Respectful Insolence

Many have been the times over the last five years that I’ve called out bad journalism about medicine in general and vaccines in particular, especially the coverage of the discredited notion that vaccines or mercury in vaccines somehow was responsible for the “autism epidemic.” That’s why I feel a special responsibility to highlight good reporting on the issue. Indeed, reporting on this issue is so uniformly awful that when I see something this good, I want to do everything in my power to hawk the hell out of it. So, I want you to read this article in the November issue of WIRED Magazine entitled An Epidemic of Fear: How Panicked Parents Skipping Shots Endangers Us All by Amy Wallace. I’ll wait until you come back. No, seriously. Click on the link, read, and then come back. I’ll still be there.

I will point out right from the outset that there is one thing I (somewhat) disagree with Wallace about:

This isn’t a religious dispute, like the debate over creationism and intelligent design. It’s a challenge to traditional science that crosses party, class, and religious lines. It is partly a reaction to Big Pharma’s blunders and PR missteps, from Vioxx to illegal marketing ploys, which have encouraged a distrust of experts. It is also, ironically, a product of the era of instant communication and easy access to information. The doubters and deniers are empowered by the Internet (online, nobody knows you’re not a doctor) and helped by the mainstream media, which has an interest in pumping up bad science to create a “debate” where there should be none.

I agree that the anti-vaccine movement is partially a reaction to the depradations of big pharma, accelerated by the easy access to instant information on the Internet. After all, how many times have I lamented how useful idiots like Jenny McCarthy can attend “Google University” for a few hours or days, reading about vaccines and autism, and then emerge with the attitude that they know better than experts who have studied vaccines or autism their entire professional lives? If science were that easy to pick up, it wouldn’t take so long to become good at it. I also agree that sensationalistic journalism promoted this campaign of fear. This was particularly true in the U.K., where the media were every bit as culpable as Andrew Wakefield, if not more so, in pumping up the manufactroversy over the MMR and autism.

Where I tend to disagree is that the manufactroversy over vaccines and autism is actually primarily religious at its core, if you define religion fairly broadly. It’s not about conventional religions, such as Christianity, Judaism, or Islam (or the many sects in each of these religions). Rather, underlying much of the fear of vaccines is either a New Age “spirituality” or a variant of primitive vitalism, where disease isn’t really due so much to microbes but rather to “toxins” and where people who are perfectly “healthy” (whatever that means) don’t need vaccines because they’re somehow naturally resistant to pathogenic organisms. (Shades of Bill Maher!) Delve for a while into the message boards of the anti-vaccine underground, and you’ll see worship of the idea of “natural” to the point where many anti-vaccinationists will say, with utter seriousness, that it’s better to get the disease naturally than to take a vaccine. It’s the worship of an idealized version of “nature,” and vaccines are viewed as “unnatural.” I’m not claiming that this is true of all anti-vaccine zealots, but it’s definitely true of at least a significant minority of them, if not a clear majority.

One thing I also liked about this article–lot!–is how Wallace calls out spokespeople of the anti-vaccine movement, like Jenny McCarthy, Don Imus, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.; debunks common anti-vaccine canards; and lists for additional writings for more information. In particular I like this part:

Anti-Vaccine Websites

Though many of these organizations would not define themselves as such, these are the most active organizations and websites in the current battle against vaccines:

National Vaccine Information Center
Autism One
Generation Rescue
SafeMinds
Treating Autism
National Autism Association
Autism File

My only quibble is that Wallace missed listing Age of Autism. Fortunately, she makes up for it by getting it right here:

In May, The New England Journal of Medicine laid the blame for clusters of disease outbreaks throughout the US squarely at the feet of declining vaccination rates, while nonprofit health care provider Kaiser Permanente reported that unvaccinated children were 23 times more likely to get pertussis, a highly contagious bacterial disease that causes violent coughing and is potentially lethal to infants. In the June issue of the journal Pediatrics, Jason Glanz, an epidemiologist at Kaiser’s Institute for Health Research, revealed that the number of reported pertussis cases jumped from 1,000 in 1976 to 26,000 in 2004. A disease that vaccines made rare, in other words, is making a comeback. “This study helps dispel one of the commonly held beliefs among vaccine-refusing parents: that their children are not at risk for vaccine-preventable diseases,” Glanz says.

“I used to say that the tide would turn when children started to die. Well, children have started to die,” Offit says, frowning as he ticks off recent fatal cases of meningitis in unvaccinated children in Pennsylvania and Minnesota. “So now I’ve changed it to ‘when enough children start to die.’ Because obviously, we’re not there yet.”

No, Dr. Offit is right. We’re not there yet. In fact, I’m a lot more pessimistic than he is. He says “enough” children will have to die before anti-vaccine loons like Jenny McCarthy are relegated to the lunatic fringe, where they can wallow in conspiracy websites like Rense.com or show up on late night paranormal radio shows like Coast to Coast. They can be taken with all the seriousness that David Icke and his Lizard people idea is as he blames the swine flu on the Illuminati. My prediction is that a lot of children will have to die before the anti-vaccine movement looses its influence. Hundreds. Thousands. Tens of thousands, even. We have a short memory as a society. A mere 60 years ago, people lived in fear of polio. Every summer, in various parts of the country, swimming pools would be shut down based on its appearance. Children were condemned to iron lungs. Thanks to the polio vaccine, that all came to an end. Even more recently, a mere 20 years ago, Haemophilus influenza B was wreaking havoc among children:

In the very recent past, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) was what could truly be called a scourge to humanity. As recently as 1987, this particularly nasty bacterium caused invasive disease in a startling 1 of every 200 children in the U.S. under 5 years of age. Approximately two-thirds of these children developed meningitis, with a mortality rate of about 5%. Up to 30% of the survivors suffered permanent brain damage. Those children lucky enough to avoid meningitis developed pneumonia, septic arthritis, osteomyelitis, cellulitis, epiglottitis, or generalized sepsis. Fortunately I have never seen or treated a child with invasive disease due to Hib. That’s because I began my pediatric training in 1991 when vaccination against these horrendous diseases was just beginning. What was once a common and devastating menace to children, the dreaded nightmare of every pediatrician, was quickly brought to it’s knees. By 2006, the incidence of invasive Hib disease had been cut by 99%. Within a short period of time, the very nature of pediatric medicine seemed changed forever.

Thanks to vaccines.

As I’ve said, we have a very short memory. Deadly microbes taught us a deadly lesson over hundreds of years, until we learned how to keep them at bay with vaccines. I fear we will receive a refresher course on how deadly they can be, courtesy of Jenny McCarthyand her allies.

ADDENDUM: The anti-vaccine loons have already descended upon the article. A little sanity to counter them would be in order.

Comments

  1. #1 Jen
    October 20, 2009

    Wow, look at the comments to that article. Oh my. If they’d only take a breath…

    BTW, here is a nice article from AP, via ABC News:
    Somers’ New Target: Conventional Cancer Treatment

  2. #2 Elf Sternberg
    October 20, 2009

    Unfortunately, as I read the article I realized that Wallace had blown any chance of conviction when she stated that Thimerosol hadn’t been in vaccines since 2001. I knew the loons would pounce on that like a disease, and sure enough that’s exactly what they did.

  3. #3 Sid Offit
    October 20, 2009

    How to Win an Argument About Vaccines
    And the diseases are horrible — mumps
    ————————————–
    You win an argument by making yourself look like a fool. I don’t get it

  4. #4 Sid Offit
    October 20, 2009

    “Mother, his cheeks look a little puffy.”
    “Noooooooooooooo! The horror.”

  5. #5 orion
    October 20, 2009

    I hate to sound cruel, but anti-vaccinationists (is there such a word?) are a self-correcting idiocracy. They don’t vaccinate their children, they die – no more anti-vaccinationists. If only they didn’t cause problems for the rest of us I wouldn’t care.

  6. #6 crankynick
    October 20, 2009

    As a journalist who occasionally has covered the health beat, can I just say I appreciate that you point out the journos who do good work here, as well as handing out the smackdowns when we fuck it up?

    Cheers.

  7. #7 Chris
    October 20, 2009

    Sid Troll, are you denying that mumps can cause sterility and deafness? Please tell us exactly what the risks are for the MMR vaccine when compared to measles, mumps and rubella. Be sure to include all real evidence to support your conclusion.

    Also, be sure to tell us how the “thimerosal and aluminum in the MMR” are very toxic, that should be golden.

  8. #8 drncc
    October 20, 2009

    Oddly enough after 5 years as a family doc, I find that telling dads: “Mumps = potential sterility” makes dads insist on immunization, especially for boy babies. Guys are a bit single-minded it seems. drncc

  9. #9 drncc
    October 20, 2009

    Oddly enough after 5 years as a family doc, I find that telling dads: “Mumps = potential sterility” makes dads insist on immunization, especially for boy babies. Guys are a bit single-minded it seems. drncc

  10. #10 drncc
    October 20, 2009

    bleh that posted twice I blame a slow computer drncc

  11. #11 anon
    October 20, 2009

    Sid…I’m deaf in one ear from mumps…something that had I been born a bit later when vaccines were available might have been avoided. Do you enjoy stereo? Can you tell where sounds come from? I can’t. Not since Mumps…

  12. #12 Chris
    October 20, 2009

    Of course some women get a an uncomfortable swelling. If you look at the data from the 2006 outbreak of measles in the USA Midwest that out of almost 2600 cases of mumps, not only were there four cases of deafness but one got oophoritis (look it up, Sid Troll!).

    I remember one internet prognosticator who claimed that women did not need the mumps vaccine. I asked him if he thought that women deserved deafness and oophoritis. I never did get a reply.

    Oh, and the relevant paragraph from the 2006 outbreak is:

    Parotitis was reported in 870 (66%) of the 1,327 patients for whom such data were available. Data regarding mumps complications and hospitalizations are incomplete. However, complications have included 27 reports of orchitis, 11 meningitis, four encephalitis, four deafness, and one each of oophoritis, mastitis, pancreatitis, and unspecified complications. A total of 25 hospitalizations were reported, but insufficient data were provided to determine whether mumps caused all the hospitalizations. No deaths have been reported.

    So, Sid Troll, do you only care if the outcome is death? Potential sterility, deafness, encephalitis and meningitis are really not a concern?

    I do really want to hear what your evidence is for the risks of the MMR is compared to measles, mumps and rubella.

  13. #13 daijiyobu
    October 20, 2009

    Per “primitive vitalism [...and that] disease isn’t really due so much to microbes but rather to ‘toxins’ [...per a] worship of the idea of ‘natural’”:

    beliefs very naturopathic — toxins impeding a ‘purposeful life spirit’ [PLS] that runs physiology, supernatural but labeled natural, beliefs posed as fact.

    Also, recalls Scientology — except after sweating out the chemical toxins you have to rid yourself of the PLSs / thetans / spiritual toxins.

    You know, such vitalism was stated in the Journal of Family Practice article of 2005 that naturopathy published a while ago, as (see http://www.jfponline.com/pdf%2F5412%2F5412JFP_AppliedEvidence2.pdf ):

    “the inherent organizing forces underlying known physiologic processes such as metabolism or tissue repair. Naturopathic medicine calls this primary principle the vis medicatrix naturae, or the healing power of nature [p.1067].”

    I’ve always wondered who reviewed this article; it’s labeled “applied evidence”.

    Exactly what ‘underlies’ known biology, in any sense of evidence?

    Platonic ideals / vitalistic mystical supernaturalism (and kind)…yet, supposedly of “a foundation in current medical science.”

    -r.c.

  14. #14 snerd
    October 20, 2009

    So, Sid Troll, do you only care if the outcome is death? Potential sterility, deafness, encephalitis and meningitis are really not a concern?

    He certainly doesn’t seem to care about telling absolute lies, like a lying liar.

  15. #15 Sid Offit
    October 20, 2009

    @Chris

    The Japanese deafness study. You guys are so predictable. You’ve been beating this thing like a dead horse ever since I began posting. From the study:

    Deafness is a rare …complication of mumps virus infection. Its incidence has been estimated at 0.5 to 5.0 per 100,000 cases of mumps
    ————–
    But these researchers found 7 cases of hearing impairment so we should believe previous estimates regarding hearing loss from the CDC (1-20,000 reported cases)and others were wildly incorrect?

    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/
    mumps.pdf

    I wonder if their unusual findings could be attributed to the fact that they were studying 20 year old “children”. A group that does less well with the mumps than do real children. Either way a 1-1000 or 1-100,000 chance of hearing loss in one ear hardly makes a disease “horrible”

  16. #16 Sid Offit
    October 20, 2009

    @Chris

    The complications from the mid-west outbreak don’t look particularly horrible, especially when one considers the group is made up of 20 year olds getting a disease they should have gotten as children.

  17. #17 Sid Offit
    October 20, 2009

    @Chris

    I do really want to hear what your evidence is for the risks of the MMR is compared to measles, mumps and rubella.
    —————
    Any medical treatment carries risks both known and unknown. The diseases, especially in healthy children, just don’t worry me enough to seek out a medical treatment to prevent them. And it’s not just one combination vaccine it’s a lifetime commitment to the whole schedule.

    The benefits of vaccines don’t justify playing around with a developing immune system, sticking needles into babies and exposing those babies to the next mercury overdose or simian virus contamination.

  18. #18 Erin
    October 20, 2009

    @ Sid

    Uh, even if that were true, wouldn’t that mean it would be better to vaccinate children BEFORE they became adults and more vulnerable to mumps, measles, etc? That’s like arguing not to expose kids to chicken pox since it’s “not as bad” as it is when you’re an adult. So you should be able to handle it ok as an adult, right?
    Frankly, if somehow cumulative mercury poisoning from a slight overdose of mercury from the miniscule amount of mercury present in past vaccines, the chances of that happening wouldn’t be as high as the possibility of having a deaf or dead kid. I’ll take Aspergers over deafness, or being dead (and being someone with the condition, I’m absolutely appalled that having a light case of autism means I’ve been contaminated and insults my humanity).

  19. #19 csrster
    October 20, 2009

    I wonder why discussion of vaccinations so rarely mentions the case of diptheria. This was a real scourge within living memory – rapidly spreading and with a high mortality rate amongst children. Nowadays its just an obscure name from the past – virtually eradicated by vaccination.

  20. #20 BB
    October 20, 2009

    Sid: my mother almost died from the mumps; she got it when I was a baby.
    You are the worst kind of sludge.

  21. #21 BB
    October 20, 2009

    Sid: My parents come form a region where mumps is not endemic. Consequently, after emigrating to the US, my mother almost died from the mumps; she got it when I was a baby. My father had to move out of the house, leaving my aunt with her own children (and no immunity of her own) to care for me when I had the mumps, my mother being in the hospital for 3 weeks.
    You are the worst kind of sludge.

  22. #22 BB
    October 20, 2009

    Sid: My parents come from a region where mumps is not endemic. Consequently, after immigrating to the US, my mother almost died from the mumps; she got it when I was a baby.
    You are the worst kind of sludge.

  23. #23 BB
    October 20, 2009

    Sorry for the triple post; computer issues this morning.

  24. #24 Orac
    October 20, 2009

    BTW, here is a nice article from AP, via ABC News:
    Somers’ New Target: Conventional Cancer Treatment

    Oh, I’m more than aware. I’m pacing myself, however. Too much burning stupid at one time is hazardous even to Orac’s circuits. I figure Suzanne Somers will be providing much blogging material over the next month or so. I already know that one of the “pioneers” she interviewed for her book is Nicholas Gonzalez.

    D’oh! Seriously bad timing, Suzanne!

  25. #25 Adrienne
    October 20, 2009

    Re: mumps and sterility…

    I saw a post from an anti-vax mom on some mothering message board that was a reply to a woman’s wanting to vaccinate her son against mumps due to concerns about sterility. Anti-vaxer told the other mother not to worry, because if her son caught mumps and developed complications, the sterility would only affect one testicle. Her kid would still have another testicle that worked, not to worry. Gee, nice to be so cavalier about your kid’s future fertility.

  26. #26 dr. luba
    October 20, 2009

    Best comment from that thread:

    Jesus Christ, America! What happened to you guys?
    You used to go to the moon!

    Now you’re killing doctors and scientists in the streets, it’s like the fall of the Roman Empire compressed into the last decade.

    I’m gonna go sign up to learn Chinese…

  27. #27 dr. luba
    October 20, 2009

    Best comment from that thread:

    Jesus Christ, America! What happened to you guys?
    You used to go to the moon!

    Now you’re killing doctors and scientists in the streets, it’s like the fall of the Roman Empire compressed into the last decade.

    I’m gonna go sign up to learn Chinese…

  28. #28 dr. luba
    October 20, 2009

    Best comment from that thread:

    Jesus Christ, America! What happened to you guys?
    You used to go to the moon!

    Now you’re killing doctors and scientists in the streets, it’s like the fall of the Roman Empire compressed into the last decade.

    I’m gonna go sign up to learn Chinese…

  29. #29 dr. luba
    October 20, 2009

    Best comment from that thread:

    Jesus Christ, America! What happened to you guys?
    You used to go to the moon!

    Now you’re killing doctors and scientists in the streets, it’s like the fall of the Roman Empire compressed into the last decade.

    I’m gonna go sign up to learn Chinese…

  30. #30 dr. luba
    October 20, 2009

    Best comment from that thread:

    Jesus Christ, America! What happened to you guys?
    You used to go to the moon!

    Now you’re killing doctors and scientists in the streets, it’s like the fall of the Roman Empire compressed into the last decade.

    I’m gonna go sign up to learn Chinese…

  31. #31 dr. luba
    October 20, 2009

    Best comment from that thread:

    Jesus Christ, America! What happened to you guys?
    You used to go to the moon!

    Now you’re killing doctors and scientists in the streets, it’s like the fall of the Roman Empire compressed into the last decade.

    I’m gonna go sign up to learn Chinese…

  32. #32 dr. luba
    October 20, 2009

    Best comment from that thread:

    Jesus Christ, America! What happened to you guys?
    You used to go to the moon!

    Now you’re killing doctors and scientists in the streets, it’s like the fall of the Roman Empire compressed into the last decade.

    I’m gonna go sign up to learn Chinese…

  33. #33 dr. luba
    October 20, 2009

    Best comment from that thread:

    Jesus Christ, America! What happened to you guys?
    You used to go to the moon!

    Now you’re killing doctors and scientists in the streets, it’s like the fall of the Roman Empire compressed into the last decade.

    I’m gonna go sign up to learn Chinese…

  34. #34 dr. luba
    October 20, 2009

    Best comment from that thread:

    Jesus Christ, America! What happened to you guys?
    You used to go to the moon!

    Now you’re killing doctors and scientists in the streets, it’s like the fall of the Roman Empire compressed into the last decade.

    I’m gonna go sign up to learn Chinese…

  35. #35 dr. luba
    October 20, 2009

    Best comment from that thread:

    Jesus Christ, America! What happened to you guys?
    You used to go to the moon!

    Now you’re killing doctors and scientists in the streets, it’s like the fall of the Roman Empire compressed into the last decade.

    I’m gonna go sign up to learn Chinese…

  36. #36 dr. luba
    October 20, 2009

    Best comment from that thread:

    Jesus Christ, America! What happened to you guys?
    You used to go to the moon!

    Now you’re killing doctors and scientists in the streets, it’s like the fall of the Roman Empire compressed into the last decade.

    I’m gonna go sign up to learn Chinese…

  37. #37 dr. luba
    October 20, 2009

    Best comment from that thread:

    Jesus Christ, America! What happened to you guys?
    You used to go to the moon!

    Now you’re killing doctors and scientists in the streets, it’s like the fall of the Roman Empire compressed into the last decade.

    I’m gonna go sign up to learn Chinese…

  38. #38 dr. luba
    October 20, 2009

    Best comment from that thread:

    Jesus Christ, America! What happened to you guys?
    You used to go to the moon!

    Now you’re killing doctors and scientists in the streets, it’s like the fall of the Roman Empire compressed into the last decade.

    I’m gonna go sign up to learn Chinese…

  39. #39 dr. luba
    October 20, 2009

    Best comment from that thread:

    Jesus Christ, America! What happened to you guys?
    You used to go to the moon!

    Now you’re killing doctors and scientists in the streets, it’s like the fall of the Roman Empire compressed into the last decade.

    I’m gonna go sign up to learn Chinese…

  40. #40 dr. luba
    October 20, 2009

    Best comment from that thread:

    Jesus Christ, America! What happened to you guys?
    You used to go to the moon!

    Now you’re killing doctors and scientists in the streets, it’s like the fall of the Roman Empire compressed into the last decade.

    I’m gonna go sign up to learn Chinese…

  41. #41 Rae
    October 20, 2009

    Yeah, except now of going to the moon, we bomb the moon.

    :-p

  42. #42 JohnV
    October 20, 2009

    How soon we forget, Rae. It wasn’t that long ago that representatives of the moon brought Boston to a standstill with a handful of litebrights and D batteries. Those mooninites had to be taught a lesson.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_Boston_Mooninite_Scare

  43. #43 Todd W.
    October 20, 2009

    Umm, Sid, you may want to take a look at the relative risk of injury from vaccine vs. from disease available on the CDC web site: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/6mishome.htm#risk

  44. #44 Chris
    October 20, 2009

    Sid Troll:

    But these researchers found 7 cases of hearing impairment so we should believe previous estimates regarding hearing loss from the CDC (1-20,000 reported cases)and others were wildly incorrect?

    Sid Troll, learn to read. The abstract of the four year old epidemiological study from Japan said:

    The Acute Profound Deafness Research Committee of the Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare (reorganized to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare in 2001) conducted a nationwide epidemiological survey to determine the number of patients treated for mumps deafness in 1987, 1993 and 2001. Based on its findings, the annual numbers of mumps deafness cases was estimated to be 300 in 1987, 400 in 1993 and 650 in 2001, which correlated with the overall incidence of mumps in those years.

    Where did you get the number “7″ from?

    Also, from the CDC Pink Book Chapter you linked to, “Mumps was a frequent cause of outbreaks among military personnel in the prevaccine era, and was one of the most common causes of aseptic meningitis and sensorineural deafness in childhood.” The numbers are being revised with newer data (I bet you didn’t there was more than one paper from Japan!).

  45. #45 Interrobang
    October 20, 2009

    My mother had the mumps too — when she was a kid. She said that the swelling was so bad, she couldn’t eat anything but liquids for days, because swallowing hurt so much. She also said that trying to swallow anything the least bit tart or sour made her cry from pain. (She told me that there used to be a rule of thumb when she was a kid that if your mother suspected you had mumps, she’d buy you lemon drops, and if you cried from eating them, she’d know you had mumps.)

    The troll and all its antivaccinationist fellow travellers are objectively pro-misery, and pro-little girls crying from pain.

  46. #46 somewhereingreece
    October 20, 2009

    @Sid

    I have heard paediatricians say “thank god for the Hib vaccine, we had children die from epiglottitis in the elevator from the ER on the ground floor to the ICU on the 2nd floor”. Thankfully, for all their stupidity and lack of maturity, politeness and cool-headedness, greek parents are so microbe-phobic they wouldn’t dream of missing the vaccination schedule.

    Well, either that or the fact that there are a lot of grandparents around who have lost parents, siblings, maybe even children to vaccine-preventable diseases to put the fear of death in them.

  47. #47 MI Dawn
    October 20, 2009

    @Sid: try telling my mom that mumps is harmless. Her best friend in grade school nearly died from them. He was so swollen that he nearly sufficated. And tell her measles is not so bad. When measles hit her elementary school, 95% of the school children were out (in fact, her report card has a stamp on it that no grades were given to anyone that marking period because of multiple school absences). The boy who lived across the street from her died from measles encephalitis. 6 children in her class (out of 25) never returned to school (she doesn’t know what happened to them – they just vanished and no one would say where they were). She can tell you about the closed pools and signs that public gatherings were prohibited due to polio. This was in Toledo, Ohio, in the early 1940′s if you want to check the newspaper morgues for exact numbers.

    Believe me, my mother made sure that all her children got all their vaccines – if it was available, we got it.

  48. #48 Katharine
    October 20, 2009

    Sid Offit, I’m going to throw the rhetoric right back at you:

    Anti-vaxxers kill toddlers. They fuck them up for life. They make them sick.

    The risks of the disease are far worse than anything that comes from vaccines, and here’s the thing: there’s actual proof of it.

  49. #49 Nico
    October 20, 2009

    I remember the days pre Hib vaccine. Not pretty. I was a sick kid in hospital and I remember seeing doctors and nurses terrified at the rapid onset of the disease, as they waited for an airlift for one lad to a larger hospital. In to the ER with a mild fever, 4 hours later convulsing/comatose.

    I don’t recall seeing much else ever, that instilled quite as much fear in medical staff, and I remember the very sharp drop in cases when the vaccine appeared.

    People really don’t have a clue, when they say vaccines don’t save lives, do they?

  50. #50 Ktesibios
    October 20, 2009

    @Sid:

    When I was five I caught mumps. My experience wasn’t just “puffy cheeks”, instead I woke up as stiff as a board from the waist up- unable to bend my back at all- and in a fuck of a lot of pain.

    How sick was I? At that time in my life it normally took four people to give me an injection and five to draw blood. Yet that morning I was so flattened with misery that I lay there while my pediatrician did a lumbar puncture, and I didn’t utter a word of protest.

    I had mumps encephalitis and I wound up spending the next ten days in the hospital.

    And my mother? When they made her put on a gown and mask to visit me and she saw the “STRICT ISOLATION” sign on the door to my room she became hysterical. She was a chemistry teacher, not a biologist or a doctor, so she didn’t know that the correct interpretation of all that seriousness was that I had a very contagious disease and the hospital didn’t want to be the center of an outbreak. Instead, her imagination had her thinking that I had polio or something equally ugly.

    I recovered with no lasting effects, so I guess that if you don’t count my physical suffering, my mother’s terror, the worry of my friends’ parents that their kids might catch it and the many thousands of dollars worth of hospital care, you can go on claiming that mumps is no big deal.

    I, however, know better.

  51. #51 dt
    October 20, 2009

    Oh Sid, Sid, Sid,
    How little you know (and learn).

    Mumps commonly causes aseptic meningitis (in as many as 10% of cases). It’s usually very mild, no more than a severe fever and headache (but rarely it can be severe or lifethreatening).

    The current vaccine does NOT cause this problem (Zero episodes in 500,000 vaccines in Finland).
    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/110/5/957

    But the antivax kooks get their knickers in a right twist by insisting mumps vaccine causes this problem, which they characterise as “severe brain damage”.

    Now the early versions of MMR used a mumps vaccine strain (Urabe) that very occasionally caused meningitis (one in about every 11,000 vaccine doses).
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8096942?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

    Now can you explain why antivaxers ignore the fact that the natural mumps virus infection causes this “deadly brain disease” (antivax’s words, not mine) in up to 10% of children, yet they harp on about the vaccine causing this problem (no cases in half a million vaccines), citing it as a reason to avoid vaccination? Probably no, I’m guessing.

  52. #52 Jen
    October 20, 2009

    @Orac – isn’t it pleasant to have some backup from MSM? Plus, this report ran on Oprah’s network! Sweet.

  53. #53 skepticalbunny
    October 20, 2009

    My father was a physician. He started his general practice in the late 1930s. He saw what diseases like mumps, measles, diphtheria, pertussis, and polio could do. He used to tell my brother and me stories about the kids who couldn’t stop coughing, and finally couldn’t breathe, and the ones who got measles and then got brain damage from meningitis. It was horrible, and that’s why he was so happy about immunizations. The problem is, these people who cry about “too many too soon”, or “green our vaccines”, or other such stupidity, have never seen things like that, so they don’t know exactly how horrible it can be. Sure, you can see video of it, but that’s nothing like seeing it firsthand. I mean, measles just looks like a really bad rash, right?

    I’ve also had to live with the aftereffects of polio in my family. My mother’s sister contracted polio in the early 1920s, when she was very young, two perhaps? She managed to avoid an iron lung (what a horrible piece of equipment!!), but she was never able to walk without crutches afterward. Her parents, sister and 4 brothers dealt with it, but I know everyone would’ve liked her to be able to walk on her own. It was even suggested at one time, while she was still a child, that she be put in a “home”, because she would never be “normal”. Some people even suggested, when she finally married and was pregnant with her only child, that the child be taken from her because she would never be able to care for him. Barbaric.

    I, for one, am happy to be able to benefit from immunizations. Now, if I could only convince one of my coworkers to get his 4 kids immunized…

  54. #54 Bronze Dog
    October 20, 2009

    For me, growing up, mumps was always just something Lisa Simpson caught to keep her out of school for a few days.

    Ever since I started reading about these anti-vaxxers, I’ve gotten more and more knowledge of what dangers it, as well as many “harmless” childhood diseases present for real world children and adults. It seems everyone has an elderly member of the family with real horror stories of what happens when these diseases went around unchecked.

    Anti-vaxxers have no conception of history, do they? I’m currently starting to wonder if these people never bothered to listen to their ancestors or history teachers and learned everything about the “good old days” from nostalgic television sitcoms.

  55. #55 occasional lurker
    October 20, 2009

    “Sorry for the triple post; computer issues this morning.”

    BB: The repeated “You are the worst kind of sludge” was really funny, so don’t feel too bad.

    Imaginary “safety” issues aside, i cannot deal with people who would put the health of themselves and their kids so far above the health of others. Let the old, the young, and the immunocompromised fend for themselves! That is some selfish bullshit.

  56. #56 Sid Offit
    October 20, 2009

    Sorry Chris. I’m just so used to you vaccine enthusiasts pulling out this study (An office-based prospective study of deafness in mumps.) when the topic of mumps arises I assumed you had done the same. I’m deeply sorry. As to where I derived the number 7:
    ———————
    The incidence of hearing loss in children due to mumps was 7/7400 (approximately 1/1000 cases)

    ——————————————
    @Erin
    I’ll take Aspergers over deafness,

    That’s your choice, but it think you’re confusing partial hearing impairment in one ear to total deafness

    ————————–

    @Todd
    Thanks for the link Todd. Apparently the CDC didn’t think the mumps were serious enough to include it in their risk reward calculation, but those measles sure do sound scary

  57. #57 Sid Offit
    October 20, 2009

    For me, growing up, mumps was always just something Lisa Simpson caught to keep her out of school for a few day
    ———————

    I missed that episode. Was it on one of the Tree House of Horror specials?

  58. #58 Damien
    October 20, 2009

    This is going to seem circuitous at first, but bear with me.

    I’ve recently been doing a lot of reading on infectious diseases and other such things. I started with small pox, then anthrax, and have now moved onto plague and specifically the Black Death of the 14th/15th centuries. It’s astounding how encompassing the effect of the Black Death was on medicine from that time forward.

    As an example, before the recurring pandemics that make up the Black Death period, most physicians were trained in theory, with no practical experience necessary. They were taught poultices often, herbology occasionally, but they were much more focused on the idea of humors and their manipulation.

    After the pandemics wiped out 55-60% of Europe, everyone from the nobility to the layperson began demanding more practical knowledge. It was around this time that what we now call the “scientific method” was developed, which was revolutionary because it not only relied on theory but demanded physical, observable evidence be provided to justify the theoretical. Medicine improved, and quickly became professionalized.

    What I find so interesting and frustrating is that in this day and age we are living in a time of unparalleled medical advancement, to the point where we are able to bring horrific diseases to their knees. We as a species no longer must fear pandemic smallpox, or a recurrence of the black death; we don’t have to live with the knowledge that one or more of our children will die because of a preventable childhood disease, or that they’ll be blinded, deafened or debilitated.

    We have more medical knowledge now than at any time in history, and people are demanding we go back to using what amounts to dressed-up prayer to prevent disease.

    It’s astounding, and I worry it won’t really reverse itself until we have another deadly, vaccine-preventable pandemic.

  59. #59 Todd W.
    October 20, 2009

    @Sid Offit

    The CDC site lists a couple of examples and is clearly not exhaustive. I can’t say what their reasons were for not including mumps in the MMR comparison, but I would not view their omitting that info as an admission that mumps is harmless.

    That’s your choice, but it think you’re confusing partial hearing impairment in one ear to total deafness

    There you go with your restrictive definition of deafness as “only total hearing loss in both ears”. The clinical definition is not so restrictive. Here’s just one example I found, emphasis added (http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=6791):

    Deafness: Deafness is defined by partial or complete hearing loss. Levels of hearing impairment vary from a mild but important loss of sensitivity to a total loss of hearing. Older adults suffer most often from hearing loss. Age-related hearing loss affects 30 to 35 percent of the population between the ages of 65 and 75 years, and 40 percent of the population over the age of 75. The most common cause of hearing loss in children is otitis media, a disorder that affects predominantly infants and young children. A substantial number of hearing impairments are caused by environmental factors such as noise, drugs, and toxins. Many sensorineural hearing losses result from a genetic predisposition.

    When dealing with deafness in clinical cases, it is important to use the clinical definition, rather than your own definition of choice.

  60. #60 Damien
    October 20, 2009

    Damn, just as I’m writing a killer comment, Git Offit has to jump back in.

    Sid, I find it heartless and bizarre that you can minimize partial deafness by saying “Hey, at least he can still kinda hear something.” That’s like me saying to someone with a club foot “Hey, look, at least you’ve still got the foot.”

  61. #61 Pablo
    October 20, 2009

    It’s amazing how vaccination advocates are considered “mean and uncaring” because they don’t accept the assertion that someone child got autism from a vaccine and think that things like chelation therapy and coffee enemas aren’t effective and are potentially more harmful than doing nothing (and certainly aren’t as good as using more tested methods), but then comes along Aunt Sid Offit.

    The “yeah, you lost some of your hearing but you aren’t technically deaf because you can hear something” as if that is a consolation is perhaps the most offensive thing I have ever heard anyone spout directly, and ranks right up there with the “sure, they’ll be sterile, but only in one testicle” hearsay statement mentioned above.

  62. #62 Rjaye
    October 20, 2009

    Yeah, I guess the experiences of older generations don’t count for much among the anti-vaxxers. My mother had polio when she was nine, and then went through fourteen years of agony dealing with post-polio syndrome.

    I mentioned on another thread the British Columbia mumps outbreak that was especially virulent. There were nine cases of deafness out of 186 cases of mumps, 25% orchitis, and nine cases of encephalitis that required hospitalization. This was last fall among a religious sect that didn’t believe in vaccination.

    I haven’t been out of the hospital that long after having H1N1…the clinic ran out of vaccine because they were vaccinating health care personnel, children, and then vulnerable adults. I missed out, and tada. Flu with complications.

    People who are anti-vax are truly deluded. It’s their ideology over any facts or actual suffering.

    Thanks, Orac, for continuing to focus on the problems these people cause..

  63. #63 Phoenix Woman
    October 20, 2009

    For newcomers:

    The heartless and persistent troll who from now on I will call Stone Deaf (as he is deaf to anything that debunks him) has adopted as his online antivax handle the name of a good man and saver of lives — but since this good man is a vaccine inventor, our troll (who also frequents other blogs) hates him and wants to defile him.

    Notice also how the troll almost never acknowledges the persons here with first-hand experience of the diseases that are prevented by the vaccines that he hates so much?

    Whenever anyone talks about morality and vaccines, point them to this thread so they can see a typical antivaxer, Stone Deaf, simultaneously mock a man whose shoes he’s not worthy to clean, insult and minimize the pain and suffering of disease victims, and ignore the ever-mounting evidence that undermines the position he so foolishly holds.

  64. #64 Anton P. Nym
    October 20, 2009

    Polio. Whooping Cough. Hib. Tetanus. “German Measels”. Smallpox. Diptherea.

    All were voracious killers before modern medicine. All became virtually unknown after vaccines were introduced for them.

    All of them will return if anti-vaxxers get their way. Many of them have already returned where anti-vaxxers have held sway.

    Vaccines are victims of their own success, I suppose. We see so few of these diseases now that we can easily ignore how nasty they can be… but we should never, ever do so, or our kids will discover why vaccines were considered so important.

    (Personally, I’d love to see a shingles vaccine come out. Ever since that bout with chicken pox, and hearing of my great uncle’s miserable personal discovery that even morphine doesn’t much help you cope with the symptoms, that’s been a source of late-night dread more than once.)

    — Steve

  65. #65 rob
    October 20, 2009

    “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
    –George Santayana

    unfortunately, our reminder will be thousands of people being crippled or killed.

  66. #66 HPMcCall
    October 20, 2009

    I totally agree with Orac about there being a “religious” component to the anti-vax movement. Remember, before McCarthy got on the anti-vax bandwagon, she had an entire website devoted to her “indigo child.” That whole indigo child thing is just so insane. And I totally get wanting to do something, make it so that, somehow, your kid isn’t autistic, there’s hope for a cure, if we find the cause… But sometimes, you suck it up and deal. I would like to think that if there were something wrong with my kid, I wouldn’t resort to wishful thinking, but would do what I could to improve our lives, and then just love ‘em, cuz sometimes it’s all we can do.

    As it is, my 7 year old daughter is very healthy, she’s had EVERY vaccine on the schedule, and she’ll be getting the H1N1 vaccine as soon as it’s available.

    This is such a push-button subject with me… grr…

  67. #67 Chris
    October 20, 2009

    Just as I thought, the Sid Troll did not bother to click the link. Big deal, what is 7 compared to 650? I am not surprised that you do not understand that hearing loss is a real disability.

    … along with the blindness, mental retardation, paralysis and other neurological impacts of measles and Hib, the lack of the ability to breathe with pertussis and diphtheria, and the pain with tetanus.

    So where exactly is that evidence on the relative risks between the MMR and measles, mumps and rubella?

    Phoenix Woman, the Stone Deaf Troll has also decided to use “Sid” as a reference to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Even though there is no evidence that vaccines contribute to SIDS, and that they actually help prevent SIDS (it has something to do with preventing pertussis, Hib, tetanus and diphtheria).

    He is a despicable troll. Probably some two-bit naturapath or incompetent MD who shills supplements and idiotic treatments like cranial sacral therapy to desperate parents of disabled kids. He probably posts his idiocy here because blogs like this, and articles exposing his ilk are bad for business.

  68. #68 Sid Offit
    October 20, 2009

    the Stone Deaf Troll has also decided to use “Sid” as a reference to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

    Reference please

  69. #69 T. Bruce McNeely
    October 20, 2009

    Here’s an idea for Stone Deaf Sid:
    How about getting yourself tied to a post for a few days, while a group of us take turns kicking you in the balls over and over again?
    You should have no problem with this, since you seem to think that mumps is no big deal, right?

  70. #70 Sid Offit
    October 20, 2009

    According to the report by Nagai, M. (March 2003) of the Working Group on Improvement of the NESID System organized by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) (headed by Okabe, N.), cases were estimated at 1.17 million in the whole country in 2000 (95% confidence interval: 1.11-1.24 million), and 2.26 million (2.15-2.36 million) in 2001.

    A disease causing 650 incidents of hearing impairment in over two million cases. I’m still not worried.
    ——————————
    @T. Bruce
    How about getting yourself tied to a post for a few days, while a group of us take turns kicking you in the balls over and over again?

    Sounds like fun. Is that the current allopathic treatment for mumps?

  71. #71 Chris
    October 20, 2009

    Sid Troll:

    Reference please

    Sure, just as soon as you tell us your real name. Because we are pretty sure you are not the respected author Sidney Offit (especially when you post on west coast times).

    Now where is that data with real evidence on the relative risks between MMR and measles, mumps and rubella?

  72. #72 T. Bruce McNeely
    October 20, 2009

    Reply to Stone Deaf Sid:

    Whoooooossshhh!!!

  73. #73 Sid Offit
    October 20, 2009

    Sure, just as soon as you tell us your real name

    Patience Chris, all shall be revealed in the fullness of time

  74. #74 Chris
    October 20, 2009

    My name is Chris.

  75. #75 Dr. JIm Lane
    October 20, 2009

    Go to http://www.healthfreedom.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=918&Itemid=1 for an article on the HPV vaccine you pro-vaccine people might want to read.

  76. #76 Chris
    October 20, 2009

    “Dr.” Lane, you still do not seem to understand what constitutes real evidence.

    Now, exactly what kind of “doctor” are you?

  77. #77 RJ
    October 20, 2009

    Gee, thanks for the link Dr. Lane. I guess you missed the follow up reports that the girl did not die from anything related to the vaccine, rather, they found a tumor in her lungs. I guess you just missed that part.

  78. #79 Jennaviere
    October 20, 2009

    I believe my family was told that my mother’s multiple sclerosis was attributed to an immune response to either the mumps or the scarlet fever she had as a child. She died, btw, at the age of 51, having been completely bedridden for the last 20 years of her life.

    If childhood diseases initiate MS, then in a vaccinated society shouldn’t we see a decline in MS diagnoses? I’m asking, so don’t flame me. I actually never even thought about it until I saw the stupid comment about puffy cheeks and “Oh the horror!” because I know my mom’s parents couldn’t have guessed her mumps would lead to a lifetime of disabling illness.

  79. #80 T. Bruce McNeely
    October 20, 2009

    Jennaviere:
    The cause of MS is still unknown. It appears to be an autoimmune reaction to myelin, the protein coating most of the nerves in the body. Certain viral infections have been proposed as triggers, but the evidence isn’t there.
    Mumps or scarlet fever have not shown any relationship to MS, as far as I know. Nor have vaccines.
    I’m sorry that your mother had to undergo such suffering. MS is a mysterious disease, and a nasty one.

  80. #81 Jennaviere
    October 20, 2009

    Thank you for such a kind response. I guess they were trying to link one of those because those were her major childhood illnesses.

    I thought the Wallace article was very well written and I thank Orac for posting about it.

  81. #82 snerd
    October 20, 2009

    Patience Chris, all shall be revealed in the fullness of time

    You make a piss-weak Palpatine, Sid. Put up.

  82. #83 Sid Offit
    October 20, 2009

    @T. Bruce
    Mumps or scarlet fever have not shown any relationship to MS, as far as I know. Nor have vaccines

    ——————————–

    “Hepatitis B vaccination does not generally increase the risk of CNS inflammatory demyelination in childhood,” the authors concluded. “However, the Engerix B vaccine appears to increase this risk, particularly for confirmed multiple sclerosis, in the longer term. Our results require confirmation in future studies.”
    ——————-
    The authors of a 2004 study appearing in the journal Neurology found evidence, “that immunization with the recombinant hepatitis B vaccine is associated with an increased risk of MS, and challenge the idea that the relation between hepatitis B vaccination and risk of MS is well understood.”
    ———————
    The question of a connection between vaccination and autoimmune illness (or phenomena) is surrounded by controversy. A heated debate is going on regarding the causality between vaccines, such as measles and anti-hepatitis B virus (HBV), and multiple sclerosis (MS).
    ———————–
    …other rulings have allowed petitioners to gain awards for claims that the hepatitis B vaccine causes … multiple sclerosis.[10]

  83. #84 Badger3k
    October 20, 2009

    Now, Sid, how can we go read the papers ourselves if you don’t identify them? How about more citation than [10]?

  84. #85 Chris
    October 20, 2009

    From the paper I referenced there were 650 cases of deafness in Japan in 2001. Then Sid Troll said:

    nd 2.26 million (2.15-2.36 million) in 2001.

    … without noting the linky source of the information, nor noting exactly what the subject was (it could have been cases of indigestion)… There are only 17 million children between 0 and 14 in Japan. I find it difficult to believe that fully one eighth of them would get mumps all in the same year.

    So I went and found how many cases of mumps were in Japan in 2001. There is this table. It reports there were 132877 cases of mumps in Japan in 2001.

    Let us see, if less than one quarter of the 650 cases of deafness in 2001 were from mumps, then that still leaves a level of about one case of deafness per thousand cases of mumps.

    Which is pretty close to what happened in the American Midwest in 2006 (2700 cases of mumps, and 4 deaf).

  85. #86 T. Bruce McNeely
    October 20, 2009

    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/updates/multiplesclerosis_and_hep_b.htm
    http://www.who.int/vaccine_safety/topics/hepatitisb/multiple_sclerosis/en/index.html

    One study suggested an association. Multiple studies find no such association. Good enough for me, Stony.

  86. #87 Sid Offit
    October 20, 2009

    Chris

    Here’s your link. I believe the 132,000 cases were just those reported through something called a sentinel clinic

    http://idsc.nih.go.jp/iasr/24/279/tpc279.html

  87. #90 Dangerous Bacon
    October 20, 2009

    In the “heated debate” over vaccination and MS, for which Sid is carefully cherry-picking bits and pieces to support his antivax ideology, he seems to be missing out on contradictory findings.

    For instance, here’s a link to an abstract of a 2007 study that found no link between hepatitis B vaccination and childhood MS.

    A new article just E-published this month notes similar conclusions, and cites risk to MS patients from infectious disease.

    “Vaccinations to prevent communicable diseases are, like in other chronic diseases, of special importance in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Various bacterial and viral infections have been shown to induce relapses of MS. Reports of possible adverse effects of vaccinations on the course of multiple sclerosis have led patients and treating physicians to exercise caution in the use of vaccines. A number of vaccines have been studied with respect to the risk in MS patients. Some vaccines, for example against yellow fever, are not indicated in MS due to the risk of MS exacerbation. In contrast, tetanus or hepatitis B vaccines do not represent a risk for manifestation or disease progression of MS. Before and during immunomodulatory therapy of MS special attention should be given to adequate protection against vaccine preventable diseases.”

    In addition, Sid, I call your attention to emerging strategies to more effectively treat multiple sclerosis, which include studies of several types of vaccines, including T-cell and DNA vaccines to help modulate autoimmune responses.

    Of course, if you’re sticking your fingers in your ears and chanting “Vaccines Bad!” you’ll have a hard time understanding any of this.

    As for the lamentably underinformed “Dr. Jim Lane” (more often than not, people who title themselves in this way are chiropractors or other alt med practitioners and not MDs) – we “pro-vaccine people” believe that a major component of true “health freedom” involves the freedom to protect ourselves against preventable infectious diseases, as well as engaging in open debate which includes all the facts, not the sort of premature speculation which has embarassed antivaxers trying to capitalize on the teen death in England, which was caused by a large thoracic tumor and not the HPV vaccine.

  88. #91 k
    October 20, 2009

    @Steve -

    Don’t know where you are, but there is
    a shingles vaccine called Zostavax,
    recommended for 65 and older. You can
    get it at many pharmacies, but you may
    need an Rx.

    As previously suggested, stick the pro-
    disease forces out on their own islands
    with their india-ink children, woo-
    meisters, vendors of succussed feces, et al.
    I’m sure we can get a few bucks together
    for some blankets.

  89. #92 Chris
    October 20, 2009

    Badger3k:

    Now, Sid, how can we go read the papers ourselves if you don’t identify them? How about more citation than [10]?

    He does it to hide the fact that he is cherry picking, or just flat out lying. I checked for the papers and found nothing. I even looked at PubMed for just “Japan mumps”, and found nothing close to what he was quoting.

    The closest I found was Evaluation of a method for issuing warnings pre-epidemics and epidemics in Japan by infectious diseases surveillance., for which there is a free access to the whole paper (in English, even though Adobe started to download a 10 Mb Japanese symbol file). I checked for the words he quoted, and could not find them. Also the numbers for mumps in that paper do not go anywhere near even a quarter of a million, much less two million!

    Now, if I wanted to be charitable I could just figure he is copying the papers off of some anti-vax literature. That would mean he is not a liar, but relying on people who do lie, and he is easily bamboozled.

    Though, my feeling is that he is a unrepentant liar.

  90. #93 Shay
    October 20, 2009

    Sid@4: I must assume you never had the mumps. I had them.

    Anyone who flippantly dismisses that kind of pain is an ass.

  91. #94 Chris
    October 20, 2009

    Okay, Sid Troll, you redeemed yourself by supplying the information for the estimate.

    The fact still remains that mumps does cause hearing loss (and other nasty side effects, like meningitis and painful swelling of glands). Who cares if you are not worried? Your opinion does not really count.

    Plus, you have not provided any data showing that the MMR vaccine carries more risk than measles, mumps and rubella.

  92. #95 Chris
    October 20, 2009

    Shay, I also had mumps. It was pure misery. Painful, and not being able to open my mouth to even sip fluids, much less eat any solids. It also happened to be the year the Jeryl Lynn mumps vaccine was introduced.

    Oh, well.

    I guess Sid Troll must be under the age of 40, so he got vaccinated for mumps (and possibly measles and rubella with the MMR if he is just under 38 years old).

  93. #96 Sid Offit
    October 20, 2009

    The MS links didn’t go through the filter. Just cut and paste the excerpts to google

  94. #97 Azkyroth
    October 21, 2009

    I hate to sound cruel, but anti-vaccinationists (is there such a word?) are a self-correcting idiocracy. They don’t vaccinate their children, they die – no more anti-vaccinationists. If only they didn’t cause problems for the rest of us I wouldn’t care.

    This assumes that anti-vaccinationism is an inherited genetic trait. It isn’t.

    Speaking as a parent and human being, I think there is a case for defining an international crime of “mass murder by disinformation,” making it illegal to willfully propagate falsehoods which may be reasonably expected to inspire behavior that will kill innocent people. I think it would be appropriate to make it a capital crime under international law. At the risk of being accused of Godwinning, I have concluded that the case for hanging Jenny McCarthy, Andrew Wakefield, and their ilk is as strong as the case for hanging Julius Streicher, and for the same general kind of reasons.

  95. #98 Uncle Glenny
    October 21, 2009

    F@#%. I got through about 1/3 of the comments on that article before I had to stop.

    If I had known there was this much idiocy around, I would have gone out of my way to get some vaccinations back when I had a reasonable income and decent insurance; I’m old enough to have only (I think) have had a polio vaccine as a child. (Only had chickenpox and rubella as a child; no measles or mumps.)

    I liked how Stone Deaf Sid snuck in that “they were 20 years old” (about mumps side effects) and the “X should have had mumps as a child” idiocy. “Should have”? What a shitbrain you are, Sid.

    If the kiddies don’t get vaccinated and there’s an outbreak of mumps, or pertussis, or measles, or …, it could affect people like me too, you stupid, batshit, despicable slimeball.

    I’m already steamed enough that the flu vaccines are available so late here; I’m going to a “first come, first served” clinic for the seasonal flu later this afternoon, and dog only knows when h1n1 will be available. I have reason to worry that an upper respiratory infection from something like that could land me in the hospital.

    On a different note I just learned that when someone like Sid goes “LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU!” there’s a physiological reason for that!

  96. #99 Chris
    October 21, 2009

    Lots of love for Uncle Glenny!

    I remember getting pertussis, tetanus, diphtheria, polio and smallpox vaccines. I also remember actually getting chicken pox, mumps and “the flu” (that was the one where I went to bed, and did not get up for two weeks). I don’t remember rubella, but I tested positive for antibodies to it when I was first pregnant. I probably also got the earliest measles vaccine when I was too young to remember in the early 1960s. I also got a pneumonia when I was thirteen that took me out of school for over a month. That was not fun. Though, unlike Sid Troll, I was capable of keeping up with my studies on my own (my one experience with home schooling, only it was all me doing the work… the only thing my parents did was pick up the books and list of assignments, the rest was up to me).

    I am anxiously waiting for the H1N1 vaccine. I have two kids who are a very impacted age group, plus another with several medical conditions that could make flu deadly (this is where his disability is an advantage, he does not get many opportunities for infection if he avoid contact with others).

  97. #100 Richard Eis
    October 21, 2009

    -Speaking as a parent and human being, I think there is a case for defining an international crime of “mass murder by disinformation-

    I believe it’s illegal to shout fire in a crowded theatre in america even with the right to free speech. This should come under the same heading really.

    Really this level of idiocy should be punishable.

    The 650 incidents were only detailing “complete” deafness. The paper also says “Since many deafness cases are difficult to treat, rapid improvement of vaccine coverage rate is desired.”

    Funny that a paper you use to point out how vacciens aren’t needed actually says the exact opposite.

    So there you go Sid.

  98. #101 Dr. Jim Lane
    October 21, 2009

    Here’s a great article and interviews about flu vaccines. Caution: this is meant only for 5%ers. You 83%ers just wouldn not understand.

    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/10/21/Special-Swine-Flu-Update.aspx

  99. #102 dedicaqted lurker
    October 21, 2009

    What about the remaining twelve percent? What do we do?

  100. #103 Antaeus Feldspar
    October 21, 2009

    A good story in today’s New York Times that very effectively refutes the “a flu is just a bad cold, just a minor inconvenience” lie.

    It should stop all but the terminally stupid from perpetuating this myth (i.e. don’t count on it stopping Stone Deaf Sid) but unfortunately, the story itself shows that even with the evidence staring them in the face, alties can cling to their denial:

    As they said this, Ms. Opdyke was doing her daily physical therapy, struggling to lift one-pound weights. Her therapist interrupted to announce that she opposed flu shots.

    “Have you ever read the labels?” she asked. “They’re so full of toxins.”

    Asked if she realized that a shot, had it existed in June, might have saved her client and her baby, she frowned and went back to her clipboard.

  101. #104 MikeMa
    October 21, 2009

    The repeated problem with the Sid Troll is that he very early zeros in on mumps and basically hijacks the thread discussing the relative mildness of that disease. This gets all the mumps sufferers rightly up in arms but the benefit of the other vaccines doesn’t get addressed.

    MMR has 3 components, all diseases with dire effects. I’m sorry that Sid Troll doesn’t think mumps is worth worrying about. He’s wrong but that’s hardly the point. As we slide further down the path of anti-vax logic, more vaccine preventable diseases will occur. More children will suffer and die, more parents will (hopefully) want to wring Jenny’s and Sid’s neck.

  102. #105 Orac
    October 21, 2009

    Speaking as a parent and human being, I think there is a case for defining an international crime of “mass murder by disinformation,” making it illegal to willfully propagate falsehoods which may be reasonably expected to inspire behavior that will kill innocent people. I think it would be appropriate to make it a capital crime under international law. At the risk of being accused of Godwinning, I have concluded that the case for hanging Jenny McCarthy, Andrew Wakefield, and their ilk is as strong as the case for hanging Julius Streicher, and for the same general kind of reasons.

    I do call Godwin on this one.

    That was a Hitler Zombie-worthy analogy. The reason is that antivaxers, as misguided and idiotic as they are, are not intentionally trying to exterminate people. Please try to control your hyperbole.

  103. #106 Chris
    October 21, 2009

    “Dr.” Lane, you have posted the website of a money grubbing quack.

    What kind of “doctor” are you?

  104. #107 MikeMa
    October 21, 2009

    Orac,
    Godwin or not, I think you may be stretching things to include Wakefield in the ‘idiotic, misguided’ category. Jenny McCarthy maybe, but Wakefield is a malicious, greedy prick who got caught and instead of owning up, blustered his way to fame and fortune here in the US pushing the same deadly crap he published in the UK.

  105. #108 Shay
    October 21, 2009

    Chris@81: this is what really staggers me. There are still a ton of us old farts (born before 1955) who remember what it was like to get these childhood diseases. There are still enough of our parents around who remember what it was like trying to shepherd children through measles, mumps, chicken pox, etc (and remember what it was like burying the many who did not survive. A much older cousin lost three children. THREE!).

    If the anti-vaxxer’s won’t listen to the voice of reason, could they at least listen to the voices of experience?

  106. #109 Antaeus Feldspar
    October 21, 2009

    @ Lane at 87:

    You 83%ers just wouldn not understand.

    I think what you mean is “you 83%ers would actually think about it and see through Mercola’s BS.”

    I’m sure others will find far greater fallacies in Mercola’s latest; I just read far enough to find one:

    Overall 60 Minutes did a fairly good, objective piece of journalism that told the truth. They even pressured the Assistant Surgeon General about the vaccine’s safety.

    On one hand, [the Assistant Surgeon General is] hitching her safety statements to the fact that the H1N1 vaccine is similar to seasonal influenza vaccine, and therefore “safe” …

    On the other hand CDC officials are screaming that H1N1 is so different from the seasonal influenza strains that have circulated in the past few decades that … that we all should get vaccinated to prevent a deadly pandemic. This is completely inconsistent …

    Inherent in Mercola’s thesis are the following assumptions:

    1) If two viruses are radically different in their effect, they must be radically different in their nature.

    2) If two viruses are radically different in their nature, the countermeasures needed against them must also be radically different, such that the newer one must pose unforeseen dangers that have never been faced before.

    However, Mercola’s assumption 1 simply does not hold up to examination. Different strains of the flu can indeed be radically different in their severity and in their virulence. But this does not make them radically different in their nature; if flu strains were radically different from each other in nature, they wouldn’t be able to combine with each other the way they do!

    Neither does Mercola’s assumption that, if H1N1 was a significantly different strain, a vaccine for it would have to be made in some unprecedented new way that would pose new dangers not faced before, hold up to examination. If you have two different padlocks of the same type from the same manufacturer, and you only have the key that opens the first lock, you will need a second key, with the “teeth” set at different heights from the first. The chance that it will require some unprecedented new process fraught with unpredictable dangers to make the second key is negligible.

  107. #110 Chris
    October 21, 2009

    shay:

    If the anti-vaxxer’s won’t listen to the voice of reason, could they at least listen to the voices of experience?

    Absolutely not.

    Though, they are exactly the same bunch who claim we can’t know if a special diet or odd therapy (like cranialsacral or nicotine patches on kids) work “unless you tried it.”

  108. #111 DT35
    October 21, 2009

    I never knew my paternal grandfather; he died at age 32 of influenza, leaving a pregnant wife and four little boys under the age of seven. I never knew my Aunt Ruth; she died before her second birthday of diphtheria, and the grief of her parents and sisters was still palpable decades later when they spoke of her.

    I did get to know my Uncle Tom, a gregarious man, popular with adults and children alike. He was in his mid-thirties on a summer Sunday in the early 1950′s when he accompanied my family to a church picnic and spent the afternoon playing with my sister and me, pre-schoolers then. Twenty-four hours later, he was in an iron lung.

    Word came from another uncle, living nearly 1000 miles away,that my cousin Joey, also a pre-schooler, had contracted polio as well. His spine was affected and it was uncertain if he would recover. The rest of that summer must have been a time of unimaginable dread for my mother, feeling a stab of terror every time one of her children cried or woke up flushed from a nap. She told me once years later, “If there had been a polio vaccine then, I would have crawled on my hands and knees over broken glass to get it for you. But there was nothing.”

    I’m in my 50′s, and I realize that my family’s experience was in no way unusual; they got off more lightly than many others — see Shay’s comment @ 94 above. These diseases have killed and injured throughout human history and continue to do so despite improved treatments. To toss away the best protection against them, for fear of an imaginary risk of autism or asthma or allergies or . . . something, is just incomprehensible to me.

  109. #112 Pablo
    October 21, 2009

    odd therapy (like cranialsacral or nicotine patches on kids

    What the fizzle?

    Nicotine patches?

    Gotta rank up there with coffee enemas as the blinkingest stupid-sounding-just-on-the-face-of-it nuttery

  110. #113 JustaTech
    October 21, 2009

    Seriously, people who say “childhood diseases” aren’t that bad: Fuck You. My brother almost died of meningitis in either late ’87 or early ’88 (I was 4 so I don’t remember much more than the PICU and my parents utter fear). He was 6 months old. Other children in the ward died.

    And polio? Don’t get me started. My great aunt, for whom I am named, a vibrant beautiful athletic 13 year old died. Her brother, my great uncle, has never walked properly since then. They didn’t even tell him she had died, he found out when he read her obituary. He still cries about it and feels guilt for giving it to her. So yeah, fuck you, people who don’t think polio was “that bad”. Go straight to hell.

    For the record I am a vaccine researcher, have had all my shots, including a smallpox vaccination and the beginning of my HPV, and I’ll get my swine flu as soon as it’s released to the general public.

    Someone ought to take that statue of a woman grieving over her child who has died of congenital rubella, and put it in every hospital, as a reminder.

  111. #114 Chris
    October 21, 2009

    Pablo:

    What the fizzle?…Nicotine patches?

    See The price of anti-vaccine fanaticism, part 3. The nicotine patch is just one part of the whole list.

  112. #115 Djinna
    October 21, 2009

    Missed the Simpsons ep mentioned above, but there was a recent Family Guy where Meg got the mumps. She had a rather horrific complication after recovering – she thought that Kirk Cameron made sense Fortunately, the brain damage was temporary, and she’s fictional.

  113. #116 ebohlman
    October 22, 2009

    Antaeus: those two assumptions of Mercola’s are both applications of the magical Law of Similars, which of course forms the entire basis for homeopathy. It was also behind a lot of the false accusations of child sexual abuse in the 80s-early 90s (primarily the recovered-memories-of-incest cases, but also a few of the day-care cases); for example, if someone had a food-texture aversion, therapists would instantly jump on any perceived similarities between the texture of that food and the texture of semen, and conclude that the patient had buried memories of being forced to fellate someone (usually Daddy).

    Modern “wellness” notions of “you are what you eat” are also heavily based on the Law of Similars; they just don’t leave room for little things like digestion and metabolism (do you know that your body performs chemical reactions? Oh, the humanity!).

  114. #117 Jen
    October 22, 2009

    MUMPS OUTBREAK IN BROOKLYN
    http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/education/2009/10/22/2009-10-22_oldfashioned_mumps_make_comback_.html
    57 confirmed cases, with the majority between the ages of 10 and 15

  115. #118 stripey_cat
    October 23, 2009

    My mother swears blind I was vaccinated (and blames an incompetent nurse), but as a kid I had measles, mumps, whooping cough, and scarlet fever. SF was the scariest (I collapsed in class, and had a great gap in my memory from then until waking days later), but measles gave it a good run for its money, especially when secondary whooping cough got involved. Mumps was merely agonising: fever, and throat and abdominal pain (I suspect that oophoritis is greatly under-reported, as no-one believed I’d have pain there from mumps!). My brother, vaccinated at a different place and time, didn’t get anything worse than a very mild bout of mumps, even with me ill in the house.

  116. #119 doctrinalfairness
    October 24, 2009

    Please comment on the work of Dr. Susan Chu. As a public service to millions of European and Canadian youth and unborn fetuses who are undergoing the giant, untested experiment of an adjuvanted vaccine, please limit your response to her questions with a point by point refutation of her methodology or her research findings. I think you will find her a very unlikely candidate for the tired, categorical dialectic found on this blog, which has deteriorated into a mere caricature of the spirit of inquiry of science and dwells in a talk-radio-esque world of binary extremes of either pro-vax or anti-vax.
    Occupied so mightily with your reporting of the activities of the anti-vax fringe, you might want to acknowledge that there are very pressing issues with the safety of SOME vaccines. I’d like to see you match this woman’s fortitude and genuinely contrast the use of your time over the past few years with hers. (I haven’t met her and have nothing to do with her work.) Are you ethically capable of genuinely answering the question of exactly who might be the real public servant here? Study her work both in the preparedness for this and previous and future flus and in her voluminous, impartial inquiry of the documented difficulties with adjuvants. Our own FDA chief has his reservations about adjuvants. Chu has respectfully examined the claims of real parents without malice or ridicule, in contrast to the abysmal level of discourse here. A real review of her 160 diaries, beginning with http://www.newfluwiki2.com/diary/4045/adjuvants-and-cytokines-the-curious-case-of-il6
    would take several weeks, not just the milliseconds that it takes you and yours here to spew platitudes. People like her restore my faith in the increasingly compromised field of medicine, as outlined by former NEJM editor-in-chief Kassirer. You whine ceaselessly about the war on science. YOU and yours do immeasurable harm to the very profession you uphold. The millions of young people that Dr. Chu is attempting to protect deserve a few of the hundreds of man-hours that you currently feel it necessary to spend during this cruel epidemic protecting we ignorant proles from the likes of Suzanne Somers and Hollywood celebrities. I await your response and those of your peers and hopefully you can restore the dignity of your profession with a respectful and reasoned rebuttal of the implications of her findings, if you remember the habit of that practice at all. She is on the record as having invited dissection of her science, to no avail. Shame on you. Hopefully none of yours are in the risk group that she has identified, but millions of parents have the right to weigh the risks/benefits of the substantial problems found in the interpretation of the vaccine companies own research on adjuvants.

  117. #120 D. C. Sessions
    October 24, 2009

    Polio. Whooping Cough. Hib. Tetanus. “German Measels”. Smallpox. Diptherea.

    [...]

    All of them will return if anti-vaxxers get their way.

    Not smallpox. That suckah is gone, and it’s going to take more than a bunch of antivaxxers to bring it back. They’re doing their best to keep us from dishing the same fate to polio, measles, mumps, and rubella — they have, at least, given them a reprieve.

    Mind, I wouldn’t be totally surprised to see the extremists like Barbare Loe Fisher (of “measles is necessary for human immune development” fame) mount a clandestine program to bring back smallpox [1]. After all, it’s all-natural and undoubtedly played some essential role in human health.

    [1] The sequence is known, and it’s only a few codons away from a common animal virus.

  118. #121 Chris
    October 24, 2009

    doctrinalfairness:

    Please comment on the work of ….I think you will find her a very unlikely candidate … I’d like to see you match this woman’s fortitude and genuinely contrast the use of your time over the past few years with hers. (I haven’t met her and have nothing to do with her work.) Are you ethically capable of genuinely answering the question of exactly who might be the real public servant here? …..

    Get your own blog.

    This blog is Orac’s hobby, and I enjoy reading it (reading blogs is my hobby). I would never ever tell him (or any other blogger) what to write.

  119. #122 Todd W.
    October 24, 2009

    @D.C. Sessions

    Mind, I wouldn’t be totally surprised to see the extremists like Barbare Loe Fisher (of “measles is necessary for human immune development” fame) mount a clandestine program to bring back smallpox [1]. After all, it’s all-natural and undoubtedly played some essential role in human health.

    Yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised if one of their more mentally-unbalanced followers tried to break into some lab somewhere to steal the virus and let it out into the public. I certainly hope that does not happen.

  120. #123 doctrinalfairness
    October 24, 2009

    Orac’s harmless little hobby is currently “cherry-picking” the data and busily avoiding actual scientific evidence raised by the data from vaccine manufacturers own research findings. If he is even remotely ethical, his new hobby will be the pursuit of the actual data or lack thereof that warrant the unqualified support of adjuvants. Orac’s hobby at present is the scathing analysis of all of his intellectual inferiors. Since he has carved out a little niche for himself in the “war on science”, will he or anyone of his sycophantic disciples actually engage a finacially disinterested scientist in the questions that she has raised. Unlike his hero, Dr. Offit, she is an unpaid volunteer physician with an accumulated evidential body of her own. She is MY hero and the hero of countless untold children of the future if even a fraction of her data can be supported- as her evidence will lead to safer vaccines and the lessening of suffering worldwide. I once believed that was the goal of your profession. An in-kind response to her body of scientific work awaits you all. That is, if you can spare the time you are all spending pouring over all of the data coming in from Dr. Mercola and Suzanne Somers. I seriously doubt a one of you will do the difficult work- it’s too demanding a task for a crowd like this and not nearly as much fun as the easy, thoughtless work of ridicule.
    Pity that children will continue to die and suffer horribly because this is how our brilliant and best scientists choose to occupy their time during a hideous epidemic. And you wonder why the public turns to people like Dr. Mercola?

  121. #124 doctrinalfairness
    October 24, 2009

    Orac’s harmless little hobby is currently “cherry-picking” the data and busily avoiding actual scientific evidence raised by the data from vaccine manufacturers own research findings. If he is even remotely ethical, his new hobby will be the pursuit of the actual data or lack thereof that warrant the unqualified support of adjuvants. Orac’s hobby at present is the scathing analysis of all of his intellectual inferiors. Since he has carved out a little niche for himself in the “war on science”, will he or anyone of his sycophantic disciples actually engage a finacially disinterested scientist in the questions that she has raised. Unlike his hero, Dr. Offit, she is an unpaid volunteer physician with an accumulated evidential body of her own. She is MY hero and the hero of countless untold children of the future if even a fraction of her data can be supported- as her evidence will lead to safer vaccines and the lessening of suffering worldwide. I once believed that was the goal of your profession. An in-kind response to her body of scientific work awaits you all. That is, if you can spare the time you are all spending pouring over all of the data coming in from Dr. Mercola and Suzanne Somers. I seriously doubt a one of you will do the difficult work- it’s too demanding a task for a crowd like this and not nearly as much fun as the easy, thoughtless work of ridicule.
    Pity that children will continue to die and suffer horribly because this is how our brilliant and best scientists occupy their time during a hideous epidemic. Neither she or I are anti-vaccination IN THE SLIGHTEST, before the knee-jerk chorus here makes that tired accusation of anyone who wants answers about the safety of adjuvants.

  122. #125 Chris
    October 24, 2009
  123. #126 Not-so-innocent bystander
    October 24, 2009

    doctrinalfairness,

    Susan Chu does not appear to understand cause and effect. She claims, for example, that because sepsis is associated with elevated levels of interleukin 6, that interleukin 6 must have a role in the cause of sepsis. This is akin to saying that the sun exerts a gravitational pull due to the earth revolving around it; it’s complete nonsense. If Chu can make such a mistake in that one entry, I feel it’s unnecessary to review the other 159.

  124. #127 doctrinalfairness
    October 24, 2009

    not-so-innocent bystander,
    Thank you for your illustrious example of how rigorous science is undertaken. Doubt IS your business, after all.

    per Susan Chu,in discussing the burgeoning interest among immunologists regarding IL6 http://www.newfluwiki2.com/showDiary.do;jsessionid=B7485EA6714BBFD21AB221CD1D4A7E0B?diaryId=4045

    >>>BTW I found some lists of diseases affected by IL-6, together with citations, from a nifty review of the rapidly expanding body of knowledge on this cytokine, (free!) by Hong 2007 Interleukin-6 and its receptor in cancer: implications for Translational Therapeutics.

    and then she includes a jpeg chart from that publication which lists sepsis among 14 diseases, studies and the publishers of the trials. I might add,from studies not found on the sort of outlets where Suzanne Somers is sharing information. Or is there something wrong with a list of processes where IL6 plays a role?

    Never mind. You just produced Exhibit A of why there is a such a preponderance of ignorance about science. It’s a war, alright. Carry on in your exhaustive attempts to protect the ignorant masses from anti-scientific quackery. You are unfit to debate the merits of her arguments, best stick with your easier targets.

  125. #128 doctrinalfairness
    October 24, 2009

    not-so-innocent bystander,
    Thank you for your illustrious example of how rigorous science is undertaken. Doubt IS your business, after all. I see from your example exactly how it is done now, thank you.

    per Susan Chu,in discussing the burgeoning interest among immunologists regarding IL6 http://www.newfluwiki2.com/showDiary.do;jsessionid=B7485EA6714BBFD21AB221CD1D4A7E0B?diaryId=4045

    >>>BTW I found some lists of diseases affected by IL-6, together with citations, from a nifty review of the rapidly expanding body of knowledge on this cytokine, (free!) by Hong 2007 Interleukin-6 and its receptor in cancer: implications for Translational Therapeutics.

    and then she includes a jpeg chart from that publication which lists sepsis among 14 diseases, studies and the publishers of the trials- none of whom are the sort to appear in the type of publications that you are busy ripping apart on this blog. From that you extrapolate that SHE makes the said link between sepsis and IL6. (One of 14 diseases on the list) Dismiss her entire body of work by disingenuously making it appear that SHE made the relationship between sepsis and IL2.
    Even Suzanne Somers gets a more thorough read- every claim the woman makes is a cause for apoplexia and she is AN ACTRESS. This was a SCIENTIFIC text published by your peers. Glad you took the time to review it during our national emergency.

    Never mind. You just produced Exhibit A of why there is a such a preponderance of ignorance about science. People like you are as equally to blame as the nutcases. It’s a war, alright.
    Carry on in your exhaustive attempts to protect the ignorant masses from anti-scientific quackery. You are unfit to debate the merits of her arguments, best stick with your easier targets.

  126. #129 doctrinalfairness
    October 24, 2009

    In anticipation of the type of nit-picking about my double posts as Dr. Chu’s adding another scientists chart to her paper, I do apologize for the mystery of why I am getting a message that my first entry was not sent and redirected back to my comment, when in fact it was sent.

  127. #130 Chris
    October 24, 2009

    Sometimes there is a disconnect between Scienceblogs and the server, so open another window and check that your post is actually there.

  128. #131 Antaeus Feldspar
    October 24, 2009

    You are unfit to debate the merits of her arguments, best stick with your easier targets.

    Apparently, you are unable to debate the merits of her arguments, because you don’t even try, having instead ‘debated’ via a heavy stream of ad hominem invective from the very start.

    From the similarity between her writing style and yours, I do have to wonder if – to put it delicately – you are being disingenuous by writing about Susan Chu in the third person.

  129. #132 doctrinalfairness
    October 24, 2009

    You flatter me Anteus Feldspar. Thank you.
    Never met the woman. Corresponded with her last night for the first time after lurking for months.
    If you’d bothered to actually attempt to read her work, you might even recognize my writing style. It’s there below the paper I linked, which is so notable for the silence of commentary from her peers. Deaf to an honest scientist, but hours and hours of bandwith and commentary here are devoted to showmen and noise in the defense of your academy.
    Ad Hominem attacks? Pure projection on your part, I just held up a mirror. Try searching this blog for every disrespectful term you can imagine and get back to me. Whacko, woo, loons, stupid, etc.
    Fortunately the majority of people in my mileau don’t speak this way.

    And show me one post of Susan Chu’s that engages in this discourse. Read her papers. And re-examine adjuvanted vaccines for the future. The horse is dead, put down the stick and get back to discussing science, not skewering celebrities. The dearth of a genuine dialogue with your rational and more challenging peers leaves a chasm which David Icke’s eugenicidal agenda and all of the fear about vaccinations fits so predictably and neatly. How perfect for all of you. Then you all get to take a shot at the gullible public, ad nauseum. It’s so boring, a waste of time and dangerous for future generations. One big happy cirle jerk, only people are looking to you for education.

    I’m not Susan Chu, but I admire her. She is a scientist in the way I’d like my own children to imagine science as a passion and discipline. We might have a more rational world if more scientists were as tenacious and committed to the true pursuit of knowledge, not prostituted or idly self-congratulating at how brilliant and wonderful they are while ignoring REAL SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE. A novel concept for a novel influenza pandemic, no?

  130. #133 Holdonamininute
    October 24, 2009

    Shorter version of doctrinalfairness in this thread.

    “Hey! Orac! You should do a point-by-point rebuttal of an assload of web content written by someone you’ve probably never heard of on your own blog. If you fail to do so, you reveal yourself to be an imbicile and a coward–which is what I already think anyway. It reveals how obviously ‘in the pocket’ of various nefarious influences you are that you haven’t already done so, further revealing your obvious ethical shortcomings.

    I conclusion, my demands are completely reasonable and my invective regarding your character, whilst simultaneously condemning the invective found in this blog, is not at all ironic; these should provide suitable motivation to bend your blog interests to my will.”

    …about right, no?

  131. #134 Antaeus Feldspar
    October 24, 2009

    Docness, I can understand how, in your own mind, you think you’re doing exactly the same thing as Orac, only you’re doing it for the right people, unlike Orac. I’m sure it’s that way in your mind. I’m sure you don’t see any difference. Unfortunately for you, the differences are there.

    Has Orac called out purveyors of medical pseudoscience, both those with purported medical training and those who use their celebrity to push nonsense, by the score? He sure has. Has he called them things such as stupid, whacko, loony, et cetera? Sure as shooting he has.

    The difference is that Orac, a physician and a researcher, will explain why their claims are all but impossible given the state of the scientific evidence. I challenge you to find one single exception to this rule. Dear God, even that doctor who claimed that all cancer was fungal infection and this was “proved” by the “fact” that cancerous tumor lumps are always white inside (which they aren’t) and mushrooms are also white (which they aren’t always) – even he got the “respectful” part of Orac’s respectful insolence. Orac explained why the “facts” upon which Simoncini’s great theories depend are factually wrong – not that “tumors are white and mushrooms are white and therefore tumors are mushrooms” is that hard to debunk.

    You, on the other hand, seem to think that you don’t have to talk about the evidence at all. In your mind, I’m sure that asserting that your favorite scientist has REAL SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE is the same as actually discussing the evidence; accusing someone of circle-jerking because they don’t listen to your favorite’s REAL SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE is just the same, in your mind, as pointing out with specifics why someone’s syllogisms are based on faulty logic, where their evidence is thin and flawed.

    In your mind it may be just the same but in the real world you’re putting the cart before the horse. No one has any reason to think you’ve got anything behind your offensiveness except arrogance.

  132. #135 doctrinalfairness
    October 25, 2009

    Feldsy,
    Arrogance? Try fury.
    Seemingly unbeknownst to all of you, worried parents who make it a point to learn all they can about this pandemic are searching SCIENCE BLOGS to learn what the scientific community is saying. We’re apparently too dumb to understand real science and need to be instead fearlessly protected from Andrew Weil, Suzanne, Dr. Mercola and all of the others identified here as loons. “My favorite scientist”, as you so patronizingly put it it, was the single source of an answer to a question I had for months about my own daughter, with the exception of one offhand sentence in a comment by Revere on Effect Measure addressing autoimmunity and the H1N1 vaccine. Months of research also bore the discovery that Susan Chu has posed very pointed research questions to her colleagues and the request to critique her science and their silence has been deafening.
    I never made the claim here that I could effectively present and argue her evidence, I am a worried parent looking for answers. Her questions about adjuvants deserve a response. To imply that she is merely an obscure scientist with nothing to offer in this pandemic is laughable. She is an editor of FluWiki along with Revere, and if you haven’t looked at her work, there’s something very wrong. Perhaps exposing the grave danger posed to otherwise hopeless cancer patients by the hapless Dr. Simoncini is more important than addressing what can potentially harm millions of healthy children. I’ve also heard other doctors say that while his theory was wrong, baking soda does no harm and can reduce tumors. Apparently, attacking the psuedoscience within the flock is also a relentless task, there are still a few more out there running amok with 59 cent baking sodas, putting people with stage 4 cancer in harms way. Better get busy.

  133. #136 Chris
    October 25, 2009

    Why request a cancer surgeon to do the research and blog for you? Why not the folks (there is more than one revere) at http://scienceblogs.com/effectmeasure/ ? Or the infectious disease doctor at ScienceBasedMedicine, Dr. Crislip?

    There is probably a reason there is only one person who addressed your concerns, and that her opinions are being ignored: Not enough data to support her conclusions.

    Oh, and I repeat: if you want something blogged, get your own blog.

  134. #137 Doctrinalfairness
    October 25, 2009

    Your cancer researcher devotes much of his time to so-called anti-vaccine lunacy. Might I remind you that we are in a National Emergency for a pandemic. Examining the comments on the numerous Suzanne Somers threads, it appears to me that many scientists spend a whole lot more time watching television and obsessively absorbed with pop culture than the supposed stupid populace. It’s much easier than studying the concerns that a growing number of people are expressing.
    I have always been solidly pro-vaccination, looking to journals and scientists for information, assuming them to be educators informed by a Hippocratic spirit of inquiry. This blog is preoccupied, during a health emergency, in delighting over a supposedly “dumb” populace. Unlike the stupifying patronization of the masses that you delight in here,a true educator, John Taylor Gatto, who was invited to speak at NASA, has this to say about dumbness:

    “The shocking possibility that dumb people don’t exist in sufficient numbers to warrant the careers devoted to tending to them will seem incredible to you. Yet that is my proposition: Mass dumbness first had to be imagined; it isn’t real.
    Once the dumb are wished into existence, they serve valuable functions: as a danger to themselves and others they have to be watched, classified, disciplined, trained, medicated, sterilized, ghettoized, cajoled, coerced, jailed. To idealists they represent a challenge, reprobates to be made socially useful. Either way you want it, hundreds of millions of perpetual children require paid attention from millions of adult custodians. An ignorant horde to be schooled one way or another.”

    The genuine schooling to be found on this blog is just as irrelevant during our present health crisis as Suzanne Somers. Don’t worry, I’m gone. You’ve all educated me sufficiently. Your worst nightmare is that the “dumb” you help to create are waking up to your inconsistencies.
    Deny the evidence. People make careers out of Holocaust denial too. Just don’t blame the loss of faith in experts on Suzie Q.

  135. #138 Antaeus Feldspar
    October 25, 2009

    Docness, you might have a strong desire to see scientific truth identified and then widely disseminated. That much, at least, is laudable. And if only you could get over your monstrous case of entitlement syndrome, you might be able to translate that strong desire into effective action, instead of just harassing people to no benefit.

    We understand that you’re “a worried parent looking for answers” but you don’t seem to understand what that doesn’t mean. It doesn’t mean that anyone who doesn’t drop everything they’re doing to immediately go get the answers for you is a heartless monster, which is what you seem to think.

    In point of fact, what you seem to think is that everyone should drop what they’re doing to give you what you ask for, before you even ask for it – because you sure didn’t come around asking politely “Dr. Susan Chu has this hypothesis that adjuvanted vaccines might be dangerous in a way that non-adjuvanted vaccines are not, and as far as I can see the data seems to support her hypothesis; why aren’t more scientists following up on her work?” before you started in with insulting the very people you were expecting to do unpaid work for you. Do you believe in psychic powers? It seems so, because in addition to believing that the best way to motivate strangers is through abuse, you seem to think those strangers should read your mind from across the ether and think “Mah Gawd! Some worried parent out there is looking for answers about Susan Chu! I’d better get cracking and immerse myself in everything Chu’s written – it would be horrible if I couldn’t get the answers posted for this stranger before he or she has to ask!”

    If you conquer your out-of-control sense of entitlement, you might actually get somewhere. But if you continue as you’ve been going, why on Earth would anyone put themselves out of their way for you? I don’t think you even really want what you claim you want; you say you want answers, but I think what you really want is for the answers you’ve already decided are correct to get an unpaid PR campaign. What would you say if Orac dropped everything he was doing, pored through everything Chu has written, and posted a lengthy, detailed analysis that concluded “Chu’s hypothesis is superficially plausible but here’s where it is simply not supported by sufficient evidence”? I think we all know the answer; you’d go on as you started, insulting Orac for not doing what you really wanted him to do, which was to give an approving verdict rather than an honest one.

  136. #139 doctrinalfairness
    October 25, 2009

    OK, Feldsy, you aren’t having the last word. The health and well being of too many people are at stake. There’s a war on science alright, but it’s not the result of the so-called “useful idiots”.

    Let’s review the stated purpose of this blog. “A statement of fact cannot be insolent.”

    Some facts:
    “We typically see, for effective adjuvants, increased reactogenicity, an FDA term for feverishness, sore arm at the site, which we typically see with non-adjuvanted vaccines but often see more in the presence of an adjuvant.
    I want to point out it is VERY UNCLEAR whether these ever correlate with more severe adverse events. You know occasionally they do. But we have not found, to date — (unclear) but the flip side is it would be difficult to find, for example, that increased local reactogenicity or feverishness down the road increases the commonality of some of the more severe adverse events that we might be concerned about such as neurologic events.
    THERE JUST AREN’T THOSE DATA.”
    Jesse Goodman, Chief Scientist, FDA, Dec 2008
    Workshop on Adjuvants and Adjuvanted Preventive
    and Therapeutic Vaccines for Infectious Disease Indications

    >We have studied serum cytokine profiles in BALB/c mice after immunization with influenza vaccine…The MF59-based adjuvants SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASED the IL-5 and IL-6 levels, Valensi (Chiron/Novartis) 1994< After a review of the newest papers,
    >>IN SUMMARY, we now know that MF59-adjuvanted flu vaccines induce high serum IL-5 and IL-6 in mice, especially for mice that have some immunity from prior infection. We also know that IL-6 can switch the immune environment from tolerance to autoimmunity. The list of diseases in which high or dysregulated IL-6 has a role, is long and constantly growing. We do not know whether AS03 has similar effects, since NO DATA IS AVAILABLE. < < Susan Chu,MD

    An interesting paper that you might want to have a look at:
    Journal of Neuroimmunology
    Volume 155, Issue 1, Pages 43-54 (October 2004)

    Interleukin-6 produces neuronal loss in developing cerebellar granule neuron cultures
    Shannon M. Conroy, Vi Nguyen, Lely A. Quina, Penney Blakely-Gonzales, Christina Ur, Jeffrey G. Netzeband, Anne L. Prieto1, Donna L. Gruol

    Abstract
    CNS levels of the cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) are elevated during CNS injury and disease, but it is unclear if IL-6 contributes to the pathologic process. Our studies show that in a well-characterized CNS developmental model system, primary cultures of rodent cerebellar granule neurons, chronic exposure to IL-6 during neuronal development can result in cell damage and death in a subpopulation of developing granule neurons. Chronic exposure to IL-6 also increased the susceptibility of the granule neurons to a toxic insult produced by excessive activation of NMDA receptors. These results are consistent with a role for IL-6 in the neuropathology observed in the developing CNS during injury and disease.

    Please re-read Jesse Goodman's statement once again.
    And then re-read the first statement from Chiron.

    Now,from data gleaned from the EMAE file...
    Phase A
    In the 6-9 years age stratum, the overall incidence of AEs by subject was 96.1% in the AS03 group and 88.9% in the control group. The incidences of general symptoms were comparable between vaccine groups but local symptoms occurred more often in the AS03 group. There was no increased reactogenicity in either vaccine group after the second dose compared with the first dose.

    In the 3-5 years age stratum, AE rates were generally lower than in older children. Incidences of general symptoms per subject were comparable between vaccine groups but rates of local symptoms per subject were higher in the AS03 group. There was no increased reactogenicity in either vaccine group after the second dose compared with the first dose.

    The incidence of grade 3 AEs was generally low with no difference between the vaccine groups in older children but with rates of 13.7% versus zero in children aged 3-5 years. The incidence of AEs with causal relationship to the vaccination in the subjects aged 6-9 years was 94.1% in the Half HA/Half AS03 group compared with 83.3% in the control subjects. However, rates were comparable among subjects aged 3-5 years (66.7% and 61.1%).

    In the 6-9 year-olds the rates of pain were 61% for Fluarix and 76.5% for AS03 vaccine after the first dose (none and 5.9% with Grade 3) but were comparable after the second dose (none and 4% with Grade 3). In the 3-5 year-olds the rates of pain were higher with AS03 vaccine after both doses but very few had Grade 3 pain.

    Rates of solicited general symptoms per subject as shown below were not markedly different between vaccine groups in the 6-9 years age stratum. The rate of any fever (> 37.5°C) after dose 1 of AS03 vaccine was 5.9% but no subject had Grade 3 fever (> 39°C) and no subject in the Fluarix group had any fever. The rates for any fever after the second dose were 16.7% for Fluarix and 10.2% for AS03 vaccine while rates for Grade 3 fever were 5.6% and zero. The per-dose rates for any antipyretic use were 8% in both vaccine groups with per subject rates of 17% and 14% in respective groups.

    In the 3-5 years age stratum rates of solicited general symptoms per subject were higher than in the control group. The rate of any fever after dose 1 of AS03 vaccine was 9.8% but 3.9% had Grade 3 fever (> 39°C). The corresponding rates after the second dose were 6% and zero. No subjects in the Fluarix group had fever after either dose. The per-dose rates of taking any antipyretic were 9% for Fluarix and 19% for AS03 vaccine, with per subject rates of 17% and 35%.
    Unsolicited AEs reported up to 51 days after the first vaccination showed no particular signal or clinical pattern in any vaccine group.
    http://www.newfluwiki2.com/diary/4051/adjuvants-and-cytokines-ii-the-meaning-of-reactogenicity

    Regarding both my “entitlement syndrome” and anti-vaccination “lunacy” , I am a WORRIED parent who has ALWAYS been pro-vaccination with a child with AN AUTOIMUNE DISEASE. I am entitled to honesty about the risks/vs benefits of her taking the H1N1 vaccine, of which is in very short supply. So VERY sorry that I didn’t “ask politely”.
    Please debate the facts presented. Facts are not insolent. And BTW, it’s not Dr. Chu’s “hypothesis”. THERE ARE NO DATA in children or young adults.

  137. #140 Antaeus Feldspar
    October 25, 2009

    OK, Feldsy, you aren’t having the last word. The health and well being of too many people are at stake. There’s a war on science alright, but it’s not the result of the so-called “useful idiots”.

    Stopped reading right there. Your policy of insulting people from whom you want help doesn’t seem to work very well, does it?

  138. #141 doctrinalfairness
    October 25, 2009

    You insult so very easily, Feldsy, for such a fearless warrior on quackery and psuedoscience who delights regularly in a blog whose sole premise is insults.
    I don’t want your help, I’ve made my decision. You and yours can answer to the millions of children around the world receiving adjuvanted H1N1 vaccines who are right this minute undergoing an untested experiment with no data regarding the long term consequences. Leaving tens of thousands of children, many without health insurance, with a possibility of painful, chronic and often deadly autoimmune disease is just fine by you.
    You have demonstrated that you are completely uninterested in facts and very happy to assist in obscuring them.

  139. #142 Chris
    October 25, 2009

    The vaccine just came out, and it seems that the county can only get less than 10000 doses for a county with almost two million people. Of course, this is the American version without adjuvants.

    So where are the millions of children getting the adjuvanted vaccine? What data do you have that squalene (which is produced in your liver as a precursor to cholesterol) causes autoimmune diseases in up to 1% of the population? Did a number of children come down with autoimmune disorders in your community after getting the H1N1 vaccine? Do you have documentation that this is a common occurrence?

    What evidence do you have that counters these statements from this webpage:

    Twenty two million doses of Chiron’s influenza vaccine (FLUAD) have been administered safely since 1997. This vaccine contains about 10mg of squalene per dose. No severe adverse events have been associated with the vaccine. Some mild local reactogenicity has been observed.

    Clinical studies on squalene-containing vaccines have been done in infants and neonates without evidence of safety concerns.

    Please, instead of telling us to read Susan Chu’s blog, just post the journal, title, authors and date with the pertinent evidence on the relationship between squalene adjuvants and autoimmune disorders.

    Thank you.

  140. #143 Antaeus Feldspar
    October 25, 2009

    I don’t want your help

    If that were true, you wouldn’t be here.

  141. #144 Richard Eis
    October 26, 2009

    - I don’t want your help

    If that were true, you wouldn’t be here.-

    No its true, she is here to bawl and complain. Nothing more. Even if we did a refutation it wouldn’t matter. After all

    “I don’t want your help, I’ve made my decision.”

  142. #145 doctrinalfairness
    October 26, 2009

    Please show me the conclusive data that demonstrates long term safety of adjuvants in children and young adults. Chairman Goodman has stated that the data is not there.

    Leaving a subset of the world’s population, who are about to receive TWO DOSES of adjuvanted H1N1 vaccine, potentially millions of children and/or young adults, at increased risk for neurological complications, spontaneous abortions and triggered autoimmune disorders.
    Per Susan Chu, “Immunologists studying the effect of infections and other triggers on autoimmune diseases, find that typically it takes a while (ie months or years) to progress from the first subclinical autoimmune reaction induced by a trigger, to eventual disease, so that by the time the patient has symptoms, the original trigger is long gone. They call these ‘hit and run’ events. (Christen 2004, Ma 2005, Krishnan 2006) The science would suggest that adjuvanted vaccines causing strong local reactions may act as such triggers for susceptible individuals, but again there’s no data to tell us for sure and to what degree, one way or the other.”
    Per Goodman: Adjuvants: Potential Concerns/Risks– Potentially antigen specific or non-specific potentimmune and inflammatory stimulation– Increased reactogenicity, local +/- systemicinflammation– Unclear which, if any, correlate with risk of rare SAEs– Potential role in autoimmunity, short or long term?– Antigen specific (e.g. neural or cardiac antigens)– Auto-immune/inflamm disease, e.g. SLE, “idiopathic”– Are there plausible risks to developing immunesystems?– Reassuring observations to date:• Even strong TLR/PRR signaling likely similar to naturalinfection (caveat w/ recent UK CD28 agonist trial)• No strong evidence to date of major problems with compounds being most actively considered – but limited numbers w/ controls, long term active follow-up, or in children BUT LIMITED NUMBER OF CONTROLS, LONG TERM ACTIVE FOLLOW_UP, OR IN CHILDREN.
    http://209.85.229.132/search?q=cache%3AOYvMNlH64x8J%3Awww.fda.gov%2Fdownloads%2FBiologicsBloodVaccines%2FNewsEvents%2FWorkshopsMeetingsConferences%2FUCM095732.pdf+fda+adjuvant+workshop&hl=en&gl=uk

    Those are the people who need your help now. But the silence is deafening.

  143. #146 Antaeus Feldspar
    October 26, 2009
    - I don’t want your help

    If that were true, you wouldn’t be here.-

    No its true, she is here to bawl and complain. Nothing more.

    I was counting attention and publicity as a form of help, but I don’t insist on it. Whether it’s something classified as “help” or not, the core situation still remains that she feels entitled to something from us and in fact feels so entitled that she thinks we should have given it to her before she even had to ask, before we even knew she existed.

  144. #147 doctrinalfairness
    October 26, 2009

    Um, Feldsy, I want nothing from you except the genuine skepticism that is so loudly proclaimed on this blog.
    There are many children around the world who lack adequate health care or medical insurance.
    How kind of the world community to charitably innoculate them with untested- on- children ingredients in a vaccine, that just maybe prevents their dying from influenza, but potentially leaves them suffering in excrutiating pain to die a long, slow death.
    It’s not such a huge stretch to extrapolate why David Icke has an audience or that people have fear or are warring on science. They should be afraid if the majority of the scientific community supports enormous experiments like this on children.

  145. #148 Joseph
    October 26, 2009

    Um, Feldsy, I want nothing from you except the genuine skepticism that is so loudly proclaimed on this blog.

    Please don’t confuse skepticism with either denialism or credulity of claims contrary to the mainstream. Skepticism is more than simple denial or an alternative set of beliefs.

  146. #149 Chris
    October 26, 2009

    The one in the Waaabulance said:

    Please show me the conclusive data that demonstrates long term safety of adjuvants in children and young adults. Chairman Goodman has stated that the data is not there.

    You are the screaming and whining that there is an issue, it is up to you to show us the actual evidence. If there are an unusual number of children in your country developing issues after the H1N1 vaccine then the vaccine safety surveillance system would have picked it up. Point us to that data.

    We are having issues with H1N1 vaccine availability. I have not been able to get it from my children, especially the son with the multiple health issues.

    You have become a whiny troll.

    Everyone, move along. There is nothing to see here.

  147. #150 Credentialed
    October 26, 2009

    Alright, doctrinalfairness–even though the caricature by Holdonamininute @ 119 is accurate regarding your behavior here thus far, I’ll bite.

    In your last comment you showed the content of one of Dr. Goodman’s PowerPoint slides:

    No strong evidence to date of major problems with compounds being most actively considered – but limited numbers w/ controls, long term active follow-up, or in children BUT LIMITED NUMBER OF CONTROLS, LONG TERM ACTIVE FOLLOW_UP, OR IN CHILDREN.

    [all caps emphasis yours]
    I think it’s interesting that you’ve focused on that last clause (a fuel source for your histrionics) when the previous clause (“No strong evidence to date of major problems with compounds being most actively considered”) is rather important! Nobody here will disagree that further research into the safety and efficacy of vaccine components, including adjuvants, is very important. However, it is false to state that “the data is not there” in regard to adjuvant safety. Goodman himself states that it’s “limited,” not missing.

    There are many publications available that discuss the safety and efficacy of vaccine adjuvants. Plug any of these numbers into PubMed and you’ll get some relevant reading material (search not exhaustive by any stretch–it’s the product of 10 minutes of article skimming): 17931149, 18260764, 19453401, 17931151, 19734864 (news feature),

    The discussion of whether vaccination has any causal relationship with autoimmune disorders, or is a good idea in those with auto immune disorders, is occurring in the scientific literature (a better location for it that some flu wiki, in my opinion) and can be further explored in these publications: 14630450, 15196997, 15274537, 15274537 vs. 15274538, 18700175, 18419456, 19814744.

    From my review of these publications (not in depth), the adjuvants currently used have a safety record generally perceived to be of good quality. Studies linking adjuvants to autoimmune disorders are generally case reports that have not been confirmed in larger trials; still a causative relationship cannot yet be completely dismissed and more study is needed. Importantly, those with autoimmune disorders are often at higher risk of infection and vaccines are often recommended more highly for these patients.

    There’s a lot of literature out there. It would probably be better for you to talk to your own physician(s) regarding your concerns. There’s a lot of negative misinformation regarding the supposed “untested” or “experimental” nature of the H1N1 vaccine floating out there–it’s really only a variant of the seasonal flu vaccine (that has had a good safety record over the last few decades) which has been evaluated in clinical trials (19846844, tinyurl.com/lcaoeu). Interestingly, the lack of adjuvants in US versions of the H1N1 vaccine concerns some other countries because it means that US vaccines use more of the antigenic material (thus further limiting the global supply of said antigenic material). So, there are some unknowns that must be factored into the risk-benefit analysis of your vaccination choices, but that’s best done with your doctor.

    Regarding your “entitlement”: yes, you are entitled to accurate information regarding the known risks and benefits of any medical intervention; you are not entitled to impertinently demand it from strangers on a website; you are entitled to ask your physician(s) for the best information available and to help explain to you what you’ve found in your own investigations (such as all the articles I list above).

    If you choose to stick around here, you will likely learn some interesting and relevant stuff. However, if you have already made up your mind, I’ve probably wasted my time trying to pull together all this information. If you were just being hyperbolic and do, in fact, wish to have useful discussion on this topic and others, please accept some constructive criticism:

    *It takes a lot of work to evaluate the literature in areas within one’s specialties, let alone outside. This post has taken well over a half hour already; scientists are generally a cautious bunch, preferring to include possible caveats in any pronouncements. Complex scientific literature is best understood in nuanced terms that make poor media material, leading to oversimplification on both sides, those promoting the safety and efficacy and those with reservations. If you want the best information, it takes even the best people considerable effort to do a topic justice. That you showed up in a basically-dead thread 36 hours ago and demanded a whole lot of information hardly qualifies as “the silence is deafening” in my opinion.
    *A vocal cadre who seek to de-legitimatize vaccination as a whole regularly pump the internet full of lies and misinformation. These people are a constant source of frustration. When they spam sites like this and others with their half-truths, diversions and prevarications, they often take a tone and approach similar to the one you’ve taken here: TL;DR posts bordering on diatribes that may contain a few nuggets of out-of-context (or poorly contextualized) scientific narrative. If you don’t want to be (inappropriately? prematurely?) identified as one of these folks, please try a new tack. I’d suggest posting concise questions with very limited copy/paste of material (paste only short, relevant parts; you can just leave links for the rest). Don’t attack people from whom you want help.

    Sorry for writing my own TL;DR post…I have a lot of work to do today, and I doubt I’ll be able to follow up until tomorrow, if necessary.

  148. #151 D. C. Sessions
    October 26, 2009

    I think we can reasonably conclude that the thread hijacking has been effective, although there has been minimal long-term monitoring.

  149. #152 doctrinalfairness
    October 26, 2009

    I’m not confused, Joseph.
    A parent in Canada or Europe who chooses not to vaccinate their child due to concerns about adjuvants is a lunatic, according to this blog’s resident award-winning scientific skeptic. He and his empirically-minded, skeptical peers have rubber-stamped ingredients in a vaccine which have not been subjected to the same rigorous, systematic, peer-reviewed studies that would readily place nearly all of your other favorite targets in the quackery category.
    Safety has not been demonstrated in the long term for children, (and arguably in the short term) yet we are undergoing MASS vaccination with unqualied scientific support of adjuvanted vaccines, in spite of the lack of data. Data of AE’s show higher retrogenicity with the use of adjuvanted vaccines over unadjuvanted vaccines and increased levels of IL6, but no worries, if the incidence of autoimmune disease skyrockets, there’s always the environment or coincidence to blame.
    And BTW, because these are proprietary compounds, there is NO independent research on these ingredients, only that of the drug manufacturers. And good little obedient parents should all take their word as gospel, says the “skeptical” scientific community.

  150. #153 doctrinalfairness
    October 26, 2009

    Credentialed,
    Firstly, I appreciate your time, your tone and your pointing me in the direction of the few studies done on children. I’ll apologize for my strident tone, but I have popped into this blog as a lurker for months and there is NO representation whatsoever here of people who are and have always been very pro-vaccination, but have deep reservations about adjuvants. Tow the party line or else. NO room for dissent.
    Sorry, but I am one who believes that there is far less danger in the supposed “woo” of Andrew Weil’s threat to America in the use of astragulus – I was first introduced to it by a Chinese friend and neighbor who told me to add it to my homemade soup in the winter, along with garlic, ginger and shitaake mushrooms. Such woo. A medication my daughter took for 8 months, on the advice of her doctor based on WHAT HE KNEW AT THE TIME is only NOW being implicated in a fourfold risk of lymphoma. Astragalus is the least of her problems and I would venture to say that H1N1 flu is less of a threat to her as an adjuvanted vaccine would be. Our family doctor said there were risks either way, even without an adjuvant. I went in search of the odds and learned here again and again that every parent with doubts was an idiot. I kept going back to Susan Chu, whose work on flu preparedness and ReadyMoms is exhaustive over the past few years and still, to this minute, know from my read on her that parents need to be armed with the knowledge of the risks as she is outlining them of the potential harm from adjuvants vs. the potential harm/risks of contracting the flu. It’s not as clear-cut as is presented here. Apparently the German government agreed. And what of Obama’s kids?

  151. #154 Joseph C.
    October 26, 2009

    I’ll apologize for my strident tone, but I have popped into this blog as a lurker for months and there is NO representation whatsoever here of people who are and have always been very pro-vaccination, but have deep reservations about adjuvants.

    Maybe that should tell you something. I doubt many people here believe that you are pro-vaccine either. You are most likely a concern troll.

  152. #155 Pablo
    October 26, 2009

    She’s “just asking questions”

  153. #156 Prometheus
    October 26, 2009

    “Doctrinalfairness” states:

    “Safety has not been demonstrated in the long term for children, (and arguably in the short term) yet we are undergoing MASS vaccination with unqualied scientific support of adjuvanted vaccines, in spite of the lack of data.”

    There are a few mistakes in this statement:

    [1] The adjuvants in question have been used for a long time in the influeza vaccines of previous years, so we have a fairly large amount of population-based data that they are safe.

    [2] The adjuvants in question are not (and have not been) used in influenza vaccines sold in the US. Thus, we have a massive “A:B” comparison, which has not shown any evidence of increased autoimmune disorders.

    From previous comments by “doctrinalfairness”, I can see a concern with elevated IL-6 levels from vaccines. IL-6 is not a single-action signalling molecule, and its interactions are more complex than I can put in a single comment. Suffice it to say that “elevated IL-6″ is not an unambiguous cause of any disorder, however straightforward the relationship may seem to people with more agenda than information.

    This is not a “put down” directed at “doctrinalfairness” so much as it is a “cautionary tale” for people who desire to become “Google-based experts” in an incredibly complex field.

    I have spent more time than I care to admit trying to “correct” oversimplified (mis)understandings of virology, immunology, physiology and biology in general. I have no objection to doing this, but I am usually much more receptive when people ask “Is this true?” or “Can you explain this to me?” than I am to “questions” like “Dr. X said this – prove that she’s wrong!” or “Why don’t you talk about how Y causes Z – are you trying to cover it up?”

    We’re all just humans here (except for Orac, who is, in fact, a machine) and I think that we all respond better to requests than to demands; to questions rather than accusations. If “doctrinalfairness” is actually looking for information (rather doubtful, given the comments so far), he/she is taking the wrong approach.

    Another misconception I see is the confusion over what “skepticism” means. Skepticism is not simply a contrarian rejection of the status quo and commonly accepted facts – nor is it a rejection of new or novel information and ideas. Skepticism means insisting on seeing the data; not “believing” something unless and until it has been adequately demonstrated.

    In the context of “doctrinalfairness’s” comments, skepticism means not “believing” that adjuvants in vaccines are a health risk unless and until some data is shown to support that assertion. “Doctrinalfairness” provides none, for the simple reason that there is none.

    “Doctrinalfairness” seems to be asserting that the “precautionary principle” (i.e. the position that something is dangerous until it is proven safe) is somehow “more skeptical” than the position that danger has not been shown. This is not “skepticism”, but rather a doctrinal “belief” that – in the absence of data – it is “better” to assume danger than safety. We can argue about the merits of this belief, but it is not skepticism.

    Prometheus

  154. #157 Joseph C.
    October 26, 2009

    @Prometheus,

    I really admire your patience. However, concern troll is concerned.

  155. #158 Credentialed
    October 26, 2009

    Doctrinalfairness, I have a little time here for a response.

    The recent attention directed at vaccine adjuvants seems to be partially the product of antivaccine groups that have shifted the goalposts from their failed thiomersal-causes-autism hypothesis. (Aluminum is the new thiomersal!) As with thiomersal, the complaints and suspicions levied at vaccine adjuvants have middling-to-poor support for their own positive claims and rely heavily on dismissals of data supporting their use and insinuation that the gaps in our knowledge hide grave dangers.

    There is still a lot unknown about why and how adjuvants work to increase the efficacy of a vaccination, but they definitely do (PMID: 18555624). They allow greater use of vaccines without live components (a good thing—love component vaccines have greater side effects); these sub-unit vaccines can use less immunogenic material (this is also a good thing) in each dose to achieve the desired effect, and fewer doses need to be given, if adjuvants are used. Many vaccines contain adjuvants; all vaccine components including adjuvants are necessarily approved by the relevant oversight organizations. In the US, only alum is currently approved by the FDA (but they’re considering others). According to a 2004 Cochrane review (PMID: 14871632): “We found no evidence that aluminium salts in vaccines cause any serious or long-lasting adverse events.” Regarding other adjuvants, such as squalene-derived MF59 and AS03: yes, most of the safety/efficacy data do some from the manufacturers. (It is not, however, good skepticism to view this as necessarily fatal to the veracity of the safety/efficacy claims.) Squalene is a very common biological molecule, produced in your own cells and found in vegetable oils. These adjuvants have been tested in clinical trials, so to say that there is unqualified support in the use of adjuvants is untrue. You may argue that greater independent support is necessary to convince you, but don’t claim that the support isn’t there. Hyperbole such as “good little obedient parents should all take their word as gospel” is disingenuous.

    What the German government chooses to do may or may not be based on the best of evidence…I cannot say. What the Obamas choose to do regarding their children is private, as far as I’m concerned, and also may or may not be based on the best of evidence.

    Assuming you’re talking about purine analogs for the treatment of IBD, whether these drugs cause or the disease itself (or a combination) causes an increased lymphoma risk is still to be determined (17600819, 15979323)…Sometimes the sort of data that can reveal a small change in the risk for a disease (e.g., an increase in the likelihood of developing lymphoma in the ages of 20-29 being 1 in 13000 vs. 4 in 13000 if taking purine analog treatment for IBD) only reveals itself in the analysis of several post-marketing trials. It is possible that vaccine adjuvants may have similar future research findings that implicate them in various negative outcomes. To date, however, there is not strong data in favor of any such connections, there are some reasonable postulations and concerns, and a substantial amount of evidence-free fear-mongering.

    On the other hand, there’s considerably less information on the safety and efficacy of astragulus or some of Weil’s other faves…it’s best not to try to draw equivalences of this sort.

  156. #159 doctrinalfairness
    October 26, 2009

    Thank you once again, credentialed, my worries aren’t at all with alum-based adjuvants, we have had them all and my other child will most definitely be taking the H1N1
    shot when it becomes available. But if our only choice is the squalene-derived MF59 and AS03, we’ll all forego it.
    I have too many questions, as we have a genetic predisposition in both sides of our families toward autoimmune disease and we are all in a period of good health.
    I hear you about the hyperbole, but please show me where the noted population studies in almost exclusively older people with the squalene-derived adjuvants can be then assumed to hold true in children and young adults, where the limited data is very new, very scarce and from what I have read, most of the relevant info is missing, as in “data not shown”. Additionally, the AE’s for squalene adjuvants vs unadjuvanted in children raise my alarm bells and there is decent evidence in the current literature that IL6 is involved in distal inflammation. (included in my too long post above). If my child is currently in remission from autoimune disease, I’d like to make an informed choice about adding a potential trigger vs her threat from H1N1 influenza. Not everyone is using “Google University” with the explicit intent to fuel anti-vaccination hysteria. People don’t want their children in harms way.
    Too many variables for me. I pray that I’m not wrong.(oops, woo)

    So, I politely request that when you have a moment, you please take a look at Dr. Chu’s two related papers if you believe that all parnts with concerns are lunatics. (which, btw, could explain why people come in here with attitude) She is the anti-thesis of the anti-vaccination fringe. Maybe some good will come of it.
    My issue with the FDA and Weil is more about the strategy of the FDA to choose this particular moment in time to go after him. Weil did not invent astragalus-it’s a medicinal food and herb, used in cooking and in medicine for centuries and I’d bet its profile is as benign as garlic- although I have no idea what form he was selling and making claims about. My own cultural background includes European versions of similar family traditions that I surely don’t need a clinical trial to tell me their value.
    My point is that I trust dried astragalus root from much personal experience, gleaned from an old neighbor many years ago, to reduce cold and flu symptoms. Also, from what I used to know about Weil, he poses no grave threat to the national health and neither does astragalus. The FDA’s stated motive is to have the law upheld about health claims, but given the distrust in the industry that they so poorly monitor, this is just going to just hand the fringe more converts.
    The extreme defensiveness of the science community, while glossing over real missteps of the pharmaceutical industry and the use of precious FDA man-hours to police such minor threats as Andrew Weil, all the while too understaffed an agency to enforce manufacturing quality concerns worldwide, well- this doesn’t help prevent panics- it just fuels the fire. And lots of people, including me, feel as if the polarized, extreme positions taken in every corner are a highly orchestrated, almost cartoon-esque parody of the truth and wonder if some of the conspiracy theorists aren’t as crazy as they are portrayed.

  157. #160 Credentialed
    October 26, 2009

    It may be written by Novartis researchers, but the safety & efficacy claims of MF59 are laid out at PMID: 18462843. It doesn’t discuss autoimmunity, so it doesn’t help for that angle. They do note that while the reports thus far are very good, “clinical data are too limited to draw final conclusions on the pediatric indication of Fluad®, which will require more extensive clinical investigation.”

    The association of adjuvant oils with autoimmity in rodent models is reported in 12892730, 14718649 & 16309812. It’s worth noting that these results all come from one lab (thus replication may not be complete) and the group’s own review of the topic (15194169) states that “Whether this is relevant in human vaccination is a difficult issue due to the complex effects of vaccines and the fact that immunotoxicological effects vary depending on species, route, dose, and duration of administration.” Still, it’s worth further investigation.

    More importantly, whether squalene-based vaccine adjuvant exposure is associated with autoimmunity is a subset of the question: does vaccine exposure associate with autoimmune disease? Thus far, the evidence doesn’t seem to support a link, but it can’t yet be ruled out (12612250, 11972991). It’s an interesting topic, for sure.

    I may check out some of Chu’s stuff…

    I will also point out that it is an interesting position to take that one doesn’t “need need a clinical trial” for one chemical but balks at a lack of them for another. I would not be willing to take such a stance, cultural background or none. Are you sure you’re comfortable with this seeming cognitive dissonance?

  158. #161 doctrinalfairness
    October 26, 2009

    Prometheus,
    This troll thanks you for your patience with those of us who want to educate ourselves. My husband nearly died of meningitis, so you are all preaching to the choir about the necessity for vaccines to me. My “agenda” is the lack of actual data on squalene-based adjuvants on the developing immune systems of children. I understand that the population studies contained precious little data on children. And from my understanding of autoimmune disease which can take a few years to develop, it would be next to impossible to attribute any increase in incidence to immunizations.
    If there are safety concerns or red flags, and I don’t think they are all the result of an anti-vaccination conspiracy- then why aren’t they being addressed openly? How is skepticism served by having incomplete information and then conducting an experiment to await the results on live children and pregnant woman? Does the threat of this particular flu warrant that huge risk? Do statistics bear this out?
    How can the safety in children be assumed from data about adults? To this untrained eye prostate cancer at 30 is very different than at 70. I don’t have to google that, I’ve unfortunately witnessed it numerous times.
    Thank you for listening to my “concerns”:)

  159. #162 Not-so-innocent bystander
    October 26, 2009

    doctrinalfairness @145 said:
    “Additionally, the AE’s for squalene adjuvants vs unadjuvanted in children raise my alarm bells and there is decent evidence in the current literature that IL6 is involved in distal inflammation. (included in my too long post above).”

    Prometheus addressed this point, and many others, in his excellent post @142. If you didn’t read it, you should, and if you didn’t understand it, then ask questions about it. Demanding answers from experts and then ignoring what they say is the height of arrogance.

    If you can’t be bothered to go back and read it, then at least consider this: ATP is involved in apoptosis. Does this mean that ATP triggers apoptosis? Does it mean that, to prevent apoptosis, one should remove ATP?

  160. #163 doctrinalfairness
    October 26, 2009

    Credentialed, thank you,thank you.
    Regarding the chemistry of Astragalus, I have never even given a thought to it, like shitaake mushrooms and garlic, something the grandmothers put in soup- but i do have this bookmark-
    http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/astragalus-000223.htm

    not-so-innocent bystander: no offense, but I have never met prometheus and I’m a tiny bit familiar with the complexities of IL6, it has been a household word, as my brother in law has terminal stage 4 melanoma and unfortuately it did not do it’s job.
    Because the mechanism is not understood does not mean that I should risk elevating the level of cytokines in my daughters body when just the antigen alone is going to do that, complicated by the potential risk that she may well have been been exposed to the flu and already have antibodies at the time she is vaccinated. Have you ever sat by your child in the hospital when she was in such pain that she appeared lifeless? Can you assure me that she will be protected, not harmed by this adjuvant? Also, ten years ago her doctor completely dismissed the role of MAP in Crohn’s, I was spending too much time on Google University, etc and instead of pursuing alternative treatment for MAP , she lost nearly a year of her life taking hideous drugs and having difficult surgery. Somebody listened, apparently, to the nutcase dissidents who perservered and voila! today a Map vaccine is being offered to patients. Which makes this little piece of news fascinating: from a poster on Susan Chu’s blog:

    IL-6 and gram-negative bacteria
    Human signalling compounds such as cytokines came from somewhere in our evolutionary history. A new scientific discipline called microbial endocrinology is finding that the growth of pathogenic bacteria can be stimulated by some neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine and some cytokines such as IL-6 and TNFa.
    This information shouldn’t be simplified. It’s complex. But it does point to another mechanism for why some people may have a bad reaction to the stimulation of their immune defense, as in adjuvanted vaccines.

    This paper is available through Google Scholar I believe.

    Gram-Negative Bacterial Sensors for Eukaryotic Signal
    Molecules. Lesouhaitier et al. Sensors 2009, 9, 6967-6990.

    Thanks for this diary. Best wishes
    from phytosleuth

    You hate us parents, but you must admit that we are tenacious in the pursuit of healing for our children. When one has been treated with pomposity by enough experts and has been proven correct,doubt should be expected and forgiven.

  161. #164 Not-so-innocent bystander
    October 26, 2009

    doctrinalfairness,

    What is your concern about interleukin 6? You have hinted at much, but stated nothing.

    Also, why say “You hate us parents?” If it’s true, then you’re a fool for asking us for help, and if it’s false (which it happens to be), then you’re simply insulting the same people whom you’re asking a favour of.

  162. #165 Chris
    October 26, 2009

    Truthfully, she was just quoting someone else on another blog. It just did not seem very clear. Though most of what she whines about is unclear.

    When I saw the “you hate us parents”, all I could think about was “why do the anti-vaxers hate us parents who have medically fragile children who need not only the vaccines, but also good herd immunty”… but I don’t think she would understand it.

    Still, she has not shown that there has been a sharp increase in autoimmune disease in children from the adjuvants in European vaccines, or that there is a difference between those vaccines and the ones used in the USA. Just some obscure hand waving and cherry picking.

  163. #166 Pablo
    October 26, 2009

    Remember, she is not “anti-vax,” she “just has concerns.” Which sounds a lot like some of our favorite friends, including Uncle Bob Sears, a guy who’s name rhymes with “J”, and even Jenny McCarthy. Not saying she is as bad as Jenny McCarthy, but plenty-o-anti-vaxxers use the “I just have concerns” line.

  164. #167 DoctrinalFairness
    October 27, 2009

    You are beginning to sound as paranoid as the people you parody. I’m even up to date on my tetanus and hepatitis series, having elected to get them (and paying a huge sum of money when they were not required)at a Travel Medicine office in a local hospital for a trip to South Asia six years ago.
    Both of my children are current on their vaccinations and boosters. Fortunately, except for my husbands meningitis episode, we have not had serious problems with the flu and don’t get seasonal flu shots normally. My husband has had a few, my daughter may have had one.
    Somehow, I think even if I produced their immunization records, that would still not satisy your suspicions, because you have a much easier time here painting anyone with ANY serious questions with one big, broad brush. So much easier than to accept a share of the responsibilty. Ultimately, the stonewalling of the questions is eventually going to make everyone much sicker, if not this time, then the next, because of people’s fear of what you seem to be hiding. And they won’t understand why the vaccine failed even those who got it and will lay it right back at your door. The level of mistrust in this vaccine is unprecedented and it isn’t ALL due to Jennie McCarthy, a woman I’ve never laid eyes on. Everyone else is blamed – the media, the anti-vaxx whackos, parents on Google University. Where’s your role, or are you completely innocent and everyone else is wrong? What of the stance taken here of grandiose perfection in all things? (with notable exceptions) It takes two to tango.
    Regarding my saying “you hate us parents”, I have both physcians and teachers among my friends who “hate” parents who torture them with questions about their children. Hate as in racist hatred? No, hate as in “I hate that!” So sorry that I wasn’t judicious in one word among the many that you ignored.
    I’ve been searching journals and parenting blogs for months now and reading letters from parents,too. Most people would never dream of not having their children vaccinated for former childhood scourges but begin to question HepB vaccines for all babies, or whether their 13 year old daughter should get a vaccination for a sexually transmitted disease during puberty,or whether children are subjected to too many vaccines. They are reasonable people with reasonable questions. It’s you here who have no box to put them in- they are neither completely pro nor anti vax. Or me. Alum-fine, squalene, no. As a parent, not enough is understood about IL6 and I’m not satisfied that my daughter won’t be harmed by the injection of a substance that elevates IL6, which is undeniably involved in every inflammatory process, in excess of what results directly from injection with the antigen. I didn’t trust my own instincts as a mother once before in her treatment and lived to regret it. And if it proves true, large numbers of uninsured and basically screwed children are effected.
    Chris, I’m honestly sorry about your child that is medically fragile -and I hope that you get the vaccine soon. Our goals are oddly the same and my entire family except for my daughter will be getting the unadjuvanted vaccine if it is available, just not the squalene if it comes to that.
    Your question about autoimmunity and prometheus’ implication of comparison groups, there are widely different estimates depending on sources, of the incidence of autoimmune diseases and disorders, so how would it be accurately measured as an AE? They can also take a few years to appear and are worsened or brought on by stress. I will search all of the studies that were recommended in the morning.

  165. #168 Not-so-innocent bystander
    October 27, 2009

    DoctrinalFairness @153,

    Oh my. 625 words, and not a single mention of your concern about interleukin 6? Is it safe to say that you no longer care about that?

  166. #169 Not-so-innocent bystander
    October 27, 2009

    Oh, mea culpa. You did mention it, but again said nothing more concrete than “I have a bad feeling about it.”

    Have you, by chance, heard of the dangers of dihydrogen monoxide?

  167. #170 doctrinalfairness
    October 27, 2009

    Notso,
    Apparently Novartis was “concerned” enough about the results showing raised IL6 levels in the 14 year old Chiron study to provide IL6 data for the H1N1 vaccine that is in direct conflict with the first study. Or I guess you all are very clear on the fact that raised IL6 levels have nothing to do with cytokine storm or ARDS or triggering an exacerbation of a pre-existing condition after a vaccination with both antigen and adjuvant.
    Regarding the approval process for this H1N1 vaccine, not to mention the HPV vaccine- you are all perfectly delighted to claim that the safety data exists and is satisfactory to your expert eyes. Not a naysayer among you.
    And Andrew Weil gets an FDA crackdown for selling little vitamin packets with the Chinese equivalent of a sweet potato, which has safely been used in China for centuries, and you glow in the exposure of the woo-quackery.
    I am reading the bunch of studies that credentialed was kind enough to refer me to yesterday. If I find anything about these adjuvants proving safe for pregnant women and children, I’ll let you know.

  168. #171 Pablo
    October 27, 2009

    you are all perfectly delighted to claim that the safety data exists

    As I said in the other thread, what is “safety data”? You claim it doesn’t exist, I’d like to know, what do you think it would look like if it did?

    As far as I can tell, “safety data” would consist of lots of data that doesn’t show harm. Thus, in order for there to be no “safety data” either there is data showing harm, or not enough data.

    Now, as others have said, there have been 10s of millions of flu vaccines given in the US and Europe (without and with adjuvents), so how big of a sample do you want? Alternatively, there could be evidence of harmful effects in vaccines in Europe that aren’t present in the US. However, you haven’t mentioned any.

    If I find anything about these adjuvants proving safe for pregnant women and children, I’ll let you know.

    Again, I don’t know what “proved safe” means. Instead, why not show us where it is proved harmful?

    I can see three possibilities here:
    1) Tested and proved harmful
    2) Tested, and not proved harmful
    3) Not tested

  169. #172 Credentialed
    October 27, 2009

    doctrinalfairness, I’ve been going over some of Dr. Susan Chu’s postings…thus far, I’m not seeing strong evidence that the squalene-based adjuvants warrant the concern level at which she operates. What I do see is a lot of phenomenon-hunting, in which many tidbits of information are artifically combined into a larger story in a way that inappropriately increases the seeming significance and perceived danger. I still have a lot more to get thorough, but those are my early observations.

    Other notes:
    *You should read this post as it dispatches some of the squalene fear-mongering out there (e.g., that it caused Gulf War Syndrome)

    *Further review of the in vivo animal models that associate adjuvant oils with autoimmity reveals a huge difference in exposure than any vaccine would cause: the mice were given 0.5ml i.p. injections of 99% pure squalene! I question the relevance to any human condition based on that alone.

    *Apparently Novartis was “concerned” enough about the results showing raised IL6 levels in the 14 year old Chiron study to provide IL6 data for the H1N1 vaccine that is in direct conflict with the first study. You really need to cite the studies you’re looking at in order for anyone to take your claim seriously, particularly if the implication you’re trying to deliver is that Novartis has fudged the data here.

    *I guess you all are very clear on the fact that raised IL6 levels have nothing to do with cytokine storm or ARDS or triggering an exacerbation of a pre-existing condition after a vaccination with both antigen and adjuvant. As Prometheus put it earlier, elevated IL6 isn’t known to mean anything in particular. It has been associated with some conditions, but that association needn’t be causitive. To turn it around, what is the effect on IL-6 with a full influenza infection? I don’t currently know, do you?

    *I need to go back to my comment in #146: whether squalene-based vaccine adjuvant exposure is associated with autoimmunity is a subset of the question: does vaccine exposure associate with autoimmune disease? If it hasn’t be shown that those exposed to the adjuvant-containing vaccines have any higher rate of negative outcomes, then the question of whether squalene adjuvants are a problem is effectively moot. What do the epidemiological reports say thus far?

  170. #173 doctrinalfairness
    October 27, 2009

    Credentialed,
    Are you comfortable with this AS03 data? Keeping in mind that this was one dose, not the two that are now being recommended for children around the world. Is it just me, or is there a significant difference in adjuvanted vs. unadjuvanted AE’s.

    D-Pan H1N1-021 (Day 0 to Day 6 solicited adverse events following a single dose of 5.25µg HA + AS03 H1N1 vaccine [Pandemrix™] versus a single dose of 21 µg HA unadjuvanted H1N1 vaccine) – Adverse Events with a causal relationship Adverse reactions H1N1/AS03
    N=63 H1N1
    N=66
    Pain 88.9% 59.1%
    Redness 31.7% 4.5%
    Swelling 30.2% 1.5%
    Fatigue 15.9% 10.6%
    Headache 14.3% 7.6%
    Arthralgia 14.3% 3.0%
    Myalgia 15.9% 4.5%
    Shivering 3.2% 4.5%
    Sweating 6.3% 4.5%
    Fever 0.0% 0.0%
    D-Pan H1N1-007 (Day 0 to Day 6 solicited adverse events following a single dose of 3.75 µg HA + AS03 vaccine [Pandemrix™] versus a single dose of 15 µg HA unadjuvanted H1N1 vaccine) – Adverse Events with a causal relationship Adverse reactions H1N1/AS03
    N=62 H1N1
    N=62
    Pain 90.3% 37.1%
    Redness 1.6% 0.0%
    Swelling 6.5% 0.0%
    Fatigue 32.3% 25.8%
    Headache 14.3% 7.6%
    Arthralgia 11.3% 4.8%
    Myalgia 33.9% 8.1%
    Shivering 8.1% 3.2%
    Sweating 9.7% 8.1%
    Fever 0.0% 0.0%

    A total of four serious adverse events (SAEs) have been reported with the H1N1 studies. Three of them were considered by the investigators to be unrelated to the study vaccine. One reported case of hypersensitivity was considered by the investigator to be related to vaccination.

    I am still reading, you gave me a ton of studies.

  171. #174 Credentialed
    October 27, 2009

    Okay, I found the source of your stats above. (Please do, in the future, give a direct citation–context is crucial in the evaluation of any claims.)

    Yes, in the studyou cited the adjuvanted (AS03) H1N1 vaccine had a higher rate of side effects than non-adjuvanted H1N1. The adjuvanted vaccine was more successful in the induction of sufficient antibody titres using a fraction of the amount of antigenic material, too. The study is rather small (~60/group) and was short in follow-up duration.

    There was no noted difference in the occurance of more severe adverse events between the groups, but, again, it was a small & short study.
    That an adjuvanted vaccine may give a better seroconversion rate with a higher rate of injection-site soreness and other low-grade events is a tradeoff that needs to be weighed against the availability of vaccine components as well.
    I’m also not sure if general low-grade vaccine-associated symptomolgy (localized myalgia, fever, swlling, etc.) are at all predictive of any future negative outcomes of greater severity.

    I think, given the information I’ve seen thus far, many governments are likely making the cost-benefit choice in favor of adjuvanted vaccines because they can treat several times more individuals with greater success rates, allowing the limited antigen to be stretched further. I don’t know if it calculates as a cost break to use adjuvanted vs unadjuvanted, but it may, and that could also play a role in the raw economics of the situation.

  172. #175 Prometheus
    October 27, 2009

    Doctrinalfairness asks:

    ” I understand that the population studies contained precious little data on children. And from my understanding of autoimmune disease which can take a few years to develop, it would be next to impossible to attribute any increase in incidence to immunizations.”

    Your understanding is inaccurate. Influenza vaccine is given to children in both the US and the EU – not so much as to adults, perhaps, but there are a sizeable number of children vaccinated every year.

    Since the US influenza vaccines don’t have adjuvants and those used in the EU (and the UK, I believe) do, it would be a simple matter to compare the prevance or incidence of auto-immune disorders in those two regions.

    If the incidence or prevalence is higher in the region with squalene and other adjuvants in their influenza vaccine, that would be a reason to look further. If, on the other hand, the incidence/prevalence is the same or if it is higher in the US, that would be pretty convincing data that the adjuvants do not cause an increase in auto-immune disorders.

    I’ll let you do the legwork on that. Let us know what you find.

    “Does the threat of this particular flu warrant that huge risk? Do statistics bear this out?

    Yes.

    While the case of H1N1 (“swine”) influenza in the US this summer were reported as “milder than seasonal influenza”, the coming of fall has brought about an ominous increase in severity. This will be a boon to those researching the virus, but it is proving less beneficial to those catching it.

    Right now, the hospital at my University has three young adults and six children on extracorporal membrane oxygenators (“artificial lungs”) due to the H1N1 (“swine”) influenza. This is unprecendented for seasonal influenza at this hospital. Like the infamous 1919 “Spanish” influenza, the people who get sickest are older children and young adults.

    That is a worrisome development.

    Although I don’t expect to see it happen, certain rogue pediatricians may well come to rue their decision to “go public” with their recommendations that people avoid the H1N1 (“swine”) influenza vaccine.

    Prometheus

  173. #176 Marion Delgado
    November 3, 2009

    Somehow, seeing the history of Jim Carrey’s anti-vax mumbling stemming from his involvement with Jenny McCarthy, a line from the Canadian sci-fi series Odyssey 5 springs to mind:

    “You’re a bad risk. Come on, you’d follow your dick over a cliff!”

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