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Sloppy science – a perfect example of how the anti-vaccine crowd will listen to anything

11 Feb

Both Age of Autism and David Kirby have recently reported on a new review paper with Age of Autism describing it as ‘pretty interesting’ and David repeating a part of the abstract:

Documented causes of autism include genetic mutations and/or deletions, viral infections, and encephalitis following vaccination.

So, should we all in the skeptic camp be reaching for our humble pie and our knife and fork? Not exactly. Lets take a look at the contents of this paper. Lets start here:

The vaccine organism itself could be a culprit. For example, one hypothesis of the cause of autism is that the pertussis toxin in the DPT vaccine causes a separation of the G-alpha protein from retinoid receptors in genetically at-risk children (Farfel et al., 1999; Megson, 2000). The pertussis toxin creates a chronic autoimmune monocytic infiltration of the gut mucosa lamina propia and may disconnect the G-alpha protein pathways, leaving some G-alphamodulated pathways unopposed. In turn, the non-specific branch of the immune system is turned on and, without retinoid switching, cannot be down regulated.

Wow, blinded with the cool science yet? No, me neither. Go back to line one where it says ‘one hypothesis’. All that follows from that point is mere opinion. There’s no science to back it up.

Another organism of suspect is the live measles virus…

Yeah except its really not. The issues with the Wakefield hypothesis are so many and so thoroughly debunked, it really isn;t worth my time or yours going through them again and again.

There is evidence that Thimerosal (which is 49% ethyl mercury) is indeed harmful. Since the 1930s, Thimerosal has been extensively used as an antibacterial agent in vaccines (Geier et al., 2007). Thimerosal has been implicated as a cause of autism. Not only is every major symptom of autism documented in cases of mercury poisoning but also biological
abnormalities in autism are very similar to the side effects of mercury poisoning itself (Bernard et al., 2001)

Oh dear. Reliance on more thoroughly debunked rubbish in the form of well, anything by the Geier’s and the ridiculous Bernard ‘paper’. I’m happy to go through why these are rubbish but I think I’d be preaching to the converted.

The rest of the paper is a rogues gallery of debunked and fringe science. Helen Ratajczak cites the Geier’s numerous times, DeSoto and Hitlan, Nataf and Rossignol to name but a few. This isn’t a paper so much as an advert for the sort of poor science that was examined in the Autism Omnibus proceedings and roundly rejected by the Special Masters. For goodness sake, she even cites David Ayoub of the Black Helicopter infamy.

When it comes to this paper – handle with extreme caution. Its toxic rubbish.

Why does it matter what happens to Andrew Wakefield?

8 Jan

People have been questioning the necessity of these latest revelations about Andrew Wakefield and suggesting that enough is enough or maybe that all this latest round of publicity will do nothing except make him a heroic martyr. This is possible.

However, for a number of reasons I really feel it is vitally important that not only is there some response but that that response comes at least partly from the autism community.

Firstly, I believe it is necessary for there to be a response full stop. These might be the same set of _facts_ that were uncovered during the GMC hearing but the difference here is that for the first time it has been established that the facts against Andrew Wakefield came about through what the BMJ refer to as fraudulent. This is a huge difference. Up until now it could’ve been argued that Andrew Wakefield simply made a mistake. After the events of the last two days, that can never be honestly argued again.

Secondly, there are a set of people who have been at the rough end of Wakefield’s fraud for the last 13 years. A set of people who have struggled to make new parents understand that there is no risk of autism from the MMR vaccine. Doctors. Particularly paediatricians and GP’s. It is vital that by establishing what Wakefield has done as fraud, the media ensure that the message is spread far and wide. They (the media) have something to atone for in this respect, being the original spreaders of the message that the MMR caused or contributed to autism. They now need to recognise their role in the past and help the medical establishment by ensuring Wakefield can never again spread his fraudulent claims via their auspices.

Thirdly, there is another set of people who have been at an even rougher end of Wakefield’s fraud. The sufferers of the falling vaccination rates of MMR. Its been well documented in numerous places, including this blog how people – particularly children – have been injured and died in the UK and US. The concept of herd immunity, no matter what some might claim is a real concept and when it falls, the level of protection falls. When it falls to far then the people who suffer are the very young, the very old and those who for genuine medical reasons cannot be vaccinated. Wakefield’s fraud needs to be spread far and wide in order for people to realise what he is, what he tried to do and what the consequences were in order to have some confidence in the MMR jab.

Fourthly, there is another set of people who have suffered heavily. This set of people are the silent victims of Wakefield’s perfidy. Autistic people. Wakefield and his supporters, TACA, NAA, Generation Rescue, SafeMinds, Treating Autism et al have turned autism into a circus. The aim of the last decade amongst serious autism researchers and advocates has been to

a) Raise awareness
b) Find evidence-based therapies that will help the life course and independence of autistic people
c) Protect the educational rights of autistic people

and getting research monies to meet these aims is long, hard and slow. Andrew Wakefield and his hardcore of scientifically illiterate supporters have actively derailed that process, dragging research monies away from these principled activities and towards their core aim of degrading vaccines and ‘proving’ vaccines cause autism. Wakefield himself has taken over US$750,000 worth of money to pursue a legal battle against the UK Gvmt. Just think of how that money could have enriched the life of just one autistic person.

However, this same set of people claim to be representative of the autism community. They write nonsense books about autism. They hold celebrity studded fundraisers for autism. They participate in rant-filled rally’s for autism. But none of them are really about autism. What they’re about is anti-vaccinationism.

Every one of these activities denigrate autism and autistic people. They take attention away from where it is needed.

We, the true autism community, made up of parents, autistic people, professionals of autistic people need to do two things. Firstly, we need to wrest back control of the autism agenda from these one-note people. Secondly, we need to speak to society at large and say ‘yes, some members of the autism community believed the fraudulence of Andrew Wakefield but not all of us did. Please don’t tar us all with one brush.’

What Andrew Wakefield has done has impacted everyone. We need to make sure that he and people like him can never affect us all in this way again. To do that we need to speak out about him, loudly and as long as it takes.

Bring the crazy – Fecal Transplant

9 Dec

There’s a few places around the interweb that you can always count on for a good old dose of craziness. One of those is the Autism Web forums, where the latest trend being discussed is Fecal Transplant.

Yeah. Fecal Transplant.

It is actually a known therapy to attempt to cure

…pseudomembranous colitis (caused by Clostridium difficile), or ulcerative colitis which involves restoration of colon homeostasis by reintroducing normal bacterial flora from stool obtained from a healthy donor.

Feeling a bit icky yet?

But like so many known treatments for known ailments (chelation for example), the extreme biomed party like to put their own unique twist on things:

Ok, you guys, I got some info for you, please do not hate me :)
Here is how this procedure was done by that physician in canada who does not practice anymore.
you collect the stool from a healthy relative (mother, father , so on) for a week in a bucket, no preservatives or cooling. Then mix well, fill in a decorating cone (that cloth cone you use to decorate a cake).
Use the cone as an enema to empty all the content in the patient’s colon. The patient needs to hold that as long as possible.

Does that in theory mean no more GFCG diets, yeast treatments, mega supplements if it works right? Is there the potential for this to actually reverse autism, then? With the autism/gut connection it sure makes sense. I’ll admit I didn’t read this post initially because it sounded so gross, but now that I’ve started to look into it…..it may really work.

Hooray!!! Playing ‘doctor’ via the internet and subjecting your kids to it!! Just wonderful.

Hope and False Hope

25 Nov

Hope. It’s a wonderful thing, and something that parents of children with autism deserve to have in their lives. Fortunately, science shows that there is very good reason for hope. It shows that children with autism continue to learn and develop throughout their lives. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2765385/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15666341

But false hope is another matter. As we saw in my guest blog Truth and Consequences – The Anti-Vaccination Movement Exacts a Price from last year, “biomedical support groups” for autism, so prevalent and so active on the internet, provide a sense of hope and community for parents of children with ASD. But, that hope is not real. The case of “Mary” and her son “Saul” illustrates this – Mary joined a multitude of groups, and tried dozens of “treatments” only to be left poorer. And her child, at age 8, had not “recovered”, but still exhibited many of the challenging behaviors which he had at age 2.

Mary is a bit unusual because she has persisted with “biomedical autism treatments” for 6 years. The typical cycle of membership on such “biomedical support groups” is much shorter. A new parent joins, and attempts to follow the protocol or the advice of the other parents, but if this approach does not help their child, the parent simply abandons the group, usually without comment. However, there are always newly diagnosed children, so one sees a continuous influx of new parent members, asking the “newby” questions. Typically, there is a core of self-proclaimed “go-to” people in the group who have devoted themselves to advising these parents.

The purpose of this blog post is to introduce you to one such “go-to” person, a woman called Dana, a resident of California, and the owner of a website http://www.danasview.net.

Here’s how Dana describes herself:

Hello, my name is Dana and I am 41 years old. I am an attorney, I am married, and I have four children. I homeschool all four of my children, and I do legal work part time from home.
When my second child was diagnosed with autism at age 3, I began searching the internet to learn more about him and who he is, and I was surprised to discover that I also qualified as AS, which I will use here to refer to Autistic Syndrome although I am aware it is used for other uses as well. My third child would probably qualify as PDD, but I have not pursued an official diagnosis for him. My first and fourth child are NT.

Notice that Dana makes it clear that she has no medical background, and she is always careful never to present herself as a medical professional. Nevertheless, she has a lot of credibility on the “autism biomedical support groups”. The reason for this credibility is that she is supposed to have “recovered” her second child, or rather both her second and third children. Here is how she describes her second child in 2001 when he was 5 or 6:

My son’s pedneuro told me that he was very low functioning, never developed at all, classic genetic Kanner’s autism, that my best hope for him would be assisted living in a group home some day. Now my son no longer qualifies as autistic, he will be productive and independent some day, and all of it is because of information I read in books and on the internet. Keep going, you are doing the right thing, as you now know!

Wow! a child who no longer qualifies as autistic! That was pretty impressive in 2001, and it made Dana into an authority on biomedical treatments. However, the story has changed quite a bit over the years:
2003, age 7-1/2

My son was not as old as yours when I started biomedical, altho he was older than most kids I read about. He was age 4 when I started, now is age 7-1/2. When I started biomedical, he basically did not tolerate anything.

He is nearly recovered, his last issue is language delay, all his other issues are gone. Chelation was the intervention that provided the final measure of recovery. I did a few other things along the way, but with chelation he can eat all foods now with no problems, he never has a yeast issue any more, stims only very occasionally and voluntarily stops almost immediately. He is now working on catching up with his language delay.

2006, age 10

My son has a Kanner dx, autistic from birth. In reality, he was injured from my dental amalgams plus HepB vax at birth. I chelated him with ALA, and he is almost biomedically recovered now [chelation being one part of that recovery]. Still developmentally delayed, but catching up.

2008, age 12

Well, when he was 3, the pedneuro told me he would never talk or even acknowledge my existence. Today he is 12 and just completed a first grade program. He talks, he reads, he does simple math, he loves giving me hugs, he calls us “mommy” and “daddy” and says “I love you” and lots of other things. He plays well with his siblings, defends them when we gang up on them to tickle them, is concerned when they get hurt, and he is the only child I have who will do his chores without prompting or complaining.

Because he is so far behind and is already 12, I don’t know if he will be age appropriate. But so far I am pleased with his progress. He has gone from “classic Kanner’s autism, severe, low functioning”, to not qualifying as autistic, but definitely developmentally delayed.

2010, age 14

My son has a dx of “classic Kanner’s autism, severe, low functioning”. The pedneuro who dx him, told me he would never talk or even acknowledge my existence. He said his first word at age 6, after I added digestive enzymes.

The things he needed the most for speech, were enzymes, ALA chelation, anti-virals, B vitamins especially B1 and B12, and anti-fungals. There were several other supps that were also helpful.

Today he is 14 and not yet age-appropriate, but sometimes I do need to tell him to be quiet because he is talking too much.

To me it’s clear that her second son is not actually “recovered” from ASD.

Dana is an amazingly prolific poster. When using the handle “danaatty”, between 2001-2003, she made a total of 9882 posts to just four yahoo groups, abmd, Autism-Mercury, EnzymesandAutism and GFCFKids. In 2003, she adopted the handle “danasview”, and since has made a mind-blowing 48,187 posts to just three groups, with the largest number, 23,705 posts to GFCFKids. That’s an average of 17 posts per day, every day, for 9 years!

Dana blames vaccines for her childrens’ ASD, even though she recognizes that she herself is also on the spectrum. And like most parents who blame autism on vaccines, she has an obsession with eliminating both viruses (presumably the residual measles virus from vaccination) and mercury (from thimerosal containing vaccines). There is absolutely no clinical evidence for any of her recommended protocols. Everything is based on her reputation as a parent who has “recovered” her children.

When viewed in isolation, a single piece of her advice may seem reasonable. However, a small sampling of her posts taken together shows a different story. Here are some symptoms that Dana has blamed on viruses or on viruses leaving the body:

plantar warts
molloscum contagium
yeast, which causes constipation
goopy green eye discharge
major red rash
dry patches of skin
bad case of the “chewies”
visual stims
pushing finger joints and cracking knuckles
OCD
low white blood cell count
loud talking
mouth sores
language difficulty
high fever
sore throat
runny nose
aching bones
fine bumps on chest

In Dana’s view, some symptoms of mercury poisoning are:

dilated pupils
headaches
neck pain
sinusitis
asthma
ear infections
tingling down arms/legs
urinary incontinence
jitters
restlessness
can’t sleep very well
heart palpitations or weird feelings around heart
fungus on feet
pain in jaw
ears popping
pressure in ears
pain in intestines/bowels when exercising
food intolerances
lazy eye

Conventional “autism biomedical” wisdom is that “yeast infections” are common in autism. And that “yeast infections” can result from either anti-viral “protocols” or chelation. According to Dana, some of the symptoms of “yeast” are:

symptoms of Tourette
OCD
anxiety
dark circles under eyes
squinting eyes
needing to chew things
eating plastic and rubber
persistent nail biting
redness/bumps around the mouth
sinus infection
hitting oneself
hitting one’s ears
head banging
making pig noises and snorting a lot
standing on the head
hands always in mouth
severe dandruff
biting a parent
yellow bowel movements
yellow finger nails
pee accidents
tics
crying uncontrollably for 20 minutes or more
cystic acne
constant high pitched vocal stims
non-stop talking
low grade fever
loose sounding cough
ringing in the ears
dizziness
constipation
humming
licking things
hyper and giggling
laughing hysterically
flying into a rage
sleep problems
problems falling asleep
sleep walking
teeth grinding
stinking armpits in a five year old
spinning around in circles
balance issues
chapped lips
extra bad handwriting
visual stims
sexual behavior
red ring around the anus
“spaciness”
anger and aggression,
headache
head banging
sound sensitivity [holding the hands over the ears]
climbing on furniture and jumping off
vestibular sensory issues
and
multiple personalities

It strains credulity that such a diversity of symptoms could possibly be attributed with such precision to only three causes. In fact, there are very few things Dana will NOT attribute to these three causes. For example:

Q: What can cause low white blood cell + low red blood cell count? A hematologist has performed blood tests and ruled out antibodies (lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, etc) and now wants to proceed with a bone marrow biopsy. He appears to think he has ruled out everything else and is now looking for Leukemia or Lymphoma.
Could mercury/metal exposure cause these symptoms? Anything else?

A: It is very possibly a mercury toxicity issue. May also be related to a latent virus issue.
Dana

Dana on viruses:

He had a wart that did not go away with high dose vitamin C [which eliminated a lot of cold/flu viruses in his brain], so I tried lysine, which caused more gains.

I watched a cold virus migrate into my son’s brain once. And after starting
anti-virals, I watched the viruses come out one by one.

The above four supplements (Vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, and lysine) eliminated my son’s viruses, they no longer lie dormant.

Dana on food intolerance:

At my house, controlling yeast and bacteria was required to stop raging. Also, most of the SCD-legal foods my son did not tolerate. He tolerated nothing orange or green, and he did not tolerate fats until mito cocktail. That would have caused major problems for him.

Dana on short stature:

One of my kids had this problem. He needed carnitine and thyroid support.

Dana shows her knowledge of chemistry:

Arginine and lysine are “opposites”, sort of like zinc and copper. If
you suspect a herpes virus issue, definitely do NOT give arginine, it will increase the virus.

Dana on yeast:

The yeast is in his head/brain, not in his GI tract. This happened with my son for a few years. Just because you don’t see signs of yeast in the bm/GI tract, does not mean yeast is not present in other areas of the body.

With her prolific posts and her continuous flow of “biomedical autism treatment” advice for parents, Dana has established herself as a guru. She is one of the key people personally responsible for encouraging parents to subject their children to unproven and potentially dangerous experimentation. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, consumers in the USA spent $20.3 billion on dietary supplements in 2004. Someone is getting rich on her advice.

Addendum:
In researching this story, I encountered something astonishing. Remember “Mary” and her son “Saul”? Saul is very clearly NOT recovered despite all the experimentation performed on him. The ultimate irony was to see “Saul” featured on Dana’s website, touted as an example of a chelation recovery!

Change.org ask ‘Did the Anti-Vaccination Movement Cause the Whooping Cough Epidemic?’

2 Nov

A great post over at Change.org asks the question and delivers the right answer – yes, yes they did. It also targets the right org as being responsible – Barbara Loe Fischer’s anti-vaccine group NVIC.

Whooping cough is making a comeback. This summer, the highly contagious upper respiratory infection struck more than 6,000 people in California — the most cases since 1950. Ten people died, all infants.

The stubborn belief that vaccines are harmful to a child’s health show just how damaging — even deadly–unscientific movements like the NVIC’s are. And how wrong.

…not vaccinating children erodes the “wall of immunity” that keeps all kids safe from life-threatening diseases. When infections have fewer potential hosts, there is less of a chance that those infections will be able to spread from child to child. When kids are vulnerable to nasty germs — because their parents don’t immunize them — they put their friends and classmates at risk, too.

Change.org have a petition up to deliver the untasty truth to NVIC – it caters to non-US residents from all over the world. Please sign it, tweet it or retweet this post, Facebook it, blog it and email it. These people need to be held accountable for their actions.

Katie Wright demonstrates AoA mentality

30 Sep

Over at the Clown Blog, Katie Wright pens a sulky screed targeting Peter Bearman. Lets go through it.

Dr. Peter Bearman, a professor of sociology at Columbia University, recently released a research paper alleging that half of the meteoric rise in ASD cases is an artifact. You know- “better diagnosis” and “greater awareness.” A blind, non-medical professional, could have diagnosed my son. Nevertheless in the case of HF ASD and aspergers (which comprise a small % of overall ASD) certainly greater awareness has played a role in the increasing number of those diagnoses. Still- 50%? Ridiculous.

And why ridiculous? Well….just because. Wright offers no evidence to counteract Bearman’s. No science is referenced to challenge Bearman’s work. It simply is ridiculous apparently. One can almost hear the foot stomp of a poor little rich girl out of her league intellectually.

After Dr. Bearman concludes that 50% of the increase cannot be attributed to greater awareness Insel asks what Bearman believes is driving the other 50%. Bearman answers: “genes, old parents and possibly a virus.” This is the best he has got? The NIH gave this guy millions to come with that?

Well no Katie, thats not what the NIH gave him his research money for. According to _you_ Insel asked Bearman what he _believed_ was driving the other 50%. He gave his answer as to what he _believed_ . But these beliefs were just that – beliefs. He presented the science he had done and then shut up on the evidence and opined and on what he was asked to opine on by Insel.

And even his opinion, his beliefs, are rooted in science. There _is_ a genetic component to autism, thats simply a fact. There _is_ research that links ASD to older parents. Katie Wright’s beliefs revolve around one extremely unscientific thing. Vaccines.

Yes, Bearman does acknowledge the possible role of some kind of toxin. Bearman is not sure what that toxin is but he is sure what it isn’t. Take a guess.

See what I mean. If it ain’t a vaccine, it ain’t worth considering according to Katie Wright.

…unbelievably Bearman says: “it isn’t autism that parents are worried about. They know they can deal with that, they know they can help their child, (and he would know this a non parent of an ASD child?) but it is autism organizations scaring parents!” I had no idea that a bunch of stay at home Moms with no money, no federal backing, no million dollar grants- who are already busy parenting autistic kids- have this kind of extraordinary power! Wow, what’s next for us? Ending the recession, solving the mortgage crisis, creating electric cars?

And hot damn Katie Wright, guess what? In my opinion he _is_ right! I’m not scared of autism. I’m scared of one note zealots stealing away research monies, scaring away legitimate researchers with their threats of violence and scaring the public into believing that autism is some kind of tsunami of evil ready to engulf them all in a tide of social security claims.

As for Katie Wright personally, it makes me sick to think of this little rich girl, who’s children will want for nothing, playing the ‘poor little me’ card. There are families out there struggling to get by on a day to day basis and she has the temerity to liken herself to a ‘stay at home mom’. Feh.

As far as blaming the parents for the national crisis of confidence in vaccine safety- grow up Dr. Bearman. The problem is the problem- not people talking about the problem.

Nice quote from that intellectual giant Jim Carrey there. Oh and guess what Katie Wright? You and people like you *are the problem* . Whilst you play offended at legitimate science, there’s a whooping cough outbreak in California that is killing children. You do know that don’t you Katie Wright?

Here’s what you need to do Katie Wright. You need to accept the fact that the science is against you. You need to accept the fact that you are a small scaremongering minority of the autism community. Sounding off about stuff that you clearly have absolutely zero knowledge about (science) makes you look foolish and all it does is show you to be frightened. You are behind the times. Get out of the way of progress.

New thimerosal/autism paper – signal vs noise

13 Sep

The new thiomersal paper that Sully has blogged will be attacked by the antivaxxers in at least one key area. The area that will be attacked is – to those well schooled in the way good science operates – a standard way to improve the signal to noise ratio of the results. Or to put it another way, ensures ‘cleaner’ results.

From the paper:

…Children were excluded if they had the following medical conditions with known links to ASD traits: fragile X syndrome; tuberous sclerosis; Rett syndrome; congenital rubella syndrome; or Angelman syndrome…

So first of all why were children that fell within these groups excluded? As I said, the answer is to ensure better data. In order to get a cleaner signal, the more noise that can be eradicated the better.

In this instance, children who already have existing medical conditions known to be related to autism would produce noise. We already know what caused their autistic traits hence establishing a clear link to thiomersal would not be possible. In a very meaningful way, doing this does a large favour for antivax group. If these children were eradicated from the study and a clear link to thiomersal _had_ been established then denying the link would be very much more difficult.

However don’t expect the antivaxxers to see this. Or even if they _do_ see it, they will look away purposefully. They will use the fact that these children were excluded and say _”See? ‘They’ have to hide the autistic children!”_ .

When you see this tactic – and you will see it – see it for what it is. It’s simple noise generation to obscure the clear signal coming through. Thimerosal in vaccines doesn’t cause autism. And it never did.

Mark Blaxill promotes bad science

8 Sep

[wags finger]…and don’t you ever forget it ;)

Basically, the story is that The Blax wrote a blog post in which he said:

Despite the relentless drumbeat of propaganda from the CDC, public health authorities and the thuggish on-line goons of the medical industry, there’s a funny thing going on. The evidence of a connection between mercury exposure and autism keeps growing.

It does? Really? Such as what science exactly?

Well The Blax has the answer to that in that he quotes from a study which according to The Blax:

They found that thimerosal at the same concentrations received in human infants had clearly measurable effects on opioid receptor development in the infant rats.

Huh. Well imagine my surprise when I read two blog posts, one from Emily in which she says:

Their starting dose is at least 3.2 times the relevant exposure of Hg. But they’re not finished. They don’t use that dose once. They use it four times, injecting the newborn rats on days 7, 9, 11, and 15 of life, each time with 3.2 times the actual relevant exposure of Hg, for a total of 48 mcg of Hg/kg in a little over a week. Indeed, even if 12 mcg were the relevant exposure, they’re dosing their animals with it four times within a week, give or take, giving us ~13 fold the relevant exposure.

and another from Orac in which _he_ says:

…the minimum dose received was 48 ?g Hg/kg, and the maximum dose received was a whopping 12,000 ?g Hg/kg, or 12 mg Hg/kg!

So when The Blax states that this paper is a like for like comparison between infant vaccines and their dosage, I think its clear to see that this is incorrect. What these researchers have in fact done, is massively overdose their test subjects.

And thats not the only problem with this paper that The Blax is so in love with. Geier, Haley, Bernard…recognise these names? Of course you do! They’re the names that this paper relies on to support its underlying ‘science’.

I think the only real question that needs answering here is – how in heck did this paper get past peer review??

Age of Autism – Amazon file wisely

8 Sep

We all know the new Age of Autism book is coming soon. Its stocked at Amazon for example where pre-orders for the book have placed the books ranking at the heady heights of the top 100,000.

However, whats most interesting is the cover art that Messers Blaxill and Olmsted have chosen for the Kindle edition of the book. In a refreshing turn of honesty, they selected the below (click for bigger) as the cover art.

You can also see it in situ at Amazon US store.

A brave and refreshingly intellectually honest move by Blaxill and Olmsted, I think you’ll agree.

MMR vaccine damaged man

30 Aug

Jackie Fletcher is well known to many – she routinely insists the MMR jab is dangerous despite reams of evidence to the contrary. However, a panel in the UK has found that her son, Robert, was damaged by the MMR vaccine he was administered.

I nearly didn’t blog about this. Why? Well, this blogs predominant focus is autism and Robert did not and does not have autism. The panel in this case found that the MMR caused seizures and mental retardation. Its difficult therefore to get a ‘hook’ into this story. As Mike Fitzpatrick is quoted as saying in the Daily Mail:

It is a very important principle that parents should be compensated in cases of this kind…

and he’s absolutely right. Thats why the Vaccine Damage Payment Unit exists in the UK.

Like any other form of medical procedure, vaccines are not 100% safe. I can’t recall anyone anywhere ever making that claim. What they _are_ however, is very safe indeed. Robert Fletcher was injured and has been compensated. I might even agree with his mum that the amount is ‘derisory’. Robert will need full time care all of his life and £90,000 ($140,000) is nowhere near enough. However, campaigners uninterested in Robert’s day to day needs say that:

Campaigner Polly Tommey, who edits the magazine The Autism File and believes her son Billy is autistic because of MMR, says: ‘This is fantastic news. Now doctors can’t tell me that the MMR is safe.

‘This payout is evidence that it is not safe. It’s interesting that they will look at epilepsy and not autism, and you have to ask why.

‘Is it because the compensation would be billions?’

I very much doubt that any doctor, anywhere has ever told any recipient anywhere that any vaccine is 100% safe. If they did, they were liars.

However, this payment, far from being ‘evidence that it is not safe’ (a bizarre claim) is more like a recognition that the Vaccine Damage Payment system is working as it should. A man was vaccine damaged and was compensated as a result.

As for the claim that ‘they’ will not look at autism, this is simply incorrect. Robert, does not have autism and therefore it would be impossible in this case to look at autism. I would imagine if someone with autism was adjudged to be damaged by their MMR vaccine, Ms Tommey might have a point. As that has not happened, she does not. This kind of fear-mongering by the likes of Tommey is no doubt why the panel made the clear point:

We would stress that this decision is fact-specific and it should not be seen as a precedent for any other case.

In particular, it has no relevance to the issue… as to whether there is a link between the MMR vaccine and autism.

And Fletcher goes on to claim:

Claims for autism are not considered. There are 120 MMR cases waiting to be heard, but none is for autism…

So why should that be? Why is autism apparently ‘excluded’?

Its because the science – both epidemiological and clinical clearly shows that MMR does not cause autism. And that is not the odd paper here and there. We are talking about overwhelming science that shows that the whole autism/MMR connection is simply false and was built up by one man too stupid to admit his clear errors and a mass media keen to build sensation out of this same man’s ego.

Tommey, Fletcher and all others who believe that there’s some kind of conspiracy afoot to block autism from MMR causation cases need to understand the science involved and that unless some new science is forthcoming that establishes MMR as a causative agent in regards to autism then the simple fact of applying for compensation listing the MMR as a cause of their child’s autism is _always_ going to be an immediate strikeout.

Campaigners need to start seeing this event for what it _really_ is – compensation for a vaccine damaged man – and not as what it isn’t – evidence that MMR is inherently unsafe or that theres some mysterious conspiracy to prevent autism from being linked to MMR.

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