I want to thank Dan Olmsted, the editor of Age of Autism. I think.

Why do I say this? After all, Olmsted is the managing editor of perhaps the most wretched hive of antivaccine scum and quackery that I am aware of. However, he’s actually done me a favor. You see, the other day, the instigator of the U.K. anti-MMR wing of the antivaccine movement, Andrew Wakefield, posted a video to YouTube because he’s really feeling some serious butthurt right now:

Basically, it’s Andrew Wakefield complaining about being blamed for an ongoing measles outbreak in South Wales. Of course, given that, if there’s one person most responsible for causing MMR uptake in the U.K. to tank, it’s arguably Andrew Wakefield. Yes, it’s true that he didn’t do it alone. Unfortunately, he had lots of help. In particular, he had the help of Richard Horton, the editor of The Lancet who, for reasons known only to himself, decided to publish Wakefield’s crappy little case series of 12 children who were presented as evidence of a potential link between the MMR vaccine and bowel problems in autistic children in 1998. Then there was the U.K. press, which ate the story up and conspired in playing up the possibility of the MMR vaccine somehow causing or contributing to autism. then, of course, there’s the U.K. contingent of the antivaccine movement, which latched on to Wakefield’s fraudulent “science” as support for its general belief that vaccines are evil. Worse, Wakefield himself appears to have loved the attention he got as the “brave maverick doctor” who found something that The Man didn’t want him to find. Never mind that he was in the pay of a trial lawyer suing vaccine manufacturers when he did his Lancet series, as has been amply documented by Brian Deer. In the U.K. and, to a lesser extent, in the U.S., Wakefield has become a major nidus upon which antivaccine parents latch in their social networks trying to convince new parents not to vaccinate.

So why am I “thanking” Dan Olmsted? Easy. He published the transcript of Wakefield’s whiny wankfest above, so that I don’t have to watch the entire thing. Watching Wakefield’s slimy, self-serving, disingenuous verbal prestidigitation for more than a couple of minutes quite literally gives me a barfy feeling in the pit of my stomach. And for that, I think Olmsted. Of course, reading the transcript of Wakefield’s slimy, self-serving, disingenuous verbal prestidigitation is almost as bad, but at least I don’t have to look at Wakefield’s shifty visage and listen to that smug, self-satisfied voice.

Wakefield begins by saying that, really and truly, it’s not his fault that there’s been an outbreak of measles in South Wales. Don’t pay attention to the government, which apparently did link the massive decline in MMR uptake that occurred beginning in the late 1990s and early 2000s. “Don’t blame me,” Wakefield says (I’m paraphrasing). “Don’t blame me for measles outbreaks because I whipped up a fake scare and riding it to fame and infamy.”

No, Wakefield says, blame the government because it didn’t listen to me and offer the single measles vaccine instead of the triple vaccine for the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR):

So, what happened subsequently. At that time the single measles vaccine, the single vaccines were available freely on the National Health Service. Otherwise, I would not have suggested that option. So parents, if they were legitimately concerned about the safety of MMR could go and get the single vaccines. Six months later the British government unilaterally withdrew the importation licence for the single vaccines therefore depriving parents of having these on the NHS; depriving parents who had legitimate concerns about the safety of MMR from a choice; denying them the opportunity to protect their children in the way that they saw fit.

And I was astonished by this and I said to Dr Elizabeth Miller of the Health Protection Agency why would you do this, if your principal concern is to protect children from serious infectious disease. Why would you remove an option from parents who are legitimately concerned about the safety of MMR. And her answer was extraordinary. She said to me if we allow parents the option of single vaccines it would destroy our MMR programme. In other words her concern, her principal concern seemed to be for protection of the MMR programme and not for protection of children.

Now, were parents concerns about the safety of MMR legitimate? Did they have a reason to be concerned? The answer is unequivocably yes.

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong! There have been large, well-designed epidemiological studies that have failed to find even a hint of a whiff of a correlation between the MMR vaccine and autism. In fact, of all the antivaccine “hypotheses” in which vaccines cause autism, the one that has arguably been the most thoroughly refuted by cold, hard evidence is the link between MMR and autism claimed by Wakefield and his acolytes. Indeed, as Dr. Michael Fitzgerald points out, vaccination rates plummeted as a result of the Wakefield-inspired antivaccine hysteria, leading the measles, which had been almost eliminated in Britain, to come roaring back to endemic levels by 2008. Of course, Wakefield’s attempt to weasel out of the blame that so rightly falls on his shoulder involves pointing out that MMR uptake rates have recovered and are now above 90% The problem with that retort is that there is now a large cohort of older children who were infants and toddlers around the time of the MMR scare who were never vaccinated against the measles. They are now vulnerable to the highly contagious measles virus. Herd immunity, which was degraded by the decline in MMR vaccine uptake due to the MMR-autism scare, is still degraded, as vaccine uptake has only just recovered to acceptable levels.

So let’s consider Wakefield’s self-serving, self-centered “logic,” such as it is. To him, it’s not his fault that there was an MMR scare. Never mind that there was no science behind his claims. Never mind that there was no evidence to support his claim that the MMR triple vaccine is dangerous and that the “single jab” measles vaccine was safer. As Matt Carey puts it:

Well, 15 years ago Mr. Wakefield’s team at the Royal Free Hospital released a paper which suggested a link between autism and the MMR vaccine. Mr. Wakefield did much more than suggest a link. At the press conference for the paper’s release (note that very few papers have press conferences) Mr. Wakefield called for the suspension of the MMR vaccine in favor of single measles, mumps and rubella vaccines. He didn’t really explain why the single vaccine would be more safe in his mind, making it very difficult for parents to accept how the single vaccines were, in his faulty opinion, safe.

Mr. Wakefield’s current logic has it that it is the government’s fault for not allowing the importation of single vaccines. Ignore the unfounded fear that Mr. Wakefield created about measles vaccines, he asks. Blame the government. Sure the government can take some blame (anyone recall when the prime minister refused to answer whether his family used the MMR?). As does the press. But without Andrew Wakefield and his faulty assertions, there would have been no scare.

Precisely.

Now here comes the hilarious part. Those of you who’ve been regular readers know one characteristic that many cranks share, one tactic that many of them like to fall back on when they are feeling cornered. Do you know what it is? (No fair telling if you already know, having either already watched this video or heard about it on other blogs!) When I saw this part of the video, I couldn’t help but think of the famous scene from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, when Kirk informs Khan, “Here it comes,” except that, instead of using photon torpedos Wakefield uses bollocks as ammunition (as Tim Minchin would put it).

So here it comes:

What I’m suggesting is a formal scientific debate in public in front of an audience that is televised. And specifically Dr David Salisbury I would like to debate you because I believe you are at the heart of this matter. I believe the decisions taken by you and by your committee, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, lie at the heart of this matter.

There are many things to debate with you.

Sure there are…if you’re an antivaccine crank like Wakefield. If you’re a scientist or physician practicing science-based medicine, not so much.

So what is it about cranks and their demands for “public debates”? They especially like “televised public debates,” as Wakefield called for right now. I know I’ve asked this question many times before, but it’s a legitimate question. Cranks love public debates, and they love to challenge their perceived foes to such spectacles. Wakefield is a crank; so it’s not at all surprising that he would resort to this tactic. The reasons are obvious to those of us who are familiar with the techniques of the crank: They can Gish gallop to their hearts’ content, weaving and bobbing, zig-zagging hither, thither, and yon among cherry picked studies, evidence, and other data. This is not the first time he’s done this, either. It was only a few days ago that he posted an offer “to debate any serious challenger on MMR vaccine safety and the role of MMR in autism, live, in public, and televised.” Oh goody. I can hardly wait. Of course, as I’ve pointed out many times before, “live public debates” are singularly uninformative and almost always favor the crank or quack, which is precisely why cranks love them so.

Amusingly, if Wakefield really wanted such a public debate, he could probably have it. For instance, Michael Fitzgerald, a physician with an autistic child, has said that he would debate Wakefield. In fact, Fitzgerald even describes how serious Wakefield is when he calls for “public debates.” The answer is, not surprisingly, not serious at all:

The only occasion when Dr Wakefield has engaged in any debate on British TV came in the discussion following the broadcast of the hagiographical docudrama Hear the Silence in December 2003. Flanked by his US acolytes Jeffrey Bradstreet and Arthur Krigsman, and parent supporters, Dr Wakefield appeared assertive and defensive in response to challenges from Evan Harris (then a Liberal Democrat MP) and myself. Wakefield has subsequently restricted his public appearances to conferences of sympathetic parents, anti-vaccination activists and promoters of quack autism therapies. When I asked him a question from the floor at one such conference in Bournemouth in February 2007, he simply refused to answer, deferring to another platform speaker. When I offered to debate with him at a follow-up conference in March 2009, the organisers refused.

Does anyone think that anything different will happen. Wakefield chooses to challenge someone who he knows can’t or won’t agree to such a spectacle to a debate, safe in the knowledge that there’s no way he’ll actually have to debate. Then, when someone who knows his stuff tries to call Wakefield’s bluff and get him to debate, Wakefield makes like brave, brave Sir Robin.

Same as it ever was.

Comments

  1. #1 Grant
    April 26, 2013

    Jay #569,

    “Measles has a very low complication rate and and even lower severe complication rate. And an exceedingly low mortality rate.”

    I’ll let others continue with that one (I have work to get to), but I disagree.

    ”I gave two MMR vaccines yesterday to families gong to Wales.

    On the face of it, you seem to have the idea that vaccines should be treated like travel vaccinations, only given when the person is heading to an area the disease has re-emerged. That doesn’t fit what vaccination programmes address for illnesses that have widespread sources, such as measles. According to others, you have a similar thinking on tetanus vaccination.

    “I have noticed that when the facts do begin to fail you, many of you resort to statements like “talking out your ass” or similar. Why is that?”

    Silly game to play. (And wrong-headed.)

    #580:

    “The CDC’s statement about ear infections (7%) and permanent hearing loss is a wrong-headed attempt to scare parents.”

    No, it’s not. Amazing to read a doctor say that, a pediatrician at that too.

    #586: “You know, Dave, perhaps your ideas are rigid and unchanging, but mine are not. I’m sure in 2008 I could have been heard to say that formaldehyde in vaccines is dangerous. Again, I listen, I learn and perhaps you just can’t relate to that kind of critical thinking.”

    If you had good sense, then, you’d recognise yourself as putting out anti-vaccine memes and trying to “out-do” medical research and having been wrong. That would be a (strong) hint to stop trying to “out-do” medical research, an indication you’re not really up to it. And as I wrote earlier, while you might well apply what you find that way to yourself, I doubt you have a place to apply it to those in your care.

    #592: A tit-for-tat reply rather than address the question raised?

    Guess I’ll move to more greener pastures.

  2. #2 Grant
    April 26, 2013

    lilady #597 – the recent results from Australia report a screening or herd effect is working well for boys there. I have no idea about the financial cost/benefit aspects, but you’d think vaccinating the boys should/could produce a stronger protective effect.

    Let me give a wee shout-out for our new immunisation blogger at sciblogs – the head of NZ’s Immunisation Advisory Centre at the University of Auckland. Nice blog title too, Diplomatic Immunity.

  3. #3 Stu
    April 26, 2013

    – Avoid substantive questions.
    – Admit to being irrational but refuse to address it.
    – Accuse anyone who follows up on evasion of incivility.

    I am truly in the wrong racket. A monkey can do this.

  4. #4 Narad
    April 26, 2013

    So document your claim.

    Fine, I’ll do it. One does have this NASN press release (PDF) placing California at a 1:2187 nurse-to-student ratio. I imagine the underlying source is buried somewhere on their site, but they don’t exactly make it easy.

    One further finds in the commentary to 2012’s Assembly Joint Resolution 24 (which itself asserts a 1:4000 ratio out of nowhere) the statement that “according to Children Now, only 17% of California’s schools have a school nurse or school health center.” I can find no such data in their 2012–2013 scorecard; it does appear in their 2010 scorecard (http://goo.gl/D1Lh7). Looking at the documentation, one finds that

    Includes the percentage of schools estimated to have a school nurse or school health center. This indicator is created by combining county-level data that includes the number of school nurses and the number of school health centers as a proportion of all public schools within a county. Because data are obtained at the county- as opposed to school- level, it is possible to get an over count. Data for this indicator come from the California Department of Education and the California School Health Centers Association. Children Now analysis of the California Department of Education, DataQuest, County-Level Analysis of 2008-2009 data for “Number of pupil services staff by type, with county data” and “Number of schools per county,” and California School Health Centers Association, 2009 “School-based health centers by county,” (May 2010).

    In other words, they’re pretending that it’s one nurse to one school.

    So, the upshot of this exercise? (1) Yes, California school nurses are stretched very thin, impairing their ability to serve as facilitators for seekers of frivolous exemptions (although one might like to see the county-level breakdown for where those exemptions are coming from to compute a more useful metric). (2) It still is just a leveling of the playing field.

  5. #5 Narad
    April 26, 2013

    While waiting for my previous comment to come out of moderation (forgot to obscure the third link), I’ll note that the URLs in the Children Now documentation section were digested by WP.

  6. #6 Shay
    April 26, 2013

    The CDC’s statement about ear infections (7%) and permanent hearing loss is a wrong-headed attempt to scare parents.”

    I would show this comment to my youngest brother (measles at age 6, hearing aids in both ears) but I don’t want him to put his fist through my laptop.

  7. #7 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    April 26, 2013

    @Jay

    @Todd W: The exemption requires medical approval now. There are no philosophical objections allowed without a doctor’s or other approved HCP’s signature.

    No, it doesn’t. The professional does not need to agree with the parents’ decisions at all. They merely need to give them information about the risks and benefits of both vaccination and refusing vaccination. You seem to think that physicians left, right and center will be refusing to sign the form. Yet you have no basis for that claim.

    You see, statements like that (that doctors need to “approve” the exemption) are the kinds of things that earn you the “anti-vaccine” label. If you don’t want to be called anti-vaccine, then stop promoting anti-vaccine nonsense.

    Also, it doesn’t help that you (excuse the language) make s**t up, assert it as fact, then go “oh, yeah, I take that back” when you get called on it, only to say the same damn things (or similar) again later.

  8. #8 Khani
    April 27, 2013

    #597 Interesting. I would hope most boys and men would want to avoid harming women by giving them cancer-causing diseases.

  9. #9 Khani
    April 27, 2013

    Question: Can someone explain to me whether there is any evidence that vaccines are riskier and cause more complications at younger ages?

    I know that’s the too-soon part of the “too many too soon” anti-vaccination argument (which I don’t buy, but also haven’t seen a lot of evidence on yet).

  10. #10 lilady
    April 27, 2013

    That over-the-internet advice seems to mean that Dr. Jay is sexist…or he just isn’t up on the recommendations from the CDC and the AAP about protecting both sexes and their partners from cervical and penile cancers.

  11. #11 lilady
    April 27, 2013

    @ Khani: There’s a new study out about local reactions at the site of IM vaccine injections (administering in thigh muscle versus arm deltoid muscle)…which confirms that local reactions following IM administration of vaccines is much less for shots in the thigh, for infants 0-36 months of age.

    http://www.grouphealthresearch.org/news-and-events/newsrel/2013/130114.html

    It’s sad now, that parent of children ages 6-12 months are advised to get their babies immunized against measles in contemplation of travel to the U.K. and European countries, where measles is endemic…especially because those recommendations are now the same for travel to underdeveloped areas of the world. The U.K. declared endemic-free for measles in 1994 and lost that WHO designation in 2008.

    Infants who are immunized against measles between 6-12 months of age, will still require both shots of the 2-dose series, given after their first birthday.

  12. #12 Chemmomo
    The state in question
    April 27, 2013

    Narad @578 and 588
    Actually, Dr Jay might have a point here. You’re not from California, are you?
    First of all:

    people without frivolous objections are still stuck with obtaining a copy of the immunization record on top of the burden of obtaining the shots in the first place.

    The parents are given their copy of the immunization card (yellow card) at their first well baby visit. Parents are expected to bring the yellow card to each subsequent visit, so that both sets of records (the doc’s and ours) are updated when the shots are given. The only burden on the parents is remembering to bring in the card along with the kid, and not losing it (the state will charge you $10 to replace it). Oh, the burden of making a photocopy – of the yellow card already in their possession – for the school records.

    But the school nurse issue: in my local area, there are concerns that a lot of school nurses have been pink slipped along with the teachers in the last several years of our dismal economy.
    http://www.kpbs.org/news/2012/nov/15/school-nurses-spread-thin-staffing-cuts/
    Yeah, I did Dr Jay’s homework for him. That’s because it is a real concern for parents.

    You also claimed:

    It is trivial to find preschool programs operated by school districts who have a nurse on staff.

    Really? In Southern California? Show me.

    To my knowledge, the preschool programs run by my school district are for children who need early intervention, or are need-based.

    The typical moderate income family sends their children to private preschools. Those typically do not include a staff nurse. And, no, I cannot provide one single link to demonstrate that.

  13. #13 Militant Agnostic
    In reality
    April 27, 2013

    Todd W @606

    Also, it doesn’t help that you (excuse the language) make s**t up, assert it as fact, then go “oh, yeah, I take that back” when you get called on it, only to say the same damn things (or similar) again later.

    Sort of like the late Duane “Bullfrog” Gish of Gish Gallop fame.

    Did Dr Jay just call Orac unscientific? What an arrogant passive-aggressive pratt.

    If anyone wants a lesson in constructive incivility, I recommend this

    http://deadspin.com/5941348/they-wont-magically-turn-you-into-a-lustful-cockmonster-chris-kluwe-explains-gay-marriage-to-the-politician-who-is-offended-by-an-nfl-player-supporting-it

  14. #14 lilady
    April 27, 2013

    Wow Militant Agnostic…what took you so long to produce this open letter?

    I believe wholeheartedly in constructive incivility…especially when it applies to to the oh so civil, Dr. Jay, who is the poster child for for the not-so-subtle spreading of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt about childhood immunizations.

    Poor Jay, he’s out of his element here and he definitely doesn’t like the fact that we have all called him out on his ignorance of basic science and label him as the liar he is. He’s no better than the creepy slimy group of *journalists* at AoA, who defame our most respected doctors, researchers, scientists and science bloggers. He’s too f*cking stupid to realize how each and every comment he has made in the past and continues to post, only confirms the sheer unadulterated ignorant crank poster he has become.

  15. #15 Greg
    April 27, 2013

    Vaccine Proponents Playbook, Argument Seven: The Wakefield Card

    No matter how well reasoned and logical an anti-vaxxers arguments are, always rebut them by reminding them that Wakefield was discredited. For instance, they say that tens of thousands of parents report their child dramatically regressed into autism following vaccination. You remind them that Wakefield was discredited. They say that the autism explosion coincides precisely with the expanded vaccination schedule. Again, you remind them that Wakefield was discredited. They say that autistics have seizures, brain inflammation and other autoimmune issues that vaccines are known to cause, vaccine courts compensate for damages leading to autism, vaccines have never been tested for their long-term safety… (You know!)

  16. #16 Darwy
    Røde grøde med fløde
    April 27, 2013

    Typical.

    Dr. Jay manufacturers an inflated figure of 1-2% complication rate from measles vaccination, yet poo-poos the data based measles complication rate of 30% from the CDC.

    It’s not just the CDC data – 25% of the folks in Europe who contracted measles ended up in the hospital too, as per the WHO – and there were 6 deaths in France alone (out of ~14,000 measles cases) in 2011. 90% of those cases were in folks who weren’t vaccinated or had no reported vaccination history.

    Source: http://www.euro.who.int/en/what-we-publish/information-for-the-media/sections/latest-press-releases/european-countries-must-take-action-now-to-prevent-continued-measles-outbreaks-in-2012

    You are endangering the very people you’re supposed to be protecting with your anti-vaccine rhetoric.

  17. #17 Lawrence
    April 27, 2013

    @Greg – anti-vaccine playbook canard #1 – set fire to numerous strawman arguments in an attempt to seem like they have a case, when in actuality, no scientific evidence exists to support any of their claims.

  18. #18 LW
    April 27, 2013

    @Greg: ” For instance, they say that tens of thousands of parents report their child dramatically regressed into autism following vaccination.”

    So they say. Produce evidence of these tens of thousands.

  19. #19 TBruce
    April 27, 2013

    That over-the-internet advice seems to mean that Dr. Jay is sexist…or he just isn’t up on the recommendations from the CDC and the AAP about protecting both sexes and their partners from cervical and penile cancers.

    HPV is also implicated in a large proportion of oropharyngeal and anal cancers in men as well as women. I will be charitable and suggest that Dr. Jay is not up to speed on HPV-induced malignancies. After all, it would be most uncivil to suggest that he is not only sexist, but also homophobic, right?

  20. #20 Krebiozen
    April 27, 2013

    Greg,

    No matter how well reasoned and logical an anti-vaxxers arguments are, always rebut them by reminding them that Wakefield was discredited.

    You have well reasoned and logical arguments? Why not show us some instead of the fact-free drivel you keep posting here?

  21. #21 Chris,
    April 27, 2013

    Greg:

    Vaccine Proponents Playbook, Argument Seven: The Wakefield Card

    Why should he matter anymore. He has had his fifteen minutes, and his paper on only twelve cases that showed nothing on any of at least four different MMR vaccines was retracted.

    You continue:

    hey say that autistics have seizures, brain inflammation and other autoimmune issues that vaccines are known to cause,

    This is actually a claim that needs to be compared to actually getting measles. Greg, please provide the PubMed indexed study showing us that the MMR vaccine that has been used in the USA since 1971 causes more seizures than measles.

  22. #22 Chris,
    April 27, 2013

    Greg, I will give you a bit of help. Go to my comment #591 and click on the “Clinical Significance of Measles” link. In it you will read:

    Febrile seizures. Febrile seizures occur in 0.1%–2.3% of children with measles in the United States and England [75, 77, 124–127] and are usually benign and not associated with residual damage.

    But then it continues:

    Postinfectious encephalomyelitis (PIE) occurs in 13 per 1000 infected persons, usually 3–10 days after onset of rash [39, 131]…..snip… As many as 25% of people with PIE due to measles die, and ∼33% of survivors have lifelong neurological sequelae, including severe retardation, motor impairment, blindness, and sometimes hemiparesis [39, 131].

    Now, all you have to do is show that the MMR vaccine is more dangerous than measles. Here are some examples of the type of acceptable citations:

    Vaccine. 2012 Jun 13;30(28):4292-8. Epub 2012 Apr 20.
    The combined measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines and the total number of vaccines are not associated with development of autism spectrum disorder: The first case-control study in Asia.

    Vaccine. 2012 Jan 5;30(2):247-53.
    Lack of association between childhood immunizations and encephalitis in California, 1998-2008.

    Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2010 May;29(5):397-400.
    Lack of association between measles-mumps-rubella vaccination and autism in children: a case-control study.

    PLoS ONE 2008; 3(9): e3140 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003140
    Lack of Association between Measles Virus Vaccine and Autism with Enteropathy: A Case-Control Study.

    Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2006 Sep;25(9):768-73.
    Encephalopathy after whole-cell pertussis or measles vaccination: lack of evidence for a causal association in a retrospective case-control study.

  23. #23 Alain
    April 27, 2013

    Greg, Why the h*ll are you still commenting here? You’ve proven time and time again to not listen to what we say and instead, parroting the same playbook again. Look like it’s a game between you and the other commenter here…

    Alain

  24. #24 Narad
    April 27, 2013

    @Chemmomo:

    Actually, Dr Jay might have a point here.

    I conceded much of this in #604, which is now out of moderation.

    You also claimed:

    It is trivial to find preschool programs operated by school districts who have a nurse on staff.

    Really? In Southern California? Show me.

    When I said “trivial,” I meant that I readily found examples of district-run preschools with nurses on-line, not that it was trivial to enroll in one. This was a counterexample to Dr. Jay’s blanket assertion that they don’t exist at all. I did not try to break these out into Title 5 preschools.

    And no, I’m not in California.

  25. #25 Narad
    April 27, 2013

    Almost forgot:

    Oh, the burden of making a photocopy – of the yellow card already in their possession – for the school records.

    Fair enough. One still has the burden of getting the shots in the first place; I’ve certainly seen my share of MDC types who avoid well-baby visits on the basis that they exist only to push vaccines.

  26. #26 lilady
    April 27, 2013

    And, today’s AoA headliner from Olmsted:

    http://www.ageofautism.com/2013/04/weekly-wrap-autism-science-autopsies-plane-crash-victims.html#comments

    Here Dan mentions Joan Campbell’s “wonderful” website with parent testimonials about their childrens’ immediate descent into autism, following immunizations. Did Olmsted *forget* to mention that Campbell a.k.a “redrockcloud” is a paid employee of the Autism Media Channel (co-owned by Wakefield and Polly Tommey?)

    https://sites.google.com/site/redrockcloud/about-me

    Take a look at “Greg’s” lame comment…

    “With the Swansea measles outbreak wouldn’t this be a fine time for provaxxers to show how measles are such a scourge and give us the figures of the health outcomes of those who came down with the illness. Yes, we know one individual with the measles died, although it is not certain whether measles was the cause. How are the others doing? HHHMMMM!!!

    Posted by: Greg | April 27, 2013 at 09:17 AM”

    @ Greg: Chris has provided you with information (about) “how the others are doing” HHHMMMM!!!!!!!!!

  27. #27 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    April 27, 2013

    Hello Greg. Back for another kicking?
    Stick around. It’s going to be fun to use you as a chew toy.

  28. #28 lilady
    April 27, 2013

    I just cannot resist linking to the website set up by Wakefield’s employee (Joan Campbell), of 900+ parents’ vaccine damage “testimonials” that Olmsted refers to:

    http://www.followingvaccinations.com/home

    (You’ll find many of the AoA groupies have posted there.)

  29. #29 Chris,
    April 28, 2013

    Um, Greg, you are denigrating Orac for not wanting to do a live debate where the rules allow a Gish Gallop. Yet, here, you are asked a simple question and you refuse to answer. For almost two weeks.

    And it is not even something difficult, plus he had at least ten days to find an answer!

    Come on, Greg, answer my question: provide the PubMed indexed study that shows the American MMR causes more seizures than actually getting measles.

    I have given you a link to the “Clinical Significance of Measles”,, and surely you know how to use PubMed. So just provide us the PubMed indexed papers where the MMR vaccine with the Jeryl Lynn mumps component causes more seizures than measles.

  30. #30 RedRock
    April 28, 2013

    Lilady; I can assure you that Joan Campbell is not redrockcloud nor is she a paid employee of Andrew Wakefield or the Autism Media Channel. Thanks for putting up the links though.

  31. #31 lilady
    April 28, 2013

    Not according to Ginger Taylor…

    http://adventuresinautism.blogspot.com/2011/06/joan-campbell-has-gathered-vaccine.html

    Joan Campbell Has Gathered Vaccine Injury Stories
    Last fall, Joan Campbell began asking parents:

    “I am compiling a list of children who were adversely affected by any vaccine. Please if you could say in about 4-6 sentences what that vaccine was, how they reacted, how they are today and what city the vaccine was administered.”

    Joan had received more than 900 responses so far. She has posted them here:

    http://www.followingvaccinations.com/

    Thank you Joan for telling the story that health authorities are doing their damnedest to bury.

    If you have not yet submitted your story, you can do so at admin@followingvaccinations.com
    Posted by Ginger Taylor at Saturday, June 25, 2011″

    Why did you delete the section “about me” on your website, 13 hours ago?

    https://sites.google.com/site/redrockcloud/system/app/pages/recentChanges

  32. #32 lilady
    April 28, 2013

    Long comment (too many links), held in moderation

    Just go to Ginger Taylor’s blog about Joan Campbell.

    http://adventuresinautism.blogspot.com/2011/06/joan-campbell-has-gathered-vaccine.html

    Joan Campbell *might be* another Joan Campbell, a crank poster on AoA, who is from Scotland and who claims her child is vaccine-injured.

    BTW, *someone* changed (deleted) the “about” section on the website I linked to, 13 hours ago, just after I posted my comment at #628 above

    http://www.followingvaccinations.com/home

  33. #33 Chris,
    April 28, 2013

    Now Greg is just making excuses. He refuses to provide any real evidence for his claims, nor answer my very simple question.

  34. #34 Chris,
    April 28, 2013

    And now Brave Sir Greg has run away… again.

  35. #35 Narad
    April 28, 2013

    Why did you delete the section “about me” on your website, 13 hours ago?

    This would seem to be a pertinent question.

  36. #36 herr doktor bimler
    April 28, 2013

    Lilady; I can assure you that Joan Campbell is not redrockcloud nor is she a paid employee of Andrew Wakefield or the Autism Media Channel

    Joan Campbell’s FB page says otherwise:
    http://www.facebook.com/AutismMothers/posts/146229648862377

    From the cached version of the disappeared Redrockcloud “About me” section:
    I am currently Admin at Autism Mothers on Facebook for The Autism File and Autism Media Channel.

    The AutismMedia twitter account definitely associates itself with Joan Campbell.

  37. #37 Narad
    April 28, 2013

    From the cached version of the disappeared Redrockcloud “About me” section:

    Their “disclaimer” is hilarious:

    By using our website, you accept this disclaimer in full. If you disagree with any part of this disclaimer, you must not use our website….

    You must not….

    • Refer to this site as anti-vaccine or scaremongering
    • Belittle parents with scientific logic
    • Let your ego get in the way of rational decisions
    • Accept any percentage loss for the greater good of all

  38. #38 Christine (the public servant Christine)
    April 28, 2013

    I have a question for Greg, too – what do you say to the tens of thousands of parents of autistics kids, who when they got the diagnosis, could see many retrospective signs of their children’s autism, that had nothing to do with their vaccinations? Autismum is one who springs to mind here, I’m sure there are other regular commenters on this blog who are the same.

  39. #39 Alain
    April 29, 2013

    May I innocently add that no anti-vaxxers ever questioned me about the vaccines I’ve got and when I got them too. Do you all want to know?

    Alain

  40. #40 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    April 29, 2013

    what do you say to the tens of thousands of parents of autistics kids, who when they got the diagnosis, could see many retrospective signs of their children’s autism, that had nothing to do with their vaccinations?

    Personal anecdote here: my mother suspected there was something different about me when I was about a month old. I would stiffen when she reached out to pick me up. I still have high tactile sensitivity.

  41. #41 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    April 29, 2013

    Alain,
    Something tells me that what you’re going to tell us will be quite amusing. Go for it.

  42. #42 Chemmomo
    Ceti Alpha 5 or 6?
    April 29, 2013

    You must not….
    • Accept any percentage loss for the greater good of all

    Obviously, they’re not Star Trek fans.

  43. #43 Christine (the public servant Christine)
    April 29, 2013

    I want to know too, Alain!

  44. #44 Chris Hickie
    April 29, 2013

    I’m not sure how Dr. Gordon can quote a 1-2% measles complication rate when, if memory serves, 1 of the 11 children who contracted measles from Dr. Bob’s unvaccinated patient spreading it in a pediatric waiting room wound up hospitalized. (http://justthevax.blogspot.com/2011/04/2008-measles-in-dr-bob-sears-waiting.html –thanks lilady!)

    That’s more like 10% complication rate right there.

    Chris Hickie, MD PhD

  45. #45 Alain
    April 29, 2013

    I didn’t get any vaccine before school age (1st & 2nd years primary school) and during that time, I was getting my schooling in an hospital and doing my assessment.

    Before that, I was in regular kindergarten and it was probably when they noticed there was a problems with my development.

    Alain

  46. #46 lilady
    April 29, 2013

    @ Chris Hickie:

    “I’m not sure how Dr. Gordon can quote a 1-2% measles complication rate when, if memory serves, 1 of the 11 children who contracted measles from Dr. Bob’s unvaccinated patient spreading it in a pediatric waiting room wound up hospitalized. (http://justthevax.blogspot.com/2011/04/2008-measles-in-dr-bob-sears-waiting.html –thanks lilady!)

    (Pardon my demeanor and incivility)

    The answer Dr. Chris, is that Dr. Jay makes sh!t up:

    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/measles/fs-parents.html

    “How serious is measles?

    Measles can be dangerous, especially for babies and young children. In the United States in 2011, 42% of children under 5 years old who had measles had to be treated in the hospital.

    For some children, measles can lead to pneumonia, a serious lung infection. It can also cause lifelong brain damage, deafness, and even death. One to three out of 1,000 children in the U.S. who get measles will die from the disease, even with the best care. About 150,000 to 175,000 people die from measles each year around the world—mostly in places where children do not get the measles vaccine.”

  47. #47 LW
    April 29, 2013

    @Dr. Hickie, I’m afraid you misremember Dr. Gordon’s statements. He said,

    #401:

    MMR: Enough anecdotal evidence to convince me that 1-2% of children are severely adversely affected by this vaccine.

    #569:

    Measles has a very low complication rate and and even lower severe complication rate. And an exceedingly low mortality rate.

    One would suppose that “a very low complication rate and and even lower severe complication rate” would mean even less than 1-2% severe complications, but as you pointed out the rate of complications in that one outbreak was enough to put 1/11 in the hospital. 

  48. #48 Alain
    April 30, 2013

    Just resurecting this thread for a cookie 🙂

    Alain

  49. #49 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    April 30, 2013

    Measles can be dangerous, especially for babies and young children. In the United States in 2011, 42% of children under 5 years old who had measles had to be treated in the hospital.

    Let’s not forget that children less than 2 years old have an increased risk of SSPE when infected with measles. The risk increases to 1:2000 and most of the infected in Wales have been infants less than a year old.

  50. #50 lilady
    April 30, 2013

    @ Science Mom: Don’t be so “shy” when crediting yourself and Catherina for the many posts on your blog about SSPE:

    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/2012/09/olmsted-cant-find-sspe-either.html

  51. #51 lilady
    April 30, 2013

    “Doctors” Conrick and Olmsted discuss syphilis paresis here…

    http://www.ageofautism.com/2013/04/searching-for-autisms-virginia-1.html#more

    “…Dan also shared about GPI, General Paralysis of the Insane, a horrific neurodegenerative disease that had quite an interesting story. GPI historically was seen as the end result of the sexually transmitted disease syphilis, a sly spirochete bacteria very similar to the spirochete of Lyme bacteria today, sickening the brain and rendering its victim slowly insane, finally losing the ability to talk, walk or recognize anyone. Yet Dan and Mark’s research showed that GPI only seemed to occur in syphilis patients who had been treated with mercury, a standard of care for centuries up to the era of antibiotics that arrived with penicillin in the 1940s. Like acrodynia in childhood, a disease connected to mercury in teething powders, GPI began to disappear when antibiotics took over as the treatment of choice. It seemed to be a possible interaction between the microbe of syphilis and mercury that sparked GPI. State mental institutions around the country had thousands of GPI patients, often for years, as their insanity whittled them down to a shell of their former selves….”

    Continue reading to see that Dr. Conrick’s grandfather died of neurosyphilis…which was *caused* by *mercury poisoning*.

    http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1169231-overview

  52. #52 Dangerous Bacon
    April 30, 2013

    One bizarro-world aspect of that AoA article was the contention that Virginia, the “Original Autism Child” was exposed to mercury partly because her parents were orchid enthusiasts and supposedly treated/sprayed their plants for pests with mercury compound(s).

    I have never heard of this being done by orchid growers, even as far back as the ’30s and ’40s – copper or even arsenic-based pesticides, maybe, but not mercury.

    AoA could always come back and insist that the parents used tons of thermometers to keep track of orchid greenhouse temperatures and lots of mercury leached out of them. That makes about as much sense.

  53. #53 herr doktor bimler
    April 30, 2013

    Yet Dan and Mark’s research showed that GPI only seemed to occur in syphilis patients who had been treated with mercury, a standard of care for centuries up to the era of antibiotics that arrived with penicillin in the 1940s.

    To everyone’s surprise, this is completely untrue. For 30 years syphilis was treated with Salvarsan rather than with mercury compounds, and GPI did not go away (see, for instance, Oliver Sacks).

    GPI historically was seen as the end result of the sexually transmitted disease syphilis

    Sadly, no. The ‘syphilis’ explanation was not accepted until quite late.

  54. #54 Jay Gordon, MD, FAAP
    May 3, 2013

    Are there an MDs in this thread? If so, I have a question for you.

    Jay

  55. #55 Grant
    http://sciblogs.co.nz/code-for-life/2013/04/29/are-too-many-vaccines-too-soon-harmful/
    May 3, 2013

    @Jay –

    If so, I have a question for you.

    Any reason not to just ask?

    Are there an MDs in this thread?

    Yes. (Tips: 1. search the page. 2. You might be forgetting Orac is a doctor…?)

  56. #56 Just Some Guy
    Canada
    May 4, 2013

    This article and many of the comments are the biggest wall of text that could ever threaten a perfectly good sunny Saturday afternoon.

    I can however say that although many people strongly argue for their respective decisions based on scientific data this debate is as much political. So take a deep breath, go outside and play.

  57. #57 Giftie
    May 10, 2013

    Thanks for the update. I’m always glad to hear that Andrew Wakefield is uncomfortable. Don’t understand why he’s not in prison though. He’s the Typhoid Mary of the Century.

    Forum for Active Critical Thinking & Skepticism
    unfacts.freeforums.net

  58. #58 Stephen
    July 16, 2013

    I would like to see him debate Paul Offit myself. I am not sure if the vaccines are the cause of autism or not, but I do not think they are 100% risk free, and I would like to see each other battle it out over vaccine safety.

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