Krigsman, Wakefield Error Highlighted
A study this month in Paediatrics tackles head-on the ‘science’ that is still yet to be published (a number of years later) by Arthur Krigsman in which he claims that he has found evidence of persistent measles virus in autistic kids and thus backing up the work of his business partner Andrew Wakefield.
In layman’s terms what this study did was replicate the result of Krigsman et al and then eliminate the poor science that led Krigsman to his erroneous conclusions. Of the samples that still showed as positive, no trace of MV was found.
The real-time assays based on previously published primers gave rise to a large number of positive reactions in both autism spectrum disorder and control samples. Almost all of the positive reactions in these assays were eliminated by evaluation of melting curves and amplicon band size. The amplicons for the remaining positive reactions were cloned and sequenced. No sample from either autism spectrum disorder or control groups was found to contain nucleic acids from any measles virus gene. In the nested polymerase chain reaction and inhouse assays, none of the samples yielded positive results. Furthermore, there was no difference in anti-measles antibody titers between the autism and control groups
Now thats pretty hardcore science language. I’ve emailed the authors to see if they are willing to explain (and be quoted) on an English translation of the above but in essence, the facts are as I state them above. Krigsman et al (and Wakefield before him?) failed to eliminate false positives and counted them as part of his result set. When these false positives are eliminated then the samples left contain no MV.
I’m hoping that Bart Cubbins, No Mercury, Maria, Ms Clarke et al (who are wise in the ways of this terminology) might offer more input into the meaning of the exact phraseology used and as I say, I’ve mailed the authors for clarification too. In the meantime – Krigsman’s (unpublished) work is now pretty much refuted (by published work).
Daubert’s Revenge – Martha Herbert
As reported by Autism Diva, Dr Martha Herbert has now reached the dizzy heights Boyd Haley and Mark Geier have scaled in having her ‘expert testimony’ found severely wanting following a Daubert hearing.
Herbert basically claimed that a childs autism (diagnosed by her following a differential diagnosis) was caused by mold. Yes, mold. However, upon being cross-examined:
When asked whether there is ‘any evidence that mold is a trigger [for autism],’ Dr. Herbert responded by referring to research regarding brain inflammation and immunological abnormalities in autism. Asked about research showing that ‘any of the mold or any of the mildew or any of those other things also cause brain inflammation,’ she responded ‘that’s a hole in my knowledge. In terms of autism, I don’t believe that’s been done.’
Right. Well, thank goodness she’s so rigorous. Wouldn’t want to just make assumptions right? That would just be a waste of everyone’s time right?
In another classic piece of thinking Herbert goes on to say:
Dr. Herbert commented, ‘she doesn’t have any of the known genetic syndromes, or known in-utero infections. I personally consider it symptomatic, but not in the established set of categories, in that I hope that when more research is done she’ll move in the symptomatic category.’
In other words she doesn’t know what caused the childs autism (gasp!) but that it doesn’t fit any known profile but that maybe some research at some unspecified point in the future might help categorise it (whatever ‘it’ is).
Oh, it gets better.
Dr. Herbert was asked, ‘[c]an you say to a reasonable degree of medical certainty that if Emilia Ward had been in a sterile environment, she would not suffer from autism” She responded, ‘My guess would be, yes, that she probably would not.’ The basis for that ‘guess,’ she testified, was ‘her having regressed after the mold exposure and that she gets worse with exposures.’
Wait… _guess_ – her _guess_ ? Well surely she meant ‘informed opinion’, or ‘scientific judgement based on the evidence to hand’…..except there _is_no evidence to hand:
In response to questions she acknowledged that she has never done any research on mold or mildew as an environmental toxin, and is not aware of any published peer review articles that link mold and mildew exposure to autism.
And so it is no great shock to find the court saying:
Dr. Herbert’s publications indicate that she is an outspoken advocate of increased attention to the possibility of environmental influences. Even she, however, despite that acknowledged perspective, speaks in her published work of possibilities and potentialities, rather than of the ‘reasonable degree of medical certainty’ to which she offers to testify under oath in this case.10 Neither Dr. Herbert’s publications, nor any others cited, identify mold exposure as even a suspected, still less a known or proven, trigger of autism……Dr. Herbert’s method, to the extent the Court can discern it from the materials offered, is a series of deductions based on possibilities…..*Clearly, Dr. Herbert’s method is not generally accepted in the scientific community*. Dr. Herbert’s theory of environmental triggers of autism may some day prove true. It has not yet. *Her proffered testimony does not meet the standard of reliability required by the case law*, and cannot be admitted in evidence at trial.
FDA Spanks Mercury Milita
Back in 2004, Dr Paul King of dr-king.com, uh, fame, submitted a ‘citizen petition’ to the FDA requesting:
[The FDA]…take numerous actions pertaining to vaccines and other FDA-regulated products containing thimerosal or other mercury-based preservatives….After review and consideration, we deny the petition for the reasons stated below in this response.
The response is very detailed (the whole thing is available at Kathleen’s site) but can be summed up in one quote:
The evidence on which your petition relies either does not support your requests, or is too flawed to be considered valid scientific evidence.
Which seems to be something of a growing refrain for the mercury (and apparently mold!) militia.
Damn science with its rigorous pursuit of accuracy eh? If only we could rely on opinions and guesses.