Attorney for Prof. Walker-Smith: alleged link between MMR and autism utterly disproved

14 Feb

Prof. John Walker-Smith was a colleague of Andrew Wakefield, a co-author on the no-retracted 1998 Lancet paper and shared the same fate as Mr. Wakefield after the General Medical Council Hearings: he was struck off the medical register. Prof. Walker-Smith has appealed (Mr. Wakefield did not). A few news stories have come up about this appeal. In Doctor struck off over MMR controversy appeals against ruling, the Guardian notes:

Prof John Walker-Smith tells high court he was denied a fair hearing before he was struck off by the General Medical Council

Many are looking to this appeal for vindication of Mr. Wakefield and his theories on MMR being linked to and causal in autism. Prof. Walker-Smith’s attorney appears to have made a rather clear statement to the contrary:

Miller said it had been important that the disciplinary panel “separate out research from the clinical medicine – but that was a task that appeared to be beyond them”.

The judge asked Miller whether the alleged link between MMR and the vaccine “has now been utterly disproved” in the opinion of “respectable medical opinion”.

Miller said that was “exactly” the position.

edit to add:

I took the statement “The judge asked Miller whether the alleged link between MMR and the vaccine “has now been utterly disproved” ” to be a mistaken report by the Guardian because, as written, it does not make sense. My own interpretation was that the actual question was whether the MMR and *autism* was the point. However, I should have made that assumption very clear in the above piece and I apologize for that. I have written the paper as well as some other people who might be able to clarify the statement.

127 Responses to “Attorney for Prof. Walker-Smith: alleged link between MMR and autism utterly disproved”

  1. Science Mom February 16, 2012 at 13:12 #

    Patricia, I see that you cannot, as a genuine person would, acknowledge your error regarding your beliefs about Wakefield so you throw out a lame distraction instead.

  2. Patricia February 16, 2012 at 13:28 #

    Science mom
    You wish.

  3. MikeMa February 16, 2012 at 15:51 #

    Patricia,
    We all wish. Wakefield is a fraud. Walker-Smith may have been complicit or not. Regardless of the outcome of W-S’s legal battle, nothing can remove the taint from Wakefield. The evidence is too deep and pervasive.

  4. dt February 16, 2012 at 16:01 #

    Dr treg, you earlier said: “The MMR autism causation was excluded but one must remember at the time that the initial MMR was causing unacceptable meningo-encephalitis and the mumps component had to be changed.”

    I am curious as to why you think the aseptic meningitis caused by Urabe mumps was “unacceptable”? It is after all a pretty mild complication of mumps itself, occuring in up to 30% of all cases.

    How can the use of a vaccine to PREVENT mumps (and therefore prevent up to 3 kids in every 10 getting aseptic meningits) be unacceptable, just because it caused the same meningitis at a rate of around one in 11,000 vaccinated kids?

  5. Chris February 16, 2012 at 17:13 #

    I love how they try to rewrite history, thinking they have just discovered the issue with the Urabe mumps strain. Except it was resolved years before Wakefield even was aware of the MMR. Plus, because of Wakefield, parents had their kids vaccinated with a single mumps vaccine that used the Urabe strain.

    And neither Patricia nor Dr. Treg have come up with what evidence Wakefield used for that suggestion. An MMR which is very close to what the UK uses now, had been in use since 1971. There was at least twenty years of data that Wakefield could have used in his “research”, so what papers did he use to determine there was an issue? Where are the papers showing there was an increase in autism and “gut problems” in the USA dating back to 1971?

  6. Science Mom February 16, 2012 at 22:17 #

    “Parental observations can be helpful in determining factors for diagnosing uncomplicated cases or factor in for pursuing specialists for complicated cases.”

    “You have a very strange notion for the actual value of parental reporting, which is often highly flawed and easily manipulated.”

    I do not comprehend what you are inferring.

    Why not? You did say this after all:

    However, it is interesting that in Children`s Medicine we are told to listen to the mother in particular, but in this scenario it seems that that advice is not upheld.

    It’s really straight forward. You are implying that we should all just take an unsupported statement as fact because it appears to be uttered by a mother.

    As a scientist I don`t believe anything unless I have evaluated it myself.

    And yet you make silly statements as above and try to psychoanalyse me below.

    Perhaps autism arouses more visceral responses than depression, anxiety , schizophrenia or dependency. I dont know.

    No, blatant stupidity and intentional deception do.

    I feel that your entry seems to be very angry.

    You mistake confident bluntness with anger? Analyse that.

    I did not wish to seem pompous. I read about neuro-inflammation in autism from the Johns Hopkins Neuroimmunopathological Laboratory site.
    http://www.neuro.jhmi.edu/neur…..m_faqs.htm

    And an example of how a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Making statements of fact with no basis is pompous.

    • Sullivan February 17, 2012 at 01:38 #

      I did not wish to seem pompous. I read about neuro-inflammation in autism from the Johns Hopkins Neuroimmunopathological Laboratory site.

      When it comes to the question of whether this work supports the notion that the MMR vaccine causes autism, I would suggest one read the expert report that Dr. Zimmerman produced for the Omnibus Autism Proceeding. As one of the researchers in neuro-inflammation at Hopkins, I assume you will consider his opinion highly relevant:

      There is no scientific basis for a connection between measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine or mercury (Hg) intoxication and autism. Despite well intentioned and thoughtful hypotheses and widespread beliefs about apparent connections with autism and regression, there is no sound evidence to support a causative relationship with exposure to both, or either, MMR and/or Hg.

  7. dr treg February 17, 2012 at 01:22 #

    Your denial of the importance of listening to mother`s observations and the genetic/neuro-inflammatory research findings in autism is fascinating.

    • Sullivan February 17, 2012 at 01:42 #

      Your denial of the importance of listening to mother`s observations and the genetic/neuro-inflammatory research findings in autism is fascinating.

      Ironic that you were writing that sentence while I was writing my last comment. What is your view after reading the expert report from Dr. Zimmerman?

      Are you willing to accept the opinion of one of the researchers in the Hopkins neuro-inflammation/autism group?

    • Sullivan February 17, 2012 at 01:45 #

      “Your denial of the importance of listening to mother`s observations ”

      Ironically, you are ignoring a mother’s observations here. I am assuming that you (Dr. Treg) are *not* a mother, while I am assume (I think safely) that “Science Mom” *is* a mother.

  8. dr treg February 17, 2012 at 02:01 #

    I agree with Dr Zimmerman who stated:
    “There is no sound evidence to support a causative relationship with exposure to both, or either, MMR and/or Hg.”

    I am uninterested re your assumptions about who “Science Mom” is, but whoever they are, they certainly make one realise how careful you have to be with what you post on this site. Not for the squeamish.

    • Sullivan February 17, 2012 at 02:20 #

      dr treg,

      “I am uninterested re your assumptions about who “Science Mom” is, ”

      Nice dodge. There is hypocrisy at play where you get to pick which mothers we listen to. Science *Mom* is very direct, to be sure. She can also back up what she has to say. I have not seen this as much from you.

  9. Chris February 17, 2012 at 07:19 #

    Much earlier Dr. Treg wrote:

    The MMR autism causation was excluded but one must remember at the time that the initial MMR was causing unacceptable meningo-encephalitis and the mumps component had to be changed.

    I quoted this bit from you earlier asking you how this was an issue in 1998 when the UK had rectified it in 1992. But you seem to have forgotten.

    You also seemed to have ignored that I have mentioned that an MMR vaccine was introduced in the USA in 1971. That was truly the “initial vaccine.” It did not, nor does it now have issues with unacceptable meningo-encephalitis. The USA version had, and still has the Jeryl Lynn mumps strain, the one that has been used in the UK since 1992. So why was this an issue in 1998?

    I am still waiting for you to address those questions. Plus, I really want to know what evidence Wakefield was using to suggest parents only have their children vaccinated with single vaccines. A statement that meant the illegal importation of a mumps vaccine using the dreaded Urabe strain. Why have you ignored that?

    And since a version of the MMR with the Jeryl Lynn mumps strain had been used in the USA since 1971, what evidence is there that particular vaccine caused autism and gut problems? Since the MMR vaccine used today is very similar to that vaccine, surely that would be important.

  10. Patricia February 17, 2012 at 09:56 #

    http://news.uk.msn.com/mmr-row-doctor-decision-fair

    Yesterday in the High Court. Now the Judge is confused. Not surprisingly, since the new counsel for the GMC is stating that “despite inadequate reasons being given at the GMC hearing , their decision over Prof Walker Smith was not wrong”…
    Excuse me?
    Say that again please?

    Interesting.

  11. Patricia February 17, 2012 at 11:10 #

    Sullivan

    Science Mom is “direct”? Isn´t that a euphamism for “likes to insult people who don´t agree with her….opinions?” And they are only opinions you know.
    Please don´t start believing that this blog is a Court of Law. And that all who post on her have all the facts of this case at their disposal. Now that would be unintelligent wouldn´t it.

  12. Julian Frost February 17, 2012 at 12:10 #

    @Patricia:

    despite inadequate reasons being given at the GMC hearing , their decision over Prof Walker Smith was not wrong.

    This isn’t quite the “gotcha!!” you seem to think it is. “Inadequate reasons being given” may simply mean the GMC Hearing failed to clearly explain how the verdict against John Walker Smith was reached.

  13. Patricia February 17, 2012 at 12:26 #

    Julian

    I never said Gotcha. Never implied it either. I am as confused as anyone else. I do however find it odd.
    If the GMC failed to clearly explain to anyone how their decision was reached then it needs to be brought into the Appeal Court and discovered and clarified.

  14. Angela Kennedy February 17, 2012 at 12:30 #

    Erm – “The judge asked Miller whether the alleged link between MMR and the vaccine “has now been utterly disproved” in the opinion of “respectable medical opinion”.

    Miller said that was “exactly” the position.

    Asked whether that was also the case in relation to autism and some types of bowel disorder, Miller said: “There are still doubters and believers on that.”

    Are we to believe the Judge was saying the link between the MMR vaccine and the vaccine (what?) has now been ‘utterly disproved’?

    HUH?

    Any more accurate quotations around on what was actually said?

  15. Patricia February 17, 2012 at 13:00 #

    Angela note the use of the word “respectable”. I am quite sure the Judge himself knows there are many in the medical world who would disagree. Respectable or otherwise. This is the High Court of the UK. This is the respectable face of the medical establishment Angela.

  16. DT February 17, 2012 at 14:10 #

    “On the fourth day of his challenge, the judge said that the case had been “complex and difficult from the start – it greatly troubles me”.”

    Where does it say the judge is “confused”, Patricia?

  17. Science Mom February 17, 2012 at 14:24 #

    Your denial of the importance of listening to mother`s observations and the genetic/neuro-inflammatory research findings in autism is fascinating.

    I would be rather disappointed if my paediatrician let me diagnose my children based upon my observations. I said that parental reporting can be helpful but it can also be biased and flawed. A physician will filter what is germane, not simply accept a parental diagnosis of cause and effect as you seem to be implying.

  18. dt February 17, 2012 at 14:28 #

    “The professor is being supported by the parents of many children with autism and bowel disease seen by him at the Royal Free Hospital, north London, up to his retirement in 2001. They say one consequence of the GMC’s decision is that families now face serious difficulties in finding NHS treatment for autistic children with bowel disease.”

    No, that cannot be right. Walker Smith retired many years before his GMC case, so the families cannot imply that they cannot get treatment for their children with bowel disease because they can no longer be seen by him.

    If they mean that it is difficult for autistic children to get bowel disease investigated, that might be the case, but it still has nothing whatsoever to do with the GMC action against Walker Smith.

    I think the parents are using a form of special pleading here to try and highlight the plight of their children and falsely link it with this particular case, when it has nothing to do with it.

    Alternatively, should the appeal succeed and Walker Smith be re-instated on the medical register, this will have zero relvance for the investigation of bowel disease in autism. So why ramp it up as an issue, other than as some form of emotional blackmail – the “why won’t someone think of the children” fallacy.

  19. Science Mom February 17, 2012 at 14:34 #

    Science Mom is “direct”? Isn´t that a euphamism for “likes to insult people who don´t agree with her….opinions?” And they are only opinions you know.

    You made a claim that Wakefield never stated he said MMR caused autism, you were presented with abundant evidence to the contrary and instead of admitting your error, you shifted the goalposts. This is dishonest and deserves to be called out.

    Please don´t start believing that this blog is a Court of Law. And that all who post on her have all the facts of this case at their disposal. Now that would be unintelligent wouldn´t it.

    You do like strawman arguments don’t you. We do have the facts of the GMC case and numerous other sources at our disposal and have limited commentary to those. It is you that seems to believe that Walker-Smith has been falsely proved guilty of multiple ethics violations when the appeal is not even decided.

  20. dt February 17, 2012 at 15:02 #

    I see the basis for the appeal apears to be that the Lancet children DID have clinical indications for colonoscopy (and lumbar punctures too I suppose they will say) and they were not performed for research purposes. This would stand in clear contradiction of the GMC findings on many of the cases.

    I note some of the cases had little in the way of significant bowel symptoms – I believe one case was actually discharged by Walker Smith from clinic, but following persuasion by Wakefield, the child was recalled out of the blue and admitted for investigations. I’d like to see how his legal team argue that it was WS who thought the child needed these invasive tests if he himself had discharged the child from follow-up.

    Also, many kids had blood work done, which included markers of inflammation such as the C reactive protein (CRP, a prime indicator of bowel inflammation). We know that those without a raised CRP are unlikely to have inflammation, and that colonoscopy in these children is not indicated.

    How do we know this? Here are details from a paper:

    “We have found the C reactive protein to be the most sensitive inflammatory indicator at diagnosis [of imlammatory bowel disease].”

    “Thus normal investigations [CRP] may be of use in avoiding total colonoscopy in patients with functional abdominal pain. This is even more important in children.”

    “We suggest that these simple tests [ie CRP] should be performed early in all children with chronic gastrointestinal symptoms. Abnormalities suggest the need for early referral, whereas normal investigations and no history of rectal bleeding make chronic inflammatory bowel disease unlikely. This policy should lead to swifter diagnosis in children with inflammatory bowel disease and may spare many others invasive investigations.”

    I wonder which eminent paediatric gastroenterologist published this paper saying that these tests could spare children “invasive investigations” [ie colonoscopy]?

    Oh, I see it was someone called Walker Smith…… I wonder who he might be?

    Click to access archdisch00620-0084.pdf

  21. Patricia February 17, 2012 at 15:23 #

    Walker Smith? Who is he? Well he is only one of the world´s most eminent paediatric gastroenterologists. But of course you know far more than he does.

  22. Patricia February 17, 2012 at 15:29 #

    DT You mean he is not confused? Ooooh you are clever.

  23. Angela Kennedy February 17, 2012 at 15:46 #

    Patricia – but more importantly – others including who posted this blog entry:

    Look carefully at the section of the Guardian report I highlighted.

    The Judge is alleged to have said words to the effect that the link between MMR vaccine and another vaccine has been utterly disproved! A QC has allegedly agreed.

    So there is NO link between two types of vaccine?!?!?!?!?!!!

    The Guardian report is gobbledegook. From it we cannot know WHAT has been, in the OPINION of some people, ‘utterly disproved’. From this piece of gobbledegook, people have been filling in the gap in linguistic logic with their own preconceptions.

    WHAT was actually said? Unless there is a clear and accurate quotation somewhere else, we can’t know.

  24. Patricia February 17, 2012 at 19:04 #

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/feb/13/doctor-struck-off-mmr-appeals?INTCMP=SRCH

    …It´s between the MMR and autism Angela. Chinese whispers got to you I suspect.

  25. Patricia February 17, 2012 at 19:08 #

    Hang on – Angela is quite CORRECT – in the Guardian link it is gobbldegook last time I looked it said autism and the MMR. Now it says vaccine and the MMR. Am wondering if it is a typo. I´ll check eleswhere.

  26. Chris February 17, 2012 at 19:31 #

    It looks like a typo.

    But the question still remains, one that no one will answer: which MMR vaccine?

    One with the Urabe or Jeryl Lynn mumps strains, or the perhaps the Schwartz or Enders-Edmonston measles strains?

  27. Patricia February 17, 2012 at 19:32 #

    No way of knowing what that Judge said. Angela and Century are absolutely right, it doesn´t make any sense whatsoever. I assumed (mea culpa one should never assume) in one of my comments that he was linking MMR and autism, which would have made some sense. He wasn´t, not according to the Guardian that is, which could have made an error. So, I give up. Anyone else find another report of that quote? Or does anyone else have any idea what the Judge meant?

  28. dt February 17, 2012 at 19:51 #

    patricia said:

    “Walker Smith? Who is he? Well he is only one of the world´s most eminent paediatric gastroenterologists. But of course you know far more than he does.”

    You miss my point. If one of the world’s most eminent paediatric gastroenterologists (WS) writes a peer-reviewed scientific paper categorically stating that children without raised markers of inflammation such as CRP have little likelihood of having inflammatory bowel disease and should be “spared invasive investigations” such as colonoscopy, then why would he explicitly go against his own considered opinion and recommendations when it came to some of the Lancet children, and advise that children did require these investigations?

    It is not me saying I know better than the research and clinical teams at the Royal Free, it is Walker Smith himself who is saying he knows better.

    Hung by his own petard, I would say.

    Answer me this: Why did he expressly ignore his own expert opinion?

  29. Angela Kennedy February 17, 2012 at 20:07 #

    I’ve written to the Guardian about this as below. This matters because the other sentence about bowel disorder and autism mean the actual statement about SOMETHING being allegedly ‘utterly disproved’ really does need clarifying – though I can see why people would prefer to make arbitrary speculations 😦

    Dear Madam or Sir,

    I refer to the article in Monday’s Guardian “Doctor struck off over MMR controversy appeals against ruling”:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/feb/13/doctor-struck-off-mmr-appeals?fb=native&CMP=FBCNETTXT9038

    The article at one points reads:

    “The judge asked Miller whether the alleged link between MMR and the vaccine “has now been utterly disproved” in the opinion of “respectable medical opinion”.

    Miller said that was “exactly” the position.

    Asked whether that was also the case in relation to autism and some types of bowel disorder, Miller said: “There are still doubters and believers on that.”

    MMR is a vaccine. Did the judge actually say that a link between one named vaccine and another (un-named but called ‘the) vaccine has been ‘utterly disproved’? And did Walker-Smith’s QC say that was ‘exactly’ the position?

    It is like saying the link between a named dog (let’s call her Daisy) and another, un-named (but called ‘the’) dog, had been ‘utterly disproved’.

    Either the journalist has misquoted the judge and QC, in which case you should correct, or the judge and QC made these mistakes in court, in which case you should clarify. There may even be another explanation I have not thought of.

    It makes a difference because Guardian Readers cannot know confidently what has been allegedly ‘utterly disproved’, or how these relate to what might have been said, by the judge and the QC, about autism and bowel disorder (as mentioned above).

    There is already so much confusion and misinformation (not to mention ideology) inherent in the various discourses around the MMR vaccine. I believe it is the Guardian’s duty to establish the correct quotes so as not to add to this woeful quagmire.

    Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require more information/clarification.

    • Sullivan February 17, 2012 at 20:22 #

      Angela Kennedy,

      I also wrote the Guardian asking for clarification. Also a few other people whom I believe might be able to explain what was actually said.

      “I wasn´t there at his side when he undertook any treatments of any child at any Hospital and I have little or no faith in the veracity of much of what has been reported in the media or even at the GMC hearing.’

      “even at the GMC hearing”?

      Even what was said by Prof. Walker-Smith, Mr. Wakefield, and others who were active in the research?

  30. Patricia February 17, 2012 at 20:08 #

    How can I possibly answer for or on behalf of Prof Walker? How can I possibly know what decisions he took,or why? I wasn´t there at his side when he undertook any treatments of any child at any Hospital and I have little or no faith in the veracity of much of what has been reported in the media or even at the GMC hearing.

    Let him please speak for himself at this proper High Court of Appeal?

  31. Patricia February 17, 2012 at 20:10 #

    Angela an excellent letter. Well done. I also just sent an email to the Guardian re this question.

  32. Patricia February 17, 2012 at 20:17 #

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/claire-mccarthy-md/unencumbered-by-facts-wha_b_1206137.html

    Interesting posts on the “inadequate reasons”.

  33. Patricia February 17, 2012 at 20:40 #

    Verbatim accounts yes of course. I was refering to reported hearsay. But still that doesn´t allow me to answer your question.

  34. Patricia February 17, 2012 at 21:35 #

    http://news.uk.msn.com/health/court-defers-judgment-on-mmr-appeal

    Today. The Court reserves judgement.

  35. Patricia February 17, 2012 at 21:38 #

    I presume it means to wait for more information before coming to a judgement.

  36. brian February 18, 2012 at 01:41 #

    GMC Fitness to Practice Hearing, Day 100:
    [Q] You did say that as you continued to see children with autism and bowel problems, the association with MMR “faded away” is the expression you used.
    [Dr. Walker-Smith] Yes.

    Dr. Walker-Smith was the senior author among the ten authors of the Lancet paper who retracted its interpretation years before the entire paper was formally retracted. The retracted “interpretation” was explicitly “the possibility of such a link [between the administration of MMR and the onset of autism]” . . . . Walker-Smith and his co-authors continued: “In view of this, we consider now is the appropriate time that we should together formally retract the interpretation placed upon these findings in the paper, according to precedent.”

  37. Patricia February 18, 2012 at 12:56 #

    Brian this is exactly what the “conflicting expert opinions” reference is all about. Walker Smith is a clinician and Wakefield is the research scientist. Are they not allowed to hold differing opinions? Wakefield says there could be a causal link between the MMR and gut inflammations and autism but that “more research needs to be done”. Walker Smith believes that particular theory is “fading”. So?? “Fading” doesn´t imply “vanished” to me. Who knows for sure who is right? The Jury is still out over this issue IMO. Expert opinions differ the whole world over. There is corroborating evidence of Wakefield´s theories coming in from all over the world. But there is still not enough consensus. So?? Why not keep an open mind? The first and foremost and the most vital ethic has been adhered to in this whole case NO HARM HAS BEEN DONE. Only to the profits of the pharma industry and to the Public Health credibility of the UK. And so what?! BUT NOT TO CHILDREN. Unless of course you believe the rank recesses of Brian Deer´s imagination. That is something for your own conscience to decide. Walker Smith has said over and over that these very sick children who were given colonospopies were treated thus for reasons of clinical need – and that the children were properly and routinely sedated during such procedures. Their parents witnessed this and agreed. This has been evidenced by the team that assisted him.

    What exactly is it about these two conflicting impressions from two very different experts that seems to cause you and your fellow supporters so much grief? Doesn´t the dynamics of different approaches, different hypotheses promote a healthy atmosphere in any research Institution? As long as all the ethical permissions etc were adhered to – which they were – despite protestations from some quarters to the contrary. As for the rest of the retractors on the team, well they were scared to hell of losing their jobs is my own “opinion”.

    So a dedicated research scientist (who cannot afford to appeal against the GMC in a High Court) goes it alone and, in his own words, knowingly lets his job “go down the toilet” in order to pursue what he genuinely still believes is a tragic mistake. i.e. vaccines which are designed to be “one size fits all”. I like this man. Wish there were more like him. His reputation is something that does matter to him and he has proved this by his recent actions.

    Is it all those insane and sinister lies about “uneccesary invasive procedures” taking place that still bugs you or is it Deer and Godlee´s wild accusations (now who is talking conspiracy theories?) that within the medical research Institutions in the UK, wholesale fraud and corruption is taking place and that these Hospitals are in dire need of a Government enquiry? The British Government so far are not convinced of Godlee´s scenario and seem in no hurry whatsoever to set up enquiries at her behest. Her letters to them have received short shrift.

    • Sullivan February 18, 2012 at 18:09 #

      “Walker Smith believes that particular theory is “fading”. So?? “Fading” doesn´t imply “vanished” to me. Who knows for sure who is right? ”

      Prof. Walker-Smith either accepts the idea that Wakefield’s MMR-autism hypothesis failed or he isn’t as good a researcher as people make him out to be. I am not judging my view of the facts in the matter on his opinion.

      “Walker Smith has said over and over that these very sick children who were given colonospopies were treated thus for reasons of clinical need ”

      The General Medical Council disagreed. Strongly. They based this on, amongst other things, 4 or 5 days of testimony from a gastroenterologist.

      “The first and foremost and the most vital ethic has been adhered to in this whole case NO HARM HAS BEEN DONE”

      Millions of dollars in research funding spent to chase down an idea put forth fraudulently? Man-years of researcher time which could have been applied to something valuable. Parents made to feel guilty about the harm they supposedly did to their children. Children and adults subjected to “therapies” with no evidence to suggest they might be helpful and with very real possibilities of adverse reactions.

      We have different definitions of “no harm has been done”.

      And this before we count the child mentioned above whose bowel was perforated multiple times at the Royal Free (by someone other than Walker-Smith). Before we consider the millions of pounds of taxpayer money spent in the UK chasing an idea that had no sound basis.

  38. MikeMa February 18, 2012 at 14:11 #

    Patricia,
    You are really a Wakefan.
    NO HARM DONE. Thousands sickened, some dead as a result of drop in vaccination.
    …rank recesses of Brina Deer’s imagination. He collected an presented evidence. He helped prove Wakefield was/is a fraud, your deluded conspiracy theories notwithstanding. Wakers hand picked 12 kids, falsified data, and maybe threw Walker-Smith and others under the bus to further his own financial gain.
    Yours is the truly rank mind.

  39. Patricia February 18, 2012 at 14:38 #

    Mikma and what is it with you and yours that feels compels to hurl personal insults and dramatic overexaggerations and untruths at opposing viewpoints? That is what I find highly suspect.

    • Sullivan February 18, 2012 at 18:01 #

      Mikma and what is it with you and yours that feels compels to hurl personal insults and dramatic overexaggerations and untruths at opposing viewpoints? That is what I find highly suspect.

      Can we assume from the above that you don’t read the Age of Autism blog? Or that you find them highly suspect?

  40. MikeMa February 18, 2012 at 14:51 #

    Patricia,
    You called the excellent investigative work done by Deer the result of a rank mind. I returned that.
    You claim no harm done. Do you not recognize the sharp and persistent rise in vaccine preventable disease a result of Wakefield’s fraud?
    You seem to reject the claim that Wakers was a fraud in spite of overwhelming evidence.
    I don’t give a damn what you find suspect only what you can prove.

  41. MikeMa February 18, 2012 at 14:52 #

    Patricia,
    If you cannot stand the hotter environment here in the real world, go back to that manicured, sterile sandbox at AoA.

  42. dt February 18, 2012 at 15:06 #

    @ Patricia – wow!

    There is corroborating evidence of Wakefield´s theories coming in from all over the world.

    Be specific. Wakefield’s theory was that measles virus in MMR was the acute trigger for bowel inflammation which then led to autism because it allowed certain neurotoxins to enter the circulation from the gut.

    Now please, please point us to a single study which has corroborated this. I’ll donate $1000 to Age of Autism if you can.

    There are plenty of papers showing autistic kids get bowel problems. That’s hardly news or unique, and it is disingenuous for Wakefans to point to these quite irrelevant studies as “corroborating his theories”.

    NO HARM HAS BEEN DONE. Only to the profits of the pharma industry and to the Public Health credibility of the UK. And so what?! BUT NOT TO CHILDREN.

    The issue of harm to all the kids dead or damaged worldwide because of reductions in vaccination rates has been mentioned. Wake up and smell the coffee, would you?

    We also know that having invasive procedures such as colonoscopy and bowel biopsies and lumbar punctures are risky … they have complication rates way in excess of those ever seen with any vaccine. One of the Royal Free children, Jack Piper, suffered multiple bowel perforations, nearly died and spent 3 months in intensive care following one of the colonoscopies in Wakefield’s unit. We have heard from testimony that some of the Lancet children were so resistant to having things like blood tests done they had to be physically restrained by 3 adults. How do you think those kids felt when having long pipes poked up their backsides to bite out pieces of bowel, or having needles stuck into their spines? Even if anesthetised, do you think that comes without risk of harm?

    I never cease to be amazed that people who supposedly care so deeply about the health and welfare of children that they cannot countenance the tiny risk of a one in a million anaphylaxis reaction from a vaccine, or a one in 10 thousand risk of aseptic meningits can so cavalierly dismiss the use of invasive, unnecessary tests like colonoscopic biopsy which carry mortalities several orders of magnitude in excess of those linked to any vaccine.

    Walker Smith has said over and over that these very sick children who were given colonospopies were treated thus for reasons of clinical need – and that the children were properly and routinely sedated during such procedures. Their parents witnessed this and agreed. This has been evidenced by the team that assisted him.

    Are you deaf as well as blind? Walker Smith has published guidelines dictating the circumstances when invasive colonoscopy is needed, and specified that those without blood indicators of inflammation (raised CRP) should be spared the risks of these invasive procedures.

    Many of the Lancet 12 did not have raised inflammatory markers. They had the procedures because Wakefield twisted a few arms. One child had been discharged from follow-up by WS, only for Wakefield to arrange 6 months later for the child to come in for colonoscopy. One child had this written in his notes by WS: “Not for MRI or LP”, yet the tests were done, overuling his advice.
    The GMC detail each and every case where there was NO clinical indication for LP or colonoscopy, yet they were done. Why?

    As long as all the ethical permissions etc were adhered to – which they were – despite protestations from some quarters to the contrary.

    I think you need to look at the detail of the GMC findings again. Pretending that there were no violations of protocols or ethics might make you feel good inside, but it just ain’t so.

    As for the rest of the retractors on the team, well they were scared to hell of losing their jobs is my own “opinion”.

    Walker Smith was one of the “retractors”, among other distinguished names, who were horrified when they heard about Wakefield’s breaches of ethics and conflicts of interest. I hope you aren’t accusing WS of acting the way he did because he was scared of losing his job?

    Is it all those insane and sinister lies about “uneccesary invasive procedures” taking place that still bugs you

    Vide supra. I assume you are suggesting that every child who has autism has a clinical needs for a lumbar puncture? And that every autistic child with constipation or bowel problems has a clinical need for colonoscopy? Let’s see, I make it one boy in 66 that has autism….. I guess that means one boy in 66 needs an LP and since around half of autistic kids have bowel problems then 1 in 130 need colonoscopy. You do agree, I assume.

  43. Patricia February 18, 2012 at 16:10 #

    DT You know as well as I do that there are other replications of Wakefield´s work. This link is one of many. And I donn´t beieve for a moment that it will satisfy you enough to donate 1000 dollars to AoA. I shan´t hold my breath.
    http://abbykorinnelee.hubpages.com/hub/Dr-Andrew-Wakefield-Interviews-with-the-Recently-Accused-Doctor-of-Misrepresenting-Study-Findings.

    It was myself that raised the issue of “dead or damaged children as a result of the reduction in vaccine rates”. Ho hum, statistics can do anything you want them to, didn´t you know that? It´s the pharma industry´s favourite alarmist propaganda tool.

    Of course colonoscopies are risky. All surgery or invasive treatment is risky. Do you really believe Walker Smith was blissfully unaware of this fact and he just went ahead blithely doing what he does the best in the world, for fun???

    As for Walker Smith being “horrified” (exaggeration again) by Wakefield´s so called breaches of protocol, these are all false and have now been proved to be so. The retractors, including Walker Smith were unhappy with the interpretation being given to the Paper, not with the actual findings. See link above if you need it.

    And now I have a life to get on with.

    • Sullivan February 18, 2012 at 18:39 #

      DT You know as well as I do that there are other replications of Wakefield´s work.

      Let’s leave aside the Sally Beck story from years ago which seems to magically pop again every month or so. It refers to an IMFAR abstract for a study which was never published (even though the author of that study is now an editor for the “journal” autism insights.)

      Where are the papers that show
      a) MMR administration precedes GI complaints and autistic regression in a significant fraction of cases?
      a1) that autism symptoms for children with GI complaints occur within 2 weeks of MMR administration (as reported in the Lancet)
      b) the presence of measles virus in tissue samples from the vast majority of autistic children with GI complaints (as in Uhlman et al.)
      c) the presence of “ileal nodular hyperplasia” in the majority of autistic children with GI comlaints.
      d) the existence of a medical entity “autistic enterocolitis”

      “Do you really believe Walker Smith was blissfully unaware of this fact and he just went ahead blithely doing what he does the best in the world, for fun???”

      Did anyone ever make that assertion? No. Prof Walker-Smith was well aware of the fact that these were “high risk” procedures.

      A major question (which the GMC answered) was whether these procedures were clinically indicated for all the children. The GMC ruled that they were not.

  44. brian February 18, 2012 at 17:25 #

    Patricia, there has been no replication of Wakefield’s preliminary results suggesting that receipt of MMR was associated with the onset of both bowel problems and ASD. Wakefield had the opportunity to replicate and extend the findings of what Walker-Smith termed a “pilot” study when the Royal Free, which after all employed Wakefield full-time as a researcher, offered him the time, salary, and support necessary to attempt to replicate his work in a larger study of 150 children using his already-assembled team, but Wakefield refused.

    The article you linked is a yet another recycled reference to preliminary work presented as an abstract at the 2006 IMFAR. Not surprisingly, it remains unpublished almost six years later since another study presented at that same meeting (and published soon thereafter) demonstrated that the assay produced uniformly false-positive results by reacting with human DNA rather than with measles virus RNA. Moreover, the abstract did not address the timing of the onset of either ASD or bowel problems relative to the receipt of MMR, so as written it was at most an attempt to replicate some of Wakefield’s other discredited work rather than the work reported in the retracted Lancet article, and the lead author of that abstract noted that “We haven’t done anything to demonstrate that the measles virus is causing autism or even causing bowel disease.”

    Honestly, the people who make the ridiculous claim that Wakefied’s preliminary results that temporally linked MMR with the onset of ASD and bowel problems have been replicated don’t understand what it means to replicate a scientific study. The authors of the only real attempt to replicate Wakefield’s preliminary result concluded: “The work reported here eliminates the remaining support for the hypothesis that autism with GI complaints is related to MMR vaccine exposure. We found no relationship between the timing of MMR vaccs Wakefield used to allegedly detect measles virus in the biopsy samples of children with ASD turned out to detect a laboratory DNA contaminant and human DNA rather than specifically measles virus RNA. ine and the onset of either GI complaints or autism.” [PLoS One. 2008 Sep 4;3(9):e3140]

  45. Denice Walter February 18, 2012 at 17:27 #

    Purely as an observer, it’s intriguing that AJW’s supporters now rally around W-S: do they suppose that if the latter is exonerated it will somehow illustrate the GMC’s *error* about AJW? As if their situations were interchangeable and their respective levels of participation in the project were equivalent? Will all the other facts that were uncovered dissolve into thin air? Do they seriously believe that if W-S prevails AJW’s former status will be miraculously restored? Or that a further investigation into the entire affair will spontaneously materialise? It seems too much like an example of contagious magic to me. Supporters need to take a giant step back and look at the whole picture rather than obsessing over details, then re-think it through again. ( Hint: Andy didn’t appeal).

    The continuing saga of AJW is truly a field day for psychologists. Like manna from heaven.

  46. brian February 18, 2012 at 17:35 #

    The final line in the third paragraph of my post above should have read:

    “The work reported here eliminates the remaining support for the hypothesis that autism with GI complaints is related to MMR vaccine exposure. We found no relationship between the timing of MMR vaccine and the onset of either GI complaints or autism.” [PLoS One. 2008 Sep 4;3(9):e3140]

  47. MikeMa February 18, 2012 at 17:38 #

    Patricia says “And now I have a life to get on with.”

    I doubt that. You have tried to defend a fraud and made that an important part of your life. Too bad.

  48. Chris February 18, 2012 at 18:19 #

    Patricia:

    The first and foremost and the most vital ethic has been adhered to in this whole case NO HARM HAS BEEN DONE.

    So this is not really happening: European countries must take action now to prevent continued measles outbreaks in 2012? You don’t think hospitalizations and actual deaths are harmful:

    he WHO’s newest measles summary in the Weekly Epidemiological Record reports more than 26,000 cases of measles in 36 European countries from January-October 2011, with more than 14,000 of those in France. Despite strong health systems, Western European countries have reported 83% of these cases. These outbreaks have caused nine deaths, including six in France, and 7288 hospitalizations.

    Really, Patricia? How is the above an exaggeration? Or untrue? Have you ever had a child in the hospital? It is not a happy fun time trip to the playground. I know this from a bit too much experience.

  49. lilady February 18, 2012 at 20:04 #

    As I stated in a prior post, no matter if or when W-S has his license restored, it will have no impact on the decision by the GMC to strike Wakefield from the register. Wakefield had an opportunity to defend himself during the hearing…and he didn’t. Wakefield had the opportunity to appeal the GMC decision…and he didn’t. Wakefield commenced a lawsuit against Brian Deer for defamation, then discontinued it and was ordered to pay Deer’s legal costs. Why?

    Wakefield also had the funds (money provided to him for “expert witness” testimony and the huge salary he was paid as Executive Director of Thoughtful House) to mount a defense during the GMC hearing, to appeal the findings of the GMC and to continue his defamation lawsuit against Deer.

    We are not discussing an indigent defendant or an indigent plaintiff in these actions. The issue here is Wakefield’s “setting up” the plaintiffs’ cases against vaccine manufacturers, using and egregiously abusing his patients as his guinea pigs, subjecting those children to painful, invasive and not-medically-indicated colonoscopies and LPs and violating the standards of care for these defenseless children.

    What happened to all the tissue specimens and the pathology reports that “might have” exonerated Wakefield and Walker-Smith?

    Perhaps the most (unintentionally) hilarious aspect of the Wakefield saga is the lawsuit he instituted in Texas, against Deer, Fiona Godlee and the BMJ. Adding to the hilarity is the support that Wakefield has garnered from Age of Autism for this frivolous lawsuit.

    “And now I have a life to get on with.” Presumably Patricia has donated to the “Wakefield Justice Fund” and will be attending the fundraiser to be held in California, next month.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Immunisations, really necessary??! - Page 10 - February 16, 2012

    […] is if the initial trial was fair and questioning the link between autism and bowel disorders. Autism Blog – Attorney for Prof. Walker-Smith: alleged link between MMR and autism utterly disproved… Originally Posted by Georgia M(10) More studies. I think they might be […]

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