Respectful Insolence

Truth

Here we go again.

If there’s anything that ignites the fevered brains (such as they are) of antivaccine activists, it’s a good seeming conspiracy. Indeed, as we’ve seen before, if they can’t find a legitimate one, they’ll either exaggerate one or make one up out of whole cloth. This week, an “alleged” conspiracy has been brewing. It’s really the damnedest thing in that it’s hard to figure out exactly what’s going on. Whatever is going on, though, I would recommend extreme skepticism because two people are involved 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, Translational Neurodegeneration, and accelerated last night with the release of a video that claims to name a former high ranking CDC official as a “whistleblower” for the finding that the CDC has been “covering up” (of course!) the “truth” that the MMR vaccine causes autism. This is one that might require multiple posts as information dribbles out and people figure out exactly what is really going on. In the meantime, let’s start with the video, released by Andrew Wakefield’s Autism Media Channel, the same “channel” that tried to make antivaccine hay over the murder of an autistic boy. Here’s the video, which is now also on YouTube:

(Note that I’ve downloaded a copy in case it changes, as apparently it has before.)

A partial transcript can be found at—where else?—that wretched hive of antivaccine scum and quackery, Age of Autism.

The first thing one notices about the video is how intentionally inflammatory it is. The “malfeasance” (if such it is) being discovered is compared unfavorably—yes, unfavorably—to the Tuskegee syphilis experiment, complete with lurid pictures patients suffering from advanced syphilis and the introduction of Peter Buxton, the Public Health Service investigator who blew the whistle on the experiment, because, apparently, to Wakefield and Hooker autism is just like end stage syphilis. (Yes, there is another “whistleblower” in this video.) The “malfeasance” being claimed is that the CDC supposedly covered up the link between MMR and autism in African American boys, hence the puffed up rhetoric about the Tuskegee syphilis experiment. Before I go into that more, there is one thing that bears mentioning here. The video even concludes with the sheer Godwin-y goodness (from an entertainment standpoint) of references to the crimes of Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot, because, I guess, autism is just like the mass murder of millions, at least in the minds of Wakefield supporters.

Of course, the key finding in Brian Hooker’s paper is that Wakefield was wrong. Indeed, in this video, Wakefield even admits that he was mostly wrong about MMR and autism. Let that sink in again. He admits that he was mostly wrong about MMR and autism. OK, he says we were “partially right,” but the flip side of that is that he must have been mostly wrong. What do I mean? I’ll explain.

The claims being put forward in the video is that earlier MMR vaccination is associated with an increased risk of autism in African-American boys and that the CDC has spent the last 13 years covering this linkage up. These charges are based the result of a “reanalysis” by Brian Hooker in Translational Neurodegeneration entitled Measles-mumps-rubella vaccination timing and autism among young african american boys: a reanalysis of CDC data. The study which has been “reanalyzed” is from a study by DeStefano et al in 2004 published in Pediatrics entitled Age at first measles-mumps-rubella vaccination in children with autism and school-matched control subjects: a population-based study in metropolitan Atlanta. That study was a case-control study in which age at first MMR vaccination was compared between autistic “cases” and neurotypical controls. Vaccination data were abstracted from immunization forms required for school entry, and records of children who were born in Georgia were linked to Georgia birth certificates for information on maternal and birth factors. Basically, no significant associations were found between the age cutoffs examined and the risk of autism. I note that, even in this “reanalysis” by Brian Hooker, there still isn’t any such correlation for children who are not African American boys.

I’ll get into the issues with this study a bit more later, but I’ll admit up front that it’s hard to go too deeply into this study without a statistician and access to the actual restricted data set from the CDC used. Not having access to the data set, I have no way of knowing if the analyses Hooker used were appropriate. However, for purposes of this post, let’s just, for a thought experiment, assume Hooker’s study comes to a valid conclusion (which is, given that it’s Hooker, highly unlikely, but stay with me for a moment). If that were the case, these results are no reassurance whatsoever to the vast majority of antivaccinationists supporting Wakefield. This study says nothing whatsoever about, for instance, Jenny McCarthy and her son’s autism, other than that there is no link between MMR and autism for children like him. Remember, the most vocal antivaccinationists jumping all over this are not African-American but instead tend to be UMC or even highly affluent Caucasians. There’s absolutely nothing in even Hooker’s ham-fisted “reanalysis” of this data to tell them that the MMR vaccine caused their children’s autism.

All there is left is a chance to hype up the conspiracy mongering machine against the hated CDC, because even Hooker’s reanalysis doesn’t support an increased risk of autism with earlier MMR vaccination in white babies. Zero. Nada. Zip. This leads to a bunch of “Tuskegee” handwaving to hide that finding, that even taking his best shot at it the most Hooker could come up with after he tortured the data was a correlation between age of MMR vaccination and autism in African Americans babies—and not just African-American babies, but African-American male babies. Even taken at face value, Hooker et al is a disaster for the vast majority of antivaccine activists. This can’t be repeated often enough. But does the study support an increased risk for African American males, as claimed?

There are a couple of things you have to remember whenever looking at a study that is billed as a “reanalysis” of an existing data set that’s already been published. The first is that no one—I mean no one—”reanalyzes” such a dataset unless he has an ax to grind and disagrees with the results of the original analysis so strongly that he is willing to go through the trouble of getting institutional review board (IRB) approval, as Hooker did from Simpson University, going to the CDC to get this dataset, and then analyzing it. Think, for instance, the infamous “reanalysis” by homeopaths of the meta-analysis of Shang et al that concluded that the effects of homeopathy are placebo effects. The reanalysis did not refute the original meta-analysis. The second thing you have to remember is that it’s pretty uncommon for such a “reanalysis” to refute the original analysis. Certainly, antivaccine “researchers” like Hooker try to do this all the time. Occasionally they get their results published in a bottom-feeding peer-reviewed journal (Translational Neurodegeneration doesn’t even appear to have an impact factor yet), as Hooker has. It means little.

So what about the paper itself? First, one has to go back to Destefano et al 2004. Basically, this was a case-control study in which 624 case children were identified from multiple sources and matched to 1,824 control children on age, gender, and school. In case control studies, researchers look at (usually) two groups of people, cases (those with the condition under study) and controls (those without) and tries to match them as closely as possible to every other confounding factor except for the risk factor being studied, in this case, the age of receiving first MMR vaccination. Porta’s Dictionary of Epidemiology defines the case-control study as: “an observational epidemiological study of persons with the disease (or another outcome variable) of interest and a suitable control group of persons without the disease (comparison group, reference group). The potential relationship of a suspected risk factor or an attribute to the disease is examined by comparing the diseased and nondiseased subjects with regard to how frequently the factor or attribute is present (or, if quantitative, the levels of the attribute) in each of the groups (diseased and nondiseased).” They then see if that risk factor is higher in the case population than it is in the control population. This is in comparison to cohort studies, in which researchers look at groups of people who vary in exposure to a given putative risk factor (for instance, vaccines), each controlled for every other potential risk factor that the authors can control for, and then determine if the condition for which that putative risk factor is suspected to be a risk factor for. A cohort study can be retrospective (looking at existing data) or prospective (the cohorts determined in advance and then followed over time), while case control studies are retrospective.

It’s also not uncommon for epidemiologists to choose more controls than cases in case-control studies. In any case, one thing Destefano et al did was to perform a case control study of children in metropolitan Atlanta looking at age at first MMR vaccination (0-11 months; 12-17 months; 18-23 months; 24-29 months; 30-35 months; and 36+ months). They found no statistically significant correlations. They also looked at a subgroup of the groups, children for whom a Georgia birth certificate could be located, in order to test correlations for other traits:

We matched 355 (56%) case and 1020 (56%) control children to Georgia state birth certificate records, which allowed us to obtain additional information, such as each child’s birth weight and gestational age and the mother’s parity, age, race, and education.

There was no significant correlation noted in various groups based on race, maternal age, maternal education, and birth weight. It’s all pretty straightforward, at least a straightforward as a epidemiological study can be. The only hint of a whiff of anything in it helpful to antivaccinationists was this:

Vaccination before 36 months was more common among case children than control children, especially among children 3 to 5 years of age, likely reflecting immunization requirements for enrollment in early intervention programs.

In other words, it’s a result that is likely not due to an actual effect.

Fast forward to Brian Hooker’s study. The first thing I noticed reading it was that it contains a lot of the usual red flags of antivaccine papers. Hooker cites several Mark Geier papers as evidence of a correlation between vaccines and autism, to try to make it seem as though there is an actual scientific controversy. He even cites a Wakefield paper.

Then there is the methods section. It’s really not very clear exactly what Hooker did with this dataset, other than muck around with it using SAS® software. He keeps referring to “cohorts,” which made me wonder right away whether he was not doing the same sort of analysis as Destefano. Instead of doing a case control study, it looks as though he did a cohort study:

The Pearson’s chi -squared test contained in the SAS® software was utilized for current statistical analyses, and a two-sided p-value <  0.05 was considered statistically significant. This is in contrast to the original Destefano et al. [14] (CDC) study, where a case–control study design was used, where 3 control children were matched to each case child, and analyzed using conditional logistic regression dichotomized for the three age cut-offs at 18, 24 and 36 months...In the present study, frequencies of cases were determined for first MMR ages of less than versus greater than 18 months, 24 months and 36 months in each separate analysis.

Yep, he did a cohort study. Basically, he looked at the risk of an autism diagnosis in the groups first exposed to MMR at different age ranges. Remember, case control = comparing risk factor frequency in people with a condition compared to controls; cohort = examining risk of condition in people with different exposures.

There’s an old saying in epidemiology (and in science in general) that says that if you torture data enough, eventually they will confess. With this in mind, it’s hard not to think of Brian Hooker as the Spanish Inquisition. I find it very telling that Hooker couldn’t find (or didn’t bother to look for) coauthor who is an actual epidemiologist or statistician. Heck, Jake Crosby wasn’t available? He might not be an epidemiologist, but he does have a degree in epidemiology and is in graduate school. What training in epidemiology or statistics does Brian Hooker have that qualifies him to do a retrospective cohort study like this? None that I can see. My first rule of thumb doing anything involving anything more complicated than the rudimentary statistics that I use to analyze laboratory experiments (such as even a “simple” clinical trial) is to find a statistician. While it’s true that Hooker used to lead a high throughput biology team, which likely required some statistical expertise, that’s a different sort of statistics and experimental design than epidemiology. Basically, if you’re going to do epidemiology, you should find an epidemiologist to collaborate with, and if you’re going to do something that requires some heavy statistical lifting you really need to get a statistician on board as well before you start the study.

So is Hooker’s result valid? Was there really a 3.36-fold increased risk for autism in African-American males who received MMR vaccination before the age of 36 months in this dataset? Who knows? Hooker analyzed a dataset collected to be analyzed by a case-control method using a cohort design. Then he did multiple subset analyses, which, of course, are prone to false positives. As we also say, if you slice and dice the evidence more and more finely, eventually you will find apparent correlations that might or might not be real. In this case, I doubt Hooker’s correlation is real. More importantly, even if his statistics were correctly done, his changing the design is highly suspect, particularly when coupled with claims being promulgated by our good buddy Jake Crosby that the CDC intentionally left out subjects in order to hide this correlation:

According to Dr. Hooker, the CDC whistleblower informant — who wishes to remain anonymous — guided him to evidence that a statistically significant relationship between the age the MMR vaccine was first given and autism incidence in African-American boys was hidden by CDC researchers. After data were gathered on 2,583 children living in Atlanta, Georgia who were born between 1986 and 1993, CDC researchers excluded children that did not have a valid State of Georgia birth certificate — reducing the sample size being studied by 41%. Hooker explains that by introducing this arbitrary criteria into the analysis, the cohort size was sharply reduced, eliminating the statistical power of the findings and negating the strong MMR-autism link in African American boys.

This is an accusation neither Hooker’s study nor anything any antivaccinationist has published thus far provides any tangible evidence for. Requiring the birth certificate was not an “arbitrary” criterion, either. It allowed investigators to account for known confounders related to autism risk, such as birth weight, at least in this subset of the case and control groups. I also can’t help but think there is likely to be a confounder that is unaccounted for in this study, particularly given how there increase in risk is found in only one group. In fact, as Reuben at The Poxes Blog explains, there almost certainly was just such a confounder:

Next come the statistics. Hooker uses Pearson’s chi squared test to see if there is a significant association between MMR and autism in children at different ages. DeStefano et al used conditional logistic regression. For the non-biostatisticians out there, the technique that DeStefano et al used accounts for confounders and effect modifiers, different traits in their population that could skew the results. Hooker’s technique doesn’t really do that, unless you stratify results and use very, very large datasets. Hooker’s approach is more “conservative,” meaning that it will detect small effects and amplify them, and those effects can come from anything.

In other words, Hooker used a method prone to false positives. Then:

The nail in the coffin for the Hooker paper is that autism is usually diagnosed by the time a child is three years old. There was no increased risk at 18 months, higher but not by a whole lot at 24, and then the three-fold increase at 36 months. Gee, was it the MMR vaccine, mister? No, the effect is being modified by age. It’s as if I asked you if your shoe size was bigger at 36 months because you drank milk vs because you were 36 months. It’s age. It’s the way that autism is diagnosed. You’re going to have more children diagnosed as autistic at 36 months than you will at 18 months or at 24 months. Using the chi square test doesn’t tease this out, Dr. Hooker! That’s more than likely why DeStefano et al used conditional logistic regression, to take age into account in the analysis.

So why did we not see this in the other ethnic groups or in girls? The answer here is simple, again. Hooker had a limited dataset to work with when he boiled it down to African-American baby boys. In this table, for example, he tells us that he had to modify the analysis to 31 months instead of 36 because he had less than 5 children in that group. It’s the same goddamned mistake that Andrew Jeremy Wakefield wanted to pass off as legitimate science. You cannot, and must not use small numbers to make big assertions…

Quite right. I should have seen that right off the bat.

And, of course, there’s no biologically plausible reason why there would be an effect observed in African-Americans but no other race and, more specifically than that, in African-American males. In the discussion, Hooker does a bunch of handwaving about lower vitamin D levels and the like in African American boys, but there really isn’t a biologically plausible mechanism to account for his observation, suggesting that it’s probably spurious. Finally, even if Destefano et al is thrown out, it’s just one study. There are multiple other studies, many much larger than this one, that failed to find a correlation between MMR and autism. Even if Hooker succeeded in “knocking out” Destefano et al, it doesn’t invalidate all that other evidence.

Hooker’s “reanalysis” aside, somehow, some way, a senior CDC scientist has made the massive mistake of speaking with Brian Hooker. That CDC scientist is William Thompson, well-respected (until, possibly, now) scientist and co-author of Destefano et al, as well as first author on a widely cited NEJM study showing no correlation between thimerosal in vaccines and neurodevelopmental disorders, among other studies. The first thing I noticed listening to Thompson in Wakefield’s video is just how little he is quoted. Instead he’s paraphrased by Hooker, who portrays himself as Thompson’s “confessor” to whom Thompson is “confessing.” The parts with Thompson’s voice appear highly edited, brief sound bites. They sound, at least the way they are presented, highly damning on first listen. It seems very odd on first listen. Heck, it sounds very odd on second listen. So what really happened? Again, who knows? You’ll excuse me if I reserve judgment until more information comes in from sources other than Andrew Wakefield and Brian Hooker because I suspect that what we’re seeing is a highly one-sided presentation of cherry picked information. It is, after all, Wakefield and Hooker we’re talking about.

In the meantime, remember this. Even if Hooker is “right,” he has just undermined the MMR-autism hypothesis and proven Wakefield wrong, with the possible (and unlikely) exception of a single group, African American males. Given the dubiousness of his analysis and background, he hasn’t even demonstrated it for them, either, particularly given the copious other studies that have failed to find a correlation between MMR and autism. What he has done, apparently, is found grist for a perfect conspiracy theory to demonize the CDC, play the race card in a truly despicable fashion, and cast fear, uncertainty, and doubt about the CDC vaccination program, knowing that most of the white antivaccine activists who support hate the CDC so much that they won’t notice that even Hooker’s reanalysis doesn’t support their belief that vaccines caused the autism in their children.

ADDENDUM:

Whoa. The beat goes on and on and on. Our “buddy” Jake Crosby is now claiming that Andrew Wakefield betrayed William Thompson by identifying him in the video without Thompson’s permission:

Andrew Wakefield has betrayed the CDC whistleblower by releasing his name without his consent. On the Autism Media Channel website, a video hosted by Wakefield is up announcing the whistleblower’s name and playing recordings of his voice. In the video is scientist and parent Dr. Brian Hooker, who had been in discussions with the whistleblower and made the catastrophic mistake of sharing his identity with Wakefield. Complicit in the betrayal is Age of Autism, which is promoting Wakefield’s video while repeating the whistleblower’s name.

In commentary to a small group of people later relayed to Autism Investigated, attorney Robert Krakow commented:

“I am very familiar with the information [whistleblower] offered. Disclosure of [whistleblower]’s existence and identity at this point in time is a colossal blunder and an inexplicable error in judgment that damages irreparably the opportunity to use [whistleblower]’s very valuable information and testimony effectively. I know that Brian Hooker did not make the disclosure.”

It remains truly ironic that Andrew Wakefield – a man betrayed by the Lancet editor a decade ago – would turn around and betray the trust of someone who has come forward with valuable information about the fraud committed in a federal agency. Also ironic is that Wakefield similarly betrayed the trust of Dr. Brian Hooker, whose congressional activities have been repeatedly undermined by groups associated with Age of Autism.

Given Jake’s past reliability, take this with a grain of salt. It does have plausibility in that, given Wakefield’s history I could totally see him betraying a “whistleblower” like that. However, I don’t for a moment believe that, if it’s true that Wakefield “outed” Thompson without his permission, Hooker didn’t know about it and at least acquiesce, if not actually approve. I mean, seriously. Hooker spent a lot of time in front of the camera bragging about how he had become William Thompson’s “confessor” and relating what Thompson had said to him, and he didn’t think Wakefield would use that footage? He’s either complicit or a irredeemably stupid and gullible. Take your pick. Of course, Jake is Brian Hooker’s best bud these days and admires him far out of proportion to any reason there might be to admire Hooker; my guess is that he wants to protect Hooker from this allegation, and that’s why he made the claim that Hooker knew nothing.

ADDENDUM #2:

Well, well, well. Andy Wakefield jumps in:

Jake, in light of your serious allegation that I “betrayed” the whistleblower by disclosing his name without permission, I asked you how you knew this. You replied “my sources”. There are no sources other than the whistleblower himself that would know whether or not this was the case since this matter was discussed between the two of us, in several of our conversations. I did, as a matter of fact, have his full knowledge and his permission to do what “I felt best” with the uncensored video.

Although it is a moot point, I remain perplexed as to quite why a man who participated in a prolonged scientific fraud – one that likely resulted in harm to many children – should merit anonymity on his terms. The misinformation you have put out has spread through an already divided community. Your reporting on this matter does you no credit.

So that’s Wakefield’s story, is it? That Thompson gave him permission to “do what he felt best,” but that Thompson doesn’t deserve anonymity on his terms. Why is it that I don’t believe Wakefield’s first claim in light of his attitude expressed in the second part of his comment?

Comments

  1. #1 Denice Walter
    August 22, 2014

    Hooker has appeared on both Alex Jones’ and Gary Null’s show ( the latter @ PRN yesterday, tape) and Mike Adams has jumped on the bandwagon even venturing a hypothesis concerning the selective vaccine damage ( black children are vitamin D deficient).

    For some reason this reminds me of Jake’s assertaion to Orac’s friend about thimerisol’s effect on a select population which didn’t pan out that well.

    I DO like Hooker’s description of the dedcision to not use children without a birth certificate as “arbitrary”. There would be no reason to do something like that I’m sure except to cover-up malfeasance.

  2. #2 Denice Walter
    August 22, 2014

    That should be the REMOVAL OF THIMERISOL or suchlike. You know what I mean.

  3. #3 Mu
    August 22, 2014

    Lets do some more bad statistics. If there is a correlation at 36 months but none at 24 and 18, one could deduct that it is vaccinations after 24 months that trigger autism. As autism is typically diagnosed by age 24 months, Brian Hooker has just demonstrated retroactive causality. Nobel price for Brian Hooker!
    Distractors could naturally argue that those were unvaccinated kids that got vaccinated after diagnosis, but they didn’t look at what came first, the chicken or the egg.

  4. #4 brian
    August 22, 2014

    I suppose Hooker’s readers might wonder about the healthcare-seeking behavior of the parents who did not have their boys vaccinated with MMR until years after the vaccine is recommended in comparison to the parents of boys who received the vaccine earlier. It’s clear that socioeconomic status and ethnicity can influence both vaccine uptake and access to healthcare–and to diagnosis of ASD.

    Nice that Hooker once again showed that Wakefield is wrong, though.

  5. #5 Orac
    August 22, 2014

    Yeah, I couldn’t resist using that as the title to this post because (1) it’s true and (2) it’ll annoy the heck out of Hooker and Wakefield. :-)

  6. #6 Eric Lund
    August 22, 2014

    it’s hard not to think of Brian Hooker as the Spanish Inquisition

    “Our greatest weapon is fear. Fear and surprise. Our two greatest weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency. Our three greatest weapons are ….”

    No doubt Hooker employed that fiendish device, the comfy chair.

  7. #7 Denice Walter
    August 22, 2014

    It appears that AoA’s commenters are truly impressed with Hooker’s monumental achievement as
    they pray for Thompson’s safety and our old friend Gergles muses that the ‘shills’ are ‘relatively quiet’ upon hearing this disastrous news.

    Yes, they are! Utterly gobsmacked, their breath literally taken away by Hooker’s incredible investigatory and statistical expertise; theirpowers of analysis rendered uselkess. We shan’t sleep at night for many months to come. Oh Lord, can I get a script ? My goodness, Orac only wrote 2000 words this time! He must be absolutely paralysed with fear as he realises…..
    the jig is up!
    Horrors! What shall we do?

  8. #8 Rogue Medic
    http://roguemedic.com/
    August 22, 2014

    In a subset analysis of fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency, Hooker found that there was statistically significant association between ruthless efficiency and autism.

    Hooker is claiming a conspiracy by efficiency experts to suppress the data.

    What most people do not understand is that if you have enough subgroups, you should find some subgroup that has results that are statistically significant.

    The results of subgroup analysis that suggest a statistically significant association may be something to look at, but he did not lower the p value to account for the number of subgroup reanalyses.

    If you flip a coin enough times, you will get a series of heads (or tails) that appears to be statistically significant, but only if taken out of context. Or if you are Rosencrantz or Guildenstern and only exist as a plot device.

    .

  9. #9 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    August 22, 2014

    Both Mu and brian make excellent points which were completely ignored by Hooker. Also, given the nature of the study, case-control (originally) no information is collected regarding temporal events. In other words, it is not known when the age of an ASD diagnosis or report of behaviours and receipt of MMR were.

  10. #10 lilady
    August 22, 2014

    Nice post Orac.

    “Requiring the birth certificate was not an “arbitrary” criterion, either. It allowed investigators to account for known confounders related to autism risk, such as birth weight, at least in this subset of the case and control groups. I also can’t help but think there is likely to be a confounder that is unaccounted for in this study, particularly given how there increase in risk is found in only one group.”

    I actually used Google to check the State of Georgia Birth Certificate Worksheet which appears to be the most currently used (Revised 2009), Worksheet and found this. I’m unable to locate the State of Georgia Birth Certificate Worksheet which was used for the children in the DeStefano, et al study covering birth years 1986-1993.

    http://www.dawninglife.com/resources/Birth-Certificate-Worksheet-1212.pdf

    That video with Wakefield as the Director and Narrator is dreadful. I happen to think that comparing autistic children to having syphilis is an abomination.

  11. #11 Orac
    August 22, 2014

    The results of subgroup analysis that suggest a statistically significant association may be something to look at, but he did not lower the p value to account for the number of subgroup reanalyses.

    D’oh! I forgot to mention that I didn’t think that Hooker corrected for multiple comparisons!

  12. #12 Orac
    August 22, 2014

    Orac only wrote 2000 words this time!

    More like 2,900, actually. :-)

  13. #13 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    August 22, 2014

    I should clarify, age of MMR is known but it is unknown when an ASD diagnosis or first reports of concern were made. There is no way to know which came first yet on AoA they are using the word “causes”.

  14. #14 MI Dawn
    August 22, 2014

    I am actually suspicious about Hooker’s use of SAS. As a SAS user myself, I know (to my sorrow), that it’s very easy to get results that don’t actually show what they should. The results look “right” (you got no error messages when running the program), but the results aren’t accurate.

    SAS users – at least the good ones – learn very early to think about what results they expect to see (i.e. – I expect to see 1000 result lines totaling about X amount but I only see 800 lines totaling Y amount…is something wrong or are my expectations off?) I’d really love to vet his program and data.

  15. #15 Denice Walter
    August 22, 2014

    I stand corrected.

    Interestingly enough, the AoA contingent seems pleased that this ‘tampering’ was revealed BUT while they support Hooker’s fine-tooth comb approach to data, it actually shows NO effect on white children ( which I surmise that most of their own are) so what are they so frigging thrilled about?

    The CDC is a source of bad data therefore all of its data is illegitimate and not to be trusted, is it? But Hooker, their boy, says absolutely NOTHING about the white children- and believe me, if there were an iota of a shade of hit of a correlation, he’d shriek it to high heaven. But he doesn’t

    And seriously, isn’t that their entire *raison d’etre*:
    ‘vaccines caused MY child’s autism’?.

  16. #16 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    August 22, 2014

    Oh the comments on AoA are a sight to see. First DOlmsted compares Thompson to Snowden, Gergles tries to pin Orac as a racist and one of the other braintrust explains how we can only take our talking points from our pay masters hence the relative silence.

  17. #17 JKanta
    August 22, 2014

    Looks like the “whistleblower” is William Thompson, original second author on the DeStefano paper, and is claiming that the original research excluded the statistics on African American boys.

    The anti-vaxxers are going nuts over it.

  18. #18 JKanta
    August 22, 2014

    Looks like the “whistleblower” is William Thompson, original second author on the DeStefano paper, and is claiming that the original research excluded the statistics on African American boys.

    The anti-vaxxers are going nuts over it.

  19. #19 Denice Walter
    August 22, 2014

    @ Science Mom:

    Oh bovine crapola! I have been noting the various anti-vax reactions to Hooker since Sunday or Monday right here.

    Oh wait! Does that make me a ‘paymaster’?

  20. #20 JCL
    August 22, 2014

    I see an AoA commentator has decided that Orac is racist:
    ‘Incredibly, Orac said something that was utterly racist that I really didn’t expect of him…’
    ‘…Orac explains that even if the allegations are correct, and the CDC study did initially find greater cases of autism for kids whose MMR vaccines were not delayed, white anti-vaxxers should not seize on this because the study was done on black kids.’

    Words fail me (they don’t rly but my boss says I’m only allowed one rant a day on his time…)

  21. #21 JKanta
    United States
    August 22, 2014

    Why didn’t Hooker release the data somewhere so it could be evaluated by others? Big red flag.

  22. #22 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    August 22, 2014

    @Denice Walter

    Where’s my check? I gots bills to pay!

  23. #23 Dangerous Bacon
    August 22, 2014

    Orac notes that Brian Hooker’s paper cites several Mark Geier publications (Geier being the doc who’s tried to commercialize Lupron treatment of young autistic boys and wound up with a long trail of suspended and revoked medical licenses).

    I don’t recall if it’s been covered here, but Hooker recently _co-authored_ a paper with Mark Geier, which attempts to dismiss a half-dozen studies showing a lack of harm by thimerosal, by claiming they have “methodological issues” and/or “evidence of malfeasance”.

    Hooker isn’t too fastidious about who he takes on as collaborators, because the paper’s co-authors also include David Geier and Boyd Haley.

    http://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2014/247218/

    So Hooker’s strategy seems to be dismissal of as much research as possible that refutes a vaccine-autism link, preferably via allegations of wrongdoing. In an ironic twist, Mr. Slipshod Ethics himself, Andrew Wakefield has turned out to be a casualty of this campaign. :)

  24. #24 Orac
    August 22, 2014

    ‘…Orac explains that even if the allegations are correct, and the CDC study did initially find greater cases of autism for kids whose MMR vaccines were not delayed, white anti-vaxxers should not seize on this because the study was done on black kids.’

    Talk about a straw man argument and a total and complete misunderstanding of the study and what I wrote. What I said is that Hooker’s own study failed to find a link between MMR and autism in any kids other than African-American males, and even then the link is questionable at best.

    I did figure, however, that the antivaccine kooks would throw the “racist” canard at me over my pointing out to them (at least their most prominent faces) that they can’t have it both ways. If they believe this study, then they are accepting that both Destefano et al and Hooker’s study show no evidence of increased risk of autism in any child who isn’t an African-American male, which means Hooker’s study doesn’t provide evidence supporting the belief in MMR causation of autism in the vast majority of children portrayed by the movement as “vaccine-injured.”

  25. #25 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    August 22, 2014

    Oh wait! Does that make me a ‘paymaster’?

    Depends, did you give Orac his orders? And if you got promoted and I didn’t, Our Lord Draconis is going to be minus his head cheese soufflé next minion pot luck. And when I say head cheese, this is Lord Draconis we’re talking about.

  26. #26 Dorit Reiss
    August 22, 2014

    Mr. Crosby claims on his own blog that Andrew Wakefield betrayed Thompson by releasing his identity.

  27. #27 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    August 22, 2014

    So just to reiterate, if Hooker is correct and properly conducted his analysis, then MMR poses no risk of autism in anyone other than African American males. Then the question becomes, what is so biologically different about African American males that makes them susceptible to autism due to MMR, but not anyone else? It’s biologically implausible. And why only males, but not females? If it is a racial thing, then we’d expect to see at least a little increase risk among African American females, too.

    So what Hooker has shown is that all of those parents whose children are not African American males who claim MMR caused their child’s autism are wrong. If those parents remain convinced that they are right, they should be very upset with Hooker. Heck, I imagine they should be upset, anyway, since now they must find some new cause. Their world is all a-flutter once more.

  28. #28 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    August 22, 2014

    @Dorit Reiss

    Wait. Jake Crosby, who also violated journalistic ethics to reveal what was told to him off the record, is saying that Wakefield is in the wrong?

  29. #29 Orac
    August 22, 2014

    I know. It’s hilarious. However, it’s too good not to add as an addendum to this post, which I did.

  30. #30 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    August 22, 2014

    Jake has a different level of ethics when it comes to whistleblowers as opposed to people who just told him stuff they thought he’d keep private.

  31. #31 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    August 22, 2014

    @Mephistopheles O’Brien

    What’s kind of amusing is that Jake used to be a Wakefield fanboi. I guess since Wakefield hitched his wagon to AoA a bit too much, Wakefield is now on Jake’s s*** list.

  32. #32 Krebiozen
    August 22, 2014

    It’s racist to point out that research results that only apply to male African American children only apply to male African American children? Who knew?

  33. #33 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    August 22, 2014

    @Krebiozen

    Maybe he’s arguing that it’s racist to point out that all those white folk blaming the MMR for their kids’ autism is racist. Or something. Greg’s not known for reading comprehension.

  34. #34 Sandman2
    August 22, 2014

    Love it. This paper was published in GreenMed Info on Tue. Aug 19. (http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/breaking-whistleblower-names-cdc-scientists-covering-vaccine-autism-link) And so far has 162 comments. Most by anti-vaccine folk. I initially responded to say that the paper had a couple of holes in it (like no raw data) and would probably not be peer reviewed very well. Of course, I got jumped on. What surprised me was the outcry about peer reviewed data and how horrible it was. I kept asking them to give an alternative idea – you can imagine how that went over.
    Then somehow the discussion turned to how Vit. C will cure Ebola – thats when it really got interesting.
    Anyway, if anybody gets bored and wants to see what some real whack jobs think – check out the site.

  35. #35 Sandman2
    August 22, 2014

    Oh, I just published Orcs link over there. Will be curious to see if any try to push their same nonsense on this site. Man your battle stations!

  36. #36 dingo199
    August 22, 2014

    Wakefraudytrousers has cracking previous form with exposing the names of whistleblowers who want to remain anonymous.
    He did it with his MMR study too.

  37. #37 Shay
    the cheap seats
    August 22, 2014

    More popcorn!

  38. #38 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    August 22, 2014

    It gets even better, Wakefraudytrousers asks Jake Crosby:

    Andy Wakefield on August 22, 2014 at 5:25 pm said:
    Jake,
    May I simply ask how you know that I revealed his name without his consent?

    Andy

    Make mine a tub o’ corn please.

  39. #39 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    August 22, 2014

    @Sandman2:

    Oh, I just published Orcs link over there. Will be curious to see if any try to push their same nonsense on this site. Man your battle stations!

    Thank you so much. I haven’t had a good chew tow ever since the Gregger was banned. I sincerely hope some antivaxxers show up.

  40. #40 Orac
    August 22, 2014

    BTW, Reuben at The Poxes Blog has an excellent analysis posted. It’s so good that I modified my post above to include a couple of relevant quotes from Reuben’s post:

    http://thepoxesblog.wordpress.com/2014/08/22/andrew-jeremy-wakefield-plays-video-director-while-african-american-babies-die-or-something/

  41. #41 Narad
    August 22, 2014

    It began with a paper published in yet another journal I’ve never heard of, Translational Neurodegeneration

    He must have been tickled pink to find an OA journal that’s waiving APCs, even if it has amateurish production values®.

    According to Dr. Hooker, the CDC whistleblower informant — who wishes to remain anonymous — guided him to evidence that a statistically significant relationship between the age the MMR vaccine was first given and autism incidence in African-American boys was hidden by CDC researchers.

    Wait, Jake, are you saying that the result of the paper was preordained? Isn’t this sort of thing supposed to be mentioned somewhere?

  42. #42 Narad
    August 22, 2014

    From American Loon #1050 comes this shocking update:

    William W Thompson, PhD…the CDC whistleblower…was escorted off the premises of the CDC campus yesterday afternoon. This is what a source has just told me.

    Therefore, the CDC knows Thompson is the whistleblower.

    He’s in danger.

    This bit appears to be correct, though:

    I’ve also been told that the Autism Media Channel, which had posted the video revealing Thompson’s name and outing him, is gone. The site is suddenly gone.

  43. #43 Dorit Reiss
    August 22, 2014

    Many anti-vaccine activists seem to mistake Ireports for actual CNN reporting. http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1164046

  44. #44 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    August 22, 2014

    @Narad

    A couple options for Autism Media Channel’s coming down:

    1) Overloaded with real traffic and so is inaccessible.
    2) Overloaded with a DDoS attack and so is inaccessible.
    3) Incompetence. Someone clicked the wrong button and made it inaccessible.
    4) Shadowy figures in the pocket of Big Pharma™ took it down.
    5) Wakefield & co. intentionally brought it down in order to further fuel the conspiracy story.

  45. #45 Eric Lund
    August 22, 2014

    And why only males, but not females?

    If my understanding is correct that autism is much more prevalent in males than females, then I can understand how this might happen. There may not be enough African-American females in the sample for the difference to be statistically significant, especially if the alleged effect in African-American males is barely statistically significant. Recall that a p value is the probability of obtaining your result by chance. Since in biomedical research the significance threshold is 0.05 (for good reasons, namely that it is often difficult to get a large enough sample size to enforce a stricter standard), that means that many spurious correlations are reported in the literature. As you note, no plausible causal mechanism for an increased risk of autism in African-Americans has been advanced. So we should be skeptical of the claim, even if it is being reported accurately.

  46. #46 Narad
    August 22, 2014

    1) Overloaded with real traffic and so is inaccessible.
    2) Overloaded with a DDoS attack and so is inaccessible.

    Negatory on these two.

    Domain Name: AUTISMMEDIACHANNEL.COM
    Registrar: TUCOWS DOMAINS INC.
    Whois Server: whois.tucows.com
    Referral URL: http://domainhelp.opensrs.net
    Name Server: NS1.AUTISMMEDIACHANNEL.COM
    Name Server: NS2.AUTISMMEDIACHANNEL.COM
    Status: clientHold
    Updated Date: 21-aug-2014
    Creation Date: 03-sep-2010
    Expiration Date: 03-sep-2014

    The DNS has gone bye-bye:

    ; <> DiG 9.8.4-rpz2+rl005.12-P1 <> @localhost autismmediachannel.com ANY
    ; (1 server found)
    ;; global options: +cmd
    ;; Got answer:
    ;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NXDOMAIN, id: 4811
    ;; flags: qr rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 0, AUTHORITY: 1, ADDITIONAL: 0

    ;; QUESTION SECTION:
    ;autismmediachannel.com. IN ANY

    ;; AUTHORITY SECTION:
    com. 848 IN SOA a.gtld-servers.net. nstld.verisign-grs.com. 1408733842 1800 900 604800 86400

    ;; Query time: 0 msec
    ;; SERVER: 127.0.0.1#53(127.0.0.1)
    ;; WHEN: Fri Aug 22 20:58:36 2014
    ;; MSG SIZE rcvd: 113

  47. #47 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    August 22, 2014

    @Narad

    Okay, so we’re left with:

    1) Incompetence
    2) CONSPIRACY!!!eleventy!!one! Government wharrgarbbl!
    3) Conspiracy of a different sort (i.e., Wakefield & co. lying…but we know they’d never do that!).

  48. #48 Dangerous Bacon
    August 22, 2014

    It is being stated on a number of autism and loon websites (i.e. NaturalNews) that 41% of otherwise eligible study participants were eliminated by DiStefano et al for some nefarious reason.

    But in the DiStefano paper it says “of 771 potential cases and 2760 controls selected for recruitment, 103 cases (13.4%) and 316 controls (11.4%) were deemed ineligible.” (this includes children with medical conditions whose symptoms overlap with autism).

    So how are they coming up with “41%”? The total number ruled ineligible is actually around 12% by my calculation.

  49. #49 Narad
    August 22, 2014

    1) Incompetence

    ClientHold status is set by the registrar. Shall we check with ICANN?

    “This status code tells your domain’s registry to not include your domain in the zone file and as a consequence, it will not resolve. It is an uncommon status that is usually enacted during legal disputes, nonpayment, or when your domain is subject to deletion.”

    Note that it was set to expire on September 3.

  50. #50 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    August 22, 2014

    @Narad

    Yep, noticed that it was going buh-bye in the near future, barring renewed registration. Hmm…pulled due to potential legal shenanigans…guess we have another option.

  51. #51 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    August 22, 2014

    DB, Here are the numbers for the non-birth certificate children dropped as per Table 2 of DeStefano et al.:

    Controls Cases
    Male 45% 44%
    Female 42% 41%
    White 38% 40%
    Black 40% 40%
    Other 63% 53%

    Hiding right out in the open.

  52. #52 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    August 22, 2014

    Ugh, that did not come out the way it was supposed to. I hope it can be discerned.

  53. #53 AdamG
    August 22, 2014

    Meanwhile, in the real world, actual major progress in autism neurobiology today:

    http://www.cell.com/neuron/abstract/S0896-6273(14)00651-5

  54. #54 Annie
    August 22, 2014

    Looks like this is being discussed on the Vaccine Discussion forum of Mothering.

    Some comments from the Anti-Vaccine members on your analysis

    “This study, as far as I know (and I have not gone over the numbers or even the study at this point myself) shows that male African American males who are vaccinated on schedule with MMR are more likely to develop autism than other children vaccinated on schedule with MMR. It doesn’t talk about the rate in unvaccinated children at all. ”

    “Did the study look at autism rates in the unvaccinated? If they didn’t it shows no such thing.

    A higher autism rate among male African Americans who receive the vaccine on schedule compared to other groups who receive it on schedule is a HUGE deal. A cover-up (if there was one) is an equally HUGE deal.

    There seems to be this implication that we should not care about African American children if we are not African American. I would like to see Orac answer to that.

    I can see this being a slam-dunk for vaccine critics. “

  55. #55 Ren
    August 22, 2014

    Almost every anti-vaccine blog and site that I monitor is all over this right now. The funniest discussion is over at Jake’s. Jake claims that Hooker didn’t know that Wakefield was going to reveal the name. Yeah, likely story. Like Wakefield never showed the video’s final version to Hooker? Or Hooker never thought someone would recognize the voice on the video of him talking to (allegedly) Thompson?

    Then Wakefield shows up on Jake’s blog and asks Jake how he knew that Wakefield was not supposed to reveal Thompson’s name. Jake’s answer? From his “sources.” I’ll bet you $1 that the source for Jake is Hooker.

    I got an enormous tub of popcorn to watch all this develop. I hope you all have downloaded the video because we’ll need it when this whole thing comes falling apart. I smell an “elaborate fraud” happening again.

  56. #56 Orac
    August 22, 2014

    I downloaded the video off of Vimeo this morning for safekeeping, in case the video changes again.

    I also call bullshit on Jake’s claim that Hooker knew nothing about Wakefield’s plan to identify Thompson.

    Finally, I’ve also learned from a source I trust that the CDC will be issuing a statement within the hour. They should have said something this morning and not after 5 PM on a Friday afternoon, but there you go…apparently the bureaucracy moves slowly.

  57. #57 Narad
    August 22, 2014

    Hmm…pulled due to potential legal shenanigans…guess we have another option.

    I’m pretty sure that they just forgot to renew it, but I’m greatly amused by the reaction to Rapapport over at AoA (and kind of suspect that “Linda1″ picked it up here, since he hadn’t “just posted” his item when she mentioned it).

  58. #58 Ren
    August 22, 2014

    “Finally, I’ve also learned from a source I trust that the CDC will be issuing a statement within the hour.

    Oh. Do keep us updated. Any bets?

    A – Dr. Thompson had nothing to do with this.
    B – It’s some other Thompson, not Dr. Thompson.
    C – Yawn, what study published in what journal by what Hooker?
    D – Other.

  59. #59 JustaTech
    August 22, 2014

    Are we even sure that William Thompson actually is a “CDC whistleblower”, and that this isn’t a case like PZ in “Expelled” where a scientist agrees to give an itnerview on one subject and has it chopped up to say the exact opposite?

  60. #60 AdamG
    August 22, 2014

    my favorite AoA comment yet:

    @Greg, about your comment to Orac. One thing you might have questioned him on….is that a great many African-American children are not solely of African descent. Many of them have Caucasian ancestors also. Yet another reason EVERYONE should be concerned about this revelation from Mr. Thompson. Why exactly is anyone still doing research based on race in America, which is still “the great melting pot”?

    See, it’s so simple! Even Caucasians need to be concerned because African-Americans are admixed. Oh, wait, even if we believe the study there was no signal whatsoever in Caucasians. God, the gymnastics these folks get themselves into…

    Also, that last sentence makes no sense whatsoever. America is a melting pot of many different races…therefore we shouldn’t consider race as an important covariate? Arg, the stupid.

  61. #61 The Grouchybeast
    August 22, 2014

    I’m either developing psychic powers (maybe I got them from vaccines) or terrible epidemiology papers are all the same, because as soon as I read The claims being put forward in the video is that earlier MMR vaccination is associated with an increased risk of autism in African-American boys and that the CDC has spent the last 13 years covering this linkage up. I knew that someone would have taken some old data and split it into smaller and smaller pools until they squeezed out a ‘significant’ result. Hark! I hear the gentle weeping of statisticians carried on the evening breeze.

  62. #62 Chris HIckie
    August 22, 2014

    @ Todd #27–maybe this is how the convoluted minds at AoA are working:
    1. Oh so cleeverly they now think they have the cause of all autism for one gender of one ethnic group. thanks to Hooker “massaging” the data set with a sledge hammer, and
    2. All the autism for everyone else is accounted for in the Kennedy/Hyman/Herbert book.
    3. So now these AV cranks can ban all vaccines and try us as war criminals

    Good news–(3) just is not going to happen, and (1) and (2) exist only in their fantasy world.

  63. #63 Kathy
    August 22, 2014

    Thanks for writing about this!!

  64. #64 Denice Walter
    August 22, 2014

    Only because I truly love my fellow and sister minions did I submit myself to the unsavory task of re-listening to Brian Hooker’s appearance with Gary Null

    ( @ PRN, yesterday’s show tape, 50 to 60 minutes in/ paraphrases unless quoted)
    BH- at first analysed data @ CDC and whistleblower contacted him this past November to say the CDC knew in 2001 and covered it up.
    GN- go for a “criminal prosecution”/ “class-action lawsuit”
    BH- there was “malice aforethought”; the 3 other authors ( named) “colluded directly” to “obviate” findings
    “I reached out to the director of the CDC”; no response
    ” only the tip of the iceberg”; “tens of thousands of pages”; other issues include thimerisol. Hasn’t gone through all
    GN- go ahead with a “class action lawsuit’ and “special prosecutor” “criminal investigation”
    BH- wants a “grand jury” and “federal investigation”
    GN – BH, you are the “Julian Assange of America”. we have “attorneys who win against the government”**
    does your source have whistleblower status/ has he contacted these groups?***
    BH- “:he has taken steps”

    ** how he usually characterises J. Emord
    *** David Lewis’ whistleblower pals had ( have?) a show on PRN.

  65. #65 Orac
    August 22, 2014

    Ugh. I guess my source was wrong about the CDC putting out a statement within the hour. AT this point, who knows?

  66. #66 ChrisP
    Among the statistics
    August 22, 2014

    Ha Ha Ha ha.

    I have just done the multiple comparison calculation for Brian Hooker’s paper. I make it there are 35 different comparisons.

    9 in Table 1
    9 in Table 2
    9 in Table 3
    8 in Table 4

    So the p value correction should have been p = 0.0015.

    So none of the effects reported are significant.

    Who would have guessed.

  67. #67 Tom
    August 22, 2014

    @ Orac #56. Dumping news late Fridays is a tried and true way of addressing issues you’d rather avoid. Having written controversial press releases for NIH, I can tell you the layers of review are deep. In addition to CDC and HHS clearance, lawyers and senior mgmt, often weigh in. It slows the process down, especially with breaking news. Still haven’t seen anything from CDC.

  68. #68 Tom
    August 22, 2014

    They are the gang who can’t shoot straight. Given AW’s reputation, he should be no where near this story.

  69. #69 Denice Walter
    August 22, 2014

    @ Chris P:

    Oh I know. Isn’t that a question on every statistics exam?

    More seriously:
    a few years ago I gave Jake sage advice concerning his rupture with the reality-based world and how it would affect his future job prospects.

    First, he left reality for AoA fame then split with them for other associates including AJW, Hooker, Segal and the Geiers.
    Now he’s upset Andy.
    So he can’t hope for future employment with either AoA or AMC – he’s not a TM- there isn’t much more in anti-vax world.-
    AND obviously, he can’t look for a real epi job because of his association with the aforementioned.

    I would offer my sincere advice again:
    Jake, look to the real world that surrounds you, not the conspiracies that swirl unflagged within your mind. You live in Austin, your family has money: seek out training in a profession that maximises your skill set- epi ain’t it-
    You are living in an area that is undergoing rapid growth, find your niche, be it real estate, technology, sales, only you know that.
    You’re young enough to go back to school and make new friends. Don’t waste your life and youth chasing chimerae.

  70. #70 Reader
    August 22, 2014

    Jake must’ve missed this:
    https://www.facebook.com/ashotoftruth
    A Shot of Truth shared a link.
    2 hours ago
    The Vaccine Autism Cover-up: How One Doctor’s Career was Destroyed for Telling the Truth http://ow.ly/ACTSy

    In other words, Dr. Brian Hooker’s site posted a tribute to Dr. Andrew Wakefield – 2 hours ago. That’s evidence of support, not betrayal. Agreed?

  71. #71 CuriousSci
    Canada
    August 22, 2014

    In reading this story line, and various sideways excursions (Orac – you have consumed most of my afternoon with a single tweet from earlier this afternoon), how exactly did Jake Crosby qualify to get a MPH, following a BA?? And now he is pursuing a PhD, wouldn’t his writing demonstrate he isn’t qualified for the degree??

    The premise for my thoughts are that embedded within the course load is an understanding of critical thinking and the scientific method. Specifically the point from the GW’s MPH program outline states that graduates: Understand and adhere to high scientific standards for research; among other goals.) I don’t think he would have become well versed in the scientific method during his undergraduate schooling. Certainly, in the writing I have come across from Jake in various comment sections and websites, this is clearly lacking (a lot of this was during his study period for the MPH, surely his faculty supervisor would have noticed?)

    Maybe Master programs are different in Public Health. Can anyone provide insight? It just seems scary that the educational failing will be worse with his pursuit of a PhD in Epidemiology.

  72. #72 Orac
    August 22, 2014

    And earlier today, a link to Wakefield’s video was posted on that very same Facebook page. Would Hooker have done that if he didn’t approve of what Wakefield did, or at least not mind it? I think not.

    https://www.facebook.com/ashotoftruth/posts/820223621341230

  73. #73 Tom
    August 22, 2014

    @CuriousSci,

    I can’t speak to GWU, but Hopkins MPH degrees are a paper mill.

  74. #74 Politicalguineapig
    August 22, 2014

    CuriousSci: how exactly did Jake Crosby qualify to get a MPH, following a BA?? And now he is pursuing a PhD, wouldn’t his writing demonstrate he isn’t qualified for the degree??

    Well, if we were going by qualifications and demonstrated competence, he never should have graduated from college. My best guess is that Mom and Pop Crosby are buying the degrees for him.

  75. #75 Denice Walter
    August 22, 2014

    I hate to say it- and I don’t evaluate people on the internet but believe it or not, I’m human and we all think like this-
    I’m just not very impressed with either his reasoning or his communication skills.

    I often work with prospective university students who are most frequently EFL/ ESL teens-middle age- well, to repeat myself, I’m not very impressed with his level of skill.

  76. #76 Conor Saunders
    August 22, 2014

    Surely the most interesting part of this story as reported in those fora that have run with it, is not the data per se (correlation in sub-group etc.) but the alleged cover-up? Thompson claims he was made bury the findings by the top guys at CDC …. Isn’t the veracity or otherwise of that claim the key bit to explore, whatever about the significance or otherwise of the data he’s claiming was suppressed … Your piece side-stepped that bit no?

  77. #77 Conor Saunders
    August 22, 2014

    I’m also wondering about why you say “there’s no biologically plausible reason why there would be an effect observed in African-Americans but no other race and, more specifically than that, in African-American males.” There’s “no biologically plausible reason” so far agreed as to why boys get autism 4 at 4 times the rate of girls .. But they do. And of course race and genotype affect a great many pathologies to varying extents, from haemachromatosis to lactose intolerance … Did you mean the association reported is inexplicable?

  78. #78 Narad
    August 22, 2014

    I guess my source was wrong about the CDC putting out a statement within the hour.

    These things happen when microwaves are doing one’s head.

  79. #79 Narad
    August 22, 2014

    how exactly did Jake Crosby qualify to get a MPH, following a BA??

    This is kind of like asking how somebody “qualified” to “get a JD, following a BA.”

    I presume Jake took the GRE and, you know, filled out the application, got accepted, and had his parents pay the tuition, given that an MPH is a professional degree.

  80. #80 JD
    August 23, 2014

    This Hooker paper is pretty much the ultimate epidemiology failure. It is actually really hard to count the number of issues I take with this analysis.

    So, you select autism cases, select a control group that looks like them, but call this a cohort study and do not account for the correlation which you just introduced. That is ludicrous, you have to use conditional regression in this case, because of said correlation and the fact that this is a goddamned case-control study. It is actually difficult to determine what would happen to the estimates and standard errors though, could go up, could go down, or could remain the same.

    And using a Pearson Chi-Square (or Fisher’s Exact test?) is not always conservative, I notice a citation is missing. Hmm. All this approach really does is skirt around controlling for any potential confounders and represents only a crude (in all senses), meaningless association. Ever hear of modeling?

    What seems oddly missing is the apparent confirmation analysis mentioned in the methods or any information about the populations. How many were African American? Did other characteristics differ between cases and controls or by vaccine timing? Now there’s an appropriate use of Pearson’s or Fisher’s tests of association.

    This officially goes on the list as a teaching example of how to do pretty much everything wrong.

  81. #81 JD
    August 23, 2014

    Actually just re-read and found an even more glaring problem.

    This was not an individual matched case-control study, but a frequency matched one. So, controls were selected to be in the same age group and school as cases. Because of this design, these factors absolutely have to be included in the model (unconditional logistic regression in this case). By providing crude associations only, this goober didn’t even account for relationships that were artificially created, not to mention other potential confounders.

  82. #82 Politicalguineapig
    August 23, 2014

    Narad: Why do you assume Jake took the GRE? Maybe he just signed his name to the test.

  83. #83 Krebiozen
    August 23, 2014

    It’s a bit sad to see all those AoA muppets getting so excited about nothing at all. Again. It’s also sad to see Greg apparently learned nothing at all about statistics during his sojourn here, despite our best efforts to educate him.

    He wrote:

    Are you saying that we should not consider that vaccines that cause side-effects in black kids will necessarily do the same in whites?

    This finding clearly isn’t correct, not least because Hooker used inappropriate methodology and failed to correct the p value for multiple comparisons. However, even if it were correct, why would anyone then conclude the opposite of what it found?

    It found no association between MMR and autism in white children or in female African American children therefore MMR may cause autism in white and female African American children? Surely even Greg must see this makes no sense.

    As a somewhat clumsy analogy, if a study found that people over 6’5″ tall are more likely to bump their heads into door frames as compared to shorter people, should we conclude from this that people of all heights are in danger of concussion? Would short people be justified in blaming their concussions on door frames based on this study?

    Why Orac — are blacks of a different species?

    More breathtaking ignorance from Greg. Are tall people of a different species?

    There are physiological differences between people of different ethnic origins, apart from skin color. For example, people of African origin, especially men, have higher serum CK than those of European or Asian origin (high enough that a Nigerian friend of mine had extensive investigations to find the cause of his ‘elevated’ CK). Pregnant African women have higher serum AFP than white women. Many non-Europeans are lactose intolerant. These are just a few of many other examples. Being aware of these differences doesn’t make someone racist.

    It isn’t impossible for a drug or vaccine to cause side effects in only people from one ethnic origin, and it isn’t racist to say so.

    Also Orac, because vaccines may only negatively affect blacks, should we dismiss this as unimportant?

    Where did Orac say any such thing? He said, quite rightly, that if these findings were right, they would only apply to male African American children. We should dismiss this as unimportant because Hooker badly screwed up his statistical analysis.

    This feeble attempt to frame the discussion around racism is despicable even for Greg and his buddies.

  84. #84 Lawrence
    August 23, 2014

    So, what Hooker is saying – quite blatantly:

    1) The data used in the original study is 100% fine (otherwise, how could he come to any legitimate conclusion?)

    2) That the original conclusion – that there is no increased risk of autism from the MMR – is 100% correct for every other group except African-American Boys.

    And AoA doesn’t have a problem with these conclusions?

  85. #85 Orac
    August 23, 2014

    Note that I went to bed earlier than usual on a Friday and woke up later than usual on a Saturday. Consequently, there were a lot of comments that spent more time than usual in moderation. Don’t forget to go back upstream to last night. There might be comments you didn’t see. :-)

  86. #86 palindrom
    August 23, 2014

    Orac @85 — I wasn’t aware that boxes of blinky lights ever needed to sleep. Given your prodigious output, I’d seen no reason to doubt that conclusion!

  87. #87 Lawrence
    August 23, 2014

    All we have, at this moment, is the statement from Hooker that “Dr. Thompson” is who he says he is….you would think that said “whistleblower” would have picked a slightly more reputable way to release his information.

  88. #88 Antaeus Feldspar
    August 23, 2014

    Surely the most interesting part of this story as reported in those fora that have run with it, is not the data per se (correlation in sub-group etc.) but the alleged cover-up? Thompson claims he was made bury the findings by the top guys at CDC …. Isn’t the veracity or otherwise of that claim the key bit to explore, whatever about the significance or otherwise of the data he’s claiming was suppressed …

    If we had unedited testimony from Thompson making that claim, that would be pretty key. But we don’t. We have edited testimony.

    If we had reason to trust that the editing of the testimony had been done with meticulous honesty, so that there was NO significant change in the implications of the testimony, then we’d… we’d…. …. …. I’m sorry, I’m just trying to complete a sentence that postulates Brian Hooker and Andrew Wakefield acting with “meticulous honesty”, and I’m just laughing too hard to put together the words.

    So, yeah, you’re partially right, the alleged cover-up would be the key bit to explore… if we had any reason to believe that there was a shred of truth to it. But since the people involved are not trustworthy, the only way that the story of “there’s a cover-up!” can be sold to anyone (other than those who are desperate to believe) is to show something that looks suspcious and claim “that’s what they wanted to cover up!” And when you show the context and the context shows that it’s not that suspicious after all (i.e. in this case, that the positive correlation was the only positive one of dozens looked at and those dozens of examined correlations were not corrected for) then you’re left with nothing whatever.

    I can’t help remembering that time that the news was reporting on a press conference that promised an absolutely world-shaking revelation: the actual corpse of a Bigfoot. Needless to say… an actual Bigfoot, it was not. It really would have been earth-shaking, if any part of their promise had been what it was purported to be. But just because someone makes an extraordinary claim does not mean they’ll back it up with extraordinary evidence; in fact, the more extraordinary the claim, the more reason we have to remain politely skeptical until such extraordinary evidence is provided.

  89. #89 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    August 23, 2014

    @Conor Saunders,

    Surely the most interesting part of this story as reported in those fora that have run with it, is not the data per se (correlation in sub-group etc.) but the alleged cover-up? Thompson claims he was made bury the findings by the top guys at CDC …. Isn’t the veracity or otherwise of that claim the key bit to explore, whatever about the significance or otherwise of the data he’s claiming was suppressed … Your piece side-stepped that bit no?

    I do not speak for Orac, but I don’t believe that an allegation of a cover-up is the most interesting part of this, nor can I see how Orac (or really, most people) could have anything to contribute regarding that allegation.

    In order for there to be any cover-up, there has to be something to hide. This makes the science the key item, and thus the methods used to analyze the data are important. If the study only shows something if inappropriate or incorrect methods are used to analyze it, then allegations of a cover up fall.

  90. #90 lilady
    August 23, 2014

    So the Greg Troll who claimed he was a “Developmental Specialist working with autistic young men” and who haunted RI for months, posting thousands of vile comments about autistics, is now posting his dumb comments on AoA. Why am I not surprised?

    To add to Krebiozen’s excellent observation about the differences between Blacks and Caucasians…I remember the remark made by my son’s *pediatric hematologist who did a workup for my child’s pancytopenia:

    “Wow, (your son) has a low white blood cell count…especially for a white kid.”

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20236184

    * The pediatric hematologist is an African American

  91. #91 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    August 23, 2014

    Thompson claims he was made bury the findings by the top guys at CDC …. Isn’t the veracity or otherwise of that claim the key bit to explore, whatever about the significance or otherwise of the data he’s claiming was suppressed … Your piece side-stepped that bit no?

    Does he? The video is highly edited sound bites with no supporting documentation. It’s all speculation at this juncture so why waste page space.

  92. #92 Denice Walter
    August 23, 2014

    Here’s what’s absolutely hilarious:
    Hooker gets loads of data ( and there are”tens of thousands of pages ” more,he informed us @ PRN) and then, he tries to fit them in a model which he believes is the TRUTHFUL one ( MMR causes autism) now imagine him, month after month on the computer into the wee hours- trying and trying and fiddling and finagling and lo and behold! all he gets ( by way of bad stats) is the African American boy “result”.

    What he really wanted is ‘ALL kids get autism from MMR': he has a child with autism, so do Blaxill and Larson and Stagliano and it was after all, Andy’s “contribution” to science, much to the delight of his US and UK followers who are AFAIK predominantly lily white. At the very least, ‘all white boys get autism from MMR ‘would be acceptable..
    BUT no, he got quite the contrary, even with bad statistics. No connection between MMR and autism in white kids. Even with all that fevered activity, torturing data. Ha ha ha!

  93. #93 Orac
    August 23, 2014

    Well, well, well. Dr. Wakefield jumps in:

    Jake, in light of your serious allegation that I “betrayed” the whistleblower by disclosing his name without permission, I asked you how you knew this. You replied “my sources”. There are no sources other than the whistleblower himself that would know whether or not this was the case since this matter was discussed between the two of us, in several of our conversations. I did, as a matter of fact, have his full knowledge and his permission to do what “I felt best” with the uncensored video.

    Although it is a moot point, I remain perplexed as to quite why a man who participated in a prolonged scientific fraud – one that likely resulted in harm to many children – should merit anonymity on his terms. The misinformation you have put out has spread through an already divided community. Your reporting on this matter does you no credit.

    So that’s Wakefield’s story, is it? That Thompson gave him permission to “do what he felt best,” but that Thompson doesn’t deserve anonymity on his terms anyway. Why is it that I don’t believe Wakefield’s first claim in light of his attitude expressed in the second part of his comment?

  94. #94 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    August 23, 2014

    I’m also wondering about why you say “there’s no biologically plausible reason why there would be an effect observed in African-Americans but no other race and, more specifically than that, in African-American males.” There’s “no biologically plausible reason” so far agreed as to why boys get autism 4 at 4 times the rate of girls .. But they do. And of course race and genotype affect a great many pathologies to varying extents, from haemachromatosis to lactose intolerance … Did you mean the association reported is inexplicable?

    It is biologically plausible for the increased ASD prevalence in males v. females because it is observed even though the actual mechanism has not been yet elucidated. The same cannot be said for the claim by Hooker and Wakefield that black male children are adversely effected by MMR vaccination timing such that it causes an ASD over white male children. There are more plausible social and even biological factors that can explain this observation IF it is even real and that is highly doubtful at this juncture.

  95. #95 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    August 23, 2014

    Why is it that I don’t believe Wakefield’s first claim in light of his attitude expressed in the second part of his comment?

    Hmmm, could it be that Wakefraud is a mercenary pud who has done this very thing before?

  96. #96 Dangerous Bacon
    August 23, 2014

    Here’s something I find very odd. The alleged CDC whistleblower, William Thompson, was lead author of the 2007 thimerosal research study Orac mentioned. Conclusions of that study:

    “Our study does not support a causal association between early exposure to mercury from thimerosal-containing vaccines and immune globulins and deficits in neuropsychological functioning at the age of 7 to 10 years.”

    http:f//www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa071434

    However, Brian Hooker’s June 2014 paper charging bad methodology/malfeasance in multiple other thimerosal studies, approvingly cites Thompson’s paper, claiming that it supports the idea that “Thimerosal is a risk factor in speech delay, language delay, attention deficit disorder and autism”.

    http://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2014/247218/

    Seeing that Hooker has distorted (to put it kindly) the results of that study by Thompson et al*, why would Thompson now trust Hooker to accurately publicize his “whistleblowing”?

    *DiStefano was one of the co-authors. It’ll be interesting to see how he and his colleagues on the MMR research react to these latest accusations about their work.

  97. #97 Lawrence
    August 23, 2014

    Since Dr. Thompson hasn’t actually released any public statements whatsoever on his own, I’m very reluctant to believe that he’s involved in this in any official capacity at all…..

  98. #98 dingo199
    August 23, 2014

    Why is no-one trumpeting the news that MMR vaccination prevents autism in white children?

  99. #99 Denice Walter
    August 23, 2014

    Heh. One of our own manages a few posts in edgewise @ Jake’s.. Take a bow, Mr!

  100. #100 Johnny
    127.0.0.1
    August 23, 2014

    I note that there is a call for Jake to take down his post, but I doubt it will happen. While I freely admit that I’m no fan of The Kid, I think he’s man enough to stand by his reporting. He isn’t a wimp, and if his reporting cost him a few of his supporters, it’s their falt that they can’t handle the Truth (according to Jake).

  101. #101 Derek Freyberg
    August 23, 2014

    In other news, green jelly beans linked to acne, 95% confidence: http://xkcd.com/882/
    Sorry, I’m sure you have all seen it, but it does seem appropriate.

  102. #102 Narad
    August 23, 2014

    I see that AoA is now in full-blown Jim Stone Forums Hunt for “Dr.” Megan insanity mode:

    CDC main number is down for weekend but call other numbers to let them know we are aware of the situation and concerned for Dr. Thompson:

    Bioterrorism: 1 404 639 0385
    National Center for Environmental Health: 1 770 488 7100
    Poison Control: 1 800 222 1222
    CDC main number is down for weekend but call other numbers to let them know we are aware of the situation and concerned for Dr. Thompson:

    Bioterrorism: 1 404 639 0385
    National Center for Environmental Health: 1 770 488 7100
    Poison Control: 1 800 222 1222

    Yes, I’m sure your area poison center will get right on that. “Linda1″:

    I am very worried about Dr. Thompson. If what Drs. Wakefield and Hooker said of him is false, he would have come out vehemently against it already. Where is he? Is he being held against his will?

    I’m surprised they haven’t figured out his home phone number yet.

  103. #103 Derek Freyberg
    August 23, 2014

    Or, to paraphrase Monty Python, “Nobody expects the Simpson Statistician”.

  104. #104 Dangerous Bacon
    August 23, 2014

    Maybe Dr. Thompson has been teleported to a distant location by extraterrestrials working in concert with Big Pharma. Here is the contact information for NASA:

    (202) 358-0001 (Office)
    (202) 358-4338 (Fax)

  105. #105 Narad
    August 23, 2014

    In other words, Dr. Brian Hooker’s site posted a tribute to Dr. Andrew Wakefield – 2 hours ago. That’s evidence of support, not betrayal. Agreed?

    Jake has an answer for this:

    “[T]the page is managed by a social media team at Focus Autism, not Hooker. Regardless, it has no bearing on the fact that there was a huge conflict between Hooker and Wakefield over releasing the whistleblower’s name.”

  106. #106 Narad
    August 23, 2014

    BH- at first analysed data @ CDC and whistleblower contacted him this past November to say the CDC knew in 2001 and covered it up.

    Five months before Hooker submitted the paper?

  107. #107 The Grouchybeast
    August 23, 2014

    I’m sure the poor sods who have to answer the phone at the Bioterrorism unit of the CDC get an endless supply of cranks and weirdos phoning in, but being called by someone worried that a CDC researcher is being held against his will because of an imaginary vaccine cover-up would have to be a new experience, even for them.

  108. #108 brian
    August 23, 2014

    @ Narad,

    A reader at AoA wrote that she contacted Dr. Thompson yesterday at CDC, apparently despite his being taken into custody and forcibly removed to a black site where he is being held against his will. Or something. Apparently that just sailed over the heads of some other anti-vax conspiracy theorists.

    BTW, a loon at Jake’s site noted that since the Rothchild’s weren’t mentioned, this is all part of an elaborate ruse.

  109. #109 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    August 23, 2014

    This is one of the braintrust that comment on Jake’s blog (Jake had previously informed this concerned citizen scientist that there has never been thiomersal in the MMR jab):

    Wakefield Supporter on August 23, 2014 at 4:44 pm said:

    More lies Jake! If there is no THIMERSAL in MMR then why does it cause autism? Id its not in MMR then why has DR. Hooker worked on thimerosal. Wouldn’t it be a waste of time to look at the one and not at the other one?

    Enough with the spin Jake. Lets pick something that will stik. This evidence of fraud by cdc is damming and we should all stick together even if it means that Dr Wakefield should have had some black kid in his study back then. Sorry, Dr Andy but it would have saeved us time if you had :)

    Nice ones Derek, Narad and DB.

  110. #110 lilady
    August 23, 2014

    O/T…PBS will be airing a NOVA documentary on September 10th about vaccines.

    https://www.sciencenews.org/article/%E2%80%98nova%E2%80%99-takes-science%E2%80%99s-side-vaccine-debate

  111. […] pro-vaccine website Science Blogs, features a long contrary explanation ridiculing all parties involved in the CDC whistleblower scandal. The blog post questions why a […]

  112. […] pro-vaccine website Science Blogs, features a long contrary explanation ridiculing all parties involved in the CDC whistleblower scandal. The blog post questions why a […]

  113. […] pro-vaccine website Science Blogs, features a long contrary explanation ridiculing all parties involved in the CDC whistleblower scandal. The blog post questions why a […]

  114. […] pro-vaccine website Science Blogs features a long contrary explanation ridiculing all parties involved in the CDC whistleblower scandal. The blog post questions why a […]

  115. […] pro-vaccine website Science Blogs features a long contrary explanation ridiculing all parties involved in the CDC whistleblower scandal. The blog post questions why a […]

  116. […] pro-vaccine website Science Blogs features a long contrary explanation ridiculing all parties involved in the CDC whistleblower scandal. The blog post questions why a […]

  117. […] pro-vaccine website Science Blogs features a long contrary explanation ridiculing all parties involved in the CDC whistleblower scandal. The blog post questions why a […]

  118. […] pro-vaccine website Science Blogs features a long contrary explanation ridiculing all parties involved in the CDC whistleblower scandal. The blog post questions why a […]

  119. #119 Narad
    August 23, 2014

    BTW, a loon at Jake’s site noted that since the Rothchild’s weren’t mentioned, this is all part of an elaborate ruse.

    Nonono: The assertion is that Snowden was a obviously a dupe for not implicating the Rothschilds. Hooker was a complete separate obvious dupe.

    The working definition here of “dupe” is not being John Best.

  120. […] pro-vaccine website Science Blogs features a long contrary explanation ridiculing all parties involved in the CDC whistleblower scandal. The blog post questions why a […]

  121. #121 Denice Walter
    August 23, 2014

    @ Narad:

    As I understand- from the PRN tape- Hooker filed a FOIA request and spent a great deal of time at the CDC reading etc and THIS GUY came over and offered him information and then supplied him with “tens of thousands of pages” because he felt he had done wrong.

    However, I take everything I hear at that outlet with a grain of salt ( and perhaps, a shot of vodka ) because ANYTHING GOES : people say all sorts of nonsense. Sometimes tapes are later edited or change position as to date.
    Exactly what else would you expect?

  122. #122 Narad
    August 23, 2014

    In another grand concession of personal irrelevance, D’Ohlmsted attempts to single out Natural News’s Huff for praise not by taking the trouble to actually link to the piece, but by deigning to tappity-tap-tap in the link within the quote:

    This is nice and clear: “What the CDC did, in essence, was recreate the original study design after it was discovered that the original one showed adverse effects associated with MMR.”

    -0-

    It’s like a pathetic come-on for a link-exchange hookup.

  123. #123 lilady
    August 23, 2014

    The AoA groupies have been calling CDC all day long:

    “The Bioterrorism number is no longer in service, and the National Center for Environmental Health when I called today on 8.23- Saturday picked up and then hung up. When calling the Poison Control number it sent me immediately to a recording in my state. As a mom a vaccine injured child from the 1980’s, i want justice to prevail. Thirty years is much too long and by the way it seems my blonde hair blue eye daughter was just an experiment also, and insurance even covered it!”

  124. […] looking at this. Even Orac, a cancer surgeon who has done plenty of research studies of his own can’t make heads or tails out of the Hooker study. Did the study prove Andrew Wakefield wrong and show that MMR doesn’t cause autism in the […]

  125. #125 Dorit Reiss
    August 24, 2014

    Another wonderful discussion of this by our friend Rene:
    “Now, what about the “whistleblower”? You should know that there are two versions of the Wakefield video about a whistleblower (the one comparing the DeStefano researchers to Hitler and other mass murderers). In one version, the name is bleeped out and the voice is disguised. That video has since been taken down. In another, the current video, the name is given and the voice is revealed. In both, however, the whistleblower’s statements are incomplete. We only hear bits and pieces of what he had to say. Without the full transcript of the conversation between him and Dr. Brian Hooker, I cannot give any credence to anything they say he said. It’s hearsay, and we can’t draw inferences from that. So let’s wait and see what he has to say and why he might support the findings in the Hooker paper.

    The issue of vaccination safety is very complex and people get very passionate about it. To some, vaccines are dangerous things that should not be used. To others, vaccines are 100% safe and should be used universally. Then there is the rest of us, people who know of the benefits of vaccines and how their risks are minimal compared to their benefits. The risks are there, yes, but we know from sound scientific studies that said risks are not the horrors some make them out to be. And we know from the same science that not everyone can be vaccinated.

    The paper by Dr. Brian Hooker is rife with troubling methodology and a big conflict of interest. If it debunks DeStefano et al, it doesn’t debunk all the other studies about the MMR vaccine and autism done all over the world by researchers in and out (with and without affiliation to) the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Further, he mentions no assistance in his biostatistical approach, which is a big concern being that nothing in his background points to skills in epidemiology or in biostatistics. Finally, bait-and-switch language is used to justify the findings when there is no biologically plausible way for those findings to be true. Until we know the whole story of what is going on, it’s hard to discredit DeStefano et al’s evidence to support the excellent safety record of the MMR vaccine.” http://www.epidemiological.net/directed-acyclic-graphs-and-the-mmr-vaccine-doesnt-cause-autism/#comment-5211

  126. #126 herr doktor bimler
    August 24, 2014

    it seems my blonde hair blue eye daughter was just an experiment also, and insurance even covered it!”
    Does the AoA commenter explain the relevance of her daughter’s Aryan nature?

  127. #127 Reader
    August 24, 2014

    Aren’t you eager to hear directly from alleged CDC whistleblower, Dr. William W. Thompson? Has the scientific community reached out to confirm his well-being?

    Aren’t you troubled by allegations that the “CDC refuses to turn over documents to Congress…” Has the scientific community at-large reacted to that information yet?

  128. #128 Lawrence
    August 24, 2014

    @Reader – why should we assume that anything that Hooker says is true?

  129. #129 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    August 24, 2014

    Aren’t you eager to hear directly from alleged CDC whistleblower, Dr. William W. Thompson? Has the scientific community reached out to confirm his well-being?

    Considering that only a blundering, purely inflammatory, race-baiting piece of melodramatic drek from Wakefield and Hooker has been presented as any evidence of “whistleblowing”, I somehow doubt that Dr. Thompson is in any danger of being whisked away by black helicopters to Guantanamo or somesuch.

    Aren’t you troubled by allegations that the “CDC refuses to turn over documents to Congress…” Has the scientific community at-large reacted to that information yet?

    Allegations made by paid-to-have-congressional-briefings Reps. Posey and Issa and some hysterical anti-vaxx loons?

    Not really.

  130. […] pro-vaccine website Science Blogs features a long contrary explanation ridiculing all parties involved in the CDC whistleblower scandal. The blog post questions why a […]

  131. #131 herr doktor bimler
    August 24, 2014

    Aren’t you troubled by allegations
    “Allegations” is another word for “claims without evidence”. They are what people make because they have no evidence.

  132. #132 herr doktor bimler
    August 24, 2014

    Has the scientific community at-large reacted to that information yet?
    What information?

  133. #133 JB Bitterbonker
    United States
    August 24, 2014

    “The first thing one notices about the video is how intentionally inflammatory it is. ”

    This from the guy who one paragraph earlier wrote about “the fevered brains (such as they are) of antivaccine activists” and “that wretched hive of antivaccine scum and quackery, Age of Autism.”

    It’s as if you have to continually remind the reader that that is what they are supposed to think about the legitimate medical hypothesis that vaccines are linked to adverse neurological complications. Your talking points are so weak, (where I can actually find them, buried amongst your insults) I suppose that’s all you can do.

  134. #134 Lawrence
    August 24, 2014

    @JB – you must be new around here…..

    And there is nothing “legitimate” about that particular medical hypothesis, in light of the singular lack of evidence regarding any connection whatsoever.

  135. #135 JB Bitterbonker
    August 24, 2014

    JD – You said, “you have to use conditional regression in this case, because of said correlation and the fact that this is a goddamned case-control study.”

    But, as the Hooker paper notes, “our results were also
    confirmed using a conditional logistic regression design
    similar to the Destefano et al. [14] (CDC) study.”

    Sure enough, the cited paper states, “Vaccination before 36 months was more common among case children than control children, especially among children 3 to 5 years of age, likely reflecting immunization requirements for enrollment in early intervention programs.”

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14754936

    So, the paper above admits that autism cases were vaccinated earlier than controls, but explains it away without doing any investigation or analysis into whether their excuse is true or not. Why don’t you take issue with this, JD?

  136. #136 Denice Walter
    August 24, 2014

    You know, this isn’t Hooker’s first foray delivering earth-shattering news about governmental malfeasance concerning vaccines:
    in April 2013 ( I just looked it up) he also appeared on Null’s PRN show to shriek about *mercury* causing autism after he went over CDC records with a fine tooth-comb and FOUND SOMETHING!

    About that time I searched the ‘net and discovered that he had shopped his story around to other alt media / woo websites ( very easy to find). which I reported here RI.

    Remember this is also the guy who was to speak to the Congressional meeting whom Blaxill replaced which got Jake all hot and bothered a while back prior to stomping off. Hooker also had a position in the Geiers’ CoMeD ( written as such perhapos so that it wouldn’t look too much like the word “comedy”, I venture) and now, Segal’s Focus Autism/ Shot of Truth.

    Remember also that he wasn’t the only one scouring CDC data fo a hint of a glimmer of ANYTHING- please, anything!- to start the wheels of confabulatory novelisation going.
    ( see also Jake’s master’s paper/ the Geiers).

  137. #137 Denice Walter
    August 24, 2014

    Of whom does their zealous-but rather
    clumsy and ineffectual- impoverished miming** remind me-
    using the FOIA to get information about children’s vaccinations and health records in order to build a case proving malicious and unseemly actions by a professional? Let me think…the name escapes me right now.

    ** imitation is flattery even if it’s done poorly.

  138. #138 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    August 24, 2014

    It’s as if you have to continually remind the reader that that is what they are supposed to think about the legitimate medical hypothesis that vaccines are linked to adverse neurological complications.

    Oh please don’t get dressed up for our sake, you can just call it what you do elsewhere which is autism. And no, vaccines “linked” to autism is not a legitimate medical hypothesis; it was thought to be, been tested and found to be disproven. It is accepted however that vaccines may cause (on very rare occasions, ~1:1million) encephalitis. We don’t need Orac to tell us what we think, we can think independently and already know what a pit AoA is.

    Your talking points are so weak, (where I can actually find them, buried amongst your insults) I suppose that’s all you can do.

    Well then JD, why don’t you try to actually refute the talking points, which are numerous instead of tone-trolling. Besides, when you have taken your fellow vaccine causation “activists” to task for their ludicrous accusations of shilling, malfeasance, malpractice, baby-maiming and the like, then you may have a leg to stand on in that regard.

  139. #139 palindrom
    August 24, 2014

    I think it was an old Amos ‘n Andy in which someone said:

    “I deny the allegation, and I deplore the allegator.”

  140. #140 Politicalguineapig
    August 24, 2014

    Reader: Aren’t you eager to hear directly from alleged CDC whistleblower, Dr. William W. Thompson? Has the scientific community reached out to confirm his well-being?

    Why should we care? This “doctor”(if he ever existed) betrayed all his studies, all his teachers, all his prospective and former patients, just to drag the CDC through the mud. I hope he gets his degree rescinded-if he ever had one in the first place.

  141. #141 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    August 24, 2014

    JD – You said, “you have to use conditional regression in this case, because of said correlation and the fact that this is a goddamned case-control study.”

    But, as the Hooker paper notes, “our results were also confirmed using a conditional logistic regression design similar to the Destefano et al. [14] (CDC) study.”

    I see Hooker is quite successful at pulling the wool over his followers eyes. I’m afraid you’ve been duped as Hooker, even as incompetent as he is, knows that the true believers won’t bother to dissect the methods. Hooker states, “similar” but what does that mean exactly? He doesn’t state in the methods what methods he actually used and more importantly, he doesn’t report the results of that “similar” conditional logistic regression. Perhaps the better questions would be posed to Hooker as to why he took a case-control data set, brute forced it into a cohort data set and then proceeded to use a completely inappropriate statistical method.

    Sure enough, the cited paper states, “Vaccination before 36 months was more common among case children than control children, especially among children 3 to 5 years of age, likely reflecting immunization requirements for enrollment in early intervention programs.”

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14754936

    So, the paper above admits that autism cases were vaccinated earlier than controls, but explains it away without doing any investigation or analysis into whether their excuse is true or not. Why don’t you take issue with this, JD?

    Because it’s a reasonable explanation given the healthcare disparity of African Americans. Not only that but the ASD rate in the metro Atlanta area is the same between blacks and whites. Out of curiosity I would have liked to seen this further examined, particularly now in light of watching the whackaloon contingent running about in tin-foil grade hysterics making pronouncements and accusations that simply aren’t supported. Wakefield and Hooker played your group and you’re rising to the occasion spectacularly.

  142. #142 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    August 24, 2014

    Why should we care? This “doctor”(if he ever existed) betrayed all his studies, all his teachers, all his prospective and former patients, just to drag the CDC through the mud. I hope he gets his degree rescinded-if he ever had one in the first place.

    Could you please just try to engage your brain in the activity of writing words into a comment box? We don’t even know What Dr. Thompson did or didn’t do, from all appearances, he doesn’t even rise to the level of whistleblower so it’s really stupid to screech “betrayal” of everyone right now. He’s a PhD and no, he wouldn’t get his “degree rescinded”, it wouldn’t even be considered and that’s not how it works at all. This sort of rhetoric doesn’t help at all and is no better than what the dipsh!ts at AoA and TMR are doing.

  143. #143 Politicalguineapig
    August 24, 2014

    Science Mom: We don’t even know What Dr. Thompson did or didn’t do, from all appearances, he doesn’t even rise to the level of whistleblower so it’s really stupid to screech “betrayal” of everyone right now.

    You do realize he’s undermined immunization efforts for years to come? African Americans already tend to be wary of doctors, and I bet this will only increase the erosion of trust.
    And, again, we don’t even know this guy exists; AOA and their paid staff specialize in making s**t up. It’s probably some gambit to increase diversity in AOA and TMR; at present, they’re whiter than white bread.

  144. #144 JD
    August 24, 2014

    @ Bitter JB

    Let’s start with the basics. How we differentiate a case-control from a cohort study is based on how the subjects were identified. A case-control involves identifying cases and then selecting a control group that is representative of the population from which the cases arose. One then looks at the association with some exposure.

    A cohort study involves identifying a group of people (exposed and unexposed) then looking for outcomes. If the drivel put forth by Hooker were a cohort study, it would have involved pulling immunization records and then looking for autism as the outcome. So, what this armchair epidemiologist has done is simply call something a cohort study so that his oversimplified analysis seems valid. But, as you can see in my next comment, because this is a frequency-matched case-control study, one needs to take both age and school into account, at minimum. Which should have been done using unconditional logistic regression. So, this individual couldn’t even get the study design and basic analysis right. And we are supposed to believe this is a valid “re-analysis?”

    Destefano, et al. performed a perfectly valid analysis of individually-matched subjects. If Hooker’s claimed sensitivity analysis results were similar, why didn’t Hooker just show the same analysis, which would have been valid (he erroneously refers to this analysis technique as a “conditional logistic regression design”, not a design)?

    You are quibbling about the age-stratified analysis in the Destefano study. I view their explanation for these results as reasonable. This is why age is so important to account for and one of the many (an astounding number, actually) reasons why the Hooker “study” is invalid.

  145. […] pro-vaccine website Science Blogs features a long contrary explanation ridiculing all parties involved in the CDC whistleblower scandal. The blog post questions why a […]

  146. #146 Denice Walter
    August 24, 2014

    But wouldn’t the correct thing be to re-do DeStefano et al with new subjects rather than torture the data?

    But then, Hooker *couldn’t* do that, could he now?

    -btw- Orac critiques his earlier ‘research’ @ RI, April 3, 2013.

  147. #147 Dorit Reiss
    EiIssd
    August 24, 2014

    We know there’s a CDC researcher called William Thompson who worked on DeStefano’s study and other studies and I would assume he talked to Dr. Hooker, otherwise it’s too easy to counter.

    What he said and in what context are very different questions. Right now, as Orac points out, we just have snippets chosen by Wakefield and/or Hooker, two problematic sources.

  148. #148 JD
    August 24, 2014

    @ Denice

    But then he couldn’t kill three birds with one stone.

    Torturing the data in this fashion accomplishes 1) a perceived legitimate “scientific” “study” for those who don’t know any better; 2) shows the malfeasance of the CDC and brings these deep conspiracies to light; 3) shows how horrible the CDC is for dragging their feet on FOIA requests.

    Actually, I can’t think of a more effective strategy for spreading misinformation …

  149. #149 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    August 24, 2014

    You do realize he’s undermined immunization efforts for years to come?

    He or Hooker and Wakefield? The video they crafted has nothing to note that Thompson gave them anything of import. So it’s important to note that it’s Hooker and Wakefield who are doing the undermining here. That’s not to say that Dr. Thompson exhibited a huge lapse in judgement by even speaking to Hooker but we don’t even know the content and if they blew their entire load in the video, then I’d say not much at all.

    African Americans already tend to be wary of doctors, and I bet this will only increase the erosion of trust.

    Really really try to take the advice you have been given here time and time again and refrain from blanket statements.

    And, again, we don’t even know this guy exists; AOA and their paid staff specialize in making s**t up. It’s probably some gambit to increase diversity in AOA and TMR; at present, they’re whiter than white bread.

    Yes, we do know “this guy exists”. We just don’t know what he did. This isn’t a gambit to increase diversity in AoA and TMR. This is all about Wakefield; even Hooker is just something for Wakefield to perch on. AoA and TMR are just support systems for Wakefield.

  150. #150 Reader
    August 24, 2014

    Bottom line?

    1) New peer reviewed paper: http://www.translationalneurodegeneration.com/content/3/1/16/abstract
    Editorial Board: http://www.translationalneurodegeneration.com/about/edboard

    2) Assessment by David Lewis, PhD from transcript of video:

    Scientist Dr. David Lewis, an international expert in whistleblowing and the detection of scientific fraud, reviewed the original CDC documents and the paper they published in 2004.

    Dr. David Lewis: “Probably this is the clearest case and the easiest case in which to answer, is it fraud or is it an accident? Is it just an artifact of the study that we’re dealing with here? Clearly it’s fraud.”

    3) Intended audience? Research scientists, the medical community, whistleblowers at large, and policymakers of conscience – not the general public. It likely matters not that this story isn’t being reported in the MSM (and that a CNN iReport which went viral with 47K views in hours was pulled), IMO. Probably a number of readers here are members of the former category?

  151. #151 Denice Walter
    August 24, 2014

    Lewis and Hooker are both board members of Focus Autism along with several Segals ( but not the martial arts guy)

  152. #152 JD
    August 24, 2014

    Peer-reviewed, eh? Are you seriously making the point that because they have an editorial board, that this lends any credibility to this “analysis?” This is a bottom-feeding open-access journal, the kind you are warned against publishing in when you do legitimate research (same goes for Hindawi).

    Good reference to Lewis. Where did you hear that, infowars, ashotoftruth, or the libertybeacon? All reputable sources for where to buy discounted tin foil.

  153. #153 Broken Link
    August 24, 2014

    Autism Action Network has sent out a letter to its supporters asking them to email William Thompson asking him to come forward and speak to major media. But if they believe that he was escorted off the property then his email address would have been disabled. But if he hasn’t been escorted off the property, then he couldn’t have done what they claim. Text below:

    First, thank you for sharing the information you have with Brian Hooker and Andrew Wakefield. You obviously are a man of moral and intellectual integrity and courage in a world where both of these qualities are rare. You personally could save hundreds of thousands of children from a life of severe disability. But that will not happen unless vaccination policy is changed. And vaccination policy will not change unless you come forward publicly and present what you know to major media sources.
    No major media outlet has covered this story, and they won’t until you come forward and clearly state what you know to be true. Please come forward as soon as possible and present your vitally important revelations to the public through a major news outlet.
    You have crossed a line that you cannot re-cross. But crossing that line will allow you to do far more good and save countless lives. I can’t imagine how difficult this is for you. But you are doing the right thing. I understand you have hired a lawyer who specializes in these types of revelations. I would strongly encourage you to obtain the counsel of experienced public relations people to help you tell your story in the most effective way possible.
    Thank you for what you have done so far, and please, I beg you, share your story with major media.

  154. #154 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    August 24, 2014

    1) New peer reviewed paper: http://www.translationalneurodegeneration.com/content/3/1/16/abstract
    Editorial Board: http://www.translationalneurodegeneration.com/about/edboard

    Yes and? It and the editorial board are not impressive at all. No one but Hooker’s “colleagues” will ever cite this paper and used by true believers like you who don’t know the first thing about scientific studies.

    2) Assessment by David Lewis, PhD from transcript of video:

    Scientist Dr. David Lewis, an international expert in whistleblowing and the detection of scientific fraud, reviewed the original CDC documents and the paper they published in 2004.

    Dr. David Lewis: “Probably this is the clearest case and the easiest case in which to answer, is it fraud or is it an accident? Is it just an artifact of the study that we’re dealing with here? Clearly it’s fraud.”

    The sludge scientist is now an “international whistleblower and fraud detection expert”? Says who? Him? What entity recognises his expertise? If he’s such an expert then explain how the scientific frauds he cavorts with go undetected to him?

    3) Intended audience? Research scientists, the medical community, whistleblowers at large, and policymakers of conscience – not the general public. It likely matters not that this story isn’t being reported in the MSM (and that a CNN iReport which went viral with 47K views in hours was pulled), IMO. Probably a number of readers here are members of the former category?

    If that “study” was intended for the scientific community then it failed miserably as it’s sh!t plain and simple. The only use it has is for a stats course on why it’s important to use the proper methodology and interpret results cautiously.

    If it doesn’t matter that this isn’t being reported in the mainstream media then why are all of you caterwauling about that? 47K is hardly viral, a mild case of the internet trots at best. It was pulled because it’s garbage propaganda, no conspiracy needed.

  155. #155 Andreas Johansson
    August 24, 2014

    What most people do not understand is that if you have enough subgroups, you should find some subgroup that has results that are statistically significant.

    In retrospect, one is sort of surprised this wasn’t stressed in statistics courses at Uni.

  156. #156 Denice Walter
    August 24, 2014

    We know all about Lewis ( see Brian Deer).

    Lewis was associated with Whistleblowers.org which mimics the name of a real ( US) governmental agency but is actually a law firm ( Kohn, Kohn and Colapinto) one of whom had a show on PRN called “Honesty without Fear” or suchlike. Lewis appeared there and on another show with Celia Farber ( of hiv/aids denialist fame).

    And yes, I’ve actually listened to some of those shows.

  157. #157 Lawrence
    August 24, 2014

    Relying on Lewis to critique Hooker is like relying on Molotov to give you the straight scoop on Stalin.

  158. #158 Krebiozen
    August 24, 2014

    Scientist Dr. David Lewis, an international expert in whistleblowing and the detection of scientific fraud,

    Dr. David “sewage sludge” Lewis? When did a retired environmental microbiologist become “an international expert in whistleblowing and the detection of scientific fraud”? His only credentials for being an expert on scientific fraud seem to be his collaboration with known international scientific fraudster Andrew Wakefield.

    This whole thing is a joke, but I think the CDC would be well-advised to put an end to it with a public statement, and perhaps a legal request to take down the libelous material wrongfully accusing scientists of fraud.

    As for Dr. Thompson, assuming the “shame” he confesses in the video does refer to the data on African Caribbean males being withheld, the only thing that makes sense to me is that he doesn’t understand the statistical epidemiological methodology being used, which is worrying in itself.

  159. #159 brian
    August 24, 2014

    (Sigh.)

    Most adults should be able to understand the evidence that in the USA lower socioeconomic status is associated with lower on-time uptake of vaccines. The evidence is clear.

    Most adults should be able to understand that the probability of an ASD diagnosis diminishes with lower socioeconomic status. The evidence is clear.

    Most sentient beings should be able to understand that in an area like Atlanta, in which a substantial fraction of citizens live in poverty and have poor access to healthcare, some children will have both reduced access to experts capable of diagnosing ASD and reduced access to on-time vaccination.

    Dr. Hooker, like those who comment at AoA, is apparently not like most sentient beings: no matter what, no matter the biological implausibility of his assertions, he always blames vaccines.

  160. #160 Michael J. Dochniak
    The great state of Iowa
    August 24, 2014

    Let me say a few things about the CDC and vaccines.

    A few days ago the CDC posted a website entitled, Vaccines: VPD-VAC/Who Should NOT Get Vaccinated?

    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/should-not-vacc.htm

    Some of the warnings are as follows:

    Tell your doctor if your baby has any severe allergies that you know of, including a severe allergy to latex.

    How is a severe allergy defined or measured accurately?

    Furthermore the term latex is inappropriate terminology, it should be natural latex. The CDC fails to follow the accurate terminology for natural latex which is clearly defined by the FDA.

    In my opinion, this allergy ambiguity and mistaken terminology doesn’t give parents a lot of faith in vaccine safety.

    Please provide some respectful insolence if applicable…

  161. #161 Narad
    August 24, 2014

    I guess my source was wrong about the CDC putting out a statement within the hour.

    Well, they did do something on the 22nd.

  162. #162 Lawrence
    August 24, 2014

    Jesus Christ – Mr. Dochniak, go away, go freakin’ far away.

  163. #163 AdamG
    August 24, 2014

    Dochniak’s back! Same old shtick I see. Makes me miss Prometheus :(

  164. #164 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    August 24, 2014

    How about some plain insolence?

    Tell your doctor if your baby has any severe allergies that you know of, including a severe allergy to latex.

    How is a severe allergy defined or measured accurately?

    Gee I don’t know, how about maybe some symptoms and diagnostic tests FFS.

    Furthermore the term latex is inappropriate terminology, it should be natural latex. The CDC fails to follow the accurate terminology for natural latex which is clearly defined by the FDA.

    Are you complaining that the CDC has taken a conservative approach or are you just here to get into a dick-match with the CDC and show us how schmart you are?

    In my opinion, this allergy ambiguity and mistaken terminology doesn’t give parents a lot of faith in vaccine safety.

    Right, the opinion of a latex-obsessed, scientifically-illiterate huckster trying to pimp his “latex-induced autism” hypothesis. We know just what to do with that opinion.

  165. #165 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    August 24, 2014

    Aargh, bloody html fail. Sorry folks.

  166. #166 Reader
    August 24, 2014

    Reflexive dismissiveness is not justified by the biographical facts. I’d urge caution here.

    http://www.whistleblowers.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=71&Itemid=108
    [b]National Whistleblowers Center: Meet the Whistleblowers (35) [b] Note: Dr. Janet Chandler (“As a young attorney President Obama worked on Dr. Chandler’s case. The Supreme Court upheld Dr. Chandler’s lawsuit.”)

    http://www.whistleblowers.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=74
    [b]Dr. David L. Lewis [/b]

    Dr. David Lewis’ cutting edge scientific research forced the EPA to abandon its policy of promoting the land application of sewage sludge on farm land. Dr. Lewis lost his job and his case in ongoing.

    Dr. David Lewis, a former senior research microbiologist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Research & Development, is the only EPA scientist to publish first-authored research articles in Nature, Lancet and Nature Medicine.

    Dr. Lewis is an internationally recognized research microbiologist who discovered, at the University of Georgia (UGA) in the early 1990s, that the AIDS virus could be transmitted by certain types of dental equipment that dentists share between patients. His research, published in Lancet and Nature Medicine, led to the current heat-sterilization standard for dentistry worldwide. He has also studied similar problems with flexible endoscopes used for common medical procedures such as colorectal cancer screening.

    As a senior-level (GS-15) research microbiologist for EPA’s Office of Research & Development, Dr. Lewis used DNA-fingerprinting in the late 1990s to study the effects of global climate change on the breakdown of pesticides by bacteria. This research, which he published in Nature, was awarded EPA’s Science Achievement Award. EPA officials who developed the Agency’s sewage sludge regulations, however, moved to shut down his research when he began investigating illnesses and deaths linked to EPA programs promoting the agricultural use of processed sewage sludge. Nevertheless, his research in this area prompted the CDC to issue guidelines protecting workers handling processed sewage sludge.

    At UGA, Dr. Lewis directs the Georgia-Oklahoma Center for Research on the Environment. ( http://dromus.nhm.uga.edu/htmldocs/Partnerships/gaok.html) There, he has published additional research articles concerning the public health and the environment, including a first-authored research article in Nature dealing with global climate change. He also organized and published a five-year prospective epidemiological study of hepatitis C cross-infection in Egypt.

    Dr. Lewis was awarded the Lexington Leadership Award in 2000 and the Accuracy in Media Award. He is Senior Science Advisor to the National Whistleblowers Center and a member of its Board of Directors. At the NWC, he organizes conferences and other events concerning the use of academic institutions by federal agencies to support government policies and quash independent scientific research. He also works with religious and community groups to foster acceptance of advancing scientific knowledge, promote religious tolerance, and discourage the use of the democratic process to empower religious movements (www.RoyalLaw.org) hyperlink to website.

    Dr. Lewis’ work has been covered in numerous news articles, editorials, and documentaries in a wide variety of professional, scientific and popular publications, and broadcasts including Science, Lancet, JAMA, The Scientist, National Geographic, Reader’s Digest, Voice of America, Paul Harvey, Time, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, NY Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, London Times, NPR’s All Things Considered, PBS Healthweek, PBS Technopolitics, CBS Evening News, ABC’s Primetime Live, and BBC Panorama.

    Dr. Lewis is available to speak about scientific fraud and environmental advocacy.

    Author: Science for Sale

  167. #167 Narad
    August 24, 2014

    Sure enough, the cited paper states, “Vaccination before 36 months was more common among case children than control children, especially among children 3 to 5 years of age, likely reflecting immunization requirements for enrollment in early intervention programs.”

    So, the paper above admits that autism cases were vaccinated earlier than controls, but explains it away without doing any investigation or analysis into whether their excuse is true or not.

    Congratulations, you don’t understand DeStefano et al. Remember, there were no significant associations for the 18- and 24-month cutoff points. Why do you think Hooker had to use 31 months rather than 36? Here, let me help.

    Remember, everybody was aged 3–10 in 1996. So the whopping 93.4% versus 90.6% difference that you’re apparently excited about doesn’t appear without the 24–36 month vaccination group. The IDEA mandate was in 1991. Guess what? That’s the 3–5 year olds.

    How many of these cases were enrolled in such programs? 98%. Meet your signal.

  168. #168 Brian Deer
    August 24, 2014

    I suppose I’m a little late to repost the link to the video on Wakefield’s previous betrayal of a whistleblower (in the UK)?

    But if anyone hasn’t seen it, this is the man Dr Thompson has come up against. It will creep you out.

    http://briandeer.com/solved/whistleblower-betrayed.htm

  169. #169 Lawrence
    August 24, 2014

    It isn’t about the truth, it never was….it’s all about what keeps the money-spigot open so Wakefield can make his mortgage.

    He’s a monster.

  170. #170 Michael J. Dochniak
    The great state of Iowa
    August 24, 2014

    Science Mom says,

    “Are you complaining that the CDC has taken a conservative approach or are you just here to get into a dick-match with the CDC and show us how schmart you are”.

    Yes, it is my opinion that the CDC has taken a conservative approach with vaccine safety and are most recently trying to make amends.

    Although, the FDA is doing a great job of informing the general public about the hazards of NATURAL LATEX in vaccine packaging and delivery systems.

    http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/DeviceRegulationandGuidance/GuidanceDocuments/ucm340972.htm

    Kudos to the FDA!

  171. #171 Lawrence
    August 24, 2014

    Just go away, again!

  172. #172 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    August 24, 2014

    Yes, it is my opinion that the CDC has taken a conservative approach with vaccine safety and are most recently trying to make amends.

    Right again, your completely unsubstantiated, rectally-sourced opinion which has no basis in reality.

    Although, the FDA is doing a great job of informing the general public about the hazards of NATURAL LATEX in vaccine packaging and delivery systems.

    One of these things is not like the other.

  173. #173 Denice Walter
    August 24, 2014

    re ‘it will creep you out’

    Lord almighty, I just thought of what a group of er… um…people I Ihave named previously on this post …
    Andy, Jake, Lewis, Hooker, Farber, Kohn, Blaxill, the Segals, Larson, Stagliano, Null, the Geiers…
    .
    and I just creeped *myself* out.

    As the French say ‘those who resemble, assemble’

  174. #174 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    August 24, 2014

    Oh Noes we’re all in big trouble now.
    Rob Schneider*
    is DEMANDING Answers on the “CDC MMR Fraud”. And he even includes the fact he doesn’t know when the study was even published BUT he has several copies and isn’t afraid to use them.

    Can this possibly get more ridiculous? When will Dr. Bob Sears and the fearless Dr. Jay Gordon make their demands known?

    *Yes really that Rob Schneider.

  175. #175 Lawrence
    August 24, 2014

    @ScienceMom – leave it up to the folks at AoA to turn a circus into a carnival….

  176. #176 Denice Walter
    August 24, 2014

    @ Science Mom:

    Oh I’m sure that The Governor will just HOP to their demands immediately and shove aside issues like a major drought, a border situation and a 6.0 earthquake. Right.

  177. #177 LIz Ditz
    United States
    August 24, 2014

    Waker’s smarmy race-bating chapped my hide, so I decided to point out what he and Hooker have done:

    L’affaire CDC-MMR: Hooker, Wakefield, and Focus Autism Accuse African-American Senior CDC Researcher of Being A Race Traitor.

  178. #178 BooRadley
    August 24, 2014

    So, we have Hooker and Wakefield sitting on (not releasing) the full audio of Thomson’s…whatever it is, if it’s even really him.
    We have a comedian sitting on a…data set? ..report. Whatever that might turn out to be.
    We have the CDC putting out info about how to obtain the original data.
    From Thompson, we’ve got nothin’ yet.

    It’s certainly fascinating! Thompson know who Wakefield is, so you have to wonder what in the world he was thinking even talking with him (not to victim-blame if he somehow got cornered into communicating with him.) If he wanted to whistle-blow to a sympathetic ear, why not go to Doshi, or Goldacre, or even Kennedy? What could he possibly have been thinking?

  179. #179 BooRadley
    August 24, 2014

    The plot thickens!

    Rappoport, 5 hours ago, speculating about whether or not this is all actually a plot by Thompson to frame Wakefield, Hooker at al.

    http://thenewsdoctors.com/what-cdc-whistleblower-william-thompson-needs-to-do-now/

    “He also needs to know that suspicions will remain about him, about his motives, about his prior anonymous confessions of guilt, about his making contact with people from the truth-telling vaccine community at large.

    Did he initiate this contact with the intention of trapping them and working some kind of operation?

    As bizarre as this sounds, it can’t be dismissed entirely unless and until he comes clean.”

  180. #180 Narad
    August 24, 2014

    I suppose I’m a little late to repost the link to the video on Wakefield’s previous betrayal of a whistleblower (in the UK)?

    But if anyone hasn’t seen it, this is the man Dr Thompson has come up against. It will creep you out.

    I’m not sure how that page is built, but I had to look at the HTML source to find the two video links (one up top and one lower down.

  181. #181 Ren
    August 24, 2014

    “This is Rob Schneider.”

    Yes, we’ve established that from your email address, and we’ll probably establish that again in your signature. Now, can you tell us what your credentials are to proclaim yourself some sort of expert on the matter of immunization?

  182. #182 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    August 24, 2014

    can you tell us what your credentials are to proclaim yourself some sort of expert on the matter of immunization?

    Naturally, he’s a celebrity of a sort. Without celebrities issuing demands how would anyone else know what to think? Besides, he knows many people who were vaccinated.

  183. #183 Krebiozen
    August 24, 2014

    Reader,

    Reflexive dismissiveness is not justified by the biographical facts.

    If Lewis were writing about an area in which he has expertise, I would not be so dismissive. However, he has proven his ignorance in this area by throwing his hat in with Andrew Wakefield. This is the man who sent Brian Deer evidence supporting Deer’s fraud allegations against Wakefield, because he thought it showed the opposite.

  184. #184 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    August 24, 2014

    And here’s another one to get ragey over:

    Black children – increased autism based on when MMR was dosed – CDC knew and covered up the info. This makes Ferguson MO look like MAYBERRY.

    From the AoA FB page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Age-of-Autism/183383325034032

    How vile and disgusting are these people going to get? It boggles the mind that they could not only co-opt a horrible on-going tragedy but trivialise it with their own butthurt because waaaaaahhhh, no one is paying attention to them.

  185. #185 VaX Researcher
    Texas
    August 24, 2014

    As an epidemiologist, I am embarrassed by this poorly performed study. Anyone taking Epi 101 knows that his methodology is seriously flawed. Last time I checked Pearson’s chi squared test is not used to calculate relative risk but independence. The article states that “our results were also confirmed using a conditional logistic regression design similar to Destefano et al.” Where are the results from this conditional regression analysis. Also, if he did perform a cohort study instead of a case control study, which is what he claims, he would divide groups according to exposure not into cases and controls. Cohort studies look at incidence, which are newly diagnosed cases, so using all “autism cases” is using prevalence, which will give you inaccurate answers. The whole thing is just wrong.

    In terms of race, this study is only generalizable to the population studied, which is the Metropolitan Atlanta area. Generalizing to the entire United States is just irresponsible.

    It was unethical of the author and journal to publish this study because obviously neither know anything about epidemiology or biostatistics.

  186. #186 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    August 24, 2014

    Reflexive dismissiveness is not justified by the biographical facts. I’d urge caution here.

    We don’t agree with you so we’re “reflexively dismissive” got it. You put forth the claim that:

    Scientist Dr. David Lewis, an international expert in whistleblowing and the detection of scientific fraud, reviewed the original CDC documents and the paper they published in 2004.

    But nothing you have provided substantiates this. I can call myself the Princess of Wales but that doesn’t make it so. What international entity or collection of countries’ government entities recognise Dr. Lewis as an international expert in whistleblowing and detection of scientific fraud?

    Dr. David Lewis: “Probably this is the clearest case and the easiest case in which to answer, is it fraud or is it an accident? Is it just an artifact of the study that we’re dealing with here? Clearly it’s fraud.”

    Um, have you seen the video? Can you point me to anything that provides evidence of fraud other than Lewis, Wakefield and Hooker just saying it is? Surely you can appreciate that extraordinary claims have at least some solid evidence.

    National Whistleblowers Center: Meet the Whistleblowers (35) Note: Dr. Janet Chandler (“As a young attorney President Obama worked on Dr. Chandler’s case. The Supreme Court upheld Dr. Chandler’s lawsuit.”)

    Dr. David L. Lewis

    I’m not sure what this is supposed to prove but a successfully litigated case that isn’t Dr. Lewis nor had he anything to do with and Dr. Lewis’ CV don’t provide evidence of study fraud by the CDC nor his “expertise” as a “science fraud detector” nor “whistleblower”.

    If anything, it appears as though you have reflexive acceptance of anything that validates your biases and beliefs. You may wish to try some critical evaluation of your sources before trotting them out as authoritative when they are anything but.

  187. #187 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    August 24, 2014

    This is the man who sent Brian Deer evidence supporting Deer’s fraud allegations against Wakefield, because he thought it showed the opposite.

    And by all accounts were given to him by Wakefield, go figure.

  188. #188 JD
    August 24, 2014

    “Reflexive dismissiveness is not justified by the biographical facts. I’d urge caution here.”

    Ha, nice list. If we were talking sewage sludge or HIV transmission by dental instruments, then we would have an expert.

    Unfortunately none of this means anything, because even Nobel prize winners have been known to fall off the rational thinking wagon from time to time (special emphasis on Kary Mullis’ unique brand of crazy).

    http://www.cracked.com/article_18638_4-nobel-prize-winners-who-were-clearly-insane.html

    http://americanloons.blogspot.com/2014/03/971-kary-mullis.html

  189. #189 JD
    August 24, 2014

    Improved list of those suffering from “Nobel Disease” or “MD Disease.” These are truly terrible afflictions. Maybe the government is also covering up a “340% increased risk” of “MD Disease” among British gastroenterologists. Would be one explanation …

    http://skepdic.com/nobeldisease.html

  190. #190 palindrom
    August 24, 2014

    Science Mom @186

    I can call myself the Princess of Wales but that doesn’t make it so.

    And here I was thinking you were the Sheikh of Araby! Silly me.

    Seriously, though, this whole affair does have quite a bit of entertainment value.

    It never ceases to amaze me how folks like anti-vaxxers (and climate deniers, whom I spend far too much time refuting) reject vast swaths of careful, well-established science, but then blindly trust any incompetent fool who comes along and says something they agree with. Even if, in this case, the totality of the study does not support their pet hypothesis.

  191. #191 Narad
    August 24, 2014

    *Yes really that Rob Schneider.

    Heh. See, right now, this is potentially actionable as negligence:

    “A top Scientist and Researcher for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Dr. William Thompson PHD, who did the major research safety study for the Measles Mumps and Rubella Vaccine (MMR) has come forward as a whistleblower and admitted that the MMR study was in fact fraudulent.”

  192. #192 Narad
    August 24, 2014

    Reflexive dismissiveness is not justified by the biographical facts. I’d urge caution here…. [“]The Supreme Court upheld Dr. Chandler’s lawsuit.”

    Yay, you are officially flinging random cut-and-paste crap around because you’re either too lazy or too dense to bother trying to evaluate first.

    So just do me a favor, given that you’re Oo-ee-ohing over “reflexive” anything and preciously “urging caution” as though there were any sign of your having any freaking understanding of the paper you’ve decided to stuff into your pants and tug out of your fly as some sort of conceptually failed performance art, and answer a simple question:

    What in G-d’s name could the False Claims Act have to do with anything here, much less a SCOTUS decision about whether local governments are subject to it?

    You don’t even understand that the appeal had nothing to do with the merits, and you’re engaging in a public display of “urges”?

  193. #193 Narad
    August 24, 2014

    ^ Should’ve been a close-<bt> after “anything,” and then some separate ones. I trust that it’s clear enough.

  194. #194 Narad
    August 24, 2014

    ^^ Dammit.

  195. #195 Narad
    August 24, 2014

    Where are the results from this conditional regression analysis.

    And if it “confirmed” the actual approach, why wasn’t it presented instead? It would totally stink if “confirmed” actually meant “had a lower CI bound less than unity but otherwise smelled of trendishness,” because in this case, one could have simply referred back to the original paper and called it a day.

  196. #196 Bob G
    Los Angeles
    August 24, 2014

    The last sentence in the DeStefano abstract suggests that maybe the autistic children were vaccinated because they had already been diagnosed with autism and were required to be immunized as a requirement of entry into a treatment program. In other words, for at least some of the autistic children, the autism came first, and the vaccinations came later. As a non-epidemiologist, I wonder if it’s fair to ask whether the investigators should have tried to determine whether this was true on a case by case basis. To the extent that it was true, wouldn’t those patients be the non-immunized but autistic group that the anti-vax people are always challenging us to demonstrate? I know that there are lots of other data on this precise point, but it seems germane to this study.

    Since recent data suggests (pretty strongly, if I understand correctly) that autism reveals itself much earlier in life if you look for it, doesn’t that make this study fairly inconsequential, if not downright moot? I mean, if autism is already there at birth, or certainly at 6 months of age, then looking at vaccination ages many months later is kind of irrelevant, no?

    OT: Hope the northern Cal people are OK after the Napa quake. We just had a 3.3 down here, but the epicenter was only 4 miles from here and relatively shallow, so we had a bit of a ride from it.

  197. #197 Sid Offit
    FEMA region IX
    August 24, 2014

    Chickens have come home to roost. Indictments likely. My sources tell me Thompson is singing like a canary.

  198. #198 Narad
    August 24, 2014

    Chickens have come home to roost. Indictments likely. My sources tell me Thompson is singing like a canary.

    Bob, you’re a clown with a pretend company who has been caught repeatedly lying about having published two volumes on child-rearing. Your “sources” are presumptively a hemorrhoidal flare-up.

  199. #199 Chris
    August 24, 2014

    “My sources tell me Thompson is singing like a canary.”

    Officially the only information anyone has are from Hooker and Wakefield. Considering the only sources you have contact with are similar anti-vax loons, you probably just have rumor. We are not holding our breath.

    It is most likely another non-story.

  200. #200 Narad
    August 24, 2014

    In other words, for at least some of the autistic children, the autism came first, and the vaccinations came later. As a non-epidemiologist, I wonder if it’s fair to ask whether the investigators should have tried to determine whether this was true on a case by case basis.

    There weren’t data on age of diagnosis to start with.

  201. #201 Chris
    August 24, 2014

    Also, Mr. Schecter, it would have no impact on your own family since it does not include African American males, since they are the only demographic that showed a connection between the MMR and autism (despite other confounding variables… in other words: very badly done statistics).

    Unless you have lied about your child’s gender. Is she now a an African American male?

  202. […] there are issues that come to my attention that need more than just one blog post to cover. One such issue popped up last week, and it’s one that’s kept you all very engaged, with the comment count on the […]

  203. #203 Bob G
    Los Angeles
    August 25, 2014

    @Narad — OK. I was thinking of the investigators asking the parents of autistic children a little more about their histories, or going into the case files to look for this kind of information. This might include the referral to a treatment program, and then a later record of immunizations. I’m not suggesting that this is easy to do, or that the investigators should have thought of it in advance, but if it’s the explanation for an observed effect, then shouldn’t you try to look for the relevant information before going to press? Maybe this is considered out of bounds in epidemiological studies because you are supposed to define your end points in advance, or something? In molecular biology, it would be normal.

  204. #204 lilady
    August 25, 2014

    We are one person shy to have a full boat of anti-vaccine conspiracists.

    Has Donald Trump weighed in yet?

    Has the singing canary told Wakefield and Hooker where Judge Crater’s and Jimmy Hoffa’s bodies are buried, Offal?

  205. #205 Reader
    August 25, 2014

    @Narad,
    I counted 4 posters harshly blasting Dr. Lewis and simply countered with his CV, including that he is “Senior Science Advisor to the National Whistleblowers Center and a member of its Board of Directors.”
    I found it notable that a number of the whistleblowers among the 35 listed were extremely high profile and that, “As a young attorney President Obama worked on Dr. Chandler’s case. The Supreme Court upheld Dr. Chandler’s lawsuit,” although I’ve never heard of her.
    Attacks on Dr. Lewis and efforts to discredit him appear unwarranted, IMO. Please don’t misconstrue the post.

    http://www.whistleblowers.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=71&Itemid=108

    http://www.whistleblowers.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=74

  206. #206 Andreas Johansson
    August 25, 2014

    Bob G wrote:

    I mean, if autism is already there at birth, or certainly at 6 months of age, then looking at vaccination ages many months later is kind of irrelevant, no?

    You’re indulging in industrialized European conceptions of linear time.

  207. #207 Reader
    August 25, 2014

    OVERLOOKED FACTS (with embedded links at the original):

    http://www.autisminvestigated.com/lancet-wakefield-retracted/
    Lancet Keeps Wakefield et al. Retracted in Contempt of Court
    By Jake Crosby
    MAY 11, 2014 9:58 PM

    Findings of the UK General Medical Council against the Wakefield et al. paper were overturned by the High Court, yet the Lancet still keeps that paper retracted – citing those overturned findings. Previous attempts have been made to persuade Lancet editor Richard Horton and the previous Lancet ombudsman Charles Warlow to restore “Ileal-Lymphoid-Nodular-Hyperplasia, Non-specific Colitis and Pervasive Developmental Disorder in Children” by Wakefield et al. Horton flatly refused, while Warlow denied having any responsibility for reconsidering the status of the paper…

  208. #208 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    August 25, 2014

    @Reader:

    Findings of the UK General Medical Council against the Wakefield et al. paper were overturned by the High Court.

    That is at best a distortion and at worst an outright lie. The only things the High Court overturned were the findings and sanction against John Walker-Smith. Walker-Smith’s appeal was based on his claim that he had been misled by Wakefield (which the court accepted), and his own lawyer declared that the Lancet Paper and the MMR-Vaccine causation hypothesis was dead as a dodo.

  209. #209 lilady
    August 25, 2014

    Julian Frost: IMO, it would be best if we just ignore that poster. He’s got several agendas including the derailing of Orac’s topic and the promotion of Wakefield.

    Anyone who uses Jake Crosby’s statements to prove a point is a fool.

  210. #210 Narad
    August 25, 2014

    I’m not suggesting that this is easy to do, or that the investigators should have thought of it in advance, but if it’s the explanation for an observed effect, then shouldn’t you try to look for the relevant information before going to press?

    The point was to evaluate whether there was a relationship between when the MMR was received and an ASD diagnosis. (There isn’t, unless one throws reason to the wind and accepts that administering MMR between 24 and 36 months of age increased risk for children born from 1991 to 1993.)

    It was a response to the 2001 IOM MMR Immunization Safety Review. The question then is what you have to work with in the first place:

    DeStefano and colleagues (2004) conducted a case-control study in the metropolitan Atlanta area comparing ages at first MMR vaccination of a population-based sample of children with autism and school-matched controls who did not have autism. The authors stated that implicit in the exposure comparison was the assumption that if MMR vaccination increases the risk of autism (typical onset is 24 months), children who receive the vaccine at earlier ages would have a higher risk of developing autism. The researchers chose this study design because they did not have full information on onset of initial parental concern, date of first diagnosis of autism, or onset of regression.

  211. #211 Narad
    August 25, 2014

    @Narad,
    I counted 4 posters harshly blasting Dr. Lewis and simply countered with his CV

    Answer the question about the False Claims Act or put a sock in it, Cutsy-Pasty.

  212. #212 Narad
    August 25, 2014

    ^ The following bit needs correction:

    It was a response to the 2001 IOM MMR Immunization Safety Review.

    This describes the clinical subgroup part (PDF).

  213. #213 Narad
    August 25, 2014

    This has probably been mentioned already, but I just noticed that Hooker fails to keep straight what an odds ratio is:

    Relative risks for males in general and African American males were 1.69 (p=0.0138) and 3.36 (p=0.0019), respectively. Additionally, African American males showed an odds ratio of 1.73 (p=0.0200) for autism cases in children receiving their first MMR vaccine prior to 24 months of age versus 24 months of age and thereafter….

    When looking specifically at African American children (Table 2), the relationship between MMR timing and autism incidence became more profound (RR = 2.30, 95% CI: 1.25-4.22, p = 0.0060) at 36 months of age. Again, this result was exclusively found in boys who showed statistically significant effects at both 24 months (RR = 1.73, 95% CI: 1.09-2.77, p = 0.0200) and 36 months (RR = 3.36, 95% CI: 1.50-7.51, p = 0.0019) of age.

    Like, big time:

    Destefano et al. [14] found a statistically significant relative risk of 1.49 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.04 – 2.14) at the 36 month cutoff (i.e., in a comparison of children receiving the MMR before versus after 36 months).

    DeStefano were reporting ORs. I get the RR as 1.35 for this one. That’s just sad.

  214. #214 Krebiozen
    August 25, 2014

    Bob G,

    To the extent that it was true, wouldn’t those patients be the non-immunized but autistic group that the anti-vax people are always challenging us to demonstrate? I know that there are lots of other data on this precise point, but it seems germane to this study.

    You might think so, but they aren’t fully unvaccinated, they may have had other vaccines such hepatitis B and DTaP. If you do try to follow the antivax train of logic, the goalposts slide about in a most bewildering way (forgive my mixed metaphor), with MMR, or thimerosal, or hepatitis B, or just “too many too soon” being blamed, depending on what the evidence can be tortured into appearing to support.

    The original case control study was looking at prevalence, not incidence, so age at diagnosis was not relevant i.e. cases are either diagnosed autistic or not. I can’t imagine Hooker has the resources to go back to the original patient records and extract date of diagnosis, especially since De Stefano et al apparently did not. This is extremely time-consuming and takes a lot of researchers a long time to do – I have spent enough time hunting for and attempting to decipher patient hospital notes to know what fun it can be.

  215. #215 Krebiozen
    August 25, 2014

    This has probably been mentioned already, but I just noticed that Hooker fails to keep straight what an odds ratio is:

    Since the temporal sequence is unknown we can only calculate an odds ratio, not a relative risk, as I understand it (groping through dust and cobwebs to recall my training in statistics, admittedly).

    I did notice that in the video (at around 6:24) Wakefield claims a ‘relative risk’ of 3.45 is “a 340% increased risk of autism”. I suppose he thinks a RR of 1.00 means a 100% increased risk.

    Statistics and epidemiology aren’t these clowns’ strong suits, are they?

  216. #216 Narad
    August 25, 2014

    I suppose he thinks a RR of 1.00 means a 100% increased risk.

    Wakefraud was also an early repeater of Seneff’s brain-dead “1 in 2 by 2025″ routine (courtesy of Billy DeMoss), which subsequently morphed from this into this.

  217. #217 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    August 25, 2014

    Attacks on Dr. Lewis and efforts to discredit him appear unwarranted, IMO. Please don’t misconstrue the post.

    @ Reader, Lewis isn’t being “attacked” nor “discredited” as you have failed to provide anything that remotely establishes his cred as an “international expert in whistleblowing and science fraud detection”. We are pointing this fact out to you along with his actual credentials which are neither in the realm of scientific fraud detection nor vaccines and autism.

    OVERLOOKED FACTS (with embedded links at the original):

    http://www.autisminvestigated.com/lancet-wakefield-retracted/
    Lancet Keeps Wakefield et al. Retracted in Contempt of Court
    By Jake Crosby
    MAY 11, 2014 9:58 PM

    I fail to see what Walker-Smith’s successful appeal has to do with Wakefield and with retracting the Lancet retracted study. The study was rife with fraud and reporting established by both the GMC and Brian Deer’s investigation as reported in the BMJ series. Your reliance upon Jake Crosby to accurately report much of anything is probably not particularly wise.

  218. #218 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    August 25, 2014

    I did notice that in the video (at around 6:24) Wakefield claims a ‘relative risk’ of 3.45 is “a 340% increased risk of autism”. I suppose he thinks a RR of 1.00 means a 100% increased risk.

    Wait What? I wondered where they came up with 340% but as they make up so much of everything they say, didn’t hurt myself there. But you think they derived it from their RR?

  219. #219 David's Daddy
    United States
    August 25, 2014

    LOL. I love how deep in the hungry lie you are. It’s going to be just incredible to see the truth come out. I should make sure I get this very entertaining newsletter.
    Saying “partially right” only means they were not entirely right. 99% is partially right. You are like a child who clumsily tries to wordsmith his way into getting “some” ice cream for having cleaned “some” of his room.
    All these posts are just so pathetic. Where is DiStefano to say he did no wrong? We are in the real world now and you cannot weasel out of this one. Social media is unstoppable. Congress is home and Boyle lied to them. I assure you they will have had many parents take their autistic kids to visit their office.
    I am enjoying this immensely because so many have hung their reputation on the CDC studies and now it’s all crumbling.
    Get ready guys.
    Partially? LOL!!

  220. #220 Curious
    August 25, 2014

    OK, I’m no statistician. Far from it. But let’s just assume for a moment that there is actually a threefold increase in autism risk for African American boys who have the vaccine early. If the study as a whole finds no link, does that mean that in other groups, there would actually have a lowered risk in order to show no risk for everyone?

  221. #221 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    August 25, 2014

    @David’s Daddy,

    Social media is unstoppable.

    That’s true enough – there are things that fly around social media for years, and they don’t need to rely on the mainstream media, government authority, or facts.

    If you have any data to share besides innuendo, please do.

  222. #222 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    August 25, 2014

    I am enjoying this immensely because so many have hung their reputation on the CDC studies and now it’s all crumbling.
    Get ready guys.
    Partially? LOL!!

    Right because social media should be the arbiter of science. I’m afraid David’s Daddy that you appear to be just another bitter conspiracy nutter with twisted revenge fantasies. No wonder this rubbish just keeps gurgling back up to the top.

  223. #223 Lawrence
    August 25, 2014

    @Curious – that’s what the anti-vax folks don’t seem to get.

    If they accept the data as “legitimate” then there is no increased risk for any other group besides African American males.

    If the data is “illegitimate” then none of the results can be viewed as valid (whether Hooker made them or not).

    Either way, they don’t really understand the methodology or even the terminology used in the original study…and just assume that Hooker did something different.

    None of this is actually confirmed – other than at first glance, seeing Hooker applying brute force to massage the results in the way he wants.

  224. #224 Anders Gustafsson
    Finland
    August 25, 2014

    “Social media is unstoppable”

    Yes. See: https://sv-se.facebook.com/HastarFinnsInte

    A very popular Swedish facebook page that claim that Horses do not exist and are fruit to boot… :)

  225. #225 David's Daddy
    August 25, 2014

    @all you clowns.
    You like to play that childish circular logic game and avoid the epic events that are unfolding.
    You embrace the “partially right” comment as representing 100% wrong. Clearly in this instance “partially right” means 0%>lancet paper>100% right.
    But given the “partially right” refers to the MMR/Autism outcome is determined by the age of vaccination, I would say that’s all one needs to show that the MMR DOES affect an autism outcome.
    You conceded the slipperiest slope to being wrong.
    Let me help you…
    What you should say is that the Whistleblower had faked the claim because he had a disagreement with the CDC regarding his payroll taxes. And so he decided to completely ruin his career to get back at the CDC. Yeah! that’s the ticket!
    The best part is knowing that you are all going to continue to vaccinate. That’s what makes this debate so fun.
    So please make sure you get the flu shot this year. I hear 30,000 people die of the flu each year….

  226. #226 Brian Deer
    August 25, 2014

    Reader:

    David Lewis is a kind of Walter Mitty character, with a long history of granting himself titles and opining on matters in which he lacks professional credentials, as if he were an expert. He, and a church he owns, are now on the anti-vax payroll.

    Although, like Wakefield, he threatens critics with vexatious lawsuits, he believes he is entitled to smear and besmirch whosoever he likes with crank abuse.

    For example, he has repeatedly maintained that my journalism is of such a high professional standard that I must be corrupt. Yes, you read that right. My work is so good, it’s bad.

    Believe me not? See it with your own eyes, and then wake up:

    http://briandeer.com/solved/david-lewis-true.htm

  227. #227 AdamG
    August 25, 2014

    But given the “partially right” refers to the MMR/Autism outcome is determined by the age of vaccination, I would say that’s all one needs to show that the MMR DOES affect an autism outcome.

    Really? Because I would say you’re barely coherent and clearly don’t understand the grave statistical errors made by Hooker, errors which invalidate his claims of an MMR/autism link in a single subpopulation. Can you explain, in your own words, the difference between a cohort study and a case-control study?

  228. #228 JD
    August 25, 2014

    “Since the temporal sequence is unknown we can only calculate an odds ratio, not a relative risk, as I understand it.”

    Conceptualization of this is pretty variable among statisticians and epidemiologists (a battle which rages inside me daily), but my take is pretty specific.

    I would call what Hooker has reported unadjusted risk ratios (simply ratios of outcome probabilities). In the Destefano study, these are conditional odds ratios (meaning a ratio of probability/1-probability, conditional on the matching variables). The goal in epidemiological studies is to obtain an accurate estimate of an extremely vague concept known as the relative risk. It is generally thought that he best estimate of relative risk can be obtained from a true cohort study (which Hooker did not perform) in which confounding and bias have been appropriately addressed.

    The accuracy of approximation to the relative risk is more tenuous in a case-control study (which Hooker performed). The reasons you can’t (or shouldn’t) calculate a risk ratio in this framework are that temporality is questionable (as you mentioned) and because a couple of the marginal totals (number of cases and controls) are fixed by design. We use a cute little trick (that the exposure odds ratio = outcome odds ratio in a 2×2 table) to handle this problem.

    Now, in a well-conducted case-control study we can be fairly confident that the estimate we obtain will provide an approximation to the relative risk, in the situation where the outcome is not too common. This is an epidemiological construct, though, as from a statistician’s point of view, there is no problem reporting odds ratios in any situation, as long as this is appropriately interpreted as a ratio of odds, not a risk ratio. This is important, because the techniques one would use to model risk ratios either don’t converge or are pretty intense theoretically. I assume this is why the good Dr. Hooker didn’t bother to model his erroneously-calculated risk ratios.

    TLDR – you can report an odds ratio in a cohort study with no problem, but you can’t report a risk ratio from a case-control study (as Hooker has). And to interpret these as relative risks is yet another gaping flaw.

    And I love seeing that 340% increase reported (just a testament to the incompetence and ignorance which abounds this story), you need to subtract one from the RR or OR before multiplying by 100 for a direct (>1) association.

  229. #229 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    August 25, 2014

    You embrace the “partially right” comment as representing 100% wrong. Clearly in this instance “partially right” means 0%>lancet paper>100% right.
    But given the “partially right” refers to the MMR/Autism outcome is determined by the age of vaccination, I would say that’s all one needs to show that the MMR DOES affect an autism outcome.
    You conceded the slipperiest slope to being wrong.

    Uh no. Apparently, the irony of those statements are completely lost on you. I’m not shocked. Even with Hooker’s execrable ham-fisted statistical analysis, he only managed to find a single subset with statistical significance that doesn’t remotely resemble Wakefield’s claims at all. That is with taking Hooker’s results at face value when in reality, he didn’t find any statistical significance because he did the wrong tests.

    What you should say is that the Whistleblower had faked the claim because he had a disagreement with the CDC regarding his payroll taxes. And so he decided to completely ruin his career to get back at the CDC. Yeah! that’s the ticket!
    The best part is knowing that you are all going to continue to vaccinate. That’s what makes this debate so fun.

    I have no idea where you came up with that gem but accuracy isn’t the anti-vaxxers’ strong suit. Thompson made no claim; the only statement uttered was about his shame for something. Hooker and Wakefield certainly make a bunch of claims but with no evidence whatsoever. So you see, there is no reason to say that Thompson’s claim was faked because there isn’t any claim of malfeasance on his part to refute.

    I have no doubt that people like you really believe that this is some sort of “gotcha” but falls miserably short of that. The Hooker study is easily refuted and Wakefield’s wank video is so over-the-top it is more likely to backfire when viewed by rational people.

    And yes, sensible people will continue to vaccinate and in fact, the reprehensible behaviour of anti-vaxx groups will only serve to demonstrate how dishonest and unhinged they are.

  230. […] community with a good laugh. It even comes with the conspiracy quacks turning on each other! Brian Hooker proves Andrew Wakefield wrong about vaccines and autism ? Respectful Insolence An analysis of the…uhh..scenario. Reply With […]

  231. […] pro-vaccine website Science Blogs features a long contrary explanation ridiculing all parties involved in the CDC whistleblower scandal. The blog post questions why a […]

  232. #232 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    August 25, 2014

    The best part is knowing that you are all going to continue to vaccinate. That’s what makes this debate so fun.
    So please make sure you get the flu shot this year. I hear 30,000 people die of the flu each year….

    Why, yes, in the absence of evidence that vaccinating causes more of a hazard than not vaccinating, the wise thing would be to vaccinate. Thanks for noticing! i hope you get your influenza shots as well, since I’d hate to think you’d catch the flu and spread it to others who might get seriously ill.

  233. #233 Krebiozen
    August 25, 2014

    ScienceMom,

    I wondered where they came up with 340% but as they make up so much of everything they say, didn’t hurt myself there. But you think they derived it from their RR?

    I’m pretty sure of it, as the table of supposed RRs is being displayed during Wakefield’s voiceover.

  234. #234 Curious
    August 25, 2014

    It’s funny “David’s Daddy,” but as the actual parent of a real autistic child, I’ve met a bunch of other parents of autistic children, at hospitals, schools, and in the neighborhood – yet I’ve never met one that believes that vaccines cause autism. Maybe I don’t go to the cocktail parties or beachside “conferences” that the antivax set talk about – I’m way too busy with a real child’s needs. But I’ll make time to write to my Congressfolks again, and let them know what I think. Thanks for the reminder.

  235. #235 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    August 25, 2014

    @David’s Daddy

    That’s what makes this debate so fun.

    Please do let us know when you want to start a debate. I’m sure several people here would be thrilled to participate.

  236. #236 Krebiozen
    August 25, 2014

    David’s Daddy,

    You like to play that childish circular logic game

    I must have missed the circular logic, please explain.

    and avoid the epic events that are unfolding.

    As far as I can see the only epic thing unfolding is a widespread exposure of Brian Hooker’s embarrassing ignorance about epidemiology and statistics.

    You embrace the “partially right” comment as representing 100% wrong.

    Wakefield claimed that MMR causes autism in all children, not just African American children in Georgia. His study was of British children (apart from one American, as I recall), and included no African American children at all. How can his study have been correct when it didn’t include any of the only group in which Hooker’s joke of a reanalysis found any difference?

    Given that Hooker made a complete mess of his reanalysis, your point would be wrong even if it made any sense, which it doesn’t.

    Clearly in this instance “partially right” means 0%>lancet paper>100% right.

    How could the Lancet paper be more than 100% right? Or did you intend less than signs? Since Wakefield’s malfeasance in accruing subjects, massaging the patient records and inventing an imaginary gut disease is quite clear, it isn’t right at all, which is why his study remains, and will always remain, retracted.

    But given the “partially right” refers to the MMR/Autism outcome is determined by the age of vaccination, I would say that’s all one needs to show that the MMR DOES affect an autism outcome.
    You conceded the slipperiest slope to being wrong.
    Let me help you…

    Have you somehow missed the extensive discussion above of precisely why neither Wakefield nor Hooker are anything remotely resembling “right”?

    The best part is knowing that you are all going to continue to vaccinate. That’s what makes this debate so fun.

    Too right I’m going to continue vaccinating. I watched my son fighting for breath in the hospital from whooping cough contracted thanks to a vaccine scare that turned out to be unfounded. He was lucky, but dozens of other children died. You think infectious diseases are fun?

    So please make sure you get the flu shot this year. I hear 30,000 people die of the flu each year….

    Pneumonia is a common complication of influenza, and in the vulnerable pneumonia causes a lot of deaths. I’m in Europe, where the CDC has no powers, yet a recent study found:

    Out of approximately 180 million Europeans for whom influenza vaccination is recommended, only about 80 million persons are vaccinated. Seasonal influenza vaccination currently prevents an annual average of between 1.6 million and 2.1 million cases of influenza, 45,300 to 65,600 hospitalizations, and 25,200 to 37,200 deaths.

    I would like to see vaccination prevent a lot more cases, hospitalizations and deaths, wouldn’t you? Or did you believe the nonsense about vaccines peddled by AoA and other scientifically challenged internet “experts”?

    I’ll get my flu and other shots, if only to to keep up the herd immunity that has been eroded by idiots.

  237. #237 Dangerous Bacon
    August 25, 2014

    “The best part is knowing that you are all going to continue to vaccinate.”

    Yes. In fact, I just got my shingles vaccination a couple of weeks ago. It makes sense to me to markedly lower my odds of contracting that painful and highly unpleasant ailment. And I’ll get my flu shot again this year, to protect myself and those around me.

    I could say that the best part of getting those immunizations is knowing that smug, uninformed antivaxers are taking unnecessary risks by avoiding them. But I wouldn’t wish those diseases on antivaxers, or on their vulnerable relatives and contacts.

  238. #238 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    August 25, 2014

    I’m pretty sure of it, as the table of supposed RRs is being displayed during Wakefield’s voiceover.

    Oh my. All of these problems with the Hooker study and how much of the anti-vaxxers identity and need for vindication are tied up in it leads me to believe that they are going to become more shrill and unhinged as media outlets et al. just slam the door on them.

  239. #239 Suvine
    August 25, 2014

    You guys can shoot yourselves up with germs. Leave my arms and butt alone.

  240. #240 Suvine
    August 25, 2014

    You guys can shoot yourselves up with germs. Leave my arms and butt alone.

  241. #241 Reader
    August 25, 2014

    @Narad
    What in G-d’s name could the False Claims Act have to do with anything here…
    I applaud your insight and prescience. Maybe everything?
    I don’t know personally, but an unverified online rumor I just read claims a high-powered law firm with expertise in the field has Dr. Thompson as a client. Time will tell.

  242. #242 Narad
    August 25, 2014
    What in G-d’s name could the False Claims Act have to do with anything here…

    I applaud your insight and prescience. Maybe everything? I don’t know personally, but an unverified online rumor I just read claims a high-powered law firm with expertise in the field has Dr. Thompson as a client. Time will tell what the False Claims Act is.

    FTFY.

  243. #243 Narad
    August 25, 2014

    ^ Well, except for the part about not closing the <del> after “tell.”

  244. #244 Lawrence
    August 25, 2014

    @Reader – given Wakefield’s & Hooker’s records, I wouldn’t put a whole lot of stock in “unverified online rumors.”

    Operative word being “unverified.”

  245. #245 Shay
    An isolated outpost of reason, maybe
    August 25, 2014

    I think I will start an unverified online rumor that Ebola is being deliberately imported to the US at the bidding of Pres. Obama’s Muslim overlords to kill off the white population.

    Wait…that one already exists. See how easy it is, “Reader?”

  246. #246 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    August 25, 2014

    but … but.. there are documented cases of people with Ebola being taken to US hospitals…

  247. #247 squirrelelite
    August 25, 2014

    Just FWIW,

    I finally decided to watch or at least skim the video. As far as I can tell, all it has is audio clips of a recording, presumably of Dr Thompson. Has anyone confirmed that is in fact his voice?

    Although it is probably him, without confirmation, it is at least technically possible that someone else was talking on the phone. And, of course without the full recording we don’t know what he said and in what context.

    But it only takes a glimpse at the still photos used in the countdown intro to guess this isn’t going to be a dispassionate explanation of the underlying data and their analysis.

  248. #248 Narad
    August 25, 2014

    Since the temporal sequence is unknown we can only calculate an odds ratio, not a relative risk

    Well, you can calculate one [as I trivially did from numbers of cases and controls: (583/2235)/(41/213) = 1.35], but it doesn’t mean anything. The fact that Hooker couldn’t even keep straight* what he was claiming to report might make one wonder what he actually did, given that he skipped the whole “here are the numbers” bit.

    * I kind of suspect that he decided somewhere along the way – in proofs, for all anyone knows – that it was magically going to turn into a “cohort study” and forgot to completely clean up afterward.

  249. #249 BooRadley
    August 25, 2014

    “Has anyone confirmed that is in fact his voice?”

    Nope.

  250. #250 Narad
    August 25, 2014

    Leave my arms and butt alone.

    I should think that goes without saying. There’s no telling where they’ve been.

  251. #251 pmk1981
    Texas
    August 25, 2014

    So let me get this straight, I’m a whistleblower and instead of going to reputable sources I go to 2 men have been discredited for their junk science? Yep makes sense to me, I mean the entire scientific community is going to eat their words when these guys have a whistleblower

  252. […] as I pointed out when I first noted the emergence of this kerfuffle, the risibly incompetent “reanalysis” of the study (Destefano et al) by biochemical engineer […]

  253. #253 Narad
    August 26, 2014

    I mean the entire scientific community is going to eat their words say France when these guys have a whistleblower

    That reminds me of something’d.

  254. #254 ebohlman
    http://turnipsandpotatoes.wordpress.com
    August 26, 2014

    So let me get this straight, I’m a whistleblower and instead of going to reputable sources I go to 2 men have been discredited for their junk science?

    A couple weeks ago I got a spam e-mail titled (capitalization and punctuation reproduced exactly) “Jailed doctor Reveals cure to Most Diseases, & conditions”. Now when I hear “jailed doctor” the differential starts with stuff like “illegally prescribing narcotics”, “sexually assaulting patients”, and “fraudulent insurance billing” but to a certain personality type the automatic first conclusion is “political prisoner”.

  255. #255 Bitterbonker
    United States
    August 26, 2014

    @ JD

    > because this is a frequency-matched case-control study, one needs to take both age and school into account, at minimum

    However, age and school are not known to be significant predictors of autism risk. Adjusting for these can lead to OVER-matching, which can actually disguise an association. I will quote some papers from mainstream literature to demonstrate this is not just me saying this:

    “Generally, matching will increase the efficiency of the study
    when the matching variable is a strong outcome determinant, but will actually reduce it
    when the matching variable is strongly related to the exposure variable (over-matching).”

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18375456

    “If the exposure itself leads to the confounder or has equal status with it, then stratifying by the confounder will also stratify by the exposure, and the relation of the exposure to
    the disease will be obscured…

    “The general decline in median dose shows that dose and time are associated. The situation seems to be one where dose is partially ‘explained’ by date of entry, both being related to time… this seems to have had the effect that workers in the same matched set have broadly similar recorded doses. The apparent over-matching on date of entry has distorted the parameter estimate of the risk of leukemia on cumulative dose by introducing matching (at least partially) on dose.”

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1123834/

    Catherine DeSoto explains how another DeStefano study (Prenatal and infant exposure to thimerosal from vac‐
    cines and immunoglobulins and risk of autism, 2010) contains over-matching based on age. As such, it’s design is not adequate to test whether there is a dose-response relationship between thimerosal and autism:

    “Controlling for Birth Year is overmatching due to the overlap with Amount of Exposure; similar to the radiation risk for leukemia written about by Marsh, controlling for time is (at least partly) controlling for exposure, which
    varies with birth year. The matching on birth year is matching on the exposure. This seems to have had the effect that
    children in the same matched set have similar recorded exposures to thimerosal, removing much of the variance
    Price et al. matched out both of these variations in exposure. This has the effect of ensuring
    that the control group is nearly identical with the case group on the risk factor, which prevents its effect from being accurately measured. Considering cumulative exposure for the
    first 7 months of life, the overall mean for the full data set is 102.88 micrograms/Hg and a
    standard deviation of 42.2. The means for the cases and matched controls is 100.0 and 103.2
    micrograms of Hg: this similarity (less than one tenth of the standard deviation) is forced by
    the matching on the variables that define exposure. Birth year dictates which vaccine sched‐
    ule a child is born under as well as which batch brands and formulations are available on
    the market at a given time. Doctors within a practice will be using the same manufacturer
    across children (vaccines are ordered in large batches room a given manufacturer; the Vac‐
    cine Data Set used by Price et al. documents that the same providers use the same manufac‐
    ture. Thus, this is a text book case of overmatching: variables were matched on that
    essentially define exposure. It is well known that matching on a variable that is associated
    only with exposure, not with disease, reduces statistical efficiency (Zondervan et al, 2002;
    Rubenfeld et al., 1999; Day, Byar, & Green, 1980) and that care needs to be taken to avoid
    this in a case-control research design.
    Across the different years, the average cumulative exposure varies from 42.3 micrograms to
    125.46 micrograms; while within the birth year stratas, the mean exposures do not vary by
    more than 15 micrograms. Birth year is a variable that defines exposure due to changes in
    recommendations regarding the vaccine schedule and changes in vaccine formulas that occurred at different times.”

    Source: (Recent Advances in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 2013)

    See also: critique of another DeStefano study with over-matching: http://www.jpeds.com/article/S0022-3476(13)00662-8/fulltext

  256. #256 Marsha
    August 26, 2014

    Lol. Grasp them straws children. Cat’s out of the bag & not going back in.

  257. #257 Lawrence
    August 26, 2014

    @Marsha – exactly….not like you’ve been able to produce any actual evidence of wrong-doing, have you?

  258. #258 novalox
    August 26, 2014

    @marsha

    Considering your histronic postings on FB, I wouldn’t take your threat seriously, child.

  259. […] And Surgeon/Scientist Orac takes on the study and more here: Brian Hooker proves Andrew Wakefield wrong about vaccines and autism […]

  260. #260 ebrillblaiddes
    August 26, 2014

    I don’t think anyone else already mentioned this, but, even if the reanalysis is right, wouldn’t that mean, at most, that boys of African descent ought to start their MMR series after the vulnerable period, like age 4 or so, but since it’s safe for everyone else, they should roll up their sleeves to keep herd immunity going so that we don’t end up with a bunch of dead little black boys?

  261. #261 Phillip
    August 26, 2014

    When your child convulses in the doctors office or on the way home, there is little doubt.

    The only thing that will convince any of you is if your own child was vaccine damaged. Hope that never happens to you.

    Ironically, I was one of you pro-vaxer, the system is just fine for all children, dolts.. 10 years ago..

    Boy, I wish I had someone (like me) that could have talked some sense into me. My God the heartache I would have spared myself if I had just listened.

    Now my child is handicapped at the hands of an incompetent clueless pediatrician that gave him the flu show with thimerosal at 18 months old.

    Shame on all of you.

  262. #262 Phillip
    August 26, 2014

    When your child convulses in the doctors office or on the way home, there is little doubt.

    The only thing that will convince any of you is if your own child was vaccine damaged. Hope that never happens to you.

    Ironically, I was one of you pro-vaxer, the system is just fine for all children, dolts.. 10 years ago..

    Boy, I wish I had someone (like me) that could have talked some sense into me. My God the heartache I would have spared myself if I had just listened.

    Now my child is handicapped at the hands of an incompetent clueless pediatrician that gave him the flu show with thimerosal at 18 months old.

    Shame on all of you.

  263. #263 Chris
    August 26, 2014

    “When your child convulses in the doctors office or on the way home, there is little doubt.”

    That should make it easy to get compensation from the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program if it was a table injury. I hope that your experience with the Vaccine Court went well.

    “The only thing that will convince any of you is if your own child was vaccine damaged. Hope that never happens to you. ”

    My son had seizures from a disease before the vaccine was available, and is still disabled. Unfortunately there is no “National Disease Injury Compensation Program.”

    Please provide the PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers that any vaccine on the American pediatric schedule causes more seizures than the disease.

  264. #264 JD
    August 26, 2014

    “However, age and school are not known to be significant predictors of autism risk. Adjusting for these can lead to OVER-matching, which can actually disguise an association.”

    You have missed my point entirely. We can debate all day long about whether or not age should be matched on in the Destefano studies (which it should be), but it doesn’t make one lick of difference to the argument at hand, because age, gender, and school WERE matched on. You can’t just ignore features of the study design because you want to, this doesn’t fix the problem that you are referencing. Instead of possibly attenuating an association, you are introducing ass loads of bias because the study design has created artificial relationships that have not been addressed.

    I actually feel sorry for the guy if Hooker really thought that his half-baked attempts to fix this “over-matching” were legitimate. If this is one of the problems, why not perform your own study on different data? You would need to do a whole lot of legwork to convince me that any study on this topic not accounting for age is valid though.

    You must have graduated with honors from the B Hooker school of misunderstanding study design. For the Destefano study, age and school are likely to be strong confounders (warranting being matched on) between time of vaccine receipt and DIAGNOSIS+IDENTIFICATION of autism. This terrible argument hinges on proving that these factors are not associated with the outcome. Because of how the data is collected, by gathering cases among a pretty wide age group across a large number of schools in metro Atlanta, it is very likely that age and school would greatly impact ascertainment of autism cases. Think what ages we would be looking more closely for autism or about a school which has a lot of specialist support available.

    So, matching on these factors is valid as long as (conceptually) they can be considered confounders, which they pretty easily can. I think we can also be pretty confident that Hooker would be jumping all over this study if they had not accounted for these factors and pointing this out just as vehemently as his baseless “overmatching” critiques. This is just another instance of anti-vaxxers trying to find a place to grind their axes.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=Z3vjT9ALxHUC&pg=PA179&lpg=PA179&dq=rothman+overmatching&source=bl&ots=aQFM6PTP3U&sig=cA4RJ_82CazR5aJ5XNo6MQIughY&hl=en&sa=X&ei=gxj9U8jFG6a7igKZxoG4Dw&ved=0CB4Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=rothman%20overmatching&f=false

  265. #265 Shameonyou
    USA
    August 26, 2014

    Shame on all of you, seems like no one really cares anymore, Have all been brainwashed by the govt. media and have lost all empathy for what could be. Maybe if your child and or grandchild would be affected, or probably maybe not from all your comments, you would be willing to have some compassion on humanity, but you are all the guilty ones for trusting the govt. with your children and allowing them to be guinea pigs, as if nothing like this has never happened before. All you smart scientists forgive us all for being human and putting our own brains and taking control of our children than giving them over to the state and the infamous CDC with anthrax. Hah !! You do with your kids what you choose and we will do what we choose NOT what you robots believe we should do. We care about our children and our communities and no science pseudo quack is going to mess with us anymore. Take all your children and vaccinate them, medicate them and do all of this live in the public eye is we could watch you apes and heartless robots just look without any emotion. Sorry to express myself as such but you need God, He loves you all unless of course you are scientifically made up humans. Peace and Grace

  266. #266 Allyn
    August 26, 2014

    Phillip: Actually, I have a child with autism; that’s why I’m annoyed at people who try to tell me they know what the caused it.

    “Hope that never happens to you. ”

    Careful – Remember what J.B. Handley said that caring about the well-being of other people’s children is a sure sign that you’re not really the parent of a child with autism (tells you something about him, doesn’t it?)

  267. #267 Nat
    August 26, 2014

    It was also posted in pubmed. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25114790

  268. #268 Allyn
    August 26, 2014

    Allyn,

    Sure does. I can’t wait until the debate is over on this issue. MLK said that the truth will set you free. I sincerely believe that eventually, this will all come out. Thimerosal will be banned in ALL vaccines including the flu shot and tetanus, the MMR will be split into 3 visits, and the schedule slowed to a conservative pace.

    I know in my heart that if I had just done the above ^, I wouldn’t have an autistic child today.

  269. #269 Phillip
    August 26, 2014

    And Chris.. No it didn’t go well (the vaccine injury court). The only cases that win are when the child suffers mitochondrial DNA damage induced by the vaccine. This is due to previous rulings that vaccines aren’t the cause of autism.

    Ironic isn’t it? The only court that has already handed out 3 billion dollars in settlements is basically trapped by it’s own b.s. legal rulings.

    We ran a DNA check. My son’s was perfect.
    We were screwed and told to have a nice life.

  270. #270 Narad
    August 26, 2014

    All you smart scientists forgive us all for being human and putting our own brains….

    Where?

  271. #271 Narad
    August 26, 2014

    However, age and school are not known to be significant predictors of autism risk.

    This fail-bomb pretty much lays waste to everything that follows, but could you perhaps try to keep it together enough to stick to a single pseudonym? The Phillip/Shameonyou noise is more than enough, although I realize in this case that such endeavors are considered to be signs of witty creativeness at AoA.

  272. #272 herr doktor bimler
    August 26, 2014

    Philip / Allyn / Shameonyou:
    MLK said that the truth will set you free
    Did he now.

    The multiple identities pretending to agree with one another might be slightly less unconvincing if you could remember to keep them all straight, and not answer yourself directly< as in #268.

  273. #273 Narad
    August 26, 2014

    No it didn’t go well (the vaccine injury court). The only cases that win are when the child suffers mitochondrial DNA damage induced by the vaccine.

    Fantastic, you don’t even understand your own attempted point. Well played.

  274. #274 Chris
    August 26, 2014

    Phillip: “And Chris.. No it didn’t go well (the vaccine injury court). The only cases that win are when the child suffers mitochondrial DNA damage induced by the vaccine. This is due to previous rulings that vaccines aren’t the cause of autism. ”

    That is very untrue. You would have known that if you had clicked the link I provided to the table of injuries that are almost automatically compensated. They have nothing to do with mitochondrial disorder, but timing of reaction.

    “Ironic isn’t it? The only court that has already handed out 3 billion dollars in settlements is basically trapped by it’s own b.s. legal rulings”

    Along with working on learning how to click and read links, you might try some basic arithmetic. Look at this table of the NVICP compensations since 2006. You will see at the bottom of the page since then there have been only 1300 cases compensated out of almost two billion vaccine doses. That amount of money does not see so high compared to how few were compensated compared to total number of doses.

    Now a couple of other interesting things from your first post:

    “10 years ago.. ”

    “gave him the flu show with thimerosal at 18 months old.”

    As I remember there were thimerosal free flu shots then, but it was also very difficult to get influenza vaccines for children in 2004.

    Between the mitochondrial claims, not trying for an NVICP table injury claim, and the fact that you blame an influenza vaccine when they were scarce, I think I really need you to answer my actual question:

    Please provide the PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers that any vaccine on the American pediatric schedule causes more seizures than the disease.

  275. #275 herr doktor bimler
    August 26, 2014

    We ran a DNA check. My son’s was perfect.
    I was previously unaware of any service offering to rate DNA on a scale of perfection.

  276. #276 Narad
    August 26, 2014

    Sorry to express myself as such but you need [G-d], He loves you all unless of course you are scientifically made up humans.

    I’m unaware of any Abrahamic religion that endorses any such position. Could you be more specific about which god is needed, or at least cough up some source for your specific theological pronouncement about “scientifically made up humans”? All I’ve got here is a variation of the usual (Roman) assertion that animals don’t have souls (which you should either explicitly concede or contest).

    I mean, you’ve got a giant mess to try to Pendaflex even within monotheistic bands.

    Please try to reply thoroughly and promptly.

  277. #277 Krebiozen
    August 26, 2014

    We care about our children and our communities and no science pseudo quack is going to mess with us anymore.

    Says one of the people who leave their children vulnerable to infectious diseases, permanent disabilities and death because they believe what idiotic “science pseudo quacks” have told them. The irony….

  278. #278 Phillip
    August 26, 2014

    Chris..
    How dare you.
    Did you talk to the attorney? No you didn’t. I did..
    Here is an idea..call one, they’ll tell you exactly what I just did.

    I have had to live with my blind trust of people like you that share the ‘vaccines can do no wrong’ misconception..and worse, my son has had to deal with the consquences.

    Serious…Eat a thermometer for all I care.

  279. #279 AdamG
    August 26, 2014

    We ran a DNA check. My son’s was perfect.

    It matters quite a bit what the DNA check actually was. resequencing a single gene? genotyping SNPs via microarray? Exome or Genome sequencing?

    A check of a single gene being ‘perfect’ means a whole different thing than a ‘perfect’ genome.

    Everyone here has sympathy for what your son has gone through. Many of us, including myself, have a relative on the spectrum. However, what I don’t have sympathy for is your attitude that somehow autism has taken your otherwise ‘perfect’ child.

    I often wish parents like you could have a heart to heart with parents of children with Down’s syndrome or other genetic disorders. No doctor gave their children an extra chromosome, the children are perfect just the way they are. You could learn a lot from these folks.

  280. #280 novalox
    August 26, 2014

    @phillip

    Considering that you haven’t answered the questions posed of you by Chris and instead resorted to unfounded insults, we can assume that you have nothing of actual substance to post here.

    Also, your attitude of autism of stealing your “perfect” child is rather sickening. I’ve worked with families who have had children with mile to severe developmental disorders, yet many of these families still loved their children the same. The ones who viewed their children as flawed and imperfect, not deserving of their love ended up having their children having major issues, both mental and physical, due to their parent’s neglect. Your implied hatred of your child because he or she wasn’t born perfect is both sickening and scary.

  281. #281 Narad
    August 26, 2014

    Did you talk to the attorney? No you didn’t. I did..
    Here is an idea..call one, they’ll tell you exactly what I just did.

    Would it help if I repeatedly phone some random “attorney” using different names? It’s not as though I don’t know enough lawyers, none of whom would know what the fυck you’re babbling about as though it were some well-known principle of the Court of Federal Claims rather than just being some astonishingly stupid piece of idiocy that you picked up somewhere and decided to parade around like an untreated case of the clap.

    Are you simply confused about where you are and the likelihood of success of dumbass bluffing based on what you mistakenly think to be esotericism?

  282. #282 lilady
    August 27, 2014

    Did I just read that phillip contacted an attorney who is admitted to practice before the United States Court of Federal Claims (Vaccine Court)…and that attorney refused to take on his case for his child’s vaccine injury?

    Phillip must have some p!ss poor evidence for such an attorney to refuse his child’s case.

  283. #283 Chris
    August 27, 2014

    Philip: “Did you talk to the attorney? No you didn’t. I did..”

    Why? There is no “National Disease Injury Compensation Program.”

    You stated that your child had a seizure after getting an influenza vaccine with thimerosal during a year it was extremely difficult to get an influenza vaccine, and when there were thimerosal free influenza vaccines. Sorry it was not a table injury.

    But it still stands that you need to provide the real verifiable evidence that any vaccine on the American pediatric schedule causes more seizures than the diseases. Until you provide those PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers, we will assume you either mistaken or just making stuff up.

    Oh, and about the DNA testing. One of my kids has a severe genetic heart condition where there are eighteen known genetic sequences (some mitochondrial) that cause it. He had none of them… yet the abnormal heart muscle growth was very evident on the X-ray, MRI and echocardiogram.

    There is no such thing as a “perfect DNA scan”, because they still have not found all of the sequences that cause issues.

  284. #284 herr doktor bimler
    August 27, 2014

    Phillip must have some p!ss poor evidence for such an attorney to refuse his child’s case.
    Or he could be making the whole story up, along with the autistic child and the multiple names.

  285. #285 lilady
    August 27, 2014

    I’d like to know how phillip’s child had a seizure (immediately) after receiving a flu vaccine in the doctor’s office or in the car.

    My kiddo had seizures in the doctor’s office, in the car, on his play mat, in his wheelchair….but he had a diagnosed grand mal seizure disorder starting at 20 hours old.

    The anti-vaxxers want to have the right to go through the civil courts. How many cases would be filed by attorneys in those civil courts, when the attorney’s fees are based on a sliding scale…based on the amount you are awarded? You lose and the attorney gets zilch, nada, zero. You lose in Vaccine Court and the attorney representing you, still gets paid.

    So yeah, Phillip must have some p!ss poor evidence for such an attorney to refuse his child’s case.

  286. […] reason being an observation last night of just how desperate the antivaccine movement is to have Brian Hooker’s incompetent “reanalysis” of a ten year old vaccine safety study and Andrew Wake… video gain traction in the mainstream media. The failure of this conspiracy theory to do so is […]

  287. #287 Don
    August 27, 2014

    “scienceblogs” is hardly science. It does not argue facts, but right from the get-go pummels readers with derogatory comments about the group it’s attacking– in this case the “anti-vaxers.” This is called ad hominem. Scienceblogs is really emotional claptrap pretending to be science. If it actually were about science, it would refrain from all name-calling and argue the plain facts. It would not care whether the source was Jenny McCarthy or Wakefield or God himself; it would just present a reasoned argument. But that, apparently, is way beyond the capability of this type of “science.”

  288. #288 Lawrence
    August 27, 2014

    @Don – I guess you missed the part where the Science is broken down and discussed time after time after time, yet the anti-vax screwheads refuse to listen to facts and reason.

    Perhaps that’s why we get a little testy….

  289. #289 novalox
    August 27, 2014

    @don

    I don’t hear you complaining about antivaxxers eith their libelous language against doctors and scientists, as well as trying to get people fired from their jobs.

    Hypocrite much?

  290. #290 JGC
    August 27, 2014

    If it actually were about science, it would refrain from all name-calling and argue the plain facts.

    Happy to oblige, don. Here’s the bottom line scientific fact: Brian Hooker’s re-analysis of the DeStefano data set does not support the existence of a causal association between MMR vaccination and autism spectrum disorders in African American boys, due to the fact his analysis commits multiple, obvious and elementary statistical errors–inapropriately treating a case control data set as if it were a cohort study dataset; applying the wrong methods of statistical anaylsis (Pearson’s chi-squared versus conditional logistic regression), failing to reduce p-values as a consequence of performing multiple comparisons, etc.

  291. #291 Chris
    August 27, 2014

    Don: ““scienceblogs” is hardly science. It does not argue facts, but right from the get-go pummels readers with derogatory comments about the group it’s attacking– in this case the “anti-vaxers.””

    Then enlighten us with some actual science. Please provide the PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers that any vaccine on the American pediatric schedule causes more seizures than the disease.

  292. #292 Brian Deer
    August 27, 2014

    JGC: A mere journalist like myself would skip all that and say: “One author paper? Probably dodgy. Move on.”

    I like our simple life.

  293. #293 Brian Deer
    August 27, 2014

    Oh, sorry: “And in a Chinese journal”.

  294. #294 Orac
    August 27, 2014

    A mere journalist like myself would skip all that and say: “One author paper? Probably dodgy. Move on.”

    Well, I happen to have a single author paper in the pipeline about integrative oncology. Does that mean my paper will be “dodgy”?

  295. #295 Brian Deer
    August 27, 2014

    Even though you are an oncologist, as a journalist I would disregard it, unless it made extravagant claims on a matter of public interest, in which case I might learn how to read it. Research of probable note is almost always from a team, in my view

    As for an anti-vax chemist with an epidemiological reanalysis in a Chinese journal of a CDC study in Pediatrics: I wouldn’t even try to understand it, and I don’t think any medically-orientated journalist would.

    If Hooker knew anything much about anything, he would have found a co-author who was a statistician or epidemiologist.

  296. #296 Shay
    August 27, 2014

    If Hooker knew anything much about anything, he wouldn’t be the Hooker we know and love.

  297. #297 Brian Deer
    August 27, 2014

    What the crazies don’t appreciate is that media story selection is all about exclusion. News desks would look at the Wakefield allegations and go “Wakefield? In the trash.” If the day is slow, they might go: “What does Thompson say? Nothing yet? In the trash.” And on it goes.

    So unless you have a cure for breast cancer in a 15 author paper, plus the Oncology Working Group of the Western World, it goes in the trash.

    There’s no cover up here. There’s still no story.

  298. […] And Surgeon/Scientist Orac takes on the study and more here: Brian Hooker proves Andrew Wakefield wrong about vaccines and autism […]

  299. #299 Bitterbonker
    United States
    August 27, 2014

    @ JD

    “Instead of possibly attenuating an association, you are introducing ass loads of bias because the study design has created artificial relationships that have not been addressed.”

    I understand your point, that younger kids are less likely to be diagnosed with autism, hence adjusting for age. And that they are more or less likely to be vaccinated based on school requirements among other things, hence adjusting for school.

    But there is just as much a threat from stratifying too finely as too coarsely. Again, from a mainstream scientific paper:

    “matching variables are chosen a priori on the belief that they confound the relationship between exposure and disease.”

    This indicates that the bias of the researchers affects the confounders chosen and thus the outcome. This is why it is essential to allow research from people with many different points of view, and be open to different research methods.

    “If the matching variable is along the causal pathway between disease and exposure then matching will contribute bias that cannot be removed in the analysis (Vandenbroucke et al., 2007).”

    This indicates that matching can introduce bias based on whether the researchers believe that vaccines are causally related to the disease or not. This applies to DeStefano et al. just as much as it applies to Hooker.

    “Variables for matching should therefore be selected very carefully, and only those that are *known* to be associated with both exposure and disease should be considered. *The number of matching variables should also be reduced to as few as possible*. As the number of matching variables grows, *the cases and controls will become increasingly similar with respect to the exposure of interest*, and the study may produce a spurious result or provide no information (Breslow and Day, 1980).”

    Emphasis mine.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2827892/

  300. #300 Lawrence
    August 27, 2014

    @Bitter – but, allowing somebody like Hooker – who went in with major COIs and dead set on finding exactly what he wanted to find, is okay with you?

  301. #301 ChrisP
    Australia
    August 27, 2014

    Ha ha ha. Looks like Translational Neurodegeneration has pulled Hooker’s article http://www.translationalneurodegeneration.com/content/3/1/16/abstract

    “This article has been removed from the public domain because of serious concerns about the validity of its conclusions.”

    Who would have guessed the conclusions were invalid?

  302. […] Brian Hooker proves Andrew Wakefield wrong about vaccines and autism […]

  303. […] well, more like manufactroversy. Excellent commentary has already been published here, here, and here so I’m not exactly adding much in the way of new analysis to the situation.  But hopefully, […]

  304. #304 Shay
    August 27, 2014

    No, Chris — who would have guessed that Lord Draconis had the time to read an article in a journal called “Translational Nurodegeneration?”

  305. #305 JD
    August 27, 2014

    I guess my various snarky responses were a little uncalled for, so I apologize and will be more to the point. Once again the problem with the Hooker study is that the data was collected as a matched case-control study and was not analysed in line with this. This is invalid, case closed.

    “This indicates that the bias of the researchers affects the confounders chosen and thus the outcome.”

    In real life epidemiological research, there are lengthy debates over what constitutes a confounder in a given analysis and how to handle it. It does not work as you suggest, with researchers controlling results by deciding this, mostly because it’s actually pretty hard to anticipate what will happen and really hard to get away with it. Adjusting of stratifying on something without merit is an obvious red flag that will undoubtedly be brought up on legitimate peer review (like that which is done for Pediatrics). In general, avoiding ridicule by our peers keeps us in line.

    We can’t really see what happened without seeing the editorial reviews for Destefano. My guess though, is that it has more to do with the data set used than anything else. We have data sets set up for case-control studies like this (not on vaccines) where you have to match (as opposed to including as a covariate in a model) because of issues with case ascertainment and how the data was originally collected. These are truly strong confounding factors. We can’t tell something like this without having been involved in the original study.

    “This is why it is essential to allow research from people with many different points of view, and be open to different research methods.”

    As for being open to different methods, I agree, but they have to be valid. In this case, that means conducting an independent study, outside of the matched design. You can’t just re-purpose data to some end as Hooker has.

  306. #306 Non-science major
    August 27, 2014

    I think I’ve read all of the comments, but I didn’t come across a reference to this:
    http://www.rescuepost.com/.a/6a00d8357f3f2969e201b8d05e4614970c-pi

  307. #307 Orac
    August 27, 2014

    Patience. Some of us have a demanding day job that, although it allows us to comment occasionally during the day, does not provide breaks of sufficient length to put together a blog post. I guarantee you that I’ve known about this longer than you have, having received it as it was released. Come back in a few hours, and there will be commentary.

  308. #308 Scott Lemoine
    United States
    August 27, 2014

    Americans are the most drug addicted society in existence, by far. No one seems to have a problem with this, in fact, pharmaecutical drugs ads are increasing. From what I’ve been told over the years by ‘intelligent’ people, there’s no reason to question the science. Obviously turning Americans into sick ‘crack babies’ was the goal all along… if so.. Mission Accomplished!!!

  309. […] PhD, a senior epidemiologist at the CDC. I told the tale over the course of four posts. In the first installment, I described how vile Wakefield’s video was and how incompetent Hooker’s reanalysis was. I also […]

  310. #310 novalox
    August 28, 2014

    @scott

    First of all, [citation needed], since your comments goes against actual science and observed trends. You do know that the average lifespan for Americans has steadily gone up, right?

    Second of all, your denigration of children who actually suffered from drug-addicted mothers is very disgusting. Speaking as a person who has worked with a individual whose mother was an abuser, your flippant comment is disrespectful to those who actually suffer from drug abuse.

  311. #311 S Davenport
    UK
    August 28, 2014

    Well done, a fundamentally ad-hominem argument claiming the scientific high-ground – FAIL!

    Why not do what any proper scientist would do – seek to understand further before declaring what is the truth?

  312. #312 Narad
    August 28, 2014

    Oh, sorry: “And in a Chinese journal”.

    Argh, it seems like it was just was just yesterday that I was having something like this conversation with Jaime Teixeira.

    Translational Neurodegeneration is not a “Chinese journal.” It’s in the BMC stable, viz., a Springer title. I think reflexively dousing the EIC and/or editorial board with Calgon or something is, ah, premature.

    Separately, I’ve also seen assertions in other and otherwise respectable places that the journal is “bottom feeding,” with no particular defense of the claim. I find this, prima facie, to be irritatingly stupid noise, and no, I’m not going to evaluate the extant corpus for you, so maybe y’all should consider the ROI on getting your sh*t together first.

  313. #313 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    August 28, 2014

    @S Davenport, given that Orac and the commenters here have shown that Hooker used incorrect methods to analyse the data and that his conclusions are thus invalid, I don’t see what you’re getting at.

  314. […] tells us here, here, here and here about the whole goddamned thing. In fact, his latest post wraps it all up very […]

  315. #315 JD
    August 28, 2014

    @ Narad

    Yeah, my bad on the whole bottom-feeding open access thing. I didn’t see that it was a BMC journal at first. I just kind of assumed based on their recent track record:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24354891
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23925007

    Someone seems to have pulled the peer review goalie.

  316. #316 AB
    August 29, 2014

    The error in the paper is really quite simple – you should not calculate relative risk using case-control data as you do not know how many people are in the population from which the cases were drawn (you really do not have an estimate of “risk”). Instead, odds ratios should be calculated. No descriptive statistics were included in the paper (such as a simple table with the counts in each cell) so it is impossible to verify his calculations or compare to what he might have gotten had he used the appropriate statistic. The paper is complete rubbish.

  317. #317 Lawrence
    August 29, 2014

    @AB – I’m sure the journal is going to have a statistician look at the data, which will probably result in huge amount of laughter, punctuated by stunned disbelief…..

  318. #318 ChrisP
    August 29, 2014

    Actually, I couldn’t reasonably second guess the journal over this. Clearly, someone has written to the editor about the paper pointing out the methodological flaws and the editor, to their credit, have taken another look at it. This may be new reviewers, it may be done by one of the editors, or they might ask a specialist in statistics.

    I am wondering whether they are going to look again at Hooker’s other paper in the same journal.

  319. […] […]

  320. #320 Braingirl
    US
    August 29, 2014

    Hooker’s analysis reminds me of a comment made by one of my professors once “He uses statistics like a drunk uses a lamp-post–for support rather than illumination”.

  321. #321 Lawrence
    August 29, 2014

    @ChrisP – I’m sure laughter will still be involved….

  322. […] August 22, 2014,  Orac Knows at Respectful Insolence:  Brian Hooker proves Andrew Wakefield wrong about vaccines and autism […]

  323. […] this business with Hooker reanalyzing the data comes to the mainstream public through release of a video by, none other than Andrew Wakefield.  Apparently, Hooker had been in some sort of contact with Dr. Thompson.  He decided to record a […]

  324. #324 Eric Odgaard
    Tampa
    September 1, 2014

    Re: the original decision to leave out children with no birth certificate … there is nothing arbitrary about that. When you’re conducting a large-scale analysis using as many control variables as possible – especially when you believe age may be a confound – you MUST have some confirmation of the age of each subject (child). Birth certificates can be manipulated, and can contain fraudulent information … but they still serve as at least some attempt to confirm age, rather than just accept the word of whomever completed the file for the child.

  325. #325 Narad
    September 2, 2014

    Susan “I’m Not Anti-Technology” Greefield takes umbrage at being likened to Wakefield:

    In the past she has said “I point to the increase in autism and I point to internet use. That’s all.” It is all, I say to her, reminiscent of Andrew Wakefield, the doctor who, on the basis of a fragile correlation, suggested – wrongly and damagingly – that the MMR vaccine causes autism. He, of course, was a fraud, and there is no suggestion at all that Greenfield is, but she is open to the charge of autism scaremongering.

    She responds hotly: “I slightly get insulted by that parallel. I could draw similar parallels with smoking and lung cancer, and say that in the Forties and Fifties lots of people said it was just a correlation.” It’s hard to draw a causal connection in brain science, she says. But it seems irresponsible, to me, to “point to” simple correlations about something so worrying as autism in children.

  326. […] ago that allegedly showed that there was an increased risk of autism in African-American males. It didn’t. For all his trouble Thompson was “outed” as the “CDC whistleblower” by Andrew Wakefield in […]

  327. #327 A
    September 19, 2014

    “The chief, if not the sole, cause of the monstrous increase in cancer has been vaccination”
    – Dr. Robert Bell, fmr VP International Society for Cancer Research at the British Cancer Hospital

    (Truthstream Media.com)
    The public was kept in the dark for decades about tens of millions of polio vaccines laced with SV40, and its implications for the widespread epidemic of cancer.

  328. #328 A
    September 19, 2014

    “The chief, if not the sole, cause of the monstrous increase in cancer has been vaccination”
    – Dr. Robert Bell, fmr VP International Society for Cancer Research at the British Cancer Hospital

    (Truthstream Media.com)
    The public was kept in the dark for decades about tens of millions of polio vaccines laced with SV40, and its implications for the widespread epidemic of cancer.

  329. #329 Narad
    September 19, 2014

    The public was kept in the dark for decades about tens of millions of polio vaccines laced with SV40, and its implications for the widespread epidemic of cancer.

    You lose.

    HTH. HAND.

  330. #330 herr doktor bimler
    September 19, 2014

    Dr. Robert Bell, fmr VP International Society for Cancer Research at the British Cancer Hospital

    Since there is no such thing as the “British Cancer Hospital” (let me Google that for you), and no such thing as the “International Society for Cancer Research” at this non-existent hospital or anywhere else for “Dr Robert Bell” to have once been Vice President of, you would expect A to wonder whether the purported quotation is equally fictitious.

  331. #331 Krebiozen
    September 19, 2014

    The crude techniques used to make and purify vaccines over half a century ago led to some vaccines being contaminated by a virus that turned out to be harmless to humans, luckily. What possible relevance does this have to vaccines today?

    It’s a bit like me pointing to groundless concerns about car brake safety in 1963 as evidence that driving cars today is dangerous.

  332. #332 Narad
    September 19, 2014

    you would expect A to wonder whether the purported quotation is equally fictitious

    But, but, he was mentioned in the NYT in 1915.

  333. #333 herr doktor bimler
    September 19, 2014

    Ah, so Reobert Bell was a crank from a century ago who claimed in his dotage to have practiced at Battersea Hospital and to have been VP of a Berlin-based organisation with a name that translates as “International Society for Cancer Research”.

    Google has indexed his books but is unable to trace his putative words.

  334. #334 Lawrence
    September 19, 2014

    Okay, someone from a century ago, before we even had a modern vaccination program?

    Yeah, that’s a source I’d trust. ;-)

  335. #335 herr doktor bimler
    September 19, 2014

    Bell’s cancer crankery did focus on ant-vaccination rants, but he specifically meant variolation. He admitted that variolation does provide some short-term protection from smallpox, but reckoned that “smallpox is a disease due to filth” so only dirty people caught it so it wasn’t really a problem.

    He also reckoned that the other main cause of cancer was eating meat — “the consumption of the carcases of dead animals” — i.e. a food crank in addition to his other delusions. For some reason, “A” and all the other antivax loons who bruit about Bell’s alleged words — don’t mention that aspect.

  336. #336 herr doktor bimler
    September 20, 2014

    Dr. Robert Bell, fmr VP International Society for Cancer Research at the British Cancer Hospital

    The two points here that continue to boggle my mind are:
    (a) Some nimrod took the actual Robert Bell who claimed to have practiced at Battersea Hospital, and fabricated or twisted or maybe even found a particular anti-vax claim from him, but changed his affiliation to “British Cancer Hospital”. The only way to make that name more absurd is to stick “Zoolander” in front of it. That nimrod also decided that this implausible medical institution should house an “International Society for Cancer Research”.

    (b) Thousands of numpties and eedjits have subsequently copy-pasted the whole passage onto their own alt-reality websites and blogs and FB pages, without the 5 seconds of reflection required to see the unlikelihood of Britain having one specific hospital dealing with cancer.

    Because the bee-in-the-bonnet hive-mind mentality does not lend itself to “attributions” or “crediting the work of others”, it’s hard to work out precisely who was Nimrod Zero. The earliest I came across was from 2009. One source was a S. Edmonson who strung together a piece on vaccine contamination and pimped it to various outlets, most notably Salem-News.com, but that was in late 2011.

  337. #337 Narad
    September 20, 2014

    Sadly, it’s nothing more than a straight cut and paste from the pathetically styled “Thor Odinson.”

  338. #338 Narad
    September 20, 2014

    Even worse, it’s a rehash. This appears to be the source of the “fmr” construction.

  339. #339 herr doktor bimler
    September 20, 2014

    Well, the 2009 occurrence has Robert Bell as “vice president of the International Society for Cancer Research at the British Cancer Hospital” in present tense. Someone at Rense had the nous to change that to “once VP”, and S. Edmonson follows that particular textual variant.
    I am happy to credit “Thor Odinson” with the originality of changing it to “fmr”.

  340. #340 Narad
    September 20, 2014

    The earliest I came across was from 2009.

    I’ve got one for 2005.

  341. #341 Narad
    September 20, 2014

    BTW, this is a nice flourish.

  342. #342 Narad
    September 20, 2014

    2001.

  343. #343 herr doktor bimler
    September 20, 2014

    Derples all the way down.

  344. #344 ann
    September 21, 2014

    Moreover, there hasn’t been a monstrous increase in cancer:

    Age-specific cancer mortality rates have been steadily declining in the United States since the early 1950s, beginning with children and young adults and now including all age groups. During the second half of the 20th century, each successive decade of births from 1925 to 1995 experienced a lower risk of cancer death than its predecessor at virtually every age for which such a comparison can be made. A major decline in cancer mortality has been occurring in the United States for the past 50 years, affecting birth cohorts born as long as 80 years ago. Excepting lung cancer, much of this decline has occurred despite relatively stable cancer incidence.

    According to this:

    http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/69/16/6500.long

    So I guess we’re back to just having the huge decline in vaccine-preventable diseases as a result of vaccination.

  345. #345 ChrisP
    Australia
    September 21, 2014

    While on the subject of Andrew Wakefield, we have a result in his defamation suit against the BMJ, Godlee and Deer

    It could happen to a nicer guy.

  346. #346 Politicalguineapig
    September 22, 2014

    I’ll have to make some popcorn. Come Monday, that comment thread’s gonna be hopping.

  347. #347 Denice Walter
    September 22, 2014

    @ PGP:

    Although It is somewhat quiet @ the Statesman site, John Stone put his 6-degree conspiracies forward @ AoA stirring up the usual ruckus including speculation about our own Lawrence ( aka Brian).

  348. #348 Politicalguineapig
    September 22, 2014

    DW: Lawrence is Brian Deer now?

  349. #349 Lawrence
    September 22, 2014

    @PGP – evidently, I’ve always been Brian Deer…..

  350. #350 Denice Walter
    September 22, 2014

    @ PGP:

    Actually, they’ve thought this for quite a while**. Rebecca may be BD also. They undertake hilarious mentation in order to connect *people they don’t like* (PTDL) to OTHER PTDLs *a la* Jake.

    Alright let me see:
    I have investments in both GSK and Murdoch’s company ( thru mutual funds), am related to another Mr Lawrence, my name is like that of a famous newspaper scion of centuries past and I attended elitist universities/ have connections in two political entirties where AJW lost in court.
    I must be the Devil’s Daughter or suchlike At least.

    ** and it is illustrative of their thinking ( actually, free associative) process..

  351. #351 Denice Walter
    September 22, 2014

    Ooops! Scratch that ‘scion’- say entrepreneur- I have trouble with that word ( I reverse it) and ‘namesake’ ( I use the latter for both parties). Go figure.

  352. #352 Lawrence
    September 22, 2014

    The power of social media – Rob Schneider’s State Farm Commercial has been dropped….

    http://www.prweek.com/article/1313589/state-farm-drops-ad-starring-rob-schneider-anti-vaccine-views

    Score one for the good guys!

  353. #353 lilady
    September 22, 2014

    Brian Deer have you been posting comments on AoA using a pseudonym?

    Yeah, score one for science.

  354. #354 Lawrence
    September 22, 2014

    @lilady – Ancient Chinese Secret…..

  355. #355 herr doktor bimler
    September 22, 2014

    Moreover, there hasn’t been a monstrous increase in cancer:

    There was the impression of a monstrous increase back at the end of the 1900s, when Bell was agitated about cowpox and meat-eating. Better diagnostics had a lot to do with it; doctors started writing “cancer” on death certificates rather than “inanition” or “cachexia” (e.g. no diagnoses of leukemia before 1845). And I wouldn’t be surprised if industrial pollution was contributing.

    But when someone parrots that claim as a description of the situation today… well, there are not enough face-palms and eye-rolls to fit.

  356. #356 Denice Walter
    September 22, 2014

    Has everyone seen the Pharma Shill ™ ad being discussed on Stone’s AoA comments:
    be a social media wh0re for big money.

  357. #357 Johnny
    127.0.0.1
    September 22, 2014

    …evidently, I’ve always been Brian Deer…..

    Wait – I thought you were Bonnie Offitt.

  358. #358 Lawrence
    September 22, 2014

    Could be multiple personality disorder, but both Brian & Bonnie seem to disagree……

    @Denise – god forbid that major corporations hire people for their social media presence (someone has to write the tweets & update facebook pages)….

    Sounds like an incredibly boring job, actually.

  359. #359 Thomas
    September 22, 2014

    @Lawrence “evidently, I’ve always been Brian Deer…..”

    I was always sure you were Jacob Lawrence Crosby, though I also thought you might be Lawrence of Arabia (and I was afraid you were really Larry from “Three’s Company” or Larry from “Hello, Larry”).

  360. #360 Denice Walter
    September 22, 2014

    @ Lawrence:

    They seem to think that SBM/ vaccine advocates- like us – who comment here and around the ‘net are being paid to do so by pharma whereas the job actually is probably much like that which you describe- FB and twitter-for companies

    Oh wait- aren’t several of them paid to update FB and twitter for AoA, the Canary Party, etc?

  361. #361 ChrisP
    September 22, 2014

    Has everyone seen the Pharma Shill ™ ad being discussed on Stone’s AoA comments:
    be a social media wh0re for big money.

    According to John Stone, I am already doing this.

    But I must have hit a nerve, because he is deleting my comments – he didn’t like having parts of the judgement quoted.

  362. #362 brook
    September 22, 2014

    It’s well known that Lawrence’s grandfather is D.H. Although some circles are convinced he’s Larry Bird and they think he’s Big Bird’s little brother

  363. #363 Politicalguineapig
    September 22, 2014

    DW: Conspiracy theorists are always kinda fun to poke, aren’t they? Someone there figured that my user name meant I was a doctor, because obviously, I take pleasure in having human ‘guinea pigs.’ (Really, it’s just because I used my pet’s names online, prefer a more gender-neutral nym, and am a political junkie)

    Lawrence: Heh. For all we know, you could be a dog.

  364. #364 Politicalguineapig
    September 22, 2014

    Forgot to add: probably a handsome and very intelligent dog.

  365. #365 herr doktor bimler
    September 23, 2014

    You can’t be Sirius.

  366. #366 LW
    September 23, 2014

    @Politicalguineapig: “Someone there figured that my user name meant I was a doctor, because obviously, I take pleasure in having human ‘guinea pigs.”

    That’s a curious reading of your ‘nym. I always thought it meant *you* were the guinea pig for politicians.

  367. #367 Dangerous Bacon
    September 23, 2014

    I didn’t see the Pharma Shill ad on AoA (why did I ever go there?). But there’s a nice bit of irony on their front page.

    There are at least two articles whining about vaccine promotion (including one that talks about “selling vaccines like soap”). Just below them is a sales promotion by a supplement dealer offering four lucky people free bottles of a curcumin supplement: “The treatment category is sponsored by Lee Silsby, the leader in quality compounded medications for autism.”

    So it’s dreadful to encourage use of vaccines that prevent serious diseases, but just fine to promote a supplement dealer’s products that have not been shown to prevent or ameliorate autism.

    In the category of worthy but futile causes, I’ve heard there’s a petition at whitehouse.gov to revoke NVIC’s tax-exempt status. Should be good for a bout of faux outrage in antivaxer circles.

  368. #368 Lawrence
    September 23, 2014

    Large Corporations, and many small ones too, hire social media consultants and employees to monitor what is being said about the company, plus maintain twitter feeds and update Facebook pages and LinkedIn sites…..who do the Anti-Vax folks think do this for companies?

  369. #369 Lawrence
    September 23, 2014

    And what idiot thinks that vast international conspiracies post their job openings in public, online?

  370. #370 Denice Walter
    September 23, 2014

    No, no, oh Dangerous One! It wasn’t an ad posted THERE:
    AoA commenters discussed an ad for a social media expert/ writer for a pharma company which Stone, I believe, brought up in a comment on his own post about the recent strike off of AJW’s case- the one with the Union Jack Texas map – he didn’t link to the actual ad/ job description so I have no idea where it originated.

    You bring up an interesting point though:
    SBM is – to them- merely a way to make money ( not a way help people) ] whereas their own agenda is a MISSION, a service, a vocation or suchlike.

    Truly, they sell ads and write in support of products and services so advertised. Like woo-meisters they disparage readers from visiting the competetion ( i.e reality and SBM) by producing diatribe upon diatribe about how unredeemably evil the Establishment remains.

    I noticed that all of the sites I monitor regularly** have something to sell: products/ services of their own, products/ sevices of their clients via adverts, *charities* (Team TMR, Mikey’s especial project, NIA), PRN has a new Donate button so listeners can contribute monthly, Mike sells premium content services. AoA advertises their editors’ books prominently as well.

    Thus they can’t comprehend why some of us might write as a hobby which expresses our beliefs and as a means of supporting ideas that ultimately benefit society at large.

    ** with the exception of Jake’s who is merely selling himself and his peculiar perspective

  371. #371 Rebecca Fisher
    That London
    September 23, 2014
  372. #372 Denice Walter
    September 23, 2014

    @ Rebecca:

    You’re right: now I even recall her name.

    The AoA crowd seems to think that we’re in the employ of pharmaceutical companies and they post as evidence the FACT that some people are paid to maintain industry-based sites.

  373. #373 Politicalguineapig
    September 23, 2014

    LW: I use the nym because I’m a political junkie and I like guinea pigs. It also matches up with an internet tradition- I’ve been using my pet’s names as nyms for as long as I’ve been on the ‘net.

  374. #374 Shay
    September 23, 2014

    I belong to an online needlework forum. Unfortunately we have members of the knit your own sandals crowd who eagerly tout “all natural, chemical-free!”* products that they either make or buy. According to them Big Bad Pharma is only in it for the money, but its perfectly ok for purveyors of alternative cures to charge ridiculous prices for their nostrums because obviously, they are trying to help people.

    (*yeah, called them on that one. They got huffy).

  375. […] you don’t, he’s the guy who decided to publicize his paper with a race-baiting YouTube video claiming that a scientific disagreement among CDC researchers amounts to a new Tuskegee experiment? […]

  376. […] Holocaust. It’s the Oklahoma City bombing. It’s Auschwitz. It’s Stalin. It’s the Tuskegee syphilis experiment. It’s a tsunami washing away everything before […]

  377. […] African American boys by more than three-fold, when in reality he had done nothing more than provide more evidence that Andrew Wakefield was wrong. None of that stopped the ever-intrepid Drinking Thinking Drinking Moms from organizing […]

  378. #378 marion delgado
    October 5, 2014

    Hooker’s entire effort was data-mining. Did he state any hypotheses beforehand? Even if you say it was, de facto, that the DeStefano conclusions were wrong, that didn’t pan out. you could easily have a subgroup show an effect but not the overall group, which is what they said. The reason you can’t poke around in data AFTER THE FACT and look for patterns and correlations is the same reason Bible Codes aren’t real, even though they reliably provide information. Because your pattern-seeking mind is providing the information.

  379. […] with Hooker’s “statistical” analysis, at least not in detail. If you want the details, I provided them a month and a half ago. In brief, the biggest foul-up Hooker did was to analyze case control data as a cohort study. That […]

  380. […] comprato in open access per ipotizzare una correlazione tra vaccino trivalente e autismo senza riuscire a trovarla, è stato ritrattato da Translational Neurodegeneration  there were undeclared competing […]

  381. #381 Simwaves1
    October 12, 2014

    ” The nail in the coffin for the Hooker paper is that autism is usually diagnosed by the time a child is three years old. There was no increased risk at 18 months, higher but not by a whole lot at 24, and then the three-fold increase at 36 months. Gee, was it the MMR vaccine, mister? No, the effect is being modified by age. It’s as if I asked you if your shoe size was bigger at 36 months because you drank milk vs because you were 36 months. It’s age. It’s the way that autism is diagnosed. You’re going to have more children diagnosed as autistic at 36 months than you will at 18 months or at 24 months.”

    Orec, I don’t think Reuben understands what the Hooker data is showing here. He isn’t comparing the rates of autism at these different ages, but rather a later diagnosis of autism when first MMR is given before vs. after these ages. Can you please respond to this?

  382. #382 Lawrence
    October 12, 2014

    @Sim – I don’t even think Hooker understands what he did…he ran a bunch of numbers through a computer & one set came out the way he wanted. Not a real mystery there.

  383. #383 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    October 12, 2014

    Orec, I don’t think Reuben understands what the Hooker data is showing here. He isn’t comparing the rates of autism at these different ages, but rather a later diagnosis of autism when first MMR is given before vs. after these ages. Can you please respond to this?

    Pretty much what Lawrence said but more specifically, Hooker didn’t have the age of diagnosis for an ASD for the study groups so that couldn’t be compared. He merely looked at (retrospectively) age at MMR vs. ASD or not. Which renders his analysis completely void.

  384. […] Why did this even happen? Data reanalysis sounds perfectly benign but belies serious motivation. As one astute blogger writing on Respectful Insolence writes about this instance in particular but rean…: […]

  385. #385 Narad
    October 16, 2014

    Regarding the pingback, why am I not surprised that Kent Anderson somehow manages to barf up this as a tie-in?

    This example of reanalysis shows some of the serious risks associated with an imprudent embrace of open data initiatives….

    What? I don’t even want to know how the hell he manages to drag BICEP2 into it. G-d have mercy on the AAAS for this one.

  386. […] MMR vaccination and risk of autism in a case control study. Basically, his “re-analysis” proved Andrew Wakefield wrong in that it found no increased risk of autism attributable to MMR vaccination in all but a very […]

  387. […] a study, recently retracted, that basically provided strong evidence that Andrew Wakefield was wrong about the MMR vaccine being associated with autism. When I first saw Hooker’s study, even I recognized how utterly incompetently it was carried out, […]

  388. […] I pointed out at the time, in reality what Hooker had done was to confirm that Andrew Wakefield was wrong in claiming that MMR could cause autism. It was further revealed that Brian Hooker had been […]

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