What letter, Mr. Olmsted? Why this one, of course.

14 Mar

When Brian Deer wrote one of his 2009 article for the Sunday Times: Focus: Hidden records show MMR truth, he introduced the article with a discussion of the father of Child 11, the only American child in the Lancet 12:

ON a Monday morning in February 1997, a taxi left the Royal Free hospital, in Hampstead , northwest London. It turned out of the car park and headed to the renowned Institute of Cancer Research, six miles southwest in Fulham.

In the back of the cab sat a California businessman, whose commercial interests lay in electroplating, but whose personal crusade was autism. On his lap was a plastic pot, in which snips of human tissue floated in protective formalin.

The snips were biopsies taken from the gut of the man’s five-year-old son, then a patient on the hospital’s Malcolm ward. The boy, Child Eleven, as he is known to protect his privacy, had been enrolled in a programme to investigate alleged risks of the three-in-one measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.

Mr. 11, as he is known, was the one parent who chose to confirm the results he was given by Mr. Wakefield’s team at the Royal Free. In particular, he wanted to confirm whether the tissue samples taken from his son really contained measles virus, as he was told. After taking samples to people outside Mr. Wakefield’s team at the Royal Free:

“It took a big fight to get the information,” said Mr Eleven. “They told me there was no measles virus. I had the tests repeated three times at different labs in the US, and they all came back negative.”

This comes as no surprise to readers today. Mr. Wakefield’s graduate student, Nicholas Chadwick, was telling him all along that the virology results were negative.

In a later report, How the case against the MMR vaccine was fixed, Mr. Deer also introduced the article with Mr. 11. He noted that Child 11 was listed in the Lancet article as having a first behavioral symptom of “Recurrent “viral pneumonia” for 8 weeks following MMR” as occurring 1 week after the administration of the MMR vaccine, a point critical to Mr. Wakefield’s claims. However, according to documents available to Mr. Wakefield, the child showed signs before the MMR. Per Mr. Deer:

But child 11’s case must have proved a disappointment. Records show his behavioural symptoms started too soon. “His developmental milestones were normal until 13 months of age,” notes the discharge summary. “In the period 13-18 months he developed slow speech patterns and repetitive hand movements. Over this period his parents remarked on his slow gradual deterioration.”

Enter Dan Olmsted, proprietor of the Age of Autism blog. Mr. Olmsted sought out Child 11’s father to corroborate Mr. Deer’s story. Such is the importance of contradicting Mr. Deer that he was willing to contradict Mr. Wakefield’s claim in the Lancet as well. Mr. Olmsted claims that Mr. 11 wrote him that rather than 13 months, “The onset of his autistic-like behaviors began around 18 months.”

The one thing that Dan Olmsted, Brian Deer and Mr. 11 apparently agree upon: the report in The Lancet is incorrect. Somehow I expect there is some convoluted explanation Mr. Olmsted would offer to avoid this problem, but lets move on. Unfortunately to a rather odd back-and-forth where neither party (Deer and Olmsted) communicating directly. To start, Mr. Olmsted would have us believe that Mr. 11 is annoyed? angry? with Mr. Deer’s reporting and thinks they “misrepresented the facts”.

Mr. Olmsted wrote:
[edit to add: Mr. Olmsted is quoting Andrew Wakefield's defamation complaint here. I.e. these are Andrew Wakefield's words]

Indeed, the child’s father has since written Deer and the BMJ to explain that Deer was misrepresenting facts about child 11, yet Deer and BMJ have printed no retraction, correction, or mention of this fact.

Mr. Deer noted this claim by Mr. Olmsted in his declaration:

Neither I nor (to my knowledge) the BMJ have received any letter from this father accusing me of “misrepresenting facts.” Nor have we received any request from this father asking for any retraction, correction, or for us to take any action at all. On the contrary, the father confirms the terms of the medical record (which he gave me at a meeting in California in September 2007), but disagrees with the accuracy of that record. The matter is thus purely a (very common) situation where parental recall and medical records do not coincide, and naturally parents believe their recollection to be right.

In a recent article, Mr. Olmsted wrote:

But the father told me: “Mr. Deer’s article makes me appear irrational for continuing to believe that the MMR caused difficulties which predated its administration,” a clear contradiction that called for a prompt correction.

See what Mr. Olmsted did there? He cut short Mr. 11’s sentence and added his own ending. Which made me wonder, what was the full sentence and what was the full context.

If you are wondering that too, here is the full sentence from that email, in context:

Based on the incorrect discharge summary I shared with him, Mr. Deer reasonably inferred that my son’s autistic symptom, predated his receipt of the MMR vaccination, which they did not. Mr. Deer’s article makes me appear irrational for continuing to believe that the MMR caused difficulties which predated its administration, but until the incorrect dates in the discharge summary were pointed out to me this week, I failed to realize that thee discharge summary was inaccurate. While the inaccuracies in the Royal Free discharge summary may be chalked up to sloppy record keeping, if my son really is Patient 11 , then the Lancet article is simply an outright fabrication.

Is that an accusation of “misrepresenting facts” by Mr. Deer, as Mr. Olmsted asserts? Rather than call for a retraction or correction, as Mr. Olmsted claimed, Mr. 11 noted that “The Lancet article is a clear misrepresentation of my son’s history”, and that “the Lancet article is simply an outright fabrication.”

How do I know what is in the full email? Brian Deer entered it (redacted, of course) into the public record as an exhibit to his declaration. Given the way Mr. Olmsted was clearly cherry picking the email, I wanted to obtain the source for myself.

With apologies in advance for any transcription errors. But mostly with apologies to the young man who was Child 11 and to his father:

Daniel Olmstead
Brian Deer
Dear Mr. Olrnstead & Mr. Deer:
I have spoken with both of you regarding my son who may be one of the subjects in the Royal Free Hospital’s “research study” on autism summarized in the 1998 Lancet article.

The main reason I am contacting you now is to reiterate to Mr. Olmstead that we wish for our family to stay out of the public eye, and request that in any further discussions of this matter our privacy and the confidentiality of our son’s medical history be respected. We appreciate that in published work you, Mr. Deer, did that. My son has not consented to any disclosures regarding his medical history, and I hope that whatever information you disseminate will be shared in a manner that is not personally identifiable.

My second purpose in contacting both of you is to clear up some confusion, albeit generating additional questions which, as I explain below, I do not think are worth pursuing. Mr. Olmstead informed me that he believes that my son is Patient 1 I in the Lancet article, a conclusion he seems to have reached due to a violation of doctor patient confidentiality by Dr F. Given Dr. F’s distance, so far as I know, from these events, and his current state, it is hard to know what to make of this purported information. Mr. Deer’s article appears to assume that my son is Patient 11 as well, describing conversations with a father of “Patient 11 ” that appears to be me. However, we have no confirmation that Patient 11 is my son. When we got information during the Royal Free’s investigation, we were told he was Patient 13. Only 12 patients are reported in the Lancet article. I have no way of knowing how many subjects were excluded from the final report, or whether my son was one of them.

In any event, the description of Patient 11 in the Lancet article is not accurate if, in fact, it refers to my son. The Lancet article indicates that autistic symptoms started at 15 months, a week after the MMR, which is completely inaccurate; my son’s autistic behaviors started 2-1/2 to 3 months after the MMR, which was administered to him at 15 months. The Lancet article is a clear misrepresentation of my son’s history. Moreover, the Lancet article is not consistent with the Royal Free’s discharge summary regarding my son, and both the article and the discharge summary are inaccurate. One of the incorrect statements in my son’s discharge report was that autistic symptoms were seen from 13-18 months, while the vaccination was at 15 months. This is clearly inaccurate as his symptoms began several months after the MMR, as reflected in my initial correspondence to the Royal Free requesting my son be included in the research study. Based on the incorrect discharge summary I shared with him, Mr. Deer reasonably inferred that my son’s autistic symptom, predated his receipt of the MMR vaccination, which they did not. Mr. Deer’s
article makes me appear irrational for continuing to believe that the MMR caused difficulties which predated its administration, but until the incorrect dates in the discharge summary were pointed out to me this week, I failed to realize that thee discharge summary was inaccurate. While the inaccuracies in the Royal Free discharge summary may be chalked up to sloppy record keeping, if my son really is Patient 11 , then the Lancet article is simply an outright fabrication. My son’s autistic behaviors did NOT begin a week after administration of the vaccine, in fact they began several months afterwards, with several medical complications occurring in between.

The bottom line is that, if my son is indeed Patient 11, then the Lancet article made a false assertion that his symptoms set in immediately after the MMR; in service of some attorneys’ efforts to prove “causation” that, unbeknownst to me, apparently drove this research. If the sloppy mishandling of patient information and inaccuracies in my own son’s records is any indication of how that research was done, then I am very thankful that the Lancet article has been withdrawn and the “research study” discredited. That brings me to my third reason for contacting you, which is to express my hope that we can all move on from this debacle and search for real causes of the current explosion in autism cases. I have been involved in and have supported serious research into the causes of and effective treatments for this illness. We know now that the study reported in the Lancet article was a huge and very costly distraction. I hope that you will join me in looking, with an open mind, at real explanations of the current situation, as well as in advocating for adequate medical care and educational services for the many people affected, so that outcomes can be positive, as they are now proving for my son. While some autism may be a natural part of the human condition, what is happening now requires explanation. We will not get it if we spend time rehashing old debates.

As for the confidentiality issues, I appreciate and rely on your courtesy and discretion

Mr. 11 asked for courtesy and discretion on confidentiality issues. I would put to Mr. Olmsted that when he published the first name of Child 11, he may not have been heeding Mr. 11’s wishes.

The father has made a few more statements about these events:

First, about the Age of Autism series: “Olmsted’s logic is twisted and emotional”.

About the research at the Royal Free: “We all make daily human errors, but I guess some people ( Royal Free ) do it for a lifetime !”

and

“What a HUGE embarrassment, and scientific fiasco ! “.

Mr. 11 asked “That brings me to my third reason for contacting you, which is to express my hope that we can all move on from this debacle and search for real causes of the current explosion in autism cases”

Whether one agrees with the “epidemic” or not, the idea of moving on from the “debacle” (which I read in context to refer to the story about Mr. Wakefield and the Lancet study) and focusing on research is a very wise suggestion. As Mr. Olmsted has shown, not only has Mr. Wakefield been a huge distraction, but his supporters have been as well.

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37 Responses to “What letter, Mr. Olmsted? Why this one, of course.”

  1. Lawrence March 14, 2012 at 22:26 #

    Interesting – so Olmstead is saying the letter says exactly the opposite of what it actually says…..

  2. McD March 15, 2012 at 00:14 #

    Great work Sullivan.

    Olmsted is implying some sort of ongoing correspondence with Mr 11, when he is just quote-mining the one original letter to both Deer and Olmsted.

    He is trying to paint Mr 11 as an exemplar of the vaccine-damage claimants who form the AoA constituency. This is clearly the opposite of the truth as well.

    What an ar$ehole. He is exploiting Mr 11 and Child 11. And he is showing utter contempt for autism parents who are still clinging to the shreds of the gut-brain hypothesis.

  3. Krebiozen March 15, 2012 at 00:35 #

    Now we know why Olmsted only quoted the first sentence of the letter in yesterday’s AoA article. What a despicable bit of dishonest reporting, deliberately distorting and misrepresenting the facts. I know I shouldn’t be surprised, and I also know that Olmsted’s supporters won’t be disturbed one iota by this. It is only a matter of time before one of them comments here, claiming through some tortured logic that Olmsted is right and Deer is wrong. That’s twice today I’ve found myself at AoA. Bleugh.

    • Sullivan March 15, 2012 at 01:37 #

      AoA have edited the article where they used Child 11’s first name. It took them a little longer (like in the last hour) to figure out that the name was quoted in one of the comments.

      AoA made the edit to the article with no comment, no apology. I’ve noticed that about AoA. No apologies for mistakes, even the ones they know about. Mr. Olmsted, do the right thing–apologize.

      A minor point–they also edited the comment as well. It is bad form to edit someone’s comment without at least acknowledging it. Too bad they can’t edit all the places on the web that copied their post.

  4. brian March 15, 2012 at 01:41 #

    Now that you have posted the letter, those who commented on AoA will have the opportunity to, as one AoA stalwart quoted Justice Mitting, “read and construe the whole document, not just selected words.”

    If they do, they will understand that Olmsted failed to learn from Wakefield’s experience that once you prove that that you are dishonest only fools will believe you.

  5. Science Mom March 15, 2012 at 02:42 #

    Another glaring example of Olmsted’s integrity. Not only doesn’t he mind flagrantly lying about the contents of the email but also doesn’t mind using and abusing people, who don’t want this attention, for his own selfish purposes. I hope this post, with it’s concise, complete and respectful reporting will put an end to dragging Mr. Eleven and his child through the mud.

  6. Lombard March 15, 2012 at 02:46 #

    Reached for comment at the Clinic for Special Fabricators, Olmsted said he stands by his story and doesn’t want to talk about it anymore.

  7. Matthew cline March 15, 2012 at 02:46 #

    There’s only one rational and reasonable conclusion: Big Pharma found a way of blackmailing Mr. 11 into changing his story. </sarcasm>

  8. Matthew cline March 15, 2012 at 02:47 #

    Argh, the “sarcasm” tag was missing from the previous comment!!! *grumble*

  9. Anne March 15, 2012 at 04:42 #

    I have to admit, I’m shocked at the way Dan Olsmsted misrepresented this parent’s letter to him. I wanted Olmsted to post the letter. Now I see why he didn’t. I truly never thought of Dan Olmsted as dishonest. I thought he had some integrity. I no longer think so.

  10. lilady March 15, 2012 at 06:07 #

    For a number of hours the comments on Olmsted’s “What Letter” have remained at thirty-two.

    Two of the 32 posts have requested that Olmsted print the entire letter as it appears on LF/RB and Olmsted just ignores their request.

    I suspect that other comments are being held “in moderation”, because to print the letter would reveal Olmsted’s treachery.

  11. Brian Deer March 15, 2012 at 07:08 #

    This letter has to be seen in the context of a relentless stream of mendacious abuse from Olmsted in blog post after blog post in recent months through which he could only have intended to mislead parents of autistic children.

    Indeed, as I watched his behaviour, it was clear to me that he must have sat on several occasions and asked himself directly how he could deceive visitors to his blog by refering to the letter, pulling out inoccuous sentences to give his false attacks on me verisimilitude, but concealing what the father actually tells him.

    I can assure you that any journalist in employment would be fired for this kind of conduct, and anyone caught doing it in any enterprise I’ve worked for would never work again for anyone who found out about it.

    I found it even more disgusting that, in his bitterness towards the father and evident adulation for the charlatan Wakefield, he would identify the boy. Indeed, short of giving the family’s address, Olmsted did everything he could to breach their confidentiality. I’m relieved when you say that someone at Olmsted’s blog has now edited out that detail. Previously, I daren’t mention it because that would only compound Olmsted’s misconduct by drawing people’s attention to it.

    Not only is this family entitled to its privacy, this kid is entitled to go through his life without Olmsted’s putrid involvement, or even anybody at all knowing that he had serious developmental issues as a child.

    I would defy anyone of reasonable integrity who has involvement with Olmsted to study what he did here. I have no doubt that there are many people who are genuinely concerned about possible risks from vaccines and have other concerns about our environment who are honest, intelligent people. So, as Olmsted mendaciously invites: “So you be the judge.”

    All the material is there, including in my statement, which, of course, Olmsted shows in his latest abuse he doesn’t realise is a standard format declaration required to be made by journalists in such litigation. Indeed, the format is modelled on one filed in court over another matter some years ago by one Sharyl Attkisson. Perhaps the Moonies never told him that.

    http://briandeer.com/solved/slapp-deer-declaration.pdf

    Since you can be sure that Wakefield, too, has seen the letter, its publication now can also help you judge the merits of his lawsuit, and his chances of being hit with a very large bill.

  12. Lawrence March 15, 2012 at 09:54 #

    @lilady – yes, at least two subsequent comments by me never made it through moderation.

  13. passionlessDrone March 15, 2012 at 13:37 #

    Hi Sullivan –

    I generally have a sense of sadness when I see effort or time allocated to Wakefield or the Lancet 12 or whatever, but I am forced to admit this was some very good work. Clearly Mr. Olmsted’s actions were designed to deceive.

    Very nicely done.

    – pD

  14. Jon Brock March 15, 2012 at 14:13 #

    Sullivan. I’m not normally a dissenter but I think you’re being way too harsh here. This is what the AoA article actually says. OK, so I’ve chopped a few words out, but hey, who needs context?

    It’s hard to squeeze…
    one little fact…
    in the Lancet study

    this…
    elaborate fraud by Wakefield…
    makes me appear irrational for continuing to believe that the MMR caused difficulties which predated its administration.

    Wakefield had altered dates to implicate the MMR shot in autism.

    He wrote…
    this fundamental, material, and inexplicable f-up…
    through knowing falsity or reckless disregard for the truth

    This semantic misdirection — the kind of thing that defines…
    Wakefield…
    — reminds me of…
    Mark Blaxill

  15. Denice Walter March 15, 2012 at 15:26 #

    Now the Editor informs us *it’s not about Andy*! Really? It’s *role reversal*…

    They did allow Lawrence’s request for the entire e-mail.

    Like alt med proselytisers, Mr O assumes that his editorial creativity will remain unchallenged, that his word will be taken unquestionably and no one will bother to read the original. Except pharma shills.. like us.

    I’ve written elsewhere that there’s always the possibilty that Mr O isn’t dishonest but that he cut off his quote in mid-sentence because the remainder of the paragragh was just too traumatic for him- thus, it was repressed to protect his fragile psyche- just like Freud imagined! ( I was joking-btw-)

  16. lilady March 15, 2012 at 15:36 #

    @ Lawrence: Your two additional comments didn’t make it through moderation, but there are 4 more comments posted now. None of these have anything to do with “the letter”…just more yammering about Brian Deer’s mean-spirited defense to Wakefield’s defamation lawsuit.

    I suspect one of them (the pensioner who donated to the Wakefield Justice fundraiser in California), will show up here to rant about Brian Deer’s legal defense. Let’s keep her on topic…the redacted “letter”.

    • Sullivan March 15, 2012 at 15:41 #

      “…will show up here to rant about Brian Deer’s legal defense”

      Which brings up a point that came to me this morning. Now might be a very bad time for Mr. Olmsted and crew and Mr. Wakefield to delete emails between themselves. Why? Consider if Mr. Wakefield was taking part actively or just giving encouragement, in the series by Mr. Olmsted. My guess is that the BMJ’s attorneys would appreciate knowing that. It would go a long way towards claims of defamation. If Mr. Wakefield were, say, encouraging misrepresentations on AoA, does he really have standing to complain about alleged defamation?

    • Sullivan March 15, 2012 at 16:23 #

      “Let’s keep her on topic…the redacted “letter”.”

      Or, to paraphrase Mr. Olmsted: “What Dan Olmsted and his acolytes don’t quite grasp yet is this article is not about Andy, it’s about Dan Olmsted. Did Olmsted show reckless disregard or knowing falsity in his claim that Deer committed fraud? ”

      On another topic–I still see no mention of the edit they did to the piece with the name, or any apology for it. Sorry to harp on that, but it really bothers me.

      Denice Walter: “They did allow Lawrence’s request for the entire e-mail.”

      I think Lawrence may have submitted more comments after that. They seem to like Lawrence’s comments as long as they can play the “Deer spotting” game (where they claim he is Brian Deer).

      Jon Brock: thanks for that. It’s good to find humor in this. I’m mostly still angry.

      pD–I very much appreciate your comment.

  17. Lawrence March 15, 2012 at 16:33 #

    @Sullivan – I don’t even know why I bother, since maybe the first post goes through, but nothing subsequently hits the wire.

    I am a bit shocked that Olmsted would lie so openly about the contents and context of the letter – especially since it was made a matter of public record & of course, can be seen above. Not that the AoA folks would dare contradict one of their editors, but this does seem a bit extreme, even for them.

  18. Science Mom March 15, 2012 at 17:00 #

    Did Olmsted show reckless disregard or knowing falsity in his claim that Deer committed fraud? ”

    Even if he did, he was shrewd to couch it as an editorial. He gets to claim it is his opinion. He still sucks for lying and using innocent by-standers to whip up the devoted into a pitch-forked mob.

    • Sullivan March 15, 2012 at 17:50 #

      “Even if he did, he was shrewd to couch it as an editorial. He gets to claim it is his opinion.’

      But a *real* editor is, by his logic, not allowed to claim an opinion.

      I doubt it will come to “claiming opinion”. First jurisdiction. Then the anti-SLAPP motion where Mr. Wakefield gets his day in court to show that he can back up his claims. Then a trial.

      “Their moderation policy, as well as their habit of pulling articles or redacting them with no notation, has long made their essential contempt for their readers clear.”

      In this particular case, the main issue I see is a disregard for a source. Mr. Olmsted cherry picked an email to create an impression. From what I see, this is counter to the impression the source–a father–wanted to convey. Mr. Olmsted used the gentleman as a political football. More importantly, he had disregard for the young man, the son, by publishing his first name. AoA knows that is wrong since they edited the piece and comment which contained it. But no acknowledgment, no apology.

  19. Squillo March 15, 2012 at 17:01 #

    @ Lawrence,

    I think there’s quite a simple explanation: they don’t expect that any of their regulars will actually read the full text of the letter at Mr. Deer’s site, nor do they expect them to come here.

    Their moderation policy, as well as their habit of pulling articles or redacting them with no notation, has long made their essential contempt for their readers clear.

  20. Denice Walter March 15, 2012 at 17:59 #

    @ Lawrence:

    Aw, they probably let one of your comments through ( 1 : 4 ratio) in order to keep you coming back- you keep the troops riled up and incited. An intermittent schedule of re-inforcement, I’d guess. Honestly, Bri…I mean, *Lawrence*, it’s all they’ve got!

    • Sullivan March 15, 2012 at 18:17 #

      To once again paraphrase Mr. Olmsted:

      “What Dan Olmsted doesn’t quite grasp yet is the anti-SLAPP motion *is* not about Deer, it’s about Wakefield. Did Deer submit a frivolous defamation lawsuit?”

      • Sullivan March 15, 2012 at 19:43 #

        Note–

        In the article above I stated that Dan Olmsted wrote the section starting “Indeed, the child’s father has since written Deer”. It is more accurate to note that Mr. Olmsted was quoting Andrew Wakefield’s defamation complaint:

        Here is the paragraph where Mr. Wakefield wrote that:

        With regard to child 11 detailed in the Lancet Paper, Deer made several misrepresentations in his efforts to falsely suggest Dr. Wakefield had altered or manipulated data and diagnoses. Deer asserts that symptoms of autism appeared for this child two months earlier than reported in the Lancet Paper and prior to the administration of the MMR vaccine. However, prior to publication of the Lancet Paper, the child’s father reported to Dr. Wakefield and his colleagues, and later in person to Deer, (and continues to report) that the child’s symptoms did not appear until after receiving the MMR vaccine. Indeed, the child’s father has since written Deer and the BMJ to explain that Deer was misrepresenting facts about child 11, yet Deer and BMJ have printed no retraction, correction, or mention of this fact. This failure on Defendants’ part is further evidence of their malicious intent to create and foster the false impression that Dr. Wakefield and his colleagues fraudulently altered data and diagnoses for the Lancet Paper.”

        Taking one quote out:

        “prior to publication of the Lancet Paper, the child’s father reported to Dr. Wakefield and his colleagues, and later in person to Deer, (and continues to report) that the child’s symptoms did not appear until after receiving the MMR vaccine”

        But, as has been pointed out, Mr. Wakefield did *not* report what the child’s father reported to him and his colleagues in the Lancet paper. Nor did he report what was in the child’s medical records. How, exactly, does this paragraph help Mr. Wakefield’s case?

  21. Visitor March 15, 2012 at 20:21 #

    ‘How, exactly, does this paragraph help Mr. Wakefield’s case?’

    It doesnt. But if he put all his legitimate grievances on a blank sheet of paper, the court clerk would not have accepted the petition.

  22. brian March 15, 2012 at 21:17 #

    While we’re on the subject of correcting errors by “retraction, correction, or mention of [the mistaken facts]“:

    When did Wakefield correct his Lancet article and confess that had he used the information given him by the child’s father, the average “interval from exposure to first behavioural symptom” have been changed from 6 days to 17 days, and the range would have been extended from 14 days to a rather forensically unhelpful 90 days. Is Wakefield’s failure to correct the erroneous information that he disseminated evidence of “malicious intent?”

  23. McD March 15, 2012 at 22:16 #

    So, let me get this straight…
    Mr Deer is simply using the data from the Royal Free discharge summary to date the onset of symptoms, which Mr 11 agrees is a reasonable inference. If the date is in error, it is not Deer’s error, but Royal Free’s error. Mr 11 seems to indicate there may be correspondence with Royal Free predating the study which gave an onset several months after the MMR. Fair enough.

    But the issue is not what time Child 11’s symptoms developed, or having Mr Deer validate Mr 11 recollection of events. The issue is what material was available to Wakers when he wrote the report. What was the source of the information he used.

    It is blindingly obvious that he used neither the discharge summary (whatever its faults) nor information provided by Mr 11.

    In Wakefield’s letter, he is obfuscating the situation by posing it as a dichotomy: Did the symptoms develop “before” or “after” the MMR. He is falsely asserting that because the father’s claim is also “after” the MMR, that it exonerates Wakers. It doesn’t. Mr 11 does not recognise the time course Wakers presents for Child 11 as his child’s history.

    This whole episode is deliberate exploitation of Mr 11 and Child 11. Wakers knows Mr Deer and the BMJ are not going to drag in the 11 family as witnesses. This leaves Olmsted and Wakers free to manufacture nonsense.

    The level of contempt they are showing for this family, and for all the families they are exploiting is just stunning. I used to think they were misguided but somehow genuine (as opposed to some autism alt-med hucksters). No more. They are all leeches.

  24. Matthew cline March 16, 2012 at 00:38 #

    @Sullivan:

    If Mr. Wakefield were, say, encouraging misrepresentations on AoA, does he really have standing to complain about alleged defamation?

    IANAL, but I don’t think that “they’re defaming me too” is a valid defense in a defamation case.

    • Sullivan March 16, 2012 at 05:32 #

      Matthew cline, of course you are right.

      one big difference between an anti-SLAPP hearing and a trial: Mr. Wakefield asked for a jury trial. The anti-SLAPP hearing would be before a judge. A judge would be more likely to focus on the law and less on emotion.

  25. Jack March 17, 2012 at 11:31 #

    I am not as familiar with the details of the case as you guys, but does the following have any merit:

    Brian Deer’s BMJ Series Not Peer Reviewed: http://www.ageofautism.com/2012/03/brian-deers-bmj-series-not-peer-reviewed.html

    I don’t believe for a moment that it does, but am still reading through Mr Deer’s declaration and other submissions at present.

    Re: the anti-slapp and hearing. If this ‘only’ takes place before a judge as per the law, and is dismissed, then I can hear the ‘spin’ now.

    ‘Wakefield denied his day in court! They didn’t want the truth to get out!’ ;)

  26. Science Mom March 17, 2012 at 14:16 #

    Jack, no the AoA article you cited has no merit. Jake Crosby, in spite of the fact that he is pursuing a masters of public health is incapable of understanding anything regarding science and can’t fathom that Wakefield is guilty of all of the charges found by numerous investigations. To Crosby, and all of the AoA acolytes, everything is a massive global conspiracy.

    If Deer is successful with the anti-SLAPP suit, the Wakefield disciples can’t complain (although they will anyhow) as they believe that Texas is the only place Wakefield can get a fair trial.

  27. ZanesMom March 17, 2012 at 18:06 #

    The FACT is IF, as Brian Deer believed, this IS the father of Patient 11 then Brian Deer based on allegation of fraud on something that is patently untrue: autistic symptoms showed up in this boy BEFORE he had the MMR. The father says autistic symptoms showed up two and a half months AFTER the MMR. But the Lancet paper says “age at onset of first symptoms” NOT first behavioral symptoms. This child had a case of “viral pneumonia” for 8 weeks following the MMR. But, as many people know, that sort of illness IS the first sign of autistic illness. I know MANY parents of autistic children and a large number of them report a similar reaction following vaccines before the apparent regression. Apparently, the father of patient 11 doesn’t know that.

  28. ZanesMom March 17, 2012 at 18:18 #

    Actually the subheading on the chart does say “Behaviour,” but the “features associated” are 8 weeks of viral pneumonia. That is clearly what they are talking about.

  29. Krebiozen March 17, 2012 at 19:40 #

    Zane’sMom,

    The FACT is IF, as Brian Deer believed, this IS the father of Patient 11 then Brian Deer based on allegation of fraud on something that is patently untrue: autistic symptoms showed up in this boy BEFORE he had the MMR.

    It’s not “patently untrue”, this is what the Royal Free discharge papers say.

    The father says autistic symptoms showed up two and a half months AFTER the MMR.

    It is possible that the father is mistaken, or it is possible that the Royal Free discharge papers are mistaken – the father wrote in a letter dated 1997 that “the onset of his autistic behavior began around 18 months”, which suggests this. Do we know what the discharge papers were based on? Are there other papers, perhaps from the boy’s family doctor, that suggest symptoms predated the MMR? Or is “13 to 18 months” a typo for “15 to 18 months”? We simply don’t know.

    But the Lancet paper says “age at onset of first symptoms” NOT first behavioral symptoms.

    No, the Lancet paper clearly says in Table 2 that the interval from exposure to first behavioral symptoms was 1 week. Neither the discharge papers, nor Child 11’s father support that. It doesn’t matter which is right, really, as whatever way you look at it the Lancet paper got it wrong.

    This child had a case of “viral pneumonia” for 8 weeks following the MMR. But, as many people know, that sort of illness IS the first sign of autistic illness.

    The paper lists viral pneumonia as a “feature associated with exposure”, not as a behavioral symptom. I suppose you could argue that viral pneumonia might have masked any behavioral symptoms, but you can’t claim that viral pneumonia is itself a sign of autism. That would mean that there was evidence of autism in everyone who has ever had viral pneumonia, which is nonsense. Even the father doesn’t suggest that the viral pneumonia was a symptom of autism.

    I know MANY parents of autistic children and a large number of them report a similar reaction following vaccines before the apparent regression. Apparently, the father of patient 11 doesn’t know that.

    Viral pneumonia is not a behavioral symptom of autism, and behavioral symptoms either started 2 months before the MMR, if you believe the discharge summary, or 3 months after if you believe the father.

  30. Lawrence March 18, 2012 at 00:03 #

    @Zane’s Mom – if you read the letter, it would appear to actually be more applicable to what Olmsted has done, as opposed to anything Deer has done.

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