Respectful Insolence

lancet-summary-2004-spread

Ever since I first became aware of the antivaccine movement more than ten years ago, I’ve had little choice but to periodically pay attention to one of the godfathers of the antivaccine movement, Andrew Wakefield. Wakefield is the quack whose dubious case series that The Lancet foolishly published in 1998 launched a million antivaccine quacks. Ever since his disgrace, in which he was stripped of his U.K. medical license (or, as the lovely British phrasing goes, he was “struck off”), then later was pushed out by the board of directors at Thoughtful House and had his Lancet paper retracted by its editors, Wakefield has been struggling for relevance, as his less hardcore antivaccine supporters fled from him in droves. Convincingly revealed as a scientific fraud, Andrew Wakefield, who used to be the go-to guy for all things vaccine-autism, can’t get any love from the mainstream press anymore, aside from a a conspiracy loon like Sharyl Attkisson. Sure, Wakefield foolishly tried to sue Brian Deer, the BMJ, and Fiona Godlee (the editor of BMJ) for libel and looks as though he’s going to get his posterior handed to him in court.

Despite his utter irrelevance to anything scientific, I still remain curious to know every now and then what ol’ Andy is up to. Yesterday, thanks to Anne Dachel, the “media editor” of the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism, I found out that Dr. Andrew Wakefield continues to speak out.

Oh goody.

And what is Andy Wakefield saying as he “speaks out”? We’ll find out in a minute. But first, I note that Dachel reveals that she’s writing a book, which makes me wonder: Is there any antivaccinationist out there yet who hasn’t written a book? Dachel’s is going to be called The Great Autism Cover-Up, and apparently the second chapter is about her delusional fantasy that the media turned Wakefield into some sort of “fall guy” for the autism/vaccine hypothesis. Sorry, Ms. Dachel, but Wakefield did that just fine by himself, no help from the media needed. She also forgets how the British tabloid media built Wakefield up as a hero, trumpeting his unjustified interpretation of his case series as meaning that the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine was associated with “autistic enterocolitis.”

These days, Wakefield is a pathetic figure, living off of past antivaccine glories and the adulation of only the most die hard of his die hard fans. Just see how Dachel gushes over him:

Dr. Wakefield is a hero to the autism community. He does not quit. There are lots of doctors who know what vaccines are really doing to our children, but they remain silent. It takes a special kind of courage to stand by the truth and have your career and your reputation destroyed. Wakefield has been a constant presence at the annual Autism One Conference in Chicago since its beginning and this year’s talk, the Legacy of Vaccine Injury, was empowering for the parents who were there.

While the media continues the pretense that all the science is in and parents should have no fears about vaccinating their children, Wakefield is out there challenging both the claims of vaccine safety and efficacy. And he’s not going away. Despite the fact that, as he said, he’s a “disenfranchised” scientist, he talked about his current work in filmmaking. He’s out to educate parents who are new to the controversy, but none-the-less worried. He has, as he said, “the most extraordinary stories to tell.”

My thought upon reading this passage was, “Oh, great. Wakefield has found another medium to use to spread misinformation and pseudoscience.” Not that he hasn’t already had success, along with his partners in crime, spreading misinformation about vaccines. He even crows about it:

“The pharmaceutical industry has spent $30 billion a year on promoting vaccines. They should have saved their money because they’ve failed. They’ve failed. In a recent poll, U.S. adults who believe vaccines cause autism rose from 18 percent in 2011 to 29 percent today. There’s 33 percent of all parents with children under 18. In polling terms, . . . that is a massive proportion of the American public. In a National Consumer League poll, 76 percent believe that it was their prerogative to decide how and if their children should be vaccinated. And the harder the other side pushes, the more mandates they impose, the more things they take away, such as exemptions, the more they force the people of this country to bow to their will, the more resistance they will meet. And they don’t understand that. They do not get yet that they have wasted their time and money. . . . They’ve paid a fortune to public relations companies.”

Of course, this is nothing more than an appeal to popularity, which is a common logical fallacy. Even if what he said were true, it would not say anything about the scientific correctness of his claims. All it would say is that he and his minions have succeeded in getting people to believe complete nonsense. Of course, Wakefield neglected to note that, although over a quarter of parents believe that some vaccines cause autism but many still say that children should be vaccinated. Depressingly, though, Wakefield isn’t entirely mistaken in his bragging, as only slightly more than half of Americans are sure that vaccines don’t cause autism, although vaccine uptake remains high. What Wakefield also failed to mention is that the media, which once supported (or at least saw no issue with using it to gin up controversy and reporting it as one side of a “tell both sides” fallacy), no longer see things that way. Ever since Wakefield’s disgrace and revelations of scientific fraud, at least from my observations, the scientifically fallacious “tell both sides” (the science and the antivaccine pseudoscience) false balance so beloved of the media is much less common.

And that’s a good thing.

The rest of his talk was a marching list of vaccine fallacies. We’ve heard them all before, such as the claim that there is an “autism epidemic” (although he didn’t use that word). He also used the “natural immunity” trope, in which somehow “natural” immunity is somehow better than immunity from vaccines. He claimed that pertussis is evolving resistance to vaccines, a contention for which the evidence is as yet conflicting. Wakefield is also very bitter:

Wakefield talked about how even peer-reviewed journals don’t get the facts right when they bring up his work and the unique bowel disease he discovered in autistic children. The failure of the medical community is their inability to deal with the real health problems of autistic children. Doctors aren’t asking, “Is this child sick? What ails them? What should I do as a clinician to make them better?” Pediatricians and pediatric gastroenterologists aren’t doing their jobs, according to Wakefield.

“This is utter, utter hypocrisy. …People were deterred from this line of inquiry because they feared what might happen to them. They put themselves before suffering children. Shame on them.”

Nonsense. Doctors do study the real health problems of autistic children. They do ask what ails them. The do ask what they can do to make them better. What they don’t do is to come up with pseudoscientific fear mongering that attributes the cause of autism to something that science has again and again shown not to be correlated with autism. They go where the evidence leads. Wakefield goes where his certainty that vaccines cause autism leads him, which is always the same direction, into quackery.

He also continues to spew the same tired antivaccine tropes, including this:

Wakefield next discussed the staunchly held tenet of medical belief that vaccines, as one of the greatest medical advancements in history, “result in universal benefit.”

He asked, “What if it’s not? What if that’s not true? What if the onset of these problems are so insidious, so widespread, so unexpected, rather like narcolepsy with flu vaccine? Whoever expected that? You’re not just looking for things you know might occur, but you’re looking for things that are completely new, idiosyncratic. Or are you?”

I suppose, then, that things like the VAERS database and the Vaccine Safety Datalink project don’t exist in Wakefield’s view. They’re there, after all, to look for idiosyncratic, “unexpected” reactions and to look for correlations between various conditions and vaccines. Wakefield seems to think that epidemiology can’t find these correlations, but it found the correlation that he harps on, namely the possible correlation between narcolepsy and the Pandemrix monovalent H1N1 flu vaccine. Let’s just say that the question has been investigated, and there appears to be a lot less there than Wakefield would have you believe, although results are still preliminary.

Of course, perhaps the reason that science hasn’t found all these correlations that Wakefield posits is not because of some conspiracy, or because the conditions are so insidious, or because epidemiology can’t find “idiosyncratic” reactions. Perhaps the reason is that there is no correlation, and these idiosyncratic reactions are probably not related to vaccines. None of this, however, stops Wakefield from fear mongering.

Same as it ever was.

Comments

  1. #1 MikeMa
    July 17, 2014

    It is baffling how a fraudster like Wakefield can appeal to a group of scientific illiterates whose focus includes falsely crying fraud and foul over real science. Difficult to imagine the level of cognitive dissonance in those brains.

  2. #2 Captian_a
    July 17, 2014

    If a scientist has a theory that has not been accepted by the scientific community, then he does more science to bolster his case. Andrew Wakefield has chosen to do a film. I’m tired of hearing about this charlatan.

  3. #3 Lawrence
    July 17, 2014

    Matt Carey over at LBRB has a post up:

    http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2014/07/15/why-wont-the-government-fund-vaccineautism-research/

    Which details the level of study that has been and is being done on this very issue – again, showing that Wakefield is nothing more than a grandstanding charlatan, while real research is being done, in the full light of day, mind you, that shows something completely opposite than what he is pitching.

  4. #4 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    July 17, 2014

    Dr. Wakefield is a hero to the [antivaxx] community.

    FTFY Ann. He’s not a hero to the autism community. As a direct result of his actions, fortunes have been spent on investigating a non-existent link. Fortunes that could have been used to find treatments and assistive technologies for autistics.

  5. #5 The Grouchybeast
    July 17, 2014

    Dear Mr Wakefield,

    Either there is a enormous epidemic of autism caused by vaccination that is affecting thousands upon thousands of children around the world, OR the negative effects of vaccines are so subtle and ‘idiosyncratic’ that they’re invisible to the same epidemiology that raised a flag about a few dozen cases of narcolepsy in one country. PICK ONE, OKAY?

    no love,
    Me

  6. #6 Helianthus
    July 17, 2014

    What if it’s not?

    Oh yes, let’s go into “what if I am right?”. Let’s not be bothered by little things like facts and the likelihood of you being right in the first place.
    Let’s jump ahead of the evidence and just scare ourselves witless with the most catastrophic scenario you can conjure.

    “But what if he is right” was the rebound of a French “scientific journalist ” in answer to two days of criticisms of Seralini’s GMO-feed rat study, after its first publication.
    You can tell I was not impressed by the argument.

  7. #7 Eric Lund
    July 17, 2014

    It is baffling how a fraudster like Wakefield can appeal to a group of scientific illiterates whose focus includes falsely crying fraud and foul over real science.

    There is a term for this: projection. It’s the same phenomenon that explains how people who earn a living selling woo can accuse their critics of being pharma shills. See the post earlier this week on that subject.

  8. #8 Chankobun, the Ghost-Who-Waddles
    http://Twitter.com/Chankobun
    July 17, 2014

    Wakefield still blaming vaccines for autism.

    In other news: sky still blue, Pope still Catholic, bears still defecate in sylvan environments, duck posteriors retain water resistance.

  9. #9 lilady
    July 17, 2014

    Andy’s a “disenfranchised scientist”? Yeah…and Bernie Madoff is a “disenfranchised financier”.

    BTW, Maurine Meleck seems to be assisting Dachel by her Spamming and cheap promotions of all those new authors from the clown blog. She informed me via a comment that she is Dachel’s editorial assistant preparing Anne’s new book for publication and according to Meleck, I am in it.

    http://www.wibw.com/home/headlines/Rash-Of-Measles-Cases-Illustrates-Importance-Of-Immunization-266682581.html#comment-1482196056

  10. #10 Eric Lund
    July 17, 2014

    Andy’s a “disenfranchised scientist”?

    I’d missed that the first time around. I don’t think that word means what ex-Dr. Wakefield thinks it means. Even when he had his medical license, he was not entitled to vote on scientific truth. Nobody is–the truth is the truth, and his hypothesis has been shown not to explain the relevant facts.

  11. #11 Sebastian Jackson
    July 17, 2014

    To borrow a phrase from The Manchurian Candidate: “Andrew Wakefield is the kindest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life.”

  12. #12 Denice Walter
    July 17, 2014

    Oh, Andy:
    “That’s so 2000-and-8,
    You’re 2000 and LATE!”**

    I notice a trend amongst the vaccinophobes:
    the focus is not just on the celebrity doctor but on the celebrity parent :

    - TMR focuses on the day-to-day adventures of warrior moms: their many tragedies and triumphs- they’re already on their second volume. All new moms! All new tales of woe!
    - ‘Fearless Parent ‘ has sprung up from the unfettered self-promotional instincts of LKH and Alison MacNeil ( who’s dropped out) and includes others who rant as well.
    - These parents write books:
    Stagliano has an auto biography and a novel ( a detective tale wherein autism figures), Louis Conte also has gone for mystery fiction***, Dachel writes about corruption, as does Heckenlively ( with Mikovits). Publisher Tony Lyons and his ex each have a book. I’m sure there are others I’ve left out- deliberately ( Jenny) or not.
    - there are films being made about vaccines and autism ( The United States of Autism/ the Canary Kids) by parents as well as other exposes by the usual suspects ( Manookian, Null).

    Andy needs a new way to sell himself.

    ** I’m sure the Black Eyed Peas won’t mind
    *** altho’ it’s all fiction

  13. #13 Ooze
    July 17, 2014

    Ah, the old “what if [some stupid thing]”

    But what if Andrew Wakefield is a pedophile and is using this whole gig as a way to get at children? I’m not saying he is a pedophile, but what _if_ ANDREW WAKEFIELD IS A PEDOPHILE?

  14. #14 Eric Lund
    July 17, 2014

    Dachel writes about corruption, as does Heckenlively ( with Mikovits).

    Why does the saying, “It takes one to know one,” come to mind?

  15. #15 Denice Walter
    July 17, 2014

    @ Eric Lund:

    No no no!
    She is disenfranchised.
    So is David Lewis.-btw- he has a book.

  16. #16 Brian Deer
    July 17, 2014

    One of the stranger deceits of the anti-vaxxers, which is being peddled with much enthusiasm by the malignant crank Dachel, is that Wakefield was somehow hounded by the media.

    In fact, from 1995 to 2004, he was the subject of hundreds, if not thousands, of uncritical and often fawning media reports, repeating his claims that he had found a putative link between MMR and autism. Books have been written analysing the sheer volume of this material.

    Another of this woman’s untruths, which she appears determined to peddle, is that nobody has given a voice to the parents of children enrolled in his so-called research. In fact, Rosemary Kessick’s son was for years the media poster boy for Wakefield’s theories. She featured in countless media reports, including TV programmes, magazines and even in a fantasy “docu-drama”, in which she was given free rein to make her ludicrous allegations.

    Similarly, one Isabella Thomas paraded her children through the media for many years, even though neither of them had a diagnosis corresponding with Wakefield’s paper. In fact, I think about five of the 11 families involved in his research have had their day in the sun.

    One of the things that, perhaps understandably, strikes me as odd is that pretty much the complete take-down of Andrew Wakefield has been online now for two years. And, while I keep a fair eye on such things, I have never yet seen any person deal head on with this material. I have simply never seen it addressed.

    For anyone with a developed interest in Wakefield, I would suggest that they take an hour to read it, along with a subsidiary analysis. The material is here:

    http://briandeer.com/solved/slapp-amended-declaration.pdf

    and

    http://briandeer.com/solved/slapp-declaration-supplement.pdf

    These are from our court case with him and, as a matter of law, if they are not at least substantially true (and they are entirely true), then I would be exposed to arraignment for perjury.

    I read them myself lately and, with the distance of time, I would say that the reason they have never been addressed is that Wakefield’s acolytes know that they are true.

    These absolutely shocking, line-by-line disclosures, rightfully leave this man, and those who abet him, broken and irrelevant..

  17. #17 Lawrence
    July 17, 2014

    @Brian Deer – any updates on the status of the case in Texas? Any idea when the Appeals Court is going to issue its ruling?

  18. #18 Dangerous Bacon
    July 17, 2014

    Sorry, Brian, your exhaustive research and reporting proves nothing, you’re just a pharma shill. All those articles you did exposing drug company malfeasance were just for show, so you’d have credibility when you went after poor Andy Wakefield.

    I liked reading the titles of Orac’s latest two articles in sequence:

    “Andrew Wakefield is still at it blaming vaccines for autism”
    “And they say I’m in it for the money?”

  19. #19 Emily
    Pdx
    July 17, 2014

    Is he still in the US? Deport!

  20. #20 Matt Carey
    July 17, 2014

    Thanks for the shout-out, Lawrence.

    I put another article up with more vaccine/autism research that has been funded in recent years.

    http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2014/07/17/more-of-that-vaccineautism-research-that-doesnt-exist/

    One of the present themes is that no work has been done. It does get done. And this doesn’t even touch on the multitude of papers which have shown no link.

  21. #21 brian
    July 17, 2014

    Here’s a link to a recent discussion at Medical Daily regarding Wakefield’s research fraud:

    Research Fraud Needs Severe Consequences, As The Costs Are Too Great To Ignore

    http://www.medicaldaily.com/research-fraud-needs-severe-consequences-costs-are-too-great-ignore-293074

  22. #22 Spectator
    July 17, 2014

    A lie repeated often enough …

  23. #23 Shay
    July 17, 2014

    It is baffling how a fraudster like Wakefield can appeal to a group of scientific illiterates

    It doesn’t baffle me that he appeals to scientific illiterates. What baffles me is the (fortunately small) number of healthcare professionals who have embraced his version of reality.

  24. #24 Anna M.
    July 17, 2014

    Brian Deer: you’re my hero! Thanks for what you did. I’ll read those links you posted when I get the time. It’s immensely useful to have the facts for the fence-sitters we come across in our lives. To hopefully keep them from falling off that fence into the anti-vax manure pile.

  25. #25 Chris Hickie
    July 17, 2014

    How do people keep falling for him? Yep, that disturbs us all.

    In 2011, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons had Wakefield as one of their major speakers at the 2011 meeting (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l67fWVrw8xU). This is a group that fancies themselves as some sort of alternative to the AMA (not that I think the AMA is all that great). I mention this because the leader of the AAPS, one Dr. Jane Orient, is creating needless hysteria in Arizona right now over the possibility of undocumented immigrants from countries south of the US bring ebola (yes, ebola) into the US. I’m grateful the local paper in Tucson has called her out on this (http://tucson.com/news/local/column/steller-tucson-doctors-push-baseless-migrant-disease-hysteria/article_73c4db21-caa3-5997-9f4d-d05d4d374ac3.html), but it is still mind-boggling someone can be a physician and be so stupid.

    I do wish doctors policed themselves better, and I say that as a doctor.

  26. #26 Allyn
    July 17, 2014

    On a related note, some anti-vaxxer named “Simpson” showed up here http://shotofprevention.com/2014/06/03/why-dr-offit-is-the-coolest-scientist-i-know/ with a fake quote supposedly from Dr. Offit. Funny thing is that in the weeks since Simpson’s error (surely an honest error, with no intent to deceive and malign :) ) was revealed, Simpson hasn’t returned to acknowledge the correction, or apologize.

  27. #27 Eric Lund
    July 17, 2014

    undocumented immigrants from countries south of the US bring ebola (yes, ebola) into the US

    That’s a serious geography fail as well as a serious etiology fail, and bonus irony points that the doctor in question has the surname Orient. Of course, if like Dr. Orient you already believe six impossible things before breakfast, inviting Wakefield to be the keynote speaker at your medical society meeting is quite easy. The bigger mystery is how somebody who is so evidently using her gray cells for ballast managed to get a medical degree, let alone a license.

  28. #28 Dangerous Bacon
    July 17, 2014

    Noting the Wakefield photo in Orac’s article:

    Sorry to have to say it, but that’s an evil-looking S.O.B.

    Imagine him baby-sitting your kids (shudder).*

    *”Does widdle baby want to give Unca Andy some blood? Yes you do! Yes you do!”

  29. #29 Narad
    July 17, 2014

    Is he still in the US? Deport!

    He has a Green Card. Absent crimes of moral turpitude, he’s set.

  30. #30 lilady
    July 17, 2014

    Here’s a blast from the (recent) past when the RI Regulars engaged most of the AoA crew and Jackie Fletcher and Isabella Thomas:

    http://www.newstatesman.com/sci-tech/2013/04/giving-space-andrew-wakefield-mmr-isnt-balance-its-lunacy#comment-863076294

  31. #31 Kiiri
    July 17, 2014

    I seriously dislike Wakefield. He kicked off a large part of the anti-vaccine party and its still going strong. I can’t tell you (as the mother of small one) how many people were shocked (shocked I tell you) that I vaccinated him on schedule. Obviously they missed the fact that I work in public health. Those were some of the most disheartening internet conversations ever to find people I thought had two brain cells to rub together had bought the anti-vaccine trope hook line and sinker. Add to that my crazy days trying to give people the science behind why they shouldn’t be feeding their children raw milk. I finally had to stop as it was driving me utterly insane. BTW lilady I saw the comments on the thread you posted. I too am forever tainted as a CDC-shill, I have worked for county and now state departments of public health. I am really wondering where my fat CDC check is. Probably its lost in the mail. I’ll keep looking.

  32. #32 Denice Walter
    July 17, 2014

    How does Andy appeal to them?

    Lots of women think that he’s good-looking, sexy, fabulous. Seriously.

    I don’t see it myself.

    He also tells them things that they want to hear: that their child was fine but was later destroyed by vaccines. He understands their trials and tribulations. He’s a big, strong, brilliant dude and he’s on their side.

    It’s possible that these mothers aren’t expert at reading people and their ulterior motives either. Like many woo-meisters, he portrays himself as saintly so that his followers never doubt his sincerity. ( As if calling yourself something solidifies that claim!)

    Woo is filled with fantasy objects for lonely people who present themselves as a friend or potential partner in order to sell products, services or dodgy ideas tarted up as science and the next new thing.

  33. #33 Douglas Barnes
    July 17, 2014

    What else is Wakefield going to do? Get a real job? His life is pretty much consigned to selling his fraud to the scientifically-illiterate paranoid.

  34. #34 Shay
    July 17, 2014

    I actually received a CDC check today (okay, a gift card) for reviewing some literature they have put together for residents of EPZs (our county is surrounded by nuclear reactors). Thank you, Lord Draconis!

  35. #35 Shay
    July 17, 2014

    Denise — it’s the accent.

  36. #36 novalox
    July 17, 2014

    @Allyn

    You’ll be waiting for a while for that apology, but judging from simpson’s stupidity, he/she/it will just think you’re a pharma shill.

  37. #37 AlisonM
    July 17, 2014

    Anne Dachel has been promoting her book in the comments section nearly every media outlet’s coverage of the recent story of 67 studies that showed no link to autism. You can say anything you want about her there, because she doesn’t come back once she’s made her sales pitch. If you’re lucky, you’ll run across a thread in which she condemns big pharma shills right next to her self promotion. In a couple, she also promotes another book written by someone else from AoA, which I have little doubt pays a fee to Anne for each one sold.

  38. #38 Politicalguineapig
    July 17, 2014

    Narad: He has a Green Card. Absent crimes of moral turpitude, he’s set.

    Causing an epidemic isn’t a crime? Villains the world over will be relieved to hear that.

  39. #39 Chris,
    July 17, 2014

    Shay: “Denise — it’s the accent.”

    He has the most annoying English accent I have ever heard, it is just smarmy and quite creepy.

  40. #40 Mark Rupertson
    July 17, 2014

    Why do we need to blame others/something? we are not here to blame Wakefield nor the things he said about vaccines. We are here to check, investigate, and validate the said issue. instead of complaining we should be positive in helping spread the truth. The truth will come out and so, we need to look on the brighter side of it.

  41. #41 Chris,
    July 17, 2014

    Mr. Rupertson: “The truth will come out and so, we need to look on the brighter side of it.”

    The truth did come out. Wakefield committed fraud. Several studies have shown that the MMR vaccine is safe, yet thousands of unprotected kids have had to suffer with measles, with several deaths.

    What part of that is in doubt?

  42. #42 herr doktor bimler
    July 17, 2014

    In 2011, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons had Wakefield as one of their major speakers at the 2011 meeting … I mention this because the leader of the AAPS, one Dr. Jane Orient, is creating needless hysteria in Arizona right now over the possibility of undocumented immigrants from countries south of the US bring ebola (yes, ebola) into the US.

    Not just Ebola… also dengue, TB and swine-flu pandemics. Orient is simultaneously able to oppose (1) vaccines, and (2) alleged carriers of vaccine-preventable diseases.

  43. #43 Politicalguineapig
    July 17, 2014

    HDB: I don’t think there is a vaccine for dengue yet. Also, correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t dengue only transmissible by mosquito? I’ve always heard that it can’t be transmitted person to person.
    So far, from what I’ve heard, the main public health problem is head lice. A nuisance, but not worse than what happens every school year. From kindergarten through first grade,every year me and my siblings got notices of head lice and warnings not to share hats or combs.

  44. #44 lilady
    July 17, 2014

    Dr. Jane Orient (and Fox News) know zilch about the vaccine-preventable diseases and the vector-borne disease problems in Texas…which are NOT caused by unaccompanied foreign children crossing the Mexico-Texas border:

    http://www.texasobserver.org/disease-threat-immigrant-children-wildly-overstated/

  45. #45 Chris,
    July 17, 2014

    When I first signed up to the Healthfraud listserv, she was involved in several annoying discussions espousing her special kind of anti-science libertarian stances. She ended up being banned.

    To bad the archives to that listserv no longer exist.

  46. #46 Narad
    July 17, 2014

    Why do we need to blame others/something? we are not here to blame Wakefield nor the things he said about vaccines. We are here to check, investigate, and validate the said issue. instead of complaining we should be positive in helping spread the truth. The truth will come out and so, we need to look on the brighter side of it.

    Signed, Lumber Cartel Unit No. 2921.

  47. #47 lilady
    July 17, 2014

    Back to the “disenfranchised scientist” and the source of some of his considerable income…D.A.I.R.

    D.A.I.R. runs secret fundraisers for Andy, where his fan base gets the chance to meet their hero:

    http://wellfedfamily.net/tag/dair-foundation/

    There was a $250/ticket soiree for Andy at an undisclosed location in New York City, four weeks ago:

    http://dairfoundation.org/#integrity

  48. #48 ann
    July 17, 2014

    Noting the Wakefield photo in Orac’s article:

    Sorry to have to say it, but that’s an evil-looking S.O.B.

    It hardly seems likely that the photo editor put out a request for shots in which he looked jolly and congenial, though. To be fair.

    I find him opaque, personally. Or….Maybe I mean that I find him personally opaque.

    Well. I guess it’s not important. He seems like a cipher to me. And I wonder how he got to be so very much more than ordinarily mendacious.

    I wish I knew more about his pre-Lancet/Royal-Free life and associations.

  49. #49 ann
    July 17, 2014

    I will say that it’s not often one sees a 57(ish)-year-old man of his physical type who appears not only to have retained a full head of non-graying hair but to have made some gains wrt both pigment and luxuriousness of locks as time went on.

    Hey! Speaking of defamation

  50. #50 Old Rockin' Dave
    Somewhere they can't find me...
    July 18, 2014

    First, Orac, I’m glad that since I finally found time to resume reading your blog you are keeping it a little shorter. Thanks.
    Second, I’m a part of the autism community, being on the spectrum myself, and I’d love to have a chance to tell those f**kheads who torment their children in the name of “cure’ that they are neither the real autism community nor is Andrew Wakefield any kind of hero.
    I’ve always defined a hero as someone who puts him/herself at serious risk to do something of serious importance to others. Wakefield is a fraudster who put children at risk in order to build himself an image and sell his vaccine, all the while profiting from a fund meant to help child victims of malpractice.
    I don’t pray for his early death, but don’t watch me too closely when he does die. I wouldn’t want to be seen publicly laughing my ass off.

  51. #51 Chris,
    July 18, 2014

    Narad: “Signed, Lumber Cartel Unit No. 2921.”

    Oh, wow. I am a veteran of UseNet and finally I understand a Narad reference! The late Mark Probert actually had an email address to a lumbercartel domain.

  52. #52 Politicalguineapig
    July 18, 2014

    ORD: I’d save up for tap shoes, personally.

  53. #53 Brian Deer
    July 18, 2014

    @Lawrence #17

    No news on the Texas case. No idea why they’re taking so long, although I think they have a huge backlog.

    I should say that, while nobody in their right mind welcomes litigation, especially in defamation, we have always published on Wakefield with the knowledge that we might have to defend our journalism in one of the most difficult libel jurisdictions in the developed world: England. Here, the publisher has to prove their case. There’s no first amendment, or anything like it, and the qualified privilege law at the time was almost non-existent.

    But, while it would be an overstatement to say that we would have been “happy” to see him in London, that was what we were prepared to do. Indeed, before the BMJ case, Channel 4 television obtained a court order compelling Wakefield to proceed to trial or abandon his vexatious action against them. He did the latter – after a year of discovery and statements of case. The combined bill would have been around $1.5m, which his insurers paid.

    We do not want to proceed in Texas in significant part because, if the case went past summary judgment (which is unlikely) it would be so unmanageable and costly that we would stand little chance of a level playing field. None of the evidence, or witnesses are in Texas, we would be unable to depose people like Isabella Thomas and Rosemary Kessick, or force disclosure of the GMC’s files, without huge and possibly insurmountable complexities. Many of the witnesses are now quite old, and we would have to transport them all to Texas, schedule them, accommodate them, all at colossal cost.

    We did a deposition in London a couple of years back, and all the Texas attorneys were jetlagged. Wakefield’s guy started shrieking at me in a most bizarre way. Just completely lost it, shouting across the table, and I think it was largely jet lag.

    Wakefield, meanwhile, would be able to do what he did for his UK GMC hearing, for which he produced no witnesses and essentially no evidence, but simply turned up with his dick in his hands.

    It’s a vexatious case, and the sight of him appearing to raise money from parents of disabled children is just appalling. He is a wealthy man, who, as far as I know, has produced nothing of interest in about 15 years.

    So, he would be running up a huge bill against us, and likely would pay next to nothing himself.

    I’m busy with other things these days, but I hope that helps.

  54. #54 lilady
    July 18, 2014

    Brian, thank you so much for the update on the Texas court case.

    I had hoped that you, Dr. Godlee and the BMJ would have have a speedy resolution to that totally bogus defamation suit instituted by Wakefield…and perhaps could have successfully used the Texas anti-SLAPP statute to regain the legal costs you have incurred to defend yourselves against Wakefield’s harassing, unfounded claims of defamation. The mere thought of you forcing the liquidation of his assets in his media and film production companies, would have been a well-deserved delectable outcome for the charlatan business titan

    It seems that the principal schemers (Wakefield and Richard Barr) have yet to face any consequences for their unethical medical and legal misconduct and the children in that case study suffered actual harm.

    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jun/26/mmr-autism-lawyers-sued-hodge-jones-allen-claim-legal-aid?commentpage=1

    As always, thank you for your extraordinary advocacy on behalf of the children and my best wishes for a speed resolution to the Texas legal entanglement.

    - lilady

  55. #55 Lawrence
    July 18, 2014

    Thanks Brian – I appreciate the update. Good luck and God Speed with your current and future endeavors.

  56. #56 Broken Link
    July 18, 2014

    Here’s an AoA comment that perfectly captures their sentiment towards Wakefield and explains how a fraudster like Wakefield can appeal to a group of scientific illiterates

    Dr. Wakefield has one of the really great voices and I hope he will use it in his film. Right accent, right amount of testosterone…work it, man!

    Posted by: Carol | July 17, 2014 at 04:31 AM

  57. #57 Denice Walter
    July 18, 2014

    @ ann:

    Previously I noticed evidence of Botox ™ as well in one of his videos.

    Speaking as a 57-(ish) year old with a full head of non-greying hair which has made gains wrt pigment and luxuriousness etc.
    No witchcraft or clean living is involved: I meet up every three weeks with two little bottles from Paris labelled ‘dark ash blonde #70′

  58. #58 Denice Walter
    July 18, 2014

    Thanks so much, Brian. Best wishes on your new endeavors.

    -btw- speaking as a psychologist, are you sure that it was *just* jet lag?

  59. #59 lilady
    July 18, 2014

    Wow, wow. AoA features a “Dear Tom” letter to Dr. Thomas Insel at the NIH and director of the IACC, which was sent by Laura Bono (board member of SafeMinds).

    It’s one of the nastiest, vilest letter I’ve ever seen directed at a public official…by someone representing a major organization.

    Go look. See the comments by some familiar players and tell me your opinions about what SafeMinds hopes to accomplish.

    http://www.safeminds.org/blog/2014/07/16/open-letter-tom-insel-director-interagency-autism-coordinating-committee-iacc/

  60. #60 Denice Walter
    July 18, 2014

    @ lilady:

    They live in a dream world. Neither physiology nor social interaction follow the same patterns as those with which we are familar. Needless to say, very little can be accomplished in that world which might correspond to events in the real one: therefore they write letters, do ‘investigations’ and waste electrons on the internet talking about ‘action’.

  61. #61 Denice Walter
    July 18, 2014

    Let me elaborate for other readers, lilady -

    these parent-activists spend hours and hours, day after day, year in year out, writing, persuing legal and governmental action, supporting their sisters/ fellows, arguing with rational people and ‘researching’ cures rather than _spending time with their children_ who could benefit from the social interaction, informal instruction and shared experiences LIKE ALL OTHER PEOPLE BENEFIT.

    Do you know how much an hour a week can affect students/ potential students in need of structure and encouragement? Well, lots: that’s what I do presently professionally for (mostly) EFL young adults/ adults.

    I believe that a great deal of their activism is to help THEMSELVES not their children. To make themselves feel better and more important, even perhaps craft a career of sorts out of their efforts. Look at the number of books, websites and facebook pages created by the principals and you’ll see what I mean: now figure out the amount of time wasted.

  62. #62 squirrelelite
    July 18, 2014

    @lilady,
    I would guess she doesn’t expect a real response from NIH.
    But, it’s certainly ironic that she complains about a lack of research since President Obama’s announcement in 2009 and then cites research published since then to support her claims!

    I thought the Hallmayer twin study she cited was interesting:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21727249

    Here’s the abstract:

    For strict autism, probandwise concordance for male twins was 0.58 for 40 monozygotic pairs (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.42-0.74) and 0.21 for 31 dizygotic pairs (95% CI, 0.09-0.43); for female twins, the concordance was 0.60 for 7 monozygotic pairs (95% CI, 0.28-0.90) and 0.27 for 10 dizygotic pairs (95% CI, 0.09-0.69). For ASD, the probandwise concordance for male twins was 0.77 for 45 monozygotic pairs (95% CI, 0.65-0.86) and 0.31 for 45 dizygotic pairs (95% CI, 0.16-0.46); for female twins, the concordance was 0.50 for 9 monozygotic pairs (95% CI, 0.16-0.84) and 0.36 for 13 dizygotic pairs (95% CI, 0.11-0.60). A large proportion of the variance in liability can be explained by shared environmental factors (55%; 95% CI, 9%-81% for autism and 58%; 95% CI, 30%-80% for ASD) in addition to moderate genetic heritability (37%; 95% CI, 8%-84% for autism and 38%; 95% CI, 14%-67% for ASD).

    So, if one twin is autistic, the second twin is over twice as likely to also be autistic (strict definition) if they’re monozygotic (same DNA) than if dyzygotic.

    For ASD, a similar ratio holds, although not as strong for female twins.

    Sounds like a strong genetic factor to me.

    I’m curious if the authors defined the “shared twin environmental component”.

    I suspect it includes gestation which isn’t what Safeminds means at all.

  63. #63 Old Rockin' Dave
    In this dirty old part of the city...
    July 18, 2014

    Politicalguineapig, I wouldn’t want to be seen dancing on his grave, either. Now on his head, that would be another matter.. I hope I live long enough to make a pilgrimage to his gravesite in the dead of night, with a full bladder.

  64. #64 lilady
    July 18, 2014

    @ Denice Walter: Did you see the 14 comments posted under the “Dear Tom” letter on SafeMinds? Every last one of them are from cranks…including the one from the anesthesiologist who runs an autism diagnostic and treatment facility. The 15th comment, however, from Lawrence, refers them to recent LB/RB posts and the long list of studies that have been conducted, and are presently being conducted, about environmental factors-autism diagnoses.

    BTW, Laura Bono made a claim for her child’s “vaccine injuries” and the child has a genetic syndrome which causes his seizures. There was some vague references to chelation for heavy metals toxicities. The Vaccine Court determined those toxicities were definitely environmental; contaminated soil in the backyard of the family home, from a fuel line:

    http://www.cofc.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/opinions/CMILLER.BONO043009.pdf

  65. #65 Jason M
    Florida
    July 18, 2014

    I’m guessing that when Dachel calls Wakefield a hero to the autism community, she does so without actually having spoken to an autistic person. I’m autistic, a full time worker, full time student, and I have a family, and Wakefield is no hero to me, nor to any autistic person I know. In a related note, if you are anti -vax because you think it causes autism, then you are implicitly saying that being dead, disfigured, or disabled from preventable diseases is better than being autistic. That makes you part of the problem.

  66. #66 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    July 18, 2014

    In a related note, if you are anti -vax because you think it causes autism, then you are implicitly saying that being dead, disfigured, or disabled from preventable diseases is better than being autistic. That makes you part of the problem.

    QFT. And thank you so much for saying that, Jason M.

  67. #67 ann
    July 18, 2014

    Denice Walter @ #57 –

    Honi soit qui mal y pense.

    :)
    :

  68. #68 Politicalguineapig
    July 18, 2014

    ORD: Heh. Sadly, that avenue isn’t open to me, but I hope you live long enough to see that dream come true.

    Jason M: I’m guessing that when Dachel calls Wakefield a hero to the autism community, she does so without actually having spoken to an autistic person.

    Yeah, I get that impression too. She has a son with autism, but I don’t think she’s ever bothered to sit down and have a conversation with him.

  69. #69 Denice Walter
    July 19, 2014

    It appears that RI has not created a new fan base at AoA:
    they despise our magnanimous host, the splendid Mr Deer and OBVIOUSLY, the many talented shills and minions who frequent this locale. *Quel dommage*

    In other gossip, Jake is displeased with Mr Kennedy’s new book: it seems he edited out Jake’s *raison d’etre*.

    In other real news, I will be having a late repast at an outrageousy over-priced restaurant widely recognised for its *boeuf* which I don’t even think about eating.

  70. #70 lilady
    July 19, 2014

    Poor Jake. Just because his mommy told him he is “toxic” and now Kennedy has backed down from some of his most outrageous claims about mercury “toxicities”, Jake will have to come up with some more excuses for his toxic personality.

  71. #71 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    July 19, 2014

    As a 57(ish)-year-old man who has retained a full head of non-graying hair, it’s a blessing and a tremendous responsibility. And no with no aids besides Pantene.

  72. #72 Sarah A
    United States
    July 19, 2014

    @lilady #59 – I left a comment this afternoon and its already been taken down. Typical.

  73. #73 JJ
    Now in the US
    July 19, 2014

    Lilady #9-You’re in Dachel’s book?! Congratulations on becoming such a thorn in the side of the the anti-vaccine movement that she includes you in her book.

  74. #74 Narad
    July 19, 2014

    And no with no aids besides Pantene.

    Try henna.

  75. #76 Denice Walter
    July 19, 2014

    @ Mephistopheles O’Brien:

    Actually, I only have a tiny bit of white on the hairline but why not gild the lily?

  76. #77 Denice Walter
    July 19, 2014

    Oh my.
    So lilady is a topic in Dachel’s book.
    I hope she didn’t investigate lilady’s world famous cocktail parties- if so our collective goose is hereby cooked.
    Especially mine.

  77. #78 lilady
    July 20, 2014

    Denice, for all I know Maurine Meleck could be blowing smoke.

    I’m beginning to wonder about her and her buddy Anne…perhaps they are imbibing too much…or too little.

    I’m jealous that you dined out. It’s stay close to home for us. The DH looks like he met up with the business end of a baseball bat. He’s got a huge shiner on his right eye, from surgery.

  78. #79 Denice Walter
    July 20, 2014

    @ lilady:

    Actually, my companion wasn’t exactly thrilled with the steak.
    The other stuff was fine.

    In other news:
    Mikey REVEALS ALL! ( Not really)
    I knew it I knew it I knew it I knew it!
    His BS is NOT in any type of science but in “Technical Writing”. He informs us about his “brush with poverty” and adventures in Taiwan etc
    His account of his childhood doesn’t square with earlier Health Ranger bio accounts of his parents’ lives as pharmaceutical minions ( gone down the memory hole).

    It all leads up to fear mongering about the economy which puts him in the “esteemed” company of Gerald Celente and Porter Stansberry.

  79. #80 Narad
    July 20, 2014

    Wait, did this somehow get omitted from the Lee Silsby Compounding Pharmacy “Media Update”?

  80. #81 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    July 20, 2014

    why not gild the lily?

    You can do that guilt free as long as you’re a member of the lily gilders’ guild.

  81. #82 lilady
    July 20, 2014

    Narad: Keith Kloor’s new post was not mentioned by the Dachel bot.

    Jake posted a comment. I’ve just replied to the kid. I think you may enjoy it:

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/collideascape/2014/07/20/deliberating-kennedys-thimerosal-book/#comment-1494458144

  82. #83 Narad
    July 20, 2014

    Jake posted a comment. I’ve just replied to the kid.

    He’s also violating copyright by distributing the original manuscript, but whatever. I can only imagine the spluttering that would ensue from a DMCA takedown.

  83. #85 Dorit
    July 21, 2014

    I wonder how Mr. Kennedy feels about Mr. Crosby’s use of the unpublished manuscript.

  84. #86 Denice Walter
    July 21, 2014

    Anne Dachel is reporting about Mr Kennedy’s book ( w/ Drs Hyman and HERBERT**). She’s not as critical as Jake.

    @ Dorit:

    I wonder myself.

    At any rate, what I’ve noticed recently is the demonisation of the media so common @ PRN and Natural News is now also *de rigueur* at sites like AoA and TMR- and Dachel is their chief scoffer.

    Basically, they aren’t as welcome as they once were on television shows ( news or talk) so they dismiss the mainstream WHICH IS A GOOD THING. At least a portion of their potential audience will speculate about why they are tossed out by the majority.
    To others, it might be a mark of excellence.

    ** I knew that she’d turn up soon given her appearances @ AO and PRN.

  85. #87 sheepmilker
    July 21, 2014

    Dachel is just FREAKING OUT about the latest research showing that autism is about 60% due to genetic factors.

  86. #88 Denice Walter
    July 21, 2014

    @ sheepmilker;

    Anne & co also can’t deal with the fact that most of the ‘environmental’ effects being researched involve PRE -and PERI -natal influences therefor not vaccines like the MMR or the over-burdensome schedule.

    However they do get their panties in a knot over flu ( and other) vaccines given during pregnancy and vaccines and other treatments given around the time of birth.

    As they say around here: ‘Any port in a storm’.

  87. #89 squirrelelite
    July 21, 2014

    @ sheepmilker,

    Here’s the Pubmed link:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25038753

    I’m not sure how to compare the statistical numbers, but it seems consistent with the numbers from the Hallmayer twin study I mentioned in comment 62.

  88. […] US-Science-Blog Respectful Insolence kommentiert das Spektakel halbwegs fassungslos […]

  89. #91 Narad
    July 22, 2014

    Looks like Jenny Allan has blown another head gasket.

  90. […] Andrew Wakefield is still at it blaming vaccines for autism [Respectful Insolence] […]

  91. #93 Nick K
    July 24, 2014

    #65: Thank you, very pertinent comment.

    #68: Interesting phrase “autism community”. This almost certainly means “the bunch of idiots and conspiracy wackos who believe Wakefield”, not the people who actually have autism.

  92. […] whose word you would be very foolish to trust on any scientific matter relating to vaccines: Andrew Wakefield and Brian Hooker. It began with a paper published in yet another journal I’ve never heard of, […]

  93. #95 michael bruce
    August 30, 2014

    How can spend so much money on research if we already have all the answers? 50 years ago he could have written about association of cancer with cigarettes and this would have been disputed as well. How can we trust the medical communities in a country that has the most expensive healthcare and being most vaccinated country and have such a low life expectancy?

  94. #96 Lawrence
    August 30, 2014

    Hmmmm….we have the highest life expectancy in this country’s history….but we lack universal access to health care.

    Could be a good reason right there.

    Imagine what we could do if everyone (who is medically able) got vaccinated?

  95. #97 Chris
    August 30, 2014

    Funny, but there was not much dispute over this 1950 paper by Doll and Hill. Except from tobacco companies.

  96. #98 Krebiozen
    August 30, 2014

    How can we trust the medical communities in a country that has the most expensive healthcare and being most vaccinated country and have such a low life expectancy?

    That makes no sense to me. It isn’t just US medical communities that believe vaccines are safe and effective. Even North Korea believes in vaccination.

    As for the life expectancy, when you consider that the US has a huge underclass living in poverty without universal healthcare, I think it’s doing pretty well. US life expectancy at birth is about 80, not that far behind European countries with socialized medicine (mostly 81-83 years) and similar vaccination schedules to the US, and way ahead of countries like Equatorial Guinea which still has a life expectancy of only 50.

    In any case, life expectancy has very little to do with vaccination.