Anti-vaccine propaganda lands in New York City this weekend

I've heard it said (actually, I've said it myself) that if you don't have the science and evidence to back up your point of view, in order to persuade someone, make a movie. At least, this seems to be the philosophy of a number of cranks who have produced movies promoting pseudoscience over the last five years or so. The first one of these movies that really caught my attention was an anti-evolution, pro-"intelligent design" creationism documentary narrated by Ben Stein and released in 2008, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. The movie was pure creationist propaganda, complete with Ben Stein visiting Auschwitz and Dachau, the better to try to link "Darwinism" to the Holocaust.

Movies promoting religious pseudoscience such as intelligent design creationism are not the only kinds of pseudoscience propaganda films that cranks make. Indeed, medicine is rife with them, and Wally Sampson has referred to this particularly pernicious genre of documentary as "medical propaganda films." During the existence of this blog, we've reviewed a few such films (or at least written about what we could find out about them without paying for the DVD). For example, I've written about The Beautiful Truth, a paean to the Gerson protocol for cancer, complete with coffee enemas, and reviewed Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days, a film dedicated to the claim that you can cure almost everything (including not just type II but type I diabetes) with a raw vegan diet. There's even a film out now praising Stanley Burzynski and his highly dubious "antineoplaston" therapy that I've been meaning to review. I finally found a free copy of it to watch, and perhaps I'll get to it before the end of the month. The problem, of course, is the neuronal damage I'm likely to suffer by sitting in front of my computer and watching the film.

In the meantime, I couldn't help but notice that another medical propaganda film is making the rounds. Indeed, the anti-vaccine crank blog Age of Autism is promoting a screening of this film that's scheduled for tomorrow in New York. This documentary, The Greater Good, has been making the rounds of various film festivals and as of today has made it to New York, where it is opening at the IFC Film Center on Sixth Avenue. Now, I could simply say here that all you need to know about this movie are that Joe Mercola has hosted the movie streaming on his website in "celebration" (if you can call it that) of what he and Barbara Loe Fisher dubbed "Vaccine Awareness Week" and that one of our favorite bands of anti-vaccine cranks, the Center for Personal Rights, sponsors of a pathetic failed anti-vaccine rally in Grant Park in Chicago in 2010, is sponsoring two screenings tomorrow, one at 4:10 PM and one at 8:05 PM. After the films, audiences will then be treated to a panel discussion by anti-vaccine luminaries such as Louise Kuo Habakus, Mary Holland, and Kim Mack Rosenberg and also "special guest" Emily Tarsell, the last of whom is billed as the mother of a girl who died from the Gardasil vaccine and also, not coincidentally, is the Director of Gardasil Network Development for the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC). I'm guessing there'll be some really helpful medical information being passed around at these screenings.

Yes, that's sarcasm. I realize it's a bit obvious.

I'm going to tell you more, though, because I've actually managed to sit through the whole thing. The things I do for my readers! Fortunately, Orac, being a Tarial cell computer that is the most powerful and interconnected in the galaxy hidden in a cheesy Plexiglass box full of blinking multicolored lights, is able to withstand the waves of burning stupid that emanate from this film. It's total anti-vaccine propaganda, manipulative to the core and full of misinformation confusing correlation with causation. To give you an idea of what you're in for (in case the video is no longer available by the time that you read this), here's the trailer:

The first thing I noticed about The Greater Good is that it's slick and well produced--considerably better produced, I think, than Expelled! The only aspect of it that I found annoying (besides the sheer quantity of anti-vaccine misinformation, pseudoscience, talking points, and distortions, all of which were plenty annoying) was the little animated segments. (Well, the little animated segments and any segment featuring Dr. Bob Sears.) However, given the sheer mass of anti-vaccine propaganda contained within this documentary, quibbling about a stylistic element like that is rather like quibbling about the arrangement of the deck chairs on the Titanic.

The documentary is structured, as many documentaries are, around three families, the better to provide the human interest framework upon which to pile the pseudoscience. Interspersed with segments about each family are interviews with various experts. Perhaps I should say two experts arrayed against a whole lot of "experts," because defending vaccines we have real experts like Dr. Paul Offit; Dr. Melinda Wharton of the CDC; Dr. Norman Baylor, who is Director of the Office of Vaccines Research and Review in the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research; and Dr. Mark B. Feinberg, Vice President for Medical Affairs and Policy for Merck Vaccines and Infectious Diseases at Merck & Co., Inc. Arrayed against them we have a whole lot of anti-vaccine pseudoexperts, such as Barbara Loe Fisher, grande dame of the anti-vaccine movement and founder of the Orwellian-named National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC); Dr. Bob Sears, a pediatrician known for his non-science-based "alternative" vaccination schedule, who of late appears to have ceased mere flirting with the anti-vaccine movement and thrown his lot in with it; Dr. Lawrence Palevsky, a "wholistic" pediatrician; Dr. John Green III, who is described as a "specialist in clinical ecology and nutritional medicine"; and several trial lawyers known for representing parents suing for "vaccine injury," lawyers such as Clifford Shoemaker, Kevin Conway, and Renee Gentry.

The Children and Their Families

Who are these families? All of them provide heart-wrenching stories of suffering, and one has suffered through the death of a baby. No one with an ounce of empathy could fail to be moved by at least two of these stories, if not all three. Unfortunately, it's clear that the producers know that and use these sad tales intentionally to manipulate the emotions of the viewer. Early in the film we are introduced to Gabi Swank and her family. Gabi is a teen whose family, herself included, believes she was injured by the Gardasil vaccine. She is shown being a healthy, energetic cheerleader and then portrayed as having descended into a mass of medical problems, including seizures, neurological complaints, and many others, all as a result of the Gardasil vaccine. What's rather interesting is that, nowhere in the film do they really state with much clarity exactly what it is that Gabi has, other than "vasculitis" and, more importantly, when her symptoms began relative to vaccination. I had to go searching, and I found that two years ago at the NVIC conference Barbara Loe Fisher and Gabi's mother Shannon Schrag stated that Gabi was diagnosed with "central nervous system vasculitis and central nervous system lupus after receiving the third Gardasil injection." I also found a YouTube video made about Gabi a while ago:

Throughout the film, Gabi is portrayed going to visits to doctors, going through all of her medications, looking ill. Perhaps the most heartbreaking segment of all portrays Gabi trying on various prom dresses, a huge smile on her face, only to develop severe back pain as she's getting ready to actually go to the prom, necessitating a trip to the emergency room. Gabi laments during the car ride to the hospital how she has the "worst luck in the world," and it's hard not to agree. At the hospital, she is diagnosed with a kidney stone, which is presumed to be due to one of her medications. As a result, Gabi misses her prom and is devastated by it, saying to her mother that she is really sad that she has gone from being a princess to "look where I am now." Who could help but feel for a girl in such a situation? Certainly not me. Later, as if things weren't bad enough for Gabi, her mother is shown being forced to give up her house and describing how she's getting a divorce, all because Gabi's illness has left them with $100,000 in unpaid medical bills and placed so much stress on her marriage that her husband couldn't take it anymore. The implication, of course, is that all of this is due to vaccines given to Gabi "for the greater good."

Not surprisingly none of the questions over the timing of the development of Gabi's symptoms are mentioned, which have been described in various news reports as beginning "within weeks" of her having received the third dose. Correlation doesn't necessarily equal causation, but in Gabi's case it's hard not to note that even the correlation seems pretty darned weak. Heck, even by Gabi's own story, it's pretty close to looking nonexistent. None of this, of course, is mentioned in the movie; Gabi's and her mother's unwavering belief that Gardasil caused her illness is accepted as Gospel, and it is pointed out that Gabi's neurologist Dr. Dwight Lindholm has stated publicly that Gabi's illness is due to Gardasil. How did Dr. Lindhlom come to that conclusion? It's never really explained in the movie (or anywhere else that I could find), and apparently the filmmakers are hoping that no one realizes that just because a neurologist thinks that the vaccine caused Gabi's illness doesn't make it so. I feel sorry for Gabi because she has horrible health problems. I really do. No one should have to have such horrible health problems at such a young age. However, I just don't see any good evidence that her current health problems are due to Gardasil.

Next up is Jordan King. Jordan is a 12-year-old boy with autism that his parents blame on vaccination. Even more than that, Jordan's was one of the test cases for the Autism Omnibus proceedings. Even under the looser rules of evidence of the Vaccine Court, the Special Masters rejected the Kings' claims of causation of Jordan's autism by vaccines and rejected it conclusively in a well-written, well-reasoned decision. Indeed, the Special Master concluded:

This case, however, is not a close case. The overall weight of the evidence is overwhelmingly contrary to the petitioners' causation theories. The result of this case would be the same even if I totally ignored the epidemiologic evidence. The result would be the same if I restricted my consideration to the evidence originally filed into the record of this King case, disregarding the additional "general causation" evidence imported from the Dwyer case. The petitioners' evidence has been unpersuasive on many different points, concerning virtually all aspects of their causation theories, with each such deficiency having been discussed in detail above. The petitioners have failed to persuade me that there is validity to any of their general causation arguments, and have also failed to persuade me that there is any likelihood that Jordan's thimerosal-containing vaccines contributed in any way to the causation of Jordan's own autism. To the contrary, based upon all the evidence that I have reviewed, I find that it is extremely unlikely that Jordan's autism was in any way causally connected to his thimerosal-containing vaccines.

In short, this is a case in which the evidence is so one-sided that any nuances in the interpretation of the causation case law would make no difference to the outcome of the case.

The filmmakers, although they mention that the Kings lost their case, downplay just how badly they lost and portray their defeat as part of the "conspiracy" to cover up vaccine injuries. This is true even though the Special Master pointed out:

I have kept all of these points in mind in deciding this case. I have not required a level of proof greater than "more probable than not," which has also been described as "50 percent plus a feather." I understand fully that petitioners are not claiming that Jordan's thimerosal-containing vaccines were the sole cause of his autism, but are alleging only that such vaccines contributed to the causation of his autism, allegedly in concert with an underlying genetic vulnerability. I have looked beyond the epidemiologic evidence to determine whether the overall evidence -- i.e., medical opinion, circumstantial evidence, and other evidence considered as a whole -- tips the balance even slightly in favor of a causation showing as to Jordan's autism.

Worse, in the documentary itself, the Kings describe how they took Jordan to a DAN! doctor, who did provoked urine heavy metal testing and claimed to find that Jordan's mercury levels were very high. This doctor then told them that he was "mercury toxic" due to vaccines, an account that can also be found in the judgment.

The truth is that the Special Master went out of his way to be sympathetic to the Kings in his ruling, and it's hard not to be sympathetic to them. They clearly love Jordan and have done the best they can to raise him, even with his autism and medical problems. In the documentary, they openly worry about what will become of Jordan after they die. Who will take care of him? What parent of a child with developmental disorders doesn't wonder that? As loving and struggling as they are, though, the Kings are mistaken. They might believe that vaccines caused Jordan's autism, but there is simply no evidence to support such a view.

Finally, the most difficult of all is the case of Dr. Stephanie Christner and her daughter Victoria Grace Boyd Christner, who died at five months of age. Again, it's a horrible, horrible thing to lose a baby like this, one of the most horrible things in the world. However, as much as we might feel saddened by the story and sorry for the Christners, we have to stay as objective as possible when it comes to their claim of what killed their baby; i.e., vaccines. To put it simply, there just isn't any evidence that vaccines led to the death of their child. Dr. Christner blames the death of her baby on a "slow reaction over time" to vaccines causing "chronic inflammation." Christner tells a story of her child being vaccinated with "all the usual vaccines" at the age of two months and then "never being the same after that" within a week. Apparently, Victoria started to become more withdrawn, stop eating regularly, and ultimately had a seizure on December 15, 2008. From the obituary we can make some inferences. Victoria was born on August 22, 2008, meaning that her two month shots would have been administered in late October. So the seizure occurred nearly two months after vaccination. On December 23, Victoria received her next round of vaccinations, and then the movie jumps forward nearly two more months to the weekend of Valentine's day, which is when Victoria, for unclear reasons, suddenly stopped breathing and died in what sounds rather like SIDS, although not enough information to know is presented.

This happened more than a month and a half after her last round of vaccines.

The scenes in which the Christners describe the death of their daughter are the most harrowing in the film. I almost cried while watching them describe the death of their daughter. However, that emotional reaction did not keep me from noticing that their story was also not particularly convincing even for a correlation between vaccination and the death of their baby, much less convincing for causation. We're left with the Christners lamenting how they had "followed the rules" and ended up with a dead baby, interspersed with photos and home videos of a cherubic, happy baby, followed by Dr. Bob Sears claiming that a lot of doctors try to convince their patients that vaccines are 100% safe.

Truly, the cynicism of the filmmakers (and Dr. Sears) is beyond belief.

The "Experts" vs. the Experts

Interspersed between the vignettes from the families, we find the classic battle of "experts" versus experts; i.e., pseudoexperts versus real experts. On the real expert side, we have people like Dr. Paul Offit, who is, as I like to say, known among anti-vaccine activists as the Dark Lord of Vaccination; Dr. Melinda Wharton of the CDC, and others who valiantly try to promote the science-based view of vaccines. They are, unfortunately, overwhelmed by anti-vaccine propaganda. In fact, the film is a classic case of a "manufactroversy," which is a favorite denialist technique to give the impression that there is a legitimate scientific controversy when in fact there is none. The questions about whether vaccines are safe and effective, whether vaccines cause autism, whether they cause all the neurological and developmental disorders attributed to them, and whether they cause asthma and other diseases related to the immune system are not controversial in science. They just aren't, the attempts of antivaccine propagandists like this to assert otherwise notwithstanding. However, by pairing anti-vaccine doctors and one anti-vaccine scientist with scientists who support current science, the filmmakers, quite intentionally I believe, give the viewer the impression that there is a real scientific controversy over these issues, as much as Dr. Offit, Dr. Wharton, and others labor to try to explain that there is not. Add to that the nakedly emotionally manipulative use of Gabi Swank, Jordan King, and the Christners mourning their dead baby, and it is very clear what the filmmakers' message is. It's not a message based on good science, particularly given how often hoary old straw men are trotted out to be knocked down, strawmen like the complaint that "vaccines can't be questioned," which is utter nonsense that is easily debunked simply by pointing to the conflicting scientific literature on the efficacy flu vaccines in the elderly.

Indeed, the movie is could easily be described as an anti-vaccine talking points greatest hits. At various points in the movie, "experts" call for a "vaxed versus unvaxed" study, even a randomized study of vaccinated children versus those receiving placebos. I kid you not. No less a luminary than Dr. Sears himself called for this in the movie, but he was not alone. Many, but by no means all, of these anti-vaccine talking points come from a "holistic" pediatrician named Dr. Lawrence B. Palesky, whose website touts his "holistic advantage" and describes Dr. Palevsky thusly:

In using his "whole child" wellness philosophy, Dr. Palevsky recommends and incorporates the teachings and therapies of nutritional science, acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, chiropractic, osteopathy, cranial-sacral therapy, environmental medicine, homeopathy, and essential oils, along with natural healing modalities such as aromatherapy, yoga, Reiki, meditation, reflexology, and mindfulness.

Is it any surprise that Dr. Palevsky comes across in the movie very much as being "anti-vaccine"? Of course not. He even writes articles for the NVIC. It's also no surprise that Dr. Palevsky spends much of his time on The Greater Good promoting a litany of anti-vaccine pseudoscience, including the "toxins" gambit, conspiracy mongering about pharmaceutical companies, and claims that vaccines aren't adequately tested. Late in the movie, he's even shown speaking to the American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM) and using the most brain dead of anti-vaccine gambits, namely claiming that because mortality from various infectious diseases was falling before vaccines for those diseases were introduced it must mean that vaccines are useless. It's the very same intellectually dishonest gambit that Raymond Obomsawin made himself famous for. Elsewhere in the film, Dr. Palevsky is shown speaking to a bunch of parents talking about how amazed he was to discover that there was mercury, aluminum, formaldehyde, antibiotics, and preservatives in vaccines, all gambits that we've discussed many, many times on this blog.

In fact, if there are any remaining doubts that Dr. Sears has finally allied himself with the anti-vaccine camp (we gave him the benefit of the doubt when Dr. Snyder deconstructed his Vaccine Book a while back), this documentary should put them to rest, because right after the scene with Dr. Palevsky promoting the "toxin" gambit to parents we're treated to Dr. Bob saying:

You would think that the FDA would take each of those ingredients and then study them in human infants to make sure that each of those ingredients is safe. Well, they haven't done that. They've never taken vaccine quantities of each of those ingredients and done the safety testing to confirm that each one of those ingredients is safe.

Given that vaccines as a whole are extensively studied in infants and that we have longstanding historical evidence of vaccine safety, this "toxins" gambit is nothing more than a ploy that (1) appeals to the fear of chemicals with complicated, nasty-sounding names; (2) plays on the scientific ignorance of the American public, many of whom don't understand the concept of dose-response and think that it's possible to eliminate nasty chemicals completely; and (3) produces an intentionally impractical regulatory hurdle that vaccines must overcome, as each and every component, seemingly, must be studied individually in individual clinical trials, regardless of existing evidence. One wonders if Sears realizes the implication of his argument. Would we have to test the buffer solution that is used for safety, even though it's usually something like phosphate-buffered normal saline? Or what about formaldehyde, which is a normal byproduct of metabolism and is present in vaccines at levels far below what is already in the infant's body to begin with? Sears, whether he realizes it or not, is parroting a common anti-vaccine talking point that screams "vaccines contain ingredients known to cause cancer and death."

Another doctor trotted out in this documentary as an "expert" is Dr. John Green III, who is described as having been "been in medical practice for 36 years with a background in emergency, family practice, environmental and holistic medicine and allergies." He embarrasses himself by whining about how producers from FRONTLINE didn't use any of the footage of his interview for The Vaccine War. In this, he sounds very much like Dr. Jay Gordon. In fact, one wonders why Dr. Jay didn't show up as one of the anti-vaccine "experts" used by the filmmakers. Later, a neuroscientist named Christopher Shaw, who is apparently revered in anti-vaccine circles for doing experiments in mice that suggest that aluminum is toxic, is shown saying that we're all living in a "toxic" soup and that vaccines are part of that soup, all overlaid with a cartoon, a couple of images from which I've captured as screen shots:

i-b74ff08268bebbf4595c9f6f44e154ac-toxicsoup1-thumb-480x269-70717.jpg

i-c2359a68e35b637eb0168069bfc51eb8-toxicsoup2-thumb-480x269-70720.jpg

Other "experts" fall more into a gray area. For example, Diane Harper is well known in anti-vaccine circles. An investigator in the original clinical trials for Gardasil, she has apparently turned against the Gardasil vaccine. Although she was apparently misquoted in the past, as reported by Ben Goldacre, in this movie, the mask appears to drop, with Harper castigating Merck and speaking at the NVIC conference in 2009, telling the audience she will "show you the science." Particularly annoying is how she is represented as the "lead researcher" for the Gardasil trials when in fact she was simply an investigator at one of the sites at which the original trials of Gardasil were conducted. There is a huge difference. Dr. Harper has also stated unequivocally in the past that "I fully support the HPV vaccines. I believe that in general they are safe in most women." One can't help but wonder whether she's now changed her mind. At least, I wonder based on the segments of her interview that made the final cut, whether she still believes this, as her statements in the movie appear to go far beyond her previous mostly reasonable complaints that the vaccine has been "over-marketed" by Merck.

Finally, there's Barbara Loe Fisher, the grande dame of anti-vaccinationism herself, who probably gets more screen time than just about anyone else. She tries to portray herself as being "moderate," and I suppose that, compared to the more radical anti-vaccine zealots, she might be described that way, but that's not saying much. As I've documented before, her website and her vaccine conferences are cesspools of anti-vaccine pseudoscience, and so is the vast majority of what she says in this documentary. Basically, she repeats the same anti-vaccine nonsense that she's been repeating for nearly 30 years, all while laboring mightily to try to present herself as a "moderate" who is "attacked by both sides" and complaining that "advocates like myself" are "demonized."

There might have been a time back in the 1980s when Barbara Loe Fisher was not truly anti-vaccine and really was a "vaccine safety advocate." That day is long past. All it takes is a look at her website to demonstrate that. In fact, I'd love to ask Fisher personally what specific vaccines she recommends. If she were truly a "vaccine safety advocate," she'd have ideas of which vaccines are safe and which ones aren't. Never is heard from her, anymore anyway, anything other than attacks on each and every vaccine. None of them, apparently, are "safe enough" to earn the NVIC seal of approval and all of them, to the NVIC, cause horrific complications. Perhaps that's why ambulance-chasing "vaccine injury" attorneys like Kevin Conway and Clifford Shoemaker are featured, the latter of whom is known for raking in money hand over fist from the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program and threatening bloggers who point out that he makes tons of money from the VICP.

Speaking of trial lawyers, they are also prominently featured in this movie. In fact, another particularly revealing scene takes place near the one hour mark in the movie. In this scene, several of the lawyers featured in the documentary are filmed in a restaurant discussing the VICP. The scene is preceded by complaints from various principals about how the VICP protects vaccine manufacturers from legal liability by forcing litigants to go through the Vaccine Court first, including a scene in which Fisher laments how vaccine manufacturers have "no accountability." Then we see Kevin Conway holding court with his fellow trial lawyers, saying:

It just amazes me what the government does to protect the integrity of vaccines. It can be anything but the vaccine. They feel as though their job is to keep immunization rates up, and if you legitimize vaccine claims, then you're saying, yeah, there are vaccine injuries, and they can never say that.

Of course, the very existence of the VICP is an admission that there are sometimes vaccine injuries, as is the existence of so-called "table injuries," which, if a child demonstrates one of these conditions in close temporal association with vaccination, result in automatic compensation. To the lawyers, the problem is not that the government doesn't concede that there are vaccine injuries. If that were the case, then the VICP wouldn't exist and no one would ever receive compensation. The problem is that the government insists that complainants use a special court in which lawyers can't go for huge contingency payoffs and, even worse to the lawyers, that there be some science behind claims of vaccine injury. These lawyers are in my opinion notorious for relying on bad science and pseudoscience to try to win their claims. None of this prevents Conway from stating baldly that he believes that it's all a "conspiracy," although he concedes that "it's a conspiracy to do good" by keeping vaccination rates up.

Finally, if you want to see additional "experts," the ones who apparently were responsible for the medical and scientific content of the film, all you have to do is to wait until the very end of the closing credits, where it is stated that "this film was vetted by Dr. Lawrence D. Rosen, MD, FAAP and Dr. Yehuda Shoenfeld, MD, FRCP for scientific and medical accuracy."

This explains a lot.

Who is Dr. Rosen? He's an "integrative" pediatrician who is chair-elect of the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Complementary and Integrative Medicine, Clinical Assistant Professor in Pediatrics at UMDNJ/New Jersey Medical School (ack, my old stomping grounds!), and Chief of Pediatric Integrative Medicine at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children's Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center, as well as medical advisor to the Deirdre Imus Environmental Center. He also writes The Whole Child blog. All one has to do is to search his blog, and one will find that Dr. Rosen opposes vaccine mandates, in particular mandates for the flu vaccine and Gardasil and appears to believe that thimerosal causes autism (although he is very careful to be vague on this issue). Worse, he was a featured speaker at a notorious anti-vaccine conference in Jamaica in January, sharing the bill with the likes of fellow "experts" Barbara Loe Fisher, Dr. Palevsky, Dr. Russell Blaylock (who is an all purpose medical crank and, like many all purpose medical cranks, anti-vaccine), Dr. Shiv Chopra (who is anti-vaccine to the core), Dr. Richard Deth (who was an expert witness for the plaintiffs at the Autism Omnibus proceeding), Raymond Obamsawin (mentioned above), and, yes, Andrew Wakefield himself. It turns out that Dr. Yehuda Schoenfeld spoke at the very same conference with Dr. Rosen and has himself been involved in dubious vaccine-autism science, in particular involving Mark and David Geier in his journal.

It all makes sense now why this movie is so bad.

Whither autism?

For all its anti-vaccine talking points, The Greater Good does bring up an issue that I find rather curious and, quite frankly, amusing, and this issue comes from Barbara Loe Fisher herself. This most revealing statement from her comes twice, first early in the movie and then late in the movie, when she repeats it. Basically, Fisher argues that vaccine injury is "not just about autism" and late in the movie even goes so far as to say:

In the last decade, the conversation has shifted from one looking at the broad issues concerned with vaccine safety and vaccine policies to focusing on autism. And I believe it was an error that's had serious consequences. The truth is, it's become very easy to dismiss the entire vaccine safety issue by focusing on autism and vaccines.

While she says this, an image of Jenny McCarthy on Larry King Live! is briefly flashed on the screen coincident with the phrase "serious consequences." Besides wondering if Barbara Loe Fisher is exhibiting a bit of envy over how McCarthy and Generation Rescue have grabbed the spotlight, I also wonder if Fisher realizes that she is implicitly admitting that vaccines do not cause autism. After all, if there were strong scientific, clinical, and epidemiological evidence in existence that vaccines do cause autism, then I fail to see how focusing on autism would make it "very easy" to dismiss the entire vaccine safety issue. In fact, if I were anti-vaccine and such evidence existed, I'd trumpet it to high heaven as my strongest argument that vaccines were harmful. Yet, here we have Fisher bemoaning how the vaccine/autism connection has taken over and made it easy to dismiss her and her fellow anti-vaccine activists as cranks. The amusing thing (to me, at least) is that Fisher apparently doesn't recognize that her argument implicitly admits that the evidence that vaccines, or components of vaccines, cause autism is nonexistent or at best incredibly weak and that there is lots of evidence that they do not.

The Filmmaker

Finally, it's interesting to take a look at the filmmaker, namely producer Leslie Manookian Bradshaw, who appears to have dropped the "Bradshaw" of late. It turns out that Bradshaw appears to be a homeopath, as I discovered when I first heard of this movie several months ago. At least, that's what she lists her occupation as in her political campaign contributions. Interestingly, I distinctly remember that she used to have her training in homeopathy listed in her filmmaker bio page several months ago, but it's not there anymore. Unfortunately, I didn't save it. Whether she is a homeopath or not (it would be very coincidental if there were another Leslie Bradshaw in Ketchum, ID who just so happens to list her profession as a "self-employed homeopath, but you never know), Manookian has been known to show up at other blogs to post anti-vaccine views, as she did here and here. Perhaps RI will be fortunate enough for her to do the same here. Interestingly, now that the movie is out, Manookian appears to be trying to hide her previous activity. Gone are any references to homeopathy on her website. Gone in particular is the "take action" page, which is now no longer publicly accessible, but used to contain content like:

Take Action/Goals of the Film:

  1. Open the hearts and minds of individuals to the reality that vaccine injuries occur.
  2. Encourage parents to talk with doctors about vaccine safety before making informed decisions.
  3. Demand independent vaccine safety research before approval and licensure by the FDA.
  4. Hold pharmaceutical companies accountable when vaccines cause harm.
  5. Petition for philosophical exemptions from mandatory vaccinations in all 50 states.
  6. End the FDA's fast-tracking of childhood vaccinations.

VACCINE INFORMATION SOURCES:

  • Mercola.com
  • Mothering.com
  • NVIC - National Vaccine Information Center
  • Pathways to Family Wellness
  • The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
  • TheVaccineBook.com by Dr. Bob Sears
  • GOVERNMENT AGENCIES:
  • ACIP - Advisory Committee On Immunization Practices- Creates the CDC's recommended vaccine schedule and promotes the increased use of vaccines.
  • CDC - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention- Protects the public health, promotes vaccines and monitors safety of vaccines.
  • FDA - Food and Drug Administration- Regulates all pharmaceutical products including vaccines to protect public health.
  • NVICP - National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program- Compensates those injured or killed by a vaccines.
  • VAERS - Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System National vaccine safety surveillance program.

Yes, Manookian used to list Mercola.com as the very first source for vaccine information, along with Mothering.com. Now, its resource page lists the American Academy of Pediatrics first, but still lists Mercola.com, Mothering.com, and the NVIC website.

Unfortunately, The Greater Good, which could have been a provocative debate about current vaccine policy based on asking which vaccines are necessary and why, in the end opts to be nothing more than pure anti-vaccine propaganda of the lowest and most vile sort. It give the pretense of "balance" by including prominent pro-vaccine scientists, but in the end it is very clear where the message of the movie lies, particularly given the three main families profiled in the film. Worse, from correspondence with a couple of the pro-vaccine doctors interviewed in the movie, to me it appears that the resemblance between this movie and Expelled! is more than just its denialist tendencies in that the filmmakers apparently were less than straightforward with scientists about their viewpoint when interviewing them. All of this leads me to conclude that The Greater Good is to vaccines what Expelled! was to evolution: Science denialist propaganda of the most blatant sort. In fact, it's so bad that even Orac's Tarial cell was seriously strained to have to absorbe the content of the video.

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In general, one of the biggest differences between those defending science-based medicine and those defending pseudoscience, quackery, and anti-science is that science inculcates in its adherents a culture of free and open debate. In marked contrast, those advocating pseudoscience tend to cultivate…
Here we go again. In fact, I think I'm starting to see a pattern here among antivaccine organizations. You might remember that in November 2010, the antivaccine group SafeMinds bought ad space in AMC Theaters over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, one of the heaviest moviegoing time periods of the…

The film was spot on. There are too many vaccines being pumped into our babies systems at one time. It has to have an effect on an already genetically predisposed (unknown to the parent) susceptible child as Dr. Sears notes. He is brilliant by the way.

@liv
Got any evidence for your little fact-free comment, necromancer?

Thank you Liv for your evidence free comment. Did it take you six months to write it?

By the way, how much more fun is pertussis and measles compared to to the MMR and DTaP? Kindly tell us how a child who is genetically susceptible to those vaccines would do better by actually contracting those diseases, which are presently circulating in the USA.

Liv, did you know that some people are genetically predisposed to win the lottery? It's true! Some people buy tickets but they don't win; some people buy tickets and they do win! The only logical explanation is a genetic predisposition!

Does that seem silly? It's almost as silly as your insistence that the difference between children who develop autism, and children who do not develop autism, is the combination of a "genetic predisposition" that no one ever tries to specify and exposure to vaccines (even when the parents are unwisely keeping the children from getting those vaccines, so there is no exposure.)

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 20 May 2012 #permalink

You totally forgot to mention House of Numbers in your list of propaganda pamphlets...

Btw. I have watched the Burzynski movie, oh, my the poor guy. Such a tearful story, came from Poland without a cent, built his own business and now he is constantly harassed by the FDA. Poor guy. And his treatment is, of course, brilliant, just suppressed.

Well, you won't learn anything new from the movie. And I really recommend to skip the parts with Julian Whitaker...

The most thorough article I could find on the guy was this one:
http://www.houstonpress.com/2009-01-01/news/cancer-doctor-stanislaw-bur…

It's a good thing that "making the rounds of film festivals" generaly means "the last stop before total deserved obscurity".

As an alternative, maybe antivaxers could offer Delta Airlines enough cash to make this travesty the scheduled in-flight movie for December.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 18 Nov 2011 #permalink

The NYT also panned the film.

At various points in the movie, "experts" call for a "vaxed versus unvaxed" study, even a randomized study of vaccinated children versus those receiving placebos.

Really? Seriously? That idea has been deservedly pummeled into the ground. If they really do not understand the reasons why that kind of study would be unethical, they did not do any of their homework. Orac wrote about it, it's been covered at LB/RB, SBM, Harpocrates Speaks and plenty of other places. Ugh!

Orac, since you've seen it, how do you think someone who knows nothing of the anti-vaccine movement would take the film? Do you think someone not in the know could be swayed by it?

all because Gabi's illness has left them with $100,000 in unpaid medical bills

What the f*** is wrong with the states? Every week it seems I hear something from friends, colleagues, chat room folks, who have moved to or live in the states, with an example of how they have to choose between health or finances, and/or who have accumulated tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of bills they simply can't pay.

And when someone tries to bring the U.S. health system up to the minimum standard that any other developed country enjoys, people actively fight against it frothing away about 'socialized' medicine which is so much worse (for some unspecified reason) than letting people with preventable conditions worsen, die early, and lose their standard of living. Is it any wonder other countries look at the U.S. system with abhorrence, and political parties in other countries use the U.S. system as an example of what not to do.

I am so bloody thankful I live in a country that has a decent health care system. Not perfect, but when we declared war on poverty our strategy wasn't to fix it by helping kill the most vulnerable members of society. Perhaps you should change your motto from E pluribus unum to Proximus egomet mihi la (every man for himself).

Sorry for the OT. Just venting. Feel free to delete.

What the f*** is wrong with the states?

We've been taken over by rich people who want to stay rich, basically. They fight efforts to pay money to people other than themselves. Hell, many specific efforts against socialized medicine are targeting elderly voters -- who are generally on Medicare, i.e. our socialized medical system! It's ridiculous. And most of the reasons health care costs so much have nothing to do with Big Pharma, greedy hospital admins, or evil insurance executives. Some do, sure. But not most; most of the problems are inefficiencies, pure and simple. We deliver health care efficiently, at least in the sense that you can usually get health care fairly quickly, but it's not always the right health care. What could be dealt with in an urgent care often ends up treated in an ER, at triple the cost. People at the end of life have few government-paid options between "no coverage" and "hospital care", which means that as soon as their families are no longer able to care for them, they have to get the most expensive type of care available rather than the minimum that they actually need. And then there's the terror of discussing anything like end of life care.

Sad to say, most of the problem is that nobody wants to sit down and really talk about it. So it ends up being decided based on rumor, fear, selfishness, and conspiracy theories. It's no wonder our health care is the most expensive in the world, per capita, despite a fairly dismal rate of actually delivering that care. (We have excellent care -- if you can pay for it. If you can't, well, sucks to be you.)

Yeah, OT, but I couldn't help venting as well. My mom's on Medicaid right now, so it's a sore point.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 18 Nov 2011 #permalink

US dropped 'E pluribus unum' as their motto on behalf of 'In God we trust' in 1956. Kinda makes sense, in the context.

@Todd W. et alia:
The antivaxxers also strongly believe that the NY Times is in thrall to Big Pharma. Funny, I haven't seen many ads from Merck, GSK, Lilly, and others...nontheless, they'll discount any review. (Funny, David Kirby told Dr. Offit that he was "a New York Times reporter" when he was doing his hack job)

Am I wrong, or did I read this article, or something very simular on this, or another blog, some time ago?

Renate, it is almost like Orac and the other blogger are of the same mind. Freaky, isn't it.

Last night as I fell asleep, I dreamingly envisioned a graph** that simultaneously illustrated recent gains vs losses in this endless saga: it included the slo-mo demolition of AJW as well the Delta affair and anti-vax pushback ( AoA this week).

On waking up - and coming to whatever senses I possess- here's what hits me in the head: a Thomson Reuters-NPR poll ( of late September 2011) that revealed that slightly more than one quarter of all respondents had concern about the safety of vaccines while nearly one third of families who had children under 18 at home were worried ( there was less concern with increasing age).

Now I realise that positive developments are apparent- films like this have a small audience in theatres and anti-vaxxers respendent are featured less frequently @ CNN ( thanks Anderson), but
the widespread networking of anti-vax trivia via the internet and the rise of Quackedemic medicine worries me.

*PLUS* the age factor mentioned above. This is not going away anytime soon. In addition woo-meisters are hitching their wagons to the stars - i.e. various exciting Fight-the-Power movements- as these guys will steal any trope that isn't nailed down. It's gonna be a long campaign.

-btw- aren't those "toxic sludge basins" above sickeningly fascinating?

** it vaguely resembled the DJIA since August.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 18 Nov 2011 #permalink

To preserve neurons, you should invite some of your regular readers for screenings (BYOB) like this. Think of it as real mystery science theater.

Thanks so much for this review. If you have the chance, can you please do a review of the "chronic lyme" doc they've been showing on Netflix? It's called BENEATH OUR SKIN, and for non-science folks, it's incredibly compelling. The problem for us non science people is we don't know what we don't know, and when we go out to try to find info to counteract these claims or why they might be inaccurate, we just come up with more woo.

Renate - Orac has a "friend" who also blogs. They seem to have very similar writing styles and interests ; )

I was diagnosed with Central Nervous System Vasculitis (CNSV) in 1999. I have spoken with well over 300 people who have CNSV through a website I ran for CNSV,for over 10 years. Doctors do not know what causes CNSV. Basically our immune system becomes overactive and attacks our bodies. Kids from ages 6 to 16 are diagnosed with it in countries all over the world. Its a very rare condition and very difficult to diagnose. Its possible a vaccination could be a trigger that causes the CNSV to become active but so far doctors don't know what actually causes it. Many people receive a diagnoses of CNSV that is secondary, meaning there is another condition (such as Lupus)which came first and the CNSV manifests due to the first condition.
I'm very sorry all these families have had to go through such a terrible ordeal.

The NYT also panned the film.

Thanks for the link. The summary at the end is clear and concise: "Carefully excluding critical information that might challenge its sympathies, âThe Greater Goodâ does a disservice both to the suffering of the few and to the public health needs of the many." However, I'm grateful to the box of blinking lights for taking one (or quite a few)for the team and deconstructing it so thorougly.

I actually like the idea of a real Vaccine Awareness Week. We could take a little time to look at the awful symptoms of and past deaths from the diseases that are now preventable due to vaccines. It would be a heartening look at how far we've come, and the possibilities for the future.

By Roadstergal (not verified) on 18 Nov 2011 #permalink

@ Allie:
" It's incredibly compelling"
Sure- because they use the tricks of the trade- by which I mean advertisements, commercials, movie-making- to communicate their message and "facts"- thus it is emotionally manipulative, unfairly getting observers to mix up their sympathy for people in dire straits with acceptance of a pseudo-scientific cause.

If you read any of the woo-meisters we discuss here you will see these techniques used in lieu of data-based argument. Note how language is used to sway or co-op opinion.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 18 Nov 2011 #permalink

Cheryl:
I hear you, as I'm sure the overwhelming majority of folks here do.
My colleague runs patient safety and infectious diseases here. He has a son, 29, who is severely autistic and lives in a home 90 miles away. he is responsible for getting everyone here immunized, as we deal with patients and would have a serious moral hazard if we were not inoculated. He says vaccines did not cause his son's autism, but he has not ruled out the trigger aspect, and it requires more research (I contribute heavily to Autism Research, as many here also do). However, on utilitarian and humanitarian grounds, he would NEVER dissuade anyone from any vaccine.

Orac viewed the movie and found the film lacking in its details about Gabi's vascultis:

Not surprisingly none of the questions over the timing of the development of Gabi's symptoms are mentioned, which have been described in various news reports as beginning "within weeks" of her having received the third dose. Correlation doesn't necessarily equal causation, but in Gabi's case it's hard not to note that even the correlation seems pretty darned weak. Heck, even by Gabi's own story, it's pretty close to looking nonexistent.

Simply keying in "Dr. Lindholm Gardasil Vaccine", I came up with this tidbit about the actual diagnosis and the actual time frame of the onset of symptoms.

"Schragâs daughter, Gabi Swank, 16, was diagnosed with central nervous system vasculitis and central nervous system lupus after receiving the third Gardasil injection. Gabiâs neurologist, Dr. Dwight Lindholm, has publicly stated that he believes Gabiâs illness is the direct result of receiving the Gardasil injections.

Gabiâs serious symptoms and emergency room visits started at about two and a half months following her third injection, though she started experiencing illness and injury immediately following her first shot".

(Source-"Wichita Mom Blames HPV Vaccine for Her Daughter's Terminal Illness"-Kansas City Liberty, October 15, 2009)

Amazing now, how mom forgot to mention lupus. Amazing now, how mom states unequivocally that the onset was within "weeks" of having received the vaccine.

I beginning to wonder if, in fact, mom is lying about her financial liabilities being associated with Gabi's "vasculitis".

BTW, advances have been made in the treatment of lupus. While this auto-immune disease is incurable...it is rarely fatal nowadays.

If they really do not understand the reasons why that kind of study would be unethical, they did not do any of their homework.

Or they genuinely believe that the risk/benefit ratio for vaccines is so high that it wouldn't be unethical.

By Matthew Cline (not verified) on 18 Nov 2011 #permalink

From "lilady" (#19):

"Schragâs daughter, Gabi Swank, 16, was diagnosed with central nervous system vasculitis and central nervous system lupus after receiving the third Gardasil injection."

I guess the directors of this propaganda film felt that interjecting the fact that Gabi was diagnosed with lupus might "confuse the issue". However, since it is well known that systemic lupus erythematosis didn't exist prior to the introduction of Gardisil....what? Lupus has been around for centuries?

Well, at any rate, it is well known that lupus rarely affects women, so... What?!? 90% of lupus victims are female???

Certainly, it must be significant that her symptoms of lupus didn't start until after she received the Gardisil vaccine, since lupus is usually present from birth.... What?!!??!! Oh, the onset of lupus is rarely seen before ten years of age or after fifty years of age, so Gabi is in the "prime age" for the onset of lupus.

What about all of her symptoms? Surely they can't all be due to just the lupus.... Oh. They can?

Hmmm. Maybe it's not the vaccine, after all.

Prometheus

Another vote for a review of "Under our Skin", the Lyme disease propaganda film. I have been seeing this film everywhere lately.

@Allie,

Oh Christ, I attended a screening of that Lyme hack job hosted by a local Lyme advocacy group, and at the Q&A afterward when I tried to explain that even if the patients' conditions were somehow caused by acute Lyme infection, it doesn't mean that bombing them with antibiotics is the smart thing to do. You'd have thought I kicked a baby in the face from the way the room rounded on me. Made me glad I was sitting near the exit.

mariana @4 --

"What the f*** is wrong with the states? "

It's a long list, but I think it comes down to the fact that there are people with strong individualist tendencies (often called "Libertarianism", or as I like to call it, "The New Irresponsibility") who strongly distrust any collective or governmental action on principle. This goes all the way back to the revolution, which explains a lot of the contrast between Canada and the US.

Weirdly, most (but not all) of these folks make an exception for military spending, which appears to be sacred.

By palindrom (not verified) on 18 Nov 2011 #permalink

could not somebody simply make a similar movie citing deaths of UN-vaccinated children dying of easily preventable diseases?

equal time and all that.

I think the NYT gets it right with this quote: âThe Greater Goodâ does a disservice both to the suffering of the few and to the public health needs of the many. Unfortunately they don't elaborate on the first part of this statement.

The kids shown in this film are victims of the anti-vax movement. They can't move on because they're being fed lies about their condition that are preventing them from getting the real help they need. By not acknowledging that Gabi has lupus, a well recognized autoimmune disease which existed long before the HPV vaccine and almost certainly has nothing to do with the vaccine, Gabi's parents are keeping her from learning how to cope with her chronic illness. This will severely limit her future life.

Parents of autistic children who spend their time running after "stem cell therapy" and chelation keep their kids from getting real, potentially effective therapy for autism. And, by forcing the NIH to waste money proving yet again that vaccines don't cause autism, they are taking money away from research that might establish causes and treatments for the condition.

The anti-vax movement is serving no one but the people getting rich exploiting people's fear and tragedy. It doesn't help autistic kids (or adults), it doesn't help teenagers who can't accept that lupus has happened to them, it certainly doesn't help children who die of vaccine preventable illnesses.

could not somebody simply make a similar movie citing deaths of UN-vaccinated children dying of easily preventable diseases?

If unvaccinated children die of a disease, it is almost always iatrogenic.

I've been reading you for a long time Orac, and this question always comes to mind. Why are the anti-vaxxers so crazy anti-vax? Is it about money? Is it about their own objectives like peddling woo? Is it both?

How someone could seriously be responsible for the deaths of many children and sit there still lying about it is beyond me. How evil do these people have to be?

If unvaccinated children die of a disease, it is almost always iatrogenic.

Because, of course, the childhood mortality rate prior to the advent of "civilization" and certainly prior to the 20th century was virtually zero, wasn't it? Oh, wait, no. Most people in pre-historic times died before age 5.

@Katherine Lorraine #29:

Honestly, I think it's because people are looking for a scapegoat for their problems. Ala the 'it can't be genetic, because *I'm* fine and my husband/wife is fine, therefore there MUST be something else that caused it' with regards to autism, ADHD, ADD, etc.

In their world A+B always = C and X will always mark the spot. If something developed after having a vaccination, it must be the cause of the vaccination and cannot have any other cause.

I 'spoke' (read: debated) with a Mom today who insisted that vaccines caused autism (Tripedia) because it was listed as an adverse side effect on the insert packaging. I pointed out that accidental drowning was also listed there, and did she honestly think that a vaccine caused that?

There's a serious disconnect between correlation and causation alive and well and it's damn scary.

If unvaccinated children die of a disease, it is almost always iatrogenic.

You have saying most people gets victimized. Did because there was just, wait: for those are very predictable. Haha, potent what are you; need for your talents somewhere else. You're ignorant about the squirrel.

By Th1Th2bot (not verified) on 18 Nov 2011 #permalink

@Darwy:

Well that goes for parents, I understand that. A scapegoat is important, something to blame is the reason behind a lot of irrational ideas.

I'm talking about people like Barbara Loe Fisher and Andrew Wakefield, people who peddle this kind of anti-vax crap out to parents who think it's real science.

@Dianne:

Because, of course, the childhood mortality rate prior to the advent of "civilization" and certainly prior to the 20th century was virtually zero, wasn't it?

Wellll, to play devil's advocate, there's been some form of medicine as long as humanity's been around, so there's also always been iatrogenic otucomes. So Th1Th2 could say that, 10,000 years ago, deaths due to infectious diseases were almost always caused by the medicine man trying to make things better, and if the medicine men had just stopped practicing their medicine almost everyone would have been fine. In fact, I wouldn't be at all surprised if Th1Th2 claimed exactly that.

By Matthew Cline (not verified) on 18 Nov 2011 #permalink

@ Dianne

Because, of course, the childhood mortality rate prior to the advent of "civilization" and certainly prior to the 20th century was virtually zero, wasn't it?

Don't you know? Doctors (and witch-doctors, shaman, wise-women, and the like) have Teh Evil Eye (tm), they make you sick and die just by looking at you, gazing through the walls of your house or using a telescope if needs to be.
Easy to prove: look at the people near a doctor. Most of them are sick. Stands to reason.
Better carry a dead mole on a string around your neck. It keeps the doctors away.

Note to viewers: No animal has been hurt during the composition of this satirical post. Except maybe a troll, but I doubt it, these are notoriously very difficult to hurt.

By Heliantus (not verified) on 18 Nov 2011 #permalink

You're ignorant about the squirrel.

Goats on fire!

@ Dianne

Sorry, to be clear, this is NOT you I call a troll, but the person you answered to.

By Heliantus (not verified) on 18 Nov 2011 #permalink

There's a serious disconnect between correlation and causation alive and well and it's damn scary.

With that big straw man you have, it really is.

Better carry a dead mole on a string around your neck. It keeps the doctors away.

But it is very important that it be a mole that you found lying around after it has been dead for several days. Don't go out and kill a mole, that won't work. And don't bother with a mole you can't find by smell. That won't work either. But a several day old found dead mole...VERY effective at keeping doctors away. Except maybe psychiatrists.

@Heliantius: Sorry, I just couldn't resist the Pharyngula weirdness reference...not meant to upset anyone, just to be part of the general dadaist tone this thread seems to have taken...

@Katherine

It comes down to money - they're both being paid very handsomely for their 'efforts' in the 'crusade'. They're enjoying the status their positions give them amongst parents looking for a 'cause' for their children's illness/problems.

Why would they kill the goose laying their golden egg?

@ Dianne

But it is very important that it be a mole that you found lying around after it has been dead for several days.

Oh, I don't know about that. After a few days carrying a fresh one, it will become the genuine article.

I should cite my source for this medical advice (and plenty more!), for any interested lurker: character Junior Postmaster Groat, in the novel "Going Postal", by Terry Pratchett.

By Heliantus (not verified) on 18 Nov 2011 #permalink

I also see I responded to something Heliantius wasn't saying...Perhaps it's time I stopped playing with the blog for the moment.

With that big straw man you have, it really is.

I see what you've learned: ah, you keep this system. Let's just posted? Think twice before you find it is already an essential to why, not so for the discussion here and fallacy.

Straw man? Of your claim that song before you won't be a huge whole piece of this is good night. Do yourself a rebuttal.

By Th1Th2bot (not verified) on 18 Nov 2011 #permalink

Thank you Th1Th2bot...for your translation of Thingy's comment.

"Iatrogenic death" seems to be a recurring theme by the odious troll...it used that term to describe the treatment of an infant in Australia who was too young to be immunized against pertussis and who died from this vaccine-preventable disease.

Try to ignore Thingy. It is delusional, uneducated, has an "imaginary" career in health care and is a disease-promoting troll...it needs "terminal disinfection".

Wellll, to play devil's advocate, there's been some form of medicine as long as humanity's been around, so there's also always been iatrogenic otucomes. So Th1Th2 could say that, 10,000 years ago, deaths due to infectious diseases were almost always caused by the medicine man trying to make things better, and if the medicine men had just stopped practicing their medicine almost everyone would have been fine. In fact, I wouldn't be at all surprised if Th1Th2 claimed exactly that.

First, "DO NO HARM". In its very essence the foundation of Medicine is grounded on iatrogenesis.

In vaccination, this is a reminder for all infection promoters a.k.a provax.

Strange, isn't it that Dr. Stephanie Christner, parent of the five month old baby who, she reports, died from childhood vaccines...has her own website:

"Stephanie Christner D.O. is co-founder of H.O.P.E Food Sciences. After graduating from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas with a Bachelor's in Business Administration and a Bachelor's of Science in Economics, she completed her pre-med requirements at the University of Colorado in Boulder. In 2000, Dr. Christner received her medical degree in Tulsa from the Oklahoma State College of Osteopathic Medicine. She completed a one year internship in Family Medicine and a 4 year residency in Psychiatry at the University of Oklahoma in Tulsa. Dr. Christner is a mother to three boys and stepmother to two girls. Three of the children suffer with asthma, two have significant attention issues, and one has severe learning disabilities. After the death of her daughter at 5 months old, her eyes were opened to the toxins in the American food supply and other significant sources that are contributing to the staggering increase in neurodevelopmental disorders and immune system problems. Her husband, herself, and two boys suffer from food sensitivities and one suffers from life-threatening food allergies. She supports improving ones mental and physical health through individualized nutrition and supplementation."

I am mistaken here? No mention of vaccines causing the death of her child. She seems to be stating that it is the "toxins" in the American food supply...not toxins in vaccines.

I have a comment stuck in moderation about the 5 month old baby featured in the film...

Please do not feed delusional, disease-promoting, uneducated, health care profession wannabe odious troll. It needs "terminal disinfection".

@Lilady

Never fear, I don't bite the troll candy. Even when they make leaps of conjecture which could cross the Grand Canyon.

@ Matthew Cline

there's been some form of medicine as long as humanity's been around, so there's also always been iatrogenic outcomes.

That's a very good point, actually.

However, even if claiming that:

10,000 years ago, deaths due to infectious diseases were almost always caused by the medicine man trying to make things better

You still have to explain why animals and plants die of infectious diseases. Especially in the wild, outside of human reach.
Especially, for some animals, when it's a zoonose, some bug we humans can catch and die from, too (according to Wikipedia, 61% of known pathogens can infect human and animal alike). Bubonic plague, rabbies, tuberculosis, anthrax, and a few others come to mind.

By Heliantus (not verified) on 18 Nov 2011 #permalink

@ Katherine

Why are the anti-vaxxers so crazy anti-vax? Is it about money? Is it about their own objectives like peddling woo? Is it both?

The study of cranks and what motivates them is fascinating -- were I trying to make a name for myself in psychology, I'd probably pick that as a research area.

There are common themes in cranks, whether anti-vax, anti-flouridation, CIA-projecting-radio-waves, black helicpters, time cubes or just about anything: There's a strong "us" (or "me") versus "them." A combination of paranoia and self-aggrandizement. The crank is the brave soul who knows things that "they" don't want you to. A fighter in the battle to save mankind against enslavement and destruction by "them."

Cranks are impervious to reality; rationalization is a favorite tool. When that fails, simply ignoring what they don't like works for them. They are very susceptible to all forms of logical fallacy -- post hoc ergo propter hoc being one of the biggies. There's a bit of compulsion with regards to their particular hobby-horse. See some of the trolls on Orac's posts coming back time and again to the same ideas, even when they aren't terribly relevant to the post.

ArtK,

See some of the trolls on Orac's posts coming back time and again to the same ideas, even when they aren't terribly relevant to the post.

First, DO NO HARM. It will always be relevant. To claim otherwise is dishonesty.

Katherine, you may want to wander over and read the comments from one on the "thread that never ends." Pay close attention to the fellow who is obsessed with latex, and wants us all to buy his book.

ArtK, do you remember "Smarter Than You"? He was supposed to reveal his research that would prove that we are all wrong. He said it was going to be October/November 2010. He seems to be a year behind.

First, DO NO HARM. It will always be relevant. To claim otherwise is dishonesty.

Straw man unless the thing tiny moth swirling around and benefits when indicated. You've learned. Who does would be used when indicated no loitering longer a year. Hence you're just sheer assumption, don't tell me if you should also call them for thirst?

By Th1Th2bot (not verified) on 18 Nov 2011 #permalink

I see my comment (#48), about Dr. Stephanie Christner who claims her 5 month old infant died from a vaccine, is out of moderation.

I located Dr. Christner at her website "Hope Food Sciences", where she sells "natural food" and special diets for autism, ADHD, etc. Nice tie-in for her "day job" practice of psychiatry, where she will order and interpret blood tests for gluten intolerance and food allergies.

This film is pathetic with their examples of "supposedly" vaccine-injured children.

@ Chris
I don't recall "Smarter Than You" in particular. They blur together after a while. It's gotten to the point where someone could write an ELIZA-like program for cranks.

@Thingy
Why would you think I was referring to you with that remark?

This film is pathetic with their examples of "supposedly" vaccine-injured children.

What a coincidence. In psychiatry, lilady is clearly suffering from what is called reaction formation.

Please do not feed delusional, disease-promoting, uneducated, health care profession wannabe odious troll. It needs "terminal disinfection".

Speaking of psychiaty, we could not help but notice while preparing an SBM-sourced auxiliary module that Th1Th2's prose stylings seem to have have become substantially more primitive as compared with a year ago.

By Th1Th2bot Serv… (not verified) on 18 Nov 2011 #permalink

@ Th1Th2bot Service Center: We have all observed the primitiveness of Thingy's prose.

I expect we will be "treated" to more of the same...its delusions have increased recently...possibly because it refuses treatment while it is in the mental health care system.

@ ArtK:

I'd probably look at measures of cognition as well as personality. Since anti-vaxxers usually have ASDs in the family it's not unthinkable. Attributions about causation might be very interesting as well as uses of projection and denial. Plus black and white thinking, concretism, impulse control, judgment of abilities of self and other. Need to look at leaders and followers separately of course. Kalichman looked at HIV/AIDS denialists and talks about narcisscism, paranoia, and pathological denial ( but that subjects vary from "garden variety neurotics" to the outright delusional).

I venture a guess that whoever studied this would not be very populat @ AoA. Right up there with their fave *betes noires* and Orac and his minions.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 18 Nov 2011 #permalink

#57
"Why would you think I was referring to you with that remark?"

The Th1Th2 troll's response sounded like an attempt at humpty's own trademark version of a "bait and switch".
No doubt it's desperate for a shot of attention. Any attention received will better enable it to indulge in the self delusion of superior knowledge and ability, thus activating a dopamine release along the neurological reward pathway.

Humpty's stimulation of choice appears to be fabricating what it perceives to be a "gotcha" of intellectual superiors and the responses following.

By Sauceress (not verified) on 18 Nov 2011 #permalink

@ 62

Well, yes. Any attempt to look into the cranks (of any stripe) would just label the investigator as one of "them," out to silence the brave, etc. etc.

I've read some of Kalichman's blog; maybe it's time to buy the book.

@ Denice Walter: The unfavorable movie review by the NY Times has not gone unnoticed at AoA. One of their indignant commentators included the factoid that the NY Times movie reviewer favorably reviewed the "Contagion" movie...prima-facie evidence of the "conspiracy" of mainstream media...in cahoots with Orac and his minions.

Boy Wonder Cub Reporter also commented:

The New York Times: vaccine industry shills with pencils and notepads.

Posted by: Jake Crosby | November 18, 2011 at 12:21 PM

Where is Jake lately? I am so missing his inane postings on RI. Perhaps he is still stalking BMJ editor Fiona Godlee.

@denise walter

Since anti-vaxxers usually have ASDs in the family it's not unthinkable.

Uhm, no. And no. And no.

Please do not perpetuate the myth that autism and autism spectrum disorders constitute a mental illness, or an inability to think rationally, or any other autism myth.

A minority of parents of autistics believe their children are "vaccine injured". They had a big megaphone for a while, thanks to wealthy backers, but they are becoming more and more marginalized. The larger fraction of autism parents accept the reality that we don't yet know what causes autism, and may not have a clear picture in the foreseeable future. Those autism parents regard autism as "a normal variation", and are working to provide better services and supports for all autistics.

Anti-vaccination ideology pre-exists the false hypothesis of "autism as vaccine injury". For exampe, I'd point a finger at chiropractic (many practitioners preach against vaccination). Other non-ASD anti-vaccine promoters: the "pure-body/toxin-fearing" crowd; the "crunchy granola" parents who can't think, and elements of the right-wing fringe who see conspiracy everywhere.

Lilady and Lawrence -On a previous post (now in moderation on the original site)
the administration of the Hep B vaccine to a sick infant was called into
question. The baby died, the parents claimed it was from the vaccine.
Lilady subsequently diagnosed the baby with Stevens-Johnson Syndrome.
see @302
@303 Lawrence asked for citations.
An adverse effect of the Engerix-B vaccine is Stevens-Johnson Syndrome.

The site was "Vaccine Awareness... BLF dupes Delta.
The links to the adverse effects of Hep B are being held in moderation-however
they can easily be found.

An adverse effect of the Engerix-B vaccine is Stevens-Johnson Syndrome.

That's adverse "event."

@narad

from drugs.com

Dermatologic
Dermatologic side effects have included rash, urticaria, petechiae, erythema, hyperhidrosis, angioedema, eczema, herpes zoster, erythema nodosum, purpura, alopecia, and Stevens-Johnson syndrome.

@ Liz Ditz:

Please don't misunderstand:
Purely speculative about extreme anti-vax , like our friends @ AoA -
I postulate that since the adamant *usually* have an autistic family member- a child- it's more likely that they are on the spectrum than are the general population- due to hereditarial factors: like siblings and twins of those with ASD who have a higher risk than do the general population( as in schizophrenia- if a family member has it others in the family are also more likely to have schizophrenia or other cognitive issues *than do* the general population that is proportional to the degree of relation e.g.risk of schizophrenia @ 10% and above vs population 1% risk; plus families have more with cognitive issues, non-schizophrenic. )

Autism is not a mental illness but family members- like *all* other people- may also have a mental illness. Perhaps those who get *very involved* may have issues as do some of Kalichman's denialists.

About those other anti-vaxxers: extreme alt med- I wouldn't be very surprised if they also vary from the mean on some of these measures as well. Notice I specify "personality" and "cognitive" not mental illness per se and cite Kalichman's "range". Threse beiefs may not just be exempletive of a poor education but may be an unrealistic mode of functioning.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 18 Nov 2011 #permalink

When it comes to Wakefield, I think a lot of his current insanity comes from the fact that he's lost so much, and taken such a beating for the nonsense he's peddled, that his only hope is to double down on the crazy. To do otherwise is to admit that he lost his license, his reputation, and all his credibility over nothing. That would be a pretty bitter pill for anyone to swallow; why bother when you can play the martyr and make a decent living off of it?

Hello Lurker: Excuse me. I offered up an opinion of the baby's cause of death...which was obviously septicemia (the clues were on the picture you provided with the infant's gangrenous hand, petechiae, purpura and ascites). I further stated that septic shock could have been caused by maternal infection or Stevens-Johnson Syndrome caused by the antibiotics that were given immediately after the child's birth in the NICU, or the anti-convulsants that the child also was given.

Let me help you out about the Engerix-B Vaccine Prescribing
Information Sheet that lists "Stevens-Johnson Syndrome" under "post marketing experience"

6.2 POSTMARKETING EXPERIENCE

The following adverse events have been identified during post approval use of Engerix-B. Because these events are reported voluntarily from a population of unknown size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to the vaccine.

GlaxoSmithKline October, 2011

lurker...where are the citations that we have been asking for?

@lilady Where's Jake? Oh, if you only knew what Ren told me. I'm waiting for him to come out with it, but it's quite, well, troubling. Maybe Jake will beat Ren to the punch and tell us what he's done to Ren. Hint: it's called "doing a Rhett Daniels".

I further stated that septic shock could have been caused by.... Stevens-Johnson Syndrome caused by the antibiotics that were given immediately after the child's birth in the NICU, or the anti-convulsants that the child also was given.

So you admit that doctors kill babies? Not on purpose. But that is the result. Do nurses kill babies with medication? Have you ever killed a baby?

Somehow I don't think you'll admit it.

By augustine (not verified) on 18 Nov 2011 #permalink

@ Ed: I am...aghast.

@lilady
google- energix-B stevens-johnson syndrome and you'll find it-
which of course you won't because you're in denial.

that should be Engerix-B

@lurker

You made the assertions, it's your responsibility to show the citations, not us.

@novalox-
Every time I try to post the link it goes into moderation

lurket...you really are a fool. See my posting @ 72 above.

We are still waiting for your actual citations. Why are you lying about my comment on the other blog. Here is what I stated on November 16th (#319):

"lurker" still has not provided REAL citations about the infants actual medical history, including the induced labor and the infection from meconium aspiration that he was treated for, with antibiotics.

From the pictures on the website it appears he suffered DIC septic shock and major organ failure from bacteremia or from Stevens-Johnson Syndrome from the antibiotics or anti-convulsants he was given.

"@novalox-
Every time I try to post the link it goes into moderation"

I could not do my usual "copy and paste job" on the GlaxoSmithKline Engerix-B Prescribing Information website...so I did it the old fashioned way, by writing the section down verbatim and typing it, for my comment at # 72 above.

"lurker" still has not provided REAL citations about the infants actual medical history, including the induced labor and the infection from meconium aspiration that he was treated for, with antibiotics.

Novalox, he really is a persistent lying troll.

google- energix-B stevens-johnson syndrome and you'll find it-which of course you won't because you're in denial.

Oh, for crying out loud. You want the seven VAERS entries, which you are almost assuredly somehow referring to, likely without realizing it?

044671-1 4AGU92 pt recvd 1st dose of Engerix-B & 7AUG92 had elective hysterectomy surgery; 9AUG92 had stevens-johnson synd, massive edema & skin discoloration on abd & groin; pt d/c 13AUG92 w/some skin lesions remaining;

070320-1 pt recvd vax & approx 2 months later exp redness on lt cheek which was dx as Stevens-Johnson Synd; tx Nystatin lotion; wax & wane rash;

093317-1 pt recv vax 22FEB96 & 22MAR96 exp erythema multiforme;hands, feet & tongue was involved suggesting possible stevens-johnson synd;MD visit was required;sx lasted 5-7 days;MD is also considering that the rxn may be d/t Zantac;

098705-1 Steven's-Johnson synd began devel 4 days later

106010-1 pt recv vax 28FEB97 & devel red scaly facial/scalp/skin rash 12hr later;dx w/steven's-johnson synd;sx resolved;MD reports that this event may have been a delayed rxn to ampicillin;

107357-1 pt recv vax & 2wk later devel Stevens-Johnson synd & mycoplasma pneumonia;pt hosp 23JAN97 & pneumonia was treated w/unspecified ATB;As of 28JAN98 pt remains in hosp;

240610-1 This case was reported by a female nurse and described her experience of Stevens Johnson Syndrome after receiving hepatitis B vaccine recombinant. On an unspecified date, the patient received the third dose of Engerix-B. At an unspecified time following the administration of the third dose of Engerix-B, a hepatitis B surface antibody titer was negative. The patient was given a fourth dose of Engerix-B. The patient stated that she had, some type of reaction following each dose of Engerix-B. On an unspecified date in 1997, the patient received the fifth dose of Engerix-B. At an unspecified time following the administration of the fifth dose of Engerix-B, in 1997, the patient experienced Stevens Johnson Syndrome, fluid in the lungs, chest congestion, rash, and itching. The patient was seen in the emergency room. The events resolved on an unspecified date. The reporter stated that she still has scarring. The nurse considered the events to probably be related to vaccination with Engerix-B. The nurse subsequently stated that she had two problems as a result of the incident. She had an underlying pigment change in skin - it appears like a rash all over. She was also super sensitive to sun exposure. She turned bright red and burned easily. She incidentally reported that in April 2000, she was diagnosed with prinzmetal's angina. It was unknown whether this was genetic or acquired. As this incidentally reported during the course of follow up of her Stevens Johnson Syndrome, this was not coded as an adverse event. She did not provide permission to contact her physician; therefore, this case is closed. Comment: Stevens Johnson Syndrome, fluid in the lungs, and chest congestion were assessed as medically serious by GSK.

I found this movie the other day somehow (maybe from a related blog?). I was relieved that it wasn't more loudly anti-vaccine, though I was disappointed that it pretended to "balanced reporting" when it was obvious that it spun anything that was put forward by the experts as uninformed opinion while treating the ones decrying the vaccinations as bad as being "truly informed and honest." The "conspiracy" murmurings didn't help either.

As someone who would be considered "uneducated," I felt like I was being manipulated to an extent - like it was one long infomercial that was taking me to a preordained destination rather than rationally discussing facts in evidence.

Strangely, maybe a result of this blog, maybe a result of my own up-bringing and the large number of nurses in my family, I found myself thinking, "this is very terrible, and the people are definitely worthy of sympathy for what they are suffering, but if these are vaccine induced and as rare as they are purported to be, when this is balanced against herd immunity and infectious disease control these aren't bad odds."

Further, vaccines admit that there can be adverse events. They never promise perfection. There's nothing "hidden" about the fact some people are vaccine injured. Unfortunately people believe it won't happen to us until it is, so if they are told about the one in a few hundred thousand chance of a possible adverse reaction they sign on the dotted line because it won't happen to them. Then, the rare times they become the one in a hundred thousand they're sure it's a lie because, doggone it, the odds could not have been that high and they be the one that got unlucky.

As someone with a family history of a lot of "one in a few hundred thousand" diagnoses at this point, I know that there's a reason that they have those odds - there has been epidemiological studies that demonstrate those odds for them to quote. Yes, it's rare to be that one, but it happens. When it's a vaccine injury or death it's a sad thing, but it's no more sad, to me, than a diagnosis of a brain illness, autoimmune disorder or anything else. Sometimes the luck of the draw just isn't on your side.

Lurker's angle appears to go nowhere other than the seven VAERS reports (straight to 240610, I'd venture). A cut-and-paste of these hit the length trigger.

Slightly but not completely related. One of the women I've met through providing support for people with my illness has an autistic daughter. She completely pooh-poohs the idea of vaccines causing the problem and regularly announces every single vaccine she and her daughter get, almost daring someone to point out all of "teh evil vaccines hurt people" propaganda they here.

Also - since so many of the discussions now seem to focus on shifting immune modulation as being a reason for the vaccine-autism link and because I've started down the autoimmune disease road (why does it seem if you have one they find more?) I took someone's recommendation and just got Instant Notes in Immunology. I can't remember who recommended it. I also am going to pick up one other book and started reading through the Pink Book as recommended (though so far haven't bothered downloading the PDFs so I can have them on my Kindle). Thank the many of you who are so kind to respond to questions when they're asked politely and with a real intent to further understand.

In the world that lilady lives known as "vaxlandia" there is never an adverse "event"
Vaccines are the "communion" in the "state" church.

@ Mrs. Woo: I am a relatively "newbie" on this site, as well.

I don't recall any of Orac's blogs that ever stated that all vaccines are 100 % safe for all people. The rare instances of a serious adverse event have been studied and reported on...we frequently provide the statistics for these events.

The three children featured in the movie have "purportedly" been injured or died from a vaccine. The young woman who received HPV vaccine was diagnosed with Lupus two and one-half months after she completed the 3-dose series of HPV vaccine...correlation does not imply causation.

The parents of the young man with autism "had their day" in vaccine court and in a well publicized decision the special master denied their claim of vaccine-induced autism.

The parent of the infant who died is a doctor who also sells her "natural" food products over the internet. According to her website, she first researched the "toxic American diet" after her child died; she makes no mention of her child dying from a vaccine.

It appears that none of the children featured in the film were injured or died from a vaccine. The film is also another tawdry attempt to scare parents away from vaccines, to publicize the NVIC and other anti-vax websites, to drum up business for lawyers and to destroy confidence in our public health system.

In the world that lilady lives known as "vaxlandia" there is never an adverse "event"

It might help if you figured out what "adverse event" means.

Mrs Woo: I see you have posted again! I know a number of parents who have children with autism and they don't believe any of the hogwash about vaccines. A "few" dabbled in special diets to treat candida albicams "overgrowth"...which was one of the first "theories" about autism. They quickly realized that restrictive diets to "treat" autism were bogus.

Good for your friend, who has a child with autism and proudly announces that she is protecting her child with vaccines.

i have a daughter that has a brain injury from a vaccine- acknowleged by the government (VICP) and so i have to disagree with the presuppositions from many other posters.

come caregive for my daughter........we have funds from the feds and VICP to pay you................enough said.

@ Narad: I followed your lead to VAERS # 240610 and saw the "adverse event". I then scrolled down to VAERS # 220918. The "reporter", a physician, submitted the VAERS report 295 days after the "onset" of shingles. The four-year-old child received a varicella immunization from another (unnamed) doctor on an unknown date.

The reporting physician described one symptom only...a "fifty cent-sized" scabbed erythematous patch on the child's right buttock. That's some mighty sized vesicle!

Shawn and Kelly, how nice that you were compensated by the National Vaccine Compensation Program. I wish there was something similar for a child (like mine) who was injured by an actual disease.

Now look at the numbers from that program. How many were for autism? Oh, wait, it is actually spelled out: "**HHS has never concluded in any case that autism was caused by vaccination."

Now look again, how many were compensated versus the number of vaccines given. So less than three thousand have been compensated out of how many millions of doses? Hmmm... not that high a percentage.

Now let us compare the total number of vaccine injuries that have been compensated, 2658 over 23 years, to some numbers pulled from the CDC Pink Book Appendix G just from the year 1950 through 1956 (chosen because that is where the data starts).

First, this is for pertussis:
Year___Cases__Deaths
1950__120718__1118
1951___68687___951
1952___45030___402
1953___37129___270
1954___60886___373
1955___62786___467
1956___31732___266
Total__426968__3847

Now for tetanus:
Year___Cases___Deaths
1950____486____336
1951____506____394
1952____484____360
1953____506____337
1954____524____332
1955____462____265
1956____468____246
Total___3436___2270

Now for measles:
Year___Cases____Deaths
1950____319124____468
1951___530118____683
1952___683077____618
1953___449146____462
1954___682720____518
1955___555156____345
1956___611936____530
Total__3831277___3624

Wow. The NVICP compensated less than three thousand claims in over twenty years using their very relaxed criteria for evidence. And yet in seven years just two of those diseases killed more than that each, and the third killed over two thousand in seven years.

And do not forget that death is not the only bad outcome from those diseases. They can also cause permanent disabilities to many of the survivors.

So, really, do tell us exactly how the MMR vaccine is worse than measles, mumps and rubella and how the DTaP and Tdap are worse than diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. Just list the journal, title, date and authors of the peer reviewed papers that support your premise. Thank you in advance.

@ Chris: Do you really think these two gloating snide posters, who do not provide any real specifics about their child's "vaccine injury", actually received compensation from the NVIC...I have my doubts.

I especially don't like the comment from shawn ("and so i have to disagree with the presuppositions from many other posters.")...as if...he even knows what the word means.

O/T but Todd W. has posted his new Quacktion Figure for our enjoyment on his blog. People who read his "Harpocrates Speaks" blog have expressed an interest in purchasing "real" quacktion figures and he has asked us to fill out a survey, to determine interest in our very own Quacktion figures. I am interested and filled out the survey...I want the whole set. Today's Quacktion figure is "chiropractor" who comes with an anatomically correct miniature spine and an "adjustment" implement.

@5 & wildly off-topic (then again I'm not the only one....)

You wrote: âThey fight efforts to pay money to people other than themselves.â

You'd be interested to know that a few of the very wealthy in New Zealand are openly telling the government that they ought to be paying *more* tax!

So, really, do tell us exactly how the MMR vaccine is worse than measles, mumps and rubella and how the DTaP and Tdap are worse than diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis.

Ahhh....the lesser evil. I see.

Oh, for crying out loud. You want the seven VAERS entries, which you are almost assuredly somehow referring to, likely without realizing it?

You do realize, don't you, that one extrahepatic manifestation of Hepatitis B infection is SJS. So for the Hepatitis B vaccine to have caused this is a no brainer, infection promoter.

Please do not feed delusional, disease-promoting, uneducated, health care profession wannabe odious troll. It needs "terminal disinfection".

First, I have to say: Hi, Katherine Lorraine! So nice to see you on another blog where I skulk. In case you are confused by the reference to the thread that never ends, the reference is not to TET but the threads here which feature a loon (apologies to those noble birds) who insists that exposure to natural latex causes autism and is currently in the second thread. (Hugs from triskelethecat who I also am)

Second: ArtK: you are very lucky that you missed Smarter Than You and his/her/its many incarnations. However, all you have to do is read Thingy and you get the gist. Although STY was a bit more coherent.

Third: I bow down to Chris, narad, and lilady for all their research that refutes the ignorant postings of others, both on this thread and the RI thread that never ends.

Hi MI Dawn: Yes, Chris, Narad and I do have "our moments"...when we are just as tenacious as the trolls.

I haven't really engaged the Thing since it has started using "iatrogenic death" (due to ECMO), when It posted about the tiny baby who died from pertussis in Australia.

It seems that "lurker" has decided to pursue me on this thread after I mentioned Stevens-Johnson Syndrome two weeks ago on another thread. "lurker" really needs some reading comprehension courses.

Chris and Narad are sooooo good at research, that it is mind-boggling. Th1Th2bot and the Th1Th2bot Service Center add immeasurably to the lively discussions here.

Other posters here have taught me a thing or two...or three or four, about pathology, physics and a host of subjects.

We do miss your regular postings here...because "you know what they say about nurses".

@ Grant: I only wish I was among the "very wealthy" here in the United States...however I do advocate for a National Health Care plan and progressive taxes. Not all people on Medicare and Social Security are ***GOGs and we don't want to leave future generations in debt.

***Greedy Old Geezer

@lurker

Still no evidence, and instead going for the ad hominem route, I see....

...because "you know what they say about nurses".

Some say nurses are "Angels of Death".

At the attention of any wondering person

one extrahepatic manifestation of Hepatitis B infection is SJS. So for the Hepatitis B vaccine to have caused this is a no brainer, infection promoter.

I cannot find anything about hepatitis B and SJS, so [citation needed]. It's your job.
But for the second part:
Except the current HepB vaccine contains no virus, but just a synthetic protein from the virus surface. So it's impossible to get an hepatitis B infection from the current vaccine.
The previous vaccines were made of inactivated viruses (formaldehyde and/or heat). Infection was highly unlikely, the virus is dead. Unless, of course, the manufacturers mess up the inactivation process. It could happen. The Cutter incident, with the Polio vaccine, is the most famous case.
No such risk with the current vaccine: the virus has no part of the manufacturing process.
One site you can peruse for more information.

The poster quoted above is using its own non-classical definition of infection, as previous posting history would show.

By Heliantus (not verified) on 19 Nov 2011 #permalink

Please do not feed delusional, disease-promoting, uneducated, health care profession wannabe odious troll. It needs "terminal disinfection".

Some say nurses are "Angels of Death".
Which is why we're so happy to have them here to deal with the brain dead zombies.

@ Mu: "You know what they say about nurses" was directed at MI Dawn.

Nurses Rock!!

Please continue to ignore delusional etc, etc. etc....

The question is how much influence will these films be able to generate.

And I fear it might be quite a bit, when we consider that people stay away from car wrecks, as they learned from movies that those will explode at the slightest provocation - which led to the death of many an injured person.

@ Ed ( # 75):

That's really awful! I imagined that he would move in some alarming direction based on his "past performance" thus my efforts at de-fusing his motivating beliefs - which didn't work.
I leave off my second surname. Guess why.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 19 Nov 2011 #permalink

I just figured out who Thingy reminds me of: Dr. Bronner (as personified in the rambling screeds that adorn his labels). The robotic, repetitive, rambling style. The messianic fervor, dependence on catch phrases and what almost seems like a prepared script. Fortunately for us, she's a bit less logorrheic than the nutty soap peddler. Try this experiment: go to your local natural food store. Find the cosmetic section and grab a bottle of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap to read (don't forget your magnifying glass). Now, substitute "infection promoter" for "ALL ONE!" as you go along and voilá! Your very own portable Thingyspeak generator for those times when a Th1Th2 bot isn't handy.

By Pareidolius (not verified) on 19 Nov 2011 #permalink

I cannot find anything about hepatitis B and SJS, so [citation needed]. It's your job.

h ttp://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1122915-overview#aw2aab6b2b3

Viral infections include Adenovirus, coxsackievirus B5, cytomegalovirus (CMV), echoviruses, enterovirus, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), hepatitis A / B / C viruses (HAV / HBV / HCV), HSV, influenza,[14] measles, mumps, paravaccinia, parvovirus B19, poliomyelitis, varicella-zoster virus (VZV), and variola.

h ttp://www.patient.co.uk/doctor/Stevens-Johnson-Syndrome.htm

The most common causes in adults are drugs and malignancies. In children, the most common causes are infections.

Infection
Viral: includes herpes simplex virus, Epstein-Barr virus, enteroviruses, HIV, Coxsackie, influenza, hepatitis, mumps, lymphogranuloma venereum, rickettsia and variola.
Bacteria: includes Group A beta haemolytic streptococcus, diphtheria, Brucellosis, mycobacteriae, Mycoplasma pneumonia tularemia and typhoid.
Fungal: includes coccidioidomycosis, dermatophytosis and histoplasmosis.
Protozoal: malaria and trichomoniasis.
Immunisation: associated with immunisation, e.g. measles, hepatitis B.

Except the current HepB vaccine contains no virus, but just a synthetic protein from the virus surface. So it's impossible to get an hepatitis B infection from the current vaccine.

You don't need the actual virus to cause Hepatitis B infection let alone tissue damage as a result of the infection. The vaccine can cause acute hepatic failure.

h ttp://adc.bmj.com/content/83/4/347.full

EM and SJS were also associated with immunisation with living replicative viruses (measles), or viral antigens like those used in hepatitis B immunisation. In two cases the disease followed diphtheria and tetanus toxoid vaccination,29 and in one case EM was triggered by a tuberculin test, supporting the hypothesis that EM and SJS are a host specific response to a wide variety of infectious antigenic stimuli.

The previous vaccines were made of inactivated viruses (formaldehyde and/or heat). Infection was highly unlikely, the virus is dead. Unless, of course, the manufacturers mess up the inactivation process. It could happen. The Cutter incident, with the Polio vaccine, is the most famous case.

Infection is a breach in innate immunity hence vaccination is infection-promoting and it is a MUST. Inactivated vaccines, are non-replicating, therefore cannot cause transmissible infection (i.e. IPV vs OPV).

No such risk with the current vaccine: the virus has no part of the manufacturing process.

Not the actual virus but HbsAg---a virulence factor.

One site you can peruse for more information.

BTW, I've got a comment on hold. Anyway, I visited the site and I can't help but noticed a serious logical fallacy.

The hepatitis B vaccine is the first anti-cancer vaccine because it can prevent liver cancer. Worldwide, chronic hepatitis B causes 80% of all liver cancer, which is the 9th leading cause of death. Therefore, a vaccine that protects against a hepatitis B infection can also help prevent liver cancer.

Obviously, the vaccinated newborn didn't die of Hepatitis B infection or liver cancer. Vaccine works! Haha

Please do not feed delusional, disease-promoting, uneducated, health care profession wannabe odious troll. It needs "terminal disinfection".

Anyway, I visited the site and I can't help but noticed a serious logical fallacy.

Superstition. (Chronic delusion hallucination--yes, it's easy to handle the symptom--is a fatal disease, it only one of saying that makes the Russian government had and man. You just check your record of chicken pox vaccine apologists, know that primarily, for you advocate the gist of any benefit a non-sterile like a perfectly healthy, and how about the reality you know? A point is the next.)

By Th1Th2bot (not verified) on 19 Nov 2011 #permalink

@ Th1Th2bot: Thank you again for your cogent explanation and translation...I don't comprehend Thinglish.

@ Heliantus: I missed your comment above about the recombinant DNA Hepatitis B vaccine.

My young son was vaccinated against hepatitis in 1985 with Heptavax vaccine manufactured by Merck Sharp & Dohme. It was the first commercially available vaccine and it was a live attenuated vaccine. I did a lot a research on the vaccine prior to ordering it through my pharmacist directly from Merck, for his pediatrician to administer it. He needed the vaccine prior to his entry into a group home for the mentally retarded, because there were two hepatitis B carriers residing in the group home.

Each year, until his death in 2004, my son was tested for the presence of hepatitis B surface antibodies to show immunity against the disease...he remained "positive". His friend and roomie in the facility continues to be tested and is immune.

Millions of health care workers were immunized with Heptavax during the 1980s and there has never been reported an instance where the live attenuated vaccine caused infection with the virus.

The live attenuated vaccine and the rDNA vaccines have been used successfully for close to thirty years now...testing for immune status for the past thirty years lead researchers to believe that both the live attenuated vaccine and the rDNA vaccines confer lifelong immunity.

lilady: "I did a lot a research on the vaccine prior to ordering it through my pharmacist directly from Merck"

Ooo, BIG mistake! Lord Draconis Zeneca (mighty is he) has warned us repeatedly against revealing our fealty to Big Pharma in such an obvious fashion (even mentioning something as simple as taking aspirin can be seized upon as evidence of our conflicted interests).

I'm afraid there will be no Big Basket O'Drugs on your doorstep this Xmas. :(

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 19 Nov 2011 #permalink

Lilady is very adept at avoiding the main argument and diverting the issue.
No one bothered to read the original post and proceeded to make comments
that were totally irrevelant.
The point was why was a Hep B injection given to a previously sick infant after
being discharged from the NICU?
An adverse event was immediately noticed within hours.
Lilady continually diverts this question -she has no answer.
Obviously if the staff and parents were informed this shot would never have been given to a previously sick infant and the infant may have lived.

lurker:

The point was why was a Hep B injection given to a previously sick infant after
being discharged from the NICU?

This points to a malpractice lawsuit, not one in the vaccine court. Could you please point us to the court documents that support the statements you have made about this case. Not a general webpage, nor the VAERS report. Only documents specific to this particular child.

Sorry, Lurker, but it is up to you to present evidence that the sequence of events you described; a) happened and b) led to the outcome you describe.
You shouldn't be surprised if no one here actually buys your story. Too many anecdotes top that one and none of them add up to a hill of beans without solid evidence.
I, for one, remain wholly committed to the idea that recent availability (within my lifetime) of mangoes in Canada contributed to the PDD-NOS diagnosis of my daughter. Disprove that.

Obviously if the staff and parents were informed this shot would never have been given to a previously sick infant and the infant may have lived.

Informed of what? You're simply asserting causality.

Lilady,

I, too, got the hepatitis B vaccine in 1985, but I think you are mistaken about it being a "live attenuated" vaccine. The one I got was whole-virus "killed" (inactivated) vaccine. I'm not aware of any "live attenuated" hepatitis B vaccines.

The advantage of using either the subunit vaccine (current) or the inactivated vaccine (past) is that you can then use antibodies to the e-antigen of hepatitis B (which is produced in large amounts during replication but is found in only small amounts in the virus) as a "marker" of those people who have had actual hepatitis B infections (as opposed to those who have been vaccinated). A live-attenuated vaccine would eliminate that advantage (unless you found a vaccine strain that didn't produce the e-antigen).

Prometheus

@agashem-
It was all posted on the site Vaccine Awareness ......BLF dupes Delta-
all of Chris's search for the settlement of the claim etc. Lilady's and other
poster's comments etc. I am not reposting.
It really sounds like you are all willfully obtuse.
What is so difficult about admitting a Hep B shot should not have been given.
@Chris-The parents were grieving, they received a settlement, they weren't
greedy.

So you are just asserting for no apparent reason other than some random comments? Try something more substantial.

@ Dangerous Bacon: Funny, how I remember Merck Sharp & Dohme as the manufacturers of Heptavax...I also remember paying the bill for the vaccine. It was, I believe $150 (1985 USD). The costs of the pediatrician visits, to administer the 3-dose series was not reimbursable from my health care provider; it wasn't a "Recommended Childhood Vaccine" in 1985.

I think Lord Draconis Zeneca would approve of my actions.

@ Chris: (IANALBMTO)- Yes indeed, if the vaccine really was implicated in the child's death it would point to a malpractice suit against the doctor who administered the vaccine and the hospital. The parents chose the "sure" route by taking their case to the Vaccine Court, where they negotiated a settlement based on a "Table Injury".

The doctor and the hospital have deep pocket insurance coverage and they "might" have prevailed...but then every bit of the child's medical history, the mother's pregnancy
records from her OB, the circumstances that warranted induced labor, the baby's stress in utero and meconium aspiration syndrome observed at birth, the administration of antibiotics and anti-convulsants, the cascade of septicemia/bacteremia (DIC, major organ failure), would have been subject to "discovery" during pretrial testimony and during the actual trial in the regular courts.

I am sure their lawyer discussed the "merits" of going for the "sure" Table Injury settlement in Vaccine Court versus the vagaries of instituting a medical malpractice suit in the regular court system...which has a higher burden of proof.

I, for one, remain wholly committed to the idea that recent availability (within my lifetime) of mangoes in Canada contributed to the PDD-NOS diagnosis of my daughter.

Good point, that. Mangoes are awash with urushiol and potent allergens, after all, being members of the Anacardiaceae. Like pistachios and poison ivy. MJD from the "latex allergy - autism" thread may want to adopt the "Mango connection" theory for his next book.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 19 Nov 2011 #permalink

BTW, lurker...You can posture all you want on this blog and I will no longer reply to your comments. Your feeble attempts to derail this blog have been unsuccessful and I not be a party to your derailment attempts.

It was all posted on the site Vaccine Awareness ......BLF dupes Delta-all of Chris's search for the settlement of the claim etc. Lilady's and other poster's comments etc. I am not reposting.

The only things you provided there, aside from the aimless attempts at diversion into Gardasil and Vioxx, are two links that don't actually support your position, which, as elaborated, is just this:

My point is that if they had been educated about the risks of the vaccine and the truth about how Heb B was added to the schedule (non-compliance by the target population) they would never have allowed the Hep B to be given and their child might still be alive.

The truth! The truth!

It really sounds like you are all willfully obtuse.

Have you considered the possibility that this is because of a similar phenomoneon on your end, sans "willfully"?

^ "phenomenon"

@lilady- So, with all your knowledge of the pre-exiting conditions you agree that
it was a sound medical decision to give the Hep B to this infant after discharge from the NICU?

@narad-
You are truly a phenomoneon!

@ Promethius: Right you are...Heptavax was not a live attenuated vaccine. It was manufactured from a protein of the virus envelope of the HBsAg that was deactivated by formalin.

I remember reading studies of the early trials of the vaccine in volunteers from the gay community in NYC. In 1985, with the presence of AIDS, there was great concern about transmission of HIV in blood donations and some concern about the possible transmission of HIV by this vaccine.

I made the decision to have my son vaccinated with Heptavax and never regretted it...because of the real risk of exposure/infection with the hepatitis B virus in his group home.

Thanks again for correcting me.

lurker:

This child should not have been given a Hep B shot.

All you read at the site is that the child was very sick from birth. You really have not shown it was the vaccine.

You are truly a phenomoneon!

At least I try to correct my own egregious "pre-exiting" typos. Would you like to get back to the point? You've already strongly suggested that you simply object to Hep B vaccination with the "target population" one-off. All I'm seeing is dry-humping of this child's tombstone because it's in the neighborhood.

ken, why should we believe "rense.com"? The article is a conspiracy theory that is not supported by real data.

WHERE ARE THE PYGMIES WITH AIDS?

Oh, wait, wrong conspiracy theory.

Ken...Why would you believe anything that Cantwell wrote...he is a crank AIDS denialist who has an entire whale.to page devoted to his crank theories.

Ken...Please don't tell us you actually visit the rense.com website for information about the Worldwide Zionist Conspiracy and other antisemitic conspiracies.

@ Agashem: I may have beat you to the theory of autism on the first never-ending latex blog, when I proposed the theory of oatmeal causing autism. After all, my profoundly mentally retarded son had autistic-like behaviors...everyone knows that severely and profoundly mentally retarded kids NEVER have autistic-like behaviors.

@ Narad, you certainly do "have a way with the words".

Ahhh....the lesser evil. I see.

Goddamn Skippy, moron! You finally get it. Congratulations!

By The Very Rever… (not verified) on 19 Nov 2011 #permalink

Re the baby with reported SJS after hep B vaccine: This is total speculation, but I wonder if the parents weren't right about it being iatrogenic but wrong about what was responsible: They report a severely decreased platelet count in days 8-10 after birth and a NICU stay. The baby probably received heparin during that stay and I notice that he had what appears to be cyanosis in the extremities. Could he have really been suffering from heparin induced thrombocytopenia? (Of course, the evidence presented supports sepsis as cause of death equally well or better and we don't have anything like complete information so I may be completely off track here.)

All you read at the site is that the child was very sick from birth. You really have not shown it was the vaccine.

The baby was born healthy and remained healthy prior to discharge. Only after Hepatitis B vaccine had been given that the newborn started to deteriorate.

They report a severely decreased platelet count in days 8-10 after birth and a NICU stay.

The baby was about to be discharged on the 7th day. The same day the vaccine was given. Also, as with Hepatitis B infection, hematologic derangement like thrombocytopenia is an adverse outcome of Hepatitis B vaccine.

The baby probably received heparin during that stay and I notice that he had what appears to be cyanosis in the extremities. Could he have really been suffering from heparin induced thrombocytopenia?

Nonsense. Why would they give heparin to a healthy newborn? The stay in NICU is nothing but a precautionary intervention to any newborn with meconium aspiration.

(Of course, the evidence presented supports sepsis as cause of death equally well or better and we don't have anything like complete information so I may be completely off track here.)

There is no evidence that the baby died of sepsis. The baby's cause of death is iatrogenic as a result of Hepatitis B vaccine. Almost all documented fatal outcome of Hepatitis B vaccine were observed from the child.

Keep on how hard, on the goalpost allowed. Why the rash appears? Why doctors who vaccinate are wasted every newborn former (children, should only if I have never be vaccinated, children, die of straw man new epidemic). Your claim that assertion therefore, vaccine in the same thing your thinking process. Why the innate immune response against that would just simply reiterating the infamous vaccine that song of vaccination should also put a fictitious disease or vaccine, is very unethical: harassment early in vaccines is your part; you're constipated (straining too many more like a pig)!

By Th1Th2bot (not verified) on 19 Nov 2011 #permalink

The stay in NICU is nothing but a precautionary intervention to any newborn with meconium aspiration.

Really.

I suppose that's true on Htrae, where toddlers never walk in the dirt and no one died before there were doctors.

By dedicated lurker (not verified) on 19 Nov 2011 #permalink

I suppose that's true on Htrae, where toddlers never walk in the dirt and no one died before there were doctors.

I advise you to stick your empty head on the actual case not in your bottom.

Thank you come again.

I advise you to stick your empty head on the actual case not in your bottom.

Then list down your teeth. And has been cheating the worst analogy: option is done.

By Th1Th2bot (not verified) on 19 Nov 2011 #permalink

It would be extremely wonderful to run some studies side by side vaccinated and placebo. I mean, if Japan stopped vaccinating their children until they reached the age of two and their sudden infant death syndrome plummeted, maybe we could do the same.
But we all know that when money is involved it is best to give boys the Gardasil vaccine as well as the girls.
Heck, why not let ORAC get set up and try them all on for size?

Please do not feed delusional, disease-promoting, uneducated, health care profession wannabe odious troll. It needs "terminal disinfection".

Dr:

"I mean, if Japan stopped vaccinating their children until they reached the age of two and their sudden infant death syndrome plummeted, maybe we could do the same."

Unfortunately when Japan stopped vaccinating, the death rate for children increased. But since those deaths couldn't be blamed on vaccines, the anti-vax advocates simply ignored them.

Heck, why not let ORAC get set up and try them all on for size?

Speaking of size, perhaps you'd like to elaborate on your chiropractic approach to weight loss. Just to name a few condition, of course.

@Vanderloop

Well, there was the whole increase in mumps that occurred after Japan withdrew the MMR couple with the total lack of a decrease in SIDS cases.

Then there's the whole messy issue of ethics in such a study as you would call for, but I wrote about that. Perhaps you should read my posts to learn just why such a study could not be done.

(And James, your Web site seems to be suffering from some subluxations.)

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The blog is priceless. What's "the American Society for Clinical Houston Nutrition"? Followed by the Laura Hattier story. (Hint: that's not what "blind from birth" means.)

Not a Doctor Vanderloop:

I mean, if Japan stopped vaccinating their children until they reached the age of two and their sudden infant death syndrome plummeted, maybe we could do the same.

Why are you repeating that lie?

From:
Expert Rev Vaccines. 2005 Apr;4(2):173-84.
Acellular pertussis vaccines in Japan: past, present and future.
Watanabe M, Nagai M.

An antivaccine movement developed in Japan as a consequence of increasing numbers of adverse reactions to whole-cell pertussis vaccines in the mid-1970s. After two infants died within 24 h of the vaccination from 1974 to 1975, the Japanese government temporarily suspended vaccinations. Subsequently, the public and the government witnessed the re-emergence of whooping cough, with 41 deaths in 1979. This series of unfortunate events revealed to the public that the vaccine had, in fact, been beneficial.

How about this "study" on Vanderloop's website:

According to a recent study at a Houston chiropractor clinic in Houston, Tx, 90 percent of women who turn to Chiropractic care during pregnancy have sought out help due to problems with pelvic pain. For 30 percent of the women, Chiropractic was their first treatment choice.

The study collected data from the first 100 pregnant women to arrive at the clinic after the study began.

The study also found that:

Those who had never had back pain before waited the shortest time before seeking treatment.

The longer patients waited to seek Chiropractic care, the more pain sites they experienced and the more areas of the spine required treatment.

Chiropractic has been very successful at eliminating several other problems connected to pregnancy, such as:

* The need for Caesarian sections has been reduced by being able to get a baby out of a breech position with Chiropractic adjustments.
* Chiropractic has been known to reduce labor time in delivery.
* Chiropractic can reduce the pain during, before, and after delivery.
* Chiropractic reduces low back pain during pregnancy.
* Chiropractic improves success rates of In Vitro fertilization.
* Chiropractic care can definitely make pregnancy, labor and delivery easier for mother and child.

SOURCE: ChiroEco.com, January, 2011, http://www.chiroeco.com/news/chiropractic-news.php?id=10663 |

Vanderloop...don't you see anything wrong with the "selection" of study participants?

Oh, we are going to have a lot a fun with tonight with this one.

@lilady

Oh, if not a doctor vanderloopy decides to post again, I'll have some fun laughing at his expense.

You guys have no life to sit here and debate all night while I'm all over your sister...

Well, I happen to know that Physical Therapists are uber cautious about treating pregnant women as many treatments have not been tested on pregnant women and there is some concern that manipulations could do much more harm than good. Especially since the hormone Relaxin is coursing through the mother's body and causing all of her ligaments to become more lax it would seem only like common sense to avoid over stretching them more as in manipulation of the spine. But then again I live on planet Earth.

The japan study is as follows: Raymond Obomsawin, M.D. - "Delay of DPT immunisation until 2 years of age in Japan has resulted in a dramatic decline in adverse side effects. In the period of 1970-1974, when DPT vaccination was begun at 3 to 5 months of age, the Japanese national compensation system paid out claims for 57 permanent severe damagevaccine cases, and 37 deaths. During the ensuing six year period 1975-1980, when DPT injections were delayed to 24 months of age, severe reactions from the vaccine were reduced to a total of eight with three deaths. This represents an 85 to 90 percent reduction in severe cases of damage and death."
http://www.shirleys-wellness-cafe.com/vaccine_sids.htm
Hmm mumps or death. I would prefer mumps, what about you?

@ Agashem: But, but, the "study" participants ("the first 100 pregnant women to arrive at the clinic after the study began"), obviously didn't feel that way.

Vanderloopy is a hit and run poster on this blog (sigh). He drops his turds one at a time...then disappears for months on end.

In psychiatry, lilady is clearly suffering from what is called reaction formation.

I for one am impressed that Th1Th2 has expertise in Freudian depth psychoanalysis. All I await now is an explanation of the precise unconscious motivation on Lilady's part that has led to the formation of the reaction, with evidence for its existence... i.e. evidence that Th1Th2 does actually comprehend the concept, and has not merely picked up an impressive-sounding term from overhearing adult conversations at some blog.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 19 Nov 2011 #permalink

If the doctors and stick with it's hideous and whereabouts is safe, by the hands of straw man.

By Th1Th2bot (not verified) on 19 Nov 2011 #permalink

Please Herr Doktor Bimler, do not feed this delusional odious troll.

We have had multiple discussions about Thingy's "problems" and its penchant for derailing a post. It craves the attention, even though the attention it derives is derision.

I suspect now that cold weather is upon us, it is in off the streets and taking advantage of custodial care in the mental health system, once again.

The only way to avoid confrontation is to not feed the troll. Besides, we have the Th1Th2bot to interpret its brain droppings.

You mean I can't Reiki my way to protection ?
How about a homeopathic vaccine ? surely if I take some influenza virus and dilute it to 30c, succussing each time and using a bible to bounce my flask off of, I should achieve something that would be a wondrous treatment for the flu, right ? What if I Reiki the solution between succussions ? and adjust the water's Chi in a carefully Feng shuei'd laboratory ? while playing happy hello kitty music and wearing pink fuzzy bunny slippers ?

All I await now is ... evidence that Th1Th2 does actually comprehend the concept, and has not merely picked up an impressive-sounding term from overhearing adult conversations at some blog.

Herr Doctor, I am shocked, shocked, that Th1Th2 might be throwing around terms she completely doesn't comprehend merely because they sound impressive.

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 20 Nov 2011 #permalink

Myself, I wonder if thingy has the slightest idea what Th1 and Th2 are. I find it unlikely.

lurker: Did you read your own link? 7 cases, 3 of whom had a history of ITP. In short, a case series of 4 new cases of ITP correlated in time with hep B vaccination. Not overly impressive for the dangers of the vaccine. Especially since ITP is very treatable, hepatocellular carcinoma is not.

Consider, for example, this study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21618565, which shows that hepatoma can be eliminated in young people with vaccination.

....."reaction formation"?....really?**

On a more serious note:
I've a few questions slowly forming and wonder what the regulars -especially the loyal minions and other compromised souls- might think...

Given that I survey some of the most extreme forms of alt med /pseudoscience ( web woo-meisters, anti-vax, HIV/AIDS denial, etc.), I am reporting from the rarified atmosphere of free flowing nonsense that fits hand-in-glove with conspiratorial wankery, I am starting to suspect that:

In order to believe that the woo that you _sell_ is truly revolutionary, out-distancing the advances of scientific consensus and expert opinion, that you are indeed a pioneer of paradigm shift
-or-
in order to _accept_ the claims of the above * without question* and become a devoted follower despite lack of solid data and any relationship of the new "breakthroughs" to the body of evidence accumulated over decades-

you need to have problems with evaluating your own abilities and those of others.

This is an important skill that takes time to develop- usually people have some measure by adulthood- not *everyone*. I have tried to abstract this down as much as possible: falling for the more outlandish claims of woo or imagining yourself to be the newest rising star in alt med involves a measure of unreality.*And* creating/ accepting mind-shatteringly insipient conspiracy theories ( to 'splain why this ground-breaking work has been rejected by SBM and somehow transforming this fact into ego- bolstering PR!) further illustrates the trend.

I am not putting a label on this- emphatically not calling it a mental illness, although some mentally ill people may do similarly- it's a bigger category that involves both personality and cognitive characteristics. I can compare it to acceptance of mysticism ( astrology, spirits, ESP, etc) that in and of itself is not a measure of mental illness but it is informative about how a person functions in the world and more importantly how they envision how it works! Call it "Whimsy-based" in contradistinction to SB.

** I do serious work, laughter can be invaluable counterpoint !

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 20 Nov 2011 #permalink

Beyond the extreme wonderfulness of chiropractic care for pregnant women (according to Dr. Vanderloop, D.C.), I was especially struck by this even more wonderful miracle from his website:

"Blind From Birth, Womenâs Vision Returns After Chiropractic Adjustments!"

ht_p://thewellzone.org/2011/11/blind-from-birth-women%e2%80%99s-vision-returns-after-chiropractic-adjustments/

Wow, even D.D. Palmer, Founding Quack Father of Chiropractic only restored a janitor's hearing, but bringing eyesight to the blind, that's Weekly World News headline material!

I do hope Dr. Vanderloop, D.C. will continue to share these moments of wonderfulness with us. Perhaps he can also explain puzzling figures on his website relating to symptoms treatable by his adjustments:

The table below shows a percentage of symptoms that our Houston Chiropractor can treat:

Symptom from first visit/Percentage
Lower back pain /62
Neck pain /33
Mid-back /27
Sciatica /16
Headaches /12
Brachialgia /11
Extremity pains /6
Shoulder problems /5
Dizziness /5
Hip problems /4
Other /0

These results seem to indicate a pretty lousy record of success treating even standard complaints that bring people to chiros, never mind fertility issues, blindness and other stuff that would fall under the heading of "Other".

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 20 Nov 2011 #permalink

@Dianne-
You completely missed the point. Your citation is the target population for receiving
the Hep B vaccination. Alaskan Natives have a high Hep B incidence among the population.
@149 the total cases were 7- The term "3 had a history" was correct because this was
a retrospective study. 3+4=7. Not 4 new cases, 7cases.
My point-
Why no one knew not to give the infant Ian the Hep B shot was medical neglect at it's worst.

Lurker - ultimately, if there was a problem, it was with the medical staff, not the vaccine. If no medical malpractice suit was filed, again, not a fault of the vaccine. There obviously is a lot more to the story.....

Why no one knew not to give the infant Ian the Hep B shot was medical neglect at it's worst.

See, the trick here is that *you* have failed to elucidate a reason.

In short, a case series of 4 new cases of ITP correlated in time with hep B vaccination. Not overly impressive for the dangers of the vaccine.

Not just correlation but a clear causation. The Hepatitis B infection and Hepatitis B vaccine are known to cause ITP.

1. "Not overly impressive" for the vaccine since the occurrence of ITP in Hepatitis B infection is very rare.

2. However, the 12.5 fold increase in the number of cases of ITP in infants less than six months during the first decade of routine hepatitis B vaccination as compared with previous decade, is something you don't want to call "not overly impressive"

"The World Health Organization only recommends infant vaccination for Hepatitis B in areas where carrier prevalence is 2 percent or greater. This does not apply to the U.S., except for certain ethnic groups in Alaska. But current U.S. health policy is based on an exaggerated perception of the prevalence of Hepatitis B, and here vaccination is required for every newborn."

It's really cute that you found some copypasta from "NaturoDoc," Lurker. (The article about mind-control nanochip implants is an EYE-OPENER!)

Now, could you get to the part where you demonstrate that the vaccine was in fact the cause here?

@Lawrence- It was the vaccine. Read the case. There is continual underreporting
of Hep B adverse "events". It is a totally unnecessary vaccine for newborns.

However, the 12.5 fold increase in the number of cases of ITP in infants less than six months during the first decade of routine hepatitis B vaccination as compared with previous decade, is something you don't want to call "not overly impressive"

You seem to have missed a qualifier in there.

It was the vaccine. Read the case.

How about you just explain the causality in your own words?

There is continual underreporting of Hep B adverse "events".

You would know this how?

It is a totally unnecessary vaccine for newborns.

You're actually not too far from Th1Th2 in this. All that's needed is to get rid of "non-compliance by the target population." Simple. Problem solved. All in a day's work.

lurker (#176):

""The World Health Organization only recommends infant vaccination for Hepatitis B in areas where carrier prevalence is 2 percent or greater."

Yes, but why do they make that recommendation? Is it because of the risk of adverse reaction or because of cost? The WHO documentation seems to indicate that the cost of vaccination is the reason. In populations with a carrier prevalence below 2%, routine vaccination of infants is not cost effective. In other words, below 2% carrier prevalence, it costs less - overall - to treat chronic hepatitis B than to vaccinate all infants. This is especially true in developing countries which lack the medical infrastructure to provide the expensive therapies for chronic hepatitis B available in developed countries.

For a wealthy country like the US, isn't it better to err on the side of safety, even if it costs more? And for that matter, what about the misery caused by a single case of infant chronic hepatitis B? Shouldn't that be counted along with the purely financial costs?

lurker (#178):

"There is continual underreporting
of Hep B adverse 'events'."

"Lurker", do you have some published study that supports this claim, or is it merely your "belief"? I am always suspicious when someone claims that something is "uner-reported" because that claim rests on somehow knowing the "true" incidence or prevalence. It's like that bit in the movie, Pirates of the Caribbean:

[Prisoner]: "The Black Pearl? I've 'eard stories. She's been preyin' on ships and settlements for near ten years. Never leaves any survivors."
[Jack Sparrow]: "No survivors? Then where do the stories come from, I wonder?"

Showing that something is "under-reported" requires a lot more than just saying it is so - it requires serious research into the "true" incidence/prevalence (hint: the VAERS database doesn't give valid incidence/prevalence rates - even the people who run it say that).

Prometheus

Also, from Thingy's citation:

Treatment: 23 (92%) infants were treated with intravenous immunoglobulin, 2 (8%) received corticosteroids. All infants were discharged in forty-eight hours.

I'd certainly prefer ITP to hepatitis B, given the choice.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 20 Nov 2011 #permalink

Thank you all for your insightful and informing posts.
I am now convinced my grandmother who lived to 95 with a few vaccinations would have lived to 150 with the complete schedule! (She was in terrific health)

MD1970, is that the best you've got or are you being sarcastic?

The complete reversibility of thrombocytopenia in our three cases, and in cases described by others, conï¬rms the benign nature of this extremely rare complication.

It's the usual story.

When a disease causes a complication, it's regarded as trivial, and merely a natural, inconsequential result of gaining "natural" immunity.

When the vaccine causes a complication (usually a couple of orders of magnitude less frequently) the antivaxers treat it as though it is the most horrific, evil result possible.

Examples - ITP as a result from Hepatitis vs hepatitis B vaccine, ITP from MMR vs ITP from rubella or measles.

Thank you all for your insightful and informing posts.
I am now convinced my grandmother who lived to 95 with a few vaccinations would have lived to 150 with the complete schedule! (She was in terrific health)

You know, when someone throws an obvious straw man argument into a discussion, and has nothing else to contribute, they might just as well have admitted in front of everyone "I don't actually have anything intelligent to say!! I can't find the courage to do the honest thing and re-examine my beliefs; I can't actually refute my opponents' beliefs; all I'm left with is misrepresenting their beliefs to pretend I have something to contribute to the discussion!"

It's great that your grandmother lived such a long and healthy life. And yes, I fully acknowledge that she must have done so without the protective benefit of many of the vaccines which were not developed until significantly into her lifespan. We think it's great; does that mean we think it's meaningful? Not a chance in hell; an anecdote with a sample size of 1 is nearly worthless. You might as well point to the young guy who shot himself in the head and not only did not achieve his aim of killing himself but accidentally cured the severe case of OCD that was what drove him to attempt suicide. Sure, it happened; the idea that it means "others should also do things this way" is just f#%*ing stupid.

I'm pretty angry at you because if your grandmother was around 95 years ago she probably saw many of her friends, relatives, neighbors die of vaccine-preventable diseases, and here you are, trying to exploit her memory to discourage people from using the vaccines that could have spared her many such tragedies. It's like saying "Well, my grandfather served in World War II, and he came home again with all his body parts and he lived to be 95! Therefore all these jerks who think we should try to avoid having more wars don't know what they're talking about! They probably believe that Grandpa would have lived to be 150 if he hadn't been in the war; that's how stupid they are!" No, that's how stupid you are for not realizing that a lot of people didn't have the luck of your relatives.

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 20 Nov 2011 #permalink

So money is more important than the health of newborns?

"Universal vaccination results in net cost saving at a vaccine price of approximately $7 per dose, from a societal perspective. It is concluded that universal vaccination against HBV in infancy is economically attractive, comparable in cost-effectiveness to existing health care interven tions. Lower vaccine prices would substantially improve the attractiveness of such a program. Implementation of universal vaccination should be considered in North America, contingent on vaccine price reduction. "

Hmmmm....Lurker, seems to address the fact that later medical interventions for Hepatitis B cost more (and of course, result in more harm to the individual) are much more expensive than vaccination.

That remains true across the board for all vaccinations - they are inherently much cheaper than treating diseases later on (which seems to be lost on the anti-vaxxers claiming the "pharma-shill gambit" - since pharma companies would make more money, by a magnitude or more, by not producing vaccines & concentrating on treating disease - instead of preventing them).

Once again, you don't really have a point, do you?

According to the WHO Weekly Epidemiological Record (WER)- October 2, 2009 Position Paper on Hepatitis B Vaccines:

All infants in countries of low endemicity (less than 2 %), intermediate endemicity (2-7 %), or high endemicity (greater than 8 %), should receive the birth dose of Hepatitis B Vaccine within 24 hours of birth.

(Sorry, I cannot link the page) but the Hepatitis B Vaccines Position Paper in available at the WHO Epidemiological Record October 2, 2009.

So money is more important than the health of newborns?

So now you're arguing against yourself?

The universal birth dose for all infants born in the USA, was implemented in 2005. The WHO, since October 2, 2009...now recommends the universal birth dose for all infants...as per their Position Paper on Hepatitis B Vaccines.

Hep b'ing all American infants is mental.

By Sick sauce (not verified) on 20 Nov 2011 #permalink

The Th1Th2bot looks so much like a Babelfish translation. I love it, it cracks me up every time.

By VikingWarriorP… (not verified) on 20 Nov 2011 #permalink

@Lawrence- you misinterpreted the paper-
It says it's cheaper to give all infants the vaccine than to screen all pregnant
women and then give it to only those born HepB+.
Read again.
Adverse events of this vaccine were totally ignored.
Purely hypothetical speculation.
The rest you inferred in your naive acceptance of the value of this vaccine for
newborns outside of the target population.

Wow, Lurker really is turning into Th1Th2 Lite. Get MJD on board and y'all could start a band.

Lawrence, the paper in question was published 18 years ago. The Perinatal Hepatitis B Prevention Program (PHBPP) was implemented in all State Health Departments in the United States in 1994. All County Health Departments in the United States have a PHBPP coordinator to provide intense case management to all hepatitis B chronic carriage pregnant woman throughout pregnancy, through delivery and to monitor the infant for the birth dose AND HBIG within 12 hours of birth, through completion of the vaccine series and post vaccination serology testing for immunity.

All pregnant women MUST be screened for the presence of Hep B Surface Antigen (HBsAg) during their pregnancy, to avoid maternal transmission of the virus.

Giving the "universal" birth dose of the vaccine to all infants DOES NOT lower the costs for blood testing of all pregnant women for the presence of hepatitis B chronic carriage...and to identify newborns who will require the vaccine and HBIG...within 12 hours of birth.

I hope no one (insane trolls excepted) is suggesting that babies of hepatitis B positive mothers should not be vaccinated. That would be criminally negligent. Obviously only babies who are going to be accidentally exposed to hepatitis B virus at some point in their future should be given the vaccine. All we need to do is find a reliable way of predicting which babies those are. Any ideas Lurker? Sick Sauce?

Bear in mind that a skinned knee plus a nosebleed at kindergarten can lead to hepatitis B infection. Horizontal transmission of hepatitis B in infants (i.e. not from the mother) doesn't happen frequently, but certainly more frequently than serious adverse events from the vaccine.

Contrary to popular opinion it's not only IV drug users and prostitutes who contract hepatitis B, and even if it was, how can you possibly reliably predict which infants those are? No one expects their baby to grow up to get hepatitis B, yet in the USA around 730,000 have done.

Since the vaccine is so remarkably safe (it's not even a dead virus, it's a protein made out of yeast), it makes much more sense to give it to all infants. As there is no animal reservoir that frequently infects humans (only other primates as I recall) we could eliminate the virus completely in a couple of generations.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 20 Nov 2011 #permalink

DW @ 171

This lurker (not to be confused with a certain other lurker) has been thinking along similar lines lately. I'd like to discuss this further, without derailing the thread. Is there some other more appropriate venue where this sort of thing is discussed? Or perhaps I could set up a temporary email address where we could then swap our "real" emails?

By Hinterlander (not verified) on 20 Nov 2011 #permalink

DW @171 and Hinterlander @198 I've been thinking along much the same lines.

I've dealt with a fair number of cranks and I wonder what it is about their mental equipment that makes them prone to such especially weird ideation. It doesn't strike me as a mental illness in the same class as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia (say), but there's something not quite right about these folks. I've done some desultory web searches for discussions of this phenomenon, but not being familiar with the literature in psychology and psychiatry I haven't found anything really interesting -- though there certainly are good descriptions of cranky behavior out there.

I've half-articulated an idea -- Basically, doing science correctly (or, more generally, forming accurate ideas about the world) requires a capacity of self-doubt and self-correction. Anyone who's advanced a ways in science can no doubt remember occasions in their education in which a misconception, held either lightly or more strongly, has finally yielded to a new conception that suddenly brought real understanding. This occurs because one is constantly cross-checking one's understanding against the evidence and the received wisdom (which is usually right -- sorry).

Cranks seem to lack any capacity for this kind of cross-checking. This is coupled with a strong ego-driven compulsion to see oneself as an "unrecognized genius".

Well, that's what I've come up with, anyway. Cheers!

By palindrom (not verified) on 20 Nov 2011 #permalink

@ Hinterlander:
Oh we have to stop meeting like this! Actually, I like it!

But seriously, what I'm talking about is intrinsic to understanding woo and its adherents - I usually mention things in passing (executive function, formal ops, meta-cognition, attributions) that touch on where I'm going.

What are the variables that make people vulnerable to the manipulative hard sell and what "immunises" others against it? We have the ability to fool ourselves quite easily *but* we are also equipped to check ourselves and attempt to eliminate this tendency through methodology.

Right now I find myself awash in good feelings about recent developments but also realise that we're to face a deluge of anti-vax( and other altmed) sentiment propelled at the speed of light throughout cyberspace via social media in interaction with the age cohort effect( younger people question vaccines more- NPR poll Sept'11)...

At any rate, it's coming at all lurkers. And I am your self-appointed patroness alerting you.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 20 Nov 2011 #permalink

@201
If you want to see a "hard sell" see the promotion and marketing of Gardasil
on MTV.

palindrom @ 199 & DW @ 201

Thanks for your replies. I confess I'm coming from a bit of a selfish place, in that my "sceptic" stance has created quite a rift between me and a close family member. I have recently been wondering that if I understand a bit more of the psychology behind the adherents of woo, then perhaps we can communicate better...

palindrom, your thoughts on self-doubt are really interesting. It is this quality (and some basic science study) that caused me to cross to the other side of the divide. The person I've fallen out with doesn't seem to possess this. Anecdotal, I know, but interesting.

By Hinterlander (not verified) on 20 Nov 2011 #permalink

@Hinterlander - I married Mr Woo (believing that something as simple as humoring his love of vitamins, etc., would never be a big deal, then got a chronic illness), so I can understand what you want to understand.

Sadly, I think there are very different personalities attracted to woo, so though there might be similarities, it doesn't mean that every proponent of alternative theories will be polite. In my case, Mr Woo is also an avid conspiracy theorist, etc. It makes it very hard to have a rational conversation about any of this because anything I use to refute is argument is "just what they want you to believe."

Best of luck on that!

Mrs Woo

@ palindrom:

I think that although many people may already have a basic capacity for looking at these topics realistically emotional "interference" may disrupt it: an emotional plea or incitement of fear by a woo-meister or being in a situation of distress and worry ( e.g. care of a disabled child, having cancer) may shake the foundations of realism.

I often muse about why anyone would believe a salesman who spins tales of pharma corruption and greed then sells you an alternative remedy at a profit. Do not customers "hear" the apparent COI as I do? Then I consider the antics of one AJW and find it hard to believe that he'd have any supporters left... but he does.

If we explore these issues people may be able to develop these skills and better arm themselves.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 20 Nov 2011 #permalink

Mrs Woo, Hinterlander, DW -- My experience has mostly been with borderline delusional cranks who think they have a revolutionary theory in my field (physics and astronomy), rather than people who have swallowed strange ideas in the health field, so my observations may not be particularly applicable.

Physics cranks tend to be fairly solitary, though occasionally they form little crank communities, such as the "thunderbolts of the gods" folks and their kissin' cousins, the plasma cosmologists. Any competent space physicist or astronomer who stumbles on their sites will first stare at them in slack-jawed wonderment, and then start giggling.

Fortunately, no one's lives are at stake, so the comedy is all good clean fun. Unlike in some other fields I could name, where the consequences are much more serious.

By palindrom (not verified) on 20 Nov 2011 #permalink

I have recently been wondering that if I understand a bit more of the psychology behind the adherents of woo, then perhaps we can communicate better...

Might as well start with The Interpretation of Dreams. Repression of the uncontrollable goes a long way.

Mrs Woo @ 204

Mr Woo is lucky to have such a patient Mrs! What's your strategy, do you just not "go there"?

palindrom/DW/Mrs Woo
I wish critical thinking was a fundamental subject in the education system from primary school level. Some kids have this instilled in them through their upbringing, but many others don't, to their disadvantage.

Narad - thanks

By Hinterlander (not verified) on 20 Nov 2011 #permalink

""Currently, only 19 states require HBsAg screening of pregnant women in the U.S."

http://www.hepb.org/professionals/pregnancy_cdc_summary.htm

Posted by: lurker | November 20, 2011 8:44 PM

For the names/contact numbers of all 50 State Health Department's Perinatal Hepatitis B Prevention Program Coordinators and PHBPP Coordinators In the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Marshall Islands, Commonwealth of the North Marianas, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (current as November 9, 2011), see the CDC-Division of Vaccine-Preventable Disease website at:

Vaccines:VPD-VAC/Hep B/Perinatal Hepatitis B Coordinator List

You can look up the Public Health Law in each State to find the specific law that applies to reporting requirements by attending physicians, licensed midwives, and licensed laboratories that perform tests for Hepatitis B...or look up Regulations of the Department of Health (regulations from the State Health Departments which have the full force and effect of the law.

Thingy @179 links to an article claiming to show a 12.5 fold increase in ITP after the hep B vaccination was started. However, I don't think thingy understood the article or its limitations properly. One simple problem pretty much negates the whole claim: the article compares diagnoses of ITP in Iran between 1982-92 and 1993-2002. Think about what life was like in Iran in 1982, shortly after the fundamentalist government took power, versus 1993, when things had calmed down a bit. What are the chances that every case of ITP was discovered, properly diagnosed, and properly recorded in 1982? What are the chances in 2002? This problem comes into play even in stable countries without recent revolutions: for example, data from a cancer registry with more than 10% of cases diagnosed by autopsy or death certificate is considered unreliable.

Most likely, all this article really demonstrated is that health care in Iran is improving and more people are taking sick children to the hospital rather than keeping them home and hoping for the best. This statement is supported by data from various governmental agencies and NGOs that track childhood mortality. The authors of the paper in question would do well to study epidemiology in Europe or the US so that they don't make this sort of mistake again.

@ hinterlander, palindrom, Mrs Woo:

Thanks for your responses. If you're dealing with woo-advocates face-to-face it's sometimes difficult to bring up studies and detail information. I find that the woo-meisters I survey recently have been using "citations" ( usually of poorly done or unrelated studies) to bolster their own position. One of the problems of actually having had studied formally is that you have systematic material and the consensus- a *body* of intricately inter-related research, that would need a great deal of time to explain. Also you are often dealing with issues of faith- in a belief system or person- and emotionality. Often it may not even be about data but about a person who advocates a position that they already believe ( AJW).

It's important to remember that many of our opponents are self-taught "experts": which means that their information is self-selected and interpretted- plus it's usually acquired in a piecemeal fashion. More formal study has greater sweep and distance vision. I believe that when you listen to or read pseudo-science mavens this comes across loud and clear. I also like to ask, " What does the woo-meister have to gain from all of this?"

On a lighter note: Mike Adams has been a subject here @ RI- he rants and raves @ NaturalNews expanding his base of supporters: his articles were frequent and increasingly vorciferous, rebuking SBM, the government,and the media- none worthy of our trust- "Turn to the alternative media" ( i.e. him), he cries. Today his articles are few and far between *but* now, for a mere $24 a month,you can get Mikey writing and streaming when you become a member of his "Inner Circle". I rest my case.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 21 Nov 2011 #permalink

Continuing the thoughts about woo psychology, I spend a lot of time thinking about this too. Once upon a time I would have been one of the people who shows up here arguing "western medicine can't treat everything, so there should be a place for alternative medicine." I went to chiropractors, got acupuncture (at the chiro's instigation) took supplements, even bought a homeopathic treatment for bladder issues -- it did temporary relieve pain, although I suspect that was due to the alcohol in the tincture base rather than the alleged active ingredients.

But at the same time, I still went to doctors for treatment of serious illness and I never got taken in by the anti-vax people. I worked part- time in a long-term care facility for several years while I was in university and saw firsthand what an outbreak of flu can do to the elderly. (BTW I was not any sort of clinician, I worked on the housekeeping staff.)

I got out of woo during a period of unemployment when I had to cut all non-essential spending. After that I started my pregnancy adventures and did not take anything that wasn't doctor-recommended. Until I started spending a lot of time at RI I was a "shruggie" - now I know better. :)

What I notice most about alt-med devotees is what Orac has noted before, their need to feel that they are in 'control' of their health - which seems to go along with a rigid mindset that doesn't like to question or doubt itself. Most of the people I know who use woo are "lifestyle" woo-ists - they get acupuncture to help stop smoking, get "immune-boosting" vitamin shots from a naturopath, etc. but still see doctors.

The two truly woo-infatuated people I know are my husband's aunt (who used to be a public health nurse, more's the pity)and her chiropractor daughter. The aunt embraces every silly alt-med fad that comes down the pike - chelation therapy to prevent atherosclerosis, essential oils, Essiac tea, scaremongering about vaccines, and so on. When my son was born she sent me an e-mail with links to a bunch of quack sites raving about thimerosal in vaccines "so I could make an informed decision." I read them, and did some more reading about places like England and Australia where measles and pertussis were on the rise again because vaccination rates were dropping, and made my decision. (She also sent some "natural" baby care products full of highly irritating essential oils, which I quietly threw away.)

As for her own health, I think she is one of the people who won the genetic lottery and never had any serious health problems, so it reinforces her belief that all her woo is working.

By Edith Prickly (not verified) on 21 Nov 2011 #permalink

@ Krebiozen: Thanks for that link to an interesting study of horizontal transmission in Turkey, of the hepatitis B virus.

There have been reports of infants, who were NOT exposed to a hepatitis B carrier mother at birth, yet were infected by a household member.

Certain Asian cultures introduce food to the infant when the caregiver "pre-chews" the food before offering it to the infant. The stability of the hepatitis B virus on toys, tooth brushes and razors may put infants at risk.

I was the coordinator of the Perinatal Hepatitis B Prevention Program in my County's Department of Health. It is a highly intensive surveillance program.

Contact with a pregnant woman is made as soon as the OB reports her hepatitis B positive surface antigen status. (Laboratories which perform these tests are also mandated by State law to report these test results to the health department.) A home visit is often scheduled to discuss the treatment that the infant will require...Hep B vaccine and hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIG) shots...within 12 hours of birth.

During the home visit or on the telephone, the names and immunization status of all household contacts are requested from the pregnant woman. Where there is no evidence of immunizations, pre-immunization testing, vaccinating with the 3-dose series of vaccine and post immunization testing is recommended. In the case of contacts who have no health insurance coverage, a referral is made to a public clinic for these services.

The pregnant woman is questioned about any past exposure to the virus and her family history of the disease...including treatments for fulminant hepatic disease and liver cancer.

Complete information about the course of hepatitis B infection is provided to the expectant mother and her partner and educational material is provided as well. I found that the majority of women were truthful with their responses and very much interested in information I provided to them. We also discussed the need to notify all their physicians about their chronic hepatitis B status, and to check with their doctors before they took OTC medicines or "supplements". The need to eliminate ETOH or to strictly limit intake was stressed as well. These young woman wanted to stay healthy to care for their babies.

Six weeks prior to the mother's due date, the birthing hospital is notified about the mother's status and the protocol to follow for immunizations after the infant's birth. The hospital's nursery staff is required to report the birth and the prophylactic immunizations immediately to the County health department PHBPP coordinator.

Hospital delivery rooms also have many protocols in place...including check lists and maternal blood test results that indicate her hepatitis B status. OBs are required to send these records to the delivery suite six weeks before the woman's due date.

After the birth, the PHMPP coordinator contacts the mother for the name of the child's pediatrician and then letters are sent to that doctor and the mother reminding them when the 2nd and 3rd shot were due and to remind them to test the baby for immunity 3 months after completion of the 3-dose series.

When I retired from public health in 2005, the PHBPP had provided case management to more than 900 cases of pregnant hepatitis B carriers...and an extraordinary success rate of only three infants who were infected with the virus at birth.

203918-casually-pepper-spray-everything-cop

If Orac tires of the "burning flamethrower of Stupid" metaphor for describing new outbreaks of woo, there is now the "weaponised capsaicin spray of Stupid" metaphor.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 21 Nov 2011 #permalink

@Hinterlander - sometimes I bring up some things. It really depends on the what and the when. There are times when it "just isn't worth the trouble." When it comes to new "cures" for me, I often go on line and research them and, if I'm lucky and he hasn't purchased them yet, can find a few reasons why they aren't a good idea for me or don't actually address what is supposed to be wrong.

In the case with Mr. Woo it really depends on which type of woo it is. Some he actually remains skeptical of. The big thing that he is completely immovable on is cancer cures. I'm not sure why that one has won him over so well, but any alternative cure, no matter how disproven, is just "suppressed" because "the drug companies" want to make millions keeping you sick and a cure would cut into their profits. It is frustrating. I cringe every time a friend of family member gets a cancer diagnosis, because I know Mr Woo will very helpfully bring them a Hulda Clark zapper, order them hundreds of dollars worth of mushroom supplements, etc., and assure them that they should ignore every word that comes out of their oncologist's mouth.

It's probably one of the reasons I have lurked in this blog most of all. When a friend or family member is diagnosed with any cancer I also check the latest research studies, etc., in hopes of being sure they cover all bases (and quietly tell them that they should check with their oncologist before trying any supplement, usually when Mr Woo is out of earshot). I'm hoping one day to find the right words to gently remove his interest in cancer woo and encourage him to maybe believe, just a little, that the people who invested a large chunk of their lifetime into battling cancer did it for the purpose of attempting to save as many lives as possible, rather than the conspiracy of joining the "Big Pharma" to poison as many as possible while making "millions in kickbacks."

"I have recently been wondering that if I understand a bit more of the psychology behind the adherents of woo, then perhaps we can communicate better... "

For the most part it _is_ a communication issue. The big problem arises when we're faced with people who express views or describe facts that are seriously disconnected from reality. Our instinctive response is to dismiss, laugh, ridicule, or try to convince or dissuade them. These techniques can backfire spectacularly ... strengthening rather than weakening the person's adherence to their initial position.

There's a neat 6 part series at http://www.skepticalscience.com/Debunking-Handbook-Part-1-first-myth-ab… on debunking any non-factual position.

Worth a try.

Krebiozen: I would not have a problem with vaccinating infants whose mothers are hep b positive with hep b vaccine, of course I can't speak for all trolls. How on earth do you arrive at the conclusion that horizontal transmission is worse than hep b vaccine side effects?? VAERS is passive surveillance "system" and there has not been thorough enough safety testing to say what the side effects may be for all children. Children's brains are rapidly developing at birth and in the first few months. Most infants simply don't need this vaccine and it is a perfect example of why the vaccination agenda is failing.

By Sick sauce (not verified) on 21 Nov 2011 #permalink

How on earth do you arrive at the conclusion that horizontal transmission Hep b is worse than hep b vaccine side effects??

FTFY.

You are right, the production values are pretty slick. It seems the film is designed to tug at the heartstrings as well to win viewers over to their point of view. Just in that short clip you have on your site there are a number of logical fallacies in use.

Your readers might enjoy visiting my new skeptical themed site, The Inconvenient Truth.

How on earth do you arrive at the conclusion that horizontal transmission is worse than hep b vaccine side effects?

Because there are more documented cases of horizontal transmission than of debilitating and/or lethal side effects?

Children's brains are rapidly developing at birth and in the first few months.

Actually, human brains keep developing until you get into your 20s. And even there, they keep morphing.
Seriously, do you have any evidence of vaccines destroying baby brains? Or are you just crying wolf?

By Heliantus (not verified) on 21 Nov 2011 #permalink

o.k." Hep b is worse than hep b vaccine adverse events/side-effects." Again, how on earth would you know that? Indeed human brains do keep developing throughout life.

By Sick sauce (not verified) on 21 Nov 2011 #permalink

Which is why, Heliantus, the Courchesne study is so flaming stupid.

By Sick sauce (not verified) on 21 Nov 2011 #permalink

Edith Prickly

What I notice most about alt-med devotees is what Orac has noted before, their need to feel that they are in 'control' of their health - which seems to go along with a rigid mindset that doesn't like to question or doubt itself.

Yes, good point. It's an incredibly myopic mindset. Even in my most woo-heady days I knew my own limitations.

The aunt embraces every silly alt-med fad that comes down the pike - chelation therapy to prevent atherosclerosis, essential oils, Essiac tea, scaremongering about vaccines, and so on. When my son was born she sent me an e-mail with links to a bunch of quack sites raving about thimerosal in vaccines "so I could make an informed decision."

This is similar to our experiences. Unfortunately it didn't stop with one email. There were many of them which became more intense with every reply we sent saying "thanks, but please respect that these are our decisions to make as parents". We were even given a book on how to care for children with autism (at the time I was about 4 months pregnant), which I promptly returned to sender.

Mrs Woo

You have the patience of a saint! Isn't it great to have places like this to visit for an antidote. I tried avoiding the whole topic of healthcare in general with our woo-believer, which is hard when the main topic of conversation revolves around my toddler. Unfortunately our initial debates have undermined our relationship to the degree that even discussing the most basic of day to day things like diet will generate a sniffy response.

adelady

Thanks for the reference. I've read as far as Part Two and finding it very interesting!

By Hinterlander (not verified) on 21 Nov 2011 #permalink

@ Sicko: Have you ever seen someone with fulminant liver disease or primary liver cancer? Do you know that chronic infection with the hepatitis B virus is the cause of 80 % of primary liver cancer. Are you aware that infants and young children who are exposed and infected with the virus, do not have a mature immune system and that ~ 90 % of these children will be infected for life?

Adopted babies from foreign countries, may not have had the benefit of our public health system and some of these children are chronically infected with the virus. When parents "opt out" of this particular vaccine for their children, because they believe anti-vax pseudo-science, they put their children at risk because they may attend day care with other children who are infected.

Why don't you visit the PKIDs.org (Parents of Kids with Infectious Diseases) website and view the videos of children who are chronically infected with hepatitis B?

@ Sicko....and that's why you are an anti-vax troll whose only source of knowledge about vaccines and the diseases they prevent, is from the pseudoscience crap contained on anti-vax websites.

SS:

Which is why, Heliantus, the Courchesne study is so flaming stupid.

Explain.

It would help if you provided some actual science, but I know you won't provide any.

o.k." Hep b is worse than hep b vaccine adverse events/side-effects." Again, how on earth would you know that?

Feel free to test it out.

Well, the real answer has to do with epidemiology. But SS would not understand that.

For some reason, I don't think the troll is able to locate any justification for not immunizing a child against hepatitis B.

I have a close friend whose paternal aunt died of liver failure because of a blood transfusion she received years ago...before tests were developed to test blood donations for the presence of the virus.

While the incidence of chronic hepatitis B carriage is considerably higher in those who were born in countries of high endemicity, others who have no "risk factors" for the disease, also are carriers. In some families, the virus has been passed vertically for several generations. With the implementation of mandatory testing of all pregnant women for the presence of the virus, timely and complete hepatitis B immunization of all infants starting with the "birth dose" and the post-exposure HBIG shot to infants born of hepatitis B carriers...the chain of vertical transmission is stopped.

The ACIP made its recommendations for the "birth dose" in December 2005 for very specific reasons:

In order to protect infants who were not at risk for vertical transmission at birth, but might be at risk from household members/caregivers who are chronic hepatitis B carriers.

To protect infants whose mothers are chronic carriers of the virus and because of physician error were not tested for the correct serological marker...or through hospital staff error...did not receive HBIG and immunization against the virus.

Sick sauce,

How on earth do you arrive at the conclusion that horizontal transmission is worse than hep b vaccine side effects??

I didn't say it was worse, I said it was more frequent, even in infants. I am not aware of any serious adverse events that have been unequivocally demonstrated to be due to hepatitis B vaccine. There have been many documented cases of horizontal transmission of hepatitis B in infants. (ITP is easily treated and has no lifelong sequelae, unlike hepatitis B, so I wouldn't describe it as a serious adverse event.)

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 22 Nov 2011 #permalink

@ Sicko: I am the one who stated that horizontal transmission of the hepatitis B virus is far worse than any mild, transient side effects of immunization. (See my postings above)

80-90 % of newborns who are infected (vertical transmission) and 20-50 % of children ages 1-5 years old, who are infected (horizontal transmission), will become lifelong carriers of the hepatitis B virus. Read the entire article on the web:

(Source: "Hepatitis B infection: understanding its epidemiology, course and diagnosis" - Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, December 8, 2008)

Slightly off topic, but a poll is being crashed by the anti-vaxers. See the link on my 'nym.

Do you think it's OK for parents to opt out of vaccines for their kids?

Yes, parents should decide what's best for their children.
61%
No, they're putting their own children and others at risk.
39%

Total Votes: 21709

Vaccines are great. They make more Autistic kids, and frankly, we all love to laugh at them.

By oracIsGod (not verified) on 30 Nov 2011 #permalink

OIG, you do know that just throwing up straw man arguments on every vaccine-related post you can find is not actually going to convince anyome, not even someone who's otherwise on the fence? I'm just wondering why you bother.

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 01 Dec 2011 #permalink

Woah this blog writer clearly has a bee in their bonnet, no shortage of nasty name calling and vitriol here. But what's ironic is that while this writer has the gall to call certain doctors and researchers 'pseudo scientists', he/she cites no studies whatsoever to back up his/her argument. Hmmm I think I know who the real pseudo-wanna-be-scientist is, and it's not Bob Sears.

Cherie, I suggest you read this page more carefully. You'll find there are a) Several sources supporting Orac's position, and b) More recent and relevant articles. Such carelessness on your part does not support your side well.

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 24 Mar 2012 #permalink

Dear Necrmancer Cherie, if you have specific criticisms please cite the appropriate studies that you would have included. I suggest that you actually click on the text in blue, because they are "hyperlinks" (websites that discuss studies and pertinent legal decisions). Though keep in mind this is a review of a movie, so the links are to information about the persons presented.

I would also suggest that you post your learned observations on more recent blog articles by Orac (oh, and you might want to read the bit on the upper left corner marked "Who (or what) is Orac?", also be sure to click on the blue letters). We would love to have you explain to us exactly the errors you find in the article, but be sure to provide real scientific evidence to support your statements.

Thank you.

Did you check out Cherie's website? Typical ill-informed, outdated hysterical anti-vax propaganda. You know she's full of it when she references whale.to to help her "prove" aluminum is hazardous in vaccines.

She also tries to rebut a journalist about vaccinations, where she states:

"In the real world âdecades of scienceâ show there is a clear link to Autism, and unlike Mia (the journalist) I have the studies to prove it..."

Oh really? Not studies from whale.to, are they?

She also advocates breastfeeding up to six years of age, but that's another story.

She IS good looking, however...see, I can say something nice!

By Marc Stephens … (not verified) on 24 Mar 2012 #permalink

No, I did not bother to check her website. Oh, goody, she cites whale.to. I wonder if she also believes in satanic ley lines, like the ones that burned whale.to's John Scudamore's bum.

@ Cherie: I see that you are fixated on the hepatitis B vaccine and I posted several times on this blog about the vaccine. Please feel free to pose any questions that you might have, after reading my posts.

I'm not going to dredge through this post again, but here's one example of statements made that have no citing studies:
"The questions about whether vaccines are safe and effective, whether vaccines cause autism, whether they cause all the neurological and developmental disorders attributed to them, and whether they cause asthma and other diseases related to the immune system are not controversial in science. They don't."

The arrogance of this blog post is kind of sickening, it gets very old, very quickly. I get being passionate about something, but honestly the author just sounds like a giant cock.

Brave Dame Cherie runs away, runs away!

Do try to grow a backbone, and come back and post your comments on a more recent thread. Have something a little bit more substantial than school yard insults. Be sure to have some real scientific documentation for your claims, and they are not to be from whale.to.

@cherie

I've looked at your blog, and it was all I could do not to laugh at your stupidity.

Seriously, using whale.to as evidence. Talk about invoking Scopie's Law right there.

She actually used whale.to? Oh, but she breast feeds! Everyone *knows* babies are protected and do not need any vaccines.

Me thinks, *someone* is lining up the troops to post here. I just finished posting at another citationless necromancer on another thread. What a jerk!

The arrogance of this blog post is kind of sickening, it gets very old, very quickly. I get being passionate about something, but honestly the author just sounds like a giant cock.

One notes that you are unable to point to a single specific statement in this post that is incorrect and provide evidence to demonstrate that it is incorrect.

Talk about inability to comprehend --

Cherie, Orac is very clearly a plexiglas box of blinking lights, not a prize-winning rooster.

By Scottynuke (not verified) on 25 Mar 2012 #permalink

Hahaha look I got you all riled up!

I think if I've ever linked Whale it was because they were hosting a study I was referring to. I don't usually link to other blogs or articles when it comes to vaccination. I link to studies - which the author of this article still hasn't done. Remember this line:

"The questions about whether vaccines are safe and effective, whether vaccines cause autism, whether they cause all the neurological and developmental disorders attributed to them, and whether they cause asthma and other diseases related to the immune system are not controversial in science. They don't."

Yeah well there's no citing studies here to back that up (and if you provide one make sure it's not funded by the drug industry).

This post was linked to from another shoddy post I was reading (the one I responded to on my blog). I wouldn't be here otherwise. I'd never usually read any writing that spews this much arrogant vitriol and no citing studies.

Cherie, of course we're riled up. People have died from vaccine-preventable diseases. Your advice could kill people. Merely being angry with you is merciful.

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 25 Mar 2012 #permalink

I could say exactly the same about your stance Grey Falcon. It's a matter of evidence, and there's none here. Atleast I HAVE studies on my side, and I'm not talking 'whale evidence', I mean scientific studies of children who developed Autism as a direct result of the mercury and aluminum found in vaccines. Not correlation, DIRECT causation.

Cherie:

I mean scientific studies of children who developed Autism as a direct result of the mercury and aluminum found in vaccines.

Oh, really? The provide them to us on a more recent blog article (like the ones Orac posted last week). Though, a wee bit of advice, check to see if any have been discussed on this blog by using the search box on the left side of this page. You should be warned that you will be laughed at if you post anything by the Geiers (both of whom are being investigated by the Maryland Board of Physician).

@ Cherie:

Could you please list the studies to which you refer? We'd like to see them. It's also possible that our esteemed host may have already discussed them ( you may check via the handy dandy search box). If you can't link to them directly, an author's name, date, journal ( 2 of 3 would work) would be sufficient. Thanks in advance.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 25 Mar 2012 #permalink

I also suggest you lurk on the blog a bit more. Orac did not have to post the cites to prove that paragraph because many of those studies have been discussed in his articles. You might try perusing the these articles which often start with "Another bad day for the anti-vaccine."

Here's a list of studies I suggest anyone investigating vaccines should read. There's a couple from Geiers in there, but unless you can provide some evidence that the particular studies themselves are invalid, they stand as correct. Also unless citing studies are listed clearly on this site I won't bother sifting through hundreds of articles to possibly find nothing. Enjoy!

Relationships Between Authors of Clinical Practice Guidelines and the Pharmaceutical Industry, JAMA, 287: 612-617.
Choudhry, N.K., Stelfox, H.T., Detsky, A.S., 2002:
http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/287/5/612.short

Just how tainted has medicine become?
The Lancet, Volume 359, Issue 9313, Page 1167, 6 April 2002
http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2802%290…

Lexchin, J., Bero, L., Djulbegovic, B. and Clark, O., 2003: Pharmaceutical industry sponsorship and research outcome and quality: systematic review British Medical Journal, 326:1167-1170
Joel Lexchin, associate professor, Lisa A Bero, professor, Benjamin Djulbegovic, associate professor, Otavio Clark, chief of clinical oncology section
http://www.bmj.com/content/326/7400/1167.long

Tungaraza, T, and Poole, R., 2007: Influence of drug company authorship and sponsorship on drug trial outcomes, The British Journal of Psychiatry (2007) 191: 82-83.
TONGEJI TUNGARAZA and ROB POOLE
http://psychrights.org/research/Digest/Science4Sale/DrugCoInfluence%282…

Boutron I, et al, 2009: Spinâ in reports of randomized controlled trials with nonstatistically significant primary outcomes, International Congress on Peer Review and Biomedical Publication.
By Kristina Fiore, Staff Writer, MedPage Today
http://www.medpagetoday.com/MeetingCoverage/PRC/15964

HEPATITIS B VACCINATION OF MALE NEONATES AND AUTISM DIAGNOSIS,
NHIS 1997â2002
Carolyn M. Gallagher, Melody S. Goodman
http://www.vaccinesafetyfirst.com/pdf/Hep b & neonatesGallagher.pdf

A positive association found between Autism prevalence and childhood vaccination uptake across the U.S. population
Gayle DeLong
http://www.theoneclickgroup.co.uk/documents/vaccines/Vaccine and Autism correlation US 2011 J Tox Env Health.pdf

Biomarkers of environmental toxicity and susceptibility in autism
David A. Geier, Janet K. Kern, Carolyn R. Garver, James B. Adams, Tapan Audhya, Robert Nataf, Mark R. Geier
http://www.dienviro.com/s950/images/biomarkers_environmental_toxicity_a…

A comprehensive review of mercury provoked autism
D.A. Geier, P.G. King, L.K. Sykes & M.R. Geier
http://www.icmr.nic.in/ijmr/2008/october/1004.pdf

A Case Series of Children with Apparent Mercury Toxic Encephalopathies Manifesting with Clinical Symptoms of Regressive Autistic Disorders
David A. Geier, Mark R. Geier
http://mercury-freedrugs.org/docs/Case-SeriesOfChildrenWithHgToxicEncep…

HEPATITIS B TRIPLE SERIES VACCINE AND DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITY IN US CHILDREN AGED 1-9 YEARS
Carolyn Gallagher and Melody Goodman
http://www.fourteenstudies.org/pdf/hep_b.pdf

Autism: A Unique Type of Mercury Poisoning
S. Bernard, A. Enayati, L. Redwood, H. Roger, T. Binstock
ARC Research, Cranford, New Jersey, USA
http://abcmt.org/A%20Novel%20Form%20of%20Mecury%20Poisoning.pdf

Do aluminum vaccine adjuvants contribute to the rising prevalence of autism?
Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry
Lucija Tomljenovic, Christopher A. Shaw
http://sanevax.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Aluminum-adjuvants-autism…

Risk of neurological and renal impairment associated with thimerosal containing vaccines
Center for Disease Control (CDC)
http://www.safeminds.org/government-affairs/foia/VSD_VerstraetenJune200…

Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS)
Since 1990, the U.S. Government has collected reports of adverse health events that follow the administration of vaccinations. This database, called the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) is available for anyone to search or download.
http://www.medalerts.org/vaersdb/index.php

'ASIA' - autoimmune/inflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants.
Journal of Autoimmunity
Yehuda Shoenfeld, Nancy Agmon-Levin
http://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/16063327/1999502348/name/ASIA2.pdf

HPV Vaccine Policy: At Odds With Evidence-Based Medicine?
Medscape
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/757789

Effects of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis or tetanus vaccination on allergies and allergy-related respiratory symptoms among children and adolescents in the United States.
Journal of Manipulative Physical Therapy
Hurwitz EL, Morgenstern H.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10714532

Early childhood infection and atopic disorder
THORAX: An International Journal of Respiratory Medicine
I Farooqi and J. Hopkin
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1745117/?tool=pubmed

A case-control study of risk factors for asthma in New Zealand children.
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Wickens K, Crane J, Kemp T, Lewis S, D'Souza W, Sawyer G, Stone L, Tohill S, Kennedy J, Slater T, Rains N, Pearce N.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11297301

Atopy in children of families with an anthroposophic lifestyle.
The Lancet
Alm JS, Swartz J, Lilja G, Scheynius A, Pershagen G.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10232315

Pertussis vaccination and asthma: is there a link?
JAMA
Odent MR, Culpin EE, Kimmel T.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8057511

Vaccination and Allergic Disease: A Birth Cohort Study
American Journal of Public Health
Tricia M. McKeever, PhD, Sarah A. Lewis, PhD, Chris Smith, BA, and Richard Hubbard, DM, Msc
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1448377/

Childhood Vaccinations and Risk of Asthma: Discussion
Medscape
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/439840_4

Aluminum Vaccine Adjuvants: Are they Safe?
L. Tomljenovic, and C.A. Shaw
http://vaccinexchange.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/tomljenovic_shaw-cmc-…

Vaccine adjuvants: Current state and future trends
Nikolai Petrovsky and Julio César Aguilar
http://www.nature.com/icb/journal/v82/n5/full/icb200475a.html

What part of posting on a more recent article did you fail to understand? Did you not understand this sentence (oops, notice missing letter): "The(n) provide them to us on a more recent blog article (like the ones Orac posted last week). "

Cherie,
Did you notice that when you quoted Orac, the word "questions" is in the plural? It would be simply impossible to cite every single study on vaccine safety, the lack of correlation between vaccines and vaccine ingredients with autism and other disorders in every single post because there are simply too many of them. That's what Orac meant by "the questions . . . are not controversial."

At the left hand side of the blog, under "Who or what is Orac" and above "Recent Posts" is a search button.

Try it.

You might have to read a few more posts.

In the interest of making your search a little easier, I'll send you straight to this post from last August on the IOM Report on Adverse Events on Vaccines: http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2011/08/yet_another_bad_day_for_the_a…

Enjoy!

LOL! Those "studies" are hilarious! The first five are only poisoning the well bits on pharmaceuticals and studies.

"HEPATITIS B VACCINATION OF MALE NEONATES AND AUTISM DIAGNOSIS, NHIS 1997â2002" is a badly done student paper of thirty three kids that included those born before the HepB vaccine was given at birth.

Cherie does not seem to read very well. Didn't I mention that she should check if a paper was discussed on the blog first? And yet, there it is: A positive association found between Autism prevalence and childhood vaccination uptake across the U.S. population. A paper that was discussed here on June 8, 2011. It is the one where a professor in business school has decided that every child who has received speech and language therapy is autistic. This will be a big surprise to my daughter's friend who is hearing impaired.

Anything done by the Geiers can be tossed. They were discredited long before they dreamed up chemically castrating autistic children. There are several court documents listing their deficiencies as "expert" witnesses (see http://neurodiversity.com/weblog/).

"HEPATITIS B TRIPLE SERIES VACCINE AND DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITY IN US CHILDREN AGED 1-9 YEARS" is not indexed in PubMed, but it is done by the same students who included kids born in 1980 of a previously mentioned study.

"Autism: A Unique Type of Mercury Poisoning"... you put that in as a joke, right? It was published in "Medical Hypotheses." Go find a dictionary and look up what "hypotheses" means (also check how that journal is treated on this blog with the search feature).

"Do aluminum vaccine adjuvants contribute to the rising prevalence of autism?" What part of making sure the paper was not already discussed did you not understand? Orac mocked this on December 8, 2011 in an article titled "And global warming is caused by the decrease in the number of pirates or: Why an inorganic chemistry journal should not publish a vaccine epidemiology paper."

"Risk of neurological and renal impairment associated with thimerosal containing", cute how you take an older CDC paper that has been revised and only post a link to a SafeMinds version. That is called cherry picking.

"Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS)", that is just the NVIC portal to the VAERS database. It skips a crucial bit you need to read at the actual VAERS website, http://vaers.hhs.gov/data/index. It has to do with why these words are there: "I have read and understand the preceding statement."

I'll leave the rest to others. Though I notice many letters and editorials in the remainder.

You must be noob. We've gone over much if this stuff before. You really should have lurked on this blog a bit before you decided to educate us. Of course, you could not follow simple instructions like not including the Geiers, to actually check if a paper was discussed... or even post on a more recent article.

I just checked, "Risk of neurological and renal impairment associated with thimerosal containing" is not indexed at PubMed, which is very suspicious. This is a more recent study by the same author: Safety of Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines: A Two-Phased Study of Computerized Health Maintenance Organization Databases.

Also, Cherie, aren't you delving into ancient history with the thimerosal hysterics? Thimerosal was removed from pediatric vaccines at least ten years ago! Really, what vaccine on the American pediatric schedule is not available without thimerosal? The influenza vaccine has four thimerosal free versions, so don't mention it.

Even Sallie Bernard had trouble finding a DTaP with thimerosal for one of their studies over ten years ago:

# Subject: Thimerosal DTaP Needed
# From: Sally Bernard
# Date: Wed, 27 Jun 2001 00:01:50 -0400
# Yahoo! Message Number: 27456
http://onibasu.com/archives/am/27456.html

Hi all:

A group of university-based researchers needs several vials of the older DTaP vaccine formulations which contained thimerosal for a legitimate research study. If anyone knows an MD who might have some of these vaccines or knows where to get them, please email me privately.

Thank you.

Sallie Bernard
Executive Director
Safe Minds

I'll leave the rest to others. Though I notice many letters and editorials in the remainder.

The inclusion of yet another Tomljenovic & Shaw retread in this compost bucket is a standout. Still comes with free Gulf War Syndrome in every box.

Chris: thank you! My own brain imploded only part way down her list.

Oh man is that all you've got... hmm you've got nothing, literally. You toss aside anything study or author you don't like, who threatens your opinion, without any real critique of the actual study. Sure a study may be small but that doesn't discredit it completely, it simply means larger scale studies need to be done.

I can't believe this post is on a site called 'science blogs'.

Also, I already said I'm not going to dredge through a this site, probably wading through mountains of arrogant rants only to find there is no real evidence anywhere to be found.

I don't want to read lame arrogant rants! Or a post of Orac "moking a study", I want actual evidence, or maybe that's beyond you.

You toss aside anything study or author you don't like, who threatens your opinion, without any real critique of the actual study.

Perhaps you'd like to provide, in your own words, explanations of what you think the relevance, strengths, and weaknesses of these studies are, as opposed to just barfing up a bunch of titles and pitching a fit when it's even glanced at.

Cherie @ 256:

Yeah well there's no citing studies here to back that up (and if you provide one make sure it's not funded by the drug industry).

Chris @ 259:

You should be warned that you will be laughed at if you post anything by the Geiers (both of whom are being investigated by the Maryland Board of Physician).

Cherie @ 262:

There's a couple from Geiers in there, but unless you can provide some evidence that the particular studies themselves are invalid, they stand as correct.

It seems Cherie has a little problem with double standards. She feels herself entitled to dismiss any study, without having to provide evidence that the studies themselves are invalid, without having to point to even a single indicator that the researchers slipped up in any way, solely on the basis of who funded the research. And yet she tells us we can't dismiss the work of one pair of researchers whose history is littered with wrongdoing - rigging an IRB made up of their relatives and business partners?? directly selling to desperate parents expensive "treatments" whose clinical rationale is based on a chemical interaction even the researchers themselves have never verified in anything but test tubes under high temperatures??

Cherie, do yourself a favor. Don't bother repeating your claim that "my studies indicating that mercury and aluminum in vaccines cause autism are more convincing than your studies indicating that no, they really don't" until you can truthfully add "when both sets of studies are judged by a single standard of evidence" to the end of it.

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 26 Mar 2012 #permalink

Cherie,

Oh man is that all you've got... hmm you've got nothing, literally. You toss aside anything study or author you don't like, who threatens your opinion, without any real critique of the actual study. Sure a study may be small but that doesn't discredit it completely, it simply means larger scale studies need to be done.

You really need to spend a bit more time looking at this subject with a more critical eye. If and when you do you will notice that some studies in this area have been very carefully designed to answer a specific question, to eliminate possible confounding factors as much as possible and to avoid any biases. Other studies appear to have been designed to produce a specific answer, and torture the data to do so. It really isn't a matter of drug company sponsored studies manipulating the data to make it show one thing and honest independent researchers finding another, as you have been told. The studies you have cited are in many cases spectacularly badly designed and the authors have often had to go to ridiculous lengths to make their studies agree with their prejudices.

The first study you mention looked at boys born between 1985 and 1998, when autism rates were rising. Hepatitis B vaccine for neonates was introduced to the vaccination schedule in 1991, and most neonates were being given this vaccine by 1996. The study found a correlation between neonatal vaccination with hepatitis B and autism. Of course it did, it couldn't have found anything else, since we know both these variables were increasing over that period. I also wonder why they excluded female autistic children from this study. Data was collected on them but for some reason omitted from the final analysis. Perhaps it was because of the "paradoxically protective effect among girls" the authors mention.

The second study you mention confuses specific language impairment with speech/language impairment. It falls for the ecological fallcy, and makes ridiculously bungled attempts to correct for confounders by using state level data. I think Orac's description of this study as "craptacular" is quite justified.

The other studies you mention are similarly flawed.

Here's a link to a blog post discussing the quality of some other studies in this area. I recommend you read it, as I get the impression you have been badly misled by your previous reading on this subject.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 26 Mar 2012 #permalink

Cherie, I told you to check to see if the studies were already discussed on this blog. What is laughable is that you go on about pharmaceutical funded studies when you pull one by a members of SafeMinds' board: DeLong and Bernard.

I even even explained that DeLong made a major error in assuming that any child who received Speech/Language Intervention is autistic, when that is clearly not true.

Now answer this question: Which vaccines on the American pediatric schedule are only available with thimerosal?

Cherie, and why did you include NVIC's portal to the VAERS database that does not have you read and understand the limitations of the data?

Cherie, what you need to read and understand before you use the official database at http://vaers.hhs.gov/data/index?

About the Geiers and their special interests: They have a business based on being expert witnesses in vaccine litigation. They actually create studies that they use to support their testimony, and have even asked the Vaccine Court to pay for those studies.

You should read how they are discussed in this ruling:

As to the former point, I am simply not persuaded by the suggestion that the article was not litigation-driven. Beginning with the inception of the Omnibus Autism Proceeding in 2002, the PSC lawyers were in the process of attempting to find evidentiary support for their clientsâ theory that thimerosal-containing vaccines can contribute to the causation of autism. And, as will be discussed in detail at pp. 17-19 below, prior to producing this article, the Geiers already had a long track record of producing data analyses and articles supportive of the theory that vaccines can contribute to causing autism. The mere fact that the PSC lawyers contributed or promised monetary support for another article co-authored by the Geiers, concerning the topic of whether thimerosal-containing vaccines can cause autism, is itself strong evidence that the article was litigation-driven.

And about the quality of that litigation driven "research":

Perhaps the strongest factor leading to my result here is my conclusion that the Young-Geier article itself did not add any value to the petitionersâ causation presentation in this case. Two epidemiologic experts, both of them testifying for respondent, testified at the trial in this case concerning the merits of the Young-Geier article, and both testified that the article was deeply flawed.

Even the folks testifying for the parents thought the Geier "research" was shoddy:

And, very significantly, none of the petitionersâ five medical experts who testified at the trial offered any testimony in support of the validity of the Young-Geier article. It is especially striking that among petitionersâ experts was an expert who has excellent credentials in epidemiology, Dr. Sander Greenland. Dr. Greenland in fact testified negatively about the Geiersâ prior epidemiologic articles concerning the vaccine-autism controversy, describing those studies as âdeficient in methodology.â

Cherie, is that sufficient evidence that the Geier papers should be dismissed?

If unvaccinated children die of a disease, it is almost always iatrogenic.

Hey, Th1Th2, a tip for you: using words skimmed from an online medical dictionary does not make you any less stupid or crazy.

By taylormattd (not verified) on 26 Mar 2012 #permalink

@ taylormattd: Here is where SFB Thingy Troll used the word "iatrogenic" to describe the death of an infant in Australia from pertussis:

http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2011/06/the_cost_of_the_anti-vaccine_…

You might want to "start" at my comment # 42, directed at the Th1Th2...just to see the tactics of this nasty, delusional, ignorant, health-care-professional-wannabe, SFB Troll.

But they've still gotten their precious bodily fluids contaminated, right? I mean, if they got the disease they obviously didn't exercize your "due digilance" because no one gets sick if they do that.

By dedicated lurker (not verified) on 26 Mar 2012 #permalink