Respectful Insolence

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Ever since I somehow stumbled into a niche in the blogosphere where I seem to be one of a handful of go-to bloggers for issues having to do with vaccines and the anti-vaccine movement, like Spider-Man I realize that with great power comes great responsibility.

Wait a minute. That beginning was too pompous and pretentious even for me. I know it’s hard to believe, but even Orac has limits when it comes to pretentiousness.

Orac-ian pomposity aside, there are indeed certain topics that I can’t resist. Whether it’s because they intensely interest me or my being an aforementioned “go-to” blogger compels me out of a sense of duty to take them on, take them on I must. Of course, what’s good about such topics is that they generally serve me up custom-made blog material and guarantee that, for a day at least, I have no trouble finding things to write about. Thankfully (or unfortunately–I can’t make up my mind), the anti-vaccine loons at Age of Autism have provided me with perfect material for a Friday in the form of their promotion of a brand, spanking new monkey study that purports to find that vaccines cause autism (or at least disturbing brain changes) in Macaque monkeys. Sadly, but not unexpectedly, this study is not in any sense brand or new, although it may well be spanking. Certainly it deserves a sound spanking, and that’s what it’s going to get right now.

New study shows vaccines cause brain changes found in autism!” proclaim Dan “Where Are The Autistic Amish?” Olmsted and Mark “Not A Doctor, Not A ScientistBlaxill, and the ravening hordes of anti-vaccine loons go wild. Yep, that’s what I’m talking about. Unfortunately.

Yes, the other day Laura Hewitson published as lead author a study in a journal that I had never heard of before (Acta Neurobiologiae Experimentalis) entitled Influence of pediatric vaccines on amygdala growth and opioid ligand binding in rhesus macaque infants: A pilot study. Think of it as Monkey Business in Autism Research, Take 3. But before I go into this study, perhaps it’s a good time to recap Monkey Business in Autism Research, Take 1 and Take 2. Note that this research is the same research that was published in NeuroToxicology last fall and then withdrawn in February in the wake of Wakefield’s disgrace due to his having had his medical license taken away by the General Medical Council in the U.K.

Basically, this “research,” first reported in an abstract at IMFAR back in 2008, is crap science through and through. It suffers from so many methodological flaws that I still marvel that it managed to get through any sort of peer review, much less IACUC review, and its lead investigator has a massive conflict of interest. I once complained about the “studies” that came from these experiments as being what’s known as the “minimal publishable unit” (a.k.a. MPU). In other words, Wakefield and his cronies appeared to be doing one monkey experiment and then chopping it up into as many individual papers as they can. From that, there were the three abstracts at IMFAR, the NeuroToxicology paper–and now this latest atrocity against science.

First, there’s one thing that stood out–nay, leapt out–at me as I read this paper. Do you see it? It’s there in the abstract and it’s there in the paper itself. Andrew Wakefield’s name is not on the paper. In fact, in the Acknowledgments section, we find this curious sentence:

Special thanks to Dr. Andrew Wakefield for assistance with study design and for critical review of this manuscript; and to Troy and Charlie Ball and Robert Sawyer.

Can it be? Andrew Wakefield relegated to a mere “special thanks to” notice tacked onto the end of the mansucript? Remember, Wakefield’s name was featured prominently on the previous incarnations of this study. His fingerprints are all over it. By any rights he should be the senior author on the paper, but he isn’t. I can only guess it’s that the reason is that his name and reputation are so toxic that the appearance of the Wakefield moniker on a submitted manuscript would guarantee that it won’t be accepted even in an apparently bottom-feeding journal like Acta Neurobiologiae Experimentalis. Actually, any journal that would accept a journal article this bad by Wakefield’s protégé, is almost by definition a bottom-feeding journal, but if you have any doubts, check out the rest of the issue, which contains not one but two articles by those masters of autism quackery, Mark and David Geier, originators of the Lupron protocol, not to mention an article by Hitlan and DeSoto. Truly, it’s a cornucopia of bad autism science! Perhaps, as Kev points out, it has something to do with the person who chose the theme of this particular issue of Acta Neurobiologiae Experimentalis, Professor Dorota Majewska. Although I don’t recall having mentioned it before, someone named Professor Majewska signed the original We Support Andy Wakefield petition that I had some fun with a while back.

Coincidence? I think not.

Another thing I noticed right away is another odd omission. There is no conflict of interest statement, even though there most definitely should be. As mentioned before, Hewitson has an autistic child who is part of the Autism Omnibus case. This sort of research, if it had been published earlier, could have been used to bolster the complainants’ case. Having been burned two years ago with criticism for not having reported her COI, Hewitson did report it in the 2009 withdrawn NeuroToxicology paper. Now she isn’t reporting it. I wonder why.

Actually, no I don’t.

In any case, on to the present study, which is clearly an offshoot of this earlier work. This is what was found:

Abstract. This longitudinal, case-control pilot study examined amygdala growth in rhesus macaque infants receiving the complete US childhood vaccine schedule (1994-1999). Longitudinal structural and functional neuroimaging was undertaken to examine central effects of the vaccine regimen on the developing brain. Vaccine-exposed and saline-injected control infants underwent MRI and PET imaging at approximately 4 and 6 months of age, representing two specific timeframes within the vaccination schedule. Volumetric analyses showed that exposed animals did not undergo the maturational changes over time in amygdala volume that was observed in unexposed animals. After controlling for left amygdala volume, the binding of the opioid antagonist [11C]diprenorphine (DPN) in exposed animals remained relatively constant over time, compared with unexposed animals, in which a significant decrease in [11C]DPN binding occurred. These results suggest that maturational changes in amygdala volume and the binding capacity of [11C]DPN in the amygdala was significantly altered in infant macaques receiving the vaccine schedule. The macaque infant is a relevant animal model in which to investigate specific environmental exposures and structural/functional neuroimaging during neurodevelopment.

Interesting. Hewitson’s finding claims that animals vaccinated with thimerosal-containing vaccines underwent increases in the size of the amygdala relative to control animals. As always, though, the devil is in the details, and it’s necessary to read the experimental methodology. Note that in this study, as in the previous iterations of this misbegotten study, there was a large mismatch in number between the control group and the experimental group, with four being given saline controls and twelve being given a vaccine “schedule” designed to mimic the vaccine schedule given to children in the U.S. in the 1990s. Hilariously, because all these vaccines are thimerosal-free, Hewitson had to add thimerosal to the vaccines to produce its replication of the vaccine schedule from the 1990s. Of course, because Macaque monkeys mature faster than humans, they received in one year what humans receive in four years.

During this whole period, the investigators then performed MRI and functional MRI, as well as positron emission tomography (PET) scans on the monkeys, which is why I say right here: Don’t get me started on how incredibly unethical Hewitson and Wakefield’s treatment of these poor monkeys. Remember, these monkeys have to be anesthetized every time they undergo a test, and they’re being jabbed with various vaccines or saline solutions all in the service of a highly improbable hypothesis that has been tested time and time again in humans through large epidemiological studies. These aren’t just mice or rats we’re talking about, either. They’re primates and highly intelligent. In fact, I would hesitate even to treat mice this way, and I know our IACUC at my university frowns on experiments that require multiple anesthesias and multiple procedures even on mice.

More interesting is something I found when I read the methods section more closely:

A complete set of MRI data at both T1 and T2 were obtained from 9 exposed and 2 unexposed animals.

And then there was this:

A complete set of PET data at both T1 and T2 were obtained from 9 exposed and 2 unexposed animals.

So let’s see. There were originally 12 exposed monkeys and four unexposed monkeys. That’s bad enough in that the number of monkeys in the control group was so small that it would take a large difference between the vaccinated group and unvaccinated group to produce anything resembling statistical significance. With only two animals in the control group, the situation is even worse. With such a control group, it would be damned near impossible to achieve a result that is statistically significant, and doing statistical analysis on such a data set is an exercise in futility. Worse, no explanation is given for why the three monkeys from the vaccinated group and one monkey from the unvaccinated group weren’t included in the analysis. (One of the monkeys in the unvaccinated control group was apparently excluded for the protocol not being followed.) That’s a rather glaring omission. A glaring omission indeed. If I were reviewing this paper, I would have demanded that the authors explain to me why they left out those monkeys and put a passage in the manuscript describing their rationale. Good thing for Hewitson I wasn’t a reviewer.

There’s also a disconnect betweent he abstract and what is actually reported in the paper. Let’s reiterate part of what the abstract says:

Vaccine-exposed and saline-injected control infants underwent MRI and PET imaging at approximately 4 and 6 months of age, representing two specific timeframes within the vaccination schedule.

Elswhere in the paper, the authors state:

For the exposed group there was a nonstatistically significant increase in right amygdala volume over time (P=0.16; Table IIa). For the unexposed group there was a significant drop in right amygdala volume over time (P<0.0001; Table IIa).

As Sullivan noted, that’s right: The authors observed a significant decrease in right amygdala volume in the control animals between four and six months of age. In fact, look at the figure that Sullivan relabeled from the paper to make it clearer. This is not a slight degree of shrinkage, either. It’s nearly a 30% shrinkage. Come to think of it, I hope Sullivan won’t mind, but I’m including a thumbnail of his graph with a link to it below:

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Also, as Sullivan points out, in infant monkeys, the amygdala doesn’t shrink. They grow until they reach full size at around 24 months. Yet in Hewitson’s experiments, the amygdala shrank nearly 30% in just two months between four and six months of age, while the sizes of the amygdalas in the vaccinated monkeys appeared to be increasing in size at a slow rate consistent with normal monkeys. Based on such thin gruel, Hewitson tries to argue that the increase in amygdala corresponds to an increase in whole brain size consistent with what has been reported in children with ASD. Yes, that’s the entire argument and those are the purported findings of the paper, and it’s all based on only 11 monkeys.

So what is the likely cause of this finding? Does this mean that saline injections cause the brain to shrink? Of course not. What almost certainly happened is that the control group was so small that by a random fluke of chance Hewitson happened to get two monkeys for whom the average brain volume decreased. This is not unusual or implausible; there’s a lot of variation in brain size, which is why larger numbers are needed to produce any results that can be believed. An N of 2 just won’t cut it. It’s not even clear that an N of 9 would do it either. Certainly I saw no power analyses worthy of the name in the statistics section, and I also saw a whole lot of “not statistically significant” results.

There’s one final observation. Two years ago at IMFAR, Wakefield and Hewitson presented an abstract that was clearly the precursor to this latest paper. At the time the anti-vaccine loons at AoA were kind enough to post the entire text of the abstracts. So let’s take a look:

Pediatric Vaccines Influence Primate Behavior, and Amygdala Growth and Opioid Ligand Binding Friday, May 16, 2008: IMFAR

L. Hewitson , Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA B. Lopresti , Radiology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA C. Stott, Thoughtful House Center for Children, Austin, TX J. Tomko , Pittsburgh Development Center, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA L. Houser , Pittsburgh Development Center, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA E. Klein , Division of Laboratory Animal Resources, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA C. Castro , Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA G. Sackett , Psychology, Washington National Primate Research Center, Seattle, WA S. Gupta , Medicine, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, University of California – Irvine, Irvine, CA D. Atwood , Chemistry, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY L. Blue , Chemistry, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY E. R. White , Chemistry, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY A. Wakefield , Thoughtful House Center for Children, Austin, TX

Background: Macaques are commonly used in pre-clinical vaccine safety testing, but the combined childhood vaccine regimen, rather than individual vaccines, has not been studied. Childhood vaccines are a possible causal factor in autism, and abnormal behaviors and anomalous amygdala growth are potentially inter-related features of this condition.

Objectives: The objective of this study was to compare early infant cognition and behavior with amygdala size and opioid binding in rhesus macaques receiving the recommended childhood vaccines (1994-1999), the majority of which contained the bactericidal preservative ethylmercurithiosalicylic acid (thimerosal).

Methods: Macaques were administered the recommended infant vaccines, adjusted for age and thimerosal dose (exposed; N=13), or saline (unexposed; N=3). Primate development, cognition and social behavior were assessed for both vaccinated and unvaccinated infants using standardized tests developed at the Washington National Primate Research Center. Amygdala growth and binding were measured serially by MRI and by the binding of the non-selective opioid antagonist [11C]diprenorphine, measured by PET, respectively, before (T1) and after (T2) the administration of the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (MMR).

Results: Compared with unexposed animals, significant neurodevelopmental deficits were evident for exposed animals in survival reflexes, tests of color discrimination and reversal, and learning sets. Differences in behaviors were observed between exposed and unexposed animals and within the exposed group before and after MMR vaccination. Compared with unexposed animals, exposed animals showed attenuation of amygdala growth and differences in the amygdala binding of [11C]diprenorphine. Interaction models identified significant associations between specific aberrant social and non-social behaviors, isotope binding, and vaccine exposure.

Conclusions: This animal model, which examines for the first time, behavioral, functional, and neuromorphometric consequences of the childhood vaccine regimen, mimics certain neurological abnormalities of autism. The findings raise important safety issues while providing a potential model for examining aspects of causation and disease pathogenesis in acquired disorders of behavior and development.

Note that we appear to have had a mass exodus of authors from this study Note also the emphasized sentence.

That’s right. Back then Hewitson was reporting that the amygdalas of the infant monkeys were not growing normally in the vaccinated group. There were also 13 monkeys in the vaccinated group and three in the unvaccinated group, truly the incredibly morphing expermental groups. It looks to me as though some hypothesis rearrangement intervened here. Apparently between 2008 and 2010, someone read some research suggesting larger brain sizes were characteristic of autism and ASD. Either that, or I can’t help but ask Hewitson: How could this have happened? Were you incompetent then analyzing your data or are you incompetent now? OK, I admit it. It’s a trick question. The two aren’t mutually exclusive, and Hewitson appears to have been incompetent both then and now, in my not-so-respectfully insolent opinion. The study didn’t have enough monkeys, particularly in the control group, to come to any conclusion worth having any confidence in whatsoever.

What a horrific waste of primates!

Naturally, none of this stops Wakefield’s cheerleaders over at the anti-vaccine crank blog Age of Autism from promoting this study to the hilt, even going so far as to cite Wakefield’s discredited “monkey business” study as though it showed anything other than no real difference between the groups and were a different study altogether, rather than just another appendage of the same incompetent experiment. In the comments we’re treated to examples of conspiracy mongering so hilarious that I laughed out loud at a couple of them, in particular this one by Jeff C.:

…this will be dismissed by the medical establishment as a study conducted by known “anti-vaccine nuts” published in some “third-rate, foreign journal”. They’ll say, “Why isn’t it published in a reputable, mainstream journal? How do we know the peer review was adequate?”

Of course, they control the “mainstream” journals, they control peer review, and would never let a study like this see the light of day. The system is rigged, and they’ll use that to discredit or stifle any study not to their liking.

The only way to break the dam is to keep studies like this coming. In the meantime, we need to get the word out on this one.

Actually, were it not for the abuse of primates, a part of me would hope the anti-vaccine movement keeps studies like this coming. Nothing destroys their scientific reputation faster than such mind-meltingly awful science. It’s so bad that each study like this can only guarantee further scientific marginalization of these cranks. It also provides excellent blog fodder, although too much risks frying my fragile eggshell mind.

Too bad it’s such a crime that so many monkeys had to give their lives in the service of such bad science. Blog fodder and discrediting the anti-vaccine movement aren’t worth the loss of primate life.

More reading on this terrible study:

  1. Terrible Anti-Vaccine Study, Terrible Reporting (crossposted to Science-Based Medicine)
  2. The genie is out of the bottle: vaccines cause autism
  3. The genie is out of the bottle. Part II – more genies, more bottles

ADDENDUM

Geez, the comments are getting worse:

The increased head size is likely caused by heavy metal interference with apoptosis (programmed cell death) which is the brain’s way of modelling itself into an optimum configuration. My older autistic son had a remarkably large head as a toddler which is now a more normal size as a teenager.

Let’s see, he’s mastered the science-y sounding jargon but clearly has no clue what it means. Truly, here we see an example of a little knowledge being a dangerous thing.

ADDENDUM #2

If you want to know how bad this study is, consider the fact that homeopaths like it.

Comments

  1. #1 Joseph
    July 16, 2010

    I suspect the 2 control monkeys were exposed to conversations between anti-vaxers, which clearly explains the brain shrinkage.

    Seriously, though, the figure is striking. If they actually believed those results, wouldn’t it be the case that the amygdala shrinks substantially in the average unvaccinated child? Surely, this should not be difficult to confirm.

  2. #2 Rene Najera
    July 16, 2010

    If I were reviewing this paper, I would have demanded that the authors explain to me why they left out those monkeys and put a passage in the manuscript describing their rationale.

    The explanation may be easier than we think. Maybe… and this is just my opinion (and not that of anyone who pays me a miserable wage for a living)… Maybe they took out those monkeys which would have proven their theory wrong? I used to do that (hide evidence of my mistakes) all the time WHEN I WAS FOUR YEARS OLD (which is the level of maturity I get from anti-vaxxers who keep complaining to my employers about me).

    Not that I’m bitter or anything.

  3. #3 Todd W.
    July 16, 2010

    Hmm…perhaps the missing 2 control monkeys showed greater increases in amygdala volume than the exposed monkeys. Those two were the ones used in the earlier paper, while the two that showed a decrease were used for this one? Just throwing out ideas.

  4. #4 Dr Aust
    July 16, 2010

    First it goes down… then it goes up…

    …amazing how that happens if you have no control sample to speak of.

    Add one… lose one… …whoops…

    Dear me.

    As Sullivan’s post that Orac linked to makes clear (including showing the normal developmental plot of amygdala volume in the macaque from someone else’s study), the “results” they report for the vaccinated group exactly parallel the normal expected timecourse. So, er, no effect of vaccines, then.

    It would be hilarious if it weren’t so thoroughly dire.

    Anyway – different point. Orac didn’t say, I presume since it is obvious to those who have followed this stuff, but the pattern of repeat invasive investigations under general anaesthetic/sedation parallels what Wakefield & friends did to their ASD child patients back in the day – also under, er, rather ethically dubious circumstances.

    Nice.

  5. #5 MikeMa
    July 16, 2010

    Interesting analysis. Even a non-researcher such as myself recognized the low N as a significant problem.

    If I encountered a result so unexpected with N=2, I would most definitely added subjects and repeated the experiment. I hope the peer review will look into that aspect and the others ORAC pointed out but I also see that as a collosal waste of time, money and primates.

    Without having easy access to the information, doesn’t the exposed group’s growth match normal development? A boondoggle to prop up a fraud.

  6. #6 Todd W.
    July 16, 2010

    Where is the IACUC for this study? Were they asleep? How did Hewitson, et al. get approval for this thing?

  7. #7 Stephen
    July 16, 2010

    The authors observed a significant decrease in right amygdala volume in the control animals between four and six months of age.

    Why do the authors care that there was a significant change within one group? Surely their results depend on there being a significant difference between the vaccinated and non-vaccinated samples. Looking at the data in the paper, it’s clear why they are harping on this – it’s their only significant result. That large gap between vaccinated and non-vaccinated samples in the above graph is not statistically significant (p=0.82).

    The only reasonable conclusion they can draw from this data is that there is no difference between the vaccinated and non-vaccinated samples. Can’t say I’m surprised to see them pick out the one significant anomaly and ride it for all it’s worth though.

  8. #8 titmouse
    July 16, 2010

    This is just a test to see if I can post here or not. I suspect IP filtering shenanigans, as I have posted here when I was at TAM.

  9. #9 Matthew Cline
    July 16, 2010

    Typo alert: “There’s also a disconnect between he abstract“. “he” should be “the”.

    And if the study had any clinical significance, rather than indicating that vaccines caused brain growth, it would indicate that vaccines prevented brain shrinkage.

  10. #10 Michael
    July 16, 2010

    A control group of just 2 animals? Is that a sufficient control group for ANY experiment?

  11. #11 Science Mom
    July 16, 2010

    Oh my, monkey brains growing as monkey brains should. Film at eleven. That entire statistics section was a complete waste of space, not to mention complete hand-waving, science-y sounding tripe.

    I can only hope that this group is never allowed near animals again for this vapid experimentation. The University of Pittsburgh should be ashamed of themselves for allowing this unnecessary sacrifice of monkeys.

  12. #12 bsci
    July 16, 2010

    I just skimmed the paper (I don’t know how Orac can read things like this in detail). There were a few other problems I noticed.
    First, they do not report the image resolution for either the MRI or PET data. The PET data has a reference to the protocol they used, but I’d still like confirmation about resolution used for this study. The image quality looks good, but when you’re talking about volume of interest sizes, this is an absolutely essential parameter to list.

    Another major lapse is they gave no indication that the person drawing the volumes of interest was blind to the populations. (i.e. when they were drawing the volumes did they know if they were working on a vaccinated or unvaccinated money?) Lack of blinding should also have been a flat out rejection. Frankly, I think this is a bigger deal than the removed monkeys because an unblinded person can always go back to the data and adjust the volume sizes accordingly (sometimes by accident, but this is an issue of practice of science beyond ethics) At minimum, they should have reported on the drawing method used and given some evidence that the person drawing the volumes could consistently repeat the results.

  13. #13 Scottynuke
    July 16, 2010

    OK, I just have to ask…

    What’s the relevance of the Page/Beck (or Beck/Page, depending on your guitar god preference) Yardbirds photo?
    :-)

  14. #14 Science Mom
    July 16, 2010

    @bsci, they claimed that “all image analysis was undertaken in an observer-blinded fashion.” However, others knew of the vaccination status of the animals. It’s no wonder that no decent journal would want to touch this.

  15. #15 MikeMa
    July 16, 2010

    @Scottynuke,
    Good question. When I read the title, I expected a picture of the Monkeys but when that didn’t work out no matter how hard I squinted, I just skipped to the words…

  16. #16 T. Bruce McNeely
    July 16, 2010
  17. #17 JonF
    July 16, 2010

    there was a nonstatistically significant increase in right amygdala volume over time (P=0.16; Table IIa)

    That alone made me facepalm. Repeat after me: there is no such thing as a nonstatistically significant increase. And even if they did increase, like Orac said, how do we know that’s not just normal development? Such a precipitous drop in the “control” group certainly isn’t “normal.”

    I mean, I know it’s a third-rate journal and all, but c’mon, people this is Peer Review 101, here.

  18. #18 Orac
    July 16, 2010

    @Scottynuke

    Look at the title of the post. Look at the band.

  19. #19 Denice Walter
    July 16, 2010

    @ Scottynuke, MikeMa,& T.Bruce ( and Orac) : Oh, we are showing our age!( but that’s ok) Alternate reaction : “But *why* is he not showing a photo of the _Arctic_ Monkeys?” (current hot band ; one dates current “it” girl)

  20. #20 Roger Rains
    July 16, 2010

    Yeah… I was kind of wondering if Orac thought those were the Monkees.

    -RR-

  21. #21 Orac
    July 16, 2010

    @Roger Rains

    You have just profoundly insulted me.

  22. #22 Norwegian Shooter
    July 16, 2010

    “Oracian pomposity aside, …”

    What an awesome paragraph! How do you pronounce Oracian (assuming it’s or’-ack): or’-ack-shun or or’-ack-en?

    Nit-pick: eliminate the comma between brand and spanking.

  23. #23 Dangerous Bacon
    July 16, 2010

    I’m hung up on the choice between “Too Much Monkey Business” and “Not Enough Monkeys” as a slogan for the antivax movement.

    Both hit the mark.

  24. #24 Todd W.
    July 16, 2010

    @DB

    “Needs more cowbell monkey.”

  25. #25 Dwpeabody
    July 16, 2010

    I do believed the necropsies were preformed on the wrong primates.

    Unfortunatly adding 5 more would have only confounded the results further as the amygdala size plummeted.

  26. #26 Kimberly
    July 16, 2010

    “For the exposed group there was a nonstatistically significant increase in right amygdala volume over time (P=0.16; Table IIa). For the unexposed group there was a significant drop in right amygdala volume over time (P<0.0001; Table IIa).”

    Wait, I don’t understand. Notwithstanding the bizarre wording of “a nonstatistically significant increase” (which I’ve never seen used in psychometric or med ed journals), the low sample size, the conflicts of interest, et – isn’t the conclusion of this that the researcher did NOT find the effect they claim they found? The amygdala volume in the treated group did not show a volume increase that was statistically significant. Therefore you fail to reject the null hypothesis and say that you cannot say that the treatment had an effect. Period.

    It seems they’re trying to claim that amygdalas are supposed to shrink, not grow, and amygdalas that grow are indicative of ASD – but they haven’t shown here that a significant growth occured. They cannot claim to have observed ANY reliable change on the part of treated animals. And, frankly, I find it hard to believe that they actually found a significant change downwards with the control group, given an N of 2.

    How did this get past a peer reviewer? Unbelievable. My intro Biostats students would have caught this.

  27. #27 Scottynuke
    July 16, 2010

    Look, I know threadjacking is a faux pas, but I’m honestly confused here… (at least I’m not making an “Old Spice” TV commercial reference to Orac’s reply) :-)

    It’s the Yardbirds, obviously, but where’s the “monkey business” link? Am I that oblivious to the Yardbirds’ discography? Has Hewitson finally gone “Over Under Sideways Down” or something? Can’t get to Youtube from this PC, so I can’t access McNeely’s suggestion.

  28. #28 Orac
    July 16, 2010

    It’s the Yardbirds, obviously, but where’s the “monkey business” link? Am I that oblivious to the Yardbirds’ discography?

    Apparently the answer to your question is, “Yes.”

  29. #29 Marc
    July 16, 2010

    Too bad Jeff C missed entirely what we’d say: it’s not where it was published, but how awful the science is. But alas, apparently “they” control peer review, so the conspiracy theory must be that their “science” is such that no matter how good it is it will be dismissed as shoddy. Theirs truly is a world where black is white, up is down, and cats and dogs are living together.

  30. #30 BA
    July 16, 2010

    Scotty, think Chuck Berry cover. Everyone and their brother has done it. So you could say there’s been too much…

  31. #31 Matthew Cline
    July 16, 2010

    Theirs truly is a world where black is white, up is down, and cats and dogs are living together.

    Let’s hope they don’t cross the streams.

  32. #32 _Arthur
    July 16, 2010

    This “study” is very similar to the “baby haircut” one.

    They get a spurious result on the control group, and they redefine the study accordingly.

    “Autism causes hairs not to bind mercury”

    “Vaccines causes babies brains not to shrink”

  33. #33 _Arthur
    July 16, 2010

    …maybe one of their 2 control monkeys got ill because it was not vaccined ?

  34. #34 Sciantizzle
    July 16, 2010

    Orac, this is a great takedown…but there is a bigger picture to consider here: this paper was published in an autism-focused special issue of Acta Neurobiologiae Experimentalis. Seriously, check out the other papers in Volume 70, Number 2 (2010)

    Turlejski K.
    Focus on autism – editorial comment (pp: 117-118)

    Pisula E.
    The autistic mind in the light of neuropsychological studies (pp: 119-130)

    Kawa R., Pisula E.
    Locomotor activity, object exploration and space preference in children with autism and Down syndrome (pp: 131-140)

    Cubała-Kucharska M.
    The review of most frequently occurring medical disorders related to aetiology of autism and the methods of treatment (pp: 141-146)

    Hewitson L., Lopresti B., Stott C., Mason N.S., Tomko J.
    Influence of pediatric vaccines on amygdala growth and opioid ligand binding in rhesus macaque infants: A pilot study (pp: 147-164)

    DeSoto M.C., Hitlan R.T.
    Sorting out the spinning of autism: heavy metals and the question of incidence (pp: 165-176)

    Geier D.A., Audhya T., Kern J.K., Geier M.R.
    Blood mercury levels in autism spectrum disorder: is there a threshold level? (pp: 177-186)

    Schultz S.T.
    Does thimerosal or other mercury exposure increase the risk for autism? A review of current literature (pp: 187-195)

    Majewska M.D., Urbanowicz E., Rok-Bujko P., Namysłowska I., Mierzejewski P.
    Age-dependent lower or higher levels of hair mercury in autistic children than in healthy controls (pp: 196-208)

    Geier D.A., Kern J.K., Geier M.R.
    The biological basis of autism spectrum disorders: Understanding causation and treatment by clinical geneticists (pp: 209-226)

    Schultz S.T.
    Can autism be triggered by acetaminophen activation of the endocannabinoid system? (pp: 227-231)

    Kazek B., Huzarska M., Grzybowska-Chlebowczyk U., Kajor M., Ciupińska-Kajor M., Woś H., Marszał E.
    Platelet and intestinal 5-HT2A receptor mRNA in autistic spectrum disorders – results of a pilot study (pp: 232-238)

    See any familiar names and pet hypotheses in there? I do…

    It looks like this journal, or more specifically the journal’s editor, Kris Turlejski, may have become a sympathetic party to the Mercury Militia.

  35. #35 Scientizzle
    July 16, 2010

    Let me also state, for the record, that I am embarrassed to have mis-spelled my own pseudonym…

    I blame my normal-sized amygdala.

  36. #36 John Harrold
    July 16, 2010

    You know someone is going to have to conduct a more thorough study with a statistically significant number of animals to refute this. That means several more primates are going to be sacrificed to satisfy the delusions of these people.

    I feel bad after euthanize rats and mice in our animal work. I simply couldn’t work with monkeys; I don’t think I could handle it emotionally.

  37. #37 squirrelelite
    July 16, 2010

    On the Yardbirds,

    maybe it’s because the study is on the Shape of Things like monkey’s brains.

    http://www.bing.com/videos/watch/video/yardbirds-shape-of-things/7e0931695d0bdd7d2bd27e0931695d0bdd7d2bd2-70545441702?q=Yardbirds&FORM=VIRE2

    Or, maybe these are the results when you do your research Over Under Sideways Down.

    http://www.bing.com/videos/watch/video/over-under-sideways-down-yardbirds-page/f604e76a23390fafd13ef604e76a23390fafd13e-165672780975?q=Yardbirds&FORM=VIRE4

    Too Much Monkey Business was a Chuck Berry song.

  38. #38 brian
    July 16, 2010

    A reader at AoA asked: “If no one has studied non-human primate amygdala development, how do we know what ‘normal’ is? Is it normal to have a decline in amygdala size during development?”

    In reply, another reader simply provided a link to the abstract of the paper Sullivan pointed out. [Payne C, Machado CJ, Bliwise NG, Bachevalier J. Maturation of the hippocampal formation and amygdala in Macaca mulatta: A volumetric magnetic resonance imaging study. Hippocampus. 2009 Sep 8]

    Since that paper showed that the conclusions of the Hewitson paper (which relied on an anomalous, probably scatter-related decline in amygdala volume in the tiny control group while vaccinated macaques developed normally) are utter nonsense, it’s not surprising that the post was quickly deleted. Olmstead and Blaxill can’t handle the truth.

  39. #39 Todd W.
    July 16, 2010

    @John Harrold

    You know someone is going to have to conduct a more thorough study with a statistically significant number of animals to refute this.

    Not really. As Sullivan pointed out (Orac provided a handy link), the increasing size of the amygdala observed in the experimental group kinda matches the increasing size of the amygdala in macaques in general, based on a study of macaque hippocampal formation and amygdala maturation from 2009 that looked at a similar number of monkeys. If anything, the control group’s shrinkage is the anomaly in this study.

  40. #40 Sullivan
    July 16, 2010

    Thanks for the links, Orac. You are of course welcome to anything I blog.

    It is very difficult to discuss this paper calmly. The science is so remarkably bad. Mark Blaxill and Dan Olmsted either didn’t read it or they didn’t understand it–or they don’t care.

    This is a waste of time, money and laboratory animals. It is totally irresponsible to hype this nonsense and inflame and upset parents.

    This paper would be a joke if it weren’t for the harm it is causing.

  41. #41 Brian Deer
    July 16, 2010

    Well, more pure Wakefield. The manipulation of controls has been his hallmark for 20 years. As is the absurdity of the ultimate claims. Invariably, it’s too many parents blaming the vaccine, too many samples coming up positive for measles, too many monkeys with evidence of gross brain damage.

    I guess they just can’t help themselves. Greed is in the nature of the cheat.

    - Oh, and let’s not forget Carol Stott, who sets the benchmark for the calibre of these people:

    http://briandeer.com/mmr/carol-stott.htm

  42. #42 Scottynuke
    July 16, 2010

    Well, who could hope to match an all-knowing plexiglass box of lights in listing the Yardbirds’ various covers?

    I sit corrected. :-)

    And Hewitson’s babblings don’t even rate being called a “study,” but never mind, I’ll sit quietly in the corner now. :-)

  43. #43 MI Dawn
    July 16, 2010

    @scottynuke: don’t feel bad. I can’t access youtube at work either and had no idea what Orac was talking about either. (Yes, I am musically illiterate, why do you ask? My husband nearly left me when I admitted I had no idea Eric Clapton was a member of a band called Creem ?Cream?)

    @squirrelelite: Thanks for the Yardbirds/Chuck Berry info. As I noted above, I had no idea.

  44. #44 Scott
    July 16, 2010

    This seems to be a repeated trend. If the data don’t support your position, make up data that do. That’s how Wankerfield started; it was prominently on display during the Omnibus trials; and now this.

  45. #45 MikeMa
    July 16, 2010

    I loathe PETA’s methods and support ethical animal studies but shouldn’t someone give them a link to this paper? The waste of primates is appalling.

  46. #46 Todd W.
    July 16, 2010

    @MikeMa

    I would not wish PETA upon my worst enemy.

  47. #47 Catherina
    July 16, 2010

    Mike,

    PETA as capital punishment? If you oppose the death penalty, then you should also oppose PETA.

    Acta LineHookAndSinka has an impact factor of 1.33 – publishing this load of vaxaloon crap is going to catapult them into new heights! There is no one I know on the editorial board. Sad.

  48. #48 Rene Najera
    July 16, 2010

    @Todd W.
    The only thing about PETA I ever liked was the use of Dominique Swain as a naked spokesperson. That was it. Other than that, they’re just as diluted as our “friends” at “that other blog”… you know? The one that thinks itself a “newspaper”?

  49. #49 RJ
    July 16, 2010

    “What almost certainly happened is that the control group was so small that by a random fluke of chance Hewitson happened to get two monkeys for whom the average brain volume decreased. ”

    You’re being too generous Orac. There is a clear pattern of behavior here. In each and every “study”, different permutation of similar “experiments” all seem to point to the same conclusion. Even if obvious problems are apparent with her methodology, they all seem to designed to imitate the childhood vaccine schedule and produce the same result: childhood vaccines clearly cause changes that are observed in autistic individuals. I’m going to go out on a limb here and cite fraud. If someone else can replicate the results, I will apologize and will stand corrected. Luckily for her, no one will bother (or is in a position) to use macaques to follow up on highly questionable research.

    The cost of demonstrating fabricated/falsified data is too high in this case. I’m sure that factors into her experimental designs and her conclusions.

  50. #50 Jud
    July 16, 2010

    MI Dawn writes:

    My husband nearly left me when I admitted I had no idea Eric Clapton was a member of a band called Creem? Cream?

    Interesting you should bring up Clapton – he was a member of the Yardbirds, but had left by the time of the band photo above. The guitarists in the lineup above include at far left Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page second from right. (Though they’re both guitar gods, you may not be familiar with Beck. Page, on the other hand, was later a member of a little group you might have heard of called Led Zeppelin.)

  51. #51 Kristen
    July 16, 2010

    John Harrold

    I feel bad after euthanize rats and mice in our animal work. I simply couldn’t work with monkeys; I don’t think I could handle it emotionally.

    I know animal research is a necessary evil, but I can’t believe they were allowed to make these monkeys suffer for such a horrid study.

    I think it would stand to reason; the only ethical reason for doing a study with primates is if there were a genuine demonstrable benefit to humans.

    Of course, being a layperson I have never had to experiment on animals. But when I went on Wikipedia and looked up “rhesus macaque” it was exceedingly sad to think of what happened to these infants for no good reason.

  52. #52 W. Kevin Vicklund
    July 16, 2010

    An interesting anomaly:

    Look at Figure 2 on page 153 of the study. The top row are PET and MRI scans of one of the non-vaccinated monkeys, while the bottom is of a vaccinated monkey. I noticed several things. First, the activity in the PET decreased everywhere in the unvaccinated monkey, whereas in the vaccinated monkey it seemed to become more focused in the amygdala. But more importantly, I noticed that in the vaccinated monkey, the PET scans are symmetrical, whereas the in the unvaccinated monkey, the left lobe shows more activity, especially in the back. Of course this may be a matter of right/left differentiation. But look at the MRI scans.

    The MRI of the vaccinated monkey is very symmetrical. Not so with the unvaccinated monkey. The back of the right lobe is much smaller than the back of the left lobe. Furthermore, there is a large “hole” on the right side that does not have a match on the left.

    I freely admit that I am not qualified to evaluate PET or MRI scans. But it sure seems plausible that at least one of the two controls the used had significant anomalies in brain structure. If true, this would invalidate the results reported.

  53. #53 isles
    July 16, 2010

    Add me to the chorus wondering whether the University of Pittsburgh IACUC was drugged when they approved this.

  54. #54 squirrelelite
    July 16, 2010

    @MI Dawn,

    You’re welcome.

    I had to rush the last comment a bit so I could hustle to work, but my curiosity was itching, so I had to scratch it when I got home and could do some more research.

    Too Much Monkey Business was a popular Chuck Berry song and lots of groups covered it. You can see Elvis and The Beatles do it on YouTube and the Yardbirds did it on their album Five Live Yardbirds.

  55. #55 Broken Link
    July 16, 2010

    Both this “paper” and Haley’s response to the FDA (see Orac’s previous post) appear to follow a clear pattern. IMO, the aim of these people is not to gain credibility in the scientific community. It is simply to produce something (anything) that will keep the true believers happy. There must be quite a few users of OSR out there that would be worried by the Tribune stories. So Haley needs something to calm them down. No one believes Wakefield anymore, at least not in the mainstream. But the AoA people need something to keep them going. So, they’ve been given a crumb of “science” that allows them to hang on to their faith-based view that vaccines cause autism. These people will not be swayed anyway. As JB Handley says in the Trib, “We don’t trust the FDA or the CDC. We don’t trust you. We don’t trust most doctors. We only trust each other”.

    Fortunately, the true believers are relatively small in numbers. I don’t think that many people would be fooled by these monkeys. They know that even if vaccines did cause autism in some children, they certainly don’t cause autism in all children who receive vaccines. So, why then, does Hewiston see such a huge effect in such a few monkeys?

  56. #56 betty watson
    July 16, 2010

    @Brian

    I was the one who posted the question about ‘normal’ amygdala development, in hopes of planting a ‘seed’ of doubt in their readers. I didn’t even see the response post with the Payne et al article before they removed it. So far someone has offered that the ‘control’ group shows us what is normal, and someone has suggested saline offers a protective factor (by shrinking the amygdala). I posted a response playing ‘dumb’ again, and then posted one with the Payne reference…I’m guessing those won’t show up, and my original one will be removed. Time will tell.

  57. #57 Todd W.
    July 16, 2010

    @betty watson

    Hopefully you kept copies of your comments so that, if they do not appear at AoA (or appear and subsequently get deleted), you can post them over at Silenced by Age of Autism. I’ll have a comment thread up soon for people to copy their posts to.

  58. #58 Dan Weber
    July 16, 2010

    We all would have been better off had they just been stewing some monkey heads instead.

    http://www.manishchawley.com/calvin-hobbes/ch860601.gif

  59. #59 BKsea
    July 16, 2010

    My vote for the most moronic justification in the paper: “We purposefully assigned a larger number of animals to the exposed group in order to optimize the chances of observing what we anticipated to be an uncommon or idiosyncratic effect.”

    If it is an uncommon effect, it could only be attributed to the exposure if you have a LARGE control group to show it does not occur in the unexposed group!

  60. #60 JohnV
    July 16, 2010

    That statement could also be used to justify the following: “statistical significance is for aholes”

  61. #61 Joseph
    July 16, 2010

    Both this “paper” and Haley’s response to the FDA (see Orac’s previous post) appear to follow a clear pattern.

    The pattern I see as of late is the implosion of the anti-vax movement.

    There might be a story of interest for the curious journalist in the fact that 8 authors from the IMFAR abstract (not counting Wakefield) are not listed in the final version of the paper. Someone should interview those people and find out what went on behind the scenes.

  62. #62 Travis
    July 16, 2010

    BKsea, I have the same thought. If I was reviewing this paper I would have had to ask about that. It makes no sense.

  63. #63 Yuval Ha Mebulbal
    July 16, 2010

    >>Geez, the comments are getting worse:
    >>
    >> The increased head size is likely caused by heavy metal
    >> interference with apoptosis (programmed cell death)..

    Those stupid ignorant anti-vaxxers , they don’t know that
    low levels of BCL-2 in autistic children actually protects
    against oxidative-stress induced apoptosis

    1)Dysregulation of Reelin and Bcl-2 proteins in autistic cerebellum.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11814262

    2)Global methylation profiling of lymphoblastoid cell lines reveals epigenetic contributions to autism spectrum disorders and a novel autism candidate gene, RORA, whose protein product is reduced in autistic brain
    http://www.fasebj.org/cgi/content/abstract/fj.10-154484v1

    Oh it’s the other way around, never mind ,stupid anti-vaxxers.

  64. #64 Sullivan
    July 16, 2010

    It is interesting to note that Hewitson et al. cite the study that was withdrawn from Neurotoxicology. It appears that study is to be published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A: Current Issues.

    Andrew Wakefield has been dropped as an author.

    http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2010/07/withdrawn-monkey-study-paper-to-re-emerge-without-wakefield-as-an-author/

  65. #65 Kathleen Seidel
    July 16, 2010

    Hmmmm. Two of the authors whose names appeared on the IMFAR abstract but not on the final version of the paper — David Atwood and Lisa Y. Blue — are colleagues of Boyd Haley, co-developers of BDETH2/OSR#1, and associated with Merloc LLC. (Merloc is the start-up that’s licensed the same chelating molecule from the University of Kentucky, to be used for toxic waste cleanup purposes, that Haley’s licensed for medical/”nutraceutical” purposes.) I wonder what the contribution of either (or the other University of Kentucky chemist, for that matter) to this paper might have been (how is their expertise relevant to the subject matter of the paper?), and, of course, why their names don’t show on the final version.

    BTW, Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A, is edited by a fellow named Sam Kacew in Ottawa. He’s made public statements supporting the mercury-autism hypothesis, and was not a bit happy with me when I shared with him and his Editorial Board my concerns regarding IRB supervision of human subjects research conducted by Mark and David Geier, and David Geier’s claim to have conducted his research under the aegis of The George Washington University, He’s published quite a few articles supportive of vaccine-autism causation hypotheses.

  66. #66 Sullivan
    July 16, 2010

    Kathleen,

    interesting history on Jounral of Toxicology and Env. Health. I hadn’t thought to search for the name “Geier”.

    That said, I think Atwood is mentioned in the acknowledgments, but not Blue. My assumption is that they likely did the mercury concentration testing and, possibly, the actual mercury spiking of the vaccines.

  67. #67 herr doktor bimler
    July 16, 2010

    “We purposefully assigned a larger number of animals to the exposed group in order to optimize the chances of observing what we anticipated to be an uncommon or idiosyncratic effect.”

    In other words, “We are interested in collecting individual anecdotes that confirm our expectations, not in testing their significance”. I wish I could make such an admission to the reviewer(s) and still get a paper published.

  68. #68 Tsu Dho Nimh
    July 16, 2010

    I looked at the Geier’s paper … more attempts to link mercury to autism. And poorly written.

  69. #69 Someone
    July 16, 2010

    But were the monkey brains chilled before being served?

  70. #70 DLC
    July 17, 2010

    I feel like Dan Ackroyd in Saturday night live, hosting Bad Cinema. only it’s Bad Science.

  71. #71 Mike Lisieski
    July 17, 2010

    “My older autistic son had a remarkably large head as a toddler which is now a more normal size as a teenager.”

    Don’t tell me they’ve decided to believe in phrenology, too!

  72. #72 Dr Aust
    July 17, 2010

    Talking of the “disappearing authors”, I imagine they consist of those with some sense of having a reputation to preserve/salvage. One of them, Carlos Castro, is a clinical instructor at U Pittsburgh and the only clinically-qualified Faculty Member at the Pittsburgh Development Center (PDC) where Hewitson used to work. (Hewitson is now listed as an “Adjunct Associate Prof”, so it is a bit opaque what her precise connection is with the PDC these days).

    Of the authors of the current excuse for a paper, long-time Wakefield side-kick Carol “Try me shithead” Stott obviously needs no introduction to seasoned Wakefield watchers (see Brian Deer’s link).

    A poke about on the PDC website, and the U Pittsburgh one, reveals that Brian Lopresti is the manager of the Radiology Dept microtomography lab, and Neal Mason is a Non-Clinical Asst Prof in Radiology, a chemist / PET guy specialising in the synthesis of labelled compounds for PET. So one might guess that those two are the “tech guys” for the study, with perhaps little sense of the wider autism / mercury controversy. Jaime Tomko seems likely to have been a research assistant of some kind at PDC as she appears in the middle of the author list on a lot of papers from the Center.

    I was interested to see that the Head of the PDC is Gerald Schatten, who achieved an, er, unwanted fame via his role in the Hwang Woo Suk scandal.

    The whole thing is oddly reminiscent to me of the 1998 Wakefield paper – lots of authors (at least on the initial abstract), all doing bits of stuff, but quite possibly some having a limited sense of the overall pattern of results / interpretation / writing up. (At least, that is what many of the authors of the 1998 Lancet paper later intimated). Anyway, it is hardly in doubt that this is Dr Hewitson’s show, so she is the one whose reputation – if she has any left – is on the line.

    PS No links, sorry – bypassing the spam filters.

  73. #73 colmcq
    July 17, 2010

    I’m going to experiment on monkeys brains with my evil vaccines. I have no idea what might happen, but whatever happens I can blame my vaccines…\\

  74. #74 carykoh
    July 17, 2010

    I hadn’t noticed it until pointed out by Kevin W., but the MRI and PET scan on the ‘control’ is highly abnormal in appearance. I don’t look at that many, but the gray/white borders seem to be vanishing. In fact, on the control animal, the white matter, especially in the posterior lobes seems completely gone. This seems to correlate with the complete lack of uptake on the PET scan, look at the posterior lobes, at both T1 and T2, no uptake. Plus, I agree with Kevin as well, what’s that area of missing brain in the left parietal lobe? That’s either congenital, or from a craniotomy. Maybe a radiologist in the group, or Dr. Novella can look at it a little more closely, but something looks very wrong with the control’s imaging, and with only 2 controls, it seems very likely that this alone explains the difference in the the 2 groups.

  75. #75 Kathleen Seidel
    July 17, 2010

    And double-hmmmm. Two recent papers by Hewitson pertain to cognitive development in rhesus macaques — Growth and developmental outcomes of three high-risk infant rhesus macaques (2007) and Neonatal behavior and infant cognitive development in rhesus macaques produced by assisted reproductive technologies (2006). (Several others pertain to the development of primate models for assisted reproduction.) You’d think that someone with that much experience working with macaques would have been familiar with Payne et al — Maturation of the hippocampal formation and amygdala in Macaca mulatta (2009) — which documented that in normal development, the amygdala in macaques normally increases in size. Could this oversight be indicative of simple carelessness, or could it be indicative of deliberate disregard for evidence that shrinkage in the amygdala of the controls in her thimerosal study might indicate pathology, or at the very least, atypical development?

  76. #76 Schalke04
    July 17, 2010

    It is unfortunate this event, hopefully for his sake, to recover and improve, since the family must be suffering and suffering too much, health care now more important than ever.

  77. #77 Chris
    July 17, 2010

    Schalke04, what in the world are you babbling about? Which family? Who is “he”? Are you talking about the missing third control primate?

  78. #78 Glaxo PharmaBase Orbital
    July 17, 2010

    MESSAGE BEGINS ———————–

    Shills and Minions,

    My ventral crest deflates at this terrible news. The rebels are finally on to one of our most eeeeeeevil PharmaPlans™. They have discovered Operation: Monkey Brain Shrink.

    This brilliant bit of detective work be quashed at all costs. I shall contact the Insectoid-run “medical journals” at once and have them do their best to obfuscate and block this devastating discovery by the human rebels.

    Though the Glaxxon Corpus’ brilliant plan is in peril, it shall only stiffen my resolve to turn the entirety of this fluke of a monkey-run world into a nearly endless supply of docile, tiny-brained slaves for the Corpus (and delicious snacks for the hatchlings).

    Shills and Minions, this is no time to collapse in fear and panic. You are the visionary foot soldiers of your reptiloid masters and the vast riches you have received so far will pale in comparison to the pretty, shiny things that will be yours once Wakefield and Hewitson are apprehended and safely envatted here at Orbital HQ.

    On the deck below me I can hear the whine of the Obsidian Unit’s matter-conversion vortexes rising to a shriek that any Thimerizon pit-beast would be proud to produce. Soon their featureless, black hulls will be kissed by the blessed cold of the vacuum and they’ll begin their silent descent to the surface of a world we are in no way ready to cede to the rebels.

    This is your time Shills and Minions, this is your time.

    Lord Draconis Zeneca, VC, iH7L
    PharmaCOM Orbital HQ
    0010101101001

    P.S. Remember to sign up for the Orbital Karaoke Party with Cindy. Lady Astra and I shall reenact our much-lauded interpretation of “Love Will Keep Us Together”, and, of course, the hatchlings shall reprise their darling rendition of “Getting To Know You” from the King and I. Don’t miss it!

    ———————— MESSAGE ENDS

  79. #79 betty watson
    July 17, 2010

    @Todd W.

    Unfortunately I did not keep a copy of my posts (I usually only lurk, so didn’t think to do so). I was, however, correct that my original post would disappear and the other two would never show up. Someone actually ‘tattled’ about me and posted a copy of my post here, stating that I had posted over there playing ‘dumb.’ I actually intentionally posted both places, to see if they were monitoring this website in order to control theirs…apparently that’s exactly what they were doing. The whole thing is rather scary to me, since this ‘study’ seems to be the most obviously flawed and easily recognized as flawed, that I can’t for th elife of me grasp that people are arguing that amygdala srhinkage is normal, based on an N of 2, despite other research indicating there is no shrinkage during development. Again, it’s just scary.

  80. #80 Kristen
    July 17, 2010

    Mighty Lord Draconis,

    This humble minion is thankful for your encouraging message. We must keep faith in the insectoids, they shall marginalize this study into quiet obscurity. We will continue the fight.

    This will be my first Orbital Karaoke party. It is going to be such fun. I do so hope that the new brood will be hatched by then.

    Please send my regards to Lady Astra.

  81. #81 Todd W.
    July 17, 2010

    @betty watson

    Yeah. AoA keeps a very tight leash on their comments. They censor “editorialize” things that do not fit the party line, that show them to be wrong and which are not easily refuted by the authors or other commenters. Occasionally, they’ll leave a post up here or there if they think it is easy to ridicule the commenter. Needless to say, they apply their commenting policy rather selectively.

    If you ever wish to post over at AoA in the future, know that there is another place to copy your comments so that you are heard, even if they want to ignore you.

  82. #82 Todd W.
    July 17, 2010

    Lord Draconis,

    While vacuuming today, I accidentally sucked up an earwig. I hope that this will not interfere with The PlanTM.

  83. #83 Glaxo PharmaBase Orbital
    July 17, 2010

    MESSAGE BEGINS —————–

    Minion Todd,
    The Plan™ continues apace. The Insectoid Dominion overlooks such collateral damage, as long as it wasn’t a queen. It wasn’t a queen . . . was it?

    Kristen, Lady Astra looks forward to your attendance and hopes that the diamond tennis bracelets and Sawz-All™ were to your liking. She hopes you will join her in a duet at the party . . .

    But enough pleasantries! Back to our nefarious PharmaPlans™ . . .

    Lord Draconis Zeneca, VC, iH7L
    PharmaCOM Orbital HQ
    0010101101001

    ————————-MESSAGE ENDS.

  84. #84 Dedj
    July 17, 2010

    Prediction – by monday, there will be people claiming that:

    the pictures got mixed up
    you’re all looking at the wrong pictures

  85. #85 David N. Brown
    July 17, 2010

    @73: “That’s either congenital, or from a craniotomy.”
    It occurs to me that this could have been caused by incomplete circulation of a “dye” (if such an injection is involved in the scans that were performed). Otherwise, it can only be accounted for as gross trauma- not improbably something on the order of Phineas Gage, who had a tamping rod blown through his skull! Having kept the monkeys in isolation and under controlled conditions, Hewitson et al are not in a good position to claim ignorance of events that may have caused the brain injury. They are not above suspicion of deliberately causing it. What would be most interesting to see is a skull x-ray.

    All in all, the LEAST that Hewitson could have done is knowingly omit details of the specimen’s history. I’m quite willing to call this paper a hoax.

  86. #86 Dangerous Bacon
    July 17, 2010

    Never mind the Yardbirds, Cream and Chuck Berry – Andy Wakefield is actually taking his cue from Peter Gabriel:

    Cover me when I run
    Cover me through the lies
    The GMC knocked me out of the trees
    Now I’m on my knees
    Cover me, AoA please
    Monkey, monkey, monkey
    Don’t you know we’re going to shrink the monkey

  87. #87 herr doktor bimler
    July 17, 2010

    Two recent papers by Hewitson pertain to cognitive development in rhesus macaques — Growth and developmental outcomes of three high-risk infant rhesus macaques (2007)…

    I do hope those high-risk infant macaques aren’t the same as the shrinking-amygdala control group in the study of interest.

  88. #88 David N. Brown
    July 17, 2010

    A link I just found on human brain disorders:
    http://www.medpagetoday.com/Neurology/AlzheimersDisease/2417

    This will serve to affirm the intuitively obvious: Shrinkage of the amygdala is associated with disease or pathology, not normal growth.

  89. #89 MartinM
    July 17, 2010

    What almost certainly happened is that the control group was so small that by a random fluke of chance Hewitson happened to get two monkeys for whom the average brain volume decreased.

    Clearly, you’re just trying to hide the decline.

  90. #90 Kathleen Seidel
    July 17, 2010

    I do hope those high-risk infant macaques aren’t the same as the shrinking-amygdala control group in the study of interest.

    I’ve been wondering the same thing myself — whether the monkeys had done double duty — whether the research subjects were recycled.

  91. #91 Todd W.
    July 17, 2010

    @Lord Draconis

    No, not a queen. On a brighter note, the Lady Drosophila and her family appear highly pleased with the compost I left out. Her husbands are fond of the honeyberries, and her kids simply love the banana peel slides.

  92. #92 Brain Balance
    July 17, 2010

    Our stance at Brain Balance is that neuro-behavioral disorders like autism and ADHD have in common an underlying functional imbalance or under-connectivity of electrical (brain) activity within and between the right and left sides of the brain. While one could argue this is due to an abnormal amygdala or vaccine toxicity, etc., we focus on correcting the connectivity issue, thus reducing or eliminating symptoms. You can read about it here:
    http://www.brainbalancecenters.com/the-truth/

  93. #93 Chris
    July 17, 2010

    Dear Spammer, are you suggesting that your product be used on the primates of this study?

  94. #94 Joey Blowey
    July 17, 2010

    It’s unfortunate that vaccines couldn’t be safe. Wish that we could prevent illnesses without severely damaging babies with autism, seizures, death via SIDS, etc…

  95. #95 Travis
    July 17, 2010

    It’s unfortunate that vaccines couldn’t be safe. Wish that we could prevent illnesses without severely damaging babies with autism, seizures, death via SIDS, etc…

    [Citation Needed]

    Come on dry by troll, this is a blog where these claims are dealt with on a regular basis. You are nothing new. Have some pride and at least put a little work into your posts. Potshots like this are just laughable.

  96. #96 Chris
    July 17, 2010

    Joey Blowey, what evidence do you have? Because this paper pretty much shows that vaccines assure normal amygdala growth.

  97. #97 T. Bruce McNeely
    July 17, 2010

    Wish that we could prevent illnesses without severely damaging babies with autism, seizures, death via SIDS, etc…

    We can, with vaccines.

    Aren’t you glad?

  98. #98 Sullivan
    July 18, 2010

    David N. Brown,

    If you look around online, there is a lecture given by Dr. Hewitson discussing her research. She notes that part of the high cost of primate research is in the care necessary.

    There are standards of care to insure some level of mental well being for primates and she claims to follow those standards. Much of her previous work does involve primates, and she is working with an established primate laboratory.

  99. #99 The Gregarious Misanthrope
    July 18, 2010

    Lord Zeneca,

    I am looking forward to the Orbital Karaoke Party. Since the unfortunate clowning incident with the hatchlings (again, completely my fault) I find hitting the high notes much easier. So if you have any music featuring Jimmy Somerville, I’m game.

    On a different, ahem, note, there’s a great Periodic Table of Irrational Nonsense at
    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_RQjQvxtmK8A/TEF6vBQRuXI/AAAAAAAADKg/nKSNSsokX3E/s1600/Woo%20Tablev0.8.png

    One of my favorites is #73 Indigo Child (Symbol: Jm).

    Your humble minion.

  100. #100 Chris
    July 18, 2010

    Thank you Gregarious Misanthrope! When I first saw that it was not in a form where I could read the words. The URL you provided make sit much easier. And it is awesome!

  101. #101 monado
    July 18, 2010

    I suggest that they dropped monkeys that would have averaged out the differences between the two groups.

    If rats were mysteriously added, dropped, and perhaps shuffled during an experiment by Big Pharma, surely someone would point out that it’s bad science?

    It also sounds as if someone doesn’t realize that toddlers have proportionately far larger heads than adults. Sigh.

  102. #102 MikeMa
    July 18, 2010

    @Lord Draconis
    As much as we welcome the Insectoid assistance in burying the Hewitson travesty, her statistical analysis alone should take care of that nicely. Karaoke, you say? Hmm, well most people avoid areas where my voice can be heard, but one can always hope…

  103. #103 cathy harrison
    July 18, 2010

    Orac, you know you often comment on the length of your posts?

    I’ve figured out your problem. For instance:

    Take the phrase “by a random fluke of chance”.

    Remove three of the words and replace with one of the two nouns or change the adjective into an adverb. Change or remove prepositions and articles to suit.
    :)

  104. #104 Glaxo PharmaBase Orbital
    July 18, 2010

    —————-MESSAGE BEGINS

    Minion Mike,

    Lady Astra suggests that you look-up the lyrics to the charming ditty “Sing A Song” which, if I recall correctly, states: “Don’t worry if it’s not good enough, for anyone else to hear, just sing, sing a song.” Wise words from a talented Insectoid Queen (you’d have known of Miss Carpenter’s true identity and so many other interesting facts if you’d read your Shill’s And Minion’s Handbook-Fourth Edition (SAMH-IV*).

    So by all means, sign up with Cindy and she’ll dispatch one of the Obsidians to pick you up at the usual location. Just wear the appropriate protective clothing around the hatchlings. And no “clown” acts! We don’t want a repeat of the summer picnic debacle in which our valued footsoldier The Gregarious Misanthrope was “wounded”. Which reminds me . . .

    Minion Misanthrope, Lord Xenu and his “friend” Todd will be at the Karaoke Party, so we shall most certainly make sure that “Small Town Boy” is on the playlist.

    Minion Harrison,
    Verbosity is a virtue in our corner of the galaxy. Glaxxonese has 1594 words for “eviscerate”.

    Have a :) day everyone. Or as we say on Glaxxon . . . >∑:0

    Lord Draconis Zeneca, VC, iH7L
    PharmaCOM Orbital HQ
    0010101101001

    *Just a reminder that the SAMH-IV is just the DSMV-IV read upside down with your PharmaCom Orbital HQ Decoder Glasses.

    ——————-MESSAGE ENDS

  105. #105 DW
    July 18, 2010

    My dearest Lord Draconis: Unfortunately, the citizens of Mendocino have decided against selling their village ( replete with allegorical Masonic sculpture atop the bank) to us as a “corporate” retreat center. I urge you not to retal…seek recompense (or to get your knickers all in a twist over it) because *I have found something _even_ better*! It’s more centrally located and NY State is willing to let it go for a song (well, not *literally* for a song, but at a bargain basement price). It’s the old Harriman Estate: most suitable for bucolic frolics *a la Gilded Age* as well as dining in grand style (think Robber Barons).It has maintained a tradition of hosting conferences for the tri-lats, the Bilders, and all of our peers. The Grand Maison is so… elegant( as opposed to weather-beaten fishing shacks on rocks) and roomy: I’m sure you’ll be impressed when you hover in. BTW, I thank you so very much for the promotion, the jag, the pearls, and Raoul. My regards to the *famille*. Most sincerely yours, DW

  106. #106 Phoenix Woman
    July 18, 2010

    Orac, there’s a Dennis Markuze infestation at #67.

  107. #107 David N. Brown
    July 19, 2010

    I’m wrapping up a response to this study. My major conclusion: Hewitson was only willing to claim “statistically significant” shrinking in the LEFT amygdala, which could be explained by NORMAL asymmetry in the brain. As for the horror show MRI images, I think a sufficient explanation is that they simply cross-sectioned a lower part of the unexposed brain where development was particularly lopsided. I’m calling it HOAX, but not necessarily the intentional kind.

  108. #108 Tamakazura
    July 21, 2010

    Who pays these people and why are they still employed? When I think of all the academics with talent who are trying to find work…
    Hell, I could do better science than this and I’m a video game programmer.

  109. #109 chris y
    July 21, 2010

    the pictures got mixed up
    you’re all looking at the wrong pictures

    Absolutely. Clapton played lead on Five Live. Beck didn’t join the band until after it was recorded and Page three years later.

  110. #110 chris y
    July 21, 2010

    the pictures got mixed up
    you’re all looking at the wrong pictures

    Absolutely. Clapton played lead on Five Live. Beck didn’t join the band until after it was recorded and Page three years later.

  111. #111 John
    July 22, 2010

    I know the internet is filled with hate mongers like you and I accept that as free speech. But seriously, you have nothing better to do that attack people who are trying to help special needs childeren. None of you points are even remotely valid. If you know of ligitimate reseach that that might contradict Dr. Wakefield’s results, then by all means share it. But we have all heard the Pharmicutical propoganda that mindless drones like you buy into. Dr. Wakfield’s reseach was supported by numerous universities around the world. I’m sorry but unless you have something more convining to say, I certainly put more trust in real academic research over any of the paid for politcal attacks from the GMC in UK or the FDA in the US. Our leaders have blown it. Even if they are right, it’s too late. They have lost the public trust. We need to push for objective academic research. Any reseach done by Merc, Phyzer,… needs to be completely ignored by default.

  112. #112 Todd W.
    July 22, 2010

    @John

    nothing better to do that attack people who are trying to help special needs childeren

    Please show how arguing against vaccines is helping special needs children.

    None of you points are even remotely valid.

    Can you be more specific? How/why are Orac’s points not valid?

    If you know of ligitimate reseach that that might contradict Dr. Wakefield’s results

    You suggest that Mr. (he’s not a doctor anymore) Wakefield’s results are valid. Please present some evidence to support your contention.

    But we have all heard the Pharmicutical propoganda

    And your evidence that the critiques are put out by pharmaceutical companies is…

    Dr. Wakfield’s reseach was supported by numerous universities around the world

    Citations, please.

    the paid for politcal attacks

    Again, evidence?

    Any reseach done by Merc, Phyzer,… needs to be completely ignored by default.

    You have failed to make a case that any and every study put out by a pharmaceutical company should be dismissed out of hand. Every study should stand or fall on its own merits. Heck, even a study by the Lupron duo, Geier per et fil, should not be dismissed simple because of who the author is. Who wrote or was involved with a study may be cause for extra scrutiny or skepticism when approaching it, but should not be reason, in and of itself, for dismissal.

  113. #113 DrPhD
    July 22, 2010

    John, your post is full of facepalm, but I have one question for you:

    Any reseach done by Merc [sic], Phyzer [sic],… needs to be completely ignored by default.

    Presumably you find the implied conflicts of interest sufficient enough that such research must be irreparably tainted by data falsification and other unethical behaviors, correct?

    What, then, do you make of Wakefield’s well-documented conflicts of interest? You know, how he got money directly from trial lawyers trying to sue MMR manufacturers? And his own measles vaccine patent that would directly compete with MMR? Any opinion on those?

  114. #114 MI Dawn
    July 22, 2010

    @Todd W: unfortunately, The formerly licensed physician known as Andy Wakefield CAN still call himself a doctor. His medical degree was not removed. Only his license to practice as a physician in the UK (he never was licensed in the USA). So, he is still Dr Wakefield.

    @John: Please, give us “Dr. Wakfield’s reseach was supported by numerous universities around the world.” all the references that actually support Dr Wakefield’s studies. Every time someone like you posts supporting studies, they turn out to not say what the poster says they do. SOMEONE must know of these studies that actually support Dr Wakefield. PLEASE satisfy my curiousity.

  115. #115 JohnV
    July 22, 2010

    Let me translate:

    “…people who are trying to help special needs childeren.”

    to:

    “… people who are trying to line their pockets with the money of desperate parents of special needs children.”

  116. #116 Travis
    July 22, 2010

    Well, I do hope John is more than a drive by and actually wishes to respond to the points he is being criticized for. As Todd has pointed out, you will not get far here by simply listing your beliefs. Not giving evidence for your claims will generally not result in people taking you seriously. And complaining about conflicts if interest while ignoring others also does not help.

  117. #117 Scott
    July 22, 2010

    If you know of ligitimate reseach that that might contradict Dr. Wakefield’s results, then by all means share it.

    Sure. One of the more notable would be PMID: 17015560. Demonstrated that the primers Wakefield used were insufficiently specific to be reliable, and amplified human DNA. Therefore, no positive results can be trusted at all.

    Now, how about you present some research that SUPPORTS Wakefield’s fraud. Research that wasn’t retracted for being incompetently done, based on manufactured data, and/or grossly unethical.

  118. #118 Todd W.
    July 22, 2010

    @MI Dawn

    His medical degree was not removed.

    While he does have a medical degree, it is not a doctorate. He has bachelors degrees, but no MD. He is not licensed to practice medicine anywhere. Thus, I feel justified in saying that he is no longer a doctor. No license and/or no doctorate, no “Dr.” title.

  119. #119 David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E.
    July 22, 2010

    MI Dawn…

    I’m with Todd W. on this and I’ve also explained elsewhere on this blog why :)

    It’s not like he was ‘Dr’ before anyways … at least, not in the UK – surgeons there are called Mr or Miss or Mrs.

  120. #120 MI Dawn
    July 22, 2010

    @Todd W & David N Andrews: was he a surgeon? I thought he was a gastroenterologist (which isn’t necessarily a surgeon). But, if he was, then I will happily stand corrected and in the future call him Mr. I did know he didn’t have a doctorate in the UK. (But then, I’m a nurse of the old school and still have trouble calling some physicians by their names…depends on the doc, but it’s taken me YEARS to get there. Blame Orac’s and my alma mater).

  121. #121 Joseph
    July 22, 2010

    I think John could find some research that is not pharma-sponsored if he wanted to. For example, it would be unreasonable to suppose the MIND study by Hornig was pharma-sponsored. I doubt the Japanese MMR studies were pharma-sponsored. There are a bunch of academic studies.

  122. #122 Todd W.
    July 22, 2010

    @MI Dawn

    IIRC, he was a surgeon and researcher in gastroenterology. The way I see it is, his medical degrees entitle him to the title of “Dr.” in the same way a nursing degree entitles someone to the name “Dr.” You wouldn’t call an NP “Dr.”, would you?

    Here’s his biography from Amazon.com:

    Dr Andrew Wakefield, MB, BS, FRCS, FRCPath, is an academic gastroenterologist. He received his medical degree from St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School (part of the University of London) in 1981, one of the third generation of his family to have studied medicine at that teaching hospital.

    He pursued a career in gastrointestinal surgery with a particular interest in inflammatory bowel disease. He qualified as Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1985 and in 1996 was awarded a Wellcome Trust Traveling Fellowship to study small-intestinal transplantation in Toronto, Canada. He was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists in 2001. He has published over 130 original scientific articles, book chapters, and invited scientific commentaries.

    In the pursuit of possible links between childhood vaccines, intestinal inflammation, and neurologic injury in children, Dr. Wakefield lost his job in the Department of Medicine at London’s Royal Free Hospital, his country, his career, and his medical license.

  123. #123 MI Dawn
    July 22, 2010

    @Todd W: You know what’s really sad? I had read that but forgot it mentioned he was a surgeon and just remembered academic gastroenterologist. Maybe because the blatent “Oh, poor, poor Wakers” last line made me gag.

  124. #124 T. Bruce McNeely
    July 22, 2010

    In the pursuit of (big bucks from trial lawyers and his own vaccine through false studies and unethical conduct), Dr. Wakefield lost his job in the Department of Medicine at London’s Royal Free Hospital, his country, his career, and his medical license.

    There, it’s fixed.

    BTW, how did he lose his country?

  125. #125 Todd W.
    July 22, 2010

    @T. Bruce McNeely

    BTW, how did he lose his country?

    It was in his pocket when he lay down on the couch, and, well, you know how stuff just slips into the cracks.

  126. #126 Matthew Cline
    July 22, 2010

    @John:

    But seriously, you have nothing better to do that attack people who are trying to help special needs childeren.

    It’s a cliche, but the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Nobility of intent doesn’t render them immune to criticism.

    @Joseph:

    I doubt the Japanese MMR studies were pharma-sponsored.

    I’m sure that some people will argue that Big Pharma has enough pull with whomever funded the research that the funding source will only fund research beneficial to Big Pharma. For people who use that sort of argument, I suppose they’d only ever trust vaccine research if all vaccine manufacturing was nationalized so as to remove any possible profit motive.

  127. #127 T. Bruce McNeely
    July 22, 2010

    It was in his pocket when he lay down on the couch, and, well, you know how stuff just slips into the cracks.

    Man, I hate when that happens.

  128. #128 Prometheus
    July 23, 2010

    I know that the Payne et al (2009) paper has been mentioned, but I think it needs repeating that Payne et al – with no motive to find amygdalas either growing or shrinking – found in studying 11 male and 11 female macaques, that their amygdalas grew over the ages covered by the Hewitson et al monstrosity (it’s not a study, it’s an attempt to support their dogma).

    In short, since Hewitson et al showed their “control” animals’ amygdala shrank during that time, their control animals were abnormal and thus any and all comparisons made to them are invalid.

    In technical terms, the Hewitson et al study is crap.

    For anyone who is grappling with the concept, let me provide an analogy:

    Imagine that you are studying how caffeine (coffee) effects the growth of middle school children (my mother warned me it would “stunt” my growth). So, you have a control group that gets no coffee and a study group that gets four cups of coffee a day for a year.

    If you then found that your control group of children had actually gotten shorter over the course of the study (when – as we all know – the norm is that they get taller during that age range), you should conclude that there is something terribly wrong with your study.

    However, if Hewitson et al had been faced with those results, their conclusion would have been that coffee prevented the normal reduction in height that the control group experienced.

    An alternative explanation is that the authors never bothered to find out if anyone had looked at what happens to the amygdala of macaques during development.

    The funny thing is that, after seeing the paper, the first thing I did was a (free) PubMed search, which netted me the Payne et al paper in less than fifteen seconds.

    This is terribly reminiscent of the Holmes et al “we didn’t find mercury in autistic kids so they must be poisoned by mercury” exercise in scientific creative writing.

    Prometheus

  129. #129 john fryer chemist
    July 27, 2010

    First of all, does all this attack both on research poor or good and the international journal that puts out whole issues on the autism issue do anything to help the millions afflicted with all manner of individual ailments and disabilities called or not called under an umbrella of autism?
    Secondly I note many of the researchers are not English speaking but Polish. I seem to recall when asked if their country wanted to buy organomercury vaccines for H1N1 flu they DECLINED.
    In Russia their neighbour their scientists have for decades rejected the use of thimerosal on grounds of TOXICITY. The safest organomercury vaccine they investigated needed diluting a hundred fold to make it safe but obviously of no use as a vaccine. Other samples they tested were more than a thousand fold TOXIC. In every case there were suppliers of NON toxic equivalents.
    Why do we need TOXIC vaccines when for decades SAFe, NON-TOXIC equivalents exist.

    In France 95 per cent of the populus rejected the organomercury vaccines the government bought or rather were blackmailed into buying.

    In this world of conspiracy it was so sad that the whole of the intelligentia of the country died in a plane crash. Even here this death was preventable.

    Further a test either here or in a close country to test the efficacy of another flu vaccine killed a large number of the participants. Vaccines are safe but there are people who make and supply UNSAFE vaccines.

    We need vigilance not Witch Hunting to maintain the safety of what everyone regards as an essential armament agianst illness.

    I fail to see how ranting and railing over people finding inflammation after vaccines is indication of bad research. It is known in fact that big heads are associated with autism and also from autopsy that this bigness is more like inflammation than brain capacity oversized people.

  130. #130 john fryer chemist
    July 27, 2010

    at prometheus

    I could not find the Payne article in 15 seconds. Can you explain your search for this paper and its refernce.

    I did find 2 references in 10 seconds for amygdala expansion being linked to autism from America and Europe though.

  131. #131 MI Dawn
    July 27, 2010

    @John Fryer chemist: Guess you don’t know how to google, then, if you couldn’t find the Payne study. I found it very quickly (didn’t time myself, sorry), with the search terms: Payne amygdalas 2009. In that search, the 3rd listing is this one:

    Maturation of the hippocampal formation and amygdala in Macaca mulatta: A volumetric magnetic resonance imaging study.

    So, don’t know how you were searching but you failed. Oh, and this is the Pubmed location:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19739247

  132. #132 Scott
    July 27, 2010

    First of all, does all this attack both on research poor or good and the international journal that puts out whole issues on the autism issue do anything to help the millions afflicted with all manner of individual ailments and disabilities called or not called under an umbrella of autism?

    Yes. It is a relevant part of efforts to (a) prevent the abuse of autistic children by quacks and (b) redirect limited research funding to work with some actual potential to provide understanding of, and potentially effective treatments for, autism.

    Secondly I note many of the researchers are not English speaking but Polish. I seem to recall when asked if their country wanted to buy organomercury vaccines for H1N1 flu they DECLINED.

    Relevance?

    In Russia their neighbour their scientists have for decades rejected the use of thimerosal on grounds of TOXICITY. The safest organomercury vaccine they investigated needed diluting a hundred fold to make it safe but obviously of no use as a vaccine. Other samples they tested were more than a thousand fold TOXIC. In every case there were suppliers of NON toxic equivalents.
    Why do we need TOXIC vaccines when for decades SAFe, NON-TOXIC equivalents exist.

    Citation needed.

    In France 95 per cent of the populus rejected the organomercury vaccines the government bought or rather were blackmailed into buying.

    Relevance?

    In this world of conspiracy it was so sad that the whole of the intelligentia of the country died in a plane crash. Even here this death was preventable.

    I’m not even going to ask on this one; attempting to exploit a tragedy with no connection whatsoever to the subject is even more despicable than your norm.

    Further a test either here or in a close country to test the efficacy of another flu vaccine killed a large number of the participants. Vaccines are safe but there are people who make and supply UNSAFE vaccines.

    Citation needed.

    We need vigilance not Witch Hunting to maintain the safety of what everyone regards as an essential armament agianst illness.

    True. So why are you on such a witch hunt?

    I fail to see how ranting and railing over people finding inflammation after vaccines is indication of bad research.

    When the “ranting and railing” is an explanation of why the research is so horrendous it’s not even wrong, it’s very relevant.

    It is known in fact that big heads are associated with autism and also from autopsy that this bigness is more like inflammation than brain capacity oversized people.

    Also irrelevant; greater growth in one group is not related to SHRINKAGE in another.

  133. #133 Calli Arcale
    July 27, 2010

    John Fryer Chemist:

    It is true that larger head size has been correlated with autism. (Learning disorders and big heads both run in my family, so I’m well acquainted with this. I have a large head, but not autism; I can say that hat shopping is a real challenge unless I go over to the men’s department, and then I’m not usually happy with the styles.) But Hewitson didn’t demonstrate that vaccines somehow caused the amygdalas to grow. She demonstrated that the amygdalas were larger in the vaccinated animals than the average size of the amygdala in the control group. This is reasonable until you look at the control group. It consisted of two animals (it is unclear why she did not include the other control animals used for the actual experiment), one of which experienced shrinkage of the amygdala as well as displaying profound abnormalities in one hemisphere of the brain. Is that normal? That’s an important question to ask, because if it’s abnormal, then it will have skewed her measurement of “normal” amygdala size.

    Turns out, if you look at research into the brain development of this species, you find that the amygdala is not expected to shrink as the animal grows; in fact, it is expected to grow, and the normal growth rate was measured and documented in the 2009 Payne study. If you compare Payne’s results to Hewitson’s vaccine group from the experiment, you find that the amygdala growth was actually within the normal range. Also, if you exclude the clearly abnormal monkey from the control group (leaving an unforgivably tiny control group of just one individual), you find that what she called “growth” was statistically insignificant — individuals vary, so it being a little bigger in some is not out of the ordinary. You’d want to find it being a lot bigger before you claim an actual effect.

    In short, her study showed normal amygdala growth in the vaccinated monkeys and in the one control monkey who wasn’t brain damaged. (Yes, the brain damaged monkey was in the *control* group. No explanation for this is given. Was the monkey congenitally abnormal? Injured during birth? During infancy? Lots of things can happen in a monkey colony; was this monkey dropped on its head at some point? We don’t know; Hewitson didn’t document any effort to explain why this monkey had such an abnormal brain, and indeed, may not have even had a vet look at it.)

  134. #134 Calli Arcale
    July 27, 2010

    And if that’s too long, here’s a short version:

    Hewitson demonstrated that the amygdala grew. But the amygdala is *supposed* to grow, just like the rest of the brain. (An infant human’s brain is much smaller than an adult human’s brain, for instance.) What she failed to demonstrate is whether or not it grew excessively.

    I have two children; one is on the autism spectrum, one is not. The one on the autism spectrum has a larger than average head. (In fairness, she’s larger than average *period*, taking after her daddy’s side — we expect her to get at least as tall as her 6′ great-grandma.) However, both children’s heads are larger now than they were at birth. Increased head circumference is normal. When heads do not grow at all (but the body does), the condition is called microcephaly, is profoundly abnormal, and is typically associated with reduced intellectual capacity. In crueler times, such children were termed “pinheads” and sometimes were sold into freak shows. (Think about that the next time you hear someone call someone else a pinhead. It’s not quite the mild insult folks tend to think it is.)

  135. #135 John Fryer Chemist
    July 27, 2010

    Hi Calli

    You agree the amygala is larger for the vaccinated than unvaccinated animals.

    But then you say the vaccine was not responsible.

    I cannot understand therfore what you explain the blowing up of every brain if not vaccines.

    The growth in vaccinated animals is matched by an essentially unchanged size for non vaccinated animals.

    This is for me the most important finding and corresponds with findings that inflammation of the brain is found on autopsy of autism people.

    Putting the two research findings together it gives reasonable causation – the vaccine for autism.

    It gives a further shocking result that of the growth for EVERY animal indicating an insult which for USA children is resolved for just two out three children.

    One in three children DO have neurological problems and this is not normal and is explained fully by these experiments.

    I am not sure how original this work is but if it is original and is reproduced it has huge ramifications for the vaccine industry and makes it certain that thimerosal must be removed from vaccines as indicated by work of decades ago showing for many countries that it can never be accepted in that countries vaccines.

    I repeat as always giving any medication to healthy people causing injury, permanent illness and death amounts to ATTEMPTED MURDER.

    The DELIBERATE addition of mercury and especially neurotoxic mercury to drugs is NOT ACCEPTABLE and SHOULD be subject to LEGAL PROSECUTIONS.

  136. #136 Scott
    July 27, 2010

    You agree the amygala is larger for the vaccinated than unvaccinated animals.

    But then you say the vaccine was not responsible.

    I cannot understand therfore what you explain the blowing up of every brain if not vaccines.

    You would have no trouble understanding if you’d actually bothered to read. The vaccinated brains were completely normal, as was one of the controls. The other control was grossly brain damaged. If given any credence, the result from the study would therefore be that vaccination prevents brain damage.

    The growth in vaccinated animals is matched by an essentially unchanged size for non vaccinated animals.

    This is for me the most important finding and corresponds with findings that inflammation of the brain is found on autopsy of autism people.

    Too bad there is no such correspondence. Inflammation is not abnormal growth, and no abnormal growth was observed in the monkeys.

    Putting the two research findings together it gives reasonable causation – the vaccine for autism.

    As explained, if anything it supports the OPPOSITE conclusion that vaccines are preventive against brain damage.

    It gives a further shocking result that of the growth for EVERY animal indicating an insult which for USA children is resolved for just two out three children.

    This is just completely nonsensical and meaningless. Please speak coherent English.

    One in three children DO have neurological problems and this is not normal and is explained fully by these experiments.

    Please justify your claim that “this is not normal” and refute the reasons presented why no meaningful conclusions may be drawn from these results other than that Hewitson is either grossly incompetent or committing deliberate fraud.

    I am not sure how original this work is but if it is original and is reproduced it has huge ramifications for the vaccine industry and makes it certain that thimerosal must be removed from vaccines as indicated by work of decades ago showing for many countries that it can never be accepted in that countries vaccines.

    It has been removed, despite the firm evidence that it is not harmful. This work is original but meaningless.

    I repeat as always giving any medication to healthy people causing injury, permanent illness and death amounts to ATTEMPTED MURDER.

    Grossly oversimplified, even leaving aside the fact that the harm you claim has not taken place.

    The DELIBERATE addition of mercury and especially neurotoxic mercury to drugs is NOT ACCEPTABLE and SHOULD be subject to LEGAL PROSECUTIONS.

    Fortunately, the legal system is not so delusional as yourself.

  137. #137 Todd W.
    July 27, 2010

    @John Fryer

    One in three children DO have neurological problems and this is not normal and is explained fully by these experiments.

    Umm, no it isn’t. As I mentioned in the other thread, there are some significant flaws:

    1) Lack of statistical significance in the vaccinated group.
    2) Lack of sufficient numbers of controls (only 2).
    3) Missing monkeys (3 vaccinated monkeys not in the data for the vaccinated group and 2 unvaccinated monkeys not in the data for the unvaccinated group).
    4) Small overall sample size (total of 16 monkeys, 12 in the vaccinated, 4 in the unvaccinated, and only 9 and 2, respectively, for the MRI/PET data).
    5) Big ol’ whoppin’ conflict of interest (Hewitson’s child is a claimant in an Autism Omnibus case).
    6) Growth in amygdala volume is most likely normal for macaques, per the Payne, et al., study, which MI Dawn linked to at post 132, but here’s the link again: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19739247
    7) While macaques can be a good analog for humans, this study cannot be used to state, unequivocally, anything about humans, since no humans were used. At best, this study would be good for suggesting further research. That is, if it were of any quality whatsoever.

  138. #138 John Fryer Chemist
    July 27, 2010

    Hi Calli

    You mention one of your children is autism and this is sad to know when you believe as I do that for the most part the illness or syndrome is completely preventable.

    The deliberate and repeated injection of any material 100 to 1 000 times a TOXIC dose is UNACCEPTABLE.

    Especially as we have SAFE alternatives.

    This debate is not about vaccines for and against which is another issue.

    It is about whether TOXIC injections into poor people is ETHICAL.

    Tony Blair and my family for two ONLY allowed SAFE vaccines to be injected into our flesh and blood. Safe meaning no to mercury and no to unnecessary vaccines.

    MMR for example is given in multiple injections whereas a safer option is to give the vaccines one at a time.

    It is long and arduous to explain fully the science behind all this but it is fairly obvious I would think that a single vaccine is less of an insult than many and that getting rid of toxic vaccines is also easier on the brain.

    If not vaccines then there are other possibilities in modern toxins being introduced to our people notably those of Bt GMO products which work by destroying our guts.

    What is you belief for cause or do you blindly accept that every government for every period is only interested in our well being?

  139. #139 Calli Arcale
    July 27, 2010

    You agree the amygala is larger for the vaccinated than unvaccinated animals.

    No, I agree the amygdala is larger in the vaccinated animals than in the control subject who had a clearly abnormal brain. It’s also larger in the other control subject, did you notice that? What do you make of that?

  140. #140 Todd W.
    July 27, 2010

    @John Fryer

    MMR for example is given in multiple injections whereas a safer option is to give the vaccines one at a time.

    Citation, please. And you realize that if you give the MMR as separate injections, you are giving 3 times the number of injections, as well as 3 times the other ingredients, right?

  141. #141 John Fryer Chemist
    July 27, 2010

    Hi Scott

    The legal system is not so delusional.

    Sadly you may be right. I spent more than 5 years trying to convince the British Police, Government and Legal system that their prosecution of Sally clark was wrong.

    To be brief in this case a very healthy child died within 6 hours of a mercury vaccine in 1997 or so.

    Here we are in 2010 still using the same mercury vaccines that wiped out two boys in that family and spared the third simply because of more careful vaccinations.

  142. #142 Scott
    July 27, 2010

    The deliberate and repeated injection of any material 100 to 1 000 times a TOXIC dose is UNACCEPTABLE.

    Nobody does that. Nobody DID do that even before thimerosal was removed from vaccines. The dose was always a minute fraction of what would be harmful.

    Especially as we have SAFE alternatives.

    We’re USING the safest methods known.

    This debate is not about vaccines for and against which is another issue.

    It is about whether TOXIC injections into poor people is ETHICAL.

    Bullshit. You, sir, are a liar.

    Tony Blair and my family for two ONLY allowed SAFE vaccines to be injected into our flesh and blood. Safe meaning no to mercury and no to unnecessary vaccines.

    That is NOT the definition you applied. If you had, then you’d have done all the recommended vaccines.

    MMR for example is given in multiple injections whereas a safer option is to give the vaccines one at a time.

    Breaking them up is LESS safe, since if nothing else there’s three times the risk of infection from the puncture.

    It is long and arduous to explain fully the science behind all this but it is fairly obvious I would think that a single vaccine is less of an insult than many and that getting rid of toxic vaccines is also easier on the brain.

    You have not the slightest conception of the science behind anything. Don’t lie and claim you do.

    If not vaccines then there are other possibilities in modern toxins being introduced to our people notably those of Bt GMO products which work by destroying our guts.

    No evidence of any such harm. Nor is there any evidence that any harm exists to be explained!

    What is you belief for cause or do you blindly accept that every government for every period is only interested in our well being?

    Our belief is based on the science, which demonstrates unequivocally that you are full of shit.

    Sadly you may be right. I spent more than 5 years trying to convince the British Police, Government and Legal system that their prosecution of Sally clark was wrong.

    To be brief in this case a very healthy child died within 6 hours of a mercury vaccine in 1997 or so.

    Here we are in 2010 still using the same mercury vaccines that wiped out two boys in that family and spared the third simply because of more careful vaccinations.

    References required for such claims. Not to mention the fact that a temporal coincidence does not imply causality.

  143. #143 Calli Arcale
    July 27, 2010

    You mention one of your children is autism and this is sad to know when you believe as I do that for the most part the illness or syndrome is completely preventable.

    Yes, if you choose to believe that, I can see where you’d find it sad. But she is my child; I love her. As I said, it runs in my family, so this is not something unfamiliar to us. Don’t be sad for her; she is very bright, and has been making excellent progress with the appropriate educational interventions.

    MMR for example is given in multiple injections whereas a safer option is to give the vaccines one at a time.

    I thought you said autism was caused by mercury poisoning? MMR has never contained mercury. If it did, it would be ineffective, as MMR is a live vaccine. I’m not sure what your complaint about one at a time is; the injections are not all given at the same time. (If they were, it would be ineffective.) Instead, they are spaced out over several years, to train the correct immune response. Or do you mean the fact that three disease types are covered? I like that, as it means *fewer* injections. Some people like giving their kids three times as many injections, in the belief that this is safer, but it is trivial to show that this is foolish. Splitting it up into three shots is more painful, triples the exposure to adjuvants and other ingredients which I thought you were worried about, and, as with any injection, triples the (very low) risk of bacterial infection at the injection site.

    I don’t understand why anyone would choose to triple the risks and the physical pain by splitting the vaccine up. Honestly.

    If not vaccines then there are other possibilities in modern toxins being introduced to our people notably those of Bt GMO products which work by destroying our guts.

    Wait a minute — first you said it was thimerosal. Then you said it was too many vaccines (though you seemed to want *more* injections, not less). Now you say it’s genetically modified organisms destroying the gut. You sound awfully unsure of yourself, even though you say you have science. That is very strange indeed.

    What is you belief for cause or do you blindly accept that every government for every period is only interested in our well being?

    Blindly accept the government being only interested in our well being? HAH! The government is a combination of bureaucracy and politics. I do not trust it any further than I can comfortably spit out a rat. There are checks and balances to keep it somewhat honest, but the biggest one is an informed populace. Unfortunately, that is lacking. Most people are like yourself, and would prefer to have someone tell them what is true and not ever examine it. (You just prefer that be anyone who disagrees with the government. It works as long as you don’t examine the claims very closely.)

    I believe the evidence points towards autism being not merely a spectrum but a constellation of effects which, when occurring together, produce a similar range of neurological symptoms. I find the notion of organizational problems especially compelling. There is clearly a genetic component to it, and some fascinating recent work strongly suggests an emergent condition. That is, there is no gene for autism, but if enough of a particular set of genes are different, then an autistic disorder will result.

    My perspective is colored by the fact that learning disorders run in my family; I have personal reasons for believing that it is heritable. It is supported by the scientific evidence to date, but not proven. While the evidence is compelling, there is a great deal of work yet to do.

    As far as treatment, if it’s inherent in the child’s genetics, then there might be some pharmaceutical or gene therapy interventions, but I tend to think the real objective would be to determine how the child learns and exploit that to coax the brain into developing into a functional adult brain anyway. Most of the time, the main problem that autistics have is that they don’t learn as easily — or, more simply, they don’t learn the way we expect people to learn, and consequently our usual educational methods are ineffective for them. The best case scenario, to me, is a child where it is possible to tailor education such that the child’s brain can be coaxed into growing the right way. Then, no risky pharmaceuticals or dangerous surgical or medical interventions are required, and the child winds up with a brain that can serve them on its own. Obviously, this ideal would not always be achievable.

    It’s important to remember that the brain IS heavily influenced by environmental effects — and that this is by no means limited to toxic things. Indeed, the most important environmental influences may be the person’s life experiences. I find that DAN! doctors and such are seldom interested in working with those. Perhaps that’s because it’s harder than simply prescribing some chelators and vitamin supplements. It takes effort, and a great deal of customization.

  144. #144 John Fryer Chemist
    July 27, 2010

    To Scott

    Inflammation is not normal growth.

    We both agree then.

    But as said if you have a knock and then your hand or whatever swells up this is inflammation and is not normal growth.

    An example of this occurred to me when I burnt my hand. It ballooned up to twice its size but all this extra was the fluids coming in to renovate and repair.

    What is happening in a babies or macaques head when injected with organomercury brain destroying chemicals is clear and not clear. We know it destroys brain cells and therefore causes inflammation but does this affect the bones too or just bring in fluid and increase pressures everywhere?

    Whatever, the limited experiments do clearly show on the one hand unvaccinated remaining essentially the same while those of the mercury vaccinated group ALL increased in size by 10 per cent.

    Either we accept these results or we redo them to check for FRAUD.

    For me this a clear advance and shows the harm of mercury vaccines and exactly how the harm is shown.

    The results to me are unambiguous.

    It does nothing to a vaccine or antivaccine debate but does a lot to ENSURE those that get injections get the SAFEST that man can make.

    An organomercury vaccine is not a SAFE vaccine and of this there is no doubt regardless of this work and how good or bad it is.

  145. #145 John Fryer Chemist
    July 27, 2010

    Hi Calli

    Yes, thimerosal is a bad thing in vaccines. It is as simple as that IT MUST NOT BE THERE.

    Does this mean everything else is GOOD? Of course not. Bt GMO products were killing animals all over the world and NO ONE in government breathed a word. Now it is coming out that animals fed on Bt GMO could die in 2 days. We know that for bad insects those insects are killed by such technology. We do not know why animals are dying two days after eating Bt GMO products. This is todays world we live in.

    We eat in France, a country where GMO is BANNED at least a kilogram of Bt GMO every week and one effect is the increas fivefold of gut problems here. But how many are ignorant of all this? I suspect more than 95 per cent.

    Are genes responsible? No, No, No. To date more than half of our chromosomes have been implicated in autism. How funny that something like a hundred gene changes cause autism but brain destroying mercury and gut destroying GMO novel foods are INNOCENT?

    Science, government and regulators make FOOLs of us.

  146. #146 MI Dawn
    July 27, 2010

    @John Fryer: WOULD you PLEASE stop lying about “organomercury” vaccines? For pete’s sake, thimerosol has been OUT of vaccines for almost 10 years now!

    You are LYING about the monkeys too. You obviously didn’t even bother to read the abstract I linked to, much less the full article about normal brain growth in monkeys.

    And you didn’t bother to read above comments where it is pointed out that the control group was too small to make any comparisons to; since 1 monkey had abnormal shrinkage of the brain, the control group was actually only 1 normal monkey and you cannot compare a test group of 11 to a control of 1.

    I’ll leave you to Calli Arcale, Scott, and Chris who have more patience and ability to deal with morons. You give pharmacists a bad name, and if I ever caught my husband pushing such garbage he’d be DEAD,not on the internet.

  147. #147 Todd W.
    July 27, 2010

    @MI Dawn

    For pete’s sake, thimerosol has been OUT of vaccines for almost 10 years now!

    To be fair, that’s in the U.S., while it appears that Mr. Fryer is in Europe. Not that that doesn’t mean he’s exceedingly ignorant of the science involved or that he isn’t lying or making crap up.

    He seems very fond of pulling nonsense out of his posterior nether regions and rather shy about providing any manner of citation to support his claims. Not surprising, though, since he either has no evidence or there is so much evidence showing that he is wrong (not mutually exclusive options).

  148. #148 Dedj
    July 27, 2010

    “Either we accept these results or we redo them to check for FRAUD.”

    Oh, we accept the results.

    They simply don’t mean what you imply they do, as you have been told.

    You will provide an explicit reference to the passage of the text that clearly and unambigously demonstrates that the increase is abnormal or caused by inflammation, or you will kindly piss off.

    Stop spewing irrelevant gabble and start ponying up some evidence.

  149. #149 John Fryer Chemist
    July 27, 2010

    To Calli

    MMR does not contain mercury.

    First of all this is wrong. MMR vaccines have contained mercury and you go on to say they would be useless if they did.

    I agree.

    However you are right most MMR never did contain mercury.

    But vaccines do use GMO products and inject them into us.

    How strange that many countries ban GMO food but allow their infants to be injected with GMO thereby circumventing the inbuilt safety mechanisms built in over the ages.

    MMR does contain up to ten times the amount of say mulps to overcome the effect of several components. Therefore as a rule of thumb the single vaccine may be ten times less dangerous to us than the composite vaccine.

    In England repeat vaccines come within months for the component vaccine but the single vaccines are given ONCE only.

    Further what is the point of a vaccine for rubella for a 12 month infant? Doctors with sense will wait for the child to be many years older so we dont need the complete three at such a tender age.

    Also out of a total of at least 4 vaccines with MMR in them only one remains in use. Why have the others been withdrawn?

    Simply because in some cases proven harm has come to those injected.

  150. #150 Calli Arcale
    July 27, 2010

    You appear to have addressed very nearly nothing in my post. That is quite impressive.

    Why is it inconceivable that autism could be caused by a large collection of genetic changes, whereas it is obvious to you that autism is caused by quantities of ethyl mercury which are insignificant compared to dietary methyl mercury (and which have been removed from vaccines in any case) as well as novel foods which you claim destroy the gut? (Is it worth pointing out that thimerosal and GMO are very different things? Are you capable of engaging your brain enough to formulate a novel thought, or can you only regurgitate whatever the anti-government people have told you, regardless of whether or not it is internally consistent?)

    Science, government and regulators make FOOLs of us.

    No, that’s something we do all on our own when we choose to believe what some person on the Internet tells us instead of thinking about it.

  151. #151 John Fryer Chemist
    July 27, 2010

    To Scott

    Yes temporal coincidence does not mean causation.

    So more than a million children die AFTER vaccines while healthy and no one except parents go to prison.

    Yes people more involved than me will accept this REVULSION of common sense.

    There is a book on the Clark case and you will see that despite the death within 6 hours of a mercury vaccine neither the family not the scientists for the defence EVER blamed vaccines.

    But it is fact that peak deaths occurred at 3 months in the UK corresponding to the first vaccine. A research done by a Scottish lady recommended the accelerated scheme for vaccines to prevent this insupportable death rate.

    It worked well. No longer did infants die at 3 months.

    they now peaked for dying at 2 months exactly corresponding with the 2 month accelerated scheme of vaccinations.

  152. #152 Todd W.
    July 27, 2010

    @John Fryer

    First of all this is wrong. MMR vaccines have contained mercury and you go on to say they would be useless if they did.

    Please provide evidence that MMR contained mercury at any point in time.

    MMR does contain up to ten times the amount of say mulps to overcome the effect of several components. Therefore as a rule of thumb the single vaccine may be ten times less dangerous to us than the composite vaccine.

    Citation needed.

    Also out of a total of at least 4 vaccines with MMR in them only one remains in use. Why have the others been withdrawn?

    Simply because in some cases proven harm has come to those injected.

    First off, citation needed. Assuming that you are correct (can’t be sure, since you provide no supporting evidence), the likely reason is because the current one is the safest and most effective. I’m not sure what the situation is in your country as to which products are approved, but in the U.S., there are a couple different MMR vaccines available: MMR-II and ProQuad, in addition to others that have been approved but may not be in current use.

  153. #153 Todd W.
    July 27, 2010

    @John Fryer

    So more than a million children die AFTER vaccines while healthy and no one except parents go to prison.

    Citation needed.

    But it is fact that peak deaths occurred at 3 months in the UK corresponding to the first vaccine.

    Citation needed.

    A research done by a Scottish lady recommended the accelerated scheme for vaccines to prevent this insupportable death rate.

    It worked well. No longer did infants die at 3 months.

    Citation needed.

    they now peaked for dying at 2 months exactly corresponding with the 2 month accelerated scheme of vaccinations.

    Citation needed.

  154. #154 Scientizzle
    July 27, 2010

    An organomercury vaccine is not a SAFE vaccine and of this there is no doubt regardless of this work and how good or bad it is.

    As unhinged and logically-challenged John Fryer MSc BSc MRIC PGCE Advanced analytical Chemist is, he reveals himself in this, his only clear sentence on this thread. Is it safe to assume, John, that this means you would support the claim: there is no dose of any organomercury compound that is acceptable for human exposure? If this is inaccurate, please clearly indicate what organomercury compound(s) would be acceptable at what exposure levels and the manner in which we would determine these ‘safe’ levels.

    Also, regarding the Hewitson paper & rhesus macaque infant amygdalas: John doesn’t understand the basic crticism and/or is too blinded by his point-of-view to accept a valid criticism. I’ll lay it out in simple terms, even using liberal, unnecessary all-caps to MAKE it CRYSTAL clear.

    1. Previous studies of rhesus macaque infant brain development have shown that it is NORMAL for the AMYGDALA to GET BIGGER during growth and development
    2. Hewitson et al found that 9 VACCINE-TREATED rhesus macaque infants had AMYGDALAS that GOT BIGGER
    3. Hewitson et al compared this to ONLY TWO untreated CONTROLS; ONE OF THE TWO CONTROLS appears to have a serious and obvious ABNORMAL BRAIN DEVELOPMENT that SKEWS the control data
    4. …the other control subject had a an AMYGDALA that GOT BIGGER

    How can you look at the amygdala size data and see anything useful, John? If anything, a conclusion more in-line with the data would be that vaccination protects against abnormal brain development! Obviously, this is a poor conclusion: not because it’s necessarily untrue, but because the data supporting such a conclusion are clearly flawed.

    Quit pretending to be a scientist. It shames my profession.

  155. #155 Scott
    July 27, 2010

    Whatever, the limited experiments do clearly show on the one hand unvaccinated remaining essentially the same while those of the mercury vaccinated group ALL increased in size by 10 per cent.

    False. It showed that the brains of the vaccinated grew NORMALLY, the brain of one of the unvaccinated grew NORMALLY, and the other unvaccinated had severe brain damage.

    Either we accept these results or we redo them to check for FRAUD.

    As I said, the paper itself proves either gross incompetence, or deliberate fraud, beyond any reasonable doubt.

    For me this a clear advance and shows the harm of mercury vaccines and exactly how the harm is shown.

    The results to me are unambiguous.

    And you thereby show that you have zero understanding of autism, vaccines, science, or even what the paper itself said.

    It does nothing to a vaccine or antivaccine debate but does a lot to ENSURE those that get injections get the SAFEST that man can make.

    Vaccines are already made as safely as they can be.

    An organomercury vaccine is not a SAFE vaccine and of this there is no doubt regardless of this work and how good or bad it is.

    Actually, there is no significant doubt that thimerosal was always perfectly safe in the doses used.

    So more than a million children die AFTER vaccines while healthy and no one except parents go to prison.

    Yes people more involved than me will accept this REVULSION of common sense.

    Leaving aside the fact that you made the number up out of nothing, you’ve not provided a single shred of evidence that vaccines cause any of what you claim.

    There is a book on the Clark case and you will see that despite the death within 6 hours of a mercury vaccine neither the family not the scientists for the defence EVER blamed vaccines.

    Assuming that you’re not simply making that up too, this simply demonstrates that those individuals have a superior grasp of the science than you do. (Not that this would be difficult; a brick would be less wrong.)

    But it is fact that peak deaths occurred at 3 months in the UK corresponding to the first vaccine. A research done by a Scottish lady recommended the accelerated scheme for vaccines to prevent this insupportable death rate.

    It worked well. No longer did infants die at 3 months.

    they now peaked for dying at 2 months exactly corresponding with the 2 month accelerated scheme of vaccinations.

    If it’s fact, and this research was done, you should have no trouble producing references and citations to support it. However, I predict that you will not do so, and instead gallop on to another incoherent fact-devoid rant.

  156. #156 Calli Arcale
    July 27, 2010

    John Fryer Chemist @ 150:

    It appears our comments are crossing one another a bit. ;-) I apologize if this makes it look confusing. I posted my last comment before you posted #150.

    First of all this is wrong. MMR vaccines have contained mercury and you go on to say they would be useless if they did.

    Why do you think MMR ever contained mercury?

    It is true that live vaccines cannot contain mercury. It will kill the attenuated (i.e. crippled) organism that is the whole point of the vaccine, and then the immune system won’t mount a response to it and no immunity will be achieved. Such a vaccine would be worthless. This is also true of the nasal spray flu vaccine, which is also an attenuated live virus vaccine, and the whole-cell pertussis vaccine. Live vaccines can’t contain preservatives; instead, extra care is taken to avoid contamination, which makes them more expensive. In particular, MMR doesn’t come in a multi-dose vial, and it requires refrigeration.

    But vaccines do use GMO products and inject them into us.

    Evidence, please? You seem to be growing your list of possible toxins without acutally naming any of them. Genetically modifying something doesn’t automatically make it dangerous; surely, if you aren’t just regurgitating what somebody told you, you’ve got specifics. Show us that you’re capable of independent thought. Give us actual strains of actual species. Tell us what it is that makes it dangerous. “It’s GMO!!!! OMGZ!!!” is not adequate.

    MMR does contain up to ten times the amount of say mulps to overcome the effect of several components. Therefore as a rule of thumb the single vaccine may be ten times less dangerous to us than the composite vaccine.

    Surely you have evidence of this too, correct? Having multiple antigen included in a single shot does not require increasing the total quantity of each antigen, as far as I know. And why are you so unsure of the amount? “Up to ten times”? These things are made to very precise formulas; there would be a specific number you could give, if you actually knew.

    In England repeat vaccines come within months for the component vaccine but the single vaccines are given ONCE only.

    It’s entirely possible someone gives them that way, but they’re wasting everybody’s time if they do so — they are giving them incorrectly. Single vaccines are supposed to be given multiple times.

    Further what is the point of a vaccine for rubella for a 12 month infant? Doctors with sense will wait for the child to be many years older so we dont need the complete three at such a tender age.

    Why, do you like babies dying? Are two year olds not deserving of protection? When deciding when to give a vaccine, you must balance need for protection with risk of side effects and ability of the immune system to receive any benefit, all three of which vary by age. Rubella can kill an infant. There is no reason to wait longer than twelve months; by the time the child is that old, their immune system is strong enough to accept live vaccines and make good use of them.

    Also out of a total of at least 4 vaccines with MMR in them only one remains in use. Why have the others been withdrawn?

    I’d have to research all of them to find out, which is something I rather suspect you have not done. (Firstly, because you wouldn’t need to ask, and secondly, because you’d know the actual number instead of having to use weasel words like “at least”.)

    Vaccines get withdrawn from market all the time because of their manufacturers coming out with better ones, or because of a competitor having eaten up enough market share that their version is no longer worth making. I don’t see what the problem with that is. Isn’t improvement a good thing?

  157. #157 John Fryer Chemist
    July 27, 2010

    to Scott

    You seem to agree with me that injecting toxins into infants is not defensible so we share common ground there?

    You say we use the safest vaccines available.

    I am not sure of the current breakdown of flu but lets assume that 80 per cent contain organomercury while 20 per cent are mercury free.

    How can we logically be using the safest vaccines in both cases?

  158. #158 MI Dawn
    July 27, 2010

    The Sally Clark case is totally irrelevent to vaccines, anyway. Apparently, both of her children died of SIDS, but she was wrongly convicted of causing their deaths. And later information showed that one of her children was actually ill (the autopsy showed infection but the defense was never given that information). Peak deaths from SIDS used to occur (rates have dropped since the “back to sleep” campaign) between 2 and 6 months, the full range was birth to 18 months.

    Now, Mr Fryer, how about references to the claims you made, as requested by Scott, Calli, and others? Gish Gallops just mean you have no proof.

  159. #159 Chris
    July 27, 2010

    Mr. Fryer, you are asked again to provide actual cites to prove that you did not pull your assertions out of thin air.

    So kindly, put up or shut up.

    Also, need I remind you again that vaccines prevent SIDS:

    CONCLUSIONS: Immunisations are associated with a halving of the risk of SIDS. There are biological reasons why this association may be causal, but other factors, such as the healthy vaccinee effect, may be important. Immunisations should be part of the SIDS prevention campaigns.

    You and your friends at AoA and JABS are directly contributing to the deaths of children from pertussis in California, HIB in Pennsylvania and measles in Europe. Good going, guy! Keep it up and we will have a resurgence of diphtheria just like what happened in the Ukraine after the Soviet Union broke up!

    John Fryer, ex-chemist: you are a child killer.

  160. #160 Scott
    July 27, 2010

    You seem to agree with me that injecting toxins into infants is not defensible so we share common ground there?

    At doses and in forms that would cause harm, certainly. I don’t think anybody here would disagree. The problem is that you’re ignoring the fact that the substances in question are quite non-toxic and safe at the doses and in the forms used in vaccines.

    How can we logically be using the safest vaccines in both cases?

    Because it’s not a risk factor one way or the other. In terms of safety, it simply makes no difference. The vaccine without thimerosal is more expensive, though.

  161. #161 Todd W.
    July 27, 2010

    @Scott

    The vaccine without thimerosal is more expensive, though.

    It also requires more careful handling to prevent contamination and has a shorter shelf-life, which means more frequent replacement of stocks.

  162. #162 John Fryer Chemist
    July 27, 2010

    Hi Calli

    I have been studying carefully health and chemical issues for nearly 20 years so my knowledge base is extensive and always open to review and improvement.

    I started by blaming neurotoxic organophosphates at one time for the million deaths to infants and like you did not know at the time the harm from GMO or vaccines.

    My position is changing with knowledge and remember 20 years ago not even most people in the vaccine industry were aware of the addition of mercury to vaccines.

    In fact it is a true story that when a chemist professor told someone of this and they relayed it to the top vaccine regulators the response was:

    Go back to your professor of chemistry and tell him we would never put MERCURY in a childs or anyone elses vaccines.

    They thought that something like lemon juice was the preservative.

    This does not get organophosphates off the spot as we know that such additions once specifically and only to babies clothing has long since been abandoned. After the rate of deaths did go down but not to zero but a fraction of previous deaths.

    And of course brain destroying organophosphates are in the clear for causing deaths to children.

    What a world and again a world wide ban on some organophosphates has quietly been forgotten in the rush to make trillions of dollars.

  163. #163 Chris
    July 27, 2010

    It is time to ignore the ex-chemist who has no regard for evidence, or even the health of children.

    John Fryer, put up or shut up.

    And the MMR has never contained thimerosal in the almost forty years of being used in the USA.

  164. #164 John Fryer Chemist
    July 27, 2010

    Hi this blog lives in a real world where nothing can be ever proved.

    If the blowing up of every brain when vaccinated with a toxin and every brain remains the same when not injected with mercury then my so called research data collected for the past 20 years will easily be dismissed.

    in fact when writing to top chemists who talked of the harm from mercury it seems a 50 000 dollar payout in their retirement elicits the lemon juice danger from a brain destroying chemical.

    I suppose you know of the Lorscheider video showing growing brain cells destroyed by mercury at exactly the concentration in a vaccine? (university of calgary and yes he has been attacked like Dr Wakefield and all the rest that show harm from dangerous products)

  165. #165 John Fryer Chemist
    July 27, 2010

    at Scott

    Just this month in Australia mercury vaccines have been pulled for causing sudden death to healthy infants.

    The makers thought that all was the same but not the Government scientists who now a re battling amongst each other to prove that: Yes it’s been pulled, yes its killed and maimed but it WAS OK HONEST.

  166. #166 Todd W.
    July 27, 2010

    Translated from Fryerese to English:

    Blah blah blah, lack of citations, making crap up, blah blah blah blah blah.

    To quote Shakespear, “O gull, o dolt, as ignorant as dirt.”

  167. #167 Scott
    July 27, 2010

    It also requires more careful handling to prevent contamination and has a shorter shelf-life, which means more frequent replacement of stocks.

    Which, from the patient perspective, principally manifests as increased cost, does it not?

  168. #168 Todd W.
    July 27, 2010

    @Scott

    Yep. Just wanted to illustrate for others who may still be reading that financial cost isn’t the only consideration. The potential of the vial going bad is also worth thinking about. Not that any of that will sink in with the lovely Mr. Fryer.

  169. #169 Scott
    July 27, 2010

    Just this month in Australia mercury vaccines have been pulled for causing sudden death to healthy infants.

    The makers thought that all was the same but not the Government scientists who now a re battling amongst each other to prove that: Yes it’s been pulled, yes its killed and maimed but it WAS OK HONEST.

    And my prediction has been confirmed. No citations, no facts, no evidence, no nothing.

    Hi this blog lives in a real world where nothing can be ever proved.

    Indeed, yet the safety of thimerosal in the doses used in vaccines is supported by the best evidence we have any hope to expect.

    If the blowing up of every brain when vaccinated with a toxin and every brain remains the same when not injected with mercury then my so called research data collected for the past 20 years will easily be dismissed.

    And you know what? Brains DO grow regardless!

    in fact when writing to top chemists who talked of the harm from mercury it seems a 50 000 dollar payout in their retirement elicits the lemon juice danger from a brain destroying chemical.

    Any “top chemist” who talks about “the harm from mercury” without specifying type and dose is unqualified to address the subject.

    I suppose you know of the Lorscheider video showing growing brain cells destroyed by mercury at exactly the concentration in a vaccine? (university of calgary and yes he has been attacked like Dr Wakefield and all the rest that show harm from dangerous products)

    Seen it. Utterly irrelevant because the dose the brain is actually exposed to is many orders of magnitude less than the concentration in the vial.

  170. #170 Vicki
    July 27, 2010

    “In fact it is a true story” = “Somewhere I read that someone I don’t know had this conversation” = urban legends.

  171. #171 Calli Arcale
    July 27, 2010

    John Fryer:

    Go back to your professor of chemistry and tell him we would never put MERCURY in a childs or anyone elses vaccines.

    They thought that something like lemon juice was the preservative.

    Maybe your chemistry professors. Mine were competent and knew that lemon juice would be a pretty lousy preservative.

    If the blowing up of every brain when vaccinated with a toxin and every brain remains the same when not injected with mercury then my so called research data collected for the past 20 years will easily be dismissed.

    I’m sorry, that sentence simply doesn’t parse.

    I think you might mean that if brains don’t really blow up when vaccinated, then your research can be dismissed. Actually, the “brains blowing up” part (which you base on a study which purports to show the amygdala growing a bit, which is hardly the same as “brains blowing up”) is something you’ve only added to your belief system in the past month or so. Since it’s not at all consistent with the rest of the crap you’ve piled up over twenty years, why should invalidating that threaten the rest, except by causing you to start thinking and asking difficult questions?

  172. #172 Pablo
    July 27, 2010

    Go back to your professor of chemistry and tell him we would never put MERCURY in a childs or anyone elses vaccines

    Dumbass

    I _am_ a chemistry professor and can tell you that you are completely clueless. Please stop calling yourself a chemist. You are embarassing the profession with your lack of chemistry knowledge.

  173. #173 MI Dawn
    July 27, 2010

    @Pablo: Relax. I don’t think John Fryer is a person involved in chemistry. I think, from his usage and vernacular, that he means a pharmacist. Just as embaressing, but to a different set of persons. Certainly, no true educated person with a chemistry degree could say that we put MERCURY in vaccines the way he says it. So, I could go back to any professor of chemistry and say that. At least, not elemental mercury. That was saved for thermometers in my day, and was SO cool to play with when they (oops, sorry, mommy! It was an accident! Really!) were broken.

    OT: IIRC, when my friend was inducted into the honor society, they played with elemental mercury as part of the ceremony (she said it was stopped after that, due to possible toxic effects…but all the chemistry profs I have known were weird anyway – Hi brother/grandfather/uncle – yeah, I’m surrounded by them)
    /OT

    On the other hand, we also, as children played with merthiolate on a regular basis, slopped it onto any and all injuries, used it to paint lines to play cowboys and indians…I imagine that children of MY generation were far more exposed to thimerosol than any child who got it in their vaccines.

    Then there is the mercury in fish…

    John Fryer is an idiot. No, I apologize. As a medical term, idiot has a meaning and I don’t want to insult those with that diagnosis. John Fryer is beneath notice and not worth contempt.

  174. #174 Mu
    July 27, 2010

    I’m impressed, that John Fryer spam bot shows a remarkable ability to seemingly reply to the answers made in regards to its posts. Being able to program a goal post shift to GMO if the toxin gambit fails shows foresight on behalf of the programmer. The random use of CAPITALIZATION indicates a working knowledge of troll word usage, and the poor grammar hides the random content, the reader is trying to make sense were none is intended.

  175. #175 Travis
    July 27, 2010

    Likewise I am impressed with this Fryer bot. It is pretty amazing to watch it dance around and ignore everything but to it. Still, it does not seem to pass the Turing test.

  176. #176 W. Kevin Vicklund
    July 27, 2010

    Just this month in Australia mercury vaccines have been pulled for causing sudden death to healthy infants.

    Wow, three lies in one sentence. It was pulled much earlier than this month, the vaccine didn’t contain mercury, and the reason it was pulled was that there was an elevated risk of febrile seizures. Only one infant death is even alleged to have been related to administration of the vaccine.

    BTW, a chemist would know that mercury does not lead to death within hours of exposure. Therefor, in both the Clark case and the Australian case, mercury could not be the cause of death.

  177. #177 MI Dawn
    July 28, 2010

    And, for Mr Fryer, when the going gets tough, Brave Sir Robin ran away (to post in another thread where he thinks we won’t find him…one of the older monkey threads)

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