The other day, I pointed out that Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, was following in the footsteps of the former chair of the committee, likely the quackiest, most antivaccine Congressman who ever served in the House of Representatives. Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN). I guess that since Burton retired at the end of the last Congress, someone has to step up to the plate when it comes to pushing the antivaccine agenda. Issa is doing that by holding a hearing a year ago on “autism” that was in reality a thinly disguised excuse to castigate scientists from the CDC about the vaccine schedule and why the question of whether vaccines cause autism isn’t a priority for the government.

This year, he’s doing it again in a hearing that was bought and paid for by the antivaccine movement in the form of the Canary Party to the tune of $40,000. Only this time, the Canary Party wants Issa to go to go after the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, a no-fault program instituted in 1986 to streamline the compensation of legitimate vaccine injuries through the creation of a special court, known as the Vaccine Court, presided over by judges known as Special Masters, that makes it easier for parents by automatically compensating certain specific “table injuries” and reimbursing parents for legal expenses and expert witnesses, win or lose. Overall it’s a good deal compared to regular court, with far fewer hoops to jump through and a greater ease of finding attorneys because they know that, win or lose, they’ll get paid. The reason it was necessary was because a flood of lawsuits in the 1980s was endangering the U.S. vaccination program, as more and more companies threatened to stop making vaccines because of liability concerns. Ironically, the woman who is now the grande dame of the antivaccine movement, Barbara Loe Fisher, was heavily involved in the drafting of the original legislation that created the Vaccine Court but turned against the system she lobbied for and helped create when it became clear that spurious, non-science-based claims, such as claims that vaccines cause autism, weren’t being compensated. Indeed, antivaccinationists were shocked that the Vaccine Court actually tries to base its compensation decisions on science.

In any case, this year, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will be holding another hearing, as I pointed out. However, in the leadup to the hearing on the Vaccine Court, there was a briefing yesterday by Mary Holland, antivaccine lawyer not-so-extraordinaire, and Rolf Hazlehurst, whose son was one of the test cases for the Autism Omnibus. Fortunately, my skeptical tendrils are long, and there were at least two people there who were not down with the antivaccine message being pushed. The first was Ed Beck, Senior Policy Analyst for the Center for Inquiry its Office of Public Policy in Washington, DC. The second, who provided me with notes, shall remain anonymous.

The first thing I’d like to point out is that Mary Holland was quoted by Ed as having said something that totally nails the attitude of the antivaccine movement, albeit unintentionally:

So is the correlation between organic food sales and autism. Indeed, it’s even more dramatic. We don’t claim that organic food causes autism, though. Of course, the antivaccine movement is all about confusing correlation and causation; so Holland just couldn’t help herself, I guess.

That little tidbit out of the way, let’s dig in, based on what I know. First, it was announced that the hearing itself will occur on December 4, 2013. So mark your calendars, people. Those of you who are in the DC area who are of a science-based attitude, try to make it if you can to counter the torrent of attacks on the NVICP that will no doubt flow fast and furious. At the very least, you can warn your Congressional Representative about it and try to educate him at the same time.

First up was Mary Holland, who, according to the notes, swore up and down a massive stack of Bibles (metaphorically speaking) that she is really, and truly not anti-vaccine. This is, of course, utter nonsense, as I have documented on multiple occasions right here on this very blog. Let’s just put it this way. If Mary Holland is not “anti-vaccine,” why is it that I can’t find anything she’s written that supports her claim that she “favors and strongly supports safe and effective vaccines”? Why is it that she co-wrote with Louise Kuo Habakus an antivaccine screed called Vaccine Epidemic: How Corporate Greed, Biased Science, and Coercive Government Threaten Our Human Rights, Our Health, and Our Children? (The very title is clearly antivaccine.) And then why does she launch into a mass of easily debunked antivaccine canards? For instance, she showed a video about Gardasil that repeated many of the tropes and lies that I’ve discussed about Gardasil on many occasions.

One wonders whether Holland could even define a “safe” vaccine. In fact, it would be very interesting to see her try. No medical intervention is absolutely 100% risk-free. So what level of risk is “safe enough” for a vaccine? By any measure, vaccines are incredibly safe, but Holland seems to think that they must be absolutely safe. I’ve often joked that being antivaccine is a bit like pornography. As Justice Potter Stewart once famously wrote of pornography, “…I know it when I see it,” and I know antivaccine tropes and views when I see them. However, unlike pornography, even though it’s quite true that what is anti-vaccine is in general easily identifiable to those of us who pay attention to such matters, it’s much more difficult to define in a way that those who don’t pay attention to the issue can recognize. This difficulty is complicated by the fact that there are a number of different flavors of anti-vaccine views ranging from the view that vaccines are a tool of Satan to depopulate the earth to views that blame them for autism and chronic disease, the latter of which Holland apparently stated in abundance. It’s also important to realize that most parents who buy into anti-vaccine views do so out of ignorance, because they have been misled, rather than due to stupidity, although I’m not so sure about Mary Holland. In any case, antivaccinationists can usually be identified by pressing them to identify vaccines whose use they support and that they consider “safe.” Mary Holland appears not to consider any vaccine adequately safe.

Next, Holland repeated a “classic” antivaccine trope, in which it is pointed out that mortality rates from various vaccine-preventable diseases were falling before the vaccines for these diseases were introduced. She then claims that vaccines affected incidence, not deaths. This is, of course, a trope so hoary that it has a name: the “vaccines didn’t save us” gambit. It’s intellectually dishonest in the extreme, because it ignores the fact that the reason that mortality from these diseases was decreasing was because of better medical care and that further decreasing mortality required decreasing the incidence of these diseases. That’s just what vaccines did. Of course, one wonders what on earth this has to do with the NVICP and whether it is a good system to compensate the vaccine injured. One might think that Holland is trying to denigrate the efficacy of vaccines in order to demonize them and make it easier for her to attack a system that doesn’t give her the desired result.

Add to that Holland’s parroting of more antivaccine misinformation and distortions, such as the claim that when it comes to vaccines children are getting “too many too soon.” Then, of course, there was the classic confusing of correlation with causation, in which Holland tried to link chronic conditions such as obesity learning disabilities, asthma, infant morality, and, of course, autism, with the increased number of vaccines and doses in the current vaccine schedule, calling it a “dramatic correlation,” as Ed described in his Tweet above.

But she’s not antivaccine. Oh, no. Not at all. She just thinks vaccines are dangerous, that they are responsible for autism and most chronic diseases in children. She just repeats the lie that Gardasil kills and that it causes premature ovarian failure and infertility. Oh, and she thinks that the U.S. has taken away informed consent for vaccines. One wonders when that happened. (It didn’t.) In reality, what Holland is unhappy about is that her version of misinformed consent isn’t what rules.

You know, just reading my mole’s notes, I’m really embarrassed for Holland. She is really clueless, so much so that she actually showed the Canary Party video, you know, the one narrated by Rob Schneider. It’s a video so chock full of pseudoscience, cherry picked information, and spin that it’s in danger of collapsing into a black whole of stupid. I mean, seriously, if you’re going to try to make a scientifically valid and persuasive case, that video is the last thing you want to do. Of course, making a scientifically valid case is not what this is about. Making an appeal to emotion is. That’s why Holland brought up even more of the antivaccine movement’s greatest hits, including:

And Holland claims she’s not antivaccine.

I’m not going to say much about Rolf Hazlehurst’s part of the talk, because it was even more vacuous, consisting of his misinformed opinion interspersed with rants about how unfairly treated he thought he was by the Vaccine Court, He accused the Vaccine Court of “willfully and intentionally” concealing “critical and material evidence” on how vaccines cause autism and representing that this evidence did not exist. The claim, of course, is utter nonsense, as the evidence presented was pure pseudoscience. As I discussed so long ago, the Vaccine Court bent over backwards to be deferential to him and the parents of the children who were the other test cases. As much as I want to sympathize with him for his travails taking care of a special needs child, from the notes I read the amount of misinformation he spouted was nearly as epic as Holland. One also notes that Mr. Hazlehurst and his wife subjected their son to all sorts of “autism biomed” treatments, up to and including chemical castration with Lupron, a particularly vile form of nonsensical medical treatment that I’ve blogged about multiple times before.

So what are Holland’s complaints about the NVICP? Here are some of them, with my comments after:

  • The NVICP forecloses access to other forums. No, it doesn’t. If a case fails in Vaccine Court, the parents can access the federal courts.
  • Now adversarial, contrary to original intent. It’s only seen as adversarial if you try to bring a case based on pseudoscience.
  • No judicial independence of special masters. Holland presents no evidence to support this contention.
  • 80% of cases lose. One wonders how many cases Holland believes to be an appropriate number? I’m guessing that anything less than 100% of cases winning would be too few for her.
  • Unequal playing field – HHS lawyers/families. I’m not sure how this is the case when the parents’ legal expenses are reimbursed.
  • Three year statutes of limitations. This seems more than reasonable for a true vaccine injury, unless Holland can tell us of a vaccine injury shown by science to become apparent longer than three years after being vaccinated.
  • Experts demeaned and reputations harmed. You mean like Mark Geier, the quack who used chemical castration to treat autism because he thought it would improve the efficacy of chelation therapy? Apparently to Holland “demean” means to dismiss quacks from being considered valid expert witnesses.
  • Conflicts of interest. Ah, yes. The all-purpose antivaccine bugaboo: Allege conflicts of interest without actually demonstrating a real conflict of interest.
  • Not transparent – people don’t know about it. That is not a reason to eliminate it.
  • Judicial forum for 90% – not design, no rules of evidence, no discovery, no jury.
  • Science lacking. Science is indeed lacking, but not in the Vaccine Court. The only science that is lacking is compelling science demonstrating a link between vaccines and autism and all the other chronic diseases that Holland blames on them.

Holland then lists policy options (again, my comments afterward):

  • Do nothing. I would actually be fine with this. What’s not broken doesn’t need fixing.
  • Tinker at edges. I would be OK with this; no system is perfect. However, it would depend on the specifics of the “tinkering.” If it’s “tinkering” that weakens the science used by the Vaccine Court, I would oppose that.
  • Make the NVICP optional. It already is, essentially, optional. If a finding goes against the parents, they can still access federal courts.
  • Give limited liability protection. Remove liability protection for vaccines since 1986. This would be an interesting development. If this were to happen, then there would be liability protection for the whole cell pertussis vaccine, but not the newer acellular pertussis vaccine. In any case, this is a dumb idea.
  • Repeal act. Give access to courts. Make manufacturers liable. Revert to state informed consent laws. Remember why the National Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 was passed? It was because of a flood of frivolous lawsuits threatening to drive manufacturers out of the business of manufacturing vaccines? Want to go back to those days? Want to risk losing the U.S. vaccine program? This is the way to go if that’s what you want.
  • Create a federal right of vaccine exemption. Oh, hell no!
  • Repeal act AND create federal vaccine exemption right. Double, oh, hell no!

As you can see, Mary Holland’s goal is nothing less than the dismantling of the NVICP and the Vaccine Court. She must not be allowed to succeed. If you want to know more about why, please read Dorit Reiss’ post on the issue, in which she explains from a legal perspective just how wrong (and wrong-headed) Mary Holland is and how, by every possible measure, for children with real vaccine injuries, the Vaccine Court is equivalent to or better than going through the civil courts. I’ll be keeping an eye on developments between now and December 4. I hope you will do the same and be sure to contact your legislators to educate them about Holland’s intent and to urge them to support the NVICP.

Comments

  1. #1 Krebiozen
    November 27, 2013

    Among other hopefully obvious typos, I meant ‘Vaccine Safety Datalink’ not ‘Database’.

  2. #2 Lawrence
    November 27, 2013

    @Kreb – as for “over-reporting” this was discussed in some detail a while back over at Shot of Prevention. When the “deaths reported to VAERS” for Gardisil, we found that at least two instances were listed as “person saw a report on the Internet that someone died of Gardisil,” so obviously those were null reports….followed by at least a few other instances of persons who died of drowning, car accident & other non-vaccine related instances…again, null-reports…

    So back to Michael, if you look at what is reported in a number of these “severe” reactions, there isn’t even biologic plausibility (and in a number of cases, the reports aren’t even from the effected individuals or their families).

  3. #3 Antaeus Feldspar
    November 27, 2013
    Epidemiology is used to find correlations that may need clinical study or further research… not to disprove temporal correlations.

    On the contrary, if there are anecdotal reports of a temporal association, that is precisely when epidemiology is used, to see if there is anything to the perceived association. In the case of vaccines and autism, there is very clearly no link.

    Plus, I would very much like to know what a temporal correlation that does not show up as an epidemiological correlation would look like, and how in the world its existence could be explained.

    For benefit of lurkers (rather than to hear myself talk, like Mr. Polidori apparently) I’ll elaborate on that. If you study the rate of event Y in a subpopulation X, and find that that rate is the same as the rate of event Y in the general population, that means there’s no epidemiological correlation.

    If trait X caused event Y, the rate of event Y in subpopulation would be higher than in the general population, and there would be an epidemiological correlation. So for instance, if X is “exposure to vaccines” and Y is “development of an ASD”, then epidemiological studies should show an epidemiological correlation, should show the rate of ASDs being higher in subpopulation X. If that rate is not higher, it pretty much rules out causation.

    When Mr. Polidori says there is clear evidence of a “temporal correlation” (not that I think he understands the difference between “clear evidence” and “an impression you’ll form if you hang around too much at AoA and don’t think critically”) I can only interpret that as him saying that he has in mind a certain time frame, and trait X, exposure to vaccines, causes one kind of autism, which is characterized by developing within this time frame.

    But in order for that to be reconciled with what even Polidori concedes the epidemiological evidence to be, there has to be a second, separate kind of autism, which is the kind gotten by all those children with trait ~X (i.e., no exposure to vaccines) – and somehow, despite these two kinds of autism having entirely different causative paths, they magically always work out to affect completely disjoint populations in equal numbers.

    Oh, and don’t forget that one kind of autism must actually protect against the other kind; that’s the only way that you could have each kind of autism so solidly restricted to its subset of the population.

    The other alternative to this amazingly unlikely scenario is that everything Polidori is claiming about a temporal correlation is BS. That’s where my money is.

  4. #4 Chris,
    November 27, 2013

    Mr. Polidori: “in Mary Holland’s research.”

    Ms. Holland is a lawyer, and has no qualifications to do research in medical or autism issues. When I ask for a PubMed indexed study by a qualified reputable researcher that shows the MMR vaccine causes more encephalitis than measles, that excludes all “research” by lawyers, business majors, computer scientists, geologist, etc.

  5. #5 brian
    November 27, 2013

    Mary Holland and her team researched 1000 kids who were compensated for brain damage caused by vaccines. 83 were diagnosed with autism AFTER their brains were damaged by vaccines

    .

    No.

    The sort of cases that Holland touts as evidence that the Vaccine Court has been quietly compensating cases of of autism have been repeatedly shown to be due to pre-existing mutations, most commonly in SCN1A. Such cases produce seizure disorders and intellectual decline following months of normal development. Over 800 mutations in that SCN1A are associated with various seizure disorders, from benign febrile seizures to severe myoclonic epilepsy, seizures accompanied by intellectual impairment, seizures without intellectual impairment, and intellectual impairment without seizures–and that’s just for one gene whose product forms part of a complex with other gene products, and which is just one of a family of related genes for different ion channels–so there are lots of genetic pathways to produce similar results.

    BTW, most cases of autism thus far examined have abnormally low levels of an important regulatory protein that controls the expression of numerous other genes and which, when abnormally low, produced intellectual impairment following a period of apparently normal development.

    Rett syndrome (1) is caused by mutations in the MECP2 gene, which is expressed at high levels in neurons and regulates numerous other genes; (2) abnormal levels of functional mecp2 alter gene expression in neurons, alter splicing of mRNA to produce proteins with critical roles in communication between neurons; (3) reduced levels of MECP2 produce intellectual impairment after a period of apparently normal development in Rett syndrome; (4) the levels of MECP2 were abnormal in most (79%) of the postmortem brain samples from autistic individuals thus far examined. [Epigenetics. 2006 Oct-Dec;1(4):e1-11.

  6. #6 herr doktor bimler
    November 27, 2013

    Serious injuries correlated to vaccines for 2011 (a below average year) totalled 3500, which translates to 70,000 to 350,000 according to the crude guesstimate of VAERS underreporting by HHS, not the hundreds of thousands to millions that I stated.

    This claim deserves lingering attention and admiration. Even after the correction of the initial multiple-orders-of-magnitude problem, of the ~4 million children born per year in the US, 1 in 12 suffer serious vaccine-related injury. You’d think someone would notice.

    Epidemiology is used to find correlations that may need clinical study or further research…

    So, on the one side we have Professor Doll and the Doctors Study and his epidemiological proof that smoking causes lung cancer; and on the other side, some loon on the internet claiming to have his own facts and his own medical science. Which to believe?

  7. #7 Krebiozen
    November 27, 2013

    HDB,

    Even after the correction of the initial multiple-orders-of-magnitude problem, of the ~4 million children born per year in the US, 1 in 12 suffer serious vaccine-related injury. You’d think someone would notice.

    Since no one notices that as many as 20,000 children, that is 1 in 200, are apparently killed by adverse reactions to vaccines, almost a third of deaths from all causes in 0-14-year-olds (61,227,213), perhaps that’s not surprising.

    Looking more closely at the figures, if you exclude deaths that even Mr. Polidori must surely agree could not possibly be due to vaccines e.g. accidents, drowning, homicide, fires, falls and congenital conditions, there were about 17,000 deaths from medical causes in 0-14-year-olds in the US last year*. If Mr. Polidori is correct, all those deaths and a considerable number of deaths attributed to accidents etc. may have been due to adverse reactions to vaccines. That seems more than a little unlikely to me.

    * Not all figures are listed in the table I link to, but I calculate that 28% of the total listed deaths were due to medical causes; extrapolating that to the full 61,000 gives 17,080 deaths.

  8. #8 lilady
    November 27, 2013

    Here’s the report from the Connecticut Division of Criminal Justice regarding the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass murders committed by Adam Lanza, December, 2012.

    http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/msnbc/sections/news/Sandy_Hook_Final_Report.pdf

    You’ll never see this report on Age of Autism or a retraction of Andy Wakefield’s AoA blog with accusations that Adam Lanza, who was originally classified as having Asperger Syndrome, was taking prescribed anti-psychotic medication. The report details how Lanza was displaying symptoms of co-morbid mental disorders and was obviously a psychopath. The toxicology report from Adam Lanza’s autopsy was negative for prescribed medication and for street drugs.

  9. #9 Narad
    November 28, 2013

    Adverse reaction is an adverse event for which causal evidence exists, but proof is lacking. Merck lists diabetes as an adverse reaction in the MMR package insert.

    Shall we? (PDF)

    “The following adverse reactions are listed in decreasing order of severity, without regard to causality, within each body system category and have been reported during clinical trials, with use of the marketed vaccine, or with use of monovalent or bivalent vaccine containing measles, mumps, or rubella”

    Of course,

    First I have no words that belong to only me.

    This must be quite a predicament overall. Anyway,

    But I do have definitions from the FDA & CDC that I use….

    Mr. Polidari seems to have foundered on the small item that regulatory language is not geared to the layman. Anyway, let’s check with the FDA (PDF):

    “On January 24, 2006, FDA published a final rule that amended the requirements for the content and format of labeling for human prescription drug and biological products…

    “Although the content of labeling in the old format will not substantially change when converted to PLR format, the applicant should systematically evaluate information in labeling to identify unsubstantiated claims or outdated information and revise it accordingly.

    “Revisions to the content requirements in certain sections may result in the need to review and revise those sections. For example, consider the ADVERSE REACTIONS section. For the purposes of prescription drug labeling, the definition of adverse reaction in § 201.57(c)(7) was revised to clarify that it does not include all adverse events observed during use of a drug, only those adverse events for which there is some basis to believe there is a causal relationship between the drug and the occurrence of the adverse event. When updating labeling, the applicant should review the ADVERSE REACTIONS section to ensure all events appropriately fall under that section and delete those events unlikely to have been caused by the drug (i.e., usually a lengthy listing commonly referred to as the laundry list). Because such a list is not essential to the safe and effective use of the drug, it should simply be omitted.”

    Now, there’s a metric assload of this stuff, and I’m out of links, but let’s also quickly visit the 2006 “Guidance for Industry” on the matter:

    “The use of the word should in Agency guidances means that something is suggested or recommended, but not required.”

    OK. The question to hand is whether the current (2009/2010) MMR package insert has been fully revised to accord with the Physician’s Labeling Rule. If one looks at the supporting documents under the list of approved products at fda.gov, the one MMR item does not list a PLR emendation, although others, such as RotaTeq, do.

    Whatever, big deal. What else is there? Well, one could always compare with MMRV. And one finds no mention of diabetes, despite the purported causal suspicion. There’s one more thing: The MMR-II insert does not have a “Nonclinical Toxicology” section. “Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility” is under “Precaution.” This is the 1979 format.

    All of this leads me to question whether that insert has in fact been de–laundry listed.

  10. #10 lilady
    November 28, 2013

    I’m wondering if the Merck, the manufacturer of Gardasil vaccine got that Laundry List memo, because these are the “Adverse Events” that were reported during clinical trials, in the current (September, 2013) Package Insert:

    http://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/g/gardasil/gardasil_pi.pdf

    Deaths Across The Entire Study Group

    Across the clinical studies, 40 deaths (GARDASIL N =21 or 0.1%; placebo N =19 or 0.1%) were reported in 29,323 (GARDASIL N = 15,706; AAHS control N = 13,023, saline placebo N = 594) individuals (9-through 45-year-old girls and women; and 9-through 26-year-old boys and men). The events reported were consistent with events expected in healthy adolescent and adult populations. The most common cause of death was motor vehicle accident (5 individuals who received GARDASIL and 4 individuals who received AAHS control), followed by drug overdose/suicide (2 individuals who received GARDASIL and 6 individuals who received AAHS control), gunshot wound (1 individual who received GARDASIL and 3
    individuals who received AAHS control), and pulmonary embolus/deep vein thrombosis (1 individual who received GARDASIL and 1 individual who received AAHS control). In addition, there were 2 cases of sepsis, 1 case of pancreatic cancer, 1 case of arrhythmia, 1 case of pulmonary tuberculosis, 1 case of hyperthyroidism, 1 case of post-operative pulmonary embolism and acute renal failure, 1 case of traumatic brain injury/cardiac arrest, 1 case of systemic lupus erythematosus, 1 case of cerebrovascular accident, 1 case of breast cancer, and 1 case of nasopharyngeal cancer in the group that received GARDASIL; 1 case of asphyxia, 1 case of acute lymphocytic leukemia, 1 case of chemical poisoning, and 1 case of myocardial ischemia in the AAHS control group; and 1 case of medulloblastoma in the saline placebo group.

  11. #11 Narad
    November 28, 2013

    I’m wondering if the Merck, the manufacturer of Gardasil vaccine got that Laundry List memo, because these are the “Adverse Events” that were reported during clinical trials

    Right, but they are described as events even though they’re in the “Adverse Reactions” heading. You’d have to hit up the general area of the Code of Federal Regulations, something I’m not up to at the moment, that was mentioned above to be sure, but I suspect it may be necessary to break out the clinical trial data in a fashion similar to that.

    P.S.: No, I’m not “posting comments too quickly.” Bite me, incompetent WordPress “IT” monkeys.

  12. #12 Julian Frost
    November 28, 2013

    @lilady:

    Adam Lanza…was taking prescribed anti-psychotic medication…The toxicology report from Adam Lanza’s autopsy was negative for prescribed medication and for street drugs.

    So Lanza stopped taking his medicine and had a psychotic episode?

  13. #13 lilady
    November 28, 2013

    @ Julian Frost: There was no evidence that Lanza was prescribed anti-psychotic medication…contrary to Wakefield’s statement and the comments we read on AoA that “it must have been teh ebil medication”. Perhaps Lanza was prescribed medicine years before, but no indication that he was under a psychiatrist’s care.

    My opinion of his mother has not changed. She saw the profound mental deterioration of her son over an extended period of time, purchased guns, assault rifles and 30-shot magazines for the assault rifle, took him to rifle ranges, left him alone for extended periods of time…and did not take steps to get him help. (She enjoyed shooting and thought it was just fine to share that “enjoyment” with her son).

  14. #14 Julian Frost
    November 28, 2013

    *.*
    O.O
    If somebody I knew had a fondness for weaponry (even just knives) and was clearly showing signs of mental illness, I’d do everything I could to ensure that person got help. That is shocking.

  15. #15 Dangerous Bacon
    November 28, 2013

    Michael P.: “Dangerous bacon – another baseless accusation that I am anti-vaccine. There are no safe vaccines that I know of… could you list a few?”

    Is that a really poor attempt at answering my question, or just another classic example of lack of self-awareness and denial?

    I’ll try again: what level of safety in a vaccine would you deem acceptable? Here are multiple choices:

    1) A current vaccine would only be acceptable to me if there is a 50% reduction in the existing low rate of side effects.
    2) a vaccine would only be acceptable if there was a zero chance of any serious side effect.
    3) I’d only accept a vaccine if there was zero chance of any side effects whatsoever.
    4) I’d find some way to oppose vaccination even if there was zero chance of side effects, while bitterly protesting that I’m not antivaccine.

    Pick any of those answers, or substitute one that does not constitute evasion, and a genuine dialogue might be possible. Right now it’s obvious you’re just ducking the question.

  16. #16 Denice Walter
    November 28, 2013

    @ Julian Frost:

    She probably wasn’t competant to ascertain the danger herself.

  17. #17 skeptiquette
    November 28, 2013

    With regard to the onset of autism:

    There are three primary modes of onset,

    1) early-onset
    2) regressive autism (15%-60%)
    3) childhood disintegrative disorder (small percentage)

    Only in the 3rd scenario is there a rapid loss of acquired skills, over the time frame of weeks to a few months and this is usually in children older than 2 years.

    Regressive autism is more of a slow loss of acquired skills and the evidence points to there being underlying issues fairly early in development. One of the primary correlations is increase in head/brain size that mainly comes about between 6-14 months.

    Is there any actual formal study into the alleged rapid “regression” after vaccines?

    I usually give people the benefit of the doubt and wouldn’t say that somebody is straight up lying when they say their child deteriorated rapidly after a series of vaccinations.

    In fact, it has been these anecdotes with the emerging evidence that autism has a strong immune component (whether immune abnormalities are causal or not is, of course, still to be determined, but definitely worthy of further research) that has made me most interested and curious about the debate and autism in general.

    I have read the stories of various parents stating that their child regressed, but in reality, it seems like this would be more of an example of disintegrative disorder than regression and if vaccines had anything to do with a regression scenario, it would be the vaccines given from birth to -6 months and they would act more in the “small nudge” category.

    Any epi studies of confirmed cases of childhood disintegrative disorder and vaccines?

  18. #18 Krebiozen
    November 28, 2013

    skeptiquette,

    Is there any actual formal study into the alleged rapid “regression” after vaccines?

    Since MMR was the first vaccine to be accused of causing regression, you might find this Madsen study of half a million children in Denmark of interest. Of the 738 cases of autism and other ASDs recorded in the study, only 11 were diagnosed within 6 months of being vaccinated with MMR: 3 autism cases and 8 other ASD cases. Compare that to the 53 cases of autism and 77 cases of other ASDs diagnosed in children who had not been vaccinated with MMR.

  19. #19 Greg
    November 28, 2013

    skeptiquette: Is there any actual formal study into the alleged rapid “regression” after vaccines?”

    Kreb: Since MMR was the first vaccine to be accused of causing regression, you might find this Madsen study of half a million children in Denmark of interest. Of the 738 cases of autism and other ASDs recorded in the study, only 11 were diagnosed within 6 months of being vaccinated with MMR: 3 autism cases and 8 other ASD cases. Compare that to the 53 cases of autism and 77 cases of other ASDs diagnosed in children who had not been vaccinated with MMR.
    ——————————————————————————

    @Kerb

    Kreb, I couldn’t resist; I must enter the fray again. You keep harping on about how the the Danish study did not obtain any significant result for rapid regression after MMR.
    You mentioned how this pretty much dispels parents’ claims that MMR changed their kids overnight.

    Yet, let’s think about this for a second. Even if parents suspect that their children were affected by MMR, how many of them would obtain a formal diagnosis for them within 6 months? Kreb, we both know that obtaining a diagnosis is often a lengthy, delayed process. Parents may suspect right away that something is wrong with their child, but a formal diagnosis may likely not come in 6 months, and could take upwards of year or two.

    So there again Kreb we find another blunder with the Danish study!

  20. #20 Greg
    November 28, 2013

    Hey Kreb,

    Here is a study that looked precisely into the time lag between first evaluation for autism by a professional, and subsequent formal diagnosis. Keep in mind that parents suspecting autism in their kids would have likely come long before the first evaluation. This was the finding of the study:

    “The mean age of first documented evaluation recorded by
    a qualified professional was 48 months (range, 160Y103 mo)(Table 2). The mean age at first documented ASD diagnosis was 61 months (range, 17Y105 mo) (Table 2). The average delay between mean age at first documented evaluation and mean age at first ASD diagnosis was 13 months.”

    So there we have it Kreb. It took 13 months for first evaluation by a professional, to eventual diagnosis for autism. And, the researchers did not even take into account when parents’ first detected autism in their children.

    Does measuring for autism within 6 months after MMR, as was done in the Danish study, not sound all the more ridiculous?

    http://nwautism.org/documentsage_of_evaluation_versus_diagnosis1.pdf

  21. #21 Greg
    November 28, 2013

    Kreb,

    My bad: I provided the wrong link to the study.
    http://nwautism.org/documents/age_of_evaluation_versus_diagnosis1.pdf

  22. #22 Greg
    November 28, 2013

    Kreb, also taken from the study….

    “Although the concept of early identification is encouraged
    by health care professionals, a significant time lag between
    age at first parental concern and age at first ASD diagnosis is
    consistently reported in the literature. Frith and Soares19
    found that a majority of parents of children diagnosed with
    autism first became concerned about their child’s development
    between 12 and 23 months of age. Yet these children
    were not professionally diagnosed until 36 to 70 months of
    age. Howlin and Asgharian20 replicated these findings and
    found that parents of children diagnosed with autism noted
    concerns by a mean of 18 months of age, although an actual
    diagnosis was not confirmed until a mean of 66 months of
    age. In a more recent population-based study, Sivberg21
    found a delay of 20 to 60 months between parental
    suspicion and diagnosis by a medical professional depending
    on severity of the disorder and autism classification.”

  23. #23 Narad
    November 29, 2013

    I couldn’t resist; I must enter the fray again.

    Perhaps you could key in the data on your seemingly endless flounce failures.

  24. #24 Alain
    November 29, 2013

    correct link:

    http://nwautism.org/documents/age_of_evaluation_versus_diagnosis1.pdf

    Greg,

    This paper is from the US.

    I am in Canada and the time from observation to diagnostic has been less than 3 month. My doc’s efficient but not that much.

    Madsen et al. are in Denmark and medicine is efficient there.

    your point is?

    Alain

  25. #25 lilady
    November 29, 2013

    And so…the AoA denizens discuss the reasons for the “indefinite postponement” of that December 4th sham Congressional hearing:

    http://www.ageofautism.com/2013/11/postponing-vicp-hearing-who-is-afraid-and-of-what.html

    It’s an international plot to depopulate the world!

  26. #26 Alain
    November 29, 2013

    @lilady,

    That and personal attacks on Dr. Hickie.

    Alain

  27. #27 Jeff1971
    November 29, 2013

    ‘Does measuring for autism within 6 months after MMR, as was done in the Danish study, not sound all the more ridiculous?’

    Wakefield was measuring for autism 2 weeks after MMR.

  28. #28 lilady
    November 29, 2013

    @ Alain: The personal attacks on Dr. Hickie…Emily Willingham and Dorit Reiss, as well…during the past few weeks.

  29. #29 Krebiozen
    November 29, 2013

    Curiosity led me to disengage the killfile, and I see Greg has embarrassed himself by commenting on that Madsen study again, despite having conclusively proven that he is unable to understand it. In this case he fails to understand that it didn’t only look at autism diagnosis after 6 months, it also looked at autism diagnosis at 6-11 months, 12-17 months, 18-23 months, 24-29 months, 30-35 months, 36-59 months and greater than 60 months after MMR (see Table 2 in the study linked to in my last comment).

    In none of those groups is the incidence of autism diagnosis statistically significantly higher than in unvaccinated children. Even a delay in diagnosis of regressive autism would show up in this. How anyone can cling to the belief that MMR causes autism in the face of this data I simply do not understand.

    I do find it funny that Greg thinks that the fact that I picked out an interesting piece of data from Madsen’s study means that Madsen only collected that single piece of data and therefore somehow blundered.

  30. #30 Greg
    November 29, 2013

    Kreb: In this case he fails to understand that it didn’t only look at autism diagnosis after 6 months, it also looked at autism diagnosis at 6-11 months, 12-17 months, 18-23 months, 24-29 months, 30-35 months, 36-59 months and greater than 60 months after MMR (see Table 2 in the study linked to in my last comment).

    Study: Frith and Soares19
    found that a majority of parents of children diagnosed with
    autism first became concerned about their child’s development
    between 12 and 23 months of age. Yet these children
    were not professionally diagnosed until 36 to 70 months of
    age.

    So there you have it again, Kerb. Even taking into account all the times that Madsen examined autism after MMR, most times fell well short of the 36 to 70 months age for peak autism detection. And, even though Madsen looked into a 36 -59 months period, we still would have to wonder whether the autism cases were large enough to give a significant result for that specific lag period.

    Also, nice backtracking from your 6 months blunder!

  31. #31 ChrisP
    November 29, 2013

    Over at AoA, Agenda 21 is getting an airing as the reason for the ‘postponed’ VICP hearing.

    Crank magnetism at its best.

  32. #32 Greg
    November 29, 2013

    Yeah Narad — indeed I did not stick the flounce.

    While I am here, perhaps you can address another point. You mentioned that even if the NVICP was abolished, pharma would still fare well in civil court. Yet, wasn’t it the case that pharma was being successful sued initially in civil court and that led to the formation of NVICP, after they threatened to abandon the vaccine market? So Narad, why are you so confident that things would be so dramatically different the second time around?

    HHHMMM?? Inquiring minds want to know!

  33. #33 Greg
    November 29, 2013

    Ok drug-dealers,

    Before I flounce off again, I would like to offer this encouragement:

    Lately I am detecting a slight improvement in your VCADOD (vaccine causing autism denialism obssessive disorder) condition. At one point, it was all about autism being entirely genetic and occurring when sperm meets egg. Now we here talk of autism occurring due to prenatal environmental exposure. Heck — we even have Kreb admitting that vaccines may cause autism in extraordinarily rare circumstances.

    Guys, I am exceedingly encouraged by these small steps. Rest assured that you have my full support, and I realize how difficult these concessions must be for you. Bravo drug-dealers!

  34. #34 Krebiozen
    November 29, 2013

    Greg, don’t you ever feel just a little bit ashamed of your behavior here? You made it clear that you have no interest in the truth, and that you lack any integrity in your summary of our previous discussion of this study. You failed to point out the errors in the AoA article about this study, repeated its criticism of a term that doesn’t even appear in the study, and repeated several errors that had been explained to you at length. That’s just dishonest, and I would be ashamed to show my face somewhere I had behaved like this.

    This time you have confused time after MMR with age, and you have given data for diagnosis of all autism, not just regressive autism. Do you really believe that regressive autism takes over 5 years to diagnose in Denmark which has a very efficient system, as Alain has pointed out? The mental contortions you go through to deny the obvious facts right in front of you astonish me.

    Also, I didn’t make any “6 months blunder” and I am not backtracking. I reported the facts, and pointed out that even if it did take more than 6 months to diagnose we would still see this in the study results, but we don’t, even following the children for 5 years after MMR. You are, as usual, spouting nonsense.

  35. #35 Antaeus Feldspar
    November 29, 2013

    Okay, so feel free to error-check me on this – I’m doing it ’cause I’m bored, not because I think there’s any value in Gerg’s gerglings.

    Gerg claims that there is so, or at least could be, a huge population of Danish children who were given ASDs by MMR in the Madsen study; what kept that massive excess of ASD cases from being detected was that the age at which they were diagnosed was outside the range of the study – that the study did not follow any children past their 7th birthday, and that no significant number of children who received ASDs from MMRs were diagnosed with said ASDs before the age of 70 months.

    Of course, if Gerg actually read the study, specifically the Results section, he’d have read the following sentence:

    The mean age at diagnosis was four years and three months for autistic disorder and five years and three months for other autistic-spectrum disorders.

    This can only mean one thing: that if MMR were to cause autistic spectrum disorders, it would have to do so in a profoundly delayed fashion. There’s otherwise just no explanation for how naturally occurring ASDs would be consistently diagnosed several years earlier, in both vaccinated and unvaccinated children.

    And yet Gerg has previously insisted that we “know” that vaccinations do indeed cause ASDs because supposedly development takes place in such a short time frame! Even if we hypothesized (against all reason) parents so horribly irresponsible that their children develop ASDs immediately after the shot and the parents don’t take them for diagnosis until years later, that still can’t explain the data – because, again, all children with ASDs that are not due to MMR are getting diagnosed years earlier, whether they’re vaccinated or unvaccinated!

  36. #36 Greg
    November 29, 2013

    (It’s like eating peanuts: No matter how hard you try, you can’t stop yourself from having more.)

    Kreb:
    This time you have confused time after MMR with age, and you have given data for diagnosis of all autism, not just regressive autism. Do you really believe that regressive autism takes over 5 years to diagnose in Denmark which has a very efficient system, as Alain has pointed out? The mental contortions you go through to deny the obvious facts right in front of you astonish me.

    Danish study:
    The mean age at diagnosis was four years and three months for autistic disorder and five years and three months for other autistic-spectrum disorders.’

    So Kreb, even with the ‘efficient’ Danish system, it took a median of four years and three months (51 months) for autism to be diagnosed. If we subtract the Danish MMR uptake age of 15 mths, that’s a 36 months lag. This is consistent with the findings of the other studies that I provided.

    Kreb, why are you forcing me to belabor the point? Health care professionals are not lining up, and raring to diagnose every child that a parent suspect of having autism. After the parent becomes concern, its a long wait and seemingly never ending ‘kafafa’ of….calling the developmental service office….waiting for the intake appointment…having the case assigned to a social worker…waiting for the social worker to refer you to Mr or Mrs Autism Specialist….waiting for the appoinmentt with Mr or Mrs. Autism Specialist…. following up with other health care professionals, educators, and so on, as per Mr or Mrs Autism Specialist requests….and after likely repeating steps along the way, finally getting a formal diagnosis.

    Needless to say Kreb, expecting results in 6 months is exceedingly naive, if not downright stupid.

  37. #37 Antaeus Feldspar
    November 29, 2013

    So Kreb, even with the ‘efficient’ Danish system, it took a median of four years and three months (51 months) for autism to be diagnosed. If we subtract the Danish MMR uptake age of 15 mths, that’s a 36 months lag. This is consistent with the findings of the other studies that I provided.

    Gerg’s so blindered, he doesn’t even see that the most reasonable explanation for a years-long gap between the administration of MMR and diagnosis of an ASD is the two having nothing to do with each other.

  38. #38 Greg
    November 29, 2013

    @Antaeus

    “Gerg’s so blindered, he doesn’t even see that the most reasonable explanation for a years-long gap between the administration of MMR and diagnosis of an ASD is the two having nothing to do with each other.”

    In fairness Freddo —ahhemm Antaeus!– indeed my comment was a little prejudicial. Still, we can drop talk of MMR and consider, “Howlin and Asgharian20 replicated these findings and found that parents of children diagnosed with autism noted concerns by a mean of 18 months of age”……..

    Clearly the literature is consistently pointing to parents catching on long before scientists, and health care professionals do.

  39. #39 Denice Walter
    November 29, 2013

    OT- but are alt media honchos scraping the bottom of the barrel by wankering on and on about conspiracies EVER truly OT @ RI?
    Plus, Anateus is bored.

    Mikey wrote yesterday that his upcoming ( January 2014) announcement “will transcend politics and current events”
    and “reshape how you think about food, society, sustainable living, mental health and even issues like politics, crime and war”.
    ” We have found the common thread that connects much of human history and which explains our world in a way that psychology and sociology cannot”.

    A recent video ( also @ NaturalNews) speaks about his mind-shattering “food science breakthroughs’ You’ve been “fed a lie” by food processors: food labels don’t reveal anything but instead, they conceal information
    “The “people will be enlightened. The corporations will be exposed”
    “The truth can’t be kept secret any longer”.

    Other recent nonsense I’ve gleaned from Mike:
    -he bought up used equipment from universities’ labs
    – he supports ADEM- an altie medical association
    – he hates governmental agencies that monitor food and meds and related laws
    – his corporate offices are in Taiwan
    – he writes about bad vitamins available @ Amazon which mimic his own fab products’ labels( from the other China)
    – he writes about governments allowing food products originating from the Other China
    – he sells pure supplements and organic, GMO-free foods.

    @ PRN, the other idiot * cum laude* read his new rant aloud Wednesday and talked about reading it Thursday- ” The Hidden Hand: Who Really Holds Power?” ( available @ PRN & his other websites)

    We’re informed that it’s not ‘really a conspiracy’ but that wealthy corporations and private individuals possess armies of legal representatives and lobbyists who influence and actually write the laws that governments enact.

    Indeed, if you speak about conspiracies mainstream media will marginalise you by denying you input in discussions. They might even call you ” a nut”.

    HOWEVER ( my note) he doesn’t talk about woo-centric international organisations like the ANH and smaller poliical pressure groups that keep woo afloat worldwide despite its lack of supportive data.

    Nor does he discuss that $6 million estate he has up for sale ( see paradisegardensnaplesfl.com – includes aerial views)

  40. #40 Rebecca Fisher
    November 29, 2013

    How does my food processor tell me a lie? I only use it for chopping stuff, and occasionally blitzing herbs. Oh, and pastry. It does good pastry.

  41. #41 Denice Walter
    November 29, 2013

    @ Rebecca FIsher:

    Right. I should have said ‘food processing corporations/ food producers and their government lackeys” rather han ‘food processors’ which are after all, only machines and thus incapable of mendacity.

    Oh, you actually use one of those things? I don’t- I send out most of the times.. Pastry? That means pie and tarts.OOOOh..

  42. #42 Krebiozen
    November 29, 2013

    Greg,

    So Kreb, even with the ‘efficient’ Danish system, it took a median of four years and three months (51 months) for autism to be diagnosed. If we subtract the Danish MMR uptake age of 15 mths, that’s a 36 months lag. This is consistent with the findings of the other studies that I provided.

    But, as Antaeus pointed out, that assumes a connection between MMR and autism, and that regression happens immediately after MMR. This is not in any way evidence of the time it takes regressive autism to be diagnosed in Denmark, it could take weeks for all you know.

    Even if it were the case that diagnosis was delayed by 36 months, if MMR was causing regressive autism as you claim “thousands of parents” say it does, we would expect to see more autism diagnoses 36 months after MMR as compared with unvaccinated children. Instead we see almost exactly the same incidence of autism and other ASD diagnoses. See Table 2, again, the relative risk of autism being diagnosed 36-59 months after MMR as compared to unvaccinated children was 0.9 and for other ASDs 1.05.

    Kreb, why are you forcing me to belabor the point?

    You do not have a point; what you are claiming is flatly contradicted by the evidence, as usual.

  43. #43 Krebiozen
    November 29, 2013

    Just out of interest, this study found:

    Children suspected to have autism are referred by general practitioners or school psychologists to a child psychiatric ward, where they are diagnosed and treated by a psychiatrist. In Denmark, a specialized diagnostic assessment of children suspected to have autism is generally necessary to be enrolled in special services, and the diagnostic evaluations and treatment are free of charge. […] The age at first admission and/or contact with the health care system is used as a proxy for the age at diagnosis, and age at first contact in the diagnostic process may be a more accurate description because the timing of diagnosis once the child is admitted into the process may vary across facilities.

    So in this study first contact with the health care system, which in cases of regressive autism must surely be soon after regression, instead of date of diagnosis. During the later years that Madsen’s study was carried out the average age at diagnosis (i.e. first contact with the health care system) was 5.3-5.9 years of age, as compared with 4.25-5.25 years of age in Madsen’s study. There’s no evidence here of the delay in diagnosis that Greg claims has masked the regressive autism caused by MMR.

  44. #44 Narad
    November 29, 2013

    Yeah Narad — indeed I did not stick the flounce.

    You never do, yet you repeat the operation over and over. It speaks to your character.

    While I am here, perhaps you can address another point.

    If you think I give command performances, you’re even wronger than usual.

    You mentioned that even if the NVICP was abolished, pharma would still fare well in civil court.

    I could make this argument, but I don’t recall having done so. Feel free to show me where.

    Yet, wasn’t it the case that pharma was being successful sued initially in civil court

    Not really, no. That’s not the calculus.

    and that led to the formation of NVICP, after they threatened to abandon the vaccine market?

    I don’t recall any “threatening” being involved.

    So Narad, why are you so confident that things would be so dramatically different the second time around?

    See above.

    HHHMMM??

    This is the equivalent of dumping a pail of rotting garbage over your head. Not that it doesn’t suit you.

    Inquiring minds want to know!

    Gerg, tell me what the incorrect letter is.

  45. #45 herr doktor bimler
    November 29, 2013

    HHHMMM??
    I am always impressed when people bolster their argument by performing bee impersonations.

  46. #46 Greg
    November 29, 2013

    Well, just checking in and looks like Kreb still hasn’t admitted how foolish and embarrassing it was to consider the Danish study not obtaining significant results for regressive autism up to 6 months after MMR uptake. What ya gonna do with that guy? No doubt he will wait until I am not around, and, again, spurt off such nonsense to his next unsuspecting victim.

    Kreb also adds:

    “Even if it were the case that diagnosis was delayed by 36 months, if MMR was causing regressive autism as you claim “thousands of parents” say it does, we would expect to see more autism diagnoses 36 months after MMR as compared with unvaccinated children. Instead we see almost exactly the same incidence of autism and other ASD diagnoses.”

    Kreb, regarding this last assertion, let me offer the following clarification: I believe parents when they say that they witnessed their children dramatic regression after MMR, but I do not believe MMR in itself causes autism. What I have contended on numerous occasions is that it’s not one vaccine ingredient, or one particular vaccine that is causing autism; it’s the cumulative toxic load of vaccines that causes autism.

    This toxic buildup will likely reach it’s tipping point, manifesting itself as noticeable regressive autism, during the latter rounds of vaccination. MMR is often given during these rounds, and hence it’s no wonder parents blame MMR. But again, it’s not MMR in itself that’s contributing to regressive autism, but the gradual cumulative buildup of vaccines.

    Kreb, this is an important point because if we are thinking that it’s MMR alone that is causing autism then indeed we would expect that the Danish cases should be sufficient to show a correlation within the 36 – 59 months after MMR uptake. Yet, since it’s the cumulative load of vaccines that is causing the regression, obtaining a correlation for regressive autism in respect to one particular vaccine will not be such an open and shut case. This is not to say that we should not expect a correlation.

    To the extent, that the Danish study amounts to the examination of one extra vaccine, MMR, and it being an important one that is likely to come when things reach the tipping point then, yes, we should expect a correlation. But now that we are contemplating the confounding factor of other vaccines contributing to the regression, the issue is whether the numbers, or autism cases, are significant enough where the MMR effect can be tweaked out. Again, It would be a rather easy matter if only MMR was causing regressive autism.

    And there again, Kreb, we see the value of a vax/unvax study.

  47. #47 The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge
    November 29, 2013

    So Greg, you think all the children in Denmark were given only the MMR vaccine, not the rest of the schedule, for all those years, just to test if MMR alone causes autism? That’s what you’re implying.

    Also, there’s no such thing as “regression”. There is only just now noticing that a child is not developing normally.

  48. #48 The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge
    November 30, 2013

    And—my humble apologies, everybody. I meant to put scare-quotes around “normally”.

  49. #49 Narad
    November 30, 2013

    And there again, Kreb, we see the value of a vax/unvax study.

    And here again, Gerg, we see that you have already been asked for the confidence interval, power, and requisite signal so as to promptly arrive at the sample size and just run away.

  50. #51 Krebiozen
    November 30, 2013

    Despite his troubling lack of honesty and integrity I do still find Greg interesting as an example of someone totally fixated on the idea that vaccines cause autism, and utterly closed-minded to the possibility that they might be wrong. I find it particularly fascinating to see him going through all these contortions, desperately trying to torture a scenario into fitting both his idée fixe and the evidence, but never really succeeding.

    What gives me a little hope is that he doesn’t simply dismiss all evidence that contradicts his position as having been fabricated by Big Pharma, as his AoA buddies so often do. This is what keeps tempting me back into the fray: the remote chance that Greg may be brought back into the light of reason.

    Earlier Greg was expressing satisfaction that we have been persuaded by his arguments to shift from a position of strict genetic determinism to admitting that autism might have prenatal environmental causes. He appears to be oblivious to the fact that this was the science-based position long before he started posting here. It would require an ability to deny the evidence rivaling AoA’s to believe anything else; for example, the effects of congenital rubella syndrome and of valproate taken during pregnancy are some of the strongest evidence that autism starts in the womb, and the results of twin studies make it clear that autism is not 100% genetically determined.

    I suspect, not for the first time, that Greg is projecting, and his certainty about vaccines and autism is weakening. He has even mentioned the voices in the back of his mind whispering to him that he is wrong. This, I suspect, is what keeps him from sticking the flounce.

    I see he simply ignores the evidence I have presented that shows no difference between the date of first contact with the health care system, and date of diagnosis in Denmark. This evidence strongly suggests that the greater-than-5-year gap between MMR-induced regression and diagnosis that he suggests as an explanation for a lack of correlation between MMR and autism is sheer fantasy.

    I also find his latest hypothesis interesting, as a psychological study. He is now suggesting, if I understand him correctly, that parental claims of regression after MMR are mistaken, because “it’s not MMR in itself that’s contributing to regressive autism”, it is “the gradual cumulative buildup of vaccines” that finally have their devastating effects around the time that MMR is given. In other words he accepts the implications of Madsen’s study; that there is no link between MMR and autism. Despite his shift to blaming other vaccines this is an extraordinary concession from Greg, since he has previously stated that these parental accounts of regression are what convince him that vaccines cause autism. One wonders what will happen now he had abandoned this major support for his beliefs.

    It is interesting to digress at this point and to observe that just a few years ago antivaxxers were convinced that MMR caused rapid regression into autism, and/or that thimerosal was contributing to mercury-induced neurological damage that resulted in autism. Some of the antivaccine organizations were founded with these beliefs fundamental to their existence. Now that both the MMR/autism link and the thimerosal/link have been comprehensively undermined by strong epidemiological evidence, we see this goalpost-shifting, this procrustean manipulation of hypotheses to somehow fit the evidence and accommodate the vaccines/autism obsession. I find it fascinating to see it in action in Greg like this.

    Anyway, if we assume for the sake of argument that Greg is right, and that the cumulative effects of vaccines finally result in regressive autism at around the same time that MMR is given, what might we expect to see in Madsen’s study? Greg suggests that, “now that we are contemplating the confounding factor of other vaccines contributing to the regression, the issue is whether the numbers, or autism cases, are significant enough where the MMR effect can be tweaked out”. In other words the effects of MMR on autism must be so tiny that 738 cases of ASD are not enough to detect it. I would suggest that evidence is entirely consistent with MMR and other vaccines having nothing whatsoever to do with autism, apart from the protective effects we know they have, of course. Following Occam’s Razor, the simplest explanation for the data we see is the conventional consensus view i.e. that vaccines do not cause autism.

    I’m wondering why Greg continues to believe that vaccines have anything to do with autism. He has sensibly abandoned the idea that MMR triggers regressive autism, since the evidence argues so strongly against this. If the parental evidence is unreliable, merely a spurious relationship due to cognitive biases around a temporal association, what is left that remotely suggests that vaccines in any way cause autism? Why, even if it were possible to design a study that would not break internationally agreed rules on medical ethics, do we need a “vax/unvax study”? There doesn’t seem to be any evidence that suggests vaccines cause autism, and a great deal of strong evidence that suggests they do not. Indeed it seems to be this conspicuous lack of evidence that Greg thinks means we need such a study at all, that a “vax/unvax” study would merely be a fishing expedition, looking for evidence that cannot be found elsewhere.

  51. #52 Greg
    November 30, 2013

    Looks like Kreb is at it again! Instead of ‘maning-up’ and admitting to the buffoonery of bragging that the Danish study did not obtain any significant result for regressive autism with 6 month after MMR uptake, he, nevertheless, goes on the attack. Again — what ya gonna do with that guy?

    Kreb, a softening of my position? Kreb, I challenge anyone to search the history of my comments and they will see from day-1 I have been arguing that it’s not one vaccine ingredient, or a particular vaccine that is causing autism. I have always maintained that it’s the cumulative build-up of vaccines as administered in the recommended CDC’s childhood vaccination schedule that is causing autism.

    As for struggling to deal with cognitive dissonance when having to concede one’s position, I think this applies more to you, Kreb. How do you go from suggesting someone is completely delusional for believing vaccines cause autism, to now conceding that vaccines can cause autism — albeit in ‘extraordinarily rare circumstances’? Further Kreb, perhaps you may also enlighten the readers of the science establishing the rarity of these ‘extraordinarily rare circumstances’.

    And Kreb, indeed you drug-dealears are softening your stance on genetics causing autism. In the past it was all about let’s find those autistic genes. And, with over a billion dollars of essentially useless work, leads you guys to now start entertaining whimsical talk of environmental prenatal exposure contributing to autism. Anything but addressing the elephant in the room of those countless parents claiming how vaccines changed their normally developing children. When pushed even further Kreb — what next? Will you guys start saying, ‘ok –ok–autism may not occur prenatally after all, but occurring at the precise moment when baby leaves mom’s body’. Perhaps you may also add that some perplexing factor within the hospital climate of late is affecting the delivery environment and contributing to exploding autism rates.

  52. #53 Greg
    November 30, 2013

    ‘within 6 months after…’

  53. #54 Antaeus Feldspar
    November 30, 2013

    And there again, Kreb, we see the value of a vax/unvax study.

    Gerg, of course, has previously admitted lying when he said he had a study design in mind for a vax/unvax study which could be ethically done, which would convince antivaxxers even if they didn’t like its results.

  54. #55 Michael Polidori
    November 30, 2013

    The only purpose a properly run vaccination program has is to induce herd immunity in a population so that kids who cannot be vaccinated are partially protected. This also partially protects kids who acquire immune or mitochondrial problems after they have been vaccinated.

    Without vaccinations kids will be permanently injured or die from ordinary childhood diseases… but the kids who would be injured/killed are likely the same kids injured/killed by live vaccines today.

    There is the additional problem of live vaccines administered by a route that is different from natural infection. Any child’s general health and the status of the various parts of their immunity will affect their chances of being injured. This raises the possibility that kids who would have survived natural infection w/o injury could be a victim of the unnatural route by which many vaccines are administered.

    These are facts that no one can argue against… Gorski & his minions know this is true… yet they persist with the dishonest fraudulent and evidence-free drivel

    Without honest research and regulation we are going to increase the injuries and deaths we are currently experiencing… the true numbers of which we have no idea. Our regulatory and health agencies are ignoring the true numbers of those susceptible kids and adults. The corrupting effects corporate personnel have on govt officials & regulators protect and increase profits over the health of the American people.

    Just a few of 1000s of examples –
    1. FDA commissioner Arthur Hull Hayes and every commissioner after him who did not withdraw Hayes’ fraudulent approval of aspartame. Hayes was paid off by being hired after 2 years as commissioner by Burston Marstellar, PR firm promoting Aspartame. Over a ten year period he was paid over $3.5 million dollars.
    2. Justice dept attorneys Skinner & Conlon both dragged their feet over prosecuting Searle Pharmaceutical for tampering with safety data in Aspartame studies. Both left their govt jobs and were immediately hired by Searle’s law firm Sidley & Austin.
    3. CDC head Julie Gerberding (2003-2009) rabidly promoted vaccinations including the blockbuster Gardasil, her ACIP recommending it for use. That same ACIP held up their recommended use of Glaxo’s competitive Cervarix. One year after she resigned her position she became president of Merck’s vaccine division at 5 times her CDC salary, selling out cheaply for the billions Merck will make. If just 10% of the world’s target population is vaccinated the cost of Gardasil alone will be over $60 billion. This doesn’t take into account the costs of administering the vaccine or the health care of kids who will be/ have been injured.

    As I have said before, the shills on this blog defending all things pharma-related know that everything I have posted is true. They know our improperly run vaccination program is injuring and killing kids who shouldn’t be vaccinated, they know the numbers from the passive surveillance system VAERS are VASTLY under-reported & they do not care for any of the children or their families who have been so horribly impacted by our unsafe vaccination program… most of those kids are the same ones who would be injured of killed by ordinary childhood disease.
    Those are the very kids who should have been partially protected by the herd immunity a safely run vaccine program could have afforded them, but who are denied that protection by the actions of a relatively few greedy people manipulating science & government with money and/or jobs.

    Who would waste their time on these blogs to lie, deflect, deceive, baselessly attack and insult when the health & life of children, susceptible to being injured by vaccines, is at stake? A paid sociopath would… is that name-calling or insulting? Only if it isn’t true. Only if those lies, deflections & deceptions can’t be exposed… and they have been repeatedly.

    The only weapon these shills use effectively here is to bury the truth with drivel.

  55. #56 LW
    November 30, 2013

    Greg still hasn’t explained why, if a sizeable percentage of the population responds to repeated immunological insults in infancy by developing autism, we supposedly did not see equal rates of autism in the Good Old Days when there were no vaccines and little sanitation so that infants suffered many more, and more life-threatening, immunological insults.

  56. #57 Denice Walter
    November 30, 2013

    @ Krebiozen:

    As much as i admire your peristence and erudition, I don’t think that you will ever convince him ( or any other true believer) in the error of his ways because this is about *more* than scientific concepts, research and data.

    Whether you survey more generic alt media gurus( @ NN or PRN) or niche topic advocates (@ AoA or TMR) you’ll find that their denialism is linked to some personal characteristics – and I don’t thiink that it is entirely random :
    -usually, the theoretician/ supporter doesn’t have the appropriate background to even adequately understand the issues she or he criticises-
    – they express emnity, envy and a desire to visit comeuppance upon experts with whom they disagree.
    -they feel personally insulted because they are not acceptable in scientific debates as equals.

    So this is an emotionally-charged area which is intimately tied to self-esteem issues as well as personal image.
    Kalichman goes even further and has named personality disorders. But I won’t.

    Thus those who feel shortcharged for whatever reason – non-acceptance by authorities, not getting into ‘elite’ universities, not have advanced degrees, having less clout, being the parent of an “imperfect” child, being called wrong-headed or a loon- want revenge. They seek out ways to engage experts as equals in debates on television and in comment sections. Their secret wish is to PROVE those smart-@sses wrong and be applauded by the masses.To inaugerate the much vaunted Paradign Shift is also a dream for some as are ideas about jailing opponents.

    As if.

    So you are a person with obvious intellectual gifts and educational/ vocational achievements who ( the creature believes) is on equal footing with him. He’s got you engaged and cornered – he’ll have the last word, just like anti-vaxxers sure showed that DR Wiznitzer or Gary Null absolutely obliterated Brian Deer or Jake swept the floor with Drs Offit, Godlee AND Orac.

    Being involved as equals ( even if only in fantasy) allows them a brief respite from self-doubt and feelings of unworthiness. In reality, everyone has value but seeking your own in areas which do not match up your skills is an exercise in guaranteeing eventual defeat and humiliation.
    There are other ways to increase self-esteem that are not linked to hopeless, unrealistic causes built upon a scaffolding of unlikely conspiracies as a substitute for data. There are places called ‘universities” that can augment skills and teach new ones.

    I always say that woo theories and conspiracy fit together hand-in-glove: if the data and the experts show you wrong you have to either admit defeat ( not so great for you emotionally in the short run) or construct a Rube Goldbergian edifice to SHOW how data and experts don’t count- they’ll all corrupt and icky or really awful, vain, despicable, criminals anyway. I would also guess that there might be some difficulties in the person perception/ social cogniition area for some of our critics based on their charaterisations of the minions.
    But I won’t go into detail.
    Anyway, those are minor, fixable problems whilst believing in idiosyncratic, self-defeating unrealities is not such an enviable position.

    At any rate, your comments provide enlightenment and entertainment for the SB crowd and on-the-fencers who want to learn.

  57. #58 Krebiozen
    November 30, 2013

    Denice,
    I know, it’s a faint and vanishingly hope, but it is there. I must admit I do find Greg’s antics perversely entertaining; the machinations he has to go through to explain away great swathes of evidence are extraordinary. He has repeatedly revealed that he is knowingly and willfully dishonest, and clearly has no real interest in finding the truth, so even if he was convinced by the science, I wouldn’t expect him to admit it, probably not even to himself.

  58. #59 Denice Walter
    November 30, 2013

    @ Kreb:

    Yes, it is perversely entertaining but then most of us here @ RI are f@cking evil anyway.

  59. #60 Michael Polidori
    November 30, 2013

    The shill drivel and backslapping continue… along with a complete lack of evidence.

    Anyone interested in the truth can read through the muck and sift out the facts.

  60. #61 Alain
    November 30, 2013

    @Michael Polidori,

    And your point is? of course we can read through the comments here and sift out the facts…we didn’t need your permission to do so 🙂

    Alain

  61. #62 Michael Polidori
    November 30, 2013

    This blog was dead on the 17th of November until I disturbed the drivel train minions with the truth from the FDA and CDC and Merck’s package inerts … to which some of the shills responded that info from those sources can’t be trusted…

    They wiil say anything and stoop to any depth to pretend to make a point.

    Start reading from comment 143…

  62. #63 Michael Polidori
    November 30, 2013

    @ Irony Meter

    Rett’s syndrome was part of the grouping of Pervasive Developmental Disorders, not the autism spectrum, in the DSM-IV
    Rett’s has been dropped from the newly created autism spectrum in the DSM-V.
    You folks just keep repeating lies hoping they won’t be countered… of course in the end you will win with the last comments as Gorski closes these comments when he chooses

  63. #64 Alain
    November 30, 2013

    Ok, how about in exchange, you get familiar with the autism neuroimaging litterature?

    Here’s your query:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=((%22Positron-Emission+Tomography+and+Computed+Tomography%22%5BMesh%5D+OR++%22Positron-Emission+Tomography%22%5BMesh%5D)+OR+%22Magnetic+Resonance+Imaging%22%5BMesh%5D)+AND+%22Child+Development+Disorders%2C+Pervasive%22%5BMesh%5D

    it result in 897 publications of which I have read probably 600 and there’s also a meta-analysis which is of mention here:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21465627

    To help you in your reading quest, try to ask yourself the question: how does a vaccine injury result in better performance in some test result as well as more oxygen consumption (that’s what is measured by these scanners) in the autistic brain.

    Alain

  64. #65 Chris,
    November 30, 2013

    Mr. Polidori:

    There is the additional problem of live vaccines administered by a route that is different from natural infection.

    Citation needed. So you are okay with the FluMist vaccine? And you are cool with the tetanus vaccine being injected since that infection usually happens after puncture wounds. Plus the rotavirus and oral polio vaccine are good? Even the OPV is known to cause polio itself in about one out of a million doses.

    Then after some conspiracy mongering he continues with:

    As I have said before, the shills on this blog defending all things pharma-related know that everything I have posted is true.

    Which is a lazy boring resort to the Pharma Shill Gambit. Take note he does not do something interesting and original like post actual scientific citations.

    He continues with a common trope:

    they know the numbers from the passive surveillance system VAERS are VASTLY under-reported

    So, Mr. Polidori, what must you read and understand before using the VAERS database from its official portal? Do you think vehicular accidents are caused by vaccines, especially after several months?

    Mr. Polidori:

    Only if those lies, deflections & deceptions can’t be exposed… and they have been repeatedly.

    Oh, the lies and deceptions have been exposed repeatedly. It is just that you can’t see them with your anti-science blinders. Both Mark Geier and Andrew Wakefield have been stripped of the legal right to practice medicine. Many of the papers touted to connect vaccines with autism have been shown to be not actually do that, or are very flawed.

    If you have a point Mr. Polidori, try to tell us with actual scientific data and not conspiratorial ranting. You can start by actually answering some questions. For one thing, the MMR vaccine was introduced in the USA in 1971 and the preferred vaccine for the 1971 Measles Elimination Program. Please provide the verifiable evidence dated before 1990 that there was a sharp increase in autism due to the MMR vaccine in the USA during the 1970s and 1980s.

    Also, here is another little scientific fact for you to digest: a large data project from the University of Pittsburgh has determined that an estimated hundred million cases of contagious diseases have been prevented in the USA since 1924. Check out Project Tycho, that is real science and statistics.

  65. #66 Chris,
    November 30, 2013

    Oh, rats, I accidentally used three links, so I went into moderation. But I did notice that Mr. Polidori failed to answer the question I posted in comments #165 and #194:

    To repeat the request: please post the PubMed indexed study by a reputable qualified researcher that there is a greater risk of encephalitis from the MMR vaccine than from actually getting measles.

  66. #67 Chris,
    November 30, 2013

    Though I will repeat a bit:

    So, Mr. Polidori, what must you read and understand before using the VAERS database from its official portal? Do you think vehicular accidents are caused by vaccines, especially after several months?

    Plus this because Mr. Polidori said: “Only if those lies, deflections & deceptions can’t be exposed… and they have been repeatedly.”

    Oh, the lies and deceptions have been exposed repeatedly. It is just that you can’t see them with your anti-science blinders. Both Mark Geier and Andrew Wakefield have been stripped of the legal right to practice medicine. Many of the papers touted to connect vaccines with autism have been shown to be not actually do that, or are very flawed:
    http://lizditz.typepad.com/i_speak_of_dreams/2013/08/-those-lists-of-papers-that-claim-vaccines-cause-autism-part-1.html

  67. #68 lilady
    November 30, 2013

    “This blog was dead on the 17th of November until I disturbed the drivel train minions with the truth from the FDA and CDC and Merck’s package inerts … to which some of the shills responded that info from those sources can’t be trusted…”

    Bullsh!t:

    Haven’t you noticed that other posters continue to post comments by ignoring your brain droppings?

    You remind me of “Thingy” who used to post her deranged comments here and who used to declare victory with her pronouncements that Orac and his blog were toast…because she posted her brain droppings.

    I hereby declare that the blog is alive and well…and thriving.

  68. #69 Antaeus Feldspar
    November 30, 2013

    There is the additional problem of live vaccines administered by a route that is different from natural infection. Any child’s general health and the status of the various parts of their immunity will affect their chances of being injured. This raises the possibility that kids who would have survived natural infection w/o injury could be a victim of the unnatural route by which many vaccines are administered.

    These are facts that no one can argue against…

    O RLY? If they’re facts no one can argue against, why don’t you cite a reliable source (i.e., not Age of Autism or whale.to or Mercola or any similar crank site) supporting your claims?

    Polidori, you seem to think that the weakest parts of your argument can be magically transformed into the strongest by simply asserting that they are strong, that they are “facts”. Nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, you are sabotaging your own quest to be taken seriously, by highlighting the very assumptions your argument falls apart without, and bluffing that these are “facts that no one can argue against.”

  69. #70 The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge
    November 30, 2013

    Congratulations, Polidori: You’re crazier than Greg.

    Honestly, when anybody says that “the numbers from the passive surveillance system VAERS are VASTLY under-reported”, when it’s full of people who were in car wrecks or turned into the Incredible Hulk after vaccinations, you know you’re dealing with a lunatic.

    And Orac has never closed a thread that I know of, except one that was way too long and taking forever to load, and he started another for the same discussion. The site will close a thread after…six months, I think. Might be 90 days now. So your paranoia is showing; you might want to get that looked at.

  70. #71 LW
    November 30, 2013

    Michael Polidori said,

    There is the additional problem of live vaccines administered by a route that is different from natural infection. Any child’s general health and the status of the various parts of their immunity will affect their chances of being injured. This raises the possibility that kids who would have survived natural infection w/o injury could be a victim of the unnatural route by which many vaccines are administered.

    I thought it was the other way around. Variolation, for example, introduced smallpox through the skin instead of the “natural route”, through the lungs. Since the smallpox virus evolved mechanisms to attack through the lungs but not through the skin, it was less able to launch its attack through the “unnatural route” and the immune system was better able to fight it off. 

    Could someone who knows what they’re talking about (i.e., not Michael Polidori or Greg) comment on that?  

  71. #72 herr doktor bimler
    November 30, 2013

    Just a few of 1000s of examples –

    Sadly, Mr Polidori has previously revealed his difficulties with orders of magnitude, so I imagine this translates into “about 10”.
    I was not sure what ranting about aspartame had to do with Big Pharma, but there you go.

  72. #73 Khani
    November 30, 2013

    #270 Battleaxe: “Congratulations, Polidori: You’re crazier than Greg.”

    Woah, woah, woah, let’s not be hasty here, Battle. You’re diluting DJT’s honors.

  73. #74 Khani
    November 30, 2013

    Well, one kind of “vaccine injury” probably *is* underreported on VAERS, to be fair–who would bother reporting an achy arm or the reddening of the skin around the shot?

    If they meant *that* kind of underreporting, I could believe it, but they obviously don’t.

    “defending all things pharma-related” — patently false, as Orac’s post on “Low-T” easily demonstrates.

  74. #75 Narad
    November 30, 2013

    Looks like Kreb is at it again!

    Speaking of “maning up” and “buffoonery,” Gerg, perhaps you could find some time out from your busy schedule of sniveling and chickenshıtting to cough up those numbers that have been requested.

  75. #76 Narad
    November 30, 2013

    This blog was dead on the 17th of November until I disturbed the drivel train minions with the truth from the FDA and CDC and Merck’s package inerts … to which some of the shills responded that info from those sources can’t be trusted…

    The only thing inert in this context is the contents of your skull, Polidari. You explicitly applied a 2006 rule to an insert that plainly is constructed according to the 1979 standard. Given that you seem to have Merck and the FDA on speed-dial, perhaps you should get them on the blower and figure out some way to embroider a less pathetic response to a fairly simple observation.

  76. #77 Greg
    November 30, 2013

    Did you guys get a load of that Polidori guy? He comes around here spurting off about how you’re all vile, despicable shills — advancing a vaccination agenda that involves maiming and killing kids. Just who the hell does he think he is speaking the truth?? Those anti-vaxxers can be just so cruel and nasty, always bringing up reality. (Hee hee hee.)

    I am outta here!!

  77. #78 Alain
    November 30, 2013

    I am outta here!!

    Bye Greg! See ya 🙂

    _______________________________________________

    Guys and Gals, the Grinch is gone!!!

    Party on!

    Alain

  78. #79 Politicalguineapig
    November 30, 2013

    Greg: Like you’d recognize reality if it bit you.

  79. #80 Narad
    November 30, 2013

    I am outta here!!

    Your cowardice and inability to answer direct questions are once again duly noted.

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