Wakefield

10 Feb

The name alone conjures up strong images for many in the autism communities. If you think vaccines cause autism, he is a hero. For many others, he has brought shame to the greater autism community.

In addition, I know many who think that Andrew Wakefield’s time has come and gone and we should just ignore him now. To those, I apologize, but the recent information is just too important to ignore.

Kev would be able to show the annoyance that Dr. Wakefield’s research has caused many of us in the autism community. It would be a better read than this–a post written by someone who finds the entire affair sad. Too much harm has been caused by what even before today was already pretty obviously bad science. It’s just a sad story that has just gotten sadder.

For those who may not know, Dr. Andrew Wakefield was the lead author on the papers which attempted to link autism to the MMR vaccine. The story is so long and tortuous that it is difficult to know what to include and what to leave out. You know what, if you don’t already know the story–count yourself lucky and skip this post! How’s that for an introduction?

Brian Deer took a closer look than most (all?) journalists at Dr. Wakefield’s story. He exposed the fact that Dr. Wakefield’s patients were litigants claiming MMR caused autism. He also exposed the fact that Dr. Wakefield and some on his team were well paid for their efforts.

It is very likely that Mr. Deer’s investigation is what prompted the General Medical Council (GMC) to investigate Dr. Wakefield’s actions in this research. As part of that investigation, the GMC has collected medical histories of the subjects of Dr. Wakefield’s study. And, Brian Deer has had access to these data, and they don’t match what was presented by Dr. Wakefield’s team.

Before we look at what was said in the papers and what the medical histories actually indicated, let’s look at the introduction from the original Lancet paper:

We saw several children who, after a period of apparent normality, lost acquired skills, including communication. They all had gastrointestinal symptoms, including abdominal pain, diarrhoea, and bloating and, in some cases, food intolerance. We describe the clinical findings, and gastrointestinal features of these children.

Compare that to what’s here’s Brian Deer’s article, MMR doctor Andrew Wakefield fixed data on autism.

Ouch.

Here’s a more thorough article, again by Mr. Deer:

Hidden records show MMR truth
A Sunday Times investigation has found that altered data was behind the decade-long scare over vaccination

As a short sidetrack, Mr. Deer isn’t the only one suggesting that there were problems with the Wakefield studies.

Wakefield claimed (in a separate paper from the original Lancet article) that his team found evidence of persistent measles virus in gut biopsies from the autistic children he saw. In the Omnibus hearing, a member of Wakefield’s team told the story of how the data which clearly disagreed with Wakefield’s conclusions was ignored.

Or, to put it another way, Dr. Chadwick [note correction] told Dr. Wakefield that he (Bustin) had data which directly contradicted the results Wakefield was going to publish. This should have quashed the paper, and, yet, not mention is even made of it by Wakefield et al.

But, back to the Brian Deer report.

Let’s look at a few examples from Mr. Deer’s story. There were 12 children in the original study. Mr. Deer refers to them as child 1 through child 12. Mr. Deer looks at them individually..

Child 11 had a “positive” test for measles RNA by Wakefield’s team. The father had 3–yes 3!–other labs test the same biopsy samples. Result? No sign of measles.

Here’s a bit about child one from Mr. Deer’s story:

In the paper this claim would be adopted, with Wakefield and his team reporting that Child One’s parents said “behavioural symptoms” started “one week” after he received the MMR.

The boy’s medical records reveal a subtly different story, one familiar to mothers and fathers of autistic children. At the age of 9½ months, 10 weeks before his jab, his mother had become worried that he did not hear properly: the classic first symptom presented by sufferers of autism.

It’s very tempting to quote example after example, but I’ll just end up copying the entire story. I encourage you to read the story, there are numerous examples of how many of the 12 subjects of Wakefield’s study were not previously normal.

Rather than pick all the examples of discrepancies about development of Wakefield’s subjects, how about the second part of the question: did these kids all show GI problems? Again, there are numerous examples in Mr. Deer’s story. Here’s an excerpt.

The most striking change of opinion came in the case of Child Three, a six-year-old from Huyton, Merseyside. He was reported in the journal to be suffering from regressive autism and bowel disease: specifically “acute and chronic nonspecific colitis”. The boy’s hospital discharge summary, however, said there was nothing untoward in his biopsy.

A Royal Free consultant pathologist questioned a draft text of the paper. “I was somewhat concerned with the use of the word ‘colitis’,” Susan Davies, a co-author, told the ongoing GMC inquiry into the ethics of how the children were treated, in September 2007.

“I was concerned that what we had seen in these children was relatively minor.”

Not only are there problems in the reported information and the records, one of the co-authors is indicating that the paper overplayed the data they had.

Sorry, but this all just makes me more sad. Sometimes bad science can be, well a little funny. Sometimes just annoying. This is just really sad.

“A Sunday Times investigation has found that altered data was behind the decade-long scare over vaccination”

What more can be said?

(note: I edited this shortly after publishing it. The substance was not changed)

395 Responses to “Wakefield”

  1. Chris February 16, 2009 at 23:09 #

    AAAAGH… I meant “Joseph said”… I am not really thinking of myself in the third person!

  2. Brian Deer February 16, 2009 at 23:10 #

    Well, actually Joseph, I didn’t intend that observation as an insult. I made it as a shorthand way of raising an issue that I believe may reasonably be raised.

    I genuinely think that the three individuals I was criticising – and I know who all three of them are – do need to question whether their personal behavioural issues are indicative of a better explanation for their children’s issues. Certainly a lot better explanation than MMR.

    The festering nastiness, the creepy repetitiveness, the weasly, deceitful, obsessiveness, all signal pathology to me.

  3. Joseph February 16, 2009 at 23:17 #

    For anyone wondering about the timeline, it was reported on February 23, 2004 that Wakefield would welcome an inquiry.

    John Reid reportedly called for a inquiry the previous Friday, which would have been February 20.

  4. Joseph February 16, 2009 at 23:22 #

    The festering nastiness, the creepy repetitiveness, the weasly, deceitful, obsessiveness, all signal pathology to me.

    But you see, Brian, when you say things like this, you’re making generalizations about autistic people. I can assure you, any autistic person who just read that, cringed.

    It’s not that some autistic people don’t have these traits. Traits like obsessiveness are basically universal in autistic people. It’s the way it’s said, and the way it’s generalized. Plus, this may come as a surprise to you, a lot of autistic people don’t see autism as a pathology.

  5. Brian Deer February 16, 2009 at 23:27 #

    No, Joseph, while I see what you are saying, I am refering to three specific individuals. I don’t believe these things are universal to people with autism. You need to bear in mind that the relevant children don’t all have autism anyway. I’m not making a point about autism!

  6. Brian Deer February 16, 2009 at 23:42 #

    On the other thing, yes, the timeline played out in Feb 2004 as follows:

    (1) I put allegation to Horton at the Lancet that the Wakefield paper was not covered by ethical committee approval. At the time, the authors denied this and issued a statement. Now the defendants at the GMC have all repudiated this statement, and now claim they didn’t need ethical approval. (Horton, at the GMC, said otherwise, as does the prosecution).

    Here are the statements the defendants and the RFH issued in 2004, and which the defendants now say were untrue:

    http://briandeer.com/mmr/lancet-murch.htm

    and

    http://briandeer.com/mmr/lancet-hodgson.htm

    (2) Horton issues a press notice, and an interview to the BBC regretting publishing the paper due to the fact that Wakefield was being payrolled by lawyers: another point I raised.

    http://briandeer.com/mmr/lancet-bbc.htm

    (3) The then-secretary of state, John Reid, said he thought the GMC should investigate.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/health/article1027465.ece

    (4) Wakefield said he welcomed a GMC investigation and would “insist” on one. (see same link)

    (5) GMC staff approach me and say that Reid and Wakefield want an investigation, did I have anything to contribute.

    (6) I say, yup, you bet. Like countless journalists before me, I supplied my findings to a statutory regulator, with a view to them getting to the bottom of the matter. IMO, the ethical issue was plainly a matter of possible serious professional misconduct, since it was quite plain that no IRB approval covered the Lancet paper.

    Nothing wrong with me doing that. The GMC has sourced all its allegations to its own authority, and relies on nothing from me. No reason why I shouldn’t continue my investigations. Nothing I publish could influence the panel, since the court of appeal has said that GMC panels are beyond prejudice. End of story, so far…

  7. Joseph February 16, 2009 at 23:58 #

    It doesn’t really matter if that’s the case. Bear in mind that there are many autistic people reading these comments, with quite a bit interest some of them, and the autistic adults I know are by and large anti-quackery.

    There’s no manual on what you should and shouldn’t say around autistic people, that I know of. Imagine, though, you’re in a room full of blind or deaf people, and consider what might or might not be a good idea to say. Or imagine you’re in a room full of gay people; not a good idea to start calling some outside people “sissies” or something like that, wouldn’t it?

  8. Clay February 16, 2009 at 23:58 #

    Joseph said:

    The festering nastiness, the creepy repetitiveness, the weasly, deceitful, obsessiveness, all signal pathology to me.

    “But you see, Brian, when you say things like this, you’re making generalizations about autistic people. I can assure you, any autistic person who just read that, cringed.”

    Naw, I didn’t cringe, or think he was talking about autistic people. I wondered how he knew Best and Doherty! Then I realized he was talking about Stone and Queerfish and Isabella. (Is that right?) But yeah, “repetitiveness” and “obsessiveness” are words that can apply to many of us.

  9. One Queer Fish February 17, 2009 at 00:02 #

    Mr Deer I thought you would have come back with some letters R.e Judge Eady to silence the above escalating scenario highlighted by Mel in the Spectator…

    this is not meant as a dig but only a solution to the on going spiralling frenzy..

  10. Matrk February 17, 2009 at 00:11 #

    Brian
    “The festering nastiness, the creepy repetitiveness, the weasly,
    deceitful, obsessiveness, all signal pathology to me.”
    what pathology are you talking about here, I certainly sounds like you are decribing autistic traits.
    if not what pathology?
    People, Brian has been posting on here for at least 3 years he should know what is acceptable within the autistic community.

  11. One Queer Fish February 17, 2009 at 00:21 #

    Matrk

    That`s clear Mr Deer is not talking about the autistic sufferers just sweet nothing`s to myself and others ..would like to see the Judge Eady letters before going to bed , work to go to … simple request

  12. Matrk February 17, 2009 at 00:36 #

    Mr Fish
    I don’t believe that is true , what we see here is Brian’s real view on autism.
    I can understand why Micheal Savage would make comments out ignorance, but I really cannot understand where Brian is coming from , he has sat on the longest trail covering the treatment of autistic kids but has chosen twice to use language that all in this community would find offensive. Unlike Savage Brian should know better.
    Joseph Step Up and Condemn his words.

  13. Joseph February 17, 2009 at 00:49 #

    Joseph Step Up and Condemn his words.

    What am I, a leader of the autistics in this thread now or something? You can express your own opinion. I’ve expressed mine to the level I think is appropriate given what has transpired. Clay has expressed his. It wouldn’t hurt to see what other autistics here think.

    @One Queer Fish: As you can see, we have more important things to discuss here. Your “spiraling” non-controversy is not that interesting anymore.

  14. Matrk February 17, 2009 at 01:02 #

    Joseph
    “although there’s no way for Brian Deer to have known that, unless he frequents blogs that discuss the philosophy of disability and disability rights. Everybody does it. But now he knows.”

    Brian knows exactly what is offensive.
    he has frequented this blog for at least 3 years. As I have.

    I would mind seeing judge Eadys letters now you mention it

  15. Dedj February 17, 2009 at 01:06 #

    Why should we condemn his words?

    It’s very well known amongst autism services that a minority of people with an ASD or BAP, can be vicious, vindictive and manipulative.

    We, as members of the ND movement, have to accpet the fact that autism and being a bit of a prick are not mutaully exclusive.

  16. Dedj February 17, 2009 at 01:13 #

    I wouldn’t mind seeing the Judge Eady letters either.

    Bear in mind, Eady did not say Deer was the complainant, nor did he say the 3 letters were all complaint letters, or even official complaints (which would actually support Deer’s claims, as it could mean at least 2 complaints were dropped, possibly meaning the 3rd could have been dropped also).

    Deer has a GMC representative confirming that he was not the complainant.

    On the other hand, he has a judge saying that he wrote a letter of complaint.

    To challenge the judge over this error would be foolish, as Judge Eady handed Deer a phenominal victory over his detractors. To spend extra money and time over a minor niggle would be pointless.

  17. John Stone February 17, 2009 at 01:16 #

    “The festering nastiness, the creepy repetitiveness, the weasly, deceitful, obsessiveness, all signal pathology to me.”

    I just wonder that Brian Deer can use this terminology and not intend it to be “insulting” – it certainly doesn’t sound very scientific. But since he has taken to re-diagnosing children from 12 year-old medical records (without anyone apparently questioning his knowledge or competence) perhaps we all better watch it!

  18. K February 17, 2009 at 01:58 #

    Dedj:

    Why should we condemn his words?

    It’s very well known amongst autism services that a minority of people with an ASD or BAP, can be vicious, vindictive and manipulative.

    We, as members of the ND movement, have to accpet the fact that autism and being a bit of a prick are not mutaully exclusive.”

    Um, no I don’t accept your characterization nor Mr. Deers. If you would like to say I have at times sensory processing issues or that I have problems with communication, and you know this of me as an individual, then yes, I would say that your interpretation of these things could leave you to believe I am a prick, but that would be your interpretation.

    I would also say, that what you wrote could be said of EVERYONE and is not exclusive to autistic people anymore than any stereotype of any minority is true of everyone in that group.

    Doubly insulting is to use my disability as a metaphorical insult against another person because when that is done, its meant to insult the other person because my disability is considered fodder for insult throwing.

    If you want to say I personally know people who are pricks, that is quite different than saying autistic are pricks because of their disability. Just because some autistic people also happen to be pricks doesn’t mean it is a comorbidity of autism. Perhaps they are just pricks?! or perhaps you perceive them as pricks because of their difficulty communicating in acceptable terms to you.

    But throwing an insult at someone and using that person’s child’s disability is very low to me. Sorry Dedj, I don’t think you get it from my point of view.

  19. K February 17, 2009 at 02:04 #

    Dedj wrote:

    “We, as members of the ND movement, have to accpet the fact that autism and being a bit of a prick are not mutaully exclusive.”

    Can you provide some reference for this broad generalization other than the non-autistic service providers you cited earlier?

    I think individuals can be pricks but I’m not ready to blame it on their autism and or disability.

  20. Yellowriver February 17, 2009 at 02:10 #

    The festering nastiness, the creepy repetitiveness, the weasly, deceitful, obsessiveness, all signal pathology to me.”

    It sounds more like he’s trying to be some kind of poet or is he worried about his job and needs to go in another direction.

  21. Chris February 17, 2009 at 02:10 #

    K, you are taking it too personally, and it has nothing to do with with Wakefield’s actions, which is what is what this discussion should be about. Did he or did not fudge data on his paper? It was shown in the testimony (posted above) that he used bad PCR data, but did he also fudge the patients’ medical data?

    Personally, I am more concerned about the vitriolic attitude, extreme closed mindedness and being completely clueless to reality exhibited by certain people. It cannot be good for their children, who deserve better.

  22. Amanda February 17, 2009 at 02:12 #

    And some of us don’t think that terms related to any mental “pathology” should be used as insults, much less having repetitiveness described as “creepy” or obsessiveness described as “weasly” and “deceitful”.

    Reminds me of people who tell me that I move like a zombie (in part because of repetitive movements — and I’ve heard “creepy” too). There really aren’t too many good ways to take that. And I don’t think that the ends justify the means, or that just because someone believes something I also believe, then they can do no wrong in other areas, and thus that it’s wrong to criticize them somehow.

    It seems like there’s some kind of unwritten rule that treats saying “Hey, you know that’s not a great thing to say/imply about people,” as if it’s (a) no more than a spiteful personal insult, and (b) an unthinkable thing to say about someone who’s done something important and right.

    And it’s pretty irritating. (And also why it takes me a long time to trust people who say they’re allies. It seems like half the time everyone’s allied around one thing only, which in itself would be okayish, except that it ends up meaning that the rest of us don’t get much respect, and get treated like the troublemakers for pointing out there’s a problem.)

  23. K February 17, 2009 at 02:24 #

    Yes Chris, I am taking it a bit personally, but that’s mainly because I feel really insulted. I’ve spent the last three years defending this guy on blogs, on news websites, everywhere only to find out he had these views. I feel a bit like I’ve been deceived. I’m also a little angry with myself for being so gullible. I have no one to blame but myself on that one so I say “my bad”.

    I do believe his reporting is accurate. It’s too bad he chose such ugly words to describe autistic people and to use a child’s disability to sling an insult at that child’s parents.

    If I don’t speak up, who will? He should stick to the reporting and not stoop to the level of his critics. Its about winning an argument on the science and screw the “feelings of the subjects” of that science, by both sides, that I find very disappointing. I’m also disappointed again that I am so gullible and seemingly stupid.

  24. K February 17, 2009 at 02:28 #

    Sorry, I shouldn’t have written “If I don’t speak up, who will”. There are other people speaking up and I didn’t mean it to sound like I wrote it and regret that I wrote that.

  25. alyric February 17, 2009 at 03:04 #

    “The festering nastiness, the creepy repetitiveness, the weasly, deceitful, obsessiveness, all signal pathology to me.”

    Sorry K feel insulted all you like but it’s not about you or any autistic either. Brian said so and very clearly too. The above statement belongs to three people. Honestly the nerve of some people to go off all offended when it’s not about them at all. Is this some form of narcissism so you can feel all self righteously huffy or can we get back to what the discussion should be about, which is the malfeasance of one Wakefield?

  26. K February 17, 2009 at 03:09 #

    Alyric : “it’s not about you or any autistic either.”

    Well, there you go.

    Sorry, the troublemaker autistic will just go away now. After all, this has nothing to do with autistic people.

    It’s ok to use disability to sling insults as long as the person doing it supports your beliefs.

  27. Kelli Ann Davis February 17, 2009 at 03:11 #

    “But throwing an insult at someone and using that person’s child’s disability is very low to me.”

    You mean like this: “The fact is, none of these characters gives a damn about autistic people….Kelli Ann go F yourself too.”

    K: You might want to “practice what you preach” next time you want to complain about being “insulted” by someone else.

    And Kev:

    “Damn good question Kelli Ann – maybe one we could direct to David Kirby regarding the Hannah Poling concession documents hmmm?”

    I can guarantee you David Kirby didn’t have medical records handed over to him by “officials” as seems the case with Brian Deer. BIG DIFFERENCE.

    So Brian, *how* did you get your hands on confidential medical records?? And more importantly, *who* decided it was in the “public interest” to release them to a reporter???

  28. K February 17, 2009 at 03:22 #

    Kelli Ann, I guess you wouldn’t care about Deer’s comment about your child because your in agreement.

    I was practicing what I preach, I didn’t say I was against insults, I said I was against a particular kind of insult that uses a persons disability as the insult.

  29. alyric February 17, 2009 at 03:52 #

    K

    Where did you get the idea that disability had anything whatsoever to do with Brian’s remarks. Did he at any time say that these three specific people were disabled? I don’t remember any such comment. Again, what’s this got to do with you?

  30. K February 17, 2009 at 04:04 #

    Alyric asks:

    “Where did you get the idea that disability had anything whatsoever to do with Brian’s remarks.”

    “And they wonder why their children have problems with their brains.” – Brian Deer

  31. Dedj February 17, 2009 at 04:10 #

    “I can guarantee you David Kirby didn’t have medical records handed over to him by “officials” as seems the case with Brian Deer.”

    Except, Kirby seems to have had them and published them well before anyone could have had public access to them. I believe this was heavily discussed over at Orac.

    “Sorry Dedj, I don’t think you get it from my point of view”

    Of course I don’t. You’ve entirely missed the point that it’s possible for some people with autism to be unsavoury characters for reasons that have nothing to do with autism, or that have everything to do with bias in the observer, but it’s also possible for people with autism to be electively vindictive and aggresive for reasons that are related to traits of social impairments or special interests.

    I hate it when the special skills that some of us have are dismissed as ‘part of thier autism’, when it’s clear it was because of the effort of the person, but it’s also equally important to recognise that saying ‘because of their autism’ is not equivilant to saying ‘they can’t help it’.

  32. Joseph February 17, 2009 at 04:27 #

    You mean like this: “The fact is, none of these characters gives a damn about autistic people….Kelli Ann go F yourself too.”

    @Kelli Ann: “Go F yourself” is not at issue. You can object to an insult like that on different grounds, but that’s not what is being discussed.

    Um, no I don’t accept your characterization nor Mr. Deers. If you would like to say I have at times sensory processing issues or that I have problems with communication, and you know this of me as an individual, then yes, I would say that your interpretation of these things could leave you to believe I am a prick, but that would be your interpretation.

    @K: I wanted to address this part, because here you are taking it too personally, in these sense that Dedj saying that some autistics can be pricks does not apply to you specifically. Autistics can be lots of things. Autistics can commit murder, etc. You’re not saying autistics are saints?

    That is independent of the problem of using neurological disability to insult people, which I do agree is a problem.

    I recognize, though, that it is very difficult for people not to use disability as an insult. It’s ingrained in culture. Autistics use neurological disability as an insult constantly.

  33. K February 17, 2009 at 04:28 #

    “but it’s also possible for people with autism to be electively vindictive and aggresive for reasons that are related to traits of social impairments or special interests.”

    Do we blame other people’s neurology when they are pricks about their special interests? Since when did vindictivism become a core component of autism? If these traits are found in other neurologies, then that goes to my point that to attach a negative trait to autistic people that can be found in every group is wrong. I’m sorry, I just disagree. You can go on the Hub and find lots of very unvidictive, very nice and caring autistic people. You can also find some pricks there. But they aren’t a prick because of their autism. They are just plain vanilla pricks.

    Do we blame a person’s race if we find the negative stereotypes true in an individual?

    Again, here is the quote that set me off a bit

    “And they wonder why their children have problems with their brains.” – Brian Deer

  34. K February 17, 2009 at 04:35 #

    @K: I wanted to address this part, because here you are taking it too personally, in these sense that Dedj saying that some autistics can be pricks does not apply to you specifically. Autistics can be lots of things. Autistics can commit murder, etc. You’re not saying autistics are saints?

    I agree, autistic people can be a lot of things, but what is being attributed can be attributed to all people and are not specific to autistic people as a group. Where I’m taking issue is when we attribute the above characteristics specifically to autistics and as a result of their autism. Being aggressive, a prick, vindictive and other such traits are not unique to autistics nor a result of their autism. Turn on a soap opera or any daytime talk show. Heck, based on the criteria above, everyone on the show Dallas was autistic 🙂

  35. Joseph February 17, 2009 at 04:49 #

    Another thing that needs to be said is that Brian Deer’s work product is completely unrelated to his views on autism or the way he talks about disability. One has absolutely no bearing on the other. It’s possible to consider both issues separately and objectively.

    His views on autism and disability probably don’t differ a whole lot from those of any other person.

    With that said, I do have to wonder the following. What if JB Handley or Kelly Ann Davis had said exactly the same two things?

  36. One Queer Fish February 17, 2009 at 10:33 #

    Having just looked at the various comments on Mel’s site and other sites, it would seem that Mr Deers stance of not showing the Judge Eady letters is steadily declining his once strong position heading ultimately to a busted flush.

  37. Matrk February 17, 2009 at 10:54 #

    Brian is not our allie .
    his inability to produce Judge Eadys letter , the fact he has access to children s medical reports which he can reference unchallenged. his instigation of a case which he is financially gaining from.
    he’s spent the last 3 years claiming the children an neither sick or autistic now hes saying that he thinks they have “problems with there brains”
    and to top it all of he seems to think it’s quite acceptable to insult other in terms of mental illness and autistic pathology.
    many people have been moderated or banned from this blog for less.
    Kev your attempt to defend him was feeble I have mild dyslexia and have problems processing written sentences.

  38. Brian Deer February 17, 2009 at 12:59 #

    For visitors outside the UK, who will not have experienced the impact of the print edition of my latest stories, I’ve built a temporary page at:

    http://briandeer.com/solved/solved.htm

    I hope this puts the discussion here into context.

    Meanwhile, I have other things to get on with.

  39. Joseph February 17, 2009 at 12:59 #

    he’s spent the last 3 years claiming the children an neither sick or autistic now hes saying that he thinks they have “problems with there brains”

    To clarify, Brian Deer has been saying that most of the children didn’t have GI illness, per their hospital records. He might have said they are not autistic, but this wouldn’t mean they don’t have other neurological disabilities.

    You can’t expect someone to be on your side on every issue, if you see they are on your side on one issue. I don’t think that’s the problem at all.

  40. Dedj February 17, 2009 at 13:30 #

    “Being aggressive, a prick, vindictive and other such traits are not unique to autistics nor a result of their autism.”

    The idea that a persons autistic traits can never contribute to a persons general unlikable demeanour strikes me as bizarre.

    If we’re willing to argue that a persons autistic traits can help them to become a trained musician or great researcher, we must be willing to accept that some people with autism or BAP can display autistic traits during periods of unsavoury behaviour.

    I fail to see why this is a hard concept to grasp.

  41. One Queer Fish February 17, 2009 at 15:16 #

    Mr Deer the busted flush is still on sooner or later thanks for the url to your web site but without your letters to Judge Eady, it seems pointless .On a similar matter I noticed on a forum that the 3 cases in America are possibly going to apply under the Freedom of Information Act on any and all correspondence between Brian Deer and the US Dept of Justice and US Dept of HHS involving the MMR vaccine and autism I suppose the same over here could happen probably revealing more that just the Eady letters.

  42. alyric February 17, 2009 at 15:57 #

    K said

    “And they wonder why their children have problems with their brains.” – Brian Deer

    Well you’ve got that out of context too, not surprising – see up thread, Kev has a comment on it. At least now you’re on very flimsy grounds.

  43. alyric February 17, 2009 at 16:04 #

    Stinky fish said:

    “I noticed on a forum that the 3 cases in America are possibly going to apply under the Freedom of Information Act on any and all correspondence between Brian Deer and the US Dept of Justice and US Dept of HHS involving the MMR vaccine and autism ”

    Since it’s hedged around with lots of maybes it’s probably not going to happen but it sure would be good if they did. Sunlight folks is the best disinfectant and the more exposure Wakefield gets the better. He tends to avoid answering questions direct so it would be rather nice to see him squirm while all this investigation was on-going.

  44. K February 17, 2009 at 16:12 #

    Alyric said:

    “Well you’ve got that out of context too, not surprising – see up thread, Kev has a comment on it. At least now you’re on very flimsy grounds.”

    I didn’t realize there was a proper context to use such ableist insults. I refer to Amanda’s post above as well as Joseph’s. I don’t think you really understand this from my perspective so I’ll leave it at that.

    Dedj:

    “The idea that a persons autistic traits can never contribute to a persons general unlikable demeanour strikes me as bizarre.”

    That is a personal perspective, not a rational for group blame. Judge people as individuals, stop assigning group blame. If you can show me that no one other than autistic people are any of those metaphors you used, then I’ll rethink my position.

    “If we’re willing to argue that a persons autistic traits can help them to become a trained musician or great researcher”

    We? I don’t make those statements as they are just as ableist as the insults. I do read some folks making those associations, but autistic people are neither more talented nor untalented based on their autism.

  45. One Queer Fish February 17, 2009 at 16:40 #

    Alyric

    As i say busted flush just a matter of time..

    http://foia.blogspot.com/2009/01/dept-of-health-ordered-to-release.html

  46. brian February 17, 2009 at 23:09 #

    Although some of you have suggested that journalist Brian Deer is biased, it might be useful to bear in mind what bias means in a scientific context:

    “Bias occurs in science when data are either wittingly or unwittingly concealed.”
    AJ Wakefield. 1998. The Lancet. 351(9112):1356

  47. alyric February 17, 2009 at 23:27 #

    Nice one Brian:) The JABS contingent around here might have to think about that one, in that the one thing Brian Deer has not done is conceal data. You’d think they would be grateful for the data, clarification and all but they aren’t. There’s no pleasing some people.

  48. John Stone February 18, 2009 at 00:09 #

    alyric

    “Nice one Brian:) The JABS contingent around here might have to think about that one, in that the one thing Brian Deer has not done is conceal data. You’d think they would be grateful for the data, clarification and all but they aren’t. There’s no pleasing some people.”

    Wrong: Brian Deer certainly has not revealed the data, he has just made an allegation, so far unsupported (as he admits here):

    https://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/?p=1858#comment-56374

    Meanwhile, we are confronted by the improbability that the other 12 co-authors signed off the study knowing that Wakefield had made the changes under their noses.

    Anyhow, Deer is also not publishing the data in relation to his dealings with the GMC, which is also of vital public interest. So everything is actually on trust (indeed, concealed).

  49. One Queer Fish February 18, 2009 at 00:31 #

    alyric
    Mr Deer has concealed his Judge Eady letters as Mr Deer knows; to be serious in your reports as a journo you must be open to scrutiny and show you aren’t biased with your information. Mr Deer sadly is failing miserably on both these accounts and leaves himself open to the criticism in kind he is rewarded copiously with ,on the various papers and web sites such as the Spectator. As matters stand in not publishing his letters the scenario now couldn’t be, quite simply more “biased” and so simple to resolve in which I hope he will by releasing his Judge Eady letters.

    “Nothing to hide nothing to fear”.

  50. Sullivan February 18, 2009 at 01:22 #

    I guess I am not following Mr. Stone’s argument.

    He says that Mr. Deer may not be presenting accurate information. If giving inaccurate information in a newspaper is bad, how about in a publication, press conference and 10 years of subsequent press releases (as in Dr. Wakefield’s case)?

    But, once again, this is all a smoke-screen. Try to focus on Brian Deer, see if you can make enough mud stick. What Mr. Stone studiously avoids is the damage to Dr. Wakefield’s entire body of work for the past 10 years if he has been misrepresenting his results.

    Dr. Wakefield refused to address the specific faults with his data–pushing responsibility off on his co-authors.

    Why hasn’t Dr. Wakefield refuted each of the specific examples of misrepresentation of data that Mr. Deer presented?

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