Respectful Insolence

I’m not really happy to have to write this post, but a blogger’s got to do what a blogger’s got to do. The reason is that Katie Couric has done something requires—nay, demands—a heapin’ helpin’ of Orac’s characteristic Respectful Insolence. Why should I give the proverbial rodent’s posterior about who gets the Insolence today? The reason is that, when it comes to medicine, Katie Couric has done a fair amount of good. After the tragic death of her husband at a young age from colon cancer, she became an activist and spokesperson for colorectal cancer awareness, even famously undergoing her very own on-air colonoscopy in 2000. Then, in 2005, as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, she similarly underwent mammography on the air on the Today Show. She was even one of the co-founders of Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C). Indeed, I saw her accept the AACR Award for Distinguished Public Service earlier this year. In brief, Katie Couric was supposed to be one of the good guys, and usually she is.

There is, however a somewhat darker side. Couric tolerated the notorious antivaccine reporter Sharyl Attkisson for years, even after Attkisson demonstrated that she was an Andrew Wakefield fangirl and dropped stinky bombs of burning stupid on the blogosphere about vaccines in the form of abusing the Hannah Poling case and promoting Helen Ratajczak’s mind-numbingly scientifically ignorant “review” of the evidence regarding vaccines and autism, among numerous other examples. She even once pulled the classic crank tactic of the “pharma shill gambit” on Paul Offit and “vaccine defenders” in a despicable journalistic hit piece called How Independent Are Vaccine Defenders? When pro-vaccine groups complained, someone at CBS News, likely Attkisson, passed the complaint along to the antivaccine cranks at AoA.

So, despite her good works on the cancer front, I wasn’t entirely surprised to see alarmed warnings that Katie Couric was going to do a segment on the vaccine against the human papilloma virus (HPV) from people like Seth Mnookin. The segment appears to be an installment of something Couric calls The Big Conversation, and the story was entitled The HPV Vaccine Controversy, and it contained segments like Is the HPV Vaccine Safe? Because I have a day job and can’t watch vapid daytime TV, I DVRed the episode and watched it, just so that I could report on it for you. The things I do for my readers! Then it popped up online, so that you, too, can share my pain.

It was even worse than I thought it was going to be, and I knew it was going to be bad when it was advertised as having a mother who thought that Gardasil killed her daughter. And so it did. What I didn’t realize is that Couric also had one of the founders of the anti-HPV vaccine crank blog SaneVax on her show, Rosemary Mathis, and her daughter Lauren. If you want to get an idea of just how much quackery and pseudoscience is promoted by SaneVax, just search this blog for the term. I’ll just give you two examples. First, SaneVax latched onto a dubious finding of trace amounts of HPV DNA in Gardasil to launch a fear mongering campaign of such monumental ignorance about molecular biology and science itself that it was breathtaking in its scope. Then about a year ago, SaneVax published a guide to blaming the deaths of children on Gardasil. I kid you not. The title of the despicable article was A Parent’s Guide: What to do if your child dies after vaccination. More recently, SaneVax published an article entitled Gardasil HPV: What to Do If You or Your Daughter Suspect Premature Ovarian Failure, another bogus claim made about Gardasil by antivaccinationists.

One of the founders of this group was one of the mothers Couric interviewed as an equal to a real pediatrician. Yes, the entire segment was structured as a “he said, she said” tour de force of false “balance.” On the one hand, we have two anti-HPV mothers, one who thinks that the HPV vaccine killed her daughter and the other who thinks it injured her and as a result helped form a website that spreads the vilest, most idiotic pseudoscientific fear mongering about HPV imaginable. On the other side, there was a lone pediatrician trying to promote science-based medicine and a mother who had her daughter vaccinated and didn’t regret it. Somewhere in the middle, but not really given what she says, is Diane Harper, represented as having been integral to the development of Gardasil. In reality, Harper is on the anti-HPV side and, being represented as the definitive Gardasil authority, weighs heavily on the message, even though she doesn’t get the last say.

The segment starts with Couric asking, “Have you all heard about the controversy surrounding the HPV vaccine?” I’m half tempted to answer here, “No.” The reason is that, scientifically speaking, there is no “controversy.” The HPV vaccine, be it Gardasil or Cervarix, is effective and incredibly safe. The whole “controversy” is not a controversy at all, but rather a manufactroversy, and Couric does her part in promoting that manufactroversy through the tried and not-so-true technique of false balance.

That balance starts out with an interview with an interview with Emily Tarsell, whose daughter Christina died unexpectedly at the age of 21. Tarsell has been telling the world that she thinks Gardasil killed her daughter for quite some time now, telling the Institute of Medicine, having her story featured on website of the the antivaccine group National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC). Couric begins, as is appropriate, by expressing sympathy for Tarsell’s loss. It’s always horrible when a parent loses a child. Even recognizing that, this interview was pretty pointless, consisting mainly of going on and on about how awesome Christina was and how awful it was that she died. Emily Tarsell did not present a single shred of evidence that Gardasil had anything to do with her death, and when Couric asked her what her daughter’s symptoms were, she demurred, refusing to answer, “Because we have a case pending, I cannot go into detail what happened each time,” referring to each dose of Gardasil. All we learn is that Emily died suddenly 18 days after receiving her third dose of Gardasil, and that the autopsy failed to find a cause of death. You can see it all here:

Of course, what isn’t mentioned is that Emily Tarsell is on the board of directors of the antivaccine political group known as the Canary Party, which was behind the effort to have a Congressional hearing in front of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, chaired by Darrell Issa. Fortunately, it failed. This time. Of course, up until now, Tarsell has not been shy at all about telling her daughter’s story in detail. For example:

Here we learn that Tarsell didn’t think about Gardasil as the cause of her daughter’s death until weeks later, when a family member mentioned reports of Gardasil and that Tarsell remembered that her daughter had complained of not feeling well after the shot. What was wrong? She said she was tired and felt dizzy when she stood up.

Then there’s this video:

Here, we learn that a few days after the third Gardasil vaccine, Emily felt dizzy and complained of fatigue. These are very vague symptoms, and could be due to many things. As tragic as it is and as much sympathy as we all feel for Tarsell, her story is a perfect example of the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. Just because Christina Tarsell received Gardasil before she died unexpectedly does not mean Gardasil caused her death. It doesn’t even mean that it caused her vague symptoms of fatigue. In fact, given the literature out there, it almost certainly didn’t.

Next up was Diane Harper. After seeing Harper in action on Katie Couric’s show, I now take back the benefit of the doubt that I gave her, particularly after her crack later in the show that pediatricians are “trained to give vaccines, not trained to do Pap smears.” Besides being wrong, it’s a quote so full of burning stupid—yes, I’m calling Harper out on that—that I change my mind. Harper has become a crank, and she does now hate Gardasil. In essence, her argument was that, because only 10% of women with HPV infection develop chronic infection, why vaccinate? She also points out that approximately 10% of girls acquire HPV before their 11th birthday, which is when the first dose of Gardasil is recommended to begin.

Her biggest trope, however, is that HPV vaccines “only” last five years. There is simply no reason to believe that is true. The reality is that HPV vaccines haven’t been licensed long enough to know how long vaccine-induced immunity persists. Even so, although we might not yet know how long HPV vaccine immunity will last, but we do know that the duration of vaccine coverage (95%) protection remains at least five years. Indeed, a recent analysis of nearly 5,000 women on Nordic countries found that Gardasil “is effective up to 6 years following vaccination with a trend of continuing protection up to 8 years following vaccination,” and Matthew Herper points out that an analysis by also indicates that people still have immune responses 8 years after getting the shot.

The rest of the time, Harper seems to have a magical faith in the ability of Pap smears to catch cervical lesions early enough to allow interventions that prevent progression to full-blown cancer. While this is true in a perfect world (i.e., where women receive their Pap smears according to recommendations), in the real world, efficacy isn’t as great, but there’s also a philosophical issue here: Isn’t it better to prevent cervical neoplasia that can lead to cervical cancer rather than treating it when we find it, particularly when it can be done so safely? Let’s just put it this way. As Tara Smith writes:

Dr. Harper believes the HPV vaccine is over-hyped, and that Pap screening is “100% accurate” so no HPV vaccine is really needed. This, frankly, is hogwash. Even with emphasis on screening, here in the U.S. we have 12,000 cases and 4,000 deaths from cervical cancer alone each year. (And in Mnookin’s post and in Matthew Herper’s Forbes post, both note that head and neck cancers can also be caused by HPV as well–but have no good screening process).

And:

Harper acts as if finding HPV via Pap smears is like rainbows and unicorns, but it too has a risk-benefit equation, and I’d so much rather have received a vaccination than to have gone through that. And, some women’s treatments for HPV infections and cervical abnormalities are even more extreme than mine was.

Indeed. An argument can be made that in developed countries Pap smears can produce results as good as the vaccine in terms of lowering death rates, but there are tradeoffs. Moreover, if HPV incidence is driven low enough by mass vaccination, Pap smears could be done less frequently or only targeted to high risk populations. If better HPV vaccines are developed to cover more types of HPV, this process could accelerate to the point where Pap smears are not even necessary any longer. Be that as it may, I’ve seen Harper make far more nuanced arguments, understanding that it’s not black and white. Her argument that Gardasil’s benefits are overhyped and that the cost-benefit ratio of the vaccine might not be worth making it part of the recommended vaccination schedule even had some resonance with me before. My thinking has evolved on the issue. Be that as it may, here, it’s very clear, despite her waffling, that Harper thinks Gardasil is a waste of time and that women should just get Pap smears.

Throughout the entire segment, what is most frustrating about Harper’s responses is that she sidesteps the answer to one question. She is asked on at least two occasions whether she thinks the benefits of HPV vaccines outweigh the risks. Both times, she answered another question, first dodging the question of whether she thought Tarsell’s blaming the HPV vaccine for her daughter’s death was plausible, and then near the end she waffles about if “you’re comfortable” with the risks and benefits of the HPV vaccine you should have it. She can’t, however, resist making the aforementioned crack about pediatricians being trained to give vaccines rather than Pap smears, adding that the best gift you could give your daughter would be a certificate for a pap smear at age 21.

As mentioned before, Couric also interviewed Rosemary and Lauren Mathis. Rosemary Mathis founded the antivaccine (specifically, anti-HPV vaccine) group SaneVax, and Lauren is her daughter. Her story is even less convincing than that of Emily Tarsell. It’s summarized in a news story from 2010, in which it is stated that Lauren was bedridden for 85 days.

Doctors diagnosed her with an enlarged liver and a nonfunctioning gallbladder.

“I was scared and for probably a year I slept beside her because I was afraid for her to go to sleep,” Mathis said.

After seeing other doctors and specialists across North Carolina for nearly a year, a doctor at Duke Medical Center confirmed that Lauren’s illness was directly related to a vaccine. Mathis said the only recent vaccine given to Lauren was Gardasil.

The story as shown on Katie Couric’s show is here:

In this, Lauren states that she felt sick after each vaccine and lost two years. Apparently Lauren developed some sort of chronic illness, leading her mother to take her from doctor to doctor, feeling as though she was being ignored. Finally, a doctor at Duke diagnosed her with “vaccine injury.” What type of vaccine injury, you ask? I can’t tell you because Rosemary Mathis doesn’t tell. She just says “vaccine injury.” She also doesn’t tell us how this doctor, whom she doesn’t name, came to the conclusion that Lauren had “vaccine injury.” This is a key component of Rosemary Mathis’ story, but I’ve as yet been unable to find anywhere where she revealed the identity of this doctor (or, as it is sometimes portrayed, “doctors”). In this post on the SaneVax website, Rosemary Mathis states:

She went from being an Academically Gifted student to one who struggled to complete her 8th grade year of school. She was placed on a modified school plan by her principal who fully backed her because she was an excellent student who had been in the North Carolina Academically Gifted Program since 2nd grade. Her life became an endless round of hospital and doctor visits with little resolution to the severe pain that she was experiencing. She was even sent for surgery on her gall bladder at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center where a skilled surgeon recognized the symptoms were more than gall bladder dysfunction and thankfully did not operate. We have spent the past year researching this horrible vaccine and the side effects and treating her with vitamins and medicine. My daughter is currently being treated by Duke University’s Children’s Hospital and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s Brenner’s Children’s Hospital and the bills are now in the tens of thousands of dollars. Thankfully, I am a manager for Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse in their Corporate Office and have a good insurance policy which has helped cover the costs associated with the effects of Gardasil.

Lauren’s dates of vaccinations were 2/4/08 (Lot #1448U); 4/16/08 (Lot #1757U); 8/18/08 ( Lot #0067X).

With her second Gardasil vaccination, Lauren also received Varicella 165U and Menactra U2559AA. Symptoms over this past year and a half have included: enlarged liver, gall bladder attacks, severe nausea, chest pain, severe abdominal pain, severe headaches, brain freezes, stomach ulcer, sensitivity to light.

This all sounds like some sort of hepatitis, perhaps autoimmune. Or perhaps she had primary sclerosing cholangitis. One wonders if the doctor at Duke saw autoimmune hepatitis or cholangitis and decided Lauren had had vaccine injury. Certainly my speculation is no more ridiculous than coming up with a diagnosis of “vaccine injury” just by looking through medical records. I’d love to know on what basis the doctor in question, if he even exists, diagnosed Lauren with “vaccine injury,” because I am unaware of a mechanism by which vaccine injury could cause gallbladder dysfunction.

The segment concludes with Dr. Mallika Marshall, a pediatrician at Massachusetts General Hospital and “Katie” medical contributor, who explains why she recommends the HPV vaccine for both boys and girls.

Overall, Dr. Marshall does as good a job as any science-based contributor could be expected to do under the circumstances, pointing out that just because these girls received vaccines before getting sick doesn’t mean it was the vaccines that made them sick and trying to inject some common sense and science into the discussion. Unfortunately, it’s too little, too late. The issue had already been irrevocably and intentionally framed by two women who think that their daughters were either killed or horribly injured by HPV vaccines, another woman who barely disguises her contempt for the HPV vaccine and her belief that pap smears are better, and a script dripping with false balance and obvious sympathy for the viewpoint that HPV vaccines are dangerous. It’s a horrible, horrible piece, and tacking Dr. Marshall on at the end, as valiantly as she strives to fight the waves of pseudoscience engulfing the show without being too “harsh.” The producers should be ashamed, but they are clearly shameless if their response to criticism is any indication:

We reached out to Couric’s producers; a person close to the program defended the segment by observing that the show “regularly discusses important topics in the hope that people can make their own decisions.”

May I then assume that Katie will soon be airing “both sides” of claims that 9/11 was an “inside job”; evolution is a “theory in crisis”; the moon landing was a hoax; and the Holocaust never happened? If not, why not? What she has done with Gardasil is the equivalent: Examining an issue that does not have two sides and then applying liberal helpings of false balance. Worse, by framing this as a “debate” or a “he said, she said” format, Couric’s producers have falsely elevated complete loons like SaneVax founder Rosemary Mathis to the seeming level of real experts like Dr. Marshall. There are controversies about the HPV vaccine. Whether it is safe or not is not one of them, and giving the floor to the most committed antivaccine activists to appeal to emotion rather than science is not how to discuss them. Couric’s producers and Couric herself were far more interested in “human interest” and controversy than actual medical and scientific accuracy.

Worse, Couric promotes a viewpoint that has no evidence to support the risks she attributes to HPV vaccination. Indeed, the evidence is very much against the existence of such risks attributable to Gardasil. For example, recent large cohort study of nearly 1,000,000 girls between the ages of 10 and 17, 296,000 of whom had received at least one dose of the HPV vaccine and 160,000 of whom received all three doses failed to find any link to health problems, either long or short term. Nada. Zip. Gardasil is incredibly safe. It’s also effective. Earlier this year, a study by the CDC showed that the prevalence of the cancer-causing strains of HPV has dropped by half among teenage girls in recent years, evidence of major success of the HPV vaccine. This is good news, given that the risks of HPV infection are very real. Every year about 12,000 women develop cervical cancer, and HPV is by far the most common cause. Couric’s mothers and Diane Harper are simply wrong, wrong, wrong.

It’s amazing how, in one fell swoop, Couric has called into question her dedication to science-based medicine after having done yeoman work promoting it with respect to colon cancer and other cancers. When asked in the title whether Couric is antivaccine or irresponsible journalist, I didn’t actually think that Couric is antivaccine. However, she is irresponsible. By giving voice to the crankiest of the antivaccine cranks with such an obvious biasing of the segment towards them, Couric has demonstrated irresponsibility on a massive scale. For shame. I don’t think she’s becoming the next Jenny McCarthy (a tempting title for this post that briefly crossed my mind, but way too obvious and easy), but she has dropped a massive turd of antivaccine pseudoscience on national TV. Maybe she’s trying to emulate Dr. Oz, except that even Dr. Oz probably wouldn’t have touched this.

ADDENDUM: The ever-helpful antivaccine cranks at Age of Autism have provided an “unofficial” transcript of the show.

Comments

  1. #1 Jeff
    Ohio
    December 5, 2013

    Dr,
    “The Gardasil vaccination is a unique vaccination because it is composed of proteins and does not have a chemical structure”
    What does this mean?

  2. […] So if we’re doing a simple numbers tally, that’s 5 anti-vax guests and 3 pro-vax guests. Hardly an unbiased presentation. As Orac put it: […]

  3. #4 lilady
    December 5, 2013

    You’ve got to wonder why Dr. Diane Harper who is an “international expert on HPV and HPV prevention” has not read the reports from outside the United States about the data about lasting protection of HPV vaccine….since the vaccine was first licensed.

    I listed intently to what Dr. Harper said; “Gardasil doesn’t last long enough to prevent future cancers” and when she fed Katie Couric that line, “It lasts only 5 years?” I am appalled.

    As sad as the death of a young woman is, from an “undetermined” cause, according to her mother…or from cardiac arrest as listed on the medical examiner’s report, according to the earlier video…it does not, IMO, mean that Gardasil vaccine caused her death.

    The other testimonials provided by Lauren Mathis and her mother do not offer any proof that the numerous symptoms she experienced are associated with Gardasil vaccine.

    Katie ought to stick with lightweight topics and not be used as a tool by the likes of the NVIC and SaneVax.

  4. #6 Chris,
    December 5, 2013

    Orac:

    Emily Tarsell did not present a single shred of evidence that Gardasil had anything to do with her death, and when Couric asked her what her daughter’s symptoms were, she demurred, refusing to answer, “Because we have a case pending, I cannot go into detail what happened each time,” referring to each dose of Gardasil. All we learn is that Emily died suddenly 18 days after receiving her third dose of Gardasil, and that the autopsy failed to find a cause of death.

    Yes, but the document found in the US Court website provides a big hint. I found EMILY TARSELL, As the Executrix of the Estate of CHRISTINA TARSELL
    …. FINDING OF FACTS
    .

    As someone who has a kid with a genetic heart condition that is most often diagnosed after “sudden cardiac death” (fortunately his was found on an echocardiogram after a murmur was heard), I tend to notice certain things. Like this bit in the document:

    On November 20, 2007, Christina saw a doctor for chronic sinus congestion. The doctor detected an irregular pulse rate. Exhibit 4 at 136. An EKG was abnormal, indicating premature atrial contractions and that Christina ’s heart was beating in pairs. Id. at 142.

    Approximately one month later, the EKG was repeated. It appears unchanged from the previous one. Id . at 135 and 141. In February 2008, Christina had a transthoracic echocardiogram. It produced normal results. Exhibit 4 at 139.

    Then there are notes that Christina complained about being dizzy and faint. My son’s cardiologist always asks him if he gets dizzy or faint, or feels like his heart flutters.

    I can only go by our experience and say with perfect 20/20 hindsight that Ms. Tarsell should have taken her daughter to a cardiologist after learning about the faintness and dizziness.

    Also, even though the echo showed no physical abnormality, that does not mean both EKGs can be ignored. There can be electrical abnormalities in the heart that cannot be seen by an echo. Sure, my kid’s echo and cardiac MRI showed a very definite physical abnormality, but the condition causes cells to be disorganized for electrical pulses. That is why he has an EKG taken more often than an echo (okay, it is cheaper, but important).

    I know it is confirmation bias, but my son was diagnosed with the echocardiogram after an abnormal murmur was found the same week some just a year or so younger dropped dead from the same genetic heart condition. Since then I have taken notice of those particularly morbid news stories, and have been astounded at the variety of heart conditions that can cause “sudden death.” Many of them, including my kid’s condition, while the child is asleep.

    (oh, and I don’t want to be a pedant… but the paragraph that starts off with “Dr. Harper believes the HPV vaccine is over-hyped, ” looks like it is formatted like a blockquote, but does not seem to be quote)

  5. #7 lilady
    December 5, 2013

    Wow Chris. You found an interesting piece of information. IANAL…but, IMO, that claim that Emily Tarsell has made before the Vaccine Court appears to be quite weak.

    I also convinced, that Mrs. Tarsell should have brought her child to a cardiologist, in light of the atrial arrythmia episodes and in light of the ongoing symptoms of weakness to the threshold of syncope.

  6. #8 Narad
    December 5, 2013

    What does this mean?

    It means that somebody needed an editor. (It does seem to be dated 2004.) Gardasil contains multiple VLPs, so I guess you could say it doesn’t have a unique chemical structure, but that’s fairly silly, given that it says “quadrivalent” right on the label. “Protein” doesn’t get one too far because… hellooo? Tetanus toxoid?

  7. #9 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    December 5, 2013

    [A] doctor at Duke diagnosed her with “vaccine injury.” What type of vaccine injury, you ask? I can’t tell you because Rosemary Mathis doesn’t tell. She just says “vaccine injury.” She also doesn’t tell us how this doctor, whom she doesn’t name, came to the conclusion that Lauren had “vaccine injury.” This is a key component of Rosemary Mathis’ story, but I’ve as yet been unable to find anywhere where she revealed the identity of this doctor…

    That’s suspicious, but par for the course for an antivaccinationist.

  8. #10 Helianthus
    France
    December 5, 2013

    Dr. Harper believes the HPV vaccine is over-hyped, and that Pap screening is “100% accurate” so no HPV vaccine is really needed.

    I really hate when antivaxers brought up the pap smear.
    It’s putting on the same level a detection system (“screening”? Hello?) and a preventative system (vaccination).
    One truer argument would be that vaccination will not replace pap screening, as the vaccine is not covering all strains of HPV, and is not 100% perfect (coming to this, pap screening is not 100% either). Beside, HPV is not the sole cause of cervical carcinoma.

    But still. Saying “screening is enough” is like a farmer saying “I don’t need fences, I have a camera in my henhouse so I will know if a fox sneaked in.”

  9. […] at Respectful Insolence in a lengthy but thoroughly worthwhile post, Orac provides some background and context on Couric’s past reporting – including past tolerance of […]

  10. #12 Bob G
    Los Angeles
    December 5, 2013

    Jeff: That document is very strange. It looks sort of like a high school science project gone terribly wrong. There are figures showing generic structures for amino acids, making a big deal about the word zwitterion, which just means that when you have groups that like to ionize at neutral pH, you should draw the structure in the ionized form to make that point. It has almost nothing to do with the structure of a particular protein or a part of a protein, because the ionized groups are no longer ionized when present in a protein, but tied up in covalent peptide bonds. (exceptions can be the amino acids at either end). In other words, most of the material at the top is just rehash from the protein chapter of some elementary textbook.

    The part about something having no chemical structure is also strange, because every molecule has some sort of chemical structure. The point that might have been attempted is that there are more than one substance present, and each is apparently part of the structure of the real virus. The difference is that only part of each protein is put into the vaccine, and that the protein parts are made artificially rather than purified from infectious virus. That’s what the wordiness about recombinant DNA is about — it’s just the tool to make a non-infectious substitute for a part of the virus so the human can generate an antibody response.

    As for the TV host Couric, I suspect that she is over her head, has been over her head, and is (a) trying to do the right thing about colon cancer and breast cancer and (b) doing the show that the producer and writers handed her. I suspect that if you were to ask her about the molecular biology of colons or vaccines, she would be able to parrot back a few words and phrases, but would not do a very good job of discussing serious science. I am the first to admit that I am only vaguely aware of her existence, but have heard the name and have probably seen her on Letterman or some such. Being a television presenter is not as easy as it looks, and being able to sound knowledgeable (or even sane) on camera, without saying “Uh” and “Um” four times a sentence is uncommon.

  11. #13 dingo199
    December 5, 2013

    I can’t understand the love-fest antivaxers have with pap smears.
    For starters, they are not 100% sensitive for picking up abnormalities (ergo they must be useless; since according to antivax folklore anything not 100% safe and effective is useless).
    Abnormalities mean women are subjected to further invasive procedures which are unpleasant and potentially damaging to future health and fertility (see Tara Smith again for details).
    A large percentage [around 30%] of women who develop cervical cancer have actually had a recent pap smear (so they are not that great at averting the consequences they are meant to prevent)
    Despite widely available screening, 12,000 women still get cancer each year (so many vulnerable women don’t even get screened in the first place for whatever reason).

    If antivaxers applied the same twisted logic to pap smears as they did to vaccines, they would be saying they are one of the worst medical inventions on the planet. But the reason they love smears is because… loving them means they can be antivaccine, and as our dear and glorious leader often says, it’s always about the vaccines, isn’t it?

  12. #14 Jay
    December 5, 2013

    I wonder if you have any speculation as to what turned Dr. Harper into a ‘crank’?

    Re: pap smear vs. gardasil, when I last looked at gardasil 5 years ago, and I am certainly not a doctor or have any expertise whatsoever, it did strike me as a reasonable argument that it would be better to place gardasil dollars into making pap smears more available to women because at that time, 5 years ago, it was said the most effective treatment against cervical cancer and many other ailments was an annual pap smear. And gardasil wouldn’t eliminate that requirement, so that making pap smears more readily available was a better choice in a regime of limited dollars.

    Please note: that’s not saying gardasil was dangerous or anything, it was just a cost benefit analysis of gardasil which at the time was claimed to be the most expensive vaccine protecting against hpv viruses versus pap smears promoting overall women’s health.

    This was at a time when the Feds were being called on to subsidize gardasil vaccinations — perhaps a better use of that money would be a fleet of mobile pap smear labs.

  13. #15 Spectator
    December 5, 2013

    We have many like Couric, to host Circus.

    Now, Senators, how shall we distribute bread?

  14. #16 dingo199
    December 5, 2013

    True “balance” would see Couric interview around 1390 people whose daughters/spouses died from HPV-induced cancer for every mother who claims vaccine killed her daughter, and around 40,000 women who had no side effects from vaccine for every one that died following vaccine.

    That will be one mighty long Today episode. I doubt Orac has a DVR that could cope.

  15. #17 Dr trousers
    December 5, 2013

    Maybe … They’re all in the pockets of Big Cytology who don’t want to see their revenue stream (screening paps) disappear when the burden of disease is lowered to a point that the recommended pap schedule either spaces out to 10 years or is limited to only those women who have high risk HPV detected on non-invasive testing. It’s a conspiracy!! This injustice must be made public! How many women have died within months of their last Pap smear?!? Won’t someone think of the children?????

    Sarcasm btw.

  16. #18 AnObservingParty
    December 5, 2013

    I too was trying to give Dr. Harper the benefit of the doubt, but that may be the farthest she’s gone with benefit/risk/cost that I’ve ever seen. I’ve had pap smears, I hate pap smears, and I’m notoriously bad about going to the gyno, so I’ve gotten quite a few less than I should. I am young enough to have gotten the Gardasil series (oh, nothing happened, although I’d say my arm hurt on par with the HBV series). Getting the vaccine doesn’t mean I should stop getting paps, and I know that, I just really hate them. I’m the anecdotal poster child for why the HPV vax is important: lazy, semi-non-compliant older millennial.

    This is so upsetting. What if this were a vaccine for colon cancer? I feel terrible playing to that level, but if it were, would Katie have done this? Where were the suffers of cervical/H&N cancers? How about some obituaries of those killed by HPV-related cancers?

    The only good thing is there has been a lot of uproar. And Katie doing this is worse than Jenny’s shrill harpy voice. Not many people respect Jenny…a lot of people close to Jenny don’t respect Jenny’s opinion and have said so. But Katie is looked at as a semi-expert, or at least responsible.

  17. #20 Chris Hickie
    December 5, 2013

    @Dr. Trousers, #17– I think they are in the pocket of “Big Pappy” (anyone remember Pappy from “The Placebo Journal”?).

    The final sentence of the time.com article I. Rony Meter cites in #5 says it all: “The damage a former Playboy Bunny has been able to do is bad enough. But Couric’s misdeeds are all the worse given that she’s taken much more seriously than Jenny McCarthy.”

  18. #21 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    December 5, 2013

    Sorry but I’m too cynical to give Couric credit for any of her cancer awareness work. It’s all about ratings and PR which is the only logical consistency regarding her actions. This is precisely why I think it’s a bad idea to rely upon celebrities/talking heads to convey the “right” ideas. Even when they do, it’s almost always by accident.

  19. #22 Krebiozen
    December 5, 2013

    @Jeff #1 & 2,,
    I suggest you treat any scientific information from someone who thinks that Saccharomyces cerevisiae are bacteria with deep suspicion.

  20. #23 Dangerous Bacon
    December 5, 2013

    “Maybe … They’re all in the pockets of Big Cytology who don’t want to see their revenue stream (screening paps) disappear when the burden of disease is lowered to a point that the recommended pap schedule either spaces out to 10 years or is limited to only those women who have high risk HPV detected on non-invasive testing. It’s a conspiracy!! ”

    As a ranking member of Big Cytology, I think I speak for the great majority of pathologists who’d be happy to see a marked decline in the number of screening Paps. Despite the introduction of HPV testing, new screening guidelines and vaccines, I haven’t seen much of a drop in the workload.

  21. #24 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    December 5, 2013

    @Jay:

    it did strike me as a reasonable argument that it would be better to place gardasil dollars into making pap smears more available to women because at that time, 5 years ago, it was said the most effective treatment against cervical cancer and many other ailments was an annual pap smear.

    That was 5 years ago. We have 5 years of evidence for HPV vaccines and the evidence is overwhelmingly in favour of vaccinating.
    Here’s an analogy: house fires. Think of pap smears as smoke detectors and gardasil as fire prevention measures. The former alerts you when a fire breaks out, the latter lowers the risk that a fire will break out.

  22. #25 Dorit
    December 5, 2013

    Sorry, I have to say this, even if it doesn’t add to the discussion: what a powerful post. Thank you for speaking up.

  23. #26 AnObservingParty
    December 5, 2013

    @Jeff #1 & 2,,
    I suggest you treat any scientific information from someone who thinks that Saccharomyces cerevisiae are bacteria with deep suspicion.

    Maybe he got his information from the guy who said pertussis was a virus?

  24. #27 Denice Walter
    December 5, 2013

    Right, so the show gives Tarsell a microphone and time without mentioning her affiliation with the Canary Party, Mathis is allowed to talk about anonymous doctors without being followed up with questioning and Dr Marshall is given
    the promethean task of attempting to educate the audience after all of the preceding fol-de-rol. I hope she is well paid.

    The host presumably is concerned about cancer prevention and early detection – so how would enabling fearmongering advocates who discourage usage of a safe vaccine that prevents several forms of cancer be part of her agenda?

    Here’s a suggestion for a future guest ( BREAKING NEWS)

    Mike Adams reveals( to clear up rumours) that he’s been poisoned by low “accumulative” levels of toxic “elements”( metals) despite living a “pristine lifestyle” with “clean organics” and super-foods.
    Fortunately, he is excreting these poisons through his hair which already has contributed to a “brain awakening” and weight loss.

    Correct. He who has been telling people how to eat and selling products which he consumes himself now tells us he’s been poisoned. Why does this story sound vaguely familiar to me?
    Oh right.

  25. #28 Denice Walter
    December 5, 2013

    I’ve been trying to think of a way to phrase this-

    about ‘false balance’
    perhaps there might be a way to impress upon audiences that usually the anti-vaxxers/ woo-meisters represent their own personal experience and the opinion of a single person or a small group- in emotional fashion,
    whereas the scientist who presents data is usually speaking about consensus opinion ( of many people- experts) who review observations of thousands of subjects over decades ( research) with emotions conveniently extracted.

    Emotions might stack the deck towards recall of the material presented in that manner- we can inform audiences of that. Also the individual testimonies of anti-vaxxers are not independent of each other and “pure” but mutually influenced by highly partisan material ( websites, books).

    -btw- I hope you approve of my segue above – I like it better than ” OT but….” if I do say so myself.

  26. #29 lilady
    December 5, 2013

    Well, they are fussing and fuming at AoA, making all sorts of accusations about people who post safety studies of Gardasil vaccine and the scientific papers showing dramatic drops in HPV infections.

    I’ve been wondering why Diane Harper has taken this stance, since she is an “international expert on HPV and HPV prevention”. How embarrassing it must be for her, that (“non-expert”) science bloggers have come up with studies showing she is not just wrong, she is spectacularly wrong, about the efficacy of Gardasil and Pap smears.

    Harper comes off as a fool who will suffer the consequences of the well-deserved ridicule heaped on her by the science community.

  27. #30 Richard Smith
    December 5, 2013

    Why are all there all these regulations for fire-retardent materials? We have smoke detectors to alert us of fires, and firemen to put them out. Why bother trying to prevent them in the first place?

  28. #31 dingo199
    December 5, 2013

    Because there was someone who died in a car crash while driving his van home with a fire-retardant sofa in the back.
    These things are dangerous! No-one should run the risk of having to get them.

  29. #32 Mark Thorson
    December 5, 2013

    The Gardasil vaccine wouldn’t have a chemical structure if it was made by taking some HPV, diluting it in water, diluting that solution in more water, and continuing the process until there was not any HPV left. Isn’t that how they make it?

  30. […] the conversation has blown up all over the internet in the past 24 hours with many reporters and bloggers calling out Katie Couric and her producers for how poorly they’ve handled this important […]

  31. #34 Dangerous Bacon
    December 5, 2013

    “Mike Adams reveals( to clear up rumours) that he’s been poisoned by low “accumulative” levels of toxic “elements”( metals) despite living a “pristine lifestyle” with “clean organics” and super-foods.
    Fortunately, he is excreting these poisons”

    He’s been excreting poisons all over the Internet for a long time. Fortunately, sites like RI are good at detoxifying them.

  32. #35 Denice Walter
    December 5, 2013

    @ Dangerous Bacon:

    But now he claims that he’s p!ssing them out not just writing.

  33. #36 AK
    December 5, 2013

    Well, these cranks are succeeding; people like Jay in this comments thread think that Pap smears are “treatments.”

  34. #37 cia parker
    Missouri
    December 5, 2013

    Gardasil is an extremely dangerous vaccine, which has already been rejected in the court of public opinion. It includes only two cancer-causing serotypes, 16 and 18, when there are at least twelve other oncongenic strains not included in the vaccine. In clinical trials, vaccinated women got more precancerous lesions than women in the control group, just not types 16 or 18. There are many other types waiting to fill the gaps left by taking out the four serotypes in the vaccine. As Dr. Harper stated, 10-15% of girls have preexposure to HPV through vertical transmission from the mother or through horizontal, nonsexual skin contact. These girls have a greatly INCREASED risk of developing cancerous lesions, yet no effort is made to screen them out before vaccination, as it would be very expensive, and it’s so easy just to deny that whatever damage may occur was caused by the vaccine. HPV is not enough to cause cancer on its own: most sexually active people contract the virus, and over 99% of those clear it from their bodies with no treatment. In a small number it progresses to cancer when exacerbated by factors like smoking, vitamin deficiencies, or unprotected sex with several partners. Taking folic acid can cure cervical lesions when they occur. As Dr. Harper stated, rather than take all the risks of this vaccine, one can instead follow the new protocol of regular Pap tests combined with HPV DNA testing, and, if found early, these lesions have a 100% cure rate. Katie’s web site now has hundreds of comments by families whose children were severely damaged or killed by the vaccine, with hundreds more both by anti-vaxxers and vaccine defenders. (The vaccine defenders have lost, for, as much as they say that no vaccine damage can ever be proven to have been caused by a vaccine, most people do not make important decisions like this on such a basis.)

  35. #38 Shay
    December 5, 2013

    @AK — ‘zackly.

    When you equate pap smears with vaccines you’re mixing apples and oranges…hell, not even oranges.

  36. #39 dingo199
    December 5, 2013

    And I forgot to add, Pap smears do not detect HPV induced adenocarcinomas of the cervix.
    Yet another reason to get the vaccine and not just rely on smears.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20949623

  37. #40 Khani
    December 5, 2013

    So instead of preventing illness, people are saying it’s better to let the illness happen and detect it after it’s happened through an extremely uncomfortable, possibly embarrassing (a STRANGER is poking around in there) and quite painful procedure that has to be repeated over and over again.

    Just so that it can be treated early.

    Instead of preventing it.

    Because treating it is better than preventing it.

    Can I just say, what the EVER-LOVING HELL.

  38. #41 Shay
    December 5, 2013

    Khani…you haven’t lived until you’ve had a Navy flight surgeon do your pap.

    (He was the only doc available at the time and he was inflnitely more embarassed about it than I was).

  39. #42 Andrew S.
    December 5, 2013

    Apparently she’s going to “address the controversy” on tomorrow’s episode. For some reason that fills me with dread.

  40. #43 Roadstergal
    Slightly beside myself
    December 5, 2013

    Anti-vaxxers: “Better a pound of cure than an ounce of prevention!”

  41. #44 Chris HIckie
    December 5, 2013

    Orac-as the all knowing computer, can you tell me why my posts to AoA’s site almost always get blocked but when people from AoA post here, they never get blocked? And why do they call us the bullies when we can’t play in their yard?

  42. #45 dingo199
    December 5, 2013

    It’s some quantum entanglement thing, Chris.

  43. #46 Alain
    December 5, 2013

    Chris Hickie,

    Because they project what they are!

    Captain’O

  44. #47 Dangerous Bacon
    December 5, 2013

    Oh great, a cia parker invasion (don’t miss her flying monkey droppings in Amazon reviews of virtually any book that is factual and rational on the subject of vaccines).

    it’s part of the typical antivaxer shtick to emphasize relatively low odds of worst case scenarios (cancer and/or death) and ignore suffering, permanent disability, inconvenience and high medical costs associated with avoiding preventative medical care that includes immunization. For instance, we currently have no way of knowing which HPV infections are going to be cleared by the body without progressing to high grade dysplasia and cancer, so repeat testing, colposcopy and invasive and painful medical procedures which can result in sterility and other complications are necessary to prevent invasive cancer. But cia parker evidently thinks that’s way preferable to Evil Vaccination which prevents HPV infection from taking hold in the first place.

    “Pap smears do not detect HPV induced adenocarcinomas of the cervix.”

    As a pathologist, I’d amend this to “Pap tests aren’t that reliable at picking up pre-invasive glandular lesions of the cervix”, at least in comparison to their record in detecting squamous lesions.

    Pap tests have saved a ton of lives, but depending on them to the exclusion of a valuable means of _preventing_ HPV infection (vaccines) makes no sense.

  45. #48 dingo199
    December 5, 2013

    And that’s another stupid trope (“Immunity only lasts 5 years!”)
    Firstly, the studies (as Orac points out) indicate that these time limits indicate how long studies have stretched out for (and at that time interval immune responses remain at more that 90%, so are likely to be durable for many years beyond that), but the stupid idiots have failed to appreciate that even if immunity is shown to significantly wane, then you can easily get a booster at that stage.
    Duh!

  46. #49 lilady
    December 5, 2013

    CIA Parker comes here spreading her brain droppings about Gardasil vaccine.

    Why is it so difficult for Parker to understand that the quadrivalent Gardasil vaccine is protective against 70 % of the serotypes of HPVs, implicated in cervical cancer?

    Why is it so difficult for Parker to understand that prevention of precancerous and cancerous lesions are far more beneficial for a young woman, than having to undergo colposcopy procedures that impact the ability of a young woman to carry a fetus to term…rather than multiple pregnancies that result in fetal loss?

    Parker, why do you want young woman to die from cervical cancers and why do you want young woman to be rendered unable to carry pregnancies to term?

  47. #50 Christine (the Public Servant Christine)
    December 5, 2013

    But lilady, CIA Parker says that folic acid can cure cervical lesions when they occur! She wouldn’t have said that if it wasn’t true, would she? Would she? /sarcasm

  48. #51 Antaeus Feldspar
    December 5, 2013

    Another thing to consider is that immunity for five years is nothing to sneeze at.

    Suppose for the sake of argument that immunity lasts for 5 years, no more, no less. Let’s also say that that’s five years out of a period of sexual activity lasting, say, 35 years. Furthermore, let’s say that the vaccine is only 90% effective (just pulling these figures out of the air) and that only 90% of the sexually active population gets it.

    That’s still preventing over 11% of HPV transmission. How much HPV transmission is prevented by Pap smears? Uh, NONE.

  49. #52 Denice Walter
    December 5, 2013

    @ Chris Hickie:

    Well, I’m not an all-knowing computer** but….
    perhaps so that they can then say that you refuse to answer the questions they put to you?
    Which they do.

    At any rate, I can’t understand how people without enough training to be able to evaluate medical research themselves can dismiss someone like you when it comes to children’s health or like Orac when it concerns cancer- as well as for general scientific information. Yet they hang on antivaxxers’/ woo-meisters’ every word.

    Now if their car wouldn’t work would they go to an MBA or a nutritionist? No, they would go straight to a mechanic who specialised in the type of car they owned or in the particular problem they had. Cars are apparently valuable.

    Perhaps they feel uncomfortable having an expert in charge of health issues and would prefer someone who is as ill-educated as they themselves are. Doesn’t hurt their self-esteem.

    At AoA, you are the new star whipping boy along with the newest target of choice, Dorit Reiss.They are so angry at you two that they’ve almost forgot lilady. And I haven’t heard very much about that journalist, BD, either.

    ** just a know-it-all android.

  50. #53 Denice Walter
    December 5, 2013

    @ Christine ( the Public Servant Christine):

    Believe it or not, I seem to recall that there is research that implicates high dosage of b-vitamins like folic acid in cancer.( @ Harriet Hall)

  51. #54 Chris,
    December 5, 2013

    Ms. Parker: ” (The vaccine defenders have lost, for, as much as they say that no vaccine damage can ever be proven to have been caused by a vaccine, most people do not make important decisions like this on such a basis.)”

    Like the decision you made to assume your child had encephalopathy, but never ever called a doctor, much less take her to a neurologist.

    As a parent of a child who has had seizures, I have absolutely no respect for your “decisions” and opinions.

  52. #55 Dorit
    December 5, 2013

    I’m finding myself hoping that the vigorous, informed pro-vaccine response – thank you, Orac – will give us a chance to publicize the new data on this vaccine’s safety and effectiveness and help point out the incredible weakness of the stories, some of which – as pointed out above – not only have no evidence they were caused by the vaccine, but have other, more plausible causes (thank you for the information about heart conditions, Chris). Maybe this new attention to the HPV is an opportunity in disguise to dispel the false claims that have had the stage for so long and highlight its safety and effectiveness.

    Or maybe that’s optimistically naive. But I was impressed by the strong, informed, quick respond from so many directions.

  53. #56 Dorit
    December 5, 2013

    Make that informed response from mainstream sources. The extreme anti-vaccine sites and people, of course, repeated their usual claims.

  54. #57 Chris,
    December 5, 2013

    Dorit: “Or maybe that’s optimistically naive. But I was impressed by the strong, informed, quick respond from so many directions.”

    There seems to be a bit of fallout from all sorts of mainstream news sources like the LA Times, and this beauty from Time Magazine: Is Katie Couric The Next Jenny McCarthy?.

    And about the heart issues, it was certainly a learning experience for us when he was diagnosed when he was fourteen years old. There is a website about that particular genetic heart condition, and it has a forum. I read the forum once, and have never been back. It was too depressing since it had too many stories of their children suffering “sudden cardiac death”, sometimes in their sleep.

    But it makes so grateful we caught it in time, and that last year he had surgery for it. He is doing so much better. It has been almost two years without a 911 call to our house!

  55. #58 Dorit Reiss
    December 5, 2013

    I can’t imagine how scary that could be. And I wish some of the parents who lost their girls would be open to listening to you. Because blaming the vaccine is as bad for them as it is for those thru scare from it: they must feel guilty, betrayed and angry all at once. And they don’t deserve that, on top of the pain of losing a child.

  56. #59 Dorit Reiss
    December 5, 2013

    I’m glad your child is doing better.

  57. #60 Chris
    December 5, 2013

    Oh, but we got to go to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota!

    Okay, it is a very strange place and I could have lived without going there. There is a reason that “may you live in interesting times” is actually a curse. (Though the folks in Rochester, MN do their best to make sure your stay is as pleasant as it can be under very stressful conditions!… especially both of their travel agents!… who work in a small windowless office off of a twisty little passage way)

    So in all sincerity, thank you.

  58. #61 Militant Agnostic
    Where "Fargo" film crews park across my driveway and idle all day long
    December 6, 2013

    @ORAC

    Couric’s producers and Couric herself were far more interested in “human interest” and controversy ratings and advertising revenue than actual medical and scientific accuracy.

  59. #62 Julian Frost
    Thinking of Madiba
    December 6, 2013

    @CIA Parker:

    Gardasil is an extremely dangerous vaccine,

    Citation needed, and from a valid source.

    which has already been rejected in the court of public opinion.

    Citation needed.

    It includes only two cancer-causing serotypes, 16 and 18

    Which are known to be the most dangerous, and other vaccines targeting more serotypes are in development.

    clinical trials, vaccinated women got more precancerous lesions than women in the control group, just not types 16 or 18.

    Citation DEFINITELY needed. And nothing from Tomljenovic or Shaw.

    As Dr. Harper stated, 10-15% of girls have preexposure to HPV through vertical transmission from the mother or through horizontal, nonsexual skin contact…yet no effort is made to screen them out before vaccination, as it would be very expensive

    Probably the first accurate thing you’ve said in your screed.

    and it’s so easy just to deny that whatever damage may occur was caused by the vaccine.

    Citation needed for your claim that the vaccine causes damage.

    HPV is not enough to cause cancer on its own

    CItation DEFINITELY needed.

    most sexually active people contract the virus, and over 99% of those clear it from their bodies with no treatment.

    Citation needed.

    [O]ne can instead follow the new protocol of regular Pap tests combined with HPV DNA testing, and, if found early, these lesions have a 100% cure rate

    I’ve read the comments on this thread. I’m really glad that I will never need to undergo a pap smear. Secondly, how regular is regular? Finally, “if found early”. In a lot of cases, the lesions are not found early.

    Katie’s web site now has hundreds of comments by families whose who erroneously believe that their children were severely damaged or killed by the vaccine.

    FTFY. Anecdotes are not data, Cia.

  60. #63 Militant Agnostic
    December 6, 2013

    @Denice

    Fortunately, he (Mike Adams) is excreting these poisons through his hair which already has contributed to a “brain awakening” and weight loss.

    If his Mike Adams’ brain woke up, it would probably try to escape.

    I wonder if he manged to acquire a toxic load of heavy metals via Ayurvedic potions or some “natural” crap or whether the grifter has himself been conned one of those bogus lab tests the woosters use. The ones that guarantee a positive result every time.

  61. #64 Chris,
    December 6, 2013

    Oh, my word.. the thread at ShotOfPrevention has become almost as depressing as the forum for my son’s cardiac condition:
    http://shotofprevention.com/2013/12/05/victims-katie-couric-neglected-to-mention-in-her-discussion-of-hpv

    Yikes! Too many women with this kind of preventable cancer. How do we stop it?

  62. #65 Dorit Reiss
    December 6, 2013

    Vaccinate?

  63. #66 Chris
    December 6, 2013

    Um, yes, we vaccinate.

    My feeble engineer mind thinks it is better to prevent than to treat.

    Anyone with contrary evidence are welcome to post their peer reviewed scientific literature. But I will tell you from personal anecdotal evidence that having a mom die when one is only is eleven years old truly sucks. It is not something I would recommend.

  64. #67 Julian Frost
    December 6, 2013

    If his [Mike Adams’] brain woke up, it would probably try to escape.

    LOL! Love it Militant Agnostic!

  65. #68 lilady
    December 6, 2013

    CIA: As the parent of a child whose first seizure occurred in the NICU when he was 20 hours old, which required resuscitation, I have no respect for you and your labeling of your child as “vaccine damaged”.

    Scroll down this page to see where Katy Couric’s representative states that Katie will be addressing the controversy that her HPV program generated, on Friday December 6th’s show:

    http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/tv/showtracker/la-et-st-katie-couric-hpv-vaccine-20131204,0,4561911.story#axzz2mfeIbsKk

    “Updated at 1:08 p.m. Dec. 5: A representative of “Katie” said that Couric will address the controversy on Friday’s show.”

  66. #69 Chris
    At my financial computer...
    December 6, 2013

    …oh, crud, I can’t do family finances since my eyes are clouded with tears.

    Do not ever think the pain from losing one’s mother fades after several decades. It does not. I am turning off my financial computer (most of the time I post from the kitchen computer), and going to go read a library book. Though it depends on how much I can see through the tears.

  67. #70 Helianthus
    December 6, 2013

    Just for splitting hairs, regardless of the actual degree of true of the statement itself:

    most sexually active people contract the virus, and over 99% of those clear it from their bodies with no treatment.

    Since a lot of people are sexually active (all the ones who had children, for a start), 1% of this number is still an awful lot of suffering people.
    But as long as it’s no-one you like, I guess it’s OK.

  68. #71 Chris Hickie
    December 6, 2013

    They also think that 1/500 to 1/1000 chance of dying or being left permanently vegetative from measles is just hunky dory, too. They think this of course because they are (all on their own, of course, because everyone else is just not as smart as brilliant as they are) battling something that’s 1 in 150 or was it 1 in 110 or 1 in 88 or 1 in 30 or whatever damn number they feel like making up now–so who cares about all those other things that might happen to people.

  69. #72 palindrom
    December 6, 2013

    Flying monkey alert!

    Over at Huffington Post, there’s an article on the front page about how the CDC is reporting a sharp upward spike of measles cases this year — something like 170 rather than a typical 60 or so — and the comments section is predictably starting to light up.

  70. #73 Chris Hickie
    December 6, 2013

    Back in September, this CNN article (http://us.cnn.com/2013/09/12/health/worst-measles-year/index.html) noted the CDC was predicting this would be the worst year for measles in the US in 17 years. Of course, the dimwitted Sears family of “doctors”, doesn’t think this is any big deal: http://www.askdrsears.com/news/sears-family-blog/measles-outbreaks-reason-panic.

  71. #74 AnObservingParty
    December 6, 2013

    When I saw that blog post last month I almost had a stroke. Dr. Bob left out the part where there have only been 2 major outbreaks this year because the rest of us are vaccinated, so the parasites should be grateful.

    OT, but is anything ever really OT here: I just discovered Andy is on Twitter. Did we know that?

  72. #75 Darwy
    Røde grøde med fløde
    December 6, 2013

    @Chris of course he doesn’t mind measles – because in his little world it’s only ‘other people’s children’ that get it (never mind the obvious).

    He is so disconnected from reality it’s truly astonishing.

  73. #76 dingo199
    December 6, 2013

    Not too worried by the ranting of the antivaxers just now.

    In ten years the whole of America will be laughing at them and their ridiculous notions.

  74. #77 Denice Walter
    December 6, 2013

    AoA has put up a transcript of Couric’s show. The resident doctor ( identified as ‘Malika’) gets to speak at the end.

  75. #78 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    December 6, 2013

    I put a post up this morning about Couric’s show. Also, there have been some reports that she will revisit the topic today in her Follow Up Friday segment. We’ll see if she acts like a responsible journalist or tries to shift responsibility away from herself.

  76. #79 LIz Ditz
    Honoring Madiba
    December 6, 2013

    At the Daily Kos

    What we have here is not a story about Katie Couric and her producers going for a sensationalistic story and misfiring. What we have here is another instance of the profession’s ongoing scientific illiteracy, an illiteracy that leads to a great many quacks and cranks and great mountains of professional and well-paid bullshit artists being propped up as public experts whose testimony must be given exactly as much weight as concrete, measurable evidence to the contrary. It is excruciatingly damaging. It can kill people.

  77. #80 Orac
    December 6, 2013

    Unfortunately, I forgot to set the DVR to record her show today; so I won’t be able to comment on her “reaction to the controversy” unless it’s posted online.

  78. #81 Richard Smith
    December 6, 2013

    Just wondering: How much does a pap smear cost, and how much does a shot of the HPV vaccination cost? If the former costs more than the latter, or repeated tests add up to more over the same period covered by the vaccine, could somene who is advocating against vaccination in favour of the tests (not that I could name anyone specifically, of course!) be thought of as working for Big Pap?

  79. #82 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    December 6, 2013

    @Orac

    It looks like her Follow Up Friday segments are generally posted online.

  80. #83 lilady
    December 6, 2013

    I’m recording today’s Katie Couric show today ABC-TV at 3 PM EDT and will provide the verbatim statement she makes…as if she could ever regain the respect that she has lost.

  81. #84 Ren
    December 6, 2013

    @Richard Smith

    It’s not just the one pap smear. It’s the one positive or questionable that requires follow-up. That follow-up will cost money and it will also cost an unquantifiable amount of worry and concern. Plenty of women in my family and friends have had abnormal smears that need follow-up. The amount of stress this caused them, including missing time from work, makes the calculation of cost-benefit between HPV vaccine and traditional paps all sorts of confounded.

  82. #85 Johanna
    December 6, 2013

    So… the ill-informed, panic-causing segment gets broadcast on national telly, but the follow-up only goes online?

    This reminds me of gossip rags publishing retractions to front-page stories on page 47, beneath the ads for surgical trusses. *sigh*

  83. #86 AnObservingParty
    December 6, 2013

    as if she could ever regain the respect that she has lost

    More than one article has distinctly compared her to Jenny and exclaimed she’s worse. Is it even possible to come back from that?

  84. #87 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    December 6, 2013

    @Johanna

    No, I think the follow-up is a segment of her Friday shows. The show web site has clips of various past Follow Up Friday segments. I don’t think it will be the full episode, but it will be broadcast, if the reports are accurate and she or “a representative of the show” do respond.

  85. #88 Johanna
    December 6, 2013

    @Todd W.

    Aah, thank you for the clarification.

  86. #89 Krebiozen
    December 6, 2013

    In clinical trials, vaccinated women got more precancerous lesions than women in the control group, just not types 16 or 18.

    I believe Cia Parker, is referring to a single subgroup of women who already had HPV infections, in a single clinical trial, and according to the FDA (PDF), “there is some evidence that this represented an unbalanced subgroup where Gardasil™ recipients at baseline had more risk factors for development of CIN 2/3 or worse”.. Other clinical trials have not confirmed this, and a recent clinical trial found that HPV vaccines are 100% effective against CIN3+ (that’s the immediate precursor to invasive cervical cancer) associated with HPV-16/18 in women without previous infection, and 45·7% effective if you include women with a previous infection (a good argument for giving the vaccine before sexual activity starts). Adverse reactions in that study were almost identical in both treatment and control groups.

  87. #90 dingo199
    December 6, 2013

    Anyone have a link to the Huffpo article?
    I can’t seem to find it.

  88. #91 lilady
    December 6, 2013

    dingo 199 the measles outbreaks article is on the front page of the “Healthy Living” section at the Ho-Po, here:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/05/measles-cases-us-triple-annual-average_n_4392420.html

  89. #92 Lawrence
    December 6, 2013

    That comment section is surprisingly sane….wow.

  90. #93 lilady
    December 6, 2013

    I wasted an entire hour viewing “Katie” on TV. There was not attempt to explain, no apology, no nonpology…and no backing down.

    As the credits began to roll at the end of the program there was a notice put up directing the viewer to this discussion:

    http://katiecouric.com/features/hpv-conversation-continued/

  91. #94 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    December 6, 2013

    @lilady

    Worse than expected. I saw that blurb earlier and thought it was pretty lame, but that there’d still be something on the show. I doubt Couric actually wrote any of that blurb; probably written by a producer or other staff.

  92. […] shied away from the Katie Couric/HPV vaccination thing because it’s been covered by luminaries too numerous to list.However, I have noticed a defensive post regarding her misleading show on her […]

  93. #96 dingo199
    December 6, 2013

    ta lilady!

  94. #97 Narad
    December 6, 2013

    More than one article has distinctly compared her to Jenny and exclaimed she’s worse. Is it even possible to come back from that?

    Barbara Walters is still retiring, after all.

  95. #98 AnObservingParty
    December 6, 2013

    That comment section is surprisingly sane….wow.

    Give it time.

  96. #99 AnObservingParty
    December 6, 2013

    Also, Katie’s “response…” despicable. You know who avidly reads things like that? People like us and anti-vaxxers. The silent majority who is rational but not necessarily scientifically literate really doesn’t, or doesn’t think it matters much until they are required to make the decision, and will remember the emotionally charged message. Damage done.

  97. #100 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    December 6, 2013

    Just wondering: How much does a pap smear cost, and how much does a shot of the HPV vaccination cost? If the former costs more than the latter, or repeated tests add up to more over the same period covered by the vaccine, could somene who is advocating against vaccination in favour of the tests (not that I could name anyone specifically, of course!) be thought of as working for Big Pap?

    @ Richard Smith, you’re comparing apples to oranges as the former is a detection method whereas the latter is a (theoretical) preventative. How about comparing the costs of a colposcopy plus LEEP and/or chemotherapy, costs of loss of child-bearing capability or need of c-section for birth to the cost of the vaccine series. Let’s not forget about throat/penile/anal cancers and genital warts caused by HPV strains contained within the vaccine. Now you are closer to the mark.

  98. […] Orac, Respectful Insolence: “Katie Couric on the HPV vaccine: Antivaccine or irresponsible journalist? You be the judge!” […]

  99. #102 Denice Walter
    December 7, 2013

    Well, Dan Olmstead has his knickers in a bunch about “vaccine injury denialists” who make use of the “Vioxx defense” of Gardisil at Couric’s website- esp our own lilady and Dorit Reiss who are both described in less than gracious fashion.

    I find the usage of the term ‘denialism’ rather ironically funny.

  100. #103 lilady
    December 7, 2013

    Denice Walter:

    Dan’s remarks are too good to not reproduce here…

    “Now another Merck vaccine, Gardasil, is getting the Vioxx defense. Shrieking trolls like the aptly named “lilady” (I pronounce it lie-lady) and law professors who’ve never passed the bar exam clutter up Katie Couric’s website to dispute every parental account of damage from the vaccine, including the deaths of children.”

    Memo to Olmsted: I’ll give you a $1,000 for every comment of mine that you locate on “Katie Couric’s website”.

    Tsk, tsk Dan. Any junior editor knows he should check at least visit “Katie Couric’s website” to verify what your source(s) told you.

  101. #104 Krebiozen
    December 7, 2013

    What is “the Vioxx defense”? I always like to point out that even a high dose of Vioxx, a highly effective drug, had considerably fewer cardiovascular adverse events associated with it (73% increase in risk of acute MI n = 113,927) than calcium supplements taken alone (139% increase in risk of acute MI n = 23,980).

    Gardasil, in contrast, has no increase in serious adverse events associated with it at all. See for example (no link to avoid moderation) PMID: 23027469 which studied 189,629 females who received at least 1 dose of Gardasil and compared possible reactions on the same day, within 14 days and within 60 days of vaccination to a time period distant from the date of vaccination. This study design eliminates the complaints from antivaxxers when other vaccines or just adjuvants are used as controls, that these also cause reactions.

    The only statistically significant increases seen in this study were fainting the same day as the vaccine, and skin infections within 14 days.

    BTW, perhaps the ‘lilady defense’ will now be used to mean you have undeniable evidence that you were not at the scene of the ‘crime’, and the person who claims you were there is lying ;-)

  102. #105 lilady
    December 7, 2013

    @ Krebiozen: I have no idea what the “Vioxx defense” is. In fact, I don’t recall ever mentioning “Vioxx” in any of my comments, anywhere.

    Where’s Dan? Too busy e-mailing the person(s) who fed him those lies?

  103. #106 brian
    December 7, 2013

    The only statistically significant increases seen in this study were fainting the same day as the vaccine, and skin infections within 14 days.

    Since benign neurogenic syncope (fainting) peaks in adolescence and is more common among women than men, you’d get the same results if you examined blood draws or laceration repair instead of vaccination in Gardasil’s target population. [J Am Coll Cardiol. 1997 Apr;29(5):1039-45.]

  104. #107 Ren
    December 7, 2013

    It must be so, so sad to live in Dan Olmsted’s tiny, little world. His rant is all personal, no substance.

  105. #108 lilady
    December 7, 2013

    I’m getting lonely at this blog where CIA Parker and her sockies/cronies have been posting around-the-clock:

    http://ideas.time.com/2013/12/04/is-katie-couric-the-next-jenny-mccarthy/#comments

  106. #109 Shay
    December 7, 2013

    The only statistically significant increases seen in this study were fainting the same day as the vaccine

    I seem to remember they were dropping like flies during my induction physical. The sight of a needle does something to teenage boys.

  107. #110 Narad
    December 7, 2013

    The only statistically significant increases seen in this study were fainting the same day as the vaccine….

    Which is why all VAERS entries that can remotely be connected to syncope or something similar are immediately validated.

  108. #111 Sarah A
    December 7, 2013

    @ lilady

    I’ve got your back :)

  109. #112 Dorit Reiss
    December 8, 2013

    This post by Dr. Gunter – describing Dr. Harper’s work on a study that shows at least one HPV vaccine lasts longer than five years – may be of interest. http://drjengunter.wordpress.com/2013/12/07/the-real-hpv-controversy-from-katie-courics-show-her-expert/

  110. #113 lilady
    December 8, 2013

    Thanks to you all who had my back.

    Dorit, I’ve just posted a comment on Dr. Gunter’s blog and I’ve “bookmarked” her excellent post, for future reference.

  111. #114 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    December 8, 2013

    lilady – perhaps Dan Olmstead was only thinking of people LIKE you, not you specifically…

    “We appreciate people like you – not you, but people like you.”

  112. #115 Denice Walter
    December 8, 2013

    Jake criticises critics of Couric’s show and Harper ( like Matt Herper @ Forbes) – see AutismInvestigated.com- in the manner in which he is habituated.

  113. #116 lilady
    December 8, 2013

    One of the posters on AoA stated that I may be “Autism Diva”…which to me is compliment.

    That offer still stands for Olmsted, or anyone, who locates any posts by me on ‘Katie Couric’s website” ($1,000 a pop, per comment of mine).

    Denise, I’ve commented on Matthew Herpe’s and Emily Willingham’s Forbes blogs about Katie Couric’s show.

  114. #117 Narad
    December 8, 2013

    perhaps Dan Olmstead was only thinking of people LIKE you, not you specifically…

    I haven’t noticed this level of precision in word usage, which even Fowler didn’t observe, in his prose efforts so far. (The Washington Post ought to, since Bill Walsh recommends it.)

  115. #118 dingo199
    December 8, 2013

    Lilady – over on the Time thread, you have misread Sarah’s post. Like she said here – she’s got your back.

  116. #119 lilady
    December 8, 2013

    dingo199: I know I misread Sarah’s post…I already apologized on the Time blog.

    BTW, CIA “mentioned” Olmsted’s post and I posted my same offer to CIA, John Stone and any of the other posters; $1,000 apiece for each of the comments I made “on Katy Couric’s websites”.

  117. #120 lilady
    December 8, 2013

    Here’s another blog where CIA and other anti-vaccine trolls are spreading their brain droppings. I posted two comments yesterday with links and the comments went into moderation…so do not link to any studies:

    http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/steps-authentic-happiness-positive-psychology/2013/dec/5/vaccine-disinformation-katie-couric-hpv-and-jenny-/

  118. #121 Joyous Times
    December 9, 2013

    I have been away from your crank site for awhile now. I must say… I have been absolutely thrilled with the recognition that this latest HPV vaccine nightmare has created… While saddened / devastated by all the deaths and injuries that this vaccine has caused. Finally, we are seeing parents who are speaking up and are being taken seriously about their children’s injuries. It is so much more difficult to ignore a teenager who dies or is injured by vaccines… because people knew that child previously as a healthy child, active child, etc… When a baby is injured / damaged / dies from a vaccine too easy to chalk it up to an unhealthy child or genetic problems, etc. Joyous times we are in! People are waking up. Too bad for you nutjobs!

  119. #122 Shay
    December 9, 2013

    The reception by public and the media for Couric’s dismal attempt at science reporting has been resoundingly negative.

    By what feat of mental gymnastics do you see this as a win?

  120. #123 Julian Frost
    December 10, 2013

    Joyous times we are in! People are waking up.

    Indeed they are. They are waking up to the fact that vaccine preventable diseases are killers and that the vaccine schedule wasn’t put together by some bored doctor throwing darts at pieces of paper on a wall. They are now aware that the antivaccination groups are fools and liars and that getting vaccinated is an order of magnitude safer than getting the diseases they prevent.

  121. #124 lilady
    December 10, 2013

    Joyous Times…Christmas came early for pro-vaccine/pro-science people.

    Couric’s show was a public relations disaster for her. We have had the opportunity to present studies about the safety of HPV vaccines and the dramatically fewer cases of HPV infections for the young women who received HPV vaccines.

  122. #125 dingo199
    December 10, 2013

    Cognitive dissonance – never lacking in the antivax mindset.

  123. #126 AnObservingParty
    December 10, 2013

    The reception by public

    That has been the most uplifting. The public at large, not just doctors, reporters, etc, did at huge “WHAT IS SHE DOING?!?” when that show aired. And this is something many women still have experience with, cone biopsies and LEEP procedures and laser ablations. It warms my heart when antivax sentiment goes center stage and the backlash is immediate. We’ve seen a lot of it this year.

  124. #127 Greg
    December 10, 2013

    Drug-dealers,

    You know me — always telling it as it is!

    I would have to agree with Joyous Times that the Katie Couric’s HPV show was a victory for the anti-vaxxers. Yes, there were ensuing blogs and articles slamming the show, but they came across merely as vested interest desperately trying to combat ‘the cat getting out of the bag’.

    Reading the comments in reaction to these blogs and articles, we get the true picture. We have a few obvious shills posting lost of comments defending the HPV vaccine and criticizing the show. While on the other side, we have an overwhelming mass of parents sharing their sincere beliefs of how HPV damaged and killed their children, and expressing their utmost gratitude to Katie for airing the show. I imagine also that the show’s ratings would indicate a boonfest, suggesting that the public is appreciative of the message that departs from the usual ‘vaccine are safe and effective so shut-up’ meme.

    Guys, I think it’s back to the drawing board for you. (Hee hee hee).

  125. #128 Joyous Times
    December 10, 2013

    I know that you guys tend to hang out together in these crank sites and so your opinion is skewed that way but… in the real world this is a huge smackdown for you. Real people whose children have been injured by this vaccine, a researcher who was instrumental in the vaccine being put out there discussing it’s problems … all these people on national tv discussing it. It’s amazing and wonderful. Joyous times, indeed! You are crazy to say that the public at large (with doctors and reporters, etc) said “What is she doing”? Absolutely nutso comment. Only the crank sites are saying that… Real people are listening and saying “yes, finally” or “I wonder if there is some truth to all this”. Either way, you lose! The amount of parents / children who came forward on the Katie blogs to discuss their own or their children’s injuries from this vaccine was amazing to me. So many people know and the circle will only get larger… Wonderful to see. Now a few other points for you all:

    1) You look like idiots when you mock and trivialize parents who have concerns about this vaccine… especially when their children have been injured by it.

    2) You look like idiots when you continuously call some of these parents “anti-vaccine nuts”. Are you for real? Ha Ha… It is quite obvious that the parents whose children were injured by this vaccine did not start out as “anti-vaccine”… Can we agree? Anyone with even the slightest question about vaccines would not have had their child vaccinated with this new and unproven vaccine… These parents were not “anti-vaccine” UNTIL their children were injured. Duh!

    3) Does Kathy from Australia hang out on this crank site? OMG so funny that she posted a link to a study by a fugitive of the law (embezzlement)… Then criticized others for not following the Science. Wow. Just Wow!

  126. #129 Lawrence
    December 10, 2013

    @Joyous – any more rants for anti-vaccine bingo? Because you’re hitting all of the “right” notes to show just how detached from reality you are….

  127. #130 Dangerous Bacon
    December 10, 2013

    The comment “Ha Ha” is good for extra points.

  128. #131 Julian Frost
    December 10, 2013

    You are crazy to say that the public at large (with doctors and reporters, etc) said “What is she doing”?

    I just googled “katie couric criticism” and got a bunch of hits from sources condemning Couric. The public at large IS slamming her.
    Secondly, Tarsell’s story raises a lot of questions.

    this new and unproven vaccine

    Gardasil has been thoroughly tested. It is most assuredly not “unproven”.

    OMG so funny that she posted a link to a study by a fugitive of the law (embezzlement)…

    1) Poul Thorsen is not even the First Author on that study.
    2) The charges appear to be going nowhere. It doesn’t look like Thorsen committed fraud.
    All you have said is unsupported ranting.

  129. #132 AnObservingParty
    December 10, 2013

    @ Lawrence

    Another cover all!

    And, just for fun, Only the crank sites are saying that… Yes, Time, the New York Times, just about every major newspaper, Nature, JAMA, CDC, NEJM, APIC, SHEA, IDSA, AAP, ACIP, NYDOH, recently NYS lawmakers….99.99% of healthcare, that church who did a heel-face-turn and opened up vaccine clinic after they were hit with an outbreak and became a laughing stock…and that’s just in the US! Of course, the biggest, most wide-reaching is The WHO…cranks we all be!

    No, we don’t agree. While they may not have been actively anti-vaccine, usually those who fall prey to conspiracy are pre-disposed to conspiracy and feeling they are being persecuted.

  130. #133 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    December 10, 2013

    @Joyous Times

    a researcher who was instrumental in the vaccine being put out there discussing it’s problems

    You mean the researcher whose own papers state that immunity lasts at least five years. Not only five years like she said on Katie’s show, at least five years, and in the face of other research showing that Gardasil protects for at least 6 years and Cervarix at least 9 years. And those limits are only there because the studies ended and did not continue following subjects until the vaccine would, if ever, wear off.

  131. #134 dingo199
    December 10, 2013

    There is currently an inordinate amount of straw-clutching that permeates the antivax sphere. Perhaps this is a sign of their desperation in what for them are very lean times.

    Whenever there is anything published in any media outlet that even mentions the idea of a “controversy” or hints at a vaccine problem draws the antivaxers like blowflies to a dead carcass, and they mistakenly think that this aberration represents the “real world”.

    Yet IRL, the vast majority of people just get on with their usual practise of getting their kids vaccinated, trusting their doctors, and following the sensible advice they are given. Hardly any of these people stoop to flood websites with comments about how wonderful vaccines are. It has been gratifying how much adverse comment people likeKatie Couric has attracted. But it is sometimes possible that the perception of someone dipping into one of these websites is that there are many people moaning about harmful effects of vaccines. However, the majority of them are the “flying monkey antivax brigade”, sent scurrying to the sites by sites such as Age of Autism, Nachural Noos, Mercola et al, and it isn’t hard to see multiple trolling by numerous antivax sockpuppets. That people like “Joyous Times” (probably a sock for a long time antivax troll well known to us under their other nyms) think this delusional view of the situation to be representative of the situation in real life for 99%+ of Americans would be very amusing, were it not so deeply tragic.

    PS. I don’t know who Kathy is, but I assume she referred to the Danish scientific papers co-authored by Dr Thorsen. Good on her.
    I have these points to make:
    1. Thorsen was only one of numerous authors of several Danish MMR studies, all of which are scientifically valid and have withstood intense scrutiny.
    2. His alleged embezzelment of funds allegedly occurred sometime after he completed those studies, it remains unproven, and it is quite unconnected with the substance of the research.
    3. His alleged activity was one of alleged financial irregularity, not of scientific fraud, so has no bearing on the conclusions of those studies.
    4. Antivaxers like to claim with one breath that Thorsen’s papers are invalid, yet with the next breath that Wakefield’s autism/MMR studies are scientifically sound, despite the facts that Wakefield’s studies were withdrawn by the journal that published them, he was struck off the medical register for gross professional misconduct and neglect of the interests of patients in his studies, and that his work has been declared medically and scientifically fraudulent. He was paid $750,000 in order to fabricate a case against MMR by litigation lawyers, and failed to even mention this conflict of interest to his co-researchers, never mind declaring it when he submitted his papers. And there were also financial irregularities too – at least £25,000 went missing from a research grant and he claimed he didn’t know where it went. So if antivaxers are happy with this sort of behavior from researchers, I wonder why Thorsen’s alleged offense (which pales to nothing in comparison with those of the fraudster Wakefield) seems to rile them so much. Now if you want to have a laugh, Joyous Times, then have a look at Wakefield. He is funny.

  132. #135 Joyous Times
    December 10, 2013

    “I just googled “katie couric criticism” and got a bunch of hits from sources condemning Couric. The public at large IS slamming her.”

    Omg. I just googled Katie Couric HPV controversy and got a bunch of hits of sources praising Couric. The public at large knows it’s time for discussion.

    “Gardasil has been thoroughly tested. It is most assuredly not “unproven”.

    Disagree. The fact that so many children are being injured by the vaccine… tells me that more research is needed.

    “1) Poul Thorsen is not even the First Author on that study.
    2) The charges appear to be going nowhere. It doesn’t look like Thorsen committed fraud.
    All you have said is unsupported ranting.”

    He embezzled money. He was an author on that study. Enough said. The charges appear to be going nowhere? Well, that’s interesting. I wonder why? ;)

  133. #136 Joyous Times
    December 10, 2013

    “You mean the researcher whose own papers state that immunity lasts at least five years. Not only five years like she said on Katie’s show, at least five years, and in the face of other research showing that Gardasil protects for at least 6 years and Cervarix at least 9 years. And those limits are only there because the studies ended and did not continue following subjects until the vaccine would, if ever, wear off.”

    Oh this is wonderful… so we start vaccinating young girls at 11 (or so…), for a vaccine that protects for at least 6 years… Which will bring the child to age 17… But we really have no idea after that (and we certainly can’t make predictions based upon the unknown) … And that’s *your* argument. omg. Let’s go with that… This vaccine may protect you forever!!! Or, it may kill you.

  134. #137 Julian Frost
    December 10, 2013

    Disagree. The fact that so many children are being injured by the vaccine… tells me that more research is needed

    The fact that there are reports in VAERS does not mean that the vaccine caused the adverse events. The fact that Emily Tarsell and the Mathises believe Gardasil caused problems doesn’t mean it did.

    He embezzled money.

    Actually, it looks as if he didn’t embezzle money.

  135. #138 Joyous Times
    December 10, 2013

    “Antivaxers like to claim with one breath that Thorsen’s papers are invalid, yet with the next breath that Wakefield’s autism/MMR studies are scientifically sound…”

    A criminal involved in embezzling money on “scientific studies”. Sorry, that’s a problem. Wakefield’s papers (not studies) came to the conclusion that more investigation is needed. That’s all, folks. That was Wakefield’s conclusion…. You have a problem with more investigation is needed? Of course you do… Idiots.

  136. #139 AnObservingParty
    December 10, 2013

    That’s funny… I googled, and the only praising comes from…AoA.

    https://www.google.com/#q=katie+couric+HPV+controversy&tbm=nws&undefined=undefined

    He embezzled money. He was an author on that study. Enough said. Just because someone’s a douche doesn’t mean they’re a bad scientist. Unless they take money from a law firm in exchange for finding specific results, torture handicapped children to get samples, then cook your books to get those results because what you thought would be a slam dunk isn’t there, then sit and claim it’s nothing but a smear compaign by Big Shadow Agency of the Week and you’re a martyr. That makes a bad scientist, and that’s when you discount a study. Although that few children hardly a study makes.

  137. #140 AnObservingParty
    December 10, 2013

    That’s all, folks. That was Wakefield’s conclusion…. You have a problem with more investigation is needed? Of course you do… Idiots. Actually, the “paper” didn’t even say that, it said there wasn’t anything. But Wakefield himself called a press conference in which he stated the MMR should be suspended.

  138. #141 Joyous Times
    December 10, 2013

    “That’s funny… I googled, and the only praising comes from…AoA.”

    Let’s be realistic here. People are waking up. When you go on a blog site and hundreds of people are on there praising Couric and telling the stories about their children’s injuries due to this vaccine…. That shows that we are winning the war against this vaccine. Even my family’s pediatrician who proclaims all vaccines to be safe and effective — has warned me about this one (as if I needed his help there). Sorry guys, you’re losing on this one. Give it up. Although, anyway I can gather you all together soon… I’d like to inject you with 10,000 hpv vaccines just to see how that works out for you. Dr. Paul (Pr)Offit says that he can make himself available this weekend. Anyone?

  139. #142 Lawrence
    December 10, 2013

    Interesting that Joyous would be talking about “hundreds” of stories, when we see actually very few VAERS entries, including several that start with “Respondent writes that she saw a story on the Internet”…..not to mention the one about a girl who died in a car accident months after receiving the vaccine….yet these are still the same cases that are trotting out (just the numbers, mind you) by the anti-vaccine folks.

  140. #144 Julian Frost
    December 10, 2013

    When you go on a blog site and hundreds of people are on there praising Couric and telling the stories about their children’s injuries due to this vaccine…. That shows that we are winning the war against this vaccine.

    Hundreds of people or just a few loudmouths repeating the same tropes over and over?
    The evidence is in. Studies from Australia and Scandinavia show that the vaccines work.

  141. #145 AnObservingParty
    December 10, 2013

    Let’s be realistic here. People are waking up. When you go on a blog site and hundreds of people are on there praising Couric and telling the stories about their children’s injuries due to this vaccine…. That shows that we are winning the war against this vaccine.

    Versus the millions of doses being given. Hundreds! The data is in, it’s a safe vaccine. Perhaps your time would be better spent searching the actual cause of those “devastating injuries,” instead of blaming something because you’ve been scared into it standing out most in your mind. Although, I know for sure my mileage varies on what I would consider a “devastating injury,” compared to parents at AoA who would rather see their child dead…

  142. #146 Jeff1971
    December 10, 2013

    Vaccines cause autism. My child has autism. My child was vaccinated. Therefore my child has autism because s/he was vaccinated.

    And so it goes on… An opinion derived without rationality can never be rationally dispelled.

  143. #147 Lawrence
    December 10, 2013

    And, if those “stories” have any validity at all – then they should be entered in VAERS so they can be tracked and investigated….posting those stories on “blogs” does nothing to further the goal of research & instead shows that it is all about spreading fear…..

  144. #148 Kelly M Bray
    December 10, 2013

    Katie is in spin control mode now. She wrote this in HuffPo

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/katie-couric/vaccine-hpv-furthering-conversation_b_4418568.html

  145. #149 Krebiozen
    December 10, 2013

    Joyous Times, have you seen this study? It looked at 189,629 females who were given at least one dose of Gardasil, and compared reports of reactions on days 1-60, days 1-14, and day 0 after vaccination, compared with a control interval distant in time from vaccination. It found no associations between vaccination and reports of serious reactions.

    Other studies of more than a million vaccine recipients have found no sign of these serious vaccine reactions you claim are due to Gardasil. Either there is a huge cover-up, which I don’t believe is possible, having spent decades working on conventional health care, or you and your fellow antivaccine campaigners are making a terrible mistake that could potentially cost thousands of lives.

    It is you who are the cranks, by definition, not those who have carefully looked at the evidence and weighed up the benefits and risks of this vaccine. Thankfully it is clear to me that you are in the minority and most people are amenable to rational argument.

  146. #150 Sarah A
    December 10, 2013

    There is currently an inordinate amount of straw-clutching that permeates the antivax sphere. Perhaps this is a sign of their desperation in what for them are very lean times.

    I’ve noticed this too – there’ve been several comments on other threads where the antivaxers swing by to let us know they’ve “already won.” This must be a difficult time for them. Twenty years ago they were still wrong, but at least they were relevant: journalists put them on a level with real experts with “balanced” reporting, scientists spent years and millions of dollars investigating their claims, they scared the bejeezus out of parents with horror stories about how vaccines turned their happy, healthy child into a soulless changeling.

    But while they’ve been gnawing the one bone, the rest of the world has moved on. Study after large, well-designed study has shown that there was no link between vaccines and autism, at the same time as autism researchers are finding more and more evidence that autism is caused by a combination of genetics and environmental exposures during the first trimester of pregnancy. The journalists who happily exploited bereaved parents and “warrior mommies” to boost their ratings were just as happy to report the outbreaks of measles and pertussis that occurred in communities with low vaccination rates (one would like to think they felt a bit chastised over the whole “false balance” thing as well.) High-profile court cases like Wakefield’s trial and the Autism Omnibus made public the glaring inconsistencies between the antivax parent’s emotional stories and the objective facts. Parents began to wonder, where are the hundreds of thousands of vaccine-damaged children I keep reading about on the internet?

    But instead of accepting reality and moving on, the antivax community just gets more insulated and paranoid, which alienates non-paranoid people, making the group ever smaller, more paranoid, and more insulated from reality, and so on in a vicious cycle. If this trend continues, I predict that eventually there will only be a single antivaxer left, muttering to him/herself, Gollum-like, “the vaccines is evil, precious….we knows it, precious…”

    I totally realize that this scenario is probably wildly over-optimistic, but I needed it after my brief foray into crazy-town (I don’t know how Lilady does it!) Even there, though, you can see the signs: about half of the antivax posts were by a single woman (one Cynthia or CIA Parker.)

  147. #151 Scottynuke
    December 10, 2013

    Oh for FSM’s sake… Just read Kouric’s “I’m just letting people ask questions” crap (at least it appears under her name as opposed to the anonymous piece on the “Katie” site).

    If she’s concluded Gardasil’s safe and that the evidence shows the vaccine’s safe, why let unsupported accusations from known activists on the air? So much for her being anything resembling an ethical journalist.

  148. #152 AnObservingParty
    December 10, 2013

    And why is her statement about the science/medical community/no evidence that the illnesses cam from the vaccine on HuffPo and not on the show?

  149. #153 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    December 10, 2013

    @Joyous Times

    Oh this is wonderful… so we start vaccinating young girls at 11 (or so…), for a vaccine that protects for at least 6 years… Which will bring the child to age 17… But we really have no idea after that (and we certainly can’t make predictions based upon the unknown) … And that’s *your* argument. omg. Let’s go with that…

    Uh, no. My argument was simply pointing out that your revered doctor who was an author on some of the studies of HPV vaccine was wrong. Whether she forgot her own work or actually lied about it, I don’t know. All that matters, insofar as her credibility is concerned, is that she was wrong about how long the vaccine lasts.

    As more time passes and more research is done, we may find that the vaccine wears off and that a booster might be called for. Or we might find that it protects lifelong. And even if it “only” lasted 5 years, that would be 5 years during which the individual would be protected from the virus. Not ideal, but better than nothing.

    This vaccine may protect you forever!!! Or, it may kill you.

    Well, since there is no verified evidence that it has killed anyone, after millions of doses administered, I’d take my chances with the vaccine over the virus, which has a much worse safety margin.

  150. #154 lilady
    December 10, 2013

    I’ve already posted comments on Politico and on the Ho-Po.

    What was The Troll saying about not seeing any of the many science bloggers posts and mainstream media posts critical of Katie Couric?

  151. #155 lilady
    December 10, 2013

    @ Sarah A: lilady “does it” because it’s a labor of love…and because I don’t have access to my patients who have questions about vaccines…since I retired from public health.

    C’mon over to Politico and to the Ho-Po. I’m waiting for you. :-)

  152. #156 JGC
    December 10, 2013

    a researcher who was instrumental in the vaccine being put out there discussing it’s problems

    But that researcher didn’t claim that the vaccine was unsafe or ineffectiveeffective, did she? She simply stated a belief that pap smears and treatment for cancer when detected make it unnecessary.

    And clearly she’s wrong, since there have been over 12,000 new cases and over 4000 deaths due to cervical cancer this year, despite the availabilty of pap smears and treatments..

  153. #157 Just asking
    December 10, 2013

    Joyous writes: “I’d like to inject you with 10,000 hpv vaccines just to see how that works out for you.”

    And I’d like to educate you so that you stop lying in public. Seems like we’re both going to be disappointed, but I always get a kick out of seeing how often antivaxxers fantasize about violence, so thanks for that. Do your fantasies help you deal with your failure to make a factual argument?

  154. #158 Joyous Times
    December 10, 2013

    “Versus the millions of doses being given. Hundreds!”

    Ah yes… That’s a big deal on a vaccine that we have no history on. No idea if it works, how it works, etc…. Let’s inject our daughters with this and hope it prevents cervical cancer down the road. Sounds like a brilliant idea.

  155. #159 Joyous Times
    December 10, 2013

    “Hundreds of people or just a few loudmouths repeating the same tropes over and over?
    The evidence is in.”

    Actually, the only loudmouths that are repeating seem to be from your side. We’ve got Kathy M, Dorit R, etc… A few other lunatics. I am actually seeing a much more varied group on the anti-side. A lot of upset parents with injured kids. Very sad.

  156. #160 Kelly M Bray
    December 10, 2013

    “No idea if it works, how it works, etc…. How it works? too bad high school biology seems to be beyond you yet here you are commenting. Dunning-Kruger table for one!

  157. #161 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    December 10, 2013

    No idea if it works, how it works, etc

    No, we know it works to prevent infection by the most common (and most dangerous) strains of HPV. We know how it works, too. It stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies and memory cells. These prep the body to identify the real virus if it’s ever encountered, so the body can mount a response to defeat the virus before it has a chance to establish itself. We also know that it has done just that, with a significant reduction in new HPV infections since the introduction of the vaccine.

    A few other lunatics.

    A few lunatics, huh? I’ve got 23 different people listed on my post who have criticised Couric, some of whom work for major media outlets, like CBS, Forbes, etc. But, they’re just loonies, right? No need to, I don’t know, actually address, with evidence, their criticisms.

    Do you have any actual evidence to support your position? Not stories. Evidence. And what evidence would you require to change your position?

  158. #162 Shay
    December 10, 2013

    Todd, I think you’re being too optimistic. AJP wouldn’t recognize evidence if it hit her/him on the butt with a bull fiddle.

    AJP also conveniently ignores that healthcare professionals (doctors and nurses) are getting the vaccine for their children. Dunning-Krueger isn’t in it.

  159. #163 Alain
    December 10, 2013

    Ah yes… That’s a big deal on a vaccine that we have no history on. No idea if it works, how it works, etc…. Let’s inject our daughters with this and hope it prevents cervical cancer down the road. Sounds like a brilliant idea.

    The fact you don’t know if it work or how it work has no bearing on any doctor, nurses, public health worker who know how it work and it is safe to administer to, at least 57 millions peoples without any reported side effect.

    Alain

  160. #164 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    December 10, 2013

    @Shay

    I know, I know. But one must try, no? If not for Joyous Times, at least for the lurkers.

    BTW, I have a new post up responding to Couric’s HuffPo article.

  161. #165 Narad
    December 10, 2013

    Wakefield’s papers (not studies) came to the conclusion that more investigation is needed.

    Oh, look, Kathy Jameson’s rhetorical instruction No. 3. How original.

  162. #166 Denice Walter
    December 10, 2013

    @ Todd W,:

    We should always remind anti-vaxxers when they try to equate support for vaccines based upon *how many people respond in comments* that the ENTIRE medical consensus ( including specialists) supports vaccines.
    How many doctors and nurses etc are THAT?

    Surveys of the general public ( as well as of professionals) in most English-speaking countries also show widespread support for vaccines as do the *rates* of actual vaccination.

  163. #167 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    December 10, 2013

    @Denice Walter

    Indeed. A good point to be made. In terms of the numbers of doctors, nurses, researchers, and general public, the anti-vaxers are very much a minority voice. Unfortunately, they have big lungs and so seem like they’re more numerous than they actually are.

  164. #168 JGC
    December 10, 2013

    Wakefield’s papers (not studies) came to the conclusion that more investigation is needed.

    And guess what? More investigation was carried out.

    Lots more. Over several years in multiple nations, by multiple independent agencies and investigators, including very large epidemiologic studies.

    None of which found any evidence whatsoever indicating the existence of a causal relationship between immunization and the development of autism spectrum disorders.

  165. #169 Narad
    December 10, 2013

    Now that the coffee’s on, yah, the “it’s a paper, not a study” routine promptly delivers up the predictable hilarity:

    Urinary methymalonic-acid excretion is increased in disorders such as Crohn’s disease, in which cobalamin excreted in bile is not reabsorbed. A similar problem may have occurred in the children in our study.

    (Any typos mine.) Better let Wakefraud know it wasn’t a study, “Joyous Times”; he didn’t seem to have gotten the memo.

  166. #170 Krebiozen
    December 10, 2013

    A lot of upset parents with injured kids. Very sad.

    Do the thousands of families of those who have definitely died from cancers that this vaccine definitely would have prevented not count?

  167. #171 brian
    December 10, 2013

    It’s really odd that anti-vaccine True Believers repeatedly insist that Wakefield’s failed effort was a paper, not a study.

    In the paper that he wrote to report the results of his litigation-driven study, Wakefield referred to his study as a STUDY: Wakefield wrote, “A similar problem may have occurred in the children in our study. ”

  168. #172 Dangerous Bacon
    December 10, 2013

    ” People are waking up.”

    Another classic from the vaults.

    We are always _just around the corner_ from the stunning revolution in which people will throw away their drugs and vaccines and join in the great Woo Awakening.

    Next week, next month, next century – it’s gotta happen, it’s just gotta – when the reality here is that a fringe movement managed to achieve one more crumb of mainstream media pseudo-respectability. Rather pitiful, when you think of how much easier it was to manage before the Wakefield debacle.

  169. #173 Shay
    December 10, 2013

    We are always _just around the corner_

    Another example of crank magnetism…the birther movement keeps pounding the same drum.

  170. #174 Joyous Times
    December 10, 2013

    “It’s really odd that anti-vaccine True Believers repeatedly insist that Wakefield’s failed effort was a paper, not a study.”

    Paper? Investigation? Oh heck, who cares… The main point is that you twits care so much about a paper / investigation / study where the conclusion is that:

    “We did not prove an association between measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and the syndrome described. Virological studies are underway that may help to resolve this issue.”

    And:

    “We have identified a chronic enterocolitis in children that may be related to neuropsychiatric dysfunction. In most cases, onset of symptoms was after measles, mumps, and rubella immunisation. Further investigations are needed to examine this syndrome and its possible relation to this vaccine.”

    WTF is so scary about further investigations are needed? Get your collective heads examined. And please, please please get yourselves together in a mass line… Dr. (Pr)Offit is incredibly excited to inject each one of you with 10,000 hpv vaccines.

  171. #175 AnObservingParty
    December 10, 2013

    We are always _just around the corner_ from the stunning revolution in which people will throw away their drugs and vaccines and join in the great Woo Awakening.

    Next month, when Mikey blows all our minds and changes the world forever, the resulting shock wave will cause scores of scientists and doctors the world over to wake up and throw of the shackles of their Pharma Lord Oppressors off, and reveal the truth?!?

  172. #176 AnObservingParty
    December 10, 2013

    “We did not prove an association between measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and the syndrome described. Virological studies are underway that may help to resolve this issue.” Exactly. At his press conference he stated otherwise. And yet, Andy’s friends insist on stating that “scores of other studies have supported his paper.” Make up your mind. We know what his paper was, what it insinuated, what he wanted people to believe, what he stated, the cliffhanger of the “viral studies,” and how he manipulated the press and the masses to incite a panic.

    WTF is so scary about further investigations are needed? They actually offered him quite a bit of grant money to look at a much larger population. He stalled, and stalled, and that opened doors to questions and investigations. Seems even Andy knew it would be difficult to skew more than a dozen cases.

    Interestingly enough though, other studies WERE done. And they have all conclusively found the same thing, MMR does not cause autism. They’ve even looked at other vaccines! And additives! Nada. They did react to concerns, they did look….and it was all for nothing. He made it up.

  173. #177 Narad
    December 10, 2013

    Paper? Investigation? Oh heck, who cares…

    Apparently, you did, right until demonstrated to have said something really lazy and stupid just because it’s in the instructions.

  174. #178 Shay
    December 10, 2013

    Narad, it is so hard to get good help these days.

  175. #179 Chris,
    December 10, 2013

    Joyous Time: “WTF is so scary about further investigations are needed?”

    Which were done. Did you miss these:

    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.

    J Autism Dev Disord 2007; 37(2):210-7
    MMR-Vaccine and Regression in Autism Spectrum Disorders: Negative Results Presented from Japan.

    J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2005 Jun;46(6):572-9.
    No effect of MMR withdrawal on the incidence of autism: a total population study.

    Pediatrics 2006; 118(4):1664-75
    No Evidence of Persisting Measles Virus in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells from Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

    Pediatrics 2004; 113(2): 259-66
    Age at First Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccination in Children with Autism and School-Matched Control Subjects: A Population-Based Study in Metropolitan Atlanta.

    Pediatrics 2002; 110:957-63
    Neurologic Disorders after Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccination.

    BMJ 2002; 324(7334):393-6
    Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccination and Bowel Problems or Developmental Regression in Children with Autism: Population Study.

    So the consensus for the additional studies is that the MMR vaccine does not cause autism, and prevents one real cause of autism, congenital rubella syndrome:

    BMC Public Health. 2011 May 19;11:340.
    Congenital rubella syndrome and autism spectrum disorder prevented by rubella vaccination–United States, 2001-2010.

    If you have evidence to the contrary, please post the PubMed indexed study by a reputable qualified researcher.

  176. #180 Denice Walter
    December 10, 2013

    * just around the corner*

    Yes. The fabled alt med paradigm shift is about to crash tsunamically over the wretched, low-lying, reeking miasma of Orthodoxy, forever washing the green earth clean of its poisoning iniquity.
    Think Numenor.

    More seriously, I’ve been aware of alt med for about 20 years ( health food / yoga/ TCM even longer) and have followed its ebbs and flows more closely since 2000. Its apologists always promise followers that they are on the cusp of a New Age, they are near the “tipping point” ( another expression I hate) and that they are indeed amongst the very few who have accepted the Truth earlier than the average person who still has far to go.

    Mikey is the harbinger of the New Golden Age.
    And a little loon shall lead them.

  177. #181 Lawrence
    December 10, 2013

    @Chris – I find this link to be extremely useful for the “less than intelligent:”

    http://www2.aap.org/immunization/families/faq/VaccineStudies.pdf

  178. #182 Chris,
    December 10, 2013

    Except, Lawrence, they never click on it. It just does have quite the same impact. Also, if they parrot the stuff about Thorsen, I just have to ask which of the listed papers are by him.

  179. #183 Sarah A
    December 10, 2013

    @ Chris

    I just wanted to say a very belated “thank you” for your comment at #6 linking to the evidence that Christine Tarsell had abnormal EKGs before receiving the HPV vaccine. I’ve been posting the link at every discussion on the issue I can find (except, ironically, Huff Po and Katie’s own website. I may need to overcome my Facebook-phobia and get an account so I can post comments there.)

  180. #184 Chris,
    December 10, 2013

    You’re welcome. While the criteria to get compensated at NVICP is much less than in other legal arenas, it requires some evidence.

  181. #185 dingo199
    December 10, 2013

    “Virological studies are underway that may help to resolve this issue”

    They certainly were underway. And guess what? They showed that no virus was found in any of the kids on the study (sorry, that should read “paper”?).
    http://briandeer.com/wakefield/nick-chadwick.htm

    This was something Wakefield already knew when he made his statement above (another example of his fraudulent behavior)

  182. #186 Dangerous Bacon
    December 10, 2013

    Dunno if others here had heard about it, but it’s semi-joyous times over in Australia, after a tribunal there upheld a government ruling that the Australian Vaccination Network must change its name to avoid deceiving the public about its aims.

    http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2013/s3898842.htm

    Wonder what moniker Meryl No-one-ever-died-of-whooping-cough Dorey will come up with? The Australian Anti-Vaccination Network (too easy)? Vaccines Are Rape With Penetration (another Dorey-ism)? One certainty – they’ll try to string this out indefinitely, garnering ever-greater ridicule in the process.

  183. #187 dingo199
    December 10, 2013

    Sarah, your word is my command….

  184. #188 dingo199
    December 10, 2013

    I wonder if Katie Couric will do a show about antibiotics next.
    Maybe she can have a couple of people on whose kids died from some unclear cause a few weeks after having had antibiotics?
    And God forbid she have anyone on the show whose life was saved by them. No, that would be taking “balance” to ridiculous extremes.

  185. #189 Alain
    December 10, 2013

    Offtopic,

    new blog post:

    http://www.securivm.ca/2013/12/the-brain-is-particularly-efficient.html

    It’s been up since last night. Enjoy.

    Alain

  186. […] or a difficult story, and Katie Couric and her producers are not gullible people. There is no evidence that the HPV vaccine is unsafe. There is no evidence that serious side effects are anything but […]

  187. #191 Sin
    United States
    December 13, 2013

    WOW, reading these comments… Read this:

    Dr. Diane Harper was the lead researcher in the development of the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccines, Gardasil™ and Cervarix™. She is now the latest in a long string of experts who are pressing the red alert button on the devastating consequences and irrelevancy of these vaccines. Dr. Harper made her surprising confession at the 4th International Conference on Vaccination which took place in Reston, Virginia. Her speech, which was originally intended to promote the benefits of the vaccines, took a 180-degree turn when she chose instead to clean her conscience about the deadly vaccines so she “could sleep at night”.

    Dr. Harper explained in her presentation that the cervical cancer risk in the U.S. is already extremely low, and that vaccinations are unlikely to have any effect upon the rate of cervical cancer in the United States. In fact, 70% of all H.P.V. infections resolve themselves without treatment in a year, and the number rises to well over 90% in two years. Harper also mentioned the safety angle.

    All trials of the vaccines were done on children aged 15 and above, despite them currently being marketed for 9-year-olds.

    44 girls are officially known to have died from these vaccines. There have been over 32,000 reported incidents of serious side effects. The reported side effects include Guillian Barré Syndrome (paralysis lasting for years, or permanently — sometimes eventually causing suffocation), lupus, seizures, blood clots, and brain inflammation. Parents are usually not made aware of these risks. Japan has banned this vaccine because it is too dangerous. Wake up you idiots.

  188. #192 AdamG
    December 13, 2013

    Sin, instead of repeating demonstrably false tropes you copied from a website, maybe you should read this peer-reviewed study:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23027469

    It follows about 189,000 women (yes, including 9 year olds) and finds none of these side effects you are claiming. as for Diane Harper, I suggest you read this :

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2013/08/16/yet-another-antivaccine-meme-rises-from-the-grave-again-no-diane-harper-doesnt-hate-gardasil/

  189. #193 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    December 13, 2013

    @Sin

    A few corrections are needed in your post. First off, Dr. Diane Harper has said that the vaccines are safe (e.g., PMID 19962185). She has downplayed the efficacy of vaccines and overstated the value of pap smears, though.

    Second, I haven’t looked at all trials of both vaccines, but the Gardasil insert lists at least one study that included 9-year-olds: “The individuals who were monitored using VRC-aided surveillance included 10,088 individuals 9 through 45 years of age at enrollment who received GARDASIL and 7,995 individuals who received AAHS control or saline placebo.”

    Third, there is no verified evidence that any girl has been killed by the vaccine. There have been reports of deaths following vaccination, but if you look closer, you will find that they died from preexisting heart conditions, cancer, car accidents, etc., none of which is connected with the vaccines.

    Fourth, there may have been a large number of reports of injury, but again, how many have been validated and confirmed? Note that some of the reports consist of things like “read online” or “heard on the radio”. Some of the reports, upon investigation, are also found to be caused by something else completely.

    Finally, Japan has not banned the vaccine. They suspended the recommendation of it, because the public was concerned about adverse effects, but it is still available. (http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2813%2961831-0/fulltext)

  190. #194 Antaeus Feldspar
    December 13, 2013

    Sin –

    First of all, you’re plagiarising. Your entire screed is lifted from elsewhere on the web – with the possible exception of “Wake up you idiots,” which is hardly a substantive contribution.

    Second of all, the people you’re plagiarising from are either liars or too incompetent to do their research correctly. Diane Harper was not the lead researcher on development of either vaccine, and the total number of people “officially known to have died from these vaccines” is zero, not 44. In fact, it’s a paranoid bunch you’ve chosen to plagiarise from; following back the trail of what you chose to post (a step you really should have done yourself) I find the following in the article by “Sarah Cain” which claims to be the original reporting on Harper supposedly unburdening herself so she “can sleep at night”:

    “… in those cases where [HPV] doesn’t [clear itself], and isn’t treated, it can lead to pre-cancerous cells which may develop into cervical cancer.” – Dr. Diane Harper

    One must understand how the establishment’s word games are played to truly understand the meaning of the above quote, and one needs to understand its unique version of “science”.

    When they report that untreated cases “can” lead to something that “may” lead to cervical cancer, it really means that the relationship is merely a hypothetical conjecture that is profitable if people actually believe it.

    This is the equivalent of saying “Tom Cruise announced on the TV that he was madly in love with me! All you have to do is realize that he has a secret code in which ‘Katie Holmes’ is actually his code name for me, and it’s clear he’s jumping on couches to demonstrate his love for me!”

    Third of all, we’ve heard it all before. Up at the top of the page in the right-hand pane, there’s a box marked “Search this blog”. Next time you’re tempted to post a plagiarised rant, at least check for the very likely possibility that we have literally read every bit of your ill-informed gobbledygook before you even picked it up and swallowed it whole from the crank site where you got it.

  191. #195 herr doktor bimler
    December 13, 2013

    Wake up you idiots
    I’m gonna have to dock Sin 5 points for forgetting “Sheeple”.

  192. #196 Shay
    December 13, 2013

    He/she didn’t ask who was paying us, either. Take off another 5.

  193. #197 sheepmilker
    December 13, 2013

    And, no ALL CAPS -5

  194. #198 lilady
    December 13, 2013

    I found where “sin” lifted part of his diatribe from.

    http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/steps-authentic-happiness-positive-psychology/2013/dec/5/vaccine-disinformation-katie-couric-hpv-and-jenny-/

    The pity is that the Washington Times blogger got it all wrong about who sponsored those “Annual International Public Conference on Vaccination”

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

    “The fourth conference was held from October 2-4, 2009 in Reston, Virginia. Guest speakers included Diane Harper, Bonnie S. Dunbar (again), Dr. Bob Sears, Joe Mercola, Gary Null, Dan Olmsted, and Rick Rollens.[4] At this conference, Wakefield received a Humanitarian Award for “his compassion, brave spirit and uncompromising commitment to improving the health of children and the biological integrity of future generations.”[5] At this conference, Harper’s remarks about the HPV vaccine, including the argument that the rate of cervical cancer will not decrease as a result of this vaccine’s use, were particularly controversial.[6]”

    – 5 points for plagiarism

    – 5 points for not knowing the NVIC sponsored the conference

  195. #199 herr doktor bimler
    December 13, 2013

    Wakefield received a Humanitarian Award for “[…] the biological integrity of future generations.

    It’s always about Purity of Essence and Preserving the Bloodline with these feckers.

  196. […] Orac, Respectful Insolence – Katie Couric on the HPV vaccine: Antivaccine or irresponsible journalist? You be the judge!  […]

  197. #201 Dan Kegel
    Vereinigte Staaten
    January 15, 2014

    In that interview, I noticed Dr. Harper said
    “I looked at the fact that Gardasil doesn’t last long enough to
    prevent cervical cancer…”

    That seemed wrong, so I emailed Dr. Harper. She wrote back and said:

    –snip–
    you are correct, I should be quoted as saying

    “We don’t know yet whether Gardasil lasts
    long enough to prevent cervical cancer without a booster shot”,

    So I do give you permission to print that in your blog!
    — snip –

  198. #202 Antaeus Feldspar
    January 15, 2014

    Nice catch!

  199. #203 Narad
    January 15, 2014
  200. […] needs to be emphasized again that Katie Couric’s segment dealing with HPV vaccines was riddled with misinformation and highly biased towards antivaccine pseudoscience, which is why the antivaccine movement liked it so much. The rest […]

The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.