of thumb in medical research, it’s that undisclosed conflicts of interest correctly raise far more suspicion of bias than disclosed ones do. Indeed, I’ve written about this myself in the context of criticizing JAMA and other biomedical research that has nothing to do with vaccines and autism.

Cleverly, Generation Rescue disingenuously inoculates itself from charges of picking studies with huge conflicts of interest by narrowly defining a conflict of interest the way that it wants to: As an investigator’s only being affiliated with a vaccine maker or the CDC. (Because, you know, antivaccine warriors can’t possibly ever have a conflict of interest.) Then, to guarantee that every study that it doesn’t like has an irretrievable “conflict of interest,” even if there is no pharmaceutical company connection that it could dig up, Generation Rescue appears to consider the mere fact of the lead investigator working for the NIH to be a severe conflict of interest. That is what is listed as the sole conflict of interest for Dr. Karen Nelson, who wrote a review article on thimerosal and autism. If that’s not enough to guarantee a “conflict of interest” for all of these “fourteen studies,” Generation Rescue also appears to define the mere fact of being funded through grants from the CDC, NIH, American Academy of Pediatrics, or the Canadian Institutes for Health Research. Scientists who have had NIH grants (such as myself) or grants from any of these other organizations know just how ridiculous considering that funding source to be a horrific conflict of interest is. After all, such grants are in general competitive grants awarded after rigorous peer review, and the NIH, for example, exercises almost no control over how researchers funded through it do their work, other than enforcing federal regulations on animal and human subjects welfare by refusing to disburse funds until the appropriate approvals are in place.

Next up, Generation Rescue ranks the ability to generalize and post-publication criticism:

Ability to Generalize (0-10 points):
This was a measure of the robustness, replicability, and usefulness of the study. Where possible, we looked to experts to help us gauge this ranking. The more robust, replicable, and broadly applicable, the higher the score.

Post-Publication Criticism (0-10 points):
Was the study widely accepted in the scientific community, or was it the subject of extreme criticisms from many sources? The closer to widely accepted, the closer to 10 points.

One wonders why Generation Rescue didn’t always look to experts to gauge this ranking. After all, neither J.B. Handley, Jenny McCarthy, nor Jim Carrey are scientists. In fact, they have shown time and time again that they are clueless about science. Any conclusion by them or the other antivaccine warriors at Generation Rescue on the generalizability of a study would be highly suspect even giving them every benefit of the doubt. As part of this propaganda effort, forget it. Also, one can’t help but note that the “experts” Generation Rescue does find happen to be antivaccinationists like Boyd Haley, the former chairman of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Kentucky whose academic career imploded as a result of his having delved too deeply for too long into mercury and vaccines pseudoscience (as well as “toxic teethamalgam pseudoscience), or Mark Geier, whose protocol that uses Lupron to treat autism is, in my considered opinion, dangerous quackery. In other cases, the “experts” are nothing more than some of J.B. Handley’s fellow antivaccine activists with no special scientific or medical training: Sallie Bernard of SafeMinds or Deirdre Imus–or even J.B. Handley himself. Such are Generation Rescue’s “experts”! Clearly, the talent pool of “experts” at Generation Rescue is not particularly deep. One wonders why Generation Rescue didn’t draft Jim Carrey or Jenny McCarthy to do a critique of one of these articles.

Also, it’s extremely disingenuous of Generation Rescue to rank these studies on “post-publication criticism” because it is the antivaccine movement, including Generation Rescue, that accounted for the vast majority of criticisms of these articles (most were not particularly controversial among scientists). Indeed, the antivaccine movement encouraged criticism at every turn. In most cases, Generation Rescue is conflating criticisms based on ideology with scientific criticisms, which is how they keep the vaccine/autism manufactroversy alive. One can’t help but note again that, if post publication criticism were a major criterion by which Generation Rescue’s favored studies should be judged, Andrew Wakefield’s 1998 Lancet study was disavowed by 10 of its original 13 authors and ultimately utterly repudiated by the scientific community–and deservedly so! Yet there it is on the “Our Studies” page of Fourteen Studies. Apparently only criticism by the antivaccine movement counts as a negative to Generation Rescue. Criticism by scientists? Apparently not so much.

So let’s move on to some of the studies. I’ll start with Mady Hornig’s recent study. Even though it was obvious from the start that this website is every bit as much propaganda as the Green Our Vaccines rally in Washington, DC last year, still I wanted to see what Generation Rescue said about some of the studies. So I picked a few that I am quite familiar with. First, off, I noticed that Mady Hornig’s study from last fall that tried to replicate Andrew Wakefield’s original Lancet study that implicated the MMR vaccine in the pathogenesis of “regressive” autism and enterocolitis. You might remember this one too. You might also recognize that all Generation Rescue did was to regurgitate old attacks by Andrew Wakefield, SafeMinds, and the National Autism Association on it. You may also recall that I blogged about this study shortly after it was published and showed you why these criticisms were, scientifically speaking, a load of horse hockey. Suffice it to say, they have not aged well.

Another study included on the list is an Italian study that came out this year by Tozzi et al, which was published in the February issue of Pediatrics and entitled Neuropsychological Performance 10 Years After Immunization in Infancy With Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines. It’s a study that I also blogged about in great detail when it first came out. The study was done in Italy, and one of its great advantages is that the amount of thimerosal to which the infants were exposed was actually known, unlike many epidemiological studies, where sometimes the dose of thimerosal (and therefore mercury) has to be estimated or inferred from the vaccine schedule at the time. The results were unsurprising and very much like the results of a study of thimerosal-containing vaccines as a risk factor for neurodevelopmental disorders other than autism that was published a year and a half ago. Most outcome measures showed no difference between the low and high thimerosal group, and the ones that did were small and entirely compatible with random chance due to multiple comparisons.

I knew at the time exactly what antivaccine activists would probably say when and if they get around to attacking this study, and, in fact, that’s basically the criticism on Fourteen Studies. (Most depressingly, Generation Rescue even reprints J.B. Handley’s scientifically illiterate criticism of the study.) In any case, the main criticism is that there was not a control group receiving no thimerosal. True enough. The authors themselves make that very point. However, if thimerosal in vaccines were associated with autism, one would not expect that it would be different than any other toxin associated with an abnormality, disease, or condition in that it would be expected that the chance of autism or neurodevelopmental disorders would increase with increasing dose.

The second argument that I thought advocates would try to make but that Generation Rescue actually did not make is that the dose-response curve for mercury and autism has a plateau, and that plateau is below 62.5 μg, hence the lack of difference between the two groups. There’s just one problem with that argument. An exposure to 62.5 μg, to which the low exposure group was exposed, corresponds to roughly the total dose of mercury in thimerosal to which American infants were exposed in 1989before the alleged “autism epidemic.” Even if mercury does indeed cause autism and there is indeed a plateau in the dose-response below a dose of 62.5 μg, that would not be consistent with the antivaxers’ other pet claim, that an autism epidemic started in the 1990s because of the increasing amount of thimerosal exposure due to vaccines. That couldn’t have happened if a dose of thimerosal less than 62.5 μg maxed out the risk of autism, because 62.5 μg below the baseline exposure before the alleged “autism epidemic” started. The two claims (that of an autism epidemic in the 1990s due to increasing amounts of thimerosal in vaccines versus that of an effect that maxes out before a 62.5 μg cumulative dose of mercury from thimerosal) are mutually contradictory. I suppose antivaccinationists could postulate a threshold effect that doesn’t occur until a dose above 137.5 μg. Unfortunately for them, then they would have the problem of how long they ranted that any mercury was toxic and any mercury was unacceptable, not to mention the–shall we say?–inconvenient epidemiological evidence that autism rates did not plummet back to 1980s levels after 2001, which was when thimerosal was removed from most childhood vaccines and mercury exposure from vaccines plummeted to well under 62.5 μg.

Finally, the most ironic thing about this study is the question of why autism prevalence was so low among the Italian population studied. Of course, as Generation Rescue points out, all of the subjects received at least 62.5 μg mercury from their vaccines; so by antivaccinationist logic there should have been a much larger prevalence of autism, particularly among the Italian children who received 137.5 μg mercury. There wasn’t. The prevalence was much lower than in the U.S., which also rather undermines the claims Generation Rescue made in its recent “vaccines by nation” nonsense. So much for “mercury poisoning,” at least in this case.

Antivaccinationists really, really hate this next study (Schechter et al) because it looked at a very specific prediction that naturally follows from the hypothesis that mercury in the thimerosal preservative in vaccines was a major cause of the “autism epidemic.” I say “was” because by early 2002, thimerosal had been removed from the vast majority of vaccines, and this allows the testing of the hypothesis. Specifically, the prediction is that, if thimerosal in vaccines was indeed a major cause of autism, autism incidence should have plummeted within a few years after it was removed. This study showed that there is no evidence that the apparent rise in autism is even plateauing yet in California. In a truly fun bit of additional irony, this study even uses the California Department of Developmental Services (CDDS) database, to which David Kirby has often referred as a good way of looking at whether autism rates have started falling since thimerosal was removed from most vaccines. He has also since been moving the goalposts as to when he would expect autism rates to begin falling if the thimerosal hypthesis is true, going first from 2005 to 2007 and, most recently, to 2011.

In order to ask the question of whether autism rates had declined, Schechter and Grether examined data for clients with active status reported from January 1, 1995 to March 31, 2007. Using careful statistical analyses, they used two approaches to measure the occurrence of ASD during this period. The second approach, in which ASD prevalence was determined in the 3 to 5 year old cohort, is perhaps the most informative. It shows a continuing increase in autism prevalence without even a blip or decrease in the rate of increase after 2002. Indeed, showing the skill of some bloggers to analyze the same data, the money figure in the paper (Figure 3) looks almost exactly the same as the graph prepared in early 2007, a continually increasing curve since 1995. This result is not only consistent with multiple other published and unpublished studies, including the famous (or, if you’re an antivaccinationist, infamous) Danish and Canadian studies, but it is about as unambiguous evidence as can be obtained from a database like the CDDS database. Indeed, despite the known limitations of the use of this database, it is an excellent example of proponents of a “mercury injury” hypothesis of autism being “hoisted by their own petard,” so to speak. Even more amusingly, one of the criticisms of the study was written by Deirdre Imus, who has been known to regularly lay down some of the more–shall we say?–easily refuted antivaccinationist canards, all cloaked in “concern for the children,” is one of the “experts” refuting this study, while Boyd Haley wrote a long rant that is mostly a non sequitur.

The complaints about this study from antivaccinationists can be boiled down to one: That mercury hasn’t been completely eliminated from childhood vaccines. In other words, even though mercury has been removed from all mandated childhood vaccines other than the flu vaccine (and there are thimerosal-free versions of the flu vaccine available), leaving only trace thimerosal in the current set of vaccines, according to antivaccinationists that’s not enough. To them, mercury is just that toxic, and even the trace levels left in the vaccines are enough to keep the “autism epidemic” moving in a steadily upward direction. This is an utterly fallacious criticism for exactly the same reasons the criticisms of the Italian study listed above are similarly fallacious. Once again, remember that the “mercury hypothesis” states that an “autism epidemic” began in the late 1980s/early 1990s after the government expanded the number of mandated vaccines containing thimerosal. A consequence of that claim is that we should expect late 1980s/early 1990s levels of autism to be associated with a certain dose of mercury in vaccines, which, as you remember, was approximately 60-75 μg in 1989–by antivaccinationist Mark Blaxill’s own estimates! With now thimerosal removed from all vaccines save the flu vaccine (which many children still don’t get anyway), all that is present in the total vaccine dose received by children is a level of mercury less than what children received in 1989. So, in the world of antivaccinationists, lowering the level of total mercury received in vaccines by children to a level lower than what children received 20 years ago (before the “autism epidemic”) is still too toxic. (Consistency has never been the antivaccine movement’s strong suit.) Unfortunately, by the antivaccinationists’ own arguments, if the graph that Mark Blaxill likes to show represents not just correlation but causation, the dose-response curve for mercury must be such that the level in 1989 resulted in a relatively low level of autism; therefore, lowering it to levels below those seen in 1989 should result in a dramatic decrease in autism rates–again, using the mercury militia’s own numbers.

It didn’t. Stick a fork in the mercury-thimerosal-autism hypothesis. It’s quite done. The hypothesis that mercury in vaccines is strongly (or even weakly) associated with adverse developmental outcomes is also done as the next study (Thompson et al) shows. This study did not specifically look at autism, but was the first publication of a larger study looking at neurodevelopmental outcomes after vaccination using data from the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) database, a massive database overseen by the CDC and maintained through several large HMOs that collects data on vaccination outcomes. The first publication, Thompson et al, looked at whether there were adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes other than autism that could be identified as being correlated with thimerosal-containing vaccines. A second study looking specifically at autism using the VSD is in the works.

The authors found weak associations between thimerosal and developmental outcomes that were most consistent with being due to chance. It is true that there were some negative correlations found that achieved statistical significance. However, when running 42 tests, it would be shocking if there were not a few anomalous associations. What makes the study authors confident that the findings are anomalous is that they were divided roughly equally in both directions, good and bad. It is true that there were some negative correlations found that achieved statistical significance. When running 42 tests, it would be shocking if there were not a few anomalous findings. What makes the study authors fairly confident that the findings are anomalous is that they were divided roughly equally in both directions, good and bad. Consequently, if antivaccinationists are going to insist that the correlation, for example, with increasing mercury exposure and poorer performance on the GFTA-2 measure of speech articulation test is real and due to likely causation, then it must also accept the findings of a beneficial association between mercury and identification of letters and numbers on the WJ-III test, as there is no scientific reason to reject it. Even Autism Speaks, one of the “guest commentators” in Fourteen Studies, concedes this but tries to latch onto these few findings as being somehow significant.

Another important aspect of this study is that Sallie Bernard of SafeMinds, was a panelist on the consulting board that helped design this study. She pulled out when the results weren’t what she had been hoping for and has been criticizing the study ever since, up to and including being one of the “guest commenters” on this article for Generation Rescue. Her complaint is the most ridiculous of all, specifically that the study

comprised children who were least likely to exhibit neuropsychological impairments. Specifically, children with congenital problems, those from multiple births, those of low birth weight, and those not living with their biological mother were excluded. The sample was skewed toward higher socioeconomic status and maternal education — factors that are associated with lower rates of neurobehavioral problems and higher intervention rates and that were not measured.

Ms. Bernard is too scientifically illiterate to realize that that’s because the hypothesis being studied was that mercury in vaccines is associated with neurodevelopmental problems in normal children. Remember, in virtually all of the testimonials about regressions after vaccines, parents insist that their child was absolutely, positively normal before those horrible pediatricians pumped them full of those nasty, toxic, autism-causing vaccines. In fact, this study was looking at exactly the “right question.” Also (and arguably more importantly for the study design) children with congenital problems and of multiple births or of low birth weight have a higher baseline level of neurodevelopmental problems. Including such children would have (1) made it difficult to determine whether thimerosal actually was associated with neurodevelopmental difficulties because the effect size could well be dwarfed by the baseline levels of neurodevelopmental disorders in this population and (2) introduced confounders that would have been very difficult to control for in the final statistical analysis.

In any case, Ms. Bernard is being intellectually dishonest to an extreme. She participated in the design of the study but never criticized its design until after its results contradicted her expectations. Does anyone think she would have had a problem with this study if it had come back less resoundingly negative, with even a bit of wiggle room? Such is the intellectual dishonesty of the antivaccine movement and a major reason why it was always a bad idea for the government to include antivaccinationists in the the decision-making process about anything in the name of “inclusion” and the hopes that if they had a stake in the outcome they would be more constructive. The government hoped to shut up antivaccinationists by including them on such panels; it should have realized that they would turn on the government as soon as it didn’t get its way or as soon as scientific studies in whose design they participated failed to yield the results craved by the antivaccine movement.

Finally, before I leave the discussion of the fourteen “studies Generation Rescue hates” to move on to discussing a couple of the studies they like, I point you to Steve Novella’s excellent deconstruction of the intellectual dishonesty of Generation Rescue’s critique of the Danish study, which failed to find any association between mercury in vaccines and autism in Denmark. Truly, it’s hard to take anything Generation Rescue writes about these studies seriously when it can’t even accurately describe the studies and what they concluded. The intellectual dishonesty is staggering.

I was curious to note what Generation Rescue apparently considers to be “good” studies. I already mentioned some of the awful studies, such as those by Andrew Wakefield or Mark and David Geier, that Generation Rescue likes. One study from 2009 included on the list is one I haven’t seen before, and I may well write about it on its own, as it makes a provocative but, in my opinion, ultimately highly doubtful conclusion.

One constant refrain of antivaccinationists is that there should be a study of “unvaccinated” versus “vaccinated” children. Never mind that they never quite state the hypothesis that such a study would study and sometimes even suggest utterly unethical studies, such as a randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Such a study, although methodologically rigorous, would be completely unethical because it would leave the control group unprotected against vaccine-preventable diseases. Nonetheless, that doesn’t stop Generation Rescue from listing as number two its utterly risible and badly executed telephone study from 2007. As you may recall, I discussed this “study” in my usual gory detail back when it was first released and publicized. More amusingly, so did Kevin Leitch. Go back and read them both if you want to see how execrable this “study”was. So bad was it that Kev drolly observed:

There’s no getting away from this. This is a disaster for Generation Rescue and the whole ‘vaccines cause autism’ debacle. Generation Rescue’s data indicates that you are ‘safer’ from autism if you fully vaccinate than partially vaccinate. It also indicates that across the spectrum of autism, you are only 1% more likely to be autistic if you have had any sort of vaccination as oppose to no vaccinations at all – and thats only if you are male. If you are a girl you chances of being on the spectrum are less if you have been vaccinated! Across both boys and girls, your chances of being on the spectrum are less if you have received all vaccinations.

Prometheus has done an excellent job discussing how, if we really wanted to undertake a “vaccinated versus unvaccinated” study with both a reasonable degree of scientific rigor and ethically as well. Unfortunately, it would take a minimum of 20,000 children:

A study of autistic children in the 3 – 6 year age range would need over 683,000 children in each group to detect a 10% difference in vaccination level. It would need nearly 22,000 in each group to detect a 50% difference. With a predicted number of 110,000 autistic children in that age range, that is a sizeable fraction of all autistic children.

A more manageable study – one with 10,000 children in each arm (which is still a HUGE study!) – would only be able to tell the difference between the national average of 0.3% unvaccinated in the non-autistic group and 0.1% unvaccinated in the autistic group (at the specified levels of confidence). If the difference is smaller than that, the results would be considered negative (i.e. that there is no effect of vaccination). For reference, a study with 1,000 children in each arm would show statistical significance (at our specified level of confidence) only when the autistic group was below 0.01% unvaccinated or above 1.7% unvaccinated.

Of course, we wouldn’t have to just look at unvaccinated vs fully vaccinated with this study, which is a large part of its superiority. We could look at a dose response of vaccination - to see if it really is “too many” – as well as the age at youngest vaccination – to see if it really is “too soon”. In fact, a few studies have already looked at those issues and found that there is no difference between the autistic and non-autistic groups. I suspect this is the reason the folks pushing to “put on a study” want to look at vaccinated vs unvaccinated – they hope that the numbers will be different (or, at least, not as definitive) the other way round.

This would, of course, be a massively expensive study to do as well and would funnel more research money to dubious studies of highly unlikely hypotheses.

Finally, if you want an idea of how risibly low Generation Rescue’s standards are for studies that seem to support its belief that vaccines cause autism, take a look at its most recent atrocity (before the “Fourteen Studies” website, of course), namely a “study” unveiled by Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey on Larry King Live three weeks ago:

MCCARTHY: The vaccine schedule is too bloated right now. Thirty six shots right now. Back in 1989, the shot schedule was 10 shots given.

CARREY: Ten shots given.

KING: When I was a kid, what did we get, three?

CARREY: It’s twice as many as anywhere else in 30 countries in the Western World. We give twice as many shots as any of those countries. Why is that?

This point is made in more detail in J.B. Handley’s guest post:

Few parents appreciate that American kids are the most vaccinated on the planet. Generation Rescue just released a study called “Autism and Vaccines Around the World” which will surprise many. We looked at the vaccine schedules of 30 other first world countries to compare how many doses of vaccines children receive. What did we find? Compared to our 36, the average for the rest of the first world is 18, or half of the U.S. schedule. Perhaps more shocking, we looked at countries with the lowest rates of mortality for children under 5 (the U.S. ranks a disappointing 34th, behind Cuba and Slovenia). How many vaccines do the 5 countries with the lowest under 5 mortality rates give? Well, Iceland, Sweden, Singapore, Japan, and Norway give 11, 11, 13, 11, and 13 vaccines respectively – all less than 1/3 the number of vaccines the U.S. mandates!

How do autism rates compare in some of these other countries? Iceland’s rate is 1 in 1,000, Finland’s 1 in 700, and Sweden’s 1 in 800. These countries give 1/3 the vaccines we do and have autism rates that are as little as one-tenth of ours? Something isn’t right.

Indeed, this is the very theme of a “study” posted on the Age of Autism blog entitled Autism and Vaccines Around The World: Vaccine Schedules, Autism Rates and Under 5 Mortality. If you look at the actual PDF containing the report, you’ll see that it’s obviously intentionally designed to look very much like an actual research report. The type, the format, and the style very closely mimic that of a real research paper. Of course, it is not anything of the sort, and if it were submitted to any halfway decent peer-reviewed journal of psychiatry or–even more so–of epidemiology it would find its way into the cylindrical file, possibly even before being sent out for peer review. It’s nothing more than the logical fallacy of confusing correlation with causation taken to a ridiculous extreme and then prettied up with all sorts of “science-y”-sounding jargon in an attempt to put the proverbial lipstick on the proverbial pig. Whoever put this “study” together at Generation Rescue clearly has no clue how to write such a study up, much less how to do one.

The first thing that struck me about this “study” was how poorly written it was. It looked slapped together, and, although it states that a “full publication and literature review was completed to determine vaccine schedules and under 5 mortality rates for 30 countries. What, exactly, does that mean? If you read any meta-analysis or serious review, you’ll see a careful and precise description of the criteria used to choose studies to include. No such description is given here. One is left with the distinct impression that a bit of cherry picking is going on here.

The second thing that leapt out at me is that there was absolutely no attempt to control for confounders. Indeed, one commenter on Age of Autism, responding to another commenter who pointed out that zero controlling for confounders was even attempted said:

Confounding factors? Since when is that ever a consideration? Perhaps you watch too much television and, based on dispropotionately biased coverage, think every parent in America whacks their kids on the head then stuffs them in the trunk.

These are babies under five.

Against such ignorance and stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain. The very reason it’s so easy to confuse correlation with causation, even in epidemiological studies that are testing a hypothesis rather than trying to support a preordained conclusion, is because of confounders, and, yes, it is completely irrelevant that these children are under five.

The reasons why the U.S. ranks 34th in childhood mortality is a topic of some controversy and considerable study and discussion. Of course, one wonders why Generation Rescue used the UN World Population Prospects The 2006 Revision when the 2008 Revision is easily available. (Apparently Generation Rescue can’t Google). (It couldn’t be because the under-five mortality rate in the U.S. fell from 7.8/1,000 live births to 7.3 between 2006 and 2008, could it?) Be that as it may, while the Generation Rescue “study” appears to be claiming that vaccines don’t have any relationship to overall childhood mortality, that’s completely the wrong question to be asking because vaccines do not prevent anything other than infectious disease. If we take a look, for example, the 2008 State of the World’s Mothers Report issued by Save the Children, we find some very interesting things, among which is the effect of disparities in health care among the poor, mostly black and Native American, and the better off sustaining our high child mortality compared to that of other developed nations. That’s one huge confounder. Another huge confounder is access to health care; many of the nations mentioned in the Generation Rescue report are nations with universal health care. Whether that drives the difference is a matter of controversy (given the politically charged nature of the discussions of universal health care, how could it be otherwise?) but it is yet another huge potential confounder. Of course, the biggest confounder of all is that childhood mortality has been falling in the U.S. for the last two decades. Add to that gun violence and other causes of childhood mortality that are elevated in the U.S. compared to other industrialized nations, and there are so many confounders as to make any inference from these raw numbers utterly meaningless. Again, vaccines only prevent death from infectious disease. Ironically, one of Generation Rescue’s heroes, a woman who’s been flirting with the antivaccine movement big-time, former NIH director Bernadine Healy, pointed out a lot of reasons why comparing childhood mortality in the U.S. with that in various European countries is fraught with confounders, making head-to-head comparisons of dubious value in many cases.

There is also at least one curious omission in the last table (Table 3), which was pointed out, surprisingly enough, by a commenter on Age of Autism. (And when a commenter in the antivaccine echo chamber that it Age of Autism points out a glaring hole in a Generation Rescue propaganda release, you know it’s a really huge hole! This commenter also pointed out that there was not even the most rudimentary attempt to control for counfounders. Truly, this propaganda stinkpile of a “study” is too stinky for any but the most brainwashed of Generation Rescue’s adherents.) Specifically, the U.K. was left out, which is listed as requiring 20 vaccines. That is close to France, which is listed as requiring 17 vaccines. One wonders if this omission is because the U.K. has an autism prevalence comparable to that of the U.S., possibly even higher. I wonder why Generation Rescue left the U.K. out of its last table, purporting to show the relationship between the number of vaccines a nation mandates and its autism rate. After all, the paper claims that it picked countries based on “materially lower levels of mandated vaccines and published autism prevalence data.” I could see where it might be hard to find publications with estimates of autism prevalence in, for example, Cuba, but it’s not as though recent estimates of autism prevalence in the U.K. aren’t readily available. Some “complete” literature search! Given the blatant “forgetting” of an example that most definitely does not support the “hypothesis” of the Generation Rescue paper, I also now wonder why only eight out of the 30 countries examined were chosen for inclusion in Table 3. You don’t think that Generation Rescue left the U.K. out of Table 3 because it didn’t fit with its hypothesis, do you? Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to go searching for all the prevalence data for the countries left out, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if there were a few more U.K.’s in there.

Even curiouser (well, not really) are the sources used for all the prevalence data. Specifically, the dates of the studies are what stood out to me. Many of them are from the 1990s, and most are from before 2001. Given the increases in awareness, the broadening of the diagnostic criteria that occurred in the 1900s, using these prevalence estimates is meaningless. I could also point out that in the 1990s, the U.S. had a vaccination schedules with considerably fewer vaccines. Table 1 shows that! It would appear that Generation Rescue can’t even keep its story straight in its own study. In any case, comparing a vaccine schedule in 2006 (which is what Generation Rescue did in all cases) with prevalence rates from 5 to 10 years earlier taken from a period of time shortly after the diagnostic criteria had been changed is clueless at best and intellectually dishonest at worst, particularly when it’s done in the context of no effort to control for confounders, no statistical analysis, in essence nothing that any scientist or epidemiologist taking a serious look at the question would consider a minimum effort. In essence, because whoever at Generation Rescue passionately believes that (1) vaccines aren’t nearly as protective as we know them to be and (2) vaccines cause autism, this report ignores all other possible explanations for the numbers and, in fact, doesn’t even pick the right numbers to answer the question. I suppose that if these numbers had been properly picked for valid comparisons one might be able to view them as hypothesis-generating, but so many other studies have specifically looked at the question of whether vaccines cause autism using sufficient numbers to have the power to detect even a weak association and the correct epidemiologial and statistical techniques to analyze the data that throwing this sort of whole population data out as though it were “proof” of anything shows nothing more than how completely ignorant of science whoever wrote it is.

Of course, Generation Rescue isn’t really interested in accurate estimates of autism prevalence, as Sullivan has pointed out:

One of the problems with the vaccines-cause-autism groups is that they really don’t advocate for people with autism. They have abandoned entirely people of low income and minorities (except where they can be used for political gain).

It isn’t just that groups like SafeMinds, Generation Rescue and the rest can’t be bothered to spend the time worrying about minorities or adults. It’s the fact that the data those groups use to support the “epidemic” makes ZERO sense when you consider minorities.

Consider this: the “rate” of autism is 0.3 per 1,000 for Hispanics in Wisconsin, but 10.6 for Whites in New Jersey.

Why isn’t Generation Rescue calling for an investigating the Hispanics of Wisconsin? Shouldn’t they want to know what is “protecting” that subgroup from autism?

They don’t care, they don’t want to bring attention to the Hispanics in Wisconsin (or the under represented minorities across the nation), because it blows a big hole in the “epidemic”. Obviously we still aren’t counting all the people with autism in our prevalence estimates. How can we rely on the historical data that shows an “epidemic” if we aren’t doing a good job even now?

The Generation Rescue “study” is another instance of this very phenomenon, except that it even ignored a wealthy nation (the U.K.) because its autism prevalence data didn’t fit in with its conclusion that vaccines cause autism and that nations with lower numbers of mandated vaccines should therefore have lower autism prevalence. The study also completely ignored the far more likely reason why the United States has such an embarrassing level of childhood mortality: Poverty and disparities in care. That’s because, as Sullivan points out, groups like Generation Rescue are not interested in the poor or minorities, except when they are useful to their cause (Somali immigrants in Minnesota, for instance). All they are interested in is proving that vaccines cause autism. Whenever an antivaccinationist finds differences in autism prevalence, he ignores any other possible cause aside from the vaccines. That’s because, to J.B. Handley, Jenny McCarthy, Jim Carrey, and the rest of the antivaccine movement, first and foremost, it’s still all about the vaccines. It’s always been all about the vaccines. It always will be all about the vaccines. Always.

Unfortunately, thanks to Jenny McCarthy, who’s been hitting the pro wrestling circuit, doing celebrity poker events with Lance Armstrong, holding fundraisers with Hugh Hefner and Britney Spears and making numerous appearances to raise money for Generation Rescue, Generation Rescue appears to be flush with cash, and only J.B. knows how much money was spent on the Fourteen Studies website. I’m guessing it was quite a bit. The slickness of the website, coupled with all the TV appearances, and celebrity fundraisers, all of which coopt the message of “autism awareness” and conflate it with the antivaccine activist agenda, bespeak large amounts of money flowing into the antivaccine propaganda effort. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Generation Rescue actually spent its money on real research, instead of propaganda like the Fourteen Studies website?

Don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen.

That’s because, unfortunately, it’s not about science, evidence, or reason to Generation Rescue. It never has been; it is not now; and it never will be. No, it’s all about winning, which means that the evidence showing that vaccines are not associated with autism must be attacked, because the AAP, CDC, and Paul Offit are the “bad guys.” That’s why this Fourteen Studies website is nothing more than pure propaganda; indeed, it’s every bit as much propaganda as Jenny and Jim’s media tour to promote McCarthy’s latest paean to antivaccine pseudoscience and autism quackery or the “Green Our Vaccines” march last spring. I also note that there are far more than “14 studies” showing no association between vaccines and autism. Indeed, Mady Hornig cited twenty just looking at MMR and autism alone. That defenders of vaccines have chosen “fourteen studies” as a talking point was not a good idea; it was a strategy that made a website like Fourteen Studies possible. That, alas, was a failing of scientists as communicators.

Comments

  1. #1 The Hypocrisy, It Burns!
    April 20, 2009

    Well, the idiot has spoken. I guess that puts it all to rest, then. I’ll let everyone know that the matter is settled since King Shithead (aka Orac)has said it is settled. I’m sure we’ll all have a good laugh.

    The last statement in your article is about the only statement that is actually true and that I agree with. In fact, this whole vaccine scandal is because science has failed to communicate and be transparent.

    Now, I must look outside to see if the sky is falling because King Moron has said something that is actually truthful.

  2. #2 Dangerous Bacon
    April 20, 2009

    Nicely written and documented, Orac.

    Thanks for keeping on top of things, and for deconstructing the antivaxers’ failed attempts to distort and cover up the science on this issue.

  3. #3 HCN
    April 20, 2009

    Hello Common Sue… with fact free statements like “Well, the idiot has spoken. I guess that puts it all to rest, then. I’ll let everyone know that the matter is settled since King Shithead (aka Orac)has said it is settled.” from you, I feel better when ever some poor soul comes over whining “why can’t you guys be nicer to those who chose not to vax?”

  4. #4 HCN
    April 20, 2009

    Oh, Common Sue/Hypocrisy Burning, did you miss this:
    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=459 ? How come you did go and tell them all where they were wrong?

    Oh, wait, you just go for the insult. You don’t provide facts, evidence or anything resembling science. Still waiting for you to point to any evidence that I can access at my local medical school library that the DTaP is worse than diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus.

  5. #5 ababa
    April 20, 2009

    Very nice and detailed – maybe too detailed for the average parent.

    I appreciate Common Sue speaking up here in the first post. I have a relative that had some reservations about vaccines until recently. Not being a scientist, she had a hard time understanding the research (failure as communicators, as Orac said). But what she did understand loud and clear is where the heart of the anti-vaccine movement is coming from when people like Common Sue, Cooler, anti-vax Dawn, John Best and a few others post rants/insults and conspiracy theories. Thank you for your efforts guys, it’s paying off!

    I bet AoA and GR wish those people would just shut up and go away. It makes it ever so hard for them to pretend to be the “caring” group.

    A great deal of parents that do not vaccinate do so because they simply are afraid for their children. They read websites like Fourteen Studies and it all sounds plausible because it talks down to their level. Just this weekend I saw a new parent say she wasn’t going to vaccinate because of “all I have read here” (in our local parent forums). How I wish the moderator of the sub-forum wasn’t so gung-ho anti-vax so that I could post some real information like this post. Sadly it would be deleted for not being “supportive”.

  6. #6 FreeSpeaker
    April 20, 2009

    Now, please, be kind to CommonSue/Hypocrisy. S/h/it is a member of the AoA Collective, where facts are futile, and you will be mercilessly attacked for disagreeing.

    Remember, AoA would think with one mind, if they could find it.

  7. #7 Mu
    April 20, 2009

    Hmm, I must have slid over to /., I have the oddest feeling of deja vu on this article.
    But you must be getting to the AoA crowd; the insults are getting stronger, and any attempt of debate (be as as moronic as it usually is) has been abandoned.

  8. #8 JoyMama
    April 20, 2009

    Re the concerns about thimerosal being super-toxic in ever-tinier amounts:

    Do you suppose we’re dealing with… something analogous to homeopathy?!?

    I also note that Generation Rescue does something quite sneaky with the Fourteen Studies site. You have to go to the About page to find out who is responsible for the site. Wonder why they don’t just admit it up front, or on any other of the pages?

    Anyway. Thanks for this post. It helps.

  9. #9 HCN
    April 20, 2009

    Mu, you must have been over to the link I posted.

    One of the things that the AoA crowd harp about are those who blog with a pseudonym, but they very seldom ever bother (much) with that other blog.

  10. #10 FreeSpeaker
    April 20, 2009

    You can read more about the AoA Colletive’s Spring Offinsive at my blog: http://age-of-ignorance.blogspot.com/2009/04/aoa-collective.html

    This is a rhetorical question…how can they be even more offensive that they already were?

  11. #11 Mu
    April 20, 2009

    I think the reason for our special friends not being too insulting on SBM is that the posts there are signed with a real name. It’s one thing to insult someone anonymously who’s also using a pseudonym, and another to do it to a “real person”. It’s the hidden fear that someone might expose THEIR identity too.

  12. #12 bob
    April 20, 2009

    To echo HCN, I love it when these kooks get all high and mighty when someone calls them an idiot after they say something idiotic. So, telling it like it is makes us assholes, yet calling Orac “King Shithead” and offering precisely ZERO actual argument is acceptable?

    The notion that these guys are straight-up reality deniers seems more fitting with each passing day.

  13. #13 Joseph
    April 20, 2009

    Asked the Right Question

    That one is particularly spurious, not only because these guys are incapable of asking the right question. I mean, researchers report on data that is available. If perfect data is not available or is difficult to obtain, that doesn’t mean researchers should not report their findings. For that matter, when was the last time Wakefield or the Geiers or any of the anti-vax researchers “asked the right question?”

  14. #14 resimlere bak
    April 20, 2009

    In response to your query nick … why it doesn’t support the flat curve model. Apples and oranges, nick. The retroviral sequence described in this paper you cite is an ENDOGEONOUS, DEFECTIVE lentiviral sequence found in a RABBIT. HIV is neither endogenous, defective nor found in bunnies.

  15. #15 sevişme
    April 20, 2009

    In this South African study, exclusive breast feeding + nevirapine appears to lead to reduced mortality as compared with feeding regimens including early solid foods or animal milk.

  16. #16 parça kontör
    April 20, 2009

    Mu, you must have been over to the link I posted.

    One of the things that the AoA crowd harp about are those who blog with a pseudonym, but they very seldom ever bother (much) with that other blog.

  17. #17 HCN
    April 20, 2009

    So what is with the spam bots? Especially when it is repeating my post!

  18. #18 Paul Browne
    April 20, 2009

    An excellent post Orac, it’s really sad to see crankery like the anti-vaccine movement and creationism make progress despite being proved wrong again and again. Perhaps real scientists need to become more “activist” in order to create the news that will allow them to get their message across in the media.

  19. #19 Pareidolius
    April 20, 2009

    Ah, “King-Shithead”, that brings back fond memories of an alcoholic aquaintance from my past who referred to me as “Lord-God-King-Shithead” whenever we’d argue (which we frequently did) and I’d win (which I always did). Sensing his argument’s imminent failure, he’d blurt something like, “oh, just ask lord-god-king-shit-head here, he knows EVERYTHING”. Good times, good times.

  20. #20 Brian Deer
    April 20, 2009

    Re Wakefield material, I’ve obviously gone into his original Lancet paper in some detail, and will do so in more detail in due course.

    My interest is aroused by the fact that they now seem to have resurrected the Kawashima/Wakefield paper in which it was claimed that vaccine strain MV had been found in autistic kids. Wakefield, in fact, knows that Kawashima repudiated this paper (he has done so personally to me, and did so both to Wakefield and to the lawyer running the MMR action for which it was produced). Kawashima pointed out to them that no strain of virus corresponding with his (contaminated) findings exists in vaccines.

    Wakefield withdrew reliance Kawashima’s work in his report for the UK court. Voila, as they say on the continent:

    http://briandeer.com/wakefield/hisashi-kawashima.htm

    Also, Nick Chadwick’s statement in the omnibus hearing (which is pretty much the same as his statement in the UK MMR litigation), also makes clear what was going on:

    http://briandeer.com/solved/chadwick-statement.pdf

    What interests me, really, is what GR think they are doing. I honestly don’t believe their citing, eg, of this paper can simply be a mistake, or some kind of wishful thinking. Given the rigor they purport to have applied to the other material, they must presumably either have looked into the background of the Wakefield material, or wilfully determined that they wouldn’t look into the mouth of his gift horses.

    Incidentally, on the bowel issue generally, FYI, I’ve just posted at my site what I regard to be a seminal relevant paper, being co-authored by Simon Murch, one of Wakefield’s codefendants in front of the GMC fitness to practise panel. Confronted with the evidence that the mysterious “autistic enterocolitis” alleged to have been discovered was in fact constipation, they claimed (get this guys) to the panel that the constipation was in fact an extraordinary new kind of constipation that they had never seen before. Wakefield often makes this claim. Murch, however, offers no such shit in his paper that I’ve posted.

    http://briandeer.com/mmr/murch-constipation.pdf

    Against any civil standard of evidence, Generation Rescue know, or ought to know, that they are pulling a scam. Thus they are acting dishonestly. It goes beyond routine ignorance or incompetence.

    IMO, they know.

  21. #21 Orac
    April 20, 2009

    One of the things that the AoA crowd harp about are those who blog with a pseudonym, but they very seldom ever bother (much) with that other blog.

    Actually, as far as I know, they’ve never bothered with that “other blog.” I wonder why. Let’s see if my hypothesis is true and they show up here.

    I also note that Pareidolius has surpassed me. No one’s ever called me “Lord-God-King-Shithead.” Against that, my mere “King Shithead” seems so…inadequate. Bummer.

  22. #22 grenouille
    April 20, 2009

    My preschool age child came home today with a county bulletin explaining how to recognize measles and what to do if you think your child might have it. There are 8 confirmed cases here–one is a baby too young to have been immunized. The baby was in the ER when a man with the measles came in to be treated. Already sick, now sicker. Nice…

    Bite me, Jenny.

  23. #23 Mu
    April 20, 2009

    But Orac, you’re King Shithead and King Moron, being King of two kingdoms makes you Emperor. Still not Lord and God, but close.

  24. #24 laura
    April 20, 2009

    thanks for this post, orac. it was very helpful for me.

  25. #25 colmcq
    April 20, 2009

    It’s rather tragic that they slam the PIchichero study and without irony suggest that the Burbacher monkey study is beyond reproach. A sad state of affairs indeed and will only further undermine their cause in the eyes of the scientific community, if that’s possible.

  26. #26 Michael Simpson
    April 20, 2009

    Generation Rescue disingenuously inoculates itself from charges of picking studies

    Beautifully ironic choice of words! Of course, are there any consequences from snorting coffee since I was in mid-sip when I read that?

  27. #27 Landru
    April 20, 2009

    Wait, Orac, you don’t know a lot about investment banking? But…but…but what do you do with the millions in filthy lucre that you’ve earned as a pharma shill? Real estate? Gold Krugerrands? Amway? Lotto?

    I’m sooooo confused.

  28. #28 ABradford
    April 20, 2009

    “Do you suppose we’re dealing with… something analogous to homeopathy?!?”

    Joymama, I can imagine the conversation now:

    Anti-vackaloon: “I heard there’s mercury in vaccines, that’s bad.”

    Sciencyperson: “There hasn’t been any for years, let it rest.”

    Anti-vackaloon: “Well, that just makes me certain the stuff they make the vaccines out of must have absorbed the energy signature of the mercury that was once in it. They must still act like it’s there. I bet it even enhances the effect.”

  29. #29 WRMartin
    April 20, 2009

    I wonder if it would help to replace the HTML links for FourteenStudies.org to actually point here:
    http://www.jennymccarthybodycount.com/Jenny_McCarthy_Body_Count/Home.html

    No sense giving them traffic and the body count site is more informative. If anyone wants to actually visit the .org they can type it in themselves.

  30. #30 snerd
    April 20, 2009

    Wait, Orac, you don’t know a lot about investment banking? But…but…but what do you do with the millions in filthy lucre that you’ve earned as a pharma shill? Real estate? Gold Krugerrands? Amway? Lotto?

    I’m sooooo confused.

    Landru, the Joooooooos take care of all that money for him, of course.

  31. #31 BobbyEarle
    April 21, 2009

    To Brian Deer, and Orac:

    I am a big fan of quality, and you guys (and others who post here) do bring the quality.

    Thank you for your efforts.

  32. #32 sff
    April 21, 2009

    @WRMartin: It would be even *better* to hack the links on the *Generation Rescue* site to point there. Sadly, I think it would be unethical.

  33. #33 JustaTech
    April 21, 2009

    Oh, this is so hard! So, if you’ve ever eaten a tuna sandwich, you’re going to give your children autism? Well,nuts. Also, it is clear that the English language, as spoken sine 1990 in the US and Britain (but not other English speaking countries, like Canada and Australia) causes autism. It’s the only logical explanation.

    ( I had to explain to a mom-friend of mine that when you read 1:150 kids has autism, they don’t mean Rainman, they mostly mean just a little bit different.)

  34. #34 JB Handley
    April 21, 2009

    Orac:

    We give our kids 36 vaccines.

    2 of those are the MMR.

    The other 34 are not.

    So, 34/36 of the vaccines have never been looked at for their possible relationship to autism.

    Yet, you continually assert the science shows that VACCINES don’t cause autism, with 34 of them never having been considered…

    What the hell is wrong with your brain? Why is this such a hard concept for you to grasp? How did you get to be so stupid?

    JB Handleu

  35. #35 Matthew Cline
    April 21, 2009

    Confounding factors? Since when is that ever a consideration? Perhaps you watch too much television and, based on dispropotionately biased coverage, think every parent in America whacks their kids on the head then stuffs them in the trunk.

    These are babies under five.

    Is this person seriously implying that the only two possible causes of death in those under five is either vaccines or violence from parents?

  36. #36 Robert S.
    April 21, 2009

    The first thing I thought of when I looked at the “Fourteen Studies” site was if GR et all bothered to get redistribution rights for the articles they are, well, redistributing. I’m guessing Orac wouldn’t mind playing wack-a-mole so much if any different arguments popped up now and then.

  37. Hmm… It looks like playing ping-pong – one side has its opinion, the other gives arguments against, the first maintains it with new strong reason – and ‘ball’ is being returned to and fro… So I wonder – do the doctors, who have the widest knowledge about this subject, inoculate their own children with this vaccines or not? As for me it’s more important proof than any argue on paper or www.

  38. #38 Richard Eis
    April 21, 2009

    Is it just me, or is doing a survey on U.S. deaths kinda pointless when you are trying to make a link to something which doesn’t really kill? That’s what struck me when i looked at it.

  39. #39 Debunk
    April 21, 2009

    Is someone working on the possible link with scientology network ?

  40. #40 t_p_hamilton
    April 21, 2009

    Polisah Bob:”So I wonder – do the doctors, who have the widest knowledge about this subject, inoculate their own children with this vaccines or not?”

    Yes, they do.

  41. #41 ababa
    April 21, 2009

    Congratulations on stumbling upon one of the biggest myths of the anti-vax movement. Yes, the vast majority of doctors DO vaccinate their children.

    If only that would serve as sufficient proof to the anti-vaxers …

  42. #42 Scott
    April 21, 2009

    It looks like playing ping-pong – one side has its opinion, the other gives arguments against, the first maintains it with new strong reason – and ‘ball’ is being returned to and fro…

    No, actually it doesn’t. Your analogy suggests that both sides actually have evidence with which to support their arguments. This is not true. The anti-vaccine brigade has nothing but superstition.

  43. #43 rrt
    April 21, 2009

    Wybory:

    I understand the ping-pong appearance. Arguments like this will have that appearance to anyone who doesn’t know how to evaluate the evidence being presented (or doesn’t have prior knowledge of the evidence being used to support the premises in the argument.) This is why science education is so important–people ought to have the basic mental skills necessary to evaluate scientific evidence and to use critical thinking to avoid logical fallacies, and they don’ because we aren’t teaching them well.

    All of which means you’re right: To many people, the fact that doctors vaccinate their kids speaks more than evidence. Sad, but true.

    Robert S:

    Not getting permission could almost be deliberate. If the journals cry copyright, the antivaxers can cry oppression.

  44. #44 Orac
    April 21, 2009

    What the hell is wrong with your brain? Why is this such a hard concept for you to grasp? How did you get to be so stupid?

    Interesting.

    As I predicted when I posted this, JB was a no show elsewhere but a show here. I wonder why. I also wonder why he didn’t also show up at Steve Novella’s takedown or the takedown published by a “friend” of the blog a week ago.

    Thank you, JB, for confirming my hypothesis, though. I do appreciate it, and you are always welcome to comment here and on my “friend’s” blog.

  45. #45 isles
    April 21, 2009

    JB Handley can’t deal with real people who are smarter than he is. It’s hard enough for him to deal with antiquated computers who are smarter than he is.

    Here’s a question for you, JB. Why is it so hard for you to understand that there are limits to your understanding? That there are complex concepts that are beyond your cognitive ability?

    Only a simple man thinks everything is simple.

  46. #46 Sullivan
    April 21, 2009

    Mr Handley stated

    “We give our kids 36 vaccines.

    2 of those are the MMR.

    The other 34 are not.”

    Hmmmm…

    Is Mr. Handley honestly ignorant, rather than just pretending? He makes so many mistakes that are obvious to readers here:

    First, MMR accounts for 3 vaccines for each shot.

    Second, only 1 MMR is given prior to age 3.

    Third, Mr Handley is the poster child for shifting hypotheses. Many of those 14 studies were on thimerosal, not MMR. As one of the most vocal proponents of the failed thimerosal hypothesis (and author of the 14 studies site) Mr Handley surely knows this.

    It’s time for Mr Handley to own his mistakes and admit he was wrong.

  47. #47 Joseph
    April 21, 2009

    We give our kids 36 vaccines.

    2 of those are the MMR.

    The way the “36 vaccines” are counted, I don’t think the MMR is “2 vaccines.” It’s more like “6 vaccines,” isn’t it?

    In any case, there are studies that look at thimerosal, which means that essentially all childhood vaccines have been studied in relation to neurodevelopmental outcomes.

  48. #48 Sullivan
    April 21, 2009

    from the 14 studies website:

    “Dr. Healy has no known conflicts of interest in the vaccine-autism debate?”

    Why the waffle statement “known”?

    Does Dr Healy screen calls from Mr Handley or something? Why not ask her and make a clear statement–does she have a COI or not?

  49. #49 ababa
    April 21, 2009

    Using Generation Rescue math I’m sure they will pretty soon start counting molecules. Big numbers are scary and stuff!

  50. #50 Dangerous Bacon
    April 21, 2009

    J.B. sez “We give our kids 36 vaccines.”

    Wow, immunization now protects children against 36 diseases? It’s even more of a public health success story than I’d thought.

    Your brain is a treasure, J.B. Don’t ever change.

    Not that you’re capable of it, of course.

  51. #51 Prometheus
    April 21, 2009

    I’ve tried to figure out how the GR “infomercial” on vaccines and mortality counted vaccines. Their methods must be – at the least, “eccentric”.

    When I looked at the 2009 vaccine recommendations, I could only find 29 vaccines that were recommended for routine use for children under five years. That grows to 34 if you add in the recommended annual influenza vaccine, which generally isn’t given.

    The 2009 recommendations – for those who want to do their own count – are:

    HepB – 3
    Rotavirus – 3
    DTaP – 4 (and 1 in the age range 4 – 6 years)
    HiB – 4
    PCV – 4
    IPV – 3 (and 1 in the age range 4 – 6 years)
    MMR – 1 (and 1 in the age range 4 – 6 years)
    Varicella – 1 (and 1 in the age range 4 – 6 years)
    HepA – 2
    Influenza – annually (five max. before age five years)

    I also dug up an old copy of the 2006 recommendations – which they claim to have used – and the recommendations are identical. The only thing I can suppose is that they mistook the meningococcal vaccine as a routine vaccination (it is intended only for special “at risk” populations) because it wasn’t as clearly marked on the 2006 sheet as it is on the 2009 sheet.

    The “authors” (who were not listed) also “fudged” a bit by including vaccines that are normally given at age five (i.e. “GREATER than five years of age”) but – in the US – the recommendations say they can be given any time between 4 and 6 years. These same vaccines are given in other countries, but their recommendations are to give them at five years.

    If you take out these “fudged” vaccinations, the total drops to 25 – 30 with the influenza vaccine.

    How they counted 36 is beyond me. It sorts well with the accuracy of the rest of that advertising tract masquerading as a scientific article.

    Prometheus

  52. #52 radyo
    April 21, 2009

    Wow, immunization now protects children against 36 diseases? It’s even more of a public health success story than I’d thought.

    Your brain is a treasure, J.B. Don’t ever change.

    Not that you’re capable of it, of course.

  53. #53 Sullivan
    April 21, 2009

    Perhaps while Mr. Handley is correcting his math, he could correct mistakes that even he should acknowledge on his website:

    “Thimerosal is 49.6% ethylmercury by volume. ”
    http://www.generationrescue.org/isit.html

    By weight. Not volume.

    GR science at it’s best.

  54. #54 Sullivan
    April 21, 2009

    All,

    here is where Mr. Handley gets the “36 vaccines”

    http://www.generationrescue.org/pdf/080212.pdf

    His “logic” is consistent in referring to MMR as one vaccine.

    Prometheus–you will note that Mr. Handley’s organization includes multiple flu shots, including prenatal), for a total of 7 flu shots (if I counted correctly).

  55. #55 Vindaloo
    April 21, 2009

    Prometheus: 25/30/36 means nothing to them. Handley et al shoot for an order of magnitude level of precision when trying to fudge a point.

  56. #56 D. C. Sessions
    April 21, 2009

    Handley et al shoot for an order of magnitude level of precision when trying to fudge a point.

    To which my old teachers echoed in the back of my head:

    And, as always, their precision greatly exceeds their accuracy.

  57. #57 resimleri
    April 21, 2009

    It looks like playing ping-pong – one side has its opinion, the other gives arguments against, the first maintains it with new strong reason – and ‘ball’ is being returned to and fro…
    No, actually it doesn’t. Your analogy suggests that both sides actually have evidence with which to support their arguments. This is not true. The anti-vaccine brigade has nothing but superstition.

  58. #58 sevisme videoları
    April 21, 2009

    Re the concerns about thimerosal being super-toxic in ever-tinier amounts:

    Do you suppose we’re dealing with… something analogous to homeopathy?!?

    I also note that Generation Rescue does something quite sneaky with the Fourteen Studies site. You have to go to the About page to find out who is responsible for the site. Wonder why they don’t just admit it up front, or on any other of the pages?

  59. #59 arkadaşlık
    April 21, 2009

    To echo HCN, I love it when these kooks get all high and mighty when someone calls them an idiot after they say something idiotic. So, telling it like it is makes us assholes, yet calling Orac “King Shithead” and offering precisely ZERO actual argument is acceptable?

    The notion that these guys are straight-up reality deniers seems more fitting with each passing day.

  60. #60 dt
    April 21, 2009

    OK folks….. Own up!
    Which of you is posting under the sockpuppet name of JB Handley in order to make the antivaxers look really stupid?

  61. #61 dt
    April 21, 2009

    Prometheus, they count each DTaP and each MMR as 3

  62. #62 FreeSpeaker
    April 21, 2009

    JB said: JB Handleu

    JB, when calling someone stupid, as you did, it is always a good idea to spell your name correctly.

  63. #63 Wren
    April 21, 2009

    But I thought the whole autism vaccination link started because parents saw their children regress into autism immediately after getting the MMR. Now is the idea that other vaxes are contributing such that coincidentally it all leads to the first autism symptoms showing up just after the MMR or are we all expected to ignore the earlier claims that it happened then? If the latter, then why believe in any link between vaccination of any kind and autism?

    And as for the supposed “too many, too soon” theory, I’d love an explanation of UK and US autism prevalence given the drastically different schedules. UK kids get fewer vaxes in total, most receive none before 2 months and mine have never had more than 2 individual shots at a time while following the advised schedule, implying a much lower “toxin” dose and even less cellular injury.

  64. #64 Matthew Cline
    April 21, 2009

    Yes, the vast majority of doctors DO vaccinate their children.

    Ah, but the anti-vaxers will then ask about the small minority who don’t vaccinate. What’s different about them? If vaccines are so great, why isn’t 100% of doctors? Lets do a study! Maybe the doctors who don’t vaccinate their children have higher IQs, or did better in medical school, or have less ties to Big Phrama, or something.

    Of course, if someone had said that 100% of doctors do vaccinate their children, the anti-vaxers would (rightly) point out that it’s incredibly unlikely that 100% such a large group of people would all do exactly the same thing, so the statistic would have to be fabricated.

  65. #65 Virginia Lee
    July 13, 2009

    I have no idea whose study is misleading or true. All I do know is that my son had a seizure immediately following his round of 9 month vaccines. This was after our pediatrician spent 20 plus minutes explaining to my husband and I how he had read “everything” and we had nothing to fear. This was obviously NOT true informed concent. Our precious son stopped makingeye contact that day!! Along with other strange behaviors. From there, he never developed language and was eventually diagnosed autism. The diagnosis was at 33 months. He is now almost 6, and has officially lost diagnosis. We follow the DAN! Protocol, and he gets a CaEDTA I.v. Once weekly. Every 6 I.v.s, I collect his urine for 8 hours and FedEx picks it up from my house and sends it directly to the lab for a urine toxic metals test. We have done 98 I.v.s to date. I have a stack of lab reports showing mercury and alluminum POURING out of him!!!! As the poison has come out, he has turned into a typical child! Amazing!! So, you tell me, did vaccines have anything to do with his autism??? You don’t have to tell me, I know they did!!! My husband and I are both college educated professionals. We are not idiots!!! In fact, I get emails and phone calls DAILY from parents wanting vaccine information.

  66. #66 Virginia Lee
    July 13, 2009

    I have no idea whose study is misleading or true. All I do know is that my son had a seizure immediately following his round of 9 month vaccines. This was after our pediatrician spent 20 plus minutes explaining to my husband and I how he had read “everything” and we had nothing to fear. This was obviously NOT true informed concent. Our precious son stopped makingeye contact that day!! Along with other strange behaviors. From there, he never developed language and was eventually diagnosed autism. The diagnosis was at 33 months. He is now almost 6, and has officially lost diagnosis. We follow the DAN! Protocol, and he gets a CaEDTA I.v. Once weekly. Every 6 I.v.s, I collect his urine for 8 hours and FedEx picks it up from my house and sends it directly to the lab for a urine toxic metals test. We have done 98 I.v.s to date. I have a stack of lab reports showing mercury and alluminum POURING out of him!!!! As the poison has come out, he has turned into a typical child! Amazing!! So, you tell me, did vaccines have anything to do with his autism??? You don’t have to tell me, I know they did!!! My husband and I are both college educated professionals. We are not idiots!!! In fact, I get emails and phone calls DAILY from parents wanting vaccine information.

  67. #67 HCN
    July 13, 2009

    My son had seizures before he had any vaccines. He also had another seizure while ill with a now vaccine preventable disease when he was fifteen months old.

    He only ever got the DT vaccine, he did not get protection from pertussis. This was about the time our county was going through a pertussis epidemic (at around the same time over 120 Americans died from measles).

    He also never developed speech when he was over two years old. But he did start attempting after speech therapy and entry into a special ed. program when he was three years old.

    Seizures happen, and not necessarily due to vaccines (actually quite rarely).

    So you little story (anecdote) means exactly nothing.

    What you can do is find the real actual factual evidence that I can find in my local medical school library that the DTaP is more dangerous than diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. Be sure to not include any papers written in Medical Hypothesis (if you want to know why, look up the word “hypothesis”), and paid by lawyers (like anything by Wakefield and the Geiers).

    I would ask the same thing about the MMR, but that is not give to children under the age of one year.

    An example of a paper would be: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16940831
    Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2006 Sep;25(9):768-73.
    Encephalopathy after whole-cell pertussis or measles vaccination: lack of evidence for a causal association in a retrospective case-control study

  68. #68 ababa
    July 13, 2009

    I have news for you Virginia, no matter what happens, those DAN! heavy metals tests always come back positive. That’s the lead in to the big sell on a biomedical treatment. I wouldn’t call you an idiot, just desperate and gullible.

    By the way, what is your college education in? What sort of expertise do you have to be distributing medical advice to other parents? Super Parenting Awareness?

    And you do know that autism is a developmental delay and not a developmental stop, right? A great many children recover without having their parents go broke doing dozens of I.V.s and urine tests. You just assume it is due to the “treatments”.

  69. #69 Do'C
    July 14, 2009

    Every 6 I.v.s, I collect his urine for 8 hours and FedEx picks it up from my house and sends it directly to the lab for a urine toxic metals test.

    And the results are reported with post-chelation reference ranges, right?

    Are the results reported as a ratio to creatinine?

    http://www.autismstreet.org/weblog/?p=258

  70. #70 Wren
    July 14, 2009

    Wait, you’ve done 98 of these and the aluminum and mercury is *still* “pouring out of him”? How much do you think could possibly be injected in a vaccine? Even if the vaccinations were pure aluminumand mercury, after it pouring out a few times I would think it would be gone.

  71. #71 Georgina
    December 5, 2009

    Generation Rescue should be renamed generation con you. They are right up there with ACORN. Just another group of dishonest, greedy, ignorant people trying to make a name for themselves by spreading lies and propoganda. It’s okay though, because more and more people are becoming “enlightened” about the subtle dark jenny mccarthy and other charlatans and scam artists like her are doing in the autism community. Most pathetic is she doesn’t even have a child with autism he’s PDD-Nos or ADHD with epilepsy. She’s no dummy, she knew the autism diagnosis would be her ticket to saving her dying career, since she’s no actress…I guess her acting has improved, however, since she’s managed to play the role of a mother with an autistic child…..and thousands believe her…the time will come when a real doctor tells the world her son was never autistic….and the circus and the lies will come to a screeching halt.

  72. #72 michael lawlor
    February 23, 2010

    douche bag, medicine is not a science it is an art, or havent you glanced at your license latley?

    instead of “discrediting studies” why don’t you tell us what causes autism? because you are less interested in finding a cure than continuing the status quo. vacinate and bill the insurance keep the cash flow going. costs a lot to keep the practice up and running you know.

    the fact is that there is more of a causal relationship between thermosol and autism than cancer and smoking.

    the only reason you’re a doctor is you dont have the common sense or imigination to be anything else.

    mike lawlor

    ps i’m a civil engineer thats applied science, not art

  73. #73 Chris
    February 23, 2010

    Michael Lawlor, what possessed you to post on this old comment when there are more relevant recent ones? Like the “Let’s ask the idiots about science” which was posted yesterday.

    Now you say:

    the fact is that there is more of a causal relationship between thermosol and autism than cancer and smoking.

    All you need is evidence, and what we mean is real evidence. Especially since thimerosal has been removed from all pediatric vaccines (even the influenza vaccine is available without thimerosal). I would suggest that you do not included those fourteen, oh wait… now thirteen studies. In case you haven’t heard, one of them has been fully retracted by The Lancet (though that one had nothing to do thimerosal).

  74. #74 Graeme Bird
    April 6, 2010

    Well if the evidence clears vaccines thats great. So lets have one of you guys present that evidence. It ought to be a very simple matter. No doubt it is. So no need for all these complaints, putdowns and whining. Just present the evidence straight.

  75. #75 Graeme Bird
    April 6, 2010

    Hypothesis: Vaccines definitely make no contributing cause to the problem of autism

    Evidence:……. what? Where is it?

    Unlike with the global warming racket, here we can now jump ahead. We have the hypothesis clearly stated above. Its all pretty simple. Since we have formulated the hypothesis, we are able to submit evidence in favour of this hypothesis. Great. Lets have it.

    It would be magnificent to be able to prove that the bully-boy science maffia at least had one thing right.

  76. #76 Chris
    April 6, 2010

    You should read this blog more often. There have been plenty of studies discussed that answer your question. Perhaps you should have actually read this blog posting more closely. It might help you to understand that the words in blue are URL links to additional information.

    Anyway, you asked for studies, here are some (it may need to be updated):

    Lack of Association between Measles Virus Vaccine and Autism with Enteropathy: A Case-Control Study.
    Hornig M et al.
    PLoS ONE 2008; 3(9): e3140 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003140
    *Subjects: 25 children with autism and GI disturbances and 13 children with GI disturbances alone (controls)

    Measles Vaccination and Antibody Response in Autism Spectrum Disorders.
    Baird G et al.
    Arch Dis Child 2008; 93(10):832-7.
    Subjects: 98 vaccinated children aged 10-12 years in the UK with autism spectrum disorder (ASD); two control groups of similar age: 52 children with special educational needs but no ASD and 90 children in the typically developing group

    MMR-Vaccine and Regression in Autism Spectrum Disorders: Negative Results Presented from Japan.
    Uchiyama T et al.
    J Autism Dev Disord 2007; 37(2):210-7
    *Subjects: 904 children with autism spectrum disorder
    (Note: MMR was used in Japan only between 1989 and 1993.)

    No Evidence of Persisting Measles Virus in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells from Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
    D’Souza Y et al.
    Pediatrics 2006; 118(4):1664-75
    *Subjects: 54 children with autism spectrum disorder and 34 developmentally normal children

    Immunizations and Autism: A Review of the Literature.
    Doja A, Roberts W.
    Can J Neurol Sci. 2006; 33(4):341-6
    *Literature review

    Pervasive Developmental Disorders in Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Prevalence and Links with Immunizations.
    Fombonne E et al.
    Pediatrics. 2006;118(1):e139-50
    *Subjects: 27,749 children born from 1987 to 1998 attending 55 schools

    Relationship between MMR Vaccine and Autism.
    Klein KC, Diehl EB.
    Ann Pharmacother. 2004; 38(7-8):1297-300
    *Literature review of 10 studies

    Immunization Safety Review: Vaccines and Autism. Institute of Medicine.
    The National Academies Press: 2004
    (w w w . nap.edu/books/030909237X/html) *Literature review

    MMR Vaccination and Pervasive Developmental Disorders: A Case-Control Study.
    Smeeth L et al.
    Lancet 2004; 364(9438):963-9
    *Subjects: 1294 cases and 4469 controls

    Age at First Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccination in Children with Autism and School-Matched Control Subjects: A Population-Based Study in Metropolitan Atlanta.
    DeStefano F et al. Pediatrics 2004; 113(2): 259-66
    *Subjects: 624 children with autism and 1,824 controls

    Prevalence of Autism and Parentally Reported Triggers in a North East London Population.
    Lingam R et al.
    Arch Dis Child 2003; 88(8):666-70
    *Subjects: 567 children with autistic spectrum disorder

    Neurologic Disorders after Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccination.
    Makela A et al.
    Pediatrics 2002; 110:957-63
    *Subjects: 535,544 children vaccinated between November 1982 and June 1986 in Finland

    A Population-Based Study of Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccination and Autism.
    Madsen KM et al.
    N Engl J Med 2002; 347(19):1477-82
    *Subjects: All 537,303 children born 1/91–12/98 in Denmark

    Relation of Childhood Gastrointestinal Disorders to Autism: Nested Case Control Study Using Data from the UK General Practice Research Database.
    Black C et al.
    BMJ 2002; 325:419-21
    *Subjects: 96 children diagnosed with autism and 449 controls

    Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccination and Bowel Problems or Developmental Regression in Children with Autism: Population Study.
    Taylor B et al.
    BMJ 2002; 324(7334):393-6
    *Subjects: 278 children with core autism and 195 with atypical autism

    No Evidence for a New Variant of Measles-Mumps-Rubella-Induced Autism.
    Fombonne E et al.
    Pediatrics 2001;108(4):E58
    *Subjects: 262 autistic children (pre- and post-MMR samples)

    Measles-Mumps-Rubella and Other Measles-Containing Vaccines Do Not Increase the Risk for Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Case-Control Study from the Vaccine Safety Datalink Project.
    Davis RL et al.
    Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2001;155(3):354-9
    *Subjects: 155 persons with IBD with up to 5 controls each

    Time Trends in Autism and in MMR Immunization Coverage in California.
    Dales L et al.
    JAMA 2001; 285(9):1183-5
    *Subjects: Children born in 1980-94 who were enrolled in California kindergartens (survey samples of 600–1,900 children each year)

    Mumps, Measles, and Rubella Vaccine and the Incidence of Autism Recorded by General Practitioners: A Time Trend Analysis.
    Kaye JA et al.
    BMJ 2001; 322:460-63
    *Subjects: 305 children with autism

    Further Evidence of the Absence of Measles Virus Genome Sequence in Full Thickness Intestinal Specimens from Patients with Crohn’s Disease.
    Afzal MA, et al.
    J Med Virol 2000; 62(3):377-82
    *Subjects: Specimens from patients with Crohn’s disease

    Autism and Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccine: No Epidemiological Evidence for a Causal Association.
    Taylor B et al.
    Lancet 1999;353 (9169):2026-9
    *Subjects: 498 children with autism

    Absence of Detectable Measles Virus Genome Sequence in Inflammatory Bowel Disease Tissues and Peripheral Blood Lymphocytes.
    Afzal MA et al.
    J Med Virol 1998; 55(3):243-9
    *Subjects: 93 colonoscopic biopsies and 31 peripheral blood lymphocyte preparations

    No Evidence for Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccine-Associated Inflammatory Bowel Disease or Autism in a 14-year Prospective Study.
    Peltola H et al.
    Lancet 1998; 351:1327-8
    *Subjects: 3,000,000 doses of MMR vaccine

    Exposure to Measles in Utero and Crohn’s Disease: Danish Register Study.
    Nielsen LL et al.
    BMJ 1998; 316(7126):196-7
    *Subjects: 472 women with measles

    Immunocytochemical Evidence of Listeria, Escherichia coli, and Streptococcus Antigens in Crohn’s Disease.
    Liu Y et al.
    Gastroenterology 1995; 108(5):1396-1404
    *Subjects: Intestines and mesenteric lymph node specimens from 21 persons from families with a high frequency of Crohn’s disease

    Neuropsychological Performance 10 years after Immunization in Infancy with Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines
    Tozzi AE, Bisiacchi P, Tarantino V, De Mei B, D’Elia L, Chiarotti F, Salmaso S.
    Pediatrics, February 2009, Vol. 123(2):475-82

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

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

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

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

    Pervasive Developmental Disorders in Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Prevalence and Links with Immunizations
    Fombonne E, Zakarian R, Bennett A, Meng L, McLean-Heywood D
    Pediatrics, July 2006, Vol. 118(1):e139-e150

    Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System Reporting Source: A Possible Source of Bias in Longitudinal Studies
    Goodman MJ, Nordin J
    Pediatrics, February 2006, Vol. 117(2):387-390

    MMR-Vaccine and Regression in Autism Spectrum Disorders: Negative Results Presented from Japan
    Authors: Uchiyama T, Kurosawa M, Inaba Y
    Source: J Autism Dev Disord, February 2007; 37(2):210-217

    No effect of MMR withdrawal on the incidence of autism: a total population study.
    Honda H, Shimizu Y, Rutter M.
    J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2005 Jun;46(6):572-9.

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

    Comparison of Blood and Brain Mercury Levels in Infant Monkeys Exposed to Methylmercury or Vaccines Containing Thimerosal
    Burbacher TM, Shen DD, Liberato N, Grant KS, Cernichiari E, Clarkson T
    National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, April 21, 2005

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

    Thimerosal Exposure in Infants and Developmental Disorders: A Retrospective Cohort Study in the United Kingdom Does Not Support a Causal Association
    Andrews N, Miller E, Grant A, Stowe J, Osborne V, Taylor B
    Pediatrics, September 2004, Vol. 114(3):584-591

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

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

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

    The Toxicology of Mercury–Current Exposures and Clinical Manifestations
    Clarkson TW, Magos L, Myers GJ
    New England Journal of Medicine, October 30, 2003, Vol. 349(18):1731-7

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

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

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

    Impact of the Thimerosal Controversy on Hepatitis B Vaccine Coverage of Infants Born to Women of Unknown Hepatitis B Surface Antigen Status in Michigan
    Biroscak BJ, Fiore AE, Fasano N, Fineis P, Collins MP, Stoltman G
    Pediatrics, June 2003, Vol. 111(6):e645-9

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

    Mercury Concentrations and Metabolism in Infants Receiving Vaccines Containing Thimerosal: A Descriptive Study
    Pichichero ME, Cernichiari E, Lopreiato J, Treanor J
    The Lancet, November 30, 2002, Vol. 360:1737-1741

    An Assessment of Thimerosal Use in Childhood Vaccines
    Ball LK, Ball R, Pratt RD
    Pediatrics, May 2001, Vol. 107(5):1147-1154

    Economic Evaluation of the 7-Vaccine Routine Childhood Immunization Schedule in the United States, 2001
    Zhou F, Santoli J, Messonnier ML, Yusuf HR, Shefer A, Chu SY, Rodewald L, Harpaz R.
    Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2005;159:1136-1144.

    An economic analysis of the current universal 2-dose measles-mumps-rubella vaccination program in the United States.
    Zhou F, Reef S, Massoudi M, Papania MJ, Yusuf HR, Bardenheier B, Zimmerman L, McCauley MM.
    J Infect Dis. 2004 May 1;189 Suppl 1:S131-45.

    Impact of universal Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccination starting at 2 months of age in the United States: an economic analysis.
    Zhou F, Bisgard KM, Yusuf HR, Deuson RR, Bath SK, Murphy TV.
    Pediatrics. 2002 Oct;110(4):653-61.

    Impact of specific medical interventions on reducing the prevalence of mental retardation.
    Brosco JP, Mattingly M, Sanders LM.
    Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2006;160:302-309.

    Encephalopathy after whole-cell pertussis or measles vaccination: lack of evidence for a causal association in a retrospective case-control study.
    Ray P, Hayward J, Michelson D, Lewis E, Schwalbe J, Black S, Shinefield H, Marcy M, Huff K, Ward J, Mullooly J, Chen R, Davis R; Vaccine Safety Datalink Group.
    Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2006 Sep;25(9):768-73.

  77. #77 Graeme Bird
    April 6, 2010

    Chris one would do if you are sure there is real evidence for the specific hypothesis in the study.

    Now what is it about your favourite study that you find particularly convincing.

    Remembering that data isn’t evidence unless at first you have an hypothesis.

    Here is the hypothesis again:

    “Vaccines definitely make no contributing cause to the problem of autism.”

    No hopefully this time you can do better. Make a link, use human reason to relate what you think is good evidence to the specific hypothesis above.

    No use referring people to google scholar or trying to pretend that human reason and logic is not part of this story. Attempt not to be an idiot and try again.

  78. #78 Chris
    April 6, 2010

    Graeme Bird (who is picking up the goal posts as he prepares to move them, because he was relying on certain websites which forgot to tell him there were lots of studies available):

    Now what is it about your favourite study that you find particularly convincing.

    Only an idiot would rely on one favorite study. That is called cherry picking, which is not a good thing. What you have to do is look at the whole range of studies. You must look at all of the data (quoting Dr. Mark Crislip, because the world needs more Mark Crislip, with some added emphasis):

    Do flu vaccines work? It depends on what the meaning of is is. If you are simplistic and like binary answers, yes or no, then you can pick yes or pick no, and find studies to support your contention that the vaccine doesn’t work.

    If you realize that medicine is subtle and nuanced, and often the answers are filled with qualifiers and uncertainty, that the practice of medicine is messy, I think the answer is that the flu vaccine is of benefit. And that the more people who get the vaccine, the greater the benefit for everyone. You do not know how much it pains me to quote Donald Rumsfeld , but he was partly right when he said “You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.”

    It is true in medicine as well. My army is the vaccine and the data used to support it. You can conclude that neither the vaccine nor the data is perfect, and decide the vaccine is not useful.

    Or you can look at the preponderance of data, with all the flaws, nuance, subtleties and qualifiers, and conclude the flu vaccine is of benefit. The vaccine decreases the probability of morbidity and mortality. It is a good thing.

  79. #79 Travis
    April 6, 2010

    Also, the use of the word definitely is also problematic. If that is your standard then it will never be met. Sciecne does not really deal with absolute certainty. As the quotes Chris posts above mention, you have to look at the “preponderance of data”

    Only a few studies have indicated there may be any link between vaccines and autism (and many of those have had problems, or have been withdrawn at this point). Those studies have not been replicated and many subsequent and better studies have found no link between vaccines and autism. If people still believe there is a link between autism and vaccines they must go out and show this, that is their job, but I would not recommend it at this point as so much evidence goes against that hypothesis at this point.

  80. #80 Travis
    April 6, 2010

    I need to go to bed, too many strange sentences and spelling mistakes at this point.

  81. #81 Chris
    April 6, 2010

    Graeme Bird:

    No use referring people to google scholar or trying to pretend that human reason and logic is not part of this story. Attempt not to be an idiot and try again.

    I don’t use Google Scholar. I prefer original sources, so I go to PubMed directly. Funny how you missed that distinction.

    I also did not refer people to anything, I actually listed the paper title, authors, journal, dates and pages. Anyone with a modicum of intelligence can find the articles online or at their local medical school library (one of which is less than three kilometers from my physical location).

    If you have actual data supporting your views I expect the same level of referencing. What is the evidence supporting your claims? Please list those papers, but remember that I will dismiss anything from the non-peer-reviewed “Medical Hypothesis” and any journal not listed in PubMed (like “Medial Veritas” and anything from JPANDS). Those references seem to be missing from your posts. Please correct that omission.

  82. #82 Chris
    April 6, 2010

    Travis:

    As the quotes Chris posts above mention, you have to look at the “preponderance of data”

    Just to double clarify, I was quoting a real Infectious Disease Doctor! His name is Mark Crislip. He really knows about this stuff.

    And as I said before: The world needs more Mark Crislip.

  83. #83 Chris
    April 6, 2010

    Could someone remind me where I used the word “definitely” because I cannot find it.

  84. #84 Travis
    April 6, 2010

    Chris, I am referring to Graeme’s use of the word, he has used it multiple times.

    “Vaccines definitely make no contributing cause to the problem of autism.”

  85. #85 Graeme Bird
    April 6, 2010

    Which do you think is the best study? The one that proves the hypothesis without any ambiguity?

    The way people are talking this will be a very quick matter to put to rest.

    Here is the hypothesis again. Just to keep you focused:

    “Vaccines definitely make no contributing cause to the problem of autism.”

    Now Travis says something very interesting.

    “Only a few studies have indicated there may be any link between vaccines and autism….”

    We can dispense with the word “only” up front because it doesn’t change the meaning of what Travis is saying.

    So Travis’ statement boils down to:

    “A few studies have indicated there may be any link between vaccines and autism.”

    A few usually means more than two. You get the same result three or more twice the results are repeated more than twice.

    So immediately we see Travis lies and claims that the results are not repeatable.

    Already you people are beginning to look suspicious. So where is this arrogance coming from. If you were right, then its a very simple matter of proving it.

    Now there are kids involved here. You’ve got to make your case, without lying, handwaving, or just abusing people.

    Can you make this case or not?

    If you are not going to be scientists fine. Then stop being so arrogant.

  86. #86 Graeme Bird
    April 6, 2010

    Travis if you don’t like my wording of the hypothesis, you put your own less harsh rewording. Do I have to spell it out to everyone here that there is no such thing as evidence without a specific, unambiguous hypothesis?

    Whatever the truth is in this story, and I tend to veer to the mainstream on this one issue, when they are just so full of shit on most things …….. whatever the truth is its not good to be unscientific, smug, to lack humility, and to approach all opposition with ridicule.

    That sort of gear might make you feel good over at PZ Myers’ place. But its not what science, properly considered, is about. You are not here to feel superior to these poor parents who cannot get straight answers.

    And for the love of stupid biologists everywhere do not bring up this bullshit about “concern blogging.” If there is one thing that science is about its not the question of ones belief.

  87. #87 Chris
    April 6, 2010

    Obviously the entity identifying itself as “Graeme Bird” cannot read for comprehension. Travis, I see no instance where that entity has produced evidence for those claims.

    And why should he? You quoted him as saying “Vaccines definitely make no contributing cause to the problem of autism.”

    So what is the issue?

    Oh, wait! He claims there is data to the contrary. Well it would be helpful if we knew what that was!

    As far as we know, there is no real data that shows vaccines are associated with autism.

    This is where I post my standard advice: Go to your local community college and take some basic English classes. After you have a basic command of the common language take a basic biology class.

    Because at this time I see only someone who is posting stuff that makes him look like a lunatic. Just blatant accusations and absolutely no evidence. Graeme Bird, do try better in presenting actual evidence. Because right now you are failing badly.

    If you have actual evidence for your claims, please let us know.

  88. #88 Chris
    April 6, 2010

    Graeme Bird, please sure us what evidence you have that supports your conclusion.

  89. #89 Graeme Bird
    April 6, 2010

    No no Chris. Stop being an idiot and lets have your evidence. You are the anonymous entity here. Being insulting is no substitute for being a scientist.

    Here is the hypothesis again:

    “Vaccines definitely make no contributing cause to the problem of autism”

    I wasn’t after bullshit from morons here. I was after evidence. Now do you have it or don’t you?

    You see you are a moron Chris. Wake up to yourself.

  90. #90 Chris
    April 6, 2010

    Evidence?

  91. #91 Graeme Bird
    April 6, 2010

    “Graeme Bird, please sure us what evidence you have that supports your conclusion.”

    See you are a liar Chris. I never came to a conclusion. You are calling me an anti-vaxer for no reason at all. You came to a conclusion, I did not. I’m asking you for evidence for your conclusion. So you are not a scientist mate. And you are a liar.

    Now imagine the position dropkicks like you put worried parents in. You can give them no guidance at all.

  92. #92 Graeme Bird
    April 6, 2010

    Have you got that evidence Chris?

    Yes or no?

    See you haven’t got it have you.

    So what is all this arrogance about?

  93. #93 Chris
    April 6, 2010

    Your statement of absoluteness shows that you have no absolutely no understanding of how science works.

    Show us the data that support your claims. If you had any, you would have used it.

    Why are you just calling us names?

    Do you really have reading comprehension issues?

    Until you produce actual scientific data to support your claims (including the contention that I am a moron for producing several papers that show vaccines and autism are not related), you will now considered a:

    TROLL.

    I am assuming that is something that might make you proud.

    So now that you have established your status as a TROLL you will now go away.

    Thank you, TROLL, please go away.

    It is time for the adults to discuss things. You are obviously years away from forming an opinion with real evidence. Or you may be straining too much from the goal post moving.

  94. #94 Graeme Bird
    April 6, 2010

    Have you got any evidence or not Chris?

    No use bullshitting if you don’t have the evidence. So you guys are so pathetic you are trying to turn science into a church of some sort.

    No you fuck off Chris. If you are not honest enough to return an open verdict, or come up with evidence, then you have no business discussing these matters.

    Beat it troll.

  95. #95 Chris
    April 6, 2010

    Just a reminder of what I presented, so that those who read will remember who to laugh at:

    Lack of Association between Measles Virus Vaccine and Autism with Enteropathy: A Case-Control Study.
    Hornig M et al.
    PLoS ONE 2008; 3(9): e3140 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003140
    *Subjects: 25 children with autism and GI disturbances and 13 children with GI disturbances alone (controls)

    Measles Vaccination and Antibody Response in Autism Spectrum Disorders.
    Baird G et al.
    Arch Dis Child 2008; 93(10):832-7.
    Subjects: 98 vaccinated children aged 10-12 years in the UK with autism spectrum disorder (ASD); two control groups of similar age: 52 children with special educational needs but no ASD and 90 children in the typically developing group

    MMR-Vaccine and Regression in Autism Spectrum Disorders: Negative Results Presented from Japan.
    Uchiyama T et al.
    J Autism Dev Disord 2007; 37(2):210-7
    *Subjects: 904 children with autism spectrum disorder
    (Note: MMR was used in Japan only between 1989 and 1993.)

    No Evidence of Persisting Measles Virus in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells from Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
    D’Souza Y et al.
    Pediatrics 2006; 118(4):1664-75
    *Subjects: 54 children with autism spectrum disorder and 34 developmentally normal children

    Immunizations and Autism: A Review of the Literature.
    Doja A, Roberts W.
    Can J Neurol Sci. 2006; 33(4):341-6
    *Literature review

    Pervasive Developmental Disorders in Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Prevalence and Links with Immunizations.
    Fombonne E et al.
    Pediatrics. 2006;118(1):e139-50
    *Subjects: 27,749 children born from 1987 to 1998 attending 55 schools

    Relationship between MMR Vaccine and Autism.
    Klein KC, Diehl EB.
    Ann Pharmacother. 2004; 38(7-8):1297-300
    *Literature review of 10 studies

    Immunization Safety Review: Vaccines and Autism. Institute of Medicine.
    The National Academies Press: 2004
    (w w w . nap.edu/books/030909237X/html) *Literature review

    MMR Vaccination and Pervasive Developmental Disorders: A Case-Control Study.
    Smeeth L et al.
    Lancet 2004; 364(9438):963-9
    *Subjects: 1294 cases and 4469 controls

    Age at First Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccination in Children with Autism and School-Matched Control Subjects: A Population-Based Study in Metropolitan Atlanta.
    DeStefano F et al. Pediatrics 2004; 113(2): 259-66
    *Subjects: 624 children with autism and 1,824 controls

    Prevalence of Autism and Parentally Reported Triggers in a North East London Population.
    Lingam R et al.
    Arch Dis Child 2003; 88(8):666-70
    *Subjects: 567 children with autistic spectrum disorder

    Neurologic Disorders after Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccination.
    Makela A et al.
    Pediatrics 2002; 110:957-63
    *Subjects: 535,544 children vaccinated between November 1982 and June 1986 in Finland

    A Population-Based Study of Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccination and Autism.
    Madsen KM et al.
    N Engl J Med 2002; 347(19):1477-82
    *Subjects: All 537,303 children born 1/91–12/98 in Denmark

    Relation of Childhood Gastrointestinal Disorders to Autism: Nested Case Control Study Using Data from the UK General Practice Research Database.
    Black C et al.
    BMJ 2002; 325:419-21
    *Subjects: 96 children diagnosed with autism and 449 controls

    Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccination and Bowel Problems or Developmental Regression in Children with Autism: Population Study.
    Taylor B et al.
    BMJ 2002; 324(7334):393-6
    *Subjects: 278 children with core autism and 195 with atypical autism

    No Evidence for a New Variant of Measles-Mumps-Rubella-Induced Autism.
    Fombonne E et al.
    Pediatrics 2001;108(4):E58
    *Subjects: 262 autistic children (pre- and post-MMR samples)

    Measles-Mumps-Rubella and Other Measles-Containing Vaccines Do Not Increase the Risk for Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Case-Control Study from the Vaccine Safety Datalink Project.
    Davis RL et al.
    Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2001;155(3):354-9
    *Subjects: 155 persons with IBD with up to 5 controls each

    Time Trends in Autism and in MMR Immunization Coverage in California.
    Dales L et al.
    JAMA 2001; 285(9):1183-5
    *Subjects: Children born in 1980-94 who were enrolled in California kindergartens (survey samples of 600–1,900 children each year)

    Mumps, Measles, and Rubella Vaccine and the Incidence of Autism Recorded by General Practitioners: A Time Trend Analysis.
    Kaye JA et al.
    BMJ 2001; 322:460-63
    *Subjects: 305 children with autism

    Further Evidence of the Absence of Measles Virus Genome Sequence in Full Thickness Intestinal Specimens from Patients with Crohn’s Disease.
    Afzal MA, et al.
    J Med Virol 2000; 62(3):377-82
    *Subjects: Specimens from patients with Crohn’s disease

    Autism and Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccine: No Epidemiological Evidence for a Causal Association.
    Taylor B et al.
    Lancet 1999;353 (9169):2026-9
    *Subjects: 498 children with autism

    Absence of Detectable Measles Virus Genome Sequence in Inflammatory Bowel Disease Tissues and Peripheral Blood Lymphocytes.
    Afzal MA et al.
    J Med Virol 1998; 55(3):243-9
    *Subjects: 93 colonoscopic biopsies and 31 peripheral blood lymphocyte preparations

    No Evidence for Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccine-Associated Inflammatory Bowel Disease or Autism in a 14-year Prospective Study.
    Peltola H et al.
    Lancet 1998; 351:1327-8
    *Subjects: 3,000,000 doses of MMR vaccine

    Exposure to Measles in Utero and Crohn’s Disease: Danish Register Study.
    Nielsen LL et al.
    BMJ 1998; 316(7126):196-7
    *Subjects: 472 women with measles

    Immunocytochemical Evidence of Listeria, Escherichia coli, and Streptococcus Antigens in Crohn’s Disease.
    Liu Y et al.
    Gastroenterology 1995; 108(5):1396-1404
    *Subjects: Intestines and mesenteric lymph node specimens from 21 persons from families with a high frequency of Crohn’s disease

    Neuropsychological Performance 10 years after Immunization in Infancy with Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines
    Tozzi AE, Bisiacchi P, Tarantino V, De Mei B, D’Elia L, Chiarotti F, Salmaso S.
    Pediatrics, February 2009, Vol. 123(2):475-82

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

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

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

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

    Pervasive Developmental Disorders in Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Prevalence and Links with Immunizations
    Fombonne E, Zakarian R, Bennett A, Meng L, McLean-Heywood D
    Pediatrics, July 2006, Vol. 118(1):e139-e150

    Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System Reporting Source: A Possible Source of Bias in Longitudinal Studies
    Goodman MJ, Nordin J
    Pediatrics, February 2006, Vol. 117(2):387-390

    MMR-Vaccine and Regression in Autism Spectrum Disorders: Negative Results Presented from Japan
    Authors: Uchiyama T, Kurosawa M, Inaba Y
    Source: J Autism Dev Disord, February 2007; 37(2):210-217

    No effect of MMR withdrawal on the incidence of autism: a total population study.
    Honda H, Shimizu Y, Rutter M.
    J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2005 Jun;46(6):572-9.

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

    Comparison of Blood and Brain Mercury Levels in Infant Monkeys Exposed to Methylmercury or Vaccines Containing Thimerosal
    Burbacher TM, Shen DD, Liberato N, Grant KS, Cernichiari E, Clarkson T
    National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, April 21, 2005

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

    Thimerosal Exposure in Infants and Developmental Disorders: A Retrospective Cohort Study in the United Kingdom Does Not Support a Causal Association
    Andrews N, Miller E, Grant A, Stowe J, Osborne V, Taylor B
    Pediatrics, September 2004, Vol. 114(3):584-591

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

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

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

    The Toxicology of Mercury–Current Exposures and Clinical Manifestations
    Clarkson TW, Magos L, Myers GJ
    New England Journal of Medicine, October 30, 2003, Vol. 349(18):1731-7

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

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

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

    Impact of the Thimerosal Controversy on Hepatitis B Vaccine Coverage of Infants Born to Women of Unknown Hepatitis B Surface Antigen Status in Michigan
    Biroscak BJ, Fiore AE, Fasano N, Fineis P, Collins MP, Stoltman G
    Pediatrics, June 2003, Vol. 111(6):e645-9

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

    Mercury Concentrations and Metabolism in Infants Receiving Vaccines Containing Thimerosal: A Descriptive Study
    Pichichero ME, Cernichiari E, Lopreiato J, Treanor J
    The Lancet, November 30, 2002, Vol. 360:1737-1741

    An Assessment of Thimerosal Use in Childhood Vaccines
    Ball LK, Ball R, Pratt RD
    Pediatrics, May 2001, Vol. 107(5):1147-1154

    Economic Evaluation of the 7-Vaccine Routine Childhood Immunization Schedule in the United States, 2001
    Zhou F, Santoli J, Messonnier ML, Yusuf HR, Shefer A, Chu SY, Rodewald L, Harpaz R.
    Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2005;159:1136-1144.

    An economic analysis of the current universal 2-dose measles-mumps-rubella vaccination program in the United States.
    Zhou F, Reef S, Massoudi M, Papania MJ, Yusuf HR, Bardenheier B, Zimmerman L, McCauley MM.
    J Infect Dis. 2004 May 1;189 Suppl 1:S131-45.

    Impact of universal Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccination starting at 2 months of age in the United States: an economic analysis.
    Zhou F, Bisgard KM, Yusuf HR, Deuson RR, Bath SK, Murphy TV.
    Pediatrics. 2002 Oct;110(4):653-61.

    Impact of specific medical interventions on reducing the prevalence of mental retardation.
    Brosco JP, Mattingly M, Sanders LM.
    Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2006;160:302-309.

    Encephalopathy after whole-cell pertussis or measles vaccination: lack of evidence for a causal association in a retrospective case-control study.
    Ray P, Hayward J, Michelson D, Lewis E, Schwalbe J, Black S, Shinefield H, Marcy M, Huff K, Ward J, Mullooly J, Chen R, Davis R; Vaccine Safety Datalink Group.
    Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2006 Sep;25(9):768-73.

  96. #96 Graeme Bird
    April 6, 2010

    Its pretty simple Chris. If you didn’t like my wording, why didn’t you come up with your own?

    We just going to have to go over it again. There is no such thing as evidence, except that it is related to a specific hypothesis.

  97. #97 snerd
    April 6, 2010

    Suddenly! Graeme Bird! Millions of him!

    Still stinging from his beat-down and subsequent plonking on Pharyngula, the Joe Palooka of Debate, the Great Denier of Pretty-Much-Everything, has appeard to foist his quasi-solipsism on the Oracular audience.

    Expect nothing but warrghbl, engage if you want out of a sense of play, but don’t exepct any valuable or interesting discourse.

  98. #98 Graeme Bird
    April 6, 2010

    I didn’t get beaten down. I got lied about. I’m just after evidence. Remembering that evidence is not linking to google scholar, or setting people homework. And its not anything that is not related to a specific and clearly defined hypothesis.

    It seems that people are too dishonest to just admit that they don’t know what the answers are.

  99. #99 snerd
    April 6, 2010

    Ho ho. I see you’ve rationalised away the cognitive dissonance you must encounter when you realise you’ve been caught lying egregiously.

    Now. Please give an example of evidence for (or against) the following claim: “Graeme Bird got 182 votes in the 2007 Australian federal election.”

  100. #100 Graeme Bird
    April 6, 2010

    Look. I don’t have skin in this particular fight. I get a flu shot every year. So why is it hard to get evidence from bully-boy devotees of consensus?

    Bearing in mind that evidence requires a clear, hypothesis. If not mine then an unambiguously worded one from someone else.

    Clearly you are an idiot snerd as your name suggests. I am not subject to cognitive dissonance, as I’m not making any claims whatsoever. Take your idiocy elsewhere troll.

  101. #101 MI Dawn
    April 6, 2010

    Do NOT feed the troll, please. He got banned on Pharyngula, will never give you answers that require any form of documentation, and changes stories. Please ignore all the bird droppings.

  102. #102 snerd
    April 6, 2010

    I am not subject to cognitive dissonance, as I’m not making any claims whatsoever.

    Perhaps you’re correct on that, as I’m not seeing any evidence of cognition. I actually have no idea what point it is you think you’re making.

    Please put on your false moustache and head back to the cruise bars, there to slake your terrible and shameful lusts.

  103. #103 Orac
    April 6, 2010

    Given that this post is over a year old and we have a troll infestation, I hereby close the comments.

The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.