Comment on “Do aluminum vaccine adjuvants contribute to the rising prevalence of autism?”

10 Jul

As a graduate student I once watched a speaker at a conference give a clearly bad talk. My advisor was next to me and when the talk was opened for questions I asked him why he wasn’t pointing out the major flaws in the study. “Why bother” was the response. The study was so bad that one didn’t need to comment.

That’s how I felt when a paper came out 2 years ago alleging a link between autism prevalence and aluminum in vaccines. The paper, “Do aluminum vaccine adjuvants contribute to the rising prevalence of autism?” made a great effort to present itself as being rigorous. It was a bit more slick than, say, your average Geier paper, but still bad.

The authors of the new study, Tomljenovic and Shaw, took U.S. special education data to create a time trend and data from various countries to compare by geography. The idea of comparing various countries to implicate vaccines isn’t new. Generation Rescue tried it a as well in an unpublished and unsigned “special report“.

Here’s what both groups do–take prevalence data from various countries and compare it to vaccine schedules per country. In the case of Generation Rescue, they ignored the fact that the data are for vastly different birth cohorts (for example, some data are for kids born in the 1970’s and these are compared directly to those born in the 1990’s). In the case of Tomljenovic and Shaw paper, they made minor modifications to their aluminum exposure data to account for the fact that kids born in various birth cohorts would have had dramatically different vaccine exposures. It was a weak attempt at best and assumes that the only cause of rising prevalence is the exposure they are studying.

In short, both are junk science.

When the recent study from Iceland came out, I was reminded of the Tomljenovic and Shaw paper. One of the countries they included in their study was Iceland. And, as I’ll point out below, not only did they use really old data for Iceland, they made another very sloppy error at the same time. With that stuck in my memory, it was time to write up this comment.

Here are the prevalence data by country from their paper:

ShawByCountry

Yes, they used a prevalence for Iceland of 12.4/10,000. Which, we know now has a prevalence ten times higher. That’s the sort of mistake you get for using old prevalence numbers. But there’s more.

Consider Sweden. Tomljenovic and Shaw quote a prevalence of 53.4/10,000, using this study as their citation: Brief report: “the autism epidemic”. The registered prevalence of autism in a Swedish urban area. Here’s the abstract from that study:

The objective of this study was to establish rates of diagnosed autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) in a circumscribed geographical region. The total population born in 1977-1994, living in Göteborg Sweden in 2001, was screened for ASD in registers of the Child Neuropsychiatry Clinic. The minimum registered rate of autistic disorder was 20.5 in 10,000. Other ASDs were 32.9 in 10,000, including 9.2 in 10,000 with Asperger syndrome. Males predominated. In the youngest group (7-12 years), 1.23% had a registered diagnosis of ASD. There was an increase in the rate of diagnosed registered ASD over time; the cause was not determined. The increase tended to level off in the younger age cohort, perhaps due to Asperger syndrome cases missed in screening.

They used the full cohort, from birth year 1977 to 1994, giving a medium prevalence number. In their study, they are making a comparison to a U.S. study with a prevalence of 110/10,000 whose kids were born between 1990 and 2004. Not a great comparison of cohorts. What makes it clearly cherrypicking on the part of Tomljenovic and Shaw is that they could have used a prevalence for Sweden for a cohort with birth years 1989 to 1994. Still not a perfect match, but closer. That cohort had a prevalence of 123/10,000.

To put it simply, had Tomljenovic and Shaw used the younger Swedish cohort, they would have had Swedish kids with a lower aluminum exposure (due to earlier birth cohort and differences between the U.S. and Sweden vaccine schedule), but a higher autism prevalence.

Cherrypicking. They ignored the data that clearly goes against their theory.

There is some very sloppy data analysis going on with their value for Iceland. They quote a prevalence for Iceland as 12.4/10,000. Here’s part of the abstract from that study.

This clinic-based study estimated the prevalence of autism in Iceland in two consecutive birth cohorts, subjects born in 1974-1983 and in 1984-1993. In the older cohort classification was based on the ICD-9 in 72% of cases while in the younger cohort 89% of cases were classified according to the ICD-10. Estimated prevalence rates for Infantile autism/Childhood autism were 3.8 per 10,000 in the older cohort and 8.6 per 10,000 in the younger cohort.

Do you see 12.4/10,000 in there? The nearest I can tell is that they added the prevalence values from the two cohorts (3.8+8.6=12.4). Maybe they arrived at 12.4 by some other method. Doesn’t matter, the number is wrong. And, as we now know, it has been updated to 120.

So, for their international comparison, both Iceland and Sweden prevalence numbers are wrong. One by clear cherrypicking of data. So, their conclusions based on those data are clearly wrong.

What about the other part of their study–using special education data to show that as aluminum exposure from vaccines increased, so did the autism prevalence in the U.S.. First, special education data are very problematic–they don’t really represent autism prevalence. Jim Laidler spelled it out in his paper in Pediatrics: US Department of Education data on “autism” are not reliable for tracking autism prevalence.

But let’s ask a simple question: Tomljenovic and Shaw used one collection of data (variation by country) to show how a geographic variation in autism prevalence supposedly correlates to aluminum exposure, but another set of data to show time trends (U.S. special education data). Why? U.S. special education data include geographic variation. So, for that matter, do the CDC reports on autism. For example, the 2012 report U.S. prevalence varied from 48/10,000 in Alabama to 212/10,000 in Utah. A factor of four difference, with little variation in vaccine uptake.

To put it another way, had Tomljenovic and Shaw used special education data or CDC reports for their geographic comparison, they would have had to report a completely different answer than they did.

Their study was funded by private foundations. Namely, “This work was supported by the Katlyn Fox and the Dwoskin Family Foundations.” Claire Dwoskin is a former board member of the self-named “National Vaccine Information Center”, which is heavily biased against vaccines. Ms. Dwoskin herself is heavily biased against vaccines, having stated that “Vaccines are a holocaust of poison on our children’s brains and immune systems.”

If a pharmaceutical company had funded a study which was so poor and clearly biased towards the interests of the funding company, there would be a very rightful outcry. Here we have a direct parallel. Very poor research, clearly biased and matching the interests of the funding agency. But, those promoting the idea that vaccines cause autism welcomed and promote this study.

Frankly, had I funded this work, it would have been the last time Tomljenovic and Shaw would have seen a dime from me again. Not because of the answer, but because this effort so clearly cherrypicked results and produced such a clearly biased answer. Tomljenovic and Shaw, however, have continued to receive support from at least the Dwoskin Family Foundation.


By Matt Carey

105 Responses to “Comment on “Do aluminum vaccine adjuvants contribute to the rising prevalence of autism?””

  1. Autumn Henderson July 10, 2013 at 08:40 #

    @Sullivan can ypu please tell me what you think or write something about the studies done that “try” to account for an autoimmune component to autism. The one by Vingh I believe?? I find it intetesting in that it does not blame vaccines because an unvaccinated person that has a genetic predisposition could also have the same reaction from contracting wild type measles. I hadn’t come to any conclusions either way, but I am hoping you can shed some light with your opnion.

  2. tony bateson July 10, 2013 at 11:29 #

    Well there’s junk science and then there is more junk science! Angle of the head, older fathers, annual rainfall, now IVF etc., they’ll pay almost anything to anyone who can come up with a really whacky idea that would cost a lot to refute. Now just get real, it’s not science it’s simple Math! Where are the unvaccinated autistic people? They do not exist. Certainly not in the UK and going back over several years – virtually zilch! Not there.

    Tony Bateson, Oxford, UK

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) July 10, 2013 at 13:52 #

      Virtually zilch? So now you admit it isn’t completely zero?

      Who got your, what, $10,000 that you were offering to anyone who could demonstrate an unvaccinated autistic?

      • Lawrence July 10, 2013 at 17:39 #

        Wait, what about Daschel’s unvaccinated third child, who is Autistic?

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) July 10, 2013 at 21:38 #

        You may be thinking of Kim Stagliano’s third child.

      • Chris July 10, 2013 at 21:44 #

        Several people on this blog have told Mr. Bateson over the past several years about unvaccinated children with autism. I think it finally came down to they had to present themselves on his doorstep with all of their medical records for him to read.

      • lilady July 11, 2013 at 15:21 #

        Mr. Bateson, has, I believe moved his goal post, according to some of his comments at AoA.

        He now states that an unvaccinated autistic child must have a totally unvaccinated mother. (Sorta how Kim Stagliano explains her totally unvaccinated third child who is autistic).

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) July 11, 2013 at 17:44 #

        Anyone want to guess where the goalposts will move once someone comes forward who is unvaccinated and has an unvaccinated autistic child?

        Cut the check, Tony.

    • ASD Dad July 10, 2013 at 18:07 #

      My son had very, very few vaccines and no MMR in the first couple of years of his life because he had a severely compromised immune system.

      And he has autism. Where’s my $10,000?

      • Lawrence July 10, 2013 at 22:26 #

        Matt – you are correct. My mistake, I get those anti-vax loons mixed up.

      • Eric B Baum PhD January 18, 2014 at 20:36 #

        Could you be more specific please? Which vaccines at what ages did he have, and how and when did you diagnose the compromised immune system?

  3. Enterprise Girl July 10, 2013 at 15:03 #

    I am shocked and also now very intrigued. How therefore would/could a totally unbiased study and research be undertaken? I see so many “theories” about clusters of people with autism. I also see people who have had their research published then get funded to update or “overturn” often their own research! So whats the answer? By the way – I am not a researcher!

  4. Liz Ditz (@lizditz) July 12, 2013 at 06:59 #

    The “autism is vaccine injury” zombie articles on the internet march on. For example, this:

    http://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/07/07/courts-rule-mmr-thimerosal-containing-vaccines-caused-autism-brain-damage/#_

  5. Liz Ditz (@lizditz) July 12, 2013 at 07:00 #

    And in other news, thanks for taking the time to write this up, Matt. I’d forgotten that the T&S paper made much of Iceland’s low autism rate.

  6. Darwy August 4, 2013 at 06:32 #

    I’d also like to know how they accounted for the genetic confounding component; the population of Iceland is small (in comparison to the US, Sweden, etc) – and it’s very homogeneous.

    I mean, every native Icelander can trace his/her lineage directly back to the original settlers.

  7. Eric B Baum PhD January 18, 2014 at 16:49 #

    I wasn’t impressed by T&S analysis of correlations because those kinds of things are always problematic. All the ones I’ve seen claiming to disprove autism vaccine link are also highly problematic when I read them carefully (although I’d love links to studies you think are well done.)

    However, the survey discussion and citations in T&S section 4 are highly compelling. Here are some of the things they claim and cite to published research:
    (1) Boys receiving the Hep B vaccine in the first month of life are 3 times as likely to be diagnosed with autism as boys not.
    (2) Boys receiving the full series of 3 Hep B vaccines are 9 times as likely to be special ed as boys not.
    (3) Injection of standard vaccine schedule into Macaques produced developmental brain damage.
    (4) Injection of aluminum adjuvant similar to that in standard vaccine series into neonate mice (scaled for bodyweight) caused developmental brian damage. American vaccine series aluminum much worse than Swedish series in effect.
    (5) Single injection of an antigen to provoke an immune response into rats during critical periods (like 7-14 days) causes adult rats to be susceptible to brain seizure.
    (6) Because the dietary system is set up to reject aluminum, only around .25% of dietary aluminum reaches the blood stream, compared to almost 100% of vaccine aluminum. Taking this into account, the amount of aluminum reaching a neonates blood from the vaccine schedule is hundreds of times that from breast milk.
    (7) Although various publications claim that aluminum is quickly eliminated from the blood by the kidneys, this apparently does not apply to adjuvant aluminum, which because it is bound up with the antigen can not be eliminated easily and sticks around in the system.

    If somebody has strong rebuttal to these claims I’d be very interested.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) January 19, 2014 at 00:38 #

      Your bar for “compelling” is much lower than mind

      (1) Boys receiving the Hep B vaccine in the first month of life are 3 times as likely to be diagnosed with autism as boys not.

      I’ve covered that paper here. It’s basically the “autism rates have gone up with time and so has the vaccine schedule”. In this case, the introduction of the HepB vaccine. They show that the prevalence of autism before the introduction of the HepB vaccine was lower than afterwards. Except they go to some length to hide that this is what they are, in fact, doing. Intellectually dishonest as well as wrong.

      (2) Boys receiving the full series of 3 Hep B vaccines are 9 times as likely to be special ed as boys not.

      Covered by others. Did you try to find discussions of the study online?

      (3) Injection of standard vaccine schedule into Macaques produced developmental brain damage.

      Search for Hewitson (the principal investigator on those studies) here and at Respectful Insolence, Science Based Medicine and elsewhere. Also a comment on her work from Steven Novella (and his blog writing). Her work was extremely poor.

      As an aside, what is the standard vaccine schedule for Macacques?

      (4) Injection of aluminum adjuvant similar to that in standard vaccine series into neonate mice (scaled for bodyweight) caused developmental brian damage. American vaccine series aluminum much worse than Swedish series in effect.

      I assume you didn’t mean Brian damage. That nitpick aside, I don’t know the study. Given how bad the rest of these are, I’m not going to do the homework for Shaw et al..

      (5) Single injection of an antigen to provoke an immune response into rats during critical periods (like 7-14 days) causes adult rats to be susceptible to brain seizure.

      (6) Because the dietary system is set up to reject aluminum, only around .25% of dietary aluminum reaches the blood stream, compared to almost 100% of vaccine aluminum. Taking this into account, the amount of aluminum reaching a neonates blood from the vaccine schedule is hundreds of times that from breast milk.

      So, since you’ve researched this, you aren’t surprised by the arguments in this document
      http://www.chop.edu/export/download/pdfs/articles/vaccine-education-center/aluminum.pdf

      And have a response, right?

      Funny, you are about to argue in (7) that the aluminum from vaccines is somehow so tightly bound to the antigen that it can’t be separated. I.e. (6) and (7) are logically inconsistent. And (7) is not supported.

      (7) Although various publications claim that aluminum is quickly eliminated from the blood by the kidneys, this apparently does not apply to adjuvant aluminum, which because it is bound up with the antigen can not be eliminated easily and sticks around in the system.

      Really? You have a link to the study that shows this? You do realize you’ve argued that aluminum enters the blood stream easily and that it is tightly bound to the antigen (which, frankly, is nonsense). I notice you’ve qualified yourself with “apparently”. You know you are reaching here.

      If somebody has strong rebuttal to these claims I’d be very interested.

      Let’s see how you do with the rebuttals that are discussed above. I’ve noticed in the past that people who present themselves as “just posing questions” and “open to rebuttals” rarely are. Sorry if I am cynical here, but I’ve gone through this many times.

      • Eric B Baum PhD January 19, 2014 at 03:35 #

        Honestly, I don’t have an axe to grind here. I’m a father perplexed when he reads the medical literature looking for proof that vaccines are safe and effective, which I used to think was there when I vaccinated my first two kids, now grown and not obviously the worse for being vaccinated (by an older schedule.)

        (1) I’m not sure where “here” is? Can you provide a link, please? Perhaps we are referring to different work?
        The paper in question claims to establish this from data only from the years 1997-2002, so what you are claiming (if I understand it) would require that autism rates went up by a factor of 3 in a 5 year period.
        Surely that can’t be true?
        http://scholar.google.com/citations?view_op=view_citation&hl=en&user=gSmbK7EAAAAJ&citation_for_view=gSmbK7EAAAAJ:eQOLeE2rZwMC

        (3) I have repeatedly looked for criticism of the Hewitson paper. She was met with a blizzard of ad hominem so great, I have never been able to find any substantive criticism of the work sticking out from under it. If you can point me at some actual technical discussion of the work itself (not the author or the ethics but the science) I would be grateful. What I see is, she injected macaques and their brains developed different. Maybe it was just luck. Maybe she was mistaken.
        But I haven’t seen a larger study showing macaques don’t develop abnormally, and until I do she seems to provide evidence that is worrisome. Did anybody think to inject the vaccine schedule into monkeys *before* hitting kids with it? Is there no other study like this to refute it, if indeed it is wrong? And wouldn’t it scare you to inject the stuff into your kid until that experiment has been refuted?
        What study did set the limit on total aluminum that can be injected into kids and when it can be injected? Surely you know if you are so confident that vaccines are safe?

        (4) http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0162013413001773

        Forgive me if I’m mistaken about your meaning, but your tone suggests that you are confident the vaccine schedule is safe before even looking at papers that claim to have shown it isn’t, and they must be wrong. I would love to have your confidence. Can you point me at the reason for it? Who has injected neonate animals and found it didn’t cause brain damage?
        And without such an experiment, why aren’t you worried?

        The status of the vaccine schedule at the moment, so far as I know, is two groups have injected it (or components of it) into animals and found brain damage. (One or both of them have faced extensive ad hominem attacks.) Zero groups that I know of have done the experiment and not found brain damage. What basis do you have for believing the vaccine schedule is proven to not cause brain damage?

        (5) You didn’t answer (5), but you have to admit it is pretty scary, no? There is apparently a literature on this of several papers. All these refs are found in the T & S paper you reviewed, section 4.

        (6) That CHOP document is not a refereed paper, and it is what got me concerned about vaccines in the first place. When I read it, I could see that anyone who didn’t read it critically would likely come away thinking that dietary aluminum was more than vaccine, so you shouldn’t be worried about vaccine aluminum.
        It seems to have been crafted to convey that impression. But if you read it carefully, you will see that it says that less than 1% of dietary aluminum makes it into the blood, and when you factor that in (it doesn’t factor it in, but someone wanting to understand the physics must), the vaccines are a hugely greater source. So the document is highly deceptive. If you need further convincing (beyond simple mathematics, if 99.75% of dietary aluminum is excreted, we don’t have to worry about that portion) look at this paper:
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22001122
        Look at the levels of aluminum from diet and vaccine.
        But Mitkus et al also assumes the aluminum leaves the body quickly (contradicting 7 below), and use an MRL based on feeding aluminum to post-weaning rats and diving by 30 the amount that almost makes them visibly sick. I think you’d have to accept that the experiments in (3) and (4) are a much more direct test of toxicity, and taken with (5) are extremely plausible.

        The CHOP document also says “Either
        way, most of the aluminum in the bloodstream is immediately
        bound by a protein called transferrin, which carries aluminum
        to the kidneys where it is eliminated from the body.”

        Here’s what S & T say about that:

        In addition, although
        the half-life of enterally or parenterally absorbed Al from the
        body is short (approximately 24 h), the same cannot be assumed for
        adjuvant-Al because the sizes of most antigen-Al complexes (24 to
        83 kDa [60,106,107]) are higher than the molecular weight cut-off
        of the glomerulus of the kidney (~18 kDa [108]) which would preclude
        efficient excretion of Al adjuvants. In fact, a longer elimination period
        is one of the major properties of effective vaccine adjuvants, including
        those using Al salts [2,14]. Additionally, the tightness of bonding
        between the Al adjuvant and the antigen is considered a desired
        feature that can be used to predict the immunogenicity of vaccines
        [109]. Experiments in adult rabbits demonstrate that even in an
        antigen-free form, Al-hydroxide, the most commonly used Al adjuvant
        (Table 2) is poorly excreted. The cumulative amount of Al-hydroxide
        in the urine of adult rabbits as long as 28 days post intramuscular injection
        was less than 6% as measured by accelerator mass spectrometry
        [110]. Al-phosphate was more efficiently excreted (22%) [110]. Finally,
        it is important to recognize that neonates have anatomical and
        functional differences crucial for toxicokinetics and toxicodynamics
        of neurotoxic metals (e.g., an immature renal system and an incomplete
        BBB), which would further compromise their ability to eliminate Al
        adjuvants [2,4,5].

        —–
        You are somehow confused about (6) and (7) being contradictory. (7) says vaccine
        aluminum is not excreted efficiently by the kidneys, and (incidentally that the CHOP paper
        is even more egregious.) (6) says dietary aluminum doesn’t make it into the blood stream very
        efficiently.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) January 19, 2014 at 17:46 #

        “I’m not sure where “here” is?”

        This website. There’s a search box. Then there’s google.

        “You didn’t answer (5), but you have to admit it is pretty scary, no? ”

        DO NOT put words in my mouth. People who resort to cheap internet debate tactics like that are not welcome here.

        “She was met with a blizzard of ad hominem so great, I have never been able to find any substantive criticism of the work sticking out from under it.”

        So either you feel my criticism are “ad hominem”, you didn’t read my criticism, you don’t understand the term “ad hominem” or some combination of the three. Try harder. I find so many people posing as “just asking questions” only read what supports their opinions. Seriously, did you read the published response? How exactly is that “ad hominem”. How is it “ad hominem” to point out that her conclusions changed completely from her first abstract to her published paper? How is it ad hominem to point out that she failed to include a paper on amygdala growth in macaques? How is it ad hominem to note that she claims that the brains of control animals are supposed to not grow during infancy?

        There’s a reason why that paper was published in a low quality journal. It’s junk. Call that ad hominem if you like. It doesn’t change the fact that she is misleading people like you with low quality, overly hyped research.

        I’m not confused. Your arguments are poor. I’ve had a string of people come here and ask me to check their homework on rehashing the poor science in the vaccines-cause-autism argument. You will have to forgive me for not going through yours. You can’t even find an email address on the very page you cite.

        If you find Shaw’s work to be compelling, you are another example that even bright people can be fooled.

      • Alain January 19, 2014 at 04:12 #

        Eric B Baum,
        Can you define for me what is autism and what it does to the brain?

        You seem to assume that vaccine cause brain damage leading to autism so I’d like to verify your assumption that autism is brain damage.

        Alain

      • Chris January 19, 2014 at 16:23 #

        “Honestly, I don’t have an axe to grind here. I’m a father perplexed when he reads the medical literature looking for proof that vaccines are safe and effective, which I used to think was there when I vaccinated my first two kids, now grown and not obviously the worse for being vaccinated (by an older schedule.)”

        Some more literature:
        Vaccine Safety: Examine the Evidence

        By the way, it is interesting that many people assume that the MMR vaccine was recently put on the schedule. It was approved for use in the USA in 1971, and was the preferred vaccine for the 1978 Measles Elimination Program. It had been in use for almost two decades before Wakefield was aware for it. If it had any association with autism, that would have been noticed in a country much larger than in the UK that was using it for a much longer time. So where are the studies dated before 1990 showing a huge increase in autism in the USA during the 1970s and 1980s?

        “I have repeatedly looked for criticism of the Hewitson paper. She was met with a blizzard of ad hominem so great, I have never been able to find any substantive criticism of the work sticking out from under it.”

        It is not an “ad hominem” to point out that Hewitson was a vaccine court litigant, and therefore had a conflict of interest. Just the fact that her primate studies were small, some data was missing and that she assumed that the amygdala shrinking was normal should have been cause for concern about her studies. They were all discussed here.

      • Eric B Baum PhD January 19, 2014 at 18:13 #

        Thanks Chris. I had seen that Pediatrics Survey. Here’s my reaction to
        the first paper they cite: De Stafano:
        If you look at their table 1, DTaP vaccine is weighted 3000, and there are a lot of examples of it in their database. Almost all other vaccines are weighted in single figures. So, unless I’m mistaken, what they are claiming is roughly equivalent to finding no association between whether patients got the DTaP vaccine and autism. But the patients who didn’t get DTaP got DTP or lots of other vaccines. What we need is a study that compares patients getting vaccines to patients not getting vaccines.

        My reaction to Smith and Woods is similar: This is comparing outcomes of kids who received the vaccines at exactly the correct schedule, to kids who received them out of schedule. What we need is: to kids who didn’t receive vaccines at all. Out of schedule includes, for example, bunched even more and thus more toxic. And in the modern USA, giving kids vaccines exactly on schedule is probably as powerful a proxy for being a conscientious and affluent mother as could be imagined, which is a pretty strong hidden factor.

        Every survey I’ve seen comparing kids who were unvaccinated to kids who were vaccinated, the unvaccinated are much healthier.

        And, it is an ad hominem attack to say she was a litigant. Its attacking her person, not her results. The doctors on the other side of this issue have conflicts of interest too. If they publish anti-vaccine papers, they might worry about their funding, their junkets from vaccine companies. They might worry about being subject to blizzards of ad hominem attacks and being driven from academic positions. Most of them probably give patients vaccine and charge them for the service. Many of them may have vaccinated their own kids and would be emotionally conflicted about discovering that they cost their kids 10 IQ points if that’s where the research pointed. Etc etc.
        So I prefer not to ask about the motives of the people and look at the results and the scientific argumentation.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) January 19, 2014 at 23:42 #

        It is a fact that she was a litigant. Informing people that she was a litigant is not ad hominem. It is informing people of her potential bias. Something she failed to do for herself.

        It is a fact that she failed to disclose her litigant status when she first presented her results at IMFAR. As a result of that, INSAR had to change the rules for disclosing COI’s.

        The “you resort to ad homimens” is a crutch. Pretty much par for the course. Shall I start predicting rather than reacting to your next tactics?

      • Eric B Baum PhD January 20, 2014 at 01:16 #

        You are too wrapped up in debunking the Hewitson study. Among all the things I cited, its probably the one that worries me the least. And informing people of her litigant status is ok,
        even though it is ad hominem, I didn’t say it was irrelevant. I just asked for substantive response. As far as I’m concerned the ad hominem is a red flag indicating there is no good substantive response. In the meantime, IMO, the Hewitson paper is evidence indicating a problem, not conclusive evidence, but positive evidence.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) January 20, 2014 at 02:05 #

        “You are too wrapped up in debunking the Hewitson study”

        Really? I debunked it years ago. It’s you who brought it back up. As a researcher, I am aghast at the waste of animals that study represents.

        You are using a rather ironic, but common, strategy. Your claim that I am guilty of an ad hominem is in itself an ad hominem attack. What does that add to the substance of your argument? The answer is nothing. But you bring it up, repeatedly, in attempt to discredit me. It’s a classic move. And transparent.

      • Eric B Baum PhD January 21, 2014 at 21:25 #

        Hey, I came back to ask a question, if you would be so kind. My question is, briefly, what is the evidence on which you all base your conviction that vaccines are not causing autism, (assuming you do believe that, if not, please let me know.)

        I’ll buy your argument the 3:1 Hep B study has methodological problems and so is suspect. I’ll stipulate for the sake of argument you can take Hewitson’s work off the table because you think she’s crooked.

        Still, I’ve pointed out that all the epidemiological studies I know of seem to have methodological problems (and what some of those problems are). But if you trust any of them, please which? And if easy enough to explain, why? And anyway, these studies only make specific claims, like MMR is not the cause of autism or DTP is not the sole cause. Even if you took them as solid gold, they would still leave lots of other possibilities in the vaccine world.
        I’ve pointed out that the T&S paper section 4 makes an extensive case that there are biological reasons to worry that injecting aluminum adjuvant and antigens into young children might cause brain or immune system damage. You haven’t even tried to rebut most of the arguments they make.
        And I’ve pointed out that there are a number of data surveys, including a recent German one that claims to be scientific, albeit without enough unvaccinated to draw firm conclusions, comparing vaccinated and unvaccinated kids, and they all so far have reported finding far higher populations of autistics than non-autistics, at least all the ones I cited and know about.

        Yet you all seem to strongly believe the autism vaccine connection has been positively dis-proven, and there is no reason to fear there.

        So can you please give me a short list of papers you are relying on, and/or reasons for this belief? What is the dis-proof that vaccines cause autism?

        Thanks much in advance.

      • Chris January 19, 2014 at 18:41 #

        “And, it is an ad hominem attack to say she was a litigant. Its attacking her person, not her results.”

        Then you have no more to say when you cannot see an obvious conflict of interest.

      • Chris January 19, 2014 at 18:43 #

        “If they publish anti-vaccine papers, they might worry about their funding, their junkets from vaccine companies.”

        Uh, huh. Then do tell which vaccine companies funded any of the list of papers I provided. Make sure you include direct quotes from the each paper with the name of the pharmaceutical company.

      • Chris January 19, 2014 at 19:40 #

        I am sorry, I can’t help it. When you say: “Thanks Chris. I had seen that Pediatrics Survey. Here’s my reaction to
        the first paper they cite: De Stafano:
        If you look at their table 1, DTaP vaccine is weighted 3000, and there are a lot of examples of it in their database.:

        What in the world are you talking about? When I look at Vaccine Safety: Examine the Evidence, the first paper I see is Increasing Exposure to Antibody-Stimulating Proteins and Polysaccharides
        in Vaccines Is Not Associated with Risk of Autism
        . The title of Table 1 is “Number of antibody-stimulating protein and
        polysaccharide antigens in vaccines and number of
        vaccine doses administered according to type of vaccine.” The columns are labeled at “Vaccine Type”, “Antigens per Dose” and “Doses.” The last one is defined as “Total vaccine doses administered in the study population from birth to age 2 years”, which in my feeble engineer mind means (number of children in study) multiplied by (vaccine doses the received).

        I don’t see anything related to a “weighting.” Which would make sense if you are talking about statistics, but the table is discrete numbers. I would hope you know the difference.

        And none of those numbers that pertain to any of the thee DTaP vaccines came anywhere near “3000.” I saw that number with typhoid, and DTP vaccines, none of those are on the present American pediatric vaccine schedule.

        So, really, how are we supposed to believe your epidemiological interpretations when you cannot even read the paper you are critiquing? Obviously you are seeing something that is not there but filtering it through a preconceived bias.

        By the way, I looked up Frank DeStefano’s career. He has either worked in the public sector (CDC, National Institute of Health), or for the Marshfield Medical Research Foundation. On the latter, you might argue a conflict of interest for two of their board members. One for Furniture & ApplianceMart and the other for the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company (my dad used to buy a case of that when we visited our grandfather!).

      • Eric B Baum PhD January 19, 2014 at 20:38 #

        Sorry, part of your confusion is due to my careless typing of the post. I wrote DTaP when I meant “DTB-Hib or DTP”. I apologize and will explain.
        The title of the paper is “Increasing Exposure to Antibody-Stimulating Proteins and Polysaccharides in Vaccines Is Not Associated with Risk of Autism”. So as I understand it, the claim is that patients who received more total antigens were not significantly more likely to develop autism than patients who received less antigens. patients who received the DTP-Hib or the DTP vaccine, according to table 1, received 3004 antigens or 3002 antigens respectively. There were 1659 + 235 such patients, which is a fairly large number in this database so this was a very important contribution to their statistics. Patients who didn’t receive the DTP or Typhoid (and there were only a few typhoid patients so it doesn’t matter much for the stats anyway), even if they got all the other vaccines, would only have received some dozens of antigens. So when they ask whether patients having more antigens are more likely to get autism than patients getting less antigens, what they are basically asking is whether patients who got DTP or DTP-Hib or Typhoid vaccines are more likely to get autism than patients who got other vaccines.

        BTW, I haven’t read into the statistical methods they use. I know they have been criticized, but I haven’t viewed it as worth my time to investigate that particular issue given my comment above. But one thing that occurs to me as I write this: probably people who get autism might stop getting vaccines. That would strongly bias the results against finding a vaccine autism connection as well. I wonder if they have dealt with that issue adequately.

        Anyway, what I think you should be asking is why there is so little funding for clean studies that compare vaccinated to un-vaccinated patients, or for animal studies that test the vaccine schedule by injecting it into an adequate number of macaques to satisfy critics and that aren’t run by people you don’t like.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) January 19, 2014 at 23:35 #

        Any study supporting the fact that vaccines have not responsible for an “epidemic” of autism is criticized. So what?

        The more you write, the more your pattern emerges. “clean studies”. Because the other studies are “dirty”.

        Tell me, why are macaques a “clean” study? Hint, they aren’t. A good study, accounting for confounders, of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated populations is not very easy. The IOM is currently working on a report as the how to go about such a study. Here’s a major confounder–parents of autistic kids are more likely to stop vaccinating younger siblings. The younger siblings are more likely to be autistic as the recurrence risk is high. Thus, if one doesn’t account for that confound, one could show that vaccines prevent autism (which, as a point of fact, they do in at least one example). One study presented at IMFAR ran into exactly the younger sibling confound problem.

      • Eric B Baum PhD January 20, 2014 at 01:11 #

        The macaques are not a clean study, and the Hewitson study is certainly not conclusive by itself.

        However, I repeat, there is supposed to be proof of safety. A million crooked studies just prove people are crooked or stupid. If you can’t produce any clean studies, vaccines are not proved safe. Period.

        And given the evidence I have summarized, until they are proved safe they are very very suspect.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) January 20, 2014 at 02:09 #

        The Hewistson study isn’t even close to being useful.

        Ah, now we move to calling the many safety studies on vaccines “crooked”. And attacking the researchers as “crooked or stupid”. Here’s where you use the “but I didn’t say that directly” complaint.

        The evidence you have summarized is convincing to a few. They do nothing to make me think vaccines are “very very suspect”. You are not the first, nor the last, to be fooled.

      • Alain January 19, 2014 at 20:40 #

        Do I hear cricket chirping? There are strong words discussed here but my question is met with nothing but silence.

        It’s always the same answer. People cry brain damage but can’t even muster an answer to what brain damage there is.

        Alain

      • Eric B Baum PhD January 19, 2014 at 20:47 #

        Alain, I didn’t answer you because I am not an expert in autism, and haven’t read much about it, so I didn’t feel I had much to tell you. I am personally as worried that vaccines might be taking 5-10 IQ points off the population. I don’t think there is any study that proves they aren’t, and there are data-based arguments that people have gotten stupider in the last decades and in the last 200 years. From what I read they are injecting biologically large amounts of aluminum, a neurotoxin, into developing children, in order to inflame the immune system. Its in a form that doesn’t leave easily. So one possibility is the brain becomes inflamed, and the immune system becomes inflamed, and they stay that way for long periods of time. There is a paper that suggests that might be happening, I could find you a link. Another possibility is some critical period interaction, like seen with the rats. The critical period interaction has been I think documented in animals, how spelled out the mechanisms are I don’t know. The onus shouldn’t be on patients to say how they might be being harmed. The FDA is supposed to, as I understand it, have proved safety and effectiveness. I am just looking for the published proof, to understand it as one scientist to another, and I am having a hard time finding it.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) January 19, 2014 at 22:59 #

        This blog is about autism.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) January 19, 2014 at 23:27 #

        “Alain, I didn’t answer you because I am not an expert in autism, and haven’t read much about it,”

        If I seem short with you it’s because you were so clearly in this category. My guess is you weren’t aware that (a) you were in a clear category and (b) it was so obvious.

        You are in the “Hi, I’m just an ‘open minded’ guy who happened to come here to talk about vaccines. In reality, I’m someone who has come to a very unscientific and unsupported position and I want to sharpen my debating skills so I can use your community as a tool in my critique of vaccines. I don’t give a fig about the damage I do to your community or to public health in general. I want to show that I am an individual and a unique thinker. Even though I am a cardboard cutout of dozens of people who have visited your blog before”.

        Sorry to be so blunt…only I’m not. Your team has seriously done a lot of harm. To the autism communities and to public health.

        I don’t know how rehashing all the vaccine skeptic arguments is worth your time. But, do it somewhere else.

        Shaw is intellectually dishonest. If you haven’t picked that up from his papers, you are not reading closely and/or you are so biased you can’t see it. Their aluminum/autism paper is so bad that I’m embarrassed for you that you cite it. The way they use special education data is horrible. The country by country comparisons are just flat out dishonest. And bad. You did notice where they added the prevalences from two different age cohorts. You do understand why that’s just wrong, don’t you? You understand why comparing the prevalence rates from very disparate birth cohorts is a bad idea, don’t you?

        Then you come here with your “I have a website, please read it” followed by “that’s not a peer reviewed paper, I’m going to ignore it” stance.

        In 3 to 4 months another of your group will come along and do the exact same thing.

      • Eric B Baum PhD January 20, 2014 at 00:55 #

        OK, now you are all getting into ad hominem attacks on me. Questioning my motives, etc etc. So I’ll go away, which I think is what you want.

        The reason I came, however, was I continue to hope somebody will make a coherent case for vaccine safety and effectiveness. When I come here and do this, I get exposure to more papers claiming it, and I’m still hoping one of them will be right. Thanks you guys for the papers I did find through you. I have found numerous interesting papers in this way.

        The fact that you guys have yet to cite a single reason for believing in vaccine safety that I can’t debunk in real time should scare you, IMO. But since it doesn’t, and you are insulting me and clearly don’t want me around, and since you seem to have run out of interesting citations to send me to, I’ll go away.

        If you have some killer case yet, please make it soon.

        PS– I never said I was ignoring something because it wasn’t peer reviewed. I commented that a paper wasn’t peer reviewed, and then pointed out exactly why it was both deceiving and 100% wrong. The fact that they posted it, and that you defend it, in my view shows either deliberate dishonesty or extreme and unconscious inability to face facts. Its a fact that the blood vaccine aluminum is far higher than the dietary aluminum according to every refereed published paper I know of, and T&S appear to have made a very strong case on the removal of vaccine aluminum from the blood, whatever your continuing ad hominem attacks against them. You haven’t addressed the case on either of these points an iota.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) January 20, 2014 at 02:13 #

        I want you to stop abusing my community in your attempt to do whatever it is you want to do. Seriously, you pseudo skeptics have and continue to cause a lot of harm. My kid is not your hammer.

        Take your own advice. If you have a killer case, make it. In your next comment. Or go away.

        This isn’t some silly debate club for people like you to make yourself feel smart and independent. Great, you’ve collected the same junk science as all the other pseudo skeptics. You repackage it and think you’ve accomplished something.

        I challenge you to do better. This is a huge waste of your time.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) January 20, 2014 at 04:42 #

        You either misunderstand the term ad hominem or you misunderstand my position.

        If I say, “I think you are careless and irresponsible and because of that your arguments are not valid” that would be an ad hominem.

        My position is that you are careless and irresponsible. *In addition to that* your arguments are without merit.

        You spend eight years watching a series of Eric E Baum PhD’s repackage the pseudo skeptic arguments, feeding the fears of parents and giving support to the charlatans who prey on those parents. You spend a few years reading parent groups discussing faux treatments that are clearly causing harm all the while citing the Eric E Baum’s of the world.

        This isn’t some intellectual debate. There are real world consequences. You need to do your homework. Gathering the same old pseudo skeptic ideas from credulous websites doesn’t cut it.

        Yeah, I wasn’t welcoming of you. Spend a week looking at pictures of intestinal mucosa passed by disabled kids whose parents were convinced by people like you that their kids were vaccine in injured and somehow this justifies giving repeated bleach enemas.

        You have no idea how restrained this conversation has been.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) January 19, 2014 at 23:29 #

        ” People cry brain damage but can’t even muster an answer to what brain damage there is.”

        Vaccine ingredients are toxic. Autistic’s think differently. Therefore they have brain damage caused by the toxins in vaccines. The fact that there are gaps in the arguments is skimmed over. The cartoon cited here comes to mind. http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2013/09/five-years-ago-stack-overflow-launched-then-a-miracle-occurred/

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) January 19, 2014 at 23:50 #

        “Do I hear cricket chirping? ”

        The standard method for gentlemen like Eric B Baum PhD is to ignore their own mistakes. When presented with a clear mistake, they just move on to the next “just asking” question. But if you only respond to 8 of 10 of their questions, they jump on you.

        It’s all so predictable. I had more patience with the first 10 or so people like him.

      • Eric B Baum PhD January 20, 2014 at 00:39 #

        Name one mistake I’ve made?

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) January 20, 2014 at 02:15 #

        Thinking you could come here and sharpen your debate skills on this topic. Believing that Shaw’s research was worth your time. Shall I go on?

      • Chris January 19, 2014 at 22:06 #

        Still, the DTP, DTP-Hib and typhoid vaccines are not on the present American vaccine schedule. I suspect you really did not even read the paper until I made you aware of its contents.

        “Anyway, what I think you should be asking is why there is so little funding for clean studies that compare vaccinated to un-vaccinated patients, or for animal studies that test the vaccine schedule by injecting it into an adequate number of macaques to satisfy critics and that aren’t run by people you don’t like.”

        Actually there are. There are several studies that compare the vaccinated, under vaccinated and un-vaccinated in that list. They are called “epidemiological” studies. They show the value of large medical databases like the Danish system and the CDC’s Vaccine Datalink Program.

        What is not being done is what is described here. There is an interesting and sometimes horrifying history of research done on children, this is a short summary. So if you can design a study to abide the present guidelines for the use of human subjects (your university should have an office dedicated to that), and find the financing, then go for it. SafeMinds and Autism Speaks do and still provide research grants into this research.

        Again, if you want you can write a grant to finance as many macaques as you deem necessary. Just remember that animal testing without justification is harder to get approved, especially since all vaccines on the American pediatric schedule have thimerosal free version and the epidemiological studies did not find a connection: the approval will not be easy. It did not help that Hewitson wasted macaques by not using the data from the controls.

      • Eric B Baum PhD January 19, 2014 at 22:48 #

        Every study that I’m aware of, and there are a considerable number, that compares vaccinated to unvaccinated children, the unvaccinated population is much healthier.
        They have less infectious diseases, less immune diseases, less asthma, less autism, etc, than the vaccinated kids, often by substantial factors.

        (1) http://www.vaccineinjury.info/survey.html
        (2) http://www.vaccineinjury.info/vaccinations-in-general/vaccinatedunvaccinated.html
        (3) http://www.vaxchoicevt.com/science/studies-comparing-vaccinated-to-unvaccinated-populations/
        (4) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3057555/
        The last link is sometimes viewed as being a pro-vaccine result, and it did indicate that getting MMR or Pertussis shots lower the chances of getting those diseases from about .1 to .01. However, see the discussion on link (3) above of this study. They don’t make a big deal of it, but their data show unvaccinated children 1-5 had 75% the number of infectious diseases of vaccinated, and similarly less or the same for every age category and infection they mention. Vaccinated were 2.5 times as likely to be autistic as unvaccinated.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) January 19, 2014 at 23:16 #

        ” It did not help that Hewitson wasted macaques by not using the data from the controls.”

        The study size and design was so poor that even without the missing controls, the study was a waste of laboratory animals.

      • Alain January 19, 2014 at 23:00 #

        Eric B. Baum PhD,

        If all you study about autism is vaccines and their effects on the immune system and the brain, it’s easy to come up with an hypothesis of brain inflammation leading to autism but that’s not what my cell biology data, my MRI data and my cognitive neuroscience data say.

        The data on cell biology (http://www.minicolumn.org/publications/) says that in autism brain, minicolumns are 5% smaller and host many more neurons as compared to healthy control contributing to a total of 20 to 23% more neurons in total in an autistic brain. Because the neurons are 15-17% smaller, it stand to reason that there are not as much neurotransmitter available which is not handicapping in itself but the autistic brain might favor locally biased computing (gyrus or sulcus based) as opposed to global (whole-brain) but even this is not true because a meta-analysis of magnetic resonance spectroscopy in autism (which I don’t have at hands but will find tomorrow) found out the same level of neurotransmitter in autistic subject as compared to control when both subsample are over 35 years old (which make for an extended period of learning capacities for autists under 35).

        Another finding is that autistic subject’s synapse are two times more numerous than control (i.e. if a given neuron in a control has 10 synapses, the autistic subject will have 20).

        The data on MRI is mixed with some studies reporting less activation and some more activation than control in both whole-brain and individual brain regions but for a good study, see: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19530215 for which you’ll find a good pattern of activation in both subject types but the activation will occur in different area of the brain (which is useful to infer the cognitive neuroscience data).

        This is a good review: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21191475

        It details the research results of Dr. Henry Markram regarding autism at every level they can (cellular, cognitive and anything in between).

        Regarding inflammation in the brain, there is indeed some inflammation but whether it is significant enough to affect MRI results and general functioning remain to be seen because neurosurgeon can hack away half of the brain and the individual would still be functional after the kind of therapy which is given to autistic child (3 years of ABA?) so it stand to reason that aluminium is a neurotoxin, does it affect the brain so much to result in autism or does the wall of text I have just written is a better answer to why we develop autism?

        Alain

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) January 19, 2014 at 23:14 #

        “Regarding inflammation in the brain, there is indeed some inflammation but whether it is significant enough to affect MRI results and general functioning remain to be seen because…”

        Alain,

        I don’t believe MRI can track neuroinflammation.

        This is the only paper I am aware of where people have monitored directly glial cell activity in living autistics. They used a radioactive maker.
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23404112t

        The understanding of the role of these cells has evolved a great deal since the first paper on glial cell activation. These cells play a very important role.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) January 20, 2014 at 02:17 #

        Gaia health. Yeah, that’s scientific.

        These children are the jetsam tossed overboard to keep the Big Pharma ship afloat. As other pharmaceutical product lines, like antibiotics, are failing and no new chemicals are filling the pipeline, Big Pharma is more and more reliant on vaccines to stay afloat. If the price is your children’s lives and futures, it apparently doesn’t matter.

        Because it’s all a big conspiracy…

      • Eric B Baum PhD January 20, 2014 at 00:38 #

        Alain, everything you are describing sounds to me like it could be caused by vaccines or adjuvant aluminum interfering with development. Evolution has built an amazing system that boots up into the brain, but this involves timed programming interacting with the environment. Connections grow, they die off, neurons grow, etc, according to evolved programs in the DNA and interaction with the environment. Immune system development and brain development are known (or strongly suspected) to be entangled, I believe, so if the immune system is inflamed at the wrong time or the brain is inflamed at the wrong time, the algorithms could build in the wrong ways. Or alternatively, there could be some other interaction between, say, the aluminum which is a known neurotoxin, and the development process. Also, there might be multiple causes, breaking the system in different ways could result in developmental deficits that are currently classified together by psychologists. Obviously this is speculation, but the things we know that I’ve listed, such as the critical period in rats, all make it plausible, and I haven’t seen any reason to rule it out, nor any proof that vaccines are safe, which I was under the impression until recently would be found in the literature before the FDA licensed the products.

      • Alain January 19, 2014 at 23:26 #

        I don’t believe MRI can track neuroinflammation.

        That’s correct. I was thinking about neuroinflammation significant enough to cause a good number of cell death which might show up on MRI but in such case, you might have bigger concern than autism (such as an cerebro-vascular accident) which is why I also specified a level of neuroinflammation significant enough to affect the functioning level of the child.

        Alain

      • Alain January 20, 2014 at 00:16 #

        Wonder if Eric will come back given that I can drive a semi through his assumptions. I feel like a 5y/o kids questioning everything under the sun (isn’t that supposed to happen when testing hypothesis?)

      • Eric B Baum PhD January 20, 2014 at 00:46 #

        I have zero assumptions. I’m just reading the literature.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) January 20, 2014 at 02:14 #

        Everyone has assumptions. What a silly statement. “I’m just reading the literature”. That’s a nice rework of “I’m just asking questions”.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) January 20, 2014 at 02:18 #

        He has no assumptions😉 How can you drive a semi through them!

      • Alain January 20, 2014 at 00:53 #

        Name one mistake I’ve made?

        The dose make the poison (20 cc dose going in a muscle adjacent to a vein in the arm where 5 liters of blood goes through in an unknown amount of time in to a 3kg brain) and also:

        Obviously this is speculation

        Time to hit pubmed for the search of publications about adjuvant or other substance interfering with brain growth. Also, I haven’t seen you back up your speculation regarding the formation of the brain occurring at the 19th day of GESTATION….Okay, I’ll stay calm… How do you inject a vaccine into the foetus (or even the mother) who will cross the foetus and directly affect the formation of the brain?

        Seriously, I can still drive a semi through your assumptions.

        Alain

      • Eric B Baum PhD January 20, 2014 at 01:06 #

        I’m fully aware the dose makes the poison. The dose of aluminum is highly biologically active. That’s why its in the vaccine. It is in no way negligible. The toxicology papers (eg Mitkus) use an LMR derived from experiments on weaned mice to claim in spite of the fact that its hugely larger than other sources of aluminum, the vaccine aluminum is still safe. At least three problems with this: (1) Mitkus assumes the aluminum leaves the blood quickly. That does not seem to be the case for adjuvant aluminum. (2) Mitkus et al assume that something like .8% of dietary aluminum is absorbed, but experiments place it at .25%, so they may be off a factor of 3 here. (3) The LMR comes from dividing by 30 the largest amount of aluminum that doesn’t quite make weaned and grown mice visibly sick. That ignores the notion of critical periods. It ignores differences with neonate development. Its generally suspect, in the sense that you might cost kids 10 IQ points without making them visibly sick. And its contradicted by experiments that directly try to measure the toxic effects of injecting the aluminum at pre-weaned ages.

        I never used the term gestation above (I searched to be sure) so I’m not sure what you are on about.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) January 20, 2014 at 02:11 #

        Do you have any intention of bringing this around to autism? I get it, you don’t like vaccines. You find them “very very suspect”. You hope to use autism in your arguments to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt about vaccines. You don’t care about the harm you cause my community. I get it. I’ve seen you come and go over the years.

      • Alain January 20, 2014 at 01:38 #

        Eric, Keep commenting while I was of to the convenience store and in 20 minutes, I’m having a phone interview with a future employer. I’ll address your point tomorrow.

        Alain

      • Alain January 20, 2014 at 02:40 #

        Its generally suspect, in the sense that you might cost kids 10 IQ points without making them visibly sick.

        Do you have a citation for that?

        Alain

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) January 20, 2014 at 04:20 #

        Apparently no. He took the “you’re mean to me” exit. He’ll probably use that same excuse to avoid the self reflection necessary to see that he’s just trodding the same turf as many others. He probably thinks that’s just a taunt.

        Perhaps he doesn’t know that the vaccine-causation conspiracy theory stories are not just causing public health issues, but that they are a major tool for charlatans hawking all sorts of abusive “therapies” purported to cure autism as “vaccine injury”. He should.

      • Alain January 20, 2014 at 02:54 #

        I have zero assumptions. I’m just reading the literature.

        Not enough of the literature apparently, you don’t even know that the critical period where the brain form is the 19th day of gestation (which mean pregnancy). I mean, how can you miss the “gestational age” found in so many mice publications (where the critical period is 11-12.5 days)?

        Perhaps you need to read that before getting acquainted with the literature on brain development:

        http://www.amazon.com/Development-Nervous-System-Third-Sanes/dp/012374539X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1390186413&sr=1-1&keywords=development+of+the+nervous+system

        Alain

      • Eric B Baum PhD January 20, 2014 at 04:02 #

        Alain, I’m tired of being insulted. Critical periods are a more general phenomena than you seem to think. Anyway, one thing I was referring to is found here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18596165

      • Alain January 20, 2014 at 04:42 #

        Eric,
        Why do you focus on the postnatal? Development of neurons, synapses and migration of the cells occur prenatally (which is again, referenced in the publications of Dr. Manuel Casanova and Dr. Henry Markram).

        Alain

      • Alain January 20, 2014 at 06:51 #

        Eric,

        I’d like to make a point of something which hasn’t been mentioned here. I don’t even have a bachelor degree and my major was a mix of computer science and business course with a minor in biology consisting of a mix of course in neuroscience, cell and molecular bio, neuropharmacology and a few other courses. And for the publication I helped (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21833294), I needed exactly 2 courses (general bio and neuroscience) and an immense amount of willpower to do it. During that publication, I trained under two cognitive neuroscience investigators, both MD/PhD with one, a psychiatrist, and the other, a neurologist (who’s incidentally, the second author of the publication).

        The interview I aced tonight was to work as a manager hiring autistic adults to work for companies like SAP, Deloitte and other giants. I want to turn my interviewer upside down and get them hiring the 10 000 autistic in Canada as well as the 10 000 in the states to work in various fine companies where they can apply their immense skills in perception of fine details.

        Now what you are doing is a grave disservice to the public health community, the autists community and all the managers that I’m convincing them that they can’t do anything otherwise hiring autistic workers because it will lead them to a much better product quality.

        You are also doing a grave disservices to your child and yourself because the illnesses are much worse than the vaccines protecting these illnesses and by not accepting him/her as it is or what he/she will become. Are you afraid of his future? If so, why don’t you let me create some very fine condition of work for the engineer that he/she will become.

        Accept your child as he/she is and move on from the vaccines cause autism because at the moment, there are a few causes such as valproic acid consumption at 19th day of pregnancy, ultrasound at the 19th day of pregnancy (data coming in for the next IMFAR and a publication coming in in 2015) and natural selection at the gene level over many years (data supporting this hypothesis from 1900-1040 eugenic publications about psychiatric case of daementia praecox, half of which could be diagnosed autistic by current or Kanner standards, earlier case not documented).

        So, do you want to be part of the problem or the solution?

        Alain

    • Alain January 20, 2014 at 02:43 #

      Gestation == Pregnancy.

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/mesh/68011247

      Alain

  8. Eric B Baum PhD January 18, 2014 at 17:25 #

    I also have a question on another paper. I recently read this one: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa021134#t=articleResults

    Now when I run the numbers from their table 2, their raw data are 1.65m person-years of people vaccinated with MMR , with 263 autism cases and 345 ASD.
    and they have .482m person-years unvaccinated with MMR with 53 autism cases and 77 ASD.

    This is 45% more autism in the vaccinated group and 32% more ASD. per person-year Somehow after they feed this into their software and massage it to correct for whatever they correct for, they come up with no overweight. Is there a good explanation of this?

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) January 19, 2014 at 00:16 #

      So, when you emailed the authors, what did they respond? Better yet, when you submitted your full analysis as a response to the paper, what did the editors say?

      • Eric B Baum PhD January 19, 2014 at 00:37 #

        If you know an email address for the lead author, I’d be delighted to try. Googling didn’t turn it up. My full analysis is above.

        Table 2 caption says “relative risk was adjusted for age, sex, calendar period, birth weight, gestational age, mother’s education, and socioeconomic class of the family.” Do you find that satisfying?

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) January 19, 2014 at 01:01 #

        Her email address is on the page you linked to.

    • Chris January 19, 2014 at 05:51 #

      You do know that the MMR vaccine does not contain an adjuvant?

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) January 19, 2014 at 17:34 #

        Apparently he doesn’t.

  9. Eric B Baum PhD January 21, 2014 at 21:30 #

    Sorry, I meant much higher density of autistics among vaccinated population than among non-vaccinated. (Not, of course, higher populations of autistic than non-autistic, which is what I mistakenly wrote above.)

    • Chris January 21, 2014 at 22:08 #

      Here is an idea: go to the top of the page, then scan down the right hand side. There is a box labeled “LB/RB Categories.” Click on it and browse through the several articles that discuss multiple articles on autism, the studies and such that have been posted over the past several years.

      That way the administrator of this blog, Matt Carey, does not have to repeat the same stuff he has been writing about for years. There are articles that discuss papers on both sides of the issue. Then there are articles on population surveys of adults. Along with several on services available or lacking for those with autism.

      • Eric B Baum PhD January 21, 2014 at 23:38 #

        I don’t see a category: How we know vaccinations are not causing autism.

        Help me out here. If you guys are confident its proved, there has to be review article or seminal paper or blog post you could link to that covers the proof.

        I honestly don’t know of a single reason to believe vaccines don’t cause autism, and I’ve been looking, except “the FDA says so and 9 out of 10 doctors agee.”
        If its science, there has to be an accessible proof by definition, not proof by authority.

      • Alain January 22, 2014 at 00:09 #

        Science can’t prove a negative so we have to go with the weight of the evidence (or data) and we (including you) are not perfect and you know it. Considering that the keyword “Child Development Disorders, Pervasive” bring 19228 publications, some good, some not so good and to have a parallel understanding of the issue (such as fetal development) require another set of a huge number of publications (or the book I mentioned). Essentially, you’re asking us to do exactly that in order to exonerate vaccines. Don’t you know that there’s never been a publication citing a thousand ones? Even most books don’t cite as many.

        Where do we draw the line?

        Alain

      • Chris January 22, 2014 at 15:58 #

        “I don’t see a category: How we know vaccinations are not causing autism.”

        Do we have to hold your hand for everything? Just look for any category on vaccinations. There are lots of papers that are discussed. If you can’t find them, despite being given a list twice, then you are on your own. Especially after you start moving the goal posts because the categories are not classified according to your preferences.

        If you are unsatisfied with the articles on this blog, then start your own blog. You are quite welcome to write articles on your own blog with your own evidence.

      • Eric B Baum PhD January 22, 2014 at 16:10 #

        Look, I’m just hoping to learn something. (I’m not really expecting you will admit you all have no good reason to believe vaccines aren’t causing autism, except herd mentality, and a lot of reason to worry.)

        So I’ll make it real easy. The original blog post was about T&S, a paper suggesting the aluminum in vaccines causes autism. it made an epidemiological argument, which was perhaps debunked above, but arguing they used the wrong data doesn’t disprove the hypothesis. It also made biological arguments, some of which I summarized, which have not been addressed.
        If you believe it has been shown that vaccines don’t cause autism, then you presumably believe it has been shown aluminum adjuvants in vaccines don’t cause autism.

        I want to learn something. You don’t want to supply the whole literature. OK. Point me at (1) one epidemiological study you believe proves aluminum adjuvants don’t cause autism, and/or one animal study you believe refutes the cited animal study that showed aluminum adjuvants injected into pre-weaning mice cause brain damage.

      • Chris January 22, 2014 at 16:53 #

        “I want to learn something. You don’t want to supply the whole literature.”

        Except you are not even trying. You have been provided with a list twice, and you have failed to even properly read the first paper. Essentially dealing with you is a waste of time.

        Go create your own blog, and critique each and every one of the papers in that list. Perhaps the ones in these pages:
        http://www.immunize.org/journalarticles/

        You’ve been given the basic tools, the rest is up to you.

      • Eric B Baum PhD January 22, 2014 at 18:00 #

        Yeah, I assume you are referring to Stefano. What was wrong with my read?

    • ChaoticPharma September 24, 2014 at 00:07 #

      “I want to learn something. You don’t want to supply the whole literature. OK. Point me at (1) one epidemiological study you believe proves aluminum adjuvants don’t cause autism, and/or one animal study you believe refutes the cited animal study that showed aluminum adjuvants injected into pre-weaning mice cause brain damage.” – Eric Baum

      Response:

      Let me point you that your arguments are supported by a fallacy:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_ignorance

  10. Jules February 19, 2014 at 13:03 #

    I’ve just read all the comments on this post and found the majority of them to be very condescending towards one person; Eric B Baum PhD. He has not deserved this as his posts have been completely polite.

    It seems that because he is curious to find a study to prove adjuvants are safe and no one has provided a definitive study, he has been singled out and insulted.

    The only reasonable comment to try to answer his consistently and polite question was “you can’t prove a negative”.

    Its a shame to see such arrogance.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) February 19, 2014 at 14:25 #

      It’s nice that you feel the need to come to his defense. Do you have anything to say about the actual discussion at hand?

    • Eric B Baum PhD February 19, 2014 at 16:14 #

      The problem is not that I can’t find a definitive study. The problem is I can’t find a single paper in the entire peer-reviewed literature that presents empirical results on the question of whether injecting aluminum adjuvants into infants is safe, except for the many I’ve found that find it to be dangerous. No survey article cites such a paper, for example. No editorial saying their safe cites such a paper. Every epidemiological article I’ve found studies another issue and is not sensitive to aluminum, except those that argue aluminum is correlated with autism and the like, of which there are several. Every lab experiment involving injections finds danger and damage as well.

      • EpiMom March 14, 2014 at 13:06 #

        I’ve just read through this entire thread looking for the same information as Eric.

        Eric, in one of the links *you* provided, I found this:

        “In addition to atopic disorders, we further compared diseases—such as obstructive bronchitis, pneumonia and otitis media, heart disease, anemia, epilepsy, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)—in unvaccinated and vaccinated subjects. No relevant differences in the lifetime prevalences were found, neither for different age groups nor between girls and boys. Schneeweiß et al. conducted a comprehensive literature review of vaccine safety, the central part of which was the evaluation of vaccine critical arguments on the basis of the current state of scientific knowledge. None of the hypotheses were found to be valid (5).”

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3057555/

      • natphilosopher March 14, 2014 at 14:21 #

        I’ve read that link, and I understand that in the summary they say that. They also say in the abstract:

        Unvaccinated children aged 1–5 years had a median number of 3.3 (2.1–4.6) infectious diseases in the past year, compared to 4.2 (4.1–4.4) in vaccinated children. Among 11- to 17-year-olds, the corresponding figures were 1.9 (1.0–2.8) (unvaccinated) versus 2.2 (2.1–2.3) (vaccinated). The lifetime prevalence of at least one atopic disease among 1- to 5-year-olds was 12.6% (5.0%–28.3%) in unvaccinated children and 15.0% (13.6%–16.4%) in vaccinated children.

        Also, they only had 94 unvaccinated individuals out of 17,641 total in the survey. Not only does that hurt their statistics for obvious reasons, (and you don’t see them talking about autistics), but the unvaccinated group are 2.5 standard deviations behind the mean in propensity to get vaccinated, which is likely correlated with some other confounding factor
        making it very hard to judge the value of their results.

        If you compare these 13000 kids to the online survey of 13000 kids, they have something like 1/5 of the chronic diseases as reported there. That may have its own confounding factors, but there’s no immediate reason to believe those confounding factors are worse than whatever is in this report.

        If you are interested, I recommend checking out
        http://whyarethingsthisway.com/2014/03/08/example-1-pediatrician-belief-is-opposite-the-published-scientific-evidence-on-early-vaccine-safety/

  11. Kyle February 25, 2015 at 15:51 #

    I realize this has sat for about a year now… and that the comments stopped as soon as natphilosopher spelled out the clear difference in health of non-vaccinated… just wondering though Eric B Baum PhD if you are still around if you have yet found a study in the last year proving the question of whether injecting aluminum adjuvants into infants is safe?

    • Lawrence February 25, 2015 at 16:52 #

      @Kyle – perhaps you should read the most recent article posted on this site, which showed that a study, done by SafeMinds no less, found no issues with the current vaccine schedule.

      • natphilosopher February 25, 2015 at 17:20 #

        That study is quite interesting, the first study I’ve ever seen comparing more to less vaccines and not concluding more cause damage, but note the comment on the pubmed page:
        Dan Laks2015 Feb 20 10:31 p.m. (4 days ago)edited 0 of 2 people found this helpful

        Supplementary Figure 5 clearly shows a drastic reduction in learning in the thimerosal exposed group. The authors discussion: “In the present study animals in the TCV group appeared to perform poorer than controls in learning set testing but showed little evidence that their responses had organized into a strategy that was different from that of the control group.In fact, the reported difference was only found in the overall mean averaged across all of the blocks and trials, not in their learning across trials or blocks, which is the outcome needed to indicate a strategy difference.” But in fact, a deficit in learning seems to be in multiple groups, for if one looks at group E, there seems to be a slope difference from the control signifying a key difference between exposures for learning strategy. These results are not reported. Perhaps Supplemental Figure 5 results should have been the title of this study instead: “Ethylmercury from vaccines reduces learning capacity.”

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) February 25, 2015 at 17:45 #

        “the first study I’ve ever seen comparing more to less vaccines and not concluding more cause damage,”

        I’ve noticed over the time you’ve commented here that you frequently tell us that you weren’t able to find facts that are in the public domain. The fact that you haven’t found something doesn’t say much.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) February 25, 2015 at 17:49 #

        And that comment has been discussed at length, including by Mr. Laks on this blog.

        Mr. Laks was incorrect in his comment, taking a single result out of context and trying to make it the entire crux of the study.

      • Lawrence February 25, 2015 at 17:30 #

        @Nat – given who funded the study, don’t you think they would have trumpeted those results from the highest mountain, if they meant anything at all?

      • natphilosopher February 25, 2015 at 17:40 #

        Then why didn’t they? They have the data.

        I don’t play the game of looking at whose funding or at who I don’t like. I look at the results, the data. The only time I would consider the personages would be if I suspected the data had been simply fabricated. On the other hand, I’ve learned to never pay attention to the extraneous opinions authors insert in their papers and abstracts about their results, which typically reflect the prevailing crowd think.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) February 25, 2015 at 17:47 #

        “given who funded the study, don’t you think they would have trumpeted those results from the highest mountain, if they meant anything at all?”

        Well, as I know you are aware, they do mean something. There were previous studies using the same animal model that (being generous with ignoring the huge flaws notable even then) suggest vaccines were causing harm. This study demonstrates that the previous studies were incorrect.

      • Lawrence February 25, 2015 at 17:46 #

        Because the study was funded by SafeMinds – who have a vested interest in confirming a link between vaccines and autism…not to mention that one of the study authors was a plaintiff in the Vaccine Court.

        If they don’t believe that supplemental information means something, then it doesn’t…..

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) February 25, 2015 at 17:43 #

      ” and that the comments stopped as soon as natphilosopher spelled out the clear difference in health of non-vaccinated…”

      Nice attempt at spin. Natphilosopher commented first in February and the discussion ended a month later.

  12. Gordon October 21, 2016 at 22:19 #

    Maybe this isn’t the right thread but I have a question that is definitely relevant in the bigger picture…it has to do with studying vaccinated vs. unvaccinated groups. I’ve seen the hearings in which C. Boyle admitted the CDC have never conducted such studies. Doesn’t that seem incredibly odd given how useful they might be in validating their case for both vaccine safety and efficacy?

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) October 23, 2016 at 03:49 #

      When were the CDC funded to do such a study? Answer: they haven’t.

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