Respectful Insolence

Fundraising for antivaccine research

If there’s one thing that antivaccine cranks tell us that has a grain of truth in it, it’s to be wary of pharmaceutical companies and their influence. Their mission is, of course, to make profits, and sometimes the search for profits can lead them to do things that are less than savory. Of course, antivaccine cranks take reasonable skepticism and wariness of pharmaceutical company influence and amp it up to ridiculous heights, in much the same way that they take concerns about potential side effects of vaccines and amp them up to even more ridiculous heights. It’s what they do. In any case, I’ve always pointed out that studies funded by pharmaceutical companies should be judged on their merits and the strength of the science, but that funding sources do count, leading me to look at pharmaceutical-funded studies with a bit more skepticism than I do studies funded by other sources. The same is true of studies funded by organizations with an agenda. They could be good studies, but they generally have a higher bar to overcome the concern of bias due to the funding source.

All of this is why I fear for researchers at Jackson State University. Whether or not it’s due to their seeking help and not being too particular where they get it from, I don’t know, but they are in danger of having a study they’re planning on doing tainted by funding from antivaccinationists. It’s not a road that a legitimate researcher wanting to protect his academic reputation would want to go down, but these investigators appear to be doing just that, as I learned from a post yesterday on the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism entitled Unvaccinated Children and Autism: Study Funding Needed Right Now. Yes, AoA is soliciting funds from its readers to support a study. J.B. Handley even urges AoA readers to follow his example:

So, in order to finish the work and see the first documented data comparing vaccinated and unvaccinated children, an additional $400,000 needs to be raised.

Some comments about fundraising for the study:

  1. If you can help, please donate directly through the Generation Rescue website, HERE. (Note: Generation Rescue is not conducting the study, we just want to see the study completed so the data can be collected and analyzed, whatever the outcome. By clicking through this donation link, you can make sure 100% of your donation goes to the study.)
  2. If you are in a position to donate a sizable amount and would like to learn more details about the study, please contact Generation Rescue and we will help provide information or the appropriate introduction: 1-877-98-AUTISM
  3. Yes, mainstream autism organizations have been given the opportunity to help fund this study and they have declined to do so

This is such important work, I hope everyone who reads this can help in some way. Earlier this week, my wife and I contributed $5,000 through the GR site to help support the study, and I hope everyone who is in a position to help will do so–thanks for listening!

Actually, looking at it more closely, I fear I know why J.B. Handley was interested in this study, and it’s not because it looks like it is likely to answer the question of whether vaccines cause autism or not. You’ll see what I mean in a second. But first, I’d like to “welcome” J. B. Handley back. It wasn’t all that that long ago that I was wondering where J.B. Handley was. We all missed him. Few cranks are able to combine sheer orneriness with amazing crankitude to produce screeds that are a joy to apply a bit of not-so-Respectful Insolence to. This one, I must admit, is not one of his better screeds. I rather suspect that the reason is that he’s trying to get people to donate money to what he considers to be a good cause. But is it? Well, it is J.B. Handley we’re talking about here, a man whose attraction to bad antivaccine science is only rivaled by his utter lack of filters on what he says.

But first, Handley has to get in on some of that sweet, sweet Nate Silver action. You remember Nate Silver, don’t you? I mentioned him just two weeks ago in the context of discussing science-based medicine. Just three weeks ago, Nate Silver dazzled the world with the accuracy of his predictions of the 2012 election results, predicting the outcome and margins of the presidential election, as well as Senate and House races. He did it through a very rigorous analysis of existing public polling data, and his predictions went against the conventional wisdom about the election that pundits wanted you to believe. I’m sure you can see where this going. Yes, because Nate Silver was right when so many thought that Mitt Romney would make it a much closer race and possibly even pull off a win, that must mean that vaccines cause autism. Well, not exactly, but Handley can’t resist citing Silver as support for his views:

“In a complex system, however, mistakes are not measured in degrees but in whole orders of magnitude.”

Nate Silver, The Signal and the Noise

In the above quote, author Nate Silver is discussing the fact that Moody’s and S&P–the pre-eminent financial ratings agencies in the world– underestimated the default risk of CDO funds by a factor of over 200, facilitating the implosion of the housing bubble and a worldwide recession.

Put another way, the financial experts at S&P and Moody’s predicted that certain financial instruments would have a default rate of just 0.12 percent (just over one tenth of one percent), when the actual default rate turned out to be 28%.

How could so many smart people be so stupid?

This question lies at the heart of a battle and debate that so many of us are currently fighting—is it possible that our health authorities, in an attempt to prevent every infectious disease they could through the use of vaccines, ended up creating a whole different set of problematic health outcomes in our children?

The invocation of Nate Silver is inappropriate in the extreme. In actuality, Silver is the data-driven person, the one who correctly analyzes publicly available data. In comparison, Handley is more like the political pundits or the Republican operatives who were trying to “unskew” the polls and convince you that Mitt Romney was actually going to win. He reminds me of the “smart people” to which Nate Silver refers, who turned out to be so stupid. He is driven by an agenda, not data. He sees conspiracies, not truth. He believes pseudoscience, not science. Where skeptics cite real scientists, Handley cites all-purpose antiscience crank Dr. Donald Miller. I can understand why Handley wants to try to appropriate the Nate Silver mojo for himself, though. I view it as nothing more than an updated form of the “Galileo gambit.” In fact, I rather suspect we’ll be seeing more and more of the “Nate Silver gambit” from cranks after his success in predicting the 2012 election results.

Be that as it may, what exactly is this study that Handley wants to help fund?

I must admit, I’m underwhelmed. The study will apparently cost $500,000 to fund, but only $100,000 has been raised so far. Interestingly, as Handley noted above, mainstream autism charities have passed. I wonder why… It couldn’t be that the hypothesis at the heart of the study is one that’s already been scientifically discredited time and time again, could it? Or the rather useless design of the study:

This study concerns a major current health question: namely, whether vaccination is linked in any way to children’s long-term health. Vaccination is one of the greatest discoveries in medicine, yet little is known about its long-term impact. The objective of this study is to evaluate the effects of vaccination by comparing vaccinated and unvaccinated children in terms of a number of major health outcomes, including asthma, autism, diabetes, and learning disability. The study involves a partnership between Jackson State University (JSU), Jackson, MS and the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI), Salem, OR, which has long been involved in research on homeschool education.

It all sounds rather innocuous, but looking deeper, I find that this “study” is not much of a study at all. In fact, it’s just an Internet survey, and not even a particularly informative survey. Why it will cost $500,000 to complete, I have no idea. It sures seems like a lot of green for a relatively easy study. It’s not as though a bunch of people to interview hundreds or thousands of subjects are needed. You can even look at it yourself, as one can find the survey here and here. Its principal investigator is Anthony R. Mawson, M.A., Dr.P.H.. That name sounded familiar to me, and it didn’t take much Googling before it came to me.

It turns out that Dr. Mawson is a vocal supporter of—surprise! surprise!—Andrew Wakefield. For instance he wrote to a blogger telling him that he disagreed with Prof. Trisha Greenhalgh’s critical analysis of the Wakefield et al. study that was published in The Lancet in 1998 in which she characterized it as seriously flawed. Dr. Mawson even went so far as to say that the paper is “excellent” and “a superb case study that will join the ranks of other famous case studies, such as the link between rubella infection and congenital rubella syndrome (Gregg 1941) and between exposure to thalidomide and embryopathy (McBride 1956),” concluding:

The paper, once understood in this light, as case series analysis, is truly remarkable, well written and brilliantly documented. It concluded by stating the hypothesis, based on parents’ reports, that the children’s’ signs and symptoms were temporally connected to MMR vaccination. Subsequent studies may not have substantiated the hypothesis; but that does not detract from or invalidate the merits of the paper as a case series and as, essentially, a hypothesis paper.

Hmmm. One wonders what Dr. Mawson thinks now that Wakefield’s paper based on that “brilliant” case series has been retracted. His letter is a hunk o’ hunk o’ burnin’ stupid. He probably still loves Wakefield.

However, things are coming into focus more; certainly it’s obvious now why J.B. Handley loves Mawson’s “study.” It’s an Internet survey whose subjects will self-select, as there doesn’t appear to be a mechanism to attract a representative cross-section of parents. It’s also being carried out in collaboration with an entity known as the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI), a group I’ve never heard of, but many (although certainly not all) home schoolers are notoriously antivaccine. Mawson’s study does, however, resemble a “study” proposed by Generation Rescue a few years back. So what we have here is a study that is really nothing more than an Internet survey funded by a home schooling organization for which additional funding has been sought through the rabidly antivaccine group, Generation Rescue.

I started out concerned that legitimate researchers were going to have their work tainted by donations from an antivaccine source, but I needn’t have worried. I should have known that most real scientists shun the antivaccine movement. Clearly Mawson does not, because he’s obviously had contact with J.B. Handley and is fine with Handley’s fundraising for him. Part of me is half-tempted to sit back and hope that Handley’s minions actually do donate $400,000 to Mawson for his study. It would be money that couldn’t make mischief elsewhere by funding antivaccine activism or quackery. It would also be money about as well-spent as the Republican Super-PACs that failed to elect so many Republican candidates, but I suppose wasting it on Mawson is probably not as bad as using it for other antivaccine activities. On the other hand, as useless as this survey will be, I know that antivaccinationists will use it as a propaganda tool, no matter what it shows. That’s what it’s clearly designed to be. That’s also why I hope Handley’s funding initiative succeeds just about as well as other attempts at “science” GR has undertaken, as in not at all.

Comments

  1. #1 lilady
    still awake...
    November 29, 2012

    You missed this endorsement of Andrew Wakefield on a petition to the GMC, Orac. :-)

    http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/gmc/signatures/page/43

    Name: Dr. Anthony R. Mawson (epidemiologist) on May 6, 2007
    Comments: Dr. Andrew Wakefield is a reputable and conscientious physician and a brilliant clinical scientist of high moral character. I support this petition to allow Dr. Wakefield and all doctors — and indeed all qualified individuals — to vigorously investigate the causes of autism (and related problems of children that are undoubtedly increasing to epidemic proportions) and to follow clues wherever they may lead. It is particularly the responsibility of medical and public health scientists to thoroughly test and evaluate the efficacy and safety of all public health and medical interventions, including vaccines, antibiotics and other treatments. The need for unfettered research on the causes of autism, epilepsy, learning disabilities, atopy, etc. — all of which are strangely increasing among children in societies where medical practices such as vaccination and frequent recourse to antibiotics are extremely prevalent — must not be suppressed by the authorities in the name of “maintaining public health” or preserving public order, or similar objections to open inquiry. The current ethical demand for “informed consent” in all medical interventions means that the public has a right to full information and access to the results of studies on treatments to which they are now subjected without properly obtained informed consent and which are, in effect, mandated as a basis for allowing children to attend daycare facilities and schools.

    And…Mawson’s name on the “We Support Andrew Wakefield” website and petition:

    http://www.wesupportandywakefield.com/

  2. #2 Adam
    November 29, 2012

    Providing the study is conducted with the appropriate level of rigor necessary to eliminate bias and these antivaxxers are prepared to stand by the results, then I see no problem with it. Of course that’s very unlikely to happen but still…

    It’s worth encouraging any promoter of an alt health to do the same. Look at MMS for example. It must have made a very tidy sum for its boosters but where are the studies which prove it does ANYTHING they claim of it? These people clearly love money and if they’re so convinced that their product does what it says, they should fund some studies. Successful results will only lead to more sales.

  3. #3 Fiona
    November 29, 2012

    If the study goes ahead and needs participants, perhaps we should encourage as many people as possible to fill out the survey. I’m happy to testify that I have two fully-vaccinated kids who have none of those health problems.

  4. #4 John Haigh
    UK
    November 29, 2012

    This is so far from being a scientific study any results will be totally useless, except as a propaganda tool.
    Being an internet survey it is likely to self select for better off, better educated families.
    I think we can fairly assume as a starting point that the vast majority of parents of unvaccinated children are against vaccination, otherwise they would have accepted the protection vacination offers. As it is a self selecting survey people will choose to complete the survey based on their initial bias, anti-vax parents are more likely to complete the survey if their children have none of the health problems, to do otherwise would be to admit they may have made a mistake. Similarly, parents who do vaccinate will be more likely to complete the survey if their children are healthy, for the same reasons. As a result the results are likely to be skewed towards fewer children with the defined health problems than the average for families who considered replying to the survey, with no way to work out which group has skewed the data the most and so weight the scores.
    You might as well launch two competing petitions, “All children should be vaccinated” vs “No children should be vaccinated”, the data from this survey will be just as useful (not at all).

  5. #5 Anj
    November 29, 2012

    From the comments:

    “With a million Autism families in the USA, I believe you will locate adequate funding. ”

    I came up with and discarded three different ways of interpreting that, none of them complimentary.

  6. #6 JKW
    Danville, Tri-state area
    November 29, 2012

    “He is driven by an agenda, not data.” That inductive/deductive confusion or purposeful obfuscation is the root of so many problems.

  7. #7 Orac
    November 29, 2012

    Interestingly, even some of the commenters on AoA aren’t entirely convinced. Maybe having been burned by GR’s previous attempt at a “study” (survey), they actually are wary of being burned again. One of them even asked if the research protocol is online anywhere. (It’s not, at least not as far as I can tell. Only the study is.) Another one of them pointed out something interesting:

    The study is being done in Mississippi. There ARE no exemptions for schooled children in MS. The ONLY unvaccinated children in the state are homeschooled. 16 medical exemptions were issued last year in the entire state. The State Board of (Un)Health is on record with that number being entirely too high. So homeschool is the only available pool of unvax kids.

    In other words, the unvaccinated group will be even more unrepresentative of the general population than most unvaccinated children. This study is even more useless than I thought when I wrote my post last night.

  8. #8 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    November 29, 2012

    “With a million Autism families in the USA, I believe you will locate adequate funding.”

    Anj, that’s wishful-thinking and an appeal to popularity as the vast majority of the autism community simply does not share their vaccine causation belief.

    So we have 500K being spent on what is a desktop publication with built-in selection bias and even the faithful questioning it. I don’t think JB Handley is as financially-savvy as he would like to believe.

  9. #9 Mu
    November 29, 2012

    The real question is, why would a professor of
    epidemiology at a public university, with full access to peer reviewed funding mechanisms, have to stoop so low as to publicly beg for money for this study? Did it not pass NIH/NSF reviews, maybe due to a weak hypothesis, lousy methodology and clear prior evidence against the hypothesis? Or is he trying to avoid any scrutiny by the OSI if he would take federal money for a study with a clear predetermined outcome?

  10. #10 Todd W.
    http://harpocratesspeaks.com
    November 29, 2012

    Before I heard more about the study, what struck me was this:

    1. If you can help, please donate directly through the Generation Rescue website, HERE. (Note: Generation Rescue is not conducting the study, we just want to see the study completed so the data can be collected and analyzed, whatever the outcome. By clicking through this donation link, you can make sure 100% of your donation goes to the study.)
    2. If you are in a position to donate a sizable amount and would like to learn more details about the study, please contact Generation Rescue and we will help provide information or the appropriate introduction: 1-877-98-AUTISM

    Why direct people to GR instead of to the actual institution doing the research? From the philanthropy standpoint, if you want to make sure that 100% of your donation (minus administration overhead) goes to the specific project you want to fund, then deal directly with the charity you’re supporting, rather than going through third parties. Only go through third parties when you want a broader, less specific impact.

    Also, if you want more information about the research, contact the researchers. They should have a coordinator to field these kinds of questions, and they’ll know a damn sight more than unrelated third parties.

    When I was raising money for vaccine research, that’s exactly what I did: direct people to the charity to make their donations, rather than going through me, and providing links to the researchers’ web site for more information.

    But then, I want to actually help and make a difference, rather than drive an ideological agenda.

  11. #11 BKsea
    November 29, 2012

    Reminds me a bit of the Richard Muller / BEST temeprature analysis. Climate denier organizations found a sympathetic researcher and funded an ideology-based study. Fortunately, in that case, the deniers got biitten in the ass as Muller actually did quality science. In the case of Mawson, I would not be so hopeful.

  12. #12 JGC
    November 29, 2012

    This study concerns a major current health question: namely, whether vaccination is linked in any way to children’s long-term health.

    But the available evidence already answers this question with a resounding “Yes: it increases long term health by reducing the incidence of polio, rubella, etc.”

  13. #13 lilady
    November 29, 2012

    There seems to be some conflicting information about the “study” design and who is eligible to participate in this online “study”.

    J.B. is losing/has lost “his touch”. He provided inadequate information to his groupies at AoA.

    This is *odd*…I was able to find some additional information that J.B. did not provide…

    http://chefofla.org/nheri.html

    “This is a pilot study involving the four states of Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Oregon. Please forward this information and link to homeschool families in only these four states.”

  14. #14 Shay
    November 29, 2012

    The real question is, why would a professor of
    epidemiology at a public university, with full access to peer reviewed funding mechanisms, have to stoop so low as to publicly beg for money for this study?

    I think MU has hit the nail on the head…this is the question I would be asking myself.

  15. #15 Denice Walter
    November 29, 2012

    I wonder what Nate Silver would make of publicly available data about the so-called autism epidemic and about vaccination rates – oh, in the last 20 years or so?
    Probably similar to what most of us make of that data.

    And -btw- JB comparing information about CDOs and ASDs is rather hilarious

  16. #16 Denice Walter
    November 29, 2012

    Why would a prof of epidemiology associate with AJW at all?

  17. #17 lilady
    November 29, 2012

    From Orac’s link to Sullivan’s LB/RB blog about the first vaccinated-vs-unvaccinated “study” that Generation Rescue tried to get funding for ($ 800,000) and promoted in 2010:

    http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/index.php?s=deth

    THE INVOLVEMENT OF THE NATIONAL HOME EDUCATION RESEARCH INSTITUTE (NHERI):

    “I. Project’s Primary Purpose, and the Need it Addresses. The goal of this project is to test the association between vaccinations and both acute and chronic neuro-developmental disorders and the efficacy of preventive health strategies. This will be achieved by conducting a retrospective cross-sectional study comparing the incidence of chronic illnesses (i.e., asthma, obesity, and eczema), neuro-developmental disorders (i.e., autism, ADHD and learning disorders), and overall health and well-being among a random sample of vaccinated and unvaccinated children (5-18 years of age). The study will obtain information from a random sample of two populations: I) children being horne-schooled and belong to the National Horne Educational Research Institute (NHERI); and, 2) children among the 30,000 unvaccinated patients being provided health care at the Homefirst Health Services in Chicago. Data will be collected from medical charts and parental reports via website health surveys and the standardized measures including the Autism Diagnostic Questionnaire.”

    THE PROJECT DIRECTOR ANTHONY J. MAWSON

    “Project Stafjing: The Project Director will have a Masters’ degree and will be responsible foroverseeing the implementation, quality assurance and reporting of this project. Dr. A. Mawson is Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine at University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC), and Principal Investigator of the Mississippi Study Center for the National Children’s Study. Dr. B. Ray is President of the National Home Education Research Institute and an experienced researcher in home education. Dr. S. Buttross is Professor and Chief of the Division of Child Developmental Disorders in the Department of Pediatrics; UMMC; and Dr. W. May is Professor of Biostatistics, Department of Medicine, UMMC. The combined experience of these investigators ensures the highest standards of quality and scientific rigor.”

    J. B. has “lost it” and has just *cleverly* omitted the facts about this new *study*…which is just the recycled, repackaged, old failed study from Generation Rescue, with the same cast of characters.

  18. #18 brian
    November 29, 2012

    Perhaps this new study will be as strong as a recent, strikingly-similar internet-based study which also used unverified, anonymous data to conclude that ASD is as common among unvaccinated children as it is in the general population:

    http://vaccineinjury.info/results-unvaccinated/ads-autism.html

    Scroll down to the second chart from the bottom, and note the proportion of unvaccinated children with ASD: in four to five year olds (1 in 114), seven to eight year olds (1 in 126) nine to ten year olds (1 in 52), and eleven to twelve year olds (1 in 81).

  19. #19 Mu
    November 29, 2012

    Count me confused, are there two Dr. A. Mawson?
    Dr. A. Mawson is Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine at University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC)
    a position not mentioned in the above linked CV for the epidemiologist

  20. #20 Mu
    November 29, 2012

    yes there are, one is Anthony J, one is Anthony R.

  21. #21 Mu
    November 29, 2012

    or maybe not, as the only hit for Prof. Mawson at UMMC is this link. And he’s absent from UMMC’s staff list. You wouldn’t assume that GR was promoting a study with a non-existing PI?

  22. #22 Ren
    The Keystone State
    November 29, 2012

    Half a million for a survey study? I’m in the wrong line of work!

  23. #23 lilady
    Here, and willing to come out of retirement for $ 500 K
    November 29, 2012

    @ Ren: Call J.B. to see if we have to take on the GWU MPH candidate as an intern for the vaccinated-vs-unvaccinated *study*.

  24. #24 Narad
    November 29, 2012

    And he’s absent from UMMC’s staff list.

    He appears to have moved to his own biotech startup, “Chalfont LLC,” a couple of years ago. One might wonder how tight the accounting will be over this substantial chunk of change.

  25. #25 Narad
    November 29, 2012

    Oh, and one of their products in development is “a device for treating learning disability, hyperactivity and aggression.” And the corporate address is a three-bedroom house.

  26. #26 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    November 29, 2012

    Paging Narad. What can you find out about this:
    http://dockets.justia.com/search?q=Anthony+R.+Mawson%C2%A0

    Can someone please give me a flow chart for which Mawson is doing what and where?

  27. #27 Reality
    November 29, 2012

    A self-selecting internet survey on vaccines by an academic who’s supported and endorsed one of the most notorious anti-vaccination medical frauds in the last century and funded by an home schooling organisation?
    What could go wrong with this approach?
    I predict a vaccine-autism link will be found just as self-selecting internet polls found Ron Paul the favored candidate by 90% of the population — and we all know Paulbots never tainted ‘internet surveys’.

    Now the question arises as to just what prestigious journal Mawson will elect to publish in.
    Perhaps _The Journal of Aquarium Fishes_, or _International Review of Candle Making and Homeopathy_?
    If they won’t take it then it’s off to the internet open access pay-to-play wonderland.

    One can only wait with bated breath for the foregone conclusion to be announced.

  28. #28 Narad
    November 29, 2012

    What can you find out about this

    Well, I don’t want to run up my PACER account, but 251-11-768-CIV is over his contract not being renewed beyond June 2011 after having lost a PI position, which is attributed to having given testimony at a state hearing about vaccine waivers, but then I guess he was placed on administrative leave in November 2010 over something having to do with vitamins and hearing loss. It’s kind of rambling. Your E-mail is at the blog, right?

  29. #29 Narad
    November 29, 2012

    Oh, and are there really tenure-track year-to-year contract jobs? This is part of it as well.

  30. #30 Christine (the public servant Christine)
    November 29, 2012

    I’ve had a thought about why a self-selecting internet survey is going to cost $500,000 – it’s either to pay for some really good spin doctors to put a spectacular slant on the results, or it’s for bribes to pay for “peer reviews” to agree with the results.

  31. #31 Narad
    November 29, 2012

    I’ve had a thought about why a self-selecting internet survey is going to cost $500,000 – it’s either to pay for some really good spin doctors to put a spectacular slant on the results, or it’s for bribes to pay for “peer reviews” to agree with the results.

    It’s also exactly the amount of requested damages in his suit against UMMC.

  32. #32 Narad
    November 29, 2012

    Actually, no, allow me to correct myself. It’s the amount of damages sought in the initial threat letter.

  33. #33 Narad
    November 29, 2012

    (Even worse, Mississippi State University has developed a live attenuated catfish vaccine. What freedoms will these people come for next?)

  34. #34 Christine (the public servant Christine)
    November 29, 2012

    I just went and had a look at that vaccineinjury.info site. Now my head wants to explode from the stupid.

  35. #35 Denice Walter
    November 29, 2012

    @ Christine ( the public servant Christine):

    It may be rivalled by today’s Age of Autism which includes Mark Blaxill’s testimony to a governmental committee.
    Mind-numbingly, breath-takingly and hand-wringingly stupid.

  36. #36 Narad
    November 29, 2012

    Now the question arises as to just what prestigious journal Mawson will elect to publish in.

    He’s been in accelerated-review Hindawi and Dove titles of late. These outfits have had some defenders in the comments to Beall’s list, but “Gold OA” publishing is fraught with pitfalls. I’m not competent to evaluate the merit of the work.

  37. #37 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    November 29, 2012

    Your E-mail is at the blog, right?

    Yes, thanks.

    Oh, and are there really tenure-track year-to-year contract jobs? This is part of it as well.

    I don’t know; I haven’t come across that at any of my unis.

  38. #38 Narad
    November 29, 2012

    I don’t know; I haven’t come across that at any of my unis.

    I asked that before I had gotten to the exhibits. Seems to have been the case.

  39. #39 brian
    November 29, 2012

    Mark Blaxill’s testimony to a governmental committee. Mind-numbingly, breath-takingly and hand-wringingly stupid.

    In a presentation to the Institute of Medicine Immunization Safety Committee in 2001, Mark Blaxill claimed that the prevalence of autism, which he associated with exposure to thimerosal-containing vaccines, peaked in 1994 and then decreased following the 1993 licensure of a thimerosal-free formulation of the HiB vaccine. Today, eleven years later, Blaxill appeared before a Congressional committee called to address the still-continuing increase in the prevalence of ASD years after exposure to thimerosal-containing vaccines was dramatically reduced, and claimed that “mercury and vaccines, . . . are the only environmental factors identified so far that are plausible causes for the magnitude and timing of this crisis.”

    (The stupid, it burns!)

  40. #40 Grant
    November 30, 2012

    Off-topic, but interesting – just out:

    ‘Is everything we eat associated with cancer? A systematic cookbook review.’

    http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2012/11/27/ajcn.112.047142.abstract

    (H/T: Ben Goldacre)

  41. #41 flip
    November 30, 2012

    What makes little sense to me is why GR is collecting the funds: wouldn’t the researchers be able to set up their own bank account/funding process of their own? Why go through another party? Unless… – and here we insert a shill motive, as they are so fond of doing.

    (Ah Todd W got there first)

    Why it will cost $500,000 to complete, I have no idea.

    Maybe the web designers are expensive ;)

    The study is being done in Mississippi. There ARE no exemptions for schooled children in MS.

    How do they prevent people from doing the survey on the *internet* when they just want people from MS? They could exclude anyone that uses the wrong state in the survey selection, but then they have a problem with people who lied on the survey.

  42. #42 flip
    November 30, 2012

    Ok, just reading the survey now:

    There’s questions in there about organic foods, raw fruit/veg, opinion on vaccines, and various vaccine history questions, and history of various illnesses and use of medications.

    But as far as I could see from a quick scan, nothing about genetic conditions, or family history outside of the mother’s health during pregnancy.

    In other words, the ‘study’ is skewed from start to finish.

  43. #43 Denice Walter
    November 30, 2012

    @ brian:

    Oddly enough, they think that they’re winning! Soon the dastardly plot to vaccinate innocent babies with CNS poisons will be uncovered and vaccines will be swept into the dustbin of history- soon to become just a fading memory in the bold new world of revolutionary health freedom, free range parenting and organic non-GMO healthy living. Or something.

    Posts today @ AoA and TMR practically so say. Now, like the UK, the US will be exposed for what it REALLY is: A FRONT GROUP FOR THE PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES!

    It appears that the following groups were represented at the meeting:
    Generation Rescue, Age of Autism, Thinking Moms’ Revolution, VaxTruth, Safe Minds and the Canary Party. Was it a huge crowd – or does each person represent more than one group? Oh, guess.

  44. #44 Ren
    Keystone State still, busted leg
    November 30, 2012

    @Lilady

    Yeah. The day JB or anyone at Generation Rescue takes my phone call will be the day pigs fly, unassisted.

    Seriously, though, I have to wonder if that’s why they’re putting Jake through the MPH program, to validate whatever weirdo survey they come up with next? Hey, it’s an MPH graduate from G-dub, so it must be legit, right?

    Right.

  45. #45 lilady
    November 30, 2012

    @ Ren: There’s a banner ad on AoA for donations to Gen. Rescue to fund this bogus research.

    I envision a “career” path for ***Jake, at Polly Tommey’s Autism Trust USA agency in Austin. Andy as Executive Director, Krigsman as Medical Director and Jake as all-purpose lackey.

    ***Jake might graduate from GWU with a MPH-Epidemiology degree, but he will never be an epidemiologist.

  46. #46 Lawrence
    November 30, 2012

    @Ren – given the problems GWU is having right now, my wife and I have started calling it “Foggy Bottom Community College.” There is talk of potential accreditation issues because of the recent scandal there…..

  47. #47 Must resist...
    November 30, 2012

    “How could so many smart people be so stupid?”

    This from AoA/Generation rescue?

    They could be the case project to study the answer to this question.

  48. #48 Matt Carey
    November 30, 2012

    They tried to get this funded 4-5 years ago
    http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2009/12/08/is-generation-trying-to-get-airborne-to-fund-junk-science/

    The Center for Science in the Public Interest saw that this wasn’t science and wasn’t in the public interest.

  49. #49 lilady
    December 1, 2012

    @ Matt Carey: Thanks for that link. I’m a relative newbie to science blogs and I wasn’t aware that it was the Airborne settlement that Generation Rescue was trying to get a piece of, to fund their vaccinated-vs-unvaccinated *study*.

  50. #50 Kelly M Bray
    On the dance floor.
    December 1, 2012
  51. #51 lilady
    December 1, 2012

    I’ll be off line until tomorrow. There is a blog going on…and on… where the author of a new book is being viciously attacked by the groupies from AoA and other anti-vaccine websites.

    In case any of you want to add to the comments and defend this author, of a great book on vaccines…here’s the link. :-)

    http://blog.nj.com/njv_guest_blog/2012/11/pro-vaccine_parents_need_to_sp.html

  52. #52 Kelly M Bray
    On the dance floor.
    December 1, 2012

    The opinion piece Lilady mentioned has attracted some real vicious AV psychos. bent on a harassment campaign. Any help would be appreciated.

  53. #53 Kelly M Bray
    Going to a parade
    December 1, 2012

    Who the hell are Janine Roberts and Jim West? Someone just tried to tell me polio is not a virus.

  54. #54 Narad
    December 1, 2012

    Who the hell are Janine Roberts and Jim West?

    Janine Roberts is a frothing HIV denialist.

  55. #55 Narad
    December 1, 2012

    Oh, and Jim West is a complete OMSJ fruitcake.

    It’s World AIDS Day, which means that its time for the faithful congregation of the pharmaceutically-fundamentalist AIDS Church to celebrate the suffering and death of those who follow this pagan religion. Despite being routinely debunked in courtrooms and documentaries like House of Numbers (2009), today’s faithful celebrate the sacramental baptism of HIV tests and the eucharist of psychotropic cocktails. When promiscuous believers succumb to holy rituals of anonymous anal intercourse, bath houses, circuit parties, poppers, crystal meth, flow cytometry and AIDS drugs, they are transfigured by congregants just like Jesus Christ. And if they are really special, they’ll live forever in a quilt or magazine.

  56. #56 Militant Agnostic
    December 1, 2012

    @Narad

    Janine Roberts is a frothing HIV denialist.

    Is there any other kind?

    What the hell is “OMSJ”?

  57. #57 Narad
    December 1, 2012

    What the hell is “OMSJ”?

    Clark Baker, in large part.

  58. #58 lilady
    I'm back, now.
    December 2, 2012

    Thanks guys for posting on that link I provided. :-)

  59. #59 Kelly M Bray
    December 2, 2012

    An anti vax article that could use some commentary from sane people. They are objecting to a BBC childrens show that is Pro vax. The Ron Paul types are swarming

  60. #61 lilady
    December 2, 2012

    @ Kelly M Bray: I just posted there…still in moderation. :-)

  61. #62 wolfgangM
    December 3, 2012

    Such a study still exists

    Epoke J et al. Vaccinated versus unvaccinated children: how they fare in first five years of life Trop Geogr Med 1990;42:182-4

    25 children who had undergone their full course of immunizastion were compared with 25 children who did not have any immunization for a period of 5 yrs.

    Out of the 25 vaccinated children, only one child had mild measles while 4 had suspected whooping cough, but not clinically diagnosed as pertussis.
    Among the unvaccinated group 2 died of measles before the age of 3, while 11 others went down with measles. One child died of tetanus.

    Its only a small study- but whats about ethics why should such a study be repeated in another setting.?

  62. #63 Julian Frost
    NOYDB
    December 3, 2012

    @wolfgangM: Thanks. Given how negative the outcomes were for the unvaccinated, it’s hard to see anyone arguing for a full vaxx vs. unvaxx study.

  63. #64 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    December 3, 2012

    Its only a small study- but whats about ethics why should such a study be repeated in another setting.?

    I had not seen this and can’t believe I didn’t come across this study. Thanks WGM. I agree that given the rather negative outcomes, this clearly demonstrates the ethics involved with withholding a prophylaxis with life-saving benefits. The anti-vaxxers would just argue that this is an “unhealthy” population and not applicable to their own speshul first-world spawn.

  64. #65 Krebiozen
    December 3, 2012

    That study was carried out in Nigeria, where the health problems faced by children are somewhat different to those faced by children in the developed world. Perhaps not the best piece of ammunition to use against the foolish demands for a vaccinated versus unvaccinated study.

  65. #66 MI Dawn
    December 3, 2012

    @Kelly M Bray, lilady: I had posted a comment last night; still in moderation today…gee, I wonder why?

  66. #67 Autismum
    http://autismum.com/
    December 3, 2012

    Thanks for posting the link, Kelly, and to all posting comments on the piece about (the seriously cute) Dr Ranj. Here is his website http://www.drranj.com/
    The child protection issue to which the author of the anti-vax piece alludes (then insists she doesn’t) is this one
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-20309286
    for those not familiar with the story/Jimmy Saville

  67. #68 lilady
    December 3, 2012
  68. #69 Julian Frost
    December 4, 2012

    @lilady, Becky has a very amusing post about John “Cock” Stone’s comments on her Jabs Loonies website.
    http://jabsloonies.blogspot.com/2012/11/more-on-jimmy-savile-and-andrew.html

  69. #70 Grant
    December 4, 2012

    lilady: Stone also turned up on that thread at Forbes Liz Ditz earlier encouraged readers to tackle.

  70. #71 Autismum
    http://autismum.com/
    December 4, 2012

    @julian Frost
    How did the JABS loonies blog escape me for so long?
    As for the concern for children over at the economic voice – the writer’s concern doesn’t extend to kids with cancer (scroll down to the post below the group blurb)
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/arnica/permalink/10151257806561789/

  71. #72 lilady
    December 4, 2012

    @ Grant (or anyone) Which Forbes blog did John Stone post on?

    I’ve been posting regularly on Emily Willingham’s Forbes blog and I didn’t see any posts from Stoned.

    @ Autismum: Yup “Arnica” is a POS and as ignorant about science as any blogger I’ve ever seen. I’ve been following Becky at Jabs Loonies for quite a while…she’s terrific.

  72. [...] pimping donations about a highly dubious study for which Generation Rescue is raising money. I blogged about this study a couple of months ago. Basically, it’s a study that’s the holy grail of the antivaccine movement, a study [...]

  73. #75 Fred Jones
    February 9, 2013

    Dr. anthony mawson was fired from UMMC several years ago.

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