Respectful Insolence

It’s been a busy and rough week. The news on the vaccine front has been coming fast and furious, with the release of one bad study and another highly touted great white hope of a legal study. As much as I’m tired of blogging about vaccines this week, it’s still mandatory for me to note that something very wonderful has happened. So bear with me, please. Remember how recently, after well over five years of his flouting the law, the State of Maryland suspended “autism biomed” quack Dr. Mark Geier’s medical license? In fact, Maryland didn’t just suspend it, but emergently suspended it. Well, on Wednesday, there was a hearing at which Geier appealed the suspension. The ever-vigilant Trine Tsouderos reports the results:

On Wednesday, Geier appeared at a hearing to ask the Maryland board to lift its summary suspension. Through his attorney, he presented affidavits from parents thanking him for treating their children, affirming they had been fully informed and denying their children had been misdiagnosed.

Geier also presented scientific evidence he said supported his protocol. The evidence included studies conducted by a researcher who told the Tribune, in 2009, that the idea of treating children with autism with Lupron “fills me with horror.”

The board voted to uphold its summary suspension, said Geier’s attorney, Joseph A. Schwartz III.

I wonder if these studies were the same unethical studies overseen by an institutional review board (IRB) set up by the Geiers and packed with their cronies. Be that as it may, Geier predictably decided to go all self-righteously maudlin as he lashed out at the decision:

“I’m angry, but I’m also sad,” Geier said afterward. “I don’t want my patients to have to go to institutions when this therapy works.”

Geier, a fixture in a movement that continues to believe that vaccines cause autism, said he is being targeted because of his outspokenness on vaccines.

“There are forces trying to shut down our comments,” he said.


Well, I’m angry, but I’m also sad that it took the State of Maryland five years before it finally acted. Note the false dichotomy, though. To Geier, it’s either his Lupron quackery or an institution. There are actually many, many more possible outcomes, few of which involve institutionalization. As for Geier’s self-righteousness, well, let’s just say that he richly deserves everything coming his way and more. I only hope that every state in which he has a medical license acts, although I realize that, given the differences in the law between various states, such a thing is unlikely to happen. At least, it won’t happen in every state.

A more interesting question has fascinated me, though. It has now been more than two weeks since Mark Geier’s license was summarily suspended and 11 or 12 days since the news became generally known. Yet the usual suspects in the anti-vaccine movement have been eerily silent since then. There hasn’t been a peep out of the anti-vaccine crank blog Age of Autism other than Dan Olmsted mentioning it briefly in his daily notes. Otherwise, not a single outraged complaint. I find this curious.

I find it particularly curious when I compare the reaction of, for instance, AoA, regarding Andrew Wakefield. Two years ago, when Wakefield’s research fraud was first reported, it was full “circle the wagon” mode. Ditto again over a year ago, when Andrew Wakefield lost his medical license in the U.K. and then, in rapid succession, saw his 1998 Lancet study retracted by the editors, soon to be followed by his “monkey business” Hepatitis B vaccine study. Compare that to the reaction from the same sources to the news that Mark Geier had had his medical license suspended, and the difference couldn’t be clearer. Most recently, AoA and the anti-vaccine contingent lashed out against the medical establishment and the British Medical Journal (BMJ) after it published a lengthy expose by investigative journalist Brian Deer describing just how Wakefield falsified data in his infamous 1998 Lancet study.

While a few of the more sensible believers in “autism biomed” fled Wakefield, most clung ever tighter, including Jenny McCarthy herself, who penned a blog post for her usual wretched hive of scum and quackery as recently as January. The bottom line is that Andrew Wakefield remains a rock star in the anti-vaccine movement, having recently been feted at an anti-vaccine conference in Jamaica, while his admirers speculated that the media blitz provoked by Brian Deer’s BMJ articles was intentionally planned to coincide with this conference. True, Wakefield did lose his cushy, well-paid job as medical director at Thoughtful House, but he sure doesn’t appear to be hurting for money or admiration, with his followers likening him to Nelson Mandela and Jesus Christ all rolled up into one.

Why is that?

After all, both Wakefield and Geier have a message that they know what causes autism and how to treat it. Both Wakefield and Geier had built an empire promoting “biomedical” woo and false hope based on the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism. Both Wakefield and Geier have a bevy of testimonials from parents who think they’ve helped their children. If anything, the Geiers have been more successful, cultivating a “brave maverick doctor” persona, with their laboratory equipment in their basement and their chain of clinics spanning several states. All Wakefield ever managed to build was a single clinic in Austin, TX, Thoughtful House. Moreover, both Wakefield and Geier have subjected autistic children to some pretty horrible treatments. Wakefield’s study required unnecessary invasive procedures, such as colonoscopies and lumbar punctures, to be performed on autistic children. The Geiers peddle Lupron, which is in essence chemical castration. True, the Geiers get the nod (although not by much) for numbers and sheer looniness of their intervention, but let’s not forget that Wakefield’s woo is powerful as well.

At first, I thought that maybe Wakefield’s charisma explained the difference. There’s no doubt that Wakefield oozes charisma and empathy, while Mark Geier is old, frumpy, and has all the personality of a paper cup, at least in the videos and venues where I’ve seen him. Certainly charisma is important; there’s little doubt that his good looks and ability to work a crowd are major factors in Wakefield’s popularity. Then I wondered if maybe at some level deep, deep down even “autism biomed” believers and anti-vaccine loons recognize that the Geiers’ rationale for using Lupron is unsupported at best, insane at worst. Maybe, just maybe, Mark and David Geier are like the embarrassing uncle who tells racist jokes and is always trying to pinch women on their posterior, tolerated but not exactly liked or respected. If this is true, then unlike Wakefield, whose successive humiliations led to the anti-vaccine movement lionizing him as a persecuted martyr to the cause, a hero willing to do whatever it takes to cure your child, for Geier each humiliation, starting with Trine Tsouderos’ expose and ending with the suspension of his Maryland medical license, only emphasized what an embarrassment he was. Perhaps Geier’s quackery is too quacky even for loons.

Or maybe not. An old “friend” of the blog, one of only a handful of people ever banned from commenting, is apparently actually wondering the same thing I am:

Since Dr Mark Geier was railroaded by the Maryland State Board of Physicians and the thoroughly corrupt Dr Harry Knipp, the Age of Autism(AoA) blog has had nothing to say. Given their history of championing Dr Wakefield’s loss of his license, one would expect that AoA would be even more enraged by this bogus attack on Dr Geier. The fact that they have nothing to say for a second time while Dr Geier is libelled all over the internet should lead anyone who reads this dishonest blog to question their motives.

Well, I question AoA motives all the time, but not because of its silence regarding the suspension of Mark Geiers’ medical license. However, even a blind pig occasionally finds a truffle, and our “friend” has actually unknowingly asked the right question, albeit for completely the wrong reasons. On the other hand, maybe the fact that someone like Best is so dedicated to Geier explains the difference that I wonder about. “Mainstream” autism biomed might consider chelation therapy, hyperbaric oxygen, supplements by the handful, and even bogus stem cell therapies acceptable, but chemical castration gives them the heebie-jeebies.

I don’t normally finish my posts with a question. I’ve always thought that it’s a rather lame blogging trick to gin up the comment count, anyway. However, sometimes, when I’m puzzled, I need input. So….

Does anyone have any ideas as to why Wakefield remains so popular after so many humiliations while nary a peep is raised by the usual suspects to defend Mark Geier?

Comments

  1. #1 Jarred C
    May 13, 2011

    Maybe I’m off base here (I’m not really sure what it is that Wakefield is promoting these days as a cure), but the Geiers do actively promote the use of a pretty nasty chemical. Perhaps the alt-med movement is not supporting him, because of his use of “chemicals” to treat autism. After all, in the alt-med mind frame, chemicals are bad, and Lupron is anything but “natural.”

  2. #2 Sharon
    May 13, 2011

    I’m thinking along the same lines as Jarred C. I suspect anyone who is vehemently anti vaccine would intuitively struggle with the concept of the Lupron Protocol due to it’s chemical nature. I reckon it was OK to claim Geier senior as one of their own when he was touted as a practicing Dr and geneticist because they thought it led some credibility to their claims, even if the treatment he proposed was icky.
    An additional factor may be the proximity to the Wakefield drama. Perhaps the public shaming of another of their heroes has caused some disquiet amongst the tribe?

  3. #3 Lawrence
    May 13, 2011

    Wakefield’s “harm” besides what he did to those 12 kids for his bogus study, is mostly hypothetical in the eyes of most of the anti-vaxxers. He isn’t actively practicing medicine, he’s just talking (and doing more damage every time he does so), but it is much easier to defend someone who is only voicing an “opinion” and not actually performing treatments.

    The Geiers, on the other hand, have been actively “treating” kids for years, which means there are actual “buried bodies” / parents that could come out in public and demonstrate the damage these treatments have caused. The press loves to pounce when there are parents /kids they can put in front of the camera to tell their horror stories. All it would take would be one child on television, showing off the damage of the treatment, to potentially sink a significant portion of public support.

    Sorry for the 5am ramble.

  4. #4 idlemind
    May 13, 2011

    Look to history: Wakefield was a much more active player in the genesis of the antivax movement. The Geiers and Wakefield may be equal in terms of the strength of their woo, but politically Wakefield has much more influence. If they abandoned him it would weaken them considerably, while the Geiers are merely on the periphery and so can be safely tossed aside.

  5. #5 Liz Ditz
    May 13, 2011

    Well over on Facebook I gather Erik Nanstiel was solicting support for the Geiers.

    I suspect that the support for the Geiers is being expressed or solicited on some private discussion groups on Yahoo, Google, and elsewhere.

    But I too find it curious that while the Geiers are still invited speakers at Autism One, there is no support for the Geiers from the blogs at Autism One, individual bloggers, or Generation Rescue.

  6. #6 David N. Brown
    May 13, 2011

    I think Geier’s remark about people going to institutions without Lupron is an indicator of the role of prudery and prejudice in his approach to “treating” autism. A major subtext in his arguments from Lupron is simply reaction against the fact that even youg boys might like to “touch” themselves. The more overt rationale is an even more senseless overreaction against “agression” in autistic children, a perceived “problem” which he approaches with a the subtlety and caution of someone hunting rabbits with a bulldozer.

  7. #7 Catherina
    May 13, 2011

    Wakefield is more attractive by conventional standards than Papa and Baby Doc Geier, he has the MUCH better voice, too. He pretends to really care about the children and keeps science to a minimum, while the Geiers talk sciency stuff with long words – tes-to-ste-rone – all the time.

    Just guesses of course

  8. #8 Jennie
    May 13, 2011

    I think there are a few reasons that the Geiers are not receiving the same “circle the wagon” treatment that Wakefield has enjoyed. First, I agree with you that charisma is at least some part of it, but I think that attractiveness is some as well. People, for all their positive qualities, are still biased in that those who are attractive will be given more attention or preference than those that are not. The Geiers are not what I would consider attractive (not that I find Wakefield attractive either). They definitely give off that creepy, embarrassing uncle vibe.

    I would also say that Wakefield falls more in line with what a lot of those anti-vaxxers expect in a “doctor” because much of what Wakefield would push for treatments are echoed by the DAN! doctors. The Geiers were a bit of a lone horse in pushing one treatment. If parents felt that chelation was working without the injections of Lupron (don’t forget that they must have some type of needle phobia), I can’t imagine they’d ditch their DAN! docs for the fumbly, bumbly Geiers.

    I really have to agree with Jarred too. Not only is Lupron less “natural,” it might come across as a “one size fits all” type of treatment since that is what the Geiers focus on almost exclusively. We all know how the anti-vax crowd love to bandy about the “we hate one size fits all treatment” mantra.

    Honestly, it really it likely this mish-mash of several reasons that just give Wakefield more of an air of legitimacy than the Geiers. Thankfully, the Geiers are finally getting what they deserve.

  9. #9 ebohlman
    May 13, 2011

    I think idlemind is correct. Specifically, Wakefield gets, at least in the popular mind, most of the credit for starting the recent anti-vaccine movement. His pronouncements actually caused substantial drops in vaccine uptake. He’s practically a household name.

    The Geiers, OTOH, are little-known outside anti-vax circles and there’s little reason to believe they’ve had much influence on the behavior of people outside those circles. When it comes to the supposed harms of vaccination, they’ve been preaching to the choir; anyone who takes them seriously was already anti-vax. They’ve done nothing to make being against vaccination seem credible.

  10. #10 Sharon
    May 13, 2011

    Perhaps one of the positive aspects of this, is that Augustine and jen will finally have something helpful to add to this thread? Namely, insight into the puzzle.

  11. #11 JohnV
    May 13, 2011

    Doubtful Sharon. Augustine will call us athiest nazi socialist marxists and jen will say “we’re being paid by drug companies and what about Thorson?”

  12. #12 Marge
    May 13, 2011

    Wakers has an English accent. For some people that means ‘clever and respectable’, which gives him an edge over the Geiers. Of course, English accents have also played most villains in Hollywood, so it cuts both ways!

  13. #13 herr doktor bimler
    May 13, 2011

    What’s the current status of Danish accents?
    Asking for a friend.

  14. #14 plutosdad
    May 13, 2011

    There can only be one cult leader.
    Just like the “lost boys” of the FLDS, Geier is competition, and no one is sad to see him go.

  15. #15 Denice Walter
    May 13, 2011

    I think that Andy is a *geisha*- let me explain:

    A businessman who had worked for a large trans-Atlantic firm for 30 years- both there and here- complains that despite his matchless education, carefully honed skills, hard work, and tolerance of impossible people and situations- he was never anything but a *geisha*: he was paid to give people “what they want”, smooth over rough spots, be a sympathetic ear, be encouraging, give a plan of action to the lost, and look, sound, and act in a particular pleasing way. He adds that I’m one, too.

    Basically, my friend is describing people who have very good verbal skills, are able to “read” others extremely well, and provide solutions to their problems. They would score similarly on Baron-Cohen’s test( low). They’re good “generalists”. People like to talk with them. They dress well. They know how to “act”. They’re wonderful!

    Here’s where we part company with Andy: neither my friend nor myself deliberately mislead people or create spurious data to justify our positions. We’re not cheats. I feel that I’m an educator when I counsel people or advise them about money- filling them in on useful information and strategies that I would use *myself*- and owe them my best effort( I used to work with people who were in dire straits- it makes you try harder). Some geishas are honest.

    In Andy’s case, there is un-equal information between him and his potential customers ( parents)- he bridges the gap with a self-serving reality that should prove financially beneficial to himself and only beneficial *emotionally* to his clients. This inspires loyalty.
    Unfortunately, people with less information and lower skills ( described above) can’t read *him* well so they buy what he’s selling.

    Charlatans know how to work the inequality of information/ skill divide to their advantage. Witness how pro’s like polymath Adams or Renaissance Man Null are always flaunting their “expertise” in diverse fields to impress the marks that here indeed is someone worthy of following. Andy is no different- neither in marketting technique nor in inflated sense of self-importance.

  16. #16 wfjag
    May 13, 2011

    “Geier is competition, and no one is sad to see him go.”

    How so? Sure, he can’t practice in Maryland now. But, he’s licensed in 10 or so other states, and the Maryland decision doesn’t affect his other medical licenses issued in other states. Each state has to open its own investigation and go through its own processes. Further, till he actually does his Lupreon Protocol in another state, that state’s medical licensing board probably has nothing to investigate. So he can keep moving around. Assuming 3 to 5 years for a state to act, and given that he’s past 60, he’s likely to meet his maker long before he runs out of states or gullible parents willing to pay him about $6,000 per month for his treatment.

  17. #17 Blasphemous_Kansan
    May 13, 2011

    Personally, I think that in addition to the looks/charisma factor, that the Geier tag-team crosses a line demonstratable anti-establishment tendancies that the ‘mainstream’ antivax movement likely considers to have the potential to do more harm to the movement than good, at least regarding the pursuit of the precious moderate fence-sitters. A good example is the latest statement from papa Geier regarding the false dichotomy of Lupron treatment vs. institution. Obviously, Wakers and the average anti-vaxer exist on a spectrum of anti-establishment views (as does the average human, likely), but I personally don’t think that the ‘mainstream’ antivax advocates want to be seen coming to the rescue of the poor, persecuted creeper dispensing harmful treatments from his basement.

    Basically, I think that Geier’s my-way-or-the-highway rhetoric is too much of a liability for the usual suspects, and his extremitism is unlikely to win over the precious fence-sitters at this point. I think that if this had happened before Wakefield’s fall that he would have all the support he needed, but the pro-disease movement has taken a hit this year and I just don’t think they want to risk coming to the rescue of another fraud, lest the few moderate voices in the movement depart.

  18. #18 Matthew Cline
    May 13, 2011

    Through his attorney, he presented affidavits from parents … affirming they had been fully informed and denying their children had been misdiagnosed.

    Unless the parents are themselves medical doctors, how would they be able to make accurate and legally compelling judgements on those issues?

  19. #19 Prometheus
    May 13, 2011

    I think the reasons listed above – “charisma” (Andy’s got it; Geier pere et fils don’t) and looks (ditto) – have kept Wakefield in the game while the Geiers are let slide under the bus. There is also – as mentioned above – the contrast between talking about something (Wakefield) and actually sticking needles into helpless children (Geier).

    However, given the tone of many in the “anti-autism advocacy” groups (i.e. groups that exist to “stamp out” autism rather than to help autistic people and/or their families), I think there is yet another factor at work.

    Although it isn’t often stated directly, many in anti-autism advocacy circles object to capitalism (the motivation of profit, if you like) in medicine. Obviously, the leaders of these movements don’t have a problem with pursuing profit in their own lives, but I hear a steady drum-beat of how the “profit motive” leads to “evil” things in medicine.

    For example, how many times have we heard that pharmaceutical companies (“Big Pharma”) and doctors don’t want to jeopardise their “highly profitable” vaccine business (reality: only a few, new vaccines are making money for “Big Pharma” – none for doctors)? Or how often have we heard that pharmaceutical companies won’t investigate “supplements” or “natural remedies” because they can’t patent (i.e. profit from) them?

    So, even though Andy Wakefield is making a better-than-decent living somehow, he’s not charging parents thousands of dollars for his baloney remedies (apologies to the luncheon meat industry).

    The Geiers, on the other hand, are up to their multiple chins in filthy lucre, charging whatever the market will bear and opening new branches of their “Autism R Us” chain. They even had the audacity (and chutzpah) to sue the plaintiff’s counsel in the Autism Omnibus Proceedings for $600,000 in “expert witness” fees that the court disallowed.

    While I don’t discount the fact that the Geiers lack charisma and visual appeal, that they stick needles in kids (and force the parents to do it, as well) and give them nasty “chemical” remedies marketed by “Big Pharma”, they also have the liability of making a good (or better-than-good) living by charging the gullible parents of autistic children for fantasy-based therapies.

    Prometheus

  20. #20 ron
    May 13, 2011

    It may be a simple matter of anti-vaxxer indifference to Geier’s plight since Wakefield works on eliminating the “cause” (vax) while Geier works on treating the symptoms (vax injury). The former aligns well with the anti-vax political agenda while the latter does not. Even worse, Geier may be see (by anti-vaxxers) as benefiting from child vaccination since it provides a market (patients) for his business.

  21. #21 ron
    May 13, 2011

    It may be a simple matter of anti-vaxxer indifference to Geier’s plight since Wakefield works on eliminating the “cause” (vax) while Geier works on treating the symptoms (vax injury). The former aligns well with the anti-vax political agenda while the latter does not. Even worse, Geier may be see (by anti-vaxxers) as benefiting from child vaccination since it provides a market (patients) for his business.

  22. #22 gwen
    May 13, 2011

    He speaks with a British accent?? Honestly, I can’t think of anything else…

  23. #23 Thascius
    May 13, 2011

    @16-The fact that he’s had his license suspended in Maryland would be enough for the other states he’s licensed in to at least open an investigation. While each state licensing board is independent and does not have to revoke his license because another state did, most boards would consider the fact that a doctor was denied the right to practice in another state grounds for revoking or refusing to renew his license in their state. They don’t have to wait for him to commit professional misconduct in their state. As Orac noted in a previous post on the Geiers, practicing medicine is a privilege, not a right.

  24. #24 john smith
    May 13, 2011

    Wakefield’s dishonest research claims have indirectly hurt children by providing ammunition for the antivaxxers, but the Geiers have a whole different level of dishonest nastiness. They see individual children one by one, deceive their parents, take their money, and give pointless treatments.

    Orac, I learned about Mark Geier 2 years ago through a patient and can provide a direct account of one aspect of his mendacity that I have not seen published and that you and your readers may find interesting: how he deliberately tests children with an adult testosterone assay that gives artifactually high numbers and then uses that falsely high number to “prove” his diagnosis and his bizarre mercury-hyperandrogenism theory of autism. If you are interested in the details (minus patient details) please email me.

  25. #25 Todd W.
    May 13, 2011

    @John Smith

    If you have documentation of that fact, you may wish to share it with the licensing boards in the 10 other states in which Geier is licensed.

  26. #26 autiemum
    May 13, 2011

    In May 2010 the Geiers published this http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a921813911~db=all~jumptype=rss

    which claims that children taking MB12 injections (a favourite DAN treatment) could receive cobalt overdoses.

    The Age of Autism published this attack on them by Dr Deth

    http://www.ageofautism.com/2010/05/critical-response-to-study-of-mb12-injections.html?cid=6a00d8357f3f2969e2013480717915970c

    So, for whatever reason it doesn’t like them, it hasn’t liked them for some time.

  27. #27 Antaeus Feldspar
    May 13, 2011

    Given how many anti-vaxxers seem addicted to genetic theories of morality, where the same action could be selfless saintly good (if performed by a Brave Maverick Doctor) or pure cackling evil (if performed by a representative of Big Pharma) I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a factor that the Geier’s miracle wonder treatment is known to be a product of Big Pharma. I highly doubt that it’s the only factor, but I suspect they’d have a lot more support if the snake oil they’re peddling was an original concoction, as Wakefield’s new measles vaccine was.

  28. #28 Antaeus Feldspar
    May 13, 2011

    Given how many anti-vaxxers seem addicted to genetic theories of morality, where the same action could be selfless saintly good (if performed by a Brave Maverick Doctor) or pure cackling evil (if performed by a representative of Big Pharma) I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a factor that the Geier’s miracle wonder treatment is known to be a product of Big Pharma. I highly doubt that it’s the only factor, but I suspect they’d have a lot more support if the snake oil they’re peddling was an original concoction, as Wakefield’s new measles vaccine was.

  29. #29 Antaeus Feldspar
    May 13, 2011

    Given how many anti-vaxxers seem addicted to genetic theories of morality, where the same action could be selfless saintly good (if performed by a Brave Maverick Doctor) or pure cackling evil (if performed by a representative of Big Pharma) I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a factor that the Geier’s miracle wonder treatment is known to be a product of Big Pharma. I highly doubt that it’s the only factor, but I suspect they’d have a lot more support if the snake oil they’re peddling was an original concoction, as Wakefield’s new measles vaccine was.

  30. #30 Antaeus Feldspar
    May 13, 2011

    Given how many anti-vaxxers seem addicted to genetic theories of morality, where the same action could be selfless saintly good (if performed by a Brave Maverick Doctor) or pure cackling evil (if performed by a representative of Big Pharma) I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a factor that the Geier’s miracle wonder treatment is known to be a product of Big Pharma. I highly doubt that it’s the only factor, but I suspect they’d have a lot more support if the snake oil they’re peddling was an original concoction, as Wakefield’s new measles vaccine was.

  31. #31 Dangerous Bacon
    May 13, 2011

    I think Antaeus has hit the nail on the head x 4.

    Also, I just love the name Dr. Deth.

    I should additionally mention that I once knew a psychiatrist named Dr. Bhatti.

  32. #32 Antaeus Feldspar
    May 13, 2011

    I’m very sorry about the multiple posts; there are obviously some bugs in the wi-fi system provided by the public transit system, since every time I pressed the post button, it told me that it couldn’t do that, as I wasn’t connected to the Internet!

  33. #33 MartinM
    May 13, 2011

    Maybe I’m off base here (I’m not really sure what it is that Wakefield is promoting these days as a cure), but the Geiers do actively promote the use of a pretty nasty chemical. Perhaps the alt-med movement is not supporting him, because of his use of “chemicals” to treat autism. After all, in the alt-med mind frame, chemicals are bad, and Lupron is anything but “natural.”

    Yeah, but…chelation.

  34. #34 idlemind
    May 13, 2011

    There is plenty of evidence that Wakefield has profited handsomely from his activities, so I’m not seeing anti-capitalism behind the distinction between him and the Geiers. Aside from his central role in the birth of the modern anti-vax movement, we can’t ignore that, as autiemum has documented, above, he’s quite tight with (and it pains me to say it) one of the most effective anti-vax organizations out there, AoA, whereas the Geiers are not. The world of woo is nothing if not populated with highly competitive egos, so such political alignments are par for the course.

  35. #35 Sideline comment
    May 14, 2011

    The Geiers do not employ public relations companies, but have spent their time on hands-on quackery and manufacturing evidence for vaccine court.

    Wakefield has spent the last 15 years with professional PR companies and touring conferences lying to parents of autistic children.

    Lately he has taken to denying any involvement in his own (retracted) research, claiming never to have peformed even the assessments his paper says he performed.

    So, in short, Wakefield has never done anything but plot his own enrichment, and to incite others to stick needles into autistic children’s spines, and tubes into their throats, noses and colons, and to have them drink radioactive drinks, and to have them held down and wired to machines – but not, repeat not, have them assessed by developmental pediatricians, psychologists or neurologists.

    Well done Andy.

  36. #36 John Phillips, FCD
    May 14, 2011

    And, to me at least, even more strange, at least from the anti-vaxxers point of views is that Wakefield isn’t, or at least wasn’t originally, actually that anti-vax as such, more anti-MMR. And that appeared to be partly a gambit due to the court case he had been bought for allied to his hoped for fortune from his own vaccine. After all, during the initial rounds of press releases by him back inthe 90s, IIRC, he didn’t advise parents not to get their kids vaccinated, only to use single vaccines instead of the MMR, implying, if that is not too weak a way to put it, that the blame lay with the MMR vaccine.

    Note, the above is not intended as any possible defense of the scum, simply wondering how do his anti-vax ‘friends’ reconcile that fact. And no, I am not expecting anyone here to be able to explain the mind of an anti-vaxxer to me, it was purely rhetorical :)

  37. #37 JayK
    May 14, 2011

    @John Phillips, FCD: Interesting point, and Orac mentioned that he believed Wakefield has a messiah complex due to the overwhelming amount of praise-bordering-on-worship from so many parents and eventually anti-vaxers. It could be that Wakefield originally was only in it for money, but as the anti-vax autism camp attempted to deify him, he lost focus on the money and started feeding his ego. Unfortunately he did it after midnight, got it wet and then the whole town became a breeding ground for scaly green anti-vax gremlins. He just didn’t read the instructions.

  38. #38 lilady
    May 14, 2011

    My take on the idolization of Andy is that his adoring fans think of him as the latest “rock star” for their cause. In their minds “he took the bullet” for them…by bravely publishing his studies, standing by them and by losing his license and his livelihood in the U.K. They have focused in on the investigator/journalist Brian Deer now, with all sorts of vile tactics.

    Andy’s fans have embarked on a smear campaign of Deer and in turn, label Deer as a fraud who viewed medical records that were strictly confidential, who had conflicts of interest, etc., etc. No matter that Deer has been totally innocent and aboveboard…that’s just the way they do business at Age of Autism and other anti-vax sites. They can focus their venom on one lone journalist who with his superb intense investigation, documentation and reporting brought down the “rock star”.

    In addition, Andy has a certain panache…erudite, educated and affable and with a charming British accent. These personal assets, in their feeble minds, override any questions about his professional ethics, his COIs and his collusion with the attorney who represented children who were “injured by vaccines”. Andy can do no wrong in their eyes and they persist in their allegiance to him. Pathetic.

    Now the Geiers who treated kids with some bothersome behaviors by chemically castrating them, have none of Andy’s smarmy panache. And, a lone journalist did not bring them down. It was a number of complaints reported to the Maryland Medical Board over a period of six years that finally resulted in an emergency suspension of Papa Geier’s
    medical license. Interesting that a few parents sent letters of support to the Licensing Board; wonder if those same parents agreed to the Geiers’ castration of their children.

    Now that the Board has access to the children’s charts…I hope that the State or Federal Medicaid Fraud Bureau and private medical insurance carriers who paid for the Lupron castration will pursue criminal fraud charges against the Geiers. Parents who participated in defrauding their insurance companies or Medicaid should also be investigated for fraud/possible criminal charges, as well.

  39. #39 John Phillips, FCD
    May 14, 2011

    @JayK, I must admit that the messiah complex appears an accurate assessment based on the various interviews I have seen and heard him in. A recent one on BBC Radio 4 with Adam Rutherford was very telling, with him trying to portray himself as being martyred by the British medical establishment, Big Pharma et al and not only refusing to take any responsibility whatsoever for his own actions, but still completely denying he had ever done anything wrong. It was sickening, to say the very least. Additionally, I also have never seen any evidence for this supposed charisma of his. Then again, I am Welsh, so perhaps I am immune to it, as I have always just seen him as a smarmy self serving crook.

  40. #40 Sharon
    May 14, 2011

    @John Phillips, I see your point about the Messiah complex, but I had always assumed Sociopathy based on his initial behaviours prior to being claimed by the anti vax movement.
    Like you I dont see any charm, and find him to be quite repugnant. I’m Australian and my father is Welsh so perhaps I too have some immunity to the supposed charms of an English accent.

  41. #41 Michelle
    May 14, 2011

    lilady…

    Well said. The only change I would make is that Kathleen Seidel should get the lion’s share of the credit for bringing down the Geiers. She has been relentless (in a good way, Kathleen :-)) The folks at the Chicago Trib have been great too, but no one was more thorough than Kathleen.

    There are an awful lot of children with autism (and their parents) that owe Kathleen a debt of gratitude for preventing additional medical and financial abuse.

    Michelle

  42. #42 Liz Ditz
    May 14, 2011

    Well over on Facebook I gather Erik Nanstiel was solicting support for the Geiers.

    I suspect that the support for the Geiers is being expressed or solicited on some private discussion groups on Yahoo, Google, and elsewhere.

    But I too find it curious that while the Geiers are still invited speakers at Autism One, there is no support for the Geiers from the blogs at Autism One, individual bloggers, or Generation Rescue.

  43. #43 MartinM
    May 14, 2011

    Now that was an impressive double post.

  44. #44 Chris
    May 14, 2011

    John Phillips:

    Additionally, I also have never seen any evidence for this supposed charisma of his. Then again, I am Welsh, so perhaps I am immune to it, as I have always just seen him as a smarmy self serving crook.

    I feel the same way. I am an American, and since the ancestor whose surname I inherited came here over 370 years ago from Wiltshire, England, I don’t think I have much of a connection to Wales (and I’m a chunk Norwegian).

  45. #45 Chris
    May 14, 2011

    Aagh! I’m a quarter Norwegian… just your basically mixed breed American, and I still think Wakefield is smarmy.

  46. #46 lilady
    May 14, 2011

    @ Chris: I just know we are related…somehow in the distant past…paternal grandmother from Sweden…grandpa from Norway. The “other half” is somewhat debateable; maternal great-grandparents came from Europe before 1890 and spoke Slovak language.

    To some Americans, Brits who speak the Queen’s English are very impressive…not this American.

  47. #47 Liz Ditz
    May 14, 2011

    In other Geier news, Seth Mnookin notes that Rolling Stone has re-instated the retracted-by-Salon, formerly-disappeared-from-Rolling-Stone article by Robert F. Kennedy, Deadly Immunity. Kennedy’s analysis was largely prompted by Kennedy’s own reading of, and taking as fact, the several studies published by Geier pere et fils.

    Chapter 14 (pp 170-77) of Mnookin’s The Panic Virus is entitled “Mark Geier, Witness for Hire”

    Chapter 18 (pp 221-227) of Mnookin’s book is entitled “A Conspiracy of Dunces”, on Kennedy’s Deadly Immunity article, and details Kennedy’s distortions and false claims.

    Keep an eye on Mnookin’s post — he has asked Rolling Stone editors to comment on the problems with the story, it’s four-month disappearance, and if Kennedy had anything to do with the story re-appearing at RS.

    Meanwhile, one of Geier’s fans has finally spoken, the ever-reliable Maurine Meleck

    Of course, you are assuming that the Geiers have done something wrong–they are fighting it because they have become the American scapegoats like Wakefield in England.

    Sorry but are most important claim is that we had children who developing normally and reaching all milestones on time, but following a series of vaccinations–they completely regressed. I don’t think you people aree qualified to speak for the autism community. Do you have a child on the spectrum who is seriously sick?

    FYI-I recovered a child with bio-med so I wouldn’t knock it unless you’ve tried it. Hooray for Robert Kennedy Jr. We are so grateful he understands the dangers of vaccines.

    There it is: “People who believe as I do that autism = vaccine injury can do no wrong; my (“vaccine-injured”) child is my science, and only people who share my belief are qualified to speak”

  48. #48 Ross Coe
    May 14, 2011

    Supporters of the Geiers are likely in shock because of this attack on someone who at least is trying to help, like Wakefield. Mainstream medicine has done F-all. This is an attack inspired by the Wakefield incident. They got a lot of mileage with the sheeple who will line up to get their babies injected with anything called a vaccine. Its hoped by taking down another anti-vac messiah, more cretins who can’t think for themselves and align with the staus quo, will help them make more money. Ask yourself why governments have to give blanket immunity from prosecution if their vaccines are safe.

  49. #49 Andrew
    May 14, 2011

    Ross Coe – why do you keep trying to discourage people from getting reimbursement from the vaccine court?

  50. #50 dedicated lurker
    May 14, 2011

    Remember folks, vaccines = bad. Unnecessary lumbar punctures, colonoscopies, and injections of Lupron = good.

  51. MESSAGE BEGINS————————-

    Hi everyone!!!

    Speaking of cackling evil . . .

    The Great and Powerful Lord Draconis, Forward Mavoon of the Great Fleet, Suzerain of V’tar and Imperator of Terra, aka Old Dragonpants, has left me large-and-in-charge once again and headed for the shimmering spheres of Enteric IV for a little post-hatchling R and R with the missus.

    So, while he’s away, I’ve been reading all a y’all’s posts and I keep seeing those Geier dudes and I keep getting this sorta “I know I seen them somewhere before” kinda feeling. So I let my fingers do the flyin’ over the ImpLib encoders and before I know it the ol’ Imperial Library has traced these two con”men” back to the Herzreti Cluster. So I’m like, snap! They’re totally Herzreti wrenchers! It’s all there: The leathery skin. The vacant stare. The total bullshizzle con. Wrenchers live for one thing only: separating the sentient from their scratch. But not legally. Their whole culture is based on grifting (or wrenching as the Glaxxon/English translator thingy calls it). Whoever has the best “bit” gets all the nookie and cash they can handle. Kinda like Wall Street only without the high moral standards:)

    So anyhoo, keep an eye on these two crooks trying to horn in on the Lizard’s PharmaDominion schtick. I can’t wait until the boss gets back from his vaykay to tell him about this. Looks like it’s promotion time for Cindy (score!)

    Oh, and Minion DW (DL), I have a full clip of Trammen mist nodes and the keys and codes to Obsidian 7 (with fully armed Matter Drivers). How about a game of Asteroids . . . with real asteroids, this weekend? I’ll pick you up on the football field as per usual. Text me and we’ll kick some basaltic ass!!!!

    Cindy Flinders
    
Executive Primate VL302001001001


    Minion Cadre Leader OFC11 
Decorations: VXL1, VXL2, Battleclaw of Thrinx, Imperator’s Commendation 2, Best Apple Pie – Cowley County Fair

    GlaxoPharmaCOM Orbital
0010100000001001010010010

    ————————-MESSAGE ENDS

  52. #52 Dangerous Bacon
    May 14, 2011

    “Mainstream medicine has done F-all.”

    A fantastic retort if They ever try to wheel you in for emergency trauma surgery.

    Don’t let Them control you!

  53. #53 Chris
    May 14, 2011

    Mr. Coe, you’re back! Have you ever figured out why the reaction to measles by Roald Dahl’s daughter was not like autism? Come on, you can tell us! How was it different?

  54. #54 lilady
    May 15, 2011

    Don’t let them control you, Mr. Coe. You demand access to a laptop computer so that you can check out alternatives to modern medical treatments and drugs. Refuse to be examined by a doctor, and call a cab and bail out of the ER AMA (Against Medical Advice).

    Before this happens…would you reply to Chris’ query?

  55. #55 novalox
    May 15, 2011

    Funny that ross says that we are all sheeple, yet he goes again to the same tired ad homs to try to defend his “argumement” like most of the other anti-vax trolls that come to post their drivel here.

    But I do want to see ross’s answer to Chris’ question.

  56. #56 DW
    May 15, 2011

    Dearest Cindy,

    So sorry for my delayed response: as much as I’d relish a Girls’ Night Out wrecking havoc on inter-planetary debris with you, I am deeply immersed in negotiation with both leaders of the shills’ unionist movement. They are impossible: I talk with them – I *reason* with them. Seriously, they sell out to a inter-galactic despot and expect workers’ rights! Come on! I have informed these fellows that our enterprise is not a _friggen_ *democracy*- you have neither a freely-elected Congress nor Parliament, darlings- you are not working for Mr Obama- you work for a lizard. I am a Lady, you both are decidedly *not*. Life isn’t fair. Cry me a river.

    I have won the older guy over with fine tailored suits, Thai food, and old school seduction. Works every time. Actually, they’re both kinda cute, despite all the egalitarian talk. Can I bring them? Perhaps you might assist me in winning over the lagard ( who’s from *Wisconsin*) with your fine Mid-Western wholesomeness and uncanny ability to smash large objects moving at high velocity.

    Sure then. I’ll see you at 6. You bring the toys, I’ll bring the boys. Later. ( BTW, Draconis really needed that R&R)

    Most sincerely yours, DW (DL)

  57. #57 John Phillips, FCD
    May 16, 2011

    @Chris, seeing you mention your forebears reminds me that one of my maternal great, great grandmothers was Norwegian, originally from the Tromso area before she moved to Scotland and married a Scot. So I also am a proud mongrel with a little bit of Norwegian, a little bit of Scottish and, as far as I know anyway, the rest Welsh.

    @Sharon, I think that sociopathy and having aMessiah complex are often two sides of the same coin.

  58. #58 John Phillips, FCD
    May 16, 2011

    @Chris, seeing you mention your forebears reminds me that one of my maternal great, great grandmothers was Norwegian, originally from the Tromso area before she moved to Scotland and married a Scot. So I also am a proud mongrel with a little bit of Norwegian, a little bit of Scottish and, as far as I know anyway, the rest Welsh.

    @Sharon, I think that sociopathy and having aMessiah complex are often two sides of the same coin.

  59. #59 John Phillips, FCD
    May 16, 2011

    @Chris, seeing you mention your forebears reminds me that one of my maternal great, great grandmothers was Norwegian, originally from the Tromso area before she moved to Scotland and married a Scot. So I also am a proud mongrel with a little bit of Norwegian, a little bit of Scottish and, as far as I know anyway, the rest Welsh.

    @Sharon, I think that sociopathy and having aMessiah complex are often two sides of the same coin.

  60. #60 John Phillips, FCD
    May 16, 2011

    @Chris, seeing you mention your forebears reminds me that one of my maternal great, great grandmothers was Norwegian, originally from the Tromso area before she moved to Scotland and married a Scot. So I also am a proud mongrel with a little bit of Norwegian, a little bit of Scottish and, as far as I know anyway, the rest Welsh.

    @Sharon, I think that sociopathy and having aMessiah complex are often two sides of the same coin.

  61. #61 John Phillips, FCD
    May 16, 2011

    @Chris, seeing you mention your forebears reminds me that one of my maternal great, great grandmothers was Norwegian, originally from the Tromso area before she moved to Scotland and married a Scot. So I also am a proud mongrel with a little bit of Norwegian, a little bit of Scottish and, as far as I know anyway, the rest Welsh.

    @Sharon, I think that sociopathy and having aMessiah complex are often two sides of the same coin.

  62. #62 Prometheus
    May 16, 2011

    Ross Coe (#47):

    “Supporters of the Geiers are likely in shock because of this attack on someone who at least is trying to help, like Wakefield.”

    I don’t doubt that the Geiers and Wakefield are “trying to help”, but the question remains: “Help who?”

    The Geiers, pere et fils, approached autism with their “one-size-fits-all” Lupron therapy, apparently unaware that their hypothesis (the “sheets of testosterone” hypothesis) wasn’t supported by anything even vaguely resembling data. Yet, undeterred by the headwinds of reality, they proceded to diagnose every child they saw with “testosterone excess” and prescribe Lupron.

    Given what was in the documents filed in his suspension order, I can’t imagine that any parent would try to pass it off with the flaccid excuse of “He was trying to help.”

    That’s like saying a fellow who burnt down a row of flats because he thought they were full of vampires shouldn’t be prosecuted because – at least in his own mind – he was “trying to help”.

    But Mr. Coe continues:

    “Mainstream medicine has done F-all. This is an attack inspired by the Wakefield incident.”

    So, because “mainstream medicine” hasn’t found a “cure” for autism, we should support people who have dreamed up a fantasy about autism’s cause and cure? This is the fallacy of “It’s better to do something – even the wrong thing – than it is to do nothing at all.” Sorry, but that doesn’t work in medicine (or, for that matter, most of life apart from politics).

    Then Mr. Coe lets his paranoia out for a stretch:

    “They got a lot of mileage with the sheeple who will line up to get their babies injected with anything called a vaccine. Its hoped by taking down another anti-vac messiah, more cretins who can’t think for themselves and align with the staus quo, will help them make more money.”

    Who are the “sheeple”? Are they the people following advice given by government public health experts, supported by medical research, or the people following “researchers” make up fantasy-based treatment, who commit fraud, work out of their basement and use fraudulent IRB’s to “rubber-stamp” their unethical “research”?

    Who are the “sheeple” – people spending thousands of dollars on unsupported and untested “treatments” just because a few “brave maverick doctors” (and “brave maverick business people”) endorse them, or people following the data?

    I submit that Mr. Coe and his ilk are more likely to be shorn that the people he denigrates.

    He concludes with:

    “Ask yourself why governments have to give blanket immunity from prosecution if their vaccines are safe.”

    I’d suggest that Mr. Coe check the law again. It’s not a “blanket immunity” – far from it; it’s a chance to win in court with no financial risk and a lower standard of evidence. In fact, it’s a chance to “win” without even having to go to court (table injuries). And it’s hardly “blanket immunity”. Go read the law, Mr. Coe.

    Prometheus

  63. #63 Marry Me, Mindy (fkaPablo)
    May 16, 2011

    Dumb question: aside from “don’t get the MMR vaccine,” what does Wakefield actually do to “help” autistic kids? Aside from diagnosing “autistic intercolitis” what do they (at Thoughtful House, for example) do that is specific to what Wakefield has done?

    OK, so someone has colitis, and let’s say it is due to having gotten the MMR vaccine. What do they do about it differently from what would be done were it not from MMR? Treat it like colitis while bitching about how the vaccine is the cause?

  64. #64 herr doktor bimler
    May 16, 2011

    This is an attack inspired by the Wakefield incident.

    This account of the Geiers’ situation would be more plausible if the complaints about their malpractice had come after the Wakefield incident. Sadly, even a cursory glance at the chronology shows that the Maryland Board of Medical Practice have been investigating the Geiers’ creative therapies for even longer than the General Medical Council have been investigating Wakefield for misconduct, and with the same glacial speed. “Inspired”? Only if a time machine is involved, and AFAIK Dr Who does not work for either professional body.

    Its hoped by taking down another anti-vac messiah

    Ross Coe’s choice of the word “messiah” to describe the Geiers is revealing.

  65. #65 brian
    May 19, 2011

    Geier the younger (that’s the one with only an undergraduate degree) has now been charged with practicing medicine without a license.

    http://www.baltimoresun.com/health/bs-hs-david-geier-charged-20110519,0,3290629.story

    the board . . . cited a parent who said David Geier diagnosed her son and used an ultrasound wand on him. In the new report, dated May 16, David Geier is accused of seeing a host of other patients.

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