"I don't make assumptions" about vaccines and people's motives

Every so often, I like to try to get into the mind of an antivaccine crank, a quack, or crank of another variety, because understanding what makes cranks tick (at least, as much as I can given that I'm not one) can be potentially very useful in my work trying to counter them. On the one hand, it's not easy, because understanding conspiracy theorists, really bad science, and a sense of persecution shared by nearly all cranks doesn't come natural to me, but it's a useful exercise, and I encourage all of you to do it from time to time. While it might not be possible (or even desirable) to "walk a mile in their shoes," it is revealing to try to understand why they behave the way they do.

What provoked this bit of thought (if you can call it that was a recent, rather hilarious Twitter exchange involving everyone's favorite conspiracy theorist crank (on this blog at least) but perhaps least favorite on a personality level crank, Jake "Boy Wonder" Crosby. In response to being called (along with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.) "mercury obsessed" and, of course, antivaccine, Jake Tweeted:

Yes, that's right. Jake is actually claiming that he "doesn't make assumptions about people's motives." In fact, that's all Jake does. His entire online "career" as a blogger and antivaccine activist has been largely based on making assumptions about other people's motives.

Until recently, Jake was perhaps the most prominent rising star in the "vaccines cause autism" movement. He is young, just out of high school when he started blogging, reasonably attractive, and actually "on the spectrum," which allowed the antivaccine movement to pretend as though it actually cared about issues of interest to autistic people. In other words, he was a perfect poster boy for the antivaccine movement. Even better (from the antivaccine movement's standpoint), somehow Jake managed to get into the epidemiology program at George Washington University, which means that, should he graduate, the world will consider him an epidemiologist, although it's doubtful that most epidemiologists will consider him one, given his propensity for the bad science, bad epidemiology, and in general bad reasoning of the antivaccine movement. So over the last four years or so, Jake has been churning out antivaccine rants for that crankiest of antivaccine crank blogs, Age of Autism, and basking in the increasing adoration of the vaccine-autism tinfoil hat brigade, whose praise of his "efforts" frequently bordered on the nauseating.

In fact, Jake developed an MO whose core is to question people's motives. Basically, until recently, Jake was a "one trick pony" whose one trick was to impugn scientists' and journalists' motives by claiming undisclosed conflicts of interest based on tenuous "six degree of separation" links to big pharma or vaccine manufacturers. Indeed, when I first became aware of Jake's propensities, he was busily trying to slime the founder of Scienceblogs and Seed Media, Adam Bly, as somehow being in the thrall of big pharma because as a teenager—yes, as a teenager—Bly had been the youngest guest researcher at the National Research Council, a Canadian government body that overseas scientific progress, studying “cell adhesion and cancer. He also suggested that Seed Media, which had in 2004 published a credulously awful portrait of Mark and David Geier as "brave maverick researchers" who did their research in the basement of Mark Geier's house (one wonders how he got the permits or whether city knew about his doing biomedical "research" in a residential neighborhood) abandoned sympathy to the antivaccine viewpoint because of pharmaceutical company advertisement funding.

And that's how Jake got started. If you peruse his oeuvre on AoA now, starting at the beginning, you will find numerous instances of Jake doing exactly what he denies doing, making assumptions about people and conspiracy mongering. Examples are legion, including his painting Brian Deer as a "narcissist" who, "starved for attention...knew how to get it – by targeting Dr. Andrew Wakefield" (which is nothing short of pure ad hominem and making assumptions about Brian Deer just because he had a lot of pictures of himself on his website) and his attack on Paul Offit as being "Nick Naylor from 'Thank You For Smoking' with an MD." If you remember that movie, Nick Taylor was an unscrupulous lobbyist whose major client was the tobacco industry, and he would lie for the tobacco industry for money. If likening Dr. Offit to a hired flack who will say anything for money isn't "making assumptions" about Dr. Offit's motives, I don't know what is. Ditto the assumption that Brian Deer posts pictures of himself on his website because he's a narcissist and that Adam Bly somehow stomped on all blogging sympathetic to the antivaccine viewpoint in order to score some of that sweet, sweet pharma lucre for advertising. The list of vaccine defenders who have been subjected to similar attempts to impugn their motives as deriving from being in the thrall of big pharma (again, due to that sweet, sweet pharma lucre) is long and includes prominent bioethicist Art Caplan, Seth Mnookin, Scott Pelley (who, according to Jake, is responsible for the CBS antivaccine reporter Sharyl Attkisson being "silenced," all because he sits "on the board of directors of the International Rescue Committee with Susan Susman, director of external relations for Pfizer, "which sponsored Pelley’s 60 Minutes report on H1N1 vaccine production"), and even a judge, Amy Clark Meacham, all because she is married to a lobbyist who has done work for the Texas Academy of Family Physicians (because, apparently, you know, being married to someone who works for physicians who are pro-vaccine is a hopeless conflict of interest that can't be overcome). Jake even recently touted a talk he was to give at Autism One in which he claims he is "trying to convince people of scientific truth" while at the same time explaining how to look for conflicts of interest in obituaries (nice touch!), wedding announcements, Twitter accounts, Facebook profiles, news articles, and the like.

A while back, I predicted a bright future for Jake as an antivaccine "brave maverick scientist" (as a real epidemiologist, not so much) on par with Andrew Wakefield or even worse, churning out bad study after bad study linking mercury in vaccines or vaccines themselves with autism, all to the adulation of the vaccine-obsessed conspiracy mongers that AoA claims as its base. Unfortunately for him, his tendency to ascribe evil motives extends even to his allies, leading to a rift in which Jake attacked his erstwhile allies for not being antivaccine enough and allegedly engineering a switcheroo that eliminated his favored "scientist" (Brian Hooker) from testifying in front of a Congressional panel. He even went so far as to insinuate that his former mentor Mark Blaxill was fooling around on the side.

Believe it or not, I didn't write this just to have fun discussing Jake's utter lack of self-awareness and propensity to engage in conspiracy mongering and attacking his enemies as hopelessly compromised and in the thrall of big pharma (although there is no doubt that it is fun to do so), but rather to provide an example to demonstrate what I think to be a larger point. Even though to us (and anyone with two neurons to rub together), Jake is a conspiracy theorist whose main technique is to impugn the motives of his enemies (which inherently involves making assumptions about their motives, by the way) is antivaccine to the core. Just perusing his AoA archive will produce numerous examples to illustrate both points. Yet he really, really doesn't believe that he is antivaccine, and he really, really believes that he does not make assumptions about people's motives, although I've just shown multiple examples showing that he does just that. I could produce many more if necessary. In this, he reminds me of Eric Merola, the film producer responsible for the antivaccine propaganda "documentary" Burzynski The Movie: Cancer Is A Serious Business, Part 2, who appears to honestly believe that he is not a conspiracy theorist, that he doesn't engage in ad hominem attacks, and that he is an "objective" journalist. Other names that come to mind are Stanislaw Burzynski (of course), Andrew Wakefield, Sayer Ji, Dana Ullman, and many, many others. All share characteristics to a greater or lesser extent, specifically a denial that they are cranks and a complete lack of self-awareness.

True believers don't think they are cranks. They believe, as Jake does, that they don't attack science, don't attack people, and don't make assumptions, even though in fact that's all they do. That's why I rarely try to change the minds of such people. It's a fool's errand. The odds of succeeding at it are almost as slim as the odds that there is still a molecule of an original homeopathic compound in a 30C dilution. The strategy instead has to be to expose the fallacious arguments, demonstrate the crankery for crankery, and counter the ad hominem attacks. The goal, of course, is to show the fence sitters or those with little knowledge of the issues involved. It has to be.

More like this

That Jake Crosby, he's a crazy mixed-up kid, but I kind of like him. He seems like a nice enough and smart enough kid, but, sadly, he's fallen in with a bad crowd over at the anti-vaccine crank propaganda blog, Age of Autism, so much so that he's even blogging there, helping, whether he realizes it…
As hard as it might be to believe, one time over 20 years ago I actually took the Dale Carnegie course and, as part of that course, read his famous book How To Win Friends and Influence People. I know, I know. It's probably not obvious from my style of writing on this particular blog, but I did,…
For some reason, I was really beat last night, and, given that this weekend is a holiday for a large proportion of the country (if, perhaps, not for a large proportion of my readership), I don't feel too bad about slacking off a bit by mentioning a couple of short bits that I wanted to blog about…
I promised myself that I was done writing about Jenny McCarthy this week. Two posts, a lengthy one and a brief one, lamenting her being hired for a national daytime talk show was, in my view, enough. Unfortunately, something's happened that makes me want to make like Arnold Schwarzenegger in that…

"I don't make assumptions about people's motives."

This statement from Jake Crosby has so much Irony, you can use it to forge weapons for the armies of Isengard.

By FilipinoMDstudent (not verified) on 20 Jun 2013 #permalink

I saw in your twitter exchange that Jake continues to believe that I threatened him with physical violence. I believe that he is talking about the "dis rap" blog post I wrote a few years back. In fact, that must be it since he made such a stink about it in his email to the dozens of people at the health department where I worked at the time. I took his letter and what I've written about him to a lawyer. I am assured that nothing I wrote can be reasonably construed as a threat. On the contrary, what he wrote to my bosses can be interpreted at tortuous interference with a contract. Because my bosses at the time and I laughed it off, Jake didn't hear back from me about it.

It's a fair question to ask, though: How far can/will he go before someone decides to take legal action against his statements? He keeps coming close to stalking, to slander, and to threatening people's livelihoods by accusing them of misdeeds and professional misconduct.

I'll never see Jake as an epidemiologist, mostly because he makes a mockery of the profession. And I have to wonder if his family has the resources to back up and support the checks his writing out in his rants.

Jake doesn't make assumptions. He thoroughly researches his statements and only provides well documented facts. If there's any criticism to his method it's that he considers whale.to a valid source.

I don't think that word (assumptions) means what Mr. Crosby thinks it means. He and RFK Jr. have continued to push the mercury-in-vaccines-causes-autism line long after mercury was removed from vaccines and the autism diagnosis rate failed to drop as their model would have predicted. Calling them "mercury obsessed" is an opinion, yes, but it is an opinion based on facts, not an assumption.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 20 Jun 2013 #permalink

Mu, don't post stuff like that where coffee drinkers can read it.

Jake became fixated on mercury when he was 16 years old. Here, one of his earliest posts at AoA, "Discovering I Was Toxic", he reveals how momma Nicole Crosby *believed* it was the mercury in the vaccines that Jake received in early childhood caused his thimerosal-induced-Asperger Syndrome:

http://www.ageofautism.com/2009/01/discovering-i-was-toxic.html#more

"...When my mother mentioned chelation last summer, I finally told her about the news report. She said she believed thimerosal was responsible, having known about it since I was 12. When I asked why she hadn’t told me then, she said she didn’t want to upset me; I had frequent meltdowns at earlier ages. The news program I saw was disturbing. Nevertheless, I began to see it as good news: relief that I knew both what had been causing my problem and that it wasn’t “me.”...."

Jake, I know you are lurking here. If your mommy told you that your Asperger Syndrome was caused by mercury...she is wrong. If your mommy told you that your paranoia caused your "six-sixty-six hundred degrees of separation" conspiracy rants and your stalking behaviors...she lied.

BTW Jake, I hope you keep pushing RFK, Jr. to publish his book on the mercury-autism connection.

@ Ren: I know nurses, doctors and others who have undergrad degrees in biology, chemistry and other sciences who have gotten their MPH-Epidemiology degrees, but never met a student or graduate of a MPH program, who had a BA, with a double major in History and Health: Science Society and Policy.

Orac links to a post by Jake that has intrigued me- the infamous Narcissus painting**:
you'll notice that the subject of the painting has something to be narcissistic about - he's lovely. He's admiring himself rightfully- and so do we.

If you research carefully, I'm sure you could find other paintings that mock a self-idoliser or find artwork to convey arrogance and self-involvement. So why this painting?

If I dislike 'Jane" and think her work is awful would I choose to portray her as Venus? Or might I opt for a more comic image? Or something that mocks her metier? MY choice of a Botticelli image would reveal more about ME than about my target, Jane.

Jake - unbeknownst to himself- probably also admires BD who is an accomplished journalist having had a long career which he's proud of- and rightfully so. Is that narcissism or a healthy self-evaluation?

Sometimes adolescents outgrow their focus upon external traits as markers of personality. Jake apparently hasn't yet.

I would venture that all of Jake's targets are people he envies: scientists and journalists- trades he unsubtly apes by attemptingsimulotaneously to explain research and uncover scandals. Think of how he feels when he writes about DOCTOR DG or DOCTOR Offit or PROF of Journalism Seth or EPI Ren etc?

Like alt media 'investigative reporters', he questions the powerful and reveals their corruption and COIs.
When I watch him or the usual suspects, it reminds me of old movies in which the upstart journalist bursts upon the scene, revealing dirt etc. It's as cargo-cult as you can get: both for science and reportage. Window-dressing and mimesis rather than substance
.
-btw- he didn't like me or other minions much either. We narcissists hang together- looking good!
We can have a lot of fun with that moniker - nearly as good as 'elitist' and 'pharma shills'.

** disclosure- prior to social sciences, I studied art and lit.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 20 Jun 2013 #permalink

One thing that sticks out to me is that he seems to be implying that Orac is a conspiracy theorist. I'm confident Orac and most people here see the anti-vax community as an irrational woo subculture, not a coherent conspiracy with a devious hidden agenda. They're not exactly hiding their agendas, or at least not doing a good job of it when they try. Even if they're a borderline conspiracy by some definition, it's certainly not on the same scale with those connoted by "conspiracy theorist."

By Bronze Dog (not verified) on 20 Jun 2013 #permalink

Jake Crosby is the poor man's anti-vaccine version of James O'Keefe.

By Sebastian Jackson (not verified) on 20 Jun 2013 #permalink

I should note before I run:

in feminist research about person perception ( 1970s on), subjects often disputed the validity of statements like, "Mary was first in her class at med school" by asserting that Mary wasn't a real person or not a 'real woman' ( hint- homophobia rears its ugly head/ and misogyny- "her proper place is at home") or that she had cheated somehow, slept with her prof and other nonsense.

In other words, deny her achievement and smear her.
Just like SB supporters are called "compromised shills", not really experts, liars, cheats etc etc etc.

Obviously this makes alties feel better about themselves.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 20 Jun 2013 #permalink

Denice: ran into that a lot on active duty back in the 80's/90's.

Could you say Jake is mercurial?

By Chris Hickie (not verified) on 20 Jun 2013 #permalink

If vaccines cause Autism why isn't there a wave of newly Autistic teenagers who just got their booster shots? Or a bunch of newly Autistic fellows in the military? I can tell you from experience that the military hands out vaccines like there is no tomorrow. I mean how can the vaccine/Autism tell the difference between an infant and a teenager?

Don't make assumptions about vaccines' motives, Kal El.

By Chris Hickie (not verified) on 20 Jun 2013 #permalink

Wow, the first few sentences are pretty similar to how I study the insanity of pro vaccination fans. I find it so fascinating how people can be so crazy in their vaccination support and I like to see how they think mentally. Vaccines go against everything that is human health. The body absolutely hates them.

Zen's "retort" (such as it is) is what PeeWee Herman would call the "I know you are, but what am I?" gambit.

Sure, Zen. So the body hates vaccines but loves measles, pertussis, polio, influenza, etc better?

Talk about insane. Thinking people are better off getting sick, than avoiding illnesses with a tiny few antigens from a needle.

zen, from what evidence does your assertion "The body absolutely hates vaccines" derive from? Be as specific as possible.

I find it so fascinating how people can be so crazy in their vaccination support and I like to see how they think mentally.

OK, "Zen," who makes these people? Please note that I am taking your pseudonym to actually connote something, rather than just being a really dumb choice.

Vaccines go against everything that is human health. The body absolutely hates them.
Gosh, the number of people I know who are vaccinated and have no side effects aside from immunity to life-threatening diseases... They must be lying or something.

By Christine (the… (not verified) on 20 Jun 2013 #permalink

I will go against my usual policy and actually answer in good faith.

Here's the secret beyond the "insanity" Zen. If I admit that I am scientifically illiterate and need to be convinced about the issue, what will happen? I'll tell you - "Orac's Vaccine Pushers" will gladly link copious studies, with data readily accesible, and explain why those studies seem sound. Antivaccine crowd will maybe link something, but most probably will just start evading, projecting or telling about FDA supressing the evidence. And if there are studies posted, supposedly supporting the various "vaccines are evil" agendas they are either so faulty even person with basic knowledge can poke holes in them, they don't mean what the antivaxxers thinks they mean and it is obvious from the conclusions of researchers or they are long discredited (aka Wakefield).

So there you go, here's the insanity.

By The Smith of Lies (not verified) on 20 Jun 2013 #permalink

How many people die from prescription drugs
Or medical errors each year
Why do drug company funded trials have a perceived belief that they work 90% of the time compared to 50% to non drug company funded trials ???
Conventional medicine kills more people
Than illegal drugs ,guns ,wars ,car accidents,alcohol and cigarettes combined
YOUR EVIL GORSKI

What if Andrew Wakefield was right?

Is this a gag? The non-proofread press release pointing to a "PR firm" whose domain that was registered two days ago and which points nowhere seems like a bit much.

@zen

[citation needed]

Dumpster diving a bit this AM, over at the Bolen Report. I was just curious to see if Jake has published there recently. Nothing about Jake in particular, but interesting tidbits about Autism One:

__
"Instead, as the AutismOne meeting in Chicago a few weeks ago shows us, they get together, pose, position, preen, and posture, for what few parents of Autistic children show up for the event - and VERY FEW are showing up these days. The attendance is dismal - less than fifteen hundred people including the posers, preeners and posturers.

Then, to close the event, in front of those same Autism parents, they get falling down drunk at a Karaoke night, leaving, as you might expect, a solid impression with those parents of what the Autism Community leadership REALLY has to offer.

Nothing. "

___

Ah, almost up to our host's standards of insolence. What is interesting here is that the attendance is so low at A1. Let's hope it keeps dropping.

By Broken Link (not verified) on 21 Jun 2013 #permalink

Maybe there was an indirect mention of Jake - chez Bolen:

"I wasn't at AutismOne. All of my information came from those that were there, and were angry enough to call me. "

By Broken Link (not verified) on 21 Jun 2013 #permalink

@ Denice Walter

in feminist research about person perception ( 1970s on), subjects often disputed the validity of statements like, “Mary was first in her class at med school” by asserting that Mary wasn’t a real person or not a ‘real woman’

For a more recent example (although not related to misogyny, but to racism), we have the reaction from certain circles to President Obama's good results as a student at Harvard. Something about him cheating because he really is a Keynesian*.
Different places, same mechanism to deny someone's achievements...

* or was it a Kenyan?

By Heliantus (not verified) on 21 Jun 2013 #permalink

@ Broken Link:

That article is hilarious.
Bolen does get one thing right: the activities of A1 are not very interesting to most parents of kids with ASDs. Most of them know that autism isn't caused by vaccines- one of our regulars ( Kreb, I think) showed that only about 2% did.

About Karaoke and drinking:
last year the thinking moms did a good job of publicising that. ( check last year's posts).

Bolen himself is part of the health freedom movement: they have their own axes to grind at conferences- perhaps he sees A!'s audience as potential followers for his own. They have a few conferences a year, one just a week before A1 at Chicago as well, I think. His earlier article promoted the idea that anti-vax belonged under the health freedom umbrella, i.e. his venue.

The activities of the congressman might be a good story for a political blogger/ television host of the liberal persuasion.

I guess we know where Jake is hanging out .

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 21 Jun 2013 #permalink

"I like to see how they think mentally."

As opposed to how they think physically?

Of _course_ Orac is evil. That's why this blog is fun. :)

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 21 Jun 2013 #permalink

@Paul #24:

Conventional medicine kills more people
Than illegal drugs ,guns ,wars ,car accidents,alcohol and cigarettes combined.

Citation REALLY needed, and from a credible source. That means NOT Mike Adams, and NOT Gary Null.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 21 Jun 2013 #permalink

@ Helianthus:

Sure. It's a way to make themselves feel better about their own lot in life. Woo-meisters like to disparage fields and professions into which they had no chance of entering- thus their anger at the establishment and people who do well.

Venom-laced diatribes *a la* Adams or Null display their own inability to deal with reality: they couldn't make the grade and they hate those who did.

And, -btw- I am also a Keynesian..
or it is a Kenyan? I forget which.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 21 Jun 2013 #permalink

A key issue here is the stance/activity/demeanor to take against these pseudoscience people.

I think a lot of academics prefer to sit in their institutions and ignore the issue using any/all of the following excuses: (1) head buried-in-the-sand hoping it will all go away, (2) "nobody could possibly believe that crap", and, (3) "I'm too smart/good/busy to be bothered having to counter those wackos."

The problem is, ignoring it won't make it go away, and silence can be viewed as assent. But engaging these people runs the risk of getting dragged down to their level and the inevitable ad hominens that will occur. And they'll immediately act like your attention gives them legitimacy (because if they were total flakes, you would have ignored them--damned if you do ignore them, damned if you don't take them on, I, guess). You also run the risk of threats and stalking by some of these people (eg Jake Crosby on Orac, anti-vaxxies on Dr. Offit,). If you open up on them with full force, they'll claim persecution and incivility by you towards them, but if you try to engage on pure logic (with science and citations), they throw back some ridiculous citations from "journals" that aren't worthy of bird cages and twist the science on you.

It stinks because (and sadly mostly due to a level of science education in many countries that hasn't kept up with science) that a lot of what is done in SBM isn't understood well enough by the average person to allow them to distinguish the science from magic. And when you try to explain the science to keep them from following the magicians, you lose their attention, such as when I've tried to give parents the Offit & Moser 2009 Pediatrics article "The Problem with Dr. Bob's Alternative Vaccine Schedule". I'll get the strangest looks from parents when I hand them this article--as in "you want me to read this?" It's depressing, especially if I've just spent 20-30 unsuccessful minutes telling them why they shouldn't skip/delay vaccines, and they then balk at reading 8 more pages after they've presumably somehow digested all of Dr. Bob's 352-pages of unhealthy verbiage.

I read an article (can't remember where) the other day about Alan Alda's Center for Communicating Science at Stonybrook (http://www.centerforcommunicatingscience.org/health/) and was thinking maybe something along these lines might be more helpful, but yet, when you spend most of your day communicating with patients and parents and seem to be able to get everything else across well to them, you have sometimes just shake your head on vaccine hesitancy and silently scream "WTF?!?"

By Chris Hickie (not verified) on 21 Jun 2013 #permalink

Paul - what about my evil Gorski?

When you discuss the harm that prescription drugs can do (and I think everyone will admit that they can do harm), it's also important to keep that in the context of the good they can do. Any drug that does more harm than good should rightfully be thought of as either unsafe or ineffective. While there are too many such drugs, there are a great many that save lives, reduce suffering, and improve life overall. Your blanket condemnation is silly.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 21 Jun 2013 #permalink

they then balk at reading 8 more pages after they’ve presumably somehow digested all of Dr. Bob’s 352-pages of unhealthy verbiage.

If the trolls on here are representative, the antivaxxers don't read

they then balk at reading 8 more pages after they’ve presumably somehow digested all of Dr. Bob’s 352-pages of unhealthy verbiage.

If the trolls on here are representative, the antivaxxers don't read

they then balk at reading 8 more pages after they’ve presumably somehow digested all of Dr. Bob’s 352-pages of unhealthy verbiage.

If the trolls on here are representative, the antivaxxers don't read "Dr. Bob’s 352-pages of unhealthy verbiage"; they just pick up a few paragraphs off the Internet. Of course they don't want to read eight pages. That would be too much work.

Sorry for glitched comment.

How many people die from prescription drugs
Or medical errors each year

I don't know, exactly--why don't you tell, being sure to provide the source of your figures?

Why do drug company funded trials have a perceived belief that they work 90% of the time compared to 50% to non drug company funded trials ???

I'm unaware such a perceived belief exists, nor who might hold such a perception--citations needed.

Conventional medicine kills more people
Than illegal drugs ,guns ,wars ,car accidents,alcohol and cigarettes combined

Show your math: what were the total deaths due to conventional medicine in 2012, the total deaths due to the illegal drug use and trafficking, wars, etc. and most critically what are the sources for your figures?

I mean, say what you want about the tenets of Antiscientism, Dude, at least it's an ethos. I find it laudable that Paul does not bother with attempts at feigning sanity and goes for the jugular with ad hominem and nonsense.

One has to admire the commitment to the motion, even if motion itself is rather abhorrent.

By The Smith of Lie (not verified) on 21 Jun 2013 #permalink

JGC - I won't speak to the actual numbers, but there are well reported issues with publication bias. Companies do tend to publish the more positive trials, and these can skew the perceived numbers. See Ben Goldacre's blog at www.badscience.net and the All Trials web site at alltrials.net for a discussion of this and the push to publish all the trial data for any drug.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 21 Jun 2013 #permalink

There may be publication bias, but the idea that we'd expect 90% of drug trials conducted by pharmaceutical companies to be successful is news to me--and I've worked in the industry providing assay support for Phase II and III clinical trials.

Perhaps he means we would expect drugs that have already jumped multiple hurdles, having successfully survived nultiple rounds of pre-clinical testing, then Phase I and Phase II clinical trials, to have a reasonable likelihood of succeeding in Phase III trials? That's true, because you're talking about a pool candidates that have demonstrated real promise for success, but that likelihood still doesn't come close to 90%. Lots of drugs still fail in Phase III.

According to Paul:

Conventional medicine kills more people Than...

The annual figures in the USA (all figures from CDC or other government sources) are:
illegal drugs = 17,000
guns (intentional and accidental) = 32,000
wars = 1,000
car accidents = 38,000
alcohol = 75,000
and cigarettes = 443,000
combined = 606,000

A reasonable estimate is about 33,000 deaths due to medical injuries from all causes annually. That needs to be improved, of course, but gross exaggeration isn't helpful.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 21 Jun 2013 #permalink

Yes, Zen, I am sure my body hates vaccines. On the other hand it loves poliomyelitis that it has never forgotten its brush with it and 58 years later it cherishes the memory with a perceptible limp. If you think that vaccine-preventable diseases are so wonderful and natural, you can demonstrate your love by taking your children to one of those anti-vax havens in northern Nigeria and exposing them to polio. I'm sure they'll have plenty of occasions to thank you later.
You are living proof that apparent intelligence and arrant stupidity can coexist in the same brain quite nicely. Idiot.

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 21 Jun 2013 #permalink

Another problem with Jake's riposte is that, in addition to being contradicted by his blogging career, its characterization of Gorski's Tweet is inaccurate, or at least incomplete: "mercury-obsessed" and "antivaccine" are not just ascriptions of motive, they are also descriptions of behaviour.

Indeed, the ascription of motive follows from the obseved behaviour.

Crosby et al are "mercury-obsessed" and "anti-vaccine" because that's what they write & speak about.

By Composer99 (not verified) on 21 Jun 2013 #permalink

If you think that vaccine-preventable diseases are so wonderful and natural, you can demonstrate your love by taking your children to one of those anti-vax havens in northern Nigeria and exposing them to polio. I’m sure they’ll have plenty of occasions to thank you later.

If they survive it, they may be able to do so, otherwise, not so much.

Renate, why wouldn't they survive when we've got such wonderful medical advances? We've come a long way from the days of the iron lung. Why wouldn't his kids, if any, appreciate such medical marvels as battery-powered wheelchairs with portable ventilators? Hell, they might even make it long enough to get really practical powered exoskeletons to help them move around. I'm sure Zen wouldn't mind laying out the big bucks in the name of defeating us mindless soldiers to the Big Pharma Army.

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 21 Jun 2013 #permalink

In other news, AoA is throwing its support being an anti-Vaxxer documentary raising funds through IndieGogo.com claiming that "new evidence that has been uncovered that suggests [Andrew Wakefield's] findings were correct."

http://www.ageofautism.com/2013/06/bought-a-film-by-jeff-hays-and-bobby…

I looked into the filmmakers behind this surefire piece of...work. It seems the director, Bobby Sheehan, last made a movie which tried to defend chiropractors from the evil medical establishment. Jeff Hays, the producer, is also behind a couple of conservative documentaries, including an attack on Michael Moore. He also made a Big Pharma movie called "Medical, Inc."

By Sebastian Jackson (not verified) on 21 Jun 2013 #permalink

@ Old Rockin' Dave
Well, I think polio still can be deadly, but I might be wrong. Recently I read Nemesis by Philip Roth, which is about some polio-epidemic.
I don't understand why anyone would take the risk of a child getting infected with polio.

@ Sebastian Jackson: I'm already on it. See my posts at # 21 and #27. :-)

Why don't you post the AoA update at the SkewedDistribution blog?

"How many people die from prescription drugs
Or medical errors each year"

How can you stop the sun from shining?
What makes the world go round?

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 21 Jun 2013 #permalink

LW @ 40
No probs. It was worth repeating.

Renate,

Well, I think polio still can be deadly

How can that be? After all, all of the best anti-vaccine authorities say that the reason that the number of serious complications from childhood illnesses (up to and including death) in developed countries has decreased so dramatically is a combination of better sanitation, better hygiene, better nutrition, and modern medical techniques. Given that, how could anyone POSSIBLY think that diseases like polio, measles, or pertussis could create any risk whatever in any child who is not already dying of, say, a toxic overload or psychic illness, possibly left over from a past life or original sin? I'm shocked - SHOCKED - to think that these diseases might actually be dangerous. Why even smallpox, tuberculosis, and plague should only be minor inconveniences now!

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 21 Jun 2013 #permalink

I know that polio can been deadly...

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs114/en/

Key facts

Polio (poliomyelitis) mainly affects children under five years of age.

One in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis. Among those paralysed, 5% to 10% die when their breathing muscles become immobilized.

Polio cases have decreased by over 99% since 1988, from an estimated 350 000 cases then, to 223 reported cases in 2012. The reduction is the result of the global effort to eradicate the disease.

In 2013, only three countries (Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan) remain polio-endemic, down from more than 125 in 1988.
As long as a single child remains infected, children in all countries are at risk of contracting polio. Failure to eradicate polio from these last remaining strongholds could result in as many as 200 000 new cases every year, within 10 years, all over the world.

In most countries, the global effort has expanded capacities to tackle other infectious diseases by building effective surveillance and immunization systems.

and...

Progress

Overall, since the GPEI was launched, the number of cases has fallen by over 99%. In 2013, only three countries in the world remain polio-endemic: Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

In 1994, the WHO Region of the Americas was certified polio-free, followed by the WHO Western Pacific Region in 2000 and the WHO European Region in June 2002. Of the three types of wild poliovirus (type 1, type 2 and type 3), type 2 wild poliovirus transmission has been successfully stopped (since 1999).

More than 10 million people are today walking, who would otherwise have been paralysed. An estimated more than 1.5 million childhood deaths have been prevented, through the systematic administration of Vitamin A during polio immunization activities.

YOUR EVIL GORSKI

OUR evil Gorski? I doubt that any of us have ownership over him. Maybe he's Lord Draconis', but definitely not "ours," per se.

Even better (from the antivaccine movement’s standpoint), somehow Jake managed to get into the epidemiology program at George Washington University, which means that, should he graduate, the world will consider him an epidemiologist, although it’s doubtful that most epidemiologists will consider him one, given his propensity for the bad science, bad epidemiology, and in general bad reasoning of the antivaccine movement.

Oh, dear. This could be no end amusing given that I have an epidemiologist in the family (as in, teaches research methods when she feels like dipping into academia.) And she and a fair number of her friends from grad school would love to sharpen their claws on anything like we would expect our boy Jake to produce.

Insert evil laugh.

By D. C. Sessions (not verified) on 21 Jun 2013 #permalink

Ren - I assumed he was talking about MY evil Gorski. They come in six packs now.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 21 Jun 2013 #permalink

OUR evil Gorski? I doubt that any of us have ownership over him. Maybe he’s Lord Draconis’, but definitely not “ours,” per se.

It’s always like that, you can’t keep him; it’s not as if he were a tame lion.
(Apologies to CS Lewis)

By janerella (not verified) on 22 Jun 2013 #permalink

Geez. 1,500 people would be a rather large turnout, and Bolen's trying to paint it as a failure? TAM probably won't hit that number. It's depressing to think that there are more antivaxers than skeptics.

@Orac: I am disappointed that Autism One hasn't posted any video or transcripts from the 2013 conference, in stark contrast to past years. It's been a month already. Perhaps because they don't want to post anything that can be used against them in court?

By Sebastian Jackson (not verified) on 22 Jun 2013 #permalink

I was in that conversation on Twitter for a bit, gave me a good laugh at Jake and drove up my Klout score. LoL

Renate, I know polio can still kill, but I think you kind of missed the implied sarcasm.

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 22 Jun 2013 #permalink

@ Todd W (67) and @ lilady (#68): I think it was mentioned on poxesblog.wordpress.com about the Hepatitis A outbreak here in the Southwest recently (I think now about 90 cases and interestingly only one child). The source of the outbreak was a contaminated (by pomegranate seeds from Turkey) frozen berry smoothy mix sold by a certain big box store. The CDCs advice (which was easy for all the phone calls we got) to parents was if your child had even 1 dose of the Hep A vaccine, there was no worry.

I can usually get parents to do the Hep A vaccine. I'm not sure if its because it doesn't have much of a fever risk or because we are close to an international border and Mexico has higher rates of Hep A outbreaks or because it's just a 2 dose series or some combination of the above. but it was nice not to see any blossoming of this Hep A (such as in a daycare setting).

By Chris Hickie (not verified) on 22 Jun 2013 #permalink

@ Sebastian Jackson:

I think that sceptics' tendency of making mincemeat of their presentations might have had something to do with it!

You see, if they put up a video, someone SB can trash it effectively. Therefore, sceptics' criticisms serves another purpose as well:
it cuts into the amount of propaganda that they can circulate on the 'net used for "educating" their followers and wooing prospective followers.

Similarly, if we make it known that they assiduously police dissenting comments at websites like AoA and can illustrate it ( sceptics reporting that they never got past the censor; only a few allowed- exceptions that prove the rule)- we force them into a little more honesty.
Oddly, Jake has helped us unwittingly in this by shouting about how much he is "censored" in comments ( AoA/ facebook).
How about that! Jake Crosby assists the Evil Ones in their Evil Plan to Destroy Innocent Children's Brains, or whatever it is that we do.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 23 Jun 2013 #permalink

@ lilady, #71--

I didn't want to slam Costco--not their fault for the contamination, but they do a good job on letting customers know about faulty products (I've had some LED light bulbs they've recalled, and this is where computers and databases earn their keep).

I my office got ~8 calls from parents on this berry mix. All the kids of those parents had at least one Hep A vaccine (thankfully, berry smoothies aren't part of the under-1-year-of-age diet around here), so we told the parents not to worry about their children, but also what to look for if they (the parents) had been exposed and had not received a Hep A vaccine.

By Chris Hickie (not verified) on 23 Jun 2013 #permalink

@Denice Walter: Even though I don't attempt to comment on AoA, I *manage* to post on a slew of other blogs that have wider audiences. I'm with Jake Crosby...urging Kennedy to publish his book...

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2013/…

@ Dr. Chris: I think Costco has demonstrated that they are proactive to get to their customers who purchase a recalled food product. They have also offered free hepatitis A vaccines, administered by their pharmacists and reimbursements for the costs of the immunization when customers go to their private doctor.

Disclaimer: Not shilling for Costco; just a long-term Costco member.

Time to get their spiritual leaders to discuss these issues within those communities.

Sometimes, Haredi poskim are part of the problem. There are a lot of moving parts here.

Lord almighty!
@ AoA facebook, the editor 'splains who the sceptics are:

an "astroturf front collective.. contracted to defend certain biotech companies' products and policies...
champion pre-emptive war, genocide and exploitation of other cultures which are viewed as inferior or who don't adhere to western worship of modern tech...
Orac and Respectful Insolence.. Seth.. Brian.. Offit,, anonymous commenters. .rationalism... scientiific method...
. believe in the idea that thought and belief actually alter DNA" (?????)

Although I don't get that last line ( sounds more like Bruce Lipton to me), she left out:
eat puppies au gratin for lunch
endure indentured servitude to alien tech war lords
attend great parties on tropical islands
make comment notes on the back of investment earnings reports
type away whilst wearing pale lavender Christian Dior undergarments and eating bon bons
oppose anti-vax truth-tellers for free
are primarily gay men, workaholics,slutty women, atheists and changelings

Did I miss anything?

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 23 Jun 2013 #permalink

AoA facebook, the editor ‘splains who the sceptics are

That's a keeper. Any idea just whose colander is loose?

@Narad: I think Kim Stagliano handles things on the Facebook side.

By Sebastian Jackson (not verified) on 23 Jun 2013 #permalink

Denice:

Don't forget, we all live in our mothers' basements.

Right. Sounds like her writing style ( also her photo there)-
altho' the politically infused subject matter ( war, genocide, contra low tech cultures) appears that she also samples alt media I survey ( NaturalNews, PRN etc)..

What's next, pray tell? Economic Ragnarok a la Stansberry et Celente?

Anti-vax, alt med, naturaliist, libertarian, anti-governmental, anti-corporate, pan-globalist memes tossed together and blended together into an irrational smoothie of woo.
Think I'll pass.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 23 Jun 2013 #permalink

@ Shay:

No, posh high-rise ivory towers with great views, courtesy of our corporate masters' beneficience.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 23 Jun 2013 #permalink

What's with the, "champion pre-emptive war, genocide and exploitation of other cultures which are viewed as inferior or who don’t adhere to western worship of modern tech…"? I thought we agreed to keep those parts of our agenda for the developing world secret at the Bilderberger meeting last week. First we lull them into a false sense of security by introducing effective preventive medicine, clean water, sustainable agricultural techniques, education, raising their standards of living, increasing their life expectancy and then? I think I missed the next bit when Tony Blair started blathering about the great business opportunities in Syria selling arms to the rebels. Has Kissinger finished typing up the minutes yet?

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 23 Jun 2013 #permalink

Can I get an EVIL GORSKI bobble head doll to put on my dashboard?

By Kelly M Bray (not verified) on 23 Jun 2013 #permalink

All right, but apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?

Bolen attended a fundraiser for Wakefield at a "health freedom" expo in Long Beach California last year. If he thinks 1500 (which is possibly an exaggerated number from autismone) is small, he must think the chip in for Andy meeting was to tiny.

But Bolen was part of the Wakefield thing, so he's not going to tell us they didn't even break even on the room rental in Long Beach.

By I. Rony Meter (not verified) on 23 Jun 2013 #permalink

@82
I think the leak was on the part of the Learned Elders of Zion. I told you guys not to include them in the depopulation plan, but noooo, everyone was so enthusiastic about getting Jewish gold to finance the chemtrails. And now the cat is out of the bag.

Also, I'll send you the copy of the minutes once Kissinger cought them up.

By The Smith of Lie (not verified) on 23 Jun 2013 #permalink

Man, I'm sorry I can't be there at the meeting, I had some suggestions about how to cover up our HAARP activities. Travel fell through at the last minute, and now I'm just sitting at home, playing fetch with my Evil Gorski. He *is* a cute little thing, even if it's a pain giving him separate baths for his furry and scaly portions.

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 24 Jun 2013 #permalink

Doesn't "Evil Gorski" sound like a coctail? Besides vodka, what would it have in it?

By D. C. Sessions (not verified) on 24 Jun 2013 #permalink

@ AoA facebook, the editor ‘splains who the sceptics are:

I can't find it and I'm on AoA's facebook page.

Alain

@D. C. Sessions:

Doesn’t “Evil Gorski” sound like a coctail? Besides vodka, what would it have in it?

With the word "evil" in the title, something like Tonic water.
Or maybe absinthe?

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 24 Jun 2013 #permalink

Comment of mine in moderation.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 24 Jun 2013 #permalink

So here I am reading another of Orac's boring, whiney blog as it meanders toward nothingness. Hey Orac, are you just as whiney and boring in person? Perhaps I should leave your wife to answer that. Anyway, it touches a few times on pro-vaxers creepy admiration of Offit. It, nevertheless, leads me to start reflecting on how I also see Offit. Do I see him as many anti-vaxer see him as the devil incarnate, seeking to drive a stake through the heart of kids, and only to devour them shortly after? Perhaps having neurotypical kids I can afford a less harsh view of Offit. I see Offit as in the same boat as other 'distinguished', 'successful' individuals who are victims of their egos, and specifically their inabilities to tame it when it is in conflict with their ideals. Think about it -- why did you guys decide to pursue prestigious, distinguished professions in science and medicine? You wanted important jobs where you could truly improve the lives of people and have a lasting impact on your world? Please! Most likely it was about your egos and making a name for yourselves. All other considerations of ideals were secondary, and only important to the extent that such 'noble' pursuits would bring you further notoriety. Still, don’t get me wrong; ego can align with ideals -- often it does-- and in those circumstances it's possible to significantly advance ideals, and, not to mention, really boast ego. So, here we have Offit as a co-inventor of the rotavirus vaccine, with him essentially placing his stamp on the highly acclaimed, ‘successful’ vaccination program. How much more worthy can you prove yourself knowing that you are saving kids from the scourge of an infectious disease? Further does his acquired fortune from the vaccine not put him in the higher echelon of awesomeness? Yes, ego and ideals can get along great as buddies when they agree. When they disagree, however, and ego is the more important of the two, expect ideals to be unceremoniously shown the door. Returning to our Offit case, we had him plodding along merrily, perfectly contended in his belief that he was more than doing his philanthropic duty of saving mankind from dreaded, debilitating infectious diseases. Then evidence started mounting that vaccines are responsible for an emerging autism epidemic. What was Mr. Offit to do? This news threatened to turn him and other pro-vaxers into instant goats that unwittingly unleashed a monster in the name of autism. Does he do the ethical thing and admit to the mistake, and right a wrong? No! Mr. Offit and other pro-vaxers instead chose the more self-serving path of trying to preserve their reputations and essentially saving their asses. They set the ‘vaccine causing autism denial knob’ on ‘high’ and deny, deny, deny! What remaining semblance of ideals they once had is buried underneath the convenient mantra that the benefits outweigh the risk: Whenever I see Mr. Offit in an interview it always strikes me how often he parrots the line that vaccines are a victim of their own success. As he speaks the words you can almost sense that he is fighting to refrain from screaming into the camera – ‘you ignorant, ungrateful a-holes! So what if vaccines cause autism? Do you want to return to the days when everyone was suffering and dying in droves from debilitating infectious diseases?’

Yeah Paul and other pro-vaxers, you meant well. Too bad it had to go so badly and now you don’t have the courage to admit to your mistakes.

Then evidence started mounting that vaccines are responsible for an emerging autism epidemic.

Evidence...
You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 25 Jun 2013 #permalink

Yeah Paul and other pro-vaxers, you meant well. Too bad it had to go so badly and now you don’t have the courage to admit to your mistakes.

It hasn't gone badly at all, it has gone extraordinarily well. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been saves and there have been remarkably few problems. Billions of children are protected by vaccines globally, and we are as certain as we can be that vaccines do not cause autism. Deal with it.

Greg's is a sad and ignorant voice crying in the wilderness, ignored by everyone who can read and understand the evidence. He appears to be twisted up by jealousy of Offit's wealth and success because he has never done anything of note, and judging by the content of his comments, never will.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 25 Jun 2013 #permalink

@ Alain:

I couldn't find it again. Must have gone 'disappeared'.

@ Julian Frost:

Absinthe for sure. It also needs to have mad bubbles to suggest the Evil Lab wherein the Evil G works.
-btw- we have recently learned that the name of the Doctor is an adjective in an arcane and ancient European tongue.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 25 Jun 2013 #permalink

Still ignoring ignorant craving-for-attention Troll.

Doesn’t “Evil Gorski” sound like a coctail? Besides vodka, what would it have in it?

Some particularly potent schapps, I think. Not the candy-flavoured crap sold in North American, the European stuff that burns going down.

Plus a dash of thimerosal .

By Edith Prickly (not verified) on 25 Jun 2013 #permalink

What a vile but simultaneously pathetic little creature Greg is.

Hey Guys,
Took a little break but now I am back. Did you miss me? So what's the latest that's up with RI's echo chamber other than your kinky little fitish of spying on AoA. Oh -- I also saw somewhere that you are planning a FAQ for standard rebuttal of trolls. Let me know if I can contribute anything. Hee, hee, hee! So guys, before I really get into things I wanted to know what is the lastest news with the Swansea measles outbreak? How is the 'calamity' that shows what happens when vaccination lapses proceeding? How many actual confirmed cases of measles were there?

@Lilady,
Delurker, please explain to lilady --again!-- that she is not really ignoring me if she is telling me that she is ignoring me. And I thought convincing you guys that vaccines cause autism was hard.

Still ignoring ignorant craving-for-attention Troll.

So do I.

I couldn’t find it again. Must have gone ‘disappeared’.

They must read RI.

Alain

Suggestions are now being solicited for the ingredients in the "Evil Gorski Cocktail".

Edith Prickly - Vodka

lilady - *Ratzeputz (not the lower alcohol content), but the Ratzeputz I had in Germany, circa 1972.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ratzeputz

@Denice Walter

Well, you know what they say, absinthe makes the heart grow fonder.

That distant burbling noise reminded me of the Swansea measles outbreak, and I wondered if it was under control yet. The latest information is that there have been 1,213 confirmed cases. Only one death, as the statistics would predict, but lest anyone forget that these statistics represent real people, here's an interview with the mother of the young man who died (he had a 3-year-old daughter, to add to the poignancy. Slow handclap for Greg and the antivaxxers. Hee fncking hee.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 25 Jun 2013 #permalink

Shorter Greg: Look at me! Look at me! I'm an Attention Whore!

I should perhaps have pointed out that the 1,213 cases were patients examined by a doctor who diagnosed measles. Only 303 of these cases have been confirmed by laboratories in Wales (cases confirmed in English labs are not included in this figure), because the local labs were overwhelmed. Taking both under-reporting of milder cases and false positives into account, the true number of cases is very probably well over the reported figure.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 25 Jun 2013 #permalink

The true mortality from this measles epidemic won't be known for a while since some of the apparent survivors may yet die lingering painful deaths from SSPE. Hee fricking hee, indeed.

Does anyone else find greg really rude and boring? I mean, he can't even be bothered to use titles correctly.

I vote for tequila in the Evil Gorski. Tequila shots are evil enough for ANYONE.

lilady:

Still ignoring ignorant craving-for-attention Troll.

Especially one who has not grasped the usefulness of paragraphs.

Hmmm, an Evil Gorski? Well, it would have to taste good. So it might be vodka with ginger ale and something else.

I did have a lovely drink on a volcano yesterday: coffee with brandy, Kahlua and whipped cream. It was very cold, there was still snow around the inn. We sat in the rustic lodge in comfy chairs sipping the hot spiked coffees while hikers (some who had been to the summit) came in and draped their gear on the mezzanine railings to dry.

Test. To see if the moderation problem I have at SBM has migrated here.

Bad medical advice provided over the internet eventually
results in tragedy, as Kreb reports:

if a person provided equivalently awful information about CARS that led to the damage or destruction of CARS, I think the audience would become irate and quickly abandon the Car Quack- perhaps even call for his head, or for his wrench, at least.

Yet people support the likes of those I survey where human life is concerned..
It's not just about providing information-
they creates a sub-culture wherein the followers identify with the leaders; part of this involves hatred of an out-group, the flames of which are fanned continuously by the perpetrators.

Woo needs conspiracy mongering in order to explain why it was never accepted by the mainstream ( hint: it's really because it doesn't work) thus, we hear of plots to cover up information, secret deals, governmental corruption, corporate malfeasance, media enablement. See AJW, RFK

So pseudo-science- not supported by facts or data- has to erect a superstructure of skulduggery in order to stand.
It draws upon followers' suspicions of elite experts and professionals-
truly, the main alt media sites I monitor now spend more time on economic and political scaremongering than they do on health fearmongering.

They say, in effect, "Don't trust the government, professionals or the media- they're all corrupt. Trust ME."

But why should we? I'll put it to you as I did to Jake:

Is it more likely that there is a baroque imbroglio of intricately intertwining plots, supterfuge and cover-ups, involving thousands of people, worldwide, over decades that has diverse multinational organisations working together seamlessly
OR
that there is a liar/ scoundrel/ data fixer, what have you, at the root of it?

If your car is broken, you go to a car expert: if you have health problems or worries, why would you go to anyone on the internet who claims superior knowledge?

They point their fingers at others to take the attention off of their own corruption, malfeasance and loathesome actions.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 25 Jun 2013 #permalink

@Denice Walter - I believe that "Big Garage" is responsible for most of our automotive difficulties. I would rather trust my car to some product with the word "miracle" in its name than some fumblethumbs auto mechanic. Just listen to Car Talk sometime, and see if you ever trust a mechanic again.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 25 Jun 2013 #permalink

How do I know the Big Garage conspiracy exists? Easy:
- where is my vehicle that runs on water?
- where is my flying car?
- haven't you noticed how much a Porsche to buy and then to maintain?
- KITT obviously exists, because I've seen it on TV. Why was the production model suppressed?
- why are people so adamant that Brown's Gas generators don't work because of conservation of energy unless they fear them?

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 25 Jun 2013 #permalink

My own take on the Evil Drink:

needs bubbles ( lab ref)
needs to have a hint of green or violet ( to look evil)
vodka

AND?

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 25 Jun 2013 #permalink

And some licorice flavored booze.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 25 Jun 2013 #permalink

Garnished with a sprig of broccoli.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 25 Jun 2013 #permalink

And with an evil little paper umbrella.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 25 Jun 2013 #permalink

Ratzeputz

Yes, I would include that in an Evil Gorski just for the name alone. It sounds like an insult one might use against a particularly annoying, juvenile troll. ;-)

By Edith Prickly (not verified) on 25 Jun 2013 #permalink

I would rather trust my car to some product with the word “miracle” in its name

Anti-static straps... petrol-magnetising fuel economy devices... woo is alive and well among drivers.
Clearly cars benefit from the placebo effect.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 25 Jun 2013 #permalink

And some licorice flavored booze.
Riga Black Balsam. Or Gammel Dansk.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 25 Jun 2013 #permalink

On the topic of evil liquors, it turns out that Malteser Akvavit is not made using real Maltese. Imagine my disappointment.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 25 Jun 2013 #permalink

Is Ratzeputz on the list of banned words? all I did was say it sounded like a good insult for a puerile self-orienting troll (and an excellent ingredient for an Evil Gorski)

By Edith Prickly (not verified) on 25 Jun 2013 #permalink

The Evil Gorski needs to include Maudite (literally "damned"), a beer from Quebec that has a 9% alcohol content. It would taste evil, and the resulting hangover would make you feel damned.
http://www.unibroue.com/en/beers/17/product

Denise Walter (my suggestions in bold):

My own take on the Evil Drink:

needs bubbles ( lab ref) - ginger ale
needs to have a hint of green or violet ( to look evil) - Cassis
vodka - yes!

AND? mint plus a twist of lime

AND? A twist of Lemming?

By sheepmilker (not verified) on 25 Jun 2013 #permalink

@Krebiozen

"He appears to be twisted up by jealousy of Offit’s wealth and success because he has never done anything of note, and judging by the content of his comments, never will."

Sometimes the greatest thing to do is nothing.

@ Edith Prickly:

How about , as an insult:
"Du bist eine Gottverdamte Ratze UND ein Putz" ?

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 25 Jun 2013 #permalink

@ Denice Walter: The last four letters of the schnapps I recommended for the "Evil Gorski" cocktail caused my comment to get stuck in moderation for hours. :-)

I'm stuck in moderation again; just by mentioning that cocktail.

Sometimes the greatest thing to do is nothing.

It would be great if you were to run along and take your own advice.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 26 Jun 2013 #permalink

@Krebiozen,

"I should perhaps have pointed out that the 1,213 cases were patients examined by a doctor who diagnosed measles. Only 303 of these cases have been confirmed by laboratories in Wales (cases confirmed in English labs are not included in this figure), because the local labs were overwhelmed. Taking both under-reporting of milder cases and false positives into account, the true number of cases is very probably well over the reported figure."

Indeed, only 303 confirmed cases of the reported 1,213 cases. But listen to the pro-vaxxer continue to sing the fear card -- 'don't go so fast -- it's gonna be bad --bad!'

@Krebiozen

"Only one death, as the statistics would predict, but lest anyone forget that these statistics represent real people, here’s an interview with the mother of the young man who died (he had a 3-year-old daughter, to add to the poignancy. Slow handclap for Greg and the antivaxxers."

Please get back to me if you have know of any source that confirms that the man's death was indeed due to the measles. Last I heard, the initial autopsy was inconclusive.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-22299596

Ok, Orac's VCADOD (vaccines causing autism denialism obsessive disorder) group, here is your question for the day....

It is estimated that 1 in 50 kids have autism. Soon these kids will be aged out of the school system, and as adults they will become an even greater burden on society. The lifetime care for each of these individual is estimated between 3 to 5 millions. Do you believe that society and government can continue to burden these growing costs, already estimated at $137 billion annually?

http://money.msn.com/now/post.aspx?post=00d9751b-dad1-4d2a-b3ea-0128721…

typing too fast....
'if you know...'
'these individual(s)'

Oh Gweggy, education envy becomes you so...

By janerella (not verified) on 26 Jun 2013 #permalink

"Think about it — why did you guys decide to pursue prestigious, distinguished professions in science and medicine? You wanted important jobs where you could truly improve the lives of people and have a lasting impact on your world? Please! Most likely it was about your egos and making a name for yourselves. All other considerations of ideals were secondary, and only important to the extent that such ‘noble’ pursuits would bring you further notoriety."

Projecting much, Gregory?

My own recipe for "YOUR EVIL G*RSKI"

1 oz of ursus vodka
1 oz of peach schnapps
2 oz of orange juice
3 oz of red devil

It's "Sex With the Devil," since everyone accuses our host of doing that, anyway.

Do you believe that society and government can continue to burden these growing costs, already estimated at $137 billion annually?

Other than finding additional resources to meet the growing need what would you suggest we as a society do, greg? Cease providing support entirely? Euthanize autistics?

(BTW, please note that the fact public support for autistics (both within and aged-out of our public school systems) may require increasing expenditure of available public funds in the near future does not in any way speak to whether or not a causal relationship between routine childhood immunization and the development of autism spectrum disorders exists.)

Just in case any lurkers mistook Greg for a reasonable person who weighed the evidence fairly before plummeting to a conclusion*, let me point out yet another double standard Greg has shown he subscribes to:

- According to Greg, a parent with no medical training who learns their child has autism, and guesses purely from temporal proximity that the cause must be vaccines, must surely be correct.
- But also according to Greg, if actual trained medical professionals who study for years, learning among other things how to diagnose diseases by their symptoms, diagnose 1,213 cases of measles in a region having a meales outbreak, they must be wildly inaccurate except in the roughly 25% cases where the laboratory proved their diagnosis correct.

So, parent trying to do the job of a medical professional without training: to be assumed right, until proven otherwise (and sometimes still to be assumed right, even then. Medical professional doing the job they received years of training to do: to be assumed wrong, until proven otherwise, and then only in those specific cases where the evidence is ironclad.

I wonder if there are any antivaxxers who don't rely on a blatant double standard?

* Not that I can picture anyone thinking Greg a reasonable person after reading his rant in this comment. I was going to respond to the parts of it that were more than just bald, unsupported assertions or irrelevant insults... but there were none.

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 26 Jun 2013 #permalink

Only 303 laboratory-confirmed cases, only one death, only 86 hospital admissions, only anecdotal evidence from his mother that it was measles that killed Gareth Colder-Williams (it will be interesting to see what the inquest decides). Yet as Antaeus pointed out, Greg unquestioningly accepts anecdotal evidence from parents (that we know is unreliable), but only if it supports his prejudices about the causation of autism. Despicable.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 26 Jun 2013 #permalink

Sorry, typo - Gareth Colfer-Williams, not Colder-Williams. He definitely had measles BTW, and he definitely died, so it is very likely indeed that he died of complications from the measles, probably from pneumonia since he was asthmatic. It is very unusual for men of his age to die for no reason.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 26 Jun 2013 #permalink

After all, those anecdotal accounts from untrained parents confirm what greg already knows to be true. Of course their conclusions are correct.

I'm sure if their findings also confirmed what he already knows to be true greg would cheerfully accept the trained medical professionals' conclusions as well. Since they don't, however--since they demonstrate what he knows to be true is actually wrong--he has no other choice but to discount them.

But Antaeus,

*Trained medical professionals have COIs tainting their judgement: unlike parents, they are in league with the Medical Industrial Complex , the Fascistic Police State and Mainstream Media Presstitutes and are hynotised by their own 'Cult of the Professional, a self-serving Orthodox belief system which over-values their own mercenary opinions and suppresses the Truth seen by the People*

How'd I do?

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 26 Jun 2013 #permalink

So I do have a seriously off topic question:

Of the people diagnosed with an ASD, what percentage will require substantial care related to that ASD over a lifetime?

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 26 Jun 2013 #permalink

@Mephistopheles

I can't access the paper itself, and according to the abstract it seems to mostly focus on differences in the cost of treatment for different autistic age groups instead of differences in the actual rate of use, but PMID: 22941343 may have an answer for you.

By Indigo_Fire (not verified) on 26 Jun 2013 #permalink

Re Mr. Colfer-Williams' autopsy:

Mr. Colfer-Williams was found dead on April 18. The article was published on April 25. The gross autopsy findings would be available, but the microscopic sections and examination were probably not finished, and certainly any toxicology screening, special stains on the microscopic sections, and microbiologic and molecular procedures would not be done so soon. A pathologist would be a fool to report anything other than "inconclusive" at this point, on what is undoubtedly a complex medical autopsy. But then, Greg is the Go-To Guy if you want to know what a fool would do.

Okay, this may be the better thread for this link. And hopefully with coffee and recovering from a four day car trip around the state (which included wine country tasting), I present this "Ask Amy" question. Does some of the following seem familiar (hoping I don't muck up the HTML again):

For the past few months, the child’s mother has made almost daily Twitter and Facebook posts about their son’s condition that really upset my fiance. The shared pictures and quotes make it seem like their child is very impaired by his condition, which he isn’t. He’s being painted as a helpless victim who will need lifelong care, not the intelligent, funny and lively boy that he is.

I don’t think she realizes how offensive and hurtful this is on my fiance’s end. He has the same relatively mild diagnosis and he grew into a happy, successful adult. It’s hard for him to see her talking about their child as if his future went from bright and happy to bleak and full of challenges the second he was diagnosed.

Wow, Chris: It appears that the mother has violated that child's privacy in the most egregious manner. The label "autistic" doesn't change the fact that the youngster is developing at his own pace and seems to be happy and socially adept.

I've seen a number of child custody legal papers, incorporated into legal separation and divorce papers. Usually, the court orders "joint custody" with one parent having the responsibility to provide custodial care...with stipulations that the non-custodial parent must be informed by the custodial parent of every appointment made with medical/psychology specialists, meetings with teachers and IEP meetings...so that both parents can be present.

Mommy is playing the martyr role now...and the fiance ought to call her out about her behaviors.

in other news:

It seems anti-vax legal eagle (?) Mary Holland has taken on Art Caplan ( see AoA today). The comments contain a few gems.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 26 Jun 2013 #permalink

Antaeus Feldspar,

Of the people diagnosed with an ASD, what percentage will require substantial care related to that ASD over a lifetime?

About 7% of individuals with autism are severely intellectually impaired, according to this article, but as I understand it this a comorbidity, not a result of the autism per se. Clearly some autistic individuals will require lifetime care of some description, but the $3 million figure would appear to apply only to the most severely disabled individuals.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 26 Jun 2013 #permalink

Sorry, that last comment was meant to be directed to M. O'B., not Antaeus.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 26 Jun 2013 #permalink

TBruce,

A pathologist would be a fool to report anything other than “inconclusive” at this point, on what is undoubtedly a complex medical autopsy.

I think we can safely conclude that in this case, a young man with asthma and generally poor health (according to the interview with his mother), measles (which has been laboratory confirmed) certainly didn't help.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 26 Jun 2013 #permalink

@Krebiozen - as evidence of the double-standard, anti-vax individuals still use the incident of the young woman who was killed in a car accident (she was a passenger) after getting the HPV Vaccine as evidence of an adverse reaction......

Indigo_Fire, Krebiozen,

Thanks. Then it's much as I thought - a substantial percentage of people with a disorder on the autism spectrum benefit from various therapies. However, the number who require extensive, long term therapy or care is substantially smaller. This is something some might keep in mind when discussing the cost of treatment.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 26 Jun 2013 #permalink

We have to also remember that in the olden days, ASDs may have been under-diagnosed primarily for the Asperger's end of the spectrum.

The pendulum may swing back a bit thanks to DSM 5 ( see Jon Brock / Cracking the Enigma, a few months back).

AoA will certainly not be pleased. As they have already squawked.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 26 Jun 2013 #permalink

My comment directed at ***Mary Holland's rebuttal of Arthur Caplan's medical ethics article just got through moderation...after two hours...too many links, I suppose. The Dachelbot's flying monkey squad is out in force; Autism News Beat is already posting, and Dorit Reiss has posted a rebuttal to Holland's rebuttal:

http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/billofhealth/2013/06/21/guest-post-crack-d…

***Mary will not be pleased with my reply.

The Dachelbot also sent Maureen Meleck to this blog. I posted twice (I left out the link I referenced in my reply). My first post is out of moderation.

http://ktna.org/2013/06/25/medical-officials-concerned-over-low-vaccina…

@MOB
"Thanks. Then it’s much as I thought – a substantial percentage of people with a disorder on the autism spectrum benefit from various therapies. However, the number who require extensive, long term therapy or care is substantially smaller. This is something some might keep in mind when discussing the cost of treatment."

Really?

"According to a National Autistic Society survey of over 450 children and adults with autism, an astonishing 70% of adults with autism are unable to live independently. Of these individuals, 49% live with family members, creating a huge financial burden on aging parents, and 32% livle in residential care facilities, which offer little or no privacy, autonomy, or stimulation.

Only 3% of adults with autism live fully independently. In
terms of employment, only 6% of adults hold paid, full-time jobs.
Regarding mental health, over half of adults with autism have been
diagnosed with depression some time in their adult life while 11% say they have suffered a "nervous breakdown."

And even though the majority of adults surveyed had participated in at least two autism interventions in childhood, 65% continue having difficulty making friends. Of teens surveyed, 74% stated that they had difficulty making friends. Of children under 13 years old, 31% participated in no social activities at all.

Clearly this data shows the burden on quality of life for adults
with autism, issues such as independence, self-determination,
employment, mental health, social support, and meaningful relationships
are virtually ignored when planning treatments, assessing treatment
outcomes, or evaluating an overall program’s "effectiveness.'

The Evil Gorski needs to include Maudite (literally “damned”), a beer from Quebec that has a 9% alcohol content. It would taste evil, and the resulting hangover would make you feel damned.

I second that :) Furthermore, I could be convinced to make a few barrel of a custom made beer if needed; just that I can't taste it.

Of the people diagnosed with an ASD, what percentage will require substantial care related to that ASD over a lifetime?

I don't know but going off on a tangent, being non-verbal but understanding basic instruction, a person with idiopathic autism (i.e. no other origin than genetic at this point) should be able to solve the RSPM test so the appropriate question would seem to be how to tap in that potential to learn how to:

1-: do basic living as independantly as possible (long-term issue).
2-: how to read (but they get to do that early and with ease).
3-: budget.
4-: not being taken advantage off (difficult even for me).

anything else? Unfortunately, I'm not conversant enough on psychoeducation to help in these regard.

Alain

Greg, citation please?

Alain

http://isearch.avg.com/search?cid={F88C4AEF-
@Alain
"Greg, citation please?"

ED87-4158-8E63-BB960EE57DF8}&mid=fa3454ed23f0fc90d43a964dc9377585-38c78e6c743769c85d6d847ea567789348026496&ds=AVG&lang=us&v=15.2.0.5&sg=&pid=avg&pr=fr&d=2011-12-03%2006:29:50&sap=dsp&q=national%20autistic%20society%20survey%20450%20autistics

@Krebiozen
"About 7% of individuals with autism are severely intellectually impaired, according to this article, but as I understand it this a comorbidity, not a result of the autism per se. Clearly some autistic individuals will require lifetime care of some description, but the $3 million figure would appear to apply only to the most severely disabled individuals."

Actually Krebiozen, this was actually what said in the link you provided...

"The cost of providing care for a person with autism in the U.S. is an estimated $1.4 million over their lifetime, according to a study funded by advocacy group Autism Speaks. For those with autism who are impacted with intellectual disabilities (with an IQ of 70 or less) -- nearly half of the autistic population -- the cost jumps to $2.3 million.

That's in addition to the standard costs associated with raising a child, including food, education and housing."

Greg, I read the text but in no way it point to the survey itself, which is what I want to read.

Alain

Greg, I wish I could cost 1.4 million dollars to taxpayers but so far, I have an overestimate of 196 536$ on public dollops (that basic calculation assume 19 years of disability income but I have worked for many years). That is in direct cost. Indirect cost amount to 10 000$ at most because I never received any support before going to university and the 10 000$ is also an overestimate.

Now if we figure a life expectancy of 70 years, with 1.4 million dollars, that get us an average of 20 000$ per year. What's the cost of disability income out of that? (and btw, we need to assume that it's only when we are 18 years old or older do we get this amount).

Alain

@JGC

"After all, those anecdotal accounts from untrained parents confirm what greg already knows to be true. Of course their conclusions are correct.
I’m sure if their findings also confirmed what he already knows to be true greg would cheerfully accept the trained medical professionals’ conclusions as well. Since they don’t, however–since they demonstrate what he knows to be true is actually wrong–he has no other choice but to discount them."

Imagine for once that pharma is late with your paycheck and you are not as disposed to do their bidding and hear me out. As demonstrated with my drinking bleach analogy, it's completely foolish to ask out of hand to dismiss anecdotal evidence because it is deemed unreliable. Whether not drinking bleach, or not crossing the street on red, or not scaling a 21st floor balcony, we rely almost exclusively on anecdotal evidence with a fair degree of accuracy and success to navigate our world and get through our days. We do not ask for a double-blind scientific study to determine whether slicing ourselves with a knife is a bad thing. Yes, generally one can provide examples where anecdotal evidence was wrong, but if the facts were known these are mere exceptions.

If you want to argue that we should not trust the countless parents' stories that their children were harmed after vaccines then the onus is on you to prove this. Pointing to a few cases in which the parents were mistaken by not observing that their kids showed signs of autism before MMR is not sufficient. (I might add that even these cases do not necessarily disprove causation because we don't know if prior vaccines were contributing to subtle effects and an additional round of vaccines pushed things over the edge and where symptoms became quite noticeable).

The onus is on you to provide the definitive evidence that the parents’ stories are wrong. Half-baked pharma studies that explore a few vaccine ingredients, or surveilience studies with gross methodological issues and are authored by a fugitive are not enough. If you cannot do a human vaxed/unvaxed study due to ‘regrettable’ (hee,hee,hee) ethical concerns, then provide one that shows a 1 in 50 autism rate for an unvaxed population. There again we see the benefits of pursuing the conclusive studies: Not only would we have our answer about the relationship between vaccines and autism, but we would also know indeed if the parents were mistaken and it was all a big coincidence.

Until your side provide the definitive proof JGC, expect me to remain firmly in the parents’ corner and treat your complaints as BS.

http://isearch.avg.com/search?cid={F88C4AEF-
@Alain
“Greg, citation please?”

ED87-4158-8E63-BB960EE57DF8}&mid=fa3454ed23f0fc90d43a964dc9377585-38c78e6c743769c85d6d847ea567789348026496&ds=AVG&lang=us&v=15.2.0.5&sg=&pid=avg&pr=fr&d=2011-12-03%2006:29:50&sap=dsp&q=national%20autistic%20society%20survey%20450%20autistics

Something tells me that poor Greg doesn't realize what he just did.

Imagine for once that pharma is late with your paycheck and you are not as disposed to do their bidding and hear me out.

Done. HTH. HAND.

I think I have missread part of a quote:

The cost of providing care

does the 1.4 million and 2.3 millions is for applying ABA/IBI for life? Is the cost figure include any comorbidity or it's just for idiopathic autism?

I'd like to see someone in their 40's and receiving ABA.

Alain

Greg: Of teens surveyed, 74% stated that they had difficulty making friends. Of children under 13 years old, 31% participated in no social activities at all.

Perhaps it's just me, but I don't see how that's a defect. I played alone or with my sibs during childhood, and when I hit my teens, most of my friends were people I met online. I found my peers quite dull, frankly and preferred the company of a good book.

Secondly, I have to ask, again, if you would prefer to risk your children during an epidemic? Would you still love them if they became disabled due to a vaccine-preventable disease, or would you view them the same way you view autistic people- as disposable?

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 26 Jun 2013 #permalink

Apparently the millions of anecdotes from parents whose children were vaccinated and didn't develop autism mean squat.

As do the "anecdotes" from people like Autismum and Agaeshem that their autistic children were showing signs of their autism before they were vaccinated.

By Christine (the… (not verified) on 26 Jun 2013 #permalink

@Politicalguineapig

You are asking silly questions. If Greg's children were disabled dur to vaccine preventable disease Greg would immediately knife them and went on to cry in outrage that Big Pharma spreads disease (little like Jews were supposed to do with Plague) to force people to vaccinate their children with thos terrible, terrible Fair Folk produced, child stealing vaccines.

By The Smith of Lie (not verified) on 26 Jun 2013 #permalink

@Greg #157: do you think we all have amnesia and/or Alzheimers? You posted that study before on http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2013/04/06/can-antivaccinationists-kn… and it was torn apart. The sample size was just 458 out of 1200 questionnaires mailed out.
Narad pointed out: the selection bias -

The survey was designed by NAS, reviewed by eight NAS members, and sent to NAS members. I am not seeing any reason for the exclusion of 8 of the 458 parental replies, but maybe it’s in there someplace.

and that you distorted a lot of what the survey said.
Did you really think that you could get away with posting hogwash that was refuted before?

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 26 Jun 2013 #permalink

Smith of Lie: I know you're joking...but that sounds terrifyingly like something that Greg would think was a great idea. I think that's what worries me the most about the AOA parents; that they see any child that's less than perfect as disposable. I can't imagine how badly some of those parents would treat a child who became blind or deaf, given that they can't cope with autism.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 26 Jun 2013 #permalink

@Lilady

"The Dachel bot has notified her groupies about a Time Magazine blog that features autistic triplets in Spain. There are just a few comments there and I had the opportunity to post directly back at Dachel:"

Lilady, great job keeping tabs on those quacks. A pro-vaxxer also told me that he snuck into the bathroom after Olmstead took a big cr@p. He said the giant turd actually read, 'vaccines cause autism'. Can you believe the guy defecating like that? He thinks he can get away with stuff but little does he know how closely you guys are watching them. Didn't even flush... Jerk! (hee,hee,hee!)

@Julian

"@Greg #157: do you think we all have amnesia and/or Alzheimers? You posted that study before on http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2013/04/06/can-antivaccinationists-kn… and it was torn apart. The sample size was just 458 out of 1200 questionnaires mailed out.
Narad pointed out: the selection bias -

The survey was designed by NAS, reviewed by eight NAS members, and sent to NAS members. I am not seeing any reason for the exclusion of 8 of the 458 parental replies, but maybe it’s in there someplace.

and that you distorted a lot of what the survey said.
Did you really think that you could get away with posting hogwash that was refuted before?"

I have been trying real hard for a long time to be nice and avoid slamming you but, finally, let me say this: You
are no different than any member of an oppressed group who conspires with his oppressor against his own people. These individuals include Jews during the Holocaust who snitched on other Jews, or 'Uncle Tom' Blacks who turned other Blacks in during Slavery. Does your high functioning status afford you the luxury of turning your back on your 'lesser', 'more embarrassing' non-verbal, head banging, screaming, poop smearing peers? Criticize Jake all you want but at least he has the decency and courage to stand up for his own people.

@PGP

"Secondly, I have to ask, again, if you would prefer to risk your children during an epidemic? Would you still love them if they became disabled due to a vaccine-preventable disease, or would you view them the same way you view autistic people- as disposable?"

PGP, oh you are such a piece of work! Let's stop mincing words here. What do you want a parent to do -- rejoice after watching a perfectly previously healthy child destroyed by vaccines?

Hey Orac,

Didn't really mean to irk you as you were more than likely planning another of your boring, whiney blogs. So am I to infer you are taking issues with my Holocaust anology because it is 'obnoxious'. I provide one of your excerpts....

"RI an echo chamber? Oh, that is so hilarious. What happens to people who go over to AoA and strenuously object to the hive mind’s position on vaccines? They disappear or ultimately are banned as “trolls,” no matter how polite they are. What happens to people who try to object to something I say here? They get to post, only getting banned if they flood the comments with dozens upon dozens of repetitive and obnoxious posts (like Didymus), become abusive and insulting over a fairly long period of time, or rejoice over the death of my dog."

So Orac's what's your criteria for determining if a post is indeed 'obnoxious', or is just a matter of your personal decision? Seems to me that RI echo chamber is indeed not so welcoming of free thought, much as you will protest.

Greg:

Does your high functioning status afford you the luxury of turning your back on your ‘lesser’, ‘more embarrassing’ non-verbal, head banging, screaming, poop smearing peers?

Oh the irony. Do you know who else was "non-verbal, head banging, screaming, poop smearing" as a child?
Temple Grandin.

Criticize Jake all you want but at least he has the decency and courage to stand up for his own people.

I think I'm about to die laughing. Crosby stalks and harasses people who are pro-vaccination. What do I do? I'm a self-advocate and blogger. If you think that I'm not doing any good for low-functioning autistics, you know even less than you think you do.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 27 Jun 2013 #permalink

@Greg:

There is a difference between expressing an alternate opinion that doesn't go along with the majority and denigrating whole classes of other commenters by comparing them to Nazi collaborators and "Uncle Toms." It's disingenuous in the extreme of you to try to draw a parallel. You can argue all you like that vaccines cause autism, that Jake is a wonderful person, and that vaccines are pure evil. But make such vile analogies about other commenters? Well, that gets my attention.

In any case, it's blog, my rules. Don't like it? Go somewhere else and rant about how you were abused because I got annoyed that you started comparing high functioning autistics who comment here to sonderkommandos and Uncle Toms.

@Greg - if you can't see how your "analogy" is blatantly offensive to anyone and everyone, you are less self-aware than I even gave you credit for.....of course, since you believe all autistics are brain-damaged burdens on society, I should have expected nothing less.

Actually Krebiozen, this was actually what said in the link you provided…

I know what it said, which is why I linked to a well-referenced article that suggests that only 7% of autistic individuals are also severely intellectually impaired, and pointed out that the intellectual impairment is not necessarily a consequence of autism, but a co-morbidity. You have to take publications by advocacy groups with a pinch of salt, as they are, quite rightly, highly motivated to maximize the requirements of the group they are trying to get more resources for. Also worth noting is that the figures quoted also include the costs of highly dubious "biomedical" treatments, such as vitamin therapy.

No one is denying that a sizeable number of individuals with autism will require some assistance in living, but only a tiny minority are non-verbal and doubly incontinent, requiring round-the-clock care, contrary to what you continually imply. Trying to exaggerate the cost of caring for individuals with autism, and ranting on and on about vaccines, which we are as certain as we can be do not cause autism, is less than helpful.

As for your attack on Julian, I suppose that as well as showing that you are a despicable worm who despises people with autism, despite claiming to care for them, it also demonstrates that you have nothing to back up your empty claims.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 27 Jun 2013 #permalink

@Lawrence,
Shut up man! Shouldn't you be ignoring me or something like that?

@Orac,
Hey Orac, quit with the hypocrisy. I have been treated with the worst abuse here. I've been called vile, a scumbag, and told countless times to screw myself. I've been compared to a dog that eats his own vomit. Likewise, I routinely hear other anti-vaxxers being treated with such scalding insults. Not once did I object to such abuse, Orac. Now pro-vaxxers all seem to get their knickers in a knot when someone uses the Holocaust analogy. They see it as hitting below the belt. Please! You said it Orac, it's your blog and you decide on the rules so quit with the hypocrisy of being so welcoming of free speech. Also, when you decide to ban me at least have the decency to publicly announce it so that no one is confused about what RI is truly about.

Cry me a frickin' river. From my perspective you provoke people and go beyond mere insults. And, yes, here Nazi analogies are a trigger that get my attention, particularly when it comes to someone with your sordid history here.

Oh, did I make Greg angry? tee-hee.....

If you want to argue that we should not trust the countless parents’ stories that their children were harmed after vaccines then the onus is on you to prove this.

You've got it backward once again: you're the one claiming that vaccines injure chidlren, so it's you're responsibility to provide evidence to support that claim. Anecdotal accounts from parents claiming they're children were harmed do not constitute evidence they actually were harmed, anymore than the anecdotal accounts of people claiming they were abducted by aliens and taken aboard flying saucers for medical examinations constitute evidence they actually were abducted and examined by aliens.

Direct question: do you believe we as a society must enact public policies based on the presumption alien abductions are real, committing financial and military resources to seek out and deter alien invaders from kidnapping US citizens, unless we can disprove each and every anecdotal account of an abduction?

What do you want a parent to do — rejoice after watching a perfectly previously healthy child destroyed by vaccines?

And the evidence that routine childhood vaccinations destroy perfectly previously healthy children?

Oh, that's right: you don't have any.

Greg: What do you want a parent to do — rejoice after watching a perfectly previously healthy child destroyed by vaccines?

Do you rejoice when a previously healthy child is disabled or killed by measles or mumps or any of the other diseases you love? Probably. I am not a foul bag of wind like you, and I hold parents accountable for not getting their children the help they need and harming them by resorting to dubious treatment. Most of the so-called bio-med treatments for autism make as much sense as a parent forcing a child to eat carrots to recover their sight.

Greg: I’ve been called vile, a scumbag..
Here's a clue, bud; the shoe fits. Maybe if you don't want the commenters to call you out for being a vile scumbag, you shouldn't ACT like a vile scumbag.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 27 Jun 2013 #permalink

I’ve been compared to a dog that eats his own vomit.

That would indeed be ridiculous. You're more like a dog that rolls in its own vomit and then hops on the bed after scooting its anal sacs on the carpet.

Likewise, I routinely hear other anti-vaxxers being treated with such scalding insults.

You keep saying this without providing examples.

Still, I am finding some amusement in Greggie's increasingly hysterical efforts to get himself banned, which I imagine would provide him with the usual Sad Sack variety of satisfaction. Ah, I can remember back when he was feigning ignorance of AoA's "moderation policies."

@Narad - he reminds me of when someone from the Westboro Church gets upset when people call them names.....

Or better yet, the "feigned outrage" by people from AoA at being called "anti-vaccine" yet they can't name a single vaccine they are in favor of......or a single instance where a positive story has been posted on AoA about vaccines.....

I’ve been called vile, a scumbag, and told countless times to screw myself. I’ve been compared to a dog that eats his own vomit.

As I have said before: "It's not an insult, it's a description."

Good afternoon everyone :D

You’re more like a dog that rolls in its own vomit and then hops on the bed after scooting its anal sacs on the carpet.

This. Made. My. Day! :D :D :D

Alain

As demonstrated with my drinking bleach analogy, it’s completely foolish to ask out of hand to dismiss anecdotal evidence because it is deemed unreliable.

Believe it or not, Greg has actually said something sensible. If someone was actually suggesting that anecdotal evidence should be dismissed "out of hand" (which I take to mean "without sufficient consideration") just because it is anecdotal evidence and anecdotal evidence is unreliable, then that would indeed be foolish.

Of course, that's not what's actually happening. The anecdotal evidence is not being dismissed without consideration, it's being dismissed after consideration. And why is it being dismissed? Because we have better evidence which conflicts with that anecdotal evidence. Despite Greg's confused disquisition, "reliable" does not mean "turned out to be correct in an individual case"; we call anecdotal evidence unreliable because no matter how many examples we conjure up of it being right, it is wrong too often for us to rely on it. Un-able to rely = unreliable. Even stretching the boundaries of "anecdotal evidence" wildly, to the point where "anecdotal evidence" is supposedly the reason we don't drink bleach (seriously? does Greg think we have no scientific proof that bleach is caustic and causes harm, it's all anecdotal?) the "fair degree of accuracy and success" that anecdotal evidence purportedly provides us day-to-day is not sufficient for big policy decisions. "I've managed not to off myself by scaling a 21st floor balcony so far, and that proves anecdotal evidence works! Therefore, anecdotal evidence, even when contradicted by scientific evidence, should be enough reason to ban vaccines!" Yeah, doesn't quite work that way.

If you want to argue that we should not trust the countless parents’ stories that their children were harmed after vaccines then the onus is on you to prove this.

Of course, this has already been done. As we have already said, we have scientific evidence that vaccines do not cause autism, in the form of all the epidemiological studies which have looked for a correlation between vaccination and autism and found none. Remember, these are the same kinds of studies that have detected actual vaccine side effects with a rarity of 1 in 100,000; if even a significant fraction of those "countless parent stories" represented actual children whose autism had actually been caused by vaccines (and thus would not have happened without the vaccines) there's no way all those extra cases of autism could not show up as a detectable difference in the data. But every time it's looked for, it isn't there.

You can't say "there is no detectable difference between the rate at which unvaxed kids get autism and the rate at which vaxed kids get autism, but nevertheless because of parents' stories we believe that vaccinations must be causing a lot of cases of autism which would cause the rate among vaxed kids to be higher." It's like saying "The oldest son is six feet tall; the youngest son is also six feet tall; we're now going to speculate on what causes the older son to be so much taller than the younger." It's like saying "Emergency room personnel have all these stories about how the full moon must make people crazy because there are so many more cases during the full moon than anytime else; we've looked at the actual data and found that the number of cases during the full moon is pretty much the same as at any other time, but still, since those anecdotal stories sound so good, we're going to speculate how the full moon causes that huge spike in cases which doesn't actually exist."

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 27 Jun 2013 #permalink

You’re more like a dog that rolls in its own vomit and then hops on the bed after scooting its anal sacs on the carpet.

I suspect that he has lost all continence and p1ssed himself with pleasure, now that he's received the attention he craves.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 27 Jun 2013 #permalink

I'm sorry guys, I really am. I believe that some of the insults leveled at certain people who post here are, frankly, excessive. I know that emotions run high; I know that people truly believe that some people are a danger to all around them and a poor role model (while trying all the while to pretend they're filled with sweetness and light). But really - do FOAD, DIAF, comparisons to dog vomit, or comparisons to Nazis really add to the conversation? I personally cringe when I read them, as they don't reflect well on the people writing them.

I'll admit to taking the occasional pot shot (I like to think they're witty when I write them, but that's for others to decide), but I like to think that most responses in these threads are reasonably thoughtful and intended to discuss the issue. Gross insults, well, that just makes people sound like people who post on nbc.com or cnn.com.

Naturally, any statement that's fact based is perfectly fair.

Sorry for tone trolling. Please carry on.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 27 Jun 2013 #permalink

@MOB - I agree, it has and can get excessive. Unfortunately, that's what Greg wants...

If any of my replies were off-base, I apologize.

Though not to Greg....

I suspect that he has lost all continence and p1ssed himself with pleasure, now that he’s received the attention he craves.

I'm actually having trouble finding the comment in which Greg was "compared to a dog that eats his own vomit." It would be most helpful if he could provide it. Maybe it's from someplace else that he graced with his presence.

You know what? So am I. I started looking in the WordPress back end for the exact comment Greg is referring to, and I can't find it. Perhaps he could enlighten me and point out where this particular comment is, as I'm beginning to think that he's either confusing this blog with another blog or making it up. He could easily prove me wrong, though.

It's a Biblical reference: Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly. (Proverbs 26:11). Perhaps he insulted someone on a religious forum?

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 27 Jun 2013 #permalink

I've been ignoring the ignorant craving-for-attention Troll for weeks.

I'm sticking by my description of Greg as a despicable worm, intending the meaning, "A contemptible or devious being", which I think is entirely accurate judging by his behavior here. Sorry if that offends anyone, other than Greg of course.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 27 Jun 2013 #permalink

I'm sorry.

The points that have been made about how, when someone is pretty clearly trying to goad us into banning him for his vile behavior, so that he can go out and lie and pretend it was because we just couldn't handle the heavy truth trip he had for us, and that someone manages to elicit any sort of personal insult in response to his own copious personal insults, it's a loss for our side - these points are completely correct.

But I can't stop myself. I'm just too disgusted to hold back. I'm about to compare Greg to something much, much worse than a dog eating vomit:

Greg is like a guy who claims to be neurotypical, not on the autistic spectrum at all, who tells other people who are on the autistic spectrum that they have to accept whatever crackpot theory he, the neurotypical, believes about the origin of their autism, or else be labelled by him as traitors to their own kind - again, by someone who strenuously denies that he's one of their kind.

I'm sorry, folks, for finding something so very odious to compare Greg to. Perhaps it would have been kinder to compare him to a dog returning to his vomit, as the dog is less disgusting on almost every level than a neurotypical who tells autistics what they have to do to be "good" autistics - but sometimes you can't sugarcoat things.

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 27 Jun 2013 #permalink

Try your google fu "Greg Age of Autism", to see how the Troll went crawling back to the mother ship for advice on interpreting the many studies the RI Regulars posted at him. Troll got no help from the *experts* at AoA...just some comments about the RI Regulars.

lilady, Krebiozen, Antaeus Feldspar - please refer to my statement regarding fact based comments.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 27 Jun 2013 #permalink

Perhaps he insulted someone on a religious forum?

I assure you that did exercise some editorial restraint before submitting that one. Realistically, it doesn't even merit the effort required for a decent insult at this point. I mean, what, repeating the NAS stuff as though nobody would notice?

Like I said, now that the notion seems to be sinking in that its trademark taunt has gone threadbare and there's no other there there, it's just getting angry. It's lost track of its own comments. It has lost at every turn to the commentariat, so now it demands -- indeed, probably craves -- the playing out of some sort of bizarre fantasy showdown with the host.

^ "that I did exercise"

@Mephistopheles O'Brien,

I admit I went overboard with my picture of economists some time ago in another thread but in my exchange with Greg, I never knew anything about FOADIAF until Greg mentionned it and I googled it. It's funny at the moment but then I don't expect to use it again in this lifetime because I am sensitive to my fellow and most humans but then again, I'm also sensitive to be called a damaged good with injured brain. I know I should develop the humility of not lowering myself to the level of the name caller and sometime, I can but sometime, I can't.

It's always a balancing act.

Alain

Try your google fu “Greg Age of Autism”

This isn't bad, either.

Ok Orac’s VCADOD group, sometimes I get the impression that you are frustrated and angry with me. Now I know I tease you a lot about wanting to help you with your denialism disorder but underneath all that ribbing there is sincerity. Do you see that we have a situation where the parents of autistic kids hate you with every bone in their bodies? They despise you to the high heavens and would like nothing better than to lay a serious butt whooping on you for what you did to their kids. Now even though my kids are not autistic, I don’t particularly like you either but I try to be fair. I ask, if my reputation and butt (remember what I said about the butt whooping) was on the line with vaccines causing autism wouldn’t I also deny, deny, deny? I would like to say no but we can never be sure.

Anyway, what we have is the most impossible stand-off: The parents desperately want to whoop your butts because you keep denying the obvious, and the more you sense that they want to lay a beating on you the more you deny the obvious. And, with every passing day of the standoff the autism mess worsens. We have more vaccine-damaged kids and the autism rate skyrockets. The situation definitely is not sustainable and surely is bound to come to a ‘French Revolution style’ head.

What is needed is a resolution, but with the two camps so polarized how will we ever find one? It would be nice to have a middle-ground moderating voice to break the impasse. Being the nice guy that I am I decide to be that moderating ambassador and I venture into your RI camp. And yes, through all my teasing and taunting I try to get you to see that your denial game is not sustainable. Now perhaps the frustration and anger that you have for me stems from your awareness that the autism mess is so intractable and there will be no easy solution. Sooner or later you will have to incur some butt whooping. Still, all I can do is remind you that the longer you wait and play the denial game the worse your beatings will be.

Narad, link fail.

Oh Greg, frustrated and angry with you? A known child murder advocate, who never has anything useful or insightful to say? Why would we be angry with you? Because you, while yourself an infantivore shapeshifter lizard, only come here to deal in allegations and insane conspiracy theories?

Let's face it - you are pretty worthless when it comes to discussion. Anti-vax position or not, you have yet to demonstrate a response that is not a non-sequitur or ad hominem.

By The Smith of Lie (not verified) on 27 Jun 2013 #permalink

Greg: sometimes I get the impression that you are frustrated and angry with me.
Try annoyed, douchecanoe. Your reading comprehension is poor and your ears appear to be non-functional vestigal organs. Also, any person who claims to be 'nice,' especially if male, aren't really and should be either avoided or thrown into the nearest body of water.
As for the butt-whooping..oh, honey. I happen to be a black-belt. I'd like to see them try.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 27 Jun 2013 #permalink

there is sincerity

Your well-established habit of ignoring direct questions posed to you pretty much rubbishes that one.

Narad; I guess the Troll got zilch from the brain trust at AoA.

P.S. I love that Google trick :-)

Greg:

It would be nice to have a middle-ground moderating voice to break the impasse.

Certainly. Just provide the PubMed indexed study from a competent researcher that any vaccine on the present American pediatric schedule causes more seizures than the disease. You have had several weeks to come up with that answer. Why have you ignored this question?

Is it some kind of science denial?

@ Everyone but Greg,

I have a question for you all: Between our side and the antivax side, what would represent the middle ground (or as middly ground as possible)? Take as much time as possible to think about it.

In the meantime, a test that I have been wanting to do for a long time:

Enjoy :)

Test fail, never mind.

Alain

@Narad and Orac: I believe Greg is referring to Herr Doktor Bimler's comment at http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2013/04/06/can-antivaccinationists-kn… where he says:

As a dog returns to his vomit, so Greg returns to the Aktion T4 rationales (noted by Elburto back in comment #16)

Admittedly, it's a bit of a stretch to argue that that analogy says what Greg says it says.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 27 Jun 2013 #permalink

I guess the Troll got zilch from the brain trust at AoA.

They may well have realised that he is trolling AoA for reactions just as much as he is trolling at RI.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 27 Jun 2013 #permalink

I believe Greg is referring to Herr Doktor Bimler’s comment

Ah, thar she blows. His very first thread, yes? Perhaps it could be bronzed or something.

Perhaps it could be bronzed or something.

Naturally I am reminded of "Been Down So Long", where Pappadopoulis' flatmates make the same suggestion.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 28 Jun 2013 #permalink

lilady, Krebiozen, Antaeus Feldspar – please refer to my statement regarding fact based comments.

Actually, I put considerable thought into my comment, and I would say it is fact-based.

The fact is that Greg has behaved atrociously to the people here. The fact is that the treatment he whines about being subjected to is mild compared to the deliberately obnoxious treatment he has gleefully inflicted upon others, and clearly plans to continue inflicting.

I understand your point. It's truly unfortunate that we should be wasting any time discussing Greg's personal deficiencies instead of refuting the arguments he's presented in a fact-based manner.

But this is a sample of what Greg is perfectly willing to introduce to the conversation - a piece of gross scatological foolery. It clearly has absolutely no content relevant to any of the discussion; its only purpose is to disgust and therefore punish anyone who dares to not agree with Greg. That is not the behavior of adults.

When Greg attempts to produce an argument suitable for adults, one that involves facts and logic, I answer it in a fact-based manner. When he posts vile abuse that has no factual content whatsoever - as he has several times and will probably do again - I don't feel that we should be restricted to silence as a response.

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 28 Jun 2013 #permalink

It is obvious the the sun revolves around the earth, but scientists persist in denying this. Do they expect us to ignore the evidence of our own senses? What is needed is a resolution, some middle ground both sides can agree on, but with the two camps so polarized how will we ever find one?

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 28 Jun 2013 #permalink

Obvious typo is obvious.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 28 Jun 2013 #permalink

Greg - now metaphorically gobshite-ing.

I was in an observational study that was initiated because of anecdotal evidence. Unfortunately, these anecdotes didn't seem to apply to me and I have no idea how the whole thing turned out. Anecdotes by themselves are useless.

By al kimeea (not verified) on 28 Jun 2013 #permalink

Greg - now metaphorically gobshite-ing.

I was in an observational study that was initiated because of anecdotal evidence. Unfortunately, these anecdotes didn't seem to apply to me and I have no idea how the whole thing turned out. Anecdotes by themselves are useless.

By al kimeea (not verified) on 28 Jun 2013 #permalink

I was going to ignore Mephistopheles O'Brien's admonition, as I have ignored the Troll's comments for weeks. I called him out within hours of his post, two months ago.

Troll's behavior is a bid for attention and every time someone responds to him with the derision he so richly warrants...he derives pleasure...no different than the other trolls who came before him.

You handle the Troll in the fashion you want M O'B, and I will continue to ignore him. I'll make observations about his pathological need for attention, his atrocious calculated-to-hurt remarks about autism and his fact-free posts, while I manage to engage in meaningful dialogue with others.

"Gross insults, well, that just makes people sound like people who post on nbc.com or cnn.com."

Sorry M O'B, but I do post on those websites, whenever I see cranks posting there...that's they way I roll.

^...that's the way I roll.

@ Alain:

First of all, about those required courses, I would make sure to NOT take them all at once- that would be a heavy load for anyone. You don't need that type of stress.
I don't know whether you have to complete other courses for the degree- if so- try to mix in liberal studies with the more science-y ones.
-btw- if you don't mind revealing it- how much further have you to go for the Bachelor's? And what would be the areas of concentration?

Next:
you ask a very interesting question- what's the mid-point? Well, sometimes * tertium non datur* but I'll try anyway.

Given that the SB position relies upon data and research and the antivax relies upon anecdote and emotional response, perhaps a trained observer might look at written material produced by the two sides and vascillate between the two modes of functioning on some sort of agreed-upon schedule and tally up points over time which then would be compared to the responses of several hundred others who behaved similarly which could then be tested statistically.
I'm joking.

Usually when negotiation is involved, the person who decides needs to consult external reality in the form of evidence: the two sides as portrayed would present their positions or opinions and why they believe in them.

Here's the problem:
one position ( anecdote) presents an extremely limited perspective on reality ( N=1) whereas the SB side would be presenting studies which already involve multiple observations, utilise the scientiific method and mathematical analysis ( N= many).

Of course critics might say there is bias towards the latter position: a bias towards external reality with checks and balances intact.

Critics might also say that SB consensus is fixed, compromised and beholden to Pharma-
easy solution, show evidence for those claims. Evidence does not include your opinions, feelings or deepest hopes but photos, phone records, money transfers et al. As in a court of law.

-btw- there have been decisions involving 'courts' like the GMC or the vaccine course ( e.g. Cedillo). Anecdote didn't fare well at all.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 28 Jun 2013 #permalink

They despise you to the high heavens and would like nothing better than to lay a serious butt whooping on you for what you did to their kids.

And the evidence that we or anyone else actually did anything to their kids?

Oh, that's right: you don't have any.

@MOB

"I’m sorry guys, I really am. I believe that some of the insults leveled at certain people who post here are, frankly, excessive. I know that emotions run high; I know that people truly believe that some people are a danger to all around them and a poor role model (while trying all the while to pretend they’re filled with sweetness and light). But really – do FOAD, DIAF, comparisons to dog vomit, or comparisons to Nazis really add to the conversation? I personally cringe when I read them, as they don’t reflect well on the people writing them."

MOB, you don't know how much it warms my heart to have your rear dissenting view. It nicely breaks up the monotonous drone of the RI echo chamber. Anyway, I don't necessarily agree with you, and do feel that as a communicative tool offensive comments can have their value. They should be accepted as Free Speech. What should not be accepted is Hate Speech, attacks on prbhibited grounds such as gender, religion, sexual orientation and so on. Banning offensive posts runs the risk of throwing the baby out with the bath water.

Actually, I didn't really have an issue with my comparison of a dog eating his vomit. Come to think of it, Elburto once described me as a winnet. I had to look 'winnet' up. It's described as dried, crusty feces around an anus. Yuck! I give it and surely should be able to take it.

My issue is with Orac allowing offensive posts but getting his knickers in a knot whenever someone uses the Holocaust analogy. Did you hear that, Orac? Be consistent!

"They despise you to the high heavens and would like nothing better than to lay a serious butt whooping on you for what you did to their kids."

What, exactly, did any of us do to their kids, Gregory?

@Antaeus Feldspar - I was unclear, and apologize for giving the wrong impression.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 28 Jun 2013 #permalink

Greg, I want to ask you something. Are you aware that Nazi Germany killed people? It seems to me that whenever someone compares their opponent to the Nazis they think that they were just a bunch of annoying people.

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 28 Jun 2013 #permalink

@lilady - I was ambiguous in my wording and apologize to you as well. I saw your statement that you were ignoring a certain poster as purely fact based. I regret my second post and would like to withdraw the comment.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 28 Jun 2013 #permalink

@ Ren:

You put your finger on something I've observed ( and sensed) often- the idea that a crime/ wrong has been committed by SBM ( and its supporters, apparently) against them and their children and that retribution is on its way, either through a legal means ( prison) or otherwise. Quite a few who post/ comment at A-V sites express these sentiments.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 28 Jun 2013 #permalink

The question of how to respond to trolls will never go away. Some of us enjoy poking them with a stick to see how they react, some of us are curious as to their psychology and motivations, some of us advocate ignoring them in the hope they will get bored and go away, some of us like to answer them in the hope that lurkers who might be in doubt see that their claims are empty. There is no right or wrong way.

If there was a way of ignoring them using a script, like there was in the good old days, it might help, as it can get a bit wearing looking for any interesting comments amongst the dross. Is there anyone we can contact at National Geographic or Wordpress to suggest this?

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 28 Jun 2013 #permalink

Is there anyone we can contact at National Geographic or WordPress to suggest this?

The NatGeo monkeys can't even get two widgets to work properly. Unless somebody can modify the Greasemonkey script (I've tried unsuccessfully), this is it.

@ Krebiozen:

Perhaps we can craft a stereotypical reply on our own. I believe that there are several commenters here who can produce an apropriate response. Hmmmmm?

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 28 Jun 2013 #permalink

I should clarify that: a single line that is easily identifiable when someone scrolls. Everyone here can then reply in this manne- easy to see, easy to read.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 28 Jun 2013 #permalink

Well, there's always the brain-macro -- that is, rather than an elaborate script to hide their posts, you see them and scroll past them without reading them. Or....

If you see them posting in the thread
And they start to rant, each time they post
Scroll on by, scroll on by
Make believe
That trolls aren't really in this thread
Just let them be
In private 'cause each time they get replies
They break down and cheer

Scroll on by, don't stop
Scroll on by, don't stop
Scroll on by

(With apologies to Dionne Warwick.)

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 28 Jun 2013 #permalink

My issue is with Orac allowing offensive posts but getting his knickers in a knot whenever someone uses the Holocaust analogy. Did you hear that, Orac? Be consistent!

And guess what? I don't care. Offensive, inappropriate, and inflammatory Holocaust analogies are a pet peeve of mine (so much so that for a few years back in the early history of this blog, I dedicated a regular feature to mocking the people who use them). Don't like it? I don't care. I really don't. Think I'm being unfair and inconsistent? Again, I don't give a rodential posterior. Want to keep using Holocaust analogies? Feel free to do so and be banned, as you have received your one and only warning. Your call. I don't really care what you end up choosing.

Are you aware that Nazi Germany killed people? It seems to me that whenever someone compares their opponent to the Nazis they think that they were just a bunch of annoying people.

Oh, Greg's analogy goes beyond that. Remember, he didn't compare autistics who accept the science that says that vaccines don't cause autism to Nazis, exactly. He compared them to the sonderkommando, namely the Jews in the death camps who agreed to collaborate with the Nazis in return for not going straight to the gas chambers. They did things like collect the clothing before gassing, collecting the bodies after gassing, running the crematoria, etc. In other words, Greg compared autistics who combat antivaccine nonsense to traitors to their kind who actually collaborated with the very evil that was murdering their kind. It was a very specific and very intentional analogy.

@MOB

"@lilady – I was ambiguous in my wording and apologize to you as well. I saw your statement that you were ignoring a certain poster as purely fact based. I regret my second post and would like to withdraw the comment."

Better step back in line quickly before they try you for treason. Just ask Calli. Hee,hee,hee!

Greg, please provide the PubMed indexed study by a reliable researcher that shows a vaccine on the present American pediatric schedule causes more seizures than the disease.

You have had more than enough time to answer that question, or admit that the vaccines are safer than the diseases. Why is that so difficult?

*chuckles* I'm not saying anybody *has* to ignore you, Greg. Just saying that if they do want to, they don't need a fancy script to do it. ;-)

And I'm the sort of person who likes writing scripts. Sometimes I just recognize that there's a simpler solution.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 28 Jun 2013 #permalink

if you don’t mind revealing it- how much further have you to go for the Bachelor’s? And what would be the areas of concentration?

about 140-150 credit; I'm starting anew. I don't mind the time it will take but according to rules, I have to finish my bachelor in at most 8 years. I expect to take 6 years.

The bachelor will be in physics engineering and the concentration in medical engineering and photonics (description in french)

About the internships, I can choose how many internships I want and they have a formula where an internship is 9 credit of a separate microprogram which doesn't count toward the bachelor but otherwise, give out experience credits for the order of engineer of Quebec.

I admit this will take a while but as my mentor recommend, I'll be taking it in baby step; one day at a time. The important point is that I'll be happy.

Regarding the financing, I don't need to pay back student loans because they've been converted into grants (because of my diagnostic of autism).

Alain

The bachelor will be in physics engineering and the concentration in medical engineering and photonics (description in french)

Wait, there are 35 courses for the base degree? Is this on the "quarter" (i.e., trimester) system, or semesters? I imagine there's a distribution requirement outside of the major, as well.

@ Narad:

But don't you think that the visual effect of (perhaps) 2 dozen *F#CKOFF!*s in sequence would be satisfying to say the least?

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 28 Jun 2013 #permalink

Did you hear that, Orac? Be consistent!

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

@ Alain:

I have a similar question to Narad's: any more requirements ( pre-reqs to the curriculum/ other)?

Sounds like a lot of work- but if it is your area of strength and interest then it may be exactly what you want/ need.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 28 Jun 2013 #permalink

But don’t you think that the visual effect of (perhaps) 2 dozen *F#CKOFF!*s in sequence would be satisfying to say the least?

Something something Alice's Restaurant something. At the very least, I would take Ken White's "snort my taint" as a model.

There's no major & minor in French language university so, it's indeed 35 courses in the base bachelor. The courses are 45 hours each (including exams) so that makes them 4 month course (a semester) with one midterm and a final (which I find easier compared to english school like Bishop's where I've had 4 exams for one course).

One big difference between english and french language university is that the french goes for depts first while the english one goes for breadth first. Takes a cell & molecular course at Bishop's; my last course covered 18 chapters of the book in 36 hours while an equivalent course at Sherbrooke university is split up in 2 courses (cell bio, molecular bio), they cover 10 chapters each in 45 hours of course. That leave up a lot more time to assimilate the instruction and allow the professor to go much more in depth which is what I prefer.

Alain

For the prereqs, I need calculus I & II, linear algebra, physics mechanics, electricity and optics and finaly, chemistry I & II.

As for general interest course, I may be allowed to take some and will takes them in law school.

Alain

I seem to be on a roll; In an email exchange, I and Dr. Casanova agreeing on doing a one year internship in his lab. That will happen once I'm allowed to do internship (which require a minimum of 30 credits in the engineering program). I may wait until I have more courses under my belt (say 45 credit of engineering) but it will happen nonetheless.

Alain

Do you see that we have a situation where the parents of autistic kids hate you with every bone in their bodies?

Funny, the impression I get is that they hate their autistic kids for not being "normal". But as that goes against their self-serving portrayals of themselves as brave "warrior parents", they aim their anger at those who have the temerity to point out that their views are mistaken and they are endangering their children's health with false beliefs about vaccines and quack treatments.

They despise you to the high heavens and would like nothing better than to lay a serious butt whooping on you for what you did to their kids.

The correct term is "open up a can of whoop-ass". But again, no one has done anything to their kids. Until they finally face the truth that autism is genetic and accept their kids as they are, they will continue to seethe with misplaced anger.

Being the nice guy that I am I decide to be that moderating ambassador and I venture into your RI camp.

Uh no, you showed up here for the sole purpose of trolling the skeptics - it was evident right from the inept attempt at comedy that was your first post. As for being a "nice guy", I stand by my comment on the RFK Jr. post that you're a mendacious little twerp.

By Edith Prickly (not verified) on 28 Jun 2013 #permalink

Funny, the impression I get is that they hate their autistic kids for not being “normal”.

Speaking of which....

I stand by my comment on the RFK Jr. post that you’re a mendacious little twerp.

Don't forget the simpering.

@Orac
"And guess what? I don’t care. Offensive, inappropriate, and inflammatory Holocaust analogies are a pet peeve of mine (so much so that for a few years back in the early history of this blog, I dedicated a regular feature to mocking the people who use them). Don’t like it? I don’t care. I really don’t. Think I’m being unfair and inconsistent? Again, I don’t give a rodential posterior. Want to keep using Holocaust analogies? Feel free to do so and be banned, as you have received your one and only warning. Your call. I don’t really care what you end up choosing."

So I guess Orac this amounts to a tacit admission by you that you are not tolerant of free speech? Oh deary dear, what have we here -- a science blog that is not accepting of free speech and which operates on the principle of being an echo chamber? Just what is the world coming to?

@Lilady
"I was going to ignore Mephistopheles O’Brien’s admonition, as I have ignored the Troll’s comments for weeks. I called him out within hours of his post, two months ago.
Troll’s behavior is a bid for attention and every time someone responds to him with the derision he so richly warrants…he derives pleasure…no different than the other trolls who came before him."

So not only are you ignoring me by telling me you are ignoring me, but now you are also starting to discuss me in lengthy passages. Lilady, you are really starting to confuse me! Are you really ignoring me?

You could respond by telling me again that you are ignoring me, but as I mentioned already that is not really ignoring me. If you say nothing and don't respond then that is a sign that you are really ignoring. Still, given that your usual approach is to tell me that you are ignoring, not responding may suggest that you never saw this post and, hence, you don't respond. Oh geez, Lilady! You see how you are really confusing me?

(It's been 2 month already! How time flies when you are having so much fun.)

Greg, please provide the PubMed indexed study by a reliable researcher that shows a vaccine on the present American pediatric schedule causes more seizures than the disease.

You have had more than enough time to answer that question, or admit that the vaccines are safer than the diseases. If I have to ask this question again, we will assume the latter is true.

So I guess Orac this amounts to a tacit admission by you that you are not tolerant of free speech?

Oh, please. Are you really that dense? Freedom of speech does not imply a right to a particular outlet for that speech. Even if I were to ban you, you would remain perfectly free to say what you want elsewhere, or even start your own blog devoted to attacking me. You wouldn't be the first person to do that. A certain Burzynski troll comes to mind as having blazed that trail before you.

All it "amounts to" is a statement that you have reached a certain level of annoyance for me and my readers that I am forced to contemplate whether your "contributions" are worth our having to put up with your sheer obnoxiousness.

Greg - Orac is not tolerant of people being deliberately offensive with Nazi references. On the other hand, your whining about how unfair the person whose blog this is is is unbecoming.

But then, we know you like beating up on people while trying to pretend you're not.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 28 Jun 2013 #permalink

Ok Orac's VCADOD group,
Before I wrap things up, I almost forgot my question of the day....

Now we have all seen the graphs that show that many infectious diseases were well on their way out even before the introduction of vaccines. We also know that other diseases have also disappeared even without vaccines. Do you think that, similarly, diseases like polio could have also disappeared on their own?

Well, since Greg did not answer my question, that is a tacit admission that vaccines are safer than the diseases.

Now I have a new question for him because he claims the diseases were on their way out I have this question for him.

Greg, if you have stopped ignoring me, here is a table of measles incidence in the USA from census data dating through out most of the 20th century. Why did the rate of measles incidence drop by 90% between 1960 and 1970?

Do not mention deaths/mortality, any other decade or any other country (Wales and England are not in the USA, and yes, some people need to be told that). Do not mention any other disease.

Here is the data:
From http://www.census.gov/prod/99pubs/99statab/sec31.pdf
Year.... Rate per 100000 of measles
1912 . . . 310.0
1920 . . . 480.5
1925 . . . 194.3
1930 . . . 340.8
1935 . . . 584.6
1940 . . . 220.7
1945 . . . 110.2
1950 . . . 210.1
1955 . . . 337.9
1960 . . . 245.4
1965 . . . 135.1
1970 . . . . 23.2
1975 . . . . 11.3
1980 . . . . . 5.9
1985 . . . . . 1.2
1990 . . . . .11.2
1991 . . . . . .3.8
1992 . . . . . .0.9
1993 . . . . . .0.1
1994 . . . . . .0.4
1995 . . . . . .0.1
1996 . . . . . .0.2
1997 . . . . . . 0.1

@Orac

I think you are deliberately trying to confuse things. The question is not whether I have a right to free speech somewhere else. It's about 'your' outlet! Barring my speech shows that 'you' are not tolerant of free speech on your forum -- at least some!

Yeah, it is one of my faves. I have yet to see anyone true believer answer my question.

I especially loved that a citizen of the UK, John Stone, tried to use the ChildHealthSafety poorly done graphs for Wales and England. You would think he knew that he was not living in an American state, but, alas, he is as clueless about geography as he is on, well, almost everything.

Oh, Greg, since you are around. Here is the data on polio from the CDC Pink Book Appendix G:
Disease: Polio in the USA
Year__Cases____Deaths
1950__33,300___1,904
1951__28,386___1,551
1952__57,879___3,145
1953__35,592___1,450
1954__38,476___1,368
1955__28,985___1,043
1956__15,140_____566
1957___5,485_____221
1958___5,787_____255
1959___8,425_____454
1960___3,190_____230
1961___1,312______90
1962_____910______60
1963_____449______41
1964_____122______17
1965______72______16
1966_____113_______9
1967______41______16
1968______53______24
1969______20______13
1970______33_______7

Now why did it go away so quickly in the 1950s?

@Orac

At the end of the day, Orac, I don't give a hoot whether I get banned. My main focus is to do my part in cutting through RI hypocrisy and showing it for what it really is -- a pro-vaxx echo chamber whose main agenda is to promote vaccines, and even if it involves barring dissenting 'free' speech.

Knock yourself out.

You're a very silly man, though. If you end up getting banned, it won't be for a "dissenting" view. It will be due to your steadfast insistence on being a vile human being and using vile analogies.. Quite frankly, my dedication to free speech has traditionally been such that I've been critical of laws banning Holocaust denial and the jailing of David Irving. However, there's a huge difference between governments cracking down on speech and a blogger deciding that he doesn't want to have to deal with offensive speech comparing people with autism to sonderkommandos or Uncle Toms.

@Chris

Yes, indeed a sound argument can be made that vaccines essentially finished off these diseases. Still, with the trend in the diseases declining 'steeply' prior to vaccines what makes you think that over time these diseases wouldn't have naturally reached the rate that they are today (even if it would have taken a longer time)?

Greg,

Can I ask you something? Which person on this list do you most admire, and consider has the best scientific and logical judgement? And why?

Mark Blaxill
Dan Olmsted
Paul Offit
Mark Geier
Orac
Andrew Wakefield
Kim Stagliano
Michelle Dawson
Richard Grinker
Paul Shattock
Paul T. Shattuck

If you would like to suggest someone else, please do so.

Just interested in the way your mind works.
Thanks.

By Broken Link (not verified) on 28 Jun 2013 #permalink

Greg,

As I'm not very involved with this so perhaps I could elaborate for others - the argument that people they have a “right” to harass a blogger and their readers is as silly as.

It’s projecting a way - projecting what is true on any number of denial sites. Frequently denial sites block readers (solely) because their views differ from the denialist writer of the blog post.

By contrast, what science bloggers typically draw a line on is how people treat others. (I do too; written down in my comments policy in my ‘About’ page.)

All science blogs I know of allow people with all kinds of opinions to write, bar a handful (figuratively speaking) that don’t offer comments. You’re being allowed to write, right?

In any event, comments sections of blogs—any blog—isn’t for others to ‘own’ - it’s the blogger’s. You can’t ‘demand’ they be one way that suits you. They’re not public spaces in the sense of a town square.

Greg: "Still, with the trend in the diseases declining ‘steeply’ prior to vaccines "

Please explain which years indicate that measles was declining steeply prior to 1960? Here are some more detailed data from the CDC Pink Book Appendix G:
Disease: Measles in the USA
Year__Cases
1950__319,124
1951__530,118
1952__683,077
1953__449,146
1954__682,720
1955__555,156
1956__611,936
1957__486,799
1958__763,094
1959__406,162
1960__441,703

And exactly how much did polio decline the five years before the polio vaccine was introduced?

It is interesting you said those words without even looking at the tables I posted.

Now, once more: what caused the rate of measles incidence to plummet 90% between 1960 and 1970?

@Orac,

"However, there’s a huge difference between governments cracking down on speech and a blogger deciding that he doesn’t want to have to deal with offensive speech comparing people with autism to sonderkommandos or Uncle Toms."

Actually Orac, in truth, the only real difference is that the blogger can make a claim that he has a 'noble' reason for cracking down on free speech, and especially after he started a blog soliciting for it. Come to think of it....governments sometimes make the 'noble' claim so maybe there really isn't a difference.

Now we have all seen the graphs that falsely purport to show that many infectious diseases were well on their way out even before the introduction of vaccines.

For the benefit of any lurkers who are wondering "What graphs are they talking about? Do they really show infectious diseases 'on their way out'?" the answer is "No, no they don't. It's very simple to understand, once it's been explained, why these graphs don't show infectious diseases 'on their way out' - which means anyone still trying to claim they show that is surely being deliberately dishonest."

You see, any reasonable person's interpretation of the statement that a disease was "on its way out" would think that meant fewer people were getting that disease. That's a measurement called "incidence".

But the graphs anti-vaxers show around, and claim represent the disease "going away", aren't graphs of incidence, they're graphs of mortality - i.e., how many people not only got the disease but died of it.

In other words, if the disease was blinding people, deafening people, leaving them sterile, scarred and mentally impaired left and right, but wasn't actually killing them, the anti-vaxers' graphs would claim the disease wasn't there at all!

The anti-vaxers trumpet deliberately misleading data. Ask yourself why they would need to do that if the real data supported their worldview.

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 28 Jun 2013 #permalink

Has anyone ever pointed out that the perception that something went wrong in the children's development when they got a vaccine could be explained by very common reactions like injection site soreness? I had to get a meningitis shot for grad school purposes about a year ago, and that mfer hurt for a week (no, I did not VAERS it). Well, if I had been about a year or two old, therefore probably not able to understand that it would stop eventually, definitely not able to rationalize it as a trade off for something useful, with a reaction like that I'd probably act out a bit too.

Now suppose all that but in a kid who's going to turn out on the spectrum...so, probably can't express that it hurts with words or gestures, and might have a sensory integration issue making it feel worse, probably prone to odd behavior. I could see that situation being the first time a kid's behavior is far enough outside the normal kid range for a parent without other training to notice, and then what has been seen cannot be unseen, so after that they notice some of the smaller quirks, and the kid is getting to the age where it's easier to tell anyway.

It just doesn't mean what they think it means. But...maybe if this series of events was described and acknowledged as consistent with science, fewer people would feel like their story as they perceive it fits better with the quacks, nuts, and curebies.

By ebrillblaiddes (not verified) on 28 Jun 2013 #permalink

@Greg, if you really see government censorship as the exact equivalent to the owner or their designee having rules about what is discussed and how on private property, I'll be right over* to paint a pro-vax billboard on the front of your house, and you'll be OK with me speaking freely by that method.

*Actually might have to send someone, and it might take a few days to sort the details...don't wait up

By ebrillblaiddes (not verified) on 28 Jun 2013 #permalink

@Broken Link

"Greg,

Can I ask you something? Which person on this list do you most admire, and consider has the best scientific and logical judgement? And why? "

As a collective body, the countless parent who can vividly recount how their children were dramatically damaged after vaccines. I consider they have the best scientific and logical judgement because more than any of the other parties they best embody the scientific spirit of integrity, humility and passion for truth.

@ Greg, would you please answer a few question for me? Could you tell me if I have integrity, humility and passion for the truth? And if not, why?

Alain

Dear fellow commentators, I would like to make a suggestion in dealing with Greg's intellectual dishonesty. If you wish to ignore him, as I have been doing for weeks now, just ignore him, don't provide him with attention by saying you are ignoring him.

If you find you can't ignore him, perhaps it might be better to just point out without elaboration Greg's intellectual dishonesty. An example might be "Another example of Greg being intellectually dishonest". The drive by readers will quickly realise that is the case and ignore what Greg is posting.

When Greg has provided that reference that Chris has asked for regarding the numbers of seizures caused by disease and by vaccines, it might be time to engage with him again.

Greg is obviously posting here in an attempt to wind others up, but as they say about wrestling a pig ...

Barring my speech shows that ‘you’ are not tolerant of free speech on your forum — at least some!

Perhaps you should again take this general topic up with AoA. By the way, do you have to make that "hee, hee, hee" noise with your nose when Olmsted's balls are otherwise blocking your airway?

@ChrisP: Greg is boring, and infantile in his name calling. But he's also very amusing when he so blatantly ignores questions he can't answer.

He hasn't YET answered what vaccine is worse than the actual disease, which Chris has been asking him for over 2 months. He hasn't answered about why morbidity of diseases only declined after vaccines were introduced (mortality had, of course, decreased due to better hospital/medical care, but that did nothing for the incidence of disease, nor for the sequelae from the disease).

I don't usually read what he's written, because he repeats himself, calls people names, and is otherwise irritating. But I do check to see if he actually answers someone's questions (so far, his score for *honest, peer-reviewed* answers is zero)

I'm not holding my breath as to when Greg actually says something honest, answers a question with a provable answer, or admits he's trolling.

Still, with the trend in the diseases declining ‘steeply’ prior to vaccines what makes you think that over time these diseases wouldn’t have naturally reached the rate that they are today (even if it would have taken a longer time)?

Provide a single rational argument why this would occur. Note that you must define the word "naturally." Your proposal should also quantify "a longer time" in the form of a "natural" time constant.

ChrisP:

When Greg has provided that reference that Chris has asked for regarding the numbers of seizures caused by disease and by vaccines, it might be time to engage with him again.

Actually after him not addressing that question for two months has provided the appropriate answer:

Greg know that the vaccines are safer than the diseases.

Now it is up to him to read the tables I provided (including the sources!), and tell us the years that measles and polio declined steeply! That should be amusing.

but as they say about wrestling a pig …
...Perhaps the pig will learn to sing.

No, wait, wrong proverb.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 28 Jun 2013 #permalink

It took me quite a while to get through moderation and my comment is now posted there.

I take the legal element to be largely rhetorical per se. But having fairly heavy hitters keeping the lights on strikes me as quite valuable. L-ord knows Alex Spourdalakis is certainly no longer of any value to LJ Goes, Wakefield, or AoA.

Greg: I consider they have the best scientific and logical judgement because more than any of the other parties they best embody the scientific spirit of integrity, humility and passion for truth.

Where are you from, a parallel universe? Because I'm pretty sure your crowd wouldn't know humility or truth if those concepts bit them on the fundaments. Btw, those people you so admire run a place that's far more 'echoey' then this. Orac usually lets any and all commentators through and gives them quite a lot of rope. AOA only lets members comment; it's rare to see anyone but the same old names there. I got three comments in before they started 'losing' my posts.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 28 Jun 2013 #permalink

@ Narad: I fully intend to keep up the pressure when I post on other blogs...hoping that a mainstream journalist picks up on that "back story". Too bad Trine Tsouderos has left the Chicago Trib...but she has a Twitter account...

https://twitter.com/ChicagoScience

Okay the sentence is:
Greg knows that the vaccines are safer than the diseases.

We know this because he has not presented any real scientific evidence that any vaccine on the present American pediatric schedule causes more seizures than the disease.

All he needs to do now is justify his statement: “Still, with the trend in the diseases declining ‘steeply’ prior to vaccines..."

That phrase does not seem to conform with the data. Because no vaccine preventable disease has a history of declining steeply prior to any vaccine.

Poor Greg has managed to corner himself. Rather than the usual linear slithering, he has now, in short order, managed to develop two axes: (1) the imbecilic yet implicitly priggish "free speech" angle* and (2) the "VPDs just die out" game.

I want that time constant for a reason, because Cliffy Miller's exposition regarding item 2 is demonstrably false. Well, that and the fact that there would likely be a riotously funny internal drama were Greg to try to start ciphering.

There is nowhere left to move except from check to check.

* "For such a mongrel between pig and puppy, begotten by a wild boar on a bitch wolf, never before in any age of the world was suffered by the poltroonery of mankind, to run through such a career of mischief."

Try your google fu “Greg Age of Autism”

When Greg is boasting at AoA about the rhetorical battles he is waging on their behalf, it is odd that he doesn't provide links to his specific comments, or even to the RI threads in which they appear. He is certainly not encouraging his readers to decide for themselves how accurately he has characterised his victories, or whether he is the kind of person they want representing them.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 28 Jun 2013 #permalink

I know I will recieve no answer from Greg, as he has nothing of value to say, but I am still tempted to ask, just for the fun of it.

You see Greg, I am pretty poorly educated when it comes to medicine (the nickname chosen is indicative of my profession as well as education), yet I see one problem with thesis that "sanitation caused the decline of VPDs".

If we assume that it was indeed sanitation and general lifestyle improvement and not vaccines that almost eliminated various diseases, why is it that, in western, "civilized" countries no less, wherever the antivaccination movement you so endorse is successful, we see outbreaks of those diseases?

You either must admit that vaccines are responsible for protection from... well, VPDs (Tautological!) or that antivaxxers are not very sanitary people, who create risk for public health by beaing veritable incubators of disease (shall one call them disease ridden?).

So, which one is it?

By The Smith of Lie (not verified) on 28 Jun 2013 #permalink

#284 Really? When I got the meningitis vaccine I thought the nurse hadn't given the shot yet. I kept waiting and she was like "Done!"

I don't remember any after-pains either. Though tetanus, tetanus did and still does (as of last year, when I had my last booster) hurt like a ... well it hurt a lot. And kept hurting for days.

Worth it, though, as it included pertussis and I can now hold babies without worrying that I will kill them by transmitting a seemingly-harmless-"cold."

#297 Not my territory, Lilady, or I would...

@ Khani: I know you would. :-)

Unfortunately I was not permitted to link to the RI blog, but I'm hoping that some of the advocates who posted, or the folks at the Autism Self Advocacy Network will come on over to see Orac's blog and our comments.

Hey Orac,

It seems that you are starting to flag my comments for moderation. Again, if you do decide to really ban me, at least have the decency to announce it so everyone can decide for themselves what RI is really about.

'Greg comments are outrageous and vile.'

Hey Orac, is Julian's repeated FOADIAF commands not vile? Let's be honest, even MOB said it is before he scuttled back to the herd. What about Lilady accusing parents who honestly believe vaccines harmed their kids and who vent on AoA as being 'bad', 'disgusting' parents. What about comparing AoAers on the whole as a bag of feces left on someone's doorstep. Really Orac, is 'vile' only frowned upon on RI if it is coming from an anti-vaxxer?

Still, with the trend in the diseases declining ‘steeply’ prior to vaccines what makes you think that over time these diseases wouldn’t have naturally reached the rate that they are today (even if it would have taken a longer time)?

The trend in most of these diseases was not declining steeply prior to vaccines. That's the point that antivaxxers always seem to miss, even when it is repeatedly pointed out to them.

The incidence of varicella (chicken pox) in the USA where it is routinely vaccinated against, and the UK where it isn't is very different, a difference which can surely only be due to the vaccine.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 29 Jun 2013 #permalink

Ok Orac's VCADOD group,

The weekend is here and family life calls. I must take a break. Give me a week or so and I will more than likely return with my 'vile', 'outrageous' self.

Greg,
There are limits to Orac's toleration, and they apply equally to everyone, regardless of their views on vaccination or anything else. If you do succeed in getting banned from this blog, which is clearly your intention, it will be because you broke Orac's rules of discourse, not because your idiotic views are being censored. Despite this I'm quite sure that if you are banned you will scuttle off to AoA claiming that you are being repressed, which is quite ironic given their utter intolerance of anything resembling dissent from their party line.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 29 Jun 2013 #permalink

@Narad,

Oh Geez! I knew I left before saying something....

"By the way, do you have to make that “hee, hee, hee” noise with your nose when Olmsted’s balls are otherwise blocking your airway?"

Narad, that was actually quite funny. Vile, but funny... (hee,hee,hee)

Some of you questioned what the middle ground might look like…

Well it’s nice, it’s a place where one can hold both the idea that vaccines work and have saved millions of children from untimely death and a place where one can question if vaccines contribute or have anything to do with the onset or exacerbation of autism.

It’s a place where people realize that good science moves slowly, building a base of knowledge to work from, where people try to assess the entirety of the available evidence, not latch on to conclusions that are expedient to their cause.

The problem with the ground lying to either side of the middle is that people are thoroughly convinced of their positions based on anecdote or scant evidence and an insufficient understanding of what kind of knowledge needs to be acquired to have an informed understanding of the situation.

You see, since the whole autism and vaccine debacle started there has been a tendency towards polarization, which ultimately is a waste of resources and time and potential (examples abound here at RI.) Unfortunately, this polarization garners center stage and it becomes difficult for those of us in the middle ground to have a genuinely productive conversation with those residing at the poles. It’s as if a mob mentality exists and any kind of reasonable arguments have to get snuffed out and thrown to the dust bin.

At this moment there exists reasonable evidence (or lack of) to consider the question of vaccines and autism.

1. Growing body of evidence implicating dysregulation of immune system in both behavioral manifestations of autism and possibly the etiology of autism. (especially MIA, which has been replicated by research groups around the world)

2.Evidence implicating immunogenetic factors and gene networks related to immune system signaling in the etiology of autism

3.Very limited information on the details of how the vaccine schedule is received by neonates and infants (immunological details such as specific immune responses. Moreover, specific responses coupled with certain immunogenetic backgrounds)

4.Growing body of evidence implicating early life immune insults with later life behavioral problems and or mental health issues.

5.Insufficient epidemiological evidence exonerating vaccines from playing a role in either the onset or exacerbation of autism or symptoms, respectively. (Thimerosal and MMR notwithstanding)

So far, I haven’t seen a compelling argument to leave the middle ground for one side or the other. I am personally in a holding pattern, maintaining that the possibility exists but there is insufficient evidence, currently, to leave my turf.

Hope this helps in understanding.

Sincerely,

skeptiquette

By skeptiquette (not verified) on 29 Jun 2013 #permalink

Dear skeptiquette,
Welcome back. Still trying to link vaccines with autism? You aren't in the middle ground, dear. You are polite, but still wrong. But, if you want to show you are the middle ground, please answer the question Chris posts above: which
vaccines cause more harm than the disease?

Then please answer these questions:
1. Why did the incidence of disease decline after vaccines were introduced?
2. What is diagnostic substitution?
3. Why might a parent WANT a child to be diagnosed if they seem to be developmentally delayed?

Also please give us any evidence you have that points to vaccines might cause autism that is peer-reviewed in reputable journals.

As far as point 3 goes, neonates, babies, infants, toddlers are exposed through daily living to FAR more items that provoke an immune response than vaccines do. From birth (a vagina isn't sterile) onwards, a child is exposed to bacteria, dirt, germs of all types. A baby with a healthy immune response handles all of them with no problems. Immunodeficient children don't. Immunodeficient children are very vulnerable. Vaccines often don't work for them. So they depend on herd immunity. Are you old enough to remember "The Boy in the Plastic Bubble"? THAT is a child whose immune system can't handle immunologic insult.

Sincerely,

MI Dawn

Edit: the last paragraph should start: As far as YOUR point 3 goes..

It seems that you are starting to flag my comments for moderation. Again, if you do decide to really ban me, at least have the decency to announce it so everyone can decide for themselves what RI is really about.

Silly boy. I was asleep when you posted. WordPress flagged your comment for moderation because there were too many links in it. More than two links will send a comment straight to moderation. It's a common filter that helps cut down on comment spam. Trust me, if I ban you, you at least, will know it.

IIRC, the WordPress moderation function was explained to Troll before, when he accused Orac of suppressing his "right to free speech".

Greg said: As a collective body, the countless parent who can vividly recount how their children were dramatically damaged after vaccines. I consider they have the best scientific and logical judgement because more than any of the other parties they best embody the scientific spirit of integrity, humility and passion for truth."

Where did you meet these parents? Oh, so you haven't actually met them, you just read their stories on line.

Here's an interesting compilation of "vaccine-injury" stories.

http://www.followingvaccinations.com/

Looks very convincing, doesn't it? 1100 parents reporting vaccine injury. That list was the result of a long and vigorous Facebook campaign, where parents were urged to tell their vaccine injury stories. I, personally, saw that appeal dozens of times.

But, wait just a little. When you actually start reading the stories what strikes you is how different they all are, not how similar. Parents blame all kinds of different vaccines, and the delay between the vaccination and onset of symptoms is highly variable. We have examples of hours and examples of months. 1100 stories of vaccine injury out of the millions of people who probably saw those appeals on Facebook.

That's what happened with Wakefield. He "advertised" widely through JABS, and when the children arrived at the hospital, he, too, found that their stories were highly variable. So, he simply fudged the data. He eliminated children who did not fit, he changed the timelines etc. And he pretended that the children had not been recruited. He committed fraud.

You see, Greg, Wakefield used to be a scientist. He knew that a random collection of stories that were recruited would not be convincing. Statistically, there are bound to be children who appear to develop symptoms of autism around the time of their vaccinations. That's because autism often becomes apparent about the age that vaccines are given. It's very hard to diagnose language delay in a one month old baby, because they don't ever have language.

It's not that the individual parents are lying. They aren't. It's that an individual story has no statistical power to convince unless it is consistent.

By Broken Link (not verified) on 29 Jun 2013 #permalink

@Greg #305:
Whale.to? You used whale.to as a source?! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
Whale.to is a load of conspiracy theorist, antisemitic tripe written by a man who needs serious medication. John Scudamore thinks that "satanic ley-lines" (his phrase) burnt his backside. He believes that dolphins can levitate and control gravity. If you want the truth on something, look at what whale.to states and then believe the opposite.
I hereby invoke Scopie's law: "In any discussion involving science or medicine, citing whale.to as a credible source loses you the argument immediately and gets you laughed out of the forum."
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 29 Jun 2013 #permalink

Whale.to? You used whale.to as a source?!

Greg apparently was too lazy to figure out that Obomsawin has been addressed here repeatedly and is too dense to have picked up on that little difference between mortality and incidence that has been pointed out to him. One might wonder whether he even bothered to examine the contents of this sad piñata.

The semiliterate Yahoo Voices one is priceless, though. "My interests are vaccine dangers, gourd growing and art, end time prophecy a new look [sic], computers tech articles, tutorials and instructionals." As far as content farms go, this is the bottom of the barrel. It makes Demand Media look like OUP.

I think that Orac is correct in holding off banning the creature- unless he really goes off into *Verbotenland*.

Interestingly, he sounds like John Stone, who carries on about censorship whilst he broadcasts his opinion all over the net ( including medical journals) or MIkey/ Gary who cry perpetually about the intrusive police state/ fascism they live in while having their own alt media networks, making so-called documentaries and raking in lots of money.

"Help, Help, I'm being repressed!" ( -btw- I had to play that clip... funny, I strongly remembered the speaker of that hallowed phrase as being Terry Jones: it wasn't- but he was in the scene)

Greg has about as much insight into RI/ SBM as he does into yours truly- how hilarious was his portrayal!. He has trouble differentiating jest and seriousness. He over-estimates his own abilities and range of knowledge. His education, from what I can surmise, is probably an undergraduate degree in general psych- which doesn't necessarily include much focus upon physiology, testing and statistics/ research design/ criticism. He is easily convinced by emotional appeals about innocents being destroyed by the powerful.

So I say: let him fire away!

Let him realise that tolerance of his dodgy material by Orac ( and RI minions) reveals that he has the patience of a proverbial saint ('saint' is metaphor for a very good person, so atheists can use the term) and is indeed, "the host with the most".

By allowing him to comment, Orac, each day, demonstrates that he has very little in common with Stagliano et al.

Free speech however does include Orac and minions telling him to F#CKOFF!

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 29 Jun 2013 #permalink

Greg being silly:

First link to whale.to --- "Deaths", not incidence.

Vaclib link --- Death rate, not incidence.

Natural News link --- "Weather radicalization worsening, global food supply at increased risk of regional failures", despite the web address it has nothing on diseases or vaccines.

Voices Yahoo link --- an editorial with no real evidence, argument from assertion.

Second link to whale.to --- just some random quoted, no evidence.

Obviously, Greg had an issue with basic vocabulary. The reduction of deaths is not the same as incidence. Again, Greg, answer my question on what years this big reduction of incidence occured before vaccines for both measles and polio in the USA.

And I have a question for Skeptiquette: The MMR with Jeryl Lynn mumps component vaccine was introduced in the USA in 1971. In 1978 the rubella component was replaced with a improved version, plus the MMR was the preferred vaccine for the Measles Elimination program that started that year. That means it was used for at least a decade before the UK introduced three different MMR vaccines in 1988. If autism increased so much due to those MMR vaccines in less than a decade in the UK that Wakefield noticed it, where is the data that shows an equivalent increase in the USA before 1990? Because by 1990, the MMR vaccine had been in use for almost two decades, surely if it was connected there, then an increase in autism would have been noticed in a much larger country over a twice a time span.

Skeptiquette, it has already been established by Greg not answering my question on the relative risk of seizure between vaccines and the diseases, that the vaccines are far safer than the diseases. Of course, you are welcome to post the PubMed indexed study from a reliable researcher to show otherwise. The criteria is a vaccine on the present American pediatric schedule, and the objective symptom is seizures.

Narad: "Greg apparently was too lazy to figure..."

Greg was too lazy to read the tables I posted in my comments with the actual numbers.

Greg was too lazy to read the tables I posted in my comments with the actual numbers.

In some sense, he can't do this, as a matter of self-preservation. Ergo, toss out a list of ridiculous links as a distraction, announce that "family life calls," and presumably hope to change the subject at the next simpering appearance.

Except, I won't let him change the subject. After two months of not answering my question on relative risk for seizures between vaccines and diseases, I have concluded that Greg has not data. Therefore the vaccines cause much fewer seizures than the diseases, and are safer.

Seriously, Chris, you the man! ( woman, actually)

AoA' s Dachel curiously links to a new Stanford study ( JAMA Psy) about hyperconnectivity/ salience networks in ASD
AND, to a 2012 study about detection of ASDs as early as 6 months via imaging.

Canary Ginger Taylor takes on Bolen's latest about civil war in anti-vaxland.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 29 Jun 2013 #permalink

skeptiquette -

Firstly, and quite sincerely, let me express a deep appreciation for your civility and politeness. It's quite a welcome change from the content-free carhorning we've been barraged with lately.

However, I must disagree with your claim that both sides are approaching the evidence in the same way, drawing too-hasty conclusions from anecdote and "scant evidence," and that neither side has really thought about what evidence they need to look for to really make their case.

The science-based side actually knows quite well what we're looking for that the anti-vax side completely fails to provide, and that's a falsifiable hypothesis (and one that's isn't already falsified).

What does that mean? Well, let's take a look at a non-falsifiable hypothesis that has literally caused millions of deaths across cultures throughout history: the belief in witchcraft. This is the belief that when something bad has happened to you, the cause of it is that someone evil has conspired with supernatural forces to make it happen to you.

Today, in the modern world, recognizing what senseless tragedies have come from the belief in witchcraft, we dismiss it. (At least in most places; in certain places like Nigeria, innocent people, some of them children, are still getting put to death because of the belief in witchcraft.)

But here's an important thing, skeptiquette: No one has ever disproved witchcraft. We didn't stop believing in it because science was able to collect evidence that proved witchcraft wasn't happening. Instead, we stopped believing in it because we realized that it was an unfalsifiable hypothesis. By definition, supernatural forces can do anything; no matter what bad thing happens, you can claim it was supernatural forces that did it at an evil neighbor's behest. No matter how false that claim is, it can never be proven false.

Now I'll give the anti-vaxers this much credit: there was a time when they were proposing "maybe vaccines cause autism" in a form where it was falsifiable and not yet falsified. There was a time, who knows how long it was after the condition of "autism" was first introduced into the medical literature, when someone said "hey... this kid has this condition, and I swear no one seemed to see any signs of it until after the kid got that vaccination ... I wonder if the vaccination caused it somehow?" They looked around, found other parents who hadn't seen any signs they recognized as autism until after a vaccination. The more they looked for such parents, the more of them they found - which is also totally consistent with confirmation bias, but which they interpreted as signs they were onto something. They came up with this hypothesis: "Vaccines cause many children to be autistic who would otherwise not have the condition."

Now that's a falsifiable hypothesis, at least for any reasonable value of "many". To give you an idea, there used to be a rotavirus vaccine (since replaced with a better one) that was pulled because data was collected in epidemiological studies that suggested that 1 in 100,000 infants who got the vaccine experienced a dangerous side effect. When those who believed in a vaccine-autism connection said "many children" were autistic as a result of vaccination, they were talking about far more than 1/100,000. Therefore, the hypothesis was falsifiable: do the same kind of studies that detected a 1/100,000 side effect and see if they detect this vaccine-caused-autism that's hypothesized to occur much, much more frequently than 1 in 100,000.

And those studies have been done; more of them still get done, as a matter of fact. They all get the same results: no higher rate of autism among children who get their vaccinations appropriately than in those who don't. Those results falsify the hypothesis: they look for the data that would exist if the hypothesis was true, and when that data is just not there, they conclude it's because the hypothesis is false. A hypothesis is no good if it doesn't match the evidence.

But the anti-vaxers didn't do what real scientists do when their favored hypotheses are disproved, and try to find a new falsifiable hypothesis that matched up with the evidence. Instead, they made minimal changes to the hypothesis so that it was no longer falsifiable. "We believe that in extremely rare cases, rarer than 1/100,000, so rare that epidemiological studies just can't detect such a small number of cases, vaccines cause autism!" Has science proven that hypothesis wrong? No, because it's not a falsifiable hypothesis. You can't prove it wrong, any more than you could prove that no child anywhere ever got autism because of witchcraft. "Unfalsifiable" doesn't mean "not false"; it means "it could be the falsest idea in the universe and the evidence still wouldn't show you that."

(Incidentally, many of the anti-vaxers who switched to the "too rare for epidemiological studies to detect" hypothesis are still claiming "many" at the same time; they're claiming that vaccines cause autism in children with extremely rare preconditions, and that this has caused an "autism epidemic". If you're following the explanation I've been given, you know that this is simply impossible: you can't have a hypothesized vaccine-caused autism that is both wide-spread and undetectably rare!)

Now, if an antivaxer comes up with a hypothesis for a mechanism by which vaccines cause autism, that might well be a falsifiable hypothesis - even if the cases in which this was alleged to happen were incredibly rare, even unique. After all, the "Berlin patient" is believed to be the only person in all of the world in all of history to go from HIV-positive to HIV-negative, but despite the uniqueness of his condition, the hypothesis that the bone marrow transplant he received for leukemia is what eliminated HIV from his system is a falsifiable hypothesis that's taken quite seriously by scientists. The rarity of a phenomenon doesn't form an impassible barrier to working out a hypothesis of its cause.

But even when an actual falsifiable hypothesis is proposed, and even when that hypothesis is not already falsified by evidence, that does not mean that the correct way to look at the hypothesis is "equally likely to be true or false".

If we applied that standard in the legal system, your neighbor could say "Skeptiquette bewitched my little Brenda to fall down and break her leg!" and you'd protest that witchcraft was an unfalsifiable hypothesis, and your neighbor amends her story to "Skeptiquette didn't make my daughter fall and break a leg through witchcraft; what she did was she cunningly placed a small pebble right in Brenda's path that she knew Brenda would step on, slip on, and fall!" Do you think the attitude the court should take is "well, she has absolutely no evidence to indicate that a tiny pebble caused the fall, and absolutely no evidence that you had anything to do with the placement of any pebble, but since she has a hypothesis that that's the case, it's only fair that you should be treated as probably guilty of doing those things"?

Science, like the legal system, has to look at where the burden of proof is. It's not enough for your neighbor to simply speculate that you might have placed a malicious pebble in a little girl's path; she needs to show evidence that this actually happened. It's not enough for antivaxers to speculate that there might be some mechanism by which vaccines result in autism.

The Geiers have made a lot of money off their 'hypothesis' that mercury in vaccines binds to testosterone and somehow amplifies the effects of that testosterone (as opposed to what chemical binding usually does) and that testosterone amplification is what's called autism. But have they ever shown that the binding of mercury to testosterone can even happen the way they speculate it does in the human body, at body temperature? No, the only conditions under which mercury has ever been demonstrated to bind to testosterone is in a high temperature benzene solvent; in other words, nothing like the human body.

I realize that you think you're occupying the "reasonable" ground between two unreasonable camps. But the science-based camp is stating "we have simply not been presented with anything like a convincing case that vaccines cause autism, and it would be irrational to jump to the conclusion that they do or probably do in the absence of a convincing case." If you're asserting that that's an unreasonable position, then you're asserting that either you think a solid case that vaccines cause autism does exist (in which case, you're not between the two camps at all, you're in one of the very camps you called unreasonable) or you're asserting that the science-based camp should be taking seriously the speculation that vaccines cause autism just because someone came up with such a speculation.

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 29 Jun 2013 #permalink

@Anateus Feldspar - that post is a thing of beuty. Allow me to add one little thing to it, which you somehow indirectly tackle.

You can't prove a negative. Science will never be able to come with "absolute evidence that vaccines do not cause autism" more than "absolute evidence that Unicorns exist".

There was actually this awesome talk by The Amazing Randi (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWJTUAezxAI).

So, people like Greg come here and ask us for definite proof that there is no causal link between vaccines and autism, while they themselves only bring claims to the table. Imagine if I came to you and told you that I have an invisible pink unicorn in my home - how would you go about proving it isn't there?

And that's how we end with current situation, described in great post by Anateus Feldspar.

By The Smith of Lie (not verified) on 29 Jun 2013 #permalink

I agree, that was excellent. Take a bow, AF.

Notice how attributing illness or bad fortune to witchcraft is similar to attributing autism, MI or physical illness to vaccines, meds or diet/ lack of supplements, by antivaxxers/ woo-meisters:
negative results come from external forces/ events and are NOT an intrinsic part of the sufferer who is GOOD.
These conditions are not natural but imposed from without by malign ( witches, demons, doctors, pharma, the food industry et al)

Adam: " I swear I was fine until SHE tempted me"
Eve: "ME? I was minding my own business UNTIL this Snake came along and started telling me how ....."

Flip Wilson: "The Devil made me do it"

Thus, of man's first dis-obedience..
well,he didn't do it.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 29 Jun 2013 #permalink

I noticed a mistake in my #326 post. I meant:
Science will never be able to come with “absolute evidence that vaccines do not cause autism” more than “absolute evidence that Unicorns do not exist”.

Forgot about the negative in the second example.

By The Smith of Lie (not verified) on 29 Jun 2013 #permalink

One new gentoo installation, one new cookie please :)

Alain

@Khani (#302):
The meningitis shot itself wasn't any worse than the usual e.g. the flu shot and TDaP or DTaP or whatever the heck order the letters go in (as far as I'm concerned, if it makes me not get the hundred day cough, or have to panic about every cut or scratch, they can call it a MRFGRBL) that I've gotten since then. I didn't feel much anything after the actual poke for the TDaP; the flu shot itched for a minute or two a few minutes later and there was a roughly pea-sized region of tiny red dots, like a very mild rash, around the injection site, which was a new one for me as far as I remember; that meningitis shot, though, was unpleasant. However if it needed yearly boosters I'd roll my sleeve up again tomorrow rather than roll the dice on meningitis because a sore upper arm for a week is no bad bargain when it prevents things like death, brain damage, and having to eat hospital food.

By ebrillblaiddes (not verified) on 29 Jun 2013 #permalink

Last year's flu shot stood out in my mind; that thing stung for a couple of days.

Skeptiquite: The problem with looking for a middle ground is that there isn't one. There's only right and wrong, and you are in the wrong.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 29 Jun 2013 #permalink

The only vaccine reaction I've ever had was to this year's flu vaccine, and that was just a sore shoulder for a couple of days. Admittedly, it was a VERY sore shoulder; it felt like I'd done five hundred one-handed chin-ups with that arm. But it was certainly less pain than I'd have gotten from the flu, that's for damn sure.

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 30 Jun 2013 #permalink

@The Smith of Lie,

Imagine if I came to you and told you that I have an invisible pink unicorn in my home – how would you go about proving it isn’t there?

An invisible unicorn cannot be pink and a pink unicorn is by necessity not invisible. It is therefore its very existence would be a logical inconsistency, and therefore it vanishes in a puff of logic.

However, I would also take the following actions.
1. seal every entrance and exit to the house.
2. gain your assurance that the invisible pink unicorn is still there.
3. segment the building into multiple zones with barriers impassible by invisible pink unicorns.
4. introduce at least one known virgin into each zone.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 30 Jun 2013 #permalink

But Mephistopheles, isn't a *known* virgin also logically inconsistent?

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 30 Jun 2013 #permalink

Denice,

Oh, dear, I hadn't thought of that. I guess I shall never know a virgin!

Now to search of the elusive triple entendre (which should be a high potency Belgian ale).

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 30 Jun 2013 #permalink

Denice,

Oh, dear, I hadn't thought of that. I guess I shall never know a virgin!

Now to search of the elusive triple entendre (which should be a high potency Belgian ale).

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 30 Jun 2013 #permalink

@MOB

And all you would prove is "none of the virgins managed to detect the Invisible Pink Unicorn, not that it does not exist. Similarly to throwing reindeer from the roof of scyscraper would only prove that the chosen batch of reindeer under the testing circumstances failed to achieve flight.

Though I admit, my example is far worse then one used by Randi, since a singular claims are testable, by bad.

By The Smith of Lie (not verified) on 30 Jun 2013 #permalink

@ Mephistopheles:
re the triple entendre:

"I'm not a mean girl- I'm above the mean. And I mean it".

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 30 Jun 2013 #permalink

@Denice: You win the internets. I triply mean it.

“I’m not a mean girl- I’m above the mean. And I mean it”.

Word-play à la mode!

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 30 Jun 2013 #permalink

Cookie

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 30 Jun 2013 #permalink

MOB: Belgian ale, triple entendre. You've made my day!

By sheepmilker (not verified) on 01 Jul 2013 #permalink

Antaneus,
It is my pleasure to engage in a civil discourse. So often the discussion devolves into a mockery and is generally counterproductive. I think this is partially a consequence of the impersonal nature of internet communication; there is a lot of subtext in someone’s general disposition, facial expressions and hand movements when you’re talking to them face-to-face, which helps to maintain the positive nature of the discourse (that can go the other way as well!). But anyway, the only way a discussion can really move forward is if people maintain their civility. This isn’t going to be a problem for me, because I don’t have any vested interest one way or another, it also helps that I have a background in immunology and can appreciate the impact vaccines have had on our society over the last century.

...and that neither side has really thought about what evidence they need to look for to really make their case.
The science-based side actually knows quite well what we’re looking for that the anti-vax side completely fails to provide, and that’s a falsifiable hypothesis.

There is a little confusion that I can see in the above sentences. In one you are talking about evidence and the other you are talking about a falsifiable hypothesis. I am sure you are aware of what I am going to say, but just to clear it up for others reading.

A falsifiable hypothesis is not evidence, but rather when coupled with intelligently designed experiments that are carried out, is the means by which evidence is gathered. So, I would contend what we are looking for is evidence that supports the claim that vaccines contribute to or exacerbate the condition of autism. Furthermore, this evidence has to be gathered by using testable hypotheses.
I am sure we can all agree on this, but let me know if anyone objects.

I also found your example of witchcraft to be fitting. Like you said witchcraft was attributed to many scientific or medical phenomenon for lack of a better understanding of what was or might have been happening. This is the key, it’s not that there were not a plethora of testable hypotheses, it’s that people of the time (when science was non-existent or very nascent) did not have the knowledge to formulate the required hypotheses to test so they said it was caused by evil spirits. In other words, the testable hypotheses were always there and in abundance, it just took many years of arduous scientific work to build the base of knowledge that was needed to guide the minds of scientists of the time.

I think the corollary to this in the current discussion of vaccines and autism is that there are an abundance of testable hypotheses that have to be uncovered, some of which already have been uncovered through the accumulation of basic research in various disciplines.

For example, we know that cytokine signaling is critical in normal brain development and therefore dysregulation of these networks is implicated in the development of autism, specifically the cytokine IL-6. We also know that genetic factors that affect these same proinflammatory cytokine networks are related to an autism diagnosis. Lastly, we know that vaccination affects (they have to or else they wouldn’t work) these same proinflammatory networks during critical periods of brain development.

Therefore, I could hypothesize that an abnormal or dysregulated (either higher or more prolonged) proinflammatory response (one could use IL-6 here as the biomarker)to a vaccine at the ages of birth, 2, 4 or 6 months confers an elevated risk of a diagnosis of autism. I guess what confuses me is why this isn’t logical or reasonable since it is completely consistent with the consensus of autism being dictated by both genetic and environmental factors as well as being consistent with many of the basic observations that have been made over the past decade.

This is just one of many different hypotheses that could be formulated based on what we know right now, let alone what we will know in 5 or 10 years.

In order to help me guage your (collective) position and relative understanding could you explain how you feel about the five points I made in my last post. It can be as simple as agree, disagree, or don’t know. However, if you disagree would you be so kind as to briefly state why. Here they are again:

1. Growing body of evidence implicating dysregulation of immune system in both behavioral manifestations of autism and possibly the etiology of autism. (especially MIA, which has been replicated by research groups around the world)

2. Evidence implicating immunogenetic factors and gene networks related to immune system signaling in the etiology of autism

3. Very limited information on the details of how the vaccine schedule is received by neonates and infants (immunological details such as specific immune responses. Moreover, specific responses coupled with certain immunogenetic backgrounds)

4. Growing body of evidence implicating early life immune insults with later life behavioral problems and or mental health issues.

5. Insufficient epidemiological evidence exonerating vaccines from playing a role in either the onset or exacerbation of autism or symptoms, respectively. (Thimerosal and MMR notwithstanding)

I am trying to boil down why there is a discrepancy between my scientific reasoning and what I see here at a predominantly SBM motivated site. Also, if you feel so inclined, would you propose your own testable hypothesis based on your understanding of the extant literature, this will help me realize what level of knowledge you are working with. Remember, a hypothesis that pink virgin unicorns in the vaccines are causing autism will indicate that you have no general understanding of the underlying immunology of autism and/or vaccines, kind of like falling back on witchcraft as the explanation.

I guess I just think that my approach would facilitate some bridge building and go a long way to appease the minds of the many that are concerned. At least we are then approaching the problem critically and keeping up with the new evidence that comes in. This is in stark contrast to the current strategy which generally includes a “we know we are right, there's nothing more to look at” attitude and derision towards the concerns of others, thus engendering a feeling of deceit and lack of trust, which is much harder to overcome in the long run. Anyway, sorry it took so long for me to get back at you. I await your reasoned response.

Remember science takes a long time to untangle complicated things such as autism... be patient.

skeptiquette

By skeptiquette (not verified) on 02 Jul 2013 #permalink

PG:

Skeptiquite: The problem with looking for a middle ground is that there isn’t one. There’s only right and wrong, and you are in the wrong.

I'm never wrong. I once thought I was wrong, turns out, I was mistaken.
- Unknown

No, seriously though, science isn't about right or wrong, more so it's about evidence, bias and interpretation.

Skeptiquette

By skeptiquette (not verified) on 02 Jul 2013 #permalink

Skeptiquette,

I rather think you are overstating the quality of the evidence in favor of vaccines causing or exacerbating autism. You say you are skeptical, you say you understand the importance of testable hypotheses, yet you clearly missed the point of the witchcraft analogy -- it was NOT that people of bygone days lacked the ability to test the hypotheses, it was that they didn't bother to form hypotheses in the first place. They went straight to conclusions. Special pleading (that it was too hard for them to test it) doesn't give the witch hunters a pass. Could they have proven that anyone wasn't using undetectable magic to poison their cattle? Of course not. But they likewise made no attempt to prove that anyone *was*. They did make attempts to bolster their claims, but as you no doubt realize, that is not the same thing.

Your approach I'm afraid will not facilitate bridge building. It's pandering to false equivalence.

"Remember, a hypothesis that pink virgin unicorns in the vaccines are causing autism will indicate that you have no general understanding of the underlying immunology of autism and/or vaccines, kind of like falling back on witchcraft as the explanation."

Ah. Perhaps you *do* understand the analogy after all, but simply have failed to see what it was pointing out. They aren't demonstrating a lack of understanding, because they aren't seriously claiming invisible pink unicorns cause autism. They are making an analogy to the claims that vaccines cause autism.

Look. You seem to be looking for evidence for how vaccines could cause autism. But you have skipped the same step that the witchhunters also skipped -- you have failed to first determine whether or not they are causing it in the first place. Before you can even speculate about the "how", isn't it worth first seeing whether there is anything happening at all?

Homeopaths spend considerable effort speculating as to mechanisms by which homeopathy might work. Acupuncturists do the same with acupuncture. Reiki therapists do the same with reiki. They do this despite considerable evidence that these therapies generally do nothing whatsoever. Dr Harriet Hall likes to call this "tooth fairy science" -- spending effort cataloging the behavior of the tooth fairy, speculating about the mechanisms of the tooth fairy's operation, without ever first determining whether she even existed.

Many studies have now shown there is no correlation between vaccination and autism. Speculation (and the five points you listed are really all speculative, not as evidentiary as you seem to think) about how vaccines can cause autism is therefore pretty much a waste of time. We know vaccines don't cause autism; why is it necessary to go on to prove that they don't cause it by all these various proposed routes? What's more, as you challenge us to propose a hypothesis for autism causation, you seem to think that to reject the vaccines-autism connection, we must first propose an alternate. But that is nonsense. You actually can reject some propositions without having a better one handy. Newton didn't have to discover photons to prove that light wasn't actually emitted from the eyes, which is a good thing because he didn't discover photons. And Michaelson & Morlay didn't have to understand the nature of light to disprove the luminiferous ether.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 02 Jul 2013 #permalink

BTW, phrases like "the immunology of autism" are pretty suspect. What evidence do you have that autistics are in any way immunologically unusual?

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 02 Jul 2013 #permalink

You say you are skeptical, you say you understand the importance of testable hypotheses, yet you clearly missed the point of the witchcraft analogy — it was NOT that people of bygone days lacked the ability to test the hypotheses, it was that they didn’t bother to form hypotheses in the first place. They went straight to conclusions. Special pleading (that it was too hard for them to test it) doesn’t give the witch hunters a pass.

No, I didn't miss the point at all. In fact, I said that they didn't form testable hypotheses because they did not have the knowledge to do so. I never said anything about it being too difficult to test or lacking an ability to test a hypothesis.

I was trying to point out that the analogy is really bad. Cockamamie.

I am not looking for evidence of how vaccines cause autism, but rather, looking at the current suite of evidence for guidance on how a good testable hypothesis could be formed.

I guess you find it a waste of time, I don't yet. Like I said before, based on the current evidence, I think there is much to be explored still.

Skeptiquette

By skeptiquette (not verified) on 02 Jul 2013 #permalink

BTW, phrases like “the immunology of autism” are pretty suspect. What evidence do you have that autistics are in any way immunologically unusual?

Calli, there is actually quite a large body (and growing) of evidence in peer reviewed journals here is a small small sampling of what is available from a search in pubmed typing in "autism and cytokines" or just type in "autism and immune system"

You should get up to speed on this stuff, it is really quite interesting!

Here is a sampling of titles from a pubmed search:
**Note this is not a gish gallop trying to prove vaccines cause autism. so don't try to tell me that is what it is.

Thanks, Skeptiquette

Expression profiling of autism candidate genes during human brain development implicates central immune signaling pathways.

Plasma cytokine levels in children with autistic disorder and unrelated siblings..

Modeling an autism risk factor in mice leads to permanent immune dysregulation.

Maternal immune activation by LPS selectively alters specific gene expression profiles of interneuron migration and oxidative stress in the fetus without triggering a fetal immune response.

Maternal immune activation causes age- and region-specific changes in brain cytokines in offspring throughout development.

Cytokine dysregulation in autism spectrum disorders (ASD): possible role of the environment.

Effects of maternal immune activation on gene expression patterns in the fetal brain.

The major histocompatibility complex and autism spectrum disorder.

Autism spectrum disorders: from immunity to behavior.

Myeloid dendritic cells frequencies are increased in children with autism spectrum disorder and associated with amygdala volume and repetitive behaviors.

IL-6 is increased in the cerebellum of autistic brain and alters neural cell adhesion, migration and synaptic formation.

Brain IL-6 elevation causes neuronal circuitry imbalances and mediates autism-like behaviors.

Alteration of brain volume in IL-6 overexpressing mice related to autism.

The role of the innate immune system in psychiatric disorders.

Neuropoietic cytokines in normal brain development and neurodevelopmental disorders.

Peripheral and central inflammation in autism spectrum disorders.

Altered neurotrophin, neuropeptide, cytokines and nitric oxide levels in autism.

By skeptiquette (not verified) on 02 Jul 2013 #permalink

and these are just a few from the last 2 years (2013, 2012)

By skeptiquette (not verified) on 02 Jul 2013 #permalink

Skeptiquette, where are the PubMed indexed studies of autism increases in the USA dated 1990 and before due to their introduction of an MMR vaccine in 1971?

That would go a long way to answering this part of you research: "I am not looking for evidence of how vaccines cause autism, but rather, looking at the current suite of evidence for guidance on how a good testable hypothesis could be formed."

Because why would have Wakefield figured out that one of the three MMR vaccines used in the UK between 1988 and 1992 caused autism, if one vaccine used in the USA for almost two decades did not show a similar effect?

The obvious answer to many of us was the UK taxpayer Legal Aid funds flashed in front of his face by a lawyer. If you have verifiable evidence dated before 1990, it would really help.

@skeptiquette, lists of phrases that might be article titles are not good evidence. Why don't you pick what you consider to be the best evidence from your list and give the link to it?

@LW

Indeed. Also, if skeptiquette is correct and that there is some immune dysfunction that causes autism, thereby implicating vaccines in causing autism, there is a very, very pertinent followup question: what is fundamentally different about vaccines from an infection, which carries with it a far greater immune challenge and (subsequently) response?

If a vaccine causes some dysfunctional immune response, then, based on what we know of immunology, an infection would reasonably be assumed to have a greater risk of causing a similar response. Therefore, we would see greater numbers of autists in areas rife with infectious diseases, and the overall balance would still favor vaccination.

Skeptiquette,
I don't see the connection between the fact that autism is associated with immune system abnormalities, and the (failed) hypothesis that vaccines cause autism. Looking at the evidence, it seems much more likely that the developmental and immunological abnormalities in autism have a common cause and that this is something that happens prenatally.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 03 Jul 2013 #permalink

@ Chris:
@ LW:
@ Todd W.:
@ Krebiozen:

Have you ever heard the phrase-" it's like talking to a brick wall/ dining room table/ chest of drawers "( choose one)?

There either IS an association between vaccines and autism or there ISN'T.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 03 Jul 2013 #permalink

@Todd - that's an excellent question, since we know that just about everyone was exposed to VPDs in the past.....of course, that just plays into the thought that "adjuvants" are what are actually responsible (I'm sure that's the mantra from the anti-vax people going forward).

Skeptiquette,

I have a simple question: Do you think immune system disruption is the source of autism or else, a consequence of autism?

Alain

LW: "@skeptiquette, lists of phrases that might be article titles are not good evidence."

Not using a proper cite that at least contains the journal title and publication date does not inspire any confidence in her research skills.

I also believe she is tying to find a way vaccines can cause autism, without first answering the question of whether they are even associated. (Hint: the balance of evidence says "no.")

@Chris,

I just see it as correlation vs causation. Did the immune system eat part of the brain? (please, don't answer, let it up to Skeptiquette to answer).

Alain

@ Skeptiquette @ 348: I've looked at the abstracts for those studies that you provided us and I don't see any mention of vaccines given to an infant are implicated in cytokine storms.

What I have seen in those study abstracts, are some studies that implicate maternal infections and the resulting maternal cytokine production during pregnancy...and the possible change in fetal brain structure.

So...pick any of those studies you provided and explain to us how you drew the conclusion that somehow the immune response to V-P-Ds acquired during pregnancy, or acquired during early childhood, elicit lesser amounts of cytokines.

About those mouse studies you provided, you might want to look at this commentary from Emily Willingham, before you reply:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/emilywillingham/2013/01/07/mouse-behavior-f…

"...If the study in question is about mice, never talk about how the results will lead to a therapy or a cure or write about the mice as though somehow, they are just tiny humans with tails. Mice have misled us before. They are only a way to model what might happen in a mammal sorta kinda related to us. They are not Us, otherwise we’d live in tiny, crowded places, having 10 children at once and ignoring them when they grow fur, and this autism thing wouldn’t be an issue..."

Skeptiquette, that list is pretty much exactly a Gish Gallup. Saying "this isn't a Gish Gallup" is a bit like insulting somebody and saying "no offense". You seem to think there's some compelling evidence somewhere in that mound of studies. Why not point me specifically to it, rather than expecting me to spend hours trolling through a bunch of studies in hopes of maybe figuring out which bit was the compelling bit.

Plus, you seem to think none of us here are aware of work that has been done to attempt to link autism to immunological disorders. You might want to utilize the search feature on this blog; the topic has been extensively discussed, as it underpins a great deal of autism quackery, which is a topic of some interest here.

And you *still* are missing the point of the witch hunting analogy:

In fact, I said that they didn’t form testable hypotheses because they did not have the knowledge to do so.

I am very tired of the widespread impression that people in the Middle Ages and Renaissance were stupid, ignorant, or both. They weren't. Hell, Josef Lagrange solved the three body problem about the same time American colonists were putting people on trial for witchcraft. Witch hunts were successful not because people were ignorant but because they satisfied a certain political or social undercurrent.

By the way, did you know witch hunts are still going on today? Are you going to claim that people today lack the tools to properly hypothesize before investigating claims of witchcraft? Of course not. That's not why they aren't hypothesizing properly.

In the case of witchcraft, the real reason so few people took a skeptical approach was not because they lacked the knowledge to do so, or because their understanding of the natural world was too poor. It's because they didn't want to. Why would they? They felt they had their answer, and it would mean they would get to feel all righteous and justified as they butcher somebody that they've probably had a grudge against anyway.

Be very careful of that happening. There are a lot of people I've seen who are convinced that vaccines cause autism. This prevents them attempting to determine whether vaccines cause autism. So they jump ahead to finding out the path by which vaccines cause autism, even though really they don't know that they do. And you can see from the studies they've published that their links are very tenuous -- which is probably what you should expect when there's no there there, so to speak; of course immunological reactions happen in autistics, because autistics are human beings and these are conditions that can happen to human beings.

I really do still think you've overstating the quality of the evidence. Perhaps this is because you haven't been following this for as long as some of us have, but with autistics in my family, it's something of interest to me. I have the impression that you mean well, but that you are new to this manufactroversy -- new enough that you don't yet realize that it *is* a manufactroversy. Nor enough to realize that while you plead for bridge building, you are quite happy to insult those who disagree by suggesting they are close-minded for not agreeing to entertain notions that don't seem to have a lot of basis for them:

This is in stark contrast to the current strategy which generally includes a “we know we are right, there’s nothing more to look at” attitude and derision towards the concerns of others, thus engendering a feeling of deceit and lack of trust, which is much harder to overcome in the long run.

Talk about feelings of distrust. Here you talk about bridge building, yet you completely misrepresent the science-based approach.

Look. Do you seriously think that immunological origins of autism are the only things being studied, that you can draw such a dichotomy between those who entertain the notion of vaccines causing autism and the close-minded? If so, you have missed out on a tremendous amount of autism research. The bulk of it, in fact. I submit that like the witch hunters, you have gotten ahead of yourself. You are speculating about how vaccines could cause autism without first determining that they do. And if you don't like the witch analogy, how about acupuncture? Do you think it is reasonable to devote years of research to hypotheses about altering the flow of qi in the body before first determining whether or not acupuncture even does anything at all? Must I entertain speculation about how acupuncture works when I am unconvinced that it *does* work?

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 03 Jul 2013 #permalink

I think we may be talking past each other here. In my mind I am using the example of an illness hitting a small community in the middle ages, and the community leaders attributing the onset of the illness to evil spirits. In my estimation these people didn’t have a grasp of the natural world that would have been relevant to the etiology of the illness and therefore resorted to witchcraft as the explanation.

This is in its most basic form driven by ignorance. I would submit that if they had a firm grasp of microbiology and immunology as well as disease transmission, and say, cell biology, then the outcome would have been different, like, they wouldn’t have presumed witchcraft to be the culprit.

Using this example and applying what I am reading from you, it would seem that they do have an understanding of the natural world relevant to the onset of this disease, but they are choosing to ignore this understanding for political or social expediency.

We may be talking past each other because we are choosing different examples.

Let’s forget about this whole witchcraft business, as it is not moving the discussion at hand forward anyway.

Skeptiquette

By skeptiquette (not verified) on 03 Jul 2013 #permalink

Instead let me ask this:

Which epidemiological studies are the go to studies for showing that vaccines do not cause autism (I am having a hard time finding them in pubmed and I figure you guys have a reference list somewhere). Let’s start from the first vaccine and work from there.

1. Hep B
2. Rotavirus
3. DTap
4. HiB
5. Pneumococcal
6. Polio

By skeptiquette (not verified) on 03 Jul 2013 #permalink

Alain, I think in some cases it may be the source and some it may be a consequence, depends, autism is a very heterogenous condition.

By skeptiquette (not verified) on 03 Jul 2013 #permalink

Todd, this is a great follow up question! and one that would be very important to explore.

The fundamental differences between a vaccine and the corresponding disease would be related to the immune response that is provoked and the timing of that response. It would be imperative to look at both the qualitative differences as well as quantitative.

There is a study that kind of offers some insight into this and it looked at the fundamental differences between the immune response from the acellular pertussis vaccine vs. the whole cell vaccine.

Interestingly they were totally different. One, the response to the acellular vaccine was dominated by a Th2 profile of cytokines whereas the response to the whole cell was dominated by a Th1profile of cytokines and this was not the only thing that was observed. It was also observed that these immune responses persisted for a long time, even when the immune cells were challenged by a general immune stimulant.

This points to the fact that we cannot just make assumptions about what is happening or generalize between the immune response from vaccine vs. disease. We have to actually study it to understand it.

Good question though!

By skeptiquette (not verified) on 03 Jul 2013 #permalink

Chris and LW,

I am sorry for being so informal in my citing, but this is a blog. I am not writing a manuscript for a peer reviewed journal. Furthermore, would it really be that difficult to cut and past those titles into Pubmed, where I said I got them?

It's a little nitpicky if you ask me and says nothing of my research abilities, but hey, you are entitled to your opinion!

By skeptiquette (not verified) on 03 Jul 2013 #permalink

Skeptiquette:

Which epidemiological studies are the go to studies for showing that vaccines do not cause autism

Why is MMR missing from that list? Was it because you could not find any article dating prior to 1990 linking the MMR to autism from the over a decade's use in the USA? Was there an increase in autism in the mid-1950s when the first polio vaccine was introduced?

If you want some nice epidemiological studies, you can start here (be sure to go to the bottom and click on the journal articles between 1998 to 2003): http://www.immunize.org/journalarticles/conc_aut.asp

There is also this list:
http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/library/vsd_pubs.html

And then there are these specific articles:
Vaccine. 2012 Jun 13;30(28):4292-8. Epub 2012 Apr 20.
The combined measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines and the total number of vaccines are not associated with development of autism spectrum disorder: The first case-control study in Asia.

Vaccine. 2012 Jan 5;30(2):247-53.
Lack of association between childhood immunizations and encephalitis in California, 1998-2008.

Pediatrics Vol. 126 No. 2 August 1, 2010 (doi: 10.1542/peds.2009-1496)
Lack of Association Between Acellular Pertussis Vaccine and Seizures in Early Childhood

BMC Public Health. 2011 May 19;11:340.
Congenital rubella syndrome and autism spectrum disorder prevented by rubella vaccination--United States, 2001-2010.

(this one covers the entire list you provided)
Pediatrics. 2010 Jun;125(6):1134-41.
On-time vaccine receipt in the first year does not adversely affect neuropsychological outcomes.

Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2010 May;29(5):397-400.
Lack of association between measles-mumps-rubella vaccination and autism in children: a case-control study.

Pediatrics, February 2009, Vol. 123(2):475-82
Neuropsychological Performance 10 years after Immunization in Infancy with Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines

By the way, insisting there be a study that looks at each of those vaccine individually is a tactic called "moving the goal posts."

Calli,

I am sorry for dumping those titles on you, I figured you could quickly read through the abstracts to falsify the claim that you implicitly proposed with your question. (it would really only take 15 or 20 minutes)

I will try to take the time over the next day to summarize some of the more recent research findings that would help you and probably others here understand the immunological differences.

By skeptiquette (not verified) on 03 Jul 2013 #permalink

By the way, insisting there be a study that looks at each of those vaccine individually is a tactic called “moving the goal posts.”

Really? what is the logic you are using there?

Thanks for posting what you did post I will check out a couple that look interesting!

By skeptiquette (not verified) on 03 Jul 2013 #permalink

Skeptiquette:

I am sorry for being so informal in my citing, but this is a blog. I am not writing a manuscript for a peer reviewed journal. Furthermore, would it really be that difficult to cut and past those titles into Pubmed, where I said I got them?

Only for the tedium. To require at minimum of a title, journal and date would not be that much of a stretch. Having a journal name indicates if it is a journal that is worth bothering with (like we would ignore the ones that Shaw and Tomljenovic have recently been published in). And having a date would tell us if it worth bothering with also, like ones dated before 1960 (and yes, those have been posted). Filtering out irrelevant papers is important when dealing with a Gish Gallop.

Also, there is one person elsewhere who has a habit of listing only the titles with just a little bit changed so they can't be found. The reason that she does this is because the articles do not say what she says they say.

Also, I believe we have now established that the MMR vaccine is not associated with autism. First there are several epidemiological studies that say so, plus there is nothing before 1990 in the literature. Surely, if Wakefield can claim it caused autism in the UK in less than a decade, then it would have been noticed in a much larger country over more than a decade of use. Though we now know the only evidence he had was the stuff he made up.

Chris,
Ok. Fair enough regarding the citation norms.

I think it is fair to say that the epidemiological evidence favors the rejection of MMR and Thimerosal as causative agents of autism, I was more interested in the other ones that are given at such early ages.

I am going to read the one that looks at timely receipt of vaccine in the first year, thanks!

By skeptiquette (not verified) on 03 Jul 2013 #permalink

Because insisting that we come up with studies on the individual vaccines, when they have all been included as a group in epidemiological studies, is putting in a new criteria. That is common with some folks from AoA. It is a way to make it so that no study would satisfy their needs.

You might try reading a definition:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moving_the_goalposts

And, again, before you can establish how a whatnot causes something, you must first prove that the what actually causes something. Right now, there is no real evidence that vaccines cause autism. So looking for some kind of some kind of immunological impact from vaccines is a wild goose chase.

Especially since the impact on anyone's immune system from the actual disease is far greater than from any vaccine. But if you have evidence that any vaccine on the present causes more harm than the disease, go for it. I like to use an objective bad outcome like seizures. Just post the PubMed index study from a reputable researcher that a vaccine on the present American pediatric schedule causes more seizures than the disease, please present the title, journal and date.

Actually, Skeptiquette, if you think the Hib vaccine has more risk than the disease, you should present that. Along with the other vaccines.

Though be advised that the more recent ones (HepB, Hib, etc) are not even made from the original pathogens. The HepB vaccine is made from baker's yeast.

And if there was an issue with any of them, it would have shown up through the Vaccine Safety Datalink Project. This is how problems (like one in over a hundred thousand) in the first rotavirus vaccine showed up. And it was even more rare issues with oral polio vaccine that prompted replacement with IPV.

Alain, I think in some cases it may be the source and some it may be a consequence, depends, autism is a very heterogenous condition.

Ok, in the case where the immune system is the source of autism, do you have a basic mechanism of action? I don't need an elaborate mechanism, just something plausible.

Alain

To be more explicit, just tell me what the immune system does to the brain (and do we agree that it involve the brain and not just the enteric nervous system?).

Alain

@Calli,

Bravo, Calli! Masterful job at turning the tables on skeptiquette! Skeptiquette never implied that the evidence of 'how' immune system is activated in autism is 'proof' that vaccines 'do' cause autism. She merely suggested this as not 'proof' but 'evidence' that vaccines may cause autism since they also activate the immune system. And, based on this evidence you would expect that we would be more buoyed to do the definitive studies to determine if vaccines 'do' cause autism -- say an unvax/vax study, or if this cannot be done for ethical reason, a study to determine if an unvaxed population has a 1 in 50 autism rate.

What your argument essentially boils down to is to say let's not worry about any evidence until we have proof. If this is not the anti-thesis of science then I don't know what is. Still, you crafted and concealed it quite well that it may have escaped numerous readers detection, including skeptiquette. Bravo, again, on a job well done!

Also, overall, although you did quite well, you did have one 'little' screw-up:

At #346 you asked sketiquette, 'what evidence do you have that autistics are in any way immunologically unusual?'.........

Only to declare at #360, 'of course immunological reactions happen in autistics'.....

I guess your initial question was mere testing of the water.

You know Greg, I only interpreted skeptiquette the immune system dysregulation cause autism or is caused by autism. I'll see when vaccine enter the picture if any. Of course, if you have any evidence, I'm all ears.

Alain

By the way, Greg, immunological reactions happen to all sorts of people. Like the itchy eyes and sneezes I've had over the past due to my allergy to grasses and ragweed. I am also exhibiting other reactions on my arms from some bug bites I got while weeding.

The interesting thing is there is often an implicit reasoning that vaccines cause more immunological reactions than the diseases, or even pollen. That is just silly.

Oh, and thanks for confirming that vaccines are safer than the diseases by never providing any real evidence on the relative risk of seizures. Obviously the diseases cause many more seizures than the vaccines. You have no cause to protest, since you had over two months to answer the question.

Y'know, even in medieval re-enactor blogs, people get pressed for specific citations for claims. Saying "there's a study that says this..." is a really annoying way of "proving" something. After all, my scrawled ramblings about medieval food could be considered a study, even though as a note I might write "that recipe for duck in the egg book" which means squat to anyone else.

By Christine (the… (not verified) on 03 Jul 2013 #permalink

I had actually typed up a response to this in the early morning, but it was swallowed by a server error when I tried to submit it, so it had to wait for the end of a long day for me to recompose and send it.

I will have to start by repeating a point I made before:

... the science-based camp is stating "we have simply not been presented with anything like a convincing case that vaccines cause autism, and it would be irrational to jump to the conclusion that they do or probably do in the absence of a convincing case." If you're asserting that that's an unreasonable position, then you're asserting that either you think a solid case that vaccines cause autism does exist (in which case, you're not between the two camps at all, you're in one of the very camps you called unreasonable) or you're asserting that the science-based camp should be taking seriously the speculation that vaccines cause autism just because someone came up with such a speculation.

That point needs repeating; without an answer to it, what you're doing is saying "the science-based camp hasn't done enough to 'build bridges' to anti-vaxers" but refusing to tell us what that 'bridge-building' would consist of.

Moving on from that, I must point out that I discussed a major element of the science-based view which you did not respond to or even acknowledge, and that is the issue of "burden of proof".

That's a very important part of the science-based position, so to leave out "burden of proof" and discuss the various vaccines-cause-or-exacerbate-autism hypotheses as if testability was the only meaningful criteria, and therefore any hypothesis that was deemed "testable" was therefore automatically one that deserved testing, would badly distort reality.

However, it may be that the point about burden of proof was not clear to you, so let's look at it again, approaching it from a slightly different angle. Let's talk about "Occam's Razor". This very famous principle has been stated many ways over the years; one of the most precise formulations is "Avoid multiplying entities needlessly", but the modern version, easier to understand, is "when there are multiple explanations for the evidence, the simplest is the most likely to be true."

"Some cases of autism are caused by vaccines" sounds simple enough; it sounds so simple, we might be tempted to think there couldn't be a simpler explanation. Except it only sounds that way because we're leaving out part of it; when you state it fully, you find out it's a hypothesis that "multiplies entities needlessly." It's an established fact that some children who were never vaccinated nevertheless developed autism. Therefore the VCA (vaccines cause autism) hypothesis, spelled out in full, has to be "There is something which isn't vaccines that causes autism (entity 1); in addition, there are some cases of autism that are caused by vaccines (entity 2)." You know what's a simpler explanation than that, which involves only known fact and not speculation like the VCA hypothesis? "There is something which isn't vaccines that causes autism."

Now the situation would be different if the evidence was different. Some VCA believers, as I mentioned before, still claim that vaccines have in fact caused an "autism epidemic". If such a claim was true, then unvaccinated children would still develop autism, due to entity 1, at a rate we'll call A%; vaccinated children would develop autism at the higher rage A+X%, where X% are the children who wouldn't have developed autism due to entity 1, but did due to vaccines, entity 2. The elephant in the room here, Skeptiquette, which you seem unwilling to acknowledge, is that every attempt to measure X% comes up with a figure indistinguishable from zero.

Now, can those who are absolutely wedded to the vaccines-cause-autism hypothesis find a way to alter it, so that it no longer predicts things which the data already shows to be false? Yes, sure, of course they can, but that proves nothing. We could hypothesize that vaccines don't actually cause autism, they just exacerbate it; we could hypothesize that vaccines cause autism only in children with certain particular preconditions; we could concoct any number of hypotheses that aren't totally torpedoed by the data the way "there's an autism epidemic caused by vaccines" is. But what's wrong with every one of those hypotheses?

Two things. First of all, each one is not an attempt to do actual science, but simply to co-opt the authority of science. Real science is about seeing where the data leads you; asking "how can we make the data point to the conclusion that vaccines cause autism?" means you're not doing real science.

Second, once again, Occam's Razor. For each and every variation on the "something which isn't vaccines causes autism, and also vaccines cause autism" hypothesis, there is a corresponding hypothesis which is simpler and fits the data at least as well if not better: it is formed by dropping the unneeded entity of "autism caused by vaccines".

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 03 Jul 2013 #permalink

I am sorry for being so informal in my citing, but this is a blog. I am not writing a manuscript for a peer reviewed journal. Furthermore, would it really be that difficult to cut and past those titles into Pubmed, where I said I got them?

Let us briefly rewind:

here is a small small sampling of what is available from a search in pubmed typing in “autism and cytokines” or just type in “autism and immune system”

You should get up to speed on this stuff, it is really quite interesting!

Your first! query! Brings up! 182 results! Your second brings! Up! 340! Let's! look! at (part of!) the first!

Cytokine dysregulation in autism spectrum disorders (ASD): possible role of the environment.

#20, Goines.

Effects of maternal immune activation on gene expression patterns in the fetal brain.

#23, Garbett.

The major histocompatibility complex and autism spectrum disorder.

Does not appear.

Autism spectrum disorders: from immunity to behavior.

#19, Careaga.

Myeloid dendritic cells frequencies are increased in children with autism spectrum disorder and associated with amygdala volume and repetitive behaviors.

#15, Breece.

IL-6 is increased in the cerebellum of autistic brain and alters neural cell adhesion, migration and synaptic formation.

#62, Wei.

Brain IL-6 elevation causes neuronal circuitry imbalances and mediates autism-like behaviors.

#35, Wei.

Alteration of brain volume in IL-6 overexpressing mice related to autism.

#17, Wei.

So what we have here looks an awful lot like a cut and paste from a sloppily assembled personal bibliography, coupled with assertions that it is not a specific sort of Gish gallop, an "apology" for "being so informal" despite the preassembly (which has Excel written all over it), a disdainful remark about "keeping up," and not a damn thing to say about any of it.

Very impressive, thanks.

I had actually typed up a response to this in the early morning, but it was swallowed by a server error when I tried to submit it, so it had to wait for the end of a long day for me to recompose and send it.

The "Textarea Cache" add-on for Firefox comes in very handy for such situations.

Skeptiquette,

Which epidemiological studies are the go to studies for showing that vaccines do not cause autism (I am having a hard time finding them in pubmed and I figure you guys have a reference list somewhere).

You may find this paper (PDF) useful. It has many of the papers Chris refers to with a summary and links to the studies themselves.

By the way, which epidemiological studies are the "go to studies" showing that broccoli does not cause autism? Or television, mobile phones, miasmas, witches, astrological aspects, invisible demons... I hope you get my point.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 03 Jul 2013 #permalink

Pass the Kewpie pon the left-hand side.

A string of Kewpies is a joy for Heather.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 03 Jul 2013 #permalink

Instead let me ask this:

Which epidemiological studies are the go to studies for showing that vaccines do not cause autism (I am having a hard time finding them in pubmed and I figure you guys have a reference list somewhere). Let’s start from the first vaccine and work from there.

1. Hep B
2. Rotavirus
3. DTap
4. HiB
5. Pneumococcal
6. Polio

Skeptiquette, if you understand anything we've been saying, you should understand that you need reason to think a hypothesis is true before you can start asking other people to disprove the hypothesis.

You do not have such a reason. "Autism might have something to do with the immune system and vaccines have something to do with the immune system" is not a reason because those facts provide exactly the same support to the hypothesis "vaccines prevent autism". As they say, you can't tell which way the train went by looking at the tracks.

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 04 Jul 2013 #permalink

On the heterogeneity of autism (which would tend to argue against any single-cause hypothesis):

This was published Tuesday by the Simons Foundation, Health records reveal autism's full picture

.....there is a different application of electronic health records that may be even more important in our understanding of autism overall. That is the use of electronic health records to understand the full set of symptoms and clinical trajectories that people with autism traverse — not just their neurobehavioral profile but also their multiple non-neuropsychiatric symptoms.

For example, last year, we conducted one of the largest-ever studies of autism comorbidities using electronic medical records of more than 14,000 individuals with autism over a 15-year period7. This study confirmed well-known findings: for example, a prevalence of about 20 percent of seizures in people with the disorder.

But the study also found that 12 percent of people with autism have a variety of bowel disorders, and an increased rate of autoimmune disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease and type-1 diabetes. We also confirmed the well-known increased prevalence of autism in those with fragile X syndrome and tuberous sclerosis complex, and the much less-documented, but also surprisingly high, autism prevalence of five percent in the muscular dystrophies.

These electronic-health-record-driven studies have also shown that such comorbidities are not spread evenly across the population, but cluster within specific subtypes of autism.

Overall, children with autism who have seizures have trajectories or clusters of symptoms and other clinical findings that differ from those of children with autism who have anxiety disorders and psychiatric comorbidities, such as schizophrenia or major depression. There are also other subgroups, characterized by frequent ear infections and hearing loss, or inflammatory bowel disease, that have their own distinct developmental trajectories.

The existence of these distinct subgroups suggests an underlying biological architecture that may represent distinct causative or compensatory mechanisms.

Original paper:

PLoS One. 2012; 7(4): e33224.
Published online 2012 April 12. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0033224
PMCID: PMC3325235
The Co-Morbidity Burden of Children and Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders

I don't see any point to 'bridge-building.' The anti-vax crowd has proven, time and time again that they are resistant to facts. It's a waste of time to attempt to educate them..or even talk to them.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 04 Jul 2013 #permalink

@ Liz Ditz: Thanks for that SFARI article. I think it confirms what I have been stating all along, about the supposed increase in children diagnosed with ASDs.

There are hundreds of identified genetic syndromes (and hundreds of additional genetic syndromes where the specific genes mutations have yet to be identified), where kids have epilepsy, feeding and bowel problems, in addition to their congenital skeletal, cardiac, brain anomolies and dysmorphic features. For a partial list of these genetic syndromes, see Table I:

http://www.nature.com/gim/journal/v10/n1/pdf/gim20082a.pdf

I'm quite interested in the emerging studies of children diagnosed with ASDs, who have subtle dysmorphic features:

http://sfari.org/news-and-opinion/in-brief/2012/clinical-research-facia…

children diagnosed with ASDs, who have subtle dysmorphic features:

The concept of FLK syndrome is familiar to clinicians.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 04 Jul 2013 #permalink

Can I extend one of my question? I'd ask everyone here to tell what happen to the brain of an autistic so that he/she is autistic?

It's okay if you make mistakes and in fact, encouraged. This will become an educative moment.

I'll start first by answering the question by myself:

In the case of idiopathic autism, the cells are much smaller and the minicolumns themselve are slightly smaller (about 5% average) but includes more cells. There appear to be a migrational problem with the cells not making their way to the final destination. A cluster of minicolumns around the perceptual areas and the senses makes for a more reliable memory and picture perfect memory. I don't know what happen to the cognitive areas of the brain.

Skeptiquette, Greg, everyone else, it's your turn.

Alain

@ herr doktor bimler:

"children diagnosed with ASDs, who have subtle dysmorphic features:"

"The concept of FLK syndrome is familiar to clinicians"

FLK (Funny Looking Kid) syndrome is familiar to parents as well. One of the subversive neurologist/genetics specialist who attended that super-secretive Simpsonwood Conference, nailed down by son's rare genetic disorder when he was 2 years old. The de novo gene mutations for his syndrome were identified a few months before he died, June, 2004.

Sometime, I hate being the resident autism expert; I ask the right questions to shut down a thread.

Alain

OH and BTW, the same happen at school when I correct a prof on computer science.

Grumble.

I think it's just bad timing. Everyone in the US takes the fourth off.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 04 Jul 2013 #permalink

@Alain,
There is one thing that brain physiologists (I don't know the correct term) have discovered. Autistics have more brain cells than neurotypicals. During very early childhood, there is a period when a lot of brain cells suddenly die off, but this either doesn't happen, or happens less, in autistics.
Again, I don't know the complete ins and outs of this.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 04 Jul 2013 #permalink

Hey Guys, guess who is back? Did you miss me? Now my last outing wasn’t too acrimonious between Orac and myself. Privately though, I spoke with him and he apologized for being so grumpy. He explained, “Greg, do you know how tiresome it gets coming up with these yawners of blogs? It’s always about he is a quack…she is a crank…they are jerks for subscribing to quack medicine….blah, blah, blah!” He also added that being the overlord of the RI echo chamber, the constant, monotonous drone starts getting on his nerve after a while. Yeah Orac, it all gets tedious, doesn’t it?

Anyway, before I get started I would like to tie up a few loose ends by revisiting some topics from my last outing. Re autistics functioning capacity as a whole, Krebiozen at #184 said,

“No one is denying that a sizeable number of individuals with autism will require some assistance in living, but only a tiny minority are non-verbal and doubly incontinent, requiring round-the-clock care, contrary to what you continually imply.”

Very well then Krebiozen, let’s consider the stats as they pertain to autistics functioning levels. First it is estimated that between 25% and 50% of autistics are indeed non-verbal.
http://www.dcc-cde.ca.gov/af/afbasic.htm
http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0025505

Re autistics IQ scores, their average score is 70. This figure is taken from the link you provided Krebiozen.
http://money.cnn.com/2012/04/02/pf/autism/index.htm

I quote them: “(f)or those with autism who are impacted with intellectual disabilities (with an IQ of 70 or less) -- nearly half of the autistic population…”

Krebiozen, just reflect on this score for a second. Individuals with an IQ of less than 70 are considered mentally retarded.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mental_retardation

Imagine, nearly half of autistics qualify as mentally retarded! In contrast, 95% of the general population has IQ scores within the range of 70 to 130 with only 5% falling within the retarded range.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligence_quotient

Krebiozen, with the autism rate of 1 in 50, with 1 in 31 boys, we are talking 1 in 62 boys who are mentally retarded. As these boys mature into adults in the near future, we will start having 1 in 62 retarded men! Now ladies – I know what you are thinking – we are already there, and it’s more! Seriously though, think about it, 1 in 62 retarded men! Imagine a sports stadium at capacity seating of say 50,000. If we divide by half to get the total amount of males (actually this is rather generous because it is not likely to be 50% ladies attending a sporting event) then we would have 25,000 men. Approximately 400 of them would be mentally retarded --enough to fill an entire seating section! Say what you want about Dachel, but these are the frightening scenarios that she has in mind when she talks about what will happen when autistics are aged out of school and become adults.

Now some may argue that IQ scores are not good measures of autistics’ functioning abilities in their communities. They may add that autistics may not reveal their true potentials with IQ tests; perhaps they do not follow instructions or are not motivated to perform. Let’s look then at what the numbers are really saying about how autistics are faring in society. I gave you guys the source that cited the UK’s National Autistic Society’s stats. It reported that out of a sample of 450 autistic adults and children only 6% were living fully independent, and only 3% held full-time employment.
http://www.child-autism-parent-cafe.com/adults-with-autism.html

Still, you complained for various reasons about these numbers. I thought the numbers were straight-forward but you still complained. Anyway, here is what another source has to say about how autistics are succeeding with their employment:
http://health.usnews.com/health-news/news/articles/2012/05/14/employmen…

“….researchers examined data from the National Longitudinal Transition Study 2, a nine-year study of adolescents who were enrolled in special education because of autism, learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities or speech and language impairments…”

And…..

“For example, only 55 percent of young adults with autism had paid employment, while 86 percent of those with a speech or language impairment, 94 percent of those with a learning disability and 69 percent of those with mental retardation did.”

So there you have it: Even when we discount autistics’ IQ performance and consider real things such as their employment, they are still lagging significantly behind other disability groups, including the mentally retarded. Now these truly are the sobering facts that we should keep in mind when we are presented with the oddball scenarios of autistics with Einstein’s intelligence and who are making their mark in quantum physics, or when we are presented with stories of employers eyeing autistics as an untapped, employment boon.

Krebiozen, after all I presented to you, can you still honestly say that I am exaggerating the dismal state of how autistics are truly faring?

Greg:

Hey Guys, guess who is back?

My favourite scratching post, that's who.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 05 Jul 2013 #permalink

Later, I want to address the controversy of incidence vs mortality when we look at the trend of declining infectious diseases prior to vaccines. In the meantime, here is my question of the day: For the MDs, and specifically pediatricians in the house, when a parent approach you with their ailing autistic kid, do you feel rather silly pretending that you are baffled by the cause, even though in the back of your mind you are actually thinking -- 'those darn vaccines!'? What tricks do you employ to not show your discomfort? (Hee, hee, hee)

Later, I want to address the controversy of incidence vs mortality when we look at the trend of declining infectious diseases prior to vaccines.

Oh goodie. And what controversy would that be? I am pretty dumb when it comes to finer aspects of medicine but even I can see difference between mortality and incidence. But on the other hand I have no agenda in finding some way to twist facts so that they could fit my lies (since I usually lie about simple things, like: "why shouldn't our client pay for the things he bought due to procedural mistakes in the invoice").

By The Smith of Lie (not verified) on 05 Jul 2013 #permalink

What tricks do you employ to not show your discomfort? (Hee, hee, hee)

What tricks do you employ not to show your apetite to devour the people you interact with daily? (Hee, hee, hee).

By The Smith of Lie (not verified) on 05 Jul 2013 #permalink

Greg #398,

That is one of the most deceitful and deliberately misleading comments I have seen in a while. You wrote not long ago of, "the current tsunami of 1 in 6 kids with brain damaged autism and other impediments such as adhd and speech delays.", and of, "non-verbal autistics, who scream, head bang, and are still in diapers". That is a gross exaggeration so I suppose seeing you moving to a figure of 1 in 62 boys is progress of sorts.

First you take the very highest estimate you can of the number of males with ASDs (not autism), apply that figure to both males and females and claim that is the number of people with autism. It isn't. The California Department of Education page you linked to states that, "1 in every 250 children is diagnosed with autism".

You then take the very highest estimates you can find for non-verbality and intellectual impairment in autistic children, and claim it applies to all people with ASDs for their entire lifetimes. Autism is developmental delay, not developmental stasis.

The California Department of Education page also states that, "up to 50% of individuals with autism are non-verbal", but provides no references for that figure. The PLOS page you linked to states that, "up to 25% of children with autism are non-verbal". The references it gives for that figure state that:

follow-up studies of 2-year-olds suggest that 75–90% of children with autism acquire functional expressive communication (Eaves and Ho 2004; Charman et al. 2005; Koegel 2000; McGee et al. 1999; Turner et al. 2006)

So between 1 in 2,500 and 1 in 1,000 children are non-verbal and autistic, not 1 in 6 as you have claimed.

The other reference says:

88 percent of the sample demonstrated at least some functional language

These are children, not adults, so we cannot assume from this that these individuals never develop language. Even assuming they don't, according to this study we are looking at fewer than 1 in 2,000 with non-verbal autism.

As I stated before (with citation), according to the CDC the majority (62%) of children identified as having ASDs do not have intellectual disability (intelligence quotient <=70). Only 1 in 250 people are autistic, so we are talking of perhaps 1 in 650 people who are autistic and mentally impaired, not 1 in 62 as you claim.

The unreliability of figures from special interest groups who are looking for resources has been addressed before.

Krebiozen, after all I presented to you, can you still honestly say that I am exaggerating the dismal state of how autistics are truly faring?

Yes, you are grossly exaggerating the problem and trying to stir up prejudice against people with autism by portraying them as "non-verbal autistics, who scream, head bang, and are still in diapers". You should be ashamed of yourself.

Of course the number of people with autism who need support is of concern, but exaggerating the problem is not helpful. Neither is persisting with a disproven hypothesis, which distracts from research which will hopefully come up with ways to help those with autism that need it.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 05 Jul 2013 #permalink

Later, I want to address the controversy of incidence vs mortality when we look at the trend of declining infectious diseases prior to vaccines.

There is no controversy. If mortality is the only thing going down, the disease isn't "declining" at all.

One really wonders what Greg's purpose in coming here is. He must know that, far from drawing any undecided lurkers to the antivax side, his bizarre behavior and dishonest argumentation serves only to make SBM stand out as even better by comparison.

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 05 Jul 2013 #permalink

One really wonders what Greg’s purpose in coming here is.

At this point? To try to get banned, of course.

Hey Guys, guess who is back? Did you miss me? Now my last outing wasn’t too acrimonious between Orac and myself. Privately though, I spoke with him and he apologized for being so grumpy. He explained, “Greg, do you know how tiresome it gets coming up with these yawners of blogs? It’s always about he is a quack…she is a crank…they are jerks for subscribing to quack medicine….blah, blah, blah!” He also added that being the overlord of the RI echo chamber, the constant, monotonous drone starts getting on his nerve after a while. Yeah Orac, it all gets tedious, doesn’t it?

No Greg, those are the voices in your head having to listen to you.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 05 Jul 2013 #permalink

@ Julian,

You may be referring (sp?) to the list of papers of Dr. Casanova (for whom I will work for) here:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Casanova+MF%5BAuthor%5D+AND+minicolumns

I don't think cell pruning is a problem here (or it'd be a minor one) but instead, the cell are definitely smaller, there are more cells per minicolumns and also there's a slight increase in the number of minicolumns. There may be a figure of 23% more brain cell on average and this might be correct but I don't know if it has been scientifically validated or else, extrapolated (from an area to the other) given a pathology report of cell migration problems in the brain.

Alain

Greg:

Later, I want to address the controversy of incidence vs mortality when we look at the trend of declining infectious diseases prior to vaccines.

You see your exact claim was "Now we have all seen the graphs that show that many infectious diseases were well on their way out even before the introduction of vaccines."

In modern English that means that the incidence of diseases went down, and this has nothing to do with mortality. If your claim was true then the incidence of measles was down before 1960. But the data show that measles incidence went up and down until the mid-1960s.

Now you are going to have explain why measles plummeted in less than one decade after a series of up and down years.

The oneclear thing is that you do not understand your claim clearly claimed morbidity decreased, but your evidence only showed mortality. Obviously you do not understand the definitions of the words: mortality, morbidity (incidence) and controversial.

Hey Guys, guess who is back? Did you miss me? Now my last outing wasn’t too acrimonious between Orac and myself. Privately though, I spoke with him and he apologized for being so grumpy. He explained, “Greg, do you know how tiresome it gets coming up with these yawners of blogs? It’s always about he is a quack…she is a crank…they are jerks for subscribing to quack medicine….blah, blah, blah!” He also added that being the overlord of the RI echo chamber, the constant, monotonous drone starts getting on his nerve after a while. Yeah Orac, it all gets tedious, doesn’t it?

Just so that any new readers don't think I actually speak with Greg, let me just say that the above is simply Greg's fantastical delusions of adequacy leading him to think that he could ever get me to say anything even slightly resembling his fantasy.

It makes sense he has voices in his head that he thinks are real conversations. Just like the thinks there is a controversy between "incidence" and "mortality".

@Julian Frost -

Well, there are lots of ways the process of cell removal *could* be going wrong in the autism population. It turns out, the brain's immune residents, microglia, are participating in this process; i.e.,

Synaptic Pruning by Microglia Is Necessary for Normal Brain Development (Science. 2011 Sep 9;333(6048):1456-8)

It just so happens, when we look at those microglia in the autism population, their phenotype is different than the 'normal' population. Perhaps, this changed microglial status is part of a disruption in the pruning process in autism. Animal studies on immune challenges in early life tell us that such insults appear to be capable of persistently altering the morphology of microglia, as well as cause behavioral disturbances in affected animals. Food for thought.

@Alain - Do you realize that Dr. Cassanova is extremely skeptical of a static rate of autism? See his latest blog post on cortical chauvinism on the Flynn effect.

Also, there is no reason that something that could cause altered minicolumn structure (very early in embryological life) could not *also* affect synaptic pruning (much later in late fetal / early postnatal life).

For data on increased number of neurons in the autism population (in some parts of the brain), try,

Neuron number and size in prefrontal cortex of children with autism (JAMA. 2011 Nov 9;306(18):2001-10)

Other areas of the brain look to have reduced neuron numbers; i.e.,

Stereological Analysis of Amygdala Neuron Number in Autism

All of these studies, including the minicolumn studies you reference above, suffer from a very, very low number of samples, unfortunately.

By passionlessDrone (not verified) on 05 Jul 2013 #permalink

Greg:

...when [parents] approach you with their ailing autistic kid...

I was hardly ever sick as a child. And from what I've been reading, autistics tend to have rather robust immune systems.
Scratch, scratch, scratch.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 05 Jul 2013 #permalink

@Julian Frost: but, you know, according to Greg, you're not a *real* autistic. You don't headbang, scream, smear poop on the walls...

Instead, you post thoughtful, insightful comments on RI and other sites. How could Greg take you seriously as autistic?

(I have a cousin with children who have a genetic syndrome that leads to developmental regression, and the age that the regression begins varies with the severity of the syndrome. It's a very hard life, and she fights every day for her children to have a good life. But don't try to tell her that vaccines, toxins, fluoride etc caused it. She'll rip you apart. She's science based to the core.).

Ah, but does Julian Frost count towards the 1:6 number?

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 05 Jul 2013 #permalink

@pD,

I'm aware of the flynn effect (and Dr. Casanova) but don't know its effect on the incidence of autism because no epidemiology studies answer that question.

BTW, myself and Dr. Casanova hold different opinions but we always respect each other's opinions.

Alain

As these boys mature into adults in the near future, we will start having 1 in 62 retarded men! Now ladies – I know what you are thinking – we are already there, and it’s more!

In case anyone still had any doubts that Greg doesn't really give a sh!t about those with disabilities.

Greg, you do know most people would permanently ban you for lying about them on their own website. Orac is being far more patient with you than you deserve.

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 05 Jul 2013 #permalink

There's something to be said about the scientific method being a bitch: it require a lot of imagination & a lot of time to iron out the many competing null hypothesis and it can't prove a negative but then, it's the best method bar none to build reliable foundation. Anything else is piss pour and I know that comment passed 90 feet over the head of Greg but that's just because I want to :D.

Alain

pour == poor (could be interpreted the same way).

Alain

I gave you guys the source that cited the UK’s National Autistic Society’s stats.

As has already been pointed out to you here, you had your chance, and your response was tossing out a few diversions and running away, just as you did here.

ABSTRACT—Autistics
are presumed to be characterized by
cognitive impairment, and their cognitive strengths (e.g.,
in Block Design performance) are frequently interpreted
as low-level by-products of high-level deficits, not as direct
manifestations of intelligence. Recent attempts to identify
the neuroanatomical and neurofunctional signature of
autism have been positioned on this universal, but untest-
ed, assumption. We therefore assessed a broad sample of
38 autistic children on the preeminent test of fluid intelli-
gence, Raven’s Progressive Matrices. Their scores were,
on average, 30 percentile points, and in some cases more
than 70 percentile points, higher than their scores on the
Wechsler scales of intelligence. Typically developing con-
trol children showed no such discrepancy, and a similar
contrast was observed when a sample of autistic adults was
compared with a sample of nonautistic adults. We conclude
that intelligence has been underestimated in autistics.

This bear repeating:

Their scores were, on average, 30 percentile points, and in some cases more than 70 percentile points, higher than their scores on the Wechsler scales of intelligence

Along with this:

Typically developing control children showed no such discrepancy

It stand to reason that an IQ test which can be applied to non-verbal child will show improvement over the WISC. But. What can be said about that test?

from:
What one intelligence test measures: A theoretical account of the processing in the Raven Progressive Matrices Test.
Carpenter, Patricia A.; Just, Marcel A.; Shell, Peter
Psychological Review, Vol 97(3), Jul 1990, 404-431.
doi: 10.1037/0033-295X.97.3.404

In this article, we analyze a form of thinking that is prototypical of what psychologists consider to be analytic intelligence. We use the term analytic intelligence to refer to the ability to reason and solve problems involving new information, without relying extensively on an explicit base of declarative knowledge derived from either schooling or previous experience. In the theory of R. Cattell (1963), this form of intelligence has been labeled fluid intelligence and has been contrasted with crystallized intelligence, which more directly reflects the previously acquired knowledge and skills that have been crystallized with experience. Thus, analytic intelligence refers to the ability to deal with novelty, to adapt one's thinking to a new cognitive problem. In this article, we provide a theoretical account of what it means to perform well on a classic test of analytic intelligence, the Raven Progressive Matrices Test (Raven, 1962).

That's right, Autistics do better on a non-verbal test for fluid intelligence as compared from a verbal test for crystallized intelligence. Sometime much better (hey, can't test a non-verbal kid on the WISC).

food for thought.

Alain

@Krebiozen

'The California Department of Education page you linked to states that, “1 in every 250 children is diagnosed with autism”.

Actually Krebiozen, this rate was an old one not the current one. Protest all you want, but indeed nearly 50% of autistics has IQs in the mentally retarded range. I sizable amount of them are also non-verbal and suffer from a whole host of medical and developmental issues. And yes, the prospect of employment for many of them is dismal. In fact, its more likely that they will need around- the-clock care throughout their lives, and that will cost taxpayers multiple billions.

Krebiozen, don't get angry with me about this mess. I did not create the problem, but vaccine pushers like you did.

``Neither is persisting with a disproven hypothesis, which distracts from research which will hopefully come up with ways to help those with autism that need it.``

Really? Did anyone get in your way when you guys were spending over a billion dollars on genetic research into autism? How is that going anyway?

Ok Orac's VCADOD (vaccinese causing autism denialism obsessive disorder) group,

I did not receive any response to yesterday's question of the day of how you hide your guilt when a parent approaches you with their autistic child and seeks an explanation. Anyway, I know how sensitive the issue is so it's understandable that you are not so forthcoming.

Later today, I will follow-up with my opinion on incidence vs mortality and whether vaccines did indeed save us. In the interim, I would like to pose another question of the day:

Passing on news from AoA , with Japan suspending its recommendation of the HPV vaccines due to safety concerns, do you think public health figures in the US will have an even more difficult job of defending the vaccine?

http://www.ageofautism.com/2013/06/japan-suspends-recommendation-for-hp…

I did not receive any response to yesterday’s question of the day of how you hide your guilt when a parent approaches you with their autistic child and seeks an explanation.

There is no guilt to hide, because there is no scientifically valid evidence that vaccines cause autism, just crap studies by antivaccine-leaning "scientists," conspiracy mongering by the scientifically ignorant, and the confusing of correlation with causation.

Hope that helps. :-)

Later today, I will follow-up with my opinion on incidence vs mortality and whether vaccines did indeed save us.

Oh, this should be hilariously entertaining to read. I can hardly wait. :-)

@MI Dawn,

(I have a cousin with children who have a genetic syndrome that leads to developmental regression, and the age that the regression begins varies with the severity of the syndrome. It’s a very hard life, and she fights every day for her children to have a good life. But don’t try to tell her that vaccines, toxins, fluoride etc caused it. She’ll rip you apart. She’s science based to the core.).

How much times must you keep bombarding us with this news of having an autistic cousin whose autism was not caused by vaccines?? Geezzz!! Please post your cousin's entire health records so that I can verify your claim. Note that failure to do so will be deemed that you are dishonest.

skeptiquette:
Oh, thank you so much for that. All that I said, and the only response you had was to flounce on the witchcraft analogy and then insult me by suggesting you had overestimated my capacity for reading abstracts. You didn't overestimate my capacity, you overestimated my *patience* for people who post piles of study titles in lieu of an argument. Look, maybe your pile of study titles is legit, but after having waded through dozens of Gish Gallops from the people you want to build bridges with, I am not interested in any more wild goose chases. The last one I went on was for Greg, and guess what? The studies largely didn't claim what he said, and in several cases *contradicted* what he said. So you'll have to excuse me if I am tired of doing that.

Greg:
At #346 you asked sketiquette, ‘what evidence do you have that autistics are in any way immunologically unusual?’……… Only to declare at #360, ‘of course immunological reactions happen in autistics’…..

And here we have Greg again totally misunderstanding, probably deliberately, since he's left out the context. Of course autistics have immunological reactions but so do everybody else. Are theirs in any way unusual, or do they occur with unusual frequency? That's the question I've not seen adequately answered.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 06 Jul 2013 #permalink

@ Alain: I'm willing "to bet" that Orac is aware of Jake's new venture. :-)

@ Calli Arcale: After those totally O/T copy pasta studies that Skeptiquette posted, she did tell us "This is not a Gish Gallop".

The Troll's latest comments about economic costs to society, are parroting what the Dachelbot has been posting recently on news stories.

@Greg: I did not say my cousin's children were autistic. I said they have a genetic syndrome that leads to developmental regression. 2 different things. I *do* have some autistic/ASD (or they would have been diagnosed as such today) people in my family, but the autistic cousin died in an institution in 1956- you know, the place where families "hid" members who weren't normal (and the only vaccine he got was smallpox; the rest of VPDs he had as most kids did in the 1930-1940's except polio). The others were more on the ASD spectrum, and lived fairly normal lives although most were "weird" kids who married late if ever.

And no, you have no right to my family's medical records. Not mine, not my children's, not my extended family. And, though I know you won't believe me, we are all fully up-to-date with vaccines. When you post answers to the questions you've been asked, and prove that you actually work with autistic people, then we can talk about me providing you with some proof. But I don't currently trust you enough to give you proof.

I did not receive any response to yesterday’s question of the day

You might want to get used to that, given your wholesale inability to answer them.

To get back on topic, welcome to Autism Investigated by Master Jake Crosby!!!!!!

Oh goody! A completely unedited and unleashed Jake Crosby to relay his stalking events and six-degrees of separation conspiracies.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 06 Jul 2013 #permalink

Please post your cousin’s entire health records so that I can verify your claim. Note that failure to do so will be deemed that [sic] you are dishonest.

Please post a picture of your Johnson copy of your postsecondary transcripts so that we can point and laugh evaluate your purported credentials. Note that failure to do so will deemed to indicate that you don't have one any.

Muphry strikes again.

OT: Does anyone know offhand at what ages the Salk vaccine was administered at when it was introduced? I refer to this.

She asked me to watch my younger sister (3yrs old) while she went to the neighbors next door. (I found out later she was making funeral arrangements out of ear shot.) While she was away, my younger sister went into convulsions.

@ Alain:

re #423

Merci beaucoup, mon ami.

At any rate, didn't I forercast that if AoA tossed the tosser, he'd probably start his own blog/ enterprise? And holy cats! There it is! Lots of fun** for Orac and the minions in the future.

I do not howeve, claim pre-cognition. Jake has
an axe to grind and will grind it wheresoever he can - if he is not welcome at others' places, he'll get his own place.

Unfortunately, I don't have the time now to eviscerate*** him
but I'm sure that someone else will promptly.

Hoever, I do shudder to think that this is what's been occupying his mind rather than more pressing matters such as completing degree requirements as scheduled.

-btw- I am enjoying my respite from the pressures and duties of everyday life.

** not at itchycoo park, though. It's too itchy there.
*** figuratively,not literally.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 06 Jul 2013 #permalink

Before I depart-
from Jake's blog:

" To maintain independent coverage, Autism Investigated will not accept sponsorship or commercial advertising of any kind".

I see.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 06 Jul 2013 #permalink

I see.

I see something, too: "Taken aback, I replied, 'Thank you for not answering my question.'" Where have I heard this before?

Oh, right, here. Of course, when he creepy-crawled Offit, he was instead "stunned."

Wait, that (nominally #440) went into moderation?

Crosby "unedited" is going to be fun......

Greg:

Passing on news from AoA , with Japan suspending its recommendation of the HPV vaccines due to safety concerns,

Japan is a good example of how to have bad vaccine policies, especially when they bend to anecdotes.

For instance, they bent to anti-vaccine pressure and stopped vaccinating all under age two for pertussis, which resulted in 41 infant deaths in 1979:
Impact of anti-vaccine movements on pertussis control: the untold story

Later, when there were issues with the Urabe mumps component in their MMR, they removed it made measles vaccination voluntary. The result were over eighty deaths, mostly children:
Measles vaccine coverage and factors related to uncompleted vaccination among 18-month-old and 36-month-old children in Kyoto, Japan

And wait, there is more! A quicky PubMed search reveals: a rubella epidemic!
MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2013 Jun 14;62(23):457-62.
Nationwide rubella epidemic – Japan, 2013.

And they actually stopped vaccinating for mumps, and guess what:

Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2009 Mar;28(3):173-5. doi: 10.1097/INF.0b013e31818a8ca8.
An office-based prospective study of deafness in mumps.

Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2009 Mar;28(3):176. doi: 10.1097/INF.0b013e31818a8cc6.
Commentary: Is Japan deaf to mumps vaccination?

Lancet. 2009 Nov 14;374(9702):1722. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(09)61341-6.
Time to revisit mumps vaccination in Japan?

MI Dawn:

@Greg: I did not say my cousin’s children were autistic. I said they have a genetic syndrome that leads to developmental regression

That is a good example of his reading comprehension. Like, Orac, i can't wait for him to tell us all about how his statement that the diseases were going away before vaccines is the same as mortality. I am sure it will be another badly done graph with cherry picked data that looks like a failed fourth grade math assignment.

@Calli Arcale -

Of course autistics have immunological reactions but so do everybody else. Are theirs in any way unusual, or do they occur with unusual frequency? That’s the question I’ve not seen adequately answered.

I don't know if you are honestly *interested* in knowing the answer to this question or not, because the answers are amazingly simple to find, and I am positive that you are clever enough to do so.

But, in case *anyone else* out there might want an answer to this question, this is a good example:

Macrophage Migration Inhibitory Factor and Autism Spectrum Disorders [available full free online]

Here are a few snipets:

Thus, the literature on the presence of immune problems in probands with ASD and their families contains a critical mass of information for generating a hypothesis regarding the involvement of autoimmune genes in the etiopathogenesis of ASD. At present, views of possible immune dysfunction in ASD range from conclusions that it may contribute to manifestations of the disorder in some patients18 to hypotheses that neuroimmunopathogenic responses play a fundamental role in ASD.34 Studies suggest that innate rather than adaptive neuroimmune responses are associated with ASD

Thus, the central hypothesis underlying this research was that a genetic predisposition to a particular level of MIF production may lead to a proinfammatory profle of cell activation that, if present during a neurodevelopmentally sensitive period, might contribute to the etiopathogenesis of autism

(MIF is a well known upregulator of the innate immune response, I imagine that Skeptiquette could speak in more detail to that than I could).

This was a large study; they had over two hundred children with autism that were genotyped, with a total of over five hundred people genotyped. There were also blood draws. It was published in Pediatrics. It was funded, in part, by NIH grants. This was a very labor intensive, *expensive* study to undertake; and their underlying hypothesis was involved an a state of increased inflammation during neurodevelopmentally sensitive timeframes.

Their findings were that the autism group was over represented in alleles consistent with over-expression of MIF, something that was consistent with circulating levels of MIF when measured in plasma; a validation of the hypothesis being tested.

Earlier in this thread, in #360, you mentioned that "Plus, you seem to think none of us here are aware of work that has been done to attempt to link autism to immunological disorders. You might want to utilize the search feature on this blog; the topic has been extensively discussed, as it underpins a great deal of autism quackery, which is a topic of some interest here."

Do you suppose that the researchers from Yale, Moscow, and Japan undertook this research as 'quackery'?

Why do you suppose that these researchers genotyped five hundred people with the *specific purpose* of looking for alleles in genes known to modify the immune response if the link with autism and the immune system was so nebulous and the domain of quacks? Do you think maybe they haven't read all of the 'extensive discussion' about immunological findings in autism on this blog? Has the IRB board at Yale gone crazy, giving the OK to perform tests on two hundred children with autism based on flimsy evidence? Have the people funding grants at the NIH become so enamoured with quackery that they applied precious dollars to this study without any understanding of how a relationship between autism and abnormal immune reactions just doesn't have any quality evidence?

The alternative explanation, the one I prefer, is that the case for altered immunological function in autism, and indeed, nearly all psychological disorders is so strong that funding this study, performing this study, and publishing the results made perfect sense. The upshot to this line of reasoning is that it is *your* understanding of the immune findings in autism that is not adequate. If you are using the search feature on this blog as the source of your information, I can see how that might be the case.

As Skeptiquettes list of links demonstrates, there is *a lot* of data implicating abnormal immune function in the autism population.

So, we might look to researchers in Spain who drew blood from twenty nine children with autism :

Altered Cytokine and BDNF Levels in Autism Spectrum Disorder (Neurotox Res. 2013 Apr 19)

The contribution of neuroimmune functioning and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) to functional dysregulation in autism spectrum disorder was assessed in 29 patients under treatment in two specialized centers of Basilicata (Chiaromonte and Matera), Southern Italy, through analysis of serum levels of cytokines and BDNF. Elevated levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokine, including interleukin-1, interleukin-6, interleukin-12, interleukin-23, tumor necrosis factor-a and BDNF were observed, regardless of age and gender

Or, seventy children with autism in Saudi Arabia

Pro-inflammatory cytokines in autistic children in central Saudi Arabia (Neurosciences (Riyadh). 2005 Apr;10(2))

This study showed a significantly increased production of TNF-a, IL-1 and IL-6 from the sera of autistic, attention deficit disorder, Rett`s syndrome and Asperger syndrome children.

Or measurements of IL-17a, again in Saudi Arabia

Elevated serum levels of interleukin-17A in children with autism (J Neuroinflammation. 2012 Jul 2;9:158)

Children with autism had significantly higher serum IL-17A levels than healthy controls (P <0.001), with increased serum levels of IL-17A found in 48.9% of the autism group. Patients with severe autism had significantly higher serum IL-17A levels than those with mild to moderate autism (P=0.01), and raised serum IL-17A levels were significantly more common in children with severe autism (67.9%) than in those with mild to moderate autism (17.6%), P=0.001.

Or, we could look to Italy with twenty two adults with autism:

Increased serum levels of high mobility group box 1 protein in patients with autistic disorder (Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2010 May 30;34(4):681-3)

High mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) is a highly conserved, ubiquitous protein that functions as an activator for inducing the immune response and can be released from neurons after glutamate excitotoxicity. Compared with healthy subjects, serum levels of HMGB1 were significantly higher in patients with autistic disorder (10.8+/-2.6 ng/mL versus 5.6+/-2.5 ng/mL, respectively, P<0.001). After adjustment for potential confounders, serum HMGB1 levels were independently associated with their domain A scores in the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised, which reflects their impairments in social interaction

Or, in sixty six American children,

Altered T cell responses in children with autism

Overall these data indicate significantly altered adaptive cellular immune function in children with ASD that may reflect dysfunctional immune activation, along with evidence that these perturbations may be linked to disturbances in behavior and developmental functioning.

What if we look at Danish children with cord blood measurements?

Neonatal levels of cytokines and risk of autism spectrum disorders: an exploratory register-based historic birth cohort study utilizing the Danish Newborn Screening Biobank

Samples of 359 ASD cases and 741 controls were analyzed using Luminex xMAP technology and clinical data were retrieved from nationwide registers. Findings showed that children developing ASD were more likely to have decreased levels of both T helper-1(Th-1)-like cytokines (i.e. IFN-?) and Th-2like cytokines (i.e. IL-4, IL-10) which may suggest a depressed or hypoactive immune cell activity during neonatal period in ASD.

They were all asking a variation on the same question, is there altered immune function in autism?, and coming up with the same answer: yes. Are we to believe that all of these researchers have independently found evidence for dysregylation of the immune response in the autism population in a spurious manner? Is there a global conspiracy of quacks? Do all of these researchers need to utilize the search feature of Respectful Insolence?

How many more studies do we need to show in order to 'adequately answer' the question of if the immunological responses in autism are 'in any way unusual, or do they occur with unusual frequency'? If you want that question answered, well, there you go. It has been answered. There are *a ton* more studies with similar findings. Pretending that the T-ball home-runs beating up on Jake Crosby that serves as 'extensive discussion' on this blog on the immune abnormality studies in autism isn't good enough; if you want to hold the mantle of critical analysis and application of the scientific method, you'll need to start coming up with reasons why all of the studies I posted above fail to show abnormal immunological function in the autism population. Good luck with that.

By passionlessDrone (not verified) on 06 Jul 2013 #permalink

(Why am I not surprised that we are graced with the Skeptiquette/pD Tandem Tag Team?)

I'm calling b.s. on those random studies posted by Skeptiquette and the same old, same old, walls of words from the self-awarded degreed/parent of an autistic child.

Perhaps pD, would like to explain how the cytokine "storm" and the activation of macrophages and T cells reported in autistic kids and their parents...and reported in other neurological disorders (Alzheimer Disease), and in immune disorders, has been implicated in the thoroughly debunked vaccines-autism *theory*?

"How many more studies do we need to show in order to ‘adequately answer’ the question of if the immunological responses in autism are ‘in any way unusual, or do they occur with unusual frequency’? If you want that question answered, well, there you go. It has been answered. There are *a ton* more studies with similar findings. Pretending that the T-ball home-runs beating up on Jake Crosby that serves as ‘extensive discussion’ on this blog on the immune abnormality studies in autism isn’t good enough; if you want to hold the mantle of critical analysis and application of the scientific method, you’ll need to start coming up with reasons why all of the studies I posted above fail to show abnormal immunological function in the autism population."

Who are we to believe pD....a parent who awards himself degrees in biology, physiology, biochemistry, immunology and other sciences....or a developmental biologist with a child diagnosed with an ASD?

http://www.emilywillinghamphd.com/2012/08/autism-immunity-inflammation-…

I urge you and your tandem tag team partner, Skeptiquette, to go and post on Crosby's blog...that's where all the "genomics" specialists, the vaccine deniers and other assorted crank posters will be congregating.

Greg,

Protest all you want, but indeed nearly 50% of autistics has IQs in the mentally retarded range. I sizable amount of them are also non-verbal and suffer from a whole host of medical and developmental issues.

So your estimates of the prevalence of intellectually impaired, as opposed to non-verbal, autistic individuals (by measures that may be inappropriate as Alain points out) are now down to below 50%. I'm glad you have abandoned your claims about, "the current tsunami of 1 in 6 kids with brain damaged autism", and "non-verbal autistics, who scream, head bang, and are still in diapers". It seems we are slowly getting through to you, and I'm sure the longer you hang around here, the more doubtful you will feel about vaccines causing autism. You can only deny the facts in front of your face for so long, after all.

You persist in conflating autism and ASDs, using the terms interchangeably depending on which term suits your purposes. The largest and most reliable studies suggest thatprevalence of autistic disorder is 1–2 per 1,000; for ASDs, which include autistic disorder, PDD-NOS and Asperger's, the prevalence is 6-11 per 1,000 (PDF). Intellectual impairment is unusual in PDD-NOS and does not occur in Asperger's by definition.

The important point is that it is simply untrue that there is a tsunami of people with intellectual disability. We actually have fewer than ever before, since congenital rubella syndrome and various childhood diseases that permanently disabled thousands of children every year are very much rarer then ever before. The prevalence of intellectual disability in the US fell by 1.5% between 1997-1999 and 2006-2008. How is this possible if vaccines are the (or even a) cause?

BTW, it's also interesting that the prevalence of moderate to profound hearing loss fell by 31% over the same period - can you guess why Greg?

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 06 Jul 2013 #permalink

Alain:
A cluster of minicolumns around the perceptual areas and the senses makes for a more reliable memory and picture perfect memory. I don’t know what happen to the cognitive areas of the brain.

Seems to be consistent with recent brain-connectivity research [Disclaimer: Have not read the source paper yet].

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 06 Jul 2013 #permalink

@pD

tl;dr

By Reuben Gaines (not verified) on 06 Jul 2013 #permalink

Ok Orac’s VCADOD group,

The much anticipated time is here when I will discuss diseases’ incidence vs mortality, and whether vaccines really did save us. Perhaps it wasn’t fair of me to keep you all in suspense for so long. I know how important it is for you to feel that you have at least one ‘good’ reason to maim kids.

First, we can all agree that mortalities from diseases were well on the decline even before vaccines due to improved sanitation, better nutrition, and in general, better living conditions. The following peer reviewed studies detailed this reduction in mortality rates that was not due to vaccines:

·“The questionable contribution of medical measures to the decline of mortality in the United States in the twentieth century“. McKinlay JB, McKinlay SM, Milbank Mem Fund Q Health Soc. 1977 Summer; 55(3): 405-28.
·“Symposium: Accomplishments in Child Nutrition during the 20th Century. Infant Mortality in the 20th Century, Dramatic but Uneven Progress” Myron E. Wegman School of Public Health, University of Michigan: J. Nutr. 131: 401S–408S, 2001.

Complimenting these studies, I recommend that you review the video in the link below. In this BBC broadcast by professor Hans Rosling, he graphically demonstrates the dramatic correlation between increase wealth and declining mortality rates of 200 countries over 200 years.
http://vaxtruth.org/2012/03/the-polio-vaccine-part-2-2/

Second, I am sure we can also agree that ‘mortality’ is a fairly reliable measure of vaccine effectiveness. After all, dead bodies are dead bodies, and they are not easily missed. So then, our next question is whether ‘incidence’ is a reliable measure of vaccine effectiveness?
Reading through various sources, I come across strong arguments that ‘incidence’ has shown itself as an unreliable tool for discerning the impact of vaccination.

For instance, with the case of the purported decline in measles incidence rates after the introduction of the measles vaccines, the source below explains that, “doctors were told the vaccine prevented children getting measles when introduced in the late 1960′s so after that time a substantial reduction in diagnoses would be expected.” The allegation then is that the steep decline in incidences after the measles vaccine was merely the result of motivation leading to better detection or confirmation of cases that were previously misdiagnosed. In fact two measles cases are provided as examples showing how measles incidences can vary significantly from confirmed cases:

http://childhealthsafety.wordpress.com/graphs/
“A. Laboratory confirmed cases of measles, mumps, and rubella, England and Wales: October to December 2004
Notified: 474, Tested: 589†, Confirmed cases: 8
RATE OF OVERDIAGNOSIS:- 589/8 = proportionately 7400% or 74 times overdiagnosed
SOURCE: CDR Weekly, Volume 15 Number 12 Published: 24 March 2005 “
We can also look at the current Swasea measles ‘epidemic’ as another clear example of discrepancy between measles incidences and confirmed cases. Of the over 1000 reported incidences, only 300 were confirmed as measles.

As well, in the ‘vaxtruth’ link, they also argue that the dramatic reduction in polio incidences after vaccines was also the result of tightening of detection criteria. I quote them as follow:
“The standards for defining polio were changed when the polio vaccine was introduced. The new definition of a polio epidemic required more cases to be reported. Paralytic polio was redefined as well, making it more difficult to confirm, and therefore tally, cases. Prior to the introduction of the vaccine the patient only had to exhibit paralytic symptoms for 24 hours. Laboratory confirmation and tests to determine residual paralysis were not required. The new definition required the patient to exhibit paralytic symptoms for at least 60 days, and residual paralysis had to be confirmed twice during the course of the disease.”

Discussing incidence vs mortality also begs another question. Even if disease incidences did not really decrease before vaccines, then so what? So what if with the aforementioned factors of increase sanitation, better nutrition, and improved health, mortalities were vastly reduced and the diseases became relatively harmless, would it then have been so beneficial to introduce vaccines, and given the serious fallouts from vaccines that we are currently seeing?

(How it begrudges me that I now find myself arguing with you in such a scholarly manner when it is so much more entertaining to mock you. Anyway, I will continue.)

Perhaps we can best answer this question by looking at the HIV disease and AIDS as an example. Back in the late 90s, early 2000s, mortality rates from AIDS were on a significant upswing worldwide. The situation seemed dire and everyone was screaming for the invention of a vaccine to combat the problem. Since then, with advancement in medicine to treat the diseases, mortality rates from AIDS are on a significant decline. In the source that I provide below, they even go on to make the claim that studies, ‘(show) that the drugs used to treat AIDS may also stop its transmission’ and ‘If that proves true, the drugs could achieve much of what a vaccine would.’

In conclusion, the incidence vs mortality issue, and the conundrum of whether vaccines really did save us demonstrate the pitfalls, again, when pro-vaxers and anti-vaxers become too polarized in their views. On one side, we have the pro-vaxxers who claim that vaccines were the greatest invention known to mankind and without it everyone would still be suffering and dying in droves. On the other side, we have anti-vaxers who consider vaccines as having no benefits whatsoever, and on the contrary, they argue that vaccines are the most disastrous invention. Personally, I will assume the middle ground: I believe vaccines did essentially finished off infectious diseases that were already on the decline in both mortality and incidence rates (sorry but I do believe that there is merit to the argument that the incidence rates were also declining before vaccines, and if it wasn’t for tightening of confirmation criteria after vaccines we would have seen this). I will also add that even if vaccines were never invented there is no saying that other medical advancements would not have been found to redress the problem of infectious diseases. And, in the end, with the current autoimmune crisis such as autism, I would say the benefits of vaccines do not outweigh the risks – at least not the benefits that are obtained from our current day immunization schedules.

HDB and anyone else, it's behind a paywall, email me for the paper:

alain.toussaint at securivm.ca

Al

pD and Skeptiquette, So far, you haven't posted an hypothesis on how the immune system affect the brain. Where I stand is that the immune stuff is a correlation exercise (autistics tend to have different immune system, well duh...)

No need to bombard us with papers from immune researchers who know nothing about the neuroscientist and their brain studies.

I'm all for looking up comorbidity but may I suggest you that instead of wasting your time here posting random garbage that you instead fire up your email software and do as I do, i.e. contact researchers and asking them that simple question: how the immune system affect the brain for autistics subjects (and not the mouses studies).

Alain

@Krebiozen,

Where did you get the information that it is 50% autistics, not ASDs, with IQs below 70? Krebiozen please review the stats in the link below and you will see that it is referring to ASDs. Notice also that these stats are CDC's numbers! After reviewing the numbers, I expect you to kindly respond with an apology.

BTW Krebiozen, the link you provided that show autism rates was for 2006 -- not very current.

http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/data.html

In conclusion, the incidence vs mortality issue, and the conundrum of whether vaccines really did save us demonstrate the pitfalls, again, when pro-vaxers and anti-vaxers become too polarized in their views.

Leaving aside the spectacular fail, you don't actually know what a conundrum is, do you?

I am sure it will be another badly done graph

Even better, it's the whole of Cliffy Miller.

Correction: @#450 I flip-flopped the 'child heath safety' and 'polio-vaccine' links. Do the switch-a-roo and you will find the information that I pointed you to.

Discussing incidence vs mortality also begs another question.

This is breathtaking.

re #454

@Krebiozen, Where did you get the information that it is 50% autistics, not ASDs, with IQs below 70?

Greg, he got it from your own comment #425 (I won't attempt to link using the device I'm on right now; my emphasis)

July 6, 2013@Krebiozen

‘The California Department of Education page you linked to states that, “1 in every 250 children is diagnosed with autism”.

Actually Krebiozen, this rate was an old one not the current one. Protest all you want, but indeed nearly 50% of autistics has IQs in the mentally retarded range.

Serriously, Greg - can't you even remember what your own claims are? You claimed this today, and not that far upthread.

How it begrudges me that I now find myself arguing with you in such a scholarly manner

Oh, G-d, make it stop before my sides explode.

I flip-flopped the ‘child heath safety’ and ‘polio-vaccine’ links. Do the switch-a-roo and you will find the information that I pointed you to.

No, you appear to have scrambled the whole thing on the way to the HIV payload.

I'm still gobsmacked that someone believes that "sanitation" had anything to do with preventing the spread of airborne diseases......

I’m still gobsmacked that someone believes that “sanitation” had anything to do with preventing the spread of airborne diseases……

At least it worsened the effect of poliovirus.

I will also add that even if vaccines were never invented there is no saying that other medical advancements would not have been found to redress the problem of infectious diseases.

"Redress"? Greg, I'll assume that you've never studied Latin. Indeed, you plainly haven't studied much English. But perhaps you could explain just how you came to choose this prefix.

@Krebiozen and Chemmomo,,

According to the CDC it is actually 38% of 'ASD' kids with an intellectual disability. I quote them:

"The majority (62%) of children the ADDM Network identified as having ASDs did not have intellectual disability (intelligence quotient <=70)"

With a current day ASD rate of 1 in 50, and 1 in 31 boys, this would still mean that 1 in 83 boys has an intellectual disability! Again, Krebiozen, do you still think I am over-exaggerating the problem?
http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/data.html

The sustained use of "incidences" (in a scholarly manner, mind you) is also a thing to behold. I can scarcely imagine the feverish hours it took to poorly glue together the putative Spencer Pond and Neil Miller.

Actually, now that I think about it, "Spencer Pond" could get Marcella Piper-Terry neck-deep in IRS fun. Thanks for the reminder, Greg.

Second, I am sure we can also agree that ‘mortality’ is a fairly reliable measure of vaccine effectiveness. After all, dead bodies are dead bodies, and they are not easily missed. So then, our next question is whether ‘incidence’ is a reliable measure of vaccine effectiveness?

Notice how Greg is trying to reverse the burden of proof. He is the one that came here spouting the old tired refrain "these graphs show that the diseases were 'going away' before vaccines." When it was explained to him, quite clearly, why they show no such thing - a disease that infected 90% of the poulation and caused blindness, deafness, or permanent damage to motor function in 95% of infected people, but did not result in death, would be deemed to be, not just 'going away', but not even there by the antivaxers' graphs - an honest person, at that point, would have said "Wow, obviously those graphs don't show diseases 'going away' as I was led to think they did; I guess I won't cite them any more."

Instead, with characteristic dishonesty, Greg pretends that it's the effectiveness of vaccines, rather than of his "let's sit on our thumbs and let vague unspecified improvements in sanitation and nutrition work magic" strategy, that's under discussion.

Of course, no matter what strategy we are discussing for keeping diseases from inflicting misery on humans, there is no "incidence vs. mortality" controversy at all. Mortality is the wrong measure, period. Why? Because out of a huge range of possible consequences of disease - death, disfigurement (e.g. smallpox scars), blindness, deafness, paralysis, sterility, brain damage, amputation of limbs - mortality measures exactly one. Measuring a decrease in incidence, by contrast, measures the prevention of all the negative consequences of a disease, because when you don't get the disease, it doesn't make you blind, deaf, sterile, etc.

As for the rest, because he is plagiarising most of his material straight from the crank blog "childhealthsafety" without applying any critical thought, Greg ends up claiming something quite amazing. He claims that official reports of incidence should not be trusted, because they are getting it wrong - by both underestimating and overestimating it. Yes, both.

If the data looks to all the professionals like the number of cases of measles dropped dramatically after the introduction of the vaccine, what must have really happened, says Greg, is that there were just as many measles cases as before but doctors didn't recognize them as such because measles wasn't supposed to happen anymore.

But, but, but of course, hastens Greg to add, when it comes to the current outbreak of measles in Swansea, those same doctors must be overcounting; just because they have over three hundred laboratory-confirmed cases of measles, it's not logical to think that any of the other patients who live in the area where measles is known to be circulating and who have the symptoms of measles actually have measles!

(Why these factors of undercounting and overcounting would not distort his favored mortality statistics as they supposedly do incidence statistics, Greg never says. After all, even though 'a dead body is not easily missed' it is presumably just as possible to misattribute a cause of death as it is to misattribute a cause of illness. But then, anyone who's surprised by Greg applying a double standard has to be new here...)

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 06 Jul 2013 #permalink

Greg re #466: The fact the that I didn't link the comment doesn't mean folks can't scroll up. I quoted you.

Are you backing off your claim from #425?

indeed nearly 50% of autistics has IQs in the mentally retarded range</blockquote

Are you trying to add nuance to what you've said?

^Blockquote Fail. Pretty obvious.

Data on intellectual ability are reported for the seven sites having information available for at least 70% of children who met the ASD case definition (Figure 2). When data from these seven sites were combined, 38% of children with ASDs were classified in the range of intellectual disability (i.e., IQ ≤70 or an examiner's statement of intellectual disability), 24% in the borderline range (IQ 71–85), and 38% had IQ scores >85 or an examiner's statement of average or above-average intellectual ability. The proportion of children classified in the range of intellectual disability ranged from 13% in Utah to 54% in South Carolina. The two sites with the highest proportions of children classified above the range of intellectual disability (IQ >70) were Utah (87%) and New Jersey (73%). In all seven sites reporting data on intellectual ability, a higher proportion of females with ASDs had intellectual disability compared with males, although the proportions differed significantly (52% for females and 35% for males; p<0.01) in only one site (North Carolina). When data from these seven sites were combined, 150 (46%) of 328 females with ASDs had IQ scores or examiners' statements indicating intellectual disability compared with 608 (37%) of 1,653 males.

source: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss6103a1.htm?s_cid=ss6103a1_w

Let's assume that those who are reported (i.e. not tested) as having an intellectual disability are non-verbal, according to the publication I linked a few comments ago, such non-verbal would test in the superior intelligence range using the Raven test and thus, I have a question:

The fact that a non-verbal autistic cannot do the WISC or the WAIS, is it a failure of himself/herself or is it a failure of the educator who is not trained to understand the Raven SPM and to help find educative method destined to help the autistic thrive? (and which the autistic can find himself if he want).

Alain

Greg says: "Please post your cousin’s entire health records so that I can verify your claim."

Anybody got an explanation as to why one would engage with such a fool?

By Austinite (not verified) on 06 Jul 2013 #permalink

Another question:

all those taking care of autistic child/adults be it psychologist, social worker, psychoeducator and other staff in the social sciences, how many publications do they read from the top 5 research groups:

Eric Courchesne
Nancy Minshew
Simon Baron Cohen
Uta Frith & Francesca Happé
Laurent Mottron
Might include Marcel Just

I have a small sample size in which there's annual meeting in Quebec which include all of these people and the sad fact is that they don't read and most of the researchers in these social science gear up on ABA.

Alain

The proportion of children classified in the range of intellectual disability ranged from 13% in Utah to 54% in South Carolina.

Having not yet read the primary reference, I will merely note again that Utah and New Jersey show a concordance despite differing vaccine-uptake numbers and that it seems to have to do with to public spending.

Oh, this is wonderful. Now let me repeat the conditions I posed when I asked my question:

Do not mention deaths/mortality, any other decade or any other country (Wales and England are not in the USA, and yes, some people need to be told that). Do not mention any other disease.

Now let us look at Greg's "scholarly" reply, bit by bit:

“The questionable contribution of medical measures to the decline of mortality in the United States in the twentieth century“. McKinlay JB, McKinlay SM, Milbank Mem Fund Q Health Soc. 1977 Summer; 55(3): 405-28.
· “Symposium: Accomplishments in Child Nutrition during the 20th Century. Infant Mortality in the 20th Century, Dramatic but Uneven Progress” Myron E. Wegman School of Public Health, University of Michigan: J. Nutr. 131: 401S–408S, 2001.

Hmmm, did I say it was okay to mention mortality. I think not.

Second, I am sure we can also agree that ‘mortality’ is a fairly reliable measure of vaccine effectiveness. After all, dead bodies are dead bodies, and they are not easily missed. So then, our next question is whether ‘incidence’ is a reliable measure of vaccine effectiveness

Again, there is a reason for not allowing "mortality", because it ignores all the disabilities and has nothing to do with incidence. Just because we can keep those with pneumonia, does not mean they did not get measles.

“A. Laboratory confirmed cases of measles, mumps, and rubella, England and Wales: October to December 2004

It seems that Greg missed out on geography lessons. Neither England nor Wales are part of the USA. It should be pointed out that each country has their own disease tracking system. There is even a gap in the Canadian measles incidence data.

was introduced. The new definition of a polio epidemic required more cases to be reported. Paralytic polio was redefined as well, making it more difficult to confirm, and therefore tally, cases.

Polio is not measles, and the Vaxtruth website is not scientific. Especially since it is written by Neil Z. Miller, who has been known to bring on the fail with lots of statistical nonsense and just plain forgetting to post his Conflicts of Interest.

Discussing incidence vs mortality also begs another question. Even if disease incidences did not really decrease before vaccines, then so what? So what if with the aforementioned factors of increase sanitation, better nutrition, and improved health, mortalities were vastly reduced and the diseases became relatively harmless, would it then have been so beneficial to introduce vaccines, and given the serious fallouts from vaccines that we are currently seeing?

Because, you claimed the diseases were decreasing when the data does not support the claim. And you have by not providing contrary evidence for over two months support that the evidence shows that the vaccines cause much fewer seizures than the diseases, and are therefore safer.

Perhaps we can best answer this question by looking at the HIV disease and AIDS as an example. Back in the late 90s, early 2000s, mortality rates from AIDS were on a significant upswing worldwide.

Just goes to show that medical treatment improved, and those people still have HIV. The incidence has not declined, mostly because those that have live longer. Also, it is not measles, and not the decade between 1960 and 1970.

: I believe vaccines did essentially finished off infectious diseases that were already on the decline in both mortality and incidence rates (sorry but I do believe that there is merit to the argument that the incidence rates were also declining before vaccines, and if it wasn’t for tightening of confirmation criteria after vaccines we would have seen this).

Then do tell me what caused measles in the USA (remember England, Wales and Japan are not part of the USA) to decline by 90% between 1960 and 1970. If the measles was almost finished off before the vaccine, it should have been sooner than 1963. Do tell us why the census data does not show that trend.

Also, since you are all about reducing mortality without preventing the diseases, why don't you tell us how treating one out of ten kids who gets measles in the hospital is more cost effective than preventing measles with two MMR vaccines. Remember, before 1960 almost every kid got measles by the time they were fifteen years old. So in your utopian non-vaccine world, that is one out of ten of every child in the country. The most common reason is for a special kind of pneumonia, and from my experience with a toddler in the hospital: respirator support is not cheap!

Aargh...

First one: Just because we can keep those with pneumonia alive, does not mean they did not get measles.

Then blockquote fail:

I believe vaccines did essentially finished off infectious diseases that were already on the decline in both mortality and incidence rates (sorry but I do believe that there is merit to the argument that the incidence rates were also declining before vaccines, and if it wasn’t for tightening of confirmation criteria after vaccines we would have seen this).

And on and on... he seriously does not understand that there is lots of money needed to keep someone who is paralyzed alive, someone with pneumonia from dying, or that encephalitis tends to produce negative outcome (blindness, deafness, other permanent neurological damage).

Greg, how many hospital bills have you ever received? I had a few, and several due to real illnesses, including a now vaccine preventable disease. (Example: an ambulance from my house to the hospital that is two miles away is $700, that is just a start). You seriously do not have a clue of what it is like to have a seriously ill child. It is deplorable that you want more misery and more hospitalizations in lieu of preventing these diseases.

Chris,

Greg has one thing in common with the psychopath I met, he always reframe our phrase and paragraph in the most evil way he see fit.

Alain

Alain:

pD and Skeptiquette, So far, you haven’t posted an hypothesis on how the immune system affect the brain.

They have also not posted how a vaccine affects the immune system more than the actual disease. I contend you get a greater "cytokine storm" from influenza, measles, Hib, etc. than any of the diseases.

If they have scientific evidence that any of the vaccines on the American pediatric schedule produces a cytokine storm greater than the disease, they are welcome to post the PubMed indexed study from a qualified reputable researcher.

I figured one symptom of an immune response was seizures (which is what sent my kid to the hospital while he had a now vaccine preventable disease). I gave Greg two months to tell me with evidence what vaccine caused more seizures than the disease, but he never answered. So we assume that the vaccines cause fewer seizures than the diseases.

If we don't get an answer on which vaccine on the American pediatric schedule causes a greater risk of cytokine storm than the disease with proper scientific evidence in the next week or so, we will assume that the diseases are more dangerous than the vaccines.

Alain, Greg does not have the luxury of reframing our phrases, because this is a written format. One could always go back to the original.

It is his and his friends' tendency to switch around wording when they "cite" a study. Which is why we always need to go back and check the actual source. Because most of the time they have misquoted or cherry picked the quote. This is also why they like to use the Gish Gallop (like Skeptiquette), thinking no one would check on the stuff.

Chris,

I need to get up-to-date on things like Gish Gallop which I had to google but found a very fine explanation on the rational wiki.

Alain

Off-topic, but speaking of vaccines - what do people here make of Kelly Brogen? A story of her's has been making the rounds (Your Body. Your Baby. Their Flu.) She says she "she remains on faculty" at NYU/Bellevue/VA Hospital.

Greg,

Where did you get the information that it is 50% autistics, not ASDs, with IQs below 70?

Where precisely did I say that? You claimed at #398 that:

First it is estimated that between 25% and 50% of autistics are indeed non-verbal.

This clearly refers to those with autistic disorder, not those with PDD-NOS or Asperger's, and non-verbality is not the same thing at all as intellectual disability. Yet you take this figure and apply it to estimates of the prevalence of all ASDs to come up with your inflated estimates. That's why I called you dishonest. I did give an example of doing the opposite to get a much lower estimate, but that appears to have gone over your head. Perhaps I should have made it clearer.

While I remember, you stated:

Re autistics IQ scores, their average score is 70. This figure is taken from the link you provided Krebiozen.

I can't find any such statement on the page linked to.

According to the CDC it is actually 38% of ‘ASD’ kids with an intellectual disability. I quote them: [...]

I quoted the same passage back at #403.

With a current day ASD rate of 1 in 50, and 1 in 31 boys, this would still mean that 1 in 83 boys has an intellectual disability! Again, Krebiozen, do you still think I am over-exaggerating the problem?

I think you have desperately backpedaled to a more tenable position, hoping people are too stupid to notice. We aren't.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 07 Jul 2013 #permalink

I can see why Greg thinks all autistic people scream and bang their heads. Most people he communicates with probably have that reaction, autistic or not.

Alain,
It seems clear to me that IQ tests are good at identifying people who are good at doing IQ tests, but little else. Have you read Stephen Jay Gould's 'The Mismeasure of Man'? It's an interesting look at the history of IQ testing, and how the tests always seem to rate the people who devise and administer the tests as having the highest IQs.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 07 Jul 2013 #permalink

I haven't read it (the mismeasure of man) but this should make for good reading. BTW, I spent the night getting familiar with the rattle data mining software and did a FOIA request for data about the number of adult on the autistic spectrum who are benefiting from the social security program in the province. When I receive the data, I shall communicate with known epidemiologists (such as Eric Fombonne) about how to transform that pile of data into a publication.

Alain

Ugh!

@Grant: Please post a warning that your link goes to TMR. I clicked on it and now I need to go find some brain bleach. (I started reading the article right away and didn't notice the site header until I read further down.)

This woman is a psychiatrist. How very sad for her clients if she is sill in practice (I refuse to go back and read more). All things can be cured through natural measures....ARGH!

@Krebiozen

Very well then, it is 38% of ASDs, not 50% with an intellectual impairment. Still, this is what you said earlier....

"About 7% of individuals with autism are severely intellectually impaired, according to this article, but as I understand it this a comorbidity......."

http://money.cnn.com/2012/04/02/pf/autism/index.htm

Krebiozen, the article never said anything about 7% of autistic individuals having an intellectual impairment. In fact, it cited Autism Speaks that it was nearly 50% with an intellectual impairment (again I am assuming the 50% figure applies to autistics alone).

Krebiozen, really, who is doing the most misleading here?

Also Krebiozen, do you not think we should be alarmed with 38% ASDs figure, 1 in 83 boys who has an intellectual disability! Yes Krebiozen, we have our PC terms but lest anyone be confused, these boys are mentally retarded. Once more Krebiozen --backpedaling aside-- how am I over-exaggerating the problem?

Greg,

Did it occur to you that even genius like me are still on SSDI? Hell, I wanted to work last year when I went to manpower to have my file reenacted, despite going there 12 times over 6 weeks, they never bothered to complete my file and it probably went into the trashbin.

And you have those like Autism speak claiming that autism cost 1.6 millions to support? I'd like to see that and I think they'd be better off directly giving the money to me; I've been supporting myself for a while. So are a number of adult autistics.

Regarding the 1 in 83, they'll end up in the same place and they won't have to apply for job anyway because the answer will always be No.

Alain

Greg, I am autistic, and I have a job as a computer programmer, and several others I know also have jobs. Did it ever occur to you that we won't simply believe everything you say? You're not the consummate liar you think you are.

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 07 Jul 2013 #permalink

Ok Orac's VCADOD group,

We had only one person who weighed in on yesterday's question of the day of whether health officials in the US would feel more heat with Japan retracting its recommendation of the HPV vaccine. Chris' position essentially is that Japan is like any other person who put stock in anecdotal evidence: stupid! Very well then, Chris, I guess anytime now we can expect those Japanese teens to start coming down with cervical cancer in droves. Monitor the situation and just let us know when!

Very well then, let's have today's question of the day:

When they vaccines causing autism denial racket is up, how best do you think we should proceed with vaccines? Do you think we should concentrate on scaling back on vaccines for everyone, or identifying the subgroup of kids who are susceptible to vaccine reactions and proceed with caution with them?

Gray Falcon,

Tell me more about your job and the application process. I need to hear (see in this case) positive stories.

Alain

@Gary

"Greg, I am autistic, and I have a job as a computer programmer, and several others I know also have jobs."

Gary, for every one of you there are literally thousands who are indeed nonverbal, and who head bang, and poop smear. Great that you're doing well, but many of your peers are not so fortunate.

Alain, in this case, I got the job because of a project I did for them as a master's level thesis. Sorry about that.

Greg, we genuinely believe that vaccines work, that they save lives, and that they don't cause autism. Don't make assumptions as to our motives.

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 07 Jul 2013 #permalink

Greg,

Could you please let us know how you and your gang are going to end the "vaccines causing autism denial racket? (assuming that there is indeed a racket, pretty far fetched)

Alain

MI Dawn,

re "Please post a warning that your link goes to TMR." - I realise you may writing tongue-in-cheek, but you can see where a link points to by placing the pointer over the link without clicking it -- the target should appear in the web browser's status bar ;-)

I just wrote hoping someone here might know more about her. Haven't found a lot through a little searching. (Not trying hard - late on Sunday here.) For some reason I was reminded of a woman Orac wrote about quite a while back about a psychiatrist, but searching this blog didn't show up anything that rung a bell and almost certainly a different person.

Is it possible Greg is John Best Jr? He's the only one I know who is:
a) That loathsome and dishonest.
b) Gets my name wrong when it's printed in front of him.

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 07 Jul 2013 #permalink

Grant,

what do people here make of Kelly Brogen?

That article is certainly a target-rich environment - she appears to have swallowed every antivaccine trope around, after "pouring" over the literature, even down to misspelling thimerosal as "thimerosol".

I particularly like this:

Well, I’m just going to go ahead and assume that if there were even a one in a billion chance of life long paralysis or death, most people would take their chances with a week of the flu instead. And these are obvious adverse events.

Why would anyone prefer a disease that puts up to 1 in 1,000 people in the hospital, and greatly increases the chances of an acute cardiopulmonary hospitalization in pregnancy, to a risk of "life long paralysis or death" that is so small we can barely measure it? Influenza itself causes Guillain-Barré, the source of the "life long paralysis" she mentions; influenza vaccination actually lowers the risk of Guillain-Barré. It is also worrying that she doesn't appear to understand pneumonia is a complication of influenza.

How can a person with her educational background end up believing such nonsense about vaccines?

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 07 Jul 2013 #permalink

for every one of you there are literally thousands who are indeed nonverbal

This is false, according to previously quoted statistics, this is one in two, not one in a thousand.

Alain