Here we go again.

Every so often, criticism of the antivaccine movement builds to the point where it extends beyond the blogosphere to enter the national zeitgeist in a way in which people other than blogging geeks like myself start to take notice. It happened a few years ago, when washed up actress Jenny McCarthy teamed up with the antivaccine propaganda group Generation Rescue to sell her story of how she believes that vaccines caused her son Evan’s autism and managed to score an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show. It happened again three years ago, as preparations for the H1N1 pandemic were in high gear and antivaccine conspiracy theorists were in even higher gear. Or maybe they were just higher, if the “quality” of their arguments were any indication. It happened again a couple of years ago, as Andrew Wakefield achieved his apotheosis among antivaccinationists at the same time he fell into utter disgrace among everyone else, having had his U.K. medical license stripped from him, seen his infamous 1998 Lancet article that launched the anti-MMR scare retracted, and had his position as “medical director” at the autism quackery clinic Thoughtful House stripped from him.

Now, I think it’s happening again today. It’s not entirely clear why, but I think it’s in response to the recent string of measles and pertussis outbreaks. Whatever the cause and whether or not the disturbance I’m sensing in the Force is real or not, one thing you can almost always count on when criticism of the antivaccine crankosphere reaches a certain crescendo, it’s that someone on ostensibly “our” side, someone respectable, will decide to start criticizing those of us who devote a significant portion of our writing time to studying and countering the antivaccine movement for being too “strident.” Part of that critique almost always involves claiming that we are being too harsh on antivaccine parents, that we don’t understand, and—oh, by the way—can’t we all just get along? Yes, in essence, this countercriticism usually comes in the form of an article that is one massive exercise in tone trolling. This time around, it’s by a Canadian academic named Alan Cassels for the blog Pharmawatch Canada in the form of a post with a title that will induce cringes (and probably more than a little bit of ridicule) from some of us who deal with antivaccine propaganda), entitled Time to outlaw vaccine propaganda: Are we taking the easy way out by labeling vaccine questioners anti-science loonies?. The short answer is no. (Actually, it’s not just “no” but “Hell, no!”). The long answer follows.

Cassels begins by asking the following questions:

Are lifesaving vaccines being ignored by parents because of illegitimate safety concerns?

I could make this one of the shortest Orac posts ever written by using the short answer to this question (“yes”), but you know I have a hard time doing that, particularly when responding in longer form gives me the opportunity to produce entertaining riffs that amuse myself (and hopefully you). Before I do that, I’ll point out that Cassels uses as examples of what he refers to as “prominent health pundits” commenting on the situation. For instance, he cites André Picard at The Globe and Mail saying that the decline in vaccination rates in the U.K. is the result of parents “shunning vaccination in small but significant numbers because of imaginary fears largely concocted by quacks and charlatans,” a point I can’t argue with and have made myself on numerous occasions. Also cited is a good bud, Steve Salzberg, who criticized certain well-known antivaccine doctors for using “their medical degrees and their faux concern ‘for the children’ to frighten parents into keeping their kids unvaccinated.” Again, it’s a point I fully agree with, as is Salberg’s indictment of media complicity in spreading the antivaccine message. Indeed, these things are so mind-numbingly obvious to anyone of a science-based bent that it’s hard to imagine that Cassels doesn’t see them. Either he’s not of a science-based bent or he has a bit of an ideological bug up his butt about vaccines. Alternatively, maybe he’s one of those guys who just doesn’t like “experts” and sees them as “arrogant.” Let’s find out.

Cassels grudgingly concedes that maybe, just maybe, the media might be feeding antivaccine hysteria and that we “certainly have our share of charlatans and quacks in cyberspace, aided and abetted by cyberchondriacs of all stripes,” observations whose obviousness is only rivaled by its banality, not to mention the lack of mooring in reality his dismissal of antivaccine fear mongering as an important contributing factor to parents’ fears demonstrates. In particular, the media in the U.K. was arguably the most important factor in allowing Andrew Wakefield to spread his misinformation pseudoscience about the MMR vaccine that blames it for causing autism in the face of no evidence that it does and overwhelming evidence that it does not. I’ve said it time and time again, the U.K. media aided and abetted Wakefield. In fact, you could even say that the U.K media created Wakefield. In any case, these faux profound observations lead Cassels to state that there is “real fear among parents, a fear that is palpable.” Of course it is! It takes only a few minutes’ online exposure to hype “illegitimate fears.”

He next asks, “What is at the heart of these concerns? Can it really be due to vaccine fear-mongering?” Once again, I’m half-tempted simply to say that, yes, it really can be due to vaccine fear mongering, but I do feel somewhat obligated to follow my answer up by asking Cassels: Are you on crack? Have you seen antivaccine websites? Have you ever personally delved into antivaccine discussion forums? Have you ever lurked at MotheringDotCom (MDC), that website for “natural” mothering that many new mothers find (because its forums rank high on Google searches for important parenting topics) whose forums are the most wretched hives of antivaccine scum and quackery? Have you ever read, which is as highly trafficked a website as the NIH website, a website that relentlessly attacks vaccines on a near-daily basis and whose owner has helped that antivaccine group National Vaccine Information Center to place its advertising in various high profile places? I think the answer is obvious. The answer is either “no,” or it’s that Cassels has antivaccine tendencies himself—or perhaps a combination of the two.

Because Cassels tells me that it’s such a horrible thing to call people antivaccine, for the moment I’ll choose the option that he is clueless about the antivaccine movement rather than sympathetic to it. However, as far as I’m concerned, it’s not wrong to tell it like it is if you have evidence to back your opinion up, and when I see antivaccine words and actions, I call it as I see it, and what I see is Cassels regurgitating antivaccine propaganda that he clearly knows nothing about and does not recognize as antivaccine proganda. This parroting reaches its height in the following passages, in the first of which Cassels answers his own question about whether the fears of parents can be due to antivaccine fear mongering:

I don’t think it [parents’ fear] is [due to antivaccine fear mongering]. Parents just want to keep potentially harmful things away from their children. And they turn to health experts for guidance, but here’s my take on things: health authorities often fail to acknowledge the risks of some vaccines, refuse to discuss uncertainty over a vaccine’s effectiveness, hype the seriousness of common everyday viruses (c’mon folks, really? The flu? Chicken pox?) and keep piling more and more vaccines onto the list of ‘recommended’ childhood shots threatening to turn our kids into pincushions. Now you’ve got a recipe for even more skepticism and fear-mongering.

All of which is utter nonsense, the proverbial load of rotting, fetid dingo’s kidneys. First off, his dismissal of the flu reveals such enormous ignorance that it’s hard to take him seriously. The flu can kill, and does kill, each and every flu season. (Perhaps Cassels doesn’t think there could be another pandemic like the influenza pandemic of 1918, which killed millions and might have killed more people than the Black Death.) Chicken pox can result in serious complications.

Also, if Cassels thinks that health authorities don’t discuss uncertainty about some vaccines with the public, he is obviously not paying attention. Yes, parents want to keep their children safe. No one, least of all those of us trying to do our best to counter the misinformation, pseudoscience, and fear mongering of the antivaccine movement, say otherwise. None of us doubt the sincerity of these parents. There is one thing that Cassels clearly doesn’t understand. There are two general types of parents who fear vaccines. There are the leaders of the antivaccine movement, who do their best to spread misinformation and fear about vaccines in order to dissuade parents from vaccinating through the use of what I like to call “misinformed consent,” in which they massively exaggerate (or outright make up) risks of vaccination and similarly massively minimize their effectiveness. Whatever their reasons for being antivaccine, be it the mistaken belief that vaccines somehow caused autism in their child, the usually mistaken belief that vaccines somehow injured their child, or philosophical leanings that make them distrust authority or pharmaceutical companies and believe that “natural is better,” this is what they do.

Then there is the target audience for the antivaccine movement: The much larger group of great undecideds. These are parents who might have a tendency to distrust authority, prefer “natural” over pharmaceutical, or other leanings that might make them worry about vaccines. These parents are not antivaccine, but they are susceptible to the propaganda spread by the antivaccine movement. This is our target as well. I, for one, realize that I can’t persuade die-hard antivaccinationists like J.B. Handley, Dan Olmsted, Jake Crosby, Mark Blaxill, or Barbara Loe Fisher that the “injuries” that they ascribe to vaccines have no basis in evidence. I can, however, persuade the fence-sitters. To Cassels, however, all of these parents, the hard core antivaccinationists and the undecideds, seem to be all the same.e

Cassels then refers to recent outbreaks of pertussis, which, as I’ve described, appear to be due to waning immunity, not because the vaccine doesn’t work, as the antivaccine movement tries to claim (and, apparently, Cassels seems to be implying). Cassels then opines:

For some, the complications of whooping cough can be deadly and it can lead to pneumonia, convulsions, and even brain damage and death. It’s not to be trifled with. You’d certainly want to shelter your child from whooping cough if you could, but the advice around the vaccine is conflicting. Some groups, such as the CDC recommend vaccination of pregnant women and infants yet the vaccine leaflets themselves say it is unknown whether the vaccines cause fetal harm. Some say the vaccine is highly effective, while others point to studies showing even fully vaccinated children still get whooping cough. No one seems to know how many booster shots you need to keep your child protected. Clearly this is a breeding ground for confusion.

Notice where Cassels links. Does he link to the CDC? No. Does he link to the CHOP Vaccine Education Center? No. Does he link to any reputable site? Most assuredly not. He links to the NVIC, which is one of the oldest and most notorious antivaccine advocacy groups that there is, founded and still led by the grande dame of the antivaccine movement herself, Barbara Loe Fisher. This is a website that features a truly dishonest and pseudoscientific Vaccine Ingredient Calculator, as well as an “International Memorial for Vaccine Victims.” It’s a website chock full of antivaccine misinformation so wrong that its statements and reality are related by coincidence only, pseudoscience, propaganda, and pure nonsense. This is the same group that aired antivaccine ads on the CBS JumboTron at Times Square and insinuated its ads into Delta Airlines online entertainment. Either Cassels is unaware of this background, or he approves of the NVIC; I have a hard time thinking of other reasons why he would cite such a completely useless source chock full of misinformation and lies. Let’s put it this way, there is no plausible scientific reason to think that the vaccine causes fetal harm if the mother is vaccinated.

As for the issue of fully vaccinated children getting whooping cough, Cassels needs to get a clue. No vaccine is 100% effective, and the waning immunity observed in some studies of the acellular pertussis vaccine doesn’t mean the vaccine doesn’t work. It means the vaccine schedule needs to be adjusted. Does all this seem concerning to parents? Sure. Could it cause confusion? Sure. That’s the germ of truth that Cassels harps on. What he seems oblivious to is the fact that there really is an antivaccine movement that takes scientific uncertainty whenever it can and uses it to try its very best to amplify that confusion to the point where the public loses faith in the vaccine program. Indeed, no less a luminary in the antivaccine movement than J.B. Handley himself bragged about doing just that. No doubt Cassels is unaware of this, to the point where he concludes:

At the end of the day, most parents just want to know the answer to one simple equation: what is the likelihood that a vaccine will prevent a deadly disease, versus what are the chances of a serious adverse reaction to the vaccine? Shouldn’t this be a simple question to answer? But it isn’t. If public health authorities want to improve vaccination rates, they’d drop the patronizing assurances and start providing the public with some hard evidence of the benefits and harms of immunizing or not immunizing. And the media would help by not scorning parents who ask legitimate questions. Only then will you see vaccination rates improve.

Cassels seems to think that scientists and doctors don’t bother to ask themselves and then answer the question, for both themselves and parents, the relative risk-benefit ratios of various vaccines. Gee, it’s not as though scientists don’t write about the relative risks and benefits of vaccines all the time. It’s also not as though scientists don’t try to communicate information to the public. In actuality, the reason why parents leaning towards antivaccine views are unhappy with the answers they’re getting from health authorities is because the risks of vaccines listed by health authorities do not include the risks that the antivaccine movement attributes to them. Health authorities do not tell them that there is a risk of autism due vaccines because the best science currently available in copious quantities tells them that there isn’t one, at least not a risk that large epidemiological studies can detect, which is the best that science can do. Health authorities don’t tell them that there is a risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) due to vaccines, because the best science has failed to find it—and not for lack of looking, either. They are unhappy because health authorities do not tell them that vaccines cause autoimmune diseases, developmental disorders, and a whole host of other complications that the antivaccine movement attributes to them, because vaccines don’t cause all those problems. Instead, health authorities tell it like it is, but because they don’t include fantasy-based risks from vaccines they are dismissed as hiding something or somehow downplaying risks from vaccines. That’s the bottom line. And who hypes these risks? The antivaccine movement. And, as multiple studies have shown, their primary tool for spreading such misinformation is the Internet. Worse, it takes very little exposure to antivaccine misinformation (or, as Cassels would call it, “illegitimate fears” of vaccines) to influence a parent to be fearful of vaccines. It’s Dr. Google and Mr. Hyde.

My guess is that, if Cassels sees this post, he’ll view it as just more “demonization” of antivaccinationists or of parents who “raise legitimate questions” about vaccine safety. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s Cassels who can’t tell the difference between antivaccine ideologues and parents who are confused because of the misinformation on the Internet promoted by antivaccine ideologues, blurring the difference to the extent that he parrots antivaccine talking points, probably unknowingly, and tries to deny that antivaccine propaganda has an effect. He might also think that my use of the words “ignorant” and “clueless” are ad hominem attacks. They are not. They are simply observations about statements Cassels has made.

After seeing such a heapin’, helpin’ of dubious arguments, credulity towards antivaccine pseudoscience, and utter cluelessness, I wondered just who Alan Cassels is. Apparently he’s written a book called Seeking Sickness: Medical Screening and the Misguided Hunt for Disease. Of course, the complicated issues behind screening for mammography and prostate cancer have been regular topics on this blog. The blurb for Cassels’ book reads a bit more—shall we say?—stridently than my nuanced discussions of these issues. From the blurb on his book, Cassels seems to be a man who is deeply suspicious of medicine and thinks that screening tests are worthless. It isn’t surprising that he would tend to think that, given the message of his book that the benefits of screening are oversold and the risks downplayed, that he would conclude that the reason for parents’ fears of vaccines is the same. If the antivaccine movement didn’t exist and weren’t so vocal, maybe he’d have a point. As it is, he doesn’t have much of one.


  1. #1 flip
    Walking over to the chips and dip
    September 2, 2012


    I don’t think anyone is disagreeing with Jane on the issue of improved sanitation. Where the disagreement lies is that it’s a strawman to say that people discount it completely.

    And I also pointed out in one of my long-long comments that if she’d stuck with the more reasonable stance of arguing cost/benefit, she’d have much more of a leg to stand on.

  2. #2 Krebiozen
    September 2, 2012

    Here’s a concise summary of the effects of improvements in public health and medicine, including vaccination, in the US between 1900 and 1999 that I found interesting. BTW, I have been watching the BBC America series ‘Copper’, which is set in New York in 1864, at the end of the Civil War. Those who like that sort of thing will probably like it a lot, it reminds me of ‘Deadwood’ (without the swearing, unfortunately). The conditions back then in terms of hygiene, sewerage etc., assuming BBCA have done their research properly, seem to have been considerably better than the conditions I saw in parts of Egypt and India 20 years ago.

  3. #3 Ivan Ilyich
    September 2, 2012

    M O’B, cost/benefit? I don’t agree that there is any reasonable difference here. The cost of vaccination is a pittance compared to the cost of treating disease. And as someone with a compromised immune system, I object to allowing children to avoid vaccination for anything other than bona fide medical reasons.

  4. #4 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    September 2, 2012

    Ivan ilyich – To clarify, cost has more than a monetary aspect in this case. When someone takes a vaccine, they take a personal risk of some adverse effect, and that is included in the cost calculation. For all vaccines on the current childhood schedule, this risk is extremely small, particularly compared to the the risk of adverse effects from not taking the vaccine. However, the cost/benefit (or risk/benefit, if you prefer) ratio is not the same for all vaccines.

    As an extreme example, there is a plague vaccine. As it happens, I have had the plague vaccine because of a trip I took some years ago. However, I wouldn’t encourage its use in many parts of the world because the risk of getting plague is vanishingly small in those areas – so much so that side effects that happen in .00001% of vaccinations would be more common than the disease that’s being prevented.

    I believe it’s reasonable to make this assessment on a disease by disease (and vaccine by vaccine) basis. The case for diseases like polio, diphtheria, mumps, rubella, pertussis, and measles is clear, at least in my view (not an exhaustive list). There are other diseases where the case may not be so clear.

  5. #5 Chris
    September 2, 2012


    Recently drove past a sign advertising a local university. They were hinting at their science courses by stating that they were vaccinating mosquitoes to prevent (I forget what) in third world countries.

    Sounds like the research being done at the University of Melbourne. I usually notice news about dengue fever. If you look at one of my comments above, you will see I can personally vouch for the accuracy of its nickname: bone break fever.

    The “lovely” thing about dengue fever is there really is no natural immunity due to its multiple strains. And if you get it again, you have a very high chance of internal bleeding and death (dengue hemorrhagic fever).

  6. #6 lilady
    September 2, 2012

    About the statement that the 2-shot series of varicella vaccine does NOT confer lifelong immunity…that is being monitored closely. No one has any secret knowledge about the vaccine’s ability to confer lifelong immunity…or not.

    I had a friendly discussion with another member of the science community on another science blog. We provided each other with published research…which is after all…one of the purposes of science blogs.

    You would have to know the length of time it took to study other similarly manufactured vaccines, such as rubella, to determine whether or not a vaccine against a virus confers, lifelong immunity.

    You would have to determine when the point arrived that there was universal acceptance of a vaccine, uniform reporting requirements of individual cases/outbreaks and breakthroughs of a disease in a fully immunized population and the history of enhanced surveillance, since a vaccine was placed on the Recommended Childhood Vaccine Schedule.

    We fully discussed the theory that constant “boosting” of immunity after a person, by exposure to others with the disease, is responsible for the “seemingly” lifelong immunity that the wild-type disease infection confers.

    The rubella vaccine first became widely available in the USA in 1970 and was immediately accepted by the general public. Babies who received that vaccine are at least 40 years old and few of them had exposure to the natural disease…most haven’t. Pre-employment testing of doctors, nurses, allied medical professionals and ancillary staff (clerical, housekeeping) is a requirement for employment in every hospital, every nursing and group home, every clinic, etc. and shows lifelong immunity conferred by the rubella vaccine…without any constant “boosting” by exposure to the virus.

    “Natural immunity

    Q. I would rather my child develop natural immunity to chickenpox, so that he is at less risk of developing chickenpox as an adult.

    A. The good news is that regardless of whether we become immune to chickenpox from getting a vaccine or having the disease, our immune memory will protect us as adults. While there used to be a concern that the chickenpox vaccine would not provide lifelong immunity, data has not supported this concern. Immunity lasts at least 20 years and based on experience with the rubella vaccine, which is made the same way, is expected to be lifelong. Because the chickenpox vaccine affords immunity without the possibility of complications typically associated with natural infection, the vaccine offers immunity without the risk of disease.”

    Is the debate over? No, but “experts” are making some early assumptions, about the varicella vaccine’s immunity. So for a layperson, like Jane to make this statement in an earlier rant and then to repeatedly make that statement, with increasing vehemence in more rants, is just ludicrous:

    “Thus, chickenpox vaccine generally serves only to reduce net discomfort. I think it is probably a fair deal for that purpose, though I don’t think it should be mandated. Since adults are much more likely to suffer serious illness (thus the lengthy illness suffered by one commenter’s co-worker is not representative) and the vaccine doesn’t last, vaccination creates a “need” for a lifetime of follow-up injections that may not be obtained or perhaps even obtainable by many future adults. How these short-term benefits and long-term risks are balanced requires both value judgements and some guesses about our children’s economic future, and I certainly wouldn’t have the arrogance to suggest that MY values and guesses should be accepted by the entire population.”

  7. #7 Heliantus
    September 2, 2012

    @ Herr doctor bimler.

    I recall that the option of drilling 100 wells has already been considered: Not a good idea in arsenic-rich geology.

    OT, but oh yes, there is this too. I remember a National Geographic magazine with a picture of the arsenic-burned hands of an African villager. It gave me a better view on how privileged we are in our developed countries to have tap water: clean, safe water at will.

    To be fair, there are also perfectly justified projects to upgrade wells: bringing in the materials and a skilled team to add a masonry wall around an existing well (which was just a hole in the ground) does wonders to reduce drinking water contamination. With a wall surrounding the well, surface waters (like rain) don’t wash up directly into the well.

    @ Mephistopheles O’Brien

    Water and sewage treatment have dramatically reduced the incidence of some diseases. So have the expanded use of soap, food inspection, pasteurization, window screens, and the change from horses and oxen to motor vehicles.

    Speaking for myself, I agree on this but I have troubles with considering improvements in sanitation or food safety as separate from improvements in medicine.
    I think I consider all of them advancement of medical science. Or maybe I should say derived from health sciences.
    I’m not saying I’m right, rather that it seems to be a bias I have.
    Or maybe it’s just a reaction to the alt-meds poo-pooing some of our modern technology like vaccines while completely accepting other technologies without question. Or berating us for not living “the natural way” while cooking their food, wearing clothes and using a computer.

    To give a dramatic example on the impact of improved sanitation in the 1900’s time: tuberculosis. Having milk pasteurized cut one of the ways of transmission of this illness, from cow to human, via contaminated milk.

    @ lilady

    We fully discussed the theory that constant “boosting” of immunity after a person, by exposure to others with the disease, is responsible for the “seemingly” lifelong immunity that the wild-type disease infection confers.

    I like to throw this debate in the wheels of anyone arguing that natural infection is lifelong, but I have to admit I approach this topic as an amateur – or more bluntly, I could do with some reading to strengthen my position. Would you have some article to recommend?

  8. #8 elburto
    September 2, 2012

    Relevant news – the pertussis situation in the UK is now so critical, that the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation at the Department of Health are now seriously debating the vaccination of newborns.

    I could cry, and rip apart with my bare hands, every selfish, free-riding, science-denying lackwit that has contributed to this situation.

    Of course you know, you just know, that those same Muppets will be out screaming about “EBIL BIG PHARMA!!!11eleventy” if one of the infants has an adverse reaction. Either way, they win.

    Just thought some of you may be interested in how it’s going here, in Wakefield’s wake. Curse his existence.

  9. #9 Rose
    September 2, 2012

    Last season’s flu shot will probably be my last. My reaction was just enough to scare even me, an asthmatic who strongly believes in vaccination. I will rely on herd immunity and hand washing and wish that those who can get jabbed will.

  10. #10 MI Dawn
    September 2, 2012

    @flip: OK. My bad. Air-bourne or airborne or whatever – it’s bad anyway you look at it (so is the “miracle cure of the same name). And without my coffee, as that comment was, my spelling is worse than otherwise…

    @elburto: that is HORRIBLE! If I had a newborn, not only would I get them vaccinated, I wouldn’t let anyone NEAR my baby without proof of recent vaccine and clean bill of health. No vaccine, grandma? Sorry, you can’t come in. Period. (yeah, I’m a very mean, protective mom when it comes to illnesses that can be prevented.) If you can’t be vaccinated due to your own health issues, you’re either not coming over until the baby has had enough immunizations to protect him/her, (I’ll gladly skype, send pictures, video chat) or you are wearing a mask the entire time you are in my house. (And yes, I actually made my family do that when my children were babies if they came over and were ill.)

  11. #11 Krebiozen
    September 2, 2012


    Last season’s flu shot will probably be my last.

    Just to balance your comment, lest it discourage others, I didn’t even feel the flu shot last year, and had no reaction at all, not even a sore arm. If I hadn’t watched the needle going in I might have thought the nurse was just pretending.

  12. #12 Narad
    September 2, 2012

    And yes, I actually made my family do that when my children were babies if they came over and were ill.

    Is that actually effective? I seem to recall that masks mainly protect the wearer.

  13. #13 Rose
    September 2, 2012

    I know severe reactions are rare and I have had a flu shot every year with no trouble but last year was bad.

  14. #14 Chemmomo
    Where kids will be kids
    September 2, 2012

    Narad @4:17 pm – Actually, you’ve got it backwards. The masks protect everyone else by making you keep your droplets of germs to yourself. That’s why surgeons wear them in the OR, and why my kid was supposed to wear one at the pediatrician’s office during the H1N1 outbreak (yeah, you try getting a 3.5-yo to wear a mask – even if it does have Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck on it).

  15. #15 flip
    September 2, 2012


    Dengue fever: that’s the one.

    I think it’s probably a very interesting idea and one I intend to look up when I have more time. I’m curious as to how they know which ones they have vaccinated and which ones they haven’t. Thanks for posting the link.

    @MI Dawn

    It’s ok, I was only joking. It was just the first thing that popped into my head when I saw the spelling

  16. #16 Narad
    September 2, 2012

    Actually, you’ve got it backwards. The masks protect everyone else by making you keep your droplets of germs to yourself.

    No, I understand the idea, but the question is how effective they are. If you sneeze, there are two possibilities: you need a new mask, or you create a turbulent flow that vents around the borders of the mask and disperses. On the other hand, a mask certainly offers protection to the wearer by filtering the air supply almost directly at the point of inhalation.

  17. #17 lilady
    September 2, 2012

    @ Heliantus: I was offline for several hours…visiting my “other son” at his group home.

    You asked about some further studies about effectiveness (the ability of a a vaccine regimen to prevent varicella disease in a completely immunized population).

    The varicella vaccine was first licensed in the USA 1995, with recommendations for 1 dose. Varicella vaccine was licensed in Japan and Korea ~ 10 priors to that. The 2-dose recommendation was made by the ACIP and the CDC in 2006.

    Here is a rather old (2007), MMWR article that describes post licensing studies for a 1-dose and 2-dose varicella vaccine regimen:

    Scroll down to see results of the post licensing studies, under

    “Postlicensure Efficacy and Effectiveness” and,

    “Two Dose Regimen”

    Here’s a newer (2010) report from the Public Health Agency of Canada, which also compares the efficacy and effectiveness of a 1-dose varicella vaccine regimen-versus-a 2-dose varicella vaccine regimen.

    I’ll look for more recent American post-licensing studies and I’ll try to locate recent MMWR varicella outbreak reports for details of the effectiveness of 2-doses of varicella vaccine.

  18. #18 Krebiozen
    September 2, 2012

    No criticism implied – I’m very happy to pay for my shot to protect those like you who react badly or can’t get the shot for whatever reason. I consider it my social duty.

  19. #19 Rose
    September 2, 2012

    Our health department gives flu shots for free. There are no income requirements. Just show up and get a shot.

  20. #20 Bob G
    Los Angeles
    September 2, 2012

    The idea that having chicken pox as a child confers life-long immunity is about as wrong as it is possible to be and still get away with the telling. Of course the facts are a little more complicated, in the sense that the virus remains in the body but is usually kept in check until later in life, at which time it directly irritates the pain nerves, creates a rash with little blobs containing active virus, and often enough makes the victim absolutely miserable. It’s obviously different from the original disease, but it can be even more damaging, since it is working directly on nerves and can leave them damaged. For this reason, people who have had chicken pox are strongly advised to get the shingles vaccine, which is designed to boost the body’s immune responsiveness to that same virus that you were exposed to half a century ago. In other words, you should be getting the vaccine (one form or the other) at some point in life, but the option involves having the original disease, the original disease plus the shingles, or neither.

    As to needle phobia, I don’t think we should be entirely insensitive to this, especially in the older population. At one time, hypodermic needles were reused repeatedly; if your doctor was competent, they were cleaned and autoclaved; if not, you could get hepatitis from a previous patient.

    Nowadays (and for quite a few years now), needles and syringes are one-use disposables. What this means for the patient is that we get a shot using a thinner needle with a very sharp end, so pain is minimized. I’ve had quite a few shots in recent years, and I honestly cannot remember feeling pain from the actual needle insertion, at least enough to be bothersome. This is a lot different from getting a penicillin shot as a kid, delivered through a needle that may have been used dozens of times. Might as well have had a roofing nail hammered in. I once mentioned this to a doctor who was a research collaborator. He stared at the ceiling for a moment and reminisced that when he started as an intern, he was provided 3 needles. I think that there were procedures for resharpening needles and that the intern was responsible for maintaining the needles, but this is in the way of urban myth for me. I suspect that every nurse and physician who was trained in the post-AIDS era missed out on these experiences due to the rapid introduction and enforcement of what they called Universal Precautions at the time.

  21. #21 Krebiozen
    September 2, 2012

    Our health department gives flu shots for free.

    Unfortunately since I am in the UK and don’t fall into one of the high risk categories that get free flu shots, I had to pay for £20 for mine last year. Since I recently scared my GP by having a rather impressive asthma attack in his office despite not being asthmatic (it seems I have developed salicylate sensitivity), I may be able to blag a free shot this year.

  22. #22 Chris
    Neither here nor there...
    September 2, 2012

    Bob G:

    As to needle phobia, I don’t think we should be entirely insensitive to this, especially in the older population.

    And then there is this bizarre suggestion from a comment on Alan Cassels’ article:

    Why must all children repeatedly receive the full booster regimen when a simple titer test can easily demonstrate immunity? The majority of children gain immunity without the full booster schedule. If the child already had adequate titers, further boosters provide no benefit yet they still entail risk as an invasive medical procedure.

    So the needle of a vaccine is bad, but the larger gauge needle to draw blood is better? How is that less invasive?

  23. #23 lilady
    September 2, 2012

    @ Bob G. Of course, the issue of lifelong immunity against chicken pox is somewhat more complicated. Immunity derived from having had a case of chicken (wild strain) or derived the varicella vaccine will still leave a person prone to shingles (known as herpes zoster)…due to the latency phase of chicken pox.

    A vaccine (Herpes Zoster) has been developed and recommended by the ACIP and the CDC for older people, to prevent reactivation of the herpes zoster virus in the form of “shingles”.

    Here’s the clinical trial results of the Herpes Zoster vaccine:

    Vaccine Efficacy

    In a clinical trial involving more than 38,000 adults 60 years of age or older, the vaccine reduced the overall incidence of shingles by 51% and the incidence of PHN by 67%. The efficacy of the vaccine in preventing shingles was higher in the younger age group (60-69 years; vaccine efficacy was 64%) than in the older age group (older than 70 years; vaccine efficacy was 38%).

    Studies are ongoing to assess the duration of protection from one dose of zoster vaccine and the need, if any, for booster doses.

    There are no comprehensive data on the effectiveness of zoster vaccine in treating shingles once it occurs, and the vaccine is not licensed for this indication.

  24. #24 lilady
    September 2, 2012

    That first paragraph didn’t even make sense to me…let me try again:

    Of course, the issue of lifelong immunity against chicken pox is somewhat more complicated. Immunity derived from having had a case of chicken pox (wild strain) or immunity derived from the varicella vaccine will still leave a person prone to shingles (known as herpes zoster)…due to the latency phase of chicken pox.

    (I miss the old platform…where I could edit my comments before submitting a comment)

  25. #25 elburto
    September 2, 2012

    Krebiozen – that salicylate sensitivity just saved you twenty quid! I think Tesco and Asda are planning some flu season stuff too. I need the jab, but I’m allergic to the culture medium.

    I’m asthmatic and salicylates are my absolute worst trigger. I was once given Feldene gel for a knee injury, and ended up with green knees and hands (it stains) and a blue face! (a fashion faux pas) I can’t take the necessary drug for my IBD either, as it’s got a salicylate base. They’re everywhere.

    MI Dawn – I believe July had half as many cases as the first six months combined. Mumps has quadrupled in my part of the country, and tripled everywhere. else. Measles is raging. I’m so angry that one stupid man has sparked a public health crisis. Thanks to socialised medicine parents won’t have to pay for their kids’ treatments if they become ill, but we’ve had deaths from pertussis, babies too young to be vaccinated.

    And yeah, I’d vaccinate any theoretical baby of mine too.

  26. #26 lilady
    September 3, 2012

    I located a 2011 case control study of 71 cases of chicken pox, in children four years of age and older diagnosed 2006-2010, which analyzed immune status of the cases…comparing 1-dose versus 2-doses of the varicella vaccine administered


    Background. Because of ongoing outbreaks of varicella, a second dose of varicella vaccine was added to the routine immunization schedule for children in June 2006 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Methods. We assessed the effectiveness of 2 doses of varicella vaccine in a case-control study by identifying children ≥4 years of age with varicella confirmed by polymerase chain reaction assay and up to 2 controls matched by age and pediatric practice. Effectiveness was calculated using exact conditional logistic regression.

    Results. From July 2006 to January 2010, of the 71 case subjects and 140 matched controls enrolled, no cases (0%) vs 22 controls (15.7%) had received 2 doses of varicella vaccine, 66 cases (93.0%) vs 117 controls (83.6%) had received 1 dose, and 5 cases (7.0%) vs 1 control (0.7%) did not receive varicella vaccine (P < .001). The effectiveness of 2 doses of the vaccine was 98.3% (95% confidence level [CI]: 83.5%–100%; P < .001). The matched odds ratio for 2 doses vs 1 dose of the vaccine was 0.053 (95% CI: 0.002–0.320; P < .001).

    Conclusion. The effectiveness of 2 doses of varicella vaccine in the first 2.5 years after recommendation of a routine second dose of the vaccine for children is excellent. Odds of developing varicella were 95% lower for children who received 2 doses compared with 1 dose of varicella vaccine.

    The full article is available by clicking my link. Note the USA was the first country to put varicella vaccine (1 dose) on the Recommended Vaccine Schedule and the first country to add the 2nd dose to that schedule. According to this article, no other country had, as yet (2011), added the 2nd dose to their Recommended Childhood Vaccines Schedule.

  27. #27 Jen
    September 3, 2012

    Enough about the stupid chickenpox. It’s not even worth agonizing about. Of course it’s not a life-threatening disease and shouldn’t be a mandated shot. Yes, and they did go all hysterical about it a few years back blabbing on about the possibility of flesh eating disease and such. My kids both had it, swam in toxic lakes and were just fine- don’t do anti-bactial soaps, those are a problem. Why isn’t “Science”blogs tackling the new Trinity College Dublin/Pittsburgh School of Medicine study (AGP) that basically says autism is not genetically caused? Oh I’m sure you’ll find some rationale for the Anney study to be fifty shades of hogwash while all the other studies that say there are so many genes involved in autism, dandy. So predictable you people.

  28. #28 MI Dawn
    September 3, 2012

    Oh, Jen, we really didn’t your carrying on. But, anyway, how about a full citation from the study you want us to look at? Journal, date, etc? Somehow, I really doubt the study says what you are saying it does…and I also think that if it DID say what you are saying it does, you would have given the full citation…

    And, tell my patient who lost her baby at term from congenital chicken pox that it’s not a life-threatening disease, you heartless woman.

  29. #29 Todd W.
    September 3, 2012


    The CDC would beg to differ with you about chickenpox not being life threatening. Just up today, the impact of varicella vaccine, noting >95% reduction in mortality.

  30. #30 Jen
    September 3, 2012

    Individual Common Variants Exert Weak Effect on the Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorderspi, Human Molecular Genetics, 2012 doi:10.1093/hmm/dds301. HMG Advance Access published July 26, 2012. R. Anney et al.
    MI Dawn, now your going all “Chris” on me- a disaster at every corner, every second of the day.

  31. #31 Heliantus
    September 3, 2012

    @ Jen

    now your going all “Chris” on me- a disaster at every corner, every second of the day.

    Well, it’s reality-based: during the time I used to write this answer, 3 people died on earth, and 4 more were born.
    So yes, maybe not every second, but quite often, you have disasters every day at every corner.
    Unless you don’t count an human death as a disaster.

  32. #32 Chris
    Neither here nor there...
    September 3, 2012


    Enough about the stupid chickenpox. It’s not even worth agonizing about. Of course it’s not a life-threatening disease and shouldn’t be a mandated shot.

    And if you have read the comments about the effects of chicken pox, you are a disgusting human being. And it is not “mandated”, it is just required to attend public school and some private schools. All the more reason why we should not let you tell us what to discuss.

    Jen, I noticed that you did not really read that paper because it does not say what you think it says. Which is probably why you did not include the link to the full paper (which I did), and just cut and pasted from some anti-vaccine website.

    At this point I would never think all of the genetic variations that cause neurological issues, especially with all type of autism, would be found. If we went by “Jen logic” my son would not have HCM because they did not find one of eighteen known genetic sequences known to cause it.

    I see that Autism Speaks provided lots of the paper’s funding. This is why I anyone who wishes to do the “vax/unvax” mythical ethics study should write a grant to them (after getting the study design past an IRB).

  33. #33 MI Dawn
    September 3, 2012

    @Jen: I worked as a OB nurse for 15 years, as a midwife for 5. Yes, I saw a hell of a lot of disasters. The preventable ones are the ones that really make me mad. The non-preventable ones just make me really sad – but those are the luck of the draw. Having a newborn die of congenital chicken pox was not the luck of the draw for my patient. We actually had 2 patients with chicken pox that year – the one who lost her baby and the other who spend 2 weeks in the ICU but was lucky enough to not have her baby die or get congenital chicken pox (yay for acyclovir!)

  34. #34 Narad
    September 3, 2012


    Wrong DOI. Anyway, the notion that the conclusion here is that “autism is not genetically caused” suggests that you somehow failed to actually read the paper, which is looking only at common SNPs. Shall we skip to the end?

    Thus, while the existence of common variants affecting the risk of ASD is almost assured, their individual effects are modest and their collective effects could be smaller than that for rare variation.

    Dandy work, Jen. What do you do for an encore, slip on a banana peel?

  35. #35 Vasha
    Woo Central, NY
    September 3, 2012

    All this talk of chicken pox not being a real problem leads me to think about a doctor working at a refugee camp. She sees a patient with severe diarrhea. It turns out to be dysentery, and she says, “Thank God!!” Why? because she was very worried it was cholera (quite contagious, over 50% mortality if untreated, and the doctor doesn’t have the supplies to treat very many people). Compared to that, dysentery (mortality rate up to 15%) seems like downright good news. It is not good news in itself of course — better no diseases at all!

    In the same way, in the past, people would get chicken pox and just sigh and say “at least it’s not polio”. Having really worrisome diseases to think about fosters a blase attitude. But it makes no sense to have that attitude carry over to the present. Now that we’re not being given a false sense of perspective by looking at all the worse things it is not, chicken pox can be evaluated on its own terms, and it does not look good at all. I wouldn’t want to go back to the old way of thinking, for sure.

  36. #36 Chris
    Neither here nor there...
    September 3, 2012

    Narad, she was relying on the word of webpage where she read about. Probably someone who does not have the requisite education to understand it. Here is the html version of the paper.

    And it includes something I mentioned:

    Given these challenges, it is reasonable to conjecture that even if all of the samples analysed here were also sequenced at the whole genome level, it would still be impossible to discern how much risk accrues from common versus rare variation, at least from current knowledge. Thus a precise estimate of the relative contribution of rare and common variation to risk will require further studies.

    In other words, they are just scratching the surface, and more work needs to be done.

  37. #37 Roger Kulp
    September 3, 2012

    You hear a lot about people 60+,but do they suggest shingles vaccines for younger adults who are immune compromised?I suppose they do,but you don’t hear much about it.I had shingles,not once,but twice in my thirties.

  38. #38 Thomas
    September 3, 2012

    Tsk, tsk, MI Dawn – caring about unnecessary death of babies… you’ll never get the admiration of antivaxxers that way.

  39. #39 Roger Kulp
    September 3, 2012

    Quite a discussion here

    Children with neurologic disorders at high risk of death from flu.

    I was surprised you hadn’t blogged on this yet.

  40. #40 Shay
    September 3, 2012

    Enough about the stupid chickenpox. It’s not even worth agonizing about. Of course it’s not a life-threatening disease and shouldn’t be a mandated shot.

    Why do you hate children so much, Jen?

  41. #41 lilady
    September 3, 2012

    @ Roger Kulp: Shingles (herpes zoster) vaccine information and recommendations are covered in the CDC Pink Book, under “varicella”. Scroll down the link to see topics, including vaccination for younger individuals who have chronic diseases and who are taking immune-suppressing drugs.

  42. #42 AdamG
    September 3, 2012

    Individual Common Variants Exert Weak Effect on the Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders

    Jen, you’ve completely mischaracterized this paper when you claim it “basically says autism is not genetically caused.” It’s clear to me you didn’t even bother to read that excellent paper, which argues that autism is likely not caused by common genetic variants, but rather rare and de novo events, often CNV’s. I’d be happy to discuss this further as this happens to be my particular area of expertise.

  43. #43 AdamG
    September 3, 2012

    For more on this issue, as well as some excellent background regarding the state of autism genetics, check out my friend and colleague Bryan’s paper:

  44. #44 Johnny
    Sittin' and watching the BBQ pit
    September 3, 2012

    I note in the link lilady provides that there is no non-human reservoir for chicken pox. It would be nice if we could make this (and mumps) go the way of smallpox, and then we wouldn’t need to worry about these any more.

    Of course, the anti-vaxers probably don’t want these diseases extinct (in the wild, at least). They would have less to complain about.

  45. #45 MI Dawn
    September 3, 2012

    @Thomas: sorry, it’s just the way I am…(hangs head in shame). Guess I’ll never make it into the anti-vaxxer inner circle.

  46. #46 Chris
    Neither here nor there...
    September 3, 2012

    Adam G:

    It’s clear to me you didn’t even bother to read that excellent paper,

    No, she does not read the references. She only parrots the dreck she reads on certain website, because she cannot think for herself. I have asked her multiple times to post a critique of the Danish paper she keeps bringing up, but she has not. The reason is there is only one scathing “review” of that paper. It is on the SafeMinds website and is written by Mark “Not a Doctor, Not a Scientist” Blaxill (funny that link is the first in a google search!).

  47. #47 Krebiozen
    September 3, 2012

    Your clashing colour-scheme made me chuckle on and off all day, thanks.

    Et al.
    I have lost count of the number of times Jen has come here, made some ludicrous claim based on a paper that she or someone else has grossly misinterpreted and accused us all of being idiots. When her error is pointed out and explained she disappears, but comes back a month or two later making the exact same erroneous claim, and claiming we are idiots again. It’s painful to watch.

  48. #48 Jen
    September 3, 2012

    So Chris” the paper does not say what I think it says” AND you note that AS provided lots of the paper’s funding. Hmmm, seems a little contradictory of you. I’m pretty sure it means genetic heritability is modest at best where autism is concerned. Adam I’ll look at the paper, have been out. They should study vaccines and their effect on children in a more thorough way.

  49. #49 herr doktor bimler
    September 3, 2012

    Adam I’ll look at the paper
    Imagine how much shorter these threads would be if people did this *before* broadcasting their opinions about papers.

  50. #50 Jen
    September 3, 2012

    Wow, per Bryan’s paper, “it is well established that ASD’s have a genetic component.” The first line would seem to be a stretch. The largest, most recent twin study (Hallmeyer) shows less heritability than previously thought. I admit I am not an expert in genetics (far from it) but it’s obvious that something else environmental is going on. What hasn’t been studied thoroughly and with integrity? Oh ya, vaccines!

  51. #51 Heliantus
    September 3, 2012

    @ Jen

    What hasn’t been studied thoroughly and with integrity? Oh ya, vaccines!

    Vaccines, I don’t know. I was under the impression that there were a few studies here and there.

    But I’m sure we have not studied thoroughly and with integrity:
    troll’s with sticks
    All sorts of dragons
    Mrs Cake
    Huje green things with teeth
    Any kinds of black dogs with orange eyebrows
    Rains of spaniel’s
    Mrs Cake

    Maybe we should.

  52. #52 Narad
    September 3, 2012

    I’m pretty sure it means genetic heritability is modest at best where autism is concerned.

    That’s not my reading, which is that there is no magic combination of common SNPs that turns the key.

  53. #53 herr doktor bimler
    September 3, 2012

    But I’m sure we have not studied thoroughly and with integrity:
    Environmental causes belonging to the Emperor
    Those that are embalmed
    those that are tame
    imaginary animals
    wild dogs
    those included in this classification
    those that are crazy-acting
    those that are uncountable
    those painted with the finest brush made of camel hair
    those which have just broken a vase, and
    those which, from a distance, look like flies.

  54. #54 lilady
    September 3, 2012

    Jen with a capital “J” is this you, commenting on Age of Autism about Stagmom’s take on “environmental factors”, associated with high school girls’ hysterical conversion disorders?

  55. #55 Rose
    September 3, 2012

    Enough with the stupid chickenpox, Jen? Oh I forgot, you’ve never had a child with a moderate to severe case of chickenpox. or did you say that not to move the debate along but just to cause a stir?

  56. #56 Narad
    September 3, 2012

    Environmental causes belonging to the Emperor

    Oh, very well played.

  57. #57 Jen
    September 3, 2012

    Liladay, you definitely display stalker tendencies and Rose, yes my kids were both very severely affected. My daughter had more pox in her head than some kids have on their whole bodies. Some fever and of course itching. For the vast majority of children, chicken pox is a relatively benign illness.

  58. #58 Rose
    September 3, 2012

    A severe case of chickenpox is life threatening. If you can prevent that with a relatively benign inoculation, why would you not?

  59. #59 Heliantus
    September 3, 2012

    For the vast majority of children, chicken pox is a relatively benign illness.

    And for the vast majority of soldiers, war is a relatively benign affair.
    Eh, most of them are going back home alive, don’t they? They may be missing a few bits, but who is counting?
    So what’s all the fuss about providing them with an helmet and some body armor?

  60. #60 Narad
    September 3, 2012

    Liladay, you definitely display stalker tendencies

    How so? Lilady is here all the time. You’re the one stewing around until it’s time to pop out from behind the dumpster yet again.

  61. #61 Calli Arcale
    September 3, 2012

    Jen, when you accuse a regular of being a stalker when she is appearing just as much in this thread as all of the ones without you in them, you are revealing rather more than you think about your own sense of self-importance.

  62. #62 Science Mom
    September 3, 2012

    Wrong DOI. Anyway, the notion that the conclusion here is that “autism is not genetically caused” suggests that you somehow failed to actually read understand the paper, which is looking only at common SNPs.

    Fixed that for you Narad. 😀

    Jen, don’t dig any deeper, you really don’t have a clue what the paper actually says and it isn’t what you think. And doesn’t it just chap your friend’s arses at AoA that Autism Speaks is pouring so much money into genetic ASD research?

  63. #63 Science Mom
    September 3, 2012

    Aww, why doesn’t strikethrough work here? And why no damn preview?

  64. #64 Jen
    September 3, 2012

    Lilady just seems to go above and beyond in tracing people- say like Jake Crosby. Calli, you are welcome to ‘read’ what you want into my post about that but even one of your own commented on her style at one point (and no I’m not obsessed with trying to link to that comment). Rose, you asked if my kids had “severe” chicken pox (I’m not even really sure as to what that medically means but they were absolutely covered from head to toe- I answered you and no, I am very happy I didn’t subject them to that vaccine. They will have lifelong immunity- though shingles is a possibility. You can do what you want with respect to your children.

  65. #65 Narad
    September 3, 2012

    Aww, why doesn’t strikethrough work here?

    Use <strike> rather than <s>.

    And why no damn preview?

    Not included in the off-the-shelf product.

  66. #66 Narad
    September 3, 2012

    They will have lifelong immunity- though shingles is a possibility.

    As I’ve mentioned above, I contracted chicken pox at age 20 from someone who had had it before.

  67. #67 lilady
    September 3, 2012

    @ Jen with a capital “J”

    “Lilady just seems to go above and beyond in tracing people- say like Jake Crosby.”

    It’s called “two can play” Jake’s game of Six, Sixty, Six Hundred Degrees of Separation, Jen.

    Why don’t you run along now. Better yet, why don’t you call out the troops at AoA…we’d just love to have Jake and his sycophants posting at RI.

  68. #68 ChrisP
    September 3, 2012

    Jen, catching chickenpox does not guarantee lifelong immunity. My mother caught it a second time after I brought it home from school aged 6. She was very sick and it caused damage to her lungs. Had the vaccine been available at that time, it is likely she would not have had chickenpox a second time around and I would not have had shingles in my 40s.

    That old anti-vax canard that catching the disease is better than being vaccinated against it. I have checked this one off on two threads today – I am doing well.

  69. #69 Science Mom
    September 3, 2012

    Thanks Narad.

    Jen, varicella doesn’t confer lifelong immunity.

  70. #70 Chemmomo
    September 4, 2012


  71. #71 Chemmomo
    Waiting for the moon to come into view from my patio
    September 4, 2012

    Do you remember showing up for elementary (K – 5) school when a third of the class was out sick? And wondering if you were going to join the absentees? Do you? You don’t? My husband is just that much younger than me that he doesn’t remember that, either.

    Sorry, I just don’t get how being sick – as a child or as an adult – is a good thing. Could you clarify that for me?

    As for lifelong immunity to the chickenpox – marriage relates me to two different outliers.

    By the way, Jen, you’ve been commenting here longer than I have. Even lilady (whom you called a stalker because she comments on more than one website) figured out how to post links. Why haven’t you? Doesn’t reading AoA teach you how to google? Maybe googling things like “html tags”?

  72. #72 Chris
    Neither here nor there...
    September 4, 2012


    How so? Lilady is here all the time. You’re the one stewing around until it’s time to pop out from behind the dumpster yet again.

    So is Jen channeling “Medicien Man”?

    Chemmomo:Do you remember showing up for elementary (K – 5) school when a third of the class was out sick?

    I saw this as I mentioned on my comment of “August 31, 1:37 pm.” Obviously, Jen is not very observant.

    Doesn’t reading AoA teach you how to google?

    Jen does not know how to think for herself. She does not know how to seek information, she only knows how to parrot stuff from AoA.

  73. #73 Chris
    Where there is no preview...
    September 4, 2012

    Ugh… I left off an “e” on:

    Do you remember showing up for elementary (K – 5) school when a third of the class was out sick?

  74. #74 lilady
    September 4, 2012

    ” Even lilady (whom you called a stalker because she comments on more than one website) figured out how to post links.”

    Chemmomo…It took me a long time to learn how to post links 🙂

    For any newbies here, I never ever, post on AoA. I go “slumming” there, and at other notorious anti-vaccine blogs for my daily doses of rank pseudoscience.

  75. #75 Shay
    September 4, 2012

    You’ve a strong stomach, Lilady.

  76. #76 Chris
    Neither here nor there...
    September 4, 2012

    Shay, when one has a kid who is not part of the norm, you get a strong stomach and a thick skin. I was told by a member of a baby/mom support club to stop talking about the issues I had with my newly diagnosed son who could not speak. This was a bit over twenty years ago. I finally found a group who understood the issues on the Internets. But I had to leave it when the Mercury Militia Moms started to dominate the discussion (one was actually being paid by DAN! doctor to drum up business).

    I am sure that lilady faced similar, it not more onerous, persons when dealing with her son. She was involved in the issues around Willowbrook. For this, she has more respect than Jen will ever comprehend.

  77. #77 lilady
    September 4, 2012

    (Blushing) Chris and Shay: I actually knew many of the “key players” (plaintiffs’ and State lawyers, mental retardation experts and a few of the named plaintiffs), involved in the Willowbrook Class Action lawsuit.

    Many of these same professionals were involved in another Federal Court class action lawsuit to deinstitutionalize a large “developmental center”. My husband and my close friend testified in that lawsuit, to represent children and adults cared for at home…and who were in need of support services, provided by the State.

    When I write the definitive book about this Federal Class Action lawsuit 🙂 perhaps I will *mention* how a parent/advocate interrupted the judge during the public hearing to discuss his Consent Decree And Order, to address the unmet needs of developmentally disabled children and adults cared for at home, by their parents.

  78. #78 elburto
    September 4, 2012

    Jen – I thought you were insisting that paracetamol/acetaminophen caused ASDs, what changed your mind?

    If you’re Jen McA from a state with a five-letter name then you were clearly heavily invested in that theory, as you spread it all over the internet.

    What happened, did the wind change, and blow that lonely brain cell back over to the vaccine camp?

  79. #79 lilady
    September 4, 2012

    @ elburto: Have no fear, I’ve been *slumming* again at AoA and Jen has definitely left our arena.

    Remember that study that she couldn’t linked to? She went running back to her keepers at AoA to post this comment, sans link:

    “Funny that Orac/”Science”blogs isn’t speaking about the newest genetics study (R. Anney- Trinity College Dublin and Pittsburg School of Medicine) which shows that basically there is nothing much genetic about autism.

    Posted by: Jen | September 02, 2012 at 11:29 PM”

  80. #80 herr doktor bimler
    September 4, 2012

    Give Jen credit. When she pops up to spread the word about this new paper that proves we’re Wrong about Everything, one can be confident that it is indeed worth reading.

  81. #81 Scottynuke
    September 4, 2012


    JenInTx (or a reasonable alternate spelling of that handle), while indeed fixated on Tylenol, is light-years ahead of plain ‘ol parroting AoA Jen in terms of being able to carry on a reasonable conversation.

  82. #82 Rose
    September 4, 2012

    Having chickenpox does not confer life long immunity. My daughter had it 3 times.
    More spots on the face than other kids had on their whole bodies is terrible. I would not want my child to endure that if it was preventable by a vaccine. But have you considered that chickenpox can also effect every mucous membrane making urination extremely painful for a girl, or the optic nerves causing blindness… and the list goes on.

  83. #83 Heliantus
    September 8, 2012

    Late addition to the above mention of obstetric fistula:

    Tara Smith from Aetiology had a recent post about it.

    Jane, still thinking that one surgical room for c-section is not that important compared to teaching hygiene? (for the lurkers, again, my position is ideally to get both)
    We Westerners have some time no idea how privileged we are with our access to modern medicine. Or running water.

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