Its IMFAR time again and over on Age of Autism (thanks to Kelli Ann Davies for this priceless hat tip) they’re getting all het-up:
SICK MONKEYS: RESEARCH LINKS VACCINE LOAD, AUTISM SIGNS
The first research project to examine effects of the total vaccine load received by children in the 1990s has found autism-like signs and symptoms in infant monkeys vaccinated the same way. The study’s principal investigator, Laura Hewitson from the University of Pittsburgh, reports developmental delays, behavior problems and brain changes in macaque monkeys that mimic “certain neurological abnormalities of autism.”
Autism signs? Not just ‘autism? Research hasn’t linked vaccine load to autism?
I’d love to tell you more about this (and the other two accompanying studies on the same subject) but I can’t. Why? Well, because they’re not actually _studies_ as such. They’re poster presentations.
So, what’s a poster presentation? Well, its exactly what it sounds like – its a researcher, making a poster of their research and standing beside it for an hour, hoping other people find it enough of interest to look at. A few popular ones are sometimes asked to be presented orally. There are usually at least a hundred different poster presentations at a conference. It mostly depends on teh size of the conference hall.
Age of Autism’s Dan Olmsted says:
Poster presentations must go through a form of peer review before they are presented at the conference; the papers have not yet appeared in a scientific journal.
One of those two statements is true. The other is sadly not. Here are ‘the rules’ for poster presentations at IMFAR 2008.
Posterboards will have a display area 194cm wide X 84cm high. We suggest that you produce posters in A0 landscape format (120cm wide X 84cm high). Posters will be fixed to boards using sticky-back Velcro that will be supplied on site. Poster Numbers 1-60 will be located in the Champagne Terrace room, and Numbers 61-120 will be located in the Bordeaux room. In the programme a time is allocated for each poster presenter to be standing by their poster.
The page goes on to provide some helpful tips such as: ‘Less is more’ (probably no worries on that score) and ‘Use an appropriate font’. Hopefully, the team will have taken onboard the services a real typography expert such as Dr Paul King of CoMeD.
So – I can tell you next to nothing about these poster presentations. The good folk at AoA seemed oddly reluctant to link through to the abstracts.
However, I can tell you a little about the authors. The primary author seems to be Laura Hewiston of Pittsburgh University. She is registered on that page as a DAN! Doctor. She (I think its the same person) also appears here (see 953) and here.
Also listed as an author according to AoA is one AJ Wakefield. Enough said about that!
Lastly, is Steve Walker who did a poster presentation at an IMFAR in the past (can’t recall which one) which also appeared to offer support for the MMR hypothesis. Oddly, that poster presentation never made it into any kind of peer reviewed journal.
Best comment on Age of Autism comes courtesy of David Ayoub who begins with:
someone slap me!
I tell you, if that man didn’t exist, someone would have to invent him.