Respectful Insolence

That the myth that vaccines cause autism is indeed nothing more than a myth, a phantom, a delusion unsupported by science is no longer in doubt. In fact, it’s been many years now since it was last taken seriously by real scientists and physicians, as opposed to crank scientists and physicians, who are still selling the myth.  Thanks to them, and a dedicated cadre of antivaccine activists, the myth is like Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, or Freddy Krueger at the end of one of their slasher flicks. The slasher or monster appears to be dead, but we know that he isn’t because we know that he’ll eventually return in another movie to kill and terrorize a new batch of unlucky and invariably not so bright teenagers. And he always does, eventually.

Unfortunately, the myth has a price, and autistic children pay it when they are unlucky enough to have parents who have latched on to this particular myth as an explanation for why their child is autistic. One price is blame. Parents who come to believe the myth that vaccines cause autism also express extreme guilt that they “did this” to their children, that it’s their fault that their children are autistic. At the same time, they have people and entities to blame: Paul Offit, big pharma, the FDA, the scientific community, pediatricians. As a result, the second price is paid: Their children are subjected to pure quackery, such as “stem cell” injections (which almost certainly aren’t actually stem cells, given the provenance of the clinics that offer such “therapies”) into their cerebrospinal fluid, and what in essence constitutes unethical human experimentation at the hands of “autism biomed” quacks. Meanwhile these same quacks reap the financial benefits of this belief by offering a cornucopia of treatments to “recover” autistic children that range from the ineffective and usually harmless (such as homeopathy) to the ineffective and downright dangerous (dubious “stem cell” injections by lumbar puncture into a child’s cerebrospinal fluid). These treatments drain the parents’ pocketbook and do nothing other than potential harm to the children. These prices are intertwined, and just last week I saw examples of both prices on full display at various antivaccine blogs. Worse, the concept appears to be metastasizing beyond vaccines. As more and more scientific evidence fails to find even a whiff of a hint of a correlation between vaccines and autism, the One True Cause of Autism, which was once vaccines or mercury in vaccines, has become the Many True Causes of Autism, in which vaccines (it’s always the vaccines) mix with pharmaceuticals, pollution, diet, and chemicals to produce autism in a manner that is a lot harder to falsify than the older, all too scientifically testable hypothesis that vaccines cause autism.

I described an example of the price last week when I took note of how an antivaccinationist named Beth Lambert was shilling for money to complete a film in which she plans on subjecting seven autistic children to “autism biomed” quackery in order to “prove” that this quackery heals “vaccine injury”—or injury due to the multifarious combinations of toxins (which, I note, always include vaccines). That was bad enough, but I saw something worse over the weekend, namely a post promoted in the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism about a post in another antivaccine crank blog The Thinking Moms’ Revolution (in reality The Not-So-Thinking Moms’ Revolution), entitled How I gave my son autism.

It’s a chilling read. In fact, I don’t remember reading anything quite so disturbing in a long time. The blogger, who goes by the ‘nym Mountain Mama, begins by writing about how she was raised Catholic and therefore believes in the concepts of reconciliation and absolution, forgiveness and redemption, introducing her topic thusly:

My spiritual beliefs have evolved and changed over the years, but the idea of forgiveness is still critical to how I walk through life. There are things I have done for which I know God forgives me. However, I’m pretty sure that I will never forgive myself, for my transgressions are embodied in a beautiful seven-year-old who tells me daily that I am “the best Mom in the universe.” I know the truth. And someday, so will he. All of these “unforgivable” actions were done with the best of intentions, but we all know what they say about “good intentions” and “the road to hell.” I am admitting here for all the world to see: I gave my son Autism. I did it. Me. And no one can ever take that away.

See what I mean? See how chilling this is? It’s horrifying! Mountain Mama is convinced that she and she alone is responsible for her son being autistic. So consumed with guilt and self-loathing is she that she lives in fear of the day when her son learns of her role in making him autistic. The subtext is clearly that her son will blame her and even come to hate her for having made him the way he is. The other subtext is that Mountain Mama appears to be wondering if God or her son can ever forgive her for the evil that she believes she has done to her son. The expression of guilt at having “caused” one’s child’s autism is something I’ve seen before. Having long perused antivaccine blogs, websites, and discussion forums, I’ve seen innumerable times when parents have blamed themselves for vaccinating their children and vowed never to do it again. What is striking about Mountain Mama’s post is the sheer number of ways that she believes she has caused her son’s autism, beginning with prenatal ultrasounds:

I had at least five while I was pregnant. I was assured that they were completely safe. Heck, you can get them in malls, so I assumed they were pretty benign. Wrong! While I didn’t get ultrasounds in malls, I didn’t research them either. Ultrasounds have, in fact, been implicated in autism among other neurological disorders. While there is no definitive “causal link,” enough has been found to warrant further research and precautionary measures. According to this article, “Research shows populations exposed to ultrasound have a quadrupled perinatal death rate, increased rates of brain damage, nerve cell demylienation, dyslexia, speech delays, epilepsy and learning difficulty.” Sound familiar?

Well, yes, but none of these things are autism. In any case, the article Mountain Mama cites is from a chiropractor webpage that conflates an FDA warning about 4D “vanity” or “keepsake” ultrasounds that can be obtained in clinics in malls and are not done for medical reasons with medical ultrasound. As the FDA warning itself states, unlike medical ultrasounds, which are usually performed in the shortest time reasonable to get the necessary information, these “keepsake ultrasounds” sometimes require an hour to get a video of the fetus. Even though there is no convincing evidence linking prenatal ultrasounds with adverse health outcomes, be they autism, neurological conditions, or premature death. Basically, the FDA warning was an exercise of the precautionary principle based on the principle of “we just don’t know.” Conservatively and wisely, the NIH Consensus Statement on Diagnostic Imaging in Pregnancy states that ultrasound examinations solely to satisfy parental curiosity about the sex of the baby, view the fetus, or for educational purposes “should be discouraged” and that examinations without medical benefits shouldn’t be done, reasonable recommendations for any medical test.

One can argue whether or not the FDA overreacted given the lack of evidence, but it probably did not because it’s a general principle that medical tests should not be done for nonmedical reasons because their use under such situations is all risk and no benefit. From an ethical standpoint, even if the risk is not known or is very, very tiny, one can make an argument that it’s not a good idea to do medical tests when they are definitely not indicated. Certainly, there is not enough evidence to justify self-flagellation by a mother that she caused her child’s autism because she got the recommended prenatal ultrasounds. Indeed, a recent study and review of the literature fail to find evidence of a correlation between prenatal ultrasounds and autism, and the arguments that blame ultrasound examinations for autism boil down to the same sort of arguments used to blame vaccines for autism: The increase in autism diagnoses correlates with the increased use of prenatal ultrasound; i.e., confusing correlation with causation.Moreover, there is a confounder that the people who think ultrasound examinations cause fetal abnormalities, and it’s this. Complicated pregnancies usually require more ultrasound examinations, as the obstetrician keeps a much closer eye on them. Complicated pregnancies also have a higher probability of fetal death or neurological abnormalities. If that confounder isn’t carefully controlled for, of course there’s a correlation between the number of ultrasound examinations and adverse outcomes for the child!

The litany of things that Mountain Mama blames for her child’s autism balloons up to nine items, including Lortab/acetaminophen, antibiotics, Pitocin, high fructose corn syrup, C-section, other drugs, and, of course, vaccines, about which she writes:

People, I know what happened to my kid. I KNOW. I watched it. Ginger Taylor has been compiling studies for years that link vaccines to autism. That list has now reached over 60 studies.

Another word – Don’t bother making comments arguing about vaccines. I won’t post them. I am fully aware that there are children with autism who weren’t vaccinated. I am not suggesting that vaccines are SOLELY responsible for EVERY child’s autism. I KNOW, however, that they caused irreparable damage to my son’s immune system which ultimately led to his autism. There. Done.

In other words, don’t bother Mountain Mama with evidence. She don’t need no steeenkin’ evidence, other than that which she cherry picks. I do, however, find it hilarious that Mountain Mama would cite a list compiled by, of all people, Ginger Taylor as her “evidence.” If there’s a single person who embodies the arrogance of ignorance when it comes to vaccines, is a master of cherry picking studies, and thinks she knows more than real scientists, it’s Ms. Taylor, who is a true believer who attended Jenny McCarthy’s antivaccine “protest” a few years ago and believes that Andrew Wakefield is the victim of a “witch hunt.” Indeed, many of the studies she lists do not show what she thinks they show or have at best a tangential relationship to autism or no autism at all.

As for the other potential causes, Mountain Mama cites a Medical Hypotheses paper as evidence that there is a link between Augmentin and autism. As is frequently the case with articles in this vanity journal that is not peer-reviewed but is known for publishing all sorts of pseudoscientific nonsense such as HIV/AIDS denialism, antivaccine quackery, and more, the argument boils down to handwaving and speculation about biochemical mechanisms and confusing correlation with causation, along with an uncontrolled “study” allegedly linking Augmentin to autism. This was a “study” so bad that even Medical Hypotheses published a refutation of it that pointed out the nonsensical nature of the claim:

Her non-prospective, non-randomized, uncontrolled “study” of 206 autistic children found that members of her cohort had received 893 courses of amoxicillin/clavulanate and 1587 courses of other antibiotics. Without data on appropriately-matched control children, her data fail the “white shoe test”. Had she found that, of 206 autistic children, 205 wore shoes on a regular basis, and of those, 200 regularly wore a pair of white shoes before age one, would she suspect white shoes cause autism? Suppose further she found 125 students whose white shoes were fastened with Velcro® instead of shoelaces. Would she associate autism with Velcro®? Velcro® would certainly pass Fallon’s “timeline test”: there were very few Velcro® fastened shoes before the 1980s.

I’m so totally going to remember this analogy. My favorite one is the “CD analogy,” in which I point out that the rise in autism prevalence correlates very nicely with the introduction of CDs in 1985 and how CDs supplanted LPs as the most common medium on which music has been sold. Of course, then we have the difficulty of the last several years, during which MP3 files downloaded from various online services have become the preferred medium for consuming music, but I have a substitute: The “Internet” analogy, in which I point out that the rise in autism diagnoses also correlates very well with the explosion in Internet usage since the early 1990s. The analogies write themselves.

The evidence cited by Mountain Mama for everything else on which she blames her son’s autism is similarly weak. For instance, she also blames her child’s autism on her having to have a C-section to deliver him, citing a single non-peer-reviewed observation on a website as evidence why she feels that way. Now, there is some weak evidence that C-section deliveries might be associated with a higher risk of autism, but it’s pretty weak. Besides, what would Mountain Mama have done otherwise? By her own account, it sounds as though she really needed the emergency C-section.

In the end, the list goes on and on:

I can think of many more things I did wrong that I am sure contributed to my son’s health crisis. I will mention diet, toxic cookware, benzocaine teething gel and toxic building materials but won’t elaborate because at this point, common sense should dictate. I am writing this to try to hit the biggies that people really need to research to make better decisions than I did.

Is there anything Mountain Mama didn’t do to cause her son’s autism? Reading her confessional, it’s hard to think of any. After telling readers not to bother to try to urge her to let go and forgive herself but instead to send it around to everyone they know because:

No child should have to endure what mine has endured. No mother should ever have to experience the kind of torturous guilt I live with every day.

The mistakes I made were, by and large, recommended by healthcare professionals. That is no excuse. My son’s health was MY responsibility. I could choose to follow the recommendations or not. Even a small bit of research would have changed the outcome for my son. There are women, as we speak, who are on the way to the doctor for their second or third ultrasound. There are mothers dosing their babies with acetaminophen before their shots. There are expectant moms being hooked up to Pitocin drips. Some moms are administering unnecessary antibiotics for yet another ear infection and haven’t made the connection that their baby’s immune system is failing. There are also many, many mothers who are hearing the following words for the first time, “Your child has autism.” Help them.

Oddly enough, I agree, but not in the way Mountain Mama would probably want. No parent should have to live with such guilt. Unfortunately, in Mountain Mama’s case, the guilt is unnecessary, not based on any evidence, and destructive, both to her emotional well-being and to the health of her son. This is the price of the myth that vaccines cause autism. The guilt imposed on parents was bad enough when they believed in only one major cause of autism, vaccines. Now that the list of culprits has expanded in the wake of the discrediting of Andrew Wakefield and the studies suggesting a vaccine-autism link, we see in Mountain Mama an example of guilt due to everything she did before and after her son was born. While it might be a common human reaction to blame oneself when one’s child is not “normal” and has special needs, in the case of Mountain Mama and thousands of mothers like her, the price is a self-blame so intense that it informs everything she does. Unfortunately, it also leads her to the second price paid because of the myth of vaccine causation of autism.

The concept that vaccines cause autism has been thoroughly refuted from a scientific standpoint, but it lives on in “autism biomed” communities. Whether as a result of the increasing level of scientific evidence refuting the connection between vaccines and autism or for other reasons, the concept of seemingly everything under the sun (but especially vaccines!) as a cause for autism exacts a steep price, both from the psyches and pocketbooks of parents and from the health and well-being of autistic children, who are subjected to innumerable forms of quackery in the quest to “recover” them, as discussed above. This is the sort of price that drives parents to flit from dubious practitioner to dubious practitioner looking for the “cure” that will work. Two other recent examples of this were featured on—where else?—The Thinking Moms’ Revolution blog. In the first post, Denial Land, a woman going by the ‘nym Lionness expresses regret that she let her son have a hepatitis B vaccine and that she agreed to have a flu shot while pregnant, blaming herself for her son’s autism in much the same way that Mountain Mama did.

Then, in a post entitled The Things We Do For Love, a blogger going under the ‘nym Sunshine describes her quest last week to get her child to a new practitioner. She begins by describing walking into the airport one day last week at 2 PM for a flight to St. Louis but being told that the flight was canceled. I’m guessing that her flight’s cancellation most likely had something to do with the same snowstorm that hit Kansas and Missouri so hard it canceled a conference that I was scheduled to speak at, and almost stranded me in St. Joseph’s, MO. It also gave me a lovely taste of sitting several hours in the very crowded Kansas City International Airport as my flight home Friday was progressively delayed by half-hour increments and only got out about seven hours after it had originally been scheduled. If I had been starting out at home on such a journey, I’d simply have canceled. Not Sunshine. Instead of simply turning around and going home to reschedule her son’s appointment in St. Louis, which would have been the most sensible thing to do in such a weather-induced travel emergency, Sunshine finagled a flight through Detroit, which was delayed, causing her to miss her connection, ended up spending the night in Detroit with a “Thinker” (the name members of the “Thinking Moms’ Revolution” apparently call each other), and finally caught a plane that connected through Atlanta to go to St. Louis. At this point she:

Saw practitioner, drew blood, got new protocol, PAID BILL.

And then flew back home, concluding:

4 flights. 2673 miles. 30 hours start to finish. We were in St. Louis for a grand total of 6 hours.

This is what we do for recovery. For healing. For our beautiful kids. All in the name of love.

Remember, during this whole time she had an autistic boy in tow. One can only imagine the stress on the child. I have no doubt that Sunshine loves her son and thinks she was doing all this in the name of love, but I have to wonder how much of her actions are driven by guilt, the same sort of guilt that drives Mountain Mama. Running through four different airports and staying in the home of a stranger to try to get to St. Louis despite a snowstorm, all to see a new practitioner, who is no doubt no more science-based than any previous practitioners she’s taken her son to, are rather extreme actions.

She and her son continue to pay the price for a pseudoscientific belief not based in evidence, as do thousands of parents and autistic children.

Comments

  1. #1 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    February 25, 2013

    I believe Mountain Mama also blamed ultrasounds for an increased rate of left-handedness, which she called a form of brain damage.

    As a leftie I resented that.

  2. #2 carl
    February 25, 2013

    Maybe her flight’s cancelation was caused by toxins.

  3. #3 Kitto
    Sydney
    February 25, 2013

    Flight was cancelled as there was already too many chemtrails in the air.

  4. #4 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    February 25, 2013

    My apologies: the left-handed issue was raised in a comment posted by First Do No Harm:

    Studies on humans exposed to ultrasound have shown that possible adverse effects include premature ovulation (Testart 1982), preterm labour or miscarriage (Lorenz, 1990; Saari-Kemppainen 1990), low birth weight (Newnham, 1993, Geerts 1996), poorer condition at birth (Thacker 1985; Newnham, 1991), perinatal death (Davies 1992) dyslexia (Stark 1984), delayed speech development (Campbell, 1993) and less right-handedness (Salvesen 1993: Kieler 1998a, Salvesen 1999, Kieler 2001). Non right-handedness is, in other circumstances, seen as a marker of damage to the developing brain (see Odent 1998, Keiler 2001).

  5. #5 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    February 25, 2013

    Big Pharma used HAARP to cause the storm.

  6. #6 Mike Haubrich
    United States
    February 25, 2013

    I can see a lot of catholicism in Mountain Mama’s anguish; there is a penalty to paid for every sin even if confessed and granted absolution. If doesn’t seem that she finds any solace in all of her involvement with “The Thinking Moms,” who, instead of providing solace and comfort in finding “cures,” instead help her find blame.

  7. #7 Renate
    February 25, 2013

    Why not blaming creating a baby for the autism?

    I still wonder, why those people blame the FDA for everything and if the FDA warns about to many ultrasounds, it is seen as a holy truth.

  8. #8 herr doktor bimler
    February 25, 2013

    Apparently vaccinations were THE CAUSE of her child’s condition:
    I KNOW, however, that they caused irreparable damage to my son’s immune system which ultimately led to his autism
    And ultrascans were also THE CAUSE. Induced labour — THE CAUSE. Antibiotics — THE CAUSE.

    This is not self-flagellation… This is self-aggrandisement. Perhaps ‘Mountain’ in Mama’s nym is a misspelling for ‘Munchausen’.

    There are women, as we speak, [...] There are mothers [...] There are expectant moms [...] Some moms are administering unnecessary antibiotics for yet another ear infection and haven’t made the connection that their baby’s immune system is failing. There are also many, many mothers

    So she wants other women to feel as guilty as she claims to feel? Good for her.

  9. #9 herr doktor bimler
    February 25, 2013

    This is what we do for recovery. For healing. For our beautiful kids. All in the name of love.

    Someone give the lady a cookie. Also she may need a hand eating it, what with the nails in the hands.

  10. #10 herr doktor bimler
    February 25, 2013

    Mountain Mama cites a Medical Hypotheses paper as evidence that there is a link between Augmentin and autism.

    Augmentin apparently contains residual ammonia from manufacturing which damages the guts and impairs protein absorption, which causes autism, because autism is really a form of protein deficiency.

    The paper’s author, one Joan Fallon, is a chiropractor. Also CEO of the company Curemark, where a few years ago she was pimping a product called CM-AT — a proteolytic ensyme designed to cure autism by enhancing intestinal absorption of proteins.

    AoA were heralding Curemark as the Great Breakthrough for a while, before moving on to the next Great Breakthrough.

  11. #11 Lucario
    Sunny SoFla
    February 25, 2013

    I wish MountainMom and similar mothers of autistic children would stop seeing their kids as damaged goods and start seeing them as challenges. Challenges to be met head-on, one day at a time. “Rocky” theme optional.

    And I’m saying that just as an autistic, I’m saying that as a human being with half a brain.

  12. #12 Lucario
    Sunny SoFla
    February 25, 2013

    ^ Correction, *not* saying that just as an autistic….

  13. #13 Narad
    February 25, 2013

    Non right-handedness is, in other circumstances, seen as a marker of damage to the developing brain

    Hey, I’m not saying my head’s in the greatest shape lately, but but I did bowl a 2350 on the GRE, sinister, back when they did it with pencils. All my brain damage is self-inflicted, thank you very much.

    “Odent 1998″ appears to be “Where does handedness come from?” Primal Health Res. Newsl., 6(1), obviously a top-flight source.

    “Keiler 2001″ appears to be this, which at least isn’t complete flim-flam, although it sure ain’t much.

    What is left out of the analysis, of course, is why we wouldn’t want to use ultrasound to increase left-handedness were it an effective tool for this end.

  14. #14 Agashem
    Having a hard time
    February 25, 2013

    Mountain Mama reminds me of my mother who joined an uber-Catholic group after menopause/empty nest hit her pretty hard. My mother started to tell people how she had been an alcoholic – which came as quite a shock to her family as none of us had ever seen this. Of course, if you belong to a group where everyone is martyred in some way and saved in some way, you need a story to fit it. This was the one my mother chose. Similarly, Mountain Mama has found her story, to be not just part of the group but the most “suffering” one of the group; it is her identity.

  15. #15 BCM
    February 25, 2013

    How sad. This woman is clearly in need of psychiatric help. I’m sick of all these Alt-Medders causing so much pain and anguish.

  16. #16 LW
    February 25, 2013

    “I did it. Me. And no one can ever take that away.”

    I agree with herr doktor bimler: “This is not self-flagellation… This is self-aggrandisement. Perhaps ‘Mountain’ in Mama’s nym is a misspelling for ‘Munchausen’.”

  17. #17 Becca Stareyes
    February 25, 2013

    I may have told this story before. My own mother (a lapsed Catholic, in fact) once told me that, when I was born and wasn’t an especially cuddly or social baby was her fault — she attributed this to being a new mother and paranoid that she’d somehow screw things up. When my sister was born and was a lot more ‘typical’, she relaxed because it brought home that kids (even newborns) are all different. I’d later turn out to be on the autistic spectrum, but by that time, it was pretty obvious than it ran in my family, and until my little brother, it was mild enough to pass*. Realizing your autistic son’s behavior resembles a more severe form of your ‘weird’ daughter and half your husband’s family is apparently comforting as an explanation.

    I’m going to add another worry to Orac’s list. I don’t know if parents pursuing ‘biomedical treatments’ for autism also pursue behavioral therapies, but considering those have shown a positive role in helping autistic kids communicate and adapt to a world that is frustrating and confusing to us, not doing so is a pretty strong opportunity cost.

    * A sign of the ‘autism epidemic’? I never would have been diagnosed as on the spectrum in middle school if I didn’t have a little brother who was diagnosed with high-functioning autism in the mid 1990s. No one in my father’s generation was ever diagnosed.

  18. #18 Sami
    February 25, 2013

    You know, if you have a C-section when it’s not medically necessary, for convenience or whatever, then yeah, I’d say that’s a poor call, because there *can* negative health effects for the baby. On the other hand, if it’s medically necessary, it’s medically necessary, and better some slightly weaker lungs and so on than death or surviving motherless, imo – and I say that as someone who was born by C-section and has a tendency to bronchitis.

    I’m not autistic. Neither is my older sister, who kicked off the birth-by-C-section tradition in our family by getting lost on the way down the birth canal. (She is left-handed, but she’d be pretty insulted by the suggestion that that’s brain damage, too.)

    I’d rather my mother have had the C-section on my sister, and then me, than, say, my mother have chosen instead to die in overwhelming agony, thereby causing me never to exist at all.

    With the price of this psuedoscience, though – I think it’s the hideously dangerous and/or painful maltreatment that really bothers me. If they love their children so much, why can’t they love who they are, instead of who they’ve decided their kids “ought” to be?

    If your cihld has autism, than an autistic person is who your child is and always will be. If you love them, but are trying to “cure” them of their personality, then your love is a lie. You don’t love the child you have, you love the child you wanted and didn’t get.

  19. #19 AllieP
    February 25, 2013

    The correlation between ultrasounds and higher rates of perinatal death, etc. is because high risk pregnancies are generally subjected to tons of ultrasounds so MFM doctors can keep a close watch on how the pregnancy is doing. This is standard procedure. It’s not causing the problem. It’s a symptom that there already are problems with the pregnancy.

    In times before such technologies, these pregnancies likely wouldn’t result in live babies.

  20. #20 Khani
    February 25, 2013

    I was a C-section baby–and my mother had a tumor in there with me. Strangely, I’m not autistic either, though I am a bit weird.

    I do blame my mother for my love of appalling puns, though. She is THE CAUSE. She did it. And no one can ever take that away.

    Thank goodness. <3

  21. #21 Tunip
    February 25, 2013

    Oh dear, so my emergency c section and all the ultrasounds I had caused the terrible burden of my daughter’s left handedness?*

    On a another note I do think the mall offered 4d scans are best avoided. A person close to me who’s a midwife pointed out that the people performing the scans have no medical training so if the worst happened and some kind of abnormality or problem was spotted during a “vanity” scan they don’t have the background to be able to address the situation.

    *All sarcasm intended. She’s really rather proud of being a lefty, especially since I told her that a lot of very smart and sucessful people are leftys too.

  22. #22 Ren
    Southbound on I-83
    February 25, 2013

    Question: What group of pregnant women would require more ultrasounds than usual?
    Answer: Women who have complicated pregnancies.
    Question: What group of pregnant women have a greater risk of delivering babies with neurological disorders?
    Answer: Women who have complicated pregnancies.

    Thus, if you adjust for pregnancy complications, ultrasounds are not causative of neurological disorders in children. Ultrasounds, in this example, are known as confounders. You need to control for them or you’re going to get the wrong answer and lead people to the wrong conclusions, just like you need to control for bias as a whole.

    Even a young, inexperienced epidemiology student should see this.*

    *The one exception being you-know-who.

  23. #23 Composer99
    February 25, 2013

    Anyone who says left-handed people are ‘brain damaged’ will get flipped off by me on behalf of my twin brother.

    On topic: Mountain Mama’s piece strikes me not so much as Munchausen mothering so much as competitive mothering.

    We see how competitive parenting gets out of hand in so many other aspects of family life: how guilty one feels over “causing” autism in one’s child(ren) is just another place where parents can compete.

    To be sure, I do not think this is a conscious effort by Mountain Mama – but it is competing nonetheless.

    Mountain Mama and parents like her are trapped by their feelings, their convictions, and their incorrect conclusions (about vaccines, ultrasounds, whatever).

  24. #24 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    February 25, 2013

    I think this is one of the things that really infuriates me about the anti-vaccine movement. These parents do not need to blame themselves or feel all this guilt about their children’s autism. But that’s the implication behind everything the anti-vaccine movement says. Every “cause” they find ultimately implicitly goes back to a decision the parent made or didn’t make. Like so much of alt-med, it’s a blame the victim approach.

  25. #25 Eric Lund
    February 25, 2013

    Non right-handedness is, in other circumstances, seen as a marker of damage to the developing brain

    A quick Google search confirms that five of the last seven US presidents are/were southpaws: Ford, Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton, and Obama. Well, OK, there’s an argument to be made that Reagan was brain damaged, and Ford was notoriously accident-prone, but it’s pretty hard to argue that Bush 41 (unlike his son, a right-hander), Clinton, or Obama have suffered from any significant brain damage.

  26. #26 Broken Link
    February 25, 2013

    And returning to a previous topic, there is now a rebuttal to SafeMinds on AoA, written by Jake Crosby. They just don’t get it – it’s like dousing a fire with gasoline.

  27. #27 AdamG
    February 25, 2013

    While the article is heinous, the comments are perhaps even worse. My favorite:

    One item overlooked, which is surprisingly hazardous: Radio frequencies and powerline frequencies. Cables embedded in the wall or floor that you sleep adjacent. WiFi routers, radar, etc. For long, I thought that was paranoia, but having studied this much, I find it well explains formerly inexplicable diseases.

    But what about the chemtrails???

  28. #28 Lawrence
    February 25, 2013

    @AdamG – I’m sure Chemtrails are far behind, since they’ve already embraced comments by people enamored by NWO & Global Population control……TIm Bolen is merely the tip of the iceberg.

  29. #29 Shay
    February 25, 2013

    I’m married to a southpaw. He also suffered from a slight speech impediment.

    He was born long before there were vaccines for most childhood diseases so it must have been the fluoride in the water.

    Hmm…okay, maybe not…

  30. #30 Denice Walter
    February 25, 2013

    I actually read TMR nearly everyday and also found this to be one of their most disturbing offerings.

    Here’s what is REALLY bothering me though:
    they envision themselves as crusaders and thought leaders who will guide parents concerning their children’s health. Today’s post ( about the ‘Oscars’) features the concept of being ” whistle blowers” ” in the trenches” for others.

    These women are on a mission: to interfere with standard SB treatment as it affects children from conception to adulthood. They frequently mention how they INSTRUCT their own children and other people into the arcane secrets of their ‘research’ into autism and general health. If a child ( or anyone else for that matter) echoes their drivel back, they’ll label her as a “thinker”.

    Usually there is seething venom and derision for medical professions ( Mama Mac’s “Dr @sshat”, this past week’s “Dr Alpha and Dr Omega”). It’s as though they took every word of alt med screeds- like those I survey- to heart and then added histrionics as well as increasing the grandiosity and verbosity.

    Two of them, shockingly, are educated and trained in social work ( MacNeil) and school psychology ( “Saint”) ; similarly, Taylor,-btw-. The mind boggles.

  31. #31 lilady
    February 25, 2013

    A comment about the TMR blog that appeared on AoA. (Occasionally AoA allows a dissenting view)

    “Autism has been around long since any vaccinations have been. So the vaccination thing to me is not cutting it. Autism is not an epidemic, it has always been around. It was always classified as something else. I know kids, unvaccinated who have Autism so to me it really doesnt make sense to me. I beleive my sons as well as others Autism is genetic. I beleive my father had Autism among other family members but went undiagnosed. I think honestly people are putting too much on this whole “The Government is trying to kill us thing” I dont neccessarily think thats true. I would love to know what caused my sons Autism but heres the thing, im not focused on a cause, or a cure. Im focused on how to get my son where he needs to be. People put way to much negativty into Autism, yea it does have its bad days, but it has many more positives than negatives.

    Posted by: Gi. Yo. | February 23, 2013 at 10:25 PM”

    @ Broken Link: Jake’s rant featured on AoA today, is the original rant submitted to Dan Olmsted, which Dan refused to publish and which Jake took to Bolen.

    Dan explains that he felt compelled to publish the rant as it has been bandied about the internet and *Big Pharma Shills* have blogged about it.

  32. #32 Silvermaven
    February 25, 2013

    You call this a Science Blog? When do the 1 in 29 now being diagnosed with Autism matter to you people?
    When do the millions suffering their SINdromes matter to you people?
    When do the money you spend treating your cancers and taking care of them all when they could have all be treated to prevent the transmission of the infections matter to you people?
    What ? You only see it when your robbed by big banks and big oil? Where do you leave your eyes?
    http://jmm.sgmjournals.org/content/56/9/1235.full.pdf+html
    Spiroplasma ( spiral mycoplasma) transmitted by ticks – Spongioform Brain Disease – Role of Cell Wall Deficient organism (CWD) and Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in mammals
    They have known since 1985 what really caused AIDS and they have REFUSED to treat the truth just as long.
    They lied about viral genetic variance and where it came from and they lied about where MadCow came from !!!
    Cell wall deficient forms of bacteria can share at least 40% of their genes found so far to perpetuate their infections. Which is why everyone is reporting resistance in most infectious organisms now, as well as persistance. Which is where we got the genetic variance of HepVirus/HIV/90% of the pop.s infected with EBV whatever they thought that was, 1/3 of the worlds pop.s reported to be infected with a “Latent” form of TB that does not infecte the lungs, as well as 1/3 infected with Toxoplasmosis—and now even reports of asymptomatic tolerance to Anthrax, Rabies, and Dengue in the military and civilians. The biggest LOSERS will be people who continue to be deniers and fail to work for the welfare of the people.

  33. #33 Denice Walter
    February 25, 2013

    If someone blames herself ( ” I gave my son autism”) and now believes anti-vax theories of causation, it entirely makes sense that by instead blaming the instigators of her actions ( i.e the medical establishment, as well as the government, media) she can manage to cast off that guilt and raise her own self-esteem. Her actions are thus rewarding as are the regards of others. TMR has a book now.

    The concept that her methods are superior to experts as well as her new role as evangelist unto the heathen are both means of lifting herself up. The mothers’ psychological problems drive the movement.

    These people will inflict a great deal of damage before they’re through.

  34. #34 Bronze Dog
    February 25, 2013

    I remember hearing southpaws have a neurological advantage: They get a second language center in their right hemisphere, so they can still communicate if the standard left hemisphere language center gets damaged.

    Another thing that worries me with the Catholic background is that I’ve heard about highly religious families forcing left-handers into using their right, which I’ve heard can lead to learning disabilities and stuttering.

    One thing that I found curious was the mention of “non-righthandedness” instead of specifically left-handedness. Is she saying ambidexterity is also a problem? I can’t remember the word for it, but I recall some mention that there are people who have poor coordination in both hands. Since “ambidexterity” more or less means “two right hands,” it’s probably something that means “two left hands” or “no right hand.”

    To the Wikimobile!

    ambilevous or ambisinister

    I was right. Ambisinister would mean “both left” like ambidextrous means “both right.” All sorts of anti-left bigotry in our language.

    I’ll probably do some more in-depth reading of the Wikipedia pages today. On skimming, I didn’t see the things I mentioned, so the things I referred to above might be outdated.

  35. #35 MIRose
    February 25, 2013

    My daughter had an emergency c-section because she was hemorrhaging. She left a moms group she belonged to when she was told that nobody should ever have a c-section because it would (not could but would) cause all kinds of problems as her daughter got older. Apparently these problems will be worse than those caused by not having a mother. Idiots.

  36. #36 Shay
    February 25, 2013

    @Bronze Dog

    Wasn’t just highly religious families. When he was in grade school the spousal unit had his left hand tied to his desk to force him to use his right. His handwriting is atrocious.

  37. #37 lilady
    February 25, 2013

    @ Silvermaven: Would you like some dressing for that word salad?

    The link you provided to ticks transmitting prions that cause spongiform encephalopathy is but one *theory* among many, about the various forms of spongiform enephalopathy. Here is a short overview about the transmissible forms of spongiform encephalopathy:

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

    “Cell wall deficient forms of bacteria can share at least 40% of their genes found so far to perpetuate their infections. Which is why everyone is reporting resistance in most infectious organisms now, as well as persistance. Which is where we got the genetic variance of HepVirus/HIV/90% of the pop.s infected with EBV whatever they thought that was, 1/3 of the worlds pop.s reported to be infected with a “Latent” form of TB that does not infecte the lungs, as well as 1/3 infected with Toxoplasmosis—and now even reports of asymptomatic tolerance to Anthrax, Rabies, and Dengue in the military and civilians. The biggest LOSERS will be people who continue to be deniers and fail to work for the welfare of the people.

    No Silverman, hepatitis B, HIV and Epstein-Barr viruses are distinct separate viruses. You seem to be *confusing* latent TB infection with active TB disease and pulmonary TB with extra-pulmonary (miliary) TB.

    P.S. None of your ramblings about prion, viral and bacterial diseases…and the rest of your rant… is not remotely connected to autism.

  38. #38 Chris
    February 25, 2013

    Beware the return of Silvermaven!

  39. #39 S
    February 25, 2013

    @Silvermaven – You forgot to mention Morgellons.

    Yes they don’t want to tell you that Morgellons is infecting all your babies in Autism immune suppression.</em.

    @link in #38. Have you changed your mind since you wrote that in 2011?

  40. #40 Narad
    February 25, 2013

    A comment about the TMR blog that appeared on AoA. (Occasionally AoA allows a dissenting view)

    Unlike TMR, which doesn’t even issue corrections when shown to be factually incorrect using their own sources.

  41. #41 Liz Ditz
    February 25, 2013

    Denice Walter wrote:

    I actually read TMR nearly everyday and also found this to be one of their most disturbing offerings.

    I bow to you, Denice. Reading that blog makes me alternately enraged (by the mothers’ attitudes) and grief-stricken for their children.

    As an antidote, I suggest The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism. Today’s post is by an autism parent on The Costs of Fearing Autism, specifically the decline in vaccine uptake. ( It features a photograph of our own doctoral candidate in public health, being vaccinated.)

    (Disclosure: I was part of the founding editorial team. TPGA is an all-volunteer effort, so there are no financial conflicts of interest.)

  42. #42 Melissa G
    February 25, 2013

    This is so sad. MountainMama needs psychiatric help.

    Working through this stupid idea that OMG IT IS MY FAULT truly is a guilt-laden process for those of us prone to depression. I experienced a GREAT deal of guilt and self-loathing over having inflicted autism on my poor, innocent child, who never asked to be born, but I, in my narcissism, chose to reproduce, and it was MY stupid DNA that holds the autism and is responsible for his life being automatically filled with extra hardships. …Of course, I was prone to self-loathing to begin with, as it’s one of the side-effects of my depressive cycles in the whole bipolar disorder thing. It’s one thing to FEEL a certain way, but it’s a whole ‘nother ball game to ACT on it. Blaming yourself for your child’s genetic disability is so transparently irrational that it’s easy for the rational among us to say, “Woah, that is not a productive or accurate line of thinking– let’s think about something else.” But to the fuzzy thinkers out there, it would be so easy to take those thoughts and run with them to the nearest woo-meister who confirms what you’re feeling.

    I feel empathy for them. But I do not feel sorry for them, because it is ultimately their children who are made to pay the price for the parents’ mental health issues.

  43. #43 Johnny
    127.0.0.1
    February 25, 2013

    According to the great philosopher Simon -

    I been Norman Mailered, Maxwell Taylored
    I been John O’Hara’d, McNamara’d
    I been Rolling Stoned and Beatled till I’m blind
    I been Ayn Randed, nearly branded
    Communist, ‘cause I’m left-handed
    That’s the hand I use to, well, never mind!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOvs3rCFI2A

  44. #44 Narad
    February 25, 2013

    Wasn’t just highly religious families. When he was in grade school the spousal unit had his left hand tied to his desk to force him to use his right. His handwriting is atrocious.

    Yah, I’m told that my grandmother was always trying to get me to switch to righty when I stayed with her.

  45. #45 Khani
    February 25, 2013

    #32 @Silvermaven

    You seem to be a bit confused. Latent TB is quite common, and it has been for ever. It’s normal. The vast majority (9/10 or even more) of people with TB don’t show any symptoms and aren’t contagious.

    You might even have it yourself without knowing–there’s no way to know unless you get tested for it, and generally tests aren’t done unless you are a medical care provider or there is some other specific reason.

    Also, TB has nothing to do with rabies or the other illnesses you mention. It is one of the oldest illnesses on earth–mummies in Egypt have been found with TB.

    Incidentally, TB is another reason to love pasteurization, as people used to get TB from infected milk.

  46. #46 MarkL
    February 25, 2013

    @lilady

    P.S. None of your ramblings about prion, viral and bacterial diseases…and the rest of your rant… is not remotely connected to autism

    You are far too polite……….it isn’t remotely connected to reality, let alone autism.

  47. #47 Bronze Dog
    February 25, 2013

    I might be opening a can of worms here, but I’m reminded of one of the old sexist hypotheses of “refrigerator mother” where kids were allegedly autistic (or nearly anything else) because the mother wasn’t “warm” enough to the child. People really liked to blame mothers for everything in the bad old days. Probably one of the things that led to non-typical children being institutionalized and forgotten, since the parents couldn’t take the stigma of being blamed.

  48. #48 Chris
    February 25, 2013

    Khani, if you read the link I provided you will see evidence that you should not engage that particular person.

  49. #49 Denice Walter
    February 25, 2013

    @ Liz Ditz:

    Well, thanks. I try to suspend any emotional reaction I might have to the nonsense I read: I believe that is an ability that I inherited that enabled my ancestors and relatives to succeed in business. So I can’t take credit for it.

    In fact , I just breezed through the article’s 250+ comments because I remembered that a few dissenting comments had slipped through, including one by Tsu Dho Nimh! About mini-columns yet!

    @ Narad:
    While I’m right handed for cursive writing, I can do many other tasks ambidexterously. I do not, however, switch hands when playing tennis so that I have 2 forehands (or 2 backhands)- this action is frowned upon by instructors.
    However, I can’t seem to be comfortable driving a car with my right hand on the wheel as well as a few other odd assorted tasks, e.g. keys and locks.

  50. #50 S
    February 25, 2013

    Along the lines of being a “refrigerator mother”, I would think that the effect on the child of essentially being rejected by their own mother as being damaged goods, and her having to devote her life to ‘fixing’ them before they can be unconditionally loveable and acceptable would certainly worsen any psychological or social interaction issues that their kids may have. Being treated like that by one’s own mother would cause problems with most any kid. It’s abusive, similar to outright rejection. The child might have worse problems resulting from the rejection and failure or inability to bond with the parent.

  51. #51 herr doktor bimler
    February 25, 2013

    Khani, if you read the link I provided you will see evidence that you should not engage that particular person.

    Googling ‘Silvermaven + huffington’ is also instructive, for that seems to be Silvermaven’s base camp, bringing Stealth Prion Spriochaetes into every comment thread. The Sandy Hook murders? The murderer was a subject in the secret gummint prion research! Killings on a campus? Gummint cover-up to dispose of more experimental subjects! Someone’s random death? He was developing tech that could detect stealth prions so the conspiracy had him killed!

    What we’ve seen here is just the tip of Silvermaven’s iceberg of insanity. I had to reconsider my suspicion that he or she is a parody troll. If it’s a parody of crank-magnet conspiratorial ranting, it’s gone beyond my limits of good taste, which are fairly flexible.

  52. #52 Narad
    February 25, 2013

    Have you changed your mind since you wrote that in 2011?

    Are you kidding? It just adds to its repertoire occasionally.

  53. #53 Narad
    February 25, 2013

    While I’m right handed for cursive writing, I can do many other tasks ambidexterously. I do not, however, switch hands when playing tennis so that I have 2 forehands (or 2 backhands)- this action is frowned upon by instructors.

    It used to drive my dad crazy when I would casually switch fork- and knife-operating hands at the dinner table.

  54. #54 Stu
    February 25, 2013

    Silvermaven is clinically insane. Back away slowly. Here’s one of my favorites:

    God was watching this show, and watching the criminals get away with murder because we now know the infections that caused AIDS/MadCow/Lyme/Autism transverse the neurons where the hormones also pass. Sick cells cannot process those hormones and make for much worsening in all syndromes of unknown origin, not to mention what they do unable to be utilized in the brain. Ignorant is anyone who believes God was the maker of the evil of AIDS—it was Man and his greed killing the people in vaccine.

  55. #55 AdamG
    February 25, 2013

    it was Man and his greed killing the people in vaccine

    Et tu, Man Ray?

  56. #56 Narad
    February 25, 2013

    I’m reminded of one of the old sexist hypotheses of “refrigerator mother” where kids were allegedly autistic (or nearly anything else) because the mother wasn’t “warm” enough to the child.

    Unsurprisingly, Breggin seems to still be down with the psychogenic theory, although the obvious similarities with Laing had never occurred to me before.

  57. #57 S
    February 25, 2013


    The Sandy Hook murders?

    One of the news stories about Sandy Hook mentioned that Lanza’s mother avoided any participation with the local autism support groups. Sandy Hook is in the heart of the Lyme and Plum Island conspiracy community. I couldn’t help but wonder if she was being unfairly criticized for her refusing to socialize with them.

  58. #58 Sadie Burke
    February 25, 2013

    Since I’m already the devil, let me play Devil’s Advocate for a minute. Mountain Mama’s child says she’s “the best mom in the universe every day. That makes me think that her child may not be truly autistic, or if he is, he’s high functioning. Many children with autism are minimally verbal and incapable of putting a phrase like that together.

    I had all of the same interventions that Mountain Mama did–ultrasounds, pitocin, c-section, etc–and my son is not autistic. How’s that for causing autism? And even if he was, those interventions would no more have caused his autism than they caused his red hair! I’m obviously a different breed of catholic than Mountain Mama.

    And hey, Silvermaven, I’m going to respond to your rant, because I am a cancer patient. I have no idea what you’re trying to say causes cancer, but I can tell you what caused mine: genetics. I have a family history of a certain type of cancer, so when I had symptoms my knowledgeable physicians screened me for it, even though it was unlikely because of my age. Bingo, early detection!

    Of course, if I was a thinking mom like Mountain Mama I would say that I deserved cancer because of my pharma past and go crawl in a hole to die, leaving my young child without a mother. Because I was the CAUSE!

  59. #59 Interrobang
    February 25, 2013

    You know, I’m (actually, literally) brain damaged. I have cerebral palsy. While I’ll be the first person to tell you that even a well-remediated case of CP sucks, it’s hardly the end of the world. By comparison, I think I’d rather be autistic. I’d still have all the weird sensory things, but I definitely wouldn’t miss the chronic pain and the arthritis that started when I was a teenager.

    So screw these people and their bloody martyr complexes. They’re just so offensive on so many levels.

  60. #60 The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge
    February 25, 2013

    Silvermaven is also apparently , like many people, unaware that there have always been forms of TB that don’t attack the lungs: TB of the lymph nodes (scrofula), TB of the skin (lupus—not erythematosus), and a lot more that I don’t know the names of because they scarcely happen any more thanks to well…you know…everything Silvermaven’s against.

  61. #61 JustNuts
    February 25, 2013

    There’s a pattern I’ve seen with dissenting views that are somehow allowed to appear on web sites like TMR. They are sometimes followed by a lengthy ‘Gish Gallop” style post of nonsense by a regular.

  62. #62 Denice Walter
    February 25, 2013

    @ Interrobang:

    “Bloody martyrs”: is quite correct nomenclature.
    I think that many of those who write and organise- at TMR, AoA, SafeMInds etc- are trying to make a career of it- write books, make public appearances, advice others, by using their own anti-vax leaders and more generic woo-meisters as role models..
    It’s a career choice:
    professional bloody martyr/ entrepreneur.

    It beats attending universities, being evaluated, behaving responsibly towards others and doing work in the real world.

  63. #63 Denice Walter
    February 25, 2013

    That should be ADVISE others.

  64. #64 Pareidolius
    Somewhere East of Wooville
    February 25, 2013

    I’d imagine that Mountain Mama’s screed would be very revealing to mental health professionals. I don’t even play one on TV, but 53 years on the planet Earth (12 of them living with a Borderline ex) have given me a bit of insight into self-obsessed, narcissistic behavior. From my perch, it seems that Mountain Mama can barely make out her child through the blinding glory that surrounds her terribly terrible self.

  65. #65 sheepmilker
    February 25, 2013

    Um, wouldn’t “bloody martyr” be a great name for a drink?

  66. #66 elburto
    February 25, 2013

    @interrobang – Solidarity fistbumps to you. I’m non-NT, I have brain damage too, and physical disabilities that are currently at a pretty devastating level. With all of that said, my life is great. I have a partner who loves me, the internet to socialise, shop, and keep me entertained, and a roof over my head.

    I had parents who treated me like sh¡t because of my “laziness” (attention problems), “impetuous, insolent attitude” (asking why certain things were important because I didn’t understand certain social conventions), “disgusting habits” (undiagnosed IBD which led to erm… accidents, which I tried to hide out of fear and shame) ,”antisocial nature” (I wasn’t like other kids, or liked by them. I was their target) and being “stupid and clumsy” (spinal deformity and visual impairment sort of bollocksed any physical graces!).

    Add to that an unhealthy level of religiosity and pressure to be brilliant, and violence and abuse when I couldn’t be… yeah. PTSD. Oh and I’m lefthanded too! What a freak, eh? The “thinking” (lol) mommies would have drowned me in a bucket, no doubt. Trying to force four year old me to use her left hand (this was only in the Eighties) did not go well for my spiteful class teacher. My mother did well on that occasion, and ripped said teacher a metaphorical new one. Just as well, because everything I did with my right hand was backward, in perfect mirror-reversal.

    That’s what I see in the lives of those poor kids. They’re not broken, stolen, damaged, or a burden. They have mothers who are competing to have the sickest kid, to use the most biomeddling nonsense, to ascribe the most causes and blame to their child’s autism.

    It’s as triggering as hell. Then there’s the added ableism inherent in “Why should we vaccinate our pure and perfect children to protect the weak? ” Essentially it’s the apparent belief that anyone too ill, or too young or otherwise unable to be vaccinated, is not worth saving.

    The whole antivax/biomeddling movement is built on the hate and disdain of disabled, non-NT, and chronically ill people. It’s geared to trying to “fix” us, or eliminate us. It’s sick, and profoundly depressing to think of children being abused in the name of making them “normal”. The thought of non-verbal kids going through this is tragic. W*nkfield has a lot to answer for.

    The only thing that makes me hopeful is parents like the lovely Autismum, who loves her little Pwdin as he is, and all the other parents here who use science and evidence based advances to make their children’s lives better. Thank you all, on behalf of them.

    Silvermaven – get help. You make Thingy look like Keats.

    Did someone mention Morgies? They’re my favourite wooligans. Who knew that delusional parasitosis would become a fashionable meme? As enthralled as I am by “chronic Lyme” and “multiple chemical sensitivity”, the Invisible Insect Entourage are endlessly fascinating.

    Sorry this got so long, but this kind of medical child abuse and ableism touches every nerve I have.

  67. #67 lilady
    February 25, 2013

    What we have here at AoA and TMR are a bunch of wallowing in self-pity, self-sacrificing, dreadful mommies who view themselves as *martyrs to the cause*.

    There are those who are themselves children of privilege (Alison MacNeil and Katie Wright), who are college educated and who have used their *privileged status* to wield power within the anti-vaccine/anti-science community.

    Then we have the totally ignorant-in-basic-science Jenny McCarthy who used her son’s developmental disability to revive a fading-fast D-List celebrity career. Kim Stagliano, a potty-mouthed “Little Miss Nobody” uses her three daughters who have been diagnosed with ASDs, to make her career as an *expert* in the field of ASDs and to hawk her books.

    Let’s not forget that all these “mercury moms” have used their childrens’ developmental disabilities to advance their *careers* and have either subjected their autistic kids to unproven, oftentimes dangerous *treatment/cures* to recover their autistic children and/or also support people like Kerri Rivera (of MMS bleach enemas infamy), both chemically castrating/IV chelating Geiers and the fraudulent former medical doctor, Andrew Wakefield who falsified medical records and subjected his *study subjects* to painful, not-medically-indicated LPs, bowel cleansings/bowel biopsies and needless blood tests.

  68. #68 herr doktor bimler
    February 25, 2013

    the Invisible Insect Entourage

    They were always better in concert than they were on their albums.

  69. #69 Alan Kellogg
    http://opines.mythusmage.org
    February 25, 2013

    OT: Has anybody here seen the report on newborns, low birth weight, and a brain defect?

    Now who gets their fetus vaccinated in the womb?

  70. #70 AdamG
    February 25, 2013

    Has anybody here seen the report on newborns, low birth weight, and a brain defect?

    Must be the ultrasounds.

  71. #71 Sadie Burke
    February 25, 2013

    @Alan Kellogg:

    No, but pregnant women get flu shots. They are recommended by the CDC and most OBs suggest it because flu can be especially deadly in people with compromised immune systems, which includes pregnant women. It must be those flu shots causing low birth weight and brain defects! Of course, if you die of the flu, so does your fetus, so no worries about brain damage.

    If you’re a sane pregnant woman you discuss the medications you take with your OB and a look at the pregnancy category of the medication. If you’re not a sane pregnant woman, you don’t take any OTC or prescription medications while pregnant, except of course, for the “natural supplements” that your friend sells and that your midwife has said are great.

    I can see where the antimedication people are coming from–after my mom died, I found the bottle of thalidomide she took to help her with morning sickness while she was pregnant with me–but I don’t see how someone can promote using untested “natural” remedies while pregnant. After all, pennyroyal is natural but not consistent with a living fetus.

  72. #72 Christine (the public servant Christine)
    February 25, 2013

    I am remembering an archaeological report of a C14 cemetery in England, where examination of the bones suggested at least 60% of that population was left handed. It was a manufacturing town which typically had a population of 1,000 people, so pretty big by C14 standards. Unfortunately can’t remember the name of the town, but it stuck with me because I, too, am a lefty.

    But they must have been some awesome ultrasounds being administered in C14 England, to have that many lefties in the population.

  73. #73 Sadie Burke
    February 25, 2013

    Gah, sorry, not thalidomide, bendectin. Getting my teratogens mixed up. Of course, bendectin was later pretty much exonerated (McKeigue et al, Teratology. 1994 Jul;50(1):27-37)

  74. #74 Christine (the public servant Christine)
    February 25, 2013

    @elbourto: you have my sincere sympathies for the harsh treatment for the IBD. Before my own diagnosis (at 15), I would frequently throw up and get told off for being “a little greedy piggy.” And then there were the agonising gut cramps “which surely couldn’t be that bad – I think you jus want attention.

    And then the final crisis, which saw me loose 15kg in a week, dreadful messes and being unable to stand up (due to septacemia induced fever) was at first dismissed as “an oscar worthy performance.”

    I should add this was mostly my father – dodgy guts run through my mother’s family so she was a lot more sympathetic.

  75. #75 Politicalguineapig
    February 25, 2013

    Lilady: Two of them, shockingly, are educated and trained in social work ( MacNeil) and school psychology ( “Saint”) ; similarly, Taylor,-btw-. The mind boggles.

    I am not really surprised. Sociology is barely a science, social work is more or less bollocks; most social workers can barely do simple observation, let alone critical thinking. Social workers are either hopeless idealists or cynics.
    psychology suffers from several critical baseline flaws, and has a high percentage of narcissists who couldn’t be helpful if their lives depended on it.

  76. #76 The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge
    February 25, 2013

    Hey, it’s possible to imagine that ultrasound could do some mechanical damage that might cause neural wiring to develop differently—it’s not likely, but it’s conceivable. The vaccine-autism crap isn’t conceivable.

  77. #77 Denice Walter
    February 25, 2013

    @ Politicalguineapig:

    That was me -btw- not lilady.

    Any profession can produce cranks BUT if these ladies attended any reasonably decent university in the western world, there are several stumbling blocks that should curtail a great deal of crankery:
    therapists usually have to undergo therapy themselves and are observed, evaluated and supervised ( with clients);
    degrees in psychology require study of experimental design, statistics and PHYSIOLOGY- ;
    most of these degrees involve studying symptomatology and testing and
    therapy methods and counselling techniques rest upon research. You can’t just do anything!

    People with serious problems usually cannot withstand the type of stress involved in acquiring degrees and training like this, which often takes many years. Of course, some will fall through the cracks. Or deteriorate after they complete requirements.

    They appear to totally dismiss science based ideas for autism causation and treatment. Another anti-vaxxer, Wright, appears to have taken the easy route to become a counsellor through education degrees and other study- but it is a highly speciifc type of counsellor.

  78. #78 Tom Herling
    February 25, 2013

    When I read such things as Mountain Mama has written, it just strikes me as a desperate need for some sense of control over her life. Her child was affected, not by some possibly unpredictable reason, but from her action of getting her child vaccinated, having ultrasound done, whatever.

    I see the same sort of thinking in friends who take sacks of vitamins because they think it can “prevent cancer” or some other illness. It’s sad, because I’ve found that one thing that helps you cope with life is to accept that you can’t expect to be able to control everything that happens to you.

  79. #79 Chris
    Neither here nor there...
    February 25, 2013

    elburto:

    I have a partner who loves me, the internet to socialise, shop, and keep me entertained, and a roof over my head

    I, for one, am glad you choose to socialize here and at SBM. I enjoy always reading what you have to say.

  80. #80 Theo51
    Seattle
    February 25, 2013

    @elburto. That is one of the most eloquent, personal, honest critiques I have ever read. Thank you.

  81. #81 elburto
    February 25, 2013

    @Christine TPS – I’m so sorry. I know exactly what it’s like. Anything not externally visible was a “performance” or “excuse”.

    The arrival of menarche made it all ten times worse. I remember begging and crying to stay home from school, and being told “You’re weak. 50% of the population do this without a fuss, so shut it” I only found out eight years ago that I had endometriosis, and (found out three years ago at diagnosis) that the stress of it was giving me IBD flares.

    15kg in a week sounds terrifying! I managed 12 in a fortnight once (gastritis, ugh) and when I went to pick my parents up at the airport after their holiday, they walked straight past me. New hairstyle+pretty drastic weight loss = the power of invisibility.

    My mother then spent a month gushing about how great the weight loss was, and urging me to “Keep up the good work” Apparently the two week “puking 24/7 and bleeding out of your arse” program really impressed her.

    P’raps I should write a book, and do an exercise video in which I run to the loo, bend over it, then whirl round and sit on it, then leap up and bend over it again, jerking my upper body back after each hurl to prevent splashback. Great cardio workout too, in that the heart gets worked to the point of implosion from the physical stress and messed up electrolytes.

    If only we could form a Respectfully Insolent vigilante justice intervention squad, to give these women some insight in how messed up GI tracts feel, and explain the devastation caused by hearing the centre of your world call you “damaged” or “defective”, or worse.

    That would be public service taken to a whole new dimension I reckon! And as for a town full of lefties, it was totally caused by 14th century thimerosal in mediaeval flu shots. My mummy instinct* tells me so.

    @HDB – Their ‘Matchbox Sign’ tour was pretty fantastic. The goodie bags in the VIP section were fabulous. Free Ziploc bags, Dettol, MMS, Chronic Lime** juice to mix with it, and veterinary antibiotics.

    *I have two comets. Itake their care very seriously, and one day I realised that I’d gained the ability to know everything there is to know about the human body and infectious diseases. Just like the “Thinking” mommies. It was then that I discovered that Dihydrogen monoxide causes ASDs. Wake up sheeple, stop Big Aqua!

    **Available in the chilled drinks cabinets of all good retailers while stocks last.

  82. #82 Melissa G
    February 25, 2013

    Pretty sure that breathing has been associated with ASD. They’ll be going after that next.

  83. #83 Kelly M Bray
    Just a little to the left of where I was standing a minute ago.
    February 26, 2013

    Wow, I just went back to 2011 link with Silvermaven in it. You guys really don’t get the full blown looney tunes like you used to.

  84. #84 Khani
    February 26, 2013

    #48, 51, 54

    … oh. Oh my.

    Yes, you’re right. I am not going to be able to help this person.

  85. #85 elburto
    February 26, 2013

    @Melissa – I can just visualise the protest signs now. “Big Air doesn’t care”.

    @Kelly – Orac didn’t have decent blog admin tools prior to the migration to the current platform. The trolls and frothing conspiracy theorists get caught in the spam filter now

  86. #86 lilady
    February 26, 2013

    @ Kelly M. Bray: Go back to the 2011 Silvermaven link that Chris provided…to see another anti-vaccine poster Anna Watson (a.k.a. Arnica Network.

    Watson got a gig to blog about a popular children’s television show in the U.K. and *claimed* that a pediatrician interacting with a puppet to explain to little kids why they are taken to the doctor for immunizations. Crazy loon even lodged a complaint with the BBC against Dr. Ranj (A *friend* in the U.K. notified me about Watson/Arnica Networks activities)

    I engaged this crazy anti-vaccine loon for weeks and she eventually abandoned her blog at the Economic Voice:

    http://www.economicvoice.com/bbc-misses-another-child-protection-issue/50033698#comment-113621

    Skepticat UK also blogged about Watson/Arnica Network and a few posters familiar to you all, posted about this loony anti-vaccine woman and her group, as well:

    http://www.skepticat.org/2012/12/daft-complaint-to-the-bbc-by-anti-vax-activists/

  87. #87 Chris
    Neither here nor there...
    February 26, 2013

    elburto:

    **Available in the chilled drinks cabinets of all good retailers while stocks last.

    And this is an example of why I love elburto’s wit.

    elburto:

    The arrival of menarche made it all ten times worse.

    Ugh. I actually feel lucky that I had early menopause. It just started a couple of years after my daughter’s birth. And while I endured a few years of annoying hot flashes in the middle of the night, it was great to be done with the whole having to wear a pad bit by my early-40s. Woot!

  88. #88 elburto
    February 26, 2013

    Hopefully my ovaries won’t be requiring Mirena insertion every five years until I’m about seventy! It’s the best ovarian coma inducer ever. Not a drop since 2006,, I love it. Also love the confusion on the faces of new or locum doctors when they see the other lady of the house, and start grasping for the “Why do you have… if er…”

    Radiologists are the best. “Could you be pregnant?” When I give an emphatic “Ha, no!” they ask “When was your last period?” so I say years ago, blah blah Mirena etc and still they’re insisting on a test, until I finally have to say “My girlfriend lacks that particular skill-set, as well as the necessary anatomy”.

    I have tried it the other way, to spare them, by answering “No, not pregnant, can’t be, have Mirena and female partner” but I have received “Well you can’t be too sure” not once, but twice, and was forced to hand over a sample of my antineoplaston starter solution urine anyway. I’m never sure whether to react to “Well you’re not pregnant” with disappointment or just a scary elburto glare!

    Great news on the end of those cardiac rehab visits btw, that’ll be a load off. One less appointment in the schedule when you’re caring for someone is a big deal, so many hours won back from travel, preparation etc.

  89. #89 Vasha
    February 26, 2013

    I feel there’s something vaguely insulting (and part of the huge pressure to do with women and pregnancy) about this refusal to take one’s word that one can’t be pregnant. I got that myself recently: “I just had a menstrual period last week.” “Well we want to test anyway.”

  90. #90 Broken Link
    February 26, 2013

    And science now indicates that “Mountain Mama” may be causing a poor outcome for her child. Not because she is responsible for his exposure to “toxins” but because of her attitude.

    Autism Res. 2013 Feb 21. doi: 10.1002/aur.1279. [Epub ahead of print]
    Is There a Bidirectional Relationship Between Maternal Well-Being and Child Behavior Problems in Autism Spectrum Disorders? Longitudinal Analysis of a Population-Defined Sample of Young Children.
    Totsika V, Hastings RP, Emerson E, Lancaster GA, Berridge DM, Vagenas D.
    Source

    School of Psychology, Bangor University, Bangor, UK.
    Abstract

    The aim of this study was to examine whether the relationship between maternal psychological well-being and behavior problems in children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is bidirectional. Data were available at 9 months, 3 years, and 5 years old for 132 children with ASD, identified from a population-representative sample of UK children. Three-wave cross-lagged models examined reciprocal effects between child behavior and maternal well-being (psychological distress, physical health functioning, and life satisfaction). Results indicated that the relationships between maternal well-being and child problem behaviors were not bidirectional. Specifically, findings suggested that while early behavior problems are not a risk factor for later maternal well-being, maternal psychological distress, physical health limitations, and lower life satisfaction are risk factors for later child behavior problems. Autism Res 2013, ●●: ●●-●●. © 2013 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

    © 2013 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

    PMID: 23436803

  91. #91 sophia8
    February 26, 2013

    Vasha – there is always a small probability of getting pregnant immediately after – or even during – a period. Plus, some women have one or more periods after conceiving – it happened to me with my second pregnancy, necessitating a swift change of arrival date at my first scan.
    So if you’re having regular unprotected heterosexual sex, doctors are most definitely not insulting you by insisting on checking.

  92. #92 DLC
    February 26, 2013

    Silvermaven, were you aware that Time Cubes have Six Sides? |

    How is it I’m not surprised that antivaxers are also in denial about antibiotics and in full conspiracy mode about RF frequencies, chemtrails and other bollocks ?

  93. #93 Narad
    February 26, 2013

    Um, wouldn’t “bloody martyr” be a great name for a drink?

    Seems like Clamato would be essential as a base. One next requires liquor and sweetness. I think anise is out, as tempting as it might seem. Naturally, Listerine and so forth is excluded, despite a perhaps appropriate mintiness, due to unknown toxicity (plainly, a martyr requires known toxicity).

    OK, so let’s throw in some real grenadine. We’ve got tomato, clams, and pomegranate. Conflicted religious symbolism, to be certain. Oh, but a drop of rose essence for St. Stephen.

    And, thus, the liquor. I must guess at the earliest introduced spirit, but it seems that the Red Man may have been plied with rum, completing the picture. Garnish with cucumber, I suppose.

  94. #94 Valanda
    February 26, 2013

    @ Vasha – I know what you mean. On my last visit to the ED, they insisted on doing a pregnancy test – even after I’d told them that I had a hysterectomy 12 years ago! The nurse said, “we don’t have that in your medical records – best to be sure.” As if I wouldn’t know whether I had gone through that surgery or not.

  95. #95 JGC
    February 26, 2013

    If youre looking for known toxicity, I think you need to include old-school absinthe in the mix.

  96. #96 Roger Kulp
    February 26, 2013

    Did anyone catch this.
    “I have Fibromyalgia”

    There you go right there.The link between autism,and autoimmune disease,both in the mother while pregnant,and in a family history is so well established,no links are needed.

    Wow, I just went back to 2011 link with Silvermaven in it. You guys really don’t get the full blown looney tunes like you used to. I know.We need to recruit some just to liven things up around here.

  97. #97 Chromesthesia
    February 26, 2013

    Ugh. Tired of these people. Look, it’s not easy being autistic, but it’s not a death sentence. I’ve had cancer and I have autism. Cancer is WAY worse even though I don’t remember much of it. Autistic people JUST exist. It doesn’t have to be some horrible tragedy. If we can get the support we need and the compassion we need we can do great. There’s no reason to blame the fact that your ancestor worked the docks in the 1820s for why your child has autism or the fact that your great grand uncle was a mad hatter.

  98. #98 Denice Walter
    February 26, 2013

    @ Narad:

    That drink sounds truly disgusting- like many martyrs are!

    Why can’t you do something with gin, pomegranate, lime etc and forget about the frigging clams!

    Salt – to represent tears- might be apropo- maybe Celtic salt- why not? Known toxicity? According to woo-meisters, alcohol is a toxin.
    Drink a ‘bloody martyr’ and suffer!

  99. #99 Chris
    About to leave for last cardiac rehab... Yippee!
    February 26, 2013

    Vasha:

    feel there’s something vaguely insulting (and part of the huge pressure to do with women and pregnancy) about this refusal to take one’s word that one can’t be pregnant.

    The problem is that almost very doctor has dealt with at least one outlier.

    After years of no periods I had some bleeding, so I made an appointment. My family doctor checked me out, and assured me I was fine. It seem that my period had gone from bi-monthly to a multiple year cycle.

    He then told me that he had a patient who like me had stopped periods in her very early forties. But after a few years came in with strange symptoms. It turned out she was pregnant, with twins. When he related the story he said the twins were then healthy twenty something young men.

    Valanda, as medical practices change to electronic records it takes time for them to get updated, and errors sneak in. There was a small panic before hubby’s colonoscopy because the electronic records had him on some medication like a blood thinner, which was wrong.

    Also last year when I called our family doctor’s office to get a full vaccine record for my son’s heart surgery, and proof of measles vaccine for my daughter’s college admittance: someone had to go through the thick decades old paper records to get those immunization records into the electronic file.

  100. #100 elburto
    February 26, 2013

    @Chris – I once had to triage a patient who thought she was post-menopause, but had severe back and abdo pain radiating down her legs that she was blaming on a decorating injury. She even laughed and said “If I diem know better I’d swear I was in labour!”

    Yeah… Her 27 year old son became a big brother the next day.

    Vasha & Varanda – It’s our ladybrainz, they can’t be trusted! I’ve had to sign waivers before when I’ve been admitted with agonising stomach pain, just so I could get some pain relief.

    But like Chris said there are outliers as well as flat-out liars, so medical staff need to cover themselves. However, there are ways to do that without abusing patients (apparently even lesbians just love sex with men if given the chance) or acting as if women are beyond stupid. I’ve had to make formal complaints WRT insemination interrogations.

    @chromesthesia – I hear you. My brain is what makes me who I am, and who and what I am is not some tragedy. Not having the use of my legs is far worse, but chronic pain p¡sses all over both of them.

    I’d happily stick with being a brain-damaged, motorised cripple forever if I never had to be in pain again!

    Seeing the biomeddling brigade imply that people like us are better off dead is so disgusting and ridiculous, I wish I could airlift those kids and redistribute them to caring people who don’t think that non-neurotypicality is some ~curse~.

    @Denice and Narad – I have a great cocktail for the meddlin” mama crew:

    Half a pint of MMS, activated with Chronic Lime juice, with a swirl of DMSA

    .The glass rim should be dipped in salt for the tears of their children, and served with gluten-free crackers and a big heap of nuts.

    I call it Martirade*, and the mamas will be happy to know that it can be imbibed via any orifice with a mucous membrane.

    *For their martyr mommy tirades about the eeebill SBM supporters and establishment.

  101. #101 herr doktor bimler
    February 26, 2013

    That drink sounds truly disgusting- like many martyrs are!

    Needs some green ginger whine.

  102. #102 Vasha
    February 26, 2013

    Well, I wasn’t going to detail my (lack of) sex life, but there was no way I could be pregnant. However, I’m really grumpy today; I should switch off my cynicism setting and shift my thinking from body’s-not-our-own-if-we-have-the-ability-to-be-pregnant, to would-be-really-sorry-if-we-didn’t-realize-we-were-pregnant-and-injured-the-fetus-or-ourselves.

  103. #103 Shay
    February 26, 2013

    @elburto:

    You forgot the bitters.

  104. #104 Narad
    February 26, 2013

    If youre looking for known toxicity, I think you need to include old-school absinthe in the mix.

    I happen to know the fellow who wrote the absinthe FAQ from alt.drugs. The source of toxicity seems to be unclear. Certainly, I considered Malört (wormwood flavor base) for the liquor, but I like the stuff. Then I considered Yukon Jack, but I also have a soft spot for it, and the sweetness was already there. Ergo, rum to (tenuously) continue the red theme.

  105. #105 Denice Walter
    February 26, 2013

    While you’re all sprinkling celtic salt on your martyritas ( or searching for olive brine for your dirty martyrnis):

    the always entertaining David Lewis has appeared on Stone’s latest piece at AoA and he’s not at all happy.
    Silvermaven’s there too.

  106. #106 The Typical Pharma Shill
    Loading chemtrail tanks at Denver Airport over the NWO HQ
    February 26, 2013

    @elburto

    I should propose pouring homeopathic Martirade in the chemtrail mix to my reptilian commanding officer. He’ll love how it will silence their guilt and thirst for scandals. If it works, I might get promoted to the MIB HQ!

  107. #107 herr doktor bimler
    February 26, 2013

    Certainly, I considered Malört (wormwood flavor base) for the liquor, but I like the stuff.

    You are a sick sick person, and I speak as someone who drinks Gammel Dansk and used to brew wormwood beer.

  108. #108 herr doktor bimler
    February 26, 2013
  109. #109 elburto
    February 26, 2013

    @Pharma Shill – it will make gorgeous chemtrails that make Aurora Borealis look like a dim bulb.

    @Shay – Aww yeah… I can’t shop for angostura bitters because I can’t spell angostura. Ahem.

    Ooh, I think there’s a solution! Arsenic tastes fairly bitter, according to my victims er… friend who is a chemist. We could use that.

  110. #110 flip
    February 26, 2013

    These people have some sort of psychological problem surely – to be that guilty over EVERY. LITTLE. THING. What the hell is wrong with them that they need to focus so much on flaggelating themselves?

    I also don’t understand the need to go interstate, as so many of these woo-followers do. Ignoring issues of being in rural places, surely there are doctors in their own state who deal with autistic kids? Or is my non-USA status showing and I’m missing something obvious? ‘Sunshine’ spent as much time traveling on as many flights as my last trip to Atlanta – from Australia! Just to see a doctor? That’s crazy.

    Not to mention the tests: here we have pathology labs, you don’t get tests through doctors. It means you only need a referral from a doctor, and can go wherever you like, whatever time you like. Do these things not exist in the USA?

    @Christine and elburto

    You both have my deep sympathy, the way you’ve been treated is certainly not fun – nor are the illnesses!

    @PGP

    I am not really surprised. Sociology is barely a science, social work is more or less bollocks; most social workers can barely do simple observation, let alone critical thinking. Social workers are either hopeless idealists or cynics.
    psychology suffers from several critical baseline flaws, and has a high percentage of narcissists who couldn’t be helpful if their lives depended on it.

    Still having generalisation problems I see…

  111. #111 Narad
    February 26, 2013
    Certainly, I considered Malört (wormwood flavor base) for the liquor, but I like the stuff.

    You are a sick sick person, and I speak as someone who drinks Gammel Dansk and used to brew wormwood beer.

    I continue to suspect that the inability to find anything offensive in the flavor of Malört has a genetic basis. Anyway, behold.

    My venture in aging malort is half joke and half scientific endeavor. Will it mellow out the bitterness? Enhance it? Will it completely ruin the barrel for good? Who knows.

    The fact that this fellow considers it “adverse to sipping,” however, makes me wonder about his commitment. Instead, one might consider smoked Malört.

  112. #112 Narad
    February 26, 2013

    (I have yet to sample this new entry in the field.)

  113. #113 Denice Walter
    February 26, 2013

    @ flip:

    Oh, psychological problems do run wild @ TMR, amongst other blogs frequented by the anti-vax contingent.

    However, you have to remember that they are each seeking an audience and are continuously competing against their associates’ epistles of woe as though it were a contest: who has the worst life and whose child has the greatest vaccine ‘injury’? A game of one-upmanship.

    So their self-flagellations and confessions as well as their pumped up posturing as warrior woman cavalierly slapping medical professionals around ( metaphorically) are probably an act. Perhaps they’re read that s&m novellas score highly with married moms so they play up that angle.

    Of course, as a psychologist I might ask: how healthy is putting on such an elaborate show just so that people read your tales? And-
    how firmly are you grounded in reality if you accept every alt med trope and treatment- unsubstantiated by research- hook, line and sinker?

  114. #114 Christine (the public servant Christine)
    February 26, 2013

    @Vasha: if you ever get pestered with pregnancy tests again, I find it really useful to go into detail about lack of sex life. I find the line “Look, it’s been so long since I had sex that according to some sex therapists, my ladybits should have shrivelled and expelled themselves from my body.” Apparently asexuals are kidding when they say sex isn’t a driving concern.

    And @elburto, chalk me up for endometriosis as well. I never had a laparoscopy because most gynaecologists are reluctant to perform them on people who’ve had major abdo surgery (like, say 2 bowel resections), but after we’d eliminated all other possibilities including ovarian cancer, if it sounds like a duck and feels like a duck, it’s most likely a duck.

  115. #115 Christine (the public servant Christine)
    February 26, 2013

    @elburto: the leftie thing in that medieval population might actually have been something in the beer, which people drank because water was unsanitary. Everybody, STOP DRINKING BEER!!

  116. #116 Politicalguineapig
    February 26, 2013

    Flip: I actually had to take a few sociology classes. Trust me, fluffy thinking is rampant, as are conspiracy theorists. The teacher of those classes, on one occasion, treated us to a great rant on how the local lutheran college caused a nearby highway bridge to collapse. And I’m not even going to get into how every statistic in the textbook was doctored.
    As for social workers, I’ve never needed any of their services, and considering how consistently they fail at spotting abuse and mistreatment, I wouldn’t trust one further than I could throw her.

    I will be willing to concede that there are a few psychologists who are actually competent and have an interest in the science of their field (DW and Dr. Oliver Sacks for example.), but many of the theories underpinning the field, like Jung and Freud have little basis in reality.

  117. #117 Narad
    February 26, 2013

    Dr. Oliver Sacks for example

    Sacks isn’t a “psychologist.”

  118. #118 Narad
    February 26, 2013

    I find the line “Look, it’s been so long since I had sex that according to some sex therapists, my ladybits should have shrivelled and expelled themselves from my body.”

    When asked whether I’m sexually active, I generally reply with “I’d call it ‘playing possum’.”

  119. #119 Christine (the public servant Christine)
    February 26, 2013

    @Roger Kulp: I went looking for the fibromyalgia comment. And then had trouble keeping my lunch down with some of the comments that flowed from this. Holy crap they’re appalling! I love the way some of the comments manage to apply more guilt, and simultaneously show how much worse their own travails are.

  120. #120 Christine (the public servant Christine)
    February 26, 2013

    @flip:
    Bear in mind we here in Australia have much more comprehensive universal health care. “sunshine” might have had to travel a long way to find a clinic covered by her insurance, or provided low-cost tests.

    Of course, it could just be all the local providers aren’t woo-friendly. Or she’s burned her bridges with them.

  121. #121 Denice Walter
    February 26, 2013

    @ Politicalguineapig:

    Well, thank you for that. Where do I send the money?

    Freud and Jung have importance historically but what they
    studied forms only a very small part of what psychology is concerned about today. I’m most interested in what can be investigated concerning everyday issues: learning, language, memory, individual differences; perception, attitudes, group formation, cross-cultural, CBT, prejudice, social cognition etc etc etc.

    All of us here @ RI are trying to understand why people choose non-SBM and are entranced by the blather of charlatans: this can be studied. How can we influence people or educate them in the ways of science; who is especially susceptible to the woo-ing charm of alt med provocateurs… questions that can be refined and tested.

  122. #122 S
    February 26, 2013

    @Vasha: if you ever get pestered with pregnancy tests again, I find it really useful to go into detail about lack of sex life.

    That’s not an effective approach to take if you are seeking medical care. They’ll just tell you that your symptoms are all psychologically-based, and you just need to go get laid more often.

  123. #123 Chris
    February 26, 2013

    elburto:

    Ooh, I think there’s a solution! Arsenic tastes fairly bitter, according to my victims er… friend who is a chemist. We could use that.

    :-)

    Someone who was once married to a pharmacologist (they study the drug action on the biology) said that it was scary when her department colleagues gathered at parties. Apparently they know things that make you not want to cross them in any way.

    Also what I have learned here is that I will never complain about the issues I have with the diuretic in my blood pressure meds (I just need to remember to bring spare undergarments and slacks). But I kind of knew that my issues are minor compared to a sibling with severe lactose intolerance, and some friends with celiac disease (though I don’t think any of them have had abdominal surgery).

  124. #124 Chris
    February 26, 2013

    Oooh, confusing grammar: the “Someone” is not me. But a friend from long ago. We lost contact with him, but saw his ex-wife and daughter many times because our kids were in the same marching band.

  125. #125 Christine (the public servant Christine)
    February 26, 2013

    @S: Ah yes, good old Candace Syndrome, something which IS a manifestation of Big Pharma. Because yes, I have had medicos insist I must have it and here’s a pill. Of course, the diagnosis criteria for Candace Syndrome miss the big one: “Does this impact on the quality of your life?” which in my case is a big fat NO.

  126. #126 Khani
    February 26, 2013

    @S 122 I really hate it when people say that.

    If a doctor ever says that I will get a new doctor.

  127. #127 JGC
    February 27, 2013

    When I’m asked if I’m sexually active, I usually reply “No, I just lie there and sweat”.

  128. #128 Shay
    February 27, 2013

    “…you just need to go get laid more often.”

    Who could argue with that?

  129. #129 LibrarianSarah
    February 27, 2013

    To all the southpaws that are insulted that at being labeled “brain damaged” by pseudo-scientific quacks I’d like to formally welcome you to our world. The food is pretty good, it isn’t too sweet, or sour or spicy and all the clothing is made of soft material with tags cut out. If you would like to formally join the club I’d show you the secret handshake. It doesn’t matter which hand you use and there is no touching involved. It’s more of an awkward wave really.

  130. #130 Narad
    February 27, 2013

    Someone who was once married to a pharmacologist (they study the drug action on the biology) said that it was scary when her department colleagues gathered at parties. Apparently they know things that make you not want to cross them in any way.

    Perhaps I’ve mentioned it before, but I was really bummed out when I found out the actual toxicological action of arsenic. Abby and Martha would have had a dreadful mess on their hands.

  131. #131 Antaeus Feldspar
    February 27, 2013

    Flip: I actually had to take a few sociology classes. Trust me, fluffy thinking is rampant, as are conspiracy theorists.

    Here we go again.

    Once again, PGP is presenting the following argument:
    1. I have personal anecdotes in which members of group X turned out to have trait Y.
    2. My personal experiences are of course a completely representative cross-section of the complete truth about the world.
    3. Therefore, members of group X everywhere throughout the world must also be prone to, if not guaranteed to have, trait Y.

    And we will respond, once again, “Yes, we understand that you have had experiences that support your premise 1. But since your premise 2 is cow-doots, your conclusion is caca too.”

    And once again, PGP will respond by insisting that we must not understand just how prodigiously the members of group X she’s referring to really do exhibit trait Y, completely missing the point.

  132. #132 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    February 27, 2013

    @Antaeus Feldspar

    You would think that PGP would, at some point, learn that. Maybe consider taking a course in logic or something.

  133. #133 MI Dawn
    February 27, 2013

    Ah the memories…early in my relationship with my ex, he was being annoying, so I told him I’d happily give him 50 mg of morphine IV push. He, pharmacist that he is, corrected me by saying I meant demerol, as 50 mg of morphine would be a lethal dose. I just smiled sweetly and said, no, I meant morphine… :)

  134. #134 Christine (the public servant Christine)
    February 27, 2013

    Todd W: One thing I’ve learned as a Public Servant: Making assumptions is BAD, no matter how logical they are.

  135. #135 Denice Walter
    February 27, 2013

    @ Todd W. et al:

    I wouldn’t want to speculate about PGP without speaking directly to her- and this is certainly not the place-
    but people have prejudices that follow patterns which may be based upon how cognition itself works- prior entry, frequency, prototyping, emotional issues etc- some people overgeneralise from a small sample like children overgeneralise verb forms yielding interesting errors like “runned” and “swimmed”.

    But people can also learn to change how they reach conclusions. That’s why data are so important because we’re all biased within our solitary selves and need to look outwards towards others to get a fairer perception of what the world is about.

  136. #136 flip
    I'm left handed... what's your excuse?
    February 28, 2013

    @DW

    I guess I just have a hard time understanding the mindset. I can get behind feeling guilty, even if it’s not actually my fault. I can’t understand why you would spend so much energy making things worse for yourself – and your child – by running wildly to every crank you can find.

    I’ve just spent a few years trying to find a decent doctor myself, but that doesn’t mean I’ll hop my way all over a country to find one. Especially one who is more interested in pleasing the patient than in offering proper SBM advice.

    But then, that’s just me ;)

    @PGP

    The sum of your comment is “I have had this limited experience, therefore everyone of that genre is the same”. Like I said, generalising.

    Or, what Antaeus said.

    @Christine

    This is true. And one of the reasons why I’ll never understand the current American medical system. I had enough trouble finding a good doctor in my own town; I can’t imagine having to cross state borders to find one just because they don’t accept my insurance (or lack of).

    And even so: she took the same amount of time and number of planes it would take me to fly to New York! That’s just crazy.

  137. #137 herr doktor bimler
    February 28, 2013

    DW @ 121:
    Freud and Jung have importance historically but what they studied forms only a very small part of what psychology is concerned about today.

    Which is all very well… but it is only a few decades since various luminaries abandoned the American Psych. Association and set up the APS, on account of the APA’s abject disinterest in science-based or evidence-based psychology (specifically, their refusal to denounce Recovered Memory Therapy, for as long as enough psychologists were making money from it).

    So the APA is still by far the larger organisation, and it is still a haven for crooks and scamsters. I mean, the Rorschach Test is utterly discredited as contemptibly bad junk science, but it is still being used by a significant number or even a majority of clinical psychologists.

    Yes, there are science-based research disciplines subsumed under the broad umbrella term of “psychology”, but witchdoctory is still where the numbers and the money are.

  138. #138 Narad
    February 28, 2013

    So the APA is still by far the larger organisation, and it is still a haven for crooks and scamsters.

    The continuing issuance of style manuals is all the evidence that is required to demonstrate this assertion.

    In a side note, I now have somewhat accidentally acquired a bona fide neo-Freudian analyst. I’ve been remiss with the dream diary.

  139. #139 herr doktor bimler
    February 28, 2013

    The APA Style Manual displays what I can only describe as a kind of rabbinical mind at work. Is it larger than the Talmud yet?

  140. #140 Narad
    February 28, 2013

    The APA Style Manual displays what I can only describe as a kind of rabbinical mind at work.

    Oh, c’mon.

    Is it larger than the Talmud yet?

    Style manuals seem inevitably to degenerate into revenue scams, assuming they get that far in the first place. (Hi, American Chemical Society!) The Puvpntb znahny (rot13; yes, they really do have people running around looking for this crap) has only gotten bigger, more frequently issued, and less useful over time. Of course, they did take the trouble to change the color of the front of the dust jacket in the latest round. As I’m certainly not about to pay for this stuff, I cannot comment on whether the index is down to the previous standards. They really, seriously, should have stopped with the 13th. Or something.

    Anyway, this all goes back to the bizarre Sin Hang Lee “complaint” to the CSE.

  141. #141 Denice Walter
    February 28, 2013

    @ herr doktor bimler:

    Oh, I’m totally in agreement.
    Which explains why I rejected the witch-doctoring aspect and call myself a counsellor.

    I don’t even believe in the unconscious.

    @ Narad:

    I have a feeling that you have no need of a dream diary or of having anyone to interpret it
    What you produce when you’re awake is interesting enough by far.. and I mean that in a good way.

  142. #142 herr doktor bimler
    February 28, 2013

    Style manuals seem inevitably to degenerate into revenue scams

    Do physics journals have style manuals? Editors don’t seem to care how you express your argument.

    I fondly recall a 1983 paper from Physics Reports that examined the practicality of geotomography, using a large circular accelerator to generate a neutrino beam. The accelerator tunnel would be large enough to require robots to maintain it, as shown in a diagrammatic cross-section, in which one of the authors had drawn a little smiley face on the front of the robot.

  143. #143 Grant
    February 28, 2013

    Narad (#140): FWIW it’s worth I use the Oxford equivalent when I feel I have to. Must find time to read Lee’s complaint some time.

  144. #144 Narad
    February 28, 2013

    Do physics journals have style manuals? Editors don’t seem to care how you express your argument.

    Well, they used to. AIP has a manual that you can find on-line. At my last gig, we had a homebrew affair that was quite specialized. It took me about two years to fully internalize it.

    Nowadays, though, actual copy editing in the physical sciences is disappearing. One driving factor is that the pay has traditionally been so low that attracting competent people has been an iffy proposition, so the ones that you get may well represent a value-subtracted proposition. What doesn’t seem to sink in with the relevant publishers is that this could well turn into a final arXiv takeover.

    I’ve prevented many an erratum in my days, found errors in tables that might well have gone unnoticed entirely, and so forth. It’s a small contribution but, done properly, can be a valuable one.

  145. #145 Narad
    February 28, 2013

    I have a feeling that you have no need of a dream diary or of having anyone to interpret it

    I had a hard time trying to explain the notion of Lisp “garbage collection” to this fellow and didn’t succeed. Still, I tentatively accept the notion of dreams possibly containing repressed psychic content. However, I’m also old enough to think that I understand most of what’s being represented in these sleep events. The previous Rogerian type was, naturally, uninterested unless I was interested.

  146. #146 lilady
    February 28, 2013

    Ooh Narad, you actually remember your dreams? Aside from the never ending, sleep disturbing lost-in-a-large city or lost-in- a-large-building-complex dreams…I almost never remember my dreams.

    Rarely, If my husband mentions the name of a friend or a relative, while I’m half-awake…I might remember that the person was in my dream.

  147. #147 Narad
    February 28, 2013

    Ooh Narad, you actually remember your dreams? Aside from the never ending, sleep disturbing lost-in-a-large city or lost-in- a-large-building-complex dreams…I almost never remember my dreams.

    It varies. I usually wake up after two sleep cycles (5 hr), and then the rememberable stuff occurs after I get back to unconsciousness in the next one or two. I’ve actually trained myself pretty well to be able to “reenter” dreams when I think I need more rest, although this might be more properly considered a dozing state.

    But, yah, the usual stuff. Complicated buildings (some of which have recurred often enough that I can now somewhat navigate them), strange bathrooms (generally a sign that my body actually wants to wake up and get rid of something), texts that become more unreadable the harder I try, complicated failures involving travel by trains and airplanes, varieties of monsters (I had a murderous dwarf recently), etc. One unusual change lately is that I can now competently operate a motor vehicle in a dream, whereas previously this never, ever worked.

  148. #148 Narad
    February 28, 2013

    I should also note that if one does not care to remember dreams, the worst thing to do is to remember that one does not care to remember dreams.

  149. #149 herr doktor bimler
    March 1, 2013

    An interesting perspective on dreams here — though not yet in print — drawing a parallel with the classical Art of Memory:
    https://csimoodle.ucd.ie/moodle/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=6724

  150. #150 Narad
    March 1, 2013

    That can’t be right, as my hippocampus is the size of a pea. It also fails to establish a concrete time frame. (Dreams, of course, are “episodes.”)

  151. #151 Narad
    March 1, 2013

    If this hypothesis is correct, the stuff of dreams is the stuff of memory.

    Holy crap, this isn’t a put-on.

  152. #152 Narad
    March 1, 2013

    (Well, I suppose it could be a really, really good put-on, but the original entry upon a few readings made less and less sense, and here one finds “As a result of self-organizing, the self and the world in both states are integrated.” I don’t see a way that one can get out of frank supernaturalism here.)

  153. #153 Narad
    March 1, 2013

    ((And not just mind–brain dualism, the whole Swedenborgian Pig Iron Works.))

  154. #154 flip
    March 1, 2013

    @Narad

    Are you talking about controlling lucid dreams?

  155. #155 Narad
    March 1, 2013

    Are you talking about controlling lucid dreams?

    No, I have a separate story about that I’ve probably related already. It involves Omni magazine and a fanged rabbit, things going horriby awry, etc. I’m here talking about reentering or, if you will, restarting dreams. The goal is just to get back to something like sleep. I could say that “the narrative changes” or some such, viz., this is “corrupting” the “purity” of the dream, but this is obviously a crock. There’s no “narrative” to start with, and moreover, the dream-perception of “time” has no discernible relationship to “clocks.”

    The symbols, however (and I use this term in the garbage-collection context), hang around for a while. I find that they can effectively be turned back on. Object-oriented programming didn’t come from nowhere.

  156. #156 flip
    March 1, 2013

    Hmmm…. this sounds interesting to me. I dream a lot and also have fits of sleep (it’s complicated), but usually don’t dream the same thing twice if I fall back asleep again. I also doze, but have had a couple of lucid dreams. I’m very curious to see how one could – if possible – control sleep.

    Sigh… I do find it frustrating having conversations with you Narad. If only because it makes me want to go out and learn more ;)

  157. #157 Denice Walter
    March 1, 2013

    I couldn’t get through to bimler’s link but I’m assuming that by ‘classical art of memory’, he means the method of loci- wherein a person memorised an ordered set of locations ( e.g. what is encountered when walking through a palace) and then used it for recalling new material ( e.g. speeches) after associating the items in the speech with the images encountered on the path through the building.

    I can imagine that locations in waking life are transposed to dreams as a framework and re-used.

    I think that symbols are flexible and am intrigued by translations between media like language and image. We also have several other memory systems than the one in our head because we write and take photos that we can access when necessary.

  158. #158 Narad
    March 1, 2013

    I couldn’t get through to bimler’s link

    Did you press the “Login as a guest” button?

  159. #159 herr doktor bimler
    March 1, 2013

    I’m assuming that by ‘classical art of memory’, he means the method of loci- wherein a person memorised an ordered set of locations ( e.g. what is encountered when walking through a palace) and then used it for recalling new material ( e.g. speeches) after associating the items in the speech with the images encountered on the path through the building.

    Llewellyn’s article (“Such stuff as dreams are made on? Elaborative encoding, the ancient art of memory and the hippocampus”) does bring in the ‘method of loci’ aspect of the mnemonic tradition, but she concentrates more on the other aspect — the generation of bizarre tableaux that encode the various points to be remembered (and are memorable because of their grotesque or bizarre nature), and storing them along the sequence of loci. Her argument is (roughly) that the Art of Memory works precisely because it parallels the elaborative association-weaving that occurs in episodic memory as events are indexed for later recall. With the experience of REM dreaming being a leakage from the associational indexing machinery… a glimpse behind the scenes as it were.

  160. #160 Narad
    March 1, 2013

    With the experience of REM dreaming being a leakage from the associational indexing machinery… a glimpse behind the scenes as it were.

    I’ve yet to figure out the one in which a girlfriend of mine was being chased by a duck with a giant human penis.

    Llewellyn’s approach strikes me as problematic in a number of ways. For one thing, it seems to have no predictive power whatever. Why, for example, would GABA-B agonists generate violent dreams with disturbing imagery yet no emotional content?

  161. #161 curious cat
    GTA
    March 1, 2013

    has anyone done a study comparing the moral panic of anti-vaccination & toxins to the previous moral panic of satanic ritual abuse? the level of hysteria & self-guilt seems comparable

  162. #162 Denice Walter
    March 1, 2013

    @ Narad:

    The important question about your dream is:
    was the duck smoking a cigar?

    Because sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

  163. #163 Chris
    March 1, 2013

    curious cat, try reading Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson. It discusses both of those issues.

  164. #164 herr doktor bimler
    March 1, 2013

    was the duck smoking a cigar?
    HTH.

  165. #165 Narad
    March 1, 2013

    The important question about your dream

    I was unclear. It was her dream. No cigar. Whether there was a secret word will likely never be known. The duck was also on the ground at all times, to my understanding.

  166. #166 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    March 1, 2013

    Was she trapped in a world she never made?

  167. #167 Narad
    March 1, 2013

    Was she trapped in a world she never made?

    Please, let’s try to maintain some philosophical decorum.

    Oddly, as I scour what’s left of my memory, I just might be able to piece this one together.

  168. #168 Narad
    March 1, 2013

    (I’m wondering if it may in “fact” have been a loon, as well.)

  169. #169 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    March 1, 2013

    Narad – See “Howard The Duck”. If it was a loon, well, it was about homeopathy…

  170. #170 lilady
    March 1, 2013

    @ Denice Walter, Narad, herr doktor bimler:

    Some of us *oldsters are deeply offended by your references to cigars.

    *But, some of oldsters aren’t :-)

    -lilady

  171. #171 Denice Walter
    March 1, 2013

    Ok, we have
    ancient Roman architecture ( palace – loci) – viaduct- duck-penis- cigar- Sigmund Freud-secrets- loon.

    Obviously the dream is about:

    EXPOSING quackery and the loons who espouse it through revealing their secrets by an analysis of their unconscious motivation through dreams and jokes by talking about the structure of memory ..
    .
    in other words, it’s about RI
    Thank you, where’s my cigar?

  172. #172 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    March 1, 2013

    Denice Walter – sometimes a loon is just a loon.

  173. #173 Melissa G
    March 1, 2013

    I’m searching for ways of justifying calling baby loons “loonatics,” when I realize I have spent way too much time on it already.

  174. #174 Narad
    March 1, 2013

    See “Howard The Duck”

    Trust me, I was well into the Marvel universe back in the day.

  175. #175 Narad
    March 1, 2013

    Obviously the dream is about

    Oho! But no, I think it involves the local waterfowl and an associated lover from a previous (suggestively named) locale.

  176. #176 Denice Walter
    March 1, 2013

    @ Narad:

    I know, I know; it was a joke- poetic licentiousness and all that.

  177. #177 Narad
    March 1, 2013

    Wait, has this AAOM entry already been mentioned? I’m a bit under the weather today.

  178. #178 Johnny
    Long ago, and far away
    March 1, 2013

    Did the duck’s quack echo?

  179. #179 herr doktor bimler
    March 1, 2013

    I think it involves the local waterfowl and an associated lover

    Take me to your Leda!

  180. #180 Narad
    March 2, 2013

    I think that symbols are flexible and am intrigued by translations between media like language and image.

    “‘In the course of the conversation (William) Penn asked one of the Lenape (Delaware) interpreters to explain to him the notion which the Natives had of God. The Indian was embarrassed, and sought in vain for words. Finally he drew a series of concentric circles on the ground, and, indicating their centre, said that this was the place where the Great Man was symbolically situated.’ (Werner Muller, Die Religionen der Waldindianer Nordamerikas, Berlin, D.
    Reimer, 1956, the chapter entitled: ‘Der Grosse Geist und die Kardinalpunkte.’) One could not furnish a clearer proof of incomprehension than the argument based on this incident, namely that for the Delawares God was a drawing, thus something ‘concrete’ and not an ‘abstraction’!”

    —Frithjof Schuon, “The Symbolist Mind”.

    There’s a good one from Keewaydinoquay about when Gordon Wasson first met the Lakota, but I think I’m at risk of recycling material.

  181. #181 Narad
    March 2, 2013

    Wow, that was a catastrophe. The (PDF) link is here. There of course should not be a line break between “D.” and “Reimer.”

  182. #182 Narad
    March 2, 2013

    Take me to your Leda!

    You’re closer than you may think, Tyndareus.

  183. #183 Denice Walter
    March 2, 2013

    Obviously in myths form equals function, so the swan has a long neck…

    I wonder how much of this visual ‘logic’ – for lack of a better word- underlies our thinking even in the scientific age.

    If you look at modern myths about natural substances, you’ll see various animal horns as remedies for impotence and other pictorally-based references – I just read a woo account the other day (perhaps on green med info) that stated that walnuts were good for your brain- and they actually look like a brain- and kidney beans were good for kidneys et al.

    Woo-meisters, as well as antivaxxers- cherish two models of cure; ‘cleaning up debris’ – de-tox, searching for damaged cells or broken DNA- removing the bad and
    ‘nourishment”- filling in gaps in DNA or cells with nutrients that will also cause growth of atrophied parts etc. The ability of plants to regenerate and awaken from their winter’s sleep is obviously impressive- thus the stress on phyto-nutrients. Also live cells from embryos have been in and out of fashion as agents for rejuvenation.
    All of these analogies have religious significance as well.

    I’m not saying that reliance upon visual images is not useful in science or isn’t used by people who are educated in fields like medicine but I think that if your education is amiss or entirely lacking, it’s easier to fall into these convenient archaic analogies.
    And woo world uses them and the audience responds.

  184. #184 Narad
    March 2, 2013

    I’m not saying that reliance upon visual images is not useful in science

    One naturally presumes that the totally blind still dream. I in fact have had the experience of dreams that occur only in text representations, which I take as a sign to lay off the material.

  185. #185 lilady
    March 2, 2013

    (I finally *scooped* Denice Walter)

    Dan Omsted at AoA offers up another opinion about Adam Lanza with the same old… same old…crappy science. His last paragraph about Dr. Jay Gordon is a “gem”.

    http://www.ageofautism.com/2013/03/weekly-wrap-lanza-newtown-autism.html#more

    “I like Dr. Jay Gordon. He’s definitely one of the good guys in the medical world. But he really ought to rethink his criticism of Andy Wakefield’s work.

    On Facebook Feb. 22, he took note of the 15th anniversary of the Lancet publication of the famous paper pointing to a pattern of novel bowel disease in 12 children with regressive ASDs, most of whose parents linked the onset to the MMR shot (that is actually what the study reported, not that MMR causes autism, etc., etc.)

    Gordon writes: “Dr. Wakefield, whether his intentions were good or ill, should have written a brief letter to the editor about his findings and the need for much more study.” In the event, says Gordon, the Lancet was right to retract it, and he, Gordon, bases nothing he writes about autism on it.

    Well, first of all, suggesting that Wakefield might have “ill” intentions is an unpleasant and too-casual way to cast doubt not just on his work but on his motives. Second, the vindication of John Walker-Smith — and even more, the tragic replications of Wakefield’s findings not just by other researchers but by the suffering of thousands more children with regressive autism and bowel disease these past 15 years — makes Gordon’s disavowal and rejection seem downright wrong-headed.

    I just don’t get it, frankly.”

    Now how about that, Dr. Jay? How about changing your mind on childhood vaccines…the necessity of following the AAP recommendations regarding complete and timely immunizations so that your patients are safeguarded against nasty, sometimes deadly, vaccine-preventable-diseases and so that your patients don’t become the “Index patient” in a disease outbreak?

  186. #186 Ullrich Fischer
    Canada
    March 2, 2013

    I’ve set up a petition at

    http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Stop_killing_children_by_selling_Melanies_Marvelous_Measles/?kHVyIbb

    to try to get Amazon to stop selling that book on the grounds that it promotes the spread of deadly diseases.

  187. #187 lilady
    March 2, 2013

    Update to Olmsted’s snark directed at Dr. Jay…

    “Most people who either praise or condemn Dr. Wakefield’s Lancet paper have never read it. Dan, you and I have read it many times and discussed the study’s methodology and conclusions with Andy face to face.

    The MMR is not a good vaccine. The current vaccine schedule should be reevaluated and revised and research about vaccines and autism must continue.

    But the paper published in the Lancet is badly flawed and cannot be the basis for my long-standing opposition to the way vaccines are manufactured, sold and administered. Dr. Wakefield, himself, readily acknowledges many of the flaws.

    I don’t believe the harsh criticism of Dr. Wakefield’s motives. These critics are mean-spirited and unfair, but I believe that Dr. Wakefield and The Lancet erred in allowing his incomplete study to be published in the way it was.

    Jay

    Posted by: Jay Gordon, MD, FAAP | March 02, 2013 at 11:27 AM”

    And…Jake Crosby is out of the “penalty box” posting his bile back at Dr. Jay…along with “the usual suspects”.

    Here’s the blog where Dr. Jay got himself in trouble….

    http://thekindlife.com/blog/post/dr-jay-gordon-vaccinations-safe-unsafe#

  188. #188 Shay
    March 2, 2013

    Lilady:

    Schadenfreude, thy name is Jay Gordon.

  189. #189 Denice Walter
    March 2, 2013

    @ lilady:

    Oh, I read Dan’s post earlier and realised that my presence was immediately required in the country in order to make ready for the upcoming ancient rites of spring soon to be celebrated amongst the fallen boughs of trees and leafy remains of the past year.

    It was mossy and dampish and torrents of water coursed down the rocky hills into the swirling dark waters of the burgeoning river swelling over its banks under an unsettled sky the shade of smoke and ash-
    which I enjoyed viewing a great deal more than wading through Dan’s prose. Then we had Japanese food.

    Dan & co. are hanging onto the side of a cliff by their fingernails- they aren’t exactly thrilled with a relatively high profile alt med doctor abandoning their precious Andy and
    I imagine they’re worried about how recent strife will affect their readership/ donor list/ advertisers’ sales.

  190. #190 Narad
    March 2, 2013

    It was mossy and dampish and torrents of water coursed down the rocky hills into the swirling dark waters of the burgeoning river swelling over its banks under an unsettled sky the shade of smoke and ash

    Symbols, symbols….

  191. #191 Narad
    March 3, 2013

    Dan Omsted at AoA offers up another opinion about Adam Lanza with the same old… same old…crappy science.

    This is truly an odd entry:

    From our little slice of the world over here in the environmental-biomedical community, the fact that a child can’t feel pain is a big freaking deal. Forget autism — what has caused an epidemic of children who can burn themselves with no reaction? How damaged is a nervous system that short-circuits this most vital survival mechanism?

    Perhaps Olmsted isn’t familiar with Gordon Liddy.

  192. #192 lilady
    March 3, 2013

    Oh I see *the pediatrician to the stars* has gotten a new celeb vegan mommy….

    http://thekindlife.com/forum/topic/3636148/looking-for-a-vegan-pediatrician-in-los-angeles-i-m-due-in-6-weeks

    Hmmm…Alicia has an *odd way* of feeding her baby “Bear Blu”

    http://abcnews.go.com/Health/video/alicia-silverstone-pre-chews-her-babys-food-16018543

  193. #193 Narad
    March 3, 2013

    Hmmm…Alicia has an *odd way* of feeding her baby “Bear Blu”

    Yah, that’s been around for a while.

  194. #194 herr doktor bimler
    March 3, 2013

    a child can’t feel pain is a big freaking deal. Forget autism — what has caused an epidemic of children who can burn themselves with no reaction?

    One child is an epidemic?

  195. #195 Narad
    March 3, 2013

    Oh I see *the pediatrician to the stars* has gotten a new celeb vegan mommy….

    I’m not sure that I get this. Is Dr. Jay himself a vegan? Vegetarian? It sounds as though this woman is likely to be breast-feeding for as long as the kid will put up with it anyway, so who cares? I’m not getting the role of veganism per se.

  196. #196 lilady
    March 3, 2013

    Case reports of HIV, hepatitis B and other diseases being transmitted by “pre-chewing” food for babies…

    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6009a2.htm

    @ herr doktor bimler: If one case is an epidemic, what are two cases?

    a) pandemic

    b) tsunami

  197. #197 Narad
    March 3, 2013

    Aha.

    Dr. Gordon is 62 years old and in great shape. He exercises for two hours every day and has followed a vegetarian diet for 35 years.

    “I’m battling my own genetic issues, and my weapons are soccer, tofu, and spinach—lots of spinach,” he says with a laugh.

    And, yes, note the source.

  198. #198 lilady
    March 3, 2013
  199. #199 Narad
    March 3, 2013

    @ herr doktor bimler: If one case is an epidemic, what are two cases?

    a) pandemic

    b) tsunami

    c) Götterdämmerung

  200. #200 Narad
    March 3, 2013

    Wow, commenter Shell Tzorfas really has it all going on, including the Dοchniak angle.

  201. #201 herr doktor bimler
    March 3, 2013

    Perhaps Olmsted isn’t familiar with Gordon Liddy.

    For all Liddy’s heroic talk about his mastery over pain and the number of people he impressed with his self-mutilatory candle-related activities, has anyone else ever reported one of these episodes? We only seem to have Liddy’s own word for it that he’s a real mensch, i.e. the word of a serial fabulist.

  202. #202 Narad
    March 3, 2013

    We only seem to have Liddy’s own word for it that he’s a real mensch, i.e. the word of a serial fabulist.

    The candle routine is implicitly reported by Mark Felt in All the President’s Men. I actually found Liddy’s autobiography, Will, to be a rather good read. I doubt that he had a ghostwriter.

  203. #203 herr doktor bimler
    March 3, 2013

    what are two cases?
    The nucleus of a new Berserker army.
    Seriously, try dropping hints around the woosphere that the Department of Defense is studying cases of pain asymbolia with an eye to their military application.

  204. #204 lilady
    March 3, 2013

    Shell Tzorfas also gave us a rundown about vaccine ingredients…

    “1 in 6 are now Developmentally Disabled, 1 in 5 are Neurologically Impaired, 1 in 10 have ADHD, plus dangerous peanut allergies since peanut by products were added to multiple vaccines, milk allergies, casein added to vaccines, latex allergies, particles of latex enter through vaccines…All of this became rampant after the US passed a law that stopped you from suing vaccine makers in regular courts thus the vaccine maker’s suddenly developed new vaccines as they became “Immune” from any situation. Kids went from a few lifetime vaccines to more than 70 and THIS IS OUR RESULT. What does anyone expect to have happen when you pump babies with aluminum, thimerosal, embalming fluid, rat, dog, cow, pig, monkey and caterpillar parts, plus fetal cells, squalene, tar derived food coloring, polysorbate, ether, and a whole lot more?”

    There are peanut products in vaccines? What about the monkey pus?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QY_DXCmhK0g

  205. #205 Narad
    March 3, 2013

    There are peanut products in vaccines?

    Just Google “adjuvant 65,” and all the usual suspects will turn up.

  206. #206 MI Dawn
    March 3, 2013

    caterpiller parts?

    And who the heck is Shell Tzorfas? He/she seems like another antivax incompetent who has a degree from Google U. (yeah, I googled, but nothing came up. I can haz google-fu plz?)

  207. #207 Denice Walter
    March 3, 2013

    So perhaps a few of the brighter bulbs aren’t particularly thrilled with being identified as AJW apologists ( Dr Jay)?

    However today I run across more partisanship :
    at TMR, another scientist travels the world to find the right doctors for her autistic child and mentions Krigsman amongst others.

    And at NaturalNews, Ethan Huff provides details of yet another study that illustrates the damaging influence of mercury.

    SO it appears that we have hard-liners and kinder, gentler anti-vaxxers: the former focuses on vaccines while the latter espouse a natural living approach that associates various problems with modernity and which can be ameliorated with healthier life styles thus blending in with general alt med proselytisers.

    Interestingly enough, the woo-meisters I survey- although they despise vaccines- take the more general approach that nearly everything is bad for you and should be replaced with healthier alternatives. And blame everything on the establishment- sounds like the Canary Party.

    I guess some anti-vaxxers recognise that their war needs to be expanded in order to gain a larger audience.

  208. #208 Denice Walter
    March 3, 2013

    @ Narad:

    Yes, symbols are all around us.
    I enjoy narrating conversations about science or international business interspersed with luridly suggestive descriptions of nature over-riding our studied ennui.

  209. #209 Narad
    March 3, 2013

    Yes, symbols are all around us.

    If you want them. To once again invoke Millbrook, “Remember that the relations you find are relations of meaning—not relations of physical cause and effect, power, or spatiality. It’s psychological, and therefore everything is ‘over-determined’—loaded to bullwarks with golden meaning and riding low in the water.”

  210. #210 Narad
    March 3, 2013

    Courtesy The 21st Floor, the BBC reports

    There have been a reported 189 cases of [measles] in Swansea and Neath-Port Talbot since November, more than the whole of Wales in the past three years.

    Thanks, Andy.

  211. #211 herr doktor bimler
    March 3, 2013

    Measles is still a very dangerous infection. It’s not something that’s a right of passage of childhood.

    The BBC is trolling the pedants.

  212. #212 dingo199
    March 3, 2013

    It’s so bad that some kids even need the last “rights”…….

  213. #213 Narad
    March 3, 2013

    The BBC is trolling the pedants.

    It is the Welsh, after all.

  214. #214 Militant Agnostic
    In the shadow of an overburdened cell tower
    March 3, 2013

    @ MI Dawn

    Surely not Caterpillar Parts? That immediately made me think Finning Tractor is involved with vaccines

    http://www.finning.ca/Services/Online_Services/PartStore/Default.aspx

  215. #215 Tired
    Finland
    March 4, 2013

    Seems it is always easier to blame someone else than accept you yourself have the tendency for autism.

    The woman in the story is “blaming herself” for the autism, but she surely has a lot of others to blame about it.
    Vaccination company, poison house, ultrasounds and everything else.
    THEY did this to her child and the kid would be all perfect without these surrounding things that she, without better knowledge exposed him to.

    This is seen in everything in our societies. Right wing blaming the immigrants, alcoholics blaming their parents/society etc.

    When do we learn to accept the reality and take responsibility for our surroundings?
    The kid might never get “better”, but he deserves all the love there is from his parents. He’s perfect in the way he is.

    Make the best of what you were given!