There are a thousand crappy studies out there carried out with the explicit (although often unspoken) goal of demonizing vaccines by “proving” that they cause autism. Indeed, over the last 12+ years that I’ve been blogging here, I’ve deconstructed more such studies than I can remember—or would care to remember if I could. Unfortunately, if there’s one thing I’ve learned about some of these studies, it’s that they’re like the killers in 1980s slasher flicks. You remember them? Killing machines like Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers, who mowed through teens misbehaving (often by having sex) for the whole movie, only to be killed at the end of the movie. Wait. Strike that. Instead say: to appear to be killed at the end of the movie. As any horror flick fan knows, the killer (or monster, come to think of it) might appear to be dead at the end of the movie, but they always, always, always come back in the sequel to kill again, at least if there’s money to be made. Antivaccine pseudoscience is a lot like that. Whenever a truly awful study that should never have been accepted in the first place for publication in a peer-reviewed journal is retracted, you can be sure that it won’t be too long before it is magically resurrected and rears its ugly head again in some form or another, to be wielded not just as a weapon to frighten parents with but as a bogus example of how the peer-reviewed medical literature “suppresses” science that doesn’t support vaccines, to be used to feed the conspiracy theories behind the antivaccine movement. Same as it ever was.

So it was with some amusement that I saw not just one, but two posts over at that now demoted lesser wretched hive of scum and quackery, Age of Autism, touting a “suppressed study.” (Natural News is now the Big Kahuna when it comes to being the One True Wretched Hive of Scum and Quackery. Besides, compared to NN, AoA is truly a piker.) First, there’s Kevin Barry, author of the definitive “CDC whistleblower” conspiracy theory magnum opus, dropping a turd entitled First Peer-Reviewed Study of Vaccinated versus Unvaccinated Children (Censored by an International Scientific Journal) Now Public. Not to be outdone, Mark Blaxill (remember Mark Blaxill?) laid down an equally stinky bit of brown entitled Stunner in First-ever “vax/unvax” study: Vaxxed Kids Have 4.7 Fold Higher Risk of Autism. Elsewhere, there’s a post referenced by Barry by James Grundvig entitled Censored Study of Vaccinated vs. Unvaccinated sees Daylight. You can see right away elements that antivaxers love, in particular a “study” (if you can call it that) that purports to validate their belief that vaccines cause autism, neurologic damage, and autoimmune diseases—human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria. Then, of course, there has to be a coverup. In the case of the “CDC whistleblower” conspiracy theory it’s supposedly the CDC covering up slam-dunk evidence that vaccines cause autism. Here, it’s, well, someone covering up the results of this “vaxed versus unvaxed study.”

Let’s see what’s got the antivaxers so excited. First, Mark Blaxill:

In a development that autism parents have long anticipated, the first-ever, peer-reviewed study comparing total health outcomes in vaccinated and unvaccinated children was released on line yesterday. According to sources close to the project, the study had been reviewed and accepted by two different journals, both of which pulled back on their approval once the political implications of the findings became clear. That’s largely because, as parents have long expected, the rate of autism is significantly higher in the vaccinated group, a finding that could shake vaccine safety claims just as the first president who has ever stated a belief in a link between vaccines and autism has taken office.

Well, no. Not exactly, as you will soon see. But what about Barry:

Today, a groundbreaking new study of the overall health of vaccinated and unvaccinated children has been released to the public for the first time. The critically important new pilot study has been posted on line.

The paper was leaked to journalist and author James Grundvig, who published an article describing aspects of the study on Medium on February 22, 2017. Grundvig describes how the paper was leaked to him (and others?), and he describes how he authenticated it with the study’s author and with the journal which censored it.

Oooh. The story was leaked! Let’s see what Grundvig claims:

After 30 years of the government immunizing the vaccine makers from harm, the long-delayed, first-of-its-kind study on “vaccinated versus unvaccinated” children has arrived. From five years of designing and conducting the epidemiology survey to more than one censorship roadblock from scientific journals to thwart the study’s findings — a damning indictment against vaccines being a false flag cure-all — it appeared in the public domain.

For six hours on Valentine’s Day, the 34-page study breached daylight for six hours before the url link vanished. Leaked from a source, giving the release the half-life of a firefly, afforded enough time to download the document and share with the study’s author, who confirmed its authenticity.

Vaccination and Health Outcomes: A Survey of 6- to 12-year-old Vaccinated and Unvaccinated Children based on Mothers’ Reports, by Anthony R. Mawson, et al., reads like dozens of Centers for Disease Control (CDC) population-based studies that found “no association” between vaccines and autism. Except this came out of Dr. Mawson’s School of Public Health Initiative at Jackson State University, Jackson, Mississippi, co-financed by non-profit organizations in Generation Rescue, Inc., and the Children’s Medical Safety Research Institute, with not a single government dime spent.

Wait, what? This study was funded by antivaxers? After all, Generation Rescue was founded by J.B. Handley to promote the idea that mercury in vaccines causes autism, and later Jenny McCarthy herself became its president. Children’s Medical Safety Research Institute is about as antivaccine as it gets. Indeed, I just mentioned the CMSRI three weeks ago, when it was promoting a study that claimed to show that vaccines were hopelessly “dirty” and “contaminated” but in reality showed nothing of the sort. Just peruse the CMSRI website. Look at its Scientific Advisory Board, which is packed to the gills with “luminaries” of antivaccine pseudoscience, such as Chris Shaw, Yehuda Shoenfeld, Stephanie Seneff, and more. Antivaxers might scream “Unfair!” at my harping on the funding source, but they do exactly the same thing—and actually, to some extent, rightly so—when examining pharmaceutical company-funded studies showing vaccine safety. Unfortunately, they appear not to apply the same standard to studies they like.

Be that as it may, this study sounded very, very familiar to me. So I typed “Mawson” into the search box of the ol’ blog, and, sure enough, it wasn’t long before I found an old post entitled Antivaccinationists promote a bogus internet “survey.” Hilarity ensues as it’s retracted. It was the study that Barry promoted near the end of his book Vaccine Whistleblower: Autism Exposing Research Fraud at the CDC and that CMSRI promoted. Remember, CMSRI is Claire Dwoskin’s antivaccine group, and the Dwoskins are known for spreading their wealth around to antivaccine causes. The article was also only ever posted in abstract form on Frontiers in Public Health and then removed, as explained in a Tweet (geez, is everything explained in a Tweet?) not long after in response to a question about why there was no full text of the study available:

Grundvig wrote the editors:

The paper, however, wasn’t retracted; it was “unaccepted,” according to Mawson via email. That means Frontiers didn’t retract it, since it was never officially published. What’s left for a study after its accepted, reviewed 80,000 times in less than 100 hours? . . . Censorship.

Beyond that clarification, Mawson wrote: “I am not allowed to comment on the paper/work by my Dean.”

Melissa Cochrane, the communications manager for Frontiers Journal, which is headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, replied via email:

“As we have previously noted, this article was provisionally accepted but not published. In response to concerns raised regarding the abstract and the provisional PDF — which were made provisionally available online — Frontiers then reopened its review. Following further manuscript assessment by the Field Chief Editor of Frontiers in Public Health, in consultation with an external expert, the manuscript was subsequently rejected, not retracted as retraction can only occur once a paper has been officially published and indexed.

“The rejection was due to severe limitations in the validity of the results.”

First, I find it rather unlikely that Mawson’s dean told him not to comment on the paper. This is the sort of thing that would very much go against academic culture. Second, Frontiers journals tend to be very poor quality, with highly dubious peer review. That’s been my experience and the experience of quite a few academics with whom I’ve corresponded. No doubt the same thing happened with Mawson’s paper, given that it was reviewed by a chiropractor and Indian psychiatrists who appeared to have none of the expertise necessary to review such a paper. That’s why it actually surprised me that the editors “unaccepted” the paper, no matter how bad it was. (And, as I recounted, it was very, very bad indeed.)

And now it’s back, just like Jason or Michael Myers killing his first teen at the beginning of a sequel to the last movie, where he appeared to be almost certainly dead. So what, if anything, has changed in the new version of the study? It’s really damned hard to say. Again, like last time, there appears to be nothing more than the abstract, which is apparently what Barry and Blaxill mean by the “leaked” study, but unlike last time there are a few bullet points supplied by Blaxill It still reports data from 415 mothers providing data on 666 children in an anonymous survey of home-schooled children (which, of course, is already an unrepresentative source). In any case, here’s what Blaxill claims that Mawson found:

Vaccinated children were significantly less likely than the unvaccinated to have been diagnosed with chickenpox and pertussis, but significantly more likely to have been diagnosed with other infections, allergies and NDDs (defined as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and/or a learning disability).

At least mMawson found that the pertussis and chickenpox vaccines work. I suppose that’s something. And, here is what he refers to as the chronic illness detail:

Vaccinated children were significantly more likely than the unvaccinated to have been diagnosed with the following chronic illnesses:

  • 7-fold higher odds of any neurodevelopmental disorder (i.e., learning disability, ADHD, or ASD)
  • 2-fold increase in Autism Spectrum Disorder (“ASD”)
  • 2-fold increase in ADHD
  • 2-fold increase in learning disabilities
  • 1-fold increase in allergic rhinitis
  • 9-fold increase in other allergies
  • 9-fold increase in eczema/atopic dermatitis
  • 4-fold increase in any chronic 
illness
  • No significant differences were observed with regard to cancer, chronic fatigue, conduct disorder, Crohn’s disease, depression, Types 1 or 2 diabetes, encephalopathy, epilepsy, hearing loss, high blood pressure, inflammatory bowel disease, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, obesity, seizures, and Tourette’s syndrome. However, larger samples would be needed to detect group differences in these less common conditions.

And acute illnesses:

  • Vaccinated children were significantly less likely than unvaccinated children to have had chickenpox or whooping cough (p<0.001).
  • Vaccinated children had a 3.8-fold increased odds of middle ear infections and a 5.9-fold increased odds of being diagnosed with pneumonia compared to unvaccinated children.
  • No significant differences were seen between the two groups with regard to Hepatitis A or B, high fever in the past 6 months, measles, mumps, meningitis (viral or bacterial), influenza, or rotavirus.

And finally:

In regression analyses, vaccination was associated with a significant 3.1-fold increased odds of neurodevelopmental disorders (combining the diagnoses of ASD, ADHD, and learning disability), after controlling for other factors. An important detail emerged regarding a possible synergism between vaccination and preterm birth. In a final adjusted statistical model, vaccination but not preterm birth remained associated with NDD, as defined, while the interaction of preterm birth and vaccination was associated with a 6.6-fold increased odds of NDD (95% Confidence Interval: 2.8, 15.5).

Not surprisingly, an antivaxer ate it up:

“I am delighted to see a properly analyzed study on vaccine safety” said Dr. Lyons-Weiler, CEO and President of the Institute for Pure and Applied Knowledge. “Unlike past studies, which ignored the interaction term, Dr. Mawson and colleagues followed appropriate steps toward interpreting the significance of the interaction between variables. The study reported a significant interaction effect between pre-term birth, and vaccination as a 6.6-fold increase in the risk of neurodevelopmental disorders.”

“This study, however, as a survey study, is potentially subject to variation due to responses from well-intended participants. The next logical step would be additional, larger studies that would try to replicate the results using electronic medical health records – by independent investigators not involved in profiting from vaccines”, said Dr. Lyons-Weiler.

Um, no. This report by Blaxill gives us a bit more detail than the previous abstract, but not much more. As far as I’ve been able to tell, the actual paper has not yet been published anywhere in the peer-reviewed literature. In fact, if the paper had truly been accepted for publication, “leaking” it and letting antivaxers publish its abstract plus other findings would very make most reputable journals quite cross (as my British friends would say) and might even endanger the publication of the paper. Be that as it may, we still don’t have what we need to critically evaluate this study the way it needs to be evaluated. Even so, from what I can see now, nothing has changed in regards to what a piece of crap this survey is. Again, this survey questioned 415 mothers of 666 children educated at home. Not only is that not a representative sample, given that all the children are home-schooled, it’s not even a very big sample. Remember when I discussed the statistical issues in doing even an epidemiological “vaxed versus unvaxed” study? To find any statistically significant, much less clinically significant differences in health outcomes between vaccinated and unvaccinated children would require huge numbers, and who knows if Mawson controlled for confounders properly. I tend to doubt it, and there were probably a lot of confounding factors to deal with.

As I’ve related before, parents who choose to home school are not like your average parents. There are likely to be a lot of confounding factors that go along with home schooling, including the association between home schooling and antivaccine views. This association showed up in this very survey in its originally (briefly) published form in that it reports that 39% of the children in the survey were completely unvaccinated. This is not representative of the general population, by any stretch of the imagination, where in general the number of totally unvaccinated children number in the low single digits. Add to that the likelihood of selective memory and reporting, and the likelihood of this survey providing useful information is vanishingly small. Of course, surveys are not the best means of gathering health data. Yes, I know. The NIH does surveys. I’ve even discussed one of them, specifically in relationship to how much “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) people use. However, while such surveys can be useful for assessing the sorts of treatments people partake in, they’re not quite as useful for assessing whether there are correlations between health practices (e.g., vaccination) and health outcomes (e.g., autism and ADHD).

It is, of course, a myth that no studies have compared the health of vaccinated versus unvaccinated children. There have been several, and all of the ones not done by antivaxers have found either no difference in chronic disease or better health outcomes in the vaccinated population. Yet, antivaxers believe beyond faith and evidence that a “vaxed/unvaxed” study will validate their belief in the evils of vaccines, which is why the latch on to lousy studies like Mawson’s It’s also why his crappy anonymous survey of an unrepresentative population of children that was so bad that a Frontiers journal actually “unaccepted” it has risen from the grave again to be sold as having been “suppressed” and now “leaked” to the antivaccine faithful as slam-dunk evidence that mandates a much bigger “vaxed versus unvaxed” study.

Same as it ever was.

Comments

  1. #1 Terrie
    February 24, 2017

    I’d be curious on things like the timing of the decision to homeschool. Some parents of special-needs kids chose to homeschool if they feel their local public school special ed program just isn’t’ addressing their child’s needs. Those kids are likely to have been vaccinated. However, parents who both unvaccinate and homeschool are likely to have made those choices in their child’s infancy, so their kids would not have been exposed to the kind of screening kids in public school get, making them less likely to be diagnosed with certain conditions, regardless of if they have it or not.

  2. #2 Alia
    February 24, 2017

    As I was just wondering – it is certainly possible that some of these parents decided to homeschool their children _because of_ their NDDs. Which would make the sample even more unrepresentative.

  3. #3 Chris Hickie
    February 24, 2017

    The survey for this “study” can be viewed here. The abstract for the study presents their “research” as being completely based on this survey, which is completely unacceptable for obtaining a vaccination history. As a pediatrician, I’ve caught parents forging vaccine cards and you can find online discussions from AVers on how to forge them, so why should we expect all survey respondents here to be truthful about their child’s vaccine history (not to mention people with ulterior motives simply doing the survey to spike the results towards their belief that vaccines cause every disease known to man).

    I also view these “studies” as turds that are such big POS’s that they never quite flush, always floating back to the surface even stinkier than the last time we had to endure them. There are, however, with the exception of Bill Murry in Caddyshack, very few movies from which to draw a good Hollywood comparison.

  4. #4 Eric Lund
    February 24, 2017

    I find it rather unlikely that Mawson’s dean told him not to comment on the paper.

    I agree. I see two possible explanations for this statement, neither of which reflect well on Mawson:
    1. Mawson is lying about having been told not to discuss the paper.
    2. Mawson was indeed told not to discuss the paper, but by his lawyer, not his dean.
    The trouble with explanation 2, and the thing that makes it look bad for Mawson, is that AFAICT there is no obvious reason for Mawson to have lawyered up here.

  5. #5 Michael J. Dochniak
    Minnesota
    February 24, 2017

    Orac writes,

    Unfortunately, if there’s one thing I’ve learned about some of these studies, it’s that they’re like the killers in 1980s slasher flicks.

    MJD writes,

    If there’s one thing I’ve learned about medical science, it’s like the movie “Miracle (2004)” wherein the legendary hockey coach Herb Brooks says, “The legs feed the wolf”.

    Persistence and hard work does eventually affect the outcome.

  6. #6 Slugdoc
    Intertidal
    February 24, 2017

    A number of these health concerns are based on ‘diagnoses’. It seems like anti-vax, homeschooling parents would be less likely to bring their child to an actual doctor anyway.

  7. #7 Dorit Reiss
    February 24, 2017

    Two more points:
    A. Re measles, chicken pox etc’: I would really want a medical diagnosis there. Online experience suggests anti vaccine families self diagnose measles, which makes those diagnoses, for me, well, questionable. Having enough measles in such a small sample to make comparisons, given its low rate in the state, is suspect.

    B. Barry is a lawyer. He should know better than to use the term censored for a journal’s decision not to publish a study. You’re not owed acceptance by an academic journal.

    B.

  8. #8 her doktor bimler
    February 24, 2017

    Dr. Lyons-Weiler, CEO and President of the Institute for Pure and Applied Knowledge.

    Sounds legit!

  9. #9 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    February 24, 2017

    Vaccination and Health Outcomes: A Survey of 6- to 12-year-old Vaccinated and Unvaccinated Children based on Mothers’ Reports

    So the “study” wasn’t a study but a survey based on subjective reporting.
    What a load of old cobblers.

  10. #10 Antaeus Feldspar
    February 24, 2017

    Still unable to figure out blockquoting, a latex-obsessed dingbat writes:

    MJD writes,

    If there’s one thing I’ve learned about medical science,

    That’s an awfully huge “if”.

  11. #11 herr doktor bimler
    February 24, 2017

    The paper was leaked to journalist and author James Grundvig, who published an article describing aspects of the study on Medium on February 22, 2017. Grundvig describes how the paper was leaked to him (and others?)

    OFFS. The “leaked paper” has remained available since November last year.

    I find it rather unlikely that Mawson’s dean told him not to comment on the paper.

    Remember that his previous university had sacked him, so he may receive special scrutiny.

  12. #12 Matt Carey
    LeftbrainRightBrain.co.uk
    February 24, 2017

    Children’s Medical Safety Research Institute is Claire Dwoskin. She is the wealthy person who put on the Jamaica junket years back where people like Andrew Wakefield were wines and dined in style in return for giving lectures.

    Her email address was something like novaccine4me@…. which gives you an idea

    She funds junk research by a whole raft of luminaries in the junk science field.

    If memory serves she is a past board member of NVIC.

  13. #13 Matt Carey
    February 24, 2017

    “Dr. Lyons-Weiler, CEO and President of the Institute for Pure and Applied Knowledge.”

    An organization (basically him) which constantly has its hand out. Basically “will shill bad science for dimes”.

    At least Wakefield was able to get hundreds of thousands of dollars for selling his name and reputation.

  14. #14 Michael J. Dochniak
    Minnesota
    February 24, 2017

    @Antaeus Feldspar (#10),

    You really should take the us out of Antaeus.

    @ Orac,

    I’ve never seen any of the movies you describe in this post. Did you enjoy those movies? If the answer is yes you’re definitely Sid in the Disney movie “Toy Story”.

  15. #15 Bob
    February 24, 2017

    I wonder if parents of completely unvaccinated kids would ever admit their kid had autism, even if diagnosed by a doctor. “My son can’t be autistic, he’s never had vaccines, GMOs, OR gluten!” I guess just another reason doing this entirely by survey is a terrible idea.

  16. #16 JustaTech
    February 24, 2017

    Even if we were to assume that the parental reporting was totally accurate (and you even assume that in any study ever), there are more confounders than results!

    To expand upon Terrie and Alia’s comments: if the oldest child in a family is vaccinated, goes to school, then is diagnosed with some form of autism and the parents pull that child out of school for home schooling, and then never vaccinate younger siblings or put them into regular school, well, that can account for a lot of the findings.
    Older, vaccinated child was around other kids (therefore more likely to pick up illnesses including ear infections).
    Now that none of the kids go to school they all have much less contact with other kids, so they are less likely to catch *any* illness, be it an ear infection or a VPD.

    At the very least I would want to know about birth order relative to vaccinations, ASD diagnosis, and entry into home school (did the child ever attend public or private school, including pre-school?)

    My infectious disease and survey professors would have a field day with this study, but probably wouldn’t use it in class because we’d get off-topic.

  17. #17 JustaTech
    February 24, 2017

    Bob @14: Right! That was going to be another thing I would want to see: who diagnosed these kids? And not just with autism, but all the other things as well.

    And as for learning disorders, well, teaching is hard, and it takes a lot of learning and training and if the parent’s teaching style doesn’t mesh with the child’s learning style, I could see assuming learning disorders as well.

  18. #18 Chris Preston
    Australia
    February 24, 2017

    I find it rather unlikely that Mawson’s dean told him not to comment on the paper.

    Mawson is a Visiting Professor at JSU. There is every possibility that the Dean has had a quiet word to him about what is acceptable behaviour in a Visiting Professor.

  19. #19 rork
    February 25, 2017

    First, I’m happy to see several others pointing out the possible or even expected confounding. There are many.

    “To find any statistically significant, much less clinically significant differences in health outcomes between vaccinated and unvaccinated children would require huge numbers” is not right. It depends. It depends on the size of the effect, and the frequency of the outcome of interest! In the old post linked to was a power calculation based on a 10% change in an uncommon outcome, and there it’s true you’d need a big study. But if it’s more common, like allergies, and it’s a 9-fold change, you don’t need very big samples at all. There are online power calculators for tests of two proportions – try them out sometime.
    And follow this rule: never complain about sample sizes when the other guy got a small p-value, cause it makes no sense.

  20. #20 DGR
    February 25, 2017

    Speaking of studies, I wonder how much play this study will receive at AoA, TMR, etc.?

    http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/02/herpes-virus-may-be-trigger-autism

  21. #21 Johnny
    127.0.0.1
    February 25, 2017

    CNN is running a story slightly more critical of the herpes/autism link

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/22/health/autism-herpes-pregnancy-study/index.html

    However, three experts who were not involved in the new research say it does not provide enough scientific evidence for worry.
    “Unfortunately, the analysis conducted in this study has significant flaws, and in fact, the data does not support the claims made by the authors,” said Mathew Pletcher, vice president and head of genomic discovery at Autism Speaks.
    According to Dr. David Winston Kimberlin, a professor of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, “pregnant women should not be worried about HSV-2 (genital herpes) as a cause of autism based upon the findings of this single exploratory research study.”
    Amalia S. Magaret, a research professor in the department of laboratory medicine at University of Washington, also said the conclusions “are subject to concern.”

    Still, it might be enough to put the AoA loons into a tizzy.

  22. #22 Chris Preston
    Australia
    February 25, 2017

    And follow this rule: never complain about sample sizes when the other guy got a small p-value, cause it makes no sense.

    It does rather depend on how they got there. Witness Brian Hooker.

  23. #23 Mrs Pointer
    February 26, 2017

    @ Herr Doktor Bimler #11: “The “leaked paper” has remained available since November last year.”

    The paper you linked was only the abstract, mysteriously published on the Frontiers website, and then even more curiously removed a week later. The entire paper (all 34 pages of it) can be found here:

    https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/view/57028136/provisional/6

  24. #24 Ian
    Somewhere in the wprld
    February 26, 2017

    Hi Orac,

    Love the name. You might to look at this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQT5RNVf4GM

  25. #25 Old Rockin' Dave
    February 26, 2017

    ORD says MJD says MJD says:
    “Persistence and hard work does eventually affect the outcome.”
    Of course persistence and hard work can equally be put to the service of wishful thinking and mediocrity. Since we seem to be invoking movies here, Ed Wood is a standout example. If you need more proof, just read over your posts.

  26. #26 MarkN
    February 26, 2017

    Dorit at #7 — “Re measles, chicken pox etc’: I would really want a medical diagnosis there. Online experience suggests anti vaccine families self diagnose measles, which makes those diagnoses, for me, well, questionable. Having enough measles in such a small sample to make comparisons, given its low rate in the state, is suspect”

    It is suspect. There are several harmless exanthems mistaken for the disease, as well as underestimating the possibility of meningitis, which can be disastrous.

  27. #27 sadmar
    February 26, 2017

    According to a story in The Guardian [http://tinyurl.com/j3dw3tk] Trump’s rhetoric, and the whole ‘altenative facts’ thing may actually be a triumph of science – specifically computer science in AI and data analytics. It’s a disturbing read. Check it out.

  28. #28 Michael J. Dochniak
    Minnesota
    February 27, 2017

    Old Rockin’ Dave says (#25),

    If you need more proof, just read over your posts.

    MJD say,

    I’ve made 11% of the responses (i.e., 3 of 27) at this point with one video up-link.

    That’s pretty damn good for a science blog that gets ~ 20,000 hits per day.

  29. #29 Rick Ricketson
    Edmond, OK
    March 2, 2017

    Looking over the comments regarding the article in question, I also have concerns as many of you expressed above and, quite frankly, surveys are more of a subjective investigation. That said, they do serve as a signal for review and concern. The fact that there are arguments, legitimate, on both sides of the fence demonstrates the need for objective, unbiased analysis. I do see the legitimate concerns of funding, whether it be from a pharmaceutical organization or from any special interest group.
    As for IPAK, the assumption that we are driven solely by anti-vaccination groups would be incorrect. Our research areas Including publications, presentations, and contributions (RR, JLW, TF, GMS) over the past 2 years have included the following. It should be quite evident from this list that our research interests go towards the best interest of global public health in many areas.
    1. The Glycoprotein Mucin-Like Domain (MLD) in the Zaire ebolavirus (EBOV) may be responsible for the manifestations of Post-Ebola Virus Disease Syndrome (PEVDS) (RR, LR)
    2. Predictive SVM Model of a Novel miRNA in the Zaire Ebolavirus (RR)
    3. Areas of Research and Preliminary Evidence on Microcephaly, Guillain-Barré Syndrome and Zika Virus Infection in the Western Hemisphere (JLW,GMS,RR,TF)
    4. Teratogenicity of the Zika Virus: Sequence Homology with Rubella Capsid Domain p53 Apoptosis Pathway (RR,JLW)
    5. Multiple Apoptotic/Necrotic Pathways may be Involved in Zika Virus Neurotropic Brain Injury (RR,JLW)
    6. Zika Action Plan (submitted to OSDH) (RR)
    7. The Zika Virus sfRNA Secondary Structure Reveals a miR-147a Homologue that Targets Neurofascin as a Potential Cause of its Neurologic Syndromes (RR,JLW)
    8. Zika Virus Induced Neurotrophic Brain Injury: Lessons for the Study of Disease Etiology and Vaccine Development Against Pathogens (RR, JLW)
    9. Atmospheric Oxygen and the Evolution of Glutathione: Perspective and Relevance to HBOT in Neurologic Healing (TF, RR)
    10. Diagnostic Strategies in Schistosomiasis (RR)
    11. Review of Diagnostic Methods for Soil Transmitted Helminthiasis (RR)
    12. India Mission Report: Leishmania Filariasis in Telengana State and Delhi, India (RR)
    13. Narcolepsy and Influenza A H1N1 pdm2009 (RR,JLW)
    14. B and T-Cell epitope Screening: Human Papillomavirus(JLW,RR)
    15. B and T-Cell epitope Screening: Rotavirus (JLW, RR)
    16. B and T-Cell epitope Screening: Hepatitis B virus ((JLW, RR)
    17. Autoimmune Cytopathogenesis of Influenza A Nucleoprotein (RR)
    18. Mumps Outbreak in the Marshallese Population: Implications for Genetic Testing (RR)
    19. RNA Binding Domain in Influenza A Nucleoprotein as a Novel Mechanism of Translational Repression (RR)
    20. Shared ICAM-1 Receptor between Human Rhinovirus and Ebolavirus May Allow for Droplet Transmission (RR)
    21. Molecular Modeling of the Influenza A Nucleoprotein (RR,JLW)
    22. Reconsideration of the Immunotherapeutic Pediatric Safe Dose Levels of Aluminum (JLW,RR)
    23. Emergence of Filoviridae in the New World (RR)
    24. Oncogenic potential and molecular mechanism of integration of Human Papillomavirus

    Feel free to contact me regarding our research activities at IPAK.

    • #30 Orac
      March 2, 2017

      Let’s see. Here’s a page from the IPAK website:

      http://ipaknowledge.org/CDC-Accountability-Project.php

      Quote:

      For the past ten months, IPAK scientists have been working with a legal team to work out the basis of a complaint against the CDC for their handling of vaccine safety science. The public is invited to participate as co-plaintiffs by joining the CDC Accountability Project. Our approach is based on legal theory researched by Prof. Mary Holland, who recently told the world about the threats to informed consent during her presentation at the United Nations.

      We will reveal the legal theory behind our complaint, and the likely suit, when we file the complaint. All donors will receive a copy of the complaint via email.The relief we seek is to have CDC stop misinforming the public on the state of science linking vaccines and autism.

      Join the CDC Accountability Project below, and share on Facebook and Twitter. Help make autism history.

      Sure sounds antivaccine to me. As does this “HPV Informed Consent Flyer,” which peddles antivaccine bullshit with other “questions”:

      http://ipaknowledge.org/IPAK-INFORMED-CONSENT-FLYER.php

      As does having Mary Holland on your advisory board:

      http://ipaknowledge.org/Main.php

      And having Dr. Bob Sears, Yehuda Schoenfeld, Toni Bark, and Paul Thomas as speakers at your meeting:

      http://ipaknowledge.org/ipak-focus-2017.php

      • #31 Dorit Reiss
        March 2, 2017

        That alleged informed consent form is extraordinarily misleading and clearly designed to scare parents from vaccinating.

        An organization that created it cannot sincerely call itself anything but anti vaccine.

        Nor is Ms. Holland the only anti-vaccine activist on the board – Josh Mazer and Anne Nans, at the least, also qualify.

  30. […] was initially accepted and then rejected by a crappy journal and now has risen from the grave to lumber across the antivaccine blogosphere in search of brains, even though it has so many confouders unaccounted for that it in essence tells us nothing about […]

  31. #33 herr doktor bimler
    March 2, 2017

    “Institute of Pure and Applied Knowledge” still sounds to me like one of those parasite-publisher dumpsters, along the lines of “Global Journal of Advanced Research” or “International Journal of Innovative Studies”. Or something that an evil Mad Scientist might call his under-a-volcano laboratory, after titling himself “Master of All Scientific Knowledge”.

  32. #34 Pat
    March 3, 2017

    All of you commenting here are closed minded, narsisistic, fools. You must all be in Big Pharma’s back pocket. It is so obvious in your responses to this study. Anti vaxers used to be pro vaxers until they or their children were injured. Do any of you have a child that has Autism spectrum disorders, cancer, cognitive impaired, allergies, eczema, etc., or have a child that died? Did you vaccinate your children or yourselves? For supposed educated people, if I were your mother, I would be utterly ashamed at the way you have attacked a group of people because they do not follow your thinking on this study.

  33. #35 Chris
    March 3, 2017

    Sigh, it is the old boring stale fact free Pharma Shill Gambit.

    Come back later when you have PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers that any vaccine on the present American pediatric schedule causes more harm than the disease, and any of the stuff you listed.

  34. #36 TBruce
    March 3, 2017

    if I were your mother, I would be utterly ashamed at the way you have attacked a group of people because they do not follow your thinking on this study.

    My mother was a public health nurse. She would despise you.

  35. #37 herr doktor bimler
    March 5, 2017

    It seems to have become an article of faith in the AoA readership that Mawson’s paper was suppressed, retracted, CENSORED because of an orchestrated and well-funded campaign to put pressure on Frontiers.

    In the real world, it only took Leonid Schneider pointing and laughing (someone tipped him off) and the publishers realised within hours that their systems had screwed up bigly.

  36. #38 shay simmons
    March 5, 2017

    You must all be in Big Pharma’s back pocket. It is so obvious in your responses to this study

    What an interesting combination of arrogance and paranoia — you are convinced anyone with a different opinion must be part of a worldwide paid conspiracy.

  37. #39 herr doktor bimler
    March 5, 2017

    You must all be in Big Pharma’s back pocket.

    In fact Big-Pharma is a species of kangaroo, and we are actually in its front pocket. The view is a lot better from there.

  38. #40 WolfgangM
    Vienna
    March 15, 2017

    In this trial (see below) unvaccinated children performed worse compared to vaccinated.
    And today we have more potent vaccines.

    And children have the right for vaccination, according to art.24 Childrens Rights Convention.

    One form of child abuse is child neglect, and can present clinically in different forms. One ist: poor attendance for immunisations and school. (Source: Illustrated Textbook of Paediatrics page 79 ; Tom Lissauer , Grahay Clayden (eds) 2002 . ISBN 0723432430

    and here is the paper – a small study, but comparing vaccinated versus unvaccinated children over 5 yrs.

    Trop Geogr Med. 1990 Apr;42(2):182-4.
    Vaccinated versus unvaccinated children: how they fare in first five years of life.
    Epoke J1, Eko F, Mboto CI.
    Author information
    Abstract

    Twenty five children who had undergone their full course of childhood immunization schedule were compared with 25 children who did not have any vaccinations for a period of five years. Parameters for comparison were measles, pertussis, poliomyelitis, tetanus and tuberculosis. Out of the 25 vaccinated children, only one child had mild measles at 2 1/2 years while 4 had suspected whooping cough at different points of the study period but not clinically diagnosed as pertussis. Among the unvaccinated group, 2 died of measles before the age of 3 years while 11 others went down with measles during an outbreak in 1986. An unvaccinated child also died of tetanus within the study period. In this paper we advocate the total integration of every community in the ongoing Expanded Programme for Immunization in Nigeria.

  39. #41 Calli Arcale
    http://fractalwonder.wordpress.com
    March 15, 2017

    Wolfgang:

    Sadly, I believe the US never ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The sticking point IIRC was the concept of being able to try juvenile offenders in adult criminal courts (which makes children in the US potentially eligible for the death penalty and life imprisonment). We are the only nation to have signed but not ratified it.

    Because of this, the US is the only member of the United Nations which is not bound by the Convention. This is deeply ironic, considering that the US was one of the most ardent proponents of the Convention when it was being drafted, and one of the first signatories — but it has never been submitted to the US Congress for ratification.

  40. […] qui di seguito un commento di Orac su […]

  41. #43 David Foster
    San Diego
    May 4, 2017

    Every time I read anything by Mr Orac I become more convinced that he must get paid by the word. Good grief, so many words…yet in the end you have only two real actual criticisms of this study, which come at the very end of your Op/Ed:
    1) The children in this study were all home-schooled so this is not a truly representative sample
    2) There were too few children in this study

    Perhaps you missed the word “Pilot” in the title of this study? You know what means right?

    Regarding your concerns, I would absolutely agree with you that the fact that all children in this study are homeschooled makes this study difficult to generalize to the population as a whole. And yes, absolutely, we need studies like this which involve many many more children. We have been demanding such studies for decades. So glad that you agree with us Orac! So instead of simply dismissing this study, why are you not asking that this be repeated with a larger sample size taken from more typical families?

    But tell me, what do you think about the actual findings of this relatively small survey of homeschooled children? Do they concern you at all? Of course you take the authors’ findings that vaccinated children have lower rates of chickenpox and whooping cough at face value…because that MUST be true. But all the other results…those must be rubbish.

    Only someone with a pre-ordained agenda could exhibit such blatant bias and lack of scientific curiosity.

  42. #44 Panacea
    May 4, 2017

    You should read Orac’s article again. That was not the thrust of his argument.

    The article in question has never passed peer review. The high imbalance of vaccinated children in the cohort is why it is not representative of the general population. N numbers do matter, but it’s the other problems in the article that really matter.

  43. #45 herr doktor bimler
    May 4, 2017

    Only someone with a pre-ordained agenda could exhibit such blatant bias and lack of scientific curiosity.

    The management of Frontiers didn’t think the study was worth publishing. What more need be said?
    (OK, Orac did find a lot more to say).

    • #46 David Foster
      San Diego
      May 5, 2017

      Panacea you should actually learn about what happened with this study before it was posted in a public access Journal. The study did undergo proper peer review…two months of peer review and was then posted provisionally by Frontiers for its onboard science editors. It was only after this peer review that there was backlash from the study which brought it down. The editors worked with an “external expert” and decided to pull it. I would love to know who that “external expert” was. I can guess.

      Herr Doktor Bimler…Frontiers provided peer review, the study passed review, and was then posted for its internal online editors, with the plan to officially publish. But there was such a strong reaction from the study, once folks realized that it found that vaccinated children had a much higher risk for autism, that Frontiers was forced to bring it down.

      https://healthcareinamerica.us/censored-study-of-vaccinated-vs-unvaccinated-sees-daylight-4be6f3a03c1c

      “Frontiers Journal received the study on September 17, 2016. After a two-month peer review process, published it on November 21 for its “68,000 on board editors” from institutions around the world (www.frontiersin.org), with the National Institute of Health (NIH) and Harvard University being the top two providing the science editors.

      Over the course of four days, more than 80,000 views of the study found it important enough to read, going “viral” according to one familiar with its release. Then on November 28, the bottom fell out when Frontiers scrapped the publication. In one week, it went from being accepted, published, and then retracted. The abstract can still be found online.

      The paper, however, wasn’t retracted; it was “unaccepted,” according to Mawson via email. That means Frontiers didn’t retract it, since it was never officially published.”

      I missed Orac’s link to his other blog entry about this study, but if you leave out the typical ad hominem attacks, smear by association, and requisite jerkiness, the only criticism he makes of this study is the sample size and the fact that the children are all homeschooled. Both would be valid criticisms for studies which claim to draw firm conclusions, however these ring hollow for a study which includes the word “Pilot” in the title, and makes it clear in the discussion that this is only preliminary information which requires more detailed study “with a stronger study design” and larger sample sizes.

      This study is a first baby step which the CDC should have taken decades ago. Me thinks Orac doth protest too much.

  44. #47 herr doktor bimler
    May 5, 2017

    Herr Doktor Bimler…Frontiers provided peer review, the study passed review, and was then posted for its internal online editors, with the plan to officially publish. But there was such a strong reaction from the study, once folks realized that it found that vaccinated children had a much higher risk for autism, that Frontiers was forced to bring it down.

    Nope, nope. The “strong reaction” amounted to scientist / journalist Lionel Schneider pointing and laughing through Twitter after someone tipped him off, and a half-dozen or so of Dr Schneider’s readers pointing and laughing as well. If you can document a stronger reaction than that, I would welcome the opportunity to learn. Orac himself declined to get involved at that point, on account of only the Abstract being available, not the entire paper.

    Frontiers cannot be forced to do anything. Many people have tried. If higher-echelon editors decided to overrule the two peer reviewers who had passed the paper, it is because it was crap.

    In one week, it went from being accepted, published, and then retracted.

    Please. The study was never published. Its Abstract went on-line at the Frontiers website, and copies can be found on the Internet Archive and elsewhere. Copies of the complete manuscript from that date are not archived, for the simple reason that it never went on-line. The release of the Abstract is not part of the usual Frontiers protocol, and it is anyone’s guess how it occurred.

    If you want documentation for this version of the series of events, I am happy to obliged, but first I need to know what level of detail would be enough to convince you that you are mistaken.

  45. #48 David Carter
    United Kingdom
    May 5, 2017

    The study now appears to have been published, in the Journal of Translational Science. The complete text is here:

    http://oatext.com/Pilot-comparative-study-on-the-health-of-vaccinated-and-unvaccinated-6-to-12-year-old-U.S.-children.php

  46. #49 Panacea
    May 5, 2017

    Apparently the study did find a publisher: Journal of Translational Science. I couldn’t find it on Beall’s List but I have no idea as to the quality of that journal.

    Washington Post just did an article on the Somali outbreak of measles and an antivaxxer in the comment section is posting a link to Mawson’s study every few sections. Fortunately the other commenters (including me) are shooting him down quick.

  47. #50 Chris
    May 5, 2017

    I just checked the paper’s title on PubMed, there were no results. It was not found.

  48. #51 Panacea
    May 5, 2017

    The article is in prepublication, but you can find it online here: http://www.oatext.com/Pilot-comparative-study-on-the-health-of-vaccinated-and-unvaccinated-6-to-12-year-old-U.S.-children.php

    I doubt PubMed has had a chance to index it yet.

  49. #52 Chris
    May 5, 2017

    I guess so, because PubMed does index papers from the Journal of Translational Science. I waiting for that “study” to get the drubbing is so much needs, again.

  50. #53 Dangerous Bacon
    May 5, 2017

    “Every time I read anything by Mr Orac I become more convinced that he must get paid by the word. Good grief, so many words”

    Says the guy with some of the longest posts in this discussion.

    I’m reminded of online debates where someone, after having repeatedly posted long diatribes for an extended period, bugs out of the discussion with a haughty comment about all the important stuff he has to do while opponents “must have a lot of time on their hands”. 🙂

  51. #54 herr doktor bimler
    May 5, 2017

    Apparently the study did find a publisher: Journal of Translational Science. I couldn’t find it on Beall’s List but I have no idea as to the quality of that journal.

    Jeffrey had a lot to say about it:
    https://web.archive.org/web/20161227042023/https://scholarlyoa.com/2015/10/08/publisher-acts-suspiciously-like-omics-group/

    Run by Navaneeth Reddy and Khalid Mohammad, two alumni from OMICS, operating through Reddy’s Hyderabad-based company “Research Wallet”:
    https://www.zaubacorp.com/company/RESEARCH-WALLET-SERVICES-PRIVATE-LIMITED/U74900TG2014PTC097002

    The claim to conduct peer review is as mendacious as the claim to be London-based.

  52. #55 herr doktor bimler
    May 5, 2017

    A Goofle search for “OAText” + “predatory” tells us all one needs to know about the sinkhole that Mawson chose to throw his money down.

  53. #56 herr doktor bimler
    May 5, 2017

    But there was such a strong reaction from the study, once folks realized that it found that vaccinated children had a much higher risk for autism, that Frontiers was forced to bring it down.

    Nope, nope. The “strong reaction” amounted to scientist / journalist [Leonid] Schneider pointing and laughing through Twitter after someone tipped him off, and a half-dozen or so of Dr Schneider’s readers pointing and laughing as well.

    Actually I exaggerate. Dr Schneider tweeted Frontiers at 4:14 AM, 28 Nov 2016, and they had taken down the Abstract by 7:46 AM, even before his readers joined in the hilarity. So the concerted, coordinated campaign to suppress the paper and its results consisted of a single critical tweet.

  54. […] back in February, the Mawson zombie study rose from the dead again, as antivaxers spread around copies of the retracted article and crowed that it had been accepted […]

  55. […] a bottom-feeding predatory open access journal even lower on the food chain that the first, after having promoted its second coming among the antivaccine crowd. Obviously, I’m not going to go into the details of each study’s failings in scientific […]

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