Dedicated to lilady.

One of the disadvantages of writing for this blog is that sometimes I feel as though I spend so much time deconstructing bad science and pseudoscience in medicine that I’m rarely left with the time or the opportunity to discuss some interesting science. Of course, even when I do that, usually it’s in the context of that very same bad science or pseudoscience, and this post won’t be different. Still, there was some interesting science with respect to vaccines published last week in Science, and I think it’s worth looking over. The only thing that surprises me is that the antivaccine movement hasn’t attacked it ruthlessly yet, even though it’s a week old. On the other hand, its press coverage was relatively minimal, and I didn’t really notice it until an article appeared on (sadly, yes) The Huffington Post entitled “The Measles Vaccine Can Protect Against Much More Than Measles, According To New Study“:

A new study suggests the measles shot comes with a bonus: By preventing that disease, the vaccine may also help your body fight off other illnesses for years.

It’s long been known that contracting measles weakens the immune system for weeks or months, putting people, especially children, at increased risk for potentially fatal infection by a host of germs.

Now, scientists find that this vulnerable period goes on much longer than thought, up to three years. So the benefit of avoiding measles also extends longer than was appreciated. Researchers also found that measles vaccination campaigns were followed by a drop in deaths for other infectious diseases.

Experts said the work is a wake-up call to parents who don’t vaccinate their children out of unfounded fears about a link between vaccines and autism.


Or, as is reported in more detail in this NPR story, this is what happened after the introduction of measles vaccination campaigns:

Childhood deaths from all infectious diseases plummeted. Even deaths from diseases like pneumonia and diarrhea were cut by half.

Scientists saw the same phenomenon when the vaccine came to England and parts of Europe. And they see it today when developing countries introduce the vaccine.

“In some developing countries, where infectious diseases are very high, the reduction in mortality has been up to 80 percent,” says Michael Mina, a postdoc in biology at Princeton University and a medical student at Emory University.

“So it’s really been a mystery — why do children stop dying at such high rates from all these different infections following introduction of the measles vaccine,” he says.

Of course, as I’ve discussed on many occasions, before the introduction of the measles vaccine in the early 1960s, there were routinely a half a million cases of measles per year in the US, an incidence that dropped dramatically, as shown on this graph, which I’ve used periodically whenever I want to make this point:

Measles_US_1944-2007_inset

Also each year, out of those roughly a half million cases, an estimated 400 to 500 people died, and there were around 48,000 hospitalizations, with 4,000 ending up suffering encephalitis (swelling of the brain) from measles. Contrary to antivaccine activists invoking what I like to refer to as the “Brady Bunch” fallacy, a name I chose based on how antivaccinationists like to invoke a 1969 episode of the Brady Bunch in which all six children, the father, and the maid Alice came down with the measles, a situation that was played for laughs. In the episode, the measles was portrayed as no big deal, a normal childhood disease that almost everyone gets, and the kids were shown happily playing board games and rejoicing that they got a few days off from school. The message? Obviously that the measles shouldn’t be feared. But it should. As Clay Jones reminded us not too long ago, the most feared and deadly complication of measles, subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) is not as rare as it is portrayed, and after a measles infection it can appear after a latent period lasting 6-8 years to cause an encephalitis that kills most children it affects within three years. Actually, SSPE is rare now, but that’s because its incidence plummeted after widespread measles immunization efforts caused the incidence of measles to plummet. As Clay put it, where there is more measles, there is more SSPE.

All of the above observations are more than adequate reasons to immunize against measles. However, if the recent study in Science is correct, measles vaccination is even more important than the reasons above make it because it prevents more than just measles. Let’s take a look at the study by Mina et al. out of the laboratory of Bryan T. Grenfell, “Long-term measles-induced immunomodulation increases overall childhood infectious disease mortality“, the study that spawned the stories I cited above. It’s a study funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that comes out of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University; Emory University; the Fogarty International Center at the National Institutes of Health; and the Department of Viroscience, Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, Netherlands. Not only does it provide a possible answer to one of the great mysteries of measles and the measles vaccine, but it suggests that measles vaccination is even more important than it is already known to be. The reason is as described in the stories above, introduction of mass vaccination programs against measles routinely produces a greater drop in mortality than can be attributed just to the decline in measles incidence.

The authors begin by pointing out how successful measles vaccination programs have been; that is, where they have been able to achieve high levels of vaccination. It’s a success that, contrary to what most people realize, goes beyond just preventing measles and causing its incidence to plummet to very low levels in developed countries:

Measles vaccines were introduced 50 years ago and were followed by striking reductions in child morbidity and mortality (1, 2). Measles control is now recognized as one of the most successful public health interventions ever undertaken (3). Despite this, in many countries vaccination targets remain unmet, and measles continues to take hundreds of thousands of lives each year (3). Even where control has been successful, vaccine hesitancy threatens the gains that have been made (1, 4). The introduction of mass measles vaccination has reduced childhood mortality by 30 to 50% in resource-poor countries (5–8) and by up to 90% in the most impoverished populations (9, 10). The observed benefits cannot be explained by the prevention of primary measles virus (MV) infections alone (11, 12), and they remain a central mystery (13).

MV infection is typified by a profound, but generally assumed to be transient, immunosuppression that renders hosts more susceptible to other pathogens (14–17). Thus, contemporaneous reductions in nonmeasles mortality after vaccination are expected. However, reductions in infectious disease mortality after measles vaccination can last throughout the first 5 years of life (5–10), which is much longer than anticipated by transient immunosuppression, which is generally considered to last for weeks to months (16, 17).

They cite a recent report by the World Health Organization (WHO) that examined the nonspecific effect of various vaccines on all-cause mortality (i.e., the effect of the vaccine on causes of mortality other than the disease that it is designed to prevent), which concluded that measles vaccination is associated with large reductions in all-cause childhood mortality, an effect more marked in girls than in boys, but that there is no firm evidence to explain an immunological mechanism for the nonspecific vaccine benefits. To illustrate this, here is a graph from the report summarizing the results:

Measles-results-large

As you can see, most of the studies show a significant decrease in all-cause mortality, an effect that is more marked in girls than in boys. The authors separated studies deemed to be at high risk of bias from those judged to be higher quality, and the effect is still there. Mina et al. note that proposed mechanisms for a nonspecific beneficial effect of measles vaccination include suggestions that the live vaccine might directly stimulate cross-reactive T cell responses or that they might train innate immunity to take on a phenotype like that of immune memory. However, they question whether such effects can explain the long term benefits of measles vaccination and the pre-measles vaccine associations between measles and mortality from other infectious disease. At this point, I can’t help but emphasize that what Mina et al. found is not a new finding that measles vaccination has a robust effect on all-cause mortality, including infectious diseases other than measles. This is a finding that has been observed enough times that it is generally agreed upon. Rather, what Mina et al. did was to test a hypothesis using population-level data that the reason for this effect has to do with modulation of the immune system by the measles virus such that it is less effective in warding off other infectious diseases for a significant period of time after.

So what might explain this effect? The authors invoke a different hypothesis, proposed by Rory D. de Vries at the Department of Viroscience, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, that a loss of immune memory cells after measles virus infection “resets previously acquired immunity, and vaccination prevents this effect.” The idea is this. Measles often causes depletion of lymphocytes, which rapidly rebound after the disease clears. However, de Vries et al. hypothesize that “massive expansion of MV-specific and bystander lymphocytes masks the fact that pre-existing memory lymphocytes have been depleted” and conclude that “measles virus infection wipes out immunological memory, leaving individuals susceptible to opportunistic infectious agents that would normally be controlled by the immune system.” In a commentary, de Vries argues:

Experimental MV [measles virus] infections in animal models have demonstrated that percentages of infected lymphocyte subsets are higher than previously thought, especially in secondary and tertiary lymphoid tissues [11], [13]. We believe that measles immune suppression mainly results from depletion of immune cell subsets, which is masked by the rapid proliferation of MV-specific and bystander lymphocytes (Fig. 1D). This model is fully compatible with the measles paradox. Clinical studies are required to test our hypothesis that measles immune suppression is mainly a numbers game.

Consider Mina et al. a first attempt at testing this hypothesis at a population level using mathematical modeling of measles cases and mortality from other infections before and after the introduction of widespread measles vaccination campaigns in the US, England and Wales, and Denmark. In fact, the raw data (in Figure 1, if you have access to Science) suggest a very strong correlation between measles infection and death rates from other infections. To provide supportive evidence for the hypothesis, the following had to be true

  1. Nonmeasles mortality should be correlated with measles incidence data, especially because the onset of vaccination reduces the latter.
  2. An immune memory loss should present as a strengthening of this association when measles incidence data are transformed to reflect an accumulation of previous measles cases.
  3. The strength of the association should be greatest when the mean duration over which the cases are accumulated matches the mean duration required to restore immunological memory after measles infection.
  4. The estimated duration should be consistent both with the available evidence of increased risk of mortality after measles infection compared with uninfected children, and with the time required to build a protective immune repertoire later in life.

Finally, as the authors stated, “To explicitly address whether the observed nonspecific benefits of vaccination can be attributed to the prevention of MV immunomodulation, evidence for the four hypotheses must be present separately within the pre-vaccine eras.” Let’s just say that they were.

For example, when the authors transformed the data as described in #2 and #3, for England and Wales, the best fit occurred centered at a 28 to 28.3-month duration of measles-induced immunomodulation in the pre-vaccine era. In the pre-vaccination era, they obtained an estimated 29.2 month duration for measles-induced immunomodulation in the post-vaccine era. These results were robust and held up to a number of manipulations, including examining various age groups and different disease classes. Looking at the different countries, the authors found strong evidence to support “a generalized prolonged (roughly 2- to 3-year) impact of measles infection on subsequent mortality from other infectious diseases.”

Additional controls only strengthened the authors’ observations. For example, because previous evidence suggests that the immunomodulatory effect of measles virus is stronger in girls, thus leading to a greater nonspecific benefit of measles vaccination, the authors tested whether their model showed this same effect by comparing genders. Using their model, they found “consistently stronger associations among females,” in agreement with existing data, an agreement that held over multiple tests using either the full data set or the pre-vaccine data set. Finally, as an additional control, the authors repeated their analysis, only this time for pertussis, because pertussis is also vaccine-preventable and is not known to be immunosuppressive, like measles. They found no correlation between pertussis incidence and mortality from infectious diseases other than pertussis, and no correlation was observed even when the authors transformed their data in the same way they did the measles data to reflect the sum of previous pertussis cases.

Of course, this study is not perfect. One can always criticize choices made in mathematical models, and the authors do point out a caveat of their study and its strong agreement with previous observations in that other studies have failed to detect long-term immunological sequelae from measles. However, they point out that these cohort studies focused on low-income countries, where high rates of death from opportunistic infections during the acute measles infection tend to drive mortality; in other words, in these countries, so many children die of opportunistic infections and other acute sequelae of measles that effects from long term immunological sequelae are probably masked, given that approximately 50% of all childhood deaths recorded after five years of followup occurred within two months of infection.

The authors end up concluding:

MV infection and vaccination produce strong and durable herd immunity against subsequent epidemics (40). Our results thus suggest an extra dynamical twist: MV infections could also reduce population immunity against other infections in which MV immunomodulation could be envisioned as a measles-induced immune amnesia (17); hence, measles vaccination might also be preserving herd protection against nonmeasles infections.

Measles vaccination is one of the most cost-effective interventions for global health, and our results imply further immunological dividends: mortality (and probably morbidity) reductions linked to measles vaccination might be much greater than previously considered. This is of particular importance today where, especially in wealthy nations, reduced opportunistic infections during acute measles immunosuppression, added to the comparative rarity of infection, has led to a public view of measles as a benign childhood disease. Our findings help dispel the mystery surrounding the disproportionately large reductions in mortality seen after the introduction of measles vaccinations and reinforce the importance of measles vaccination in a global context.

Indeed, it has been noted that, after the introduction of the measles vaccine, not only did measles cases decline in the US, but deaths from infections such as respiratory and diarrheal diseases also fell from 18 per 100,000 before vaccination to 6 per 100,000 after vaccination, or, as the authors state earlier in their study:

Our results show that when measles was common, MV infections could have been implicated in as many as half of all childhood deaths from infectious disease, thus accounting for nearly all of the interannual fluctuations in childhood infectious disease deaths. The reduction of MV infections was the main factor in reducing overall childhood infectious disease mortality after the introduction of vaccination.

Of course, this is just one study and will require replication and studies to expand upon its results, assuming they hold up, but it fits in with other, earlier studies, suggesting that the benefits of vaccinating against measles go beyond preventing just measles. It is also yet another piece of data that puts the lie to claims by the antivaccine movement that measles is not dangerous and that we should believe a silly old sitcom’s view of the measles over the view of pediatricians and scientists, who knew that the measles is not a benign disease but had little to offer with respect to prevention or treatment of the disease other than supportive care. Think of it this way: if measles were such a benign disease and no big deal to worry about, why was such a major effort made to develop a vaccine in the late 1950s and early 1960s? Why was it the next big vaccine after the polio vaccine? This story in the New York Times from 1963 tells the tale:

In terms of frequency, measles is the number one disease of childhood, and it is far from harmless. It renders its victims highly susceptible to other infections. The most dreaded complication is encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain and spinal cord that may lead to permanent damage. In 1958 there were 522 deaths in the United States compared with 255 deaths from polio. In 1960 there were 410 deaths from measles, compared with 260 deaths from polio.

Fifty-two years later, we are now beginning to understand that measles doesn’t just render its victims susceptible to other infections during its acute phase, but that its immunomodulatory effects last as long as three years. Antivaccinationists frequently claim that vaccines “damage” the immune system, despite all the evidence that they do not. Rather, if anything “damages” the immune system, it’s the measles virus, and the protection against that damage is a vaccine.

Comments

  1. #1 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    May 15, 2015

    I’m not surprised by this finding. Infectious diseases are very good at messing with different parts of our immune systems to their own benefit. And that the damage caused by one infection can be taken advantage of by other infections should be expected. Reminds me of the mouse study a few years ago that found pertussis toxin increased the severity of a subsequent influenza infection. Which reminds me, I should see if there have been any followup studies to that one.

  2. #2 Dangerous Bacon
    May 15, 2015

    Findings like this really mess with the natural-infection-is-good-for-you-and-vaccines-don’t-provide-real-immunity crowd.

  3. #3 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    May 15, 2015

    @DB

    They’ll just say the study is worthless because it’s just a computer model…oh, and GATES!!!eleventy!!1!

  4. #4 Lawrence
    May 15, 2015

    If further study proves this out, it opens up all kinds of innovative research on how to tailor and possibly even repair the immune system, especially in cases of auto-immune disorders, like Lupus, for instance.

  5. #5 zebra
    May 15, 2015

    #2 dangerous bacon,

    “Findings like this really mess with the natural-infection-is-good-for-you-and-vaccines-don’t-provide-real-immunity crowd.”

    Although those immunological memories that the measles depletes are probably natural, right? So that lends some support to the natural infection argument.

  6. #6 Gray Falcon
    May 15, 2015

    zebra- Try thinking for five seconds before you post. Natural or not, the vaccine causes far less damage to those immunological memories.

  7. #7 MI Dawn
    May 15, 2015

    I find this study very interesting, as the year my mother and uncle both had measles, after they recovered from the infection, both were constantly ill with one cold after another. Comparing that winter to the previous winter (the year my mom started school, (when one would expect frequent illnesses due to exposure to new children) and the following winter, it’s obvious that *something* had depressed their immune systems for that year.

    Oh, and they had very healthy diets, municipal water, municipal sewage systems, only the smallpox vaccine, and were outside and very active most of the time. No antibiotics.

    So what was different about that year over the others besides the measles?

  8. #8 zebra
    May 15, 2015

    #6

    ?

    No idea what you are getting at.

  9. #9 Gray Falcon
    May 15, 2015

    zebra- That’s because you don’t understand the concepts of cause and effect.

  10. #10 zebra
    May 15, 2015

    #9

    ?

    Sounds like you are a bit confused about what the study said.

    What cause and what effect are you talking about?

  11. #11 Gray Falcon
    May 15, 2015

    The natural measles infection wipes out immunological memories. The vaccine does not. It’s that simple.

  12. #12 zebra
    May 15, 2015

    #11

    Yes, exactly. So what in the world are you disagreeing with in my very simple observation?

  13. #13 Gray Falcon
    May 15, 2015

    Where the immunological memories came from does not change that risk-benefit analysis.

  14. #14 madder
    May 15, 2015

    zebra’s comment at 5 makes sense under the hypothesis that zebra does not know what the word “deplete” means.

  15. #15 zebra
    May 15, 2015

    #13,

    Well, we are back to ?– no clue what you are talking about.

    You need to explain what you disagree with in what I said; I didn’t say anything about risk-benefit analysis.

  16. #16 justthestats
    May 15, 2015

    I assumed Zebra’s comment was a facetious “oh, they’ll say it’s ok as long as it’s natural immunological memory loss, not that artificial stuff.”

    That does bring up the point that a fair number of antivaxxers don’t believe in immunological memory to begin with!

  17. #17 Raucous Indignation
    May 15, 2015

    I find it indescribably delicious that the measles vaccine actually “boosts the immune system!”

  18. #18 Gray Falcon
    May 15, 2015

    @zebra: Yes you did: you outright said “So that lends some support to the natural infection argument.”

  19. #19 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    May 15, 2015

    zebra, your comment was:

    Although those immunological memories that the measles depletes are probably natural, right? So that lends some support to the natural infection argument.

    Except that natural measles infection is the thing that causes the depletion, so I (and the rest of the commenters) fail to understand how that “lends [any] support to the natural infection argument”.

  20. #20 zebra
    May 15, 2015

    #17

    Maybe you have some misconception about “the natural infection argument”? I was responding to what dangerous bacon said:

    “Findings like this really mess with the natural-infection-is-good-for-you…”

    I quote it right there, so if you have some other “natural infection argument” in mind, that would again indicate some real confusion on your part.

  21. #21 ann
    May 15, 2015

    @zebra: Yes you did: you outright said “So that lends some support to the natural infection argument.”

    Right. And you were replying to this:

    “Findings like this really mess with the natural-infection-is-good-for-you-and-vaccines-don’t-provide-real-immunity crowd.”

    The study shows that natural infection weakens real immunity and vaccines are good for you. Therefore, it does not support the natural-infection argument.

    What part of that could possibly be unclear?

  22. #22 justthestats
    May 15, 2015

    Please, this topic is way to interesting to derail the thread with 100 comments trying to decipher Zebra’s enigmatic comment.

    Anyway, I predict that some antivaxer will start saying that this is great because when your child gets NATURAL IMMUNITY to measles it gives your child yet another opportunity to get NATURAL IMMUNITY to whatever they were already fortunate enough to get NATURAL IMMUNITY to, for even more natural goodness.

  23. #23 KayMarie
    May 15, 2015

    “Although those immunological memories that the measles depletes are probably natural, right? So that lends some support to the natural infection argument.”

    1. Why would losing immunological memory ever be a good thing?

    2. Why would losing natural immunity from a natural infection be better than losing immunity due to a vaccine?

    3. Still trying to wrap my head around this but why would losing natural immunity from a natural illness somehow be better than any other way of losing your immunity and having to get an illness again.

    4. Is there some kind of theory that the immunity from having to be sick all over again would be better than immunity from getting that illness once and never getting it again?

    Add me to those really confused about what point you were trying to make that seems to be along the lines of shouldn’t we be encouraging more people to get more measles? Because I don’t see more people dying from things they survived once but didn’t on the repeat is a good thing?!

  24. #24 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    May 15, 2015

    @justthestats

    Please, this topic is way to interesting to derail the thread with 100 comments trying to decipher Zebra’s enigmatic comment.

    Agreed. One of the reasons I just ignore zebra entirely. Unfortunately, I’m still exposed to zebra’s nonsense because people respond.

  25. #25 Delphine
    May 15, 2015

    My parents immunized scores of children in the 70s and 80s in a developing country. Time and again, they’d see the following: a child would get measles, recover, then acquire something else – influenza, varicella, pertussis, gastro, the list goes on. Often, this would be a previously healthy child – healthy relative to the context in which they were living.

    This is a great read. I’m glad you’ve dedicated it to lilady, Orac. Thank you.

  26. #26 johnny
    May 15, 2015

    love the graph in the leader of the thread, shows GP notifications against time, not mortality. then the graph is ‘tweaked’ to make it look like measles vaccine did the job.

    Yes it is a fitting tribute to Lilady

  27. #27 MikeMa
    May 15, 2015

    @26, How was the graph tweaked exactly? It shows a drop in cases after the measles vaccine was introduced.

  28. #28 Chris
    May 15, 2015

    john\ny, mortality is not the only bad outcome. Mortality is only a measure of how well medical care improves, it is not a measure of cases.

    Only those who want to lie about vaccine effects mention mortality, and ignore morbidity.

  29. #29 KayMarie
    May 15, 2015

    No one says that antibiotics for secondary bacterial infections or other improvements in care or general health didn’t reduce the death rate or claim the vaccine did that all buy itself.

    Would you prefer the graph that clearly shows that while death rates declined the number of people falling ill each year stayed the same done on a scale that shows there was and additional decline in death rate after the vaccine even though most people like to use the graph where you can’t see that.

    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-XVcLQoVCgFM/U6IXVqNEBbI/AAAAAAAABCc/erlgz0Jcpa0/s1600/Measles+Cases+and+Mortality+1912-1974+-+Log+Scale.jpg

  30. #30 Chris
    May 15, 2015

    KayMarie, using mortality graphs without noting morbidity is a common anti-vaccine lie:
    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2010/03/29/the-intellectual-dishonesty-of-the-vacci/

  31. #31 Harobed
    Australia
    May 15, 2015

    I am old enough to to be born before the Measles Vaccine became available. Unfortunately, when I was about three years of age, I contracted Measles. It was not fun becoming stone deaf, and I can still remember feeling so ill. I was stone deaf for six weeks only, but the GP was very worried that I would be permanently deaf. Soon after the measles I managed to be infected by the Mumps Virus.
    Measles is not a joke, but a disease to be feared. I had it bad, but some young people have it far worse, eg: ending up with meningitis and becoming permanently brain damaged. The Federal Goverment in Australia are toying with the idea of withholding family benefits paid to parents who refuse to vaccinate their children. This will not stop the anti-vaccinationists. The best way to protect others from these people is to prevent these unvaccinated children from going to preschool and/or school.
    The anti-vaccinationists need to learn that the the health of the greater population is far more important than their stupid and very misguided beliefs about the dangers of vaccines.
    I am so sorry to read of the death of lilady, Vale.

  32. #32 zebra
    May 15, 2015

    Good to see people are back in their comfort zone with someone at their own intellectual level.

    Not wasting time on thinking….

  33. #33 KayMarie
    May 15, 2015

    @Chris, that is why I posted the graph that shows that the one the anti-vax people like to use hides some important data.

  34. #34 Chris
    May 15, 2015

    zebra: “Not wasting time on thinking…”

    When have you bothered to think on anything? There is a reason most of us ignore you.

  35. #35 Chris
    May 15, 2015

    KayMarie, I know. Though that old article shows even worse cherry picking. The guy dropped data points, and created a graph that would had cause a fifth grade teacher write a big read “F” on it.

  36. #36 L. A. Julian
    May 15, 2015

    OMFG. There are tetanus denialists. People who are against the tetanus vaccine because they believe that tetanus cannot survive in oxygen, and blood has oxygen, so long as a wound bleeds it means you are safe from infection.

    I had no idea this was a thing, but it seems to have currency among a subset of off-the-grid preppers.

  37. #37 Calli Arcale
    http://fractalwonder.wordpress.com
    May 15, 2015

    It isn’t that measles infection wipes out “immune memory”. They’re saying it suppresses the immune response, which isn’t the same thing. Your body remembers stuff like influenza; it just isn’t doing as good a job of responding to it. And I suspect it’s more than just immunosuppression. Up to a third of measles patients who do not have access to good medical care will die, and this is because they can’t be given the supportive care they need to stay alive while they fight it. They’ll come out of it weak and malnourished, less able to feed and care for themselves during another infection than they were before the measles. They may have lung damage. Even ignoring any immune suppression, I don’t see why this result is even surprising.

    Elsewhere, I was talking to people who were saying that since measles is only bad if you are weakened, therefore their kids didn’t need to be vaccinated against it. I pointed out that “weakened” might just mean “caught a cold the week before being exposed to measles”. Just becuase you’re not weakened now doesn’t mean you won’t be later, so even the smug ones should see it in their own self-interest to get vaccinated.

  38. #38 Calli Arcale
    http://fractalwonder.wordpress.com
    May 15, 2015

    Obligatory addendum: I’m a software engineer, not an immmunologist, and probably have misunderstood something badly. But that’s just what I thought after reading the article. I have never understood why getting sick would ever be a good thing if you had another way of getting the same immunity.

  39. #39 Harobed
    Australia
    May 15, 2015

    The problems of submitting a comment at 2.30 in the morning is that the brain doesnt work to the best capacity. I meant to say encephalitis not meningitis.

    Zebra, with comments like those you appear to have the intellect of a gnat.

  40. #40 Mike
    United States
    May 15, 2015

    I’m not surprised that the measles vaccine is helping reduce the complications from other disease. I have another reason why this is. My son recently had pneumonia. I wrote about it (http://michaelsiegel.net/?p=6667). One thing that made his diagnosis a LOT easier was that the doctors knew he had been vaccinated. It massively narrow the possibilities so that they could focus on just a few things and thus diagnosis him faster and treat him better.

  41. #41 MikeMa
    May 15, 2015

    Gnats may be insulted.

  42. #42 TBruce
    May 15, 2015

    Zebra, you made a comment that was so badly phrased that nobody reading it could understand what you were getting at. Instead of clarifying it, you imply that everyone else is too stupid to understand you.

    No wonder everyone thinks you’re a fool.

  43. #43 Vasha
    May 15, 2015

    Callie, yes, you do seem to be missing something. NB I’m no expert either, but as I read it, the study is saying that on the one hand, measles produces profound immune suppression that lasts for a couple of months, which, along with the other factors you mention, explain why “approximately 50% of all childhood deaths recorded after five years of followup occurred within two months of infection;” but on the other hand, the immune system regenerates itself after that period, and yet measles survivors are still at an elevated risk of disease for the next 2-3 years — so why? This study offers a hypothesis to explain the latter finding, namely that the measles virus wipes out nearly all memory cells; they regenerate after a while, but without the memories that the old population carried.

  44. #44 has
    May 15, 2015

    Calli Arcale@37:

    I have never understood why getting sick would ever be a good thing if you had another way of getting the same immunity.

    Because to disease perverts, Mother Nature hospitalizing their child is an enormous badge of pride.

  45. #45 justthestats
    May 15, 2015

    @Calli Arcale:
    Kill off enough leukocytes, and there won’t be any left that remember you’ve had plague before.

  46. #46 zebra
    May 15, 2015

    TBruce,

    The eternal complaint of the spoiled child and spoiled parent– “it’s the teachers fault little boo-boo didn’t understand the question”.

    I thought I was saying something trivially obvious, but if you find it mysterious, stick to challenges like repeating stock answers to Johnny’s stock fallacies.

    Perhaps it is a generational thing– some of the spoon-fed freshman students I encountered a while back have grown up and are now expert epidemiological commenters here.

  47. #47 Gray Falcon
    May 15, 2015

    zebra- I’m a computer programmer. If someone doesn’t understand me, it’s my job to explain what I meant. If what you said was so obvious, you should have no trouble explaining yourself.

    I suggest you look up the Dunning–Kruger effect. You are not as smart as you think you are.

  48. #48 zebra
    May 15, 2015

    #46

    And yet, you can’t articulate what it is you don’t understand.

    Instead you talk about “risk-benefit analysis”, which sounds like you are having a conversation in your own head, but not with me.

  49. #49 JP
    May 15, 2015

    sounds like you are having a conversation in your own head, but not with me.

    Oh, the irony.

    Undergraduate students that you’ve encountered where and in what capacity, zebra? Were you teaching, or are you just trying to imply that you were?

  50. #50 Gray Falcon
    May 15, 2015

    zebra- Look up the phrase “risk-benefit analysis” first. Then we’ll talk.

  51. #51 TBruce
    May 15, 2015

    Zebra:

    If it were just me, yes, you might have a point. However, everybody who replied to your comment was confused by it.

    Generational thing? I’m old enough to qualify for the Senior’s discount. Shall I get off your lawn now?

  52. #52 TBruce
    May 15, 2015

    And yet, you can’t articulate what it is you don’t understand.

    – as opposed to someone who can’t articulate what they claim to understand?

  53. #53 zebra
    May 15, 2015

    TBruce,

    Actually, what “everybody” did was have a knee-jerk negative response to what is a trivially obvious and relatively minor point.

    “I’m confused” is another typical response of students who are looking for someone to tell them the answer so they can regurgitate it. If you can’t *explain* what it is you don’t understand, that’s your problem not mine. Disagreeing is not explaining.

  54. #54 TBruce
    May 15, 2015

    Arrogance is not a virtue.

  55. #55 Gray Falcon
    May 15, 2015

    Okay, let me explain my problem with your statement zebra: You frabled the granwich inside the blurblachen. That’s trivially obvious, and I should not have to explain what that means to you unless you gargle bleach on a daily basis.

  56. #56 zebra
    May 15, 2015

    TBruce,

    And yet it is exhibited all the time by the author of and regulars on this blog. Heat, kitchen.

  57. #57 Narad
    May 15, 2015

    If it were just me, yes, you might have a point.

    He doesn’t, though. It fails right out of the gate with the assumption that the immunological memory that is being lost is infection based, whereas the actual argument is exposure based.

    Actually, y’know, reading the paper (and the supplementary material) makes this clear, but not really knowing what he’s talking about has never stopped Z. before.

  58. #58 johnny
    May 15, 2015

    ” Up to a third of measles patients who do not have access to good medical care will die, and this is because they can’t be given the supportive care they need to stay alive while they fight it. They’ll come out of it weak and malnourished, less able to feed and care for themselves during another infection than they were before the measles. They may have lung damage. Even ignoring any immune suppression, I don’t see why this result is even surprising.” Cauliflowerbrain

    What an utter pile of medical peer review/Offit mongering. This is an utter joke! If a third of people, in the Western world died from measles, how come with the recent apparent Disney outbreak that was supposed to be a biggy, not one American fatality!!!! Do you make this stuff up or are you a pubmed freak?

  59. #59 johnny
    May 15, 2015

    “Oh, and they had very healthy diets, municipal water, municipal sewage systems, only the smallpox vaccine,” Sewage dawn

    I mean, maybe I am totally stupid, but, what are adults doing contracting measles – is that displacement from their childhood vaccine. Saying that they only had the Smallpox vaccine is enough to shaft anyone’s immune response. How can these people be classed as “health”!!!!!

  60. #60 johnny
    May 15, 2015

    “In terms of frequency, measles is the number one disease of childhood,” Fantasy football

    Hey, I thought vaccination had got rid of it, now it is the most common childhood disease – what kind of result is that?

  61. #61 johnny
    May 15, 2015

    “For example, when the authors transformed the data as described in #2 and #3, for England and Wales, the best fit occurred centered at a 28 to 28.3-month duration of measles-induced immunomodulation in the pre-vaccine era.” fiddler

    So, they transformed the data to fit………………….for the best fit..
    Is this not medical peer review speak for ‘fixed the stats’

  62. #62 johnny
    May 15, 2015

    “The study, released Thursday by the journal Science, was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and federal grants…………………………”

    hey your study, lord Oracus, was funded by Bill and Melinda!!!!!

    It is a great example of the sacred cow in action. This study is total and utter utter gabonka…Well done for spinning it into gold. A fitting tribute to Lilady

  63. #63 TBruce
    May 15, 2015

    I mean, maybe I am totally stupid,

    First true thing lower-case johnny has said EVAR.

    (Cheap shot, but how could I resist?)

  64. #64 Sarah A
    May 15, 2015

    The webcomic xkcd has a strip that sums up zebra nicely. Keep in mind, however, that even when zebra makes statements that seem to have a perfectly obvious meaning, once cornered he will fall back on claiming that you misinterpreted his words, generally after a 100+ comment discussion in which you referred back to them multiple times without him correcting you. He’s not as painfully obvious a troll as – just to take a completely random example – johnny, but he’s every bit as much a waste of time.

  65. #65 zebra
    May 15, 2015

    Narad– probably was always the one who just couldn’t stop himself from raising his hand and spoiling it for all the other kids.

  66. #66 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    May 15, 2015

    @Sarah A

    Nicely put. Very appropriate comic.

    Now, let’s see, what did I say up at comment #3? Oh yeah:

    Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    May 15, 2015

    @DB

    They’ll just say the study is worthless because it’s just a computer model…oh, and GATES!!!eleventy!!1!

    And here we have lower-case johnny at #61:

    hey your study, lord Oracus, was funded by Bill and Melinda!!!!!

  67. #67 JGC
    May 15, 2015

    If a third of people, in the Western world died from measles, how come with the recent apparent Disney outbreak that was supposed to be a biggy, not one American fatality!!!!

    That would be they did have access to good medical care–thought that would have been obvious.

    With medical care the mortality rate we see associated with measles infection is 1 death per every 1000 infections.

  68. #68 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    May 15, 2015

    johnny quoted:
    Up to a third of measles patients who do not have access to good medical care will die
    then commented:

    If a third of people, in the Western world died from measles, how come with the recent apparent Disney outbreak that was supposed to be a biggy, not one American fatality

    Did you miss the part about “access to good medical Care”? Not everyone in the world has that, johnny.
    “In terms of frequency, measles is the number one disease of childhood,”…
    Hey, I thought vaccination had got rid of it, now it is the most common childhood disease – what kind of result is that?
    Not every country has a vaccination program, you champion ignoramus. Where MMR vaccine is used, the rate plummets, that we can show.

  69. #69 johnny
    May 15, 2015

    So Bill and Melinda Waltons pay for a study………………

    Do we need to know anymore? Are you serious, these people fund new disease classifications – next we will have Bill Gates variant measles….LOL
    “The webcomic xkcd has a strip that sums up zebra nicely.” Sarahahole

    Well Sarah A sounds interesting, well done girl – now put the kettle on and make some buns

  70. #70 johnny
    May 15, 2015

    “Did you miss the part about “access to good medical Care”? Not everyone in the world has that, johnny.” Julianfrott

    What a plonker – no one needs access to good medical care with measles – it’s the doctors who over medicate and kill the patients.
    “Not every country has a vaccination program, you champion ignoramus. Where MMR vaccine is used, the rate plummets, that we can show.” Julianfrott

    More pedical meer repoo from the woolii one. I mean, do you honestly think it is still credible to quote these papers when they are funded by the people who want to sell the ‘medicine’. What a complete nonk

  71. #71 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    May 15, 2015

    We need a better class of troll. These two are boring.

  72. #72 johnny
    May 15, 2015

    “Measles control is now recognized as one of the most successful public health interventions ever undertaken ” Woo

    So what is it, the most successful or the number one childhood disease, the article the Oracus posted says both.

    I suppose it depends on whether you are trying to scare someone into vaccine woo or demonstrate how brilliant it is.

    funded by Bill and Melinda……………LOL

  73. #73 Lawrence
    May 15, 2015

    I agree Todd – old johnny is approaching “Thingy-level” stupidity at this point.

  74. #74 johnny
    May 15, 2015

    “By preventing measles, “you preserve your ability to fight off all of these other infections,” said Michael Mina, a medical student at Emory University who led the study while at Princeton University.

    While vaccination played a role, other factors such as better nutrition and smaller family size may also explain the drop in non-measles infections, said Dr. James Cherry, a pediatric infectious disease expert at the University of California, Los Angeles, who had no role in the study.”

    There you go, those who had a role in the study creamed their nuts over the stats, those who didn’t have a role in the study said the result could be explained by better nutrition and smaller family size. You are all full of complete wazoo, this thread was started as a complete cherry picking pile of…. Citation neeeeeeded
    Brown logs in a sea of urine

  75. #75 johnny
    May 15, 2015

    A student led the study too, the person who dissed it as in consequential was a pediatric expert. So SBS and the Oracus puts some student who was probably being shaggged by Bill or Melinda – ahead of the expert!

    Didn’t really expect more

  76. #76 johnny
    May 15, 2015

    I bet you what you like if I bother to read the study this thread will totally fall to pieces. Bring it on

  77. #77 JGC
    May 15, 2015

    What a plonker – no one needs access to good medical care with measles – it’s the doctors who over medicate and kill the patients.

    Citations needed, johnny. please provide actual evidence that people who contract measles but do not receive medical care do just as well as those who contract measles and do receive good medical care, and evidence that the deaths attributed to measles are actually due to doctors over-medicating theri patients with measles.

  78. #78 JGC
    May 15, 2015

    I bet you what you like if I bother to read the study this thread will totally fall to pieces.

    “Criticize things you don’t know about”
    Steve Martin

  79. #79 johnny
    May 15, 2015

    those involved in the study for
    those not involved dismissed it

  80. #80 Gray Falcon
    May 15, 2015

    lowercase johnny- That wasn’t even proper English.

  81. #81 Kal-El
    Okc, Ok
    May 15, 2015

    I’ve always found it funny that the same people who are so anti-vaccine for their children would never let their dogs or cats go with out their rabies vaccine. Btw, aren’t animal and human vaccines made the same way? Why aren’t there autistic dogs?

  82. #82 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    May 15, 2015

    johnny – if you both read and demonstrate you understand that study, it will amaze and mystify us all. If you then find a valid reason to dispute its conclusions, well, frankly, that seems so remote I can’t think of a good thing to bet.

  83. #83 johnny
    May 15, 2015

    I didn’t dispute it, an expert in paediatric care did, it was written by a med student, the study that is. The findings could be explained by better nutrition…………..LOL there you go, better nutrition. Go read the critique yourself and get your knob out of the pubmed, you’ll end up like NObRed

  84. #84 Gray Falcon
    May 15, 2015

    johnny- It could also be explained by a lack of warlocks. I need a valid criticism.

  85. #85 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    May 15, 2015

    Yeah, it is explained by better, uh, nutrition! Yeah, that’s it, better nutrition, prepared by your wife, Morgan Fairchild – whom you have seen naked. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

  86. #86 Lawrence
    May 15, 2015

    Amazing – I look forward to the “better” nutrition that was immediately implemented at the exact same time as mass measles vaccination in the US, the UK, Africa and Asia….

    I’m sure johnny has that information at his fingertips, right?

  87. #87 justthestats
    May 15, 2015

    @johnny

    how come with the recent apparent Disney outbreak that was supposed to be a biggy, not one American fatality!!!!

    You keep saying that, but as a measles expert you know that there’s an alarmingly high chance with an outbreak that big that at least one case will turn into SSPE. You know that we won’t know for more than a decade if any deaths will come as a result.

    Saying that they only had the Smallpox vaccine is enough to shaft anyone’s immune response. How can these people be classed as “health”!!!!!

    How is getting the smallpox vaccine different from getting a case of vaccinia naturally? Do people who get vaccinia naturally have immune systems that are trashed for life, and if so, why haven’t more people noticed?

    “For example, when the authors transformed the data as described in #2 and #3, for England and Wales, the best fit occurred centered at a 28 to 28.3-month duration of measles-induced immunomodulation in the pre-vaccine era.” fiddler

    So, they transformed the data to fit………………….for the best fit..
    Is this not medical peer review speak for ‘fixed the stats’

    Obviously not, because if there was no association, there wouldn’t be a good fit, and any bad fit wouldn’t have a “center.” But you already knew that, since that was what happened with pertussis.

    While vaccination played a role, other factors such as better nutrition and smaller family size may also explain the drop in non-measles infections,” said Dr. James Cherry, a pediatric infectious disease expert at the University of California, Los Angeles, who had no role in the study.

    There you go, those who had a role in the study creamed their nuts over the stats, those who didn’t have a role in the study said the result could be explained by better nutrition and smaller family size.

    You’re in a very playful mood today, johnnykins. Did you paste one sentence and then summarize to mean something else to see if anyone was paying attention to you, or just to be silly?

    At any rate, doesn’t this sound to you like that awful science journalism practice where they call up someone with a vaguely-related title, give them a short and often incompetently summarized description of a paper, and then ask them to say something intelligent about it on the spot? After all, why would a pediatric infectious diseases expert think that it was reasonable that nutrition would get better and family sizes smaller for 28 months after each measles outbreak and then go back to worse nutrition and larger family sizes until the next outbreak? Do you think “Well, it’s been 28 months since Junior recovered from measles, so it’s time to stop eating sand start making babies” is a common thought pattern worldwide?

    So Bill and Melinda [Gate]s pay for a study………………

    Do we need to know anymore?

    Since you’ve decided that most researchers are so dishonest that they publish exactly what the grant funders want to hear, the fact that the Gates pay for research so that they can determine which charitable activities are the most cost-effective sounds relevant to me. If vaccination didn’t work and they said it did, they wouldn’t be telling the Gates what they wanted to hear. I think we need to know that.

  88. #88 JustaTech
    May 15, 2015

    Todd W @70 and Lawrence @72: Hear Hear! Let’s have some new, less-fecal obsessed trolls. Maybe even some who can have a decent argument/disagreement without resorting to name-calling, blatant lies or circular arguments about minutia.

    Then again, that doesn’t really describe a troll, now does it?

  89. #89 justthestats
    May 15, 2015

    @johnny

    .it was written by a med student, the study that is.

    I get it! You’re pointing out that the fact that this breakthrough paper was written by a postdoc who has since gone on to study to be an MD means that he’s likely to have a brilliant career in his future and to be a hot commodity when he comes available to the job market. You’re also pointing out the impressive resumes and publication records of his co-authors.

    Very subtle, johnny. Well played.

  90. #90 Narad
    May 15, 2015

    Ah, JGC @77 has tempted me into pausing the Philip Hills* Auto-Shіtcanner.

    I bet you what you like if I bother to read the study this thread will totally fall to pieces. Bring it on

    Um, OK, bring what on? Go read the fυcking paper.

    This is the dumbest fυcking excuse for a “challenge” that I’ve ever seen.

    * Hope Osteopathic Clinic Essex, Rotary Club Thurrock Gateway, and (putative president of) the Brentwood Catenians.

  91. #91 justthestats
    May 15, 2015

    It strikes me that this technique or a variation thereof would be an excellent way to test the “too many too soon” psuedohypothesis.

  92. #92 Narad
    May 15, 2015

    Narad– probably was always the one who just couldn’t stop himself from raising his hand and spoiling it for all the other kids.

    If anyone can extract a semantic payload from this, I’m all ears mildly curious.

  93. #93 Narad
    May 15, 2015

    So Bill and Melinda [Gate]s pay for a study………………

    Do we need to know anymore?

    Since you’ve decided that most researchers are so dishonest that they publish exactly what the grant funders want to hear, the fact that the Gates pay for research so that they can determine which charitable activities are the most cost-effective sounds relevant to me.

    Let’s play Read The Acknowledgments!

    “This work is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Science and Technology Directorate of the Department of Homeland Security [contract HSHQDC-12-C-00058 (B.T.G. and C.J.E.M.)], and the RAPIDD program of the Science and Technology Directorate of the Department of Homeland Security and the Fogarty International Center, National Institutes of Health (C.J.E.M. and B.T.G).”

    It’s a bit difficult to suss out which Gates grant is in play, but if I’m correctly guessing Princeton,* particularly the 2013 grant, I’m not seeing much of an opportunity for micromanagement.

    * They’re giving money to ETS?

  94. #94 TBruce
    May 15, 2015

    Saying that they only had the Smallpox vaccine is enough to shaft anyone’s immune response. How can these people be classed as “health”!!!!!

    You know that 30-40% of people who got smallpox naturally never had another infection for the rest of their lives. Mind you, that fact that those 30-40% were dead may have had something to do with it.

  95. #95 RetroPastiche
    Cold, grey, Southern Hemisphere
    May 15, 2015

    I was affected by this very situation. The single measles vaccine was not free when I was an infant, even though it was licensed two years before I was born. For some reason Australia has traditionally waited a while between licensure and subsidy of vaccines, even if they were used in other countries for many years prior.

    In any case, in 1976/7 I contracted measles. Shortly after recovery I contracted rubella. Then came mumps (which my new baby brother also got, he was only about 6 months old). I recall being quite ill for the next few years with recurrent throat infections and ultimately became very ill with scarlet fever (I know it’s not a VPD but it’s bloody horrible, and the antibiotics put me off ever eating another banana due to the flavouring used).

    TL;DR I got 3 VPDs in a few years. All the other illnesses are likely explained by a weakened immune response.

    Lesson learned: my child was vaccinated for everything available even if I had to pay out of pocket if the vaccine hadn’t become subsidised by the govt.

  96. #96 Kristina
    Where kids are in bed
    May 15, 2015

    My husband said that anti-vaxers will do a happy dance over this one, because now they can time their attempts to catch *all* the diseases better by having Measles parties first. 3 years of illness later, and they’ll be good to go! Woohoo!

  97. #97 Bob G
    Los angeles
    May 15, 2015

    This thread seems to have become contaminated with trolling and troll feeding, so forgive me for offering my own tablespoon full:

    The problem with Zebra’s comment @5 is not so much that it is incoherent, which it is. The problem is that the second sentence contradicts the first sentence. If you translate the term “the natural infection argument” as being the argument made by the anti-vaccine people, it involves something like measles inducing a lot of immunity (at least against measles). The fact that something natural would abolish something natural certainly contradicts the overall scope of the anti-vaccine position. The deeper nonsense is to call measles “natural,” since it seems to be a fairly recent acquisition by humanity, and of course the natural argument is already pretty fallacious.

  98. #98 Vicki
    May 15, 2015

    johnny @ 73:

    Try reading what you quote.

    The statement that you seem to think proves measles vaccination didn’t have this effect says

    While vaccination played a role, other factors such as better nutrition and smaller family size may also explain the drop in non-measles infections, said Dr. James Cherry, a pediatric infectious disease expert at the University of California, Los Angeles, who had no role in the study.”

    [Emphasis mine]

    That is, someone agrees that vaccination is part of the explanation, and then has some suggestions as to things that might—or might not—explain why measles vaccination leads to a drop in all-cause mortality.

    Of course, he doesn’t say how or why measles vaccination could lead to better nutrition or smaller family size. For smaller family size, it could be because reducing childhood mortality tends to lead to people having fewer children—but if that’s your argument, you’re agreeing that the measles vaccine saves children’s lives, and in fact means fewer children die of things other than measles. At that point, we’re back to an interesting scientific question, one that might lead to biological research, but you’re getting upset at someone suggesting a possible reason for something you’re agreeing is true. So, what’s your alternative hypothesis for why measles vaccines reduce all-cause mortality? Better update of vitamins? Somehow repelling the malarria mosquito?

  99. #99 Orac
    May 15, 2015

    A student led the study too, the person who dissed it as in consequential was a pediatric expert. So SBS and the Oracus puts some student who was probably being shaggged by Bill or Melinda – ahead of the expert!

    Didn’t really expect more

    That’s lame, even by johnny standards.

    Also, johnny appears to be unaware of how author order indicates roles in biomedical research. The last author is generally the senior author, the scientist who led the research, not the first author. The first author is often a student or postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory who did the most work on the project under the supervision of the last author. So, in other words, it was Bryan T. Grenfell who led the study, not a student. He’s a Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Public Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School, at Princeton. A. D. M. E. Osterhaus Department of Viroscience, Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands was also a senior author.

    Amazing what you can tell about the authorship of a biomedical research paper if you know the conventions regarding authorship order.

  100. #100 ChrisP
    May 15, 2015

    Clearly another slow day at the Hope Osteopathic Clinic.

    Likewise in the brain of its owner.

  101. #101 Sarah A
    May 15, 2015

    @Narad #92 – I was wondering about that myself. It sounds like he’s saying you were one of those kids who was actually paying attention in class and making the – how to put this nicely – less gifted students like himself look bad. But that seems like an odd way to try and insult a person.

  102. #102 Narad
    May 16, 2015

    Of course, he doesn’t say how or why measles vaccination could lead to better nutrition or smaller family size. For smaller family size, it could be because reducing childhood mortality tends to lead to people having fewer children….

    It’s hard to know what Cherry’s take on the paper is given the AP’s paraphrase, but this is wide of the mark. The data sets were England and Wales (1952–1975), the U.S. (1943–1970),* and Denmark (1990–2010).

    If I were to guess, though, it would it be that it relates to the use of under-5 mortality due to invasive bacterial infection as a proxy for immune development after depletion of maternal antibodies.** If it’s all-cause mortality, the paraphrase would simply amount to saying that the (post-transform) signal itself could be a coincidence, but nutrition and family size don’t exactly strike me as useful covariates for the time windows.

    * The date ranges for the first two differ by a year between the time series plotted in Fig. 1 and the captions of Figs. 2 and 3, but in opposite directions. Beats me.

    ** “Risk of disease from infectious causes generally increases throughout the first two years of life …, in particular following reduction of maternal antibodies. During this period, children are building their immune repertoire through exposure, vaccination and cross-­‐reactive antigen stimulation.”

  103. #103 johnny
    May 17, 2015

    “Findings like this really mess with the natural-infection-is-good-for-you-and-vaccines-don’t-provide-real-immunity crowd.” Dangerousbullshit

    Well not really at all. It helps us go to the article, read it and realise that the Gorsebush cherry picked another useless piece of medical peer review and left out two major points..

    1. The ‘study’ was done by a med student
    2. It was pointed out that the changes reported as ‘tarraaaaa’ for vaccines could be explained by better nutrition. This critique was by an expert qualified scientist.

    It actually qualifies that nutrition trumps vaccines and Vicki can highlight her own booty for all I care. I guess, being American, you would need a fence brush to do that.

    Remember the Iraq war on weapons of mass destruction? When the UK/US prime minister couldn’t find anything to support this idea, where do they turn to?

    An understudy student’s dissertation on ‘weapons of mass distraction’.

    Real Johnny – accept no imitations

  104. #104 johnny
    May 17, 2015

    “Findings like this really mess with the natural-infection-is-good-for-you-and-vaccines-don’t-provide-real-immunity crowd.” Dangerousbull

    Well not really at all. It helps us go to the article, read it and realise that the gorsebush cherry picked another useless piece of medical peer review and left out two major points..

    1. The ‘study’ was done by a med student
    2. It was pointed out that the changes reported as ‘tarraaaaa’ for vaccines could be explained by better nutrition. This critique was by an expert qualified scientist.

    It actually qualifies that nutrition trumps vaccines and Vicki can highlight her own booty for all I care. I guess, being American, you would need a fence brush to do that.

    Remember the Iraq war on weapons of mass destruction? When the UK/US prime minister couldn’t find anything to support this idea, where do they turn to?

    An understudy student’s dissertation on ‘weapons of mass distraction’.

  105. #105 johnny
    May 17, 2015

    “It’s hard to know what Cherry’s take on the paper is given the AP’s paraphrase, but this is wide of the mark. The data sets were England and Wales (1952–1975), the U.S. (1943–1970),* and Denmark (1990–2010).

    If I were to guess,……..” NobRed the red

    Well that is scientific – If I was to guess the ‘nobuline’ was struggling to cling on to the idea that the vaccine had any relevance to ‘benefit’ at all. I mean, how on earth does a vaccine provide nutrition – please advise.

  106. #106 johnny
    May 17, 2015

    “The last author is generally the senior author, the scientist who led the research, not the first author. The first author is often a student or postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory who did the most work on the project under the supervision of the last author. So, in other words……………………….” The Bush

    In other words we lose the idea of logic and independence in a chain of ‘who is shaggin who’ and then publish and be damned. If Bill and Mel can also be persuaded that there is a bob or two in it for them – it’s ‘trebles all round’. Well done

    At the end of the day it’s ‘only medical peer review’ and we all know what that means – ask the ex editor of the BMJ – “most of the articles published are utter nonsense”

  107. #107 johnny
    May 17, 2015

    ““This work is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Science and Technology Directorate of the Department of Homeland Security [contract HSHQDC-12-C-00058 (B.T.G. and C.J.E.M.)], and the RAPIDD program of the Science and Technology Directorate of the Department of Homeland Security and the Fogarty International Center, National Institutes of Health (C.J.E.M. and B.T.G).” NobRed

    Well there is a nice group of independent, unbiased funders. More like a wasp’s nest.

  108. #108 johnny
    May 17, 2015

    “Narad– probably was always the one who just couldn’t stop himself from raising his hand, up and down and up and down and spoiling it for all the other kids.” nObreD

    Does that count?

  109. #109 Narad
    May 17, 2015

    Does that count?

    “Count” for what? Demonstrating that you’re not just too comically stupid to figure out who the fυck you’re “quoting” but also that you can’t tell one fυcking thread from another?

    Go try to get the corn kernels out of your matted taint, Phildo, it’s almost time for Mass. Then quit running away from your “challenge.”

  110. #110 Narad
    May 17, 2015

    ^ With minor liberty, Here’s to you, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.

  111. #111 Orac
    May 17, 2015

    1. The ‘study’ was done by a med student

    Once again, this is utterly irrelevant, because it comes out of the labs of two well-respected senior scientists. That’s how it works. More junior trainees, such as graduate students, medical students, or postdoctoral fellows do the grunt work under the supervision of the scientists in whose lab they are working. Also, even tough they are given first author status, they might or might not write the actual manuscript, depending upon (1) how good a writer they are and (2) how controlling the senior author is.

    Since johnny seems not to have understood my explanation above about what author order signifies in biomedical research papers, I’ll repeat it. The last author is generally the senior author, the scientist who led the research, not the first author. The first author is often a student or postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory who did the most work on the project under the supervision of the last author. So, in other words, it was Bryan T. Grenfell who led the study, not a student. He’s a Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Public Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School, at Princeton. A. D. M. E. Osterhaus Department of Viroscience, Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands was also a senior author.

    Amazing what you can tell about the authorship of a biomedical research paper if you know the conventions regarding authorship order.

  112. #112 ann
    May 17, 2015

    Well not really at all. It helps us go to the article, read it and realise that the gorsebush cherry picked another useless piece of medical peer review and left out two major points..

    1. The ‘study’ was done by a med student
    2. It was pointed out that the changes reported as ‘tarraaaaa’ for vaccines could be explained by better nutrition. This critique was by an expert qualified scientist.

    Well. If the expertise and qualifications of Dr. Cherry are decisive for you wrt measles vaccination, here he is talking about the recent outbreak in CA:

    Dr. James Cherry, a specialist in pediatric infectious diseases at the University of California, Los Angeles, said the outbreak was “100 percent connected” to the anti-immunization campaign. “It wouldn’t have happened otherwise — it wouldn’t have gone anywhere,” he said. “There are some pretty dumb people out there.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/22/us/measles-cases-linked-to-disneyland-rise-and-debate-over-vaccinations-intensifies.html?_r=0

  113. #113 johnny
    May 17, 2015

    “Dr. James Cherry, a specialist in pediatric infectious diseases at the University of California, Los Angeles, said the outbreak was “100 percent connected” to the anti-immunization campaign. “It wouldn’t have happened otherwise — it wouldn’t have gone anywhere,” he said. “There are some pretty dumb people out there.” Cherry cherry pick

    This is what is known as a ‘medical anecdote’. Said with stern authority by someone who has a vested interest in the woo of vaccination – either telling us we are all going to die or similar.

    Remember all those docky experts telling us in their 4×4 opinion that we were all going to die without swine flu vaccine. What is the diff between a docky anecdote and a non docky anecdote? Most doctors couldn’t put a balanced meal on the table, let alone manage a fever without poisoning someone.

  114. #114 johnny
    May 17, 2015

    It is back to quotalot, shame that the medical peer review pond of sludge is slowly evaporating. All those clever highly educated doctors are the ones who are putting the whole planet in jeopardy by over prescribing antibiotics – you can’t blame alt med for that.

    Real johnny, accept no limitations

  115. #115 johnny
    May 17, 2015

    “The last author is generally the senior author, the scientist who led the research, not the first author. The first author is often a student or postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory who did the most work on the project under the supervision of the last author.” Grossbush

    And as little numpty sat down to explain why the moon wasn’t made of cheese, dimpy slowly nodded off – it was at that point the bill arrived – guess what – we are all paying and little numpty got off scot free.

    How many elephants were there?

    Time for a new thread in that busy schedule of applied guwana, thank god there is so much more.

    Real johnny accept no limitations

  116. #116 johnny
    May 17, 2015

    So the graph showing the marvel of measles vaccine against time – are you not aware that it is not mortality – it’s doctor notifications. we all know during an ‘epidemic’ that any rash is called measles and that during a time of no epidemic, a measles diagnosis requires a lab test – it’s called massaging the stats, about the closest any of you would get to a rub down, well except NobRed,- there is always one.

  117. #117 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    May 17, 2015

    we all know during an ‘epidemic’ that any rash is called measles

    If ignorance was bliss you’d b euphoric.

  118. #118 ann
    May 17, 2015

    @#114 —

    That’s the same docky expert whose 4 x 4 opinion you treat as gospel in #104.

    You poor thing..

  119. #119 johnny
    May 17, 2015

    “That’s the same docky expert whose 4 x 4 opinion you treat as gospel in #104.

    You poor thing.” Annie get ya thumb out yabum
    What is more disturbing is that if one can cherry pick any answer you like from anything the Gorsebush starts a thread on – it must be bulloony.

    It can’t logically be possible to be pro vaxx – there is no credible evidence for its efficacy whatsoever. It would be amusing, watching all you lackies trying to save bacon but the harm being done is too great to let you get away with it.

  120. #120 Narad
    May 17, 2015

    As it has been more than adequately demonstrated that Philip Hills is too much of a coward to fulfill his ownchallenge,” back into oblivion he goes.

    Of course, given that he can’t so much figure out how to parse block quotations, he can always continue to carry on with his trademark imaginary exchanges.

  121. #121 Captian_a
    May 17, 2015

    I’m thinking we should start a kick-starter campaign to send johnny for a one week visit to a children s infectious disease ward at a hospital in the third world. All those natural infections would do him/her good.

    johnny, you interested?

  122. #122 TBruce
    May 17, 2015

    Captian_a:

    If it’s a one-way ticket, I’m in.

  123. #123 Vicki
    May 17, 2015

    Sorry, Captian_a, I can’t in good conscience inflict johnny on sick children in a foreign country. If we can afford to do that, we can afford to buy them some medicine instead.

  124. #124 Narad
    May 17, 2015

    Sorry, Captian_a, I can’t in good conscience inflict johnny on sick children in a foreign country.

    I’m sure the Yanomami would be fascinated by his osteopathic services.

  125. #125 ChrisP
    May 18, 2015

    I’ve always found it funny that the same people who are so anti-vaccine for their children would never let their dogs or cats go with out their rabies vaccine. Btw, aren’t animal and human vaccines made the same way? Why aren’t there autistic dogs?

    I had a cat once that I could have sworn was autistic.

  126. #126 Narad
    May 18, 2015

    I see that Jake registered his, ah, analysis a few days ago, in case there are any completists around.

  127. […] The benefits of measles vaccine are far more than preventing measles […]

  128. […] better. Indeed, in the case of the measles, acquiring natural immunity appears to require surviving more than two years of subsequent immune system suppression that results in more deaths from other infectious diseases, an issue that the measles vaccine […]

  129. #129 Michael Mina
    United States
    May 31, 2015

    @ Orac

    Just came across this. I want to commend you on a very well done write up. I enjoyed reading your blog.

    The comments are interesting… somewhat disheartening to read of so much distrust. If it makes any difference to folks here (although from the tenner of these comments I am afraid it might not), I certainly was not asked by anyone at all – especially not anyone funding the lab group – to do this study. In fact, I honestly didn’t know and didn’t care which grant was funding me. The work was born entirely out of a curiosity and an interest to better understand an aspect of biology. The work was in fact mine. I worked with Bryan and others, but I think it is fair to say that it was work that I developed – with wonderful input sprinkled in here and there. I am in fact completing my medical degree – a few months left, I also hold a PhD in infectious disease immunology and epidemiology and have completed a successful post doc – both of which have been with great people at Emory, St Jude Children’s Hospital and Princeton. Frankly, I’m not sure why my educational level was ever brought up – people younger than me and with no higher degrees discover amazing things every day….

    I won’t get into the science here – you did a great job describing it – but I do hope that by writing, I can at least help dismay some of the distrust that is out there with regard to medical research. I’m just a curious person, a previously buddhist monk, an artist, rower and rock climber with a deep interest in medicine, science and teaching. I explore all sides of vaccines and infectious diseases and was raised with a combination of both allopathic and non-allopathic medicines. I have all of my vaccines and try to refrain from antibiotics unless absolutely necessary.

  130. […] or die becomes significant. Measles is not benign, and benefits of the measles vaccine actually go beyond preventing measles because measles suppresses the immune system and children die of other diseases at a higher rate in […]

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