Respectful Insolence

When I first started this blog, I had little idea of what I was in for. I thought I had some idea from having read a bunch of blogs and found role models whose blogging style I tried to emulate back in those early days, long before I developed the persona and writing style that most of my readers love and quacks and antivaccinationists really hate. Now that I’ve been at it for nearly eight years, there’s very little that surprises me. Much of the quackery, pseudoscience, and nonsense that I see is stuff that I’ve seen before and possibly blogged about multiple times before. I’m starting to see recurrent patterns in scientific studies that catch my attention as well. Arguably, the form of pseudoscience that I address the most frequently on this blog is antivaccine pseudoscience and quackery. Ever since I dived into it in a big way back in 2005, I’ve been coming back to it again and again. As a consequence, if there’s a form of pseudoscience in existence where I think I’ve seen it all, it’s antivaccine pseudoscience. Having seen antivaccinationists advocate the chemical castration of autistic children to facilitate the chelation of mercury (from vaccines, fo course) and seriously claim that shaken baby syndrome is really a misdiagnosis for vaccine injury, I am no longer easily surprised or shocked.

This next bit both shocks and surprises me. Just when I thought I had seen just how low antivaccinationists can go, they go lower. They go so low that subterranean doesn’t even begin to describe it. I’m referring to a vile little article I saw on the SaneVax website. SaneVax, as you might recall, is an antivaccine group with a particularly visceral hatred of the HPV vaccine (i.e., Gardasil), so much so that it spreads misinformation and pseudoscience far and wide about it, painting it as the most dangerous thing since Nazi gas chambers. (Yes, the Nazi allusion is intentional, because that’s how over-the-top SaneVax is in its rhetoric.) Whether it’s trying to blame a death that was most likely due to a congenital heart problem on Gardasil, claiming that childhood vaccines are contaminating children’s DNA with HPV DNA through “microcompetition,” promoting truly awful review articles trying to blame aluminum adjuvants for all manner of ills, claiming there are “pesticide chemicals” in vaccines, or teaming with a “brave maverick” pathologist in order to spread antivaccine fear mongering, few antivaccine groups bring the crazy home as powerfully as SaneVax. Indeed, SaneVax even gives that wretched hive of scum and antivaccine quackery, Age of Autism, a run for its money.

In an article by Norma Erickson, President SaneVax Inc. & Catherine J Frompovich, who bills herself as a “Consumer Health Researcher & Author,” I just saw how low SaneVax can go. AoA, you really need to crank up the crazy if you’re going to compete with this. Even Jake Crosby will be hard-pressed to top this. The article was announced earlier this week and is entitled A Parent’s Guide: What to do if your child dies after vaccination. And, yes, it’s exactly, what the title says it is. The not-so-dynamic duo justify the “need” for such an article thusly:

Vaccine-related deaths are considered such a rare event medical personnel/coroners receive no training to help them recognize telltale signs/symptoms, leaving survivors forever questioning the unexplained death of their child. This is not acceptable.

The SaneVax Team is pleased to announce the pending publication of A Parents’ Guide: What to do if your child dies after vaccination, on August 22, 2012 via VacTruth.com and SaneVax.org. The guide was created by consumer health researcher and author, Catherine J. Frompovich, and President of SaneVax Inc., Norma Erickson in response to multiple inquiries from parents, medical professionals and attorneys who were looking for a means to establish a causal relationship between vaccines and serious adverse outcomes.

The article is also crossposted at VacTruth.com.

Before I get to the actual article, let’s take a look at one other argument that Erickson uses to justify the need for this:

Consider the following:

The VAERS database was established in 1990 to monitor the rate of adverse events occurring post-vaccination. Since that date an average of 217 deaths per year have been reported, or one every 40 hours. The CDC estimates only 1-10% of adverse events are reported.

  • At 10% reporting, a death after vaccination occurs every 4 hours for an average of 2,170 per year
  • At 1% reporting, a death after vaccination occurs every 24 minutes for an average of 21,700 per year

These startling figures alone demonstrate a dire need for such a guide. One has to wonder why ‘public servants’ employed at the CDC, National Institutes of Health and/or the FDA have not already provided such a guide to medical professionals, pathologists and coroners.

To which I retort: Consider the following. VAERS data reports are notoriously unreliable. Anyone can enter a report, and saying that a death occurred “after vaccination” doesn’t really tell us anything. Did it happen within minutes of vaccination? Within hours? Within days? Within weeks? In the world of antivaccinationists, it’s not infrequent for deaths occurring after vaccination to be blamed on the vaccine. Indeed, we just saw a case of this in New Zealand, where Jasmine Renata died months after her last dose of Gardasil and her mother is trying very hard to blame it on the vaccine. So already that figure of 217 deaths after vaccination is highly suspect and does not indicate causation. Now consider this: Erickson is trying to imply that the “true” number of vaccine-related deaths is somewhere between 2,170 and 21,700 a year. But how many children die in a year? According to government statistics, in 2007 there were approximately 33,000 total deaths of children aged three or under (chosen because that’s when children receive most of their vaccines and because the numbers decline to only a few hundred a year per age from ages 4 to 12 in the entire country). So what Erickson is trying to imply is that vaccines are causing a percentage of total childhood deaths that is completely implausible. For instance, let’s be as generous and look at the total number of childhood deaths between ages 0 and 19 in 2005 (53,501). Using that number, Erickson is implying that vaccines could be causing as much as 40% of all childhood deaths. It’s even worse than that, though, considering when vaccines are given and that a substantial fraction of childhood deaths (more than 30%) are due to trauma, which is the single largest cause of death in this age range. Even the looniest antivaccine loon can’t attribute traumatic deaths to vaccines. The looniest can, however, given how some of them already try to claim that shaken baby syndrome is a “misdiagnosis” for “vaccine injury.”

In addition, Erickson’s numbers don’t make sense, except in antivaccine land. When you consider that child mortality rates have fallen incredibly over the last 75 years and continue to do so, her argument doesn’t even make sense. Use antivaccine “logic,” in which the number of vaccines have skyrocketed over the last 20 years. If vaccines were as deadly as Erickson and Frompovich’s deeply ignorant argument implies, child mortality rates should not be decreasing; they should be increasing.

So what is the purpose of this “guide,” and what do our not-so-dynamic duo recommend? Basically, they recommend that parents be prepared in case their child dies after vaccination to push the coroner to do unnecessary tests in order to “prove” that the death was due to vaccination. I kid you not. That is what they recommend. They also state that the “mommy instinct” trumps science:

Parents should realize their gut instincts most often are correct, especially about their child whom they have been taking care of since birth. No one knows a child better than his/her mother. Ideally, parents will have documented any new health conditions their child experienced after receiving vaccinations, e.g., screaming fits, seizures, fevers, etc. That documentation will be most helpful later on.

There is nothing a parent can experience that is more traumatic than the death of a child. But, when a death tragically occurs shortly after vaccination, time is of the essence. Usually, the coroner is appointed by government authorities. Parents need to know they have every right to request the pathologist perform post mortem blood and tissue assays/analyses, and to preserve the samples and data they reveal. Parents may need an attorney’s legal help and/or intervention to get the proper tests performed. Nevertheless, parents have every legal right to request an autopsy be performed, including certain tests looking for toxins, similar to what is done in drug overdose deaths. Parents also have the right to request storage of samples for future tests that are developed as new scientific discoveries are made.

In other words, store samples from your dead child against the day that antivaccinationists think of new dubious tests to run to “prove” that vaccines caused the death. Get a lawyer to force the coroner to do an autopsy, whether it’s indicated or not. Then badger the coroner to run a whole bunch of tests unnecessary to identify the cause of death. Remember how I was discussing how antivaccine quacks have taken findings of alterations in indicators of immune function in autistic children to imply that autism is a condition of abnormal immune function due to—of course!—”insults to the immune system due to the evil vaccines! They blame vaccines enough that they are even willing to subject autistic children to autologous mesenchymal stem cells, which tend to be immunosuppressive.

Based on this idea, not well supported by science (a massive understatement), Frompovich and Erickson recommend badgering the coroner to draw a “cytokine panel” of a bunch of common cytokines. Many of these could be elevated by a wide variety of problems that have nothing to do with vaccines or the immune system. Many, such as tumor necrosis factor, interleukin-6 and -8, and fibrinogen can be elevated fairly nonspecifically in very ill people. If they are elevated in the blood of a child who died unexpectedly, it says close to nothing about whether the cause of death was due to vaccines, and they are likely to be elevated a lot. For instance, Erickson and Frompovich recommend measuring C-reactive protein because “if inflammation is high, that would indicate vaccines were to blame as a small infant or toddler could not generate such results) This would indicate severe brain inflammation.” There’s just one problem. C-reactive protein is nonspecific, although it does have some value in the diagnosis of sepsis in infants and children before cultures come back positive, and high CRP levels are correlated with bad outcomes. In other words, what Frompovich and Erickson are claiming is utter nonsense. One wonders who the “medical experts” they consulted were.

Our duo also suggests that blood and tissue be tested for the usual suspects the antivaccine movement accuses of being horrific “toxins” in vaccines, including mercury and aluminum. It is here that they deliver a real howler:

Test for formaldehyde and Formalin—in particular–which would come from vaccines. Even though the body manufactures a little formaldehyde, large amounts would implicate formaldehyde, or Formalin especially in vaccines.

It’s amazing that an antivaccinationist admits that the body actually does make a bit of formaldehyde as part of its normal metabolism. That in and of itself is a victory. On the other hand, from this passage you’d think that vaccines are the equivalent of injecting a quart of embalming fluid straight into the bloodstream. In fact, the maximum amount of formaldehyde that an infant can receive at one time through vaccines is five-fold less than the amount of formaldehyde commonly found in an infant’s bloodstream. At most, a bunch of vaccines could boost the amount of formaldehyde in an infant’s body by 20%, and then even not that much because formaldehyde is rapidly cleared from the bloodstream. The statement above about how finding large amounts of formaldehyde in a dead infant’s bloodstream could implicate vaccines as the cause of his death is, as they say, so wrong it’s not even wrong. It’s black-hole grade ignorance, sucking any semblance of actual science out of the room and bending the light of reason around it, so that no enlightenment can even come near it.

And I didn’t even mention how the article advises parents to get bone density tests on their dead infants to “prove/disprove” shaken baby syndrome. What does shaken baby syndrome have to do with whether or not vaccines killed a child? Nothing at all. It’s the resurrection of the vilest antivaccine lie of all: That shaken baby syndrome is a misdiagnosis for vaccine injury. It’s not worth going into the details, because it’s all nonsense, and I’m now thoroughly disgusted at just how disgusting this “parents’ guide” is.

Frompovich and Erickson promise to update their guide periodically “as pathologists and MDs report back to us what they feel is necessary to ascertain cause of death revolving around vaccine issues.” I can’t resist mentioning that pathologists are MDs. More importantly, what doctors contributed to this “guide”? Whoever they are (if they exist), the sheer scientific and medical ignorance in this guide should be prima facie evidence that they are not fit to practice medicine. However, I fear that there are some doctors like this. How they got that way, how they forgot everything about medicine and medical ethics, I don’t know, but they did. Or maybe there weren’t any doctors at all helping the authors. I don’t know. What I do know is that I can still be suprised by just how vile antivaccinationists can be. Apparently trying to exonerate baby killers from being convicted of shaking babies to death by blaming shaken baby syndrome on vaccines isn’t low enough. Now they have to prepare parents, in the fortunately highly unlikely event that they lose a child, to pounce and try to find “evidence” that vaccines killed their child.

I also have a hard time figuring out just who this whole guide is for. After all, the parents who would be most responsive to its message don’t vaccinate anyway. All this “guide” can do is sharpen the pain of parents who have already suffered one of the worst things anyone can suffer, the death of a child. Obviously, Erickson and Frompovich don’t care. Their only purpose is to demonize vaccines, and, as they just showed here, they will stop at nothing to do it.

Comments

  1. #1 Pris
    The Dark Side
    August 24, 2012

    It’s amazing how vile these people can get.

    I also wouldn’t put it past some of them claiming deaths from trauma occurring after vaccination to be caused by the vaccination. Because magic. Or the EVUL vaccines mess with the brain.

    Formatting note: Could you make the font of the citations a bit bigger? The italics are a bit hard to read at that size.

  2. #2 Darwy
    Røde grøde med fløde
    August 24, 2012

    JFC, despicable doesn’t quite begin to cover my thoughts regarding this book. If I gave my honest opinion, this comment would be caught up for moderation, though.

    The body manufactures more than ‘a little’ formaldehyde; around 50,000 mg in an adult per day is manufactured. The liver is capable of metabolizing some 22mg/minute.

    While an infant is not the same size (body wise or liver wise), the amount of formaldehyde in a vaccine is quickly cleared – if there were an elevated amount of formaldehyde found in an infant’s body, it would be more indicative of a liver enzyme problem than a vaccine problem.

  3. #3 DurhamDave
    August 24, 2012

    So not only will the parents be undergoing a very traumatic time, but they will be undergoing more stress as they try to follow this ‘advice’ through then to find out it is false hope?

  4. #4 dingo199
    August 24, 2012

    “Test for formaldehyde and formalin”

    Do these loons not realize that formalin is merely a highly concentrated solution of formaldehyde (40%)? There is not “test” for formalin.

  5. #5 dingo199
    August 24, 2012

    and I also hate it when claims that “only 1-10% of drug side effects are reported” is used to extrapolate into the vaccine reaction field.

    We know that many trivial and inconsequential drug reactions are ignored, because they are already well described in the medical field (do you expect your doctor to submit a report that you feel a little dizzy some mornings after you take your antihypertensives?).

    We also know that the more serious a possible reaction, the better it is reported. I believe one study showed that serious reactions after polio vaccine had around 80% complete reporting. I’ll see if I can dig out the info.

    The trope that “1% of reactions are reported, so we can automatically multiply any report by 100 to arrive at the “true” incidence” is one put about by such luminaries as Clifford Miller, the antivaccinationist who publishes the “Childhealthsafety” propaganda website and who is Saint Andrew Fraudytrousers’ attorney.

  6. #6 Martin Ross
    United Kingdom
    August 24, 2012

    @pris

    You can make the font larger, in most browsers,by pressing CTL and +. Use CTL and – (the minus sign). When done, press CTL and 0 (zero) to reset to default size.

  7. #7 Militant Agnostic
    Deep Cover infiltrating a Wasabi terrorist cell
    August 24, 2012

    For a sufficiently broad definition of “after”, the death rate after vaccination is 100%.

  8. #8 Lawrence
    August 24, 2012

    Actually, based on the shear craziness that occurs whenever an anti-vaccine nut hears SIDS or “Shaken-Baby” syndrome, this is probably designed to provide “cover” or access to evidence that could raise “reasonable doubt” in trial, should parents be brought up on trial for child abuse.

    It wouldn’t surprise me at all if this was designed to do exactly that (create “evidence” for the lawyers.”)

  9. #9 herr doktor bimler
    August 24, 2012

    It is also worth mentioning that SaneVax and their maverick Dr Sin Hang Lee are in direct business competition with Gardasil, i.e. a substantial conflict of interest. Dr Lee was previously trying to market his home-brew super-sensitive nested-PCR test that would distinguish different strains of HPV. The idea was that if people found they harboured any of the 13 different strains that he reckoned were dangerous, they could step up the frequency of their Pap smears, and rely on colposcopies if necessary. He argued that this would be cheaper than vaccinating everyone. Unfortunately the NEJM wouldn’t publish his paper to this effect, and the FDA wouldn’t endorse his test (in the absence of details of how it worked, or evidence about its selectivity).

    So SaneVax bought him out, and bought all rights to his test — which seems to be the same test he is now using to claim that Gardasil itself is contaminated with HPV DNA, and that the bloodstream of vaccine recipients is likewise contaminated in turn even six months afterwards — and added him to the list of practitioners who are available to treat people who are worried that they have HPV DNA in their bloodstream.

    In other words, SaneVax have a large financial interest in arousing a political reaction against HPV vaccinations. They seem to be following a similar business model to Wakefield: prepare a kind of quasi-vaccine alternative, before campaigning against some widely-used vaccine in an altruistic, public-health-concerned way.

  10. #10 uknowispeaksense
    August 24, 2012

    One can only wonder how many deaths these idiots are responsible for with their loony misinformation?

  11. #11 MikeMa
    Back home finally
    August 24, 2012

    In-SaneVax and AoA will have another study to refute as it moves the cause of autism even farther from vaccines. Apparently the father’s age correlates to autism risk. Link to NYT article here.

    I haven’t the skills to determine the study’s value and reach but then neither do the blogging loons at AoA or their acolytes.

    I like Lawrence’s idea that lawyers and lawsuits might be behind this. That is what snared Wakefield and their is a LOT of money out there if you can make a case.

  12. #12 Todd W.
    http://harpocratesspeaks.com
    August 24, 2012

    Wow. So they’re telling parents to go anomaly hunting, thus biasing any observations from the start. Then waste money (theirs or the government’s…not sure who pays for autopsies and all that other testing) and time on things that have no one-to-one correlation with vaccines and are essentially useless when it comes to establishing causation.

    And testing for formaldehyde? Please. They’d need to rule out all of the other sources of formaldehyde exposure first (e.g., natural production by the body, foods, furniture, etc.). All they are doing is causing a lot of unnecessary waste and instilling greater fear, worry and anxiety in parents who will already be dealing with difficult things as is!

    @MikeMa

    I saw that Times article the other day and had a brief Twitter conversation with some folks. I wrote up my thoughts based on the little access I had to the data. Maybe Orac will be able to delve deeper.

  13. #13 MikeMa
    August 24, 2012

    @Todd W
    Thanks for the concise review. While causality is not certain, the study and others like it show that research on autism is generating ideas outside of the already dis-proven vaccine link. Continuing to throw money down the vaccine rathole returns nothing. Funding a wide net of autism related studies shows promise. Which way to we go?

  14. #14 Darwy
    Røde grøde med fløde
    August 24, 2012

    @MikeMa

    For the hardcore anti-vaccine cranks, it will ALWAYS be the vaccines. It is never NOT the vaccines.

    They’ll beat that horse until it’s atomized, and then beat it some more.

  15. #15 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    August 24, 2012

    For the hardcore anti-vaccine cranks, it will ALWAYS be the vaccines. It is never NOT the vaccines.

    And they particularly despise any research they perceive as “blaming the parents” such as paternal age, maternal obesity and in utero environment.

    Regarding the OP, I’m all for reporting any event that is temporally related to vaccines sans obvious non-vaccine causes. But this really is vile although not surprising given how desperate and insane these anti-vaxx groups have become. Sadly, I can rattle off the names of a dozen or more physicians/scientists who support lunatic organisations such as SaneVax.

  16. #16 Todd W.
    http://harpocratesspeaks.com
    August 24, 2012

    On the parental age thing and “blaming parents”, Art Caplan has a nice post up about the study and how it won’t convince the hardcore anti-vaccine types. He expresses frustration and heartache after reading the study. His post can be found here

  17. #17 Mrs Woo
    August 24, 2012

    Another sad thing about this “helpful publication” – all the alternative news outlets will take it and discuss its implications (that over half of all child deaths are vaccine-related) and use innuendo and supposition to come up with “more concrete” numbers to share with their audiences.

    I know there are alternative types that are too far gone. What worries me are the people who are trusting enough to wonder if the stuff reported is true.

  18. #18 AllieP
    August 24, 2012

    “Even the looniest antivaccine loon can’t attribute traumatic deaths to vaccines.”

    But they can sure as hell try. The VAERS database contains “death reports” from a teen who died in a car accident sometime after receiving Gardasil.

    The Gardasil witch hunt, whether it’s from anti-vaccine loons or misogynistic religious wackos, drives me nuts. I had to go to three doctors before I’d get one to agree to let me pay them OUT OF POCKET for the vaccine, since I was a year beyond the upper limit age rec. Insurance wouldn’t cover it, but it wasn’t contraindicated. And yet at least two docs just straight up wouldn’t give an STD vaccine to a single, sexually active, 27 year old woman.

    In other news, my whole family just got our flu vax. Bring it on, con crud. We’re all set.

  19. #19 palindrom
    August 24, 2012

    I found the linked table of “government statistics” to be quite amazing. Apparently, the safest age is 9 — only about 500 9-year-olds died nationwide in 2007. Of course, even ONE 9-year-old dying is too many, but the fact that the number is so tiny is a powerful affirmation of modern medicine and public health (including, e,g., seat belts).

    A few other points of interest:

    There’s apparent jump at 16, which I’ll bet is due to teenage drivers.

    The age with the largest absolute number of deaths is 82.

    There were a smattering of deaths at over 110.

  20. #20 palindrom
    August 24, 2012

    Addendum: Obviously, those very low mid-childhood mortality numbers would be much, much worse without — (drum roll) — vaccines! (cymbal crash).

  21. #21 dingo199
    August 24, 2012

    Completeness of reporting of vaccine-associated adverse events: Much more than the antivaxers would have you believe.

    As I mentioned earlier, I am sick to death of the antivaxers misusing the known low reporting rates of general drug related side effects to pretend that events as serious as death following vaccination are under-reported by a factor of as much as 10 to 100 times.

    Here is an article about the reporting sensitivity of some vaccine reactions on VAERS.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1615747/?page=2

    As you can see, the potentially more serious a reaction, the better reported it is (understandably).
    Vaccine related polio: 68% reporting
    Seizure after MMR: 37% reporting
    Seizure after DTP: 24% reporting

    My guess is that if deaths following vaccination were frequent enough to be followed, there might be a near 100% reporting sensitivity. In contrast, something trivial and quite clinically irrelevant such as a rash after MMR is likely to be reported infrequently (1%).

    In all, this is quite the opposite impression that InSaneVax & Co are trying to give.

  22. #22 Marry Me, Mindy
    August 24, 2012

    Palindrom – look up this page about Supercentenarians.

    http://www.grg.org/Adams/E.HTM

    Here is a statement buried at the bottom

    The actual estimated number of worldwide living Supercentenarians is more likely
    to be between [300 - 450] persons. For the USA, we predict something like [60 - 75]
    Supercentenarians. While the total number of validated cases cited above is only about ten percent
    of the suspected real-world total, it should also be noted that the bulk of the true Supecentenarians
    actually fall between [110 - 113] years old; hardly any ever survive to live past 115.

    There are still a few dozen people alive who were born in the 1800s. Their list includes 22 confirmed, and 40 total who were born in the 19th century.

  23. #23 Denice Walter
    August 24, 2012

    I agree with Lawrence and MikeMa: they’re probably creating evidence for suits. If you recall, even AJW may have gotten his start in this manner with a Mr Barr. He continues on this path- and hey, he’s only 55, do you really expect him to give up? It’s his metier!

    EBCALA is basically a group of lawyers, including Mary Holland, who offer continuing education credits for a vaccine ‘course’ they offer. There are other organisations ( ANH; NSF) and individuals identified with opposing vaccines and SBM worldwide. Krakow, Fucetola, Kennedy et al. And of course, we have whistleblowers like Steve Kohn.

    I searched the last Autism One’s schedule : there were nearly as many legal representatives presentting as there were crank scientists, alt med providers and parent-researchers.

  24. #24 Denice Walter
    August 24, 2012

    OT: but is germ denialist rabble rousing ever TRULY OT @ RI?

    Jon Rappoport ( today, Natural News) informs us that the uptick in West Nile virus infections “might be functioning as a cover story to conceal what’s really making people sick”. Needless to say, he opposes any spraying of pesticides.
    Another article there tells people how to deal with the spraying if it occurs in their area.

    Age of Autism has been on the story this past week.

    I imagine that the conspiracy mongering should go full tlit when they actually see planes spraying chemicals over their homes.

  25. #25 JGC
    August 24, 2012

    [Because ] vaccine-related deaths [are an extremely] rare event medical personnel/coroners receive no training to help them recognize telltale signs/symptoms, leaving survivors [unable to falsely blame] the unexplained death of their child [on those ebil vaccines]. This is not acceptable.<lbockquote.

    FTFY.

    I understand there's a couple of VAERS reports documenting childhood immunizations turning children into the Incredible Hulk or Wonder Woman. At 100% under-reporting there must be scores of potential Avenger's/JLA members running around right now–strange that we haven't noticed…

  26. #26 palindrom
    August 24, 2012

    MMM @10:46 — apparently, there is a small but determined group of folks who do competitive running up into advanced old age, but they don’t bother keeping a world record past 100:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masters_Athletics_World_Records#100_metres

  27. #27 qetzal
    August 24, 2012

    Of course, the more unindicated tests a parent can badger the ME into doing, the more chance that at least one will seem to be aberrant, just due to chance & random error. And I have no doubt that a single seemingly aberrant result will automatically be considered ‘proof’ of vaccine causality.

    As to the book’s intended audience, I agree it should be best received by hard-line antivaxxers. Unfortunately, I can easily imagine them recommending or giving it to parents who have recently lost a child, which I think would significantly compound the parents’ misery. Despicable.

  28. #28 Marry Me, Mindy
    August 24, 2012

    Palindrome – I started getting interested in this when we were going to hit 2010 and I started wondering how many people were still alive who were born in the 1800s. The best source was the supercentenarian website, although at the time it was not complete. However, now it is, and most of the supercentenarians were not born in the 19th century. We can start counting down to the last known 1800s or 19th century birth still alive.

    Then again, Besse Cooper is set to celebrate her sweet 116th on Sunday. However, I think it is probably not a good idea to wish her an early happy birthday.

  29. #29 Denice Walter
    August 24, 2012

    Orac wonders who this guide is for:

    for believers, in order to cement them into the fold more securely and to rally flagging interest in the cause;
    to spread amongst those currently ‘on the fence’ : a search of new converts via social media,
    for other wanna-be proselytisers to add to their own invective-drenched rants,
    for alt med media outlets to post alongside their regular mis-informational articles to drum up hatred for SBM and by default, support for their own agenda.

    These people will NEVER stop: welcome to the rest of our lives.
    I just made myself depressed.

  30. #30 dingo199
    August 24, 2012

    I can’t fathom how/why some of these tests would be in any way useful, never mind as a way to implicate vaccines in a death. Most will be of relevance solely to the illness that has caused the death.

    Notions that tests like C-reactive protein (CRP, a nonspecific marker of general inflammation, always elevated in any condition associated with inflammation or infection) are specific for brain inflammation from vaccines are completely bonkers. There folk have several kangaroos loose in their top paddock, if you ask me.

  31. #31 marcia
    August 24, 2012
  32. #32 Becky
    August 24, 2012

    Is this what was actually written? “The VAERS database was established in 1990 to monitor the rate of adverse events occurring post-vaccination. Since that date an average of 217 deaths per year have been reported, or one every 40 hours. ”

    This number is completely wrong — in last 22 years since 1990, if there have been 217 deaths, that’s one about every 37 or so days, not anywhere close to one every 40 hours.

  33. #33 lilady
    August 24, 2012

    I’ve always wondered why SaneVax *specializes* in Gardisal-related-vaccine-injuries. Does anyone else see some sort of connection with the doctor who claims he has developed for vaccine rDNA in human serum and tissues and SaneVax’s *mission*.

    (Unfortunately), I have seen a number of medical examiner post mortem reports, performed on kids who have died from vaccine-preventable diseases, and kids and adults who died from other infectious diseases.

    Here’s an outline from Cigna about the typical autopsies performed, including the types of tests performed. IMO, any parent who thinks they can *persuade* a medical examiner, or hire a lawyer to compel a medical examiner to perform a bogus test, has a slim-to-no chance of getting such tests performed:

    http://www.cigna.com/individualandfamilies/health-and-well-being/hw/medical-tests/autopsy-hw2451.html#hw2454

  34. #34 Denice Walter
    August 24, 2012

    @ lilady:

    I’m sure that if they search hard enough, there just might be a pathologist/ toxologist** willing to do whatsoever tests they like afterward.

    ** like Mohammed Al-Bayati’s on Christine Maggiore.
    IIRC, he has a veterinanian’s degree.

  35. #35 herr doktor bimler
    August 24, 2012

    Does anyone else see some sort of connection with the doctor who claims he has developed for vaccine rDNA in human serum and tissues and SaneVax’s *mission*.

    Oh yes. SaneVax and Gardasil are now in direct business competition.

  36. #36 lilady
    August 24, 2012

    @ Denice Walter: There may be some backwater areas in the United States, that still have coroners (political hacks who aren’t doctors), who call upon a general practitioner to do an autopsy.

    That Christine Maggiore *case* is ridiculous.

  37. #37 lilady
    August 24, 2012

    I was hoping you would comment about that cozy relationship, Dr. Bimler. My suspicious self questions how long those business connections have been in place.

    After the *number* you, Alison, Grant and Orac did on Dr. Lee…I really doubt that any medical examiner, anywhere, will release blood or tissue specimens to Dr. Lee.

  38. #38 herr doktor bimler
    August 24, 2012

    Searching the WWW for “Sin Hang Lee”,* Respectful Insolence is in the #3 position (Lee’s ‘cankercillin’ penicillin mouth-ulcer treatment is in #1, then there is a penumbra of SaneVax press releases spammed across the usual network of alt-health sites). So there’s a good chance that any interested medical inquirer will encounter different perspectives on Lee’s business activities.

    * Using Bing. Now that Google is customising its searches to one’s geographical location and previous search history, to ensure that you only learn what you already know, its returns are no use for tests of general visibility.

  39. #39 herr doktor bimler
    August 24, 2012

    My suspicious self questions how long those business connections have been in place.

    They claim in this press release that SaneVax officially launched in August 11 2010, and had recruited / bought Dr Lee by August 20.

    They claim to be concerned about vaccines in general, but concentrate on Gardasil alarmism –

    recent evidence has shown that HPV injections can increase the risk of developing pre-cancer lesions, by as much as 44.6%, if there has been a prior infection by vaccine-relevant HPV strains

    – and marketing their own rival products

    On a recent nationwide radio broadcast, Leslie Carol Botha formally announced the pre- and post-vaccination HPV testing services that will be offered by S.A.N.E. VAX, Inc. in cooperation with Dr. Sin Hang Lee, another professional who is fully behind the work of S.A.N.E. VAX, Inc.

    So that’s the business plan.

  40. #40 Liz Ditz
    Wandering around VAERS
    August 24, 2012

    Becky:

    This is confusing. The VAERS database for all ages and all vaccines reports “DEATH” as = 795 (If I did the query correctly).

    The vaccine injury compensation program reports that 1,088 claims for death.

    Taking the larger number, just for giggles:

    1,088 deaths /22 years = say 50 deaths per year, or a little less than one death per week.

    And of course we all know that the “deaths” reported to VAERS may represent real decedents whose deaths were unrelated to any vaccine exposure.

  41. #41 Krebiozen
    August 24, 2012

    lilady,

    I’ve always wondered why SaneVax *specializes* in Gardisal-related-vaccine-injuries.

    I suspect that the sex/death association has something to do with it, as well as the commercial aspects you mention. There’s nothing like sex and death to get the marks excited and reaching for their wallets.

  42. #42 herr doktor bimler
    August 24, 2012

    Here is SaneVax trying to keep another HPV-testing service out of the market. Obviously nothing to do with vaccines, but a direct rival to the SaneVax business.

    It is not clear whether SaneVax is still delivering the HPV testing service they initially promised. As of July 2011, “Milford Medical Laboratory will send the test results directly to your physician”
    (it’s a startlingly commercial web page that moves quickly from Concerned Public Health Announcements to the shopping-trolley stage — “Getting an accurate HPV test is easy, just follow these steps!” — with buttons to click if you also want tests for gonorrhea & chlamydia, $50 each).

    However, the subsequent law suit to keep Dr Lee employed at the Milford Laboratory stated that he needed access to the lab’s facilities to keep running his outside business.

    At any rate, SaneVax are still putting as much energy into kneecapping rival HPV tests as they are into attacking vaccines per se.

  43. #43 Composer99
    http://composer99.blogspot.com
    August 24, 2012

    Becky:

    The anti-vaxxers quoted are, if I am not mistaken, asserting 217 deaths per year, which ends up indeed being 1 death per 40 hours, according to the anti-vax version of VAERS. And of course, all of those deaths must be from vaccines. Amirite?

    However, as noted by Liz Ditz the actual version of VAERS shows 795 deaths since the registry programme began, or 36 deaths per year on VAERS. And, as we all know, VAERS does not, in and of itself, necessarily establish causality (or even correlation).

    Indeed, even if going with the NVICP numbers, it doesn’t follow of necessity that the deaths are all actually from vaccines, since the compensation programme has a lower standard of evidence overall.

  44. #44 Gray Falcon
    August 24, 2012

    Becky:

    This number is completely wrong — in last 22 years since 1990, if there have been 217 deaths, that’s one about every 37 or so days, not anywhere close to one every 40 hours.

    If they could perform basic arithmetic, they wouldn’t be antivaccine.

  45. #45 Grant
    August 24, 2012

    herr doktor bimler,

    Perhaps also worth mentioning with regard to the Jasmine Renata case is that Hilary Butler has been singing a similar tune on her website. She claims to have been involved with Jamsine Renata’s parents from the October 2010; Jasmine died September 22nd, which potentially has Hilary “working with” (Hilary’s words) Jasmine’s parents from little over a week after her daughter’s death. From the website you get the impression Hilary has been fairly closely involved (although it’s just possible that is mainly an impression she wants to convey to her readers).

  46. #46 lilady
    August 24, 2012

    Dr Bimler, you are incredible!

  47. #47 herr doktor bimler
    August 24, 2012

    Thinking of the SaneVax / Lee partnership, it occurs to me that Lee has a history of litigation against erstwhile employers and against the FDA (not to mention his vague threats to bring pressure on editors who won’t publish his papers).
    Best to act as if their lawyers are reading comments.

  48. #48 Grant
    August 24, 2012

    herr doktor bimler,

    “Best to act as if their lawyers are reading comments.”

    - From what I’ve heard elsewhere, that’d be wise.

  49. #49 Grant
    August 24, 2012

    MikeMa, ToddW, etc.

    I had wanted to get access to the full paper myself to write my own lay-person’s take on it. Probably a bit late in the act, maybe? :-) The basic thing that older fathers are associated with autism has been around a long time; from a brief skim of the main new aspect is pointing at an underlying mechanism that could be the cause of this effect (e.g. the de novo germline mutation aspect).

  50. #50 Denice Walter
    August 24, 2012

    @ herr doktor bimler:

    litigation.. against the FDA….
    I may be wrong but I do believe I have heard a little about that happening… let me think..
    a woo-meister, a former employee of that agency, David Someone… and the ‘winningest attorney’ against the FDA . Jonathan Emord..
    Seems to be the fashion.

  51. #51 Denice Walter
    August 24, 2012

    @ Grant:

    Precisely. The same as for schizophrenia.

  52. #52 Grant
    August 24, 2012

    “from a brief skim of the main new”

    should read

    “from a brief skim of the abstract, the main new”

    Sorry.

  53. #53 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    August 24, 2012

    From the website you get the impression Hilary has been fairly closely involved (although it’s just possible that is mainly an impression she wants to convey to her readers).

    Hilary Butler (formerly doctor’s secretary) has a pathological need to be relevant. She abuses the medical literature with the best of them and I suspect with her spectacular book failures, she’s looking for her last gasp.

    “Best to act as if their lawyers are reading comments.”

    - From what I’ve heard elsewhere, that’d be wise.

    Or would invoke the Streisand Effect.

  54. #54 Spectator
    August 24, 2012

    “Best to act as if their lawyers are reading comments.”

    So?
    There’s no law against expressing your opinion on the net. If they sue you, return the favor and collect from both the plaintiff _and_ the plaintiff’s lawyer. At least one of the two has something to lose, and you can attach the lawyer’s future income should they not have visible assets.

  55. #55 Spectator
    August 24, 2012

    Being passive will not bring results.

    Legislation holding an unvaccinated adult or parent of unvaccinated child criminally and civilly responsible for any disease outbreak traceable to them will substantially change the “me” vs “ouch” calculation. Leave people their right to opt out, while _firmly_ enforcing their responsibility not to become a deliberate disease vector.

    It would be interesting to see what happens when a wealthy anti-vax hobbyist spreads pertussis to someone else’ kids and numerous adults whose immunity has worn off.

  56. #56 herr doktor bimler
    August 24, 2012

    litigation.. against the FDA….
    I may be wrong but I do believe I have heard a little about that happening… let me think..
    a woo-meister, a former employee of that agency, David Someone… and the ‘winningest attorney’ against the FDA . Jonathan Emord..

    Some details of the litigation appear on Dr Lee’s HiFiDNA website. In Nov 2009 he announced an appeal to the 2nd Circuit of the US Court of Appeal, seeking to have the FDA re-re-consider its refusal to endorse his HPV genotyping procedure:
    http://www.hifidna.com/Press%20Release%20Pages/11_11_2009.htm

    The outcome of the appeal does *not* feature on the HiFiDNA site, but a little hunting reveals the Appellate Court tersely dismissing the appeal (“HiFi’s argument fails on both counts”… “HiFi’s argument on the merits also fails”… “the remainder of HiFi’s arguments [...] lack merit”):
    http://federal-circuits.vlex.com/vid/hifi-dna-tech-llc-dept-health-human-svcs-73037291

    The appeal relied on the argument that Sin Hang Lee’s test is more *sensitive* than the approved alternatives, but since he had not checked whether the virus he detects is present at all, the court was unimpressed:

    HiFi also argues that the FDA arbitrarily and capriciously denied its petition because its device, when combined with DNA sequencing, outperformed the FDA’s currently approved device because it detected more cases of the virus. But, as defendants-appellees point out, there is no basis for assuming that HiFi’s device’s results were correct and the other device’s results were not.

    Then there was the issue of the exact therapeutic claims Dr Lee could use to sell his cancer-preventing green tea. He corresponded extensively with the FDA through a series of petitions and appeals, but IIRC that stayed within the internal FDA mechanisms rather than enter the realm of litigation.

  57. #57 lilady
    August 24, 2012

    @ Science Mom: I don’t see any comments here, or on any other science blogs, that haven’t been based on the press releases and the content contained on the anti-vaccine websites.

  58. #58 herr doktor bimler
    August 24, 2012

    There’s no law against expressing your opinion on the net.

    Our host has better things to do than fluff around with ligitation, however frivolous it may be.

  59. #59 lilady
    August 24, 2012

    Dr. Bimler…how about the PCR tests for Lyme disease that Dr. Lee developed, which supposedly were more *specific* than the two-step B. burdorferi ELISA and Western Blot tests?

    The IDSA already fought that battle about *chronic Lyme disease* and won:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infectious_Diseases_Society_of_America

  60. #60 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    August 24, 2012

    It would be interesting to see what happens when a wealthy anti-vax hobbyist spreads pertussis to someone else’ kids and numerous adults whose immunity has worn off.

    While such actions may seem effective on the surface and certainly gratifying for some, it’s a slippery slope. On one hand, to use a recent example, the parents of the intentionally unvaccinated child who contracted measles during a Swiss holiday, brought it back to California subsequently infecting eleven children and causing over 150K in transmission investigation and quarantine costs may be a rather clear-cut case of charging the parents for reimbursement. However, what about a person who has been responsible about getting boosters, either primary or secondary vaccine failure occurs and they are identified as an index case in an outbreak? investigation?

  61. #61 herr doktor bimler
    August 24, 2012

    how about the PCR tests for Lyme disease that Dr. Lee developed, which supposedly were more *specific* than the two-step B. burdorferi ELISA and Western Blot tests?

    I was reading his paper, Early Lyme disease with spirochetemia – diagnosed by DNA sequencing. Apparently the PCR test is superior to the serology tests because it gives a positive response six times as often.

    The paper informs us that there is no need to test tje *accuracy* of PCR, for false positives are INCONCEIVABLE:

    Since the base sequence of the PCR-amplified spirochete DNA in this procedure is routinely validated by online sequence alignment algorithms with the GenBank database with a 100% identities match with an exclusive unique sequence for the molecular diagnosis to be established, there are no false positive results due to molecular misidentification.

  62. #62 flip
    On Jupiter apparently...
    August 24, 2012

    *Note to Orac: please don’t consider me a sock puppet. I’ve just changed the usual email address I used to a new one so I can finally get myself a gravatar.

    One has to wonder why ‘public servants’ employed at the CDC, National Institutes of Health and/or the FDA have not already provided such a guide to medical professionals, pathologists and coroners.

    Because they generally don’t provide manuals on what to do if people die (regardless of cause) anyway?

    Because medical professionals, pathologists, coroners, etc generally already have training on what to do when people die? Because that training tells them to treat all deaths the same way (in terms of investigation and reporting and following the data rather than starting with a conclusion), rather than pre-judge a situation by providing a manual per cause?

    Ah, so much silliness in so little space.

    No one knows a child better than his/her mother

    Yes, no child ever lies… and gets away with it. Of course, being a parent confers magical mystical knowledge about biology too. Man, I’m evidently missing out on superpowers – I should get myself knocked up!!

    Parents need to know they have every right to request the pathologist perform post mortem blood and tissue assays/analyses, and to preserve the samples and data they reveal.

    Wow, what a way to play on a grieving parent’s emotions. Talk about FUD. This isn’t for parents who lose children, it’s for parents who *worry* about losing them. (And what Lawrence says: cover for law suits)

    It’s black-hole grade ignorance, sucking any semblance of actual science out of the room and bending the light of reason around it, so that no enlightenment can even come near it.

    That has to be one of the best lines I’ve ever read. Beautiful!

    Or maybe there weren’t any doctors at all helping the authors. I don’t know.

    I mentioned this in a previous comment on a different thread Orac: there are an awful lot of alt-medders out there who hire ghost writers. Not saying it happened here, but it’s worth repeating because it wouldn’t surprise me if most alt-medders provide the “notes and research” and some hack writer does the polishing (the turd) without prior knowledge/experience on the topic.

    @Qetzal

    Unfortunately, I can easily imagine them recommending or giving it to parents who have recently lost a child, which I think would significantly compound the parents’ misery. Despicable.

    Meryl Dorey will love it then. She tends to badger parents like that anyway. And recommend others badger grieving parents too. Sigh…

  63. #63 Vasha
    United States
    August 25, 2012

    Um, is he saying that he never gets partial matches and always gets 100% matches? Or is he saying that he throws away partial matches and the perfect ones are still 6 times as many as anyone else finds? The former is technically implausible, and the latter gives no guarantee against false positives.

  64. #64 herr doktor bimler
    August 25, 2012

    My only experience with blood work is on the receiving end (and from watching the Andromeda Strain) so I am hoping that someone with more expertise will explain Dr Lee’s paper to us.

    The title puzzled me. Called me old-fashioned, but when I see the word ‘Spirochetemia’ I read it as an actual, incontrovertible report of spirochetes in the blood — as observed visually. As in the old pre-penicillin days of syphilis diagnoses: if someone had a positive Wassermann test, you would take a blood sample and put it under the dark-field microscope, and if there were the little dots of Treponema pallidum dancing back and forth like nothing else, that was spirochetemia. Or so I am told.

    So when I saw the word in the paper’s title, I thought “Oh good. They are observing Lyme disease at an incidence of six times greater than standard tests, but they are confirming each diagnosis with visual microscopy.” But then you read the paper, and in fact Lee claims that visual observation is useless (because the blood samples need to be cultured first, which takes too long) so the presence of spirochetes in the blood is inferred from the positive response to DNA.

    I have no idea whether Lee’s PCR test is actually in use at the moment. It is enormously well-advertised but no customer reports. There may be reports in the Chronic Lyme Syndrome forums, but I am loath to descend into that swirling maelstrom of madness. No-one else is publishing about it, on account of the procedure being proprietory, involving some unusual low-temperature annealing cycle [guessing here from the choice of 'LoTemp' as the umbrella term for Lee's procedures].

  65. #65 dingo199
    August 25, 2012

    Lee’s Lyme disease paper…..
    ……and how did his test perform in controls who were not infected with Lyme???
    Answer – he can’t say, because all 463 samples were from patients suspected of having clinical Lyme disease.

    How he can do a PCR study with no proper validation of the test or proper negative controls is beyond me.

  66. #66 dingo199
    August 25, 2012

    ETA – I see he found no Lyme DNA in the private physician patients, so I assume he regards that as a “negative” control of sorts.
    But it’s still odd he didn’t use controls not suspected of having Lyme symptoms.

  67. #67 has
    August 25, 2012

    Hai troops. Somewhat related: there’s an ongoing discussion over on Ars Technica regarding non-medical vaccine exemptions and the damage they’re doing. Within the thread, the [a href="http://arstechnica.com/science/2012/08/widespread-vaccine-exemptions-are-messing-with-herd-immunity/?comments=1&post=23204902#comment-23204902">following comment appears:

    Can someone point out where we can read the quantitative data supporting vaccines? Something like 95% of posters here are so confident they're safe and effective, they even seem hostile to anyone who disagrees. Yet I can't find the relevant data online. [...]

    Unfortunately, it was leaped on by a resident Arsian who decided the proper response was personal abuse. Regardless of what the OP’s motivations might or might not be, the question itself was completely valid, and it immediately bothered me that I didn’t know of such a resource myself. I did try pushing the troll in a more productive direction but they doubled down on the obscenities, and none of the other pro-vax posters came forward with anything either.

    Here’s what I suggested might provide a useful layman-accessible bridge between pro-vax information that talks purely in generalities without the numbers to illustrate and the pure research from the likes of PubMed that requires a specialised education to interpret directly:

    What would be handy is an easy-to-remember link to a page that graphs, say, risk-vs-benefit for each childhood vaccine at various levels of herd coverage from 0-100%, with references back to full sources to show it’s not just being pulled from the sky. Just the sort of thing to respond to legitimate requests, and take the wind out of less-than-legitimate ones.

    Anyone know of a resource like that which already exists? If not, that’s a pretty obvious deficiency in the pro-vax armamentarium which really needs plugged by folks with the appropriate skills (one of RI’s resident epidemiologists, perhaps?) and widely disseminated by all. Please feel free to lay in over at Ars with any links you might have, or stick them here and I’ll repost them later myself.

  68. #68 Grant
    August 25, 2012

    has,

    Small consolation, perhaps, but if it’s already that noisy, you’ll probably have your work cut out trying to get through anyway.

  69. #69 Grant
    August 25, 2012

    Has,

    More general, but might of use:

    The CDC has a ‘Why immunize’ page: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/why.htm

    There’s also the ‘History of vaccines’ website (historyofvaccines.org) that includes some material on herd immunity. It’s a more general site so hasn’t the sort of detail you’re looking for, but it’s nice site for all that.

  70. #70 palindrom
    August 25, 2012

    has — The global warming “debate” (deliberate scare quotes) already has a site pretty much like what you describe. This might be useful as a model for a similar vaccine site:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/resources.php

  71. #71 lilady
    August 25, 2012

    @ Has,

    The author of that article stated this…
    “For example, a measles outbreak occurred in San Diego when an intentionally unvaccinated child picked it up in Europe, and then returned to a school with a high rate of exemptions.”

    That “index” case was, in fact, a patient of Dr. Bob Sears, who advocates “alternative” schedules and also encouraged parents in his book to “hide among the herd”. His patient was SEVEN years old and still had not received MMR vaccines…nor did his siblings who also were infected. That outbreak was covered in this MMWR issue:

    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm57e222a1.htm

    The “easiest” references to each of the diseases that vaccines prevent (written for parents) is here:

    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/fact-sheet-parents.html

  72. #72 Denice Walter
    August 25, 2012

    @ flip:

    Why Jupiter? I doubt that you are either gaseous or dense.

    About writing woo:

    Mercola used to advertise for writers for his site, directly on the site- it’s no longer there, I checked.
    Mike Adams probably creates his own seethingly vitriolic prose but also gets regulars and ‘citizen journalists’ to write.
    Gary Null pens his own lurid verbosity and hires a few ‘scholars in residence’ to lend their names to his “foot-noted scientifc articles”- a struck-off Canadian doctor, a veterinarian ( pardon me, while I laugh for a minute)
    OK.
    He also puts up articles written by others for other venues, including some by intelliegnt, well-known people who may not realise what garbage their good names are being used to promote.

    These people ( especially) the latter two, are putting out tons of material on alt med topics, including films and ‘radio/tv’ ( internet) shows, promoting themselves as alternative media and NEWS that reach far beyond health issues.

    An evil cousin of mine ( and most of them are) suggested that we sceptics should write up total nonsense and send it off to Adams. I thought that it might be an interesting challenge to create internally consistent, romanticised, illogical tripe but haven’t because:
    I use 2 of my 4 names ( a semi-pseudo) and have hardly any internet presence under my FULL name..
    BUT what IS there contains very pertinent information about me that I wouldn’t want these people to get- I have been very careful to avoid them so far.

    However, I think that it might be a great project ( a Sokal, perhaps) for someone with less the lose than I do. Many folk @ RI could produce lovely, insanely un-realistic balderdash with a little effort.

  73. #73 has
    August 25, 2012

    @Grant: I’m not interested in playing with the anti-vax trolls; countering their obvious lies is trivial, and they’ll continue BSing regardless of how often they’re torn apart. That’s easy; even a layman like me can do that. What I can’t do is make a solid argument in favour of vaccines if I don’t have ready-made references from reliable third-parties to direct folks to – IANAD, never mind an epidemiologist, so I don’t even know where to start looking for such material myself.

    I’m bothered that a basic cost-vs-benefit comparison of the numbers – i.e. something that distills the vast PubMed firehose into a format the lay observer can instantly grasp – isn’t a slam-dunk to supply when a reasonable request is made. It makes the arguments for and against look like an equal He-Says-She-Says pissing match, even though one side actually has masses of hard-won data to back up their position while the other uses a magic 8-ball. The CDC site is very good at explaining the basic principles underlying vaccination and vaccine benefits vs risk, but ‘trust us, we know the numbers back us up’ isn’t a sufficient justification by itself (as the question poster noted). People need to see the data underpinning that reassurance in a form they can digest. It’s all about layering the data at different levels of depth so that there’s no single weak point where anti-vaxxers can insert a wedge.

    There must be something like a set of graphs that shows cost (vaccine injuries caused) vs benefit (disease injuries prevented) for various levels of herd immunity (say 0%, 50%, 80%, 90%, 95%, 100%) for various childhood vaccines. A picture paints a thousand words, yes? Like, say, a graph that illustrates the point at which a disease may be eliminated (assuming no animal reservoir), the point at which crossover occurs (where the number of disease injuries have been reduced so low they fall below the number of vaccine injuries), and the point at which herd immunity breaks down and disease epidemics start killing or injuring a significant number of people. (Bonus points if such graphs can also indicate comparative severity of vaccine- vs disease-induced injuries, additional costs to healthcare systems and working parents, and age ranges of those most affected such as infants too young to yet be fully vaccinated.)

  74. #74 Denice Walter
    August 25, 2012

    @ has:

    You have to be able to catch their attention with salient ideas about why their sources of information may not be as trustworthy as they believe BEFORE you hit them with research data IMNSHO. Remember that their off-kiltre data is usually supported by a scaffolding of conspiracies…
    But graphs are a good idea altho’ they have a few of their own. Bad ones.

    -btw- getting back to earlier comments,
    attorney Robert Krakow has an article about paternal age and autism risk @ AoA today.

  75. #75 Chris
    August 25, 2012

    has, here are some that might help:

    Historical Comparisons of Morbidity and Mortality for Vaccine-Preventable Diseases in the United States

    Benefits, Risks and Costs of Immunization for Measles, Mumps and Rubella

    J Infect Dis. 2004 May 1;189 Suppl 1:S131-45.
    An economic analysis of the current universal 2-dose measles-mumps-rubella vaccination program in the United States.

    Pediatrics. 2002 Oct;110(4):653-61.
    Impact of universal Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccination starting at 2 months of age in the United States: an economic analysis.

    Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2006 Mar;160(3):302-9. Review.
    Impact of specific medical interventions on reducing the prevalence of mental retardation.

  76. #76 has
    August 25, 2012

    @Lilady, @Denise: Again, I’m not interested in engaging the obvious trolls, nor do I care whether the motives behind this particular question are genuine or not. The request made is a valid one and stands by itself. Anti-vaxxers absolutely love to play up the costs of vaccination and play down the benefits. Having some cost-vs-benefit graphs that distil the original data into easy-to-read form allows you to make statements like “the graph shows that if the anti-vaxxers achieve 25% exemption then they will save 100 kids from hospitalisation and 5 of those from permanent vaccine injury, but they will hospitalise another 10,000 with 500 of those permanently injured and another 50 dead from the diseases itself”. The anti-vaxxers will weasel and smear and lie as always, but it makes it far harder for the bona-fide fence-sitters and naturally neurotic new parents not to notice exactly what’s going on, and it reassures them that when the CDC says mass vaccination is far safer than mass exemption it’s not merely one more argument from authority but one based on copious data.

  77. #77 Chris
    August 25, 2012
  78. #78 lilady
    August 25, 2012

    @ has: Todd W. blogged about the costs to treat one patient who requires in-hospital care for diphtheria or pertussis:

    http://antiantivax.flurf.net/costs/

    IMHO Has, if you want to appeal to the fence-sitting parents, cost breakdowns mean little to them. Why not use pictures of kids who have been diagnosed with a vaccine-preventable disease? (When I post on other open forums about vaccines and the diseases they prevent, the pictures that I link to, are always show-stoppers)

    You can link to this site, which has pictures:

    http://www.immunize.org/vaccines/

    Here, I’ve clicked on Hib disease and located the pictures:

    http://www.immunize.org/photos/hib-photos.asp

    See the infants gangrenous arm; it was amputated just after the picture was taken.

    Again, it is just my opinion, but costs of the vaccine-vs-costs of hospitalizations-vs-costs to investigate and contain an outbreak are “rather dry” statistics…of interest to statisticians and to doctors, scientists and public health staff. Parents need to see “proof” in the form of pictures of kids who are affected by a vaccine-preventable disease.

  79. #79 lilady
    August 25, 2012

    has: I have a post in moderation…with one too many links. Please stick around to read it.

  80. #80 lilady
    August 25, 2012

    Okay, I’m breaking down the post in moderation into smaller chunks.

    @ has: Todd W. blogged about the costs to treat one patient who requires in-hospital care for diphtheria or pertussis:

    http://antiantivax.flurf.net/costs/

  81. #81 lilady
    August 25, 2012

    (Second chunk)

    IMHO Has, if you want to appeal to the fence-sitting parents, cost breakdowns mean little to them. Why not use pictures of kids who have been diagnosed with a vaccine-preventable disease? (When I post on other open forums about vaccines and the diseases they prevent, the pictures that I link to, are always show-stoppers)

    You can link to this site, which has pictures:

    http://www.immunize.org/vaccines/

  82. #82 lilady
    August 25, 2012

    (Third and final chunk)

    Here, I’ve clicked on Hib disease and located the pictures:

    http://www.immunize.org/photos/hib-photos.asp

    See the infants gangrenous arm; it was amputated just after the picture was taken.

    Again, it is just my opinion, but costs of the vaccine-vs-costs of hospitalizations-vs-costs to investigate and contain an outbreak are “rather dry” statistics…of interest to statisticians and to doctors, scientists and public health staff. Parents need to see “proof” in the form of pictures of kids who are affected by a vaccine-preventable disease.

  83. #83 lilady
    August 25, 2012

    Regarding Dr. Lee’s serum PCR test for Lyme disease, I found another article written by Dr. Lee:

    http://ajcp.ascpjournals.org/content/133/4/569.full.pdf

    Notice, how he didn’t footnote the current CDC and the IDSA guidelines for the use of PCR testing for Lyme disease.

    According to the CDC and the Infectious Disease Society of America the gold standard for testing blood for Lyme disease is the two tiered ELISA then the Immuno-Blot. PCR testing is ONLY indicated for CSF paired with serum for ELISA testing and for synovial fluid paired with serum for ELISA/immuno-blot testing.

    I have checked various websites for the licensing of a PCR blood test and still find no licensing or patent of Lee’s PCR blood test. Now that his affiliation with the Milford Hospital Laboratory has ended, he apparently has closed down his Milford Medical Pathology Lab, as well. So where is he doing PCR testing for Lyme Disease and PCR testing for presence of the HPV vaccine rDNA in human blood or tissue?

  84. #84 elburto
    August 25, 2012

    In related news, on the heels of a UK-wide surge in pertussis and measles diagnoses, I am frothing with rage after finding out that mumps cases have doubled up here in God’s Country*.

    Thanks anti-vaxers! Thanks Saint Andy Wakefraud! From immune-compromised people everywhere, a big FU[ error 3825-968 : overflow in profanity buffer. CPU will reboot in order to prevent loss of composure. Please wait]

    Where was I? I feel odd all of a sudden.

    * The North-East of England. Mumpsville. That doubling of cases will no doubt soar even higher when half of the 18 year olds in the Home Counties land here in September, for their first semester at Uni.

  85. #85 Dangerous Bacon
    August 25, 2012

    Wonder if antivaxers who are gung-ho for the shotgun testing advocated in the article, also support testing in the event of an autistic child’s death for all the chemicals administered to these kids in the form of “biomedical” treatments?

    “I can’t resist mentioning that pathologists are MDs.”

    Well, thanks a bunch, Orac. :)

  86. #86 flip
    August 25, 2012

    @Denice

    I liked the icon – it comes from a pack of solar system icons, all with a funny little twist to the design. Jupiter is the one I liked the most.

    On writing nonsense for the woomedia, I had that thought too. But then I remembered I am honest and have morals, and went away.

  87. #88 lilady
    August 25, 2012

    @ Herr Doctor Bimler: Dr. Lee claims that his early diagnostic test for patients who are symptomatic (erythema migrans), for Lyme disease has implications for quicker diagnosis and treatment with antibiotics.

    The diagnosis of Lyme disease is a clinical diagnosis. The appearance of erythema migrans is diagnostic for the disease according to the IDSA Treatment Guidelines. It is not necessary to wait to test for B. burdorferi antibodies or the confirmatory Western Blot test.

    These *Lymies* and the Alternative Medicine doctors who treat them for *chronic Lyme disease*, are in some ways, crazier than the anti-vaccine groupies. Dr. Allan Steere, one of the foremost experts in Lyme disease has received death threats and was forced into having a security guard accompany him when he attended professional meetings and hearings about Lyme disease.

    We still have hearings in Congress about the *Global Impact of Lyme disease”

    http://ticktalklyme.wordpress.com/2012/08/14/congressional-subcommittee-hears-about-global-impact-of-lyme-disease/

  88. #89 has
    August 25, 2012

    @Chris: Thanks for the links. They’re obviously original research papers rather than distilled layman-friendly illustrations of the population percentages harmed by vaccinating vs not vaccinating, but I’ll punt them forward along with a few other pages like the CDC’s list of side effects.

    @Lilady: I appreciate the time spent finding those links, but they’re not what the Ars poster was asking for. When I say ‘cost-vs-benefit’ – I’m not talking about financial cost but physical cost: injuries and deaths caused by vaccination versus injuries and deaths caused by vaccine-preventable diseases. Perhaps I’d have been better using the phrase ‘harm-vs-benefit’? Apologies if I wasn’t clear enough.

    To quote the original request in full (with apologies to all for hijacking this thread some more):

    Can someone point out where we can read the quantitative data supporting vaccines? Something like 95% of posters here are so confident they’re safe and effective, they even seem hostile to anyone who disagrees. Yet I can’t find the relevant data online.

    Obviously, to make a rational decision about a vaccine, you need to know:
    * incidence of the disease
    * probability of each effect of the disease
    * list of adverse effects of the vaccine
    * probability of each adverse effect
    * effectiveness data for the vaccine, and failure rate, etc.
    * references showing that the list of vaccine effects is complete
    * references showing how accurate or reliable each of the numbers is

    With this data, you can verify whether it is beneficial or not to accept a vaccine for oneself or one’s child. Without all this, you have no scientific basis for trusting any injection.

    I looked at the CDC site, and it’s just a lot of vague generalities with few numbers or citations. But vaccines are so well supported by science, it should be easy to obtain all the info listed above. The pharmacos have to provide all this data to get the vaccines approved, right?

    If all this is online somewhere, there should be no controversy, just look at the numbers and verify that each vaccine provides a net benefit.

    She was quite specific: she doesn’t want scary or emotive arguments (remember, the anti-vaxxers can play that game all day too), just a side-by-side comparison of benefit-vs-harm numbers. Which is a completely reasonable request, caveat that such information needs to be summarised in a form a non-expert can quickly and easily digest, with links to more technical sources for those who really want to pursue the exhaustive details. That’s why I suggested comparative graphs that illustrate the harm caused by both vaccines and their corresponding diseases at various percentages of population coverage. It’s impossible to easily visualize how the two approaches compare just by reading through a written list of vaccine side-effects on one page and a written list of disease sequelae on another. (While I know nothing of epidemiology, I know a little about information visualization.)

    I’m surprised the CDC site doesn’t appear to include pages providing such side-by-side summaries. From what I can tell, there’s basic theory and anecdotes on the layman side and hard stats on the expert side, but a lack of unified summaries of the numbers in the middle to support the former position using data from the latter. I’m sure the numbers do back up the ‘get vaccinated’ position, but not having them on public display is an obvious weakness in the old anti-anti-vaxxer fortifications.

    C’mon clever ORACians, please help out a longtime RI lurker address the harm done by a supposed ‘vaccine proponent’ who thought the correct response to this lady was to call her a ‘lying c**t’. I get annoyed when anti-vaxxers piss on medicine, not least cos I’ve got medical ancestors myself, so it’d be hypocritical not to be similarly disgusted when a pro-vaxxer pisses on someone who asks a straight question. It’s nasty and it looks like a deliberate evasion. I’m disappointed the Arsians themselves haven’t done better, and I don’t have skills to tackle the hard stuff myself, but I know you folks are a lot smarter and well practised at this sort of thing.

  89. #90 lilady
    August 25, 2012

    @ has: IMO, I still think you are allowing that poster to drive the debate on a strictly cost of the vaccine versus cost of hospitalization, versus “human costs”.

    Here, try this PubMed citation about rotavirus vaccine:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19817595

  90. #91 Chris
    August 25, 2012

    has:

    Thanks for the links. They’re obviously original research papers rather than distilled layman-friendly illustrations of the population percentages harmed by vaccinating vs not vaccinating,

    The older paper that had the mucked up URL is more for the layman, and is very clear: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1435674/pdf/pubhealthrep00160-0015.pdf

    You might also try this CDC table (not attempting to any html):
    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/appendices/G/impact-of-vaccines.pdf

  91. #92 Grant
    August 25, 2012

    lilady,

    Hope I’m reading you right, the double versus is doing me in :-) It’s a funny old comparison, eh? – it can leave out all the “minor” cases that don’t end up in hospital and that those costs affect more than just the person who is sick (hospitalised cases or not). I think a point is the large-scale immunisation programmes are to benefit society as a whole, so you need to consider all the societal benefits not just, say, the financial aspect.

    herr doktor bimler,

    He doesn’t seem to be around as much (maybe that’s a good thing), other than his attempt to “have the last word” over in the ‘other’ thread by way a rinse-and-repeat effort, ignoring the earlier replies to his repeated claims. Krebiozen is still bravely trying to get him to see sense.

    has,

    The herd immunity effect will vary with different transmission routes and the various infectivity parameters so it’ll be disease by disease as you mention. They are modelling studies (and always entirely trivial); I’ve these those who oppose vaccines simply dismiss them out-of-hand as ‘theoretical’. That said, you might try searching pubmed for review papers rather than research papers (e.g. search ‘herd immunity review’); you might find something that gives an overview (e.g. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22561998)

  92. #93 mikel
    A saddened state
    August 25, 2012
  93. #94 Denice Walter
    August 25, 2012

    @ flip:

    Ah! You see, an honest person might create totally fictional ( and harmless) nonsense that will appeal to the natural-spiritual sensibilities of the alties so that it will be published at one of their venues, THEN said honest person must deliver the *coup de grace* wherein the hoax is revealed, illustrating that these people will print anything that fits in with their worldview. Even total fiction.

    Of course, I am not advocating that anyone actually proceed but I do think that it would be hilarious.

  94. #95 kruuth
    August 25, 2012

    Wow. Today’s “victim” is Leixuri Alcaide from spain….problem is that she started having issues that her doctors described as psychological over a year after she had the guardacil shots.

    I wish I could sue the car dealer that serviced my brakes a year after they put new pads on and I crashed.

  95. #96 herr doktor bimler
    August 26, 2012

    Here is SaneVax trying to keep another HPV-testing service out of the market. Obviously nothing to do with vaccines, but a direct rival to the SaneVax business.

    Further thoughts on this issue:
    – SaneVax is in partnership with Dr Sin Hang Lee, and claims ownership of his HPV tests.
    – A webpage at the SaneVax site is a shopping trolley for ordering this and other S.H.L. tests, touting for payment directly to SaneVax.*
    – SaneVax claims exemption from taxation, as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit corporation.

    If their lawyers are reading this — we know that Dr Lee’s lawyers read science blogs in New Zealand — perhaps they could explain how they reconcile this apparent conflict.
    ———————————————————————-

    * 5. Submit a $50.00 payment to SaneVax to cover the cost of each test ordered:
    6. Email SaneVax at hpvtesting@sanevax.org to obtain a requisition number.
    7. Take the requisition form to your doctor and inform them that you want this test to determine whether you have been previously exposed to HPV.
    8. Ask your physician to fill out the requisition form, with your SaneVax number, and obtain a specimen as outlined at the bottom of the requisition form.
    9. Either you, or your physician, will then package and mail the sample (as directed) to Milford Medical Laboratory.
    10. Milford Medical Laboratory will send the test results directly to your physician.
    11. You may wish to submit a claim to your health insurance company for reimbursement.

  96. #97 flip
    August 26, 2012

    @Denice

    Oh I agree – however, I’m not the one to do it.

    I do like the occasional Sokal…

    @hdb

    Quite clearly a good marketing tactic at SaneVax: get people to pay upfront before sending a sample, ensuring that you will want to harass your doctor until it’s fulfilled so you don’t waste your money. Any refund policy available?

    Hmmm… nothing obvious straight away, though one would think you could file a Paypal dispute…

  97. #98 lilady
    August 26, 2012

    My goodness who is Phillip Castle who posted on the Sane Vax blog?

    http://sanevax.org/hpv-cervical-cancer-debate/

  98. #99 Grant
    August 26, 2012

    lilady,

    His remark that he’s published >200 papers + Pubmed suggests:

    Philip E. Castle, American Society for Clinical Pathology, Washington, DC

  99. #100 lilady
    August 26, 2012
  100. #101 Grant
    August 26, 2012

    I’m impressed with myself that I’ve managed to beat you to anything :-)

  101. #102 lilady
    August 26, 2012

    Grant: My computer *skills* are dreadful..I have to depend on dear hubby for assistance. I do manage to find *stuff* on the internet. :-)

  102. #103 Darwy
    Røde grøde med fløde
    August 26, 2012

    Dammit, you guys have to stop posting when I’m sleeping. I keep missing all the ‘good’ stuff.

    /sulk

  103. #104 DurhamDave
    August 26, 2012

    Yes, curse all that living in different time zones. That, and forgetting to check how comments are going.

  104. #105 Heliantus
    August 26, 2012

    @ has

    Your idea has merits, and I see how useful it would be making information available to the layman (in the sense, a non-specialist, not in a condescending sense).
    However, I think the following point which has been asked of you on Ars is the cornerstone of the vax/antivax debate, and this point will not be answered easily:

    * references showing that the list of vaccine effects is complete

    To start with, it is asking to prove a negative, that there is no unlisted vaccine side effect.
    From a scientific point of view, we cannot claim that we know everything. We could be damn sure, but that’s not the same.
    More to the point, the antivaxers’ claim is that there are vaccine side effects, like autism, and now baby shaken syndrome, which do exist but are not recognized as such by the CDC, Big Pharma &co: from their point of view, the official list of vaccine injuries is incomplete, and on purpose.
    So the fence-sitters will find themselves back watching a “he said, she said” debate.

    Still, as I said at start, making harm vs benefit data accessible is a good move, especially since the antivaxers are big on “do your research”: we did, and here is the data we base our opinion on.
    Just don’t expect this data to end the debate.

  105. #106 lilady
    August 26, 2012

    Oh stop sulking Darwy. Some of us stay up to the wee hours of the morning in order to post here and connect with our pals from New Zealand :-)

    Did You see this listing of *specialists* who treat people who were *injured* by HPV vaccines?

    http://sanevax.org/medical-professional-listing/

    Take a look at *Dr.* Rebecca Carley’s *resume*. She is the looniest of doctors I ever came across>

    http://www.quackwatch.org/11Ind/carley.html

  106. #107 lilady
    August 26, 2012

    Take a look at Norman Erickson’s blurb about Dr. Phillip Castle. She claims he isn’t an M.D. Dr. Castle is a PhD and a M.D.

    http://sanevax.org/clinical-pathologist-wants-taxpayers-to-pay-for-hpv-gardasil-vaccination-but-discouraged-hpv-dna-testing/

  107. #108 lilady
    August 26, 2012

    has…try this link.

    http://www.ecbt.org/advocates/

  108. #109 Denice Walter
    August 26, 2012

    Provided for your amusement:

    Dan Olmsted has recently initiated a ‘Weekly Wrap’ @ AoA (which IMO should be wrapped and tossed); here are a few noteworthy examples of his reportage and deep thoughts:

    after a long, tortured path of involuted reasoning, he comes to the conclusion that survivors of anthrax appear to be REALLY suffering from the side effects of Cipro ( which was used to treat the illness).

    As as an aside, he notes that Dr Hotez leaving GW and Jake being there is a gain for GW ( as if the two had similar value to the university).
    Hotez maintains that intergenerational poverty in hot, humid areas contributes to the rise of tropical diseases usually only seen in the Third World and that we have a chance to act by creating treatments and vaccines.
    This observation is followed by a rant from Olmsted.

    Commenting on the effect of paternal age on rates of ASD:
    older fathers in the original group of autistics spent more time working with mercury. Olmsted and Blaxill have a book on the subject.

    He provides a list of American states with the highest and lowest rates of obesity and then, in a sleight of hand that defies analysis, concludes that those with higher rates of obesity have lower vaccine exemptions and those with lower rates of obesity vaccinate less. Another awful side-effect of vaccines!

    I didn’t look @ TMR because they are supposed to be observing ‘silent Sunday’: if only.

    @ DurhamDave:
    I sometimes feel as if there aren’t time zones: I follow markets around the world especially when there are financial crises evolving. At another time in my life, I had to keep track of important people in my life who lived zones apart and I travelled all the time . I seem to adapt easily but I haven’t ever done the 12-hour thing, so can’t say.

  109. #110 lilady
    August 26, 2012

    @ Denice Walter: A further view of the age of autism article finds these observations from Dan I’m Not Anti-Vaccine Olmsted:

    http://www.ageofautism.com/2012/08/age-of-autism-weekly-wrap-up-did-anthrax-killer-shape-public-health-policy.html

    “…By contrast, in the Hotez Weltanschauung, a new vaccine is the answer to whatever ails you. My approach is more nuanced. I favor vaccine choice, and I believe some vaccines clearly have proven to be useful public health tools (as we wrote in our book, “Vaccines have played an important role in public health, from the eradication of smallpox to the near-eradication of of the rubella virus that can cause fetal harm”). My co-author Mark Blaxill and I have written extensively about two: the polio vaccine, we’ve argued, ended the era of global poliomyelitis epidemics (although what caused them was in fact the interaction of pesticides with the otherwise benign polio virus, and the best outcome would have been to not cause them in the first place); and the rubella vaccine (although using mercury-containing treatments in pregnant women probably made autism one of the manifestations of CRS). The fact that we can see the value of vaccination in some cases has made us a bit unpopular on our own side of the fence with some, but we call ‘em like we see ‘em.”

  110. #111 Narad
    August 26, 2012

    Dr. Castle is a PhD and a M.D.

    This is actually kind of unclear to me, seemingly resting on the corresponding-author information in the 2012 JCO article and 2011 JID. Everywhere else it seems to be Ph.D. and M.P.H. It’s not that I particularly think that it’s relevant, but I have seen weird errors propagate by the journal route (although this would be a doozy).

  111. #112 lilady
    August 26, 2012

    You appear to be correct Narad The article I linked to upthread stated he was a PhD and M.D. This link and others at the ASCP website state he is an PhD and MPH.

    http://www.ascp.org/2011annualmeeting/news-events/news_plenary-session.html

  112. #113 Antaeus Feldspar
    August 26, 2012

    * references showing that the list of vaccine effects is complete

    Heliantus beat me to this one – this is a classic argument from ignorance, that side effects we don’t have evidence are caused by vaccines should be placed on an equal evidentiary footing with the deaths we know are prevented by vaccines.

  113. #114 Chris
    Neither here nor there...
    August 26, 2012

    Denise Walter:

    As as an aside, he notes that Dr Hotez leaving GW and Jake being there is a gain for GW ( as if the two had similar value to the university).

    Olmsted is a wee bit slow. Dr. Hotez was recruited by Baylor College of Medicine over a year ago: TWiP 29: Neglected tropical diseases with Peter Hotez.

    And one of his children is autistic:

    The notion that a vaccine expert would deliberately cover up the cause of a growing public health problem cuts Peter Hotez to the quick. That narrative suggests that someone like him — with firsthand knowledge of the devastation autism can cause a family — would stand by idly as medical science knowingly allowed thousands of Rachels to be put through the suffering that she and her family have endured.

    Olmsted is an idiot. And I agree with Dr. Hotez’s opinion about Barbara Loe Fisher.

  114. #115 Denice Walter
    August 26, 2012

    @ Chris:

    Olmsted blithely dismisses Dr Hotez’s discussion of a developing public health issue ( “neglected tropical diseases” ) and the need to create new treatments and vaccines by automatically echoing alt med blather about improving sanitation!

    Oh where have we heard that before? Actually, where HAVEN’T we heard that? AIDS? Give them clean water and vitamins. Et cetera.

    If we had a drink each time he wrote a blindingly unrealistic sentence, we’d be on the floor before we finished reading his article.
    Oo! I think I just invented new drinking game!

  115. #116 herr doktor bimler
    August 26, 2012

    Olmstead:
    although using mercury-containing treatments in pregnant women probably made autism one of the manifestations of CRS

    Do you think he’s aware that autism was noted as a manifestation of congenital rubella syndrome as early as 1951?

  116. #117 alison
    getting started on a new week
    August 26, 2012

    Some of us stay up to the wee hours of the morning in order to post here and connect with our pals from New Zealand

    Hi, lilady! (Might have seen you ‘last night’ but I was busy making cupcakes for the SPCA bake sale today & didn’t do my usual surfing – icing & keyboards don’t go too well together.)

  117. #118 Chris
    August 26, 2012

    herr dokter bimler, you are talking about the man who missed the Clinic for Special Children when he was “researching” the Amish population that it serves.

  118. #119 Grant
    August 26, 2012

    herr doktor bimler,

    You wrote: “Do you think he’s aware that autism was noted as a manifestation of congenital rubella syndrome as early as 1951?”

    I tried chasing after this a few years ago and found it’s based on very little research; from memory more-or-less one study of around 30 individuals. I can recollect thinking that confounding issues weren’t examined and there wasn’t enough to support such a strong claim of a link between congenital rubella and autism. (That doesn’t rule it out, just says the claim looked to me at the time to be on too weak a ground to be made so firmly. Then again, it’s not as if I spend weeks looking at this – perhaps there’s a wider literature I missed.)

    Autism itself was noted earlier, e.g. Kanner’s initial work on it was published in 1943.

  119. #120 Ivan Ilyich
    August 26, 2012

    I’ve recently noticed references to the work of Dr. William Torch, who claims a link between SIDS and the DPT vaccine, but I can find no reference in the Orac files to him. I’m wondering where he fits in the anti-vaccination crowd.

  120. #121 ChrisP
    August 27, 2012

    Torch produced two abstracts in the 1980s suggesting a potential link between DPT vaccine and SIDS. Unfortunately the data are not available to assess; however, the study was potentially affected by recall bias. That is parents were asked whether DPT vaccine was given in the period before the SIDS event. It is likely also that correlation played a role. The most common time for SIDS to occur is between 2 and 4 months of age. DPT is given to infants around that time.

    This very large study http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejm198809083191006 published in 1988, largely put the discussion to bed.

    The fact that the anti-vaxers keep quoting these abstracts as a ‘medical journal article’ showing the dangers of vaccination show you how desperately thin their evidence base is.

  121. #122 Chris
    Neither here nor there...
    August 27, 2012

    All I see is something by the geologist, Viera Schreibner, claiming he did a study:

    In Neurology, 1982, William C. Torch, pediatric neurologist, published “Diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus (DPT) immunization: a potential cause of the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)”. Torch looked at over 200 randomly selected SIDS cases, and in the preliminary data, on the first 70 cases studied, showed that two-thirds had been vaccinated within three weeks of death.

    Another article claims the paper is: W.C. Torch, “Diptheria-pertussis-tetanus (DPT) immunization: A potential cause of the sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS),” (Amer. Adacemy of Neurology, 34th Annual Meeting, Apr 25 – May 1, 1982), Neurology 32(4), pt. 2.

    It is not in PubMed, so perhaps it was a poster presentation. But it was thirty years ago, so much more has been done. Also the only PubMed cites for “Torch WC” are four papers done between 1970 and 1978.

  122. #123 Ivan Ilyich
    August 27, 2012

    Thanks.

  123. #124 T.
    August 27, 2012

    Andddd this make getting my second shot of Gardasil the day after tomorrow (accidentally, my birthday :D) so much SWEETER.

    There is no point in doing something that somebody, somewhere, really wish you weren’t doing.
    Just you have to be carefull to choose your “somebody” well. :P

  124. #125 elburto
    Valhalla. The afterlife is fun!
    August 27, 2012

    Denice – that drinking game is lethal. Even my vaccine-induced fatness(!) couldn’t save me.

    Oh, and my despairing comment upthread? I misspoke. Measles has doubled in this region in the last year, mumps has quadrupled.

    I’m glad I died of that drinking game, rather than encephalitis..

  125. #126 Mag
    August 27, 2012

    @Chris Correct me if I am wrong, but as there is one DPT vaccine per month between at 2, 3, 4 month or 3, 4, 5 months in many european countries (I don’t know where he made his study). With SIDS peaking between 2 and 4 months, and vaccinations rates relatively high, one WOULD expect to have that proportion of babies that received the vaccination in the three weeks before the event…

  126. #127 has
    August 27, 2012

    Quoth Heliantus:

    Your idea has merits, and I see how useful it would be making information available to the layman (in the sense, a non-specialist, not in a condescending sense).

    Yeah, it seems an obvious tool to have in the ol’ pro-vax arsenal; I didn’t expect it to be so hard to find. :/

    However, I think the following point which has been asked of you on Ars is the cornerstone of the vax/antivax debate, and this point will not be answered easily:

    * references showing that the list of vaccine effects is complete

    Yeah, non-sequitur; does not compute. Sounds superficially reasonable; just happens to ignore the whole nature of reality and inquiry. I’d be lying if I said OP’s questions were completely beyond suspicion (I’ve seen enough proven JAQ-offs ripped to shreds in these parts to know how that game’s played), but best to err on the conservative side: it could easily be a simple failure in logic, which you can’t blame lay-folks for periodically making. But if I laid into that without first providing the information that is reasonable to ask for, it’ll just look like evasiveness.

    Like I say, I don’t normally play this game, and wouldn’t have stepped into the breach at all were it not for the obscenity-spewing provaxxer hacking me off. I can rip into obvious anti-vax tropes because that’s just basic logic, but putting up a robust defence of vaccination actually requires some skill and knowledge in the subject. I can talk fine in hypotheticals, e.g. if a vaccine kills one in a million recipients while the disease kills one in a thousand, then even once you pass the crossover point where more folks die from the vaccine than the now incredibly rare disease, it’s still vastly better than not vaccinating at all. And I’m happy to tear into the passive-aggressive paranoid narcissism of the true believers, because that’s just fun. But I’m not good on the hard evidence side, which makes me just another hot-air spewer/big bad bully without it.

    Still, as I said at start, making harm vs benefit data accessible is a good move, especially since the antivaxers are big on “do your research”: we did, and here is the data we base our opinion on. Just don’t expect this data to end the debate.

    Indeed. But it’ll make clear to the genuine fence-sitters who’s acting in good faith and has the stats to back them up. “If your enemy goes to ground, leave no ground to go to.” Or, as in this case, leave no easy gaps in your own defensive layers for them to hide in, e.g. by presenting those stats as a side-by-side comparison that even a complete dummy can see means vaccination is a no-brainer of a harm-vs-benefit trade-off.

    Alas, the Ars thread is well past its best now (idiots citing NatNews links, etc), so I don’t think there’s much more I can add to it at this point. But ta for the ECBT link, lilady – it has some useful numbers on disease reduction, always handy even if it doesn’t paint a complete picture. I’ll pass that on too, along with my apologies for being no good at epidemiology. And, FWIW, I’ve already suggested OP drops some nice feedback on the CDC suggesting they put up a page with the sort of graphs that I think she (presuming sincerity) and I (being a bit thick and needing the help) would find useful.

    And now I’m off to be a longtime RI lurker again. Thanks to all, and if you ever run into any rogue epidemiologists bored for something to do then by all means pass on my suggestion. :)

  127. #128 Marcus J. Ranum
    http://www.ranum.com
    August 29, 2012

    What makes these antivaxxers tick? Are they conspiracy theorists, religious nutters, what? I can’t see any sense in why they chose vaccines to get all riled up about. Are they the same people who believe cell phones cause brain cancer? Has anyone ever done any studies about the education level, economic status, etc, of antivaxxers? Where do these people come from?

  128. #129 Grant
    August 29, 2012

    has,

    Another commenter (dingo199) on the thread about Jasmine Renata’s coroner’s inquiry posted this:

    http://www.who.int/vaccine_research/documents/WHE_Smith_presentation.pdf

    If you skip down to the page headed “(Approximate) Herd Immunity Thresholds for Infection Elimination” you have something in the direction you wanted, as a single slide. There’s also a reference (Fine, 1993).

  129. #130 ChrisP
    August 29, 2012

    Mag, Torch’s data came from the US I believe. The data is not itself available, so can’t be checked.

    The current US schedule is 2, 4 and 6 months, so the highest risk period for SIDS has 2 vaccinations in it, recall bias will place a vaccination close to the event.

    I came a cross this fun article by Harry Coulter. http://www.pnc.com.au/~cafmr/coulter/sids.html

    His Ph.D. dissertation was on the history of homeopathy, not in a biological field.

  130. #131 Grant
    August 29, 2012

    I have to add, re Fine 1993: there’s a paper that wants to be open-access, sod it.

  131. #132 Martin N
    Manchester, UK
    September 3, 2012

    wow, that VAERS database appears to be mostly hearsay and speculation from 3rd parties based on internet articles.

  132. #133 Matthew Cline
    United States
    September 5, 2012

    Even the looniest antivaccine loon can’t attribute traumatic deaths to vaccines.

    Sure they can! Kid tripped, fell down the stairs and broke his neck? He tripped because of dizziness caused by vaccines. Kid drowned in a swimming pool? Kid drowned because he had vaccine induced seizures or a fainting spell while in the pool. Same thing if a girl who received Gardasil drove a car and got into a fatal car accident. In fact, on another site, when someone pointed out that in one of the reports of “girl killed by Gardasil” the girl died in a car crash, the anti-vaxxer seriously argued that Gardasil led to the driver error that caused the crash.

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