Respectful Insolence

Yesterday, I wrote a post about what fellow ScienceBlogger Isis would term “hot, hot science.” As much as I love science like that, writing such posts is a lot of work and takes considerably longer than my run-of-the-mill bit of insolent brilliance. Often, after writing an analysis of a peer-reviewed paper like that, I need a bit of a break. No, not a break in writing, but a break in difficulty. To that end, I had seen David Kirby’s latest bit of disingenuous goalpost shifting over on The Huffington Post, but damn if Steve Novella didn’t beat me to it. I had thought of taking sloppy seconds, because it’s impossible to pile on David Kirby too much, given his unctuously self-righteous blather, but leave it to the merry band of anti-vaccinationists over at Age of Autism to give me blog fodder with a post that perfectly limns the thinking of the antivaccine movement these days.

What do I mean by “these days”? Well, despite all the P.R. success that the anti-vaccine movement has had, with the bubble-brained and arrogantly ignorant spokesmodel Jenny McCarthy as its public face, side by side with her equally dim soulmate Jim Carrey, I sense a disturbance in the anti-vaccine movement force, if you know what I mean. After all, even though the movement has had enormous success in frightening parents into not vaccinating, very likely bringing us to the dawning of a new age of infectious disease, from a strictly scientific standpoint, it hasn’t had a single victory, or even a whiff of one, in years. Of course, that’s because science does not support their fervent belief that, all science, all evidence notwithstanding, it’s absolutely, positively got to be the vaccines causing an “autism” epidemic. And you know what? I think that, deep down, antivaccinationists know it. They simply don’t accept it. When science doesn’t support their viewpoint, like so many other cranks and unlike scientists, they reject science..

All of this is probably why Age of Autism trotted out Dr. Bob Sears the other day.

Dr. Bob Sears, as you may recall, is the crunchy pediatrician who is best known as the author of The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child, a book that I have heard pediatricians describe as the “bane of their existence.” Why? It’s because Sears’ book recommends an “alternate” vaccine schedule, in which some vaccines are delayed and spread out, that does nothing other than to cater to the fear of vaccines stoked by the anti-vaccine movement and cash in on said fear. I’m not going to address Dr. Sears’ schedule itself, given that Paul Offit has done a fine job of deconstructing it, and Steve Novella has pointed out some of the misinformation in it and describes Dr. Sears thusly:

What Dr. Sears accomplishes ultimately is to fuel the fire of that fear by spreading misinformation, or withholding from his readers the scientific information that has lead the scientific and medical communities to the recommendations they currently make. He also sets himself up as a guru – first by facilitating the spread of fear about vaccines, then offering himself as a solution – you don’t trust the Centers for Disease Control, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Family Physicians (who all endorse the current vaccine schedule)? Don’t worry, good ‘ol Dr. Bob has the answer.

What interests me more than his science-free “alternative” vaccine schedule is why Dr. Sears agreed to write an essay for AoA. The reason I’m so curious, of course, is that Dr. Sears clearly craves respect and legitimacy. He says over and over again that he is “not anti-vaccine” and neither is his book. He was clearly very offended when Dr. Offit lumped him in with the anti-vaccine movement, just as Dr. Jay Gordon acts oh-so-wounded when I describe him as an apologist for the anti-vaccine movement if not an anti-vaccine advocate himself. Clearly, Dr. Sears is not happy being on the outside and craves the respect of his peers.

I have bad news for Dr. Sears: Being associated in any way whatsoever (other than as a staunch opponent) with the anti-vaccine cranks at Generation Rescue and AoA (and, make no mistake, AoA is nothing than a propaganda arm of Generation Rescue) is about as good a way of destroying whatever medical or scientific credibility you might have had left as I can think of. Really. You might as well start publishing your work in JPANDS and presenting at Autism One. No, it’s worse than that. You might as well start writing posts for The Huffington Post. No, wait. Skip the Huffington Post. That’s not anti-science enough. Instead go straight for WorldNet Daily. Heck, skip WND and go straight for the Weekly World News or start hanging out with the Geiers in their basement lab in Silver Spring. After agreeing to write a post for AoA, you might as well, because you’ve just put a bullet in the head of whatever remnants of medical credibility you had left (metaphorically speaking, of course).

Really, writing for AoA is just that bad; it’s just that full of cranks. There’s an old saying: “If you lie down with a dog, you risk waking up with fleas.” Right now, Dr. Sears should be feeling a bit of an itch coming on.

In any case, Dr. Sears has a burning question on his mind (note the use of the “burning” metaphor; what other “burning” metaphor do I like to use?), and AoA is the perfect venue for him to ask it. His question is this: If A Vaccine/Autism Link is Proven, Will Vaccine Policy Change? His post is full of weaselly waffling, in which he acknowledges that, yes, some diseases that vaccines can prevent are pretty horrible, but then plays the argumentum ad ignorantiam logical fallacy again and again and again to sow doubt and fear about the current vaccination schedule. But first he has to suck up to the anti-vaccine contingent at AoA:

Before I dive into my opinion on this, allow me to introduce myself (for those of you who don’t know me). I’m a pediatrician, a DAN doctor, and a writer. I’ve been researching vaccines for about 15 years now. While I’m not anti-vaccine, I do acknowledge there are problems with our current vaccine system, there are potential very serious side effects, and I view the decision that some parents make to not vaccinate their babies as an understandable choice. I have always openly accepted such patients into my practice and have never come down on such parents.

Wow. I never knew that Dr. Sears was a DAN! doctor. Here’s another hint to Dr. Sears. If you really want medical and scientific respectability, you shouldn’t admit you’re a DAN! doctor. Really. I mean it. DAN! doctors are known for all sorts of dubious biomedical woo, up to and including chelation therapy for autism. One of them even killed an autistic boy in 2005 with chelation therapy! If you want real scientists to take you seriously, then associating yourself with such pseudoscience is not a good idea. Also, if you really want people to believe that you are not “anti-vaccine,” admitting to being a DAN! doctor doesn’t help. DAN! doctors as a group are about as anti-vaccine as it gets. But enough of that. Let’s see what’s eating at Dr. Sears:

As the autism epidemic continues to rage on, everyone is searching for a cause or causes. Many parents and some medical professionals believe there is already enough evidence to show a link between vaccines and autism, and they are calling for a change, even a halt, in vaccine protocol. They hope and pray that someday mainstream research will give them vindication and make a clear declaration that “vaccines cause autism.” Not that this would help any children who have already been affected (except for easing the financial burden these families have to endure), but it would bring peace and closure to families who have been trying to find why their child regressed into autism. And it would help protect future children. For many parents, such a ruling would also create renewed anger and a demand for accountability. Is such a day ever going to come? It may or may not.

Clearly, Dr. Sears buys into the anti-vaccine rhetoric that there even is an “autism epidemic.” Apparently he doesn’t realize that widening of the diagnostic criteria for autism in the 1990s, along with diagnostic substitution can explain much and probably all of the apparent increase in autism diagnoses, recent efforts to show otherwise notwithstanding. He also appears to share the fervent belief of anti-vaccine parents that someday, some way, it’s absolutely, positively got to be the vaccines because…well, because it does. Oh, sure, he denies it with his words, but his attitude and sucking up to the anti-vaccine fringe say, “Yes!” Dr. Sears appears to that belief enough that he fantasizes what might happen if such a link is found first asking the question:

The question that I want to address is this: If a link is proven, will the routine use of vaccinations change dramatically? I actually don’t think it will. Now, should it change? Yes. But will it? I’m not so sure.

I can play thought games and do hypothetical exercises with the best of them, and that’s all this is, because the evidence is so overwhelmingly against there being a link that the chances that a link will ever be found are pretty darned slim. But that doesn’t stop Dr. Sears from letting down his guard and letting his anti-vaccine freak flag fly high, all the while couching it in hypothetical terms buried in anti-vaccine talking points and denials that he is anti-vaccine. First Dr. Sears lists a number of diseases against which we vaccinate, downplaying the severity of many of them and grudgingly admitting that pertussis, among others, can kill:

But let’s explore what most doctors believe could happen if we stopped vaccinating all babies. Right now there are five childhood diseases that kill infants: Pertussis (whooping cough) kills about 20 babies each year, Rotavirus (vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration) about 50, HIB meningitis kills around 10, Pneumococcal disease approximately several hundred (precise numbers aren’t known), and the flu kills around 100 infants and young kids each year. Those are just the most serious diseases. And these numbers are probably this low because most parents vaccinate. What would these numbers look like if we didn’t?

This is what would happen, Dr. Sears. This is what would happen. As a pediatrician, Dr. Sears should know that. He should also know better than to dismiss mumps and rubella as “very rare” and only causing the “occasional complication.” Tell that to all the boys rendered sterile by mumps orchitis or children who’ve suffered from encephalitis, pancreatitis, and deafness. True, some of these are uncommon, but if the caseload of mumps skyrockets, thanks to the efforts of the owners of AoA, then expect to see a lot more of these “occasional complications.” In any case, in the article, Dr. Sears argues that we should only vaccinate against diseases that can kill children. Apparently preventing suffering means little or nothing to him. Of course, his “logic” makes a certain sense if one believes that vaccines are so incredibly risky, in which case it would be reasonable only to vaccinate against the deadliest infectious diseases. But his position is based on a massive overhyping of the actual risk of vaccination plus a heapin’ helpin’ of argumentum ad ignorantium.

Dr. Sears is also so enamored of being a “brave maverick doctor,” iconoclast fighting for your–yes, your–children, not to mention hero to mothers frightened by the anti-vaccine movement, that he tries to suck up to it, and that’s why he starts pulling the big bad pharma gambit against vaccines:

Vaccines and disease prevention is so ingrained into our nation’s healthcare policy that I really don’t think the government’s answer is going to be to stop vaccinating, or even alter the schedule to any significant degree, if a definite link to autism is found. The very thought of stopping routine vaccines in all children would give most doctors a heart attack. Infectious disease specialists and public health officials would probably have a stroke right before their coronary. And the stockholders of the pharmaceutical companies? Well, they can probably afford to have their bodies cryo-preserved right before their own attacks, so they’ll be alright. Although I poke fun, this is a fairly accurate assessment of how the medical community would react if anyone tried to put a halt to vaccinations.

Of course, this is all hypothetical again, because the scientific evidence is so overwhelmingly against a link between vaccines and autism. The reason the medical community reacts so strongly to nonsense like Dr. Sears is laying down right now is because vaccination is the single medical intervention conceived by the mind of humans that has saved more lives than any other. The reason the diseases that Dr. Sears discusses are so uncommon is because of vaccination. He even admits that but feels obligated to butter up his audience by saying that he knows some of them don’t believe that the reason the incidence of vaccine-preventable diseases is so low is because of vaccination because they don’t believe that vaccines work. He also points out that he knows “many of you” believe that it is not rare for vaccines to “cause” autism. Who cares what they believe if what they believe is scientifically unsupported nonsense? Dr. Sears is either sympathetic to anti-vaccine pseudoscience or too much of a wimp to confront the anti-vaccine movement, which represents his best customers. Most disgustingly, he goes to great lengths to assure them that he is only presenting the “mainstream viewpoint” scientifically viewpoint and apologizes to his readers for doing so! A responsible physician should never apologize for presenting the scientific consensus! There’s no reason to.

In any case, in Dr. Sear’s mind, if there ever were found to be a link between vaccines and autism, the medical profession would be so hidebound by ideology that it would not change anything, and the vaccination schedule would remain as it is. Yes, Dr. Sears really thinks so little of scientists and physicians that he believes them incapable of change in response to the evidence. Yet again (this cannot be emphasized enough), despite his disclaimers that he is not “anti-vaccine,” entire tone and premise of Dr. Sear’s post tell me loud and clear exactly where his sympathies lie: He is suspicious of vaccines and thinks that they do cause autism. Oh, he denies it with his words, but his tone and obsequious sucking up to the anti-vaccine movement and parroting its misinformation is all I needed to see to know where his heart is. Indeed, he even brings up the Bailey Banks case as evidence that the government has “conceded” that vaccines can cause autism. (It ain’t.) He invokes the case of Hannah Poling, which is similarly not evidence that vaccines cause autism. Then he launches into a paranoid conspiracy theory that could easily have come right from the keyboard of J.B. Handley or David Kirby:

But many parents, and some researchers, believe that vaccine susceptibility isn’t a rare condition. However, those who are trying to prove a link between vaccines and autism are fighting an uphill battle. Here is why: Most medical research is supposed to begin on neutral ground, then study a subject to determine a yes, no, or we-don’t-know answer to a hypothesis. Well, when the autism/vaccine debate first came to light in the 90s, virtually every doctor and health care official said, “No way! Impossible. There is no way vaccines could possibly cause autism.” I’ve actually been to medical meetings where doctors sit around and laugh, literally laugh, at the very idea. Seeing that made me embarrassed to be a doctor. I always took the position, “Well, how do we really know until we study it?” But the medical community doesn’t think that way. Standard operating procedure is to assume vaccines are safe, unless someone finds and proves a problem with one. And vaccine safety research is designed to look for noticeable immediate side effects that cause significant harm. Long-term safety research isn’t nearly as thorough. As long as initial safety studies don’t yield any immediate problems, the vaccine is released to the public. And it stays there unless a major problem is then proven. In essence, vaccines are assumed safe unless proven otherwise. I don’t mean to bash the vaccine safety research system, because they do try to be as thorough as possible. But it isn’t a perfect system, and it could be better.

So, the burden of proof is put on trying to find that vaccines do cause autism. Researchers and the vaccine manufacturers don’t have to try to prove that they don’t, because it is already assumed that they don’t. Plus, virtually all doctors already passed judgment on this idea back in the 90s before any research began. So, in order to convince the medical community, research would have to shift the thinking of an entire nation of doctors from a “No way” mindset to at least a neutral mindset of “We don’t know – we better research it,” and then eventually to a “Yes, vaccines can cause autism” belief. This task is much more difficult than if everyone had started off neutral on the whole idea in the first place.

No, Dr. Sears. The medical and scientific community took the idea seriously for a while. In the late 1990s, they were even alarmed that the mercury dose from vaccines may have exceeded recommended safe limits. They even preemptively recommended that the mercury-containing preservative thimerosal be removed from vaccines, thus ensuring David Kirby several years worth of employment and Generation Rescue a raison d’être. In any case, they looked into it. They spent millions of dollars doing studies, both in the U.S. and in multiple other countries. And guess what? They didn’t find a link between either thimerosal and autism or vaccines and autism, despite multiple studies and hundreds of thousands of subjects. Nothing. Nada. Not a whiff. There’s no “there” there, scientifically speaking. These were studies with enough subjects and enough statistical power to find even a weak correlation between vaccines and autism.

Apparently Dr. Sears has been reading too much Generation Rescue propaganda like Fourteen Studies, which is the only reason I can think of why Dr. Sears either believes or suspects that there is just such a link. Either that, or, like Dr. Gordon, he values his own personal clinical experience above science, clinical trials, and epidemiology. In any case, he paints the anti-vaccine movement as victims abandoned by a dogmatic and uncaring medical profession, which leads him to this rhetorical flourish:

Meanwhile, as this battle rages on, 5 million babies are born each year in the U.S., and 33,000 of them are destined for autism (1 in 150). Since we don’t yet have valid screening tests, should parents just accept that risk without at least thinking about it? If there is a connection to vaccines, is that simply an unavoidable risk that every parent has to take? Or is there a way to lower the theoretical vaccine-autism risk? What can parents do today in light of all the uncertainty and debate?

Again, Dr. Sears puts the cart before the horse. There is no credible evidence that vaccines are correlated with autism or that they cause autism. There just isn’t. Dr. Sears assumes that the risk is real without evidence. He hopes that future studies will vindicate the beliefs of the anti-vaccine movement and, I suspect, his own belief or suspicion that vaccines cause autism.

Dr. Sears then boasts about how he thinks his schedule is safer than the currently recommended schedule, but, as is the case for the rest of his assertions, he presents no scientific evidence that the current schedule is not safe or somehow causes autism. More importantly, he not present any evidence that his proposed schedule is any safer. It’s argument by assertion; if you repeat it enough times people will believe it. After all, Dr. Sears is a doctor!

Finally, Dr. Sears finishes with a series of evidence-free “recommendations”:

1. If you have a family history of autism or severe autoimmune disease, you need to approach vaccines very carefully.

There is no evidence to support such a recommendation with regard to autism, nor is there evidence that children with a family history of autism should be vaccinated any differently than anyone else. Notice how he conflates autism with “severe autoimmune disease.” It’s questionable at best that the two have much, if anything, to do with each other.

2. Realize that severe reactions CAN happen. They may not be common, and there hasn’t been enough research to determine just how common they are, but they can occur.

Sheer nonsense. The rates of serious adverse reactions to vaccines are studied and tracked by the CDC and other organizations. The Vaccine Safety Datalink project, for example, is a massive undertaking designed to do just that, and the VAERS database is designed for easy reporting of suspected adverse reactions to vaccines.. Just because Dr. Sears is ignorant of this data or chooses to ignore it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.

3. Understand that there is disease risk as well. Several hundred infants die each year of what should be vaccine-preventable diseases.

This is perhaps the only statement that Dr. Sears makes in this article that is correct.

Of course, if the anti-vaccine movement leads to a resurgence of infectious disease or to an unvaccinated child suffering from such diseases, Dr. Sears, just like Jenny McCarthy, washes his hands of any responsibility:

6. Do I think that all parents should stop vaccinating, or delay all shots for a couple years, until more research is done? Parents certainly have the right to do so. I don’t take a position on what parents should or shouldn’t do, except that I insist they educate themselves first.

This is an abdication of professional responsibility so egregious that it fills me with disgust. What does a doctor exist to do if not to provide the best science-based recommendations to their patients and try very hard to persuade them to follow them? Yet Dr. Sears ignores that responibility by not even answering his own question: Whether he himself thinks that all parents should stop vaccinating while waiting for new research. Too cowardly to take a stand, he doesn’t even offer a professional opinion in response to his own question and just leaves it up to the parents–after having filled their heads with misinformation and exaggerated risks of vaccines. He lamely ducks his responsibility by foisting it off on parents’ “rights” not to vaccinate, all the while seemingly thinking that “a couple years, until more research is done” will produce results significantly different than what the last decade of research into this question has produced. While it is possible that further research might produce the result Dr. Sears clearly craves, it’s incredibly unlikely given what has been found thus far.

When I first learned about Dr. Sears, he struck me as being a lot like our old “friend,” Dr. Jay Gordon, in that he seemed to be trying to have it both ways. He struck me as wanting to portray himself as being for vaccination but still express “skepticism” about the current vaccine schedule, make a name for himself, and bask in the adulation of “vaccine skeptic” moms. (Unlike Dr. Jay, Dr. Sears appears to have made a tidy sum selling his book catering to just those fears.) However, as time went on, Dr. Gordon became more and more allied with the anti-vaccine movement, even going so far as to give speeches at Jenny McCarthy’s “Green Our Vaccines” rally last year. Dr. Sears hasn’t reached that point on the road to full anti-vaccine apologist yet, but his agreeing to be so tightly associated with AoA as to write a guest post for it is a major step away from science and towards anti-vaccine pseudoscience. I like to think Dr. Sears doesn’t know what he’s getting into, but I fear that he does and doesn’t care because, deep down, he believes as the loons at Generation Rescue do. Perhaps he should look at this example of the scientific knowledge of the people he’s associating himself and ask himself if he really wants to go through with it.

Be that as it may, I’m actually rather glad that Dr. Sears has written a guest post for AoA. To me, it signifies that he’s finally tipped his hand. If he’s not an anti-vaccine activist himself, he, as Dr. Jay already has, is clearly drifting closer to being allied with the anti-vaccine movement. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him speaking at Autism One next year or to show up on the podium at the next anti-vaccine rally that Jenny McCarthy holds. Maybe next April he’ll appear on Larry King Live with Jenny McCarthy and J.B. Handley. Maybe, if he’s really, really lucky and sucks up enough to the pseudoscience-loving fringe at AoA, he can supplant Dr. Jerry Kartzinel as the co-author to the inevitable followup to Jenny McCarthy’s Healing and Preventing Autism: A Complete Guide. If that happens, he can then go on a media tour and bask in the fame and palling around with celebrities that comes along with it!

Come on, Dr. Sears! Stop fighting it! Give in! Release your inner antivaccinationist! You know you want to! You’ll feel so much better not having to play both sides of the fence anymore!

ADDENDUM: This comment by Dr. Bob in response to questions and comments on AoA is most illuminating. For example:

As a DAN doctor, I tell every single one of my patients with autism NOT to vaccinate their next kids. A few still choose to anyway, and if they do I go very slowly and carefully. So in that respect I think I fit the profile of most DAN doctors.

Geez, if you have to beg a pediatrician to vaccinate your child, you really should find another pediatrician. I can’t help but see echoes of Dr. Gordon in this statement, specifically when he said he gave vaccines one day because the parents insisted. In any case, there is zero good scientific evidence to support not vaccinating an autistic child. Quite frankly, in my opinion, not vaccinating autistic children as a matter of general policy borders on malpractice.

In other words, Dr. Sears goes around telling the parents of his patients how dangerous vaccines are. Because he’s a doctor, most parents will believe him, become alarmed, and not vaccinate. However, for those smart, science-based parents who don’t fall for Dr. Sears’ fearmongering, he doesn’t even offer the standard schedule, just his cobbled-together, science-free schedule that has no evidence to show it to be safer than the standard schedule! Unbelievable!

But this quote tells me everything I need to know about Dr. Sears:

As for the purpose of this post, you raise a very interesting point. I like my posts to be useful – give parents something to do or act on or be educated about. But this post doesn’t really do that. I think that the main purpose of this post was to give parents a glimpse into where I think the situation now stands and where it is going from the viewpoint of the political machine of mainstream medicine. It was really just designed to inform. By understanding how the “man” thinks about this issue, it should help everyone who is trying to go against “the man” be more effective in their efforts. I intended it to be helpful to those who are fighting for change in the vaccine system.

Even though he washes his hands of the task of giving his expert opinion to patients, choosing instead to fill their heads full of misinformation and then “let the parents choose,” to Dr. Sears, it’s all about fighting the power, maaaan! It’s all abousticking it to The Man, as represented by all those stodgy physicians and scientists, as well as the CDC and AAP. In the meantime, he’s just sayin’, ya know, that that’s what the authorities in charge of the vaccination program are thinking. Of course, he’s utterly wrong when he says that vaccine policy wouldn’t change if hard scientific evidence of a link between vaccines and autism were ever found. In fact, the thimerosal example should be enough to shut Dr. Sears up. Even though there was no hard evidence that thimerosal in vaccines was causing autism or any other problems, the CDC and AAP’s vaccine committee recommended removing it based on the precautionary principle. We all know how well that worked out, don’t we? A decade of antivaccine activism culminating in Jenny McCarthy (thus far).

The only accurate thing Dr. Sears says in his comment is that his post didn’t give parents anything to do or act on or to be educated about. It was a weaselly waffle, in which he deployed the logical fallacy of argumentum ad ignorantium hither and yon in order to make it sound as though vaccines are really, really dangerous and then “leaving it up to the parents” to decide. Such disingenuousness is disgusting. Dr. Sears must know full well that if he convinces parents that vaccines are dangerous or just puts enough doubt into their minds, they won’t vaccinate.

Letting his antivaccine freak flag fly high, indeed!

Comments

  1. #1 Science Mom
    June 3, 2009

    Orac, great post but I think you may be unaware of these Dr. Bob Sears associations that would also explain a lot:

    Mothering Magazine

    And:

    Thoughtful House

  2. #2 dusonfnp
    June 3, 2009

    ARGH! He insists that parents educate themselves first?!? How about taking responsibility for doing the educating? Or does he not want to be held accountable for the consequences of non-vaccination? Oh never mind, I just answered my own question…..

  3. #3 AndyD
    June 3, 2009

    “Look, I’m a mechanic and your vehicle’s brakes are pretty much shot. If you don’t get your brakes fixed there is a chance that you might die in a serious accident – but it might never happen. So, go away and educate yourself about cars and braking systems before you make a decision whether to have them repaired. Oh, and don’t blame me if you make the wrong decision, I did warn you.”

  4. #4 Mu
    June 3, 2009

    As Sears himself has pointed out, his ideas are getting laughed at by the scientific-medical community. He’s just looking for an audience that takes him serious.

  5. #5 Ahistoricality
    June 3, 2009

    At this point I’m starting to wonder if there’s any benefit in having a child get an extra round of vaccinations or boosters, to protect them more thoroughly in the absence of herd immunity…..

  6. #6 Abe
    June 3, 2009

    Shoot, he was so close to turning his back on that nonsense in the fall, too:

    http://autism.freedomblogging.com/2008/09/11/a-high-profile-switch-on-the-mmr/

  7. #7 Jojo
    June 3, 2009

    If I asked my son’s pediatrician if I should vaccinate or not and he told me to educate myself, I’d pick up my son and walk out the door. I don’t put blind faith into my son’s pediatrician, and I do as much research as I can to be knowledgeable about the decisions I have to make, but I take my son to the doctor because he is the expert. He has years of medical education, years of experience, and he has access to the medical community and the latest research. The doctor is more qualified to make these decisions than I am, that’s why I go to him. If a doctor feels he(she) needs to rely on my medical experience to make basic decisions, then I think I would be better off on my own.

    “Hey doc, I just cut me finger off, what should I do?”

    “Well, I’m not sure, why don’t you Google it and get back to me?”

  8. #8 ababa
    June 3, 2009

    Dr.Sears does quite a bit for stirring up vaccine fears. For him to even claim he is not anti-vaccine is ridiculous. On my local forums moms are constantly prattling on about how getting multiple vaccines at a visit is “dangerous”. Just yesterday one posted about how she was shocked that her cousin’s child got 6 vaccines in a visit and didn’t end up in the ER. They are that taken in by his logic and how exactly does that help parents understand vaccines? “I support vaccines *wink* *wink* but they are going to hurt your child if you get more than one at a time!”. How is that ANYTHING other than a scare tactic?

    Oh and one can always count on the vaccine troll of the forum to chip in her two cents:

    DD#1 got vaxed with 5 in one day. She didn’t end up in the ER but she ended up with an autism spectrum disorder. The insidious thing about vaccs is the reaction can happen years or even decades later. Which is hardly for the drs because then it’s just a “coincidence”.

    Great, now she is extending the rational to “decades”. What else can you do when science doesn’t support your nonsense? Just push the timetable out so far that no one can ever prove you wrong. Of course she leaves out the part where other members of her close family are autistic. Don’t they always forget about those pesky genetic indicators?

  9. #9 Scott
    June 3, 2009

    The doctor is more qualified to make these decisions than I am, that’s why I go to him. If a doctor feels he(she) needs to rely on my medical experience to make basic decisions, then I think I would be better off on my own.

    Oh, but it’s so wonderfully EMPOWERING. I can’t help but be struck how beautifully this ties in to the Oprah-ification post.

  10. #10 Enkidu
    June 3, 2009

    I’m speechless. That entire article was based on “what ifs?” with not a fact in sight, yet a lay person reading it is going to come away with the message that there is a link between vaccines and autism. It’s garbage like this that makes me bang my head against the wall…

  11. #11 catgirl
    June 3, 2009

    They hope and pray that someday mainstream research will give them vindication and make a clear declaration that “vaccines cause autism.”

    Yes, this is exactly the problem. Instead of considering actual evidence, Sears and others have already decided their conclusion and they just hope that someday the evidence will support what they believe, and in the mean time they want us to just trust them for some reason. They have whole process backward. It should be evidence first, then conclusion, not the other way around.

    I think that if there were good evidence showing that vaccines cause autism or anything else, we certainly would change our vaccine policies. We recall toys and baby clothes if there’s just a tiny chance that they are dangerous. We’ve stopped using certain prescription drugs that have proven to be ineffective or harmful. We’re much more careful about treating teenagers with anti-depressants since we found that it can cause an increased suicide risk. The problem Sears has it that we actually require evidence before changing vaccine policies. They’re the ones who won’t change their views based on evidence, not us.

  12. #12 Erika
    June 3, 2009

    You know, this just makes me sad. When I had my daughter (6 yrs ago), the Sears books and Jay Gordon’s website were fonts of information about breastfeeding, and how to overcome problems (things like thrush, mastitis, low supply, etc.). It’s really distressing to see how far they’ve drifted–esp. Jay Gordon. I never paid attention to “The Vaccine Book,” and I know Sears was probably always there, but I really don’t remember Gordon having any sort of position on this at all. It’s really too bad.

  13. #13 Erika
    June 3, 2009

    You know, this just makes me sad. When I had my daughter (6 yrs ago), the Sears books and Jay Gordon’s website were fonts of information about breastfeeding, and how to overcome problems (things like thrush, mastitis, low supply, etc.). It’s really distressing to see how far they’ve drifted–esp. Jay Gordon. I never paid attention to “The Vaccine Book,” and I know Sears was probably always there, but I really don’t remember Gordon having any sort of position on this at all. It’s really too bad.

  14. #14 Navin
    June 3, 2009

    First Daniel Hauser, now Minnesota is coping with a Hib resurgence. Sad and detailed article here….

    http://www.citypages.com/2009-06-03/news/rare-hib-outbreak-tied-to-anti-vaccine-movement/1

    Thanks Orac for fighting the woo.

  15. #15 Erika
    June 3, 2009

    Bah, sorry about duplicate comment–scienceblogs kept telling me I needed to resubmit. Should’ve double-checked.

  16. #16 Daniel J. Andrews
    June 3, 2009

    “Yes, Dr. Sears really thinks so little of scientists and physicians that he believes them incapable of change in response to the evidence.”

    It seems people who think this way are just projecting the way they’d react (and have reacted) to contrary evidence onto the scientific community at large. Reminds me of the quote by the late British politician, Lord Molson:

    I will look at any additional evidence to confirm the opinion to which I have already come.

  17. #17 Heather
    June 3, 2009

    “Dr. Sears is also so enamored of being a “brave maverick doctor,” iconoclast fighting for your–yes, your–children, not to mention hero to mothers frightened by the anti-vaccine movement, that he tries to suck up to it, and that’s why he starts pulling the big bad pharma gambit against vaccines:”

    I think this hits the nail on the head. The public image that Dr. Sears has carefully cultivated is one of being child-focused, always considering what-is-best-for-the-child in every recommendation. He is sort of “alternative lite,” offering a collaboration of sorts to the educated, probably older, determined-to-be-perfect, child-of-a-feminist-but-stay-at-home affluent mother. He does not want to be perceived as an authoritative patriarch, part of the medical establishment. He does not want to be “too alternative.”

    I have no idea whether or not he really believes that vaccines are harmful, but I think his comfort with criticizing the vaccination schedule is mostly about positioning himself in the marketplace.

  18. #18 wfjag
    June 3, 2009

    No honest discussion of public policy can be begun without an honest statement of the facts. Therefore, any discussion of public policy on vaccination should begin:

    “Prior to the introduction and widespread use of the vaccines for smallpox, diphtheria, measles, polio and rubella those diseases killed nearly 650,000 people (overwhelmingly children) annually (in addition to millions crippled annually). They now kill fewer than 100 annually.”

    That puts all other contentions into a proper context.

    Even assuming (in the face of all evidence) an autism-vaccination link of some kind, bringing back epidemics by stopping vaccinations isn’t a proper response.

    There are known side-effects to any medical procedure, including vaccinations. The proper response is to identify screening procedures to identify those at risk and militating procedures.

    Frequently there are unknown side-effects to medical procedures, and this likely includes the standard vaccinations. The proper response is properly conducted research to identify those risks, and to develop screening procedures for those at risk and militating procedures.

    However, such an approach isn’t breathlessly dramatic, and so doesn’t sell books, make for good day-time TV ratings, make quotable slogans, or generate enough panic to support fund-raising. Even worse, it takes some education and use of one’s gray matter to understand what’s being talked about. Hardly a fit subject to Twitter about when getting one’s hair bleached or face botoxed.

  19. #19 Stu
    June 3, 2009

    Frequently there are unknown side-effects to medical procedures, and this likely includes the standard vaccinations.

    [Citation needed]

  20. #20 Jojo
    June 3, 2009

    @ Erika #12

    I used to use the Dr. Sear’s website too. The Sears’ are a bit crunchy, but there was some useful information to be had. Some of it’s still on there, but the main page has a number of vaccine centered announcements on it. Of course, there is also a page that allows you to buy any one of their 18 books or the many products they sell. I stopped going there when I noticed the DAN! reference to Dr. Bob.

    Oh, I just went back to check the site. Dr. Bob doesn’t take insurance anymore. Hmm…makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

  21. #21 FreeSpeaker
    June 3, 2009

    “No honest discussion of public policy can be begun without an honest statement of the facts. Therefore, any discussion of public policy on vaccination should begin:

    “Prior to the introduction and widespread use of the vaccines for smallpox, diphtheria, measles, polio and rubella those diseases killed nearly 650,000 people (overwhelmingly children) annually (in addition to millions crippled annually). They now kill fewer than 100 annually.”

    That puts all other contentions into a proper context.”

    Nope, Does not work. The antis are now claiming that since diseases were in decline before vaccinations, the vaccinations had nothing to do with eradication. Instead, the deseases were milder, thus allowing for easier treatment.

  22. #22 DonZilla
    June 3, 2009

    In other news, woo supporters are out in force over at the Huffpo; check out the comments related to “Cancer Immune Therapies Finally Working.”

    Paw paw fruit? Per-leez.

  23. #23 wfjag
    June 3, 2009

    Stu, I hope you aren’t looking to quibble. Obviously, there can be no citation to an “unknown” side effect, and I qualified with the word “likely.”

    However, let’s use the most commonly used Rx sleeping pill in the world as a example — Ambien. It received FDA approval some 15+ years ago, and was approved for use in Europe 10 or so years before that. In the last 10 years it’s been prescribed a billion or more times. However, only a few years ago were sleep walking and sleep driving shown to be side-effects. So, for even for a drug that was widely studied and used, that side-effect was uncovered after nearly 2 decades of wide-spread use.

    I’m not going out on a limb in speculating that for the standard vaccines that it is likely there are side-effects that are unknown. This is especially true for sub-sets of the population who may have some sort of predisposition.

    Still, I’m not willing to cite the Poling case, since I don’t think that the evidence is nearly strong enough to conclude that anything in or the schedule of the vaccinations, in fact, caused the result (there being indications that she was having problems before the vaccinations that allegedly caused her alleged autism). At best, Poling is an example of a subject worthy of study to see if there is a causal relationship so that screening procedures are warranted.

  24. #24 James Sweet
    June 3, 2009

    This is Sears the Elder I’m about to talk about, not Sears the Younger… but I noticed the other day in The Baby Book that in the sections on “the Nth month”, they have references to “N-month-old babies”, e.g. like under “The Third Month”, they’ll have a mom talking about something her three-month-old did.

    No no no no no! It doesn’t work that way! When you are N months old, you are in the N+1th month. By Sears the Elder’s scheme, a baby is one month old the day it is born (facepalm!). I noticed there are no errors of this type in “the first month” section, because of course it would be obvious at that point… but by “The Second Month”, the text happily refers to two-month-olds, as if that wasn’t completely stoopid.

    Other similar books (e.g. the prolific “What to Expect the First Year”) get this right and often even have a note of clarification for those who are confused. So it’s not some bogus convention of pediatricians.

    I know this is a nit, but it really made me wonder about the rest of the information in that book. I mean… damn. That’s just such a basic thing for a pediatrician to get right!

  25. #25 Sullivan
    June 3, 2009

    Dr. Sears is being rather disingenuous about how his patients’ parents will look at his argument

    a) Vaccines are dangerous (according to Dr. Sears)

    b) He has a “safer” vaccine schedule (assertion by Dr. Sears)

    c) Parents a likely smart enough to realize that Dr. Sears’ schedule has zero data to support it’s safety. I.e. they are likely to accept (a) and reject (b).

    Is it surprising to anyone that many of Dr. Sears’ clients chose to avoid vaccines altogether?

  26. #26 Fannin
    June 3, 2009

    What frustrates me about Dr. Sears is his insistence on generalizing from a single example. He is not well-educated about vaccines, therefore no doctor is. He cannot able to keep up with the research, therefore no doctor can. He doesn’t appear to know much more than someone who’s spent a couple of hours on whale.to, therefore no doctor does.

    As I read more and more stuff by the anti-vaccine movement, I am struck by how many of them believe that parents have a moral duty to “research” vaccines before deciding to vaccinate, and asking a trusted physician doesn’t count as research. Someone whose child’s other parent has not “done the research” has the right to say, “Well, then, I get to make the decision.” And, okay, I could see the merits in that — if the anti-vaccine parent had studied statistics and epidemiology and all the rest of it. But they haven’t. They’ve watched Sherri Tenpenny videos. They’ve read old Momtezuma posts on MDC. And they’ve read the actual studies and articles on PubMed, or vaccine inserts, or CDC webpages — but almost every time I click on a link to see whether the source says what a given poster says it does (and I grant that I usually click when what the poster says seems “off” to me so that they’re probably right more often than my link-clicking suggests), it sure doen’t seem to say that to me.

    And it all seems to come back to the idea that any “research” is better than none, and getting advice from your doctor isn’t “research.” That’s a message that Dr. Sears seems to be pushing. But all he ever shows is that asking him won’t help you very much.

    Meanwhile, my doctors — I’m up to one for primary care and two specialists for different (but somewhat entangled) chronic conditions — clearly do keep up with research in their areas and do use that research in forming clinical judgments, and I appreciate that, because those judgments have a lot to do with how good my life is right now. I don’t want to have to intuit a course of treatment that seems to me as if it might make sense; I want someone who knows her stuff to tell me what I need to know to make a decision about risks and benefits. And what I need to know is not how other patients feel, but rather what my options are and the major benefits and risk of each option.

    After reading what I have of Sears’ work, I have to say that if I were one of his patients, I would not be Googling for treatments I could instruct him to prescribe for me — or to not prescribe for me. I’d be Googling for better-informed doctors who are accepting new patients.

  27. #27 KWombles
    June 3, 2009

    The posts by the bloggers are bad enough, filled with half-truths, misinformation, outright lies, and sometimes unbelievable stupidity, but the commenters take the cake. I’ve posted some of the gems over at counteringageofautism.blogspot.com and some dissection of the comments. Sometimes, though, the stupid is sufficiently aimed to hit you between the eyes that no additional comments necessary.

    Anybody with better nuggets to add to the yawning morass of idiocy is welcome to share it there.

    Here’s to continuing the good fight!

  28. #28 Esther
    June 3, 2009

    You probably don’t recall this, Orac, but I emailed you not long after his Mothering Magazine article came out to tell you the man was bad news and that he needed taking on. I’m not surprised to hear he’s a DAN! doctor – this clarifies why he asserted to me once in his blog comments that he thinks many, if not most, parents of autistic children and their doctors still believe in the MMR/autism connection, even in the wake of the Hornig study which couldn’t replicate Wakefield’s finding’s (this was before the allegations Wakefield had falsified the whole thing surfaced): https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=1178466833713617326&postID=907092950544975183&isPopup=true

    Erika – I hate to break it to you, but Dr. Bob has learned how to distort the scientific evidence from the great Dr. Bill himself. The whole family of them (at least the medicos among them) are opportunistic scaremongers, Bob about vaccines, Bill about the supposed perils of mainstream parenting.

  29. #29 Karl Withakay
    June 3, 2009

    When I read the following quote from Sears,

    “Seeing that made me embarrassed to be a doctor.”

    I thought to myself, “Don’t worry, we totally agree with you Bob….we’re also embarrassed you’re a doctor.”

  30. #30 Sastra
    June 3, 2009

    Daniel J. Andrews wrote:

    “Yes, Dr. Sears really thinks so little of scientists and physicians that he believes them incapable of change in response to the evidence.”

    It seems people who think this way are just projecting the way they’d react (and have reacted) to contrary evidence onto the scientific community at large.

    I also see a parallel here with the faith-based thinking of those religions which claim that God doesn’t have to provide clear or even reasonable evidence for His truths, because infidels, heathens, and non-believers “wouldn’t believe no matter what the evidence was.” You also get that line of rationalization in New Age: the support for spiritual claims is already more than sufficient for those who are honest seekers. The skeptical and unconvinced are only hiding a stubborn hatred all things Higher behind a scientific or rational smokescreen. They just don’t want it to be true.

    So there’s a familiar template for this bizarre assertion that mainstream doctors would refuse to change on vaccinations even if the link with autism was “proven.” Apparently, anti-vaxxers think they’re dealing with The Damned.

  31. #31 Matthew Cline
    June 3, 2009

    Sears and others have already decided their conclusion and they just hope that someday the evidence will support what they believe, and in the mean time they want us to just trust them for some reason.

    Well, obviously their conclusions from clinical experience are 100% accurate, and they’re merely waiting for science to catch up with them. While other doctors have been misled by their clinical experience, that’s only because they weren’t as smart and clear-sighted as Sears and company, who have completely eliminated all cognitive biases and flaws from their thinking.

  32. #32 Elaine
    June 3, 2009

    Heck, skip WND and go straight for the Weekly World News or start hanging out with the Geiers in their basement lab in Silver Spring.

    Hey, the Weekly World News occasionally publishes a true story.

  33. #33 Matthew Cline
    June 3, 2009

    Instead, the deseases were milder, thus allowing for easier treatment.

    Wait, I thought it was supposed to be that improved nutrition and sanitation was the reason the diseases became progressively less deadly. I’ve never run across the claim that all the diseases have become attenuated over time.

  34. #34 Erika
    June 3, 2009

    Esther–I think what maddens me is that there are things that they *are* helpful and informed on. If they would only stick to those things. But no, they (like so many others) think that b/c they have something to offer on one subject, they must be qualified to speak on any and all other slightly tangential issues. Rrg.

  35. #35 Dangerous Bacon
    June 3, 2009

    I know this article was primarily intended to rake Dr. Bob Sears over the coals, but since Dr. Jay Gordon was also mentioned, it should be noted that he too is rapidly disappearing down the rabbit hole of alt med quackery.

    Dr. Jay’s website reveals that he is now buying (in a nudge-nudge wink-wink fashion) into the “HIV is caused by anti-HIV medication” line of thinking. Don’t believe it? Read for yourselves:

    http://www.drjaygordon.com/development/alternative/hiv.asp

    Dr. Jay also promotes a variety of “alternative” treatments for HIV infection, including alfalfa, ginkgo biloba, and chaparral for its “anti-infectious” capabilities (Dr. Jay either doesn’t know or doesn’t care that chaparral can be intensely hepatotoxic, as well as lacking any proven value in fighting HIV).

    The website also contains this gem:

    “Intensely interested in infant nutrition and breastfeeding, Dr. Gordon is the first male physician to sit for and pass the International Board of Lactation Certification Exam.”

    Somehow this revelation sounds kind of creepy to me.

    While Dr. Jay has not yet gotten out a book in which he preens as the brave maverick of antivax looniness, it can only be a matter of time until one emerges. Probably he’ll wind up plugging it on Jenny McCarthy’s Oprah spin-off show.

    Yes, Dr. Sears embarrasses me to be a doctor. But Dr. Jay is an even greater embarrassment.

  36. #36 Prometheus
    June 3, 2009

    I’ve never run across the claim that all the diseases have become attenuated over time.

    It is a fairly common claim among the anti-vax crowd. It also has a very small grain of truth at its core. Infectious diseases often are the most virulent when they first enter a population, as with the Bubonic Plague (Y. pestis) in Europe in the mid-1300’s.

    With time, either the disease becomes less virulent (as it adapts to its new host) or the host becomes more resistant (or both) – the result is that virulence declines with time.

    However, the time frame is much longer than the anti-vax unintelligencia would like. The Plague killed somewhere between 30% and 60% of Europe’s population in the first outbreak (1348 – 1350). By the 1700’s (350 years later), mortality was running in the 15% to 35% range. No doubt, if we had let The Plague run unchecked a little longer, mortality would be even lower today.

    Another good example is smallpox – especially for those who argue that it was improving medical care (apart from vaccines) that led to the decline in deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases.

    In the 1800’s (not long after Edward Jenner developed the very first vaccine), the case-fatality rate was between 20% and 60%, with children having a mortality of 80+%. By the time the last smallpox case was reported (1978), the case-fatality rate was down to 30% (40% – 50% in young children).

    These small declines in virulence are not exactly what the antivaccinistas are talking about, however. Neither evolution of the infectious organism nor its host (us) can account for the rapid decline in cases of measles, polio, smallpox, etc. following the introduction of vaccines for these diseases.

    Besides, if it were simply better hygiene and nutrition, wouldn’t you expect that all infectious diseases would have declined pretty much simultaneously? It beggars the imagination to think that the sensitivity of these diseases to improvements in hygiene and nutrition have exactly the same order as the introduction of their vaccines.

    Look at the data – polio was a serious problem in the US until right after the polio vaccine was introduced in 1955. If this was due to “improved nutrition and sanitation” (Note – paralytic polio is the result of improved sanitation), then why did it take until the late 1960’s – or immediately after introduction of the measles vaccine for measles cases to decline?

    If Bob Sears and his ilk think that this is a coincidence, they are kidding themselves.

    Prometheus

  37. #37 Sid Offit
    June 3, 2009

    @Prometheus

    No doubt, if we had let The Plague run unchecked a little longer, mortality would be even lower today.

    Exactly how did we check the plague?

  38. #38 Loralai
    June 3, 2009

    As a new mother 8 years ago I picked up Dr. Sears books, took them to heart. The attachment parenting, the breastfeeding your baby and more. Dr. Sears lost all credibility with me when I had a preemie and tried picking up his Premature Baby book. What a disservice to preemie parents that book is. He glosses over nearly every single complication of prematurity and you would be fully convinced, upon reading this book, that prematurity is nothing. That all premature babies turn out fine, that cerebral palsy is just an overused diagnosis. He even goes so far as to claim that brain damage can be reversed. He claims to have worked in a NICU, but I can tell you that the information provided in his book is so vague and so useless that it does nothing more then serve as a glossary, maybe, for parents of premature children. It will set up any parent of a premature baby for failure, frustration and heartache when your child doesn’t “miraculously” turn out okay.

  39. #39 Enkidu
    June 3, 2009

    ababa said: “On my local forums moms are constantly prattling on about how getting multiple vaccines at a visit is “dangerous”.”

    Gah, you should see what happens on Facebook when one of my friends mentions in a status update about taking a child to get vaccinated… it is guarenteed that there are several anti-vaxers in someone’s circle. It’s quite scary to see how many come out of the woodwork to spread their nonsense. I hate to fight on someone’s page so I usually end up sending a PM to the person, with some credible info. But I wonder what other people are thinking when they read that stuff, and how easy the fear is spreading…

  40. #40 Pablo
    June 3, 2009

    The dumb thing about Sears’s claim that the “man” won’t change the vaccination approach is that it is empirically BS. Vaccines and the approach to them have been changed substantially over years, as improvements are made and more is learned about what is going on. They are constantly being assessed and modified as necessary.

    This is one place where I give credit to the AAP, as I’ve heard the president addressing this point.

  41. #41 Jay Gordon, MD, FAAP
    June 3, 2009

    Hi Bacon!

    Thanks for the heads up on the HIV article. It will be removed from my website ASAP. Anything that suggests that alternative HIV treatment should supplant conventional treatment is not good for patients who are HIV positive.

    I’d appreciate your help in finding other weaknesses on the site. I won’t pay you but I will offer a free vaccine consultation for which I usually charge countless thousands of dollars.

    And, yes, the idea that parents should educate themselves before vaccinating is just too amazing for words. Nothing I dislike more than educated parents. They take so much more of my time.

    Best,

    Jay

    P.S. The stupid! It burns so baaaaad.

    J

  42. #42 ababa
    June 3, 2009

    Ekindu, you think that’s fun? Check out this post, from the same person, same thread:

    …no one knows what the long-term consequences of vaccination are. Just because there’s no immediate reaction doesn’t mean a thing (as with my dd). Also, who knows what long-term consequences my completely unvaxed dd will have due to the mercury she got through my breastmilk and from the vaccines I got as a child (vaccines accumulate in your DNA. It takes 3 generations for it to dissipate).

    Vaccines accumulate in your DNA!?!?!?? I had to blink about a dozen times when I read that. I have a hard time believing she even knows what DNA is, let alone what she just claimed happens. It is mind-numbing stupidity.

  43. #43 Dr. P
    June 3, 2009

    Exactly how did we check the plague?< blockqoute/> During the antibiotic era the likelihood of a repeat of an epidemic this size is unlikely and not completely attributable to hygiene/ nutrition.Since you likely knew this why do you ask? Otherwise you would likely see periodic cycles of plague.Minimizing the organisms lethality as you do for Pertussis when you know that susceptible populations exist and you cannot generalize is dangerous and short sided for a practitioner and their patients, but then you don’t have to worry about being responsible for the health and well being of others; Being a naysayer has none of the moral implications that it should for you. I’ve seen the posts blowing off the potential disaster of under vaccinating for pertussis because ‘it’s no big deal’ according to you, but I’ve seen infants ventilated for pertussis, and to me it makes you seem like nothing more than an idiot that never has to see the terrible consequences of your glib intellectual sleight of hand.

  44. #44 HCN
    June 3, 2009

    Sid the Parasite asked “Exactly how did we check the plague?”

    Actually, by killing off almost everyone who did not have some natural resistance. It is estimated to have killed between 30% to 50% of Europe. Many who survived actually carry a genetic trait that makes them resistant to AIDS, but they are more rare these days (look up CCR5-delta 32, it is estimated to be in about one out of ten of European descent).

    Since it is passed through fleas who live on rodents, bringing back cats to keep down the rodent population. Also there is better sanitation. Yersinia pestis still exists, and still infects people, and according to this map it exists through out the entire USA, especially the west:
    http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/plague/

    Also, you might want to check out another Sciencebloggers articles on Yersinia pestis:
    http://scienceblogs.com/aetiology/2008/01/did_yersinia_pestis_really_cau_4.php … “Plague is considered a re-emerging disease. This means that it’s not only still with us, but it’s increasing in many geographic areas (particularly in Africa, including 2005 and 2006 outbreaks of pneumonic plague in the Democratic Republic of Congo [DRC]). And the U.S. isn’t exempt.”

    For some more reading get William McNeill’s book “Plagues and Peoples” at your local library.

  45. #45 Dr. P
    June 3, 2009

    and yes there are a few cases of plague every few years in Arizona…it is still out there.

  46. #46 HCN
    June 3, 2009

    Dr. P, following the bit I snipped from Tara’s blog is “And while human plague is infrequent enough to make news when it pops up in the United States (we average ~10-20 cases per year, mostly in the southwest where plague is endemic in animals), it can still be fatal if not treated quickly.”

    Most recently I had heard of a young man from Connecticut getting plague in Wyoming during a scout trip last year:
    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,410543,00.html

  47. #47 HCN
    June 3, 2009

    This quote from Dr. Bob disturbs me: “Right now there are five childhood diseases that kill infants: Pertussis (whooping cough) kills about 20 babies each year, Rotavirus (vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration) about 50, HIB meningitis kills around 10, Pneumococcal disease approximately several hundred (precise numbers aren’t known), and the flu kills around 100 infants and young kids each year.”

    Why does it feel to me that he thinks those preventable deaths are acceptable? Recently only about a dozen American children were dying from pertussis each year, and now that is starting to double. That is not good, yet he makes it sound okay dokay.

  48. #48 Dr. P
    June 3, 2009

    and although preventable disease may be increasing, autism is not decreasing….hmmm

  49. #49 Cat
    June 3, 2009

    I still can’t figure out why anyone thinks pharmaceutical companies make the big bucks manufacturing vaccines. Only a few companies even bother with the hassle.

    Also, that bit about being laughed out of the room in the 90’s for thinking vaccines are causing autism? Why on earth would he think that any hypothesis he can pull out of his arse ought to be fully researched? Some things are, by their very nature, extremely unlikely and can be dismissed just like that. I don’t think there’s ever been any scientific evidence that classic autism has a sudden onset potentially related to some environmental factor.

  50. #50 Clarie
    June 3, 2009

    I’d also point out that doctors and others had taken huge strides in developing serums for diseases such as diptheria and meningitis (to name the two I remember for sure) that helped the body’s immune system beat back the disease. In fact, meningitis fatality when treated with the serum in the early 1900’s was around 18%, compared to 25% today -with antibiotics-. I would not be surprised to find out that these approaches have been lost to some extent, because the advent of successful vaccinations all but eliminated the disease.

    Side note: in Spain, diptheria is referred to as “El Garrotte” or “the strangler”. Doesn’t sound mild or merely uncomfortable to me.

  51. #51 Sullivan
    June 3, 2009

    And, yes, the idea that parents should educate themselves before vaccinating is just too amazing for words. Nothing I dislike more than educated parents. They take so much more of my time.

    Educated=good

    Misinformed=bad

    Your client is active in the misinformation side. I mean, you don’t really think that recent “study” by Generation Rescue on vaccines around the world is anything but absolute rubbish, do you?

  52. #52 JuliaL
    June 3, 2009

    Dr. Sears then boasts about how he thinks his schedule is safer than the currently recommended schedule, but, as is the case for the rest of his assertions, he presents no scientific evidence that the current schedule is not safe or somehow causes autism. More importantly, he not present any evidence that his proposed schedule is any safer.

    Is the reverse true? Is there scientific evidence that the present schedule is as safe as a schedule in which vaccines are spread out more rather than so many given at once? Are there actually any studies that compare the results of giving vaccines on the present schedule with the results of giving fewer vaccines at once, thus spreading them out more?

    I’m not referring to autism, just asking if side effects and reactions have been compared for a variety of schedules, thus determining that the present schedule is not less safe than another that could be used equally well.

  53. #53 Marie
    June 3, 2009

    I can’t help but be saddened by the fact that so many people lack the critical thinking skills and education to recognize incorrect information.

    All seriousness aside, I can’t help but think of the Muppets when seeing him referred to as Dr. Bob. Although, the worst their Dr. Bob did was make awful puns.

  54. #54 Sullivan
    June 3, 2009

    I still can’t figure out why anyone thinks pharmaceutical companies make the big bucks manufacturing vaccines.

    And, if they make a profit, so what?

    Gee, I pay something like, what, $50 for a vaccine against Mumps, Measles and Rubella.

    I guess for the same money I could buy Dr. Sears book ($14), Dr. Jay’s DVD ($20), Jenny’s books ($26, $14, $15…)

    Which one (vaccine or stack of books) will actually protect my kid from disease?

    If some company makes money off of a vaccine that keeps my kid–and others–protected from infectious disease I am not going to complain.

  55. #55 Orac
    June 3, 2009

    Thanks for the heads up on the HIV article. It will be removed from my website ASAP. Anything that suggests that alternative HIV treatment should supplant conventional treatment is not good for patients who are HIV positive.

    Gee, Dr. Jay. That article has been there since the very first time I saw your website–four years ago. You’re a bit behind the times in removing it.

    And, yes, the idea that parents should educate themselves before vaccinating is just too amazing for words. Nothing I dislike more than educated parents. They take so much more of my time.

    Well, actual science-literate parents probably do take a lot of your time because they realize your fear mongering about vaccines is without a basis in science. But let’s be straight here. We’re not talking about “education”; we’re talking about misinformation, which is what you and Dr. Sears spread. We’re also talking about education without guidance, which doesn’t work on the Internet. Without a relevant scientific background, it’s very, very difficult for parents to educate themselves, given the amount of noise out there burying the signal. The result of such Google University “educations” is all too often someone like the arrogantly ignorant Jenny McCarthy.

  56. #56 Prometheus
    June 3, 2009

    Bubonic Plague (“The Plague”, Y. pestis) was eventually checked (in human populations) through a combination of sanitation (reducing rat habitat and food sources), rodent control, antibiotics and – in certain highly endemic areas – vaccination.

    In the US, Bubonic Plague remains endemic in the rodents of the Central Valley of California, much of the desert southwest US, and the eastern deserts of Oregon and Washington. It is also endemic in the rodents of Mongolia (its putative place of origin).

    In a little under 700 years, “natural” processes have reduced the virulence of The Plague from a probable 60% (epidemiological data from the mid-1300’s is pretty shaky) to its (relatively) current 30% (untreated). This happened through both an increase in host resistance (mostly the result of highly susceptible people not surviving to have children) and probably a decrease in virulence.

    My point is that anyone who argue that “natural” reductions in the virulence of smallpox, polio, measles, mumps, etc. caused the massive and rapid decline in morbidity and mortality seen after vaccines were introduced has to explain how this “natural” loss of virulence could have happened so rapidly.

    There was a time when the US had more cases of plague (which we don’t routinely vaccinate against) than measles. Sad to say, those days are gone. Thanks, “Dr. Sears”, “Dr. Jay” and all the rest of the sad-sack “Brave Maverick Doctors” for bringing back vaccine-preventable diseases.

    Prometheus

  57. #57 HCN
    June 3, 2009

    Clarie, diphtheria used to be called “The Choking Angel.”

    Antibiotics tend not work for diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis because of the toxins they produce. That is why the treatment is often the anti-toxins (and why it is better to prevent the disease through vaccines, which are made from the toxoid!). When there are those who complain about toxins in the vaccine, I ask if those toxins are worse than diphtheria toxin, pertussis toxin, tetanospasmin or tetanolysin. Funny, I never seem to get a reply.

    There was book and movie called “Cheaper by the Dozen” about a family where both parents were engineers (the father died when most of the children were still young, and it is part of the book and movie “Bells on Their Toes”). There was quite a big deal about the mom, Lillian Moller Gilbreth, still working in engineering with a dozen children. Except for a couple of lies; She did lose at least one child at birth, and diphtheria claimed one of her children. It is in this fabulous biography:
    http://www.amazon.com/Making-Time-Lillian-Gilbreth-Cheaper/dp/1555536522/

    I am presently reading this article by a ScienceBasedMedicine blogger, Dr. Harriet Hall (who also has an autobiography that is a good read, “Women Aren’t Supposed to Fly”):
    http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/09-06-03

    She has this interesting bit about Dr. Jay: “On one talk show, a pregnant mother with several autistic children tried to tell Gordon that her child who had the worst autism was the one who had not been vaccinated. He not only refused to listen to what she was saying but tried to drown her out, loudly insisting she mustn’t vaccinate the new baby.”

    Obviously, Dr. Jay does not believe in listening to women, or possibly even patients. This would be the type of doctor to avoid.

    He also does not take insurance. I am beginning to wonder if health insurance plans look at how many CME (Continuing Medical Education) credits a physician takes each year. I can understand why a health insurance company would drop a health care provider for not staying current in their profession.

    By the way, Dr. Jay (I know you read this blog), you can get CME credits next month in Las Vegas by signing up for the Science Based Medicine Conference. You will get to hear Dr. Steven Novella, Dr. Mark Crislip (whose Pusware podcast is good for CME credits), Dr. David Gorski, Dr. Val Jones, Dr. Harriet Hall, and Dr. Kimball Atwood. Tell your friend, Dr. Bob, about it. He could probably use some CME credits.

  58. #58 Isis the Scientist
    June 3, 2009

    HA HA HA! That was hot, hot science!! And you, brother Orac, are totally hot!

  59. #59 cooler
    June 3, 2009

    Dr. Jay Gordon!
    Do not remove that HIV article at the behest of the shillinade drinkers! This is a free country, and we shall all pay homage to our Eternal Father Duesberg. Dr. J, please don’t back off and drink the HIV shillinade!

    Remember Dr. Gordon, it is these people who drink the kool aid, they all agree with the FDA’s approval of AZT in 1987, a chemotherapy that induces blood transfusions and damages the mitochondria, and yet they can’t cite and explain the papers that proved HIV’s causal role in a fatal disease that justified AZT’s release in March of 1987!

    Dr Jay et al BOW YOUR HEADS TO OUR SCIENTIFIC FATHER FORMER CALIFORNIA SCIENTIST OF THE YEAR FATHER DUESBERG! (just collapsed in complete laughter)

  60. #60 Sad
    June 3, 2009

    You are all so sad. Is the ONLY way you can debunk anything the anti-vaccine movement has to say is to become so unbelievably nasty? And just the last post by Prometheus…. If you are all so scientifically minded, please show the proof that ANY of these doctors had anything to do with the return of diseases. You can’t. It’s not possible. The DATA IS NOT THERE.

    You are all pathetic. And Science Mom… she haunts the web. Shreds anyone who has a mind unlike hers. Claims to just not support the schedule and is herself a selective vaxer. Is SHE going to be responsible for HER child bringing back diseases? No. She doesn’t look at herself that way. She can claim a legit exemption because she understands the science. But anyone else how ALSO understands the science and doesn’t vaccinate, well, they are scientifically illiterate. She doesn’t even have the guts to publish her own alternative schedule despite daily offering vaccine advice for people.

    No, you want to pull people over to your side, then do so with a good argument for vaccines, not just spouting out on how cleverly you can insult people.

  61. #61 K
    June 4, 2009

    @ Sad: You want to see nasty? Go back and read some older posts and the comments from your anti-vaccine cohorts.

    There are good arguments for vaccines on a regular basis on this blog, but really, more importantly, there is good science for vaccines, and that is generally the point of these posts.

    As for your concern about Bob & Jay, I’m not an epidemiologist or even a scientist, but this is what it looks like to me: in communities where vaccine coverage rates have dropped, mostly because of anti-vaccine parental choices, vaccine preventable disease rates have increased. (Wales, for example. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/8068763.stm ) So it seems to me that a doctor who advises parents not to vaccinate, or to leave their child unvaccinated longer, or even instills fear of vaccination (Hello, I mean you, Dr. Bob) could be said to be contributing to disease, disability, and death from those diseases. Although, Dr. Bob is right that parents make the final decision–he has really worked to avoid being held responsible with his waffling–so we do understand that point.

    Oh, and I generally enjoy the clever insults. Too bad the anti-vax side can’t get the “clever” part down.

  62. #62 HCN
    June 4, 2009

    Sad said “The DATA IS NOT THERE.”

    Just like the evidence that autism is caused by vaccines.

    Here is a good argument for vaccines: the eradication of measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, polio, smallpox (which only exists in labs), Hib, varicella (and shingles) and pertussis.

    There is a real possibility of eradicating measles and polio from the face of the planet. All it needs is the removal of those who claim that the MMR, OPV and IPV are something they are not.

  63. #63 Sid Offit
    June 4, 2009

    @Dr. P

    Exactly how did we check the plague? During the antibiotic era the likelihood of a repeat of an epidemic this size is unlikely and not completely attributable to hygiene/ nutrition

    Your reply is fairly incoherent but it seems your saying antibiotics eliminated the plague. Sorry, I failed to realize antibiotics were developed in the late 1600s

    @HCN

    Actually, by killing off almost everyone who did not have some natural resistance

    So you’re saying the way we checked the plague was by dying. OK now I get it.

  64. #64 flim flam
    June 4, 2009

    I think the antivax wackaloons are part of a secret big pharma/ bigironlunga conspiracy to bring back vax preventable diseases so they can make heaps of cash providing drugs to treat them.
    What do you think happened to the iron lung industry? you don’t think they gave up do you?
    jenny mcarthy, Dr (disingenuous..moi?)) Jay, billy bob& billy bob jr sears they’re all in on it.
    Deep in mexico the factories are starting to build the iron lungs, calipers, crutches, braille books, hearing aids, everything you need to cash in on the inevitable outbreaks. I cant believe no-one else has worked this out. teh sheeple…
    hey, it’s no more out there than believing all the dr’s, nurses, pharmacists etc in the world are part of a conspiracy to inject babies with teh toxins & make us all autistic.

  65. #65 Sid Offit
    June 4, 2009

    @ Prometheus

    Bubonic Plague (“The Plague”, Y. pestis) was eventually checked (in human populations) through a combination of sanitation (reducing rat habitat and food sources), rodent control, antibiotics and – in certain highly endemic areas – vaccination.

    You’re off the reservation a bit admitting the key role sanitation plays in disease. After all the “bug” is all powerful on scienceblogs. And you’re about 300 years early on your antibiotic theory

  66. #66 Jay Gordon
    June 4, 2009

    Dear Sad–

    Good post. These guys often have nothing but nasty. “Science” is their only answer. Not wisdom, experience, compassion, just “science.” As if “science” is always right never wrong and has only one definition.

    I have said time and again that I have a lot to learn from people who really know statistics and vaccine science. I don’t think I have a lot to learn from rude, occasionally vicious inernet users who have never cared for a patient and who know nothing about the clinical practice of medicine.

    No, Jenny, Bob and I are not responsible for diseases returning. In fact, the diseases have not returned and Orac and the others know it. Manipulate data and anecdotes and news stories all you like: Polio is on the decline, rubella was declared eradicated from the United States by none other than Dr Gerberding in 2005 and the great measles epidemic of 2008 was a blip of an extra 70 cases among 300,000,000 Americans.

    I have long respected Orac’s knowledge and his ability to keep a site like this alive for many years. Orac, return to the the criticism of the real problems in health care and move away from constant ad hominem attacks on people just because they disagree with your version of “science.”

    As far as removing the HIV/Echinacea article from my website, my site’s goal has always been to help nursing mothers and babies and there are a fair number of old articles which were written without enough thought and good judgement. I respect your efforts to get them off the site. Not because you disagree with their premises but because they’re just not good enough.

    Best,

    Jay

  67. #67 Jay Gordon
    June 4, 2009

    David–

    My posts are now being “held for approval”?? You and I have disagreed about quite a few things but you’ve always had the courage to allow me–and others who disagree–to post without being censored or “held.”

    What has changed?

    Jay

  68. #68 Sid Offit
    June 4, 2009

    @HSN

    Plague is considered a re-emerging disease. This means that it’s not only still with us, but it’s increasing in many geographic areas (particularly in Africa

    The Africa card reemerges! I wonder why all these disease reemerge in Africa if living conditions are not the determinant factor in a disease’s severity. Must be those low vaccination rates. Fear not. Bill and Melina are on the way

  69. #69 Jay Gordon
    June 4, 2009

    OK, I’ll try again because my last post was rejected.

    In spite of disagreements, David, you have always had the courage to allow me to post without censorship. Now, my posts are “behind held pending approval.”

    What happened?

    Jay

  70. #70 Jay Gordon
    June 4, 2009

    Holy Shoot!!!

    You killed my last post.

    I wrote a reasonable response to Sad and others and it has disappeared. Maybe it will magically reappear in an edited form soon.

    Your “science” just brooks no disagreement at all??

    Jay

  71. #71 HCN
    June 4, 2009

    Sid the Parasite said “You’re off the reservation a bit admitting the key role sanitation plays in disease. After all the “bug” is all powerful on scienceblogs. And you’re about 300 years early on your antibiotic theory”

    What does that mean? Sanitation also worked for typhoid, cholera and typhus.

    Sanitation is a valid preventative for many diseases, but not all of them. It is a failed preventative for polio, smallpox measles, mumps and pertussis. For those it is best prevented through vaccination, and with high herd immunity to protect those too young to get vaccinated.

    Sid the Parasite thought he would be witty with this rejoinder: “So you’re saying the way we checked the plague was by dying. OK now I get it.”

    Are you denying that between a third to over half of the population of Europe died during the Black Plague? Are you denying that there are genetic variations in humans? Did you think that having over 90% of the native peoples of the Americas dying from European diseases was a good thing? Have you ever read a book on history and disease, like perhaps McNeill’s “Plagues and Peoples”?

    Does any information filter through into your pointy little skull? Are you proud on how ignorant you are on basic immunological, epidemiological, historical or plain ordinary facts?

  72. #72 Prometheus
    June 4, 2009

    “Sid”, you’re not making much sense. Maybe if you took a deep breath and tried to use reason rather than trying to make everything and everyone fit into the little boxes you’ve made for them….

    The point about The Plague was that “natural” reduction in virulence – either by increased resistance of the host or decreased virulence of the disease – takes a lot of time. It doesn’t happen fast enough to account for the precipitous decline in – for example – polio or measles at about the same time as their vaccines were introduced.

    Your comment about “…you’re about 300 years early on your antibiotic theory.” is a absolute non sequitor. I don’t believe that I mentioned anything about when antibiotics began to play a role in control of plague – although if you’d asked, I could have told you that antibiotics are a very recent introduction (but you knew that, didn’t you?) and that they contribute to plague control by preventing person-to-person spread (pneumonic plague).

    It may also come as a bit of a surprise to you to know that there are still significant outbreaks of plague. As recently as 1994, in Surat, India, an outbreak killed over fifty people. Obviously, this is nothing like the pandemics of old, but it shows that we haven’t eliminated it even today. This may help explain why I find your remarks puzzling rather than cutting.

    Why you would think sanitation is “off the reservation” is beyond me – it seems that you are trying to make little “straw men” for everyone to make your arguments easier to manage. Try to stick with what people said, not what you wish they’d said.

    Sanitation is important in the control of some diseases, less important in others. “Sanitation” can also be broadly interpreted to include vector control, like keeping garbage in rat-proof containers (to prevent rat-borne diseases like plague) or eradicating mosquito habitat (to prevent mosquito-borne diseases like malaria or yellow fever).

    It is definitely not “off the reservation” to give credit to the role of increased sanitation. It’s just that increased sanitation can’t account for the decline in vaccine-preventable diseases that occurred after the introduction of the vaccines. If you had actually read what I wrote, you might have gotten that point.

    Stick around and read a while, Sid. You might just learn something despite your best efforts not to.

    Prometheus

  73. #73 Esther
    June 4, 2009

    I thought the first comment by Dr. Jay Gordon (with his full title, the one Orac responded to) sounded more like a parody of him than the genuine article. Is it really him?

    I would guess that the real Dr. Jay is no more likely to remove that HIV article than reverse his ‘reluctant’ stance about giving vaccinations…

  74. #74 Jay Gordon
    June 4, 2009

    Dear Esther,

    That was not a parody. I do not like to be associated with HIV deniers because I believe that HIV causes AIDS and that current pharmaceutical therapy of HIV positive people is the best alternative we have at the present time. I still support the use of complementary medicine but only when a patient’s primary HIV doctor approves its use as not interfering with conventional medications.

    I would like to have a less adversarial relationship with everyone from the AAP to you and Orac about vaccines and other topics. In the post which disappeared, I mentioned that I have a lot to learn from epidemiologists and statisticians and vaccine researchers but the relentlessly nasty and sarcastic tone on this site mitigates against that. And yes, I am not about to reverse me reluctance about the current vaccine schedule and the denial of severe side effects from vaccines.

    I do not believe there is only one version of “science.” Orac, could you please release my original post of an hour or so ago?

    Best,

    Jay

  75. #75 cooler
    June 4, 2009

    Dr. Jay!
    Using the term denier is pretty insulting, the one thing you and Orac et al have in common is that neither of you guys can cite and describe the papers that proved HIV was a fatal disease that justified AZT release in 1987. Now do we know why Duesberg trumpets over all? Now do we know why Peter Duesbergs face will be enshrined on Mt. Rushmore soon?

  76. #76 Jay Gordon, MD, FAAP
    June 4, 2009

    Aaaah. I actually have to type the full name and title so I do not look like a parody of myself. (Merely a self-parody as Prometheus might say!)

    By the way, the time posted is EDT and it is not even 11:00 PM on the West Coast. That’s for those of you who tell me I make less sense when I post in the “middle of the night.” But, thanks for implying that I actually do make sense when I post earlier . . .

    Jay

  77. #77 Jay Gordon, MD, FAAP
    June 4, 2009

    Cooler!!!!

    I have never been attacked from the left before on this site! Pleased and honored to be painted as a damn moderate on any medical issue. By the way, no insult was intended, merely a statement that I believe the virus causes AIDS and that it’s dangerous to state otherwise.

    Best,

    Jay

  78. #78 cooler
    June 4, 2009

    Oh no offense taken, And I would highly recommend you google “HIV fact or fraud”, “Project Day Lily” and “Loose Change” for some great free films about the 9/11, mycoplasma/gulf war and HIV truths.

  79. #79 HCN
    June 4, 2009

    Ah, poor Dr. Jay said “My posts are now being “held for approval”??”

    I also have a very brilliant post waiting for approval. You are not so very special.

    Prometheus, I think Sid the Parasite has been drinking… he is having difficulty finding the right letters on the keyboard. “HSN”? “Melina”?

  80. #80 Catherina
    June 4, 2009

    you may want to go back to ScienceMom’s comment (now #1 after being held in moderation) for Bob’s accociation with mothering.com and Thoughless House…

  81. #81 HCN
    June 4, 2009

    Catheria said “Bob’s accociation with mothering.com and Thoughless House..”

    Proper spelling of that rag is sMothering.com

  82. #82 Orac
    June 4, 2009

    My posts are now being “held for approval”?? You and I have disagreed about quite a few things but you’ve always had the courage to allow me–and others who disagree–to post without being censored or “held.”

    What has changed?

    Nothing at all, including your cluelessness about how blogs work.

    It’s really simple. You happened to use a word that triggered the spam filter (can you guess what it was?) and your post was done after I had gone to bed for the night. I am on EDT, you know. It’s not all about you, nor are you being singled out for “censorship.” It’s all automated, and I check the spam filters every morning before I go to work (unless I’m running late, of course).

    In any case, the only reason I saw your whine about being “censored” right now is because I currently have a nasty cold, a head full of snot, and couldn’t sleep. So, in a futile search for relief, I headed downstairs for decongestants that barely keep the snot at bay. So, here it is, close to 3 AM now, and I’m in a really lousy mood, but I will answer you before I try to go back to bed for another two or three hours.

    Also, please read the frikkin’ error message when your post appears not to go through. Don’t keep trying to post the same thing over and over again; it just results in multiple copies of the same comment.. I know it’s annoying as hell, but high levels of traffic here at ScienceBlogs have caused performance problems and virtually every time you comment it will give you an error message. Nine times out of ten your comment did go through. Just reload the page and check before commenting again. The techies are working on it, but in the meantime it is a pain in the rear.

  83. #83 A.J
    June 4, 2009

    @74
    “I would like to have a less adversarial relationship with everyone from the AAP to you and Orac about vaccines …. but the relentlessly nasty and sarcastic tone on this site mitigates against that”

    I thought that the sarcastic tone was the puprose of this blog. It is called Respectful Insolence is it not? Orac is just venting. Everybody needs to do it. I have a punching bag, he has a blog. Same deal. Yes, some of the content is ‘nasty’, mean and insulting. No, that is not the best way to hold a civil debate. That’s what SMB is for. On the other hand, I do think most of the insults have been well deserved.

    “And yes, I am not about to reverse me reluctance about the current vaccine schedule and the denial of severe side effects from vaccines.”

    Ok then. How about we just have an impromptu debate?

    Step #1. State you hypothesis in under 100 words. Must include a possible mechination by which vaccines cause harm and possible autism. We’ll go from there.

  84. #84 Orac
    June 4, 2009

    Good post. These guys often have nothing but nasty. “Science” is their only answer. Not wisdom, experience, compassion, just “science.” As if “science” is always right never wrong and has only one definition.

    Dr. Jay, this has been explained to you over and over and over and over again ad nauseum. “Wisdom,” “experience,” and “compassion” frequently mislead when it comes to making conclusions about whether a correlation actually does equal causation. Humans are pattern-seeking animals. If two things happen that can be any way linked in the mind, they will link them and assume that one causes the other. Your brand of reasoning using anecdotes and “personal experience” easily leads you astray. I know you don’t believe it. I know you think you’re better than that and couldn’t possibly be led to incorrect conclusions so easily.

    But you can.

    You’re just as fallible as I or any other human is. The difference is that scientists are forced to recognize their own cognitive shortcomings during their training. We know how easily our own pattern-seeking brain can lead us astray through selective memory, confirmation bias, and other biases. We know how human disease itself can fool our pattern-seeking brain into thinking a useless therapy works through regression to the mean and the placebo effect. We know how easily an apparent correlation can be cemented as causation in our minds (vaccines and autism, for instance).

    The scientific method is designed to minimize those pitfalls that can lead us astray. It is how we can determine whether correlation does in fact equal causation. In fact, unless you can explain how your way is better than (or at least equivalent to) science, science is the only way that can determine the answer to such questions as whether vaccines cause autism or not. The answer thus far is a resounding “not!” That’s the difference between you and a science-based practitioner. You don’t accept that your personal experience can easily lead you astray. I do. Indeed, leeches, purging with toxic metals, bloodletting, and homeopathy were used for so long on the basis of anecdote and “personal experience.” Most bizarrely, homeopathy persists even today on that basis, despite how utterly ridiculous it is from a scientific standpoint.

    No, Jenny, Bob and I are not responsible for diseases returning. In fact, the diseases have not returned and Orac and the others know it. Manipulate data and anecdotes and news stories all you like: Polio is on the decline, rubella was declared eradicated from the United States by none other than Dr Gerberding in 2005 and the great measles epidemic of 2008 was a blip of an extra 70 cases among 300,000,000 Americans.

    I disagree. Jenny is very much responsible for scaring parents about vaccines, and you and Dr. Bob are enablers. Our nation is clearly on a course to follow the U.K. if we don’t stop it. It’s just that the U.K. is a few years ahead of us in the process.

    Indeed, the measles epidemic sweeping through the U.K started with only a “blip.” But check out my post later this morning, Dr. Jay, a mere few hours away. Hib shows disturbing signs of returning in areas with low uptake of the Hib vaccine. Now there’s a real nasty disease. You’re old enough to have seen it, aren’t you, Dr. Jay? There was a true success story of vaccines. Practically overnight the Hib vaccine virtually eliminated a lethal scourge of infants, and it did it less than 20 years ago, too–in fact after I had finished medical school.

    By the way, Dr. Jay. Do you vaccinate your patients against Hib?

    Dr. Jay is also selective in his diseases. Pertussis is on the rise, particularly in states with lax “philosophical exemption” laws.

    I have long respected Orac’s knowledge and his ability to keep a site like this alive for many years. Orac, return to the the criticism of the real problems in health care and move away from constant ad hominem attacks on people just because they disagree with your version of “science.”

    Dr. Jay, you really should read these links about the logical fallacy and dubious arguments you have just used:

    Appeal to other ways of knowing: If you’re going to claim that science isn’t the best way of determining whether vaccines cause autism or biomedical treatments “recover” autistics, you really do have to explain how and why your method is better.

    The “science was wrong before” gambit (also this link).

    Also, you should read my colleague’s deconstruction of your claim of not being “anti-vaccine”:

    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=301

  85. #85 Orac
    June 4, 2009

    And yes, I am not about to reverse me reluctance about the current vaccine schedule and the denial of severe side effects from vaccines.

    I know. Scientific evidence doesn’t really matter much to you in your coming to your vaccine “skepticism”; so I’m not surprised it doesn’t much matter to you as far as changing your views goes. In fact, I’m continually disappointed that you are seemingly never able to actually cite any in support of your vaccine “skepticism.”

    Back to bed. Maybe I can still get a couple of hours of sleep; I have a full clinic tomorrow morning.

  86. #86 Ranson
    June 4, 2009

    Y’know, I think a throwdown between Dr. Jay and cooler would be one of the most entertaining things I’ve ever seen on ScenceBlogs.

  87. #87 Esther
    June 4, 2009

    Wow. I thought the arrogance and ignorance displayed in Dr. Jay’s first post was a bit much, even for him – which is why I thought someone was parodying him. Looks like I was wrong, though if I were Dr. Jay, I’d be loath to admit it.

    And that HIV page is still up, as of now. Chaparall and all.

  88. #88 jim
    June 4, 2009

    Isn’t asking if vaccination policy would change if a link were proved between vaccines an autism a bit like asking if space exploration policy would change if the moon were proved to be made of cheese?

    It’s a nice little trap though, sometimes used by creationists as well. They ask “would you change your mind if $BLATANTLY_FALSE_THING were proved to be true?” If you say yes, it’s “aha! then you admit $BLATANTLY_FALSE_THING is possible!” If you say no, it’s “see? You are closed-minded and not to be trusted!”

  89. #89 AutismNewsBeat
    June 4, 2009

    Your “science” just brooks no disagreement at all??
    – Jay

    Does this mean you object to censorship at AoA? Or the fact that the organizers at Autism One eject reporters for writing opposing viewpoints?

  90. #90 Dangerous Bacon
    June 4, 2009

    Dr. Jay: “As far as removing the HIV/Echinacea article from my website, my site’s goal has always been to help nursing mothers and babies and there are a fair number of old articles which were written without enough thought and good judgement. I respect your efforts to get them off the site. Not because you disagree with their premises but because they’re just not good enough.”

    What the heck does this contorted gibberish mean? Of _course_ I disagree with your “article”‘s inane premises – first and foremost, taking seriously the notion that anti-HIV therapy causes HIV infection. Glad to see that you’re professing to have dropped this belief. When did the conversion occur and based on what evidence? Will more study of the similarly powerful evidence supporting vaccination’s importance and safety convince you to reverse your antivax stands at some point in the future – or will you cling to them to spite all us nasty purveyors of science?

    Esther said: “I thought the first comment by Dr. Jay Gordon (with his full title, the one Orac responded to) sounded more like a parody of him than the genuine article. Is it really him?”

    I have wondered here previously whether it was the real Jay Gordon posting, as I have difficulty believing any competently trained physician could spout such nonsense. Seeing HIV denialism given a prominent place on his website leads me to think that unfortunately yes, we are seeing the actual Jay Gordon.
    Speaking of titles, the “FAAP” that Dr. Jay wields like the Seal of Good Housekeeping does not, to my knowledge, imply any special qualifications to practice medicine, merely that one joined a medical society and (presumably) pays dues. (the American Academy of Pediatrics is indeed a big tent, as it incorporates a tiny minority like Dr. Jay who reject its recommendations for childhood vaccination, no matter how queasy the AAP feels about these self-promoting enablers of quackery).

  91. #91 dedicated lurker
    June 4, 2009

    Sid – the plague (bubonic form) cannot be spread person to person. You need to be in contact with an infected rat or flea. The more lethal pneumonic plague can be spread from person to person, but also kills very quickly without extensive medical care, and thus does not spread fast.

  92. #92 Science Mom
    June 4, 2009

    In the post which disappeared, I mentioned that I have a lot to learn from epidemiologists and statisticians and vaccine researchers but the relentlessly nasty and sarcastic tone on this site mitigates against that. And yes, I am not about to reverse me reluctance about the current vaccine schedule and the denial of severe side effects from vaccines.

    But you wrote a book on vaccines and advise patients on a presumably, daily basis. YOU have a lot to learn from actual experts? That is about the only thing you have said that would be accurate, sadly though, not a self-revelation made soon enough.

    You are all pathetic. And Science Mom… she haunts the web. Shreds anyone who has a mind unlike hers. Claims to just not support the schedule and is herself a selective vaxer. Is SHE going to be responsible for HER child bringing back diseases? No. She doesn’t look at herself that way. She can claim a legit exemption because she understands the science. But anyone else how ALSO understands the science and doesn’t vaccinate, well, they are scientifically illiterate. She doesn’t even have the guts to publish her own alternative schedule despite daily offering vaccine advice for people.

    No, you want to pull people over to your side, then do so with a good argument for vaccines, not just spouting out on how cleverly you can insult people.

    Oh Sad, just another disgruntled Dr. Sears forum critter that gnashes her teeth every time I refute his erroneous statements. There is no such entity as someone who understands science and refuses to vaccinate; just a delusion to justify pseudo-scientific decisions. There aren’t arguments for vaccines, just science. The only arguments are from mind-numbing self-proclaimed experts that admit themselves their recommendations aren’t evidenced-based and they don’t have the expertise to really understand the science. Hey, sounds perfectly sane to me.
    Now instead of whining about pathetic we are, post some rebuttal information.

  93. #93 Jay Gordon, MD, FAAP
    June 4, 2009

    Rude, pointless comments with so little substance that they’re barely worth reading.

    Yes, I could learn from other real scientists and occasionally even from the herd (flock, gaggle, mob) of posters here. But your unintelligent insults (not so clever over and over again) drown out the possible informational value.

    And, yes, I disagree with censorship at other sites, too. And I certainly do know the word that triggered your spam filter, “Orac,” The use of your real name, right?

    And, no, vaccine preventable illnesses are not on the rise unless you cherry pick data. You know that but persist in committing this scientific misdeed.

    Best,

    Jay

  94. #94 A.J
    June 4, 2009

    You seemed to have ignored my request, Dr.Gordon, so I’ll re-post it:

    “And yes, I am not about to reverse me reluctance about the current vaccine schedule and the denial of severe side effects from vaccines.”

    Ok then. How about we just have an impromptu debate?

    Step #1. State you hypothesis in under 100 words. Must include a possible mechination by which vaccines cause harm and possible autism. We’ll go from there.

  95. #95 sad
    June 4, 2009

    You vaccinate your child on schedule with all recommended vaccines? Nuf said. Yeah, Great job you did rebutting. And you are notorious for ignoring questions. What is your recommended vaccine schedule for parents? Why not post it and be done with it? Oh, yeah, you will have some twisted logical reason for not doing so. You are as adept at that as you are always being less than honest. “There is no such entity as someone who understands science and refuses to vaccinate; just a delusion to justify pseudo-scientific decisions.” This is just empty mumbo jumbo. Per usual.

  96. #96 Science Mom
    June 4, 2009

    Yes, I could learn from other real scientists and occasionally even from the herd (flock, gaggle, mob) of posters here. But your unintelligent insults (not so clever over and over again) drown out the possible informational value.

    Then why don’t you pose the gaps in your knowledge and ask for guidance? You may be pleasantly surprised.

    And, no, vaccine preventable illnesses are not on the rise unless you cherry pick data. You know that but persist in committing this scientific misdeed.

    I don’t know where you are deriving your information from but there are, in fact, increases in VPDs as a direct result of vaccine refusal and/or poor uptake. Have you not been following the measles epidemics in the EU and U.S.? How, praytell are those figures cherry-picked when there is a direct, inverse correlation of measles incidence and vaccine uptake? Polio has just re-emerged in Argentina where vaccine uptake is below herd immunity threshold. Did you miss the recent reports of Hib fatalities in unvaccinated or partially vaccinated infants and children?
    Really, what part is cherry-picked?

  97. #97 HCN
    June 4, 2009

    Dr. Jay said “Yes, I could learn from other real scientists and occasionally even from the herd (flock, gaggle, mob) of posters here. But your unintelligent insults (not so clever over and over again) drown out the possible informational value.”

    Then how come you never post at ScienceBasedMedicine?

  98. #98 JuliaL
    June 4, 2009

    Science Mom,

    Is it true that you have a different schedule for vaccinations? Why is that? Is there evidence to support the present usual schedule or evidence to show the present schedule is less safe than a different schedule? Could you point me toward some of that evidence? I don’t understand what the present usual schedule is based on, and I’d like to learn more about it.

  99. #99 Dangerous Bacon
    June 4, 2009

    Here’s an excerpt from an FDA report on the use of chaparral, the herb that Dr. Jay recommends on his website for treating HIV, due to its alleged “anti-infectious power”:

    “Of 18 reports (between 1992-94) of illnesses associated with the ingestion of chaparral, there was evidence of hepatotoxicity in 13 cases. Clinical presentation, characterized as jaundice with a marked increase in serum liver chemistry values, occurred 3 to 52 weeks after the ingestion of chaparral, and it resolved 1 to 17 weeks after most individuals stopped their intake of chaparral. The predominant pattern of liver injury was characterized as toxic or drug-induced cholestatic hepatitis; in 4 individuals, there was progression to cirrhosis; and in 2 individuals, there was acute fulminant liver failure that required liver transplants. CONCLUSIONS: These data indicate that the use of chaparral may be associated with acute to chronic irreversible liver damage with fulminant hepatic failure”

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9129552

    Since (according to Orac) the recommendation for use of this dangerous (and unproven) herb has been up on Dr. Jay’s website for four years, he probably feels no rush to take it down, along with the rest of the rubbish contained therein, but given the potential for harm, one would think he’d be spending his precious time away from patients deleting inaccurate information from his website, rather than hanging around here peevishly carping at critics (as entertaining as his flailings may be).

  100. #100 notmercury
    June 4, 2009

    Well if you destroy the liver straight away, HIV won’t cause AIDS. So obvious.

  101. #101 cooler
    June 4, 2009

    A local bews report describes how a mother of 2 is forced to get both her children vaccinated, they both immediately get autistic after having to be put on life support. Remember immediate cause and effect correlations do prove causality, since the only evidence in support of HIV and Hep C is a correlation where the cause and effect are seperated by 10-30 years, one would have to accept a correlation that is instant!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7h-DPr_x2w

    Dr. Gordon is correct, I think in the future Dr. Gordon might deserve a space next to Father Duesberg on Mt. Rushmore.

  102. #102 Fannin
    June 4, 2009

    So, Jay, if the discussion here isn’t worth reading and you have a lot to learn from experts, I’m wondering why you are reading and commenting here instead of reading the work of dispassionate experts?

    I’m not trying to be snarky. I just don’t get it. I’m reading here because I have a lot to learn at this level but also because I enjoy it. I’m a chronic pain patient and this week I’m in 8- to 9-out-of-10 pain so I can’t concentrate on anything much harder. But you apparently don’t enjoy it. You could just read Orac’s posts and ignore the comments, as I often do on 4-out-of-10 pain days when I have other things I ought to be doing with my time, and let the people who do enjoy this kind of conversation carry on with enjoying it.

    When I can focus (and thanks to a really good evidence-based pain specialist that has happened more days than not in the last 10 months) I also work through books in subjects I need to learn more about. Those books aren’t aimed at as general an audience as this blog is, and there definitely aren’t entertaining and occasionally biting discussions following each chapter, but I learn faster when I’m reading them. Wouldn’t the parents of your patients be better served if you were reading a statistics textbook or whatever kind of books or articles contain the material you “have a lot to learn” about, so that you could follow the discussions of the people whose efforts you really want to understand and you could explain their judgments and reasoning to those parents?

    I get that it’s hard to know people are talking about you and not feel the urge to go out and find out what they’re saying, but that’s the price of being a public figure these days, no?

  103. #103 Science Mom
    June 4, 2009

    Is it true that you have a different schedule for vaccinations? Why is that? Is there evidence to support the present usual schedule or evidence to show the present schedule is less safe than a different schedule? Could you point me toward some of that evidence? I don’t understand what the present usual schedule is based on, and I’d like to learn more about it.

    My personal schedule is based upon my children’s potential exposure as well as my own and is evidenced-based as many different health agencies have their own schedules and mine closely followed a combination of different schedules. There is plenty of evidence if you go to PubMed and search for vaccine trials as paediatric vaccines are tested against others. Really not that scandalous after all.

  104. #104 Jay Gordon, MD, FAAP
    June 4, 2009

    The stupid continues to burn. Accompanied by distortions of the truth.

    The child in Argentina had, according to his doctors, “rare pathology that altered his immune system and allowed the onset of polio.” In other words, he must have received the oral polio vaccine and developed polio. And, this not an argument against using the OPV. I think it’s a better vaccine than the IPV.

    Bacon, check again and see if the article’s still there. Working on it. Someone else has to delete it for me.

    Science Mom, the number of cases of measles in the U.S. hardly qualifies as an epidemic and you know that. Stop trying to scare people and just state the facts. There are numbers out there and you’d use them if you were trying to help instead of trying to scare. HIB fatalities remain at an all time low. You know that, too. In medicine (and science) we applaud new ideas and interventions which save lives and then move on when better ideas occur. Judicious use of the HIB vaccine is a better idea than universal vaccination with this nearly-thirty-year-old shot.

    AJ, I’ll try to get that debate starter written today or tomorrow. The problem is that honest civil discourse is as rare on this site as . . . measles in America.

    Best,

    Jay

  105. #105 Fannin
    June 4, 2009

    So, Jay, if the discussion here isn’t worth reading and you have a lot to learn from experts, I’m wondering why you are reading and commenting here instead of reading the work of dispassionate experts?

    I’m not trying to be snarky. I just don’t get it. I’m reading here because I have a lot to learn at this level but also because I enjoy it. I’m a chronic pain patient and this week I’m in 8- to 9-out-of-10 pain so I can’t concentrate on anything much harder. But you apparently don’t enjoy it. You could just read Orac’s posts and ignore the comments, as I often do on 4-out-of-10 pain days when I have other things I ought to be doing with my time, and let the people who do enjoy this kind of conversation carry on with enjoying it.

    When I can focus (and thanks to a really good evidence-based pain specialist that has happened more days than not in the last 10 months) I also work through books in subjects I need to learn more about. Those books aren’t aimed at as general an audience as this blog is, and there definitely aren’t entertaining and occasionally biting discussions following each chapter, but I learn faster when I’m reading them. Wouldn’t the parents of your patients be better served if you were reading a statistics textbook or whatever kind of books or articles contain the material you “have a lot to learn” about, so that you could follow the discussions of the people whose efforts you really want to understand and you could explain their judgments and reasoning to those parents?

    I get that it’s hard to know people are talking about you and not feel the urge to go out and find out what they’re saying, but that’s the price of being a public figure these days, no?

  106. #106 Science Mom
    June 4, 2009

    Science Mom, the number of cases of measles in the U.S. hardly qualifies as an epidemic and you know that. Stop trying to scare people and just state the facts. There are numbers out there and you’d use them if you were trying to help instead of trying to scare. HIB fatalities remain at an all time low. You know that, too. In medicine (and science) we applaud new ideas and interventions which save lives and then move on when better ideas occur. Judicious use of the HIB vaccine is a better idea than universal vaccination with this nearly-thirty-year-old shot.

    Dr. Gordon, the U.S. 2008 incidence of measles was the highest in 12 years and exceeds the number of expected cases so certainly does qualify as an epidemic. Here are some stats from
    Switzerland
    and please note how many are unvaccinated there as well.

    Yes Hib fatalities are low, as a result of mass vaccination, not the point, but you seem rather flippant about fatalities that could have been avoided. So what ‘better ideas’ could you be suggesting? “Oh gosh, these vaccinations are saving so many lives, let’s stop”. Judicious use of this (not 30 year old jab) IS actually vaccinating children with it. What on earth are you suggesting? Again I ask, cherry-picking what data? Do you even know what you are talking about? By all means, show me stats of vaccination rates decreasing AND the corresponding diseases also decreasing if you think there is another side to this.

  107. #107 grenouille
    June 4, 2009

    Jay, I don’t understand how one would use the HIB vaccine judiciously, as you have recommended. What criteria would you use to decide who got the vaccine?

    I had periorbital cellulitis caused by HiB when I was 2.5 years old. I spent two weeks in the hospital, extremely, extremely ill. My mother was told to hope for the best. My father, who is a physician himself, was told in an aside to prepare my mother for the worst. They had good reason to tell him this. During the time I was in the hospital, another little girl with periorbital cellulitis died.

    I was a very healthy little girl who has grown into a healthy adult. I have no exotic immune disorders, no chronic diseases that would render me particularly susceptible. My only stroke of bad luck was being born before the advent of the vaccine.

    I made my own judicious choice to get my kids vaccinated against HIB. I don’t want them to go through what I went through.

    It’s truly hard to understand how you can talk about how HIB vaccine made a difference in pediatrics and then talk about not using it.

  108. #108 KWombles
    June 4, 2009

    Dr. Jay,

    I see your problem right away: you think there’s more than one “science.” What the dickens is with the “science” in quotes? Trying to be disparaging? It’s like your “best” when you sign of. Are you saying you’re the best or are you wishing the recipient all your best? Seems rather snarky, all in all.

  109. #109 T. Bruce McNeely
    June 4, 2009

    “Judicious use of the HIB vaccine is a better idea than universal vaccination with this nearly-thirty-year-old shot.”

    What grenouille said.

    Dr. Gordon, you drop a bull-pie like the above, and then you are “shocked! shocked!” at the response you get.

    You really don’t have a clue, do you.

  110. #110 Alexis
    June 4, 2009

    Dr. Jay, your HIV article was commented on here previously when Christine Maggiore died–and I do believe you commented here then; I remember quite the dust-up. Now you’re expressing shock and surprise? I don’t buy it.

  111. #111 sad
    June 4, 2009

    SM –

    ” Have you not been following the measles epidemics in the EU and U.S.? How, praytell are those figures cherry-picked when there is a direct, inverse correlation of measles incidence and vaccine uptake? Polio has just re-emerged in Argentina where vaccine uptake is below herd immunity threshold. Did you miss the recent reports of Hib fatalities in unvaccinated or partially vaccinated infants and children? ”

    Polio? So you are throwing out this information without any facts? You know it’s vaccine derived so there is no re-emergence of polio. Which means it was either caught directly from the vaccine or from shedding. And while the EU is seeing more cases, it is a complete lie that the US is. You know that. Look at the MMWR. Oh, yeah, I know, using your crystal ball to see into the future and projecting non-existent information to the present. And you call yourself a scientist with all the bells and whistles. Data, girl, Data.

  112. #112 sad
    June 4, 2009

    To quote SM from Sears board

    “I did get that the Sabin vaccine or OPV was involved but don’t know if it was a case of vaccine-associated-polio-paralysis (VAPP) directly from the child receiving the vaccine or transmitted from someone else that received it. Both are possible.”

    And you call that re-emergence? Please

  113. #113 sad
    June 4, 2009

    SM said: My personal schedule is based upon my children’s potential exposure as well as my own and is evidenced-based as many different health agencies have their own schedules and mine closely followed a combination of different schedules

    Your ‘personal’ schedule? Now your true colors show. You just said, “There is no such entity as someone who understands science and refuses to vaccinate;”

    You are chasing your tail. You are putting YOUR children at risk and risking the lives of others by not following the full schedule. How DARE you chastise parents for making decisions regarding their own children’s potential exposure when you are doing the same? You think because you come to different conclusions about their exposure risk for different diseases and vaccines, makes you better informed and are not risking others? You are a hypocrite SM. That’s now totally clear to me. You think because YOU conclude differently about the evidence than the CDC that you are somehow exempt from being called a selective vaxers or even a non-partial-vaxer? OMIGOD. You are delusional.

  114. #114 Chris
    June 4, 2009
  115. #115 Rogue Epidemiologist
    June 4, 2009

    Dr. Jay said:

    Science Mom, the number of cases of measles in the U.S. hardly qualifies as an epidemic and you know that. Stop trying to scare people and just state the facts.

    The very definition of an epidemic is when the incidence of a disease exceeds its local endemic rate. Considering that LA County’s endemic incidence of measles is zero or one case per year (thanks to MMR!!!), when that number goes up to 10 (as was the case in San Diego, although n=12 actually), the situation becomes noteworthy, despite whatever arbitrary numerical threshold you have deemed for measles to be considered dangerous.

    Perhaps you don’t remember just how contagious measles was. 1 becomes 10, 10 becomes 100, and before you know it, we’re at frequencies of hundreds if not thousands of cases annually. Implausible? Not if you consider that there are 10 million people in Los Angeles County.

    But hey, if this keeps up, my colleagues’ jobs will all be very secure.

  116. #116 Science Mom
    June 4, 2009

    Polio? So you are throwing out this information without any facts? You know it’s vaccine derived so there is no re-emergence of polio. Which means it was either caught directly from the vaccine or from shedding. And while the EU is seeing more cases, it is a complete lie that the US is. You know that. Look at the MMWR. Oh, yeah, I know, using your crystal ball to see into the future and projecting non-existent information to the present. And you call yourself a scientist with all the bells and whistles. Data, girl, Data.

    It doesn’t matter if it’s VAPP or not, reversion to wild-type has occurred and can be transmitted in an area with inadequate vaccine uptake. So the U.S. isn’t experiencing more measles cases in 12 years? You may wish to alert the CDC and also note that the vast majority of them have been in unvaccinated, 16 infants too young to be as well. I have it in a post that should appear above so there’s your data. Perhaps you should follow the stats a little more closely then you wouldn’t have to rely upon others to spoon-feed you.

    Your ‘personal’ schedule? Now your true colors show. You just said, “There is no such entity as someone who understands science and refuses to vaccinate;”

    There are many that post here from, GASP, other countries and follow different schedules, based upon science, not ‘gut science’.

    You are chasing your tail. You are putting YOUR children at risk and risking the lives of others by not following the full schedule. How DARE you chastise parents for making decisions regarding their own children’s potential exposure when you are doing the same? You think because you come to different conclusions about their exposure risk for different diseases and vaccines, makes you better informed and are not risking others? You are a hypocrite SM. That’s now totally clear to me. You think because YOU conclude differently about the evidence than the CDC that you are somehow exempt from being called a selective vaxers or even a non-partial-vaxer? OMIGOD. You are delusional.

    Read previous response and try to understand, if you can, that there is a whole wide world out there beyond the U.S. And to compare me to the Dr. Bob herd is positively laughable. Really such a tact makes you look silly and simple.

  117. #117 sad
    June 4, 2009

    No one spoon feeds me anything. I can see for myself. A world beyond the US? REALLY? Who would have thunk there was one. Thanks oh so much for telling me. I Would not have wanted to miss that one. I did NOT compare you to Dr. Bob. Try to understand that, if you can. I said that you are a selective vaxer EVEN by other foreign schedules. You are implying that you are following a different one that is another countries. I seriously DOUBT that is what you are doing. No, you are interpreting data and drawing your own conclusions. So until you enlighten the world about where you are and your schedule is, you are the one who looks silly and stupid and full of hot air.

  118. #118 Matthew Cline
    June 4, 2009

    The very definition of an epidemic is when the incidence of a disease exceeds its local endemic rate.

    To play devil’s advocate, the colloquial meaning of “epidemic” is different than the technical meaning, so when talking to a lay audience it might be best to use different terminology.

    Jay, I don’t understand how one would use the HIB vaccine judiciously, as you have recommended. What criteria would you use to decide who got the vaccine?

    Maybe he consults a precognitive medical intuitive who can tell which children will or won’t get HiB in the future?

  119. #119 Rogue Epidemiologist
    June 4, 2009

    To play devil’s advocate, the colloquial meaning of “epidemic” is different than the technical meaning, so when talking to a lay audience it might be best to use different terminology.

    NO.
    The definition is what it is, and it’s a problem that the layfolk don’t know what the word really means. Time to educate them.

    The point is: if you have some disease that has nearly been eradicated, and it reemerges, it IS a problem. If we expect zero cases, and even one pops up (such would be the case the case with things like diphtheria, CJD, anthrax or loa loa), health authorities will have to pay attention, lest the case count get out of hand. Hence the heavy-handed approach to dealing with H1N1. While 0 deaths would be great, 12 is much better than 12000.

  120. #120 Science Mom
    June 4, 2009

    I said that you are a selective vaxer EVEN by other foreign schedules. You are implying that you are following a different one that is another countries. I seriously DOUBT that is what you are doing. No, you are interpreting data and drawing your own conclusions. So until you enlighten the world about where you are and your schedule is, you are the one who looks silly and stupid and full of hot air.

    Considering you don’t know what I have done, it’s a red herring and renders your argument completely irrelevant. I would be interested in hearing, however, how you claim that U.S. measles cases aren’t increasing.

  121. #121 Jen
    June 4, 2009

    “Of 18 reports (between 1992-94) of illnesses associated with the ingestion of chaparral, there was evidence of hepatotoxicity in 13 cases. Clinical presentation, characterized as jaundice with a marked increase in serum liver chemistry values, occurred 3 to 52 weeks after the ingestion of chaparral, and it resolved 1 to 17 weeks after most individuals stopped their intake of chaparral. The predominant pattern of liver injury was characterized as toxic or drug-induced cholestatic hepatitis; in 4 individuals, there was progression to cirrhosis; and in 2 individuals, there was acute fulminant liver failure that required liver transplants. CONCLUSIONS: These data indicate that the use of chaparral may be associated with acute to chronic irreversible liver damage with fulminant hepatic failure”

    I don’t see any of you pitching a fit about the *thousands* of cases of acute liver failure every year due to (mostly) unintentional Tylenol overdoses, nor do any of you seem concerned about the risks of asthma/allergies wrt to acetaminophen. (Or is your concern for children’s suffering limited to only vaccine-preventable illnesses?)

    If Tylenol were a dietary supplement, it would have been yanked from the market years ago.

    Why the double standard?

  122. #122 skeptiquette
    June 5, 2009

    “Apparently he doesn’t realize that widening of the diagnostic criteria for autism in the 1990s, along with diagnostic substitution can explain much and probably all of the apparent increase in autism diagnoses”

    Hey Orac and others(Prometheus, you would probably be interested in this as you wrote a recent blog post regarding “diagnostic substitution”)

    You may be interested in this peer reviewed article that came out a few days ago:

    Grether JK, Rosen NJ, Smith KS, Croen LA. Investigation of Shifts in Autism Reporting in the California Department of Developmental Services. J Autism Dev Disord. 2009 May 29

    While, I am not that interested in discussing this topic (I am personally just more interested in the molecular biology, biochemistry and immunology of autism), I thought it would be reasonable to at least make people aware of this study. Here is a quote from the intro and summary:

    The reasons for the increase in prevalence
    remain hotly debated among clinicians, service providers,
    parents, advocates, and scientists (Gillberg et al. 1991;
    Fombonne, 2001; Wing and Potter 2002; Laidler 2005;
    Rutter 2005; Gernsbacher et al. 2005; Jick et al. 2006).
    Numerous explanations have been offered, including
    broadened diagnostic criteria, increased awareness among
    parents, clinicians, and service providers, and increases in
    non-genetic or environmental risk factors. Concerns have
    also been raised about shifts in diagnostic labeling practices over recent decades such that significant numbers of children who are now receiving an ASD diagnosis would
    have been diagnosed with, and possibly received services
    for, a different developmental or psychiatric disorder in
    prior years. This shift in diagnostic practice has been variously called ‘‘diagnostic drift’’ or ‘‘diagnostic substitution’’and investigative focus has been primarily on
    alternative diagnoses of mental retardation (MR)/cognitive
    impairment.

    In summary, data from this study indicate that reliance on qualifying condition codes in the statewide DDS electronic file will result in an undercount of the numbers of children with autism receiving DDS services. Our findings
    do not support the hypothesis that observed increases in the
    prevalence of children in California receiving DDS services
    for autism have been substantially affected by changes in coding of DDS qualifying conditions for children born in the late 1980s through the 1990s.

    Anyways, let me know what you think, if you get around to reading it.

    Thanks,

    skeptiquette

  123. #123 Chris
    June 5, 2009

    Jen:

    Why the double standard?

    Because your issue has absolutely nothing to do with vaccines (especially since there is now pediatric ibuprofen).

    The toxicity of acetaminophen to the liver is common knowledge. Peter Bowditch of ratbags.com has written on Usenet and elsewhere that it is nonsense that it is an over the counter drug, while the medication he needs a prescription for his diabetes is much safer in higher doses (he is in Australia, so the laws may vary).

    You are also going on the assumption that everyone uses acetaminophen. Since the miracle of ibuprofen on cramps was discovered in my world over twenty years ago, plus its effectiveness on hubby’s migraines — Tylenol has not been part of our medicine cabinet since before the first child was born (and we never really needed the stuff after vaccines, it was optional — and since the baby just went to sleep, why force drops down his throat!).

    What you have failed to do is show the use of acetaminophen and a connection to autism. The only evidence you have tried to show is a $93 publish on demand book by one person who did a crappy survey. Until you post something more substantial than your experience (as Dr. Crislip, of ScienceBasedMedicine, says on his Quackcast “The plural of anecdote is anecdotes, not data!”), or that one book: you are just whistling into the wind.

    Liver issues have as much in common with autism as pink skin (info for newbies: mercury poisoning causes the skin to become bright magenta pink, hence its other name “Pinks Disease.” There is a case report from Canada on the treatment of mercury poisoning on a pair of twin girls, it is called “Pink Ladies”… one autism newsletter author actually took that paper trying to show mercury as a cause of autism, but digitally removed the pink from the photos of their skin!).

    Did you even attempt to click on the link I provided, here it is without the HTML stuff: http://xkcd.com/552/

    Do you understand what it means?

    Hey, do you know what else started in the 1980s? Big freaking shoulder pads in shirts and jackets for women. Since I have fairly straight shoulders, plus I am a swimmer which caused more muscle development in the shoulders — I spent the 80s cutting out the stupid shoulder pads. Those shoulder pad, along with the big fluffy hair are obviously a cause of the rise of autism starting in 1980.

  124. #124 Catherina
    June 5, 2009

    Funny how you get worked up about Science Mom when the thread is about Dr Bob Sears’ flirt with the vaxaloons.

    My children are not vaccinated on CDC schedule – we do not live in the US. They are also not vaccinated on UK (i.e. local) schedule, we are buying the flu vaccine for the family every year (on top of local recommendations) and my son will receive a dTaP/IPV booster earlier than the dT booster is recommended here. Does that make me irresponsible?

  125. #125 skeptiquette
    June 5, 2009

    Hi Jen,
    I was intrigued and curious about your comments and being the voracious reader that I am I just read some peer reviewed journal articles regarding acetaminophen and hepatotoxicity. This happens to be completely relevant to autism spectrum disorders and the extant clinical evidence. Thanks for putting this out there, it could very well be a factor in ASD’s and should (and I am sure will) be thoroughly explored as more and more connections are made in the autism jigsaw puzzle.

    The scientific consensus is that autism is a combination of the inheritance of multiple common gene variants, which affect many different biochemical and immunological pathways, and the interaction of these genes with various environmental factors. This is what makes the etiology of autism so heterogenous and difficult to typify with some degree of uniformity, but I think the analogy of a jigsaw puzzle works well to conceptualize this idea.

    Each autistic individual has a unique set of puzzle pieces that have to be assembled in order to elucidate the likely etiology. Until this puzzle is assembled (mind you, this puzzle has to be considered for each individual, i.e. no two puzzles will be exactly the same), a therapeutic approach will be considerably hindered. Hence, the lack of consistent results from many different therapeutic approaches available. For example, one child with autism will greatly benefit from a GFCF diet, whereas another child may see no benefit at all from this approach. This obviously doesn’t imply that therapeutic approaches should be completely avoided unless the puzzle is solved, just that a more individualized approach must be taken when considering “what is going on” at a biochemical or immunological level.

    Now back to the idea of acetaminophen being a likely piece of the jigsaw puzzle that is autism. How would acetaminophen have anything to do with autism? Well some of you have taken the anti-science approach and dismissed this idea out of hand. While I would expect this type of reaction on a blog for anything other than science, it seems a bit peculiar that such a reaction is not only tolerated but condoned and promoted on SCIENCE blogs (remember science is about exploring possibilities, NOT being the snarkiest of the bunch). Although some of you have attained a high level of snarkiness, I feel as though this has been achieved at the expense of improving your “oh so insightful” scientific reasoning skills.

    Acetominophen can obviously cause hepatotoxicity when consumed in quantities higher than recommended. In order to explain the relevance to autism, I will delve into the biochemistry and immunology at play. Acetominophen is metabolically activated by cytochrome p450 to form the reactive metabolite NAPQI (N-acetyl-p-benzoquinone-imine). NAPQI is detoxified by the intracellular tripeptide glutathione. Glutathione is expressed at high levels within cells (millimolar concentrations) and the high ratio of GSH:GSSG provides the essential reducing environment in the cell, in other words proper balance is absolutely critical for many cellular functions. Thus, glutathione disequilibrium is implicated in many different diseases (Cancer, autism, alzheimers, allergy, asthma, autoimmunity, etc, etc…)

    The liver is the major producer of glutathione, as is evidenced by the high expression of CBS, (cystathione b synthetase) the enzyme which catalyzes the first step in the transulfuration pathway, in liver cells but not in peripheral cells. The active metabolite of acetaminophen, NAPQI, reacts very rapidly with reduced glutathione to form an acetaminophen glutathione conjugate , depleting GSH reserves by as much as 90%. As the levelof glutathione drops so does the activity of many detoxification enzymes which rely on the tripeptide for their mechanistic activity. One such enzyme is Glutathione peroxidase, this is the major enzyme participating in the reduction of activated oxygen species through the coupled oxidation of reduced glutathione. This is important because the one of the central mechanisms in acetaminophen induced hepatotoxicity is the action of peroxynitrite (product from NO and superoxide rxn), which is normally detoxified by glutathione peroxidase.

    Two things are relevant here. One, it has recently been shown that there is a charachteristic metabolic profile in many children who are afflicted with autism involving disturbances in methionine and glutathione metabolism(these two pathways are inextricably linked). For example, blood GSH levels were 32-46% lower than controls, and GSH:GSSG ratio was also down 48-66%. Two, in light of the scientific consensus regarding the etiology of autism, the exploration of SNP’s affecting glutathione metabolism is a hot topic. Recent studies include statistically significant findings that children who have autism carry SNP’s affecting the enzymes glutathione peroxidase, glutathione s-transferase, as well as enzymes affection the methionine cycle at a higher frequency than the non-autistic individuals(more puzzle pieces)

    Reactive oxygen species insult and the concomitant loss of intracellular GSH also potentiate the cellular inflammatory response via the recently discovered inflammasome. The inflammasome is a NLR (Nod like receptor ) that is expressed in the cytosol of the cell, it is akin to its transmembrane PRR (pathogen recognition receptor) the TLR (toll like receptor) family of proteins. Its job is to monitor the intracellular milieu for PAMP’s (pathogen associated molecular patterns) and cellular danger signals (ROS’s). Incidentally, alum, the most commonly used vaccine adjuvant in inactivated viral and conjugate bacterial vaccines is a potent activator of the NALP3 inflammasome, resulting in the activation of powerful inflammatory cytokines IL-1B and IL-18. Actually, the inflammasome is a multiprotein scaffold complex that activates caspase-1, a protease, which cleaves the pro form of IL-1B, IL-18 and IL-33.

    Ok, I am getting a little sidetracked away from acetaminophen, but there is more relevant info. Acetominophen induced hepatotoxicity is largely mediated by the pro-inflammatory response of IL-1B, TNF alpha, IL-2, IL-6, and interferon gamma. Another connection to autism is the expression of MIF (macrophage migration inhibitory factor)in acetaminophen induced hepatotoxicity, which has also adopted the name “most interesting factor” due to its cytokine, neuroendocrine, and enzymatic properties. MIF counter regulates both the anti-inflammatory response and the immune suppressive effects of glucocorticoids. Moreover, MIF prolongs the inflammatory response by decreasing macrophage apoptosis. MIF has been implicated as a key factor in acetaminophen induced hepatotoxicity by using a MIF knockout (-/-) mouse model. MIF -/- mice show a substantially decreased susceptibility to the toxic effects of acetaminophen, which likely implicates pro-inflammatory regulation as a key factor in hepatotoxicity. OK, now the connection to autism. Some autistic individuals are carriers of the allele(s) which confer greater expression of MIF than controls (statistically significant). Just one more piece of the puzzle coming together. These individuals, if administered acetaminophen could very well be pushed into a cycle of perpetual inflammation. Then combine that with the administration of a vaccine (or multiple) containing alum, and the chances are greater yet, especially because the normal detoxification enzyme, glutathione peroxidase, would be inactive and unable to efficiently detoxify the alum causing a prolonged inflammatory response couple this with the MIF SNP and you should start to get the picture, or maybe not. Are some of you able to see how genes and environment can interact to potentially cause a perpetual cycle of inflammation and oxidative stress???

    Now consider all of this in light of the studies regarding aberrant cytokine responses early in life and the formation of neurodevelopmental disorders and these ideas become incredibly intriguing. Most definitely not off the wall as some of you purport.

    Oh, but wait, I think I do remember reading something in a peer reviewed journal about an SNP that conferred greater susceptibility to the toxic effects of larger shoulder pads, puffy hair does, internet hosts, and mc hammer pants. Maybe one of you scientific geniuses can expound on that theory!!

    How does that go… The stupid it… What?

    Excuse me if I have grammar mistakes, I am too tired to proofread.

    skeptiquette

  126. #126 Dangerous Bacon
    June 5, 2009

    jen: “I don’t see any of you pitching a fit about the *thousands* of cases of acute liver failure every year due to (mostly) unintentional Tylenol overdoses, nor do any of you seem concerned about the risks of asthma/allergies wrt to acetaminophen. (Or is your concern for children’s suffering limited to only vaccine-preventable illnesses?)

    If Tylenol were a dietary supplement, it would have been yanked from the market years ago.

    Why the double standard?”

    Tylenol is an effective and valuable medication. Chaparral is not. We may accept some degree of risk in taking a medication that works, but it is unconscionable to promote a drug with no demonstrated value that carries a risk of horrific liver damage.

    That’s not a “double standard” – it’s common sense.

  127. #127 Jen
    June 5, 2009

    “Tylenol is an effective and valuable medication.”

    Actually, Tylenol is a worthless drug that cures nothing. Ibuprofen is much more effective at controlling fever (although I disagree with the idea of fever suppression in most cases, anyway) and pain, and the emerging evidence linking it to asthma and allergies, (and quite possibly, autism; be sure to read skeptiquette’s beautifully written response) in addition to the already known hepatotoxic risk, will mean that the supposed benefits no longer outweigh the risks.

  128. #128 passionlessDrone
    June 5, 2009

    Hi Skeptiquette –

    Very nice post. I had a few thoughts.

    Recent studies include statistically significant findings that children who have autism carry SNP’s affecting the enzymes glutathione peroxidase, glutathione s-transferase, as well as enzymes affection the methionine cycle at a higher frequency than the non-autistic individuals(more puzzle pieces)

    You might be interested in knowing that a different allele for glutahione perioxidase 1 may be associated with protection from an autism diagnosis.

    Genetic variant of glutathione peroxidase 1 in autism (Ming 2009)

    Incidentally, alum, the most commonly used vaccine adjuvant in inactivated viral and conjugate bacterial vaccines is a potent activator of the NALP3 inflammasome, resulting in the activation of powerful inflammatory cytokines IL-1B and IL-18.

    Of potential interest here, when stimulated in vitro, the blood from children with autism has been shown to create more IL-B (and other pro-inflammatory cytokines) than children without that diagnosis.

    Proinflammatory and regulatory cytokine production associated with innate and adaptive immune responses in children with autism spectrum disorders and developmental regression (Jyonouchi 2001)

    Are some of you able to see how genes and environment can interact to potentially cause a perpetual cycle of inflammation and oxidative stress???

    In the realm of inflammatory control and/or oxidative stress, also of potential interest are the genetic associations of MET genes and findings of decreased HGF in autism, differential transmission of COX-2 polymorphisms, and a veritable spectrum of clinical findings that point towards a immune regulation problems towards a state of inflammation in this population.

    – pD

  129. #129 Alexis
    June 5, 2009

    Jen: except for people who cannot take NSAIDs for one reason or another. Not to mention the various prescription forms of acetaminophen + narcotics.

    BTW, in the UK, acetaminophen (paracetamol) can only be purchased in limited quantities (16 in regular stores, 32 from the pharmacist) in blister packs, to help prevent overdose.

  130. #130 Jen
    June 5, 2009

    “BTW, in the UK, acetaminophen (paracetamol) can only be purchased in limited quantities (16 in regular stores, 32 from the pharmacist) in blister packs, to help prevent overdose.”

    That’s actually a very good idea, and one the the FDA very much wanted to implement here in the United States, but Johnson and Johnson wouldn’t hear of it, and unfortunately, the FDA caved.

    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1124220

  131. #131 Jen
    June 5, 2009

    Skeptiquette,
    Dr. Rosemary Waring’s research on sulfation deficits wrt to autism may interest you as well.

    :)

  132. #132 sad
    June 5, 2009

    Considering you don’t know what I have done, it’s a red herring and renders your argument completely irrelevant. I would be interested in hearing, however, how you claim that U.S. measles cases aren’t increasing.

    Actually, not so. You post enough on the vax boards that it’s quite easy to piece together what you have done.

  133. #133 Dangerous Bacon
    June 5, 2009

    Jen: “Tylenol is a worthless drug that cures nothing.”

    Perhaps you could inform us what medications for pain and fever “cure” anything. Answer: none. – Apparently you consider relief of pain and fever to be a worthless benefit. As noted, acetominophen when used properly is of value to those at risk of gastrointestinal damage and bleeding when using aspirin or NSAIDS.

    Maybe you’d now like to go on the offensive against aspirin. Or steroids. Or any other drug that provides valuable symptomatic relief while not “curing” anything. This still misses the point – drugs that work are logically held to a different standard than drugs not shown to be of value (i.e. chaparral).

    By the way, evidence linking acetominophen to autism is lacking. Though it’s refreshing in a way to see another bogeyman besides vaccines being ranted about.

  134. #134 Jen
    June 5, 2009

    “Apparently you consider relief of pain and fever to be a worthless benefit.”

    I’m not convinced that fever suppression ultimately benefits the body, except in very rare circumstances. I believe that fever plays an important role in immune function, and I’ve read some studies that even suggest fever suppression increases mortality.

    I also think that Tylenol is not all that effective in reducing pain, either, though I do concede that there are those who are not able to tolerate NSAIDS for various reasons.

    Ultimately, I think that drugs such as Tylenol are grossly over-marketed and overused.

    “Though it’s refreshing in a way to see another bogeyman besides vaccines being ranted about.”

    Don’t think I’m letting vaccines off the hook, either. Unfortunately, “fever phobia” has led to the unscientific practice of administering antipyretics *before* vaccinations in many pediatric practices, and parents are instructed to suppress fevers for a few days afterwards, as well. At no time is more Tylenol administered to children than when they are being vaccinated.

  135. #135 Dangerous Bacon
    June 5, 2009

    “At no time is more Tylenol administered to children than when they are being vaccinated.”

    A simple declarative statement with no demonstrable basis in fact.

    “Don’t think I’m letting vaccines off the hook, either.”

    Yep, can’t trust them vaccines. They’re full of ether, antifreeze, aborted human babies, dioxin, nuclear waste and tiny little bits of Dick Cheney.

    By the way, the piece on “Alternative Treatments for HIV” is still up on Jay Gordon’s website, despite his promise to take it down “ASAP” (I love the way he referred to it here as “the HIV article” rather than “my HIV article”, as though it was some sort of opportunistic fungus that happened to invade his website).

    The stupid continues to burn brightly in Gordon-Land.

  136. #136 sad
    June 5, 2009

    While I disagree that Tylenol is not effective at reducing pain, I think there is probably overuse and abuse. I take Tylenol after an 8 hour headache and within 20 minutes it’s gone. It’s quite clear to me that it works.

    But if there is a connection between Tylenol and vaccination, it would make sense in that many doctors recommend taking Tylenol even before vaccines are administered. And then I am assuming parents give it after once the effects of vaccination start to take place. That might be quite alot for a child to cope with.

  137. #137 Jen
    June 5, 2009

    “Yep, can’t trust them vaccines. They’re full of ether, antifreeze, aborted human babies, dioxin, nuclear waste and tiny little bits of Dick Cheney.”

    When did I ever make any of the above comments? (Since you’re so big on factual statements.)

  138. #138 Pablo
    June 8, 2009

    You know, I think those pediatricians are underestimating the brilliance of Dr. Bob’s vaccination schedule. See, by spreading out the vaccines instead of giving them all at once, you are able to get the parents in the door more often, and therefore can charge them for more office visits. I mean, most pediatricians will do visits at 2 weeks, 2 months, 4 mos, 6 mos, maybe 9 mos, and 1 year, so maybe 6 in the first year. But, if you are smart and spread out the vaccines, you can get them to come in at 2 weeks, 2 mos, 3 mos, 4 mos, 5 mos, 6 mos, 7 mos, 8 mos, 9 mos, etc. Wow, 11 times a year! So they come in, you spend 2 minutes with them (not much changes monthly), and have the nurse give them a shot. And then next month, you do it all over again. Oh, sure, every once in a while you might spend an extra minute or two with them, but overall, it costs little in time and resources, but you get almost twice as much in fees.

    It’s brilliant! I can’t imagine why you folks would be so opposed.

    (Seriously, how is this any sillier than the “in cahoots with big pharma” accusation?)

  139. #139 Pablo
    June 8, 2009

    While I disagree that Tylenol is not effective at reducing pain, I think there is probably overuse and abuse. I take Tylenol after an 8 hour headache and within 20 minutes it’s gone. It’s quite clear to me that it works.

    But if there is a connection between Tylenol and vaccination, it would make sense in that many doctors recommend taking Tylenol even before vaccines are administered. And then I am assuming parents give it after once the effects of vaccination start to take place. That might be quite alot for a child to cope with.

    If you go back and read the whole of jen’s comments, you realize that her objection to Tylenol is based on the assertions that 1) it is not effective against pain, and 2) fever is good

    Doctors generally are not as supportive of the idea that high fever is acceptable (btw, we are talking about high fevers – doctors do not recommend anything for low-grade fever (below 100.5)).

    BTW, I have kidney disease in my family and am advised against taking ibuprofen. So it is acetominophin for me.

  140. #140 Mara
    September 8, 2009

    Just a mom putting in my 2 cents. I’m glad to have read this before becoming a ball of nerves about bringing my daughter for her 4 month shots.

    My daughter spent 12 weeks in the NICU- 12 weeks premature. A wonderful pediatrion/man/father took great care of my baby and also doctored her thru the flu. Only days after isolation (from the flu) he OK’d her 2 month shots. I had a bit of hesitation of course…but he assured me that any/most concerns about vaccinations were silly. In the end, all the docs on the ward and the pediatrics ward and the nurses agreed with him. (I have been doing my investigating.) Hard to believe that the people that took such good care of my baby would now put her in harms way. ??

  141. #141 Autismomma
    September 24, 2010

    As a parent who has a child with autism, and one who has also done extensive research into autism, vaccine ingredients, the neurological effects that vaccines can and do have on some individuals (even the pharmaceutical companies acknowledge these effects), I am having a very difficult time reading this rant of total ignorance. I actually stumbled onto this post looking for a particular bit of information about Dr. Sears.

    For people like you, I have to ask:

    Have you ever read a vaccine insert, you know, the kind you can get from a doctor when you get a vaccine? If you had, you would know the pharmaceutical companies admit right there in their own pieces of literature the side effects that can result from vaccines. Call it neurological damage, seizures, autism – whatever you like – it’s neurological damage all the same and it DOES happen and they have no problem admitting it. Just to help you out, here is a link where you can read informational vaccine inserts put out by the pharmaceutical companies themselves:
    http://hopkinsvaccine.org/package_inserts.htm

    Do you know the CDC is recommending a flu vaccine for “all individuals” this year? Do you also know that every manufacturer of the various flu vaccines includes in their informational insert the statement, “The safety and effectiveness of this vaccine has not been established in pregnant or nursing women.” (or similar wording)? Basically, the pharmaceutical companies are admitting they don’t even know if it is safe to give such an injection to a pregnant or nursing mama but the CDC says all people should get one.

    Do you know there has never been a single comprehensive study of the effects on children of all the vaccines in the CDC’s vaccine schedule? Sure, there have been studies of individual vaccines but not ONE, not even ONE study, of the effects of all of them. I DARE you to try and find one study….you won’t because there isn’t one that exists.

    And finally, have you ever had to watch a child of yours develop just fine and then have a round of vaccines and start seizing within hours, lose his speech and become non-verbal, lose all eye contact, begin banging his head because of the pain of the toxins in his brain and then never be that child again that he was just hours ago? Because if you haven’t, and I am certain you haven’t, HOW DARE YOU try to tell people how to feel or to not believe vaccines can and do cause autism.

    I can only feel sympathy for how you must strive to make it through the day being as ignorant as is obviously the case shown here.

  142. #142 Todd W.
    September 24, 2010

    @Autismomma

    I recommend reading more informational, fact-based sites like Science-Based Medicine, antiantivax.flurf.net (linked via my name), Photon in the Darkness, etc.

    I have read vaccine inserts. I also got myself a master’s in regulatory affairs. What I learned from that is that the side effects listed in the package inserts include not only what the manufacturers learned in their clinical trials, but also what has been reported to them, whether a causal connection has actually been established or not. Basically, it’s legalese, to some degree. Oh, and for the most up to date versions of vaccine inserts, I would recommend going to the FDA’s site.

    Regarding flu vaccines in pregnant women, what the vaccine manufacturers report (that the vaccine has not been tested in pregnant women) is them being forthright and honest. They have not tested it for the purposes of market approval. In other words, the companies do the clinical trials that they need to do so they can market it. Unless they are specifically going to market something to a special population (e.g., pregnant women, elderly, pediatric, etc.), they aren’t going to do clinical trials in that population. That is not to say, however, that other people do not do research in those populations. Pay a visit, for example, to clinicaltrials.gov and you will find studies of the flu vaccine in pregnant women, some of them sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.

    Thus far, despite numerous studies all over the world, no causal link has been found between vaccines and autism. We know, with some certainty, that thimerosal is extremely unlikely to cause autism. We also know that MMR is very unlikely to cause autism. We also know that there is evidence that suggests that the true rate of autism incidence (as opposed to diagnosis) has probably remained around 1 in 100 or so for several decades, based on rates of autism among adults.

    While I can sympathize with you, having seen the full range of autism first-hand, the evidence suggests that you are wrong in your belief that vaccines cause autism.

  143. #143 Chris
    September 24, 2010

    Autismomma:

    Have you ever read a vaccine insert, you know, the kind you can get from a doctor when you get a vaccine?

    Which are written by lawyers and put down every single think they think the vaccine might have done. It really has nothing to do with reality.

    Do you know there has never been a single comprehensive study of the effects on children of all the vaccines in the CDC’s vaccine schedule?

    I really don’t understand what you are asking. Could you outline the design of this study, how many children it would take and if there will a risk assessment if children are left vulnerable to diseases?

    Yes, I have seen my son have seizures. It was on his second day of life. I also saw him have a major seizure and held him in my lap as he was transported by ambulance to the hospital because he was very sick with a now vaccine preventable disease. This was when he was a bit over a year old, so he never really even developed speech.

    How dare you try to play the mommy knows best game with me.

    What you can do is tell me what the exact risks are with the DTaP vaccine compared to pertussis (especially with nine infants dying in California). Please provide proper documentation, and not unsubstantiated assertions.

  144. #144 augustine
    September 24, 2010

    A dude named Chris will be here shortly to explain to you that your child could not possibly have been harmed by vaccines. It is IMPOSSIBLE by scienceblog standards to admit to any type of vaccine damage except for tiny red bumps at at the injection site. Any thing more serious than a local reaction is considered so rare that it can automatically be dismissed by these internet experts as purely coincidental without any further examination.

    *Chris is a mother of children not harmed by vaccines. One is handicapped, but not by vaccines therefore your child could not be harmed by vaccines.

    But that is a logical fallacy so therefore that can not be true because of that logic. So she’ll just say you’re a misguided liar because of her own reasoning. Be prepared for onslaught.

  145. #145 augustine
    September 24, 2010

    I knew it because she has an unrestrained desire to cap end any post that is left with a non skeptic regular’s contribution. Stupidity and ignorance, as it is called, can not be left alone. It Can be characterized by the person you know who “always has to have the last word and is always right”.

    That’s what drives the SBMer. It’s a little idiosyncrasy.It’s their guilty pleasure and delightful weakness.

    But the blog owner loves it because it keeps the hits coming.

  146. #146 augustine
    September 24, 2010

    How dare you try to play the mommy knows best game with me.

    Did you see your child develop normally and then go into convulsive seizures after doctor recommended vaccines and to never return to normalcy? No you did not. You have a handicapped child that is all you have in common. Nothing else.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OsnL9yHApIA

  147. #147 Pam N.
    September 26, 2010

    Given many of the comments here and some of the ones posted directly in response to my own first comment, it would appear that a LOT of so-called educated people here are not aware of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/

    The government even acknowledges vaccines can and DO cause injuries in some people. So before you go trying to tell me the side effects in vaccine pamphlets “…really has nothing to do with reality.” perhaps you should get your own facts straight and know that vaccines cause enough damage that a governmental program was created solely for dealing with vaccine injuries.

    Todd W. – Oh my, where do I even begin with you? Seriously, you ask that I look at “fact-based” websites and in the same sentence, you advise me to look at your own website and another website that are obviously opinion-based websites. Really??? Wow, to be so vain….
    Further, your recommendation to visit the FDA’s website for vaccine inserts would seem innocent enough and I do use the FDA’s website quite often – often enough that I know that the website I provided shows the vaccine inserts in a much more reader-friendly format and is therefore, why I prefer looking at vaccine inserts there rather than on the FDA’s site.

    Unlike so many people who are totally pro-vaccine as you, parents like myself with a vaccine injured child typically look at BOTH sides of the story. We look at the research for AND against vaccines. It’s too bad people like you can’t be as open-minded. Unfortunately, we also have our own children’s neurological damage as proof of what vaccines can do. If you still believe vaccines do not cause injuries, please refer to the beginning of this comment.

    No causal link has been found between vaccines and autism because, as I stated before, no research exists that has studied the effects of multiple vaccines of children over time. Again, please provide a study that studied the effects of multiple vaccines, since you seem to be so “fact-based” (as I am clearly not, in your opinion). And good luck, because you won’t find one!

    By the way, I noticed you have a way of reading more into things than what is written. In your reply, you stated, “That is not to say, however, that other people do not do research in those populations” in reference to my comments regarding flu vaccine inserts, pregnant women, and the CDC’s recommendation for everyone to get a flu vaccine. I never stated there were no studies. I said the pharm companies are admitting they have not established the safety of the flu vaccines in pregnant women – big difference.

    “While I can sympathize with you, having seen the full range of autism first-hand, the evidence suggests that you are wrong in your belief that vaccines cause autism.” Yes, your sympathy is just dripping – not that I want it. Autism parents do not ask for sympathy – we prefer understanding. I love it when people like you who have not walked in my shoes call me a liar, because that is exactly what you are doing. Normally developing children who begin seizing and lose all speech within HOURS after a round of vaccines is obviously a normal occurence and it couldn’t POSSIBLY have anything to do with the vaccines. My mistake for not realizing this as a normal thing (note the sarcasm).

    Also, can you please provide your source for the information you stated regarding autism rates being the same for quite some time now? Again, even the CDC recognizes that the rate of autism is growing and is not just a higher rate of diagnosis. http://www.cdc.gov/media/transcripts/2009/t091218.htm
    There is a ton of information in that transcript and I truly believe no matter which side of the fence you sit on, valuable information can be pulled from it to support your argument. Whereas someone like you will probably gather a lot from it for the pro-vaccine argument, what I pull from it is that Rice admits that a true growth in autism cannot be ruled out and that more studies need to be done, as even they feel they cannot rule out environmental causes (which, by the way, the CDC did later this year state they felt was a contributing factor to autism).

    Chris – What I am asking when I ask for someone to provide a study of the effects of the entire vaccine guidelines of children over time seems very simple: There are no studies in existence that have studied children from birth to five years with consideration given to the number of children who are fully vaccinated according to CDC guidelines vs. non-vaccinated children and how many developed autism or other neurological damage or injuries from vaccines. It seems very simple, yet no study exists to date. Plenty of studies have been conducted with regards to research of individual vaccines, yet all of those studies only “prove” that there is insufficient evidence to link a particular vaccine to autism.

    You mentioned, “Tell me what the exact risks are with the DTaP vaccine compared to pertussis (especially with nine infants dying in California). Please provide proper documentation, and not unsubstantiated assertions.” What would be good enough information for you? I’m not being sarcastic but am genuinely interested in what would be good enough. Over the last few years, I have dealt with many people like you and Todd both and it seems no matter what information someone like myself provides, it’s never good enough. Generally, I even go out of my way to visit the pro-vaccine sites, government sites, and university medical sites in search of studies and yet, no matter what study I come up with, people like you always have a “but, but, but….” reply to counter with.

    Seriously, some of you need to get your heads out in the sunshine and lose the tunnel vision. It’s not just about vaccines or the MMR or autism or even thimerosal. Vaccine injuries HAPPEN!

  148. #148 Todd W.
    September 27, 2010

    @Pam N.

    it would appear that a LOT of so-called educated people here are not aware of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP).

    You mean the program that I talk about on my site? You mean the program that, if you actually looked hard enough, you would find discussed here and at many other sites? The program that one of its founders and staunch anti-vaccine activist Barbara Loe Fisher wants to get rid of? That program that, rightly, makes it easier for individuals to get at least some compensation when they or their child is most likely to have been injured by a vaccine? That program?

    obviously opinion-based websites

    If you feel that my site is opinion-based, please point out to me where I am factually incorrect or where I have insufficient links to back up what I say. I will change things if I am wrong. I try to be as reality-based as I can. And the reason I suggested my site, among those others, is that I feel that it can be a useful tool for individuals to learn about some of the truth about vaccines, an attempt to counter some of the misinformation that is out there, as it were.

    If you still believe vaccines do not cause injuries

    Where did you get that I think vaccines do not cause injury? This is one of the biggest straw men that people against vaccines like to kick around. Everyone here and at the sites I suggested readily acknowledge that vaccines can cause injury. I even mention explicitly on my site that vaccines are not 100% safe. No drug is. Nothing in life is.

    No causal link has been found between vaccines and autism because, as I stated before, no research exists that has studied the effects of multiple vaccines of children over time.

    I don’t know off-hand if there are any current studies underway examining the totality of the vaccine schedule in relation to autism. However, past suggestions of specific vaccine-autism links were studied after people raised questions about them. Thimerosal: a reasonable question was posed; it was investigated and found not to have a causal connection. MMR: given the timing, it was a reasonable question to ask; it was investigated and found not to have a causal connection. There are studies that have examined vaccines that are likely to be administered in combination or near the same time period, again, with no serious adverse events.

    Be a bit more specific in the question you want investigated. What is your proposed mechanism of action? If you think that the totality of the vaccine schedule, that doesn’t really work, since autism is almost exclusively diagnosed prior to completion of the schedule. So the next question is, is it likely to be a specific vaccine that is given very early on that is a likely contributor? If so, which one? If multiple vaccines are suspected, which ones should we look at? The next question is, how are you going to study it? You can’t do a prospective experimental study in which one group gets the vaccines as usual and the other gets placebo vaccines. That is a grossly unethical study, since it puts individuals knowingly at greater risk of harm from disease, not to mention the effect on the health of those around the individual. Retrospective, case-control studies could be done, keeping in mind that there is greater potential for errors to creep into the results due to confounding variables or unknown biases.

    So, what do you suggest? Think about the typical age of diagnosis and the vaccine schedule. Once you narrow down your question, we can take a look to see what, if any, research has been done by checking PubMed, clinicaltrials.gov, MedScape or other sources. Actually, now that I think of it, there was a study looking at on-time vaccination vs. a delayed vaccination schedule. It found no difference in neuropsychological outcomes 7-10 years later. I realize this isn’t exactly what you were looking for, but it does touch on the vaccine-autism question, specifically the “too many, too soon” mantra.

    By the way, I noticed you have a way of reading more into things than what is written. In your reply, you stated, “That is not to say, however, that other people do not do research in those populations” in reference to my comments regarding flu vaccine inserts, pregnant women, and the CDC’s recommendation for everyone to get a flu vaccine. I never stated there were no studies. I said the pharm companies are admitting they have not established the safety of the flu vaccines in pregnant women – big difference.

    You said:

    Basically, the pharmaceutical companies are admitting they don’t even know if it is safe to give such an injection to a pregnant or nursing mama but the CDC says all people should get one.

    Your implication was that the CDC was relying solely on the package inserts and the research that the manufacturers have done. Perhaps that was not what you meant to imply, and if not, sorry for the misunderstanding. The message I was trying to get across is that the CDC is not operating in a void. There is other research on the flu vaccine in pregnant women. They aren’t saying, “Hey, we have no clue if this is safe, but do it anyway!”

    I love it when people like you who have not walked in my shoes call me a liar

    Where did I call you a liar? I said that you are most likely wrong as far as your belief that vaccines cause autism. I am not saying that you are lying about it, but rather that you are mistaken. I don’t think you are deliberately saying things that you know are false.

    Normally developing children who begin seizing and lose all speech within HOURS after a round of vaccines is obviously a normal occurence and it couldn’t POSSIBLY have anything to do with the vaccines.

    Having a seizure shortly after receiving a vaccine is a possibility. It’s rare, but it can happen. Usually, it is due to a fever. That also means that a fever from the disease would also be likely to produce the same or similar results. Some of the effects seen could also have coincided with something else entirely – prior infection that was not noticed, exposure to some other environmental trigger, natural development of a disorder, some underlying genetic disorder.

    This is just speculation on my part, though, since I don’t know the specifics of the case nor do I know if the recollection is accurate, since memory is remarkably fallible. I’m not going to argue about it. I don’t know the details and so have little if anything to offer on any specific case.

    Also, can you please provide your source for the information you stated regarding autism rates being the same for quite some time now?

    There was a report, “Autism Spectrum Disorders in adults living in households throughout England – report from the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey 2007,” from the UK that found autism rates in adults were about 1 in 100. I’m not posting a link since more than one in a post puts a comment into moderation. Search for that title, though.

    The rate may be increasing, but it is unlikely that there has been such a dramatic jump as many on the anti-vaccine front like to suggest.

  149. #149 Chris
    September 27, 2010

    Pam N:

    There are no studies in existence that have studied children from birth to five years with consideration given to the number of children who are fully vaccinated according to CDC guidelines vs. non-vaccinated children and how many developed autism or other neurological damage or injuries from vaccines. It seems very simple, yet no study exists to date.

    And how do you determine which children go without vaccines? How do you guarantee they do not become injured with a real disease, just like what happened to my son?

    Studies like that were done at Willowbrook School, and many disabled children were further harmed. This caused lots of ethics rules to be put into place that you want to just throw out the window.

    What would be good enough information for you?

    More than your unsupported assertions. You have not posted anything more than opinion.

    Just show us the real studies that show that DTaP and MMR vaccines cause more harm than the actual diseases. There are plenty of studies that show during epidemics a certain numbers of children become permanently injured or even die with the six illnesses. So all you have to do is come up with the studies (and real ones, not lawsuit inspired ones from the Geiers, Wakefield, Blaxill etc).

    Here is a the study Todd mentioned.

  150. #150 MI Dawn
    September 27, 2010

    @Chris and Todd: Nice response to Pam N. Personally, I would have called her a troll and left it at that. Anyone who comes onto a website and starts throwing accusations around (you all are unaware of VAERS, claim vaccines cause no problems, etc)is not an honest person seeking information. He/she is just a troll, especially since he/she came to a posting that is over 1 year old , probably hoping no one would see their comment. (Just because they signed their name Pam I am not making the assumption the writer is a woman).

  151. #151 Chris
    September 27, 2010

    Thank Dawn. I was just angered at her bit about seeing a child have seizures. Since my son had a seizure disorder I could not really let that go. Sometimes seizures just happen, and there really is no rhyme or reason. Even if it came just five minutes after a vaccine is given, that does not necessarily mean it was caused by the vaccine.

    Here is one study she might be interested in:

    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.

  152. #152 Science Mom
    September 27, 2010

    Here is an example of Pam N.’s ‘extensive research’ on vaccines: http://gfcfautismomma.blogspot.com/2010/08/vaccinations-are-you-really-green.html

  153. #153 Todd W.
    September 27, 2010

    @Science Mom

    Holy Jesus on a pogo stick! I was reading and got to this bit:

    the CDC also puts out a lot of things I do not agree with – for instance, I should have my child vaccinated for chickenpox. It’s chickenpox, folks! Kids get it and they get over it and their immune systems are stronger afterwards. My kids do not need a shot of aborted human fetuses or MSG or antibiotic (Neomycin) (see Varicella) just to ensure that they might not contract chickenpox.

    Pam apparently is not aware that not all kids “get over it”. A few things she should know about chicken pox. Infection does not always grant immunity; some people can get it multiple times, with greater severity the older you are. Infection with varicella also puts the individual at risk for shingles, which, in addition to causing intense pain, can also cause blindness and neuropathy. Fun, fun, fun.

    Regarding the “aborted human fetuses”, that is just flat out wrong! Some vaccines contain material from cell lines derived from aborted fetal tissue. That is very, very different than actual human fetuses. It’s like saying that eating something with orange flavoring that was derived from the juice of an orange is the same thing as eating the orange, except that in the case of the vaccines, it’s even further removed.

    She also does not show an understanding of chemistry or vaccine development. Antibiotics are used to kill or inactivate the bacteria during the production process. They may remain in trace amounts in the final product. If they were not used, then it’s happy, fun infection time!

    I thought that part was bad, but for whatever reason, I kept on reading.

    She repeats the “36 vaccines” tripe. There are 34 shots, using 10 vaccines for 14 diseases. If you opt for one of the newer combo vaccines, it’s even fewer shots. Oh, and those numbers are assuming that the flu shot is received every year.

    She then goes on to complain about booster shots and trots out the ol’ “if vaccines are so effective, why do they need boosters” nonsense. Hints of the nirvana fallacy, there. Multiple, small challenges lead to immunity with decreased risk of complications. Far better than actually getting infected.

    There’s talk of many outbreaks involve fully-vaccinated individuals. Again, vaccines are not 100% effective; no drug is, though some come close. Typically, outbreaks start with an unvaccinated individual and then spread. Prometheus did a great post explaining why there will be more vaccinated individuals than unvaccinated individuals who become infected (hint: it’s because there are more of them). In terms of absolute numbers, there will generally be more vaccinated than unvaccinated that get sick. However, if you look at percentages, there will be significantly more unvaccinated who get sick than vaccinated. I don’t have the link handy at the moment.

    There’s also the “toxin” gambit, displaying a total lack of understanding of “the dose makes the poison”.

    Vaccines can legally be marketed as mercury-free/preservative-free even when they contain “traces” of mercury in them. Those “traces” have been shown to be anywhere from 1-60 times the amount of mercury proven to cause neurological damage.

    No reference is given for that figure.

    Vaccines can and do harm SOME individuals. At the very least, they can come with a whole host of side effects. However, your doctor won’t tell you this and you won’t know unless you read the vaccine inserts, which you are usually not given unless you ask for them. The government owns up to the possibility of vaccine injury as well with their vaccine compensation program.

    No one denies that some individuals can be harmed. However, it is extremely rare. And, that “whole host” of side effects are generally quite mild. Serious AEs are on the order of 1 per 100,000 or even less common. This is compared to serious complications from diseases, which tend to occur in the 1 per 1,000 to 1 per 20 range.

    I would agree that doctors need to do a better job of talking about the shots with the parents. Not all doctors take the time to ask about allergies or other possible contraindications or to discuss what the parent should expect, when to contact the doctor if something does happen, etc. That has more to do with the pediatrician than with the vaccine, though.

    Ouch. My head hurts now. Thanks, Science Mom.

  154. #154 augustine
    September 27, 2010

    [Chris: Sometimes seizures just happen, and there really is no rhyme or reason.]

    And sometimes it’s caused by a vaccine!

    http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleId=19661

    “we estimated that vaccination with Fluvax or Fluvax Junior in 2010 may have caused two to three hospital admissions due to febrile convulsions for every hospital admission due to influenza prevented.”

    [Even if it came just five minutes after a vaccine is given, that does not necessarily mean it was caused by the vaccine.]

    That’s a pretty idiotic statement! It reveals a bias beyond logical comprehension. It’s called “denial”.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC320893/

    “They report that the risk of febrile seizures is increased almost sixfold on the day of diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTP) receipt and drops off to a negligible increase thereafter. For measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR), the effect is not seen until the 2nd week after receipt of the vaccine, where the risk is increased nearly threefold. They are also able to provide estimates of how many additional febrile seizures will occur as a result of vaccination with DTP (6 to 9 in 100,000) and MMR (25 to 34 in 100,000).”

    You should work for the tobacco companies in PR.

    You could write a book like this and tell us how you do it with a conscience. Keep fighting the good fight. Suppress the truth in the name of public health.

    http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=J0P3IdSYO_MC&oi=fnd&pg=PR9&dq=doubt+is+our+product&ots=rgnDiFOzJF&sig=BEjFjSmS0NHGBrBoVkovd0ZAxTg#v=onepage&q=doubt%20is%20our%20product&f=false

  155. #155 augustine
    September 27, 2010

    [Todd W.: Infection does not always grant immunity]

    Neither does the vaccine.

    [Infection with varicella also puts the individual at risk for shingles, which, in addition to causing intense pain, can also cause blindness and neuropathy. Fun, fun, fun.]

    So does the vaccine.

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6TD4-45FYY5Y-1&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=5ecff59fb0795f4db6f8adc3b330e55f

    “Mass varicella vaccination is expected to cause a major epidemic of herpes-zoster, affecting more than 50% of those aged 10–44 years at the introduction of vaccination.”

    [Regarding the “aborted human fetuses”, that is just flat out wrong!]

    Was an aborted fetus used? YES or NO? YES! Enough said.

  156. #156 MI Dawn
    September 27, 2010

    @Todd: you are a better man than I, Gunga Din, for wading through that morass. Once of the very rare times I am happy my employer blocks all of the “blogspot” sites (usually, I get mad because I want to read the content…this time you saved my sanity.)

    @Science Mom: you know, you should post brain bleach warnings when you give links to sites like that. Poor Todd may be damaged for life! ;-)

  157. #157 LW
    September 27, 2010

    And finally, have you ever had to watch a child of yours develop just fine and then have a round of vaccines and start seizing within hours, lose his speech and become non-verbal, lose all eye contact, begin banging his head because of the pain of the toxins in his brain and then never be that child again that he was just hours ago?

    Personally, I was wondering if autismomma had heard of VICP. That child sounds like he would have been a much better test case in the autism omnibus trials than those that were presented. Strange that he wasn’t presented as proof that vaccines cause autism.

  158. #158 Science Mom
    September 27, 2010

    Personally, I was wondering if autismomma had heard of VICP. That child sounds like he would have been a much better test case in the autism omnibus trials than those that were presented. Strange that he wasn’t presented as proof that vaccines cause autism.

    @ LW, Not exactly. You see, Pam N./Autismomma seems to have adopted the same ‘memory reallocation’ that modifies according to the point she wishes to make. A pattern commonly seen in the vaccine-autism crowd. For example (Todd W you may wish to cover your eyes):

    http://gfcfautismomma.blogspot.com/2009/03/what-are-they-doing-that-im-not.html

    1 March 2009:

    For those who think vaccines play no part at all, how do you explain your opinion to people like my husband and me who have a child who seemed to be developing just fine and then started regressing soon after his one year shots? Or worse, how do you explain vaccines playing no part in autism in children who are fine and then have a particular vaccine and immediately regress? As in, the same or next day. And although my own son’s regression was not quite as quick as that, yes, I do know of people who noticed such drastic changes in their children as having things happen within hours or a day or two of being given vaccines. How do you explain that? How do you explain how vaccines could not have done such a thing? Seriously, I want to know.

    http://gfcfautismomma.blogspot.com/2009/04/why-it-really-is-so-difficult.html

    1 April 2009:

    At just before thirteen months, Reiss received his one-year vaccinations. Not long after that, we began to see some changes. Reiss seemed to be developing at a much slower pace than before. He started losing some of the words he had previously said. He used to do the cutest thing where he would excitedly say “awesome” and do a little fist pump into the air. He stopped doing it. He stopped dancing whenever he heard music. He didn’t seem as coordinated as he once had been. As time went on, we kept noticing things here and there that just didn’t seem right but parents of older children assured us that children develop at their own pace and Reiss seemed “normal.” Unfortunately, we didn’t listen to the one and only person who told us that we should call First Steps if we had concerns. After all, why should we have? Everyone else assured us Reiss was just like other children.

    http://gfcfautismomma.blogspot.com/2009/10/oh-to-be-doctor.html

    31 October 2009:

    Admin Girl told me that even if we are no longer vaccinating Milla, she still needs to be seen for Well Child visits so that the doctor can determine whether she is meeting her developmental milestones or has developmental delays present.

    I wanted to say, “Um…..excuse me? Do you mean the same developmental milestones that I kept bringing to the doctor’s attention every three months when I thought that my son was not hitting them? The same milestones that the doctor reassured me that children reach at different periods and it didn’t matter that my son wasn’t right on target? The same milestones that we persistently kept bringing to the doctor’s attention that we were extremely concerned about and he told us not to worry? Do you mean the same milestones that, when missed, can indicate developmental delays and even autism? Do you mean the same milestones that six months ago, without seeing Milla in person, the doctor signed a form stating she had missed them and had developmental delays present? Those? Are those the same ones? Because, if those are the same ones you’re referring to, the doctor missed them altogether with our son and dismissed our concerns and it was only after we began talking to parents of other autistic children that we found that there was concern there all along.”

    And here (post # 141)

    24 September 2010:

    And finally, have you ever had to watch a child of yours develop just fine and then have a round of vaccines and start seizing within hours, lose his speech and become non-verbal, lose all eye contact, begin banging his head because of the pain of the toxins in his brain and then never be that child again that he was just hours ago? Because if you haven’t, and I am certain you haven’t, HOW DARE YOU try to tell people how to feel or to not believe vaccines can and do cause autism.

  159. #159 Chris
    September 27, 2010

    Thanks, Science Mom. So she never even mentioned seizures until later. Trust me, it is not something that you can forget or miss, especially when there are large firefighters crowding into our little house, gently attending to a unconscious fifteen month toddler.

    He had just been to the doctor the day before, and it looked like he was on the mend because he was happy and cheerful. Though, the family doctor was all over his lack of speech development because of the history of seizures.

    I did try searching her blog on “lawsuit”, “court”, etc and did not find anything.

    By the way, just in case she does decided to check in, here is the Vaccine Table Injuries, with links to requirements and how to file a claim.

  160. #160 LW
    September 27, 2010

    Ah, sorry, Science Mom, apparently the sarcasm didn’t come through. I thought of adding that maybe this case wouldn’t stand up under investigation, but concluded that was unnecessary. You’ve ably demonstrated the reason autismomma didn’t present the case to VICP, of course.

  161. #161 Todd W.
    September 27, 2010

    Funny how stories change and change and change. Kinda like J.B. Handley’s stories.

  162. #162 Todd W.
    September 27, 2010

    Oh, and thanks for the warning, Science Mom. A long, long time ago, I invested in a top-of-the-line brain shield to protect me from burning stupid and/or ignorance. It’s held up quite well. I usually only get mild migraines rather than comas or aneurysms.

  163. #163 Science Mom
    September 27, 2010

    @ Chris, I know, it’s sad to see the memory re-framing. It seems exhausting.

    @ LW, yes, I kind of thought you were being sarcastic but decided to err on the side of caution.

    @ Todd W., I will try to remember to post with a disclaimer when necessary. Oh, you may want to try the Brain Catch-O-Matic 3000 with improved self-extruder for cranial re-fill®. I have found it very useful :).

    And one more for a profound example of memory re-framing. I am not being cruel or taunting. Reading these makes me sad. http://www.uscfc.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/Millman.Doe%2084.pdf

  164. #164 Todd W.
    September 27, 2010

    @Science Mom

    Very sad case. Not only for what happened, but how the parents’ memories of what happened morphed.

  165. #165 Prometheus
    September 27, 2010

    Autismomma claims:

    “As a parent who has a child with autism, and one who has also done extensive research into autism, vaccine ingredients, the neurological effects that vaccines can and do have on some individuals…” [emphasis added]/i>

    I often wonder what people mean when they claim – on ‘blog sites – to have done “extensive research”. When I’ve asked, the answer usually boils down to “I read a bunch of stuff on the Internet”.

    Thanks for playing!

    Sorry, but looking on the Internet doesn’t even qualify as high as library (or literature) research, since anything can be found on the Internet, including claims that aircraft contrails are evidence that “the government” is spraying us with chemicals to make us more docile.

    Please, please get over the idea that doing Google searches makes you even competent to understand the product inserts in vaccines. This is the same sort of “research” that led “Dr. Jay” Gordon to assert – repeatedly – that vaccines contained “antifreeze”.

    What even this learned doctor’s Google “research” failed to reveal was that “ethylene glycol” (component of antifreeze) and “polyethylene glycol” (a waxy biologically inert solid) are not the same thing.

    It’s not research, it’s just reading, and reading nonsense won’t give you insight into anything but the nature of nonsense.

    Prometheus

  166. #166 Antaeus Feldspar
    September 27, 2010

    Again, even the CDC recognizes that the rate of autism is growing and is not just a higher rate of diagnosis. http://www.cdc.gov/media/transcripts/2009/t091218.htm

    From the transcript:

    We know more children are identified with an ASD than in the past. These new numbers are concerning and indicate that even more individuals, families and communities are struggling to find answers. No single factor explains the changes identified in ASD prevalence over the time period studied. Some of the increases are due to better detection, particularly among children who may not have come to attention in the past, including girls, Hispanic children and children without cognitive impairment. However, a simple explanation is not apparent. And a true increase in risk cannot be ruled out. (emphasis added)

    And from later on in the transcript:

    At this point, it’s impossible to say how much exactly is a true increase and how much is identification. (emphasis added)

    It seems that Pam has difficulty in seeing past what she wants the CDC to be saying in order to understand what they’re actually saying. Pam wants to sees “it’s not just a higher rate of diagnosis” and so when she reads the CDC saying “we can’t rule out that there may be something besides a higher rate of diagnosis” she misreads it as “there is something besides a higher rate of diagnosis.”

    Unfortunately, it’s a fairly substantial misinterpretation/misrepresentation of the facts; I don’t think she did it intentionally (or why would she have linked to the source?) but it means that anything she tells us where she doesn’t give the source is something where we just can’t take it on trust that she’s remembering/relaying it accurately.

  167. #167 Chris
    September 28, 2010

    MI Dawn:

    He/she is just a troll, especially since he/she came to a posting that is over 1 year old , probably hoping no one would see their comment.

    You know, I really did not realize it was a whole year. I usually comment on those with something snarky like “It took you a whole year to think of that?” I guess there was just too much other old stinking anti-vax bits that she produced that I felt compelled to address (oh, and seizures have been around long before there were vaccines — they even happen with the actual diseases!).

    Orac has reminded me of an excellent website, and perhaps we can guess what other labels Pam has, but we should start with the Necromancer. Unfortunately I have not found the one that is the “inane regurgitator.” The one that trumpets the inane verbiage (toxins!, an unethical test!) that has been debunked on this website many times before.

    We obviously all know who is this silly type.

  168. #168 Chris
    September 28, 2010

    Prompted by Science Mom’s chronological list of statements on Pam’s website, I perused it while cooking supper. Pam came blaring on saying:

    And finally, have you ever had to watch a child of yours develop just fine and then have a round of vaccines and start seizing within hours, lose his speech and become non-verbal, lose all eye contact, begin banging his head because of the pain of the toxins in his brain and then never be that child again that he was just hours ago?

    Funny, she started her website on her children in January of 2009, discussing speech therapy, developmental preschool and other typical autism subjects. It was in June 2009 when her son had his first seizure as a four year old.

    She does have one statement correct, autistic children are more likely to have seizures. This I know. Some kids are unfortunately more prone to seizures. Most of the time no reason is found for the seizures even after several kinds of EEGs and metabolic screens (there is a disorder where the seizures are controlled by a special diet, and it is not the ketogenic diet).

    Diseases can cause seizures, which is why we try to make sure our son avoids fevers and illness through vaccines and other health habits. The toxins created by bacteria like pertussis and Hib have been known to cause seizures.

    She also mentions a horrible bout with diarrhea, which sounds suspiciously like a rotavirus infection. Be careful Pam, if your son gets dehydrated that can screw up his electrolytes and lead to more seizures. I know this from experience.

    Pam, you may wish to consult this group:
    http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org/

    Also, fire the DAN! doctor and get in touch with a really good pediatric neurologist. It sounds like the testing your son has is inadequate. Another bonus is that neurologist seem to have a way of prescribing neurodevelopmental therapy in a way to actually get insurance to pay for it.

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