Respectful Insolence

When I wrote last week about the latest legal thuggery against an opponent of antivaccine pseudoscience, this time by hero of the antivaccine movement, who sued investigative reporter Brian Deer for defamation, there was one thing about the case that confused me, one aspect that didn’t add up to me. Part of it was why Wakefield sued Brian Deer over an article he wrote for the BMJ a year ago, although in retrospect it’s become apparent to me that it was almost certainly because the statute of limitations for a libel action in Texas is one year. More importantly, the silence of the antivaccine movement in general and the propaganda organ of the antivaccine group Generation Rescue, Age of Autism, was utterly deafening. Usually, AoA is Wakefield’s biggest cheerleader. As I mentioned before, ever since Deer’s BMJ article, AoA has been unrelenting in defending Wakefield and doing its best to slime Deer. Be it John Stone’s half-baked rants, AoA’s one trick pony Jake Crosby doing his one trick (i.e., his painfully tortured “six-degree-of-separation”-style attempts to find or make up financial conflicts of interest for anyone who criticizes Wakefield), or other members of AoA’s merry band of propagandists circling the wagons, AoA’s reaction to this news was in marked contrast to the reaction of its minions on Facebook and elsewhere, who rejoiced. It took until yesterday for the propaganda machine to crank up to full bore.

Meanwhile, in the antivaccine crankosphere, it was nearly two days before AoA provided a perfunctory acknowledgment of the libel suit in the form of a verbatim excerpt from a Guardian article about the suit. With AoA being silent, other antivaccine outlets jumped into the breach. Interestingly, one of these, Gaia Health, actually provided a preview of one line of attack the antivaccine movement is using to try to convince those not knowledgable about Wakefield’s fraud that he has a case in the form of an post entitled BMJ Focuses on Science Fraud, But Is Their Own Exposed by Wakefield Lawsuit? After regurgitating the accusations in Wakefield’s complaint, the anonymous author of the Gaia Health piece turns his attention to the question that’s been puzzling all of us: Why did Wakefield sue in Texas, rather than in the plaintiff-friendly U.K. legal system? Inadvertently, more is perhaps revealed than was intended:

British law favors the well-heeled accuser. It costs money, lots and lots of money, to successfully bring a defamation lawsuit in Great Britain. Dr. Wakefield’s income has been destroyed by the attacks on him. He has been struck off the register and can no longer practice as a doctor, which has prompted his move to the US. It’s hard to imagine that he has bottomless pockets. Therefore, his ability to prosecute a defamation lawsuit in Great Britain is severely diminished.

If Wakefield is broke, which is quite possible given that he lives in a very exclusive area of Austin and that he hasn’t had what could be described as a regular job for nearly two years, this actually makes some sense. This next excuse, however, is pure conspiracy-mongering, so much so that I laughed aloud when I read it:

In Britain, a successful defamation prosecution by Wakefield could stand as a precedent that would harm the government itself, as it knowingly purchased the Urabe MMR vaccine that was in effect in the children Wakefield was studying. (See Andrew Wakefield Speaks to Private US Physicians on the Smear Campaign Against Him.) This vaccine was known to cause severe harm, so the manufacturer, SmithKline Beecham, refused to sell it without a waiver of indemnity, which the UK government granted. Therefore, the government itself is on the hook if it’s officially found that there’s a connection between the vaccine and autism. When you consider the number of children involved and the degree of harm done to them, it’s so large that the financial stability of the government would likely be at risk.

Got it? Wakefield is such a threat to the British government that he can’t sue in the U.K. because the government would make sure he couldn’t win because if he did the government would go bankrupt! Seriously, you can’t make stuff like this up. At least, I can’t.

But the delusion goes even further.

Not only is Wakefield suing in Texas because he can’t sue in the U.K. because the British government can’t let him win, but he’s got such s strong case that there’s no reason he shouldn’t use the U.S. court system, even though unlike the British system, it’s weighted towards the defendants in libel cases. In fact, see if you can resist chuckling out loud as you read this passage:

Finally, there’s the fact that US court settlements, though generally more difficult to obtain, tend to be significantly higher. If Dr. Wakefield’s case is strong–and it seems to me that it’s exceedingly good–then he certainly doesn’t need the ease of the British defamation laws.

Why wouldn’t Dr. Wakefield choose to utilize the American court system? Anyone who has followed this case with an open mind must be aware that Wakefield’s research was excellent and that the claims against him are false. He has suffered hugely, and the autistic children have been left in the dust.

Personally, I favor the explanation that Wakefield knows he can’t win this case but needed to bring it to rally his followers, even the most rabid of whom wonder why he didn’t sue Deer for libel after BMJ published his analysis of how he committed research fraud if, as Wakefield claims, the allegations are lies. Suing in Texas instead of the U.K. allows Wakefield to put on a show of “fighting back” for his followers at the lowest cost. If the case goes forward, he wins. If the case doesn’t go forward, he wins as well, because in this latter case he can cry “conspiracy” or “unfair,” secure in the knowledge that his groupies will eat it up.

Speaking of Wakefield groupies, the next line of argument they make is basically the same as what’s in the complaint in that they trot out “whistleblower scientist” David Lewis. You remember Lewis, don’t you? He’s the putz who provided the BMJ with the original scoring sheets used by one of Wakefield’s co-investigators, pathologist Dr. Paul Dhillon, thinking that they would somehow exonerate his newfound buddy Wakefield, when in fact they did exactly the opposite, as I discussed a couple of months ago. Now that Wakefield has sued Deer for libel, Lewis has crawled out of the woodwork yet again, issuing a press release that AoA has credulously reposted. Basically, it expresses Lewis’ pique that the BMJ didn’t use the documents he provided it in the way that he expected, which he pours out in a 3.7 MB PDF that can be downloaded from a link in AoA’s post. I made the mistake of reading most of it. It turns out, however, that my time would have been much better spent reading Brian Deer’s response to Lewis’s accusations, entitled, aptly enough, David L Lewis: indignant abuse
as complaints turn to nothing
. It’s worth reading every word of Deer’s response, but I can’t resist pointing out a few key points.

Perhaps the most amusing part of Deer’s response is this:

DAVID L LEWIS: “My report, which I have submitted to UCL, UKRIO and HEFCE, includes 72 emails exchanged between me and the BMJ’s editors.”

DEER: I offer the recipients at UCL, UKRIO and HEFCE my sympathy.

It’s funny how Deer zeroed right in on the part of Lewis’s PDF that caught my eye. Here’s a good rule of thumb: When someone badgers people with that number of e-mails, he is almost certainly a crank. I get e-mails from people like Lewis from time to time. I usually ignore them.

In any case, Deer addresses point by point pretty much every one of Lewis’ accusations, many of which are repetitive. For example:

DAVID L LEWIS: “To support their new fraud theory, Godlee rewrote my Rapid Response, removing any evidence that undermined their allegations against Wakefield and others.”

DEER: Lewis’s rapid response was extensively re-written because it was false and defamatory. Legal advice was taken. Two peer reviewers rejected the submitted text. No changes had any effect in supporting any “fraud theory”, whether new or otherwise. Lewis approved the published text.

Deer’s amusing sarcasm aside (seriously, no wonder Orac likes him; he lays down the Insolence, both Respectful and not-so-Respectful while refuting nonsense), he writes a long and detailed response that leaves no doubt that Lewis is an opportunist, cherry picker, and doesn’t know what he’s talking about. For example:

DAVID L LEWIS: “Copies of the pathologist grading sheets and other data from the 1998 study, which I obtained from Wakefield’s personal files, however, appear to show that the diagnosis was not fabricated.”

DEER: The documents Wakefield gave Lewis show nothing of the sort. They evidence that the claim in Table 1 of the Lancet paper of “histological findings” of colitis for 11 of 12 patients is false. Two consultant histopathologists are named in the paper. Both have separately denied making histological findings of colitis, and pathology reports or grading sheets confirm their statements.

And:

DAVID L LEWIS: “To begin with, they cherry-picked a treasure trove of hitherto unpublished evidence from Wakefield’s files, selecting the only set of documents they could possibly use to support their new fraud theory.”

DEER: Nothing was “cherry picked”. It took me, “with no formal training in medicine or science” approximately six minutes to realise that Dr Dhillon’s grading sheets reported overwhelmingly normal findings. I urged Dr Godlee to test my judgment by putting the documents out to peer review. This she did. All reviewers confirmed my impression.

Dr Dhillon’s sheets were raw data from his observations of biopsies which Wakefield claimed evidenced a “new inflammatory bowel disease”, and were hence of significant interest. This was the material which the GMC panel had been told was grounds for changing gut diagnoses from healthy to diseased. It was missing material from a consultant histopathologist. Nothing else from Lewis had anything remotely like the significance of this data.

So thorough is Deer’s evisceration of Lewis’ arguments that it’s a joy to behold. It’s also long, even by Orac standards, but I can’t complain. In any case, Lewis is, as Sullivan points out, a sideshow to the main show of Wakefield’s pathetic attempt to rally his troops and punish his nemesis. It won’t work, but unfortunately, even in the U.S. with its high bar to prove libel, Wakefield might well be able to inconvenience Deer and BMJ editor Fiona Godlee.

I also rather suspect that Wakefield will be able rake in some much-needed green stuff, as his followers have conveniently set up the Dr. Wakefield Justice Fund. That’s the main show. That’s the goal of this lawsuit, to raise funds for Andrew Wakefield. As for Lewis, who knows what his motivations are for joining Team Wakefield? Maybe he perceives Wakefield as someone who’s “persecuted,” which is clearly how he perceives himself. Or maybe it’s just a case of crank magnetism. Whatever the reason, he has thus far failed to impress anyone; anyone, that is, except for the antivaccine crankosphere, which now seems to view him as the Boy wonder to Andrew Wakefield’s Batman. Given his claimed expertise in sewage management, Lewis should fit right in.

Comments

  1. #1 DaveD
    January 11, 2012

    The first paragraph of this posting ends rather abruptly. It’s sort of dramatic, but does leave the reader in the dark.

  2. #2 Rebecca Fisher
    January 11, 2012

    Not all the anti-vax whackos are lining up behind Wakefield. The One Click Group have this to say:

    Since Wakefield has failed to Appeal the GMC decision that found him dishonest in 2010, it seems extraordinary that he is now taking this litigious step in Texas. Is this merely a highly ill-advised mickey mouse Wakefield publicity stunt or has this doctor lost the plot we ask?

    You know you’re in trouble when One Click Group thinks you’ve lost it.

    http://www.theoneclickgroup.co.uk/news.php?id=6752#newspost

  3. #3 Anj
    January 11, 2012

    ….

    Has someone summarized the Andrew Wakefield trajectory? His story certainly is an interesting combination of shock journalism, science, personal ambition, a vulnerable demographic, the culture of celebrity and Real Journalism.

    Were there warning signs before he conducted that so-called study?

  4. #4 Matthew Cline
    January 11, 2012

    He has been struck off the register and can no longer practice as a doctor, which has prompted his move to the US.

    Wait, didn’t Wakefield move the U.S. and start working for Thoughtful House a couple of years before that?

    This vaccine was known to cause severe harm, so the manufacturer, SmithKline Beecham, refused to sell it without a waiver of indemnity, which the UK government granted.

    Ah, I was wondering why various anti-vaxxers were going on about the mumps component of MMR when Wakefield was all about the measles component. But if the UK government has to pay for any lawsuit losses that SmithKline Beecham, it makes more sense.

    However, that’s still a vanishingly small amount of sense. Wakefield lawsuit is about what appeared in BMJ a year ago, which wasn’t just a rehashing of the GMC trial and other things Deer has written, so even if Wakefield won it wouldn’t in any way rehabilitate the Lancet paper. Further, even if it did somehow show him to be innocent of all charges of fraud (rather than just the fraud alleged in the BMJ a year ago), it wouldn’t save the Lancet paper from being horribly, fatally shoddy. And yet further, even if it somehow made the paper non-shoddy, it would still be just a pilot study involving just 12 children, and couldn’t in-and-of-itself be used to win a lawsuit.

    And speaking of it being a pilot study: if, as Wakefield’s supporters claim, the Lancet paper has been replicated, the studies that did the replication could be used in lawsuits against the vaccine manufacturers without the help of Wakefield or his Lancet paper, making Wakefield mute in the context of any lawsuits against vaccine manufacturers. So why do his supporters think that he and his paper would be so vitally important to any lawsuit?

  5. #5 Rudi
    January 11, 2012

    Ben Goldacre wrote about it well in Bad Science though I’m still waiting for him to write Part 2! Especially as he was a lot more forgiving of Wakefield than hindsight shows he should have been.

  6. #6 Michael
    January 11, 2012

    Yeah, the relevant question in the lawsuit is whether or not Wakefield was libeled, not whether or not vaccines cause autism. It’s entirely possible from a legal point of view for Wakefield to have been libeled even if vaccines don’t cause autism or for Wakefield to not have been libeled even if vaccines cause autism.

  7. #7 Broken Link
    January 11, 2012

    On its Facebook page, AoA is reporting that Wakefield’s wife Carmel has been injured in a car accident. The publicly-viewable VINE FB page (linked on my ‘nym – you’ll need to scroll down a bit) has a number of supporters wondering if it was “arranged”.

  8. #8 Denice Walter
    January 11, 2012

    Hilariously, Lewis was supposed to interview AJW on Kohn’s show Tues( Progressive Radio Network.com/ archives) *however* A had some sort of “family emergency”** so the two whistle-blowers interviewed each other ( and blew whistles, I guess-I didn’t listen to it).

    **I wonder what!

  9. #9 Rtcontracting
    January 11, 2012

    They have since corrected it, but originally the Gaia Health article read:

    There is a great deal of truth in the claim British law strongly favors the accuser. In Great Britain, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff. That is, the plaintiff must prove his innocence, rather than the accuser having to prove his guilt.

  10. #10 MI Dawn
    January 11, 2012

    Curiously, I can’t find any independent confirmation of the accident – which was, per FB, reported by (Scopie’s law) as a quote from her son on Carmel’s FB page. One would think that an accident of that severity (states multiple fractures and severe injuries) would be reported in the papers, especially given her husband’s “celebrity” status…

  11. #11 Science Mom
    January 11, 2012

    DAVID L LEWIS: “… and identified me as “an expert in clinical studies involving the collection and examination of colonic biopsy samples.”

    DEER: This would be a misleading characterisation of Lewis’s credentials. He’s a retired environmental microbiologist, who previously specialised in sewage sludge contamination for the Environmental Protection Agency, from which he was involuntarily terminated in 2003.

    DAVID L LEWIS: “I have not been employed as an environmental microbiologist, self or otherwise, since leaving the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2003. I live almost entirely on my federal retirement pension. For the past couple of decades, I have derived additional income as an expert witness in federal and state court cases involving the collection and examination of colonic biopsy samples. This is an area in which I have extensive professional credentials.”

    DEER: I’d be interested to learn of any references to these cases, so as to establish Lewis’s involvement. I suspect that any claim by Lewis of expert status in bowel histopathology may usefully be investigated by counsel for those he gave evidence against, or counsel for any party which has paid him. The “collection” of colonic biopsies is a surgical procedure and their examination is a task for medical doctors with specialist training in histopathology.

    This particular claim stood out to me and of course, Mr. Deer nails it. Dr. Lewis appears to be rather misleading with regards to his “expertise” on the collection and examination of colonic biopsies. For example, he testified for the respondent in http://w3.health.state.ny.us/opmc/factions.nsf/58220a7f9eeaafab85256b180058c032/ad4e9d90aa71965b852575830061a449/$FILE/HRG%20139943.pdf

    New York State v. Goldweber (respondent) for infecting multiple patients with hep C in a colonoscopy clinic. A summary of Lewis’ testimony is in sections 119 and 120 pp. 31. He merely testified that fomites could have been the source of infection, no expertise in “collection” or “examination” of colonic biopsies was needed nor noted.

    From what I can tell, his only other case that I could find: http://dockets.justia.com/docket/georgia/gasdce/1:2010cv00058/50517/ is along the same lines. So not only does Dr. Lewis inflate his credentials (which is a shame because he does have some research and publication cred) but he does seem to like the underdog, regardless of how slimy.

  12. #12 Denice Walter
    January 11, 2012

    Reading about events like these make me so pleased that I studied psychology!

    Suppose for a moment you were in AJW’s position: his source of income, celebrity, credibility, and self-esteem have been steadily seeping away like sands drain from the top of an hourglass settling at a lower position while he holds on desperately for dear life. Is it any wonder that he’s striking out? I am not, of course, even considering the fact that his own despicable actions have gotten him into this position in the first place: perhaps he has convinced himself after these long years of public and professional humiliation that *he* is the victim. The source of his woes is of course externalised ( much like his theory externalises the causation of autism) thus the problem lies outside himself: he has been wronged and seeks retribution.

    One of my profs was interested in what types of excuses ( read *alibis* in this case) children use when they get caught doing something wrong. Often, they blame another person or external events; later on, they may more realistically attribute it to their own personal weaknesses or personality flaws.

    Looking at criminal alibis, I’ve often been amazed how convoluted a web would be woven to explain what was in reality, a rather simple event that could be traced back to simple motives: they wanted money, love, or both.

  13. #13 Denice Walter
    January 11, 2012

    A few weeks ago I read an article by Mr Hitchens where he discussed how it felt losing his capacities for doing what *defined* him: speaking and writing. He scared the h-ll out of me. It’s topic we all consider when dealing with seriously ill or aged people as they lose their sources of identity and self esteem as their capacities decrease- while they detach from the world: psychologically, dying takes a long time. How would I feel if I couldn’t do what I do? Observing this in someone else is un-nerving as it dredges up contemplations of this future existential dilemma in yourself: in resonance, threats to careers and relationships often also feel like the end of the world.

    Even understanding this, I can’t muster a shred of sympathy for AJW.

  14. #14 Marion Delgado
    January 11, 2012

    You’ll recall me soliciting advice re Nicole Sandler’s interviews with Wakefield and Deer. It only confirmed what I thought when I read Wakefield’s original paper. He’s not a simple con-man or fraud. There’s just something wrong with how he reasons.

  15. #15 Tony Mach
    January 11, 2012

    Wakefield’s research was lousy, but can you (or anybody else) prove that he intentionally used weak data that didn’t support his claims – as opposed to an awful case of confirmation bias? And that is the implication of the term “fraud”: to intentionally deceit.

    I think one undermines ones position by carelessly using words such as “fraud” and I am afraid that Wakefields case, no matter how frivolous it may seem to you, is stronger than you are aware.

  16. #16 Orac
    January 11, 2012

    Brian Deer’s documentation of Wakefield’s fraud was very persuasive. It convinced me. I will therefore continue to refer to Andrew Wakefield as a scientific fraud, because in my opinion the evidence is overwhelming that he is, in fact, a scientific fraud.

  17. #17 Dangerous Bacon
    January 11, 2012

    “Why wouldn’t Dr. Wakefield choose to utilize the American court system? Anyone who has followed this case with an open mind must be aware that Wakefield’s research was excellent and that the claims against him are false.

    That squishing sound is the cerebral hemispheres of the “open-minded” falling out onto the floor.

  18. #18 Science Mom
    January 11, 2012

    I think one undermines ones position by carelessly using words such as “fraud” and I am afraid that Wakefields case, no matter how frivolous it may seem to you, is stronger than you are aware.

    What Wakefield’s defamation suit and his attack Bichon Frise, Lewis have stated is not en pointe with what Mr. Deer actually stated in the BMJ with regards to Wakefield’s fraud (something which the GMC also found with a criminal standard of evidence). I’m afraid Wakefield is tilting at windmills and his disciples won’t be able to see the subtleties of this latest deception because they don’t want to; they never do.

  19. #19 Science Mom
    January 11, 2012

    Aaaaand, that should be “on point”, not “en pointe” although Wakefield would make less fool of himself at this point if he did don a tutu and pointe shoes.

  20. #20 lilady
    January 11, 2012

    I spent the wee hours this A.M. reading Brian Deer’s brilliant analysis and rebuttal to the scurrilous accusations of Dr. Lewis.

    Science Mom has provided a link to the New York State Office of Professional Medical Conduct in the matter of Dr. Goldweber. Dr. Goldweber, whose medical license was revoked due to multiple instances of infecting multiple patients because of his improper handling of vials of Propofol…a hypnotic commonly infused during colonoscopy and endoscopy procedures. It was proved to the satisfaction of the OPMC hearing officers, that Dr. Goldweber used a multi-dose vial of Propofol for multiple patients and on at least one occasion did contaminate the vial by drawing up additional medication with a contaminated used syringe. “Double dipping” with a contaminated syringe into a multi-dose vial has been implicated in other cases of transmission of hepatitis B and hepatitis C by physicians.

    In an effort to defend himself against these charges, Dr. Goldweber used an “expert witness”. Dr. Lewis claimed credentials as “a micro-biologist with expertise in hepatitis surveillance involving colonoscopy and endoscopy infected scopes and re-use of contaminated forceps and cleaning brushes used to clean off the gross material before sterilizing of equipment used in a procedure”. He was disqualfied as an expert witness in these areas by the OPMC.

    I think Science Mom has provided information for the impeachment of Wakefield’s “expert witness”, Dr. Lewis, should the case go forward in the Texas courts.

  21. #21 Adam
    January 11, 2012

    I have to wonder why anti-vaxxers have come to defend this person. He patented a vaccine of his own and his discrediting of MMR was at best a massive conflict of interest and at worst scientific fraud. He was stridently pro-vax – his vaccine, so the way autism groups embrace him is supremely ironic.

  22. #22 Phoenix Woman
    January 11, 2012

    — He has been struck off the register and can no longer practice as a doctor, which has prompted his move to the US. —

    Wait, didn’t Wakefield move the U.S. and start working for Thoughtful House a couple of years before that?

    Yes. In fact, his being struck from the UK register, coupled with the Lancet retraction, probably led Thoughtful House to force his resignation.

  23. #23 brian
    January 11, 2012

    Wakefield’s research was lousy, but can you (or anybody else) prove that he intentionally used weak data that didn’t support his claim

    Wakefield reported, “In eight children, the onset of behavioural problems has been linked, either by the parents or by the child’s physician, with measles months and rubella immunisation. . . . In these eight children, the average interval from exposure [to MMR] to first behavioural symptoms was 6.3 days (range 1-14)”

    However, Wakefield was apparently aware that the parents of at least ten (not eight, as he wrote) of the children claimed that MMR was temporally linked to the onset of behavioral signs, and (since this group of children was assembled for study precisely because the parents suspected that association) it would be quite surprising if Wakefield was not aware that the parents of at least ELEVEN of the twelve children claimed that link.

    Wakefield included the results for Child 5 in a draft of his paper, but deleted that information from the publication. The mother of Child 9 clearly indicated that she believed that MMR caused her child’s autism, but for that child, too, Wakefield wrote that there had been no “exposure [to MMR] identified by parent or doctor.” Wakefield himself wrote “autistic spectrum disorder and bowel disorder following MMR” above his signature in the Child 12′s chart, but he wrote in the Lancet paper there was no “exposure [to MMR] identified by parents or doctor” that the parents or doctors associated with the development of symptoms.

    Those omissions helped to significantly reduce the “average interval from exposure [to MMR] to first behavioural symptom.” If he had not selectively edited his data (or, perhaps, simply forgotten to include some of the most significant data for his paper), none of us would have ever heard of Wakefield.

    So there it is. As Fiona Godlee noted in her editorial in the BMJ: “A great deal of thought and effort must have gone into drafting the paper to achieve the results [Wakefield] wanted: the discrepancies all led in one direction; misreporting was gross.” [BMJ 2011; 342:c7452]

  24. #24 Phoenix Woman
    January 11, 2012

    I have to wonder why anti-vaxxers have come to defend this person. He patented a vaccine of his own and his discrediting of MMR was at best a massive conflict of interest and at worst scientific fraud. He was stridently pro-vax – his vaccine, so the way autism groups embrace him is supremely ironic.

    Can’t vouch for the non-American ones, but in the US, I suspect that in large part (particular where the movement’s leaders and most vocal activists are concerned), we’re dealing with a bunch of smart but lazy (and/or math-and-science-phobic) liberal arts majors who are often quite good at putting words together and have a deep distrust of the health care industry, especially as it’s run in the US. (I say this as a liberal arts major who has had feet in both the woo and scientific camps.)

    The problem is that the antivax and woo crowd conflate a few greed-driven entities with the scientific method, and so toss the scientific baby out with the greed-is-good bathwater.

  25. #25 Mojo
    January 11, 2012

    Weren’t the concerns over the Urabe MMR vaccine to do with the mumps component rather than the measles component?

  26. #26 Chris
    January 11, 2012

    Yes, Mojo. Which also brings up the question of which MMR vaccine Wakefield was supposed be doing a study on (there was more than one in the UK between 1988 and 1992), and why there was an American child who would have had an MMR vaccine with the Jeryl Lynn mumps strain.

  27. #27 lilady
    January 11, 2012

    @ mojo: Yes, our posting colleague “Chris” has posted extensively about the Urabe mumps component.

    At the right top of this RI page “Search Science Blogs” key in “Chris Urabe strain mumps” for her excellent explanations of this topic.

  28. #28 Squillo
    January 11, 2012

    I sincerely hope, if Wakefield gets SLAPPed, that the judge takes into account the fundraising activities (conveniently captured for his or her honor’s edification by Team Andy on the website) in awarding the mandatory punitive damages.

    If I were the judge, I’d be inquiring as to precisely how much money has been raised through the “Legal Justice Fund,” and would be at pains to ensure the damages exceeded the amount by enough to serve as a deterrent.

    Moreover, if Wakefield uses the funds for something other than legal costs, isn’t he committing fraud? (Again.)

  29. #29 Julian Frost
    January 11, 2012

    @Anj:

    Were there warning signs before he conducted that so-called study?

    As I understand, yes. He tried to do something similar with Crohn’s Disease. In fact, I believe that that was why Barr chose him to do this “study”.

  30. #30 Matthew Cline
    January 11, 2012

    @Mojo:

    Weren’t the concerns over the Urabe MMR vaccine to do with the mumps component rather than the measles component?

    Yes, but (assuming the anti-vaxxer Orac quoted is right) the UK government signed a contract with the manufacturer of that version of MMR to to indemnify them against lawsuits over MMR. Depending upon how that contract is worded, it might mean that the government would have to indemnify them even if the lawsuit was over the measles component of the vaccine.

  31. #31 lilady
    January 11, 2012

    What is wrong with today’s headline at AoA and the comment by its “managing editor”?:

    Ron Paul’s Stance Against Vaccine Mandates Featured on Huffington Post

    Ron-Paul Managing Editor’s Note: Here is an excerpt from Ron Paul: No To Mandatory Immunization by James Freedman on Huffington Post. Feel free to comment at HuffPo.

    (hint) The article headlined by AoA appeared January, 2008 in the Ho-Po and “comments” about the article were closed four years ago.

  32. #32 Narad
    January 11, 2012

    (hint) The article headlined by AoA appeared January, 2008 in the Ho-Po and “comments” about the article were closed four years ago.

    I’d say a more serious problem is that Paul’s political juvenalia is limited to the federal government, which has no role in school vaccine requirements. Paul of course has no problem with states mandating, say, childbirth by way of outlawing abortion.

  33. #33 Calli Arcale
    January 11, 2012

    Matthew — I suspect you’re right that the government would have to indemnify them for any damages arising from that complete vaccine, even if it wasn’t due to the Urabe mumps strain. It would be hard to separate out “Urabe-related lawsuits” successfully in such an indemnification.

    But it doesn’t really matter, since Wakefield is not suing the manufacturer for vaccine damages. He’s suing Deer et al for libel. So while one could put on a tinfoil hat and argue that the whole campaign against Wakefield is to prevent impugning a vaccine which was impugned by totally different processes and is no longer used, it still doesn’t really explain why he filed this suit in Texas. This suit cannot bankrupt the UK’s government, and he lost much more pertinent cases years ago; he represents precisely zero threat to the manufacturer and the British government.

    Of course, that’s something his followers won’t accept, since persecution of their hero is a major theme. If he’s not being persecuted, they will need to invent persecution in order to keep things going.

  34. #34 In Vitro Infidelium
    January 11, 2012

    Dr. Wakefield Justice Fund : This may be the main reason why Wakefield has avoided the UK, there is a(albeit rather archane) inhibition on fighting funds set up to underwrite a claim for libel. Where the case is lost, anyone shown to be contributing to the financing of the claimant’s case is deemed liable for costs, which can be considerable. In the US, Wakefield can rally the troops to his cause in terms of their dollar commitment.

    This may become a cause celebre, attracting support from a whole gammut of anti science cranks.

  35. #35 lilady
    January 11, 2012

    I suspect that John Walker-Smith who is appealing the determination by the GMC to revoke his license, is not enamored with the idea of being deposed by Wakefield’s counsel or by Deer’s.

    The Wakefield “Just Us” fund is going to need a bundle of dough to depose witnesses before trial or during the trial. That, plus paying off the costs of defense, when he loses, will really be the ultimate ruination of St. Andy and his supporters.

  36. #36 brian
    January 11, 2012

    @Anj

    Were there warning signs before he conducted that so-called study?

    I’m not sure that you would call these “warning signs,” but I think that Julian Frost is on point (but probably not en pointe):

    Isr Med Assoc J. 2009 Sep;11(9):558-63.

    Considerable attention has focused on the role of measles infection and/or vaccination in the pathogenesis of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, particularly in view of the increasing incidence of the latter. The first cohort study, published in 1995 [24], found an association between measles vaccination and IBD, which was not corroborated by a later case control study [25]. The association between measles infection and IBD is also contentious. An initial report of high rates of Crohn’s disease among pregnancies affected by measles infection [26] was followed by negative studies [27]. The same discrepancy is found in laboratory investigations; while some investigators claimed to find persistent measles infection among patients with IBD, others, using highly sensitive polymerase chain reaction techniques [28], were not able to replicate the findings. In summary, available evidence does not support an association between measles-containing vaccines and risk of IBD, nor between measles infection and IBD. . . .
    24. Thompson NP, Montgomery SM, Pounder RE, Wakefield AJ. Is measles vaccination a risk factor for inflammatory bowel disease? Lancet 1995; 345: 1071-4.
    25. Feeney M, Ciegg A, Winwood P, Snook J. A case-control study ofmeasles vaccination and inflammatory bowel disease. The East Dorset
    Gastroenterology Group. Lancet 1997; 350: 764-6.
    26. Ekbom A, Daszak P, Kraaz W, Wakefield AJ. Crohn’s disease after in-utero measles virus exposure. Lancet 1996; 348: 515-17.
    27. Nielsen LL, Nielsen NM, Melbye M, et al. Exposure to measles in utero and Crohn’s disease: Danish register study. BMJ 1998; 316: 196-7.
    28. Chadwick N, Bruce IJ, Schepelmann S, et al. Measles virus RNA is not detected in inflammatory bowel disease using hybrid capture and reverse transcriptionfollowed by the polymerase chain reaction. J Med Virol 1998; 55: 305-11.

    Wakefield also implicated mumps in IBD, but apparently that, too, was refuted:

    The British Cohort Study that claimed that atypical measles infection in childhood was a risk factor for IBD also implicated mumps infection before age 2 years with an increased risk for ulcerative colitis (odds ratio 25) [29]. However, the mumps virus genome was not detected by reverse transcriptase-PCR in intestinal specimens of IBD patients, and anti-mumps IgG titer was not significantly different between patients and controls, weakening the causal link between persistent mumps virus infection and IBD [30]. . . .
    29. Montgomery SM, Morris DL, Pounder RE, Wakefield AJ. Paramyxovirus infections in childhood and subsequent inflammatory bowel disease. Gastroenterology 1999; 116: 796-803.
    30. Iizuka M, Saito H, Yukawa M, et al. No evidence of persistent mumps virus infection in inflammatory bowel disease. Gut 2001; 48: 637-41.

    Part of the problem (in a striking parallel to his MMR work) was that Wakefield used an assay that produced abundant false-positive reactions; in this case his assay to detect measles virus used a monoclonal antibody that turned out to produce false-positive results by reacting postively not only with measles but also with a human protein. [Iizuka M et al. Absence of measles virus in Crohn’s disease. Lancet. 1995 Jan 21;345(8943):19; IIzuka M et al. Immunohistochemical analysis of measles related IBD. Gut 2001;48:136-137]

  37. #37 herr doktor bimler
    January 11, 2012

    If replications of Wakefield’s research threaten the financial stability of the UK government, one wonders why Wakefield himself turned down the invitation to extend his pilot study into a replication?

  38. #38 Polly
    January 11, 2012

    For Wakefield to lose Godlee and Deer are going to have to show up in the U.S. for court. A real court with a real jury. Not some corrupt UK kangaroo court. Wonder if they’ll ask them how they got a hold of confidental medical records without the patients permission?

  39. #39 richard77
    January 11, 2012

    I have no knowledge of US legal system, so I’m wondering how much binding can be donations to a legal fund.
    What will happen if Wakefield drops charges? Is he required to return money, or can he claim that he used it to cover costs (fees, research, etc.) already occured?
    Will he be required to account for every dollar spent?

  40. #40 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    January 11, 2012

    Polly,

    Not some corrupt UK kangaroo court.

    What evidence do you have for that statement?

    Wonder if they’ll ask them how they got a hold of confidental medical records without the patients permission?

    Maybe. Makes you wonder why nobody’s thought of that before. Or why they haven’t bothered to prosecute them in the UK. I’m shocked – SHOCKED! – that nobody’s thought of that until now and it took a suit in a US court to bring that up. Assuming Dr. Wakefield’s attorneys are smart enough to think of that line of questioning as well, of course.

  41. #41 Narad
    January 11, 2012

    For Wakefield to lose Godlee and Deer are going to have to show up in the U.S. for court. A real court with a real jury.

    You don’t seem to have much of a grasp on civil procedure.

  42. #42 MikeMa
    January 11, 2012

    Polly,
    Thanks for sharing that bit of idiocy. Well done. Can you get your friends to come out and play as well? It would be better if there was a Wakefield supporter with at least half a brain to ask some questions (again).

    Wakefield put up NO defense at the GMC hearing. Why?
    Wakefield dropped charges against Deer before and paid all costs. Why?
    Wakefield had a delightful vaccine of his own and stood to make millions if his work fraud was accepted. How is that COI acceptable?

    There’s tone more but I don’t expect much in the way of an intelligent response from you Polly, or your AoA friends.

  43. #43 rpenner
    January 11, 2012

    richard77 @38
    The US legal system varies from State to State. Even in the Federal system and applying only Federal laws, there are 10+ distinct court systems each which its own history of precedent in interpreting the law. The Supreme Court is more likely to hear an appeal if it will help unify precedent between different US Appellate circuits.

    So for a suit filed in Texas under Texas state law, one would need an attorney versed in Texas statues and case law (legal precedents). I have not discovered if the (Austin?) court has an online docket system to watch the case from afar. For a nominal copying charge, if you visit the courthouse in question you should be able to get copies of the non-sealed filings, but you are unlikely to receive much help in locating the exact name of the case.

  44. #44 Pietro
    January 11, 2012

    I’ve been reading Jon Ronson’s “The Psychopath Test.”

    I wonder if Wakers is just a psycho?

  45. #45 alison
    January 11, 2012

    Polly: Wonder if they’ll ask them how they got a hold of confidental medical records without the patients permission?
    If you had delved into this for yourself, instead of simply parroting AoA material, you would know that these materials were read into the public record during the GMC hearings. So asking that question in court would make the questioner look rather foolish & ill-informed.

  46. #46 lilady
    January 11, 2012

    @ Narad: Regarding “Polly” and her posts here. I’ve tangled with this poster before…many times.

    Not only is Polly “clueless” about civil court procedure in the United States, she also posts with deliberately redacted PubMed citations…which I nailed her on.

    Polly…try reading some of Orac’s blogs and Brian Deer’s articles. If you have any questions about this dubious lawsuit of Andy’s, come back to post…we will be happy to provide some correct information/explanations to you.

  47. #47 lilady
    January 11, 2012

    @ rpenner: “I have not discovered if the (Austin?) court has an online docket system to watch the case from afar.”

    Here you go, “Google” “Travis County Courts” and click on “Civil Courts Online” in the right margin.

  48. #48 Matthew Cline
    January 11, 2012

    @Calli Arcale:

    But it doesn’t really matter, since Wakefield is not suing the manufacturer for vaccine damages. He’s suing Deer et al for libel.

    Yes, but the “logic” of Wakefield’s supporters is that if he wins the libel suit it will rehabilitate his Lancet paper, enabling the paper to be used in a lawsuit against the vaccine manufacturer.

    @Polly:

    Wonder if they’ll ask them how they got a hold of confidental medical records without the patients permission?

    Argh! How many times do we have to go over this? Wakefield sued Deer for libel. To defend himself, Deer needed to show that what he had said was true. To do that, he needed access to the medical records of the children. Thus, the court granted him access to the medical records, though he couldn’t share them with anyone else at that point in time. Then, once the medical records became public via the GMC hearings, Deer was as free to discuss them as anyone else.

  49. #49 Narad
    January 11, 2012

    I have not discovered if the (Austin?) court has an online docket system to watch the case from afar.

    It appears that this functionality exists only at the appellate level and above. The case was filed in Travis County District Court according to AoA.

  50. #50 herr doktor bimler
    January 11, 2012

    If you had delved into this for yourself, instead of simply parroting AoA material, you would know that these materials [medical records] were read into the public record during the GMC hearings.

    Who knows what more will emerge from discovery in the Texas defamation case, when the defendants are entitled to access any evidence that Wakefield may have as to his reputation and the truth of the allegations? What fun!!

  51. #51 Denice Walter
    January 11, 2012

    @ Orac- who speculated about Lewis’ motivation for supporting AJW:

    Misery loves company. Both are seeking revenge against the cause of their woes- as perceived or by “transference”( as noted by BD), respectively. Again, if you toss out self-criticism- in the interest of self-perservation- you’ll find fault exclusively in the *external* world which is then peopled by your *betes noires* and runs full-bore on plots aimed at your destruction. If your life appears to be slipping through your fingers, you might feel the urge to claw back in any way you can. Lewis’ compadre, Kohn, spouts off at Axe-grinders’ Central (the Progressive Radio Network) where AJW is a *cause celebre*.

    Two guys – no longer young**- looking back over diminishing returns: they had expected recognition of an entirely different sort at this point in their careers. They’re experiencing the damp, chill air of that dark place that
    awaits us all not that far down the road without the comforting warmth of accomplishment and recognition from their peers to soften the blow.

    ( My own work awaits me now)

    ** I’m over 50, too.

  52. #52 lilady
    January 11, 2012

    Here is a personal message from “Andy” to his minions at AoA:

    From Andy Wakefield: ‘Grateful’

    Carmel was involved in a head-on collision on Monday night when an oncoming pickup lost control and crossed into her lane. She was trapped for 45 minutes and was finally transferred to Brackenridge Hospital in Austin. She sustained severe injuries but with exceptional care she has been stabilized and is pain-free. She has remained conscious throughout and has no significant head trauma. It’s going to be a long haul back but she is in good spirits and we are most grateful for the kindness that she has been shown by the autism community, family, and friends. Andy

  53. #53 Grant
    January 11, 2012

    @18 (Science Mom): Great come back :-)

  54. #54 lilady
    January 11, 2012

    @ Stagmom: I see you have been “slumming” at RI and took note of my comment at # 30 above and revised your “notation” about the Ron Paul article that appeared in the Ho-Po in 2008:

    “Managing Editor’s Note: Here is an excerpt from Ron Paul: No To Mandatory Immunization by James Freedman on Huffington Post. Paul came in second in NH, and Bachman opened the vaccine safety conversation the 2012 race. The topic is as, or more relevant, than it was in ’08.”

    No need to thank me Kim…I’m happy to edit your blogs.

  55. #55 Chris
    January 11, 2012

    St. Andy:

    She sustained severe injuries but with exceptional care she has been stabilized and is pain-free.

    Before my son was discharged from the hospital last week, the nurse offered him influenza and pneumonia vaccines. I wonder if Brackenridge Hospital will offer Mrs. Wakefield vaccines?

  56. #56 BA
    January 11, 2012

    @43 psycho/sociopath? Perhaps a narcissistic form.

  57. #57 herr doktor bimler
    January 11, 2012

    Tony Mach @14:
    Wakefield’s research was lousy, but can you (or anybody else) prove that he intentionally used weak data that didn’t support his claims – as opposed to an awful case of confirmation bias? And that is the implication of the term “fraud”: to intentionally deceit.

    Wakefield’s case against Deer and the BMJ explicitly accuses them of malice. He has no qualms about inferring their intent. Why is the barrier so much higher for imputing deceitful intent to Wakefield?

  58. #58 Beamup
    January 11, 2012

    @ Tony Mach:

    Even if one were to let the pathology aspects slide as an error (which wouldn’t be much better; “gross incompetence” doesn’t even begin to cover it) the charge of fraud would still be irrefutable. The 12 children were represented as consecutive referrals. They were in fact specifically recruited from the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. This cannot possibly be credibly claimed as a mistake, cognitive biases or no.

    It can only be explained as deliberate fraud.

  59. #59 Chris
    January 11, 2012

    Mr. Mach, what do the following three studies have in common with Wakefield’s retracted 1998 Lancet paper?

    Lancet. 1999 Jun 12;353(9169):2026-9.
    Autism and measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine: no epidemiological evidence for a causal association.

    BMJ. 2002 Feb 16;324(7334):393-6.
    Measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination and bowel problems or developmental regression in children with autism: population study.

    Arch Dis Child. 2003 Aug;88(8):666-70.
    Prevalence of autism and parentally reported triggers in a north east London population.

  60. #60 lilady
    January 11, 2012

    @ Chris: “Before my son was discharged from the hospital last week, the nurse offered him influenza and pneumonia vaccines. I wonder if Brackenridge Hospital will offer Mrs. Wakefield vaccines?”

    According to the Texas Health and Safety Code [161.00529(b)]
    the State Health Department has only mandated that elderly (ages 65 and older) patients be offered/educated about the vaccines and be given the vaccines:

    (b) The executive commissioner of the Health and Human Services Commission by rule shall require a hospital to inform each elderly person admitted to the hospital for a period of 24 hours or more that the pneumococcal and influenza vaccines are available. If the elderly person requests a vaccine, and if a physician, or an advanced nurse practitioner or physician assistant on behalf of a physician, determines that the vaccine is in the person’s best interest, the hospital must make the vaccination available to the person before the person is discharged from the hospital.

    It has been my experience that all hospitalized patients in my County are questioned about a history of receiving the pneumonia vaccine and questioned if they have received the current seasonal influenza vaccine. They are always offered and provided before hospital discharge…if the patients signs a consent form.

  61. #61 Sauceress
    January 11, 2012

    #11 Deice Walter

    later on, they may more realistically attribute it to their own personal weaknesses or personality flaws.

    Those afflicted with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder don’t grow out of it.
    NPD’s are also masters of manipulation and are usually very astute in the recognition and grooming of potential allies. An NPD will make a concerted effort in paying lip service to those who they perceive will support/advance their delusions of superiority.

  62. #62 Dangerous Bacon
    January 11, 2012

    I’m confused by this “Dr. Wakefield Justice Fund”.

    If they really want justice for Dr. Wakefield, shouldn’t the fund’s website be taking donations for Brian Deer’s work?

  63. #63 Denice Walter
    January 11, 2012

    AJW’s supporters value his hypotheses because they provide ego-enhancement while casting off blame: autism is caused by malfeasance, not by genes, parental actions, or the blind random play of spontaneous mutation, thus giving a boost to hurt, disappointed parents who feel victimised by difficult daily lives. The vaccine-autism hypothesis was there prior to his project: he merely capitalised on it.

    Like other alt med supporters, they rally around a person who casts aspersion on the medical establishment while replacing it with financially lucrative wishful thinking: is it any surprise that malcontents would gather around him? A few supporters even may create or resurrect a career through their association with him. Additionally alt med or natural health advocates may feel that his battle is also their battle: if he was proved wrong, can their personal comeuppance be far away?

    Note: please forgive any errata or transpositions in my comments today as I have been burning the candle at both ends but felt my take might provide some useful insight into understanding motivation: for those who do not learn from people are forever doomed to being f–cked over by them. ( my apologies to GS)

  64. #64 brian
    January 11, 2012

    Tony Mach @14

    Wakefield’s research was lousy, but can you (or anybody else) prove that he intentionally used weak data that didn’t support his claims – as opposed to an awful case of confirmation bias?

    To add to my response @22:

    Wakefield wrote in the Lancet paper: “Child 4 was kept under review for the first year of life because of wide bridging of the nose. He was discharged from follow-up as developmentally normal at age 1 year.”

    Let’s unpack that.

    There’s a lot going on just in this case.

    (1) Wakefield apparently diverged from the child’s records by stating that the child was “developmentally normal” at the time that the health visitor recorded “delayed development.

    (2) The child has more than just a “wide bridging of the nose”: he has a deletion in his only copy (males have only a single X chromosome) of the Fragile X Mental Retardation 1 gene in which mutations often cause mental impairment and autism (and repetitive behavior).

    (3) The child’s rapid brain growth (unusually small at birth, with unusually rapid early postnatal growth) followed a pattern that is commonly seen in in autism, although Wakefield would not have known that.

    (4) The child’s stated that the child’s development slowed months after MMR at age 15 months, but Wakefield reported that the onset of symptoms was “immediately” after the “exposure [to MMR] identified by parents or doctor” at 4.5 years of age.

  65. #65 Daniel J. Andrews
    January 11, 2012

    After reading Deer’s work (2/3rds anyway…skipped a bit in the middle), Lewis sounds a bit like Monckton.

  66. #66 Denice Walter
    January 11, 2012

    @ Sauceress:

    My prof was referring to the *average* course of events. While we really shouldn’t diagnose anyone….. we may of course, discuss *observations* we make…..heh, heh.

    I have a comment about “supporters” in moderation. Excuse me while I pass out ( lots of complicated “typing and figuring” going on lately at Maison Walter)

  67. #67 lilady
    January 11, 2012

    @ brian: I looked up Fragile X FMR 1 gene deletion, it is marked by abnormal facial characteristics noted at birth, including low set ears and a broad nasal bridge. I presume this is the reason for the genetic testing.

    As the child develops, more anomalies are noted including dysmorphic facies and skeletal structures. There are always developmental problems, oftentimes degrees of mental retardation and pronounced autistic behaviors.

    Is anyone still wondering why Wakefield refused to offer a defense to the GMC charges…and why Wakefield has not appealed the revocation of his medical license?

  68. #68 Lawrence
    January 11, 2012

    Because he makes more money playing the “martyr” card….

  69. #69 brian
    January 11, 2012

    @lilady

    Yes, the files for Child 4 in Wakefield’s Lancet paper also include this:

    “[D]elayed development was acknowledged by the health visitor at 1 year of age but at this stage [Mrs 4] did not accept that [Child 4] was slow. I was concerned that we may be missing a syndrome, particularly in view of his odd looking head . . . .”

    By the time Wakefield wrote his Lancet paper in 1997, it had been clear for at least 15 years that mutations in FMR1 (the gene that is partially deleted in Child 4) are frequently associated with autism, abnormal development, and dysmorphic features such as “wide bridging of the nose.” In fact, mutations in FMR1 are the most common cause of intellectual disability in males and the most common single-gene cause of autistim.

    Why would anyone interested in investigating purported vaccine-related developmental changes in “previously normal” children include in a group of 12 children a child with an “odd looking head” and an identified mutation in a gene associated with the development of precisely the condition under study, especially if “delayed development was acknowledged by the health visitor at 1 year of age” for that child, and particularly if “the professionals who have known [Child 4] since birth . . . [suggest] that some of [Child 4]’s problems may have started before vaccination”?

  70. #70 Chris
    January 11, 2012

    Augustus, please go find a dictionary and look up the difference between these two words: “offer” (which is what I used) and “want” (the word you used).

  71. #71 Science Mom
    January 11, 2012

    Because he makes more money playing the “martyr” card….

    I don’t mean to quibble but I disagree. Wakefield has been reduced to earning his income by very unpredictable means such as speaking engagements, book sales (paltry) and I suppose skimming a wage from whatever donations go into the various charities and organisations he has created or signed onto. He lost his post at Thoughtful House due to being struck off the GMC registry, prior to that he lost his post at Royal Free. No, he wants to be legitimate but martyrdom is all he has left.

  72. #72 Chris
    January 11, 2012

    Yes, much better. Well, she might want it to avoid getting one of three influenza strains, and being very sick for two weeks. And if she turned it down, he could give the reason that my son turned down the influenza vaccine, he had his last October.

  73. #73 Narad
    January 11, 2012

    I take it that somebody’s trying to evade the plonkinator, yes?

  74. #74 Chris
    January 11, 2012

    Somebody has gone bye bye… it now looks like I am responding to a nonentity.

  75. #75 lilady
    January 11, 2012

    “Why would anyone interested in investigating purported vaccine-related developmental changes in “previously normal” children include in a group of 12 children a child with an “odd looking head” and an identified mutation in a gene associated with the development of precisely the condition under study,….”

    I dunno, perhaps the lawyer Mr. Barr, who sent the children to Wakefield could explain that.

    I cannot understand how these “warrior mommies and daddies” or anyone, for that matter, stills supports this odious man who violated the trust of the patients in his care. He used them for his own glory, prestige and for the money he did derive from his unholy alliance with Barr. This greedy man sought to secure his financial future…as an “expert witness”, as the patent-holder of an alternative vaccine and holding yet more patents, once he developed new tests for the made-up autistic enterocolitis diagnosis.

    I’ve cared for children who underwent invasive diagnostic procedures. My own son underwent many diagnostic lumbar punctures and other medical procedures. It is a horrible thing to see these frightened weeping youngsters.

  76. #76 lookinglass
    January 12, 2012

    If Deer and Godlee do end up facig a Jury in Austin they are going to have to convince them that Andrew Wakefield intentionally sought to deceive. And to prove that hypothesis you would have to provide a motive. That old one about having a vested financial interest in another patent for a different vaccine has already been wiped out by Wakefield in his book with abundant proof which has not yet seen the light of a day in court..

    So it will be interesting….

  77. #77 Science Mom
    January 12, 2012

    That old one about having a vested financial interest in another patent for a different vaccine has already been wiped out by Wakefield in his book with abundant proof which has not yet seen the light of a day in court..

    His book as proof? Oh please, please, please, I would donate to Wakefield’s JustUs Fund if he offers up his book as proof in a court of law.

  78. #78 Guest
    January 12, 2012

    @75 lookinglass

    Daft comment. We have all seen the patent documents.Unlike Mr Wakefields book, these are legal documents. The British general medical council proved that Mr Wakefield intentionally sought to deceive.

    The case is unlikely to be heard in Austin. Mr Wakefield’s wife and children live in the US which means Mr Wakefield has a green card, which means the case is almost sure to be heard in the Federal Court for West Texas, because the defendants are foreign.

    Mr Wakefield and his lawyers will be doing a lot of expensive traveling for this one, as the courthouse is about 300 miles away.

  79. #79 LW
    January 12, 2012

    “If Deer and Godlee do end up facig a Jury in Austin they are going to have to convince them that Andrew Wakefield intentionally sought to deceive.”

    Not so, lookinglass. Wakefield is a public figure. Under New York Times v Sullivan, he has to prove that they knowingly published false statements, or that they proceeded with reckless indifference to the fact that the falsity of their statements. The burden is on him to prove falsity.

  80. #80 MikeMa
    January 12, 2012

    What may be critical for Wakefield here is the time all this takes to reach some apex. The conclusion that Wakefield is FOS is inescapable but if the preliminaries leading up to that inevitability are sufficiently time consuming, Wakefield stands to make a tidy sum and spread his brand further afield.

    Justice indeed.

  81. #81 Denice Walter
    January 12, 2012

    Natural News’ Ethan Huff (today) serves up a stale re-hash: AJW “who has hardly been given the chance to present his side of the story to the public”. Guess the GMC doesn’t count.
    -btw- Adams recently claimed that NN circulates amongst “4 million unique visitors a month”. I wonder if he means people?

  82. #82 Proscientifica
    January 12, 2012

    Dear Orac and Others- I am curious on your take of the motives of the law firm in Texas. Obviously money, for one. However if the case is contingency based they are sticking their necks out. Further, if the case does go splat, or SLAPP, granted AJW could be construed as a winner despite the outcome, but certainly not the barristers. Doesn’t the law firm look foolish and risk censure and worse professional ostracism, in the long run a law firm’s stock in trade is based on reputation. Don’t you see this as tarnishing the reputation and earning power of Parrish law firm (or whatever is the proper appellation)? Perhaps they see some upside in championing the “underdog” to generate more business in the same area? Thank you for your thoughts!

  83. #83 Denice Walter
    January 12, 2012

    @ Proscientifica:

    There are scads of people for whom this is their *metier*: there’s an anti-vax contingent, those who continuously harass governmental agencies, and others who protect charlatans. I don’t have the time now to “name names” but I suggest you take a peek at Natural Solutions Foundation, EBCALA, Ralph Fucetola, … there’s a lot more.

  84. #84 Chris
    January 12, 2012

    Proscientifica, I have seen speculation that they are neighbors, and they are neighbors. And it probably not a coincidence that the junior advisory board of the “Autism Trust” has two members, one whose last name is “Wakefield” and another whose last name is “Parrish.” (the little blue bird on that website is very annoying!)

  85. #85 Calli Arcale
    January 12, 2012

    Denice — hey, webcrawlers like the Googlebot are people too! Stand up for the rights of intelligent agents!

    (Ahem. I for one welcome our robot overlords.)

  86. #86 Beamup
    January 12, 2012

    If Deer and Godlee do end up facig a Jury in Austin they are going to have to convince them that Andrew Wakefield intentionally sought to deceive. And to prove that hypothesis you would have to provide a motive.

    Being paid by solicitors to provide data they could use in a lawsuit is somehow not a motive now?

  87. #87 lilady
    January 12, 2012

    @ lookingglass: Wakefield wrote the book to deceive. Why don’t you go to Deer’s website and read that he received the equivalence of $750,000 (USD) to set up the case against the MMR vaccine, before he did his “studies” of the children. Several of his buddies, including the doctor at “Thoughtful House” received money as well from that some pot of public money from the U.K., handed out by the U.K. lawyer Richard Barr.

    See also the patent papers for a single antigen vaccine, the corporate papers for an offshore (Ireland) corporation that was set to market testing kits for his made-up diagnosis of “autistic enterocolitis”.

    Of course, if you are too lazy to read the documents, you can always read Andy’s book.

    See my comment above:

    “I cannot understand how these “warrior mommies and daddies” or anyone, for that matter, stills supports this odious man who violated the trust of the patients in his care.”

    You do understand, don’t you, that the children who underwent unnecessary, painful and invasive procedures were Wakefield’s patients…not their parents who had already seen Mr. Barr with their goals of suing vaccine manufacturers and “scoring” big time money? Why indeed, haven’t the parents identified themselves to defend Wakefield?

    Then there is the case of patient #4…who was already diagnosed with Fragile X FMR 1 partial gene deletion disorder, that Andy reported as being “normal” prior to receiving the vaccine and who Andy reported as manifesting autism/autistic like behaviors following the MMR vaccine. Why didn’t the child’s parents come forward?

    Why didn’t Andy attempt to reproduce his study findings when the offer was made to fully fund additional research. Why didn’t Andy offer up any witnesses to defend himself before the GMC rendered their decision?

    Finally, why didn’t he go forward with his libel suit against Deer; he discontinued the action and paid all of Deer’s legal costs? This suit was instituted when Andy was still a licensed physician and still “employable”.

    Now when he has located himself and his family to Texas, has lost his license, he hasn’t a prayer of ever being licensed in the USA or any country, he “claims” that he has suffered economic loss and his been “libeled”. Shouldn’t he have instituted suit against the GMC…the regulatory body that issued a scathing decision and that erased him from the register of licensed physicians?

    There was no libel, there was no slander, there was no “conspiracy”. The loss of his prestige, financial loss and license to practice medicine is a result of his medical malpractice on helpless disabled children, his hidden financial dealings and his COIs…it was an “inside job”…he and he alone is responsible.

  88. #88 Todd W.
    January 12, 2012

    With all the talk about the case being heard before a jury, would it actually make it to a jury trial?

  89. #89 Prometheus
    January 12, 2012

    Todd W (#87):

    “…would it actually make it to a jury trial?”

    According to a college friend who practises law in Houston, Wakefield should count himself lucky if he isn’t SLAPPed silly by the court. She rates the liklihood of this suit ever going to as “somewhere between slim and none”.

    Still, judges and juries are human and notoriously capricious. It is always possible that Andy will get his “day in court” to explain how what was written in the BMJ was not only false but that the defendants knew (or should have known) it was false. In addition, since he is arguably a “public figure”, he may also have to prove that they did so out of malice and not negligence.

    Seriously, though, it seems highly improbable that after offering no defense in his GMC hearing, Wakefield will now be able to prove (and the burden of proof is on him in a US libel case) that the BMJ article was untrue. This appears to be no more than a publicity stunt and I imagine that Andy would drop the suit if it ever came close to going to trial. In fact, I’d be willing to wage a small sum that he would drop the procedings if they came to the point of discovery.

    Prometheus

  90. #90 Prometheus
    January 12, 2012

    Note: that should be “wager”, not “wage” in the last sentence of my comment above.

    Another interesting point to ponder – even if Wakefield were to miraculously show that the BMJ article was false and malicious, would he be able to show that he had suffered damages?

    After all, the GMC ruling effectively ended his medical career (except possibly in Somalia), so he can’t argue that his medical practise has been affected. And after his Lancet article was retracted over his objections – and all of the talk of unethical research practices in his GMC hearing – his research career is equally lifeless.

    So, even if the BMJ article was false and malicious, I don’t see that there has been any additional damage to his career or reputation. The defendants appear to be in luck, in this situation, that Texas does not appear (to my casual search) to have a law specifically against disturbing or mutilating a corpse.

    Prometheus

  91. #91 lilady
    January 12, 2012

    @ Todd W. “With all the talk about the case being heard before a jury, would it actually make it to a jury trial?”

    Never, ever, will Andy or his lawyer, permit a trial to proceed…there’s the “little matter” of going through discovery which include EBTs (Examinations Before Trial) of the “witnesses” on both sides, where both sides depose the witnesses and a stenographer produces a verbatim typed report. There is also the “little matter” of cooperation of witnesses (Richard Barr, the lawyer for the parents who he referred en masse, to Andy. The parents themselves. The other authors of the study published in Lancet. The EBT of Andy’s “expert witness” Dr. Lewis, etc. etc.)

    @ Prometheus: I want a piece of that action…I’ll gladly wager against the suit ever going to trial…or through “discovery”.

  92. #92 lilady
    January 12, 2012

    Addendum to my post above…Wakefield will never allow himself to undergo an EBT, where the “little matter” of perjury is sure to be revealed.

  93. #93 Rtcontracting
    January 12, 2012

    It will be interesting to see how the defendants fight this. I think for Brian Deer the best case scenario is for the lawsuit to be thrown out with the new anti-SLAPP laws (with a nice punitive damages award). However that plays into Wakefield’s conspiricy/martyr story.

    What is the worst case for Wakefield? I think it would be for this to move forward to trial. What if Brian Deer & co elected to not fight this on anti-SLAPP and juristication grounds and said “game on?” How would Wakefield respond? Would he drop the lawsuit like he did in the UK the last time he sued Brian Deer? How would he explain that to his followers?

  94. #94 Beamup
    January 12, 2012

    How would he explain that to his followers?

    My speculation: Jake Crosby will unearth the shocking fact that the judge’s father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate did a summer internship at AstraZeneca. Obviously, the judge is in the pocket of Big Pharma and Wankerfield couldn’t get a fair trial.

  95. #95 Science Mom
    January 12, 2012

    @ Beamup, spot on :D

    @ Rtcontracting, I would love to see Deer and Godlee call Wakefield’s bluff but I don’t know how far they could even elect to go given the “quality” of Wakefield’s evidence. In other words, a judge may dismiss before it can see a jury trial.

  96. #96 lilady
    January 12, 2012

    Spot on Beamup…how very prescient of you! Or, did you cheat by “slumming” at AoA today?

    Jake is already spinning his “unique” “Six, Sixty, Six hundred Degrees of Separation Theory” about another journalist…Seth Mnookin. Jake manages to tie in every scientist, every researcher, every journalist and every television program that ever featured every TV reporter…that has ever debunked the Wakefield bogus research…into an interconnected international conspiracy.

    Today’s Headline at AoA “The Mnookin Virus Infects CBS & HoffPo” is the latest in the delusional Jake’s efforts at “responsible journalism”.

    The latest comment from our old friend “Jen”, praises Boy Wonder Ace Reporter for his extraordinary unbiased journalistic skills:

    “Jake, you are so devoid of “take” and “spin.” They try so hard to discredit you but your facts and truth will win out. Thank God you are on our side!

    Posted by: Jen | January 12, 2012 at 02:59 PM”

  97. #97 Rtcontracting
    January 12, 2012

    Would this lawsuit be loser-pays like is was in the UK the last time Wakefield lost?

  98. #98 brian
    January 12, 2012

    Would this lawsuit be loser-pays like is was in the UK the last time Wakefield lost?

    Yes, indeed — but wait, there’s more!

    On top of the fees and costs, the court “shall” award the defendant damages “sufficient to deter the party who brought the legal action from bringing similar actions.” It’s not optional – the judge has to give some sort of punitive damage award; the discretion lies in the size of the damages.

    http://www.citmedialaw.org/blog/2011/look-texass-new-anti-slapp-law

    Sullivan at LBRB noted that the article cites the Sykes v. Seidel example of attempts to quash discussion in the vaccine “debate”. He quoted:

    The “right to petition” section is about what you’d expect, albeit perhaps more detailed than strictly necessary. The “free speech” protection is limited to “matters of public concern,” like other anti-SLAPP statutes we’ve seen; “public concern” gets a broad enough definition to cover issues of “health and safety” (I’m looking at you, vaccine debate), public figures (hello there, Mr. Snyder), or stuff in the “marketplace” (like, say, Yelp! reviews).

  99. #99 lilady
    January 12, 2012

    @ brian: Let us not forget that three parties are being sued by Wakefield…each will collect “punitive damages”, due to the mandatory clause in the Texas anti-slapp law.

    Then too, is the complaint made by all or any one of the three defendants to the Texas Bar Association about the frivolous nature of the lawsuit…against Mr. Parrish and any other lawyer that represents Wakefield.

    Yes, Wakefield needs to be “slapped down” or “slapped upside the head”.

    “Why slap them on the wrist with a feather, when you can belt them over the head with a sledgehammer?”…Katharine Hepburn.

  100. #100 Matthew Cline
    January 12, 2012

    @lookinglass

    If Deer and Godlee do end up facig a Jury in Austin they are going to have to convince them that Andrew Wakefield intentionally sought to deceive.

    Being that this this would take place in the U.S., it would be Wakefield who would have to prove that Deer either lied or had a reckless disregard for the truth.

    And to prove that hypothesis you would have to provide a motive.

    IANAL, but for a defendant to be found guilty, proving a motive isn’t absolutely necessary if the other evidence is strong enough. (Of course, this still doesn’t apply to the current libel case)

    That old one about having a vested financial interest in another patent for a different vaccine has already been wiped out by Wakefield in his book with abundant proof which has not yet seen the light of a day in court..

    Kind of odd that Wakefield did bother to present any of that evidence at the GMC hearings, isn’t it?

  101. #101 Sauceress
    January 12, 2012

    lilady

    Jake manages to tie in every scientist, every researcher, every journalist and every television program that ever featured every TV reporter…that has ever debunked the Wakefield bogus research…into an interconnected international conspiracy.

    Jake’s conspiracy rant needs a few graphics with red circles and arrows on each one showing the links. I think perhaps he should solicit Marc Stephens for a little help with these conspiracy presentations he is so fond of.

  102. #102 lilady
    January 12, 2012

    @ Sauceress: I expect that our esteemed poster “Beamup” will expand on Jake’s latest conspiracy theory. Damn, Beamup is the best at that routine.

    I’m still waiting for Jake to post here to discuss his trip to Austin Texas with his parents Giff and Nicole this past summer, to attend the Autism Trust USA “fundraiser”.

  103. #103 ken
    January 12, 2012

    Another writer on the Wakefield case-
    http://www.drbilllong.com/Autism/Wake.html

  104. #104 Lawrence
    January 12, 2012

    Interestingly enough Ken, Wakefield didn’t defend himself against the GMC charges & didn’t appeal its decision.

  105. #105 Chris
    January 12, 2012

    Ken, try something more recent: Bill Long 2/2/10

  106. #106 Chris
    January 12, 2012

    Oh, ken, also try from someone who has actual relevant qualifications:

    Bill Long is a writer, wordsmith, legal scholar/consultant and theological expert living in the Pacific Northwest.

  107. #107 Science Mom
    January 12, 2012

    C’mon Guise! He TALKED to Wakefield for 12 hours; Wakefield TOLD him the TWOOF! It MUST be TWOO right?

    Right?

  108. #108 ken
    January 12, 2012

    Did either of you talk to Wakefield?
    Sorry, but you’re not qualified either.

  109. #109 ken
    January 12, 2012

    And what are Brian Deer’s qualifications?
    This whole incident and the necessity to beat a dying horse is pathetic.

  110. #110 Chris
    January 12, 2012

    Ken, so what? Have you talked to Wakefield? What are your qualifications?

    Do you have proof that General Medical Council did not talk to Wakefield, and that they are not qualified?

  111. #111 ken
    January 12, 2012

    @Chris-
    Stupid questions- your hubris is amazing.

  112. #112 missmayinga
    January 12, 2012

    Man, why does all the really good drama have to happen when I’m too busy with schoolwork to pay close attention? Seriously, it was bad enough last year with the Lancet revocation during midterms, but to have the same happen with Wakey’s libel case? That’s just cruel.

  113. #113 Lawrence
    January 12, 2012

    @Ken – you’re buddy suggested several options for Wakefield’s defense – why didn’t Wakefield or his attorneys present a defense? Better yet, why didn’t they appeal when they had the chance?

  114. #114 ken
    January 12, 2012

    @Chris-
    Pure projection on your part-I am not defending Wakefield nor am I defending
    Brian Deer. I am reading everything I can.

  115. #115 Chris
    January 12, 2012

    Well, have you read Dr. Offit’s book Deadly Choices? Or what about the studies done at the Royal Free between 1999 and 2003 that did not involve Wakefield?

    Lawrence:

    @Ken – you’re buddy suggested several options for Wakefield’s defense

    Those essays are dated about three months before the GMC decision. I guess he was just too late.

  116. #116 Science Mom
    January 12, 2012

    This whole incident and the necessity to beat a dying horse is pathetic.

    Uh Ken, Wakefield is the one beating a dead horse by filing this petition. Deer had moved onto other projects until Wakefield sent his attack Bichon Frise, Dr. Lewis to nip at Deer’s trouser cuffs.

  117. #117 Chris
    January 12, 2012

    Ken, did you read the GMC Determination on Serious Professional Misconduct (SPM) and sanction? You might be interested in this paragraph:

    In relation to the administration of Transfer Factor to Child 10, the Panel noted the admitted background of Dr Wakefield’s involvement in a company set up with Child 10’s father as Managing Director, to produce and sell Transfer Factor. Around the same time, Dr Wakefield inappropriately caused Child 10 to be administered transfer factor. The Panel accepted that information as to its safety had been obtained and that the approval to administer Transfer Factor to one child was granted in the form of “Chairman’s approval”, “on a named patient basis” in a letter from Dr Geoffrey Lloyd, Chairman of the Medical Advisory Committee at the Royal Free Hospital. Nonetheless the Panel found that Dr Wakefield was at fault because the substance was given for experimental reasons, he did not cause the details to be recorded in the child’s records, or cause the general practitioner to be informed, and he did not have the requisite paediatric qualifications.

    Now compare the part I put in bold with what your friend, Bill Long, wrote in his second essay on the GMC:

    1-2 are simply about his background and professional competence. One of the facts in # 2 was “found proved”–which meant that he opposed it. It is that his position as an “Honorary Consultant in Experimental Gastroenterology,” meant that he had no authority to be involved in a clinical management role with patients (Fact 2). We know why he opposed this conclusion–since he made clinical judgments or ordered tests, according to the Panel, in several instances.

    Do note the “patients” were children, and Wakefield is not qualified in pediatrics.

  118. #118 Denice Walter
    January 12, 2012

    Although I cannot reproduce my flowchart which includes additional relationships, here are the basics of “Six Degrees of Legal Tossers**/Anti-vax division:

    Mary HOLLAND ( EBCALA) &
    Robert KRAKOW( EBCALA)
    host anti-vax conference (cited @ AOA)
    Ralph FUCETOLA( NSF) shows up…

    Robert KRAKOW ( AJW’s Autism Trust)
    Stephen KOHN ( David Lewis / AJW) has Whistleblowers’ show on Null’s network
    Null sues government over vaccines (Jim TURNER)
    uses David SLATER against Barrett

    ** surnames in CAPS

  119. #119 Chris
    January 12, 2012

    Sock puppets usually change the wording of their silliness, obviously this one is not very bright.

  120. #120 Chris
    January 12, 2012
  121. #121 brian
    January 12, 2012

    Chris @194

    I do wonder who it was that countermanded the direct orders that Professor Walker-Smith wrote in the chart of Child 12: “Not to have MRI or LP.”

    The fact that Wakefield did order tests for Child 12 above his signature in that child’s chart raises two interesting questions: (1) Did Wakefield, as an “Honorary Consultant” in fact have authority, according to his contract with the Royal Free Hospital, to make clinical descisions for pediatric patients; and (2) who the hell contradicted the direct orders of the senior clinician on the case and ordered tests that were not clinically indicated, were not in the child’s best interests, and which, in the case of LP, were invasive?

    The GMC apparently answered the first question. As to the second question, the transcript of the GMC hearings indicates that the records were lost, so it is possible that some brand-new intern brazenly ordered an invasive test that the senior clincian on the case had proscribed because it was not in the child’s interest.

    Perhaps this will come out in the discover process of Wakefield’s suit. That would be interesting.

  122. #122 Matthew Cline
    January 12, 2012

    Jake Crosby is already connecting the dots regarding the lawsuit, right here. Crosby points out that Laura Prather, a lawyer who commented on the lawsuit in a manner unfavorable to Wakefield, is partner at a law firm which has has, among its clients, some pharmaceutical companies. However, even though the context of Crosby’s dot-connecting is Prather’s comment about the lawsuit, Prather is also one of the members of the coalition that pushed for the Texas anti-SLAPP law which might get Wakefield’s lawsuit dismissed. So if the lawsuit does get dismissed due to that law, Big Pharma can be blamed for the anti-SLAPP law itself.

  123. #123 Denice Walter
    January 12, 2012

    @ Matthew Cline:

    Wouldn’t he be wiser spending his time studying his course work or learning the basics of communication in written English?

  124. #124 Chris
    January 12, 2012

    Brave Sir Robin Right Wingnut, you are still an idiot.

  125. #125 Narad
    January 12, 2012

    Rob Hood, KE5BMP, is there some reason Jesus didn’t give you the balls to post under a fixed pseudonym or, heaven help us, the name your mother gave you?

  126. #126 lilady
    January 12, 2012

    @ Rob Hood…How are things at the Dog Ugly Bar in Eupora?

    Still impressing the Mississippi ladies with your scatological talk?

  127. #127 Chris
    January 12, 2012

    I believe since he specifically addressed my comment, which was just an offhand comment, I can safely say that Medicien Man is stalking me! What a clown.

    Oh, and, silly Sir Rob, I actually have more chromosomal material than you do. I have an XX pair, not just an XY pair. According to Wiki the X has 153 million base pairs, and the Y only 58 million base pairs. Obviously your refusal to study basic science, especially biology, is why you could not understand what I was telling you. Which was that I am not male, even though I am an engineer.

    But how can I forget, you don’t like thinking.

  128. #128 lilady
    January 13, 2012

    “As to the second question, the transcript of the GMC hearings indicates that the records were lost, so it is possible that some brand-new intern brazenly ordered an invasive test that the senior clincian on the case had proscribed because it was not in the child’s interest.”

    It seems to me that a whole lot of records dealing with the Wakefield study were lost…the handwritten scoring sheets of his patients, the complete histopathology reports and the actual specimens embedded in paraffin…snipped from
    the childrens’ intestines during the colonoscopies.

    Wakefield’s “expert” witness Dr. Lewis sent the scoring sheets to the BMJ, because he had access to Wakefield’s voluminous records (in Austin?). Perhaps Dr. Lewis came across the other records and specimens, as well.

    It’s possible, but not plausible, that a brand-new intern brazenly ordered an invasive test that the senior clinician on the case had proscribed because it was not in the child’s interest.

  129. #129 herr doktor bimler
    January 13, 2012

    Oh, ken, also try from someone who has actual relevant qualifications:
    Bill Long is a writer, wordsmith, legal scholar/consultant and theological expert living in the Pacific Northwest.

    I found Bill Long’s website quite useful. First, he has assembled a number of important source documents (e.g. Kenner’s and Asperger’s publications) in one place. And his summaries of the evidence in the ‘Rise and Fall of the Mercury hypothesis’ struck me as fair-minded.

    Second, he seems to have come to the Wakefield imbroglio with no particular oxen to grind or axes to gore (although he notes straight-out that he began by interviewing Andrew Wakefield, with what one might call the Bayesian prior probability estimate of not doubting Wakefield’s sincerity). Even so, his assessment of the legal and ethical issues considered by the GMC was that he couldn’t see them coming to any other decision.

    Of course one can disagree with him on specific points, but I don’t imagine AoA will be besotted with his conclusions.

  130. #130 herr doktor bimler
    January 13, 2012

    One point that had not really sunk in, until reading Bill Long’s essays on the GMC deliberations, was the extent to which Wakefield played fast-&-loose with his various sources of research funding… so that no-one could tell which grant had been tapped to pay for particular expenses, or where all the money had gone.

    This is worth remembering next time Jen drives past to stink up the place with overwrought claims that the Danish research on autism rates must be rejected in its entirety, because one of the minor researchers is also under suspicion of playing fast-&-loose with research-grant accounting.

  131. #131 lilady
    January 13, 2012

    I too read William Long’s essay following a 12 hour meeting with Andrew Wakefield…it appeared in its entirety on the “We Support Dr. Andrew Wakefield” website.

    Long’s article entitled “Historic Perspective on Second Looking Into the Case of Dr. Andrew Wakefield” was featured in *The Autism File* magazine (Issue 31, 2009) and permission was sought and provided to the “We Support Dr. Andrew Wakefield” website by the Autism File Magazine.

    Truly, I am not impressed with Long’s ability to understand the enormity of the ethical violation of professional standards and the abuse of Wakefield’s developmentally disabled patients.

    While Dr. Long claims to have only looked into the financial dealings of Wakefield (his considerable remuneration as a paid “expert” witness, the patent for a single antigen measles vaccine and the off-shore company set up to develop/market tests and treatments for autistic enterocolitis), he also “fancies” himself as being knowledgeable about the MMR vaccine. Somehow, Dr. Long misinterpreted why a second dose of the MMR was recommended in the U.K. in 1995. There was no question about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine as Long states in his 16 page report of his meeting with Wakefield. The second dose was recommended in 1995 because of reports from the CDC about outbreaks of measles that occurred in the early 1990s.

    The CDC also did extensive titer testing of MMR vaccine recipients and reported that 90 % of child recipients were immune, but ~ 10 % were not. Follow-up titers after administering the second dose of MMR vaccine to the ~ 10 % non-responding children consistently showed that 90% of them were immune. The decision to institute the second dose to all children in the U.S….and the U.K., rather than testing all children in a birth cohort for measles immunity was made. (Parents in the U.S. were given the option to have their child’s tested for positive IGG measles titer, in lieu of the second MMR shot in 1995).

    Long, then goes on to “explain” how Wakefield did not want the patent to the single antigen measles vaccine, but wanted originally to have the patent in the name of the Royal Free hospital. A series of “indecisions” and concerns about cost overruns to use the money derived by the patent/licensing of Wakefield’s single antigen for building a large state of the art hospital center, caused Wakefield to put the patent solely in his name.

    All of this misinformation about the efficacy of the single dose of MMR vaccine and the decision to institute the second dose of MMR vaccine as well as Wakefield’s possible COIs with remuneration for becoming an “expert witness” and the question of the patent, were explained away by Dr. Long, following his extensive interview with Wakefield.

    There are many other **articles** that appear on Dr. Long’s website that I have concerns about. IMO Dr. Long is an historian and does not have the ability to understand the science behind vaccine development.

    * Autism File magazine was founded by Polly Toomey. Ms. Toomey also developed the concept and the head of the Autism Trust U.K. charity. The Autism Trust USA charity in Austin Texas is an affiliated charity of the Autism Trust U.K. charity. (See Orac’s article and the many posts about who serves on the Governing Board/Executive Board, Junior Advisory Board and the many connections that the charity has with the autism crank network in the U.S.A.)

    ** Dr. Long’s articles about Dr. Paul Offit and Dr. Bernard Rimland are IMO, biased and slanted against science.

  132. #132 Brian Deer
    January 13, 2012

    Further to discussion of the David Lewis saga, I have a letter in Nature this week.

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v481/n7380/full/481145d.html

  133. #133 Krebiozen
    January 13, 2012

    It’s possible, but not plausible, that a brand-new intern brazenly ordered an invasive test that the senior clinician on the case had proscribed because it was not in the child’s interest.

    From what I know of the way things work in the UK, having been on both ends of this, if the invasive test was clearly clinically indicated that might happen, though it shouldn’t. A house officer or registrar ordering a lumbar puncture in a non-emergency situation on a child with no symptoms that clinically indicate it without discussing it with the rest of the team? I think that’s unlikely in the extreme, even without a note on the child’s chart.

  134. #134 la tigre della malora
    January 13, 2012

    First: sorry for my english (I am italian).

    Second: the ONE point is: AJW is a liar and a quack, I hope his liars will be prosecuted.

    That’s all.

  135. #135 Denice Walter
    January 13, 2012

    @ la tigre della malora:

    Egregio signor!
    Your English is fine: we get the message. -btw- You should add words like “rubbish”, “garbage”, and “crap” to your vocabulary: they’d be useful if you choose to discuss this subject in greater depth. Grazie!

  136. #136 lilady
    January 13, 2012

    @ Brian Deer: One of the comments, directed at your letter in “Nature” is posted by Isabella Thomas. Isabella Thomas is identified as the parent of two of the children involved in the initial Wakefield study (AoA January 28, 2011-”Listen to Andrew Wakefield, Clifford Miller and Isabella Thomas on the Gary Null Show”). Is this so?

    You will find the listings for the topics for the Gary Null Radio Show-Progressive Radio on Google. I believe Isabella Thomas may have been on his show, along with Clifford Miller and the JABs representative three times within the month on January, 2011.

    It appears to me that will be a boatload of people deposed during “discovery” if Wakefield’s lawsuit against you goes forward.

  137. #137 Beamup
    January 13, 2012

    I swear, I had no idea Jake was actually going to post something like that! My earlier comment was largely tongue-in-cheek (the Spaceballs reference should have been a giveaway there), though it is interesting to see how close it was to an accurate prediction.

  138. #138 Proscientifica
    January 13, 2012

    To paraphrase Rick Blaine- my interest in this is strictly sporting.

    I wager that the lawsuit filed in Texas will make it to court. Firms of prestige do not take loser cases, low class schlocky lawyers take any case they can get. The higher class firms have assets, out of which they can be sued. Further, frivolous claims, though an established feature of American jurisprudence, are frowned upon and will prejudice future claims brought by Parrish in the eyes of the Texas legal establishment. So the fact that a firm of some repute has taken the case indicates to me that a Texas judge will give them the benefit of the doubt and allow the claim to proceed at least initially.

    I further wager that should the case make it into a courtroom, BMJ will immediately settle. Dr. Godlee and Brian Deer will then be necessarily scapegoated by BMJ.

    BMJ simply cannot risk a court case here. It is an unquantifiable, unknowable risk. Accordingly, BMJ will immediately move to limit said risk by settling with Wakefield. Right or wrong, that is the lay of the land.

    The case was filed in US because we are not under the English system wherein the loser pays court costs for respondent. Also, the barristers are not required to wear wigs as in Old Bailey, another persuasive case for hearing the matter in US.

    As has been pointed out, AJW is a winner whether he wins or loses the court case. This is assymetrical legal warfare- AJW has NOTHING to lose regardless of the outcome. The risk to BMJ is far greater and for that reason, they will settle quietly and quickly as I said if this matter survives the first hearing, which I believe is going to happen.

    BTW- I have absolutely no expertise in medical or legal matters. To use the vernacular, I am simply talkin’ out my ass, but you gotta admit I am making a lot of sense. I do work in a somewhat litigious field. Minions of Orac, have at me, but be gentle, I beg of you…

  139. #139 Chris
    January 13, 2012

    Actually, Proscientifica, it will more likely go like Barbara Loe Fisher (Arthur)’s lawsuit against Dr. Offit, Amy Wallace and a magazine publisher.

  140. #140 Beamup
    January 13, 2012

    @Proscientifica:

    Actually, due to Texas’s anti-SLAPP law, Wankerfield is not only liable for the defendants’ legal bills. He is liable for additional damages, as discussed up-thread. He could be bankrupted by this, if it does proceed to the point of a SLAPP hearing. This is why so many observers believe that the suit will be dropped before that could happen.

  141. #141 Lawrence
    January 13, 2012

    Actually, Wakefield has a ton to lose, especially if he allows discovery to move forward. It could potentially open up quite a can of worms, if additional information surfaces that shed light on his activities during the retracted study.

    Also, given the SLAPP laws, the loser does in fact pay – so Wakefield is setting himself up for major penalties, if he gets past discovery, only to have the case thrown out.

  142. #142 Denice Walter
    January 13, 2012

    @ Proscientifica:

    I’m always gentle.
    Although I agree with you about the wigs, I can’t make any predictions especially if it involves Texas. Looking at the psychological costs, I’d venture a guess that although AJW may *convince* himself that he’s correctly retaliating and attempting to re-afix his fallen star back way high up in the firmament where it rightly belongs- cases like this eat up your life and raise your blood pressure. Nuisance suits can become a bother to their instigators as well as to their victims. It might rally the troups but will it serve to elevate AJW’s flagging spirits- which must be rather low these days? I wonder what it’s like to exist solely on a diet of spiteful malediction and self-aggrandising press agentry? It can’t be pleasant.

    -btw- When I was personally threatened by a frivolous suit (involving commercial property I owned) which was based entirely on an entirely fictional contract, after being re-assured by counsel that I had nothing to fear, I was slightly disappointed when they gave up and skulked away. Knowing you’re right is reward in itself: it floated my boat.

  143. #143 lilady
    January 13, 2012

    Proscientifica, I think you should read about Wakefield’s lawyer Mr. Parrish on Orac’s blog “Legal thuggery part 2: An interesting connection-January 5, 2012″, to perhaps understand the interconnection of the Wakefield and Parrish families.

    Mr. Parrish sent a hastily written (IMHO), legal form (Summons and Bill of Particulars?) to the three named defendants through international mail…just under the “deadline” and in compliance with the Hague Convention.

    IANAL, but I know that papers are frequently filed in State courts and in Federal Courts for “Substitution of Attorney” and “Amendment of the Bill of Particulars”.

    I concur with the comments stated by Chris, Beamup and Lawrence.

  144. #144 la tigre della malora
    January 13, 2012

    @ Denice Walter 134

    Thanks.

    My english is NOT fine (like your italian “egregio signor” LOL) and I should have written “lies” instead of “liars”.

    Tragic lies.

  145. #145 Antaeus Feldspar
    January 13, 2012

    I further wager that should the case make it into a courtroom, BMJ will immediately settle. Dr. Godlee and Brian Deer will then be necessarily scapegoated by BMJ.

    BMJ simply cannot risk a court case here. It is an unquantifiable, unknowable risk. Accordingly, BMJ will immediately move to limit said risk by settling with Wakefield. Right or wrong, that is the lay of the land.

    You’ve got to be kidding me.

    IANAL, but this is not an especially complex case. To prevail, Wakefield would not just have to prove that the defendants’ statements about him were false, but that they were published with knowledge of their falsity or reckless disregard to whether they were false. In other words, to take the allegations of fraud as one example, Wakefield not only has to prove that he is innocent of fraud but that he has an iron-clad case of innocence such that Deer/Godlee/BMJ could not have looked at the evidence and had a good-faith belief that he was guilty.

    Which means that even if Wakefield were to achieve an absolute miracle and prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that he was not guilty of fraud, he still wouldn’t win his case! Not unless he could demonstrate that Deer/Godlee/BMJ had to have known that he was not guilty! And remember that this is coming from Wakefield, who during the GMC hearing didn’t even offer a defense, any sort of explanation as to why he wasn’t guilty of those charges.

    “Unquantifiable, unknowable risk”? No. We might have trouble fixing an exact percentage chance of Wakefield prevailing in any form but we can say without hesitation that expecting the BMJ to settle over the feeble threat he offers would be ludicrous.

  146. #146 Science Mom
    January 13, 2012

    I further wager that should the case make it into a courtroom, BMJ will immediately settle. Dr. Godlee and Brian Deer will then be necessarily scapegoated by BMJ.

    BMJ simply cannot risk a court case here. It is an unquantifiable, unknowable risk. Accordingly, BMJ will immediately move to limit said risk by settling with Wakefield. Right or wrong, that is the lay of the land.

    @ Proscientifica, as others have pointed out, Texas’ (seemingly) well-written anti-SLAPP statute is not in Wakefield’s favour. Additionally, I disagree that BMJ and/or Brian Deer will settle as they were prepared to defend the Wakefield pieces in the UK (which has a higher bar for the defendants) should it have come to that, hence the intensive scrutiny by lawyers and editorial staff.

  147. #147 lilady
    January 13, 2012

    In a low-profile lawsuit, the defendants may settle quietly, before trial, a lawsuit that is considered “a nuisance”. Such is not the case with this lawsuit.

    If this case goes forward to trial stage, it will set two court precedences…the first case heard that applies to the newly enacted Texas SLAPP legislation and the right of the plaintiff to collect damages from a Journal, an editor and a journalist, in a civil action…even though that plaintiff had his medical license revoked by a medical licensing board.

    I expect that the court will be deluged by amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs from “interested third parties” such as other medical journals and mainstream media print, radio and television outlets.

    This is a very high-profile case.

  148. #148 Tsu Dho Nimh
    January 13, 2012

    @108 This whole incident and the necessity to beat a dying horse is pathetic.

    Wakefield was the one who exhumed the equine, not Brian Deer.

    A am looking forward to the discovery process, where subpoenas duces tecum can get lobbed at every institution and bank and trust and law firm and party to everything Wakers has done.

  149. #149 Guest
    January 13, 2012

    The best part of the discovery process will be Brian Deer deposing Andrew Wakefield. Imagine that, Mr Wakefield having to sit there, for days at a time, having to answer all of Deer’s questions. I would buy a ticket.

  150. #150 Beamup
    January 13, 2012

    Well, Deer’s attorney’s questions. But I would imagine that Deer could put questions he particularly wanted answered on the list, so it would serve much the same end.

  151. #151 Prometheus
    January 13, 2012

    Proscientifica (#138):

    “I wager that the lawsuit filed in Texas will make it to court.”

    I’d like a piece of that wage – how about $100? I’ll wager that the case will never reach the stage of opening arguments because it will have been thrown out or withdrawn by Wakefield. If it goes to opening arguments or is settled by the plaintiffs, you win. Perhaps we can get Orac to hold the money and send it to the winner.

    What about it, Proscientifica, are you game?

    “Firms of prestige do not take loser cases, low class schlocky lawyers take any case they can get. The higher class firms have assets, out of which they can be sued.”

    First off, I’m not sure that it was Mr. Parrish’s firm that filed the lawsuit – and, at any rate, I don’t believe it has been established that the firm in question is “prestigious”. Secondly, “firms of prestige” take on “loser cases” (and “loser clients”) all the time, if they get paid enough.

    Also, Proscientifica seems to be implying that the firm would be sued if it files a frivolous lawsuit. The worst that can happen is that they would be fined a token amount by the trial judge. If anyone ends up paying legal fees and punitive damages, it would be the client, not the firm. Only if they could establish that the firm (or one of its lawyers) engaged in barratry could the firm face any consequences.

    “Further, frivolous claims, though an established feature of American jurisprudence, are frowned upon and will prejudice future claims brought by Parrish in the eyes of the Texas legal establishment.”

    This sentence proves that Proscientifica isn’t familiar with the US legal system.

    Prometheus

  152. #152 lilady
    January 13, 2012

    @ Prometheus: I want a piece of that wager as well…I’ll even give the “Wakers” favorable odds.

    Yes Indeed, any lawyer that represents a plaintiff in a frivolous lawsuit can suffer the consequences. The lawyer who represented the plaintiff that sued Kathleen Seidel- Clifford Shoemaker, was sanctioned by the court and the court referred the matter to the bar association:

    “Asshat Anti-Vaccine Lawyer Clifford Shoemaker Sanctioned, Humiliated” (Popehat, June 25, 2008)

  153. #153 herr doktor bimler
    January 13, 2012

    BMJ simply cannot risk a court case here. It is an unquantifiable, unknowable risk.

    IANAL either, but 20 seconds on the Google reveals that BMJ has been perfectly happy to fight similar court cases in the past.

    The BMJ response to Wakefield’s suit has this to say about Wakefield’s abortive 2005 libel suit:

    [The judge] concluded that Mr Wakefield wished to use the existence of the libel proceedings for public relations purposes, and to deter critics, while at the same time isolating himself from the downside of such litigation, in having to answer a substantial defence of justification. The Judge believed that there was a pattern of using the existence of libel proceedings, albeit stayed, as a tool for stifling further criticism or debate.

  154. #154 ArtK
    January 13, 2012

    @ Prometheus

    Secondly, “firms of prestige” take on “loser cases” (and “loser clients”) all the time, if they get paid enough.

    Case-in-point: Boies Schiller & Flexner taking on SCO v. IBM.

    As far as Rule 11 sanctions being a deterrent to filing frivolous lawsuits, well, they aren’t very powerful. Bad suits get filed all of the time. Generally you have to be a horrific repeat offender (see Orly Taitz) to get slapped.

    @ “Proscientifica”

    BMJ simply cannot risk a court case here. It is an unquantifiable, unknowable risk.

    Only in the mind of a true believer in AJW. Andy and his lawyers have managed to pick a case and a venue with almost the highest burden of proof. He has to prove that the BMJ both knew that what was published was false and he has to prove that they did so maliciously, since he almost certainly qualifies as a “public figure.” Before that, it’s likely that he’s going to have to show that his suit isn’t a SLAPP. He would have been much better off defending himself in front of the GMC, since there all he would have had to do is produce a “reasonable doubt.”

  155. #155 Denice Walter
    January 13, 2012

    @ Guest:

    It’s a field day for psychologists! Freud** wrote about Lady Macbeth’s unravelling after she had achieved all that she had planned and brought about through vile manipulation (“Those Wrecked by Success”) *however* in this case the undoing is not caused by the internal, dark forces of the psyche evening the score but by external reality! Being *found out* despite your great efforts to conceal. And this is then made public. People with lower stages of moral judgment ( Kohlberg) base their actions on avoidance of externalities- not because of conscience or guilt, where society’s judgements become an internalised judge and jury- therefore, “getting caught”, being “labelled”, being “on display”, having to “answer” *has* to be the worst thing for them..

    ** I’m not a Freudian but I love that essay.

  156. #156 Matthew Cline
    January 13, 2012

    @ArtK:

    Case-in-point: Boies Schiller & Flexner taking on SCO v. IBM.

    Well, it’s definitely in the realm of possibility that SCO bamboozled BSF into thinking that SCO had a case before they agreed to represent SCO. However, during the case they sure pulled a lot of shenanigans that one would think would tarnish their reputation.

  157. #157 Rtcontracting
    January 13, 2012

    Prometheus:

    I’d like a piece of that wage – how about $100? I’ll wager that the case will never reach the stage of opening arguments because it will have been thrown out or withdrawn by Wakefield. If it goes to opening arguments or is settled by the plaintiffs, you win. Perhaps we can get Orac to hold the money and send it to the winner.

    Speaking of wagers…

    Wouldn’t it be interesting if Orac did a wager with AoA – say that the loser never again blogs about the vaccine/autism link.

    According to what I’ve learned reading over at AoA, AJW has a strong case…

  158. #158 Science Mom
    January 13, 2012

    According to what I’ve learned reading over at AoA, AJW has a strong case…

    Would you expect anything else? Harken back to the GMC FTP hearing when hired dumbass, Martin Walker was feeding the AoA chumps completely fabricated “Wakefield is prevailing” bullshit. They were crowing victory before the judgement was rendered and subsequently gobsmacked by the decision. They went further down their rabbit hole by declaring that it was kangaroo court, which has now widened to include any court in the UK. You need to understand that these people need to believe that Wakefield will prevail or that it was a sham proceeding. Their identities are completely wrapped up in this charlatan.

  159. #159 Denice Walter
    January 13, 2012

    @ Science Mom:

    Now don’t laugh, but I can imagine analysing the thought processes of anti-vaxxers through examples of their writing ( e.g. @ AoA). A Soviet psychologist- Luria- wrote “The Mind of a Mnemonist”- so partially nicking that, how about: “The Mind of a Fabulist”? If I astutely stick to the cognitive rather than the clinical aspects they’ll probably be less likely to sue or make bomb threats.

  160. #160 Proscientifica
    January 13, 2012

    I stand gratefully corrected and educated re: the SLAPP situation.

    Of course my offer for wager stands, my word in such matterrs is my bond. I wager the following terms, if acceptable to contra parties:

    $100 up for wager, I want odds 3:1 in my favor, that the Texas suit will survive past the initial hearing of whatever is the sort it must pass.

    Additional $100 wager, straight odds, that if the suit gets past first hearing, issue will settle before court date at request of BMJ

    I trust any designee of Orac to hold the funds, let the games begin! Who is in???

  161. #161 Chris
    January 13, 2012

    Dear Brave Sir Robin Wingnut who has morphed into a another troll. You should not drink and comment on blogs, it makes you look even more foolish.

  162. #162 Edith Prickly
    January 13, 2012

    Loonytarian scat-fetishist sockpuppet troll has been hitting the Thunderbird and Wild Irish Rose again: http://bumwine.com/

  163. #163 Se Habla Espol
    January 13, 2012

    Never, ever, will Andy or his lawyer, permit a trial to proceed…there’s the “little matter” of going through discovery which include EBTs (Examinations Before Trial) of the “witnesses” on both sides, where both sides depose the witnesses and a stenographer produces a verbatim typed report. There is also the “little matter” of cooperation of witnesses (Richard Barr, the lawyer for the parents who he referred en masse, to Andy. The parents themselves. The other authors of the study published in Lancet. The EBT of Andy’s “expert witness” Dr. Lewis, etc. etc.)

    Of course, the defense can force a trial (or at least summary judgment — a decision by the judge that there are no disputed, supported facts) by filing one or more mandatory counterclaims. This would prevent the plaintiff from pulling out and dismissing his complaint, like Wakey did in his first suit against Deer. (Waky probably could stipulate to the truth of the counterclaims, in order to get out of trouble, but …)


    I do wonder who is to get the proceeds of the legal defense funds. I also wonder how much had to be given (or at least pledged) before the lawyer would agree to file the complaint. If the donations cease, would the lawyer allow the case go on?

  164. #164 lilady
    January 13, 2012

    I think loony lame scat festishist has been imbibing his bathtub gin made with Mississippi swamp water and his smelly socks. He only needs the bathtub but once every three months, for bathing.

    I would suggest that “Scat” use his spell check function…but you need to closely approximate words in the English language. Pathetic.

  165. #165 lilady
    January 13, 2012

    Se Habla Espol: IANAL..but I’ve seen plenty of legal papers and those that were sent to the named defendants are amateurish…merely sent IMO, to beat the filing deadline.

    I think we are all waiting to see how this lawsuit plays out. The Justice/Wakefield fund is not set up as a charity and no contributors can declare their contributions as charitable donations.

    Andy’s Lawyer Mr. Parrish has personal ties to Wakey and his family through the Autism Trust USA…but I’m fairly certain that there will another specialist attorney on board…if the case reaches the discovery phase.

  166. #166 Rtcontracting
    January 14, 2012

    The CNN health page linked to the following article:

    http://healthland.time.com/2012/01/13/great-science-frauds/?hpt=he_c2#andrew-wakefield

    Wakefield is really making a splash in the media this year… First he makes the top 10 list of worst doctors and now a list of the greatest science frauds.

  167. #167 Proscientifica
    January 14, 2012

    So- no one is in then?

  168. #168 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    January 14, 2012

    @Proscientifica – I could swear I saw at least 2 takers.

  169. #169 Prometheus
    January 15, 2012

    Proscientifica (#159):

    “$100 up for wager, I want odds 3:1 in my favor, that the Texas suit will survive past the initial hearing of whatever is the sort it must pass.

    “Additional $100 wager, straight odds, that if the suit gets past first hearing, issue will settle before court date at request of BMJ”

    If I read this correctly, Proscientifica is “hedging” the bet by more than a bit. She/he seems to be asserting that the Wakefield lawsuit has a 25% chance of making it through the preliminary round of motions, which seems much less confident that his/her initial pronouncements.

    Proscientifica initially seemed so confident that the BMJ would be the one to “settle” and that Wakefield had a strong case, per his/her comment #137:

    “I wager that the lawsuit filed in Texas will make it to court.”

    But, since he/she seems to be in negotiations to back down from that confident point, I have a counterproposal:

    The question of what constitutes the “initial hearing” in Proscientifica’s wager leaves too many ways to weasle out of a bet. Not being a lawyer, I have no way of knowing which meetings with a judge are considered “hearings” and which are not, whether motions to dismiss are considered in “hearings”, etc. I propose that we settle on mutually agreed-upon definitions for this wager.

    I’ll wager $100 at 3:1 odds (Proscientifica’s favour) against the Wakefield lawsuit surviving motions to dismiss based on objections raised by the BMJ‘s attorneys.

    I’ll additionally wager $100 at even odds that if the Wakefield lawsuit isn’t derailed by motions to dismiss or SLAPP, that Wakefield will either withdraw or settle in the defendants’ favour.

    If that’s agreeable to Proscientifica, we’ll both send the money to Orac to hold pending the outcome of the lawsuit, if that’s acceptable to him. I don’t feel confident that Proscientifica would be “good” for the bet if (when?) Wakefield loses.

    Prometheus

  170. #170 Prometheus
    January 15, 2012

    Proscientifica (#159):

    “$100 up for wager, I want odds 3:1 in my favor, that the Texas suit will survive past the initial hearing of whatever is the sort it must pass.

    “Additional $100 wager, straight odds, that if the suit gets past first hearing, issue will settle before court date at request of BMJ”

    If I read this correctly, Proscientifica is “hedging” the bet by more than a bit. She/he seems to be asserting that the Wakefield lawsuit has a 25% chance of making it through the preliminary round of motions, which seems much less confident that his/her initial pronouncements.

    Proscientifica initially seemed so confident that the BMJ would be the one to “settle” and that Wakefield had a strong case, per his/her comment #137:

    “I wager that the lawsuit filed in Texas will make it to court.”

    But, since he/she seems to be in negotiations to back down from that confident point, I have a counterproposal:

    The question of what constitutes the “initial hearing” in Proscientifica’s wager leaves too many ways to weasle out of a bet. Not being a lawyer, I have no way of knowing which meetings with a judge are considered “hearings” and which are not, whether motions to dismiss are considered in “hearings”, etc. I propose that we settle on mutually agreed-upon definitions for this wager.

    I’ll wager $100 at 3:1 odds (Proscientifica’s favour) against the Wakefield lawsuit surviving motions to dismiss based on objections raised by the BMJ‘s attorneys.

    I’ll additionally wager $100 at even odds that if the Wakefield lawsuit isn’t derailed by motions to dismiss or SLAPP, that Wakefield will either withdraw or settle in the defendants’ favour.

    If that’s agreeable to Proscientifica, we’ll both send the money to Orac to hold pending the outcome of the lawsuit, if that’s acceptable to him. I don’t feel confident that Proscientifica would be “good” for the bet if (when?) Wakefield loses.

    Prometheus

  171. #171 Denice Walter
    January 16, 2012

    @ Prometheus and Proscientifica:

    Instead of having our esteemed host hold your filthy lucre**, why not instead each pledge money to a worthy pro-vaccination charitable cause if you lose : that way, everyone wins.

    ** internet gambling, @ RI?

  172. #172 Prometheus
    January 18, 2012

    I’d be willing to amend the wager to donations to worthy (i.e. non-”alt-med”) charities. For that matter, I’m perfectly content to simply gloat.

    Prometheus

  173. #173 ken
    January 21, 2012

    Dr. David Lewis Bio:
    Dr. David Lewis, a member of the NWC Board of Directors and Director of its Research Misconduct Project, is a former senior-level research microbiologist for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). He was the only EPA scientist to ever publish first-authored research articles in Lancet and Nature. His research published in Lancet and Nature Medicine on the inadequacy of CDC guidelines to prevent transmission of HIV in dentistry prompted the current heat sterilization standard for dentistry in the mid-1990s. His environmental research published in Nature received the Science Achievement Award by the EPA Administrator in 2000. Editors at Annals of Internal Medicine rated him in the top 10 percent of reviewers in 2010.

  174. #174 Antaeus Feldspar
    January 21, 2012

    I’m not sure why you think anyone will be impressed by that, Ken. If you want a list of scientists who have credentials far better than David Lewis who have nevertheless embarrassed themselves by spouting nonsense, just Google “Nobel disease.” You see, argument by authority always comes second to actually getting your facts correct, and Lewis hasn’t done that.

  175. #175 ken
    January 21, 2012

    From Brian Deer’s website- Bactrim – Septra – Sulfatrim: side-effects

    “The blockbuster antibiotic Septrin (Bactrim, Septra, Septran, co-trimoxazole) is among the most profitable drugs ever. But Brian Deer’s investigation and campaign revealed a horrifying toll of needless deaths and suffering”

  176. #176 brian
    January 21, 2012

    I suppose that ken, Lewis, and Wakefield might hope that credulous anti-vaxxers will mistake Lewis’s efforts on a web site owned by his attorneys with the activities of a credible government office with a remarkably similar name.

    In the article, Lewis held himself out to be “director” of the “National Whistleblowers Center Research Misconduct Project”, and called himself a “research microbiologist” at the centre. I established that the “NWC” (whistleblowers.org) is a website operated by a firm of Washington employment lawyers, Kohn, Kohn and Colapinto, and shouldn’t be confused with the prestigious Government Accountability Project (whistleblower.org) . . . The “Research Misconduct Project” is Lewis, and he obtained approval to announce this and designate himself as “director” in December 2010, the month before he took up with Wakefield.

    http://briandeer.com/solved/david-lewis-1.htm

    I believe that the only “research misconduct” cases pursued at whistleblowers.org (the web site, not the government office) are Lewis’s own decade-old case and Wakefield’s similarly aged and apparently fraudulent scam. Perhaps Lewis, like Wakefield, still stings after having a weak paper rejected by the Lancet.

  177. #177 Lawrence
    January 21, 2012

    @ken – Brian Deer has gone after Pharma companies in the past, plus what you note above. Very much looks to me that he’s a very even-handed investigative journalist…..

  178. #178 ken
    January 21, 2012

    @ Lawrence-
    Batrim is still widely used-
    His claim ” investigation and campaign revealed a horrifying toll of needless deaths and suffering” is fraudulent.

  179. #179 ken
    January 21, 2012

    Should be “Bactrim”

  180. #180 Chris
    January 21, 2012

    So? Mr. Deer wrote about it, he is not in charge of its regulation.

  181. #181 Chris
    January 21, 2012

    Also, ken, do you have any other evidence that Mr. Deer’s investigation in bactrim septra is fraudulent? Like perhaps some other documentation to show where he is in error?

  182. #182 ken
    January 21, 2012

    @Chris- He “sensationalized” about it.
    Read this claim on his website- “Bactrim”
    ” investigation and campaign revealed a horrifying toll of needless deaths and suffering”
    Sensationalism in journalism at it’s worst. Sorry he’s guilty of it.

  183. #183 Lawrence
    January 21, 2012

    @ken – I’m confused, are you now claiming it is “sensationalistic” and not fraudulent?

    I’m confused what you are trying to say.

  184. #184 ken
    January 21, 2012

    @Lawrence-Do you have the proof of “horrifying toll……etc” Ask your expert ORAC
    about it.
    But I won’t take it anyway- like I won’t get a flu shot either.

  185. #185 Chris
    January 21, 2012

    So am I. Ken, could you please explain what you are trying to say with full sentences instead of short little accusations. Mr. Deer wrote those articles over fifteen years ago, so there must be something that is wrong with them.

    I looked up the antibiotic on Wiki, and yes it is nasty. Which is why its use is restricted.

    That is also true for many other antibiotics, allergic reactions to penicillin are very common (it almost killed my father). And it is true for anti-virals.

    This is why it is important to prevent diseases instead of trying to treat them. One of the ways that the MMR is much safer than measles, mumps and rubella, and the DTaP is much safer than diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. Treatment in the hospital for those diseases involves lots of drugs, including anti-toxins along with antibiotics. The side effects to those are not minor.

    So you really need a much better schtick to defend Wakefield other than Deer writing about antibiotics many years ago.

  186. #186 Chris
    January 21, 2012

    ken, who cares what you take for medication? We are just trying to figure what you are trying to say.

  187. #187 lilady
    January 21, 2012

    @ ken: You have been coming to the RI site for months, dropping your little nuggets about immunizations and epidemiology. When we provide you with real citations about the effectiveness of the vaccines you question, you refuse to admit that your reasoning is faulty.

    Why do you think that David Lewis has the educational background, credentials and professional experience, (“waste and sludge management”), to be an expert witness?

    Dr. Lewis has none of the education, credentialing or work experience to ever be court-qualified as an expert witness in the field of histo-pathology or interpretation of pathology scoring sheets.

    Lewis and his “client” Andrew Wakefield messed up big time by providing copies of the long-lost scoring sheets from Wakefield’s personal files, to the BMJ…now they have to live with that ill-conceived strategic legal maneuver. And, don’t think for a moment that the scoring sheets will not figure prominently in the Texas defamation lawsuit, instituted by Wakefield against the BMJ, Brian Deer and Fiona Godlee.

    You’re backing a loser.

  188. #188 Lawrence
    January 21, 2012

    @ken – 15 year old articles? Really, that’s what you are trying to complain about now?

  189. #189 ken
    January 21, 2012

    @Lawence-Maybe Deer should remove it since it is so old -but then he doesn’t have
    many articles to brag about on his website. His claim to fame is Wakefield.
    @lilady-Not backing anyone-still don’t know enough about the case. This is an extremely biased blog.

  190. #190 Lawrence
    January 21, 2012

    @ken – I still don’t understand what you are trying to prove. And in the case of this blog, it is a bias towards reality, evidence, science and facts….which a lot of cranks have a problem with (reality, I mean).

  191. #191 Lawrence
    January 21, 2012

    @ken – and his site only includes a selection of his articles and investigations. I’d certainly love to see a full bibliography of your published articles…..

  192. #192 herr doktor bimler
    January 21, 2012

    @lilady-Not backing anyone-still don’t know enough about the case.

    Self-proclaimed ignorance is evidently no barrier to commenting.

  193. #193 ken
    January 21, 2012

    @Lawrence-do you have Asperger’s?

  194. #194 Lawrence
    January 21, 2012

    @ken – any particular reason you’d ask that question? Or are you just fishing because you’ve run out of ill-informed comments?

  195. #195 lilady
    January 21, 2012

    “@lilady-Not backing anyone-still don’t know enough about the case. This is an extremely biased blog.”

    Lewis’ screed and Deer’s refuting that screed appeared here weeks ago. Orac has written a number of blogs about the Wakefield case. The “regulars” here have read Deer’s reports and reports from other reporters in a variety of newspapers in the U.S. and in the U.K. The findings and decision of the GMC regarding the Wakefield case are available on the internet.

    So, why don’t you know about the case? You seem to know enough about Lewis to tout his credentials as an “expert witness”, which by the way was the subject of some of our posts, as well.

    Yes Ken, we are biased toward truth, science, medicine and the welfare of children. If you don’t like our “biases”, I suggest you go to another website such as AoA, where they have none of our particular “biases”.

  196. #196 ken
    January 21, 2012

    AoA is biased too.

  197. #197 Chris
    January 21, 2012

    ken:

    AoA is biased too.

    Well, that is an understatement.

    ken, how does going after Mr. Deer’s older works in any way show that Wakefield is correct? If Wakefield was correct, then there would not be several studies starting with the ones from the Royal Free in 1999 showing that he was wrong.

    There were questions about the accuracy of Wakefield’s paper long before Mr. Deer came on to the scene. All Mr. Deer revealed was why Wakefield’s results were wrong (along with the Autism Omnibus testimony of Dr. Chadwick and Stephen Bustin).

  198. #198 Denice Walter
    January 22, 2012

    As brian points out above, Lewis et al maintain a website whose name mimics a well-known serious endeavor put forth by the government- that *alone* should be a warning sign that all is not as it seems, for if you have to trick people into thinking you are respected and legit… well,you probably aren’t either.

    Here are a few other red flags: Lewis has an axe to grind with the EPA – an on-going long-term dispute. Interestingly enough, he has shown up @ the Progressive Radio Network being interviewed by the chief axe-grinder and head honcho himself ( Gary Null) and appearing on Stephen Kohn’s ( one of the aforementioned “Whistleblowers”)show. The so-called network- “PRN”- probably so named to mimic the real PRN- also figures in AJW’s suit. Ever hear of the term “churning”- I think that this is the PR equivalent of it.

    If you resort to an outlet like this, no serious networks are interested in your story – have you seen him on CNN/ BBC/ CBC?. I truly believe that a person who talks exclusively to plants could get a show at that network- might actually be a step-up for them.

  199. #199 Matthew Cline
    January 22, 2012

    I think what Ken is trying to say (note that I don’t agree with him) is something like “If Bactrim is as bad as Deer claims, it would have been pulled from the market. Since it hasn’t been pulled from the market, Deer must either have been lying or greatly exaggerating when he wrote about Bactrim”. Possibly along with “since Deer has a history of lying/exaggeration, you can’t trust what he wrote about Wakefield”.

  200. #200 lilady
    January 22, 2012

    Ken: Here is what you posted at # 172 from Dr. Lewis’ internet bio:

    “His research published in Lancet and Nature Medicine on the inadequacy of CDC guidelines to prevent transmission of HIV in dentistry prompted the current heat sterilization standard for dentistry in the mid-1990s.”

    I actually located a Training Bulletin from the CDC from 1992 and here is what was stated about Lewis’ “study” published in Lancet:

    5. Can CDC comment on a paper by Dr. David Lewis entitled “Cross-contamination potential for dental equipment.” This paper was published in the November 21, 1992, issue of Lancet.

    Dr. Lewis’ study does not demonstrate transmission of disease, but reconfirms past observations that dental handpieces and other instruments, such as prophylaxis angles, potentially may be contaminated with patient material during use. One aspect of his study involved using dental instruments on patients infected with HIV, cleaning and disinfecting the external surfaces of the instruments, and then employing a very sensitive laboratory technique (i.e. polymerase chain reaction) to detect residual HIV genetic material from the internal surfaces; the laboratory technique used in this aspect of the study does not distinguish between live and dead HIV particles. This study supports CDC recommendations (1986) for appropriate cleaning and sterilization of all dental instruments.

    Source: “Questions and Answers on HIV Transmission and Dental Procedures”-CDC National AIDS Hotline Training Bulletin # 17″ November 25, 1992

    Ken, you “expert” Dr. Lewis is a pathological liar.

  201. #201 lilady
    January 22, 2012

    @ Ken: He is another “quote” from Lewis’ “internet” bio:

    “Editors at Annals of Internal Medicine rated him in the top 10 percent of reviewers in 2010.”

    -He was one of approximately 1000 “reviewers” listed for 2009, not 2010 or 2011 in the Annals of Internal Medicine Journal.

    -There is no “rating of the top 10 percent of reviewers” in 2009 or any other year.

    -Physicians, become “reviewers” to get CME (Continuing Medical Education) credits, that is a requirement to maintain licensing as a physician.

    -Only physicians are permitted to become “reviewers” for the Annals of Internal Medicine Journal (See information for reviewers at their website)

    -Only physicians are granted CME credits

    Oops…I think Wakefield’s expert witness has been impeached.

  202. #202 lilady
    January 22, 2012

    Brain Fog: Posting above to ken should read:

    Here is another “quote” from Lewis’ “internet” bio:

    I have another comment stuck in moderation about Lewis’ Internet blog and his article that appeared in Lancet.

  203. #203 Spection
    February 3, 2012

    In the truly delightful and edifying list detailing Mr. Deer’s responses to the despicable fabulist Lewis, there’s another gem that hasn’t been brought out here yet. In this instance, the can’t-shoot-straight dupe Lewis appears hell-bent at defending Brain Deer from his own charges of “fraud” and related legal consequences when he writes near the bottom of page 2:

    DAVID L LEWIS: “Deer’s use of Booth’s analysis, whether knowingly or unknowingly, and the manner in which BMJ’s editors rewrote my Rapid Response, raise questions as to who may have actually written Brian Deer’s articles published in the BMJ.

    Well, Mr. Deer, are you planning to call Lewis as a rebuttal witness in Wakemonster’s proceedings against you? Because if you didn’t write any of that, you can’t be held liable!

    p.s. to Brian Deer: I quite admired your well-earned response to Lewis’ curious praise that your articles are “well beyond what any individual with no formal training in science or medicine would normally be able to write”! You probably don’t see many straight lines like that one… Hooray for you!

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