Respectful Insolence

There are few things more dangerous than a reporter with no understanding of science who, though the arrogance of ignorance, somehow comes to think that he has found the “next big story.” We’ve seen it before in various incarnations. One of the first such reporters to fall down the rabbithole of vaccine pseudoscience, thinking he found a huge story, was, of course, David Kirby, whose “investigations” produced resulted in his 2004 book Evidence of Harm: Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic, A Medical Controversy. Together with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and his steamy, drippy turd of fear mongering entitled Deadly Immunity, which appeared in June 2005 and helped launch me into the blog business of taking down anti-vaccine lies when and where I find them, Kirby was a major force in perpetuating the myth that mercury in the thimerosal preservative in vaccines was a major cause of the “autism epidemic.”

Hot on the heels of David Kirby, there was Dan Olmsted. These days, Olmsted is currently the editor of Generation Rescue‘s anti-vaccine propaganda blog Age of Autism. What most people who haven’t been following this issue a long time don’t know is that Olmsted used to be an investigative reporter and senior editor for United Press International (UPI). Really, it’s true! Between January 2005 and July 2007, Olmsted wrote a series of “investigative” reports in a series that he called Age of Autism (his first installment predating the existence of the actual Age of Autism blog by nearly three years). In the series, he totally bought into vaccine-autism pseudoscience and presented the conspiracy theory through a combination of the same logical fallacies and bad science that undergirds the anti-vaccine movement, including confusing correlation with causation to blame thimerosal in vaccines or vaccines themselves for an “autism epidemic.”

Olmsted’s most infamous gaffe was to be, as far as I can tell, the man who originated the myth that the Amish don’t vaccinate and that as a consequence they don’t get autism, a fallacy that, again as far as I can tell, Olmsted first reported in a two-part story entitled The Amish Anomaly (Part 2 here) and revisited time and time again. Of course, the Amish do vaccinate, and there are autistic Amish. In fact, Olmsted even missed a clinic in the heart of Amish country that treats autistic Amish children. Unfortunately, facts didn’t stand in the way of a good myth, which has only grown in the five years since Olmsted first imagined it. Ultimately, Dan Olmsted left UPI (whether he resigned or was fired, only he and UPI know) and is now the editor of the anti-vaccine crank blog Age of Autism, where he can “report” to his heart’s content, free of any pesky concerns about editors insisting on actual facts and science.

After Olmsted, we’ve met other reporters of his ilk, in particular Steve Wilson of WXYZ-TV News in Detroit. Usually most of these reporters are local reporters, at least since Dan Olmsted parted ways with UPI, but over the last few years on a national level, Sharyl Atkkisson has taken up the mantle of national anti-vaccine reporter, becoming in essence CBS News’ resident anti-vaccine crank reporter. She even seems to have some sort of connection with AoA in which she has apparently fed the merry band of anti-vaccine loons there information on at least one occasion. Perhaps she’s destined for AoA infamy after her news career implodes. One can only hope. Now I’ve found another reporter anxious to take a flying leap off the rationality train, and he makes Dan Olmsted look rational by comparison. Meet Richard Moore, “investigative reporter” for the Lakeland Times. He appears to have bought completely into the Age of Autism propaganda line that vaccines cause autism, autoimmune disease, and bad breath, not to mention all manner of evil. The problem is, he’s a newbie, and, as a newbie, he has the enthusiasm of the recently converted. Too bad he doesn’t have a modicum of actual–oh, you know–scientific knowledge to go along with it. It’s the arrogance of ignorance on display. Not just on display, but proudly flaunted as though it were a virtue, proof of Moore’s inherent rightness.

No, it’s more than ignorance. It’s flaming, burning stupid, a veritable Burning Man of stupid–no, a Hiroshima and Nagasaki of atomic stupid rolled into one. In fact, Moore fires off anti-vaccine lies the same way that John Basilone fires off machine gun rounds in The Pacific. Of course, Moore’s barrages have far less effect because many of his rounds are long-discredited anti-vaccine lies that even J.B. Handley would think twice before firing off. Consequently, they bounce harmlessly off the armor of science, not even leaving a scratch in the paint. Let’s put it this way, shamelessly mixing metaphors. If Michael Egnor is the Energizer Bunny of intelligent design creationism, Moore sure looks as though he’s trying to become the Energizer Bunny of the anti-vaccine movement.

A perfect example is an article that appeared yesterday by Moore entitled Autism and the bad science of the medical establishment. He starts out sounding more like Mike Adams than any sort of legitimate reporter:

To some, it might come as a complete surprise that the big government, big pharmaceutical forces of the medical establishment turn out to be completely without credibility, but to me it is an ongoing fact of life.

From killing the elderly and maiming children with drugs such as Risperdal to perpetrating hoaxes such as the Swine Flu Pandemic of 2009 – nations are now unloading millions of unused swine flu vaccines the pharmaceutical industry conned them into buying – Big Pharma and its government allies peddle drugs to people who don’t need them, and who often end up worse after taking them.

When sensible people protest, the medical establishment engages in a massive campaign to destroy their credibility. They accuse those who disagree with them of bad science, and then use bad science to back up their own claims.

They trot out government-backed agencies endowed with stately acronymic names (“The CDC says . . .), which roar out their verdicts in ominous Oz-like tones to instill fear, all the while telling people to ignore that silly man behind the curtain.

We’ve all seen the show before, and it’s no different when it comes to autism and the role that childhood vaccines and other environmental toxins play in its rapid spread among our youth.

Wow. Moore might even out-Adams Mike Adams! I’ve criticized the various depredations of big pharma before. I’m more than aware that pharmaceutical companies are not paragons of virtue; they’re out to make money. But the conspiracy-mongering demonstrated in the passage cited above is right up there with the “best” I’ve ever encountered and deconstructed on this blog, while the level of stupidity and sheer ignorance has been turned up to 11 and beyond. Way beyond. Moore seems to believe that not only is big pharma cackling with glee like some sort of demented Ernst Stavro Blofeld, only apparently stroking a package of syringes rather than a cat. I mean really, really, really believe. Of course, Blofeld was highly intelligent, cunning, and ruthless. Given the utter ineptitude of Moore’s attack, he reminds me more of the hapless Doctor Evil from the Austin Powers movies, only without the redeeming feature of being funny, except that Doctor Evil shows far more signs of intelligence than Moore does.

Don’t believe me? Then get a load of the rest of his article. In it, he uncritically buys into the concept of an “autism epidemic” when there almost certainly is not one, heaps scorn upon big pharma for imagined offenses of which big pharma is actually not guilty, and in general engages in conspiracy mongering so ridiculous that even AoA rarely sinks to such levels, and that’s saying something:

The truth is, while not all of the autism epidemic can be traced to too many vaccines containing too many poisons, much of it can be, and the medical establishment has spent millions trying to stigmatize that sound and sane notion, to the detriment of thousands of children.

First, they tell us there is no autism epidemic, though diagnoses have mushroomed, rising from fewer than 1 in 2,500 to 1 in 110 in a matter of decades. Yet, the medical establishment will sit there and tell you there isn’t any real increase at all.

They do this with a straight face.

Of course, they do, because there is science to back up the contention, whereas the opposing contention (that there is an “autism epidemic,” a veritable autism “tsunami,” if you will) is backed up by not much more than the logical fallacy known as the appeal to personal incredulity. That’s why scientists can say this weith a straight face, while Moore proclaims “autism epidemic” with a sneering face. Personally, I think that scientists should rebut loons like Moore with a laughing face, because the dude has no clue what he is talking about. The fact is that much, if not all of the apparently increasing prevalence of autism can indeed be shown to be due to diagnostic substitution, increased awareness, and the broadening of the diagnostic criteria used to define the condition. It’s quite possible that there might have been a “true”increase in the prevalance of autism, but the data are by no means definitive, nor is there anything close to agreement on this point. It is quite possible–likely, in fact–that there has been no detectable increase in autism prevalence, and all the apparent “epidemic” is indeed due to diagnostic substitution and the broadening of the diagnostic criteria.

Failing understanding, Moore resorts to sophomoric sarcasm. I hate that. If anyone’s going ot use sophomoric sarcasm, it’s Orac, not some hack journalist from Wisconsin. All I can do, I guess, is to provide Moore that which he most surely craves: A heapin’ helpin’ of not-so-Respectful Insolence. As Captain Kirk said to Khan in The Wrath of Khan: “Here it comes.” But before I can say, “Now, Mr. Spock,” and let loose the phasers and photon torpedos into this Khan wannabe, let’s take a brief look at the target first:

Then they release “scientific” studies “disproving” any link between autism and mercury (thimerosal) in vaccines, or any link to vaccination schedules, or any causation by toxins such as aluminum.

And Mr. Moore is an “investigative journalist” claiming to have found “evidence” for an link between vaccines and autism who also invokes the “toxin” gambit.

Gee, the use of scare quotes is fun!

So is watching how Moore launches through a litany of long-discredited anti-vaccine myths. For example, he plays the “Where are the adult autistics?” card. Let’s see. Here they are. Oh, here they are, too! Perhaps as many as 1 in 100 adults! Oops! Sorry, Mr. Moore. Try again.

Unfortunately, he does. For example:

So what about all those scientific studies produced by the medical establishment showing no link to vaccines – and to thimerosal in particular – and the claims that those believing in a vaccine link have no scientific evidence of their own?

After all, between 2003 and 2008, 10 studies from Canada, Denmark, Sweden, United Kingdom, and the United States showed no association between thimerosal in vaccines and autism. At least 19 studies in all came to the same conclusion.

As it turns out, all the studies were ethically tainted, either funded in part by the pharmaceutical industry or its ally, the Centers for Disease Control. They were ideologically skewed as well, assiduously avoiding any direction or field of exploration that might have demonstrated a link between vaccines and autism, such as studies comparing autism rates in vaccinated children to those in unvaccinated groups, as obvious an undertaking that such studies might be.

Note how Mr. Moore is utterly unable to describe any actual scientific flaws in these studies. All he does is to assert that they are “ethically tainted” (whee! more scare quotes, this time justified), and he can then wave his hands and dismiss all their results without having to bother to think about them. Well, not quite. He does cite “flaws” in, for example, the Danish studies that are not major flaws at all, as Steve Novella has shown. Then, in a hilariously ignorant and un-self-aware bit of silliness, Moore even invokes Poul Thorsen and his alleged infamous fraud. The problem is, as I have discussed in great detail, Thorsen was not even close to being the lead investigator of these studies. More importantly, even if he were guilty of fraud, it would not in any way cast doubt upon the validity of the results of the Danish studies. It’s great for conspiracy mongering and anti-vaccine wet dreams, but for science, not so much.

If you really want to know just how hilariously, ridiculously, fantastically ignorant Moore is, though, just get a load of this passage:

A Generation Rescue study compared under-five mortality rates and the vaccination schedule in the U.S. with those in 29 other nations, and found that the U.S. had the highest number of mandated vaccines for children under five in the world (36, or double the Western world average of 18), the highest autism rate in the world (10 times or more the rate of some other Western countries), but only placed 34th in the world for its children under-5 mortality rate.

In other words, more vaccines correlate to more autism, but the tripling of the schedule has not done much to improve early childhood mortality.

Wrong, Mr. Moore. Wrong, wrong, wrong. If you think a Generation Rescue pseudo-study has any validity whatsoever, you need a course in medical research methodology, STAT!

Or maybe it’s a lost cause. Moore even references Mady Hornig’s infamous “rain mouse” study.

As I said before, there are few things more dangerous to public health than a scientifically ignorant reporter who thinks he’s on to the next big story that’ll make a name for himself. David Kirby proves that. Dan Olmsted proves it. Now Richard Moore proves it. There’s only one logical next stop for him: A blogging gig for the anti-vaccine crank blog Age of Autism.

It’s coming. It’s only a matter of time.

Comments

  1. #1 Dr RJ
    May 12, 2010

    I have an internet connection.

    I like to write stuff on my blog after I’ve had a few beers.

    Does this make me an “investigative reporter” too?

    Into the sack, Richie-boy.

  2. #2 provaxmom
    May 12, 2010

    Kind of a day late and a dollar short, jumping on the vax-autism bandwagon, isn’t he? I would think that this trend would begin to subside soon. If he truly were a trendsetter in reporting, he’d find something new and exciting in the world of woo. Being anti-vax is so five minutes ago.

  3. #3 JohnV
    May 12, 2010

    Is the lakeland times a real newspaper?

    I don’t mean fake like the onion but is it just printed in some guys basement with a circulation of 100?

  4. #4 MartinM
    May 12, 2010

    For example, he plays the “Where are the adult autistics?” card.

    :waves:

    It’s always worth pointing out that, for all their apparent concern, the anti-vax movement hurt autistics more than they help. Ignoring us when our existence is inconvenient to them is just one more way in which they make it clear that it’s really all about them, not us.

  5. #5 christophe-thill.myopenid.com
    May 12, 2010

    The swine flu pandemic ??? A hoax ??? Go tell it to those it killed. Or, even better, to their friends and families.

  6. #6 Dave Ruddell
    May 12, 2010

    Is the lakeland times a real newspaper?

    Apparently, it serves Minocqua, WI, which according to wiki, has a population of 4,859. So, not exactly a booming metropolis. Although, in the fall they have something called Beef-a-Rama, which does sound mighty tasty.

  7. #7 Todd W.
    May 12, 2010

    Wait a sec. He’s an investigative reporter and he doesn’t know that the anti-vax movement has, for the most part, moved on from the thimerosal bit? Get with the times, Mr. Moore. (Great, now I have a Monty Python sketch stuck in my head.)

    Perhaps someone should point him to some good resources, like SBM or antiantivax, where his concerns have already been addressed and explained in easy-to-understand terms.

  8. #8 Lookie Here!
    May 12, 2010

    I’m telling you, this is all a plot by Big Disease. They’re taking control of the media!

  9. #9 a-non
    May 12, 2010

    Although, in the fall they have something called Beef-a-Rama, which does sound mighty tasty.

    Do NOT mock the Beef-a-Rama.

  10. #10 bobh
    May 12, 2010

    You give these guys too much credit. They are looking to latch on to something that will get them noticed. There is no reason to believe that they even care what they are writing about except to the degree that it might get them to the big time.

  11. #11 AMH in Ohio
    May 12, 2010

    I think we just need to get away from the vaccine cocktails. we really don’t know how they interact with one another. Spread them out and perhaps they will be safer.

  12. #12 a-non
    May 12, 2010

    I think we just need to get away from the vaccine cocktails. we really don’t know how they interact with one another. Spread them out and perhaps they will be safer.

    You realize we got this quote from somebody who’s link takes me to an insurance com…

    Nah, that’s too easy – even for me.

  13. #13 dcotler
    May 12, 2010

    If AMH @ 11 doesn’t know something, then “we” must not know it either. This is the wrong site for that kind if prattle.

  14. #14 Joseph
    May 12, 2010

    So he’s a lot like David Kirby. He’s under the impression that his inability to ascertain whether any adult he’s ever come across is autistic, is more informative than large-scale epidemiological studies.

    There are, at this juncture, at least 3 modern-criteria studies that could be considered “adult” studies. In chronological order:

    1. Kadesjö et al (1999). This is a study of children born in 1985 in Karlstad, Sweden. It finds a prevalence of 1.21%.

    2. Baird et al (2006). This is a study of children born between 1990 and 1991 in the UK. It finds a prevalence of 1.16%.

    3. Brugha et al (2009). The first study actually designed specifically as an adult prevalence study. It finds a prevalence of 1% among adults living in private households across the UK.

  15. #15 D. C. Sessions
    May 12, 2010

    What you don’t understand, Orac, is that there really is a conspiracy. That’s why all of the studies done keep covering up the horrible truth. It doesn’t even matter whether the studies are being done by medical researchers (who are obviously in the pocket of the Pharmaceutical-Governmental Complex) or not. For instance, educational researchers and sociologists looking into the LD statistics are also part of the conspiracy.

    It really is a case of the average American or Nigerian defending what they know to be true despite assaults by people who actually study the world.

  16. #16 David N. Brown
    May 12, 2010

    “Olmsted’s most infamous gaffe was to be, as far as I can tell, the man who originated the myth that the Amish don’t vaccinate and that as a consequence they don’t get autism”

    At “Evil Possum”, I’ve argued “the Amish Anomaly” to be effectively a hoax, but I don’t think Olmsted created it. His cited sources were mostly “alt health” promoters, who may have had him (and even themselves) sincerely fooled. I think Olmsted’s personal claim to infamy should be the “Voting Himself Rich” story against Paul Offit, aka “18/3=29!!” The most unseemly aspect of this episode is that he base a key argument on documents dated 1992 and 1993, while the actual patent Offit was paid for was dated 1998.
    And note the irony of AoA’s indignation over my suggesting that the “Aarhus document” was forged!

  17. #17 plutosdad
    May 12, 2010

    I’ve also read our infant mortality is inflated because we try to rescue younger premies than other countries. For instance in the UK, that under 24 week premie will be allowed to die naturally and not be considered in the infant mortality stats, but in the US, the doctor might decide there is a chance, and if they can’t save it, it will be counted. In reality the same number of deaths happened, but they just don’t count it in other countries.

  18. #18 Composer99
    May 12, 2010

    This garbage is called journalism? Or should I add scare quotes too, as in “journalism”? For shame, Richard Moore, for shame.

  19. #19 ???
    May 12, 2010

    What? He didn’t mention the Freemasons? Everyone knows you can’t have a good conspiracy without including all 3 degrees of Masonry.

  20. #20 Jim
    May 12, 2010

    One of the posters on a board I frequent has been very actively pro-vax in the comments section on those articles, when his comments have managed to remain undeleted. He’s a local, and is taking this matter very, very much to heart.

  21. #21 Todd W.
    May 12, 2010

    @Orac

    There’s only one logical next stop for him: A blogging gig for the anti-vaccine crank blog Age of Autism.

    Well, they have already copied his article over there.

    How long before he gets a gig on HuffPo, do you think?

  22. #22 redacted
    May 12, 2010

    “Posted: Tuesday, May 11, 2010
    Article comment by: Melinda

    My son wasn’t vaccinated because my husband and I believed the “anti-vaccine” stuff. He’s autistic anyway. Care to explain? Because honestly, everyone I know was vaccinated. Their kids were vaccinated. My son is the only one with autism, and the only one who WASN’T vaccinated. So, then how does it make sense for it to be vaccines? So here’s what I think- Maybe the kids who were different after vaccines (my son started getting seizures at 18 months old, sans vaccines) don’t actually have “autism”, but actually have this mercury poisoning and are being diagnosed with the wrong thing?”

    Can we add this to the list of things for when Mr. Bateson comes back around?

  23. #23 wfjag
    May 12, 2010

    @provaxmom:
    “Kind of a day late and a dollar short, jumping on the vax-autism bandwagon, isn’t he?”

    Jenny has a $50 Million trust fund and is current sans boyfriend. Some places that’s called “an opportunity.”

  24. #24 Denice Walter
    May 12, 2010

    @ D.C. Sessions:So true.However,it’s the *psychologists* who really got this off the ground in the ’90′s with the infamous _DSM_ created especially to fit specs by BigPharma,BigSpecialEd,BigTherapy,BigTestingService,etc.(Amazing how well they all got along!)Not to mention Dunning’s and Kruger’s important contribution to our defense against “truth tellers”.

  25. #25 Liz Ditz
    May 12, 2010

    The really wacky article linked below is from a community college paper, serving around 45,000 people. I have emailed the editor with a detailed critique (no response yet), but there’s only one comment. Care to weigh in?

    Autism Vaccine Link Still Confuses

    Vaccination is the number one argument against autism in today’s society. Among all the factors that can allude to autism, it is the most researched and debated by far. Mercury is the number one ingredient in children’s vaccines that worries parents along with doctors. “There are definitely a few ingredients in the vaccines that we have directly related to causing autism. Even though companies that fund poor quality research have been trying to say that it isn’t true, but we know that it is true”, argued Getoff. There are many researchers that have tried to tell the public that vaccines have nothing to do with autism, when in reality they have a lot to do with it. Even though doctors cannot tell exactly what parts of the vaccine do cause autism, they can identify certain vaccines such as – MMR and DPT.

  26. #26 Todd W.
    May 12, 2010

    @Liz Ditz

    Registered and left a comment directing people to SBM and antiantivax.

  27. #27 Warren Jedden
    May 12, 2010

    Hey, has anyone seen Rene Najera? He hasn’t posted to his examiner.com page, and he seems to be awol. Now, there’s a guy who’s not a reporter, or even a doctor, but, by gosh, how have the antivaxers attacked him. I hear his job was even threatened. (Something tells me he’s around, though. He’s always around.)

  28. #28 Marni
    May 12, 2010

    @25 Liz Ditz-

    Ouch, my head hurts after reading that article. The spelling, the grammar, the poor transitions, and the wacky facts- I love the part where it claims that Paul Offit is a supporter of Andrew Wakefield!!!

    I weep for the literary future of this country.

  29. #29 Pablo
    May 12, 2010

    Liz – there are only so many hours in a day, and if I spent as much time on that Bizarro World piece, I wouldn’t have time for much of anything else.

    I think a more fun exercise is to pick through there and try to find any correct.

  30. #30 MartinM
    May 12, 2010

    Liz: never mind the substance of that article, which is quite bad enough; the writing is bloody awful.

  31. #31 Warren Jedden
    May 12, 2010

    Hey, has anyone seen Rene Najera? He hasn’t posted to his examiner.com page, and he seems to be awol. Now, there’s a guy who’s not a reporter, or even a doctor, but, by gosh, how have the antivaxers attacked him. I hear his job was even threatened. (Something tells me he’s around, though. He’s always around.)

  32. #32 Pablo
    May 12, 2010

    OK, so I waste a couple of minutes. Can anyone explain this part to me:

    “Vaccination is the number one argument against autism in today’s society. ”

    Huh?

  33. #33 Warren Jedden
    May 12, 2010

    Hey, has anyone seen Rene Najera? He hasn’t posted to his examiner.com page, and he seems to be awol. Now, there’s a guy who’s not a reporter, or even a doctor, but, by gosh, how have the antivaxers attacked him. I hear his job was even threatened. (Something tells me he’s around, though. He’s always around.)

  34. #34 Warren Jedden
    May 12, 2010

    Hey, has anyone seen Rene Najera? He hasn’t posted to his examiner.com page, and he seems to be awol. Now, there’s a guy who’s not a reporter, or even a doctor, but, by gosh, how have the antivaxers attacked him. I hear his job was even threatened. (Something tells me he’s around, though. He’s always around.)

  35. #35 Brian Deer
    May 12, 2010

    If you go to the front page of the Lakeland Times you will find that Mr Moore’s “article” is listed under “opinion”.

    Trouble is, Orac’s demolition of this sad loon reminds me of a TV sketch I once saw where a father is playing cricket with a group of kids aged about 6. One of them tosses him the ball, and he whacks it practically into space, and throws the bat at them and runs back and forth like his life depended on it.

    I assumed the guy was about 19, but when I saw his picture I kind of thought we ought to feel some sort of compassion. I mean his “investigation” isn’t a slippery pool of malignant bile, like you see so much of on AoA. It’s just sad.

  36. #36 Todd W.
    May 12, 2010

    @Warren Jedden

    As far as I know, the folks at AoA targeted Rene and outed him to his employer. IIRC, he mentioned that his employment is either in question or he was fired. I can’t recall what, exactly. He may just be lying low for a bit while pursuing some option(s) to remedy the situation. Can’t speak to the specifics of what’s happening beyond what he’s said in one of the other threads here at RI.

  37. #37 Anthro
    May 12, 2010

    The Lakeland Times is published in Minocqua, WI: From Wikipedia:

    Minocqua is a town in Oneida County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 4,859 at the 2000 census. A large number of seasonal residents live in the town during the summer. The town is the largest population center near the Lac du Flambeau Indian Reservation.

    Oneida county is way “up north” as we say in Wisconsin–near the UP (Upper Penninsula) of Michigan.

    The online version of the paper is chock full of autism garbage. Shall we flood this little rag with Letters To The Editor? At any rate, please don’t hold this against the rest of Wisconsin–after all the U of W at Madison is a well-known and much respected bastion of research and responsible science.

  38. #38 Pablo
    May 12, 2010

    after all the U of W at Madison is a well-known and much respected bastion of research and responsible science.

    How many public universities in the US can still boast a beer garden by the lake in the basement of the Union?

    Most university pubs went wayside with the 21 yo drinking age. Recall Wisconsin was one of the last states to make the switch (from 18, even), and that is the legacy.

  39. #39 DLC
    May 12, 2010

    Another antivax loon crushed under the heel of the Orac-ian boot! LOL
    Is it really easier to assign the position of “criminally wrong” to the government agencies, thus making anyone not in government or industry “right ”

    PS: I’ve been enjoying The Pacific series, when I remember to see it. I’m not entirely sure how historically accurate it is.

  40. #40 Travis
    May 12, 2010

    This article is so bad I really cannot comment on it. So much of it is wrong. But it makes me wonder how many small town newspapers around here are publishing the same type of crap. I should have a look around.

    However, I can comment on beer. Pablo, is what you are saying true? Universities in the US don’t always have a pub or two? That is brutal! I did not think a university could operate without one. My school has two of them in the same building, the student run pub and the grad pub. Waiting until you are 21 before you can drink seems so cruel. I thought waiting until I was 19 was tough enough (and to be honest I cheated a bit).

  41. #41 Ian
    May 12, 2010

    @Travis

    I assume you, like myself, are from Canada. The handful of uni campuses I’ve been to around the country have always had at least 1 pub, often many more. It varies in the US too – Harvard campus has a gojillion.

    Imagine how many more Richard Moores might have been born if alcohol was made more freely available. I shudder to think…

  42. #42 Travis
    May 12, 2010

    Ian, living in Ottawa (not from Ottawa to be clear, but from Canada). I have worked at a couple of universities and visited quite a few and always make a point to look for the pub. I have yet to see a campus without one. Though some of the pubs should have been closed for being terrible.

    Okay, that thought is frightening. Maybe my thoughts on alcohol will have to change.

  43. #43 Pablo
    May 12, 2010

    It varies in the US too – Harvard campus has a gojillion.

    Harvard is not a public university.

  44. #44 Shay
    May 12, 2010

    Let’s not be to hard on the guy; how much news is there in Minoqua, WI?

    (lest anyone think I am a big-city snob, Minoqua appears to be around 4x larger than the town I now live in).

  45. #45 dogmatichaos
    May 12, 2010

    I can’t help but notice that he seemed to confuse the fear and misinformation that was being sold and perpetuated by many of the more sensationalist media fonts, with the actual science and information that was being put out by doctors and government agencies. I’ve yet to meet a legitimate doctor or read a government report that comes even close to resembling what journalists somehow managed to spin and mangle sensible science into. Not that every doctor is unbiased and every government report is without external pressures, but people seem to consistently confuse science headlines with actual science; be it climate change, swine flu and its subsequent vaccinations, etc…

  46. #46 jen
    May 12, 2010

    Do go over and have a look at Mark Blaxill’s excellent article on the Gardasil matter.

  47. #47 Chris
    May 12, 2010

    jen, where did Blaxill get his medical degree? The University of Google?

  48. #48 Tertia
    May 12, 2010

    I find it amazing that there is this change (post Wakefield exposure) from “vaccines, and the mercury in it poisoned my child and damaged him” to “we are vaccinating too much”. I suppose if you have been shouting drivel from the rooftop for so long, it is a bit difficult to swallow it all, get down quietly and go away. (Especially those fine folk who are milking the cash cow that is a desperate parent who is trying to help his child).
    Secondly, in South Africa, we are hosting the World Cup in 29 days time – this is the type of information we are learning: swine flu can survive on a stainless steel table for 24 hours – and you can get it from preparing your food on that table. In our country 30% of the child mortality rate is due to contagious diseases. Across the world 2 million children die every year from contagious diseases. Do people not hear these figures or is their belief in their 1st world, insulated lives so strong that they think this does not actually happen? If their lives are insulated, it is because they have access to vaccines and good sanitation – not just because of good sanitation. Here is the kicker – we, in the developing country are being warned against the dangers of diseases such as swine flu that is going to become more prominent in our lives with the influx of tourists – even though we are the developing country and the tourists are from developed countries. Lastly, the generation that experienced small pox and other dreaded diseases first hand; are dying out – perhaps these facts should be included in history in every school in the world – lest we forget. I read a story about Vesuvius, how the time gap between major eruptions is so large that people start believing that it will not happen again – because no-one is alive to remember the last time and what it was like – until it does.

  49. #49 Todd W.
    May 12, 2010

    @jen

    You know, I always wondered why Age of Autism, the “Daily Web Newspaper of the Autism Epidemic” has articles on Gardasil. They have absolutely no connection to autism. There have been no studies linking Gardasil to autism. There aren’t even any anecdotes suggesting a link between Gardasil and autism (probably because kids are usually diagnosed years before they are even eligible to receive the vaccine).

    Articles like that reveal the fact that AoA is anti-vaccine. They are not pro-autism education. They are not interested in spreading real awareness of autism. They are interested in arguing against vaccines.

  50. #50 Orac
    May 12, 2010

    Do go over and have a look at Mark Blaxill’s excellent article on the Gardasil matter.

    Heh.

    Ha.

    Hahahahaha.

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

    Jen, you really shouldn’t do that to me. It’s hazardous to my keyboard when I’m drinking coffee. But thanks. You may have supplied me some blogging material. If I’m in just the right sort of mood, it’s great fun to deconstruct Mark “I’m not a scientist but I play one on SafeMinds” Blaxill’s arrogance of ignorance.

    Or not. As I said, it will depend upon my mood tonight.

  51. #51 Scott
    May 12, 2010

    Do people not hear these figures or is their belief in their 1st world, insulated lives so strong that they think this does not actually happen?

    Some of them (Sid Offit, for example, who often posts here) seem to believe that the difference is because people in developing countries are so weak and stupid that they’re of course going to die more often. A not-so-subtle form of racism.

  52. #52 Orac
    May 12, 2010

    Articles like that reveal the fact that AoA is anti-vaccine. They are not pro-autism education. They are not interested in spreading real awareness of autism. They are interested in arguing against vaccines.

    Exactly. Gardasil has absolutely nothing to do with autism, but, because it’s expensive and there isn’t as strong a consensus in the public health field whether it should be used for a mass vaccination campaign, it’s a lot easier to sow fear and doubt about it than for childhood vaccines. Another example is the “vaccine freedom” rally that will be occurring in Chicago’s Grant Park the week before Memorial Day. It just so happens to coincide with the AutismOne quackfest that goes on in Chicago every year. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

    Oh, no, perish the thought that AoA is anti-vaccine!

  53. #53 JohnV
    May 12, 2010

    Will an anti-vaccine rally result in a temporary failure of herd immunity? :p

  54. #54 Todd W.
    May 12, 2010

    @JohnV

    Considering most of the people attending the rally are likely to be fully vaccinated…

  55. #55 Mu
    May 12, 2010

    Thimerosal was taken out of vaccines, Gardasil was introduced, autism diagnosis continues to rise. QED

  56. #56 Chris
    May 12, 2010

    “Gardasil was introduced, autism diagnosis continues to rise. QED”

    Even in boys, and girls too young to have received the vaccine!

  57. #57 Scott
    May 12, 2010

    Even in boys, and girls too young to have received the vaccine!

    Obviously TEH NASTEEZ in Gardasil are so horrendous they’re actually contagious.

  58. #58 Todd W.
    May 12, 2010

    Is there nothing that vaccines cannot do?

  59. #59 Crommunist
    May 12, 2010

    Jenny McCarthy was presumably vaccinated. It appears that there is something we can’t be vaccinated for: trans-oral equiform fecal leakage (a.k.a., talking a bunch of horse crap).

  60. #60 Mu
    May 12, 2010

    Even in boys, and girls too young to have received the vaccine!
    It’s like the Higg’s Boson, preventing its own discovery due to backwards-in-time effects like shutting down the LHC.

  61. #61 Anthro
    May 12, 2010

    @Pablo and the Canadians

    RE: I know you’re being funny and I laughed, but as a grandmother and someone who has lost someone close to me from drunk driving, I don’t find college pubs entirely amusing and harmless.

    The oddest thing I have encountered here in Brew City (Milwaukee) is that people drink beer (and smoke) while pushing their strollers around at the County Zoo! It’s also the only place I have lived where I’ve seen a young mother in a corner bar with a toddler on her hip. Kids can go into any bar here when accompanied by a parent. Most will let the kid drink as well (especially at rented halls)–especially if a teenager. I’m not sure of the legality of this, but it’s a widespread practice and most people (including police) don’t react to it in a serious way.

    These customs are probably fine in many cases, but have some grave potential to cause harm and I find myself frequently alarmed at attitudes toward drinking (especially beer, which is often not considered “drinking” even) in this state.

    Back to the topic: This Moore guy in Minocqua needs an up-close-and-in-person dose of insolence, so I have forwarded this column to him at his paper in lieu of driving all the way up there.

  62. #62 Pablo
    May 12, 2010

    I know you’re being funny and I laughed, but as a grandmother and someone who has lost someone close to me from drunk driving, I don’t find college pubs entirely amusing and harmless.

    College pubs on campus are actually a lot better in that regard, especially on residential campuses. What would you prefer? Students living in the dorms walking over to the Union on campus and getting drunk? Or getting in their car to drive to the bar?

    I prefer to have college bars located very close to campus, within walking distance.

  63. #63 L'asperge
    May 12, 2010

    Will an anti-vaccine rally result in a temporary failure of herd immunity?

    Unfortunately, there is no herd immunity against stoopid.

  64. #64 Karl Withakay
    May 12, 2010

    >>>”It’s quite possible that there might have been a “true”increase in the prevalance of autism, but the data are by no means definitive, nor is there anything close to agreement on this point.”

    It’s also possible there has been a decrease in the prevalence of autism that has been hidden by the factors of increased surveillance, diagnostic substitution, broadening of the diagnostic criteria, etc. I think every time we admit that there could be an increase hidden in the noise from diagnostic substitution, increased surveillance, etc, we should point this out as well.

  65. #65 Natalie
    May 12, 2010

    Anthro, I’ve got to agree with Pablo. I went to college in a town small enough that all the bars were within walking distance. None of my classmates ever drove to the bar (yes, it was a small enough college that I can say that with reasonable certainty). Similarly, my friends who went to UW Madison were always happy that the cheap college apartments and bars were all near each other, so they could walk to and from the bar.

  66. #66 RJ
    May 12, 2010

    “Olmsted’s most infamous gaffe was to be, as far as I can tell, the man who originated the myth that the Amish don’t vaccinate and that as a consequence they don’t get autism…”

    Explain this one Olmsted:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100511111933.htm

    God, those AoA idiots are so full of shit!

  67. #67 Kathryn
    May 12, 2010

    Somewhat OT: Positive press release about rotavirus vaccination efficacy.

    http://www.dddmag.com/news-Vaccination-Reduces-Burden-of-Childhood-Rotavirus-51210.aspx

    Also, regarding Swine Flu not being an epidemic? One of my professors DIED last year of complications, many other faculty had pneumonia but survived, and even a lot of students went to the hospital. Nobody remembers so many classes being cancelled, or 30% excused absences at exams. (Most of this was before the vaccine was available, due to shortages and our rural location.)

    On a lighter note, I agree that campus pubs help prevent drunk driving. And the Wisconsin Union is fantastic; I’m looking forward to a worm meeting (C. elegans conference) there later this summer. My PI did his bachelor’s degree at UW-Madison and regaled me with fond memories before I attended the 2008 conference.

  68. #68 MikeMa
    May 12, 2010

    I attended PSU many years ago and was quite happy that I could walk to or catch the loop bus to pubs and back home. Hungover maybe but safe and very little chance to hurt anyone except maybe by falling on them trying to get a seat on the bus.

  69. A uni without a pub seems hard to imagine. But bear in mind that legal drinking age in the US is 21, and the difficulty of showing fake ID to an institution that has your records :)

  70. #70 Gopherus Agassizii
    May 12, 2010

    Stupidity cannot go beyond 11. Ask Nigel.

  71. #71 Leslie
    May 12, 2010

    “You know, I always wondered why Age of Autism, the “Daily Web Newspaper of the Autism Epidemic” has articles on Gardasil. They have absolutely no connection to autism. There have been no studies linking Gardasil to autism. There aren’t even any anecdotes suggesting a link between Gardasil and autism (probably because kids are usually diagnosed years before they are even eligible to receive the vaccine).

    “Articles like that reveal the fact that AoA is anti-vaccine. They are not pro-autism education. They are not interested in spreading real awareness of autism. They are interested in arguing against vaccines.”

    That also reminds me of the case in 2004 Nigeria – the polio vaccine was accused of being a plot to sterilize Muslims, not of causing autism. Yet check this out:

    http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1888718,00.html

    Q: “Your collaborator recommends that parents accept only the haemophilus influenzae type B (HIB) and tetanus vaccine for newborns and then think about the rest. Not polio? What about the polio clusters in unvaccinated communities like the Amish in the U.S.? What about the 2004 outbreak that swept across Africa and Southeast Asia after a single province in northern Nigeria banned vaccines?

    A: “I do believe sadly it’s going to take some diseases coming back to realize that we need to change and develop vaccines that are safe. If the vaccine companies are not listening to us, it’s their f___ing fault that the diseases are coming back. They’re making a product that’s s___. If you give us a safe vaccine, we’ll use it. It shouldn’t be polio versus autism.”

    Sheesh. Does this person think the polio vaccine exported from the U.S. to Nigeria in 2004 really was adulterated with stuff to sterilize Muslim girls (that was the accusation, not anything to do with autism)? What are the vaccine companies supposed to do, launch a fresh new series of studies every time some idiot started or rebunked a rumor?

    The people who are so anti-autism they’d rather see their kids and other infants die of polio, measles, etc. than be autistic (since they think vaccines cause autism) are pretty scary. Of course, the other extreme is pretty scary too – the people who are so pro-autism they’d rather see their kids strangle, molest, etc. other people than be taught any social skills (since they think that’s too neurotypical – see http://letters.salon.com/mwt/feature/2009/03/26/bauer_autism/permalink/5bd7aa93436c989458e31068b4a5ef7e.html ).

  72. #72 Corina Becker
    May 12, 2010

    “Where are the autistic adults?”

    :waves: Right here.

    Thanks for the laugh, Orac. Also, if you want, I’ll send you the pictures of the burning of my Mother’s Day “Mother Warriors” book burning. it was so satisfactory to see the stupid literally burning.

    P.S. I’m told that Doctor Evil was written as a parody of Blofeld, which may or may not make the metaphor more appropriate.

  73. #73 jen
    May 12, 2010

    Chris and Todd. Well duh, vaccines can pose problems (or we wouldn’t have vaccine court, would we?). Gardasil has its set of problems (which seem to be many) and it’s safety testing was weak. You guys were the ones making the bizarre claim that Gardasil causes autism. I think Gardasil has caused seizures, death, brain damage and ALS however.

  74. #74 David N. Brown
    May 12, 2010

    I nominate the remark on Thorsen as the most accurate part of the article: “And one of the authors of that study?
    None other than Dr. Poul Thorsen, who has been under investigation for misappropriating $2 million at Aarhus University in Denmark, allegedly using forged documents.” This does NOT say that he is accused of taking or spending funds for purposes other than research, does NOT claim that his work for two universities at once was “secret” and “prohibited”, and does NOT include any nonsense about him “disappearing”. (The only factual quibble I would offer is that it would be better to say “attempting to misappropriate $2 million”, as Aarhus remains conspicuously silent about how much they actually paid.) In short, it says nothing more or less than was alleged in the “Aarhus document”. Note to AoA: Try READING a document before threatening a lawsuit over it.

  75. #75 Chris
    May 12, 2010

    jen, I did not say it caused autism. What we were commenting on was that Age of Autism is proving itself to be anti-vax by spending lots of verbiage on a vaccine that half the kids don’t even get, and the other half after age twelve.

    And only anti-vax folks claim that vaccines are supposed to be 100% safe. Todd and I do know that there are adverse reactions, but at levels much less than the diseases themselves. No one has yet to really provide me real evidence that the MMR is worse than measles, mumps and rubella or that the DTaP is worse than diphtheria, tetanus or pertussis.

    Oh, yeah… got any real proof that “Gardasil has caused seizures, death, brain damage and ALS”? Show us which of the these have been actually shown to be definitely proven. According to the JAMA summery of adverse events the two showing signs of ALS in autopsy were still being investigated:

    There were two reports of unusual neurological illness (per autopsy, probable variants of Amytrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”) that resulted in the death of two young females. There is no current evidence suggesting that the HPV vaccine caused these illnesses, but researchers from several highly regarded academic centers are studying the cases.

    Take note, those are only two out of 23 million doses given. It is almost a case of random chance for the 32 deaths (which is a 0.00014% of all doses, multiply by three doses per young woman and it is 0.0004% of recipients). But it is being taken seriously enough that

    CDC is working with researchers to provide assistance in the follow up of the two neurological (probable ALS variant) deaths after HPV vaccination. Tissue samples have been sent to the CDC laboratory.

    If you have information that they have positively linked the vaccine to deaths, please provide it.

    If Age of Autism is all about autism, why do they even bother with a vaccine that is given only to young women? Especially since autism is diagnosed in four times as many boys, and mostly before age twelve.

    Also answer this question: Why should we care about the opinion of a person like Blaxill who has absolutely no biology or medical training? How does his MBA make him more knowledgeable than the all of those who work in public health organizations in the USA, Canada, Australia, UK, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Japan and on and on?

  76. #76 Dave Ruddell
    May 12, 2010

    A uni without a pub seems hard to imagine.

    You should avoid the University of Toronto. We tried. It died. Years ago.

  77. #77 Travis
    May 13, 2010

    Dave,
    Doesn’t UofT have a grad pub? I thought my brother mentioned he goes there. Perhaps I am mistaken.

  78. #78 Chris
    May 13, 2010

    Sadly, my university did not have a pub. The laws were so stringent that it dictated that no establishment selling alcohol could be within one mile of the university.

    That law has changed, so there are now pubs off campus (especially since the university has expanded). But still none on campus.

  79. #79 CanadianChick
    May 13, 2010

    What??? No pub at U of T? I’m sure there was one back in 1988…

  80. #80 Travis
    May 13, 2010

    My brother just confirmed that the GSU at UofT has a pub:
    GSU Pub

  81. #81 gmm
    May 13, 2010

    I would love to see what RI thinks about the DCA research that was all over Candadian news this week- especially the Edmonton Sun article.

  82. #82 Lawrence
    May 13, 2010

    We used to have a couple of really good campus pubs at GWU, before the “Trachtenberg Era” and everything went upscale. Of course, being in the middle of downtown DC – we had plenty of other places to go anyway.

    As far as “AoA” – you are correct that they have taken a hard line on the “anti-vaccine” train, since they spend as much time going after non-childhood vaccines (like Gardisil) as they do with the usual suspects.

    It is (not) funny that our current generation, the vast majority of whom were vaccinated by our parents & are thus protected, is working to bring back childhood diseases and infect their own children, when they themselves didn’t have to deal with them.

  83. #83 Lawrence
    May 13, 2010

    We used to have a couple of really good campus pubs at GWU, before the “Trachtenberg Era” and everything went upscale. Of course, being in the middle of downtown DC – we had plenty of other places to go anyway.

    As far as “AoA” – you are correct that they have taken a hard line on the “anti-vaccine” train, since they spend as much time going after non-childhood vaccines (like Gardisil) as they do with the usual suspects.

    It is (not) funny that our current generation, the vast majority of whom were vaccinated by our parents & are thus protected, is working to bring back childhood diseases and infect their own children, when they themselves didn’t have to deal with them.

  84. #84 blf
    May 13, 2010

    Is there nothing that vaccines cannot do?

    Prevent Teh Stoopid.

  85. #85 Adult autistic
    May 13, 2010

    Leslie @71: I read the letter from Salon that you linked to, as well as the original article, and could find nothing that said anyone had “refused to teach basic social skills… because it would be too neurotypical” to prevent the young man in the article from attacking women. From what I understood of the original article, he had received plenty of training as a child and was functioning at a high level from age 12 to 17, and THEN he fell apart and lost his social skills as well as significant cognition.

    I don’t know how autism explains how someone would change so dramatically so rapidly; I’m not sure if this indicates the story is not what it seems, or if something unrelated to autism happened to him then. Could he have suffered a brain injury, or taken illicit drugs that had some unexpected effect in someone whose brain is wired up differently?

    In any case, unless you have additional information, I don’t see how his current condition is related to social skills training being withheld in the name of neurodiversity. Please do not mischaracterize the neurodiversity movement as excusing criminal behavior by adults. Whatever that man’s mother wrote about him in the past, she wrote from a position of maternal denial under a false flag of neurodiversity.

    As an adult autistic entering the job market (with a Master’s in Biology), I don’t want potential employers to be prejudiced against me because they think it’s inevitable I will start assaulting and sexually molesting my coworkers. If I am “out of the closet” regarding neurodiversity, I don’t want people to think I support violence by people on the autism spectrum, or that I am not interested in improving my people skills. I just want them to be tolerant when I make harmless social blunders, such as failing to recognize coworkers away from the office or not realizing when someone is saying something they don’t believe just to be polite.

    Unless you have something that factually supports what you allege about the neurodiversity movement, don’t spread lies and misinformation about us; you’re hurting the vast majority of autistics who are NOT violent offenders.

  86. #86 Leslie
    May 13, 2010

    “and could find nothing that said anyone had ‘refused to teach basic social skills… because it would be too neurotypical’ to prevent the young man in the article from attacking women.”

    The article did include an adult not telling a kid with autism he did something wrong after he tried to strangle her, and teaching “don’t strangle people” is teaching a very basic social skill.

    “As an adult autistic entering the job market (with a Master’s in Biology), I don’t want potential employers to be prejudiced against me because they think it’s inevitable I will start assaulting and sexually molesting my coworkers.”

    I was thinking more of being worried because they think that you’ve been given permission to assault and sexually molest coworkers and think that people who have been given permission to do X have less disincentive to do X…

    “you’re hurting the vast majority of autistics who are NOT violent offenders.”

    Nope, the lawyers and others who use autism as an excuse for violent offenses (check out http://www.slate.com/id/2233313/ and the “But if he WAS unaware, why are you so angry [that he beat up and raped you]?” part of http://www.wrongplanet.net/postxf83001-0-60.html ), the bloggers who use but-he-might-have-Asperger’s (check out comebacks against this one further down http://kateharding.net/2009/10/08/guest-blogger-starling-schrodinger’s-rapist-or-a-guy’s-guide-to-approaching-strange-women-without-being-maced/#comment-113570 and at http://kateharding.net/2009/10/08/guest-blogger-starling-schrodinger’s-rapist-or-a-guy’s-guide-to-approaching-strange-women-without-being-maced/#comment-113588 ) as an excuse for creepy behavior, etc. are the ones hurting the vast majority of people with ASDs who are harmless.

  87. #87 Dave Ruddell
    May 13, 2010

    What??? No pub at U of T? I’m sure there was one back in 1988..

    Well, there was the Hangar (a pub inside of a cafeteria! How could it go wrong?) When I was the VP finance of the student government, I tried to shut it down, because nobody even went and we were bleeding cash. It finally did close a few years later (2000 or so). Too much competition from the local bars.

    I had forgot about the GSU pub, but I don’t think it counts. As the link shows it’s only open past 4pm one night per week, and then only until 8pm. AT best you’re doing some pre-game there before heading to Sneaky D’s…

    What was this thread about again?

  88. #88 Todd W.
    May 13, 2010

    @jen

    Well duh, vaccines can pose problems (or we wouldn’t have vaccine court, would we?). Gardasil has its set of problems (which seem to be many) and it’s safety testing was weak. You guys were the ones making the bizarre claim that Gardasil causes autism. I think Gardasil has caused seizures, death, brain damage and ALS however.

    Way to miss the point. First off, where did any of us claim that Gardasil causes autism? The question was why have an anti-Gardasil article on a web site that is supposed to be about autism news?

    As to your thought that Gardasil has caused “seizures, death, brain damage and ALS”, you should probably provide some evidence for that. Furthermore, you should indicate at what rate those events have occurred (i.e., out of the total number of vaccinations given, how many resulted in the claimed AE?) and how those rates compare to the rates of complications from HPV infection.

  89. #89 Kristen
    May 13, 2010

    @ Leslie

    Of course, the other extreme is pretty scary too – the people who are so pro-autism they’d rather see their kids strangle, molest, etc. other people than be taught any social skills (since they think that’s too neurotypical

    This is completely illogical. Every child needs to be taught social skills, if a parent believes otherwise they are just irresponsible in general (whether they have an autistic child or not). Taking examples of violent autistics and saying ‘there, look how bad “they” are’, all the while ignoring the fact that most violent children and teens and young adults are not autistic. It is an inappropriate generalization fallicy.

  90. #90 Militant Agnostic
    May 13, 2010

    gmm @81 Regarding DCA Research

    Links?

    You can be fairly confident that any coverage in one of the Canadian Sun chain of papers will be VERY sensationalistic.

  91. #91 wfjag
    May 13, 2010

    @DLC
    PS: I’ve been enjoying The Pacific series, when I remember to see it. I’m not entirely sure how historically accurate it is.

    I have, too. My father was an Amtrack Company Commander in the Southwest Pacfic Theatre and P.I. area from mid-1942 till the end of the war. He was in the 1st or 2d waves of 15 or 16 invasions, landing either Army or Marines, including on at least 1 of the islands mentioned in the series. He wouldn’t talk much about what he experienced, but the little he did say is consistent with what is being shown. After I graduated from college, I bought a Japanese manufactured car. He wouldn’t ride in it. He wouldn’t buy a TV, stereo, or anything else manufactured in Japan. About that he’d only say “Some things you never forget, and never forgive.” He was a VA Psychiatrist.

  92. #92 jen
    May 13, 2010

    Todd and Chris: duh, again, vaccines have not been proven to not cause autism (there has been no double-blind, randomized study comparing vaccinated against unvaccinated and safety studies are mostly very short term). So, if AoA wants to feature articles on vaccines (different ones- and yes ones given to teenagers) and assoiciation with various health problems then it’s legit. Deal with it.
    Chris, give me a freaking break with your comment about knowing that there are adverse reactions (and what would some of these BE, Chris?) but that these occur at “‘levels’ much less than the diseases themselves.” How the hell would we know? You don’t like studies like the monkey ones that actually show problems. If something to do with all the vaccines is causing autism then believe me, the cost, financially and societally is way too high and outweighs the supposed “good that these vaccines do. I still honestly believe that with our current medical care diseases like measles, chicken pox, mumps(which were never statistically that dire) would have even less serious complications such as encephalitis than say compared to 30 years ago.
    I for one am glad my daughter has not had hep b or hpv vaccine.

  93. #93 jen
    May 13, 2010

    Hey Todd, “you should indicate how those rates compare to complications to HPV infection.” You should realize that we don’t even know yet how much this vaccine will really protect and reduce the incidence of cervical cancer. Also, I’m pretty sure that ALS in teenagers is exceedingly rare and if I were one of the parents and my kid had recently had that vaccine, I’d be more than a little suspicious.

  94. #94 Todd W.
    May 13, 2010

    @jen

    if AoA wants to feature articles on vaccines (different ones- and yes ones given to teenagers) and assoiciation with various health problems then it’s legit.

    You still don’t get it. AoA advertises themselves as a “Daily Web Newspaper of the Autism Epidemic [emphasis added]“. What does Gardasil have to do with autism? Again, there is nothing that connects Gardasil with autism, so it is, by extension, not connected to the autism “epidemic”. I am merely pointing out that inclusion of such stories on AoA shows that they are not a newspaper about autism or an autism advocacy organization; they are an anti-vaccine organization.

    You should realize that we don’t even know yet how much this vaccine will really protect and reduce the incidence of cervical cancer.

    True, we do not yet know the very long-term efficacy of the vaccine, since the people that have received it did not get it all that long ago. It appears that it is effective for at least 5 years (via studies that examined efficacy at 5 years post-immunization).

    However, just because we do not yet know the long-term efficacy of Gardasil, that does not mean that we cannot compare the relative risks of infection vs. the risks of the vaccine. You’re creeping close to the “well, it isn’t 100% effective, so there’s no point using it.”

    I’m pretty sure that ALS in teenagers is exceedingly rare and if I were one of the parents and my kid had recently had that vaccine, I’d be more than a little suspicious.

    Suspicion is one thing, but claiming that the vaccine is the cause (rather than “could be”) requires stronger evidence than “I think”. So what I said before still stands:

    As to your thought that Gardasil has caused “seizures, death, brain damage and ALS”, you should probably provide some evidence for that. Furthermore, you should indicate at what rate those events have occurred (i.e., out of the total number of vaccinations given, how many resulted in the claimed AE?) and how those rates compare to the rates of complications from HPV infection.

    Patiently waiting for your evidence.

  95. #95 Poogles
    May 13, 2010

    “duh, again, vaccines have not been proven to not cause autism (there has been no double-blind, randomized study comparing vaccinated against unvaccinated and safety studies are mostly very short term). So, if AoA wants to feature articles on vaccines (different ones- and yes ones given to teenagers) and assoiciation with various health problems then it’s legit. Deal with it.”

    Putting aside the other problems with this argument, I fail to see how “vaccines have not been proven to not cause autism” (even if it were true) somehow leads to an autism organization being “legit” in demonizing all vaccines, even those that do not have a possible correlation with autism…there’s just no logic in that.

  96. #96 T. Bruce McNeely
    May 13, 2010

    Jen:

    There’s just a couple of major errors in your last comment:

    ..there has been no double-blind, randomized study comparing vaccinated against unvaccinated

    That’s because such a study would be unethical. Tuskegee Syphilis Study – remember?

    I still honestly believe that with our current medical care diseases like measles, chicken pox, mumps(which were never statistically that dire) would have even less serious complications such as encephalitis than say compared to 30 years ago.

    Current health care can’t prevent the development of viral encephalitis once the illness is established, likewise deafness and other virus-caused complications. We may be able to treat those complications more effectively than before, but in many cases not. Vaccination, however, will prevent them altogether.

    I for one am glad my daughter has not had hep b or hpv vaccine.

    I’m sure she’ll be extremely grateful when she is waiting for her liver transplant or her hysterectomy.

  97. #97 Vicki
    May 13, 2010

    Jen–

    We also haven’t proven that cosmic rays, fluoride, or the removal of lead from gasoline causes autism.

    In fact, we have less evidence refuting any of those ex culo mihi ideas, because nobody has attempted to test them.

    At some point, the absence of proof is relevant: otherwise, how do I know that you didn’t shoot Ronald Reagan? What proof can you offer?

  98. #98 jen
    May 13, 2010

    Todd, another interesting yet sickening fact re. Gardasil is that the data the FDA/CDC (Slade et al) presented to show serious adverse events used the number of doses distributed as opposed to the number of doses administered. That clearly skewed the data and if you re-factor for all the doses (3) the serious adverse events factor jumps up 5 fold. We have NO idea (which you conceded) if this vaccine will prevent cervical cancer and whether more boosters (with potentially more side effects) will be needed. Pretty bad for such a widely embraced, expensive undertaking in this program.

  99. #99 Leslie
    May 13, 2010

    “Taking examples of violent autistics and saying ‘there, look how bad “they” are’, all the while ignoring the fact that most violent children and teens and young adults are not autistic. It is an inappropriate generalization fallicy.”

    Good thing I wasn’t making that fallacy.

    I wasn’t taking examples of violent autistics and saying ‘there, look how bad “they” are’. I was taking examples of threatening behavior and pointing out how bad *the extremists* are for *excusing* the threatening behavior in the name of autism and Aspergers (yes, sometimes even if they don’t actually know whether or not the person doing the threatening behavior has an ASD in the first place!).

    I’m not the one ignoring the fact that most violent children and teens and young adults are not autistic. Now people who tell you “but he might have Asperger’s!!!” when you talk about protecting yourself from a stranger on the train who won’t take your “leave me alone” hints, they’re the ones ignoring that fact.

  100. #100 Todd W.
    May 13, 2010

    @jen

    We have NO idea (which you conceded) if this vaccine will prevent cervical cancer and whether more boosters (with potentially more side effects) will be needed.

    No, I did not concede that. I conceded that we do not know in the very long-term how effective it will be. We do know that it is effective for at least 5 years. And whether or not boosters are needed does not really factor into whether we should use the vaccine or not. Requiring boosters is not an argument against a vaccine.

    And you still haven’t provided any evidence that what you think are adverse reactions to Gardasil really are causally related to the vaccine. Nor have you addressed why an article about Gardasil is appearing in an online autism newspaper.

  101. #101 jen
    May 13, 2010

    Wow, a recent article in the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal 3 May /10 (Moon et al), “Inhibitory Effect of Breast Milk on Ineffectivity of Live Oral Rotavirus Vaccines,” has a strategy to recommend discontinuing breast feeding (under Interpretation) because in Indian, Korean and Vietnamese women it seems to interfere with the immune response for Rotateq etc. Just fucking wow. So these women from developing countries should use formula and mix it with what? Dirty water? Dr. Offit should be very proud of this. Not.

  102. #102 jen
    May 13, 2010

    Todd, I’ll spell it out one last time for you about why an article on Gardasil would appear on AoA. Many there (including myself) think that vaccines may be responsible for the increase in autism. Gardasil, though not linked to autism specifically, is interesting in that there seem to be a high number of serious adverse events associated with it. The flu shot(combined regular and H1N1)recently pulled in Australia due to too many children/infants convulsing is similarly interesting, maybe even instructive. Got it? Good.

  103. #103 Scott
    May 13, 2010

    @ jen:

    You’ve just done an excellent job of proving Todd’s point that AoA isn’t really about autism at all. Paraphrasing you a bit, your statement is effectively “vaccines cause autism, so AoA is interested in anything about vaccines”. Which is an excellent demonstration that it’s really about the vaccines, not the autism.

  104. #104 Todd W.
    May 13, 2010

    @Scott

    Nicely summarized.

    @jen

    Thanks for proving my point.

  105. #105 jen
    May 13, 2010

    I’m sorry to disappoint you so, but AoA does include alot of parent support info (for younger people with autism and the aging ones getting into adulthood) and bulletins on missing persons as well as resources for those who need them. And yeah, stuff about vaccines, which have not been proven to not cause autism.

  106. #106 Chris
    May 13, 2010

    jen, AoA is an anti-vax organization. If they were at all interested in supporting kids with autism then Jake Crosby would be a much happier young man. As it is, he has been told he is damaged most of his life, and his writings reflect that self-hate.

    Also, there are not a huge number of reactions from Gardisil versus any other vaccine. You keep forgetting that over 23 million doses were given, and the reactions are a teeny tiny percent of that.

  107. #107 Todd W.
    May 13, 2010

    @jen

    Oh, I’ve seen the occasional non-vaccine post, but they are pretty rare. Much more common are rants against vaccines, book promotions (usually books against vaccines), Wakefield apologetics (again, vaccine posts), notices of upcoming vaccine advisory panel meetings, posts on alt-med treatments (often mentioning “vaccine damage”), etc.

    which have not been proven to not cause autism

    Not an appropriate standard to use. Lots of other things have not been proven to not cause autism, either. Where are the articles about how seat belts cause autism, for example? It’s also of note that more promising research into the causes of autism and their published results do not appear on AoA, for example, studies on genetic links, studies on parental age, etc.

    Further, the posts that point to vaccines tend to have a tone suggesting that it is a known fact that vaccines cause autism, when nothing could be further from the truth. There is no credible evidence, no properly performed studies that show a causal connection.

  108. #108 Joseph
    May 13, 2010

    Here’s a hint for jen: nothing has been proven to not cause autism, nor could it. Do you get that concept?

    BTW, that’s a remarkably lame excuse for the fact that AoA is an all-anti-vaccination-all-the-time blog, and it covers autism just as much as any anti-vax blog would.

  109. #109 jen
    May 13, 2010

    I don’t believe AoA “covers autism as much as any anti-vax blog would.” That’s crap.
    Interesting how you guys like to muse on things like ‘what does Gardasil have to do with autism?’. Conversely, what is so threatening to you all that Gardasil has had a speedily approved process with poor safety studies and a fairly high number of serious adverse events. Oh yeah, they are just “percentages.” And what about the recalled flu shot in Australia and recommending women to bottle feed so Dr. Offit’s friggin’ vaccine will be more effective. Those are some things that you guys seem to find threatening.

  110. #110 Todd W.
    May 13, 2010

    what is so threatening to you all that Gardasil has had a speedily approved process with poor safety studies and a fairly high number of serious adverse events.

    Citations needed. What, specifically, do you feel were “poor” about the safety studies. Please provide original work, with specific references, rather than simply regurgitating AoA’s talking points. Also provide citations showing “a fairly high number of serious adverse events” and what is meant by “high number”. Links appreciated.

    what about the recalled flu shot in Australia

    What about it? It is being investigated. The shot was recalled. The system is operating appropriately in response to an unforeseen problem.

    recommending women to bottle feed so Dr. Offit’s friggin’ vaccine will be more effective

    Haven’t read the article, yet, so this is merely speculation, but in those areas, rotavirus may be a significant problem (y’know, with severe dehydration and death – it’s not a pretty disease). While I support breast feeding compared to formula, it isn’t always the best choice. In those regions where rotavirus is big health risk, it may be warranted to use formula if the choice is between breast feeding with greater risk of rotavirus infection vs. formula with lower risk of infection.

    Those are some things that you guys seem to find threatening.

    What is so threatening about those things? Where have we demonstrated such feelings?

  111. #111 Scott
    May 13, 2010

    Interesting how you guys like to muse on things like ‘what does Gardasil have to do with autism?’

    Actually, what *I* find interesting is that apparently you *don’t* so muse, yet continue to maintain that it’s all about the autism and not the vaccines…

    Hint: To someone for whom it ACTUALLY is about the autism, vaccines are only of interest to the extent there is a connection. Gardasil thus not at all.

  112. #112 Joseph
    May 13, 2010

    I don’t believe AoA “covers autism as much as any anti-vax blog would.” That’s crap.

    Oh really? I bet you that blogs completely about anti-vaccination (e.g. justthevax.blogspot.com) use the word “autism” (not counting Age of Autism) more often in the last 20 posts than AoA. Here are some of the post titles I see in the front page of AoA right now:

    - A License to Kill? Part 3: After Gardasil’s Launch, More Victims, More Bad Safety Analysis and a Revolving Door Culture.

    - Breast Not Best? Study Suggests Rotavirus Vaccines Work Better With Formula.

    - A License to Kill? Part 2: Who Guards Gardasil’s Guardians?

    - A License to Kill? Part 1: How A Public-Private Partnership Made the Government Merck’s Gardasil Partner

    - Paul Offit, Rotateq, Pig Viruses, and the Rest of the World

    - Paul Offit’s 10,000 Vaccines and the Milgram Experiment

    - Dr. Paul Offit’s Vaccine Info Webinar “Communicating Good Science Under a Cloud of Doubt”

    - Rally Alert: New Speaker. House Parties. More Satellites. Join Our Exhibitors and Sponsors!

    - FDA Recommends US Allow Use of Rotavirus Vaccines While Safety Being Studied

    - B. cepacia Is Name of Bacteria Group Behind Johnson & Johnson Product Recall

    - TODAY: FDA Public Meeting To Discuss DNA From PCV1 in Rotavirus Vaccines

    - FDA Said RotaTeq Did Not Contain PCV1 Pig Virus DNA Snips Seven Weeks Ago

    - Wall Street Journal Reports on Wasting Disease Pig Virus DNA in Paul Offit Merck RotaTeq Vaccine

    - My Gym and Hyland’s Homeopathic Offering Five Free Memberships!

    - DNA from Pig Viruses Found in Paul Offit Merck RotaTeq Vaccine

    Seriously, come on. One time they had six posts in a row that had nothing to do with autism.

  113. #113 Chris
    May 13, 2010

    From the list of articles that Joseph just listed, it looks like AoA could be more accurately be known as the “We just hate Paul Offit” blog.

  114. #114 jen
    May 13, 2010

    Todd: re. rotavirus. Well I don’t think that potentially contminated water and formula is a good recommendation. Well, it is good for Dr. Offit.
    As for the Australian decision, I doubt we would see the CDC pull the flu vacc even if the same thing were happening in the U.S. Gotta love the CDC. I’m sure some of you work for them…

  115. #115 Kristen
    May 13, 2010

    Gotta love the CDC. I’m sure some of you work for them…

    When backed into a corner, this is the antivax plan B. ‘You work for THEM.’

  116. #116 cynic
    May 13, 2010

    Todd W.

    In those regions where rotavirus is big health risk, it may be warranted to use formula if the choice is between breast feeding with greater risk of rotavirus infection vs. formula with lower risk of infection.

    Proper formula feeding requires two things that are absent in developing nations. Money and clean water. What do you suppose happens when you create a situation for young mothers that have neither?

  117. #117 Dangerous Bacon
    May 13, 2010

    jen: “Wow, a recent article in the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal 3 May /10 (Moon et al), “Inhibitory Effect of Breast Milk on Ineffectivity of Live Oral Rotavirus Vaccines,” has a strategy to recommend discontinuing breast feeding (under Interpretation) because in Indian, Korean and Vietnamese women it seems to interfere with the immune response for Rotateq etc. Just fucking wow. So these women from developing countries should use formula and mix it with what? Dirty water? Dr. Offit should be very proud of this. Not.”

    I looked at the paper jen and AoA are currently frothing about, and not surprisingly its message and focus are a wee bit different from what the antivax crowd claims. Here’s a relevant excerpt from the Discussion section of that paper (I’d link to it except access appears limited to those who work for institutions whose libraries subscribe to the journal):

    “These data should encourage clinical trials to investigate
    whether delaying breast-feeding for a short period before and after giving the vaccine could reasonably improve the immune response and protective efficacy. Since all live oral rotavirus vaccines are potentially susceptible to interference from breast milk neutralizing activity and other factors such as maternal antibody and other enteric flora, a parenteral vaccine with nonliving rotavirus (eg, inactivated vaccine) should be pursued as an alternative that will provide an insurance policy to the global immunization agenda against rotaviruses.” (bolding mine).

    The article describes how antibodies in maternal breast milk, which while insufficient to provide lasting protection against rotavirus, may be enough to damp down the immune response when breast-feeding infants are given the live oral rotavirus vaccine and thus impair effectiveness of the vaccine. This is an important issue, since while the vaccine has a high degree of effectiveness in developed countries, children in Third World nations (where the great majority of the 527,000 annual deaths from rotavirus disease occur) are significant less well protected.

    Think about that for just a moment, jen, if it can penetrate the antivax haze you live in. Five hundred twenty-seven thousand children die each year because of rotavirus. Many of us think it worthwhile to try to save some of those children. If further studies found it a reasonable approach, a health initiative aimed at providing formula for a brief period around the time of vaccination to maximize oral rotavirus vaccine effectiveness could spare many thousands of lives.

    I find that a laudable activity, much more so than jumping on any opportunity to try to smear Dr. Paul Offit.

    And no, Ms. Conspiracy-Theorist, I do not work for the CDC, Big Pharma or any of your bogeymen.

  118. #118 Lawrence
    May 13, 2010

    Yeap, when you’ve run out of “talking points” turn to the old stand-by, “CONSPIRACY!!!!”

  119. #119 Orac
    May 13, 2010

    I would love to see what RI thinks about the DCA research that was all over Candadian news this week- especially the Edmonton Sun article.

    So would I, but my institution doesn’t have a subscription to the journal. I don’t write about such things without the primary article in front of me to analyze:

    http://stm.sciencemag.org/content/2/31/31ra34.abstract
    http://stm.sciencemag.org/content/2/31/31ed1.full

    Until I get a hold of the original articles, I don’t blog about this. It’ll happen, but I’m disappointed that I’m having so much trouble getting a hold of this article.

  120. #120 Julian Frost
    May 14, 2010

    The Hazlehurst Appeal just got shot down by the Supreme Court.
    http://www.leagle.com/unsecure/page.htm?shortname=infco20100513188

  121. #121 Todd W.
    May 14, 2010

    @jen

    Well I don’t think that potentially contminated water and formula is a good recommendation. Well, it is good for Dr. Offit.

    Those are issues to consider in the final analysis, sure. However, as Dangerous Bacon pointed out, the need for formula would only be a few days, so there your protestations are not as significant as if, say, mothers were required to use formula for weeks or months. If the risk of using formula is greater than the risk of rotavirus, then I’d say forget the current vaccine formulation and work on something that is not inhibited by breast milk.

    As for the Australian decision, I doubt we would see the CDC pull the flu vacc even if the same thing were happening in the U.S. Gotta love the CDC. I’m sure some of you work for them…

    You mean like how FDA (who has jurisdiction over recalls, not the CDC) immediately called for Rotarix to be pulled when PCV1 was first discovered, even though there were no upticks in AEs? Like how they investigated it and considered what sort of impact it would have on patient health and only allowed the vaccine back on the market after determining that there was no increased risk? Yep, the U.S. would never do anything like what the Australian authorities did. Nope. Oh, wait…

    @cynic

    Proper formula feeding requires two things that are absent in developing nations. Money and clean water. What do you suppose happens when you create a situation for young mothers that have neither?

    You determine the best way to ensure that the mothers and infants get what they need. Provide inexpensive or free formula along with the vaccination. Provide clean water or access to it for as long as they require, or you teach them to boil the water before using it. And, as already noted, the length of time necessary is not huge, so it isn’t as great a burden as you or jen make it out to be.

  122. #122 colmcq
    May 14, 2010

    “That’s because such a study would be unethical.”

    or because there is no sound scientific reason to undertake such a study

  123. #123 Julian Frost
    May 14, 2010

    Apologies to everyone.
    It was the Federal Court of Appeals that ruled, not the Supreme Court.

  124. #124 cynic
    May 14, 2010

    Hi Todd W.

    You determine the best way to ensure that the mothers and infants get what they need. Provide inexpensive or free formula along with the vaccination. Provide clean water or access to it for as long as they require, or you teach them to boil the water before using it. And, as already noted, the length of time necessary is not huge, so it isn’t as great a burden as you or jen make it out to be.

    I realize you think this is reasonable, and it does sound as if it could be. Supposing the above could be accomplished, what about milk supply? Using formula to make a vaccine work better is counterintuitive, at least in my mind, and has the potential to destroy a breastfeeding relationship when infants are most vulnerable to pathogenic organisms. Then I think of Nestle.

  125. #125 jen
    May 14, 2010

    Sure Todd, dirty water mixed with formula so the rotateq will work is a great idea. Also, the U.S. didn’t pull rotateq (only the other rota vaccine) even though it has been found with 2 swine viruses. The Australin decision “shows that the system is working.”: yeah, but it couldn’t possibly show that vaccines cause seizures and brain problems, OR if they do, they are just “percentages.” There could be no possible mechanism for vaccines to cause autism. In La La Land.

  126. #126 squirrelelite
    May 14, 2010

    Clean water may be easier to achieve in developing countries than convincing readers like jen of the benefits of vaccination.

    Solar water disinfection uses a simple combination of plastic drink bottles, a reflective metal panel, and ultraviolet A radiation from the sun to disinfect water in about 6 hours. Projects are underway from Africa to Nepal to implement it.

    Here are a couple of links:

    http://www.sodis.ch/index_EN

    My aunt worked as a nurse in a hospital in northwestern Zambia for many years, so I thought this youtube video was interesting.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsIj96cHvHU

  127. #127 Pablo
    May 14, 2010

    I want to pick up on Julian Frost’s sidetrack. Hazlehursts lost big time. The ruling is an interesting read.

    Apparently, the basis for their appeal was the analysis by Dr. Bustin of the reports by Unigenetics (were they related to Wakefield in some way? That is not clear). Unigenetics were the ones who provided the evidence of measles virus in Hazlehurst’s son. Bustin ripped their procedures to shreds, and the vaccine court says they have no credibility. Hazlehursts appeal on the grounds that Bustin’s testimony shouldn’t have been allowed. Here’s from the ruling

    According to the Hazlehursts, the admission of Dr. Bustin’s testimony and reports gave the government an unfair advantage because the petitioners could not adequately respond to Dr. Bustin’s criticisms without access to the materials he had examined, such as Unigenetics’ laboratory equipment and notebooks.

    So you gotta love this. Their complaint is that they did not have access to the material that Bustin was criticizing. The problem is, THEY were the ones who brought up Unigenetics! They were the ones who introduced Unigenetics results as evidence. And now they are complaining that they didn’t have sufficient access to their equipment and notebooks in order to rebut criticisms of them.

    Not surprisingly, the court didn’t take it too seriously.

    The special master’s decision to admit and consider Dr. Bustin’s testimony and reports was in full accord with the principle of fundamental fairness. Although not obligated to do so, the petitioners chose to introduce the Unigenetics data and thus placed its validity squarely in issue. Fairness dictated that the government be given an opportunity to refute that critical evidence.

    Hazlehursts appealed on this “fairness” doctrine, that everyone be given a fair chance to present evidence. So what did they want? They wanted to strike the testimony of the state’s witness, and leave their results unchallenged. So much for fairness. A real fair solution would be to say that if the state can’t provide their rebuttal, you can’t use the evidence. That wouldn’t be so good, though, because without Unigenetics, the only thing they would have to go on would be Wakefield’s study (which they had already hitched their cart to, btw).

    However, the vaccine court in fact DID recognize the fairness issue, and gave Hazlehursts the chance to try to track down the information they needed. The appeals court says

    Moreover, the special master appropriately sought to mitigate the difficulty presented by Dr. Bustin’s evidence by giving the petitioners more than a year in which to obtain additional information to counter Dr. Bustin’s analysis. … The petitioners, however, chose not to seek relevant reports from the UK litigation or to recall Dr. Bustin for further questioning.

    So the vaccine court says, “OK, this witness has ripped your case to shreds. I realize the data are tied up in legal issues, so I’ll give you a year to address his criticism.” They didn’t even depose the guy to challenge his statements.

    The ruling then goes on to discuss a lot about the worthlessness of data, but I found the part above most interesting from a legal standpoint.

  128. #128 Kristen
    May 14, 2010

    Cynic,

    Supposing the above could be accomplished, what about milk supply? Using formula to make a vaccine work better is counterintuitive, at least in my mind, and has the potential to destroy a breastfeeding relationship

    I don’t think this would be a problem unless it was for more than one to two days. When my first son passed away, it took a good two weeks before I was no longer engorged. The vaccine is given at about 6-28 weeks from what I understand. At this point breastfeeding is well established. I am not an expert however, I breastfed three of my children for a combined four years.

    At six weeks to six months months ceasing breastfeeding for two days shouldn’t be enough of a break to greatly effect milk supply, the supply would return when the demand is back, and the mother could express milk by hand to stay more comfortable while the baby is not breastfeeding.

    Remember, in these countries breastfeeding is the norm, so a mother would have support while reestablishing breastfeeding. And by even six weeks, a baby probably won’t get nipple confused.

    I mean absolutely no snark in this comment, I just thought you might be interested if you don’t have the experience from breastfeeding.

  129. #129 Kristen
    May 14, 2010

    Adding to my above comment, I am sure ceasing breastfeeding for more than two days or so would be okay. But two days is the longest break I had while breastfeeding, so that is my experience.

  130. #130 Frank
    May 14, 2010

    Could you folks please, PLEASE send your alternate point of view to the Lakeland Times Letters to the Editor at P.O. Box 558, Minocqua, WI 54548? When I last went to the URL for Moore’s opinion piece it appeared that the entire Age of Autism mailing list was ready to make him a saint – at least on the web comments. There was one post that linked me to this article, which I thoroughly enjoyed because the tables were turned for once.

    The Lakeland Times likes to brag that they’ve “never had to print a retraction.” The owner/publisher has deep pockets and they have no competition for advertising in this retirement and tourism area so he and his henchmen pretty much get away with their bullying on every topic they pick up. The psycho-stew in that news room is really something.

    Something you should know that puts all this in context is that the Kim Walker mentioned as a resource for the local autism support group in part 5 of the Moore series — which started out like a good thing to call attention to the topic of autism and only veered into the conservative conspiracy theories later on — is the wife of the owner/publisher Gregg Walker and they apparently have an autistic son. A person can understand parents acting out of pain and even a need to blame something or somebody.

    Which is sad but still no excuse for Moore’s sloppy journalism. You really pegged his wanting to play the Palace when he’s stuck in burlesque with his ta-ta tassels in tatters.

  131. #131 Kevin
    May 16, 2010

    Hanlon’s razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

  132. #132 stelvis
    May 17, 2010

    I’ve been living in Lancaster Co. my whole life, and I’m just picturing this strange guy driving around, knocking on Amish doors, and trying to find kids with autism. And I’m laughing my ass off. If you know the Amish at all, you would know that this is not an effective strategy. In order to find/study Amish with a particular disorder, he would have had to work through doctors and clinics that work with the Amish regularly and whom that community trusts. And, the Amish Mennonites aren’t the same as Old Order Amish. Different group entirely, and an Amish Mennonite woman wouldn’t necessarily know what was going on in the Old Order Amish community.

    I can remember in the 1980′s one or two local Amish kids dying of tetanus they picked up on the farms. After those deaths, I think vaccination rates really started to go up among Amish children.