Has Dr. Oz become antivaccine? The answer would appear to be yes.

mehmet-oz-vax-2

ORAC NOTE: I’ve added the links to the video segments, which are now up at the Dr. Oz website. I also did a screen grab of a certain really stupid thing that I noticed when I watched the segment but, because I was watching it on DVR, didn’t have the ability to show you. It’s near the end. Enjoy.

When last we left “America’s doctor,” Dr. Mehmet Oz, in June, he was having his posterior handed to him by Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) in a Senate hearing about the deceptive marketing of supplements in which his over-the-top promotion of supplements like Garcinia gambogia, green coffee bean extract, and raspberry ketone. It was an unexpected pleasure, not for Dr. Oz, obviously, but for skeptics who had been concerned when they had learned Dr. Oz was going to appear before the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, which Sen. McCaskill chairs, that it would turn into a love-fest or a grandstanding opportunity for Dr. Oz. It wasn’t. In fact, even though at the end of his punishment Dr. Oz promised to clean up his act and tone down his overenthusiastic boosterism for supplements, without of course making any specific promises, I had little doubt that Dr. Oz would revert to his old ways as soon as the new season started.

I wasn’t wrong. In fact, I think I can now safely say that, in addition to the quackery and weight loss supplements that he promotes regularly on his show, Dr. Oz has started down the path to become antivaccine, if he’s not antivaccine already. Of course, I had seen rumblings of antivaccine proclivities coming from Dr. Oz before. For example, nearly five years ago, he was interviewed by Joy Behar, as noted on the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism. During that interview, he admitted that his children had not received their flu shots during the H1N1 pandemic and strongly implied that his wife had been responsible, saying, “I`m in a happy marriage and my wife who makes most of the important decisions as most couples have in their lives who absolutely refuses.” Of course, at the time I knew that Oz’s wife is a reiki master and clearly heavily into quackery. Whether it was she who influenced Oz to go as far as he has into the wild world of woo or whether he discovered it himself, I don’t know. What I do know is that anyone who produces a segment like the one he produced on yesterday The Dr. Oz Show is well on his way to being antivaccine. What do I mean?

Take a look at the thimerosal segment on yesterday's The Dr. Oz Show, and you'll quickly see what I mean:

Dr. Oz had as guests on his show antivaccine loon Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and his partner in crime against vaccine science, “functional medicine” expert Dr. Robert Hyman, on his show in a credulous segment about the mercury-containing preservative thimerosal that buys into virtually every trope about mercury in vaccines promulgated by the antivaccine movement. The reason, of course, is because Kennedy and Hyman have a book out. It’s a book entitled Thimerosal: Let the Science Speak: Mercury Toxicity in Vaccines and the Political, Regulatory, and Media Failures That Continue to Threaten Public Health that I’ve discussed before in which, as I put it, Kennedy parties about thimerosal like it’s 1999.

To give you an idea what this segment was like, let me tell you how it was advertised and introduced. That’s almost all you need to know. Before the thimerosal segment, there was a somewhat useful segment about heart disease in women. (At least, there wasn't anything objectionable from a medical standpoint in it.) After that segment concluded, there followed a teaser for the upcoming segment that blared:

Flu shots under fire. Why is a toxic ingredient that was banned lurking in your vaccine?

Things went downhill from there after the commercial break, when Oz introduced the thimerosal segment by describing RFK’s and Hyman’s book as a "controversial" new book that asks the question, “Why does the US government allow a toxin to be added to one of your most common medicines?” He then stated that two “world class leaders have come together to write a book that will change the way you think about the flu shot.” Ugh. "Controversy" is the wrong word. "Manufactroversy" is the right word.

Oz then went on to observe that vaccines have come “under a lot of fire in the medical community.” It was at this point that I wanted to reach through the screen and strangle Dr. Oz, its taking a major effort of will not to do so. (Such blatant stupidity has that effect on me, particularly dangerous antivaccine stupidity such as what Dr. Oz had just regurgitated to millions of viewers. Fortunately, I am not a violent person, but I'm sure anyone who's pro-science will understand the momentary urge.) No, no, no, no! Vaccines have NOT come under a lot of fire from the medical community. The medical community is virtually universally supportive of vaccines. Rather, vaccines have come under fire from a number of misguided activists who mistakenly think, despite mountains of evidence to the contrary, that vaccines cause autism. They’ve also come “under fire” from quackery supporters like RFK, Jr., and, yes, Mark Hyman. In any case, in order to “clear the air,” Oz went on to ask Hyman and RFK whether they are antivaccine. I almost laughed when RFK said that he’s “fiercely pro-vaccine,” which, given the level of sheer pseudoscience, conspiracy mongering, and stupidity that he’s laid down over the last nine years on the topic, has to be either a lie or the most amazing case of self-delusion I’ve seen in a very long time or an outright lie. Hyman chimed in, assuring that he, too, is pro-vaccine, which is nonsense. If you've collaborated with a book with the likes of RFK, Jr. that lays down scads of pseudoscience, conspiracy mongering, and misinformation about vaccines, you've lost your right to call yourself pro-vaccine, or at least you've lost any expectation that people won't laugh in your face when you do something as risible as claiming that you are not antivaccine.

Next followed a brief video about the history of the use of thimerosal in vaccines, which noted that thimerosal came to be suspected of causing autism in the 1990s. In fairness, the segment stated that the link between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism has been discredited, but that was buried under sensationalistic fear mongering, with alarming images, the observation that the government got rid of thimerosal in vaccines because, “Better safe than sorry,” and the conspicuous notation that thimerosal is gone from childhood vaccines with the “glaring exception” of some flu vaccines, not to mention the claim that the EPA considers medical products containing thimerosal to be “hazardous waste,” decorated, naturally, a big picture of a biohazard symbol in the background. At one point, he displayed an Erlenmeyer flask full of what looked like liquid mercury, swirling the liquid metal, and then added the "mercury" into a beaker of water meant to represent a multi-use vial of vaccines to demonstrate how "mercury" is added to vaccines to prevent bacterial overgrowth that can occur as a result of bacterial seeding that can result from entering the vial with more than one needle. It's one of the dumber visual demonstrations I've seen on The Dr. Oz Show, and that's saying a lot. Thimerosal is not metallic mercury. One would think that Oz might have picked up a bit of organic chemistry in his premed courses or in medical school.

After the video, Hyman claimed that children receive just as much thimerosal now as they did in the old days because it’s in the flu shot. This is, of course, utter nonsense. Children get one flu vaccine a year. Many don’t even get thimerosal-containing versions of the vaccine; indeed, many receive a live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) like FluMist, which is given intranasally. The hilarious thing about this segment is how much of a non-issue this is and has been since 2002 at least. RFK claimed that when he gets his flu vaccine he asks for the thimerosal-free version and that his doctor has no trouble keeping it in stock. Unfortunately, Hyman couldn’t resist chiming in to call mercury a “neurotoxin,” which it is, but not at the amounts and in the form received by infants from vaccines. He implied but didn’t explicitly state, that mercury at the level in vaccines could cause neurodevelopmental difficulties, which, as I’ve pointed out time and time again, using citations to large, well-designed studies to back me up, is simply not true.

One thing I do believe is the part where Dr. Oz described how he had polled his viewers with the question, “Do you trust that vaccines are safe?” and found that 65% of them said no. Given that this is a Dr. Oz audience, that’s not surprising at all, although it is still very depressing. This result led Dr. Oz to claim that the reason he did this segment on thimerosal is because he’s all about “restoring trust” in vaccines, as did Hyman, who says that he and RFK are all about getting people vaccinated and also restoring trust in vaccines, to which I say: Bullshit! Using such tactics to "restore trust" in the vaccine program is akin to showing flaming car crashes and dead victims in order to "restore trust' in automobile safety.

You can see this in the part where Dr. Oz briefly reads part of a CDC statement:

The conclusion of the scientific community is clear that thimerosal-containing vaccines are safe and effective and do not represent a public health risk.

To this, RFK had the actual cojones to claim that the CDC statement was “not a scientific statement.” I say again: Bullshit! I particularly call BS on RFK’s claim of spending three years reviewing the literature with a “crack scientific team” with the best research scientists and editors (one wonders if he included Mark and David Geier on that "crack team"). He claimed that he couldn’t find a single “valid, plausible study that said that thimerosal was safe.” Well, here, Robert, I’ll help you out. Here are a few that I’ve blogged about myself over the years. Of course, you probably don’t think they’re “valid” because they conclude that thimerosal-containing vaccines don’t cause all the horrible things you think they cause, but they’re there, and they’re valid. Hyman then pulled the nonsensical gambit that the FDA has banned thimerosal to put on your skin, asking, then, why is it still safe for vaccines? Funny how he neglected this statement from the FDA:

Studies have shown that there is no known harm from thimerosal preservative-containing vaccines. In 1999, FDA conducted a review of thimerosal in childhood vaccines and found no evidence of harm from the use of thimerosal as a vaccine preservative, other than a reaction at the injection site. The Institute of Medicine’s Immunization Safety Review Committee reached a similar conclusion in 2001, based on a review of available data, and again in 2004, after reviewing studies performed after its 2001 report. Since then, additional studies have been published confirming these findings.

I won’t quote what the CDC says about thimerosal, because it’s very similar. The idea that thimerosal in vaccines causes autism is a long-failed hypothesis. In any case, at the very end of the segment Oz concluded:

First of all, pregnant women and babies, and people over 65, you’re at risk. You should ask for thimerosal-free vaccines, like the kind you find in a single dose. As for healthy adults up to the age of 50, it’s pretty simple. Consider asking for a flu nasal spray. That doesn’t contain any thimerosal, you don’t even need a needle, just put it in your nose. It’s just as effective.

While this advice is unlikely to cause harm, it’s also unnecessary. Most children don’t get thimerosal-containing vaccines anymore, and there’s no evidence that thimerosal-containing vaccines are harmful to adults or even to pregnant women. Ironically, research by the “CDC whistleblower” himself, Dr. William Thompson, is some of the key evidence that thimerosal does not cause neurodevelopmental disorders in children or problems when administered to pregnant women.

So has Dr. Oz gone antivaccine? I’m sure that he thinks that he hasn’t. He might even believe that tripe he fed his audience about wanting to “restore trust” in the vaccine program by prodding the CDC to remove all thimerosal from vaccines, even though it isn’t necessary to do so. I don’t believe him, though. If that was really his intent, he sure has a funny way of doing it, instead doing everything possible to play up the fear of thimerosal: Portraying thimerosal as this incredibly toxic compound, going on and on about its neurotoxicity, and likening it to toxic waste, with images of biohazard symbols and closeups of babies being injected, while giving only perfunctory acknowledgment of the real science showing no link between thimerosal and autism, after which he let RFK, Jr. and Mark Hyman basically say whatever they want about thimerosal. I mean, seriously. RFK, Jr. calls himself “fiercely pro-vaccine”? Seriously? If that were true, his supporters in the antivaccine movement would drop him like a rock. Like many in the antivaccine movement, RFK, Jr. might think himself to be “pro-vaccine safety,” but his words and deeds belie that claim.

In fact, the dead giveaway that Dr. Oz has either gone antivaccine or is so irresponsible that he’s willing to put forth a camouflaged antivaccine message in search of “controversy” and ratings is the very fact that he had RFK, Jr. on his show to talk about vaccines. Remember, RFK is one of the key people go really stoked the fear of thimerosal-containing vaccines back in 2005 when he published his misinformation-filled “expose” that popularized the central conspiracy theory of the antivaccine movement. Surely Dr. Oz and his producers must have known this, even if they didn’t know this:

Ozscrewsup

Notice something? (Besides the vacant look on RFK, Jr.’s face?) The caption says “In 1999 thimerosal began to be removed from childhood vaccines like measles, mumps, and rubella.” Apparently Dr. Oz’s staff and Dr. Oz failed to realize that the measles-mumps-rubella trivalent vaccine doesn’t contain thimerosal. It never contained thimerosal. Ever. It’s an attenuated live virus vaccine, which means thimerosal would kill the virus in it. Even RFK, Jr. and Mark Hyman probably know that! Seriously, if Oz’s staff can’t get something that basic about vaccines right, what else did they get wrong? I think we all know: This entire segment and the fear mongering about thimerosal. Dr. Oz kept saying that he couldn't figure out why thimerosal is still in vaccines and that "not one person" could give him a good reason. He must not have looked very hard.

Vaccination rates are plummeting in enough places to produce pockets of unvaccinated and undervaccinated children among whom outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases can start, thanks to antivaccine celebrities, the antivaccine movement, and, now I fear, Dr. Oz. Maybe this is the first step of his finally going all in. After all, he’s been criticized as a hypocrite and “vaccine charlatan” by antivaccinationists for telling people to vaccinate while his wife doesn’t vaccinate his own kids.

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Has Dr. Oz become antivaccine?

Why not?

He has bought into most other variants of pseudoscience.

"people over 65, you’re at risk"

People over 65 are at risk of becoming autistic due to vaccines? And people under 65 too I guess, if like me they're asthmatic and can't have the live virus vaccine.

Does Dr. Oz's audience skew older? I know my wife's grandparents watch Dr. Oz and then go out and buy what he says. The elderly tend to die in the largest number from the flew. I wonder how many additional people will die because they don't get a flu shot this year after watching Dr. Oz?

Put simply, Oz is a ratings whore, back to his old tricks.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 12 Sep 2014 #permalink

This is appalling.

By palindrom (not verified) on 12 Sep 2014 #permalink

If I were

Acting Surgeon General, Rear Admiral (RADM) Boris D. Lushniak, M.D., M.P.H.

I would call up Dr. Oz personally and ask him what the hell he thinks he's doing.

And if I didn't get a really, really contrite answer, and an on-air correction, I would hold a press conference and let him have it, by name, with both barrels. Metaphorically, of course.

By palindrom (not verified) on 12 Sep 2014 #permalink

Oz, like Bob Sears, are say-anything-for-a-buck physicians who need official reprimanding by their respective state licensing boards (as well an any academic medical societies to which they belong) but are unlikely to get it (with the notable exception of the verbal flogging Oz got from Senator McCaskill this summer as you note above).

Besides the straight talk here about quack physicians, I do like the multimedia beatdown of Oz by ZDogg MD (http://www.zdoggmd.com/sucker-mds2/ , and http://www.zdoggmd.com/dr-house-cards-ep-3/ )

By Chris Hickie (not verified) on 12 Sep 2014 #permalink

At this point, I think holding out any hope for Dr. Oz is probably a fool's errand. Even if he does not personally believe these things, he is perfectly willing to act as though he does for the sake of ratings.

An aside, the mercury gambit with vaccines has always fascinated me - only because it is truly so short-sighted. I learned a while ago that a single serving of most kinds of fish will contain more mercury than the entire CDC-approved vaccine schedule combined. However, that factoid somehow goes right past the likes of these people. Maybe it's just too much work for these people to troll the frozen food aisles and seafood counters of their local Whole Foods. Maybe vaccine quackery is just easier.

It looks like Dr. Oz is getting some unfavorable publicity. The FTC charged that green tea extract weight loss program that Dr. Oz touted on his program and on his website. That company negotiated a $3.5 million dollar settlement with the FTC.

"A company pushing bogus diet pills touted by Dr. Oz settles with the FTC. Will the medical world weigh in?"

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2014/09/09/the-ftc…

I honestly wonder if the whole McCaskill situation made Oz turn even further to quackery on his show out of spite, a sort of "just you try and stop me now" attitude. Based on the profiles and interviews I've read he seems like just the kind of egotist who would do such a thing.

FYI and entertainemnet:

simply search *Dr Oz house Cliffside Park*-
you'll find lovely aerial photos of his ostentatiously grandiose tile-roofed mansion on the cliffs...which means great views.
Oz lives in an extremely high rent/ real estate district so whatever estimated value pops up in your mind, please multiply by at least 5. Maybe more.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 12 Sep 2014 #permalink

It was still priceless to see his face looking like something from mugshots.com as he had to just sit there and take a very public verbal lashing. But yeah, I agree AdamG it probably completely turned him to the dork side.

By Chris Hickie (not verified) on 12 Sep 2014 #permalink

Was this taped after the spanking Claire McCaskill gave Dr. Oz?

What the anti-thimerosal crowd seem to forget is that prior to the mid-1990's, mothers were swabbing their kids' cuts and scrapes with the stuff in the form of merthiolate (AKA monkey blood). The autism "epidemic" is supposed to have begun about the time topical merthiolate antiseptic were banned in the US.

By Harold Gaines (not verified) on 12 Sep 2014 #permalink

I learned a while ago that a single serving of most kinds of fish will contain more mercury than the entire CDC-approved vaccine schedule combined. However, that factoid somehow goes right past the likes of these people.

I would guess they're not really afraid of mercury, they're looking for an excuse for a preexisting aversion to vaccines (perhaps originating in a fear of the "unnatural", or simply of needles). They have no similar aversion to fish, so mercury in fish is not as salient.

By Andreas Johansson (not verified) on 12 Sep 2014 #permalink

Between assassins, compulsive sexual behavior, plane crashes, and mountains of cocaine*, I'd think thimerosal would be the least of the worries for the surviving Kennedys.

*actual potent neurotoxin

What do you suppose it would take to get a segment onto Oz in which a really well-prepared, media-savvy, telegenic expert pointed out how dangerous Kennedy's blatherings are to public health?

That might save a few dozen (or maybe many more) old folks from dying of flu this winter ...

By palindrom (not verified) on 12 Sep 2014 #permalink

Well....with Oz's reach, I would guess I won't have any trouble finding adequate vaccine supply when the time comes...

they’re looking for an excuse for a preexisting aversion to vaccines (perhaps originating in a fear of the “unnatural”, or simply of needles)

DING DING DING DING DING

They didn't reason themselves into their position, they are trying to rationalize it after the fact. It's understandable to be afraid of needles. Getting one stuck in you tends to hurt. Those of us who get vaccines for ourselves, and any children who may be under our care, do so because we have concluded that the benefits of doing so outweigh the pain of having that needle stuck in the arm. Others (some of them drug addicts, but some diabetics are also in this category) will inject stuff in their arms because the pain of not getting their insulin injection/drug fix is worse than the pain of injecting it. But there are some people who aren't or won't be persuaded that the pain they avoid by getting that vaccine would be worse than the pain they suffer during the vaccination, and they look for reasons, however faulty, to justify their fear of the pain.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 12 Sep 2014 #permalink

I have an acquaintance who's a health professional, and who also has an exceptional talent for anticipating and understanding how people react to different turns of phrase.

She suggests that the word "vaccination" tends to carry more negative connotations than "immunization". I think she's onto something. For one thing, "immuniization" reminds people of the purpose -- to prevent them from getting a disease.

Eric @19 -- I think you're onto something.

By palindrom (not verified) on 12 Sep 2014 #permalink

Unfortunately, Hyman couldn’t resist chiming in to call mercury a “neurotoxin,” which it is, but not at the amounts received by infants from vaccines.

The trick, of course, being that it's very likely the intact compound that is the neurotoxic agent, with the dealkylated inorganic mercury being responsible for the nephrotoxicity.

If your sale pitch is not usually guided by science, why would vaccines form any part of your marketing strategy?

@ Harold Gaines:

My previous hypothesis was that mercury might have been protective against ASDs because rates went up after it was removed from most children's vaccines in the US: your comment lends additional weight to my supposition

Remember, minions I DID say it first!

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 12 Sep 2014 #permalink

@ palindrom:

One of the id... woo-meisters I survey always shrieks that 'vaccination is not immunisation' because he wouldn't want them to associate/ identify this evil with something GOOD..

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 12 Sep 2014 #permalink

Why does Dr. Oz do what he does? He's been exposed to a known neurotoxin as well, two of them, actually. Celebrity™ (Immagodil Bowbeformeum) can affect the adult brain even more radically than it does that of children. It causes delusions of grandeur, confirmation bias and has a contact side-effect on other primates nearby Yesman's Syndrome. The other deadly toxin is Affluenzexx™ (Fucheumax Igotmynavir). This deadly toxin causes massive overconsumption, strips compassion, reason and common sense from the addicted. I fear the poor man's been mainlining both.

By Pareidolius (not verified) on 12 Sep 2014 #permalink

I would love to ask RFKjr:
Me: Has the number of autism cases increased in the last 15 years?
"Yes", we will say.
Me: Do children receive as much thimerosal as they did before 1999?
"No", he would have to say if he was honest.
Me: Then, by your logic, thimerosal was preventing autism. Shouldn't we put it back into vaccines not removing it?

By Brent Thompson (not verified) on 12 Sep 2014 #permalink

Maybe someone should point out that antivaxxers are exposing future generations to the risks of vaccination by keeping the diseases from going extinct. Measles and polio should have been a non-issue by now, such that taking them off the schedule would be the most sensible thing to do for the same reason I haven't had a smallpox shot. If they're concerned about "too many too soon," the shot being obsolete because the disease no longer exists would be a non-controversial way to get rid of the "too many" part, after all.

By ebrillblaiddes (not verified) on 12 Sep 2014 #permalink

@ Brent Thompson:

You could ask Jake Crosby or Brian Hooker that as well.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 12 Sep 2014 #permalink

Oh no, we've lost Dr. Oz to the Dark Side.

Chris H., thanks for the ZDogg links. That's awesome good stuff! Tuned right to the age group and demo that needs to hear this.

OneOther, excellent! The fish comparison is like the asteroid analogy only better. The regular folks will get it immediately. For flu-shot worries anyway, it's better than 100 scientific studies that prove thimerosal is safe, because it defines the issues in terms of their personal experience: ' I eat fish and I'm fine'. Unfortunately, this won't help with the infant vaccine, as pregnant moms are told not to eat fish, and new moms told not to feed fishy things to newborns exactly because of the high mercury content...

Andreas J. and Eric Lund, brilliant! IMHO, tracing the issue back to a fear of needles is spot on. I don't think it's just a pain issue, though. Think about the 'hard-wiring' we inherit from millions of years of evolutionary adaptation. Creatures who have an aversion to body penetrations are going to be preferred by 'natural selection,' as are creatures who develop the knowledge that ingesting certain things will help them survive. Any oral vaccine is far less threatening than an injection, and a recognition of the naturalness of injection-aversion is a first step to developing effective psychological/rhetorical counter-measures physicians can employ other than just saying 'roll up your sleeve' or 'drop trou and bend over.'

palidrom, OUTSTANDING! IMHO this is the most valuable post I have ever seen on RI.
FROM THIS POINT FORWARD, NO PRO-SBM DISCOURSE SHOULD EVER,/b> USE THE TERM 'ANTI-VACCINE', BUT RATHER ALWAYS USE 'ANTI-IMMUNIZATION'!! In more polemic, less-purely-scientific contexts this could even be pushed to 'anti-immunity.' I BEG ORAC AND EVERYONE HERE TO MAKE IT A PRIORITY TO CIRCULATE THIS IDEA AND WORK ACTIVELY FOR IT'S ADOPTION BY PRO-SBM, PRO-PUBLIC HEALTH ACTIVISTS!!.

(Of course, the hard-core anti-immunizers will babble about 'natural immunity,' and Sears-ites will babble that they just want a 'safer' immunization schedule, but they will be back-pedaling as they do so. As things are now, it's the pro-vaxers who are backpeddling from the natural appeal of "why should I stick a sharp object into my child to inject a foreign substance into its body!" )

With respect, Orac, I think you are asking the wrong question. It should be "has Dr. Oz decided to show that e is antivaccine?"

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 12 Sep 2014 #permalink

Is anyone else getting the feeling that this is pure damage control from the antivacine brigade? The timing seems suspicious coming right on the heels of the nova segment on vaccines.

By Uselesstwit (not verified) on 12 Sep 2014 #permalink

Celebrity™ (Immagodil Bowbeformeum)
Affluenzexx™ (Fucheumax Igotmynavir)

Brilliant! Consider these stolen.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 12 Sep 2014 #permalink

My hunch is that Dr Oz's staff and producers put together most of these shows, and Dr Oz pretty much goes along with the script. (No single person could do the research and put together these shows, so much of the legwork is obviously done by staff.)

Staff has a job to do--put together a show! And, do it everyday. So, whoever is available for on-air, whoever has a new book out, etc., will always be given a featured role.

And, it's always easy to find another "miracle" supplement to fill a time slot.

Most of what is on these shows is just time-filler. It's not that Oz sits down at the beginning of the year and decides what topics, such as "restoring trust in vaccines" are top of his agenda to educate his audience.

It's time filler. The staff does the work. Oz is just the front man.

@ sadmar:

Not only the fear of pointed sticks** and whatnot BUT fear of poisoning:
toxins- whether they reside in vaccines, meds or GMO- and/ or gluten-laden foodstuffs/ bad seafod all frighten the h3ll out of them.

** obligatory Pythonism

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 12 Sep 2014 #permalink

For those who only know 'The Wizard of Oz' from the movie, the original book by L. Frank Baum is a Populist allegory, an attack on the Gold Standard and advocacy of Free Silver. Dorothy (the future of America) joins Scarecrow (the Farmer), Tin Man (the Industrial Worker) and Cowardly Lion (William Jennings Bryan) down the yellow brick (Gold) road to Oz (the Capital, named after the measure of Gold) to seek the aid of the Wizard of Oz (the politicians who rule the Gold).

They discover his schtick is empty BS designed to ward off challenges to the established monetary order. In the book, Dorothy returns to Kansas with her new wisdom by clicking her magic SILVER slippers.

(They changed it to Ruby for the movie because it would look better in color, and they weren't doing outdated "Cross of Gold" era anti-establishment politics in a mainstream depression-era family film, either. And after the commercial success of the first Oz book, Baum had eliminated the allegorical angle from the many sequels.)

And here we have the 'wizardly' Dr. Oz (Dr. Goldlove) promising those who follow the Yellow Brick Road (shell out money for 'health supplements') that he has the power to solve their problems, only to hand them empty placebos (diet diploma, weight-loss watch, mercury-consciousness medal) and add more bricks to his own bunker of bullion.

@Uselesstwit
I don't think it's 'damage control.' As Rob notes, scheduling and prepping show topics takes a lot of lead time, and unless someone on Oz's staff had an inside source at NOVA, they wouldn't have known what would be in the program before it aired. In addition, while the NOVA piece was thoroughly pro-immunization, it was boring weak-sauce as filmmaking, totally hamstrung by PBS conventions of 'objectivity' and 'sobriety' and deadly 'voice-of-god' voice-over narration from an anonymous, disinvested narrator. This is why theatrical-release docos that go with voice over use identifiable celebrities with positive public personas -- Morgan Freeman on March of the Penguins, for example. The audience then feels like they're being addressed by a real person, and a trustworthy one to boot.

I would guess they’re not really afraid of mercury, they’re looking for an excuse for a preexisting aversion to vaccines

I think this is right on the money. People who claim they're not anti-vaccine but "pro-safe-vaccine" remind me of a racist I once saw on one of those daytime talk shows. I was quite young at the time so I'm hazy on the details, but at one point an audience member asked him how he could teach his kids racism. His response was, "I'm not racist b/c I don't hate black people for being black, I hate them for what they do" - and started reciting the usual stereotypes about black people being criminals, drug users/dealers, unwed mothers, etc. Reasonable people know these are stereotypes, but this guy believed them b/c they justified his pre-existing racism, not the other way around.

I think in light of the recent CDC scandal where vital information regarding autism was covered up and hidden from the public for 13 years, it makes this article sound a bit ridiculous. There most certainly is a link between vaccines and autism, it can no longer be denied. Taking cheap shots at Dr. Oz and Kennedy by calling them loons just makes your comments that much less credible. Other silly comments like it's ok to eat fish so thimerasol is safe is laughable. Something eaten has to pass through the digestive system and be filtered through the body whereas an injection of a neurotoxin such as thimerasol/mercury or aluminum can and does cause brain damage. People who blindly believe in these toxic poisons injected into newborn babies is mind-blowing to me. Obviously the CDC does NOT have our best interest at heart, to defend them just makes you look uneducated and in denial.

By penny Nelson (not verified) on 12 Sep 2014 #permalink

Sarah A @40 -- Your anecdote reminds me of a great T-shirt from The Onion that reads: "Stereotypes are a real time-saver!"

By palindrom (not verified) on 12 Sep 2014 #permalink

Penny @41 - Don't assume that we're unaware of this. Orac devoted a solid week of posts to the CDC "scandal" as it unraveled, and "unraveled" is indeed the word.

By palindrom (not verified) on 12 Sep 2014 #permalink

Penny @41 -- a disinterested statistician evaluated the relative strengths and weaknesses of the deStefano 2004 and Hooker 2014 papers, summarized at A Statistician Evaluates DeStefano 2004 and Hooker 2014.

Thanks to the tiny sample and the uncontrolled confounding variable, Hooker’s results are both imprecise and biased. Consequently, my personal opinion is that Hooker’s results have no scientific value at all.

So. No scandal, no controversy, so no "whistleblower", still no evidence that vaccines are in any way implicated in causing autism.

@ Liz Ditz:

Please don't tell Jake**, we'll lack entertainment for months.

** not that he'd listen to you

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 12 Sep 2014 #permalink

I had wondered about Oz for a long time, then, about a year ago, I accidentally chanced upon one of his shows as it was beginning. I was astounded to see him and his guest promote numerology, especially the hallucination that we each have a magic number that dominates our lives, including a so-called "life path number" that can be arrived at by adding the numbers in one's birth date. Someone with a mind would have immediately asked, well, what about anyone born in Turkey prior to 1927, when the Gregorian calendar was introduced. Is their magic number calculated using the Julian calendar or the Gregorian one? Certainly one would have to ask whether, in China, where the Gregorian calendar is used for some purposes and the traditional Chinese calendar for others, which calendar one would use to calculate one's magic number. There are literally dozens of other calendars in use here on earth, each of which would reduce down to a different "magic number" for the same day. Which is the "real" magic number? What about people who are multicultural? Would a person here who's, say, part Jewish obtain his or her magic number using the Jewish calendar, or the Gregorian calendar?

I cannot believe that anyone who would put up with such nonsense--and who did not immediately ask the obvious questions--could possibly have an intellect exceeding that of a cucumber (cucumbers, please accept my apology for the comparison.) Oz might well be perfectly capable of stitching up a wound, and he might very well be a fine clinician, but he proves that his judgment is worthless. Oz does have a syndicated newspaper column, but it's in conjunction with another physician, and, from the relative sanity of the column, at least compared with the show, I suspect that he must not have much to do with it. If Oz stated that the sun rose in the east, I'd first look to the west, thinking that the earth must have mysteriously started rotating in the opposite direction while I was asleep. :)

By George Butel (not verified) on 12 Sep 2014 #permalink

#31 "Oh no, we’ve lost Dr. Oz to the Dark Side."

No. The Dark Side has lost Dr. Oz to the Darker Side. The Darkest Side is biding its time.

Wait a minute...
I thought that WE were the Dark Side.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 12 Sep 2014 #permalink

Once the genetic predisposition puzzle resolves, thus providing accurate baseline information relating to the pediatric genome, this whole argument goes away. Well, maybe for the 65% that don't want to watch me stick a breathing tube in their baby so that the kid can possibly survive the respiratory problems coming from a preventable yet deadly infection. Maybe they survive, maybe, and only after everyone in the family goes through hell by watching a microbe rip a new ass in their little one. At least the parents can say the internet empowered their choice to get the ideal baby coffin.

@Denice Walter
I can't emphasize this enough:
I'm not talking about the loons in any of my 'PR' comments.

Any kind of persuasion campaign begins by identifying a target audience of people-who-don't-have-a-fixed-position-and-are-open-to-opinion-or-behavior-change. The odds of influencing the folks with a fixed-stance against you are so small you don't bother.

In this case, the fear of getting poked with sticks containing any foreign substance is far more primal and potent than fear of 'toxins', a rather abstract concept in comparison.

Now, the general public IS afraid of 'poisons' hidden in the products of industrial society, and rightly so: Love Canal, oil spills, etc. These are common enough that an awful lot of people have been exposed to them.

I grew up daily inhaling the fumes from the creosote plant that treated all the railroad ties used in the Upper Midwest. I didn't know that the creosote runoff was also polluting the water in the city wells. The plant closed in 1972, when I was a sophomore in college. In 1980 the grounds were designated the number 2 Superfund site in the US by the EPA. Later that year the Feds sued the plant's former owners in Federal Court under the Superfund Law, the first suit of that kind.

I relate this because I think my response to environmental or product-carried 'poisons' is fairly typical. There are just SO MANY potential man-made health concerns to residents of industrial society that they don't even get on my radar unless they pass a pretty high threshold of both seriousness and credibility. Even then, I'm likely to just give a so-it-goes shrug, as I have more pressing personal concerns on my mind, though I'm probably inclined to be more vigilant about those things down the road.

Being 60, I'd say I've encountered how enough people feel about these things to have a somewhat valid qualitative sample. I'd say the largest chunk of folks pay no attention to these issues whatsoever, followed by folks like me who have a passive interest in the Big Stuff, followed by folks who have latched onto one (and only one) specific more paranoid issue they talk about often but do little or nothing about, followed by a quite small group of single-issue activists, followed by a miniscule group of multi-issue activists (I've never actually met one of those in the flesh).

And by 'specific issue' I don't mean anything as broad as 'toxins' in general, but one particular 'toxin', say gluten in the current fad-o-sphere. I mean, mercury in fish is a Real Thing, yet the number of non-vegetarian folks who have removed fish from their diets is pretty small.

Anyway, the point is people who have the h3ll frightened out of them by ALL the alleged toxins are not the people we have to worry about in terms of public health issues.

There seems to be some good evidence that anti-immunization and anti-GMO activism correlate with economic privilege, which makes a lot of sense to me. Jo(e) Schmo's are wound up in their everyday lives of work and family responsibilities, and likely to spend their 'free time' on the entertainments of pop culture. They don't have TIME for this stuff. I don't know if there's any formal or even anecdotal study of the demographics of 'Thinking Moms' but I'd make a hypothesis that there's a high percentage of stay-at-home spouses in that group relying on their partners for income, with time available during the day to Follow and Tweet and Like and read AoA and post all over the web.

The audience that actually matters in terms of decision-making is WAY less involved. These are peripheral issues for them. They're not going to come here and read Orac's scientific analyses OR go to AoA and read Dan Olmstead's screeds.

That's why little things like a change in terminology can make a huge difference — those terms circulate where the broader discussion never penetrates. So again, I'll note how horribly counter-productive it is for pro-SBM spokespersons to employ the term 'herd immunity' in any public forum. I have noticed a couple references to 'community immunity' though, which is MUCH better, and hopefully will gain much wider usage.

Other silly comments like it’s ok to eat fish so thimerasol is safe is laughable. Something eaten has to pass through the digestive system and be filtered through the body whereas an injection of a neurotoxin such as thimerasol/mercury or aluminum can and does cause brain damage.

You lose. Ethylmercury has no access to the brain until it's complexed with cysteine in the liver, just like methylmercury.

Was this taped after the spanking Claire McCaskill gave Dr. Oz?

Yes. It was taped in late August, but before the whole "CDC whistleblower" manufactroversy was flared up by antivaccinationists. Otherwise, I'm sure Hyman or Kennedy would have mentioned something about the "senior CDC scientists who proved the CDC has been covering up" vaccine safety problems.

Orac, you might want to look into this:

You apparently didn't notice that I linked to that very article in the last paragraph. :-)

The Oz Show segment was taped on August 20th. Science blogger Keith Kloor has blogged about Kennedy's feeble attempts to market his warmed over theory about Thimerosal-induced-autism:

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/collideascape/2014/08/20/robert-kenne…

What a sad, sad day for Kennedy's and Oz's fans. Oz will continue to push his particular brand of alternative medicine and Kennedy's next gig will be on the Autism Media Channel.

Oz has not only crossed the Woobicon, I think he's about to lap it.

By Karl Withakay (not verified) on 12 Sep 2014 #permalink

Please don’t tell Jake**, we’ll lack entertainment for months.

It looks like after about a 10 day absence, Jake has returned to his blog. After Narad and some guy named Larry kept asking Jake about his opinion of Hooker's paper, Jake provides an in depth analysis.

http://www.autisminvestigated.com/biomed-central-brian-hooker/#comment-…

I suspect Jake's comment reflects his depth of understanding of either of the two papers.

Jesus, who let Crosby into an epi phd program again?

@ Johnny:

You know, I expected at least _a little more_-perhaps his professional explication of the secrets of the Dark Art of Statistical Analysis (tm) but alas!
No way, Jose,,, I mean Juan.

One of us should really grill him on that..erm... subgroup-ish thingy. You know. Whatamacallit's correction. Heh. Heh.
And OTHER stuff.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 12 Sep 2014 #permalink

I'm amused, and very disappointed. I expected he'd at least try to appear scientific.....

Oz has not only crossed the Woobicon
Is this one of those rivers that you can only step in once?
Possibly I am getting confused with Empedocles who proved that you can only step in an active volcano once.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 12 Sep 2014 #permalink

Oz has not only crossed the Woobicon, I think he’s about to lap it.

That conjures up an image of Oz on all fours lapping up those sweet woo-filled waters like a poochie. Seems about right!

By palindrom (not verified) on 12 Sep 2014 #permalink

I just had a nose around at Jake's blog, and the comments. White Rose is a barrel of laughs, isn't she? "The CDC = the Criminal Destruction of Children". If someone posted that here I would assume it was a Poe.

More seriously, the statistical analysis of DeStefano and Hooker that Liz linked to (thanks Liz!) is interesting, though there are no surprises. This passage, in my opinion, sums it up nicely:

Hooker has a small data set in which a known confounder (low birth weight) is over-represented. Other studies have estimated that low birth weights can increase the risk of autism by 5 times! Because Hooker’s analysis does not control for this factor, we must assume that the estimated risk of autism is positively biased for this group. In other words, the estimated relative risk of 3.36 is likely higher than the true amount.

A known serious confounder that was corrected for in De Stefano, but not in Hooker? That alone leads me to agree with Mr. Frost that, "Hooker’s results are both imprecise and biased [and] have no scientific value at all".

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 12 Sep 2014 #permalink

Oz and his wooligans crossing the woobicon...

By Chris Hickie (not verified) on 12 Sep 2014 #permalink

I think it would be interesting if more of Orac's minions dropped by Jake's place from time to time as have L, R, N, P et al. If I do so, I'll probably have to utilise one of my _other_ names as Jake has already declared my commentary tainted and compromised or suchlike.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 12 Sep 2014 #permalink

@ Chris Hickie:

I woo the day his wooligans cross the wooibon.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 12 Sep 2014 #permalink

WOOBICON

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 12 Sep 2014 #permalink

Woo-begone? Isn't that in Minnesota someplace?

By palindrom (not verified) on 12 Sep 2014 #permalink

Woo-begone is the Nirvana we'd all like to attain, methinks... :)

By Scottynuke (not verified) on 12 Sep 2014 #permalink

@palindrom - I believe that's the part of Minnesota where all the children (or at least their parents) are below average

Orac @70 -- You certainly deserve a tip of the hat for that one!

By palindrom (not verified) on 12 Sep 2014 #permalink

A known serious confounder that was corrected for in De Stefano, but not in Hooker?

Ah, but Hooker has explained why his way is correct, and why "the final study protocol was not followed":

There was a sentence that said "the only variable available to be assessed as a potential confounder using the entire sample is child’s race."

Re. 'immunisation,' check, will update my usage accordingly.

I don't like needles either, but two seconds of minor 'ouchie' is a small price to pay for avoiding the risk of two weeks of misery.

Notice Dr. Oz's adoption of standard conspiracy theory language: 'The Truth About (whatever).' That kind of phrasing has become common in the conspiracy theory subcultures, to the point where rational people refer to CTers as 'Truthers.'

^ Sorry, I already did that.

Wow some people I had the flu shot twice my whole life that was the sickest I have ever been . Almost lost a child due to a vaccine. My children are able to fight things off themselves without chemicals and aborted fetus stem cells and other toxins in their bodies. And my children never get sick since we decided to stop vaccinating . I god didn't I tend for this junk to go into our bodies for a reason. He gave us immune systems for a reason and it doesn't matter if your name is in his book when its your time you will go either way I choose to let my family have the best life they can without being poisoned again. My son is nonverbal and autism from a vaccine a vaccine took things away from him that he shouldn't have had takin away. My choice is to let my kids live a life free from those toxins and free from the corruption that's behind it. Thompson clearly proved there is way to much corruption in the cdc

By Iknowbetter (not verified) on 12 Sep 2014 #permalink

So e letters left out in my comment I'm not saying I'm god just to clarify that

By Iknowbetter (not verified) on 12 Sep 2014 #permalink

About that screen grab. Thiomersal has never been in the MMR vaccine.

What were they thinking when they used that headline?

There is a ubiquity of woobiquity. Even my practice name, Cottonwood Pediatrics is not exempts. But cause to woorry?

By Chris Hickie (not verified) on 13 Sep 2014 #permalink

We are not crazy anti- vaccine people. People have been going to court to speak out against vaccines that they claim injured their children . They are being heard loud and clear and it's just that the media has not been reporting on these cases. I worked for a pharmaceutical in the drug safety department and I saw cases of people who developed a reaction in their nervous system after receiving what you call a simple flu vaccine . Our department was responsible on reporting adverse events occurring after taking a vaccine like the flu one . There are so many ingredients beside Thermisol in vaccines that are proven to be toxic to the body - many are proven cancerous to lab animals . Please read and see all literature on studies and by doctors who are out about how vaccines are harmful . Just google search Dr. Tenpenny and Dr. Thompson - whistleblower of the CDC . There is a video out on the study done for the MMR vaccine that reveals there is high percentage that autism is associated with that vaccine in subjects . The results were misrepresented and now you have a doctor who wanted to be clean and reveal the study's true results . Parents with autistic kids are nerve system - injured kids are fighting to be heard in this county which accepts vaccines so readily when other countries in Europe and Japan do not even market them to their citizens . Read the unbiased literature on both studies . Read the literature from doctors on both sides and hopefully you'll see we're not quacks . We applaud Dr. oz for even looking into the side of anti- vaccine.

Ah, glimpses of woo-topia as seen through other people's websites...

At any rate, Dan ( @ AoA) discusses "Dr Bill's Alternative Vaccination Schedule" ( Bill Thompson, that is) who now joins acceptable one-name doctors like Oz and Bob ( and Andy) in contradistinction to "Doctors of Orthodoxy" Offit and Orac; Dr Jay, may be a "good guy" however he isn't properly worshipful of Andy amongst his other flaws.

Dan aspires to activism such as handing out brochures outside of places that offer vaccinations publicly.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 13 Sep 2014 #permalink

Per the modeling used, I don’t see a problem with it.

That is very scary from a so-called epi PhD student (has he even passed his quals?). How can you so vehemently defend Hooker's rubbish of a study but not be able to comment on the robustness of the methods used? I think there is yet another uni who is going to have a notoriously embarrassing graduate.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 13 Sep 2014 #permalink

Iknowbetter: "Almost lost a child due to a vaccine."

How did your claim with the NVICP go?

"And my children never get sick since we decided to stop vaccinating."

Please thank your responsible neighbors who vaccinate their families because they are protecting your kids by maintaining your community's immunity to diseases.

Badtz: "Please read and see all literature on studies and by doctors who are out about how vaccines are harmful . Just google search Dr. Tenpenny and Dr. Thompson – whistleblower of the CDC ".

No. You are making a claim, therefore you must provide the PubMed IDs to those studies.

"There is a video out on the study done for the MMR vaccine that reveals there is high percentage that autism is associated with that vaccine in subjects ."

Videos are not citations. Just provide us with the study's PMID.

@ Science Mom:

I am still trying to figure out how he has managed to inject his symptomatology ( for lack of a better term) into three reasonably reality-based institutions - actually acquiring 2 degrees in the process.

I work primarily with youngsters and adults who are EFL/ESL and attempting to get a decent standard degrees ( mostly in business and related) and *their* language skills, general level of comprehension and discourse literally runs circles about Jake's- in a good way, that is.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 13 Sep 2014 #permalink

scratch that 'a'

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 13 Sep 2014 #permalink

"There are so many ingredients beside Thermisol in vaccines that are proven to be toxic to the body"

Ah yes, Thermisol - the active ingredient in Glade and Febreze. One squirt after an all-night fish fry and and everything smells like Shangri-La.

I just had a flashback to the foulest air freshener/sterilant of surfaces ever invented - Turgasept. It smelled like essence of dead anteater. Nothing could survive its presence. I think they used to spray it in bars at closing time to drive the patrons out.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 13 Sep 2014 #permalink

"Crank scientific team"...

By Karen King (not verified) on 13 Sep 2014 #permalink

Okay Badtz,
No prodding you with rational questions to goad you into revealing your ignorance. I am calling you a troll and a liar right up front. You are barely able to string together a coherent sentence. I doubt you would have even been hired as a receptionist at the Big Pharma™ company you made up, let alone having worked in the "drug safety department" testing those vaccines, especially "the flue one." That's not how a scientist writes. When they talk about a drug, they go for the scientific name. They speak in specifics, not like a third grader describing a field trip. They do not misspell the name of the compound being discussed. If you're going to come sweeping in here with fables of your damaged child (now totally suspect) and for former life as a scientist, you're going to have to do much better than that. You may now take me to task for being mean and evil. Next troll please . . .

By Pareidolius (not verified) on 13 Sep 2014 #permalink

DG: Turgasept is very possibly the most unappetizing name for an air freshener in all of history. Your description of its ghastly scent has triggered memories of some ill-advised, youthful decisions made at closing times past . . .

By Pareidolius (not verified) on 13 Sep 2014 #permalink

I am still trying to figure out how he has managed to inject his symptomatology ( for lack of a better term) into three reasonably reality-based institutions – actually acquiring 2 degrees in the process.

I think it's a matter of taking our knowledge for granted; most don't bother themselves with anti-vaxx tosh so people like Jake would be unknown to them upon application. He's an attractive candidate because he can pay tuition in cash up front. It's not until he's there that some may realise it's too late. I am of the mind that if these institutions want to sell diplomas then it's a poor reflection on them. Where I take issue is the qualified (academically) student who has lost a seat in a programme because of entitled numpties like Jake.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 13 Sep 2014 #permalink

He gave us immune systems for a reason

It's a terrible design. There's an excellent case to be made that we'd all be better off if the adaptive immune system never existed in the first place.

Pareidolius @87, to be fair to Badtz, directly quoting #79:

I worked for a pharmaceutical in the drug safety department

Badtz does not claim to be a scientist, nor elaborate on what position Badtz held in that “drug safety department.” As you note, Badtz does not write like a scientist (although I hope you’ll forgive me if I laugh at the idea that none of us misspell words!), and seems to revere those with the title “doctor” without understanding that Dr William Thompson has a PhD. Those aren’t the words of someone who has one (or aspires to it).

Badtz reads to me like a low level employee who got freaked out by working on only the adverse events, without ever putting them into the context of doses given. If all you see day in and day out is the bad stuff, what else is there? It seems to me that Badtz simply had no perspective.

Badtz @79 my emphasis

We applaud Dr. oz for even looking into the side of anti- vaccine.

Why applaud? For even looking into ? Where have you been?

The antivaccine side has dominated the discussion for the better part of the last decade and a half. Your side has had its say. How is this applause-worthy? If anything, Dr Oz is attempting to resurrect a dead horse, since he has a guy named Kennedy riding on it.

Before you start talking about how safe vaccines are, please READ THE INSERTS. These are NOT benign products that are 100% guaranteed safe for everyone. These products are NOT guaranteed effective for everyone. They contain ingredients that according to government health agencies can cause cancer (formaldehyde) and brain damage (aluminum). The companies that manufacture vaccines have NO LIABILITY if a child or adult is harmed or killed by these products, which it states clearly on the inserts is distinctly possible for a “small number” of people. We make ZERO EFFORT to screen for children that WILL INEVITABLY be harmed by the vaccines, as is outlined in the adverse events section of the vaccine insert. Thousands of parents regret making this decision after witnessing the harm to their children, and then witnessing this harm be written off by medical professionals and unquestioning fanatics who are just *so sure* vaccines saved us all. The brain damage and death following vaccines is swept under the rug, and those who dare speak out are derided as “anti-vaccine kooks.” Um… hello? I used to be pro-vaccine. You can tell because I GOT MY CHILD VACCINATED AND ONLY STOPPED AFTER DAMAGE WAS DONE! No one told me that the harm we experienced was a possibility… only that they were safe, saved everyone, and were mandatory. I learned the hard way that it is a lie.

Do Not Place Your Trust In Someone Who Faces No Consequence For Being Wrong. Drug companies that manufacture vaccines, public health agencies that recommend and mandate them, doctors, nurses and pharmacists who inject vaccines … NONE of these people is liable if your family is harmed. People on the internet like the author who ignore my family’s experience and would compulsory continue to inject us with products that have ALREADY HARMED my family, also face no consequences for being wrong about vaccines being safe. Neither do I, for that matter. Trust NO ONE BUT YOURSELF.

Do thoughtful research on the Major Medical Decision that is vaccination. READ THE INSERTS… not the friendly little 1 page summary the doctor hands you, the 8-10 page 8pt font insert that describes the what the vaccine is, the ingredients, the studies done, what they know and don’t know about adverse events, long term effects, cancer causing effects, etc. RESEARCH THE INGREDIENTS FOR YOURSELF. Learn the difference between injection and ingestion. Learn the how the immune system is supposed to work (and pay attention to the fact that we do NOT make ANY antibodies AT ALL before the age of 12 mos, so all vaccines before then are patently unable to provoke an antibody response.) Do your own research on herd immunity and learn that it is an unproven theory, also known as marketing, and brilliant marketing at that. Learn about the decline of so-called “vaccine preventable” diseases, and how most of them were in total decline BEFORE the vaccines were introduced. Make sure you start your research prior to the year 1800, so you get a nice clear picture. Official statistics like to start in then 1960’s or so, aftre 90% of the declines had already taken place. LEARN FOR YOURSELF AND MAKE YOUR OWN DECISION.

Do not just follow the herd and damage your own child. You are NOT a sheep. Don’t act like one.

...pay attention to the fact that we do NOT make ANY antibodies AT ALL before the age of 12 mos...

Well, that's new, at least for me. Everything else in that rant was the same old stuff. Anybody have any idea where this silly thing was spawned?

Well, that’s new, at least for me. Everything else in that rant was the same old stuff. Anybody have any idea where this silly thing was spawned?

These are the people making medical decisions for their children...sigh.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 13 Sep 2014 #permalink

aphoenix,

Before you start talking about how safe vaccines are, please READ THE INSERTS. These are NOT benign products that are 100% guaranteed safe for everyone. These products are NOT guaranteed effective for everyone. They contain ingredients that according to government health agencies can cause cancer (formaldehyde)

Has no one ever pointed out to you that we all constantly produce and metabolize large amounts of formaldehyde? One study "calculated that the daily turnover of formaldehyde would be 31-59 g/day", mostly from the breakdown of methylated amino acids and methanol in our diets.

Many foods naturally contain formaldehyde such as apples which contain up to 22.3 mg/kg, pears up to 60 mg/kg and dried shiitake mushrooms with up to 406 mg/kg.

How can the presence of a maximum of 0.1 milligrams of formaldehyde in a vaccine shot possibly be harmful, when we are all producing thousands of times as much, and ingesting hundreds of times as much in our food each and every day? Why is the mother who happily lets her child drink 250 ml of orange juice which contains 105 mg of formaldehyde concerned about a vaccine that contains 0.1 mg? Is that rational?

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 13 Sep 2014 #permalink

@ Science Mom:

Actually I wonder how he got through the prerequisites FOR university study. I mean basic sciences, mathematics, testing.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 13 Sep 2014 #permalink

"These are NOT benign products that are 100% guaranteed safe for everyone. These products are NOT guaranteed effective for everyone."

Really? All the inserts on my prescription and OTC drugs have that 100% guarantee. Why are vaccines different?

Orac should do an article on this.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 13 Sep 2014 #permalink

aphoenix,

Do your own research

Like your research on formaldehyde?

on herd immunity and learn that it is an unproven theory, also known as marketing, and brilliant marketing at that.

Herd immunity isn't a theory, it's a natural phenomenon; there is no question that it is real. If I have measles and I'm in a room with ten people who have never had or been vaccinated against measles, they will very likely catch it and spread it to others. If I have measles and I'm in a room with ten people who are immune to measles (whether through getting measles or through vaccination), none of them will catch it and spread it to others. What part of that is theoretical? Surely the 99% fall in measles incidence in every country where routine vaccination has been introduced must tell you something.

Learn about the decline of so-called “vaccine preventable” diseases, and how most of them were in total decline BEFORE the vaccines were introduced.

I'm so tired of reading this nonsense. The diseases we vaccinate against are precisely those that were not eliminated through the provision of clean water, effective sewerage systems and antibiotics. Air-borne diseases like measles were not in decline before vaccination. Look at chicken pox, which is still endemic in the UK where it is not on the vaccination schedule, but incidence has dramatically fallen in the US where it is vaccinated against.

Make sure you start your research prior to the year 1800, so you get a nice clear picture.

A picture completely distorted by the lack of modern medical care and even basic hygiene?

Official statistics like to start in then 1960’s or so, aftre 90% of the declines had already taken place.

Do you really want to go back to 1960 when almost 3 in 100 children died before their first birthday? When infant mortality was 4 times higher than than it is today, when an average of 450 children died in the US from measles, and 48,000 people were hospitalized every year?

LEARN FOR YOURSELF AND MAKE YOUR OWN DECISION.

Judging by the serious errors in your comment here, I suggest you leave the research to the experts.

Do not just follow the herd and damage your own child.

By not vaccinating your child you are greatly increasing their risk of serious illness, permanent injury and death. There is no doubt about this, just look at the number of children who have died of whooping cough in recent years on the US, deaths that could very likely have been prevented if everyone who came into contact with those children had been vaccinated. How many children have vaccines killed recently?

You are NOT a sheep. Don’t act like one.

Can't you see that by parroting nonsense you have read on some anti-immunization site, without even bothering to check it is accurate, you are behaving like a sheep yourself?

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 13 Sep 2014 #permalink

I worked for a pharmaceutical in the drug safety department

I too have worked as a guineapig.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 13 Sep 2014 #permalink

I found, if not the source, at least a source for the silly statement I quoted above.

http://gaetacommunications.com/site/?p=1092

Later that day, I sat on a panel of four experts to answer questions from conference attendees. Many of the questions were directed at the PhD immunologist on the panel, asking if the statements I had made in the morning presentation were true. To my surprise, the immunologist confirmed every assertion I had made.

The first was that it is pointless to administer drugs intended to stimulate antibody production to babies who are too young to produce antibodies. Infants in their first year mostly depend on generalized, non-specific immunity, including (hopefully) immunoglobulins from breast milk, to protect their young bodies from infection. They do not produce antibodies of their own until about age one. Despite this basic fact, the medical establishment insists administering a total of 19 shots, containing 24 vaccines, to infants on the 2, 4 and 6 month pediatric visits (Source: cdc.gov). Somehow, the basic facts of human physiology and development do not apply to vaccines.

And who is this guy?

Michael Gaeta, DAc, MS, CDN, is a visionary educator, clinician, writer and publisher in the field of natural healthcare. He offers trainings, patient care and learning programs to create a world of resilient, vital people who make a difference through positive contribution. Michael has distinguished himself in the areas of wholistic health, teaching, writing and music. Michael holds New York licenses in acupuncture, dietetics-nutrition and massage therapy, a Colorado license in acupuncture, and is a Doctor of Acupuncture in Rhode Island.

A new loon that doesn't appear to have graced this blog.

I still can't get over the 65% ship of fools poll.

aphoenix: "These are NOT benign products that are 100% guaranteed safe for everyone."

Are measles and mumps 100% guaranteed safe for everyone?

"Learn about the decline of so-called “vaccine preventable” diseases, and how most of them were in total decline BEFORE the vaccines were introduced."

Really? Wow. The following is US Census data from the 20th century showing measles incidence. Can you please tell why measles dropped 90% in the USA between 1960 and 1970? Please do not mention any other decade, any other country and definitely do not mention "deaths." Please show that you know the difference between morbidity (incidence) and mortality (deaths).

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

aphoenix

We make ZERO EFFORT to screen for children that WILL INEVITABLY be harmed by the vaccines, as is outlined in the adverse events section of the vaccine insert.

How would you, aphoenix, propose we do this?

Please do share – I am interested in your thoughts on this.

What I’m thinking is that first we have to establish the frequency with which each adverse event occurs. I’m not sure you’ll find this in those package inserts, since what I recall from the ones I’ve read for other medications they include long lists of just about everything, without numbers. We need to calculate the event rates relative to the total doses given or relative to total recipients. It’s probably worth determining both of those things, to determine if the same adverse event will always recur for a particular individual, or if it was a chance occurrence the first time.

Then we have to decide which events should be studied, in order to focus limited research dollars where they might provide the most benefit. Do you want to do the more frequent ones that may be less serious, or the extremely rare but life threatening first?

I personally would like to see this line of research explored. I’d like to see followup on individuals who suffered adverse effects, and their families. Have other family members suffered similar events? Before that individual’s, or after? Can someone please track this kind of information and make it public?

But I don’t even know how to get the wheels moving on this. Who would pay for this research, and who would participate in the studies?

This is where I lay blame on the Wakefield-Jenny McCarthyites, the Mercury Militia, and their vaccines- cause-autism crowd. They’re taking away both media attention and funding to purse fantasy hypotheses, and they have not accepted that the science does not support them because they don’t understand the science. And they’ve amplified their fears to the point that regular parents have a hard time making a rational risk assessment regarding vaccines.

And that leaves those of who have observed actual adverse events following a vaccination out in the cold.

I don’t know your whole story, aphoenix. I don’t know what happened to your child since you have not shared it, nor if your child’s suffering is ongoing. You are under no obligation to share more than you’d like.

But I beg you, if you are not one of those misguided vaccine-blaming autism parents, please stop regurgitating their talking points. Distance yourself from that fear-mongering crowd, learn some more about science (from professors and textbooks, not websites) and about study design, and lend your voice where it belongs: asking for more expert attention to actual adverse events.

Well, Chemmomo, Badtz was evidently a drive-by, so I'm figuring I was right. Maybe they'll return to make me eat my words with some citations to back up their claims, or at least use some grammar that indicate they are who they claim to be, but don't hold your breath. I can't argue from authority as a scientist, but I'm an advertising creative director, and that gives me a Ph.D. in B.S.

By Pareidolius (not verified) on 13 Sep 2014 #permalink

"We make ZERO EFFORT to screen for children that WILL INEVITABLY be harmed by the vaccines, as is outlined in the adverse events section of the vaccine insert."

Not true.

http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p4060.pdf

@ Ernie Gordon: An older cousin was left with permanent neurological sequelae, due to measles encephalitis and a childhood friend succumbed to polio, before vaccines were developed to protect children from these serious, sometimes deadly, vaccine preventable diseases.

A new loon that doesn’t appear to have graced this blog.
Loon or unscrupulous grifter? Hard to decide, I know.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 13 Sep 2014 #permalink

Pareidolius @110
Oh, I agree Badtz is a troll. But it seems Badtz is a fairly creative troll, in that you inferred a position of responsibility from that post (unless you refer to another I missed). And Badtz does spell really well, although punctuation and sentence construction leave a lot to be desired. Is this someone who is desperately trying to be viewed as well informed, or well constructed Poe?

lilady – interesting link #112. That checklist came from Minnesota, and it’s dated May 2014. I wonder how many other areas have something similar?

For what it’s worth, when we go to the pediatrician in CA, question #2 (allergies) is checked at every visit whether there will be vaccines given or not.

And we have had personal experience with discussions about both questions 1 and 3, without any prompting from checklists. I suppose if I had to switch to a new practice, I’d find filling out the checklist reassuring – but on the other hand there’s no way I’d leave out important parts of my children’s medical history regardless.

I'm sorry. I try to read some of the comments above, but I give up as soon as the capitalized letters come around. It's a clear sign that the writer is misinformed. The best way to emphasize a statement is to bold it or underline it. If you don't know the html code for that, then you shouldn't be on the internets. That's the truth.

sadmar @#50:

"Community immunity." I kinda like that phrase. It's catchy, not least because it rhymes. I do hope it catches on.

Why do the anti-vaccine brigade persist with this nonsense about formaldehyde in vaccines being carcinogenic? I would have thought that once someone has pointed out to them that the maximum 0.1 milligrams found in a vaccine is a drop in the ocean compared to the 100 milligrams in a glass or orange juice (or as Oxford University puts it: "A pear contains around 50 times more formaldehyde than is found in any vaccine"), or the 30,000 or more milligrams our bodies deal with quite happily every day, they would never make the same claim again. I would be embarrassed to repeat an obvious falsehood like that.

Or do they not believe our bodies produce it, and that it is in many things we eat and drink? It would require an extraordinary international conspiracy to make it falsely appear as if this is the case. Very few people are going to buy that.

I don't get it.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 13 Sep 2014 #permalink

lilady, to clarify:
I’ve never seen that form from IAC before, and it’s dated May 2014. Do you know where if anywhere it is in fact in use at pediatric offices?

It brings to mind new intake forms I’ve filled out for specialists and the forms required for radiology – a way of making sure you have given your medical provider the information they need to give you appropriate care.

I was not given one at the most recent pediatric appointment including vaccines for my own children, which was just a few weeks ago. On the other hand, my children have had the same pediatrician their whole lives, and the office is well familiar with their medical histories. And that office was proactive with the care we were just provided.

I don’t know that filling out this form is the type of screening aphoenix is looking for. From reading that post (#95), aphoenix wants someone to have gone back in time and issued stronger warnings that an adverse event might occur before the vaccine was administered in the first place, and also find ways of predicting which children might be more likely to suffer from them. Some of those answers may be found through research, but that will take time.

On that point, and with my own biases, I agree. I think we need more information about the likelihood of repeat adverse events both for individuals and within families, in order for us to assess better the risks vs benefits.

Personally, I don’t need to fill out another form in the waiting room, unless it’s going to get included in a study linked to outcomes.

Chemmomo: "aphoenix's" comment was very vague and aphoenix claimed that her/his child was harmed by a vaccine, because the doctor or nurse who administered the vaccine, did not check the contraindications as contained in the "vaccine insert".

Doctors in private practice either administer vaccines or write an order for their nurse to administer the vaccine...and they do follow the recommendations, contraindications and precautions for every vaccine, as contained in the CDC Pink Book and the AAP Red Book...which are based on the current ACIP Guidelines:

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr6002a1.htm

General Recommendations on Immunization: Rcommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)

lilady: "Chemmomo: “aphoenix’s” comment was very vague and aphoenix claimed that her/his child was harmed by a vaccine, because the doctor or nurse who administered the vaccine, did not check the contraindications as contained in the “vaccine insert”."

Sometimes I find it ironic that someone telling us to read the vaccine insert and then claims their child was injured by a vaccine. When we ask them about their claim to the NVICP, they claim they never knew about.

Ironic how they tell everyone to read the vaccine inserts, but ignore the Vaccine Information Sheets with info on both VAERS and NVICP.

@ Chris: It's a common tactic of the anti vaccine group to shout "READ THE VACCINE INSERT" and then fail to tell us which specific vaccine's insert they are referring to.

There's a persistent pest who goes on marathon commenting jags, who claims her child had an "encephalitic cry" as a newborn following a hepatitis B vaccine, yet she never took that child to a hospital emergency room for an evaluation. She also claims she was unaware of the information contained on every VIS sheet about the VAERS and NVICP.

Antivax logic fail # 39692:
Do not trust Big Pharma
Do not trust the CDC
Do not trust the FDA
They are liars and deceivers

Except when listing side effects and vaccine ingredients on package inserts.
These are flawless and perfect.

By janerella (not verified) on 13 Sep 2014 #permalink

@ janerella: I'm biding my time, awaiting the return of "aphoenix" to post another comment about those mysterious contraindications for a specific vaccine, that supposedly caused her/his child's "vaccine injury".

I believe that "aphoenix" is referring to one of the two vaccines that are being bandied about the anti-vaccine groupies. If "aphoenix" returns, I expect some specifics, so that I can explain to that person the major difference between Contraindications/Precautions which are listed by the vaccine manufacturer and the unsubstantiated reports of bizarre reactions reported on the VAERS by parents.

Stay tuned.

I lost the comment # way back, but it was with regards to methylmercury vs thimerosal and why the AV camp doesn't fight against fish like they do the flu shot.

It's because of their mantra "Ingestion is not injection!!Eleventyone!!!"

Of course, since their understanding of pharmacokinetics is essentially zero, they don't understand how efficiently our bodies sorb methylmercury from our diets - nearly 100%, which makes our diet the more worrying source of 'mercury toxins'.

You know, I expected at least _a little more_-perhaps his professional explication of the secrets of the Dark Art of Statistical Analysis ™ but alas!

Ask and ye shall receive.

After 'Larry' challenges Jake to "post up his examination of the statistics behind the two studies in question", and links to a takedown of Hooker's paper, Jake responds.

http://www.autisminvestigated.com/biomed-central-brian-hooker/#comment-…

First, he expertly disposes of the criticism of Hooker's paper -

...the blog you linked to is the corporate blog of a company that serves pharma...

Yeah. A company that sells software to thousands of companies around the world is in the pocket of a single industry.

I've used Minitab. I've never been near a Phara facility or company. While the companies I worked for may have had a Pharma contract somewhere along the way, I never heard of one. But you almost can't take a SixSigma class without Minitab. I'd bet almost every company that is even slightly involved with manufacturing uses Minitab. Minitab is everywhere.

Take a look at -
http://www.minitab.com/en-us/company/case-studies/

Then Jake goes on to give an expert analysis of Hooker's results -

And while you repeat the oft-cited talking point that the data was simply “tortured,” don’t forget that the results found in Dr. Hooker’s paper were also found by the CDC researchers who the whistleblower said omitted the data from their paper.

Yep. Thompson told Hooker where to look, and Hooker found what Thompson said was there. Therefore, Hooker's work is correct. After all, it's the same as the CDC results.

Ya can't argue with science like that. And science like that is what Jake brings to the party.

I think Jake knows Hooker's paper is silly. But Jake is rapidly running out of friends. He's alienated AoA, the CP, and "Doctor" Wakefield and associated fans. If he says what (I hope) he truly feels about the "science" Hooker spouted, he'll run off even more.

@ Johnny:

Oh, I know: I saw it earlier.
I think you're correct about Jake: his writing was always about acquiring admirers and placing himself above the crowd of anti-vax believers- in other words, a means of gaining self-esteem but not in the usual manner of study and gaining esperience in the real world which involves occupational skills that agencies and businesses need.
He'll have degrees that will not get him a position like Ren or other epis.

I think that he needs other things than degrees and a blog but I'll leave it to my fellow and sister minions to fill in the blanks about that!

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 14 Sep 2014 #permalink

"Do Not Place Your Trust In Someone Who Faces No Consequence For Being Wrong"

Aphoenix - thank you for volunteering to pay for all the costs of measles-related encephalopathy for children whose parents follow your advice. You must have deep, deep pockets. Please provide your real name, address and bank information - or are you one of those people who I shouldn't trust, since you refuse to face the consequences for being wrong?

And while you repeat the oft-cited talking point that the data was simply “tortured,” don’t forget that the results found in Dr. Hooker’s paper were also found by the CDC researchers who the whistleblower said omitted the data from their paper.

He really doesn't know what he's talking about. The same results weren't found and omitted. They controlled for known risk factors which they didn't have information for on the first go 'round. If Jake doesn't understand how studies are done, he's screwed on yet another level.

As an aside, I am getting a "duplicate" message from WP for a comment that won't go through and only had one link.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 14 Sep 2014 #permalink

For those who only know ‘The Wizard of Oz’ from the movie, the original book by L. Frank Baum is a Populist allegory

No it's not.

By dedicated lurker (not verified) on 14 Sep 2014 #permalink

Off-topic, but I'm fried from travel yet feel the need to share.

I thought I'd settle in with a look at whether Vincent Racaniello had written anything new. I was in luck.

I was also reminded, though, that one of D'Ohlmsed's recent catastrophic attempts at a Thought for the Day blurb mentioned enterovirus 68, although I didn't bother looking at what followed after it overran its little front-page space. Behold this:

Enterovirus 68: Let's remember this virus was mentioned in connection with the cases of sudden paralysis in California children last year, which we speculated might involve a co-factor such as pesticide exposure, like the polio epidemics ... It appears to affect those with asthma the worst. And why do so many kids have asthma? Postponing the DTaP shot by a couple of months lowers the risk of asthma. Just for instance. But they'd rather talk vaccines against Enterovirus 68.

-0-

Yes, it's news that a respiratory virus causes more severe problems for asthmatics.

^ But, hey, at least somebody added the same thing to the W—pedia page.

Make sure you start your research prior to the year 1800, so you get a nice clear picture.

A picture completely distorted by the lack of modern medical care and even basic hygiene?

Also, a bit before 1800, most European countries were sort of busy with either unrest, civil war, or dealing with this pesky French freedom fighters (sorry, I mean regicidal loons). And after 1800, the French again, this time with a little Corsican lieutenant pushing them around.
At that time, there was a hiatus in medical training in France. The existing medical schools had a shortage of their usual upper-class students. The health sector was not exactly a priority for the politicos. Napoleon had to do the same thing Chairman Mao did later: hire as physician anyone claiming to be able to cure warts. Hardly helped to reduce the casualty count on battlefields.
Don't know about the US, although I believe Dr Quinn came by after the Civil War.
On the plus side, we French were good at counting chopped heads, but that's about if, statistically-wise.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 14 Sep 2014 #permalink

@Johnny

Minitab is also used at a number of Universities - it's very handy, what with the ability to block for confounders, etc. I have a student version still running back from my M.Sc days.

We use Minitab at my company as well for statistical analysis of our engineering metrics. We make computers for aircraft and spacecraft, and have absolutely zero medical connections.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 15 Sep 2014 #permalink

Make sure you start your research prior to the year 1800, so you get a nice clear picture.

Only in the upside-down fantasy world of antivaxers does using 200-year-old data so full of confounders that it's more noise than signal give a clearer picture than looking at incidence in the years immediately preceeding and immediately following the licensure of a new vaccine. Of course, that's because their definition of "clearer" is "supports my forgone conclusion."

I wonder if the attraction of 200 year old data is because things were simpler then. People got better or they died, and medical intervention was usually not a factor.

Off-topic, but could somebody with Tricare experience confirm whether this remark bears any relationship to reality? It would have been less than 15 years ago, and it's being used to bolster a weird-ass claim that somebody broke into Ealey's apartment and stole nothing but medical records that exist in no other form anywhere else.

^ "just less than 15"

@ Narad:

Right. I read that- it would appear that black-ops are PharmaCom's preferred mode of squelching vaccine claims these days.
I think that these people read too mcuh pulp fiction- a few even write their own.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 15 Sep 2014 #permalink

typo MUCH? Fer sure.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 15 Sep 2014 #permalink

#79: I worked for a pharmaceutical in the drug safety department

I know some people complain about their bosses being a pill, but that's just taking it too far...

By Roadstergal (not verified) on 15 Sep 2014 #permalink

"a weird-ass claim that somebody broke into Ealey’s apartment and stole nothing but medical records that exist in no other form anywhere else."

Claims that Big Pharma/the government/FDA/Illuminati have stolen treatment records are a staple of altie conspiracy theory (Royal Rife, inventor of the fabulous Rife machine is one of those supposedly victimized by having his life's work confiscated by sinister operatives).

So I'd take such claims with a whole heaping pile of salt.

What with our medical records increasingly ending up online, black operatives need to master skills in crashing computers and destroying servers in order to conceal evidence.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 15 Sep 2014 #permalink

So I’d take such claims with a whole heaping pile of salt.

No, the burglary story I consider to be nonsense on its face. I was curious about the plausibility of the Tricare part, and Shay's leaving a comment prompted me to toss the question out.

About the records, I retired from the Air Force about 20 years ago. At that time, medical records were one (or more) of those bulky, multi-divider folders with the metal folds on the top to slip the pages over. When you transferred from one base to another, you collected your records in a sealed envelope and turned them into the hospital when you processed in at your next assignment.

When I retired, I asked for and received a complete copy which is buried away in my files some where.

The original may still be at the local base, but I understand master copies are (or were) stored in St Louis.

By the time the records were lost, the kid was at least 6 years old. I don't know why they were hauling records back and forth from New Orleans to Houston.

I wasn't using the base hospital system during this time frame, so I'm not sure where they were in the process of transitioning to computerized records.

As for stealing the medical records, I've read that medical insurance billing information like a Medicare or insurance plan number is more valuable on the black market than ID info like a SSN because you use it generate phony bills and get reimbursed without the owner being aware of it.

I would think an ordinary burglar would look for something easier to fence, though.

By squirrelelite (not verified) on 15 Sep 2014 #permalink

I noticed Olmsted's interview with Ealey earlier today. Dan's struggling to find an African-American anti-vaccine mommy to prop up the "CDC Whistleblower" story...which has been totally debunked by Orac and other science bloggers.

Sheila Ealey claims only her child's medical records (including vaccination records) were stolen. She had ample time to get copies of her child's medical records, when she instituted a claim for her child's "vaccine injury" in the United States Court of Federal Claims and ample time to produce an expert witness in the intervening years...before her claim on behalf of her child's vaccine-induced-autism...was dismissed by the Special Master:

http://www.cofc.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/opinions/HASTINGS.EALE…

So, she actually filed her claim with the NVICP two years before the records were stolen. IANAL, but I would think her lawyer would have gotten a certified copy of those records at about that time, since they were likely to be an important piece of evidence in her case.

By squirrelelite (not verified) on 15 Sep 2014 #permalink

A burglar ate my homework!

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 15 Sep 2014 #permalink

I don't know about Tricare, but active duty folks did used to have to schlepp our medical records with us when we PCS'd. I don't see how dependent records would have been any different.

The burglar took only my child's records part doesn't ring true, though.

I don’t know about Tricare, but active duty folks did used to have to schlepp our medical records with us when we PCS’d.

This I can readily believe; it's the part where the military wouldn't keep a copy of its own that was straining my credulity, on top of the Plumbers.

So, she actually filed her claim with the NVICP two years before the records were stolen. IANAL, but I would think her lawyer would have gotten a certified copy of those records at about that time, since they were likely to be an important piece of evidence in her case.

As the dismissal provided by lilady indicates, Ealey failed to prosecute the case, so it seems likely that there was no lawyer to start with.

^ Sorry, I was just coming to after a nap. I doubt that production of medical records would have been necessary to be included within the Omnibus proceedings.

OK, I was both mistaken and not mistaken. The (obviously incomplete) docket is here.

Thanks Narad. What's with the musical attorneys?

By Science Mom (not verified) on 15 Sep 2014 #permalink

Ealey's statement still doesn't make sense.

The twins were born summer 1999 and her "vaccine injured" autistic child received two MMR vaccines, HiB vaccine and DTaP vaccine on his mother's birthday on August 2, 2000 at "almost 13 months old".

"Sheila: It was August 2, 2000 – my birthday – and Temple and Lucinda were almost 13 months"

"Lucinda can manage to get herself out of the triple stroller, she did not want the injection, and she was fighting tooth and nail not to have it. I looked down for just a moment -- the nurse had all the vaccinations lined up. She had the HIB, the DTaP and the MMR for each child. When I looked up after taking her twin sister up, she had given Temple both of the MMRs along with the DTaP and the HIB. The next morning, he was not responsive anymore. It took me until he was 18 months to get a finished diagnosis of autism for him."

The claim for her autistic child's "vaccine injury" was filed January 1, 2003.

Ealey and her family fled New Orleans to go to Houston because of Hurricane Katrina, a category 3 hurricane which made landfall August 29, 2005.

Ealey had all the medical records with her when she fled Louisiana for Houston and when she returned to Louisiana on an unknown date (sometime after the 2006 Autism One Conference), only the child's medical records were stolen from her apartment. AT LEAST 3 YEARS AFTER SHE FIRST FILED HER CLAIM ON BEHALF OF HER AUTISTIC CHILD'S VACCINE INJURIES.

"Let me tell you what else happened to me, Dan. After I went to Autism One, I was still living in Houston because we had lost everything to Katrina, but I had his records with me where the doctor had said that he had gotten a double dose of the MMR, and that they should call Merck, and Merck said he doesn’t need to be vaccinated for the MMR anymore.

We came home to New Orleans and we left those records locked up in the apartment. Someone went into our apartment and stole his records. They didn’t take anything but his record.

Dan: Oh Lord.

Sheila: Temple's records were stolen from our apartment. My partner in the school is a lawyer who worked at the time for [a new Orleans law firm]. When she returned in October of '05, by spring of '06 they fired her because they were representing Merck against me. Thanks to Congress, my case was thrown out. I also filed with the vaccine injury program and they dismissed my case because they said I needed a doctor who could without a doubt state that Temple was damaged due to the double dose of the MMR."

Ealey’s statement still doesn’t make sense.

You obviously have more patience than I do. Or D'Ohlmsted, who missed this:

"When I looked up after taking her twin sister up, she had given Temple both of the MMRs along with the DTaP and the HIB."

I also filed with the vaccine injury program and they dismissed my case because they said I needed a doctor who could without a doubt state that Temple was damaged due to the double dose of the MMR.

Or, as the docket puts it:

ORDER: Petitioner shall fiel, within 90 days of the date of this Order, the report of a reliable medical experet stating the opinion that Temple suffers from an injury that was caused by one or more specific vaccinations.

That's not a very burdensome demand to make of someone who's seeking compensation for a vaccine injury.

They seem to have had a little trouble getting their request for medical records heeded as well. But fwiw, at least some medical records were e-filed in 2008.

My partner in the school is a lawyer who worked at the time for [a new Orleans law firm]. When she returned in October of ’05, by spring of ’06 they fired her because they were representing Merck against me.

Does anybody know where this (presumably) state lawsuit is? The story makes no sense whatever without an extreme version of the Chinese Wall approach to potential in-house COIs.

Narad, I think Ms. Ealey is quite confused.

Why would Merck being suing Ms. Ealey?

Why would Merck being suing Ms. Ealey?

I think "against me" is just a description of the usual adversarial process, so it doesn't matter who's suing whom. I still have no idea what the hell she's referring to, though.

So, anti-vaxers can't use photocopiers? I see.

By Rebecca Fisher (not verified) on 15 Sep 2014 #permalink

This is Ms. Ealey"s "partner" and co-founder of the school for special needs children, located in New Orleans:

http://www.clcofla.org/#!admissions/c1ylq

If it is a special school and chartered by the State of Louisiana Education Department, why are they charging parents $ 10,000 annual tuition, plus additional fees for therapies?

My son went to a part time infant stimulation program when he was 14 months old through a petition in Family Court. At age three he was enrolled in another special school preschool program, with transportation/aide aboard a wheelchair mini school bus. There was also an 8 week summer program run by that same special school. All the costs associated with all the programs he attended, were paid for by my school district/State Special Education funds until he "aged out" at age 21.

What’s with the musical attorneys?

It's not a good sign when a lawyer quits in exasperation at the glacial pace of the proceedings.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 16 Sep 2014 #permalink

re 'musical attorneys'

On a related note, it seems that the Think Tank surrounding the whistleblower is considering legal action-
on Sunday's Talkback @ PRN, Grandmeister Woo anounced that concerned parties might sue the government / initiate a class action suit-
which he probably thinks are the same thing ( the last 10 minutes of the show IIRC).

If you contemplate those involved recently, you can imagine quite a scene:
Hooker, Thompson, Andy, Farber,Jake, Barry AND these woo-meisters know interesting attorneys like Emord, Fucetola, both Robert K's et al

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 16 Sep 2014 #permalink

t seems that the Think Tank surrounding the whistleblower is considering legal action-

Who could have predicted?

/sarcasm.

Do you mean Taxpayers Against Fraud? BTW?

@lilady,

Thanks for the summary.

@Narad,

Good catch. I missed that too.

Does the MMR cause a sex change?

By squirrelelite (not verified) on 16 Sep 2014 #permalink

The high-dudgeon condescension the self-appointed “anti-quackery” contingent effects wins over as many converts as the similar-sounding anti-religion atheists convince church-goers to renounce their God. A calmer, reasoned tone would stand a far better chance of causing people to listen to you—that is, if you’re really interested in convincing anyone of anything other than your innate sense of superiority.

By Richard Handal (not verified) on 16 Sep 2014 #permalink

We aren't interested in "converting" people who are already antivaccine. The chances of converting people like the bloggers at Age of Autism (for example) is slim to none, no matter how "nice" we try to be. We are interested in preventing those who are "on the fence" from falling prey to the lies promulgated by people like RFK, Jr. and Mark Hyman and becoming antivaccine themselves.

@richard

Did you even read the title of the blog? Also, tone troll much?

@ Richard Handal: How about providing your opinion about Robert Kennedy's book and his appearance on the Dr. Oz Show?

How about providing your opinion about Dan Olmsted's interview with Sheila Ealey? Do try to be specific about that interview, by answering the unanswered (and puzzling) questions we have, about the immunizations her autistic child received at 13 months old, the supposed theft of the child's medical records (more than three years after she filed a claim for his supposed "vaccine injuries" with the Vaccine Court), and the lack of compliance with multiple requests from the Special Master for vaccine records, medical records and an expert witness willing to testify on behalf of Ms. Ealey's claim that her child's autism was caused by vaccines?

Ms. Ealey's claim that African-Americans are ignored by the CDC and other government agencies reeks of rank race baiting.

You do know, don't you, that the Vaccine Court is not a social welfare program?

To reiterate what Orac stated...I don't post comments on this blog or the many other science blogs where I post comments, in order to reach out to the hard core anti-vaxxers.

When you are ready to provide some specifics, I'll be here.

The high-dudgeon condescension the self-appointed “anti-quackery” contingent effects

Just put down the thesaurus before you hurt yourself.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 16 Sep 2014 #permalink

In other news, D'Ohlmsted is still bitching about the Unfairness of It All:

Obama to Atlanta to announce Ebola initiative in West Africa? How about Obama to Atlanta to clean house and begin to uncover the truth about the autism epidemic weakining our national security right here at home?

-0-

In other news, D’Ohlmsted is still bitching about the Unfairness of It All:

Jeebus they're clueless and self-absorbed. There is no whistleblower or omitted data or fraud or ZOMG Dangerz to the little childrenz. Hell even Al Sharpton can't be arsed to worry about this. And not for the lack of trying by the Thunking Moms and Olmsted.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 16 Sep 2014 #permalink

Maybe somebody could get Stephanie Seneff on the blower to use her mad curve-fitting skillz on this one. This bit is all too redolent of the fundamental AoA goal mindset:

Infected individuals’ movement patterns, social interactions, beliefs about disease causation and trust in authorities can all influence the extent of transmission, and hence the scale of control measures required to stop the infection.

Well, they're not nearly as offensive as the commenters asking what good the military can possibly do against Ebola (field medical operations and logistics, people, both capabilities the Army has lots of experience with).

CDC Flying Squad and U.S. Military resources, supplies and know how?

The best in the business for setting up field hospitals during an outbreak.

Lilady: Further down, or up the thread, there's a suggestion that enterovirus was caused by-what else- vaccines? How do these people ever get through a day; they don't understand how anything works! Let alone viruses.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 16 Sep 2014 #permalink

And I borked the tags again. Apologies. But seriously, I figured out how viruses worked when I was a kid, and these people are presumably adults. I'm not even going to talk about how badly they screw up whenever they talk about parasites, yeast or fungi. Did some part of their brain just short out when they became parents?

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 16 Sep 2014 #permalink

Anti-vaxxers have been invited to allow health freedom advocates to lead them:
Bolen shows up again @ AoA ( Jameson's post) - seems that he and his comrades, Mike and Joe, have millions of followers, available at a click of 'send' .

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 16 Sep 2014 #permalink

"Did some part of their brain just short out when they became parents?"

Objection! Assumes facts not in evidence. What basis is there to suppose their brains worked before they became parents?

Somewhat OT but I do need to note this somewhere ...

AoA, in an effort to grab readers' attention, has printed what I believe to b eshameless emotional manipulation of readers at a disabled person's excpense:
Dachel leads off with a photo of Michelle Guppy's 20 year old son in diapers supported by his mother - which AD likens to a well-known Renaissance sculpture by Michaelangelo
People with autism are being crucified by the media's refusal to highlight the Thompson-Hooker affair perhaps.

This isn't the first time either:
AoA keeps a video of Stagliano's daughter struggling to speak at its sideline.

What's wrong with these people? Will they do anything to be seen as a martyr?

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 17 Sep 2014 #permalink

What’s wrong with these people? Will they do anything to be seen as a martyr?

I know that coming from you it's a rhetorical question but will answer any way. They have managed to turn martyrdom into a competitive sport and even careers for some of them. And in doing so, have demonstrated how de-valued their children's lives, right to privacy and respect are to achieve their own selfish goals. They're vile, revolting excuses for parents. Oh and let's not forget apologists for "altruistic filicide".

By Science Mom (not verified) on 17 Sep 2014 #permalink

Right, it is rhetorical.

I think that we should turn attention on parents who exploit their children's disability and helplessness in order to push an agenda or their own self-aggrandisation project.
It's awful and WRONG,

I am expected elsewhere. au revoir

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 17 Sep 2014 #permalink

Further down, or up the thread, there’s a suggestion that enterovirus was caused by-what else- vaccines

I have it on good authority that both Ebola and D68 were caused by all those refugee children coming across the Mexican border.

Italics fail.

Denice Walter: You also missed the "best part" of Anne Dachel's martyrdom of Michele Guppy...who has her own blog, where the picture of her grown child, clad only in a diaper, post seizure, is shown.

It is the worst form of abusive exploitation I have seen, since Wakefield posted the pictures of Alex Spourdalakis, clad only in an adult diaper on YouTube and in his documentary film.

LW:What basis is there to suppose their brains worked before they became parents?

Most of them are college educated. At college,I was expected to take at least one hard science course (I took two) with lab time, and before that, I had health and science courses in high school. Since these are, presumably, mostly middle-class and upper-class (defined here as not rich, but very close to it) I'd assume that they had much the same education as I did, plus access to lots of books and educational shows. Regardless of money or parental predilections, libraries and PBS exist.
And psych majors (of which there are a few at AOA) have to take a lot of science courses, right? So that leaves three possibilities:
1. A vast majority of those at Age of Autism never graduated from any university or high school.
2. A vast majority of bloggers at Age of Autism somehow got their parents to buy a degree/ diploma for them and never even took high school biology.
3. Everyone at Age of Autism lies.
4. The trauma of finding out their child is less than perfect opened up a black hole in their brains and sucked any scientific knowledge out.

SciMom: They’re vile, revolting excuses for parents

Agreed. They do serve a purpose, in that they show the rest of us what not to do.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 17 Sep 2014 #permalink

PGP,

How do these people ever get through a day; they don’t understand how anything works! Let alone viruses.

They seem to be claiming that the virus is a deliberate vaccine contaminant, designed to reduce the world's population as per Lord Draconis' right-claw man Gates' evil plans.

Perhaps they're not as science-challenged as it first appears, merely reality-challenged ;-)

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 17 Sep 2014 #permalink

@ lilady:
I saw it.

@ PGP:

The amount of science psychologists study is dependent upon
-where they study and what type of degree they receive
- but attending any university usually requires some secondary level science
-most liberal arts degrees require some science
-graduate level work in psychology usually requires statistics / doctorates even more

HOWEVER there are ways around this:
- crappy universities
- taking the bare minimum and learning by rote for exams which is quickly forgotten
- getting special grad degrees in school psych, counselling, social work - which can have lesser requirements
- not knowing how to apply what they learn to everyday life-

Some of our faves studied business, education and related.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 17 Sep 2014 #permalink

Hold on thar...I studied business (grad school anyway) and we most definitely has to take statistics.

"Had." I can only has cheezbrgr.

@ Shay:

I didn't mean to implky that they didn't
I would think that USUALLY business grads are forced ro have mathematics and that educational degrees require at least some science.
Doesn't mean that the grads know how to apply them in the real world. -btw- Mark Blaxill is an MBA which doesn't help him in science. Hooker has a PhD.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 17 Sep 2014 #permalink

Kreb: Yeah, they really are reality challenged.

DW: It's just really odd that nothing they learned seemed to stick. And for a group of adults, their tactics are very childish: namecalling, doxxing, spamming and trying to get people fired. It's sad that their *children* probably have better manners than they do.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 17 Sep 2014 #permalink

"And psych majors (of which there are a few at AOA) have to take a lot of science courses, right?"

I didn't. One class on statistics, I think, was the only class even remotely resembling a "hard science" class required for the major. I took some outside of my major though.

@ PGP:

Altho' their tactics may seem childish to you ( and most people), they truly believe that they are fighting a war and are nearly victorious and soon they will see their enemies brought to justice, jailed, shamed, whatever..
Similarly, woo-meisters are riding the wave of paradigm-shift, washing away corrupt, old SBM, clearing the way for the nouvelle vague de woo..
This is how they rally flagging support from their followers.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 17 Sep 2014 #permalink

Just heard a rumor that the Appeals Court in Texas finally ruled on Wakefield's case.....and he lost (again).

Not a rumor:

http://www.search.txcourts.gov/Case.aspx?cn=03-12-00576-CV

NO. 03-12-00576-CV
Dr. Andrew J. Wakefield, MB, BS, Appellant
v.
The British Medical Journal Publishing Group, Ltd.;
Brian Deer; and Dr. Fiona Godlee, Appellees
APPEAL FROM 250TH DISTRICT COURT OF TRAVIS COUNTY
BEFORE CHIEF JUSTICE JONES, JUSTICES GOODWIN AND FIELD
AFFIRMED -- OPINION BY JUSTICE FIELD
This is an appeal from the judgment signed by the trial court on August 3, 2012. Having
reviewed the record and the parties’ arguments, the Court holds that there was no reversible error
in the trial court’s judgment. Therefore, the Court affirms the trial court’s judgment. The
appellant shall pay all costs relating to this appeal, both in this Court and the court below.

That'll teach me not to check my E-mail for a couple of days (I'm subscribed to the CaseMail for it). It's somewhat disappointing for the peanut gallery who would have liked to see the anti-SLAPP reached.

I wonder how the anti-vax contingent is going to feel knowing that their "donations" to Wakefield's Defense fund are now going to be paid directly to Brian Deer (again)?

I'm kind of surprised that, in the Keeton analysis, the court failed to note that the BMJ items at issue weren't paywalled, which further dilutes the "subscribers" argument.

Great news! But now I have to make the rounds to see the instantaneous reactions before I leave the house.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 19 Sep 2014 #permalink

^ Ah, they get to it in the Calder analysis.

Oz also keeps telling pregnant women to get Flumist instead of a seasonal flu shot. LAIV isn't indicated for use in pregnant women. See: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/vis-statements/flulive.pdf

He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, and is seemingly at odds with their code of professional conduct. See: https://www.facs.org/about-acs/statements/stonprin#anchor273982

Perhaps a fellow Fellow could drop ACS a line and ask them to censure him?

Oh the wailing and gnashing of the teeth will be great.

Not much wailing yet- I checked- but statesman.com has an article today. Parrish says that there might be an appeal.
Erm... wouldn't that be a *re-appeal*?

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 19 Sep 2014 #permalink

"I wonder how the anti-vax contingent is going to feel knowing that their “donations” to Wakefield’s Defense fund are now going to be paid directly to Brian Deer (again)?"

A few weeks ago, an antivaxxer commented here to the effect that Deer was going to get what he deserved - if he meant Wakefield's money was what Deer deserved, then it's a successful prediction.

@Denise - Dorit might be able to comment on his ability to appeal this decision, but since to reversible errors were found, I doubt this is going to go anywhere....

"no" reversible errors were found

Can someone who is a lawyer explain how many times you can appeal your case?

He can appeal to the Supreme Court of Texas.

@Narad - he can appeal, but I doubt they will take the case (given that both lower courts agreed and no reversible errors of law were found).

More importantly:
how much will he have to pay?
Would that be only for the expenses of the appeal or would it include legal expenses incurred prior to the appeal as well?
( let me get my calculator)
Heh heh heh.

Oh boy, I imagine that we'll be hearing a lot about fundraisers, films being made, lecture series, auctions, bake sales.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 19 Sep 2014 #permalink

Let the gnashing commence:
DanO calls it "nasty".

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 19 Sep 2014 #permalink

Wakefield had an appeal "as of right" from the trial court to the court of appeals - the court of appeals will always review a trial court's judgment. But you have to petition for review of the court of appeals decision to the Texas Supreme Court. The supreme court decides which cases to take - it should involve important legal questions, legal questions on which different courts of appeal are split, constitutional issues and so forth - more than just mere error. I wouldn't think that Wakefield's case involves any burning legal questions on which the Texas judiciary needs guidance from their supreme court. He shouldn't bother petitioning for review.

how much will he have to pay?
Would that be only for the expenses of the appeal or would it include legal expenses incurred prior to the appeal as well?

The latter. This is appealable.

I wouldn’t think that Wakefield’s case involves any burning legal questions on which the Texas judiciary needs guidance from their supreme court. He shouldn’t bother petitioning for review.

There may be a question whether the strict timing requirements of the TCPA conflict with other law or lead to procedural uncertainty. In addition, the COA handed them the Section 27.011 argument.

^ Actually, let me revise that. If the judgment is only for court costs, which it may be, then it's not appealable.

From Monday, Sept. 23 Dr. Oz show:

Organic food can cure autism caused by GMOs? More ‘quack science’ from Dr. Oz
Kavin Senapathy | September 25, 2014 | Genetic Literacy Project

Ms. Honeycutt proceeded with an obviously embellished if not totally fabricated story. She claimed that her son had been experiencing autism symptoms. Because her doctor saw no reason to test him for glyphosate levels, Honeycutt used a private lab which detected glyphosate levels “8 times higher than found anywhere in Europe urine testing.” Unfeasibly, she claimed that within six weeks of going “completely GMO-free and organic, his autism symptoms were gone and the level of glyphosate was no longer detectable.”

Make no mistakes – this is utter hogwash. There is no known cure for autism. If it were as simple as avoiding GMOs and pesticides, the affected foods would have been recalled. Furthermore, dietary treatment of autism has no basis in scientific evidence. If and when recommended, dietary approaches are based on adjustment of vitamin and mineral levels, or on avoiding allergens. Elimination of GMO foods is not a recommended dietary approach.

Whew.