The William Thompson Documents. There’s no whistle to blow.

4 Jan

For those unfamiliar with the story of William Thompson, here’s a brief introduction. William Thompson is a CDC researcher who has worked on vaccine/autism studies. About 2 years ago he approached Brian Hooker (an autism parent and very vocal advocate for the idea that vaccines cause autism) stating that a statistically significant result was not only left out of an old study but that this represented not a scientific decision, but misconduct on the part of the CDC. It is worth noting that “statistically significant” is not the same as “proof of a connection”. Brian Hooker published his own analysis (incorrectly claimed as being the same as the CDC analysis method) in a now retracted paper. The result he presented was that there was an apparent increased risk of autism for one small subset of the study population: African American males, who were vaccinated not on schedule but before age 3.

There are some questions, of course, that this raises. Is this result very strong? Does the lack of inclusion in the paper represent scientific fraud or a legitimate scientific decision?

A few epidemiologists and other scientists have chimed in (for example here, here and here) and stated that the result was very likely spurious and that Hooker’s approach is somewhat flawed and definitely overplayed.

In fact, Brian Hooker’s paper was more of a publicity event than a scientific inquiry. When the paper was published, Brian Hooker and Andrew Wakefield released a video. It is difficult to describe just how bad this video was but here are a two examples. Wakefield tried to put forth the inflammatory claim that the CDC’s vaccine program was a new Tuskegee experiment. Which is to say that the CDC are intentionally allowing African Americans to become autistic due to vaccines as part of some sort of study. Second, according to Andrew Wakefield, the CDC team is so evil that they are worse than Hitler, Pol Pot and Stalin. =Mr Wakefield’s logic being that those dictators were sincere and the CDC team were not. No, really, Hitler was sincere per Wakefield.

In a series of phone calls between Thompson and Hooker (secretly taped by Hooker and released without Thompson’s permission), we find that Thompson was very interested in testifying before congress. It turns out that William Thompson kept much (if not all) of the paperwork involved in this study and, probably at least in part motivated by the hope for a hearing, passed these along to a member of Congress: Bill Posey. It has been claimed that this cache of documents numbers as many as 100,000 pages. Many have hoped that these documents will expose fraud by the CDC. (They don’t)

Congressman Posey released the documents to a journalist recently and, given that they are now in the public domain, Dorit Reiss and I requested that they be made available to us as well. Mr. Posey’s office graciously granted our request and I have spent some time going through them.

For those hoping for an exciting look into CDC malfeasance, sorry to disappoint you. Not only is it not present here, but these documents are very mundane and repetitive. Many people seem to think there will be evidence that the CDC are covering up. No “Vaccines cause autism! How do we cover this up”. Nothing like it. Wakefield and Hooker have already cherry picked–and misrepresented–whatever they could to “best” make their case.

For more introduction, I point you to these articles as a start:

MMR, the CDC and Brian Hooker: A Guide for Parents and the Media

Did a high ranking whistleblower really reveal that the CDC covered up proof that vaccines cause autism in African-American boys?
The “CDC whistleblower saga”: Updates, backlash, and (I hope) a wrap-up
Brian Hooker and Andrew Wakefield accuse the CDC of scientific fraud. Irony meters everywhere explode.

Given that long introduction, what is in the documents? Well, there’s about 1000 pages, not the claimed 100,000. Documents provided by Mr. Thompson and, also, documents that submitted as part of the complaint that Wakefield and Hooker filed with HHS were included in the zip file. Which is convenient as I had submitted a FOIA request for those.

There are multiple drafts of the analysis plan. Analysis Plan is the same thing as the “protocol” that Wakefield and Hooker claim was changed after the first race data were analyzed. And the fact that we have the revisions gives us the chance to check two of the fundamental claims behind the Wakefield/Hooker “fraud” charge against CDC. (1) Did the CDC plan to look at race as an exposure variable? Wakefield and Hooker are claiming (although they use different words) this is what the CDC was doing. This is different from using race as a control variable. (2) Did CDC add the birth certificate analysis after the first race analysis was done, in order to dilute the effect?

No. Very clearly no. I’ve covered (2) already based on information Wakefield and Hooker made available. The final analysis plan was dated Sept.5, the first race analysis wasn’t until late October or early November. And we see the same in these documents.

But now we have new information that answers (1). Here is what appears to be the first draft of the analysis plan. And here is a capture of a very important part:

First Draft Analysis plan segment 1

Note that this draft analysis plan is from April 3, 2001. Well before the final version, the “protocol”, which was September 5. More importantly, this is a long time before a race analysis was started. But even more, notice how there’s an annotation “I would include race as a covariate, not as an exposure variable.” That’s critical–they decided against using race as an exposure variable from the start. Before they did a race analysis. Another point: they were already planning on using birth certificate data right from the start.

William Thompson certainly should have known this, it’s very probable that he did know this. Wakefield and Hooker likely knew this. They showed documents from this collection in their video and elsewhere. But they told us the opposite.

Whether they knew or not, they were wrong. Wildly irresponsibly wrong.

Ever wonder why they didn’t make documents public? We can’t tell if Hooker and Wakefield had all the Thompson documents, but we know they had some. While they cry out for transparency, they were carefully guarding information in order to craft the story they wanted told. The full documents tell a different story.

Let me put this more simply: if Wakefield and Hooker worked for me they would be fired for just their handling of the Thompson story (of course, they would have been fired years ago for many other causes, but promoting this sort of misinformation is simply wrong.)

Also in that same directory appears to be the first draft of the paper (A000071.PDF), with William Thompson as first author. I find it interesting that Thompson is first author there as later it would be Frank DeStefano who would be first author of the published study.

There are also meeting notes. Lots of meeting notes. Here’s the first batch, as near as I can tell. Meetings were held every month or two.

Now is a good time to address the “garbage can” quote. Congressman Posey read a statement from William Thompson into the congressional record. Emily Willingham discussed this in A Congressman, A CDC Whisteblower And An Autism Tempest In A Trashcan. On the other side, here’s an article by Jon Rappoport Bombshell: CDC destroyed vaccine documents, Congressman reveals Bombshell: CDC destroyed vaccine documents, Congressman reveals; CDC whistleblower case is back.

Here’s the thing–there’s zero “bombshell” involved in putting these documents into a confidential bin for shredding/recycling. There’s no reason to keep all these revisions of the analysis plan, all these meeting notes, all this redundant material. I hope people at CDC are not keeping all this paper. Beyond that, the rules are that they have to keep enough information to recreate the study. Aside from the fact that all these meeting notes are not required for that, Brian Hooker proved that requirement was met when he claimed to have done exactly that–recreated the study.

Mr. Thompson also provided a file with ALL Agendas for mmr autism meetings with written interpretation. Which is to say Thompson added his own annotations (purple pen) to the agendas.

Here’s an example of his annotations. And a great example of trying to make data fit a story. Thompson appears to be trying to support the idea that the CDC team changed the protocol to include the birth certificate analysis in response to analyzing the race data:

Race examined before final protocol

The implication that the race analysis and had somehow influenced the final protocol (as Wakefield and Hooker have claimed and this comment appears to support) is just plain wrong. First, as we have already seen, the birth certificate analysis was included from first draft of the analysis plan, in April 2001. That’s four months before this meeting note. Second, the so-called “race effect” isn’t seen in this meeting note. In fact, we see the opposite: “not statistically associated with case/control variable”.

From the phone conversations between Brian Hooker and William Thompson (secretly taped by Hooker), we have found that Thompson was very interested in participating in a congressional hearing. Hooker and his colleagues had been involved in arranging a previous congressional hearing on autism. Frankly it appears to me as though Thompson was involved in a bit of a quid pro quo: Thompson coaching Hooker in ways to spread fear about vaccines in exchange for a chance to be involved in a hearing. Which begs the question: why no hearing based on all that Thompson has laid out?

In case it isn’t already abundantly clear: there’s no hearing because there is no reason for a hearing. There’s no evidence of fraud. Many of the reasons given by Wakefield and Hooker to call this fraud are, well, just flat out wrong. Contradicted by the evidence. For those hoping that Thompson’s personal notes would show some evidence of a cover up, here they are mmr autism study 2001-2002 hand written notes.

Ah, one will say, what about the finding of an association between the MMR and autism for African American boys vaccinated late (between 18 months and 36 months)? Why wasn’t that included in the published paper or public presentations? The reasons given by Thompson/Hooker/Wakefield don’t hold water as I’ve shown. So, what was the scientific reason for not including this result in the paper? Many online writers have discussed how weak this result is; how it is a spurious result. But I’d like to know the reasoning at the time behind the CDC decision to leave this out. As a community member–an autism parent–I’d like to see all the results and understand the reasons why certain results are spurious. Of course it is easy to say now, but leaving this out of the public’s eye was a mistake. It gave Thompson, Hooker and Wakefield the chance to cherry pick, hide information and craft a story that has been very damaging to the autism communities and to public health.

The first thing I did when I heard about this story was email a few epidemiologists I know and point this story out and ask them if they had the data to address the question raised. I no longer feel this way. Why should the autism communities spend precious funds and researcher time every time Andrew Wakefield (Time Magazine’s #1 on their list of great science frauds) comes up with a new story? Especially now that we know the story was built on lies. But consider this: Wakefield and Hooker have not been calling for more research. Instead they are calling for a congressional hearing. If you watched any part of the previous hearings you know they are political theater and have done nothing (NOTHING) to help make a better life for autistics. They have done nothing except provide video and blog fodder for those promoting the failed idea that vaccines cause autism.

Also, consider this: before Thompson Wakefield and Hooker didn’t talk about the issues of racial/ethnic minorities. For the most part, the entire “autism is caused by vaccines” community have ignored minority communities. Why? Because they are a clear example that the vaccine hypothesis is a failure. Prevalence estimates for racial/ethnic minority groups have been typically much lower than for Caucasians (Hispanics are diagnosed at a rate of 1/3 that of Caucasians in California. And this has been consistent for over 10 years.) This presents a huge problem for the likes of Hooker and Wakefield. If vaccines are a major cause of autism, why do minority groups have such low prevalences? If they were honest about their own beliefs, they would be calling for a study into the “protective” effect for minorities. But they don’t. More importantly, if they were real autism advocates they would be calling for better diagnosis, better awareness, better services for these under served communities. Instead they have just ignored these minority communities. That is, until they could use them as part of their campaign against vaccines.

And they still aren’t calling for better services better diagnosis in these underserved groups. Instead they are just trying to recruit as many parents as they into the vaccines-cause-autism camp. Imagine being convinced, wrongly, that you participated in injuring your own child. The charlatans who prey on our community with fake–and sometimes abusive–therapies rely on the vaccine/autism idea for the majority of their business.

The vaccines-cause-autism story is built on lies and it is very damaging. There has been nothing since the Kanner/Bettleheim “refrigerator parent” idea that has caused so much damage to our community. And that is the real story here. A group of people perpetuating a failed idea by carefully crafting a story.

The Zip file provided to me by Representative Posey’s office is at this DropBox link
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/jxtr06s5ddc82s7/AADaZvp7yu_daBhbuZwMfQy4a?dl=0

Again, I am grateful to Representative Posey and his staff for providing these files to me.


By Matt Carey

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148 Responses to “The William Thompson Documents. There’s no whistle to blow.”

  1. Kenneth Wiezer February 16, 2017 at 17:47 #

    MY NAME IS KENNETH WIEZER, AND I PERSONALLY KNOW OF 5 CHILDREN THE SAME AGE THAT HAVE ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER. (ADD) EACH WERE DIAGNOSED WITH (ADD) AFTER RECEIVING SCHEDULED IMMUNE SHOTS AS INFANTS. THEY ARE THE SAME AGE IN YEARS AND ONLY A FEW MONTHS APART. 2 GRAND DAUGHTERS BY DIFFERENT MOTHERS, 2 GREAT COUSINS (TWINS), AND A LADY FRIEND, HER GRAND SON. I BELIEVE THAT LARGE PHARMA SHOULD LIABLE FOR THEIR PHYSICAL AND MENTAL CHALLENGES THROUGH OUT LIFE’S PROMISES.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) February 18, 2017 at 00:52 #

      Here’s the thing, most kids with and without ADD were diagnosed after their vaccines. Kids with ADD and no vaccines are diagnosed.

      Which is to say, you present no evidence that there is anything to link vaccines with ADD.

      That said, did you bother to read the article above? Your comment shows no evidence of that. Especially since it has nothing to do with the article.

      • zshilor March 3, 2017 at 14:13 #

        There is no reason to assume that the effect of vaccination would be only in one direction and therefore it is relevant to bring other effects to the table. Even if we don’t have a research proving it, we should assume that this is a case, until valid independent researches have been done, outside the big pharma, and CDC.
        The CDC opposed to a control experiment vs. unvaccinated population, which defies common sense.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) March 3, 2017 at 15:22 #

        Your comment defies common sense. As in it is common sense to be clear and accurate.

        We have research showing that the vaccines cause autism notion is false. It is valid research. Much of it independent.

        But it comes to a conclusion you apparently disagree with. Which for many will make it not “valid” as you put it.

        The CDC would do a vaccinated vs unvaccinated study. Get them the funding and directive.

        Or sit back and complain that they won’t do it–even though you already made it clear that no matter they do you will consider it invalid because it isn’t independent of themselves.

        Seriously, put together a logical self-consistent argument.

  2. Beta Thanyou March 16, 2017 at 11:17 #

    That’s Pretty basic and cherry picked straw man argument that failed to deliver.
    Unlucky

    • IVAN March 31, 2017 at 02:15 #

      “The CDC would do a vaccinated vs unvaccinated study. Get them the funding and directive.”

      Did you just asked people to give THEIR MONEY to the CDC to do THEIR OBLIGATED job?

      Each and every fucking vaccine or medicament/pill/ let’s call them medicine, MUST be tested prior take it to public use, don’t you agree?

      They are making TRILLIONS, without doing the SIMPLE vaccinated vs. non vaccinated tests?

      ARE YOU FOR REAL?

      I bet you DO test the quality of whatever drugs you take, before taking them, cuz obviously you do consume some serious, brain damaging shit dude.

      Shame on you, your scam website, and the sponsor who are keeping you alive to serve misleading data.

      Soon everyone involved in MMR falsification will face the true judge. No, not the one you hope you can buy off.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) March 31, 2017 at 18:19 #

        Wow, I bet you actually think that was a stinging rebuke. Given the all caps an all.

        Why should CDC do a very expensive study? Well, for one, if there is evidence that it is needed. With the idea that vaccines cause autism, they

        If you think that a vaccinated vs unvaccinated study is “SIMPLE”, you clearly have no idea of what you are talking about. Do it yourself. It’s simple, right? Why hasn’t a real vaccinated vs unvaccinated study been done by the creduluous researchers who claim vaccines cause autism? Because it’s not simple. It’s very difficult, very expensive. Do you know how many people would have to be involved? And what is needed to tease out the biases in the unvaccinated population?

        Wakefield and the Geiers, with help from unethical political pressure, got ahold of medical data from Florida years ago. YEARS ago. And still no vaccinated/unvaccinated study. But it’s easy, right?

        And you think the CDC should just drop everything and do this on the account of the junk science that’s been used to attack vaccines?

        Sorry dude. Come up with a real reason. Not an “I’M USING ALL CAPS ON THE INTERNET” argument. Facts.

        The CDC has spent tens of millions of dollars chasing down false claims about vaccines causing autism. Money and time that could have been used for something valuable. Largely because of fraudulent research propogated by failed mediocrities posing as researchers. So, spend many more millions on a study you will no doubt decry as being biased? That’s just not a good basis for spending tax dollars.

        Soon everyone involved in MMR falsification will face the true judge. No, not the one you hope you can buy off.

        Ah, the old “the truth will come out” and “you are just a pharma shill” arguments repackaged.

        The truth did come out. Vaccines don’t cause autism. And if there are people I can “buy off”, they are very cheap. By the way, you are supposed to be claiming that I have been bought off, not the other way around.

        By the way, “Ivan”, you don’t even have the guts to use a real email address. I guess you felt that was funny or something. Instead it’s just gutless.

      • doritmi March 31, 2017 at 18:23 #

        Yes, every product licensed by the FDA needs to be tested and studied before licensing.

        By the company that developed it. That’s not the CDC.

        If you want the CDC to do a specific study, that does take money. If it’s a study with no good justification, special funding might be needed.

  3. Pik Chu Wong April 18, 2017 at 00:56 #

    A vaccinated vs unvaccinated study is by no mean simple or cheap, but it doesn’t mean it is not needed before releasing a product that will impact millions of lives. The vaccine product should not be release without fully understanding the short term and long term impact. Our immune system is nothing to be messed around with since a healthy immune system is our best protection again viruses and disease. We should not take the approach of give us the funding and the directive to do the necessary studies.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 20, 2017 at 15:40 #

      If you are asking for a prospective study, you can add unethical to your list of reasons why it is not easy to do a vaccinated/unvaccinated study.

      We have multiple studies on the specific question of MMR and thimerosal and autism.

      Do you accept that neither of these increases autism risk?

      Unless you do, asking for another study is asking for what is almost certainly a waste of money. If you can’t be convinced by the data that exists, new data will be meaninglesss

  4. Ameli Gottstein May 5, 2017 at 10:47 #

    Your article is unfortunately not very objective and therefore not convincing I have to say. Nevertheless I am very interested to find out about the congress meeting with Bill Posey. Do you know the details as to when it is scheduled etc.? This would be very helpful for people interested in this matter. Thank you very much!

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) June 20, 2017 at 19:55 #

      There is no scheduled meeting.

  5. Sara May 30, 2017 at 03:15 #

    You sir, are an absolute moron.
    Talk about redundancy….it seems to be your dialect.

    It appears one two many vaccines have been administered to Matt Carey

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) June 20, 2017 at 19:44 #

      I bet you thought that was clever.

    • doritmi June 20, 2017 at 19:46 #

      You don’t seem to have any substantive criticism. Just name calling.

  6. Dark June 2, 2017 at 07:18 #

    Can someone clarify this for me? I am totally open to being wrong here, so no one bite my head off. The first screenshot in this article implies that the plan was to report results for all ASD cases in the main analysis, and then do secondary analyses with the subset of cases that had birth certificates. In the 2004 paper it seems from the abstract that they only reported on cases with birth certificates in any analysis. Is this correct? And if so, isn’t this a deviation from the study protocol?

    The author of the above article is saying there was some significant association that was left out, but that it appears to have been done so out of an innocent effort to remove a likely spurious result. Is this correct? And does that association have anything to do with whether or not birth certificates were required? Or is this something totally unrelated and I am not understanding?

    The following article defends Hooker’s methods:
    http://www.autisminvestigated.com/brian-hooker-confirmed-by-cdc/
    He says that “results were also confirmed using a conditional logistic regression design similar to the DeStefano et al. [14] (CDC) study.””. So Hooker seems to have calculated the results two ways, one of which was similar to the original study, and both ways comes up with a result virtually identical to what the CDC omitted? The article also explains that the confounder of low birth weight does not possibly explain the result. Also, conflicts of interest are not a reason to retract a paper according to the journals retraction policy.

    I want to get to the bottom of this and am open to reaching any conclusion, so please bear with me. Thanks.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) June 20, 2017 at 19:42 #

      They only reported on cases with birth certificates?

      Read the paper. Read the tables. It’s very clear that they reported on both groups. Those with birth certificate data and the entire group.

      As planned.

    • doritmi June 20, 2017 at 19:46 #

      Our host went through the claim that only birth certificate data was reported on early on, here: https://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2014/08/26/autism-atlanta-mmr-serious-questions-and-also-how-brian-hooker-and-andrew-wakefield-are-causing-damage-to-the-autism-communties/

      The short version is that it’s not true. The tables included full raw data for several analyses.

      • Dark June 21, 2017 at 08:01 #

        I see the screenshots of the tables from the studies. Couldn’t get to the study myself because of a pay wall. I’m convinced now that the Hooker/Thompson scandal is a non issue. Thanks for your work on this.

        However, there are other reasons to doubt the validity of MMR-autism studies. Most notably, bias caused by parental avoidance. Children developing autism are recognized before 12 months by their parents, and a high percentage of such parents choose not to let those children get MMR because they fear earlier vaccines were responsible for their children’s abnormal health. These children go on to get diagnosed with autism, but are counted in the control group of MMR-autism studies. This selection bias can be profound and can potentially cause risk ratios to be off several fold. I think this is the real reason observational studies consistently turn up no association between MMR and autism, and not due to any kind of mass corruption:
        https://www.earthmedresearch.org/vaccine-safety-healthy-user-bias/

      • doritmi June 21, 2017 at 12:59 #

        That bias would not be true for the first study, that looked at cohorts before Wakefield published his fraudulent paper. I’m not even sure why you can assume it later. Why wouldn’t these parents give the children MMR? This chart is making quite a bit of assumption, and it would be just as logical to assume that parents would say “my child already has autism, MMR won’t be an issue” or “my child is especially vulnerable, I need to protect as much as possible.”

        Right now, that chart is just assuming.

      • Dark June 21, 2017 at 21:01 #

        For sake of argument let’s say vaccines do cause autism. If we go back before Wakefield, parents would still possibly notice something is off with their child, though perhaps not as much. They would then suspect vaccines. The bias can still be expected to be there in the event vaccines are unsafe. (And even if they aren’t unsafe). Why would parents want Wakefield to study their children if parents weren’t suspicious of vaccines causing autism even back then early on?

        Why can the presence of healthy user bias (HUB) be assumed later on? Read the entire article. There are some forensics that can be done to infer the presence of such healthy user bias. Most notably a tendency towards risk ratios that are suspiciously less than 1. We see this quite regularly all over vaccine safety research. The alternative explanation of vaccines having lots of nonspecific benefits is not convincing. (However, also note that having studies turn up risk ratios close to 1 does not rule out the presence of this bias.) Look specifically at the example of the Jain et al. MMR-autism study in 2015. It is the only study I am aware of that has enough data to conjecture the strength with which HUB would bias the results. A rough calculation would suggest the results are off by a factor of 2 or 3 or possibly even more.

        There are not many studies that control for HUB. Those that do tend to turn up very different results. For example previous estimates that DTP increases mortality 2-fold turns into a 5-fold mortality estimate once you control for HUB. Or estimates that the flu vaccine decreases mortality in the elderly by 50% shrinks down to just 4.6% after you control for HUB. If you fail to control for these kinds of biases, results can be dramatically wrong.

        There are at least three types of notable healthy user bias in vaccine safety studies. The chart at the top of the article only describes one of them. Though it is the most serious type if we are talking specifically about autism as the adverse outcome.

        Your argument that “my child already has autism, MMR won’t be an issue” is contradicted by Jain et al. Parents were found to strongly avoid MMR when their children have autism. The chart is not assuming.

        The other major problem with MMR-autism studies is diluted comparison. Suppose all (or many) vaccines have a common mechanism by which they could cause autism. If you compare two children who differ only on MMR status, you could be comparing a child who has received say 4 relevant vaccines to a child you has received 5 relevant vaccines. If you compare one cumulatively injured person to another, significant differences will tend to be washed out.

      • Chris June 22, 2017 at 02:37 #

        “Why would parents want Wakefield to study their children if parents weren’t suspicious of vaccines causing autism even back then early on? ”

        What parents? And how far back is “early on”? Why specifically Wakefield?

        The UK did not start using their versions of MMR vaccines until 1988, which was almost two decades after the USA introduced its first version of the MMR vaccine in 1971. Now if that MMR vaccine was causing as much autism as the fans of Wakefield claimed, it would have been noticed in the 1970s and 1980s in the USA — a country that is much much larger than the UK.

        Also, I don’t think the parents in the UK actually sought out Wakefield, it was more like Richard Barr bringing them to him in order to support a lawsuit.

      • Dark June 22, 2017 at 03:13 #

        I don’t understand if you are disagreeing with me or with Dorit. My reply to Dorit is simply that it is not sensible for her to imagine there was ever such a time as “pre-Wakefield” or “pre-whatever” when it would not be expected for parents to self-select their children to not get one or more vaccines due to suspicion of harm, regardless of whether or not that harm was real. Hence the systematic biases I am discussing are very real concerns that potentially contaminate ALL MMR-autism studies, no matter when they were conducted.

        (Sorry for the duplicate comment. I got confused by the nesting.)

  7. Dark June 22, 2017 at 03:12 #

    I don’t understand if you are disagreeing with me or with Dorit. My reply to Dorit is simply that it is not sensible for her to imagine there was ever such a time as “pre-Wakefield” or “pre-whatever” when it would not be expected for parents to self-select their children to not get one or more vaccines due to suspicion of harm, regardless of whether or not that harm was real. Hence the systematic biases I am discussing are very real concerns that potentially contaminate ALL MMR-autism studies, no matter when they were conducted.

    • Chris June 22, 2017 at 04:14 #

      Not disagreeing, I am just trying to find out who you are talking about and the timeline. Mostly because there are a surprising number of people who are surprised that an MMR vaccine had been in use more than two decades before Wakefield stumbled upon the scene. A gastroenterologist with no expertise in infectious disease, autism, immunity or vaccines.

      Also, it was pretty much Wakefield making statements with no actual proof is why folks stopped vaccinating for measles starting about 2002/3:
      http://www.badscience.net/2008/08/the-medias-mmr-hoax/

      And much of the fuss was because of the media:
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2082791/

      Wakefield’s now retracted Lancet case series of a dozen carefully selected children should have only been a blip on the radar. It was a tiny study of little consequence. The only reason it caused all the havoc was because of Wakefield making claims about single vaccines at a video press release which was not supported by that study (even with the fraud). So he created an issue over literally nothing.

      Which he is continuing to do… the blip on the data for the statistics that Thompson is torturing is just on a half a dozen kids who got their first MMR vaccine (the USA version, not any of the UK versions) very very late. It turns out they had limited access to medical care due to limited access to health insurance, but were identified with autism. They got an MMR vaccine to be admitted to special ed. preschools which was their right due to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

      So, again, because I very much dislike speculation please tell us “which parents”, when was “early on” and specifically “why Wakefield” (someone who is still not qualified to research autism nor vaccines)?

      • Dark June 22, 2017 at 04:58 #

        Regarding what constitutes “early on” and “Wakefield”: Dorit brought those up. Ask her why she thinks these are particularly important things. She is trying to argue that there would be a time when the biases I am speaking of would not have happened. I don’t see a reason to believe that.

        Regarding “which parents” will avoid the MMR vaccine: There are at least a couple types:
        1. Parents of a child who has already been diagnosed with autism
        2. Parents of a child who has an older sibling who has already been diagnosed with autism.
        These are not “speculation”. It is a known fact that this is happening. Read the entire article:
        https://www.earthmedresearch.org/vaccine-safety-healthy-user-bias/
        Particularly read about the Jain et al. MMR-autism study:
        http://vaccinepapers.org/review-of-jain-et-al-jama-2015-and-comments-on-mmr-autism/

        Just for disclosure, I am the author of the first website. The first half of that long article is a reprint of an article published on Vaccine Papers, and the second half of that long article is additional commentary on the subject written by me.

      • Chris June 22, 2017 at 15:26 #

        I’m sorry… you are still not answering the question of “which parents.” Do you understand the meaning of the word “speculation” and that I despise it? Who are those parents, give me dates and names, not general thoughts on their behaviors.

        Do not give me random websites, especially the cherry picked “vaccinepapers” site written by a guy who sells vaping supplies (as you have been told many times), and David AuBuchon seems to have no medical training at all (and seems confused at the difference between influenza and MMR vaccine — two different things). If you insist on giving me websites make sure they are by qualified reputable persons and they should be indexed on PubMed.

        Hint: someone who has been stripped of their legal right to practice medicine in any country is not reputable nor qualified.

        What you are revealing now is that you do not have a clue, and are just flailing around with ransom opinions. Which is what

      • Chris June 22, 2017 at 15:36 #

        “1. Parents of a child who has already been diagnosed with autism
        2. Parents of a child who has an older sibling who has already been diagnosed with autism.”

        Obviously you missed the bad media reports that made bogus claims about the dangers of any MMR vaccine, which had nothing to do with real science. That was in the second link I posted.

        Short version that you might understand: Wakefield lied.

        And foolish people actually believed him, which caused kids to get very very sick. Many were hospitalized and some actually died.

    • doritmi June 22, 2017 at 15:29 #

      And my point is that absent the publicity of the MMR causes autism view, assuming parents made the connection is unsupported, and parents of children with autism could just as easily have been more, not less, concerned about supporting them. Why would they think MMR is dangerous before the views were out?
      You’re simply assuming this was going on, and building in a bias based on it. With no evidence or good basis.

      • Dark June 22, 2017 at 21:24 #

        Chris and Dorit – both of your arguments are insubstantial.

        @ Chris: “Wakefield’s now retracted Lancet case series of a dozen carefully selected children should have only been a blip on the radar.”

        I agree. We need to ignore Wakefield.

        @ Chris: “Which he is continuing to do… the blip on the data for the statistics that Thompson is torturing”

        I agree. We should ignore Wakefield and Hooker. You are putting up straw man arguments to invent a reason to ignore the selection bias I am talking about. My arguments have nothing to do with Wakefield or Hooker.

        @ Chris: “I’m sorry… you are still not answering the question of “which parents.” Do you understand the meaning of the word “speculation” and that I despise it? Who are those parents, give me dates and names, not general thoughts on their behaviors.”

        What in the world kind of demand is that? You expect me to have names of individual parents? This is rubbish that has nothing to do with critiquing the validity of existing observational studies. Of course our aim needs to be to understand the trends in behaviors of cohorts of people. Researchers do not publish cohort studies that include an appendix with the names of addresses of every person represented in the study. Are you kidding me? I answered your question as to “which parents”. If you do not think there is reason to believe the selection bias I am describing is happening, then address the issue with relevant comments and not this complete nonsense.

        @Chris :”Do not give me random websites, especially the cherry picked “vaccinepapers” site written by a guy who sells vaping supplies (as you have been told many times) “

        You have made no actual argument. Just an ad hominem attack. Also, you claim “[I] have been told many times”. I don’t know how that can be when this is the first time I have ever posted on LBRB. Are you confusing me with someone else?

        @Chris: “David AuBuchon seems to have no medical training at all (and seems confused at the difference between influenza and MMR vaccine — two different things) “

        I am aware that the flu vaccine and the MMR vaccine are two different things. My article discusses the relevance of healthy user bias in not only MMR-autism studies, but also in all of vaccine safety research in general. You need to work on your reading skills. It seems you couldn’t make it past the first 2 pages.

        @Chris :”If you insist on giving me websites make sure they are by qualified reputable persons and they should be indexed on PubMed.”

        Appeal to authority. A logical fallacy. You have no actual argument. And if I am not mistaken, the owner of this site also has no medical training, yet you read the site. Perhaps you will argue “Well that’s because he cites studies done by qualified people”. So do I. You didn’t read them.

        @Dorit: “assuming parents made the connection is unsupported” … “Why would they think MMR is dangerous before the views were out?”

        For sake of argument, let us assume that there is such a thing as pre and post Wakefield. Regarding post Wakefield, I am definitely not speculating. Calculations done based on Jain et al. 2015 clearly show this selection bias is both real and severe in MMR-autism studies. Regarding pre-Wakefield, can you show me MMR-autism observational studies done in the US at a time when you believe such selection bias was not occurring. Do they even exist?

        And even if they do, for sake of argument, let’s assume MMR or other vaccines are dangerous. In this case, parents would think vaccines are dangerous because they are. Duh!… Children would be harmed by them and the parents would see, and they would choose to avoid future vaccinations. You don’t conduct safety studies presuming the exposure variable is safe. You conduct them because you are entertaining the possibility that the exposure variable isn’t safe. Hence your research must be designed to accommodate the bias that would be present in the event that the exposure is unsafe. For this reason, even chronologically early observational MMR-autism studies would not tell you anything at all. Even with an absence of socially generated concerns about vaccine safety, in the event vaccines are unsafe, the results would still almost certainly end up saying they are safe no matter what. Hence all presently existing MMR-autism studies are unreliable garbage.

        You try to put the onus on me to prove the presence of the selection bias in “early” studies. No, the onus is on you to prove its absence, even in the “early” days, especially considering the fact that the presence of this bias is absolutely proven in more recent research (Jain). Epidemiologists do not go around conducting studies saying, “well, we could control for these potential confounders, but it’s almost lunch time. Let’s just assume they aren’t issues”. It should also not be assumed that the present-day selection bias is due only to socially generated concern. It could in fact be due in large part to real harm from the vaccines. This needs to be tested.

        If you read my article, I review the recent 2017 Mawson study. If you are not familiar, this study surveyed vaccinated (either fully or partially) versus fully unvaccinated children. All the children in this study were homeschooled. The reasons for homeschooling in this study were things like wanting to spend more time with family, etc. Anti-vaccine views were not a reported reason for homeschooling. I obtained unpublished data that showed that even within the vaccinated group, 38% of the mothers were strongly against vaccination. Had these parents wanted to, they could have avoided vaccination in their children because they were homeschooled. So if these parents are so against vaccination, why did they choose to vaccinate? The obvious explanation is because they believe in retrospect that vaccines injured their children. This is further supported by the fact that in this study the adverse outcomes for the partially vaccinated were just as bad as the fully vaccinated. This implies that at some point a parent suspects a harm to be due to a vaccine, and then stops further vaccination. Whether or not these harms are real is irrelevant. The suspicion is all that is needed. So this study supports the view that even parents who are not concerned about vaccine safety and who never listened to Wakefield, etc are still capable of developing suspicion around vaccines. So the question stands – whether we are talking about pre or post Wakefield – are these suspected harms real or are they not? The only way to know is through studies that control for the selection bias induced by this suspected vaccine harm. No such studies exist.

      • Chris June 22, 2017 at 22:32 #

        Dark, we should care about your uneducated biased opinion because….? The Mawson study should be an example of what not to do in a freshman level statistics class. Your excuses for the selection bias proves you do not have an inkling of any understanding of how science and statistics are supposed to work.

        If you wish to be taken seriously you should provide the PubMed studies by reputable qualified researchers that the present American MMR vaccine causes more harm than measles, mumps and rubella.

      • Dark June 22, 2017 at 23:15 #

        “If you wish to be taken seriously you should provide the PubMed studies by reputable qualified researchers that the present American MMR vaccine causes more harm than measles, mumps and rubella.”

        Benefits can be weighed against harms only if the harms have been quantified. They have not been. That’s the whole point of this discussion.

        “we should care about your uneducated biased opinion because….?”

        Just more ad hominems from you. What are your qualifications? If you are criticizing others on those grounds, it is only fair you reveal them. If you don’t, we are done talking.

        “The Mawson study should be an example of what not to do in a freshman level statistics class. ”

        At what point did I say I thought the Mawson study’s results are reliable? You are putting words in my mouth. I only brought it up because it contained demographic data that helps put the selection bias into context. You seem to lack basic reading skills.

        “Your excuses for the selection bias proves you do not have an inkling of any understanding of how science and statistics are supposed to work.”

        What “excuses”? Do you mean “arguments as to why the selection bias is a serious problem”? If so, you have yet again failed to provide any rebuttal my arguments.

        Chris, you are an ad hom factory. At least Dorit has the capacity to stay on topic. Stop throwing around insults and actually address the arguments and maybe we can get somewhere.

      • Chris June 28, 2017 at 08:30 #

        OMG, you are a very silly person. I have been on vacation during the last few weeks, but I planned a big ol’ citation rebuttal… but then this happened and it works perfectly:

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