Guest blogger on VAERS, gastric issues and autism

13 Jan

Manipulating VAERS - guest blogger Dr Nick Riviera

Hi Everybody!

OK, now I wanna talk to you about how good VAERS is for showing stuff. Now I know there are some so called ‘Doctors’ who _didn’t_ get their qualifications via mailorder (yeah, right! As if that were even possible) who think VAERS ain’t so good:

…the VAERS database is designed only as an early warning system for reporting adverse events thought to be due to vaccines. It is not designed to track the incidence or prevalence of vaccine complications.

…the database has been corrupted by litigation, with a dramatic increase of entries linked to litigation claiming that thimerosal caused the plaintiff’s child’s autism.

Hey! So what right? As I once said to a patient of mine: _”Now by the morning you’ll be good as new. Or dead. The important thing is, we’ll know.”_

So, these two guys once showed how VAERS can be made to say whatever you want and as part of my duty as a doctor I want you to know how you can do it too! Hey, maybe I should charge for this – I once gave a guy a triple bypass and let me tell you, the most rewarding part was when he gave me my money.

So, some people say that the MMR vaccine gave their kids measles in their tummies (sorry for the medical jargon friends!) and that it makes them poop or get bunged up (more medical jargon friends – sorry! I have to use it though. Medicine is nasty. A friend gave me a copy of Gray’s Anatomy…that’s how we look like inside? It’s disgusting! Whoa! It had a picture of a lady who’d swallowed a baby!).

Now these same people gave some Doctors lots of money to try and prove a link between vaccines and autism and they used VAERS like a couple of diva’s!

So here’s my take on using VAERS and how you can use it yourself to prove anything you want! Really! But remember, if something should go wrong, let’s not get the law involved.

If you go to this page on the intrawebnet you can get all the numbers you need to get what we doctors like to call ‘numbers’. These ‘numbers’ are like who did what and told VAERS about it.

Anyway, I got this guy to download them for me and I asked him to import them into MS Access so I could analyse the numbers – just like this dad and his little boy did – anyway, after he finished laughing, he explained to me that using MS Access to analyse data is like trying to paint the Forth Road Bridge with a toothbrush so he did this computery thing he called ‘merging the tables’ and then imported them into what he called ‘an _actual_ relational database – MySQL.

I gotta be honest friends, I don’t know what the hell he was talking about but he told me he’d handwritten _’all the Queries in the command line interface’_ so – cool. I guess. Whatever.

Anyway – here’s my first graph for you. Using VAERS data we can show that out of a total (up to Nov 2006) of 202,011 submissions to VAERS, 1003 mentioned the word ‘autism’ as a symptom.

Out of our sub-group (I’ll go easy on the medical terminology friends, Dr Nick promises!) of 1003 identified as reporting autism as a symptom, a total of 84 used the word ‘Diarrhea’ as a symptom and a total of 5 used the word ‘constipation’. Have a look at the graph I drew (OK, OK, did in Excel):

Pie chart of previously discussed numbers Now that means that, just like my good friends the Geier’s, I have _used VAERS to prove something _ – that 92% of people who have autism have no gastric issues at all! Now, where’s my money?

What? More? Oh OK – Dr. Nick loves you all!

We could also _prove_ that 53% (486 vs 428) of people reporting autism didn’t have the MMR jab. I guess that means nearly half of people who think MMR caused their kids autism are full of pooh-pooh (its a family show kids).

Pie chart of previously discussed numbers

And if we delve even deeper we could _prove_ that 89% of people who are autistic and who have had an MMR jab have no gastric issues at all – look at this doozy of a graph!

Pie chart of previously discussed numbers

How cools is _that_?

The computery guy wanted me to tell you that ‘%gastro%’ is like a wildcard search where the percent signs could be anything before or after the phrase ‘gastro’. Whatever, right?

Dr Nick Riviera

Just remember these things next time someone tells you VAERS is a good source of data. Its _so_ not, but in the right hands, it can make you a pot of money friends! And remember….you need help? Call 1-600-DOCTORB! The “B” is for BARGAIN!”

Bye Everybody!

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27 Responses to “Guest blogger on VAERS, gastric issues and autism”

  1. livsparents January 14, 2007 at 00:21 #

    Watch what you say about Dr Nick, he’s my Primary care physician and perhaps 70% of all in the US covered by HMOs (acronym for Hazardous to My Organs)! VAERS acronym is Valuable Asset for Expensive Random Suits…

  2. Do'C January 14, 2007 at 03:16 #

    Great job Dr. Nick!
    I wasn’t the least bit surprised to see this article about you in PubMed. Link

    Of course you had skeptics too. Link

    Free full-texts for both.

  3. Sophist January 14, 2007 at 04:33 #

    I understand Celiac’s Disease is more common amongst auties. And there’s also lighter versions where there’s just a “sensitivity”.

    I wonder if many of these problems (assuming parents aren’t 100% crazy or lying to suit their wants) might not better account for some of the gastrointestinal symptoms reported. Not saying it causes autism. But that it may be genetically related; i.e., yet another symptom.

    Gluten being an inflammatory agent, perhaps some of us are just more sensitive to such agents. I mean, we certainly tend to report more allergies, and from some of the unofficial research I’ve been doing, (from a very small sample so far mind you), about half of those reporting– mix of parents and autistics– they show immunological reactions following infant vaccinations. Not all of those showed regression though.

    It may be possible there is an immune disorder attached to some ASDs, and that possibly we react not to the mercury, etc., in the vaccines but the actual viral DNA itself, causing a lighter version of the very illness being innoculated for.

    Just some thoughts.

  4. María Luján January 14, 2007 at 05:44 #

    Hi Sophist
    One of the most interesting recent studies I saw on gluten intolerance was
    “Gluten sensitivity as a neurological illness”:http://jnnp.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/72/5/560
    Gluten intolerance can have a particular form, including epilepsy and brain calcifications
    “Neurological complications of coeliac disease”:http://pmj.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/78/921/393
    About food allergies, there are several kinds, such as this review presents:
    “Kind of food allergies related to milk/gluten/others”:http://www.gerber.com/content/usa/html/pages/pediatricbasics/articles/095_01-allergies.html
    The recently reported MET correlation in ASD is particularly interesting to explore IMHO.
    “A genetic variant that disrupts MET transcription is associated with autism”:http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/103/45/16834
    All these manuscripts are in line with your ideas.Thanks

  5. Ms. Clark January 14, 2007 at 05:51 #

    So out of a half million autistic kids in the US, about *33* of them had diarrhea and also had had an MMR vaccine when their parents decided to report something to the VAERS database?

    Wow. That’s reason to stop vaccinating all the kids with the triple jab right there, isn’t it? (No) We don’t even know how bad the diarrhea problem was in these 33 kids, it could have been typical kid diarrhea. It’s not like diarrhea only happens to autistic kids, but listen to some parents and you’d think they’d invented it, or rather Glaxo-Smith-Klein (Kline?) or Eli-Lilly had.

    Amazing.

    The David Kirby/Kim Stagliano types don’t like to talk about constipation for some reason, it’s not as icky as diarrhea, I suppose. When in doubt, go for icky, it stops the conversation and people will give you what you want if only you’ll just stop talking about diarrhea. I bet the lawyers advise people like Kirby to talk diarrhea as often as possible and link it to vaccines and autism.

  6. Kev January 14, 2007 at 08:39 #

    _”It’s not clear to me why concatenating tables provides an advantage in terms of “searchability” and building relationships. As long as there’s a universal key, I think that I could do pretty well with Excel “_

    Excel’s good for analysing the data, but a good relational database can’t be beaten for building the queries in the first place. I would imagine Dr. Nick’s computery guy got all the data into MySQL then broke it down by subset (autism in whole, gastric issues within autism, mmr within autism, gastric issues within mmr within autism) and then exported the results of each query to Excel for analysis and graphing.

    And they say men can’t multitask ;o)

  7. Joseph January 14, 2007 at 12:51 #

    The good news is that VAERS reporting is declining (at least true of MMR-autism reporting). While some hold-outs will always remain, it’s clear vaccine hype is past its peak and dying out.

  8. Dr. Nick January 14, 2007 at 17:30 #

    Hi Sophist and Maria!

    Dr. Nick just got his computer nerd to search VAERS for ‘%celiac%’ – it appears 11 times in total (out of 200,000+), 3 (out of 1003) times within VAERS reports of autism and also 3 times within VAERS reports of autism with MMR.

    Thats not very much – VAERS proves Celiac disease is not a comorbidity of autism! Yeah baby!

  9. David N. Andrews MEd (Distinction) January 14, 2007 at 18:20 #

    Joseph: “While some hold-outs will always remain, it’s clear vaccine hype is past its peak and dying out.”

    Doubt very much whether that will affect the thinking of some we know of. But it is dying out, and those lone voices are now sounding pretty thin out there.

  10. Sophist January 14, 2007 at 18:50 #

    The thing about Celiac’s is so often is remains undxed. Apparently even in just the general population, the diagnosis rates have risen to 0.5-1% in recent years.

    I personally don’t think it unreasonable or even offensive to my autistic person to think perhaps I, and maybe other auties, may have a related autoimmune disorder. I for one did have a reaction to the Pertussis vaccine and my mother refused the second round. I don’t think this caused my autism, but I think it’s related genetically for me. Like I said earlier, for me I think it’s just another symptom.

    I think if parents are really worried about these vaccinations, no matter what they think is the cause, there is no harm in waiting till age two for vaccinations. By then, the child’s system is better able to overcome insults and disease. Of course they wouldn’t be able to put the child into preschool till that age or with other large groups of children. But that seems a small price to pay to alleviate worry.

    Whatever the cause, there’s no harm in postponing vaccinations. Especially since at birth or even six months to be bombarded with round after round seems a bit extreme to me. I know doctors push for it earlier. But there’s always the option to refuse.

    Though permanent refusal of vaccinations I think is going too far.

    Just my two cents.

  11. Kev January 14, 2007 at 19:11 #

    I take your point(s) Sophist – this post was a bit tongue in cheek and more about the failings of VAERS than any specific comorbidity.

    I think there could be harm in waiting for vaccines, but there is also legitimate reason for waiting. As always, the best advice will come from someones Doctor.

  12. María Luján January 14, 2007 at 22:17 #

    Hi Dr Nick
    As sophist says celiac disease – as a variant of gluten intolerance- and gluten intolerance remains undiagnosed many times.
    “Some studies looking at normal populations have shown that the prevalence of CD is much higher than previously thought13,14 (approximating to 1 in 100). Most of such patients have no gastrointestinal symptoms. In addition, experimental data in patients with gluten sensitivity suggest that there is a range of mucosal abnormalities affecting the small bowel ranging from preinfiltrative (histologically normal) to infiltrative, to hyperplastic to flat destructive (seen in CD), and finally to the irreversible hypoplastic atrophic lesions”.
    Grodzinsky E, Franzen L, Hed J, et al. High prevalence of celiac disease in healthy adults revealed by antigliadin antibodies. Annals of Allergy 1992;69:66
    Catassi C, Ratsch IM, Fabiani E, et al. Coeliac disease in the year 2000: exploring the iceberg. Lancet 1994;343:200–3.[Medline]
    Marsh MN. The natural history of gluten sensitivity: defining, refining, and re-defining. Q J Med 1995;85:9–13.
    There is no way to know about gluten intolerance- all its forms- without proper testing in ASD-not only celiac disease.
    Another point against VAERS, I think :)

  13. notmercury January 15, 2007 at 02:19 #

    Maria,
    Can it be called celiac disease if the markers used to diagnose celiac can’t be detected?

  14. MsClark January 15, 2007 at 09:24 #

    I don’t get it. If celiac is present in the general population at about 1% (I don’t know if it is, but lets say it is) and it’s present in the autistic population at the same rate, then it wouldn’t seem to be related to autism in the least, would it?

    I’m not against people looking for celiac in autism at all. I just don’t think that the evidence shows that autistic kids have peculiarly “autistic” bowel disease or that curing their bowel problems with diet (like dealing with food allergies or lactose intolerance) is going to make them less autistic. In fact depending on what aspect of “autistic” we are talking about a kid who feels better may be more “autistic.” He may feel better about pursuing a special interest whereas if he’s sick he might just sit there and look more or less normal.

    People who have kids with celiac and who are autistic are going to tend to gravitate to each other on the Internet and reinforce the feeling among themselves that all kids have autism and celiac or whatever else is giving the kid diarrhea and constipation.

    It’s similar with Wakers. He’s a gut doctor, he sees autistic kids (sent to him by a lawyer) 100% of the autistics he sees have gut problems. Ipso facto all autistic children have gut problems, and he goes out and breaks the big news to the world: gut problems, caused by vaccines, we got someone to sue, and we gots your cure right here, too!

    But lets look at autistic kids guts if they have gut problems, why not? We might find that the ones with the bigger problems have a heretofore undiagnosed genetic syndrome that can impact the digestive system, that might have a known treatment, even!

    And lets monitor how much cortisol the kid has right before this nasty bout of diarrhea. Maybe the idea of Uncle Mark coming over terrifies little Bobby and he has an attack of diarrhea as a result. Maybe it’s little Joey at the day care center who keeps kicking Bobby when no one else is looking that is causing Bobby to be blasted with cortisol perhaps resulting in ulcers, those nasty raw spots in the guts of kids that Wakefield and Krigsman seem to keep finding with pill cams and scopes.

  15. laurentius-rex January 15, 2007 at 12:48 #

    The Irony is of course that I do have a gut problem at the moment, the latest manifestation of a recurring one, and I am just glad at the moment to recieve the all clear for cancer.

    Autism worse than cancer? no give me the autism any day, and give me live coals in my gut if the alternative is dying before my time.

  16. María Luján January 15, 2007 at 14:05 #

    Hi not mercury
    I consider that CD would be an extreme version of gluten intolerance, answering your question. Gluten intolerance would need specific markers beyond those obtained from biopsies or even from certain biochemical markers known in the CD as such- as those mentioned in the manuscript I cited above.

  17. notmercury January 15, 2007 at 16:28 #

    What sort of markers and how common are they in autistic children?

  18. María Luján January 15, 2007 at 17:49 #

    Hi not mercury
    You question deserves an appropiate answer. I have recopilated information about. Because this is a bit off topic of Kev´s blog, if you are interested please contact me therefore I can send to you what I have found ( available tests, potential important tests, unavailable tests or very expensive for now for the most mild forms of gluten intolerance).

  19. anonimouse January 18, 2007 at 15:43 #

    I think if parents are really worried about these vaccinations, no matter what they think is the cause, there is no harm in waiting till age two for vaccinations. By then, the child’s system is better able to overcome insults and disease. Of course they wouldn’t be able to put the child into preschool till that age or with other large groups of children. But that seems a small price to pay to alleviate worry.

    Whatever the cause, there’s no harm in postponing vaccinations. Especially since at birth or even six months to be bombarded with round after round seems a bit extreme to me. I know doctors push for it earlier. But there’s always the option to refuse.

    Unless you have a medically accepted contradindication to vaccination, there is no reason NOT to vaccinate on schedule. The entire reason behind vaccinating so young is that the course of those diseases in the very young is often worse than in older kids. And unless you keep kids shrinkwrapped in a bubble, they have an opportunity to get those diseases from somebody.

    By the way, when you start using loaded language like “bombarded with round after round” and “older kids can better overcome insults and disease”, you reveal your true anti-vaccine – er, pro-choice mindset.

  20. Sophist January 19, 2007 at 01:26 #

    Kev said:
    “I take your point(s) Sophist – this post was a bit tongue in cheek and more about the failings of VAERS than any specific comorbidity.”

    Oh no worries. I understood and thought it was very funny. :) But it just brought up something I’d been thinking about recently, so I went on a bit of a tangent. ;)

    anonimouse said:
    “Unless you have a medically accepted contradindication to vaccination, there is no reason NOT to vaccinate on schedule. The entire reason behind vaccinating so young is that the course of those diseases in the very young is often worse than in older kids. And unless you keep kids shrinkwrapped in a bubble, they have an opportunity to get those diseases from somebody.

    By the way, when you start using loaded language like “bombarded with round after round” and “older kids can better overcome insults and disease”, you reveal your true anti-vaccine – er, pro-choice mindset.”

    On the contrary. I feel I have a healthy distrust of the FDA after seeing there are very few medicines, etc., which do not have unwanted side effects. But my proposal would show to be pro-vaccinations actually, otherwise I would recommend parents not get children vaccinated at all.

    In a parental population which is often paranoid and jumps to conclusions with minor evidence, taking a stand of compromise would be better than many parents who would downright refuse vaccinations permanently.

    In infancy and early childhood, despite that all neurons are in place, they are still developing myelin and so are still vulnerable to infection and inflammation. From what I am seeing in the small informal research studies I’m doing online, about half of those who have answered so far had immunological reactions immediately following infant vaccinations, including various-grade fevers, rashes, changes in personality, triggering of allergies, ear infections, etc., etc.

    Waiting till after or towards the end of this vulnerable period may be a WORKABLE suggestion to parents who are already worried and teetering on the edge of deciding to refuse innoculations for their child altogether.

    So contrary to what you interpreted of my words, anonimouse, I’m quite the contrary. I believe vaccinations are necessary and have made great strides in the health of the general population. However, for that small subpopulation who may possibly be immunologically reactive to some of them, waiting till after the vulnerable period of infancy may be a viable compromise.

  21. BigHeathenMike January 19, 2007 at 01:41 #

    That was awesome. I almost gave myself skin failure reading it, but thankfully I took a breather, had some booze, and chilled out before a bad case of bonus eruptus set in. Thanks!

  22. HN January 19, 2007 at 03:47 #

    Sophist said: “In infancy and early childhood, despite that all neurons are in place, they are still developing myelin and so are still vulnerable to infection and inflammation.”

    Which is exactly why infants are vaccinated against Hib, diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. Pertussis and Hib are particularly nasty to devloping brains.

    In your plan to delay these to one year old would leave many vulnerable to these infections. Take Hib:
    http://www.cdc.gov/nip/publications/pink/hib.pdf which says on page 5 “Incidence is strikingly age-dependent. In the prevaccine era, up to 60% of invasive disease occurred before age 12 months, with a peak occurrence among children 6–11 months of age. Children 60 months of age and older account for less than 10% of invasive disease.”

    Actually, when the Hib vaccine came into use it was only for older children, where it had limited success. It was only after it was approved for infants did the devastation from this disease was dramatically abated. It was approved for infants at two months of age in 1990, but reporting did not start until 1991.

    Of course, the biggest problem with this is that most parents were almost totally unaware that Hib was a problem. The small victims were often struck young and fast, and of course there was no reporting of it other than “meningitis”. It is mentioned in this video:

    http://www.researchchannel.org/prog/displayevent.aspx?rID=5170&fID=345

  23. Sophist January 22, 2007 at 08:09 #

    I’m not claiming it’s a perfect system. I can understand the reason for vaccinating, as well as vaccinating young. But for potential at-risk groups, there needs to be a decision of which is the more pressing possibility.

    IF a child is genetically prone to react poorly to a particular vaccination (and Pertussis has been a common one– even I myself reacted to this one) due to some immuno-deficiency, whatever, then administering the vaccination may well trigger exactly what it is meant to prevent.

    Like I said, it’s not perfect. But in cases like these where a sibling child has ALREADY been shown to be vaccination reactive, then the risk of a following sibling I’d imagine goes up considerably.

    In which case, the parents need to sit down with a qualified physician, hopefully one who specializes in immunology, and weigh the factors and then make a rational decision whether it would be wiser to wait for a period till the child is a bit older (providing, as you said, the vaccination is still effective by that age) or give the innoculations on schedule.

  24. Sophist January 22, 2007 at 08:13 #

    Also, I’d like to add, if a child has reacted to a vaccination and more rounds are still due, they need to be stopped.

    A doctor’s disbelief and labeling a parent as over-reactive is never wise. It usually only ensures that when something really IS going on, it’s missed.

    My mother point blank refused my second Pertussis vaccination when I had a reaction to it. So I only got the DT the second time. No reaction. Now, I’m only one person (yes, I know, a huge N of 1), but it’s something to look into as a possibility. I suspect, from hearing other personal stories, that this isn’t necessarily uncommon.

  25. anonimouse January 23, 2007 at 23:44 #

    The old DTP was pretty reactive, thus the move to the slightly less effective but much less reactive DTaP.

    As to the point about siblings – there is no real evidence that having a sibling that reacts badly to a vaccine means that you will. In fact, the studies on the subject suggest there’s no correlation.

  26. Sophist January 24, 2007 at 06:43 #

    If immuno-reactivity is based on genetics, then logically siblings would have an increased risk. Although the studies you’ve mentioned, I would like to know what they are and to read through them if possible. Are these autistic studies, or just general population reactivity? If the latter, it may be comparing apples to oranges. If the former, I’d be interested in reading them.

    Case in point, IgA deficiency (an immune disorder leading to sinus allergies, food allergies, gastrointestinal issues, difficulties with infections, etc.) which has recently begun to be studied may not be uncommon in the ASD population. One study in particular quoted that 28% of their sample had an IgA deficiency, 20% partial, 8% complete deficiency. IgA is largely a familial disorder.

    So, I’d hesitate in saying there isn’t a clear risk until further research is carried out.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Left Brain/Right Brain » David Kirby/Arthur Allen Debate Part I - January 15, 2007

    […] Kirby’s next error is when he makes reference to the ‘epidemic’ – he says in the the 90’s we start to see the number of autism cases really start to climb and that it ‘almost tracks exactly’ with the addition of thiomersal containing vaccines. This isn’t an error. Kirby knows this isn’t the case. He knows the ‘science’ that argues this hypothesis is poor, published in non peer reviewed, bad quality journals by people who utilised poor data sources. […]

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