Another large study shows no link between autism and the MMR vaccine (or, a comment on “Autism Occurrence by MMR Vaccine Status Among US Children With Older Siblings With and Without Autism”

22 Apr

Autism is not associated with the MMR vaccine. The MMR vaccine does not increase autism risk. To put it in plain language: the MMR vaccine does not cause autism.

Just in case the message gets lost in this discussion, I figured I’d put it plainly at the start.

A study out today compares autism rates and the use of the MMR vaccine. In specific, the researchers looked at children with an older sibling. In this way they could look at kids in a high risk group, those who had an older sibling who is autistic. The authors also looked at kids who had older siblings who are not autistic. In the end the authors found “receipt of the MMR vaccine was not associated with increased risk of ASD, regardless of whether older siblings had ASD”.

To put it simply, kids who got the MMR vaccine were not more likely to be autistic. It doesn’t matter if their older siblings were autistic or not. So, “high risk” or not, the MMR vaccine doesn’t increase autism risk.

Another way to say it, parents who skipped the MMR vaccine did nothing to prevent autism in their younger kids. Nothing. They did leave their younger kids vulnerable to measles infection.

Here’s the abstract.

Autism Occurrence by MMR Vaccine Status Among US Children With Older Siblings With and Without Autism.

IMPORTANCE:
Despite research showing no link between the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism spectrum disorders (ASD), beliefs that the vaccine causes autism persist, leading to lower vaccination levels. Parents who already have a child with ASD may be especially wary of vaccinations.

OBJECTIVE:
To report ASD occurrence by MMR vaccine status in a large sample of US children who have older siblings with and without ASD.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS:
A retrospective cohort study using an administrative claims database associated with a large commercial health plan. Participants included children continuously enrolled in the health plan from birth to at least 5 years of age during 2001-2012 who also had an older sibling continuously enrolled for at least 6 months between 1997 and 2012.

EXPOSURES:
MMR vaccine receipt (0, 1, 2 doses) between birth and 5 years of age.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES:
ASD status defined as 2 claims with a diagnosis code in any position for autistic disorder or other specified pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) including Asperger syndrome, or unspecified PDD (International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification 299.0x, 299.8x, 299.9x).

RESULTS:
Of 95 727 children with older siblings, 994 (1.04%) were diagnosed with ASD and 1929 (2.01%) had an older sibling with ASD. Of those with older siblings with ASD, 134 (6.9%) had ASD, vs 860 (0.9%) children with unaffected siblings (P < .001). MMR vaccination rates (≥1 dose) were 84% (n = 78 564) at age 2 years and 92% (n = 86 063) at age 5 years for children with unaffected older siblings, vs 73% (n = 1409) at age 2 years and 86% (n = 1660) at age 5 years for children with affected siblings. MMR vaccine receipt was not associated with an increased risk of ASD at any age. For children with older siblings with ASD, at age 2, the adjusted relative risk (RR) of ASD for 1 dose of MMR vaccine vs no vaccine was 0.76 (95% CI, 0.49-1.18; P = .22), and at age 5, the RR of ASD for 2 doses compared with no vaccine was 0.56 (95% CI, 0.31-1.01; P = .052). For children whose older siblings did not have ASD, at age 2, the adjusted RR of ASD for 1 dose was 0.91 (95% CI, 0.67-1.20; P = .50) and at age 5, the RR of ASD for 2 doses was 1.12 (95% CI, 0.78-1.59; P = .55).

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE:
In this large sample of privately insured children with older siblings, receipt of the MMR vaccine was not associated with increased risk of ASD, regardless of whether older siblings had ASD. These findings indicate no harmful association between MMR vaccine receipt and ASD even among children already at higher risk for ASD.


By Matt Carey

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171 Responses to “Another large study shows no link between autism and the MMR vaccine (or, a comment on “Autism Occurrence by MMR Vaccine Status Among US Children With Older Siblings With and Without Autism””

  1. drbrocktagon April 22, 2015 at 23:41 #

    Worth noting that the paper itself is open access. Available here: http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2275444

  2. oil painting April 23, 2015 at 04:45 #

    Many autistic children have a unique talent that God gave him shut the door, but it opens a window

  3. Dave April 23, 2015 at 11:45 #

    For many years, you have discounted the results of studies that were not double-blind, or at least single-blind. Yet in this case, you promote a study with (at least) one large sampling error: Parents who notice early communication delays are less likely to vaccinate their children.

    This is a known problem with other statistical samples, and has led to some obviously incorrect conclusions. The most common error is to imply that vaccines protect against autism. In actual practice, what happened was that the parents identified the autism early, and added hundreds (maybe thousands) of cases to the part of the sample that was labeled “unvaccinated yet autistic.”

    The study authors admitted to the statistical problem, and then dismissed it as “not significant” without evidence. In fact, sine the immunization rate in their sample were “4% to 14% lower” than nationally reported rates, the selection error could easily account for more than 100% of their results.

    In this study, because they were dealing with experienced parents, the likelihood of the parents detecting early communication problems was much higher than for first-time parents. In the case of parents with older ASD siblings, much, much higher.

    In addition, the study adjusted out children with seizures and children with vaccine allergy, both of which are positively associated with autism. There is a fine line between removing confounding statistics and pre-selecting the result. After all, vaccine allergy is one of the factors that parents believed was causing the autism in the first place. If you are using statistics to study causal relationships, you can’t eliminate known correlations based on a theory that they are not causal. You have to test that theory, and then accept it or reject it.

    This study has all the hallmarks of researchers who made their minds up in advance, and then selected and explained in order to achieve a desired result.

    In the past, this website (and many, many others) have rejected similar studies for making the opposite selection decisions, and then coming to the opposite conclusion. The battle cry on this website has been “correlation does not imply causation”. Yet you are perfectly willing to accept a study that plainly states that “lack of correlation proves lack of causation.”

    This is a double standard, and you know it.

    • usethebrainsgodgiveyou April 23, 2015 at 12:45 #

      Dave, on the recent PBS special, Vaccines, Calling the Shots it was pushed that one in one million kids had an allergic reaction to vaccine. Remember the visual of 10 football stadiums filled to get 1 child that had an “allergic reaction” ? ~~~~rare~~~~ implying that parents who say their kid had a reaction must be nutty. That gobsmacked me because I knew HHE’s were 1in 7000 with the DTaP. (which was 1/7 the risk of the DTwP that we no longer use even though Pertussis rates are climbing among the vaccinated because the DTaP is less effective.) It seemed so “truthy” that I couldn’t have forgotten that if I tried.Yet how many parents swallowed that line “for the greater good.”

      ” Brian Zikmund-Fisher, Ph.D., a psychologist and risk specialist at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, puts this risk in perspective: “You’d need about 10 football stadiums, each with 100,000 people, to find a single serious allergic reaction to a vaccine,” he said in the news release.”

      I figured the operative word was “allergic” and said as much in a tweet. Guess this study shows “allergic” must be much higher than 1 in 1,000,000.

      The second incongruency I found in this study was the enormously high rate of unvaccinated kids. I don’t know anything about statistics, but I know the Lewin group spoke in an earlier version that 5% of kids not showing having been vaccinated was way over the accepted amount of 0.3%, I believe it was. This looks like 15%, rather than the 0.3% a number 50 times higher than would be expected.

      Where did the get the ~15,000 out of 95,000, or am I reading it wrong?

    • Science Mom April 23, 2015 at 13:42 #

      For many years, you have discounted the results of studies that were not double-blind, or at least single-blind. Yet in this case, you promote a study with (at least) one large sampling error: Parents who notice early communication delays are less likely to vaccinate their children.

      Perhaps you would like to give an example. If a study is appropriate to perform in a blinded fashion and wasn’t done so, this is wrong. But how is a retrospective observational study such as this supposed to be blinded?

      This is a known problem with other statistical samples, and has led to some obviously incorrect conclusions. The most common error is to imply that vaccines protect against autism. In actual practice, what happened was that the parents identified the autism early, and added hundreds (maybe thousands) of cases to the part of the sample that was labeled “unvaccinated yet autistic.”

      The study authors admitted to the statistical problem, and then dismissed it as “not significant” without evidence. In fact, sine the immunization rate in their sample were “4% to 14% lower” than nationally reported rates, the selection error could easily account for more than 100% of their results.

      The authors actually addressed this in detail and also ran subsequent bias analyses on variables which could have affected the outcome either way. You can’t fault the authors for being unable to account for every possible variable when they don’t have access to that information. Not like Brian Hooker who did have access to numerous confounding variables but intentionally withheld them from analysis.

      In addition, the study adjusted out children with seizures and children with vaccine allergy, both of which are positively associated with autism. There is a fine line between removing confounding statistics and pre-selecting the result. After all, vaccine allergy is one of the factors that parents believed was causing the autism in the first place. If you are using statistics to study causal relationships, you can’t eliminate known correlations based on a theory that they are not causal. You have to test that theory, and then accept it or reject it.

      They didn’t “adjust out” children with seizures and children with vaccine allergies. They were fixed covariates and the authors identified several others which were controlled for. Are you saying that you don’t control for confounding variables when you are trying to examine a single risk factor eg. MMR receipt? How is that appropriate in any way?

      This study has all the hallmarks of researchers who made their minds up in advance, and then selected and explained in order to achieve a desired result.

      Nope, it sounds more like a.) you don’t know how to read studies and b.) you don’t like the outcome.

      In the past, this website (and many, many others) have rejected similar studies for making the opposite selection decisions, and then coming to the opposite conclusion.

      Give examples please because it looks like you are just making excuses.

      • truluv4u April 25, 2015 at 18:48 #

        Always consider the source – for potential biases and financial interests. Dave is correct. This study, like most pharmaceutically funded ones, clearly had an advance intended outcome.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 26, 2015 at 01:24 #

        Same as Dave, you didn’t read the study and made a bad assumption. One negated by the facts.

      • Lawrence April 25, 2015 at 20:53 #

        Yes, let’s consider the source…..it’s right there in the paper. Just shows that you haven’t actually read it.

    • Chris April 23, 2015 at 17:30 #

      “Parents who notice early communication delays are less likely to vaccinate their children. ”

      Do you have verifiable statistics for that? Our son had a definite communication delay yet h was vaccinated as per schedule except for pertussis, this was the late 1980’s. He had neonatal seizures and due Barbara Loe Fisher’s scaremongering he only got the DT vaccine. This was when our county had a pertussis outbreak. Thanks Ms. Fisher!

      There are a couple of timing issues with you assertions, First communication delays are usually identified after the second birthday, which is long after the first rounds of vaccines, including MMR. So what vaccines are delayed?

      Also the first MMR vaccine was introduced in the USA in 1971. If MMR was associated with autism it would have been noticed in the USA before the UK as it is a much larger country using MMR much longer. Where is the verifiable documentation dated before 1990 that autism in the USA increased during the 1970s and 1980’s?

      • Roger Kulp April 24, 2015 at 14:51 #

        Longer ago than that.I was watching this video on YouTube,about the pioneering women who developed the pertussis vaccine.One of the great untold stories of modern medicine.

        At 4:32,this guy talks about how thimerosal was first use in vaccines in the Netherlands in the 1930s.Would I be correct to assume by the 1940s thimerosal was in general use for more types of vaccine than pertussis?

        I do believe Olmstead,and others,have claimed that vaccines,in general,are one of the reasons Kanner discovered autism when he did.That and teething medication.That Pink’s Disease was really autism,or something like that.I can’t keep all the stories straight that AoA has put out.

        Anyway if thimerosal was in wide use that long ago,we would have seen dramatically large numbers of autistic children by at least the 1950s.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 23, 2015 at 20:08 #

      “In addition, the study adjusted out children with seizures and children with vaccine allergy, both of which are positively associated with autism. There is a fine line between removing confounding statistics and pre-selecting the result.”

      Did you get that from reading the paper or reading critiques by vaccine antagonistic people? Because it is wrong.

      Here’s the sentence you are referring to

      “Separate claims-based indicators of the presence of seizures and vaccine-related allergies in the index child were included as time-varying covariates because they are possible contraindications to vaccines and are potentially associated with ASD status.”

      Both the adjusted and non adjusted results were given in the paper. Here are those results.

      The adjusted risk ratios are HIGHER than the non adjusted. I.e. they didn’t “adjust out” this subset.

      • Dave April 23, 2015 at 21:36 #

        So you are telling me that children with seizures and/or vaccine allergies are less likely to have autism? That doesn’t make sense. The connection between autism and epilepsy is well-researched.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 23, 2015 at 21:53 #

        How did you get that question from my comment.

        Let’s make this very simple–you complained that “In addition, the study adjusted out children with seizures and children with vaccine allergy, both of which are positively associated with autism. ”

        I pointed out that the unadjusted data are included in the study. They give the same result. Hence, your complaint is moot.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 23, 2015 at 21:58 #

        Now the second point:

        in the adjusted analysis, the results show a *higher* relative risk. Still no association, but higher RR. By the logic of your complaint, the relative risk should have gone down when they did the adjusted analysis.

        All very simple, very straightforward. So simple and straightforward that I was moved to postulate that you hadn’t read the paper. But, given how you misunderstood my simple and straighforward response, I now retract that postulation. I’m quite willing to believe you just misunderstood the simple and straightforward statement in the paper.

      • Dave April 24, 2015 at 03:04 #

        First you said the unadjusted data “gave the same result”. Then you said the adjusted data shows a “higher relative risk”. How is a higher relative risk the same result?

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 24, 2015 at 03:29 #

        Same result as in no statistically significant association. Both are the same in that regard.

        The relative risk calculation goes the opposite way your complaint would predict. May not be statistically significant but it goes the opposite way. You can avoid acknowledging that but it doesn’t change the fact.

      • Dave April 26, 2015 at 02:01 #

        Matt: I know what you are saying, I am just not sure that I buy it. In the table you presented, for example, the unvaccinated group tells a specific story at 2 years old. For the group with typical siblings, 66 out of 93 thousand were judged to be autistic, or about 0.07%. 13 of these children were unvaccinated, or a rate of over 0.08% of the unvaccinated population.

        As the chart demonstrates, the difference between .07% and .08% is considered statistically significant. (In fact, that is the whole point of the paper. The null hypothesis was rejected entirely based on the weight of this observation.)

        In order for those numbers to change by a risk factor of 0.1 through adjustment, that means they would have had to eliminate literally hundreds of children who were vaccinated and not autistic, or at about two (more than one, less than two) who were unvaccinated and autistic.

        Assuming that we are talking about the second group, the difference between .07% and .08% is also about two individuals. (In this case, more than two, less than three)

        So the difference between statistically significant and statistically immaterial is one individual?

        Statistically, though, I can see how such events happen. There were two individuals who were un-vaccinated and also epileptic, or unvaccinated due to a known vaccine allergy. They were excluded from the survey results, even though they also happened to be autistic. By excluding them, the survey looks less convincing than it otherwise would. This is admirable, on the part of the researchers, since these are people that support their case.

        The research is presented honestly, and I am not making the argument that vaccines cause autism. I am just saying that I understand how parents leap to that conclusion. In my immediate group of friends, we know a child who was developing typically, speaking, making eye contact and so on. Shortly after his vaccine he developed a fever, and then stopped talking. In the years since he has barely talked, and only rarely smiled. Medical science has gone to great lengths to tell these parents that their observation was incorrect, and that it was a coincidence.

        What medical science has not done is offer any help. No medication has helped, no therapy has made any significant progress, and no one has answered the question: “If it was not the vaccine, then what was it?”

        Genetically speaking, doctors are prepared to make the statement that the child was already autistic, and that his regression was triggered by something else. OK, so what was it then? Was the trigger a normal developmental stage in the course of autism, or was it the fever?

        And medical science is only prepared to answer this question in the negative. They are only prepared to say that it was not the vaccine, and that the fever was perfectly safe. Well, that is not helpful. Please forgive the thousands of parents who think this is just the vaccine industry covering their assets.

        I completely understand the argument that the vaccine industry is making. Our son is fully vaccinated, based on our theory that the disease would be worse than the vaccine. But just once, I would like to hear someone in the industry admit that it is a calculated risk, and stop insulting the parents who view the risk differently than Merck does.

        I am not trying to pick on this study in particular, I am just saying that that you have poked holes in other studies that used roughly the same epidemiological methods to come to (slightly) different conclusions. Are you claiming that you have not?

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 26, 2015 at 02:08 #

        “What medical science has not done is offer any help. No medication has helped, no therapy has made any significant progress, and no one has answered the question: “If it was not the vaccine, then what was it?””

        What does this have to do with the discussion of the validity of the study? Nothing. It is, however, a common argument thrown in to help convince parents that (a) vaccines are behind an epidemic and (b) they should use whatever fake medicine is sold to them to “heal vaccine injury”

        “I am not trying to pick on this study in particular, I am just saying that that you have poked holes in other studies that used roughly the same epidemiological methods to come to (slightly) different conclusions. ”

        Show me one and let’s discuss.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 26, 2015 at 02:15 #

        “But just once, I would like to hear someone in the industry admit that it is a calculated risk, and stop insulting the parents who view the risk differently than Merck does”

        What is a “calculated risk”? Vaccines causing autism? Where’s the calculation?

        “Genetically speaking, doctors are prepared to make the statement that the child was already autistic, and that his regression was triggered by something else.”

        It isn’t just genetic. There’s evidence such as Prof. Amaral presented that children who regress show signs well before the regression. Increased brain growth.

        I understand how parents leap to the conclusion. I know many who made the leap, and many of those who then took a closer look and changed their minds.

      • Dave April 29, 2015 at 04:16 #

        Matt, If you are wondering where I am getting the .07% and .08%, I am just quoting the table that you posted. If you look in the upper left-hand corner of the table, you will see that I am not making those numbers up. If, as you say, this represents the entire population, then that means the researchers either used the same subject children at different ages, or added the statistics together themselves.

        The next question was when you have ever attacked another study for making the same mistakes. Well, let’s start with https://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2009/09/17/another-weak-study-proves-vaccines-cause-autism/.

        The study in question was the Hep B study (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21058170), but I have always thought the obsession with the MMR vaccine was a straw man. It is not unusual in “scientific” journals to publish a study that finds no causal link to MMR, and then see the mass media trumpet the result by saying: “New study proves that all vaccines are unrelated to autism.”

        We both know that happens, and we both know it isn’t true. First of all, there is a link, (it is just not a causal link). Second of all, proving that MMR is safe does not automatically prove that all vaccines are safe.

        You can’t demand rigid adherence to scientific publishing protocol for everyone who disagrees with you, and then play fast-and-loose with people who agree.

        Your final point was that I was getting off the subject when I defended parents who watched their children regress after getting vaccines. I don’t think it is off the point at all. While there might be a few parents who opted out of vaccines because they are hysterical and uninformed, there might also be people who opted out based on their personal experience.

        This is not a personal attack on you, because you have always been polite to such parents, but quite a few other people have not.

        I have been attacked on this board and others for defending the right of parents to their own observation. I have been called hysterical, stupid, and evil. In this thread, people have insisted that if I want to have my own opinion, then I have to defend the work of McCarthy or Wakefield, neither of whom I have even read.

        And I actually vaccinated my son. Imagine what people face who decided not to.

        So no, I don’t think it is off the point at all. Until medical science can offer something better than “it isn’t our fault”, then I forgive parents for trying omega-3, chiropractic, GFCF diets, zinc and magnesium pills, and even aromatherapy. And yes, even vaccine avoidance.

        If a parent witnessed a regression after a vaccine, then it is a heartless and cruel society that forces them to go out and get another. Particularly when the only science supporting the safety of the vaccine is a hodgepodge of epidemiological data that really only addresses the concerns of neurotypically healthy children.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 29, 2015 at 17:56 #

        Let’s start with the most important part of your comment, if I may be so bold as to claim that this is it:
        “If a parent witnessed a regression after a vaccine, then it is a heartless and cruel society that forces them to go out and get another.”

        It is a heartless and cruel segment of society that tries to convince a parent that vaccines are at fault when the science goes against that claim. When people use the arguments of a “vaccine epidemic” to instill guilt and desperation in parents when the evidence is extremely clear that this is a false argument.

        Aside from the damage caused to the parents, this notion has been damaging to the autistic community as well. One aspect of that is the fact that the “vaccine epidemic” idea is a cornerstone of the sales pitch for fake cures sold to the autism community and subjected upon autistics.

      • Dave April 30, 2015 at 20:37 #

        Matt, If I were personally running around and trying to convince parents that vaccines are to blame for their children’s autism, then I would feel bad about that. But that is not what I am saying at all.

        There are parents out there who have made up their own minds based on their personal observation. Many of these came to this conclusion without ever hearing the name “Wakefield” or “McCarthy”. There is a chorus in the medical community telling these parents that their own observations are at best misleading, and at worst, outright lies.

        I am not saying that we need to believe every such parent, I am just suggesting that we should listen to them before we dismiss what they are saying. I am also suggesting that this particular study is not strong enough to use as ammunition against distraught parents.

        There are plenty of people on the web (and in this thread, apparently) who adhere to the fringe position that every pro-vaccine study is fake, or that vaccines are a sort of chemtrail used to sell us untested medicines and Nick Jonas music.

        I understand why you can’t give the time of day to fanatics. I really do. But I don’t understand why you have to lump me in with the fanatics in every response. I am not selling fake cures, nor using the term “epidemic” unless describing bad voting habits.

        Isn’t there some middle ground here? Can’t we agree that there might be some kids that experience disproportionately bad vaccine reactions? Is there a Merck poster somewhere that says: “No prisoners!”?

        Because if there is, it should say “On to Aqaba!”

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 30, 2015 at 22:18 #

        “I am just suggesting that we should listen to them before we dismiss what they are saying.”

        Why is it always this false dichotomy? I listen. The scientific community has and continues to listen–hence the fact that they are still testing the question. I’ve been checking stories for about 10 years. There’s one that seemed to have some validity.

        “I understand why you can’t give the time of day to fanatics. I really do.’

        Funny how you “understand” a position I do not take. You really do.

        I don’t dismiss people as “fanatics” nor do I dismiss people who actually are fanatics. Nor do I lump you in with fanatics.

        “Isn’t there some middle ground here? Can’t we agree that there might be some kids that experience disproportionately bad vaccine reactions? Is there a Merck poster somewhere that says: “No prisoners!”?”

        Who denies that there are vaccine reactions? Not me. Not Merck even. The question here is not whether adverse reactions to vaccine occur, but whether autism is an adverse reaction to vaccines. One part of that argument is whether the MMR vaccine increases autism risk. Well, it was a question, but it has been asked and answered repeatedly. No “hodgepodge” of studies, but good science, replicated, showing that the MMR vaccine does not increase autism risk. Such as the study above. Another question is whether thimerosal in vaccines increases autism risk. Again, question asked, people took it seriously and answered the question and the answer is no: thimerosal doesn’t increase autism risk. A related question to these two is whether the MMR vaccine and/or thimerosal are behind the increase in autism rates observed in the past 8 decades. They aren’t. Asked, answered. Taken seriously. Not dismissed. No one rejected as a “fanatic” (your word, not mine). Aside from your straw man arguments, you haven’t acknowledged any of these facts.

        You can’t ask for “middle ground” when you give no indication that you give ground. Perhaps I missed it. Where have you accepted the above facts? You don’t appear to. You discount the science as a “hodgepodge” while clearly not understanding it. For example, your mistake above in thinking that the entire conclusion of the study was based on one sub result and that sub result was not statistically significant. Failing to even acknowledge your mistake hasn’t helped you establish yourself as a person who can ask for “middle ground”.

        Telling parents, “yeah, you’re right, the science that has answered these questions isn’t good” when in fact it is good and when in fact you don’t have a good handle on it is not showing them respect. It’s supporting what is for many, if not all, a false and damaging position.

        I do appreciate the Lawrence of Arabia quotes, though.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 29, 2015 at 18:04 #

        “Particularly when the only science supporting the safety of the vaccine is a hodgepodge of epidemiological data that really only addresses the concerns of neurotypically healthy children.”

        Odd, you have not demonstrated a knowledge of nor an expertise in the epidemiological evidence, but you disparage it and mischaracterize it. Addressing the question of whether vaccines increase autism risk is a concern of and a demand of a segment of the autism parent community. But you mischaracterize that as “concerns of neurotypically healthy children”.

        You admit you haven’t read Wakefield’s work. But you claim to have the expertise to characterize the epidemiological evidence as “hodgepodge”. If you aren’t up on the literature, it may appear a hodgepodge. If you ignore that the evidence is not just epidemiological but biological (e.g. the Hornig/Lipkin MMR study, the fact that autism and mercury poisoning are very distinct in presentation).

        It is interesting that you feel that a number of studies that look at the question of vaccine causation from various angles as a “hodgepodge”. It’s called replication.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 29, 2015 at 18:05 #

        “…Imagine what people face who decided not to.”

        Disease.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 29, 2015 at 18:17 #

        “I have been attacked on this board and others for defending the right of parents to their own observation.”

        And you have characterized my actions on this blog as attacks. Which is in itself an attack by you, should I chose to use the same measures as you.

        As to defending the rights of parents to their own observations, that is spin on your part. You are not criticized for defending a any right to observation. But for supporting the ideas that people come to following their observations, ideas which are damaging and which are encouraged by your false logic, that is worthy of criticism. Should you wish a forum where you can say whatever you wish and no one will disagree, you have indeed found the wrong place.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 29, 2015 at 18:43 #

        “We both know that happens, and we both know it isn’t true. First of all, there is a link, (it is just not a causal link). Second of all, proving that MMR is safe does not automatically prove that all vaccines are safe.”

        You inserted the “all” into the mock article title you gave. Yep, journalists take a shorthand. As do commenters here sometimes. For example, one person wrote “Numerous studies have proven that vaccines do not cause autism in a single generation. ” Is that person wrong for implying that all vaccines have been proven to not cause autism? (that person as you likely suspect is you).

        Which is to say, you are the one who is guilty of “You can’t demand rigid adherence to scientific publishing protocol for everyone who disagrees with you, and then play fast-and-loose with people who agree.”

        You are asking for journalists to adhere to a strict guideline of reporting language. Not just journalists, but everyone. That’s been your thesis for most of this entire thread.

        I have no idea what you mean by “there is a link, (it is just not a causal link).”

        Proving the MMR is safe shows that the primary argument that vaccines cause autism is false. Show me one organization that promotes vaccine causation that accepts the fact that their main arguments are false.

        They cling to the idea that the MMR causes autism. In spite of evidence.

        They cling to the idea that thimorosal causes autism. In spite of evidence.

        They cling to the idea that the rise in autism rates is caused by vaccines, in spite of the fact that a single exposure (such as vaccines) doesn’t fit the data given the way the reported autism rates vary by location, by race/ethnicity and that the rate of increase in reported autism also varies by subgroup.

        The people who are promoting this damaging idea are “playing fast and loose” with their language.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 29, 2015 at 18:44 #

        “The next question was when you have ever attacked another study for making the same mistakes. Well, let’s start with https://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2009/09/17/another-weak-study-proves-vaccines-cause-autism/.”

        What in there is an attack. You are “playing fast and loose” with that term and I’d like you to back that up.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 29, 2015 at 18:54 #

        Now, let’s compare my discussion of that HepB study with the current study.

        Did you miss the fact that the HepB study is basically comparing kids born in the 1980’s with kids born in the 1990’s? The kids who didn’t get the HepB vaccine were largely born in the 1980’s, a time when autism rates were lower. Any change in that period of time would look like a correlation.

        The study authors were comparing dissimilar groups and claiming that the only difference that explained the difference in autism rates was the HepB vaccine. That’s a fatal flaw and I would have rejected the paper (had I been a referee) on that very valid, scientific point.

        You have not brought up anything similar in the current MMR study.

        The HepB study was based on surveys which, while useful for some work, involve a number of weaknesses. Diagnoses are parent reported, not actually documented in a medical record.

        Shall I go on?

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 29, 2015 at 19:15 #

        “It is not unusual in “scientific” journals to publish a study that finds no causal link to MMR, and then see the mass media trumpet the result by saying: “New study proves that all vaccines are unrelated to autism.””

        I just entered the title of the study into Google for a news article search. Here are the top hits.

        All the top articles are showing a careful use of MMR in the title, not “all vaccines”

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 29, 2015 at 20:33 #

        “Matt, If you are wondering where I am getting the .07% and .08%, I am just quoting the table that you posted. If you look in the upper left-hand corner of the table, you will see that I am not making those numbers up. If, as you say, this represents the entire population, then that means the researchers either used the same subject children at different ages, or added the statistics together themselves.”

        Not wondering where the numbers come from, but why you present them in the way you do.

        Let’s take the 2 year old group
        53 out of 77,822, 1 dose, vaccinated

        13 out of 15,249, unvaccinated.

        I did an AB test using this calculator, http://abtestguide.com/calc/, and got that the group are different even with a confidence level of 99% (not just the 95% normally used).

        Here’s the graph for that that shows the difference between 0.07% and 0.085% given these numbers.

        Perhaps I’m using too simple of a statistical test. What test do you want to show? Or are you asserting that 0.07% and 0.085% can never be different from a statistical point of view?

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 30, 2015 at 18:13 #

        Waiting for a response, Dave. You either missed the above comment or are ignoring it.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 26, 2015 at 03:07 #

        “The null hypothesis was rejected entirely based on the weight of this observation.”

        really? They ignored ALL the rest of the data? the other age groups? The hundreds of other autistic kids were just thrown out?

        ” For the group with typical siblings, 66 out of 93 thousand were judged to be autistic, or about 0.07%. 13 of these children were unvaccinated, or a rate of over 0.08% of the unvaccinated population.”

        Do me a favor–justify why you divide the unvaccinated 2 year olds by the total sample number (all ages, all vaccination statuses, all diagnoses). Because it makes zero sense to me.

      • Chris April 24, 2015 at 18:38 #

        Dave, when will you answer my questions?

        Trying again:

        Also the first MMR vaccine was introduced in the USA in 1971. If MMR was associated with autism it would have been noticed in the USA before the UK as it is a much larger country using MMR much longer. Where is the verifiable documentation dated before 1990 that autism in the USA increased during the 1970s and 1980’s?

      • Dave April 25, 2015 at 12:49 #

        Chris, I am ignoring you because you keep asking a question that is unrelated to the conversation. You are asking me to do independent verifiable research to prove a point that I am not making.

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

        She’s asking you to acknowledge that your position–that the MMR vaccine increases autism risk–is not supported by a very simple and clear test. The thing is, if you want to assert that the autism rates reported are accurate, you could answer her question. The problem is that the answer would show your logic is wrong.

      • Chris April 25, 2015 at 16:12 #

        “Chris, I am ignoring you because you keep asking a question that is unrelated to the conversation.”

        It is not unrelated. It helps shoe that Wakefild had other data to go on other than a wad of UK tax funded legal aid cash waved at him by Richard Barr.

        It is simple, if any MMR vaccine caused autism it would have been seen in the USA long before the UK. It is much larger and had been using MMR for almost two decades longer.

        If you admit that data does not exist, then it is clear MMR use is not correlated to autism rates, and Wakefield made it all for money.

      • lowbudgetdave April 26, 2015 at 00:19 #

        Chris, you are trying to make me defend Wakefield, which is not where this conversation is going at all. I am not playing this game.

      • Chris April 26, 2015 at 00:32 #

        No, that is just a side issue. I want to know if any MMR caused autism what verifiable documentation dated before 1990 shows autism increased coincident to MMR use. Where is that evidence?

      • Narad April 29, 2015 at 23:49 #

        In the table you presented, for example, the unvaccinated group tells a specific story at 2 years old…. As the chart demonstrates, the difference between .07% and .08% is considered statistically significant.

        How on Earth do you arrive at this conclusion?

      • lowbudgetdave April 30, 2015 at 02:00 #

        Narad, If the numbers are not statistically significant, then the entire study is meaningless. They are implying that the similarity in autism rates are statistically significant, and not just an artifact of the small number of autistic individuals in the sample.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 30, 2015 at 18:10 #

        “Narad, If the numbers are not statistically significant, then the entire study is meaningless.”

        So, you ignored my response to you about the difference being statistically significant to a CI of 99%. Why is that?

      • Narad April 29, 2015 at 23:52 #

        Oh, and from the following sentence…

        (In fact, that is the whole point of the paper. The null hypothesis was rejected entirely based on the weight of this observation.)

        What?

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 30, 2015 at 18:13 #

        Yeah, this is the key sentence in his argument–that the entire paper’s conclusion is based on one of the analyses. And that the difference is not statistically significant.

        The good gentleman Dave does a lot of dodging. When it is pointed out that he has made clearly erroneous statements, he just ignores and goes on.

        Point one: the difference is statistically significant.
        Point two: the conclusion of the paper is based on more than just one part of the two year old comparison.

        Having failed on both points, Dave just ignores that part of the discussion and moves on.

      • Narad April 30, 2015 at 04:45 #

        Narad, If the numbers are not statistically significant, then the entire study is meaningless. They are implying that the similarity in autism rates are statistically significant, and not just an artifact of the small number of autistic individuals in the sample.

        No, you apparently don’t understand what the words mean. Go look again at the bit of the table that you explicitly called out, tell me why there is a 95% CI, what it overlaps, and why the P-values doom any conclusion based on the CIs, as though any further one were necessary.

      • lowbudgetdave April 30, 2015 at 12:02 #

        Narad, so if those differences are not statistically significant, then we will just go back to my original assumption: The high rates of autism observed in the unvaccinated group are the result of parents who noticed symptoms of autism, and decided not to vaccinate as a result.

        In the US, where the IPV vaccine (and even the flu shot) schedule starts six months earlier than the MMR, the parents could have easily noticed autism symptoms after an earlier vaccine, and opted out of the MMR as a result.

        There we go. Problem solved in one step.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 30, 2015 at 18:09 #

        Your original assumption was that the entire conclusion was based on those two numbers, which was a flawed assumption.

        And, the difference is statistically significant. I just showed you that.

      • Narad May 1, 2015 at 22:14 #

        Point one: the difference is statistically significant.

        The only statistically significant results in Table 2 are the spurious protective effects of two doses in the 5 yr unadjusted groups, and the one for the non-ASD sibling group might as well not be.

      • Narad May 1, 2015 at 22:18 #

        Perhaps I’m using too simple of a statistical test.

        Change that to “bizarrely inappropriate,” and you’ll be closer to the mark.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) May 1, 2015 at 22:53 #

        point well taken.

      • Narad May 1, 2015 at 23:32 #

        Narad, so if those differences are not statistically significant, then we will just go back to my original assumption: The high rates of autism observed in the unvaccinated group are the result of parents who noticed symptoms of autism, and decided not to vaccinate as a result.

        But there are no statistically significant “high rates of autism observed in the unvaccinated group.” If you want to perform an appropriate test, use this.

      • Narad May 2, 2015 at 04:23 #

        OK, if I weren’t so easily distracted, Dave’s argument (which I suspect either is or soon will be a stock talking point) boils down to the following:

        Were it not for the (nonexistent) imbalance, all the children in the set {ASD-no-MMR} would have magically moved into the set {ASD-with-MMR}. This transcends mere begging of the question: It is a complaint that errors were not made.

      • Dave May 3, 2015 at 12:29 #

        Narad, The classic definition of a straw man argument is “attacking an exaggerated or caricatured version of your opponent’s position”. It is especially obvious when you use words like “magical” to describe what you accuse the other person of saying.

        It is hopeless having discussions with people like you.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) May 4, 2015 at 15:04 #

        I don’t think you understand “straw man”. He’s not arguing that you actually argued based on magic. One could say that his statement is making fun at your comment, but not that it is a straw man.

        Ironically your response is more of a straw man.

      • Narad May 2, 2015 at 18:18 #

        As insomnia is kicking in, I might as well go with the flow.

        Let’s take the 2 year old group
        53 out of 77,822, 1 dose, vaccinated

        13 out of 15,249, unvaccinated.

        The 2 yr sample is 79/94985. This is a baseline of 1/1202. There are four subgroups:

        1VaxNoSib: 1/1468
        NoVaxNoSib: 1/1173
        1VaxSib: 1/199
        NoVaxSib: 1/87

        The null is 0.00083.

        1VNS: No
        NVNS: No
        1VS: Yes
        NVS: Yes

        The sib and “not-sib” subgroups are different. Are there differences within?

        The NS null is 66/93071 = 0.00071.

        1VNS-NS: No
        NVNS-NS: No

        The S null is 13/1914 = 0.0068.

        1VS-S: No
        NVS-S: Still No

        One-dose and no-dose MMR subgroups are not significantly different. Now, IANAS, and I don’t know that it’s an ideal test, but unless I’ve managed to build in the outcomes based on the calculation of the nulls, there’s no significant excess in the unvaccinated groups.

      • Narad May 3, 2015 at 10:16 #

        point well taken.

        I have to admit to complete confusion here. I actually thought that Dave had advanced the A/B test, because he had been advocating statistical significance. I don’t understand why you were too.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) May 4, 2015 at 15:00 #

        I made a quick and wrong decision to grab a test to try to get this conversation out of the hand waving repetitive nonsense Dave was putting out.

        Part of it was a bad troll. I knew I was out on a limb but I was curious if Dave would be able to speak to this at all– even if it meant him pointing out my methods were flawed.

      • Narad May 3, 2015 at 10:18 #

        Also: Comment in moderation.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) May 4, 2015 at 15:00 #

        Got it, I think

      • Narad May 4, 2015 at 03:59 #

        The classic definition of a straw man argument is “attacking an exaggerated or caricatured version of your opponent’s position”. It is especially obvious when you use words like “magical” to describe what you accuse the other person of saying.

        Your wholesale evasion (through poorly constructed distraction attempt) of the substance of what you’re replying to and that of my next comment, both of which you could see when you chose to reply, is duly noted.

      • Narad May 4, 2015 at 04:02 #

        ^ I now see that “my subsequent comment” – concerning the significance of differences among the subgroups – is still in moderation.

    • Goldy May 6, 2015 at 10:10 #

      Once again…a study article that leaves out the fact that they did not compare completely unvaccinated children. They only compared children who did not receive the MMR vaccine – and called them unvaccinated – when in fact, they received other vaccines. Also they included the *unvaccinated* if they did not receive BOTH doses of MMR (but indeed received the first MMR dosage).
      *still waiting for 100% unvaccinated study (NO VACCINE AT ALL) and their health issues comparison to vaccinated children and their health issues*

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) May 6, 2015 at 17:45 #

        You are really reaching.

        Here’s the thing–admit that the MMR vaccine and that thimerosal in vaccines don’t increase autism risk. But you won’t. You want to avoid admitting that these–the two primary arguments that vaccines cause autism–have been tested repeatedly.

        ” Also they included the *unvaccinated* if they did not receive BOTH doses of MMR (but indeed received the first MMR dosage)”

        Do you want to read the study again? Because that is completely wrong. Here’s table 2, again.

        They compare kids at age 2 (1 dose of MMR), age 3 (1 dose of MMR), age 4 (1 dose of MMR)and age 5 (comparing no MMR against both 1 dose and 2 doses of MMR).

        Besides having missed such a simple point of the paper, perhaps you could explain how a second dose of MMR, which is given at age 5, would result in autism, which by definition must manifest before age 3?

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) May 6, 2015 at 17:45 #

        *Still waiting for you and others to admit that the MMR and thimerosal don’t cause autism*

      • Narad May 6, 2015 at 21:24 #

        *still waiting for 100% unvaccinated study (NO VACCINE AT ALL) and their health issues comparison to vaccinated children and their health issues*

        And I’m still waiting to hear what level of similarity between the groups would cause anyone who trots this one out to admit that there’s no effect. Be sure to review this.

  4. Diane Pechenick April 25, 2015 at 04:49 #

    “A federal lawsuit alleges a 19-year-old man with autism died of asphyxiation in 2011, when the oxygen valve disconnected from an inflatable chamber his family purchased for their home. The man’s parents, Amy and Robert Sparks, allege in the lawsuit, filed in North Carolina federal court, that OxyHealth LLC of Santa Fe Springs, Calif., marketed the chamber as safe for unsupervised use despite knowing the valves could disconnect.”

    • Lawrence April 25, 2015 at 12:26 #

      Oxygen therapy?

      Wow.

    • truluv4u April 25, 2015 at 18:51 #

      One tragic case of negligence should not discount HBOT. Many autism patients have benefited greatly from this treatment.

      • Lawrence April 25, 2015 at 20:52 #

        And your proof of this is what exactly?

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 26, 2015 at 01:23 #

        How about two tragic cases.
        Two charged in deadly 2009 hyperbaric chamber fire

        And no documented benefit.
        Controlled evaluation of the effects of hyperbaric oxygen therapy on the behavior of 16 children with autism spectrum disorders.
        Jepson B1, Granpeesheh D, Tarbox J, Olive ML, Stott C, Braud S, Yoo JH, Wakefield A, Allen MS.
        Author information
        Abstract
        Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has been used to treat individuals with autism. However, few studies of its effectiveness have been completed. The current study examined the effects of 40 HBOT sessions at 24% oxygen at 1.3 ATA on 11 topographies of directly observed behavior. Five replications of multiple baselines were completed across a total of 16 participants with autism spectrum disorders. No consistent effects were observed across any group or within any individual participant, demonstrating that HBOT was not an effective treatment for the participants in this study. This study represents the first relatively large-scale controlled study evaluating the effects of HBOT at the level of the individual participant, on a wide array of behaviors.

      • truluv4u April 26, 2015 at 15:06 #

        Matt, Lawrence, & all: Here is one of several sites on HBOT successes: http://oxfordhbot.com/hbot-for-autism/

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 26, 2015 at 15:55 #

        A place that sells HBOT says HBOT works. And that tells me what, exactly?

        I’ve been watching the HBOT story for about a decade. Still waiting for something that says it actually has benefit. Other than benefiting the people who sell the chambers or rent the time, that is.

        So, we have a person dead due sufficating in an HBOT chamber. Another dead due to fire. Where can I look for where the HBOT people report other adverse events so I can make an informed risk/reward calculation? I can’t. They don’t report.

        So, you run a risk of death and there’s no demonstrated benefit. The risk/reward ratio is infite.

      • brian April 26, 2015 at 16:06 #

        Even Andrew Wakefield said “HBOT was not an effective treatment” in a study of children with ASD.

        Jepson B, Granpeesheh D, Tarbox J, Olive ML, Stott C, Braud S, Yoo JH, Wakefield A, Allen MS. Controlled evaluation of the effects of hyperbaric oxygen therapy on the behavior of 16 children with autism spectrum disorders. J Autism Dev Disord. 2011 May;41(5):575-88.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 26, 2015 at 16:18 #

        But he must be in the 1% who ” are funded by government agencies or other allopathic schools of thought.” 🙂

        Funny how the people who claim to be experts on HBOT don’t even know the studies.

      • Chris April 26, 2015 at 17:11 #

        Sullivan: “So, you run a risk of death and there’s no demonstrated benefit. The risk/reward ratio is infite.”

        On a tour of our local NOAA facility I saw both of their HBOT chambers in their diving instruction area. The large one looked small, but the two person chamber looked like it could hold only one person.

        I could feel my anxiety go up due to my claustrophobia just by standing next to it. My son has anxiety all the time, Putting him in a small constrained space he could not leave would be torture.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 26, 2015 at 18:46 #

        One of the interesting things about HBOT is that some of those selling it admit that they see no benefit from an oxygen mask. HBOT provides a lower oxygen partial pressure than does an oxygen mask without HBOT.

        This leads to much handwaving and discussions of how it’s the pressure or something.

        There isn’t a good argument for why HBOT should work. There’s data that it doesn’t work. But we can get testimonials on the internet and claims by many of the same old-timer chelation docs that it does work.

        I remain unconvinced.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 26, 2015 at 18:47 #

        Ask them the cost for a real HBOT session. I know someone who got the bends. It was not a cheap recovery.

    • Science Mom April 28, 2015 at 01:47 #

      Dave, I’m trying to answer your question about the Table 2 but I am stuck on this:

      13 of these children were unvaccinated, or a rate of over 0.08% of the unvaccinated population.

      As the chart demonstrates, the difference between .07% and .08% is considered statistically significant. (In fact, that is the whole point of the paper. The null hypothesis was rejected entirely based on the weight of this observation.)

      Where do you see that this is statistically-significant?

  5. truluv4u April 25, 2015 at 18:39 #

    I suspect that a pharmaceutical company funded this study (along with 99% of all others) to expressly disprove – without bias – the vaccine and autism link. Regardless, there are far too many families (thousands) who have become convinced by their own experiences that MMR and other multiple dose vaccinations do contribute greatly to this undeniable epidemic (1 in 50 – and still climbing). Mercury, aluminum, and other toxic chemicals – along with viruses in these shots – collectively cause brain inflammation. Cellular immunity is repressed and thus unable to combat this physical effect – which leads to various downward spiraling systemic issues. Antibiotics for the inevitable infections only worsen the immune problems. Therefore, non-industry studies alone can be trusted on this issues – and thankfully they are being increasingly funded by a ground-swell of better informed citizens. God is grieved when fierce critics seek to undermine the many dedicated efforts of those who are successfully recovering (25%+) of these tragically afflicted children.

    • Chris April 25, 2015 at 18:55 #

      “I suspect that a pharmaceutical company funded this study (along with 99% of all others) to expressly disprove – without bias – the vaccine and autism link”

      Then you are wrong. If you bothered to click on the study title you would have found the link to the full free study at:
      http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2275444

      If you scroll down you would find these words:

      Conflict of Interest Disclosures: All authors have completed and submitted the ICMJE Form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest. Dr Jain, Ms Marshall, and Mr Kelly report being employees of The Lewin Group. Ms Buikema and Dr Bancroft are employees of Optum. Optum is a wholly owned subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group and The Lewin Group is an Optum company. The Lewin Group operates with editorial independence. No other disclosures are reported.

      Funding/Support: This project was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, and the US Department of Health and Human Services under contract HHSN-271-2010-00033-C.

      Do explain which is a pharmaceutical company. I see the health insurance groups. Now if you ever dealt with any health insurance company you would know they work hard to pay as little as possible fo pharmaceuticals and neurodevelopmental therapy for autism.

      “Regardless, there are far too many families (thousands) who have become convinced by their own experiences that MMR and other multiple dose vaccinations do contribute greatly to this undeniable epidemic (1 in 50 – and still climbing).”

      Then you should be able to answer my question:

      The first MMR vaccine was introduced in the USA in 1971. If MMR was associated with autism it would have been noticed in the USA before the UK as it is a much larger country using MMR much longer. Where is the verifiable documentation dated before 1990 that autism in the USA increased during the 1970s and 1980’s?

    • brian April 25, 2015 at 18:59 #

      I suspect that a pharmaceutical company funded this study

      The article, which is freely available on line, explictly discloses the funding source. (Hint: it’s not “a pharmaceutical company.”) A “better-informed citizen” would have known that, or at least avoided posting a trove of misinformed nonsense.

      • Chris April 25, 2015 at 19:16 #

        Amazing how he makes a pronouncement without even bothering to look at the study which available for free online.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 26, 2015 at 01:26 #

      The lead researcher on this study is a man who cares deeply about helping the autism community. You “suspect” apparently based on the results. The hypocrisy here is that it is you who are working from bias an a preordained conclusion.

    • novalox April 27, 2015 at 07:46 #

      Oh yes, the old pharma shill gambit, a true sign that you have no argument to speak of.

      Now, where is your evidence again? Oh right, you have none, so you resort to unfounded attacks and baseless pseudoscience.

      You and your ilk do nothing to help autistic individuals and would instead take advantage of them. Truly sickening.

  6. truluv4u April 26, 2015 at 14:49 #

    I apologize for neglecting to mention that most of the other 1% or so of such studies are funded by government agencies or other allopathic schools of thought. Perhaps before labeling my comments as “misinformed nonsense”, you could have gained the abundant research hours and experiences I have had with this particular subject. Also, note that a steadily increasing number of very credentialed scientists and physicians are accepting the more osteopathic view on this issue as well.
    Regarding MMR: Although most of the major media refuses to report news about anything other than genetics causing autism, this site is one of several that did. http://www.whiteoutpress.com/timeless/courts-quietly-confirm-mmr-vaccine-causes-autism/
    Having come into my knowledge after all of our children were vaccinated, and thus learning from the very apparent damages they received – my conclusions were hardly preordained. Experience is absolutely the best teacher and I do “suspect” that most critics here have not been personally affected by autism and observed its possible reversibility. The truth is indeed well hidden – but it is there to be found nonetheless. The grassroots efforts to expose the facts and fallacies are growing exponentially. Soon the points I have made will become impossible to deny – even to those who vehemently oppose them in this forum.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 26, 2015 at 15:46 #

      “I apologize for neglecting to mention that most of the other 1% or so of such studies are funded by government agencies or other allopathic schools of thought”

      What does that have to do with the study by Andrew Wakefield’s group (answer: nothing).

      • truluv4u April 26, 2015 at 18:40 #

        Everything! Look at the big picture. Wakefield’s findings were the impetus for an all out assault on those who question the safety of vaccines. Their harmfulness will eventually become evident to you – stay tuned!

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 26, 2015 at 18:43 #

        ah, so you do know who Mr. Wakefield is. So you either didn’t know about his study (in which case, why are you promoting HBOT if you don’t follow the literature) or you did know and you were not exactly honest in the way you discussed the body of knowledge on HBOT.

  7. truluv4u April 26, 2015 at 18:58 #

    The links speak for themselves. There is much more knowledge than I have presented here which supports the idea that vaccines greatly contribute to autism. Dr. Tinus Smits believes they are the primary cause in at least 70% of cases. That Wakefield may not support the use of HBOT is irrelevant – as there are many others who do, with very successful results. I know a number of them personally. If you were to explore a bit more, it would become apparent to you as well that biological treatments for autism, and even ADHD – are proving quite successful. We should all be thankful that these children are being helped and given a better quality of life. Rejoice, Matt!

    • Chris April 26, 2015 at 19:24 #

      “There is much more knowledge than I have presented here which supports the idea that vaccines greatly contribute to autism.”

      So we will believe this one who declared: “I suspect that a pharmaceutical company funded this study (along with 99% of all others) to expressly disprove – without bias – the vaccine and autism link” ?

      Since I provided the link to the full paper above, have you figured which pharmaceutical company paid for it?

      “Dr. Tinus Smits believes they are the primary cause in at least 70% of cases.”

      A homeopath: http://www.tinussmits.com/3847/about-dr.-smits.aspx ! You must be joking.

      Now answer my question:

      The first MMR vaccine was introduced in the USA in 1971. If MMR was associated with autism it would have been noticed in the USA before the UK as it is a much larger country using MMR much longer. Where is the verifiable documentation dated before 1990 that autism in the USA increased during the 1970s and 1980’s?

      • truluv4u April 26, 2015 at 22:58 #

        Perhaps you might find this list of more credentialed physicians less humorous: http://www.vaccinationcouncil.org/2011/02/13/vaccines-get-the-full-story/
        Regarding the MMR vaccine history: This is but one of the factors implicated as being causal for autism. The U.S. rates of this illness began to soar in the mid-eighties as more vaccines were added to the recommended schedule. The problem with MMR in particular is that the measles portion raises blood pressure to open the blood-brain barrier. Then all three viruses are enabled to enter and wreak havoc – rubella being specifically known as causal for autism. Reportedly, thousands of families had seemingly normal toddlers until receiving this vaccine – which tipped them completely over into neuro-immune breakdown, There is no more argument remaining – believe as you will at this time – but realize the truth will eventually be undeniable.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 27, 2015 at 06:13 #

        Wow, what a list. Rashid Buttar, one of the most clear charlatans there is. He sold the “transdermal” chelation cream that isn’t absorbed. He was able to fool people like JB Handley, though. Wasn’t Buttar the guy with the filtered urine injections?

        Ken Stoller, who will sell HBOT to any and all and who better than the people who he has convinced that vaccines cause autism.

        Boyd “mad child disease” Haley, who sold $1M of an industrial chemical as a “supplement” before he was shut down by the FDA for avoiding safety and efficacy trials.

        Sherri Nakken, who is at least quite honest about being anti-vaccine.

        Russel Blaylock, another charlatan.

        And these are just the names I recognize quickly.

      • Lawrence April 26, 2015 at 23:40 #

        Citation “tru”

      • Chris April 27, 2015 at 00:27 #

        That website is a joke. the list of names are precisely those ones you would avoid! Besides it is not “verifiable documentation dated before 1990.”

        “…rubella being specifically known as causal for autism.”

        Exactly. Pregnant women who get the actual rubella disease have a greater chance of having a baby with Congenital Rubella Syndrome, one known cause of autism. It is just one disease complication the very safe MMR vaccine prevents.

        If you have evidence that the American MMR causes more harm than measles, mumps and rubella please post the PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers. None on that list of “Signatories” are reputable qualified researchers.

      • Chris April 27, 2015 at 00:31 #

        “Perhaps you might find this list of more credentialed physicians less humorous:”

        Many of them are not physicians (Goldman, Haley, etc), and several have their own page here:
        http://americanloons.blogspot.com.au/

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 27, 2015 at 06:16 #

      Yep, I bet you can name a number of doctors who believe in HBOT. All one has to do is google for who is selling HBOT and, bang, you have someone who believes in it.

      Show me the actual data of kids whose lives are being improved. The kid who burned in an HBOT? The young man who suffocated? Those are facts, not anecdotes.

  8. truluv4u April 27, 2015 at 04:00 #

    The great majority on that list are indeed physicians – please count more carefully. Clearly, you are discounting them as “unqualified researchers” because they publicly expose the dangers of vaccines. I am of a generation who actually had the MMR illnesses and lived to tell you that they are generally very MINOR – just a few absences from kindergarten! Risking severe brain damage from this multi-dose vaccine, is akin to Russian Roulette. Finally, using an “American Loons’ blog spot provides little credibility on this issue, Try viewing specific websites of actual physicians on that ‘signatory’ list in my link and objectively considering their research and experience – which by far exceeds yours and mine. Enough said, cheerio!

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 29, 2015 at 20:04 #

      ” Clearly, you are discounting them as “unqualified researchers” because they publicly expose the dangers of vaccines.”

      No, because we’ve read what they’ve written.

      ” Try viewing specific websites of actual physicians on that ‘signatory’ list in my link and objectively considering their research and experience – which by far exceeds yours and mine.”

      What makes you think we haven’t read their sites, papers and more? Because we have.

      I came to the conclusion that these people are wrong by reading what they write, not by reading criticisms of them. Their arguments are flawed and clearly biased.

  9. truluv4u April 27, 2015 at 04:08 #

    The great majority of the signatories on my link are indeed physicians – please count again. Do not unfairly dismiss them for their concerted efforts to expose the dangers of vaccines. I am of a generation who actually had the MMR illnesses and survived to proclaim that they are MINOR – just a few kindergarten absences. Finally, the “American Loons” blog spot is hardly a credible source for this issue. Try viewing the specific sites of the physicians on my link. Their research and experience on this subject far surpass yours or mine. Cheerio!

    • Chris April 27, 2015 at 04:50 #

      You are completely clueless.

      Here is one:
      https://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2006/08/18/david-ayoub-black-helicopters-and-social-movement/

      … and another (before that site changed its name):
      https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/medical-voices-always-in-error-never-in-doubt/

      Really, none on that list of “Signatories” are reputable qualified researchers.

      • truluv4u April 27, 2015 at 18:51 #

        Dear Chris! You seem to prefer to remain “clueless” on the fact that these physicians have actual successes in treating vaccine injured patients. Perhaps you should pay a visit to one of their clinics and view some the families’ before and after home videos. Be not doubting, but believe!

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 27, 2015 at 19:17 #

        How “clueless” can one be when these doctors don’t publish their results? They are always too busy to actually collate data and do a study.

        Edit videos the right way and anything looks like progress. I’ve seen people claim that everything from homeopathy (something which just can not work) to bleach enemas (which is just fake doctors abusing patients) can cure autism.

        Years back we were all promised that chelation would cure one’s child. JB Handley went on TV and told us all the story he had not only bought into, but was now promoting for the charlatans: chelate your kid for two years and you will “get him back”. Didn’t happen. He’s now showing that intelligence and education doesn’t keep one from being repeatedly fooled as he’s bought into the “parasite protocol”.

        One can always find testimonials. It’s actual data that makes the case. And these ‘therapies’ don’t have data.

      • Chris April 27, 2015 at 19:05 #

        “Dear Chris! You seem to prefer to remain “clueless” on the fact that these physicians have actual successes in treating vaccine injured patients.”

        LOL!

        Mayer Eisenstein, MD, JD, MPH: https://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2014/01/22/mayer-eisenstein-files-for-bankruptcyagain/

        Harold Buttram: https://www.paed.uscourts.gov/documents/opinions/07D1111P.pdf :

        The ALJ then discussed Dr. Buttram’s assessment and the severe limitations therein and concluded that the assessment was entitled to little weight because it was not supported by the medical evidence or Dr. Buttram’s own treatment notes, was directly contradicted by a physical examination conducted by an impartial physician, and Dr. Buttram failed to provide any reasons or explanation for his assessment. The ALJ further concluded that Dr. Buttram’s assessment made unsubstantiated, uncorroborated, and unexplained statements about Thomas’ ability to function over a twelve year period when he had only treated Thomas since 2001. The ALJ then noted that Dr. Buttram was not Thomas’ primary care physician for his back disorders and that his treatment notes did not include any comprehensive range of motion evaluations or neurological findings, and thus, they did not support the severe restrictions that he gave in his assessment. I further note that Dr. Buttram first concluded that Thomas was disabled on his very first visit, presumably based on Thomas’ subjective allegations. It is apparent that the ALJ’s decision to discount the assessment of Dr. Buttram and credit the assessments of Dr. Millet and Dr. Wander is supported by substantial evidence. As a result, the ALJ’s conclusion that Thomas has an RFC for light work (and could, thus, perform his past work as, inter alia, a security guard) is likewise supported by substantial evidence.

    • Chris April 27, 2015 at 04:56 #

      “I am of a generation who actually had the MMR illnesses and survived to proclaim that they are MINOR – just a few kindergarten absences.”

      What a cruel person to dismiss the hundreds of measles deaths per year and the thousands permanently disabled after surviving measles, mumps and rubella.

      From the CDC Pink Book Appendix G:

      Disease: Measles in the USA
      Year__Cases____Deaths
      1950__319,124__468
      1951__530,118__683
      1952__683,077__618
      1953__449,146__462
      1954__682,720__518
      1955__555,156__345
      1956__611,936__530
      1957__486,799__389
      1958__763,094__552
      1959__406,162__385
      1960__441,703__380
      1961__423,919__434
      1962__481,530__408
      1963__385,156__364

      • truluv4u April 27, 2015 at 18:56 #

        Are you aware that the incidence of autism (1 in 50 CDC) now far exceeds the diagnoses of these generally MINOR illnesses? Such afflicted children are not necessarily dying – but they suffer physically and their quality of life is pathetically altered. Multi-dose vaccines are proving too risky – and thankfully many parents are beginning to realize this!

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 27, 2015 at 06:24 #

      “I am of a generation who actually had the MMR illnesses and survived to proclaim that they are MINOR – just a few kindergarten absences.”

      Funny how there aren’t facebook groups for the “I died from measles” team. Oh, wait…

      https://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2011/07/09/the-measles-initiative-and-the-myth-of-mild-measles/

      • truluv4u April 27, 2015 at 19:06 #

        I would like to add that an up to date list of physicians who acknowledge the harm of thimerosal vaccines would now include dozens more – perhaps most notably: pediatric neurologist and Harvard medical professor, Dr. Martha Herbert. You should consider reading her book, “The Autism Revolution”. Another one by Patricia Lemer called “Outsmarting Autism” is excellent as well. It contains many scientifically documented references – including a thorough explanation of why vaccines do more harm than good.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 27, 2015 at 19:13 #

        I watched 2 hours of Martha Herbert talking once. And you can see how well she convinced me. So she wrote a book. A lot of people with bad ideas have written books.

        Have you read her book? Care to tell me where she says that thimerosal containing vaccines cause autism or other harm? Her book is on google books and can be searched. No where in it does she mention thimerosal. Three pages mention vaccine, but none say that vaccines cause harm.

        Here’s one such page.
        http://books.google.com/books?id=IS5V2TRMVZoC&q=vaccine#v=snippet&q=vaccine&f=false

        Perhaps you might go back to making claims that can’t be so directly checked.

    • Science Mom April 28, 2015 at 01:52 #

      The great majority of the signatories on my link are indeed physicians

      Says the person who doesn’t know the difference between a preservative and an adjuvant. Being a physician isn’t patent expertise in all fields you know. None of them are experts or even had some training in autism nor vaccinology.

    • shay April 28, 2015 at 21:03 #

      ” I am of a generation who actually had the MMR illnesses and survived to proclaim that they are MINOR – just a few kindergarten absences.”

      And deaths, and deafness, and encephalitis.

      • shay April 30, 2015 at 01:45 #

        How could I have forgotten orchitis?

  10. Roger Kulp April 27, 2015 at 16:14 #

    Dave said
    “What medical science has not done is offer any help. No medication has helped, no therapy has made any significant progress, and no one has answered the question: “If it was not the vaccine, then what was it?” “

    Three words cerebral folate deficiency.A maternally inherited condition that can exist with any number of diseases,either metabolic/mitochondrial or immune disorders.

    http://www.nature.com/mp/journal/v18/n3/full/mp2011175a.html#close

    For those of us in this subgroup of the autism population who have been found to have this condition,reversal of autism has been very dramatic.No one knows how big,or how small,this subgroup is.

    Sullivan@ April 27, 2015 at 06:13

    Go look at the board of directors of IMCV.Sherry Tenpenny.Need I say more?

  11. truluv4u April 27, 2015 at 21:07 #

    So you would even discredit a person with the credentials and experience of Dr. Herbert? Confounding! While it is true that her 2013 book does not specifically mention thimerosal, this link concerns a recent talk she gave in a forum with others who discussed its harmfulness. http://www.ageofautism.com/2014/07/thimerosal-let-the-science-speak-by-robert-f-kennedy-jr-debuts-august-4.html I also heard her speak just a few weeks back on a webinar when she clearly implied that vaccines can be quite detrimental to children. ‘Directly check’ this as you like. Keep seeking with an open mind, Matt, and you will be rewarded with abundant knowledge to benefit many!

    • Chris April 27, 2015 at 21:21 #

      Why do you think we would accept the opinion of a lawyer posted on a crank website?

      Just post the PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers (not lawyers!) showing any vaccine on the American pediatric schedule causes more harm that the disease.

    • Chris April 27, 2015 at 21:24 #

      Borked the link:

      Why do you think we would accept the opinion of a lawyer posted on a crank website?

      Just post the PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers (not lawyers!) showing any vaccine on the American pediatric schedule causes more harm that the disease.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 27, 2015 at 21:55 #

      “So you would even discredit a person with the credentials and experience of Dr. Herbert? Confounding! ”

      That’s funny. I point out that you misrepresented what Prof. Herbert said and I’m trying to discredit her?

      You cited her book. I provided a link to her book. Search it for vaccines and show me where she says what you claim she said. (you can’t so you won’t)

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 27, 2015 at 21:55 #

      Ironic how people who refuse to acknowledge that the science has passed them by claim everyone else is lacking an “open mind”.

    • brian April 27, 2015 at 23:18 #

      Oh, thanks–I’d forgotten about Dr. Herbert. It seems that she is “seeking with an open mind” and believes that “dramatic increases in reported [Autism Spectrum Conditions] are coincident in time with the deployment of wireless technologies.” [Pathophysiology. 2013 Jun;20(3):211-34.] Vaccines, computers–what’s next?

      http://thevane.gawker.com/insane-lady-yells-at-clouds-and-sprays-vinegar-at-the-s-1550883163

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 27, 2015 at 23:41 #

        Yeah, she has two papers on the topic as well (if I recall correctly).

  12. truluv4u April 28, 2015 at 01:00 #

    Like PBS? Here is an interview that will give you a true indication of Dr. Herbert’s views. She clearly implies that vaccines (esp. thimerosal) contribute to the toxic load which results in autism. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/health-jan-june11-herbertext_04-20/ Show me where she says otherwise. (“You can’t so you won’t”.) Case closed – praising the ‘Great I Am’ for the victory – and trusting more ‘Dr. Herberts’ will join the winning league for the sake of future generations!

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 28, 2015 at 01:57 #

      I assume you didn’t read the page you linked to.

      “She clearly implies that vaccines (esp. thimerosal) contribute to the toxic load which results in autism. ”

      Search that page for either thimerosal or mercury and what do you get? Nothing. Nothing at all. So, your assertion that thimerosal is “especially” a focus of hers is false. In fact, you’d have to be rather creative to say that she’s even putting a large emphasis on vaccines at all. It must have disappointed MacNeil’s daughter who got her father to do that horrible episode of such a good show.

      “I’ve tried to be a voice for expanding the idea of — it used to be that people would say, it’s genes or its vaccines. And vaccines was the only thing in the environment that people talked about. By now, it’s finally expanded and people are looking at all kinds of other things in the environment that can play a role.”

      She’s saying there’s an environmental component but she’s specifically emphasizing components other than vaccines.

      She does say that the vaccine wars have slowed research into the areas she feels are important ” I think the vaccine wars have made it really hard to pursue medical ideas about autism.”

      Here’s the exchange that comes the closest to your assertion

      “ROBERT MACNEIL: Could there be a subset of children with a genetic predisposition to have a toxic reaction to vaccines that, for the rest of the children, have no adverse affect?

      DR. MARTHA HERBERT: I think it’s possible that you could have a genetic subgroup. You also might have an immune subgroup. There are a variety of subgroups. But the problem with the population studies is, they aren’t necessarily designed to have the statistical power to find subgroups like that if the subgroups are small.”

      Not really what you claim. There’s a “possibility” of a “subgroup”.

      Again, I note that you also misrepresented her book but refuse to acknowledge that. Having made a clear and obvious mistake it doesn’t help you to make more (like as I’ve just shown about your comment above)

    • brian April 28, 2015 at 02:01 #

      She clearly implies that vaccines (esp. thimerosal) contribute to the toxic load which results in autism.

      Why, do you think, Herbert “clearly implies” rather than, say, shows, demonstrates, or proves what you say that she “implies”? I’ve spent most of my life as a scientist, enough decades to understand that scientists who have evidence present their evidence; nobody who has reasonable evidence “implies” anything.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 28, 2015 at 02:29 #

        I’ve actually had a referee on a paper tell me take out the word “implication”.

    • shay April 28, 2015 at 21:05 #

      “She clearly implies that vaccines (esp. thimerosal) contribute to the toxic load which results in autism. ”

      I can imply that you beat your dog, but unless I have a video or sworn witness statements, that’s not going to convince the Humane Society.

  13. George June 3, 2015 at 09:02 #

    I have two questions about this paper’s conclusions. First, they found that the MMR vaccine significantly protects against ASD for children with an older sibling with ASD. Yet the paper states that “Although protective estimates tended not to reach statistical significance, this pattern is worth further consideration” (second full sentence, page 1539). I don’t understand why their results are not statistically significant. For the 5 yr old case in particular, they have an adjusted relative risk from 0.31-1.01 at a 95% confidence level, compared to the unvaccinated group. This seems to be very significant. Why do they say otherwise?

    Second, the paper concludes that “receipt of the MMR vaccine was not associated with increased risk of ASD … These findings indicate no harmful association between MMR vaccine receipt and ASD” (Conclusions and Relevance, page 1534). I don’t understand why that would be a conclusion for the larger group (no older sibling with ASD). Looking at the results, they don’t appear to support such a conclusion. Could they not just as easily state the opposite: “receipt of the MMR vaccine was not associated with *decreased* risk of ASD … These findings *do not* indicate no harmful association between MMR vaccine receipt and ASD” ?

    Take for example the 2 yr old group with no older sibling with ASD, in the upper left of Table 2. Imagine that the vaccine caused 10% more ASD cases, so the number of cases increases from 53 to 58. The adjusted relative risk would change only slightly, and would be around 1, with a similar large spread for the 95% confidence level. I see no reason why they would conclude anything different in that case. In other words, they don’t have the accuracy required to make the conclusions they are making. Am I missing something?

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) June 3, 2015 at 20:19 #

      “First, they found that the MMR vaccine significantly protects against ASD for children with an older sibling with ASD”

      No, they didn’t. The effect was not significant. As you state in the quote you provide in the next sentence.

      • George June 3, 2015 at 21:20 #

        Thanks Matt. I’d be interested to see your thoughts on my other question as well.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) June 4, 2015 at 03:38 #

        Let’s see, you ignore the facts, even when you are repeatedly pointed out to you and just go on and on about your misconceptions being accurate and why doesn’t the paper accept your flawed reasoning?

        Sounds like you are here to waste a lot of people’s time and throw up a lot of chaff.

      • Lawrence June 3, 2015 at 21:56 #

        @George – I believe that wasn’t the question…they weren’t trying to see if the MMR “reduced” the likelihood of a diagnosis of ASD.

        I’m still heartily confused as to what the actual biological mechanism would be that would cause the MMR to lead to autism….

      • George June 3, 2015 at 22:32 #

        @Lawrence: But that is what they found, even at a 95% confidence level. So I didn’t understand why the paper says the finding is not statistically significant.

      • Chris June 3, 2015 at 22:39 #

        “… cause the MMR to lead to autism..”

        And why it wasn’t noticed in the almost thirty years of use in the USA before Wakefield’s press conference for his 1998 Lancet paper (which also did not associate MMR to autism). The USA is a much larger company, and had been using the MMR since 1971.

        If MMR was associated with autism it would have been noticed much earlier in a country that was both larger and using it much longer. The MMR was the preferred vaccine for the 1978 Measles Elimination Program.

        George, do you have any verifiable documentation dated before 1990 showing autism increased in the USA during the 1970s and 1980s coincident to MMR use?

      • George June 3, 2015 at 22:49 #

        @Chris: “George, do you have any verifiable documentation dated before 1990 showing autism increased in the USA during the 1970s and 1980s coincident to MMR use?”

        No, I don’t. My interest with this paper is mainly that the conclusions do not seem to follow from the results.

      • Chris June 3, 2015 at 23:21 #

        The conclusions found nothing significant. Do you know what that means?

        This paper is just another in a long line of papers that show no association between any MMR vaccine and autism. Starting with PMIDs 9624614, 9643797, 10376617… and lots of others, ending with this one, and the one before PMID 25562790. What makes this one so special?

        What PubMed studies from reputable qualified researchers show any association between any MMR and autism? Considering that measles has recently been associated with more pediatric deaths (PMID 25954009), mumps is a known cause of sterility, meningitis and deafness and Congenital Rubella Syndrome is a known cause of autism: what kind of data do you need to show any MMR vaccine is safer than measles, mumps and rubella?

      • George June 4, 2015 at 00:00 #

        @Chris: “The conclusions found nothing significant.”

        No, the paper concluded that “These findings indicate no harmful association between MMR vaccine receipt and ASD … .” That does not seem to be supported by the results.

    • George June 4, 2015 at 00:19 #

      @Chris: For example, the paper could have made the exact opposite conclusion. They could have written, “These findings *do not* indicate that there is no harmful association between MMR vaccine receipt and ASD.” So their conclusion simply does not follow from their results. It doesn’t seem to make any sense.

      • Chris June 4, 2015 at 01:25 #

        If it could go either way, it means the results were not significant, therefore there does not seem to be an association between the vaccine and autism.

        Again, what makes this paper so special, especially in the context of all of the other papers since 1998 that also show no associate between any MMR vaccine and autism?

      • George June 4, 2015 at 01:56 #

        @Chris: No, lack of statistical power does not give warrant for concluding a hypothesis is true or false. The paper concludes that the “findings indicate no harmful association” when such harmful associations could have easily been not possible for them to detect.

        “what makes this paper so special”

        Do you agree that false claims in a paper ought to be rectified?

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) June 4, 2015 at 03:22 #

        If there were false claims.

        Drop the silly debate tactics: “do you agree that false claims in the paper out to be rectified?” is an attempt to trap someone into accepting your flawed premise.

        I agree that *you* out to correct *your* false claims.

      • Chris June 4, 2015 at 02:26 #

        Except I don’t see false claims. If you have an issue with the paper, then you need to contact the authors and ask them to fix their statistics.

        Of course, there is still the over a dozen papers from three continents since 1998 that also show no association between any MMR vaccine and autism. So even if this one paper has a statistical flaw, that does not prove any version of the MMR vaccine causes autism.

      • George June 4, 2015 at 03:15 #

        “ask them to fix their statistics.”

        To be clear, the problem is not with the statistics or results, it is with the interpretation.

      • Chris June 4, 2015 at 03:21 #

        Then tell the authors of the study that. Explain to them that you have read their article, and with your qualifications you need to educate them how they mucked up the interpretation of the results.

        By the way, what are your qualifications?

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) June 4, 2015 at 03:23 #

        Actually, the paper can’t come to the opposite conclusion unless one is willing to ignore the data in the paper. Which you appear to be doing.

    • George June 4, 2015 at 04:21 #

      @Matt:

      I asked two specific questions, giving the details from the paper for each. You have made several accusations, but still no answers to my questions.

      You did make the bare assertion that “The effect was not significant. As you state in the quote you provide in the next sentence.”

      But the quote is from the paper, which is the point in contention. I asked why the paper can make that claim, and how it can be correct, and you answer was that it is correct because the paper says so. And then you accuse me of ignoring the facts.

      I was looking for some intelligent discussion about this paper. I guess I came to the wrong place.

      • Chris June 4, 2015 at 04:48 #

        So what are your qualifications to have an intelligent discussion on statistical interpretations? Matt has a PhD in physics, a field that depends very much on statistical analysis. I used to be a structural vibration engineer, which also requires some modicum of statistical knowledge, but I only have a BS in aerospace engineering*. Prove to us that you have a better understanding of the data.

        Really, how does the data in that paper reverse the findings of over a dozen papers from several countries on three continents since 1998 that any version of the MMR is associated with autism?

        By the way, did you even know there are multiple versions of Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccines. Oh, yeah! Wakefield’s 1998 case series of eleven UK kids and one American kid could have included four different MMR vaccines (two had been removed by the UK in 1992 due to the use of the Urable mumps strain, but some of the kids were old enough to have received them).

        * And yes, I had to always give the answer of “maybe” if I was asked if something would fail under certain bouncy loads. Even though the analysis went to five sigma, you really don’t know when the resonant frequency of one component will end up the matching frequency of a random forcing function. There is never a definite yes and no. There is a definite maybe not, and a definite maybe yes… any variation of MMR vaccine associated with autism is a definite maybe not… and probably to seven sigma.

      • Chris June 4, 2015 at 04:49 #

        Must include very important word, before shutting off laptop and going to bed: “Really, how does the data in that paper reverse the findings of over a dozen papers from several countries on three continents since 1998 that any version of the MMR is not associated with autism?”

      • George June 4, 2015 at 05:30 #

        @Chris:

        “Matt has a PhD in physics, a field that depends very much on statistical analysis. I used to be a structural vibration engineer”

        Hey, that’s why I came here, to get the straight scoop from you heavyweights. I wondered if I was missing something about that paper.

        But after rereading it, I don’t see how they can make those conclusions.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) June 4, 2015 at 23:54 #

        Yes, you are missing something. We’ve explained that, and why, and you ignored it. You ignored the paper and the explanation.

      • Chris June 4, 2015 at 16:18 #

        If you wanted the straight scoop you should have corresponded with the authors of the paper. As noted above the entire paper is free online, and you can get the numbers. Explain to the authors where you think they have misrepresented the results.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) June 4, 2015 at 23:58 #

        Ah, and now we get the passive aggressive attacks. I’ve made “accusations”. No I haven’t. I explained that you were wrong. I have made observations about your behavior.

        The paper makes the claim because it is supported by the data and the discussion of the paper. As explained at the beginning of this discussion. But you ignore that with a wave of the hand and a “thanks”.

        And now you want us to go around in circles as you ignore the facts and continue to make empty claims. And now you complain that we refuse to go around in circles. It’s like you are the first person to use this method of fake debate and you expect us all to fall for it instead of calling you out for it.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) June 5, 2015 at 00:15 #

        “I asked two specific questions, giving the details from the paper for each. You have made several accusations, but still no answers to my questions.”

        Let’s review.

        I have two questions about this paper’s conclusions. First, they found that the MMR vaccine significantly protects against ASD for children with an older sibling with ASD.

        You were answered. They did not find that the MMR protects against ASD. In fact, you answered your own question with your next sentence: “Yet the paper states that “Although protective estimates tended not to reach statistical significance, this pattern is worth further consideration” (second full sentence, page 1539).” The authors specifically stated that the results “approached” statistical significance but did not achieve statistical significance. Since you don’t understand the difference, why should we go around and around about this point? The relative risk includes 1. So one can’t say that there is a risk different than 1.

        Second, the paper concludes that “receipt of the MMR vaccine was not associated with increased risk of ASD … These findings indicate no harmful association between MMR vaccine receipt and ASD” (Conclusions and Relevance, page 1534). I don’t understand why that would be a conclusion for the larger group (no older sibling with ASD). Looking at the results, they don’t appear to support such a conclusion. Could they not just as easily state the opposite: “receipt of the MMR vaccine was not associated with *decreased* risk of ASD … These findings *do not* indicate no harmful association between MMR vaccine receipt and ASD” ?

        You are presenting a logical fail here. The question was never whether the MMR was protective. The question was whether there was a risk of autism or no risk of autism. The conclusion is that there is no increased risk (or no evidence of an increased risk). Which absolutely does mean that they indicate no harmful association.

        Let’s further address the logical fail here. Just because something is not associate with a decreased risk of ASD does not mean that it does not indicate no harmful association. Do you see that or should I just stop this conversation now? Because it is simple. You are proposing that the only two conclusions are protective or harmful. Not neutral. Neither protective or harmful. And that is a logical fail.

        Are you going to ignore this and act like no one has addressed your concerns?

  14. George June 5, 2015 at 01:19 #

    @Matt:

    “The relative risk includes 1. So one can’t say that there is a risk different than 1. […] The conclusion is that there is no increased risk (or no evidence of an increased risk). Which absolutely does mean that they indicate no harmful association.”

    Wow. Now I get it. You’re saying that if the relative risk spread, at the 95% confidence level, contains 1, then you can’t make any conclusion. Hence, for my first question, we can’t say there was evidence of protection. Then for my second question, since the relative risk spread again contains 1, you can’t say there is evidence of increased risk (even though the RR is greater than 1 for the 5 year olds). And since there is no evidence of increased risk, we therefore conclude there is no harmful association.

    In other words, absence of evidence becomes evidence of absence. And I’m the one with the logical fail.

    • Science Mom June 5, 2015 at 03:44 #

      In other words, absence of evidence becomes evidence of absence. And I’m the one with the logical fail.

      No, it’s simply a matter of the hypothesis, the tests and the results which you won’t accept because apparently the language is not in absolutes. The authors are conservative and correct with their interpretation of the results based upon the question asked. Don’t attribute your failure to understand a study to failings of the study.

      • George June 5, 2015 at 05:01 #

        @Science Mom:

        “No, it’s simply a matter of the hypothesis, the tests and the results which you won’t accept because apparently the language is not in absolutes.”

        No, the problem is that the language *is* “in absolutes.” You have it exactly backwards. The paper states:

        “These findings indicate no harmful association between MMR vaccine receipt and ASD””

        The statistical results do not support that claim. Have you read the paper?

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) June 5, 2015 at 06:08 #

        How to you get from “indicates” to this “absolutes”? Because that’s a problem logically.

        You build a lot of straw man arguments

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) June 5, 2015 at 06:38 #

        Science Mom understands science. She understands the math. Which you don’t. Or you are pretending like you don’t.

        The statistical results do support the statement. Which is not an absolute.

        It is people like you who helped teach me that those who are vaccine antagonistic have no substance to their arguments. Resorting to this sort of repeated straw man arguments is one of the common debate tactics I’ve seen over the years.

        Now, if you are going to continue with the tact you’ve taken so far, you will ignore that you’ve answered, that your arguments are based on false premises and you will just march and repeat your claims.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) June 5, 2015 at 05:39 #

      Yes, you are the one with the logical fail.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) June 5, 2015 at 06:03 #

        Do you want to discuss why you are the one with a logical fail? Do you understand that your premise if false? How is it that you can’t see that this *is* evidence of absence?

        You have a full paper, thousands of subjects, and you claim “absence of evidence”. Earlier you made the false assumption that the only choices are (1) there’s a risk or (b) there’s a benefit. Even when it was explained that this isn’t the real choices, you fail to accept it.

  15. George June 5, 2015 at 11:42 #

    @Matt:

    “The statistical results do support the statement.”

    No, they do not. In the 5 yr olds case, the RR is 1.12. That certainly does not “indicate no harmful association.” You could argue that there is too much statistical noise, and that it is perfectly possible for the true RR to be 1, or even less than 1. Sure, that is possible, but the results do not indicate that the RR is 1 or less than 1. The results *allow* for that, but they do not indicate that. If the true RR is greater than 1, then the vaccine adds risk. They got 1.12 in that case. Yes there is uncertainty on that result, but you certainly cannot somehow conclude that a value of 1 or less is *indicated*. That is simply a false claim.

    In my first post above I gave a hypothetical example of the vaccine causing a 10% increased risk, and how if that were the case it would not change their results by very much. In other words, it is very possible, simply based on the results of the paper, that the vaccine does cause an increased risk. It is not as though that is an extreme or remote possibility, outside the 95% confidence level. It is not. The paper’s results are nowhere close to ruling that out, or suggesting that it is unlikely.

    And so it is false to conclude that “These findings indicate no harmful association.”

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) June 5, 2015 at 15:24 #

      “No, they do not. In the 5 yr olds case, the RR is 1.12.”

      What is the confidence interval? Is 1.12 statistically significant as being different from 1? Answer: no. What does that mean? It means that it *indicates* no harmful association. It also means that *protective* effects are also within statistical significance, but they aren’t claiming that because this result–and the others–all include protective effects in their confidence intervals, that MMR is protective. By your standard they should be. Especially because that is more consistent across groups (if one ignores the lack of statistical significance).

      You are doing *exactly* what I said you would. You ignore what is being told you and stick to straw man arguments. At this point I could take over writing your responses for you as they are that predictable.

      I note that you skip acknowledging the fact that your claim that the paper was making “absolute” claims was clearly wrong. Very, very typical behavior.

      • George June 5, 2015 at 16:07 #

        “Is 1.12 statistically significant as being different from 1? Answer: no. What does that mean? It means that it *indicates* no harmful association.”

        Is this a Monty Python skit? One could just as easily ask:

        “Is 1.12 statistically significant as being different from 1.25? Answer: no. What does that mean? It means that it *indicates* harmful association.”

        You can’t just pick the result you want and say, “Look, the study indicates this is the answer.” Unless, of course, you are John Cleese.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) June 5, 2015 at 17:32 #

        Oh, so now you are getting into mocking people who disagree with you. How soon before your meltdown and more direct insults?

      • Chris June 5, 2015 at 16:26 #

        Have you written the authors yet with your analysis and interpretation?

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) June 5, 2015 at 15:29 #

      So, tell me where people are saying that MMR causes a slight increase in autism risk? Those promoting vaccine causation throw “epidemic” and “hundreds of percent increase” around.

      MMR is not behind the increase in identified autism rates. Neither is thimerosal.

      Show me people who are antagonistic towards vaccines who accept that. You can’t because they don’t.

      The main “evidence” behind the idea that vaccines increase autism risk is the idea that vaccines (MMR and thimerosal in particular) resulted in an “epidemic”. That leg of the argument has been proved nonsense for about a decade.

      And that is a big piece you are dancing around right now. Do you accept that this demonstrates that the rise in identified autism is not due to MMR? If not, don’t lecture anyone like you are trying to do.

  16. George June 5, 2015 at 16:01 #

    “I note that you skip acknowledging the fact that your claim that the paper was making “absolute” claims was clearly wrong. Very, very typical behavior.”

    Given that you are not agreeing to a straightforward, objective, concept, what are the chances of you agreeing on semantics? The claim “indicate no harmful association” should be clear enough. They could have watered it down, and made a less heroic claim, by saying “does not indicate high risk,” or something like that. But they didn’t. It is a clear statement.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) June 5, 2015 at 17:53 #

      What “straightforward, objective, concept” (extra comma in the original) are you talking about?

      Here’s the thing–you are playing the old “epidemiology can’t rule out susceptibility groups” argument. Yep, you are correct, you can always say that there could be a group so small as to be undetected given the power of the given study.

      So then you move to context, which I did. What is the context of the MMR/autism claim? It is in large part that identified autism rates have increased with vaccination. Oddly, Mr. Wakefield and his supporters claim that MMR increased autism in the UK after that vaccine was introduced, but ignored the fact that it was introduced in the U.S. much earlier (as I know Chris can school you in). That all said, a keystone of the MMR hypothesis is that it responsible for a large fraction of the current autism rate. It isn’t. So noting that whatever susceptibility group there may be is much smaller than that predicted by the hypothesis is a huge point.

      Then we move on to the fact that this study was not done alone. Any single study is not definitive. No one claims it is. But there are multiple studies showing no increased risk.

      Then we move to biology. The MMR/Autism notion was sold on the claim that the measles virus in the vaccine infects the intestinal tract of children, leading to a “leaky gut” that allows for “opiod peptides” to enter the bloodstream and make their way to the brain where they bring on autistic behavior. At the same time, this leads to GI disease.

      Except that no one has shown good evidence for a “leaky gut” in autism. Including lack of evidence of “opiod peptides”.

      So there’s another strike against the idea.

      So then we look for whether the proposed susceptibility group has persistent measles infection in their intestines. That brings us to Hornig et al.
      Lack of Association between Measles Virus Vaccine and Autism with Enteropathy: A Case-Control Study
      http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0003140

      Background

      The presence of measles virus (MV) RNA in bowel tissue from children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and gastrointestinal (GI) disturbances was reported in 1998. Subsequent investigations found no associations between MV exposure and ASD but did not test for the presence of MV RNA in bowel or focus on children with ASD and GI disturbances. Failure to replicate the original study design may contribute to continued public concern with respect to the safety of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine.

      Methodology/Principal Findings

      The objective of this case-control study was to determine whether children with GI disturbances and autism are more likely than children with GI disturbances alone to have MV RNA and/or inflammation in bowel tissues and if autism and/or GI episode onset relate temporally to receipt of MMR. The sample was an age-matched group of US children undergoing clinically-indicated ileocolonoscopy. Ileal and cecal tissues from 25 children with autism and GI disturbances and 13 children with GI disturbances alone (controls) were evaluated by real-time reverse transcription (RT)-PCR for presence of MV RNA in three laboratories blinded to diagnosis, including one wherein the original findings suggesting a link between MV and ASD were reported. The temporal order of onset of GI episodes and autism relative to timing of MMR administration was examined. We found no differences between case and control groups in the presence of MV RNA in ileum and cecum. Results were consistent across the three laboratory sites. GI symptom and autism onset were unrelated to MMR timing. Eighty-eight percent of ASD cases had behavioral regression.

      Conclusions/Significance

      This study provides strong evidence against association of autism with persistent MV RNA in the GI tract or MMR exposure. Autism with GI disturbances is associated with elevated rates of regression in language or other skills and may represent an endophenotype distinct from other ASD.

      Measles virus is not more common in the GI tract of the proposed susceptibility group: kids with autism and GI disease who underwent regression.

      But, you may argue, small study, on and on and on. To which I will respond that Mr. Wakefield claimed some huge percentage *did* in fact have detectable measles virus in their intestines. He claimed 75 of 91 kids in this claimed susceptibility group had measles virus in their intestinal tissues.
      http://mp.bmj.com/content/55/2/84

      Of course, this was before it came out that Mr. Wakefield was ignoring the results of his own laboratory at the Royal Free, where his student/post-doc Nick Chadwick was demonstrating that not only was there no measles virus in the tissues of the children tested, but that the results from other laboratories were flawed.

      So, let’s see.
      1) the idea that MMR has caused a significant amount of the increase in identified autism is not true
      2) whatever susceptibility groups there may be are very small
      3) the biological arguments for the MMR causing autism fail.
      4) there is demonstrated failure of the original researchers making the claim to act ethically and appropriately in their research (I use a plural, but it very much seems to be down to one researcher only).

      But, it’s possible that still there’s a tiny susceptibility group, you will argue. With new biology and everything.

      To which one has to ask–where does one look then? And why? By that reasoning there could be a small susceptibility group who fell victim to the refrigerator mother mechanism proposed by Bettleheim. Are you still clinging to the idea that he could still be right? I’m not.

      • George June 5, 2015 at 18:35 #

        So in other words, you strenuously defend this paper’s false claim because, well, we’ve got all this other information. Sorry, but it doesn’t work that way. Research papers don’t get to make up false conclusions because some opponent said something ten years ago which we don’t like, or because earlier papers said something that back up our false claim. (those earlier papers are worse off than this one btw). This is a slippery slope argument.

        Regarding the biology, you are bringing up an entirely different argument which this paper fails to address. The paper lumps all the patients into one, incredibly broad category (ASD), which is a wide spectrum ranging from mild to severe. They did not collect clinical data within this spectrum, so from the very start the paper is compromised. There are no data to support the paper’s (unstated) assumption that the distributions of ASD symptoms in the different groups are the same. Without that level of data the paper’s results are meaningless.

        Sorry but science is more than downloading some data and pushing it through some canned statistical package and seeing what comes out the other end.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) June 5, 2015 at 18:53 #

        Oh, now we move into the “put words in the other person’s mouth” phase. “Oh, in other words…”

        When you repeatedly demonstrate that you misinterpret the paper and what I say, you can’t really go into “in other words”. I never tried to defend the straw-man claims you put upon the paper. So, your “in other words” looks trollish.

        Regarding biology, I brought that in for context of the MMR discussion, because you were in the world of pretending this study was all there is to do with the MMR discussion. But, brush that aside, why don’t you. It doesn’t fit your argument. Pretend like it doesn’t exist, because it is very damning to the idea that MMR causes autism.

        The paper never was intended to bring in biology, but now that you’ve been presented with the fact that the biology doesn’t fit your argument, you act like this is some sort of limitation. Basic internet debate tactics, and very transparent.

        And, did you read the paper? Apparently not. “They did not collect clinical data within this spectrum” Yes, they did. How did you miss that? Tens of thousands of kids, all across the spectrum. And they have the clinical data from these kids. This is the Lewin Group study, which looked at a huge amount of clinical data. I posted a link to their presentation already, so the fact that you missed all the clinical data that they collected is, well, let’s be kind and say surprising.

        You keep shifting goalposts and refusing to acknowledge clear errors.

        Since you appear at this point to be trolling, email me sometime if you want to actually discuss these results. They are too important for internet troll discussions. You can find a number

        Your type typically goes on and on until banned, at which point you claim some sort of victory. Too bad you don’t put as much time into actually understanding the science that’s right in front of you. It’s really, really dull, to be frank. And very, very predictable.

        Science is much more than downloading data and pushing it through some statistical package. But what do you know about science? So far, nothing that you’ve demonstrated.

        Attack, attack, attack. That’s all you do. In your passive aggressive way, but it’s all attacks. Too bad you don’t have the science chops to do it well. I’m sure you can confuse people elsewhere, but not here.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. What I’ve been reading — April 2015 | ASD Dad - April 28, 2015

    […] Another large study shows no link between autism and the MMR vaccine. “…kids who got the MMR vaccine were not more likely to be autistic. It doesn’t matter if their older siblings were autistic or not. So, ‘high risk’ or not, the MMR vaccine doesn’t increase autism risk.” Read more […]

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