If there's a story I neglected to mention last week that I should have, it's that Andrew Wakefield is being a bully again, trying to use legal intimidation to silence his critics, namely Forbes.com blogger Emily Willingham. Of course, Wakefield has done this so many times that the fact that he's done it once again is hardly newsworthy, but that never stopped me before, because it's important to document the pattern of legal harassment. The timing was bad. The antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism posted a copy of Wakefield's letter after I had already finished Friday's post, and by the time Monday rolled around many of my readers had been discussing it in the comments so much that I had a hard time motivating myself to mention it, particularly given how many other people had already blogged it, such as Liz Ditz, Harpocrates Speaks, and Matt Carey. (That's what I get, I guess, for self-enforcing a rule that I don't post on the weekend anymore, except under exceptional circumstances or to crosspost an already written post elsewhere.)
Particularly amusing was how Andrew Wakefield seemed to take the most umbrage at Emily's point that the noxious cloud of Wakefield's fraud had tainted any research into gut issues in autism that it makes it difficult to study because of the associations, a point Peter Lipson also echoed later, after Wakefield's threat. And it's true. The combination of utter incompetence and fraud, coupled with being paid off by trial lawyers looking to sue the vaccine industry and needed "evidence" to help their case, plus Wakefield's wanting to patent an "alternative measles vaccine," is what led to vaccine-MMR fear mongering that at the same time scared away most legitimate scientists from studying GI issues in autism, lest they be tarred with the Wakefield antivaccine brush. But it's easy to forget that the original Lancet case series (now retracted) examined GI symptoms in autistic children and tried to link them, not so much autism itself, to the MMR vaccine. It was not so much the paper, but Wakefield's publicity tour around the paper in 1998 that spread the toxic meme that the MMR vaccine might cause autism.
Sadly, Wakefield continues to do his part to discredit any such research. Just yesterday, I learned of an interview he did with someone called "Billy D" from something called CalJam. Billy D happens to be Billy DeMoss, a chiroquackter from California for whom it appears there is no pseudoscience too evidence-free to embrace, be it cleansing, antivaccine nonsense, or thermography (which, currently, when used as a screening tool for breast cancer, is quackery). No wonder he totally gushes over Wakefield, inserting his proboscis so far up Wakefield's posterior that if you did an esophagoscopy on Wakefield you could easily pick it. Yes, I know that's a disgusting metaphor, but it's no more disgusting that this fawning interview. Listen to it if you dare. The things I do for blogging material.
After Billy D fawns over Wakefield a while, calling him his "mentor" and even going so far as to say that all Wakefield was doing was trying to get some useful information out there to save some children's lives, Wakefield launches right into what is at best a revisionist history of the MMR story and at worst pure fiction. Oh, hell, it's just pure fiction that's so blatantly wrong on so many levels that I have a hard time believing that even Andy believes what he's saying, if you know what I mean. Seriously. You don't have to listen to the whole thing to realize it's a fetid pile of dingo's kidneys. Just listen to the first few minutes, in which Wakefield regales Billy D with the story of how a mother contacted him because she thought her autistic child had regressed into autism after vaccines and described bowel complaints. He then describes putting together a team of the "best pediatric gastroenterologists in the world at the time" and how he found that there was indeed inflammatory bowel disease (there wasn't) and how treating the bowel inflammation helped the symptoms of autism (there's no scientifically compelling evidence that this is true). Hilariously, he even claims that they repeated their trials and got the same results, which is also not true, leading Wakefield to intone piously that there is "no doubt" that there is a link between the bowel and the brain in autism that begins in the intestine with an "inflammatory condition that injures the brain" and that "fast forward 18 years" and the U.S Vaccine Court has supposedly "conceded" that vaccines can cause brain inflammation that leads to autism. (It hasn't.) He even says that it's not a question of "whether" vaccines can cause autism but "how they do it" and "how we can put it right."
This is all within the first three minutes of the podcast. Truly, Wakefield has not lost his talent for compressing BS into black hole-level density! The reason I say that is that the "study" to which Wakefield is surely referring shows nothing of the sort and was plagued with serious violations of human subjects research ethics.
Soon after, we have the pharma shill gambit, in which the delayed reaction to Wakefield's paper is attributed to its message not having been picked up right away, after which the pharmaceutical industry, finally realizing what St. Andy actually said, "crushed" poor, poor Andy's research program, leading to his "political and professional exile" to Austin, Texas. Of course, Austin, TX is a nice place, and Andy has managed to make quite a nice place for himself. For a while he was at Thoughtful House, an autism quackery center; that is, until Brian Deer's demonstration that he had almost certainly committed research fraud led the board of directors of even this antivaccine-friendly institution to decide that he needed to go. Of course, to both Billy D and Andrew Wakefield, it's all the pharmaceutical industry plotting to discredit him. It's never to Andy's own malfeasance and research fraud. It's never, ever Andy's fault. It's always, always the fault of the CDC and pharmaceutical companies.
One of the hilarious parts of this interview is that Billy D proudly describes himself as as "conspiracy guy," after which he launches into, yes, conspiracy theories, in which the pharmaceutical companies are plotting to suppress Andrew Wakefield's research. Incredibly, Wakefield implies that vaccines are causing a "dumbing down" of the population, shaving 9 IQ points off of it. (I kid you not; although he backs off later and says that there's "no evidence" that vaccines are shaving nine points off of boys' IQ. Apparently, it's just his "fear.") What is his evidence for this claim? Wakefield refers to going to his son's graduation ceremony and noting that all the valedictorians were "all girls."
I kid you not. Wakefield goes on about how there is a "biological basis" for this phenomenon in which boys are more "susceptible" to the evil effects of "toxins" from the vaccines, because "estrogen protects the brain" from all these effects. One thing I can't believe is that Wakefield actually references the incredible quackery of Mark and David Geier in that he out-and-out says that the effects of mercury on cultured neurons is "potentiated by testosterone" and that "testosterone can exacerbate injury to brain cells caused by mercury." Seriously, dude. Mercury is not associated with autism. That's a failed hypothesis. Wakefield even seems to confuse aluminum and mercury in that he says at one point that mercury "boosts the immune response" but then moves on to aluminum as an adjuvant. I couldn't figure out what the hell he meant, other than that he thought that vaccines are evil.
Perhaps the most telling part of the exchange is where Billy D asks Wakefield if there are any vaccines that have "any efficacy at all." This leads to Wakefield launching into a meandering bit of blather in which he talks about pharmaceutical companies buying advertising in magazines, promoting a message about vaccinating, and the like. He also claims that it's all the pharmaceutical companies pushing a message that, if you "question" vaccines, children will die. Of course, one thing that Wakefield forgets to mention is that this is unequivocally true in the sense that anything that leads to decreased vaccination rates will lead to the resurgence of vaccine-preventable diseases.
Andrew Wakefield, like many antivaccinationists, doesn't like being called an "antivaccinationist" or "antivaccine." This becomes evident in a part of the interview where Billy D asks Wakefield if there are any vaccines that are effective; i.e., if there are any vacines that "work." It's clear that Billy D wants Wakefield to say that vaccines don't work. He doesn't say that—exactly. He does, however, equivocate. Instead of saying whether vaccines work or not, he does say that vaccines result in the production of antibodies against the organisms for which they are designed, after which he questions whether antibodies actually lead to immunity and pulls out the antivaccine trope of questioning how long the immunity from vaccines lasts. He even goes so far as to claim that the mumps vaccine is not needed, that it doesn't work, and that mumps is a "trivial disease," which it is not. (If you develop deafness from mumps, to you it's not a trivial disease."
Billy D even asks Wakefield if his children have been vaccinated, and Wakefield seems almost embarrassed to have to admit that he did, in fact, have his children vaccinated, even going so far as to question whether he was actually a good father to have done so and apologetically confessing that he hadn't "done the research." At this point, I thought my brain was going to explode, because Billy D likened accepting the science that vaccines are safe and effective to believing in the flat earth. Indeed, he invoked this analogy to try to excuse Wakefield for vaccinating his children and, apparently, to assuage his guilt at having done such a "horrible" thing to his children as making sure they were protected against dangerous infectious diseases because, you know, autism and decreased IQ.
I could go on and on, dissecting the nonsense, quackery, and pseudoscience that permeates this entire interview. I could list, point by point, exactly what is wrong with it and why it is wrong. I've done so many times before. But why? If you listen to the podcast, you will see that Andrew Wakefield is completely antivaccine, so much so that he even makes the mind-numbingly stupid statement that, extrapolating from the CDC numbers, one in two children will be autistic in 2025. It was at that point that I had a hard time continuing to listen to the rest of the podcast, and my mind started wandering. It didn't help that it was late at night and I was tired after an unusually long day (for me) in the operating room. Indeed, as the podcast continued, it all started to drone together: Billy D giving Wakefield a colonoscopy with his nose, Wakefield droning on about how persecuted he is by big pharma, random nonsense about vaccines. I couldn't take it anymore.
As my mind wandered, I idly checked my e-mail and noticed that one of you, my faithful readers, had sent me a link to this post by Adriana Gamondes over at the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism. We've met Gamondes before. For instance, she's the one who apparently "created" that infamous Photoshop masterpiece of crankery that supports my view of how "they" view "us" fully, namely the "Thanksgiving baby feast," in which the heads of pro-vaccine journalists, bloggers, and scientists were Photoshopped onto the heads bodys of people sitting down to eat a Thanksgiving dinner in which the main course was a baby. She's also known for some rather—shall we say?—far out political views.
It was an incoherent rant, even more so than her the previous rants I've seen by her. It was beyond Orac-level logorrhea, over 7,200 words. (I usually top out at around 4,000 to 5,000, with uncommon exceptions, and only once or twice in 10 years that I can remember have I ever surpassed 7,000 words.) it had to do with Catch-22, pharma-government conspiracies, attacks on pro-science bloggers, including yours truly, and a bunch of other stuff that made little sense but seemed to center on the concept that the reason the "gut-autism" connection "pioneered" by Andy Wakefield was so thoroughly torpedoed was because, well, the closest to a coherent "thought" (if you can call it that):
While Andrew Wakefield has published his response to the Forbes article, families who benefitted from Wakefield et al.’s more timely warning have our own perspectives and they run more than a tweet long. Aside from the fact that blaming Wakefield for the lag in autism-GI investigations is a bit like blaming Galileo for the church’s lag in accepting heliocentrism, investigators and physicians who’ve been making money hand over fist drugging the bejesus out of affected children with medications that—whoops—often cause gastrointestinal disease, left children in agonizing pain, denied care to and allowed some affected individuals to die while parents frequently lost custody through state child welfare apparatuses which parroted mainstream claims that attempting to treat bowel disorders in autism was tantamount to “medical child abuse”— all because these investigators feared facing the same media assaults as Andrew Wakefield? And these gutless wonders who would put their “good names” above the lives of children have apparently been the dominant force in the same commercial field we’re now supposed to entrust with the task of coming up with a solution?
In other words, there's so much money to be made in drugging children that pharma isn't interested in GI issues in autistic children or the fantastical "connections" between vaccines and said GI issues that Andrew Wakefield has championed, not because Wakefield polluted the field to the point that reputable scientists are unwilling to wade in, lest they be tainted by Wakefield's fraud. Of course, from my perspective, the "quality" of Wakefield's defenders, like Gamondes, is rather the point. Gamondes' rambling, pseudo-clever rant that doesn't even appear to make sense to most of the AoA antivaccine readership has many of the marks of a true crank. (If you doubt this is so, note that John Stone thinks it's a "magnificent commentary.") If this were 1999, it would have been published on a web page with garish colors and blinking and rotating letters. This is the sort of person who flocks to Wakefield's banner. This is the sort of person who is an antivaccinationist. This is the sort of nonsense Wakefield supporters spew, and you can see why just from Wakefield's interview with Billy D. It basically said the same thing, minus the uninterpretable Catch-22 references and with a smooth British accent to make it sound reasonable.
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I attempt to interpret Gamondes @ "how they view us".
Ah, but have you listened to Andy Wakefield's interview and seen the similarities yet? :-)
Mumps is not a big deal? Well, here is a story which shows that it can be: http://notkostrony.blogspot.com/2014/05/why-im-alive.html
(And also, the whole blog entry is worth spreading around, because I believe that apart from appeals to science, we should fight anti-vaxers with our stories and our narratives.)
All the while these freak parents have their children chemically-castrated and chelated, force off-label anti-fungals, anti-virals, antibiotics and countless untested "supplements" into their children and of course shove them into saunas and HBOT chambers and let's not forget the lovely bleach enemas, baths and drinks. Sickos.
Hey, docs who have had their licenses stripped from them (and their unlicensed kids who practice without a license) need to stick together.
Billy D is a freak to the power of freak.
I suspect the main reason John Stone thinks it's a "magnificent commentary" is because it mentions Mozart - probably the only subject in which John C Stone could reasonably be described as even vaguely knowledgeable (by anyone other than himself, anyway) - so it gives him a chance to show off.
I understand that many other Mozart scholars think he's an arsehole.
That comment about his children is a great point to make next time an anti-vaccine activist wants to claim that Andrew Wakefield is not anti-vaccine.
A coverall in antivax bingo. In a single interview! Amazing.
Oh, and love how we can add misogynist to Andy's credentials. You know, because if it weren't for TEH EVUL TOXINZ, obviously all the valedictorians would be boys. Girls could never be top of the class on their own.
He's not too good with numbers, I see. At a 30% increase every two years, x(n) = (1/1.3)x(x–2) with x(0) = 88, so x(n) = 88[√(1/1.3)]ⁿ, and n = log(x/88)/log[√(1/1.3)].
That gives you an ASD prevalence of 1 in 2 in year 2039, being reported in 2043.
^ "x(n) = (1/1.3)x(n–2)"
^^ Minus two years, since 88 is the denominator for 2008, not 2010: 1 in 2 in 2037. Moar coffee.
Did anyone else see Stone's stellar PubMed creds?
John Stone is an annoying, pretentious, sophomoric multi-genre arsehole. I'm shocked I tell ya.
"Mumps is a trivial disease"
Could this be the same Wakefield who labelled the meningitis that occurs with Urabe strain vaccine mumps as some sort of killer brain virus causing neurological damage and deafness?
Pray tell me this Wakefield: If the MMR meningitis is a killer brain disease, what do you call mumps meningitis (which is the same thing, only more severe, and much, much more frequent a complication)?
Mumps meningitis affects one in 10 of those with natural mumps, yet only affected one in 12,000 of those who had Urabe MMR. Yes, that's right - one thousand times less frequent a complication.
Lie much, not a doctor Mr Fraudypants?
Finally. Those are the first of his Rapid Responses I've seen elevated to DOI "status." The full texts are provided here (PDF) and here (Scudamore).
On the bright side:
(1) Emily WIllingham has not backed down - if anything, Wakefield's letter seems to have stiffened her resolve to call his actions fraudulent (note the added link on May 2 in her Forbes article); and
(2) Even if Wakefield were to sue, he faces: (a) Texas's Anti-SLAPP laws (already invoked by Brian Deer, Fiona Goodhue, and the BMJ as backup to their - thus far successful - jurisdictional defence to his libel action against them), and (b) New York Times v. Sullivan actual malice standards of proof.
Wakefield is big on threats, but his success record leaves something to be desired.
I listened to AJW as Orac suggested:
true, his basic conspiracy mongering is similar to Gamondes' minus her spatterdash free association that winds up at pop culture movies and odd use of language. I always get the impression whenever I hear him speak that he is an actor/ speaker/ presenter reading lines that he wrote earlier in the day and rehearsed several times over prior to recording. It's so measured and perfectly modulated. He DOES have a nice voice. Too bad he uses it to..... wait, I don't want to get sued next.
Those conspiracies sound remarkably like those promulgated @ PRN. Oh, he has a standard deviation or two in intelligence above that vanity information network's hoary old host BUT the basic message- and the mercenary prevarication- are the same: ' The government, industry, professionals, universities and the media are entirely corrupt
and *I'm* NOT
so listen to me and buy my products'.
It seems AJW has a film ( featuring the late Alex) and a new book coming out. *Quelle surprise!*
I was online at 1 AM when Wakefield's threatening letter to Dr. Willingham and Forbes, was posted on Age of Autism.
The letter was designed as a message to her and other science bloggers to back off posting about Wakefield's sordid history and ongoing anti-vaccine activities. Dr. Willingham was "supposed to" roll over and play dead. Wakefield made a mistake...a huge mistake. Emily Willingham is not backing down and she has a huge following who read her Forbes posts and who are supporting her.
Billy Dee and Andrew Wakefield on YouTube, is comedy gold.
Wakefield has "big cojones" and the New World Order's agenda is "population control", through poisoning kids with vaccines:
How is that a mistake? Wakefield's whole business plan at the moment *requires* the targets of libel suits to be able to defend themselves. If the target *did* back down, Wakefield would have no reason to ask for contributions to his legal fund.
"How is that a mistake? Wakefield’s whole business plan at the moment *requires* the targets of libel suits to be able to defend themselves. If the target *did* back down, Wakefield would have no reason to ask for contributions to his legal fund."
It's a huge mistake, because Wakefield underestimated Willingham's resolve to continue blogging and underestimated the reaction of the science blogging community (Orac, Peter Lipson at Forbes, Left Brain/Right Brain, The Poxes blog and Just The Vax blog, to name just a few.
When Wakefield's letter to Dr. Willingham and Forbes went up on AoA, Narad provided the information about the foundation (D.A.I.R.) , which is Andy's major source of income:
ORAC garbage as usual. Twisting the story till its virtually unrecognizable.
@Ross - hmmmmm.....given that Wakefield posted his threat of litigation publicly & this story pretty much covers everything as it appears, how exactly is it "twisted?"
"ORAC garbage as usual. Twisting the story till its virtually unrecognizable."
Only in your twisted neuron-deficient brain, Ross Coe.
"That comment about his children is a great point to make next time an anti-vaccine activist wants to claim that Andrew Wakefield is not anti-vaccine."
The "I vaccinated my kid, I can't be anti vaccine" is such poor logic, but it keeps coming up.
I vaccinated my kid (past)
I am presently pro/anti vaccine (present).
It's like him saying, "I was born in the UK, therefore I am not a U.S. resident".
I wish Andrew Wakefield would grow a spine already. Seriously.
He waffles when asked questions by this guy in this interview and a shorter one. When asked if vaccines are part of a depopulation plan, Wakefield waffled. You can read it on his face, "which will cost me more? Disagreeing with this chiropractor or being on record as accepting this idea?"
Pick a lane and drive in it.
What does he believe? He believes he'll do what's best for Andrew Wakefield.
Well, I don't know about that last bit. Their first-year Form 990's aren't accessible yet.
^ And the Bookface page has... 47 "likes."
Ross Coe: "ORAC garbage as usual. Twisting the story till its virtually unrecognizable."
Oh, hello there! You are back. Now are you ever going to tell me how the reaction to measles by Roald Dahl's oldest child is just like autism? Or are you just going to run away, only to return with another inane comment like you have done for the past three years?
Hm. A new (c)(3) for AW, purporting to provide non-monetary support for medical research (according to its little EO classification code).
Wonder what services they provide. And to whom. .
Because, you know. If they're just paying for him to sue people:
That's not a tax-exempt activity.
Have they solicited funds for his legal expenses?
By any chance?
An outstanding new AoA entry from Teresa Conrick:
"I have to point out that because the gut and the immune system are also implicated in autism, will eliminating microglia solve the biggest issue of autism?"
"D.A.I.R. Foundation provides legal aid, coordinated public relations support, and educational materials that support the work of our sponsored applicants."
"Defending Academic Integrity and Research stands for Justice and integrity and requests your presence! A national effort is underway to stand up and say these scientists and physicians are valuable and need to be protected. This is why the DAIR Foundation was created and these funds will be used, for those at risk, as a justice fund for their continued support. Dr. David Lewis will talk about science that is heavily scrutinized to undermine truth and justice and Dr. Andy Wakefield is the keynote speaker for the evening. His story is compelling and he eloquently speaks to the recent major events in vaccine court rulings and new publications on findings of related diseases. The DAIR Foundation, Dr. Toni Bark and Dr. Andy Wakefield look forward to be blessed by your presence at this amazing evening with your loved ones and collegues."
I read Conrick's confabulatory free verse earlier but am currently experiencing woo overload because of Gamondes' *piece de resistance* and AJW so I will lay low and enjoy others' interpretations - if any.
She is -btw- AoA's resident neurophysiologist. Or is it psycho-neuroimmunophysiologist?
"“I have to point out that because the gut and the immune system are also implicated in autism, will eliminating microglia solve the biggest issue of autism?”"
The answer to that is a BIG no.
I've spoken with a neurologist who specializes in this area. Said neurologist has taken on at least one patient--a kid whose parents decided to "treat" microglial activation. It caused harm. Plain and simple.
Microglia have been shown to be important for brain development. Why people think that shutting down a whole class of cells in the brains is a good idea is beyond common sense. And dangerous.
I truly hope that Teresa Conrick goes outside the AoA bubble, finds out what an irresponsible thing she's just written and spends a lot of time trying to correct the damage she's caused.
@ Matt Carey:
I doubt that she'll look to SB sources: she already knows better than profs and researchers.
She did all the 'research' on her own too.
And it LOOKS like it.
From all I can see, "DAIR" is basically a "donate to the Andy Wakefield Legal Fund...some smaller amounts may go to David Lewis and maybe others"
Here's another video asking for DAIR donations
Wakefield frames the story as "the move vicious it gets the more it's failing"
"If we weren't winning they would back off. They woudn't be this mean"
Consider the last 6 months or so. He's been basically ignored. So, what does he do? He threatens a lawsuit against Emily Willingham and Forbes. He basically says, "Look, look, they are being mean to me! I'm not being ignored! I'm still important! Really REALLY, I'm still important"
He's not. Hasn't been for years. He's got his small contingent of fans, but beyond that, what's he got? Is he working as a gastroenterologist? Is he doing research? Is he successful at his film company?
He spends all his time talking about how 17 years ago he was important. But the man came down on him for telling the truth!
Get over it already. Geez, he has such gifts and he's basically throwing them away. Do something of value with what is left of your career. Anything. But this isn't important. This isn't valuable. This is just self promotion and self pity.
Cells in the brain don't just do one thing only. As Matt notes, shutting down a whole class of cells almost certainly isn't a good thing. You'd only shut down all of a person with leukemia's white blood cells because they have a cancer of the white blood cells--and even though that can save their life, you still have very severe side effects from the loss of white cells that causes severe immune impairment.
Does anyone know what happened to his Strategic Autism Initiative? The 2012 tax forms are still not available. Is it still in operation, strategically paying him a salary?
Aside from pretty much wiping out the brain's immune system, "eliminating microglia," as Jameson suggests, seems as though it would precisely the opposite of what she "thinks" it would.
^ Whoops, Conrick. Tracking down the sockpuppet has plum tuckered me out.
I notice that Wakefield sycophant Conrick is still using the revoked "Dr." title for Wakefield. I'm amazed at the strength and longevity of that reality distortion field they live in. The military might be interested in it as a cloaklng device. (Or is it cloaca device?)
Since you mention cloaca devices...
Jerry A, for what it's worth and sadly, Wakefield is still "Dr.". He was stripped of his medical license but his education and title are still intact even though he chose to make a mockery of them.
For those who haven't read it, Dahl's account of his daughter's measles: http://brain-confetti.tumblr.com/post/77365471379/olivia-my-eldest-daug…
People can call Mr. Wakefield "Dr."
They can call Andre Romelle Young "Dr. Dre"
There's no law requiring or forbidding the use of the title.
If you read the threat letter sent to Emily Willingham, you will notice that Mr. Wakefield doesn't use his fellowship letters anymore. He doesn't have the right to use them. It was with no small irony that he submitted a complaint against the BMJ saying "I'm not a fraud!" signing with his "F.R.C.S." when he no longer had the right to those letters.
I have the right to more letters after my name than does Mr. Wakefield, including a doctorate. One guy I've worked with has won every prize except the Nobel (and he almost won that, and he's being talked about for a future one). Even he called a guy who wanted to be called "doctor" pretentious.
When was the last time "doctor" Wakefield saw a patient? Did original research? Did anything of value? He has to reach back 30 years to when he got a medical degree to say, "see, I did something! Call me doctor!"
Not in the U.S., he isn't. Use of the title is regulated by the individual states.
dedicated lurker: "Dahl’s account of his daughter’s measles:"
Exactly. Three years ago on Liz Ditz's blog I posted a comment that said:
To which Mr. Coe responded with: "Chris it sounds like you are describing autistic children."
He has never explained why her death was just like being autistic. He just runs away when I ask him to explain. He either does not know how to use a search engine, or he thinks autism is equivalent to death. But we will never know, because he just does a "Brave Sir Robin" and runs away.
"Jerry A, for what it’s worth and sadly, Wakefield is still “Dr.”. He was stripped of his medical license but his education and title are still intact even though he chose to make a mockery of them."
Jan Schoen was stripped of his doctorate for research fraud. Then he fought and got it back. Then the university fought and revoked it again.
its too much work
Matt @#35: I'm almost afraid to ask...what did they do to 'treat' the microglia?
The Strategic Autism Initiative is listed as "active" at the Texas Secretary of State website. Not that it means much.
@Matt Carey, in re: fundraising --
It would have to be a very specific request (ie -- "Your donation will be used to pay for XYZ") to meet the criteria I had in mind. But thanks.
I notice that the funds raised via that site are going to some address in Baltimore. Does anyone know what that's about?
ann: Just for you. The Radio Interview of Dawn Loughborough, President of the Board of Directors of D.A.I.R. (Starting at 25 minutes into the audio tape). You will hear how most of the fundraising for Wakefield is done through this new Foundation, started up May, 2013. Their fundraisers are quite secret, so that parents are not bothered while they speak to Wakefield:
Both Loughborough and Mazer are based in Maryland.
I've read about NSAIDs. I don't know how high a dose. Minocycline. A recent study from Hopkins and NIH basically showed no value to that.
Citing Pardo's research, doctors have treated children with a blood product typically reserved for people with severe immune system disorders like the one known as "bubble boy" disease. They have used it to justify sealing children with autism in pressurized bags and submarine-like metal chambers. Other children have been given a drug used to treat extremely rare genetic disorders.
I think they specifically avoided naming the drugs to keep from informing parents.
I'm trying to recall another drug--it's got a black box warning.
Lots of VERY serious medicine being misused.
Here it is (PDF).
add IViG, stem cells and just about any alt-med treatment where the seller thinks he/she can fit "neuroinflammation" into the pitch.
the one I couldn't recall above was Actos
Matt: The "bubble boy" disorder you referred to is SCID and IVIG is used to treat it.
their funding is way down and they are working at a deficit. Wakefied's salary is down from $200k/30 hours to $100k/15 hours per week.
I.e. his pay is down by 50% but they are keeping the myth that his annual salary is $270k/40 hours a week. Which was his salary at Thoughtful House.
They are funding the Geiers to analyze Florida medical records. "Dr. Gary" put pressure on the prior governor to gain access (there was a story on this a few years ago). I guess they got the access.
Also money for a VSD study. Either the one the Geiers are working on or with Jake Crosby?
I have questions about Wakefield that have always puzzled me since I first read about him...what was his substantive position in the hospital when doing his research? Was he a surgeon? Gastroenterologist? GI Surgeon? If he was a surgeon, was he performing any surgery? Why would he have had a purely research job? Was he previously competent as a clinician?
It's also of interest that, for a person who was proposing a separate Measles vax, he is now denying that antibodies reflect immunity. I'd love some interviewer to ask "So, if vaccines don't work, what was the point in patenting a separate measles vax? Hmmm?"
Well. She doesn't explicitly solicit donations during the interview. But it would have been quite something if she had. Fundraising fraud is a thing.
It sounds like they're going to have a little bit of a lobbying function, in addition to dedicating themselves to championing AW. But she did say they'd been asking people to take down blog posts. So bullying is a part of the mission, I guess.
She's a product of Landmark Education, I noticed. So I stumbled across this remark, which she posted to facebook in response to their question, "What are you going to do to empower another person today?"
That didn't go too well. Did it.
But he's paying himself practically all the organization's revenues every year. (In exchange for less than two days a week of work, in 2012.)
That doesn't look good.
Is he on the board at DAIR? Or are they just going to be paying for people to offer him non-monetary support?
Science Mom, I understand that Wakefield earned the standard medical degree, not a doctorate, and is thus not a Doctor.
ann: D.A.I.R. is a not-for-profit organization. They run semi-secret fundraisers for Wakefield and but for the fact that the Foundation is recently established, we would be able to get their Income Tax filing.
"Dawn Loughborough I’m empowering a mother with a vaccine injured autistic boy in the hospital today in Chicago.
March 21, 2013 at 4:51am
That didn’t go too well. Did it."
I'm impressed that you found that. Loughborough also testified at an IACC meeting about Alex Spourdalakis, right after the child was murdered:
For those who'd rather not click on wretched hive AOA to get to the Forbes article, here's the direct link:
There's some merry warfare underway in the comments, for those who wish to participate, but Forbes comments page apparently requires that you submit to a nasocolonoscopy from Facebook or Google before you can log in (credit to Orac for suggesting the neologism).
Going back a few days to Orac re. 'Doctor' or 'Mister,' may I suggest the following?:
Hostile interviewer: 'We now present Mr. Orac...'
Orac: 'That's not quite right. It's either Dr. Orac or Ms. Orac.'
Hostile interviewer: 'Ms.? Mizz? You can't be serious?!'
Orac: 'No more or less serious than you are about Mister.'
Hostile interviewer: 'Oh puh-leeze!'
Orac: 'May I call you Sourpuss?'
Seriously: insist on Ms. and their heads will explode.
Back a few days to 'How they view us.'
I'm inclined to a simple hypothesis: Each side views the other as a threat to its own children. Few things in life inspire quite so much willingness to fight, as the feeling that one's children are threatened.
The anti-vaxxers think of us as threatening their children with autism. Our side think of the anti-vaxxers as threatening our children with measles, pertussis, chicken pox, and mumps.
Each side believes it's supported by science, but in fact their side is supported by pious quacks who offer emotional blandishments, and the real science is on our side. Their side is also given to conspiracy-thinking, which obstructs any input they don't want to hear.
Re. DAIR: Good grief!, torturing the spelling of common English words. Especially when the correct spelling produces a more honest acronym: DARE, for Donate to Andy's Ridiculous Enterprise.
But if they have to torture an acronym, they may as well be honest about it: SMAQ, Send Money for Andy's Quackery, or perhaps DRUNCC, Donations for Research on UNlikely Conditions & Cures. Heh, this could get amusing. Anyone care to set up a website with one of those?;-)
Science Mom @46
As I understand it, Wakefield is a graduate of St Mary's Hospital Medical School (now Imperial College School of Medicine).
His medical degree follows the English tradition and he graduated MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery), rather than the American tradition of graduating MD.
Since his graduating degree is not a doctorate, he didn't get the title "Doctor" from his education. He became entitled to use the honorific when he became registered by the General Medical Council.
By striking him off, the GMC has revoked his right to use the honorific.
@ Stuartg, yes that's correct and in the English tradition he's "doctor" rather than "mister". Matt is also correct that he isn't entitled to his fellowship. Again, while he has made a mockery of his education and abuses his credentials, he hasn't been stripped of his educational degrees. I don't really care what title people wish to use, I was just trying to be accurate for what it's worth.
I thought the Landmark thing was interesting. They have a history of suing critics for defamation.
And yes, I know they're a non-profit. I'm really looking forward to their 990!
SAI gave a "grant" of 15.5K to 23andme? For a Research Program "Krigsman GI/biomarker study." Interesting. I thought 23andme was just commercial. Does it do research, or would this "grant" be more a fee-for-service?
I see they have also put forth great effort to generate "extensive computer programming code," which is intended to analyze a massive Florida Medicaid database with more than 1 billion records. They list expenses of 145K for this database project, including 35.5K in grants, but this is their total grant amount, including the 23andme.
I honestly don't understand the ins and outs of 990s, but I wonder where these expense numbers come from. It certainly looks like all the money they've received has gone back out in salaries -- mostly one salary in particular. Is this the estimated value of his work? Actual outlay of money (what money?)
This money is peanuts compared with what he thought he would be making in vaccine court, which is why he moved over here in the first place.
"I have questions about Wakefield that have always puzzled me since I first read about him…what was his substantive position in the hospital when doing his research? Was he a surgeon"
I can't recall the actual title, but he held a research position. He was not allowed to have clinical responsibility for a patient. In fact, some of the charges against him found proved by the GMC were for ordering procedures on patients.
"This money is peanuts compared with what he thought he would be making in vaccine court, which is why he moved over here in the first place."
But likely a lot more than he would have made had he stayed in the UK.
I think that would have been nothing.
"It certainly looks like all the money they’ve received has gone back out in salaries — mostly one salary in particular. Is this the estimated value of his work? Actual outlay of money (what money?)"
That would be accurate in the case of the Strategic Autism Initiative. I'll add the numbers up, but most of the money they've pulled in has gone to Wakefield's salary.
Money in: 113,501
Wakefield salary: $100,000 (15 hour/week(
Money in: $280,750
Wakfield salary: $200,000 (for 30hr/week)
Wakefield salary: $16,667 (30hr/week, pro rated for short year)
Mr. Wakefield's salary has taken 48% of their revenue
Another $45,600 went to Terri Arranga (of AutismOne), or about 7%
So, about 54% of intake has gone to salary. The bankroll they accumulated in year one is basically gone. They were down to $26k in the bank at the end of FY2012
They lost Elizabeth Avellan as a director. She is, I believe, part of the "Spy Kids" franchise and would thus be a deep pocket
He still has (or had) Phill Rollens on his board. He is, I believe, the owner of soccer teams in the US and UK.
Wakefield also had training in Toronto in transplanation ( intestinal) surgery which may have had something to do with his later work in London with liver transplanation prior to his crankery. ( Information @ Brian Deer's site).
How about: 'Wakefield's Awesome Narcissistic Crankery '
as an acronym for a fund name?
" We here @ WANC work to enable autistic individuals to get on ALL by themselves without assistance..."
Had he stayed at the Royal Free and worked his way up, it would have been substantial. I.e. had he not been caught for unethical behavior.
Of course, he left the Royal Free "by mutual consent" or something well before Brian Deer exposed Mr. Wakefield's dirty laundry.
Matt, as I understand it, the Royal Free offered him fully paid time off to run a larger study on vaccines and autism. Wakefield accepted, then stalled for two years. Eventually, the Royal Free lost patience and dismissed him.
In other words, Wakefield's approach to research that would vindicate his work and allow others to reproduce it, helping austistic kids worldwide, is rather similar to that of Burzynski. No wonder Wakefield though Texas would be the perfect home.
Since we're discussing anti-vaxxers' projects, I just learned via TMR's Facebook page that:
-TM Tex ( Thalia Michelle Seggelink) is trying to legalise medical marihuana in Texas AND she has her own little non-profit called 'MAMMA'
- TM Mamacita ( Cat Jameson) is raising money for a school for LD students in Virginia.
- LHK of FeralessParent ( no word on MacNeil) had an educational event about food in NJ. There was a fee to hear her and Sayer Ji et al.
Wakefield also had a slew of wealthy benefactors here in the United States...in spite of the fact that he left the U.K. under a cloud of suspicion. But for those wealthy benefactors, he probably would have stayed in the U.K. before and after the GMC reached their decision to revoke his medical license, and hope to find employment in the U.K., outside of the medical profession. His wife Carmel may have found a position in the National Health Service.
In the U.S., however, even the use of this can be regulated. Were he an M.D. (and some states will allow an MBBS to use that title if licensed), for example, appending those letters to his name in any related context without having a medical license would be statutorily considered prima facie evidence of the unlicensed practice of medicine.
It's better than that: this was to get the "prototype cube matrix" (good L-rd) into Excel.
So what has he produced for all this money?
Thanks Narad and I understand better. However, isn't it splitting hairs a bit? I mean I get (or think I do) that if he uses his MB in a context that appears as though he's passing himself off as a licensed practitioner then it's regulated but merely prancing about calling himself "doctor", he's entitled to do.
The board of D.A.I.R. is Loughborough, the seemingly unstable Josh Mazer, and discredited author/"reporter" Patrick Tierney.
No, that's even worse. The regulation of "M.D." is an obscure point, but it goes further to the underlying argument that he still has his degree.
He is just not a "Dr." over here.
"Patrick Tierney"??? I just looked him up and it appears that he is another fraudster. So is DAIR a cheats group?
A rather large and expensive house? Umm...other than that, nothing of any use or benefit to anyone other than himself.
Sigh. I guess the transfer of titles just didn't register with me. That and perhaps calling him "mister" elevates his status in my head so it's repugnant to do so.
"Wakefield also had a slew of wealthy benefactors here in the United States…in spite of the fact that he left the U.K. under a cloud of suspicion"
because of the fact...
I suppose we can thank our lucky stars that Wakefraud's celebrity 15 years ago didn't get him knighted, with a title, like that carbuncle Monckton: "Dr. Sir Andrew, Lord Wakefield of Colonoscopy".
The story is here in unsympathetic detail.
@The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge
I think you mean Lord of S**t.
I believe you are thinking of this bit of reporting by Mr. Deer
The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley is not a "Lord" (PDF).
I saw a video of Billy DeMoss interviewing Andrew Wakefield. Billy looks sickly, rail thin and as if he was in his 60s. But that's beside the point. YouTube then told me I should watch another video of Billy talking about chemtrails and other nonsense. THAT is what shaved off 9 IQ points off my intellect. No amount of estrogen can protect anyone from that.
"I saw a video of Billy DeMoss interviewing Andrew Wakefield. Billy looks sickly, rail thin and as if he was in his 60s. But that’s beside the point."
You mean, he looked.....vaccinated!?!?!
As to the honorific
I'd like to get to the point of what Monty Python jokingly said about the Belgians--
"'let's not call them anything, let's just ignore them' "
Just Wakefield will do.
He's not entitled to use "doctor" anywhere.
The term "Mr" is an honorific reserved for surgeons within the English tradition. When used with Wakefield it offends those of us trained in the English tradition.
If our esteemed host were to work in the UK (or New Zealand, or Australia...) he would be referred to as Mr Orac and only the utmost of respect would be intended. Wakefield doesn't deserve it.
While I don't recall the entire tale, Deer refers to Andy at the time of his fr.... I mean *study* as a "former gut surgeon". I know he did training in transplanation in Canada- how he came to be a GI researcher at London is unclear to me.
It's possible that I heard the story from a radio interview that Deer did.
Perhaps it would be fairer to call him a fabulist or fantasist. You could charitably say that in his South American activities and reportage he was being used by missionaries and other groups to advance their own agenda.
That said, the credulity with which the American Anthropological Association endorsed his claims (and then unendorsed them) -- by the highly scientific method of voting -- was not their finest hour. One of many not-finest hours.
Matt, that was exactly what I was thinking about.
I didn't know it at the time, but I had a neighbor whose child was a patient of Dr Wakefield at Thoughtful House. This was several years ago, and my then 2 year old son had just gotten his autism diagnosis. I was new to all the autism woo because we generally followed accepted scientific practices for our children and ourselves. But, autism parents feel a camaraderie when we meet, so when I found out that my neighbor's son was autistic, we instantly became friends and chatted a lot. And then the horror of it all started to creep up on me. We live in California, and she flew her son to Texas twice a year to have him fully scoped. He was on this odd special diet where he could only eat boiled chicken legs and drink pear juice. Of course, her other kids could eat popsicles right in front of him. He had been chelated until his liver started to fail, so he was on a multitude of supplements, weekly IV's, heavy duty prescription anti-fungal medications, daily injections, he was supposedly allergic to "everything," honestly the list went on and on. It was as if she hated her child so much that she was willing to put him through any torture in order to get the autism out of him. It wasn't until after they moved away that I looked up the clinic, and discovered it was Wakefields. I had never heard of "autism enterocolitis" before, so it didn't ring any bells when she was going on about it. I've always wondered if I should have contacted the authorities, but I didn't and it bothers me to this very day.
I do wish that there was legitimate research on autism and the gut. As a young child my son horrible bowel problems and now as an older child he vomits very often. He seems to have this odd drive to eat things that are not food, but we have been told it is not PICA. If anything, all we really hear these days is "I don't know what that is/ why he does that/ how to fix that." We need more research on what to do with children beyond the diagnosis and age 3, but I think you are correct that no one wants to touch that sort of research lest the Wakefield herpes gets on them.
@ Another Autism Mom: Wakefield was the Executive Director of Thoughtful House and was not licensed as a medical doctor in the United States. The gastroenterologist employed by Thoughtful House was Dr. Arthur Krigsman. Wakefield and Krigsman are joined at the hip. Krigsman has two professional practices; one located in Austin Texas and one located in New York (where Alex Spourdalakis was transported to and from his Chicago home for Krigsman's scoping).
Check out Krigsman's testimony as an "expert witness" during the hearing of the Cedillo case in Vaccine Court. Krigsman states everyone diagnosed with an ASD, including those who don't have any signs/symptoms of gut problems, should undergo bowel scoping...to look for the elusive "autistic enterocolitis?
The Dachelbot revealed the underlying assumption behind this:
What's at the other end of her source for the "prediction"? An assertion by "Thrive Family Chiropractic." That's it. If one erroneously declares ASD prevalence to be "1 in 50 kids," then it's still not until 24.54 years from 2010 (rather than 26.88) that one gets 1 in 2.
There is another problem, in that the Dachelbot specifies "based on past increases." Let's use her own faultily presented numbers, i.e.,
These confuse reporting date with reported date, but they also relieve one of the trouble of actually trying to weight the uncertainties. Let's see how that works out.
^ There's a typo in the inset: "30%/(2 yr)"
@Another Autism Mom comment #107:
Good heavens, that sounds like the people next door were doing a medical exorcism, not treatment. I feel sad and angry that the child was being abused by the quack doctors and at one step removed through the parents, and the misguided parents also were being ripped off. All you knew, though, was that this was being done under medical direction. Quack MDs take advantage of the public's respect and hide behind the reputations of their reputable colleagues. Too bad that the AMA and state medical boards are unwilling to either strongly police their own criminals, or turn them over to the criminal justice system. That is how the quacks and malpractitioners can keep working for far too long.
When Mr. Wakefield goes into his "pity me. I stood up to the man and lost my job, my country, my car keys (whatever his standard spiel is)" consider what happens to people beaten down by "the man"
I believe this is his house.
It's the address given for the "Strategic Autism Initiative" (I guess after it was made public that his address was a pack mail shop mailbox he decided to get a real address).
It's not, say, Castle Geier.
But it's no shack, either.
"Based on the past increases, the autism rate is predicted to be one in every two children by 2025."
Soon thereafter, there will be two autsitics for every child born. Just keep extrapolating that line.
In other news, D'Olmsted's still having trouble with word meanings:
I once had to talk down an irate author after a junior editor pulled that stunt. Great skills with writing implements, though Dan. Very impressive.
@ Matt Carey: The Wakefield manor was on the market for three months last year. When the house listing was removed, I assumed that Andy sold that dreadful "Who Killed Alex Spourdalakis" documentary to a TV station. Now that I know about the semi-secret fundraisers run by D.A.I.R., I'm thinking that he's getting a large influx of cash for his considerable legal bills and to pay the bills for Casa Wakefield.
Wakefield has it very hard, indeed. I mean, how can he live in such a cramped place as that? I mean, only 6 bedrooms, a game room, a recreation room, an exercise room, a living room, dining room and that itty bitty little kitchen? I mean, it makes a galley kitchen look like a 4-star restaurant by comparison.
Stately Wakefield manor....
The Wakefield mythos is, well, a myth.
Part of it goes--
"Andrew Wakefield, who gave up everything because Brian Deer's lies made it impossible for him to continue".
a) Wakefield lost his job at the Royal Free long before Brian Deer came on the scene in 2004.
b) Wakefield *got* his job at thoughtful house in 2004--the year that Brian Deer made the exposures of Mr. Wakefield's unethical practices. Thoughful House kept him on, at a salary of $270,000/year (at least towards the end) for six years. Six years when more and more was exposed. The GMC hearings were held in 2007, exposing a great many problems with Mr. Wakefield's actions, but TH kept him on. Wakefield never appears to have attempted to replicate his research while at TH, instead focusing on work that ranged from unimpressive to worse. Only when the GMC made the final sanction did Thoughful House let Wakefield resign. Frankly, I would have let him go for basically doing nothing. No good research.
Can anyone find financial filings for "Medical Interventions for Autism" post 2004? This was a charity set up by Liz Birt, largely to support Andrew Wakefield. After 2004, MIA don't seem to have any IRS form 990's.
Thoughtful House was paying large sums to MIA, while not paying Wakefield directly much or anything from 2005-2007.
Wakefield appears to have been the "Director of Medical Research" for MIA while working on an H1B visa:
at a salary of $280k/year.
They were involuntarily dissolved by the State of Illinois on 2007 May 11. (File No.60829446 here.)
I guess Birt's dying in a car crash in 2005 explains most of this.
The Autism Legal Aid Foundation (File 63646415) was involuntarily dissolved 2005 November 1.
Reworking the recurrence is straightforward. If it's 1 in 68 "in 2014" and 1 in 2 "in 2025," then r in the recurrence is the 10th root of 2/68, 0.7028, and there will be universal autism in 2027.
$280,000 a year? He's sacrified so much for the children, hasn't he?
That's more than a lot of legitimate doctors make...
Looks like MIA lost federal 501c(3) status in May 2010.
They stopped filing tax returns after 2005 when Liz Birt died, but they received hundreds of thousands of dollars from thoughtful house (and possibly elsewhere) after that.
Wakefield may have incorporated in Texas as a for profit group. I recall stories in 2013 claiming Wakefield was a director of MIA.
"They were involuntarily dissolved by the State of Illinois on 2007 May 11. (File No.60829446 here.)"
Consider that In 2006, Thoughtful House paid Medical Interventions for Autism about $320k. MIA hadn't been dissolved in 2006. They took in at least $320k and they didn't bother to file tax returns?
"I guess Birt’s dying in a car crash in 2005 explains most of this."
She died in December 2005.
MIA appears to have been moved to Texas in March 2005--before the death:
The job listing was also in early 2005.
So I think that perhaps the car crash doesn't explain it--well, except for maybe the failure to file tax returns.
The job listing could be part of the H1B process. "We listed the job and we can only find the guy we specifically taylored the job for. Please give him a visa." Happens all the time. No big deal.
Looks like the agent for MIA started out as Vicky Debold, who is with NVIC.
They then transferred it to Texas, with Anissa Ryland as agent. Anissa Ryland was (and I think still is) with Thoughtful House. The address for MIA and Thoughtful House is the same.
The situation appears that thoughtful House was giving money to an org that they basically ran, said organization was paying Andrew Wakefield $280k/year but not filing tax returns.
"Anissa Ryland was (and I think still is) with Thoughtful House"
I should add, under their new name.
Recall that after Andrew Wakefield resigned from Thoughtful House, they renamed the place, changed the website to one with no mention of Andrew Wakefield.
Anything that's gone unnoticed for three years or more ceases to mean anything to the IRS, so this wouldn't matter even if Thoughtful House/the Johnson Center hadn't also already been revoked for non-filing, which they apparently have.
The year that's a problem is 2007. They gave money to MIA. Wakefield was on their -- ie, Thoughtful House's -- board at the time. But they answer "No" to all the related-party-transaction questions.
Worth noting for the record, I guess.
I came across a word that was new to me today: Lucubration.
I thought: "Bet Narad wouldn't have to look this up."
And either herr doktor- or I - would would immediately create a pun or make a suggestive aside, respectively.
Oh and I won't say exactly what- use your imagination.
MOB might pun also.
I came across a word that was new to me today: Lucubration.
Would you like to shed some light on it?
If they are being this sloppy, perhaps there's more. There's certainly more in the past, with Mr Wakefield charging the Legal Aid Board for work that was covered by the National Health Service. Then not returning the money but instead diverting it to other projects.
Add to that Mr. Wakefield hiding business ventures. Normally I'd write this all off to being sloppy/lazy but (a) there's a track record here and (b) he's suing one group and threatening another.
"Worth noting for the record, I guess."
Perhaps those being sued for using the term "fraud" in relation to Mr. Wakefield would be interested in the financial dealings of TH and MIA.
I'll note: Mr. Wakefield's attorney argued at the GMC hearing that some of the charges amounted to charges of fraud. Those charges were found proved.
Et facta est lux.
(That was my best etymological guess, in fact. But still I hadn't a clue what it meant,)
(Definition of LUCUBRATION
: laborious or intensive study; also : the product of such study —usually used in plural
Origin of LUCUBRATION
Latin lucubration-, lucubratio study by night, work produced at night, from lucubrare to work by lamplight; akin to Latin luc-, lux
First Known Use: 1595)
@Matt Carey --
Keeping an eye out.
The thing about 990s is that it really takes an audit to establish whether the potential problem reflected there is actual and (if so) how serious it is.
Plus, unless it's criminal, the worst that can happen is loss of exempt status. And possibly some excise sanction taxes.
Nevertheless. If there's something reportable, it can't hurt to report it. Nobody ever reads most of those things, absent a reason to do so.
In the end it's all pretty small stuff.
" Nobody ever reads most of those things, absent a reason to do so."
I don't think Mr. Wakefield expected anyone would ever take a close look at his research practices or business plans either.
I couldn't even guess which conjugation the root verb was from.
Me either. My thoughts, paraphrased, were: "Well, okay. But what's the "ubra" doing there?" (IOW: I got as far as "lucere" and hit a wall.)
I think my present position is that it's a silly word. I can't help feeling a little grudging respect for it, though. I mean, it beat me fair and square. I wouldn't want to be a bad sport.
In any event. Thanks! I now feel better about myself.
Very true. But (fwiw) by "nobody," I really just meant "nobody at the IRS" -- ie, if no one brings it to their attention, the odds of their looking at it are vanishingly slight. They're not really staffed for more than token enforcement. They need the assist.
Apologies. Your reply was hiding from me until just now, for some reason.
Yes! I thought that, too. (Initially misread it that way, in fact.)
I know about Latin roots** but still went for it anyway as I also know how many minions' minds work.
That's what they pay me for.
** as in, " Come on over to the Dark Side, Luc"
Latin roots would be radices.
OMG, all the valedictorians (?) at one school were girls! Surely shots are killing boys' brains! I've heard a lot of dumbass theories about how men are becoming the more oppressed gender, but that is impressively stupid.
I wonder if Wakefield would have done more or less damage if he had skipped medicine and gone straight into outright cult leadership. He certainly seems to be better at it than the character from The Following.
I wondered about that, too. Apparently, it's a "thing" these days.
I thought valedictorians were like the Highlander.
What, as in "there can be only one?" Well, it depends on how wussy your school administration is. Mine was pretty seriously wussy, so they let both of the kids who applied share the position. One gave a pretty typical, vanilla speech, and the other gave a lengthy, weepy talk about one of our classmates who had killed herself the previous year. Yeah, that was a fun talk.....
Why has Wakers not faced criminal charges for alleged fraud? I would have thought that the adverse findings against him at the GMC would amount to pretty strong evidence. Further evidence has been published by the BMJ and Brian Deer.
In a just world, he would be prosecuted for all the unnecessary vaccine-preventable deaths that have occurred as a result of his fearmongering, but since that is not legally possible I would settle for a fraud conviction. (Similar to the situation with Al Capone who was convicted of tax evasion).
It's funny I guess that linguistically speaking, it really does refer to the speaker, not the person with highest GPA (since I don't think there's particularly a correlation between getting the highest GPA and being a good speaker. "Mumble mumble mumble," said my valedictorian into the microphone, accented by static.)
My high school was wicked obsessed with stuff like weighted grades and playing the system, and then I went to a Quaker-based college that doesn't even have GPAs for philosophical reasons--we technically had to calculate them ourselves for stuff like grad school applications. Our graduation speakers essentially had to audition with a sample speech, and whichever members of the student body showed up voted.
"Why has Wakers not faced criminal charges for alleged fraud?"
Statute of limitations for one.
The harmed party, the Legal Aid Board, likely didn't have much incentive to bring this to further scrutiny. Nor did the Royal Free have much incentive to say, "Guess what? We let Andy Wakefield divert funds to unrelated projects. Perhaps you should take a look at our books and see if it's happening elsewhere"
Research fraud would almost never be actionable - except by the funders, I would think - because the researcher would have no duty of care to the deceived.
Research fraud would almost never be actionable – except by the funders
Who just might be the wrong people to piss off.
Oh, dear, the Dachelbot is scrabbling to get the goalposts out of the ground:
This episode of Nuts Landing is a standout.
Oh, sweet Jesus: She doesn't realize that she's quoting Dorit.
In other Wakefraud news, they f*cked up their postsubmission brief three to five ways to Sunday (PDF).
John C Stone is arguing one of his favoured bleating points over at AoA today - that;
This seems to demonstrate that John C Stone is talking out of his arse. Again.
In related news, or at least cause-of-autism related news, I was reading the following articles via the genetic literacy project website.
This first one is a take on anti-GMO people linking glyphosate to autism. The author points out that there is a similar, if not stronger correlation between organic food sales and autism rise (I'm sure you have already seen the graph).
Interesting read for the summary on the current state of genetics behind autism..
The second one got me confused. It's an excerpt from a longer article from the website Science Daily on a recent study on the metabolism of white blood cells from autistic people.
It starts by reporting how the scientists saw a decrease in oxidative activity in granulocytes from autisitic people, with mitochondria (s?) being slower, and then the web article switches on describing how mitochondria produce plenty of potentially harmful free radicals.
I don't get it. Framed like this, lower mitochondria activity would mean less free radicals, isn't it?
Cells with a low or limited metabolism (because of slow mitochondria) are not cells with an excess of oxygen-related free radicals, or am I wrong?
The original article may be interesting findings, although I'm concerned about the small sample size (10 autistic children and 10 NT children).
Part of my confusion may be because, while the web article is based on a True Story, the writer may have mashed a few things together and a bit got lost in translation. It looks like the writer is talking about two different articles.
That, or I forgot one thing or two about cell metabolism. More likely both.
My favorite is his claim that Murch's plain statement in the Lancet that it was indeed 172/96 was a result of faulty memory. It all came back to him correctly later.
While he's yammering on about questions people "can't answer," I haven't noticed his responding to the simple observation that they used controls, which is the end of the "it wasn't research" routine.
It's a little sad that Mr. Stone finds it difficult to understand that after it's been explained to him about four times that he was wrong - I particularly liked Matt's comments - and he just repeats himself, people grow a little tired of responding.
But that, of course, is his problem.
@Narad / Dorit - is the AoA (and Jake's line) now that Wakefield wasn't actually performing research & that the Lancet Paper wasn't a "study?"
It is really hard to keep up with the shifting goalposts....
Narad -- looks like Wakefield's lawyer went to the Orly Taitz School of Law.
I just read over the comments section on Jake's latest post:
two visitors attempt to explain the situation to him in simple terms and yet he persists in his folly and confabulation. This was painful to watch.
As I commented earlier:
he's studying for a doctorate?
How do you friggin' get through that arcane, mystical process when you can't keep simple, everyday material**- written in English that most 10 year olds would completely understand- straight?
** Walker-Smith - it was all about Walker-Smith- not about Andy, not about the Lancet paper or about your cousin Jenny or the possibility of war in the Middle East or the decline of the West - it was about John Walker-Smith.
Does Jake have a cousin Jenny?
Lawrence: I'm not sure what the AoA line is, frankly. But the distinction made in Judge Mitting's decision is what was the intent behind ordering invasive procedures on the children: If it's research, it did not have Ethics Committee Approval, and was flawed and clinically inappropriate. If it was done, as Walker-Smith alleged, as medical practice, it was fine.
The Judge found that: "These difficulties arose in this case: Dr. Wakefield's purpose was undoubtedly research; Professor Walker-Smith's may have lain anywhere on the spectrum. "
I'm not sure what they are trying to say about Wakefield. Saying that he was just trying to medically help the children and not do research runs into a bunch of problems.
Bottom line; how on Earth do the Wakefraud acolytes possibly believe they are doing him any favours? If anything, they just make Wakefraud look even more pathetic.
Dorit @ 164:
I don't know, but Jenny has a cousin Melissa. I really hope she's not an anti-vaxxer, too, but I've been afraid to look it up.
I was ( mostly) joking BUT
anti-vaxxers and alties have read all sorts of things into Mitting's decision.
Usually they believe some variant of:
AJW is also exonerated or that the GMC was wrong. Occasionally this permutates into other dreams of their own coming true.
It just applies to Walker-Smith that's all.
"In other Wakefraud news, they f*cked up their postsubmission brief three to five ways to Sunday (PDF)."
And in so doing, Team Wakefield drags this out for another few months. Where they can claim they have a lawsuit going.
I doubt they planned it, but it doesn't hurt them. It just extends the life of this story. Which is what they want.
One of more whimiscal writers at Age of Autism recently wrote:
Well, now we know: although it may be that Wakefield's legal team is not able or willing to follow the Court's normal procedures, it may also be that filing a late brief eight months after the conclusion of oral argument might be reasonably expected to delay decision.
DeMoss + Chiroquackter = Scientologist. I initially spelled that as scientologits which also works, though more as a collective noun.
That's another fine example of Stone's grasp of facts. Courts of appeals don't say when they will "report back."
I find it somewhat interesting that the notice was sent to Parrish and not the real appellate counsel. It would certainly explain the boneheaded error if he decided to pull this stunt* all by his lonesome.
* What, they just now came up with a new response to a question that arose during oral argument?
The motion for leave to file the supplementary brief is up (PDF). It's an additional authority.
They're citing a case in which a court attempted to dismiss a case under the TCPA two weeks past the 30-day deadline after hearing. This means that BMJ et al.'s anti-SLAPP, which hasn't been heard, is waived because something something.
The language is as tortured as the reasoning. Try to parse this (footnote omitted):
He's doubling down on the valedictorian story
about 45 minutes in (yes, I threw 45 minutes of my life down the tubes listening to him)
He says that all schools have girls (not women, girls) as valedictorians.
He says that the cleaning woman at the Royal Free used to diagnose the children with autism (i.e. they were so obvious). I'd rather go to the cleaning woman than Andrew Wakefield for medical advice.
He's still discussing the 9 points off the IQ of boys, across the board.
What a fool.
Did you notice that Old Andy has spiffed himself up?
For the ladies- no doubt- he has many ardent admirers.
- his hair looks much too shiny and he's too tan for my taste- he's been working out it seems. Talking about rugby yet.