"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.

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@#492,
"who put(s)..."

Is it possible Greg is John Best Jr?

I don't think so, John Best would have launched a full frontal attack on me.

Alain

Furthermore, John Best Jr is as delicate as a 10 wheeler.

Alain

Greg,

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?

You, since I linked to this article not the article you claim. Reading comprehension problem?

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 07 Jul 2013 #permalink

Again Krebiozen,

Please answer the question. Accepting the CDC's own figure that 38% of ASDs has an intellectual disability -- mentally retarded --shouldn't we be alarmed at these numbers. How am I exaggerating the problem? How can we honestly tell families that ASDs are not big deals?

Greg,

How am I exaggerating the problem?

#132 "It is estimated that 1 in 50 kids have autism."
#398 "First it is estimated that between 25% and 50% of autistics are indeed non-verbal."
You have clearly been implying that between 1 in 100 and 1 in 200 children are non-verbal due to autism, which is a gross exaggeration.

How can we honestly tell families that ASDs are not big deals?

Where have I suggested any such thing? I think families should be offered the support they need whatever diagnosis their child is given.

What I object to is your apparent campaign to convince people that there is a "tsunami" of "non-verbal, head banging, poop smearing autism".

As I pointed out, the prevalence of intellectual disability (what you charmlessly insist on calling "mental retardation") is decreasing. Any comment on that?

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 07 Jul 2013 #permalink

@ Grant:

I have ALSO seen Brogan's material being tossed around by the usual suspects. I think they are very pleased with her because she waves her woo-flag whilst claiming reasonably decent credentials so they can claim that an orthodox * doctor* goes against the brainwas... I mean, 'consensus opinion', into which she was educated.

They take this as a harbinger of the long-awaited paradigm shift.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 07 Jul 2013 #permalink

At least it worsened the effect of poliovirus.

And rubella too I might add. I am also laughing heartily at Greg's continued misuse of incidence. Such a rookie mistake.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 07 Jul 2013 #permalink

Miss Brogan certainly is a target-rich environment. Starting with the worshipping of the natives, who of course always know best.

Greg doesn't make me want to bang my head, but probably his head. But actually I'm not that violent and if I am, it is mostly aimed at myself.

I've always been interested in the "end game." Unfortunately, there is only one way to end this whole "vaccines are the devil's piss" argument between scientists and conspiracy theorists. It won't end with yet another study that disproves the link between vaccines and autism. That study can be done over and over and over and over, and it will not satisfy, let alone shut up, the anti-vaccine crowd. On the other hand, if biology, physics, and biostatistics were to be turned on their heads and scientists put up their arms and said, "Eff it, you're right, vaccines cause autism," then the anti-vax crowd would shut up.

Well, they'd shut up about vaccines. They have their sights set on so many other things as well. The trolls would be in here crying about fluoride or baby powder or some other thing their guru's proclaimed to be the enemy.

Lucky for us science doesn't work by acclamation. Unlucky for us that the trolls won't shut up.

@pD, you and skeptiquette have not advanced a vaccine causation for autism at all. In fact to cling to it in light of all the available evidence, mostly including your own, does little for credibility. There is still a 'chicken and egg' problem and it is likely that any abhorrent immune profiles seen in subsets of those with ASDs have been initiated at conception and/or in utero. It is rather painful to watch you continue to torture the data to fit with a vaccine causation merely because immunological biomarkers have been found in association with some ASDs.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 07 Jul 2013 #permalink

Greg:

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!

What in the world does that even mean? First off, cervical cancer takes years to occur after the initial HPV infection.

And right now Japan is having a real epidemic of rubella, with actual increases in Congenital Rubella Syndrome, along with continued cases of mumps with subsequent deafness in many kids.

Now, Greg, where does the incidence of measles drop to almost zero before 1960?

Also, I noticed I put up the wrong graph earlier. Here is the CDC Pink Book Appendix G for Polio:
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

And here is the Census data for polio from the same table as the measles one came from:
Year.... Rate per 100000 of polio
1912 . . . . 5.5
1920 . . . . 2.2
1925 . . . . 5.3
1930 . . . . 7.5
1935 . . . . 8.5
1940 . . . . 7.4
1945 . . . 10.3
1950 . . . 22.1
1955 . . . 17.6
1960 . . . . 1.8
1965 . . Less than .05
1970 . . Less than .05
1975 . . Less than .05

Greg, you said:

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)

Where is the decline by more than half for polio between 1912 and 1955? Where is the decline by more than half for measles between 1912 and 1960? If they were already in decline, they would have done more than the few year cycle.

Science Mom,

I am also laughing heartily at Greg’s continued misuse of incidence.

Not to mention his misuse of simple English like "conundrum", "begs the questions" and "begrudges", when he was trying to convince us he was being scholarly. That was very funny, but I don't think it was intended to be.

Some friendly advice Greg, if you aren't sure of the meaning of a word, either look it up first, or don't use it.

Greg's conflation of ASDs with autistic disorder, of intellectual disabilities with severe intellectual disability, and his assumption that anyone with an intellectual disability is non-verbal are also notable. I would think he was confused if it wasn't that all his conflations and assumptions support his prejudices, which suggests he is probably both confused and dishonest.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 07 Jul 2013 #permalink

Science Mom:

@pD, you and skeptiquette have not advanced a vaccine causation for autism at all. In fact to cling to it in light of all the available evidence, mostly including your own, does little for credibility

I see two major flaws in their "research":

1: They are trying to find how vaccines cause autism without any evidence that vaccines do cause autism.

2: Their pet theory has to do with immune response, except that it makes no sense that an immune response from a vaccine would be greater than that of the actual disease.

All I actually see them doing is long winded typographical hand waving.

2: Their pet theory has to do with immune response, except that it makes no sense that an immune response from a vaccine would be greater than that of the actual disease.

To be fair, the immune response with a vaccine isn't 'greater than' that of the respective disease but in many cases, a different response to over-simplify it. It is this difference that pD likes to use as a 'gotcha' that we shouldn't dismiss immune responses to vaccines as causal for some ASDs. Except nothing I have seen thus far is supportive of this most tenuous connection.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 07 Jul 2013 #permalink

Thank you, Science Mom, that does make it a bit clearer.

@Ren

" It won’t end with yet another study that disproves the link between vaccines and autism. That study can be done over and over and over and over, and it will not satisfy, let alone shut up, the anti-vaccine crowd."

Try us with an vaxed/unvaxed study, or one showing an unvaxed population with a 1 in 50 autism rate. What do you got to lose? Oh -- I forgot! Everything! (Hee,hee,hee).

Greg, answer my questions. Show us the incidence of both measles and polio plummeted before the vaccine. And by "going away", it has to be a steady decrease by at least 50% between 1912 and the introduction of the vaccine.

Ok Orac's VCADOD group,

Please continue to provide your responses on our endgame question. For now I must take a break. I will be back shortly to take your answers up.

Greg, want to do a double-blind study of parachutes? That's the reason we don't do that kind of study.

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 07 Jul 2013 #permalink

'a vaxed...'

Listen closely, Greg. We have every right to ban you from here simply for making false accusations and libelous insults. We do not have a financial interest in vaccination, and even if we did, it wouldn't invalidate our evidence. Theoretically, we could sue you for what you say. Do not try to dictate the terms of this discussion, you surrendered all right to do so when you called us "sonterkommando".

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 07 Jul 2013 #permalink

Greg, I am not going to give you two months this time. You have until the end of the day today to show us how polio and measles incidence were declining before the introduction of their vaccines.

Failure to do so will confirm that they did not start to consistently decline until the vaccines were introduced. Just like your lack of answering my previous questions shows you also believe that vaccines are safer because they cause much fewer seizures than the diseases.

@Alain -

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…)

Well, there are two questions being asked:

1) Are there differences in the immunological functions of autism?
2) Is there a mechanism by which vaccination could affect neurodevelopment?

[Why is that a 'duh' question, anyways? Do you think this is an expected finding? Why?]

I was answering question 1. Also, you might notice that at least two of the studies I posted above also found correlations between degree of propensity for an inflammation and behavioral severity. There are several more that I didn't publish, but I'd be happy to if you'd like to see them!

contact researchers and asking them that simple question: how the immune system affect the brain for autistics subjects (and not the mouses studies)

If you think that this question is "simple", I'm starting to get a better idea of why you can't be reached. Hint: None of this stuff is simple. We are still very, very much in the beginning stages of understanding how the immune system interacts with the brain, especially from a neurodevelopmental standpoint.

But hey, did you know that there is a double blind, placebo controlled study of cox-2 inhibitors (i.e., downregulating inflammation) that shows benefits in the autism group?

Celecoxib as adjunctive treatment to risperidone in children with autistic disorder: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial (Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2013 Jan;225(1):51-9)

What a crazy coincidence! And again, I am left to wonder, why on Earth did these researchers bother with recruiting these children, blinding themselves, drugging the children, writing a report, and publishing it, when all they *really* needed to do was ask a 'simple' question of some researchers (which ones?) and ask them 'how the immune system affect the brain for autistics subjects'? It's a little more work than using the search button on RI, but it sure does seem easier than performing this study.

Maybe you should write to them, just in case they are planning more trials; after all, I'm *sure* they'd love to understand your thoughts on the strictly correlational nature of immune interactions with autistic behavior.

I'll get to mechanisms in another post.

@Chris

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.

I've told you, specifically, YOU, again and again that the factor of importance is developmental timeframe. If you can't figure that out, I'm sorry, I can't help you.

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.

How could I do that? No one has bothered to measure cytokines generated as a result of vaccination in our infants. If I am incorrect in this statement, it should be simple to disprove. If vaccines have been studied with such intensity, why not show me that half of the data?

See my response to SM below regarding the problems with assuming that there is a single measurement of immune response, and our metric is 'bigger or smaller'.

@ScienceMom -

@pD, you and skeptiquette have not advanced a vaccine causation for autism at all. In fact to cling to it in light of all the available evidence, mostly including your own, does little for credibility

You know more than the rest of this gang that our existing research suite is designed around thimerosal and the MMR. That is the 'available evidence'. Talk about clinging.

I've posted a gazillion animal studies that show that early life immune challenge results in persistent modifications to the immune system and behaviors. I post animal studies, I get accused of gish gallop. I don't post them, and I haven't advanced a causation mechanism. Sounds legit.

I do like the fact that someone out there thought I had some credibility to lose at one point anyways. That's a nice touch. Easy come, easy go.

There is still a ‘chicken and egg’ problem and it is likely that any abhorrent immune profiles seen in subsets of those with ASDs have been initiated at conception and/or in utero

I am not writing off the in-utero environment at all; but that doesn't mean that what happens later can't be having an effect *also*. You might be interested in looking up some of the data on glial priming and/or double (multiple) hits. Or perhaps not. In any case, I don't understand the idea that because a system is skewed at birth, it cannot be *further* disrupted after birth. Your concerns would be valid if I were proposing that vaccination, and vaccination alone, is responsible for altering neurodevelopment from normal ==> autism. I'm not advocating that, I apologize to you, and anyone else, who got that idea. I am advocating that our existing research isn't sufficiently designed to understand if we are modifying our infants in unexpected, *subtle* ways through vaccination. The immune profiles we see in the autism population make them candidates for a susceptible subgroup for those types of disturbances, *because* the autism group shows a propensity for increased innate immune responses and impairments in *regulating* the immune response. [See reduced IL-10/IL-4 in cord blood study from Denmark I posted above.]

To be fair, the immune response with a vaccine isn’t ‘greater than’ that of the respective disease but in many cases, a different response to over-simplify it.

Indeed, I did find some amusement in the fact that when someone posts something about 'boosting the immune system' via supplementation you'll get the SBM crowd to rain derision on the gross over simplification on the idea (they should), but when the issue is vaccination, suddenly, all immune responses are the same, just bigger or smaller. [eyeroll.jpg]

For an example of the *differences* in infection versus faux-infection and the subsequent neuro-immune response, you might find this paper of interest: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21536105

Of course, LPS is a lot different than a vaccine; but by the same token, a vaccine is a lot different than a pathogen.

Our kingdom has spent a few hundred million years evolving alongside entire pathogens and generating immune responses correspondingly; it seems to me to be incredibly naive to think that we can take tiny parts of those pathogens, embed them with aluminum salts, bypass the skin, and expect that the quality of the immune response would be "the same, just less".

It is this difference that pD likes to use as a ‘gotcha’ that we shouldn’t dismiss immune responses to vaccines as causal for some ASDs.

It exposes the fact that, indeed, our research into the post vaccination immune response is non-existent; especially in the infant population. You seem to have taken a good look at lots of data in this environment, if I've missed the papers measuring the innate immune response post vaccination in an infant population, why not post them here, instead of just talking vaguely about what you have read and haven't read? Those studies are available, aren't they?

Also, for crying out loud, how many times do I have remind people that the *timeframe* is a critical component to this whole discussion? That's the bigger gotcha, and a concept that seems very elusive, which is confusing considering the simplicity of it.

By passionlessDrone (not verified) on 07 Jul 2013 #permalink

Why is that a 'duh' question, anyways? Do you think this is an expected finding? Why?

Look pD, don't play word games on me, you already posted enough evidence there is to say that the immune system is different. What I'm looking exactly is a causal mechanism from the immune system which causes much smaller brain cell, 5% smaller minicolumns size and brain cell division problem affecting the motility of the brain cell (which does not migrate to the target region). Until you answer that, the immune system abnormality is just a correlational exercise.

Alain

@Chris
We will talk later. Seriously, I must take a break.

@Gray
You need to calm down with your talk of suing me. Also, Orac would never ban me. We are friends. I give him good constructive advice on how to improve his blogs. I will see you later also.

Posted for posterity (sp?) on Master Jake's blog:

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

What’s the commenting policy here?

Alain

Greg: "@Chris We will talk later. Seriously, I must take a break."

No, you have had enough time. I have provided you the data. End of the day, when it is no longer Sunday on any part of this planet.

No response will mean that you understand that incidence for measles and polio did not go down substantially prior to the vaccine introduction. Just like you have conceded that the diseases are more dangerous because they cause more seizures than the vaccines.

pD,

No one has bothered to measure cytokines generated as a result of vaccination in our infants.

[Falls off chair, climbs back up off floor]
What? That's simply untrue. What about this? Or PMID: 9169747, PMID: 11535343, PMID: 15356430, PMID: 19941997, PMID: 20419805 and PMID: 22653733. Those alone took me all of 2 minutes to find. They are all studies looking at cytokines in human infants after vaccinations.

It exposes the fact that, indeed, our research into the post vaccination immune response is non-existent; especially in the infant population.

Non-existent? Where have you been looking? Just looking for papers on PubMed with (cytokine OR interferon) AND (vaccination OR vaccine) in the title alone brings up over 500 papers since 1965. There's a ton of research out there - here's a paper about the different cytokine responses by human cells exposed to either yellow fever or yellow fever vaccine, for a start. Guess what? There is a far greater release of cytokines in infection as compared to vaccination.

You need to improve your PubMed skills.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 07 Jul 2013 #permalink

I missed the two links I mean to add which were this one looking at cytokines in infants after BCG vaccination and this one comparing cytokines released by human Kupffer cells after infection with either vaccine or wild Yellow fever.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 07 Jul 2013 #permalink

Thanks Krebiozen :)

Alain

forgot to say that I keep getting riled today and it's making me cranky. Blame lack of sleep.

Alain

Alain,
You seem to me to be showing exemplary patience, and in a second language too, which never fails to impress me.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 07 Jul 2013 #permalink

Seriously, Greg, do you have any idea how brazen your lies are getting?

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 07 Jul 2013 #permalink

Alain I've cautioned you before about posting on AoA and other crank anti-vaccine, anti-science blogs. Do you want Jake to pursue you on the internet, at school and at your home?

@ Alain: You comment on Jake's blog is up and he posted a reply. What time did you post your comment...because the time of posting is July 7, 2013 @ 8:46 PM?

Where (what time zone), is Jake's blog registered?

"What do you got to lose?"

I don't got anything to lose. I don't have anything to lose, either.

@lilady,

I've seen that but was busy making spaghetti.

Do you want Jake to pursue you on the internet, at school and at your home?

No but I'm a public figure and thus, I'm seeing in my logs that peoples run google search on my domain and I did so myself to see what I have exposed, it's nothing out of the ordinary. Keep in mind that I am prepared.

Alain

Where (what time zone), is Jake’s blog registered?

substract 3 hours from the time (UTC-1, I wonder where that is).

Alain

Try us with an vaxed/unvaxed study

This is yet another question that you've proved incompetent to answer run the hell away from when pressed.

Give me (1) the confidence level, (2) the power, and (3) the signal threshold that would satisfy you that there is no signal, and I will give you the sample size. If you can't do these things, you are demonstrably too damned stupid to raise the topic in the first place.

My prior encounters with pD demonstrate he likes to cherry-pick and over-interpret/torture research studies with a vengeance, so it comes as no surprise he ignores the many studies of cytokine responses following vaccination.

And one thing he has never been able to tell us is why he feels that vaccination, with its regular but very infrequent challenges to the developing infant immune system, should be so much more hazardous than the regular and far more numerous natural challenges to the immune system.

We had only one person who weighed in on yesterday’s question of the day

Fortunately, only one person will be required for my "question of the day," and that's you, Greg. When approached by your compatriots who are able to recognize that you have just received a stomping of the first water, will you feel a bit silly? What tricks will you employ to not show your discomfort?

@Alain @Science Mom

Regarding causation, there are several lines of evidence to support the idea that immune challenges in early life can persistently affect neurodevelopment. At this time, I do not believe our level of knowledge is sufficient to understand when windows of sensitivity close; there seems to be little legitmate argument on whether immunological stimulation in utero can affect neurological outcome, whether or not postnatal events can *also* affect change is an open question. If either of you, or anyone else, has some type of *evidence* that exhonerates the postnatal environment, I'd love to see it.

In any case, there are a plethora of animal studies examining the relationship between an immune challenge in early life and subsequent developmental alterations. It appears that there are timeframes of maleability wherein an insult can cause persistent changes. Here are a few reviews that are available online, in full. They each contain references to a dozen or more experiments that utilize different mechanisms to ask the question of if an infection, or faux-infection during early life can persitently modify the CNS.

Neonatal programming of innate immune function (Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2011 Jan;300(1):E11-8)

The early life environment can be crucial in influencing the development of an animal's long-term physiology. There is now much evidence to suggest that perinatal challenges to an animal's immune system will result in changes in adult rat behavior, physiology, and molecular pathways following a single inflammatory event during development caused by the bacterial endotoxin lipopolysaccharide (LPS). In particular, it is now apparent that neonatal LPS administration can influence the adult neuroimmune response to a second LPS challenge through hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis modifications, some of which are caused by alterations in peripheral prostaglandin synthesis. These pronounced changes are accompanied by a variety of alterations in a number of disparate aspects of endocrine physiology, with significant implications for the health and well-being of the adult animal. In this review, we discuss the newly elucidated mechanisms by which neonatal immune challenge can permanently alter an animal's endocrine and metabolic physiology and the implications this has for various disease states.

A lifespan approach to neuroinflammatory and cognitive disorders: a critical role for glia (J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 2012 Mar;7(1):24-41)

Cognitive decline is a common problem of aging. Whereas multiple neural and glial mechanisms may account for these declines, microglial sensitization and/or dystrophy has emerged as a leading culprit in brain aging and dysfunction. However, glial activation is consistently observed in normal brain aging as well, independent of frank neuroinflammation or functional impairment. Such variability suggests the existence of additional vulnerability factors that can impact neuronal-glial interactions and thus overall brain and cognitive health. The goal of this review is to elucidate our working hypothesis that an individual's risk or resilience to neuroinflammatory disorders and poor cognitive aging may critically depend on their early life experience, which can change immune reactivity within the brain for the remainder of the lifespan. For instance, early-life infection in rats can profoundly disrupt memory function in young adulthood, as well as accelerate age-related cognitive decline, both of which are linked to enduring changes in glial function that occur in response to the initial infection. We discuss these findings within the context of the growing literature on the role of immune molecules and neuroimmune crosstalk in normal brain development. We highlight the intrinsic factors (e.g., chemokines, hormones) that regulate microglial development and their colonization of the embryonic and postnatal brain, and the capacity for disruption or "re-programming" of this crucial process by external events (e.g., stress, infection). An impact on glia, which in turn alters neural development, has the capacity to profoundly impact cognitive and mental health function at all stages of life

[Please note the focus on early life experiences.]

There are dozens of individual experiments I could list here that provide more detailed analysis of the neuroimmune and behavioral outcomes of the early life immune experiences of the treatment animals; if you'd like specific examples, ask me.

Yes, these are animal models with all of the caution that this type of work entails. None the less, these researchers continue to get funded and continue to get funded; this is not because of a need to understand more about rodent brain development, it is because even with their failings, animal models can teach us valuable lessons.

I don't know if the act of vaccination can have a similar effect of programming immune and HPA-axis systems as described in animals; but I do know that studying the presence of absence of thimerosal doesn't help us understand that question any. Similarly, I know that studying the MMR is useful, but doesn't tell us about the majority of the vaccine schedule, which is given at much, much earlier ages.

But what about more direct mechanisms of action? Earlier in this thread I referenced the very new finding that the new immune sentries of the brain, the microglia, are *actively particpating* in optimizing the neural network during development.

Microglia sculpt postnatal neural circuits in an activity and complement-dependent manner (Neuron. 2012 May 24;74(4):691-705.) [available full free online]

Microglia are the resident CNS immune cells and active surveyors of the extracellular environment. While past work has focused on the role of these cells during disease, recent imaging studies reveal dynamic interactions between microglia and synaptic elements in the healthy brain. Despite these intriguing observations, the precise function of microglia at remodeling synapses and the mechanisms that underlie microglia-synapse interactions remain elusive. In the current study, we demonstrate a role for microglia in activity-dependent synaptic pruning in the postnatal retinogeniculate system. We show that microglia engulf presynaptic inputs during peak retinogeniculate pruning and that engulfment is dependent upon neural activity and the microglia-specific phagocytic signaling pathway, complement receptor 3(CR3)/C3. Furthermore, disrupting microglia-specific CR3/C3 signaling resulted in sustained deficits in synaptic connectivity. These results define a role for microglia during postnatal development and identify underlying mechanisms by which microglia engulf and remodel developing synapses.

The other paper I referenced earlier, published in Science is

Synaptic pruning by microglia is necessary for normal brain development (Science. 2011 Sep 9;333(6048):1456-8)

Microglia are highly motile phagocytic cells that infiltrate and take up residence in the developing brain, where they are thought to provide a surveillance and scavenging function. However, although microglia have been shown to engulf and clear damaged cellular debris after brain insult, it remains less clear what role microglia play in the uninjured brain. Here, we show that microglia actively engulf synaptic material and play a major role in synaptic pruning during postnatal development in mice. These findings link microglia surveillance to synaptic maturation and suggest that deficits in microglia function may contribute to synaptic abnormalities seen in some neurodevelopmental disorders.

[@Lilady - I would urge you at once to send a letter into the editors of Science with the alarming news that a blogger with an autism child has made the stunning announcement that mice are not people; perhaps they will retract this study based on this extraordinary claim, as this study was based on rodents. Please keep us all updated on how this works out.]

So, how does this fit into our discussion? It just so happens, the microglia studies that display interactions with developing neural circuits demonstrate that the microglia are performing this task in their *quiescent state*, i.e., they are *not* "activated". In other words, they haven't received a signal to change morphology as a result of central or peripheral signaling.

But this presents something of a problem; our population of interest, autism, has signs of a dysregulated immune system ("duh", according to Alain). In particular, several studies (see above) show a propensity for *increased* inflammation and impairments in regulating the immune response. The rub is, when we trigger the immune system in the periphery, we *also* trigger the immune system in the CNS; that is how fever is mediated centrally; that is how the LPS/e-coli infection paper I referenced to SM above *observed* a (different) neuroimmune response post insult. Other examples of peripheral insult == microglial change available upon request.

Unfortunately, at the time we are vaccinating, our microglia *are busy trying to other things*, namely helping sculpt the neural network as evidenced by the papers above and many others. But triggering the peripheral immune system *modifies* the microglial morphology. Infancy is a once in a lifetime chance for the brain to develop; the chemical signatures that orchestrate streamlining of the neural network are spatially and temporally varied. It isn't like going back and picking up a game of solitaire; if the chemical milleau in place is *different* once microglia return to a resting state that does not necessarily mean that you get to just pick up and get started where you were. We don't get a chance to repeat these operations; they happen once in a lifetime, and there are good reasons to think that we could be altering them with our actions.

There is also the very new area of understanding the hows and whens of microglial proliferation into the brain, another area of interest considering the different microglial densities observed in autism. Maybe next post. Beta drink.

- pD

By passionlessDrone (not verified) on 07 Jul 2013 #permalink

Krebiozen (#499) -

"How can a person with her educational background end up believing such nonsense about vaccines?" - wonders never cease I guess. I had pretty much the same thought. In fact, I was left me wondering if she'd ever really had the education she touts. Her maths is muddled elsewhere too - missing that off-target flu prevention is better than none, for example.

lilady (#507): Thanks. (She has "not reported" most things as it turns out.)

Denice Walter: (#509): Her twitter account shows her sending links to her article to many of the 'key' anti-vaccine people - looks as if it wasn't 'picked up' but them, but promoted by her.

Liz Ditz (#513),

I wonder if they're working towards a genetic study of autism based on Iceland's deCode genetics database?

@Krebiozen -

They are all studies looking at cytokines in human infants after vaccinations.

No they aren't. Jesus Christ, the ones that bothered to take measurements all specified that they utilized drawn, and stimulated cells to achieve their metrics, but you think this is "in infants". They are measuring cytokine *production*, after vaccination, using stimulated cells, in vitro. That is a whole different thing that measuring what happens *after you vaccinate*, in the actual child, by measuring cytokine levels before and after vaccination in vivo. For crying out loud!

I'm not sure if you are aware of this or not, but in vivo things *just might* be a little bit different than stimulated in a test tube after a couple of days of stimulation with whatever agent. I will admit that this is one step up from 'bigger immune response', but just barely. Just saying.

pmid: 12922130

Cytokines play an important role in the immune response to live measles virus immunization. To gain further insight into the cytokine production profile in response to measles vaccination, we studied interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma), tumor necrosis factor (TNF-alpha), soluble IL-2 receptor (sIL-2R), interleukin-2 (IL-2), interleukin-4 (IL-4), and interleukin-6 (IL-6) in both supernatants from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) stimulated with phytohaemagglutinin (PHA), and plasma

So tell me, how does the stimulation of PHA tell us what happened in vivo, post vaccination?

id: 11535343

To better characterize the cytokine response to measles virus vaccine, we examined the levels of IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-10, IL-12 and gamma-interferon (gamma-IFN) in measles virus-stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells from 18 donors before and 2 weeks after vaccination.

pmid: 20419805

wenty-one cytokines and chemokines were tested in supernatants from diluted whole blood cultures that had been stimulated for 6 days with Mycobacterium tuberculosis PPD.

The stimulated for six days with PPD. Does that sound like it gives us good information about the in vivo response from a vaccine?

PMID: 15356430

Doesn't even take measurements

This article's objective was to evaluate the influence of cytokine genetic polymorphisms onto the humoral immune response to hepatitis B vaccine in infants.

Qualitatively a different thing that the innate immune response.

The reason it took you two minutes is that you don't know what you are talking about and think that typing 'cytokine' and 'vaccine' and coming up with a number is a meaningful argument. Show me a study like this:

PMID: 15976761

Find infant participants. Draw blood sample A. Vaccinate. Wait. Draw blood sample B. Compare cytokine levels. Evaluate for differences.

[facepalm.jpg]

@Dingo

And one thing he has never been able to tell us is why he feels that vaccination, with its regular but very infrequent challenges to the developing infant immune system, should be so much more hazardous than the regular and far more numerous natural challenges to the immune system.

But I've said it again, again, and again. Developmental timeframe. If you can't understand that there *might* be a difference between a two month old and a five year old child, that is your issue, not mine. And, I said it above, if 90+% of all children got these diseases when they were two months old, this wouldn't be a discussion point.

By passionlessDrone (not verified) on 07 Jul 2013 #permalink

Side note to pD: I never did hear back from McManus on the mystery 2828 denominator, but I'm a bit too frenzied to pester at the moment.

pD,

No they aren’t. Jesus Christ, the ones that bothered to take measurements all specified that they utilized drawn, and stimulated cells to achieve their metrics, but you think this is “in infants”. They are measuring cytokine *production*, after vaccination, using stimulated cells, in vitro. That is a whole different thing that measuring what happens *after you vaccinate*, in the actual child, by measuring cytokine levels before and after vaccination in vivo. For crying out loud!

I’m not sure if you are aware of this or not, but in vivo things *just might* be a little bit different than stimulated in a test tube after a couple of days of stimulation with whatever agent. I will admit that this is one step up from ‘bigger immune response’, but just barely. Just saying.

You don't seem to understand that measurement of cytokine profiles after antigen stimulation of white blood cells is a standard methodology. You need large quantities of white blood cells to measure unstimulated cytokine profiles, which would require very large amounts of blood. In infants particularly this would certainly result in them, "crying out loud". This method allows far smaller blood samples to be used. Here's a study that validated this technique against unstimulated cytokine measurements.

pmid: 12922130 [...] So tell me, how does the stimulation of PHA tell us what happened in vivo, post vaccination?

It was stimulation with, not of, PHA, and again this is a standard method of looking at cytokine production capacity of white blood cells. From the abstract, that you somehow managed to omit:

We enrolled 57 healthy infants and children residing in an area where no measles virus circulated in their lifetimes. Overall analysis of cytokines in supernatants from PBMC showed that a predominant Th1 cytokine pattern occurs after the second dose of measles immunization. However, plasma levels of Th1 cytokines (IFN-gamma, sIL-2R and TNF-alpha) were preferentially activated by measles virus after the first dose of measles vaccination.

Moving on.

PMID: 15356430 Doesn’t even take measurements

I'll give you that one - they refer to several other papers that measured cytokines in infants post-vaccination, but they didn't measure them. As I said, this was a quick scan of the available literature.

This article’s objective was to evaluate the influence of cytokine genetic polymorphisms onto the humoral immune response to hepatitis B vaccine in infants.
Qualitatively a different thing that the innate immune response.

Sorry, you didn't specify the purpose of measuring cytokines post-vaccination. By the way, the innate immune response does include humoral responses as well as cellular ones.

The reason it took you two minutes is that you don’t know what you are talking about and think that typing ‘cytokine’ and ‘vaccine’ and coming up with a number is a meaningful argument.

It isn't me that doesn't understand what antigen-stimulated cytokine profiles are.

Show me a study like this: PMID: 15976761

You answered your own question there - the study you refer to measured an increase in interleukin (IL)-6 which is, as I'm sure you are aware, a cytokine. Several of the studies I cited do exactly this; it isn't my problem that you don't understand the methodology used.

It looks like there are a lot of huge gaps in the syllabuses of your self-awarded degrees. Perhaps you should ask for a refund.

[facepalm.jpg]

Indeed.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 08 Jul 2013 #permalink

I scroll right over. Not worth perturbing any electrons or brain cells.

Now on to the good stuff, to wit, Grant at #548:

I wonder if they’re working towards a genetic study of autism based on Iceland’s deCode genetics database?

Now that would be very interesting.

@Antaeus

"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’...."

This is rather disingenuous of you, Antaeus. You are suggesting that even though we may have less deaths, we will still have the worst health outcomes. Isn't it reasonable to assume that with less deaths, we will also have less blindness, deafness and permanent damage?

"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."

Again rather misleading. Here, again, you are suggesting that incidence will result in the worst health outcomes and not conceding that its impact is contingent on other factors such as health of the individual and available medical treatment(s).

"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."

Actual if you look at the context, Antaeus, there is no contradiction. What I mentioned was that motivation will affect the reporting of 'incidence'. With the introduction of the measles vaccine back in the 50s, doctors expected to see less measles so they were more likely to confirm less cases. With the Swansea measles outbreak, on the other hand, with the hype about the measles (probably stemming from a concerted effort to discredit Wakefield even further) measles were over reported, only later to be corrected by confirmed cases. Rather than being a contradictory argument, it demonstrates quite well how unreliable incidence measurements can be.

"(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."

Fair enough, Antaeus. It's possible to get the cause of death wrong. What is more likely though, mistaking a rash to be the measles, or doing a full autopsy on a person only to get the cause of death wrong?

BTW, in case you forgot, you are still a phony. Denice Walter is a phony also but she is self-professed to being 'hot'. At least 'hotter' than Wakefield. What is your excuse? (Hee, hee, hee).

@Greg:

With the introduction of the measles vaccine back in the 50s, doctors expected to see less measles so they were more likely to confirm less cases.

Citation needed.

With the Swansea measles outbreak, on the other hand, with the hype about the measles (probably stemming from a concerted effort to discredit Wakefield even further) measles were over reported, only later to be corrected by confirmed cases.

Again, citation needed.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 08 Jul 2013 #permalink

Isn’t it reasonable to assume that with less deaths, we will also have less blindness, deafness and permanent damage?

No, it isn't. Even though modern medicine may be able to save the lives of children suffering from encephalitis, that does not mean that modern medicine can repair the damage done by the encephalitis to various parts of the brain. As a physician once said to me, "I can do a lot, but I cannot raise cells from the dead."

If anything, it would be reasonable to expect more blindness, deafness, and permanent brain damage as mortality goes down but incidence does not.

I know that common sense can be misleading, but ...

We are the product of a billion years of multicellular evolution, tens of millions of years of mammalian evolution, millions of years of hominid evolution, and a hundred thousand years of human evolution. In all that time, our ancestors were under continual assault by viruses and unicellular organisms, and it is only in the last hundred years, and only in some places, that any babies were born in sanitary conditions.

Previously, babies were born in whatever caves, tents, mud huts, or hovels their mothers happened to live in. They were nursed by mothers who washed, if at all, in whatever unfiltered water was available using soap, if any, that was not at all antibacterial. They were laid in beds (so to speak) that were often crawling with vermin of various kinds, so they might be bitten by bedbugs, fleas, and lice their first day of life. And they were constantly exposed to whatever diseases might be around in the general population.

Given that background, is it really credible that a full 2% of the population would respond to a mild immunological insult in infancy by developing autism?  And if so, would we not see that a full 2% of every pre-modern population was autistic?  The only way we wouldn't see that, I think, is if that 2% pretty much all died in infancy, except for the very few who survived long enough to be recognized and killed as changelings. 

And if that is the case, then the genes that caused that condition would be under ferocious selection pressure with an infant mortality approaching 100% -- so how have those genes managed to survive into the present?

@LW - exactly, because incidence is unchanged, but mortality rates decrease, you see an "increase" in severe side effects - since a larger percentage of infected survive.

This isn't rocket science, this is logic...something Greg doesn't seem to understand.

@Liz Ditz

Indeed. Greg's good for a giggle now and then, though one does risk whiplash from the head-shaking resulting from disbelief about the new and inventive ways he can torture logic.

As for pD, "brevity" seems to be an unknown word.

@PD

Thanks very much for your very well detailed, well reasoned arguments on how early infectious insults during the critical time-frame of infant brain development may lead to autism. What you have to say have a lot in common with Russell Blaylock's immuno-excito-toxcity theory. Are you familiar with Blaylock's theores? If so, what's your take?

Greg, it is Monday morning and your answer for:

Where is the decline by more than half for polio between 1912 and 1955? Where is the decline by more than half for measles between 1912 and 1960? If they were already in decline, they would have done more than the few year cycle.

... is zilch. So now it seems that you have no reason to declare:

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.

You made the common mistake of thinking mortality is the same as morbidity. Except if a person gets pneumonia from measles and still lives, that does mean they actually had measles... and a large hospital bill to pay.

Well add that to your admission that vaccines are safer than the diseases because you could not come up with any real scientific studies showing they caused more seizures than the diseases.

Would any rational person argue that because fewer people with polio died after the invention of the iron lung that polio had somehow 'gone away'? Yet that's essentially what's being argued when anti-vaxers claim decreased mortality means infectious diseases were going away.

@JGC - all it means is that modern medicine got better at keeping people alive, as opposed to having them die of various (at the time) untreatable complications.....

There was still SSPE, encephalitis, secondary infections, blindness, sterility, deafness, congenital birth defects, etc, etc, etc - in fact, more noticeable because a larger percentage of those individuals were now surviving the onset of the original infection.....

Oh, good grief I skimmed over this gem:

With the introduction of the measles vaccine back in the 50s, doctors expected to see less measles so they were more likely to confirm less cases

So what measles vaccine was introduced in the 1950s?

For those who are halfway intelligent, here is some historical context, they really did not expect much from the vaccine, especially only certain kids (higher income) received the vaccine:

Measles epidemiology and vaccine use in Los Angeles County, 1963 and 1966

Mass measles immunization in Los Angeles County

Greg is illustrative of what kind of limited and bad information is passed along in sites like AoA. And he has no clue how to even research real science.

@Chris,
I will provide you shortly with your own evidence where you conceded that the decline in some past infectious diseases was due to sanitation and antibiotics. Gotcha!

Greg, if you had that information, you would have posted it already. You don't threaten people with information, you give information.

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 08 Jul 2013 #permalink

How Sweet! The Troll and pD have found each other on RI.

Meanwhile, back at AoA, Katie Wright has posted about the activities of Mark and Jen who "volunteered" their own time and used their own money to advance the vaccine-autism link...and to *convince* Issa and the members of the Congressional Oversight Committee to hold the sham autism hearing and to attend the Autism One Conference.

http://www.ageofautism.com/2013/07/people-who-get-done.html

How about this interview between Dachel and Hooker, which gives the back story of wining and dining of Congressmen and their wives? Hooker was complimenting Mark and David Geier and Andy Wakefield for connecting him to Congressmen Burton and Issa, so that Hooker could convince them to hold another hearing...and to set the agenda for that hearing.

http://www.ageofautism.com/2012/12/brian-hookers-testimony-autism.html

It's funny how the same subjects come up over and over again. We really do need a FAQ.

No one is denying that the introduction of flushing toilets, sewerage systems and improved hygiene (based on the development of modern scientific medicine) did not reduce the incidence of some infectious diseases; they did, dramatically so.

I would estimate that about 90% of the reduction in mortality from infectious diseases over the past 150 years was due to the near elimination of diarrheal diseases such as cholera, typhoid and dysentery. If you look at causes of death a century or more ago, these were by far the biggest killers. Hygiene improvements changed people's health from appalling to simply awful. It took vaccines to make deadly contagious diseases so unusual some people have lost all fear and respect for them.

Antivaxxers look at the declines due to improvements in hygiene and assume they would have continued without vaccines, even though there has been little improvement in basic hygiene in the past 70 years or more, and they also assume that similar reductions would have been seen in airborne diseases.

As has been repeatedly pointed out, the incidence of diseases spread through coughing and sneezing, such as measles, pertussis, smallpox, diphtheria etc. are not affected by improvements in hygiene at all. That's why we inevitably see outbreaks when vaccination uptake falls too far.

The chances of serious and permanent sequelae after measles, for example, now are of course lower than they were 100 years ago, but I would still much rather get vaccinated and avoid the infection altogether.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 08 Jul 2013 #permalink

My point exactly: enabling more people to survive a disease doesn't mean the disease is going away. Improved combined drug therapies for patients with AIDS has greatly increased the number of those living with the disease, but that isn't at all the same thing as HIV 'going away'.

Which is why morbidity, not mortality, is the appropriate metric to measure the impact of immunization.

Apologies for the erroneous double-negative in my last comment. I meant:
"No one is denying that the introduction of ...improved hygiene...reduced the incidence of some infectious diseases"

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 08 Jul 2013 #permalink

Greg, I gave you actual evidence.

New questions, you have 24 hours to answer:

1: What evidence do you have that antibiotics caused a decline in measles, a viral disease?

2: What great sanitation breakthrough happened between 1960 and 1970 to affect measles?

3: There was an outbreak of measles in Japan that killed over eighty people (mostly children) not that long ago. What horrible declination in sanitation caused that measles epidemic?

Provide real evidence for your answers, which you should have late Tuesday morning.

Orac's VCADOD group, I almost forgot my question of the day. It's on the same theme as yesterday's endgame question:

When the vaccines causing autism denial racket is up, how do you expect things will be conceded? Do you think there will be a full about-face concession? Or, do you think there will be some weaseling, involving statements to the extent that the emerging evidence is showing a link after all, and finding scapegoats?

The clock is ticking, Greg. You make assertions, therefore you have to back them up. Failure to do so is admitting you were wrong.

1: What evidence do you have that antibiotics caused a decline in measles, a viral disease?

2: What great sanitation breakthrough happened between 1960 and 1970 to affect measles?

3: There was an outbreak of measles in Japan that killed over eighty people (mostly children) not that long ago. What horrible declination in sanitation caused that measles epidemic?

We, however, haven't forgotten the question we've been asking greg for the past couple of months:

What evidence suggests a causal relationship exists between routine childhood vaccination and the development of autism spectrum disorders?

Andafter two months the answer has become clear-- greg doesn't have any.

Heck, I'm still waiting for Greg to tell us when he stopped beating his wife - I wonder why he refuses to answer the question (unless he hasn't stopped.)

By the way, Greg, over ten years ago on a listserv I was on for my son's disability the Mercury Militia were declaring there was going to be stunning proof showing us once and for all that vaccines caused autism. Well here is that great proof:
Med Hypotheses. 2001 Apr;56(4):462-71.
Autism: a novel form of mercury poisoning.
Bernard S, Enayati A, Redwood L, Roger H, Binstock T.

Well it went over like a lead balloon. Especially since due to the precautionary principle thimerosal was already being removed from vaccines. So much so that one of the authors of that silly paper went looking for DTP vaccines with thimerosal for research:

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

Hi all:

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

Thank you.

Sallie Bernard
Executive Director
Safe Minds

And yet, there were still increases in autism. Here is the thing, Greg, why don't you answer my questions honestly. Because until you come up with some real proof of your contentions, you will only be a laughing stock on this blog.

pD,

For instance, early-life infection in rats can profoundly disrupt memory function in young adulthood, as well as accelerate age-related cognitive decline, both of which are linked to enduring changes in glial function that occur in response to the initial infection

This is not compatible with picture perfect memory and the much published literature of excellent memory in autism. Furthermore, early cognitive decline hasn't been demonstrated in autism where the savant keep their ability well into old age.

Did you read some of the publication listed there: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=Mottron%20L%5BAuthor%5D&cauthor=true&cauthor_uid=23622174

Your immune system finding has to match their finding for increased memory, perception and savant ability.

Alain

1. There is no vaccine causing autism denial racket.
2. In the unlikely event (based on what we currently know) that it is shown with high quality, reproducible evidence that vaccines do cause autism spectrum disorders in some reasonable percentage of those who are immunized (say, in excess of 1:10000 cases) I'd expect the following to happen:
- public discussion of whether this changes the risk/benefit ratio of mass vaccination
- possible recognition of this condition as being subject to recompense by the vaccine injury courts
- further research designed to determine how to minimize or eliminate the risk of this condition in future

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 08 Jul 2013 #permalink

@Krebiozen

My other site, antiantivax.flurf.net, is an attempt at addressing some of the more common anti-vaccine myths. I admit, though, I have not updated it in a while, so there is definitely room for expansion.

As enjoyable as it is to observe Greg being completely dismantled, I am nonetheless happy to reprt that, courtesy of Michael Devore, there is now a working Greasemonkey killfile script for SB.

It does not draw the kill/hide comment/show comment links that the old Daniel Martin one did, but I consider this to be an improvement, as there's no ready temptation to undo it. If you find this useful, I suggest dropping by his place and letting him know.

Greg, I have a question of the day for you as well: Have you washed the blood of infants you ate today already, or are you letting it dry on your hands because you love the smell of murdered innocents too much?

By The Smith of Lie (not verified) on 08 Jul 2013 #permalink

Greg, here's a question for you: If you were on trial for a terrible crime you didn't commit, how would you feel if the prosecution used the tricks you're trying to use on us?

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 08 Jul 2013 #permalink

Wait, are you actually telling us that Greg did not commit some heinous crime? I find that hard to belive. Especially in the light of fact that I know that he is regular infantivore.

By The Smith of Lie (not verified) on 08 Jul 2013 #permalink

If I were on trial and the prosecution was using the tricks greg's using I'd be absolutely overjoyed they were so completely failing to make any kind of case whatsoever in support of my being guilty.

Greg @572

When the vaccines causing autism denial racket is up, how do you expect things will be conceded?

I expect you will continue to weasel, and try to reframe your own statements, in spite of the fact that you made them in print for all to read.

(And in case this is too subtle for you, when I refer to the racket being up, that's when you, Greg, stop posting delusional mis-statements about vaccines and autism.)

Took a break, and I see this thread has been continuing business as usual.

What I find funny about the mortality/incidence confusion Greg is trying to foster is that it extends a metaphor I've used: Alties think reality is a video game operating on boolean values and fixed procedures.

For example, homeopathy treats symptoms like the "frog" condition in Final Fantasy games. Use the frog spell (homeopathic remedy) on a healthy character, and you get a frog. Use the frog spell on a frog, and you get a healthy character. It allegedly works by flipping a binary flag for the "frog" status condition.

The mortality/incidence confusion Greg is trying to spread treats human health like a binary flag: Healthy or dead. Or he's assuming that diseases are restricted to only one certain outcome instead of a wide, probabilistic spread of morbidity.

By Bronze Dog (not verified) on 08 Jul 2013 #permalink

So let me get this straight. According to Greg, the proper way to measure the increase or decrease in disease is by mortality rate. Autism nowadays is almost never fatal.

By this logic, I can conclude that there is no increase in autism, thus no autism epidemic.

By W. Kevin Vicklund (not verified) on 08 Jul 2013 #permalink

WKV for the win.

So let me get this straight. According to Greg, the proper way to measure the increase or decrease in disease is by mortality rate. Autism nowadays is almost never fatal.

By this logic, I can conclude that there is no increase in autism, thus no autism epidemic.

Quite! Let's all go home now then, shall we?

PS: belated Happy Birthday, Bronze Dog!

Well add that to your admission that vaccines are safer than the diseases because you could not come up with any real scientific studies showing they caused more seizures than the diseases.

And the unmistakable concession that any and every uttering of the phrase "unvax/vax study" on his part is the functional equivalent of appearing on stage solely to dump a pail of garbage over his head, as his ignorance of the most primitive relevant parameters involved is apparently so profound that he couldn't even muster one of his trademark incredibly stupid retorts.

Meanwhile, back at AoA, Katie Wright has posted about the activities of Mark and Jen who “volunteered” their own time and used their own money to advance the vaccine-autism link…

"If I can make sure Christian gets his GABA and 5HTP before bed I am at the top of my game."

You've got to be kidding me. On the essentially nonexistent chance that you're going to get this from gut to brain (for which the time frame seems off), the net effect would be a sustained, direct effort at downregulation of the receptors, which is widely known to be a Very Bad Idea.

I also find it mildly amusing that tied for fifth place among donors in Issa's current campaign cycle* is "Dorothea Cist MD," who is actually a naturopath and seems to be positively rolling in cash all of a sudden.

* Per OpenSecrets.org; I didn't want to hit the automod queue.

The frequently changing list of occupations is peculiar, as well. I mean, what exactly would cause someone to think that "Naturopathic Surgeon" is a bright idea to put down?

I was hoping that, in my absence, vaccine efficacy denialists ( otherwise known as 'disease promoters') might have come clean and confessed their errant ways- bending facts and logic, wallowing in self-promotion by creating new blogs, living in fantasy, lying... but I guess, NO dice.

Oh, well.

In my travels, did I run into woo! Later, I'm too tired**

@ Science Mom:
Agreed.

@ Krebiozen:
I've discovered that often feigned erudition reveals malapropism.

@ Chris:
point 2: exactly.

@ Alain:
I'd also like to know what causal mechanism would lead differences in autistics' abilities. Dying to know, -btw-.
Also- you're writing in EFL/ESL. Impressive.

@ dingo199:
Agreed.

@ Narad:
Ha ha ha.

@Grant:
Her article was also aired and discussed at Progressive Radio Network- the sinkhole/ cesspit to rival all sinkholes/ cesspits.

@ Liz:
I also skim and scroll.

@ LW:
re "caves, tents, mud huts" - oh, agreed.

@ The Smith of Lie:
I misread "infantivore" as "insectivore". Both are funny.

@ Bronze Dog:
Black and white thinking is an important characteristic of particular styles that are of great interest to people like me.

@ W. Kevin:
Correct.

** and my eyes are not working as well as they usually do- am I just tired?
Did I ever mention that caught measles right before I was scheduled for my vaccine appointment? I'm not sure how much it affected my vision. but I have light sensitivity and many,many floaters since childhood.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 08 Jul 2013 #permalink

(I must apologize for the diversion, but this stuff is terrific. This is where she "completed a residency." Dr. Steenblock seems to have had some issues. "Under no circumstances shall a post office box serve as an address of record.")

Here's what Katie Wright (Mother Warrior) and her husband have done (to Christian), to "recover" Christian from autism...and the measles virus in his gut...and Christian's immune system (that is) "akin to a late stage AIDS patient".

http://www.ageofautism.com/2008/09/katie-wright-on.html

"...Katie Wright has two young boys. Her oldest son, Christian, is severely affected by autism. He developed normally; smiling, talking, walking; only to lose every skill and every word by the age of 2 and a half. Upon the advice of medical professionals Katie and her husband were advised to pursue only high quality behavioral therapy, speech and OT for Christian. It had no meaningful impact on Christian until his parents sought help from DAN! doctors who treated the underlying causes of Christian's descent into autism. Christian has improved but still has far to go. He has Inflammatory Bowel Disease, the measles virus in his gut and an immune system akin to a late stage AIDS patient. Christian does not have a psychiatric disorder. Before autism, Katie Wright was the Clinical Director of Sexual Assault Crisis Center in Stamford Connecticut. Katie is proud to serve on the Boards of NAA and SafeMinds."

IIRC, Bobby Kennedy defended Katie Wright when she stated that she had subjected her child to chelation for mercury toxicity.

@ lilady:

If he had "an immune system akin to a late stage AIDS patient" (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) wouldn't that be... erm.. detectable?
What's wrong with these people?

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 08 Jul 2013 #permalink

@Denise - that's why I don't get anti-vaxxers in general, I mean, if what they say was true, it would be so obvious that even basic medical practitioners would be able to consistently report factual findings of what was going on....instead, we get a lot of stories, with absolutely no back-up information, no valid medical tests, no published results, etc.....if groups like AoA & SafeMinds can't even come up with any kind of research results, well, I think that speaks volumes.....

You know more than the rest of this gang that our existing research suite is designed around thimerosal and the MMR. That is the ‘available evidence’. Talk about clinging.

No there isn't. There are 'too many too soon' and some small vaxxed v. unvaxxed studies, not to mention all the tangentially-related research ( e.g. ASD, disease and vaccine epidemiology) that does not indicate a vaccine correlation let alone causation.

I’ve posted a gazillion animal studies that show that early life immune challenge results in persistent modifications to the immune system and behaviors. I post animal studies, I get accused of gish gallop. I don’t post them, and I haven’t advanced a causation mechanism. Sounds legit.

I do like the fact that someone out there thought I had some credibility to lose at one point anyways. That’s a nice touch. Easy come, easy go.

To be honest, I think you get rather harshly treated and dismissed too easily. I think you have some interesting thoughts however as long as you cling to a vaccine causation without sufficient evidence to support it then I can see the frustration dealing with you.

Yes there is a post-natal period of immune development which is influenced by both antigenic stimulation and the lack thereof (hygiene hypothesis) which may lead to alterations in numerous systems. However the extent and persistence remains to be seen. Animals do not exhibit the same behaviours as humans nor do they process or metabolise substances in the same manner as humans. I'll give you a guess where LPS, a potent immune stimulant, is and where it isn't. So can you see why you are over-reaching in your conclusions and interpretations of the literature?

Yes you have credibility as far as I'm concerned but you haven't come close to supporting your hypothesis. I also don't think you Gish Gallop, you make a sincere effort to support your claims, you just unfortunately misinterpret the literature and leave some relevant literature out.

I am not writing off the in-utero environment at all; but that doesn’t mean that what happens later can’t be having an effect *also*. You might be interested in looking up some of the data on glial priming and/or double (multiple) hits. Or perhaps not. In any case, I don’t understand the idea that because a system is skewed at birth, it cannot be *further* disrupted after birth. Your concerns would be valid if I were proposing that vaccination, and vaccination alone, is responsible for altering neurodevelopment from normal ==> autism. I’m not advocating that, I apologize to you, and anyone else, who got that idea. I am advocating that our existing research isn’t sufficiently designed to understand if we are modifying our infants in unexpected, *subtle* ways through vaccination. The immune profiles we see in the autism population make them candidates for a susceptible subgroup for those types of disturbances, *because* the autism group shows a propensity for increased innate immune responses and impairments in *regulating* the immune response. [See reduced IL-10/IL-4 in cord blood study from Denmark I posted above.]

Subsets of ASD populations appear to have some abhorrent immunological biomarkers but nothing in the Danish study you cited is consistent with any of the cytokine/infant studies Krebiozen cited. I don't think you have given the impression that vaccines are the only cause for ASDs but the fact that you are tilting at windmills with the suggestion that because A then D with no consideration for the gaps in between and go on to repeat some anti-vaxx tropes does tend to strain your credibility.

Indeed, I did find some amusement in the fact that when someone posts something about ‘boosting the immune system’ via supplementation you’ll get the SBM crowd to rain derision on the gross over simplification on the idea (they should), but when the issue is vaccination, suddenly, all immune responses are the same, just bigger or smaller. [eyeroll.jpg]

You do have a point here but please consider your tenuous claims. There are valid criticisms of some vaccines and policies and gaps in our knowledge. Stick to those and they are defensible.

Our kingdom has spent a few hundred million years evolving alongside entire pathogens and generating immune responses correspondingly; it seems to me to be incredibly naive to think that we can take tiny parts of those pathogens, embed them with aluminum salts, bypass the skin, and expect that the quality of the immune response would be “the same, just less”.

Who is 'we'? Surely you wouldn't be using some comments on a blog and extrapolate them to the research and medical communities involved with vaccinology would you? By the by, numerous pathogens 'bypass the skin' and even MALT all on their very own to provide nice little infections on a mass scale. It's a shame you would repeat such an obvious mistake.

It exposes the fact that, indeed, our research into the post vaccination immune response is non-existent; especially in the infant population. You seem to have taken a good look at lots of data in this environment, if I’ve missed the papers measuring the innate immune response post vaccination in an infant population, why not post them here, instead of just talking vaguely about what you have read and haven’t read? Those studies are available, aren’t they?

I believe Krebiozen has done a nice job of providing some data on the very question that you seem to think is unanswered. I'm not the least bit ashamed to admit that in spite of my expertise in diagnostic tests that I didn't know infant cytokine profiles needed to be measured in the way they are but makes perfect sense. Perhaps you should accept the gaps in your own knowledge.

I am content to let the research provide answers and now that more biomarkers in ASDs are being identified, this leads the way to understanding the aetiology of ASDs and other psychiatric disorders. If valid evidence comes to light that infant vaccines are responsible for some ASDs then I would certainly accept that but I will wait for such evidence rather than myopically establish a conclusion and torture the existing evidence to fit.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 08 Jul 2013 #permalink

I think it's time to announce the Lurker Challenge I'm placing on Greg. What does this mean? Well, it means that any lurker (or non-lurker, for that matter) who thinks at any point that Greg has made a good point or asked a reasonable question need only speak up and say "hey, what about thus-and-such, does he have a point there?" and I, for one, will do my best to give that person a solid answer. I encourage others to join me in this challenge, answering questions when they come up.

Of course, the consequence of this challenge is that when Greg makes what he claims to be a point and not a single person thinks it's worth following up, it means no one is buying Greg's BS. (And yes, Greg, we all know your long-term goal is to get yourself banned so that you can lie to your friends at AoA and claim you got silenced for challenging the establishment, but not even the average AoAer will confuse "got banned for sockpuppeting" with "got banned for Speakin' TRUTH To Tha Man".)

Anyways, Greg's latest fewmet is thin on anything that can be even pretended to be a real point; I'll only reply to a few bits:

Isn't it reasonable to assume that with less deaths, we will also have less blindness, deafness and permanent damage?

It is never going to be reasonable to ignore the actual data in favor of an 'assumption' about what we would find if we looked at the data. Even if we didn't have well-known historical examples where a decrease in mortality accompanied an increase in other sequelae (when the iron lung was developed, the number of deaths from polio went down and the number of people living with paralysis went up) it's still self-evidently wrong.

If you met a baseball fan who refused to answer the simple question "what was the score of the game?" and instead said "isn't it reasonable to assume that whichever team struck out the larger number of opposing pitchers was the team with more skill, and therefore the team that won?", what would you conclude? Almost certainly, you'd conclude that his favored team was the one that lost, otherwise he'd just be telling you the score.

you are suggesting that incidence will result in the worst health outcomes and not conceding that its impact is contingent on other factors such as health of the individual and available medical treatment(s).

But since we are discussing Greg's false claim that the diseases had pretty much "gone away," the actual severity of those health outcomes is irrelevant. If you get the disease and you die, if you get the disease and you're blinded and paralyzed for life, if you get the disease and you just lie in bed with muscle aches and sniffles for a week and then you're fine, all three of those things mean the same thing, that you got the disease and it hasn't "gone away" as Greg mendaciously claims.

What I mentioned was that motivation will affect the reporting of 'incidence'.

Greg may assert that motivation affects the reporting of incidence. But on the one hand, we have the actual medical professionals, people with real medical training who actually examined the patients in question. On the other hand, we have Greg, who does not have medical training, who has not examined a single one of the patients (doesn't even believe evidence should be examined, apparently, not if it might conflict with ideology, better in such a case to just "assume" the data is what we want to believe it is) and with the exception of about one thousand cases, he's doing all this second-guessing at a distance of over half a century. I don't see a single reason there to think Greg's getting it right and the professionals got it wrong.

With the Swansea measles outbreak ... measles were over reported, only later to be corrected by confirmed cases.

Except, of course, nothing of the sort happened. When a laboratory says "Based on symptoms, we had already concluded that Patient A had measles; now laboratory testing confirms that diagnosis," it does not mean anything about Patients B, C, D, E, etc. It does not mean that their diagnoses of measles were false positives that have now been "corrected." I don't know of even a single case in the Swansea outbreak area that was initially pronounced to be measles and then determined by the laboratory not to be. If someone wants to argue that there in fact have been a substantial number of such cases, enough to constitute actual "over-reporting" in any meaningful sense of the word, they're free to provide actual evidence of such cases. "Actual evidence", to be specific, implies something from a more reliable source than the misnamed "childhealthsafety" blog.

BTW, in case you forgot, you are still a phony. Denice Walter is a phony also but she is self-professed to being 'hot'. At least 'hotter' than Wakefield. What is your excuse? (Hee, hee, hee).

I left this in simply because it demonstrates what kind of person Greg is. Who writes meaningless drivel of this sort and then expects to be taken seriously on the issues?

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 08 Jul 2013 #permalink

Science Mom,

I’m not the least bit ashamed to admit that in spite of my expertise in diagnostic tests that I didn’t know infant cytokine profiles needed to be measured in the way they are but makes perfect sense.

There's no shame at all in not knowing about this stuff. This isn't really my field, but since I have a background in diagnostics I tend to pay attention to methodology when reading papers on vaccination.

I do tend to get a bit prickly when people fire, "Jesus Christ", "For crying out loud" and " and "[facepalm.jpg]" at me, while telling me I don't know what I'm talking about, while apparently suggesting we measure cytokines in vivo without a blood draw..

As I understand it, it is a matter of assay sensitivity, and the amount of blood that can be practically extracted from infants to accurately measure the small increases in cytokine production after vaccination. For example this study looked at cytokine production after a novel influenza vaccine, and found no measurable changes in unstimulated cytokine levels in saliva and blood, but measurable changes when WBCs were stimulated with the appropriate antibodies.

More sensitive assays using amplified ELISA have recently become available that can measure unstimulated changes, I believe. Much of the recent work looks at up and down regulation of various genes that regulate cytokine production, rather than cytokine production per se.

I agree that some of pD's ideas are interesting, though somewhat disconnected and unsupported. However, I couldn't ignore his claims that:

No one has bothered to measure cytokines generated as a result of vaccination in our infants.

Which isn't true, and the ludicrous claim that:

It exposes the fact that, indeed, our research into the post vaccination immune response is non-existent; especially in the infant population.

I thought pD might have learned his lesson after the last time I pointed out the huge amount of research into post-vaccination immune responses during the development of vaccines over the past 100 years or more, but it seems not.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 08 Jul 2013 #permalink

Dammit, just when I'm trying to convince everyone I'm not an eejit - "stimulated with the appropriate antigens".

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 08 Jul 2013 #permalink

Also- you’re writing in EFL/ESL. Impressive.

If I have a savant ability, language might be it because not too long ago (in 2008), I had a score of 905/990 on the French language test at University of Montreal and as for English, I get similar marks.

The thing is, I never learnt that at school because when I was a children and adolescent, I never got past high school level 2 and was having low marks in everything except English.

First, I learned english at the local library at age 12 (no one in my family speak english). Then, I was reading a book a day (mostly renting them at the library); regardless of language.

It is by implicit learning that I learned how to write, by reading books and I was hyperlexic.

nowaday, I lost a few skills (I am no longer able to read a book a day) and my English & French suffer a little bit but just a little.

Alain

Antaeus,

I don’t know of even a single case in the Swansea outbreak area that was initially pronounced to be measles and then determined by the laboratory not to be.

I don't know about this case, but having looked at a number of HPA and Health Wales reports recently, I think the true positive rate of confirmed measles cases in notified suspected cases is normally 50-70%, as there will always be a number of cases that a GP thinks may be may atypical measles and checks to be on the safe side, that turn out not to be.

Even assuming that every single case of actual measles was among those notified, which is unlikely, and that only 50% of those notified were actually measles, when that figure may be higher during an outbreak, that is still over 600 cases of measles in an area that had only 5 confirmed cases over the same period the previous year.

There is also the death of that young man, now confirmed to be caused by measles, but I suspect that because he was not in the best of health and was going through alcohol detox at the time of his death, some people will claim he doesn't really count.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 08 Jul 2013 #permalink

I have found that very small children in France speak impeccable French. This says tremendous things about the French educational system, because I never learned how to say much more than "deux vin rouge s'il vous plait." and "Je ne parle pas français". Of course, I never studied French, but still...

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 08 Jul 2013 #permalink

Short version of above - contagious diseases are always over-reported, because notification is essentially screening and laboratory confirmation is diagnostic. I would love to see some evidence of under-reporting because doctors don't believe vaccinated patients can possibly have the disease.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 08 Jul 2013 #permalink

I just looked at the Child Health Safety pages on the Swansea outbreak. As you might expect Cliff is as dishonest as ever. I particularly like his way of explaining away the hundreds of laboratory confirmed measles cases:

And in ten years time might we be amused by a confession like:
Oh dear, how the janitor when cleaning up accidentally spilled measles virus into all of those negative samples by accident before I tested them, and he did not tell me til yesterday.

Despicable as always.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 08 Jul 2013 #permalink

@ Lawrence:

I know.
That's why they HAVE to come up with ludicrous tales of governmental/ corporate malfeasance ( i.e hiding data)
because if it WERE true, researchers would be absolutely thrilled as they would have an entirely new line of inquiry and, because it affects children, there'd be money .

What gets me is that although there is no data, they still go on to weave elaborate, convoluted theories of vaccine-caused-autism- the type that doesn't show up in real research/ population studies.

Really. If even a small subset of children were so affected ( just like for ANY med/ intervention),it would show up in data. E.g. even RARE side effects are discernible and reportable.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 08 Jul 2013 #permalink
BTW, in case you forgot, you are still a phony. Denice Walter is a phony also but she is self-professed to being ‘hot’. At least ‘hotter’ than Wakefield. What is your excuse? (Hee, hee, hee).

I left this in simply because it demonstrates what kind of person Greg is.

This certainly struck me as his most impressive demonstration to date of why a pine box beats a sealed casket six ways to Sunday.

As you might expect Cliff is as dishonest as ever.

Jeezums, did he "redesign" that thing? The only question to my mind here, which will likely never be answered, is the how the certain intercourse with Stone, who's been beating the same drum for the demographic of "people who do not specialize in parsing extremely disordered ranting," went down.

And, last I checked, all the UK cases outside of Wales were still laboratory-confirmed and not epi-linked.

@Krebiozen

“No one is denying that the introduction of …improved hygiene…reduced the incidence of some infectious diseases”

OMG! I keep asking you guys to warn me before you concede anything. The shock really is too much.

OMG! I keep asking you guys to warn me before you concede anything. The shock really is too much.

Don't pat yourself on your pre-pubescent back there Greggums. It's not a concession; it's mere fact. Which is probably why you are having so much difficulty with it.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 08 Jul 2013 #permalink

OMG! I keep asking you guys to warn me before you concede anything.

This delicious meltdown reminds me that as a lad, I thought lime Jell-O was more enjoyable as a warm beverage than after it had been allowed to gel.

^ Obvious blockquote fail.

@Dingo

"So let me get this straight. According to Greg, the proper way to measure the increase or decrease in disease is by mortality rate. Autism nowadays is almost never fatal.

By this logic, I can conclude that there is no increase in autism, thus no autism epidemic.

Quite! Let’s all go home now then, shall we?"

Dingo, by the same token public health figures have been saying that they misdiagnosed autism for decades. So there is another example where we can say incidence figures are unreliable indicators. Agreed -- let's go home!

Someone still doesn't know the difference between airborne and waterborne diseases......

Someone still doesn't know the difference between airborne and waterborne diseases......

^ Obvious blockquote fail, I hope, is obvious.

Hmph. Sorry about the double post. "Service unavailable" isn't a very helpful message.

Dingo, by the same token other side of the same coin public health figures have been saying that they misdiagnosed autism for decades. So there is another example where we can say incidence figures are unreliable indicators.

FTFY. You just tossed overboard all your own incidence numbers lock, stock, and barrel, BTW, viz., you have conceded the fanciful argument.

@ Science Mom:

Concession? More like the reality that the world is not neatly arrayed into crisply delineated whites and blacks, dichotomously good vs evil.

Woo likes to paint SBM as being based solely on meds, not including hygienic, dietary and exercise advice for patients: rather than portraying SBM accurately, it instead reveals its own inability to process more complex, multiple factored analyses. .

Often, I hear woo-meisters carry on about how they can cure people sans any meds, relying upon nutrition : similarly, this is stultifyingly dense and unrealistically simple.

Obviously differing factors involve the rates of different illnesses and more than one variable causes decline.

There's something called 'cognitive complexity': it's on the phone, saying 'hello'.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 08 Jul 2013 #permalink

There’s something called ‘cognitive complexity’: it’s on the phone, saying ‘hello’.

I hope you're not trying to drag the Electric Light Orchestra into this, as opposed to, say, this lot.*

* I'm fixing for a move, so apologies for any frazzled detritus.

@MOB

"In the unlikely event (based on what we currently know) that it is shown with high quality, reproducible evidence that vaccines do cause autism spectrum disorders in some reasonable percentage of those who are immunized (say, in excess of 1:10000 cases) I’d expect the following to happen:"

"possible recognition of this condition as being subject to recompense by the vaccine injury courts"

I understand that the money set aside for such compensation is already almost gone. So, when the admission that vaccines do cause autism is made, and with the expected ensuing tsunami of claims what do you propose for obtaining additional funds?

(hushed voice) Also MOB I see how you are trying to cover your tracks, but as a friend, I must warn you to do a better job. They will sniff you out as a traitor and come after you, MOB. They will torture you, MOB, because they are absolutely ruthless! Take care and godspeed. We will meet again under the cover of night.

I understand that the money set aside for such compensation is already almost gone.

This demonstrates that your "understanding" is either a childish self-fiction or simply a flaming bag of dοgshit left on the front porch. Tell me what the the Treasury number is, Greg. This should take you about five minutes, at which point you can pony up the numbers.

@Denice Walter

"What gets me is that although there is no data, they still go on to weave elaborate, convoluted theories of vaccine-caused-autism- the type that doesn’t show up in real research/ population studies."

You mean the pharma studies that reek of conflict of interest -- plagued by poor study design -- looking into a few vaccines contents only -- authored by a fugitive of the law. Did I miss anything?

@Science Mom
Just curious -- do you have an autistic child?

As my previous comment wound up in the moderation queue, I shall rephrase it: Greg, what is the balance in the relevant account as of the end of the first calendar quarter of this year? It has 12 digits and a radix mark.

I should add that this is an ultimatum question referring to comment 623.

Greg, wake up and smell the f@cking coffee:
there's a searchbox fx @ RI- Orac has already covered that anti-vax, perseverative whine- time and time again.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 08 Jul 2013 #permalink

Greg, there is plenty of information that the "fugitive from the law" was a minor secondary author, whose crimes had no bearing on the results. You are either a brazen liar, and therefore have nothing worth listening to, or a complete fool, and therefore have nothing worth listening to.

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 08 Jul 2013 #permalink

Also MOB I see how you are trying to cover your tracks,

That was almost humorous. Just like the Joker's lapel flower.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 08 Jul 2013 #permalink

Greg: Isn’t it reasonable to assume that with less deaths, we will also have less blindness, deafness and permanent
damage?

Well, no. Because death kind of erases any damage. Other commentators have covered it better than I could. But, ya know there's a reason we have less deaths. And, btw, measles can't be treated with anti-biotics. I don't know if you knew that, or if it fell out of your microscopic brain.

I'd also like to point out that I know a lot of people with learning disabilites and two with confirmed ASDs. The two with ASDs both have master's degrees. What degree did you get at your cow college?And why do you assume that autism is static?

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 08 Jul 2013 #permalink

@ Denice,
Narad and I had an email exchange over my choice of career and I must update you on this. It turn out that I won't do the necessary studies to become an engineer or a medical doctor for that matter. As I mentioned in my previous comment, reading and writing text are my strong suit; not math (ask Narad for a resume) and thus, a career in physics engineering is far from recommended despite how much I would have liked.

A career in science is good but there is a long way to go and I'll be 37 in 2 month and a few and I want to limit studying to a PhD and thus, 1-: a postdoc is off-limit and 2-: I always wanted to have a professional diploma with a science diploma. This is why I looked up a few combination of diploma and settled with the JD/PhD in law & neuroscience. It's offered by both Vanderbilt university as well as the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

As far as what I'll do, is finish my neuroscience bachelor but in the meantime[1] I am doing a law certificate using distance education at Laval university (starting in September).

[1] ==I'm waiting to reintegrate Bishop's university, I have a 1 year delay to wait for my reintegration because of my failed math courses, my average marks being too low.

Thus, the plan is: law certificate --> neuroscience bachelor --> 2 options listed below:

option 1: Master of science in neuro[something] or physiology or.... --> JD/PhD combined track at UWisconsin-Madison --> work.

option 2: law school at McGill --> work.

option 2 is much cheaper as tuition cost for QC students is around 80 or 85$ per credit (see my blog post: Only in Quebec for the details...)

Alain

p.s. nearly forgot, work == paralegal, legal clerk for a judge, jobs like that; not lawyer.

God, I love Greg. He outright stated that if data aviable does not suit his belifef it does not invalidate his bliev, it does invalidate data. (#616 where he fails to note it was W. Kevin Vicklund not Dingo, who noticed that by Greg's very own standards there is no autism.)

Also I see no answer to my question of the day, so I will just assume that Greg lets the blood of infants dry on his hands so he can smell it through the day. You are a sick man Greg, how can you do such things?

By The Smith of Lie (not verified) on 08 Jul 2013 #permalink

(ask Narad for a resume)

Note to DW: You're welcome to do this if so inclined.

Greg, you have already conceded after two months that vaccines cause much fewer seizures than the diseases. Plus your lack of an answer on on the decline of incidence before vaccines for both measles and polio indicates you know that did not happen.

But you returned with some spurious allegations that sanitation and antibiotics have anything to do with measles infections. So you have until Noon Pacific Daylight Time to answer the questions I posted in Comment #571.

Failure to do so will render Comment #564 as a futile straw man attempt, that was very very stupid. And note I gave you at least three more hours from what I stated before (only assuming you live on the East Coast of this continent, you spell like my spouse so I am assuming Canadian).

Have a good sleep in. But make sure you have that evidence at the stated time.

Tick tock, tick tock.

Greg, the clock is running. You made a claim about antibiotics and sanitation when the question was about measles. So now it is time for you to come up with some real answers.

Or learn about the differences between airborne and waterborne pathogens, the differences between bacteria and virus, or the importance of certain vectors.

Oh, Greg! How will you ever learn to live in a word that is not black and white!?

What degree did you get at your cow college?
As a graduand of Massey University a.k.a. Cowtech I must protest about any the pejorative use of "Cow College".

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 08 Jul 2013 #permalink

OMG! I keep asking you guys to warn me before you concede anything. The shock really is too much.

Instead of gleefully warming your hands on a flaming straw man, you really should get yourself a better education - maybe start with some medical history.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 08 Jul 2013 #permalink

Liz Ditz (#552) - They've got the genetics, now they have the diagnoses - it’s quite possible it's already in the publication pipeline.

@Krebiozen -

Take a look at Chris's response earlier re: 'cytokine storm'. That isn't about subsequent stimulation, it is about *what happens as a result of the vaccine*. When Science Mom (correctly) stated that the resultant immune response post vaccination was *different*, she wasn't talking about post stimulation in a test tube.

The study I linked to didn't utilize drawn and subsequently stimulated blood; they were evaluating what happened in vivo as a *result* of the vaccination process; how did the immune system respond to the vaccine at administration time? Can you show me which of your studies that you linked to performed this operation?

@Todd W.:

If my style of prose does not suit you, I apologize.

@Greg -

I haven't looked too much at the Blaylock stuff. He's got a terrible reputation online a quick googling has him showing up in some places that I tend not to trust.

That being said, the imbalance in excitatory/inhibitory factors is of interest to me but I haven't had much time to really dig into it.

A lot of my thoughts in regards to immune challenges (or other early life stressors [or protectors!]) rest on a foundation of a programmable set of systems; be it immune, hpa-axis, energy metabolism, whatever. It turns out, a lot of these systems look to be intertwined, so when we look for ways to persistently alter systems involved with maintenance of the excitatory/inhibitory balance, you'll find intersting associations; i.e., PMID: 23483921, 20666652, 19524372. [and many others]

@LW -

A couple of thoughts.

It is generally accepted as a mantra around here that autism rates are static, or at least, nearly static; in other words, the belief system here is that, indeed, 'a full 2% of every pre-modern population was autistic'. That's the only way we get a stable rate of autism that is genetically mediated! [Feel free to replace 2% with whatever the prevalance numbers de jour are.]

It's funny how that doublethink works; when someone says, 'tell me why we didn't see so much autism before', the answer is: 'we are getting better at seeing it!'. Someone says, 'here is a mechanism by which immune challenges can modify neurodevelopment', suddenly the answer is, 'we never saw X% of autism before!'. Talk about switching the goalposts! Which is it?

I said with some clarity above that I am *not* making the arguement of early life immune insults are a single cause of all autism. Every factor we find that appears to be a risk or protective factor for autism exhibits low penetrance. Given those facts, what has caused you to think that I am advocating that early life immune activation as a *possible* risk factor is stand alone and must be responsible for all of our prevalance observations?

I went to great lengths above to detail why the autism population appears to be a group specifically susceptible to this type of interaction due to their immune phenotype; your analysis would appear to presume that the only way to achieve this altered phenotype is through genetics. How does your common sense analysis tackle the question of factors external to genetics being able to alter the immune function of our infants; i.e., what has convinced you that the differences in immunological function we see in the autism population have been stable through time? If those values have *not* been stable through time, what effect does this have your model?

If we go back to pre-modernity, you aren't allowed to only 'keep' the changes that are expedient to your argument. How does your analysis take changes in infant mortality into consideration? Or our changing immune systems as evidenced by increases in 'traditional' immune disorders in the modern world compared to pre-modern socities?

If all other things were equal, and the only change we'd made was improved sanitation, and we had good reason to think that 100% of immune alterations in the autism population was genetically based, then, sure. But we don't have good reasons to think that, and we've changed a lot more than what you described. Common sense only goes so far when trying to understand complicated problems.

- pD

By passionlessDrone (not verified) on 09 Jul 2013 #permalink

@Chris

"Tick tock, tick tock.

Greg, the clock is running. You made a claim about antibiotics and sanitation when the question was about measles. So now it is time for you to come up with some real answers.

Or learn about the differences between airborne and waterborne pathogens, the differences between bacteria and virus, or the importance of certain vectors.

Oh, Greg! How will you ever learn to live in a word that is not black and white!?"

Chris darling --- (BTW, are you a man or a woman? 'Chris' being one of those gender neutral names) --
you need to calm down a little. I thought I spelled out clearly at #451 my position on whether vaccines really did save us. Again Chris, there is the question of how reliable the figures are in those charts that you keep harping on. 'Incidence' as I mentioned has shown itself to be an unreliable indicator of vaccines effectiveness. We have documented cases where incidence rates were actually over reported in the thousand percentages. We see this over reporting again with the Swansea measles let's-hype-a-measles-scare-so-we-can-bury-Wakefield-further-and-make-vaccines-look-better-outbreak. That said Chris, despite my position that we should not put too much faith in the charts, I am open to the position that the measles vaccine did swiftly finish off the measles, but the measles was already on the decline in both mortality and incidence. Also Chris, yes, I know that the measles is viral and anti-biotics won't help. I brought up the whole sanitation and anti-biotics argument to remind you that even you are open to the position that these factors did effectively combat some past diseases. As it stands, Krebiozen has also made this shocking concession.

Well Orac's VCADOD group, what a fine morning it is! Let's get started with my programming... (Hey Orac, sorry about the 'my programming' thing. Don't mean to steal your action but I thought things were getting rather blah around here that I should provide some entertainment. Carry on anyway with your quack, crank, anti-vaxxers-are-such-losers spew. )

So folks, let's get started with our question of the day:

For the mother struggling daily with a nonverbal, screaming, head banging, poop smearing autistic child... For that mother who is filled with tremendous despair that her dream of having a happy, rewarding parenthood has essentially turned into a nightmare.... If you could look that mother in the eyes and say one thing, what would it be?

@pD

No need to apologize. Your comments are always very level-headed, and you try to back up your arguments with evidence, which is laudable, but sometimes the walls o' text are just too daunting to wade through.

Folks, if you get a chance, I really recommend that you watch Professor Hans Rosling BBC broadcast video “200 countries over 200 years using 120,000 numbers – in just four minutes“ shown in the link below.
http://childhealthsafety.wordpress.com/graphs/

Whenever I read Greg's posts (don't get excited Greg, I usually scroll past them), I am reminded of the conversation between Lord Blackadder and Captain Rum on an Elizabethan ship.

Blackadder: Look, there's no need to panic, someone in the crew will know how to steer this thing.

Rum: The crew milord?

Blackadder: I was under the impression that it was common maritime practice for a ship to have a crew.

Rum: Opinion is divided on the subject…All the other Captains say it is, I say it isn't.

By sheepmilker (not verified) on 09 Jul 2013 #permalink

@Greg:

I thought I spelled out clearly at #451 my position on whether vaccines really did save us.

All you gave us was your opinion, "backed up" by cites from known antivaccination websites.

‘Incidence’ as I mentioned has shown itself to be an unreliable indicator of vaccines effectiveness. We have documented cases where incidence rates were actually over reported in the thousand percentages.

Citation needed for the over-reporting, particularly since you've made this claim before.

We see this over reporting again with the Swansea measles let’s-hype-a-measles-scare-so-we-can-bury-Wakefield-further-and-make-vaccines-look-better-outbreak.

Given that Gareth Colfer-Williams's death has now been confirmed as having been caused by the measles, you have some cheek describing the outbreak as a "measles scare".

I am open to the position that the measles vaccine did swiftly finish off the measles, but the measles was already on the decline in both mortality and incidence.

You're a fool. In every case where a vaccine was introduced in a country, the incidence of the disease it protected against plummeted. That's true across diseases and across nations. Whenever the vaccination rates have fallen the diseases have returned. Yet you seem to think this is just a giant coincidence. It isn't.

For that mother who is filled with tremendous despair that her dream of having a happy, rewarding parenthood has essentially turned into a nightmare…. If you could look that mother in the eyes and say one thing, what would it be?

Courage. It will get better.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 09 Jul 2013 #permalink

@ Greg, I wouldn't give such an overtly despicable, dishonest waste of human tissue such as yourself a shred of personal information about myself.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 09 Jul 2013 #permalink

Also I see no answer to my question of the day, so I will just assume that Greg lets the blood of infants dry on his hands so he can smell it through the day. You are a sick man Greg, how can you do such things?

Yes, Greg is clearly in massive denial about his baby-eating habits.

By Edith Prickly (not verified) on 09 Jul 2013 #permalink

If you could look that mother in the eyes and say one thing, what would it be?

Stay the hell away from Greg, he wants to eat your baby!

By Edith Prickly (not verified) on 09 Jul 2013 #permalink

Still ignoring the ignorant thread derailing, craving for attention Troll.

Stagmom, has an *interesting* post up today at AoA, about her youngest daughter Bella. Bella is the child who was not vaccinated, yet is the child who has been diagnosed with more severe impairments associated with an ASD diagnosis.

Look how Stagmom uses her own childhood experiences about the *alarming increase* of children who are non-verbal and who are on the Spectrum...to prove that it is "teh ebil vaccines that done did it".

http://www.ageofautism.com/2013/07/if-autism-brought-blindness-instead-…

".....So when did being NON-VERBAL become acceptable? I don’t remember ever hearing about children NOT BEING ABLE TO SPEAK when I was a kid. Even children who were developmentally disabled (or as they were called “mentally retarded”) could talk. I’m sure there were children who didn’t speak, but they were rare. I would have been very interested in seeing someone like this. Now they’re everywhere and no one is asking why. This is frightening. We’re conditioned to children like this, thanks to stories like these. Every one of these stories brings up the issue in a very matter-of-fact way. I stopped when I found 20 stories from the last month. It didn’t take me long and I had lots to choose from...."

@lilady

I would ask Kim, "So, when you were a kid, how often did you visit psychiatric asylums?"

"Still ignoring the ignorant thread derailing, craving for attention Troll."

Oh gosh! Lililady, still loves me! She didn't remind me in a while that she is ignoring me, but now we have this. I just get this warm, fuzzy feeling all over.

Lilady, do you want to hook-up with our laptops? We could have a friendly game of who can search out the most autism stories and post pro and anti-vaxx comments. Something tells me though that you would probably win. A competition between you and Dachel? Now that would be a sight to behold!

According to greg, we can now blithely ignore all those anecdotal accounts from parents claiming that their children were perfectly fine but regressed almost immediately following vaccination. After all, according to greg over reporting in the thousand percentages happens all the time...

We see this ["thousand percentages"] over reporting again with the Swansea measles let’s-hype-a-measles-scare-so-we-can-bury-Wakefield-further-and-make-vaccines-look-better-outbreak.

No,"we" don't. You simply are too devoid of cognitive function to understand when epi-links are appropriate or that all of the non-Wales UK cases reported were laboratory confirmed

So folks, let’s get started with our question of the day.

I'm afraid that you haven't finished your homework from yesterday yet. This was an ultimatum question, and you have since made two comments. You have one left.

^ More blockquote fail.

Oh gosh! Lililady, still loves me!

And that's three. You have just conceded that "I understand that the money set aside for such compensation is already almost gone" was a wanton crock of shıt.

@ Todd W. Stagmom and her older buddy the Dachel bot "never heard/never saw" a non-verbal autistic child...ergo they didn't exist when they were growing up.

Never mind that Kim and the bot never visited a psychiatric center when they were growing up, where have they been, since their children were diagnosed with ASDs? Some of those children who were placed in those human warehouses are adults now. They still languish is the back wards of the existing psych centers and in the back wards of existing developmental centers.

Have either of them advocated on behalf of the establishment of alternative living situations for these children and young adults...right at home, right in the neighborhood?

Still ignoring the ignorant thread derailing, craving for attention Troll.

Lilady, if you're using Firefox, just install Greasemonkey already.

@Science Mom

You know what I admire most about parents of autistic children who believe vaccines cause autism? Their courage! It would have been so much easier for them to consider that it was all due to genetics and nothing could have been done. Nor is it easy for them to go up against the establishment where they will be treated with disdain and ridicule.

Why would I install Greasemonkey, Narad?

The reason why I don't address the Troll directly is because he's the latest incarnation of Thingy...just as deranged...just as ignorant...just as craving for attention. You all have fallen into the Thingy trap, by replying to the troll directly, instead of posting around him.

Greg, so I guess you admire lemmings courage as well? How cute.

I have a question to you, not that you will answer any, but hey why not try?

How would you call a man, who belives that flying machine heavier than air is impossible and when taken aboar of an airplane claims that this is very proof that people who took him there can not be trusted and flying machines are impossible?

How would you describe that man?

By The Smith of Lie (not verified) on 09 Jul 2013 #permalink

Greg, there is nothing brave about them. They seek the "perfect" child they think they deserve, and seek someone to blame for an act that was nature's alone. Be glad that people do not get what they deserve. People who live in fantasies and refuse to face reality are the greatest kind of coward.

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 09 Jul 2013 #permalink

You know what I admire most about parents of autistic children who believe vaccines cause autism? Their courage! It would have been so much easier for them to consider that it was all due to genetics and nothing could have been done. Nor is it easy for them to go up against the establishment where they will be treated with disdain and ridicule.

That isn't courage moron; it's the opposite. Courage is what is displayed by parents who love and accept their children for who they are and provide the means to ease their challenges. Not making up bogeymen to assuage their broken dreams and de-humanising their children by pumping them full of awful concoctions to "cure them". You pathetic poseur.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 09 Jul 2013 #permalink

Are young earth creationists also courageous? How about flat earthers?

By what rational argument is believing something that all available evidence indicates is untrue a courageous act?

Greg:

That said Chris, despite my position that we should not put too much faith in the charts, I am open to the position that the measles vaccine did swiftly finish off the measles, but the measles was already on the decline in both mortality and incidence.

You have not answered which years between 1912 and 1960 the incidence of measles was on decline. It is very simple, look at the census table I provided and provide the years that there was a consistent and substantial decline.

Some selected years from that census table:
1912 . . . 310.0
1955 . . . 337.9
1960 . . . 245.4

Yeah, not a whole lot of decline there. And the more detailed one from Appendix G of the CDC Pink Book:
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

Nope, don't see anything substantial other than the regular up and down for epidemic/non-epidemic years.

Oh, and all of those Cliffy Miller graphs were mortality, which has not the same as morbidity (which is incidence) . You made the claim that incidence was declining, but the data does not support that.

You fail.

Oh, and another thing about the Cliffy's graphs, the bacteria that causes scarlet fever has not gone away. It is just that when kids get strep throat (same bug) they then get antibiotics. Also, there is something interesting about that particular bug: like tetanus you do not get immunity. You can get strep right after recovering over and over and over again. It happened to my kids one very long painful spring a few years ago.

The reason why I don’t address the Troll directly is because he’s the latest incarnation of Thingy…

I'm not the first person to point out that pointedly and repeatedly stating that one is ignoring someone isn't in fact ignoring them, and I'm pretty sure it's not the first time that I've said this.

Wasn't there an episode of "Happy Days" in which Marion and Howard "weren't speaking to each other" and instead stood in the same room and had Richie play Monkey in the Middle? Maybe it was "All in the Family" with Gloria, whatever.

I think all answers to Greg should start with " When did you stop beating your wife" and repeating this until he answers because allowing to continue to spew his nonsense and attempt to answer his accusations a idiocy is not getting us anywhere. So, let me be the first (and I know someone has started this before but I think it bears repeating until Greg answers):
GREG - WHEN DID YOU STOP BEATING YOUR WIFE?

If you could look that mother in the eyes and say one thing, what would it be?

It depends on the context. Most likely I'd start with "howdy", which would be my one thing.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 09 Jul 2013 #permalink

HDB: Sorry, that was mean of me. Actually, I doubt Greggles ever went to any college.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 09 Jul 2013 #permalink

pD,

Take a look at Chris’s response earlier re: ‘cytokine storm’. That isn’t about subsequent stimulation, it is about *what happens as a result of the vaccine*. When Science Mom (correctly) stated that the resultant immune response post vaccination was *different*, she wasn’t talking about post stimulation in a test tube.

The study I linked to didn’t utilize drawn and subsequently stimulated blood; they were evaluating what happened in vivo as a *result* of the vaccination process; how did the immune system respond to the vaccine at administration time? Can you show me which of your studies that you linked to performed this operation?

I thought I had explained clearly enough, but you have apparently misunderstood what I wrote about having to use stimulated white blood cells when dealing with the small sample sizes in infants. I suggest you read this paper (PDF) which explains cytokine measurement in some detail. Here are some relevant passages:

...due to the local effects of cytokines, the study of their blood levels is of limited value for an understanding of the pathophysiology of these mediators. This explains the development of alternative approaches to assess the ability of cells to produce cytokines. [...]
The detection limit of the majority of cytokine kits is around 5pg/ml, i.e. greater than the circulating concentrations of many cytokines not only in physiological, but also, sometimes, in pathological conditions.

As I wrote before, the increase in blood levels of cytokines after even infection is too small to be easily measured, so stimulated levels are often used instead, especially in infants. It also seems that because cytokines largely act intracellularly, circulating blood levels are of limited use. You can tell how much liquid is in a sponge by squeezing it, to use an analogy.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 09 Jul 2013 #permalink

pD,

It is generally accepted as a mantra around here that autism rates are static, or at least, nearly static; in other words, the belief system here is that, indeed, ‘a full 2% of every pre-modern population was autistic’. That’s the only way we get a stable rate of autism that is genetically mediated! [Feel free to replace 2% with whatever the prevalance numbers de jour are.]

I suspect the prevalence of autistic disorder, or classic autism, has always been around 0.5%.

It’s funny how that doublethink works; when someone says, ‘tell me why we didn’t see so much autism before’, the answer is: ‘we are getting better at seeing it!’. Someone says, ‘here is a mechanism by which immune challenges can modify neurodevelopment’, suddenly the answer is, ‘we never saw X% of autism before!’. Talk about switching the goalposts! Which is it?

I don't remember anyone here saying anything like that. I would suggest that if post-natal immune stimulation can have a profound effect on neurodevelopment we would see a very large difference in prevalence in the pre-vaccine and post-vaccine eras. Specifically I would expect to see far more autism back when infant mortality due to contagious diseases was well into double figures (40% over the first year in 18th century London), since survivors must surely have had large immune responses during any and all of the windows of neurodevelopmental sensitivity you have suggested. We don't see this.

The only way this might work is if there is some hormetic mechanism in place. That isn't impossible, as we have seen a number of counter-intuitive effects of changes in environment and in vaccination e.g. an increase in paralytic polio after hygiene improvements, and an increase of average age of contracting rubella into the child-bearing age range with poor rubella vaccination coverage. However, I don't see any evidence for this happening. Finding evidence to support a mechanism to explain non-existent observations isn't how science normally works.

Perhaps broccoli, which contains immunomodulatory chemical, can cross the placenta, or end up in breast milk and cause autism. Perhaps a thousand other things might do the same.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 09 Jul 2013 #permalink

I suppose all the people who might have been rendered autistic (if such a thing happens) by a disease might have just, well, died instead.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 09 Jul 2013 #permalink

I'm with Krebiozen on the broccoli hypothesis. I would add various others of the "effete" vegetables as well, including cooked cauliflower, Brussels sprouts (which I did see once in a market in Belgium), and asparagus.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 09 Jul 2013 #permalink

Brussels sprouts (which I did see once in a market in Belgium),

What did they call them there? I'm wondering if it's like syphilis, which was the French Pox in England, the Italian Pox in France, and the English Pox in Scotland (disclaimer - I am actually very fond of all brassicas, and only pick on broccoli for its comedy value).

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 09 Jul 2013 #permalink

Krebiozen - I have to admit, it's been too long and my view too fleeting. I recall seeing them but not the sign next to them (they were still on the stalk like a miniature Christmas tree). I've heard that the Belgians refer to them as English Cabbages but cannot say from personal experience that is true. I'll ask my Belgian friends.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 09 Jul 2013 #permalink

I do find many of the cruciferous vegetables inedible, though, when cooked. There is no amount of cheese sauce that will cover the taste of some of them.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 09 Jul 2013 #permalink

@passionlessDrone

It’s funny how that doublethink works; when someone says, ‘tell me why we didn’t see so much autism before’, the answer is: ‘we are getting better at seeing it!’. Someone says, ‘here is a mechanism by which immune challenges can modify neurodevelopment’, suddenly the answer is, ‘we never saw X% of autism before!’. Talk about switching the goalposts! Which is it?

I'm pretty sure that the way doublethink works is that the same person has two mutually opposing thoughts, not that a person has one thought in mind and points out that the other opposing thought does not make sense. Which is what I was doing. 

I said with some clarity above that I am *not* making the arguement of early life immune insults are a single cause of all autism.

I have never been able to tell from your comments what fraction of autism you believe to be caused by early life immune insults, not even to the nearest order of magnitude. Putting that aside, you may not believe that virtually all autism is caused by early life immune insults (read: vaccination) but Greg most certainly does.

Greg has stated:

1)  In the halcyon days of yore when vaccine-preventable disease had free rein, the autism rate was 1/10,000.

2)  Today the rate is 1/50, or 200/10,000.

3)  All of that increase is due to vaccination, because some percentage of the population -- at least 2% -- would respond to a mild immunological insult in infancy (read: vaccination) by developing autism.

If this were true, I'd expect pre-modern societies to have an autism rate caused by early life immune insults of at least 2% which Greg denies; Greg claims that without vaccination the rate would be 1/10,000.  I see this as a problem with Greg's argument; perhaps you don't. 

Of course, as you point out, infant mortality plays a role here. But according to Greg, 199/200 potentially autistic children would have to die in infancy to produce the "proper" autism rate  When half the children die before reaching adulthood, 2% dying from early life immune insults wouldn't even be noticed. True. But by the same token, any genes that produce that outcome would be under ferocious selection pressure, don't you think?  If only 0.005% of the carriers live long enough to reproduce, there'd have to be some substantial benefit for their collaterals to keep the genes in the population. 

 

How does your common sense analysis tackle the question of factors external to genetics being able to alter the immune function of our infants; i.e., what has convinced you that the differences in immunological function we see in the autism population have been stable through time?

It strikes me that it is your burden to prove that autistic people in the Twenty-First Century BC had different immune function from those in the Twenty-First Century AD, if your theory depends on that.

Common sense only goes so far when trying to understand complicated problems.

And there we can agree.

What LW said.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 09 Jul 2013 #permalink

(they were still on the stalk like a miniature Christmas tree)

They appear like that in UK supermarkets around Christmas, the traditional time of year to consume Satan's grapes, as I have heard them described. Sadly the tradition is also to cook them until they are a soggy, pale and foul-tasting mockery of what a properly al-dente-cooked Brussels sprout should be.

Food talk at RI? Must be bed-time for me.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 09 Jul 2013 #permalink

"The reason why I don’t address the Troll directly is because he’s the latest incarnation of Thingy…"

"I’m not the first person to point out that pointedly and repeatedly stating that one is ignoring someone isn’t in fact ignoring them, and I’m pretty sure it’s not the first time that I’ve said this."

OMG -- a fight between two of pharma's best attack dogs! We have Narad, the powerful and lethal rottweiler vs Lilady, the ferocious, determined pit bull. Who will be left when they finish off each other? Lawrence? But how will he prove his dedication? Heck, he doesn't even vaccinate his kids!

Sadly the tradition is also to cook them until they are a soggy, pale and foul-tasting mockery of what a properly al-dente-cooked Brussels sprout should be.

I've heard that is an English tradition. Happily when I've eaten in England that has not been the case, though I have deliberately avoided mushy peas.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 09 Jul 2013 #permalink

Guys,

Seriously, I must interrupt myself and take a break. I'll be back! Most likely in a week or so.

@Pd
Thanks very much for the studies. I am also providing this utube link of a 14 pt video in which Russell Blaylock explains his immuno-excitotoxcity theory. I think it would be good if you don't judge a book by its cover and check out what he has to say. I would greatly appreciate your take.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUCCdCecLTo

@Orac's VCADOD(vaccines causing autism denialism obsessive disorder) group

While I am gone, I encourage you to continue reflecting on my questions of the day. Maybe you guys can discuss them amongst yourselves. In case anyone forgot, the four questions are,

1. With Japan retracting its recommendation of the HPV vaccine, will this make it harder for US health officials to defend the vaccine?

2. Given that vaccines cause autism and some of you being MDs, how do you hide your unease when a parent approaches you with an ailing autistic child seeking an explanation?

3. What would you say to a parent who is struggling day-to-day with a very difficult autistic child and who feels all hope is lost?

4. When the vaccines causing autism denial racket is up how do think things will be conceded?

@ Krebiozen:
@ Mephistopheles:

re miserable, cruciferous vegetables:
I hate them all but make an exception for broccoli ( and then, only the darkest green florets are fit for consumption). Even the most talented Indian/ Pakistani curry wallah cannot make cauliflower palatable.

Unfortunately, I once drove through the Brussels sprout capital of the world, which is near both the artichoke capital and the garlic capital ( Watsonville, Gilroy etc)- I forget which one is which as I despise them all- thus I saw thousands of acres of them baking in the noonday sun.
Let them remain there.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 09 Jul 2013 #permalink

@ Alain:

I think that you might want to find a programme that will allow you the option of working then returning to school- at your own pace: a paralegal would be able to work and then continue onwards later. Some educational pathways make it difficult to stop and start- i.e. you need at least a grad degree to even start work.

Research some more but Quebec sounds like a good place.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 09 Jul 2013 #permalink

Greggy: "While I am gone, I encourage you to continue reflecting on my questions of the day."

Why don't you work on your reading comprehension while you are away. Considering how Japan had allowed pertussis, measles, mumps and now rubella to come back, I doubt that the US would follow its example. (as I told you in comment #443)

And do work on your counting skills. You keep claiming that the incidence of measles was declining prior to the introduction of vaccines., yet the numbers themselves show that is wrong, wrongety, wrong! (see comment #668)

Only a week, Greg? Take as much time as you need for your butt to heal, a year or two perhaps. You deserve it.

OMG — a fight between two of pharma’s best attack dogs!

What you apparently fail to grasp is that rational disagreement is perfectly acceptable in the open around here.

I will add as a postscript that I don't argue with pD, but his question about the Brugha denominator was perfectly legitimate, and I at least made an effort to track this down. Have I finished the job? No.

You seem to have no grasp of the distinction between good and bad faith.

Even the most talented Indian/ Pakistani curry wallah cannot make cauliflower palatable.

Have you taken leave of your senses? A mere gobhi sooji uppma is sublime.

FURTHERMORE, I have never had Brussels sprouts come out pooorly except for the one time I accepted the design of Brother Ron Pickarski. Adding seaweed does not improve the situation.

It is generally accepted as a mantra around here that autism rates are static, or at least, nearly static; in other words, the belief system here is that, indeed, 'a full 2% of every pre-modern population was autistic'. That's the only way we get a stable rate of autism that is genetically mediated! [Feel free to replace 2% with whatever the prevalance numbers de jour are.]

It's funny how that doublethink works; when someone says, 'tell me why we didn’t see so much autism before', the answer is: 'we are getting better at seeing it!'. Someone says, 'here is a mechanism by which immune challenges can modify neurodevelopment', suddenly the answer is, 'we never saw X% of autism before!'. Talk about switching the goalposts! Which is it?

I've got to be blunt here, pD; usually I don't have any trouble understanding what you write, and here I've read over just these two paragraphs at least ten times and I'm still not sure exactly what argument you're trying to make.

I'm going to try and respond to what I think you're arguing, but if I didn't understand you, it may because you're using new idioms like "switching the goalposts" and leaving us to puzzle out what you mean by them (the established idiom is "shifting the goalposts," and if that's the idiom you meant to use, it may not mean what you think it means.)

You talk about there supposedly being a "mantra" that "'a full 2% of every pre-modern population was autistic'". I'll tell you, from just about any other antivax commenter, I would think they were trotting out that straw man out of an unwillingness to engage with the actual science-based position. From you, I think it's that the foundation of your "self-awarded degrees" is much thinner than you are aware of, and you don't understand as much as you think you do of the science-based position.

I explained the principle of Occam's Razor to Skeptiquette upthread; I recommend that explanation to you. Basically, it means that for a given state of evidence, the best, most likely explanation is the simplest. You can't go demanding that people accept the explanation you favor just because it matches the evidence; if a simpler explanation also matches the evidence, that simpler explanation is the better explanation.

Many people have come here demanding that their explanation of "vaccines cause autism" be accepted, because supposedly it's the best explanation for how autism 'came outta nowhere; we never had autism before and now it's all over the place!'

Well, obviously, to determine what explanation best fits the evidence, you need to first get your evidence right. The science-based camp says "Hmmm, 'we never had autism before'? That's a strong claim, and hard to verify. Perhaps a more realistic version of that claim would be 'we didn't perceive autism happening in such numbers before'. We can be sure of that part, which we can't about the much stronger claim that it wasn't even happening."

And when you look at that more cautious version of the evidence, it turns out that there's an explanation much simpler than "there is some entity, and it's probably vaccines, causing an autism epidemic". That explanation is "whatever is causing autism now was probably causing autism then, except back then, we were more likely to call it 'mental retardation', or some other condition that was more familiar than autism."

And you know what? The science-based camp has done what the antivax camp doesn't do, and tried to falsify their own hypothesis; they've gone back and taken the material that caused child patients to be diagnosed as mentally retarded in earlier decades, and presented it to modern-day professionals and said "How would this child be diagnosed today, upon this evidence?" If no more than a tiny minority of those child patients had been re-diagnosed as autistic, then it would have done serious damage to the "diagnostic substitution" hypothesis - but that didn't happen; enough children who were previously considered "mentally retarded" were re-diagnosed as autistic to make it very plausible that autism was around then, too, just not widely recognized as such.

That's why I'm so nonplussed at your claim that the science-based camp has some sort of mantra about "autism incidence has always been stable at 2%, always, always, always, never going up or down!" If that's supposedly our mantra, please explain to me why I've never heard it from anyone in the science-based camp? Nothing about the diagnostic substitution hypothesis says that the true incidence of autism is stable, or "genetically mediated," or 2%, or anything like that; it just says that autism incidence does not have to be skyrocketing in order to account for people's perception that it is skyrocketing.

You accused us of "switching the goalposts" (as well as of something I'm not going to pretend I understand what you mean, something about saying "we never saw X% of autism before!") Well, the idiom is actually "shifting the goalposts" or "moving the goalposts". It refers to when someone makes a representation of what standard of evidence they would accept for a particular point, and then when that challenge is met, they retroactively change the standard to exclude the evidence they find inconvenient. (There's an example you should remember, pD, since you were here for it. That's the fellow who came here insisting that there was no such thing as an unvaccinated autistic child, and he should know, since he'd asked all over the Internet and found no such children. When it was pointed out to him that there were plenty, for instance the hundred or so that were reported in a Generation Rescue phone survey, he changed his tune only slightly: there was no such thing as an unvaccinated autistic child, and he should know, since he'd never had the complete medical records of such a child presented to him for his examination. So, basically, taking strangers at their word was okay until they weren't saying what he wanted, and then suddenly complete medical records were needed.)

Since no one has pulled that sort of standard-of-proof switcheroo with you, you don't have legitimate grounds for complaining that anyone's been shifting the goalposts. But somehow I suspect that there's more to your "switching the goalposts" than just getting the idiom wrong. I think you think you're actually answering the right question and us mean science-based people are demanding something other than what you're offering, just because we don't like the implications of your answer.

But what's really happening is that you keep hammering home on your answer to the third question, and you can't or won't understand us that the third question comes after the first and second. First is "What evidence do we have that there is an actual increase in autism prevalence, as opposed to just the perception of one?" If we get a solid answer to that, the second question is "What factors are suggested by the evidence to be correlated with this increased autism risk we're seeing?" If an answer to that second question turns out to be "vaccination", then and only then does it make sense to ask the third question of "how might vaccines play a causal role in autism?"

I'm sure it's frustrating to you that we seem to shoot down so casually all your theorizing about mechanisms by which vaccines might cause autism, but it's no less frustrating to us that when we ask "Where is one shred of solid evidence to demonstrate that vaccines are doing anything of the sort?" the only thing you give us is more speculation about mechanisms.

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 09 Jul 2013 #permalink

Seriously, I must interrupt myself and take a break. I’ll be back! Most likely in a week or so.

Sure thing.

I think brocoli is a plausible trigger for autism...along with the latex ports in vaccine vials and the latex packaging for vaccine syringes. What ever happened to the latex-fixated commercial adhesive salesman?

Who's dissing my cruciferous veggies? You haven't experienced the divine lightly-sauteed-in olive oil and garlic cauliflower florets...with a wee amount of crush red pepper flakes.

AF @694, I just want to thank you for continuing to comment. Your writing has an exceptional clarity to it that I hope to emulate in my own writings.

Greg:

1. With Japan retracting its recommendation of the HPV vaccine, will this make it harder for US health officials to defend the vaccine?

Given Japan's sad experience with withdrawing other vaccines, I think not.

2. Given that wooden-headed antivaccinationists believe vaccines cause autism and some of you being MDs, how do you hide your unease when a parent approaches you with an ailing autistic child seeking an explanation?

FTFY. Given that there is no evidence that vaccines cause autism, what unease?

3. What would you say to a parent who is struggling day-to-day with a very difficult autistic child and who feels all hope is lost?

I would refer them to Temple Grandin's autobiography "Emergence: labelled autistic". Grandin was a "very difficult autistic child" (to use your phrase) and she turned out ok. I'd remind them that things do get better and that there are supports and help out there.

4. When the vaccines causing autism denial racket is up how do think things will be conceded?

You may as well ask me what I plan to do when I win the lottery.
I don't play the lottery.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 09 Jul 2013 #permalink

As usual I find I missed interesting food talk while I slept.
M. O'B.,

I have deliberately avoided mushy peas

They are much more pleasant than they sound - there's a certain snobbishness about them among southerners in England as they are a northern delicacy. Think of them as a kind of hummus. I recently watched a TV show about Indian cooking (Rick Stein's India) and one of the street chefs in India used mushy peas as an ingredient, which amused me.

I'm with Narad and lilady on cruciferous vegetables. I'm a PCT taster, and I love them, partly because of the slightly bitter taste. My wife is a non-taster and isn't at all keen. Is there a connection? We may have been through this before, but I don't recall.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 09 Jul 2013 #permalink

Just dropping back in for a quick second...

" You know what I admire most about parents of autistic children who believe vaccines cause autism? Their courage! It would have been so much easier for them to consider that it was all due to genetics and nothing could have been done. Nor is it easy for them to go up against the establishment where they will be treated with disdain and ridicule."

"That isn’t courage moron; it’s the opposite. Courage is what is displayed by parents who love and accept their children for who they are and provide the means to ease their challenges. Not making up bogeymen to assuage their broken dreams and de-humanising their children by pumping them full of awful concoctions to “cure them”. You pathetic poseur."

Please review the videos of the challenging autistic cases, and let me know if they in any way alter your view.

http://www.ageofautism.com/2013/07/the-pretty-and-the-ugly-sides-of-aut…

Science Mom, #700 is for you.

@Antaneus Feldspar -

I am saddened that I have left you confused, funny enough, I was experimenting with a more concise response to try to remove the wall of text thing. Hah.

I'll try to clarify my thoughts in another post, later today or tonight.

@Krebiozen -

I had written my response regarding blood draws before reading one of your follow ups. I'll try to post more about this later.

@ SM -

I guess we disagree on some things. I had started a response, but it got rambling. I'll try to tighten it up.

@Alain -

Autism is highly heterogeneous in manifestation. There is not going to be any risk factor that can explain every feature of ability or disability in autism. How does the presence of a MET-C allele, or SHANK3 mutation, or a mother being infected with ruebella explain enhanced spatial memory in *some instances* of autism?

By passionlessDrone (not verified) on 10 Jul 2013 #permalink

@ Narad:
@ lilady:

If your beloved cauliflower is really so good why do you have to drown it in all of these clever seasoning tricks?

@ Krebiozen:

I don't like any kind of peas- mushy or otherwise. If you're going mushy, you might as well just make soup.

On the subject of being a 'taster' or not- I'm not sure: it seems I have some of the characteristics that are listed but not others.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 10 Jul 2013 #permalink

If your beloved cauliflower is really so good why do you have to drown it in all of these clever seasoning tricks?

As far as Indian cookery goes, uppma is very mildly seasoned indeed.

@ Narad:

Oh, I'm partially joking.

The point being that I really dislike some of these vegetables and also don't like coffee or chocolate - particular spices/ herbs can ruin a dish for me ( allspice, cinnamin, oregano esp), I despise red wine. According to the BBC test, I'm a supertaster but then I don't hate cilantro and I relish blue cheeses and eat Indian food, wasabi.
I've never done the test strip or the blue tongue routine.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 10 Jul 2013 #permalink

I like broccoli and cauliflower, but not sprouts (though they're tolerable if they are roasted and sprinkled with some salt). The former two are quite tasty raw or lightly steamd. Broccoli cut in "sheets" and pan seared, served with garlic chips is also quite yummy.

Boiling any of them is not recommended, and boiling them to the point of squishiness is right out.

I don't "drown" cauliflower in seasoning, Denice. I'm wondering how MO'B cooks his veggies that have to be drowned in cheese sauce to make them palatable.

The only time I've been able to east cauliflower is as part of a curry dish, and usually, when our family makes curry, we tend to add every vegetable we can find, including chick peas, sweet potatoes, and jalapeno peppers. Somehow it works.

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 10 Jul 2013 #permalink

@ Greg, No.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 10 Jul 2013 #permalink

Given that vaccines cause autism...

And the evidence that vaccines cause autism, Greg? Oh, that's right--you don't have any.

I’m wondering how MO’B cooks his veggies that have to be drowned in cheese sauce to make them palatable.

I lightly steam broccoli with a little salt and lemon juice until it is bright green and just tender. I do not, however, eat it regardless of how it is prepared and I cook it as a service to others. I've been served broccoli with distressing frequency in various dishes at Italian and Chinese restaurants in particular. I find it inedible regardless of the recipe. I made the mistake of throwing some broccoli that I fished out of Chinese take-out into the trash rather than the disposer the other week - within minutes the smell in the kitchen was sickening, as was the smell in the garage when I took it to the outside trash can.

Cauliflower is perfectly fine raw, possibly with a little dressing.

Cabbage is fine raw and cooked certain ways, though boiled cabbage is not my idea of a good time. Sweet and sour red cabbage is particularly tasty.

When people describe sprouts roasted and drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, it sounds like it SHOULD be good and I SHOULD like it, but they still taste like sprouts to me.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 10 Jul 2013 #permalink

I haven't yet tried grilling brassicas, but so far I haven't found a vegetable that doesn't taste perfectly delicious when grilled correctly. Actually, I haven't yet found ANY food that doesn't taste better when grilled right. On my ship one night, the unlucky suckers that were on duty in a liberty port came in for supper. My friend says "oh lovely, leftover chili mac and fetal cabbages" but I have found that brussels sprouts when cooked only to barely to tenderness in cream are fine indeed.

By BrewandFerment (not verified) on 10 Jul 2013 #permalink

oh, and if you can find the colored cauliflower, the orange ones roast into a very delicious thing with olive oil and salt. I like plaine white as well, but the orange ones seem a bit sweeter and milder.

By BrewandFerment (not verified) on 10 Jul 2013 #permalink

I have on occasion been fed broccoli cheese soup and was told that I would be unable to taste the broccoli. That statement was incorrect. Perhaps a homeopathic 20C preparation...

Actually, I haven’t yet found ANY food that doesn’t taste better when grilled right.

I wholeheartedly agree with that, with the possible exception of rice.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 10 Jul 2013 #permalink

Are we all in agreement now, about grilled veggies?

I enjoy every kind of vegetable...with the exception of lima and fava beans...and okra.

MO'B: I only have garbage pickups twice weekly and you have a holiday interrupt one of those pickups, I resort to freezing my stinky garbage, rather than having racoons dining on rotting raw meat and raw fish trimmings. :-)

quote pD

Autism is highly heterogeneous in manifestation. There is not going to be any risk factor that can explain every feature of ability or disability in autism. How does the presence of a MET-C allele, or SHANK3 mutation, or a mother being infected with ruebella explain enhanced spatial memory in *some instances* of autism?

Do you have any good reason(s) that we should ignore that body of knowledge especially since Dr. Casanova provide a causal link to increased memory (i.e. saying autism is heterogeneous don't cut it)?

Are you saying that autistics from Quebec are different to autistics from elsewhere in the world?

Alain

@pD,

To address your point below:

For instance, early-life infection in rats can profoundly disrupt memory function in young adulthood, as well as accelerate age-related cognitive decline, both of which are linked to enduring changes in glial function that occur in response to the initial infection

have a look at that MRS meta-analysis:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22832731 (open-access)

who found out that the autistic brain have lower level of common neurotransmitters (normal, the brain cells are smaller) as compared to control up to 35 years old where level of neurotransmitters are normal.

In other words, the brain keep producing new cells until 35 years old. That's not compatible with age-accelerated cognitive decline.

Now, couple that with the memory finding, the minicolumns finding (23% more brain cell in the brain) and this meta-analysis (i.e. a combination of experimental papers to stress it fully) and you have pretty robust finding against degenerescence.

When does the neurotypical brain attain maturity?

Alain

@ pD (and everyone else).

The dark age of research when we compared autistic brain to injured brain (Phineas Gage, ring a bell) is deader than dead. It's not a case of brain insult and a number of research groups agree with that and moved from that area of research. When will you follow suit pD?

Alain

I enjoy every kind of vegetable…with the exception of lima and fava beans…and okra.

Sufferin' succotash! I'll give you the okra, although perhaps I've just never had it prepared well.

I like okra in gumbo. The rest of my family likes it fried; some like it pickled or boiled.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 10 Jul 2013 #permalink

Our other family recipe is a nice, simple one: Saute some onions, add some chopped tomato and let simmer for a bit, put in some kidney bean, let cook a while longer, add bell pepper and jalapeno, serve with cheese over rice.

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 10 Jul 2013 #permalink

I agree with Krebiozen about okra- but only if done in the Indian or Pakistani style.
Otherwise, no.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 10 Jul 2013 #permalink

DW: How can you claim to be a foodie and dislike all the best stuff? It boggles the mind as to how anyone could dislike garlic. Or chocolate and coffee; the best ice-cream I've ever had was a coffee/chocolate blend.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 10 Jul 2013 #permalink

@ Politicalguineapig:

I never claimed to be a *foodie* but I adore going to restaurants. I'll admit that I have strong likes and dislikes. I do however love coffee ice cream or yoghurt.
Not the stuff people drink.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 10 Jul 2013 #permalink

Ugh! Coffee ice cream? That is sacrilege. Why would you ruin perfectly good, wonderful ice cream by adding coffee flavor? Blech.

Fried okra. With ketchup.

(It's the Southern side of my family coming out).

I wonder how much of our food likes and dislikes are innate and genetically programmed and how much they are culturally learned. Many foods are an acquired taste - the mere fact there is a term for that phenomenon is telling.

How many people really like garlic, black olives, chili or beer the first time they taste them? That said, my daughter had a love of black olives as a toddler. She would also eat Marmite by the spoonful. Genetics or learned behavior?

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 10 Jul 2013 #permalink

@ Krebiozen:

I would guess a great deal is learned- perhaps associated with positive experiences or relationships.

I remember the first time I tasted blue ( bleu?) cheese and thought it awful. Later I liked it. Don't know why.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 10 Jul 2013 #permalink

I'm with learned behavior for the most part, but as I've said repeatedly, appreciation of Malört seems like a strong candidate for genetics.

Never did lose my aversion to olives, though.

@Krebiozen -

As I wrote before, the increase in blood levels of cytokines after even infection is too small to be easily measured, so stimulated levels are often used instead, especially in infants.

Well, as SM mentioned, let's go ahead and acknowlege that my ignorance is wide and vast. It is acknolwedged. I've said in some places that my primary concern is that, as a species, we aren't clever enough to understand possible unintended consequences of our actions, and because I consider myself part of that species, I will state for the record that my areas of inexpertise are large.

That being said, let's look at

Serial measurements of C-reactive protein and interleukin-6 in the immediate postnatal period: reference intervals and analysis of maternal and perinatal confounders [PMID: 11375286]

From the methods section:

CRP and IL-6 values were prospectively obtained for 148 healthy babies (113 term, 35 near-term) at birth and at 24 and 48 h of life and from their mothers at delivery.

Now, I'm curious as to why the researchers bothered to perform this analysis if, indeed, blood levels of cytokines are too small to be easily measured? These measurements were taken immediately after birth, and again 24 and 48 hours later. How were they able to obtain these measurements?

Here are some of the results:

The IL-6 values observed in the delivering mothers and in their babies at all three neonatal ages were negatively associated with gestational age. In the immediate postnatal period, IL-6 dynamics for term babies were significantly different from those for near-term babies.

(That is actually a pretty interesting finding!)

But more saliently to this dicussion, can you explain to a simple layman like myself why the researchers bothered with this experiment, and how thay arrived at differnet values? These were healthy, normal, children, and yet, they drew blood with the intient of measuring IL-6. They didn't stimulate it. How is this possible considering your reference?

Similarly, the sepsis area seems to have a ton of studies where these types of cytokines were successfully measured without stimulation; i.e.,

The role of IL-6 for predicting neonatal sepsis: a systematic review and meta-analysis (PMID: 23056824)

A review paper.

Meta-analysis was performed on 13 publications including 353 infants with sepsis and 691 control infants. The pooled sensitivity and specificity of IL-6 was 0.79 and 0.84, respectively.

Can you tell me how this type of analysis possible if these types of measurements are not possible? What is missing in my understanding between the reference you posted above, and a meta-analysis of 13 papers on IL-6 in infants? [I'd note that a ton of 'control' infants had blood drawn for this experiment.]

It turns out, recently, there has been some attempt to identify measurements of inflammation post vaccination in infants, i.e.,

Inflammatory responses to hepatitis B virus vaccine in healthy term infants (PMID: 23358708)

Therefore, we prospectively studied interleukin-6 (IL-6) and CRP responses to HBV immunization. In 70 healthy term infants without signs and symptoms of sepsis and sepsis risk factors, IL-6, CRP, and white blood cell count levels were determined before and 24 h after immunization. Significant increases in CRP levels were seen 24 h after vaccination (p?<?0.001). Although CRP levels of 22 infants at second evaluation were above the cutoff level for sepsis (4.82 mg/L) they had no clinical signs and symptoms of sepsis.

(Whoa)

And yet, again, the methodology and reporting of results, seems at odds with your posting regading the difficulty in detecting increase in blood cyokine levels.

Perhaps there are different tools available lately, considering your reference was from 2000? Maybe our existing kits are superior to those available to the authors of the paper you referenced? I really don't know, but it seems like a lot of people are publishing results of the thing that you say is too difficult to capture.

Your statements seem, to my uneducated eye, to be at odds with an array of literature. How is this possible? What am I missing?

Specifically I would expect to see far more autism back when infant mortality due to contagious diseases was well into double figures (40% over the first year in 18th century London), since survivors must surely have had large immune responses during any and all of the windows of neurodevelopmental sensitivity you have suggested. We don’t see this

Suddenly the 1900 guys were supposed to be as good at seeing autism as we are now too? I thought we were just getting good at this, and that's why our figures are all about perception, not actual change!

Maybe you and AF should discuss the concepts of increased awareness and diagnostic shifting; those mechanisms are capable of causing us to recognize autism *today*, when the same situation occurred *in the past* but we weren't as good at identifying it. (I happen to think that diagnostic changes have made a big effect in our observation of rates.)

- pD

By passionlessDrone (not verified) on 10 Jul 2013 #permalink

@Antaneus Feldspar -

[love the wall of text!]

Let's take a look at what LW wrote.

Given that background, is it really credible that a full 2% of the population would respond to a mild immunological insult in infancy by developing autism? And if so, would we not see that a full 2% of every pre-modern population was autistic? The only way we wouldn’t see that, I think, is if that 2% pretty much all died in infancy, except for the very few who survived long enough to be recognized and killed as changelings.

He says the only way we *wouldn't* see a 'full 2%' of the population developing autism would be a mass die off. He gives no credence to a decreased awareness of autism. There is no recognition of the concept of a low penetrant effect. He gives no credence to the idea of a broadening of what autism means to include less affected children; indeed, he seems to think that the remaining infants who didn't die would be identified as 'changelings'. I get the sense that if Greg or I described the entire autism spectrum as 'changelings' so obviously different that pre-modern societies would immediately recognize (and murder!) them as such, I would get crucified; LW does it and nobody bats an eye. Where is the outrage?

For whatever reasons, probably including a lot of what you describe, we DO NOT see the same rates of autism when we look to past populations. None of that entered in LW's thought experiment and nobody seemed to notice.

Now, you go on to give a well thought out explanation of the concepts of diagnostic widening, greater awareness, and diagnostic shifting. But those are the reasons that we are given generally as to *why* we don't see X% of autism in 'every pre-modern population'; that's the entire idea behind an epidemic of awareness, that is the underpinning of a perception of change, as opposed to an actual change. Can you show me where the ideas of greater awareness and diagnostic changing are reflected in LW's common sense analysis? Where is the recognition in this analysis that our current conceptualization of autism includes children who are *subtly* different, when his thought experiment has surviving infants identified (and killed!) as changelings? That is why throwing a 'why don't we see 2%' argument at me is hilarious; it ignores the concepts of diagnostic variability and greater awareness, it allows for none of them.

From you, I think it’s that the foundation of your self-awarded degrees' is much thinner than you are aware of, and you don’t understand as much as you think you do of the science-based position.

LOL.

Many people have come here demanding that their explanation of 'vaccines cause autism' be accepted, because supposedly it’s the best explanation for how autism ‘came outta nowhere; we never had autism before and now it’s all over the place!’

Technically true. I do not believe that I have done so. (?) I've had people tell me that vaccines are 100% safe; should I could around here and start alluding to how that got told to me once, and therefore, it has salience for your arguments? I do not believe it is appropriate to try to make me defend other people's arguments.

The science-based camp says 'Hmmm, ‘we never had autism before’? That’s a strong claim, and hard to verify.

I have never made that claim.

That explanation is 'whatever is causing autism now was probably causing autism then, except back then, we were more likely to call it ‘mental retardation’, or some other condition that was more familiar than autism.

OK. But then why is LW so amazed that we don't see a full 2% of autism in pre-modern societies?

Nothing about the diagnostic substitution hypothesis says that the true incidence of autism is stable

Uhh. I think you kind of lost me there.

First is 'What evidence do we have that there is an actual increase in autism prevalence, as opposed to just the perception of one?'

Reliance on behavioral diagnostic data will never achieve this. When rates went from .5% to 1% it was diagnostically driven. When rates go from 1% to 2.6%, it was diagnostically driven. If rates came out tomorrow at 5%, or 10%, the same arguments of diagnostic changes would lose none of their ability to explain away the whole of the change. Barring a time machine, I am not confident that reliance on a diagnostic as fuzzy as autism will be able to convince you of this. (?)

In any case, the increased parental age as a risk factor data clearly indicates *some* of the increase is actual. Similarly, our ability to keep pre-term babies alive, with an associated increased risk of autism strongly suggests other components of the increase are real.

Take a look at PMID: 23337946; it includes 1M+ samples, and shows a dose relationship between maternal CRP levels (i.e., inflammation) and autism risk. Ask yourself if, as a population, we have increased, or decreased, our levels of inflammation compared to pre-modern societies. What implication does this hold for the an increase based solely on perception?

What about PMID: 22492772; which shows that having metabolic conditions during pregnancy (i..e., diabetes, hypertension, obesity) are risk factors for autism. Ask yourself, as a population, have we become more obese, or less obese over time? What implications does this have on the concept of an increase that is based entirely on perception?

Unless these studies are wrong, in the same way, some of the increase is real. How much? I don't know. How much evidecce do *you* have that 100% of the increase is perception?

Here is a thought experiment that might actually get us a closer understanding. Lots of places have been storing things like cord blood and maternal samples in large numbers, and as we begin to evaluate them, we are finding associations with what those values look like, and risk of autism. *If* we can collect sufficient data from these types of samples taken in the past, we could get a much more precise understanding if the risk factors for autism have been changing or not. You will note that these types of studies speak toward mechanisms different than vaccination; I don't have a problem with that at all.

The question is, *how much* of the increase is real? I don't know the answer to that question, but I am of the mindset that any value is pretty scary. I have been accused of an over zealous use of the precautionary principle.

Where is one shred of solid evidence to demonstrate that vaccines are doing anything of the sort?

You know as well as I do that we don't have the studies to answer this question. If I suggest a vax/unvax study, I'm told it is unethical (correct). If I suggest utilizing subsets of people that don't vaccine (Chicago idiots / Christian Scientists idiots / new age idiots), I'm told that the crazy beliefs of the parents unduly influence the medical attention seeking of the parents such that we cannot reliably count on their rates being sound (again, a valid argument). If you are going to tell me that the experiments cannot be performed, that's OK, but you cannot simultaneously beat me up on the fact that I cannot provide unperformable experiments.

the only thing you give us is more speculation about mechanisms.

Fair enough. What do you think about the altered microglial morphology with consequent effects on neural sculpting line of reasoning I presented above?

@LW -

I have never been able to tell from your comments what fraction of autism you believe to be caused by early life immune insults, not even to the nearest order of magnitude.

I don't have an answer to that question; I just am worried that a value greater than zero is biologically plausible. Considering the wide reach of the vaccine program, this drives part of my concerns.

I will not be burdened by defending anything Greg may have posted.

It strikes me that it is your burden to prove that autistic people in the Twenty-First Century BC had different immune function from those in the Twenty-First Century AD, if your theory depends on that.

I am making the case that the altered immune function observed in autism is a risk factor for interactions with early life immune function; your model requires that immune function in everyone has been the same over time. If, instead, *more* people have altered immune function consistent with *increased* risk, then your model falls apart.

In any case, have you perused any of the data regarding the incidence of food allergies? [PMID: 22944484]

What about the differences in conditions like asthma and allergies based on maternal and childhood living conditions; i.e., rural vs urban? Check out the hygeine hypothesis; there really isn't any legitimate debate regarding if modernity confers an increased risk to a great number of autoimmune disorders, we aren't really sure how, but the sheer volume of associations are staggering.

How about PMID: 21874618 which looked for associations between maternal obesity and inflammation in the offspring.

The odds ratio (OR) of HR children having detectable hs-CRP levels was 16 times greater than that of LR children after adjusting for confounding variables, including BMI z-score, Tanner stages and gender (OR: 16; 95% CI: 2-123).

Now, tell me, do you think that pre-modern societies had less, the same, or more obese mothers?

The presence or absence of helminths clearly alters immune profile; that isn't to say that having helminths is *good*, per se, just *different*. Do you think that humans in post modern societies have less, the same, or higher incidences of helminth infection?

So yeah, I kind of thing things are different now than they used to be. The things you presented as reasons are *also* part of the equation.

- pD

By passionlessDrone (not verified) on 10 Jul 2013 #permalink

@Alain -

Do you have any good reason(s) that we should ignore that body of knowledge especially since Dr. Casanova provide a causal link to increased memory (i.e. saying autism is heterogeneous don’t cut it)?

Alain. Dude. If you would like to make the claim that all autism is characterized by *increased memory*, I can't stop you, but I'd like to see more evidence than something that Dr. Cassonva 'proved' it. What were the sample sizes? Considering ~ 30% of people with autism also present with intellectual disability, how was this measured?

If you want to make the claim that 'increased memory' is a facet of all people with autism, bypassing the heterogenous nature of the diagnosis, you've got some *serious* work cut out for you.

Look, I get the neurodiversity concept. I get that *in some instances*, there are *good* differences associated with autism. Sometimes different is good. [You might be surprised to find I've been personally accused of being 'eccentric' IRL.] Unfortunately, in the world we all inhabit, one dominated by social communications, loud noises, bright lights and many things to keep track of simultaneously, those changes seem to very frequently be attached with poor outcomes. *Believe me*, no one likes this less than me. Trust me, I see it all the time, every day, 24/7. But those are the facts on the ground, man.

I get that you have autism and are doing well, you understand grammar, you understand the internet, and research, and being insulted, and Dr. Cassanova, and Quebec. Good for you. Lots of *todays* kids with autism don't understand any of those concepts and a billion more you are taking for granted. Please try to keep this in mind.

Are you saying that autistics from Quebec are different to autistics from elsewhere in the world?

I have no idea what this refers to.

The dark age of research when we compared autistic brain to injured brain (Phineas Gage, ring a bell) is deader than dead. It’s not a case of brain insult and a number of research groups agree with that and moved from that area of research. When will you follow suit pD?

If you can provide an instance where I referred to an autistic brain as 'injuired', or 'damaged', I wil retract it.

The facts are, the autistic brain does appear to be different. In most instances, this *difference* appears to be associated with problems in a societal relationship, as well as very strong comorbidity ties.

The comorbidity of autism and epilepsy is between ten and thirty times that of 'normal' people (at least). If you want to insist that this is different in a non-pathological way, I can't stop you. But you might want to consider stopping yourself.

- pD

By passionlessDrone (not verified) on 10 Jul 2013 #permalink

@pD,

Here's a preliminary list of finding wrt autism and memory:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?LinkName=pubmed_pubmed&from_uid=11280421

Read the first publication on that list and examine the others in relation to the first.

As for Dr. Casanova, he documented an hypothesis of autistic having 23% more cells in the brain. Could you tell me to which purpose serve those cells? Especially if they don't increase memory.

If you can provide an instance where I referred to an autistic brain as ‘injuired’, or ‘damaged’, I wil retract it.

Sure, here it is:

For instance, early-life infection in rats can profoundly disrupt memory function in young adulthood, as well as accelerate age-related cognitive decline, both of which are linked to enduring changes in glial function that occur in response to the initial infection

To address another point:

The comorbidity of autism and epilepsy is between ten and thirty times that of ‘normal’ people (at least). If you want to insist that this is different in a non-pathological way, I can’t stop you. But you might want to consider stopping yourself.

Where did I speak about epilepsy and neurodiversity? You seem to project unto me a view that I didn't ascribe to. I have never been associated with neurodiversity even if I may share some of the benefits or idea (or whatever) and I would ask you to please check with me before infering any opinion on that matter.

Alain

P.s. I know that a rat is different from an autistic but then again, you extrapolate rat finding wrt autistic subject.

Alain

DW: fair enough. I don't go out to restaurants much; I'm poor and there's a chef in the family. I like fairly strongly flavored foods, and I'm used to eating all sorts of things.

Todd W: If you think that's bad, consider that I live in a town where someone made a smoothie with bacon for a recipe contest- and it came very close to winning. Compared to that, coffee flavored ice cream is -nothing-. (And btw, I dare you to try the Pavarotti flavor from Sebastian Joe's and tell me it's not good. It's the coffee-chocolate-something else blend I mentioned. I hope it still exists.)

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 10 Jul 2013 #permalink

"Look, I get the neurodiversity concept. I get that *in some instances*, there are *good* differences associated with autism. Sometimes different is good. [You might be surprised to find I've been personally accused of being 'eccentric' IRL.] Unfortunately, in the world we all inhabit, one dominated by social communications, loud noises, bright lights and many things to keep track of simultaneously, those changes seem to very frequently be attached with poor outcomes. *Believe me*, no one likes this less than me. Trust me, I see it all the time, every day, 24/7. But those are the facts on the ground, man."

With all due respect, you don't seem to "get" neurodiveristy.

It's not about "good" differences or "bad" differences. It's about the fact that a person is valued the same irrespective of the differences. It's about the rights of a person being inalienable--even if one is disabled.

I threw "diversity" into google. Perhaps if you dig around a bit you can find places where epople talk about "this group has advantages that group doesn't" You find statements like this:
"“A diverse community is essential to achieve our mission of creating the best possible learning environment and educational experience, because only by exploring issues with people of different backgrounds and viewpoints can we challenge our assumptions, test our ideas and broaden our understanding of the world."

http://www.northwestern.edu/diversity/

The Girl Scouts' statement on diversity is about inclusion.
http://www.girlscouts.org/who_we_are/diversity/

But throw "neuro" in front of diversity and suddelnly it's about "better" traits.

The confusion is easy to understand in many cases. Many neurodiversity advocates have countered the depiction of autistics as "less" which usually involves the depction of disability as less and a reason for pity.

I hope that society will help my kid out of respect, not out of pity. Yes, I realize it is a harder sell. But I don't have the right to trade my kid's dignity. That's neurodiversity. Not, "help my kid because some autistm traits are beneficial"

By Matt Carey (not verified) on 10 Jul 2013 #permalink

pD -

I will give a fuller response to your latest comment tomorrow, when I will hopefully have stopped swearing at your jaw-dropping misinterpretation of LW long enough to be able to explain calmly why that misinterpretation is either utterly dishonest or ludicrously incompetent.

In the meantime, I will respond to this little bit here:

First is ‘What evidence do we have that there is an actual increase in autism prevalence, as opposed to just the perception of one?’

Reliance on behavioral diagnostic data will never achieve this. When rates went from .5% to 1% it was diagnostically driven. When rates go from 1% to 2.6%, it was diagnostically driven. If rates came out tomorrow at 5%, or 10%, the same arguments of diagnostic changes would lose none of their ability to explain away the whole of the change. Barring a time machine, I am not confident that reliance on a diagnostic as fuzzy as autism will be able to convince you of this. (?)

The answer you are giving is an answer to the wrong question. The question you are trying to answer is "If we start with the assumption that there is an actual increase in autism prevalence, how do we reconcile that with the data?" If that actually were the question, your answer would be fine -

- but that isn't the question, because you don't get to start out with your favored assumption. That's what we keep trying to communicate to you. You can't say "There's a great big gap in the data, and I have managed to make myself believe that the data we don't have would have all looked like this if we'd been able to collect it, and because that scenario I've woven in the absence of all that data seems utterly plausible and self-consistent to me, you should accept it as what really happened." Hypotheses are to explain the evidence; if you're trying instead to explain why there is no evidence for your hypothesis, you are bringing the wrong coin to the store.

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 10 Jul 2013 #permalink

Ugh! Coffee ice cream? That is sacrilege.

Of the Holy Seed? I think not. I could see tiramisu being derided as vulgar, but coffee gelato predates the Constitution.

No Vienna Iced Cafe? Many, many, years ago during a very hot summer in Austria we learned to order this drink. It was simply cold coffee poured over vanilla ice cream. Yummy. Actually we mostly drank it in Salzburg, which is the only European city we purposely visited twice.

@ Matt Carey: What a beautiful comment you made. Thank you.

Coffee gelato? I'm swooning with memories of all the coffee gelato I ate while in Umbria last summer.

Dear hubby makes the best coffee for me in the morning. He has the patience to slowly fill the water reservoir on the electric drip pot.

@passionlessDrone:

I get the sense that if Greg or I described the entire autism spectrum as ‘changelings’ so obviously different that pre-modern societies would immediately recognize (and murder!) them as such, I would get crucified; LW does it and nobody bats an eye. Where is the outrage?

Have you been reading what Greg has to say?

He has said, repeatedly, over a period of weeks, that 2% of young children are now autistic and that autism means "non-verbal, head banging, screaming, poop smearing". He uses those same words over and over and over and over and refuses to acknowledge that there even is a spectrum or that broadening of criteria might cause children with subtle differences to be included as "autistic". 

Would pre-modern people be able identify that there was something unusual about a child who was "non-verbal, head banging, screaming, poop smearing"?  I'm pretty sure they would.  Would we be able to identify such people in a pre-modern society even without a broadening of criteria?  I'm pretty sure we would. 

You seem to believe that I was objecting to your arguments as contrary to common sense; I was not, as Antaeus Feldspar and others recognize. You seem to be describing subtle differences caused by early life immune insults but Greg is not, even though he enthusiastically accepted your arguments as bolstering his own. I was responding to Greg, not you. Is that clear?

To spell out in excruciating detail what Greg has argued for weeks:

1). Once upon a time, when the world was pure and clean and vaccine-preventable diseases raged unchecked, the rate of autism was 1/10,000. 

2) Today the rate of autism is 1/50 or 200/10,000. 

3) This change is exclusively due to vaccines; no other possibility (such as diagnostic substitution or broadening of criteria or better recognition) is even conceivable and anyone who suggests such a possibility is a lying child-killer.

4) A very large proportion of people with autism are "non-verbal, head banging, screaming, poop smearing".   (There's been some success in arguing him down from "virtually all" to "50%".)

@passionlessDrone, please read this list of Greg's claims. Do they look like what you have argued?  No. Please look back at Greg's numerous comments. Do you think I've mischaracterized his claims?  I don't think so. I don't think I've exaggerated them. 

@passionlessDrone, given what Greg has claimed, not what you have claimed, why do you not consider it a reasonable response to ask why, when babies were exposed to far more immune insults that they are in Twenty-First Century First World countries, 2% or so of the population was not autistic by Greg's definition, i.e., "non-verbal, head banging, screaming, poop smearing"?

And it's not just Greg, of course. Any anti-vaxxer who claims that the reported increase in autism is not due to diagnostic substitution or broadening of criteria or better recognition, but is exclusively due to vaccines -- necessarily implying that "autism" diagnosed today is identical in effects and severity to autism as diagnosed fifty years ago -- raises the same question in my mind.

Where is one shred of solid evidence to demonstrate that vaccines are doing anything of the sort?

You know as well as I do that we don’t have the studies to answer this question. If I suggest a vax/unvax study, I’m told it is unethical (correct). If I suggest utilizing subsets of people that don’t vaccine (Chicago idiots / Christian Scientists idiots / new age idiots), I’m told that the crazy beliefs of the parents unduly influence the medical attention seeking of the parents such that we cannot reliably count on their rates being sound (again, a valid argument). If you are going to tell me that the experiments cannot be performed, that’s OK, but you cannot simultaneously beat me up on the fact that I cannot provide unperformable experiments.

"Beat you up"? Do you seriously think that you are entitled to figure out the mysteries of autism, and if you get stuck because data is impossible to collect, science is obligated to say, "Well, you went as far to support your hypothesis as you ethically could, therefore we'll just wink and pretend that you actually got the data you wanted and it proved your beliefs"? And if that doesn't happen, it's so unfair to you it's like being beaten up? Science does not scale grades, pD!

This is not the first time people trying to do science have said "Damn, I bet if I could only collect the data from XYZ, I'm convinced that it would confirm my hypothesis! But I can't collect that data, because it's unavailable or it would be unethical to do the experiments!" The problem is, as maddening as it is to be stuck in that unfortunate situation, it would corrupt the whole meaning of science to say "all right, everybody who is stuck not being able to get the data they want, you get a free pass!"

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 11 Jul 2013 #permalink

pD,
This is getting tiresome. My point is that the immunological effects of vaccines on infants, adults and animals have been measured, in detail, by thousands of researchers, including a wide range of cytokines. You claimed that:

No one has bothered to measure cytokines generated as a result of vaccination in our infants.

And:

[...] our research into the post vaccination immune response is non-existent; especially in the infant population.

This is not true. I'm not really interested in getting into the minutiae of what people have or have not measured and the different analytical techniques they used.

Now, I’m curious as to why the researchers bothered to perform this analysis if, indeed, blood levels of cytokines are too small to be easily measured? These measurements were taken immediately after birth, and again 24 and 48 hours later. How were they able to obtain these measurements?

I didn't claim that "blood levels of cytokines are too small to be easily measured" I wrote:

the increase in blood levels of cytokines after even infection is too small to be easily measured, so stimulated levels are often used instead, especially in infants.

Your failure to comprehend the difference between measuring cytokine levels, and measuring an increase in cytokine levels renders most of the rest of your comment irrelevant, since I never claimed what you somewhat sarcastically attack, however...

It turns out, recently, there has been some attempt to identify measurements of inflammation post vaccination in infants, i.e.,
Inflammatory responses to hepatitis B virus vaccine in healthy term infants (PMID: 23358708)

I take it you are admitting you were wrong in stating that:

No one has bothered to measure cytokines generated as a result of vaccination in our infants.

You continue:

Therefore, we prospectively studied interleukin-6 (IL-6) and CRP responses to HBV immunization. In 70 healthy term infants without signs and symptoms of sepsis and sepsis risk factors, IL-6, CRP, and white blood cell count levels were determined before and 24 h after immunization. Significant increases in CRP levels were seen 24 h after vaccination (p<0.001). Although CRP levels of 22 infants at second evaluation were above the cutoff level for sepsis (4.82 mg/L) they had no clinical signs and symptoms of sepsis.
(Whoa)

Whoa? You do know that CRP (C-reactive protein) is not a cytokine, don't you? There is no mention of any increase in cytokine levels in the abstract of this study (I don't have full access at my current location).

And yet, again, the methodology and reporting of results, seems at odds with your posting regading the difficulty in detecting increase in blood cyokine levels.

Yet again, you fail to comprehend what you have posted.

Perhaps there are different tools available lately, considering your reference was from 2000? Maybe our existing kits are superior to those available to the authors of the paper you referenced? I really don’t know, but it seems like a lot of people are publishing results of the thing that you say is too difficult to capture.

It seems to me that you really don't know, and people are publishing nothing of the sort. As a matter of fact, as I wrote back at #602:

More sensitive assays using amplified ELISA have recently become available that can measure unstimulated changes, I believe.

You continue:

Your statements seem, to my uneducated eye, to be at odds with an array of literature. How is this possible? What am I missing?

I think I have adequately explained that. Let me know if anything is still unclear, I'm happy to help.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 11 Jul 2013 #permalink

Temporary interruption of hiatus.....

@LW

" A very large proportion of people with autism are ”non-verbal, head banging, screaming, poop smearing”. (There’s been some success in arguing him down from “virtually all” to “50%”.)"

LW, please point to where I said, specifically, that a very large percentage of autistics are head bangers, screamers, and poop smearers? Yes, I referred to these autistic cases repeatedly to drive home my point that autism is not a trifling affliction. No where, however, did I give their exact percentages.

As to mentally retarded autistics (sorry for not using the PC term but I think PC terms are often too convenient in masking problems), indeed around 40% of ASDs are mentally retarded, in contrast to the general population average of 5%. I did previously mention 50% of autistics are mentally retarded, but this figure appears to be for autisitcs alone.

As to non-verbal autistics, depending on the source, anywhere from 25- 50% of autisitcs are claimed to be non-verbal. I am not sure if this figure is for the ASD group as a whole or just autistics.

You are right through about me believing that the diagnosis substitution and better detection arguments are 'crocs'. Indeed, I do believe that autism has exploded in real numbers over just a short few decades for some 'inexplicable' reason.

@Narad

but coffee gelato predates the Constitution

Argument from antiquity. To think, Narad, I once thought quite highly of you. To see you fall for such a logical fallacy...tragic!

@Chris and lilady

Coffee is the work of the devil (if such a being exists...and if not, it's still evil) and it is so sad to see you fallen victim to the myth that coffee actually tastes good. The first step to recovering from your delusion is to admit that you made a mistake.

Though I am disappointed that so many of my RI compatriots have been conned in to believing Big Java's lie, I will not let such a rift come between us. No. To do so would make Greg too giddy, his head would explode. And no matter how inane he might be, I could not have even his death upon my conscience.

Now, back to the cytokine show.

Note also that my initial '1 in 6 poop smearing, head banging, non-verbal autistics and those with adhd and other autoimmune conditions' comment still does not amount to me saying that 1 in 6 autistics are head banging, non verbal and poop smearing. The '1 in 6' number is generally tossed around referring to 'all' disabilities, be they autism, speech delays, ADHD, ADD, allergies, and so on.

Should anyone (pD) doubt my claim that:

the immunological effects of vaccines on infants, adults and animals have been measured, in detail by thousands of researchers, including a range of cytokines

I suggest you search for the name of a specific cytokine, such as "interleukin" (or specifics such as "IL-10", IL-17" etc.), "interferon" ( "INF"), transforming growth factor beta ("TGF-β"), or "tumor necrosis factor" ("TNF"), along with a specific vaccine such as "measles vaccine'" on PubMed or Google Scholar. That should come up with enough hits to keep you busy for quite some time. People were measuring blood interferon levels in children after measles vaccination nearly 50 years ago.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 11 Jul 2013 #permalink

Greg,

The ’1 in 6′ number is generally tossed around referring to ‘all’ disabilities, be they autism, speech delays, ADHD, ADD, allergies, and so on.

The 1 in 6 figure isn't "tossed around", it derives from the statistics, in that approximately 1 in 6 (1 in 6.3 or 15.8% to be more precise) of anything that follows a normal distribution will measure more than 1 standard deviation below the mean, by definition, just as 2.2% will be more than 2 SD and 0.1% more than 3 SD below the mean. See Wikipedia on percentiles.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 11 Jul 2013 #permalink

To clarify my last comment, to point out that 1 in 6 people is of below normal X, so we should be very, very afraid is dumb, because we define abnormality in such a way that 1 in 6 people will always be below normal X, whether X is intelligence, height, weight or shoe size.

It's like stating that 50% of people are now of below average intelligence, and asking why no one is doing anything about this terrible tsunami of broccoli poisoning.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 11 Jul 2013 #permalink

Speaking for myself Todd, I am in league with the devil. I don't care what The Troll believes and if Troll's head explodes. It couldn't be any worse than the brain material I cleaned up from the floor, ceiling and drapes on our blog, when the "SFB Troll's" head exploded.

@ Krebiozen

"It’s like stating that 50% of people are now of below average intelligence, and asking why no one is doing anything about this *terrible tsunami of broccoli poisoning."

*New terminology from AoA HQ...("Autism: Tornado in the Brain")

http://www.ageofautism.com/2013/07/autism-tornado-in-the-brain.html

@Greg: you continue to assert: 

You are right through about me believing that the diagnosis substitution and better detection arguments are ‘crocs’. Indeed, I do believe that autism has exploded in real numbers over just a short few decades for some ‘inexplicable’ reason.

The "inexplicable" reason is, in your mind, indisputably vaccination and anyone who says otherwise is a lying child-killing pharma shill.

With that out of the way, the question remains, why wasn't the autism rate at least as high in the bad old days?

And don't tell me it's because that was a long time ago. I personally met a woman in the 90s who remembered that when she was a small child in the United States at the turn of the century, babies frequently died of dysentery. Read about the Great Depression for more illustrations. There were plenty of people of that time still around when autism was being studied.

So, Greg, if vaccination has this devastating effect, producing an autism rate of 2%, why did the much worse immune insults in the recent past produce a rate of 0.01% (according to you)?  You are not allowed -- by your own words -- to argue that the rate was just as high but only now recognized because of greater recognition or diagnostic substitution. You have to show that mild immunological insults in infancy produce autism but severe immunological insults cause no trouble at all (except for, you know, death or, in the survivors, blindness, deafness, paralysis, and brain damage -- which is not autism by the way -- all of which are perfectly acceptable outcomes to you).

CIA Parker has accused all you Shot of Prevention paid shills of being...paid shills for Shot of Prevention:

http://www.ageofautism.com/2012/11/every-child-by-two-frozen-caveman-ph…

"I think the front group that has inherited the banner, Shot of Prevention, is spending hundreds of thousands of this largesse a year paying their commenters, some of whom appear to be there shooting down vaccine-damaged families 24-7-365. They've hired an Aussie now, and an ex-pat living in the U.K., in addition to their core of five, some of whom move on once their contracts are up, and are replaced by others. I think it's interesting that they realize they need to have real live people who spend their days repeating the same old pharma-lies ad infinitum, trying desperately to counter the intelligent, well-informed fury of the tens of thousands of vaccine-damaged families who are quite effectively waking the public up to the dangers of vaccines. In 2000, when my baby was born, less than 1% of families refused any recommended vaccines: now, in places like Oregon and Alaska, between 5 and 10% of families are refusing all or some of the vaccines, because they believe us and not the pharma shills.

Posted by: cia parker | July 10, 2013 at 11:30 PM"

BTW, I haven't been able to get comments through on the SOP blog for months. Christine Vera and her techie people think the problem is because a few numbers in my IP address are in the same sequence as one of their trolls IP address.

some of whom appear to be there shooting down vaccine-damaged families 24-7-365

I thought most of this time was spent shooting down Cynthia Parker's endless parade of sockpuppets.

Oh, and...

Christine Vera and her techie people think the problem is because a few numbers in my IP address are in the same sequence as one of their trolls IP address.

Time to get new tech people. This makes no sense whatever, regardless of the truth value of the statement.

Todd W.:

You are indeed correct: coffee is the work of the probably non-existent devil ( or his proxy)* who obviously heads the cartel to deny the benefits of tea
.
"Tea is the drink of intellectuals", said de Quincy (when he wasn't imbibing *something else*); empires have run on tea ( witness GB, Japan, India and China), revolutions began because of it and it has spawned no evil Starbucks ( a/k/a Crapbucks**) franchises to grab all of trendy folks' available cash.
Polyphenols readily available in tea promote long life and vibrant caffeinated health.

What is more important, like empires, I run on tea.

* the other Mr D***
** DC Sessions
**** there are a lot of Ds around RI, ever notice that?

-btw- there is no rift: Big Java is accepted by all minions- even if we despise its products- because it is merely an alternative BIg Pharma dispensing an Amerindian, pre-Bronze Age drug system.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 11 Jul 2013 #permalink

@ Krebiozen;

Thank you for explaining "1 in 6" so I didn't have to do it.
It would be so much easier if we could draw it, no?

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 11 Jul 2013 #permalink

@ Narad: I have the emails from Christine. According to her, I have one 3-number sequence, and two 2-number sequences in my IP address that are either "blocked", or that are put into moderation.

I posted several "test posts" and then immediately notified Christine of the exact EST/EDT times I posted. My test posts never made the "moderation" queue.

What I have noticed is the little green circle in the top left corner does its counterclockwise function, but does not do revert to its clockwise function, after I hit "submit".

In addition to Krebiozen's explanation, there's this, from a blog post 18 months ago:

The source of the "one in six" is a paper in Pediatrics, Boyle et al. (2011) Trends in the Prevalence of Developmental Disabilities in US Children, 1997–2008 Pediatrics. 2011 Jun;127(6):1034-42. Epub 2011 May 23. doi: 10.1542/peds.2010-2989)

From the abstract :

Participants and Methods:We used data on children aged 3 to 17 years from the 1997–2008 National Health Interview Surveys, which are ongoing nationally representative samples of US households. Parent-reported diagnoses of the following were included: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; intellectual disability; cerebral palsy; autism; seizures; stuttering or stammering; moderate to profound hearing loss; blindness; learning disorders; and/or other developmental delays.

Screening for and remediating learning disorders are my areas of expertise. I would say the one in six figure (16.6%) is possibly low. Dyslexia is classed as a developmental disability. Some dyslexia experts put the actual prevalence rate at up to 20%.

Dyslexia in particular is under-diagnosed and under-treated.

494:
Greg
July 7, 2013

@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.

---

Forget 1 in 6: Greg actually believes AT LEAST 99.95% of autistics are non-verbal, head banging and poop smearing.

Given that background, is it really credible that a full 2% of the population would respond to a mild immunological insult in infancy by developing autism? And if so, would we not see that a full 2% of every pre-modern population was autistic? The only way we wouldn’t see that, I think, is if that 2% pretty much all died in infancy, except for the very few who survived long enough to be recognized and killed as changelings.

He says the only way we *wouldn’t* see a ‘full 2%’ of the population developing autism would be a mass die off.

Or you could pay attention to the very first sentence you quoted from LW. What you have falsely described as the "mantra" of the science-based position is actually LW examining an antivaxer's claims and saying "If these claims of yours were accurate, then logically we would see this consequence. Since this consequence would have been very visible throughout history and yet no one reported observing such a thing, it is not really credible that these claims of yours are accurate."

That's why I described your misinterpretation of LW as "either utterly dishonest or ludicrously incompetent"; you took a statement in the form "If A happened, which I don't find very credible, then wouldn't B have happened as a result of it?" and you started shouting "LW thinks B! LW came out and said B! B is the mantra of the whole science-based camp!"

He says the only way we *wouldn’t* see a ‘full 2%’ of the population developing autism would be a mass die off.

Or, you twit, if the hypothesis that 2% of infant immune systems are so fragile that a mild immunological insult is all that's needed to cause autism is wrong, which everyone except you recognized as the point LW was making.

First is ‘What evidence do we have that there is an actual increase in autism prevalence, as opposed to just the perception of one?’

In any case, the increased parental age as a risk factor data clearly indicates *some* of the increase is actual. Similarly, our ability to keep pre-term babies alive, with an associated increased risk of autism strongly suggests other components of the increase are real.

Are you being deliberately dense? Pointing to obviously non-vaccine factors that increase the incidence of autism and claiming them as support for your unproven hypothesis of vaccine factors causing an increase in incidence of autism is just dumb. It's like saying "Of course, Bigfoot is real! There's footprints in the garden! Of course, they're footprints belonging to you and me, not to Bigfoot, but still, they're footprints and that's evidence that Bigfoot leaves footprints!"

Nothing about the diagnostic substitution hypothesis says that the true incidence of autism is stable

Uhh. I think you kind of lost me there.

No kidding. Given that you couldn't tell the difference between "If your implausible premise A was true, we would have seen consequence B" and "B is our mantra!" I wouldn't be surprised if I lost you with the notion "Socks first then shoes".

How much evidecce do *you* have that 100% of the increase is perception?

None. And guess what? I don't need it, because "100% of the increase is perception" isn't the science-based position, only your crappy straw-man distortion of it. You keep acting as if your hypothesis is the default position, the most reasonable one, and that if you can just distort everyone else's hypothesis so it sounds less reasonable, then yours won.

But that's crap, because a) you're not debunking anyone else's actual hypotheses, just your own distorted versions of them, and b) your hypothesis is not the default.

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 11 Jul 2013 #permalink

@Stu

I was pondering whether or not to point out that particular misstatement by Greg.

@ Liz:

A new figure is being tossed about by the Canaries, TMR, etc.: 50% of children now have a chronic condition that is attributable to SBM and modernity in general- this figure includes ASDs, LDs, MI, asthma, allergies, you-name-it.

Some of them go further and include other conditions like MS, AD, ALS which usually affect only adults. Thus, the anti-vaxxers approach overlap with alt med/ natural health folk..

@ Antaeus:

re *you twit*
my thought exactly.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 11 Jul 2013 #permalink

Mu, that maternal antibodies idea has gigantic holes in it. Among other things, if maternal antibodies "cause" autism, how about the many typically-developing younger siblings? The maternal antibodies don't just go away, you know.

@Mu

Ed Yong also wrote about that study here. A question I asked him on Twitter and which the study does not address at all, as far as I could see: what causes the production of the antibodies?

Also, what Liz said.

I'm not saying it's a causal relation, so far all I see is correlation. As for the sibling part - there is a noted elevated risk for siblings to also develop autism. And antibody numbers do change depending on stimulus, especially in autoimmune disorders were you have long periods of inactivity coupled with flares. It's easy to imagine that only in a flare you'd have enough of the antibodies to affect the fetal development. Which would also leave the possibility that the true number of mothers with the antibody is much higher but the antibody concentration is too low to be detected at the point of the study. All speculative at this point, but at least it has a plausible mechanism for an effect during the critical fetal development.

Maternal antibodies cause autism? Why wasn't the autism rate higher in the good old days when vaccine-preventable diseases were called "childhood diseases" because almost every child got them and therefore had antibodies to them? And furthermore tended to be re-exposed to them by children in the vicinity so that their titers stayed high?

"Christine Vera and her techie people think the problem is because a few numbers in my IP address are in the same sequence as one of their trolls IP address."

Try posting from Starbucks or McDonalds

By Matt Carey (not verified) on 11 Jul 2013 #permalink

I have the emails from Christine. According to her, I have one 3-number sequence, and two 2-number sequences in my IP address that are either “blocked”, or that are put into moderation.

Like I said, whatever factual situation underlies this, it's so nonsensical as to defy belief. Keep in mind that Christine has an ongoing spam problem that could trivially be nuked. This is not a tech-competent operation.

Greg: ADD/ADHD are not disabilities. Do not talk about things you know nothing about, beef-witted cankerblossom. The only difference between a person with ADD/ADHD and a 'typical person' is that we think faster and are slightly more distractable; we do not need pity. Although thinking faster than you wouldn't be hard, you aggravating slowcoach.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 11 Jul 2013 #permalink

Try posting from Starbucks or McDonalds

The most charitable interpretation is that they've blackholed a dynamically assigned /24 block.

Denice:

-btw- there is no rift: Big Java is accepted by all minions- even if we despise its products- because it is merely an alternative BIg Pharma dispensing an Amerindian, pre-Bronze Age drug system.

Amerindian? You are confusing Big Java with Big Cocoa, I think. ;-) (Not that cocoa isn't *at least* as awesome.) Renaissance-era Arabs invented coffee; though it may have been consumed in the Bronze Age, there is no evidence of it.

On a serious note, I suspect Big Java would be considerably more powerful than Big Pharma, especially if Big Java were also Big Tea and Big Coffee, especially as global climate change threatens to make these crops less productive, reducing supply.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 11 Jul 2013 #permalink

@Stu, that you for the citation. I knew Greg had said things like that, but I wasn't prepared with citations because it didn't occur to me that he would deny it. I guess I gave him too much credit. I was going to look for good quotes from him after work, but you saved me the trouble.

Matt Carey:

Try posting from Starbucks or McDonalds

I had to do that when one website would not even load on our wifi. I also went to the library.

What makes to horrible is that is seems to be the same group of about four people who create multiple sock puppets. Their style is fairly recognizable. One is a nasty kind of libertarian who is into conspiracy theories, another has what seems to have an untreated bipolar issue which manifests as huge walls of text, and another is just dumber than a rock. Oh, then there is Thingy.

@ Calli:

I did vaguely recall that origin but wanted to use the word 'Amerindian" and subliminally suggest pre-Columbian sacrificial rituals involving beating hearts torn out of bodies.... ( Draconis is involved as per usual)
and what makes a victim's heart beat faster than coffee?

Allow me the poetic licensure as it is after all, a joke.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 11 Jul 2013 #permalink

@AF -

The answer you are giving is an answer to the wrong question.

You asked this question:

What evidence do we have that there is an actual increase in autism prevalance, as opposed to just the perception of one?'

The parental age data doesn't answer the question of having evidence for an actual increase in autism? [seriously?]
The fact that we are keeping pre-term babies alive with more consistency doesn't answer this question?

What type of evidence would you accept as evidence, up and above those two types of evidence?

Considering you don't seem to have any faith in the scads of parental age data, your hypothesis, that the increase is solely based on perceptions appears to me to be impossible to falsify. I'm terrible at reading minds, so maybe you could tell me what evidence would you accept that *some* amount of the increase is real?

Science does not scale grades, pD!

You have asked a question ("shred of evidence") to which you know in advance does not exist, and cannot be collected ethically. I'm not complaining about "science" or "entitlements", I'm complaining about you applying a double standard; insistence on me providing data that we both know is not available.

@Matt Carey -

Did I say anywhere I didn't value people with autism, or indeed, value them less?

I agree with your sentiments, but we have different ideas on the feasibilty of achieving them. Nature is the one who is dispassionate about this. In any case, my intent was not to offend, but in the event it has happened, I apologize.

@Krebiozen -

Regarding the Hep-B study from Turkey, this study was performed in 2013. It involved 70 kids. In the US, we've been vaccinating roughly 4,000,000 children a year, every year, for twenty years or so with this vaccine. If that is your definition of studied, well, I guess I'm seeing where some of our disagreements lay.

But more importantly, why bother with this study at all, if thousands of researchers had already done this work? Why draw blood from neonates three times when the literature has dozens of hundreds of papers that tell us about the immune response in neonates from this vaccine?

As far as your advice on searching for specific names and vaccines; I think this is a great, great idea for everyone who is skeptical of my claims (or yours) to try out!

That is the *hilarious* thing, and I mean uproarious, performing *exactly* these types of searches is what convinced me that we'd barely bothered to look in the first place.

I am forced to wonder if you tried this in pubmed before recommending it. (?)

Here are a few I ran this morning in pubmed:

TNF hepatitis b vaccine -- 31 hits. (8 mice studies / 5 on IBS patients)
tnf dtap vaccine -- gives 4 hits; one from 2012, 207, 2003, 2001. [one mouse study]
tnf hib vaccine -- gives 1 hit [a study on dexamethasone use in bacterial meningitis]
tnf polio vaccine -- gives 5 hits (2010/2007/2005/2002/1996) [one mouse study / an arthritis study / an elderly study / two on 'biological preparations']
tnf pneumoccocal vaccine -- gives 50 hits (mice == 17 hits)

IL-17 hepatitis b vaccine -- gives 2 hits (2013 / 2011) [one mouse study / one on hep b vaccine alongside hep c infection]
IL-17 dtap vaccine - zero hits
IL-17 hib vaccine -- zero hits
IL-17 pneumococcal vaccine -- 19 hits. First hit was 2006
IL-17 polio vaccine -- zero hits

TGF beta DTAP vaccine -- 2 hits [both mouse studies!]
TGF beta hib vaccine -- zero hits
TGF beta pneumococcal vaccine -- zero hits
TGF beta polio vaccine -- zero hits
TGF beta hepatitis b vaccine -- six hits (2013/2011/2010/2008/2004/2004)

IL-6 dtap vaccine - 8 hits. (3 mice studies)
IL-6 hib vaccine - 1 hit [study on patients with leukemia]
IL-6 pneumococcal vaccine -- 39 hits (mice == 19 hits)
IL-6 hepatitis b vaccine -- 8 hits [2 on haemodialysis patients / an adjuvant study]
IL-6 polio vaccine -- 5 hits [1 mouse study / 2 'biologial preparation' studies (duplicates) / 1 elderly study]

To try to weed out some chaff, try these searches with 'infant' as a search criteria.

IL-6 pneumococcal vaccine infant -- 5 hits
IL-6 polio vaccine infant -- 1 hit
IL-6 DTAp vaccine infant -- 2 hits
IL-6 hepatitis vaccine infant -- 2 hits
IL-6 hib vaccine infant -- 1 hit

tnf dtap vaccine infant -- 1 hit (2012)
tnf hepatitis b vaccine infant -- 4 hits
tnf polio vaccine infant -- 0 hits
tnf hib vaccine infant -- 1 hit [same dexamethasone study as above]
tnf hib pneumococcal infant -- 1 hit [same dexamethasone study as above]

IL 17 pneumococcal infant -- 1 hit
IL-17 dtap infant -- 0 hits [1 hit searching for 'IL 17']
IL-17 hepatitis b vaccine infant -- 0 hits

TGF beta hepatitis b vaccine infant -- 0 hits

tnf hepatitis b vaccine infant - 4 hits
tnf dtap vaccine infant -- 1 hit
tnf polio vaccine infant -- 0 hits
tnf hib vaccine infant -- 1 hit [same dexamethasone study as above]
tnf pneumococcal vaccine infant -- 1 hit / dexamethasone

So, yeah, that kept me busy for 'quite some time'. What *will* keep someone busy for quite some time is trying to find studies like the Turkish study above where a child was immunized, and the resultant *changes in inflammatory response* in the infant are measured as a result of the vaccination. You tell us that this technology is now available to perform this analysis; it just seems that *it hasn't been performed*, especially in infants.

All of the vaccines I listed above are front loaded in the vaccine schedule; those are the vaccines that infants get at 2/4/6 months. Where are the 'thousands' of hits? Seriously.

I urge everyone to take Krebiozen's advice. Try the searches above in pubmed, then think about the fact that our vaccination program touches four million newborns a year, and then wonder to yourself where all of the 'thousands' of researchers have been publishing their results on the vaccine schedule? It sure isn't indexed in pubmed! If Krebiozen is right, where are the studies on IL17 and dtap? Where are the studies on IL-6 and hib? See for yourselves how robust the data is. Ask yourself if cultured cells taken a month after a vaccine and subsequently stimulated with agonists in a test tube give us a good understanding of how an infant is reacting to a vaccine when it is given. That is the information that is missing from the data set. That is the information that Krebiozen cannot provide.

Now, if you perform these searches, but try for *antibodies* instead of cytokines, but keep in the 'infant' filter, you get a ton of hits; i.e.,

hepatitis b vaccine infant antibodies -- 830 hits.
dtap vaccine infant antibodies -- 219 hits (seems low?)
hib vaccine infant antibodies -- 341
pneumococcal vaccine infant antibodies -- 481
polio vaccine infant antibodies -- 623 hits

Is anyone else able to discern any difference between the two types of searches?

Do you, or anyone, have any ideas why there is such a huge discrepancy between our available literature on 'tnf polio vaccine infant' (0 hits) and 'polio vaccine infant antibody' (623 hits)?

It tells me that measuring antibody generation has always been the focus of vaccine research; that makes good sense as generating antibodies is the driving force behind vaccination. Unfortunately, it is only *very recently* that we have begun to understand that inflammatory events during development can cause change, even if there are no pathogens involved. We didn't perform the analysis because we couldn't see a reason to; we *could* see a reason to perform the antibody experiments, so we did it in mass. That is why we see such a highly skewed number of studies. I am open to other explanations, should anyone have any.

Google scholar will give you lots of "hits", if that is important to you; if you often times find quality data on the third page of google results, then this set of links is a goldmine. Unfortunately, they don't always have all of your keywords, and you can't really extrapolate from a number of hits to meaningful research.

I'll show you what I mean:

http://scholar.google.com/scholar?as_vis=1&q=autism+chelation&hl=en&as_…

A google scholar search for 'autism' and 'chelation'. It returns 3,650 hits. (!!!!!)

Now, I won't get into the 'details' of all of this research, what with getting caught up in tiny details and all, but I guess this big number of thousands of results means that chelating autistic kids is being actively investigated by hundreds or thousands of researchers. I thought it was the domain of quacks, but it has this gigantic footprint in Google Scholar, so that must mean that there is a lot of quality data out there on it. Who knew?

TL;DR: Pumbmed yawns at your searches. Details are important.

By passionlessDrone (not verified) on 11 Jul 2013 #permalink

I guess this big number of thousands of results means that chelating autistic kids is being actively investigated by hundreds or thousands of researchers.

Not so fast, the first 3 pages are from the usual gang of snake oil peddlers such Geiers & Geiers, Bradstreet, et al...

it also contain link to publication discouraging the use of chelation in autistics.

Alain

such == such as.

Signed: drunk on pepsi.

@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."

"Forget 1 in 6: Greg actually believes AT LEAST 99.95% of autistics are non-verbal, head banging and poop smearing."

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I keep wanting to leave but you drug pushers keep tempting me back in. Can't you guys stop pestering me and find something else to do? Shouldn't you be attending pharma's 'employee summer barbecue'? I heard Offit will be there to hand Narad a runner-up GOAT shill plaque. Supposedly he was upset that Lilady got one and he didn't. (Hee,hee,hee).

Anyway, so let's do some crude number crunching and see what's the likelihood of having a non-verbal, head banging, poop smearing autistic to one that is a computer programmer like Gray. Now let's consider the chance that an autistic is non-verbal since we actually have that figure. It is reported between 25 to 50%. Let's air on the low side and say 30% or .30. Now what's the likelihood that an autistic will find a job as a computer programmer? I gave you the UK's National Autistic Society survey that said only 3% of autistic was working. I think it's also fair to say that if the autistics as a group had such a tough time finding employment then most likely all they found was unskilled work. We can all agree that a computer programmer is a skilled job; a highly skilled one at that --congrats Gray! So let's speculate then of the 3% working autistic what percentage would find a job as a computer programmer. I will be generous and say 10% or .003. And, let's compare the final numbers then: We have .30 non-verbal autistics to .003 computer programmer autistic. This is a ratio in the hundredth.

Ok, I apologize! For every computer programmer like Gray, we will only have 100 non-verbal, head banging, poop smearing autistics.

'only 3% of autistics were....'

Greg:

Can’t you guys stop pestering me and find something else to do? Shouldn’t you be attending pharma’s ‘employee summer barbecue’?

Except I still have a child who suffered seizures from a vaccine preventable disease before that vaccine was licensed. Aglso, the Pharma Shill it is old and tired.

And you have admitted by not answering for over two months that the vaccines cause fewer seizures than the diseases. So you are ignoring yourself.

Have fun with that, silly man.

@Pd,
Pd, thanks again for asking some very good questions about why the research into childhood vaccines and inflammatory chemicals is so very scant. I think the following info nicely compliments what you have to say
http://www.ageofautism.com/2008/04/dr-blaylock-on.html

Also, for those of you who missed my earlier link on the 'ugly side of autism', I am posting it again. I encourage everyone to watch it and ask, why are we subjecting kids to such horrible fates.
http://www.ageofautism.com/2013/07/the-pretty-and-the-ugly-sides-of-aut…

Greg, exactly how to vaccine cause more neurological damage than the actual diseases? One symptom is seizures, so obviously if vaccine are worse than the diseases they would cause more seizures. And yet after more than two months you came up with nothing.

Anyway, so let’s do some crude number crunching and see what’s the likelihood of having a non-verbal, head banging, poop smearing autistic to one that is a computer programmer like Gray.

Nice goalpost shift there Greg. Gray was referring to the fact that he is gainfully employed and able to live independently, not to the fact that he was a programmer. Oh, and speaking of programmers, SAP in Germany has engaged the Danish company Specialisterne to help locate autistic developers and testers.
Finally, you are still using numbers from that survey after you were called out?

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 11 Jul 2013 #permalink

I keep wanting to leave but you drug pushers keep tempting me back in.

No, you repeatedly make a show of departing and failing to do so. At least when you started with this imbecilic game, it was plain that you were merely running away and hoping to change the subject. At this point, it's pure farce.

Hey, who am I?

Seriously, I must interrupt myself and take a break. I’ll be back! Most likely in a week or so.

I keep wanting to leave but you drug pushers keep tempting me back in. Can’t you guys stop pestering me and find something else to do?

"Pestering" you? Nobody gives a flying fυck about you. You would fade from memory almost instantly if you would actually make good on your miserable evasions. But instead, you're plainly sitting around following the thread after repeatedly putting on a show about doing nothing of the sort.

Here's a tip, Greg: You can use your hosts file and make it all go bye-bye. And when you undo it, you will know exactly who is responsible.

I will futher call to your attention, Greg, that your sustained and sad attempt to frottage pD has been well and duly noted. You're not even close.

I am forsworn. I said I would ignore the G person. But he vexed me mightily, so I have a comment in moderation about autistic folk who do not fit into his vile and hateful binary depiction of autistic folk.

@Narad

I don't for a sec pretend to be as knowledgeable as Pd on neuroscience stuff. He is in a class of his own, and so much so that he is doing a great job at schooling you guys also. You see Narad-- that's the rub or to use your term, 'frottage'! You can bury yourself in all the science stuff and still come back to the same, inescapable, conclusion as a parent that can vividly recount how they watched vaccines dramatically destroy their previously healthy child: Vaccines cause autism.

Also Narad, your anger and frustration at me is unbecoming. (Hee,hee,hee).

Greg:

You can bury yourself in all the science stuff and still come back to the same, inescapable, conclusion as a parent that can vividly recount how they watched vaccines dramatically destroy their previously healthy child: Vaccines do not cause autism.

FTFY

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 12 Jul 2013 #permalink

@Liz Ditz

"I am forsworn. I said I would ignore the G person. But he vexed me mightily, so I have a comment in moderation about autistic folk who do not fit into his vile and hateful binary depiction of autistic folk."

Haven't seen your comment yet. The fact that it is moderation suggests that you have some very nice 'pleasantries' for me! As it is still early, Orac is most likely sleeping and unable to attend to it. I can just imagine what he is dreaming........

Orac (snoring): Anti-vaxers are cranks, quacks, conspiracy theorists. Olmstead, Wakefield bad. Bad, bad, bad! Cranks, quacks believing in alternative medicine. Bad, bad, bad!

Orac's wife: Wake up you clown. You were dreaming about the same nonsense again.

Liz, I work with autistics and I surely don't hate them. In fact, it's out of respect for them that I continue to call it how I see it.

That is mighty nice of you Greg, to be worried about Orac's peaceful sleep like this. I am glad that you share our care about this blog's esteemed host health.

In general your words of admiration and respect are great inspiration for all of us, or at least for me. Seeing how you are obviously influenced by Orac's posts brings new hope, that more and more people will become educated by him on matters of SBM.

By The Smith of Lies (not verified) on 12 Jul 2013 #permalink

I will repeat my earlier Lurker's Challenge: anyone other than Greg who thinks he has made a valid point anywhere in his ramblings is invited and encouraged to highlight that point for discussion.

If no one takes him up on it, and no one has shown any signs of doing so, it means that even other antivaxers think Greg's comments are utterly devoid of substance.

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 12 Jul 2013 #permalink

Greg seems to have missed the fact that passionlessDrone doesn't support his claims that 199/200 autism cases are caused by vaccination:

I have never been able to tell from your comments what fraction of autism you believe to be caused by early life immune insults, not even to the nearest order of magnitude.

I don’t have an answer to that question; I just am worried that a value greater than zero is biologically plausible. Considering the wide reach of the vaccine program, this drives part of my concerns.

Also, this complaint by passionlessDrone is exceptionally amusing in this context:

He [meaning me] gives no credence to a decreased awareness of autism. There is no recognition of the concept of a low penetrant effect. He gives no credence to the idea of a broadening of what autism means to include less affected children

That doesn't actually describe me. It does, however, completely accurately describe Greg. (hee hee hee)

@LW

Again, please point to my exact text where I said 199/200 cases of autism are caused by vaccines. Let me make clear my position on the issue. I believe the vast majority of autistic cases are caused by vaccines. Are there autistic cases that are not caused by vaccines? Yes -- but they are in the significant minority.

As to the complaints that I am showing myself to be a bad anti-vaxx role model, please note that I am not here to represent any affiliate anti-vaxx group. I do not have an AoA employee badge. I represent myself only and my primary goal out of good conscience is to speak up against the great injustice that is being committed against kids in the name of vaccination. If AoA were to cease being in an instant, I would still be here carrying on with my 'obnoxious' self.

Greg, why should we trust you? You've lied to us before, often quite brazenly. What reason do we have to believe what you say?

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 12 Jul 2013 #permalink

pD,
I have been quite patient with you so far, considering your repeated, sarcastic accusations that I don't know what I am talking about, which I have repeatedly demonstrated are untrue. Instead of acknowledging your ignorance and apologizing for your baseless and insulting accusations, you go on the attack.

What I wrote was:

My point is that the immunological effects of vaccines on infants, adults and animals have been measured, in detail by thousands of researchers, including a range of cytokines.

You have twisted what I wrote. There are thousands of papers on the immunological effects of vaccines. This is an area people have been researching for over a century. There are also a number of papers on cytokines and vaccines; I never claimed there are thousands of these specifically; it appears to be an area of research that hasn't led anywhere interesting. Such as:

Regarding the Hep-B study from Turkey, this study was performed in 2013. It involved 70 kids.

The one that didn't find any measurable increase in the cytokines they measured, which supports what I have been saying all along, and the one that showed you think that CRP is a cytokine?

In the US, we’ve been vaccinating roughly 4,000,000 children a year, every year, for twenty years or so with this vaccine. If that is your definition of studied, well, I guess I’m seeing where some of our disagreements lay.

Do you seriously think this is the only study that has been done on the immune response to the Hep B vaccine? That drug companies just cook some stuff up in a vat, stick it in ampules and send it out to to doctors without bothering to see what it does? This is the sort of jaw-dropping ignorance I keep seeing from you, and you appear to be incapable of learning.

But more importantly, why bother with this study at all, if thousands of researchers had already done this work? Why draw blood from neonates three times when the literature has dozens of hundreds of papers that tell us about the immune response in neonates from this vaccine?

Why bother? Let's see what the abstract says:

Conclusion: our study showed that HBV vaccine is responsible for CRP elevation in term infants after vaccination at birth. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study evaluating CRP response to HBV vaccine at birth in term infants. We suggest that this response should be considered in differentiation of early neonatal sepsis to avoid unnecessary antibiotic use.

As I have already pointed out, CRP is not a cytokine, and it is not normally considered to be part of an immune response, it is an acute phase protein, a marker for inflammation. I have done a lot of work on CRP over the years, including working on a high sensitivity CRP assay, as it happens. Anyway, this study was aiming at reducing false diagnoses of septicemia post-vaccination, that was their purpose.

Your searches for various vaccines and various cytokines confirm that there has been research on cytokines and vaccines and that it is not "non-existent" as you claimed earlier. I wasn't inviting you to try searches for various combinations of vaccines and cytokines, point out that some get few or zero hits, and then gleefully shout "I told you so!" in some kind of juvenile victory dance. I was suggesting that you will find a great deal of research on immune responses post vaccination if you look for it, but it seems I overestimated your intelligence. If you really think we have "barely bothered to look" for immunological changes after vaccination, that says more about your research abilities than the state of the "non-existent" research. If you don't get hits for DTaP, look for diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis, if you don't get hits for IL-17, look for interkeukin-17 etc. etc.

I also didn't suggest anywhere that the number of hits was of any significance, it's you who appears to be playing that silly game. I was offering a starting place for some searches that will come up with plenty of research into immune response after vaccination, including cytokines, if you use a bit of intelligence.

Mostly you will find that cytokine levels do not greatly increase after vaccination, with some exceptions, such as interferon and IL-10. They certainly don't increase as much as they do after infection, which I believe is where this discussion started. That is why there is relatively little research on post-vaccination levels of most cytokines, because there is little response in most cases. That's why researchers have moved onto looking at functional assays and cytokine genetics in this area.

Do you, or anyone, have any ideas why there is such a huge discrepancy between our available literature on ‘tnf polio vaccine infant’ (0 hits) and ‘polio vaccine infant antibody’ (623 hits)?

Is this a serious question? It is antibody production that relates to the efficacy of a vaccine. In any case, since you appear to be obsessed with hit numbers, I get 798 hits when I search for "tumor necrosis factor" and "polio vaccine" on Google Scholar, 408 if I add "infant". Clearly most of those hits are not relevant, but some of them certainly are.

TL;DR: Pumbmed yawns at your searches. Details are important.

This is simply a straw man. I never claimed that the number of hits in a search was of any significance, you did. You now seem to be claiming that the thousands of papers on immunological responses to vaccination, and dozens of papers on post-vaccination cytokines, that anyone can find on PubMed somehow support your claims that:

No one has bothered to measure cytokines generated as a result of vaccination in our infants.

And:

[...] our research into the post vaccination immune response is non-existent; especially in the infant population.

I'm struggling to find a polite way of putting it; really, most of what you have written about this is simply BS.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 12 Jul 2013 #permalink

Again, please point to my exact text where I said 199/200 cases of autism are caused by vaccines. Let me make clear my position on the issue. I believe the vast majority of autistic cases are caused by vaccines. Are there autistic cases that are not caused by vaccines? Yes — but they are in the significant minority.

So it's not 99.5%, just a significant majority. To-ta-lly different thing guys.

You're really, really bad with numbers, aren't you Greg. Maybe you should find an autistic person (preferably one of the one in two thousand that's not currently busy smearing poop on the walls, natch).

may I apply a minor correction:

I don’t for a sec pretend to be as knowledgeable as Pd on neuroscience immunology stuff.

I await proof that the immune stuff is causing increased memory, a larger number of smaller brain cells and increased perception.

Alain

Oh, Lookit! This thread has reached 800 comments- that means free airline miles for Orac!
The rest of the minions just get free drinks at our next Pharma shill meet-and-greet cash bar.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 12 Jul 2013 #permalink

@Denice Walter

Which is nothing to shrug at, given the prices of drinks at some locales.

As for the cytokine stuff, pD, I actually took the time to read through your replies, and I have to agree with Krebiozen. You're changing your arguments instead of addressing what he actually said.

Up thread, you made the claim that changes in cytokine levels post-vaccination had not been studied, the implication that there did not exist a single study, at all, looking at this. Krebiozen provided you with examples of studies that did, in fact, look at changes in cytokine levels post-vaccination. You subsequently went off on some other tangent which, to me, seemed like you were trying to avoid admitting that you made a mistake.

I recommend dropping the subject, admitting you were incorrect in your original claim, and move on.

As Kreb notes, much ado ..... Good question, Alain.

AoA has an immunologist-by-proxy, Teresa Conrick, who similarly spins tales about immunological response and autism, as Todd W. knows only too well.

Here's my question: why doesn't someone in the field take up this area of research- aren't there thousands of researchers worldwide who are looking for grants and students who are in need of that evasive thesis/dissertation topic?
Why has no one gone this route?

At any rate, a few years ago, a friend of a friend, persisted in the belief that almonds prevent cancer ( right, Edgar Cayce's old "6 a day")- so I searched out any and all combinations of the terms and didn't find data that showed any merit to this idea. The closest thing I found was that high fibre food ( almonds have fibre) may help prevent CR cancer. Which is not the same thing- which is almonds in particular and cancer in general.

People who aren't in a field don't have the same outlook on research as people who are and have had standard education that has covered the area well. You might be surprised how many modern day parents who have adult children with SMI want to believe that SMI is caused by a teacher's scolding, rejection by a sought after romantic partner or a lack of B vitamins. They wonder why the research isn't being done or why vitamins shouldn't be tried out as a potential cure.

People who study an area on a graduate level see research differently.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 12 Jul 2013 #permalink

I encourage everyone to watch it and ask, why are we subjecting kids to such horrible fates.

The idea that we're subjecting kids to anything at all is simplify an unsupported assertion on your part, since despite being asked to do so for a few months you haven't offered any evidence supporting the premise a causal link between routine immunization and autism spectrum disorders exists.

Maybe we should make a request for actual evidence of a causal link the next "respond in three posts or concede the point" challenge?

Also Narad, your anger and frustration at me is unbecoming

I can assure you that no further demonstrations of your boundless self-aggrandizement were required. I am as cool as a cucumber, baby. Contemptuous ridicule requires neither anger nor "frustration." The fact that you would fantasize yourself to have engendered the latter is merely a another display of your wholesale lack of self-awareness.

You have failed at and/or run away from every challenge to your painfully embarrassing babbling, and that includes the following:

I work with autistics and I surely don’t hate them.

You've been asked before, Greg: What are your credentials? What combination of education and professional training led to your purported vocation?

The fact that it is moderation suggests that you have some very nice ‘pleasantries’ for me!

Oh, look, wrong again. There's a shock. Of course, if you had been paying attention rather than merely clamoring for attention at any cost, you would have been able to detect the foolishness of the insinuation beforehand.

Aha! What an amazing discovery she made, Todd! My eldest daughter is autistic, and guess what? The same thing happened to her! She received her normal infant vaccines, and, during her first year of life, her eyes went from a stunning blue to a deep, chocolate brown! It must be the MERCURY! Of course, none of her shots *had* mercury, but still. Somehow. And of course two of my brothers' had the same thing happen. And the second child, who was similarly vaccinated, kept her blue eyes.

(I also find it hilarious she tried to support her case with a study about mercury vapor causing the *lens* to discolor. You'd think she'd be smart enough to at least know that the lens is not the same thing as the iris, and that a discolored lens causes vision problems, while brown irises do not. But I don't really expect logic from her given her initial premise.)

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 12 Jul 2013 #permalink

Thank you Narad.

I'd like to second your request for some information about his educational history and training.

"What evidence do we have that there is an actual increase in autism prevalance, as opposed to just the perception of one?"

"You have asked a question (“shred of evidence”) to which you know in advance does not exist, and cannot be collected ethically."

Except that evidence does exist, can and has been collected without ethical violations. It's possible to review both current and historical medical records, to apply current diagnostic criteria to children diagnosed prior to changes in the DSM, etc., and draw conclusions regarding whether or not diagnositic substitution, broadening of diagnostic criteria, etc., contribute to the increase in autism diagnoses without violating any one's right to privacy (e.g., the California study by Shattuck and the UK study by Bishop, to name two off the top of my head.) Then there's the Brugha study (Epidemiology of Autism Spectrum Disorders in Adults in the Community in England) which looked at autism incidence in adults vs. children using a common diagnostic procedure (ADOS-G) and found no significant difference in incidence, which would not be expected if the actual number of autistic individuals had increased over time.

rease in other diagnoses.

Evaluating a common population using the same criteria but different diagnostic protocols also results in different rates of incidence. For example, there are two commonly used diagnostic tools: ADI (Autism Diagnostic Interview R) and ADOS (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule). Looking at a population of adults with a history of developmental speech disorders, Bishop found that if one required indivdiuals to meet teh criteria of both tools to receive an autistic diagnoses incidence was 21%. while if instead they were required to meet the criteria of one or the other incidence was 66%.

What do we know?

Diagnostic criteria for autism was broadened greatly with the publication of DSM IV.

Changes in diagnostic criteria has been demonstrate to result in increased incidence of diagnoses of autism.

When one examines historical medical records for indviduals previously diagnosed using useing narrower historical criteria and applies the broadened criteria from DSM IV one sees a statistically significant increase in autism diagnoses with a corresponding decrease in other diagnoses.

The number of diagnoses has been seen to vary not only with change in iagnsotic criteria but aslo with differing diagnostic tools and procedures.

No actual increase in the numbers of he number of autism diagnoses with time was found when children and adults were examined using the same criteria/tools.

All of this argues strongly for increased number of autistic diagnoses over time rather than an actual increase in the number of autistics over time, and if the findings had been different--if for instance the Brugha study had found more children diagnosed with autism than adults, for example-- these studies could have providedevidence of an an actual increase in autism prevalance without any ethical violation.

@Liz Ditz

Meant to say thanks for posting your comment about other gainfully employed and successful autists.

I wonder, though, if the giggly one will try to claim that for each of those specific cases there would also be 1,000 non-verbal, head-banging, poop-smearing autists. I wouldn't be surprised if he did, math and honesty are not his strong suits. He may say that it's still 1:1,000, though he might concede and instead state that for every 1 successful, gainfully employed autists there are only 200 of the sort he looks down on.

Again, please point to my exact text where I said 199/200 cases of autism are caused by vaccines. Let me make clear my position on the issue.

It was a calculated value from comment #680.

Greg has stated:

1) In the halcyon days of yore when vaccine-preventable disease had free rein, the autism rate was 1/10,000.

2) Today the rate is 1/50, or 200/10,000.

3) All of that increase is due to vaccination, because some percentage of the population — at least 2% – would respond to a mild immunological insult in infancy (read: vaccination) by developing autism.

If this were true, I’d expect pre-modern societies to have an autism rate caused by early life immune insults of at least 2% which Greg denies; Greg claims that without vaccination the rate would be 1/10,000. I see this as a problem with Greg’s argument; perhaps you don’t.

Of course, as you point out, infant mortality plays a role here. But according to Greg, 199/200 potentially autistic children would have to die in infancy to produce the “proper” autism rate When half the children die before reaching adulthood, 2% dying from early life immune insults wouldn’t even be noticed. True. But by the same token, any genes that produce that outcome would be under ferocious selection pressure, don’t you think? If only 0.005% of the carriers live long enough to reproduce, there’d have to be some substantial benefit for their collaterals to keep the genes in the population.

By W. Kevin Vicklund (not verified) on 12 Jul 2013 #permalink

@AF –

The answer you are giving is an answer to the wrong question.

You asked this question:

What evidence do we have that there is an actual increase in autism prevalance, as opposed to just the perception of one?'

The parental age data doesn't answer the question of having evidence for an actual increase in autism? [seriously?]

I never imagined that I would have to actually spell out for you that "an increase in autism" in this context specifically means "an increase in autism that is not otherwise accounted for". But then again, I never imagined that you would quote-mine LW the way you did, so there we go.

Can you actually understand why, now that it's pointed out, why "we have an increase in autism that already has an explanation" does not automatically send reasonable people running to find other explanations for the same increase?

The fact that we are keeping pre-term babies alive with more consistency doesn't answer this question?

Exactly the same objection as before. There's not even a need to go into whether the link between pre-term birth and autism is undisputed. It still makes no sense.

What type of evidence would you accept as evidence, up and above those two types of evidence?

Those two "types of evidence" aren't evidence that is useful to your case. I will say it again: "an increase in autism" in this context specifically means "an increase in autism that is not otherwise accounted for", and I never imagined that you could have trouble understanding why.

Considering you don't seem to have any faith in the scads of parental age data, your hypothesis, that the increase is solely based on perceptions appears to me to be impossible to falsify.

Whether or not I have faith in the parental age data is irrelevant, since an increase in autism which is caused by increasing parental age is not an increase in autism for which we need to puzzle out "Gee, wow, what could the cause of this possibly be? Could it be vaccines?"

(Of course, it occurs to me that perhaps that you think this is scientifically logical: that if a factor such as increasing parental age poses an increased risk of autism, there must be a mechanism by which that happens, and that means suddenly it's appropriate for you to speculate wildly about how vaccines are that mechanism, right?)

(Sadly for you, no. You're still trying to fit the data to your hypothesis. Science is about trying to fit your hypothesis to the data. You're just trying to shift a question you can't answer - what reason is there to finger vaccines as a culprit in the autism developed by these children? - to a different set of children, which still leaves the actual question completely unanswered.)

I'm terrible at reading minds, so maybe you could tell me what evidence would you accept that *some* amount of the increase is real?

You mean, some amount other than that already accounted for by other factors?

Let's start by repeating the hard truth that you don't seem to want to face. You are not entitled to make scientific breakthroughs. No one is. Researcher A might have a great hypothesis about a certain scientific matter, and the hypothesis might even be completely correct. But if Researcher A cannot obtain the evidence that shows the hypothesis to be correct, science cannot go ahead and say "yes, you're right; because you provided us with all the evidence you could obtain, we'll consider that good enough." Not even if the reasons why Researcher A can't obtain that evidence were, without question, not their fault. Look at all the great scientific hypotheses that were only settled after the scientists who proposed them had died, when advanced evidence-gathering methods such as DNA testing had been developed.

Science does not scale grades, pD!

You have asked a question ("shred of evidence") to which you know in advance does not exist, and cannot be collected ethically. I’m not complaining about "science" or "entitlements", I’m complaining about you applying a double standard; insistence on me providing data that we both know is not available.

And I'm fully aware that that's your complaint, and furthermore I'm agreeing that you're correct about almost every part of it. The one part that you are wrong about is when you call it "a double standard." It is not. It is the standard, the one that applies to all science and all scientists, from the most stridently pro-vaccine to the most stridently anti-vaccine.

Suppose we rewind history a little bit and make it go differently. Suppose that we go back to just before the first study was performed that examined for differences the autism rates between unvaccinated and vaccinated children. And furthermore, let us suppose that the results of that first study showed something different than they did in our world: they indicated that in that fictional, hypothetical world the rate of autism was higher for vaccinated children than it was for unvaccinated children, to a statistically significant degree.

You know what science would decree was the simplest hypothesis that fit the evidence, in that hypothetical world* where all the evidence that had been collected so far (small an amount as it was) showed a correlation between vaccination and autism? That vaccination and autism were causally related somehow. Anyone who had the hypothesis that there was some other explanation for the correlation besides a causal relation, the burden of proof would be on them to figure out an alternate hypothesis - and then the burden of proof would be on them to gather additional evidence, of whatever sort was necessary, for their hypothesis to be the simplest one that explains all the evidence. If they couldn't do that - for instance, because the process of collecting the evidence would be unethical - then we'd feel sorry for them but we would not change the rules and say "All right, because you can't get the evidence that would prove your hypothesis, we'll give you a pass and deem your hypothesis proven without evidence."

The purpose of that exercise just now, looking at the imaginary world where it was the pro-vaccine people who didn't have the evidence on their side and couldn't go collect it - the purpose of that was not to give you a spontaneous orgasm. It was to drum into your head that this is not a double standard, it is the standard.

To whine and call it unreasonable is even sillier than complaining that the driver whose car crossed the finish line first is considered the winner, and the same consideration is not shown to the driver whose car couldn't cross the finish line because his axle broke. I am precise in saying "sillier" rather than "just as silly", by the way: car races are human-created endeavors, and we can change the rules any way we want, to make the race more entertaining. Science is not for our entertainment. Science is our way to learn as much as we can about this complex, challenging world we live in, without getting fooled by all the tricky illusions the world or our own perceptual systems can throw at us. We change the rules for one and only one reason: to try and reduce error. To change the rules instead so that claims are accepted not because they checked out when they were checked against the evidence, but because they couldn't be checked against the evidence, would be utter absurdity.

* It's sad that I have to keep stressing that to deter quote-miners.

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 12 Jul 2013 #permalink

About the immune system stuff, I have been alerted of this article which claim that autoimmune antibodies in the mother is linked to 1/4 of the autistic newborn:

http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2013/07/11/researchers-cause-autism/1829…

publication here:
http://www.nature.com/tp/journal/v3/n7/abs/tp201350a.html

I think it's a better causal link than any of the stuff that pD presented here. Now, if the mother have immune issues, wouldn't it be normal that the autistic child have immune issue, which is not necessarily a causal link to autism.

Haven't disected the study but count on it that I will dissect it soon.

Alain

Oh! and, if autoimmune issues from the mother is a causal link to autism, wouldn't it be normal to find autistics (at least 1/4 of the population of current autistics) since prehistoric times?

Alain

@ Liz:

Somewhere Greg told me that his background was in psychology: I doubt that any graduate work/ degrees were involved because I hear neither the statistics/ research design focus nor that of physio nor of testing screaming loudly in my ears- which I would hear if he had any sort of grad degree from any U worth its salt.

If you take a peek at Jennifer Larson's autism group via AoA ( visit Holland), you'll notice that many of her staff have undergrad degrees in psych and precious little else.. so I assume it IS possible to work with clients who have ASDs without much background or training.

There are also alt meddish life coaches who work with all manner of ASD. LD and MI. Probably not very well, I'd venture.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 12 Jul 2013 #permalink

@ Denice,

so I assume it IS possible to work with clients who have ASDs without much background or training.

A person I know, she was and is asperger; she worked with autistics child but her two bachelor are in cinema and something else that I don't remember and definitely not psychology.

BTW, the organism she worked in, never paid her for her work.

Alain

@Narad
Are you sure you are not angry? You're kinda sounding like you are! (Hee, hee, hee).

Oh yes, my credentials.....

What if I were to tell you that I am a high school dropout who looks after my neighbour's twin autistic boys casually, and spend most of my free time looking up autistic stuff on the net? Would this automatically disqualify me from having the honour on conversing with you guys?

'honour of...'

Greg,

It would show that you have not been practicing the scientific method because you were never given the chance. You also don't know how to weight scientific evidence.

Alain

Are you sure you are not angry? You’re kinda sounding like you are!

Yes, I'm quite sure. At this point, it would be like being "angry" at Philip Glass. You, on the other hand, seem to be overflowing with incredibly stupid, schoolyard-variety aggression.

Perhaps your psychological training was not sufficient to inform you that it is perfectly possible to bluntly tell someone whom one respects when they're full of shıt. And you have earned no such courtesy.

Greg - I apologize if this is too personal, but you've shown yourself to be incapable of understanding other people's emotional states more than once. Have you been evaluated? I ask this as a well wisher, in that I do not actively wish you harm.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 12 Jul 2013 #permalink

Would this automatically disqualify me from having the honour on conversing with you guys?

Of course not but you need to check that arrogant ignorance at the door. I would also question the mother who would allow you to look after her boys.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 12 Jul 2013 #permalink

@Greg:

Again, please point to my exact text where I said 199/200 cases of autism are caused by vaccines. Let me make clear my position on the issue. I believe the vast majority of autistic cases are caused by vaccines.

Of course Greg didn't say 199/200. That would require higher mathematics (i.e., arithmetic). However, when he first graced the comment section of this blog with his presence, he sneered this in his persona as one of his fantasized pro-vaxxers:

http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2013/04/06/can-antivaccinationists-kn…

The anti-vaxers are so frustrating. They just don’t believe us when we tell them what really causes autism. Autism is caused by abused mothers, old mothers, fat mothers, stressed mothers, old fathers, old grandfathers, fathers in their 40s marry women in their 20s, engineer and tech parents, having siblings too close together, women not taking folic acid during pregnancy or having a fever or flu during pregnancy, lack of vitamin D, c-section deliveries, low birth weight, living too close to a highway, lots of rainfall, air pollution. Everything causes autism except vaccines!
...
Back in 1995 when the Autism rate went from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 500 we told them that the sudden rise was due to better detection. We were concerned that this explanation would not wash, but incredibly they believed it! In 2007, the rate jumped exponentially to 1 in 150 leaving us no choice, so in desperation we used the better diagnosis argument again. Could you believe it folks? Astoundingly, they fell for it, again! Now that the rate is 1 in 50 we are still saying its better detection and they are still buying it! Our luck is just not running out! Their gullibility is beyond words. 

So, here we have Greg stating that the autism rate was formerly 1/10,000 and is now 1/50. Greg evidently has not mastered fractions so is unaware that 1/50 = 200/10,000, and further that 200/10,000 - 1/10,000 = 199/10,000, so the "excess" cases in his view are 199/10,000. Moreover, in order to compute what fraction of all cases are excess, we divide excess by total, like this: (199/10,000)/(200/10,000) = 199/200. Hence, in Greg's view, as evidenced by his own words above, "excess" autism cases are 199/200 of all autism cases. 

I apologize to those who have graduated from elementary school, for belaboring the computation.

Note that Greg sneers at every explanation other than vaccines as an explanation for possible real increases in autism, including older parents, which his hero, passionlessDrone, insisted on as a real cause. 

Continued in the next comment to avoid moderation.

So we've established from Greg's own words the 199/200 autism cases are "excess". But does he claim that they are all caused by vaccines?  Yes he does:

http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2013/05/01/autismone-2013-a-quackfest…

Still, where autism is concerned, I will always see the vast majority of autistic individuals as vaccine, brain damaged. They were not born that way. Autism was not their destiny and instead was a scourge that was forced upon them. To not accept this is to betray the autistic individual by denying his/her legacy. This I feel is the ultimate disrespect. I also believe the pro-vaxers do feel a lot of guilt and instead of owning up to the crime committed against the autistic individual, will sooner blacklist anyone who speaks the truth as being an ableist. Such hypocrisy is what I believe is truly reprehensible.

Re your position that even if vaccines were ‘shown’ to cause autism then you would still advocate the existing recommended vaccination schedule, I fail to understand the sense in this thinking.  We are talking about 80,000 yearly vaccine brain damaged autistic kids. (Emphasis added). 

Approximately four million children are vaccinated each year. If indeed the 1/50 number is correct, we would expect 80,000 of them to be autistic. Greg says vaccination causes 80,000 cases of autism per year (with his usual polite and charming terminology). Therefore, Greg says all cases of autism are caused by vaccination.

I was giving him credit for acknowledging his own figure that 1/10,000 would be autistic without vaccination, but perhaps that was too much credit.

I have more of Greg's greatest hits, but after scrolling through three posts with comments by him, I feel I've make sufficient sacrifice for the day.

@LW

Seems like you went into some serious calculations to suggest that I am arguing that all autistics are vaccine damaged. Yet, in the sample of my text that you selected, I argued, "still, where autism is concerned, I will always see the vast majority of autistic individuals as vaccine, brain damaged." The obvious question then is if it's so conclusive that I believe 'all' autistics are vaccine damaged, why did I say the 'vast majority' and not 'all'? Also, notice how even as of today, I am still using the precise 'vast majority' term, which is consistent with my previous post from two months ago.

LW, where do you think those dates/ figures ( 1:10,000; 1:50) come from?
Exactly where you'd imagine: AoA, TMR, Natural News, etc.

At any rate, being a sceptic or SB person requires no specific education or training and having a higher education isn't a guarantee of a capacity for critical thinking: these skills and the outlook itself can be learned or cultivated.

Some of us are fortunate enough to have acquired first-rate educations for whatever reason: talent, inclination, family culture, happenstance. More recently, it has become difficult for adults to go about completing degrees in the traditional fashion ( although on-line schools offer additional opportunities) because of costs and economic realities- juggling a job, family and school isn't easy- I sometimes work with clients who are atttempting this.

I think that on-line sceptical groups ( altho' we have been called an "intellectual lynch mob" or suchlike) provide instant educational pointers for whosoever wants information and direction, for free, in an entertaining format. We are the alternative to the alties: Orac leads the way.

I would venture that the reason that ludicrously ignorant self-promoters- like those I survey- get a large audience is because they pretend to have cutting-edge information that will help people to improve their lives- in reality, they just want to sell useless products and their posturing as educators is merely a ruse. But the audience does clamour for science and realistic ways to help themselves- they're just looking in all the wrong places.

Many of us here could use our spare time to work for pay but instead find our hobby rewarding in non-monetary ways.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 12 Jul 2013 #permalink

Late question of the day......

I asked this question before and I think it's worth asking again. You guys are all seeming to suggest my 'rantings' amount to that of a madman on the street. Well, if that's the case, why did this thread reach over 800 comments, when the other threads that I am not involved in averages, say, 100 or so comments. Asked another way, why do you guys feel so compelled to engage a 'madman'?

Oh Greg, I love engaging with madmans on the street; they are genuine in their conviction and show an awesome lot of dedication to their cause. They are also very frank and don't play any games at all.

You should have seen the one who slept 2 hours per day for the last 6 month and who was totally dedicated to make 50 000$ in a few more month on the street; he had an awesome drive to make it.

You? you have crusts to eat to attain the same level of Marg and Judith with their 2500+ posts in a thread.

Good luck.

Alain

I'd say the gleeful opportunity demonstrate how easy it is, with the help of legitimate citations, to consistently smackdown Greg's woefully citation-befeft antivax bleatings for the benefit of the lurkers would factor mightily into the length of the thread.

By janerella (not verified) on 12 Jul 2013 #permalink

bereft!

By janerella (not verified) on 12 Jul 2013 #permalink

Also, notice how even as of today, I am still using the precise ‘vast majority’ term

Well, there's something one doesn't hear every day.

Asked another way, why do you guys feel so compelled to engage a ‘madman’?

Alain has already capably addressed this, but nobody except you has characterized you in this fashion. Why did you "feel so compelled" to describe yourself as such?

I'm taking the over on "nothing left but squirming evasion."

Greg:

Well, if that’s the case, why did this thread reach over 800 comments, when the other threads that I am not involved in averages, say, 100 or so comments.

Because you are hilarious!

You have managed to not answer questions with any data for over two months. And then you whine when you are given a deadline of noon then next day.

Remember, we are not laughing with you.

which his hero, passionlessDrone, insisted on as a real cause

I wouldn't say that pD is Greg's "hero," but rather that Greg fancies him as some sort of potential yet decidedly subservient ally. Just another object, like his (B'siyata d'shmaya, imaginary) "brain-damaged," "retarded" victims.

@Denice Walter, oh, it's not that I believe anything he writes, it just amuses me to point out the logical consequences.

Do you think 99.5% is a reasonable approximation for the "precise ‘vast majority’ term"?

Orac's VCADOD Group,

I left this departure message on a wrong thread: Anyway, with the weekend here, I want to take a little break. Over 800 comments are quite something! I might drop back in to read stuff, but I ask that you refrain from any targeted comments that may tempt a response from me (hee, hee, hee). Maybe you guys can discuss stuff amongst yourselves for the time being. When I return -- perhaps in a few days or so -- we may continue with our exchanges.

Fancy posting on the wrong thread, Greg. Just about everything you have posted here has been wrong, so we shouldn't be surprised.

@ LW:

Oh, I know. As I mentioned above, we frequently amuse ourselves as well as- hopefully- engaging lurkers.

As an aside:
speaking of really long threads precipitated by egregious commentary, wasn't there another 'greg'- a/k/a Peg and/or Emily- who was a chiropractor/ natural health enthusiast from AUS? Greg Fitzgerald IIRC.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 13 Jul 2013 #permalink

I might drop back in to read stuff, but I ask that you refrain from any targeted comments that may tempt a response from me

Too bad.

I understand that the money set aside for such compensation is already almost gone. So, when the admission that vaccines do cause autism is made, and with the expected ensuing tsunami of claims what do you propose for obtaining additional funds?

What was your response to this, again?

Greg, what is the balance in the relevant account as of the end of the first calendar quarter of this year?

Oh, right.

"Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing." - John Stuart Mill

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 13 Jul 2013 #permalink

Fancy posting on the wrong thread, Greg.

I'm still on my first cup of coffee, but I'm not seeing it on another thread.

Fancy posting on the wrong thread, Greg.

It also shows his grasp of numbers. Back at #834, Greg notes

Well, if that’s the case, why did this thread reach over 800 comments.

Yet, he failed to notice that the other thread (Veterinary Acupuncture) only had 68 of them when he posted.

@Chris,

Here

Thanks.

For the lurkers. Greg at 623 claimed,

I understand that the money set aside for such compensation is already almost gone.

This is from the website of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/index.html.

The Vaccine Injury Compensation Trust Fund provides funding for the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program to compensate vaccine-related injury or death claims for covered vaccines administered on or after October 1, 1988.

Funded by a $0.75 excise tax on vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for routine administration to children. The excise tax is imposed on each dose (disease that is prevented) of a vaccine. Trivalent influenza vaccine for example, is taxed $0.75 because it prevents one disease; measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, which prevents three diseases, is taxed $2.25.

The Department of Treasury collects the excise taxes and manages the Fund’s investments.

The link to the reports is: http://www.treasurydirect.gov/govt/reports/tfmp/vaccomp/vaccomp.htm

The total amount paid out to date is $2,704,762,675.55. The total assets to date, as of June 30, is $3,397,803,125.95. That's a long way from "almost out of money".

Let's do a rough estimate of how much money flows into the NVICP Trust fund each year. There are about 4 million babies born each year. Let's set the vaccine uptake rate at 90%. Let's say the baby gets an annual flu shot, and gets the remaining preschool boosters in his 4th year. In months 0-12, the child will receive 24 taxable immunizations (remember DTaP counts as 3); in months 13-24 12 taxable immunizations; in months 25-36 1 taxable immunization; in months 37-48 1 taxable immunization; and finally in months 49-60 8 taxable immunizations. So each immunized child contributes $34.50 to the NVICP fund from birth to age 5.

So in any one year, the current and previous birth cohorts ALONE (forget later childhood vaccinations and adult vaccinations) are contributing about $124,000,000 to the Fund. Historically, there has been an excess if income over expenses, so the Fund also benefits from substantial investment income. For example for this fiscal year to date, the income is reported as $89,463,223.61.

Greg went on to write,

So, when the admission that vaccines do cause autism is made, and with the expected ensuing tsunami of claims what do you propose for obtaining additional funds?

One: the Autism Omnibus hearing considered the propositions that the Measles Mumps Rubella vaccine, or the MMR plus thimerosal, could cause autism. Neither proposition was found to be legally or scientifcally plausible.

Two: there is no reason in science to think that something else about vaccines could be causal in autism. So there's no reason to think that the NVICP would need to fund claims.

There is currently a case before the vaccine court, alleging that somehow, vaccines produced using human cell lines can trigger autism. The court finds the claim based on faulty research and evidence. See http://www.uscfc.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/CAMPBELL-SMITH.MOSTOV….

"Asked another way, why do you guys feel so compelled to engage a ‘madman’?"

As we used to say in the 12th Marines, target-rich environment.

Historically, there has been an excess if income over expenses, so the Fund also benefits from substantial investment income. For example for this fiscal year to date, the income is reported as $89,463,223.61.

Lest anyone misread this, more specifically that's net revenue of $56,053,497 from the excise tax and $30,923,204 in investment interest.

(As of March 31.)

Greetings VCADOD Group,

You fine purveyors of poisons -- ahem vaccines- for kids! Congrats Orac on stepping up your game --slightly-- with your 'provaxxer world domination' shtick on another thread. Your 'quacks, cranks are bad tagline' was starting to get a little worn.

Anyway, I would like to get started with our program right away by having our 'question of the day':

I need not remind you guys that I am a layperson where immunology science is concerned. Still, it did seem logical to me that if vaccines are suspected in causing an inflammation response that may disturb infants’ brain development then we should examine kids post vaccination to see if there is indeed an increase in their inflammatory chemicals are cytokines. (Please also see the link below of, yet, another –peer reviewed!-- studying tying vaccines to autism through the inflammation process). Around a month ago, I did discuss this idea with Krebiozen. Then ‘loh and behold’ we had Pd recently mentioning how despite having the technology to do such studies the research is quite scant. (BTW, despite your desperate efforts to show PD as lacking in knowledge, he sounds rather credible.) The ‘question of the day’ then is why are such studies, studying inflammatory chemicals post vaccines, so scant? Surely the ‘ethical’ excuse doesn’t apply here?

http://online.wsj.com/article/PR-CO-20130712-904463.html

their inflammatory chemicals 'or'.....

Thx Liz Ditz (still didn't see your comment where you told me off for discussing the unflattering, but true side of severe autism) for the info on NICTFs,

You mentioned......
"The total amount paid out to date is $2,704,762,675.55. The total assets to date, as of June 30, is $3,397,803,125.95. That’s a long way from “almost out of money”."

I understand that the amount paid out to date was only a small fraction of the pending claims, and if such claims succeed there will be nothing left. Also, you and Narad, really didn't answer my question. MOB stated that 'if' vaccines are ever shown to cause autism -- I say 'when' -- then families should be compensated from this fund. How would there ever be enough money to satisfy the expected 'tsunami' claims?

Greg:

‘if’ vaccines are ever shown to cause autism — I say ‘when’ — then families should be compensated from this fund. How would there ever be enough money to satisfy the expected ‘tsunami’ claims?

Given that the omnibus Autism Proceedings are being wound down with most petitioners seeking withdrawal, and that there has been no new theory of causation advanced, you may as well ask if it may help the environment to use dragons in steel making.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 16 Jul 2013 #permalink

Here’s a link from the actual source, PR Newswire, which will basically print anything you ask in exchange for pay

If you look closer, you'll find that the same goes for the journal.

Please also see the link below of, yet, another –peer reviewed!– studying tying vaccines to autism through the inflammation process

Thanks for the demonstration that you know nothing about journals publishing (and placing an exclamation point on it) and that you haven't read the actual, ah, "paper."

What evidence supports your claim that vaccines are cause autism?

Respond by the end of the day, or concede that you are unaware of any evidence supporting your often-repeated claim.

(And, as always, be aware that 'anecdote' and 'evidence' are different entities.)

The ‘question of the day’ then is why are such studies, studying inflammatory chemicals post vaccines, so scant? Surely the ‘ethical’ excuse doesn’t apply here?

This has been looked at over a period of at least 48 years - I linked to a 1965 study looking at interferon levels (interferon is a pro-inflammatory cytokine) after measles vaccination). Nothing of great interest has been found, and there is no doubt at all that infections cause a far greater release of pro-inflammatory cytokines than vaccination, over a far longer period. What else do you think scientists should have looked at?

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 16 Jul 2013 #permalink

"I understand that the amount paid out to date was only a small fraction of the pending claims, and if such claims succeed there will be nothing left."

I am reminded of the incarcerated fellow who, having been sentenced to life without the possibility of parole and deprived of most entertainments other than the prison library, has forged a new form of amusement: filing absurd lawsuits for insane amounts of money. There isn't a whole lot that can be done to stop him; all the cases get dismissed as soon as they see his name on them. If you were to add up the claims, you'd find that if all of his cases prevailed, there would not be enough money in all the world to pay out his claims. Some of his lawsuits request damages in the quadrillions. It would be a little silly to therefore claim that the global economy is bankrupt, since all the lawsuit claims in the world could not be paid. Obviously everybody filing a lawsuit is not going to prevail, and even if they do prevail, obviously they will not all receive the awards they were seeking. Indeed, it is common practice to file for a larger sum than desired, because the amount you file for is both the starting point for negotiations should the defendant offer to settle, and it is also a rhetorical device for your lawyer to use to illustrate how injured you are. Seldom do the final awards match the amount initially filed for, if it actually goes to trial.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 16 Jul 2013 #permalink

I understand that the amount paid out to date was only a small fraction of the pending claims, and if such claims succeed there will be nothing left.

Since you repeatedly demonstrated that you had no freaking idea of the balance in the account to start with ("I understand that the money set aside for such compensation is already almost gone") and are such a screaming bonehead that you didn't even know where to look, I will be most amused to wait for you to cough up "the amount ... of the pending claims," as I'm sure will be anyone who has the slightest idea of how the process works.

@Narad "Yes, I’m quite sure. At this point, it would be like being “angry” at Philip Glass."

I have previously read nothing in this thread but I glanced at it this morning. I have absolutely no idea what the context was for that statement, Narad, but it is the best thing I've read all morning, anywhere.

By Jay Gordon (not verified) on 20 Jul 2013 #permalink

@Krebiozen,

I'm informed by a friend in Belgium that Brussels sprouts are called choux de Bruxelles if you're Walloon or spruitjes if you're Flemish.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 20 Jul 2013 #permalink

First off, sorry I take so long to respond. I just have a number of obligations and things going on, so it is difficult to keep up with the barrage of responses that come at me.

… 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...

I am not asserting that that is unreasonable, it is perfectly reasonable.

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.

Actually, I am just pointing out that I think it is reasonable to want to explore the various immune etiology hypotheses of autism, which would likely include vaccines at some point.

Seeing that various cytokines are integral to normal brain development and memory, and disruptions in these signaling patterns during critical timeframes can lead to later life behavioral and cognitive outcomes consistent with autism, coupled with the fact that vaccines harness these pleiotropic molecules to direct a long term immune response during early life, I think it would be interesting and worthwhile to look into. To me this does not seem unreasonable even in light of the epidemiological studies that I have seen.

Incidentally, this was also the position of Kimberly McAllister and Judy Van de Water at the time of writing their manuscript “Breaking Boundaries in Neural-Immune Interactions” for Dec. 2009 Neuron: ( I am not aware if their position has changed… Alain, want to email one of them?)

Finally, neural-immune crosstalk also has profound implications for public health policy. Growing evidence that maternal immune activation could increase the incidence of autism or schizophrenia in offspring suggests that healthcare providers should revisit the pros and cons of using anti-inflammatory drugs in pregnancy with the goal of developing drugs that prevent a proinflammatory response in the CNS without damaging the fetus. Another issue for society right now is whether, and when, pregnant mothers should be given the seasonal flu and H1N1 vaccines. While the flu can be extremely harmful to pregnant women, the effects of stimulating the immune response with two flu vaccines during pregnancy are unknown. Absent the luxury of waiting for large-scale study results, recommendations that pregnant women receive both vaccines are valid based on current knowledge of the dangers of natural flu infection during gestation. However, since the negative effects of immune stimulation during pregnancy are likely determined by susceptibility factors, our understanding of factors that cause aberrant baseline immune responses in some pregnant women must be improved and better methods for susceptibility screening developed soon.

It is also important to note that neural-immune crosstalk could be affected by the current schedule of childhood immunizations. Although there is some epidemiological evidence that immunizations are not likely to have a direct role in the ontogeny of autism (Immunization Safety Review Committee, 2004), it is still possible that responses to the number and combinations of vaccinations given at some visits could contribute to cognitive changes in children who may already have altered immune responses. Natural infections in an individual with a dysfunctional immune system might have an equally deleterious effect. Thus, a better understanding of the effects of immune activation during gestation and early post-natal development, especially in the context of increased disease susceptibility, will be critical to either validate our current health policies or modify them for specific populations of individuals.

In what way are you more qualified than either of these fine researchers? Do you have a strong background in the scientific disciplines we are accessing in our discussion? Im curious.

I am not saying stop vaccinating until we do these studies,(in fact the only way we can do the studies is if we keep vaccinating) just that we should consider looking more closely at the immune response post vaccination and how that may shape the developing neonate beyond the long-term protective antibody response that is hopefully generated.

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.

You know what Antaeus, I agree with you. Which is why I think it is badly distorting reality when commenters suggest “the internet must’ve caused it, or pink unicorns, or broccoli” (obviously suggesting these in a facetious way)or whatever other cockamamie ideas people come up with.

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.

Yes, Antaeus, I am aware of Occam’s Razor, the problem with applying it to autism science in the way you are trying to is that “when there are multiple explanations for the evidence, there is NOT just one simple explanation that is the truth” did it occur to you that there could just be multiple explanations for the evidence, which actually fits what is known about the heterogeneity of autism.

“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.

To be honest that was a little confusing, it seems like your underlying assumptions are flawed. My underlying assumptions about autistics and the rest of the human population is that we all follow a basic equation which ultimately envelopes who we are. In it’s most simplified form it is Genes x Environment x Development. This means that the genome that you are dealt interacts with the environment it is exposed to during critical periods of development, which shape how our brains and emotions and everything else that is outward (appearance, sexual preference, speaking ability, etc) come to be.

To me, Autism is the outcome of a response of a relatively stable genome to a relatively rapidly changing environment, it is basically evolution at work, with the immune system being situated in a central position to mediate this evolution. Just like any species that is exposed to a more chaotic environment, you get a much more varied phenotypic outcome, but sometimes that outcome may not be well suited for the environment. I think an evolutionary framework is important when considering what causes autism.

When you look at it like this, there are a million different ways that someone could become autistic, it isn’t just entity one and entity two. Think of it this way each of the three components are weighted in any one individual’s autism, a certain percentage is Genetics, a certain percentage is environment and a certain percentage are attributed to critical junctures during development. In one case autism may be the result of an overwhelming number of small genetic contributions that equal, let’s say, 80%, while the environment and development part contribute about 20%. In another case it could be the other way around, the environment contributes 80%, while the particular genome is only partially (20%) responsible.

The research keeps pointing us in the direction of genetic networks related to central immune signaling (cytokines), synapse formation (cytokines are integral for this), neuronal migration and critical periods of brain development. It is likely that the G xE xD equation can affect the same final common pathways that seem to be disrupted, but have very different origins depending on the case.

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.

Really? So if a hypothesis is devised that stratifies subjects with certain immunological preconditions and it shows that vaccination is associated with a higher incidence of autism that proves nothing?

No, actually those are both perfectly legitimate attempts at doing “real science.” Sometimes when doing research it takes a more thorough understanding of the fundamental aspects to design appropriate testable hypotheses. This is what I was trying to explain earlier with the whole witchcraft, medevial, discussion.

So the fact that the data is leading us to a more gene x environment centered understanding of autism implicating the immune system and specifically pro inflammatory cytokine networks during development, precludes considering vaccines??

Even though vaccines excite these pro inflammatory networks during development while performing their intended function of building immunity. And this preclusion is all based on epidemiological research that didn’t include stratified cohorts?!

When you have the tools and knowledge to better interrogate something as important as vaccination, you do it. This is the quintessence of the precautionary principle and science in general.

And this is where pD was right in suggesting that we should be monitoring the in vivo status of pro inflammatory cytokines after vaccination and trying to see if there is a correlation between certain patterns of cytokines and future cognitive, behavioral and other health outcomes.

The way I see it, there is much more to be learned about vaccination, and to stifle this effort seems to be contrary to good science.

By skeptiquette (not verified) on 22 Jul 2013 #permalink

"The research keeps pointing us in the direction of genetic networks related to central immune signaling (cytokines), synapse formation (cytokines are integral for this), neuronal migration and critical periods of brain development. It is likely that the G xE xD equation can affect the same final common pathways that seem to be disrupted, but have very different origins depending on the case."

I am just a dumb engineer, but I still don't see how vaccines impact the immune system more than diseases?

"So the fact that the data is leading us to a more gene x environment centered understanding of autism implicating the immune system and specifically pro inflammatory cytokine networks during development, precludes considering vaccines??"

But shouldn't you also consider the microbes in the environment, and also compare to the actual diseases? Still, vaccines only cover a teeny tiny itsy bit of the pathogens that are in the normal environment. Granted that teeny tiny bit are some very nasty pathogens.

Seriously, how does the DTaP and MMR cause so much immune assault compared to other things we encounter just by living?

And a word of advise: don't read Spillover if you fear cytokines.

"

@skeptiquette:

am just pointing out that I think it is reasonable to want to explore the various immune etiology hypotheses of autism, which would likely include vaccines at some point.

Not any more. We have scrutinised the supposed vaccine autism link in great depth. We have been unable to find it, despite using investigative techniques with mind-blowing sensitivity. It is time to close this book. In fact, it was time to close the book years ago.

The way I see it, there is much more to be learned about vaccination, and to stifle this effort seems to be contrary to good science.

Way to miss the point, skeptiquette. What we are saying is that vaccines have been looked at as a possible cause of autism. Thoroughly. They have been exonerated. Re-looking them as a cause of autism (as you want to do) is a total WOMBAT.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 22 Jul 2013 #permalink

There's a corollary of Occam's Razor that has the virtue of always being applicable, rather than just most of the time:

Don't waste any effort finding explanations for phenomena that don't actually happen.

Since we know for a fact that there is absolutely no correlation between vaccination and autism, there is no point in writing page after page of meaningless bafflegab, like Skeptiquette just did, desperately trying to explain that nonexistent correlation.

By The Very Rever… (not verified) on 22 Jul 2013 #permalink

Skeptiquette,

Which is why I think it is badly distorting reality when commenters suggest “the internet must’ve caused it, or pink unicorns, or broccoli” (obviously suggesting these in a facetious way)or whatever other cockamamie ideas people come up with.

My suggestion that broccoli may cause autism is indeed facetious, but contains a serious message. Broccoli contains 3,3'-Diindolylmethane which is a potent modulator of the innate immune response system. Specifically it stimulates interferon-γ sensitivity and also stimulates interferon-γ, interleukin-6 and interleukin-12 production.

Please explain to me why the broccoli-autism hypothesis is any less plausible than the vaccine-autism hypothesis?

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

To me, Autism is the outcome of a response of a relatively stable genome to a relatively rapidly changing environment, it is basically evolution at work, with the immune system being situated in a central position to mediate this evolution. Just like any species that is exposed to a more chaotic environment, you get a much more varied phenotypic outcome, but sometimes that outcome may not be well suited for the environment. I think an evolutionary framework is important when considering what causes autism.

This whole paragraph, as well as your repeated claim that the literature is suggesting a connection to immune genes, COMPLETELY ignores most of the autism genetics literature that's around today. There's no good evidence that autism has anything to do with phenotypic robustness as you claim. What could you mean by 'the response of a stable genome?' How does the genome respond? When we sequence ASD individuals, we find rare inherited or de novo mutations in genes primarily involved with neuronal development. Many of these mutations are large deletions or inversions, caused randomly by the unstable nature of the human genome. This is what causes autism. Heterogeneity in autism type and severity is due to a heterogeneity in the affected genes and mutation types. Here's a great recent example of this.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23849776

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.

Actually, I am just pointing out that I think it is reasonable to want to explore the various immune etiology hypotheses of autism, which would likely include vaccines at some point.

There may be some "immune etiology hypotheses of autism" that are worth exploring. However, "worth exploring" inherently implies "has not already been explored exhaustively without turning up anything to suggest that this is the right track to be pursuing". So, no, wanting to pour more resources into pursuing an old already-tested hypothesis instead of coming up with a new one isn't reasonable.

In what way are you more qualified than either of these fine researchers? Do you have a strong background in the scientific disciplines we are accessing in our discussion? I'm curious.

Shameful, skeptiquette. I really expected better from you than this blatant argument from authority. Describing someone as a "fine researcher" doesn't make them automatically right, and it doesn't artificially restrict the pool of who's allowed to point out flaws in their arguments.

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.

You know what Antaeus, I agree with you. Which is why I think it is badly distorting reality when commenters suggest "the internet must've caused it, or pink unicorns, or broccoli" (obviously suggesting these in a facetious way)or whatever other cockamamie ideas people come up with.

It's almost as if you're trying to call attention to the way you're still not dealing with the burden of proof.

The burden of proof still lies on the anti-vaxxers to produce evidence that vaccines are causing autism before it makes any sense to start discussing possible mechanisms for how it could do so.

And yes, I'm sure you will protest "Anti-vaccine? That just shows how badly you misunderstand me! I'm not anti-vaccine at all!" Sorry, but yes, you are antivaccine. If someone says "Why no, I'm not anti-Semitic! I just think that we should keep Jewish bankers under constant scrutiny, constantly looking for any sort of evidence that they could be in a conspiracy to manipulate the economy, and even when we have no evidence that Jewish bankers are in a conspiracy to manipulate the economy, we should be discussing all sorts of possible ways in which they could be doing so!" then that person is anti-Semitic, despite protests that they're not.

As for your complaints that

it is badly distorting reality when commenters suggest "the internet must've caused it, or pink unicorns, or broccoli" (obviously suggesting these in a facetious way)or whatever other cockamamie ideas people come up with.

once again, the answer is "Sorry, no." The reductio ad absurdum is a wholly legitimate debating technique. It's a close relative of the analogy, so if you want to counter it, you have to find some legitimate point of disanalogy - some way that "believing that vaccines cause autism despite no evidence that they do and a lot of evidence that they don't" is different from "believing that broccoli causes autism despite no evidence that it does", specifically some difference that makes the former reasonable and the latter unreasonable. I may as well tell you: your feeling that vaccines-causes-autism is reasonable and broccoli-causes-autism is "cockamamie" is of no help to you here.

By the way, were you aware that at least one of the three ideas you accused commenters here of "distorting reality" with by suggesting them in a facetious manner, at least one has people who propose it in dead seriousness as their explanation for what causes so much autism? That's why you cannot just moan and pout when others present you with a reductio ad absurdum; if you cannot identify what it is that differentiates your idea from a "cockamamie" idea, perhaps it's because your idea is actually just as cockamamie.

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."

Yes, Antaeus, I am aware of Occam's Razor, the problem with applying it to autism science in the way you are trying to is that "when there are multiple explanations for the evidence, there is NOT just one simple explanation that is the truth" did it occur to you that there could just be multiple explanations for the evidence, which actually fits what is known about the heterogeneity of autism.

You're looking at this from an incorrect perspective. What you're saying is that "For case of autism A, the correct explanation is that it was caused by maternal rubella infection. For case B, however, the correct explanation is that it was caused by de novo genetic mutations. Therefore, there's no such thing as a single explanation that's correct for each case."

Except we are not looking for an explanation for individual cases of autism. We are looking for the correct explanation for the totality of the evidence, including all cases of autism. (And, for that matter, of some individuals who are not autistic.) Do you understand the difference?

Suppose that at the very dawn of autism research, the only cases of autism that we knew of were children from mothers that had been infected with rubella during pregnancy. We would ask ourselves, "What is the simplest explanation for every single case of autism we know of coming from a mother infected with rubella?" The answer would be, "The simplest explanation is 'Maternal rubella infection is the cause of autism.'"

But then sooner or later, as autism awareness grew, we'd discover cases of autism where the mother had not had any rubella infection; there would still be a clear correlation between maternal rubella infection and autism, but we'd have other cases to explain. When those cases were verified, it would change the state of the evidence, and our explanation that "maternal rubella infection is the cause of autism" would clearly not match the evidence anymore. So we would look again, for the simplest explanation that matched the evidence. This time it would be "Maternal rubella infection is a cause of autism, but there is at least one other." There may be multiple causes of autism, but that does not mean there are multiple equally true explanations for the evidence. There is only one true explanation for the evidence, and that explanation includes all things which cause autism.

If [the claim that vaccines have caused an 'epidemic of autism'] 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.

To be honest that was a little confusing, it seems like your underlying assumptions are flawed. My underlying assumptions about autistics and the rest of the human population is that we all follow a basic equation which ultimately envelopes who we are. In it’s most simplified form it is Genes x Environment x Development. [long speculations snipped]

If you found my attempt to explain the concept using only the simplest terms confusing, then I'll try introducing a slightly more complex term to clarify things. The term is "delta". In this context, a "delta" means a change in effect that results from a change in causes.

If the relay running team, for example, puts on new sneakers that are supposed to make them run faster, then the difference between their average finishing time with their old sneakers, and their average finishing time with the new sneakers, is the delta. If Ms. Johnson's math class is being taught with new methods which are supposed to make the subject easier to grasp and understand, the delta is the difference between the grades of Ms. Johnson's class, and the grades of similar classes being taught with the old methods.

So we're clear on what a delta is now, right? If a particular factor causes an effect, the delta is the measure of how much of a change in effect it causes.

When the delta is zero, it means that factor isn't causing a difference.

When the relay team's average finishing time doesn't improve, it means the sneakers are not making them faster. When Ms. Johnson's class doesn't get grades that are any better than classes being taught with the old methods, it means the new teaching methods are not making math easier for the students to grasp and remember.

When you measure how high the rate of autism is in vaccinated children and how high the rate is in unvaccinated children and there isn't a difference, it means vaccines are not causing autism.

It doesn't matter if autism comes from a complex interaction of Genes x Environment x Development. We had a germ theory denialist, the infamous Dr. Greg/Emily/Pegasus, who used to come here and similarly claim that disease development was affected by so many different factors in the individual, was so "multi-factorial", that it somehow exempted the phenomenon from basic math. It doesn't. If vaccines do anything to cause autism in individuals who would not otherwise develop it, it would cause a delta between the rate of autism in vaccinated and unvaccinated populations. If there is no such delta, then vaccines are not causing autism.

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.

Really? So if a hypothesis is devised that stratifies subjects with certain immunological preconditions and it shows that vaccination is associated with a higher incidence of autism that proves nothing?

No, actually those are both perfectly legitimate attempts at doing "real science." Sometimes when doing research it takes a more thorough understanding of the fundamental aspects to design appropriate testable hypotheses. This is what I was trying to explain earlier with the whole witchcraft, medevial, discussion.

No. They may be good faith attempts at doing "real science"; that is, the person doing them may be fully deluding themselves "I'm approaching this just as a real professional scientist would!" But it is not real science.

Remember Ms. Johnson's math class, from our discussion of delta? Suppose that the people who had sold the school system the materials for those new advanced teaching methods were embarrassed, as they should be, by the fact that the students didn't do any better with those new methods. So they get hold of the student records, and they look at any individual students in the class who did better than the average, and they look at factors those students had in common. "Aha!" they say. "Out of the five students who did better, all five had an 'A' somewhere in their last names, and four out of five list pizza as their favorite food! Obviously when we stratify students according to the appropriate preconditions, we discover that our teaching methods do improve student grades!"

I know what you will say to that. You'll say "that's ridiculous, that's nothing like what I'm doing! 'An A in the last name' and 'pizza is the favorite food' obviously couldn't have a real effect on understanding of math; the idea that an immunological precondition could affect the development of autism isn't utterly implausible like that!"

But that is missing the point. The point is that deciding on an idea that you want to be true, and then trying to figure a different way to slice up the data so that the data appears to support that idea, is not science. It doesn't matter whether the idea is "certain students with particular preconditions do better with the teaching methods we sell" or "certain children with particular preconditions develop autism because they got vaccinated". It's not an attempt to reach "a more thorough understanding of the fundamental aspects" at all.

Science is only for people who can accept it, and learn from it, when their ideas turn out to be wrong. The process of embroidering ever-more-intricate "preconditions" and special exceptions onto a failed hypothesis is only practiced by those who can't bear being wrong.

So the fact that the data is leading us to a more gene x environment centered understanding of autism implicating the immune system and specifically pro inflammatory cytokine networks during development, precludes considering vaccines??

No, the fact that there is no delta between vaccinated and unvaccinated autism rates, as there would be if vaccines were causing autism even in a "stratified cohort", is what tells us not to waste resources pursuing vaccines as a culprit.

Even though vaccines excite these pro inflammatory networks during development while performing their intended function of building immunity. And this preclusion is all based on epidemiological research that didn't include stratified cohorts?!

Yeah, it is. And you wanna know why (besides the already-explained-countless-times part about "no delta")?

Because when that epidemiological research was done, no antivaxxers were talking about "Well, maybe if we looked at cohorts stratified by immunological preconditions..." They were saying "You vaccine-pushing fools, the streets are teeming with children who developed full-blown autism immediately after vaccination, so of course vaccination must be causing autism! You just see; when you compare the ultra-high rates of autism among vaccinated kids to the ultra-low rates among unvaccinated kids, you'll see the huge difference that proves vaccines must be to blame!"

It was only when the data came back and didn't show what the antivaxxers wanted it to that they started talking about how maybe vaccines were still causing autism, but only in children with rare preconditions (completely forgetting everything they claimed about how these cases of vaccine-caused-autism were all over the place) and started talking about how the research should have been done with "stratified cohorts". "Stupid vaccine-pushing fools! If you had just done the research with stratified cohorts, stratified according to ahemmumblemumblecytokinesomething - anyways, the only reason the data didn't come out the way we were sure it was going to is that you didn't do it the right way!"

If the research had been done with stratified cohorts, and failed to produce the results the antivaxxers wanted to see, there is no doubt what their response would be. "You vaccine-pushing fools! You and your pharma masters think you're clever, doing research with stratified cohorts stratified by the wrong criteria and pretending it means vaccines don't cause autism! It's utterly clear that our preconceptions would have been confirmed, if you'd only done the research the right way!"

The fact is that no matter how many times the antivaxxers shift the goalposts, to pretend the right research to disprove the vaccines-cause-autism meme hasn't been done, the science-based community does not bear the responsibility of disproving whatever new variant of the hypothesis the antivaxxers come up with. The burden of proof is on the antivaxxers to show evidence for whatever claim they're pushing, not on everyone else to pre-emptively anticipate and debunk it.

When you have the tools and knowledge to better interrogate something as important as vaccination, you do it.

To what end? If I thought you meant "to answer the unanswered questions," I'd agree with you, but I know what you actually mean is "to try and get a different answer to the questions that have already been answered, where the answer was something I didn't like."

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

For what it's worth, the Internet-autism-causation concept isn't entirely cockamamie, and in my opinion, quite a bit more plausible than vaccines. The Internet has opened up a great deal more awareness of autism than was ever available before, and this alone should be expected to increase the rate of autism diagnosis.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 24 Jul 2013 #permalink

I still believe that the broccoli causes autism hypothesis is perfectly reasonable and far more likely than the vaccine hypothesis, as you get many, many times the possible chemicals in one dose of broccoli than in one dose of vaccines. Plus there's the emotional trauma of broccoli.

However, I am not wedded to that and would easily be swayed towards consumption of certain other vegetables as the trigger instead.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 24 Jul 2013 #permalink