I must admit, I’ve been enjoying my vacation thus far and have hardly paid attention to the blog, other than a couple of quick posts. For me, this is quite amazing. Still, every so often there pops up a story that I can’t resist commenting on, particularly given that I’m just sitting around watching the Olympics, and I’m deadly tired of beach volleyball. (As an aside, notice how it’s always women’s beach volleyball that NBC shows, not men’s, no doubt because the powers that be think that toned young women in bikinis playing volleyball translate into big ratings. Unfortunately, they seem to be right.)

While I was sitting there thinking about changing the channel out of boredom, I happened to check out the comments on my post from a couple of days ago, when I noticed an off-topic discussion beginning (which, I guess, sometimes happens when my blogging activity falls off) that caught my attention. It’s a story out of New Zealand about an 18-year-old woman named Jasmine Renata, who tragically died nearly three years ago of unclear causes, although what happened sounds consistent with the sort of idiopathic heart conditions that sometimes (and, fortunately, very uncommonly) cut short the lives of young people in their teens and early 20s. Now, Jasmine Renata might never have been known outside of her grieving family and friends, except for one thing. Her mother is convinced she knows the reason why Jasmine died. In brief, she has an explanation for her daughter’s death that is simple, emotionally resonant, and almost certainly wrong, and that explanation is that Gardasil was the cause of her daughter’s untimely death:

The mother of a teenager found dead in her bed has told an inquest that her daughter’s physical and mental health deteriorated sharply when she was given the Gardasil cervical cancer vaccination.

Jasmine Renata, 18, died in September 2009 in a sleepout at her home in Upper Hutt, north of Wellington.

She had received the last of three injections of Gardasil six months earlier.

Once again, whenever I encounter a story like this, I am saddened, first of all because the life of someone so young ended so unexpectedly. It’s quite understandable that a parent, faced with such a tragic loss and consumed with shock and grief, would look for an explanation and grasp at any seemingly plausible explanation she can find. In this case, Rhonda Renata has latched on to Gardasil, even though the timing doesn’t even argue particularly persuasively for causation by Gardasil. In other words, while humans frequently confuse correlation with causation, in this case there doesn’t even appear, on the surface at least, much evidence of correlation. Six months after the last booster shot of Gardasil is a long time. Now, nearly three years after her death, there is a coroner’s inquest into Jasmine’s death, and two familiar figures have entered the picture. More on that later.

By way of background, various reports suggest that Jasmine had suffered symptoms that could indicate that she had a cardiac anomaly. Sudden death among young people is rare, but when it happens, it’s often due to cardiac causes, most commonly hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, coronary artery abnormalities, or the long QT syndrome (LQTS), the latter of which can cause a rapid, chaotic heartbeat and sometimes ventricular fibrillation and cardiac arrest. Since her daughter’s death, Ms. Renata has steadfastly refused to have herself, her husband, or any of her family tested for gene mutations associated with sudden cardiac or tested for idiopathic heart disease because she knows of no history of heart disease in her family if you don’t count the death of her daughter. While on the surface this sounds like a reasonable argument, it is not a good reason to conclude that Jasmine couldn’t possibly have had an idiopathic heart condition. For example, some of the gene mutations that are associated with sudden cardiac death increase the risk of such an outcome; they don’t guarantee it, and carriers might not be symptomatic or might be so mildly symptomatic that they are never worked up for a cardiac condition. More likely, Ms. Renata doesn’t want to look for evidence that might disconfirm her now fixed belief that Gardasil killed her daughter, or, as she wrote two years ago:

Even though we have not yet received a final autopsy report and the pathologist has only recently begun doing tests based on my belief that the vaccine sent Jasmine’s health on a downhill spiral to death. During the autopsy the pathologist did not find any health problem that could have contributed to Jasmine’s death and I know in my every being that the vaccine was the cause.

In the same piece, Rhonda Renata describes a history of vague symptoms suffered by Jasmine:

During a routine visit, Jasmine’s doctor persuaded her to get the Gardisil vaccine because it would help keep her safe from developing cervical cancer in the future. Jasmine received her first Gardisil vaccine in September 2008. Jasmine was always concerned about her appearance and she was quite distressed that shortly after the vaccine she noticed dry skin and warts appearing on her hands. She complained that she thought she was losing more hair than usual and that her pimples were getting worse. On the 20th of October Jasmine visited the doctor to treat her warts and dry skin. Jasmine had 4 or 5 warts frozen off. The doctor also said that her immunity was compromised so he prescribed a multivitamin as well as Locoid cream for the dry skin. The Locoid cream didn’t help the dry skin.

What this means is unclear. For one thing, there appears to be no record, at least none mentioned in the press accounts that I’ve been able to find, of these complaints. Indeed, several press reports state that the nurse testified that she asked Jasmine whether she had had any problems after her Gardasil doses and whether she was feeling well. Jasmine reported no side effects. What we do know is that Ms. Renata somehow hooked up with an antivaccinationist named Hilary Butler, who blogs for the antivaccine crank organization the International Medical Council on Vaccination and blogs on her own at Beyond Conformity. Indeed, she has written several posts about Jasmine Renata, including Did Gardasil Kill Jasmine? It’s full of conspiracy mongering, insinuations that some sort of coverup was occurring. It includes a link to the autopsy report, which showed no structural abnormalities in the heart or evidence of an inflammatory process. The report does note, however, that heart tissue had been taken and submitted to the Inherited Diseases Group in Auckland so that the “decendent’s genetic structure and family can be investigated in case there is a molecular abnormality of the cardiac electrical conduction system that might result in sudden unexpected death.” It was also noted that “this process usually takes many months and requires the cooperation of family members.”

Interestingly, the pathologist also noted that Ms. Renata had contacted Dr. Christopher Shaw, who urged the use of the Morin stain to test for aluminum in Jasmine’s brain. In response to this, the pathologist noted:

The pathology laboratory is unable to offer a routine specific test for aluminum in neurones (I believe that this is very much a research tool rather than a diagnostic tool). Even if aluminum were to be found, I would not know how to interpret its presence. I was unable to see evidence of damage to, or a reactive process involving, neurones in Jasmine’s brain.

You might recall Christopher Shaw. He published a truly awful “review” of the medical and scientific literature trying to link aluminum-containing vaccine adjuvants to autism and appeared in the antivaccine movie The Greater Good arguing—you guessed it—that aluminum adjuvants cause autism. In fact, he went further than that and said in the movie that we’re all living in a “toxic” soup and that vaccines are part of that soup, all overlaid with a cartoon of green, stylized people floating in a disgusting soup of pollution, vaccines, and garbage. It turns out that Dr. Shaw was scheduled to testify at the inquest. Apparently, Dr. Shaw examined some of Jasmine’s brain tissue. Anyone want to bet that Shaw will report that he found aluminum there and that it caused massive damage to Jasmine’s neurons?

No, don’t bother. That’s about as sure a bet as I can think of, and only a sucker would bet against it. After all, Ms. Renata wouldn’t have called Shaw to testify if he hadn’t found what she wanted him to find. Given the time difference between here and New Zealand, it’s likely that by the time you see this he will have already testified, and I’m sure readers will post news accounts in the comments. Oh wait, there already is. (Yes, I added this bit of paragraph after finishing my post and doing one more Google search.) Dr. Shaw behaved as expected, claiming he found both HPV and aluminum in Jasmine’s brain, as well as unspecified abnormalities. This particular news report did not explain how Dr. Shaw found these things, and, given his track record, I’d want to know his methodology, in particular his negative controls for HPV before I’d believe him. Indeed, as I explained before, the amount of HPV DNA in Gardasil is minuscule; so it defies plausibility that the vaccine could be the source of so much HPV, if it really were there. Remember, in order to detect HPV DNA in the vaccines themselves, it took a super-sensitive PCR test (perhaps so sensitive as not to be specific). In other words, the amount of HPV DNA in Gardasil in the vaccine itself is minuscule, barely detectable only with an extremely sensitive assay. Now introduce it subcutaneously into someone’s body, thus diluting it enormously, and then wait six months? No, it’s utterly implausible to assume that the presence of HPV, if what Dr. Shaw is reporting is not a completely spurious result (which it probably is, given his track record), means that it could only have come from the vaccine.

Which brings us to the next “expert,” another member of the rogues’ gallery of antivaccine doctors and scientists, who testified before Dr. Shaw:

Dr San Hang Lee a pathologist at Milford Hospital in Connecticut gave evidence on the second day of the inquest by videolink.

He had been sent Jasmine’s post mortem blood and found her blood and spleen were positive for the human papillomavirus, or HVP.

The Gardasil vaccine is given to prevent some strains of HPV.

He said it was not the result of a nature HVP infection, most likely the DNA was bound to aluminium which was also found in Jasmine.

“The HPV gene is foreign DNA and its detection six months after injection is not normal,’’ he told the inquest.

He said the DNA may cause a reaction that could lead to lethal shock although it was not known if it caused her death but it needed further investigation.

He said it was not known if it was the cause of death but it needed further investigation.

Dr Lee said he also tested five samples of the vaccine sent from New Zealand and found HVP in each.

One wonders if the inquest board was aware that Dr. Lee was unceremoniously given the boot as director of the diagnostic laboratory at Milford Hospital in December 2010. His chairman also didn’t recommend that Dr. Lee’s medical staff privileges be renewed. Given that you can’t get medical staff privileges without the endorsement of the chair of your department or the chief of your clinical service (in a nonacademic hospital that doesn’t have chairmen, for example), that means Dr. Lee’s chair basically fired him from the hospital altogether. The last time I blogged about this (October 2011), Dr. Lee was appealing and still had medical staff privileges. I also said at the time, if I were a new chair of a department and found someone like Dr. Lee consorting with a loony antivaccine group like SaneVax, I’d can him too.

As I pointed out above, the amount of HPV DNA in Gardasil is so tiny that it requires nested PCR to detect it. For all intents and purposes, it might as well be homeopathic. Actually, that gives me an idea. Maybe it was the memory of HPV that resulted in all that HPV being detected in the autopsy specimens! But apparently that tiny amount of HPV is so powerful that it can cause “microcompetition.” Well, not really. As I explained before, the amount of HPV DNA involved is so tiny as to be inconsequential and it is not easy to get DNA into cells, much less to get it to express its proteins.

I do note, however, yet another morphing of a hypothesis. Or maybe I should call it the merging of two woos. Now it’s not just the HPV DNA or the aluminum adjuvants. Now, apparently, somehow the evil aluminum combines with the dastardly HPV DNA (as tiny amount as it is) in order to become synergistically diabolical. One wonders how this came about. Maybe Drs. Lee and Shaw met at a SaneVax meeting. Who knows? However this happened, in retrospect I suppose I should have seen it coming. Now, not surprisingly, SaneVax is all over it, citing Dr. Lee as saying, “The naked DNA in the vaccine was probably stabilized through a chemical binding between the mineral aluminum and the phosphate backbone of the double-stranded DNA.” One notes that there is not a plausible chemical mechanism by which aluminum can do this in the body in the manner that Dr. Lee claims.

In the meantime, what I see is a tragic story of a young woman cut down in the prime of her life, most likely (although not certainly) by a genetic defect in cardiac conduction that led to arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death. A grieving mother, shocked by the suddenness and randomness of the tragedy, is unable to accept the most likely explanation, particularly given the uncertainty, latches onto something she can blame. Why? Who knows? But it didn’t help that she hooked up with antivaccinationists like Hilary Butler, who immediately began flogging the Jasmine Renata case as “proof” that Gardasil kills. The end result causes harm not just to public health but to Rhonda Renata as well. She’ll never be able to let go and heal as long as she is convinced (almost certainly mistakenly) that Gardasil killed her daughter.

Comments

  1. #1 dingo199
    September 13, 2012

    Oh, and Ron, for the 8th time of asking, could you please tell us how you would advise a mother asking about whether she should vaccinate her child against pertussis, speaking from your professional perspective as an expert in risk analysis of course.

    And while you are at it, you could also tell us which other vaccines you would tell her to have or to avoid, please.

  2. #2 dingo199
    September 13, 2012

    This is what you said, Ron:

    They [Arnold] say, “Crude case fatality rates due to epidemic strain meningococcal B disease for the years 2001-2008 are displayed in Tables 9 and 10. There was no evidence of a change in case fatality
    rates over the years 2001-2008″

    Go look at table 9. It shows the CFR had been dropping before the introduction of the MeNZB and then rose sharply. The above statement is patently false.

    However, this is what the paper actually says:

    Crude case fatality rates due to epidemic strain meningococcal B disease for the years 2001-
    2008 are displayed in Tables 9 and 10. There was no evidence of a change in case fatality rates over the years 2001-2008 (Poisson rates model, p-value=0.26),

    You have heard of statistics, I take it Ron? Or do we have to explain to you what a p value is, and what it means?

    When they say there was no difference between the fatality rates they mean there was not statistically significant difference, using the accepted Poisson method for events that are very few in number (like deaths in this case).

    You are nothing but a devious antivax troll. A sophisticated one, but a troll all the same.

    PS this might help:
    http://www.umass.edu/wsp/statistics/lessons/poisson/index.html

  3. #3 nz sceptic
    September 13, 2012

    Ron NEVER, EVER, concerned himself with meningoccal B victims who were handicapped but didn’t die. As far as he and Barb were concerned, they didn’t exist!

  4. #4 dingo199
    September 13, 2012

    Looking at Ron’s graph, apart from the amateurish charting and trend lines filled in “by eye” (and a wall eye at that), I wonder how he derived the data points, considering that for some years there were as few as 3 deaths.
    http://img.scoop.co.nz/stories/images/0611/7e8b4d00c61154bd7067.jpeg

    Ron, if you are still here, and better disposed to answer questions than you have been up to this point, can we see the source data for your case fatality rate chart (or a link to the original Ministry of Health data you claim your chart comes from), because without that I trust your graph about as far as I can chunder.

  5. #5 W. Kevin Vicklund
    September 13, 2012

    Leet’s see. The age ranges with the highest CFR were also the age ranges with the lowest vaccine coverage. We would expect CFR to rise if the vaccine is working!

    Also, note that there were 15 total deaths from 2004-2005. Yet Ron’s crappy graph claims that in the period Apr04-Oct06, there were 13 excess deaths. That means he was expecting there to be less than two deaths in a 31-month period.

  6. #6 Antaeus Feldspar
    September 13, 2012

    Narad, this is not a peer reviewed journal… if it was, people like you would say, “Hey, Mr Author, there appears to be doscrepancy, or error, or whatever…” that happens every day in the scientific publication world… here, it seems whenever some makes a mistake in a 10-second sound bite they get ridiculed and vilified….

    It sure sounds like Ron is saying “If I cited from peer-reviewed research, then people might point out where the research or [more likely] my interpretations of it are wrong. Therefore, the solution is clearly to cite press releases instead.” Actually, the real solution is stop saying s*** that’s wrong.

    It seems like the approach to take with Ron now may be ultimatum questions. A single ultimatum question at a time gets asked and the person is warned that if they do not give an answer themselves within their next three comments on any thread, that will be interpreted as them having given an affirmative answer (probably one they won’t like.) It’s an effective way of dealing with people who like to change the subject rather than answering a question they find inconvenient.

  7. #7 Ron Law
    September 17, 2012

    Dingoxxx asks, “Perhaps you can provide a coherent explanation for the finding that the incidence rate of epidemic GpB meningococcus within the vaccinated population was around half the rate seen in the unvaccinated population?”

    Dingo, perhaps you can provide a coherent explanation fro the finding that the rate of pneumococcal disease within the MeNZB vaccinated population was around half the rate seen in the unvaccinated (MeNZB) population?

  8. #8 Ron Law
    September 17, 2012

    W. Kevin Vicklund said, “Leet’s see. The age ranges with the highest CFR were also the age ranges with the lowest vaccine coverage. We would expect CFR to rise if the vaccine is working!”

    The big, big problem you have here Kevin is that for the three years from 2006 to 2008 there were no deaths in children unvaccinated with MeNZB… only thirteen deaths in MeNZB vaccinated children. Arnold et al conveniently never looked at vaccinated vs unvaccinated death rates…

  9. #9 dingo199
    September 19, 2012

    What is this – answer a question with a question day?

    Dingo, perhaps you can provide a coherent explanation fro the finding that the rate of pneumococcal disease within the MeNZB vaccinated population was around half the rate seen in the unvaccinated (MeNZB) population?

    Sure I can Ron, but please – after you….
    (I did ask first.)

    Again:
    Perhaps you can provide a coherent explanation for the finding that the incidence rate of epidemic GpB meningococcus within the vaccinated population was around half the rate seen in the unvaccinated population?”

  10. #10 dingo199
    September 19, 2012

    Arnold et al conveniently never looked at vaccinated vs unvaccinated death rates…

    Yes they did.
    But the crucial parameter when looking to see if a vaccine is protective against infection is …… wait for it…… seeing if it is protective against infection. Which it is.

  11. #11 dingo199
    September 19, 2012

    Ron, for the 9th time of asking…..
    Would you recommend mothers vaccinate their infants against pertussis?
    Yes or no?

    I now decree this is an “ultimatum question, and if Ron refuses to answer it means his answer is “No”.
    In other words, he is an antivaccine zealot, and happy to be recognised as one.

  12. #12 dingo199
    September 19, 2012

    And another unanswered question/request I have to repeat:
    Ron, can we see the source data for your case fatality rate chart (or a link to the original Ministry of Health data you claim your chart comes from)?

    Common courtesy dictates you should be able to point to the source of claims you make. If you cannot do so, then we must assume the claim itself is entirely bogus.

  13. #13 Jay Chaplin
    Fact checking central
    September 19, 2012

    One thing I always find pathetic are classic dumbass antivaxxer comments like “the vaccination aspect was a simple top-up… to fill the gap… but it was predicated on the masses being naturally immune”, asserting that herd immunity has nothing to do with vaccination. Wrong. The first print use of the term “herd immunity” was in the 1923 paper by Topley and Wilson “THE SPREAD OF BACTERIAL INFECTION. THE PROBLEM OF HERD-IMMUNITY.” The concept of immune individuals changing the likelihood of infection spreading to non-immune individuals was acknowledged and anecdotal until this time. The paper clearly studies mice, not “herd animals”, uses GI bacterial infections spread by an oral-fecal route, and specifically uses vaccination to investigate the changes to infectivity with a defined input of bacteria in the food pellets when the proportions of immune vs. non-immune individuals are changed.

    Ron, vaccination was not a “top-up” it was the origin of the term.

  14. #14 lilady
    September 19, 2012

    Oh cripes, stick a fork in Ron Risk Analyst…he’s *overdone*.

    Gee RRA, I love how you nibbled at my bait to stay posting on Respectful Insolence…after Grant banned you from his SciBlog.

    You’ve now provided Grant and all of us with the ammunition to use against you from now on…to eternity. Thanks chump.

  15. #15 Ron Law
    September 20, 2012

    dingo199 asked, “And another unanswered question/request I have to repeat:
    Ron, can we see the source data for your case fatality rate chart (or a link to the original Ministry of Health data you claim your chart comes from)?”
    .
    I have provided this… it was provided by the MOH through the Minister of Health in answer to a parliamentary question.

  16. #16 Ron Law
    September 20, 2012

    dingo199 then spits the dummy from his/her cot… “Ron, for the 9th time of asking…..
    Would you recommend mothers vaccinate their infants against pertussis?
    Yes or no?

    I now decree this is an “ultimatum question, and if Ron refuses to answer it means his answer is “No”.
    In other words, he is an antivaccine zealot, and happy to be recognised as one.”

    Dingo, making a decree proves absolutely nothing other than you making stuff up. I haven’t answered your question because it is a purely hypothetical question on two counts… firstly, it assumes there is a ‘pertussis’ vaccine… as far as I know there isn’t one… there are combo ones, but not a pertussis one per se. Secondly, I don’t recommend anything to anyone… I point people to evidence and let them make up their own mind.

    You can protest as much as you like, but the simple fact is I’ve never advised anyone against giving their kids routine vaccines. I was fully vaccinated (I take no credit for that)… our three kids were fully vaccinated, our two grand children are fully vaccinated… you can spit your dummy as far as you like, and make decrees till the cows come home, and then claim you are an objective minded skeptic… that’s your choice.

  17. #17 Ron Law
    September 20, 2012

    Oh, and I see that NZ’s MOH’s chief medicine’s regulator has complained to the coroner that his evidence was quoted verbatim on here… what a hoot!!!

  18. #18 Ron Law
    September 20, 2012

    Oh, and have you seen the recent Kaiser analysis of their patients and whooping cough… they’ve concluded that the vaccine is not the sharpest knife in the draw when it comes to protecting kids from whooping cough… despite very high vaccination rates… and >80% of kids thought to have whooping cough infection had negative PCR tests. they even acknowledged they didn’t know what the effectiveness of the vaccine was… despite some on here who claim it is >95 percent!!! It adds weight to my comments that their earlier paper out of colorado was junk-science.

  19. #19 Ron Law
    September 20, 2012

    dingo199 you say Arnold et al looked at vaccinated vs unvaccinated death rates…

    Where, in their paper, do they do that? It’s not there… if it was it would prove that no lives were saved… in fact it could be argued that MeNZB increased the risk of death (which it did).

  20. #20 Antaeus Feldspar
    September 20, 2012

    Dingo, making a decree proves absolutely nothing other than you making stuff up. I haven’t answered your question because it is a purely hypothetical question on two counts… firstly, it assumes there is a ‘pertussis’ vaccine… as far as I know there isn’t one… there are combo ones, but not a pertussis one per se.

    No, making a decree via ultimatum fights the slimeball tactic known as the ‘Gish gallop.’ Gish gallopers bombard their opponents with a huge volume of false and misleading claims, many of which they already know to be false; instead of winning because their logic and facts stand up to examination, they try to win by simply applying shameless dishonesty at a faster rate than their opponents can counter with painstaking truthfulness.

    It’s different when the gallopers realize that they may actually – gasp! – be expected to back up what they say, and face consequences if they can’t back it up. “What? You mean I can’t just change the subject when someone’s pointing out my lies? But that always worked before!”

    Your response is pretty poor. Dingo199’s question did not presume the existence of a single-purpose pertussis vaccine, any more than “Do you think a municipality should maintain a unit that responds to fire emergencies?” presumes a fire department that responds only to fires and not to medical emergencies, the way real-life fire departments do. And your claim that you don’t “recommend” anything to anyone is nothing but a technicality. No one bombards a comment section as relentlessly as you do without believing that there is some conclusion that everyone should be drawing and must be pushed into drawing. Refusing to come out and say what that conclusion is only makes you look evasive.

    (Frankly, it reminds me of John Stewart’s masterful takedown of Glenn Beck over Beck’s relentlessly stoking H1N1 vaccine paranoia and then refusing to say whether he’d gotten the vaccine himself. “what?? You’re okay with talking about your anal fissure on national TV, but now all of a sudden you’re delicate and coy?”)

  21. #21 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    September 20, 2012

    Read the ref… makes false claim in its opening gambit… Halstead did NOT introduce the term post-polio syndrome
    in 1986… it had been used some time before that… the Post Polio conference in 1983 even referred to a preference to use another term…

    It wasn’t an addition or redefining as occurred with the definition of polio… the post-polio atrophy and related issues were well known…

    Wrong again Ron; Halstead did in fact coin the term based upon the fact that a delayed re-emergence of polio symptoms had been previously observed. You missed the point entirely unsurprisingly and that is that a diagnosis of post polio syndrome did not exist prior to the acceptance of the term and suddenly, there were many who had a new diagnosis. No conspiracy, just medical science doing it’s job.

  22. #22 Todd W.
    http://harpocratesspeaks.com
    September 20, 2012

    Way to spam comments, Ron. Given that you would not provide a straight yes or no answer to dingo199, we must therefore conclude that you do not recommend that mothers vaccinate their children against pertussis.

    Also, you did not provide source data. You only provided links to documents that you put up. These are not the original documents. Given your dishonest behavior in the comments here, we cannot trust that the jpeg links you provided have not been altered or doctored in some way. This is why we ask for the original source materials – no one can make claims of lying or distortion.

  23. #23 Todd W.
    http://harpocratesspeaks.com
    September 20, 2012

    [John Stewart NY mob voice]Y’know. This here pertussis vaccine’s crap. I mean, it could kill ya and won’t protect ya anyway. But, you do what you wanna do. I’m just statin’ my opinion regardless of what science says. You choose for yourself; I don’t make recommendations, know what I’m sayin’?[/John Stewart NY mob voice]

  24. #24 W. Kevin Vicklund
    September 20, 2012

    Let’s see. The age ranges with the highest CFR were also the age ranges with the lowest vaccine coverage. We would expect CFR to rise if the vaccine is working!

    The big, big problem you have here Kevin is that for the three years from 2006 to 2008 there were no deaths in children unvaccinated with MeNZB… only thirteen deaths in MeNZB vaccinated children.

    As I said, the death rate is highest in those age ranges where vaccine coverage is lowest. Partial vaccination is included in low coverage. Here’s an example.

    In the 6-11 month age range ( the highest CFR at over 8%!), the ratio of un-:patially: fully vaccinated is roughly 5:80:15. The protection for each category is 0%/25%/80%. Factoring in the protection, the ratio of unprotected children in that age range is 5:60:3. That gives us about a 7.4% chance that any given death in that age group will not be vaccinated. Or about 1 in every 13.6 deaths, which means we would expect less than one death in the unvaccinated group if all deaths occurred in that age group (they didn’t, of course).

    This is just illustrative, not intended to be a full statistical analysis.

  25. #25 dingo199
    September 20, 2012

    Ron,

    I am delighted you fully vaccinated your family, and that you merely provide the true facts and let people make up their minds about vaccines. That being the case, they will rationally choose vaccinating over not vaccinating (since the risks of catching pertussis are 23 times higher if their child is unvaccinated than if they were vaccinated).

    From this we can conclude you are “Pro-vaccine”, and have left the dark side. Well done and welcome.

    Second, regarding your evasion – see comments above. You still act like a slimy weasel, pro-vaccine or not.

    Third, the data have not been made available for your ridiculous graph posted here:
    http://img.scoop.co.nz/stories/images/0611/7e8b4d00c61154bd7067.jpeg
    This chart you drew gives data points varying for each month from 1997 to 2006. Please can we see the data sources for these points. The MoH merely referred to some data on number of deaths, not fatality rates. As any idiot can see, your graph is of case fatality rates, which requires a denominator as well as a numerator to calculate it.
    What were they and where did you derive the figures from?
    In addition, can you explain why, if you had the data, you chose to draw by eye a “line of best fit” that was obviously done by hand and quite innacurate, and not a calculated line derived from linear regression?

  26. #26 dingo199
    September 20, 2012

    Ron, you said:

    “in fact it could be argued that MeNZB increased the risk of death (which it did).”

    Can we see a p value for that?

  27. #27 W. Kevin Vicklund
    September 20, 2012

    Dude, Ron doesn’t appear to even know what a Poisson distribution is. How do you expect him to be able to understand, let alone calculate a p value?

    Any competent risk analyst should know this…

  28. #28 W. Kevin Vicklund
    September 20, 2012

    Oh, and have you seen the recent Kaiser analysis of their patients and whooping cough…

    Yes, and it’s nothing like what you describe.

    they’ve concluded that the vaccine is not the sharpest knife in the draw when it comes to protecting kids from whooping cough

    No, they concluded that another booster was required, and that while it started out very effective (over 98%), the protection degraded over time, much like natural immunity to pertussis degrades. This led to a call for a better vaccine.

    despite very high vaccination rates

    Hey, you got something right! I guess my characterization of your description was somewhat in error.

    and >80% of kids thought to have whooping cough infection had negative PCR tests

    Where did it say that? “Children tested for” is a very different metric from “children thought to have”. For example, many women are screened for breast cancer by mammography. That does not mean that all of these women are thought to have breast cancer! These days, children with persistent cough get screened for pertussis because they *might* have it, not because they are *thought* to have it.

    they even acknowledged they didn’t know what the effectiveness of the vaccine was

    Really? Where? They certainly seemed to give lots of hard numbers on the efficacy. Broken down by time since vaccination, even.

  29. #29 Krebiozen
    September 20, 2012

    I decided to search for the Parliamentary questions and answers on meningococcal disease in NZ that Ron referred to on 09/11 above. It’s odd that Ron didn’t appear to include the following:

    6582 (2008). Sue Kedgley to the Associate Minister of Health (11 Jul 2008): Has the Ministry of Health undertaken or funded an updated effectiveness assessment of the MeNZB vaccine; if so, what is the effectiveness of the vaccine by age group, and number of vaccine doses administered; if not, why not?

    Hon Steve Chadwick (Associate Minister of Health) replied: Yes, the Ministry of Health funded an updated assessment of the MeNZB vaccine effectiveness using data to the end of December 2007. I understand that the analysis estimated meningococcal disease rates to be 2.8 times higher in the unvaccinated group than the vaccinated group (95 percent confidence interval: 1.9-3.9), with a vaccine effectiveness of 64 percent (95 percent confidence interval: 49 percent-74 percent). There was no evidence of a partial vaccination effect and there was no evidence that the vaccine effectiveness differs by age. As the assessment is for all those less than 20 years of age, data is not available for particular age groups.

    So, “the analysis estimated meningococcal disease rates to be 2.8 times higher in the unvaccinated group than the vaccinated group ” and they estimated “vaccine effectiveness of 64 percent”. That seems pretty good to me.

    When vaccination rates are high, of course there will be more cases in vaccinated individuals than those unvaccinated, especially when partial vaccination is not very effective and full vaccination is only 64% effective. Is this the Nirvana fallacy yet again?

    BTW, if death rates in vaccinated children are higher than those in unvaccinated children, isn’t that likely to be due to poor immune function leading to a poor response to the vaccine and greater mortality? Also, what is it with assuming that a downward trend in an epidemic disease would continue without vaccination?

  30. #30 Krebiozen
    September 20, 2012

    To clarify, I meant that death rates in vaccinated children who get meningococcal disease my be higher than in unvaccinated children who get meningococcal disease because they are more likely to have immune dysfunction that prevented them developing robust immunity from vaccination. I wouldn’t want Ron to misunderstand me.

  31. #31 Krebiozen
    September 20, 2012

    That’s odd, I could have sworn I closed those bold tags in the right place. Oh well.

  32. #32 Ron Law
    September 21, 2012

    ToddW, being a self-claimed skeptic, I’m not surprised that you would make up your own beliefs… you can think what you like… that doesn’t make it true…

  33. #33 Ron Law
    September 21, 2012

    Dingo199 says, “they will rationally choose vaccinating over not vaccinating (since the risks of catching pertussis are 23 times higher if their child is unvaccinated than if they were vaccinated).”

    Except, dingo, Kaiser’s latest paper in the NEJM makes a lie of that… it is impossible for a 95% effectiveness over all those years given their latest finding that the vaccine’s efficacy deminished 45% per year after the 5th dose… and they don’t know what the original effectiveness was… It’s easy to pluck a paper and claim it as the golden standard… of all the vaccines given to children, the pertussis component is the blunt knife…

  34. #34 Ron Law
    September 21, 2012

    So even at 64% effectiveness, what are the chances of 13 vaccinated children dying and zero unvaccinated children dying???????

  35. #35 Darwy
    Røde grøde med fløde
    September 21, 2012

    No, the paper isn’t a lie; it was a retrospective cohort study. It found that the risk of catching pertussis was higher in unvaccinated children.

    It wasn’t evaluating the efficacy of the pertussis vaccine.

  36. #36 Grant
    September 21, 2012

    I come back after—what is it, a week?—and Ron is still evading and trying to have the last word! Ha. Excuse my replying to several people in one comment, not the done thing, etc.

    dingo199,

    “I am delighted you fully vaccinated your family,”

    Given Ron’s age, the real question is not if he vaccinated his family, but if he would now and more to the point to answer your question, “Would you recommend mothers vaccinate their infants against pertussis?”, which he didn’t in fact answer.

    He referred to himself (irrelevant, that was his parents’ actions), his children (but how many years ago and what is his view today?) and his grandchildren (besides the point as what’s done to them is not his decision).

    You’ll note he did his usual word games to avoid saying ‘pertussis vaccine’ – silly really as he refers to vaccines targeted to pertussis throughout.

    Ron,

    “Oh, and I see that NZ’s MOH’s chief medicine’s regulator has complained to the coroner that his evidence was quoted verbatim on here… what a hoot!!!”

    Care to supply a source? (as a link) What matters is specifically what was objected to.
    If it were not supposed to be disclosed, then fair enough – and you’d think it would be the discloser that is at fault.

    It’d be interesting to know what the genetics lab think of you quoting them too.

    Krebiozen,

    “That’s odd, I could have sworn I closed those bold tags in the right place. Oh well.”

    Join the club. I get that with a tags (links)!

  37. #37 Ron Law
    September 21, 2012

    Grant, I really surprised you’ve resurfaced. ” I was fully vaccinated (I take no credit for that)…” What does that mean… mmmm, let me think!

    I said that I don’t give advice to people about vaccinations… I wonder what that means…???

    You are quite clearly out of the loop re the coronial inquest, and yet you pretend to be the expert… for what it’s worth, the MOH medicines regulator in chief included your sciblog in his complaint, which is interesting given you obviously haven’t read/heard any of his evidence. He complained about Orac too…!

    I see IMAC have released some science fiction… no doubt to try and influence the coroner… they can’t even get the amount of aluminium in gardasil correct… or what Drs Shaw & Lee actually said in their contributions… no doubt it will all come out in the wash.

  38. #38 Ron Law
    September 21, 2012

    As a matter of interest, believe it or not, when we critiqued the MeNZB campaign people within the system, including the MOH, would send/point me to information/documents etc unsolicited… the system still leaks like a sieve…

  39. #39 Krebiozen
    September 21, 2012

    Ron,

    So even at 64% effectiveness, what are the chances of 13 vaccinated children dying and zero unvaccinated children dying???????

    To answer that question we need to know how many were fully vaccinated, how many partially, how many unvaccinated, and what proportion of the population were fully vaccinated, partially or unvaccinated. We also need to know the efficacy of partial vaccination as compared to full vaccination.

    What if 100% of these children had been vaccinated? Would zero deaths in the (non-existent) non-vaccinated group still mean the vaccine didn’t work?

  40. #40 W. Kevin Vicklund
    September 21, 2012

    In the 6-11 month age range ( the highest CFR at over 8%!), the ratio of un-:patially: fully vaccinated is roughly 5:80:15.

    So even at 64% effectiveness, what are the chances of 13 vaccinated children dying and zero unvaccinated children dying???????

    Boy, are you ever incompetent, Ron. From the Arnold paper, we found that the effectiveness was 25% for partially vaccinated, and 80% for fully vaccinated. I even gave you the odds of any given death coming from the unvaccinated population.

    The protection for each category is 0%/25%/80%. Factoring in the protection, the ratio of unprotected children in that age range is 5:60:3. That gives us about a 7.4% chance that any given death in that age group will not be vaccinated. Or about 1 in every 13.6 deaths, which means we would expect less than one death in the unvaccinated group if all deaths occurred in that age group (they didn’t, of course).

    That means that there is a 92.6% chance of any given death being vaccinated. Using the Binomial distribution (look it up, you should know it, but you’ve already shown yourself to be incompetent at statistics), that gives a .926^13=37% chance that all 13 deaths were vaccinated.

    Now it’s not clear whether the 64% effectiveness applies to just fully vaccinated or all vaccinated, though it does say partial vaccination offers little to no protection. So let’s redo the above analysis twice, with a 0%/5%/64% effectiveness and a 0%/64%/64% effectiveness.

    Full vaccinated only
    Factoring in the protection, the ratio of unprotected children in that age range is 5:76:9.6. That gives us about a 5.5% chance that any given death in that age group will not be vaccinated. Or about 1 in every 18 deaths, which means we would expect less than one death in the unvaccinated group if all deaths occurred in that age group (they didn’t, of course).

    That means that there is a 94.5% chance of any given death being vaccinated. Using the Binomial distribution (look it up, you should know it, but you’ve already shown yourself to be incompetent at statistics), that gives a .945^13=48% chance that all 13 deaths were vaccinated.

    All Vaccinated

    Factoring in the protection, the ratio of unprotected children in that age range is 5:28.8:9.6. That gives us about a 11.5% chance that any given death in that age group will not be vaccinated. Or about 1 in every 8.7 deaths, which means we would expect more than one death in the unvaccinated group if all deaths occurred in that age group (they didn’t, of course).

    That means that there is a 88.5% chance of any given death being vaccinated. Using the Binomial distribution (look it up, you should know it, but you’ve already shown yourself to be incompetent at statistics), that gives a .885^13=20% chance that all 13 deaths were vaccinated.

    Whether its a 1 in 2, a 1 in 3, or a 1 in 5 chance of getting these results, it is clear that zero deaths in 13 being unvaccinated is not statistically significant. Although, I again note that this isn’t a true, in-depth statistical analysis, but rather simplified in that it assumes all deaths to come from the 6-11 month age bracket, which is not true.

  41. #41 Krebiozen
    September 21, 2012

    Thanks Kevin. I was about to do something similar when I felt myself losing the will to live, so I resorted to a reduction ad absurdum to attempt to make my point instead.

  42. #42 Krebiozen
    September 21, 2012

    Or even a reductio ad absurdum.

  43. #43 dingo199
    September 21, 2012

    Ron, so we see you can’t work out a p value, or estimate relative risks.

    Yet you claim to be a risk analyst?
    Can I sue you under the Trades Descriptions Act?

  44. #44 W. Kevin Vicklund
    September 21, 2012

    Dingo, it depends on if he is fraudulent or merely incompetent (services require mens rea -guilty intent- under the Act). You’d also have to hire him first, as I understand it.

  45. #45 Ron Law
    September 21, 2012

    Yep, I’m incompetent! Folk are saying that MeNZB was 80% effective… yet Arnold et al said in their vaccine paper analysis estimates MeNZB vaccine effectiveness to be 77%, and then we have Krebiozen quoting saying the analysis estimated meningococcal disease rates to be 2.8 times higher in the unvaccinated group than the vaccinated group (95 percent confidence interval: 1.9-3.9), with a vaccine effectiveness of 64%. which Krebiozen said was pretty good. When one looks at Arnold’s vaiicine paper he’s saying that is for ALL strains of meningococcal disease… in other words, according to Krebiozen, this is a ‘pretty good’ vaccine for ALL strains of meningococcal disease which of course is a total nonsense… this becomes patently obvious when one realises that their analysis also revealed that MeNZB was 56.3 percent. What a load of pseudo-science… if MeNZB was this good and this universal it would have been introduced as the first universal vaccine ever.

    Does anyone on the blog actually believe that a strain specific vaccine for meningococcal disease protected against all other strains as well as totally unrelated bacterial infections?

    If you do then you believe in woo-science as well as pseudoscience.

    And on that note, I’ll leave you to it… in the knowledge that so-called evidence-based skeptics are just as biased as woo-believers… in fact, if you believe the above then you are, by definition, woo-believers.

    Ciao-4-niao

  46. #46 Ron Law
    September 21, 2012

    Oops, my incompetence showed again… missed out the key evidence of wooness.

    Should have read…

    this becomes patently obvious when one realises that their analysis also revealed that MeNZB was 56.3 percent AGAINST PNEUMOCOCCAL DISEASE!!!!! What a load of pseudo-science… if MeNZB was this good and this universal it would have been introduced as the first universal vaccine ever.

    Does anyone on the blog actually believe that a strain specific vaccine for meningococcal disease protected against all other strains as well as totally unrelated bacterial infections?

    If you do then you believe in woo-science as well as pseudoscience.

    And on that note, I’ll leave you to it… in the knowledge that so-called evidence-based skeptics are just as biased as woo-believers… in fact, if you believe the above then you are, by definition, woo-believers.

    Ciao-4-niao

  47. #47 dingo199
    September 21, 2012

    Incompetent… quite obviously.
    And now we have the pleasure of watching Ron Risk Analyst displaying innumeracy as well as illiteracy.

    Firstly he seems to think that a vaccine that is 56% effective demonstrates marvelous preventative superpowers, whereas a vaccine that is 77% effective is useless.

    Then he demonstrates he is unable to read the detailed discussion in the Arnold paper (pages 60-64) which precisely explains why the pneumococcal notification rates were lower in the MeNZB vaccinated groups.

  48. #48 novalox
    September 22, 2012

    @dingo199

    Let’ see how long ron sticks the flounce.

  49. #49 DavidG
    September 22, 2012

    Anyone who knows ron knows he doesn’t flounce, and he deliberately doesn’t talk scholar speak. I’ve asked him why on several occasions. his answer was simple. most people don’t understand it , even many so called scholars. I’ve read Arnold’s papers and no amount of rationalisation can validate the meningococcal vaccine used in new zealand being 57 percent effective for pneumococcal disease.

  50. #50 Krebiozen
    September 22, 2012

    It’s a shame Ron has gone, I was going to ask him what alternative he would suggest for dealing with a meningococcal disease epidemic. Ride it out until “natural decline” takes care of it? I suppose Arnold was mistaken in his estimate that:

    Between July 2004 and December 2008 an estimated 210 epidemic strain cases (95% CI 100-380), six deaths and 15-30 cases of severe sequelae were avoided in New Zealand due to the introduction of the MeNZB vaccine.

  51. #51 Antaeus Feldspar
    September 22, 2012

    Well, well, well. “DavidG” shows up less than 12 hours after Ron flounces, telling us that Ron’s right even when “the scholars” can’t follow his genius. I wonder what a sockpuppet check between Ron and DavidG would find…

  52. #52 Krebiozen
    September 22, 2012

    The quote in my last comment was from Arnold 2011, just to be clear.

  53. #53 Grant
    September 23, 2012

    Antaeus Feldspar,

    If true, it wouldn’t be new for him – he tries to sockpuppet on my blog every now and then. (His earlier comment to me is clutching at straws, trying to insinuate fault in others whilst avoiding mentioning himself. That’s not new for him either. *Sigh.*)

  54. #54 AJ
    September 26, 2012

    If anyone here looked at what happened in India with Gardasil – the death from “presumed snake bite” but with no evidence of a bite, the problems with not obtaining consents from the girls and or their parents. The “placebo” used etc etc they might not be so keen automatically absolve Merck, and more keen to actually start creating a proper vaccine reaction register – so that noise (people randomly getting sick) can be teased out of the figures because the rates of post vaccination problems can then be compared to “expected” levels. At the moment with such a poor reporting system in place and doctors and nurses not willing to register possible reactions. Believe me – they often don’t even when the parent asks them to. The other thing I notice is MeNZB is being mentioned. While I’m sure many New Zealanders are proud that our kids were all fantastic test subjects for the latest Meningitis vaccine, I’m sure many of us would prefer that we as a country hadn’t paid millions of dollars to be part of a drug trial – one that we weren’t even allowed to independently verify. But it was a disaster – Meningitis deaths actually increased – although they were given to different strains to make it seem better. Far better we had paid money to improve the poor living conditions that spread the virus in the small part of Auckland where it was based. Yes there were cases in other parts of the country – but if you read the fine print almost all of them had come back from holidays with relatives in the affected region. Drug companies are powerful and have a lot of money to buy hearts and minds – but facts are what are needed to have the safest most effective vaccines and at the moment we are relying on the people who have the most to lose to provide us with those facts. It’s not good enough and it’s too naive to expect that they will be paragons of the truth when billions are at stake – even if they thoroughly believe in what they are doing – as our politicians did for MeNZB. So please cynic the heck up on both sides of this debate. Prevention of disease and sickness surely has to be the goal, but it can’t be without a little scientific scepticism – and strong oversight of what are in fact money-making organisations. I think probably the worst one at the moment is chicken pox – because it’s known to increase rates of shingles – an extremely dangerous complication – and one my relatives were not aware of because it is why they gave their kids the vacc – because shingles runs in the family. Better testing please. Better accountability please. And both sides should leave off parading the victims, because this debate needs to be decided on empirical evidence not horror stories. After all there is no such thing as a hundred percent safe, and anyone who thinks otherwise is simply kidding themselves.

  55. #55 Antaeus Feldspar
    September 26, 2012

    Shorter AJ:

    Until all vaccines are declared 100% safe, which of course they can never be, and until all fears that Big Pharma has faked important data relating to vaccines have been laid to rest, which of course by the nature of conspiracy thinking they will never be, we should err on the side of fearing vaccines and believing the worst rumors we hear about them. People on both sides need to think more critically, by which I mean people on the side of vaccines need to give more credence to the vague allegations that make me worried.

  56. #56 Krebiozen
    September 26, 2012

    AJ,

    So please cynic the heck up on both sides of this debate.

    You should take your own advice, since almost everything you wrote is not true.
    Gardasil in India? The problem there is not a dangerous vaccine, as Gardasil is about as safe as any vaccine could possibly be, but poorly carried-out trials leading to <a href="http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110622/full/474427a.html"unfounded fears about a lifesaving vaccine". In the developed world there are very robust vaccine safety trials and safety monitoring mechanisms in place, and in the last couple of decades far more problems have been caused by vaccines being withdrawn from use due to unfounded fears than from vaccines themselves.

    MeNZB […] Meningitis deaths actually increased

    No they didn’t. According to Hon Steve Chadwick (NZ Associate Minister of Health), during the 12 months preceding the MeNZB rollout, “15 people died from meningococcal disease in New Zealand.” and during the 12 months following the completion of the mass MeNZb vaccination programme in mid-2006, “nine people died from meningococcal disease in New Zealand”. Since the nature of epidemics is to wax and wane, it is difficult to say how many people would have died if the vaccine had not been used, it might well have been considerably more than 15, but as I quoted Arnold (2011) above, “Between July 2004 and December 2008 an estimated 210 epidemic strain cases (95% CI 100-380), six deaths and 15-30 cases of severe sequelae were avoided in New Zealand due to the introduction of the MeNZB vaccine”.

    If the vaccine had not been introduced and scores of children had died of meningitis, no doubt the same people now complaining about the vaccine would be howling for the blood of public health officials for not protecting them.

    I think probably the worst one at the moment is chicken pox – because it’s known to increase rates of shingles – an extremely dangerous complication – and one my relatives were not aware of because it is why they gave their kids the vacc – because shingles runs in the family.

    You have that completely wrong. Someone who has chicken pox is far more likely to get shingles than someone who has avoided chicken pox by getting the varicella vaccine. Your relatives have protected their children from getting shingles by vaccinating them. It is possible (but not yet certain) that in varicella-vaccinated populations older people may get shingles more than they used to as their natural immunity is no longer being boosted periodically by contact with children with chicken pox, but they can protect themselves from shingles by getting the zoster vaccine. Perhaps this is where you got your mistaken idea from?

    Better testing please. Better accountability please. And both sides should leave off parading the victims, because this debate needs to be decided on empirical evidence not horror stories. After all there is no such thing as a hundred percent safe, and anyone who thinks otherwise is simply kidding themselves.

    There is a risk associated with almost everything we do, and most of us simply minimize the risks we can control, and ignore the rest. We wear a seat belt when we drive, though we know there is a small chance of being injured or trapped in a burning vehicle by it in the event of an accident, because we know that the chances of serious injury or death are greatly reduced. Since whatever way you look at it vaccination greatly decreases our risk of illness or death, I truly don’t understand what your point is. Have you looked at the safety and efficacy studies that have been carried out on vaccines? Perhaps you should take a look at some on PubMed. You seem to have come across some misinformation and accepted it uncritically, which is ironic as that is precisely what you are accusing others of doing.

  57. #57 Krebiozen
    September 26, 2012
  58. #58 dingo199
    September 26, 2012

    AJ, others have addressed points in your post, but I’d like to ask you why you have resurrected the Indian Gardasil deaths issue.

    The idea that gardasil caused deaths has been debunked. There were deaths following vaccination (in the same way that there are deaths after reading the Morning Herald), but they appear not to be due to gardasil (or the Morning Herald)

    In an article from the April 9, 2010, edition of the Times of India, Dr. V.M. Katoch, director general of the Indian Council of Medical Research, stated that the four deaths in Andhra Pradesh were not due to the vaccine. He explained that, “two deaths were due to poisoning, one died of drowning, and another due to pyrexia of unknown origin.” The article went on to cite official reports from the relevant district officials that confirm that the deaths were not due to HPV vaccination. The two deaths in Gujarat were attributed to malaria and snake bite.”

    http://www.path.org/news/an100422-hpv-india.php
    http://www.dancewithshadows.com/pillscribe/gardasil-study-death-of-6-girls-not-due-to-vaccine-failure-says-indian-minister/

    Now what sources or evidence do you have to suggest that the girl who allegedly died of snakebite “had no evidence of snakebite”? I agree that these reports are slightly vague, coming indirectly from the Research Council Director General, and might just possibly be wrong, but you seem to have decided they definitely are wrong.

    I’d just like to know why you think that. Without knowledge as to what evidence has informed your opinion, we have to conclude you are suffering some form of cognitive dissonance or confirmation bias.

  59. #59 ken
    Reality
    October 2, 2012

    Thank you Ron Law- wish there were more like you!
    Diane Harper appears to be the most qualified to speak about Gardasil- I don’t bother to read any more comments by
    Orac’s fanatical followers.
    Latest earning figures for GSK as of 10/1/12-“Gardasil and GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK)’s Cervarix are the only two U.S.-approved vaccines to combat HPV. Merck’s Gardasil generated $1.2 billion in revenue last year, while Cervarix brought in $812 million for London-based Glaxo.”
    Connect the dots……

  60. #60 novalox
    October 2, 2012

    @ken

    And why would that be relevant to the discussion, necromancer?

  61. #61 David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E.
    freezing Finland
    October 7, 2012

    Since her daughter’s death, Ms. Renata has steadfastly refused to have herself, her husband, or any of her family tested for gene mutations associated with sudden cardiac or tested for idiopathic heart disease because she knows of no history of heart disease in her family if you don’t count the death of her daughter.

    I am saddened by the death of this woman’s daughter. But, that said, I’m really not convinced
    that she is in any way seriously sold on the idea that Gardasil killed her daughter. If she were
    that convinced, she could have the tests done and use that as fairly convincing proof for her
    case if the tests for anything hereditary came back negative. She cannot help but know this,
    since it would no doubt have been pointed out to her.

    I wonder if the anti-vax lot got to her first……

  62. #62 Grant
    http://sciblogs.co.nz/code-for-life/2012/08/09/dodgy-experts-in-the-coroners-inquest-into-jasmine-renatas-death/
    October 7, 2012

    David,

    You wrote: “But, that said, I’m really not convinced that she is in any way seriously sold on the idea that Gardasil killed her daughter.” – At the risk of opening this up again, there are two different ‘sides’ involved here. It’s reasonable to suggest that the mother isn’t (completely) sold on the idea that Gardasil killed her daughter. There is also SANE Vax and their views as to if they can use the inquest to their advantage. (As you’ll from Orac’s article, they were very quick to write about it after the hearing.)

    Regards: “She cannot help but know this, since it would no doubt have been pointed out to her.” – It was pointed out to her.

  63. #63 Krebiozen
    October 7, 2012

    ken,

    Diane Harper appears to be the most qualified to speak about Gardasil-

    Do you mean Diane Harper who was involved in clinical trials of Gardasil and Cervarix, a href=”http://www.badscience.net/2009/10/jabs-as-bad-as-the-cancer/”>who says, “I fully support the HPV vaccines, […] I believe that in general they are safe in most women”.

    I don’t bother to read any more comments by Orac’s fanatical followers.

    Going to a blog and posting a comment saying, in essence, “Lalalalala, I can’t hear you,” seems more than a little childish to me. Perhaps you would be more comfortable better off sticking to the antivaxx echo chambers where your blinkered and rigid beliefs won’t be challenged. Unless you have a little nagging doubt that they are feeding you lies, that is.

  64. #64 Krebiozen
    October 7, 2012

    What is that gremlin doing with all those quotation marks and greater than signs?
    Let’s try that again.

  65. #65 ken
    October 25, 2012

    gaia-health.com/gaia-blog/2012-10-25/gardasil-is-probable-cause-of-girls-deaths-brain-histology-study/

  66. #66 ken
    October 25, 2012

    casereports.bmj.com/content/2012/bcr-2012-006879.abstract

  67. #67 lilady
    October 25, 2012

    ken…do you think you could link to those reports of serious side effect/deaths from Gardisil vaccine?

  68. #68 ken
    October 25, 2012

    As long as you vote for Obama I luv y’all.

  69. #69 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    October 25, 2012

    Wow ken, gaia health and an abstract that you didn’t even read the full text for. Stellar.

  70. #70 Krebiozen
    October 25, 2012

    I have been looking at that Tomljenovic and Shaw article. There seems to be a curious lack of any controls in the study, so we have no way of knowing if the HPV antigens they claim to have found in the brains of these two unfortunate girls, using antibody-based staining techniques, are artefacts or not. If they are correct that “cross reactivity between vaccine antigens and host vascular structures” occurs, this seems not unlikely. If they are not correct a major supporting leg of their convoluted theories collapses. It doesn’t seem clear to me why they think there is a similarity between HPV proteins and cerebral blood vessels.

    Their theory is that the HPV antigens in the vaccine were taken up by white blood cells and that the immune response to the vaccine caused the blood brain barrier to break down, allowing these white blood cells to enter the brain where they deposited these HPV proteins, which initiated an immune reaction which turned into a massive autoimmune reaction because of the similarity between these HPV proteins and the cerebral vasculature. The resulting cerebral vasculitis then killed the girls.

    In Case 1 this occurred 6 months after her last Gardasil shot, and in Case 2, a 14-year-old with history of oral contraception and migraines, 14 days after her last Gardasil shot.

    In Case 1, the autopsy found: “Histological analysis of the brain hippocampus, cerebellum and watershed cortex allegedly revealed no evidence of neuronal loss or neuroinflammatory changes”. I just love the “allegedly” which apparently means that this cannot be true as it doesn’t fit with their theories.

    In Case 2, the autopsy, “revealed cerebral edema and cerebellar herniation […] no evidence of inflammatory processes or microglial reactions in the patient’s brain […] these changes were consistent with terminal ischemic-hypoxic encephalopathy”, which you would expect after a cardiac arrest. It is worth noting that stroke and heart disease are surprisingly common in females of this age, especially if they have been using the OCP.

    We are expected to believe these girls died of massive autoimmune cerebral vasculitis, despite there being no signs of this at all on autopsy. We are also expected to believe that the immune response to the vaccine results in a breakdown of the blood brain barrier sufficient to allow white blood cells to carry an aluminum adjuvant and HPV antigen complex into the brain.

    If this was the case, wouldn’t the vaccine allow all sorts of pathogens into the brain? Wouldn’t we see a large number of people given the vaccine suffering from serious brain infections? This theory seems extremely speculative and far-fetched to me, not least because large studies (of more than 40,000 subjects) find no increased risk of adverse events of the sort described here at all.

    As for the BMJ case history, I think the phrase, “the cause is unknown in 90% of cases” can be translated as “post hoc fallacy”.

  71. #71 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    October 25, 2012

    Thanks Krebiozen, S & T’s one trick pony show has become so predictable and them so blatantly dishonest that I can dismiss what they write out of hand. Also given the vanity press journal they had to publish in to avoid any actual peer review, it’s getting obvious where this dynamic duo is headed.

  72. #72 herr doktor bimler
    October 25, 2012

    In Case 1, the autopsy found: “Histological analysis of the brain hippocampus, cerebellum and watershed cortex allegedly revealed no evidence of neuronal loss or neuroinflammatory changes”. I just love the “allegedly”

    The ‘allegedly’ is there (I imagine) because they are examining tissue slides from the brain of Ms Renata, and not having access to comprehensive samples, they are quoting the autopsy report from the NZ pathologist. So nothing sinister.

  73. #73 Grant
    http://sciblogs.co.nz/code-for-life/2012/08/09/dodgy-experts-in-the-coroners-inquest-into-jasmine-renatas-death/
    October 27, 2012

    hkb,

    I still haven’t found time to read T&S’s paper – still tied up with reading for my own work… Do T&S indicate the location of their cases? (I noted SANE Vax reporting something to the effect “opposite sides on earth”, which struck me.)

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