For the first time in history!

29 Oct

Here’s one of those statements that seem dramatic until one puts it into historical context:

For the first time in history, a biologically plausible mechanism of action has been discovered linking a vaccine to a serious adverse event.

Who wrote that? Someone from a group calling itself “SaneVax”. And repeated by none other than Dan Olmsted, proprietor of the Age of Autism blog. Yes, a man who has for years promoted the (failed) idea that mercury in vaccines caused an epidemic of autism is repeating the claim that ” For the first time in history, a biologically plausible mechanism of action has been discovered linking a vaccine to a serious adverse event.” The same Dan Olmsted who has offered up support for Andrew Wakefield and his failed claims that the MMR vaccine also caused a rise in autism rates.

Begs the question of why Mr. Olmsted has put so much time and effort into ideas like mercury and the MMR if they had no biologically plausible mechanism.

Of course no one believes Mr. Olmsted has changed his mind. It’s fairly clear this is just sloppy writing by “SaneVax” and some quick copy-and-paste work by Mr. Olmsted (sure he cited the source but did he read it?) . It would be amusing if the thimerosal and MMR ideas didn’t cause (and didn’t continue to cause) harm both within the autism communities and the general population.

For the record, this claimed “first biologically plausible mechanism” is from a paper by Prof. Shaw. His paper proposing a link between aluminum in vaccines and autism was very poor. Add this to the lack of relavence to autism andI see little point in putting much time into this new (gardasil) paper.

Also for the record and more historical context:

There were reactions to multi dose vaccines in the pre preservative era. The biologically plausible mechanism there was the growth of bacteria introduced into the vial by the needle.

There were reactions to the early polio vaccine produced by Cutter Laboratories. The biologically plausible mechanism there was the injection of live polio virus instead of the inactivated virus that was supposed to be used.

Similarly, the live virus in the oral polio vaccine  can occasionally cause paralysis. The OPV is no longer used in the U. S. after the efforts of a true vaccine safety advocate.

It probably seems strange but it is these last examples that strike me then most sad. Sure, they forgot their own claims that vaccines cause autism. But these other examples are very real, demonstrated vaccine reactions with clear biological mechanisms. But I am being naive. I am expecting a discussion of facts rather than a public relations and political commentary.

Edit to add: I’m not the first to notice this sloppy writing.

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6 Responses to “For the first time in history!”

  1. lilady October 29, 2012 at 05:54 #

    One of the Canary Party trolls that cruises the Huffington Post brought up that ridiculous “study” and Olmsted’s commentary…

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-raeburn/chicago-suntimes-signs-je_b_2003145.html

    Here’s my reply to that comment:

    You must be joking by posting an opinion piece by Dan Olmsted about Gardisil vaccine.

    Olmsted is an editor of the anti-vaccine blog Age of Autism. The Canary party is the political arm of Age of Autism and is loaded with anti-vaccine propaganda and other *Big Government* and * Big Phama* conspiracies.

    Why hasn’t Olmsted blogged about the ongoing post-licensing monitoring of the safety of Gardisil vaccine?

    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/vaccines/HPV/Index.html

  2. Science Mom October 29, 2012 at 11:18 #

    Did you see the “journal” Shaw elected to publish his latest drivel in? http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2012/10/25/leaving-on-a-jet-plane-csicon-and-quackademic-medicine-plus-random-blather/

    It’s vanity press at its finest and a testament to the quality of the work Shaw produces. I do like how Becky Fisher challenges them to put their revelation where their mouths are and tell Wakefield to sod off; he was wrong (although not that euphamistically).

  3. brian October 29, 2012 at 14:20 #

    It’s amazing that that paper was published, since because NO control samples were studied it’s simply impossible to know if under their reaction conditions the antibody would react with tissue from individuals who had never been exposed to the the Gardasil vaccine. Without the controls, their result is meaningless.

    BTW, Wakefield claimed that a monoclonal antibody showed measles virus in the guts of people with Chrone’s disease, but careful work by other scientists showed that the antibody that Wakefield used reacted with a human protein.

    • Chris October 29, 2012 at 14:50 #

      The reason that it was published is that Shaw paid them. That is how a vanity journal works. Go to the link by Science Mom and read about the “Stonehenge” paper published by the same company.

  4. Brian Deer October 29, 2012 at 17:54 #

    Yes, I noticed that too. In about two nanoseconds of the page appearing in front of my eyes.

    But you have to remember that Mr Olmsted knows next to nothing about vaccines, medicine, or in fact anything else of relevance, as he reveals in what you have highlighted.

    This guy was a desk editor for the news agency of Sung Myung Moon, who you may recall was jailed for fraud. He tried writing columns, claiming that mercury causing autism was the story of a lifetime, but found that nobody was buying the columns, and now nobody with an IQ greater than their wastband thinks that autism is caused by mercury.

    I genuinely think he just does not understand the meaning of the words “biologically plausible mechanism”, much less grasp their significance with regard to vaccine safety and, most particularly, vaccine litigation.

    I wonder if Theresa Cedillo will write in complaining that Mr Olmsted has just noticed (correctly) that she didn’t have a case?
    It

  5. stanley seigler November 5, 2012 at 18:14 #

    to LBRB, OK to to delete if not appropiate

    FYI
    i couldn’t find an appropriate LBRB thread so posted following here as it is ‘a first’ too…and believe it needed to be shared to emphasize the potential today’s technology and thinking…

    the following:

    In one village, this leader turned out to be a partly-disabled child: Although he had never been a dominant personality before, he was a natural explorer, so became the teacher…Of course, the implications of this experiment, if validated, go much further.

    COMMENT
    CNN, Fareed Zakaria had a clip on his 4nov12 GPS program…cant find clip on internet…
    iPads in Ethiopia
    http://www.diretube.com/articles/read-ipads-in-ethiopia_1982.html
    Published: Oct 10, 2012 by lideFiled under: Ethiopian NewsViews: 2,620 Tags: Ethiopia, iPads

    Two MIT researchers, Nicholas Negroponte and Matt Keller, have been conducting an experiment with children in Ethiopia that is so breathtaking that news about it has reverberated around the world. (We thank Gillian Tett from the Financial Times for bringing news about this experiment to her readers in the FT).

    In her words:
    “Six months ago, they dropped dozens of boxed iPads into two extremely remote villages in Ethiopia, where the population was completely illiterate, dirt poor and had no prior exposure to electronics.

    They did not leave any instructions, aside from telling the village elders that the iPads were designed for kids aged four to 11. They also showed one adult how to charge the iPads with a solar-powered device. Then the researchers vanished and monitored what happened next by making occasional visits and tracking the behaviour of the children via Sim cards, USB sticks and cameras installed in the iPads.

    “The results, which will be unveiled in Boston later this month, are thought-provoking, particularly for anyone involved in the education business. Within minutes of the iPads landing among the mud huts, the kids had unpacked the boxes and worked out how to turn them on.

    “Then, in both villages, activity coalesced around a couple of child leaders, who made the mental leap to explore those tablets and taught the others what to do. In one village, this leader turned out to be a partly-disabled child: Although he had never been a dominant personality before, he was a natural explorer, so became the teacher.

    “The discovery process then became intense. When the children used the iPads, they did not behave like Western adults might, namely sitting with a machine each on their laps in isolation. Instead they huddled together, touching and watching each other’s machines, constantly swapping knowledge. Within days, they were using the pre-installed apps, with games, movies and educational lessons. After a couple of months, some were singing the American “alphabet song” and recognising letters (at the request of the Ethiopian government, the machines were all in English).

    “More startling still, one gang of kids even worked out how to disable a block that the Boston-based researchers had installed into the machines, which was supposed to stop them taking pictures of themselves. And all of this apparently happened without any adult supervision and anyone in those mud huts having handled text before.
    In a way, this reinforces impressions we all get whenever we purchase any advanced technology apparatus, whether a new mobile, a new laptop, etc and then watch helplessly as our children quickly become its masters while we are left to flounder trying to understand the gobblygedook written on the “guides”.

    Of course, the implications of this experiment, if validated, go much further. All our educational effort is based on the theory that to understand modern technology one needs to have mastered literacy and to have emerged from that institution on which we all devote much time and money that is our educational process.

    The researchers themselves have already drawn three tentative conclusions. The first is that, no matter how remote children are, or how illiterate their community, they have the ability to figure out sophisticated technology, as Keller says.

    Second, and leading from that first point, technology can potentially be a potent self-learning tool.

    And third, Keller concludes that getting kids access to technology may be much more important than giving them schools’. Instead of pouring money into shiny buildings and teacher training, in other words, aid groups might do better just to distribute mobile phones and laptops with those self-teaching games.

    In our country, we have tried to bridge the divide: We have given our children much technological help in the form of laptops for the teachers, white boards, etc, and we have also built shiny new schools.

    This may not be everything, but we are indeed seeing more and more students entering university or going for tertiary education. But somewhere along the line we might ask ourselves if we are giving our children new tools but then locking them up in outmoded cultural frameworks that stunt children’s natural instinct for inquiry and experiment. New technology requires a new overall approach.

    Source: The Malta Independent

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