"CDC whistleblower" William Thompson appears to have turned antivaccine

Here we go yet again.

I'm half tempted to use a YouTube clip of Al Pacino as Michael Corleone in The Godfather, Part 3, where he says, "Just when I thought I was out...they pull me back in." I'll restrain myself this time. Instead, I'll just tell you what I'm talking about, which is the manufactured scandal known as the "CDC whistleblower." It's an antivaccine conspiracy theory that I've written about many times before, most recently less than a week ago. The long version of the explanation is in the links, but the short version is that a CDC psychologist named William Thompson, who was involved in some of the CDC's studies looking at whether vaccines (in particular the MMR) or thimerosal-containing vaccines are correlated with an increased incidence of autism. Indeed, he was the first author of an important one that failed to find a link between thimerosal-containing vaccines and neurodevelopmental disorders other than autism.

Then, a year ago, Thompson was featured in a video by the hero to the antivaccine movement, Andrew Wakefield, alleging that the CDC had omitted data that showed a link between the MMR vaccine and autism in African-American boys. The "meat" of this video consisted of cherry-picked and highly edited snippets from telephone conversations Thompson had had with Brian Hooker, a biochemical engineer turned incompetent epidemiologist wannabe and all purpose antivaccine crank, who had recorded the calls without his knowledge over several months. Hooker, earning the title I bestow upon him of "incompetent epidemiologist wannabe" published a paper "reanalyzing" the data from Destefano et al, the 2004 study that Thompson had coauthored with Frank DeStefano that Thompson was now claiming hid data. The result was a truly incompetently performed "reanalysis" of DeStefano et al purporting to show a 3.4-fold increased risk of autism attributable to MMR vaccination in African American boys. Of course, it showed nothing of the sort, and Hooker's paper was later retracted. Because the whole story fed the central conspiracy theory of the antivaccine movement, namely that the CDC is covering up smoking gun evidence that vaccines cause autism, naturally the antivaccine movement went wild on social media, particularly under the Twitter hashtag #CDCwhistleblower. It's a conspiracy theory that's been percolating, with periodic bubbling-up for nearly a year. When last we looked at it last week, antivaccine Congressman Bill Posey (R-Florida) had read a statement allegedly from Thompson claiming that the investigators had destroyed evidence from the study, complete with an image of a large garbage can that's featured in many antivaccine posts about Posey's five minute speech.

Over the last several months, I tended to give Thompson the benefit of the doubt (somewhat), concluding that he's just misguided and cracked under pressure—a portrait of him reinforced by Brian Hooker himself in his letter to the CDC in which Thompson is quoted as describing himself as having become "profoundly depressed" and "delusional" over the publication of DeStefano et al. Indeed, at one point he is described as having developed "acute psychological problems" and quoted as saying that the publication of DeStefano et al was "one of the reasons I became delusional because I was so paranoid about this being published." As I pointed out at the time, if Thompson indeed underwent a psychological meltdown as described, it was an even greater betrayal of Hooker to have revealed it publicly. However, that portrait of Thompson is what led me to tend not to be too harsh on Thompson.

That's changed.

The reason is that Thompson appears to have become fully antivaccine. Why do I say this? Because of a press release that showed up in my e-mail in box yesterday and is reproduced—where else?—at the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism. It's about a book about to be released by Skyhorse Publishing by Kevin Barry, Esq., with a forward by—who else?—Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and a preface by a blast from the antivaccine past, Boyd Haley. It's entitled Vaccine Whistleblower: Exposing Autism Research Fraud at the CDC, and in it Barry purports to tell this story:

On July 29th, 2015, Rep. Bill Posey, R-Florida, addressed the U.S. House of Representatives, describing himself as, “absolutely, resolutely pro-vaccine.” However, Rep. Posey implored the House to launch a thorough investigation into the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for fraud, misrepresentation, and manipulation of data linking vaccines to autism.

He then began to read from the transcripts of Dr. William Thompson.

These transcripts come from four legally recorded phone calls between Dr. Thompson, a senior scientist currently working in the CDC’s vaccine safety division with whistleblower immunity, and Dr. Brian Hooker, a scientist investigating autism and vaccine research.

In Vaccine Whistleblower, Author Kevin Barry dissects these explosive calls to expose a pattern of data manipulation, fraud, and corruption at the highest levels of the CDC. In Dr. Thompson’s own words, “Senior people just do completely unethical, vile things and no one holds them accountable.”

These transcripts are allegedly of conversations from May 8 to July 24, 2014, long after Thompson recovered from whatever acute psychological issues he had had back in 2003 or 2004.

As I've pointed out before, it's not entirely clear that the phone calls between Hooker and Thompson were legally recorded, but let's for the moment assume they are. It was still a truly despicable betrayal to record someone you pretended to friend, as Hooker appears to have befriended Thompson and then betrayed him. I note that Barry is the copresident of the Elizabeth Birt Center for Autism Law & Advocacy (EBCALA), an organization we've encountered before on multiple occasions on this very blog. Let's just say that it's an organization that's been associated with claims to have "blown the lid" off the CDC vaccine program without actually, you know, blowing the lid off the CDC vaccine program. In particular, I took EBCALA to task for having published what I considered to be a highly unethical study that, contrary to its author's claims, didn't actually show a connection between vaccines and autism. If Barry's story is as credible as the whole "CDC whistleblower" story has been thus far (i.e., not very), I doubt that this book "nullifies the government’s claims that 'vaccines are safe and effective,' and reveals that the government rigged research to cover up the link between vaccines and autism," as the publicity material for the book proclaims.

Normally, I'd have seen this press release and be left scratching my head, at least until the book comes out August 25. Fortunately for me, one of the not-so-Thinking Moms over at the "Thinking Moms'" Revolution, ShamROCK, whom we met here for the first time when she made one of the most boneheadedly nonsensical historical analogy about SB 277, a new California law that eliminates nonmedical exemptions, appears to have an advance copy (or at least an excerpt) and can't wait to spill the beans in a post entitled The Thompson Transcripts: Shocking Revelations by the CDC Whistleblower.

It starts with this quote attributed to William Thompson:

“That’s the deal . . ., that’s what I keep seeing again and again and again . . . where these senior people [at CDC] just do completely unethical, vile things and no one holds them accountable.”

— Dr. William Thompson to Dr. Brian Hooker in a recorded phone call, June 12, 2014

As I said when Rep. Posey trotted out a quote from Thompson claiming that his co-investigators on DeStefano et al, if his colleagues at the CDC were pissed off at him before, what must his co-authors think of him now that he's quoted as saying that they had met to find a way to "hide" the link between MMR and autism in African-American males, characterizing them as having "brought a big garbage can into the meeting room and reviewed and went through all the hard copy documents that we had thought we should discard and put them in a huge garbage can"? As I said at the time, I’m sure that saying such things will make Thompson even more popular at the CDC than he is now, which is almost certainly not very after what he did last year. Now he's describing his former bosses in the CDC National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases as doing unethical and vile things. (He's now in the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.)

What else is he claiming now? Well, for one thing, he's now trashing his own biggest study:

Dr. Thompson advises Dr. Hooker to focus on a mantra regarding tics because, as he states,“I can say that pretty confidently, vaccines cause tics. We replicated that.” The replication study was “Early Thimerosal Exposure and Neuropsychological Outcomes at 7 to 10 Years.” He then suggests the “mantra” should switch to “. . . (and) tics are four times as common among kids with autism,” and “There is biologic plausibility right now, I really do believe there is, to say that Thimerosal causes autism-like features.” (emphasis added). You might want to read that line again.

Amazingly, “tics” is not listed as a table injury with the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Thompson expresses his incredulity at that because, as he says, the science is clear; the CDC itself has replicated the finding with other studies.

I discussed this very study in great detail when it was published in 2007. Indeed, Thompson appears to be making the same mistake that Sallie Bernard and SafeMinds did when it came out in that he is cherry picking associations. As I pointed out at the time, it is true that the study found some negative correlations that achieved statistical significance, one of which was an increased incidence of tics. However, when running 42 tests, as Thompson did, it would be shocking if there were not a few anomalous findings. What gave me confidence that the adverse findings were almost certainly due to random chance alone is the observation that there were positive, beneficial correlations observed as well, and in roughly the same numbers. To paraphrase the way I put it at the time, if Thompson accepts that tics were associated with thimerosal, than there's no reason for him not to accept the beneficial association between thimerosal and better scores on, for instance, the WJ-III test. If you accept one, there's no reason to reject the other. Or, as Steve Novella responded to David Kirby's cherry picking all the negative associations and ignoring the positive:

What Kirby does is not just really dumb, it’s despicable. He cherry picks all the negative (meaning bad) neurological outcomes and pretends that the study shows a correlation (it doesn’t, when you look at ALL the data). He then tries to dismiss the positive (good) outcomes as absurd. He mockingly writes:

If they (the CDC) really mean that thimerosal increases IQ levels in males, then sign me up for a double-dose flu shot this year.

No, David, they don’t mean that. Not by any stretch of the imagination. It takes incompetent statistical analysis or the blindness of ideology to write something so ridiculous. What the CDC means is that the study does NOT show that thimerosal increases IQ, nor that it causes motor tics, or improve motor skills, or decrease language skills, or anything else. The study showed no correlations because it all averaged out as noise.

This is, by the way, the same mistake that astrologers make (remember that crusty pseudoscience?). They look at many variables then cherry pick the outliers. At best what this study might show is a possible correlation, but any such possible correlation would have to be corroborated by a later study (with fresh data) that looked specifically at that one variable.

In other words, what Thompson's study showed was statistical noise, with no association between thimerosal-containing vaccines and adverse neurological outcomes. Yet now he's backtracking on his own study, even going so far as to misinterpret it! If you wonder why I now conclude that Thompson is antivaccine, look no further than this about face on his own study.

But there's more. Sadly, there's so much more. For instance:

Dr. Thompson also gives insight into media hype of outbreaks of measles in the U.S. and polio in third-world countries : “These drug companies and their promoters, they’re making such a big deal of these measles outbreaks. It’s like a never ending thing where the press loves to hype it and it scares people.”

Yes, that's the pharma shill gambit Thompson is using. Is there a gambit more pathognomonic of the antivaccine movement, quacks, and cranks than the pharma shill gambit? No, I would argue, there is not. Still not convinced? Then look at this:

Dr. Thompson then brings Dr. Hooker’s attention to the SEED project, which he refers to as “Disneyland” (of data), and how this data set contains the health records of some 1200 children, 800 of which are confirmed autistic, with complete vaccination records, including prenatal vaccines and RhoGAM shots. This data has yet to be released to the public for study. In fact, according to Dr. Thompson, “it is under lock and key.” However, as Dr. Thompson says, “So far there is about sixty proposals in, um, for people ready to do studies. Not a single one of them looks at vaccines, not one!” He is clearly outraged by this when he recounts how he asked his colleagues “What are you going to say when you have twelve hundred autism cases and a bunch of controls and you never looked at vaccines and you have all their vaccine records?” Dr. Thompson describes the SEED data as a “. . . gold mine. That’s the mother-load of mother-loads (sic).

So, assuming this is true, Thompson is outraged that, of all the sixty proposals for studies using SEED project data thus far submitted, none of them looks at vaccines? If that's not an indication that he's become antivaccine, I don't know what is! Let's just put it this way. Did it ever occur to Thompson that the reason there are no proposals for studies using the SEED data that examine vaccines is because, from a strictly scientific standpoint, there is no interest in vaccines as a cause of autism or other neurodevelopmental disorders. The reason for that is simple. There is no credible evidence to support the hypothesis that vaccines (or just thimerosal-containing vaccines) cause autism. Apparently not. Like any good antivaccinationist, William Thompson cannot accept that.

Of course, one has to remember that these transcripts no doubt consist of excerpts of Thompson's conversations with Hooker that are carefully—shall we say?—curated to give the worst possible impression of the CDC and to present Thompson as some sort of real whistleblower. It's sad, really. There are so many holes in Thompson's story, as I've documented over the last year, that it's just not particularly credible without verification by another party. Worse, Thompson seemingly let whatever his beefs were with the CDC lead him to reject whatever understanding of epidemiology he had and start misrepresenting his own NEJM paper as supporting a causative role of thimerosal in vaccines for causing tics, even going so far as to imply that the reason thimerosol-containing flu vaccines are recommended for pregnant women is because "the drug companies think that if it is in at least that one vaccine then no one could argue that it should be out of the other vaccines outside of the US."

It's time to take the gloves off when discussing this "CDC whistleblower." William Thompson has become antivaccine. As difficult as that is to accept, it's hard to come to any other conclusion, given his behavior. As a result, I'm starting to drift closer to the position of antivaccinationists on this, but for a different reason. I now want an investigation, if only to get Thompson's butt on the stand for some cross-examination. He's been silent for nearly a year. I want him to be forced to explain himself and back up his charges. I bet he can't.

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It is a professional obligation among psychologists -- professional courtesy, if you like -- that if you lose it, you should go *really* over the edge, not just borderline delusional.
Or so I hear from a friend.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

So, assuming this is true, Thompson is outraged that, of all the sixty proposals for studies using SEED project data, none of them looks at vaccines?

That's about as outrageous as the utter lack of proposals to search for Planet Vulcan in the inner solar system.

On second thought, this isn't quite fair. There was a time when the existence of Planet Vulcan was a reasonable hypothesis for explaining the precession of Mercury's perihelion (which is actually due to general relativity, a theory developed only several decades after the precession of Mercury's perihelion was discovered). The closest that the vaccines-cause-autism hypothesis ever came to this was immediately following the publication of Wakefield's Lancet paper, and even then it was only a claimed association in a case study (which was faked, but this wasn't known at the time). Today that hypothesis is as dead as the Planet Vulcan hypothesis.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

Yo Eric -- Just to help you keep up your customary standards of meticulous accuracy, the precession of Mercury's orbit is actually very large, and due almost entirely to the influence of the other planets (think: effective non-inverse square law). What Einstein explained was the part that isn't explained by known perturbations; amazingly, by 1900, the theory of the solar system was so accurate that this residual ("anomalous precession") was clearly defined. Simon Newcomb had a lot to do with it.

Celestial mechanics has a lot of math but it's sure a helluva lot more conceptually straightforward than, say, epidemiology.

By palindrom (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

Dr. Thompson also gives insight into media hype of outbreaks of measles in the U.S. and polio in third-world countries : “These drug companies and their promoters, they’re making such a big deal of these measles outbreaks. It’s like a never ending thing where the press loves to hype it and it scares people.”

I'm assuming he said that BEFORE the woman died. While it won't make any difference to the nutjobs who will claim it's all part of the conspiracy or say she was going to die anyway, most reasonable people were appalled to see a measles death. This statement alone will hopefully mean most people won't take it seriously.

By Frequent Lurker (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

Thomson is a CDC employee, as such he's never spent a couple weeks writing a large proposal for a grant. The one thing you always the most time on is the intro paragraph, to make sure the reviewers at least finish reading the proposal. I'm pretty sure no proposal containing the words "autism-vaccine link" with Wakefield and Hooker as the quoted literature will be read past the intro paragraph.

I am loving the antivax business model. It's almost as good as Marvel's. They tease and tease and tease some more what's coming next and then release something that attracts their fandom. Then they tease again before releasing something else. Why release "the truth" all at once and get it over with? No, a little bit at a time to keep the fans wanting more. I guess a better comparison would be to drug dealers than movie studios. Just a little to hold you over and keep you coming back for more. No use in showing all your cards at once.

Something baffles me; granted, I am merely in the employ of a humble local health department HOWEVER we are kicking off our back to school immunization campaign. If I were to publicly align myself with the anti-vaccine camp to the point where it was being picked up by politicians and the press, I would soon be unemployed.

Granted, Thompson's a civil servant and (speaking from experience) they're awfully hard to fire. But still.

Herr doktor is correct.
(Although I wonder how much statistics and research design Thompson ever studied- perhaps his delusion was sparked by a lack of expertise and understanding rather than SMI which would still place him firmly in woo-ville)

At any rate, tales about the Whistleblower are percolating up through the malarial swamps of unreason like the marsh gas they truly are: AoA, TMR, PRN and Natural News are rife with his story AND Jake now announces that Kennedy will release his latest book as a paperback with the omitted chapters on vaccines INCLUDED! Whoa! He must think that FINALLT the world will recognise his investigation.

I'm sure that Jake will continue his twitty tweets at Orac and other SBM supporters- after all, what else does he have to do?
A review of the interrelationships- present and historical- between Jake and other anti-vaxxers would be suitable for a sub-plot on this season's True Detective as they are opaquely convoluted and dense but still capable of outbursts that fail to illuminate the murky darkness.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

Just thinking about the issue which has the usual suspects suddenly SO concerned about black children- are there any OTHER studies that replicate/ resemble Thompson's so-called findings? Are black boys more vulnerable to vaccine insults? I don't seem to have seen much along these lines although Andy supposes that Somalis in Minnesota are especially harmed by vaccine,

If something is real, it should be seen in more than one place.

And -btw- Thompson's study doesn't show harm to white boys. I suppose that that is replicated elsewhere.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

In Dr. Thompson’s own words, “Senior people just do completely unethical, vile things and no one holds them accountable.”

Yes, Dr. Thompson, it is time you take the stand as I think you are one of those people doing unethical, vile things with no accountability.

By Chris Hickie (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

These transcripts are allegedly of conversations from May 8 to July 24, 2014, long after Thompson recovered from whatever acute psychological issues he had had back in 2003 or 2004.

If the psychotic episode was symptomatic of a psychotic disorder, he'd be exceptionally fortunate if the psychosis never recurred. Even assuming full treatment compliance and the best treatment available.

I mean, it might have been due to anything -- medication-induced. But if he's bipolar (or schizophrenic, or has delusional disorder, or whatever), that's really not his fault. It just makes Hooker's exploitation of him more reprehensible.

For instance, you could potentially be putting the life of someone with bipolar disorder at serious risk by inducing mood-cycling.

It really might not be Thompson's fault.

And -btw- Thompson’s study doesn’t show harm to white boys. I suppose that that is replicated elsewhere.

As I mentioned in my first post on the subject, there was no other racial group in which there was even a hint of a whiff of a correlation between MMR vaccination and autism. So, basically, the study supports the safety of MMR vaccine for Caucasians. Yet we never seen any antivaccinationist touting that fact. Suddenly, these mostly white, oh-so-privileged "Thinking Moms" are oh-so-concerned about the black babies. I call bullshit. They don't care about black children. They only care that one of their own, an incompetent statistician and epidemiologist wannabe, can do a breathtakingly simplistic analysis and "find" an increased risk of autism in a small subgroup in a post hoc reanalysis. It is to laugh.

http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2014/08/22/brian-hooker-proves-andrew…

While you can just about understand why people with no critical-thinking skills or ability to parse data might buy into batshit antivax nonsense, it's really sad when you see someone like Thompson, who presumably does - or at least, did have - the skills needed to reject the toxic nonsense turn into a True Believer.

It really might not be Thompson’s fault.

I know where you're coming from, and that's what I wanted to think. That's partially what I did think for a long time. Actually, before Thompson was quoted by Hooker describing himself as having been delusional over the publication of DeStefano et al, the way I viewed the story was as poor, naive Thompson being simply duped by Hooker (which he was), who was in turn duped by ace con man Andrew Wakefield (which Hooker was).

However, the longer this whole fiasco goes on and Thompson doesn't step up to try to stop it, I have a harder and harder time continuing to believe that he is not at least partially complicit. For one thing, look at his choice of someone to reach out to in the first place for help: Antivaccine wingnut Brian Hooker. Look how long he had regular conversations with Hooker and vented his anger at his superiors to him. Even realizing that these excerpts from the transcripts of his phone conversations with Hooker are cherry picked to make the CDC look as bad as possible, much of what Thompson said, as quoted by ShamROCK, is pure antivaccine. I have a hard time concluding that the antivaccine rhetoric quoted thus far, with more to promised in the book, is due to a psychological condition. I think it's what Thompson believes now.

No, I think Thompson bears at least some—in fact a large part—of the responsibility for this fiasco. The longer he fails to step up and disassociate himself from the antivaccine fringe, the more responsibility I assign to him. There's only so long he can keep skating on the excuse that Hooker used him (which Hooker did) before he has to accept a significant portion of the responsibility. Time to take the gloves off in writing about him and point that out.

If they had any sense they wouldn't trumpet Thompson's study because it invalidates their own drift-
but then, they're anti-vaxxers and they haven't much sense.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

If the psychotic episode was symptomatic of a psychotic disorder, he’d be exceptionally fortunate if the psychosis never recurred.

I'm not sure that's true, on consideration. I'll rephrase:

It wouldn't be atypical if someone had, let's say, bipolar disorder; was prone to paranoid delusions when manic; had an episode c. 2003/4; and was then stable for a decade or so.

And it also wouldn't be atypical if the long period of stability led to a reduction of meds (or some stressor occurred, or whatever) and the person again became symptomatic.

I don't think there's a strong enough case for his having gone full anti-vax to conclude it, basically. I mean, he hasn't been speaking out on that side in the present. And laying low might be the best and wisest thing he could do.

I'm sure it's what his lawyer advised him to do.

However, in the months leading up to his "outing," he fed Brian Hooker all sorts of information, much of it, I strongly suspect, not actually supporting what he said about it. the antivaccine movement, of course, ran with it.

The key bit of information that tipped me to concluding that Thompson has gone antivax is how he is now misinterpreting his own NEJM study that found no association between thimerosal containing vaccines and neurodevelopmental problems. I mean, seriously, he was the lead author on that paper. He can't claim that other authors changed it or left out data against his objections. And now he's claiming it shows that TCVs are associated with tics? I suppose it's possible he's being quote mined, but, even if he were, the quote mined part is bad. If he didn't say somewhere else unequivocally that his study showed no correlation between TCVs and tics, it's hard to conclude that he didn't mean what he said as quoted.

However, the longer this whole fiasco goes on and Thompson doesn’t step up to try to stop it, I have a harder and harder time continuing to believe that he is not at least partially complicit. For one thing, look at his choice of someone to reach out to in the first place for help: Antivaccine wingnut Brian Hooker. Look how long he had regular conversations with Hooker and vented his anger at his superiors to him. Even realizing that these excerpts from the transcripts of his phone conversations with Hooker are cherry picked to make the CDC look as bad as possible, much of what Thompson said, as quoted by ShamROCK, is pure antivaccine. I have a hard time concluding that the antivaccine rhetoric quoted thus far, with more to promised in the book, is due to a psychological condition. I think it’s what Thompson believes now.

Bipolar Disorder is neuropsychiatric, not "a psychological condition." So is schizophrenia. So is psychotic depression. So are most other chronic disorders the symptoms of which include paranoid delusions. None of them is easy to live with. None of them even has a treatment that's easy to live with.

It's not unusual for the same paranoid delusions to be persistent over a long period of time. It's also not unusual for people with bipolar or delusional disorder to be high-functioning, even when symptomatic. And it's not unheard of for schizophrenics.

He might not be speaking out because it might be advisable for him to stay as far away from the whole thing as possible, for his own health. That might actually be doctor's orders, in fact.

It also might be attorney's orders, or the preference of the CDC.

I mean, come on: How is his reaching out to Hooker not potentially attributable to being in the throes of a delusion?

I honestly don't see that it's probative.

It also might be attorney’s orders, or the preference of the CDC.

Also, the CDC can't actually tell Thompson to shut up if he truly has claimed protection under the Whistleblower Act. Once he claimed that protection, the CDC lost all power to tell him what he can and can't say.

Altho' we can't diagnose anyone on the internet ( even when they give us reason), we should remember that someone can have a lot WRONG with them and their thinking without being SMI :calling himself 'delusional' may merely be an exaggerated way of admitting anxiety, fear and problems thinking things through unemotionally.
Being 'delusional' gives him an out- it could be an excuse.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

Exactly. We don't really know what Thompson meant when he described himself as "delusional."

From the description of how worked up he got over testifying and the publication of DeStefano et al, if he has any psychiatric diagnosis at all (and I really don't think he does), it sounds like an anxiety disorder.

Orac --

We cross-posted.

But I also don't see why any of it is a game-changer. It's all from the same four conversations.

Exactly. We don’t really know what Thompson meant when he described himself as “delusional.”

In the sense that we never know what anyone means when they say anything, sure.

But since he's a psychologist, and he also speaks of paranoia, and there's evidence in the public record that he suffers from paranoid delusions, the ordinary presumption would be that he means "delusional."

From the description of how worked up he got over testifying and the publication of DeStefano et al, if he has any psychiatric diagnosis at all (and I really don’t think he does), it sounds like an anxiety disorder.

This...

“one of the reasons I became delusional because I was so paranoid about this being published.”

...does not sound like an anxiety disorder. He's not saying "one of the reasons I became panicked was because I was so anxious about this being published."

And his reaching out to Hooker and perseveration on the topic don't suggest anxiety either.

In any event, most people with psychotic disorders also suffer from anxiety, unsurprisingly. It's not exactly a rule-out.

Being ‘delusional’ gives him an out- it could be an excuse.

While it's true that that's possible, I am not a big fan of assuming that people are faking and/or choosing symptoms of mental illness for personal gain, absent a hell of a lot of proof that they are.

It's stigmatizing.

Needless to say, I have no idea what -- if anything -- is the deal with him. But it's not colloquially commonplace to describe yourself as having become delusional when you really just mean "irrational." I don't think I've ever heard anybody do it. As a colloquial usage, it's something one says about others.

If Thompson has some psychological or psychiatric issue it really shouldn't matter. The sane people around him should be addressing this. Maybe they are trying to protect him personally or legally, who knows.

Regardless, the accusations should be addressed by Congress or the courts. It may destroy career(s) but at this point having large groups of suspicious people requiring laws to be passed to keep vaccination rates high enough in the community is not a better option. Nor does the current state of things serve the truth.

By Not a Troll (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

Describing himself as delusional SHOULD make ignoring his comments somewhat easier. Unless you are an anti-vaxxer.

This 'stunning revelation' barely moves my needle. We're told transcripts will be published in a forthcoming book from a completely disreputable publisher, and then a completely disreputable blog publishes alleged excerpts from these transcripts... that are not just cherry picked, but almost certainly edited distortingly.

Red flag: the 'mantra/thimeresal/tics/autism-like-features' quote was featured in one of Scamdy's videos, and on applying my advanced post-production mojo to the audio track, I determined all the clips were edited up the wazoo in ways that shifted their likely original meaning.

And what's the supposed smoking gun here? A quote out of context, with two ellipses in a single sentence. And here's the key to looking at quotes like this: What's DON'T they say or clarify? If you've got the goods, you nail down the lid and make sure A connects to B. If you don't, you put up something that seems to infer your point, and hope the reader assumes. And what that lead quote DOESN'T say is that "the completely unethical, vile things" senior staff at CDC do, for which "no one holds them accountable" have ANYTHING to do with research in general, or DeStefano's findings in particular.

Sure, Thompson may have meant to include those things under that umbrella, but again, if he had said "the conclusion of 'no link between vaccines and autism' was completely unethical and vile," that would be stated openly by the anti-vaxers, not danced around.

All the new quotes are consistent with the hypothesis some of us have worked with here before: That Thompson went off his nut due to some internal beef with TPTB at CDC. Thus, IMHO the primary reference of 'unethical and vile things' is the way his colleagues have treated him (and maybe some of his friends). We know he had a disagreement with the DeStaphano co-authors about publishing the African-American break-down data, but when the paper came out he had sign-on to the overall findings and didn't make a stink.

But this could have really stuck in his craw, and festered, metastisized over the years – starting maybe with 'they had an ethical obligation to do a full disclosure of data, and if it's inconclusive they could have explained that...' and moving to 'they had an ethical obligation to treat my complaint with respect and act upon it, but they took the unethical position of telling me to shut up and go to my room,' escalating perhaps to him being shunned in the cafeteria, or given low-stats assignments after that...

That is, even in edited form, Thompson statements fit the anti-vax conspiracy theories because he's way less upset about what the studies do or don't say, and he's mainly agitated about how the CDC staff ACTED, to the point where the whole schtick gives off the vibe of "yeah, Brain, I'll feed you whatever I can that might impugn the reputation of these arrogant f•••heads who have made my life walking misery."

In short, I don't think Thompson has gone full anti-vax wingnut at all. I think he's simply not woo-adverse enough to keep him from playing anti-vax wingnut on the Autism Media Channel as some sort of settling of old scores (likely vastly inflated by insecurity, paranoia...)

As I said months ago, if Hooker had gotten anything truly damning from Thompson, we've have heard the un-edited recordings by now, or at least been offered and allegedly un-edited transcript. But we've got nothing, which means they've got nothing. And as Orac astutely points out after noting the selective editing, there's no third party verification or document support been produced for ANY of Thompson's vague allegations that woud even clearly establish exactly what or who he might have been talking about. Orac starts by saying Thompson appears to have gone full anti-vax wingnut, but concludes on a safer and more telling note: His statements have been "curated" to "present [him] as some sort of real whistleblower." I think that hits it. He's not a real whistleblower. There's no scientific misconduct whistle to blow. He just a very aggrieved guy willing to be misused if it means payback for the folks on his list of personal enemies.

Thus, my prediction remains the same. We'll never hear the unedited call recordings. We'll never get full independently verified transcripts. There's no other show to drop, no smoking gun to be reveal. The Skyhorse book will the same-old same-old regurgitation of the BS we've already gotten from Wakefieldd and Hooker, gussied up to look 'New!' and 'Improved!' for the purpose of generating revenue by selling hardcover copies of said same-old same-old to the faithful, and to enable Posey and others to get pub by waving the thing around as startling revelation...

I'm not saying that there's nothing wrong with him but that his choice of words might be misleading- intentionally or not.
People with delusions usually can't see them for what they are.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

@#21 --

WRT the CDC:

I know they can't silence him. That's why I said "preference."

However, in my (limited) experience of federal bureaucracy, it would be kind of unusual for them to express one under such circumstances, I do admit. I think a medical and/or legal reason is likelier.

But obviously, I don't actually know.

While the news media have been cautious about trumpeting Thompson's "whistleblower" complaints (the unsavory association with Wakefield is partly responsible), all too often people portraying themselves as whistleblowers are cast in an uncritically positive light. My experience as a reporter and in a professional context (oh, the story I wish I could share) tells me to be wary of automatically accepting such folk as heroes.

"The story goes like this. Long term employee WV (Whistle-blowing Villain) feels uncomfortably alienated at work. Passed over for promotion, publicly sleighted, let down by unfulfilled promises WV types feel increasing anger about their plight."

"WVs are often too old, too unskilled, too sour and too surly to get another job. So rather than leave, they decide to take their revenge. There are various options open to them: going absent, stirring strike activity, sabotage…or whistle-blowing."

"In this saga, whistle-blowing is seen as an act of cowardice, not heroism. The whistle-blower may send anonymous messages to key media figures. Indeed, people in the media sometimes report the sheer number of calls they receive, many of which could be seen as attempts at whistle-blowing. The fact that such communications are bitter, anonymous and lacking in facts means they are, happily, ignored."

"Our friend WV is interested almost exclusively in revenge...even compensation. Some may obsessionally document every aspect of illegal, immoral, unethical behaviour they see. But they are the exceptions, not the rule. And when they eventually come to light, after doing immense damage to innocent people, they are hardly role models. They do not burn with integrity; they seem unable (or unwilling) to articulate their ethical code; and their personal history belies their claim to much status."

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sideways-view/201310/whistleblowers

Something this article does not go into is the attraction of "whistleblowing" for achieving job protection. If you sense that there's a threat to your employment (through performance or economic issues), it's not a bad strategy to report "wrongdoing", so that your employer can't get rid of you without running afoul of the law or at least public opinion.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

Just a note. I'm not a big fan of speculating whether Thompson does or does not have a psychiatric diagnosis. That's why it was not a major part of my post, more a mention intended to show just how vile Hooker has been. Such speculation detracts from the main point of my post. It is also why I will no longer contribute to this speculation in this comment thread.

@#29 --

People with delusions usually can’t see them for what they are.

When they're delusional. But some schizophrenics and most people with bipolar disorder do recognize delusions as such when they're not symptomatic.

In any event, that cuts both ways. Because what he says to Hooker sounds to me exactly like the kind of thing that people who do know they have an SMI that includes delusional episodes but don't realize they're in the middle of having one do say.

Because they usually can't see them for what they are.

It might be interesting to look at Thompson's strongest supporters/ enablers and their interests:

Hooker- a chemical engineer with an autistic child
Barry- a lawyer with an autistic child
Kennedy- a lawyer with an axe to grind and fame to pursue
Holland- a lawyer with an autistic child
Wakefield- an ex-doctor with a career to stoke
Crosby - a woo-meister-to-be/ faux journalist with AS
Adams- an alt med/alt media wanker
Null- an alt med/ alt media wanker
TMR/ AoA/ Canary Party- parents of autistic kids
Olmsted- no children but a job at AoA
Taylor- parent of autistic child/ job with Canaries
Posey- a congressman seeking donations?

Are any of these people able to dis-entangle their own personal and/ or occupational biases from their judgment?
I doubt it.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

Orac starts by saying Thompson appears to have gone full anti-vax wingnut, but concludes on a safer and more telling note: His statements have been “curated” to “present [him] as some sort of real whistleblower.” I think that hits it. He’s not a real whistleblower. There’s no scientific misconduct whistle to blow. He just a very aggrieved guy willing to be misused if it means payback for the folks on his list of personal enemies.

I don't think the two possibilities are mutually exclusive. There's no doubt that there must be some element of payback in this for slights, real or imagined. Maybe Thompson first went to Hooker, expecting that Hooker would use the "inside knowledge" he revealed to embarrass his bosses and co-authors. As a scientist myself, though, I reiterate that I do find it telling that Thompson willfully misinterpreted a study for which he was the lead author and therefore had a large degree of control over how it was written. He should know better. Either he no longer does or maybe Hooker has successfully infused him with the idea that vaccines are more hazardous than "they" (in the CDC) are letting on. Mix that together with his misinterpretation of DeStefano et al and his apparent misunderstanding of statistics and why the initial seemingly positive correlation between MMR and autism in African Americans was almost certainly spurious, an argument he lost. It's not hard to imagine that his old grievance plus Hooker's influence might have affected his thinking to the point where he sees vaccine dangers everywhere, even cherry picking spurious correlations with harm resulting from multiple comparisons (and appearing in almost exactly the number of comparisons one would expect by random chance alone) and ignoring the equally spurious positive correlations.

My speculation: Thompson is at least somewhat antivax now, possibly even full-on antivax, perhaps in reaction to his disgust with his former colleagues. As his anger at his perceived grievances festered, it's not surprising that he would start to question the objects of his anger and wonder if they really were hiding something about vaccines, especially given his disagreements with them over DeStefano et al.

#32 --

It's neither more nor less baseless to speculate that the reason for his behavior is psychiatric than it is to speculate that he's gone fully anti-vax. There's evidence to support both hypotheses.

But that being the case, if you can't rule out one, there's not a conclusive case for either.

So it seems to me that you have to consider both or neither, basically.

I'll cease and desist now.

@#34 --

No they're not. But none of them is in the public record talking about having become paranoid and delusional.

There is no evidence that Thompson was granted Whistleblower status by the government. That single point should be fairly important to the anti-vaxxers.

My speculation: Thompson is at least somewhat antivax now, possibly even full-on antivax, perhaps in reaction to his disgust with his former colleagues. As his anger at his perceived grievances festered, it’s not surprising that he would start to question the objects of his anger and wonder if they really were hiding something about vaccines, especially given his disagreements with them over DeStefano et al.

I totally agree that this could happen. It's the kind of thing that does when people have job tenure, or the functional equivalent, which civil servants sometimes do.

But if that were the case, I would expect him at least to speak out, and probably to leave the CDC for more anti-vax pastures.

...

The problem is really that his silence is capable of many interpretations, none certain, all possible. That being how silence is.

As I said months ago, if Hooker had gotten anything truly damning from Thompson, we’ve have heard the un-edited recordings by now, or at least been offered and allegedly un-edited transcript. But we’ve got nothing, which means they’ve got nothing.

Yes, this is one of the more damning aspects of this whole affair. However, the whole thing is useful to fire up the antivax wingnuts, because they so reflexively distrust the CDC that they fail to see the massive holes in Thompson's story and don't become suspicious of why Hooker and Wakefield haven't given them the incontestable proof of a CDC coverup that they so crave. I suspect the whole reason for the book is because Thompson's silence, coupled with no "smoking gun" evidence and no concrete statements alleging malfeasance from Thompson, the whole thing has become so ridiculous that even antivaxers are starting to wonder what's going on. As you say, the book is just another fix to keep them interested and prevent them from actually starting to question why, after nearly a year, nothing has happened to advance their cause.

That's why I've started to come around to the idea that a real investigation should be launched. However, Rep. Posey is as wrong a person to choose to do such an investigation as can be imagined given his antivaccine beliefs. In fact, given how political it all is, Congressional committees in general are the wrong tool for such an investigation. Maybe the FBI (i.e., the professionals) should get involved. After all, Thompson is basically accusing by insinuation that his co-authors committed a federal crime destroying documents. Then, at least, we'd know everything that Hooker and Wakefield have, Thompson would be forced to answer questions or take the 5th, and it would all be public record.

If Thompson accepts that tics were associated with thimerosal, than there’s no reason for him not to accept the beneficial association between thimerosal and better scores on, for instance, the WJ-III test. If you accept one, there’s no reason to reject the other.

Thompson seems think that it is important that some of his work apparently replicated a weak association between thimerosal exposure and tics. It's interesting that Thompson completely ignores that his own work also replicates an important result from that same earlier study: there is no association between thimerosal exposure and autism.

Here's the conclusion from that earlier work: "Only in 1 analysis for tics was there some evidence of a higher risk with increasing doses (Cox's HR: 1.50 per dose at 4 months; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.02–2.20). Statistically significant negative associations with increasing doses at 4 months were found for general developmental disorders (HR: 0.87; 95% CI: 0.81–0.93), unspecified developmental delay (HR: 0.80; 95% CI: 0.69–0.92), and attention-deficit disorder (HR: 0.79; 95% CI: 0.64–0.98). For the other disorders [including autism and language or speech delay] there was no evidence of an association with thimerosal exposure." [Pediatrics. 2004 Sep;114(3):584-91.]

Thompson and his fellow-travelers do some serious cherry picking.

BTW, my apologies -- to Orac and Denice W., in particular -- for being more of an irascible pill than was warranted in the way I expressed myself.

I think a case could be made, but there's room for debate. And debate is therefore a virtue.

I hope.

@ ann:

No apologies necessary.

I don't have any appointments today so I'm reading, writing a bit and communing with my very large cat.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

I mentioned this in the thread last week, but this whole story has been rather depressing to watch play out. Due to my religious background, I have many friends/family who are anti-vax.

They are eating this story up, hook(er?), line, and sinker. I've had a few conversations, but all they see is someone from the inside confirming their religiously held fears. There is no reasoning on this one. In their minds, this is game/set/match and everytime I try to point out the holes in the story, it's pretty clear they think it is weak sophistry.

So infuriating considering that it looks like Wakefield likely knows he's inventing this one out of whole cloth, but realizes he has no choice but to ride the AV canard as long as he can.

What I'm getting at is I think that this story is doing more damage then we realize, and will be the 'gift that keeps on giving' going forward.

Unrooting this from the mind of middle of the road AV'er's who may still be swayable will be a challenge to say the least.

So infuriating considering that it looks like Wakefield likely knows he’s inventing this one out of whole cloth, but realizes he has no choice but to ride the AV canard as long as he can

Wakefield has a choice; but the other one is a lot less lucrative.

"Wakefield has a choice; but the other one is a lot less lucrative."

Good point. What a douchebag.

I mean, seriously, he was the lead author on that paper. He can’t claim that other authors changed it or left out data against his objections.

Well, he could, but nobody would believe him. He would have to admit that somebody ghost-wrote that paper for him. Such ghost-writers do exist, but they normally market themselves as providing editing help for authors whose native language is not English--and Thompson wouldn't (or at least shouldn't) need that kind of help. It's also an ethical gray area: editing for language usage is one thing, but the line between that and hiring such people to write your paper for you is very thin, and the latter is clearly unethical.

BTW, has it been established whether the statement Rep. Posey read on the floor of Congress last week really came from Thompson, as Posey claimed?

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

It is bizarre to me that Thompson has remained quiet through all this. If he is complicit in all this, why are all his statements being routed through third parties? If his words are being g distorted why isn't he countering them? Curiouser and curiouser.

By capnkrunch (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

Why did he confess to Hooker rather than going to a trusted media outlet?

I wonder if Hooker was somehow working on him.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

It is bizarre to me that Thompson has remained quiet through all this. If he is complicit in all this, why are all his statements being routed through third parties? If his words are being g distorted why isn’t he countering them? Curiouser and curiouser.

I know. One would think that if Thompson wanted to correct the record his lawyer would help him craft statements to do so. Interestingly, there has not yet been a statement from him through his lawyer, even though one of my readers let it be known to me that he had contacted the lawyer after Posey's speech and the lawyer had said there would be a statement.

I wonder if Hooker was somehow working on him.

And if that was the case, how did Hooker know that Thompson was vulnerable to his blandishments?

@#49 --

That's why I favor the SMI hypothesis. I can understand why he wouldn't want to make that the world's business, and also why he wouldn't want to recant without offering any explanation, were that the case.

He might also have legal reasons for not speaking, though. Or unknown personal ones.

In fact, given how political it all is, Congressional committees in general are the wrong tool for such an investigation. Maybe the FBI (i.e., the professionals) should get involved.

Thanks for pointing this out.

Being outside of the U.S., I'm not intimately familiar with the inner workings of the U.S. government.

This being the case, I've been kind of lost when it comes to the whole "testify before Congress".

My mental picture of this would be, coincidentally enough, Michael Corleone testifying before the Senate committee in Godfather 2 and various Hollywood movies concerning the McCarthy era.

So I've had no idea whether the anti-vax wish for Thompson to "testify before Congress" was realistic in the first place or if this was the best or only way to address the allegations or if the whole thing was intended to be just another anti-vax dog and pony show.

At any rate, given Thompson's reported implication of fraud on the part of his ... at the very least ... co-authors, I think that at this point the only way to go is investigation by an organization like the FBI and/or Thompson, Hooker, etc. in an environment where they are testifying under oath.

I highly doubt that there is anything to Thompson's implications of fraud and/or his concerns re: a subset of children.

But if there is, it needs to come out.

The depressing part is that even if Thompson, Hooker, etc. are, as I suspect will be the case, found to be full of crap, it won't change anti-vax thinking and/or conspiracy theorizing in the least.

. . . he is now misinterpreting his own NEJM study that found no association between thimerosal containing vaccines and neurodevelopmental problems. I mean, seriously, he was the lead author on that paper. . . . .

That is a feature, not a bug, don’t you see? He was drugged, hypnotized, or otherwise induced into the fraud and is now coming clean, having recovered and found [insert chosen deity here].

Can anyone guess the level of conspiracy-induced hysteria should Thompson have a heart attack, stroke, car accident, bathtub fall, be sat upon by a mysterious brontosaurus, trip on some stairs, get shoved into a pool, receive a parking ticket, cut himself shaving, be bitten by a misquito, or get the wrong latte at Starbucks? The Magic Graduate Student, Drinking Moms, et alia would be so apoplectic that the internet might actually explode. [Deity of choice] protect us all from the inclement weather of fecal matter should anything happen to Thompson. Or not. Maybe “they” are going to protect him, because someone of his high profile and importance having anything bad happen would be just the proof needed that there really is a huge conspiracy involving everyone except for the usual suspects at AoA, etc.

Denice Walker @ 34

You say Olmstead has a "job" at AoA.Just wondering.does Olmstead,Stagliano,or anybody else at AoA actually get paid?If so,who's writing the checks?

There have been so many twists and turns in this story,that it gets a little hard to follow at times,but has anybody suggested that some,or all,of the CDC documents may be forgeries or fabrications?I think this may have been covered in this blog,but I'm not sure.

Since Andy is involved and all that.

By Roger Kulp (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

I've often wondered who's paying Olmsted to run AoA. Knowing from direct experience that it's damned hard to make enough money to live on through blogging, I wonder how Olmsted can subsist producing AoA full time, given that he certainly doesn't seem to have any other job.

From Shamrock's AoW post:

He predicts that the CDC will paint him as “crazy,” and that’s how they will dismiss his claims.

I find this prediction, allegedly made by Thompson, interesting.

As Orac mentioned, speculation about Thompson's mental health is a distraction from the main point.

But it would be interesting to get a glimpse inside Thompson's CDC personnel files.

Having worked in government, though not in the U.S., there are a few things in Thompson's story ... starting with his alleged letter to Gerberding and the tone and content of that letter ... and his version of events after that which reminded me of some "problem employees" I worked with through the years.

Has anyone here who has worked in a U.S. federal agency or department had similar thoughts?

"Maybe “they” are going to protect him, because someone of his high profile and importance having anything bad happen would be just the proof needed that there really is a huge conspiracy involving everyone except for the usual suspects at AoA, etc."

Indeed. Since a false prophet is more valuable as a martyr, Thompson should fear the AV camp more than the formal authorities.

For the anti-vac camp Thompson is the smoking gun.
The very proof that a conspiracy exists in government. I don't think they have a clue to the inner workings of government. If government agencies were engaged in the conspiracies alleged they would have no time to actually carry out any directives of that agency.
Although government agencies have problems they are not the demons some people would have us believe.

By Sandy Penrod (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

Orac@57

Knowing from direct experience that it’s damned hard to make enough money to live on through blogging, I wonder how Olmsted can subsist producing AoA full time, given that he certainly doesn’t seem to have any other job.

I imagine the advertising that AoA does is much more lucrative than ScienceBlogs or Orac's other blog. I'd imagine those kind ads work more like an affiliate program (i.e. AoA gets a cut from all the user's purchases) rather than just getting paid per view/click (as I imagine the ads on Orac's blogs work). I bet they take in more from sponsors and donations as well.

By capnkrunch (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

I'm thinking about reanalyzing the data in DeStefano by age, race, last letter of first name, first letter of last name, favorite Disney movie, name of street they grew up on, neck diameter, shampoo brand and cat vs. dog preference. If I do ENOUGH subgroup analysis, I'm pretty sure I'll be able to prove that autism is the result of vaccines at a p<0.05 level of significance.

By c0nc0rdance (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

As my grandmother used to say: "All fur coat and no knickers".

If Posey and Thompson had documents that actually showed malfeasance, they would have produced them by now.

BTW, BBC World Service has a radio analysis of the anti-vaxxers up

http://bbc.in/1T3Zslt

By Brian Deer (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

If I do ENOUGH subgroup analysis, I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to prove that autism is the result of vaccines at a p<0.05 level of significance.

https://xkcd.com/882/

As my Texas grandpappy used to say (among other things), "all hat and no cattle."

But they'll milk it for as long as they can string the rubes along.

“That’s the deal . . ., that’s what I keep seeing again and again and again . . . where these senior people [at CDC] just do completely unethical, vile things and no one holds them accountable.”

This alleged quote from the transcript has me asking a few questions. What was edited out (as indicated by the ellipses)? Also, what's the context? He could be talking about how they treat employees like him, just as much as he could be talking about study conduct.

There is no evidence that Thompson was granted Whistleblower status by the government. That single point should be fairly important to the anti-vaxxers.

There's no such thing, and that hasn't had any effect. (John Stone was insisting that he "applied" for "whistleblower status" at AoA, which was "granted." I almost asked him where in the Code of Federal Regulations the instructions were.)

If he feels that the CDC has engaged in a prohibited personnel practice, then he files a complaint and the "status" gets sorted out.

As my grandmother used to say: “All fur coat and no knickers”.

Was she talking about Marianne Faithfull?

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

A year ago the headlines in antivax circles were all about the "hundreds and thousands of documents" that Thompson had passed on to Posey, and how the stark incontrovertible proof of Wannsee-Conference-level malfeasance was about to released to the world, and how all the vaccine promoters would be strung up from lampposts by angry mobs.

After all that build-up, Posey has a few heavily-redacted repetitions of the same old unsupported claims, taped over the phone? It all seems a tad anticlimactic but I suppose Olmsted et al. must fluff it all they can, to distract attention from the tumbleweed situation vis-a-vis documents.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

Recently- and intermittently, it isn't there now - I've seen a line ( from Kim IIRC) on AoA that donations are "now tax deductible" which I assume means that US domiciled (?) people can get credit for their money squandering ways. That would also mean that there are papers filed away somehow.. Wouldn't that show if personnel are paid?
-btw- Dan and Kim possibly get free advertisement for their books- I'm sure sales now number in the triple digits.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

So I’ve had no idea whether the anti-vax wish for Thompson to “testify before Congress” was realistic in the first place or if this was the best or only way to address the allegations or if the whole thing was intended to be just another anti-vax dog and pony show.

Posey is a member of the majority party, so if he could get a relevant committee chair to agree that a Congressional investigation was warranted, there are ways to get Thompson to testify in Congress. They would try to get it via negotiations with his lawyer (if any actual criminal activity is involved, they would probably offer him some form of limited immunity, since as I mentioned last week the statement Posey read on the House floor, if genuine, could be construed as an admission to being an accessory during or after the fact), and they can issue subpoenas if they think it's warranted.

Of course, if Posey is bluffing (and as other commenters have noted, there is good reason to think so), arranging for Thompson to testify before Congress is the last thing he would want to do, because it would become obvious that Posey had nothing of substance on the issue. In that case he's better off blowing smoke and claiming that there is a fire. Which is more or less what he actually has been doing. Congress has enough on its plate that there would be no particular reason for anyone else in Congress to force the issue.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

Ok, so let me get this straight. William Thompson was the lead author of a study that purported to find no link between autism and vaccines. Multiple other studies have come to that same conclusion, independent of the 2004 study.

A decade later, Thompson now believes that the study he was the lead author on - which was ultimately validated with other research - is bogus. So he decides to not just become a whisteblower, but subsequently hook up with the fringes of the anti-vaccine movement.

Makes perfect sense, and by that I mean that it makes no sense whatsoever.

Lest I forget:
" ...fur coat and no knickers"
Ha ha.
Lots of them around here!

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

@Roger Kulp #56

I know Anne Dachel's "media update" is sponsored by Lee Silsby Compounding Pharmacy and OurKidsASD (purveyors of supplements, etc.) I assume that means they're paying her, since I can't see any other expenses associated with writing an article for a website.

In related legal news, Patti Finn, the Lawyer Who Can't Win, edges further away from reality at AoA:

The most logical cause for the measles rash at Magic Kingdom prompting California's SB277 legislation was a bad batch of the MMR vaccine that made its way to California from China....

I just wanted to say how much I appreciate Respectful Insolence. I found my way here trying to find good sources to refute the claims of miracle cures I am constantly bombarded with from family members.
RI and SBM are the highlight of my day. I have been reading these two blogs for about six months and enjoy them both very much. The links are great and I learn a lot from them and the comments. Sometimes the content is beyond my understanding not being all that science literate.
So thank you.

By Sandy Penrod (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

Sandy -- I'm not all that science literate either. I've learned a lot here.

Not the least, some inventive British insults. Has anyone heard from elburto recently?

These made me laugh:

"According to Dr. Hooker, CDC data reveals that children of Hungarian decent born on a Wednesday, but vaccinated on an even Tuesday between the ages of 21 and 24 months had a 10 fold-risk of autism when compared to unvaccinated Thai females born on a Friday. Dr. Hooker called the findings “robust and undeniable.”

http://thespudd.com/brian-hooker-does-re-analysis-again/

An obviously angry Brian Hooker lashed out at leading members of the anti-vaccine movement, blaming them for the retraction of this paper which had been published in the journal Translational Neurodegeneration. The main findings of the paper confirmed multiple other studies in finding that vaccines do not cause autism in white people, Hispanics, Asians, or girls.
“Look at the leaders of the anti-vaccine movement,” Dr. Hooker told The Spudd, “They are all white. Every single one of them. My research showed vaccines in no way caused autism in their child. There is no cover-up, though I search very hard to find one.”

http://thespudd.com/brian-hooker-blames-anti-vaccine-movement-for-paper…

@Denise Walter #73

Yep, because Age of Autism is now registered for IRS purposes as a public charity called “Autism Age” and is eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions under section 401(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, it will have to file an annual Form 990 providing information that includes what top earners, both staff and board members, were paid. (A possible exception is explained below.)

According to Nonprofitfacts.com, Autism Age received its public charity designation from the IRS in April 2015, so it won’t have to file its first Form 990 until the 15th day of the 5th month after the end of the group’s taxable year (meaning, if Autism Age’s taxable year is the calendar year, May 15, 2016). I don’t know how quickly the IRS makes the 990s it receives public, but the easiest way of viewing them has been through a free GuideStar account and, when the time comes, Autism Age’s 990 should appear here:

http://www.guidestar.org/organizations/47-1831987/autism-age.aspx#hReco…

The IRS is planning to make the filings directly available to the public in early 2016, but if there’s a delay, GuideStar should remain serviceable.

Possible exception to filing requirements: If Autism Age makes less than $50k in the year, it need file only a Form 990N “e-Postcard” that lets the IRS know it’s still in business. Staff compensation information won’t become public.

I learned that Age of Autism registered as Autism Age, by the way, by checking the address given on AoA’s “About” page in the Nonprofitfacts.com database: http://www.nonprofitfacts.com/VA/Autism-Age.html

The public charity designation can be confirmed in the IRS database here: http://www.irs.gov/Charities-&-Non-Profits/Exempt-Organizations-Select-…

Given the public charity designation, the names of Autism Age's donors will be blacked out on copies of the Form 990s that are made public. (Only people making donations to private foundations and Section 527 political organizations have their names revealed publicly.)

Things that could jeopardize Autism Age’s status as a public charity: http://www.irs.gov/Charities-&-Non-Profits/Charitable-Organizations/Lif…

Limits on the political and legislative activities a public charity can conduct: http://www.irs.gov/Charities-&-Non-Profits/Charitable-Organizations/Pol…

And as an aside:

I feel for Thompson's co-authors. They’ve surely put up with a whole lot of crap, and not just from the anti-vaxxers howling for them to be fired as “deniers.” Among them is Dr. Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp, the African American epidemiologist who's now chief of CDC's developmental disabilities branch and who's particularly studied the epidemiology of autism, especially in urban areas.

According to the anti-vaxxers, she cares more for advancement than for preventing an ever-growing population of African American boys from contracting autism through vaccinations. Yes, obviously, if she were able to halt the spread of autism, she’d never be looked upon with favor. And just as obviously from her lifetime in public service, she’s very greedy and is just waiting for a big payout from Big Pharma in return for not backing Thompson. She probably doesn’t even think Donald Trump is classy.

By TGuerrant (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

Orac ( @ 52) asks how Hooker got to Thompson.

Perhaps something I read on TMR by ShamROCK ( in the paragraph next to Hooker's photo) led me to believe-
Thompson ( paraphrase) had to stop lying and he might have had hell to pay for a few months BUT nothing as bad as having a child with autism for life

I'm guessing that Hooker enlightened him about living with an autistic child. The article said they interacted previously ( when Hooker sought records?)

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

^ I now notice from her appeal brief in the Second Circuit that the China routine has been brewing for some time:

More than a century later after [sic] Jacobson there is a growing body of scientific evidence that vaccinations being forced upon children are being cheaply and unsafely manufactured in billions of doses in poorly regulated labs in China and elsewhere....

The great part is the footnote (which doesn't appear until more raving and a sentence later, so the reader has no idea what untitled link is supposed to support what) that apparently constitutes the "growing body of scientific evidence": Behold!

Poor commenter Gary Ogden is also going to be disappointed:

In her Autism One presentation, Patti Finn appeared to emphasize that the petition to the Supreme Court in Philips vs. City of New York rests on the issue of due process. It would seem to be a slam-dunk, since the Fifth Amendment clearly states that "No person shall be . . . deprived of life . . .without due process of law . . . ." And little Mary's doctor is certain that another vaccination would be fatal.

There's just one little problem: Patti bungled the Notice of Appeal, so the medical angle is off the table:

Despite Check's disavowal of the medical exemption application, after the Magistrate Judge recommended that the preliminary injunction be denied, plaintiffs sought a second preliminary injunction based on the medical exemption. The Magistrate Judge issued a second Report and Recommendation recommending that this request for a preliminary injunction be denied and the district court issued an order adopting her recommendation. As discussed further at note 6, infra, plaintiffs do not challenge this order on appeal.

Basically, Dina Check's story is that somebody accidentally entered a medical exemption request, which nullified her existing religious exemption, which was then denied, so now she wants the medical exemption that she purportedly never asked for in the first place. And Patti forgot to raise the Magistrate Judge's findings of fact. Both of them.

I have wondered myself,if Olmstead,Daschel,Stagliano and the rest are making money of supplement sales,the way our pal Mikey is.Who is funding the antivaccine propaganda machine might make a good investigative series for you,Brian Deer.

Narad @ 78

They do love their conspiracies over there,don't they.Some more.
It's Big Pharma profits behind the trend to pass laws restricting a parent's right to refuse potentially harmful vaccines for their children. Pharmaceutical companies subcontract the production of the billions of doses of vaccines distributed in the United States to the lowest bidders mostly laboratories in China and elsewhere in other secret, non-disclosed locations. These overseas laboratories are regularly fined, filthy and poorly regulated, but can cheaply manufacture an unlimited supply of vaccines that are headed straight for children coast to coast this school year, and the pharmaceutical corporations do so without liability for any mistakes or design defects under current federal law.

Then there's good old Cia Parker and others going full Godwin as usual.David M Burd's comment about trains going to "vaccine Auschwitz" is priceless.

Then we have

The well-orchestrated “measles outbreak” at Disneyland was planned for December, right before the beginning of the Legislative sessions in all States, including California. It was obvious to any thinking person (or perhaps those who have watched House of Cards) what the government was readying for the American people. It worked so well. The political Right and Left agreed that the “science was settled”. The media, owned and controlled by Pharma, was able to whip the public into a Frankenstein-type frenzy, pitch forks and torches ready for the unvaccinated. Bills were already in the desk drawers of State Senators, waiting to be introduced.

And not to mention

That the term "hot lots" exists says it all.
And vaccination should be considered experimental since they are not tested for carcinogenic or mutagenic properties, and not tested against a true placebo.

Thanks for the heads up Narad.That is the most entertaining thread I have read over there in ages.

By Roger Kulp (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

I feel for Thompson’s co-authors. They’ve surely put up with a whole lot of crap, and not just from the anti-vaxxers howling for them to be fired as “deniers.” Among them is Dr. Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp, the African American epidemiologist who’s now chief of CDC’s developmental disabilities branch and who’s particularly studied the epidemiology of autism, especially in urban areas.

According to the anti-vaxxers, she cares more for advancement than for preventing an ever-growing population of African American boys from contracting autism through vaccinations. Yes, obviously, if she were able to halt the spread of autism, she’d never be looked upon with favor. And just as obviously from her lifetime in public service, she’s very greedy and is just waiting for a big payout from Big Pharma in return for not backing Thompson. She probably doesn’t even think Donald Trump is classy.

Thompson is also in her branch, it would seem. The HHS directory lists him as being in the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.

@shay, #81

Elburto (Trouble) hasn’t posted for ages (but I don’t visit here every day, so I can’t be sure). I know she (?) was very ill and had wondered if (s)he may have died. Pleeeeese correct me if I am (hopefully) wrong.

Whatever the reason, I miss Trouble

By darwinslapdog (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

Basically, Dina Check’s story is that somebody accidentally entered a medical exemption request, which nullified her existing religious exemption, which was then denied, so now she wants the medical exemption that she purportedly never asked for in the first place. And Patti forgot to raise the Magistrate Judge’s findings of fact. Both of them.

Would a legitimate lawyer even take this hot mess of a client and case on?

By Science Mom (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

@ darwinslapdog:

She dropped in to express condolences on the thread about lilady's passing. I miss her too.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

I'm sorry she's still so sick, and not only because I dream of her someday showing up and putting our resident Cardinal Richelieu through a mangle.

I love her wit, and I love your dream for her, shay.

I feel, for the sake of completeness, that I should point out again that, from the point of view of a recently retired CAMHS senior nurse who spent more time than he liked involved in assessments for autism, that if there was any remotely credible evidence that autism was in any way caused by something preventable (vaccines, heavy metal poisoning, whatever) then EVERY, but every, CAMHS bod, paediatrician, school nurse, GP, educational psychologist and the like in the UK would be all over it, haranguing politicians do f***ing well sort it out YESTERDAY.

There are many, many other things we could do with that time, many, many other conditions to assess and deal with. The so-called "financial" argument that we make money out of autism just does NOT WORK. We get paid whether we assess for autism and then work with young people and families or if we solely deal with depression or anxiety or gender identity issues or self harm or which ever combination of things...If we could prevent something we would.

I’m thinking about reanalyzing the data in DeStefano by age, race, last letter of first name, first letter of last name, favorite Disney movie, name of street they grew up on, neck diameter, shampoo brand and cat vs. dog preference. If I do ENOUGH subgroup analysis, I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to prove that autism is the result of vaccines at a p<0.05 level of significance.

I seem to remember someone already doing something like this

@ shay

our resident Cardinal Richelieu

Eh! I resent the comparison to one of our national icons :-)

Compared to a few visitors here, the original Eminence Rouge was much smarter and far less doctrinaire. To start with, despite being a cardinal, he hadn't much sympathy for the Pope and even less for the hard-line French Catholics (after he started working for Louis XIII, anyway).
OTOH, he was on record saying that a donkey is more useful than a woman. Make of this that you want.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

He was a priest. To him, a donkey probably was more useful than a woman.

(poor bastard).

TGuerrant @83

I think most of us did not know AoA is registered as a Charitable Organization.I find that very slimy to say the least.Charitable Organizations defined as an "Organization which receives a substantial part of its support from a governmental unit or the general public".

So is AoA,Olmstead,et al also getting government money?I am sure there are enough wealthy antivaxers to keep them afloat,maybe even someone like Donald Trump,for all we know.

I see they are also registered as a "Corporation".Is this the norm for nonprofits?

By Roger Kulp (not verified) on 06 Aug 2015 #permalink

Wow! I am shocked! I gave Thompson the benefit of the doubt for an entirely different reason. I know that he is in a camp among scientists who wants all data to be released instead of significant data. I feel for their ideals even though I do not agree. I always imagined that was the avenue by which he was taken in. I see now that I was unfortunately wrong.

By Sullivanthepoop (not verified) on 06 Aug 2015 #permalink

Also, since I cannot reply to individual comments I wanted to say that the Mercury reference just shows of lack of knowledge about how science works.
When Newton first proposed his gravitational theory it was accurate for every single tangible thing on earth. Then came good telescopes and it was observed that Mercury's orbit did not jive with Newton's equation. Physicists the world over tried to resolve this problem. People who were not scientists said, "Why does science spend so much time and money on questions that are not important to everyday life." Or some variation on that theme. Then Einstein came up with the theory of relativity, without which nuclear theory would be impossible. The problem with large masses was solved, but then of course new technology provided another difficulty.
The advent of new microscopic technologies showed us that small objects do not conform to either Newton's law or the theory of relativity. Now Quantum theory was needed to rectify things and attitudes among the public were similar. Although without quantum theory there would be no microevolution in technology which led to modern smart phones. Another issue has been brewing ever since we found that often times relativity equations and quantum mechanic equations differ significantly.
Now we are having the same debate again. Should physicists come up with a unified theory of gravity? We know gravity affects all tangible things on earth, how it works objects with extremely large mass, and how it works on objects with extremely low mass. What we don't know is what finding the right equation will bring us in the future.
In the end there will not be some massive finding because nothing is going to detrimentally change our almost 400 year knowledge about gravity. None of the changes so far have been so far off that the old equations were thrown out.

By Sullivanthepoop (not verified) on 06 Aug 2015 #permalink

Also, since I cannot reply to individual comments I wanted to say that the Mercury reference just shows of lack of knowledge about how science works.

How so, exactly? I think only Eric Lund and I mentioned the planet Mercury on this thread. What suggested "a lack of knowledge about how science works"?

Fair warning: both Eric and I have had long careers as professional scientists.

By palindrom (not verified) on 06 Aug 2015 #permalink

As I cannot reply to individual comments, I wanted to say that Sullivan's correction to the Mercury reference just shows a lack of knowledge about the history of science.

Firstly, the fact that Mercury's orbit did not obey Newton's law of gravitation was not discovered until 1859, almost 200 years after Newton published what he believed was proof otherwise, which was in agreement with all data gathered to that point. (It is in fact very hard to detect, deviating from Newton's predictions by only about one part in 30,000 per century.)

Secondly, the need for quantum physics had precisely zero to do with any microscopic technology. Quantum originated from attempts to understand blackbody radiation, atomic absorption/emission spectra, the photoelectric effect and generally reconciling conflicting evidence for light being a particle or a wave. None of this required the use of microscopes, and none of it depended on either theory of relativity (special relativity only became important to quantum for later developments).

Hey there, minions. I've composed a commentary of the Mystery of William Thompson too long to put here, so I've posted it at:
https://sadmar.wordpress.com/blowin-in-the-whistle/

I've tried to have some 'fun' with the weirdness, and make it entertaining first of all. I think at least some of y'all will enjoy it. It does have a point: Thompson's language choices in his conversations with Hooker are too odd to be accidentdal, and leave him with an 'escape path' of never actually claiming a link between autism and the MMR.

The genesis of the post was the passage from ShamROCK quoted above:

Dr. Thompson advises Dr. Hooker to focus on a mantra regarding tics because... “There is biologic plausibility right now, I really do believe there is, to say that Thimerosal causes autism-like features.” (emphasis added). You might want to read that line again.

Well, Sham, I did read it again. And in terms of science, what it says is absolutely meaningless. "Autism-like-features"? Did Thompson expect anybody (other than Hooker) is going to find X-has-one-thing-in-common-with-Y, as a valid argument that thing that causes X also causes Y? My guess is: No; he knows it's mumbo jumbo. If he's gone anti-vax nutter as Orac suggests, he'd come up with stronger mojo than that weak sauce, doncha think? Not like that crowd is averse to making stuff up...

So, the body of the post details just how much room Thompson has left himself, how far from where he might appear to be he actually could be, consistent with his statements. Not that I think that's where he is, but it shows just how odd his position in all this is, and that there could be a lot more weird to come...

If anyone wants to comment on my comment, I'd prefer it be here, unless, you know, it's over 1,500 words :-).

I didn't say that discovering quantum theory had anything to do with micro mechanics. I was saying that without it. micro mechanics would not exist.

By Sullivanthepoop (not verified) on 06 Aug 2015 #permalink

Bob @101. Yeah. What you said.

It's really interesting how the very first inkling of the quantum came ultimately from statistical mechanics, in Planck's 1900 paper. Meanwhile the specific heats of gases were just sitting there saying "nyah, nyah", but it took a bit more fussing to get the angular momentum quantization ....

By palindrom (not verified) on 06 Aug 2015 #permalink

@ palindrom #80

What has 'turned out' is nothing but more credulous 'social science' taken naively as 'proof' by even more credulous science journalists.

The fishhacks reporting today that "Hearing [a story about a specific infant threatened by a VPD] and imagining what it would be like to be in [the mother's] shoes, seemed to do the trick" seem to have forgotten that earlier this year they were doing breathless reporting about Brendan Nyhan's study 'proving' NOTHING sways anti-vaxers, including "images of
children who have diseases prevented by the MMR vaccine" and "a dramatic narrative about an infant who almost died of measles."

Hmm, looks like somebody did a science boo-boo... Which one?

BOTH! Both studies just assume some broad category of argumentative approach is determinative of how 'anti-vaxers' will respond, just assume the one instance of each approach they choose for their 'test' is as good as any other, and make no attempt to control for stuff like skill in presentation. They blunder along as if the authors have never read a how-to manual on PR, never talked to a creative director, never read any scholarly persuasion theory, and never looked at an academic study of persuasion from outside their social pysch bubble.

Gosh, could it be that the sick-baby story Horne used 'worked' when the one Nyhan used 'didn't work' because the mom who created the story Horne used is just a much better writer? Or maybe because she intuitively knew how to tweak the emotional appeals in ways to which whoever wrote Nyhan's example was utterly clueless? How does any respectable science publication let these bozos pass of ONE instance of something chosen by no apparent criteria stand as representative of the whole. I have two cats, one orange, one gray. The gray one likes to chase cat toys, while the orange one sleeps all day and can't be bothered. Behold! It turns out pet activity is determined by coat color! I now fully expect Time to report the proof that if we just breed orange Border Collies, they'll chill out and stop tearing up the carpet. And I expect ThinkProgress.org to just repeat Time's 'reporting'.

But I do expect palidrom to say, "Wait just a god-damn minute!" :-) :-)

cheers, comrade p.
[I'm gonna check the dvr of the Trump show now. Hopefully, I'll be done puking by sometime tomorrow and be able to check in here at RI...]

sadmar -- I'm not a social scientist, and make no pretense of being one. So you're probably right.

Oh, and if the homeopathic splinter group I mentioned in an earlier post had figured out a short and efficient way of agitation on dilution, and had proceeded to successfully remove themselves from the larger association, the headline might read:

"Succinct succussionists secede successfully".

By palindrom (not verified) on 06 Aug 2015 #permalink

Unless I've missed something in this discussion, this new book is based, as are all the other #cdcwhistleblower stories, on the same taped conversations Thompson had with Hooker. So it's taken them this long to work out how to torture the words into supporting general anti-vax nonsense, rather than the original "I think some of the data in one paper was incorrectly omitted" - which seemed to me to be the only thing he was trying to state.

Or am I wrong, and there have been more conversations?

I really think that if there was anything of any real interest in either the conversations, or the documents that various anti-vaxxers (including Wakefield) claim to have, or have seen, then they'd have been published in full almost straight away, not edited by heavy use of the ellipsis. If Wakefield in particular thought he had anything of real substance, he'd have been publishing immediately, not just announcing that he has "some documents".

By Rich Scopie (not verified) on 06 Aug 2015 #permalink

Unless I’ve missed something in this discussion, this new book is based, as are all the other #cdcwhistleblower stories, on the same taped conversations....

Is the Horse That Freebie Reprints Built advertising a page count? My first thought was that it was going to be a mighty slim volume.

@ Narad

The Amazon pre-sales listing puts the page count at 178.

If cost of paper wasn't a factor, I'd guess that would be 178 pp. in a fairly large font, with lots of leading, wide margins...

I guess if you don't have fire, you puff up the smoke...

Rich Scopie, I get the same impression that this is mostly coming from the same set of taped telephone conversations between Hooker and Thompson. If so, there must have been a lot of conversations or the book is going to have lots of padding.

The only other information is the "hundreds of thousands" of pages of documents that Thompson supposedly gave to Hooker who gave to Posey, along with a letter that Thompson supposedly wrote. Posey quoted from the letter in his speach, but there were no bombshells in that.

@ Rich Scopie:

I agree. I've heard the figure of 100 000 pages ( being given to the congressman) being bandied about since last year. I suppose Thompson hoarded every loose piece of paper including shopping lists.

And yes, I seem to have gleaned that there were no additional phone call confessions to Hooker.

.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 07 Aug 2015 #permalink

#56 and #57

Dwoskin? Maybe?

Al (reading down the thread)

#63 capncrunch,

Calculate the probability between all of the few (relatively speaking) antivaxxers click through vs some bigwig like the Dwoskins providing enough money for a few of them (Olmsted et al, stagmom) to commit full time to the blog.

Al

@Sadmar
Nice short story with a good twist lol. I wish that was what's gonna happen, but sadly I think this whole episode is just gonna fade out into forgotteness and we won't see any ''shocking revelation'' from either thompson, Hooker or Wakefield.

What we'll get is probably just the book with the same quotes so edited that there's gonna be an ellipse in between each word: "Those vile [...] scientists working [...] at the CDC [...] contaminated [...] the vaccines [...] to kill [...] autistic children[...]"

Good morning America,

Garou, just a question: would you happen to be a singer?

Al

Garou,

My question is irrelevant (I don't need to know) meant to say that if you're local, may I invite you to taste a few beers at my supervisor's lab: the Bishop's arches brewery at Bishop's University?

I enjoy your critical thinking :)

Alain

@ Rich Scopie

Yes, it's all the same-old, same old recorded conversations.

One bit of info new to me, Barry says "more than 30" phone conversations between Hooker and Thompson took place, though Hooker only recorded four of them. Which leaves lots of room for unsupportable claims about what Thompson said in the other calls, though I'm not sure Kevin Barry Esq. et al will go there.

It's also not clear to me when Thompson handed over document copies to Hooker: whether it was all during the period of the conversations, some after, how many batches etc.

Anyway, it seems the AV gang is pitching the idea that there are "shocking" revelations in the transcripts and documents that just haven't been revealed before. Which I'm guessing there aren't, as I just can't see any reason for Hooker to have held anything back.

What no one has noted yet in this thread is how masterfully TMR's ShamROCK conflates what Thompson said with claims supposedly based on what he said in RFKJ's introduction. I'd guess this is the general strategy of the book: Barry will try to frame stuff cherry-picked from Thompson in ways that make it appear to say much more than it does. As I've noted above, the quotes from Thompson revealed so far are so open to this sort of puffing-up, I have to imagine this is characteristic of everything he told Hooker, and was his intent at some level...

The only other information is the “hundreds of thousands” of pages of documents that Thompson supposedly gave to Hooker who gave to Posey

IIRC, the "hundreds of thousands" trope was generated by a mouth-frothing conspiracist with a radio show. Some Posey spokesman would neither confirm nor deny the figure, so it immediately became an article of faith in the loonisphere.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 08 Aug 2015 #permalink

I'll go ahead and reply to myself.

Is the Horse That Freebie Reprints Built advertising a page count? My first thought was that it was going to be a mighty slim volume.

It's 128 pages in the somewhat mangled Amazon "hardcover" offering.

I sort of regret that I never unpacked in the first place, but by comparison with the volumes that made it out of boxes, the closest comparison is The Gypsy in Me! by the inimitable Gypsy Boots, at 102 pp., with color on the outside covers. But that's a softcover.

The hardbound lim sup is Yogic Exercises by Sachindra Muzumdar, at 144 pp. in the 1956 reprinted revised edition.

I'm pretty sure that I've, ah, encountered a marketing research paper in the past month or so that sought to demonstrate that such bounding techniques were reliable in assessing representativeness.

^ missing link.

By Not a Troll (not verified) on 08 Aug 2015 #permalink

Well the advertising quotes from the book confirm that it does contain a lot of filler. Quotes from Offit, Gerberding, Jim Carrey via twitter, and Wright.

It seems that it is simply more of the same ignorant tropes that have been round and round. Gerberding's quote is taken out of context to make it seem like she was confirming that vaccines cause autism, when she was only pointing out that vaccination may make the effects of mitochondrial disorders worse.

Perhaps the most telling part is that everyone else's quotes are in full. Thompson's quote of 53 words has three sets of ellipses in it where material was left out.

The book seems to me to be more a transcript of Wakefield's bodged together videos than of the recorded conversations.

Well the advertising quotes from the book confirm that it does contain a lot of filler.

I find it quite amusing that Skyhorse itself is the source of the bungled metadata – check out the "detailed info" tab, where the author is ingeniously listed as "Esq. Kevin Barry."

While the term "Anti-vaccination" has caught on, it is a complete misnomer. Thompson has made it clear - in a statement from his lawyer - that he remains steadfastly pro-vaccine.

There are very good reasons why Thompson came forward. First, repeatedly, his colleagues at the CDC engaged in communications - made available by the FOIA - in which the person conducting the multivariate analyses (of which I am expert) felt compelled to report initially a positive association, begging them to remain objective and to consider the result, and stating that they (the email author) does not want to appear to have fallen into the anti-vaccination movement. So, as Jim Carey, and others have stated, the "movement" so to speak is PRO-SAFE VACCINE. Given that this had been made clear, further use of it belies a bias in its user. The positive results, by the way, all disappeared by the time the study went to publication. Second, the types of analyses conducted - and the way they were conducted - were clearly abused to make it appear as if there was no association. Let me cite just one example. In one study, the original positive result was ultimately found to be non-existent only after adjusting for low birth weight, short gestational age, age of mother, income level of mother, and education level of mother. All of these covariates are highly correlated (the technical term is "highly collinear") and it is seriously frowned upon when one uses more than one covariate among a set that are highly correlated. And yet that is just what they did. There are many examples in the documents provided to Posey by Thompson. These CDC scientists do not have to compete with other scientists in open peer review for funding.. The very studies that people are basing their "knowledge" on when they say it would be ridiculous to study the link between vaccines and autism are the ones Thompson draws into question. It is not logical to counter Thompson's disclosures of fraud with "Everyone KNOWs that vaccines do not cause autism" - that response is one step behind. So, let's have a real discussion here. If Thompson is correct, and the studies were cooked, then what is the scientific basis of the current vaccination program? And, if ethyl mercury is deposited preferentially in organs, including the brain, for a longer time than methyl mercury (which it is), and it is known neurotoxin, and the amount that kids received by the age of 10 rose form 75 ug to 575 ug, and if the Vaccine Board is not independent, but instead has serious financial conflicts of interest (which they have had), then someone please explain to me - if vaccines have not cause the rise in autism in the US from 1 in 3000 in 1970 to 1 in 68 in 2013, what has? Demanding valid science for safe vaccines is not crazy. It is the only defensibly sane position one should ever take. There are over 5.5 million kids with autism in America today. They, and their families, are not going to stop demanding safe vaccines. Meanwhile, there are rushes to make the CDC pediatric vaccine program mandatory - and pushes to stop screening for autism. Who would that serve? The patients? It makes no sense - autism is on the rise, exponentially, so let's stop screening. I'll tell you why. Thimerosal is known to cause damage to developing neurons - the mechanism is very well known - and Merck stopped it use in pediatric vaccines in the US (but not overseas). So, ongoing collection of rates data will show a decrease in autism rates, and cessation of the screening program would lead to more plausible deniability. They will point to the decrease in autism as due to decreased diagnosis because the screening program was halted... sorry, we're not falling for it. Congressional hearings are needed. Let's have the hearings. If the CDC scientists have nothing to hide, what harm could hearing have?

http://www.petition2congress.com/18382/immediate-congressional-hearings…

If the CDC scientists did cook the results for vaccine safety studies, they abused federal funding for research, and charges of fraud against the US government are in order.

By James Lyons-We… (not verified) on 11 Aug 2015 #permalink

They, and their families, are not going to stop demanding safe vaccines.

Given that 25 years of research have failed to establish a vaccine/autism link, what purpose does this "demand" serve other than to divert scarce resources away from legitimate autism studies?

Thimerosal is known to cause damage to developing neurons – the mechanism is very well known –

Citation needed.

if vaccines have not cause the rise in autism in the US from 1 in 3000 in 1970 to 1 in 68 in 2013, what has?

You might want to look at the Danish study that found 60% of the rise was due to changes in how autism is diagnosed and tracked.

"Explaining the Increase in the Prevalence of Autism Spectrum DisordersThe Proportion Attributable to Changes in Reporting Practices" JAMA Pediatr. 2015;169(1):56-62.

So, let’s have a real discussion here. If Thompson is correct...

... then there is no elevated risk due to MMR for African American children who are vaccinated on time.

autism is on the rise, exponentially

Could you show your work on this one? TIA.

If the CDC scientists did cook the results for vaccine safety studies, they abused federal funding for research, and charges of fraud against the US government are in order.

And if the CDC scientists gathered in a graveyard at midnight on a night with no moon,, sacrificed an unwilling virgin, painted occult signs on their bodies with his/her blood and danced naked prior to cannabilizing the corpse, charges against them would be in order.

And as far as I can determine there's just as much real evidence that the scientists did the latter as there is that they did the former.

P.S.:

If the CDC scientists did cook the results for vaccine safety studies, they abused federal funding for research, and charges of fraud against the US government are in order.

These words literally don't mean anything.

"While the term “Anti-vaccination” has caught on, it is a complete misnomer. Thompson has made it clear – in a statement from his lawyer – that he remains steadfastly pro-vaccine."

Didn't read Orac's article, I see.

Based on the "we're not antivax, we're pro-safe vaccine" mantra, it should be easy for Dr. Lyons-Weiler PhD to state what vaccines on the current schedule he feels children (and adults) should get. Assuming the answer is "none of them, they're not safe", what level of safety would satisfy him?

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 11 Aug 2015 #permalink

It makes no sense – autism is on the rise, exponentially, so let’s stop screening.

The incidence of new diagnoses of autism is on the rise, but that doesn't necessarily demonstrate that the actual number of autistic individuals in the population has increased exponentiallly--and in fact changing diagnostic criteria, diagnostic substitution, increased surveillance and changes in reporting practices has been shown to be significant contributors to the observed rise in diagnoses. A recent study out of Denmark, for example, indicates that as much as 60% of the observed increase in autism diangoses between 1980 an 1991 in that country are a consequence of changing diagnostic criteria and changes in reproting practices. (JAMA Pediatr. 2015;169(1):56-62. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2014.1893)

Thimerosal is known to cause damage to developing neurons – the mechanism is very well known –

At exposure levels achievable by routine vaccination, after administration by IM injection, observed in a whole organism model?

Or are we instead talking about exposure levels greater than achievable by routine vaccination, in cultured cells in vitro?

Details matter.

'It is a mark of insincerity of purpose to spend one's time in looking for the sacred Emperor in the low-class tea-shops.' Another mark is to profess concern about rising autism rates, while proposing to spend the available research fund on investigating factors which we know are not involved in rising autism rates.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 11 Aug 2015 #permalink

James Lyons-Weiler, PhD, expert in conducting multivariate analyses, says,

if vaccines have not cause the rise in autism in the US from 1 in 3000 in 1970 to 1 in 68 in 2013, what has? ... There are over 5.5 million kids with autism in America today.

According to the 2010 Census,

Today, the number of children (under age 18) in the United States is at an all-time high of 74.2 million.

74.2 million divided by 5.5 million is 13.5. One child out of fourteen is autistic!

Or maybe James Lyons-Weiler, PhD, expert in conducting multivariate analyses, is a wee bit careless with numbers. 

All of these covariates are highly correlated (the technical term is “highly collinear”) and it is seriously frowned upon when one uses more than one covariate among a set that are highly correlated

As a= pro-vaccine n expert in multivariate analysis, Dr Lyons-Weiler will be gratified to learn that collinearity is not considered a problem when it only affects the *control* variables.
In the extreme case, if you have two variables X and Y which are *perfectly* correlated, then any combination of them will be equally effective at controlling for their shared influence on the dependent variable... but that doesn't matter for your purpose.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 11 Aug 2015 #permalink

Paragraph breaks, people, paragraph breaks. I literally can't read (my eyes stop focusing properly) when you have gigantic blocks of text.

There also seems to be a correlation (but no proof of causation) between a lack of paragraphs in your comment and the amount of sense the comment makes. (no paragraphs=no sense)

By JustaTech (not verified) on 11 Aug 2015 #permalink

I wouldn't go that far. It drives me crazy when people use one sentence per paragraph, a habit that even some bloggers whom I admire do from time to time. (They shall, of course, remain nameless.)

You know, for someone who claims to be such an expert in data analysis and even has some credentials in that area, Dr. Lyons-Weller sure commits a massive fail when it comes to the data regarding autism prevalence and his penchant for confusing correlation with causation. Of course, that is rather a problem in "big data," the tendency to find lots of spurious correlations; so one would think that Lyons-Weller would be sensitive to that. Apparently not, at least not when he has an ax to grind.

http://jameslyonsweilerphd.blogspot.com
https://www.linkedin.com/in/jameslyonsweiler

From Dr Lyons-Weiler's contribution to GreenMedInfo:

We know precisely how ethyl mercury harms neurological development. In brief, nerve cells grow at the tips of their axons via extension of tubulin proteins. Ethyl mercury robs the energy molecule for that extension, thus the growth does not occur.
(2) Ethyl mercury is more, not less toxic than methyl mercury. Studies in monkey have shown that ethyl mercury is deposited in the brain at a greater rate, and remains in the brain, far longer than methyl mercury. Forget everything you thought you knew about the relevance of EPA guidelines

Without impugning Dr Lyons-Weiler's expertise in multivariate analysis, or asking for a list of publications, I have to ask whether his degree in heavy-metal toxicology came from the University of Google.

There *is* a body of research looking at MeHg interference with tubulin synthesis, possibly inhibiting the growth of nerve cells. But you wouldn't know that from the Goofle, where the first few pages of hits are dominated by the anti-vax loons and grifters, VacTruth and Kirby and Geier and Haley all citing one another. As for ethyl mercury and tubulin, the evidence is SFA.

But ultimately the mercury campfire-storytellers have to explain how this purported neuron death and inhibition is causing a clinical condition marked by more neurons than usual and more neuron interconnections than usual.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 11 Aug 2015 #permalink

How far Dr. Lyons-Weller has fallen. He was Director, of the Bioinformatics Analysis Core at the University of Pittsburgh for seven and a half years. Now he's writing for an antivaccine alternative medicine crank website. Depressing.

He was Director, of the Bioinformatics Analysis Core at the University of Pittsburgh for seven and a half years.

Peter Principle in action. The statistical foundation upon which his house is built is, let's say, not so solid.

How far Dr. Lyons-Weller has fallen.
His unawareness of the difference between collinearity in predictor variables* and collinearity in control variables** probably didn't help.

* A problem.
** Not a problem.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 11 Aug 2015 #permalink

In other CDC whistleblower news...

AoA appears to be quite surprised ( miffed ?) that Congressman Posey's requests for an investigation are being ignored by representatives as well as by the media.
SO.... they call for readers to barrage Congress with letters and calls.
I'm sure that that will work out just as well as the last time.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 11 Aug 2015 #permalink

Posey read his statement into the record. Most likely to an empty house. Right before summer recess.

Posey did just enough to assuage his donors. It makes for good YouTube video, which is what they love. But it was not an effective step towards any real action.

By Matt Carey (not verified) on 11 Aug 2015 #permalink

James Lyons-Weiler, PhD: ".... then someone please explain to me – if vaccines have not cause the rise in autism in the US from 1 in 3000 in 1970 to 1 in 68 in 2013, what has?"

Well you need to provide more data. Surely your experience in multivariate analysis and work in bioinformatics should have taught you that you need to compare apples with apples, and not pineapples.

What was the diagnostic criteria in 1970 versus 2013? Are all of those covered in DSM IV included in the DSM II which was in use in 1970? Please normalize the data so that only those who qualified just with DSM II criteria are used in any data dated after 1980 (intro of DSM III). Thank you.

Just in case you do not want to click the link, this is how DSM II criteria is described:

[autism was not mentioned; the word appears only under the following category]

295.8 Schizophrenia, childhood type

This category is for cases in which schizophrenic symptoms appear before puberty. The condition may be manifested by autistic, atypical and withdrawn behavior; failure to develop identity separate from the mother's; and general unevenness, gross immaturity and inadequacy of development. These developmental defects may result in mental retardation, which should also be diagnosed.

Matt, I think their understanding of the political process is on par with their understanding of SBM, psychology, biology etc.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 11 Aug 2015 #permalink

@ Chris:

Now if only Ann Dachel read your comment!

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 11 Aug 2015 #permalink

"While the term “Anti-vaccination” has caught on, it is a complete misnomer. Thompson has made it clear – in a statement from his lawyer – that he remains steadfastly pro-vaccine."

Whatever he thinks of or how he labels himself, it comes down to his actions.

I can say, "I remain steadfastly Russian". But I'm not Russian. Me saying so doesn't make it so.

I can say, "I am steadfastly anti-vaccine". Doesn't make it so.

By Matt Carey (not verified) on 11 Aug 2015 #permalink

then someone please explain to me – if vaccines have not cause the rise in autism in the US from 1 in 3000 in 1970 to 1 in 68 in 2013, what has?

Seneff says "glyphosate herbicides". "Glyphosate herbicides and acetaminophen". "Glyphosate herbicides and acetaminophen and aluminium". Perhaps Lyons-Weiler should ask *her* to explain.

More generally, if Lyons-Weiler is fond of using quasi-creationist arguments like "We don't know what causes X, therefore it must be vaccines", then his change in career is not really a mystery.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 11 Aug 2015 #permalink

the rise in autism in the US from 1 in 3000 in 1970

Come to think of it, Dr Lyons-Weiler's argument is more "reports of autism were very rare when it wasn't recognised as a separate clinical entity, now reports are more common, therefore vaccines".

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 11 Aug 2015 #permalink

I know. Why vaccines? Why not cell phones? Why not high fructose corn syrup? Why not (insert cultural phenomenon that started showing up in the early 1990's here)?

In other anti-vax- whistleblowing- news...

-Kent Hyperbolively ( AoA) posts a review of Kevin Barry, ESQ's new book which depicts

"one of the greatest crimes ever committed against humanity...
a shame that will last one thousand years....
If this is how the 'best and the brightest' among us act, I question whether we as a species deserve to have a future...
unspeakable crimes..
the worst offenders must face criminal charges..
a slim and elegant book"

a commenter says it's worse than WW2!

I'm sure it's jam-packed with exactly the type of material with which we are all achingly familiar.

- The Canary Party announces a twit-fest tonight
( #garbagecan, #Vaxwhistleblower)** commencing promptly at 6pm EDT ( US).

OK, let's see .. if Orac's minions sit in, it might be an excellent time for cocktails in the US/ Canada and the UK.
Oz and NZ, probably not, but do-able.

** not at #CDCwhisteblower?

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 12 Aug 2015 #permalink

Right! Super!
Cocktails at 6 then ( or the local equivalent)

I promise to silently observe their twittering festival and not say a word THERE. Fortunately I have gin and tonic.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 12 Aug 2015 #permalink

According to Lloyd Levine ( Techwire.net, Tuesday) though,
"Social Media Backfired for the 'Anti-Vax' Community"-
It didn't help their cause against the stricter California bill.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 12 Aug 2015 #permalink

As someone who was originally diagnosed with autism as a child in 1971,under the DSM-II,I can tell you the terms "autism" and "childhood schizophrenia" were used pretty much used interchangeably by that time.We can talk about expanding the diagnostic criteria,but I don't think enough research has been done on neurotoxins children might have been exposed to in the womb or shortly after birth.

One such neurotoxin that has been positively linked to autism is acetaminophen or Tylenol.It has been suggested* giving children Tylenol for fevers caused by vaccines is one cause of the regression seen by parents after children are vaccinated.That the Tylenol caused the regression,not the vaccines.I am willing to bet a lot of antivax mothers had either taken Tylenol while pregnant,or given it to their kids,and are completely unaware of this connection.

*Try and ignore the source of this article look at the articles cited.

By Roger Kulp (not verified) on 12 Aug 2015 #permalink

Trying to argue with an anti-vaxxer. It's a copy-paste list of the things from:

""What The Pharmaceutical Companies Don't Want You To Know About Vaccines"

Not sure how to argue with the sorbitol (not for injection) bit.

Any help?

Well, now that there has been plenty of time for all of the questions to be tallied:

(1) No, multicollineariity is not OK for control variables, because just calling them control variables does not make them so. "Age of mother" and "income of mother" should never both be modeled out. Neither should "length of gestation" and "birthweight". And yet these are the variables that were all modeled out AFTER an email circulated that said "It Just Won't Go Away".

The so-called 'control' variables are quite likely additional contributing factors. Doesn't take a PhD from Google to know that toxicity depends on body weight. "Income of Mother", "Length of Gestation" and "Birthweight" will all likely have a functional relationship to the activities of any toxin. To study "vaccination" without also studying - and reporting - interaction terms with these variables, you may as well throw away your statistical textbooks, which in these settings clearly indicate that when the interaction term is significant, the main effect term is likely not to significant, because there is a chance that only the residuals will be left to be 'explained'.

(2) I have always been, and will always remains, 100% Pro-Safe Vaccine. If the vaccine safety science was fudged, then a rational person would realize that we cannot rely on the studies from the CDC from that time period and from those people named in the allegations of fraud. There should be nothing wrong with calling for new studies to insure the safety of our vaccines under these conditions.

(3) Great question. Why not corn syrup? Why not pirates on the high seas? Correlation does not imply causation. Correct. But is it hard to have causation without correlation. The difference between "ice cream sales" and "corn syrup" and "cell phones" is there have never been any a priori studies that indicated that they may be neurotoxic - by specific molecular mechanisms that could reasonably lead to autism. The amount of science done on cell lines and in animals that show toxicity of mercury of all forms is astounding. In science, we based our next step studies on prior studies. We formulate 'educated guesses' - not random guesses. To study those variables would be silly. The molecular mechanism of neurotoxicity of ethyl mercury is better known than the mechanism of some FDA-approved drugs. It lingers in the brain - and other organs - longer than methyl mercury, and thus 'faster clearance from the blood' is of no reassurance.

(4) Re: "Big data". These studies are not particular m-large. They are medium-sized N-scale, and small on the m-scale. No reason for concern.

(5) Quasi-creationist? You guys are a riot! I am still a rabid evolutionary biologist, and as any good scientist should be, an agnostic. (My PhD, in case you want to know, is in Ecology, Evolution & Conservation Biology). We can't test hypotheses of all-mighty deities. I don't waste my time in that area. I do note, however, that dogma, regardless of whether it comes from a religious or scientific culture, can lead to grave harm when public policies are not based on solid science, but rather, based on belief. Hanging on to "ALL VACCINES ARE SAFE BECAUSE THE CDC SAYS SO" after a senior scientist at the CDC came out and said "We Fudged the Data" requires reasoning by faith. But sorry. No mid-career epiphanies here regarding deities of any ilk.

(6) Re: diagnostic criteria: I'm happy to use the criteria in place at the time of the studies that are alleged to contain bogus results from over-cooking, omitting results, going off protocol, excluding patients to reduce statistical power to cause "no association", over-analysis, and every other trick Thompson alleges they used. My point stands: Autism, as defined in 2004, was originally found to be associated with vaccines in numerous studies. (Someone here is going to say I have it backwards, that the point of the studies was the OPPOSITE of this,... please don't, and read the next line...) The original, preliminary results that showed association were then CHANGED by all of the tricks Thompson mentions until the association disappeared. That's called analyzing to a specific result, and it is not valid.

(7) Re: Matt Carey's "Judge Lyons-Weiler by his actions". Ok. Both of my children are completely vaccinated according to the CDC schedule per their age. Like I said. 100% Pro-safe Vaccine.

None of you have falsified Dr. Thompson's allegations. No one can. His allegations are real, and their effects on the results in the final published papers are obvious. Now a whistleblower from Merck is making progress in court on fraudulent science for MMR as well. Again, not my DOING, just my REPORTING.

I would hope that my colleagues in science who call themselves scientists to use the rational skepticism they were taught. If the science that was claimed to have been done was not done, then a rational person would say "I guess we don't know what we thought we knew".

PS I especially enjoyed the comment on how far I have fallen. That one made my night!

Conflicts of Interest: NONE.

I'm curious, let's take a quick poll. How many posters here can say the same?

Certainly numerous members of the Vaccine Board cannot.

BTW, if any of you would like to contribute to a little fundraiser I'm running for UNICEF for the 16,600 or so Orphans of Ebola, it's ongoing. We had a lovely concert here at the Hard Rock Cafe Sept 1. I recruited 9 songwriters and 3 bands, all of whom performed for free. With the $475 from the Crowdrise, and the funds from the event, we have just over $1,000. Please consider donating. All funds go to UNICEF. Please donate soon, as I am about to wrap it up.

https://www.crowdrise.com/OrphansofEbola2015

By James Lyons-We… (not verified) on 04 Sep 2015 #permalink

Ah, forgot one. Re: GreenMedInfo - they picked up my blog from jameslyonsweiler.com I didn't write it for them. I wrote if for my own site.

By James Lyons-We… (not verified) on 04 Sep 2015 #permalink

Conflicts of Interest: NONE.

I’m curious, let’s take a quick poll. How many posters here can say the same?

You should really stick to your new halfwit* pals in the AoA commentariat.

* Generously speaking, of course.

Now this particular type of ad hominem attack is really interesting to me. Rather reminds me of McCarthyism.

If you think using any interactions I might have had with any individuals you call "pals" associated with the Age of Autism as some sort of perjorative term, I suggest that you just come right our and ask me:

"Dr Lyons-Weiler. Have you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Canary Party?"

As if asking questions about the safety of vaccines is somehow evidence of wishing to tear down the infrastructure of the vaccine program? Dr. William Thompson was only a lead scientist in the National Center for Vaccination and Respiratory Diseases, after all. Scientists have a responsibility to do science, which involves asking questions. Vaccine Safety Research is only one of my project areas. I've read the studies that were alleged to have been cooked, and I've read the entirety of the transcripts of the revelations by Thompson.

Of course, Narad, you never answered my challenge. Not that I expected that anyone would, Anyone posting and belittling scientists, researchers, mothers, fathers who are concerned over the safety of vaccines who stands to profit from continued use of those same vaccines is motivated by profit. Anyone belittling anyone for the sake of "saving lives" but trying to shut down actual discourse on what we in the scientific community can actually say we know given the revelations by Thompson, well, I understand. I have a paragraph that parrots the same party line in my first book. In my second book, "Cures vs. Profit: Successes in Translational Research" I wanted to cheer myself up and give people reason to retain faith and confidence in NIH funding for biomedical research. Naturally, I had to include a chapter on vaccine. I saved that chapter for the last to write. I wrote the first 1/2 of the chapter according to the party line- celebrating vaccines' effects on public health. When it came to autism question, I expected to write a brief section on Wakely, call him a fraud, and report the wonderful news that the myth of any link between vaccines and autism had been demolished. But, being the thorough researcher I am, I of course ran smack-dab into Thompson's reveal, Hooker's reanalysis, a look at the CDC original results next to Hooker's side by side - they are the same, very nearly so, to the hundredth decimal point, I believe - read more - interviewed some people - looked at the publications - read the FOIA emails where data analysts pleaded not only for their colleagues to accept the association in the name of objective science, but also to please not brand them as part of the anti-vaccination movement.
For some, I guess, it's fun to call names, to feel part of the "right" crowd. To point out the crazies. The problem is that the studies that everyone basis their general knowledge about the absence of any link between vaccines and autism - what "everyone knows" - is based on the NVPRD's research on the safety of vaccines - and an author on the paper had stepped forward and said they cooked the data.

I didn't do that. You didn't do that. The CDC scientists did that. They owe us all an apology, and they need to step aside on vaccine safety research. We need independent research entities who have no financial stake in adding vaccines to the schedule to conduct these studies. We need at least five universities or research institutions to perform the analysis of the data, and they should all independently make reports to the FDA. This is needed for each new vaccine added to the schedule, and for each vaccine currently on the schedule. Those involved at the CDC should step down. I'm not saying that vaccines cause autism - Thomson is saying that they buried the fact that they can cause autism. As an outsider, I am saying that the rational position for any scientist, and for the general public is, "i don't know, we need to do more research".

Call me crazy, but that's the balance of the equation for me.

By James Lyons-We… (not verified) on 05 Sep 2015 #permalink

The Vaccine Board should also be demolished and restructured. I have proposed that a Citizen's Vaccine Congress be established. Participation in the Congress should be based on one qualification: they, or an immediate family member, survived medical malpractice. The Congress would accept nominations from pediatricians, chemists, toxicologists, and other qualified professionals to act as candidates to the Board. The elections would involve direct voting given the biosketches and personal statements of the candidates. Elected Board members would serve 4-year terms, full-time with benefits - and they, and their family members would be required to hold no financial interest in vaccines for the duration of their term. They could serve one and only one term in their lifetime.

This would be a vast improvement. I understand that one of the Vaccine Board members held a patent on vaccine that they promoted to the pediatric schedule, and sold it for millions after it was approved.

No board member would accept a position in any company that manufactures, sells, or distributes vaccines.

We'll see if this ideas takes off.

By James Lyons-We… (not verified) on 05 Sep 2015 #permalink

So, Jimmy, did you lose out on tenure? Because you lost all credibility here by writing for both GreemMedInfo and Age of Autism.

Quite the word salad from Dr. L-W. I especially enjoyed this sequence:

"None of you have falsified Dr. Thompson’s allegations. No one can. His allegations are real...Now a whistleblower from Merck is making progress in court on fraudulent science for MMR as well...I would hope that my colleagues in science who call themselves scientists to use the rational skepticism they were taught."

"Rational skepticism", it seems to me, should be extended to people who make unproven claims. Accepting such allegations as "proof" because they fit one's conspiratorial mindset is contrary to both scientific principles and basic critical thinking.

Casting an equally deep shadow on Dr. L-W's credibility is his assumption that his critics have to be shills who profit from vaccines. The idea that there are health professionals and others who care deeply about preserving an extremely valuable preventive medicine tool and fighting pseudoscience just doesn't compute for him. This indicates a severe reasoning deficiency on his part, or a level of partisanship in which no tactics are barred in the hope of smearing perceived enemies.

Either way, his credibility suffers mightily in consequence.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 05 Sep 2015 #permalink

So, Jimmy, did you lose out on tenure? Because you lost all credibility here by writing for both GreemMedInfo and Age of Autism.

Wow. Add NaturalNews.com, and you have an antivax trifecta.

Re Orac #168

Unfortunately Jimmy will probably take that as advice for next steps rather than a cautionary note.

None of you have falsified Dr. Thompson’s allegations. No one can. His allegations are real, and their effects on the results in the final published papers are obvious.

And...

I would hope that my colleagues in science who call themselves scientists to use the rational skepticism they were taught. If the science that was claimed to have been done was not done, then a rational person would say “I guess we don’t know what we thought we knew”.

What is this "rational skepticism" that you applied to Thompson's statements and Hooker's "re-analysis"? How is it up to us to falsify Thompson's statements when even he himself has not supported them with any evidence?

Conflicts of Interest: NONE.

I’m curious, let’s take a quick poll. How many posters here can say the same?

Certainly numerous members of the Vaccine Board cannot. [snip] Please consider donating. All funds go to UNICEF. Please donate soon, as I am about to wrap it up.

"You bunch of Pharma Shills; donate to my charity", is probably not a particular effective strategy to accomplish any such thing.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 05 Sep 2015 #permalink

If the relationship between early MMR and autism for black boys is based in reality, why hasn't other research done ANYWHERE else shown a similar finding?
Black boys live in countries besides the US and research is done all over the globe. There are no other findings like this from the US- are they all *fixed*?

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 05 Sep 2015 #permalink

@Denise - exactly....no other research, before (which is important) or since has shown any correlation at all....in fact, fewer African American boys have been diagnosed with autism (on the spectrum)....so, how does that jive with the anti-vax hypothesis?

@ #124 -- As to the "increase" from the 2013 review 1:68, did you not read the study? The authors clearly tell you about greater awareness in mild spectrum and expanded criteria. And, they adjust for bias that would affect reporting in the severe spectrum. In summary, they find no increase over time. Granted, other countries would also need similar analyses, and since that time have conducted bias adjusted also to find the same -- greater awareness in mild spectrum & expanded diagnostic criteria.

I'm having a difficult time accepting your PhD credential if you can't read and accurately report what you cited.

Dr. William Thompson was only a lead scientist in the National Center for Vaccination and Respiratory Diseases, after all. Scientists have a responsibility to do science, which involves asking questions. Vaccine Safety Research is only one of my project areas. I’ve read the studies that were alleged to have been cooked, and I’ve read the entirety of the transcripts of the revelations by Thompson.

In what way was Thompson a "lead" scientist in the Center? He wasn't any such thing in fact. So now you have appointed yourself a "vaccine safety researcher" because you read Hooker's retracted study and the transcripts? Excellent, how about you give us your explanation of how Hooker's study was superior to the original DeStefano et al. study.

No matter where you were before, you are now a hack. You are a hack because of the associations you have chosen to make and for disseminating false information. You should know better but you are choosing to give credence to cranks like Hooker and Thompson.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 05 Sep 2015 #permalink

And isn't Thompson's field of study psychology?

@ Lawrence:

Yes. Unfortunately.
You'd think that he would have had a better background in statistical analysis though.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 05 Sep 2015 #permalink

Didn't Hooker's "study" show no, none, zip, zero, nada correlation between the MMR and white boys and girls, as well as black girls?

I wonder if Jimmy is brave enough to say that in a public forum, and if he is also brave enough to say it over at AOA*. Or maybe he doesn't believe that Hooker's "study" says any such thing, and will tell us why.

Conflicts of Interest: NONE.

Not even a book to sell, that would sell a lot better if it exposes a great scandal?

For myself, I do not now or have I ever worked in the health or medical fields, and am in fact now retired, and I don't have a book to sell.

*I know the censors over there won't allow us to say the same, and it might be a good reality check for Jimmy to likewise be censored.

Didn’t Hooker’s “study” show no, none, zip, zero, nada correlation between the MMR and white boys and girls, as well as black girls?

You forgot black boys who were vaccinated on time.

Dr. William Thompson was only a lead scientist in the National Center for Vaccination and Respiratory Diseases

Expending the effort to not mangle the names of things that you are trying to refer to might help the presentation.

For another example, what is "the Vaccine Board"?

^ G-ddammit, I seem to have developed a blockquote problem lately, and I haven't even had a vaccine in 10 months.

As to the “increase” from the 2013 review 1:68, did you not read the study? The authors clearly tell you about greater awareness in mild spectrum and expanded criteria.

I'm reading from the bottom up, but I haven't seen the details of that "exponential" curve fitting yet, either.

I remembered that there was a subset of black boys who also had no correlation between autism and MMR, but didn't remember exactly how it shook out, so I didn't mention it.

I wonder if Jimmy will be intellectually honest enough to mention it, say, in his Twitter feed? If he did say that Hooker's "study" only showed a slight correlation for a subset of black boys only, ands showed that there is no correlation for white boys or any girls, the AOAers would turn on him in a second. Book sales would drop.

Of course, nothing I've said should be construed to suggest that I think Hooker's "study" has any validity.

just calling them control variables does not make them so. “Age of mother” and “income of mother” should never both be modeled out

[Clippy] I see you're trying to move some goalposts. Would you like assistance with that? [/clippy]

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 05 Sep 2015 #permalink

Johnny@177

Not even a book to sell, that would sell a lot better if it exposes a great scandal?

Dang, you beat me to it.

For myself, I do not now or have I ever worked in the health or medical fields, and am in fact now retired, and I don’t have a book to sell.

You mean you haven't been receiving your monthly shill payments in the form of solid gold bars? You should email payroll@bigpharma.org.

By capnkrunch (not verified) on 05 Sep 2015 #permalink

Now this particular type of ad hominem attack is really interesting to me.

That's not an ad hominem, it's an observation. If you took it as an insult, that's at least a sign of recognition of the company you've decided to venture into recently.

Anyway, keep your pants on; I have segmented sleep and didn't feel like trying to type more while lying in bed at 4 a.m.

Rather reminds me of McCarthyism.

Do go on.

The problem is that the studies that everyone basis their general knowledge about the absence of any link between vaccines and autism – what “everyone knows” – is based on the NVPRD’s research on the safety of vaccines

WTF is the "NVPRD"?

Anyway, let's see whether there's anything else of interest that came over the transom. As I recall, you mainly just repeated yourself, but fresh eyes and everything. This is kind of a pain in the ass, because you seemed to think that some sort of internal enumeration was adequate to generate intelligible referents.

(1) No, multicollineariity is not OK for control variables, because just calling them control variables does not make them so. “Age of mother” and “income of mother” should never both be modeled out. Neither should “length of gestation” and “birthweight”. And yet these are the variables that were all modeled out AFTER an email circulated that said “It Just Won’t Go Away”.

This is an argument between you and HDB, but I will observe that the "won't go away" line refers to Verstraeten, bonehead.

(2) I have always been, and will always remains, 100% Pro-Safe Vaccine. If the vaccine safety science was fudged, then a rational person would realize that we cannot rely on the studies from the CDC from that time period and from those people named in the allegations of fraud [sic]. There should be nothing wrong with calling for new studies to insure the safety of our vaccines under these conditions.

"Conditions"? Are you referring to Wakefraud's rambling ORI complaint? One does recall the glaring need for a Bayesian prior here, right? Or is your mind already made up?

(3) Great question. Why not corn syrup? ... The amount of science done on cell lines and in animals that show toxicity of mercury of all forms is astounding.

No, you really have to work your ass off with orally ingested elemental Hg to find toxicity. Here, test it out for yourself: call Poision Control and tell them that, say, your five-year-old somehow just swallowed mercury from a regular thermometer. I'll wait.

Why is EtHg preferentially nephrotoxic in overdose while MeHg isn't? Have you considered the possibility that the methyl moiety itself might be the neurotoxic agent?. I mean, do some basic homework.

Maybe I'll go fetch PMID 23401210,* but I can't remember the site that I used to deliver Krebiozen a paper before.

The molecular mechanism of neurotoxicity of ethyl mercury is better known than the mechanism of some FDA-approved drugs.

Right, see above. Do be sure to list the "molecular mechanism[s] of neurotoxicity" of those FDA-approved drugs.

Oh, wait, you weren't dancing around, say, anything as stupid as "nobody understands general anesthetics," were you?

(4) Re: “Big data”. These studies are not particular m-large. They are medium-sized N-scale, and small on the m-scale. No reason for concern.

C'mon, spit it out. You're going to be stuck with N in the long run.

(5) Quasi-creationist? You guys are a riot! I am still a rabid evolutionary biologist, and as any good scientist should be, an agnostic.

You didn't understand the assertion, but again, that's HDB's gig.

(6) Re: diagnostic criteria: ... My point stands: Autism, as defined in 2004, was originally found to be associated with vaccines in numerous studies.

Your begging the question is noted again.

(7) Re: Matt Carey’s “Judge Lyons-Weiler by his actions”. Ok. Both of my children are completely vaccinated according to the CDC schedule per their age. Like I said. 100% Pro-safe Vaccine.

The same deflection as above.

None of you have falsified Dr. Thompson’s allegations. No one can. His allegations are real...

Well, it would help if he formalized them. The effective incontinence hasn't panned out so well to date.

and their effects on the results in the final published papers are obvious.

All rational scrutiny of Hooker's paper – which is all you really have – suggests that it's obviously something, but not what you've latched on to.

Now a whistleblower from Merck is making progress in court on fraudulent science for MMR as well. Again, not my DOING, just my REPORTING.

It's really crappy "REPORTING" if you can't even get the number of plaintiffs correct or define "making progress." Maybe I'll update the docket, maybe I'll lose interest. You're probably referring to Krahling & Wlochowski's avoiding summary judgment last year. This is not impressive.

I've already noted following invocation of the Pharma Shill Gambit,** so that might take of it, but there's probably some sort of blockquote meltdown in here somewhere.

BTW, if any of you would like to contribute to a little fundraiser I’m running for UNICEF for the 16,600 or so Orphans of Ebola, it’s ongoing.

Y'know, I get the sense that ol' "Linda1" (Disqustink "LZ") at AoA has taken a shine to you. You could run this past her, although you might want to do a search for her tedious repetition of Kary Mullis's "quantitative PCR is an oxymoron" (yes, HIV/AIDS and Ebola denialist).

* Done. Time's arrow has rendered the Burbacher cite inapropos, but no, you're still toast; you have to get EtHg hanging around long enough to go Hg(II) instead of meeting the kidneys and then figure out what happens next. Babbling about an imaginary body of evidence helps you not a whit.

** Although "gambit" seems to draw soleicisms, this one has been around so long that there actually is a trade of a piece involved, namely, credibility.

^ Not too bad on the markup front, if hastily finished; "rather reminds me of McCarthyism" should have been in blockquotes.

^^ "take care of it"

This is an argument between you and HDB

The question is moot now, as the original absurd claim (that non-independence among partialled-out variables is a problem) seems to be no longer operative... having been replaced by a different absurd claim (that variables marked as "control" in a regression calculation were not *really* control variables, or should not have been control variables, because reasons).

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 05 Sep 2015 #permalink

Is James seriously suggesting that variables that may affect the result should not be controlled for because this may affect the result?

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 06 Sep 2015 #permalink

It is hard to be sure. He appears to be under the impression that although the regression algorithm controlled for particular variables, it didn't really control for them, because magic.

just calling them control variables does not make them so

True. What really makes them "control variables" is processing them as control variables.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 06 Sep 2015 #permalink

James Lyons-Weiler, PhD, has pulled the antivax switch-up again. He points out the toxicity of mercury as a reason to believe Thompson's claims about the MMR, which does not contain mercury in any form and never has.

@HDB and Krebiozen, oh good grief I was trying to figure out what he was saying about the variables and my mistake was trying to make sense of it.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 06 Sep 2015 #permalink

For myself, I do not now or have I ever worked in the health or medical fields, and am in fact now retired, and I don’t have a book to sell.

You mean you haven’t been receiving your monthly shill payments in the form of solid gold bars? You should email payroll@bigpharma.org.

No, I'm just a part time minion intern, so no pay. I hope to hired on full time, not so much for the gold, but more for the parties. I hear the bands are rockin', the food is great, and all the booze is top shelf. It will give me something to do on Thursday nights.

@ Johnny:

We are so pleased that you have decided to amp up your shilling activities: PharmaCOM can always use articulate and devoted workers for intergalactic conquest is after all, a growth industry.

But there are a few items which I should clear up first about 'our thing':
- you don't get an automobile until you have *proved* yourself** twice
- the tales you've heard about STDs are not true
- Lord Draconis does NOT model his lifestyle after the Queen and the Royal Family. Too boring and old skool. Although there is a Black Tower.
- We do not actually own the island of Ibiza despite appearances
- Excellent bands do not perform because they owe us- they do it for love of our product
- Clothes make the man/ woman

See you Thursday next.

** please don't ask.
-

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 06 Sep 2015 #permalink

don't forget two for tuesday hookers and blow

@ MarkN:

Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 06 Sep 2015 #permalink

In other whistleblowing news
( i.e a high level threat alert, minions)**;

It seems that Stephanie Seneff and Anthony Samsel now have two new papers on the way that will utterly OBLITERATE Monsanto's prevaricated claims concerning the safety of glyphosate.

Samsel used the FOIA to obtain 15 000 pages of research data going back to 1981 that illustrates how the Evil Corporation hid and distorted studies that showed how the Evil Elixir of Death caused cancers of various type in lab animals. This will exonerate Gilles-Eric! ( Gary Null Show/ PRN/ Friday/ 25 minutes in -end)
The host even remarked about David G-----'s vain attempts to cast aspersion upon S&S's earth-shattering research
( altho' he didn't describe it quite that way- not even skill with English I'm afraid)

So quiver and shake with fear in your over-priced Italian boots!**

** not really but good for a laugh

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 06 Sep 2015 #permalink

Dear Mr "PhD in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology" (an area not unrelated to my degree), I assume as you are pontificating about mercury that you came across Minamata during your studies (I did)? Now tell me where any neurological problems suffered by the residents sit on the autistic spectrum? No rush, take your time...

Re Andrew Wakefield, or Mr Lying Trousers Fraudypants to give him his full name, have you any idea how hard someone has to try to get struck off by the GMC over here? Do you? Hint: striking off doesn't happen very often.

Conflict of interest: I must clearly be a pharma shill, as I was a senior MH nurse who, amongst other things was involved in assessment for autism, and know first hand about how assessment, and thus diagnosis, changed since the 1980s...

hdb: "[Clippy] I see you’re trying to move some goalposts. Would you like assistance with that? [/clippy]"

I have just stolen that gem!

Wow. Just wow. Can you all take EVERYTHING out of context, please?

Where to begin... which ad hominem attacks to point out. Let's see.

No, I did not miss out on tenure. I voluntarily changed my position from tenure-track to assume the newly created position of Senior Research Scientist as Scientific Director of the Bioinformatics Analysis Core (I founded the core). It was my idea, and I loved every minute of my position. It was a six-year run, scheduled to run for 3. The core ended due to budget cuts.

But that would only be sensible. Maybe you can find something more juicy out about me, like, well here's one. Why not accuse me of drowning puppies, since my character clearly has more to do with Thompson's statements than Thomspon's statements.

Ah, the book. No, I can hardly take credit for the "breaking news" and "exposing" a big story. As an objective scientist, I am compelled to look at the sum of the evidence, and weigh in. One of my books has a chapter on Vaccination - as a Success Story, by the way. The bit on Autism led me to Thompson. I do not wish to capitalize on other's misfortunes. A portion of the proceeds of "Ebola: An Evolving Story" is CONTRACTED (my choice) to go to msf.org. Great organization.

When I came to learn of Thompson's allegations, I saw in the deeds described (and related evidence from the FOIA reveals) the type of activity in which I taught my students (graduate student) to never engage (analysis to desired result). The omission of the African american male association was only the easiest egregious act to understand. The more compelling evidence was from the described treatments from other studies.

Re: switching. I know the difference between the MMR studies and the thimerosal studies. No switching involved. You just have to keep it straight: Thompson did not just call out the DeStefano et al., (2004) study. He mentioned many others, and discussed who had "clean hands" and who was complicit and who was directly involved. He names names.

Hooker's FOIA request also landed damning evidence of people cooking data on numerous other studies, including the Verstraeten email. Thompson verifies that this type of over-analysis and 'analysis to desired result' was commonplace.

Re: "Magic". Again, and again. What type of analyst would "control for" body weight in a toxicity study without looking to see if there was an interaction? If a variable is not a control variable in that setting, but instead is a co-factor, directly contributing to risk, you must treat it as a model variable they may have interaction with others. The regression model should include the term, yes, but if there is a significant interaction, what do you do, ignore it? No. You ignore the main effect and report the interaction p-value. You should not process them as control variables if there is a significant interaction term. And you should certainly not use many of them that are multi-collinear - control variable or not (sorry, Science mom, we're talking technical stuff here). You end up "removing" the same variation over and over - really just modeling out random variation after the first collinear variable - until just noise is left to explain, and guess what's left? Big surprise - NO ASSOCIATION because you killed, and it finally "went away" (citing the Verstraeten email here (relax, everyone, I now it's not the most talked about study)

Re: Because magic. Not because magic. Fake science. Any such study would not pass my peer review and I would not fund any grants on any NIH panel I served on that proposed to conduct any analysis that way.

Re: Because reason. Damn skippy, because REASON.

I believe that we in the scientific community have an ethical obligation to take allegations of scientific fraud seriously. What amazes me is that how many in this particular Pro-Vaccine contingent in this thread cannot discern a Pro-Vaccine, Safe-Vaccine Research (S-VSR) advocate from an Anti-Vaxxer. The glee with which you all clearly wish to minimize the position that Thompson said many things that were very cogent, revealing details on how VSR was conducted that puts the credibility of the main bulk of vaccine safety studies re: autism in question is amazing to me.

Re: "mechanisms of FDA drugs" is not the same as "toxicity" - I meant the drug actions. I can understand the misread, my bad.

Johnny: "Of course, nothing I’ve said should be construed to suggest that I think Hooker’s “study” has any validity."

You better run, son. This crowd will tear you to pieces.

Re: calls for new studies. Nope, not even thinking about Wakefield. Merely thinking about Thompson's revelations. Another attempt to tie me to Wakefield. Someone just photoshop me drowning puppies already and be done with it.

The fact that I am calling for vaccine safety research reform means my credibility is shot. Oh my.

Re; ingesting mercury, No, I don't abuse children, nor do I drown puppies. The monkey studies show preferential deposition of Ethyl mercury in organs, including the brains compared to methyl mercury. Thus the long-held faster clearance of ethyl mercury compared to methyl may be illusory.

Well, this has been educational. The Pro-Vaccine machine (of which I am part) has massacred another career. My books are now surely doomed to fail, I expect you all to tear my Pro-Vaccine chapter apart (I did mention my pro-vaccine chapter, right?)

Just because I'm that kind of guy, would someone please recommend an Autism organization to which I might donate a portion of the proceeds of "Cures vs. Profit: Successes in Translational Research"?

By James Lyons-We… (not verified) on 08 Sep 2015 #permalink

Jimmy: "I know the difference between the MMR studies and the thimerosal studies. "

Since the MMR vaccine has been in use in the USA since 1971, and is a much much larger country than the UK, if it caused autism it would have noticed before Wakefield thunk it up. So please provide the verifiable documentation dated before 1990 (ie: nothing by Deisher and the "studies" she used) that autism rose coincident to MMR use in the USA during the 1970s and 1980s.

The USA was using the MMR almost twenty years before the UK, and it is much much larger. That data must exist. Do make sure it is all autism that would have been diagnosed just by DSM II (not III or IV).

Dr. Hyphenate says: "When I came to learn of Thompson’s allegations...I believe that we in the scientific community have an ethical obligation to take allegations of scientific fraud seriously."

Magically, later in the same post Dr. Hyphenate has moved on to gushing over "Thompson's revelations".

I ask again: what sort of scientist conflates claims and allegations (which have been thoroughly debunked, here and elsewhere) with Revealed Truth? Whoever taught you the scientific method should have _their_ tenure reconsidered.

And it is unseemly for Dr. "I'm not anti-vaccine, just pro-safe vaccine" to continue whining about "ad hominems" after making snide allusions about pro-vaccine posters being pharma shills. He's starting to remind me of Jay Gordon.*

*and that's not a compliment.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 08 Sep 2015 #permalink

Re; ingesting mercury, No, I don’t abuse children, nor do I drown puppies.

You have either serious problems with reading comprehension or a really pathetic habit of evasion through dishonesty.

Then the dream ends when the phone rings,
you doing alright he said it's out there most
days and nights, but only a fool would
complain. Anyway Susan, if you like, our
conversation is as faint as a sound in my
memory, as those fingernails scratching on
my hull.

*cough* Bismarck *cough*

futile

Sigh. Again, more character attacks. Now my honesty is being questioned. Drowning puppies not bad enough for you?

Chris, the MMR has indeed been in use for a long time. However, in 1971 the total number of jabs before age of 6 was what? And what it is now? You go ahead, and take YOUR time.

Wholescale changes to the pediatric vaccination schedule are not subject to approval by studies - think of it - so-called vaccine safety studies conducted one at a time - not a thought of cumulative dose effect across vaccines. The Board has kept adding more and more vaccines - all may be very good one at a time - and side effects rare. Seven at a time? Nine? You know, concern over safety of medicines is the other side of the science.

DB: I don't make allusions. I asked a question. Being Pro-Vaccine does not make one shill of Pharma. And I never mentioned Pharma. I said "conflicts of interest". It's a fair question, given the lengths that industry will go to destroy a career to insure their profits. Look up Dr. Gretchen LaFever-Watson. Even the CDC says ADHD is overdiagnosed now.

Again, DB: "what sort of scientist conflates claims and allegations, etc"

Thompson's statements are confessions and first-hand eyewitness accounts of shady dealings and practices. It takes a "statement of concern" to have a paper retracted. There have been over 10,000 statements of concern resulting from Thompson's revelations. (crickets)

Thoroughly debunked, eh? First of all, debunking a confession is extremely hard. Second, the birth certificate mention in the plan is no permission slip to fail to report the overall result, the initial result, and to fail to report the subgroup result that was powered sufficiently (just not with data from the birth certificates). Is it really that hard to show all of your work?

Please tell me, who has debunked Thompson's admission that he and his co-workers found a positive association in "isolated" autistic kids, but then simply decided to not publish that particular subgroup analysis? It happens to be in the Congressional record that Thompson kept copies of those specific data and the analysis results specifically because the others agreed to destroy theirs........

And who has debunked his description of finding positive associations, only to have his co-authors water down the text so much that reviewers said (not verbatim now, so easy... "WTF? why don't you say that in the text???" (Tics, man, tics).

Further, no one has debunked Frank DeStefano's admission of omission of results

https://sharylattkisson.com/cdc-responds-to-allegation-it-omitted-vacci…

Nor has anyone debunked his admission that some autism may have been caused by vaccines

https://sharylattkisson.com/cdc-possibility-that-vaccines-rarely-trigge…

No one has debunked the Vaccine Court, who has rule 86 times that vaccines caused autism....

Simply because one cannot accept the truth does not mean that those who speak it are liars.

By James Lyons-We… (not verified) on 08 Sep 2015 #permalink

BTW "my charity" is UNICEF, not "my charity".

By James Lyons-We… (not verified) on 08 Sep 2015 #permalink

Given that Dr. & Mrs. Orac are vacationing in Blimey, I hereby declare a dance party until Dr. Orac's return.

Everybody, hands in the air. You too, smart nerd kids. Dance like your ass is on fire.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3svW8PM_jc

"When I came to learn of Thompson’s allegations…"

what allegations? As in what allegations did *Thompson* pose?

And don't say fraud, because that's not Thompson.

"Hooker’s FOIA request also landed damning evidence of people cooking data on numerous other studies"

In which case you could provide links to the documents, quotes, etc. to back up your claims.

But you don't. Wonder why that is?

By I. Rony Meter (not verified) on 08 Sep 2015 #permalink

^ Two things and I'm all in.

1. Better music - much better.
2. Lots of liquor - never ending stream.

By Not a Troll (not verified) on 08 Sep 2015 #permalink

"Chris, the MMR has indeed been in use for a long time. However, in 1971 the total number of jabs before age of 6 was what? And what it is now? You go ahead, and take YOUR time."

Nice dodge. Now answer the question--why didn't autism rise when the MMR was introduced?

Or are you abandoning the MMR causes autism alone idea in favor of "too many too soon".

Or do you just want to be vague, never address a direct question and pretend you can defend both?

By I. Rony Meter (not verified) on 08 Sep 2015 #permalink

Jimmy: "However, in 1971 the total number of jabs before age of 6 was what? And what it is now?"

Do you know what the word "coincident" means?

Also what was the preferred vaccine for the 1978 "Measles Elimination Program"? This means you only have to find verifiable documentation dated before 1990 that covers the 1980s.

*Counts up her card quickly*

BINGO! ANTI-VAX BINGO!!

By Rebecca Fisher (not verified) on 08 Sep 2015 #permalink

Is it me, or is james exemplifying Dunning-Kreuger syndrome?

I've pointed out some of his posts to my nursing instructors, two of them PhDs in the nursing field (one in nursing research), and they both said that anyone posting that type of information that he has posted here as part of a thesis would have been rejected outright as a doctoral candidate.

Pretty much, james hasn't given any actual evidence for his assertions except from known conspiracy sites, we can assume that he is lying and that anything he says can be construed as such until he actually posts some factual information.

"Now my honesty is being questioned."

I don't question it; I see rank dishonesty in someone who proclaims they are not antivaccine but "100% Pro-Safe Vaccine", yet emits numerous tropes of antivaxers (such as the hoary "too many too soon"), employs the pharma shill gambit with the excuse that he just "asked a question", and to top it off, cites Sharyl ("A Stuck Key Means My Computer Was Hacked") Attkisson as an authority.

Required reading for you:

https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/did-a-high-ranking-whistleblower-r…
http://www.snopes.com/medical/disease/cdcwhistleblower.asp

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 09 Sep 2015 #permalink

"First of all, debunking a confession is extremely hard."

No it's not. Criminal investigators have to do it all the time.

James Lyons-Weiler, PhD@206

Now my honesty is being questioned.

Making baseless, blanket accusions of conflicts of interest is dishonest. Crying about it won't help. Want people to stop calling you dishonest? Try practicing some honesty.

By capnkrunch (not verified) on 09 Sep 2015 #permalink

Here is the thing about the "MMR vaccine causes autism" mania, no one can make up their mind why and how it is supposed to be the culprit.

First I am amazed that those who just assume the MMR vaccine popped up on this entire planet in 1988. They get confused when asked about the American use since 1971.

Of course they also get confused that there is not one MMR vaccine, but different versions with variations in vaccine strains. Between 1988 and 1992 the UK used three different versions of an MMR vaccine (they also switched to a different one in 1998).

Of course the UK removed two of those MMR vaccines in 1992, and Japan dropped theirs. So that makes the American MMR bad? No, because the Urabe mumps strain was causing a higher than acceptable number of meningitis cases. This is a strain never used in the USA.

The Urabe mumps strain issue is one reason the UK's Legal Fund was being used to help lawsuits... enter Richard Barr. He had that wad of UK taxpayer cash to wave in front of Wakefield to investigate mumps, which did not go as planned.

So enter Wakefield, who decided it was the measles vaccine strain. Of course he ignored the Urabe issue until years later when he tried to expose someone else. Wakefield never really cleared up which MMR version his Lancet paper was on. No one has told me with of the three used in the UK, and it was muddied by having one American child. Wakefield just decided to tell parents without any evidence to demand singles shots.

And so parents tried to comply. Expect the UK never approved a single mumps strain before. They did not even vaccinate for mumps prior to their first MMR vaccines in 1988. So some enterprising private clinics decided to import a single mumps vaccine from overseas illegally. It was the Urabe strain, see MEDICINES CONTROL AGENCY TO OBJECT TO IMPORTATION OF UNLICENSED SINGLE URABE STRAIN MUMPS VACCINE. Oops.

And then comes Theresa Deisher who wants to blame the rubella vaccine strain developed by Plotkin, which in 1979 replaced the strain in the first American MMR vaccine. She does not like that it is made from one fetal cell line. Her notions have been discussed on this blog. Most striking she told me personally (and quite forcefully) that history of rubella by Plotkin is wrong. Also, she really hates the varicella vaccine. I did not have the chance to tell her my kids all got the actual disease, and yet my son is still autistic (well, he was still nonverbal at age three, and got chicken pox when he was five).

So, folks, get your stories straight. Figure out which MMR vaccine is evil, and then why. Oh, and do try to get those autism numbers straight. Obviously basing prevalence on seven young boys who were vaccinated later than the recommended schedule is just ridiculous.

By the way, I am about halfway through NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity by Steve Silberman. It is pretty clear the definition of autism, and which kids got a diagnosis was very limited even twenty years ago (when I was told repeatedly my son did not have autism).

Jimmy, you homework assignment from an actual autism parent to read Neurotribes, and then write a paper for a PubMed indexed journal explaining which version of the MMR vaccine is the culprit, and definitely pinpoint why and which portion causes the issues. I am especially curious how the MMR vaccine caused my son to have seizures over a year before he got the vaccine.

Oops, didn't fully read Dangerous Bacon's comment #215 but I see he made that point already.

”...employs the pharma shill gambit with the excuse that he just “asked a question”...

Frankly, I'd say that's more dishonest than just coming out and saying it (which would be dishonest in its own right given the absolute lack of evidence).

By capnkrunch (not verified) on 09 Sep 2015 #permalink

@ Chris:

TMR's Prof ( Zoey O'Toole, yesterday) called the book "dangerously misleading". Interestingly, her own son is UNvaccinated and she believes that antibiotics caused his autism ( spoken at AutismOne 2015), And she doesn't like the book one bit, despite not reading it. Olmsted *et compagnie* are, in similar fashion, up at arms against the author because their own books asserts "autism is NEW" or suchlike.

At any rate, Silberman appears to be remarkably close to what I've believed for a long time. ( I.e. changed dx, increased awareness, mainstreaming, less reliance upon institutions, Andy's efforts, lawyers looking for work, professional advocates, internet (mal) education are amongst the factors responsible for the numerical increase).

I hope that Silberman's book, which is getting a lot of mainstream attention, will counter the anti-vaxxers' mythological system.
Oddly, within their posted articles ( kim @ AoA, Prof @TMR) and comments they absentmindedly include instances of
1. multiple relatives with ASDs
2. people who are much older with autism
both of which give lie to their usual assertions (*a la Dachel*) that autism is environmental and didn't exist years ago.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 09 Sep 2015 #permalink
Johnny: “Of course, nothing I’ve said should be construed to suggest that I think Hooker’s “study” has any validity.”

You better run, son. This crowd will tear you to pieces.

My statement about Hooker's paper not being valid was for you. For the sake of argument, I was willing to pretend the paper was valid, but it was retracted for a reason. This is a tough crowd (they have corrected me a time or two), but around here, high quality evidence talks, and you and Thompson don't seem to have any.

Even if Thompson pointed Hooker to actual evidence of of a cover up of an association between MMR and Autism (he didn't), and even if Hooker's paper revealed the truth of the numbers (it doesn't) the paper proved that there is no association between the MMR and white boys, or white girls, or black girls, or black boys who receive the MMR on time.

The fact that you chose to ignore my questions regarding if you agreed that this is the case, and were willing to say so, did answer my questions about your intellectual honesty.

No one has debunked the Vaccine Court, who has rule 86 [sic] times that vaccines caused autism….

Heh. (There's more, but it hardly seems worth the effort.)

Jeffrey, the NVICP has never compensated anyone for developing an autism spectrum disorder as a consequence of having been vaccinated.

Now my honesty is being questioned. Drowning puppies not bad enough for you?

Let's walk through this one:

(3) Great question. Why not corn syrup? … The amount of science done on cell lines and in animals that show toxicity of mercury of all forms is astounding.

No, you really have to work your ass off with orally ingested elemental Hg to find toxicity. Here, test it out for yourself: call Poision Control and tell them that, say, your five-year-old somehow just swallowed mercury from a regular thermometer. I’ll wait.

Re; ingesting mercury, No, I don’t abuse children, nor do I drown puppies.

You have either serious problems with reading comprehension or a really pathetic habit of evasion through dishonesty.

Your latest response merely reinforces the final assertion.

No one has debunked the Vaccine Court, who has rule 86 times that vaccines caused autism

The Vaccine Court has never ruled that vaccines cause autism. In fact, in the Omnibus Autism Proceedings heard before Vaccine Court, six of the best candidates were used in test cases. Not only did the plaintiffs lose, they were trounced.
Your comment has just given the lie to your claim that you are not antivaccine. If you are willing to repeat a libelous claim about vaccines, you are antivaccine.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 09 Sep 2015 #permalink

I hope that Silberman’s book, which is getting a lot of mainstream attention, will counter the anti-vaxxers’ mythological system.

From the excerpts I've read, Silberman badly misrepresents Kanner's work and writings, perhaps to provide his narrative with a villain (in order to turn Asperger into an even more admirable figure than he already was). I'd rather the book had been written by someone more concerned with facts.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 09 Sep 2015 #permalink

hdb: "From the excerpts I’ve read, Silberman badly misrepresents Kanner’s work and writings, ..."

Please read the whole book.

I should add that Silberman did not gloss over the several good things accomplished by Kanner. This includes working for humane treatment of those at his first American job, a an asylum in North Dakota (one novel thing he did was listen to the patients and talk to the family), supplying them art supplies, and then there was his sponsorship of several doctors from Germany who were fleeing the Nazis (including a couple that worked in Vienna with Asperger).

There are things that he missed, overlooked and were probably a product of the times (like myths on Native Americans). And he was the earliest pediatric psychiatrist (his book on the subject was in use for decades). Some of his deficits can probably be explained as errors of ambition, and he did come under criticism from other psychiatrists.

Bettelheim, on the other hand did not come off as well. There is no light treatment for Laurette "shock therapy and LSD" Bender. And those are just a couple of the competitors to Kanner in the field.

Also remember that psychiatry was still evolving through much of the century, and there were lots of toxic ideas. One idea being that homosexuality was a psychiatric disorder.

I am on the chapter about Rimland. I never much liked Rimland because I associate him with all the drug cures and special diets that I kept being told I "supposed" to use on my son. But Silberman treats him more sympathetically (at least where I am reading now, just like Kanner was earlier). So my opinion of him is more nuanced.

Before the Rimland chapter there was an interesting one that started on the story of Hugo Gernsback. He moved from Europe to the USA at an early age and sold early electronic kits (first decade of the 20th century). He was a friend of Nicola Tesla, and created the pulp periodical "Amazing Stories." The chapter is about HAM radio and science fiction enthusiasts, who then turn into computer guys and tech visionaries.

Which hit home for me, since hubby still had his HAM radio gear when I met him during our freshman year of college. He only did it to fiddle with the electronics, and sold it to buy parts for his first homebrew computer.

Which is a nice skill to have in a hubby, since he just replaced our broken DVD player, annoying CD player and any VHS recorder with a multimedia computer with a dual TV tuner. It is because our twelve year old HD (only 720i) does not have an HDMI port (using a converter, but it still cannot play Blu-Ray due to their copying protections). This is why nerds make good spouses.

Chris, I wonder if ability with a VCR/ DVR is predictive?

I am utterly hopeless. As my late father often said, " Call somebody" when machines broke or didn't work correctly.
Oddly enough, I ( and he) did shockingly well on quantitative tests. No problem there.

Interestingly as well, my.. er... creatures are similarly useless.

How often have I spoken to well-mannered Indian gentlemen for long periods of time on the phone about anti-virus or other arcane ephemera. Too often I fear

HOWEVER I can fix more mundane objects around the house and fine leathers.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 09 Sep 2015 #permalink

Denise, this is why I don't mind living three blocks from my in-laws. Being able to borrow my seventeen year old nephew comes in handy.

"Chris, I wonder if ability with a VCR/ DVR is predictive?"

As is the ability to create one with parts from an electronics supply website? I am afraid that is learned behavior, and it takes some experience. Something my autistic son was given an opportunity to learn, but he said he did not want to do that.

Julian Frost - Libelous claim? Ok, now you have my attention.

1. Thompson himself concluded there was sufficient evidence to conclude that some vaccines can cause autism.
2. Scientists may conclude given the evidence any way they choose. It's our duty to interpret.
3. There is, in my view, clear precedent, and every family with a vaccine-injured child who acquired regressive autism should provide a copy of this PACE Env. Law Review article to their lawyer and ask them to consider approaching the VICP for compensation.

Holland et al., 2011. Unanswered Questions from the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program: A Review of Compensated Cases of Vaccine-Induced Brain Injury. PACE Law Review Pace Environmental Law Review 28(2)
http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/pelr/vol28/iss2/6/

Read it. Although the VICP will deny they ever based an award on a finding of autism invoked by vaccine, there are plenty of instances where autism is mentioned in findings that have led to awards. This type of lack of transparency is the kind that wins the day on appeal.

I stand by my statement that I am Pro--Vaccine. You can stand from the highest mountain top and yell that you think differently. The fact that I want REAL vaccine safety research does not make me anti-vaccine. I will not base my personal nor professional judgment of the safety and efficacy of vaccines on the the crap that has been doled out by the CDC under the guise of science.

There are a growing number of PhDs willing to come out and say they do not trust the vaccine safety research that Thompson and his colleagues were involved in. The CDC team omitted not only the African American result; they omitted the results they obtained for another subgroup: Isolated autism.

Destefano et al. (2004) did not report anything about the association of autism with vaccination considering what were referred to in the data analysis plan as “isolated autism” cases. These were cases of children who did not have other "comorbid" conditions – the autism would be attributable to the vaccine alone. According to Thompson, their initial analysis found a strong association of on-time vaccination. Thompson revealed to Hooker that the group met to discuss how to weaken the association by changing the study design – and he revealed how they changed both the age-group designation and then the criteria for being considered "isolated autism".
Referring to this particular group of cases, Thompson told Hooker: “That’s where you would expect it the most”.
In the end, the results from this very important subgroup result was not even reported in the published study.

Here is the relevant part of the data analysis plan:
"Isolated autism cases are cases with no other co-morbid developmental disability while nonisolated cases do have a co-morbid developmental disability. Previous research suggests that the majority of non-isolated cases have a co-existing developmental disability of mental retardation (CDC, 2001). Both isolated and non-isolated cases will be compared separately to controls. The objectives from the primary analyses will be replicated in this sub-analysis."

According to Thompson, this result was positive, and this is the positive result that he expressed having the strongest feelings of having left out of the publication.

The fact that the African American male subgroup was not specifically in the data analysis plan - and yet the analysis was conducted anyway, along with other subgroups not specified in the plan, is disturbing enough. The fact that they met and cherry-picked only the negative results to publish from these ad-hoc analyses, never approached by an IRB, is criminal.

42 C.F.R. § 93.103: “Research misconduct means fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results. . . . (b) Falsification is manipulating research materials, equipment, or processes, or changing or omitting data or results that the research is not accurately represented in the research record.”

Did you catch that? OMITTING DATA OR RESULT.

The question is, since the CDC so clearly fudged so many studies, which vaccines are safe?

More research is needed - and it must be conducted in a manner in which the profit motive is completely moot.

I remain, as always, your Pro-Vaccine, Pro-Good-Vaccine-Safety-Science Scientist.

By James Lyons-We… (not verified) on 09 Sep 2015 #permalink

Chris, I wonder if ability with a VCR/ DVR is predictive?

I am utterly hopeless. As my late father often said, ” Call somebody” when machines broke or didn’t work correctly.
Oddly enough, I ( and he) did shockingly well on quantitative tests. No problem there.

Interestingly as well, my.. er… creatures are similarly useless.

Predictive of what, I guess I'd wonder. My brother was always really good with mechanical things of all sorts, including electronics; he had a notion to go to school to be an electrician at one point, but he ended up working as a mechanic for the railroad. (BNSF.) He never cared too much for school in general, although he did okay in his classes and graduated; I'm pretty sure he took shop class as many times as was permissible, though. Probably there's some initial aptitude there that caused him to like it - being good at it - plus being raised around it. (I was sorely lacking in spatial abilities as a kid; having my nose stuck in a book all the time might have been part effect and part cause, I suppose. Well, that and being really near-sighted and not having it found out till second grade somehow.)

It's a way to make a living, anyway, and he's able to live back out home, which I guess there's something to that, even if it ain't for me.

Jimmy: "I remain, as always, your Pro-Vaccine, Pro-Good-Vaccine-Safety-Science Scientist."

No you are not. At least not until you write the PubMed indexed paper that provide the verifiable documentation dated before 1990 that autism went up coincident to MMR usage in the USA during the 1980s, and which MMR vaccine is the main cause, while identifying which particular measles or rubella or mumps vaccine strain that is the actual cause.

Until then, you are basing your pontifications on a borked study that showed in increased autism prevalence on seven little boys who got the MMR vaccine later than the recommended schedule, which was more likely done after an autism diagnosis and as a requirement to enter special ed. preschool (as was their right due to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act).

All you are proving now is why you did not get tenure, and were possibly asked to leave the university. You are a liability, not an asset. The only suggestion I have is to seek psych help, which should not still hold a stigma. Bad mental things happen to good people, the only bad thing is to ignore it.

And no one on this blog should ever judge a person who needs psychological help. We know we are all vulnerable, especially those of us who have seen what happens when the illness is not treated. I am lucky in that my step-mother took me to psyche specialists after my mother died in an accident and she entered my life. She knew her limitations, and saved me. The same cannot be said of a relative who suffered similarly but did not get the psyche support.

42 C.F.R. § 93.103

You are so far behind the f*cking curve that it's not even funny. All of this sh*t that you've been trotting out has been taken apart six ways to Sunday.

And you fail to acknowledge this when it's pointed out to you, just like your running away from your dumbf*ck "now my honesty is being questioned" routine when it's put on display.

As I originally said, you should really stick to your new halfwit pals in the AoA commentariat, although if this is the best you can muster, you'd probably wind up boring them to death as well.

James Lyons-Weiler @ #235:

Although the VICP will deny they ever based an award on a finding of autism invoked by vaccine, there are plenty of instances where autism is mentioned in findings that have led to awards.

That doesn't mean the vaccine CAUSED the autism. And the first author of the paper you linked to is Mary Holland, a known anti-vaxxer.

I stand by my statement that I am Pro–Vaccine.

Actions speak louder than words. Your repetition of the lie that the Vaccine Court has compensated people for vaccine caused autism exposes you as anti-vaxx, no matter how much you proclaim yourself as "Pro-Vaccine".

There are a growing number of PhDs willing to come out and say they do not trust the vaccine safety research that Thompson and his colleagues were involved in.

Name these PhD's, if they exist.

I remain, as always, your Pro-Vaccine, Pro-Good-Vaccine-Safety-Science Scientist.

No. You are antivaccine.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 10 Sep 2015 #permalink

This type of lack of transparency is the kind that wins the day on appeal.

"Lack of transparency" is not the phrase I would have chosen to describe this conflict between (a) "Vaccine Court, [ruling] 86 times that vaccines caused autism", and (b) Vaccine Court never ruling that vaccines caused autism. The suggestion that the rulings are there -- hidden in the spaces between the words, or in double-secret-probation codicils, but insufficiently transparent -- does not really convince.
So those appeals at the NVICP, how many have won the day so far?

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 10 Sep 2015 #permalink

"since the CDC so clearly fudged so many studies"

What might those have been? And by what mechanism did the CDC manage to invalidate all the vaccine safety studies that were not conducted by people working for the CDC?

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 10 Sep 2015 #permalink

@ JP:

I'm mostly joking because Chris often discusses nerdism in its various guises.

But true, I'm quite bad with computers, VCRs etc.

As you may know intelligence tests separate out abilities and I doubt I have much in that area.

I do think that I ( sort of) comprehend the principles by which computers operate but actually fixing things? No. Not at all.

But I can repair clothing and leather which can save LOTS of money.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 10 Sep 2015 #permalink

Did you catch that? OMITTING DATA OR RESULT.

What data or result is it you believe was omitted, james?

It clearly wasn't data regarding the vaccination status, timing and incidence of autism in African American males, since that was obviously present and readily available for Hooker to 're-analyze' in such an incompetent manner that his publication was rapidly retracted.

And it can't be the result that a causal association exists in African American males only who receive MMR vaccination prior to 36 months of age and autism spectrum disorders, because the data does not support the existence of such a causal association.

So what data and what result do you belevie has been omitted? be specific.

I’m mostly joking because Chris often discusses nerdism in its various guises.

Ah.

But true, I’m quite bad with computers, VCRs etc.

As you may know intelligence tests separate out abilities and I doubt I have much in that area.

I do think that I ( sort of) comprehend the principles by which computers operate but actually fixing things? No. Not at all.

But I can repair clothing and leather which can save LOTS of money.

I'm actually reasonably good with computers, at least to the point that I have a reputation for it amongst technophobic humanities types. Not so much hardware, though, I guess, although I can open a thing up and switch the RAM cards, for instance.

I'm not terribly good at mending clothes, although I do make a valiant effort to stitch up holes, etc. I really only know one stitch type though, and the results are a bit crude-looking, but hey, whatever, I'm a grad student anyway.

@245 JP

I’m not terribly good at mending clothes, although I do make a valiant effort to stitch up holes, etc. I really only know one stitch type though, and the results are a bit crude-looking, but hey, whatever, I’m a grad student anyway.

I'm a postdoc now ... still mending my clothes by means of a single stitch type, resulting in the crude-looking results of my grad student days. One of these days I will have to learn a second stitch.

By stewartt1982 (not verified) on 10 Sep 2015 #permalink

I should note that I only repair clothing that I REALLY like and want to save but I have sometimes gone to extreme measures such as when I dropped curry ( korma IIRC) on an expensive grey blue thin cotton cardigan - I even asked a few Indian women about *their* solutions ( lemon juice) and attempted several times to remove the stain..But it was , alas!, in vain. Curry is forever.

Mostly, I do tiny repairs on seams- anything larger means that the item has outlived its usefulness or that I have to give it to the cleaners to fix Or donate it to charity.

My mother worked in fashion (small department stores in sales, buying, window dressing etc) and learned many tricks of the trade which I copied. She never actually *made* anything but she could fix things. The leather repairs however are self-taught through trial and error- something like repairing damaged artwork.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 11 Sep 2015 #permalink

Since "Doctor" Lyons-Weiler hasn't deigned to provide us with evidence, I have something to sing to him.

Brave Sir Robin ran away.
(“No!”)
Bravely ran away away.
(“I didn’t!”)
When danger reared it’s ugly head,
He bravely turned his tail and fled.
(“I never!”)
Yes, brave Sir Robin turned about
And gallantly he chickened out.
(“You’re lying!”)
Swiftly taking to his feet,
He beat a very brave retreat.
Bravest of the brave, Sir Robin!

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 11 Sep 2015 #permalink

How does the average American really know who is telling the truth. All we can do is listen to what people say and read what they write (on both sides of the argument). The anti vax people seem kind of crazy to me. But the pharma companies who make the vaccines and profit from them, have all been convicted of fraud (and had to pay billions). Who do you trust? crazy people or criminals. And who is doing the scientific research? Can we trust them to tell the truth?

All we can do is listen to what people say and read what they write (on both sides of the argument).

Actually, no. Firstly, vaccines are thoroughly tested. It's not just the pharmaceutical companies that test them. Authorities test them. In addition, the testing is monitored. Any attempt to "improve" matters is quickly detected and can result in heavy fines. Finally, extensive post-marketing surveillance is done so that any problems are detected. That's why one rotavirus vaccine was replaced.
Now let's look at the anti-vax side. They repeat the claim that vaccines cause autism, despite the fact that research in multiple countries scanning literally millions of people proves that false. They downplay both the risks of the diseases and the effectiveness of vaccines. They claim that recently vaccinated people can "shed" illness, even from killed and acellular vaccines. Sometimes, they claim that the vaccines parents receive cause illness in their children.
How we know who is telling the truth is by looking at the evidence in context. The evidence says that vaccines are vastly safer than the diseases they prevent. That's how we know that the anti-vax side is full of :poop:

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 24 Sep 2015 #permalink

You are forgetting the billions of dollars that have been paid out by the vaccine compensation fund. And why do we need that if they are so safe. Why are vaccine manufacturers exempt from liability and also the docs and nurses giving them? Why do we need a special court for them? No other industry has that. Why did the pharma companies lobby the government to get this court, if there product is so safe and harmless. Think about it. The court has even said that vaccines caused autism in some of the cases. Some of the research you take as truth is so bad. For example, as a placebo, they use everything in the vaccine (all chemicals adjuvents, ect.) except the antigen. They call that a placebo. If you really want to know the truth you would use a saline solution or something harmless. The research you trust so much is largely done by the pharma industry and CDC. The leaders at the CDC eventually work for pharma. Major conflict of interest.
You did not address the fact that these pharma companies have all been convicted of fraud. How can we fully put our trust in them.
I appreciate modern medicine and doctors. I am not an anti vaxer, But I am not fully convinced either way yet. Dig deep into this with a non biased skeptical and logical mind. There are still a lot of red flags.

Per Wikipedia (not an authoritative source, but ..)

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services set up the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) in 1988 to compensate individuals and families of individuals injured by covered childhood vaccines. The VICP was adopted in response to concerns over the pertussis portion of the DPT vaccine. Several U.S. lawsuits against vaccine makers won substantial awards. Most makers ceased production, and the last remaining major manufacturer threatened to do so. The VICP uses a no-fault system for resolving vaccine injury claims. Compensation covers medical and legal expenses, loss of future earning capacity, and up to $250,000 for pain and suffering; a death benefit of up to $250,000 is available. If certain minimal requirements are met, legal expenses are compensated even for unsuccessful claims. Since 1988, the program has been funded by an excise tax of 75 cents on every purchased dose of covered vaccine. To win an award, a claimant must show a causal connection; if medical records show a child has one of several listed adverse effects soon after vaccination, the assumption is that it was caused by the vaccine. The burden of proof is the civil-law preponderance-of-the-evidence standard, in other words a showing that causation was more likely than not. Denied claims can be pursued in civil courts, though this is rare.
By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 25 Sep 2015 #permalink

"You are forgetting the billions of dollars that have been paid out by the vaccine compensation fund."

Please do a simple math problem. Look at the first table here. Go to the last line. Take the total number of vaccines given during the time period covered in that table (2,532,428,541), and then divide it by the total number of compensated claims (1903).

Tell us the result and what it means. Compare the results to the effects of diseases like measles, pertussis, diphtheria, etc.

"Why did the pharma companies lobby the government to get this court, if there product is so safe and harmless."

It wasn't. It was folks like Barbara Loe Fisher who lobbied for it. Pharmaceutical companies were responding to lawsuits by not manufacturing the vaccines, which caused a shortage and an increase of pertussis. This was especially disastrous in the UK.

But the pharma companies who make the vaccines and profit from them, have all been convicted of fraud (and had to pay billions)
You did not address the fact that these pharma companies have all been convicted of fraud.

There's someone who's doing his own research .

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 25 Sep 2015 #permalink

"Why are vaccine manufacturers exempt from liability and also the docs and nurses giving them?"

Why do antivaxers keep repeating this meme when it is demonstrably false?

http://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php/doctors-liabilit…

"The court has even said that vaccines caused autism in some of the cases."

Name one.

"You did not address the fact that these pharma companies have all been convicted of fraud. How can we fully put our trust in them."

Does this mean you also reject all drugs (including antibiotics, anti-clot medications in stroke, insulin etc.) because drug companies have done bad things? Better hope you enjoy perfect health until the moment of death.

"I am not an anti vaxer."

Of course you aren't. Antivaxers don't exist, if we are to believe them. They're Just Asking Questions.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 25 Sep 2015 #permalink

Scot@251:

You did not address the fact that these pharma companies have all been convicted of fraud. How can we fully put our trust in them.

Your point? Andrew Wakefield also got busted for fraud. Hasn't stopped you lot polishing his sphincter to a high sheen every day since.

Of course nobody blindly trusts Big Pharma - that's why it's got a buttload of regulatory bodies and laws to stomp on it should it step out of line. Funny enough, they're not the ones working to undermine the FDA. If movement anti-vaxers and their attendant quack industries were half as well regulated, half of them would be in jail for reckless endangerment, child abuse, and/or fraud. Funny how anti-vaxers never seem so concerned when the lies and harm are committed by their own camp. Double standards much?

scot:

The court has even said that vaccines caused autism in some of the cases.

False. The Vaccine Court in the US has NEVER rule that vaccines cause autism. And don't bring up Hannah Poling. She was compensated because it was ruled that the vaccines she received probably worsened an underlying mitochondrial disorder. Only one court in the world has ruled that the MMR causes autism, and that verdict was overturned on appeal.

I am not an anti vaxer.

If you are repeating lies, falsities and distortions about vaccines and their risks, you ARE an anti vwxer.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 26 Sep 2015 #permalink

So, vaccines worsen underlying mitochondrial disorders, which lead to autism like symptoms? If you are OK with that, then you are unable to connect dots. Where are your street smarts? You would get mugged if you ever had to walk through a dangerous neighborhood at night. Hannah was paid millions.
Since you are so educated Julian, what is a placebo, and if you were conducting a vaccine safety experiment, what would you use as a placebo? If you really want to find the truth, what would you use as a placebo? Please be non-biased and honest.
You want to label me an anti vaxer, just because I am skeptical and question things. I am skeptical on both sides of the argument. I am just a person trying to find the truth by reading things on the internet. I said on my first post that the anti vax people seem a bit crazy. Its a feeling I get. But I also get the feeling that the pro vaccine people are hiding something and have no problem with lying. I even get the feeling that you are being paid by big pharma to counter all the anti vax people. Because you never question them, not even a little.

Okay scot, you lost the argument the moment you said "I am just a person trying to find the truth by reading things on the Internet."

Go crack open a book on immunology, you'll be better served.

I am just a person trying to find the truth by reading things on the Internet.

“It is a mark of insincerity of purpose to spend one's time in looking for the sacred Emperor in the low-class tea-shops.”

you are unable to connect dots
I suppose it is possible to talk about "connecting the dots" without being a conspiracy-chasing dramadillo, but it doesn't happen very often.

what is a placebo?
That whole "reading things on the Internet" strategy does not seem to work for learning the basic fundaments of the subject one is talking about.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 01 Oct 2015 #permalink

I am just a person trying to find the truth by reading things on the Internet.

That was your first mistake.

I am being honest. I am reading things on the internet. I don't take everything I read as truth what so ever. This blog is on the internet. I have a bachelors of science degree (which I know is no big deal). I actually have taken immunology in college from Phd's. I know Jenner from England was one of the first to experiment with vaccines. Immunology text books only discuss what vaccines are and how they work. They do not go into there manufacturing, the ingredients, adjuvents, the safety studies, or the vaccine injury compensation fund. Her doktor bimler, I know the basic fundamental of this subject. I know what a placebo is and should be.
Please answer what placebo you would use when doing a vaccine safety experiment. You dodged the question.

scot,
What you don't realize is that many of us have asked those questions, years ago, have read a great deal about the subject and come to the inescapable conclusion that vaccines are remarkably safe compared to the alternative,

So, vaccines worsen underlying mitochondrial disorders, which lead to autism like symptoms? If you are OK with that, then you are unable to connect dots.

Would you prefer to leave a person with a mitochondrial disorder unvaccinated and vulnerable to infections that are very likely to cause far greater problems than autism-like symptoms? Have you thought that through?

Hannah was paid millions.

I am skeptical about the effects of vaccines on Hannah Poling, especially since she had a chronic ear infection that would surely have had a greater effect on her immune system than a couple of vaccines. Some have suggested that the kind of symptoms Hannah experienced would occur in those with her condition with or without vaccination. Hannah was compensated by the Vaccine Court but that does not necessarily mean that vaccine were definitely to blame for her symptoms.Personally I would like to see all parents of children with disabilities given government support regardless of the cause.

Since you are so educated Julian, what is a placebo, and if you were conducting a vaccine safety experiment, what would you use as a placebo? If you really want to find the truth, what would you use as a placebo? Please be non-biased and honest.

I suspect you have fallen for the antivaxxer lie that vaccines are only tested against the vaccine without preservatives and adjuvants. All vaccine ingredients are first tested against a saline placebo, and only after their effects are well characterized are other vaccines tested against them. Here's a discussion of placebos in vaccine trials.

You want to label me an anti vaxer, just because I am skeptical and question things. I am skeptical on both sides of the argument.

No, you give a strong impression of being an antivaxxer because you have come here making claims that we have seen here a hundred times before, like the implicit claim that vaccines are not tested against a real placebo, which is just not true.

But I also get the feeling that the pro vaccine people are hiding something and have no problem with lying.

Whatever gives you that idea? If you can find any lies from pro-vaccine people I would be very surprised. Conversely I could give you a dozen links to blatant lies on multiple antivaccine sites. Check out what they say about formaldehyde for a start, if you don't believe me.

I even get the feeling that you are being paid by big pharma to counter all the anti vax people. Because you never question them, not even a little.

That isn't true either. To my knowledge no one commenting here is paid to do so, and there is frequent discussion of vaccine safety and efficacy here. I support vaccines because I have read a great deal about them over several years, and the more I read the more convinced I am that the antivaxxers are gravely mistaken.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 01 Oct 2015 #permalink

Hannah was compensated by the Vaccine Court

No, she wasn't. The case was withdrawn from the Omnibus and settled.

Scot: "Hannah was paid millions."

Is there any reason why you have not answered my requests on Comment #253? Did you know your computer does have a built in calculator?

So what does that little math problem show about vaccines, especially compared to the diseases?

"I even get the feeling that you are being paid by big pharma to counter all the anti vax people."

This baffles me. It implies that it is cheaper to let kids get measles, mumps, pertussis, Hib, etc, than to get them vaccinated. During recent measles outbreaks about one in ten who got measles ended up needing hospital care. How is that cheaper than providing two MMR vaccines for around a total of $150 or so?

Scot, use your Internet research skills to show to me that it is so much cheaper to treat kids, which includes hospital care, than to vaccinate them. Though, there are some restrictions: only PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers are allowed. A couple examples (both available free to read online):

Pediatrics. 2014 Apr;133(4):577-85.
Economic Evaluation of the Routine Childhood Immunization Program in the United States, 2009.

West J Med. 1996 Jul-Aug;165(1-2):20-5.
Pediatric hospital admissions for measles. Lessons from the 1990 epidemic.

I should mention that I support vaccines because my oldest ended up going to the hospital by ambulance due to a disease, which he got before there was a vaccine for it (over twenty five years ago). Hence my question of why it is better to let kids get sick instead of vaccinating them.

Scot - I'm a supporter of childhood vaccinations because I was born too soon for anything but polio and smallpox, and consequently I caught all the currently vaccine-preventable childhood diseases, as did my siblings and my classmates. This is in a middle-class white suburb of Detroit in the late 50's/early 60's, with indoor plumbing, clean water, and access to medical care.

We're currently experiencing a mumps outbreak in our jurisdiction and you know what? It's been so long since there's been a mumps case in this county that the charge nurse from a local walk-in clinic confessed she'd never seen a case outside a textbook. Same with measles.

Care to guess why younger healthcare professionals in this country have never seen a case of the mumps when 50 years ago they were common as mud? Hmmmm?

“I even get the feeling that you are being paid by big pharma to counter all the anti vax people.”

Sometimes I even get the feeling that people asking stupid questions on the Intertubes are ill-informed numpties.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 01 Oct 2015 #permalink

So, vaccines worsen underlying mitochondrial disorders, which lead to autism like symptoms?

Your home-study program at the University of G—le has been woefully inadequate. The idea was that postvaccinal fever could provoke a metabolic crisis and unmask a mitochondrial disorder. Here's the conclusion from that paper:*

"These data emphasize the need for larger studies investigating the role of fever, plus coexisting metabolic abnormalities in patients with mitochondrial disease who experience autistic regression. Children with identified mitochondrial diseases are routinely managed carefully by their physicians with aggressive fever control and hydration. In this context, vaccination of children with mitochondrial diseases is recommended. In our experience, the vast majority of patients with mitochondrial diseases receives[**] a full vaccination schedule according to American Academy of Pediatric guidelines without consequences, particularly when physicians are sensitive to fever control and hydration. In our patients with mitochondrial disease and autistic spectrum disorders, the vaccines did not appear related to the neurologic regression. Unfortunately, many children with abnormal development caused by mitochondrial diseases are not diagnosed leaving physicians without management guidelines. Enhanced awareness of the clinical symptoms of mitochondrial diseases among physicians and referral to experts in mitochondrial disease for proper evaluation is important for identification of treatable defects, for genetic counseling, and for incorporation of appropriate management plans into patient care, particularly during periods of fever, infection, and dehydration."

Shoffner et al.*** of course point out that it's a very small N. The thing is that the only person who seems to be trying to run with this is Rossignol (see the previous footnote,
but change it from being optional if you're going to start trotting his stuff out). Moreover, that tack would immediately widen your starting point, "So, vaccines worsen underlying mitochondrial disorders, which lead to autism like symptoms?"

To what extent do you expect random people to be responsible for trying to dredge something specific from your casual word-deposits?

* A year after the concession in Poling, mind you.
** Such jarring errors are almost invariably the result of brain-dead copy editors in my experience, just BTW.
*** In this context, you really might want to try popping that name into the search box, if it actually does what one would hope after the crack SB technical staff decided to go all bonobo on the site redesign.

^ Regarding my (currently) comment 264, I should have said that the case was conceded, although I presume there was a settlement process.

Per Jon Poling,

"Offit confuses issues by comparing Hannah's case with unrelated decisions in 'vaccine court.' The Office of the Secretary of DHHS, through the Department of Justice, conceded Hannah's case. There was no courtroom hearing and no decision from the 'unusual vaccine court.'"

^^ More </b> fail; should've ended at "conceded."

Scot:

So, vaccines worsen underlying mitochondrial disorders, which lead to autism like symptoms?

You fail. Firstly, "autism-like symptoms" is not the same as autism. Secondly, it was ruled that the vaccines may have worsened her condition, not that they did.
The rest of your comments have already been dismantled.

You want to label me an anti vaxer, just because I am skeptical and question things.

No. We label you an anti vaxer because you repeated the lie that courts have ruled that vaccines caused autism. Only one court in the world ruled that, and that verdict was overturned on appeal.
One last thing.

I even get the feeling that you are being paid by big pharma to counter all the anti vax people.

That comment is called the "pharma shill gambit". If you invoke it, you are antivaccine.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 01 Oct 2015 #permalink

Narad,

"Hannah was compensated by the Vaccine Court"
No, she wasn’t. The case was withdrawn from the Omnibus and settled.

I have been confused by this before, I seem to recall. The Special Master in the case wrote (according to Matt Carey at LBRB):

Based on the persuasive factors supporting petitioner’s vaccine claim and respondent’s election not to challenge petitioner’s claim, the undersigned finds that petitioner is entitled to compensation under the Vaccine Program. Accordingly, a determination of damages is appropriate.

Isn't that compensation by the Vaccine Court?

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 02 Oct 2015 #permalink

@Krebiozen: Hannah's family was compensated by the Vaccine Court, but not (as originally submitted) as part of the Omnibus proceedings. They were compensated due to her mitochondrial disease worsening after some vaccines with fever. They weren't compensated for "vaccines causing Hannah's autism".

MI Dawn,

They weren’t compensated for “vaccines causing Hannah’s autism”.

I never intended to suggest they were. I previously missed Narad's response out at #264 that (if I understand him) it wasn't the Vaccine Court that awarded the settlement, but the DVIC after a concession by the DHHS, though I don't really see the distinction. Law is clearly not my forte.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 02 Oct 2015 #permalink
Accordingly, a determination of damages is appropriate.

Isn’t that compensation by the Vaccine Court?

It's boilerplate solemnization of a prearranged settlement; the court didn't really do anything.

@Krebiozen: no, I didn't think you were. I was trying to clarify, and did a rotten job. Law isn't my thing, either. :)

One thing is for sure. After reading all of these posts...If a CDC researcher ever found a link between autism and vaccines we would never hear about it. That researcher would be attacked forever by the vaccine zealots and the pharmaceutical industry with unlimited funding. Dr Thompson has done absolutely nothing wrong, yet he is being demonized by the pharmaceutical industry and their "on the take " puppets in congress who fund the Centers for Disease Control where he is employed. Here's a guy who is just trying to make the world a better place to live.... and look what it got him. If any reasearcher finds anything wrong with a multibillion dollar a year mass vaccination program, that researcher will be demonized. So meanwhile, while the vaccine is wreaking havoc in the lives of innumerable countries, the pharmaceutical industry continues to make a profit, congressional representative continue to get kickbacks from the pharmaceutical industry and the pharmaceutical industry is totaly protected from litigation by laws passed by their puppets in congress. In a nutshell...we're all fucked.

By Wendy ARd (not verified) on 27 Oct 2015 #permalink

One thing is for sure. After reading all of these posts

There will be a test after class to make sure that you were paying attention.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 27 Oct 2015 #permalink

Here's something to chew on. Can anyone here justify why we went from the 1986 schedule of 10 vaccines under the age of 2 all the way up to the 27 the current mandates schedule calls for? Keep in mind that ALL the major diseases were well controlled by that schedule of 10. No one was dying in the streets from any of these diseases, so why the sudden explosion of the schedule??? The only reason I can find that makes any sense is to increase vaccine profits for pharmaceuticals, and here's why:
Vaccine makers cut a deal with congress in 1986 that lifted all liability for vaccine injuries. Why did this happen?? Because vaccine makers were getting out of the business due to a string of successful multi-million dollar vaccine injury law suits from the early 80s (14 manufacturers quickly went down to 2). The govt couldn't do all the R&D and distribution, so they cut the deal that brought us the VICP (Vaccine Injury Compensation Program). A $.75 tax for each vaccine is collected by the vaccine maker and put into the government administered fund and then paid out to vaccine injured individuals (complete with a gag order and no admission of direct responsibility for any damage).
This seems like a reasonable solution to a difficult issue, until you consider what vaccine makers are: for profit organizations who have consistently and repeatedly distorted science to sell more of their products, and this is in areas where they ARE liable and CAN be directly financially responsible for their actions (see the billions that Johnson&Johnson or GlaxoKleinSmith have paid out recently for completely cooking their studies, among many other things).
With this in mind, it's easy to see the next step. After 1986 vaccine makers started producing lots of research showing that 2 or 3 (or 4) shots of a vaccine produced progressively higher uptake rates. This research got presented to the CDC (whose vaccine approval board was populated by anything but impartial players), and by 1994 the schedule was 20 instead of 10, and 27 by 2004.
Here's the problem: Based on what all parties already knew about vaccines, that original schedule of 10 vaccinations was capable of producing violent neurological and autoimmune reactions in a small number of individuals. These unfortunate individuals were either dead or required intensive care for the rest of their lives, hence the large sums the VICP pays out to individuals. Increasing that schedule three fold has had predictable results. Since 2011 the VICP has paid out over $1,000,000,000 (yes $1 billion) in direct compensation.
The first two things on their list of things they compensate for:
(1) Anaphylaxis and anaphylactic shock. For purposes of paragraph (a) of this section, Anaphylaxis and anaphylactic shock mean an acute, severe, and potentially lethal systemic allergic reaction.
(2) Encephalopathy. For purposes of paragraph (a) of this section, a vaccine recipient shall be considered to have suffered an encephalopathy only if such recipient manifests, within the applicable period, an injury meeting the description below of an acute encephalopathy
( http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/vaccinetable.html )

To see the compensation numbers, look on page 8 here: http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/vicpmonthlyoctober15.pdf

Ok, so we know that vaccines can cause severe and traumatic neurological and autoimmune injuries (anaphylaxis is the peak autoimmune injury our bodies can have). One would think there would be lots of research done to determine how and why this is happening, but there is absolutely none, because we, the tax payers, are picking up the injury tab so there's absolutely no incentive to do anything but find ways to make more vaccines. Instead we see loads of misinformation making the uninformed think we have to choose between 1880's disease levels or just take every damn shot Merck brews up for us and shut the hell up (the ex-head of the CDC who rammed Gardisil thru took a mandatory 366 day break and then took a job as head of vaccines for Merck...I'm just sayin').
So the greater question is for a toxicologist. If we KNOW that vaccines can cause these traumatic reactions, what do we know in general about neurotoxic reactions in the body? Well, it's pretty simple. Generally there are a few explosive reactions, and then there is an entire bell curve of lower level, sub-acute reactions that can take months or years to manifest. What would we expect to see if a sub-acute, yet destructive neurotoxin were introduced to babies? Probably lots of neurological problems cropping up over a longer time. What are we seeing in our childhood population? 1 in 6 children currently in our school system currently suffers from some kind of neuro-developmental disorder. 1 in 3 suffers from some kind of autoimmune disorder. What are we compensating vaccine injury victims for again??? Oh yeah, neurological and autoimmune damage. Just because there is a flat refusal to do any research on this dynamic doesn't mean reality isn't reality (there are about 80,000 kids/year born and not vaccinated...it really wouldn't be hard to study this). We understand how the body and brain develop and interact with artificially introduced chemicals about as well as surgeons understood an ACL tear in 1975. The problem with doing research on where these very real injuries come from and how to improve the system is that admitting any kind of problem would expose both the govt and vaccine makers to a massive amount of liability and unwanted scrutiny. I respect medical professionals trying to make our lives better, but we are allowing corporate profits to be the primary driver here. Pharmaceuticals are the almost exclusive funder of the AMA, they provide about 80% of the medical research funding, while also populating the CDC and FDA with their shadows. Financial liability is the only thing that really holds them in check in their other ventures (which obviously still isn't much of a deterrent), but it simply isn't there with vaccines thanks to the VICP. How would you expect these organizations to behave in this situation?

Congratulations if you made it thru all that. Feel free to comment, but don't bother if you're just going to hate. Remember my basic question: why do we need 27 vaccines when 10 was working just fine. For some of you guys on this blog...wake the hell up you bunch of lick-spittles!!!

Let's see - first, you are incorrect. There are no "gag" orders for NVICP claims or settlements. In fact, the only times the records are sealed is when the plaintiffs request that it be done.

Second, we now immunize for diseases that were around and killing people (or just maiming them) in 1986 - so the jump from 10 to 27 now covers:

HepB - chronic infections still kill more than 6000 people per year.

Rotavirus - can cause serious harm or death in infants if not treated

Hib - very serious childhood disease

Chicken Pox - killed more than 400 children per year

Influenza - upwards of 100 or more babies still die each and every year from the Flu

And of course, Meningitis and Pneumonia vaccines.

Science marches on - I'm glad that we can now immunize for these diseases which, at minimum, killed hundreds and maimed thousands, each and every year.

It is quite possible, if the NVICP hadn't been passed in 1986, that vaccine production might have ended entirely...resulting in the death of thousands.

Also, we know that the safety and efficacy of vaccines is proven not just by what comes out of the FDA, NIH or CDC, but also by regulatory and educational institutions from all over the world (including countries that aren't friendly to the US).

So, do you believe there is a worldwide conspiracy to support vaccines?

Well, Brendan, let's start at the top. We're protecting against a lot more illnesses now. Children are being protected against Hepatitis A and B, chicken pox (and oh, how I wish that vaccine had been available 3 years earlier - it would have saved my children much misery), rotavirus, etc. We started protecting against the more dangerous/infectious illnesses, and then worked down to the less dangerous but still able to kill/cause hospitalization. But maybe you've been lucky and not had children who caught any of those.

How about statistics to support your numbers? After all, when I was young, children had those problems but were shunted away to institutions, the "retard classes" or just considered slow or problematic children. We're better at identifying them now. They just aren't hidden away. Autoimmune disease also existed. People also died younger.

Vaccine court exists to compensate those who *are* truly injured by vaccines. No one denies it happens. The advantage is, it takes a lot less proof to get money from there than it does if you sue a car manufacturer for injures caused by the seatbelt in an accident.

And the government agencies named only affect the USA. How do those agencies have any affect in the UK, Australia, Germany, Norway...the list goes on and on.

Not hating, just asking you for your proof.

Also, car accidents result in payouts of more than 120 Billion dollars per year to cover injuries and deaths....the NVICP has paid out around $3 Billion dollars over 28 years - which is about $80 Million dollars per year.

You have a great chance of being struck by lightning, multiple times, than you do of suffering a severe vaccine reaction.

Also, you claim the research hasn't been done - yet I can point to dozens, if not hundreds of studies, that have been done to determine any link between vaccines and severe illnesses or death....

In fact, it was an examination of VAERS data that led to the removal of the first Rotavirus vaccine from the market - which pretty much gives lie to your statement that the FDA / CDC is in the pocket of "Big Pharma."

Also, Brendan, tell me why I have a smallpox vaccine scar but my sister, born 5 years after me, doesn't.

And lastly, vaccines are perhaps the most scrutinized biologics on the planet. Not only are they required to pass the standard clinical trials (safety, efficacy, etc), but they are then tracked, post-release, through multiple active and passive surveillance systems, including VAERS and the Vaccine Safety Datalink.

Research into vaccine safety has also been funded by insurance companies and managed health care companies - both groups having a vested interest in vaccine safety. Yet there studies all show that vaccines are safe and effective.

Safeminds, a notorious anti-vax group, funded a study on the vaccine schedule, and even it came back saying that vaccines don't cause the ills that they claimed they did.

Not hating, just pointing out that your premise is entirely incorrect based on the actual evidence available.

@MI Dawn - good point. If vaccine manufacturers do a good enough job, they'll put themselves out of business....

Meaning, once a disease has been eradicated, there is no need for the vaccine.

@Lawrence: I'm wondering if Brendan will come back or if he/she is a drive-by. But if they come back with "smallpox wasn't eradicated by vaccines, it was renamed/cured by isolation/whatever" I'm going to push for their peer-reviewed proof.

A really enjoyable book about the CDC and EIS is "Inside the Outbreaks" by Mark Pendergrast. The chapters on the push to eradicate smallpox worldwide are fascinating. Not sure how I feel about the tactics and "end justifies the means" mentality. But I have to say I'm really happy my kids never had to be vaccinated against smallpox!

Brenden: "Here’s something to chew on. Can anyone here justify why we went from the 1986 schedule of 10 vaccines under the age of 2 all the way up to the 27 the current mandates schedule calls for? Keep in mind that ALL the major diseases were well controlled by that schedule of 10. No one was dying in the streets from any of these diseases, so why the sudden explosion of the schedule???"

In 1990 I met a woman whose child that was born in 1987 died before turning age two from the meningitis caused by Hib. Please explain how that disease caused no deaths.

The year before the varicella vaccine came out, all three of my kids got it. This included a six month old baby, who was in pure misery for almost two weeks.

Only a sadistic child hater would not want to prevent the diseases that we vaccinate for. Or you are just an idiot. Your choice.

"If we KNOW that vaccines can cause these traumatic reactions, what do we know in general about neurotoxic reactions in the body? "

Though, you can prove you are not an idiot by providing the PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers than any vaccine on the present American pediatric schedule causes more harm than the disease. Remember influenza kills at least a hundred kids per year, as did chicken pox before the vaccine. Also rotavirus accounted for thousand of trips to the hospital and many deaths. So prove yourself, or just be regarded as an idiotic sadistic child hater.

Given that Smallpox still managed to kill about 400 Million people, just in the 20th Century, I'm really, really happy that it is gone.....just wish the last samples had been incinerated when they had the chance.

Vaccine makers cut a deal with congress in 1986 that lifted all liability for vaccine injuries. Why did this happen?? Because vaccine makers were getting out of the business due to a string of successful multi-million dollar vaccine injury law suits from the early 80s

Do be so kind as to define "a string."

It wasn't "successful" cases - it was the cost of defending against a number of frivolous cases.

MI Dawn @287: I love that book! One of my infectious diseases professors is in there for his work on the E. coli O157:H7.

Lawrence @289: Have you read "The Demon in the Freezer" by Richard Preston? (Yes, the Hot Zone guy.) It's about both the program to eradicate smallpox and the modern research with it.

One of the most touching stories about smallpox and vaccination is that the man who was the last ever wild case of smallpox spent the rest of his life as a polio vaccination worker.

By JustaTech (not verified) on 30 Oct 2015 #permalink

Another interesting book on eradication smallpox is House on Fire: The Fight to Eradicate Smallpox by William H. Foege. He is an epidemiologist who was part of the program (the book is autobiographical). One of the buildings of the medical/biological sciences of the local university is named after him (and he is still alive, and quite active):
http://www.humanosphere.org/special/2014/06/profile-global-health-prank…

Because 10 vaccines WEREN'T working just fine, Brendan. They didn't protect kids against illnesses that were at best painful and unpleasant (I was born in 1955 and have first-hand experience of almost all of them) and at worst maimed or killed.

And who was the big expert witness in the DTP cases that led to the vaccine act? Dr Geier.

And subsequently, the entire basis of the lawsuits, and the compensations that arose, have been found to be entirely wrong.

By Brian Deer (not verified) on 30 Oct 2015 #permalink

And don't forget the fractured testimony of Gordon Stewart.

@Brian Deer

Thanks for that, and for this:
http://briandeer.com/wakefield/dtp-garth.htm

It's interesting that anti-vaxxers are so obviously unable to understand the evidence.

In particular, regarding DTP and compensation for alleged vaccine injuries, it's long been clear that the cases that are repetitively cited by loons as evidence that the government has long quietly compensated autism-related vaccine injury were actually determined by pre-existing mutations rather than vaccination.

Feel free to comment, but don’t bother if you’re just going to hate.

I hope Brendan doesn't mind "pointing and laughing".

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 30 Oct 2015 #permalink

I was thinking about trying to sketch out this history, but ando meio desligado, [1] so I'm just punting.

There's a very interesting sourcebook here summarizing the relevant DTP [2] litigation.

There's also a law review article from 1990 by Compton & Compton [3] that alludes to Toner and Graham (where I was going to go in the first place, hence this source) but also provides a rather different picture of the situation from NViC's version of history. [4] This seems to turn upon a House subcommittee report, which happens to be available. [5]

The rest is left as an exercise for the reader, but one take-home point is that the basic unpredictability of state tort law [6] made federal preemption of some sort nearly inevitable. (I'm going to be even more lazy at this point and just guess that the Bruesewitzes' "unavoidably unsafe" argument [7] was an angle afforded by specific opportunity in Pennsylvania case law.)

The only question is its form.

[1] The reworked official video is an interesting comparison and perhaps closer to the target.
[2] Because wP wasn't a toxoid vaccine per se, simple parallelism suggests that this is a better editorial choice than "DPT."
[3] Available at h[]tp://lawschool.unm.edu/nmlr/volumes/20/3/02_compton_dpt.pdf; it's possible to skim or skip the dated liability analysis.
[4] See http://www.nvic.org/Myths-and-Facts.aspx, particularly under "July 1986."
[5] See, e.g., http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/002768801.
[6] But see Vetri, "Order Out of Chaos: Products Liability Design-Defect Law," available at http://lawreview.richmond.edu/?p=377 (except the PDF), for a more recent, rosier view.
[7] Which, again, was rejected by the Supreme Court. A look through the Patterson book will reveal that application of comment k wasn't exactly uniform. For that matter, I don't know the degree to which there's disparity in adoption of the second and third tort Restatements.

^ I knew I forgot something important with the comment in link-moderation.

Hello Team,

I'm organizing a book club for the 1st of January. First book to be discussed will be Mistakes were made, but not by me.

Any person interested, ring me a bell at:

alain.toussaint

at

securivm.ca

Al