No, Gardasil does not cause behavioral problems

Believe it or not, I frequently peruse Retraction Watch, the blog that does basically what its title says: It watches for retracted articles in the peer-reviewed scientific literature and reports on them. Rare is it that a retracted paper gets by the watchful eyes of the bloggers there. So it was that the other day I noticed an post entitled Journal temporarily removes paper linking HPV vaccine to behavioral issues. I noticed it mainly because it involves a paper by two antivaccine “researchers” whom we’ve met several times before, Christopher A. Shaw and Lucija Tomljenovic in the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of British Columbia. Both have a long history of publishing antivaccine “research,” mainly falsely blaming the aluminum adjuvants in vaccines for autism and, well, just about any health problem children have and blaming Gardasil for premature ovarian failure and all manner of woes up to and including death. Shaw even prominently featured in the rabidly antivaccine movie The Greater Good.

Normally, Shaw and Tomljenovic tend to publish their antivaccine spew in bottom-feeding journals, but what also caught my attention was that this time they seemed to have managed to score a paper in a journal with a good reputation and a reasonable impact factor: Vaccine. Here’s the story from Retraction Watch:

The editor in chief of Vaccine has removed a paper suggesting a human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine can trigger behavioral changes in mice.

The note doesn’t provide any reason for the withdrawal, although authors were told the editor asked for further review.

Two co-authors on the paper — about Gardasil, a vaccine against HPV — have previously suggested that aluminum in vaccines is linked to autism, in research a World Health Organization advisory body concluded was “seriously flawed.”

Approximately 80 million doses of Gardasil were administered in the U.S. between 2006 and 2015. Both the the WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have ruled the vaccine to be safe — the CDC, for instance, calls it “safe, effective, and recommended.”

The journal published an uncorrected proof of “Behavioral abnormalities in young female mice following administration of aluminum adjuvants and the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine Gardasil” online on January 9th, 2016. In its place now is a note that says:

The publisher regrets that this article has been temporarily removed. A replacement will appear as soon as possible in which the reason for the removal of the article will be specified, or the article will be reinstated.

Since the article had not yet been officially published in the journal, it’s not indexed by Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Curiouser and curiouser. Fortunately for me, an online bud happened to have downloaded the paper and supplied me with the PDF. I say this because, as noted above, the paper is no longer available on the Vaccine website. Its corresponding author, it turns out, is Yehuda Shoenfeld, whom we have also met before and have encountered speaking at antivaccine conferences. In antivaccine circles, Shoenfeld is best known for coining the term “ASIA” (“Autoimmune/Inflammatory Syndrome Induced by Adjuvants”). Did I say “coin the term”? Really, I should have said “pulled the term out of his nether regions, leaving a coating of what one’s nether regions generally expels all over it.” Because ASIA is a made-up syndrome with no compelling evidence that it’s real. Basically, as I’ve described before, its criteria are so vague as to be able to be applied to almost anything.

Oh, and he edited a journal very sympathetic to antivaccine “science.”

So right off the bat, I knew something fishy was going on here, and, thanks to the person who supplied me with a PDF of the article, I knew I had to take a look to see if I could figure out what happened. What I can say, having read the article, is that it is so shoddily done that it represents a massive failure of peer review that a journal as good as Vaccine ever accepted it for publication. I don’t know who the editor to whom this manuscript was assigned was (clearly it wasn’t Vaccine‘s editor-in-chief Gregory Poland, as it was he who requested temporary removal of the paper), but whoever it was should hang his or her head in shame and resign in disgrace from the editorial board of the journal.

I really have to wonder if this travesty is the result of the problem of “fake peer review. This is a problem that has come to light recently that takes advantage of the practice of some journals to allow authors to suggest peer reviewers for their manuscript. I perused Vaccine‘s Instructions for Authors and found that the journal encourages authors to suggest up to five potential reviewers. I’ve described the problem before, and Vaccine editors ought to stop this practice immediately. One can’t help but wonder who reviewed this manuscript. One almost has to wonder if it was Andrew Wakefield, given how bad the manuscript is.

I’ll show you what I mean. Skeptical Raptor has already discussed this study. He’s also done an excellent job of laying out the safety studies involving millions of doses of Gardasil that show that Gardasil is incredibly safe. His post is almost enough. Almost. However, in this discussion, I have the advantage of having the actual PDF of the paper in front of me. As good as the Raptor is, he lacked that.

Since the paper isn’t currently available, and I’m not about to violate copyright by making the whole PDF available to anyone who wants it, let’s look at the abstract, and then I’ll discuss the actual paper’s findings, such as they are:

Vaccine adjuvants and vaccines may induce autoimmune and inflammatory manifestations in susceptible individuals. To date most human vaccine trials utilize aluminum (Al) adjuvants as placebos despite much evidence showing that Al in vaccine-relevant exposures can be toxic to humans and animals. We sought to evaluate the effects of Al adjuvant and the HPV vaccine Gardasil versus the true placeboon behavioral and inflammatory parameters in young female mice. Six week old C57BL/6 female micewere injected with either, Gardasil, Gardasil + pertussis toxin (Pt), Al hydroxide, or, vehicle control inamounts equivalent to human exposure. At six months of age, Gardasil and Al-injected mice spent sig-nificantly more time floating in the forced swimming test (FST) in comparison to vehicle-injected mice(Al, p = 0.009; Gardasil, p = 0.025; Gardasil + Pt, p = 0.005). The increase in floating time was already highlysignificant at three months of age for the Gardasil and Gardasil + Pt group (p ≤ 0.0001). No significant differences were observed in the number of stairs climbed in the staircase test nor in rotarod performance,both of which measure locomotor activity. Since rotarod also measures muscular strength, collectivelythese results indicate that differences observed in the FST were not due to locomotor dysfunction, butlikely due to depression. Additionally, at three months of age, compared to control mice, Al-injectedmice showed a significantly decreased preference for the new arm in the Y maze test (p = 0.03), indi-cating short-term memory impairment. Moreover, anti-HPV antibodies from the sera of Gardasil andGardasil + Pt-injected mice showed cross-reactivity with the mouse brain protein extract. Immunohisto-chemistry analysis revealed microglial activation in the CA1 area of the hippocampus of Gardasil-injectedmice compared to the control. It appears that Gardasil via its Al adjuvant and HPV antigens has the abilityto trigger neuroinflammation and autoimmune reactions, further leading to behavioral changes.

I’m quite familiar with C57BL/6 mice. Indeed, I cut my research teeth, so to speak, studying mouse tumor models and the induction of angiogenesis (new blood vessel growth) back in the late 1990s. Now, right from the beginning, I have to wonder who the peer reviewers were to have accepted statements like those in the very first few sentences; i.e., claims that vaccine adjuvants and vaccines can cause autoimmune disease (basically the only people claiming adjuvants can cause autoimmunity are Shoenfeld and antivaccine “scientists” associated with him), that aluminum adjuvants are toxic to humans at vaccine-relevant doses (no, they aren’t).

So what did the authors do? They basically tested whether Gardasil or its aluminum adjuvant cause behavioral issues in mice. Upon perusing the abstract, my first question was this: Why this hypothesis? Why do the authors think that HPV vaccine might cause behavioral changes? We don’t really learn why. Their reasoning seems to be “Because vaccines are bad” or “because aluminum is bad.” Certainly they don’t present any publications with convincing evidence supporting a potential link between vaccines or aluminum adjuvants and behavioral problems. Now, if all this study were doing were testing vaccines or adjuvants in cultured cells, this wouldn’t be such a big deal. However, if you’re going to subject animals to pain and distress and then kill them at the end to look at their brains, you need some compelling evidence to show (1) why your hypothesis is so compelling and (2) why only an animal model can answer the question you want to answer. Shoenfeld’s group utterly fails at this. I can only speculate that animal research regulations must be more lax in Israel than they are in the US.

So let’s look at the tests these poor mice were subjected to:

  • The forced swimming test (FST): This is a test purported to model depression. How one models depression in a mouse, I don’t know, but there is literature to support this use. In any case, increased floating time (not swimming) is indicative of depressive behavior and can also indicate locomotor dysfunction. In these experiments: “mice were placed in individual glass beakers with water 15 cm deep at 25° C. On the first day, mice were placed in the cylinder for a pretest session of 10 min,and later were removed from the cylinder, and then returned totheir home cages. Twenty-four hours later (day 2), the mice were subjected to a test session for 6 min. The behavioral measure scored was the duration (in seconds) of immobility or floating, defined as the absence of escape-oriented behaviors, such as swimming,jumping, rearing, sniffing or diving, recorded during the 6 min test.”
  • Staircase test: This test is supposed to measure anxiety, as more anxious mice won’t explore as much. In these experiments: “The staircase mazeconsisted of a polyvinyl chloride enclosure with five identicalsteps, 2.5 × 10 × 7.5 cm. The inner height of the walls was con-stant (12.5 cm) along the whole length of the staircase. The box wasplaced in a room with constant lighting and isolated from externalnoise. Each mouse was tested individually. The animal was placedon the floor of the staircase with its back to the staircase. The num-ber of stairs climbed and the number of rears were recorded duringa 3-min period. Climbing was defined as each stair on which themouse placed all four paws; rearing was defined as each instancethe mouse rose on hind legs (to sniff the air), either on the stairor against the wall. The number of stairs descended was not takeninto account. Before each test, the animal was removed and the boxcleaned with a diluted alcohol solution to eliminate smells.”
  • Novel object recognition test: This is a visual recognition memory test that involves measuring the time spent exploring each object.
  • Y maze test: This test is used to assess spatial short term memory and involves blocking one arm of the Y-maze in the first trial and then assessing the mouse’s memory on subsequent tests. Rationale: “A normal cognitively non-impaired mouse is expected torecognize the old arm as old and spend more time in the new arm.”
  • Rotarod test: The rotarod tests general motor function and motor learning and measures the time that a mouse can remain walking on a rotating axle without either falling or clenching onto the axle.

So, basically, the investigators injected mice with either saline (negative control), adjuvant only, Gardasil, or Gardasil and pertussis toxin (presumably the positive control), and there were 19(!) animals per experimental group, which is a huge number for most animal studies. The various injections were scaled down from an estimated 40 kg teenaged girl to a 20 g mouse (a 2000-fold difference). The mice received three injections, spaced one day apart. The behavior of the mice, as measured by the parameters above, was then examined at three and six months.

One thing I looked very carefully for in the methods section was something I always look very carefully for in any study of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Can you guess what it is? If you’re a regular, if you’ve been reading for a while, I hope that I’ve imparted enough of my skepticism for you to know right away what I’m talking about. That’s right; I looked for any evidence of blinding of observers. I found none. Why is blinding so important? Easy! These measurements are not entirely objective. An observer has to watch the mouse being tested and decide, for instance, what constitutes “immobility” versus “escape-oriented” behaviors in the FST. Without blinding, the observer knows which experimental group each mouse is in, and subtle biases in observation can creep in, without the observer even knowing it. If I had been a reviewer for this paper, I would have immediately noted the lack of any mention of blinding and demanded that the authors clarify whether the observers were blinded or not. If they were not, I would reject the paper.

There’s another fatal flaw in the paper as well. Take a look at the statistics section:

Results are expressed as the mean ± SEM. The differences inmean for average immobility time in the FST, the staircase testparameters (number of rearing and stair-climbing events), novelobject recognition and Y maze tests were evaluated by t-test. Significant results were determined as p < 0.05.

Those of you unfamiliar with basic statistics (and, believe me, the problem with this passage is very, very basic) won’t recognize the problem, but those of you who’ve taken a basic statistics course will recognize immediately what the problem is here. What is the t-test? No doubt the authors are referring to Student’s t-test, which is a test designed to look for differences between two groups. Now, how many groups are being tested? Yes, indeed! It’s four. In other words, it’s a number of experimental groups for which Student’s t-test was never intended. What is the significance of this? Basically, it means that the authors must have compared, pairwise, all the groups. So what? you might ask. Here’s the problem. The more comparisons you make, the greater the chance of finding a “statistically significant result” by random chance alone. That’s why other statistical tests were developed, specifically the ANOVA test, which would have been the correct test to use to analyze these data. That’s another thing I would have insisted on the authors redoing, if I had been a reviewer.

And I would have done it with extreme prejudice, as I have done before in papers I’ve been asked to review that didn’t grasp this very basic bit of statistics.

Now, this might not matter for comparisons for which the calculated p-value is very low, but there are a lot of p-values like 0.02, 0.03, etc., with the cutoff for statistical significance being 0.05. Combine the failure to use an appropriate statistical test with the appropriate post-test to correct for multiple comparisons with the lack of blinding for the behavioral tests, and these p-values are almost certainly not significant. The differences in the FST came with p-values in the range of 0.0001 to 0.025; so some of the differences are probably significant, even if the correct statistical test were used, while others (such as the control versus Gardasil at 6 months, for which p=0.025) are almost certainly not. Regardless, given the apparent lack of blinding of the observers for the behavioral measures, even the differences reported that would likely stand up to an actual correct statistical analysis are very much questionable.

The authors did additional experiments that demonstrated that—surprise! surprise!—Gardasil does induce antibodies to the HPV L1 protein. Amazing. The vaccine works, even in mice! The authors also looked at brain sections of one quarter of the mice in each experimental group, staining brain tissue sections for Iba-1, which is a microglia/macrophage-specific protein that participates in membrane ruffling and phagocytosis in activated microglia; presumably in this case it was being looked at as a measure of inflammation. Of course, if I were reviewing the paper I would have insisted on other measures of inflammation besides staining for just one protein. Basically, they harvested five mice out of each group every month and sectioned their brains. That means a comparison of four groups, each with five mice in them. That’s not a particularly robust sample to produce statistically significant results. I’m also a bit cynical about the quantitative claims made for the measurement of Iba-1, given that the selection of “areas of interest” was also manual and apparently also not blinded.

Even given that, the authors found no statistically significant difference between control and Gardasil (p=0.06) but did find a difference between the aluminum adjuvant group and the Gardasil group (p=0.017), which doesn’t make a lot of sense if it is the adjuvant that is being blamed for the behavioral changes. Again, this is almost certainly a negative result, given that the authors didn’t do the correct statistical test. None of this is to say that there was intentional cooking of the data to give a desired result. However, no observer is entirely objective. That’s why blinding of observers is so important in behavioral experiments and experiments that involve human choice of areas to measure on images, even when software is being used to qualify the staining, as studies of immunohistochemistry often do.

Basically, this study is worthless, as it’s unblinded and doesn’t use the correct statistical analysis. Had I been a reviewer, I would have pointed these issues out and recommended rejecting the paper. I can see why Dr. Poland was probably horrified to discover that this paper was published in his journal. Perhaps he should ask himself how such a travesty could have been published in his journal.

Comments

  1. #1 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    February 17, 2016

    So Shaw and Tomljenovic:
    1) Failed to properly blind their groups, and;
    2) Used an inappropriate comparison method.
    Either one of those would be grounds to dismiss this on its own. Both together…

  2. #2 Robert L Bell
    February 17, 2016

    test

  3. #3 Robert L Bell
    February 17, 2016

    /* that was odd, had trouble posting */

    One bit of modern practice in scientific writing that disturbs me to no end, and is on display in such pieces of trash as Seralini’s infamous GMO corn – Round Up – Rat demonstration, is the tendency of the author to drone on at length about his pet cause before at last turning to the actual experiment and what was actually done and what the results were. This makes it easy for unscrupulous operators to (sometimes literally) throw a few rats against the wall and to backfill the setup with an implied “I meant to do that” when “I have no idea what I am doing, but listen to this story I just made up about my data” would be more honest.

    This kind of thing would never get past Orac or his faithful band of skeptics, but the zombie armies of true believers eat it up like Yorkshire pudding.

  4. #4 Aeolian
    Scotland
    February 17, 2016

    OK, first comment after seven years’ apprenticeship as a lurker.

    Why this hypothesis? Could it be something to do with the fact that girls get this vaccine in early adolescence, and one thing we all know is how common it is for teenagers’ behaviour to change very dramatically as soon as they hit puberty, and their hormonal changes turn them from sweet and lovable children into something a lot more challenging? In other words, was this study done to back up a scenario in which they suggest to parents that normal adolescent behavioural changes are perhaps associated with the vaccine? A sneaky way to discredit it?

  5. #5 Yerushalmi
    Jerusalem, Israel
    February 17, 2016

    I can only speculate that animal research regulations must be more lax in Israel than they are in the US.

    I can’t speak to how restrictive they are in the US for purposes of comparison, but I can tell you from my wife’s experience as a doctoral student at Hebrew University that the justifications needed for an animal model can be very restrictive indeed.

    Of course, the rules might be different at Schoenfeld’s university – and the rules are probably different for students as opposed to Distinguished Researchers Who Cannot Be Questioned.

  6. #6 herr doktor bimler
    February 17, 2016

    a difference between the aluminum adjuvant group and the Gardasil group (p=0.17)

    Missing a 0?

  7. #7 Amethyst
    The Crystal Temple
    February 17, 2016

    Something else strikes me as odd about this – mice are not robots. Aren’t animals unsuitable to test these things? Like the float test – couldn’t individual mice differ in how they react to the test? Same with the exploration and examination of objects tests – some mice might just be naturally more curious than others?

  8. #8 Yerushalmi
    Jerusalem, Israel
    February 17, 2016

    @Amethyst
    Human beings aren’t robots either, and we use various tests to determine depression with them as well. That’s why you take numerous mice, average the results, and use statistical tests. The statistical tests are there precisely in order to estimate the probability that one group happened to have more naturally curious mice.

    This is perfectly standard procedure in all animal models, and is not indicative of all of the other problems Orac pointed out in the study.

  9. #9 Amethyst
    The Crystal Temple
    February 17, 2016

    I see. Makes sense I guess. It still strikes me as iffy – you’d think behavioural changed would be easier to “tell” in animals such as humans or other primates than in skitterish mice.

  10. #10 Amethyst
    The Crystal Temple
    February 17, 2016

    Sigh.

    *Changes, not changed

  11. #11 Yerushalmi
    Jerusalem, Israel
    February 17, 2016

    Of course it is. But it’s a lot harder to sell “inject human beings with random substances and remove their brains to see what happened” experiments to the IRB 🙂

  12. #12 MI Dawn
    February 17, 2016

    @Yerushalmi: “But it’s a lot harder to sell “inject human beings with random substances and remove their brains to see what happened” experiments to the IRB”. Yeah…the human beings with brains like to keep them, and those without don’t make good test subjects. 🙂

  13. #13 Mikeh
    UK
    February 17, 2016

    I managed to grab a copy of the full paper before it was removed.
    The funder of this work is http://dwoskinfamilyfoundation.com/ , an antivax charity.

  14. #14 Helianthus
    February 17, 2016

    @ Aeolian

    In other words, was this study done to back up a scenario in which they suggest to parents that normal adolescent behavioural changes are perhaps associated with the vaccine?

    Now that you mention it, that may be part of the package.

    I believe it has started the other way round – this vaccine is targeting a STD virus, and telling parents that this vaccine exists is painfully reminding them that their precious innocent little girl will soon start looking for sex.

    But a dishonest* anti-vaccine advocate may indeed be thinking of embedding normal behaviour into the storyline. There is already a pseudo-argument circulating along the line that, because the teenagers will feel protected with this vaccine, they will all engage in risky behavior.**
    Going from “engaging willingly in slutty behavior” to “being brainwashed into a irresponsible drone” is just the next step. Human females are weak-willed, don’t you know?

    * I’m sure such a person doesn’t exist.
    ** yeah, because people in general and teenagers in particular are living cautiously, in fear of catching some nasty bug. It’s not as if a dozen STDs were not already happily circulating around the world.

  15. #15 Amethyst
    The Crystal Temple
    February 17, 2016

    @Yerushalmi – Curses, foiled by those pesky morals and ethics once again…!

  16. #16 Brian Deer
    February 17, 2016

    I’m pleased to say that, years ago, Yehuda Shoenfeld hung up on me, as did John O’Leary, Roy Pounder, and others. All in response to a perfectly polite approach on behalf of an internationally noted media outlet.

    I love these people.

  17. #17 Chris Hickie
    February 17, 2016

    What a shameful waste of mice. But the Dwoskin family doesn’t care about anything other than their own selfish interests.

  18. #18 Amy Rakestraw
    United States
    February 17, 2016

    I believe this study is also cited in a recent statement from the American ‘College’ of Pediatricians to bulk up their stance against the HPV vaccine. Sadness.

  19. #19 Anders Gustafsson
    Åland
    February 17, 2016

    I can already see how this will be spun in the quackosphere: “Big Pharma suppresses study showing Gardasil adverse effects”..

  20. #20 has
    February 17, 2016

    Yerushalmi@11:

    Of course it is. But it’s a lot harder to sell “inject human beings with random substances and remove their brains to see what happened” experiments to the IRB 🙂

    Obviously you’re doing it wrong. That’s why <em<Real Scientists like Andrew Wakefield skip the IRB step and go straight to the birthday party instead.

  21. #21 Dangerous Bacon
    February 17, 2016

    Could someone fill in the blank as to significance of mouse brain staining/cross-reactivity for lba-1 is supposedly important? Is this supposed to indicate an autoimmune phenomenon?

    Wouldn’t actual inflammation in the brain be a more significant indicator of an autoimmune reaction? Did T. and Shaw look for this and not find it?

  22. #22 Orac
    February 17, 2016

    I’m pleased to say that, years ago, Yehuda Shoenfeld hung up on me, as did John O’Leary, Roy Pounder, and others. All in response to a perfectly polite approach on behalf of an internationally noted media outlet.

    Ah, but have you been hung up on by Chris Shaw or Lucija Tomljenovic? 🙂

  23. #23 capnkrunch
    February 17, 2016

    Yerushalmi@5

    and the rules are probably different for students as opposed to Distinguished Researchers Who Cannot Be Questioned.

    This is part of the reason I so dislike Shoenfeld. Somehow he seems to retain a veneer of legitimacy. People seem to regard him as an expert on ASIA, not the crank who made that sh!t up.

    On Orac’s point, there is plenty of literature on ASIA that could have been pointed to to justify this study. Is it published almost entirely by Shoenfeld and his lackeys, mostly in journals where he holds a position and vastly inflated by self-referential review bunk? Yes… but look at how much of it there is.

  24. #24 Helianthus
    February 17, 2016

    @ Dangerous Bacon

    significance of mouse brain staining/cross-reactivity for lba-1 is supposedly important? Is this supposed to indicate an autoimmune phenomenon?

    That’s how I understood it.

    I’m not a specialist in immuno-staining, but from overhearing colleagues who are, I would love to see the negative controls.
    Right now, we are lacking information on the procedure done. E.g., the anti-HPV antibodies were from the vaccinated mice; how were they harvested and purified? The cruder the extract, the more likely to have some antibodies catching some local protein, regardless of the HPV vaccine.
    Actually, the experience was done on protein extracts (western blot, I guess?), not on slices of fixed brain tissues, as I first thought. Lovely. That means their antibodies are recognizing something in a soup of molecules. Way to hedge the bets.
    It doesn’t really invalidate the experiment, but I would have been more impressed if they had showed that the antibodies found something at the surface of the neurons. If the cross-target is deep inside cells, that’s not really the same big issue as a surface protein.
    If they used the vaccinated mice’s brain for their protein extract, I would also have preferred they used naive mice. I don’t know how long antigens from the vaccine will last in the body, but it may not be abnormal that the anti-HPV antibodies recognized something. If anything, if I remember my immunology lessons correctly, the production of a new antibody is being followed by the production of anti-antibodies by the immune system. Maybe I’m speaking out of my @ss, but wouldn’t these auto-antibodies ensure a positive result?

    And yes, I guess showing that the antibodies not only caught something in the brain but more importantly triggered an immune reaction while doing so would have been much more informative.

  25. #25 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    February 17, 2016

    @Mikeh

    The funder of this work is http://dwoskinfamilyfoundation.com/ , an antivax charity.

    Yeah. Nearly all of Shaw and Tomljenovic’s studies are funded by either the Dwoskin Foundation or the Katlyn Fox Foundation.

  26. #26 TBruce
    February 17, 2016

    Wouldn’t actual inflammation in the brain be a more significant indicator of an autoimmune reaction? Did T. and Shaw look for this and not find it?

    We don’t need no stinkin inflammation!

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2014/03/03/its-always-the-vaccine-harold-ramis-and-autoimmune-vasculitis/

  27. #27 Denice Walter
    February 17, 2016

    I’ve always thought that that forced swimming test was not really a great measure:
    I suppose the observers anthropomorphise that those poor, sad mousies just give up and drown.

    “How one models depression in a mouse, I don’t know”

    I don’t know either but if depression can include anxiety]
    ( which is also measured here in another test) couldn’t it involve INCREASED activity instead of only lessened activity
    ( floating not swimming)? ( Swimming vs staircase tests)

    Perhaps they’re just measuring activity level.

  28. #28 Denice Walter
    February 17, 2016

    re Lucija Tomljenovic

    also has a history of making protracted appearances in woo-fraught films by Gary Null.
    -btw- she has a very nice, soft voice and lovely Eastern European accent which probably endears her to the anti-vax contingent.

  29. #29 NH Primary Care Doc
    February 17, 2016

    Hmmm. Gardasil causing behavioral problems in teenage girls? Let me guess what these behavioral problems might be….mouthiness? Snotty retorts to parents? Excessive eye rolling? Moodiness? Door slamming?

    Yup. Definitely the vaccine’s fault!!

  30. #30 Denice Walter
    February 17, 2016

    @ NH Primary Care Doc:

    Believe it or not, one of the TMs believes that her daughter’s problems stem from PANDAS ( but maybe not caused by vaccines- it’s Professor: her kids may not be vaccinated- so some other medical intervention or unclean food) which leads to what sounds like multiple personalities- ]
    as fate would have it, just yesterday TMR re-posted an old entry by her teenaged daughter describing her life as a PANDAS child.

    But her warrior mother fought the PANDAS ( insert joke HERE) and now she’s back to being the child who was stolen away so cruelly.
    I think the post illustrates parents’ possible effects on their children’s thought processes and self images.

  31. #31 Idran
    February 17, 2016

    Here’s some information specifically on the reliability of the forced-swimming test as an animal model for depression: http://www.nature.com/nprot/journal/v7/n6/abs/nprot.2012.044.html

    It’s not due to anthropomorphization, but rather because of an observed preference for escape behavior over immobility after the rat or mouse has been given antidepressants. Though it seems to be a weaker test for mice than for rats: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3127840

  32. #32 Dangerous Bacon
    February 17, 2016

    Could it be that the mice that got Gardasil were calmer and better-dispositioned, and so spent more time floating and enjoying their surroundings than the frantic non-Gardasil mice?

    Just asking questions.

    *also, where were the mice’s parents when study approval was being sought? Didn’t they know that allowing their offspring to be vaccinated with Gardasil would spur licentious rodental behavior?

  33. #33 Denice Walter
    February 17, 2016

    @ Dangerous Bacon:

    Exactly!

    Maybe they were swimming because they were anxious and frantic whilst the others were more laid back and just chilling.

    I saw two on Monday running like mad things on the tracks- perhaps they needed Gardasil.

  34. #34 rs
    February 17, 2016

    ” Let me guess what these behavioral problems might be….mouthiness? Snotty retorts to parents? Excessive eye rolling? Moodiness? Door slamming?”

    Worse. They become Beliebers.

  35. #35 ScienceMonkey
    NW Indiana
    February 17, 2016

    But I just read some Wonder files in VAERS about teenage girls experiencing emotional changes and moods swings a few months after receiving Gardasil. They were filed with Disabled: Yes and Recovered: No.

    Are these disabilities permanent? VAERS says they haven’t recovered! Emotional swings and mood changes in teenage girls? It’s good to know we’ve finally nailed down the cause.

  36. #36 Michael J. Dochniak
    Iowa
    February 17, 2016

    Orac writes,

    clearly it wasn’t Vaccine‘s editor-in-chief Gregory Poland, as it was he who requested temporary removal of the paper

    MJD says,

    Gregory Poland has disclosed that vaccines can reduce the risk of autism.

    http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/flu-shots-during-pregnancy-reduce-autism-risk

    Does this infer that influenza plays a role in the etiology of autism?

    Gregory Poland should resign as editor-in-chief at the journal of Vaccine’s in that his vaccine/autism perspective has been compromised resulting in disruption of the publication/retraction process.

  37. #37 Helianthus
    February 17, 2016

    @ rs

    Worse. They become Beliebers.

    Makes sense. Justin never talked against vaccination. Or if he did, it was obviously a false flag job. Connect the dots!

  38. #38 Roadstergal
    February 17, 2016

    “Novel object recognition test”

    I’ll make this contribution – this test can suuuuuck. It’s so noisy we’ve had to just throw out results. That being said, the results we threw out could have been spun any number of ways… especially with unblinded evaluators.

  39. […] Dr. Orac, who some anti-vaccination trolls think is me, got access to the original article, and skewered it. After reading his critical review of the paper, I stand by my previous point that it smelled just […]

  40. #40 Julian Frost
    South Africa
    February 17, 2016

    2MJD:

    Gregory Poland has disclosed that vaccines can reduce the risk of autism.

    Given that Congenital Rubella Syndrome is a known cause of autism, and that after mass vaccination programs the incidence of CRS fell off a cliff, vaccines can indeed reduce the risk of autism.

    Gregory Poland should resign as editor-in-chief at the journal of Vaccine’s in that his vaccine/autism perspective has been compromised resulting in disruption of the publication/retraction process.

    Given that Doctor Poland’s comment about vaccines reducing autism is demonstrably true, how does his comment show that his perspective has been compromised?

  41. #41 justthestats
    February 17, 2016

    @MJD:

    Gregory Poland should resign as editor-in-chief at the journal of Vaccine’s in that his vaccine/autism perspective has been compromised resulting in disruption of the publication/retraction process.

    How exactly do you expect journal editors to have sufficient knowledge in their subject area to decide which papers are worthy of publication while simultaneously having no other opinions on any topic in the field? I don’t know of any field of academia where editors aren’t expected to do their own research and come to their own conclusions in their own papers. They are expected to be fair to papers that don’t support their ideas, but are in no way expected not to have ideas.

  42. #43 Michael J. Dochniak
    Iowa
    February 17, 2016

    @Justthestats (#41),

    How exactly do you expect journal editors to have sufficient knowledge in their subject area to decide which papers are worthy of publication while simultaneously having no other opinions on any topic in the field?

    MJD says,

    Gregory Poland is a leader in vaccine research at the Mayo Clinic and at the same time can be perceived as restricting other vaccine research from entering the public domain (e.g., Editor-In-Chief of Journal of Vaccines).

    In my opinion, this dual responsibility shows a lack of check-and-balance in vaccine research that can erode public confidence.

    It’s time to resign as editor-in-chief Dr. Poland.

  43. #44 Delphine
    earl grey
    February 17, 2016

    Tomljenovic declined an interview request, but in an email, speculated that the study might have been removed as a result of lobbying by pharmaceutical companies. She said the journal notes on its website that articles might be removed if its recommendations could pose a serious health risk.
    “The reason for ‘temporarily’ removing our paper may be this: if it was to be wildly circulated it would deprive the world of these allegedly ‘life saving’ cervical cancer vaccines, and as a result ‘million of women’ would surely die,” she wrote. “That could not be further from the truth, but that is what pharma would have us believe.”

    YOUR PAPER IS BAD AND YOU SHOULD FEEL BAD

  44. #45 Delphine
    February 17, 2016

    ^^^ Seriously, her response is priceless. “I’m not going to personally interact with you because I won’t be able to control the narrative but I *will* write you an email and tell you HOW MEEEEEEEEN EVERYONE IS TO ME!!1!!!1!!”

  45. #46 TBruce
    February 17, 2016

    Dr. Shaw is a full professor on the UBC Faculty of Medicine. I expect that would require a consistent record of sound research. With that background, why would he attach his name and reputation to such crappy papers? (This is a rhetorical question).

  46. #47 Narad
    February 17, 2016

    Does anybody have the supplemental data? I wonder about this:

    Notably, out of 152 total cases identified via PubMed 129 (85%) are related to neuro-ophthalmologic disorders (Supplementary Table 1).

  47. #48 Denice Walter
    February 17, 2016

    OT but are lame brained posturing and dress up games by Mikey ever truly OT at RI?

    ( yesterday and today, Natural News)

    Mike, not at all confident in his government’s monitoring of pollution, as a citizen scientist, puts his lab at the disposal of the People so that he can test water samples. His EPAwatch website will show up that corrupt federal agency and get at the Truth!

    All that Mikey needs are water samples ( provided by health professionals like chiropractors and massage therapists), your assistance in sharing his links and while you’re at it, some money for his Consumer Wellness charity.

    Unlike the EPA, he is without ulterior motives and conflicts of interests AND he works for free!

    Should we send him some water samples?

  48. #49 justthestats
    February 17, 2016

    @MJD:

    Gregory Poland is a leader in vaccine research at the Mayo Clinic and at the same time can be perceived as restricting other vaccine research from entering the public domain (e.g., Editor-In-Chief of Journal of Vaccines).

    In my opinion, this dual responsibility shows a lack of check-and-balance in vaccine research that can erode public confidence.

    It’s time to resign as editor-in-chief Dr. Poland.

    Can you name any editor-in-chief of any reputable journal in any academic field who is not also a leader in research in that field?

  49. #50 Narad
    February 17, 2016

    This is a keeper:

    It is interesting to note that, in our hands, the extent of adverse neurological manifestations was similar in the three treatment groups whose only common denominator was the Al compound.

  50. #51 MarkN
    February 17, 2016

    Don’t know if anyone else caught this, but another huge flaw of the study didn’t control for the main user group already having a totally unstable mental baseline to begin with.

  51. #52 herr doktor bimler
    February 17, 2016

    Seralini’s infamous GMO corn – Round Up – Rat demonstration
    He is causing hilarity at Retraction Watch too.
    http://retractionwatch.com/2016/02/16/seralini-paper-on-pesticide-dangers-plagiarized-four-years-later/

  52. #53 doug
    February 17, 2016

    “Should we send him some water samples?”

    It would be interesting to send him some very carefully prepared samples with known quantities of assorted “contaminants” to see how well he performs. I would want to consult with people who are highly knowledgeable in such matters so that some of the samples could be formulated to be maximally difficult. I suppose it would be inappropriate to include samples with Salmonella typhi, Legionella sp or the like.

  53. #54 Narad
    February 18, 2016

    It would be interesting to send him some very carefully prepared samples with known quantities of assorted “contaminants” to see how well he performs.

    Different concerned backstories could be another variable to investigate.

  54. #55 palindrom
    February 18, 2016

    It occurs to me that a phrase used in this article, “rabidly antivaccine”, is even more apt than usual.

  55. #56 Amethyst
    The Crystal Temple
    February 18, 2016

    #44 – Uh-oh. I smell an appeal to “academic/research freedom” and “bullies everywhere” in the making…!

  56. #57 Narad
    February 18, 2016

    It occurs to me that a phrase used in this article, “rabidly antivaccine”, is even more apt than usual.

    It’s pretty hard to get anyone to straight-up cop to being an acolyte of Millicent Morden these days.

  57. #58 herr doktor bimler
    February 18, 2016

    Seralini’s infamous GMO corn – Round Up – Rat demonstration

    Bonus Seralini:
    http://eusa-riddled.blogspot.com/2016/02/report-on-improbability-a.html

  58. #59 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    February 18, 2016

    I discovered another flaw with the Inbar paper: some undisclosed conflicts of interest.

  59. #60 JustaTech
    February 18, 2016

    Gosh, I got the Gardasil shot after college, and I have just as many behavioral problems now as I did before! Maybe even fewer, now that I think about it.

    See, clear evidence that Gardasil cures teenage mouthiness. Just takes 5-10 years.

  60. #61 Neuroturtle
    February 19, 2016

    I hate the forced swim test. Immobility is an adaptive response when it’s quite clear that there is no escape – no use wasting your energy when you can float along just fine. Sucrose preference test is a much better measure of depressive-like behavior; it’s objective and it doesn’t stress the crap out of your animals.

  61. #62 palindrom
    February 19, 2016

    Narad @57 — I had to look up Millicent Morden.

    Yikes!

    http://www.whale.to/vaccine/rabies.html

  62. #63 palindrom
    February 19, 2016

    Neoturtle @61 — I am not a behavioral scientist, so I’m not familiar with these matters, but I have to say that the forced swim test struck me as sounding far too much like the Medieval testing for witches so brilliantly lampooned in the Holy Grail.

    Which is, I’m sure, totally unfair and characteristic of the snooty superior attitude of physical scientists. Which we adopt, of course, because we’re just smarter than everyone else.

  63. #64 Renate
    February 19, 2016

    Palindrom @62
    At whale to, someone needs do do a course in webdesign. But I suppose there are some other priorities at hand first, like a real study in medicine. Perhaps someone should be bitten by an animal with rabies.

  64. #65 Helianthus
    February 19, 2016

    @ Renate

    Perhaps someone should be bitten by an animal with rabies.

    I don’t know, the folks over at Whale to seem already rabid enough.

  65. #66 justthestats
    February 19, 2016

    @Renate

    At whale to, someone needs do do a course in webdesign.

    I prefer to think of it as a sign that no web designer is desperate enough to take their money to work on it.

  66. #67 Michael J. Dochniak
    Iowa
    February 21, 2016

    @justthestats (#49),

    Dr. Gregory Poland (Vaccine Researcher and Editor-in-Chief at The Journal of Vaccines) teaches that flu shots during pregnancy can reduce the risk of autism.

    In 1938, Jonas Salk and Thomas Francis developed the first vaccine against flu viruses.

    The incidence of autism in the early 1930’s, when the flu vaccine was unavailable, was essentially zero.

    Today, flu shots having latex warnings are mass distributed and the autism rate is 1 in 46 children?

    Dr. Poland, in your professional opinion, how many more flu shots do we have to give pregnant women to reduce the incidence of autism in future generations?

    In my opinion, Dr. Poland’s resignation is inevitable and desirable.

  67. #68 Julian Frost
    South Africa
    February 21, 2016

    Michael, I don’t know if you’re being wooden-headed or disingenuous.

    In 1938, Jonas Salk and Thomas Francis developed the first vaccine against flu viruses.

    The incidence of autism in the early 1930’s, when the flu vaccine was unavailable, was essentially zero.

    Today, flu shots having latex warnings are mass distributed and the autism rate is 1 in 46 children?

    The fact that autism was only defined and described in 1944 by Leo Kanner and Hans Asperger does not mean it did not exist before then. It just means it wasn’t defined. I have had this argument probably dozens of times.
    There is an axiom that one should not attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity, but simple incompetence is no longer adequate to describe your comments here.

  68. #69 Denice Walte
    February 21, 2016

    Julian is correct:
    even Freud- who died before then- described children who “failed to attach”** who might be diagnosed as autistic today. In addition many children who were institutionalised and diagnosed either as having intellectual disabilities ( “mental retardation”) or as having “childhood schizophrenia” might fit within the same category as well.

    ** I can’t recall exactly where in his writings he does this.

  69. #70 Denice Walter
    February 21, 2016

    Ooops! I clicked on the wrong nym.

  70. #71 Michael J. Dochniak
    Iowa
    February 21, 2016

    Julian Frost says (#68),

    …one should not attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity, but simple incompetence is no longer adequate to describe your comments here.

    MJD says,

    Dr. Gregory Poland teaches that pregnant women can reduce the risk of autism with flu shots, what’s the mechanism?

    I’ve described a mechanism that may increase the risk of autism with some flu shots (i.e., natural rubber latex insult).

    Therefore, I herein challenge Gregory Poland to a debate on the question:

    Can flu vaccines affect the risk of autism in a developing fetus?

    Dr. Poland will you accept this challenge?

  71. #72 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    February 21, 2016

    @MJD

    Indeed, there were others who had described what we now call autism well before Kanner. Here are a couple of posts for you to peruse.

    Also, perhaps you might be able to answer this: if an entomologist discovers and describes a new species of beetle, does that mean that the beetle did not exist before the researcher discovered and wrote about it? That certainly seems to be the argument that you are using.

  72. #73 herr doktor bimler
    February 21, 2016

    Much as Trisomy 21 came into being in 1866 when Down described the eponymous syndrome.

  73. #74 Michael J. Dochniak
    Iowa
    February 21, 2016

    Todd W. asks (#71),

    if an entomologist discovers and describes a new species of beetle, does that mean that the beetle did not exist before the researcher discovered and wrote about it?

    MJD says,

    If one defines the word “new” as not existing before then it’s possible that an entomologist could discover and write about a first generation beetle (i.e., new species of beetle).

    Hope that answers your question Todd W.

  74. #75 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    February 22, 2016

    Seriously MJD?

    Dr. Gregory Poland teaches that pregnant women can reduce the risk of autism with flu shots, what’s the mechanism?

    A pregnant woman who falls ill with flu has a heightened risk of giving birth to an autistic child. Flu shots, by reducing the odds of a pregnant woman catching the flu, lower the odds that she will give birth to an autistic child. Are you really that unable to draw proper inferences?

    I’ve described a mechanism that may increase the risk of autism with some flu shots (i.e., natural rubber latex insult).

    Yes, your latex fixation is all too well known around here.
    As you yourself admit above, it may increase the risk. Here’s the thing: why don’t you devise an experiment to test your hypothesis? Draw up a plan and submit it for funding. I’m quite sure you’ll find people willing to fund such research.

  75. #76 Amethyst
    The Crystal Temple
    February 22, 2016

    What if I were to suggest that the so-called “autism epidemic” is caused by better understanding and diagnosing of it rather than thousands of children all of the sudden developing it these recent years…?

  76. #77 Chris Preston
    February 22, 2016

    The incidence of autism in the early 1930’s, when the flu vaccine was unavailable, was essentially zero.

    This article is an interesting read if you have access to it

  77. #78 herr doktor bimler
    February 22, 2016

    This article is an interesting read if you have access to it

    One thing I learned (from the Comments thread) is that Theresa Deisher has stooped to using “Academic Journals” — a particularly scuzzy one-man scam operating out of Nigeria — as an outlet for her antivax bollocks.
    http://academicjournals.org/journal/JPHE/article-abstract/C98151247042

    I point and laugh.

  78. #79 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    February 22, 2016

    @Chris Preston: thanks. Interesting indeed.

  79. #80 Amethyst
    The Crystal Temple
    February 22, 2016

    #77 – Wow, interesting read. Great article. It saddens me to see that one of the two comment threads on it is from an anti-vaxxer though. They’re everywhere.

  80. #81 MarkN
    February 22, 2016

    yes they are…trying to educate them about science and infectious disease just makes their mis-placed resolve even worse. kinda like a cult, with the exception that public health comes into play.

  81. #82 Michael J. Dochniak
    Iowa
    February 22, 2016

    @Chris Preston (#77),

    Great read about autism-like symptoms in the 1800’s. Thx.

    What environmental insult may have affected the incidence of autism-like symptoms in the 1800’s?

    Between the years 1831 and 1832, Goodyear heard about gum elastic (natural rubber) and examined every article that appeared in the newspapers relative to this new material. The Roxbury Rubber Company, of Boston, had been for some time experimenting with the gum, and believed it had found means for manufacturing goods from it. It had a large plant and was sending its goods all over the country.

    Moving forward into the 1900’s, expanded and repeated use of natural rubber latex in infant and medical products (e.g., vaccines) may have affected the autism rate thereafter.

    @Julian Frost (#75),

    I don’t have the skills to accomplish such research.

  82. #83 Murmur
    UK-ia
    February 22, 2016

    Amethyst #76

    Then you would be correct 😉

    F’rinstance, on a bored afternoon sometime in 2011 (school holidays, so we had many cancelled appointments) the 2 colleagues with whom I shared an office and I started thinking about folk we’d seen on old style back wards of the 3 different big UK MH hospitals where we had trained in the late ’80s and early ’90s, i.e. BEFORE autism became such a mainstream diagnosis and BEFORE we were actually taught anything about it, and could come up with many who would be better described in terms of the autistic spectrum than the diagnoses of various forms of schizophrenia they had received.

    None of the 3 of us (all pretty senior community CAMH nurses at that point) received any training in assessment of the autistic spectrum until the early 2000s, and even after that assessment tools got better and knowledge increased and we all became much more skilled at such assessments (even me who never liked doing such assessments)…

  83. #84 Murmur
    UK-ia
    February 22, 2016

    Chris P: thanks for that link! Good read.

  84. #85 shay simmons
    February 22, 2016

    The incidence awareness of autism in the early 1930’s, when the flu vaccine was unavailable, was essentially zero.

    FTFY.

  85. #86 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    February 22, 2016

    Between the years 1831 and 1832, Goodyear heard about gum elastic (natural rubber) and examined every article that appeared in the newspapers relative to this new material. The Roxbury Rubber Company, of Boston, had been for some time experimenting with the gum, and believed it had found means for manufacturing goods from it. It had a large plant and was sending its goods all over the country.

    Were they also experimenting with time travel? Remember, the individual that Howe described mentioned at the beginning of that article was 59 years old in 1846.

  86. #87 Gilbert
    February 22, 2016

    It might be plausible that many people were messing around with natural rubber latex long before it was industrialized, Todd W. #86.

    Ficus elastica yields a milky white latex, a chemical compound separate from its sap and carried and stored in different cells. This latex was formerly used to make rubber, but it should not be confused with the Pará rubber tree, the main commercial source of latex for rubber making. Just as with Hevea brasiliensis, the latex of Ficus elastica is an irritant to the eyes and skin and is toxic if taken internally.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ficus_elastica#Latex

    Rubbers. I see Bill Gates is innovative in moving away from latex:

    The Gates Foundation solicited proposals in 2013 for such new types of condoms because “material science and our understanding of neurobiology has undergone revolutionary transformation in the last decade,” while the condom has remained basically unchanged for the last half-century.

    http://www.mystatesman.com/news/news/supercondom-backed-by-texas-am-gates-foundation-ta/nqSPk/

    Trump is into condominiums because it is the smallest size they make — Ba du dunk.

  87. #88 MarkN
    February 22, 2016

    Looks like gardasil works pretty well:

    http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/22/health/hpv-vaccine-teen-girls-effective/index.html

    But, but..It’s all a conspiracy….

  88. #89 Chris
    February 22, 2016

    Chris Preston: “This article is an interesting read if you have access to it”

    Thanks for that. I’ll read it when I go to the library as soon as autistic son is finished watching a DVD that I will return. I have a book waiting for me, I need something to read in the waiting room while he is getting social coaching.

  89. #90 Liz Ditz
    United States
    February 22, 2016

    Down syndrome clearly existed before it was named. Check out this fascinating article:

    On the Antiquity of Trisomy 21: Moving Towards a Quantitative Diagnosis of Down Syndrome in Historic Material Culture by John M. Starbuck

  90. #91 Liz Ditz
    Great State of California
    February 22, 2016

    Chris and Chris Preston:

    John Donvan and Caren Zucker’s Smithsonian article is a spin-off from their book, “In a Different Key”. The book is problematic. See for example this review, by an autistic adult. http://www.thinkingautismguide.com/2016/01/in-different-key-one-deeply-flawed.html

  91. #92 Chris Preston
    February 22, 2016

    Liz Ditz, perhaps. I have not read the book. What I found interesting in the article was the work of Samuel Gridley Howe, who was able to clearly describe a large number of people among those classified as having mental illness with behaviors that today would be recognised as autistic.

  92. #93 herr doktor bimler
    February 22, 2016

    Samuel Gridley Howe, who was able to clearly describe a large number of people among those classified as having mental illness with behaviors that today would be recognised as autistic.
    J. Down doesn’t get enough recognition for describing “idiot savant syndrome” as a clinical entity, back in 1887. I guess he already had Down Syndrome named after him so it wouldn’t be fair to honour him twice.
    One thing I learned from Darold Treffert’s work is that

  93. #94 herr doktor bimler
    February 22, 2016

    It saddens me to see that one of the two comment threads on it is from an anti-vaxxer though. They’re everywhere.

    One commenter starts a thread by linking (inter alia) to a press-release / conference poster by T. Deisher and the Sound Choice grifters, on Homologous Recombinaltion Tiniker. Another commenter tries to link to Deisher’s “paper” in a mockademic wordbucket (combining more apples, oranges and cherry-picked time-line data), but screws up and only manages to link to the journal.
    Oh how I laughed.

  94. #95 Chris
    February 22, 2016

    One comment revealed it was from someone who had not even read the book:

    Can autism be described as: “Feeling pure hatred, while plotting vengeance (against unknown adversaries)”?

  95. #96 Chris
    February 22, 2016

    AARGH! I meant he had not read the article.

    By the way, the book is huge.

  96. #97 Chris
    February 22, 2016

    Liz Ditz: “The book is problematic.”

    In some ways, so was Neurotribes. John Elder Robinson made some interesting comments on the linked review.

  97. #98 JustaTech
    February 22, 2016

    MJD @81: And when were pineapples widely exported? How about kiwis? Why don’t you blame them for autism?

    (Pineapple, kiwi and latex allergies are tightly correlated.)

  98. #99 herr doktor bimler
    February 22, 2016

    And when were pineapples widely exported?

    Here’s Charles II being presented with a pineapple (1675):
    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Charles-pineapple.jpg

    Supposedly they were introduced to the UK by John Tradescant the Younger in the early 1600s.

    But then there is this Waterhouse painting, “A Sick Child brought into the Temple of Aesculapius”:
    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_Os6aUImRi8I/Swo04qQogrI/AAAAAAAAABQ/mobldctSMQI/s1600/Waterhouse_Aesculapius.jpg
    Pay particular attention to the offering over on the right, by the plinth, in the form of a bowl of fruit… it CONTAINS A PINEAPPLE. Incontrovertible proof that the pineapple trade goes back to Roman days.

  99. #100 Michael J. Dochniak
    Iowa
    February 22, 2016

    @JustaTech (#98),

    You made me laugh, Thx.

    You know Orac doesn’t like me to talk about latex or when pineapples were widely exported.

    Seriously, if the FDA required warning labels on vaccines for pineapple and kiwi you may have a legitimate question.

  100. #101 Michael J. Dochniak
    Iowa
    February 22, 2016

    @herr doktor bimler (#99)

    Talk of pineapples that go back to the days of the mammoth?

  101. #102 Mrs Pointer
    February 22, 2016

    #99: “But then there is this Waterhouse painting, “A Sick Child brought into the Temple of Aesculapius”… Incontrovertible proof”

    I’m not convinced. The Pre-Raphaelites were notorious for their misuse of Photoshop.

  102. #103 Helianthus
    February 23, 2016

    @ Mrs Pointer

    I’m not convinced. The Pre-Raphaelites were notorious for their misuse of Photoshop.

    Not to mention their tendency to photobomb their portraits by inserting pictures of their neighbors next to some pop celebrity like Alexander. Whose face they have replaced by the face of the guy paying for the painting, to draw the price up.
    I’m afraid that this painting glorifying mainstream medicine was paid for by Big Pharma and an innocent tomato was replaced by a pineapple.

    @ hdb

    Incontrovertible proof that the pineapple trade goes back to Roman days.

    Careful, you are starting to sound like Audrey Tautou 🙂

  103. #104 herr doktor bimler
    February 23, 2016

    ou are starting to sound like Audrey Tautou

    That’s good, right?
    Truth is, I sound more like Mads Mikkelsen.

  104. #105 Helianthus
    February 23, 2016

    @ hdb

    That’s good, right?

    IDK, in the movie of the book, Audrey attracted abino Jesuits and Jean Reno.

  105. #106 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    February 23, 2016

    @Gilbert

    It might be plausible that many people were messing around with natural rubber latex long before it was industrialized, Todd W. #86.

    Now, now. No need to try to salvage MJD’s gaff of a comment. He tried to link the story about Samuel Howe and the census of “idiots” in Massachusetts to Goodyear and Roxbury Rubber Company.

    Oh, and MJD, plagiarism is generally frowned upon. That paragraph you posted about Goodyear was lifted, verbatim, from Wikipedia. You’re already on bad footing here, and then you do something like this? Do you actually want to be banned completely?

  106. #107 Michael J. Dochniak
    Iowa
    February 23, 2016

    Todd W. says (#106),

    Do you actually want to be banned completely? and

    MJD, plagiarism is generally frowned upon.

    MJD says,

    No, just being myself.

    My background is in patents therefore it’s called boiler plate text not plagiarism.

    @Orac,

    I’m in a public library, with kids all around, and there’s a penis (Syphilis – the king of spirochetes) on the screen while reading the end of your article above.

    If I get banned from the library you owe me an apology and life-time auto-moderate nullification.

  107. #108 JustaTech
    February 23, 2016

    OK, I’m starting to feel vaguely left out that I don’t have the nasty picture that everyone’s complaining about. (Not really. The only dissertation defense I’ve been to was on herpes and that was plenty of pictures for me.)

  108. #109 Ellie
    The Green Side Of The Grass
    February 23, 2016

    @108 I only had the nasty penis show up once, and never again, for which I am very grateful. Now, I just have plain old run of the mill ads.

  109. #110 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    February 23, 2016

    @MJD

    My background is in patents therefore it’s called boiler plate text not plagiarism.

    It doesn’t matter what your background is, and you didn’t just copy-paste standard contract language. You copied someone else’s original, unique writing without their authorization, without attribution, and passed it off as your own. That is plagiarism.

    But it is refreshing that you admit that you are dishonest and don’t give a damn about stealing other people’s work.

  110. #111 Vicki
    February 23, 2016

    Your “background is in patents, therefore” you have never heard of intellectual property?

    Granted, copying and pasting from Wikipedia isn’t copyright infringement*, just evidence of laziness, but if you want to avoid plagiarism, you should take the time to type something like “as the Wikipedia article on $subject says,” before pasting the text in.

    *there’s no copyright to infringe

  111. #112 Narad
    February 23, 2016

    OK, I’m starting to feel vaguely left out that I don’t have the nasty picture that everyone’s complaining about.

    I’ve been seeing a couple of bestiality items in the mix recently, but I’ve switched off images on the phone browser I use for RI (which is the only place I see ads).

  112. #113 Michael J. Dochniak
    Iowa
    February 24, 2016

    Todd W. says (#110),

    But it is refreshing that you admit that you are dishonest and don’t give a damn about stealing other people’s work.

    MJD says,

    Thanks Todd, sounds like we could become really good RI friends.

    Q. If I take material out of a book wherein I’m a co-author do I have to reference the source in that I’m not the only copy right owner.

  113. #114 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    February 24, 2016

    The paper has been withdrawn: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264410X16000165

    Editor-in-Chief and outside experts have found the study’s methodology to be seriously flawed.

  114. […] link Gardasil with behavioral issues published in Vaccine, of all journals; that is, at least until editor-in-chief Gregory Poland found out about it and got it removed for further review. It happens. (Fortunately, Poland retracted that study.) The […]

  115. […] In a recent article by Orac, an eminent but mysterious physician who spends most of his day demolishing pseudoscience in medicine, recently described Shaw and Tomljenovic in these terms: […]

  116. […] was officially retracted. Here is the link if anyone is interested in reading an in depth analysis (http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/20…oral-problems/) The shortish version from the link is this: Quote: So, basically, the investigators […]

  117. #118 Narad
    February 28, 2016

    The MDC trackback (or pingback, whatever) above may prove to have some amusement value once it gets rolling.

  118. #119 Calli Arcale
    http://fractalwonder.wordpress.com
    February 29, 2016

    Donchiak:

    My background is in patents therefore it’s called boiler plate text not plagiarism.

    Oh good grief. Remind me never to ask you for legal advice.

    Boiler plate text is something like the “lorem ipsum” text, or “the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.” It has no real content and serves only as a placeholder, usually to maintain formatting until the real text comes along. You would not paste boiler plate text to make any sort of a point.

    Why not just say “whoops, forgot to post attribution”? That way you would look like you just made an entirely forgiveable minor oops instead of looking like a lying weasel.

  119. #120 Michael J. Dochniak
    Iowa
    February 29, 2016

    @ Todd W. (#110), Vicki (#111), and Calli Arcale (#119),

    AS DESCRIBED IN WIKIPEDIA ABOUT CHARLES GOODYEAR:

    Between the years 1831 and 1832, Goodyear heard about gum elastic (natural rubber) and examined every article that appeared in the newspapers relative to this new material. The Roxbury Rubber Company, of Boston, had been for some time experimenting with the gum, and believed it had found means for manufacturing goods from it. It had a large plant and was sending its goods all over the country.

    @herr doktor bimler,

    Is this kind of referencing really necessary?

    The truth is Gardasil vials and prefilled syringes are now latex free.

    http://www.merck.ca/assets/en/pdf/products/GARDASIL-PM_E.pdf

  120. #121 Gilbert
    February 29, 2016

    But it is refreshing that you admit that you are dishonest and don’t give a damn about stealing other people’s work.

    Freeify all the scholarly things, Michael J. Dochniak #113.

    http://www.sci-hub.cc/

  121. #122 Calli Arcale
    http://fractalwonder.wordpress.com
    February 29, 2016

    Really, really not sure what that was meant to prove, Donchiak.

  122. #123 Michael J. Dochniak
    Iowa
    February 29, 2016

    Calli Arcale says (#122),

    …not sure what that was meant to prove, Donchiak.

    Dochniak says,

    Simply adding valuable information about Gardasil with a reference.

    I’d like to further add that I’m glad these poor mice were not subjected to a vaccine that had a latex warning.

  123. […] we’ve met Tomljenovic and Shoenfeld before, quite recently in fact, when they tried (and failed miserably) to show that Gardasil causes behavioral problems in mice. Earlier, working with antivaccine […]

  124. […] have worked together. In fact, I’ve even encountered them quite recently, when they tried (and failed miserably) to show that Gardasil causes behavioral problems in […]

  125. #126 Julian Frost
    South Africa
    March 13, 2016

    http://www.theprovince.com/health/journal+permanently+spikes+canadian+study+critical+vaccine/11771257/story.html
    Journal permanently spikes Canadian co-authored study critical of HPV vaccine

    A Canadian co-authored study critical of the human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV) has now been permanently spiked by a prestigious medical journal, with one outside expert suggesting it contained numerous “gross errors.”
    The small animal study had actually been accepted by Vaccine and published online, then pulled temporarily last month by the editor, who had it peer-reviewed a second time — an unusual sequence of events…
    A new notice on the journal’s website says the article has been permanently withdrawn because of “serious concerns” about its scientific soundness and claims in it that are unjustified.

    BLAM

  126. #127 DD
    March 17, 2016

    Look, if the study is crap, then let it stand: it’s passed the peer-review process and so let’s have an open debate, via letters to the editor, concerning the validity of this study and let the authors respond. Yes, to pull it like that does look like suppression, and no doubt if this paper were favorable to Gardasil, it could have been riddled with errors and still everyone would have applauded it.
    Let the editors say exactly what the methodological flaws were, and let the authors respond to these, and let the scientific community decide for itself.

  127. #128 Chris Preston
    March 17, 2016

    Look, if the study is crap, then let it stand: it’s passed the peer-review process and so let’s have an open debate, via letters to the editor, concerning the validity of this study and let the authors respond.

    That might be true if the authors for example had used a methodology that was not really appropriate for the purpose. However, if the authors have actively misled readers by, for example, failing to mention contradictory evidence or results, the work should be retracted due to research fraud.

    Journal editors are a bit wary of specifying a study to be fraudulent due to the risks of a lawsuit. For example, Gilles-Eric Seralini threatened to sue Food and Chemical Toxicity if they retracted his paper, so the retraction ended up being full of weasel words.

    In any case, that doesn’t mean the paper disappears from view. It remains on the site with the word “Retracted” marked through it.

  128. #129 Narad
    March 17, 2016

    In any case, that doesn’t mean the paper disappears from view. It remains on the site with the word “Retracted” marked through it.

    No, this one never got far enough to be retracted; it was withdrawn.

  129. #130 Narad
    March 17, 2016

    ^ Sci-Hub has the in-press version, though.

  130. #131 Chris Preston
    March 18, 2016

    No, this one never got far enough to be retracted; it was withdrawn.

    Indeed if it is not formally published it can’t be retracted.

    You can also still get the proof version from Lucija Tomljenovic’s Research Gate portal. From whence I have saved it for future reference.

  131. #132 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    March 18, 2016

    Look, if the study is crap, then let it stand

    No. Sorry, but no. If it is as bad as that, retract it.

    [I]t’s passed the peer-review process

    So what? Other papers have passed the peer review process only for it to be discovered that they were riddled with flaws and retracted. Case in point: Andrew Wakefield’s fraudulent “case study”. In some cases where papers were retracted, it was because new evidence emerged overturning them.

    [N]o doubt if this paper were favorable to Gardasil, it could have been riddled with errors and still everyone would have applauded it.

    ORLY? No doubt? Spoken like a true antivaxxer.

  132. #133 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    March 18, 2016

    @DD

    no doubt if this paper were favorable to Gardasil, it could have been riddled with errors and still everyone would have applauded it.

    If the paper had been favorable to Gardasil, but still plagued by the same problems, I would still say that it should be withdrawn/retracted. What matters is the quality of the science, not the conclusions that it makes, even if those conclusions go against what I might accept or believe to be true.

  133. #134 Macy
    March 24, 2016

    For being so smart and educated you people are idiots. Truly! Countries are suing the manufacturer of Gardasil. You’re telling me they’re wrong. Their using something novel called “empircall data”.

    What’s it going to take for the scientific community to wake up to pharmaceutical greed? It’s going to take your own family and friends succumbing to direct adverse affects, which you will be too pig headed to link to anything beyond your own narrow scope of vision.

    You could all be using your well endowed brains to improve the world and not just tow the line. So sad.

  134. #135 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    March 30, 2016

    Which countries are suing the manufacturer of Gardasil? Why are they suing? Is the evidence good?
    In short, evidence or GTFO.

  135. #136 herr doktor bimler
    March 30, 2016

    Their using something novel called “empircall data”.

    “Empircall data” is indeed so novel that I can’t find it in the dictionary.

  136. #137 Mrs Pointer
    March 30, 2016

    “You could all be using your well endowed brains to improve the world and not just tow the line.”

    I believe the correct expression is “tow the LION”

  137. #138 herr doktor bimler
    March 30, 2016

    Well-endowed brains and towing the lion? If this is some sort of Wizard-of-Oz slash-fic, I want no part of it.

  138. #139 MI Dawn
    March 30, 2016

    Actually, that’s a phrase that is so often misused. It’s TOE the line…like put your toes at the line drawn in the sand or (in the case of the Brit, between the two sides in the House of Commons)…

    On the other hand, you have towheads (like I was as a child)

  139. #140 Mrs Pointer
    March 30, 2016

    “Actually, that’s a phrase that is so often misused. It’s TOE the line”

    No, you are talking about something completely different there: TOEING the LION.

    http://imgur.com/bF6Vn

  140. #141 shay simmons
    March 30, 2016

    Countries are suing the manufacturer of Gardasil

    Which countries?

  141. #142 shay simmons
    March 30, 2016

    Oops…sorry, Julian, you beat me to it.

  142. #143 Helianthus
    March 30, 2016

    @ hdb

    Well-endowed brains and towing the lion? If this is some sort of Wizard-of-Oz slash-fic, I want no part of it.

    Now they are talking about toeing the lion, to boot. It’s getting rather personal.
    I think it’s a spin-off on the Chronicles of Narmia. There must be a wardrobe somewhere. Or maybe a garderobe.

  143. #144 Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin
    May 10, 2016
  144. #145 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    May 10, 2016

    From Orac’s article.

    So right off the bat, I knew something fishy was going on here, and, thanks to the person who supplied me with a PDF of the article, I knew I had to take a look to see if I could figure out what happened. What I can say, having read the article, is that it is so shoddily done that it represents a massive failure of peer review that a journal as good as Vaccine ever accepted it for publication.

    Orac HAS read the article.

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