Respectful Insolence

I realize that Chris Mooney is a polarizing figure here on the ol’ ScienceBlogs, but I have to give him props for doing a damned fine job handling questions about vaccines, autism, and Andrew Wakefield’s utterly discredited 1998 Lancet study, which was retracted by the Lancet‘s editors last week:

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I wish I could say the same thing for Nancy Snyderman. Although she was mostly right, I cringed–big time–when she insisted that there are no studies that show a link between vaccines and autism. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong! What she should have said is that there exist studies that show a link between vaccines and autism, but that they are all crap and many of them are published in highly dubious journals. Heck, I’ve even blogged about such crappy studies myself on multiple occasions over the years. I suppose you could argue that it’s all semantics and that, technically Snyderman is correct, but the way she says it makes it sound as though there are no studies out there on the other side, which is simply not true. The studies touted by the antivaccine propagandists as showing a link between vaccines and autism are all either preliminary studies refuted by later studies or bad science. Let’s also not forget that none of Wakefield’s followup studies to his 1998 Lancet article has been retracted. They’re still out there in the medical literature, even though, as Stephen Bustin showed, they are in essence false positives because the lab that ran the PCR on Wakefield’s samples was incompetently run. In any case, Snyderman’s statement grated on me and is the sort of thing that plays right into anti-vaccinationists’ hands when it comes to winning the hearts and minds of the fencesitters or parents who simply don’t know much about the issues involved.

It’s also interesting to note that Joe Scarborough, who, as you may remember, appeared to buy into the whole refuted thimerosal-autism link back in 2005 when Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. was pushing the link far and wide thrugh the media, appears to have rejoined the reality-based world. He seems to have spit out the Kool Aid and no longer appears to buy into the pseudoscience that falsely links vaccines to autism. I wouldn’t have thought it possible five years ago.

Finally, do you notice one more good thing about this video? That’s right, there’s no balance! There are no boosters of pseudoscience pushing the vaccine-autism link and pulling vaccine Gish gallop.

Even though Chris Mooney is right that the supporters of a vaccine-autism link won’t give up (heck, I’ve already written about that a couple of times), I see reason for optimism. The lazy journalistic trope of false “balance” seems to be giving way to letting the science speak.

A guy can dream, can’t he?

In any case, whatever you think of Chris Mooney, be aware that I’m giving him props here. He handled himself well in this case.

Comments

  1. #1 Greg Fish
    February 17, 2010

    Mooney is fine when he tackles actual science. He’s well read in the relevant issues, but when it comes to his solutions to deal with anti-science proponents he’s always pushing the golden mean fallacy, then refuses to acknowledge that this approach has been done before and failed, or misunderstands the nature of the issue, calling his critics close-minded and obnoxious, often hypocritically so. And when it comes to saying that doctors are just big, condescending meanies who need to reach out to fervent anti-vaxers lining the pockets of biomed charlatans, he’s repeating his classic mistakes and leaves those of us who were right there with him until that moment as the targets of ridicule for realizing that you can’t reason with every anti-science zealot.

  2. #2 Do'C
    February 17, 2010

    What a refreshing, Stagliano-free report.

  3. #3 Visitor
    February 17, 2010

    Sorry Orac, I think you are wrong. There are no studies which “show” any link. There may be some which propose or claim a link.

  4. #4 Chance Gearheart, NREMT-P/EMD
    February 17, 2010

    @2 – Orac never claimed there were any – instead he pointed out sham studies are getting futher and further debunked. There are no legitimate studies that have demonstrated any link between vaccination and Autistic disorders, or GI disorders aside from side effects, for that matter. Many people cite VAERS database records as proof that vaccines cause autism, however VAERS also has a report on there that states vaccines turned one British man into the incredible hulk, and has vaccines as the causitive factor in car wrecks, for example.

    Wakefield’s papers have all claimed a link between the MMR vaccine and Autism as one of causation, not just of correllation – if you’re denying this you really need to take a look at the papers again, and pay attention to the large red “RETRACTED” across it. Wakefield depended on this being accepted for his own financhial wellbeing, considering he took up to 300,000 Pounds from Vaccine Injury Attourneys for his study, and stood to gain millions more from his single-antigen vaccines.

  5. #5 DLC
    February 17, 2010

    Well, I guess we have some good news for a change.
    Before, when I see autism-vaccine link being talked about I find myself either laughing at the silliness or cringing at the blazing stupid.

  6. #6 MikeMa
    February 17, 2010

    The question Orac raises is less one of scientific accuracy about studies showing links as it is a scrupulous attention to detail to minimize the howling on the other side. Kimmy at AoA does a marvelous job or martyring the cause every couple of days. The less opportunity and material she has, the better.

  7. #7 MikeMa
    February 17, 2010

    Jake Crosby has a hit piece out on Gardiner Harris claiming that he is a pharma shill. According to the blog, his brother works/worked at Procter and Gamble. What followed was a connection to many pharma companies. No doubt his mother takes aspirin. I couldn’t do more than skim it, sorry. That crap ought to be getting old by now.

  8. #8 mk
    February 17, 2010

    The question Orac raises is less one of scientific accuracy about studies showing links as it is a scrupulous attention to detail to minimize the howling on the other side.

    As if that could actually be achieved.

  9. #9 mk
    February 17, 2010

    Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong! What she should have said is that there exist studies that show a link between vaccines and autism, but that they are all crap and many of them are published in highly dubious journals.

    Yes, this would totally chasten and humiliate anti-vaxers into seeing the error of their ways. Please.

    This is being more than a little nitpicky on Orac’s part.

  10. #10 mk
    February 17, 2010

    Damn. Blew it with the html there. First paragraph was Orac’s. Should have been blockquoted.

  11. #11 Todd W.
    February 17, 2010

    I had the same reaction as Orac to Dr. Snyderman’s “no studies” comment, namely that the antivaxers would eat it up, spit it out and call it foie gras.

    As I mentioned over at Bad Astronomy, the fact that there was no “balance” will be crowed over by the antivaxers. They will cry “censorship”, which is bad when people they don’t agree with do it, but just peachy when done by people they like.

  12. #12 Anthro
    February 17, 2010

    Speaking of studies, has anyone tried to find out how many children are NOT vaxed because of this “debate”? Also, while the tide seems to be turning, how do we know? Woo invades my life on a regular basis and I despair that reason will prevail, but this example is very positive and encourages me. But these are just my personal perceptions. Data, anyone?

  13. #13 mk
    February 17, 2010

    Todd W.

    How do you feel the anti-vaxers would have responded if she said exactly what Orac suggested she say?

  14. #14 Katetbetrue
    February 17, 2010

    Technically, Scarborough followed up with ,”…not one ‘scientific’ study?” That would make Dr. Snyderman’s answer 100% correct. Frankly, I was more annoyed with her appeal to authority in the poorly framed “Bill & Melinda Gates” argument.

  15. #15 nitramnaed
    February 17, 2010

    I hate to give Joe any credit but I’m sure he went through the the whole process when they diagnosed his son with Aspergers. Diet, Vacs, whatever….And just eventually came down on the side of science and rejected the Woo.

  16. #16 Todd W.
    February 17, 2010

    @mk

    Oh, I’m sure they still would react with cries of censorship and how wrong Dr. Snyderman was. Her comment as is just makes it easier for them. Not they would be right either way, mind.

  17. #17 Scott
    February 17, 2010

    Frankly, I was more annoyed with her appeal to authority in the poorly framed “Bill & Melinda Gates” argument.

    I thought that was actually a good approach. And so was the simplification “no studies”. Remember the target audience! Strictly logical and rational arguments work well for logical and rational listeners. But the general public is not, for the most part, logical and rational.

    The Gates argument is a reasonable way to communicate how ridiculous the conspiracy theories are. And “no scientific studies” is a much more understandable simplification. Being rigorous in phrasing it the way a scientist would consider most correct completely fails to communicate with the general public, who will typically understand “there are some, but they’re not high-quality and the weight of evidence is strongly against it” as “we don’t really know for sure.”

  18. #18 Pablo
    February 17, 2010

    I think mk makes the point the best. It doesn’t matter what she said, the loons are going to attack it. If she had said what Orac suggests, all the response would be is, “See, they know there are studies, they just refuse to believe them.”

    I thought she was fine.

  19. #19 MikeMa
    February 17, 2010

    Anthro @12,
    I think very good estimates are available in the UK at least as they track the vaccine uptake pretty well if articles I’ve read are any indication. When I have time (work is so intrusive), I will see if the NHS actually publishes the numbers in a convenient form. I know there was a big drop after St Andy’s bomb but the numbers are climbing again.

    Maybe someone else will chime in with the data before I take lunch.

  20. #20 mk
    February 17, 2010

    @Todd…

    Exactly right. For me, though, in the end… she stayed resolute in the face of what appeared to be Scarborough’s badgering, his talking over her. That was not the moment to back off and say, “Well, OK there are some studies, but I don’t think they’re good ones and they’re published in dubious journals and…” She could even then start using air quotes with her fingers, “studies” and “journals”… but I was pleased to see her remain resolute and firm and frankly, as katebetrue said, accurate! Oh well, different strokes.

  21. #21 Orac
    February 17, 2010

    How do you feel the anti-vaxers would have responded if she said exactly what Orac suggested she say?

    They would have reacted the same, but that’s irrelevant.

    The message on this show was not aimed at hard core anti-vaxers. It was aimed at fencesitters and parents not knowledgeable about the issue. So when Dr. Snyderman says there are “no studies” in such a direct way, anti-vaxers can retort, “Yes there are studies. Here they are.” You and I know that these studies are crap and have been refuted time and time again, but the target audience doesn’t know that. We thus end up with a victory for anti-vaxers because they look as though they managed to catch Dr. Snyderman in at best a gross error in fact or at worst a bald-faced lie. Either way, Dr. Snyderman looks very bad.

    It would have been much better to say, “Yes, there are studies out there, even studies other than Wakefield’s, that seem to show a link between vaccines and autism, but they were all either later shown to be bad science or eventually refuted by newer, better studies.” That’s accurate and only marginally less straightforward than saying there are “no studies.”

  22. #22 mk
    February 17, 2010

    This is starting to look like an instance of the perfect killing the good here. You want your perfectly nuanced cover all bases to be as perfectly accurate as possible so the anti-vaxers can’t portray Dr. Snyderman as a liar. The fact that they would do that anyway doesn’t seem to bother you.

    In a five minute segment on TV when you have to get the information out quickly and accurately and often in the face of cross-talk and badgering what she said and did was commendable. She doesn’t deserve, “Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong!”

    And BTW, why are you not holding Mooney to the same standard? He had the stage for several minutes and cited all the studies that show no connection but did not once mention those other “studies.”

  23. #23 Denice Walter
    February 17, 2010

    If you read any of the anti-vax “literature”, you will see exactly what Orac describes(@ 21).I can almost hear it now:”She said that there are *no* studies.She *lies*.There *are*.*Good* studies. Therefore, she is a liar, a Pharma shill,got her TV job nefariously… ad nauseum”.One of their major plot-devices is that vaccine manufacturers knew about the “vaccine-autism connection”(sic), discussed it at a conference (Simpsonwood, Ga.),decided on a “cover-up”,rewarded loyalists with CDC positions, and went on selling “dangerous” products anyway because they are greedy and inhuman.Even the most clear statements made by researchers and reporters have been used as evidence of cover-ups, lies, etc.”Heads I win, tails you lose”.But because of the Wakefield affair, I’m hopeful that most of the fence-sitters will be far mopre sceptical about the antivaxxers’ pulp fiction.

  24. #24 ababa
    February 17, 2010

    I personally felt Joe made a great comment at the end. He pointed out the expanded diagnosis criteria in a way that practically everyone can relate to. We all went to school with a few people that seemed a bit “quirky” (as he said), and it makes you realize that all of those autistic adults and people we grew up with anti-vaxers claim don’t exist are actually hiding in plain sight. If I were a fence sitter it definitely would have made a light bulb come on and give a new perspective to the so-called “epidemic”. A great point to end the segment, kudos to Joe.

    I think Dr. Nancy’s only issue in how she said it is that she left the door open slightly to anti-vaxers going “she lied because here is a study that shows it”. The main problem is getting across what makes a study worthwhile or not to the lay person (the target audience), without it seeming like it is overly subjective. You don’t want appear to be hand picking studies based on the results, because then you are playing by the anti-vaxer rules. You also don’t want to make it sound overly complex, because then it all becomes a blur and that will never do well against the anti-vaxer rhetoric (when you don’t need facts you can make your point much more clearly).

    She was right, in a way. When she said “no scientific study exists” it was qualified under her own assumptions that a “scientific study” is one that follows accepted rules of science and review. In other words, if it doesn’t follow the rules it can’t be considered a “scientific study”.

  25. #25 MikeMa
    February 17, 2010

    Anthro,

    First hit looking for immunization records in the UK: NHS records.

    If you drill down for any year they offer, you come to downloadable files, including excel types, that give you percentages. Have not had time to go through looking for the “Wakefield effect” but maybe later.

  26. #26 James Sweet
    February 17, 2010

    Good for Mooney. He did indeed handle himself well. I have been a very harsh critic of his vague views on science communication, but that would never stop me from giving credit where it is due. I applaud him for “walking the walk” here, really doing something to reach out to the public. (Though I notice he didn’t exactly engage in any “bridge-building” with the other side… hmm….)

  27. #27 Broken Link
    February 17, 2010

    The other wonderful thing about the deluge of stories about the Wakefield retraction is that there is little “false balance” in the comments either. In the past, when one of the rare stories ran about how vaccines don’t cause autism, the merry band of AoA faithful were all over the comments, making their faulty arguments. Because they actively targeted these stories, it must have appeared to the public that there was a genuine debate about these issues.

    But now, there are thousands of Wakefield retraction reports out there. The anti-vaxers aren’t numerous enough to cover them all, so the false balance is gone. This is clearly seen in some of the “Jim and Jenny support Wakefield” stories – where Jenny is getting hammered in the comments. Hammered by real people who finally, actually get it. One of my favorites (already cited by Orac): “Jenny, honey, the science has left the building. Why are you still here?”

  28. #28 Kristen
    February 17, 2010

    I just hope this new direction in the MSM lasts. I would love to see this distraction from real autism research to go away.

    Two good things would happen if this turns the tide: Children will not die of preventable diseases, and more time and money can be spent on effective therapies for autistic children.

  29. #29 Jon H
    February 17, 2010

    I would suggest it would be better to simply say “There are no credible studies that show a connection between vaccination and autism.”

    The way Orac phrased it leaves it open to misuse by only quoting the first portion.

  30. #30 Joseph
    February 17, 2010

    Amazing. Joe Scarborough gets it. I also had classmates back in high school who could easily be diagnosed with Asperger’s. Back then, they were simply thought of as weird or nerds.

  31. #31 Skeptico
    February 17, 2010

    I agree with Orac on the “no studies” comment. She should have said there are no good studies – a few badly designed studies that cannot be replicated and have since been refuted – but no scientifically valid studies. By baldly stating there are “no studies” she has left herself open to being easily refuted. All the anti-vax groups have to do is link to something like the 14 studies webpage and she has been shown to be wrong.

  32. #32 Sid Offit
    February 17, 2010

    We don’t need balance when your side has Nancy Snyderman. Her reliability in revealing, in just a 5 minute segment, her mind-boggling ignorance is astonishing. “Right now we have children dying from the mumps.” Nancy it seems you are the poster child for the scientifically illiterate about whom you speak

  33. #33 Science Mom
    February 17, 2010

    We don’t need balance when your side has Nancy Snyderman. Her reliability in revealing, in just a 5 minute segment, her mind-boggling ignorance is astonishing.

    You’re right, you don’t need balance, you need some evidence of your implausible claims, without fudging the data that is. I doubt you would notice but she is receiving criticism from those supposedly on ‘her side’. Unlike AoA or GenRes critters who blindly accept whatever their talking heads spew forth, without scrutiny, nor criticism. And we are called the sheeple, how rich.

  34. #34 mk
    February 17, 2010

    Scarborough said, “no studies, no scientific studies, not a single scientific study…” She’s underneath trying to answer, saying no, there are no scientific studies.

    Now Skeptico says it should be “scientific valid studies.” Sheesh. You guys really need to get together and coordinate what everyone should say so anti-vaxers can’t come back and say… well, wait we know they’re going to do it anyway!

    Sitting there on television in a segment you’ve been told is about five minutes with another guest taking up time and several potential questioners, director talking in your ear giving “wrap it up” kind of instructions, being talked over, and all the while trying to make the most cogent points possible given the situation… and make sure every single freaking word is properly used in the proper place! You try it sometime.

  35. #35 Unconvinced
    February 17, 2010

    @12: Here’s a fairly recent article that discusses a CDC study of vaccine coverage. Looks like the two biggest problems are 14% of kids not getting their fourth DTaP vaccine and 14% getting their third HepB shot too soon.

    1 in 4 Toddlers Improperly Vaccinated

    April 29, 2008 — Many young children in the United States have been under- or improperly vaccinated, and vaccine coverage rates are lower than previously reported as a result, the CDC says.

    –snip–

    Despite the study findings, Rodewald says vaccination rates are still high among young children in the United States.

    “Coverage has never been higher, and we want to keep it that way,” he says.

    I’m kind of surprised. That’s got to be pretty demoralizing to the anti-vaxxers, it doesn’t seem like they’re having much of an effect.

  36. #36 Sid Offit
    February 17, 2010

    That picture is scary. It’s like a she-wolf getting ready to protect its cubs – or in this case its vaccines.

  37. #37 Unconvinced
    February 17, 2010

    She didn’t really bring up the mumps outbreak, did she? Doesn’t she realize that unless you’re an anti-vaxxer you should not bring up the mumps outbreak. 75% of the people who got sick had two doses of the MMR vaccine and 88% had gotten at least one dose. That just plays into the arguments of the anti-vaxxers and should not be mentioned.

  38. #38 L. Harper
    February 17, 2010

    Here is what I don’t get. Why are the AoA’s shouting vaccines are bad?
    Is it because they are making a profit off of it? No.
    Is it because they want major diseases to come back? I doubt it.
    Then why do they act the way they do? Mostly, because they watched their child change after a vaccination.
    They are just wanting the truth which is harder than you know to get to these days. If you don’t think media bows down to Pharma, just turn on your TV and count the # of ads for Pharma products. Do you honestly think most media will air opinions that go against one of their advertisers?
    I read this site and I read AoA and for the life of me I cannot figure out why two groups of people can read the same sh@t and have two TOTALLY different opinions. I think neither of you is “right”. I am afraid the truth is somewhere in the murky middle.

  39. #39 Orac
    February 17, 2010

    That just plays into the arguments of the anti-vaxxers and should not be mentioned.

    Only if you don’t know math:

    http://skeptico.blogs.com/skeptico/2010/02/mumps-new-jersey-77-vaccinated-get-infected-mike-adams-fails.html

  40. #40 Scott
    February 17, 2010

    @ L. Harper:

    Mostly, because they watched their child change after a vaccination.

    Strictly false in virtually all cases.

    read this site and I read AoA and for the life of me I cannot figure out why two groups of people can read the same sh@t and have two TOTALLY different opinions.

    That would be because the folks at AoA don’t actually read anything critically or analyze it at all.

    I think neither of you is “right”. I am afraid the truth is somewhere in the murky middle.

    Then you are quite wrong. There is only one “side” with any credible evidence. And it’s not AoA, who has only lies, fraud, and hyperbole.

  41. #41 Unconvinced
    February 17, 2010

    I didn’t mean to suggest that the vaccinated were getting sick at the same rate as the unvaccinated. I just don’t think it’s a good idea to draw attention to the 1000+ (and growing) fully vaccinated people who have become infected with mumps in this outbreak.

    Last I saw they’re up to 1500 total cases, but no deaths so far. That’s surprising.

  42. #42 Dan Weber
    February 17, 2010

    75% of the people who got sick had two doses of the MMR vaccine and 88% had gotten at least one dose.

    That says nothing about the relative risks. Most rap music is bought by white people, not black people, because there are so many more white people.

    If there are 1000 people in the room and 99% have been vaccinated, a disease that takes out 50% of the holdouts and 1% of the vaccinated will have 67% of its victims be vaccinated.

  43. #43 Todd W.
    February 17, 2010

    @L. Harper

    One thing to keep in mind, L. Harper, is that Age of Autism has an agenda. They will not publish anything contradicting their a priori notion that vaccines or their ingredients are the primary, if not sole, cause of autism. Very, very rarely will you ever see a dissenting voice in their comments. Pay a visit to kwombles’ Countering Age of Autism for articles or viewpoints you won’t see on AoA. Stop by Silenced by Age of Autism to see comments which have been censored by the AoA editors.

    And, to see just how their view of the studies can often be skewed, read Science-Based Medicine blog, Photon in the Darkness and other sites run by, y’know, scientists, instead of mommy warriors, MBAs and Indigo Parents.

  44. #45 Joseph
    February 17, 2010

    I just don’t think it’s a good idea to draw attention to the 1000+ (and growing) fully vaccinated people who have become infected with mumps in this outbreak.

    Last I saw they’re up to 1500 total cases, but no deaths so far. That’s surprising.

    Why? This clearly demonstrates the importance of herd immunity. Even though your odds of getting the mumps is only 1/7th of what it would be if you did not get the MMR, you can still get it in an outbreak. It’s not enough that you get vaccinated. Your community must get vaccinated as well.

  45. #46 Todd W.
    February 17, 2010

    Gah…html fail. Orac, do you mind closing my html code after “antiantivax”, if you have a moment?

  46. #47 Calli Arcale
    February 17, 2010

    re: the murky middle:

    XCKD: Semicontrolled Demolition

  47. #48 ababa
    February 17, 2010

    L.Harper said: Then why do they act the way they do? Mostly, because they watched their child change after a vaccination.

    No, in reality they didn’t in most cases. Sure they say “he changed overnight!”, but they are just fudging reality. The Cedillos were guilty of this bias in the Omnibus case, and it is one of the reason they lost. Michelle didn’t just change overnight – their evidence, the tape of “perfectly normal” was chock full of signs they had missed or ignored.

    The anti-vax ringleader in my neck of the woods also claims her “child changed overnight”, but she coincidentily never posts the story on the parenting forums, she will just give vague links where you have to look for it on another site. Then you find out it was *months* after their last shot that symptoms arose. She just believes it was the cause, it’s much easier than believing something she couldn’t control or genetics are to blame, and it gives a convenient villain that isn’t herself. Heck, just this week I saw them say it can take years or decades before their side effects arise. They are even trying to co-op Alzheimer’s as a vaccine damage condition.

    When you cast the net so wide it covers an entire lifetime they can make up any link they want. And when all you deal in is anecdotes and “personal beliefs” there is nothing to talk you back down.

  48. #49 Sid Offit
    February 17, 2010

    Last I saw they’re up to 1500 total cases, but no deaths so far. That’s surprising.

    Why? It’s virtually impossible to die from the mumps

  49. #50 Todd W.
    February 17, 2010

    And once again, we see Sid cherry-picking his quoting. The actual quote is not as Sid stated “Right now we have children dying from the mumps.” but rather:

    “We have children dying in the United States of America from measles, mumps, polio is still rampant in other countries.”

    While mumps was included in the same sentence (she shouldn’t have included it, imo, as it implies death from mumps), the primary point I think she intended was to mention that kids are still dying from measles, they are getting mumps and polio is still rampant. It seemed to me a slip of the tongue rather than a deliberate statement of fact, but it’s really just conjecture as to what she meant.

    Needless to say, she made a mistake by implying kids were dying from mumps. Portraying it as if it were her specific intention to state as fact that kids were dying from mumps is just obfuscation, something that Sid seems to enjoy.

  50. #51 JohnV
    February 17, 2010

    No deaths in 1500 total cases is not out of line with the information the WHO provides. Is there information as to rate of encephalitis in these cases?

  51. #52 Scott
    February 17, 2010

    The discerning reader will also observe that Sid is acting like death is the only adverse outcome of any relevance.

  52. #53 Sid Offit
    February 17, 2010

    Todd, where are they dying from the measles?

  53. #54 T.Bruce McNeely
    February 17, 2010

    Why? It’s virtually impossible to die from the mumps

    From CMAJ, Mar 23/99: Mumps meningoencephalitis occurs in 250 out of 100 000 cases, and has a mortality rate of 2%.

    It’s virtually impossible to believe anything Sid Offit says.

  54. #55 JohnV
    February 17, 2010

    That’s because in this case he can’t dismiss the afflicted due to being located in Africa.

  55. #56 Scott
    February 17, 2010

    Todd, where are they dying from the measles?

    In the UK, thanks to Wankerfield, they’ve been dying from measles for years. For example:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/4871728.stm

    Truly, your ignorance plumbs new depths every time you post. I have ceased to be amazed by it.

  56. #57 Unconvinced
    February 17, 2010

    Why? This clearly demonstrates the importance of herd immunity. Even though your odds of getting the mumps is only 1/7th of what it would be if you did not get the MMR, you can still get it in an outbreak. It’s not enough that you get vaccinated. Your community must get vaccinated as well.

    I’m not sure if you’re suggesting that this community had lower immunization rates than others but according to what the health department doctor says in the Times article today, their rates were about the same as for other New York schoolchildren.

    Mumps Outbreak in NY, NJ Tops 1, 500 Cases

    This part of the article really disturbs me.

    Many Orthodox Jewish families are large, and the virus spreads well in packed households, said Kathleen Gallagher, a CDC epidemiologist.

    It’s frustrating that she would attribute the spread to living conditions. This also just plays into the anti-vaxxers belief that disease transmission has gone down because of improved living conditions rather than because of vaccines. Does she know, for instance, that these Jews don’t have some kind of genetic defect that would make them less likely to get protection from the vaccine? Maybe that could explain why it’s spreading so much amongst them.

  57. #58 Sid Offit
    February 17, 2010

    T. Bruce

    So if that reference is correct (I can’t find it) 1 out of every 200,000 cases of the mumps is fatal. I stand by virtually impossible.

    PS

    Mumps Meningoencephalitis in Children
    Parvin H. Azimi, MD; Henry G. Cramblett, MD; Ralph E. Haynes, MD
    JAMA. 1969;207(3):509-512.

    Fifty-one children with mumps meningoencephalitis were studied. The disease occurred throughout the year, with higher frequency in boys. The disease was of short duration and was generally benign.

  58. #59 Unconvinced
    February 17, 2010

    I just re-read my comment and I think some people might mis-interpret it as anti-semitic. That wasn’t my intention.

  59. #60 Sid Offit
    February 17, 2010

    @Scott

    Todd, where are they dying from the measles?
    In the UK, thanks to Wankerfield, they’ve been dying from measles for years. For example:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/4871728.stm

    Truly, your ignorance plumbs new depths every time you post. I have ceased to be amazed by it.

    If you’ve been following this thread my question to Todd was in regards to Nancy Snyderman’s assertion that children were dying right now in the USA from measles and mumps (3:20) As you may have heard the US and UK are different countries.

  60. #61 Dangerous Bacon
    February 17, 2010

    L. Harper: “Here is what I don’t get. Why are the AoA’s shouting vaccines are bad?
    Is it because they are making a profit off of it? No.

    Right now it’s the purveyors of ineffective treatments to heal “vaccine damage” that are profiting, and they comprise an important element of the “Vaccines are bad!” shouters.

    Is it because they want major diseases to come back? I doubt it.

    You should look up Jenny McCarthy’s recent remarks, in which she virtually welcomes the return of such diseases, on the grounds that this would lead to the making of “green” vaccines (though it’s obvious that no vaccine could ever meet her uninformed criteria of safety).
    More commonly, the “AoAs” and other antivaxers either do not comprehend the consequences of, or do not care about a major return of vaccine-preventable diseases. They are very single-minded in their focus.

    Then why do they act the way they do?

    Lack of knowledge, coupled with lack of critical thinking skills, willful ignorance of overwhelming contrary evidence and fervent desire to find a scapegoat to blame for their predicament.

    They are just wanting the truth which is harder than you know to get to these days. If you don’t think media bows down to Pharma, just turn on your TV and count the # of ads for Pharma products.
    Do you honestly think most media will air opinions that go against one of their advertisers?

    Yes. I hear plenty of reports in all kinds of news media questioning various aspects of medical care. The same media that air ads for prescription drugs, run news stories about the risks of drugs. How else would the Mike Adamses of the world get material for their daily diatribes?

    I read this site and I read AoA and for the life of me I cannot figure out why two groups of people can read the same sh@t and have two TOTALLY different opinions. I think neither of you is “right”. I am afraid the truth is somewhere in the murky middle.

    Nope. If you take solid evidence-based medicine on the one hand and irrational scaremongering on the other, the truth lies with evidence-based medicine, not in some imaginary “middle ground”.

  61. #62 Scott
    February 17, 2010

    Sid,

    If you could actually write questions that said what you meant, instead of quite specifically asking something that you didn’t mean, you MIGHT have a leg to stand on criticizing people who answer the question you actually asked.

  62. #63 Sid Offit
    February 17, 2010

    @Scott

    The question was addressed to Todd. If you can’t understand what’s going on don’t get involved.

  63. #64 T.Bruce McNeely
    February 17, 2010

    So if that reference is correct (I can’t find it) 1 out of every 200,000 cases of the mumps is fatal. I stand by virtually impossible.

    Arithmetical FAIL, Sid.
    It’s 1 in 20 000 cases.

    I also stand by virtually impossible, as in my comment #54.

    BTW, here’s the link –
    http://www.cmaj.ca/cgi/reprint/160/6/865.pdf

  64. #65 Joseph
    February 17, 2010

    @Sid: Next time you get in a car, don’t wear a seat belt. It’s virtually impossible that you’ll need it.

  65. #66 Sid Offit
    February 17, 2010

    From CMAJ, Mar 23/99: Mumps meningoencephalitis occurs in 250 out of 100 000 cases, and has a mortality rate of 2%.

    You’re right, I did fail. I read 5. as .5 on my calculator. Either way, “virtually impossible” applies to both 1 in 20,000 or 1 in 200,000. You might even call mumps deaths exceedingly rare as does AM Galazka

    ———–

    Bull World Health Organ. 1999;77(1):3-14.
    Mumps and mumps vaccine: a global review.
    Galazka AM, Robertson SE, Kraigher A.

    National Institute of Hygiene, Warsaw, Poland.

    Death due to mumps is exceedingly rare, and
    is mostly caused by mumps encephalitis. In the USA,
    over the period 1966–71 there were two deaths per
    10 000 mumps cases, with 38% of such deaths involving
    persons aged ³40 years

    —————

    and even those figures may be high due to underreporting.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2557572/pdf/10063655.pdf

    Again Dr. Galazka:

    In the pre-vaccine era, mumps
    was a common infectious disease with a high annual
    incidence, usually >100 per 100 000 population
    based on routine passive surveillance (Table 2).
    One prospective community-based study in the USA
    found the annual incidence of mumps to be almost
    2000 cases per 100 000 population – about 10 times
    greater than the number of passively reported cases
    (24).

  66. #67 RJ
    February 17, 2010

    Sid,

    The primary issue with mumps isn’t death. It’s infertility.

    http://menshealth.suite101.com/article.cfm/understanding_how_mumps_causes_male_infertility

    I know, I know….no big deal.

  67. #68 RJ
    February 17, 2010

    Unconvinced,

    I would say hold on before making any definitive judgments on issues involving mumps immunization and living conditions. The points raised as to the specific demographic that is currently involved in this mess only goes to show how proximity relates to transmission. It’s not that we had achieved some improved sanitation standards or living conditions, then stopped, spurring the resurgence of mumps. It’s only an example of how infectious these diseases are.

    Key points that need to be considered (some of the answers will be forthcoming in time):
    1) the fact that children who were immunized (in some cases) over a decade ago may suggest that boosters may be appropriate
    2) that if complications/disability do not ensue in numbers seen pre-immunization, the disease may have taken hold but the duration and severity may be significantly attenuated
    3) we may be seeing a fundamental changes in the antigenicity of the virus and/or issues with the vaccines made 10+ years ago

    We do not have all the information as of yet. Let’s hope this is under control quickly and these children recover and are healthy.

  68. #69 Sid Offit
    February 17, 2010

    Infertility is rare. Besides if you get the mumps as a child it’s not an issue. Anyway, isn’t anyone troubled by Dr. Nancy’s fabricated “children dying” statement on Scarborough? Shouldn’t we expect more from our trusted health care professionals?

  69. #70 RJ
    February 17, 2010

    Infertility is “rare”…according to your standards, but not for the people it affects. Mumps is an issue for teens. Most are in the range where it is a factor.

    The largest percentage of cases (61%) has occurred among persons aged 7–18 years, and 76% of the patients are male.

    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5905a1.htm

  70. #71 RJ
    February 17, 2010

    “Anyway, isn’t anyone troubled by Dr. Nancy’s fabricated “children dying” statement on Scarborough?”

    I’m not. It should have been phrased differently but it was hardly fabricated. Did you not hear what she was saying in reference to the Gates Foundation? Those are diseases that cause death and disability that the foundation is working hard toward eliminating. If you listened to the statement in its entirety, it was fine. If you are looking to try and find something…anything, to get all worked up about…well, then help yourself. It was fine.

  71. #72 triskelethecat
    February 17, 2010

    @Unconvinced: I don’t think that Ms Gallagher meant that they were not living in sanitary conditions. I think that what she meant was that there are more people who could be infected because they have large families and live together. When you have 7, 10, 12, 14 children, with 2 parents under 1 roof, you can readily spread a disease like measles which is so infectious (not everyone becomes immune from having measles OR from the vaccine…I should know. I’ve had the disease and the vaccine multiple times, and still have no antibodies. I live in fear of the measles.)

  72. #73 jen
    February 17, 2010

    Barf! Get Nancy out of my country!! I think the really good news here is that the non-verbal behaviour of the newscasters was basically saying, ‘No fucking way there are no more studies to worry about- there are more developing as we speak. Also, we got a fucking ton of emails from angry parents who don’t buy this shit for a second.’
    In case you people didn’t know it there are autistic kids dying due to tragic accidents (fire, running away in the cold, being killed by their desperate parents etc.) all the time. In fact, there may be as many of these deaths as deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases soon.
    Oh well, you can all just keep spending inordinate amounts of time telling yourself that these vaccines are perfectly harmless.

  73. #74 Johnny
    February 17, 2010

    Infertility is “rare”…according to your standards, but not for the people it affects. Mumps is an issue for teens. Most are in the range where it is a factor.

    The largest percentage of cases (61%) has occurred among persons aged 7–18 years, and 76% of the patients are male.

    Yo – that would be me you’re talking about…

    1969, I was 13 years old, dad was in Viet Nam, and mom had a delirious child to take care of. (Military wives don’t get half the credit they deserve.)

    It’s just as well I was delirious for a day or so- seeing my balls swollen up bigger that my fist was a little disturbing, so I’m glad I wasn’t (mentally) there for part of it.

    Cost me an engagement to a good woman when we decided I should be tested to find out if we could have kids.

    Kiss my ass, Sid.

  74. #75 RJ
    February 17, 2010

    @ 73

    “Your” country? What country is this, Salem, where opinion leads to witches being burned at the stake?

    “Your country. As if we all don’t share a common responsibility to one another. Typical sentiment….fuck everyone else, me and my interest is all that matters.

    And since it appears you are at a somewhat of a disadvantage with the English language, if you can show any mathematical examples of the “thousands upon thousands” of autistic kids, dieing every day from accidents and murders, please let us know.

    “you can all just keep spending inordinate amounts of time telling yourself that these vaccines are perfectly harmless.”

    I’m curious though, in your imaginary perfect world, what is acceptable as far as preventative health? If we stop immunizing, what? Infectious diseases just stop?

    And why are you not all bent up out of shape over cars? They kill and disable more children than anything? They’re OK (because it works for YOU in YOUR country) but preventative medicine is not? What a joke!

  75. #76 RJ
    February 17, 2010

    @ 73

    “Your” country? What country is this, Salem, where opinion leads to witches being burned at the stake?

    “Your country. As if we all don’t share a common responsibility to one another. Typical sentiment….fuck everyone else, me and my interest is all that matters.

    And since it appears you are at a somewhat of a disadvantage with the English language, if you can show any mathematical examples of the “thousands upon thousands” of autistic kids, dieing every day from accidents and murders, please let us know.

    “you can all just keep spending inordinate amounts of time telling yourself that these vaccines are perfectly harmless.”

    I’m curious though, in your imaginary perfect world, what is acceptable as far as preventative health? If we stop immunizing, what? Infectious diseases just stop?

    And why are you not all bent up out of shape over cars? They kill and disable more children than anything? They’re OK (because it works for YOU in YOUR country) but preventative medicine is not? What a joke!

  76. #77 RJ
    February 17, 2010

    @ 73

    “Your” country? What country is this, Salem, where opinion leads to witches being burned at the stake?

    “Your country. As if we all don’t share a common responsibility to one another. Typical sentiment….fuck everyone else, me and my interest is all that matters.

    And since it appears you are at a somewhat of a disadvantage with the English language, if you can show any mathematical examples of the “thousands upon thousands” of autistic kids, dieing every day from accidents and murders, please let us know.

    “you can all just keep spending inordinate amounts of time telling yourself that these vaccines are perfectly harmless.”

    I’m curious though, in your imaginary perfect world, what is acceptable as far as preventative health? If we stop immunizing, what? Infectious diseases just stop?

    And why are you not all bent up out of shape over cars? They kill and disable more children than anything? They’re OK (because it works for YOU in YOUR country) but preventative medicine is not? What a joke!

  77. #78 Sid Offit
    February 17, 2010

    RJ

    The largest percentage of cases (61%) has occurred among persons aged 7–18 years, and 76% of the patients are male.

    Because vaccination has pushed the age back. Largest percentage used to be 5-9.

    ———————
    @Johnny

    I’m very sorry about your experience.

    Infertility is “rare”…according to your standards.

    They’re not my standards the term comes from the CDC and medical textbooks

  78. #79 RJ
    February 17, 2010

    “Because vaccination has pushed the age back. Largest percentage used to be 5-9. ”

    OK, so then we are in agreement that the issues related to infertility are more critical now than in the past because of the age demographic. I guess I would say that, yeah, a mumps outbreak is a big freakin’ deal.

  79. #80 RJ
    February 17, 2010

    This maybe be the best way to deal with vaccine-autism hysteria: support for families in need.

    http://www.wtkr.com/news/wtkr-autism-bill-in-virginia,0,7354026.story

  80. #81 Chris
    February 17, 2010

    Poor Vaccine Coverage in Europe Allows Measles to Hang On:

    For instance, the researchers found, 85% of the measles cases reported over the two years came from five countries: Romania, Germany, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Italy.

    Seven deaths were reported during the two years of the study, including six in 2006, all among children 13 or younger.

    … and bit earlier, Measles deaths fall by 60 percent worldwide*:

    Outbreaks in Europe remain common although fatalities are now rare: 12 deaths were reported in the European Union in 2005, 11 in Romania and one in Germany [3].

  81. #82 Science Mom
    February 17, 2010

    Barf! Get Nancy out of my country!! I think the really good news here is that the non-verbal behaviour of the newscasters was basically saying, ‘No fucking way there are no more studies to worry about- there are more developing as we speak. Also, we got a fucking ton of emails from angry parents who don’t buy this shit for a second.’

    The developing studies you are speaking of are contrivances of the revolving door of unethical, biased, incompetent embarrassments to the scientific community. The reason they can’t get them published in peer-reviewed, indexed journals is because they are tripe, pure and simple. Don’t you think that a decent journal would like to publish a blockbuster study? Such things raise their cachet and their impact factor. But the pre-requisite has to be unassailable science, and yours just can’t produce that.

    In case you people didn’t know it there are autistic kids dying due to tragic accidents (fire, running away in the cold, being killed by their desperate parents etc.) all the time. In fact, there may be as many of these deaths as deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases soon.

    Emphasis mine. You can thank your curebie pushers for that; for you and them the guilt and false promises of hope of a ‘cure’ and pressure to make their children fit some NT mold via biomed help push them over the edge. Since you present the false dichotomy of vaccines or autism, the rest of your strawman fails. Your groups should stop obsessing about vaccines and start actually supporting research into viable therapies.

    Oh well, you can all just keep spending inordinate amounts of time telling yourself that these vaccines are perfectly harmless.

    Another strawman; no one has made the claim here that vaccines are perfectly harmless; they just don’t cause autism.

  82. #83 jen
    February 17, 2010

    sciencemom: ” no one has made the claim here that vaccines are perfectly harmless…” Now, from your point of view,
    what are some of the harmful effects of vaccines? How do you know? Please be as specific as possible. You can use studies to back up your claims. I’m pretty sure you won’t be taking me up on this one…
    RJ, calm down. “Preventative medicine” is starting to be kind of a joke. Why does the U.S. have such a high infant mortality rate compared to so many other countries?

  83. #84 snerd
    February 17, 2010

    Do you drive a car, Jen?

  84. #85 MikeMa
    February 17, 2010

    jen,
    Read the label inserts for any vaccine or any drug for that matter. The risks and percentages are well documented. Is there a point to your rant?

    We have higher infant mortality partly due to lack of affordable, universal healthcare.

  85. #86 Dan Weber
    February 17, 2010

    Whatever else you may say about our health care system in the US, you cannot fairly compare infant mortality in the US to other countries. The terms are defined by each country, and a live birth of an underweight child followed shortly by a death would be called a stillbirth in other countries.

  86. #87 Ian
    February 17, 2010

    @Dan Weber

    I’m not sure which countries you’re referring to, but all of the OECD countries use the same definition, and those are the ones to which the US system is compared.

  87. #88 jen
    February 17, 2010

    MikeMa: why not let sciencemom answer? Do the vaccine risks include brain damage?(of course they do). The point to my rant is that I find it ironic that you all cling to the many lame safety studies on vaccines and at the same time you once in a while agree that vaccines do indeed have risks. Yet you don’t like to get into any detail on that.

  88. #89 Science Mom
    February 17, 2010

    MikeMa: why not let sciencemom answer? Do the vaccine risks include brain damage?(of course they do). The point to my rant is that I find it ironic that you all cling to the many lame safety studies on vaccines and at the same time you once in a while agree that vaccines do indeed have risks. Yet you don’t like to get into any detail on that.

    MikeMa didn’t answer any differently than I would have, being members of the Borg collective that we are. All of the vaccine package inserts have numerous studies referenced, it’s not hard to see that. Do you know how to use PubMed or Web of Science?

    Yes, vaccines, along with any medical product or device can cause harm in a very small percentage of recipients. That doesn’t mean that if medicine A can cause J,K,L and M adverse reactions, it must be causing X,Y and Z too, because some git with a degree says so. You have to have biological plausibility. A handful of very unfortunate children incurred serious adverse reactions to vaccines, reactions that were already known about and documented and suddenly, ‘vaccines cause brain damage’, with the express intent of deeming vaccines as a cause of autism. Colour me unsurprised that you would insinuate that it was, whatever would all of those DAN!s do if they didn’t treat their patients as damaged and guilt parents into undoing said damage that they inflicted upon them. What a sick racket.

  89. #90 Adam_Y
    February 17, 2010

    why not let sciencemom answer? Do the vaccine risks include brain damage?(of course they do). The point to my rant is that I find it ironic that you all cling to the many lame safety studies on vaccines and at the same time you once in a while agree that vaccines do indeed have risks. Yet you don’t like to get into any detail on that.

    I find it ironic that anyone who defends the “biomed movement” is complaining about the emphasis on side effects on vaccines when there is evidence that some of the treatments might cause cognitive damage and actually that they have killed the kids that the parents were trying to treat.

  90. #91 jen
    February 17, 2010

    sciencemom: call me crazy but I do not think we are that far advanced with our knowledge of the brain to distinguish that the vaccines can cause JKL and M but certainly not XY and Z. Or, at least the vaccine people and the AAP don’t want us to believe that.
    You are splitting hairs. The inserts mention all manner of things and that probably includes autism, whether or not they want to use that specific label. Colour me unsurprised that you don’t want to allow for that possibility when it is more than biologically plausible.

  91. #92 jen
    February 17, 2010

    Adam Y:
    “I find it ironic that anyone that defends the “biomed movement” is complaining about the emphasis on side effects on vaccines when there is evidence that some of the treatments might cause cognitive damage and actually that they have killed the kids that the parents were trying to treat.”
    Yeah, sort of like, those parents find it really ironic that they were supposedly trying to protect their kid from some dreaded disease like chicken pox, hep b or measles and they completely regressed into autism after one of those vaccines (or suffered some kind of cumulative effects after a few too many). Yeah, I’m sure those “very few percentages” of people whose kids have suffered vaccine damages find it very ironic.

  92. #93 Dan Weber
    February 17, 2010

    I’m not sure which countries you’re referring to, but all of the OECD countries use the same definition

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infant_mortality#Comparing_infant_mortality_rates

  93. #94 Jen in TX
    February 17, 2010

    Interesting development…Wakefield has apparently resigned from Thoughtful House.

  94. #95 Unconvinced
    February 18, 2010

    RJ @ 68,,

    I wasn’t making a definitive judgement about living conditions, I was just pointing out that the CDC epidemiologist seemed to be doing that. And I realize she wasn’t referring to sanitary conditions. By living conditions, I meant her reference to “packed households.” I went to the CDC report that you linked to and found a more detailed explanation.

    Like the mumps outbreaks that occurred in 2006 (2), much of the current outbreak is occurring in congregate settings, where prolonged, close contact among persons might be facilitating transmission. Within the affected religious community, cases have occurred predominantly among school-aged boys, who attend separate schools from girls. The higher rate among boys might be a result of the additional hours that boys in this community spend in school compared with girls, including long periods in large study halls, often face-to-face with a study partner.

    In addition, transmission in the community overall might be facilitated by relatively large household sizes. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, the mean household size in one of the affected communities was 5.7, compared with a mean U.S. household size of 2.6. The limited transmission to persons outside the community might be a result of the relatively less interpersonal contact between persons inside and outside the community.

    I just don’t understand why they wanted to put something like this in the report. Anti-vaxxers are always pointing to things like this to diminish the role of vaccines in preventing horrible diseases like the mumps. They already say things like diseases were going down before vaccines because of things like household size decreasing. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I know a bunch of these anti-vax loons and their big fetish is to do a risk/benefit calculation when deciding whether to vaccinate their poor kids and since they mostly live in small households (but big houses), they will no doubt invent the idea that their kids won’t get much benefit from the mumps vaccine and will use that to further justify their decision not to vaccinate.

    I would much rather have the CDC epidemiologists stick to the -all vaccines are always safe for all people all the time- position. If they don’t and they leave any kind of opening, the anti-vax nutters will happily drive a truck through it.

    Also, as to the three key points to be considered that you listed, shouldn’t we know the answers to these questions and have a lot of information from the outbreaks that have been taking place for several years in the UK? The index case caught his mumps in the UK. Wouldn’t they have already studied if there are changes in the antigenicity of the virus?

    Also, I guess it’s an encouraging thing to see from the CDC report that the number of complications seems to be low so far this time. Of the 1,518 patients:

    Sixty-five reports of complications from mumps have been received: orchitis (55 cases), pancreatitis (five cases), aseptic meningitis (two cases), transient deafness (one case), Bell’s palsy (one case), and oophoritis (one case). Nineteen hospitalizations from mumps have been reported; no deaths have occurred.

    I believe only a portion of those 55 orchitis cases will result in infertility.

  95. #96 Unconvinced
    February 18, 2010

    Johnny @ 74,
    I’m sorry about what happened to you. If she left you because of your infertility, she was not a “good woman.” I think you deserve better and I hope you found someone who loves and values you.

  96. #97 blah
    February 18, 2010

    anytime you see blaming of “toxins” it’s a red flag for pseudoscience.

  97. #98 MikeMa
    February 18, 2010

    jen & the AoA loonies have no proof, only feelings. They just know vaccines harmed their kids. Arguing otherwise hurts them. Too bad.

  98. #99 mk
    February 18, 2010

    Jen,

    You’re not crazy…(at least there’s no reason yet to think so)…you’re just ill informed. Ignorant. Making decisions based on emotion rather than reason. That’s all.

  99. #100 mk
    February 18, 2010

    Jen… for instance, this:

    The inserts mention all manner of things and that probably includes autism, whether or not they want to use that specific label.

    This is brilliant. An assertion based on absolutely nothing but “feeling.” That’s just not how science works, Jen.

  100. #101 Todd W.
    February 18, 2010

    @jen

    Asking for evidence to support our statement that vaccines are not perfectly harmless? Didn’t I spoon-feed you that info before? Memory problems?

    Three questions, jen:

    What is your recommendation for short-term replacement of vaccines?
    Where are the scientific studies showing the relative safety and efficacy of “biomed” treatments like chelation and Lupron?
    Where are the scientific studies showing a definitive causal connection between vaccines (in any combination or any ingredient) and autism?

    I’ve asked similar questions before, and still have not received an answer.

  101. #102 Katharine
    February 18, 2010

    Bizarrely, the anti-vaxxers ignore such things as the fact that oxytocin might improve social skills in autistic people or that numerous genetic factors such as alterations in OXTR (I think that’s the abbreviation for the gene) and age of parents factor into autism and that the vast majority of the vaccinated have turned out perfectly fine, thanks.

    Jen, when you construct an actual argument based on things other than ‘well, the safety inserts probably include brain damage as a risk!’ despite lack of evidence or ‘some dreaded disease such as chicken pox, hep b, or measles’ despite the fact that you probably don’t remember just how bad these diseases actually are because you probably didn’t live during the period of time when they were rampant. Remember polio? Remember how it crippled FDR? We have a vaccine for that. Remember smallpox? Remember how it devastated whole countries? We eradicated it.

    For my part, I am fully vaccinated on the traditional vaccine schedule, pretty much all of the vaccines I had were the pre-anti-vaxxer version, and I am healthy, non-autistic, and quite irate that you idiots don’t look into autism research outside of your own jacking and jilling off about your hatred of vaccines. You know nothing about the condition, apparently.

    Let me guess, your kid has autism and you blame it on vaccines. Perhaps you’re not willing to consider that it’s something you couldn’t have controlled in the first place and that your kid was going to be autistic whether you vaccinated or not.

    You’re a flaming moron, Jen.

  102. #103 Katharine
    February 18, 2010

    In fact, I read a comment in the thread at Not Exactly Rocket Science that the architecture for social cognition is intact, but the regulation is a problem. The architecture for social cognition must necessarily be intact because of the fact that oxytocin produces such profound changes within a matter of minutes.

  103. #104 James Sweet
    February 18, 2010

    Why? It’s virtually impossible to die from the mumps

    It’s also virtually impossible to die from getting kicked in the nuts by a goat. Which I think you richly deserve, Sid.

  104. #105 James Sweet
    February 18, 2010

    Why? It’s virtually impossible to die from the mumps

    Of course, it’s not uncommon at all to be left sterile. But apparently you don’t think that matters at all. Nope, if you don’t die, who cares?

    People who say that should have their balls chopped off. After all, who cares if you are left sterile! At least you aren’t dead…

  105. #106 James Sweet
    February 18, 2010

    Johnny @ 74,
    I’m sorry about what happened to you. If she left you because of your infertility, she was not a “good woman.” I think you deserve better and I hope you found someone who loves and values you.

    Yes, typical of the anti-vax assholes. “Mumps-related infertility is no big deal, it’s only a problem because your ex-fiancee was a bitch!”

    Fuckers. Chop their nuts off, the lot of ‘em.

  106. #107 James Sweet
    February 18, 2010

    I believe only a portion of those 55 orchitis cases will result in infertility.

    Oh, I see how it works. “Well, it’s only a few children who are needlessly left sterile for life. What’s the big deal?”

  107. #108 JohnV
    February 18, 2010

    James, you’re in an entertaining mood today :)

  108. #109 Sid Offit
    February 18, 2010

    @ James

    You got a lot of balls talking to me that way

  109. #110 James Sweet
    February 18, 2010

    You got a lot of balls talking to me that way

    Only because I never got the mumps. :p

  110. #111 Kristen
    February 18, 2010

    Wow, James. Zing Bang, as my Grandpa would say.

  111. #112 James Sweet
    February 18, 2010

    Heh, sorry if my flames offended anybody (besides Sid and Unconvinced, of course). The “very few people die of these diseases today” line of argumentation really makes my blood boil, because it implies that the suffering of little children, and the risk of permanent scarring, sterility, and other lifelong health impacts, are of no consequence. Since becoming a father myself, I have found I can no longer tolerate that insinuation. It’s despicable.

  112. #113 mk
    February 18, 2010

    James…

    Those were well deserved flames. I, for one, am not the slightest bit offended!

    Cheers.

  113. #114 Kristen
    February 18, 2010

    Not offended, just impressed ;). My mother went mostly deaf from the mumps, death is not the only adverse outcome.

  114. #115 jen
    February 18, 2010

    Katharine: “the majority of vaccinated children have turned out perfectly fine.” Umm, I don’t think we would be having this conversation if that were true. Has there been a vaccinated VS non-vaccinated study done that I’m not aware of? (that is the gold standard of evidence-bassed medicine). Your statement is basically a joke now that approximately 1 in 100 children has some form of autism and the figure is even higher for boys. It cracks me up how you guys gloss over the fact that there are children who suffer side-effects or injuries after vaccination.
    How can you argue that I “know nothing about the condition” then go on to say that I must “have a kid with autism?” That doesn’t even make any sense! In fact, I do not have children with autism. I vaccinated selectively-especially for my son. In Canada we don’t give hep b to babies (except maybe in one province). We give it to kids in grade 5 and interestingly there are quite a few of them that develop seizure disorders just after this period. This is anecdotally observed, of course. Name calling will get you nowhere. And BTW, I was born in 1960 so I’ve had it all- measles, mumps, chicken pox, etc.

  115. #116 mk
    February 18, 2010

    @Jen

    Answer Todd W’s questions.

  116. #117 Todd W.
    February 18, 2010

    @jen

    Three things:
    1) Provide evidence that greater than 50% of children have ended up injured by vaccines.

    you guys gloss over the fact that there are children who suffer side-effects or injuries after vaccination

    2) Point out where we have glossed over or denied that vaccines can have negative side effects or cause injury.

    3) Answer my questions. Here they are again, so you don’t need to scroll as far:

    a) What is your recommendation for short-term replacement of vaccines?
    b) Where are the scientific studies showing the relative safety and efficacy of “biomed” treatments like chelation and Lupron?
    c) Where are the scientific studies showing a definitive causal connection between vaccines (in any combination or any ingredient) and autism?

  117. #118 Chris
    February 18, 2010

    Also do not forget mumps used to be the leading cause of post-lingual deafness. Something they are finding out about in Japan these days:
    An office-based prospective study of deafness in mumps.
    and
    Fukushima J Med Sci. 2009 Jun;55(1):32-8.
    Cochlear implantation in a case of bilateral sensorineural hearing loss due to mumps.
    Suzuki Y, Ogawa H, Baba Y, Suzuki T, Yamada N, Omori K.
    and
    Lancet. 2009 Nov 14;374(9702):1722.
    Time to revisit mumps vaccination in Japan?
    Sasaki T, Tsunoda K.
    and
    Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2009 Mar;28(3):176.
    Commentary: Is Japan deaf to mumps vaccination?
    Plotkin SA.
    and
    Acta Otolaryngol. 2008 Jun;128(6):644-7.
    Mumps virus may damage the vestibular nerve as well as the inner ear.
    Tsubota M, Shojaku H, Ishimaru H, Fujisaka M, Watanabe Y.

    and (because Sid Troll doesn’t care if the folk are darker than he is)… Update: Multistate Outbreak of Mumps — United States, January 1–May 2, 2006:

    However, complications have included 27 reports of orchitis, 11 meningitis, four encephalitis, four deafness, and one each of oophoritis, mastitis, pancreatitis, and unspecified complications.

  118. #119 Unconvinced
    February 18, 2010

    I am not sure what I said that earned me the label of anti-vax asshole. I’d actually like someone to point it out to me. And I think mumps related infertility is a really big deal and I’m sorry if I left the impression that I didn’t think so. I’ve got to go now, but I’ll check back later.

  119. #120 JohnV
    February 18, 2010

    @Jen

    “Katharine: “the majority of vaccinated children have turned out perfectly fine.”

    Umm, I don’t think we would be having this conversation if that were true.”

    If Katharine’s statement isn’t true – (as evidenced by your saying its not, which is really weird because your proof that it isn’t true is that you say it isn’t true because if it was true you wouldn’t be saying it wasn’t true) – are you suggesting that at least 51/100 vaccinated children have some sort of severe adverse reaction to vaccination? And no, a sore arm doesn’t count.

  120. #121 Mu
    February 18, 2010

    I just discovered the autism prevalence data on Thoughtful House. It clearly shows that the autism epidemic didn’t take off (at least in my state) until 2001, when it went from a gradual, linear increase of diagnosis to an exponential one. This leaves only one conclusion, Thimerosal was actually protecting our kids from the harm vaccinations do. We need to immediately reintroduce it and study the effects of complete mercury removal on brain development. Maybe we had it wrong all along, and the steady clean-up of our children’s environment has deprived them of an essential trace element necessary for healthy development.

  121. #122 Pablo
    February 18, 2010

    JohnV – 100% of the kids vaccinated ultimately die. Clearly, vaccination is bad.

  122. #123 Todd W.
    February 18, 2010

    @Pablo

    False correlation. Too many confounders, considering 100% of kids who are not vaccinated also die. With that in mind, we can say with confidence that 100% of kids who are born die. So it’s not vaccines that are bad, it’s life.

  123. #124 jen
    February 18, 2010

    JohnV: You are right. It would SEEM to be the minority of children who experience significant problems from vaccines. However, as someone who works in the school system, I see so many kids with learning disabilities, ADHD, aspergers, autism etc. Since there is no vaccinated VS unvaccinated study we simply do not know what the effects of all this mass vaccinating are.
    Todd: a) I would recommend some vaccines simply be taken out of the schedule. No hep b for babies unless they are born to hep b mothers. No chicken pox. No rotavirus. Certainly none on the first day of life! More flexibility with live virus vaccines-separating if asked by parents. A different mode of delivery (nasal) may be less dangerous (this would have to be studied, though). I say we could take our chances with some of the diseases and it may be better than all this chronic disability we are seeing in the schools. Have any of you people been to some schools lately?! b) scientific studies showing the safety of bio-med treatments- I don’t know but I am not surprised if there are none because that would be tantamount to saying that the children have been environmentally damaged (with vaccines being a possible culprit). I do know that so many of these parents feel that it is worth a try and that these will need to be studied by companies due to an actual consumer demand for these products. Thees approaches (bio-medical and chelation) are not going away, especially when the children are young enough to possibly try and reverse any environmental damages. c) Again, there is no vacc/unvacc study (the gold standard of evidence based medicine) that proves no link between vaccines and autism.

  124. #125 Pablo
    February 18, 2010

    Todd – you think for a second that Jen gives a shit about “confounders”? For proof, see her post directly above.

  125. #126 Scott
    February 18, 2010

    Now, if Jen were rational as opposed to a rabid anti-vax fanatic with no clue about science or logic, she’d recognize the inherent inconsistency in her statement.

    Do you call for a car vs. no car study?
    Do you call for a phases of the moon at conception study?
    Do you call for an Internet vs. no Internet study?
    Do you call for a study on the impact of pirates (arr, matey!)?

    There’s just as much reason to do these as a vax vs. unvax. The position only makes sense if one has become firmly convinced that vaccines are to blame in the absence of evidence – completely irrational.

  126. #127 RJ
    February 18, 2010

    “”Preventative medicine” is starting to be kind of a joke. Why does the U.S. have such a high infant mortality rate compared to so many other countries?

    Because our preventative medicine approach pales in comparison to other countries.

  127. #128 JohnV
    February 18, 2010

    So Jen, just to verify, your position is that at least 50% of kids are suffering serious adverse reactions to vaccination?

    And your proof is that in your position of “working in a school system” you notice that many kids have been diagnosed with learning disabilities?

    And since these kids get vaccines, it is obviously the vaccines that are causing this? As opposed to any of the other millions of things they all have in common.

    There will be no vacc vs unvacc study because no professional with an ethical fiber in her or his body will take part in a study that purposefully leaves kids susceptible to vaccine-preventable illness.

  128. #129 Vicki
    February 18, 2010

    Jen, you’ve made a good point. In the absence of the unethical vaccinated-versus-unvaccinated study, we don’t have evidence of the total protective effect of vaccines. We only know how they help with the things they’re labeled for. We know that the DPT vaccine is protective against tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough, but we don’t know to what extent it protects against learning disabilities. We know that MMR protects against deafness, but we don’t know how many more kids turn up with ADHD because they were deprived of the protective effects of that vaccine.

    Seriously: go ahead and show me the evidence that vaccines do not protect against autism. Show me the evidence that the polio vaccine isn’t helping me concentrate.

    But the real confounder is diagnostic techniques and labels. I can tell you exactly how many of my mother’s grade school classmates were diagnosed as dyslexic: zero. The concept wasn’t available. That doesn’t mean there weren’t dyslexic kids, it means they were called stupid or lazy and got no help.

    A friend of mine was diagnosed with ADHD and given appropriate medication about ten years ago. Utterly ordinary in the large, though quite significant for him, but relevant here: that friend turned 60 last month. So he went through school, and an assortment of jobs, with an undiagnosed problem. A kid with the same brain, but born in 2000 instead of 1950, is probably part of your “increased incidence” of that disease.

  129. #130 jen
    February 18, 2010

    John V: did you read my last post? I can’t say that at least 50% of kids are suffering serious adverse effects to vaccination. I can say that there are obviously a small percentage who do suffer the side effects listed as possible in the insert. AGAIN, we would need a vacc. VS unvacc. study to see what the effects are. More post- vaccine MRI’s might be good, too.
    Have you seen the new post at AoA? Makes Steve Novella and Yale look pretty stupid. That American Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry will accept anything!! Evidently, Novella/Yale doesn’t even fact-check his research.

  130. #131 Michelle
    February 18, 2010

    James, you’re officially my hero today. Your flames were not offensive but they WERE hilarious and made my boring work day a little funnier. :)

  131. #132 Katharine
    February 18, 2010

    “However, as someone who works in the school system, I see so many kids with learning disabilities, ADHD, aspergers, autism etc. Since there is no vaccinated VS unvaccinated study we simply do not know what the effects of all this mass vaccinating are.”

    We call this confirmation bias.

    Anecdotes aren’t data.

    Now, I suspect that if at least 40% of people in the United States (because most people in the United States are vaccinated) were autistic, it would be pretty obvious. Since you assert that I am possibly wrong about my assertion that most people who are vaccinated are fine, I suggest you cough up some conflicting data on vaccination and autism rates.

    This is the data table, from the CDC, of national vaccination rates for several vaccines:

    http://www2a.cdc.gov/nip/coverage/nis/nis_iap2.asp?fmt=v&rpt=tab03_antigen_state&qtr=Q1/2008-Q4/2008

    A significant majority of people in the United States have their required vaccinations.

    The 1 in 91 diagnosis rate, which I suspect is too generous, is WAY below these statistics.

  132. #133 Todd W.
    February 18, 2010

    @jen

    Don’t swallow everything you read at Age of Autism. It isn’t the whole story. They also have a tendency to twist things to fit their ideology.

    Thank you for answering my questions. A few more followups:

    1) Do you have some studies to support the safety of removing the vaccines you indicated from the recommended schedule?
    2) Should “biomed” treatments like chelation and Lupron be used or offered without evidence supporting their safety and efficacy?
    3) You admit that you have no evidence showing the vaccines cause autism and make the tired call for a vaxed vs. unvaxxed study (I’m assuming prospective, random, controlled trial?). Please review the Declaration of Helsinki, the Nuremburg Code, the Belmont Report and the ICH Guidelines on Human Research Protections. Please explain to me how such a study, in light of the documents just listed, would be designed to satisfy ethical requirements. Please also address the issue of subject enrollment (i.e., if randomized, how will you get people to agree to potentially not receiving a vaccine if they support vaccines or potentially receiving a vaccine if they think vaccines are dangerous).

  133. #134 Katharine
    February 18, 2010

    Actually, those are the statistics for children up to 3 years of age.

    This is the website with the rest of the data:

    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/stats-surv/imz-coverage.htm

  134. #136 Dan Weber
    February 18, 2010

    “Have you seen the new post at AoA? Makes Steve Novella and Yale look pretty stupid.”

    Oh, Yale, when will you ever stop being an institute of mediocrity? Read some blogs written by people who don’t understand confounding factors and learn what you are doing wrong!!

  135. #137 triskelethecat
    February 18, 2010

    Jen obviously has reading comprehension problems, and the memory of a gnat. How many times has it been pointed out to her that a vax vs unvax study is UNETHICAL? I know that it has been pointed out to her; I have done it, Todd W has done it, Chris has done it, and more.

    Jen: Do you understand the meaning of UNETHICAL? Or are you just stupid (and I rarely call people that)? You’d rather see a study that would make the Tuskegee study look sane. Then, when it didn’t give you the results you wanted, you would find something wrong with it, just like all antivax idiots. Fortunately, most of the researchers in the US have ethics (Unlike SOME British researchers I could name) and IRBs that won’t permit such a sick notion.

    As for ANY post on AOA: I won’t bother to go there and read it. They write so much garbage that I refuse to give them the hits. I actually find it funny that AOA is blocked from my work address…guess my employer can do ONE thing right!

  136. #138 Todd W.
    February 18, 2010

    @triskelethecat

    Actually, I would encourage people to slog through the muck at AoA and post comments…then cross-post the comments at Silenced by Age of Autism.

    As to making excuses when the vax/unvax study turns up results they don’t agree with, I’ve already ready comments at AoA that shift the goalposts, saying that it needs to be done using children of parents who have never been vaccinated, because, they claim, vaccines the parents received would have an effect on the child, even though the child never received a vaccine.

    If that were done, they would most likely just move it to children whose parents and grandparents had never been vaccinated. And then further back.

  137. #139 triskelethecat
    February 18, 2010

    @Todd W: I know. But really, I can’t stomach AOA. I’ve gone there a few times and the lies and fallacies make me sick.

    I could show them autistic family members who were only vaccinated for smallpox, back in the 30s, but I suppose they would blame the smallpox vaccine, and the fact that most family members as far back as it was available HAD that vaccine…

    I like “Silenced…” Your comments on posts have led me to read the AOA posts occasionally, but, as I said, I have a low tolerance for stupidity and the echo chamber they live in.

    Autism IS. It HAS been, as long as mankind has been around. Maybe not diagnosed that way, but it is NOT a new thing.

  138. #140 Scott
    February 18, 2010

    If that were done, they would most likely just move it to children whose parents and grandparents had never been vaccinated. And then further back.

    Or, that the vaccinated have to stay completely isolated from the unvaccinated, since the “vaccine damage” is contagious somehow. I’ve seen exactly that claim several times…

  139. #141 Unconvinced
    February 18, 2010

    “I believe only a portion of those 55 orchitis cases will result in infertility.”

    Oh, I see how it works. “Well, it’s only a few children who are needlessly left sterile for life. What’s the big deal?”

    Was the orchitis/infertility statement the one that was interpreted as anti-vax? I want to say again that I did not mean to diminish the suffering of Johnny or anyone who has infertility from the mumps or anyone who has had any terrible complication from having the mumps. I especially hope what I said wasn’t hurtful to Johnny because my intent was exactly the opposite.

    I was genuinely relieved when I followed RJ’s link to the CDC report and saw that the complications from the New York/New Jersey mumps outbreaks are low. I think it would be a terrible thing for a lot of the young men impacted by this mumps outbreak to suffer infertility as a result. It seems from the size of the families in the Orthodox Jewish communities that family is something that is very important to them, something they cherish. I imagine it would be a significant personal tragedy for many of these boys and young men to become infertile.

    When I mentioned that orchitis only sometimes ends in infertility I wasn’t trying to imply anything I was just trying to be factual. I was going by this that I had read.

    Mumps orchitis is now rarely seen in children under 10. Orchitis is the most common complication of mumps in post-pubertal men, affecting about 20%-30% of cases:5 10%-30% are bilateral. Orchitis usually occurs 1-2 weeks after parotitis.
    -snip-
    Mumps orchitis rarely leads to sterility but it may contribute to subfertility. It can also can lead to oligospermia, azoospermia, and asthenospermia (defects in sperm movement). Unilateral disease can significantly, but only transiently, diminish the sperm count, mobility, and morphology. Impairment of fertility is estimated to occur in about 13% of patients, while 30%-87% of patients with bilateral mumps orchitis experience infertility.

    Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine-Mumps Orchitis

    I suppose this may not be a very good source. It was from 2006 and I wanted to read something published fairly recently.

  140. #142 James Sweet
    February 18, 2010

    @Unconvinced: A number of your comments have come across as a classic case of concern trolling — but of course intentions are always hard to discern and it’s certainly conceivable I got the wrong impression. Perhaps those comments are merely the result of misinformation.. and it is inappropriate, unfair, and, most importantly, ineffective to respond with flames and incivility to those who have simply been misled. I am “unconvinced” that this describes you, based on your commenting pattern, but who can tell?

    If I said something that was truly unfair — and only you will know that, and only if you are being honest with yourself — then I apologize. As I mentioned, the “people mostly don’t die from these diseases anymore, so who cares?” line of argumentation really gets me worked up. If you truly weren’t trying make that insinuation, then I regret that you got caught up as a target of my (justifiable!) anger. I guess that’s all I have to say about that…

  141. #143 James Sweet
    February 18, 2010

    Ach, I read a few more of your comments, and I’m totally in the wrong here. A few things you said came across as concern trolling, but in the context of the totality of your comments, I see that is almost certainly not the case. My sincere apologies to you. It looks like I screwed up… :/

    I guess that’ll teach me to skim a thread and think I’ve got the major players identified. I stand by my sack-related comments about Sid Offit though…

  142. #144 James Sweet
    February 18, 2010

    Geez, yeah, sorry Unconvinced… I strongly disagree with what you said at #37 (which is okay, reasonable people can disagree), and as a result I think I misinterpreted it as concern trolling rather than a sincere opinion. Then as I was scrolling down, I spotted a couple of your comments about mumps-related infertility, and in the context of my misreading of comment #37, I interpreted them as downplaying the side effects of mumps, whereas now I see you were merely trying to discuss it dispassionately. Whoops…

    Major egg on my face here. I’m really, really sorry I said you should have your nuts cut off :/

  143. #145 Unconvinced
    February 18, 2010

    I appreciate that James. I had to look up “concern trolling” but now I understand and your attack makes some sense now.

    This is really personal for me, and I’m reminded in this thread with Johnny and triskelethecat and Kristen and her mom that it’s personal for a lot of people. I get worked up too because my daughter has a dysfunctional immune system and it has degraded quite a bit over the last few years and some of her doctors are now suggesting she not get some of her vaccines and I’m not sure what to do. She’s always been athymic but then she developed an autoimmune condition and now has progressed into a hyperIgM like condition where she has way too much IgM and not enough IgG and IgE. She is the classic case of a kid who needs to benefit from herd immunity.

    Naturally I have a number of family members who feel entitled to weigh in on decisions like this and since I don’t want to be too argumentative or rude with them, it felt kind of good to vent a little here. I try my best to be fact-based and science-based in coming to conclusions but am always looking for new information and questioning my assumptions and beliefs, hence the name “Unconvinced”.

    And as far as names go, it does sting that much more when someone with the surname of Sweet calls you an asshole. And don’t worry about the nuts thing. I didn’t react too strongly to that because I don’t have any.

    I have one more post to make addressing something Katharine said and I’m a little worried now that it will come off as “concern trolling.” I used two sources and hopefully they’re okay. One is a mainstream media newspaper article and I suppose those can always be a little iffy. The other is a source I’m not really familiar with but I hope that it’s science-based. After that, I’ll probably go back to mostly lurking…posting is very time-consuming.

    Thank you for taking the time to explain where you were coming from, I do really appreciate it.

  144. #146 Sid Offit
    February 18, 2010

    Hey is there anybody still here. I just had to listen to the Snydermaniac one more time and i picked up on one more bit of insanity. “Polio is still rampant in other countries!”

    India: population 1,027,015,247

    Polio cases YTD 2010: 12

    Worldwide 25 cases

  145. #147 triskelethecat
    February 18, 2010

    @Unconvinced: your explanation in #146 goes a LONG way to explain where you are coming from. It’s tough when you have to depend on the herd immunity and know that you can’t necessarily depend on it. I realized earlier than James that you seemed more confused than combative, so tried to explain rather than confront. If I’ve seemed combative, I apologize.

    Stick around, this place, Science-Based Medicine, and (help…I’ve forgotten the site Todd W maintains!) are great places to find answers. It may be a little harsh at times, but if you are really interested you can learn a lot.

  146. #148 Sid Offit
    February 18, 2010

    Stick around, this place, Science-Based Medicine, and (help…I’ve forgotten the site Todd W maintains!) are great places to find answers
    —————

    Todd’s site is “me like vaccines.com”

  147. #149 Unconvinced
    February 18, 2010

    Bizarrely, the anti-vaxxers ignore such things as the fact that oxytocin might improve social skills in autistic people or that numerous genetic factors such as alterations in OXTR (I think that’s the abbreviation for the gene) and age of parents factor into autism and that the vast majority of the vaccinated have turned out perfectly fine, thanks.

    Katharine @ 103 & 104,
    Since we’re the good guys, I just want to make sure we have our information correct. Of course, I do agree with you that the vast majority of the vaccinated have turned out perfectly fine. However, I don’t think it’s quite accurate to say that the anti-vaxxers ignore the oxytocin/autism connection.

    While cautioning that more research is needed on children and additional patients to make sure oxytocin is safe and effective, advocates for families with children with autism welcomed the findings. Oxytocin has been in use for several years as an “alternative” therapy for autism.

    “Many families are using it with success and reporting improvement,” said Wendy Fournier, president of the National Autism Association.
    “Getting double-blind clinical studies like this one published helps to bring credibility to parental reports.”

    Hormone-infused nasal spray found to help people with autism

    As far as OXTR, there was one or more cases where they found DNA changes to the OXTR gene, but the other finding was that there are epigenetic changes to the gene in people with autism. I don’t think it’s accurate to say the anti-vaxxers are ignoring this fact. This seems to fit right in with their twisted ideas.

    Epigenetic events are permanent, but reversible.

    “Thus, even though epigenetic changes may be difficult to alter once established, it is possible to reverse them otherwise epigenetic therapy would not be effective in the treatment of some cancers,” Jirtle adds.

    Duke Department of Medicine researcher Simon Gregory described the link between DNA methylation and autism in a paper published in October in the journal BMC Medicine.

    Most genetic studies of autism focus on variations in the DNA sequence itself, especially on genes that are missing. Gregory and his colleagues looked at an oxytocin receptor gene, called OXTR, and found that about 70 percent of the 119 autistic people in his study had a methylated OXTR; in a control group of people without autism, the rate was about 40 percent. Oxytocin is a hormone that affects social interaction; difficulty relating to others is common for those with autism spectrum disorders.
    -snip-
    Toxicologists also have a big stake in epigenetics.

    The potential human implications—do the chemicals we ingest today affect our great-grandchildren?—are tremendous. In addition to pesticides, toxicologists are studying chemicals in plastics, such as phthalates and bisphenol A, to see if they could enhance our risk of disease by altering the epigenome.

    Epigenetics research takes aim at cancer, Alzheimer’s, autism and other illnesses

    I’m sure there are a number of people here who know more about epigenetics than I’ll ever know and maybe they could weigh in on this.

  148. #150 RJ
    February 18, 2010

    YTD 2010 isn’t going to tell you much.

    How about 2009 of reported, confirmed cases (just so you understand, this is a percentage of the real number of cases).

    2009: 1595
    http://www.polioeradication.org/casecount.asp

    Again, I know, I know….it’s not much of a big deal. 1500 kids a year, BFD! We could immunize less, and the numbers will stay the same. We could easily just stop immunizing and those numbers will stay the same. In no way does immunizing keep the number of cases down. They just stay low on its own. That’s how parasites work…they just magically go away!

  149. #151 Unconvinced
    February 18, 2010

    @ 148: Thanks cat

  150. #152 Pablo
    February 18, 2010

    Most genetic studies of autism focus on variations in the DNA sequence itself, especially on genes that are missing. Gregory and his colleagues looked at an oxytocin receptor gene, called OXTR, and found that about 70 percent of the 119 autistic people in his study had a methylated OXTR; in a control group of people without autism, the rate was about 40 percent.

    OK, it seems pretty obvious to me that methylation is not the cause of the autism then. However, it is very possible that the thing that leads to enhanced chance of methylation could be the source. It’s a good lead, worth following.

  151. #153 Medicine Man
    February 18, 2010

    What the vaccine / autism deniers fail to tells us is this:

    What is causing the surge in autism if not these vaccines? Until the vaccine pushers/autism deniers answer this question and offer a solution, they should be ignored and excluded from the conversation.

    How many thousands of perfectly normal children have gotten very sick with irreversible effects AFTER reveiving one of these vaccines that libtards keep pushing? Why is it that these kids are not utistic until AFTER the vaccination? Can the autism deniars answer this?

  152. #154 Peapoh
    February 18, 2010

    @154

    …only “libtards” push vaccines?

    Huffington Post anyone?

  153. #155 Johnny
    February 18, 2010

    If she left you because of your infertility, she was not a “good woman.”

    I’ll be the judge of that, if you don’t mind.

    We both wanted to have a coupla kids. She wanted to be a mother, and I wanted to be a dad. It was important to both of us, and important enough to me to pay for the fun of filling a paper cup. But with me shooting blanks, it just wasn’t going to happen. If we had married, we both would have likely never had kids. I had heard she did wind up with a few children, and I wish her only the best. It was near 30 years ago, and I thought I’d buried it a little deeper than it seems I have. I apologize to the group for my profane outburst last night, but not for being disgusted at Sid for thinking mumps is no big deal.

    As has been noted, on a case by case basis, infertility and death are rare outcomes of mumps. However, a rare outcome to a common event happens a lot.

    Sid quotes a study in 66 that says

    Death due to mumps is exceedingly rare, and
is mostly caused by mumps encephalitis. In the USA,
over the period 1966–71 there were two deaths per
10 000 mumps cases…

    Fine – we’ll use those numbers.

    According to http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/784603-overview :

    Frequency
    United States
    Prior to the vaccine about 50% of children contracted mumps. Approximately 200,000 cases were reported in 1964 before the introduction of the vaccine compared with 291 cases in 2005

    2 deaths per 10000 cases times 200,000 cases gives us 40 deaths a year.

    2 deaths per 10000 cases times 291 cases gives us one death in 17 years.

    Both of these describe the same rare event, but one situation is a whole lot more rare that the other in terms of absolute numbers – 680 to 1. Add my two missing kids, and 4 grandkids I should have now, makes that 686 to 1.

    But Sid is right – it’s rare. Let’s think about a much more typical outcome.

    My sister came down with the mumps a week or two or three prior to me getting sick (hey, it was 40 years ago, my memory is a little fuzzy). My sister said she was feeling bad, mom felt her forehead, looked at her face, and made the diagnosis. Mumps was common, and mom had seen them (and had them). Mumps are easy to spot if you’ve seen ‘em, and darn near everyone had seen the disease. See above… 50-50 you’d have had them your self.

    So my sister goes off to bed, she gets sicker, her face swells up even more, it hurts, she cries, then she gets better. A week or so later, she goes back to school.

    I’ve been looking for school attendance records, to see if absences have changed over the years, and my google-fu is weak. But if 40 lives a year aren’t enough to make Sid see that mumps vaccines are a good idea, a few hundred thousand hours of classroom time won’t either.

    You got a lot of balls talking to me that way

    Only because I never got the mumps. :p

    That was funny. James Sweet wins one internet.

  154. #156 Joseph
    February 18, 2010

    What is causing the surge in autism if not these vaccines? Until the vaccine pushers/autism deniers answer this question and offer a solution, they should be ignored and excluded from the conversation.

    I think the adult autism deniers are harmful to the autistic community and should be excluded from the conversation.

    Autism is not something that only children have, if that wasn’t clear.

  155. #157 Medicine man
    February 18, 2010

    The Huffington post is just like MSLSD – a liberal meida outlet. I hear libs complain about FOX News all the time. The truth is we only have one television media outlet that we trust. Liberals have all others – PB.S. , MSLSD, NBC, CBS, CNN, ABC better known as:

    MSNBC – Most Shitty National Barack Casting

    PBS – Public Bull Shit

    NBC – National Barack Channel

    CNN – Cunning National Negativism

    ABC – All Barack Channel

    CBS – Certified Bull Shit

  156. #158 Chris
    February 18, 2010

    Medicine man/Dangerous Doctor/Libertarian Troll see: this old Orac piece. Also try to remember that there is no real scientific evidence that vaccines have anything to do with autism.

  157. #159 Medicine man
    February 18, 2010

    Is there real scientific evidence to say what causes autism? Is there real scientific evidence to say why vaccines have to have dangerous preservatives in them causing dementia, paralysis, and death? Remember the swine flu vaccines that were killing a paralyzing people hours after taking them? An you want me to take one? Hell no! Count me out. I’ll take my chances with the disease. It’s safer.

  158. #160 mk
    February 18, 2010

    Yes, it is true, Medicine man… reality has a liberal bias.

    Deal.

  159. #161 Joseph
    February 18, 2010

    Medicine man is way off base if he thinks this has to do with left/right politics. Case in point: HuffPo and David Kirby.

  160. #162 Calli Arcale
    February 18, 2010

    How many thousands of perfectly normal children have gotten very sick with irreversible effects AFTER reveiving one of these vaccines that libtards keep pushing?

    Good question, Medicine Man. Presumably, since you clearly believe that large numbers of children do, in fact, suffer irreversible negative effects from vaccines, you have some idea of the answer. Could you share it with us, rather than merely alleging that there is a vaccine-induced autism epidemic? (Heck, just demonstrating an autism “epidemic” would be helpful, since the evidence I’ve seen to date is equivocal at best.)

    I do understand, however, your desire to exclude vaccine advocates and those skeptical of the vaccine-autism link from the conversation. After all, it must get very uncomfortable when awkward questions are answered.

  161. #163 Chris
    February 18, 2010

    The troll asked:

    Remember the swine flu vaccines that were killing a paralyzing people hours after taking them?

    No. Enlighten us with some evidence that this actually happened. I believe this was asked the last time you mentioned it, but you failed to provide the evidence (along with some other stuff).

  162. #164 Unconvinced
    February 18, 2010

    Johnny @ 156,
    I don’t mind and I’m truly sorry for what you’ve been through and I’m sorry if I contributed to your pain.

  163. #165 JohnV
    February 19, 2010

    “Remember the swine flu vaccines that were killing a paralyzing people hours after taking them? ”

    Can’t say as I do, actually.

  164. #166 Todd W.
    February 19, 2010

    @triskelethecat (#148)

    It’s antiantivax.flurf.net.

  165. #167 Medicine Man
    February 19, 2010

    Chris,

    Every single day there was a new story about someone who has become seriously ill after taking the stupid swine flu shot. One of these people was Washington Redskins cheerleader. She was a perfectly healthy girl. She took this killer H1N1 vaccine and within 12 hours she was paralyzed. She remains so today. This is one example of multiple accounts. I hate to see what happened in China – they were the test subjects of the vaccine.

  166. #168 Chris
    February 19, 2010

    The troll said:

    One of these people was Washington Redskins cheerleader. She was a perfectly healthy girl. She took this killer H1N1 vaccine and within 12 hours she was paralyzed. She remains so today.

    BZZZZZZZZT! Wrong, wrong, wrongety WRONG!

    1) She claimed it was the seasonal influenza vaccine she had in August/September before the H1N1 vaccine was available.

    2) She was not paralyzed. She claimed to have a dystonia, at least until several who really have dystonia pointed out that what she had was nothing like real dystonia. She could move, and could actually run!

    3) She is fine. The television program Inside Edition caught up with her where she was walking, playing with her dog and driving.

    Do try to keep up. The latest information is here:
    http://www.theness.com/neurologicablog/?p=1558

    You can also see the comments on this blog by searching on “Jennings” using the search box on the upper left of this page.

  167. #169 Chris
    February 19, 2010

    By the way, troll, you should really stop reading whatever websites claimed she was paralyzed from the H1N1 vaccine. It is obvious that they are run by lying liars who like to lie, a lot. Of course, from now on we will assume anything you post under one of your several silly names is completely wrong.

  168. #170 Agashem
    February 19, 2010

    To all the anti-vaxxers and especially Jen; I am horrified that you are a fellow Canadian. I have worked in the school system and I know your type, cynical and willing to blame anything for the kids’ bad behavior. I posit that autism is none of your damned business – you may work with them, but you don’t work with my daughter, thank glayven. She is in Grade 11 in Ontario and has an 82.5% average, with no class room help. No thanks to bitter unionized workers like yourself who like to gripe from the sidelines and offer no real help to those involved. Retire already and allow younger people to work who actually give a shit. By the way, why don’t you stick with AOA and stop pissing those of us who know better off?

  169. #171 mk
    February 21, 2010

    So… Medicine Man… we see you are a liar as well. Good to know for future reference!

    Loser.

  170. #172 URnotAtard
    February 22, 2010

    wow, what an overly complex bag of tricks…you can’t have it both ways, when you add truth, it’s as simple as 1+1=2 an equation that is no more complex if you have a logical & loving brain to understand is whether or not vaccination is of use to people…take a look at the FREAK quack who first came up with the idea, and then also research WHERE he got the idea from (tribal medicine men in africa, it just wasnt one of the better parts of their medicine like herbs). Once you know the origins, it’s not a huge leap of logic to find out what the end will be.
    PS: Darwin was a racist freak, and I will guarantee you that his wickedness crept into ALL of the ideas/concepts he expounded. I’m caucasian and I wouldn’t put two cents of worth into all the so called research such a hateful man claims to of created. Yet who does science and society hold up as a veritable god of intelligence and integrity??? Please time to pull your heads out of such “I believe it cause they teach it” nonsense.

  171. #173 Calli Arcale
    February 22, 2010

    URnotAtard:

    it’s as simple as 1+1=2 an equation that is no more complex if you have a logical & loving brain to understand is whether or not vaccination is of use to people…take a look at the FREAK quack who first came up with the idea, and then also research WHERE he got the idea from (tribal medicine men in africa, it just wasnt one of the better parts of their medicine like herbs). Once you know the origins, it’s not a huge leap of logic to find out what the end will be.

    Wow.

    Okay, first off, you are alleging that we should know vaccination is bad if we know where it came from — tribal medicine men in Africa. That’s interesting considering that you went on to describe Darwin as “a racist freak”, which is particularly odd since it’s completely irrelevant to the thread.

    Secondly, vaccination did not come from tribal medicine men in Africa. The oldest known use of inoculation was in China over two thousand years ago. (Strangely, practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine tend to disparage vaccination. This is actually not so strange when you realize that many “TCM” practices are actually neither traditional nor even Chinese.) It was also widely practiced in India, and was even a part of Ayurvedic medicine. The practice was commonplace by the time of English colonialism, and in 1716, Lady Montagu, the wife of an English diplomat working in the Ottoman Empire (modern-day Turkey), observed vaccination, had her son vaccinated, and enthusiastically promoted the technique upon her return to England. This practice was widespread well before Jenner introduced his more systematic version in 1796.

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