Wakefield’s callous introduction

28 Oct

Below is a section of Andrew Wakefield’s book, “Callous Disregard”. This section is available as part of the free sample of the book. It is Mr. Wakefield’s semi-fictionalized account of a mother’s murder/suicide. A news account can be found here.

Another north-easterly wind insinuated its
futile energies between the massive brick
piers of Hounds Ghyll viaduct. Although the
wind endured, the earlier downpour had
turned to a light drizzle – light for County
Durham, in the far north of England – as
their journey came to an end.

As if for the first time, Mark seemed
attuned to his mother’s sense of purpose
and he offered no resistance. He did not
scream, or fight, or hit himself in the face;
he did not bite his scarred and scabby arms
or suddenly collapse to the ground as if
invisible guy-ropes could no longer hold
him. Instead, entranced by the raindrops
and in awe of the viaduct’s ordered
brickwork, he mouthed in silent wonder at
it all. At the midpoint of the viaduct she
turned to the north, the deep valley before
her – in places its walls sheer, glistening
black, cut by relentless waters that were
now barely visible in the fading light far,
far below. Mark looked up into his mother’s
face; beyond its years, alone, harassed,
pursued, and he understood her
unhappiness. He loved her, although he had
no way – no wiring – that allowed him to
express this.

With the aid of some old timbers she
helped him onto the parapet, her grip so
firm that it hurt them both. This was the
hardest part, the lichened stone wet and
perilous, her fear of heights. Standing there
at last, against the wind and against the
world, he looked at her and she at him.
“No,” she thought, “this is the hardest part.”
Without a word, without another thought
she stepped into oblivion, her most precious
possession taken with her, to rank in death
with Egyptian queens. They were not equal
to the wind and in one final effort it gusted
into them, threatening to smash the
waif-like Mark into the merciless viaduct.
She knew. She was ready. Falling ever faster,
she pulled him to her, love and instinct
keeping him safe.

At the time I read this I thought it could very well be entirely fiction. Not that I think that such a killing/suicide couldn’t happen. The recount, in my opinion, well, let’s just say that I sincerely hope that Mr. Wakefield never attempts to fictionalize my life or that of my family.

News accounts around the time of the event describe Ms. Rogan as a devoted mother who was growing increasingly afraid that she might lose her child. Not exactly the image presented above.

Other than a few facts, much of what happened on the viaduct is unknown. I can find no account of whether Mark had “scarred and scabby arms”. One description of him by a neighbor stated, ‘Mark was a beautiful little boy. To look at him, nobody would have known he was suffering any illness.’

What really stands out in Mr. Wakefield’s account, at least to me, is this phrase: “He loved her, although he had no way – no wiring – that allowed him to express this.”

I wonder how, after some 14 years working around autistic children, Mr. Wakefield could have written that. Not just in this case, where the police were quoted as describing the family as having “a very close and loving relationship between a mother and son”.

Detective Superintendent Harry Stephenson of Durham Constabulary said the force’s inquiries indicated “a very close and loving relationship between a mother and son”. He said: “This is an appalling tragedy and one that has been very traumatic to deal with even for some very experienced police officers. It would seem Miss Rogan was finding it difficult to cope with her personal circumstances but despite all that she seemed devoted to her son and prepared to do anything for him.

Beyond that news account, how could Mr. Wakefield write that a child had no wiring that allowed him to express his love for his mother? That sort of description is something to fight against, not something an “advocate” should be making.

Callous Disregard. Mr. Wakefield chose that title from one of the charges proven against him by the General Medical Council.

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91 Responses to “Wakefield’s callous introduction”

  1. navi October 28, 2010 at 07:40 #

    Chilling. The news report.

    Regarding Wakefield’s fictionalization, I am appalled by his callous disregard for the deceased and their families.

  2. Catherina October 28, 2010 at 08:22 #

    from the news snippet:

    Ms Rogan had slashed her wrists and those of her son with a razor blade in an unsuccessful attempt to end their lives at their house in Consett.

    I guess that is where the “scarred and scabbed” comes from. Overall, I find this absolutely nauseating, both that this mother killed herself and her son AND the spin Wakefield puts on it.

  3. Julian Frost October 28, 2010 at 10:19 #

    Sick, just sick.

  4. daedalus2u October 28, 2010 at 13:08 #

    This is pretty obvious projection which is common for psychopaths which I presume Wakefield is (no disrespect to other less anti-social psychopaths who compensate for their disorder without hurting as many people).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychopath

    Wakefield doesn’t know, and can’t know what is going on inside the mother’s head, and certainly can’t know what is going on inside the head of an autistic person. Wakefield is just making stuff up. Making stuff up, not to try and understand or figure out how to help, but to manipulate the gullible and naïve into feeling how he wants them to feel so he can manipulate them into thinking what he wants them to think, so he can manipulate them into doing what he wants them to do, so he can exploit them. So he can exploit them and scam them for money.

    With callous disregard for any children or parents who will be hurt along the way. What a POS.

    • Sullivan October 28, 2010 at 22:18 #

      Catherina:

      Could be that is what he means by the “scabbed” and “scarred” comment. I took it to mean that the child was self-injurious based on the biting reference: “he did not bite his scarred and scabby arms”

      daedalus2u:

      I am not comfortable with speculating about diagnoses.

      I am even more uncomfortable with Mr. Wakefield’s actions, though.

      Orange Lantern,

      that bit you quoted before before is one of the stand-out paragraphs of bad writing in the book. That says a lot.

      For those who missed it:

      “What follows is dry, factual, and unbecoming prose. There is not the luxury for anything more in the teeth of the storm. it might have been the log of a doomed captain written in the cabin of a war-torn frigate, tacking on shredded sails, running form another – perhaps final – broadside. But it is not; it was written from the bridge, the helm secure, the wind at our backs, and the sails full as the aggressor slips back below an uncertain horizon. The day will belong to Reason.”

      Besides the whole naval battle imagery, what’s that about “teeth of the storm”? Didn’t he write this after being sacked by Thoughful House? Somehow, I don’t see Horatio Hornblower sipping latte’s at Starbucks while typing out his story on a macbook and surfing the web on free wifi. But, I guess that’s the whole “wind at our backs” image, isn’t it. Wind at our backs…I guess that reads better than “unemployed and trying to get a bunch of vaccine-injury groups to pay me to be their spokesman”.

  5. Leila October 28, 2010 at 15:40 #

    Vomit-inducing piece of pseudo-literature, not only for its style but for assuming he was able to describe what exactly happened at that terrible day. This man is despicable in so many ways.

  6. Jean October 28, 2010 at 19:08 #

    I sincerely didn’t imagine the man had any further to sink. How wrong I was.

  7. Orange Lantern October 28, 2010 at 21:52 #

    I thought it was unbelievable how he chose to depict that scenario.

    In an earlier thread, I quoted another passage and mocked it for the writing style and drama.

    But this passage requires a serious look, and I’m glad you took the time to give it the attention it deserves. Anyone who supports autistic children should be offended at Wakefield’s portrayal and take a hard look at this supposed autism advocate.

  8. Estee Klar October 28, 2010 at 22:33 #

    Thanks for writing this. It’s simply ridiculous (and yes, chilling) that someone would suggest our kids don’t have that “wiring.”

    • Sullivan October 28, 2010 at 23:09 #

      Estee Klar,

      The “wiring” comment by Mr. Wakefield is very strange. Not really consistent with his gut-brain hypothesis now, is it?

  9. Orange Lantern October 28, 2010 at 22:49 #

    I think he had just seen “Master and Commander” on DVD and fancied himself as Russell Crowe.

    Callous Disregard and Age of Autism. Which is the lesser of two weevils? /movie reference

  10. stanley seigler October 28, 2010 at 23:01 #

    i do not believe VAXs cause autism…but i do not understand the anti-Wakefield crusade…it lets BP (big pharma) off the hook for many sins…and;

    can anyone be sure Hg in VAXs do/did not have some adverse effects…we are not supposed to eat fish containing Hg…and;

    there is a possibility Hg did trigger autism in those with predisposed conditions…genes, eg.

    stanley seigler

    • Sullivan October 28, 2010 at 23:39 #

      stanley seigler,

      thanks for the comment.

      I am not anti-Wakefield. If Mr. Wakefield were to act in a responsible manner in the future, I would have nothing to say.

      The statement quoted above is bad. I don’t care who wrote it, I would still find it insulting on a number of fronts. I don’t intend to sit back while Mr. Wakefield characterizes autistics (or even some subset) as not having the “wiring” to express themselves.

      • Sullivan October 28, 2010 at 23:58 #

        Here is another comment by Mr. Wakefield (page 38, should you want to look it up).

        He discusses child 10, who was affectionate. Mr. Wakefield, still clinging to the stereotype that autism means no affection, writes this:

        Despite this [affection on the part of child 10], he subsequently received an autism diagnosis from several other experts. For the Royal Free child psychiatrist, the demonstration of affection appeared to be a sticking point. In psychiatrist and physician Leo Kanner’s original description of autism in 1943 and in much of the literature thereafter, children with autism are characterized as aloof and relatively undemonstrative.

        Mr Wakefield then adds his own, rather odd interpretation, to the question of why autistics can demonstrate affection:

        This [aloofness or undemonstrative behavior] may be the case when their autism has followed an exposure in the womn or in perinatal life when there has been no opportunity to bond or experience the shared rewards of affection. If, however, a child’s emotion’s have developed normally for 16 months, then while other aspects of cognition regress and behaviors change, it is quote possible that affection–by this stage firmly entrenched–still remains.

        It couldn’t be that, perhaps, just perhaps, the early researchers were wrong and that some autistics can be affectionate (just as some non-autistics can be undemonstrative), could it?

  11. daedalus2u October 29, 2010 at 00:33 #

    Sullivan, I don’t like to speculate about diagnoses either. I am not a medical professional and certainly Wakefield is not my client. Anyone who has enough information to know if he is diagnosed or not is precluded from talking about it.

    I have had contact with a few people who were psychopaths (but again, not diagnosed in a medical setting that I know of). The purpose of a differential medical diagnosis is differential medical treatment. If there is no differential medical treatment there is no medical utility in a differential diagnosis.

    Usually psychopathic individuals have no desire to change how they are, so they have no use of a medical diagnosis because they have no desire for treatment. Just as they have no desire (and no ability) to treat other humans as human beings and not as objects to be exploited.

    There is of course a “psychopathic spectrum” with all different degrees from people who would not hurt a fly (literally, as in the Dalai Lama) to bullies who enjoy torturing others to death.

    Wakefield’s callous disregard of the welfare of the children he had therapeutic responsibilities for, and the cohort of children he caused to be unvaccinated is unconscionable, but I don’t see it as being quite as evil as those in the US who bully children until they commit suicide, and those truly evil individuals who then celebrate those suicides if the victims self-identify as gay. These people are truly evil.

    I don’t like that there are evil people in the world. I am an atheist, so evil is not a term that I use lightly. Too me evil doesn’t have religious connotations, but it does have ethical and practical ones. I subscribe to the Edmund Burke sentiment that “all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing”. Having been the victim of evil people when I was more vulnerable, I can’t tolerate doing nothing when I see evil people doing evil things to vulnerable people. I suspect that most good people feel the same way. If we are to have a good society to live in, good people have to act that way.

    The most important aspect of dealing with evil people is to identify who they are so they can be watched very closely so they are not allowed to do evil things. They have to be watched very closely because they are not capable of watching themselves. People who are not evil can be given the benefit of the doubt and usually they will not do evil things. Usually people who are evil are able to tell when they are being watched and don’t do evil things if they are watched. If Wakefield had been watched more carefully, maybe he wouldn’t have done so many evil things. Certainly he would not have been able to do as much damage as he did.

    Stanley, no. Mercury can’t cause autism in individuals who are genetically susceptible to it. A major symptom of autism is in the higher number of minicolums, a number that is fixed in the first trimester in utero. Nothing years later can change that. There is not a shred of science behind the “mercury causes autism” idea. The only people pushing it are those scamming parents into chelating.

    It isn’t called “letting someone off the hook” when you don’t scapegoat them for something they did not do. Big Pharma was blamed for the epidemic of autism for one reason and for one reason only, because they had deep pockets and the lawyers thought they could spin a tale of woe that would have them win the legal lottery.

    Sullivan, I suspect that Wakefield never believed in the measles-gut hypothesis, it was just a vehicle to make money. In the Autism Omnibus, there was testimony that the gut samples that were taken and analyzed were not legitimate. That it seemed that they were deliberately taken from sites of local inflammation (which is normal in the gut) and misidentified. The slides all disappeared so “we will never know”, but my null hypothesis is not that the biopsies were all done and coded properly.

  12. Chris October 29, 2010 at 01:01 #

    Stanley, also thimerosal or mercury is not even part of the picture when it comes to the MMR. It has never contained mercury. I find it annoying that the MMR and thimerosal issues are always conflated. They are not the same.

    And no one is letting pharmaceutical companies off the hook. It is that they are not under discussion, and did not perform unnecessary invasive tests on children. Nor do I believe Big Pharma has used such florid language, even in the their ghost written papers.

  13. stanley seigler October 29, 2010 at 03:53 #

    [chris say] And no one is letting pharmaceutical companies off the hook.

    would love to heard yo (from what i have heard by anti-VAX on LBRB)testimony if ever called in opposition to BP…BP lawyers would make you look like an idiot…of course it’s all hypothetical…

    [chris say] They are not the same.

    confused as someone said…what is not the same…help me understand.

    stanley seigler

  14. stanley seigler October 29, 2010 at 04:17 #

    [sullivan say} I don’t intend to sit back while Mr. Wakefield characterizes autistics (or even some subset) as not having the “wiring” to express themselves.

    COMMENT
    agree with wiring comment…but my comments were re general anti-Wakefield LBRB crusade…this crusade has let BP off the hook for all the harm they do in the name of profits…my opine.

    stanley seigler

  15. Brian Deer October 29, 2010 at 06:11 #

    Sullivan gets to the heart of it. But, of course, Wakefield has never taken the trouble to try to understand autism. Apart from the fact that parents of developmentally-challenged children were solicited to proffer them for his Crohn’s disease experiments, allowing them to be knocked out, laid on a table and have tubes pushed round their bowels, and needles into their spines, he never showed much interest.

    Here, for example, is his understanding of autism in his patent applications:

    “Nor is there a cure for autism; sufferers have to live in a silent world of their own unable to communicate with the rest of the world.”

    Even then, wallowing in the desperation of young mothers, he didn’t even have the decency to take a book from the library and make an honest effort to find out.

  16. Jake Crosby October 29, 2010 at 07:22 #

    Brian, what you just said obliterated an irony meter:

    “But, of course, Wakefield has never taken the trouble to try to understand autism. Apart from the fact that parents of developmentally-challenged children were solicited to proffer them for his Crohn’s disease experiments, allowing them to be knocked out, laid on a table and have tubes pushed round their bowels, and needles into their spines, he never showed much interest.”

    These are the words of someone with zero medical knowledge and is completely full of himself. It’d be like attacking the MMR by chiefly saying it’s just stabbing someone with a needle and injecting them full of three live viruses, simply describing it in the worst possible way while making no argument for why it may be dangerous and is unnecessary. Of course, Wakefield did not have to avoid such arguments because being a conscientious scientist he was able to show why there is no good safety data supporting that vaccine while potentially safer alternatives exist, with Cochrane even in agreement with him on the safety being “largely inadequate.” Perhaps you should follow his lead by focusing on sound scientific argumentation rather than shoot the messenger with sham allegations that without major pharmaceutical backing would have been dumped before they even had a chance to be printed on paper as nothing more than – that’s right – a bogus conspiracy theory.

    “Even then, wallowing in the desperation of young mothers, he didn’t even have the decency to take a book from the library and make an honest effort to find out.”

    And you have? He was obviously referring to the most severe, who really can’t communicate with the rest of the world and essentially do live in a silent world of their own. Perhaps it would do you some good to hit the books yourself, Brian.

    • Sullivan October 29, 2010 at 20:49 #

      Jake Crosby,

      When you invoke the Cochrane group, you do realize that they have cited this blog on their site, don’t you? I can dig up the screenshot somewhere, but we were linked to by them for one of our discussions of Mr. Wakefield.

      You will find that the Cochrane group is not in agreement with Andrew Wakefield on a large number of important issues. Are you going to pick and chose which parts of the Cochrane reports you accept?

      “He was obviously referring to the most severe, who really can’t communicate with the rest of the world and essentially do live in a silent world of their own.”

      No, that isn’t “obvious” at all. Mr. Wakefield has repeatedly presented autism in these dark tones. And, if he can’t understand that a lack of spoken language is not the same thing as communication, shame on him.

      As to blowing out irony meters, referring to Andrew Wakefield as a “Conscientious scientist” just fried out a whole irony substation.

  17. Chris October 29, 2010 at 07:55 #

    Stanley, I am sorry you are confused. Since being approved in the USA in 1971 the MMR vaccine has contained neither thimerosal nor aluminum. Therefore any reference to mercury to the MMR vaccine shows you have no clue as to the issue. I suggest you actually figure out what those clues are. Including the fact that pediatric vaccines have been free of thimerosal for almost a decade.

    Also, BP is British Petroleum. I do not believe they manufacture vaccines. If you have evidence that they are a pharmaceutical company, please share that documentation.

    As far as looking like an idiot in testimony… I suggest you read the testimony presented here. One of the high lights is from Dr. Byers whose association with a university included “attending their parties.”

  18. stanley seigler October 29, 2010 at 12:09 #

    [chris say] Also, BP is British Petroleum

    also BP is Big Pharma…point of using initials was to tie big pharma to BP oil to remind one of the harm they do in the name profits/greed.

    [chris say] I suggest you actually figure out what those clues are.

    my “cluelessness” is not re the facts you state. it is re the obsession some LBRB posters have with wakefield and;

    OTOH, their seeming acceptance that BP (Big Pharma) VAXs are harmless…i only suggest there may be a connection in limited cases…eg, VAXs may trigger autism in those that have a genetic predisposition…anand;

    as i tried to say, in a hypothetical predisposition case those obsessed with wakefield would not make creditable witnesses against BP based on BP’s access to comments made on LBRB…

    Hg enters the picture as believed once up on a time it was in some VAXs…and BP said it was harmless yet it was removed…

    well being removed…last i heard, “it is being phased out from routine childhood vaccines in the United States, the European Union, and a few other countries.”

    not sure what phased out means in time required to phase…eg, asbestos was being phased out of insulation products in the early 1960s…but it was still in those products in the late 1970s…and is still a hazard where insulation removal is required in construction..further asbestos containing insulation is not being removed in USA schools and other buildings.

    stanley seigler

  19. stanley seigler October 29, 2010 at 12:46 #

    [sullivan say} I don’t intend to sit back while Mr. Wakefield characterizes autistics (or even some subset) as not having the “wiring” to express themselves.

    “I don’t intend to sit back”…as well you (anyone) shouldnt.

    full disclosure: from the little i’ve read of and by wakefield, i dont like him or his opines…that said i am not sure he is worth all the ink he gets on LBRB.

    moving on: i believe most all on the spectrum have more than the avg wiring to express themselves and should be provided with any/all means they choose for expression/communications.

    stanley seigler

  20. stanley seigler October 29, 2010 at 14:29 #

    after the morals/ethics/psychopaths comments…

    [daedalus2u say] Mercury can’t cause autism in individuals who are genetically susceptible to it…It isn’t called “letting someone off the hook”… Big Pharma was blamed for the epidemic of autism for one reason and for one reason only

    tend to agree Hg cant cause…but am no where near your oh so positive position…reminded of the oh so positive position tobacco execs sang in unison: “nicotine is not addictive”…also/and reminded of the question asked in “awakenings”: “you know this how?”

    there was more than one and only one reason…sadly greed did play a negative roll in the discussion…another reason was a search for the truth…which resulted in the generally accepted conclusion VAX did/does not cause autism.

    apologies if i implied Hg/VAX caused autism…my intent was to conclude, in general, Hg can/does cause harm and in some cases may trigger autism (genetics was an example). this should be acknowledged…and BP (big pharma) should not be let of the hook for using it in the first place…or;

    perhaps you believe Hg is not harmful period…and perhaps makes for better tasting fish and Hg fillings makes yo teeth whiter…and;

    who knows BPoil’s spill in the gulf of mexico might make for more abundant, better tasting, shrimp and oysters.

    stanley seigler

    Stanley, no. Mercury can’t cause autism in individuals who are genetically susceptible to it. A major symptom of autism is in the higher number of minicolums, a number that is fixed in the first trimester in utero. Nothing years later can change that. There is not a shred of science behind the “mercury causes autism” idea. The only people pushing it are those scamming parents into chelating.

    It isn’t called “letting someone off the hook” when you don’t scapegoat them for something they did not do. Big Pharma was blamed for the epidemic of autism for one reason and for one reason only, because they had deep pockets and the lawyers thought they could spin a tale of woe that would have them win the legal lottery.

  21. Science Mom October 29, 2010 at 14:45 #

    i do not believe VAXs cause autism…but i do not understand the anti-Wakefield crusade…it lets BP (big pharma) off the hook for many sins…and;

    @ Stanley, you are setting up a false dichotomy here. I am unabashedly anti-Wakefield but also critical of pharma when they engage in shady behaviour. This is consistent with being critical of any dubious practise, whether it be on the part of big pharma, little supplement or individual researchers.

    can anyone be sure Hg in VAXs do/did not have some adverse effects…we are not supposed to eat fish containing Hg…and;

    With 100% certainty? No, never but we have a very good idea that this is not the case and the ‘poor excretor’ hypothesis is false. It is not correct to say, “we are not supposed to eat fish containing Hg”, we are advised to limit intake of high Hg-containing fish, particularly during pregnancy.

    there is a possibility Hg did trigger autism in those with predisposed conditions…genes, eg.

    I suppose it’s possible but better people than I, i.e. toxicologists and geneticists have not been able to establish any gene repertoire, nor compatibility between autistic behaviours and those of mercury poisoned.

  22. daedalus2u October 29, 2010 at 15:22 #

    Stanley, there is as much data suggesting mercury is associated with autism in the US as there is data suggesting that cow flatulence in New Zealand is associated with autism in the US. That amount of data would be none. There is actually more data suggesting that mercury is not associated with autism in the US then there is suggesting cow flatulence in New Zealand is not associated with autism in the US. The issue of cow flatulence in New Zealand causing autism in the US has not been investigated at all. I am not suggesting that it should be investigated, the prior probability of cow flatulence causing autism is quite low. It is on the same order as the likelihood of mercury causing autism. They should have about the same priority for further research.

    It would be wrong to “acknowledge” that mercury can trigger autism in some cases. There is no data to support such an assertion. If you do want to “acknowledge” that mercury can trigger autism, then you should also want to “acknowledge” that cow flatulence can trigger autism too.

    There is no basis in science or physiology to suggest that there is any relationship between mercury and autism, even in “genetically susceptible” individuals (whatever that means). The people continuing to beat the dead horse that is the mercury causes autism idea are not doing so because of data or a scientific understanding of either autism or mercury physiology. They are doing it either to scam parents into buying harmful crap, or to avoid the narcissistic injury of admitting they were wrong.

    No one is saying that mercury is not harmful, only that it does not cause autism. Being hit with a hammer is harmful, but being hit with a hammer doesn’t cause autism. Causing autism and being harmful are two different things.

    Wakefield knew there was no measles virus in the gut of his victims before he submitted the Lancet paper. His PhD student Chadwick had done PCR on all the samples and sequenced all the positive results. They were all false positives. He told Wakefield. Wakefield knew they were all false positives. Wakefield knew the positive immunological results he presented were artifact when he presented them.

    It is a shame that Chadwick was not able to come forward at the time, but as Wakefield’s student, Wakefield held inordinate power over him. The ability of someone senior to destroy the career of someone junior over disagreements of scientific fact in an academic or medical setting is something that must be changed.

    Wakefield did try to destroy Brian Deer over Brian Deer’s factual reporting. Brian Deer had the truth and the resources of a publishing company behind him. Chadwick had nothing but the truth. Wakefield would have been successful at destroying Chadwick. I don’t fault Chadwick, I do fault the system that didn’t allow him to come forward without protecting him from being destroyed. He probably would not have been successful at that time if he had come forward.

  23. Chris October 29, 2010 at 16:21 #

    Stanley, when we have heard over several months on the devastation caused in the Gulf of Mexico by BP, it is not reasonable to expect us to realize that you decided to change the nomenclature. If you are going to use a novel form of abbreviation it is standard practice to define it the first time you use it.

    You are still conflating two separate issues, which is just silly. It was silly when I first encountered over five years ago. And it was even sillier when a disability listserv member tried to get me removed for reminding her and others that the MMR has never contained thimerosal.

    Wakefield lied. He is still lying. End of story. Deal with it.

  24. Tsu Dho Nimh October 29, 2010 at 17:37 #

    Stanley said, well being removed…last i heard, “it is being phased out from routine childhood vaccines in the United States, the European Union, and a few other countries.”

    Vaccines have a short shelf life, and no one stockpiles years worth of them. If your clinic normally vaccinates 300 kids a month, having monthly shipments makes better sense than getting a year’s worth. It takes less special storage space, and if the refrigerator fails you have lost less vaccine.

    The CDC recommended the removal of thimerosol in 1999 or 2000. Various thimerosol-free versions of vaccines were licensed starting in 2001. There would have been no more than a year’s worth of vaccine in circulation, so if thimerosol had anuything to do with autism’s increase, there should have been a decrease when the kids who got the thimerosol-free vaccines hit 2 or 3 years old. There has been no decrease, therefore the thimerosol is as likely to have had anything to do with the increase as cow flatulence in New Zealand.

    When Dr. Laura Hewitson was starting her experiments on baby monkeys, she had to add thimerosol to the vaccines because there were no doses left.

  25. stanley seigler October 29, 2010 at 18:16 #

    [chris say] to define it the first time

    see my 10/28/10; 23:01:47 post to this thread.

    [chris say] You are still conflating two separate issues, which is just silly

    i dont have two issues…to repeat: my “cluelessness” is not with the facts you state. it is with the obsession some LBRB posters have with wakefield and…OTOH, their seeming acceptance that BP (Big Pharma) VAXs are harmless…i only suggest there may be a connection in limited cases…eg, VAXs may trigger autism in those that have a genetic predisposition…

    [chris say] Wakefield lied. He is still lying. End of story. Deal with it

    may well have lied…never said he didnt…i have dealt with wakefield. see my 10/29/10; 12:46:23 post here

    my only to “deal with issue” is the excessive amount of ink given wakefield by some LBRB posters who seemingly havent dealt with it…actually not an issue…just my opine… if you disagree fine. no problem/argument. end of story. deal with it. however;

    if you want to discuss the two issues you say i am conflating…please define them…

    as many say opines are like a-holes, everyone has one.

    stanley seigler

  26. stanley seigler October 29, 2010 at 18:48 #

    [daedalus2u] No one is saying that mercury is not harmful, only that it does not cause autism…Causing autism and being harmful are two different things.

    we agree. the degree to which we believe VAXs/Hg may be involved is where we we disagree. your scientific cow dung/hammer comments do nothing to convince me there is not a possibility of a connection. tho;

    your cow dung/hammer comments do tend to convince me you are a too cute by half “true believer”…and “true believers” scare me…leave me with doubts they have an open mind…eg, USA Tea Partyers are true believers in their political ideology.

    stanley seigler

  27. stanley seigler October 29, 2010 at 18:50 #

    [Science Mom say] you are setting up a false dichotomy here. I am unabashedly anti-Wakefield but also critical of pharma when they engage in shady behaviour. This is consistent with being critical of any dubious practise, whether it be on the part of big pharma, little supplement or individual researchers.

    as mentioned in a post to this thread…its just my opine…thanks for sharing yours…fine. no problem/argument.

    stanley seigler

  28. daedalus2u October 29, 2010 at 19:09 #

    Stanley, you have as much basis for saying that vaccines may trigger autism in susceptible individuals as anyone has for saying that cow flatulence in New Zealand may trigger autism in susceptible individuals.

    It is an idea for which there is no evidence. It is an idea which is very likely not correct. If you understood the physiology of autism, vaccines, and cow flatulence you would understand that.

    I think you are meaning it as a “throw-away” comment, a comment that is not meant to have any meaning, other than “autism is complicated and I don’t know enough about it, so to me any BS reason is as good as any other BS reason, so listen to my BS reason so my feelings don’t get hurt”.

    What that statement is mostly about is your own ignorance. Unfortunately BS throw-away statements like that do hurt people, they perpetuate the damaging and destructive myth that here is a tiny shred of credibility behind the idea of vaccines causing autism. There isn’t. When people (such as yourself) pretending that there is, either out of ignorance (what I believe is your motivation), or out of malfeasance (Wakefield’s motivation), the end result is the same, people don’t vaccinate their children, their children get vaccine preventable diseases, epidemics of vaccine preventable diseases happen and people are seriously injured and even killed as has happened in California and the UK.

    People have died from vaccine preventable diseases because of misinformation from ignorant or evil people. I am sorry if calling you ignorant hurts your feelings. Trying to prevent vaccine preventable deaths is more important to me than trying to not hurt your feelings when you say ignorant and dangerous things. Hurting your feelings by calling you ignorant is not my motivation; preventing vaccine preventable injuries and deaths by countering your support for vaccine causation of autism out of your ignorance is.

    I don’t listen to someone’s opinion because they have an asshole. I listen to their opinion because they have facts that I don’t yet know and/or are using logic that I don’t yet understand. You can have different standards, but don’t expect anyone else to value opinions from people who don’t know what they are talking about.

  29. Chris October 29, 2010 at 19:17 #

    Stanley, read this link:
    http://onibasu.com/archives/am/27456.html

    Look at the date. Look what she is asking for. If thimerosal (which was never in the MMR vaccine) was in the process of being removed, she would not had made that request NINE years ago.

    The mercury causes autism gambit is old, dead, rotten and irrelevant. Especially while discussing Wakefield now retracted Lancet paper, which was on two types of the MMR vaccine — neither of which ever contained thimerosal.

    No one who understand the science has ever claimed that vaccines are 100% harmless nor 100% effective. That is a claim of what they should be only by the scientifically illiterate. What we do know is that they are much safer than the diseases. If you have any evidence that it would be safer to get the disease than the vaccine, present that evidence. Don’t claim that we uncritically accept information from pharmaceutical companies, unless you can back it up.

    If you don’t like what LBRB has to say about Wakefield, don’t read it. It just happens Wakefield is presently flogging his book in the USA. If he would just sink away into obscurity especially after leaving Thoughtful House, then this discussion would not exist. Come back when Kev continues his review of the Age of Autism book.

    Wakefield lied. Not “may”, did! He has been proven to have lied in the US Federal Court, by Brian Deer and the UK’s General Medical Council. End of story. Get over it.

  30. stanley seigler October 29, 2010 at 20:00 #

    [Tsu Dho Nimh say] Vaccines have a short shelf life, and no one stockpiles years worth of them

    thanks for the shelf life information…

    [Tsu Dho Nimh say] there should have been a decrease when the kids who got the thimerosol-free vaccines hit 2 or 3 years old

    why 2-3 years old…there have been recent reports of a leveling see post to LBRB : Study of Health Outcomes in Children with ASD and Their Families – Stakeholders’ Meeting

    i did not say nor believe VAXs are the cause of the autism epidemic (if there is one)…believe only there may be a connection in limited cases…further;

    to repeat i only stated an opinion that some LBRB posters spent too much ink on wakefield and too little time on BP motives (re children that did get thimerosol )…and dont understand why it’s so hard to say it is a possibility there is a connection…

    did not expect one response…so cant figure why there is so much opposition to an opine…i agree with most of the facts stated.

    stanley seigler

  31. stanley seigler October 29, 2010 at 20:05 #

    [Tsu Dho Nimh say] Vaccines have a short shelf life, and no one stockpiles years worth of them

    thanks for the shelf life information…

    [Tsu Dho Nimh say] there should have been a decrease when the kids who got the thimerosol-free vaccines hit 2 or 3 years old

    why 2-3 years old…there have been recent reports of a leveling see post to LBRB : Study of Health Outcomes in Children with ASD and Their Families – Stakeholders’ Meeting

    i did not say nor believe VAXs are the cause of the autism epidemic (if there is one)…believe only there may be a connection in limited cases…further;

    to repeat i only stated an opinion that some LBRB posters spent too much ink on wakefield and too little time on BP motives (re children that did get thimerosol )…and dont understand why it’s so hard to say it is a possibility there is a connection…

    did not expect one response…so cant figure why there is so much opposition to an opine…i agree with most of the facts stated.

    stanley seigler

  32. stanley seigler October 29, 2010 at 20:11 #

    [daedalus2u say] whatever

    i am too old to get my feeling hurt by anyone…especially by illogical, closed minded, true believers…who do as much harm as the BSers…in my opine it is completely illogical to believe there is NO possibility of a connection.

    agree my feeling are irrelevant as are daedalus2u’s…i have followed Rebbe Nachman suggestion for many and many a year: “To be a person of truth, be swayed neither by approval nor disapproval. Work at not needing approval from anyone and you will be free to be who you really are”.

    you do go on and on and on ad nauseam…

    stanley seigler

    ps another opine: “IACC’s action to halt vaccine-autism research flies in the face of congressional intent. The bill’s authors clearly stated that vaccine research should be funded. Even the esteemed Institute of Medicine has condemned CDC’s methods. In 2005, an IOM panel condemned CDC for its “lack of transparency” in vaccine-autism research…The bureaucrats responsible for this scandal are on the wrong side of history”

    http://autism.about.com/b/2009/01/28/researchers-agree-on-autism-vaccine-connection.htm

    • Sullivan October 29, 2010 at 20:41 #

      “Congressional intent” is misused in that quote.

      The intent of congress is spelled out in the combating autism act, which does not call for vaccine/autism research specifically. There was a lot of lobbying for inclusion of such language, and it wasn’t accepted.

      There were some members of the legislature who expressed their personal views on the subject. That is not the same thing as saying this is a “congressional intent” any more than congressman Waxman’s rebukes of congressman Dan Burton’s attempt to push the vaccine-autism agenda constitute a congressional reprimand.

  33. stanley seigler October 29, 2010 at 21:48 #

    [chris say] whatever

    why do you keep beating a horse i am not riding…

    my opine was/is wakefied is given too much ink and and BP motives too little by some LBRB posters…that’s all. nothing more nothing less…i dont know what you/others dont get about this…PERHAPS i missed comments re this issue.

    stanley seigler

  34. stanley seigler October 29, 2010 at 21:58 #

    [Sullivan say] “Congressional intent” is misused in that quote.

    talking opinions…the one who wrote the report evidently felt it was not a misuse…i have no opine…you need to take it up with RFK Jr…

    well guess i do have an opinion: Congressional intent has nothing to do with the facts and i didn’t intend to imply it did…was only pointing out there possibly is a need for additional research…well least in the opine of some…it not written in stone THERE IS NO CONNECTION.

    gawd i no idea a simple opinion would lead to such bs…that never address my original concern.

    stanley seigler

  35. Chris October 29, 2010 at 22:01 #

    If your opinion is that this blog does not address certain issues, then get your own blog. Nothing is stopping you. Plus no one is forcing you to read this blog. There is nothing more irritating than someone trying to tell bloggers what to write about.

  36. daedalus2u October 29, 2010 at 22:24 #

    Stanley, you keep projecting and using terms that do not apply. If you have some data that supports a mercury or a vaccine idea of autism causation, please link to it. It is not a surprise to me that you are unable to do so because I have looked and many others have looked, including many of those on LBRB. We have looked high and wide and have found not a single bit of data supporting either of those ideas.

    If you have no data and no theoretical pathway, your statement that “there is a possibility Hg did trigger autism in those with predisposed conditions…genes, eg.” is as informed as the opinion saying there is a possibility that [cow flatulence] in New Zealand did trigger autism in those with predisposed conditions…genes, eg. Yes, and there is a possibility that monkeys will fly out of my ass and type the complete works of Shakespeare. Not a very big possibility, but a possibility that is larger than zero.

    You are the one who keeps saying there is a possible pathway without suggesting what that pathway is. Who exactly is the “true believer”? What exactly are you trying to accomplish when you say “there is a possibility” when every piece of data points in the opposite direction? That the idea should not be abandoned prematurely? There is absolutely no possibility of the idea being abandoned prematurely. It should have been abandoned years ago. To abandon it prematurely it would have had to be abandoned many years earlier than that. Without a time machine, that is not possible.

    If you don’t know what research has been done, by what basis are you saying that not enough research has been done? You bemoan the lack of discussion of Big Pharma’s motives, what about the motives of the “mercury causes autism” crowd, you know, the ones selling industrial chelating agents to give to children to remove mercury that no test can find?

  37. stanley seigler October 29, 2010 at 22:30 #

    [chris say] then get your own blog

    sounds like the true believer racist in USA…eg, if dont like the USA go back to Africa…write about what ever you/anyone wants…i just expressed an opine…did not imply what one should write about…

    [chris say] Wakefield lied. Not “may”, did! He has been proven to have lied in the US Federal Court, by Brian Deer and the UK’s General Medical Council. End of story. Get over it

    USA courts proved OJ Simpson didn’t murder two people…they have also proved children on the spectrum are not autistic…thus do not qualify for state/fed support funding…

    end story. get over it. nananana your momma wears combat boots…

    stanley seigler

  38. Chris October 29, 2010 at 23:04 #

    Now you are getting into loony toons. Racist? OJ Simpson?

    You are telling Sully and Kev what to write. Who are you to tell them what to write? Why should they listen to you? What special privileges do you think you have to tell them what to write?

    Three separate US Federal Court proceedings is not same as a jury trial in the Los Angeles County Superior Court. (five proceeding if you count the thimerosal only cases, more if you count the appeals… all which have been dismissed). There is absolutely no comparison. Do you now need a primer on the difference between federal, state, county and municipal jurisdictions in the USA? Or the difference between a murder trial with a jury and civil proceedings involving Special Masters? How about the difference between the levels of evidence between the two? Do you not understand which one required “beyond a doubt” and which one only required 50% plus a feather?

  39. stanley seigler October 29, 2010 at 23:43 #

    Who exactly is the “true believer”?

    as used in this exchange: one who has a closed mind, my way or the hiway, perspective on issues and defends this perspective with too cute by 1/2 cow dung, monkeys flying out of his ass scientific comments…one who has the illogical belief there is NO possible autism/vax-Hg connection other than when monkeys fly out of his ass…

    daedalus2u seems to qualify…tea partyer qualitify in USA.

    [daedalus2u say] What exactly are you trying to accomplish when you say “there is a possibility” …

    the truth…

    what is daedalus2u trying to accomplish by vilifying parents…and avoiding my original concern/opine LBRB spends too much time on wakefied and too little time on BP motives…

    all that was required of d-u2/anyone was a simple I dont agree…end of story…whyohwhy did i get sucked into his true believer comment…

    this is the end…even tho no one has addressed my original concern…well guess chris did…with if you dont like this blog get your own…sigh.

    stanley seigler

  40. stanley seigler October 30, 2010 at 00:03 #

    [chris say] Now you are getting into loony toons. Racist?

    your comment get your own blog is the same as the racist comment to the blacks, “if you dont like america go back to africa”…if your dont see this…pity

    [chris say] Now you are getting into loony toons. OJ Simpson?

    i fully understand the difference in courts…the point is whether fed or otherwise courts make mistakes…and they do in spades.

    [chris say] You are telling Sully and Kev what to write.

    as said you are entitled to your opinions…not your own facts…I have never told anyone what to write…

    when you are left with making up your facts…it’s the end.

    stanley seigler

  41. brian October 30, 2010 at 00:25 #

    It’s interesting that in Wakefield’s defense Jake chose to cite the Cochrane Review that concluded: “No credible evidence of an involvement of MMR with either autism or Crohn’s disease was found.”

    • Sullivan October 30, 2010 at 01:53 #

      Brian,

      even more interesting is this. It is a discussion of Tom Jefferson from Cochrane:

      Fortunately, I have learned from a private source whom I trust that, in response to e-mails to him pointing out the true nature of the NVIC, Dr. Jefferson has pulled out of the conference and will not be speaking there. I wish I could say more to back up my assertion right now. For the moment you’ll just have to take my word for it because Jefferson’s name is still prominently listed on the NVIC website, but I assure you that he will not be speaking there. The reasons he gave mainly emphasized his displeasure at being on the same stage with Wakefield, whose abuse of his research to support anti-vaccine nonsense greatly annoyed Jefferson; and his desire not to be used and manipulated by the NVIC. Good for him! Beter late than never! But that still leaves three others who are scheduled to speak.

      Jake Crosby is not alone in bringing up the Cochrane group to support Mr. Wakefield. As you point out, their reviews don’t support the Wakefield hypothesis (and don’t rank his work high either as I recall).

  42. Science Mom October 30, 2010 at 00:53 #

    These are the words of someone with zero medical knowledge and is completely full of himself.

    I’d say pot meet kettle Jake but that would insinuate that you are half right and you just aren’t. Please name anything that Mr. Deer uncovered about Wakefield that is demonstrably false.

    Of course, Wakefield did not have to avoid such arguments because being a conscientious scientist he was able to show why there is no good safety data supporting that vaccine while potentially safer alternatives exist, with Cochrane even in agreement with him on the safety being “largely inadequate.”

    Haha
    Hahahahaha
    Hahahahahahahahahaha

    Emphasis mine. Hahahahahahaha

    OK, I’ll try to stop long enough to address the rest of this. You trying to use the Cochrane Review to support Wakers is like Sarah Palin quoting Richard Dawkins to support the teaching of intelligent design.

    I guess you missed the part of the Cochrane Review which stipulated that no credible evidence for an MMR-autism association exists and also the part that excluded EVERY SINGLE Wakefield ‘study’ from its review.

    Perhaps you should follow his lead by focusing on sound scientific argumentation rather than shoot the messenger with sham allegations that without major pharmaceutical backing would have been dumped before they even had a chance to be printed on paper as nothing more than – that’s right – a bogus conspiracy theory.

    It sounds to me as though it is you that is shooting the messenger Jake. If Wakefield didn’t commit all of the fraud he had, Mr. Deer wouldn’t have had a story that has gone on for 6 years now. Wakefield and sound scientific lead? I feel a guffaw coming on again. I am just thankful that Wakefield is the exception rather than the rule when it comes to practising medicine and conducting research. You really just don’t understand whose basket you are really putting your eggs in.

  43. Brian Deer October 30, 2010 at 06:25 #

    Stanley says:

    “… i do not understand the anti-Wakefield crusade…it lets BP (big pharma) off the hook for many sins…”

    He might well reformulate this idea to consider that what Wakefield did throughout his professional career, both in terms of his abject employment by, and dependence on, the drug industry, and then in his faking of research, is what has been a boon to big pharma.

    For years, Wakefield worked for Merck, who paid him well for his services. But, being incompetent, lazy, wrong and eventually dishonest, he failed to deliver the reports he promised, so they dumped him and cut off his money and travel perks (although his four-star, front-of-the-plane lifestyle was supported by numerous drug firms).

    So then he took up with the lawyers, who paid him even more lavishly, and he led thousands of parents down an agonising blind alley, in hopeless litigation they could never possibly win since it was based on fraudulent and incompetent science.

    When I realized, through purely outcome-neutral inquiry, that (irrespective of whether or not any vaccine may or may not cause any injury) the entire anti-vaccine agenda and evidence is founded on an utter pack of lies (many of which are apparently thought to be so slight that against the trumpeted evil of big pharma their perpetrators feel they needn’t be dwelt upon), I had a choice. Conceal them: take part in, or at least turn a blind eye to, a conspiracy that hurt children, and hurt many parents of autistic children. Or try to honestly report what I’d found.

    And yet, when I accomplished the latter, rather than dump Wakefield and try to clean up the mess his exposure created (as DAN! and Thoughtful House have done), Age of Autism and that crowd have more firmly hitched their wagon to this swaggering charlatan. Actually, I saw their book the other day. With regard to Wakefield, they’ve simply copied out what he’s told them. No mention of the four counts of dishonesty (including research fraud) found against him by a judicially-reviewable statutory inquiry, or the dozen counts of causing the abuse of developmentally-challenge children. In fact, nothing of the truth at all. Not a hint of an honest effort by Blaxill and Olmsted to find out what happened.

    So, yes, Stanley, the few drug industry people who I suspect follow this issue (and I personally know of none, and have never seen any industry statement, heard of any industry briefing, know of any industry conferences or lobbying over MMR, apart from their lawyers’ involvement in litigation) must be delighted with the rise and fall of Andrew Wakefield. But that was his doing, and that of the individuals with whom he has been involved.

    Who benefits most from us better understanding what he did, how he did it, and who helped him? Well, call me old fashioned, but I think that freedom is rooted in truth.

  44. FreeSpeakercs October 30, 2010 at 11:48 #

    You are to be commended for posting Joke Crosby’s screed. He actively censors comments on the AoA Collective’s cesspool. I note that he has not returned since his deposit was posted. No question he is afraid of debate.

  45. stanley seigler October 30, 2010 at 15:01 #

    i received a LBRB email transmitting a post to this thread from brian deer…it’s not posted here…is my computer playing mind games with me????

    stanley seigler

  46. FreeSpeakercs October 30, 2010 at 16:23 #

    Stanley, it is there. I just read it again . You may want your browser search it for you.

    You won’t see Joke Crosby’s second post here. The intellectual yellowstreak is terrified of open discussion, and sits in his dorm room quaking in dear. His technique is that of the drve by mud slinger.

  47. stanley seigler October 30, 2010 at 17:01 #

    [Brian Deer say] Who benefits most from us better understanding what he did, how he did it, and who helped him? Well, call me old fashioned, but I think that freedom is rooted in truth.

    thanks for responding to my concerns vice coming out of left field beating (with too cute comments) a horse (VAXs cause autism, in the 5th) i am not riding.

    if what you say is true then wakefield is indeed evil and the crusade justified…i have not read enough to know the truth…so still question whether/not wakefield is twains “mysterious stranger”…more sure BP is controlled by “screwtape”.

    sad greedy parents and lawyers have gotten in the way of a search for the truth…that said as you say, “freedom is rooted in truth”…and;

    “Truth is a shining goddess, always veiled, always distant, never wholly approachable, but worthy of all the devotion of which the human spirit is capable” (Bertrand Russell)

    stanley seigler

    [housekeeping: the above is in response to brian deer’s post below (recd by LBRB email to me). his post does not show on my LBRB page]

    brian deer’s post
    In a message dated 10/29/2010 10:25:55 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, kevleitch@gmail.com writes:
    There is a new comment on the post “Wakefield’s callous introduction”.
    https://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2010/10/wakefields-callous-introduction/

    Author: Brian Deer
    Comment:
    Stanley says: “… i do not understand the anti-Wakefield crusade…it lets BP (big pharma) off the hook for many sins…”

    He might well reformulate this idea to consider that what Wakefield did throughout his professional career, both in terms of his abject employment by, and dependence on, the drug industry, and then in his faking of research, is what has been a boon to big pharma.

    For years, Wakefield worked for Merck, who paid him well for his services. But, being incompetent, lazy, wrong and eventually dishonest, he failed to deliver the reports he promised, so they dumped him and cut off his money and travel perks (although his four-star, front-of-the-plane lifestyle was supported by numerous drug firms).

    So then he took up with the lawyers, who paid him even more lavishly, and he led thousands of parents down an agonising blind alley, in hopeless litigation they could never possibly win since it was based on fraudulent and incompetent science.

    When I realized, through purely outcome-neutral inquiry, that (irrespective of whether or not any vaccine may or may not cause any injury) the entire anti-vaccine agenda and evidence is founded on an utter pack of lies (many of which are apparently thought to be so slight that against the trumpeted evil of big pharma their perpetrators feel they needn’t be dwelt upon), I had a choice. Conceal them: take part in, or at least turn a blind eye to, a conspiracy that hurt children, and hurt many parents of autistic children. Or try to honestly report what I’d found.

    And yet, when I accomplished the latter, rather than dump Wakefield and try to clean up the mess his exposure created (as DAN! and Thoughtful House have done), Age of Autism and that crowd have more firmly hitched their wagon to this swaggering charlatan. Actually, I saw their book the other day. With regard to Wakefield, they’ve simply copied out what he’s told them. No mention of the four counts of dishonesty (including research fraud) found against him by a judicially-reviewable statutory inquiry, or the dozen counts of causing the abuse of developmentally-challenge children. In fact, nothing of the truth at all. Not a hint of an honest effort by Blaxill and Olmsted to find out what happened.

    So, yes, Stanley, the few drug industry people who I suspect follow this issue (and I personally know of none, and have never seen any industry statement, heard of any industry briefing, know of any industry conferences or lobbying over MMR, apart from their lawyers’ involvement in litigation) must be delighted with the rise and fall of Andrew Wakefield. But that was his doing, and that of the individuals with whom he has been involved.

    Who benefits most from us better understanding what he did, how he did it, and who helped him? Well, call me old fashioned, but I think that freedom is rooted in truth.

  48. Chris October 30, 2010 at 19:57 #

    Stanley Seigler:

    i have not read enough to know the truth…so still question whether/not wakefield is twains “mysterious stranger”…more sure BP is controlled by “screwtape”.

    It might help to read the lawyer/MMR story in Dr. Paul Offit’s Autism’s False Prophets.

    Thanks for sharing Brian Deer’s letter. I did not know that Wakefield had worked for Merck. I assume that will be revealed in future writings.

  49. Brian Deer October 31, 2010 at 09:39 #

    Chris,

    Your assumption may be correct. A key point to remember is that, when a researcher apparently comes up with an idea that may be contrary to the interests of a pharmaceutical product, the first thing the manufacturer does is hire the researcher – not least to get his results before they are potentially published. Not all researchers can be bought up in this way, however.

    I was also interested with Age of Autism’s claim that Wakefield spent his enormous legal earnings on his patent applications. Well, of course, what someone spends their money on is up to them. But this is one of at least three different versions he has given for what he did with the money. He also claims to have received a hundred grand less than a taxing judge, sitting in the High Court, ordered him to be paid (after reducing his claim from half a million pounds). I think I believe the judge.

    Also, while I’m here, Wakefield’s initial explanation (found to be false by the GMC panel, and proven false on the documentation) that he spent the first legal money (the £50K grant), not what went into his pocket (the £435K), on a “separate” study, is fascinating.

    Although his story is false (there was only one study, commissioned by the Legal Aid Board, sliced into two papers for the Lancet), the sheer mendacity of his account must surely be detectable by even the most naive Brandeis university zealot.

    If what Wakefield says is true – that there was no conflict of interest because he spent the money on a different study – then there would be no conflict of interest if a drug company gave a researcher on its products a million dollars which s/he then spent on a holiday home, or of ten grand for a golfing vacation in the Bahamas. The idea that money has to be spent on the specific subject matter of the contract for there to be a conflict of interest is so absurd that it beggars belief.

    That’s what gets me about Blaxill and Olmsted. It’s all there, in front of their eyes, and yet they turn away from it. This can only, in my opinion, now be deliberate. I think they have seen how popular he is with desperate young mothers (both in the autism conference ballrooms and bedrooms, they tell me) that they want some of that for their sales.

    • Sullivan October 31, 2010 at 18:32 #

      Brian Deer,

      as you well know, the question is not whether Mr. Wakefield had a conflict of interest. The question is how many conflicts of interest he had. Accepting money for research. Accepting money as an expert. His patent.

      He wrote the following to Prof. Walker-Smith on 3 February, 1997:

      “…it falls to me to make sure that their legal cases are presented in the best possible light. ”

      He knew that children in his study were pursuing legal action, and he knew he was working to help that effort. It isn’t as though that letter (which should be up in the entirety soon) is the only evidence.

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