A vaccinated vs. unvaccinated study and, guess what, vaccinated kids do better on tests

22 Jan

One statement people make a lot on the internet is “where’s a study of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated populations?” Well, here’s one: The effect of vaccination on children’s physical and cognitive development in the Philippines.

When comparisons between vaccinated and unvaccinated populations are proposed, we usually think of the U.S. and trying to work with the small unvaccinated population in a larger vaccinated population. Here we see the reverse: a smaller vaccinated population in a majority unvaccinated population.

What did they find? Here’s the abstract:

We use data from the Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Survey (CLHNS) in the Philippines to link vaccination in the first 2 years of life with later physical and cognitive development in children. We use propensity score matching to estimate the causal effect of vaccination on child development. We find no effect of vaccination on later height or
weight, but full childhood vaccination for measles, polio, Tuberculosis (TB), Diphtheria, Pertussis and Tetanus (DPT) significantly increases cognitive test scores relative to matched children who received no
vaccinations. The size of the effect is large, raising test scores, on average, by about half an SD.

That’s right. Test scores are increased in the vaccinated population. Higher. They did better.

The study highlights many of the difficulties in doing a vaccinated/unvaccinated population comparison: how to control for confounds. The population that choses the minority approach, be it vaccinating (in the Philippines) or not vaccinating (as in the U.S.) are likely different in other respects as well. Small sample sizes also a limitation. The authors acknoweldge this:

While our results are statistically significant, the sample size is relatively small due to the restriction of the sample to the common support. In addition, the matching of treatment and control groups may be imperfect if there are unobserved confounding factors that affect both vaccination and cognitive development. We therefore do not see our results as definitive. However, the results do however highlight the potential significance of vaccination as a human capital investment and suggest that further research in this area is warranted.

So, let’s consider this question: if there is a real correlation, is it the vaccination itself (unlikely in my opinion) or preventing the diseases (much more likely)? Since as I’ve indicated, I tend towards the latter explanation, let’s consider this: another effect of herd immunity might be cognitive. Since my family and the vast majority of families in the U.S. vaccinate, many diseases are not seen here. Even the unvaccinated are protected.

So, when Jenny McCarthy or others say, “I’d take measles any day over autism”, aside from making the huge mistake of assuming that autism and vaccination are linked, she may be saying “I’d take a half-standard-deviation drop in cognition over vaccination”.

I await the inevitable, “we asked for a comparison of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated populations, but not that comparison”.


By Matt Carey

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69 Responses to “A vaccinated vs. unvaccinated study and, guess what, vaccinated kids do better on tests”

  1. reissd January 22, 2014 at 20:55 #

    If it doesn’t get the right results, it doesn’t count.

  2. reissd January 22, 2014 at 21:09 #

    An anti-vaccine advocate pointed out with some glee that the link above isn’t working. He seemed to think that absolves him from considering the content, even after having a different link supplied. Sigh.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) January 22, 2014 at 22:20 #

      Thanks for pointing that out. Said anti-vaccine advocate could have found the paper either through google (I guess that google Ph.D. expired) or by fixing the obvious problem with the link. I can’t say why WordPress munged the link as it is fine in the version I wrote. I suspect it may have to do with all the numbers and the periods, since the new link works for me now: http://tinyurl.com/vaxedkidsaresmarter

      • reissd January 22, 2014 at 22:23 #

        I think he was more interested in a Gotcha moment.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) January 22, 2014 at 22:33 #

        Oh, I make a lot of typo’s, spelling and formatting mistakes. No end to amusement for those easily amused. It gave me an opportunity to create the tinyurl, so I thank him. I too am easily amused. Frankly I’m surprised he read that far and clicked on the link.

  3. reissd January 22, 2014 at 22:37 #

    To his credit, this specific person does read studies I put up. With a clear point of view, and he does not read his own links as carefully, but he does read studies.

    The person was concerned about typos in an earlier version of the article that I linked him to. I am grateful for the corrected URL, myself.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) January 22, 2014 at 23:16 #

      There’s a lot to discuss in the real limitations of the study above. Typos and links are minor.

  4. brian January 23, 2014 at 01:58 #

    I’m not sure how avoiding childhood disease would play out with respect to child development in a first-world country, but it’s been clear for years that disease burden influences cognition where the effect has been studied. People like Dr. Offit who help to prevent pediatric disease can have an effect on the development of other nations far beyond the immediate prevention of disease, discomfort, hospitalizations, and deaths.

  5. Paula M Green January 23, 2014 at 07:40 #

    Matt – Is there any chance you can put a button to linkedin.com for your blogs? I want to try and post some of your information to some of the Autism groups as there are a lot of influencial people on there, rather than twitter or facebook. I think your information needs to be in the public domain more so that people can get a more balanced view of the research and they way you research the research I feel is good and straightforward and easy to understand for parents like me. Regards Paula

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) January 23, 2014 at 15:41 #

      thanks for the suggestion. The linkedIn button is now live.

  6. shannon January 23, 2014 at 18:36 #

    Lol this article is a joke! The only thing vaccines accomplish is severly compromising the immune system (which has been PROVEN by doctors worldwide). I’m still laughing over “test scores increased in the vaccinated population”. How about some REAL REASEARCH instead of studies sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry???

    • reissd January 23, 2014 at 18:42 #

      Why do you think this study is sponsored by pharma? And can you provide citations for your claims? Is there anything about the content of the article you’d like to discuss, or is the pharma shill gambit your only concern?

      • kulkulkan January 24, 2014 at 16:55 #

        This study was funded by “Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization” and retrospectively picked a small region in a Philippines with only 85 vaccinated kids born in 1984. Google the study – there is a full draft available. Guess they didn’t pay the researcher enough money to at least make it look credible. It is a joke.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) January 24, 2014 at 20:25 #

        Yeah, let’s throw it out because there are typos in the draft…I was waiting for someone to notice it was funded by GAVI. They are independent. But not the right sort of “independent”, are they? I don’t have to google the study, I already read it. Both in the draft online and the final version. What makes you think I didn’t? I’ve noted above the study has serious limitations. Coming to an answer you don’t agree with is not a limitation though. Nice of you to attack the researcher.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) January 23, 2014 at 19:11 #

      Shannon,

      your response is exactly what I expected. Exactly. Clearly you didn’t read the paper, or you’d be demonizing someone other than the pharmaceutical industry. So we find you laughing at something you didn’t attempt to read.

      If you want to discuss the real limitations of this study, and there are very real limitations, come on back.

      • kulkulkan January 24, 2014 at 17:13 #

        Matt, did you read the paper – it is not worth even discussing study design here with n=85 in a single birth year cohort in small region. it is a joke. Would not cherry pick a weak data set such as this. Looks bad on the researcher but I guess they are being paid, so doesn’t matter to them.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) January 24, 2014 at 20:27 #

        Yeah, they are being paid. So they will say anything? If they had come to the opposite answer you’d be all over this as the greatest study ever. It’s not very strong, but it gives a great example of exactly the sort of difficulties there are in such a study.

        While we are at it–Don’t ever come here with a study with fewer than 85 subjects. I guess you throw out Wakefield’s Lancet article, right?

      • kulkulkan January 24, 2014 at 22:52 #

        Matt, I am sure you can appreciate the difference as well as the importance of N in a retrospective study in statistics which this pretends to be (is this self-published or just an internal working paper?), and a prospective study to publish a hypothesis piece based on new clinical data in a peer-reviewed journal. All studies, not matter how well designed, will have flaws and limitations. Haven’t read the Lancelet paper; however, personally, I don’t believe the MMR ASD link is significant regardless of whether it is plausible or not.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) January 24, 2014 at 23:21 #

        I understand that a true case series would likely be a limited number of subjects. I also understand that the Lancet study was not a true case series given the way the patients were referred.

        The study was published. The link is above. The working paper is online, but the final version was in a journal.

        Is the study above definitive? No. I am clear on my opinion on that. The authors are clear on that point. Is it a joke? No. I’d give your discussion more credence if you didn’t rely on bashing the authors as doing whatever they had to get paid. Unless you have something about the authors to back that up (say, like a long history of soaking the vaccine program like the Geiers), the statement only serves to make you look bad. There are a lot of limitations to the study. One could discuss those rationally. You chose not to.

      • Kulkulkan January 25, 2014 at 03:44 #

        To be clear if the study had said the reverse, it would still be garbage in, garbage out. With such a weak study design using small data set from single cohort that is 30 years old, it is a bit silly to discuss the confounders or the simple statistical analysis done here. This looks like a marketing piece much like the Geirs – for spin purposes only, not research.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) January 25, 2014 at 06:37 #

        There’s a bit of irony that you refuse to add substance to your complaint. You just complain, repeatedly, that the paper lacks substance.

        Being a thirty year old cohort, not a substantive complaint. The UCLA/Utah autism project reviewed data from 30 years ago. I thought it was valuable to do so. Small group–yep, that’s a limitation. Largely because of the confounds. Without confounds, what makes 85 too small? Some results are statistically significant. Single cohort? Since when is that substantive?

        Sure, now, I just ignore Geier papers. The track record is just too bad. But that’s because I and others have made substantive responses to their work.

        But I get it. I’ve been chastised.

        One of the main reasons I put this article up was to gather up the responses. All the “this study is junk because…” comments. Thanks for participating. It reminds me why it’s important to back up a complaint about a study with substance.

    • novalox January 24, 2014 at 06:59 #

      @sharon

      So, any actual proof for your so-called assertions?

  7. Alex Klitbøl Karlsson January 23, 2014 at 18:43 #

    What I am thinking is this: Is wealth and vaccination linked in the Phillipines?
    Cause one must ask themselves:
    ‘If the ones vaccinated in the Phillipines has more money, does the larger amount of resources result in the higher scores, or is it actually the vaccines themselves?’

    I am completely FOR vaccines, but I am always a skeptic relating to research if enough factors hasn’t been checked up on.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) January 23, 2014 at 19:20 #

      This is not the most definitive paper I’ve seen. The authors noted that and I point that out above. Definitely there are many confounds–ones they tried to control for and ones they may have missed. Here’s a draft of the paper without the paywall

      http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/pgda/WorkingPapers/2011/PGDA_WP_69.pdf

      This paragraph is likely the thought you had:

      Estimating the effect of vaccination on height, weight, and test scores is complicated by the fact that vaccination involves a choice by the child’s parents. As a result, any difference between outcomes for vaccinated and non-vaccinated children may reflect family attributes associated with the decision to vaccinate rather than the effect of the vaccination itself. In a controlled experiment, a randomly selected set of children would be immunized while a control group would not be, and the difference between the outcome for the immunized group and the control group could be deemed a causal effect of immunization. In our study, however, the group that is immunized is not randomly selected; for example, we find immunization is more common for children with highly educated mothers. In this case, it is difficult to disentangle the effect of immunization and the effect of having a highly educated mother.

      They then discuss their methods. They do not just compare those vaccinated directly with those unvaccinated.

      This method matches each child (or group of children) who is immunized with a non-immunized child (or group of children) that has the same observed characteristics. To the extent that vaccination depends only on these observed characteristics, we can regard the children used as matches as controls for each vaccinated child.

      Many if not all of the problems exhibited by this study would have to be faced and overcome by a similar study in the U.S.. This is a point that those calling for such a study refuse to acknowledge. For example, they propose using the Amish and comparing them to non-Amish. On how many different measures can one find differences (ignoring for the moment that, yes, the Amish do vaccinate). They propose using home-schooled children. Again, a group that will undoubtedly differ from the general population on many measures.

      I don’t claim this study is definitive. It is, however, very interesting.

    • novalox January 24, 2014 at 07:06 #

      @Alex Klitbøl Karlsson

      Not to confuse correlation with causation, but one could assume that the children vaccinated would not fall ill with VPDs, allowing them to get more schooling and education, which may help them in testing.

      But of course, as Sullivan said, there are a lot of other co-factors in play as well, one which the study tried to control by matching children with as similar backgrounds as possible. Of course, not all factors can be matched perfectly, but the paper does raise some interesting points.

  8. passionlessdrone January 24, 2014 at 18:48 #

    Hello friends –

    It might be nice to understand how many of the children who didn’t get vaccinated actually GOT a VPD during infancy/childhood.

    It also seems like mother education was only one thing that predicted vaccination status (and thus, IQ)

    We find evidence of a positive association between vaccination and socioeconomic status, with children living in larger homes, and with private or public access to a toilet, fewer siblings, and better educated and better nourished mothers being more likely to be vaccinated. In addition, being vaccinated is positively associated with the number of days the child was breastfed. The only counterintuitive result among these variables is that children in homes with an electrical appliance (an iron) are less likely to have been vaccinated.

    Other research seems to back up an association between length of breastfeeding and cognitive development; i.e.,

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23896931

    or

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21660433

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) January 24, 2014 at 20:33 #

      The authors note that breastfeeding is postively correlated with later test scores.

      “It also seems like mother education was only one thing that predicted vaccination status (and thus, IQ)”.

      Do you mean positively predicted vaccination status? Electrical appliances and number of children in the home were negative predictors if I recall.

  9. Lauren Ambrose January 29, 2014 at 07:42 #

    Vaccination is responsible for prevention of diseases, i dont understand how is it linked to cognitive development.

    • natphilosopher March 8, 2014 at 14:48 #

      Vaccination is linked to cognitive development because numerous published studies show injecting antigens into infant animals during critical periods of development causes brain damage, and likewise for injecting the aluminum adjuvants found in some vaccines like Hep B and DTP. See http://whyarethingsthisway.com for a literature survey.

  10. natphilosopher March 8, 2014 at 14:44 #

    This article is debunked at http://whyarethingsthisway.com
    Basically, you would probably agree that every parent in the survey, or certainly every parent of even moderate intelligence and education, wanted to get their kids vaccinated. Succeeding in this task was a real-world IQ test as well as a test of parenting involvement. So it is probably about as good a proxy for “prior propensity to produce intelligent children” as one could hope to imagine. It was also a hidden factor, not controlled for in any way in the study. They took the top 85 kids out of a distribution of 2000 in this measure, so the vaccinated kids start out 2 standard deviations above mean. They compared them to kids chosen from the bottom half of the bell curve on this prior propensity, so the vaccinated kids start out maybe 2.5 standard deviations above. So the result that they wind up .5 standard deviations above seems to indicate they might have lost 2 standard deviations due to the vaccination effects. And its ludicrous that they had no height advantage for the top 85 kids vs the bottom of the distribution, kids who were smaller at birth and substantially lived in homes without toilets or water.

    If they wanted to have a more meaningful study, they should have compared kids who got DTP to kids who didn’t, as in the Guinea-Bisseau study which faced similar hidden factors favoring the vaccinated. That also wouldn’t have led them to have only 85 data points. But it probably would have shown substantial cognitive deficits.

    • natphilosopher March 8, 2014 at 15:02 #

      Let me put this in more colloquial terms. You and your wife were 2.5 standard deviations up on the SAT, you both got 750’s. Your kid is only .5 standard deviations up, he got a 550. Are you happy?

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) March 8, 2014 at 15:10 #

        Depends on my child’s abilities, not mine. Perhaps you can go away and rethink how insulting you’ve just been.

      • natphilosopher March 8, 2014 at 15:48 #

        No, that’s the point. Your child would have had a 750, but you injected him with antigens and aluminum during critical periods of his brain development.

        Somethiing like that exact scenario is what the published, peer reviewed scientific literature points to, as I reviewed in the paper which, I expect you are right, they will refuse to listen to. So I’m asking you, please, if I’m wrong debunk my paper like you debunk others, but if I’m right, which I am, open your mind.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) March 8, 2014 at 17:16 #

        I understood your point. You don’t understand mine.

        I wondered how long it would take you to get to the “open minded” phase. This is where you pat yourself on the back for being “open minded” and discount those who disagree with you as not being “open minded”. Ironically it’s a very close minded mindset.

        I’m open minded. Your arguments are old, borrowed and not good. Open minded does not mean “I accept everything you say without question”.

        I see you found a fallback position on your paper submission. You were hoping for juicy comments to blog after you got rejected. Now it’s “they refuse to listen”. Either way, you paint yourself as the brave maverick, victimized by The Man.

        Your paper is not good. Also, Pediatrics does not publish review articles often (seems like one every few months). Their statement is “PEDIATRICS continues this legacy, publishing original research, clinical observations, and special feature articles in the field of pediatrics, as broadly defined. ” Your work is not original research nor clinical observations. You might try to twist the definition of “special feature” but that’s not a good description for your work either.

        Your next steps no doubt will be to go through your literature and figure out which journals are “open minded” (i.e. credulous) and submit there. Depending on the level of effort you wish to put in, you will then do the “internet radio” (i.e. podcast) circuit and, as already noted, start giving talks at pay-for-play venues. With a lot of work you can get yourself in to the real junkets (sadly, you’ve missed the chance to get an all expense paid trip to Jamaica).

        I know this sounds like I’m being mean to you, but I’m just extrapolating on the data you present and the data from the people who have trod this path before you.

        As I’ve said before, I’m not here to do your homework nor to sharpen your arguments. You are wrong. And not worth debunking.

        [note: edited to change "not" to "nor"]

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) March 8, 2014 at 15:05 #

      You really seem challenged by this study. And creating a new blog and submitting a paper are very predictable. Shall I write your article for after your paper gets rejected by pediatrics? It almost certainly won’t get to a referee. You do realize that front tier journals screen heavily by editors before going to referee.

      • natphilosopher March 8, 2014 at 15:09 #

        The study is ridiculous, as I pointed out. And furthermore, buried in their data is probably actual useful evidence, if they just analyze it in a sensible fashion. I’m not challenged by it, its just the only study I could find that compares vaccinated to unvaccinated and seems to argue vaccinated comes up better. If you know of another one, please supply a citation.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) March 8, 2014 at 15:14 #

        Let’s see: you’ve become obsessed with this post, created a new name and blog and keep coming back.

        So, when will you start speaking at the credulous conventions? Health freedom expos only require that you pay your fee and show up to talk.

      • Chris March 8, 2014 at 17:20 #

        Oh, boy. Your cute little graphic is comparing a real study with a bit of nonsense thunk up by a homeopath. See more here:

        http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/health-of-vaccinated-vs-unvaccinated/

        “one in rural Guinea-Bissau in the 1990′s[23],”

        Along with actually taking a self-selected internet survey by a homeopath, that is also hilarious. it is a classic case of comparing apples with petroleum products. Let us look at that country:

        https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/pu.html

        Some population statistics:

        Maternal mortality rate:

        790 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
        country comparison to the world: 7

        Infant mortality rate:
        total: 92.66 deaths/1,000 live births
        country comparison to the world: 5
        male: 102.42 deaths/1,000 live births
        female: 82.61 deaths/1,000 live births (2013 est.)

        Life expectancy at birth:
        total population: 49.5 years
        country comparison to the world: 221
        male: 47.53 years
        female: 51.52 years (2013 est.)

        Compare that with the CIA World Factbook for the USA:

        Maternal mortality rate:
        21 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
        country comparison to the world: 137

        Infant mortality rate:
        total: 5.9 deaths/1,000 live births
        country comparison to the world: 174
        male: 6.55 deaths/1,000 live births
        female: 5.22 deaths/1,000 live births (2013 est.)

        Life expectancy at birth:
        total population: 78.62 years
        country comparison to the world: 51
        male: 76.19 years
        female: 81.17 years (2013 est.)

        So this sentence: “In rural Guinea-Bisseau, scientists polled 15,351 mothers of 6 month olds to see which infants were vaccinated, and then came back a year later to see who was still alive. Kids who’d gotten at least one vaccine had a relative mortality of .74 compared to kids who’d gotten none.”

        Makes no sense claiming it is proof there is something wrong with the American pediatric schedule when infant and child mortality is some much higher than the USA.

        Please, please, move to Guinea-Bissau with all of your children and live on the economy. Then you would not have to worry about “chronic disease”, because something worse will befall your family’s health.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) March 8, 2014 at 18:01 #

        I assume he didn’t also cite the results from Papua New Guinea?

        Routine immunizations are effective in reducing overall mortality in young children in an area of high mortality. In particular, DTP, whether considered separately or in addition to BCG, was associated with a lowering of overall mortality, in contrast to findings reported from Guinea-Bissau.

        Or the work by the same author as the Guinea-Bissau paper (Peter Aaby) who finds that measles vaccination not only is associated with lower mortality, but that the association was not limited to the prevention of measles: ” The vaccine was protective against measles death throughout the study, but it also had a marked effect against other causes of death, particularly diarrhoea and oedema.”

        He sees benefits not on in Africa but in Bangladesh.

        I.e. the gentleman commenting here wants to report that he can only find one class of information (that which suggests vaccines are dangerous) when the counter arguments are easily found.

      • natphilosopher March 8, 2014 at 18:55 #

        Thanks much for the citations. If you find any other relevant ones, please pass along.

      • Chris March 8, 2014 at 18:16 #

        Is it the same gentleman who claimed problems with a group of studies, when his comments had nothing to do at all with their content? It was like he was reading something completely different, and refused to believe he was wrong.

        As Dr. Crislip would say: “he flabbered my gaster” by citing the self-selected online survey by a homeopath.

        He illustrates one of the biggest problems when engineers try to do science. Engineers and computer scientists want to end with a certain outcome, so they work and choose those elements to get that outcome. That does not work in science. You cannot ignore the stuff that does not fit your conclusion.

      • Chris March 8, 2014 at 19:43 #

        “Thanks much for the citations. If you find any other relevant ones, please pass along.”

        There is a list of several studies that would be of interest at Catharina’s and Science Mom’s blog. Unfortunately I have noticed WordPress blogs will not permit me to post its URL (it started with the Science Based Medicine blog). It is the “Just the Vax” blog, and the title is: “75 studies that show no link between vaccines and autism.”

        Also, a new economic study has been released:
        Economic Evaluation of the Routine Childhood Immunization Program in the United States, 2009

        There is lots more that can be found by searching the PubMed index. Some that even go back a full century: A STATISTICAL STUDY OF MEASLES (1914)

        The trick is to look at the whole body of studies by qualified and reputable researchers. By definition of “qualified” this eliminates studies by homeopaths, engineers, geologist, journalists, lawyers and business majors. That last “This Week in Virology” podcast (TWiV 274: Data dump) has at about the one hour mark a very pointed discussion of a letter from “Martin” about a paper by Shaw and Tomljenovic. Go give it a listen at Twiv.tv.

      • natphilosopher March 8, 2014 at 20:05 #

        Thanks. So far as I can tell, none of the 75 studies address the question of whether injected aluminum adjuvants cause autism or brain damage. There are definitely a lot of studies arguing MMR doesn’t cause autism. Note that MMR is given to toddlers not neonates and doesn’t contain adjuvants.

        I may comment on one or two, though, that might be misunderstood in the way the Stefano study results are sometimes misrepresented.

      • Chris March 8, 2014 at 22:56 #

        “.So far as I can tell, none of the 75 studies address the question of whether injected aluminum adjuvants cause autism or brain damage.”

        So what? Neither does the above article. A person who takes a self-selected internet survey by a homeopath seriously is not one who demonstrates critical thinking skills.

        Now go list to this podcast starting about the one hour mark, where is does address the aluminum adjuvant issue:

        http://www.twiv.tv/2014/03/02/twiv-274-data-dump/:

      • Chris March 9, 2014 at 02:09 #

        By the way, before you decide aluminum adjuvants in vaccine cause neurological damage, you must first show that there is actual neurological damage from vaccines.

        Right now when we we examine the evidence, there is no real causal association between vaccines and neurological issues. The science shows that the diseases cause much more damage than the vaccines.

        Just like the now vaccine preventable disease that caused seizures in my oldest child. Not a vaccine, an actual disease. Something that would happen more often if vaccination was reduced.

        The gyrations some folks go to force some kind of relationship to vaccines is ridiculous (an online survey by a homeopath? really?). This is the reason for Prof. Condit is on point, and why And global warming is caused by the decrease in the number of pirates or: Why an inorganic chemistry journal should not publish a vaccine epidemiology paper is a perfect description of the goal shifting to yet another ingredient aluminum, after thimerosal and MMR did not pan out.

      • natphilosopher March 9, 2014 at 02:25 #

        Chris, thanks for your efforts. I’ve seen both the 75 studies and the American Academy of Pediatrics blurb before, and what struck me about them was 2 things. First, while it says “Examine the Evidence” it makes no effort whatsoever to present any of the myriad of papers critical of safety so it is not about examining the evidence or about fully informed patients, it is about advocacy. My point is, the Pediatricians have not examined the evidence or they wouldn’t be doing and saying what they are. Second, there are no papers on either list supporting the safety of either aluminum adjuvants or early vaccinations. (There are one or two that pretend to be about early vaccinations, perhaps, but if you read them its clear they aren’t really and aren’t convincing at all.)

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) March 9, 2014 at 03:06 #

        ” My point is, the Pediatricians have not examined the evidence or they wouldn’t be doing and saying what they are.”

        With all due respect, your point is nonsense.

      • Chris March 9, 2014 at 03:56 #

        You really don’t get it. You can’t go around asking about aluminum in vaccines causing damaging until after you show vaccines cause damage. That has not been done.

        You complain that “Pediatricians have not examined the evidence”, yet use as references the following as references:

        2] Tomljenovic L, Shaw CA. Do aluminum vaccine adjuvants contribute to the rising prevalence of autism? J Inorg Biochem. 2011 Nov;105(11):1489-99

        [22] http://vaccineinjury.info/results-unvaccinated/results-illnesses.html

        [23] http://www.bmj.com/content/321/7274/1435 Routine vaccinations and child survival: follow up study in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa Commentary: an unexpected finding that needs confirmation or rejection BMJ 2000; 321:1435 Ines Kristensen, Peter Aaby, Henrik Jensen.

        Those are ridiculous. The fact you don’t understand that after being told multiple times why they are nonsense says much about your very closed mind.

  11. jasoa March 24, 2014 at 19:57 #

    I didnt even read the whole article… but I call bullshit… philipines is less hygienic then say australia, australian kids are more likely to be overall healthy and nutritious and recover from illnesses quicker then philipuno kids. So if your saying philipino kids who get vaccined are smarter its probably just because their unvacvinated and unhealthy peers are out of school sick for longer periods because of their lack of nutrition and healthy food… so when they do get a flu its takes them ages to get iver it anyway. I take 2 days to get over the one flu ive had as an adult… my friends are constantly sick… the difference? I eat healthy they eat maccas and drink alcohol. Oh but they get their shots!!! I dont get flu shots and im healthier then they are. Eat healthy and your body can fight off normal child hood disease easily…
    Its so clear that the pharma companies are loving this… trillion dollar industry and then the rise in athsma, diabetes, behavoiral problems in kids they get from the vaccines are raking them in even more money!! If you guys are too dumb to think the government cares more about you then the billions they make every year from this then you just make sure you get your yearly shot, and enjoy your weekly trips to the chemist… oh yeah and if the government really cared about us wouldnt theh be making alcohol, fast food and ciggarettes illegal? Nope why? Because well pay anything to live and as long as we are willing to harm our bodies first and seatch for solutions later the government is gonna be rich making money from tax and then through big pbarma companies when you yry quit smoking or go on speed weight loss drugs.
    Arent vacc almost mandatory in america?
    Ive met some prettu fucking dumb yanks!!!

  12. scott July 28, 2014 at 05:35 #

    CDC refuses do to a vaccinated vs unvaccinated study on Autism because they know the answer… In a recent study by the CDC, it looked at children aged 2 to 24 months and to compare health care utilization rates between undervaccinated and age-appropriately vaccinated children. Would you imagine that the undervaccinated group had less medial problems, but was framed (without supporting evidence) that it was because of increased use of holistic medicine in that group. What do you suppose the CDC would give for it’s rationale should the undervaccinated child have MORE medical problems in this vaccine study?

    Stony Brook University, NY looked at the Hep B vaccine specifically and compared those who got it to those that did not. It found a statistical correlation between Autism and the 3 shot series starting on day 1 of life a 3 fold increase – Legally, in US courts, 2 fold is causative.

    the CDC recommends 36, an increase of 260% since 1983. Yet, no studies have ever been done to compare neurological disorder (“ND”) rates of unvaccinated children to vaccinated children. We commissioned a national market research firm to survey more than 13,000 children in California and Oregon.

    Cal-Oregon Unvaccinated Survey

    “We surveyed over 9,000 boys in California and Oregon and found that vaccinated boys had a 155% greater chance of having a neurological disorder like ADHD or autism than unvaccinated boys.” -Generation Rescue, June 26, 2007

    • Chris July 28, 2014 at 05:49 #

      Funny how you failed to cite any of the studies you mentioned.

      One question though, if someone did decide to do a randomly chosen vax versus unvax study, and there was a large outbreak of measles. Would you tell the placebo group that they were completely unprotected? Or would you just let the kids get sick, and accept the level of disability and death as just part of the process?

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) July 28, 2014 at 06:29 #

        The first study he mentions is almost certainly this one. A Population-Based Cohort Study of Undervaccination in 8 Managed Care Organizations Across the United States

        One wonders if he took the 5 minutes to see that the same author also published:
        Association Between Undervaccination With Diphtheria, Tetanus Toxoids, and Acellular Pertussis (DTaP) Vaccine and Risk of Pertussis Infection in Children 3 to 36 Months of Age

        which concludes

        Results Of the 72 case patients with pertussis, 12 (16.67%) were hospitalized, and 34 (47.22%) were undervaccinated for DTaP vaccine by the date of pertussis diagnosis. Of the 288 matched controls, 64 (22.22%) were undervaccinated for DTaP vaccine. Undervaccination was strongly associated with pertussis. Children undervaccinated for 3 or 4 doses of DTaP vaccine were 18.56 (95% CI, 4.92-69.95) and 28.38 (95% CI, 3.19-252.63) times more likely, respectively, to have received a diagnosis of pertussis than children who were age-appropriately vaccinated.

        Conclusions and Relevance Undervaccination with DTaP vaccine increases the risk of pertussis among children 3 to 36 months of age.

        Or this one which shows that delaying the MMR results in more seizures.

        These aren’t randomly selected papers. They are papers that cite the study he’s relying upon. I say “study he’s relying upon” loosely, as he may have only read about the study online, not read the study.

        As to my critical final statement above, since no one has ever used his email address on this site before, and he’s working from an old blog post (not a very recent one discussing a vaccinated/unvaccinated study), there is a strong probability that he is of the final category I noted. If not, I will of course apologize.

    • Chris July 28, 2014 at 05:55 #

      Well now I know why… I did a Google on “Cal-Oregon Unvaccinated Survey”… and look what I find: the Generation Rescue phone survey. It was a joke. In short never have a marketing survey company attempt science:

      http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2007/06/27/fun-with-phone-surveys/

    • Chris July 28, 2014 at 05:56 #

      And the Stony Brook study by undergraduates is discussed here:

      http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2009/09/17/another-weak-study-proves-vaccines-cause-autism/

      Seriously, you have to do better.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) July 28, 2014 at 06:10 #

      Scott,

      I hate to put you in a category, but you are clearly in one. For years people have come here and told me old vaccine/autism talking points as though they are new. Most often, these people are doing a hit-and-run: they left a comment never to return and discuss. Others refuse to acknowledge any mistakes. They are repeating what they have read, but they have never taken the time to challenge those “facts” and do the background research on the topics raised. When presented with clear evidence that their conclusions are incorrect, they usually resort to attacks, claiming those with facts are “closed minded”.

      Let’s start with the Generation Rescue survey. Are you aware of the many flaws? Are you aware that Generation Rescue cherry picked results? There are any discussions on the web. Let’s start with this one:

      http://autismnaturalvariation.blogspot.com/2007/09/simple-selection-bias-model-explains.html

      Strikingly, the survey found that while 3.01% of all vaccinated children had an ASD diagnosis, about 3.73% of all unvaccinated children did.

      That’s for both sexes. When GR only reported boys, that should have been a red flag. And 3-4% autism prevalence? Back then the prevalence of identified autism was <1%.

      It sounds like you are unaware of the vaccinated/unvaccinated study that is about to be published. Commissioned by the NIH (I think NIMH) and performed by an independent group. Doesn't sound like they are scared of the result to me. The study appears to be one comparing autism rates in younger siblings of autistic kids. This group has a higher autism risk and a lower vaccine uptake, making it easier to do a comparison.

      As to the Stony Brook study, as already noted, I've discussed that here. Actually more than once. You did notice the very small sample sizes, right? Much more, you noticed that the age ranges for those kids was such that the kids who didn't get the HepB vaccine were born before the vaccine was used in infants (about 1990), while those who got the vaccine were born (obviously) after the vaccine was available. That might be OK if autism prevalence wasn't rising, but we know it is. To do that study correctly, one should stratify by birth cohort. Basically compare the autism risk for HepB for each birth year. That way other factors which could be driving up the autism prevalence with time would not be in play.

      I will say you've picked some older and weaker of the talking points. Why is that?

      I will also say there is another category of people who come here and leave comments like yours. People who want to sharpen their debate skills on the subject. If so, get the hell off my blog. Much more, stop using my kid and other disabled kids as your hammer to attack vaccines. It's sick, actually.

  13. Jed Shlackman, MS Ed (@jedishaman) September 3, 2014 at 18:17 #

    This study proves nothing – the result is best explained by the fact that in a region where most of the population is not vaccinated this is usually due to low standards of living, where those who do get vaccinated are the ones with better access to health care, nutrition, educated parents, etc. If you did the same study in a Western nation you would probably get a different result since in the West it is often more educated people who are choosing to opt out from vaccinating their kids. In neither case would it prove that the vaccines themselves are the factor influencing cognitive performance. You would need a properly designed, controlled study to look at that question.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) September 3, 2014 at 20:22 #

      I think I was clear above that this is a very limited study.

      That said, there is a careful study comparing vaccinated and unvaccinated populations in process. I expect it to be published soon.

      There are also a number of studies in various stages which are looking at the question. Given the heavy bias of the authors of those, as well as some clear examples of shoddy work, I don’t hold out much hope for anything valuable from them.

  14. John Altimus September 18, 2014 at 19:11 #

    I don’t know what the issue is here. matt debunked the Phillipines study immediately… and for obvious reasons. Here’s a few more. Are children likely to be vacinated more or less affluent? Which vaccines were administered? A schedule similar to the bloated USA schedule or a more reasonable Norwegian schedule?
    After debenking the schedule Matt makes up his own reasons for why the conclusion of the study is correct, despite the terribly poor design and conduct. Matt? Are you showing a little bias here in favor of vaccinating?
    Why are you wasting everyone’s time with that non-scientific and terrible study?

    And chris – You said “By the way, before you decide aluminum adjuvants in vaccine cause neurological damage, you must first show that there is actual neurological damage from vaccines.” Really? Just read vaccine side effects. Look at how many kids have been awarded damages for vaccine-caused brain damage. Why do you make such an easily debenked statement?

    Chris said “Right now when we we examine the evidence, there is no real causal association between vaccines and neurological issues. The science shows that the diseases cause much more damage than the vaccines.”
    If the diseases cause brain damage why wouldn’t live vaccines also cause brain damage. they do, you know. It is proved and it is obvious. what’s your bias in this issue? Why would you make such a nonsense statement?

    Then you said “Just like the now vaccine preventable disease that caused seizures in my oldest child. Not a vaccine, an actual disease. Something that would happen more often if vaccination was reduced.”. Wel if you are going to bring your child into this issue, then what disease did he/she get? Why did the disease cause seizures in your child and not in the vast majority of children who get the disease?

    You make statements trying to make a point, but you don’t explain or go into any depth that would get to the real issues here. Such as not fully eplaining what happened to your child and what was different about your child that allowed an apparentl ordinary common disease to cause seizures.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) September 18, 2014 at 19:37 #

      John Altimus asks: “Why are you wasting everyone’s time with that non-scientific and terrible study?”

      If you read the article above: “The study highlights many of the difficulties in doing a vaccinated/unvaccinated population comparison: how to control for confounds. ”

      Should I put that in bold? Italics? Should I repeat it multiple times? I ask this because you are not the first person to miss the obvious.

      As to “Matt makes up his own reasons for why the conclusion of the study is correct”. Perhaps you should read again the sentence I quote above. This time put it in bold, flashing letters, italics and whatever else will make it stand out. Because by skipping over that it is your bias that is showing, not mine.

      Of course when you start your comment with “bloated USA schedule” one doesn’t have to do much interpretation to see you are clearly biased heavily against vaccines.

      Thanks for reading. Perhaps you could find more articles here of interest as well? There is an independent group doing a vaccinated/unvaccinated comaprison study. Should be published shortly. With your clear bias, I suspect you will “debunk” that study if it comes to the wrong conclusion, ignoring what is actually written. How can I draw such a conclusion? Because you just jumped to your own conclusion here while ignoring the whole point of the article above.

      • John Altimus September 18, 2014 at 20:11 #

        Getting kind of nasty and jumping to many wrong conlcusions. Why are you so sensitive to criticism?
        What is the point of the article that I am ignoring?

        You quote the article “While our results are statistically significant, the sample size is relatively small due to the restriction of the sample to the common support. In addition, the matching of treatment and control groups may be imperfect if there are unobserved confounding factors that affect both vaccination and cognitive development. We therefore do not see our results as definitive. However, the results do however highlight the potential significance of vaccination as a human capital investment and suggest that further research in this area is warranted.”

        Then YOU said “if there is a real correlation, is it the vaccination itself (unlikely in my opinion),”.
        So you disagree with the authors’ opinion, come up with your own, assume that’s correct and go on your way.

        If a disease is going to affect cognitive development then which diseases are we talking about?
        What was wrong with the children whose cognitive development was affected… or are you implying that ALL children who get a wild disease become cognitively impaired?
        Whatever your position is, please post your evidence.

        regarding my comment on the “bloated Usa schedule”, how does that show bias? USA kids get more vaccines than any other child population in the world, yet of all the developed nations, USA kids don’t fare so well in schoold achievements when comparing to other nations kids. So if vaccines help brain development, as you are saying, why are USA kids doing so poorly, internationally speaking?

        That little contradiction is just more evidence against the srudy you originally posted and your conclusion that preventing disease leads to better cognitive development. Of course, there are confounds, like YOU said., not only in that study but USA kids as well

        BTW I paid a little bit better attention to my spelling this time, so you don’t have to make a smart-Alec remark about it.
        Really? you want’ to bring up typos to make a point? Is grammar next?

        And again, why are being so nasty?
        And again, what are you wasting time with this study?
        There’s more important issues to tackle, and I hope you have better science, or maybe just plain old science, because that study was not science or medicine or even good statistics.
        It’s nonsense to bring it up!!!!!!!!

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) September 19, 2014 at 04:44 #

        Nasty? It is easy to avoid discussion like that. Nothing here was nasty. You missed the point. And now you want me to continue to defend against your straw man attack.

        I couldn’t make the point of the article more clear if I spelled it out for you. Which I did.

        I wish you well. There are many sites where you can find like minded vaccine antagonistic people to tell all about how your straw man version of me is wrong.

        As to the old internet debate trick of “your spelling isn’t good therefore your point is wrong”. OK. That became an obvious diversion in the early days of Usenet.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) September 18, 2014 at 19:44 #

      Funny how so many skip over this: “we asked for a comparison of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated populations, but not that comparison” and don’t see how it had a double meaning. (1) “we don’t want a comparison that shows vaccines are beneficial” is obvious. (2) “That study is weak.” should be obvious had you read the article carefully.

      The fact of the matter is that the study discussed above is as good or better than most of those which are used to “prove” vaccines cause autism. That’s a more subtle message above, and I don’t blame you for missing it.

      Next time, read more carefully. Look for words like “if”. As in ” if there is a real correlation”. Which I see now is poorly worded. There is a real correlation. The question is whether this correlation would stand up to a more controlled study. But I suspect the message got through in that short sentence. Even though you ignored it.

      • John Altimus September 18, 2014 at 20:21 #

        WOW!!! More nastiness.
        Why don’t you address anything that I have said here?

        So now you say “the study discussed above is as good or better than MOST of those which are used to “prove” vaccines cause autism.”?
        What “vaccines cause autism” studies are you talking about?

        So you admit there are some studies better than this one, that PROVE vaccines cause autism.

        Or was that another error on your part?

        I think you should think a little bit more before you post.

      • John Altimus September 18, 2014 at 20:36 #

        matt, I would suggest you read your posts more carefully before you post them. What are you trying to start an argument with these nasty belittling insulting comments?

        I repeatedly stated how YOU debunked the study from the very beginning, using the study’s authors admissions of problems and YOU disagreeing with the study’s correlations.

        I didn’t miss your ending redundant remark… but the double meaning had nothing to do with the study being weak, as you claim.

        Here’s your last two original paragraphs
        “So, when Jenny McCarthy or others say, “I’d take measles any day over autism”, aside from making the huge mistake of assuming that autism and vaccination are linked, she may be saying “I’d take a half-standard-deviation drop in cognition over vaccination”.

        I await the inevitable, “we asked for a comparison of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated populations, but not that comparison”.”

        In context, it is OBVIOUS that the “inevitable” that you a re “awaiting” is for what you claim is the anti-vaccinationists (the “we” in your final sentence) whining that they don’t want “that comparison”.

        please don’t try to imply your sentences meant anything else,. You should be embarassed.

        Now where are those studies you claim that “prove vaccines cause autism” that are better than the study you originally posted.

        remember you said this “the study discussed above is as good or better than MOST of those which are used to “prove” vaccines cause autism.”
        Please post those studies you stated “prove” vaccines cause autism and are better than the phillipine study you posted.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) September 19, 2014 at 04:45 #

        You seem quite worked up by this.

        Have a better day tomorrow.

    • Chris September 19, 2014 at 03:49 #

      John Altimus”. “If the diseases cause brain damage why wouldn’t live vaccines also cause brain damage. they do, you know. It is proved and it is obvious. what’s your bias in this issue? Why would you make such a nonsense statement?”

      But how much damage and with what frequency do the vaccines cause damage versus the diseases? Measles causes encephalitis in one out of a thousand cases, so how often does the MMR cause encephalitis? Provide the PubMed indexed studies from reputable qualified researchers to support your answer.

      My personal anecdote is not data. Of course most children do not get seizures from a disease, but one out of a thousand is enough when there are four million born each year. The issue is relative risk. So what carries more risk?

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